The Black-Flag killboard was busy: I had noticed that a gang of four (x2 hurricanes, x1 maelstrom and x1 typhoon) had taken out a gang of three battleships from New Justice. The killmails showed that there was some confusion amongst the NJ guys as they all appeared to have accidentally locked and fired on each other in the confusion. I was running some errands when the Black-Flag Fleet channel winked on.
"Flash." It was Black-Flag's CEO, Viper Sam. "Hello Sam. Update?" I asked, dispensing with pleasantries as I could smell a fight brewing up. "Get fleet 'cane and rendevous at Klogori." "Roger."
I switched to the Black-Flag Fleet Hurricane and undocked into the splendour of Gusandall space. My nav-computer plotted the shortest course and I jumped towards the fleet with minimal fuss. Chatter on the comms channel was kept to a minimum with only our two scouts talking. Snake Boy, now joining Black-Flag on our operations, arrived in his covert-ops.
We had a fleet of six ships: x3 hurricanes, a malestrom, a falcon and cheetah. A nicely balanced force with the valuable force multiplying effect of the falcon and the eyes and ears of the cheetah. A broadsword interdictor decloaked in Klogori and we decided to lock him. He was a pirate and a criminal and since this was low-sec space, there would be no question or qualms about engaging him. However, he was very fast - hitting his micro warp drive he reversed course and went into Dal. We gave chase and managed to scramble him on the other side, good work by Grunanca. I hit the micro warp drive just as Tor Lann and Viper made a bee-line to the broadsword. We needed to slow him down.
"Broadsword pointed." Said Grunance, his weapons opening up and splashing off the shields of the broadsword. "Damn it we need to slow it down. Where's the webber?" "On my way. " Replied Tor Lann as he pushed his ship to it's limits, the micro warp drive roaring ferociously. There was a pause. I was now 22km and closing. My warp disruptor was on. "One point." "Webbed." So now we had the broadsword and proceeded to strip it's shields. "Shall we ransom?" Asked Grunanca. There were some grunts and non-commital noises from the fleet. Not too clear. We continued to fire. The broadsword had very nice shields but it couldn't last. "Am going to ransom. 100million isk for his broadsword?" "Yeah, sounds good. Go for it. " Said Tor. One hundred million for broadsword and for the pod was a good price. Grunanca started to broadcast in the local coomunication subnet. "One hundred million to let you." We continued to fire and the shields on the broadsword final broke. "I don't have that. Eighty million." Bargaining with pirates during a ransom is not usually a good idea. A simple yes or no would be much better. We continued to fire into armour. I stopped firing but kept my point on the broadsword. "What do you think? Eighty million isn't too bad?" Asked Grunanca, am going to accept it. "Ok. 80 sounds good." Said Grunanca, who realising that we continued to fire, shouted."Stop firing!" It was too late, a single missile streaked over towards the broadsword and the HIC exploded. "Shit." "Oops." "Who the fuck fired? I said stop firing." "Did he pay up? We have to pay him back." "Shit." "Get the pod! Get the pod!" The pod warped away.
Well, that was interesting. Grunanca got the kill mail and the we looted the wreck. I suppose, bargaining during a ransom is not a good idea. Was 100million asking for too much? Considering VicturusTeSaluto has advertised that he ransoms a pod for 50million a pop, we think the asking price was decent.
''VicturusTeSaluto > 50 for the pod Nortash > what's the point Nortash > that was really mean''
Name: Viper Sam Security: -10.0 Alliance: None Corp: BLACK-FLAG Ship: Maelstrom Weapon: 800mm Repeating Artillery II Damage Done: 799
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II Republic Fleet EMP M, Qty: 199 10MN MicroWarpdrive II Scan Resolution X5 Prototype I Engine Enervator Beta Reactor Control: Diagnostic System I Beta Reactor Control: Diagnostic System I Beta Reactor Control: Diagnostic System I Large Shield Extender II, Qty: 3 (Cargo) 10MN Afterburner II (Cargo) V-M15 Braced Multispectral Shield Matrix (Cargo) Scan Resolution (Cargo) Core Defence Field Purger I, Qty: 2
Warp Disruption Field Generator I 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II Republic Fleet EMP M, Qty: 132 F-90 Positional Sensor Subroutines Large Shield Extender II Large Shield Extender II Large Shield Extender II Focused Warp Disruption Beta Reactor Control: Diagnostic System I Barrage M, Qty: 5191 (Cargo) Prototype I Sensor Booster (Cargo) Republic Fleet EMP M, Qty: 3352 (Cargo)
Snake Boy and Prediction where scouting in the nearby system and missed the kill.
We did engage a megathron from VHI at a gate but it had a tremendously thick armour on it. Another few more seconds, and we would have drilled through it but he managed to jump out and into safety.
Paritosh, a raven pilot known to run missions for Creodron was popped a few days ago after much hard work by some patient scanning and probing work by Black-Flag and associates. We found him again in Gusandall. A contact of mine found him at the a bar, chatting to some red-headed Caldari and then attempting to slip away. Paritosh was followed and we had eyes on his raven-class battleship. He did not undock straightaway so we waited: an ishtar, brutix and my jaguar. We were all loaded for EMP and it would be enough. However, as the clock ticked by, it was obvious he wasn't coming out. Blade3D had spotted a caracal and decided to drop a probe for it and we all focused our attention on it. Unbeknown to us, Paritosh did undock and slipped into his mission area. His ship appeared on our local scanners.
"Raven on scan. Raven on scan. It's Paritosh." Said Veritas. "Roger that." Confirmed Blade3D. "Scanning for him." We waited as the scan probes were scattered out in a wide pattern and the seconds ticked by. "I hate this waiting." Muttered Veritas. "Patience. We'll get a hit." I replied, fully aware that luck plays a big part in the success of such probing attempts. I kept my fingers crossed. Blade got a response and grumbled at the result. "No hit. Trying again." The probe went through the cycle again, sending out it's feelers into the vacuum around it. A ship in space leaves a trail in most of the electro-magnetic spectrum: energy bleeds from it's engines, heat from the thrusters and the em pulse of war heads and missiles to name only three. The probe would attempt to sift through the background noise to seek out a consistent pattern. The problem has never been that one can not get any results, the problem is that there is too much. "I have a hit on a raven! Accuracy is 0m." Announced Blade. "Right on top of him!" "Blade, gang warp us to the mark. Everyone load up on EMP. All pilots, status please." I said, assuming command just prior to the engagement. "Blade: ready with one point." "Veritas: ready with one point." "Flash: read with one point." As I finished, the three ships of Black-Flag aligned and warped together into the target area. The space around the three ships folded and elongated into a tunnel, lined with purple and pink flashes. The warp engines pulled is in. All my systems were green and I was looking forward to killing the raven again.
The three ships all landed outside an ancient stargate, recently jury-rigged with a small fusion reactor and now active for a short period. Paritosh was just through here.
"Contact. Contact. Shuttle here." Warned Blade. Damn it, the raven pilot had obviously asked a friend to keep an eye out and to warn him of possible interlopers. We had to be fast and I activated the gate and was pulled into deep space. The raven was there and it was aligning. I started the target cycle but the raven was already in warp. In a flash, Paritosh was gone.
"Shit!!" Cried out Veritas. The shuttle scout warped in alongside Blade. We locked and blasted the shuttle in anger.
We decided that the we should scan for the caracal and book mark this location and wait for the raven. He would be coming back as this was a high level mission for an important agent. Most mission runners would not want to lose out on faction standings.
So we waited.
Paritosh appeared a couple of times, no doubt checking from the safety of the gate but never came back.
Next time, blast the scout and park a covert-ops at the gate......
Time to be a bit nostalgic and self-indulgent as I realized that this blog has passed 300 posts by yours truly. Not all can be read but I have posted 300 times to 'Flashfresh - A Pirate' with this here post being number #300. So this time round, I have a collection of odd bits and pieces and items that I wanted to publish, but never found a suitable time to do it.
Blog While this blog is a tale of my pirating activities; both solo and in gang, and from my own point of view. I want to mention the group that I am currently in and the characters in it. They have been mentioned a few times in the blog and I hope that the readers (whoever you are) have developed an impression of them. I also want to fondly recall other pirates that I have flown with and want to pay tribute to some of them with just a few words. Also, a chance to ramble as well and while not go back memory lane? My first 'I-Pirate' entry is here and the list still holds true, to this day and I suspect well into the future.
Black-Flag and Independence and other pirates. Black-Flag is the corp I run in now, I have found a natural home here: they're all pirates and killers. Low-sec roamers with no desire for mission running in Empire or carving out space in null-sec. Black-Flag want to kill and kill as many people as possible and get rich while they're at it. Some visitors has asked me what is the relationship between Independence and Black-Flag? Well, Independence is a public channel, first set up when I was running my own corp, The Independent Pilots([IDP]). It can be likened to a public bar, open to pirates who operate around the Heimatar region and beyond. I use the bar as an example as it has a lot of the same characteristics. One can come in, have a chat and a drink and shoot the breeze with others. It can get rowdy at times and a brawl may ensue. Some undesirables will get a life-time ban but overall, it's an open place. It can get noisy like a bar and can be hazardous to your health too (smoke, drink and a bottle over the head) but that's the fun of it! All the original Black Flag pilots started off in the Independence channel. Current applicants are directed to start off in this channel just to settle in.
Anyway, most of the residents don't take getting popped by anyone else in the independence channel personally. It's just an open channel for pirates, it's not as if you're ganged or suddenly been made blue to everyone. 'Just be paranoid. Someone is always after you.' I tell people. Most of the residents there have shot at and been shot at, by other residents.
Informal gangs usually form between the residents, it's the only way that one can take down larger opponents but co-ordination in these gangs can be a challenge. Nonetheless, the channel residents can boast some serious kills in the past. Long may this continue into the future. You don't need an application to Black-Flag to fly with anyone else in the Independence channel though I would recommend you do fly with Black-Flag before you consider putting in an application. We might not be your cup of tea and you prefer the solo work. I refer you to a long-time Independence resident, Kane Rizzel who falls into this category, an independent operator, respected by all.
Kane Rizzel - Smooth Operator Speaking of which, why not I introduce you to Kane Rizzel? What can I say about Kane that doesn't include the words: 'great fucking pirate'? Kane is not a Black-Flag pilot but he flies with us on a regular basis. Black-Flag are honoured to fly with him and we would love it if he signed up twith us, but politics of any description leaves him cold. With what happened in the last couple of months, who can blame him? He is also a crazy bastard, I mean, solo-tackling a moros in a hurricane is epic stuff but still gets you killed!
Kane and I go way back, over a year now in EVE and a life time if you're an active PvPing pirate; our first exchanges were EMP-based if I recall. I think he spoke louder and longer than me. He may even have podded me. Dunno, my clone was that up to date. However, fighting someone allows you to judge him so much more and so it was with Kane. Eventually, Kane left his 0.0 alliance and settled in Gusandall while I moved up from Auga around the same time. We ended up working together to take down bigger fish and there was an informal group of us that was made up of me, Kane, Lucius, Rakanas and Revivor.
Black-Flag will risk an entire fleet to help out Kane, such is the level of respect we have for this thin, bald, deadly Sebiestor snake.
Note: I think Kane holds a speed record that can only be equalled and never beaten. I will let him explain that to you all in his good time.
Viper Sam - The Tactful Viper Sam is the leader of Black-Flag and along with a couple of other senior pirates, help form the core and vision of Black-Flag. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a director in the corporation. If I am, then where is my gold covered toilet seat cover? I am nominated as co-leader and public relations, acting on behalf of Black-Flag when Viper Sam is absent. However, Sam's attendance has been excellent and he's online most days; giving the group a consistent point of contact and direction. He has helped Black-Flag develop some signature ship types and has led us (as FC) into some memorable fights and under him the corp has some ambitious plans that I can't wait to experience. Black-Flag is a pirate corporation moving ahead with firm goals and a thirst for combat. Like kane, Viper Sam is a 'effing good pilot' with almost complete mastery over Minmatar ships and tactics. He was a vagabond pilot for ages and knows that ship inside out.
Jubes - The Eager Jubes! Ah, Jubes is our go-to pirate and consistently leads the Black-Flag killboard. He is there, day-in and day-out and most of us suspect that Jubes doesn't leave his pod at all. Or sleep. Or eat. He is there, getting kills consistently against all pilots.
He is known as 'The Eager' because that is exactly how he is; excitement at getting a positive hit on a missioning raven, excitement at seeing blinkies in a belt or planet, heck - excitement when he undocks. On a serious note, Jubes has an in-depth knowledge of gankage and his ships fits reflect this - usually, a slight tweak on the Black-Flag, tried and tested versions. His hurricane is a solo'ing monster and his T2 fitted rupture has taken down many ships considered superior. He's great to fly alongside and doesn't shirk his responsibilities when it comes to laying down the tackle or covering a retreat. He is now scaring most of the local pilots in Eifer and Gusandall out of the belts.
Other pilots, deserve quick mention Rakanas, Revivor and Lucius Cain. The former pilot has gone, Rev has appeared in the channel but is afk and Lucius Cain joined Blood Corsair's and is tearing it up down in metropolis. Get back in touch guys.
A funny chat...
(had to put this one in)
Flashfresh > Need to log for a bit. Flashfresh > GF wants to use pc for facebook, need to get her a laptop. Rail Duke > Punch her in the uterus. Flashfresh > Jesus, a bit harsh.
Black-Flag's Video Intro...
Here is the linkLink Umm - just realised the time. Want to add more but self-indulgency is out. Time for more pirating fun.
A frustrating day as a mixed gang tried to run down a single rupture in Eifer. We failed to kill it despite our best intentions. However, I lost my hurricane on the Gusandall / Ingunn gate. I was sitting there waiting for a successful probe for a missioning raven but instead, found myself being engaged by a hurricane who had jumped through from Gusandall. I had this horrible feeling as we had not planned on taking this guy and Jubes (I suspected) was afk and was also the boss. I couldn't run the risk of leaving him unattended at the gate could I? Am a pirate not a bastard!
Anyway, I locked the cane just as he flashed red. I opened fire and closed the distance to 4km before my neutralisers came on. Then a crow appeared. Then a kitsune. Another cane and to top it all off, a nemesis. I was jammed for a cycle and then pummeled to scrap. I tried to mwd out but couldn't get any traction as I was bumped by the seconda cane. To be honest, I should have started the mwd and get into a wider range (orbit of about 10km) as soon as the crow appeared. At least it would have given me more time to align and get out.
It was a loss and I got the pod out. No idea if my crew survived, I will find out later. A 'gf' to the anti-pies.
Yes, I have this new module installed on my existing game (called Real Life) - this module is called 'Gardening' and it has sucked in a lot of my time. The module's goal is simple: see anything green, remove it and take it to the local council recycling facility. Repeat until excess greenery has been removed and GF is happy. Then start on new section of greenery. Rinse and Repeat.
Where are are farmers or macros when you need them?
Anyway, the Black-Flag killboard has indicated a busy weekend - the highlight being a Navy Megathron kill. Laneth, the until-now-absent M34N corp ceo has returned and over this weekend has had a long chat with Viper Sam. CEO to CEO as it should have been.
While I can not get into the details, Laneth was very unhappy at how the events turned out and has tried to patch up things where she can with everyone.
It's also apparent we're flying with some of the M34N corp pilots.
This is all good news as it is clear, with Kaigun, CS and CE around (and those new chaps) - that Eifer and Gusandall is getting hotter. Excellent.
We Love Falcons. We Hate Falcons. We Love Falcons. We...you get the idea
Sarvic and I lost our ships today to a well executed trap with some pilots totally new to the area. Certainly we haven't seen them before and they brought some fresh ideas and tactics.
I joined the fleet when it was still being assembled but intelligence informed us that it would be two myrmidons, hurricane and a megathron would be inbound to Eifer. They came in from Eifer and then docked up in Gusandall. Sarvic undocked in his typhoon first, the rest of the fleet waited. Warping to Planet III he started to scan and wait for the newcomers to undock. A quick head count told us that one of their number was still undocked but we could not figure out the ship. There were reports of a falcon in Eifer but it was unclear that this unaccounted pilot, was one of them.
Confusing the issue, Sarvic was being attacked and tackled by Doffeh in his Hyena and Biooo in a nemesis. Two pilots not in the same corp as our potential marks but they were irritating us. Sam changed to his vagabond to chase them off and undocked.
Then things moved quickly.
As Sam moved off to Sarvic, the marks all undocked. Both myrmidons, hurricane and megathron. Sam on arrival turned his vagabond and raced back in order to change back to his cane. Sarvic was now being targeted by both myrmidons, hurricane, megathron as well as the nemesis and the hyena.
We were all ordered to undock and warp to Sarvic's aid but where was that last pilot ('Dead Joe')? - our own falcon was still cloaked and waiting for the signal to uncloak and render assistance. Undocking, the Black-Flag ships warped towards Sarvic's position, the field still very unclear. As we were all in mid warp - Viper Sam ordered our falcon to uncloak and jam the megathron. As our falcon uncloaked, so did the enemy falcon.
This was getting bad for us. I exited warp and collided with the megathron, I was 10km from Sarvic but it put me more or less in the middle of the enemy group. I was immediately webbed by one of the myrmidons as I sent my ecm drones out. This is the danger of warping into a fleet mate who is already engaged. It's difficult to get into your optimal range and quite likely you will end up slap bang in the middle of the fight and unable to get out.
The myrmidons were tanking our damage, remote armour repairers working away as well. The space around Sarvic was thick with Ogre IIs and then I was jammed. During the fight, the two falcons were struggling to get on top of each other - managing to jam each other a couple of times. However, every time our falcon was jammed - we were in trouble since we had less numbers and was relying on the force multiplying effect of the falcon to even the fight up. Meanwhile, Sarvic was faring badly now as the cloud of drones ate into his armour overcoming his repair systems. I started to realise the danger and hit the micro warp drive to pull me out by the webbers (more than one?) held me down to 30 metres per second. I was also being hit by fire. I wanted to close the gap to repair Sarvic but my lone ship could do little to stem the damage. Sarvic's ships shuddered as another important ship component was destroyed and then my ship was rocked by a tremendous flash as the mighty Typhoon-class battleship was atomised.
I was next and tried to get out. There was no way in hell I could tank the same damage that took out Sarvic.
"Abandon ship!" I ordered and hit the ejection button, spitting out my capsule.
First blood to this new crew and a well earned pair of kills too.
The Angel Legionairre exploded into a ball of light and debris as my 220mm ACs slowly spun down to idle. I approached the sputtering wreck and sent in some drones to investigate it, I managed to salvage some ship components as well as cut out two 650mm howitzers. They should sell well or failing that, I could melt them down to scrap. I decided to move on and jumped into the next system. The warp tunnel collapsed around my hurricane with a sigh and I hit the scan button. Nothing. I was on a solo roam and could not find a thing, I knew of an anti-pie crew moving up and down the Metropolis pipe but with me in my solo hurricane, it would end in a fiery death. I am aggressive, not suicidal.
After 12 jumps, I turned round and decided to head back. One of my many chat channels blinked at me, demanding attention. It was a contact that had been quiet for a while.
"Salah. Well met." I said, greeting a fellow Brutor. His avatar broke up a few times but his message was clear. "Flash. Well met. I have possible marks in Evati for you. No idea if they're out of dock but I have checked your killboard and I have a feeling you would be interested." A second window opened up on my interface and I expanded it. I recognised the face of the pilot and oh yes, I would be interested. "Thank Salah. Come into Independence some time, I owe you a drink." "I will my friend. Good hunting." With that, the link was broken and I set course to Evati, some nine jumps away. The mark was Turion Leatherface and we had tangled with him before, from what I remember he was piloting a Myrmidon and it was outside Gusandall.
Approaching Evati I made sure that the ship was on red alert and that damage control teams were in place. I toggled my corporation chat and only Viper Sam, the CEO was logged in. "Sam." "Flash. What's up?" I quickly explained to Sam the mark and that I was now in Evati and tracking him. Turion was in a drake-class battlecruiser this time round. He was outside a station and was just sitting there. Difficult to tackle him there. Viper Sam told me that he was undocking as we speak and on his way; five jumps and he would inbound. So I waited and kept the scanner active. I could see him and no doubt, he could see me. I realised that he was not at a POS and was still at the station. I warped to a spot 300km off the station. Too far for a visual lock but close enough to confirm beyond all doubt his location. He was there but I also spotted a brutix within scan range. "Flash. Am on the gate." "Sam, we have a brutix here at a belt. I think. Hold on." I fiddled with the scanner to confirm. "Yeah. The brutix is in belt III-I and the drake is in a holding position at the station." I said as I started my docking cycle. I needed to change some drones. As my docking request was accepted, my scanner told me that the drake had moved and was also at Belt III-I. "Drake is there too. Belt III-I. Drake should be primary. " "Roger."
Things then happened awfully fast.
Viper Sam shot me a fleet invite - thereby improving our co-ordination. I accepted but then realised that I could not undock immediately. My computer was still trying to finish off the handshaking with Viper Sam. Stupid of me - never accept such invites prior to undocking or jumping to another system. Never. Never. "Am on my way in." Informed Sam calmly, quite clearly thinking that I was already in the belt and engaging or in space and aligned. In reality, I was docked and stuck temporarily. "Engaging."
I was still docked and hammering at the undock button.
Precious seconds crawled by.
"Er, Flash?" "On my way! On my way!" I shouted, throwing a thousand curses at everyone as my hurricane, sluggishly moved out of the station and painfully aligned to Viper Sam's position. "Flash. Hurry."
The hurricane finally jumped into warp space. I locked into Sam's hurricane-class battlecruiser and from the remote fleet telemetry, I could see he was taking tremendous damage. His shields starting to wink off and damage biting into his armour.
"Sam. ETA ten seconds." I said as reassuringly as possible. "Brutix has engaged. Drake has engaged. Need to get some distance." Sam was an experienced hurricane pilot, able to utilise the characteristics of this minmater ship to maximum effect. "ETA five seconds." My computer was already picking up the EMP flashes from Sam's guns. "Shit. They've got ECM! Flash, where the hell are you?" By reply, my hurricane burst out 1 km from Sam's hurricane. I locked the Drake and Brutix. My webber snapped onto the Drake and my 220mm ACs spun up and threw EMP shells over the 1000 meters at the drake. The Drake had disappointingly high shields left. Damn those passive tanks! My ECM drones slid out and went after the enemy brutix who was 15km and closing, afterburner flaring brightly. It had it's own drones all over Sam's hurricane. Sam's hurricane ('La Cruces') gained some distance and nimbly moved behind the Drake, however the drake's missiles were still peppering the 'cane. The brutix was close. I suddenly lost all locks.
The drake's own ecm drones had a cycle on me and my tactical computer went into a frenzy as it got itself confused over the multiple targets. The brutix was now starting to tear chunks at Las Cruces. We had to change tactics.
"Sam. Brutix is now primary." I said, just as Sam said the same thing to me. We both could see the danger. Leave the drake, it's tank was too tough and it would take too long. I managed to relock both targets and swivelled my guns over towards the brutix; what was left of my ECM drones were on the drake now. At this close range, it would be a down to who had the faster DPS and / or better tank. I was confident that I had both. "Engaging Brutix." It's shields flared as they were stripped off. It was into armour very quickly. "Part switch to anti-armour ammo." Half my guns went silent as my ammo loaders changed from the EMP rounds to the hail and phased plasma rounds. They've always proved devastating against armour tankers. La Cruces danced closer to me and got some distance off the drake, now silent as our ECM drones were doing there work. "Flash, point the drake!" "Roger that." I replied, switching the warp disruptor over towards the drake. Silent and brooding, the pilot no doubt seething at his temporary blindness. As soon as my disruptor came online - the drake re-acquired me and sent a salvo of missiles towards me. My armour repairers came to life as I fed it capacitor to patch the holes now rapidly appearing on my hull.
La Cruces was into armour and she had no shields. She also had no armour repairer either and was surviving through Sam's good piloting and good damage control. The brutix was down to 10% armour and this was soon gone, the hull flaring out with flames. I could only imagine what was happening on board the ship. It must be like an inferno. The drake was still at 85% shield and well up for the fight. "Brutix is going down. Brutix is going down." There was a sudden stream of crew escape launches than the brutix burst apart. Rounds from my ship and La Cruces scissoring the ship into two pieces. We left the captain to escape. He fought well.
The drake was throwing out fearsome ordnance but his tank was the big problem, if it was configured properly, it would be very difficult to break.
"Switching back to anti-shield ammunition!" "Roger that. Keep at it. We can break it."
The drake twisted around as it tired to move itself away from my webber. I noticed that it had webbed (double-webbed?) La Cruces now. I switched on my neutralisers once I was close enough. I had to try and shut down his capacitor. The Drake's shields started to drop as both hurricanes continued the bombardment. It was webbed, scrambled and trapped. It was dying. A minute of solid EMP based bombardment later, the shields finally broke and the thin armour was pummelled to pieces. There were cheers on my ship and on La Cruces when the final blow was delivered and the drake was destroyed.
Like I posted before, Ohnoes. We should have checked the lootz!!!
Later on in the day, I was taken out of my day dreaming by a squark on my MSN.
"Flash? You online?" Said a contact I occasionally used. I knew him to be a decent scan prober and he would not be calling me unless he had something juicy. "Yo V. How's things?" I muttered, my mouth full of noodles. Sweeping my desk clear of detritus, I concentrated on the console. "I have a hurricane and drake on a mission here. I see you're in the next system and wondered if you wanted to pop them?" "Yes indeed. You scanned them out?" "Not yet. I can do it - just need to know you can ambush them. Anyone else around?" I glanced over at the various communication channels I had open, some flashing away demanding my attention. "Hmmm, Kane I think and that's it at the moment. You know him?" "By reputation only. OK, ready to drop a probe. Let me gang you and Kane okay?" "Roger that." I then raced over to my hurricane, undocking it and positioning myself at the gate to the system. Kane was also ready but in another system. Pirates can move fast when there's a kill available. "Okay, dropping a probe. " I waited anxiously and chatted to Kane, my excitement building. "I have a hit. Moving in." That was quick, I thought; my friend has certainly improved his probing skills.
"Right - the drake is primary and I am above him cloaked. The hurricane is moving off - it's about 20km away. Warp to me now." I reloaded to EMP shells as I activated the gate and warped to our contact point. Kane arrived first and I arrived a few seconds later. The drake was 3km away from me, the enemy hurricane was 31km close to a cluster of rats. Kane's and my tackling rigs snapped on. "Drake pointed." Said Kane. "Drake pointed and webbed." I replied and we hurled EMP shells at the drake. Most mission drakes have huge shield systems and resistances tweaked according to the enemy pirates they would be fighting against. The wrecks appeared to be Minmater republic fleet.
So the ships were:
Hurricane (Kane) Hurricane (Flash)
Quite evenly matched though we did get the jump on them. Our 425mm auto cannons proved devastating at close range and the drake shuddered and it's shield systems flared out. His gang mate in the hurricane did not race to his rescue - rather, he took our appearance as the cue for him to warp out. Some gang mate, leaving his drake piloting friend to face our combined firepower.
We dispatched the drake with ease but missed the pod. We would have ransome him too but oh well.
Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I Scourge Heavy Missile, Qty: 86 Small Tractor Beam I Y-S8 Hydrocarbon I Afterburners Shield Power Relay II Havoc Heavy Missile, Qty: 3 (Cargo) Republic Fleet Private Insignia V (Cargo) Scourge Heavy Missile, Qty: 791 (Cargo)
Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I Advanced 'Limos' Heavy Missile Bay I Scourge Heavy Missile, Qty: 63 Non-Inertial Ballistic Screen Augmentation I Large Shield Extender II Large Shield Extender II Photon Scattering Field II Invulnerability Field II Ballistic Control System II Shield Flux Coil II Shield Power Relay II Widowmaker Heavy Missile, Qty: 1986 (Cargo) Devastator Cruise Missile, Qty: 100 (Cargo)
Nice T2 goodies and the loot from the mission wrecks were great too. Love piracy. Yarr.
Something to amuse you all.
Before the relationship between Black Flag and M34N and her friends turned sour, we had many a joint operations and here is one that I missed but expertly retold by Tenchuu Khan...
A roam into Molden Heath proved to be quite interesting; we quickly killed a maestrom at a gate and later on, Viper Sam spotted a raven in Atlar racing towards the Illamur gate. We had a fleet of five hurricanes and one myrmidon with us and we were told to wait. There was gate fire and the raven pilot came through. He dropped the gate cloak but was about 24-25km from me. I locked but he then disappeared.
We checked out scanners but he had not warped out so he had a cloak. Estimating his last known position we hit our micro warpdrives and raced towards it,in an effort to get to within 2000m of his cloaked ship and then forcing a decloak.
Meanwhile Viper Sam had come through and he moved ahead in a straight line and as luck would have it. He disturbed the cloaking device and the raven decloaked in front of us. Glorious.
We tackled and then killed the raven.
Victim: Contain con Alliance: None Corp: State War Academy Destroyed: Raven System: Illamur Security: 0.3 Damage Taken: 26527
Name: Kane Rizzel Security: -10.0 Alliance: Derek Knows Us Corp: NovaKane Incorporated Ship: Hurricane Weapon: Hurricane Damage Done: 539
Large 'Notos' Explosive Charge I 'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I 'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I 'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I 'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I Paradise Cruise Missile, Qty: 48 Shield Boost Amplifier I Large Shield Booster II Small Armor Repairer I Ballistic Control System II Wrath Cruise Missile, Qty: 300 (Cargo) Paradise Cruise Missile, Qty: 356 (Cargo)
'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I 'Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I Prototype Cloaking Device I Paradise Cruise Missile, Qty: 96 Explosion Dampening Field I Invulnerability Field I Invulnerability Field I Heat Dissipation Field I Ballistic Control System II Ballistic Control System II Power Diagnostic System I Devastator Cruise Missile, Qty: 12200 (Cargo) Cataclysm Cruise Missile, Qty: 300 (Cargo)
As we pushed towards Bosena, we encounted pilots from Nocturnal Legion alliance. They were initially docked up and our attempts to draw them out proved to be fruitless. We couldn't kill them quickly enough before they docked up.
However, things got worse as a we finally managed to get one of their megathrons to engage , rapidly followed by an astarte and a sleipnir. The latter came in from Sotrenzur and was chasing Salicylate in his phobos for a while. Our ace was the falcon.
Their ace was also their falcon and the nano'ed sleipnir. We failed to spot their falcon quick enough before he joined us. Their sleipnir tackled our falcon and killed it while we vainly chased after the enemy's own ECM ship. WIth our falcon gone, the fight swung against us and we pulled out. Losing Krypt's hurricane in the process. As we gang warped and landed at a belt, we were greeted by a plethora of white squares: frigates and cruisers. All appeared to be on an op and it was Kane who was smart enough to lock and kill a thorax in a couple of volleys. The rest all scattered.
We were beaten tonight but we will be back.
This morning, Jubes, Grun and I started to pop the farmers in Ingunn once more and we really should check the wrecks. Have a look at this killmail....
Jubes is turning out to be our main killer in Black Flag. He has been terrorising pilots of all standings for nigh on a week or so. A one-man killing machine and we love him; though we all have to get some more kills to catch up with him. Not for one is Jubes also known as 'The Eager' in the group. Still, there is no-one better to have at your side than Jubes.
The hostilities between Black Flag and M34N has died down to a cold war, the kill death ratio is 12-3 in Black Flag's favour with a 96.61% isk efficiency. I think it will stay like this for a while now, as both sides get on with pirating and while not avoiding each other; we're wary enough to not get ambushed. I can not see any more kills for both sides in the near future.
To the pirating at hand. I have recovered sufficiently from the contaminated pod fluid to get back into the ships for a few test runs. I even managed to pop a thrasher and a rifter as a means of getting back into the saddle. This morning, as I woke up, it felt different. There was a tingle in the air, the anticipation of pre-mediated violence and how I was eager to drink deep into this.
Viper Sam and Jubes were online and out in their ships. A quick check of the killboard (click here to have a look) showed that Jubes had been busy, especially against a new corp: Kamimazi Kaigun ([KAI]). Intelligence reports on this corp had showed them to be relatively newly-qualified pod pilots, with one or two exceptions. They certainly worked as a team and showed spirit and fighting determination. Viper Sam and Jubes had tangled with them a few days before - killing two of their brutix and scaring off their battleships, while both Sam and Jubes were in their Black Flag Fleet Hurricanes.
I grinned when I saw that Jubes had also killed a 'dramiel' class frigate. Quite rare, an Angel-cartel designed frigate. Am sure that they would be coming back to exact revenge and we would be waiting. I was just checking into the Independence bar, to shoot the breeze with some of the residents when Jubes asked me to get into our hurricanes and join the new fleet. SnakeBoy was there too in his rifter. Jubes was in his rupture.
"Flashfresh here. What's up Jubes?" "Potential hostile cyclone and thrasher in Eifer." I quickly got my ground crew to ready my solo 'cane. "Am going in!!"
SHIT. Jubes was eager and lived up to his name!
I raced towards the hangar, knocking down pedestrians who were foolish enough to get in my way. With a whine and puff of air, I was inside my pod and locking into the embrace of my hurricane ship within a minute. The last member of the crew sealing air-locks and popping the magnetic locks on the ships.
"On my way Jubes. Sorry for the delay." Snake Boy joined in. "Am going in for the tackle." "Hurry Flash! I thought you were on gate!" Yelled Jubes. I was concerned, surely Jubes wasn't in trouble already was he? "Hold on. Am on my way." The hurricane took what seemed like an age to slide out of the hangar before aligning to the Eifer gate. "Shit. Am going to pop. Someone get that thrasher!" Yelled Jubes, increasingly frustrated. "Am on it.." Replied Snake Boy, no doubt his rifter now slashing it's way into the melee. I was finally at the gate and activated it. Cursing my slowness. As my senses recalibrated to the new system, I warped to Jubes position, my targeting computer having made a strong lock onto my corp mates location. A thrasher and a cyclone versus a rifter (Snake Boy) and a rupture (Jubes) - they sounded like good odds.
"Jubes is down. Jubes is down."
What the fuck? I was four seconds away.
"Snake is down. Snake is down."
Oh no. I was one second away and then my Hurricane ripped it's way back into reality and real-space. The tactical computer picked up the solid returns of a cyclone class battlecruiser and the thin shape of a thrasher-class destroyer. I was close to the cyclone and my ship pushed it's way through the still sparking wreckage of what I can only assume to be Jubes rupture wreck.
"Kill them Flash! Kill them Flash!" Yelled Jubes, fury and rage clear in his voice. My computer was already acquiring a lock on the cyclone and once successful, my warp disruptor came on with a hiss. I then webbed the cyclone for good measure and sent the ecm drones over towards the thrasher. I was greeted by returning locks from both of them. The thrasher was quite far from me but it was this latter ship that appeared to be getting the damage on me. It had to be artillery pieces that he had. I maintained a point on the cyclone as my 220mm dual-autocanons started up with their distinctive chatter. My EMP based rounds flashed across the short distance between our ships. The cyclone was a shield tanker and my rounds were designed to have maximum impact on shield-based defence systems.
Meanwhile, it was the thrasher that was doing the most damage. I punched on my armour hardners as my thin shields disappeared. Now, it would be my armour and armour systems absorbing the blows but since this was exactly how I designed this ship, I had little to worry about. With the cyclone webbed and scrambled, I kept up the punishment. The thrasher was about 19km from me but hitting me quite hard from that distance. The cyclone could not keep up with the punishment and it burst apart in a delightful explosion. I quickly switched my attention to the thrasher but it was already hitting it's afterburners and putting some distance between itself and me. There was a flash and then the thrasher was gone as was the pod containing the cyclone pilot.
The concord killmail.
Victim: Draksar Lord Alliance: None Corp: Corpse Creation Crew Destroyed: Cyclone System: Eifer Security: 0.4 Damage Taken: 29298
Name: flashfresh (laid the final blow) Security: -10.0 Alliance: None Corp: BLACK-FLAG Ship: Hurricane Weapon: 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II Damage Done: 18972
Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 43 'Arbalest' Assault Missile Launcher 'Malkuth' Standard Missile Launcher I Republic Fleet EMP M, Qty: 80 425mm Medium Gallium I Machine Gun 425mm Medium Gallium I Machine Gun Caldari Navy Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 67 Warp Disruptor I Large Shield Booster II V-M15 Braced Multispectral Shield Matrix 1MN Afterburner I, Qty: 3 (Cargo) Nanofiber Internal Structure I (Cargo) Stasis Webifier I, Qty: 2 (Cargo) 150mm Light AutoCannon I (Cargo) Phased Plasma S, Qty: 176 (Cargo) Caldari Navy Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 474 (Cargo) Republic Fleet EMP M, Qty: 1248 (Cargo) Small Shield Booster II (Cargo) Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
425mm Medium Gallium I Machine Gun 425mm Medium Gallium I Machine Gun 425mm Medium Gallium I Machine Gun Republic Fleet EMP M, Qty: 120 'Arbalest' Assault Missile Launcher 10MN Afterburner II Medium F-RX Prototype I Capacitor Boost Damage Control II F-M3 Munition Inertial Suspensor F-M3 Munition Inertial Suspensor F-M3 Munition Inertial Suspensor Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 351 (Cargo) Small Nosferatu I (Cargo) 150mm Light AutoCannon I (Cargo) Inertia Stabilizers I (Cargo) Small I-a Polarized Armor Regenerator (Cargo) Gyrostabilizer I (Cargo)
It turned out that Jubes had engaged them with less than 50% armour, from a previous engagement he had with them. Typical Jubes, couldn't be bothered to even repair himself if there was a potential kill to be had! I grabbed what loot I could and re-engaged the warp drives back to station.
Some time later, Viper came back online after completing his own personal business. There was a raven at the Gusandall gate in Eifer. Jubes was debating on whether to engage it in his cane. Viper and I both undocked in our canes and went to wait on the otherside of the gate. The pilot was called 'Callvictory' and yes, a pilot for Kamikazi Kaigun. Jubes decided to engage and fired on him, the illegal weapons fire meant that the gate guns opened fire in response and Jubes reported back shield damage. Sam and I stayed on the gate and waited. "Has the raven opened fire?" Demanded Sam. There was a pause as Jubes tried to see if the mark would fire. "Negative, negative. He hasn't fired." "He wants to use the gate guns to take out Jubes." I said. A single hurricane will be eventually taken out especially if the raven could tank and NOT fire back. "Jubes - get him to agress." "Sam, I am trying. He isn't biting." "OK. Am jumping." Replied Sam as Eifer gate control allowed Sam into the system. I followed in his wake. The raven was there and hovered over the gate, serene and untroubled. We locked it but waited for the raven pilot to do something. Nothing happened. Instead we saw CallVictory align and then warp out. Sam and I did not fire on him, it would have left us stranded on this side of the gate due to the weapon's discharge disrupting the star gate's operational environment. "No point - the raven would have warped as soon as we fired on him."
A little bit disappointed, we jumped back when approaching the gate - we heard that the raven was back. So we did the same thing again. Undocking we jumped into Eifer. There was the raven and it was firing back at Jubes.
Mistake number one: we were all scattered after the gate jump. I was 35km from Sam and another 5km from Jubes who needed shield and armour repair. We should have got into formation before we engaged.....
Mistake number two: Sam then engaged the raven and incurred sentry fire himself.
Mistake number three: Not keeping an eye on local, yes the old classic one.
As I closed towards Sam, I could see that the Raven indeed was firing on Jubes. I locked the raven but had to get into range. I was also angling towards Sam as he needed some assistance. "Am engaging the raven." Said Sam. "Sentry guns on me. Goddamnit they hurt." The automated guns spinning up and smashing into Sam shields far harder than anything the raven could do. "Am getting into formation to you Sam. Hold on." I said, nudging the hurricane closer. It was slow going though. "Megathron on gate! Megathron on gate!" Warned Jubes. Streaking in from inside the system, a megathron and a second raven had joined the first raven. Sam was quick to realise the danger. "All ships disengage. All ships disengage. Shit." He cursed as he approached the gate and tried to leave. I hit the afterburner and activated gate control and jumped. Jubes hit his afterburner and left as well. Sam was stuck too close to the gate. He had to try and tank one minute of sentry gun fire and firepower from the two ravens and megathron. There was no way a hurricane could do that.
"Viper is down. Viper is down." Came the tired reply from Sam. Clearly irritated and distracted, Sam returned to Gusandall in his pod.
The killmail showed that the sentry guns did 63% of the damage to Sam. Without the sentry guns, Sam probably could have survived the x3 BS firepower. I joined Sam in the bar, he had lost his ship but managed to save his little puppy 'Plato', it nestled comfortably in his arms as he took another drink. Reminds me, Viper Sam has run up quite a drinking tab in the independence bar already!
We discussed the last engagement, with Jubes joining in remotely as he was still in Eifer in his cane. One should never take on sentry fire like that, we were split up and were facing BS class ships. Discussing on how best we get revenge, it was Jubes who chipped in.
"Guys, I think they're at the planet III. Am going in! Two ravens! Yaarr!"
Jesus! Jubes was certainly living up to his nickname, 'The Eager' as Viper and I bolted for our hangars and yelling at Jubes to hold fire! However, it proved to impossible. Jubes had his blood up and was engaging as Viper Sam and I raced our hurricanes back towards the gate. A Kamikazi Kaigun interceptor was there and we detected a low-level transmission from it, no doubt warning his colleagues in Eifer of two incoming hurricanes. The gates fired up and Sam and I were back in Eifer. The Kamikazi Kaigun megathron was at the same gate, lurking and watching us. Half of my crew were still locking things down in the ship as Sam warped both our ships to where Jubes was battling away, solo.
We landed and amidst the battleships. There were two Ravens with Jubes locked in combat. "Primary Sam?" I asked, getting ready and reloading EMP based ammo. "Kantenga is primary. Jubes, get points onto Kantenga. Flash get a point on CallVictory." "Roger. Kantenga is primary. My points on CallVictory." My 425mm autocanons spun up to full speed and pumped out EMP-based rounds. They ate into the raven's shield with gusto. Jubes looked like he was primary but he was tanking all the damage just fine. "Kantenga going down." I said, seeing the raven's shields quickly dissipate under our combined fire. Our ships were then thrown around as warp bubble exit appeared. The megathron had decided to join the fight. "Contact. Contact. Megathron in very close proximity." I locked the megathron and threw my ecm drones on him. "Jubes, point the mega!" Yelled Sam as Kantenga's raven exploded. "Primary is CallVictory. Secondary is Sain Markaan." I had the second raven but it was about 14km and moving away fast. I pulsed the microwarpdrive and I quickly got back on top of the raven. My 425mm guns ran out of ammunition and I had to wait a precious ten seconds for all the rounds to load up. I gave the raven a broadside and it shuddered as I overloaded the shield systems. It's shields droppped. I glanced towards Jubes and he was doing fine. I returned my attention back to CallVictory's raven. He was firing cruise missiles but my much faster damage per second was overcoming his cap booster backed shield booster. Once the raven was into armour, it was good night. It clung on around 10% armour, no doubt - a damage control unit was racing ahead but it was inevitable. I had it scrambled and was not even into 85% shield. The raven took the remaining broadside - most of my ordnance punching it's way completely through the thin armour. CallVictory fought well but his T2 kitted out raven blew up in a most satisfactory fashion.
Then our attention was on Sian Markaan's megathron. Against the three hurricane's it died very quickly. We had our revenge. Sam even managed to get his mods back. We three in our hurricanes engaged three battleships. Not bad.
However, hats off to each of the Kai pilots. They showed good team work and were eager to fight and didn't run. We're looking forward to more engagements from them soon.
After this, a quick search of belts gave us a cyclone kill. A nice jaunt into our neighbourhood.
Velator pirating.. Had to add this, despite our strained and hostile relationship between Black Flag and M34N; I had to give Tiggertime a mention. That crazy red-fringe topped pirate! He was pirating in a velator and managed to get a rifter and kestrel kill!
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. "Target pointed." "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.
Viper and Grun and Jubes were all out hunting when I hooked into the fleet network. They had already destroyed a brutix but were having problems with taking down two Dominix-class battleships in our hurricanes. It certainly did not help that Viper Sam was also taking on sentry fire too.
So two hurricanes (three including me, en-route) versus two dominix-class battleships and sentry fire. Sounds fun.
However, the end result was a stale mate: we could not get enough DPS onto the dominix in time to kill it before it docked. Sam was also being hit by the sentry fire while I was not, one of the Dominixes having locked and fired on me as I approached the station. We had to share the sentry fire to have a chance so I fired on the station!
The two domi pilots stayed close to the station and stopped firing to ensure that they could dock up before they were into too much damage. With Sam continually getting hit by sentry fire - it was an uphill struggle. Still, we left the fight with a brutix kill. Not bad.
A vagabond (then a sleipnir) was next, expertly piloted by Mr Yoda, a PL pilot who showed everyone what a nano'ed Sleipnir can do. It easily hit 3000 metres per second and could disengage from our hurricanes at will. We decided that we could not go about chasing this ship, as attractive a target as it was.
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.
The door creaked open as I pushed my way past the faulty doors of the Independence bar. Glass crunched under my boots as I made my way to empty bar. Evidence of the antics from last night. Even though it was closed, there were still people around - regulars with no home to go to, supping on various alcoholic beverages. I reached over the bar and helped myself to a beer. Grimacing at the horrible taste, I sat down. My cleaner, Felix, swept the floor in regular strokes. The glass all tinkling into neat piles.
The last few days has been a headache and it has reminded me why I never want to get back into politics. As well as never working with pirates again! Right now, as I sat there staring at the door marked 'Members Only: M34N Flag bar' I remember, with painful clarity how a situation went from bad to worse to catastrophic in a short space of time. The result was that our fellow pirates from M34N corp are now hostile to us as we are to them. M34N are a well-established pirate group in Gusandall, they've lost some numbers but they are still devastatingly effective. To make sure that this new and deadly relationship was clear, all our ships 'friend or foe' identifiers have been set to flash an alarming red whenever M34N are around. We are expected to kill on sight any M34N pilot. Am sure that this relationship has been reciprocated. Checking the killboard database, Black Flag has scored six kills to our one loss (a rifter) but am sure that the numbers will increase over time. Hellequin tried to reach out to us and smooth things down but their own vote was for supporting M34N and to set us to red as well. Interesting to note that the Hellequin's internal vote was not unanimous but their loyalty to their old friends meant that the result was never in doubt. Black Flag thoroughly respect the Hellequin pilots who tried. I for one, look forward to running away from Muhaar's Wolf, named after me - as he stole it! Tempered Steel Legion, was used, ultimately, as an excuse to ignite the issue. The relationship with TSL and BF was with only a couple of blue corporation-to-individual standings in place and nothing else.
What was the issue? From careful reflection - it was clear that there was a number of inter-locking and thorny issues over corp sovereignty, setting corporations to blue, a friendly fire incident that was not resolved satisfactorily, egos, perceived disrespect and genuine disrespect between some parties and some heated exchanges by all sides that added fire to an already big fire. A bad day for all to come together.
My friend Redbad said, 'this a lot of politics for zero-politics.' As I stared at the 'Members Only: M34N Flag bar.' A former place for just M34n and Black Flag pilots to meet and discuss 'stuff'. I had to agree with Redbad on his point. Too much politics indeed.
Ultimately, Black Flag wanted no unilateral corporation to corporation blue standings. All their relationships would be based on standings to individual pilots and not their corp. Just because Black Flag likes you doesn't mean that Black Flag will automatically like your friends and your corporation. Some say that's a sign of disrespect but in a world where death is just round the corner, it is a pragmatic one. It's how Black Flag wanted to operate and this is now the reality. Black Flag are pirates after all, lest anyone forgets that.
Still, the last few days have been unpleasant but interesting too. There's been killing, looting and pillaging too, business as per usual then for some. Draining the dregs of my beer with a slurp, I gestured at the door to the once, vibrant private bar.
"Felix, sanitise that room. Then seal it." "Yesir. Will it be opening again?" I paused and thought back to the last few days. "No."
I turned and walked out, towards my ship's hangar. I had work to do.
Just an update; GF has a variant of the norovirus. Nasty little bugger and quite unpleasant. Will try and log on as much as I can but RL needs me more, these next couple of days. Bad timing really and to think she only just reminded me it's our anniversary too!
The blog will be updated as soon as possible, but to all peeps - this blog is from my point of view with the information that I have in hand at the time of writing. It's isn't the minutes of a meeting nor transcribed, word for word from conversation log files.
If there are any errors in this log - then it is due to my own absent mindedness and lack of an editor.
Keep the comments coming!
(Actually, I just read the comments on the previous entry. Don't get this blog banned! Someone has already complained about it and now I have this annoying pop-up window.)
Been an interesting day and not too unpleasant either.
Getting up I saw that I had a number of calls and messages on hold. With a strong cup of coffee in hand, I accessed the messages and was bombarded by a dozen or so conversations and voice mails. I slammed on the mute and staggered back.
Creeping back to the message I console, I hesitantly accessed the messages one by one and told all the other pilots and friends to hold on. I will contact them when ready and defintely today, or so I thought.
All messages said one thing: no one wanted a pirate war and I agree, we have so much bigger fish to fry. This argument was a distraction and would sap all our strengths. However, emotions and such are running high as many have spent some real time and effort to build up networks and resources. Many feel that this is now under threat. I understand and sympathise with this situation so I tried to field as many calls and queries as I could. I count many of the now, REDS to be my friends and I would try my hardest to keep them as friends even if the overall organisational relationship was hostile.
In some way, due to my unforeseen abscence, I have been seen by some to be approachable. I also managed to get more information on how all this has all blown up into the little mess it is now. A head-ache to be sure but not unsolveable.