Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mmmmmm, Nice Gate Camp! Oh *$£&!!!!

Made a note in my diary on the way here, simply says: "Bugger"
- Captain Darling

The good people at Uppers N Downers are a bit busy making boosters to supply the yearning masses of New Eden. Hopefully "Boosters - Part 2" will be up at the weekend. In the mean time..... I jumped slap bang into a gate-camp a couple of days ago whilst soloing in my Hurricane. I'm sure everyone who has played Eve has had a "Oh Bugger!" moment like that. But what would it be like through the eyes of the character.....

"Well that's a bit of a shit!" thought Drackarn.

He'd just jumped through the stargate and could see half a dozen battlecruisers plus interceptor support set around the gate. As a outlawed pirate he doubted they'd hesitate for a micro-second before attacking him. The cloaking field from the stargate gave him a limited time to assess the situation.

Fight? No chance. Totally outnumbered and outgunned.
Suicide it? Nothing really small enough to destroy before they would destroy me. Might get that interceptor if lucky, but 720mm howitzers are not designed for hitting small, manoeuvrable ships.
Tank it and call for support? No time. The cloak would be down soon and it would take five minutes for anyone to get here. He was on his own. His tank couldn't stand up to that gangs fire power for more than 20-30 seconds.
Run? Drackarn looked at any celestial that his warp drive could lock onto without too much manoeuvring. There was a planet ahead, but it was a good few degrees off his current alignment. His ship would need time to align and the chances are someone would be able to lock him and engage him with a warp disrupter.
Burn back to the gate? An option, but an obvious manoeuvre. They'd probably hold some ships from agressing and jump them through to catch him the other side of the gate. However, if they all did agress....

Time was almost up. His cloak would end in a few seconds. His decision would literally be life or death to the hundreds of men and women aboard his ship.

Just before the cloak faded, Drackarn selected the planet in front and willed his ship to warp. His cloak dropped and he instantly saw all the surrounding ships targeting him. Yellow threat indicators where everywhere. His velocity was picking up as his warpdrive spun up, he was nearly aligned and then at that point his ship would warp. Suddenly his speed rapidly decreased, one of the ships had managed to lock him and get a warp distributor on him. The gravaton beam had hit the warp core and there was no way he'd be able to warp off now.

His shields started dropping at the same time as the rest of the fleet opened fire.

"Only one thing for it, I got a need for speed!"

Drackarn willed his battlecruiser back around towards the startgate and activated his microwarp drive. His velocity shot up as he started to cover the 12km back to the gate. At 2.5km he could jump. He was approaching 1200m/s. 8 or 9 long seconds of travel under relentless firepower. He disabled the thermal cut-offs to his MWD and shield modules. They'd take some damage being overloaded like that, but not as much if the damn ship blew up!

Drackarn's body was serene, floating in the hydrostatic pod. His calm body was in stark contrast to the rest of the ship. In gunnery people held onto bulkheads as the ship lurched under heavy fire. The sirens and alarms blaring out that the ship was under attack made if difficult to hear. Down in engineering it was chaos. Smoke filled the air as the modules were overloaded and the crew desperately tied to squeeze every bit of extra power to the shields that they could. The warp core hissed and spat behind it's shielding as the enemy gravton beam disrupted it. Power conduits were blowing out due to the damage from the attackers and the overloading of the shields. Several engineers had been overcome by the smoke and had collapsed on the floor unconscious.

Suddenly the ship lurched and the speed dropped again. Someone had got him with a warp scrambler and the MWD had gone offline. 5km. The ship then slowed even more, checking the threats engaging him Drackarn saw one ship had activated a stasis webbifer. The gravity weapon was substantially slowing his ship. Less than 3km. So close yet now crawling. The low shield alarm was sounding. His battlecruiser didn't have very much armour, it was fitted with shield reinforcement modules not additional armour plates. He'd not last long after the shields died.

Drackarn reassessed the attacking fleet, it looked like he might get into jump range. Were they all agressed? Stargates systems would not let anyone jump who had activated aggressive modules in the last 60 seconds. Providing they hadn't already had someone jump back through to set up on the other side of the gate and they were all agressed he could actually make it. Another check of the enemy fleet. A yellow flashing box on an Amarrian Interceptor stood out. The pilot had not agressed. He was waiting to see if Drackarn would go down in this system and he could get a final shot in to officially record his share of the pirate kill, or if Drackarn jumped, he'd jump with him and do what interceptor ships are designed for. Snagging and holding other ships until the fleet catches up.

Drackarn's armour was failing. A few more seconds and the ship would be lost, he was in jump range. He held off activating the gate. Hoping the interceptor would think he was going down and fire upon him.

The low armour alarm went off. Drackarn had no choice. And activated the stargate. His battlecruiser vanished into the artificial wormhole.

There was no time for assessments, no time to think. The interceptor must have followed him and if he didn't get away immediately he'd have to fight the interceptor and kill it before their fleet was able to jump through. However, his 720mm artillery cannons were not designed to hit something as small or as fast as an interceptor. He need either to get away fast or he'd need to be one lucky son-of-a-bitch and get a fluke hit on the interceptor if it grabbed him.

When jumping through stargates, it takes time for the ship systems to re-engage properly. That is why all gates provide a short-duration cloaking field. To give anyone using them a chance to recover from the jump. The cloak lasts 30 seconds but the ship recovery time can take anything from 1 second to over 20 seconds.

Drackarn smiled for the first time in a while as his systems came online almost instantly after the jump. He saw a planet in a good alignment and hit warp. His lumbering battlecruiser started aligning and spinning up the warp drive. The interceptor decloaked. He was in range to tackle Drackarn. He started yellow boxing but Drackarn's battlecruiser slipped into warp before the interceptor could achieve a target lock.

At last some good news, but things were not over yet. He was heading to a planet and unless the interceptor pilot was blind he'd follow. Interceptors warped faster than battlecruisers and also aligned much faster, so even though Drackarn had entered warp first, that interceptor would be close behind if not overtaking him. A quick sweep on the ships directional scanner showed that he was indeed following. Now all Drackarn needed was a little bit of luck. Did the interceptor warp directly to the planet, or did he select some range.

The warp tunnel collapsed and the planet loomed in front of Drackarn. He immediately selected a station and engaged warp. For the forth time since this began the battlecruiser started is painfully slow alignment. The interceptor appeared on Drackarn's overview. He was here..... 100km away and much nearer to the planet! Drackarn had set his warp drive to take him 100km from the planets warp in point. The interceptor pilot had assumed he'd gone to zero.

Trailing smoke and fire from the damaged sections of the ship, Drackarn's battlecruiser slipped into warp and docked in the safety of the station hanger.

"I need a drink!" thought Drackarn as his docking request was accepted.

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