Mining in a Manticore

15th December 2010 – 5.57 pm

The home system is empty, w-space is mine to do as I please. As glorious leader Fin bought me the gas mining skill training book, and it took less than a day to get to level IV, I suppose I'd better collect some gas. Or I could scan and explore the constellation. And resolving the system's static wormhole soon puts me in our neighbouring class 3 system for today. My directional scanner is clear, but with only one planet in range I suspect there is more to find. I bookmark the wormhole home, launch scanning probes, and warp off to see what's here.

Getting closer to the inner system reveals the rest of the planets on d-scan, along with a tower and a few ships. A Ferox battlecruiser, Falcon recon ship, and Proteus strategic cruiser are all somewhere, but the presence of a jet-can makes me wonder if perhaps the Ferox is mining in a ladar site and using the can for storage. A quick sweep of d-scan puts the ship and can together, and apart from the tower. I quickly move my scanning probes out of the system—even though they were out of d-scan range back at the wormhole—and look for the local tower. Before I begin hunting for a ship in w-space, I want to know how many ships here are piloted.

Both the other two ships are sitting inside the shields at the tower, but only the Falcon is unpiloted. The Proteus has a capsuleer aboard, although there is no way to determine how alert he is. The strategic cruiser presents a danger, but I decide to hunt the Ferox anyway, knowing that I should have some time to engage the target whilst the Proteus is in warp, at the very least. I warp away from the tower to a planet closer to the Ferox, to make locating him with d-scan easier. I narrow down the d-scan beam and adjust the position until I have a good bearing on the ship, then find its approximate range.

I think I have a good position for the Ferox and move my scanning probe boxes accordingly. I warp back to the tower to check on the status of the Proteus and, finding him still there and stationary, hit the scan button. My probes warp in to position and search for any signatures. I am expecting a ladar site to be found, as I am using core probes, whereas combat probes could find the site or the ship itself. But I get nothing returned, not even a vague signature. My first scan is a resounding failure.

I quickly move the probes out of the system again, not wanting them to appear on the miner's d-scan for longer than necessary. I can't even flounder at a fuzzy signature, so don't try to guess where it may be. Instead I use d-scan again to try to get a more accurate position of the ship. But it looks like I may be too late, as the Ferox is back at the tower, perhaps having spotted my probes and returned to safety. I'll re-scan anyway, looking for the ladar site in the hopes that the pilot will convince himself he was spooked by nothing and feel safe again.

My second attempt using d-scan is better, to locate the jet-can this time, a good hit coming from the first scan with probes and the ladar site fully resolved with a quick adjustment and a second scan. I warp in to the site at range, making my second mistake by flying directly in to one of the gas clouds, decloaking my Buzzard. The covert operations boat doesn't quite live up to its class right now, but I warp away after quickly bookmarking the position of the jet-can, and re-activate my cloak. If the pilot of the Ferox has been watching d-scan there is little chance I haven't been detected. But there's nothing gained in assuming competence on the part of your target. I warp back home and swap in to my Manticore stealth bomber, returning to lurk in the class 3 system.

The Onyx heavy interdictor is generally a good choice of ship against miners, as the warp bubble traps their pods automatically, and miners aren't renowned for their firepower. But if the Proteus pilot is awake the Onyx could be a poor choice, and leave me with a loss greater than that of a simple gas mining battlecruiser. I still aim to catch the pod, fitting my Manticore with a sensor booster and scan resolution script. Even if it may not make my systems quite fast enough to lock a pod it gives me a chance. Except the Ferox has now disappeared, as he is not at the tower or on d-scan. I warp in to the ladar site, at range, but there is only the jet-can there too. It looks like my clumsiness has thwarted my hunting.

As I sit in the ladar site, wondering why I can't get the gas cloud bracket to appear on my display,1 a Badger hauler warps in directly to the jet-can. It's the Ferox pilot collecting his mined gas! If only I weren't a hundred kilometres from him. I have little option but to warp back to the tower, where I can see if he makes another trip. And back at the tower the Badger returns, moves to the corporate hangar array, and warps out again. I prepared for this by aligning to the bookmark I made to the jet-can in the mining site, letting me follow quickly.

I decloak whilst in warp, aiming to land next to the jet-can and so not planning to launch a bomb, and get my warp disruption and weapon systems hot. I drop out of warp almost on top of the Badger, gain a positive target lock, and start pounding the fragile hauler hull with torpedoes. It doesn't take much to reduce a Badger to rubble and the pilot's pod is soon ejected in to space. I act quickly, targeting the pod and getting a point hot, and I am quick enough! The pod is stopped from warping out and, once I snap out of my surprise, I shoot that too. I scoop the corpse, loot the Badger, and warp out as rapidly as I can, concerned that the Proteus could be swooping down on me at any moment. But checking the tower sees the strategic cruiser to be just as active as it has been so far, sitting inertly in the shields.

I'm not convinced that the Ferox pilot saw my probes, or my Buzzard, and just happened to be finishing as I started looking for him. I don't think he'd make multiple trips in a vulnerable Badger otherwise, even though the Badger happened to be fitted with a gun and ECM. Taking some time to monitor the response sees no reaction at all, the Proteus pilot looking to be asleep in his ship, which gives me the opportunity to retrieve what little gas was left in the wreck of the Badger, the final trip emptying and dismantling the jet-can. I swap the Manticore for my Crane transport ship, quick to align and capable of warping cloaked, and it is simple to pluck the Badger's hold clean. I get home safely and desposit the loot in our hangar. And, I suppose, collected some gas after all.

1. There isn't one.
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  1. 5 Responses to “Mining in a Manticore”

  2. So last night I found your guys' wormhole connected to my corp's C5. I was surprised when a corpmate went in and located your tower and linked your corp in chat which sounded quite familiar. Lo and behold, I saw Fin as the CEO. I wanted to drop a jetcan hello note but didn't have the time. So a warm and friendly hello from Apolitical. :)

    By Adrestos on Dec 16, 2010

  3. A nifty welcome would have been to shoot a few of us, maybe get a couple of poddings if you want to be really intimate. At the very least, throw a bomb at our tower defences to get our attention.

    Either way, it was nice to have you drop by!

    By pjharvey on Dec 16, 2010

  4. Haha, my mate's initial reaction was to lust over the possibility of catching one of the two Orca's that were parked inside the force field out in the open. But as we are mostly eastern US timezone all it looked like everyone was asleep at the POS so went on ahead and kept on scanning.

    By Adrestos on Dec 16, 2010

  5. Hey, that sounds like it was actually our C4 pulsar. Lots of signatures there, right? Too many, really. The corp is currently split between three w-space systems, I believe, so I was thinking you'd actually catch pilots who weren't me.

    Ah well, good to know we were recognised. Maybe if you come across the system again and manage to pod me, take a few seconds to say high in local first. I'd like that.

    By pjharvey on Dec 16, 2010

  6. Yeah, it was the pulsar system I think you wrote about recently. It had an old POS titled "bye bye" in it and it did have a ton of signatures, the most I've seen thus far. If I come across you guys again I'll be sure to drop a hello. You never know when you may come across some friendly and cooperative WH neighbors. Oh and we're J145131, just for your notes. ^_^

    By Adrestos on Dec 16, 2010

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