Back to C3b, across to C3a, and in to the home system. Through the w-space constellation, all the time feeling a pull back to the class 4 system and the Procurer chomping away on an arkonor rock. I'm concerned about the state of w-space activity, and I'm leaving an active ship behind me not only unmolested but unthreatened. I can't leave it that way.
The mining barge is not an easy target, though, that's the problem. I certainly wouldn't be able to chew through its defences in my cloaky Loki strategic cruiser particularly quickly, definitely not before help could arrive, help that I know is potentially available in the same system. That's assuming there isn't already some cloaked escort, if the Procurer even needs it to survive.
I need more firepower, and cheaper firepower. I consider what options we have available. A stealth bomber would do. I could lob a bomb at the Procurer to make a big dent in its armour to start with, then hit it with torpedoes. Sure, if the Procurer has warp core stabilisers fitted it will escape, but this is more about making the best of the opportunity, not ensuring a kill from what is probably a prepared pilot.
Okay, I swap boats and head back the way I came, warping point-to-point in my Manticore. I get back to C4a and warp to the perch I made in the ore site. The Procurer is still there, still chipping chunks of ore off a rock. The situation looks much the same as I left it. I warp in to take a closer look, aiming to get roughly in to bomb launch range.
Damn, it's not a great approach. It can be difficult to gauge from a couple of hundred kilometres away, but a bloody great rock somehow gets in the way and decloaks my Manticore as I drop out of warp, still almost fifty kilometres from my target. There's nothing for it now but to give it my best shot. I get a positive lock on the Procurer, activate my torpedo launchers, and burn towards the barge.
I'm closing the range to the Procurer quickly, the micro warp drive pushing my Manticore hard. I consider launching a bomb now that I am in range, but I know that I will have to slow down or get caught in the blast. I cut the micro warp drive and start slowing down, watching my speed and range, but being a little premature. I'm still not close enough to disrupt the Procurer's warp drives. That's got to be some minor cause of why he warps clear.
The first volley of torpedoes didn't even hit their mark. The Procurer pilot was awake and alert, which isn't the least bit surprising, given his situation. Then again, he probably had warp core stabilisers fitted. Besides, I only really came back so that I wouldn't regret not knowing the outcome, and at least I didn't lose my own ship to a baited ambush.