Lesser-spotted Noctis sighting

14th March 2014 – 5.04 pm

Let's see what kind of trouble I can get myself in to today. Nothing at home, just our new static wormhole and a relic site. How about next door? Jumping to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system and updating my directional scanner looks both good and bad: a Noctis salvager, Drake battlecruiser, and Sleeper wrecks, all without a tower in sight. I have activity, but also a possible escort, as well as a good chance that the site the Noctis is in has already become unscannable.

Noctis and Drake in the system

I move quickly, bookmarking all of the anomalies in the system, but sweeping d-scan over each shows no sign of the Noctis or wrecks. The site has despawned, I won't find the Noctis without scanning the ship's position directly with combat probes. And how long do I have before the discovery scanner pings our K162 to the pilots? It's a concern, but you don't admit defeat without even trying. I warp to a distant planet to drop off d-scan of the two ships, launch combat probes, and perform a blanket scan of the system.

The blanket scan has two objectives in this case. First, it gets my probes active and out of d-scan range of the two ships effectively. Second, it shows me what else is in the system that maybe d-scan's limited range can't show me. What my probes show me that d-scan doesn't is a total of five ships in the system. Unpiloted ships in a tower, or colleagues of the two active ships I've already seen? I'm going to throw caution to the wind and disregard those other ships, not even warping around to see what they are, and hunt the Noctis. This type of opportunity happens too rarely these days for me to ignore it.

A rough hunt seems like a good idea to start with, just getting a general position for the Noctis and letting my probes do the work. But I'm better than that, and the Noctis has a large signature for me to work with. I reckon I can get him with a single scan, just by taking a little care. Be quick, but be smooth. I narrow down the Noctis's position using d-scan, until I have the ship in a five-degree beam. Adjusting d-scan's range get estimates the ship's distance at 4·3 AU. I can work with that.

I get my probes aligned and at roughly the right distance, and make one last check. They've shifted a bit and need a small adjustment. With that done, it's worth checking d-scan more broadly as I align my ship in the approximate direction of the Noctis, to check the general system situation. The Drake is still there, and now I see the other three ships: three Tengu strategic cruisers. Luckily, they are not with the Noctis and no more wrecks are being created. I would say it looks like they are waiting on a wormhole. It still looks potentially awkward for me.

Perfect scan on the Noctis in a despawned site

No more wrecks are being created, and those that remain are disappearing fast. The Noctis is an efficient beast, I'd better move. I scan. Perfect. 100% hit on the Noctis and, as predicted, no site. I throw my probes out of the system instead of recalling them, as I may need them again soon, and send my Loki strategic cruiser in to warp towards the Noctis. I drop out of warp near to the salvager, in almost empty space. Just one wreck remains, and is the Noctis now aligning to leave? No, the velocity differential is the result of my residual speed from warp deceleration.

Noctis pulls the final Sleeper wreck closer

Well, it's now or never. I decloak, activate my micro warp drive to surge forwards, and get my sensor booster working. Targeting the Noctis gets a positive lock, letting my warp scrambler and autocannons get busy. I consider aligning back out of the site, just in case the salvager's colleagues come to her aid, and even though I failed to make a perch on the way in the wormhole is a good retreat. But, no, instead I reduce d-scan's range gate to 1 AU and keep it updated. Any ship detection will be early warning of a ship approaching, and I can maintain an optimal distance from the salvager.

Loki on Noctis

Nothing gets within d-scan range so far, and the shields of the Noctis are dropping precipitously. My autocannons rake through the armour and chip away at the hull, still no Tengus are coming my way. The Noctis has even given up running, letting me get some solid hits and cause it to explode. Well, sorta. The salvager merely turns in to a wreck without any fireball, which is a bit disappointing. I aim for the ejected pod anyway as I loot quick quick, and I get it. That's a bonus!

Aiming for the pod ejected from the Noctis

Wreck and corpse of Noctis salvager

Cracking open the pod only has my spending a little longer in the pocket as I scoop the corpse, the pilot probably having given up on running because of the failure of the two warp core stabilisers in saving her ship. It works for me, though. What doesn't work for me is losing the good salvage in the lack-of-explosion, as well as there being zero Sleeper loot, no doubt a stupid mobile tractor unit once again denying me the spoils of a successful hunt and ambush. But this is not the time. I shoot the wreck as I turn my Loki around, accelerating to get the hell out of here.

  1. 7 Responses to “Lesser-spotted Noctis sighting”

  2. The kill is here.

    You did get screwed on loot, although the screwage was not improbable, since there was only one stack with any value (the nanoribbons). This kill does highlight why tractor units are bad for wspace hunters. Presumably the Drake was the designated tractor guy, which explains why he was in the site originally but did not stay to guard his colleague.

    By Von Keigai on Mar 14, 2014

  3. Good call about the Drake. I hadn't considered that. I really need to get better at this game.

    By pjharvey on Mar 14, 2014

  4. I'm a little confused. Was the Drake in the site? Did you get a 100% probe hit on him with the Noctis? Was there a mobile tractor there? I've seen Noctii(?) explode without wrecks before (though I don't know why). Is the suspicion here that the Drake and the Noctis were the same pilot and that he/she elected to move the Drake with the loot out instead of tabbing to the Noctis? I am not challenging, just inquiring.

    By Gwydion Voleur on Mar 15, 2014

  5. As per the image, the Drake was not in the despawned site when I scanned it and I never actually saw the Drake. It was just the Noctis, nothing else.

    The Noctis couldn't get away because of my +3 faction point. It often seems that when a double-stabbed ship can't flee I often get the pod too. I can't say for sure, but I wonder if it's either because they don't understand why they can't get away and end up doing nothing, or because they end up just sitting there waiting to die and aren't paying attention when the time comes to get their pod away.

    By pjharvey on Mar 15, 2014

  6. No, I was confused by the first comment saying the Drake was the designated tractor guy. Didn't get how he could tend a tractor unit if he wasn't in there, but now I am guessing itmeans he was in there previously, then left before the Noctis came in.

    By Gwydion Voleur on Mar 15, 2014

  7. Ah, right. Yeah, presumably the Drake was on d-scan with the Noctis and not with the Tengus because he was collecting loot from mobile tractor units, which were perhaps used because of the lack of Sleeper blue loot in the Noctis.

    By pjharvey on Mar 15, 2014

  8. which were perhaps used because of the lack of Sleeper blue loot in the Noctis

    Right. Though I would say "almost certainly used". That Noctis fit is utterly short range, and it has only one tractor beam. It's a decent fit for one thing: salvaging a ball of wrecks someone else has tractored. And then hiding while waiting for the next site to be cleared. (Though, if you are going to do that you might as well save 80m ISK and use a destroyer.)

    By Von Keigai on Mar 15, 2014

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