Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Solving Small Problems

After several days of futile searching for RAZOR transports in empire space, I decided to load up the EVOL Blackguard for a move to the Delve Region. Having recently completed max certification in its unique fleet warfare systems, I thought it might be good to have on upcoming capital operations. Giving capital fleets maximum bonuses to defensive armor systems is a vital function in large scale engagements I have found.

I ordered the crew to reconfigure the Blackguard to a warpcore hardened travel specification, and then we started off on our 40+ jump. It was quite uneventful except for the lone RAZOR pilot spotted on scanner 20 jumps into the trip. A wise philosopher once said “You only find what you are looking for by trying not to find it.” I suppose that is true this regards. Not having full combat systems online, we decided to bypass and stick to the mission of moving the ship down.

4 jumps away from my destination I ran into a strange site: a lone GoonFleet Drake class battlecruiser, lazily circling the outbound gate at 13km range. There were no scouts in the previous systems, and I highly doubted they were closer to our regional HQ. Sure enough he targeted my Damnation and let a few heavy missiles fly…stripping the shields of the Blackguard. While wanting to fight, I know it would have been a stalemate. Both ships are known for their massive defensive capabilities, but with little firepower. We would have traded blows for an hour before he ran out of heavy scourge type missiles.

I jumped and signaled ahead to the HQ station to prep the EVOL Vitae, the sister ship to the Blackguard but an Absolution class vessel known for its heavy firepower. Once arriving I boarded quickly and formed a fleet with two Evolution members, one in a Damnation command ship and the other in a Brutix battlecruiser. Once we had our systems loaded we started our hunt.

Sure enough, 5 systems away was the GS Drake still looking for easy targets. This time, with the Absolution I quickly engaged. Once I saw the Drake deploy both a warp disruptor and propulsion webifier, I knew he was in serious trouble. To fit both systems to any Caldari hull ship was trading off a lot of defensive power just to hold its prey in place. Unfortunately for him…I was not the prey this time. The Damnation jumped in once I had my own disruptor and webifier engaged on the target, and let loose with a barrage of heavy assault missiles at close range. The Drake, sensing what had happened, quickly shut down its offensive systems to use the Jumpgate as a retreat. We ordered the Brutix in the fleet to standby on the other side of the gate if he made it through…but luckily for us, he did not. The Drake’s shields buckled under the massive firepower brought to bear, giving a swift kill to the crews involved.

Later we had learned this was a solo GS Drake hitting BoB shipping deep in our territory. A sweet kill indeed as he was finally dispatched. It was only a small problem for our alliance shipping, but it was still satisfying in solving it in an efficient manner.

Having seen over 2 years worth of intelligence reports on the entity known as “GoonSwarm”, I have come to the personal conclusion that the entire pod alliance has been infected with some sort of mutated strain of the Sansha’s virus. Although it has never been proven that the virus affects pod pilots, I believe it has mutated to a point of creating chaos within the alliance it affects, while giving the pilots some retention of humanity. The tactical options that are always chosen by GS have always been bad ones…but their incredible number of pilots flying under their banner makes up for any deficiencies found in their command structure. Needing at least 4 to 1 odds to achieve anything really meaningful in a strategic sense, they simply ‘Swarm’ to their stated objectives.

The GS Drake pilot we destroyed could have been a straggler from some roaming operation, or cut off from his way home and just decided to suicide in Delve by taking some unsuspecting ships with him…but more likely than not, he was simply driven mad I believe.

Although destroyed many years ago, Sansha (and his Empire) may actually have the last laugh yet in the Eve Cluster.

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