Scuttling a Skiff

20th July 2014 – 3.10 pm

I'm heading home, through a really convenient wormhole from high-sec to low-sec, when I remember the other wormhole I scanned. It's in this low-sec system, and I haven't reconnoitred it yet because it's an outbound wormhole, not wanting to open it immediately if it wasn't already open. It's a long shot that it remains unopened, perhaps, but it's worth swinging past in case anything interesting is inside. Just a peak.

Dropping out of warp near the cosmic signature sees an R943 wormhole, leading to class 2 w-space. That's not a bad option, although this late in the evening I doubt I'll be diving too far down a new constellation. I approach, delcoak, and jump through, updating my directional scanner once back in w-space to see what's out there. Three towers, an Orca industrial command ship, and a Skiff exhumer.

Is the Skiff out of the tower? Is it bait? Poking the visible anomalies with d-scan sees that the exhumer is indeed out of the tower, and as the discovery scanner is only showing me three signatures it is possible this system is closed, the wormhole I'm sitting on only just having been opened. Of course, that means the discovery scanner will be showing the new signature to the Skiff soon, so I ought to make best use of my time.

Skiff chomping on bistot rock

I warp in to the ore anomaly, dropping short in an attempt to make a perch as I head in, and get a decent result. The Skiff is almost two hundred kilometres from me, quite happily chewing on a chunk of bistot. It's a high-end ore, the system looks clean, and the wormhole has either only just been opened or been open for ages. The probability that this Skiff is bait is fairly low.

I doubt anyone would be able to scramble bait and hide a fleet in under a minute, or that a bait ship would want to chomp on rocks for more than the half-hour our logistics run has taken. I'm going in. My good position allows me to warp in closer without any additional manoeuvring, saving some time, and getting closer makes the circumstance look just as good as from afar. Better, really, as I now I am almost in range to strike.

Just a few kilometres to cover cloaked, and I decloak, lock, and start shooting the Skiff. I disrupt the exhumer's warp engines, unleash my blasters at the boat, and set some drones free, all whilst nervously watching my overview and updating d-scan for any surprises. All looks clear.

Proteus ambushing Skiff in w-space

I'm getting some hits in but the Skiff feels tough. I think that's a result of my cautious range giving my blasters a hard time. As this seems like a straightforward ambush I get closer, drop my speed, and watch the Skiff wake up. He launches his own drones, although combat drones seem a poor choice. As much as I dislike the ECM mechanic, ECM drones against a single attacker would be a much better option for survival.

Drones are launched by both sides

The Skiff's drones try to get my own drones down, and when that fails go for me instead. I'm in a Proteus strategic cruiser, though. They're not going to have much effect. Indeed, my blasters and drones drop the Skiff's shields and rip through its armour and hull before my own shields are in trouble, and I don't even rely on them.

Skiff exploding

The Skiff explodes. The pod flees easily enough, and I move to loot and shoot the wreck, taking a whole bunch of mining crystals and leaving the ore. It looks like I've got time, so I grab the drones that have stopped shooting me, before reloading my guns and warping back to my perch. That was a lucky catch, and a good, opportunistic kill, estimated at a little under two hundred million ISK.

I orientate myself, locate the towers, and find the pod in a force field with the Orca, which itself is piloted and was no doubt providing boosts to the exhumer. With no ship to boost, the Orca suffers a minor crisis and blinks out of existence. I'll disappear too. I wasn't intending to be long anyway. ISK, fuel, and ambushing a miner. I think I can reward myself with a well-deserved sammich.

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