Return of the Hulk

11th March 2010 – 5.52 pm

I have the red mist. Blowing up Sleepers for fun and profit is good, but we were so close to popping an inattentive miner that I have to go back for a second look. It is late and the fleet has dispersed but I want to see if the Hulk pilot has gone back to his rock. I have kept the bookmark to the bistot he was mining, so jump in to my Manticore and make the couple of hops back to his system. A quick check of the directional scanner shows a Hulk and mining drones are out, and as the miner was apparently oblivious to scanning probes and a small fleet of ships earlier I imagine he's gone back to the same rock. Cloaked, I warp to range on the bistot asteroid, and there he is.

I am actually pretty nervous, even after having tried to shake being really tense as I approached warp. I am facing a single exhumer with no weapons and which only had a hauler for company earlier, but when making other capsuleers targets there is no knowing what could happen. I suppose I'm not nervous about losing my ship, more about not making mistakes. I am also potentially about to make someone's day quite a bit worse. I stalk closer to the target, sub-warp engines at maximum cloaked speed bringing me in to the 30 km range of my bombs. One last check of d-scan shows no new activity. Decloak and launch!

Before the bomb even hits I am punching my systems in to action, locking the Hulk in preparation of loosing volleys of torpedoes its way. The bomb's explosion is grand, causing a suitably impressive alpha strike against the target as my torpedoes launch. His mining lasers are still active, but it looks like he is turning. I keep pounding him with torpedoes, hitting his armour behind the burnt-away shields, but a few more seconds sees my Manticore drop its lock as the Hulk warps away, presumably back to the safety of its tower. I don't get the kill.

Today's lesson is in appropriate ship fittings. I am still rather inexperienced at knowing what modules to fit, partly because there are simply so many different possible configurations, and I tend to copy ship configurations from sources that seem reliable. My Manticore's fitting is not poor in itself, just not appropriate. The sensor dampers fitted are perfect for preventing a target from getting a lock on my ship as I sit at range shooting torpedoes, but this assumes targets that will be fighting back. For an unarmed target whose only thought will be fleeing, I really need a warp disruptor instead. Maybe I don't get the kill, but I learn more about my ship.

The Hulk pilot is also hopefully taught a lesson. He may have got back to his tower, where he can repair the Hulk back to full integrity, but he will need to replace his five Tech II mining drones. On top of that, his five jet-cans of ore were in the initial blast radius and are destroyed, no doubt a fair investment of time by the pilot. W-space is dangerous. In fact, I don't consider the encounter to be over yet. I know where the tower is located and I have a persistent cloak fitted. I warp to the tower at range and watch the ship movements. I doubt the Hulk pilot is stupid enough to assume that I will move away within a few minutes, allowing him to continue his operation, but I am curious as to what will happen next.

There are some ship movements. The Hulk pilot swaps in to an Imicus and warps off, but I see no scanner probes launched in the system. I assume he's headed to a neighbouring system to look for signs of life, or leaving for k-space to buy replacement drones. Or maybe he's logged off. Even that could be a ruse, hoping I'll get bored within a few minutes to let him come back and mine in peace. Another couple of pilots log on at different points, one looking like he's grabbing bookmarks from a shared can, but there are no ship movements out of the tower. It was already late for me when the corporation fleet disbanded after fighting Sleepers, yet here I am sitting outside a tower's shields simply watching signs of activity. I now understand the patience of the PvP hunter. But eventually I need sleep, so I turn my ship around and warp away.

Returning home, I feel the pang of guilt that compells me to justify my attack on the Hulk. I could say that anyone who misses such obvious and prolonged warning signs that any d-scan must have reported over a period of minutes is asking for trouble, that I am reciprocating against any available target for the times I've been shot for no fault of my own, or some laughable excuse that I am protecting our own w-space borders from the real threat of miners. But any justification will necessarily be a post hoc excuse. The simple answer is: because I can.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed.