Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Caracal That Could

I've talked on the blog before about Monkeys with Guns. (BNANA) and the philosophy we fly by that we call Fly Fearless. Flying Fearless dictates that if there is any chance for victory, you take it. If there's no chance for escape, you take as many of your enemy with you as you can. Fortune favors the bold as they say, and sometimes being bold at an unexpected time forces the other guy to lose his cool and make mistakes. Costly mistakes.

Flying a solo cruiser in lowsec is almost always an adventure
Our story begins earlier today. Mirana Niranne is our Executor, and sometimes likes to have alone time, away from fleets and dealing with diplomatic incidents where a member of Noob Mercs had their overviews set wrong and killed someone they shouldn't... again. The chosen solo ship of the day was a fairly standard rapid light Caracal, designated K-19 (you might have heard of a Soviet submarine of the same designation). Nothing exotic, susceptible to gate camps, but the target system was only 3 jumps, so YOLO. K-19 was off on a presumably routine Loyalty Point smash & grab with a hopeful side of PvP.

The target system of choice today was Pavanakka. Pavanakka was recently captured by the Caldari, and is on a well traveled route, though the system itself is of little importance. Upon arriving in system, K-19's captain took stock in local. 1 war target, 1 neutral in an NPC corp... possibly a booster alt. A medium complex was already open (T2 cruisers and smaller ships) as well as some smaller complexes.

"The medium was out of scan range, so I opted to just warp in at 10. Hit a D-Scan when I landed, nothing showed up so I headed in. A squid (ethnic slur for a Caldari national) had been running the plex for a short bit already as  the timer was at 21:40 or so when the NPC blew up. Still nothing on scans, so I settled in at a perch about 20k off the warp in and began the long wait." -Mirana Niranne
The original K-19, Soviet Submarine
Little did K-19's captain know, the medium complex was, in fact, already occupied. Caldari pilot Piquituerto (the squid in local) had arrived some time prior and had cloaked up his Rapier in hopes of catching some unsuspecting Gallente plex runner in a frigate, destroyer, or even a short range cruiser. A Caracal, unfortunately, usually has some range.  Piquituerto decided to bide his time in the hope that a fellow militia mate would happen along before the plex ran out, and with the help of his Rapier, they could make short work of the Caracal. He too began the long wait.

The minutes were dragging. With about 10 minutes left,  a Corax showed up on short range scans, but left again.  A couple Caldari popped in and out of local, but it didn't look like anyone was looking for a fight. Mirana's attention began to wander.

"After the corax bailed, I was pretty sure I'd brought the wrong ship and wasn't going to get a fight. Nothing was going on and my attention started to wander. I refreshed short scan every 30 seconds or so (it takes about 45 seconds from showing up at 150 million to actually landing inside the plex, longer if they sit on the gate outside to think about it) and nothing was showing. There were about 45 seconds left, and I was looking away from the screen, reading something on my laptop when I heard the buzz telling me a combat timer had been started. I looked over to see myself tackled by a Rapier about 4k off of me, and thought 'Well, that sucks.'"

I'm double webbed at this point, and taking damage from 3 medium and 2 light drones. The Mjolnir Fury missiles I had loaded I didn't dare use, he's a minmatar T2, so that'll probably be his highest resist. I decided to gamble that he didn't bother boning up his explosive resists and switched to Nova. I was already at 80% shields before I fired the first shot. I had nothing left to lose really, so I just went for broke." -Mirana Niranne
The Captain of K-19 at this point was looking at a no-win situation. Best case: the Rapier gets chased off and gets away. Worst case: the Caracal is forfeit. With 2 webs on it and only a long point for tackle, K-19 was limited to 460 m/s while the Rapier was able to top out at over 1700 m/s. With a 47km range with Fury light missiles, the Caracal's only hope was to force the rapier out of point range before going down for a chance to escape.

"But then I start to notice as I'm dipping past 50% shields, that he is too. His shields were dropping faster than mine, and for a brief minute I'm worried he's armor tanked the damn thing and I'm completely fucked. But he must have noticed the situation at about the same time, because he started to pull range." -Mirana Niranne
Piquituerto did not armor tank his ship, and once he realized the Caracal would eat through his tank before he could eat through the Caracal, he panicked. He started making mistakes. Hist first mistake was actually made even before the fight started. By having his guns loaded with Barrage ammo and his 3 medium drones all doing explosive damage, he played right into K-19's strongest resist profile. His next mistake was that once he panicked, Piquituerto simply burned AWAY from K-19, and did not align to something he could warp to.

"So he's burning off to nowhere and he finally breaks my point. I see him start to align out, so I figure he's hit warp. I quickly hit overheat on my point giving me the 28k range and hit him with it one more time. He stopped dead just as his shields went down. I think it took him a second to realize his engines cut when I cancelled his warp because I caught up to him by maybe 1k or so and he started burning AWAY again. He finally got out to 30k and hit his warp again, he was in structure at that point." -Mirana Niranne
Piquituerto's 3rd mistake was again burning off to nowhere. Had he re-aligned towards whatever celestial he was trying to warp to, he might have escaped. His 4th and final mistake was in not shutting down his MWD when he tried to warp out, causing his ship to take several extra seconds to align out and get to speed.

"After he broke point that second time, the first volley that hit him put him to about 70% structure. 2nd one brought him to about 20%, and I'm thinking he should be in warp and gone at any second when the 3rd volley popped him." -Mirana Niranne

Kill Link

[18:59:21] Mirana Niranne > gf buddy
[18:59:40] Piquituerto > why i didn't warp -_-'
[18:59:49] Mirana Niranne > takes time to align
[19:00:07] Mirana Niranne > esp with mwd on
2 minutes later,  Piquituerto would be podded by a smart bombing battleship just off the highsec entry gate to Ichorya. Lowsec can be a dangerous place.

And that friends, is the story of how keeping your cool in a no-win situation can lead to unexpected results. Even in a fight you have no business winning, the other guy could cock things up just enough to lose... and you could be the hero.


  1. Thoroughly entertaining read - all BRs should be written this way.

    Also, nice kill.

  2. Great story! Damn I've missed this game :D