25 Jul 2008
Having our CEO (Viper Sam) going AWOL was un-helpful but this did not stop the corp from running and in some ways, expanding and improving as more pilots stepped up to fill the vacuum - Ndor, Jubes and Huaca should take a bow. Since nearly all Black-Flag pilots also work solo for periods at a time, not having a CEO online directing things at a tactical level was no real big deal.
Not having a forum to organise operations and roams has seriously hurt the medium term viability of Black-Flag, however. We can not connect with prospective pilots. Share information. Rant. Show off. Talk crap.
This can not go on any longer I fear.
Steps are being taken to address this: Both Sarvic and Psycho Penguin (love that name) have agreed to set up a temporary forum / kill board respectively. I would rather have two sites than none. They should be going online within the next few days. It's a temporary fix at the moment. Ideally, we would need to restore the back up files of the old forum and kill board and yes before any comments - no backups were made :-( so we're probably starting things from scratch. Repointing the Domain name: Black-Flag.Org is also required but this is not an immediate requirement.
So interesting times ahead for the pirate ship called Black-Flag, some stormy seas abound and the wind is not favourable at the moment. The Captain has gone overboard and can't be rescued. The crew are emerging from a drunken stupor and want to kill and loot but we're drifting and we just missed some rocks. However, the crew is good and there's a consensus amongst the mates that the ship is still sound and water tight.
Interesting times ahead indeed.
23 Jul 2008
RealZonk chased the first hurricane through into Taff where he then warp scrambled the hurricane's engines - preventing it from warping off. The hurricane pilot, either panicking and not being sensible fired back at RealZonk. This now prevented him from returning to the gate and jumping off as the hurricane's weapons needed time to bleed off excess energy and 'cool down' before the stargate drives could engage. However, RealZonk fired the first shot and under the CONCORD rules, he was an aggressor and the automatic gate guns spun up and spat out deadly rounds at him.
I arrived with the other three and immediately locked and fired at the hapless hurricane. I wanted to draw some of the fire off RealZonk.
"Flashfresh has engaged. Hurricane has been pointed. Am drawing sentry fire."
"Jherek has engaged. Drawing sentry fire also."
"Koet has locked. Not engaging yet." Koet was in a rifter and he would be instantly shredded by the gate guns. However, he was smart and would hold off to either snag the pod or get a quick shot in before the hurricane was destroyed.
The space was thick with fire as we poured fire onto the hurricane.
"Zonk is out. Fecking sentry guns!"
"Okay Zonk - that was a good tackle. Get to safety, we'll finish it off from here."
RealZonk's vagabond whipped around and sped away into safety, with tracer rounds from the sentry gun screaming after him. Now there was only three of us and the enemy hurricane was going down. My drones (deployed as decoys) were already shredded and the gates guns had already blasted off my shields and were pinging off my armour. My ship being rocked violently to the side with each blow.
However, we were quick enough to kill the hurricane but not quick enough to kill the pod. I had to warp out and leave the loot to Jherek and his 'cane.
A few minutes later, we caught a cyclone doing the same thing. Hanging around a gate and dispatching Angel cruisers. The fool, I went in for the initial tackle - once again, drawing down the considerable fire of the gate guns. I just had to hold on long enough, the second to arrive was Koet in his rifter and he bravely put his small ship into the fray - long enough to get shredded into scrap. Jherek was replaced by Knubbelino in his thorax while RealZonk was there in his vagabond. This group of four was even weaker and less suited to gate fighting than the previous one but we didn't let that stop us. The cyclone was butchered within sight of the gate and safety.
In both cases, I was delighted with the performance of the rupture-class cruiser under sentry fire. It was packing some meaty armour, had the micro warp drive for speed and packed a rack of four dual 180-mm T2 auto canons. Not to forget the hard working small armour repairer. The 1600mm plate is there to soak up damage with the armour repairer there to patch up the armour after a fight. It's repair rate is too slow to make this rupture an active armour tanking ship.
21 Jul 2008
[18:01:00] Maximus Vash > big bad brave destroyer killer
Oh yes, it appeared that I had angered this pilot by killing (ok, overkilling) his destroyer in my maelstrom. I was after his typhoon but the big maelstrom arrived too late to make the tackle. So I sat there hoping that Max would come back either in his typhoon or something else.
It was something else and I popped it with the help of a friend in a taranis. I am a pirate and I collect loot and stuff and I know full well the ups and downs of New Eden to be picky over kills. Pity we didn't pod him. To his credit Max has a very good Typhoon tank.
I was out when Max came looking for me. I know where he is and will see him soon, on my terms, of course. When I came back, Max was gone and I called it a night.
A dangerous solo tackle
The next day, looking out at the vastness of space, I was excited by the plans that the main pirate corporations had for the local area. Faction warfare had arrived, the four Empires were now starting to tear into other and many pod pilots had aligned themselves with one of the four Empires. Did not matter to me one jot but it did mean more potential victims.
Tonight however, it was quiet and there was only three pirates from The Bastards out roaming. No one from Black-Flag or any other. I pinged a message to them and found out that they were out hunting. Little did I realise that within an hour of my hurricane battle cruiser undocking from Gusandall, that it would end in a fiery demise.
The internal communication between myself and The Bastards was limited: my ship was being refitted with a new communication unit and until it was fitted in, I could only listen and relied on the most simple of out-going communication system available: morse. This disability would add to my woes.
There was new intelligence that The Bastards had spotted some potential prey. I moved closer to the Ofstold gate in Todifrauan and announced to my fleet mates that I would be hiding at the gate. This brought a lot of guffaws but I was quite serious. They were hunting a helios and drake. I knew that Xray Commander was the Drake pilot.
There was a flash as the star gate activated for incoming traffic. I tapped out in morse to RoninData and his mates.
+GATE FIRE. GOING TO TACKLE WHATEVER IS COMING THROUGH+
I checked the local communication channel, all pod pilots automatically register with it when they appear in a new system. I saw it was Xray and his ship de-cloaked about 22km from me. Tackling a drake solo under gate fire isn't ideal. The hurricane is a fantastic ship, it's strength is an ability to hit hard and fast, relying on it's passive shield buffer to make it out in one piece. A drake, with one of the most fearsome shield systems of any ship in New Eden would prove to be challenge for me but it was the gate guns that would worry me more.
What the hell.
I tapped out to RoninData as red klaxons sang out in warning responding to the automated gate guns now firing at me after the illegal weapons discharge on my part. Low-sec combat is always so complicated!
“SHIT! OK, everyone warp to Flash! Warp to Flash!” Yelled RoninData. There wasn't much Ronin could do as he was in a small frigate and it would be shredded by a single volley from the robotic sentry guns.
“Roger, switching ships now – be there in 35 seconds, keep him pointed buddy.” Said VB Sarge. Thirty Five seconds is a life time in New Eden combat. An absolute lifetime.
My shields started to flash down, the gate guns have been tuned to deliver explosive, kinetic, electromagnetic and thermal damage – no amount of resistance tuning could combat this. I needed an active shield system or very fast shield recharge to overcome this. I had neither and had to hold on long enough to deliver a knock out. The drakes shield started it's slow count down. I was already into armour but Caldari-built ships are well known to be tough on the outside with nothing inside. As soon as his shield systems were shut down – my guns would shred his armour. A bit like what the gate guns were doing to my armour actually.
“Captain, we're detecting system failure along the primary armour plating and small hull breaches along decks 2 to 7.” Reported back my Executive officer. I did not need him to tell me, my own nervous system was part of the ship and I knew full well the damage that the hurricane was taking. The drake was going down but the gate guns were shredding my hurricane faster than I had anticipated.
+BASTARDS. FLASHFRESH IS GOING DOWN. REPEAT: FLASHFRESH IS GOING DOWN+
“On my way. Keep the point on the drake!” Said VB Sarge, roaring his way towards my position. I maintained the point but was now shifting the hurricane towards a safe spot.
+ROGER THAT. ALIGNING TO GET OUT+
I had time. I think.
The drake was not static throughout this fight, it was moving towards the gate and then moving away, peppering me with missiles. The damage output of most missile ships is low, the drake being typical. VB Sarge was counting down to his warp exit.
“FECK! Where is he, negative on scan no drake, no hurricane, no........ Am a retard. Warped to the wrong gate!” Wailed VB Sarge.
This was not good. I could run, hit the micro warp drive and get some range then engage the warp drives or I could hold on, keep the drakes warp engines offline and wait for VB and Ronin and others to get over here. The drake was smelling blood, my blood and it was doubtful he would leave. Since he had not disengaged, he was still firing at me – thus he would be unable to jump until his weapons had 'cooled' off and bled off the excess energies that would normally disrupt the star gate drives themselves. However, he could warp out to another point within the system.
+RE-ENGAGING. MAINTAINING POINT+
My armour was flashing off into space, fiery chunks glittering away.
“All crew. Prepare to abandon ship.” I closed my eyes, an unnecessary unconscious decision for a plugged in pod pilot like myself, and bade my ship, 'FDZ' a farewell.
“We're on our way. Sorry Flash. We're almost there.”
There was a flash and a momentary dis-orientation as I was violently ejected from the hull of my ship. The rest of my crew were already in their escape launches, pre-programmed with the destination. We would be re-united in a new ship soon.
+FLASH IS DOWN. FLASH IS DOWN. GET THE DRAKE FOR ME. HIS SHIELD SYSTEMS WILL BE CLOSE TO EXHAUSTED+
The drake did not re-engage the backup and managed to escape our clutches.
What did I learn that I did not know already?
I should have released my drones – they would have given me precious seconds as the dumb gate guns, powerful as they are, would have split the fire between my hurricane and the five deployed drones. Stupid really, but backup was in-system. Still, my fault – and it's a useful lesson for me. One is only as good as your last fight.
KillBoards and Forums
Also, to all our public out there. The Black-Flag Killboard and forums are down. We're sorry for the problems this has caused (internal and external) but we're working as fast as we can to get this fixed.
9 Jul 2008
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:
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."
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.....