The 5 AU/s warp bubble created by the Republic Frigate warp drive collapsed, depositing the crew within 30 km of the two dueling frigates. The Succubus was thundering in an oblong circular pattern around the Firetail at better than 3km/s, a speed possibly indicative of a small, maneuverable EVE Online ship equipped with a 5MN Microwarpdrive. The heavier, armor upgraded Republic Frigate may have been too heavy to catch the Succubus in a dead sprint after all…
Judging timing and angle of velocity, a predictive course to intercept the trajectory of the enemy ship was successful, in one respect. The nose of the Rifter tipped starboard and the thrusters burst into unbridled life, but the thrust exerted on the frigate was slightly muffled. The onset was subtle and the effect short lived, but a difference was obviously noticeable.
Capt. Patroklus had no idea that the specifications for the armor plating installed on her vessel had changed, resulting in the previously applied speed penalty being replaced by a mass penalty. Regardless of a number of factors, the warp scrambler was uselessly engaged on the Succubus as the Rifter blasted into range on an extreme transversal. To the genuine surprise of the captain, the velocity of the target vessel remained completely unchanged-despite the savage warp scrambling. Without deactivating the equipped microwarpdrive, the Rifter attempted to align turning angles with the Succubus.
Regardless of the maneuvering of the Rifter, the Succubus’ flight path and velocity remained completely uneffected as it landed volley after volley squarely into the armor of the stationary Firetail. Too much faith in the ships agility led to the selection of an incorrect course heading, causing its velocity to fall dramatically. The Succubus, having landed a long range webifier cycle of its own on the Rifter, pulled out of range of the 200mm autocannons again immediately.
Capt. Patroklus gave chase again at first, attempting once more to land a volley from the fitted J5 Enduring Warp Scrambler. Quickly it became obvious that a simple command to approach wouldn’t work to catch this quick and crafty crew. Changing direction to port, the main thrusters of the Rifter launched it back toward the Firetail, still sitting motionless as it was before the Rifter arrived. Patroklus was unable to communicate with the ally, and so was instead reduced to hopeful thinking that the Firetail would seek escape in any window possible.
Crossing directly in front of the Firetail, the Rifter charged the Succubus once more, this time catching it with its own equipped stasis webifier. The Succubus’ velocity dropped predictably in response. Now within electronic warfare range of the Succubus, the Rifter tumbled in a wobbling trajectory as it struggled to establish an orbit. The angle of attack had been too high relative to the velocity of approach to land any consistent volleys from the autocannons. A dozen volleys were fired and landed at about 50% accuracy.
Most glanced off the hyper-fluorescent glow of the electromagnetic shields, with only a handful of shots registering any effect at all on the overall shield level. The nose pulled ever more toward port as the autocannons struggled to track the Succubus through the violent, high speed turn. More glancing blows chipped uselessly from the periphery of the otherwise transparent energy orb surrounding the enemy frigate. At such a close range the size of the shield became more obvious.
It was gigantic; easily twice the size of any frigate Capt. Patroklus ever remembered seeing in the warzone. As the trajectory of the Rifter finally stabilized, the Succubus launched a final volley into the failing hull of the Firetail, killing remaining crew and spilling all contents of the vessel into the gaping maw of the void. The rescue mission had failed. The Republic Frigate was now left to fight the Succubus alone.