9 Apr 2007

Hurricane hunting

The hunting around my Eifer has been erratic: some periods it has been good while other periods - the pickings have been none existent. My stabber was in space dock getting a refit so I was back into the punisher - increasingly turning into my main pirating frigate, even though I had five, recent good kills in my rifter. I feel safer in the punisher as I can tackle targets of the cruiser class more easily then the wonderful rifter. Certainly, I am more resistant to NOS in the Amarr frigate than our very Minmater rifter. As I was contemplating the ship types; a new face appeared in local. I quickly scanned the Concord bio and discovered that he was a relative newcomer. I quickly undocked and hit the scanner. He disappeared from the local com-net but I think I managed to get enough of scan signature to ascertain that it was a Hurricane-class battlecruiser.

Unsure of which gate he went through and with nothing else interesting in local; I zipped across to the primary gate and activated it. Nothing. The next two systems revealed nothing; unless the pilot had decided to move on. The fourth gate activation and I was successful. The Hurricane pilot was present and local was empty. The pilot was N***** and was three months out of Republic Military School...and already flying a Hurricane?

Going to be interesting as I have had a decent track record engaging Hurricanes. Hopefully, Neraven al'Brindihad fitted his ship with no webbers or nos.

I jumped to my scan spot and willed the scanner to send out it's electronic feelers. The returns came back to me and within seconds I had narrowed him down to a cluster of three belts. This is where it gets tricky: I didn't want him to jump and land short of him since most pilot ratting in a belt tend to move quite far from a warp in point. So I decided to wait: the longer I waited, the greater the chance that he would be in the last belt. Most ratters work sequentially from top belt down. He had a one minute start on me and probably had already finished the top belt. Most likely, he was in the second belt. I could have warped to the cluster's planet but decided this was a bit more challenging. After another minute, I willed the jump drives to cycle up and I warped towards the belt.

The familiar excitement was there and I don't think it will ever get away from me. The anticipation as you see the warp tunnel warp itself around your ship, the constant pinging of the scanner ahead of you and the hard return of a target. The frigate popped out of warp in a blaze of colour, the overview revealed the wonderful icon of a ship (square brackets FTW!!!) and as always with Battlecruisers, I was struck by it's size and presence. The frigate was a mere 6km away so on came the warp scrambler and I hit the afterburner to push me close to the 2000m orbit range. With two points on him, am hoping it would be enough to keep him there. My heart was beating fast now and the Hurricane pilot had already locked me. Deciding to be cheeky, I started a conversation with him:

Me: Hello.
Neraven al'Brindi: What can I do for you?
Me: You can pay me the princely sum of 12 million isk to let you go.
Neraven al'Brindi: No, I would rather you leave.
Neraven al'Brindi: And I will not pay.
Me: You sure?

At this point, Neraven al'Brindihad launched three light drones. Only three? Good - meant that he either lacked the full drone skills or he had lost some in previous engagement. No matter what the reason, three light drones I can take out.

Neraven al'Brindi: We shall see.

At this point, Neraven al'Brindisent his drones screaming my way as well as a salvo of light missiles. My shields disappeared pretty quickly as he scored some decent hits. Maybe not a noob after all! His drones proceeded to tear into the shields and within seconds they were gnawing at my armour. Shit! I toggled the armour repper on but it would take a few precious seconds to warm up. It was a tricky moment as I I targeted and sent shell after shell against the drones; popping each one. I was down to 25% - some armour tanker I am huh? Chances are he probably didn't notice the loss of his drones but now, with the threat neutralised - I had him.

My small nosferatu nibbled at his cap but I was scoring hit after hit. Occasionally, a light missiles salvo came screaming in but I was on top of it.

Neraven al'Brindi: what was the ransom again? 1.2 million

Cheeky git.

Me: No, 12 million isk.
Neraven al'Brindi: I dont have that.
Me: pity for you then!

Throughout this time, his shields were slowly going down but I was low on isk. Something had to give.

Neraven al'Brindi: Please: 6 million isk
Me: 7 million isk now or I close this conversation.
Neraven al'Brindi: Ceasefire?
Me: You pay first.

Then the conversation went silent for at least five minutes as I finally cracked the hurricane's shields and got into his armour. It was down to 52% before the conversation picked up once more:

Neraven al'Brindi: Ceasefire?
Me: NO. You pay me first, then I stop firing.
Neraven al'Brindi: Ceasefire. Payed.

I checked the accounts and there was no extra isk. I continued to fire and his armour dipped down to 45% - I checked my ammo levels and the weapon-chief informed me that we had over 4000 EMP shells left. That was plenty.

Neraven al'Brindi: Stop.
Me: Pay ME.
Neraven al'Brindi: OK, payed.

Finally, my account was credited with an extra 7million isk. I disengaged and zipped off to a safe spot. I fired off a warning to Neraven al'Brindito leave the system as there were bound to be more pirates around.

Not the biggest of ransoms but I needed some isk for a vexor that I have an eye on.

A good start to the day.