Thursday, 12 May 2011
Often, while roaming through low sec, I see scanning ships. Sometimes they are on my D-scan, and other times I meet them at a gate. It's largely a waste of time chasing after these ships because they usually have warp stabs and cloaks.
If it's been a bit of a slow day, however, I often try warping in right on top of them, or wherever I think they have warped to, so that I can uncloak them and try blowing them up. It rarely works, but from time to time I get lucky.
This happened to be one of those times. I saw an Anathema enter the system, so I warped to the sun at zero. I don't know whether I got their first and he landed on me, or whether he was there and I landed on him. Either way, we were within a few thousand metres of each other, so I immediately pointed him and opened fire.
Once I had him in structure and it was clear he had no warp stabs I forced myself to switch off the guns. I was a pirate, right? I needed to try for my very first ransom.
I convo'd the pilot and greeted him politely. After a quick discussion with some Tuskers on corp channel, I had decided to ask for 25 million. I knew that his T2 hull was about 20 million (less the insultingly low insurance), and his scanning mods would easily be more than another 5 million, assuming he had Sisters of Eve equipment.
The other pilot then counter-offered 20 million, explaining that he only had 23 million in the bank. Regardless of whether or not he was lying, I was happy with 20 million so I accepted his offer.
Then, nothing happened for what seemed like far longer than it should take to transfer some ISK. I kept pulsing my lasers to keep him in structure, and I told him he only had another 15 seconds to pay up. His response?
And that's when the Loki jumped in.
I knew immediately that I was in trouble, but I still had time to wonder at the silliness of the Anathema pilot. Any backup was highly unlikely to be able to lock me and destroy me fast enough to prevent me from killing him - and my ship was worth a fraction of his! Hardly a win for him. Since he clearly wished to get blown up, I overheated my guns and obliged him. I had to let the pod go, though, as I had other things on my mind.
Victim: Fredrick Kalirande
Corp: Universal Star
Alliance: HELM Alliance
Damage Taken: 3212
Name: Taurean Eltanin (laid the final blow)
Corp: The Tuskers
Weapon: Gatling Pulse Laser II
Damage Done: 3212
1MN MicroWarpdrive I
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Expanded Cargohold I
Sisters Core Scanner Probe, Qty: 4
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I, Qty: 2
Core Probe Launcher I
Small Shield Booster I
Expanded Cargohold I, Qty: 2
Sisters Combat Scanner Probe, Qty: 8 (Cargo)
Core Scanner Probe I, Qty: 8 (Cargo)
The Loki had landed right on top of me, so I turned into a tight orbit and prepared myself to go down fighting. My guns started chewing into his shields and his guns...
... did not a whole lot, actually. I think it dawned on us at the same time that by jumping in at zero the Loki had let me get under his guns, and while my ability to kill him was in doubt, he clearly did not have the ability to kill me.
As my guns pulled him down to about half shields I start asking for backup in the corp chat, explaining that I had a Loki pointed. The response came back, and a couple of nearby Tuskers started moving in.
Around about the same time, the Loki pilot starts freaking out. Perhaps he's only just noticed my corp patch or something, because he has definitely changed his mind about this encounter. I starts manual piloting at top speed in all kinds of directions, trying to shake me. I respond by manual piloting to stay in range.
Then, all of a sudden, I take some actual damage. A lot of actual damage. When that thing does hit, it hits HARD.
My overview told me that he had finally managed to pull some range, and that's when I belatedly realized that my afterburner was off! With everyone jumping in on top of me I had not needed to turn it on, and in the excitement I had forgotten to do so later.
With the damage starting to pile up, I knew that I did not have a chance to get back under his guns; I was barely faster than he was, and he was too far away. Instead, I overheated my afterburner and moved away, breaking his point.
That was apparently good enough for the Loki, as he warped out of there even faster than I did - fast enough that I was even able to scoop the Anethema's loot.
With great sadness, I told my fellow Tuskers that the Loki had escaped.
Post battle review:
Finding the Anathema was a little bit of knowledge about exploring and a whole lot of luck. I made a pretty rubbish go of my first ransom attempt. I lost control of negotiations and gave him far too much time to arrange backup. I have since seen that other Tuskers have personal ransom channels with default instructions to speed things along. I shall have to look into that.
Lessons for the future:
That night I upgraded the afterburner on my Punisher to T2. It allows me to hit over 1km/s overheated. I'm not letting something like this happen again.
I'm also going to completely revise my approach to ransoms. I'm going to give this some more thought, though.