Hunters are attack ships sent by the infected Federation to destroy the Daedalus. They will come at you relentlessly. Be prepared.
They will be announced when they appear, and their numbers (but not their types) will be shown on the Alert Bar.
New waves of hunters will not arrive on cycles 2 or 3.
Each new wave will take 1 cycle to adjust, after which they will fire at the Daedalus at the end of every cycle for a random amount of damage (~2 on average, including hit chances). They may also fire at patrol craft, or even at each other (after researching Meridon Scrambler), but mostly target the Daedalus.
To get rid of them, you either have to kill them, or move the Daedalus to avoid/delay them.
Fighting the Hunters
Generally you should select the Hunter you want to aim at before firing, to avoid spreading out your damage or hitting a Transporter by accident. Also the display shows them in a specific order from oldest to newest (up to 17, but always at least one of every type present), so all things being equal you usually want to gun for the old ones in the top right corner first.
Main article: Piloting.
Patrollers, when used with enough , are by far the most effective way to kill hunters. You will have a hard time if you have no characters with Pilot skills.
Main article: Turret.
You can enter any of the 6 turrets and fire at the hunters, but they are less effective than patrol ships. Being a Gunner or Shooter helps. It costs 1 to fire, with only 30% base accuracy to hit, and low base damage.
Moving the Daedalus
You may move the Daedalus to try and outrun the hunters. This will delay ~50% of the standard hunters for a while (more with Trail Minimizer), escape from all asteroids, and all d1000 cubes. Only Trax cannot be shaken this way, and have to be fought when they appear (as do Aracks, so you can move in the first place).
While the Deadalus is moving, even the Hunters that follow you to the destination do not inflict damage that cycle, unless they are Trax.
|To be confirmed: The standard Hunters that lose your trail will reappear at a later point in time.|
This means that a ship with an active Commander could in theory avoid damage indefinitely, as long as it has Fuel to move and is able to take care of Aracks and Trax. In practice, however, moving mostly serves to break up large hunter waves into more manageable bits, or delay them to be dealt with at more opportune times.
On longer voyages, shooting Aracks/Trax and then moving at least once in this way should be the #1 response to hunter/asteroid/cube waves, mostly to get rid of the asteroids and cubes. Keep in mind, however, that the standard hunters have to be fought eventually.
List of Hunters