Hunting is always a challenge and without a network of spies and information brokers, I would be very hard pressed in finding targets. Targets means ransom and salvage and that means ISK. When I am not in my ship and in space, then I am hunched over my numerous screens, my eyes scanning over hundreds of channels, verbal reports whispering out from numerous speakers - giving my operations hub the background noise of a call centre. I pay my spies to keep an eye out for targets.
The reports scrolled over and illuminated my face, the reflections of them flickering over my face and after a couple of hours, there was very little hard information on profitable targets. Just as I was going to leave and get a drink at the Independence bar, there was a beep - it's volume increasing with every passing second.
I took one look at the report and the pilot making it and hit the scramble button. My crew jumped up from their bunks and raced towards the waiting hurricane. I also hastily set up a call-up of pirates and set up a fleet.
"Move, move, move!" I shouted at the fleet, the ships moving in from four different directions. towards Arnstur. Like a wolf pack, we were being vectored into the last known location of a typhoon-class battle ship. We had a myrmidon, two vagabonds and my hurricane. More than enough, even tackling on a gate.
"Ships - scatter, we're looking for Ruantin Form. In a 'phoon, last known location was Todi, he's in Arnstur, I think."
"Roger that." Replied the other three pilots, Nessaja, Muhaar and Kerjin. The fleet broke up and went to all the possible exits. It was Kerjin who found him.
"He's in Arnstur."
The rest of the fleet vectored in on Kerjin. Kerjin locked but did not active any hostile action. He tried to bump the battleship off vector but was unable to. I tried as well but the gravitational anomalies around a star gate made things very difficult. I missed the battleship by the proverbial mile. The typhoon, though locked by me and Kerjin - did not fire. Nor did we, as the weapons' discharges would have prevented us from jumping immediately.
"Bump him off the gate!"
"He's in Gultratren and fuck, missed him!" I said, de-cloaking too far for even my over-heated warp disruptor. The typhoon, leisurely re-aligned and warped to the next gate: Rokofur a high-security system.
"He's going to the high-sec gate. Need to point him!" Said Muhaar as he whipped his vagabond into warp. We had no webbers however so this was going to be tricky. Tackling under the watchful eyes of sentry guns is not a good tactic but we had to try.
It was Muhaar who arrived first.
"Shit, he fell short of the gate. He's 12km from it."
I arrived at the gate and had to turn around. The typhoon, for whatever reason, was too far to instantly activate the gate and jump. We had a window, albeit a slim one.
"Flash going in for the tackle."
I locked and switched on the warp disruptor. I was right next to a gate guns and the automated devices spun-up and locked me.
++Flashfresh, for your illegal weapons discharge, you will be punished++
My hurricane was rocked to the port and then starboard as high-velocity shells spat out at me.
Well, in for the penny, then in for the pound I thought to myself and powered straight towards the Typhoon. My 425mm auto canons are devastating at close range and even a battle ship had to take notice. The typhoon pilot locked me. He was now 9km from the gate, Muhaar, Kerjin and Nessa had him locked and they too opened fire.
The the typhoon pilot, possibly panicking, returned fire.
The fool had sealed his fate.
"Typhoon is firing weapons. Gate will not let him through now!"
A quirk of the star gate mechanics was that it was extremely sensitive to energy discharges characteristic of most weapons' system. Just like you need to cool down food before you put it into a cryo-storage, so too did you need to give weapons' time to 'cool' off. For a ship, it would take about 30 seconds after the last weapon was fired before the gate would allow him to jump. The typhoon was still firing. It should have stopped, tanked the damage and jumped.
Maybe the pilot did stop firing and tried to jump immediately, on seeing the denial, am sure he panicked and started firing again. Whatever.
He died all the same.
A Ransom - thank you Mr. 30 MILLION isk man and others!!
Now, the last few days I must have hit a rich seam of isk heavy pilots and in most cases, the mark instantly fired a message to me asking for the ransom amount in order to save their ship(s).
I needed isk and some ships I caught in the belt were big juicy targets - the pilots were desperate to pay me in order to escape:
Here's a drake that I caught in a belt, the pilot did the right thing and pinged me a message: 'How Much?'.
I said "30 million please."
I then let him go.
Faction frigate madness and smackalicious
Kane is a pirate and pilot who I count as a friend and I have tremendous respect for him. He wanted to celebrate his birthday and what better than to get a bunch of faction frigates and go for a roam? When a Dramiel- or Firetail-class frigate is seen in a belt, ratting - it does bring out the pirates in most people. We wanted to use this to our advantage.
I strapped myself into a Firetail-class frigate, fitted like my rifter but with one less auto canon and an extra rocket launcher. This ship has paper for armour but it relied on speed to get out of trouble. Kane was in his succubus and WayCharles also joined in. A zealot and vagabond also came in and it turned into a fast roaming gang. Unfortunately, not everyone had the means to get hold of a faction frigate but meh, a gang is a gang.
We started the night with a prophecy and brutix kill, very nice but was a bit horrified at the terrible armour of the firetail. The fight details are here.
Then we went to Katugumur and found a typhoon ratting, we jumped into the belt, seconds after a thorax and brutix had screamed in, also intent on the same kill. The 'rax and brutix jumped out and we tackled the 'phoon. Poor DPS from us and we also lost the tackle - then the smack began. Very funny to be honest, we should have at least locked down the 'phoon but meh. Kane has a more full account here.
Maelstrom Kills and welcome BoB
A few days later, I got two maelstrom kills and a deimos kill. Superb and excellent job to our probers for finding the missioning pilots. Lovely!
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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