In part 2 we found that both of the systems the macros are using contain giant secure containers, which we suspect they might be using to store ammo and loot.
Cans are totally unprobeable, but a dscan ninja can get an idea of where they are, and sometimes that information can be used to actually locate them. Through judicious use of dscan I was able to determine that the cans were located at safe spots between two objects -- a belt and the nearest planet in both cases. In the first system the cans were about 5500 and 6500 km from the belt, a distance which could be covered in an interceptor, but in the second they were around 8 million kilometers off, again at different safe spots.
Here's how you find an unprobeable object between two other objects: Warp to one object and use dscan to see which direction the unprobeable object is in and how far it is. Warp to the other object and then back, making a bookmark closer to the object you are trying to find. Warp to the bookmark and repeat, making progressively closer bookmarks. Eventually you will end up on grid with the object you are trying to find.
Getting the bookmark in a useful position can be tricky, but as a rule of thumb when your ship is decelerating you can multiply the distance from the point you are warping to to the object you are trying to find by 6 and drop a bookmark when the "distance to warp bubble collapse" is about that number. In one case the can was 3500 km from the bookmark I was warping to, and dropping a bookmark when "distance to warp bubble collapse" was 18,000 put it on grid with the can.
With the 5500 km cans it took me 4 bookmarks before I ended up on the same grid as the first can. With the 8 million kilometer cans it took 14 for the first and 10 for the second, plus several that I deleted due to bad positioning.
Showing info on the cans I discovered that they were owned by a month-old character in an NPC corp, 'Enterprisse'. It's improbable that anybody would anchor GSC in deep 0.0, much less just happen to pick the two systems inhabited by macros run by the same person, so we can be confident that they are connected. The timer on the cans was 29 days when I found them, meaning that they are being used by somebody else. My suspicion is that Enterprisse is an RMT fence, since there are few other reasons to use such a new character.
Whatever the case, when the macros logged off for a while one day I picked up a bomber and killed the cans. They have 500,000 hit points and took about 15 minutes each to kill.
Having done all we can on our end, the ball is now in the bots' controller's court. The psychology at this stage is interesting -- since the bots' controller is motivated by money I seem to have the advantage, as there is no point keeping them here if they're not making isk; on the other hand, I have seen people do plexes in the same systems as me and the bots so I know for a fact that they are not a threat while I'm doing exploration. It's a lose-lose scenario -- we have no no conflict of interest, but both parties are losing isk because I decided to be here.
I am getting some small return though, in the form of luls and a few blog posts. Taking it out on the botter is also some small consolation for CCP ignoring my petitions, though I'm not sure I care at this point.
Tomorrow, part 4: Victory, defeat and apathy.