Finally, we and passing pillagers have succeeded in killing all the sites in the home system. A few anomalies remain but these are easily resolved and ignored in the first stage of scanning, leaving me with just one signature to find and resolve. This is so simple, I am jumping in to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system within a few scans and with the knowledge that no other wormholes connect in to our system. And, hullo, there are a bevy of ships to be seen in this C3. The Tempest battleship, Noctis salvager, Iteron hauler, Imicus frigate, Hulk exhumer, and Drake battlecruiser are a mixed bunch, and without any wrecks also visible on my directional scanner they are all probably sitting empty in a tower.
The tower is easy to find. This is my fourth visit to the C3, the last being but a month ago, and my notes list the tower's location. Sure enough, all the ships there are unpiloted, but the Drake is out and about and now I can see a couple of wrecks appearing somewhere in the system. A passive scan reveals three anomalies but the Drake isn't coincident with any of them, so maybe he's clearing a ladar or gravimetric site. I'll have to scan his position, at least at some point, I just need to decide whether to wait for the pilot to return to get a salvager or mining ship to be a softer target, or to go for the Drake directly. And as the wrecks start disappearing again, indicating the Drake is salvaging as it goes and is unlikely to be in a mining site, it looks like I'm scanning for the Drake's position.
I warp out of d-scan range and launch probes. I already got an approximate bearing and distance on the Drake from my position floating outside the tower, so I return there to continue refining my search, already knowing roughly which direction to look. I narrow down d-scan's beam and range until I am fairly confident I can position my probes, and arrange them in to a tight scanning pattern. I'm still not sure when to scan, as although the pilot's not going to return for a Noctis I don't know if he'll want to grab a hacking or analysing boat to recover the specialised Sleeper loot.
I don't think it really matters when I scan the Drake's position. I probably can't win an engagement by myself and no one else is around to help, and certainly not with Sleepers shooting me, and on top of that this C3 holds a pulsar phenomenon that will greatly enhance the Drake's passive shield tank. Probably the best I can do is spook him with my probes, sending him scuttling away without realising the full amount of profit available. So I send my probes in, hitting scan and waiting for the results. It's a good hit on the Drake, 100% on the first attempt, even if I only get a partial return on the magnetometric site itself. Sometimes it's better to scan a site when a ship's in it, particularly a site with a weak signature like this one.
I recall my probes and watch d-scan for the next few seconds, seeing how the pilot reacts. It seems like he saw my probes, bugging out of the site shortly after my scan. That's my excitement for the evening over. Or maybe not, as the Drake doesn't return to the tower. He may not be local, and as he warps back to the site it's possible he needed a break to recharge his shields against the Sleeper onslaught. As the Drake is back in the anomaly I warp in at range to take a look, bouncing out once to get a better spot to sit in watch. I interrogate the ship for information on the pilot, curious to see that she is in a state-owned corporation, so almost certainly isn't local to this C3. I'm getting antsy here.
The pilot isn't local, is probably a tourist from empire space, and perhaps is having trouble maintaining good shield integrity against the Sleepers. And if the Drake is configured to hack and analyse, possibly even scan and hack, then its shield tank will not be optimal. If it needs to warp away to recharge occasionally I may have a good chance of breaking its tank, even in a pulsar system, and as it's only recently returned from a short break to be shot by Sleepers again maybe I should strike soon. I can't bear the suspense any more! With one more Sleeper ship left in the wave I warp close to the Drake from my monitoring position and decloak, ready to fight.
I lock the Drake, disrupt its warp engines, and start firing my missile launchers. I am confident that the Drake probably doesn't have a point fitted itself, letting me engage on my own terms for now, which spurred-on my decision to attack. The Drake continues shooting the Sleeper, the Sleeper continues shooting the Drake, and the battlecruiser's shields, already at 50%, keep falling steadily. It looks like I'll have myself a decent kill, until the Drake launches its ECM drones. The drones start orbiting my ship and I keep shooting, but one of the drones works its mojo and my targeting systems drop the lock.
I'm not finished yet. I cycle my micro warp drive and burn towards the Drake, bumping it out of alignment, before moving away to do the same manoeuvre again. My web module also slowed the Drake down enough for it to have to accelerate hard to get up to warp speed, giving me more time to play with. And as one ECM drone's effect wears off the Drake is still here, giving me another chance to lock on and prevent its escape, but a second successful jam from the drones sees the Drake disappear. I have little else to do but warp back to my vantage point far from the action, still within the site, and watch the Sleeper cruiser pop the ECM drones and the Drake disappear from d-scan. It was a good effort, but no kill for me tonight.