Decloaked outside an active tower, jammed, and being plinked by a gun. It's not a great situation to be in, particularly where there are two piloted ships inside the force field of the tower, but at least my warp engines aren't disrupted. Not yet, anyway. I have to get clear before that happens, so spin my view around, pick an arbitrary moon, and align for warp. Thankfully, my warp engines engage, and I get clear of the moderately angry tower and entirely disinterested pilots.
I make sure I re-activate my cloak in warp, dropped because of finger trouble, and it's good that I do. The arbitrary moon I warped to is the one I left a minute ago. I land outside another active tower, inside one of the warp bubbles scattered around. I'm not having the best of evenings, really. At least my cloak holds and the bubble does little but delay me a little. For a second time in as many minutes, I manoeuvre out of the bubble and warp to the tower with the piloted ships, making sure I don't touch the cloak button this time.
I'm tempted to call it a night, but I suppose I ought to scan before going home. The locals aren't likely to do anything after my appearance, if they were paying attention, but as we've had this neighbouring class 3 w-space system two days in a row I may as well update the bookmarks of the sites here, in case lightning strikes thrice. It won't take long, with most of the gas already noted from yesterday, and I bookmark another gas site and three new wormholes.
As I resolve the last signature the Kryos hauler is swapped for an Epithal hauler. Well, that's interesting. It's quite possible the pilot and his buddy were paying zero attention fifteen minutes ago when my Proteus strategic cruiser appeared for their amusement, and even though there are wormholes a-plenty in the system the capsuleer may still think his Epithal is safe in collecting planet goo. He's got a point.
I'm not going to give up on the gooer without even trying, though. The 'look at' function has been fixed, so a ship can be watched as it aligns, and although I am not in my modified Loki strategic cruiser and its obscene amount of warp disruption, I have a plan for how to make my Proteus work for me. I've only been pondering it since the ship swap a couple of minutes ago, but it's good to be prepared, particularly when the Epithal starts accelerating.
I see in which direction the Epithal is headed and start accelerating my Proteus towards the same customs office. As soon as the Epithal warps, I initiate the warp command. Let's see if my plan works. The first step is not to drop short. I have tended to warp to the customs office at ten kilometres, so that I can hold my cloak. This lets me ensure my target has come the way I think and give me a moment to assess the situation. It can also leave me out of warp disruption range, though, and, in this case, the Proteus's blasters demand closer range. Today, I aim to land on top of the customs office and the Epithal.
I drop out of warp snuggling the customs office. The Epithal is here, of course. Where else would it be? Now to get the rest of the plan working. The Epithal is already reacting, turning to warp back to his tower. Having been decloaked by proximity, I target the Epithal and get a positive lock with little delay, and attempt to disrupt his warp engines. Of course, this isn't going to work against a poorly designed ship, but I've got to try. I also throw my web on the Epithal. Not the best idea generally, because if he's already accelerating this can slingshot the ship in to warp. But I cut the web after the first cycle. His top speed is diminished then re-established, hopefully extending his time-to-warp.
Even as I adversely manipulate the Epithal's speed, my blasters are raking through the hauler's shields, as are my drones, launched as soon as I was able to, all in an effort to get maximum damage inflicted on the Epithal in the shortest time. It works. All of it. I drop on top of the ship, slow it from warping away, and throw enough damage its way to destroy the silly hauler.
I aim for the pod too, but an alert pilot can easily evade a slow-locking Proteus. I loot and shoot the wreck, reload my guns, and warp clear, thankfully not seeing the Taranis interceptor coming from the tower to help his chum. The victim, now safely back in the force field, says that I missed out on, I dunno, something. A more expensive kill, I suppose. That's true, and it would have been more fulfilling to pop something worth more than a couple of million ISK, but I see that as an inherent issue with the hauler redesign. It really shouldn't take so much planning and effort to pop such a basic ship, frankly.
I'll take the moral victory here. I caught and destroyed an Epithal fit with three warp core stabilisers, after having been uncloaked outside the tower some twenty minutes earlier. That satisfies me for the night. I almost don't bother checking the wormholes I resolved, but I think twice and decide to do so after all. I may as well open more connections in to this system, if only out of spite. I warp around to a K162 from null-sec, the static exit to low-sec, and an outbound link to class 1 w-space. That's worth a look, but the occupied system is inactive and the hour draws on. It's time to go home.