Picking on a Probe

29th March 2011 – 5.38 pm

Our w-space neighbours don't seem too upset with us shooting them. In fact, they are almost pleased about the attention, noting that they are alone out here and could use some allies. We are the first to attack them, and they seem to appreciate that. As Fin negotiates with them Mick goes out to scan the class 3 system more fully, not having looked beyond the site where we ambushed two Drake battlecruisers and came away licking our wounds. In his scanning Mick finds a K162 coming from class 4 w-space, and not our own. I take my Buzzard covert operations boat in to explore.

My directional scanner shows me two towers and a bunch of ships. I also see that the system has a magnetar phenomenon, increasing inflicted damage, and that there is a corpse floating somewhere here, which is interesting. A static exit to low-sec empire space and little else of note is found back in the C3, and Mick jumps in to join me in the C4. I find the two towers here, along with a third that was out of range of d-scan initially, seeing pilots in only a Cyclone battlecruiser and a pod out of all the ships in the towers. But there is another ship on d-scan that is unaccounted for in the towers, a Probe frigate lurking somewhere in the system.

A quick sweep of d-scan puts the Probe near the third planet in the system, and warping to the planet sees him actually sitting at zero at the planet, and stationary. That's just asking for trouble. I'm not in my stealth bomber, though, and my Buzzard's systems will need time to recalibrate after decloaking, giving an alert pilot time to escape. Of course, if he's truly alert he wouldn't be sitting here uncloaked and vulnerable, but there are varying levels of alertness.

I decide to bounce off a moon, decloak on the way back, and drop on top of the Probe with my systems hot. There is a short discussion about what method is best to use, as I will be visible on d-scan for longer, and still appear on the overview for several seconds without being able to lock, as I drop out of warp. But I find it much easier to time my systems becoming available when dropping out of warp, where I can monitor my speed and distance before the engines cut out, than trying to judge the recalibration delay which has no obvious visual cues to work with.

I bounce off the moon, decloak on my way back, and land close to the Probe. My weapon systems are hot, my timing is perfect, and I lock and disrupt the Probe with no false starts or fumbling. Rockets slam in to the frigate, damage magnified by the magnetar, and Mick decloaks his cov-ops to add to the attack. The Probe pops in beautiful blue flames. The ejected pod doesn't get clear either, locked and pointed by the two of us, and we are quickly scooping the corpse, and looting and shooting the wreck. There isn't much to recover, but we at least get another trophy of a successful kill.

It's a smooth, swift, and successful operation. After the big loss earlier I wonder if maybe I should stick to small fry like this, but I'm just a little deflated. We have been aiming for bigger targets for a while, and we have some learning to do. The soft targets will help to keep me engaged, if nothing else. And there doesn't seem to be any repercussions to our attack, the Cyclone remaining stationary in its tower. We make a routine scan of this C4, finding only two anomalies and five signatures, none of which turn out to be more wormholes. There's no more obvious activity, and it's getting late, so we head home for the night.

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