9 Jul 2008

Back in the Black

I finally emerged from the flesh pots of Auga and travelled (in cognito) back to Gusandall; feeling refreshed and needing to satisfy an overwhelming urge to cause mayhem and death to innocents, all the time getting rich in the process.

A return
Being out of contact from the rest of the corporation meant that even in a short period of time, things may have changed and I was eager to catch up on the news. With no trouble and a few well placed bribes, I took short cuts and was back in Gusandall a few hours earlier than expected. Dropping into the Independence bar, I was pleased to see some regulars present, and after a a few beers, I managed to get a feel of what I had missed.

As I expected, our CEO, Viper Sam had to take some much needed leave and in his place stepped in Nightmare and Jubes and Ndor and others to coordinate and lead. Running any corporation is hard, more so when your corporation mates are made up of stone-cold killers and murderers. We're not nice people after all. BLACK-FLAG welcomed some new recruits into our ranks - most had gone through a long vetting process and after checking our killboard, was very pleased to see that they had made solo kills.

Gusandall was busy however, the undock area outside the station was full of pirate ships, jostling to get out. There was something afoot and once I had left the bar and entered my office, the urgent, red blinking lights on my communication console, gave me an indication on what might be going on. I linked into several channels at once and adjusted the volumes to a manageable level.

Some quick facts had sprung up, in addition to the leave of absence of Viper Sam and they included:

1. Black-Flag had to face a war declaration from Havoc, Violence and Chaos (HVC)
2. War-dec was then withdrawn.
3. Jubes was still THE MAN in the corp
4. I needed to get back and kill some peeps
5. Faction Warfare had spilled into areas close to us - more potential kills?
6. All my sell orders had been completed and I looked at a lovely pile of isk

Time to ride out
Taibuca (Red Squad) hailed me and informed me that there was a hostile raven-class battleship parked outside the station. It was firing at someone and therefore a viable target. He needed firepower so, without thinking about it. I leapt into my trusty hurricane and undocked in record time. The large, distinctive shape of the raven loomed overhead. It's shields were flashing and it was taking a beaten but it had already shut down it's weapons' systems and was attempting to redock. Unless the ship could be rammed out of the docking range of the station, it was a pointless and ammunition wasting exercise.

I fired a few desulatory shots at it (incurring the wrath of the automated sentry guns) and disengaged.

"Fellas. We have a carrier in Gultraten. Get ready for fleet invite." Said Taibuca, excitement in his voice.

A carrier? Certainly, but I also knew that HVC were now based in Gulatratren - was it one of theirs? I made enquirers but it was unknown. No matter, though I am seeing more and more captial ships in low-sec space. What's going on?

A very mixed fleet of ships and pilots were brought together, though it took a disappointingly long time to get everyone ready. It's to be expected with mixed groups but still. The fleet mix was:

Typhoon
Hyperion
Munnin
Vagabond
Hurricane
Harbinger
Vexor
Falcon

Finally, Taibuca gave the order for the fleet to assemble at the Ingunn gate. We moved there and rendevoused at the gate, scaring a dozen or so other pilots, shuttling between systems.

"Tai. We have any more intel on the carrier?" I asked.

"Negative but there's also two battleships and two battle cruisers that are either it's bait or it's support."

"Roger that. Pilot names?"

A number of possible candidates scrolled across. Majority were HVC.

"Fleet, jump into Ingunn and move to Gultratren gate."

The motley fleet jumped and warped to the other gate and held. Meanwhile, on the other side, our scouts had spotted the carrier. We jumped in en masse and prepared ourselves.

At the exit gate, greeting us were two drake class battle cruisers and a dominix and raven class battleships. Were they bait or were they just unlucky? It was overkill as we swatted them aside and then jumped into the belt where the carrier was sitting. It was quickly pointed, our warp scramblers preventing it's warp drives from activating. The two cruiser escorts (a vexor and stabber) were brutally crushed. I even managed to pod one of the pilots.

Then we settled in to take down the carrier but it was obvious that we did not have enough firepower. We yelled out in our various channels (and several different languages) for more firepower. Though the carrier was jammed and pointed and it's fighters continued to get shredded; the fleet did not have enough damage to kill the carrier quickly enough and soon, his corporation mates came in with enough firepower to chase us off. All I remember before the order to disengage was my overview lighting up like a christmas tree with at least three more battle ships, two more other blinkies and another capital appearing. I left the belt before it got even more crowded.

Pity really but I suppose the carrier was ideal bait and the pilot could not have been so dumb as to want to sit in a belt and mine, now could he?

Vexors on the gate!

The engagement was inclusive - we had the goal of kiling a carrier but we failed, instead we destroyed two cruisers, two battle cruisers and two battle ships along with a a couple hundred million isk of fighters. I retired back to Gusandall and re-armed. I got a call from The Bastards that there was a missioning Astarte that they had located. They wanted some more DPS and I obliged. Waiting at the Evati gate in Todifrauan, I found myself two Vexor-class cruisers. Deadly drone boats. Due to my security status, I would be flashing red to them - I was classed as a criminal and shooting me on sight was not only a requirement by law but I would be personally insulted if anyone held off. Especially at a gate where would-be vigilantes would have the protection of gate guns.

One of the vexors powered towards me, both locking me and deploying drones. I hit yellow alert and waited patiently. I did not even return the target locks. The first vexor released his drones and they buzzed towards me, their intent clear.

"Shall we return target lock sir?" Asked my tactical officer.

"Negative. I have confidence in that we can swat both of them. I need to them to aggress us so I can be sure that they will not jump out."

"Yes sir."

Red klaxons blared over the shield as the first vexor threw it's drones at me and peppered my shields with railgun fire. I nudged the hurricane into a 5km orbit and danced with the vexor, it's drones chewing into my shields but I was in no immediate danger. The second vexor waited - locking me but not engaging. A taranis appeared as well and it appeared that I would be late for my appointment with The Bastards and the astarte. In typical fashion, RoninData replied,

"Sod this. We're on our way!!!"

Getting a bit irritated, I locked all three ships. I then primed my 425mm auto canons with a mix of EMP and phased plasma and unleashed hell. The vexor was punched sideways as it took the full brunt of my broadside, it wasn't even moving and thus had zero traversal to reduce incoming damage. It went down to armour very quickly. The taranis buzzed around me, threatening me with it's puny fire but I wasn't worried. The second vexor, while locked, stayed at 26km from me.

Just then a falcon decloaked 83km from me and locked me. Ah, now things were getting complicated. I was locked and my own target locks dissipated. The first vexor, on fire and spewing out gases had it's drones on me and the taranis screamed by for another strafing run.

"Tactical. Any chance we can punch through the falcon's interference?"

"Negative sir. Too much power from the falcon." I cursed and considered my next move. Just then, I heard a yell and one ship appeared - it's FoF transponder indicated it was from The Bastards and he threw his ship towards the falcon. Ah how quickly the tables turn in New Eden. The falcon pilot tried to get out of range but he couldn't and was locked and fired upon by my saviour. The jamming disappeared and my targeting computer came back on-line.

"Target and kill that first vexor now! "

The first vexor, maybe confident that I would be in serious trouble due to his falcon friend, was well within my optimal and my 425mm auto canons, loaded with a potent mix of Republic Fleet EMP and Hail, tore the plucky cruiser apart. Even before the blossoming fireball had disappated, my micro warp drive was on full throttle as I went after the second vexor. Still sitting 30km away from me and observing the fight.

Meanwhile, the falcon was chased off. It managed to warp out before serious damage was done to its delicate frame. I thanked the pirate and locked the vexor and fired. I did not care that I was now the aggressor and the gate guns opened up on me. The Black-Flag Fleet Hurricane is designed to deal a tremendous amount of punishment and still be quick enough to shoot and move AND pack a meaty shield system. I know in my 'cane that I can out-shoot most ships that I can't out-run and out-run ships that I can not out-shoot. This vexor was also smashed open.

I roared in delight as I heard the small bits of debris ping off my hull.

Getting camped in the station

Later on, I was camped in the station by a large force of anti-pirates. No matter, I can play their game as I have no interest in losing a ship in heroice duals. Am a pirate, not a knight so I settled into the Independence bar and drank myself into a stupor.....

3 comments:

Kane Rizzel said...

Welcome back my friend, Gus hasn't been the same without you

Spectre said...

Reading this almost makes me want to cross train Minmitar... Gallente BC's are so "meh"...

Jarek said...

Nice to see you back in action. I enjoy reading your blog.

@ spectre: I wouldn't classify Gallente BC's as "meh" :)