Friday, December 6, 2013

The Sleeping Carrier

A ping comes up on our comm system letting me know that our FC is calling for a patrol fleet to move out of our staging system of Doril and see what we can find in the neighboring regions.  We have no set patrol path that we are going to take and no idea what we might find.  Our ship of choice for this patrol is artillery fit muninn with support ships.

I decide that this would be a nice distraction and who knows we might actually get to kill something.  It has happened on most of the patrols that we find something to engage.  I give the order to the system to have my muninn prepped and ready to go for me by the time I reach the docking bay.  The docking manager who we all affectingly call scotty, who knows what his real name is they are all scotty to the capsuleers, knows better than to keep a capsuleer waiting when we call for our ships.  It is good that my crews know as well I have never had one of the XO’s on my ships tell me that they aren’t ready for instant undock because a crew member is late.  Given the amount of isk I am paying these crews the XO’s know better than to keep me waiting and with that money I can afford to hire only the best of crews anyways from all over the four empires.

My muninn is ready to go and I dock my pod with it waiting while the others come back from individual patrols or other operations within the region or even for those that have gone to the upper levels of the station to have something to eat.  As I wait, I confirm that I have enough ammo and that the ship is fully ready for combat.  Given that this is an artillery fitted muninn I am not carrying huge amounts of ammo we generally don’t fire all that rapidly so we don’t need the extra that you would find if this was an auto-cannon set up.  I have about 5000 rounds of various types loaded into the cargo hold and a full flight of warrior II light combat drones.

The FC gives the order to undock and the fleet prepares to move out.  We warp first to one of the starbases that the alliance has put up in the system to get a feel for exact numbers and who is flying what ship, always a critically important issue to make sure that we have the right number and type of ships on the fleet.  Once the FC is happy with the ratio of our muninn to the support ships he gives the order and we head out of the system.

We make a number of jumps and see very little activity along the way.  Encountering a handful of hostile ships that we engage and either destroy  or they run away from the fleet the size of the one we have.  Few of them isolated ships that attempt to engage us survive the encounter.

Nearly 45 minutes into the patrol and over 10 jumps from our base we encounter a situation where we are being hunted by an enemy fleet roughly the same size as our own.  Our rear scout has reported that we are being followed so we set up in the next system and get ready to ambush the enemy as they come in.  Right as we are warping away from the stargate disaster strikes and the FC’s computer systems on his command ship fail, leaving his ship vulnerable to attack and we have to wait for him to do an emergency restart on his command systems.

We sit for what seems like hours but in reality is just a few minutes while he frantically restarts his systems to get them back into our tactical links and with the fleet.  When his primary command processors go down the emergency back up system does a short warp to try and get him clear of any hostiles since his ship is now totally vulnerable to enemy attack.  While he is waiting for his systems to come back online the enemy fleet that has been pursuing us comes into the system and finding nothing on their short range tactical scans leaves again attempting catch up with us.  Unfortunately for them we have all gone to silent running and switched all of our ships to the lowest possible power levels.  Just enough to keep life support running within our ships and keep our crews alive.  I have lost all of my tactical readouts on the system and must simply wait for the pulsed communication from the FC when his ship is back operational to turn my systems back to full power.

Once he has gone through the restart protocol and his ship is fully operational we all bring our ships back to full power and get back into our tactical net and we are ready for battle again.  The delay in this lifeless/useless system has made it so that another enemy fleet has gotten between us and our home base by the shortest route available to us.  So the FC decides that we have no choice and will be heading back the long way.  While this is annoying it is better than having to replace a ship with all the costs of the mods, ammo and drones.

We make a couple jumps and our forward scout reports that he has found a carrier sitting in space near a starbase but outside the shield.  We get ready to engage and the FC has him warp in and attempt to get a point on the carrier.  We only need him to hold it for a few seconds while the rest of the fleet including our interdictors land and get their warp disruptor probes launched.

The call comes in to jump the gate and warp to our scout at zero and prepare to engage the enemy.  We enter the system and we all enter warp burning as fast as our engines will allow us to in an attempt to reach the enemy carrier before he jumps out of the system or warps away.

The fleet is in warp and our advanced scout is reporting that there is no hostile action from the carrier.  We are less than 1 AU away and closing fast….we all land and the dictor bubbles go up trapping the enemy carrier and us for the next two minutes we can’t warp away but neither can he.

I lock onto the carrier and open fire as does the rest of the fleet….no defensive action from the carrier….this is strange and we all begin to suspect this carrier is a trap and we are about to die but we continue to fire as rapidly as our weapons will cycle.

I zoom in on his ship looking for the telltale visual effects on the hull of armor or shield hardeners being activated…or shield boosting or armor repair systems being engaged.  I see nothing and neither does any other member of the fleet.  The capsuleer commander of the carrier doesn’t appear to realize that his ship is under attack.  We can tell by our scans that a capsuleer is in command of the ship, our systems show his presence within the command systems of the carrier but he makes no attempt to evade our attack nor does he launch fighters or combat drones to engage us at all during the attack.

His shields have dropped so rapidly we are convinced it is armor tanked but the armor is going down quickly as well.  So fast that we are now fully convinced that the capsuleer isn’t active for whatever reason and is allowing us to kill his carrier without a fight.  His ship enters structure and begins to burn in space as we continue to fire our artillery rounds into the hull.  The ship is bleeding air into space that our sensors can detect….it is clear that the wasn’t expecting this attack and that his ship has not cleared for action.

The hull collapses and the enemy carrier vanishes in an enormous ball of light and plasma as the reactors fail.  While I detect no crew escape pods the capsuleer has survived the destruction of his ship, we always do.  Our pods auto-eject in the millisecond before our ships are destroyed which always allows us the opportunity to escape.  None of his regular crew members survive the destruction of his ship, and still without showing any activity our fleet targets his escape pod and destroys it.  The capsuleer wakes back up in the clone vat wherever his medical clone is being stored having lost not only his carrier but his pod as well.

We loot the field for anything we can carry and head out of the system.

One the way back to our base we encounter virtually no one and the fleet spends the time speculating on what happened and why the capsuleer commander never responded to the attack.  We speculate that the sheer shock of the attack in what he thought was a safe/secured system has made him forget to do anything in his defense.  While this doesn’t make a great deal of sense in terms of capsuleer training we have no other viable explanation to his lack of defensive action to our attack.  ((He was clearly afk but afk outside a pos shield.  Noob.  We all wanted to hear his reaction on his alliance comms when he got back and realized he was down a carrier and a pod.))

Ranger Gama

Str8nge Brew

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