It was a puzzle why things were always dragged kicking and screaming. No one ever seemed to want to, for example, lead them gently by the hand.
- -- (Terry Pratchett, The Truth)
It's been very quiet, too quiet. Gusandall and Eifer, normally a buzz with traffic is silent, so much so that the locals spent a lot of time drinking and chatting down the local.
I did a few roams far and wide in the Rifter but there was nothing around worthy of a fight. My friend in her Cheetah also did a few trips looking for potential violence. All for nought.
There was a brief glimmer of some hot action as a mixed fleet of battlecruiser and cruiser hulls entered Eifer but by the time we got a mixed fleet of blood thirsty Pirates together they had bugged back to highsec, apparently the sight of so many flashing red ships on the overview of their scout was enough to send the fleet packing. Amusing thing is they all hail from a corp that claims to be "Anti Pirate"
I had been doing some paperwork when news of an undefended POS in a neighbouring system appeared to interest the locals, shortly after a mixed fleet went to cause some damage, we were that bored. After an hour or so the small POS was put into reinforced, I lost 5 million ISK on a bet whether the POS had Strontium :(
It had a three hour timer and we went back home till the appropriate time came around.
Thanks to DeathStar for the loaner of a Cap stable Apocolypse for the POS Shot.
Whilst shooting the POS, Mandaro and myself were chatting about frigates, he really rates his Punisher, and while talking setups and crunching numbers he suggested a 1v1, now, you know me, I would so be up for that.
Once our Global Criminal Countdowns were up we made ready for the fight. Now I'll admit right now I cheated, well, not really cheated but knowing frigates inside out and knowing full well that Mandaro runs a version of the infamous Bleeder Punisher and that he would be using Barrage ammo, I had already won the fight. I was already at a safespot when Mandaro warped in, a few others came to watch the fight and there was some betting on the outcome, those who have known me for a long time favouring me heavily. A countdown was given in the fleet channel and it was on.
My afterburner flares into life, launching my Rifter forward, the first few seconds were key. I got in close, 1000 metres between us and settled into a tight orbit, my web and scram active, afterburner keeping my momentum going. Guns and Rockets spilled forth. Mandaro had locked and opened fire, but the larger calibre guns and high-tech Barrage ammo struggled to track my Rifter in such a tight orbit and this allowed me to chew through the absolute epic tank of Mandaro's Punisher. And it was epic, 6,141 points of damage when he finally popped.
A good fight, if a little one sided, he never broke through my shields. I'm sure a rematch is in the works and he'll be better prepared next time.
A lot of Frigate combat comes down to knowing every variable of a given engagement, what potential damage and tank a target has, what kinds of ammo to use, what kinds of ammo your opponent is likely to use, engagement ranges, transverse and tracking and being able to dictate range. Being able to adjust on the fly as it were to any changes is also key. All this I have learnt over years of flying frigates and is not something easily taught. Basically you have to go out and learn through trial and error, learn from mistakes and expand on success.
There was a little action on the gates as a lone Dominix jumped into Gusandall and was quickly dispatched and his pod ransomed, he took it all very well, followed almost two hours later by a lone Drake who managed to make it all the way to Gusandall before returning home via Clone Vat Express™.
As the time ticked down to when the POS came out of reinforced, Keira had moved an Armageddon battleship down for me for the shot, half an hour to go and RedBad came in and asked why we were shooting his POS... Holy shit, you have got to be kidding me :D
Lucky for him and for us he came in when he did.
Anyway, there was much laughter amongst us, however I was aching to shoot something and without the POS to unleash hellish lasers upon I was kind of down. Luckily there was news of a Maelstrom in Ingunn, a very old pod pilot in a very big ship. Scouts were tracking his movements as a small fleet moved into place to engage on the Gusandall side.
Serenetor jumped his Megathron in to push the Maelstrom into us, which went exactly to plan. It was very suspicious that such an experienced pilot would be solo on a gate and the Admiral Akbar senses were tingling, if it were a trap we were going to spring it regardless, we were itchy for a fight.
Maelstrom jumped in and broke gate cloak trying to align out but was very quickly tackled and webbed. Lasers spat hot death at the Maelstrom and the famous shield tank of the massive Minmatar ship was non existent, his armour melted and so did his structure even as Serenetor tried to get back to join in the merriment. I hastily shut the mega Pulse lasers of my Abaddon down but one last salvo and the Maelstrom was no more.
Sorry Seren, I just don't know the power of this Abby yet :P
The stricken pilots pod was tackled and ransom offered, no response and when he logged his critical systems all that was left was to pop the egg.
The fit is curious to say the least, not something you expect from a pilot who has been in the same corp for over 5 years.
Too damn quiet, I need more action but was fun to fly with the Mean crew again, always a good laugh on voice comms.
In other news I have been approached on more than one occasion to be a mentor to hopeful Pirates, while extremely flattering I always tend to decline, due to time and mostly due to me being rather selfish with the knowledge I have acquired over the years. This is not to say I'm not open to questions via evemail or convo but I do prefer to keep to myself and if I do fly with others, it is people I know and trust.
My lecture for the Black Rabbits Academy fell through, mostly my fault due to my extended absence and it's a real shame, not sure what kind of learning I could have provided though. Apologies to everyone who was involved with the project.
I'm also in the process of acquiring a rather special item, more for nostalgia and the novelty of it than anything else but if I get it y'all will be the first to know.