Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Sweet Freedom

At the end of my last entry I was left in low sec with no affiliations to anyone or anything; be that corporations, alliances, even my friends, who were scattered across the galaxy. I had to worry about none of them, I was completely alone. It was intoxicating: I was uninhibited, totally free. While I loved this feeling I wanted to give null sec a second chance. I don’t think I got the best view of it and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get as much combat as it had to offer. So the search for a new corporation became my primary goal. This time I would on more than the CEO’s word, and I actually do some research into the corporation and just as importantly the alliance they were part of. Whilst I was awaiting the results of my searches I obviously had some spare time on my hands. I couldn’t just sit in the station bar for however long it took me to find a new corporation, as pleasant as that would be. So I formed my own one man band, to have fun and to strike fear in the hearts of my enemies. The name I choose was “Teeth of the Beast”.

And so commenced some of the most amusing days I had had in a long time. You guessed it; I made a return to piracy. Quite a triumphal return I’d like to think. The ship I choose to use for this period of piracy was the Vexor, in my opinion, one of the best T1 cruisers currently in production. At this point, my base of operations was still located on the border with null sec. This resulted in relatively high volumes of traffic through the surrounding systems, so the likelihood of finding good targets was significantly increased. I didn’t want to be too trigger happy as I wanted to keep my sec status intact, so I had to lay down some rules of engagement for myself. I would not pod at all, this would give me a big sec status hit that I simply couldn’t afford. I would also only attack outlaws where ever possible as this wouldn’t result in any security status loss at all. I would stick to these rules unless the target was just too damn juicy. So with these things set in my mind I sallied forth in my ship and started looking for targets.

I decided to have a quick foray in null sec first of all. In null sec I would be free from the limitations of my rules of engagement as you receive no penalties for attacking and killing ships of pods. I was feeling reckless and was desperate for a confrontation and so jumped blindly in. I was fully expecting there to be a gate camp and to die horribly, but I was pleasantly surprised to find no camp at all. There were however several residents floating around that I fancied having a crack at. I loudly proclaimed my entrance into their null sec system and challenged some of them to a duel. To my surprise someone offered themselves up. We rendezvoused at the gate from which I had entered so if he and a fleet of buddies showed up I could make a hasty exit. To my surprise the ship that showed up was an Amarrian assault ship classified as a vengeance. He saw my ship, which is pretty lethal to anything frigate sized, and to my surprise still consented to our duel. It was a swift and very definite victory for me. The ship melted like an ice cube in a furnace under the firepower of my guns and drones. Despite the fact I was in null sec and would not be penalized for it, I didn’t pod him and allowed to escape with his life. I respected his honourable conduct. With my first victory under my belt, and the related spoils I had appropriated from his wreck safely stowed in my cargo hold, I returned to low sec and unfortunately was called away from my ship on business, so the pirating session had to end prematurely.

The next day I awoke early, and eagerly leapt into my Vexor and went out scouting for targets. I managed to locate a potential target, but annoyingly he was a neutral and so attacking him would have caused me to lose security status. The ship in question was a Rupture, a Minmatar cruiser. I warped around to see if I could establish what he was doing, and quickly established that he was following me which in all likelihood meant he was hunting me. This was ideal, it meant I could bait him into attacking me, and if he fired the first shot I could fire back without any repercussions to my security status. I waited patiently at a belt for his inevitable arrival and prepared for combat. The Rupture landed on grid and I immediately burned for him, I locked and prepared to fire. He aggressed almost immediately so I opened up with everything I had: drones, guns, nuets and e-war. We were both had buffer fits, so it came down to a contest of raw firepower. As the rupture approached one third armour, I was still ahead of him with just over half armour left. But it was still going to be a very close fight. He got down to structure; I had less than a quarter armour left. I wasn’t taking any chances and overheated my guns to ensure I finished him off quickly. My guns obviously struck something vital, as a violent chain reaction tore the ship apart. I let his pod go free, and looted his wreck for anything valuable that might have survived the explosion. I had a quick chat with him and congratulated him on a fight well fought and moved on in search of more targets.

The next potential target I found was a far larger than the cruiser I had just taken on. It was a Hyperion battleship, and from my scans it looked like it was ratting at a belt. I warped in to have a look see, and I landed pretty close to a ship that dwarfed mine. I locked him to see how his tank was doing against the rats. If it was poorly fit I may have been able to tip his tank over the edge and so get myself a nice kill. He was through shield and partially into armour but it looked like his tank was buckling beneath the damage of the local pirates alone. One problem: he was a neutral. I blasted my RoE out of the airlock and attacked him anyway, this was too juicy to pass up and hopefully one kill shouldn’t push me over the edge. I loosed my drones and trained my guns on the cumbersome battleship which was slowly turning to attempt to make an escape. I had that covered however and jammed his warp engines. I kept a tight orbit to him, almost rubbing hulls. This would ensure my angular velocity was as high as possible, which would make it far more difficult for his large guns to track me and hit me. He was positively melting under the combined damage of myself and the local scum. Paying closer attention I noticed that he was neither firing on me, nor was there any kind of tank running at all as far as my instruments were concerned. This puzzled me greatly, had this pilot just resigned himself to death? It got to the point where his ship had received so much damage it lost all structural integrity, and blew apart in a massive explosion. Upon closer inspection of the wreck I discovered that the reason it did not retaliate or attempt to protect itself in any way was that the ship was totally unfitted! I contacted the pilot to ask about this oddity and he explained that it was insurance fraud that he appreciated the help. A sec status penalty for no gain. How irritating.

I returned to the station and went to the bar for a meal and a drink. Once I returned to my rented quarters, I noticed in my alcohol induced haze that my communicator was flashing up a missed call. I chucked a couple of pills in mouth and washed them down with a glass of water. These would quickly flush the ethanol out of my blood stream and allow me to concentrate. Once these had taken affect I went over to my communicator and checked what was on it; several mails and a few missed calls, all concerning my search for a new corporation. One in particular stood out from all the others though: a call from one of the recurring characters in my life. A certain disreputable fellow by the name of Caster Rom.

Monday, 14 December 2009


Once again I have been lax in regards to recording my activities for posterity and, of course, your reading pleasure. For this I apologize. I have done much since my last entry, so it shall necessitate several entries which I will endeavour to deliver to you as swiftly as possible. Anyway here goes:

When last we met I was a member of a corporation called Gravis Unbound, which was in turn a member of an alliance called The Council. When I joined Gravis, I was promised all the pleasures of null-sec, but most of all I was promised my beloved combat, and plenty of it. This did not materialise in anything close to the quantity I had been promised. It turned out the CEO of Gravis had overstated in regards to both quality AND quantity. I spent a significant portion of my oh-so-precious-time looking for combat in any enjoyable form, but I was having very little luck. The council did not even seem to a particularly big mover or shaker in the alliance world at all and very rarely went on big operations. It turned out that the council was far more powerless than I had imagined possible for any null-sec alliance. We only seemed to hold onto our space by dint of some rather formidable allies more than with our own skill and determination, or so it seemed to me anyway. Enough of The Councils inadequacies’, and back to my quest for combat.

The corp I was part of had a fair few pilots in it, around sixty if I recall, and I hoped I might be able to galvanize a portion of them into going out on ops with me. I made myself the unofficial head of combat and immediately started trying to organise some ops. “Try”, regrettably, being the optimum word. I knew there were some inexperienced combat pilots among us so the initial op I arranged was a fun training op. I set down some basic ground rules:

1) There are no ship or fitting restrictions, but you may not bring a ship someone is already bringing. You get kudos for bringing an interesting ship/fit.

2) No outright destruction of ships unless all involved parties agree to it.

3) There are no other rules.

I instated the first rule so that people would hopefully get a good idea of various different ships and ship types capabilities. With over sixty people in the corp, if only a quarter showed up we would have had a very interesting and varied bunch of ships.The second rule was for all the people who could not afford the loss of too many ships. I hoped that this rule would also encourage people to bring far more expensive ships i.e. T2 ships, battleships etc.Rule three? Well if a game has too many rules it is confusing, and takes the fun out of it.

The format for the op would be for general introductions to combat and study of ships and fits to begin with, then head into some mock fights to see how people would deal with various types of ships. Then to make things way more fun for all involved we would then split in teams of two or three and they were to try and hunt each other down. This would give them good practice with the on board scanner, give them a chance to try out various team tactics, work to the strengths of the ships in each team, and learn how to exploit the weaknesses of other ships. When your ship was reduced to hull you would return to the “safe zone” and await the end. Last team with a member left “alive” would win a prize and a good time would be had by all. Now I know for a fact that if I had organised this when I was in the Tuskers every single pilot would have signed up and we would have had a great laugh. Out of a corporation with more than sixty pilots in it guess how many signed up? Give up? Four! God damn four of the bastards signed up. I had been frustrated before, by now I was incandescent with rage and disappointment. These people had no sense of fun and adventure and the alliance as a whole was a huge let down, and I felt they were somewhat of an embarrassment. Don’t get me wrong there were some people in Gravis I very much enjoyed flying with or spending time with but they were a sputtering candle in the dark that was the rest of the alliance.

I had been mulling over leaving for a while but this was a deciding factor in my leaving the corp and the alliance. Something that sealed the deal was some turbulence with our allies. It looked like they wouldn’t be our allies for much longer and I was certain that were they to turn against us we would be wiped out in a very short space of time. So I packed my gear and got out sharpish, transporting all my ships and modules out of null-sec with the aid of a jump freighter pilot in Gravis. Luckily I had got my security status to a point where could once again fly freely in high security space, and had built up a significant store of ISK. With both those things sorted and having safely exited null-sec and Gravis Unbound I was free to roam the galaxy to my heart’s content and to find my new place in the universe.