Monday, 20 July 2009

Ghost Town Showdown

So we went on a cruiser roam Sunday night.

Well, I say 'we'. I was actually in an Ares since we'd been trying to pin down something in a mission which disappeared before we could lock on it. So I was hanging out in Todifrauan keeping an eye on the gates as the others shipped up. Some Gypsy Corsairs guys had been appearing to bait for a while, with a Myrmidon belt-hopping and a Sacrilege in a safe ready to help. We settled into a stalking pattern.

It took a bit to catch the Myrm; by the time I reached the belt, he'd moved to the next. Coochie scored the lock, and while we were taking the battlecruiser apart, the Sac warped in. We locked the HAC up as we finished off the Myrm, then gave it some cruiser lovin'. A ransom was offered but not received kindly, so we sent the pilot back to his clone-bay.

While we waited out our GCCs, a Cyclone showed up in a belt. Everyone's 'Bait!' alarms went off, but we jumped it anyway. In my little interceptor, I've become more leery of smartbomb-loaded targets; orbiting at 15 km cycling warp jammers and half-expecting to see a pack of Warrior 2's heading my way, I kept one eye on the scanner. The suspected backup never appeared, the battlecruiser popped, and the pod got away.

And another fifteen minutes spent waiting out criminal timers.

We debated hitting another potential target as we dropped loot off at a station, and I noticed someone from Razor Alliance enter the system. A minute later, Local spiked dramatically as a large fleet of Razor battleships went through the system. We watched them pass, bemused, then decided that if we wanted to get anywhere we should be moving on. Zachariuz and I in our interceptors played forward scouts.

For a Sunday night, Molden Heath was... quiet. Where the hell was everyone, on what typically is the busiest day in New Eden? The place felt like a ghost town, deserted, the few remaining residents peering cautiously through the station windows as we went through.

We finally found a target in Bosena, and after deciding it was worth the risk, dropped in on top of Zion Zan'threxian's Dominix in an asteroid belt. Perhaps our recent experience with bait-traps has made us paranoid and a bit hasty in deciding ship ransom vs pod ransom. He might have paid had we left his ship intact, but after that loss he decided his implants and clone weren't worth what we were asking.

And all was quiet. Another tasty target was in a deadspace mission, but our prober had decided to call it a night and docked up a few systems before. Then, as we were scouting in Aeditide, I spotted a familiar name pass through local: Nemesor from Rote Kapelle.

I'm friendly with a few of their pilots -- most notably Sard, Raxip and Biz. Nemmy is an old acquaintance, and I felt a big, devil-may-care grin start to spread across my face. Zeas reported another STUGH pilot in a Taranis on the Weld gate, and both Flashfresh and I declared it a trap. Zach jumped through into Weld and confirmed a tech-two wolf-pack on the other side.

By that point, we were all itching for a good, proper slugfest, so Raelyf warped his Rupture to the planet near the gate to see if they would bite. The STUGH gang must have been about in the same state, because they descended fast and hard even as the rest of us warped in on Raelyf's position. What followed was a heady dogfight which saw my Ares down in the first minute and a half, and was over in under ten minutes.

The Bastards' battle report (Ellistara's, my and Rhi's losses aren't shown, so here's STUGH's board for cross-ref)

That was a fucking awesome fight, and cheerful 'GF's were exchanged in Local. Zach made it out in his Stiletto, as did Raelyf, his bait-Rupture amazingly still intact at the end of the scrap. Rhiw'aow proved herself a capable ECM pilot -- check out that jamming action! -- and Bastards recruit Ellistara made a good showing on her first trial flight with the alliance despite the pounding she took at the end.

We regrouped back in Evati and most of us decided to call it a night. Surveying my hangar, I realised that I'd just put to bed the only Ares I'd ever owned; the ship had been bought over a year ago, seen nineteen kills and had now gone out in exactly the style I would want for any of my fighting ships. Respect to Rote Kapelle; we simply must dance again sometime!