Saturday 31 May 2008

Apparently I Succ

Mal: "Well this is one of the crazier things I've heard today and when I tell you about the rest of my day, you'll appreciate..."

I had big things planned for last night but it kinda fell through so it was down to the usual suspects, flashfresh in his Republic Fleet Firetail and me in my Succubus. The evening started off slowly until flash reported tracking a ratting Stabber in a belt, he had laid down the tackle and I was enroute with a few other residents of a shared intel channel. Once we arrived the Stabber didn't stand much of a chance but .

Space does strange things to peoples minds

Reports filtered in of a POS being set up in an adjacent system with a Chimaera carrier for support. There was a Brutix and Prophecy with the carrier and we hastily tried to setup an ambush before the shields went up but were slightly too slow. The two battlecruisers however made a fatal mistake, they thought it was safe enough to start ratting in the system and the time had come for us to see what they were made of. They were tracked to a belt and the order to jump in and engage was given, however as we burst out of warp they warped out, we started to track them and warped to different belts but strangely enough they went back to the original belt. So off we went, warping into the belt, flash assigning tackle targets and primary, Brutix was it. It went down very quickly and focus shifted to the Prophecy, a Blackbird from the same corp had warped in at 50 clicks and as soon as the Prophecy had disintegrated all speed was made towards him but he warped out just as the Carrier warped into the belt. We didn't have the firepower to engage the Chimaera so it was left to look at the empty wrecks of his corpmates.
A strange engagement and even stranger fittings.

I Succ

Later on Waycharles had jumped into a Succubus too and we heard of a Typhoon ratting nearby, we made our way to the system, 4 frigates, a Phobos and a Cerberus. Once in position it looked like a Brutix and Thorax had the same idea, they were engaging the Typhoon in the belt. We all jumped in, the Typhoon primary but the Brutix and Thorax warped out as soon as we entered the fray. The Typhoon's tank was very impressive and our gang weren't making much impact, I had to warp out a few times as the Phoon's cruise missiles were tearing massive chunks out of my shields. I must give credit where credit is due, Maximus Vash did a good job of chasing us off and somehow we lost tackle and he warped off. The smack in local however after was rather pathetic though, especially from the Brutix and Thorax pilot from the safety of he station. Apparently our "Blob" of four frigates and HAC and HIC was too much for them.
Rest assured though Vash, I will continue to kill your corp mates, I'm 11-0 against you lot and it's only going to get tougher for your corp, you have some Pirates annoyed.

Welp, here I am

In Eifer I was tracking a Rupture and Rifter duo, I warped in on the Rupture and engaged, his Rifter friend warped in and I switched focus on the fast tackler, it popped very quickly. I pulsed my MWD to reassess and determine engagement distance when I lost tackle on the Rupture and it warped out. I then offered a 1v1 against him, me in my Succubus. He agreed and set up gang so I could warp to a safespot of his choosing. It was a good fight but I lost the Succubus. I warped my escape pod out and exchanged "good fight" in local.

I really like the Succubus, a fun little ship and packs a punch, I'll definitely be getting another but will fly it slightly smarter. It was getting late/early, 0700 and I was starting to see weird things, so I docked up and headed straight for my bunk, I fell into it and the warm embrace of sleep welcomed me.

Thursday 29 May 2008

A little violence to cheer me up

Jayne: "See, Vera? Dress yourself up you get taken out somewhere fun."

The Sleipnir: when you absolutely, positively have to kill every motherfucker in the belt... accept no substitues

I had been seething a bit over a Hurricane loss earlier in the evening to a Navy Megathron when WayCharles asked in a shared Intel channel if anyone was up for a kill. Now I don't mind losing ships as long as I can make someone pay, the loss of Bad Karma™ wasn't a hit to my wallet but to my pride and the best way to rebuild it is to make some poor folk regret their decision to come to Eifer.

Way had scanned down a Typhoon class battleship in a belt which was accompanied by a Raven battleship, I sprinted to my Sleipnir class command battlecruiser as we would need all the DPS we could get and nothing says "I'm going to ruin your day" quite like the Sleipnir. The Fifth Elephant™ undocked into the Gusandall night and slid into warp towards Eifer, Way was going in and I was making best speed to join him. I jumped in as Way tackled the Typhoon, I warped to his position and in the seconds it took me to get there we decided that I would try and get a point on the Raven as it was too far from Way. I burst out of Warp, targeted both Battleships, my guns spun up and started to rain down on the Typhoon as I closed the distance to the Raven, a flash lit the belt as another ship entered the fray, a Sleipnir. Game on... I targeted the Sleipnir as it was closest to me and got a point on, the Typhoon exploded in a blinding flash and WayCharles started to close in on my position "Point the Raven" I calmly said, the even calmer reply of "Done" making it seem as if this was just a stroll in the park. The Sleipnir was primary and his shield systems buckled under the ferocious assault of my Sleipnir's 425s and WayCharles' Sacrilege's missiles, it succumbed in a violent flash and our attention turned to the Raven.
That poor Raven, the pilot having an emergency pants moment as the two Pirate ships focused their full attention on him. The Raven pilot joined his friends in their escape pods and they left the system with their tails between their legs.

All that was left was to loot and some friends turned up in salvagers. The fight was so violent and short that they didn't even have time to get combat ships and join the party.

This was not only a good fight but a clean, methodical annihilation of a superior force. Myself and Way grinning like mad in our ships as we headed back to Gus, I desperately needed a cigarette.

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Alone in the dark

Mal: "Which one do you figured tracked us?"

Zoe: "The ugly one, sir."

Mal: (beat) "Could you be more specific?"

It cuts through the night sky, elegant in its invisibility, sophisticated scanning and probing systems it's key weapon and in this respect it is deadly, the scanner sweeping the system. A target is narrowed down to a 15 degree arc, probe is launched and the aching wait starts, the seconds tick by, the probe finishes it's first cycle and finds nothing... damn it... second sweep is under way, 21 nerve shattering seconds, cycle ends and again the target is not amongst the results, just the usual space junk of haulers & shuttles. Third cycle starts, nerves are on edge... it's as if everybody is holding their breathe. Cycle ends and the results show a drone, a single drone in the entire system, the scanner is narrowed down and tuned to show drones, the target has drones deployed and the probe result is amongst them. The invisible ship initiates warp to the position of the probe hit. A Sleipnir undocks from the station and waits for the invisible ship to report back that she's in position. Deep in the system at a safespot outside of scan range a Claymore Command ship uncloaks and activates its Skirmish Warfare links. The word is given and the Sleipnir slips into warp, the seconds ticking by like a glacier on an age old journey to the sea. It feels as if time is standing still as the Sleipnir bursts out of warp and sees an acceleration gate, which is activated as soon as the Command ships systems return to normal space.
Tackling modules are primed and set to overload in case the target is not where it's expected to be and the extra range is needed. The gate launches the Sleipnir into a deadspace complex where MWDs are useless but the pilot is smart enough to fit an Afterburner, he's done this before.
A flash of light greets the Raven calmly killing Amarr faction ships inside the plex, the Sleipnir a mere 17km from it and closing rapidly a warp disruptor reaches out and touches the Raven, it's own drones streaming out towards the Sleipnir. The night sky is lit up as Autocannons and Cruise missile launchers bridge the gap between the two ships, the EMP rounds of the Sleipnir tearing massive holes in the strong shield systems of the Raven and soon its armour is being ripped to shreds. In an instant a bright flash eclipses everything in the system, the Raven explodes in a violent spasm and the system falls silent as the escape pod warps out. The Sleipnir pilot is grinning and acknowledges his two accomplices as he warps back to the station

Deep in the system the Claymore cloaks.

The Cheetah covert operations frigate is a marvel of Minmatar engineering, favouring electronics and sneakiness to the traditional speed and in your face approach of so many of our ships. The Cheetah is a key component in many of my hunts, specifically for fat, juicy Mission running battleships. Keira used to be my go to girl for this but recently she has taken to flying her Claymore and it's difficult to get her out of it. So it was with much trouble I recruited someone to replace her and oh boy what a pilot, way more probing skills than Keira and without the holier than thou attitude that makes her seem like a bitch at times. The new Cheetah pilot is however a private contractor and has chosen to remain anonymous but has become a vital part of our little team.

I'm a solo Pirate but the machinations behind the scenes make it less lonely in the dark and at times very, very rewarding.

A devil is born

Unveiled another new ship tonight for it's first trial run and it surprised me. The Daredevil Guardian Angel frigate. It has a split weapons system like so many faction frigates, favouring Hybrid Blasters and Rocket Launchers for a close range brawler. I undocked it as there appeared to be a few Rifter pilots in system and they would make good test subjects. I missed two of them as I had a warp scrambler fitted with less range than the disruptor and they both managed to warpout before I got into range but I spotted another Rifter warp into a belt as I was leaving, he was hunting me so I warped to a belt and waited. Soon enough he warped in and I closed to within range, scram and web active. He returned tackle and the fight was on, Daredevil vs Rifter and it was a close fight with me in deep armour when he finally popped, I had overloaded my weapons to squeeze out every last bit of DPS and was relieved to see the Rifter explode. The escape pod warped out near instantly so was unable to add to "The Morgue"

But a successful test nonetheless.

I docked up and dropped the loot in the corp hangar and made myself a cup of Earl Grey, lit a cigarette and put some music on, time to relax. I have a busy weekend planned, it's my Birthday on Sunday and I plan on much carnage.

Monday 26 May 2008

Murder and Mayhem

Jayne: "Testing, testing. Captain, can you hear me?"
Mal: "I'm standing right here."
Jayne: "You're coming through good and loud."
Mal: " 'Cause I'm standing right here."

Been a quiet few days for me, been busy sorting out inventories, supplies and liquidating stagnating assets. Keira's been busy making sure the loot from the past few months has been moved to Rens and sold. All in all the wallet is healthy and so are we.

Undock... Pop, Pop... Redock

Sometimes targets come too easy, especially when they sit right outside the station. Thursday evening was one of those times. I had just walked into the hangar when reports of two Hurricanes sitting outside Gus station came in. The various Pirates who call Gusandall home all raced to their ships. The Undock lane became very crowded in a very short time. To us there is no such thing as overkill, only a kill, it's all that matters. The two Hurricane pilots came face to face with two Vagabonds and three Hurricanes. The fight was short and wholly unremarkable. Two dead Hurricanes, one of their pilots podded for good measure.

Plexing my muscles

Sunday night I was nursing a slight hangover, had a great night on Saturday, had slightly too much Jack but I tried to shake the cobwebs out and undocked my Jaguar to see if anyone was trying to run the 2/10 plex. I had spotted a regular plex runner in the local comms net and more or less knew I would have a target. He normally flies a Rifter and was very suprised to find a Crow class interceptor on my scanner. I warped to the ancient stargate, waited and as expected he warped in. Now a curious thing about deadspace gates is you can't set distance to your warpin, you just warp right on top of it. My web and scram primed, waiting, lock resolves my guns spin into action and the Crow vaporizes in front of me. His pod follows suit.

I later caught some strangely fitted ships in a Rifter with a laser, salvager, miner and autocannon sporting a armor/shield/hull tank and a mining Thrasher, the pilot seemingly asleep at the helm.

Where's the Party

Hanging out in Gusandall tonight I saw the Crow pilot from previous enter system again, I undocked and warped directly to the plex gate, he was 30km off it as he had moved away with afterburner as soon as he landed, would be tricky as he had range and could easily dictate it. I engaged nonetheless and tried to close but he was too nimble for me to intercept his orbit. I had taken too much damage and warped out, he followed suit and left system shortly after. I tried to bait him but he has learnt his lesson and won't warp into me again.

There were various reports of targets in the area with a small gang giving chase, one particular bunch caught our eye, a Hurricane, Zealot, Caracal and Myrmidon were running a mission in a system next door to Gus. I tasked a friend with probing them out as the gang got ready, four of us from four different corps, my good friend flashfresh our FC. Our dual Hurricane, Cerberus and Vagabond gang was strong enough to take them on and we were keen as always.

My covops friend had located them nearing the end of their mission and a warp in was hastily setup, our primary target being the Zealot. Order was given to jump in and warp the covops but as local spiked the targets started to warp out, the telltale trails of warp as I burst onto the scene, only the Caracal left and it became the primary instantly. The rest of our gang landed and the Caracal became a memory. A bit disappointing really but things were about to get better as the Zealot warped back in, right on top of me. All four Pirates almost giggling as the unfortunate Zealot pilot had his Heavy Assault Cruiser demolished, he was fortunate enough to get his escape pod out but the job was done, the Hurricane and Myrmidon pilot leaving the system as soon as they could. We waited out our GCC and went back home, the party over.

Succ this

I would also unveil a new toy this evening, a Succubus Sansha faction frigate, a friend had reported tackling a Hawk in a belt next door in Eifer. His Crow unable to break its tank so he asked in a shared intel channel if anyone wanted to help kill it and I naturally said yes as it's what I do. I undocked from Gusandall and headed over to Eifer, jumped in and set warp to his position in the belt. I burst out of warp and my overview resolved to show the Hawk 60 clicks from my position. I hit the deadspace MWD I have fitted and closed to within range of my tech 2 medium pulse lasers, I closed very quickly, in an instant I was on top of him and the DPS that the Succubus can pump out overwhelmed the Hawk. My friend in his crow easily holding range and tackle making sure he didn't go anywhere but straight back to the cloning vat, his pod vaporised instantly by the Succubus as it was ejected from the exploding Hawk. I grabbed the corpse for "The Morgue" and warped to a safespot to wait out my GCC, I left the loot for my friend in his Crow as he did all the work for the kill.

I docked up for the night, I'm planning something special for next weekend and hopefully some old friends will be joining me for some fun. I sat down on my bunk, reading local comm chatter and checking out some setups.

I light a cigarette and inhale deeply.

This is what I do... This what I do

Thursday 22 May 2008

Rolling in Delve

Jayne: "Do you know what the chain of command is here? It's the chain I go get and beat you with to show you who's in command."

In the vastness of space it's easy to forget your roots, there's always new adventures and with them the adrenaline fueled, heart stopping encounters that become legend, if only in your own mind.

Delve, a fortress, controlled by the mighty Band of Brothers, our mortal enemy. The war against the Ascendant Frontier taking its toll on the residents of Feythabolis, the combat pilots struggling against the rip tide of the BoB war machine.

Fleet operations to the average pilot is some of the most tedious fights imaginable. Hours of planning, setting up, waiting, waiting for a few minutes of heart attack inducing action. For some this is the Pinnacle of combat in the EVE universe, being able to follow commands, align in the right direction and press the buttons when told to at the target that was called by someone else.
For the pilots of Ars Caelestis this was a frustrating way to get anything done, the ASCN FCs more liable to get us killed than to get us to kill anything, we were more used to small gang combat and guerilla warfare.

We were out of our depth in Feyth, no capitals and very few tech 2 snipers. We were however very good at fast moving hit and run gangs, something we did frequently whilst in Huzzah, raiding Firmius Ixion space. We were most comfortable flying together and always looking for fun and excitement. With this in mind we were tasked with running raids into Delve.

Now all this was at a time before the updated navigation systems were introduced so no "Warp to Zero". Instead we had a system known as "Instas". These were pilot created bookmarks in space that would enable you to warp close to a gate. I had thousands of "Instas" programmed into my navigation computer however no pilot in Ars Caelestis had any for Delve so it was back to the old school for our operations: small, agile and fast ships would be used, MWDs the first module fitted.

We were based just outside of Blood Raider controlled Delve, we would strike from lowsec and retreat once the op was over. Our first op was a suicide hit & run mission to get a feel for the area and gauge the response time of the locals. There were eight of us in assorted frigates and cruisers and as was so often the case I was volunteered to scout, something I enjoyed quite a lot and probably what sowed the seeds of my solo career. I was in a vanilla tech 1 Rifter (MWD, web, point, nano, overdrive, small armour repper, 150mm autocannons and a rocket launcher), It was after all a suicide mission so no point in spashing the isk with named or tech 2 fittings. With no Instas I would warp to a gate at 15km and burn the rest of the way with my MWD so speed was essential and is why the Rifter was fit that way.

Delve was empty, our first few jumps a barren wasteland. I had started to move two jumps ahead as the FC asked and it wasn't long before I saw the first sign of life, there was another pilot in System but my onboard scanner revealed nothing. I was hammering the scan button like a monkey on Crash bashing a drum, the rest of the gang making all speed to catch up. I was waiting just off the gate when my scanner revealed the hostile ship, a Cheetah, uncloaked and heading my way.

My overview lit up as the Minmatar covert ops frigate burst out of warp 15 clicks away from me. My heart rate accelerated, my voice over comms "Hostile Covops on gate, engaging" I initiated target lock and closed the distance, lock resolved and tackling gear jumps into action. Webbed and scrammed, the Cheetah was going nowhere... NOWHERE! Strangely enough, the Cheetah locked me and agressed, the rest of the gang had jumped in and initiated warp to my position. My orbit around the stricken covops a mere 500m, my guns and rocket launcher raining sweet death, the Cheetah exploding in a beautiful flash just as the first of my support burst out of warp, my targeting systems resolving the lock on the escape pod, scrambled. The delightful squish it made as it popped still a sound I love to this day. A glance at the killmail showing that the precious Covert Ops Cloak had been destroyed, at the time they cost approx. 80million ISK but that didn't matter in the slightest to me, I was grinning like a madman as I had just gotten my first solo kill and I was stoked.

We proceeded on our way, going as far as NOL when we decided to call it a day, it was getting late and targets we could engage were very rare. We had however stirred the hornets nest and a response gang started to give chase. I had become seperated from the rest of the gang and was trapped in a system, hostiles waiting for me on the gate out. I was creating and bouncing safespots until the hostile gang decided to chase the rest of my gang who had taken the quickest and most direct route out of Delve. I was however stuck with hostiles in front and behind me but there was another way out of Delve which was three times as long but it was one I took, the scenic route.

I docked up in our forward operations HQ, exhausted and in desperate need of a cigarette. Our suicide operation was a complete failure as we didn't lose a single ship, we only had the one kill to show for our trouble too but it was one of the greatest nights of my life.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

The fall of Ars Caelestis

Harrow: "You didn't have to wound the man."

Mal: "Yeah, I know, it was just funny."

Time for some history. A while back I spoke of Ars ex Discordia [ARSED] and said I would one day explain how it came to be, so sitting here in my hangar I try and recall to the best of my memory the events that led to the fall of Ars Caelestis and the rise of Ars ex Discordia

You have to know where you are from to know where you are going.

Ars Caelestis was formed by pod pilots affiliated to Ars Technica , a Science and Technology website which I have been a member of for a very long time, seven years in fact and its gaming offshoot Arsclan. The majority of the members come from the two forums and so it was with me, I was introduced to Eve by two pilots of Ars Caelestis while chatting on the Ars IRC server one evening and have been playing ever since.

I joined Ars Caelestis when they were part of Huzzah Federation, I said goodbye to my friends in Ex Coelis, another Ars affiliated corp, sold all the assets that wouldn't fit into my Rifter and headed for Agil, where I would be meeting up for a corp op. The op was shrouded in secrecy but once everyone was there the first Ars Caelestis freighter was unveiled, a Charon and I was to be part of the escort down to Catch and my new home in V2-VC2. It was during this op that Ars' reputation for diplomatic incidents started to grow, a pilot blue to Huzzah but due to some misunderstanding not blue to us was bumping our freighter and the FC ordered us to lock but not fire, to which the pilot took exception and threw his toys out the cot to alliance leadership.

A lot of hubris later things calmed down but our CEO, Achilles Thorongmir was not best liked by the rest of Huzzah leadership and his abrasive manner rubbed people the wrong way but the rest of the corp tolerated it as he was ours and we always defend our own. Ars Caelestis had merged with the Organised Combat Consortium, another Huzzah corp and together put forward a candidate to take over leadership of Huzzah to try and fill the vacancy left by the departure of Hans Roaming to MC. Our candidate lost the vote and things were not kosher. A decision was made to leave Huzzah and during this time a rift was formed between us and the OCC pilots as it was revealed that they planned to pull out. Achilles flew off the handle and booted most of them, locking them out of the V2 station. The information passed down to us was one of betrayal and we stood firm behind Achilles. Huzzah were informed of our intentions to leave in a period of two weeks and within a week Catch was invaded by Against All Authorities. Huzzah didn't have the capitals to fight a POS war and our allies were hesitant to throw capitals in against the overwhelming force against us.

Ars pilots flew in combat gangs right up until our notice expired a week later, retreating to Agil to decide our future, Huzzah was kicked from Catch a short time later, not able to fight against the odds. From Agil we would run combat gangs up and down the pipe and camp HED-GP and during this time Achilles approached CYVOK of Ascendent Frontier for standings as we enjoyed flying with their pilots in the pipe and would prefer not to be shot at but shoot with. CYVOK came back with a counter offer of a place in ASCN to which the majority of pilots agreed, it was a good opportunity.

We moved en masse down to Feythabolis and set up our HQ in PMV, we were paired with a Capital corp in Darkstar1 and set about entrenching ourselves. Life was good, plenty of good ratting, the miners and builders got together for ops to supply the corp with ships and mods once more. Things were looking up, we did combat ops on regular occasion and were present for the unveiling of the Universe's first player owned Titan. We would run combat escort for freighters and even locking down systems for outpost deployments. Things were on the up and up for us, we were even in the process of deploying our own outpost when all hell broke loose and ASCN space was invaded by the mighty Band of Brothers. ASCN, as big as it was, was just not capable of fighting the well oiled BoB war machine, the alliance was bloated with carebears and the few combat corps like Ars tried desperately to hold back the tide, even to the point where we ran ops deep in Delve to try and disrupt logistics and ease the pressure on Feyth by opening another front in the war.

I had become very frustrated with the alliance at this time, trying to get ammo for my combat ships was getting very expensive as the T2 producers of the alliance were inflating prices, during a time of fucking war they were ripping their own alliance off. The ASCN empire was crumbling, CYVOK's Titan was destroyed and the carebear corps were fleeing to empire, the alliance leadership in disarray. Slowly the combat corps gave up, Darkstar1 had left overnight leaving just us in PMV, AZN had fallen and things were looking bleak. Eventually the decision was made to leave, pack up shop and evacuate what we could.

A freighter was loaded with what we could and an evacuation op from hostile territory was planned. We were approached by XirtamVOTF of Imperium Alliance, asking if we'd like to join and seeing as we had few options available we agreed. Xirt surprised and impressed us by organising an evacuation escort who flew all the way from their base in Great Wildlands to help us. The evacuation was tense and we were chased by BoB who eventually gave up when they learnt of reinforcements in the shape of Goonswarm coming down the route.

We eventually set up in E02 as part of Imperium Alliance which would soon become the reborn Curse Alliance under Xirt. Ars continued to grow as a corp, rebuilding from the ashes of ASCN which had taken a toll on us. The corp was near depleted financially from the war against BoB, our BPOs still stuck in PMV and the pilots fatigued from near constant war. We would rebuild with myself and others donating BPOs and ISK to the corp, doing what we could to get back on our feet. During this time we would still go out on combat ops, even aiding in the Lotka Voltera Titan abortion in JV1V.

Things took a turn for the worse when our CEO Achilles went totally batshit insane. I went to bed the previous evening drained from a combat op, I awoke the next day and all hell had broken loose. Achilles had taken exception to comments made to him in a leadership meeting to tone down his rhetoric on the Ars forums, he accused everyone of betraying him and kicked every member from the corp, we had 24 hours to get what we could, he had emptied the corp wallet, the hangars and our entire BPO collection along with the Maelstrom and Hurricane BPOs I had donated. He had taken the corp capitals and proceeded to laugh and antagonise us in corp chat. Achilles had made the biggest mistake of his life. He was kill on sight to the rest of the alliance and we were out to get him. One of our pilots popped his Rapier in his Vexor and people were clone jumping everywhere we had an office to try and rescue what we could, one of our enterprising industrial pilots even managing to eject ships from a POS whilst ramming his ship into the shields, wapa is a fucking hero. Curse Alliance helped us where they could but we were in dire straits, no ISK, no BPOs and no corp. A small shred of light shone as we were informed that Achilles was scammed out of a corp dread and a carrier with an auction scam.

Tessa Vaako had taken the reins and posted on eve-o about the betrayal and theft here
Achilles delusions of grandeur went further into the ludicrous with this thread on eve-o

Within 24 hours the exiled pilots of Ars Caelestis had reformed under a new banner, Ars ex Discordia was born from the ashes of Achilles betrayal. Contrary to what Achilles believed, a corp is not the leader, but the pilots who fly under its banner. Ars ex Discordia was better, stronger and with a new vision.

While trying to rebuild from this latest setback, Xirt had RL issues which stopped him from logging in and Curse Alliance started to fracture, Infinitus Odium and Black Omega Security had already left the alliance and soon ARSED would join the exodus. Our pilots financially depleted needed something but weren't prepared to go back to empire so it was off to the Free Trade Alliance, a project set up by Goonswarm for tenants to the recently acquired Lotka Voltera space where corps could join and use the space for ratting and mining along with defence. ARSED pilots started to rebuild even joining in Goonswarm combat ops where we could. Our battle hardened veterans earning a reputation which would eventually lead to an invitation to join Goonswarm.

ARSED has gone from strength to strength under the Goonswarm flag and continue to fight against old enemies like BoB and helping to kill Shrike's Titan. The corp has capital strength and a firm industrial backbone with dedicated pilots and I salute my old corpmates, you guys have done an epic job.

Alliance life was not for me however, so I left a corp I love to do my own thing, become a Pirate.
I left 0.0 after a year of fighting and struggling to become a better pilot. 0.0 doesn't allow for much individuality, you're just a very small cog in a very big machine. You're a number, a statistic, the only time your name is mentioned in a fight is when the opposing FC calls you primary or secondary. I didn't just want to follow the FC and punch some keys, I wanted to actually fly my ship, fight my way, pick my own targets, pick my own fate and solo Piracy in lowsec was the salvation I had been seeking, it has allowed me to become a much better pilot. I wanted recognition for my abilities, not to be "Oh, you're from X corp/alliance"

I would love to fly with my friends in Ars ex Discordia again, but I doubt it will ever happen, the political landscape, lag, blobs, caps and anonymity of 0.0 is just not for me.

Something wicked this way comes

Factional Warfare is upon us and with it I foresee more targets entering lowsec to be preyed upon by Pirates. While I'm not actually participating as I can't enter highsec I eagerly await to see what becomes of it and hopefully it takes off.

Monday 19 May 2008

A frig in time

Mal: "Well they tell you: never hit a man with a closed fist. But it is, on occasion, hilarious."

Yvaine Bellatrix > if only goons and Kane could be friends, then together they could rule the galaxy as father and goon :P

That damn Raven got away, came out of warp over 50 clicks away. The Vexor however was closer and I engaged. Lock, disrupt, guns and drones. The Vexor melts under fire from my Sleipnir as the Raven warps out to safety.

Mission busting is something I really enjoy and is a team effort. Normally Keira would be doing the probing but she has taken her Command role in her stride, flying a Claymore commandship with skirmish gang and mindlink, giving me more speed and greater tackling range, something which aids in Piracy and helps me lock down targets. We have a new Covops pilot in our little team, not in NovaKane proper but an affiliated corp, her skills far outstrip Keira's and she is able to pinpoint targets with greater accuracy and in shorter time. Her name for now will remain a secret as she doesn't want to be named in this blog and also as not to tip off any potential targets.

The loot from the Vexor was poor but Keira warped into the mission plex and finished off the last rat, which dropped a +4 intelligence implant, very surprising and something which will turn a tidy profit in Rens. I cursed the Raven getting away but I can't kill everything.

Earlier than the Raven/Vexor mission jack I did catch a Kestrel running the 2/10 plex, warped in on him in the third room as he was finishing up, not yet able to scoop the loot from the overseers station, a full set of Gistii B-type mods mine for the taking.

Snake Boy > Kane doesn't look, he already KNOWS

I awoke today with a slight headache, something which I experience frequently and have learned to live with. I take a handful of painkillers with some Quafe and take a look around the hangar, a Dramiel Angel faction frigate catches my eye, it's sleek lines paint a beautiful silhouette in the low light of the hangar, it's not the best frigate I have ever flown but it sure is the best looking so I get setup in my pod and plug in. I always enjoy undocking, the unnatural light of stations giving way to the majesty of space, lit by a single star, the light shimmering off the angles of the Dramiel, I hit warp towards Eifer, time for some random violence.

Eifer is a violent system, it borders on high security Empire and has no station, lots of asteroid belts and is home to a bunch of crazy pirates who live next door, it's the first stop for many of the Evannater residents on any hunt and can be very profitable. Sometimes profit takes a back seat though and violence ensues for the sake of violence, exactly what I was here for. One other Pirate in system was flying a Vagabond heavy assault cruiser, a marvel of Minmatar engineering, very fast and very, very dangerous. This particular Pirate didn't worry me as he's a friend, one of the many I've made in my time. We exchanged greetings in a private Intel channel and kept to ourselves, both out for the pleasure of a solo hunt.

I spotted a Rifter below me in a belt from my scan safe and warped in 30 clicks above him, reason being I didn't want to warp into web range, a place where the fragile Dramiel would be very vulnerable as it relies on speed to minimise any and all damage. Exiting warp I saw the Rifter in the belt engaging Angel Cartel frigates and I locked and warp disrupted, settled into a nice comfortable orbit and opened up with the three tech 2 missile launchers and two autocannons. The Dramiel like all other Angel faction frigates having a split weapons system and strange bonuses. My orbit was large enough to negate any fire from the Rifter with my speed keeping me ahead of his tracking, my disruptor doing its job as intended, the shields of the Rifter being peeled away. This is where the fight gets interesting, an Ishtar heavy assault cruiser uncloaked a mere 20km above the belt and engaged me, launching a flight of warrior II drones and setting them on me. I took this as my cue to MWD in a straight line away from them and keep my distance, using my speed to make sure they didn't catch me and tear me apart. The Rifter strangely didn't warp out even as the Vagabond pilot entered the fray. Muhaar's timing as always impeccable. The Ishtar pilot now had a choice, he could try and take me out or get eaten up by the two of us and he chose to cloak and get out of dodge leaving the Rifter to pay for the mistake of hanging around. The Dramiel and Vagabond slight overkill but a kill none the less.

Ten minutes later and I caught a Slasher in a belt, it melted so quickly I was lucky to check my velocity and stay in range to snag the pod. Local was getting more interesting with an Anti Pirate blob swarming in from their High Security Empire haven. I warped to a safespot and waited out my Global Criminal Countdown not wanting to give them an easy kill. Once the GCC was up and I wasn't at risk of drawing sentry fire at the stargates I went back to Gusandall to sort through the loot, all of which was poor.

Almost an hour later and I hear Keira over our internal comms net, she reports a Stabber cruiser and Catalyst destroyer possibly ratting, I boarded my Jaguar and undocked, warped to a central scan safe and proceeded to sweep the asteroid belts. The pair weren't in any of the belts and weren't near a planet so I opened up my on board probe and scanned for Cosmic Anomalies, suspecting they might be inside one of them. I warped to my first hit, lo and behold, there they were, Stabber primaried and engaged, Catalyst warps out but the Stabber is going nowhere as my warp scrambler has him pinned down, I get in close and web for good measure, making sure he doesn't run as the Stabber can achieve some amazing speeds. This cruiser however didn't last long and exploded in a blinding flash which illuminated the night sky of Gusandall, my targeting systems quick to lock the pod, warp scrambler trapping it and my guns doing the rest. Some respectable loot and a bit of hate mail made the kill worth it.

I would later destroy a Rifter trying to run the 2/10 plex and caught a Breacher at a planet after he warped out of the belt I tracked him down to, both corpses now residing in "The Morgue"

Kill of the day was a strange one indeed. There was a Crow interceptor in Gus local and he was doing his thing so I decided to play a little game I like to call Dead Interceptor. I undocked and warped to the 2/10 plex Acceleration Gate, a place where the energy given off by the gate interferes with MWDs, not something I'm too worried about as I have an afterburner fitted. I was counting on the Crow pilot not being aware of this and as is the case so many times I was right, the lure of a lone Jaguar too much for him to resist. He warped in, landing right on top of the gate, me just over 10 clicks off as I didn't want to get jumped by the other ships in system which included at least a Cerberus. The Crow however started moving towards me, locked me and aggressed, three Bloodclaw missiles slamming into my Jaguar. My lock had resolved, tackling systems overheated and waiting for him to come into range, which he did, right at me in fact. Warp scrambler active, Stasis Web active and a Crow in deep, deep trouble. The fragile nature of the Crow and the fact it uses speed to minimise damage nullified by my web and the cosmic interference from the ancient acceleration gate leading to its inevitable death. The Crow disintegrated very quickly, the pilot probably wondering why he was so stupid, a mad grin across my face as my systems lock onto his escape pod and send him home via Clone Vat Express™
One of the most satisfying kills in a long time, always good to outsmart a target, using local knowledge and that of the ships they are flying against them.
Keira was at the ready to activate her Skirmish mods on the Claymore to give me extra speed and range on the web had I needed it and I think she was kind of disappointed the Crow died so quickly and wasn't needed.

I docked up, only to be called later by flashfresh saying that the Myrmidon pilot from a week back is in Eifer and in a Hurricane, the gank was on as a few other pilots expressed interest in a kill but it all fizzled out as he entered Gusandall, warped to the station and docked. I took a few shots at him when he undocked but the docking game that is so in vogue took precedence over a fight, even with me drawing sentry fire.

I docked up for the night, my headache seemingly getting worse and a throbbing in my right hand from earlier in the day when I took some aggression out on a punching bag. I take another handful of painkillers, these slightly stronger than earlier, well, actually a lot stronger. The numb takes over my body in short time.

Monday 12 May 2008

Take me down to the POS bash

Mal: "Hey! How was your thing?"

Inara: "As advertised -- lots of needles and cold exam tables. I heard you had some excitement."

Mal: "Oh, nothin' much -- lotsa runnin' round, little gunplay...couple needles."

What a day, still feeling the after effects of last nights epic fight I was a bit groggy after a good nights sleep. I was sitting on the edge of my bunk trying to gather my senses when my local comms caught my eye, a pilot had entered system, a friend of the Wolf pilot from yesterday. I boarded Chaos™ a Jaguar class assault frigate and undocked. Allowing my systems to resolve I hit the button and it showed a Vengeance class assault frigate in the direction of the 2/10 plex, I imediately hit warp and loaded Phased Plasma faction ammo into the guns. The Phased Plasma is particularly effective against Amarr tech 2 ships.

I burst out of warp right on top of the ancient acceleration gate and was greeted by the Vengeance, I immediately initiated lock and primed my warp scrambler and web, it resolved and they kicked in, my guns spun up and started raining upon the trapped Vengeance, my rocket launcher adding the extra seasoning needed to complete this dish. The small armour tank was failing, my shields barely being scratched, I overloaded my weapons for that extra punch and the knockout came soon after, a beautiful explosion lit the Gusandall void, my tackling systems already primed and waiting for my lock to resolve on the escape pod.


...and yet another corpse gets added to "The Morgue"

I loot the wreck and dock up, a satisfied smile spreads across my face and I light a cigarette. My hangar crew busies themselves with offloading the loot and sorting through it for the Loot Hangar, ready to be moved to high security space and sold, it's getting full in there and soon Keira will make a run to Rens and turn a tidy profit, just the thing to fuel my voracious combat habit.

Huginn the edge

Later this afternoon I was contacted by a friend, Viper Sam and Black Flag had a POS coming out of reinforced mode this evening and he asked if I wanted some fun. Initial plan was to try and rep it but with Intel being gathered it appeared this would be futile, a large force was expected and another plan was formulated, by this time of course I had already purchased a Scimitar logistics ship and had my Hangar crew assemble and load it. Another time perhaps. I did however decide on the Huginn recon cruiser as I would be part of the anti support wing. Anti support was only one of the wings, we also had a battleship and ECM wing which would operate independently from us and all in all we had 12 combat ships and Keira in her Claymore sitting at a safespot.

We mustered in Aralgrund, a few jumpsout from the system where the POS was and away from our HQ as the gates into the POS system from there would most likely be camped. There was a long wait for the time to disembark and there was general chatter in comms channels but soon the time came and we all undocked into the dark.

Our Fleet consisted of 16 pilots from 5 different corps:
Huginn - Me
Claymore - Keira

The hostile fleet consisted of 16 pilots:
Surprise Rapier

It was clear to me this was a suicide op, something I didn't expect to survive and I stated in voice comms to the rest of the support wing "If you get out of this in one piece, you didn't try hard enough" It was going to be epic, 5 different alliances arrayed against us, a motley crew of pirates out to save a drugs lab.

It wasn't until we warped into the fight that we knew exactly what we were up against and it quickly became evident we were out gunned but damn it we weren't going down without a fight. Our wing commander called targets and we went to work and boy what a fight, all hell broke loose. Our targets were called, Maelstrom, Megathron, Tempest, a surprise Rapier and a Megathron. They went down one by one but we were losing ships fast, the amassed fire-power against us just too much. My Huginn went down in flames, an honourable death for an amazing ship, my escape pod instawarping to safety. Probably didn't help that the POS was bugged and fired on me, c'est la vie

After the dust had cleared and the aftermath inspected it was clear we were spanked, 11 losses and 5 kills. The POS was destroyed and a minor inconvenience for Black Flag but something they are no doubt to bounce back from

A great fight and everyone was stoked. Only pirates of this calibre could come out on the losing side and still feel good about themselves, only pirates of this calibre would go into an engagement like this without regard for personal safety.
Most of us had no stake in the POS, but everyone was up for a fight and I have to respect and admire them for it.

I returned home to Gusandall, the op over and me in desperate need of something to drink and a cigarette, should probably eat something too.

Sunday 11 May 2008

Epic 1v1

Wash: "Hey, I've been in a firefight before! Well, I was in a fire." (beat) "Actually, I was fired from a fry-cook opportunity."

This evening was one for the books, it started off slowly with me setting up a new killboard, it's going to take me some time to move all my kill and lossmails over so please be patient.
Halfway through some uploading of mails I decided to undock and go check the local 2/10 plex, only to be greeted by flashfresh who was patiently waiting for some prey to return, so I headed to a safespot and watched the local banter between a Myrmidon pilot and some of the residents of Gusandall. I went back to the plex once more to check things out and spotted a Wolf class assault frigate on my scanner when all of a sudden my overview flashed with a target entering the 2/10, it was a Rifter and was very quickly dispatched and podded without much undue fuss. My real target was the Wolf and I warped to the 1/10 and activated the ancient acceleration gate. Bursting out of warp I was greeted by the familiar visage of the Wolf, about 30 clicks away from me. I hit the afterburner and closed the distance, the Wolf locked me and I returned the favour, once within range I activated my disruptor and stasis web and opened fire. I know from flying the Wolf that it's lack of midslots leaves very little options in tackling and he wouldn't have a web but it does pack a punch, more so than my Jaguar. I'm intimately experienced in both ships and have extreme confidence in my abilities and knew from the start the outcome and so it came to pass, the Wolf's armour tank unable to cope with the sustained assault from my guns and rockets, it failed and this resulted in a shiny explosion, the pilots escape pod instawarping out before my lock could resolve.

I returned to station to offload the loot, still watching the local comms with interest, it seemed the Myrmidon pilot was after a 1v1 but was being selective of who he'd fight. I offered a 1v1 against a Hurricane build I've been toying with but he left Gusandall before he could see my offer. It was however relayed to him by some other pilots and he accepted, I quickly boarded the Minmatar battlecruiser and undocked, heading for Eifer.

A gang was formed between us and once in system I warped in at 20 clicks, allowing me to dictate range to some degree. I had received Intel that his Myrmidon had a passive shield regen tank and was very tough, I loaded faction EMP rounds, locked and set myself to an easy 10km orbit, he locked me in return and the fight was on. His tank was very impressive and he launched drones, I in turn launched some ECM drones and set them on him but he recalled his flight to engage them, I recalled my drones and targeted his, trying to pop them. This was going to be a very tactical fight with drones being deployed and recalled. I was easily maintaining range as he had no web and the fight was going nowhere, I had dual NOS set on him to feed my tank, along with cap booster 800s. I overheated my guns and saw his shields dip somewhat but not fast enough and my guns came dangerously close to overheating and going offline so I had to repair them midfight. Repairing half the rack at a time seemed to take forever and it was at this time he asked me if I was cap stable stating "If you are this is pointless" but I'm a firm believer in finishing what you start, no matter the outcome. I had just run out of cap boosters and it was only the two medium NOS that were fuelling my tank, the endless dance of deploying and recalling of drones continuing. I was starting to struggle for cap, my medium armour repairer eating away at it like a fat kid at a candy shop, his cap must have also been low as the NOS had been sucking him dry but he didn't need cap for his tank. Mine started to fail, I was at zero cap trying to repair my NOS from overheating, desperately close to them going offline. My Amour hardeners turning off as my cap vanished, his shields still holding strong. I knew I had lost the fight and could have bailed at any time as he had no tackling gear on me but I don't run, not from a 1v1.

After about 25 minutes the fight ended, my Hurricane no longer able to withstand the battering it had taken, 53k damage and it exploded after having been on fire for what seemed an eternity.
An epic fight, an honourable fight and one I'll remember for a very long time.

Respect to Jax Savage, fucking epic.

I returned home, physically and mentally drained, it's very rare for a fight to go on so long and even rarer that it goes off without a hitch. I docked up and lit a cigarette, made sure to make a note for Keira to move some Hurricane hulls down to HQ for me and slumped into my bunk.
I could really do with a good nights sleep

Tuesday 6 May 2008

POS Sieges and Ambushes

Wash: "Yeah well, if she doesn't give us some extra flow from the engine room to offset the burn through, this landing is gonna get pretty interesting."

Mal: "Define interesting."

Wash: "Oh god oh god we're all gonna die?"

Mal: "This is the captain. We have a...little problem with our engine sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."

Funny how things happen, You undock, you scan down a Rifter, warp in, engage and destroy, pod for good measure and then get convoed by the pilot saying what an honour it was to get killed by you.

Last night this happened to me and I had a pleasant convo with Malekar and found out he reads my stories on a regular basis. He also reads flashfresh's blog and due to these has decided to try out the life of Piracy and move out to the Gusandall area. I'm seriously impressed that our stories can move people in such a way.

A game of Pick Up

My day was pretty slow, Keira spent most of it moving some Tech 2 mods down to Gusandall for the market, an untapped resource and something that might supply some much needed income for our operation, the suppliers being some old friends of mine from one of my previous corps. This is something I'm keen to make take off and might be contrary to what Piracy is all about but different aspects of the universe need to be explored and Pirates tend to lose ships and replacing the mods is difficult at best for a lot of them due to being outlaws and not being able to go into highsec to shop.

Whilst sorting it all out and making sure the trader set the correct prices I was contacted by flashfresh asking if I wanted to come out and play. I asked what he would like me to fly and the reply was "Bring Karma"

Boarding my Hurricane class battlecruiser I got everything ready, checked my ammo stores and made ready to undock, flash had assembled a small gang to engage some hostiles in Eifer, however this fight was never to materialise as the hostiles went back to highsec after receiving intel on our movements.

We were however to get a fight tonight, it was reported that a battleship heavy gang was sieging a POS in a system next to Gus. A quick check of our resources showed we could take them on and the assembled pilots were all very keen to engage even though we were technically outmatched.

With intel being gathered it was ascertained that the POS belonged to Outlaw Star, a newish corp to the area and one I have set negative standings to as a result of them hunting in packs, something which a solo pilot like myself needs to be aware of as not to be ganked. Flash was called away due to some urgent business and FC of the gang was handed to me, still gathering intel. I opened up comms with one of Outlaw Star's pilots and asked what kind of defense they could muster and was told minimal at best, we hastily organised standings as we wanted to go in but didn't want to take fire from the POS guns. With most of the details ironed out we were told the POS had just entered reinforced mode and we would need to move quick, flash had returned and I handed FC back.

Order was given to jump in and warp to our recon pilot, as we entered we spotted a Rokh battleship on the gate and it was primaried. We didn't know if he was with the hostiles but weren't going to take any chances and he was introduced to his escape pod. That's when all hell broke loose, the hostiles warped in and the fight was on, the Rokh actually being part of the hostile fleet. Abbadon was primaried with Megathron as secondary and we went to work but the tide of battleships entering the fray pretty much washed us away. We managed to drop the Abbadon and the Megathron but sustained heavy losses and the order to disengage was given, it was however too late for Karma as she exploded under heavy fire, my escape pod instawarping to safety. It's difficult to determine what we lost due to the mixed nature of the gang but it was clear we got spanked. Still was a great fight and all the pilots in our pick up gang agreed it was worth it to go in.

I returned to Gusandall and docked up, adrenaline still flowing, I lit a cigarette and made a cup of Earl Grey. The pilots from Outlaw Star grateful for our help and impressed that a bunch of Pirates would be up for a fight such as that. But such is the nature of the universe that they may yet find themselves in the firing line of the very same Pirates.

My deck crew finish up putting together another Hurricane, Karma once again takes shape. As they leave I turn off the hangar lights, a mixed day but a satisfying one. The adrenaline of the fight now wearing off and sleep imminent, I slump into my bunk.