A new day and more pirating to be had; I pushed out of the space dock. More cautious than usual due to the change in circumstances with M34N and her allies. I undocked in my Jaguar, it was fast and hard hitting and ideal for the solo work that I had in mind. Had to be careful that I didn't get picked off on my rounds by M34N or anti-pies or the local angel pirates.
A close friend had been seriously ill and I had to put aside the pirating to nurse her to some semblance of health. I'm a pirate, not a heartless, careless bastard. Er.
Anyway, the jaguar-class assault frigate swept gracefully over the Gusandall station as I headed into Eifer. There was some trepidation now and a certain excitement flying around low-sec that was missing these last months. The gate flashed and flung me into Eifer, a quick scan revealed nothing. No ships apart from those unfortunate hauler pilots, stricken with some mutated form of the Sansah zombie virus. I turned round and the ship lurched forward as the afterburner pushed me towards the returning gate. The next few systems were the same: all devoid of worthwhile targets. Even our intel channels were quiet but this did not bother me too much. I love just flying and the freedom it gives.
There was a blip on the screen. A contact.
"Computer. Identify target, designation Alpha."
"Target Alpha. Rifter-class frigate. Estimated location: belt IV-III." So, a possible mark? I quickly adjusted the scanner and double-checked the location. Narrowing the built in scanner to a five degree scanning slice, it confirmed what the targeting computer had already informed me. I located the centre point of the belt and hit the warp engines. Stars flashed by as I narrowed the distance at faster than light speed. I landed inside the belt, my sensors re-adjusted but the rifter was just outside warp disruptor range. I punched the afterburner and roared towards it. I locked it and closed the distance. The rifter had just finished battling an Angel pirate cruiser, it saw me and warped out. I gave chase - it had fled towards a cluster of belts and stars. I had to be quick and decided it was the top belt. The jaguar whipped round, as eager for the kill as I was. My guns were primed. I wanted the kill and landing at the belt - the rifter had already warped out, my sensors catching the tell-tale warp signature of the rifter's engines. He was quick, I had to give him that. The rifter fled to the next system and I lost him. Somewhat disappointed, I continued to roam and spotted a heron. A little heron for me?
What interested me was that it was dropping probes and I figured he will be near moons and planets rather than belts. So I put my thinking cap on. I hit the scanner and found the general location of the heron. A glance at the local com-net channel informed me that he had at least two more corp mates. One in a helios and the other in a hurricane. The hurricane was spotted a few times moving between systems and would be a nice kill if he stayed near a planet or belt. There was also a drake but being familiar with the system, I knew that it was stationed at a POS. I therefore ignored it and concentrated on the heron.
Normally, I would leave such small ships alone but knowing what it was doing and the general direction, it was a temptation too hard to resist. I moved around and warped to some pre-determined warp in points that I had created earlier in my travels. Using the scanner and adjusting the distance, I had a pretty good idea where he was but with no scan probes - it would be very hard to find him.
I had to get an edge. I was lucky however that the heron (or one of his corp mates) had left a container in space filled with moon scanning probes. It was obvious that he would be coming back to the can to refill. So an idea formed in my mind, I book marked the can and then aligned to the can from a planet. The sat and waited.
Being a pirate, one had to be patient and this was one of them. A heron alone is a small kill but the hunting is the main thing and the skill behind it. I was enjoying it and waited patiently. A helios flashed on my overview once or twice. Was it decloaking and recloaking? The only other pilots in local were two corp mates of the heron pilot and one other. I spotted a discovery probe being launched and waited. The scanner pinged ahead and only the can was visible. No matter, I settled in and kept an eye on the local channels.
A discovery probe then disappeared and another one appeared. Then it was repeated and repeated. He would be running out soon and coming back to his stash for more. Soon, I thought to myself and started to align to the bookmarked can. I was at top speed and a jump into warp would be in an instant. I kept refreshing the scanner, never giving it a chance to settle.
After the fiftith scan - the heron appeared on the scanner, in line with the can. I checked again. Yes, the heron had come back and was either at the can or close to it. I checked once more and then warped to the can. If he was within twenty-odd kilometres of the bookmarked can, I would have him scrambled. Need to close the distance quickly though as he still had two corp mates in local. As the distance ticked down towards the bookmark, I steadied myself. I had to be quick as I did not want his corp mates on my ass.
Just as I was less than seven thousand kilometres from the exit point, I hit the scanner just once more. The heron was still there. I hope it was close enough. The jaguar dropped out of it's warp tunnel in a flash of light. The sensors froze momentarily as it tried to re-orient itself with known constellations. I could see the heron with my own eyes before the computer could. Even as I was still exiting warp, I ordered my tactical computer to start the target locking and get within5 kilometres of the heron. It was moving around 350 metres per second, at a high angle to me, hence a high transversal too. Adjusting, the jaguar slid into a more in-line intercept course and the traversal dropped and I closed the distance. My lock had resolved and the warp disruptor came on. It was trapped but still too far from me to fire. With a soft mental push, the afterburner flared and my jaguar nudged up in speed. The heron returned my lock and flashed red. No fire from it so what was going on? Surely it wasn't firing probes at me?
I came within optimal distance of my guns and opened fire. In two salvos the heron burst apart, spitting out the capsule of the pilot. I was ready and snagged it and quickly locked and killed it. I would normally ransom but with two of his corp mates in local; I was not going to take a chance. The pod split apart, the body of the pilot slithering out, encased in frozen amniotic fluid. I hit the scanner - making sure that no enemy ship was en route to rescue this pilot. I waited, if I saw a ship BC or less; I would take it on. Anything bigger or more; than I would bug out. Am a pirate not a knight. However, nothing - either the pilot decided not to inform his corp mates or the corp mates decided it wasn't worth the effort.
Somewhat disappointed, I looted what I could and warped to a safe spot and waited out my count down.
Solo work, love it.
Ah yes, the ship & pod kill mail.....
Victim: Dragonet Xian
Corp: FEROX AQUILA
Damage Taken: 408
Name: flashfresh (laid the final blow)
Weapon: Gremlin Rocket
Damage Done: 408
Victim: Dragonet Xian
Corp: FEROX AQUILA
Damage Taken: 864
Name: flashfresh (laid the final blow)
Weapon: 150mm Light AutoCannon II
Damage Done: 864
Scan Probe Launcher I
Small Clarity Ward Booster I
'Cetus' ECM Shockwave I
1MN MicroWarpdrive II
'Accord' I Core Compensation
Yes, he had a stab - I only had a point.
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