24 Dec 2007

How to tackle and kill people at the gates

With a three-ship crew, we had spied a drake-class battlecruiser at a gate. It was not a blinkie so was not agressed and therefore could jump if in trouble. This left only a couple of viable options: kill it at the gate so quickly that the pilot has no time to jump or bait it so he fires first.

The first was hard to do with only three ships and the latter would be also difficult if the pilot was sensible. So there was a third option: force him to jump through the gate and catch him on the other side.

With me (hurricane), Spiderus (hyperion) and Mandaro (taranis) - it was decided to execute the third option. We would all arrive at the gate and only I would open fire on the drake. If the drake returned fire, then the other two ships would join in. If not, I could kill the drake solo. However, it was likely that once he was in danger of armour breach - the drake would jump through the gate. We had it bumped so that it could not dock or jump away from the gate. Once the drake was through to the next system, the taranis and hyperion (with no aggression flag against them) would tackle and kill the drake.

Of course, I would be drawing sentry fire but my hurricane setup (solo only and not the fleet cane) was able to tank gate gun fire long enough for this plan to work.

Arriving at the gate, the slab-shaped Drake-class battlecruiser loomed ahead. It was within 2km of the star gate into Ingunn. I took a deep breath, locked and opened fire, hurling EMP shells the short distance between my hurricane and the target-Drake. The automatic sentry guns, detecting an illegal weapons discharge opened fire on me. My shields shrank as it absorbed the impact.

The drake locked me but did not return fire. It shifted a bit, auxillary thrusters firing. Was it aligning to leave? Spiderius saw this and moved his hyperion into a blocking position. My shields were now gone and I switched on my armour hardners and repairers. My crew raced to their positions to lock down any loose items as my damage control teams spread out throughout the ship. My ship was starting to shake as the gate guns slammed shell after shell into me. The drake was now down to 25% shield but was not moving. It had me locked but still did not fire. I could imagine the drake pilot was his finger hovering over the fire button with all the consequences zipping through his head.

I hit his armour and the star gate fired. The drake was leaving.
"Go! Go! The Drake is jumping. Get him on the other side!" I yelled. Mandaro, well aware of his role had already jumped and decloaked on the other side. This was crucial now as the exit point from a gate is variable and it was possible that the drake would de-cloak too far away from Mandaro or Spiderus to tackle before it could fire it's engines and get away.
"Shit! He got away from me!" Said Mandaro, voice full of disappointment. "But I tracked his vector. Am on his ass." So the drake did decloak and had managed to get away from the tacklers. I tried to activate the gate but was refused entry due to my recent weapons' discharge. I still had to wait for discharge energies to sufficiently dissipate before the star gates could activate.
"Drake tackled." Informed Mandaro. Good job I thought as I tried the gate again. I was once more refused.

This was very frustrating.

I tried again and was refused, meanwhile Spiderus had joined in and had clamped it's teeth into the drake. On the eight attempt, I was finally allowed through, my hurricane catapulting across to the other side of space. On arrival, I hit the engines and my computer quickly pinpointed the taranis and I was away.

Arriving, the drake was already into armour and was dying. I locked and fired a few more rounds before it exploded. Checking the concord email showed me why: three expensive shield rigs.

It was a good team effort to take it down.