I just want to check through a K162 before potentially plunging down a long chain of w-space systems, particularly when the discovery scanner will be a mere half-step behind with each jump. I exit the class 6 system to return to our neighbouring class 3 w-space, and warp across to the K162 to jump to C5a.
Updating d-scan on the other side of the wormhole sees a Mackinaw exhumer, Anathema covert operations boat, and four towers. There's little else to see, and it appears that this C5 is the dead-end system I considered to be a possibility, with the sole signature in the system being the wormhole I'm sitting on.
There are also three anomalies in C5a, which I'm already pinging with d-scan on a five-degree beam, before I've even checked to see which, if any, are ore sites. This one probably is, as the Mackinaw looks to be in it by himself. That's what I was looking for. Now to see if the ship is bait.
Not bothering to explore the system, mostly because the only ship I can see is the cov-ops and any that I can't see I won't find by looking that bit harder, I warp in to the ore site at range to see the Mackinaw in the site. I also slam my Proteus strategic cruiser directly in to a rather large rock when exiting warp, forcing my cloak to drop when I'm still 260 km from my potential target.
Thankfully, my Proteus hits the rock so hard that I am thrown back twenty kilometres, allowing me to cloak as soon as the re-activation delay allows. I doubt it will be quick enough, however, as I would have blipped on to the Mackinaw pilot's overview for several seconds. He wouldn't even have needed to update d-scan.
Even with my impromptu appearance far out of ambush range, the exhumer remains in the site, and I can see his chomping on a rock that I can warp to. I do so, dropping short to give me time to assess the situation and manoeuvre as necessary. The Mackinaw is pointing potentially out of the site but motionless, and its mining lasers are still chipping away at the rock. Ah, what the hell. I approach, decloak, and engage the miner.
The exhumer doesn't have much in the way of defences. I blast through the Mackinaw's shields, and no one decloaks to give me a shock. I blast through the Mackinaw's armour, and the Anathema on d-scan is swapped for an Impairor frigate. Even if he's awake, that ship change doesn't seem much like a threat, and I keep shooting. I blast through the Mackinaw's hull, and it explodes.
I aim for and catch the pod, making me think the pilot's asleep, and make this clone's slumber somewhat more permanent. I scoop the corpse, and loot and shoot the wreck, taking the modules and destroying the mined ore. Now to scoot, back the way I came. It's not like I have another direction to go, and there's nothing left in the system with me either. The Impairor is gone.
As I lurk on the wormhole back to C3a I get a conversation request. It's the miner. He says I 'did quite well', and I'm not sure if I should take that as some kind of praise or the start of another round of abuse. It turns out that he thought I had been hiding in his system for a week, as his corporation regularly keeps everything neat and tidy, which I can see from the lack of signatures. Nope, I tell him, his static wormhole is open.
I ask if if he saw my Proteus, he says he panicked. Yep, I know the feeling. Even so, it looks to be an expensive moment of panic for him. The Mackinaw is listed as a 210 Miskie loss, with the pod adding 160 Miskies on top of that. And on top of that, if the podded miner thought his static wormhole was inactive, does that mean he doesn't have a route home? Apparently not. Not being awfully mean, I let him know the system in The Black Rise the neighbouring C3 exits to, before taking my Proteus out of his system and back home. I think I can ignore that other arm of the constellation after all.