"Hm, I wonder if my Puni can take a Taranis."
Talk about famous last words.
Said Taranis was sitting at a planet, to which it had warped right before my nose in a rather provocative manner. The guy didn't even bother to ask formally for a duel - probably because he was sure I wouldn't bother myself and just jump out of the system.
Then again I knew this bloke, who goes by the name of Jonas Christifori. Not uncommon to see him around these parts looking for some 1v1. Given that I had fought him before, I couldn't hope for some dual propulsion Taranis or any sort of imbecilic piloting. Actually, this could turn out to become yet another pretty good fight against him.
At least I knew he had blasters fitted (and I made sure to check properly, unlike last time). I therefore assumed that he'd want to get close. Good. As counter-intuitive as it is (much like fighting a Taranis with a Punisher in the first place), my autocannons had to apply as much pressure as possible up close. My only advantage was being able to absorb much more damage than the Taranis over a short period of time.
Aligning to the planet, I went through the fight in my head once more: overheat everything, start the fight from a distance, get that repair unit running too soon rather than too late, squirm around for every inch that lowers our angular velocity and pray he doesn't have Null loaded.
So much for the plan to go down a bit less embarrassingly than otherwise. "Warp drive active."
I landed 10km off Jonas and immediately turned around while locking him, afterburner cranked up to 11. Some valuable hits neutralized his shields before the drones and shortly thereafter the interceptor caught up. Time for the tough part.
Poof went my own shields. Luckily, I was on the ball, activating my repair module before the first volley tore out a chunk of my armor. So some of the gaping holes got patched up again immediately. Jonas' armor didn't take it quite as well, which was to be expected and didn't matter as much. Digging through the hull itself would prove to be much more trouble.
Speaking of trouble: a webbed Punisher is painfully slow and has no webifier of its own. Nevertheless, I managed to escape the blasters' optimal range for some vital seconds every now and then. A simple orbiting course didn't do here. Good old manual flight was the name of the game - straight lines, tight angles without losing much more speed in the process.
While I was working on my opponent's structural integrity, my main layer of defense went through a constant decline itself. At least I didn't have to manage capacitor energy while making this brick house dance. Giving the nanobots a rest was out of the question anyway, no matter how much heat they were building up.
At some point I was wondering how I was still in this. We're talking about a Taranis fighting a Punisher here; unimpeded range control, much harder hitting, faster tracking turrets. Still, somehow things were as close as they could pretty much get.
My Punisher's hull was taking heavy blows now, softened by merely small patches of tungsten steel creeping back up here and there; only to be violently torn off yet again. The Taranis didn't fare much better, so I had no way of telling whose ship would remain in a few seconds.
A faint explosion notified me of my repair unit finally going bust - shortly followed by a considerably more prominent explosion. Good fight.
I'm thinking about retiring this Punisher. Then again, why should I keep a hero boat like this from tearing it up some more out there? That would just be criminal.