Friday, February 14, 2014

Tempted by a Procurer

It's late night and I am roaming wspace in my Manticore.  There's an Anathema in C4b; I see him at the local tower.  I warp over expecting him to be in the force field, but he is outside.  What is this?  Why does he not cloak?

I look closer and compare him to the local corp: he is not local.  What's he doing?  He is jetting away from the tower.  Strange.  I cannot see shooting, but maybe the tower has him locked and scrambled?  I dunno.  He zooms off at microwarp speed, so there is no hope of my catching him from here.  And he's going in the direction of no celestial or anything else I can warp to, so there is no hope of bouncing to get in front.  Oh well.

He goes off-grid, and I continue to see him for a while.  Then he launches probes.  Hmm.  I am thinking about maybe getting a ship with combat probes.  Then, finally, he disappears.  OK, no combat probes.  I'll just hang out to see what he does.  Maybe I can ambush him coming back through a wormhole polarized.  I've got the system scouted since earlier today, with all sigs bookmarked.  Also I have all adjacent systems.  But there are three wormholes incident: a C3, my home C4, and a C5. Which is he from?  Not mine, but could be either of the other two.  I guess C3a since I have recently been in C5a and it was inactive.  So, I go to sit at the C5 wormhole.

I watch dscan, and his probes are out for some time.  Eventually, they vanish.  So I perk up.  Either he left the system and I missed it, or he yanked probes by hand and will probably explore a wormhole soon.  I watch.  Nothing.

I decide to move to my own home's static wormhole.  I fly over at 16, and watch.  Right after I show up, voila.  There's the Anathema on the wormhole, and he goes in.  I wait for him to be gone, then burn over to the wormhole to orbit at 500m.  If he comes back in the next five minutes, he will be polarized and I will have a meager shot at him.  I get my sebo on.  Now I wait.

My system is clean as a whistle.  Two combat anoms, one sig (my wormhole).  So the scout will be out either immediately, if he dares to be polarized, or he will wait five minutes with nothing to do.

The minutes pass, each one being 10 or more dscans.  I am watching it carefully in case anything drops on me.  I can either head through the wormhole, or try to warp off, depending on how much warning I have.  But nothing comes.  And then, the five minutes is up.  I could try to catch him anyway, but the odds are low and I burn off the wormhole to watch.  Sure enough, after about a minute, there he is.  He warps off cloaked.

I pursue to the C5, but he did not go there.  I see him briefly on dscan, suggesting he left the system.  I conclude he went to the C3.  I follow.

I don't see him in C3a, but I do notice that there are now three sigs.  There were two when I was here earlier.  This suggests a new wormhole, which would explain the scout.  I warp to an outer planet, launch probes, then move in to scan.  Scanning a single wormhole takes very little time, and soon I am sitting at a blue wormhole to wspace.  That means C2.  I bookmark it, and head in.

In the new system, C2a, I see lots of ships.  A Retriever and Procurer get my hopes up.  There's a tower, though, so they are probably there.  I move off of the wormhole, cloak, and bookmark it.  Now I am ready to look for the ships and tower.

There are two ore anoms in C2a.  I point the scanner at one, then the other.  OK, the Procurer is at the second one.  Procurer.  Tanky and cheap.  I smell a trap.  I've bitten on a similar one before, and gotten killed.  Still, I warp over to the site to have a look.

Yes, it's a Procurer and it is sitting still mining.  It has a jetcan out, conveniently.  I bookmark it.  Perfect warp-in.  Am I man enough to go for it?  Um... not just yet.  Let me find out about those other ships.  Perhaps they are all just sitting unoccupied.

Using dscan, I identify the planet where the tower is, then warp over to dscan the moons.  I find the one with the tower and warp to it.  The tower does hold all the ships, but unfortunately many of them are manned: an Orca, the Retriever I saw, and (worryingly) a Hurricane.

Now I do some figuring.  A Procurer should have a tank of about 50000 EHP.  I do about 500 DPS.  Math: 100 seconds.  That's plenty long for help to arrive.  But at least I would see help coming, assuming it is the Hurricane.  The real danger is that the Procurer is bait for cloakies in the site.

I consider that, then I think that if it is bait, having a bunch of people (including a warship) in a nearby POS is a remarkably stupid idea.  I guess they are just ignorant.  So, I think I will take a shot at it.  First, though, I set my dscan to just lower range than the distance to the Procurer.  That way, when I warp over there, I will not see all the ships at the tower.  So I can use dscan to warn of incoming.
The pod flees.

I warp to the jetcan at 10km, and the guy's still there.  I set an orbit for 5000m, and get my dscan pinged.  Now I uncloak and start shooting.  My first volley hits him and takes about a sixth of his shield.  That's about what I expect.  I am almost expecting someone to uncloak, but nobody does.  Ha!

Now I watch dscan as I grind him down.  Nothing coming.  He is down to low shields.  Nothing coming.  Then I am into armor.  Still nothing.

He ejects.  This surprises me a bit; I had turned off my sebo to save juice.  Woops.  I try to lock anyway, but off he goes.  I think for a second about trying to claim the Procurer, but it is of almost no value and there is that Hurricane to consider.  And two systems home.  Forget it.

I'll finish the job.  I open back up on the abandoned ship.  The armor and structure are quickly destroyed.  Boom.  I scoop almost nothing -- just a handful of cheap parts.  Then I GTFO.  I consider popping the wreck and the jetcans (he was mining Crokite), but I am not that cruel tonight.  It's been a good day for me.  I leave the cans and wreck for the miners to recover. 

I warp over to the POS to watch them, thinking maybe I can be cruel if they don't escort their retrieval party... but then I realize what time it is.  OK, guys, I can't linger.  Until next time -- don't mine with your system unzipped!

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