I check out a C4, where nobody is home. Then Jayne comes on. He's around this afternoon. We get on Skype. Should we zip up our system and run our anoms? We have six of them, two weeks worth. Well... C5a has an Instrumental Core Reservoir. I propose going after it, but we'd have to pop some holes or run with the system wide open. Or we could just ninja for gas. But if we are ninjaing, I'd like to get another guy on. The discussion peters out. I want to keep hunting, and not do PVE. So, Jayne logs off. I'll text him if anything interesting happens.
I head into C3a next. It's a C3 system adjacent to C5a. On entering I see the normal tower, with no ships. There are lots of anoms, something like 30. Obviously the locals don't run them, or not very often. I launch probes, then throw them out of the system. The wormhole is in the inner system. There are two more planets to check: a second-to-outer planet about 20 AU off in one direction, and an outer planet way out in the other. I head off towards the first. Nothing. OK, over to the outermost planet.
Landing near a moon, I am happy to see sleeper wrecks on scan, as well as a Loki and a Tengu. Obviously they are running a site near here. Exciting! I turn on display of anoms, and point my dscan at each one with a 15 degree arc. Nothing. Am I sure? I try again: nothing. OK, they must be out in a signature site, which would be a data or relic site. This is smart on their part, making them considerably harder to gank.
I am up for the hunt, though. My probes are out of the system, but already launched. I can use them for the patented Penny hunting method. First I determine the range -- 3.5 AU. Not good. Data/relic sites are very weak sigs. Even with a five-degree arc, out that far it is very hard to hit one in one try. It will probably require two scans. We'll see how alert they are.
I fiddle and fiddle. Getting a place out in space down to a 15 degree arc is easy. Getting it down to 5 degrees is hard. But eventually I get the right bearing. Moving the probes just right is fussy, but I get that done too.
I set the scan for 0.5 AU. I align my Manticore in the general direction. Then I scan. I get two dots. But that is pretty good. The further dot is always the right one, and so I move the probes as quickly as I can and scan again. 100%. I throw my probes back out of the system, and warp to it at 100km.
When I land on grid, the Tengu is gone. The Loki is still there. Maybe I can... nope. It warps off towards the inner system. Both ships are gone. Well, rats. Evidently they were alert on dscan.
The Loki seemed to go up and left of the sun. What's there? I look at my system map. Well... the wormhole I came in, from C5! Ooh. I warp to it at 100km. I am hoping to see the Loki leave, but when I get into the inner system, it is not on grid and it is not on dscan. Dammit.
But all hope is not gone. There is a beautiful wreck field in this system. I hope the enemy will want it enough to come back, perhaps in a destroyer. I can gank a destroyer. (A Noctis would be too good to be true.)
So I sit. I stay at the wormhole, because I want to see where they are coming from. I think it is this, but it may be some other wormhole. So I sit and dscan intermittently, while twiddling prices on the other screen.
After a few minutes, there's a Buzzard on scan. Coincidence? Maybe. And then a Loki, with the same name as before. Not a coincidence. I warp back out to the site, again at 100km. They are in it. One of them deploys a mobile tractor unit. I bookmark it, of course. Perfect place to warp to. Then the Buzzard goes to start cracking cans. Aha!
I text Jayne: site runner in Loki. Then I watch for a bit hoping that Jayne is free. I'll move back and start making a perch.
There is time. There are a lot of wrecks spread out all over the place, and tractor units are slow. They will take time to collect. (It's better to deploy a tractor when you first enter the site, not after.) I can't count on Jayne coming though. So I start to consider how I might gank them by myself. I don't have anything foolproof. We have PVP Ravens that can NOS, which could probably kill the Loki. But it could probably warp before being locked. (Certainly the Buzzard could.) Also depending on its fit it might be able to escape one before dying. We need an Onyx. I doubt my Onyx could kill it, but I figure it might be worth the try. At least I might be able to kill the tractor unit.
I log Otto on in order to keep eyes on them. I bring him down the pipe, then into the perch. Once Otto is in warp to the site, I warp Von out and back up the pipe to get into my Onyx. He does this. By this time perhaps half the wrecks are collected. The Loki is sitting near them, but evidently it is not salvaging because no wrecks are vanishing. Perhaps I can get a salvager later?
Jayne logs on. This changes things. Now we can surely kill a Loki. We get on coms. He gets into two of our PVP Ravens. These are DPS, as well as neuting. I am tackle: I put a warp scrambler on the Onyx to prevent the Loki from microwarping out of my bubble. Then we fleet and move out. Back down the chain.
While we do this, the Buzzard has finished the cans. It moves over to the tractor unit, although I cannot figure out why. Shouldn't it leave and get a salvager? No matter. It's the Loki we are gunning for.
After we transit into C3a, we warp to the tractor unit bookmark separately, so that my Onyx will arrive just ahead of the battleships. Then we wait as we cross the 30AU or so. Will they bug out? No. I land on grid and raise my warp bubble. I start locking the Loki. I don't even bother with the Buzzard; I plan to scramble the Loki and the Buzzard surely has a microwarp. It will escape, and that's OK.
My lock completes. The Loki is nailed! I move to orbit it. It deploys Warrior IIs and sets them on me. Jayne lands next to me with both Ravens. As expected, the Buzzard zooms out of my bubble and warps off.
The enemy starts to pull away from me. It's fast. But one of Jayne's Ravens has a web. He locks, and turns on all systems. Now I catch the Loki. It's doomed.
With full DPS on it, and tapped out of capacitor by the Ravens, the Loki cannot stand our damage. It blows up. The pod is trapped by my bubble. I lock it up and ask Jayne if he wants to whore, but he doesn't care. So, boom. A costly Pod express.
Jayne gasps at the loot he collects from the Loki wreck. That thing was blingy! (1.4 billion ISK. We got about 700m.) Now we evacuate the system and hightail it back home. The pod was pretty nice too.
I head back in a Coercer to salvage. I figure I might get killed, but probably not. And unlike the Loki, if I do get killed I will be out a few million ISK for the ship and maybe another 100m pod. (Nobody ganks me.)
Lessons learned: if you see probes when ratting in your expensive T3, GTFO and don't come back. If you must come back, come back in something expendable.
It does occur to me as I write this that perhaps the ratter did not see my probes, and just happened to leave coincidentally because he had killed the last sleeper. It's possible. In this case, the lesson learned is watch that dscan. It is hard to do that consistently; I don't. Which is why I don't solo rat unless zipped up.