The oblivious Hulk

10th March 2010 – 5.34 pm

The evening starts quietly in w-space, I need to make my own entertainment. I could continue to mine the bistot that I began to chip away at in a local gravimetric site, but I'm not really in the mood to mine by myself. There are bookmarks in the shared can, so I don't need to scan, but the exit to high-sec is inconveniently located for any of my reasons to visit New Eden. As I wake up in my Manticore stealth bomber, and there are a few wormholes mapped out between systems, I think I'll go looking for something to bomb. The odds are slim of finding any activity, and even if I do I am unlikely to be able or want to engage it by myself. I can never be sure without looking, though, and I like my adventures.

I warp cloaked to the wormhole exit to our system and jump, finding myself alone in the neighbouring system. Some sites have been bookmarked along with the wormholes, which gets me a little excited about finding an unsuspecting miner, but it seems the only sites that have been resolved are in this unoccupied system, no doubt for potential corporation use. There are no ships on d-scan within range of the mining sites, so I warp to the outwards wormhole to continue my optimistic roam. The next system along is occupied. Not only is it occupied, but there is a Hulk showing on directional scanner, along with mining drones, a couple of jet-cans and a hauler. I've got a target! Unfortunately, what I don't have is information about where the miner is.

Being by myself, I rush back to the tower and swap in to my Buzzard. I need to scan to find the site the Hulk is mining in. Despite finding an active miner I am far from confident that he'll remain mining for long, particularly as I am far from a good scanner. I take care to warp out of range of his directional scanner when I decloak and drop my scanner probes, but as soon as the probes are positioned and I start scanning they will appear on the d-scan, surely spooking the miner in to halting his operation. If I were a more accomplished scanner and had a wingman I may be able to get the drop on an inattentive capsuleer, but anyone mining out in w-space in a Hulk must surely be keeping an eye on d-scan. Never the less, I start scanning, hoping to get lucky.

I am not going to be lucky. There are two dozen signatures in the system, finding the gravimetric site will not happen quickly. But until the Hulk warps out, I have time. I resolve a few ladar sites first, but because the target is a Hulk he will not be mining gas, I am looking for a gravimetric site. And I get one! I resolve the signature to 100% accuracy, allowing me to bookmark and warp to the site. I must surely be too late by now, it has taken me a good ten minutes to resolve the gravimetric site, and I don't yet know if it's the right one. I warp to the site to see if there are any signs of the Hulk.

Oh my goodness. Despite minutes of my scanner probes appearing on d-scan, the Hulk is sitting next to a bistot rock and is shooting away. I create a bookmark of the rock he's mining, which essentially pin-points his position and allows me to drop in on him at any range, and speed home to the tower to swap back in to my Manticore. If he doesn't run when probes appear, or even when they disappear, it is looking good that he'll be here for a few more minutes. During this time, some of the engineers have appeared and are looking to shoot Sleepers. 'Let's kill a Hulk', I say, and grab my Onyx heavy interdictor instead of the stealth bomber. It takes a little longer to assemble than simply swapping to my Manticore, but I soon have a fleet with a Zealot heavy assault cruiser, Rook reconnaisance ship, Drake battlecruiser, and Hurricane battlecruiser to fly out with my Onyx. A further engineer is out in the target's system in a covert operations boat, monitoring ship movements. It is looking to be a bad day indeed for the unsuspecting Hulk pilot.

We fly out. The operation should be simple enough. I am given command of the wing, as I have the bookmarked location of the target, but I will warp in alone initially. My Onyx can activate its warp bubble to prevent the Hulk from escaping, and once I am in the site the rest of the fleet can warp to my location at their optimal ranges, rather than us all dropping on top of the Hulk. We are on the other side of the wormhole, ready to jump. Everyone knows to hold their cloak after jump for as long as possible. The Hulk pilot seems oblivious, but maybe if he sees our small but threatening fleet he'll bug out. But seconds before we make the jump in to the system our cov-ops pilot tells us that the Hulk and hauler have both returned to their tower!

We jump in anyway and I warp the wing out to the farthest planet, out of d-scan range of the gravimetric site, hoping the Hulk heads back to continue mining. But he doesn't. It looks like we were a minute late in making his day bad. He definitely didn't spot the fleet on his scanner, as we weren't visible before he had returned to his tower, so there was no operational error on our part. I wait a couple of minutes, but there is no activity reported from the local tower. I warp the wing back to the wormhole and we jump back, returning to our tower where we change for our more familiar PvE ships and reconfigure the fleet for Sleeper combat. It may have been a notionally benign target, but I am impressed with how efficiently the engineer fleet scrambles. I am also amazed at the miner being apparently so unaware of danger whilst in a Tech II exhumer in w-space. I make a note of this system just in case I encounter it again. The evening is then spent clearing five anomalies of Sleeper activity without problems, for some good profitable action.

  1. 5 Responses to “The oblivious Hulk”

  2. Sounds suspiciously like a failed gank of our own... I spotted a hulk, orca, retriever and covetor, scanned them, got a fleet ready, we were holding on the other side arguing about who was in the SB when they all warped back to pos, despite none of us bring in system except a covops.

    By miningzen on Mar 10, 2010

  3. How come you were scanning for the grav site and not the Hulk itself? Did you only have a Core probe launcher fitted rather than Combat? Or was it quicker scanning by site than by ship or drone?

    By Btek on Mar 11, 2010

  4. Pure inexperience, Btek. Thinking about it now, it would have made more sense for me to look for a single ship than sift through sites, but I am still very much learning out in w-space.

    Thanks for offering suggestions, I'll find time to practice with the different modules and probes.

    By pjharvey on Mar 11, 2010

  5. Scanner probes might also be less likely to scare the intended target away; combat probes give the game away for sure, assuming anyone is actually looking.

    By Tristan Seligmann on Mar 29, 2010

  6. Right you are, Tristan. A few days after this Hulk I even suggest a colleague uses scanner probes to find ships in a gravimetric site instead of combats specifically to prevent too much suspicion. It potentially takes an extra step, to warp in to the site and get a better bookmark than the deadspace marker, though.

    By pjharvey on Mar 29, 2010

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.