Following the successful ambush of the Noctis salvager, somewhat unexpected by the fleet who thought our system was clear of pilots, I warp back to their C2 K162 to monitor the situation. The only surprise in seeing the pod of the Noctis jump through is in how long it took him to get here. A Helios covert operations boat appears on the wormhole too, which catches my attention if only because he's not orange. I saw a Helios on d-scan earlier, so it could be him, and some corporations share w-space systems, so I pay it no mind. Otherwise, the five Dominix battleships warp out of the third cleared but unsalvaged anomaly and jump back to their home system, halving the mass of the wormhole as they do.
The Helios makes a return and jumps to the class 2 w-space system, and when a scout returns it's a fair indicator that the mass-stressed wormhole will soon be fully collapsed. That seems to be the case now too. I have a short wait, but one Dominix makes a round trip through the connection, followed by another solo battleship. I suppose they are being cautious. But not cautious enough? The wormhole drops to critical mass levels as two battleships appear in our system.
I suppose there could be enough mass to take both ships back to their home system, but it seems the pilots didn't quite expect this circumstance to occur. They both sit and think about the situation for a bit, before both jumping, and both—oh, both don't make it back. One does, the other remains in this system with me, now also with a Sleipnir command ship and Drake battlecruiser appeared from nowhere. And now without a wormhole any more.
The two new ships open fire on the two battleships. That's pretty cool. The lone Dominix melts pretty quickly, almost too quick for it to even think about retaliating, and the pod gets caught and cracked open too. Hah, I enjoyed that vicariously! If I could have caught the fleet I would have, but being by myself limited my options. I'm perhaps a little too pleased that some other pilots came by and taught this ship a lesson for stealing our anomalies.
Scuffle over, the Sleipnir and Drake, well, just mill around a bit. I check their information and see they both belong to Anomalous Existence, a corporation in the Surely You're Joking alliance. I've heard of them. It also matches the information of the Helios pilot I paid too little attention to. Clearly the Dominix fleet was being watched. And if it was being watched, and lined up, I imagine the Helios didn't carelessly throw scanning probes around. We have no new connections in to our system, so the Anomalous Existence chaps must have come from the C2-side. Does that mean they got themselves stuck in our system?
It would be most unfortunate for daring pilots to be stranded in w-space, particularly those who give me such fine entertainment. I open a conversation with one of the pilots to find out what's going on and, sure enough, they got a little carried away. That's no problem, I say, I can scan you an exit out of here. In fact, it will be my pleasure. We form a small fleet, I warp to our static wormhole, and I jump to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system to start getting these pilots home.
It's not a great start. The system has a static exit to null-sec. There may be other wormholes, though. And as I'm focussed on getting the ships out of w-space I don't much care who sees me launch probes on the wormhole, although given that there is a tower and no ships visible on my directional scanner I'm guessing no one does anyway. The static wormhole is obvious amongst the four anomalies and seven signatures, and warping to it sees a dying connection to Perrigen Falls. A second wormhole crops up too, but this is only a K162 also from null-sec. At least it's stable, I suppose.
The K162 leads to Vale of the Silent, where there are pilots and one other signature. The static exit from C3a does go to Perrigen falls, where no one's home and there are no other signatures. It's not ideal, and I don't feel like I've helped my temporary pals much, but they assure me they have their best men out and scanning from the other direction too. They even send me a little thank-you, which is sweet of them, and later I get a mail telling me they made it safely to high-sec.
As if a successful rescue weren't a good enough end to the evening, I get back to our home system and check the clock to see that the wrecks left in the third cleared anomaly should still be around for a little while. Given that there is no more fleet—the Anomalous Existence fleet was working both sides of the wormhole, popping all five Dominices and bagging four of the pods—and the wormhole is gone too, I should be safe enough in claiming back some of our Sleeper loot.
I grab a Noctis, warp to the anomaly, and start clearing up the mess. And what's this? A canister is floating in space, and as all of these wrecks are empty there is no loot to be left. Ah, happy days! The fleet scooped the mobile tractor unit, but failed to remember to grab the loot it scooped. Their forgetfulness is my gain, to the tune of about a seventy million ISK. All in all, it's been a rather splendid night.