Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Foolish Viator

I'm back on the hunt.  It's the weekend, a good time for interacting with people not in my time zone.

But so far, I have not found anyone.  Earlier I opened C4b then C2a off of C4b, finding a route to highsec.  But C2a also had a number of nullsec-style relic and data sites, and no incoming wormholes.  So I took some time to run the sites in my Buzzard, making 100m ISK in salvage.  I opened the highsec wormhole before leaving, if it was not already.  Come on in!

Now I am returning to hunt.  At least one of the sites will still be there, so I am hopeful of finding an explorer.  I am in my Manticore, fit up to hunt light ships: using rage rockets and a second warp scrambler instead of the torpedoes and target painter in my standard fit.

C2 is still empty.  Drat.  Well, there are two new sigs.  Probably wormholes, but maybe new sites.  Either way, I want to know.  I fire probes, recloak, then scan down the two.  Both are wormholes, one outgoing small one to C5, the other from C4. 

I try the C4 first.  It's small system, everything in dscan range from the wormhole.  One tower, no ships on scan.  That's unpromising.  I activate their two anoms, then duck back through the wormhole.

On to C5.  I enter the system and dscan, seeing nothing interesting.  But this is a large system.  I'll have to warp to two outer planets to see it all.  So I start doing that.  The first has a tower with ships.  I dscan it down: nobody home.  Just empty ships.  OK.  I warp into the inner system: nobody home here either.

There is one more planet to check.  I warp to the outer system.  Here I see two towers, with several ships, and a Viator on scan.  OK, now we are talking.  This has "guy doing PI" written all over it.  Or maybe another empty ship.  Only one way to be sure: get on grid with it.

I start looking for towers.  With my second dscan I am surprised: the Viator is not in a tower shield! 

Must find and kill!

I dscan the planet, expecting to see him there doing PI.  But he's not there.  OK... is he close?  Dscan at 1m klicks shows he is.  Maybe he is at a moon?  (But why?  No time for that.)  I feverishly dscan for the moon I assume the Viator is at... and it is at a moon.  OK, moon 5.  I warp in at 50km, cautiously.

I land on grid.  There's the Viator all right.  And there is an Amarr tower onlining, with ten minutes to go.  Also there are a small number of POS defenses already anchored.  Hmm.  I don't know why he is not cloaked, but there he is.  I bookmark the tower, then head for the local POCO as a convenient bouncing point.  I return to the scene 10km from the tower.  I hope I don't run into anything... and I don't.  OK.  The Viator is about 20km, so I start moving to him.  Just stay uncloaked, Mr. V.  Stay uncloaked.  He stays uncloaked.
Closing in cloaked.

I am not gaining on him much.  Is he moving?  Ah, yes he is moving towards one of the anchored laser batteries.  Evidently he wants to do something there...maybe put in a crystal?  Can you do that with offlined modules?  (No time to research that.)  He slows, and I close.

Now I am in scrambler range.  It is too late for him.  I uncloak, get the lock started, and get my modules on.  Locked, scrammed.  My rockets crash into him... och.  Not a lot of damage.  They'll kill him eventually, I think.  But not for a while.  I wish for my torp fit, but wishes are not horses.  Instead I turn to my dscan, trying to dial the range down enough to get warning of incoming.  I don't succeed; I'll just have to assume those ships at the tower are unmanned or asleep.

No ships come.  Instead, as I head into structure he ejects.  I try to lock the pod, but it escapes.  Oh well.  I cannot fly a Viator, and I am three hops away from home.  There is no hope of capturing it.  So, I kill it.  Then I scoop my loot, and get out.  Sisters probe launcher!

I return a few hours later, and the tower is offline again.  I guess I scotched his plan.

In retrospect, I am guessing his plan was to online the tower for a single hour while he scooped the few defenses around it, then offlined it and took it down.  And it would have worked fine, if he'd only cloaked or absented himself while the process was going on.  He learned the hard way what I thought everyone in wspace knows: never be uncloaked outside of a POS without good reason.

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