Monday, January 28, 2008

Ships aplenty

In the past days i switched from frigate to frigate of the various factions in empire. Currently the crew was accustomized to the gallente layout of the consoles and computers. Now we were sitting in a Rifter, proud of the Matari people. If you can be proud of some piece of junk held by duct tape that is.

Anyway. The recent experiences showed some flaws in my tactics. I was eager to iron out these flaws. Firing up the active scanner my weapons officer informed me nearly instantly about a firing solution for a frigate located at planet VII. The engines roared to warp drive inside the ships hull protesting against their mounts. Soon our frigate sped out of the warp tunnel and engaged the other frigate. It happens that it was a Rifter class too. As we closed the distance the weapons officer opened up fire while the navigation officer plotted a course to orbit our prey. Soon our EMP rounds tore big chunks out of his armor, destroying his shield in nearly two salvos.

EMP: A new technology, this highly advanced ammunition emits a focused EM pulse. Very potent against shields.

During this operation i scanned the vicinity again and realized that in an asteroid belt near our current position a small Breacher class frigate was cruising around.

The Breacher's structure is little more than a fragile scrapheap, but the ship's missile launcher hardpoints and superior sensors have placed it among the most valued Minmatar frigates when it comes to long range combat.

As the hull of our target disintegrated into the vacuum of the cold space and debris, cargo and hapless crew members were frozen instantly i ordered course to the the next target. Very soon our Rifter once again sprang out of the warp tunnel and right next to the Breacher frigate. The pilot didn't expect to be attacked and it seemed that no action was taken on his part to sped away. Again i ordered the attack and soon enough the Breachers hull was broken. Once again my crew cheered. MattCalladan, who is another pirate in the region, turned up. We flew some hunts together and managed to kill two more frigates out there. Good job Matt.

Exhausted but upbeat i ordered the course to set home.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fools Gold

During my ventures with another (t)rusty Rifter me and my crew went to belt hunting. We were searching for another Rifter in the system of Eifer. Eifer is a very busy solar system where lots of asteroid belts ready to mine wait for some of the miners and wannabes out there. Eifer is also a low-sec system where a lot of fresh and aspiring captains from high sec-corporations are directed to.

The chase was on. My crew and me got excited as we realized that an assault frigate joined the chase. A Jaguar class assault frigate to be precise.

(The Jaguar is a versatile ship capable of reaching speeds unmatched by any other assault-class vessel. While comparatively weak on the defensive front it sports great flexibility, allowing pilots considerable latitude in configuring their loadouts for whatever circumstances they find themselves in. Being the brain-child of the nomadic Thukkers, it is no surprise the Jaguar is as fast as it is. Initially conceived as a way for the tribe to pack some added punch to their organized detachments, they've found it to be equally useful as messenger, scout and escort, and it is likely to become one of the most commonly-seen ships in the Thukkers' stomping grounds.)

The Rifter would be eaten to breakfast by this assault frigate. But i might be able to join the party when the Jaguar and my prey would mess with each other. A gamble, but one i would take bets on nonetheless.

For more than half an hour we were chasing each other from asteroid belts to safe scan spots in the system and back to near misses in the belts. Then the dies were cast. We headed to a belt where the scan system informed the weapon officer that both ships were in. Trusting the computer we planned the course and i ordered to enter warp velocity. Midway into warp the results from the scan system looked not so fun anymore. The Jaguar was alone in the belts. And just as for confirmation the warp tunnel caved in and the monitors showed to us an assault frigate in just 5.000m range. I ordered the ship to immediately enter warp to a near celestial object but alas it was too late. Our warp drive was scrambled and we could not leave the system. In no time our shield and armor were shredded to nothingness and once again i found myself in my rescue pod.

Red colored stars began drifting into my brain when i plotted the course back to yet another ship and another crew in my hangar.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dull period

In every life there is a time of dullness, utter boredom or simply said, there is nothing to do. That was the way with my life for 5 days. I roamed the low-sec systems of Metropolis, Heimatar and Molden Heath only to discover that there were no ships which me and my crew in our trusty Merlin could attack with any chance of winning. Not even a small chance.

Low-sec systems see the same phenomenon as the ruthless 0.0 systems. The ship get bigger and bigger, deadlier and more heavily tanked. No chance for a lonely frigate to attack battlecruisers, command ships or battleships.

During this dull period there formed some thoughts of wolfpack and skirmish warfare. I stored theses ideas for later use when i have formed my own corporation. Yes ... no more working for a corporation except it is mine, no more working for the monsters.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Upping the bar

Back in my clone vat i was still dreaming. Then the monster in me took control again. I hired and press ganged new crew members to replace the recently lost ones. Once again i contacted some guys within the Caldari Provisions Corporation. Some war veterans are more than happy to deal in a shady way and get their pensions up.

(Caldari Provisions is one of the companies that were created by war veterans of the Gallente-Caldari War. Specializing in the distribution of supply and logistics, Caldari Provisions have carved themselves a nice little niche within the Caldari State and are looking towards expanding their operation in other empires.)

Once in the cockpit again and with a more or less eager crew to handle things i set the course to one of the most notorious low-sec system of the Heimatar region - Amamake. Home of some of the most ruthless and even barbarous pirates of New Eden.

(From the New Eden solar system, where the gate of EVE once led to the old world, humans expanded in all directions at a furious pace, exploring and colonizing rapidly.)

The Pator Tech School in Amamake was camped by some pirates whose ships furiously blinked in red on my system overview. Red blinking ships always mean that they can be killed without remorse. My brain analyzed the situation not so fast as the fire control computer and it reported a danger advice in the severe lethality category. The ships were heavily tanked battlecruisers and battleships i knew from the fleet tactics course at the State War University. I ordered a new course, deeper into the not so traveled outer systems.
  • Battlecruisers (BC): A class of powerful combat vessels midway between cruisers and battleships.
  • Battleships (BC): The foundations of any respectable fighting force.
In the system of Damalin the scanner presented the signature of two pirate outposts and of 2 cruiser classed Scythe ships.

(The Scythe-class cruiser is the oldest Minmatar ship still in use. It has seen many battles and is an integrated part in Minmatar tales and heritage. Recent firmware upgrades "borrowed" from the Caldari have vastly increased the efficiency of its mining output).

So the pilots were probably mining in one of the Asteroid belts. Asteroid belts contain some very valuable ores which can be unearthed and mined by the use of special modulated lasers. These lasers are unable to hurt the shield or armor of a ship though. Checking the personal files i got from a contact within Concord i saw that they have been fairly new to this region and unexperienced pilots in addition. Once again i gave the signal to ready the battle stations. The ships were not in the same belt so i thought them easy prey by taking them out singly.

The engines screamed as the Merlin class frigate came out of warp drive only to be spurred upon the cruiser with flaring exhaust trails of the Afterburner engines. Within fractions of a second the laser control center got a solution on the Scythe and all weapons were fired upon it. Diving into a tight orbit around the prey we could see the shields flare brightly upon the onblast of energy. Then whole chunks of armor were blasted and melted away as my electron blasters and rockets tore the shield down.

The aproximity alarm went off. Looking on the overview i saw the second scythe cruiser arriving into the belt. My vision went red and i ordered a retreat to a deep space safe spot. That bar was too high for our Merlin and I didnt want to loose another ship and crew, even a miserable crew like this. We left a burning scythe shot into structure and a slowly advancing cruiser to rescue some survivors.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Blood spilled into the eye

When the system star of Gulmorogod was occluded by the stiffeners from the plexicupola the approximity alarm went off. Releasing my daydream i stiffened shortly and opened up the scanner. Once the modules warmed up i saw my target. A Rifter, was on scan near an Asteroid Belt, probably battling the local bandits.

(The Rifter is a very powerful combat frigate and can easily tackle the best frigates out there. It has gone through many radical design phases since its inauguration during the Minmatar Rebellion. The Rifter has a wide variety of offensive capabilities, making it an unpredictable and deadly adversary)

I informed the crew of the hit and they lept eagerly to their battle stations. Once the "all hands ready" signal came back from the compartments i sent the Merlin frigate "Reaver" into the warp.

(The Merlin is the most powerful all-out combat frigate of the Caldari. It is highly valued for its versatility in using both missiles and turrets, while its defenses are exceptionally strong for a Caldari vessel.)

Once our ship left the warp tunnel i saw the Rifter broadsiding against some bandit wrecks, the pilot eager to pilfer the remaining valuables. Once in range the merlin spat forth deadly hybrid charges from the electron blasters. In combination with the dual rocket launcher the shield melted quickly under this onblast. But the Rifter is a arguably the best combat frigate of the Minmatar people. And his speed and tank easily protected it from my weapons. The scrambler sucked my capacitor and the engine room officer informed me that the Afterburner would soon switch off. To top this all the enemy Rifter dug deep into our shields and managed to burn into our structure. The ship was soon out of control and the crew ran to the emergency capsules. With a loud bang my own capsule undocked just in time to see the Merlins hull breached. Oxygen, scrap metal, whole modules and crew members were sucked into the cold nothingness, called space.

My capsule propelled me back to a station. And i went back to daydreaming while blood spilled into my left eye.

A new dawn

I was enlisted to the Caldari State War Academy* and in my last exams when i finally went berserk. I knew it was all around, lingering in my head, cowering at every corner that lay in the dark of my mind. I dodged this feeling for a good year. But now it was too much. The creatures attacked me from everywhere. Leutnant Charled Heizer stood no chance against the Skye Laser i wielded with Deadly Efficiency.

(*The State War Academy was founded shortly after the Caldari State came into being while the war with the Gallente Federation was still in full swing. Due to this, the academy has always had a very combat oriented slant, as opposed to the broader scope of ship handling).

They took me from my quarters. Many fanged monsters standing guard over me. During the transport to the periphery systems our convoy was attacked by Amarrian religious fanatics. The ship was boarded and me and some other hapless prisoners, waiting for the mines, were welcomed in slavery and "reeducation". But the new monsters were ambushed by a group of pirates. And there i embraced the way of piracy. No more monsters that can harm me. I can be the monster.