Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I Guess They Were French

As the gate bubble around my ship dissolves, I punch in the coordinates that will send my ship through the warp to the assistance of my CEO, Ozkar, and I shudder into maximum warp. As I decelerate into the asteroid belt, my sensors sweep about and tell me who I’m sharing it with. The first thing I see is floating wreckage, and a moment of frustration passes through me, but then I see Oz and his Jaguar sitting calmly right beside the blasted shell of a Hulk class mining Barge. We scoop what loot we can together, and as we warp to a safe spot to wait out his criminal flag, I ask him what exactly happened, and why he didn’t wait. He explained that moments after he engaged the Hulk, a squadron of Fighter craft from a nearby allied carrier had appeared from warp, so he had finished the hulk quickly and prepared to flee. However, once the Hulk they were protecting was dead, they didn’t seem interested in revenge, and simply left. But that wasn’t the strangest thing about the fight. It appears that the Hulk pilot had fitted powerful warp stabilizers on his craft, preventing Oz’s propulsion jamming from operation, but the pilot still did not warp out and died in his ship.

As we sit in the safespot, laughing about this, I notice the local comms channel demanding attention. I check, and see the pilot we just attacked and his friends saying some very rude things in local, but in Gallentean, I suppose in the hopes that we wouldn’t know what they were saying. Luckily for us, I speak fluent Gallentean after my year as a refugee on one of their planets, and translate for my CEO.

As we banter back and forth, my long range scanners start picking up a small signature nearby, and my technician quickly resolves it down to a Caldari Hawk-class Assault Frigate, probably flown by one of the pilots we just offended with our attack. Oz and I take a moment to confer, and we decide that I will hunt this ship in the asteroid belts and lock it down so that Oz’s much more powerful Jaguar can come and kill it. I engage my warp drives, and fly to the third belt, where I saw the Hawk last, but when I exit warp he is nowhere to be found. As I begin scanning down each belt in turn, I load the powerful but extremely short range EMP ammunition into my guns. It may not have the extended reach of the rocket assisted multi-warhead Barrage rounds I usually load, but the devastating lightening bolt of energy it releases upon impact will cut through the Caldari’s foolish preference towards shields like nothing else.

Finally, I get a solid sensor reading at a belt, and my warp drive hurtles me to his location. I exit the warp no more than 3 klicks from the other ship, and targeting systems stab out from both craft. As my computer feeds me the clean tone of a good lock, the brackets about my enemy suddenly flash from yellow to red, indicating that not only has he locked me as well, he has also aggressed me in the eyes of Concord. Both of our combat systems activate, and I punch in an orbit at five hundred metres from him. For the first few seconds he seems faster than my Rifter, which is very strange, but once I activate my advanced afterburner systems, my ship gains substantial advantage and I leap to once again close the range between us. Once settled into a comfortable orbit, I signal to my backup, and engage my autocannons. I don’t expect to be able to break through his powerful defensive systems by myself, because if there is one thing the Caldari know how to do, it is build shields for their ships, and for it’s size, the Hawk will have some of the most powerful. To my surprise, however, the blinding blue flashes of artificial lightening created by my shells are stabbing deep into him, and a glance at my deep sensor readout, showing his probable defensive integrity, reveals that my guns are rapidly peeling layer upon layer of his defences away with ease.

As I notice this, however, my CEO’s craft bursts from the warp onto the scene. I send him a message asking to wait, because I want to see how much of this my little craft is capable of on its own. By the time I’m finished with my comms, there is a crackle of energy from the other ship and the rest of his shield relays and projectors evaporate into space, overheated by the strain of sustaining power while my guns shattered them. I think to myself that perhaps this is some strange experimental Hawk with heavy armour plating, but the armour seems to fall just as fast as his shield, if not faster. Before the enemy craft falls completely, I tell Oz to fire a shot into his structure to so that concord will include him on the mail. After all, we are a team. Very quickly it is all over, and the Hawk, under the fury of two sets of powerful cannons explodes into a ball of nuclear light, causing my view screen to darken momentarily.

We warp away together back to our safe spot, and look at the kill mail sent by Concord, and a shock awaits us. The Hawk had been fitted with incredibly expensive modules made by the Angels and Serpentis corporation, worth something over one hundred million isk in total. We immediately leap back towards the belt where we got the kill, and the wreck is still there. Wonderfully, when we examine it, we find that half of the equipment was not destroyed in the blast, and we scoop it up. And who says crime doesn’t pay?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Close, But No Cigar

My ship burst from warp to the asteroid belt, and a quick glance at my sensor readout showed that the other Rifter was still there, only 5 klicks from my own. Immediately, the microwave lasers of my targeting systems stab out and painted my target with the glow of an active sensor lock, enabling my tracking computer to guide my guns to their target. I kick my combat modules into activation and as blue waves of energy fly from my craft to interfere with his drives, my own engines scream into the red with the force of my advanced afterburners. I settle into a comfortable 4 klick orbit around my opponent, far enough out that his earlier-model weaponry has difficulty reaching my ship. The whirring of my Autocannons cycling into life is almost impossible to hear over the roar of my drives, but the thunder of their battle cry cuts through all other lesser sounds.

My Rifter, the Baying of the Hounds, will have little trouble with this lesser foe. His shielding has already evaporated under the fury of my ACs, and I bite deep into his unresisting armour. His own firepower is barely managing to land a few paltry scores into the tungsten plates surrounding my craft, but what little harm they do is mitigated by the roiling green nanobot soup flowing from reservoirs and knitting new plating atop the damage. Just as the nuclear fire of my own weaponry begins to cut through his plating and stab into the bulkheads and systems of his ship, I see a new foe on my scan. It is a Rupture class Cruiser, one of the most deadly cruisers I would ever have the misfortune of facing. Worse, it is piloted by a Capsuleer of the same corporation as my first target. The Rupture is still 40 klicks from the fight, and I am certain that I can dispatch my first target before it comes within range of the electronic warfare systems necessary to catch and hold my craft.

I cross my fingers within the bubbling green goo of my pod, and as my heart thunders in my chest, the thunder of my cannons continues to shred my enemy. I find my self counting down the range to Actylla’s Rupture. If it gets within 24km, the of the advanced warp disruptors his ship probably fits, it is all over for my craft. Though my original enemy poses little threat to me, my capacitor is already sorely taxed from running full combat systems for the duration of this fight, and the nearly full flight of Warrior II drones The Cruiser has already released from his ship can easily rip my ship into vapour and floating shrapnel. As my count reaches 25km, the pounding of my heart seems to drown out everything else. A warhead launched from my 150mm Autocannons finds a gap in the other Rifter’s already melted and torn armour, flying true into the centre of his warp drive. The resulting detonation turns his ship into nothing but an expanding cloud of gasses.

Just as the Rupture’s drones speed out to make mincemeat of me, I lurch towards the course already set into my navigation computers, my warp drive shrieking as I exit to freedom. I breathe out, realizing I had been holding my breath, and allow myself a smile of satisfaction. Next time perhaps Actylla will remember to align his ship to his bait instead of the celestial body it is located at. However, this time the day is mine.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Eve + Flu = Dead Ships

Hey there gentle readers! Or what is left of you after my taking a week's holiday after only 2 posts. Heh. Heh. Anyway. Today, I have a bit of wisdom for you, gathered from my day's eveings. Mainly, I fly Rifters, and though I tend to have a rather suicidal aggression in my piloting practices, I've gotten relatively good at getting my ships out of sticky situations. When I first started piloting, I would lose a ship more or less every time I took one into combat. Nowadays, I'd reduce that to about 1 in four or less depending on the day. I've even gotten good, or lucky, at escaping from situations which really should kill me without a bit of effort, as you will all see in a relatively minor instance in my next actual post (Yes Raxip fans, I do in fact have one on the burner as I type this, but it needs a little more work). Anyway, today has seen a massive exception to the growing trend. Today I have lost three Rifters, gotten no kills, and gotten in fact into no fights. That's right, one from gate sentries, and two from concordokken, one of which was when I jumped into a 0.6 system with a GCC. Go ahead, laugh. I dare you. Jerks. The lesson to be learned from this is never play EvE with a fever so high you can't stand up without black spots encroaching on your vision and the room gently twisting counter-clockwise. Yes, I should've just stayed in bed.