Veteran Frigate Captain “KP” Returns To Light Up The Skies
Even after tempting fate against an agitated contingent of swarming Amarrian cowards from the captain’s seat of a T1 frigate, “KP” scored a kill on the first patrol of the week. Although the details of such excursions are typically kept hidden by the secretive militant group, I was lucky enough to be aboard the new ship of a familiar face.
From the viewfinder aboard the bridge of a battered Kestrel-class frigate, alarms blared and sirens screamed their acknowledgement of the wounds that had only just been inflicted upon the metal flesh of the well-constructed ship. The engines had just begun to spool back down when the shields finally began to flicker back online. Although a classically Caldari vessel, the HL-“Shield” was manned by a crew that could only be truly classified as quintessentially Minmatar.
Some of the ships components were engineered with beautifully simplistic innovation; others were seemingly completely arbitrary. The crew quarters had the unfortunate appearance of a morgue with failing air conditioning; rows of giant drawers, each large enough to comfortably house a king-sized bed lined a long, dark, noisy corridor. In each bed slept a single crew member. It was an ingenius use of space, and once you got used to it, was actually quite cozy.
But on the other hand, each officer, despite the obvious irony of the gesture, brought aboard small arms in the form of pulse rifles and hand cannons. They brought plenty of ammunition too; it was rumored that some classified MLF missions take place so far beyond enemy lines that planetary incursions are common. Although strictly prohibited by CONCORD, KP has broken the atmosphere of many planets in search of allied prisoners of the Pendulum War.
And during these outlawed excursions, the locals, often, are less than welcoming to a ship full of liberators; Amarrian planets are often overrun with the poor, the destitute; the enslaved. The overlords often resort to planetary defense guns to “defend their way of life,” doing anything possible to prevent large contingents of visitors from introducing their foreign poisonous cultural equity to the oppressed masses. In this way, the spent husks of the ships of many unwitting merchants and smugglers litter the immediate skies around countless planets inhabited by overly cautious locals.
The Kestrel had just survived a frontal assault of an enemy ship captained by Dalnas Saran, but hadn’t quite won the exchange. Despite scoring multiple good hits from powerful missile volleys at range, the navigator somehow miscalculated range on the first approach. Despite there being plenty of room to turn, the Kestrel struggled to build speed in the turn required to increase its transversal angle and speed in relation to the overpowered enemy ship.
Due to this dangerous mistake, HL-“Shield” took heavy damage from the Coercer-class destroyer’s synchornized rows of beam launchers. As those scorching beams tore through the shields, the armor, and eventually, into the hull of the Kestrel, KP, the captain of the ship for this patrol and a decorated MLF officer, ordered a retreat.
According to the official report, the Kestrel was fitted for speed, not armor; although it was capable of hitting targets from greater than 40km, anything around its size that got closer could cause a serious problem if not dealt with very quickly. This meant that a much larger ship that could get within weapon range could render the Kestrel nothing more than a shipwreck in just a few seconds unless extra care is taken to survive.
KP disregarded that extra care.
How Not To Kill A Coercer With A Kestrel In EVE Online
In a delicate stellar dance of death, the Kestrel flung volley after volley of missiles, each of which landed on the Coercer. But it seemed that every time the Coercer was hit by missles, it immediately countered with lasers. It became evident that, although the lasers did miss once in a while, they were intimidatingly accurate – even from range. The missiles of the Kestrel were reaching the Coercer and doing considerable damage, but the lasers of the Coercer still were wreaking havoc on the defenses of the frigate. The lasers were hitting the target almost instantaneously, but the missiles could take a considerable delay to hit.
Just a couple of volleys resulted in considerable damage stacking up on the seemingly doomed frigate. As the engines started to overheat due to dangerous levels of exertion, the last level of defenses for the Kestrel failed. The shields blinked entirely out and without their invisible barrier, the lasers freely made bright, audible contact with the hull of the ship, throwing splashes of red, liquified metal from the body of the Kestrel. The situation was becoming critical.
In a bid to abruptly increase transversal velocity to avoid incoming laser cannon fire, the Kestrel dove toward the Coercer with battered engines screaming at such a pitch as to precursor some imminent explosion. But the wreckless speed was necessary for the close proximity 90 degree starboard maneuver, which cost the frigate the majority of its kinetic energy to execute. In an almost ideally smooth drift, the Coercer would fire its primary weapon just as the Kestrel slid past the highest G portion of the turn. Despite the great care taken with the speed and angles, the laser somehow connected, clipping the Kestrel along the base of the port wing.
But before the ships structure could be completely destroyed, the Kestrel fired one final volley of missles before deftly blasting into hyperspace, along the new trajectory carved by the turn, leaving a hail of missiles that tracked their target even as the frigate escaped in a twinkle in the night sky. There was a concerning banging accompanied by a clanking of metal against metal coming from outside the range of the viewfinders as the Kestrel steadied itself under the strain of a jump into hyperspace.
After the tortured engines ceased their horrifying rattling and the Kestrel finally glid under its own kinetic energy, the rockets, again, were engaged at the command of the navigation officer, and the battered frigate sprang to life, hurtling forth on a return course through hyperspace – to retaliate for the beating it just took. Although the Kestrel was badly damaged and belching smoke from the main thrusters intermittently, KP thrust the damaged vessel and its shaken crew right back into the fray.
How To Kill A Coercer With A Kestrel In EVE Online
Pulling back out of hyperspace, the crew of HL-“Shield” observed the Coercer, still on grid, harassing multiple friendly vessels. Two were cargo ships, obviously very important to the war effort. The Coercer was attacking one of them. There were multiple frigates escorting the transport vessels, but none appeared equipped to defend against the interloper.
Despite the damage to the Caldari ship and the uncertainty of outcome, KP fearlessly, and without consideration for personal harm, engaged the enemy vessel from a distance of 30 – 40 km with missiles outfitted with explosive warheads. The steady pressure caused the shelds of the Coercer to finally fail, leaving each volley of the Ketrels devastating missile attack to connect directly with the body of the ship.
But in the face of almost certain destruction, the crew watched out the viewfinder as one of the transport ships erupted into a beautiful, red and yellow ball of flame, at a distance from which the bodies flung from it in all directions were completely invisible, but you still knew they were all there. Someone on the bridge let out a yelp.
To distract the Coercer from the second transport ship, KP instructed the navigations officer to dip closer than the 30km mark multiple times. Eventually, the sluggish Coercer couldn’t help but chase; but with less than 2km/s max velocity, there was very little chance that the Coercer would ever actually catch that frigate. Deftly maneuvering manually while working the throttle, KP managed to keep HL- “Shield” within striking range with its own missles – but out of the range of the rows of laser cannons.
Eventually the Coercer appeared to switch targets again, back to the transport ship, while aligning out to the nearest star; in EVE Online, aligning a ship to a celestial object and engaging the engines are the first steps in attempting to jump into hyperspace using the warp drive. According to reports, when KP calculated that the Coercer was attempting to do this, KP activated the Long Point and set an orbit around 20km while continuing to drop volleys of explosive missiles with pinpoint accuracy.
The Coercer, its warp drive entangled in a beautifully timed disrupting snare, failed to make the jump into hyperspace. The sustained missile attack, although not enough to completely destroy the destroyer in a single blow, eventually wore down the strange Amarrian vessel. Defenses were destroying its capacitor reserve levels, which caused its weapon system to fail. Without energy to activate the crystals and fire deadly beams of blasted light, the Coercer floated helpless overhead.
With the Coercer unable to use mission-critical systems, the Kestrels thrusters could finally be brought to a sustainable load at a safe distance. Almost immediately, the capacitor began to regain its eery, yellow glow as the stream of disrupting particles from the long point appeared, flickered, faded, and reappeared strong and sharp between the Kestrel and the trapped Coercer.
The Amarrian captain noticed the long point too late, failing to destroy the transport convoy, and failing to escape with his life from the Matari Liberation Front. Although the fight was against a Coercer, this victory gets added to the solo frigate pvp record of the ship commander.