1 Jun 2007

YAAARR. Today is a good day to die.

I love the rifter! I still reckon this is the best T1 frigate for pirating followed closely by the punisher. I use both and for a while, the punisher was the best. I had the most spectacular kills in it (battlecruiser-class solo and battleship-class in a group) however, the rifter is more fun in my view. It looks better too. Been looking at trying to tank the rifter and make it almost a completely passive shield setup and so far, it has looked ok. Certainly, it means my cap can last a lot longer this way.

So what has been going on? The loot is flowing in and even one or two ransoms have yielded isk. Most peeps are still reluctant to pay pirates, due to the bad press and reputation I guess, but I am managing.

Anyway, this is about what I have been up to lately and boy, has it been fun. As per usual, I have my haunt, my range that I frequent but lately - there has been more and more new faces. I view this as an opportunity and not a challenge. However, a lot of the pirate corps have decided to go blue with each other. I mean why? There is a serious reduction in potential targets and isk-sources when you do this. Now all those corps are all happily flying with each other and nary a new target in sight.

It's a crazy move in my view.

Anyway, I am an independent pilot so I regard all but a very small number of pilots as targets of opportunity and meat. Been busy with setting up trade routes to get some of the nice T2 mods I had collected to the market place and had to go through a number of intermedaries before I found buyers. Am a pirate but I don't have a rich sugar daddy to look after me. However, being isk challenged is always fun and adds an edge to the game.

I picked off a ratting rifter in Gusandall - was chasing him down for a couple of systems and finally had him. The alpha strike ability of the rifter is amazing - especially when equipped with T2 auto cannons. However, I love the chase more. The hunt and the challenge of pursuit gets my blood pumping.

Waiting for my 15 minute counter to go off, I spotted a Scythe cruiser zip past through local and then out again. Wasn't too sure if he would be of interest but I had marked down his vector and decided to follow once the global criminal flag expired. I certainly didn't want to be killed by the sentry guns. That has happened one time too many.

Once the flag had gone, I gave orders to make the ship ready and set the frigate towards Hrondredir, a nearby system. Curling around me, the warp tunnel pulled me through towards the gate. I landed close by and there were some wrecks bouncing off the ship. A quick analysis of the metallic alloys gave me the distinctive signatures of known hauler pilots and apparently the local pirate corps were busy shredding them. I am not into gate camping at all though it is probably a lucrative method of isk generation.

I love the hunt and pursuit. I was thrown into the new system and a quick scan revealed nothing though the local communication net was quite busy - more so than usual. I jumped to my scanning spots and smiled when I saw the scythe-class cruiser appear on the scan. It was a hard return and he was in one of the belts. Problem was, so was a stabber-class cruiser from a corp that probably has me KOS.

Had to be careful then, as the stabber could be working with the scythe cruiser pilot or even hunting him or using him as bait. So much to consider when attacking a ship class that was two sizes bigger than you and out-numbered too. However, I have been here before and know that the best way to test a situation like this is to go in all guns blazing and already assume that you're dead - it's just that I don't know it.

'All hands, battlestations. Prepare for attack!'

The rifter responded magnificantly and leapt into the warp - the pings from the scanner became stronger as I neared the target. I love the feeling when you know there is a target there. Emerging from the warp, I saw the scythe below my ship. In a fluid motion, I set to intercept course and had it webbed and scrambled with the autocannons spinning furiously and spitting out emp shells and barrage shells.

The stabber came screaming in soon after. No idea whether it was bad luck on my part or he answered a distress call from the scythe pilot but the stabber had me targeted straight away while I was still pummelling the scythe. I wanted to run but the stabber had me scrambled so that made up my mind. I had to concentrate on the scythe and knock him out before dealing with the more menacing stabber. Three salvos later and I managed to kill the scythe but my shields were all gone, stripped down to armour by the stabber's dual-sabretooth missile launchers.

However, the stabber pilot made a mistake: he was too close to me and didn't use the inherent speed advantage of the stabber-class cruiser. In fact, now I am pretty sure he wasn't even orbitting but sitting there, a mere three kilometers away and trading broadsides with me. Foolish move as I slapped on my webber and then scrambled him, all the while frantically repairing my armour from his missile and auto-cannon onslaught.

I now set my own orbit around him but then, to my horror - I was webbed too. Getting closer was a problem but reports from damage control was that while things were serious, the armour was at 25% and holding. We had enough capacitor to repair and keep up with the damage if we repaired in bursts. There might be a chance there for us.

'Maximise firepower, concentrate on the stabber and make sure we're as close as we can be!'

My crew responded brilliantly as even though being in control of the ship, I still needed a crew to ensure that the ship could function; especially in combat situations. I noticed that slowly the stabber's shields were being whittled away and that soon my shells would be crashing into it's armour. Still, this a cruiser-class ship with comparatively thicker armour to match. The slugfest continued as we traded shots with both our ships crawling around each other. However, due to the frigates small size, I had the advantage and I noticed that it was only his missiles that were hitting me; his dual-180mm auto-cannons were missing me. Soon the stabber was down to only 25% armour and still dropping. My armour held steady at 25% as I was finally able to tank his missile damage. The stabber's armour was finally ripped off and the her delicate hull was now being increasingly exposed to my hostile EMP shell fire from my three 150mm autocannons. My blood was up and I made sure that each shot was delivered with venom. I knew now that victory was almost mine.

The stabber was on fire and starting to turn away; it was bleeding atmosphere and fuel. However, my webber and disruptor kept it locked down tight - it was not going to get away. I wanted to kill it and snag the pilot too. The blood lust was there. The final fusiliade split the stabber open, spilling out it's precious atmosphere along with some of the unfortunate crew. I cared not.

The pod popped out after what felt like an age and I had it scrambled, instantly. I said 'GF' and then destroyed the pod as the pilot's corp HQ was only one jump away so I was not going to take any chances. The gelatinous capsule fluid flash freezing into a wonderfully violent shape as it met vacuum. I scooped it up with the intention of adding it to the collection. I was intoxicated after the fight. Nothing like a combat induced high to take the edge of things. You can keep your drugs and drink!

I docked up and swapped out the loot for some ammunition, the night was still young and I had more pirating to do. The loot was decent: it would pay for at least two more fully equipped rifters. Still, a 2 v 1 match up (two cruisers v a single frigate) was something that I enjoyed. I strongly suspected though that the scythe was a miner-setup so didn't have all guns setup. Oh well.

Undocking, I made sure that I got a good look at the local pilots and scanned to see more isk-generating opportunities. Nothing.

Moving towards a few more systems, I spotted a catalyst. Quick scanning revealed that it was probably at a planet so I set battlestations and warped there. On arrival, I crashed into the catalyst, the crunch of our hulls and armour plating making me wince. I ordered the crew to make ready for a fight as I targeted and scrambled and webbed the destroyer.

It locked me back and started to hit me with 75mm railguns. God, I hate them as I saw my shields get stripped down. My own rifter's 150mm autocannons spoke back and it was a brutal broadside. However, the destroyer, a dedicated anti-frigate platform it may be but not when it was badly fitted. It was destroyed with surprising easy by the rifter; I really thought it would be a closer contest. The pilot (Wuabba) complained to me that he was just chilling at the planet. I taught him never to let one's guard down by pod killing him. I felt no guilt. His loot was nice useful too though being a Gallente destroyer, I had little need for railguns.

A few moments later, while I still had the global criminal flag - two pilots appeared. I recognised one, a pilot called OriasV and second was his corp mate, called 'Ethersong'. Both were corp mate's of Wuabba so it was apparent they were coming for a bit of revenge. There was a frigate, kestrel-class and a blackbird-class cruiser. The signs did not look good. Wuabba then came back in, no doubt to salvage what he could from his wreck now under It was bit errie as I had his corpse in the cargo bay but no, it was the same pilot. Fresh from the reclone vats and not looking too happy.

I opened up a conversation with Lucius Cain, who had killed three of OriasV's ships in succession on the same day. Explaining the situation, Lucius leapt at the opportunity to join in and came in to join me in his frigate. So, a potential 3 v 2 but OriasV and his friends did not appear to want to play, even though we managed to land close enough to see to his kestrel on two occasions.

With no targets we decided to move on.

After seven jumps, we were in New Justice territory - a corporation that knows Lucius well and has Kill-On-Sight orders to that effect. I scanned down a scythe and ambushed it. He was -9.2 security rated so I had no problem attacking him. However, I was having trouble taking his shield down and meanwhile, local had leapt by two. A caracal was on scan as well and it looked likely that the Scythe had called in reinforcements. Still, I was not leaving but waited grimly for the caracal to turn up. Meanwhile the scythe's shields were only trickling down, was my firepower that poor? My sixth sense screamed at me and I hit the scan once more. A Typhoon-class battleship was on scan alongside the caracal. The situation looked worse than before. The scythe was now down to armour but he was holding on, credit to the pilot. The space around me warped and vomited out the menacing shape of the Typhoon. 'Anters' was the N-J pilot in the battleship and I was not going to be sticking around.

'Disengage. Disengage.'

I was half-expecting to be warp scrambled but lady-luck was on my side and I managed to get out. So, I was now facing a caracal, a scythe and a typhoon. Lucius, who was following the engagement put forward a suggestion.

'How about the duo-of-death?' - my sinister Sebioster brother was referring to both of us in our hurricane-class battlecruisers. However, without a tackler / scout we would be blind to gate camps. Nonetheless, we decided to give it a try. Five jumps back to our base and we launched back into space in the elegant but deadly lines of the hurricane-class battlecruiser. In my view, nothing can match the speed, tank, hitting power and beauty of this piece of Minmatar technology.

We returned to the N-J system and hunted but for the next hour, it was a fruitless search. Lucius had to dock and left me to hunt alone. Another half-an-hour later, I had twice missed a buzzard, my lock time much increased now. I decided to return home.

Switching back to the rifter, I thought to myself that OriasV and his friends were probably back in Auren. I set course after making sure that I had plenty of ammunition and supplies and headed back out. Local was thick and heavy with new pilots - with a corp battling it out against a bunch of farmers. I left them to it - badly constructed English insults flying.

On entering Auren, I was elated to see that yes, indeed - OriasV, Ethersong and Wuabba were in local. We greeted other, knowing full well what was to happen. I quickly fired off an evemail to the still awol Lucius and then jumped to my scan spot. The returns from the scanner revealed that near the IX-1 belt, there was a blackbird, catalyst and thrasher. From my notes and intelligence, I knew exactly who was in what ship - with a one-week old pilot in the blackbird. I doubt very much that he had decent e-war skills. Still, 3 v 1 fight was the stuff I dreamed about. Even better that my frigate would be going against bigger ship classes and being outnumbered. Who wants to live forever?

I readied my crew and explained to them the situation we were in. There were targets available and we rarely ran from a fight. Yes, the odds were against us but we have had contests where we stepped up and went toe-to-toe with battlecruisers and prevailed. I told them that I trusted their abilities and their singlemindedness for isk. I also said that any booty we got would be evenly split - with me taking nothing. That brought forth many 'yaaars' from the crew and they snapped to their tasks with isk-fuelled gusto.

I could only imagine what OriasV would be telling his gang mates. Probably along the lines that I would be shitting myself. Well, he was in for a surprise.

With the various ship departments informing me of their ready status I gave the order to engage. The engines fired up and the rifter was pulled into warp. Someone put on the some Minmatar heavy metal 'death of an angel' as the ship sped towards it's engagement. In a burst of light and plasma, my ship popped back into existence. I landed within 10km of all three ships - their first mistake as it meant I did not have to move too far to engage them!

I laughed as Ethersong said:
Ethersong> heh, your your ours Flash
Ethersong>*just one yours

Kind enough to correct his grammar.

The primary target was the thrasher. Why, with the blackbird in close vicinity? The thrasher was primary because it had the most experienced pilot (OriasV) in it. I had it locked down and then opened up, while at the same time, all three enemy ships flashed red as they returned the lock and fired back. We were joined in battle now and there would be no quarter asked or given.

My 150mm tech 2 autocannons spun and pumped furiously at the thrasher, ripping the destroyer's shields off in flashes of light. The enemy fire rocked my frigate though my shields somehow survived the first enemy salvo. Missiles from the blackbird and hybrid anti-matter rounds from the catalyst combined with the auto cannons from the thrasher meant it was a nasty cocktail. However, I was not webbed by anyone so I used my speed to my advantage. The thrasher convulsed under my sustained fire and it was into 50% armour while I was just entering armour damage. The catalyst and blackbird were still unmolested.

I was down to 75% armour when a plume of fire burst out from the back of the thrasher, I had penertrated the armour and the last salvo probably hit the fusion reactors. My armour was now down to 65% but the thrasher was dying, bleeding atmosphere and fluids. It burst into a million pieces, shrapnel showering my ship. With one enemy down, I ignored the pod and went after the blackbird. My armour repairer had already started but I was now out of capacitor, so I had to manage my precious energy reserves when it recharged. The blackbird peppered me with missiles but by the Gods, it had no ECM!

Feeling some hope, I poured more fire on the cruiser....then the firing stopped as the ammunition hoppers for my guns ran dry. Cursing, I reloaded and retargetted but the precious ten seconds allowed the blackbird to recharge her shields almost to full. With fully recharged autocannons, i went back into the fight - my armour was holding steady at 15% with my switching on the armour repairer in bursts in between the manual activations of the warp scrambler and webber. It was tricky but I was managing. The blackbird shield was slowly going down and let's not forget the catalyst, it was not deadly but was hammering away at me with it's 75mm railguns. No-one there had a webber so my speed was saving me but I couldn't keep this up. However, experience told me that I had the blackbird dead unless OriasV returned in something bigger within the next minute or so.

The shield on the blackbird eventually was broken after over 500 EMP rounds from me and I was into the Caldari cruiser's armour. Lilke all caldari ships: great shields, no armour. My shells bored their way into the hull in no time and soon, the blackbird was aflame and was turning away to escape. Like hell it was. It popped in a glorious display of fire and debris. Two down, one to go.


Now, the catalyst was all mine, I switched the webber and scrambler on and orbitted him, his 75mm hybrids scored hits but my speed was still saving me. Like the thrasher-class ship, destroyers are deadly to frigates but not today. I ripped it apart within 20 seconds and only stopped firing when the the expanding cloud of gas and shrapnel disappated. I let the pod go and numbly realised that not only had I survived but had emerged victorious. There were thunderous cheers and stamping of feet from my crew as they realised that we had overcome the odds.

Ethersong stayed in local and was magnanimous in his congratulations. I replied back that it was a good fight.

Collecting my wits I hollered at the crew to get ready for the loot and salvage. The three wrecks sat there, winking at me in the overview. The haul was good with a T2 shield booster from the catalyst and a large named shield booster from the cruiser wreck. Other assorted loot meant that I had enough now for another cruiser or an eighth of a hurricane class battle cruiser.

There was so much loot I could not cram it into the hold.

OriasV came back.

Oh joy of joys.

No doubt, he wanted to salvage back what he could and would be returning to the wrecks. I had already bookmarked the wrecks and waiting for a few minutes, I zipped back in. Due to my blood lust, I had completely forgotten to scan him down therefore I had no idea what ship he would be in. OriasV has been sighted in a malestrom-class battleship before. Bursting out of warp, I saw a kestrel class ship disappear and heading off the nearest planet. I was in hot pursuit as OriasV declared he wanted revenge.

Fair enough, I appeared right next to his kestrel and engaged him. My webber came on and locked him tight. If he was a rocket-kessie, it would negate his short-range firepower. He had missiles but no matter; the Gods of war were behind me and in under 1 minute, his kestrel was no more. I snagged his pod and congratulated him on the fight.

Flashfresh> Dude, need to ransom you out of principle.
Flashfresh> 1 million
OriasV>i need to say stick it up your arse on account of being me.
OriasV> :-)

Fair enough. I podded the captain and laughed.

Ethersong> gg, one day we will get you Flash
Ethersong> one day

Hmmmm - now where are those killmails?