First Blood


Well, I got down to action yesterday hoping to fulfil my part of my bet.

Eifer was quiet yesterday afternoon so with no promising targets I set my autopilot of Amamake, a wretched hive of scum and villainy to rival Mos Eisley. I knew I’d be able to find fights there.

The journey through low security Minmatar space was uneventful. My scanners failed to locate any juicy targets so I kept moving. Once I hit Amamake I whipped around the system making safespots and scanspots while all the time scanning the belts. Pretty quickly I had my first hit. I engaged my warp drive and cycled my trusty weapon systems. I’d found a Rifter in a belt and although this should be a fight between evens I knew my ship and its setup like the back of my hand and knew exactly what she could and couldn’t do. I dropped out of warp, fired up the microwarp drive and sped towards my target. Threatened by my rapid approached they targeted me and engaged, flagging themselves as a criminal in the process. Free to return fire at will without taking a security hit I leisurely activated my modules and began to beat the opposing Rifter into a pulp. Halfway through the fight I even realised I’d forgotten to activate one of my guns. That could have been embarrassing over-confidence and I quickly activated it to hasten my target’s demise. I now had a Rifter kill to match Jay’s Breacher and so far no losses.

I popped into a station to repair my ship and began prowling the belts again. There were several Rifters in system all manoeuvring for the best advantage. After spending ages trying to scan one down I realised he was in a scan spot off a belt and using my scanner and microwarp drive proceeded to track him down. I closed to within 750m of him but before I could get on grid he either sensed my presence or grew impatient and moved on. I shrugged and resumed my hunt.

The next target I found was a Rifter piloted by Sargent Penguin. A name I’d become familiar with over the next couple of hours. I locked and engaged him but he was managing to keep range on me and using his artillery to do some pretty hefty damage. I had a large buffer but no ability to repair the damage I was taking so with 25% of my armour left and no progress being made at taking him down I disengaged to cries of ‘run nub, run’ in local chat. I wasn’t having that. I knew roughly how he was fit now and I’d be back for more.

The next hit I got was a lone Rifter in a belt. I followed the usual procedure and warped in at a safe distance to check out the lay of the land before commiting. I decided to engage and as I powered towards my target a second Rifter landed next to him. He’d called in support. Spoiling for a fight and noticing that they were both still members of the Republic Military School I thought ‘what the hell’ and engaged my original target. Both Rifters locked and webbed me and opened fire. My original target was going down quickly under my high tech Barrage ammunition but the combined firepower of two opponents was eating through my own oversized armour plate. My original target popped and I had 10% armour left. Scrambled and webbed I could’ve leave the field so engaged my second opponent and started to eat though his shields. Without a repairer (see a theme yet?) I was going to be unable to hold out, though, and eventually succumbed to his firepower. Another Rifter killed for my first loss of the campaign. I was ahead on points. Actually, I’ve just noticed. The second Rifter in the belt was the one that I’d previously beaten once already. What goes around comes around, especially in the belts of Amamake.

I headed back to Rens in my pod to fit out a new ship. I was keen to try something a bit different this time. I had 20 Rifters for the challenge so lots of opportunity to hone my system a bit. Maybe the huge buffer plate wasn’t the best approach. I’d already realised that an armour repair system would have made a difference in two of my last three fights so I decided to try one. Rather than relying on a nosferatu to keep all my systems running, though, I looked back to the Rifter that Hrafnagud had been flying in my encounters with him. A permanently running repair system, afterburner, armour hardener, and tackle gear all kept active by a capacitor booster. I fit up the same ship and headed back to try out my new toy.

In Amamake again I found a lone Rifter in a belt. The ideal test subject. Jubes had already said that the only way he’d been able to beat this setup in a Rifter was to leech from the boosted capacitor to keep his own systems going and almost no-one fits a nosferatu these days. Once again as I powered towards my victim a second Rifter landed in the belt a good distance from me and the opposite side of me to my target. This suggested he was a neutral and not support for my prey. A quick look at my targeting computer showed the pilot was none other than Sargent Penguin. I switched targets and burned towards him. Man, an afterburner is slow to close the gap. He was keeping distance on me but I managed to close to web range a couple of times but he webbed me back and escaped. Still, I was able to eat my way slowly through his defences and it looked like he was relying on a speed fit rather than a buffer or repairer tank. This time my high tech repair system was keeping up with his damage and my armour was stiffened against explosive damage reducing his effective firepower. As his armour was starting to break and Ishtar landed in the belt and headed towards us. Unsure of who he would attack I left the belt only to see him target and scramble Sargent Penguin. Still, better safe than sorry. Sadly I can’t find the killmail for this so can’t post the damage that I did.

My system scanner showed me that the belts were starting to hot up as several high tech ships were appearing in local and prowling the belts. Time to move on. My poor little frigate wouldn’t stand up to these monsters. I set my autopilot for Eifer and headed home.

On my way home I spent a bit of time chasing a Thrasher, a couple of Rifters, and a Caracal but didn’t get any actual fights. The closest I got was the Caracal warping out of a couple of belts as I arrived. Evati seemed pretty busy, though, so I stayed to have a poke around. I don’t like Evati very much. It can have some very juicy targets but also has about 10 stations for them to hide in so space is often very empty despite the system being well populated. There was a war complex on my scanner and I warped to it and scanned for activity. Nothing showed up so I started to scan the belts and planets I could see from here. The next thing I know a pirate Thrasher is dropping out of warp alongside me. I hadn’t noticed that you always warp to 0km on accleration gates so he landed on top of me. I tried to get out but he was able to get his disrupter onto my warp drive before it engaged. With me trapped he opened fire with 7 close range autocannons. This was going to hurt. After a slight moment of panic I engaged my defence systems, fired up my afterburner and returned fire. The initial shock of his first volleys against my stationary ship faded as my fast orbit reduced his damage and my repair systems started to undo some of the damage. They couldn’t keep up though and as I spat my Republic Fleet charges back at him I realised this was going to be a close fight. My ship entered structure but then my repairer won me back a bit of armour. Now his armour was failing and his structure taking damage but his firepower was too much and I popped just as I noticed a Vagabond appear on the scene. The Vaga finished him off and I at least got on the killmail. I’d lost my second ship of the competition in a close fight against superior firepower so I wasn’t too downhearted. I think I might stick with this setup for a little while. If it could go toe to toe with a fearsome destroyer like this then it should hold up fine against other frigates and that’s all I need to kill to win this competition.

So, at the end of the day I had killed two Rifters for a total of 64 points versus Jay’s 32 for his Breacher but I had also managed to lose one more ship than him.


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