Wednesday 9 October 2019

A close shave.

...He hated the very idea of the world being divided into the shaved and the shavers. Or those who wore the shiny boots and those who cleaned the mud off them. Every time he saw Willikins the butler fold his, Vimes's, clothes, he suppressed a terrible urge to kick the butler's shiny backside as an affront to the dignity of man.

-- (Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay)

The hunt today proved rather fruitful, and almost ended in disaster.

This morning Keira and I had set up the days activities by scanning out the local cosmic signatures and patiently waited. Patience, as always, is a Pirates most valuable skill, and sometimes it pays off in a significant fashion. This morning was one such occasion as Keira spotted probes deployed in Gusandall, a Stratios cruiser had entered system, not your average data runner but Keira focussed her directional scanner in the direction of two data sites, and so the Stratios appeared at one. Keira immediately initiated warp and found herself 20 clicks off the Stratios as her warp ended.

While all this was happening I had moved to the Gusandall gate in Eifer and was waiting, I somehow suspected the Stratios was only passing through and was hoping it would come through Eifer, it would have been a long shot to catch a cloaky Stratios but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

But with Keira now only a few clicks away from the target I activated the stargate and was launched into Gus. I didn't even bother cloaking as I initiated warp, I would need every bit of targeting speed to catch the Stratios before it could warp away or cloak. I had overloaded both the warp scrambler, the warp disruptor and the microwarp drive to get into range and lock down the Strat, I landed just out of scram range but well within disruptor range, targetted and tackled, I flicked the MWD into overdrive and closed the distance, scramming the Strat for good measure, not only making sure he couldn't run away in case he was warp core stabilised, but also shutting down any MWD he may have had.

Within blaster range I opened fire, launched some hobgoblins and started my own repair systems. The Strat didn't return fire but I could see my little hobgoblins exploding as it seemed he felt killing them was a higher priority than the now 850 DPS of Federation Anti Matter now blasting huge holes in his armour. In truth, the fight was rather insignificant, the Stratios exploded and he managed to warp his escape pod out before I resolved target lock on it, and I was left to peruse the wreck.

Needless to say it was a very nice haul, estimated to be around 400million ISK, a good mornings worth of Pirating.

This afternoon though almost ended in tears, a Machariel was running a mission in Eifer, a tasty target to say the least, I quickly dropped combat probes and soon had the target in my sights as I had warped to the acceleration gate and warped in, he was quite a distance off which would make this difficult to say the least, it would be a tough task to get under his guns, which appeared to be 800mm autocannons. I was feeling brave, and cocky so started to close, one volley of those autocannons damn near wiped out my shields, and just as I was about to get into overheated warp disruptor range, the Machariel warped out.

The mission however didn't go away, I imagine he returned to Emolgranlan to consider his options or to wait till I left system. But only half an hour later he returned to Gusandall and was soon on my scanner, I was cloaked off the mission gate, waiting and as he entered grid I uncloaked. He was smart and didn;t warp right on top of the gate, he was 30km away and the distance almost proved my undoing. He was however in disruptor range so I tackled and started to close the distance, trying to keep as much transverse velocity as possible, making it harder for his massive guns to track my itty bitty cruiser, but that didn't matter as my shields were stripped in a single volley, my armour repairer was already active and only just keeping up as those 800s tore my armour apart, soon chewing massive holes in the structure of the Librarian.

I decided it was time to get out, I would have been at a loss for the day were I to explode and the added loss of skills were too dear, so I initiated warp to Gusandall gate, time slowed, to a near standstill as it felt like an age to align, luckily the Machariel didn't have me warp disrupted or my day was about to go pear shaped.

But not today, today was a lucky one for Kane, and I headed back to Gus to face the expensive repair bill.

Good fight Machariel, until next time.

Friday 4 October 2019

A return to the Hunt

It was hard enough to kill a vampire. You could stake them down and turn them into dust and ten years later someone drops a drop of blood in the wrong place and *guess who's back*? They returned more times than raw broccoli.

-- (Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay) 

It's been a while, the hangar bears witness to years spent dormant, the lights have been off for a long time, and as such take a moment to warm up when I flip the switch. Slowly the light rises and all sorts of machinations of violence start to take shape, familiar shapes, shapes which at once inspire awe and fear.

In the corner, on my desk, on a small screen, the local comms channel sits barren, Gusandall, the once vibrant Pirate hub, now an empty expanse.

The pull of the black, the vast nothingness is strong, instinctively I board a Strategic Cruiser, a hunter killer, resilient and sneaky. I initialise her start up and she slowly comes to life, I check all her systems, make sure the appropriate munitions and sundries are in the hold and initiate undocking procedures.

As I emerge into Gusandall's inky blackness, I'm struck by an immediate sense of familiarity, and emptiness. I head to Eifer, once the most fertile hunting grounds in the universe... Empty.
Ingunn... Empty
Sotrenzur... Empty
Hrondedir... Empty
Auren... Empty

Not feeling up to venturing too far from home, I start to scan out the various anomolies in the area, and then I start to see one or two familiar faces passing through, some of the old Irregular Warfare boys still call the area home. In the process of probing, I find myself in Sotrenzur, with one of them, and a unknown pilot in a Dominix. Slick Duoros is in a unfamiliar ship to me, an Enforcer, a rather sexy ship, and I soon spot combat probes on scanner, not wanting to spook the Domi I refrain from dropping a set of my own.

Slick reaches out to me and asks if it's me in the Domi, I reply to the negative and soon I'm invited to a fleet  with the promise I won't be shot, an opportunity to knock some of the rust off and to shoot something substantial was one I wasn't about to pass on. Moments later Slick says he has point and is bringing in some black ops DPS, I initiate warp and drop cloak, landing right on top of the Dominix I open fire, two black ops battleships appear only a few hundred metres away and soon the Domi explodes. Moments later all my drones explode as one of the black ops cycles a smart bomb to deal with the Dominix' escape pod, but the loss of the drones didn't bother me, it felt so good to be causing spontaneous explosions again. The owner of the smart bomb was a pleasant surprise, an old friend from those halcyon days of static plexes and Mean Corp clashing with Anti Pirate alliances in the glory days of the Gusandall pocket.

A lot has changed, but seeing familiar faces has eased this homecoming somewhat, still need to find my place again, and I'm hoping I can still make lots of ISK as a solo pirate, but look forward to forging friendships, new and old to where I can still help with bigger targets.

This mornings hunt did turn up a small payday, only a frigate but it dropped a fair amount, even resulted in a little hate being thrown my way:

[ 2019.10.04 10:58:46 ] Lexana > fUCK YOU
[ 2019.10.04 10:58:55 ] Kane Rizzel > you're welcome

A nice little 60 mil to start business up again. It's also good to be back writing again, I'm somewhat rusty and it will take me a bit to get back into the swing of things but as with Piracy and PvP practice makes perfect. I'm hoping to see some old faces about and if you're still out there drop me a mail in game, if you know of any fertile hunting grounds and are willing to share, please do so, my little corner of the universe seems very sparse so looking for new opportunities to ply my particular brand of violence.