Monday, June 30, 2008

Ares

While I have been enamored with and busy flying my Taranis, I have been neglecting the other Gallente interceptor that I am qualified to fly. The Ares is a very different beast from the Taranis. Instead of being designed for damage and direct combat, it is intended for speed and the ability to lock down the warp drives of ships from a distance. Due to my financial success the past few weeks, I decided to spend some of the money that was burning a hole in my pocket on an Ares interceptor and try flying it for a day.

Sweet Revenge

I stepped into "Scary Ares" and took a deep breath. That new ship smell permeated the air and I marveled at the soft and clean shag carpeting I had custom ordered from the dealer in Jita. I sat down in the all too familiar pilots seat and did a diagnostics check. Everything about this ship reminded me of my Taranis with just a few subtle changes... both ships are after all based on the same hull of the Atron frigate. With everything appearing in order, I requested permission from the tower to undock and slowly made my way out of the station. Once we had traveled a few kilometers I decided to see what this baby could do. I aligned for open space, popped open the glass cover on the MicrowarpDrive button and gave it a jab. The massive engines roared and I was thrown back in my seat as my new ship sped ahead. In a few moments we had reached our maximum speed and I was excited to see that we were cruising at well over 6500 m/s. About 50% faster than my Taranis!

Eager to see how the performance would be in actual combat, I began to patrol my normal systems. A few jumps down I discovered a few ships on scan, a Merlin frigate, a Brutix battlecruiser and a Comorant destroyer all were nearby. I warped in on the Comorant, leisurely dropped into a distant 20km orbit and began poking him with my railguns. The damage I was doing was absolutely pitiful and it took several minutes to finally break through and destroy his ship. This was a completely different type of experience than the thrilling (and suicidal) Taranis. Next I scanned down the Merlin and warped to his belt as well. I landed just in time to find the Brutix already sitting over the Merlin's mangled wreck! To make matters even more interesting, the pilot of the Brutix was the SAME pilot who had defeated me in a one-versus-one Taranis fight just the other day!

I called to a nearby corp-mate in the system flying a Crow and together we locked down and began pinging the Brutix from afar. We were doing almost no damage but the Brutix could do absolutely nothing to hit or catch us as we orbited from afar. I sent a message out to our entire corporation to let them know we had trapped a wonderfully juicy target and that we needed some backup. Soon, several other pilots arrived and we burned the Brutix down to a heap of scraps.

Angry Cerberus

*crunch*

I flipped up my ships scanner with my left hand as my right one was covered with orange dust from the Cheetos I was eating. I hit the scan button and again saw that there was a Cerberus heavy assault ship somewhere nearby.

*crunch* *crunch*

I had attempted to scan him down to a specific object earlier but had been unable to do so. He was probably off in the middle of space somewhere. "We don't have the firepower to compete with a HAC anyhow", I thought to myself as I watched the Cerberus suddenly warp in and appear on my ships overview. Frozen in surprise for just a moment I snapped out of it and quickly threw my Cheetos down all over my brand new shag carpeting. Was he looking for a fight or was this just a random accident? I locked him and dropped into a 22km orbit with my warp disruptor and MicrowarpDrive running. I did not have the capability to do any damage but at my current speed and in my current ship there was absolutely nothing his heavy missiles could do to stop me from scrambling him.

I called to my gang and they sprung into action. My mates in a Blackbird, Taranis and Thorax all dropped out of warp and engaged my target as well. With the Blackbird using ECM to jam the Cerberus he was completely helpless as we slowly poked away at his shields. He was doomed to lose his very expensive ship, so I opened a comm channel and made a ransom attempt:

[03:27:17] Spectre3353 > we have a myrm in auro about to jump in
[03:27:23] Spectre3353 > pay 50mil right now and we will let your ship go
[03:27:24] Angry Cerberus > and?
[03:27:25] Spectre3353 > you have 30 seconds
[03:27:31] Angry Cerberus > go f*ck yourself
[03:27:37] Spectre3353 > fair enough

We most certainly did NOT have a Myrmidon battlecruiser about to jump into the system but sometimes you have to lie and exaggerate to get what you want. Regardless, it appeared that this pilot was not going to cooperate so I let my gang know and we finished the job. The Cerberus pilot was very angry. I picked my Cheetos back up off the floor and began to eat while we listened to our victim rant over the local channel...

*crunch*

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mano-a-mano

My Taranis slowly drifted out from behind the shadow of one of the many planets in the Dantumi system. I had been taking a nice afternoon nap and groggily powered up my directional scanner to see who was in the area. I slowly sifted through the garbage in the list... asteroid... planet... hot dog stand... Taranis interceptor... Starbucks... wait... what is this? Another Taranis? I quickly adjusted and refined my scanner direction and pinpointed his location directly towards a nearby stargate. After only a moments hesitation, I punched my own ship into warp and began my approach towards the gate.

I had only ever fought one other Taranis in a one-versus-one situation and had won out thanks to some Serpentis pirates in the belt jamming my opponent. I was wary as to whether or not I could actually win in a completely fair fight being that I am still a young, inexperienced and somewhat unskilled pilot. I landed on the gate and noticed that my opponent was a pirate himself, with a bounty and that I could engage him immediately at the gate without fear of repercussion. I locked him, launched my combat drones, closed range and began cycling my ion blasters before I was even close to optimal range. My opponent was apparently not taken by surprise by my arrival or immediate engagement because he did the same and the duel began. It would not be a duel of skill or wit but simply a matter of offensive ferocity. Whoever could pour on the damage faster would come out of this fight alive. I watched as our shields and armor disapeared at an almost identical rate and as both our ships began leaking gas, exploding and collapsing...

Someones ship exploded and it was mine. My opponents ship looked as though it could barely even limp itself home but he had outlasted me and I quickly warped away, disappointed and beat in my capsule.

I later on got in contact with my opponent and discussed our encounter. He told me that he fits his ship in slightly more offensive manner than mine. He had fit neutron blasters (slightly more powerful than my ion's) but I honestly didn't think that was what had made the difference. It was the years of skill and experience he had beyond me that had won him the fight. If I had only been able to fire one more volley then I very likely would have destroyed his ship...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

True Love

Tomorrow marks the two week anniversary of the day that I stepped into a Taranis. In those two weeks, I have amassed eighty-eight kills with the ship, including pods. It is already the number one ship on my list as far as kills and I have only lost three of them so far in combat situations. I have been able to successfully take on frigates, destroyers, cruisers, battlecruisers, interceptors, assault frigates, stealth bombers, heavy assault cruisers and exhumers. Just yesterday, I tangled with a well equipped Claw interceptor and came out on top. In his loot was a piece of faction loot worth 20 to 30 million ISK. So while my fitted interceptors are expensive at over 15 million ISK per ship, I have had no problem breaking even or even making money because of the fact that the kill ratio is so good. Cruisers might be more insurable but they never last very long when roaming solo. Flying even a slow interceptor like the Taranis still keeps me from ever getting caught at gate camps and gives me the ability to dictate what and when to engage and disengage.

Instead of training up to fly any other type of ships, I have decided to continue training the gunnery and navigation skills that will make my Taranis (and other interceptors) more effective. In addition to this, I am going to begin learning how to pilot Amarr ships so that I can eventually step into a Crusader interceptor. The Crusader is faster and its fighting style a bit more subdued as it fires its deadly lasers from outside of web range. It will be a good compliment to the close range Taranis. My only real complaint about the Taranis is that when flying in gangs, it will wind up being useless in a portion of the encounters. In a gang, we will attack larger targets that my interceptor cannot tangle with at close range and I will be forced to simply orbit at far with my scram on and my drones attacking while my blasters remain cold and lifeless. The Crusader should fit this role much better. Think of the Taranis as my wife and the Crusader as my girlfriend on the side.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Driving While Intoxicated And The Price On My Head

DWI

I have always enjoyed beer. It is pretty common for me to sit down with a six-pack of Juk'ta and drink it. It is also pretty common for me to finish the six-pack and then find another six-pack and drink that one too. Usually after consuming large quantities of this alcohol I will crawl into my warm, safe bunk in the station, vomit somewhere on the sheets, fall asleep and then dream of flying an Ishtar. Occasionally instead of this result I will decide that getting into my ship and flying around smashed is a good idea. Sure it is moderately illegal but when you are wanted by the empire, have a 5 million isk bounty on your head and your profession is to destroy peoples ships and then possibly murder them, this isn't really much of a roadblock.

So one thing leads to another and I am flying around in my Taranis, lit up and barely able to figure out how to toggle my microwarpdrive. As I am sitting there trying to decide whether or not the button I am about to press is the self-destruct, a call comes in over my corporations channel. It appears that one of my Crusader flying friends has locked down a Maller in a belt and needs help! I strapped myself in and quickly punched in a course for the proper system. A few jumps later I have arrived at the location and am barreling towards the belt that my fellow pilot had specified. Being in the state that I was, I did not scan and I did not ask any questions before bursting out of warp and seeing that not only was my cohort and the Maller in the belt, but so was a Drake battlecruiser! "NO PROBLEM!" I yelled drunkenly to no one in particular as I completely ignored the Drake and opened fire upon the Maller. About thirty seconds later I was warping away in my pod, wondering how the Drake had managed to blow me to pieces.

Let this be a lesson to all you pilots out there. Drinking and flying is dangerous and can get people killed. Unfortunately, this time it was me that did the dying.

The Price On My Head

A few days ago, I was floating around a system searching for targets. The selection had been uncharacteristically sparse and I was ready to take just about anything when a pilot began chattering in the local system channel. The conversation immediately turned to how pirates are terrible people (which I made sure to eagerly agree about) and how the pilot was in a shuttle and just looking for a good moon to put up a new station. I invited this potential victim to my fleet, informed him that I was at an excellent spot for a station and then killed and podded him as soon as he was stupid enough to warp to me. Not wanting to discuss the events that had just transpired, I ignored his hails as he attempted to contact me afterwards and instead watched Star Wars: Episode 157 - Jar Jar Binks Super-Jedi on my ships console. The next day when I awoke I found that someone had added five million ISK to my bounty! Neat!

Today I received a hail from the CEO of my corporation. We opened a private channel and he started the conversation by asking me: "Have you ever wondered what the price is on your head?" Well it turns out that the pilot whom I tricked and podded was actually a very wealthy ship producer. My CEO had purchased a ship from him recently and the angry pilot had made him an offer. If I were to be destroyed and podded, he would give him a free Archon carrier. I don't have much knowledge in the way of carrier's or capital ships but from my research I have estimated it's value at approximately 1,100,000,000 ISK. One-point one BILLION ISK is what was being offered for my untimely death. My loyal CEO told him that he would not betray me which was very swell of him and I am stoked to know that someone hates me enough that they would be willing to lose billions simply to ensure that I lost a frigate and a clone with no implants.

in·fa·mous (adjective)
1.having an extremely bad reputation: an infamous city.
2.deserving of or causing an evil reputation; shamefully malign; detestable: an infamous deed.

Friday, June 20, 2008

War

...is starting to appear on our doorstep. Just last night while our pirate gang was roaming we ran into the a local militia fleet. We were about to move a brand new Carcal cruiser that one of our victims had hastily abandoned in an attempt to flee. Needless to say after one look at the scanner we just left the ship and made a beeline to get several systems away as fast as possible:

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Muninn

I am not sure if it is the war that has broken out around the region but the number of juicy targets in and around our hunting systems has continued to get better and better. In the past couple of days I have been part of gangs that took down several smaller cruisers, a rigged Crow interceptor, a Ferox, a tech II fitted Hurricane and a Muninn heavy assault cruiser. I have also found some interesting targets while solo including a Hulk mining barge being attacked by a Claw interceptor. I jumped in on that fight and ganked the Claw but unfortunately let the Hulk slip away. Three of the gang kills have paid ransom for their pods for an amount totalling 50 million ISK. Even though these ransoms have been split four or five ways between the gang, this plus the loot from the wrecks has proven to be very lucrative. The money part is important because I am already on my fourth Taranis, having lost the third to a quick Thorax pilot yesterday (but he too went down in the end). Losing three interceptors in only my first week as a Taranis pilot might sound rough but I don't feel so bad when I look at the killboard and see that I have been part of 62 kills with the ship already (38 if you don't count pods).

The Muninn is the first heavy assault cruiser I have been part of killing. I tend to avoid them as they are some of the nastiest combat ships in the universe versus smaller ships like I fly. Every time I see an Ishtar or Vagabond on scan I run away screaming like a little girl. So when our CEO, flying a Stabber, decided that we should engage a Muninn pilot in the system, I had my doubts. I am already scared of the tech I version of the Muninn, the Rupture, so I could only imagine the pain that a tech II version of the ship could put out. I was flying my Taranis and we had two ECM boats in our gang as well, a Blackbird and a Kitsune.

My CEO in the Stabber played cat and mouse for a few minutes with the Muninn pilot before finally landing on him and locking him down. In the few moments it took for our ECM pilots to warp to the combat zone, his Stabber was already in low armor and he had no choice but to back off until the Muninn was jammed. The Kitsune and Blackbird did their thing and jammed him and I warped in as well and began pouring on the damage at close range. I was looking around everywhere, waiting for the five light drones that he could carry to appear and begin to pulverize me but they never showed up! A pilot with the experience and money to be flying a heavy assault cruiser and he didn't even bother putting drones in his bay? With his targetting computers permanently jammed and no drones, he could do nothing but sit and watch as we destroyed his expensive ship. It just goes to show that a ships setup and the pilot behind its controls are just as important as the ship itself.

UPDATE: Just an updated note. I checked the kill information on the Muninn pilot and he DID have Warrior II drones in his drone bay. Why he did not launch them when we had so many small and fragile ships that they could have harassed, I do not know.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ask And Ye Shall Receive

Well I asked for some more action and myself and my corporation mates certainly got it. Since my last posting here I have been involved in the destruction of 1 shuttle, 5 frigates, 4 destroyers, 8 cruisers, 1 battlecruiser and 16 pods. At the end of this glorious spree I did again lose a Taranis but this time it was to CONCORD station guns shooting me down even though I had no criminal timer! I have petitioned for them to replace my ship due to the error but I am not holding my breath for reimbursement.

Here are the stories from a couple of these recent kills:

Ratting in Lowsec Never Pays:

I had seen this same pilot ratting in belts several times in the system that we call our home. He flies a Carcal but has always been smart enough to watch local and his scanner. He always seems to just be warping off as I arrive and then he hugs the station watching the scanner to see if we leave. It is very rare to find pilots in low security space who are this smart about ratting because once most pilots get intelligence and experience, they realize that ratting in lowsec is NOT a smart or lucrative way to make money.

So this day he was doing the same thing again. Ratting but being very careful and docking up or hugging the station the instant we started hunting him. Our gang was large and obvious, being made up of two Rifters, a Wolf, a Crow and myself in my Taranis. It didn't appear we would get him using brute force so instead we came up with a trap to lure him into. We had all the ships in the gang jump into the system next door or at least warp off to safe a spot out of scan range of the main cluster of belts. This would make it so that the Carcal pilot would not notice us on scanner and only a couple of us would still be in local. After waiting a few minutes, myself and the Crow jumped back into the system, aligned together towards the main cluster of belts and warped into the first belt on the list. The idea was that we could quickly scan down exactly which belt he was in and then lock him down for the rest of our gang to warp in and finish the kill. Partway through the warp I realized the scanning part wouldn't even be necessary... we were about to land right on top of him! Upon dropping out of warp next to our prey, we turned on our warp disruptor's and held the poor guy still in time for our entire gang to warp in and explode his ship.

As a bonus, another Thorax cruiser that was not involved with either party warped in during the fight and we managed to nab him as well. It's great to see a well executed plan come together.

Yet Another Newb In A Drake:

Over the past week, my corp has several times encountered a pilot who flies an Amarr Crusader interceptor. The Crusader is a fast ship with long range weapons and can be quite deadly. One pilot in my corporation lost a Crow interceptor to this pilot and I myself nearly lost my first Taranis but was saved by a rat's target jammer. Ever since these encounters, I have been avoiding this pilot every time i see him and even letting him know over the local channels that I wanted nothing to do with his interceptor-killing interceptor. During one of these discussions, the pilot inquired as to whether or not we had room in our corporation for his services. Of course we would be interested in a skilled interceptor pilot so we began a short interview with our CEO.

During this interview, I was flying around the belts of my home system trying to track down a Stabber cruiser. In the process of checking a belt for the Stabber, I warped right in on top of a Drake battlecruiser I had not even noticed on scan! I locked him down first with my warp disruptor and then did a quick check on the pilot. He was only a month old... this seemed like it could be a juicy kill but I was quickly reminded of the last time I locked down a new-ish Drake pilot and was punished by losing my first interceptor. Immediately I interrupted the interview that was still going on and asked the Crusader pilot, as well as my corporation to come and assist me in the belt. After a minute we had a gang of myself in a Taranis, a Crusader and a Carcal all pounding on the Drake.

My ship was beaten into structure and I was out of capacitor energy to run my microwarpdrive, so I warped off to a safe spot and contemplated what to do. How could we finish this guy off? I could not currently dock up in my Taranis to get a cruiser or else I would be shot by the gate guns. My CEO, listening in on the action, suggested that I eject from my ship, leave it out in space and return to the station in my pod. It sounded crazy but I gave it a shot. I docked up in my pod, grabbed a Vexor, returned to the scene of the fight and proceeded to finish off the Drake's armor and structure. We finished the kill and grabbed the loot just in time to flee from a curious Dominix battleship that warped into the belt.

We returned to the interview and I immediately gave the Crusader pilot my vote. He had done a great job keeping the Drake safely locked down while we figured out how to kill it. It isn't often you get to see a hands on job application.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Taranis

A couple days ago I earned the right to start flying Gallente interceptors. There are two ships in this category, the Ares and the Taranis. The Ares is a quick and nimble interceptor that is ideal for gangs and locking targets down for the rest of your group to deal with but the real reason I have been working towards this ship class is for the Taranis. Compared to most interceptors, the Taranis is slow as hell but it makes up for it with the fact that it can unleash a fantastic amount of firepower. Rather than comparing it to other interceptors, I have been planning towards this ship the mindset that it is an upgrade to my Incursus. It is a very comparable ship except for the fact that it deals 25% more blaster damage, can carry one extra drone, is twice as fast, can tank a little bit more damage, gets a bonus to signature radius and propulsion jamming capacitor costs, etc etc etc... Virtually the only disadvantage from my Incursus is that this ship costs about 10 times as much to purchase and fit.

So I had a corporation member pick me up a Taranis and the fittings for it from Jita during a trip. The ship arrived and I arranged a pretty standard blaster fit I have seen many other pilots use:

3x Light Ion Blaster II's w/ Faction Antimatter

1x 1MN Microwarpdrive II
1x X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
1x J5 Prototype Warp Inhibitor

1x Damage Control II
1x Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
1x Overdrive Injector System II

2x Hobgoblin II

In my first couple of days I have destroyed 8 ships, podded 4 pilots and lost 1 Taranis. Unfortunately I have not really had a kill yet in any situation where my Incursus would not have done just as well but good targets have been scarce. The one loss occurred when I found a very inexperienced pilot in a Drake ratting. I attempted to destroy him solo and got him about halfway through his shields before having to back off and orbit at range with my microwarpdrive running. I held him in place for at least five minutes while trying to find someone from my corporation to bring in more firepower. A simple tech I cruiser would have been enough but unfortunately no one was available. Starting to get desperate, I opened a channel with the pilot and let him know that I had a gang about to warp in and only 20 million isk would save his ship. It was a downright lie and he did not even respond to my request. A few moments later, a pilot in an Ishtar jumped in and landed right on top of me. I attempted to microwarpdrive away but he webbed me down and destroyed my already battered ship.

A lackluster start to my career as an interceptor pilot but it certainly hasn't been the ships fault. Hopefully some more appropriate targets will start popping up so I can really test what she can do.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Burritos

Every pilot deserves a nice break after a hard day of combat. So after a nice stretch of killing a Bantam, a Tristan, a Thrasher, two Rifters and two Carcals (and barely missing encounters with several other ships) I launched myself off to a safe spot in the middle of space and took a few minutes to relax. My stomach growled at me and I realized that the Baja Fresh burrito I had eaten at the station food court earlier in the day was not sitting too well. I grabbed the latest issue of Consumer Reports and took care of business in my Incursus's luxurious washroom. When I was all done reading about the most fuel effecient 2008 frigate models, I gave a stretch and slowly made my way back into the cockpit. Just as I looked out the glass into the vast stretch of emptiness, a ship warped in right in front of my eyes! I must have been scanned down! I jumped into the pilots seat and jammed in a course for anywhere-but-here and quickly warped away before the Huginn who had scanned down my safe spot could make a move. Damn you Minmitar recon ships.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Huginn

Over the past several days since rejoining PC, I have accumulated a number of kills in my Incursus and Vexor and I have lost only one frigate to gate guns due to my own stupidity. Finding lots of action and accumulating kills without losing my own ships is quite optimal in my current situation, as I am beginning to run out of money. I have virtually no income outside of my victims loot, which has not been that stellar. Knowing that I want to be able to afford to buy a couple of interceptors at the end of this week, I spent almost all my current savings to buy a new Myrmidon, my fourth (of the previous three, two were lost and one was sold). I bought some mediocre T1 fittings, had a friend haul it to lowsec for me, fit it with SIX warp stabilizer modules and began a 25 jump journey to a system that housed Gallente Federation Navy agents. Hopefully I could use this ship and the agents in order to provide an income for myself so that I would be able to afford fun little tech II ships and high grade modules to equip them.

A few jumps into the trip, I ran into a gate camp of a battleship and a couple other smaller ships. I calmly ignored their attempts to scramble me as I had equipped my ship to be able to run through blockades such as this. Several more jumps beyond that, I was almost to my destination and again, ran into a couple ships apparently camping a gate. This time it was two Huginn's, which are Minmatar Force Recon ships, just like the Rapier that I absolutely despise. I ignored their attempts to lock and scramble and ordered my ship to align and warp to the next gate. My ship hit the appropriate speed and was almost warping when one of the Huginn's bumped me! My ship was knocked out of alignment and the opposing pilot continued to bump me over and over to prevent my ship from being able to warp. Slowly I watched my shields, armor and structure deplete as they both unleashed their drones and guns. I watched in disbelief as my brand new Myrmidon exploded. It had carried nothing much of value, but the ship and modules had cost me about 35 million ISK. I had not even insured it properly yet!

Inside I felt a fury that only a Minmatar Force Recon ship can cause. How have the Minmatar not yet taken over the universe when they seem to be able to smother all other ships so effectively? It is like trying to fight a cheetah while I have one arm tied behind my back, I am half buried in quicksand and I have a burlap sack on my head. Of course the cheetah would have giant guns and combat drones. Perhaps this isn't the greatest analogy but I can say that Minmatar technology certainly scares the crap out of me and this is the third instance in the recent weeks where their Force Recon ships have cost me a LOT of money and caused me a LOT of frustration.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Series Of Firsts

The new hunting grounds we have moved to are pretty solid so far. Things are a bit more spread out and there is a much larger variety of ships. In the first few days I have seen newbs in frigates, barges and battlecruisers as well as veterans in motherships and carriers (and everything in between). Because of the wonderful variety, I have already run into several situations that resulted in kills on types of ships I have never managed to kill previously.

Mining Barge:

I had never seen someone actually mining in a barge in low security space before. I had heard people talk about such occurrences but as far as I was concerned, it was just a myth. Well for the first time ever, I did find a lonely, unprotected Retriever mining barge sitting in a belt in lowsec. I warped in and found him at the center of the belt and immediately locked and attacked with my Incursus. I was so certain that it had to be a trap that I just killed, podded, looted and ran as quickly as I could. It wasn't until a bit later that I realized I probably could have ransomed that sort of ship for at least 10 million isk which would be way more than the 1 million I made off the loot. Regardless I was still happy with my first barge kill.

Interceptor:

Generally, interceptors are a very tough breed of ship to lock down and destroy. They are extremely quick and most pilots are smart enough to fly them in a manner that they won't get caught and killed. Until this point, I have never managed to snag one whether it be solo or as part of a gang.

As I jumped through a gate and landed on the other side, I noticed a Malediction interceptor. Since I am a blinky red pirate, the guns at the gate will not defend me and the interceptor decided to lock and scramble me before I could warp away. I immediately had that feeling of dread that comes with knowing I am trapped and very soon after a friend of his jumped into the system as well and began attacking me. The ship he was piloting was called a Retribution and I was not familiar with it (as I am not familiar with most Amarr ships). I assumed it was some sort of Battlecruiser or Command Ship and completely panicked... I recalled my Warrior II drones that I had sent after the interceptor and made a mad dash for the jump gate. I smacked myself as I realized I could not jump through until the 60 second aggression timer was up (because I had engaged the Malediction). Finally, I calmed down and looked at what type of ship the Retribution was and realized it was simply an assault frigate! This fight was nothing I couldn't handle in my Vexor. I immediately relaunched my Warrior II's and turned my blasters on the interceptor who was now in very close to me, blasting away and probably thinking I was not going to fight back. He tried to flee once he realized what was going on but he was webbed and it was too late. His ship was destroyed.

Next, I turned my blasters on the assault frigate and I sent out the Hammerhead medium drones. At this point I was in low armor and the Retribution was doing enough damage to me that I started to worry about whether or not I would make it. I used my web and MWD to get out to a 15km orbit where I could continue to scramble and DPS with my drones, but the assault frigate could not catch me or hit me with its guns. For minutes I sat there watching my drones attempt to break the ships armor tank, but to no avail! Had I kept at it a bit longer, he may have finally run out of capacitor to run his repairer but I was tired of sitting exposed and with almost no armor left right next to a busy gate in lowsec. I recalled my drones and warped off and thanked my opponents for a fun fight.

Battlecruiser:

So to be fair, I have destroyed battlecruisers before. A matter of fact, my very first kill ever was on a Hurricane. That being said, these were just situations where I was in a gang where someone else did all the work and I was just learning the ropes flying a dinky and ineffective frigate. The battlecruiser kill I got this time was the first where I actually played a significant role in the discovery and destruction.

I was cruising the belts of my new home system when I caught a Ferox battlecruiser on scan. Nothing about such an occurrence would usually pique my curiosity but also on scan were a couple of assorted tech I drones. Why would a Ferox be in an asteroid belt by itself with a couple random cheap drones? I warped in at 100km to see what the pilots name was and checked his information. He had only graduated from the academy less than two months ago! A new pilot in a battlecruiser ratting is a juicy target so I followed him to the next belt and engaged in my little Incursus frigate. While his guns couldnt hit me, he did immediately return fire with missiles and his drones and I did not stick around long enough to let myself get popped. I sent out a request for help to my corporation and was able to get some help in the form of a Crow interceptor. My corp-mate found the Ferox, still ratting in a belt and locked him down as I flew to station to pick up a more appropriate ship.

I returned a few minutes later to find my companion dodging both asteroids and missiles and railguns in an attempt to keep our target locked down. I flew into point blank range, opened up with my blasters, sent in the drones and the Ferox went down very quickly. The loot was mostly garbage but the kill was still juicy and delicious. Mmmm.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Lesson

Some advice to you kids out there: Don't try to be someone you are not. I thought that moving up to 0.0 and joining a new corp would be a fun adventure but within only a few days I realized how wrong I was. As a pirate in lowsec I was able to live and breath as a solo pilot or in a small gang. The pirate corp I was in was loose and fun and full of good people. 0.0 is way more dangerous. You cannot move an inch by yourself or without a scout and I learned this lesson when I jumped my Myrmidon into a gatecamp while trying to rat. I lost about 40-50 million isk and had only made about 5 million isk in the ratting so far. So now I was stuck without a ship, without a way to haul a new battlecruiser out of high security space and frustrated by my inability to live solo. This wasn't me. I had been perfectly happy in my prior life just a week ago, so why had I gone and moved into a situation way beyond my ability? After being berated by my current CEO for having gotten myself killed (and several other things as well) I realized what I needed to do. I contacted the CEO of my previous corporation, told him I was an idiot and I wanted to come back and he accepted me back into the fold.

So I rejoined the Python Cartel just in time to join them in a new area of Caldari space that they had moved to. I made many jumps to move all of my stuff into the new area and fit myself a new Incursus and a new Vexor. I hopped in my Incursus and went out to hunt, finally feeling in my element again. A few jumps away from our new home system, I found a newer pilot who was ratting in a belt in a Carcal cruiser. The Carcal has a respectible tank but I have never, ever died to one and this was an inexperienced pilot, so I figured I would go for it. I warped in on him, opened fire and managed to bring him low into his shields before I was in structure and had to flee. I called to my corporation and asked for some help and two of my mates in a Merlin frigate and a Taranis interceptor showed up a few minutes later. I repaired my damage and flew in to tackle the Carcal again. He brought me into structure faster this time but my backup had arrived, so I flew out of the belt in order to make him lose his lock and then warped back in again just in time to fire a couple more volleys. The Carcal was destroyed and the pilot was VERY unhappy. My first kill in several days and it was a fun one. It is good to be home.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Starting Anew

A few days ago I joined a new corporation. I am not usually the type of person to go jumping around from organization to organization every few weeks but a new friend of mine invited me to take part in a new corp that was forming and planning on moving out to null security space (usually referred to as "0.0" due to it being outside of empire space and the lowest security level possible). Some of you may remember the character "Fox" from one of my previous stories and it is he who offered me this opportunity.

So today I sold all of my ships, packed up all of my modules/drones/ammo/skillbooks, gave a tearful goodbye to Egghelende and Amamake and headed off to relocate to where my new corporation was located. My first task was to locate and purchase and move a new Myrmidon battlecruiser to where I could use it to try my hand at ratting for the first time. With the help of my corp I was able to purchase and fit one even though my security status is too low for me to enter empire space in anything but my pod (or else CONCORD will attack me). I took my new Myrmidon to the very edge of null security space and waited for the rest of the gang to arrive so that we could scout ahead and move into 0.0. I waited a while. It appears that some of the members of my corporation are even newer to this than myself and did not understand how we were going about things. After a long wait (and watching a Goonswarm gang of more than 25 ships pass by) one of my corporation mates in a Taranis interceptor scouted the way into 0.0 for me and I warped out of empire space for the first time in my career.

So the long journey begins. I am going to be fighting (and destroying) ships owned by the Angel Cartel pirate gang for a while until my security rating is restored and until CONCORD will no longer attack me for entering the empire. I don't actually mind the boring grind as it is a good break from the constant risk and danger of pirating (although it is far from being completely safe) not to mention it should pad my wallet pretty significantly. By the time I am done with this task, I should have completed training for Interceptors and will be able to fly a shiny new Taranis equipped with tech II modules. Neat.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rapier

Just the other night I was flying in a small gang. I took my Vexor to a nearby planet to keep watch on the scanner and find targets for us to attack. I had one other pilot in my gang flying a Myrmidon and knew of two other friendly pilots in the system currently flying battleships, so our firepower was not lacking. After a few minutes of keeping watch and scanning, suddenly a pilot in a Minmitar Rapier uncloaks and locks me! "No problem" I thought to myself, this is just a covert ops frigate that I can easily scare away. Little did I realize that my knowledge of Minmatar ships is very lacking... a Rapier is a cruiser class recon ship, not a covert ops frigate. I must have been thinking of the Cheetah!

The Rapier locked me down at 22km with what must have been dual webifier modules (because even with my MWD on I could only move at about 50m/s). He sent in several drones and began poking me with his long range guns. Since I stupidly thought he was a frigate, I sent in my Warrior II drones which were doing absolutely pitiful damage to his shields. Once I realized my mistake I recalled the Warrior's and sent out the Hammerhead II's instead but at this point I was way, way behind on the DPS race and was most certainly going to lose. I had called to my gang mates and the other friendlies in the system to come help me but they were currently docked up and unable to get to me in time. My ship was destroyed and I was podded and I barely even put up a fight. To be fair, my opponent was more experienced and it appears he flies a very well equipped and rigged ship but at the same time I was extremely humiliated and frustrated at this loss. I put up almost no fight, none of my gang were able to get to me in time to help and I even let myself get podded. Sitting completely immobile and helpless while someone slowly kills you is an awful way to die.

Just last night I was in the same system again, this time flying an Incursus with brand new shiny Light Ion II's equipped. I stopped at the same planet as last time to scan around and once again the same pilot in his Rapier uncloaks and begins to lock me. I managed to align and warp away just in time before being warp scrambled and frustratingly let a number of expletives and insults fly in the local system channels. I'm not usually one to lose my cool and act in such an immature fashion but this pilot and his ship really ticked me off. The ability to cloak paired with the ability to web from 30km away is a very scary thing to face. I hope I never run into one of those blasted ships again.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Failure!

This weekend was probably the worst stretch of failure I have experienced since I graduated from the academy. Six lost ships including three Incursus's, two Vexor's and an Ishkur assault frigate, all fully loaded with modules and drones and ammo. All I have to show for these losses is a single Thorax kill. To make these losses sting even worse, I was podded two different times after two of these encounters. I have become extremely frustrated with the unresponsiveness and lag of my pod controls once my ship is destroyed. I certainly need to come up with some method of ensuring that I can escape with my pod intact if I get destroyed. The estimated value of these ships and their modules and the lost implants is well over 50 million isk. I am not quite poor but it is still a tough pill to swallow.

At least one positive thing to report, eve-pirate.com, a well known and respected pirate publication has published one of my stories! This is only the beginning... it is obvious that at this rate I will soon be rich and famous.