Tuesday, 27 July 2010

A Warning

This is my entry to the Inspired By Images Of Eve Competition 2. More details and links to all entrants can be found at Starfleet Comms

A ships sensors receive a positive sea of data every couple of seconds. The quantity of information is mind boggling, and if delivered directly into a normal human's brain, they would surely succumb to a massive brain aneurism or something else equally unpleasant and apocalyptic for the individual involved.

Brain ImplantsAs a matter of fact, this information IS delivered directly into a brain. Not a normal human's brain though. This information is delivered into the brain of an immortal; one of the pod pilots. Not just any pod pilot either. This particular pod pilot and I happen to be one and the same.

My augmented brain can not only successfully receive this data, it can organise it, sort it, sift it. I can plunge into the flow of data, pierce the skein, and look beyond the obvious. This data set comprises trillions of pieces of data, but I am only interested in one in particular. And there it is: that one, shining, point of data that I have been trawling this solar system for. This point in space, captured by my sensors, is the location of another ship. The pilot of which is an enemy, and one I would dearly like to introduce to my ships weapon systems. With a pulse of my thoughts I set my ship calculating angles, relative speeds, distances and a hundred other factors needed to make the successful warp jump that will take me to my target.

As the warp engines engage I mentally flick through the ships systems, ensuring their readiness for the coming battle. The glowing nexus of energy that surrounded the ship like a second skin, the shield, was fully powered. I went over every nanometre of the thick armour plating that made up the second layer of defence. Other than micro fractures that the stresses and strains of interstellar travel inevitably incur, the overlapping plates were free of any imperfections that my enemy could exploit. The hull, the skeleton of the ship if you like, was likewise free of imperfections.

The various enhancements I had fitted to the ship were active and fully functioning. Armour repairers were primed and ready to combat any damage with a flood of nanites. Hardeners subtly altered the molecular composition of the armour to increase their resistance to different damage types, reducing the electrical and thermal conductivity, increasing flexibility to better absorb and dissipate kinetic energy, and realigning plates to deflect explosions. The electronic warfare modules were all reading nominal, and were primed to disrupt and interfere with the targets systems. Turrets were loaded and zeroed, the magnetic fields that would propel the slugs to their target were reading stable.

The ship was ready, a weapon forged with war in mind; it was also a sublime confluence of power and wild beauty.

As the warp engines powered down, ready to deliver me to my target, I felt the familiar rush of adrenaline and other hormones, that set my heart racing and would make my reactions lightning fast. If the fight started to go badly it wouldn't only be natural chemicals flowing in my blood stream.

The ship decelerated and my target came in view for the first time. A sleek, shining spear of a ship, designed to invoke fear in the minds of enemies. To me, the shape of the ship gave me information; it's design, system specs, and capabilities. My targeting systems were already locked on to the ship, the computer calculating range, velocity, angular velocity, and many other values that allowed it to track the vessel with my ships turrets, and ensure good clean hits. I had come out of warp at close range and my electronic warfare was engaged immediately. The warp jammer did its job, and scrambled the warp engines to prevent any escape. Other systems affected the ships propulsion, and interfered with the calculations my enemies own ship was processing so that its turrets couldn't accurately track me.

With my prey snared, my weapons tore into it. The shield was weak, and it was overloaded and shorted out. The ships real defences lay in the armour, as did mine. The antimatter slugs hammered into the armour and slowly began to chip away at it.

My enemy had not been idle this entire time, he had responded in kind.

My own shield had collapsed in a very short space of time and my armour was being eaten away. With a mental pulse I activating my repair systems. Holding tanks containing nanites in suspension released the seals and allowed this liquid to flow across the surface of my ship. It was directed to any damaged areas and flowed into cracks and pits, repairing the damage I had sustained. The impacts wracked my ship, sending concussion waves through the suspension fluid in my pod. The armour repairs were taking a heavy toll on my ships power core, and the levels of energy stored in the ships capacitors were dwindling fast. My mind zipped to the capacitor injectors installed in my ship, and I got an extra burst of energy.

This was a tougher battle than I had expected and my mind was rushing from system to system, managing power flow, checking calculations, predicting enemy movements and tactics. My armour repairer wasn't coping with the incoming damage, it received some extra juice to force the nanites to repair more rapidly. I also shunted more power to my weapon systems to finish this fight quickly. Modules can only put up with the extra power I was forcing into them for a limited amount of time. The additional heat that is produced is too much for the ship to deal with and it can result in damage or even complete destruction of the module involved. It requires careful management to ensure this doesn't happen.

It was a tense battle, our ships evenly matched, but this stalemate couldn't last forever. One of us had to crack.

Ship ExplodesI started to gain the upper hand and the read out on the enemy ship was showing catastrophic damage to its armour, my weapons had blown great rents, and were in the process atomising what little remained. The slugs started burying themselves in the internal structure of my enemies ships before detonating. The shattered pieces of bulkhead, flash frozen corpses of the crew, and the internal atmospheric gases spurted like blood out of the wounds in the side of the ship. It began to list to the side, veering seemingly out of control. Another volley from my guns ripped into the ship eliciting another spray of debris out into space. Some of the holes I had blown in the ship were large enough for me to see right into the interior of the ship. I could see internal fires flickering in the depths, like jewels glimmering in a dark cave. Smoke, fumes, and crystallized liquids form a sickly miasma around the ship, it is in its death throes. Another volley from my weapons assault the ship, the kinetic energy imparted by the impact sending the ship spinning away from me. One of the solid slugs obviously hit something vital as internal explosions blossomed all over the ship, blowing out clouds of debris.

It's then that, near the front of the ship, several areas of the hull are punched away by rapidly expanding gases, and the pod of my enemy is jettisoned out of the stricken ship to safety. Before my targeting computer can get a lock on it, the pod is shunted into emergency warp and escapes. The now pilotless ship finally succumbed, and blossomed in a beautiful explosion as the power core went critical.

The shattered corpse of the ship, barely recognisable as such for very little remains, floated in space as a warning to others about venturing into my territory.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

I Have a Rendevouz With Death

I have a rendevouz with death,
at some disputed barricade,
it may be he shall take my hand,
and lead me into his dark land,
and close my eyes and quench my breath,
I have a rendevouz with death,
and I to my pledged word am true,
I shall not faill that rendevouz.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Cheap but Effective

Here is some footage from the exterior camera drone on my Scorpion battleship. I think it demonstrates quite nicely just how effective a cheap fit ship can be. After the insurance payout I lose only about 10million ISK. I jumped into a small camp consisting of a Vagabond and a Thrasher, but it quickly escalated out of control forcing me to deaggro and jump back through. The tank takes a severe amount of punishment from quite a few high DPS ships, and lasts long enough to get me back through without even a scratch on my armour. I will follow this up with a longer post regarding these sorts of setups and the reasoning behind them.


I apologise for the shoddy quality of the video, the camera drone is a bit knackered. If you can't quite make it out once the gang arrived thier was a total of seven ships wailing on me. They were: Hurricane, Hurricane, Cyclone, Vagabond, Rupture, Thrasher, and a Falcon. The heroic Scorp defended against that formidable amount of dps long enough for me to deaggro and jump.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Speed Freaks - Part II

I've been rather passive recently and so once again let this slip a little, but thankfully not to the extent of the previous versions. I won't dwell on the subject though, instead I'll dive right back into the story.

At the end of the last entry, myself and Caster Rom were ready to embark on out epic Dramiel roam. I mentioned my fit briefly in the last time as well and for completeness sake, and the curious amongst you, this is the fit I had chosen to use on the inaugural run:

[Dramiel, Present]

Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Tracking Enhancer II

Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Warp Disruptor II

1MN MicroWarpdrive II

Gistii B-Type 1MN Afterburner

Medium Shield Extender II

200mm AutoCannon II, Barrage S

200mm AutoCannon II, Barrage S

[empty high slot]

Small Ancillary Current Router I

Small Projectile Ambit Extension I

Small Projectile Ambit Extension I

Warrior II x3

Warrior II x1

Fit aside, we set off into Cloud Ring to see what we could find. As it turned out not much. We had a couple of fights but they didn't turn into kills unfortunately. I had a close call when I nearly got snagged by a gang that was Blue to Cas but not to me, but the Dramiel's face melting speed ensured my survival. It wasn't till we got up into Fade that things started to get interesting in a serious way. We entered a system designated FI01-8 and got a few likely targets on scan. We chased a couple of ships for a while before catching a Caracal 100km of a gate. His paltry weapon systems barely scratched us and he went down in short order. My first Dramiel kill! The pod also felt the bite of our guns. This obviously got the attention of the locals as almost immediately a Drake landed on our position.

We quickly reorganised and engaged the Caldari battlecruiser. Before we had made any appreciable dent in the Drake's shields another battlecruiser landed on grid, this time a Harbinger. We backed off, burning a few hundred kilometres away. The two of them together were a little too much for us. We didn't leave the grid hoping we could drag them apart and engage them. Our patience was rewarded with Drakes departure. I swiftly warped to a wreck a few K's from the Harbinger and got a point, bullets swiftly followed; hammering into the ship. Caster quickly joined me, adding his weapons to the fusillade. The Drake pilot returned, this time in a Taranis. Clearly he was trying to fight fire with fire, but the Taranis is inferior to the Dramiel in almost every respect. On top of that, there were two of us. We quickly switched targets and the interceptor was reduced to space trash in short order. We returned our weapons to the Amarr ship, which we had kept pointed, that too was destroyed. We were just about to start collecting loot when the Drake returned! quite what he hoped to achieve we had no idea, but we turned our weapons on him without a second thought. annoyingly he decided to take out his anger on our poor drones and a we each lost one. It was all for nought though and his second ship of the engagement bit the dust. We caught his pod this time, and we cracked it open like an egg. It seemed at this point the locals had got bored of dying and remained docked in the station, so we moved on.

That was the peak of the excitement for this roam however as we didn't get any more decent engagements. We snagged a Manticore that, for some twisted reason known only to the pilot, decided to try and bomb us. He was dead before his bomb exploded, although he was quick witted enough to get his pod out intact. This is where the outing took a serious nose dive for me. As we were attempting to exit null sec I got sandwiched between two sizable gangs. One landed on me forcing me to jump into a second that was just landing on the other side. I made the hasty mistake of trying to cold warp away, which would have succeeded had some rude individual not put up a bubble at the last moment, yanking me unexpectedly out of warp. Before I could engage my mwd I was warp scrambled by several ships and blown to smithereens! With hindsight I should have just burnt away from the gate and then warped when I was well out of range. It was a galling mistake and one I won't make again. A short lived but brilliant birthday present! I shall have to save up for another.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Speed Freaks - Part I

I'm, unfortunately, going to gloss over the saga of my journey to and from Phaze-9, which was the arc I had embarked upon before I (once again) ran out of momentum on this diary last time. Suffice to say I had a good time, met some people, killed some people etc. I had the great pleasure of taking part in several very large battles, and, teamed with Caster Rom, won the Ushra'Khan cruiser tournament. However, I found the numerous rules of U'K too restrictive and they dampened my fun on more than one occasion. Having enjoyed the freedom of piracy before hand, suddenly having vast swathes of space where I couldn't attack people who weren't specifically marked as enemies really hurt. On one occasion I defied this rule to save a friend from otherwise certain death and was reprimanded for it. U'K obviously wasn't for me; I didn't have the self control. So, leaving several good friends behind I set out to forge my own destiny. I returned to my own corporation: Teeth of the Beast.

I won't expand on the happenings between then and now, at least not in this entry. I shall expand on a very recent adventure with the aforementioned Caster Rom, who, no matter where I go in the galaxy, always seems to turn up. I'm never sure if this is a good thing or not. I joke of course Cas, if your reading this. For this particular adventure Caster plus two other factors were the catalysts for it even starting. The additional two factors were my birthday and Casters amazing generosity. Having accidently let slip in a conversation with him that it was my birthday, and spending the next ten minutes dodging questions about my exact age, he proceeded to buy a present to mark the occasion. To my utter incredulity the present he had bought me was a rare faction frigate, the Dramiel. I happened to know that these fetch a pretty penny and that it was a very generous present. He hadn't only bought one either. He had bought us a matching pair and the cherry on top of the cake would be a Dramiel roam into null sec.

For those of you who haven't ever talked to another human being, the Dramiel is a frigate designed by one of the galaxies most feared organisations: the Angel Cartel. This thing is a masterpiece of engineering, I haven't quite decided whether the man who designed this was a genius or a lunatic. Now I come to think about it, only genius with the oily film of lunacy could have produced such a design. Unlike a lot of ships, this one looks like a weapon. It's flowing curves that come to deadly points epitomise the beauty in war and death. This combined with its, quite frankly, terrifying speed, surprising toughness, and respectable damage output make it a truly sublime ship. When I say speed, what I actually mean is SPEEEEEEED!!!!!!! I have witnessed these things moving in excess of 10km/s. It is this attribute which makes them an object of fear and awe in my eyes; many a time have I been in a system and left purely because one of these has entered local. I have also had the misfortune of being on the wrong end of their weapons and, without exception, I have died every time. This is what Caster Rom had handed me. God I love that man.

I eagerly broke out my wallet and bought a nice fit for it. I opted for a kiting setup, and splurged a bit on the afterburner, buying a Gistii B-type 1MN afterburner. This would give a big speed boost and wasn't that expensive as dead space modules go, weighing in at a moderate 14mil. This was a pirate faction ship, it deserved some preferential treatment. The kiting setup would give me much greater survivability and allow me take on a wider range of targets that a close range fit. You paid for this with less DPS, but I felt this was an acceptable price. Unbeknownst to me Caster had gone for a close range fit by fitting a scrambler rather than a disruptor like I had. This meant we would complement each other nicely. I can practically taste the explosions.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

I Plead Lazy Your Honour

I must apologize profusely for my lack of updates, or indeed any kind of activity, on this account of my life. It won't continue for any longer, this, I swear to you. Even if I don't find the time to write a finely crafted account of my actions, I shall at least write a few sentences to update you all on my progress, thoughts, schemes, etc. This scant, snivelling update will have to satisfy you for now, but a much larger update is in the works and I shall have it for you as soon as I can. I will endeavour to be multitudes better than I was previously to make up for my many months of idleness.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Mayhem - Part II

So, fit complete, I headed out to test it. The first test wasn't anywhere near as eventful as I had hoped, but it was still a success. I went into Providence through HED- and moved up to D-G. This was a station system so I spent a while scouting it out and setting up bookmarks. I then settled down outside the station and waited for a target to undock. The very first thing that undocked was a Badger Mk II. A hauler that fell easily to my bomb run. The format for a bomb run is simple: sit cloaked until a viable target appears. Then move directly towards them, uncloak, launch the bomb and warp off. By the time the enemy knows what's going on, your long gone, and the bomb explodes. As you can see this first run was very successful, and this first act of violence towards the locals quickly got their attention. Several rather nasty ships undocked to protect any more undocking vessels and to deter me, scariest of all was a sensor boosted artillery Hurricane which was something that I really didn't want to mess with. A long range, fast locking ship is death incarnate for a ship like the stealth bomber. While the heat from my attack died down I moved into another station system and again set up my various safes and bomb spots. It seemed though that the owners of this station took immediate offense to my presence and a lot of ships undocked including several interceptors, a Dramiel, and some interdictors. Again all very fast, and quite capable if catching me if I attempted a bomb run. A collection of ships that is lethal to any stealth bomber. I backed out of there pretty quick as with that lot floating around I dare not uncloak. I moved back into D-G and set up ready to bomb again, but unfortunately I didn't get any kills. My continued presence though was starting to annoy them, and I received some intelligence telling me that they were forming a coherent gang to try and catch me. Before this could materialise I made my escape and headed home.

I took it out again the next day, still into Providence but a different area this time. The area I took it to was a dead end area where I knew there were several large industrial operations. I would try and bag myself some more kills or at the very least disrupt these operations. So I headed out and almost immediately jumped into a gate camp. No problem though, as soon as I left the protective cloaking field provided by the gate I turned my own on and was gone before they could even get a lock on me. I got to the first system that I had planned on searching for targets in. This too, was a station system, but before I set up shop I mapped out the jump bridges and set up safes and bomb spots. The activity around the JBs was limited at best so I moved into position outside of the station. Again a hapless hauler undocked and my bomb blew his ship apart. As I was warping away I inspected my read outs and realised that his cargo had survived. So I warped back at range to destroy the wreck to prevent them from recovering it. When I landed there was a Devoter sitting outside. I was out of its elongated point range so I uncloaked locked up both the wreck and him. Tracking disruptor on the heavy interdictor, and target painter and torpedoes on the wreck. The TD nicely nullified the Devoters weapons and I blew the wreck apart, denying them the cargo. A hauler undocked at this point, it was no doubt trying to save the cargo before I could destroy it. I targeted that as well and transferred my torps and TP to it before I could land the hit however, it warped off. I transferred my weapons to the Devoter and blasted through the shields and started working on the, sadly, much tougher armour. I didn't dare go into point range for fear of being pointed myself. This was definitely something I didn't want as I knew reinforcements would be on their way. Several of the aforementioned reinforcements landed on grid, including a Rapier and several T1 frigates, so I made a hasty get away.

Back at one of my scanning spots I detected a Cormorant along with a large quantity or wrecks. Assuming it was a salvage ship I scanned for anomalies and quickly located him. I warped in and landed about 50km away from the ship. Annoyingly he was moving around to quickly for me to accurately bomb, so I uncloaked, locked him up and put all my E-war on him. The ships relatively small signature radius protected him from a lot of the damage but even still by volley three he was in deep armour. The moment I appeared though he had signalled his friends and I soon detected a stream of inbound ships. This denied me the destroyers death but it did give me a great deal of intel on the ships that the rest of the pilots were flying. It was a very varied selection which included almost every ship class. I warped to gate and several of them had beaten me there. I had no intention of leaving though, I was having far too much fun messing with these people. Just as these thoughts were passing through my head, a stream of angry abuse came across on the local channel: demands to leave their system, and derogatory terms of abuse. Of course I found this extremely amusing and I told them so. The reaction was so child like I was practically crying with laughter: "Well we don't really care that your here anyway!". For a bunch of people who supposedly didn't care about my presence they sure put a lot of effort into catching me.

They set up several ill conceived and obvious traps. I sprung every single one and tried to catch several of them off guard. One of the worst traps was a slow aligning mining barge on one of the gates, guarded by a Brutix. I deduced that the moment I uncloaked to launch a bomb the barge would insta-warp and the Brutix would try and hold me there for the backup to arrive. I decided to go for the Brutix, from a basic inspection of the ship it looked as though it were fitted with T1 guns. I hoped the rest of the ship was as shoddily fit. I decloaked and launched by bomb. As I suspected the mining barge warped off, and the Brutix started targeting me. I responded in kind and launched torpedoes, and suppressed it's weapons with my tracking disruptor. My bomb had dealt it a serious blow; it's shields had been totally obliterated and a good chunk of its armour had been taken out. I hoped I could finish it before his friends arrived. The so far impotent Brutix didn't do anything to dispel this notion as it deployed T1 drones. Still nothing to fear from this ship. My torps were knocking chucks out of its armour and I reaching structure. I kept an eagle eye on my scanners and unfortunately a large number of ships showed up and were approaching at high warp. I stayed until they landed on grid, trying to finish off the battlecruiser, but it was not to be. I bailed before any ships could get a lock on me. I triggered several other "traps", but I didn't get any kills. More people piled into local, raising it to around forty. At this point I jumped through the gate into a massive gate camp. It consisted of at least thirty ships, but they couldn't catch me, ooooh no! "better luck next time guys!", I taunted in local. At which point I jumped into another gate camp and was promptly blown to smithereens, pod and all.

While the trip had a rather unsatisfactory ending, I felt that, as a whole, it was a success. The fit had faired very well and had foxed many an opponent. With it I had caused so much trouble I had pulled over one hundred pilots away from their regular duties in order to catch me. I had also significantly disrupted the industrial operations in the area, and I had gathered a lot of intel on the area. I had also mapped out many areas of interest such as POSs, jump bridges, and stations. I had set up many bomb spots and observation points. In actual combat this fit worked admirably and on more than one occasion I had been able to suppress one target with the TD, while attacking another. Bar a few scratches from some drones I had taken virtually no damage despite several small skirmishes. Seeing as I had mapped this area so thoroughly and the fit had been such a success I would definitely return, to harass the locals some more.