A Frog is in Trouble
While we pirate and make life a misery for mission runners and ratters; we're not *that* cut-throat and we do stick together and watch each other's backs...providing we don't expose ourselves to too much danger of course. We're all focused on the loot and ransoms as that is how we make our living in New Eden. So all combat to us is a balance between gaining and losing isk. Sure, sometimes people fight (or duel) for honour and reputation but we mainly fight to secure more isk. Isk is God to us pirates.
I was in my gank-tank rupture with Jorge Belda in his malediction, assisting Mynxee in wrestling some decryptors from the local Angel Cartel pirates. Yes, we were running an exploration site and the destruction of the Angel Cartel ships under my guns, was deemed a good thing by CONCORD. So good in fact that they increased my sec status from -9.998 to -9.995; thus the perfect '10' was now getting further. I was obviously heading in the wrong direction.
The Bastards, as a whole were between corporation sanctioned excursions - some pirates were holed up in the station, drinking and wenching while others were out trading and scheming. Mr Frog was in null sec and chasing down the bounties on some low- to mid-range Guristas pirates. The credit crunch has hit even New Eden and forced Mr Frog to 'rat' to make much needed isk.
Mr Frog has the honoured distinction of being the only Bastard to be awarded the 'Running Away' award. Something that he is very proud of.
Anyway, the ratting wasn't going too well.
"Those gits! Can't they leave me alone to collect the bounties?" Complained Mr Frog.
"The locals giving you problems, Frog?" I asked half concentrating on taking down yet another Arch Gistii raider.
"Yeah - they have sovereignty of this area but does that give them the right to stop me from doing what I want to do?"
"Absolutely not." I nodded, chuckling as the raider blew up in a thousand shiny pieces.
"And just because they have gone to the effort of securing this space, does this mean that they have the right to hassle an honest bounty-collecting pilot, harming no-one?"
"The sheer gall and audacity of that alliance." I nodded.
"I just told them to 'leave me alone' and they laughed at me. They're now dogging me with a zealot and raven."
"Damn. The locals sound down-right unfriendly."
"I just want to make some isk. There's no empathy in this part of the world. I fear for the youth of today!" Said Mr Frog, now in full flow.
"You can always run away?"
"And that is exactly what I am doing..." Fired back Mr Frog. I could see from the star map that he had gone deeper into null-sec and was now into the Vale of the Silent region. "Shit. A shuttle on the gate. Am cloaking!" Mr Frig was flying a cloak enabled Vexor.
Mr Frog is not a coward, he is just very, very cautious. He came back to the group, sounding a bit more worried.
"They have an onyx here and that bloody zealot again. A dominix, malediction and astarte too. Damn it. I can't rat in peace! Have to find some empty space for myself."
"I think they are determined to chase you down Mr Frog." I said as a plan slowly formed in my mind. "Did you say an onyx, zealot, astarte and domi?"
"Er yes and bugger me with a sharp marrow. They're camping the two gates in this system. Am stuck!" Wailed Mr Frog as he realised that, at least for tonight, his ratting excursion would be seriously curtailed. Nothing makes a pirate cry than a lot opportunity to make isk.
I glanced at the various corp and corp related chat channels. We had plenty available tonight, I thought, along with the two resident Hellcats (Shae and Mynxee), a decent fleet could be assembled. Clearing my throat, I asked around and tried to find out if anyone was interested in an incursion into null-sec space to rescue our very own Mr Frog.
Indeed there was interest and Kulmid stepped up as FC.
A fleet was already set up but its first task was to deal with an ishkur that was dogging Khaled Urduni. We completely overwhelmed the plucky assault frigate with excessive amounts of firepower. As we waited for our Global Criminal Flags to disappear, I updated all the available pilots on Mr Frog's 'predicament'.
"Chaps, we have an onyx, zealot, domi and drake dogging Mr Frog."
"Yeah, so we hear." Said Jed. "Frog, you're a knob-end. Why are you collecting bounties on those Guristas?" This brought a lot of guffaws from the assembled crowd.
"Well, it's easy isk innit?" Replied Mr Frog.
"You're a pirate. A PI-RATE. By definition it means you pirate other people not chase down bounties."
"Yeah....but the isk is good; but that is not the point. We have some fools here who have been dogging me. You coming to help me or not?"
"Well, we're not too sure if we want to risk our ships. Any idea what the loot would be like?" Asked Euan.
"Dunno, but the onyx, domi, malediction and ishtar has been joined by a second domi. Come on guys, there's isk to be had here!" Pressed Mr Frog. "They're Interpid Crossing Alliance [IRC]; who are dogging me, am sure we can take them. Come on chaps!" Exhorted Mr Frog. The inability to make isk from the bounties was making him mightily antsy.
There was a general murmur of agreement on the potentially lucrative loot drops and Kulmid, who was still eating something, asked for a vote to either 'rescue' Mr Frog or leave him to the tender mercy of the null-sec alliance. The show of hands was definitely for a pirate romp into 0.0 with the full intention of stomping anyone we could find.
"Mr Frog. Tell your new found friends that your help is on its way."
There was a pause and then Mr Frog came back.
"Those guys laughed at me........"
The Fleet moves out....and along blundered in a raven
So we had assembled the following:
Kulmid (FC) - Armageddon
DanMart - Drake
Mynxee - Hurricane
Shae Tiann - Myrmidon
Jorge Belda - Maller
Jedziah - Omen
Euan8 - Vexor
Flashfresh - Rupture
and of course,
Mr Frog - Vexor (with cloak - good for running away)
Not too shabby, plenty of points but a bit slow on the locking front. An interceptor or frigate would have been useful but we wanted tank and we had it. There was much yelling and hooting and the FC was (once again) having trouble establishing order but eventually, Kulmid made himself heard.
"Fleet! Destination set. Assemble on the Todi gate. We bum-rush."
The fleet rumbled out of the dock bays - a surge of ships, blinking red and angry in everyone's overview. Aligning, we completed the three jump journey and arrived at the EOA-ZC gate in Akkio. On the other side of the gate was null-sec. I love null-sec due to the absence of effective gate guns but hate it for the sheer emptiness of the place. Shae muttered 'here we go again' not too quietly to herself.
Our destination was 7G-H7d, IRC space (we think), where Mr Frog was trapped and the rescue fleet jumped into null-sec, with no scout and a shout of 'BUUUMMMM RUUUSSHHHH!!!"
There was nothing in E0A-ZC; the scene of many a bubble camp but not tonight so the fleet moved on; neglecting the use of scouts we moved as one angry mob of ships and guns. Jumping through on gate-contact and making best speed to 7G-H7D. At QPOK-B; we assembled at the 1W-0KS gate - there were some ships around in local space and we tried to give chase but they were too fast and evaded our efforts. Grumbling, most of the ships gathered around the gate when our computers detected an incoming gate fire - an indicator of an impending arrival from 1W-0KS system.
"All ships, orbit the gate." Ordered Kulmid. The fleet parted and moved around the gate, maximising the size of our 'net'.
"Overheat your warp scramblers." I added.
"He's holding cloak for as long as he can." Chuckled Euan; his voice dripping with eagerness. A few seconds later, there was a shimmer about 7km portside and the distinctive shape of a raven-class battle ship materialised. The gate induced cloak finally wearing off. The raven was already frantically aligning to get away.
"Point." Said Shae and that was it.
With the warp core on the main drives disabled, the ship was helpless. We quickly pummelled it into scrap and grabbed the pod; Kulmid led the ransom but after some time wasting; the raven pilot (his corp is part of the alliance that claimed local sovereignty) was killed out of hand. His last words, before he was exposed to hostile vacuum, were: 'Chill and let's hang together, man."
The cavalry is here!
We finally jumped our ships into 7G-H7D and local spiked up high enough that the locals dogging Mr Frog ran off. We tried twice to point them but they were too quick, who said nano and therefore speed, was dead? Part of the reason is the increased size of the star gates but the roam to 'rescue' Mr Frog was successful. We even bagged a raven at the beginning of the journey. So nothing to complain about.
Leaving Mynxee and Jorge as tail-end charlies to ensure we were not followed; the fleet turned back. Mr Frog was already busy eyeing up the null sec systems between us and Akkio and telling everyone about how he was going to earn millions of isk. Partly concerned for his turn to carebearishnish (is that a word?) we secretly plotted to blow him up at a belt.....
It was Jorge who cut through our chatter.
"Local spiking. It's jumped by five. Six."
"Mynxee here. IRC Astarte arrived at gate and is locking me." There was a pause. "He's aggressed. Am jumping."
"Jorge here. I see IRC Domi, domi, onyx, zealot and raven on scan. They're in line from outpost to gate."
"Jorge, this is FC Kulmid. I think they're coming. Come back and rejoin Mynxee. We're leaving." Said Kulmid, aware that we had been in one place too long. He had his armageddon to think about as well as those lovely +5 implants in his head.
Jorge joined Mynxee on the outbound gate, passing the still hostile IRC Astarte.
OMG - Runzor!
"Okay guys, we are leaving." Announced Kulmid as the fleet began to align to the next gate. Mynxee and Jorge one gate behind us. As we jumped to the next system, both of them caught up with the fleet. An unknown number of hostile ships now following us.
We run but we don't (can't) hide
So yes, we ran. With an unknown number of hostile ships chasing us, we had no idea what we were facing. We're pirates and we lose isk and if the fight yields no coin for us. We ain't interested. We ran but due to the mixed nature of the fleet (cruiser heavy); there was a risk that Kulmid would be left behind. He was having none of it.
We pirates did not get any further than two more jumps when the same Onyx dogging Mr Frog, raced past us and landed at the gate we were heading to. The IRC trap was beginning to close on us. Already, IRC had a good idea of what ships were in and how many of us.
"Wait for him to jump. Wait. Wait."
The Onyx jumped ahead of us, into 1W-0KS - no doubt eager to catch us as we raced through.
"Here they come!" Yelled Kulmid
Local was filling up as more IRC Alliance pilots answered the call and came in.
"All fleet, jump! Jump!"
We activated the warp gate and jumped in after the Onyx. The onyx pilot did what any HIC pilot in null-sec would do: he dropped a warp disruption sphere and bubbled us all up.
The Epic fight and resulting loot
"Kill the onyx now!" Shouted Kulmid, who later, fully confessed that he was trying to save his implants if he lost his ship during the inevitable fight. "Primary is firestrm!"
"Flash is on the onyx." My 425mm auto canons, pre-loaded with EMP spun up and delivered a furious broadside to the Onyx just as the rest of the fleet did the same. Laser fire, rockets, missiles and projectiles showered the Onyx and it went down quickly. It's shields stripped off in a pyrotechnical display of symphonic destruction. The onyx died and there was much hooting and laughter.
1-0 to the pirates.
"Gatefire. Gatefire." Said someone. The rest of the chasing IRC fleet came in, no doubt eager for the kill and to avenge the destruction of the quite ineffective, onyx. A malediction, flown by Aelux existenz decloaked but he bugged out before anyone could finish target locking him. The remaining enemy ships, mostly T2 variants winked into existence on our overviews.
It was game on.
"Primary is Matthew2451. Secondary is Alan Flease." Commanded Kulmid as he was counter-targeted by the IRC fleet. The shields on his armageddon flashing and blurring as it absorbed the multiple impacts from the hostile fleet.
Matthew2451 was in a Zealot, deadly in close combat and it had to go down. Jedziah bravely pushed his omen into his optimal and started to track the zealot.
"This is Shae. Am being primaried but am tanking." Her myrmidon's repairers working furiously at patching the holes being punched into her thick armour.
"DanMart here: more gate fire. I see a second Domi."
"Check. Check. Check. This is Jorge; new contacts: second ishtar and raven."
"Primary is down. Switch to Alan Flease. Primary is Alan Flease. Secondary is Greyform." Commanded Kulmid.
2-0 to the pirates.
"Yaarrr, I got the killing blow!" Interrupted Jorge.
"Christ, there's a lot of drones out!" Continued Kulmid.
Sure enough, the two dominix and two ishtar-class ships spat out swarms of advanced combat drones that buzzed around us. We replied in kind.
"First ishtar is going down." I said. There was a burst of light and my own shields flared as shrapnel peppered my cruiser from the destroyed HAC. "First ishtar is down." I said.
3-0 to the pirates.
Off to my left, Jorge Belda was now being hammered back by a mass of ogre II heavy combat drones as well as the close range attention of Shinzon Ren's Astarte and his blasters. IRC were obviously wanted to avenge Matthew2451's demise.
However, it was Jedziah in the omen who went down first; succumbing to the horrendous damage dealt by the Zealot in the very first opening moves of this, most deadly dance.
"Jed is down. Jed is down."
3-1 still to the pirates.
Mynxee's hurricane held the centre of the line alongside Kulmid's Armageddon but a newly arrived raven levelled it's missile launchers and unleashed a salvo of paradise cruise missiles, cutting her battle-cruiser in two.
"Mynxee is down. Mynxee is down."
3-2. We're in the lead by one.
"Primary Killljoy. Secondary Shinzon." It sounded like Mr Frog. Where was FC Kulmid? I thought, but didn't bother asking as my 425mm auto canons reloaded and sought out the Dominix piloted by Killljoy. It was already in half armour when I resolved my lock. The dominix died under a hail of fire, followed by Shinzon's astarte, the latter's blasters shredding off all my armour.
5-2 to the pirates.
"Jorge is down. Jorge is down."
"Euan is down, Euan is down." I saw Euan's vexor tank a massive stream of cruise missiles but it could not take any more and exploded.
5-4. We're in the lead by one.
"Frog is down. Frog is down." NO! I thought bitterly to myself, we were to rescue him not see his demise.
5-5 and it looked like IRC were drawing level.
"Shae is down. Goddamn raven!"
5-6 and IRC took the lead.
"This is Kulmid. Kulmid is FC again! New primary is Suboran and secondary is Cavalera. ECM drones on the raven. Points and webs on the ishtar!" I had no ecm drones left but hit the afterburner to close the distance to Suboran. I was starting to run out of ammunition and some of my weapons were close to shorting out, due to my excessive over-heating; pushing them beyond the original design parameters.
I glanced at my watch list and we were down to three ships: Kulmid's Armageddon (how did it survive for so long?), DanMart's Drake and my rupture. However, IRC were down more. There was Cavalera's raven , a plucky harpy, a second ishtar and second domi. Aelux in his Malediction was nowhere to be seen while Brendalin Kerr, in the rapier had sustained enough damage from Kulmid that he wisely retired from the field.
The second ishtar went down.
The the second domi.
"All fire on Cavalera! Take it down!" Ordered Kulmid, I did not need telling twice and locked the magnificient Caldari battle ship. Kulmid's laser beams, long and as thick as palace columns, streaked the short distance from his laser pods to the raven, boiling off it's shields. Cavalera tried to match the damage output but this is where missile based boats have problems. Missiles need time to travel to it's target and it can be slow. Rapid fire systems such as lasers, deal their damage almost instantly. The raven melted under the combined fire. So did the harpy. Even more odd, some of the pilot capsules stay around; spectators it would seem. They obviously were not paying attention as DanMart (in his drake) managed to lock one pod and proceed to send the unfortunate pilot back to the clone vats.
With the raven and harpy dispatched. We held the field and floated, victorious amidst the detritus of battle.
9-6. Quite a high scoring and thrilling match if it was a football game.
Us Pirates (9)
Kulmid - Armageddon - Survived
DanMart - Drake - Survived
Mynxee - Hurricane - Destroyed
Shae Tiann - Myrmidon - Destroyed
Jorge Belda - Maller - Destroyed
Jedziah - Omen - Destroyed
Mr Frog - Vexor - Destroyed
Euan8 - Vexor - Destroyed
Flashfresh - Rupture - Survived
Them Null Sec'ers (11)
Greyform - Dominix - Destroyed
KillJoy - Dominix - Destroyed
Cavalera - Raven - Destroyed
Firestrm - Onyx - Destroyed
Shinzon Ren - Astarte - Destroyed
Alan Flease - Ishtar - Destroyed
Suboran - Ishtar - Destroyed
Ron Bacardi - Harpy - Destroyed
Brendali Kerr - Rapier - Survived
Aelux existenz - Malediction - Survived
Matthew2451 - Zealot - Destroyed
(Matthew 24:51 --> And shall separate him and appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.)
We held the field. My goodness. Instead of running back to base however, we eyed the wrecks with hunger. There must have been much good tasty loot considering the enemy IRC fleet was largely made up of advanced tech 2 and battleship hulls.
"We should loot up you know?" I suggested.
"Hell yeah." Agreed Jorge - in his pod, no doubt racing back to home base.
"This is Kulmid, I am going to a safe. Grab as much loot as you can and dump it with me."
"Roger that. Flash is going back for the goods!" My rupture turned around and burned towards the gate.
"DanDrake is joining Flash."
Those in the fleet who were in pods, raced home and despite the presence of a half-hearted gate camp at EOA-ZC into Akkio. All pirates got back safely.
Dan and I grabbed all the loot we could and each made over nine separate journeys between the gate and Kulmid's safe spot. We were eventually joined by a friend in his hauler and some other corp members returned in salvagers.
The very late Cap Drop
In all, the loot drop alone was about 300million isk and it practically filled a viator's cargo hold. With all the jangling loot, we escorted the precious ship blockade runner home. As we left; Jorge (now back in another ship) announced that IRC had come back into the system and instantly dropped a cynosural at the gate bringing in two thanatos and archon-class capitals.
We had long gone by then. Too little, too late.
The battle statistics make me warm inside:
The wrap up and Sarvic with them smart bombs.....
Once the fleet had returned to HQ safely, we had passed a massive frigate swarm around the EOA-ZC to Akkio gate. They didn't appear to be too good at the camping as even in a rupture, they failed to lock me let alone point me. Sarvic and a couple of others linked into the fleet, just as a few left for the night, satisfied with the kills. Sarvic loved that there was a frigate swarm around and came out in his smart bombing typhoon just for the occasion. After some missed opportunities, Sarvic was finally 'tackled' at a belt by one, then two then the rest of the frigates. The smart bombs were activated and much laughing and ewok-dancing ensued. Sarvic even podded some of the unfortunate pilots.
'Tis good to be a Bastard.
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