The Cap Fight that never was...
"What the hell?" I muttered as I read the fleet manifest from Dogz. I stared into the crab nebulae, it's colours soothing my frayed nerves. I was in deep space, my crew racing round due to the yellow-alert condition on the ship. I glanced down at the manifest and fired off an encrypted message to Kane Rizzel.
"You see this? Flying with REDS?" I spluttered.
"Weird. Should be interesting." Kane replied smoothly, his hurricane class a few jumps ahead of me and making our way to the rendevous.
"What the FUCK is going on?" That was Grunanca, his angry voice bursting into the conversation. "We just killed some of these guys a couple of days ago. Hell, we killed Mirabilis' maelstrom less than 24 hours!"
"And they've been killing us," added Kane. "Quite successfully too."
"Dunno Grun buddy. I thought we were going for the POS op but all the caps have been switched over to a new mission according to the update. Once they're finished; they'll cyno into the POS and blast that."
"Okay but there are reds here in this fleet."
"I know. I know. Not my fleet but we need M34N's caps with us - so helping them finish off this operation will mean that they can come back to the POS and continue with the POS bash mission tonight."
Grunanca seemed to digest this a little.
"Also Grun, I think M34N are getting paid for this?" I checked the update again, it was kind of vague.
"Yeah Flash, but they are and half this fleet is red to us, it's gonna be very confusing tonight. Better not be any friendly fire."
"I hear you."
Dogz and 50FreeFly were only a one jump from the capital ship mustering point, about five jumps away from me when a Dogz sent out a fleet warning.
"May-day. May-day. Hostile camp in Orfrold. Hostile camp in Orfrold. Two Astarte and a hurricane and others!" We were entering into hostile territory and the support fleet was stretched out over ten jumps, all the way back to Evati, making us very vulnerable to roving gank and camp squads.
"Engaging but am going down. Need immediate assistance!"
"This is 50FreeFly. On my way. Hold on."
"This is Flash, am on my way. Five jumps."
"This is Redbad. Six jumps."
"FC! FC! - send fleet to Klogori. There's a camp there and it's preventing support ships coming to assist." I said, urgency clear in my voice. Fleet Command was with Mirabilis and there was no immediate reply. This was looking very bad for us as the voice comms with Dogz was now starting to break up. I saw on the star map the locations of the the main fleet ships and 5OFreeFly was now in the same system as Dogz. However, Dogz' ship icon blinked once and was gone.
"Dogz is down. Dogz is down."
"Where the fuck is the fleet? The camp is one jump away from them!" Cried out Grunanca angrily. I activated the gate jump sequence and was closer.
"This is Flash - two jumps out." I set red-alert for the entire ship and prepared for battle. Mentally checking the ammunition levels and the status of the engines. Also, in times of battle, I like to be on the bridge even though I was still inside the warm embrace of the capsule, my avatar was materialised on the bridge. My avatar's eyes scanning the bridge crew. A good bunch, not as neat and tidy as a Navy crew but much more effective. Some even salute me, but for those crew members, naval tradition is hard to forget. Standing by was my executive officer and he had a worried luck on his face.
"Sir, we lost Dogz and now it appears that 50FreeFly is also engaging and losing. There's a falcon at the gate camp and 50 is jammed." Falcons are bad news. I made a decision to stop and dropped my ship into a safe spot.
"Navigation, keep an eye on the scanner." I then fired off a message to the fleet. "Flashfresh standing by in Orfrold."
"Roger that. Get away from the gate. Am going down. 50 is going down." There was a hiss and pop of static and then the voice of 50FreeFly came through again, angry.
"50 is down. 50 is down." There was a chorus of angry shouts from the fleet channel demanding to know where the support was. A camp like that could be blasted into oblivion easily enough. There was a communication problem, that was clear.
Concord recorded 50's ship loss......
Corp: Mean Corp
Name: Doc Banshee (laid the final blow)
Alliance: Enuma Elish.
Weapon: Heavy Neutron Blaster II
Alliance: Enuma Elish.
Name: Paris Melchior
Alliance: Enuma Elish.
Alliance: Infinite Innovation
Corp: THE IRIS
Weapon: Havoc Heavy Missile
Alliance: Enuma Elish.
Weapon: ECM - Multispectral Jammer II
Neutron Blaster Cannon II, Qty: 7
Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge L, Qty: 560
Quad LiF Fueled I Booster Rockets
Faint Warp Prohibitor I
X5 Prototype I Engine Enervator
Medium Capacitor Booster II
Cap Booster 800
Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II, Qty: 3
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I, Qty: 2
Medium C5-L Emergency Shield Overload I (Cargo)
Medium Modulated Pulse Energy Beam I (Cargo)
Local Power Plant Manager: Reaction Shield Power Relay I (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge L, Qty: 756 (Cargo)
Cap Booster 800, Qty: 14 (Cargo)
Armor Thermic Hardener II (Cargo)
Null L, Qty: 1005 (Cargo)
'Arbalest' Standard Missile Launcher (Cargo)
Power Diagnostic System I (Cargo)
Reactor Control Unit I (Cargo)
Trimark Armor Pump I, Qty: 3
Ogre II, Qty: 2 (Drone Bay)
Berserker II, Qty: 3 (Drone Bay)
Now, there was some anger and confusion at the poor organisation but then again, in mixed gangs this is inevitable and I don't fancy the FCs job in this. After some hasty last minute diplomancy - the anti-pie gate camp moved on. Part of the support fleet was now in Orfrold with me and one red as escort. There was finally some action one system away but the enemy capital ships were not coming out to play. In Orfrold local, it was clear that the targets had their own spies, reporting on our movements. Hours later, nothing much happened and with some relief, the fleet was ordered to make their way to Eifer to bust the POS there.
It was at this time, that I got a hasty private message and I made my excuses to leave the fleet ahead of time. The remaining fleet, after much shouting and cursing, re-organised in Gusandall and steamed into the POS.
Dual-ship meal combo
Several hours later, the anti-POS fleet was still in Eifer smashing down the POS's weapons when I got a call from one of my spies: there was a pair of ships in Sotrenzur. They were apparently weapons' testing and were gleefully throwing drones at each other. There was so much activity, that the energy signatures were being broadcasted across the entire system that it was a simple case of scanning for drones and finding their spot. I took the remainder of the call in the private offices behind the Independence bar. Tapping the message console, my eyes darted up and down as the intelligence reported scrolled before me. Grinning, I had their co-ordinates and the ship types. A myrmidon and arbritrator class ships. Drone boats certainly. I tapped a few hyper links and accessed the pilot biographies and chuckled. Only the myrmidon pilot was experienced and he would be my primary. Having only 30 minutes to spare before another appointment, I had to be quick.
I raced towards my hangar, taking the turbo-lifts down to the appropriate level. My hurricane-class battle cruiser filled the hold, my crew all ready. I got into the pod and within seconds was inside the ship, neural linkages jacking themselves into the ship. I toggled the internal communications network and spoke to my executive officer.
"XO. This is the Captain."
"All systems green. We're ready. Destination Captain?"
"Sotrenzur. We have two marks. A myrm and arbitrator. Prepare Hail rounds."
"Desintation, Stotrenzur. Hail rounds to all weapons systems. Aye aye sir." Outside, the docking clamps dis-engaged with a hiss of compressed air and the ship slid out of Gusandall and into the inky blackness. I accessed the private message, complete with the co-ordinates of the myrmidon and arbitrator and added their locations to the navigation computer. I sent my avatar to the bridge. I moved to the Captain's seat, sitting down I addressed the crew.
"All hands. This is the Captain. As soon as we arrive at the Sotrenzur gate; we jump on contact. Make the necessary arrangements. Once we're in Sotrenzur, I will hot jump the ship directly into the marks." I turned to my tactical officer. "Myrmidon is designated as target Alpha. Arbitrator is designated as target Beta."
"Aye aye sir! Myrmidon is Alpha and arbitrator is beta! Alpha is primary, Beta is secondary."
"ECM Drones on the secondary tactical and ensure that we have an even spread of fire from the 425mm on alpha."
"Aye aye Sir!" The tactical officer, a young Brutor spun on his heels and started to direct his sub-section. I turned to my left and addressed a sinister looking Gallente man.
"Get your boarding party ready." With a curt nod and no reply he turned and disappeared through into the remainder of the ship.
"Approaching Sotrenzur gate. Gate command has given us authority to jump."
"Very well. XO, red alert and jump when ready." My executive officer, a capable ex-Fleet man grinned, the scar on his face, twisting like a snake.
"All sections red alert and report readiness." There was a chorus of affirmations and the countdown to the jump began. "We will jump in five, four, three, two, one - jump." The ship was pulled across space and time by the star gate and we appeared millions of kilometres in Sotrenzur. The bridge was a flurry of activity.
"Tactical! Make ready! Astrogation, scan for the ships - are the marks still there? Engineering, full power to the shields."
"Tactical here. All weapons systems ready, targeting computer has signatures for alpha and beta locked in." The ship lurched forward as it locked onto the distant co-ordinates and sent the ship into warp.
"Astrogation here. Myrmidon and Arbitrator-class ships on scan."
"Excellent." I felt the fury of imminent combat build up inside me as the ship raced towards our victims. The rest of the crew also felt the build up and the tension was building with every kilometre that we traveled. The hurricane materialised in a flash 1.5 km from the myrmidon. Our spy in their corp was pretty accurate with the location. Now took over the ship weapons and engines in it's entirety, the crew having a secondary support role. The hurricane slid to one side and the warp disruptor spun into life, locking onto the warp core signature of the myrmidon and disrupting the containment fields of it's engines, rendering any escape impossible. My mighty 425 mm auto canons opened up a deadly broadside, smashing apart the shields on the myrmidon. The drones from both the myrmidon and arbitrator locked me, flashing red in my tactical overview and attacked me, my shields dipping a little in response. No matter, my own ecm drones slid out from the small drone bays on the side of the hurricane and locked their hungry little eyes on the arbitrator.
The myrmidon shook as my rounds (a mix of EMP and Hail) brushed past the shields, half my gun then turned off as the ammunition hoppers were changed to Hail. The other guns, already loaded with Hail bore deep into the armour of the myrmidon. One side was now on fire and it started to spurt out gases and fire. It was dying. I sent my boarding parties over and gave them five minutes to steal any valuables. I then dispatched the arbitrator in three concentrated salvos. Turning my attention back to the myrmidon, still hanging on, I made sure the boarding party were back with their booty and then I reduced the myrmidon to scrap. We failed to capture the captain's pod but no matter. We got what we wanted: booty and loot.
My 30 minutes was up and my evening's pirating would be coming to an end. I turned the ship towards home.
A most excellent catch and a good way to end the day.
After Hours 20: Alan Mathison - After Hours Episode 20 with Alan Mathison is now available HERE. We discuss all things Exoplantary in perhaps the nerdiest After Hours so far. Project Di...
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