Thursday, May 08, 2008

Probing and some success

Been busy with exploration - wanted to take a break from the mission running, R & D, trading and scouting. I heard rumours of riches to be found in small research outposts, hidden away by the Angels and other factions within dead space bubbles. They could be probed out with some luck and hard work.

I like to think that I am quite competent using the ship scanners to sniff out the tell-tale signatures of hidden ships. Been doing this to locate ships 'parked' in deep space as well as scouting out for hire and it has been an excellent and profitable sideline for me. Using the other probes, the gravimetric sift, comb, pursuit probes (to name three different types based on range) would be a bit more different for me. These were designed to pick up dead space signatures: faint and difficult to detect spikes in radiation. They could also probe out ships but their main disadvantage is that exploration probes have a maximum range of 4AU and they're slow to return a hit. So, unless you knew that your target was safe spotted within 4AU of your current position and stationary, exploration probes are useless.

So this is what I did: went to a system and I dropped a multi-frequency probe in the system. This helped me discover what was there to be found amongst the background radiation. The return was a radar signature. Then I dropped a radar quest probe around every planet in the system. Some planets were close together and the probes overlapped but with some careful placement, it was possible to get a more or less system-wide coverage. Also, most, if not all exploration sites are within 4AU of a systems planets.
Once all the probes were in position. I selected all the scan types in the scanner menu (due to my skills allowing me to) them all selecting the five scan probes and hitting the 'analyse' button and waited. The results are chanced based due to the fluctuating nature of the background radiation and 'cosmic noise' interfering with the delicate scanning equipment.

My skills are pretty decent so I did not have to wait too long.

The results that came back were variable in quality and the first two attempts did not bring back the 'deadspace signature' type return. I had to re-try the scanning. Eventually, the scanner managed to pick up the whiff of something interesting.

It was a radar site, since the initial scan using the multi-spectral revealed a radar signature and finally, there itwas. The signal strength was quite low, at 0.2408 and was a fair distance away from my current location. However, I warped to the spot indicated and knew that the radar signature was now within 0.502 AU from where I had just landed. I was I had to destroy quest probe number 4 and dropped a more accurate radar sift probe in it's place. Strictly speaking, the signature was a touch over the maximum range of the sift probe but I took a chance.

Once again, I selected the required scan groups (cosmic signature, drone&Probe and ship) and selected all five probes and hit the analyse again. The Sift probe only had a life time of eight minutes so I could get a maximum of three attempts before the item expired.

I got a hit on the first go and this time, the results looked very promising: a radar signature with a signal strength of 2.3000, only 1,800km from my location and with a deviation of 0m. I cloaked up and warped to the signature and arrived into a bit of dead space.

Luckily, I was not de-cloaked on arrival by anything and had time to take some readings and observe the result.

It was an angel outpost, hidden inside a dead space pocket. There were data silos there with valuable data to be had and other items, ready to be liberated by yours truly.

Bookmarking the site, I left the dead space signature and docked up as quickly as I could, switching to a combat ship. To hack the data silos also required specialised hacking equipment and crew: something that I had from running similar operations in Friggi in the COSMOS constellations. My best hackers were loaded up on board, geeks all but with brain power to match the brawn of the heavy assault ship I was bringing to crash this party. I checked that the the code breaking modules were in place, having had to drop a warp disruptor to make room for it. So I came back in the Deimos and went at the site. There was an Angel stasis webifier tower that had me webbed from 55km - rather annoying but I sent my drones over there and they soon sorted me out. The angel pirates spawned only once and I easily killed them while my hackers got on with the job in hand. I waited impatiently for the results, the hacking modules blinking and flashing as it tried to brute force attack the Angel encryption. It finally cracked and we grabbed some data disks and bits. No idea on it's value (yet) but the Angels were fighting hard to prevent us downloading the data.

After ten minutes, all resistance ended and we grabbed everything else and salvaged what we could.

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