There was something important i needed to remember today, something i was supposed to say, somewhere i was supposed to be… But for the life of me i just couldnt figure it out.
Joining The Bastards Channel i look through the list of Members currently connected.
Ahh that was it.
Happy Birthday Avid.
Birthdays are a difficult concept when it comes to POD pilots, as no one chooses the same occasion to celebrate.
For some its their true Birthdate, After all we were all natural conceived and cloning is only a way to extend our lives, not create them.
Some how ever choose the day their first clone rolled of the assembly line, the day they became immortal.
Avid Nray was not one of the latter, She chose her natural date of Birth as her celebration, which was today. And to celebrate the occasion she would be leading any online members in a Roam she would FC herself.
The fleet invite arrives and i accept it.
You still coming? someone asks
Yes, of course i am, What do you want me in?
We are heading out to Amamke, A busy system and a dangerous one, so Frigates is the call. Specifically for me any EW frigate i can field.
I have a griffin prepped and ready to roll i reply, hastily keying instructions on the pad telling the hanger crews to get her flight ready.
The griffin is a hard ship to use in EW combat, with the BB my optimal has me out of range of almost all encounters. a healthy 86KM, and withe 6 mids assigned to Jammers i have plenty to go around.
The griffin is a smaller ship with a slightly larger bite, (with my current skill set)
But it is limited with its fit, Only having 4 Mids is hard to balance a racial fit, So its full Multi Spectral fit, This however lowers my EW power and my effective range. Down from around 9 points to 6 at 34 KM. Well within range of anyone with proficient drone skills.
The other problem i face, is a complete lack of any tank, not so much as a buffer. But i know my boats, i know how far i can push them.
So the fleet grows in size, Hellcats and Bastards alike.
Zode leads the way scouting us safely through the systems, reacting to Avids directions, There is nothing much to play with, until we reach Amamake.
Amamake is a Very busy system and it’s not practical to sit outside whilst scouts search and tackle inside. So everyone Jumps in and searches, Calling point if they get it. For me i am of no use to anyone till an engagement starts, so i set myself up in a comfy SS listen the comms chatter and align to various planets and belts as people call their locations.
And this is where things start to get interesting.
Now before i continue with this narrative i want to take the time to explain the role tacklers have, and how much respect they deserve for a difficult job.
Tacklers and the art of tackling.
Tacklers are arguably the most important part of any succesfull op. Without a tackler it makes no difference how much DPS you can lay down (with teh exception of alpha strike) as the target will just warp away if he feels he will loose.
So what exactly is the tacklers job, the tackler is responsible for the initial engagement, it is his or hers job to get in range, and ‘Point’ the target before the target has a chance to escape, He must then stay alive long enough for the remainder of the fleet to engage.
Sounds simple right?
Well not so much, The most succesful tacklers need to be quick. The quickest ships are typically frigates and their T2 Equivelants. This leaves the unfortunate downside to their strength.
Tackling other frigates isnt going to be much of an issue, but also doesnt require fleet level engagements. So the tackle we are concerned with is on larger ships. Which have much higher DPS.
So this can be split in to two sections.
1. getting that first point.
Quick frigates can usually get under the guns of larger ships, with a high transversal velocity. So where is the danger? It’s in the Approach. The shortest and hence quickest distance between any two points is a straight line, heading to a target in a straight line means 0 transversal, Means he is a lot more likely to kill you before you reach him.
To counter this tacklers will take a slightly longer trip to them approaching at an angle and altering their vector during approach. Or if time and location allows, they will try multiple warp in and outs, to land at that perfect range. This is harder and takes a lot of luck and skill to be succesful.
2. Keeping that point.
If the tackler successfully gets that initial point he now needs to maintain it. Keeping the target pointed requires power from your ships capacitor. Drones, Well tracked turrets and high missile skills will increase damage output on ships, so the tackler needs to stay alive, this requires the use of local tanks. These are typically active tanks and require capacitor use. High speed improves your chance of survival, but requires cap. additionally the target may be using capacitor neutralisors. thus making it highly difficult to keep your mods engaged, so the tackler has to keep himself alive, whilst still keeping this lock.
You can start to see some of the complications involved here, balancing the cap while keeping your target and staying alive is a complicated process. Most tackers are resigned to the fact that they have a high chance of loosing their ship, and will often sacrifice their own survival, keeping that point in order that the rest of the fleet can arrive and get secondary points on. For this they have my respect.
So back to our tale….
A Vagabond has been located in a belt. vagabonds are frigate killers if fitted correctly. And this one was.
Lakasha Nachthexen makes the first attempt at tackling the Vagabond, and is unsuccessful, Dieing almost instantly.
The 2nd attempt is performed by Avid, again unsuccessful, dying instantly.
Both these attmepts used the direct aproach.
Zode not wanting to give up tries the 2nd approach, warping in and out untill he finds himself right on top of the vagabond. multiple attempts later and the others are refitted in ships, my Griffin is aligned to the belt and ready to go.
“What chance do you have of Perma Jamming the Vaga?” the message came from flash.
performing a statistical analysis of my jamming strength to that of the vagabond my answer comes back
” 90% chance of perma jam”
The numbers are accurate but i can only hold one target and intel reports others in the Belt, but they appear to bu uninterested in our attempts.
a few more attempts later and it comes in.
“Point, Warp to me”
Instantly warping to my optimal range i land a few seconds later. jammers primed and ready to go, I initiate the lock sequence. It seems an eternity passes before my targeting systems report a succesful lock. My jammers initiate automatically.
But it’s too late, Zode has lost his ship.
The others are also arriving so we may still have him.
Then my ship shakes under the explosive ordnance of a nearby ship, The other belt inhabitants want to join in the fun.
I dont have enough Power to Jam any more targets.
” Im taking heat i cant stay much longer”
“get out” was my only response
Holding my cycle as long as i could to allow the others escape options, i slip in to my own warp tunnel. Unfortunatly Fruchten who had also landed was also taking damage and had multiple points on him, There was nothing i could do. landing away from the engagement, i offer to come back
let me know who has you i should be able to get them off long enough for you to escape
But it was too late.
With our fleet in pieces scattered across an asteroid belt, the pilots who escaped intact head for home.
Arriving back at Evati i have some paper work to finish, so after some general conversation i disconnect myself from the NEOCOM and silence falls across the comm lines.
After finishing everything i needed to do, i reconnect to The Bastards intel channels and see whats going on.
Venom has a scorpion and a retriever somewhere in Brin. i offer my services and fit my BlackBird to tackle Caldari Class Battle ships.
heading out towards Arnstur one jump out from Brin we are joined By Fruchten who after his earlier loss is re shipped and ready to engage. a short while later and there is no Joy on the scorpion. it had made its way to a POS and the pilot retired for the evening. With Venom called away to some Hellcats Business, it was only myself and Fruchten remaining.
D-Scan shows a Moa somewhere in the system so Fruchten heads out to investigate.
It’s not long before he is located.
“Got him pointed”
“If you need me call, otherwise ill stay here and let you take this on your own”
fruchten reports he is holding his own so i stay aligned just incase but wont get involved.
” He jammed me”
“say again” Moa’s dont usually carry EW modules.
” yeah he jammed me i lost my point”
The Moa pilot thinking he had the advantage now chose to stay in the fight
” I can stop him jamming you if you want me in”
Warping in i already have the correct fit for this one.
Landing 45Km from the Moa I Jam him myself.
With the target now unable to get his own cycles on Fruchten Quickly re establishes his point we have him now dead to rights.
“Ransom?” i offer to my fleet comrade
Inviting our now disabled pilot in to the ransom channel negotiations begin.
[ 2009.11.12 00:20:51 ] TheHermit > Sir would you like to keep your ship?
[ 2009.11.12 00:20:55 ] Elite Qin > yes
[ 2009.11.12 00:21:10 ] TheHermit > 15 mil sir
[ 2009.11.12 00:21:18 ] Elite Qin > 10?
[ 2009.11.12 00:21:27 ] TheHermit > 12
[ 2009.11.12 00:21:32 ] WaliWorld > we got kids to feed
[ 2009.11.12 00:21:33 ] Elite Qin > thanks
[ 2009.11.12 00:21:48 ] Fruchten > ty
[ 2009.11.12 00:21:53 ] TheHermit > A Pleasure sir may we interest you in a pass
[ 2009.11.12 00:21:58 ] Elite Qin > fly safe
[ 2009.11.12 00:22:03 ] Elite Qin > no thanks
[ 2009.11.12 00:22:11 ] TheHermit > ok the sir thank you for your time
[ 2009.11.12 00:22:16 ] Elite Qin > thanks
With the ransom payed, the pilot is released to carry on his business. Not opting in for the pass, wont protect him from future engagements, but for now at least he is safe.
With his connection issues now solved Ishalar returns to the system and joins us for some more action.
Arriving in system fruchten and ishalar head out to see what they can find.
And its not long before we get a bite.
Ishalar has a Falcon engaged. The Falcon is the T2 counterpart to my Favourite ship of Choice the BlackBird. and has more power than me, But less range, If we can get this right this should make for a nice ransom.
Ishalar is Perma jammed but stays within range fighting the Falcons Drones waiting for us to arrive. Landing outside of the Falcons range, but inside of mine i cycle on.
“Jammed” I love making that call
With the Falcon unable to prevent it. Ish gets his point on. and Fruchten is on his way in.
20 seconds later and Things take a turn for the worst.
dropping a cycle on the falcon i quickly bring more online aimed at him.
He is only unjammed for a fraction of a second, not long enough for him to lock and prevent ish’s point. yet he warps away…
“What happened there?”
“I lost my point” replies ish as Fruchten lands beside him.
“How did you lose that?”
” I capped out… Im sorry”
One down side to EW is the inability to Jam Drones, and once set drones will continue to fight even if the controlling ship can’t lock the target.
With Drones Already upon him Ish was using his repper to stay alive, His cap approached critical and luck conspired against us. As the cap approached empty it was time for the Point to cycle with no power available ti cut out. thus allowing the Falcon to escape.
” Im really sorry”
“Its ok dont worry about it… its only a 50 / 60 mil ransom you cost us” I say in jest.
“Honestly don’t worry about it, It happens”
With our target gone and time running out, we head for home, general banter filling the comms channel as we make our way.
Some people would be angry and upset over the loss of such a nice target, but not us.
if we were to get upset over every lost and missed opportunity our close-knit community would not last very long.
we continue to laugh at Ishalars misfortune and he in return laughs back.
Not all pirates are nasty villanous monsters, although the job we do certainly makes us look that way.
So should you be unfortunate enough to appear on the Receiving end of my ship, remember that. Im a nice guy, Unless you are disrespectful to me or mine.
Then you get to see some real Pirate behavior.