I leave the boring class 2 w-space behind me, bridge across our home system, and jump through our static connection to class 3 w-space. Updating my directional scanner after the transit sees the normal sight of a tower, but what's this? A ship? Inconceivable! But that definitely looks like a real Ishkur assault frigate and not a cunningly named hangar. Maybe there is hope for this evening yet.
Opening the system map sees that just one planet is in range. With only four planets in the entire system sparsely spread across 160 AU of space, I'm not sure if that makes our K162's placement good, for finding the Ishkur so soon, or bad, for making our jumps possible to spot from the tower. Then again, I suppose it doesn't really matter, not with the discovery scanner pinging the new signature of the K162 to the Ishkur's pilot. If the ship is even piloted. I'm getting ahead of myself a little.
I think the Ishkur was piloted, an inference I draw by the assault frigate disappearing before I manage to locate the tower. Maybe it still is piloted and elsewhere, because how can I tell with so much empty space around me? It's best to check and, as I'm going to scan anyway, I warp out, launch probes, and perform a blanket scan of the system. Two, in fact. Did I mention that this C3 is somewhat big?
Twelve anomalies, nine signatures, no ships. The Ishkur is gone. Fine, then I'll scan. That weak wormhole won't be much fun, as it will be outbound and subject to the whims of the discovery scanner. The chubbier wormhole could be the U210 exit to low-sec, as could the second chubster, or third. Or the fourth. A bit of gas rounds out the results, as I bounce between wormholes still scanning, trying to make best use of these long warp times.
The weak wormhole is an outbound connection to class 5 w-space, and I'm still not interested in knocking before I enter a system. The K162 from class 2 w-space looks much more inviting, already opened, probably unmonitored. Also probably nothing happening, but it's better than the outbound connection. I won't belabour the point any more this evening, or I'll just depress myself. That leaves me with a K162 from null-sec, the expected U210, and a second K162 from null-sec, which has me scurrying back to the connection to class 2 w-space.
Another tower, another ship. This one is an Occator deep space transport, a prime target for my faction warp scrambler. Then again, who would use a transport to collect planet goo now that basic industrial ships specific to the task can be made more voluminous and less vulnerable to ambush? But I'm heading down dark corridors of the mind again. Locating the tower sees the Occator piloted, which gives me a little hope, but seeing the ship in the idle alignment makes me think nothing will happen here.
I warp away from the tower, launch probes, and scan. After all, to catch the Occator I'd need to find its route first. My probes show me the usual sites, plus two wormholes. One is a static exit to high-sec, making an Occator ambush even less likely, and a K162 from class 3 w-space. That'll do, keeping the w-space connection alive. And jumping to C3b sees a Manticore on d-scan. This time, there's not even a tower.
As interesting as seeing a ship in empty space can be, I'm rather less excited by the presence of the Manticore. It's probably how the ship is a stealth bomber, and that if it were piloted it would probably not be visible. That the Manticore remains visible on d-scan is probably a good indicator that there still remains not much happening in the constellation. But it's also a fair sign that the ship may be abandoned. A stealth bomber's worth scanning for.
I warp away, just in case, to launch probes, bumping in to a tower and some ships by accident. The industrial ships look interesting on d-scan, less interesting when locating the tower and not seeing any of them piloted, but the corporation that has settled here has a curious name. 'Sitting Manticore'. Maybe it would be mean to steal the stealth bomber. Or funny. Personally, I'd go with 'profitable'.
Launching probes and scanning for the stealth bomber makes me think that it may be piloted and bouncing around, given how much variation there is in the ship's position from scan-to-scan. But I get a solid hit, warp across, and see the Manticore empty and abandoned amongst the incapacitated defences of a destroyed tower. Okay, we're having that. Aii is available, so drops to his pod, warps my way, and nabs the Manticore from under my prow. Blink and I miss it.
I did actually miss it. I glance at another screen, turn back, and the Manticore is gone. Cloaked, I assume, as Aii is quite chuffed with our newly claimed ship. It's fully fit, and with good modules. A nice addition to our hangar. I have no idea why it was left out here, but it's a decent find. And probably all we're going to get tonight. I'm okay with that, and so is Aii. We head home to stow the stolen ship, and go off-line for the night.