Taking the hits

8th September 2008 – 8.23 am

It is time to deal with a pirate invasion. This is the kind of straightforward mission I like to get from my agent, and my agent seems keen to offer me this kind of work. Go out and blow up some rats, she says. It takes all my presence of mind to remember to accept the mission before jumping in my pod and leaving dock, as there has been an occasion where I have had to sheepishly request docking permission only moments after hitting vacuum before. The rat invasion is in the current system, so I align my Drake to the reported location and activate the warp drive.

The rats aren't too keen on seeing a heavily armed battlecruiser warp in to deadspace and lock-on and open fire on me, but that's okay because I am also heavily armoured. Having been given advice on what systems to fit to my Drake I can now start to see the benefits. The 'passive' tank set-up extends and hardens the shields whilst increasing the recharge rate at the expense of capacitor output. Even though my shields had dropped to half power at one point the passive set-up had recharged them to over 75% strength by the end of the fight, and that was with my Drake taking a constant pounding. As missiles and gunfire continued to slam in to my shields the recharge rate was quick enough to mitigate most of the damage, and this is without the huge drain on the capacitor that a booster requires.

There are still more improvements to make my Drake's passive tank set-up more effective, both from buying higher-quality modules and skill training. I'll need it too, particulary if I make more rookie mistakes, like warping in to the third deadspace pocket and drawing two groups of enemy ships instead of one. As I warp in I notice a group of frigates close to my Drake and another couple of groups further away, with the more distant groups also containing cruisers. I lock on to a couple of the closer frigates, to keep track of what my drones are up to, as well as a locking on to a cruiser or two in the other group so that my heavy missile launchers can open fire.

It is after I have my targets that I realise it is only the closer group of frigates that has noticed my being an interloper, with the other ships not taking aggressive actions towards me. I decide to take care of the frigates before engaging the cruisers, in an effort to keep the number of aggressors manageable. I set my drones on a targeted frigate before switching to the next locked target and, flicking my launchers live, watching as a volley of heavy missiles burns its way... in the other direction. I am, of course, still locked on to a couple of ships in the second group, having not reselected targets after reprioritising relative threats since warping in to the deadspace pocket. This brings many more missiles thundering against my shields and is why I could always improve my ship set-up.

Attacking more foes than I had intended is far from a serious problem, though, and it is not long before all of the enemy ships are reduced to wrecks slowly tumbling about an axis or two, the occasional electrical arc lighting up their gnarled interior. Reflecting on the destruction of valuable resources makes me realise that I have forgotten to bookmark the location of a wreck in the other deadspace pockets, so when I bring out my salvaging Cormorant, still named Flycatcher for now, I'll need to use the acceleration gates and a standard reheat module instead of the micro warp drive. A small lapse in memory, and as many of the ships are frigate-sized and came in close to use guns my tractor beams will make quick work of salvaging from all the wrecks.

Another mission is completed successfully! My level three mission running is progressing well, to the point where I think it is time to move on and find a new agent. Browsing the list of available agents I find one who is available to me of sufficiently higher quality to warrant moving stations again. I'm getting better at moving stations now, even with an extra salvaging ship to transport. Using my Badger to retrieve all my salvaged loot and a shuttle to zip between systems, which also fits in the destroyer's hold, I can get settled in to a new station with minimal fuss. I'll make the acquaintance of my new agent and see what interesting people he wants me to blow up soon.

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