Hunting a Hulk

22nd December 2010 – 5.43 pm

Most days start out with my resolving our static wormhole and jumping in to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system. And today is no exception. A tower and jet-can but no ships are all visible on my directional scanner in the C3, and I launch scanning probes to identify the signature of the wormhole homewards. But I also recognise the size of the system, with a few planets out of d-scan range, so once finished I quickly flick the probes upwards and hit scan again to warp them far out of the system as I take a look around.

I locate the tower, the jet-can nestled inside its shields, and also notice a second, off-line tower, named 'Abandoned', which I don't care to find. Warping towards the outer planets hits gold, though, a Hulk exhumer mining alone in the rim. The three jet-cans no doubt with him show how long he's been here, and the name he's given one of them indicates how long he's likely to stay, which is under twenty minutes from now. I immediately start trying to narrow down the Hulk's position using d-scan, but I realise that I am not fully prepared yet. I only launched four probes on my entrance to the system, which is enough to resolve wormholes, but I prefer a central datum point that a fifth probe provides when hunting ships.

There is a planet far on the other side of the system. I warp there and launch a fifth probe, and although it is already a long way from the Hulk, and the tower, I move it out of the system as a precaution. And with all of the probes safely warped out of the way I can reposition their boxes as I please, until I am confident I've found the Hulk and am ready to hit scan once more. I return to the planet near the miner, pleased to see his continued presence, and now I start to refine his location. I use one probe box as my datum position for bearing, getting d-scan down to five degree angular certainty, and a second probe box as a datum position for range. Lining up the range box with my own position and the bearing datum gives me my calculated location of the Hulk. It's time to find him.

I hit scan and wait for my probes to warp back in to the system, resolving any signatures to be found. I am using core scanning probes again, which will let me find only the Hulk indirectly in the gravimetric site itself. I tried using combat probes as default for a while, but having to ignore the dozens of signatures, or hundreds in a silo system, for towers, defences, and arrays got tedious fairly quickly. Maybe I should try combat probes again, as resolving the ship directly would negate the time needed having to warp in to the site and locate the ship manually, as well as avoiding the danger of decloaking whilst warping in. But I have core probes out now, and they get me a 99·89% strength hit on the gravimetric site. So close!

A quick adjustment to the probes' positions gets me the 100% hit required to bookmark and warp to the site, which I do at the same time as I recall my probes, preventing them from being seen on d-scan for longer than is necessary. I enter the gravimetric site safely and see the Hulk some distance away, the three jet-cans all near the ship. I bookmark one of them and hold briefly, happy to wait until I am sure the Hulk isn't starting to leave, then I warp out myself. I return to the wormhole connecting back to the home system and jump through, moving swiftly to our tower to swap ships. I stow the Buzzard covert operations boat I used to find the Hulk and board my Onyx heavy interdictor. I know the system is devoid of other ships and pilots, and the Onyx will let me capture the pilot's pod with no effort.

I warp back to the wormhole, jump in to the C3, and hit d-scan almost as a reflex. As my session change cloak is in effect I may as well check passively that the situation hasn't changed. But it has, an Iteron hauler now visible along with the local tower. I imagine the Hulk pilot is collecting his ore, but not because he knows I am coming for him. The time is getting close to the name of the jet-can, and I suspect he has named it as a reminder of the time the harshness of space will finally take its toll on the can, rather than the more often seen notation of the time the can was jettisoned. But as he doesn't know I'm here he should be warping back to the site and, more importantly, to the spot his Hulk has vacated. I spur my Onyx in to action and warp it to the location of the jet-can I bookmarked. The Iteron will get there first, but he won't be agile enough to warp out before I can join him.

It's all over rather quickly. Whether the pilot was watching d-scan or not I cannot tell, but my Onyx lands almost on top of the Iteron, the warp bubble inflating to prevent its escape. The hauler is not built to withstand missile fire, and the Terror assault missiles wreck the ship frighteningly quickly. The pod is captured by the warp bubble too, but I don't even consider a ransom. I'm not a social person and don't like awkward conversations with strangers. The warp bubble drops as I scoop the corpse and loot what little fittings survived the Iteron's explosion.

I would have preferred the Hulk kill to the Iteron, but it is still a good result. All three jet-cans remain in the gravimetric site, and the miner is no longer able to recover his ore. I warp back to the wormhole, pausing briefly to check d-scan and seeing an Imicus frigate appear. A relative, perhaps, sent a distress call by the Hulk pilot and turned up to bring the pilot's new clone home. I watch from a distance, using d-scan, and the Imicus disappears, although I see no probes. Either way, the frigate isn't a direct threat and neither can it collect any ore. I return to our tower and swap the Onyx for a Bustard transport ship, pausing briefly to adjust its fitting. Rather than dedicate it to cargo room I optimise it for cargo and agility, hoping that it's standard fitted additional warp engine strength will be enough as default.

Jumping back to the C3 sees no surprises on d-scan but I don't warp directly to the gravimetric site. Instead, I warp to the nearby planet, pausing there to check d-scan now that I am in range of the gravimetric site. No ships are visible here either and, confident I can escape from a cloaked threat, I move in to the site to start claiming the ore as my own. No one is there waiting for me, so I move the ore from the cans to my hold, beginning with the one about to implode. Indeed, it is disintegrating just as I get to it. I cannot carry all the ore it holds and so jettison what I have already picked up, creating a new can, and transfer the ore across to stop it from dispersing in to space.

I get the first shipment of arkonor home safely and return twice more to collect the rest, making a final trip in a more stealthy and agile Crane to pick up the last few hundred cubic metres of ore. With the last of the ore collected, I return to the wormhole via the local tower, which my cloaked Crane is able to do discreetly, to see the Imicus pilot not scanning but putting some defences on-line. I suppose the new clone won't be returning soon, so I go home. I recover 2,870 units of arkonor for my effort, which is a nice afternoon spent mining, and I have a new corpse in my collection as well.

  1. 7 Responses to “Hunting a Hulk”

  2. Btw of using combat probes, you can create filters for scanning results.
    I have one for anoms, sigs, ships, ships&towers.
    Sigs being the default one.
    Makes using combat probes no diff than cores.

    By Mick Straih on Dec 22, 2010

  3. I shall look in to this!

    By pjharvey on Dec 23, 2010

  4. I'm still learning about scanning, but agree completely with Mick on this - have multiple filters set up with combat probes so you can pick what you want to look for

    By Eve Scientist on Dec 23, 2010

  5. The filter is certainly worth setting up. I wish I had known about it sooner.

    I still am not entirely sure about using combat probes for all occasions, as I seem to chase the odd signature around where core probes would resolve it without fuss, but not having to manually ignore all the results for structures is wonderfully convenient.

    By pjharvey on Jan 2, 2011

  6. I was sure you knew about filters.
    As for needing cores, at 59 probe strength for combats (at .5au) i can juuust get the hardest sigs to 100%. (hardest ones in wspace that is, i think there's some in kspace that are even harder)
    So if you can get this much it'll not be a problem, otherwise you might need to swap to cores and go to .25au.

    By Mick Straih on Jan 2, 2011

  7. Yeah, maybe I was told about filters but I an't paying attention, or didn't understand it at the time.

    By pjharvey on Jan 3, 2011

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