September 2, 2010

Suicide Tackling

"System is clear of hostiles, proceeding to next system."
These systems are not frequented by large gangs.
They are rather resource-poor, and constitute of a long pipe of systems easily scouted if any valuable cargo passes through.

"Three friendlies here. Moving on."

However, the dead silence gives lone pilots a semblance of security.

"Red in system, hold on out gate, don't jump. Scanning system."

This could be nice. Nothing on scan from my position... Hopefully he's not one of those annoying bastards who park their ship in dead space, turn on their cloaking device, and take a nap. Maybe if I try scanning near the station here...

"Ishtar on scan at angle of 30 from planet III! He's moving towards the gate to next system. Pursuing."

The fun part about hunting on a system pipe is that any prey has only two gates to warp to: the one my team is on the other side of, or the one I'm warping to in order to catch him. He could be problematic, though. The Ishtar hits a Rifter hard, and I can't dodge the damage since most of it is from fast-moving drones. I'll have to shoot them down.

"Ishtar jumped. Jump into system, warp to out gate and jump on contact, fire ASAP."

Jumping after him. He saw my Rifter, and might try to escape. I deactivate the jump cloak, and fire up my thrusters, getting up to speed. He hasn't uncloaked yet.

Ah, there he is. Target. Turn microwarpdrive and damage control units on. Approach, orbit at 2500 meters, aaaand activate warp scrambler. Activate stasis web, and the Ishtar is immobilized.

"Point! Jump in and take him down, go go go!"
As he scrambles my ship, my microwarpdrive fizzles, and my Rifter's speed is jerked to only what my thrusters can provide. He's put out Warrior II drones, and their autocannons are already chewing through my shields. Targeting them, I fire and overload my own autocannons, and manage to pop one of the drones. He puts out another. My shields are running low.

Activate armor repairer, activate energy vampire, tighten up my orbit to 1000 meters, I'm not dodging his blasters well enough.

Friendly ships start appearing next to me. A hardy Rupture cruiser slowly moves in rage of the Ishtar and activates its warp scrambler. My job is done. Another of the cruisers from my gang, an Arbitrator, appears and releases a wave of Hammerhead II drones that start pounding on the Ishtar.

A transmission comes in:
"Good tackle, Petrus. Get safe."

"Disengaging and distancing."
I'm still scrambled, damn it, and my armor repair nanobots can't keep up with the damage. Moving away, my relative transversal velocity lowers, and his blasters punch holes through my armor. My structure is on fire.

A friendly Blackbird cruiser gets a lock on the Ishtar, and activates its electronic countermeasure systems. The Ishtar's scrambler and guns go offline. Another transmission.
"He's jammed, get out!"

"Warp drive active, aligning."
An explosion jerks me out of my alignment. The drones! They don't go offline when their host ship gets jammed. Their explosive rounds pierce through my last structural beams. Eject.

"Petrus down."
I float away in my escape pod as my Rifter explodes in a brilliant ball of fire behind me. Unable to get a new targeting order from their host ship, the drones go offline. Safe now, I watch the Ishtar succumb to the combined firepower of my comrades.

As it goes up in flames and its pilot warps away in his escape pod, I ponder on the power of many. Individually, a heavy assault ship like the Ishtar would have torn apart any of our cruisers. He was also likely nimble enough to escape the cruiser trio if he knew it was coming.

Some call me a "suicide tackler". That's fairly accurate, considering my tackle can very well end up with my ship in a ball of fire. If it does so too early, my target can get away, and I lose a ship pointlessly. Is it worth it? I look over the combat log.
"Heh guys, this Ishtar cost that poor sucker 135 mil in ship plus fittings. That's about the whole worth of our gang. Great kill."

"Yep. Say, Petrus, need some cash for a new Rifter so we can continue?"

"Nah, just gimme those drones left inactive in space. I can sell them and fit up a new tackle ship next system over. I'll have some cash left over, too."

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