My brand new clone awakes in Abudan, a jump out of Rens. I warp over to the trade hub to grab a new Manticore and kit it out. Now my funds are fairly limited at the moment so while it was tempting to look at polarised torpedo launchers I'm not going to put a launcher worth more than the ship itself let alone 3 of them on a ship I'm reasonably certain I will lose in the near future. Having said that, I have previously put a faction scram on an Astero that was worth about 50 million ISK more than the ship and fittings combined and promptly lost that, but that's another story.
Anyways, here's the Manticore fit I'm currently running with:
Overheated 533 DPS with a volley of 4206 using Caldari Navy Scourge Torpedoes to take advantage of the Manticore's natural 15% bonus to kinetic damage. I won't go too much into the fit, suffice to say that most of my targets will be not be the most speediest of ships so I'm not too worried about reducing the impact of my targets speed vs the explosion speed of my torps. I'm more looking to a) reduce my explosion radius on the torpedos themselves via skills and the Rigor Catalyst II rig and b) increasing the signature radius of my targets via a pair of target painters. With both painters running we should be getting towards applying close to full damage against some cruiser hulls substantially increasing the potential engagement profile of my bomber.
I named my new bomber "Return" to you know, mark my return to New Eden. I don't know what it is but jeez it felt good to be back in the saddle of a covert, sexy weapon of mass destruction. I straight away headed out and found a wormhole a couple of jumps from Rens and began searching for prey.
|If you see this happen, there will probably be torpedoes heading your way pretty soon.|
A few wormholes down the chain I found a Retriever at an ore anomaly. I was dumbstruck, I have never, ever seen someone mining in a wormhole. But I am not one to complain, so I slow boated my way carefully down past all the asteroids and into position to launch an attack. I aligned out to a safe just in case this was some kind of elaborate bait, took a deep breathe and decloaked, targeted, torps, painter, painter, point, overload everything. I pinged dscan a couple of times but I didn't see any response from the local tower, but just as the Retriever entered armour he warped back to his tower. I knew from checking the Retriever pilots kill board that he had previously lost a Retriever that had a warp stabiliser fit, so I wasn't 100% surprised. I convoed him and asked as much, to which he replied he didn't have any stabs on that ship which confused me a bit as he was still within my overheated point range. I'm guessing that I accidentally turned off my point when I tried to overheat it - sigh.
Onwards I go, until I find a new wormhole with a couple of pilots online but sitting nice and comfy within their POS shield. Oddly enough there is an Epithal on scan but not here at the tower. Quick working of my Dscan confirms that the PI hauler is not at one of the systems POCOs and it doesn't appear to be at a POS - it's out in space somewhere. Working Dscan a bit further I'm able to narrow the Epithal's position down to within 3 AU of one of the inner planets at an angle upwards from the horizontal plane. Now given I have a core probe launcher currently equipped I'm not going to be able to scan the ship down unless I get myself refit with the spare expanded probe launcher I have in my cargo bay. I warp out to the outer planet which is thankfully out of Dscan range of the occupied tower and drop my mobile depot that I keep on hand for just such occasions. Once the depot is active I swap the extended probe launcher with the core probe launcher - I pretty much have to offline everything to get the extended probe launcher to fit due to the CPU requirements. I launch a set of combat probes and throw them out of the system to avoid them being seen before warping back to the inner planet to set up my combat probe scan.
Once I'm back at the inner planet I position the combat probes with a 1AU scan range around where I think the Epithal is and take a deep breath before hitting scan. The combat probes flash into action, repositioning themselves as instructed and begin scanning the area. I ping dscan the whole time the probes are doing their thing before quickly recovering them after they produce a 100% warpin on the Epithal - the probes were on dscan for about 4 seconds. I'm feeling pretty happy with myself about this, until I see a Proteus on dscan over at the occupied tower. Looks like they were paying attention over there. I quickly warp back to my depot, refit to my normal fit and scoop the depot before warping directly to the Epithal. There it is, 20km away, un piloted. Dscan doesn't show that Proteus anymore, which could be a problem but if I get it set up right I should be ok even if that Proteus is lurking nearby. I get myself a little bit closer, align to a safe, decloak, torps, painter, pa.... POP!!! The Epithal pops after a single volley, so I warp off to the safe.
Ok ok, it was against an unpiloted ship, but I was really happy in the way I was able to adapt to the situation and then get combat probes onto a target with such a short timeframe that the probes were visible to any potential threats. I'm going to take it and call it a win.
To celebrate I've decided to deck my Manticore in one of CCP's new SKINs: