60 Seconds

Another day out in the Taranis. No real targets safe for a Cyclone earlier, with which Valgore needed a hand. At some point during that fight, we suspected two Retributions to come to its help. In the end they were just passing by.

A while later in Ladistier, I see the Retributions lurking there again. These things can't pin down anything frigate-sized, but there's no point in engaging them. Their eight guns would grind my Taranis to a fine mist in a matter of seconds. Unless they're silly enough to have beam lasers fitted.

Positioning myself at the gate to Vifrevaert, I want to know if they're taking an interest in me. Indeed they do and I get to have a look at their guns before one of them completely rids me of my shields with a single volley. Yup, pulse lasers. Looks like a gate jump is in order.

Now safe and sound on the other side, I notice the other Retribution jumping right after me. However, I'm already on my way back to the gate and jump before my next layer of defence goes poof. His buddy left in Ladistier has no hope of catching my interceptor and I'm thusly out of there.

Let's recap: two red flashy and trigger happy Retributions on the hunt. They also didn't seem to care much about splitting up at a moment's notice. Intriguing.

To have the slightest chance of a shot at them, I decide to go get my Vengeance docked in Hevrice. Three jumps from home; they shouldn't move around too much before I'm back.

Heading for Ladistier again, it turns out they actually moved to Jovainnon, right next to Hevrice. Splendid, those guys really ache for something to fight. This should prove useful for my little stratagem to succeed. On a sidenote, traffic through Jovainnon is typically slow as well - little chance of interference by any third parties.

What I'm betting on is that they'll do exactly the same they've tried just moments ago. Chances of that have even increased, now that they would be able to tackle my ship on a gate in time.

Even better that they're not sitting at any of the stargates right now. This way they'll be all the more pressed to do things hastily; anything to not let me escape again.

Not long after I've positioned myself on top of Aeschee gate, they appear on overview, staggered ever so slightly. Perfect.

Everything just seems to fall into place now: the first Retribution to land immediately locks me and gets off a shot. I jump. Right after that, I hear just what I want to hear: the sound of the second Retribution following me into Aeschee.

As soon as possible, I align to another stargate, pretending to flee. The Retribution that chased me pops up right within web range. We lock each other simultaneously. There is no way a lone Retribution can kill my Vengeance. "Lone" as in "your friend is like totally stuck back in Jov, brah, u mad?"

Now one question remains: is one minute enough to down that thing? The best answer I can come up with right now is overheat everything. Might also be a good idea to orbit closely - yeah, let's do that; those lasers hurt more than they really need to.

Rocket after rocket slams into the Retribution with full force, which to my dismay doesn't seem all that impressed. Regardless, now that I'm able to punish the lasers' mediocre tracking, I'm winning the race to hull. I still have to worry about the race against time, though. Judging by the heat damage on my launchers, I estimate about 20 seconds remaining. Gonna be close, real close. Too close for comfort, that's for sure.

My prey formerly known as the hunter is now in deep structure, somehow still staying in one piece. Another volley hits the laser boat, chipping away another sliver of hull. A frustratingly small sliver. Will you die already?!

The Retribution is barely holding together - a flying, flaming sieve by now. The damn thing is almost as tough as my Vengeance.

Gate activation. Time's up.

Damn and blast. Nothing left to do but cheese it, which proves to be no problem at all.

Sigh. Given how close things turned out to be, I had given up on the loot not long into the fight. The lack of a really sweet kill however bums me out to no end. Hope that guy realized how lucky he was. Then again he bothered to fit a respectable tank, gotta give him that. Good fight.

Due to the tiniest lack of gank in this episode, I now have to reconsider the usefulness of an Enyo. And once I get one, I'll never find a single (or a clumsy pair of) Retribution(s) again. At least not before it dies to something actually cost effective.


Battlecoms III - Waiting Game

Zerrah:   He's not coming back, you know.
Jaxley: Oh, but he will.
Zerrah: He knows we're out here, he saw us. Why did we drop cloak in the first place?
Jaxley: Well, you know, having your brain wired to sensitive cloaking systems for maybe the third time ever, people shouting HULK ON SCAN! out of nowhere...
Zerrah: Whatever. It's gone now anyway.
Jaxley: If by "gone" you mean deaf, blind and guaranteed to show up at this exact spot once he fires up his systems again.
Zerrah: I dunno much about exhumers, but I'm pretty sure they could outlast a Nemesis as far as floating in space doing nothing goes.
Jaxley: Exhumers maybe, exhumer pilots not so much. You just gotta have faith in people's stupidity.
Zerrah: I'm sitting in a stealth bomber that's got blasters and rocket launchers welded onto it. I sure as hell am a believer.
Jaxley: I will have no such talk on my Ninja Tristan. You shall not dishonor its crew of proud space ninjas.
Zerrah: *Sigh*
Jaxley: Come on, sneaking up on those two rookie miners the other day was pretty cool.
Zerrah: And hilarious. But dishing out 20-something million ISK for a couple laughs?
Jaxley: Well worth it. Besides, this guy is about to pay us five times its value.
Zerrah: What guy? I don't see anyone.
Jaxley: Aren't you a delight today.
Zerrah: I just hate wasting time.
Jaxley: Ah but see: we're investing time.
Zerrah: Oooh so savvy!
Jaxley: Fine, be like that. You sure you wanna be a prober once we get you into a capsule?
Zerrah: If I want to get into a pod someday, I don't have much of a choice in the matter, do I?
Jaxley: Hmm. No.
Zerrah: Guess I'll have to make do th- Hang on, local +1. ID is Hulk pilot!
Jaxley: Awww yeeah! All crew to battle stations!
Zerrah: Hulk on overview, landing... 6 off!
Jaxley: Prepare to engage warp scrambler and lock target on my mark. Setting course for target. Dropping cloak - mark!
Zerrah: Point!
Jaxley: Engaging afterburner, establishing close orbit. All weapons open fire.
Zerrah: Target is taking steady damage, no drones so far.
Jaxley: Looks like no stabs either, excellent. Invite him to our ransom channel.
Zerrah: Roger... He rejected.
Jaxley: So rude. Let's keep shooting then.
Zerrah: Local still clear, target is taking armor damage.
Jaxley: Invite him again.
Zerrah: Another rejection. Hull breach detected on target.
Jaxley: Some people... All weapons cease fire. Transmit a message through local coms: "Last chance, buddy. 150 million ISK."
Zerrah: Message transmitted.
Jaxley: Let's give him a little while to reconsider.
Zerrah: 150 might be kinda steep though.
Jaxley: Well, he's supposed to make some effort and haggle. But I think this is as good as it's gonna get. Open fire, prepare to lock pod. Disengaging afterburner.
Zerrah: Target popped. Locking pod - gone.
Jaxley: Bummer. Approaching wreck, let's grab the remains.
Zerrah: Looks like his cloaking device survived; and a couple rubbish drones.
Jaxley: Meh, 'bout 6 mil. Alright, let's head back to get a salvager and clean up this mess.

I must admit, stalking space unseen and preying on easy but easily scared targets is way too much fun. Certainly spices up slow days where good fights are hard to come by.

I've had a number of other plain hilarious episodes while out in my Ninja Tristan (which goes by the name "Dunuh Dunuh Dunuh"). It really excels at catching other stealth bombers on jumpgates, pesky loot thieves and more bombers. I like how I can fit out almost two "proper" stealth bombers by now thanks to its shenanigans.

The next ship I buy is gonna be a fierce BATTAL HELIOS. Huzzah!