Thursday, 28 May 2009

On Teamwork

Or rather the lack of it on the op I participated in last night. I started the evening roaming solo, searching for the ever elusive, final "above class" kill. I attempted to track a likely target: a caracal with a young pilot. Unfortunately he escaped without me being able to take a shot at him. So I decided to see if I could motivate a few Tuskers to do a little fleet op. I got three pilots on side; Caster Rom, Egrat, and Leo Solunar. We decided cruisers were the order of the day, so I hopped out of my faithful Incursus and into my Vexor. Leo and Caster brought a Thorax apiece, and Egrat brought along an Arbitrator. We spent a good fifteen minutes sorting out the fits for our ships, so that they complemented each other nicely. The Thoraxes were both gank fitted, the Arbitrator was decked out as a multipurpose support ship, and me? Well I was the bait. The Tuskers were well known in this area as pirates so no one would go for any traps they laid, which is where I came in. Not being officially associated with the Tuskers people would think I was soloing and try to jump me for an easy kill, at which point the other three would jump in to the rescue and duff up the ship intent on taking me out. If only our teamwork and communication were as good as our plan and setups.

We set out, jumping through systems looking for targets. We came across a few likely targets in one system: a trio of young pilots in mix of ships ranging from a battlecruiser to an interceptor. We tried to track them down, but we couldn't get a bead on them and they soon left the system. There was also a Hurricane battlecruiser in the system that I successfully baited but unfortunately failed to catch and hold long enough for my friends to show up. The next target was where the problems started. We got a Harbinger battlecruiser on scan and Caster managed to coax him into following him for to a belt. He called point and we started to warp. We should have warped earlier, cruisers are sluggish and we reached the belt too late to save Caster, but just in time to witness his ship exploding. The Harbingers weapons had shredded his ship in about thirty seconds. It saw us arrive and warped out. Caster escaped in his pod and I collected the things from his wreck so he didn't lose too much money. Then all of a sudden the Harbinger was back! He had made a mistake in returning, a mistake that the three of us that remained would make him pay for. We engaged. Just then we noticed Egrat wasn't here. We sorely needed his Arbitrator to jam the Harbingers oh-so-lethal weaponry with his ECM drones. We Desperately called Egrat back, the panic in our voices very pronounced at this stage. We had thought that with the Arbitrator backing us up we had a distinct advantage, its absence put the ball cleanly in the opposing pilots court and Leo's Thorax swiftly followed Casters as the ships lasers carve his ship into cubes. I was the only one that remained. If could just hold out long enough for Egrat to arrive, I could finish him. My Vexor held out well and tanked more damage than I thought it would. I dished out a healthy amount of damage, eating away at his armour with my blasters and drones, and just starting to bleed him into structure, unfortunately at this point I was deep into structure. Then Egrat arrived with his Arbitrator, and the tables turned, if only for a short time. Egrat's ECM drones jammed the Harbinger, and he lost lock. This had saved me I was barely on 10% structure. I focused fire hoping to get through the last of his armour, but he was tanking, and it was slow. I would get through his armour, get a shot of at his structure, then some of his armour was repaired. If Egrat could keep him locked I might just be able to....he achieved lock. I exploded. Egrat fled. The day undoubtedly belonged to the skilled pilot of the Harbinger, who also seemed to be in possession of a rather large bucket full of luck. With three loses and zero kills, we limped back to our home station of Hevrice and we called it a night.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Explosions and Misunderstandings

It's been an eventful few days, with both lows and highs. Luckily it works out to slightly more highs than lows so it's all good. Waking up one morning with a bit of a hangover, I decided some action was just what I needed to rid myself of the damn thing. Having plugged into my Incursus, I undocked to see what I could find. After jumping through a couple of systems, I managed to pick up a Kestrel frigate on scan. A more detailed investigation revealed him to be sitting in an asteroid belt. I eagerly warped to the belt, weapon systems humming. I landed right in his face, and immediately locked and jammed him. I had just enough time to notice that pilot wasn't very old at all, before my guns vaporised his ship. As he was so new to space there was no point ransoming the pod and not worth the security status loss that would have accompanied his death had I opened fire on his helpless pod, so the newbie escaped with his life at least. I grimaced once more when I inspected the wreck and found there to nothing of any value in the wreck whatsoever. Barely enough to cover the cost of the ammunition used to destroy the wretched thing. Oh well, a kill is a kill and it could still go on my Tuskers application. Having made my headache substantially worse I docked back up and retired to a darkened room.

The next morning, I woke up actually feeling like a living person instead of a zombie, so I eagerly headed to my ship and undocked ready for some more fireworks. I had not counted on them being supplied first by the missiles from a Cerberus heavy assault ship sitting outside the station. I thought I may be able to escape if I legged it away, but then we were joined by a Harbinger battlecruiser which added to the light show with its array of lasers. The final fireworks were provided by my ship exploding. Quickly warping my pod to another station I docking up, fuming. Having acquired another ship, another Incursus, I went out hunting for targets. After a couple of hours fruitless searching and scanning I had no kills, but a couple of close calls. Having located a target I warped to the stargate I had scanned him down to. I was over 100km away. How irritating. I warped back out and then in again, this time landing right in his grill. I was just locking on to the Rifter that was my target when a Harpy assault frigate landed on grid as well. I couldn't handle them both so I hightailed it out of there.

Later that same day I was out hunting again, and I scanned out a Drake battlecruiser. It was not at a celestial body though so I couldn't warp to it. I was talking to my friend Caster Rom, and I happened to mention this to him. This sparked his interest, and he and a few other Tuskers came along to join the party. One of them in a Helios covert ops frigate. This was equipped with scanner probes that could accurately triangulate the Drake's position allowing us to warp to him. There were five of us in total; four in various combat frigates plus the pilot of the Helios tracking the Drake down for us. We warped to the complex he was clearing out and began searching it for him. Unfortunately when we did locate him we were too far away to stop him escaping. The Helios pilot worked his magic again and we quickly located him. Once again though we were to slow and he escaped. We continued to chase him around the system for another twenty minutes or so before he jumped out and we moved of looking for more prey. A few systems on we were sitting at a gate waiting for the Helios pilot to call us through, when a Sleipnir command ship showed up at the gate. We didn't immediately attack him, as this would have incurred the wrath of the sentry guns. We could see the Sleipnir pilot was weighing up his options, deciding whether or not to engage us. We jousted for a while, locking on to each other and flying towards each other, but it all came to nought. The pilot obviously though better of engaging us, and warped out. So we moved on to the next system.

A couple of systems on we found a few likely targets. There was another small fleet in the system with and played cat and mouse with them, no one sure who was the cat and who was the mouse. Eventually we managed to isolate a Vexor cruiser at an asteroid belt and we warped in and attacked him. Our thinking being that we would try to take him down as quickly as we could beofre his friends showed up. This didn't work out however. The Vexor was fitted with a very strong buffer tank, so it took us a while to whittle his armour away. This gave him enough time to call friends in. A couple of cruisers, a couple of recon ships, and an interceptor landed on grid shortly before the Vexor died. We desperately tried to escape from the fleet that was much bigger than we had previously thought. As I was aligning to warp away the speedy interceptor locked me down and scrambled my warp drive. I had to get it off me before the larger ships could take me down. I quickly responded in kind to, fired some volleys at the interceptor doing a healthy amount of damage as it had come in close. Before I could pop it though, the other ships achieved locks and I was blown out of the sky by their combined fire. Managing to escape in my pod I safely docked at a station. Having had enough for one night I rented a small room in the station and collapsed on it.

The next morning I went out on a roam again, and went through my usual routine of jumping through systems looking for targets. I located a target in a system sitting at a belt. It was an Incursus like mine. I warped to the belt and found that the pilot had moved on. Quickly scanning the pilot to another I belt I warped there as fast as I could, guns ready. A nicely aimed warp landed me under 10km away from him. I locked and scrambled his drive, and quickly checked that the pilot was not an acquaintance or Tusker ally, as I closed the distance, my afterburner glowing white hot. I opened fire and he melted, but so did I. My weapons were more powerful though, and he melted quicker. Which is all that matters. His ship blossomed in an explosion of blue light. Before I could loot the wreck a friend of his jumped to the belt, obviously in an attempt to save his friend. In my weakened state I would have died in seconds, so I quickly warped out. The pilot who had jumped in though was a member of the Tuskers and a pilot I have flown with on several occasions. I opened up dialog with him and found to my dismay I had just blown one of his friends to fragments. I explained I checked on the channel where all the Tuskers hangers on, such as myself, could be found and he wasn't there. The pilot didn't bother with it. It had cost him his ship and nearly his life. He quickly joined the channel after that, and I apologised for the mistake, and complemented him on his fighting skills. Luckily he was a good sport about it, and I showed him the kill mail. We all had a good laugh about it. I cheekily put this kill on my Tuskers application, one more kill to go. This is one of the tricky "above class" kills though. Let's hope my luck and skill will see me through.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Ride Out Once More

An absence of several weeks has now come to an end, and business as usual shall be commenced. Well, not quite as usual. Oh, I have not been idle these past weeks, oh no. I have used it as an opportunity to improve myself. Currently residing in my head is the prerequisite knowledge needed to operate advanced weapon turrets for my favourite frigates. Tech 2 weapons are now open to me, making me more deadly than ever. Not only this, but I now have a more thorough understanding of my ships mechanical systems, allowing me fit my ship out much more efficiently. So, hopefully, a flurry of kills should follow, allowing me complete the final stage of my Tuskers application and become a fully fledged member instead of just a hanger on.

Perhaps even better news is that I have eventually managed to locate and re-establish communications with Kera. I am expecting a shipment of ships and equipment any day now. When it arrives I'll be able to hop into a more powerful ship, and tear up some hapless pilots. As my good friend Caster Rom would say; The bitch is back.