Flashfresh looked around his assembled bridge crew and nodded to his first officer, the new collar rank pins still shiny. After reviewing the sheath of papers, Flash looked up.
"Excellent work, number one. Prepare the ship." Snapping salutes, Flash's bridge crew spun on their heels and stomped out of the capsuleer loading bay. Turning to a smaller group of white cloaked technicians, Flash reached up his collar and unclipped the fasteners.
"Gentleman, ready my pod."
'I hate this bit' - thought Flash laying down inside the capsule. It was already filling with warm shock gel, designed to entirely cushion the pilot and more importantly, form a medium through which he would interface with his ship. The bit he hated was the filling of his nose and his mouth of the highly oxygenated fluid. Even after a thousand such immersions, he still struggled briefly against the drowning sensation. As the fluid seeped up his nose and down his throat, the reflex gagging action began. As if that wasn't bad enough - flexible tubes snaked out from hidden recesses inside the pod and clamped themselves over other orifices.
Synatic connectors crawled over Flash's bald scalp and in a blink, his consciousness expanded past the usual five human senses. He looked with eyes that were linked to hundreds of sensors on his ship and beyond and now able to see across the vast range of frequencies from ultra-violet to infra-red and beyond. Colours beyond human imagination flashed and danced across his view as he switched observation filters. Tactical overview superimposed itself over the star field and the various ships of the fleet pulsed steadily, alive and ready.
Flash knew, that in another twenty or so capsuleers were all undergoing the same ship synchronisation. A mere thought and Flash could interface with the mighty Raven class battleship of K Starwin with a crew of thousands or the small zippy incursus class frigate, piloted by the forever cheerful Avid Nray.
"All ships this is Flash. Undock, undock, undock and align to the Todi gate. Status report on all ships once you have cleared the docking lanes."
Slipping out of the cavernous hangar of the Kaalaikiota station, the black hulled ships of The Bastards was an intimidating sight and caused two small industrials to collide into other as they fled. Their intent to cause mayhem and violence as clear as the double-winged, crossed sword grinning skull motif emblazoned on the ships.
One by one, the ships winked once in the tactical overview, indicating their readiness and then whipped into warp space. Flash was in his rapier class recon-ship, equipped with target painters and webbers. The scouts raced on ahead as the fleet manoeuvred into Todi and assumed position. There was a brief firefight in Eifer where the frigate scouts got themselves engaged by an ishkur class assault frigate, resulting in the loss of a rifter and Avid's incursus. Both raced back to get new ships.
The fleet warped into Akkio and proceeded to move on when Mr Frog, flying the magnificient megathron class battleship requested permission to check out EOA-ZC. A well known entry point into null sec.
"Frog, exercise caution. That megathron makes a tempting target. The rest of the fleet will remain aligned to Otosela."
With a chuckle, Mr Frog's megathron disappeared into warp and landed at the EOA-ZC gate. He jumped and with a whoop, announced that there was indeed a target for him. A blackbird ECM cruiser sitting some distance from the gate.
"Am locking it." Announced Mr Frog. "Locking..."
"Could be a trap mate." Muttered Viginti, the capsuleer Captain of one of the two Armageddon class battleships in the fleet.
"Locked! Neuting and sending out drones." There was a burst of static and a curse. "Shit. Local just jumped by ten. No, make that fifteen. Shit."
"Mr Frog. De-agress and get back to the gate. Give me intel on the local spike."
"Shit. Stealth bombers. Lots of them on the d-scanner. This is going to hurt." Mr Frog sounded worried and so he should. Stealth bombers are one of the most effective anti-battleship vessels in New Eden. Packing torpedoes and target painters and of course, the various bombs; they could do immense damage to larger hulls.
"Trying to activate the gate -" A sharp squeal interrupted Mr Frog's transmission "-launching. Bombs, they have bombs. Brace for impact!" The rest of the fleet could only sit still and listen-in helplessly. "Into armour already, shit they're killing me!"
Flash quickly interfaced with Mr Frog's own tactical computer and was jolted at the flood of damage notifications. Quickly sifting through the digital cacophony, the salient information was clear: the warp engines had been smashed apart and there was a huge hole, on the port side where part of the armour plating had already peeled off revealing the vulnerable hull section. The megathron was already in a slow uncontrolled port side spin and was leaking precious atmosphere and fuel. The abandon ship call had already been announced and the crew escape pods were spat out from the doomed ship. With what looked like glee, the stealth bombers unleashed yet another devastating wave of torpedoes at the doomed ship. Slamming into the shield-less and armour-less ship, the warheads with their hardened heads burrowed deep into the superstructure of Mr Frog's battleship and detonated. For a split second the megathron bulged as it it tried to contain the explosion but physics won and the once mighty ship, burst apart into a million flaming pieces.
Mr Frog's capsule was safe as was that of most of his crew though immediate extraction wasn't possible.
"Frog, status please?" Asked Flash, clamping down hard on the disappointment of losing a battle ship so early in the operation. Sounding remarkably cheerful, Mr Frog beamed back.
"All okay FC. A bit shaken but man, I LOVE stealth bombers!" Mr Frog's renewed enthusiasm of the stealth bomber class was obviously rekindled by the sudden and fiery demise of his ship. "Am getting my Hyperion class battle ship ready and will catch up. Hope most of my crew made it out. Mr Frog, out."
The fleet continued on their way.
"Fleet this is Flash - set destination to Paala. Scouts move on ahead." Flash paused as the ships all winked back on the overview and shifted their alignment. "Scouts report back."
"Scout one: in Paala and moving to LXQ2."
"Scout two: holding in Paala."
"Scout three: in LXQ. Bubbles and three potentials. Cyclone, Hurricane and Rapier."
The commentary drifted back as the fleet moved into position, one jump from Paala and settled into a safe spot about 1 AU distant from the Paala entry gate. Flash toggled between the scouts.
"All scouts, report. Are hostiles still on the Paala gate in LXQ?"
"Scout three here: roger that FC. Claw class interceptor here too."
"Scout two here: cloaked up three hundred kilometres above the gate. There are drag bubbles all around. Ship count doesn't match with pilot count, we have cloakies here."
The fleet now joined by Mr Frog in a shiny Hyperion class battle ship was split up into three parts, the bulk would remain with Flash, some would cluster around the LXQ gate in Paala while two more would join the scouts in LXQ. Mr Frog and K Starwin, in the Raven-class battle ship, were chosen for the forward bait role. With a cheer both ships peeled off from the fleet and moved ahead, followed by three more ships who were to hold on the gate.
Jumping through, the raven and hyperion immediately got some interest. The claw, foolishly stayed too still for too long and one of the fleet's hidden scouts, provided a warp in point for Mr Frog. He landed and amazingly, tackled the much smaller and nimbler ship.
"Point on Claw! Sending out drones." The small automated robots, screamed out from the drone bay of Mr Frog's hyperion and proceeded to dismember the unlucky claw. Meanwhile, K Starwind was attracting attention some more ships. A hurricane battle cruiser was closing and local increased by three.
"Ship on the LXQ gate: jump, jump, jump and engage hostiles." On the tactical view, The Bastards now had seven ships in LXQ - a Raven, a Hyperion, one Armageddon along with the scouts versus a potential eight ships. The enemy hurricane engaged and angled towards the Raven.
"Point on the hurricane!" Announced one of the scouts and this was followed by acknowledgements from the other ships. Tactical interfaced with the camera drones of the 'Golden Dong', the Armageddon class battle ship piloted by Viginti. Thick lances of light streaked out and boiled away the shields of the hostile hurricane, followed by a train of missiles slamming into the hull. Meanwhile a hostile cyclone and rapier had appeared but sat, silent three hundred kilometers away. The hurricane was quickly killed off as other hostile ships angled towards the fleet, though still too far away to do anything except watch. They could have warped to the gate and landed close but it was clear they wanted to assess the situation first. However, scout three, cloaked and hidden was already burning his way towards them.
Meanwhile, a hostile stealth bomber de-cloaked and made a bombing run - releasing his deadly cargo and warping away.
"Incoming! All frigates scatter now!" Yelled Morkas, one of our hidden scouts. By this time, Flash had sent his own camera drones to the fight and could see what was going on, more of less first hand. The bomb did little damage to the large ships having missed all our frigates. The bomber decloaked a second time. He was unlucky as another hidden scout provided a warp in for Ishalar and his rifter.
Quickly tackling it and holding it down allowed K Starwind to hit hard with a run of torpedoes. Meanwhile, the hurricane pilot was already held down by another frigate when I asked Ishalar to take care of the ransoms, even if there were hostiles running around the fleet.
Amidst numerous bombing runs by other stealth bombers, our fleet rotated around and stayed in LXQ. Ishalar did a fine job trying to ransom the hurricane pilot, using all his negotiating skills to little effect. In the end, the kidnapped pilot was dispatched by a bomb blast from one of his friends. Maybe he asked for a swift execution from a friend or maybe it was a case of disasterous friendly fire. Whatever the result, the ransom was not met but a long, rambling and very funny conversation was had.
Dougal Laphroaig > I'm a null sec combat pilot, won't pay it mate. But just remember this. A day will come, and I will make a decision, save your pod and let you fly away, or blow your +5 full hat off.The full log has been re-posted and commented elsewhere.
However, when it was time for the fleet to leave, Dougal followed the fleet out in a rifter and after two jumps, oddly sat with The Bastards fleet in Uemon at a star gate. He didn't move but in a private conversation was requesting a duel with Ishalar. Ishalar declined as his rifter was fit up for tackle with hardly any DPS. Dougal had time to undoubtedly fit something a bit more appropriate. Ishalar replied that if he was to meet him in Evati in twenty minutes, he would be ready.
At Uemon, Dougal called out to Ishalar for a duel, yet again. Bored, Ishalar declined to comment as he wouldn't duel in his near weapon-less long range tackler.
"What's he doing?" Asked one of the pirate Captains, a bit bemused.
"Looks like he wants us to lock him?" Replied someone else.
"Probably thinks the gate's sentry guns will protect him! Fuck it. I am going to give a go!" Announced Mr Frog in his hyperion. Battleships are not known for their fast target acquistion times so surely Dougal should have seen the attempt but after a seven second cycle, a lock was made and the Hyperion's blaster canons swivelled into position.
"Opening up in three, two, one - fire!" In a flash, all eight large ion batteries on the Hyperion opened up and the rifter, one moment intact and sitting serenely near the gate and the next instant - a small but rapidly expanding cloud of debris.
Everyone burst into laughter .
"That's not very nice." Complained Dougal, his blinking capsule wobbly in space and sitting amidst the wreck of his former ship.
"Er, pirates?" Countered Ishalar, barely able to contain his laughter.
Oddly, Dougal, either suffering from temporary brain damage didn't warp his pod out or jump through and Mr Frog, after a ten second acquisition time, locked the pod and pulped it. This generated even more laughter from the assembled pilots.
A few seconds later, Dougal waking up in a reclone station contacted Ishalar again via the public ransom channel.
[23:44:05] Dougal Laphroaig > No problem. I understand. Small penis and all, it's okay. One day you might just be able to grow up and become a man.While this conversation was rivetting, our scouts had spotted a Tengu class strategic cruiser and we raced towards it. The conversation with Dougal was left hanging. Unfortunately, we missed the Tengu, it had evidently cloaked up and disappeared and we had a consolatory kill of a curse.
[23:44:22] Dougal Laphroaig > Not likely though. lol
[23:45:31] Dougal Laphroaig > I guess that's why I never went down the pirate road. No code, no honor.
[23:48:21] Ishalar Molina > I'm quite sure you will win this war even though you have lost the last several battles
[23:48:58] Dougal Laphroaig > My kill board it actually pretty good. I've inflicted alot more damage than I have taken, and funny thing is. I have never paid a ransom.
Due to pressing matters, I recalled the fleet and broke it up once we had docked back up in Evati. It was a fun night even if the kills were light.