Sleepers can get bent this evening. Well, the few in our one remaining combat anomaly and those that don't really count in the couple of ore sites. I wouldn't even venture in there normally, so ignoring them tonight is simplicity itself. I scan for our static wormhole, warp that way, and jump to tonight's neighbouring class 3 w-space system. Two towers and loads of ships appear on my directional scanner in C3a, so many ships that it looks suspiciously like none are piloted.
No assumptions. First, find the towers. All but two ships are at one tower, all empty, as are the other two at the second tower. Two more towers are also brought in to range by warping to the first two, along with a smattering of new ships. The third and fourth towers are straightforward to find, with only one new planet in range and that planet having two moons, and I soon confirm that there still aren't any piloted ships visible in the system. There's no one to monitor, so I launch probes and scan.
Seventeen anomalies and eight signatures offer two chubby wormholes, the static exit to low-sec and a K162 from class 2 w-space. A third wormhole is not a K162 but an N968 outbound connection to class 3 w-space, so the really weak wormhole that I intended to leave hopefully unopened for the moment is probably already active. I warp across to take a look and see the bloody pustule of an outbound connection to deadly class 6 w-space.
The C6 wormhole isn't so bad, but the N968 is more likely to be a dead end and an easy arm of the constellation to disregard. I poke through the N968 and update d-scan to see a tower and no ships, like most other C3 systems, with six anomalies and six signatures in the system. As suspected, this is a dead end, the only wormhole being the static exit to low-sec. It obviously leads to Tash-Murkon, not that I care to check, what with the connection being at the end of its life. I just turn around and head back to C3a.
From C3a to C2a, exploring through a K162 before the other outbound wormhole, and I see a Prorator transport and probes on d-scan, along with nine towers. The towers not only make locating the Prorator difficult, but they all lack hangars. A quick adjustment to d-scan and, yep, this is a silo system, set up to process reactions, and there's a tower around every moon. I doubt the system sees much action. Then again, the Prorator's disappeared already.
One planet sits out of d-scan range of the wormhole. I take a chance and warp to its customs office, but there's no Prorator here. Or he's warped back, or in mid-warp and cloaked. Or not in the system. There are two more towers out here, though, one of which looks to be the mother tower, as it actually has hangars and holds four empty Gnosis battlecruisers. A blanket scan shows five ships, however, and the other ship isn't the Prorator. D-scan shows me instead a Legion strategic cruiser. I'm guessing the five anomalies and seven signatures are hiding a K162 from me.
Warping back to the wormhole to C3a, the only place I can expect to see non-local movement until I scan, sees the Legion. Briefly, anyway, as the ship cloaks. The Legion then decloaks, moves to the wormhole and jumps, returning within a couple of minutes, polarised. It's almost tempting to engage the ship, but I know he can cloak and it seems pointless revealing my presence to a ship that would simply avoid me. I settle for waiting to see if I can detect his leaving through another wormhole. I think I do, but only after a Malediction interceptor crosses the system.
I think I'm alone alone now. There doesn't seem to be anyone around. I call my probes in to the system and scan. Gas, wormhole, wormhole, wormhole. The first is a D382, an outbound link to another C2. I doubt this is the source of the ships. The second won't be the source but surely is the destination, the static exit to high-sec. The third could be, a C5 K162, or it could be the fourth, a C2 K162. Both are as likely. Before I decide where to look, I'll get the safety net of the high-sec exit.
Leaving C2a puts me in The Forge, seven hops to Jita. I'd say that makes this connection rather wanted. There are no familiar faces in the local channel at the moment, so I return to C2a and consider my options. I think I'll stick to the B274 for now, particularly as d-scan showed me an Imicus and probes in the high-sec system. Wait and loiter, loiter and wait. The wormhole crackles. Come to me, my little scanning frigate. But now, it's the Prorator, returned once more.
Pragmatism kicks in once more, and I stay hidden as the agile blockade runner cloaks within a second of appearing and, presumably, warps clear. I can't even tell which wormhole it's going to. So it's welcoming, in that case, to see a Bestower first on d-scan and now dropping on to the wormhole. This is a much easier ship to catch, and its vector gives me a clear indication that it has come from the C2 K162 in the system. Now I have much more information.
The hauler jumps to high-sec and I'm alone once more. I warp to the C2 K162 and, actually, don't quite jump yet. There are other ships around, scouting or just moving, and it doesn't seem prudent to fly face first in to any of them just yet. I would probably have better luck waiting in high-sec, timing my jump back to w-space so that I can lurk under the recalibration delay-free session-change cloak, and hope to get a cheap kill on a squishy ship.
I return to high-sec to put my plan in to action. Of course, I could be waiting a while, even if Jita is only seven hops away. I note the name of the Bestower pilot, align the local channel so that when it updates the pilot's name will be visibly highlighted in orange, and settle down for a wait. And keep waiting. And wait a bit longer. I can be quite patient, up to and beyond the point where it could be seen as reasonable. It's only a Bestower, after all.
Okay, I've waited for so long I'm now in to sunk-time territory, convincing myself that if I leave now the waiting will have been for nothing so I'd better stay. Thankfully, I know that's a dumb reason to stay, so it only takes another five minutes before abandoning the Bestower, and the evening, and returning to w-space with little to show for my time but some unexplored systems on my mental map of the constellation.
Well, that, and the scanning probes I see in the home system. I convince myself to watch for the owner, partly because I want to make sure he leaves, and partly because our system is so bare that it shouldn't take long. Longer than it should, as it turns out, but not waiting-for-a-non-returning-Bestower long. It's a Cheetah. He jumps. I jump. I try to target him, but the covert operation boat's already in warp. Well, there's my brief moment of excitement. Back home I go, to head off-line.