I'm back again. I dunno why. Unfounded optimism, maybe, or just a creature of habit. Either way, I only feel like a quick session, which definitely makes my appearance feel habitual, although I have other activities I can be doing. Let's get on. Two new signatures in the home system are gas and, oh, just the one new signature. I know about the other gas site already, leaving the static wormhole that you'd think I'd be used to seeing by now.
Jumping to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system and updating my directional scanner sees two towers and Thanatos carrier somewhere in space, almost certainly together. As is usual, I warp away from the occupation, launch probes, and perform a blanket scan of the system. Four anomalies, four signatures, just that one ship. This will be quick. My notes from ten months ago point me to the towers, saving me a bit of time.
Scanning resolves two wormholes and a data site. The static exit leads to low-sec Lonetrek, but is at the end of its life and not terribly useful, making the K162 from class 3 w-space my next jump. C3b has a tower, Helios covert operations boat, and Gnosis battlecruiser in the system, but no wrecks to suggest that the Gnosis is active. A visit from eleven months ago notes a static exit to null-sec, but I suppose a wormhole is a wormhole, and there may be more K162s to uncover.
I warp to a distant, bare planet, launch probes, and blanket the system, revealing fourteen anomalies, eight signatures, and the two known ships. Back to the inner system to locate the tower, where I find the Helios piloted, the Gnosis not. The cov-ops is quite idle, though, so I call my probes in to scan. Gas, data, chubby wormhole, static wormhole. I disregard the K346 in favour of the K162 from class 4 w-space, which gives a good first impression, d-scan showing me a tower, Procurer mining barge, and Bestower hauler.
Hold on, a Procurer? That must be bait. Even if it's unpiloted and sat inside a tower's force field I doubt I can trust it. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I move from the wormhole and cloak, and point d-scan to locate the tower, the one in range of two I found in this system about two weeks ago. There it is, with the Bestower coincident—but not the Procurer. The mining barge, after a little more searching, is actually in an ore site. Damn.
Okay, don't panic. Check the other tower first, look for other ships and pilots. Yep, it's still here, and it has nine ships inside the force field. Only three of the nine are piloted, but those include a Tengu strategic cruiser and Typhoon battleship, so there is the distinct possibility of help coming to the Procurer's aid, if it doesn't already have a colleague or five floating cloaked next to his barge.
I warp in to the ore site anyway, just to take a look at the situation. The Procurer is at least chomping on a rock, arkonor at that, but is quite clearly running active defensive modules, the blue shimmer on its hull unmistakable. It may not actually be bait, but it also won't be quick or easy to kill. Let me take a look at that Bestower. With any luck, he'll be used occasionally to collect ore.
Landing outside the first tower finds the hauler piloted—and moving. Maybe he really is about to collect some ore, the Bestower being a much squishier target than the Procurer. Nope, the hauler warps to a planet. Or, I suppose, the customs office around that planet. Who uses a standard hauler for planet goo these days? Hopefully this pilot, as I give chase. Well, I sluggishly follow behind many seconds later, not having been able to trace the ship's alignment.
The Bestower isn't by the planet's customs office, but he remains on d-scan, at least for a few more seconds. Maybe he got here, collected his goo, and turned around before I could arrive. Maybe I am reduced to little more than a spectator in w-space, which is appropriate when returning to the tower to watch the Bestower once more. Or I could go to the rock field and watch the Procurer.
Perhaps I could just wake up the Procurer with a few autocannon rounds, and any of his nearby colleagues, but even that sounds a bit risky. More so when a pod appears on d-scan, followed by a Proteus strategic cruiser, neither of which are at the tower in range. At least they stop me from revealing myself and maybe getting killed. The pod and Proteus are a curious sight, though, until I realise that they are probably coming slowly through a warp bubble anchored around a wormhole. That would make sense.
The Procurer warps away, but I don't think it's a reaction to the pod and Proteus. When the Proteus drops off d-scan I warp to the second tower and see him there, so the pilot is local. Indeed, returning to the ore site sees the Procurer also returned. He was just dumping ore. Well, at least he's doing something, but even if he isn't bait he will take too long to kill in an active system to risk my Loki strategic cruiser over. I'm going home, but it's good to see other capsuleers being productive.