26 Feb 2010

Stealth bomber roams are fun for sure and lately, we've discovered that most of the action is within a few jumps of our home system. We organised a stealth bomber based roam with a bait brutix up ahead to draw fire and attract targets. Persephone had the honour of this most magnificient role. I also made her secondary FC after me as being ahead, she would be ideal to call targets. She was also desperate to lose the brutix. I have no idea why as I think it is a brutal looking ship and quite effective too.

The rest of the fleet was made up as follows:

(and a couple of others that I forgot to include)

Quite effective though lacking in the probing department. No matter, Persephone raced ahead and the rest of the fleet started to assembling. Persephone's voice crackled through:

"Drake is tracking me. Moving to planet 1. Let's see if he follows. I am in Akkio."

The rest of the fleet aligned and jumped towards Persephone's system - we were two jumps out when Persephone called point. Excited we all jumped in and warped to Persephone. Other hostile ships were also warping in as well including a dominix, curse, armageddon and a few others. It was at this time that something odd happened. Space travel is always a funny business, one is stretching the rules of known physics to destruction in most cases and sometimes, just sometimes, the universe fights back. Our jump towards Persephone was characterised by mashed up sensors, non-jumps or a jump journey that lasted for an age. Some of the ships landed close to Persephone but their sensors (as well as their eyes) could not see her or the enemy ships or indeed the planet she was orbiting. Others, like myself, find themselves in a very long warp only to rubber-band back to our original position. Very odd and needless to say, not one of us could get in and help Persephone and her Brutix was duly dismantled. Only one other fleet member landed near Persephone, could see some (not all) of the enemy ships and fired one salvo.

A most disappointing initial engagement but we bounced back and soon found ourselves in Null-sec chasing the local residents. Being all cloaky and hidden no doubt freaked them out and most docked up either in their outpost or POS. Some were complaining that they wanted to 'reclaim their local' and that we had to leave immediately.

We did pop a heavily laden hound caught in a number of bubbles that were anchored around the Paala / LXQ2-T gate - it was carrying about 40million+ of items so a valuable score for us. Nashh grabbed most of the loot and scooted to a nearby station. Kalius also popped a raptor buzzing us, he was in his trade-mark rifter and one always puts your money on Kal Prime. The fleet had cohesion, discipline and a big degree of fun and despite the low harvest, we all returned home grinning. I had to then pass the FC baton to Kalius and Co. and they continued killing and ransoming people until the wee hours.

I had to get the current loot sales sorted - we are close to hitting 2B in items sold so am going to bank the money and get ready to split the proceeds amongst the pirates. We do need to paid after all.

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.

22 Feb 2010

Get the pilgrim!

Fun night last night; some Amarr Faction Warfare pilots came to Evati to capture some military bunkers as part of the endless chess game they were having with the Minmatar. There were three such installations, two were of the smaller type with narrower acceleration gates. The third one was unrestricted in terms of what ship types could enter. To maximise our chances, we switched down to destroyers and frigates in order to get through them all. Viginti and Zem drew the short straw and found themselves in the larger installation.

So we waited.

Piracy is like this - some people don't 'get our brand of piracy'. It isn't all bright explosions and good fights as much as I would like it to be. Many times, it is down right boring - sitting and waiting and hunting for people who simply didn't want to be found. Roaming for ages with nothing to bring down. Feast or famine and usually more of the latter. However, we were in for some fun when Zem and Vig both called out that a punisher had landed and they had pointed it. Now, there were many destroyers of various classes spotted in and around Evati. It is probably the best type of ship for the smaller bunkers and installations.

So we had the punisher but there would be more and with a yell, Viginti announced that a pilgrim class vessel had decloaked as well. It began to spit out warrior IIs. Both Vig and Zem knew that they could only hold on.

Wikkid and myself both undocked, in a drake and hurricane respectively. We also had some ECM back-up and another vessel pulled in from a secondary spot three jumps away. We were busy in multiple areas but when a target was sighted, we all vectored in.

The pilgrim destroyed Zem's coercer - his ship bursting into pieces under the fire of the deadly drones.

"Zem is down. Zem is down." Announced Zemledock as he whipped his capsule out of harm's way. Vig was next, he kept the point on the pilgrim but the punisher, now free bolted as well. Wikkid and I landed at the silent acceleration gate - we sent the correct entry codes and the gate cycled up and activated.

We jumped through into the complex and promptly pointed the pilgrim. Not panicking, the pilgrim pilot slapped his eneryg neutralisers onto Wikkid's drake and tried to burn away. However, this drake wasn't the typical shield heavy version but sported a pair of stasis webifiers, bulging from the two pods on either side of the drake's wing. It held the pilgrim fast and once my ECM drones and neutraliser was on it. The fate of the pilgrim was sealed.

I asked Viginti, who had gotten out in time, his hull on fire from the angry attention of the pilgrim's warrior drones, initiated a conversation with the brave pilgrim pilot. We asked for 120million isk for the release of his ship. We followed the conversation with interest but the pilgrim pilot decided against it and offered his ship up to our destruction.

Viginti had come back now and he had the task of trying to capture the capsule as we pummelled the pilgrim into a burning wreck. The capsule got away but it was a decent haul. Wikked had started to salvage the wreck almost immediately. We're to leave nothing behind and it is a good motto.

A while later, Jabbajools had managed to spot a thorax and this time, Viginti and Avid were thrown in to tackle - however, Avid was too eager and jumped to JJ too soon and landed too far from the thorax who fancied his chances against Avid's catalyst. Chuckling, Vig followed to assist Avid while Jabba flew in with his rook.

A rook and two destroyers versus a single thorax should have been a foregone conclusion but the thorax pilot, through skillful use of his ECM drones, broke through the trap and escaped. It was very well done and made it clear that we were impressed.

We also killed a missioning drake (yes, mission runners can still be found in low-sec) as well as a handful of other ship types. Some loot, plenty of banter and we also got to see a new recruit impress us with his skills and attitude. A good night and I didn't even plan anything.

17 Feb 2010

Stealth Bomber roams and more fun

Busy couple of weeks - stealth bomber roams around low-sec proved to me just how deadly and fun these ships are. A medium sized gang of us went looking for trouble and found a flashing dominix gate camping. We de-cloaked and unleashed torpedoes. I grinned wolfishly as the torps made their way over, almost serenely, towards the dominix. A wave of our ordnance slammed into the enemy vessel and within seconds it had blossomed into an expanding ball of flame and scrap metal.

We lost JManza to the dominix's sniping tempest friend and z0de, in a rare moment of idiocy, got caught out by the sentry guns. He lost his nice, expensive arazu but was man enough to admit his mistake. Going to be running more of these types of roams, minus the silly losses.

In some un-related news - my recent EVE Blog banter was deemed good enough to win a 14-Day GTC but I was surprised it was even considered as the quality of the other entrants was (in my view) so high.

4 Feb 2010

Ops and Big Ass Ops and..are the Goons dead?

My first op of 2010 started horribly with us eager Bastards rushing in to kill an obvious bait-drake in belt 3-1; we had kiting cruisers and we're doing ok but then local crept up and up and up and oops.

I should have called an abort there and then but was eager for a kill and eventually we lost my rapier (sob), theHermit's falcon and Mr Frog's Arazu. Yes, the most expensive ships in the fleet. I have no idea who the enemy fleet was but I am definitely seeing more traffic around Evati. Could be due to Pandemic Legion relocating into Geminate maybe?

Last night it was better; much better. I had a fleet of 14, eager blood thirsty pirates. Banter was great on vent (and in fleet chat) and we were all in battle cruisers - shield tanked with gank. We took a dive into null-sec through Paala into the drone regions and out to Skarkon and scored a couple of kills. Most of it was dancing with the locals but it was good to be out and about. We had some new recruits with us too so we had to be on our best behaviour (;-).

Am organising more ops, each week and I can't wait.

Of course, there's more: z0de has been planning something big and heavy and I am privvy to this operation but need to keep quiet (operational security and all that) but by merely mentioning I have already broken the rules; but what the hell!

Yes, late to mention it - but it looks like Goons are dead.

2 Feb 2010

Operations Tonight and Beyond...

OK - can't wait for tonight's op; had to trawl through a lot of mail and blogs to keep up to date but am looking forward to tonight. There's a most interesting project currently being mastermind by z0de; I have given my blessing to it and I hope it works out! It should be fun and I am going to be looking to buy more stuff in Rens.

Speaking of which, I checked my trade alt in RENS and we've sold about 1.32B isk of loot but it is holding steady at this amount. There's still lots of mid-range valued loot to be sold, most of the T2 stuff has gone and the faction items (all sub 50M isk) are trickling through. The new year has seen a decrease in the roams and hence in the loot collected. However, no matter.

Our ransoms are healthy but it's a slow start to 2010; am sure it will pick up quite quickly.

I had my directors meeting of 2010 where I and my directors (minus z0de due to his RL exams) - had a very productive 2 hour meeting where we discussed and decided a number of things. Will use the core of our discussions to form the framework for a more comprehensive corp AGM planned for later this month. There's been a few pirates who have left us, which is a shame but such is the cycle of life in New Eden. Our recruitment queue is holding at a dozen or so but we're having problems pulling this number down as our recruitment officers are finding it hard to juggle their time commitments. All I can say to our potential recruits is that we're sorry - we are trying and be patient. Our thread is here.

I have also noticed that our fellow pirate corps are also recruitment heavily too, so plenty to choose from to all you blood thirsty, ransom loving pilots. Trust me, low-sec piracy is a decision you shouldn't regret. Give it a go.

Ok - recruitment speil over!

Like most pod pilots, I am keeping up to date with the drama and issues in the south of New Eden. The Goons appear to have folded at the first hurdle and IT alliance has steamed into Delve and now more or less own it, along side Fountain which they took from Sons of Tangra and Pandemic Legion. Interestingly, PL are relocating some of their assets and pilots to Geminate; so only a few jumps from us. Should be interesting for smaller corporations in 2010. Am sure we'll adjust and there will be plenty of opportunities for us for ransoms and loot. Not too bothered about good fights; am not a knight after all though I am honest and will keep my word; assuming that I will give it.

Back to work but itching to log back in. That hurricane class battle cruiser is winking at me.....