I’m an idiot pilot.
Ok, maybe “idiot” is too strong a word. “Inattentive” and “complacent” would be more accurate.
I was running level 2 missions in Melmaniel, and swapping my Myrmidon‘s mission fitting for salvaging gear to round up the loot before turning in (yes, I know Myrmidons are overkill for level 2, but it’s all that was nearby). Missions had been in random complexes so I felt fairly safe: Mel was nearly empty to begin with, and I’d run about five prior without incident.
During a run to Costolle I was briefly chased by Misaniovent, of Invicta, while coming out of a station. I warped away before he got a lock on me, but I saw him popping in and out of the system for awhile. While looting the last mission, I noticed he’d been in the system for a long time, and it briefly crossed my mind he might be hunting for me. In true ADD fashion, that thought came and went too quickly to “stick” and act on, and I paid for it.
Suddenly, he appeared in the mission area and started targeting. I returned targeting, flipped on my armor reppers, and tried to warp to my safe spot.
He got a lock, warp-scrambled me, and started shooting. My reppers held out briefly, but I’d replaced two of my energized plating modules for cargo expanders (unnecessarily, as it turned out), and I had no weapons; just three each of tractor beams and salvagers.
He got through shields, armor, and into structure before hailing me, paraphrased below.
Misaniovent: “Pay me 40 million and you can keep your Myrmidon.”
Me (quickly adding up the replacement cost): “Deal.”
Mis: “Pay now.”
(The corp wallet is quickly robbed, and far too much money changes hands)
Mis: “You have 15 seconds before I continue firing.”
I warped away, tail between my legs (and on fire).
Mis: “Fly safe.”
I kept the channel open.
Me: “You spent all that time hunting for me?”
Mis: “Not all of it. I had nothing else to do. I thought I was too late, because it looked like you were done there.”
Me: “Almost. I thought I’d put a warp stabilizer on this thing. If so, I might have escaped.”
Mis: “Stabs are bad! You’re better off staying aware of your surroundings, and watching your scanner for probes.”
I didn’t know why stabs were bad, because I had only ever used them on industrials while hauling cargo. Imagine my surprise at the -50% targeting range penalty, per stabilizer. :-O
Now, I have scan probes set to be displayed in my overview, but I never saw them listed before he jumped me. I’m not sure if the number of wrecks pushed them off the visible portion of the list, or if I needed to manually scan for them, or what. Guess I have some research to do.
Also, and I have no idea what this means, the symbol for the Gallente Major Stronghold complex, 8 AU away, also strobed red while Misaniovent was attacking me. Was the complex hostile toward me as well, or was it hostile to him because I have good standing with the Gallente? *headscratch*
So, what lessons did I learn from this?
1. Pay attention to your surroundings and any changes in local behavior.
Misaniovent had not been hanging out in Melmaniel until after he made his first attempt to nail me, then appeared in local and stayed there a long time before attacking. This should have been the first clue, but I ignored the alarm bell in the back of my mind.
2. Mission-generated dungeons are NOT safe spots.
Being inside one doesn’t hide you from scanner probes, and since you’re not moving around much within a “room”, it makes it easer to scan you down.
3. Add scan probes to your overview, if they’re not already.
And make sure you can see them in your list. Also, if there’s another method for knowing you’re being scanned for, I’d love someone to tell it to me.
4. Don’t use an expensive, unarmed combat vessel for salvaging.
5. Keep a cheat sheet of the replacement cost of your ships and fittings.
This will help you decide quickly whether paying the ransom is worth it, although most professional pirates will know what a reasonable ransom is for a given ship.