23 Feb 2010

Rifter V Taranis

Roaming on your own should be done by every pod pilot - I started solo and stayed a solo pilot and pirate for a long time. It is the only way to learn combat in New Eden as well as a understanding lot about yourself. It was a slow day at the office and I sneaked out of The Bastards headquarters in my trusty rifter and zipped through space. I pointedly ignored the flashing mail notification icons and the incoming message prompts. I just pointed the rifter in one direction and opened up the throttle. I needed a break and I wanted to see what I could catch and didn't really care whether it was a rookie frigate or a titan. However, after five jumps, I saw nothing on scan. Not a sausage. I paused and checked in with Aurora, just to be sure.

"Aurora, push the scanners out to maximum. I can see people in local but so far, no even space junk on scan."

Aurora's lush and husky voice flowed back.

"Maximum scans indicate that there are no vessels around asteroid belts, planets or any other celestials. There are three vessels, marauder class deep inside an anomaly. Scan probes of sufficient strength are required."

I pushed on and increased the volume of the in-flight music, an eclectic mix of chilled ambient and techno. Try it, works for me, especially when it is quiet.

A few more jumps and I landed in Resbroko and pinged the scanner once more.

Taranis on scan - let's have some it, I thought.

A quick fiddle of the directional scanner and I had the interceptor.

Warp drive active.

As my rifter leapt into warp, eager for combat and blood. I quickly reviewed the taranis: short range weapons with quite thin armour. It was devastating up close and fitted properly could hit out quite far with tech two ion blasters and null ammunition.

With all these variable flowing through me; I was eager to test my rifter against it. My tactic was to keep range with my webber and blast the taranis as it tried to close on me. I would have to pulse my micro warp drive to ensure that I could maintain some range but it would be a challenge for sure.

As I approached the belt my directional scanner pinged ahead and confirmed that the taranis was at the top belt but whether he was moving or staying still was an unknown. My heart started to beat faster. A feeling that most combatants are familiar with. Despite having fought in low sec for a few long years, I still loved the thrill of approaching violence and I would never get sick of it.

I landed at 20km from the centre of the top asteroid belt; as I was planning on the taranis being at zero. My eyes snapped up as I saw the taranis barrelling towards me, its micro warp drive burning brightly. The pilot was intent on closing on me and he had landed off the warp in point as well. He had the same idea as me and was 'only' 14 km from me.

I fired when I was at optimal range (in other word, immediately) but then realised that I had EMP-based ammunition loaded and not barrage; a rookie mistake and I cursed. The EMP ammunition was designed to knock down shielded system but it wasn't to be used at long range, while the barrage type was, especially at my optimal. In a moment of indecision, distracted by my annoyance, I lost track of the taranis and forgot to web him. My rifter's close collision alarms blared as the taranis passed by, its close range blasters racking my ship, my shields boiling off in two and then three bright flashes but I did bring him down to armour by some luck.

The taranis swept round in a wide arc as I gunned my rifter in the opposite direction, my webber snaked out but he was too close and continued to chew through my armour. We both went down into hull at the same time but I then ran out of capacitor to power up my armour repairer. Poor use of my ship's capacitor had opened me up to yet more damage. I cursed, as the taranis pilot could smell blood; even webbed - it was delivering devastating hits. My poor rifter was down to half hull but my 150 mm auto canons continued to fire and the taranis was also on fire.

With a jolt, my automatic ejection system kicked in and vomited my capsule out into space. The rifter no more. My rifter had been blasted to atoms around me. The taranis was in a bad way but at least it still flew. As I powered away, I saw the pilot approach my wreck and grabbed what he could.

There was a pinging sound and I realised that the pilot wanted to talk to me.

What followed was a pleasant exchange and it was then I saw that the victorious pilot was from GIS - a corporation that had frequented these parts but had disappeared for some unknown reason. It was with some pride that he said The Bastards are one of the few honoured pirates around and that he was glad that I didn't chicken out. We chatted about the antics of General Coochie, one of our very best of ours who gave GIS no end of trouble. He is on a long term sabbatical at the moment and I hope to see him back soon. We ended what turned out to be a very pleasant conversation when my criminal count-down had cooled off. He even contracted back the salvaged remains of my ship after I cheekily asked for it back.

A bit surprised, I set a course for home and made my way back to Evati.