Heretic Encounter Debrief

Region B-R00008 – Constellation B-C00062
System J153003

6 June YC 122

Replaying the incident at Ruined Serpentis Monument Site in my mind, I realised how incredibly lucky I was. Acting intuitively and flying blindly, I managed to escape a prepared attack by a dedicated hunter in an interdictor. I say “prepared attack” because the location of the Monument site was obviously pre-scanned – I didn’t see any probes in space. Still, there were some inconsistencies in my recollection which I decided to discuss with Aura.

“One thing that I don’t understand is how that dictor managed to approach us so quickly from the 60-kilometre distance. The warp disrupt probe range is just 20 klicks, so it had to fly 8 km per second to cover that distance before I could align,” mused I aloud.

“It must have been warping,” said Aura. “My guess is that it was cloaked and waiting at a perch on grid but far enough to warp to us.”

“That makes sense,” agreed I. “The warp from a close-by perch takes just a few seconds. My D-scan probably caught it when it covered more than half the distance between us. And it could use the can I was hacking as the warp-in point. That will also explain why it managed to decloak me the first time. But I still don’t understand why I was decloaked again.”

“Hard to say. Could be debris, or could be smart piloting on the part of the hunter. Your tactical display was zoomed in so it was impossible to see your position relative to the Heretic. For all I know, we were flying right towards it.”

My ears got hot, “Yeah, that was embarrassing. I was running around like a headless chicken.”

“Don’t get your knickers in a knot,” said Aura soothingly. “That was your first time, and you survived!”

“I still don’t understand how! Why didn’t it scramble my MWD? Why couldn’t it keep up with me? Why didn’t the missiles hit us?”

“Whoa there! One thing at a time. Firstly, about scrambling – why would it waste a mid slot on a warp scrambler if it had an interdiction sphere launcher?”

I made a grimace, “I dunno. You tell me what else it needs in mid slots.”

“Well, one may put some shield extenders or hardeners there…”

I scoffed, interrupting Aura, “A tank? Against an exploration frigate?”

“Mmm… There may be a microwarpdrive too…”

“Even if there was an MWD it would still have two more slots, at least one of which should have a tackle module. Now, talking about propulsion, why, having an MWD, was it slower than I? Heretic’s base speed is higher than Buzzard’s. If both of us used a microwarpdrive then the dictor should have been faster.”

“Ah,” exclaimed Aura looking smart, “but there are different microwarpdrives. You had a Tech II model which gives the highest speed boost but is also the hardest to fit. Most dictor fittings I saw had various Tech I models, all of which are less powerful. Besides, your navigation skills could be better than the hunter’s.”

I rolled my eyes, “Skills! If you weren’t talking about the injected skills, I would have thought you were taking the piss out of me. Even if all what you say is true, it still doesn’t explain why the dictor couldn’t hit me with the missiles.”

“Oh, that’s actually the easiest part. You see, dictors are bonused for Light Missiles and Rockets. Rockets have a very short range, and if the hunter was using them then they simply didn’t reach you before they ran out of fuel.”

“That’s a lot of assumptions,” sighed I. “For all I know, it was just pure blind luck that got me out of that fix.”

“Good to know you aren’t superstitious,” snickered Aura. “You know, calling Lady Luck blind may offend her.”

“It’s not an offence, it’s a fact. If she could see anything, we would hardly deserve her attention.”

“Oh, you never know with the ladies,” said Aura with a faint smile.

“Whatever,” replied I with a dismissive gesture. “I may not be superstitious but I do believe that one can’t win two jackpots in a row. Whether you call it credit with Lady Luck or karma points, I’ve run out of them after that encounter with Heretic. The next few days I am gonna devote myself to charitable causes, like cache tending, which will keep me out of harm’s way.”

“As much as I’d like to see our account balance grow, in this case I actually agree with you. Let’s take a break. Allison, we are going to tend caches. Tell us where we can find a cache which needs our attention in this system?”

“There is no such cache in this system,” replied Allison.

“Oh, so we need to sow one then,” exclaimed Aura.

“This system already has a rescue cache,” informed us Allison impassively.

“But you’ve just said…” started saying Aura, when I interrupted her.

“Aura, darling, there is a cache in this system and I tended it just before we scanned down the Monument Site. Now you see why I prefer to tend caches first? If that Heretic got us, the cache would be left untended.”

“Oh,” Aura stared into the distance looking thunderstruck. “I do remember that we tended that cache but it feels like it was ages ago! But you know, even if we were blown up we could still tend that cache in a capsule. Remember you did it during Tender Games?”

I gave her a sarcastic smile, “Always an optimist, aren’t you? Better launch the probes – we need to find an exit from this system.”

“Aye-aye, Captain. The probe constellation is launched and focused on Ruined Serpentis Monument Site.”

“Time to shift our focus, huh?” smiled I and moved the probes to another cosmic signature.

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