20 Mar 2008

Holy Mother of ECM

"Fucking about time." I said to the station maintenance guys, all now avoiding my gaze.
I was locked out of my entire floor due to a break down in the identity card system. So for the last week, I found myself sleeping in my docked ship of all places while the slow wheels of bureaucracy and maintenance cranked through. In short, I was out of contact with nearly everyone for a week.

Once I was back in circulation, I noticed that I had several messages from other pirates. Many who, while not actively at war with Black-Flag, were red to us. These included 'The Bastards' to name one. A decent bunch of competent pirates based in Brin. We've tangled with them before and will have another fun encounter in the future am sure.

Anyway, several messages from them to me. I opened them all and contacted the pirates, wary at giving away too much. Talking to RoninData and General Coochie, I rapidly caught up with the most recent events: a large, anti-pirate force was moving between Eifer and Evati and had camped a number of gates throughout the last few days. The Bastards had fought them and then, eventually got overwhelmed by them but only recently. No capital ships were involved this time but it sounded like the successful application of overwhelming force by the carebears.

Nevermind, no fights are ever equal and The Bastards have vowed to fight back tooth and nail; our conversation was purely pirate-to-pirate, under the idea of 'an enemy of my enemy, if my friend'. Fair enough I thought and I attempted to contact other Black-Flag pilots. A few were around and I got in contact with them, appraising them of the situation. They did not have the ill-fortune to bump into this anti-pie camp and by all accounts, this group had now dispersed.

I opened up my intelligence channels and once I made contact, new information began to flow in.
I needed to hunt. The various accents, Caldari, Gallente, Minmater and even Amarr buzzed through the room as my sources reported back to me.

"One caracal-class cruiser ratting in Klogori, pilot is in State War Academy, name is..."

"A brutix from 'Roids 'R' Us' jumping from Rokofur into Arnstur....."

"A missioning Raven in Evati, name of pilot is......"

"Lobster Man in Hyperion engaged near station by members of PAK....."

"Mining operation in - " I muted the intelligence channel and went back to the previous thread.
There was an engagement in Ingunn between a hyperion piloted by Lobster Man, Metafarmers against two rapiers, a claymore, a vagabond and a stabber. The latter group appeared to be from PAK (Red Republic) and I wanted revenge. They took me out a few weeks ago and I wanted to repay some of them, the same favour.

I rallied the troops and formed up a fleet, Krypt, Nova and Snake from Black-Flag were available and started fitting ships. Ever dependable Krypt was already out in his vagabond and into Ingunn just to get some eyes on the action - nothing like first hand intelligence from someone you trust. The fleet continued to be put together, with everyone joining the Black-Flag ventrilo server. Muhaar and some Hellequin pilots were already in the server and were already in a larger fleet. I quickly dissolved the fleet and merged the gangs together.

I asked for a break down of points and webs in the fleet. It was a mix of 50/50 with a nice mix of DPS. We had no ECW with us and only one vagabond as anti-support. This skew in fleet make-up would be our undoing. The ships all gathered at the Ingunn gate in Gusandall and Sotrenzur, meanwhile Krypt was targeted by the fast gang but he managed to escape with no problems.

50freefly joined us in his dominix and jumped into Ingunn moving towards the station in Ingunn as bait and sure enough - he was eventually surrounded by the previously identified ships. We all warped into the system but on immediate hostile contact, the enemy ships started to move away. The claymore, rapier, vagabond and others were all speed fitted and we failed to catch any one of them. We didn't have enough webs in the right place to get them. A local scan also revealed a large number of other ships and from sifting through the intelligence, we assumed that the claymore, two rapiers, vagabond and stabber were one gang. A second gang made up of a x2 caracals, x2 thorax, x1 raven and x1 kestrel.

"Okay guys, we can't catch those guys. Nano fitted for speed and we're all too slow to chase after them." I said.

"Let's roam!" Said 50FreeFly and the fleet agreed, though there were a few who had to drop out. I decided on the destination.

"Set destinations to Skarkon. All ships, you have five minutes to refit and refresh. Rendevous at the Kat gate in Sotrenzur," I said and prepped my ship to dock up and switch some mods. "You all have ten minutes, so make it happen." Five minutes later, I was ready to undock and make myself towards the salvage area.

"I've just been tackled by an ares-class interceptor," said Nova, sounding a bit angry at himself for having being busted by some random prober. After all, he was trying to find other people, not the other way round. "A falcon has also decloaked and has jammed me."

"Nova. Mwd towards the falcon, full speed. All other pilots align to Nova, prepare to warp to Nova." In the back of my mind, I was already worried - I suspected that the falcon was not the prober nor would the ares-class interceptor; there must be a third ship close to Nova, a covert-ops perhaps? Also, one does not drop a tackler onto a target unless you have the ships to make the kill. More were coming and both Nova and I were sure of this. We had to be quick.

"Roger that." Replied Nova.

"Zonk and Flashfresh: warp to Nova. Primary is the falcon."

"Roger - warping."

I warped towards Nova's speeding hurricane. I turned on my micro warp drive and pursued the falcon. I was instantly jammed.

"Flashfresh jammed. Pursuing the falcon." With three ships burning towards the falcon, we had a good chance that we would take advantage of one failed jam cycle and then kill the falcon. Or get so close to the falcon that the pilot would panic and warp away anyway.

"Zonk jammed. Pursuing the falcon. 38km away."

"Nova here. Jammed but 24km away." Nova was the closest and was practically on top of him when the falcon turned and hit it's micro warp drive.

"Good job guys - let's get this inty..." I stopped as there was the tell-tale star burst of incoming ships.

"Contact. Contact. Contact. Another falcon." I paused as my eyes scanned the rapidly increasing and scrolling overview. "Add two blackbirds and shit, two rapiers."

"Ships disengage. Those enroute. Cancel the route. It's a trap."

I hit the microwarp drive to get some distance but the two rapiers, with a set of webbers I suspect (at least two probably three webbers) locked me, Zonk and Nova. We were stuck fast like flies in Amber. The first falcon came back and joined the other two blackbird and the second falcon. We were then jammed and scrambled as the remaining ships all jumped in. There was a right mix of ships: eagle, hound, zealot, stiletto, caracal etc - and all from different corporations too.

50FreeFly and Muhaar were already in warp to us and they too were trapped. It was a horrible situation. In all the number of enemy ships finally included:


Just before I went down, I heard 50freefly say, "Holy mother of ECM!"

Oh I agree.

Tactical Analysis.

Could we have done better?

Very difficult to say, as soon as the falcon ran - we were going to knock out or chase off the ares (either via firepower or through the ecm drones) and then warp out. Instead, the rest all piled in and had us. Our gang was a significant size, though scattered amongst a number of different systems as we were all preparing to rendezvous for a trip to L4X-1V. We were caught too early and scattered. The fight was not on our terms so we got spanked. Fair play to them.

19 Mar 2008

Two new additions and Real-Life Crunch

New Recruits

Black-Flag welcomes Nova Blackadder and Snake Boy. They've both been flying with us now and have managed to contribute to the fleet and to the organisation. They're good pilots, willing to learn and blood thirsty to boot. Nova currently leads the Black-Flag killboard.

Snake was accepted only yesterday as he fulfilled all our entry requirements and can now fly the basic line-of-battle-ship: the hurricane, suitably fitted out as per Black-Flag modifications.

As a group, we're moving towards the next set of ships to complement the main fleet. This should give us more flexibility when it comes to engangements, large and small. Viper Sam has been pushing the Black-Flag pirates hard to instil discipline and consistency in performance. We want to eliminate complacency, fat and sloth from the group and if the cat 'o' nine tails needs to be deployed or a bit of keel-hauling, then so be it.

We need to remind ourselves why we're here and why we do what we do....which is to pirate, to pillage and kill people.

Black-Flag has been exploring other avenues of revenue generation but I have not jumped into the internal discussions at this point in time. To me, it will dilute my time spent hunting, though one needs isk to continue, that it true! Food for thought indeed.

Real-Life Crunch

Well, it had to happen: work installed a proxy server and now I can not access EVE during the day when I am on my quiet periods. Also, have problems accessing MSN and forums as well though I have discovered a way!

This reduces the time available to me until I can figure out how to connect and stay connected long enough to play. No matter, I need to find a way. Can't go cold turkey for too long.

17 Mar 2008

Musings of a Pirate - Part 6 - Piracy and New Eden

There are no benefits to hunting pirates in this game. Bounty hunting is dead. It's too easy being a pirate!

A disgruntled Empire 'CareBear' had the the above and the following to say on the GalNet forums, I had to change some poor grammer and spelling but the argument is as follows:

There is no benefit to hunting pirates in this game.
Why? The bounty system is borked, factions don't seem to care if a pilot has -10 security rating or not. In New Eden it says you can be a bounty hunter, but due to current rules and mechanics its unworkable and unprofitable to be one. Maybe bounty hunters should get a bonus to +standings and access to a great ship, make good pod pilots be able to be seconded officers in concord or factions. A special skill or ability to call concord backup once a day or something. Not uber of course. There must be many more incentives that I have not thought of to make New Eden more balanced between pirates and defenders of the Empire and law and order. Being a pirate is too easy. Being a bounty hunter is too hard.

I decided to try and address this but in parts:

Piracy is a robbery committed in space, at sea or sometimes on the shore of a sea, without a commission from a recognised sovereign nation or entity. Robbery, with a sovereign commission is known as 'privateering', and distinct from piracy.

1. Who is a pirate?

In New Eden, a pirate is someone like me. A pod pilot who chose to live a certain way.

Pirates like me almost always exclusively kill other Pod Captains (or PCs), we rob 'em and ransom them and generally cause havoc and try to get rich in the process through the endeavours of these PCs. We ask no sovereign entity of either of the four empires or null-sec alliances for their permission to do what we do. We tend to avoid the Non Pod Captains (or NPCs) as the monies isn't worth it and there is little excitment.

Some pod pilots become pirates due to boredom, others see it as the only way to live yet others see it as an easy way to kill people and piss them off. There are as many pirates as there are reasons for becoming one.

There isn't a defined career path as such; one doesn't roll some dice and choose a pirate profession based on some clone template grown in a vat. You become a pirate through choice. You become a pirate through your actions. You live it.

I have been asked by many how to become a Pirate and what is a good pirate ship and what skills you need. All in an effort for a pod pilot to knock up a cheap clone, a fascimile of a pirate, so they can attempt to step into this dark and dangerous world.

Some young pilots, fresh from academies come and ask, before they undergo their advanced training and augmentation, what should they concentrate their training on? Perception? Memory? Intelligence? Specialise in Minmater ships? Avoid Caldari ships? Go for auto canon specialisms?

I tell them that they're all missing the point.

Being a pod pilot in New Eden, there isn't a certain level of intellience or memory or charisma that automatically makes you a pirate, just like there isn't a template that suddenly means that you are CONCORD material or a hauler or a researcher or a trader. A pod pilot in New Eden is a free to choose what ever path they want. He or she is the embodiment of ultimate expression of freedom in an increasingly controlled and regulated world.

Similiarily, this goes for bounty hunting and the bounty hunter. If you exclusively chase outlaws with a bounty on their heads, then in definition you are a bounty hunter. Certain skills and ships will make this role easier, but there isn't a template clone being grown somewhere in a vat that is geared for the bounty hunting role, at least, I hope not.

I see so many PC pilots want to become a pirate, to tread this dark path but are waiting for the right ship or the right clone or the right amount of isk. Well, brothers and sisters, it's a fast fall to criminality and noteriety and all you have to do is to fly in your ship, go to low security space, find another PC in his ship and try and ransom or destroy it. If you're in high-security Empire space, CONCORD will render your ship to scrap within seconds. So avoid this. Go to low-sec.

2. So pirates are criminals?

Absolutely inasmuch that we break most of the established empire rules. Most pirates should have negative security rating as viewed by Concord though there are honourable exceptions such as Nexa Necis who through careful play, forces his opponents to fight him. He also war-decs Empire corps, thus legalising wars.

3. Is it easy being a pirate?

I find it easy and other's find it hard. Piracy is not a well-defined career in New Eden, there isn't really a school for it, a job plan and description and certainly no pension at the end of it. Certainly, it's easy to break the rules and drop in security status by being careless.

A pirate, and one classed as an 'outlaw' (flashing red) has a number of issues to contend with:

1. No access to high-sec space except in a pod.
2. Kill On Sight by anyone in Empire, Low-Sec or Null Sec.
3. No protection from sentry guns.
4. No protection from station guns.
5. Non-outlaws can not help you unless they accept a security status penalty.

4. Bounty Hunting and their tools

With all this against a pirate, should it get easier for the intrepid bounty hunter? The bounty system in New Eden is borked, I am not defending it. Due to the unique capabilities of pod pilots, we are effectively immortal in that death is merely an inconvenience. A bounty is placed on the corpse but if one can reclone after the death of the body, is there a need for a bounty? What does it really mean? There are plenty of pilots out there with huge bounties on them. I don't see that many podding themselves via an friend to collect the monies but still - it doesn't seem effective to me.

For bounty hunters though - a bounty is still a bounty. One can use a locator agent and find these pirates and have a go.
Track us down, patiently. Find Us. Trap Us. Kill our ships. Pray you can catch our pods. I am not saying the system is perfect.. Some possible improvements for those intrepid bounty hunters include:

1. Would be for an outlaw with a bounty on their heads not being able to stay perma-docked in certain systems, based on the size of their bounty or if someone has taken up the bounty on them (see point 2 below). Means we will need to keep moving as there are no safe havens except in 0.0 stations or 0.1 space or a POS. Just an idea. Don't flame me - just a half-formed ideas.

2. Anyone can 'take a contract' out on an outlaw with an existing bounty. A bit like agreeing to a mission from an agent but the BH needs to ante up some isk (collateral). Not sure what this contract might confer but a possible location of the bounty and limited kill rights?

13 Mar 2008

Another engagement in Eifer

EVE standard time: 22:05
"Move! Move! Move!" I roared at my crew, urging them to get into their positions as fast as humanly possible. Since I was a pod-pilot, I had a much smaller crew than a conventional ship with a bridge crew. Therefore, I could scramble a battle cruiser or battleship into space almost as quickly as a conventional frigate-class ship. Still, when a corp mate was feeding you intelligence of incoming ship types and might need help quickly, you could never move fast enough.

"Tor. Update please?"

"I see a myrmidon, drake, caracal, blackbird, ishkur, rifter and rupture. Not sure about the last one. And a crow. Yeah, a crow as well." A nice bunch for sure and a good kill. Tor was in his hurricane battle cruiser as was I. We could do it but more firepower would be good.

EVE standard time: 22:06
I decided to try and organise a fleet as quickly as I could and fired up the channel interface as my hurricane undocked and slid out into the cold embraces of space. A quick roll call and I had a number of pirates all eager for the hunt.

"Tor update please?" I said as I arranged for the pilots to get into the appropriate voice channels. All Black-Flag pilots have a check list we all go through to ensure we can have a crash-team ready to move at the moment's notice. After two-minutes of frantic communications, I had a fleet of six: Tor, Muhaar, Deathstar, Gwendonline, WayCharles and RealZonk.

We had a warp in point to the cluster of ships - they still haven't moved it would seem.

"Pilots status and points please."

"Tor: Cane in Eifer. One point."

"Muhaar: megathron in Gusandall. " There was a burst of static and I missed the last bit of information from Muhaar.

"RealZonk: vagabond in Gusandall. One point."

"WayCharles: manticore in Gusandall. One point."

EVE standard time: 22:07
Due to software incompatibilities, Death and Gwen had trouble connecting into the Black-Flag voice communications. No matter, it was enough. We had Deathstar and Tor already in Eifer and probably in the same grid as the targets. I was aware of the time element as well, the longer I took to order the fleet in, the more likely the targets would scatter.

EVE standard time: 22:08
"OK fleet. Targets: Myrmidon is primary, Drake is secondary." I consulted my notes and worked out where the points would go. "Muhaar and Tor, points on the myrmidon. Zonk point the drake. Waycharles and I will point and go after the blackbird. Blackbird is Way's and Flash's primary. Are we all clear?" There was a chorus of affirmatives from the majority of the fleet. Cahli was invited but was suddenly silent. I had extra points available and was considering who would get either the caracal or rupture.

There was a private message, my interface blinked urgently - our scout (cloaked and hidden from view) was informing me to hurry up. Had to go, couldn't afford to wait any longer.

"Warp to contact. Go Go Go." Tor and Deathstar, being in the system already warped first while the rest had to come in via the gate.

Light and sounded blended together as I was shot through into Eifer. I was already forcing the ship to warp to our contact point when Tor's voice came through, loud and clear.

"They're all here. pointing the Myrmidon. They're all here!" The rest was drowned out by the electro-magnetic static generated by his now fully-firing auto canons.

"Muhaar in warp."

"WayCharles in warp."

"RealZonk in warp."

"Flashfresh in warp." My scanner pinged ahead and there appeared to be a lot more ships at the warp in point then we first believed. My hurricane was spat out of the warp and landed amongst a clutch of ships. They were flashes as Tor and Death were already engaging the enemy. I glanced for my mark. I found the blackbird, it was right in front of me. My tactical computer locked the Blackbird and within seconds, it's range and velocity was tracked.

"Blackbird pointed!"

"Drake pointed. Firing on primary." It sounded like Muhaar, I wasn't too sure. My lock on the blackbird then winked out. The cruiser had jammed me and was already aligning, in a flash it was gone. I switched my point onto the rupture but it too was already aligned and managed to get out. An enemy crow streaked past, spewing rockets and after it's one pass was through the cluster of ships and out of scramble range. It too warped out. Only two ships remained: the drake and myrmidon; our two main targets to be sure.

The myrmidon went down very quickly to our combined fire with Deathstar landing the killing blow. We missed the pod as all focus was then switched to the drake.

EVE standard time: 22:09
With it's slightly tougher shields, it took marginally longer than the myrmidon to completely dissolve the shields but once into armour, it started to spew out fire and fuel. It was dead.

"Ransom the Captain!!"

"Noted. Point the pod. Do not pod kill the pilot. Flashfresh will ransom." The drake twisted on it's axis as a tremendous broadside punched it sideways with bits of ship now spinning off into space. The drake went down so quickly that the crew didn't have a chance to escape. The captain's pod appeared on our scanners.

"Point the pod!"

"On it." It sounded like Zonk. "Pod pointed." Sending a narrow communications beam directly to the pod, I initiated a private conversation with the pilot of the now very dead, drake, 'Craiten Forejt'.

"Craiten. You are being ransomed. 25million isk will let you and your go. You have ten seconds to comply."

"I have no implants. Go ahead and pod me, pirate." I passed this message on and the pod was vapourised. The loot from the drake was T2 versions too. Very nice and we would split them amongst the group. Our kill board chattered away in the background as we updated the kills. Only the drake appeared as there was a problem with Deathstar connecting to our killboard interface. No matter, we could chase this up. Our scout, his identity still hidden under a cloak congratulated us.

"Nice kill. If they had all stayed, it would have been a massacre. Good kill." We thanked the scout and proceeded to dock up and split the loot we had gathered. I love cloaked scouts! A nice kill in a short amount of time. We need to improve the crash-team more though.

10 Mar 2008

I had to die to satisfy the blood god!

My Death

You are unable to warp because you're warp scrambled.

That one sentence told me that I was now dead, events just had not caught up with me. I had the unfortunate luck of a system's break down - my stabber shut down as I was en route to the Todifrauan gate and as an emergency, the warp engines activated and slung me into the depths of space and very far from any navigational beacons. Once the computer was back online after 48 hours of frantic repair, I managed to pick up the previous destination and landed on the target gate. I did not check the star map for 'ships destroyed' and any other update and this was my undoing - this gate was now camped. Compounding my mistake I jumped through and was caught by two rifters with webbers and scramblers on the other side. Stuck down like a fly in amber, the other ships came in and dismantled my ship in short order.

For them, it was a good, clean kill for the Red Republic Alliance pilots.

My Rebirth and Revenge

Havoc, Violence and Chaos are another crew who are red to this us but they too, were hunting the Red Republic Alliance and their friends so we teamed up with HVC for the night, just to increase our chances of a kill. An 'enemy of my enemy is my friend' was the motto for the night.

I was already docked up in Gusandall and went downstairs to the Independence bar. I went back to the bar and helped myself to a cold beer and looked around at the crowd. Seeing some familiar faces, I strode over.

"Nova, Snake, Christioff. Greetings."

"Hi Flash."



"How are you lads set for tonight? We have potential targets in Evati. Booty and loot and plenty of killing?" Scraping along the floor, I dragged a seat and sat down on it.

"Sure thing. If I stay in the station any longer, I think I will burst."

The mixed gang eventally included Hellequin, Black-Flag, HVC and the Independent pilots with Black-Flag in the lead and Viper Sam, Fleet Commander for the night.

Getting my revenge proved to be difficult as a gang was formed and just as we were about to spring our trap, one of their number came through the system and discovered the fleet of seven ships lurking. We gave chase but it was an epic fail. This did not deter us.

The gang included the following:

Viper Same (Black-Flag, Maelstrom) - Fleet Commander
Flashfresh (Black-Flag, Hurricane)
UrbanCapt (Astarte, -HVC-)
Wessler (Hurricane, -HVC-)
Baccus65 (Hyperion, -HVC-)
Muhaar Gemeinian (Hellequin, Astarte)
Ichiro (Hellequin, Scorpion)
Dutch Jones (Clan Wolf, Broadsword)
Snake Boy (Devil's Advocates, Hurricane)
Christoffski (Catch-22, Thorax)
Nova Blackadder (Brutor tribe, Stabber)

A mixed but powerful fleet and more than capable of blasting most ships out of existence.

Let's go to KAT!!

"Flash and Nova in the lead. Moving out." I glanced over at my wing-man in his stabber-class cruiser, plasma streaking off the thin, deadly lines of his craft.

"Okay Flashfresh is in the lead. Clear the voice channel. Good hunting," said Viper Sam, assuming overall command of the fleet. "Fleet, form up on me."

"Roger that. Nova, set your destination to Katugumur. First stop is sotrenzur."

"I copy Flash. Next stop Sotrenzur."

My hurricane battle cruiser and the smaller, stabber moved into warp together and we activated the jump gate on contact, having sent a request to gate control before we even entered system. As per standard Black-Flag operating procedures. We hold cloak for as long as possible.

"Contact. Contact. Contact. Two ravens and a scorpion on gate."

"I see them Nova. Hold cloak. They must have spotted our gate fire and are waiting." I toggled the chat to general fleet. "Black-Flag this is Flash. Three Goonswarm BS on the Gusandall gate in sotrenzur. All ships, get to the gate and hold."

The three battleships were probably the reason why there was such a high ship-kill count in Katugumur. These guys were making their way down and popping all the ships they could catch at the gates. Glancing at the clock, Nova and I had less than seven seconds before the spatial distortion on our ships dissipated.

"Nova. Get ready to decloak. Warp out if you have to, I will get back to the gate and get then to fire on me."

"Roger that."

"Fleet, this is Flash. Status please?" There was a burst of static and Viper came back.

"We're aligning and will be there in two minutes."

"Nova. Decloaking in five, four, three, two, one. Decloak. Go Nova!" I moved my hurricane back towards the gate as the last whispers of the gate cloak disappeared. About 8km from the gate, all three ships locked and fired at me. No doubt, their alpha-strike would take down most industrials. Nova's stabber whipped out towards planet IX and he was safe.

"Flash under fire. No webbers, am moving to gate. The three battleships are now flagged due to hostile actions. "

"Roger that. Fleet - jump." There was a flash from the multiple gate activations. I was pulled back into Gusandall while the fleet jumped the other way into Sotrenzur. The calm voice of Viper Sam came through on the fleet communications.

"Primary is DarkGold. Secondary is TheUnreal." The scorpion was to be blasted first, a wise tactical choice. Turning the ship around, I jumped in and locked the scorpion. Our fleet had a 3 v 1 numerical advantage and the Goons found themselves out-numbered and out-gunned. All three battleships went down very fast with no loss on our side. A goonswarm brutix (piloted by a goon unfortunately named 'Rob Rectum') arrived too late to help and was dispatched with ease.

The loot was quite good and we collected as much as we could and pushed on. Setting out sight on L4X-1v and Bosena.

Skarkon - first stop

Sam explained to the fleet how we were to operate and to minimise chatter. Nova and I pushed on ahead and the next seven jumps had nothing. It was all quiet. Too quiet maybe. As the fleet continued, the two Hellequin pilots dropped out to attend to their personal matters. We bade them a safe journey and continued. Arriving at Skarkon, a quick visit to L4X-1V revealed a warp disruption sphere and some Goonswarm pilots in local but nothing else.

"Nothing here in L4X-1V. Flash and Nova - go towards Bosena."

"Roger that." A few boring jumps later and I arrived at Oddelulf, my scanner picked up something interesting.

"I see a thanatos on scan. Nova, can you confirm?" There was a moment's pause and in came the reply, strong and clear.

"Roger that. A thanatos on scan as well as lachesis, pilgrim and crow."

"Nova - check out the station. I think those ships are scanning. Keep on your toes."

"Roger that. Moving towards the station." Nova was gone in an instant, my scanner then started to beep. Something was around.

"Fleet I might have a contact. Stand by. " My hurricane's micro warp drive lit up as I moved away from my safe spot. I had spotted a scan probe and it was likely that the lachesis had my position. So be it. Alarms rang out loudly and three ships appeared between 15-25km behind me. My hurricane was moving at speed and I could sustain this velocity if I wanted to.

"Contact. Contact. Contact. Three hostiles locking Flashfresh. Engaging."My hurricane's frame protested as I swung the ship around to face the small nimble ships now locking and scrambling me.

"Fleet go!" Ordered Viper Sam as the fleet jumped as one into Oddelulf. I warp scrambled the lachesis but we needed webbers to slow down these ships. My shields started to wink down as all three ships fired on me. I maintained my point on the lachesis but the pilgrim was sucking my cap dry.

"Lachesis pointed."

Once Black-Flag arrived, the three enemy ships smoothly disengaged and disappeared like smoke. Lacking webbers and fast tacklers, our fleet could not control this engagement.

Eve-University - next stop.

Moving into Bosena, I was still the scout. Nova in another system doing the same job, the big fleet we had was holding together well.

"This is Flash. In Bosena. I have a rifter approaching the gate and three contacts on scanner." I decloaked and wanted to see if the the rifter would bite.

"Roger that Flash. Moving fleet towards the Bosena gate. Stand by."

"The rifter has locked me." There was a burst of light and three more ships appeared. "Contact. Contact. Contact. Brutix, Hurricane, Hurricane and Myrmidon now at the gate."

"Move back towards the gate. Get them to aggress you."

"Trying." None of the ships would fire though they flashed yellow on my overview. I slowed my approach down but did not stop. "Hostiles have not yet engaged."

"Draw them through Flash."

"Roger that." I requested an immediate gate activation. There was a crackle of power being built up and then, I was through. The Black-Flag fleet sat there, patiently waiting.

"Gate fire." It sounded like Snake.

I checked local.

"It's the Brutix coming in for a look. Get ready."

We all waited and after 15 seconds the Brutix appeared. It quickly made it's way back towards the gate. Again, we had no webbers - an omission that we would come to regret as the brutix though blasted into armour in one volley, it had enough momentum to get to star-gate activation range. It jumped and those who didn't fire, jumped after the brutix.

There were no ships on the other side of the gate, the brutix pilot doing a good job warning his companions. I couldn't jump but the brutix slithered away from the grasp of the four ships that followed; much to our disappointment. There was a strong presence of Eve-University students, about 20-25 ships passing through. They then left local as the fleet turned round and headed back towards Ennur.

Skarkon - Part Two

"Let's check L4X-1V again shall we?" By this time, we were joined by a friend from the Gusandall flying a falcon to make up the loss of Muhaar and Ichiro.

"Go ahead of us Nova. Flash, can you bring up the rear?"

"Roger that."

The fleet then started to zip through Ennur and into Skarkon and there was nothing in L4X-1V.

"Nothing here guys but there's a fair few in local. Come on in and sit next to the warp bubble. Flash, stay Skarkon side and keep an eye on the gate." Sam wanted the fleet to camp the gate for a while, using the existing bubble to stop ships from leaving. The only ship floating around the gate with me was a noob pilot. This pilot was clearly a scout and jumped into L4X-1V only to be popped by our fleet. This pilot repeated the same tactic at least two more times, each resulting in the same pod kill.

"Flashfresh here: all looks quiet I think -" I broke off as local suddenly jumped by ten pilots. "All pilots hold." A quick scan revealed nothing but they could be making their way towards the gate. I waited.

"Flash! Report!"

"Several new pilots in local mainly White Core alliance. Attempting to locate." Nothing on scanner and if they were on their way towards L4X-1V gate, they would have arrived by now. I decided to hit the warp drive and try and find them.

"Flash here, going to leave the gate and scan them out."

"Roger that."

I jumped to the other gate and found nothing and turned to the second gate. Local dropped.

"They're leaving. Either through to Ennur or into Skarkon."

"Gate fire! Gate fire! Gate fire!"

"Flashfresh en route. Racing back towards the L4 gate."

Battle at L4X-1V gate

When I arrived at the gate, the space around it was still shimmering due to the multiple ships that had jumped through. I hit the gate as our fleet started to engage the enemy fleet.

The fleet composition was even in numbers: ten v ten. They had the edge in terms of ECM (a scorpion and two blackbirds versus our one falcon) but we had marginally more in damage dealing.

We did not hesitate and made our intentions known:

"Primary is endemic!"

So it began, the fighting was controlled and decisive on our part. Knocking out the abaddon was done relatively easily but somehow we failed to spot the scorpion quickly enough and it managed to get a few sensor jams on all of us until we targeted it, jammed it and then destroyed the scorpion. Nova was tasked with going after one of the blackbirds as Prediction Pain was busy jamming the scorpion and remaining blackbird. He did an excellent job chasing the black bird down. Snake Boy, in his Black-Flag hurricane held the centre along with Viper Sam's maelstrom and Baccus62's Hyperion. I was on the flanks with Christioff's thorax and the broadsword and astarte from -HVC-, hitting the enemy ships hard and giving them no time to think or react.

The result was a complete victory.

The loot was divided up amongst the combatants and it was a good fight with excellent FC'ing by Viper Sam. The loot can be seen in the previous post.

9 Mar 2008


OK the LOOT screenies are all over the place but here they are.

8 Mar 2008

Funny picture

7 Mar 2008

It's a trap! It's a trap! Yes, we know. Let's go in!

"It's probably a trap but let's go in and spring it. I want to kill something more."

I looked up at RedBad, his killboard was heaving with kills this morning. It was obvious he wanted more. "Sounds fun but any idea what they'll be bringing?"

Redbad shook his head and grinned. "Best way to find out is to go and see." Pirates. I love them and Redbad is one of the better ones that I know. He is with Tempered Steel Legion and despite the ups and downs between all the pirate organisations in Gusandall, Redbad and I have kept in touch throughout this period. He frequents the Independence bar and likes to drink a 'Jovian Headache' - a concoction of his own that appears to includes quafe, milk and rocket-fuel. It is foul but seems to power up Redbad to no end.

The docking booms retracted as our ships moved out of the station. Intelligence had informed us of a single myrmidon on Katugumur. The pilot was not immediately familiar to me but we had tangled with his alliance before. Jumping through into Katugumur, Redbad and I were distracted as WayCharles (another TSL pilot) called out to us:

"OriasV is aggressed and hitting me outside Kat station."

"He'll probably dock but worth a try for giggles eh Flash?" Redbad's maelstrom was already aligning towards the station.

"What the hell, why not?" Mentally, I wandered how quickly we could get OriasV down to hull before he managed to dock up. A quick scan revealed that our lone myrmidon was still in space, towards the V cluster. He will wait. No one else was visible though there was a second pilot from the same alliance in the local communication channel. No doubt cloaked.

"Fire in the hole!" Yelled Redbad as his maelstrom unleashed a mighty strike towards OriasV's drake. The drake was rocked back, it's shields shimmering.

"He's de-aggressed already," said WayCharles.

"Then we better hurry," replied Redbad, his ship pausing to reload ammunition.

"Flashfresh engaging." My auto canons spun up and emp ammunitions screamed out towards the Drake. His shields were gone. Then the drake docked.


"Another second and we would have had him." Complained WayCharles. Redbad was already aligning his maelstrom towards the V cluster.

"Myrmidon is still here. Let's go." His maelstrom's engines flared up and then he was gone. I quickly aligned my hurricane, the frame groaning as it fought against the artificial gravity well of the station.

"Flashfresh en route."

"Hurry, myrmidon is still there. I need you to tackle Flash. Redbad engaging."

"Incoming in three seconds." My webber and disruptor snapped on and sank their teeth into the lonely myrmidon. "Flashfresh engaging. Myrmidon pointed and webbed."

"Roger. Let's see if this is a trap." Surely it was and within seconds, my overview had a second flashing target.

"Red, arazu 14km. This myrmidon is tanked. Will take a while to break it. Arazu is primary."

WayCharles having docked up and changed ships joined. "WayCharles incoming in manticore. Will engage Arazu." Was half-hoping to see Way in his scorpion-class battleship but a manticore will do.

I sent my ecm drones towards the Arazu as the myrmidon was relying on it's drones for attack. Redbad was holding steady and the arazu was quickly destroyed.

"Local just jumped. We have incoming." Intelligence reports from a previous engagement was a bit sketchy but we were expecting these guys to be bringing some more dps. Then there were three flashes close to the myrmidon and we were facing an armageddon-class battleship, a munnin-class HAC and a deimos-class HAC. The fight had turned and their trap was sprung. We had a maelstrom, a manticore and a hurricane facing this group. There was also an ares-interceptor with us (piloted by Serenator) but in terms of DPS it wasn't enough. We weren't expecting any more help either. My gui flashed red as I was being warp scrambled. I maintained fire on the myrmidon but it's shields would not shift. I could not shield repair Redbad either as I had foolishly moved to far away from his maelstrom, chasing the myrmidon too far into the belt.

"Redbad to all ships: Break. Break. Break."

The order to disengage rang through our fleet channel, decision made WayCharles whipped his manticore out, while the ares hit it's micro warp drive. I was warp scrambled but turned on the micro warp drive and powered my way out of warp disruptor range.

Redbad stayed behind covering the retreat, trading fearsome broadsides with the armageddon, the deimos and the munnin. The maelstrom, as a solo ships is deadly but it still needs some support and we didn't have enough.

Should we have stayed and tried to fight our way out? Sometimes, split decisions are made and need to be acted upon immediately and in hindsight, if we had time - we could have chosen differently. I was too far from the main part of the fight due to the pursuit of the myrmidon but the deimos should have been made primary after the arazu was knocked out.

Redbad was brave and stayed put until his maelstorm was shot to pieces underneath him. He saved his pod.

Concord killmail:

2008.03.06 23:37

Victim: Redbad
Alliance: None
Corp: Tempered Steel Legion
Destroyed: Maelstrom
System: Katugumur
Security: 0.2
Damage Taken: 59027

Involved parties:

Name: Eos Vagaldi
Security: -1.4
Alliance: Roids'Are'Us
Corp: Pandora Requiem
Ship: Deimos
Weapon: Deimos
Damage Done: 20286

Name: Tonkaar
Security: 4.4
Alliance: Roids'Are'Us
Corp: Smoke and Fly Academy
Ship: Armageddon
Weapon: Armageddon
Damage Done: 17667

Name: Al KholiK
Security: 4.6
Alliance: None
Corp: Confrerie des ombres
Ship: Myrmidon
Weapon: Valkyrie II
Damage Done: 12072

Name: Minok F (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.8
Alliance: Roids'Are'Us
Corp: Pandora Requiem
Ship: Muninn
Weapon: 720mm Howitzer Artillery II
Damage Done: 7454

Name: Ra Khaii
Security: 1.5
Alliance: Roids'Are'Us
Corp: Pandora Requiem
Ship: Unknown
Weapon: Hammerhead II
Damage Done: 1548

Destroyed items:

Republic Fleet EMP L, Qty: 98
Cap Booster 800
Cap Booster 800
Dual 650mm 'Scout' Repeating Artillery I
Dual 650mm 'Scout' Repeating Artillery I
Dual 650mm 'Scout' Repeating Artillery I
Dual 650mm 'Scout' Repeating Artillery I
Dual 650mm 'Scout' Repeating Artillery I
Dual 650mm 'Scout' Repeating Artillery I
Invulnerability Field II
X-Large Shield Booster II
Gyrostabilizer II
Power Diagnostic System II
Cap Booster 800, Qty: 11 (Cargo)
Core Defence Capacitor Safeguard I
Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Core Defence Field Extender I
Warrior I, Qty: 4 (Drone Bay)
Vespa I, Qty: 3 (Drone Bay)
Warrior II (Drone Bay)

Dropped items:

Republic Fleet EMP L, Qty: 290
Dual 650mm 'Scout' Repeating Artillery I
Dual 650mm 'Scout' Repeating Artillery I
Heavy Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I
Additional Thermal Barrier Emitter I
Shield Boost Amplifier I
Invulnerability Field II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Damage Control II
Republic Fleet EMP L, Qty: 1336 (Cargo)
Hammerhead I (Drone Bay)
Vespa I (Drone Bay)

5 Mar 2008

Null-Sec Roam and How Can I Be A Pirate?


Roaming towards null-sec is a lot of fun, for me - it's the ability to engage anyone without the worry of a global criminal countdown or sentry gun fire. Wonderful! In a fast vagabond / stabber gang (with a cheetah and myrmidon in support) we zipped through into the Great Wildlands for some fun. It's something the corp doesn't do on a regular enough basis but targets are quite thin on the ground. For 75% of the journey, our gang were the only ships in local. We did manage to snag a scorpion who landed a few seconds after we did. A tackle was made and the scorpion went down very quickly, before he could even resolve his own target locks. We scrambled the pod and attempted a ransom on the pilot. The pilot did not respond to our ransom attempts and he was subsequently podded. Our roaming gang caused a massive amount of damage in a short amount of time too.

SnakeBoy was ahead of us and due to GUI glitch his ship froze up just as a potentially hostile cyclone-class battlecruiser came in towards his position on gate. In a few seconds, Snake managed to blurt out that he was being targeted. We all jumped in and discovered that Snake was at 45% hull and had just managed to regain enough control to warp out. The cyclone, seeing our gate fire, immediately warped out as well.

We had no desire to chase this guy around in the system as we suspected he would be brining in reinforcements so we pushed on and homeward. The remainder of the journey resulted in no more kills.

How can I be a pirate?

Okay, had a fair people send me evemails and / or fire off conversations with me and a fair few ask me variations of the following questions: how do I become a pirate - it's not a career path that I can find!

Piracy in New Eden is a way of playing. It isn't something that you suddenly get assigned to or a class you assume or skills you need to pick up before you become a pirate. In New Eden, you become a pirate simply by getting into your ship and heading into space and then shooting someone. Or ransoming them. Or stealing their cargo. It's up to you but be aware of the consequences.

Pirates are criminals though not all criminals are pirates.

Pirates Yarr a lot.


4 Mar 2008


Mixed gangs are fun but they also have problems! We were not ready and lost a few ships to a well-prepared gang of anti-pies.


Never again.

2 Mar 2008

Losing a hurricane and fooked up station geometry

I hate station fighting

"We have a hostile raven outside Gusandall station. We have a hostile raven outside Gusandall station," wailed the automated warning.
"Flash - what's going on?" asked Viper.
"Not sure - there is a raven outside but I have intel that there's a four-BS fleet from New Justice hanging around in Ingunn, on the gultraten gate. Stand by." I had up to date intelligence reports on the whereabouts of the ship and ship-types and pilots. The raven was bait, I could feel it and I relayed this information to the other Black-Flag pilots. The four ships were sitting aligned to the Gusandall gate. Then they moved. My contact, hidden behind a cloak, beamed the information to my GUI.
"NJ ships are incoming," I said.
"Someone has engaged outside. Raven is aggressed," added RedBad. "It's Dogz. He's sprung their trap."

Great. All that was required was a bit more time. The current fleet only had Black-Flag pilots and we couldn't now risk sending an invite to Redbad and Dogz as they might need to perform an immediate redock. It was going to be a mess.
So I undocked to the mess outside. My overview had friendly ships not in the gang screwing up the view. The cane was bounced around by the odd spatial geometries of Gusandall station and after a few minutes it was obvious that no one on our side had any control. It was a free for all as Dogz and Redbad were battling away with the NJ fleet of five. Black-Flag had three ships but our FC could not assign targets without knowing who RB and Dogz were fighting. Nor could we contact them or get them into the fleet mid-fight.

In the event, I lost the cane as I had somehow bounced too far from the docking point. Dogz lost his battleship but NJ lost their dominix. It was messy, laggy and ultimately a wasted opportunity.

I hate station fighting in the fleet cane!!!

Roam and roam and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

"Flash. You're scout," said Viper Sam.
"Roger that, setting course," as I hit the auto-pilot. Being a scout is fun but you need to have wits about you. Also, one needs to be to the point on description so that the FC can quickly make decisions. We were going to Skarkon for a roam and I raced ahead, two jumps ahead of the main fleet. Nothing much until we arrived in Bogelek were the fleet engaged and killed an Absolution on the gate. As scout, I stayed two systems away and could only listen. I couldn't join in and abandon my role. Bah.

The main fun was on the way back.

In Gultraten, I spotted a Ka-Tet gate camp hovering around the Arnstur gate. I was about 12km from them, the gate having deposited my hurricane in the only area that the gate camp could not cover. Staying cloaked I visually scanned them.
"Fleet. Hostiles on the arnstur gate in Gultratren. Do not jump into Gultraten. I have two megathrons, two Rokhs, one apoc and one drake."
"Roger that Flash, can you give me pilot names?" asked Viper Sam. I hit the micro warp drive as I powered away from the gate, the hurricane shuddering slightly as the missiles and rail gun fire splattered off my shields. The camp had locked and fired on me as soon as they could.
"Roger that. Am taking minimal hostile fire. Is the fleet ready to engage the camp?"
"I think so. Another ten seconds or so. We're not all here, Muelac is en route."
"Excellent. Linking pilot names."

Rapidly dwindling behind, I soon lost visual contact of the gate and decided to slowe down the hurricane. I wanted to be far enough away that no one could see me on their overview but close enough to the gate that I can jump instantly. So I didn't warp out to a safe spot that was over 24 AU away. I wanted to be in the thick of the action. My laziness was to prove a fatal mistake as I started to link in the names of the pilots with their ships and ignored the blinking proximity light on the battle GUI. Unknown to me, the gate camp had pulled in a thorax and it was burning it's way towards me. Closing the distance towards it's target and me looming ever larger.

As soon as the last pilot was linked, I looked up and was horrified to see drones around me. I was warp scrambled and it took me a few seconds to realise why. By this time, it was too late as I was also webbed and the the battleship gate camp was on my once more.

I died very quickly, cursing my own stupidity.

Relaying this information to the assembling fleet was my priority.

"Flashfresh is down. Flashfresh is down. Fleet do not jump. The camp is now off the gate."

Ignoring the questions, mainly through embarassment, I relayed the latest information.
"Fleet hold. Fleet hold on gate." I whipped the pod out and was determined to salvage something. One by one the battleships went back to the gate. I was about 100km from the gate and was making sure I would not get caught out.

"One of the megathron is back at the gate. It's jumping. I repeat it's jumping."
"Roger that Flash. Fleet: primary is apoc. Jam the megathrons. Let's get to work," said Viper now with the fleet assembled.

The Ka-Tet camp jumped into Gultratren and engaged the Black-Flag gang.

Ka-Tet Fleet comprised of:


Black-Flag comprised of:

Maelstrom (TSL)
Rokh (TSL)
Scorpion (TSL)

Details recorded here.

Black-Flag (and friends) utterly destroyed the Ka-Tet fleet for the loss of WayCharles Scorpion and the sentry guns had a lot to do with it too. There was a TSL gang member in the Rokh who was too excited and inexperienced and was giving a running commentary initially but Muelac and Viper put a stop to that instantly. On Ops only the FC and Scout should be talking unless there is some major bit of intel.

I was in my pod watching and listening. Feeling helpless and very impotent.

I got a kill!

"Flash is in charge now. See you all," said Viper Sam - satisfied with the night's roam. Being FC is a bit of a nightmare if the fleet mates are not used to flying in a gang. Even worse if you have no team voice communications too. However, the group we had was majority Black-Flag so I had no worries.
"There's a drake and scorpion here in Eifer," said Snake Boy.
"Do you have their location?" I asked, sitting up from my chair and finger poised over the 'red alert' button to scramble my crew and ship.
"Negative. Dropping probes. Stand by." Glancing at the fleet chat, I could see Jubes, Muelac and WayCharles.
"I want that scorpion. Pilots: Status please."
"Jubes here. Cane and ready on gate."
"WayCharles. Arbitrator. In Eifer."
"Muelac. Cane and docked up in Gusandall."
"Flash. Cane and docked up in Gusandall." Not a bad fleet to chase after a hostile scorpion and his drake friend.
"Jubes - get into Eifer and get ready for the tackle. Muelac and I will undock and wait at the gate. Snake, update please."
"Still scanning Flash. I had a weak signal return for the scorpion but it was gone when I arrived."
"Roger that. Keep at it. Fleet, move into position please." Muelac and I both undocked at the same time and slid the hurricanes out. There was some slight bumping as the arrow-shaped battle cruiser squeezed out of the small exit point of the station.
"I have a hit on the drake. Still scanning for the scorpion."
"Snake. Warp towards the drake. Jubes and Way, get ready."
"Affirmative." Chorused the pilots. "Muelac, ready?"
"Sure thing," replied my corp mate - I could picture him slouched to one side, relaxed looking but deadly like a rattlesnake and ready to pounce. The seconds ticked down as I imagined Snake moving his covert-ops towards his mark. We didn't have to wait long.
"Contact. Contact. Contact. Drake 30km from me. Approaching."
"Snake - provide a warp in point for Jubes when you are 20km from the drake. Jubes - get ready to warp to Snake. Snake, once you have provided a warp in point for Jubes, keep moving. Way and Mue, warp to Jubes when he has a point. We need to be quick and I hope it brings in the scorpion." I reloaded for EMP based ammunition.
"Warp to me now Jubes."
"On my way." I grinned and it would be a mere few more seconds before me and Mue and Way would be called in. "Get Ready."
"Drake pointed. Warp to me. He's going down." I activated the warp gate and aligned as quickly as possible. Jubes had a fearsome reputation for dishing out damage and there was a good chance that the drake would be a mere pile of sputtering wreckage by the time we arrived.
"Hurry guys - he's shields are almost gone!" Whooped Jubes, this took him only five odd seconds. A fine example of fearsome damage dealing right there. Arriving, I 'pre-activated' my weapons as the tactical computer started it's lock cycle. The drake was already on fire and I managed to squeeze off a total of three rounds before it was destroyed. Amazingly, I was on the kill mail.

So I did get a drake kill. Thanks to SnakeBoy for the great call in. What a night!

Finally, Ka-Tet pilot came into our home system and was killed. Yarrr!