Entry: six hundred sixty-six.
I only tried combat probing in null once, long before yesterday. My results back then were pretty shaky, and I was certain I was no good and in need of some serious teaching. Seven months have passed since then, no additional training in combat probing obtained, no practice completed, leaving me only with the theoretical knowledge that I possessed before my first attempt back then.
Yesterday, the fleet commander was asking for a cloaky prober. No one was volunteering despite repeated calls. I offered myself up as a last resort if a more experienced once could not be found, and as can be guessed, a more experienced one was not found to accompany the fleet.
FC set destination for 3-F from 1DH-. Jump bridges were down, in part because of Raiden hitting them, in part because of Atlas merging into Cascade, so we took the long route through the Z3V- gate.
My first failure occurred in L-6. I reported what appeared to be a cyno on a station and a Thantos at that cyno. I had not, however, actually warped towards the cyno, and when the FC ordered a Drake to warp in and aggress, the Drake ended up pinned on a tower on a moon near the station. The FC replaced his ship and gave me a mild scolding.
To be fair, I didn't promise good results when we set out, saying that while I was technically capable, I didn't have any practice in the art of playing hide and seek.
We continued our trek towards 3-F, and I jumped in alone from 0TKF-. I bounced above the Efa gate and caught sight of a gatecamp: three drakes, a dramiel, a hound, and a firetail, with two drag bubbles, most likely set up from the 0TKF- and I1Y- gate. I should have checked, but didn't have the presence of mind to do so at the time.
I warped down to the gate as the Drakes approached the drag bubbles, settling approximately forty kilometers off the Efa gate towards the bubbles. I reported being within five of one Drake and ten of a second, the third nearly back at the Efa gate. FC ordered interdictors to jump in and drop bubbles.
Unfortunately, five people jumped into 3-F, a fact I missed as I watched the Drakes align to safes and warp off. I decloaked and began the targeting sequence a second too late to catch any of the Drakes on the gate with either my Warp disruptor II or my Warp Scrambler II.
I deployed probes, and began scanning. Thanks to my earlier scanning attempts in L-6, I had a capital class and up filter active while scanning for Drakes, only realizing the mistake five minutes in. I quickly changed the filter to scan for all ship signatures, knowing that I was looking for a Drake, and picked up a full Drake signature at a belt near planet ten.
I warped in at ten, approached, decloaked, laid down both points and called for support. The Drake targeted me, opened fire, salvo after salvo smashing shields and armor as I attempted to keep my signature radius small and fast with an afterburner. Some seconds later, an interdictor landed, bubble went up, I aligned out and took another two salvos on the align out before exiting the disruption bubble and warping. The fleet cleaned him up for me. I escaped with thirty-nine percent armor integrity.
After another few minutes of scanning, I determined I wasn't going to get any hits. I should have had the fleet warp to a specific safespot so that I could ignore their signatures and probe some more, but again the presence of mind escaped me.
On the trip back, we stopped in L-6 again, and I managed to find a ratting Raiden Tempest in an asteroid belt with just directional scan. I warped to the belt at twenty, saw the tempest aligned, and approached. At ten, I decloaked and attempted to lay down both of my points only to have the ratter warp to station and dock.
In retrospect, I should have simply continued the approach and bumped him first, laying down the points once I was automatically decloaked.
Suffice to say, being the prober is a difficult task.
Computer: terminate recording.