Sunday, April 11, 2010

It was like that one time with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid...

Consider this fight: in one corner, four PVP-fit battlecruisers and a battleship; in the other corner, one battlecruiser, four cruisers, and an assault frigate. Who would you put your money on? If you backed the 5 heavy ships, you wouldn't regret it. But would you believe three of them died in the process?

Our rag-tag Tusker fleet consisted of me in my Myrmidon, a Rupture, a Stabber, a Vexor, some bozo in a Bellicose, and a Jaguar. It was a slow day and we'd wandered from our base in Verge Vendor up through Placid, through Black Rise, and into Lonetrek. Looking for a fast way home, we took our chances and slunk through a few highsec systems around Nonni before resurfacing in lowsec near The Citadel. Leo Solunar, our point man, spotted three Drakes in Mara, a system I knew to be frequented by various sorts of combat veterans. He confirmed the Drakes were all from the same corp--the Kinights Templar--so that meant we'd have a real fight on our hands; on the other hand, their security status was relatively high, which we hoped meant their thoughts didn't run toward violence as soon as ours would. We did pause for a moment to consider our chances, but concluded that we needed some excitement in our otherwise dull day. It was with grim satisfaction, then, that we learned one of the Drakes was at an asteroid belt. Our point man went in for the tackle, and the rest of us poised on the gate to come to his aid.

"Point!" came Leo's report. The Tusker gang jumped into Mara and sped to his side. As we landed, the field was all Tuskers. We lit up the hapless Drake and let him have it; by the time his backup started arriving, we had pretty much broken his tank. "Diin o is Secondary," Leo announced in a calm voice. Seconds later, bumnz' Drake succumbed to our onslaught and we turned our attention to diin o's battlecruiser. Thinking ahead, another Tusker reported, "Point on Edis Krad." All three Drakes were committed to the fight now, like it or not. And then a hostile Drake landed on top of us.

Things could get tense in a situation like this, and indeed I was feeling the pain. It seems I had been selected as the enemy force's primary target. Now I want you to know that had I been the commander of the Kinights Templar fleet, there's no way I would have selected the ship with the biggest tank as primary target; I would typically look to take out force multipliers first (such as ECM platforms or logistics ships), then I would look for ships with a high DPS relative to a low tank; if I were their FC, I would probably have primaried our Rupture, then the Stabber if we had a good tackle on it, followed by the Vexor. But what I'm coming to understand is I am Ka Jolo, CEO of the Tuskers, and I seem to get designated primary target a good 90% of the time. This might make sense if the other guys thought I was FC (in this case I certainly wasn't), but I wonder if it isn't rather a case of my modest amount of fame working against me.

Anyway, I was the primary target. My mates in their scantily-clad cruisers and frigate zipped around with impunity while my armor took the brunt of the enemy's attack. Some pilots equip their Myrmidons with three armor repairers, and in this situation I sure could have used more than the two I had. Each salvo from their missile launchers was demolishing more than half of my armor. I am well skilled in armor repair, and put everything I had into it just then. "Overheat the resistance mods!" I ordered, "Overheat those reppers!" I knew it was crucial to our success against four battlecruisers that I do as much damage as possible while I was still on the field. Mentally I began going down my escape capsule checklist, proud of the way my crew stayed on station and fought with courage and professionalism even while it became obvious our battlecruiser was doomed. My capacitor was well in hand; in a typical fight, I struggle to feed energy to my guns and tank, but things were happening so quickly this time cap was not yet an issue. My armor readouts, on the other hand, were fluctuating wildly: a flight of missiles would shake us well and truly, and I'd see red; then our damage control team would get off a couple of rep cycles, and the red would shrink--but it was a losing battle. With each cycle, the red would dip deeper and more red would remain.

Good news--diin o's Drake couldn't keep it together any longer, and we re-directed our fire to Edis Krad's Drake while his mate's capsule emerged from the debris of what had been the second Drake. As Tusker fleet reported tackle being established on Benedict III's Drake, I set my mind on contributing all I could to the fight still ahead. "Overheat those guns! Nevermind that they might burn out--let's pray we have time to worry about burning them out!" My Myrmidon's DPS--six high-tech 220mm autocannons firing advanced ammunitions, along with a mixed flight of heavy, medium, and light high-tech Gallente drones--was a significant part of the force breaking the tanks on these Caldari battlecruisers, and I wanted to get this third Drake's shield tank broken before...well, you know.

Alarms were sounding throughout my battlecruiser, the ventilator systems failed to clear smoke fast enough, and electricity arced from control panels. "This is it," I thought to myself, as I saw how little structural integrity remained--but wait, the armor repair team did it again! Time for another salvo. BAM! Gone was my armor, just a sliver of structure left; this really was it. No, wait! Another heroic success from the armor repair team, and yet another broadside into the target Drake at point-blank range. And then, confusion. Numbers on my command console froze; all indicators went red. After a few seconds' delay my console refreshed itself, and all systems were green--meaning rather than being in command of a mighty Gallente battlecruiser of the line with a crew of hundreds, I was now in command of a rather limited escape capsule, with no crew at all.

I selected a planet at random and entered the command to warp there, speed being more important than destination at this point; experience has taught me that you never know when an opponent will take a few moments from intense combat to see my frozen corpse floating peacefully in space. Relaxing slightly as my pod entered the relative safety of warp, I just had to ask: "Have we broken his tank?"

"Roger that," came the welcome reply, "His shields are gone and we're plowing through his armor". Good! My crew did not die in vain. Caldari battlecruisers tended to focus all their defensive measures on bolstering their shields, which meant that whereas my Gallente ship had lasted quite some time while taking armor damage, that Drake was already as good as dead. The three Tusker cruisers and our assault frigate soon destroyed the third battlecruiser.

With frustration I could only listen to the fight from afar. With my Myrmidon off the field, the enemy was able to start popping my mates' ships with enhanced alacrity. Perhaps even then we might have had the chance of another kill, but the pilot of our first kill rejoined the fray with a fresh battlecruiser and a fresh crew, then the pilot of our second kill returned to the scene--the Tusker fleet was still gamely carrying on--and he returned in a shiny Caldari Raven-class battleship. Without the entire DPS of our 5-man fleet, the Tuskers were unable to break the tank of the fourth Drake, and being well-tackled those who may have thought of living to fight another day found themselves rather heroically staying to the bitter end. The final battle report I heard was sent by Valgore Muerte from the con of his Jaguar, doomed but defiant to the end as two battlecruisers and a battleship closed on his position.

The Tusker fleet--a fleet of escape pods--sped away to dock in The Citadel lowsec. The Kinights Templar held the field, and we gritted our teeth to imagine them picking through the mangled wrecks of our ships and the frozen corpses of our crews to salvage whatever systems might still be serviceable. And yet our heads were held high and our eyes gleamed--outgunned, we had held up our end of the fight with distinction. "Gf"s were offered and received. If you're going to lose a fight, this was the way to do it.


Bartman said...

Good stuff! Great reliving that one. I might add that the fourth drake was well on his way to being down. It was a straight-up brawl.

Mynxee said...

Great write up as usual :) That sounds like a pretty fun fight, the kind that is hard to get these days, it seems.

Haytred said...

Great story bud. I love how you are one of the few to present AAR's in a very storied manner. I'm imagining your gang roams are a lot of fun.

Thanks again for your blog, Jolo.

Flashfresh said...

Great post, exciting and well written.

Valgore Meurte said...

Ah, nice one Jolo. Google my name and came across this. I have never read your blog before, you write well. Guess i will be checking it out more often. Oh yeah, just to be a nit picker, the last name is Meurte. LOL, and yeah that was a blast my poor jag took twice the amount of damage it normally does in a fight in that one, I cant imagine how much your Myrm finally took be fore it went down.