Friday, 3 July 2009

Running and Gunning

I must do something to relieve these cramps-

This is what comes of lack of exercise-


My sword has gone to sleep!

Cyrano de Bergerac

As an outlaw, I am beginning to feel very much like a goldfish in a tank of piranhas. You travel far and wide and everyone, everyone, seems to be better then you at PVP and piracy in general. You find yourself running from one gate camp in your Rifter into the waiting arms of an AC equipped thrasher in an asteroid belt, out for blood, and your corpse to boot.

As a result, I have found little in the way of fights that could be considered of my class. Miners bolt at the sight of me and AF and HAC pilots catch me unawares at gates and relentlessly chase me through scores of star systems. New players and semi-experienced pirates also seem to be hesitant in engaging me. The result: a massive dry spell, with no end in sight. But what can one do, but fit up a Rifter and go out looking for targets of opportunity?

I logged in tonight with the intention of simply sorting out some logistical work and the associated busywork that goes with piracy. I was running low on ammunition and guns, so I sent my hauler to Dodixie to acquire the necessary items while I lounged around Hevrice for an hour or so, awaiting his return.

When Indy returned, he learned of a tusker fleet forming in Aeschee, with the intention of engaging two hostile ravens in the system. I quickly fitted up my Rifter and undocked from the station, running an abbreviated systems check on the way. I rendezvoused with the remainder of the fleet in Aeschee. Leo Solunar was probing the ravens and was almost able to pinpoint their location when the ravens noticed the probes on their directional scanner. Spooked, the two Caldari battleships bolted and jumped through to Lisbaetanne.

A game of cat and mouse ensued, with Leo camping the station in hopes of catching the location the two ravens as they undocked and went to warp. In the interim, the remainder of the fleet jumped into Jovainnon in order to make it appear as though they had left the locality. As part of the fleet held on the Aeschee gate in Jovainnon, a Hostile rapier jumped in and engaged us. The order was given to point and engage the rapier in the hope that we could swarm it before suffering any casualties.

Unfortunately for me, the Rapier targeted and webbed me first. As I began to cycle up my guns and initialize my target locking software, the hostile Rapier released of flight of 5 Warrior II combat drones and instructed them to engage my Rifter. Warrior II’s, as any Rifter pilot will know, are frigates worst nightmare. The pilot controlled his drones well and seemed to have optimized them for increased damage output. Within seconds, my shields were down and my armor was dropping at an alarming rate. I interrupted the activation cycles on my guns and tackling equipment before they had a chance to engage and aggress he hostile ship, thus preventing me from jumping out of the fight. By this time, the remainder of the fleet had entered the fray and multiple points were called. I was told to get out before my ship was destroyed, and, without hesitation, I activated the gate and jumped into Aeschee. I then re-approached the Jovainnon gate, at the same time activating my repair systems and waited for my repairer to cycle through before reentering the fray.

Luckily for me, my Rifter landed in Jovainnon in the middle of the ensuing fight, a comfortable 5km from my target. The Rapier looked like it was hurting; the pilot seemed to have a tough time managing so many targets and large areas of the ships superstructure were showing through. Not one to dawdle, I cycled my weapon systems on and began targeting the hostile ship, taking care not to activate my warp disruptor, which I would need to point his pod. However, before my targeting systems resolved a lock, the hostile ship exploded in a burst of sapphire blue light and he whipped his escape pod out almost immediately after his ship died. Naturally, I was disappointed, I had not appeared on the killmail (nor had I expected to) or managed to point his pod. The other fleet members reassured me of my significance in the fight. It seemed that it was his engaging me essentially determined the fight. Without me sitting helpless at the gate, the rapier mightn’t have engaged us and there would not have been a fight at all. Still, my thirst for combat had not been placated: I want to destroy, or at least shoot at, a ship.

The fleet safed up in Jovainnon while Leo returned to probing the two ravens that he was looking for previously. Caster, tired of waiting in Aeschee, jumped in to Hevrice and started combing the belts for targets. He accidently engaged a bait ship in his Ishtar and was ganked, in a truly disorderly fashion, by several battleships and a plethora of other tech 1 and 2 frigates, cruisers, and battlecruisers. The remainder of the fleet was helpless to assist him and his Ishtar popped after a minute or so of intense fighting.

Eventually, the hostiles left Hevrice, and fleet members began to enter the system. A Prophecy class battlecruiser was reported at a belt by one of the pilots shortly after the fleet jumped in. The Prophecy class BC is generally considered to be inferior to its counterpart, the Harbinger. The Harbinger is primarily geared towards damage output, with numerous on-board systems designed to optimize the damage output of its powerful laser systems. In contrast, the Prophecy is geared towards tanking, with vey thick armor plating and numerous high tech armor maintenance systems, designed to increase the overall base resistances of the Prophecy’s armor plating.

Taking such factors into account, it became clear that the Prophecy was present as a bait ship. Such suspicions were confirmed when Hud’rilian, a potential applicant to the corp, jumped into the neighboring system of Ranielles to find several of his corp mates waiting on the gate for the ship to be attacked so that they could jump in and destroy the offending fleet.

After a minute or so of delegation, it was decided that the fleet would undock and attempt to attack the offending prophecy, in tech I frigates (what else?) before the pilots support could warp in. Little time was spared in fitting up a plethora of frigates: two Rifters, a Tristan, two Icursii and a Catalyst all undocked form the station after only a couple minutes. Leo ordered us to align to the target asteroid belt so he could fleet warp us there. After a couple of seconds, all of the ships were aligned and the warp was initiated.

The fleet dropped out of warp about 20 km from the Prophecy. Immediately or T1 frigate fleet buzzed to life. I targeted the prophecy and ordered my navigation systems to approach the Amarr battlecruiser. My afterburner engaged with a satisfying roar and I burned towards the target at close to 1 km per second. I was 20km out and closing fast.

20km…15km…10km …7,500m… POINT!

My warp scrambler buzzed to life, disrupting the target’s navigational systems. My hands were a blur as they raced over various controls: managing my cap flow, activating and reloading guns and keeping my ship orbiting at a relatively tight 5,000m orbit.

The Prophecy responded in kind, launching a flight of Warrior II’s and activating tackling and weapon systems of his own against the various members of the fleet. Within seconds, Caster Rom’s Incursis melted under the combined power of the Warrior II’s and the Prophecy’s laser systems, followed by Robert Mason in his Catalyst and VC Charlie in his Tristan. Now the gang was down to 3 people: myself and Hud’rilian in Rifters, and Leo Solunar in his Incursis. We managed to finish the remainder of the Prophecy’s shields off and then began to work on the Amarr Battlecruiser’s heavy armor plating. Rounds of barrage and bolts of plasma pounded against the thick armor systems. The specially hardened rounds of projectile ammunition ricocheted and deflected, even shattered, against the ship, but to no avail. However, we persisted, pumping round after round of Barrage into the Prophecy, in the vain hope of destroying the ship before his support arrived.

Suddenly, my overview started to fill up with ships; a mixed bag of Cruisers, Battlecruisers and a Battleship or two. The order was given to disengage and ‘get out’ as fast as possible. I navigated away from the Prophecy managing to put 7 km of distance between me and him before he engaged his tackling systems upon my ship. Suddenly, my ship’s speed slowed dramatically and my overview began to flash yellow, indicating that the hostile fleet had locked their weapon systems on my- now relatively fragile- Rifter. Within seconds my shields and much of my armor had evaporated. I was relying on some of my armor and the very superstructure of my ship to hold until I could get out of range of his scrambler and disengage. Another volley from the ships and my Rifter was on fire, trailing bits of loose debris as I struggled to keep the ship from spiraling out of control.

Suddenly, I was out of scram range and my warp drives mercifully, miraculously, engaged. I sped away from the fight, thankful to still be in a ship, albeit one that was only intact due to my knowledge of on-board mechanics. I found a safe spot close to the station and began repairing my armor systems myself, allowing wave after wave of nanites to repair my tattered armor plating. Eventually, the police cooled to my presence and I warped to the station and docked up for the night. Finally my thirst for a fight was quenched.

And Sunray XI lives to fight another day…

1 comment:

  1. Good read mate!

    It is a pain when you are in the middle of a dry spell. :/