It's time to break-in Ghost of the Bounty, my new Loki strategic cruiser. Of course, it's pretty much identical to my previous Loki, except for the obvious difference of not being a wreck, but I think that difference will give significant performance increases. Scanning the couple of new signatures in the home system gives me a soft start to the evening, a little light activity to get all the rust shaken off—well, not all of it, I want to have my ship intact—and resolving them to both be gas sites has my entering warp to our static wormhole.
Updating my directional scanner from the K162 in our neighbouring class 3 w-space system sees nothing interesting. Checking my notes shows that my previous visit was a mere ten days earlier, so the three towers present then are probably still here now. It is also the system where I missed catching a Probe frigate in a relic site, so perhaps the locals are active at about this time. I launch probes, perform a blanket scan of the system, and warp towards the towers.
My probes reveal twelve anomalies, twelve signatures, and three ships. The first tower is bare, the second holds a piloted Orca industrial command ship—as d-scan shows the other two ships are Retrievers, is that a hint of other ships mining? Quick quick, warp to the third tower. Also bare. That puts the pair of mining barges almost certainly in an ore site. I open the system map, point d-scan in a tight beam at the sites, and find the one where the Retrievers are.
Warping to the site sees the barges still there, still chomping away at rocks, hopefully oblivious to the new signature in the system and my entrance. But for how much longer? I warp in to get a closer look and prepare my ambush, and my first impression is that the two ships are too far apart to be encapsulated by an Onyx heavy interdictor's warp bubble. But, then, I feel I'm being uncomfortably rushed by the pointless threat of the stupid, stupid discovery scanner shouting out that I'm here.
Bagging one of the mining barges could be enough to sate my bloodlust, particularly when coming across such a sight is becoming so much rarer in w-space. I pick one of the Retrievers, approach, and decloak. I lock on to the barge, disrupt its warp drive, and start shooting. With any luck the two pilots are really absent whilst their holds fill with ore, but switching my attention to the second shows that they are not. The other Retriever is accelerating away from his rock. I could maybe try to stop him, but best to definitely catch one than let two escape. I keep my focus.
The first Retriever isn't going anywhere, and I'm tearing through his armour nicely. Pop goes the mining barge, and although I aim for the pod it's already gone. I go to loot the wreck of what I can carry, but just shoot it to destroy the scordite that I can't, seeing little point in trying to come back to claim it in a bigger ship. I reload my guns, cloak, and warp back to the tower to lurk.
I'm almost kicking myself now. Ambushing the one Retriever and looking at the other showed that they were both easily in range of the Onyx's bubble, which almost certainly could have popped both ships and podded both pilots before the sluggish barges could have manoeuvred away. But warping to the wormhole, jumping, warping to our tower, swapping ships, coming back, getting in to the site, and positioning myself would have taken time that I really don't think the stupid, stupid discovery scanner allows any more.
Yes, I got a kill, but I didn't get the hunt that I appreciate more. And what little satisfaction I got from the kill is negated by the double-guessing of what I should have done and what could have been, all caused not by circumstances of the environment but an artificial and arbitrary time limit. It's first blood for Ghost of the Bounty, but were the discovery scanner sensibly not active in w-space I could have taken home two more trophies.