One last salvo from my lasers, and the Blood Raider Apocalypse exploded in a nice, shiny fireball.
“Ok, you can come in now!”, I transmitted over comms, while setting my course towards the space cathedral. It was protected by two Raider frigates and cruisers each, but being non-Capsuleer ships, they stood no chance against my Absolution.
A blip on my scanner announced the arrival of a Noctis - Eta had arrived.
[ That’s a lot of battleships! ], she commented, referring to both the wrecks and the other battlegroup, 60 klicks off the cathedral.
“No worries, they are just flesh pilots, nothing I can’t handle.”
[ If you say so...]
Quickly dispatching the Raiders at the cathedral, I steered my ship towards the other battlegroup. It was the same mix of battleship and cruisers as the first one, if I kept up my transversal, my command ship should be able to mitigate the incoming damage.
“How’s the salvaging coming?”
[ So-so. Some loot suitable for reprocessing, but average overall. Uhm - you’re taking a lot of fire? ]
“Yah, they tend to do that. But my armor is holding...”
And indeed, having destroyed the last cruiser and now aimed for a tight orbit around one of the battleships, my armor repairers were doing a good job nullifying the incoming damage. Not fully, but well enough to destroy at least one of the battleships. Capacitor was at 40-something percent, and dropping rapidly.
Three of the battleships had put neuts on me, and soon I’d be dry. What to do?
Without thinking, I launched my Warrior drones, and shut down my lasers. Might as well do some damage, while I’m still on the grid, feeble as it may be. But it wasn’t enough - my cap dropped to 30%, then 20% - any second now my repairers would shut down.
“I need to bail - align to something useful, just in case.”, I advised Eta, while following my own advise.
Lumbering like a duck in molasses, my ship turned towards the next stargate and started accelerating. Cap exhausted, my repairers shut down, and soon some of the Raider shots penetrated the armor into my structure.
“C’mon...”, I implored the ship, spamming the warp command into the system, hoping to catch the cap recharge cycle before the neuts did. I even almost forgot to pull my drones in.
[ You’re on fire. ], commented Eta dryly, safe in her non-combat ship, [ As usual. ]
I was already pondering where to get the ISK for a new command ship when suddenly the warp drive caught, and I was propelled about 3 AUs away from the Blood Raider settlement.
Shutting down all non-essential systems, I directed all available power towards the repairers, and then pondered how to defeat this battlegroup. Multifrequency laser crystals would put me right back into neut range, and my token missile launcher simply didn’t do enough damage on its own. But wait a minute...
I called up the sensor recordings of the fight and played back the last few minutes.... yes! Moments before I had entered warp, all battleships had dropped their neuts - at a range of about 25km.
That meant I could take them with my Scorch crystals. I would be in fall-off and doing only a fraction of my possible damage, but it should work. I just would have to make sure that I kept within that 5km window of range.
A quick check back on my ship - yep, armor and capacitor are back to full. Even the shield had regenerated a bit.
“Ok, I’m coming back in - I think I know how to defeat them.”
[ Wouldn’t it be sufficient to just blow up the cathedral? ], inquired Eta. [ That would show the kidnappers that we mean business. ]
“It would,” I admitted, “but this is now personal. Plus, did you look at the bounties?”
A second of silence, then Eta whistled. [ Nevermind, carry on.]
“Way ahead of you!”, I smiled, as my Absolution dropped out of warp. The Raider battlegroup was glistening in the sun, just 80 klicks off me, again obliviously orbiting their tactical beacon.
I just had to not make a piloting mistake now, and this battlegroup would rue the day they kidnapped that something-or-other’s daughter. Indicators, well, indicated a fresh load of crystals and missiles in my weapons, and my crew was safely at their combat stations. I punched the afterburner for the approach.