Continuity is something that Elite missions often lack, and this thought experiment aims to discuss what could be done with existing mechanics to help that lack of continuity.
When you open up a locker in Odyssey there's a kind of sensible mixture of stuff. You're more likely to find chemical materials in labs, for instance.
However, where do all of these individual items come from? Surely they're not delivered one at a time.
This means CRATES of them…and MANIFESTS that contain the shipping information of those crates.
What if FDev used the grossly-underutilized follow-on mission system to award us with the location of these stockpiles?
For example, you activate the reactor at an abandoned site and download some data from a terminal. One of the data pulls is a "Encrypted Shipping Manifest" which flags you for a follow-on mission from the local criminal faction.
When you get back in your ship, the criminal faction lets you know that the shipping manifest you pulled has some items of interest on it for them, and that it also happens to be alongside a shipment of Tungsten Carbide. If you agree to the mission, they'll tell you where to go to pick up the Tungsten Carbide…provided you bring them what they want, first.
So you decide to be naughty and steal for these criminals in exchange for the location of a stack of Tungsten Carbide…which you also go steal.
You could easily flip this over to a non-criminal mission as well, where you need to intercept a shipment of weapons being stored at an criminal faction's base, and in exchange the lawful faction will give you the location and access to a stockpile of RDX.