Wow, he abandoned ship again! I wonder if I should leave the abandoned ship at the witchspace point, hurry to the planet, and save? Does flotsam get saved? Or is it forgotten with a save? Of course, others may take care of it before I return...
Ok here's what I've learned. I left the derelict at the witchpoint while I docked at the station. I bought fuel, checked F7 (it gave that same message about the bad pirate in-system), saved the game, and launched. When I returned to the witchpoint, the derelict constrictor was still there.
Then I accidentally hit energy bomb and destroyed the witchpoint and the derelict constrictor. Oops! Rather than take credit for the kill, I quit and reloaded the saved game in which I had left the derelict at the witchbuoy. On returning to the witchbuoy, the constrictor was reconstituted and in fighting fettle, again! I suppose while I was gone someone took it over, repaired any damage, and have taken up where the last fellow left off...
Before I left the witchpoint to save the game, did I mention that in cold blood I gunned down the last fellow's escape capsule? I haven't done that before, but I didn't want him to turn around and repossess that abandoned constrictor.
Anyway, I now have an oolite-save file with the constrictor reliably appearing at the system's witchpoint.
I've learned that if you leave the derelict in order to dock & save the game, then return, the derelict can still be there intact (it was for me, anyway).
I've learned that if you quit and then RELOAD that savegame, the derelict will have reconstituted into a full-up fighting round.
Well, this has been such a great deal of fun! I think I'll enjoy struggling with that combat one more time before I move on!