Sunday, January 31, 2010

Baptism by Laser Fire

It’s been two weeks into our sojourn in to w-space, and while the system had not yielded quite the riches we hoped, there was enough to find to keep us busy. Especially after we got into the habit of exploring the neighbouring w-systems and collecting their valuables.

Today it was a gas site we were after. Heloisa - a friend to the corp taking a breather from the 0-sec wars - was holding at the site in her Devoter, waiting for the inevitable Sleeper patrol to show up. I had jumped back to the POS, to switch into something more suitable, but right now was just futzing around with some security detail.

[ Shit. There’s a Typhoon here. ]


[ There’s a Typhoon here. And he has me locked. ]

For a moment I was frozen. We had known that sooner or later it would come to this, we did prepare as well as we could, but finally being in this situation was whole ‘nother story. Without thinking I began the process of disentangling my pod from my current ship.

[ He is shooting at me, and he has drones out. ] Panic began to creep into Heloisa’s voice.

“Coming! Coming!”

I knew that neither her nor myself had previous experience in this kind of combat. Granted, we had our share of battle experience, but it was either at the receiving end of a shiny explosion, or we were in the comfortable embrace of a fleet with a competent FC. Facing a single enemy without preparation - that was a first.

What do you use against a Typhoon? What class of ship is a Typhoon anyway?

[ Any help would be appreciated! ]

I noticed that without thinking I had boarded a Harbinger I had bought some years ago from a friend. Not exactly a combat fit, it was setup as a hardened 0-sec ratter - and I had never flown her before in anger. But Harbingers are my second skin, and there was no time for dawdling.

[ Hurry the F up, ok?! ]

The pod connects to the ship’s systems and initiates an emergency power up - I undock and enter warp while the gun crews hastily load Multifreqs into the laser batteries. It’s a journey of only a few seconds, and I finally emerge from warp, hardeners, repairer and DCU humming. 10 klicks away from me, the hull of a Minmatar battleship shimmers in the sun.

Right then. I put a point on him, command the ship to enter an orbit for now, the target computer resolves its lock, and my lasers throw out their deadly beams. Warning sounds inform me that the Typhoon is trimming his guns on me, his drones target me - and I lose my lock. ECM drones!

I’d need drones to fight the drones - duh, I hadn’t launched my drones yet. The drone bay opens and swarm of T1 drones speeds into space. The target computer just finished re-resolving the Typhoon lock, and before I can tell it to target one of the drones, I get jammed again. Lacking other commands, my drones start attacking the Typhoon. At the same time, the Typhoons guns and torpedoes break through my shield and start eating into my armor, and my ship helpfully informs me that there’s also a point and a target painter on me.

This was getting hairy.

But! now that the Typhoon was focused on me, Heloisa got a chance to strategize.

[ Ok. Calm down now for a moment. ] I heard her over the comms.

A moment later, the Devoter’s warp disruption generator springs to life and creates a bubble around us - nobody was now going anywhere. I drop my attempts to point the Typhoon to preserve some cap, but at this rate it wouldn’t be enough: the faction Bane torpedoes were scouring my armor at a frightening rate.

[ Come closer to me, I have a remote repper. ]

Instantly I change course and hurry towards the Devoter. The repper lights up, and my armor deteriorates not quite as fast. Also, the Devoter’s lasers spring back into life - this time not directed at the mighty battleship, but at the vastly more fragile ECM drones.

Vlodovich > gf so far
Druur Monakh > Indeed

It’s a race against the clock - one by one we pop the ECM drones, me getting in a potshot once a minute or so, while my armor vaporizes into space. Finally, the last drone explodes and we target the Typhoon, only to be thwarted by two more ECM drones swarming towards.

My Harbinger shrieks a Hull Breach warning while Heloisa pops the the remaining drones as quickly as possible. Smoke is wafting through my compartments, but we redirect our efforts back at the Typhoon. My drones (remember my drones?) had managed to eat away his shield, and our lasers start working on his armor. Just now the Sleepers decide to drop by, and in their hostility towards everything breathing Oxygen hit the Typhoon first.

The Typhoon’s torpedoes are still stripping away my structure, but his tank is broken: within seconds he is into hull and then explodes. Heloisa drops the bubble, yells at me to warp out before the Sleepers get me, but I just have to try and lock his pod - too late, he smartly warps out.

Seconds later, I warp out myself with just a bit over 50% structure remaining, barely remembering to pull in my drones before I leave.

Vlodovich > lmao that was a sweet as fuck fight
Vlodovich > best i had in several weeks
Druur Monakh > It was a close one - good job.

Back at the POS I am met by our repair truck, repairing my structure as my own reppers do their work on the armor, and Heloisa collects the spoils of our victory.

[ Sweet! Sisters Combat Probes! ]

It took us hours to come down from our high. For all the experienced combat pilots this kind of encounter is probably nothing special anymore, but for us it was our very first face-to-face fight on even terms, and for once we even managed to come out victoriously.

In hindsight, there were a couple of things we could have done better: the Devoter - a ship that can tank a Class 2 Sleeper site without breaking a sweat - was hardly in any immediate danger; had we payed attention, we would have noticed that neither of us were webbed and that we could have outrun the Typhoon at any time; with any better organisation we could have further minimized the damage dealt to us - and of course the Typhoon had a rather unusual fit.

But as a friend commented afterwards: “A fit is a fit; but a win is a win.”


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