There are times in a pirates life where nothing seems to go well for you! This weekend was one of them. I have contracted some nasty little bug that has contaminated the pod fluid and need rest over the next week or so. Maybe that explains the poor run in form over the last week? Bah, don't believe in that but it's worth thinking about.
The weekend started promising however, a small gang of myself, prediction pain and Viper Sam went towards 0.0 as the rest of low-sec was dead. No-one was around and even the mindless farming automatons in Ingunn were very low in number. One didn't bump into their haulers outside the station much. With the falcon as part of the gang, the small fleet of two hurricanes would be able to take on many ships our number.
The trip towards 0.0 was uneventful until we were on jump away and detected a large number of ships, with pilots who were red to Black Flag in system. Quite possible that there would be some shooting and looting a-coming.
"Prediction, what do you see?" Asked Viper Sam. There was a burst of static and in came the reply.
"Megathron, onyx, ishtar, cane and a rifter."
"Are they together?" I asked, readying my weapon's systems.
"Unsure." After a few more minutes of probing and scanning; it was clear this group were off scan. We didn't want to waste more time and decided to proceed further.
"Okay, P - this is Sam. Jump into L4."
"Roger." My hurricane left the safe spot I had and warped to the L4 gate. Sam's hurricane met me there and we all activated the gate." Null-sec looks like low-sec, except no gate guns. A bonus to us, so used to fighting against sentry and station guns. Prediction went on ahead and detected a number of reds and we set up a longer trip into null-sec. My ship rumbled as the battlecruiser started to orbit the star gate back into low-sec. Sam and I kept chatter to a minimum as we waited for Prediction to find our prey.
"Sam. Gate fire from low-sec."
"Roger that Flash. Get ready." Tightening my orbit, a reloaded barrage into the guns - opting for range just in case a ship decloaked at range from me. I glanced at the local communication net and saw a few new avatars, but recognising only one: the ishtar pilot from the previous system.
"Sam. Ishtar pilot is in local. He came through and is still cloaked here." My heart pounded as I waited for the overview to update itself with the solid white of a target ship. A second later, a beautiful white square appeared.
"Contact. Contact." I locked it and hit the disruptor, only hesitating long enough to remind myself that this was null-sec and it would be safe for me to act with hostile intent.
"Flash. That isn't an ishtar." I paused and sent the camera drones towards the pointed target. The distinctive pronged shape of a Gallente Megathron-class battleship loomed ahead. The mega was locking me back. No, indeed Sam was correct. The first ship to decloak was a megathron. The ishtar was still cloaked.
"Mega is primary." Said Sam. "Prediction get back. We'll need your help." Things then happened very fast. Two more ships decloaked. An ishtar and an onyx-class ship. Another one! They all locked and then fired at us. I was primary by both the megathron and the ishtar. I started to unload onto the megathron. Prediction Pain arrived and jammed the megathron. The blinking red on my overview turned off but it's drones were on me. As were the drones of the ishtar. I kept my fire on the megathron but it had a hard tank. Prediction also cycled it's jammers on the onyx and the ishtar. I sent me ECM drones over towards the Ishtar to aid Prediction Pain. The ship lurched ahead as I pulse the micro-warpdrive to get some distance from the hostile drones. My shields were going down fast. It looked like the Onyx was firing at me as well.
"Flash - warp out if you need too. You're taking a lot of fire."
"Roger that Sam. Am good for a bit longer." I lied of course, I was down to 45% armour already and this was a near death sentence. The ishtar was going down, my ecm-drones and Prediction Pain's falcon jamming it solidly. As was the megathron. The onyx was aligning and shutting down it's weapons' systems in order to jump out. Red lights continued to flash as the ship wailed at the damage being gouged into it.
"Flashfresh is disengaging. Warping out." I hit the mwd to get more distance and then hit the warp drive. The engines engaged and slung my battlecruiser into a distant part of the system.
"Damage control parties to all stations. Get the damaged locked down. We have 30 seconds before we re-enter combat." My crew knew what was at stake and rushed to their duties. Rushing back towards the fight, my shields nowhere near being replenished, I warped back to Viper Sam now firing on the megathron. The ishtar was a rapidly dissipating cloud of superheated gas and debris having succumbed to the firepower. The megathron was on the gate and it had stopped firing and tanking our damage. I locked and opened fire, helping Sam to take down the megathron before it could jump. It looked unlikely that two hurricanes could do enough damage to destroy a megathron in under a minute. Once the minute was up, the energies from its own guns dispersed sufficiently for the star gate to activate, the megathron was gone.
At least we had the ishtar kill.
That was the highlight as the next few days, I lost out on another cane (too slow to lock), caracal (it was stabbed), a drake (stabbed too), a rifter (somehow, I forgot to web it), myrmidon (couldn't kill it before it activated a star gate) and a ferox (still WTF? it must have had two stabs on it....)
Quite frustrating. And yes, once I lost out on the umpteenth stabbed ship, I switched to a +2 point scrambler and the next four times, I landed too far from the mark. Even with a mwd, I could not close the gap (usually over 45km) before the marks all warped out of the system.
On the organisational front, Black Flag is going from strength to strength. We have welcomed a couple of new pilots into the group after much vetting and there are three more in the wings. Their achievements have not gone un-noticed and I look forward to flying with them in the very near future. You know who you are.
Our kill board has been quite active, the highlight so far being the 12-3 k/d ratio versus M34N. We've also suffered a 22million isk loss for our three ships compared to the 625million isk loss on m34n corp's part. It is pity that we're now red to each other however, I would much prefer seeing other kills on the board but we're pirates and we'll take kills and loot and ransoms where we can.
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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