There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind.
Combat scanner probes are an amazing asset to a Lowsec Pirate. Most of the pilots I know fly with an alt capable of probing for them anytime they roam. Against their sound advice, I continue to insist on pursuing the purity of belt piracy. Some nights it just works out better than others.
Now, don't get me wrong here, Probes are an amazing asset for any pilot. My last couple of posts have included kills that would have not been possible without them. That said, there's still something I find particularly exciting about the fights found with nothing more than your D-scan. For those of you unconvinced that it's viable, I present the following short roam.
A fellow member of the Cartel was out and about roaming in his Jaguar Assault Ship when I logged on. Wishing to join him and not slow him down much, I boarded my Vengeance and we went out to see how much trouble two Frigate class vessels could get into. On my way there, not ten minutes after logging in, I encountered a Caracal on a gate.
He was quick to lock and engage me, my outlaw status allowing him to do so without fear of the gate guns. After a few minutes of fighting, it became clear that I wasn't going to be able to get through the Caracal's tank fast enough, and I made the decision to retreat back to the gate I'd come through.
After that minor distraction, I managed to link up with the Jaguar pilot and it was not long until we had a Thorax on scan. At a belt. And then tackled. He initially opened fire at the Jaguar, but was unable to get any good hits on him and was kind enough to fire a few volleys at my Vengeance. The damage was minimal, and certainly no match for the Vengeance's tank. We were quickly beating his active armor tank and watching his ship explode.
We patiently waited out our fifteen minute GCC timers before moving on. After that was over, we made another few jumps before we had a Caracal on scan. The same pilot I had encountered earlier was in system, and we were able to do a little creative warping to convince him that the Jaguar was alone and would make an easy target. Once he was tackled away from Gate Guns, I joined in and quick work was made of his ship before locking his pod.
Negotiations were entered into for a ransom, but things quickly deteriorated with neither of us benefiting. No ransom gained, and one pilot out his pod later we were again waiting out our GCC. Once that was over we again started looking for ships and no sooner than three minutes later we had a Stabber Fleet Issue on scan. At a belt. Things were certainly shaping up to be an exciting night.
We reasoned from some of the pilot's killboard losses that he was likely to be flying a Kiting SFI fit. If we were able to lay a scram on him, we'd be able to eat him up as he'd be relatively untanked. We both went in for tackle and amazingly were able to lay a scram on him relatively quickly. Unfortunately, there were a few things we hadn't planned for.
It quickly became clear that our Jaguar's shields were failing almost as soon as the Stabber's. The thing we hadn't planned for was that the Stabber then had an armor buffer that the Jaguar did not. We had not found ourselves a Kitey Stabber, but a close-range brawler that we had happily brawled with. It didn't end well.
We, now in our Pods, had a pleasant chat with the Stabber pilot after the fight. Turned out that he had never lost the fit he was currently flying. With no killboards that could have given us this intel beforehand, we were going in with some very dangerous assumptions ahead of time. But that's not the point of this particular post.
What I'd like to point out is that we got this fight all of three minutes after our previous GCC timer had ran out. Which was a timer we had started thirteen minutes after our previous timer had ended. To any of the naysayers of Lowsec PvP, I point you to times like this. Three fights in under an hour in the belts of low security space.
This is exactly what I felt had been missing. As profitable as being led about by another player with a prober may be, I've always preferred belt Piracy. To me, it's always felt faster paced. You only need to spend a couple of minutes in each system, instead of sometimes getting bogged down by probing for people that just dock up once they see probes. While probing certainly provides a steadier stream of boat violence, belt piracy continues to have higher highs than having others probe down missioners will ever hold for me.