Saturday, 27 June 2009
The next day, for another change of pace, I hopped into a Vexor. This is a cruiser class ship that I flew a lot in my early days but hadn't flown for some time. My skills in it were average at best, but this didn't matter, as I managed to get in on two battleship kills. They were exploring a dead space complex together, and had been probed out. I arrived late into the battle so didn't get in an enormous amount of damage, but we still managed to bag a Dominix and a Megathron kill. As with the Tristan the previous day, what seemed like a promising start crashed and burned. Much like my Vexor. This is where my lack of skills started to show through, I was engaged by a Drake at a gate and was holding him there until the others arrived. However I could not dish out enough damage and couldn't tank the formidable damage coming from the battlecruiser. As a result my cruiser exploded, and the Drake escaped. Determined not to waste a night I went back to Hevrice and picked up the other Tristan that I had brought over. This time things went much better, and we notched up a few decent kills. The first was a Myrmidon. It was engaged by three of the fleet while me and Caster Rom went to get our ships. We both arrived at the scene just in time to make a few token shots at the ship before it was obliterated. The second kill was a much better showing of the Tristan's abilities. I scanned out a Caracal at an asteroid belt and warped in to get point. The mighty Tristan tore through the ship and I had it deep into armour before the rest of the fleet arrived to finish it off. I could have easily soloed it. The Caracal pilot obviously had a friend in the system, as just as he exploded a Hurricane landed on grid with us. While attempting to help his friend was very noble, it was a foolish mistake and died in seconds to our combined firepower. The Caracal pilots pod had been snared in during the action but he refused ransom and was killed.
Later that same night, after the fleet had disbanded I took the Tristan out to see how it performed without backup. The answer? Very well apparently. I managed to get three solo kills in the space of an hour or so. The first was a Burst who was foolishly sitting in a belt and mining. He went down in three volleys. There was nothing to be gained from killing him so I let the poor excuse for a pilot get away. The second kill was a Cormorant class destroyer I found clearing out a Caldari complex. He was so focused on his task that he didn't even notice me until I locked on to him, and by then it was far too late to do anything and his ship was engulfed in a ball of flame. I got the pod, but he refused ransom so he was destroyed without mercy. I ran across the pilot of the Cormorant again in another system, once again attempting to clear out a complex, this time in a Merlin. I jumped him again, but this time he was paying attention. Instead of running away, he targeted me and attacked me. It didn't end well for him, before I was even in half shields his ship died. He was on the ball though and his pod got away. I decided I liked the Tristan.
About a week later I went out on a roam with the Tuskers. Still in the Tristan, me and another pilot called Gilad Ayn, also a Tusker, took out a Thorax. Gilad got point and by the time I arrived the cruiser was almost dead, and I just got some token damage. Then someone else in the fleet said they had detected a few ships missioning. This was the perfect opportunity for me to test out my latest toy: a Helios covert ops ship. I had paid the hefty price for this ship, once again in the name of diversity. Also expanding one's repertoire of skills is never a bad thing. I set to work probing the battlecruiser out, and located the Myrmidon at a mission site. When the fleet warped in though he was far enough away to escape before we reached him. I warped back to the entry point, using the incredibly useful cloaking device to remain hidden. I was to notify the rest of the fleet if the pilot returned. Something much better happened however. I was flying around the gate when all of a sudden I uncloaked. This only happens if you come within 2000m of something else. I was confused because the only thing on my overview was the acceleration gate. Then an Arazu decloaked as well. This was a tech II cruiser, a recon ship. Basically a bigger, nastier version on my ship. The odds of bumping into him in the vastness of space were insane, but I had done it. Luckily the pilot wasn't paying attention and he didn't notice. I quickly called in the fleet and the expensive ship was reduced to salvage. The inattentive pilot had obviously gone to get a coffee or something. Then another stroke of luck; the Myrmidon pilot returned. With our fleet still sitting at the gate, he was jammed in seconds and quickly destroyed. The pod escaped. The rest of the night went very badly indeed. We scanned out a Mitari recon ship called a Huugin, and Leo went in to get point. The rest of the fleet warped in to destroy another expensive ship. Then the Huugin's friends warped in and the fight turned into an all out rout. It was fleet of tech II cruisers, with a Taranis as a tackler. Among them were two Vagabonds and an Ishtar. Three frigates were lost; Leo's Ishkur, Man Barthelme's Rifter, and Caster Rom's Taranis. All I could do was sit, cloaked at a distance and watch my friends get killed. It was certainly interesting though.
Licking out wounds we returned to Hevrice. Several people jumped in battleships and we scouted around for a target once more. We found one in Hevrice, a Megathron battleship. It docked up though so we blockaded the station. I was still in my Helios so once again I was watching, and providing information. The Megathron undocked and he was immediately locked, jammed, and hamemered by weapon fire. Then one of his friends undocked in a Nidhoggur class carrier. It launched fighters, and in a scarily short space of time decimated two battleships and a battlecruiser. Ronan and Leo both lost ships. It was a spectacular battle to watch, and rather awe inspiring to see the power of capital ships from the safety of my cloaked covert ops ship.
My most recent adventure, or rather misadventure, involved me, a friend called Brennander, and a Tusker called Ghoststalker. We went out on a roam, that initially went well. We bagged a Catalyst and narrowly missed his two mates. We scanned the two remaining ships to a moon and I warped there to check it out. Instead of finding our quarry, I found a young pilot in a Vexor. I reported the find and headed towards it. I got point, and called the others in. I had melted his shields and his armour was going the same way. Then he deployed warrior II drones. This surprised me, I did not suspect such a young pilot would have the necessary skills to use such deadly weapons. What I thought would be an easy kill turned into three easy kills for the Vexor pilot, as his drones tore all three of our frigates apart. Brenn lost a Merlin, Ghost lost a Rifter, and I lost a Tristan. After all those adventures, I've decided that I'm going to try and vary the ships I use as often as possible to keep things fresh and interesting. I have plans for a Maulus fit that I want to try out, and I want to try using the Atron as well. I'm also going to brush up on my cruiser skills and get out in those a little more often. I hope all the ships are as successful as my Tristans.
Thursday, 11 June 2009
My good friend Katsutro seems to be loving his new life as a pilot. He has been contracting missions from local agents to rake a bit of much needed ISK; life as a pilot requires much more money than his previous, land-bound life. He has been very interested in my career lately, and has persuaded me to introduce him to my trade. My trade being, of course, piracy. So I became his teacher, of sorts. I have to say he has taken to it like a duck to water, even if I have rather cruelly thrown him in at the deep end. The deep end being nullsec raid with my new family, The Tuskers. I have already recorded the details of said raid, and you can read them here. After that things calmed down for him somewhat as I took him on a few little roams, most notably on one such occasion he had tracked down and pointed a Thorax. He then diligently called me in for backup, I had to destroy the drones that were eating away at his punisher, and then I moved on to help him destroy perhaps the worst fitted ship I have ever seen. He also managed to get in on some Tusker roams as well. He's getting heavily into it, and he is even considering moving his base of operations out of the cradle, that is high sec, to the much less forgiving wilderness of low sec.
One day, after I had had a particularly hard nights drinking, I was in no fit state to plug into my ship, let alone fly it in combat, so I conducted that day's lesson from a darkened room over the communications network. I directed him to a well known hunting ground, to scout for targets. He was practising using the ships on-board scanner; something every pirate must know how to use swiftly and efficiently if they are ever going to locate a target. He caught on quickly, and had soon identified a target at an asteroid belt. He warped in and landed in the face of a Catalyst destroyer. He locked, scrambled, and opened fire on the unfortunate ship. His shouts of glee over the comms caused my already considerable headache to send out further pulses of pain. Wincing I turned the volume down. His rampant paranoia had taken a hold of him, by the time I turned the volume back up. Another ship had landed on the belt with them, an Executioner frigate. It was a hundred kilometres away though so I told him not to worry and to finish off the destroyer. It was approaching him at high speed though and his worried enquiries about how to proceed floated over the comms. I urged him to finish off his target then go for the frigate if he wasn't too badly damaged. The Catalyst popped and his cries of happiness burst out of the speakers in my rented room. They were cut short by the Executioners lasers. He immediately engaged the agile frigate, cursing quietly.
This was to be a somewhat lengthy fight. The opposing pilot, while young, obviously knew what they were doing and had fitted their frigate to take advantage of its speed and agility. Kats couldn't get any solid hits on the frigate, as it was orbiting wide and he had close range crystals fitted to his ship. He had, unfortunately, forgotten to put a spare long range set in his cargo hold for just such a scenario. I advised him to disengage, but his assailants speed preventing him from getting out of scrambling range. The tough Punisher, Katsutro's ship of choice, was holding out though. At this rate it looked like the fight would end when the other pilot got bored. Kat's cursing and pathetic cries for help were increasing in volume now, and I was once again forced to lower the volume on my comms. I quickly swallowed a few pain pills to relieve my headache, and tried to get him to listen to me. I told him to get close to the asteroids, and see if he could get the orbiting ship to collide with one. It would be forced to momentarily slow down to avoid the lump of rock and minerals, this would allow the sluggish punisher to close the distance between them and get some solid shots in. It worked, allowing punisher to rip through the smaller frigates shields, but it was soon out of range again. The pilot didn't fall for it again, and was slowly whittling away at the Punisher. He begged me to jump in my ship and come to his aid. If I hadn't had such a blinder of a headache his tone would have sent me into convulsive laughter. The pills I had been chugging all morning had started to take the edge of my headache so I said I would. Laboriously, I climbed into my frigate and set off to save his skin. He'd owe me big time for this.
Several jumps later I landed on the belt with the two sparring frigates. Kudos to Kats he was holding out admirably. The wily Executioner pilot immediately registered me as a bigger threat and set in to engage. I was hitting it initially, but it altered its orbit to a much larger radius, and switched out to longer ranged crystals to pop at me from a safe distance. How tiresome. With a few feints, I tricked the pilot into coming closer and that was the end. The tenacious ship exploded and a torrent of thanks flooded the interior of my ship. Kats really needs to grow a backbone, and stop being such a snivelling wreck all the time. A life of piracy will soon crush that out of him. With my headache significantly worsened I docked up and fell into the rough cot in my room.
Sunday, 7 June 2009
I was complaining about my rotten luck over the communications network to several friends when I happened upon a Cormorant destroyer at a belt. I locked and scrambled him. My guns tore into him, and, blissfully, he melted. The blossoming explosion of his ship was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. I had broken my ill luck, and my Tusker application was finally complete. I put the application in and all I had to do now was wait for someone to review it. The ill luck was definitely broken, as I got a Coercer destroyer and a Rifter frigate on scan at a belt. I landed on a fight already in progress and targeted the frigate. It escaped though so I moved on to the destroyer. The Rifter pilot had already demolished the ships shields, and I finished what it had started. Eager for the next day to arrive, I docked up at the station and had an early night. When I woke up the next morning, I checked my mail. One of them was a congratulatory letter from Wensley of the Tuskers. Finally. I was a Tusker.
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
What an eventful few days I've had. Full of delicious kills. It started with an invitation to go on a nullsec roam with the Tuskers. I was informed that this was, near as dammit, a suicide run to scout it out and see what we could come up with. It sounded like a right laugh and I immediately signed up. I had just taken a new pilot under my wing by the name of Katsutro and he was eager for some pirating experience so I thought I'd bring him along as well. As a Tusker pilot by the name of Joc colourfully described it we were going to "pop his pvp cherry". He was a friend that I had made on a station that I had kept in contact with, and he always wanted to hear about my latest kills. He'd finally had enough of merely hearing about them and filed for his pilot's license. Anyway I digress. We fitted out frigates for speed, and headed off. Quickly jumping through systems, not letting ourselves get distracted by potential targets, we quickly reached our destination. We jumped into nullsec and were instantly faced with a huge battleship gate camp. There were about eight or nine in total, but we were too quick and warped to the next gate. Where we met our first victim, a Hawk assault frigate. We outnumbered him eight to one, as we locked, scrambled, and destroyed him in mere seconds. He was too slow and his pod also bit the dust. As it turned out though, he was a scout for a much more fearsome gang than our paltry little frigates. The stargate we were next to begin to flash, warning or the imminent arrival of a group of ships. Before we could do anything, a group of heavy assault cruisers uncloaked from the gates protective field and attacked us. Losses were heavy. In a few minutes we lost four ships; me, Leo Solunar, Menthez, and Joc. We were out classed and massively outgunned. I managed to escape in my pod, but Joc wasn't so lucky. Leo Solunar also failed to escape.
I quickly fled out of nullsec to the (relative) safety of lowsec, and headed back to our home system of Hevrice. I later found out we took further losses; the same gang had followed the survivors and taken an even greater toll on us. Egrat's rather exspensive Claw was reduced to scrap, as well as Caster Rom's Incursus. Caster was also unfortunate and was podded. Sometime later Egrat had returned with another ship, this was also destroyed. It was not all bad news, though. Another kill was bagged in the shape of a Crow interceptor. Meanwhile, Katsutro, had somehow survived all of this. He had however, been seperated from the rest of group in the turmoil and was now desperatly trying to find his way out of the labyrinthine nullsec and back in lowsec. He pleas for help over the fleet communications network were hilarious. The terrified pleas for help turned into cries of terror as the roaming gang caught up with him and blew both his ship and his pod to smithereens. All I could manage was to nearly cry with laughter as I listened from the safety of a station. When we met up and had a drink afterwards, he too agreed it was one the funniest things he had ever heard when I played him a recording of it.
Things calmed down after that for a few days. I then went hunting on my own, still searching for that elusive final "above class" kill. I was in Adirain when the ideal target came up. While scanning I came across a Merlin and a Rupture ratting together. Quickly checking out the pilots, I discovered to my delight they were pretty new. The Rupture pilot, no doubt flying a ship he wasn't properly equipped to fly, would be an easy kill. The Merlin would also be easy but I didn't really care about him, he would probably flee the moment I landed on grid. I warped in and landed at the belt. I was a few kilometres out and unfortunately this gave the Rupture time to escape. The Merlin however made the rookie mistake of trying to fly between asteroids and had become stuck. Well at least I would get one kill. As his ship exploded, the Rupture pilot foolishly returned, perhaps in the vain hope of trying to rescue his friend. I pounced on him, and slowly began eating his shield away. His weapons were ineffective against me, doing barely any damage. I had him at about half armour and there was nothing he could do. Then I too made the rookie mistake of hitting an asteroid. My orbit around his ship had taken me into it. I lost vital speed. This allowed him, and the battleship rat also taking pot shots at me to land a few decent hits. They hurt. This unfortunate incident meant I had to warp out leaving the rupture to escape while I repaired. Curses.
Later that same evening I linked up with a few Tuskers to go after some likely looking targets, in the system. There was Alex Rudd, who did a truly spectacular job of scanning out targets for us, Caster Rom, and Rat Hick. We were all in frigates. The first target tracked down was a Vexor. Annoyingly I was on the other side of the system scanning for targets, and by the time I arrived the cruiser was already finished, as was its pilot. Our next target was somewhat larger. An Apocalypse battleship in a mission. Thanks to Alex we could locate the precise position of it and warped straight there. It didn't stand a chance. Our guns tore it apart. We were too small and too fast for it to bring its formidable weaponry to bear on us, and it was quickly reduced to structure. We held our fire and ransomed the pilot for his ship. We got a nice 60 million ISK from the pilot and allowed the ship to go on its way still intact. Just. Split four ways that 15 million each. A good start to the evening.
Next we managed to corner another known enemy in a Harbinger battle cruiser. Our samll ships avoided the fire for the Harbinger's guns as we blasted our way through the ships rather extensive armour. We eventually got through the armour and into structure. We attempted to ransom, but the pilot refused and we destroyed his ship. The quick witted pilot managed to escape, but there was a wealth of valuables left in the ships wreck that would fetch a pretty penny. This was turning out to be a rather profitable night.
A few solo frigate kills followed as we fanned out looking for targets. We jumped a group of known enemies at a belt but once again I stuffed up and missed the fight. We got two frigates and a pod in that encounter. Then Alex informed us that he had got a Myrmidon on scan so we warped to it and opened fire. Its drones caused us some headaches and we had to concentrate on taking them out for the first few minutes of the fight. Unfortunately we were too slow to save Rat Hick and his frigate exploded. This just left me and Caster to take him out. We beat him down into structure and again tried to ransom him. He wasn't having any of it though so we blew his ship to smithereens. We managed to lock and scramble his pod, and tried to ransom him for his life, but again he refused. We introduced his body to the cold vacuum of space. Alex then got a location for another battle cruiser, this time a Drake. We warped to it but it managed to escape. We chased it around for a few minutes before cornering it at a planet. We took care of its drones, and then began slowly powering our way through the Drake's formidable shields. It's missiles proved aggravatingly accurate, and I took a few good hits which forced me to withdraw or face destruction. Caster had to ramp up his speed in order to avoid the deadly warheads. Alex swapped his probing ship for a Stabber to supply the muscle to break through the Drake's shields. I warped back in to help break through, but the pilot targeted me again and took another uncomfortably accurate hit which forced me to once again withdraw. Alex got a hammering, but the giant finally fell. The pilot escaped but we got some nice loot from his wreck. After a successful days hunting, I retired to the nearest station for a good nights sleep.