Pietro was not a skilled combat pilot like the Forelli cousins. Since his early days at the academy he had idolized them. Cara was several years older, and to Pietro’s knowledge, unaware of his existence. Yooch had always been kinder, answering his countless questions as a fresh young capsuleer in training. They still kept in touch, though Yooch was a hard man to reach, with his penchant for exploring the unknown. Cara though, had just joined Green Skull LLC. Pietro couldn’t believe his ears when he heard the news. Cara Forelli, leading combat operations in his humble corporation. He was determined to catch her attention.
He was floating inside the forcefield, processing applications, when the first reports of war targets reached him. They had been sighted a few systems away. Scanning the corporation activity log he saw a mining operation taking place in that system. Well, they knew the risks of mining during a war. Scanning the list of ships involved he didn’t see anything too expensive, and the evacuation order had been made.
Then on comms: “The Orca has been tackled. I repeat, the Orca is warp disrupted”.
Orca? Fury flared in him. He had been very specific. There would be no Orcas at the mining sites during the war. Nevertheless he gunned his engine and aligned his blackbird toward the gate. A few mining barges were one thing, but that Orca was like a giant beached whale, probably costing more than it’s volume in ISK. They were going to need all hands on deck.
As he raced through the systems more details trickled through comms. It seemed the aggressors had a Federation Navy Comet, a Dramiel, and an Astero. Checking his systems, he had equipped two magnetometric jammers, one gravimetric jammer, and a LADAR jammer. It was a decent spread and it would have to do; there was no time to refit his ship.
The first system he passed through had been camped by pirates all morning. They were nowhere to be seen, but the wreckage surrounding the gates hinted that they were quite successful. Jumping into the next system, he asked for a status update; the Orca was taking heavy fire which was beginning to pierce its armor plating. He was just one system out now. Maybe, just maybe, he would make it there in time.
Under Pietro’s instruction Willie warped a Griffin to the asteroid belt in an attempt to slow down the attackers. Taking advantage of its short range, the enemy frigates quickly reduced it to space dust with their small swarm of drones. However, it had bought Pietro time to arrive, and he instructed his ship to warp at range to the Orca. Landing 50 kilometers away from it, he immediately began targeting each of the enemy ships.
All three ships were jamming the Orca’s warp drive. Pietro had just four sensor jammers. He activated the first magnetometric sensor jammer on the Comet and it failed. A nervous sweat breaking out, he activated the backup jamming system and successfully broke the Comet’s target lock.
Announcing his success on comms, he looked up in time to see a large chunk of the Orca break off and ricochet from a nearby asteroid. It was still operational, but taking heavy structure damage. Quickly returning his attention to the computer, Pietro activated his LADAR jammer on the Dramiel. It succeeded as well. Two down, one to go….
The Astero was a unique ship. It used a magnetometric sensor like Comet. Unfortunately, it had taken both of his magnetometric jammers to break the Comet’s lock. Pietro activated his only remaining jammer, which was designed for gravimetric systems, and prayed for a lucky cross-jam.
Success! He couldn’t believe it; all three enemy ships were jammed, but the jammer cycles would soon need to renew. He screamed into the microphone at the Orca pilot to enter warp. Just as the magnetometric jammer renewed its cycle and failed to jam the Comet, he saw the Orca slip away into the void. Cheers arose on comms when the announcement was made.
He was still a little giddy, but snapped out of it very quickly. Now three very angry frigate pilots were bearing down on him. The Dramiel arrived first of course, quickly followed by a horde of warrior drones controlled by the Astero. The LADAR system had failed to jam the Dramiel on this cycle and Pietro quickly found himself warp scrambled. His shields sparked and hissed as the warriors arrived and encircled his ship like flies on a rotten Fedo.
He activated his missile launchers, ripping into the shields of the Dramiel, but knowing it would not save him. He deactivated all the jamming systems on the Comet, which was still far away, and used them instead on the Dramiel, but failed to jam its LADAR targeting system with the magnetometric jammers.
As the last of his armor was blasted off the LADAR jammer recycled and succeeded in breaking the Dramiel’s lock. Suddenly finding himself able to warp, Pietro yanked the throttle and bashed through the warriors, leaving them scattered in his wake as his ship warped to a nearby customs office.
Checking his system integrity, the computer reported the hull to be about 30% intact. He bounced from planet to planet as he ran about the cockpit dousing fires, finally setting a course for the station where he could repair his ship.
Docking in the ship bay, cheers arose as he stepped from his ship. Everyone had been watching the fight on the system surveillance monitors and rushed to carry him back to the barracks for a well deserved drink. Finally shaking off his comrades, Pietro located Valhe and casually asked where Cara was during the fight.
She was asleep, resting up for the evenings’ combat roam. Wow.
Don’t take out the Orca I said,
But you decided to use it instead.
I know mining’s a bore,
But we are at war.
You’re lucky your ship isn’t dead.