Is there a good way of dealing with Slylandro Probes at the start of Star Control 2?
"Start" means: you have Precursor ship (generally very weak offensively/defensively but loaded out with engines and half-loaded with turning thrusters), with no upgrades yet; an Earth Cruiser or two; a single Spathi ship and 4 Pkunk Furies.
The following tactics seem to NOT work:
Run away in hyperspace:
"No upgrades yet" means that Probes are at least as fast as your ship is in hyperspace, so you seemingly can't outrun them without moving 100% straight line, for LONG distances (which I can't yet afford due to fuel limitations).
Escape every fight once it's joined
Not very optimal as it costs 5 fuel per escape (and several crewmen while the probe hits you since escape isn't instantaneous).
Try to fight every single probe that attacks you. But how?
your main ship
The cannon is too weak and ship's turning too slow to use the main ship to fight.
an Earth Cruiser
Seems too slow to keep distance, and the probe easily evades the missiles.
a single Spathi ship
No plausible tactics I can think of
4 Pkunk Furies.
Marginally effective, but I can't get anywhere better than trading 2-3 Furies per one probe with my tactics. NOT scalable.
Please note that this question pertains to the game beginning, before you have good cannon upgrades on main ship (which is how I remember killing the probes before) and before you have enough range to go meet Slylandro.