Raptor Rapture

I love lots of ships in EvE for all kinds of reasons. The raw power of a Carrier, the shear versatility of a BattleCruiser, but to me there is something exhilarating that sitting in an interceptor. I wouldn’t claim it’s my favourite ship, but it ranks high, yet for some reason I always seem to neglect it. This is why it was such a refreshing experience to join a frigate gang a few nights ago with it.
I generally fly one of two interceptor fits, either a long range crow fit:
[high]: Named missile Launchers x3
[Mid]: 1mn Microwarp Drive I, Warp Disruptor, Cap Recharger II
[Low]: Nanofiber Internal Structure II x3
[Rig]: Small Auxilary Thruster I x2
or a slightly less expensive Raptor for careless combat:
[high]: Small Nosferatu I, Light Ion Blaster I
[mid]: 1M Microwarp Drive I
[low]: Nanofiber Internal Structure II x3
[rig]: Small Auxillary Thrusters x2
Today I was feeling slightly suicidal and selected the Raptor from the hanger and engaged my pod with it. The suicide fit is so reckless and disposable that I always feel I can just throw caution to the wind in it and run risks I would never dare in any other ship, after all it’s going to die anyway, right? After the customary pod integration and a brief check of the ships system and ammo storage I punched the un-dock to join the already rapidly moving fleet. Being already in a voice channel with two close friends from my Alliance I asked for a confirmation of our rendezvous system and upon receiving it I threw it at the navigation system and began speeding my way towards enemy space. In-between hailing gates for activation and slamming on my warp drive in a frenzied rush to catch up, I called up a second voice channel in which I attempted to connect to the fleet’s voice server. Rejection: Your Corporation Name is listed incorrectly. Swearing at the fit of compassion I had fallen to when I had agreed move corporations to aid a friend’s recruitment drive. I was going to have to re-register my authentication codes for access to the security systems. Interceptors require you to be on the ball so I guessed that juggling catching up with a fleet and registering to a security system with an Auth Key is a good warm up and before long I had managed to complete both with no issues.
Once caught up with the fleet I started falling into the lines and listening to our commander give his orders. Were playing a simple game of hunt the ratter in Russian systems; jumping through gates and hunting any juicy targets. For the first few jumps this didn’t present anything particularly interesting. Then a miracle happened. While waiting on a gate for the FC to give the jump command the scouts name lights up on the voice channel, “Absolution on the gate… Jumped”, followed by the Commanders reply “Confirmed, Gate fire, Get him”. The short order was all we needed to fling into action. Without thinking I kicked the Raptor around and burned away from the gate simultaneously setting an orbit range of 15k of the gate to wait for the Absolution to de-cloak. Switching off the safeties I set the points, scram and Ion Blaster to hot and turn my attention to watching the overview. We didn’t have to wait long, within a few seconds the overview had a new contact, Red. I started the lock. Then I set the ship to orbit the Abso, slam on the Microwarp Drive and speed towards our prey. The lock goes red before I’m within scram and web range so I was forced wait a few seconds to close within 10km and re-activate for contact. The Abso Pilot had realised his mistake (most likely the very moment he loaded grid) and is trying to execute the only manoeuvre which, in theory, has a slim chance of him living: burning for the gate. In reality, frigate gangs (especially ones heavy in interceptors) tend to have more than a fair share of Stasis Webifiers. Due to this fact the Abso did not so much burn as lukewarm back to the gate at around 10m/s. The shields dropped rapidly and the Abso soon gave in to a death of 1000 paper cuts, the pod followed shortly. The FC gave the order to loot the field and we were shortly informed that the ship had been faction fitted to a total worth of around 500M ISK.
We continued to forage into enemy space and managed to catch a Hurricane and Tempest in a bubble. Both died rapidly to our swarm and (as it was a station system) we decided to stay a while and camp. A Loki came out to play some station games and we toyed with him and a few others for a little while but we didn’t manage to kill him. I will now introduce you to a friend of mine for tonight Tony M0ntana Tony is a plucky fellow who is not of a fight. While playing station games with the Loki, a second ship decided to undock and join in the fun. Unfortunately Tony had brought a Coercer to the game. Destroyers are racked up as frigate killers, and one on one, I expect that he could have killed most of our fleet. However this was not 1v1, this was station games. The coercer crumbled to the alpha strike before he can re-dock. We then continue to roam the nearby systems looking for any unwilling (or willing) targets. We didn’t find much except an enemy bomber who managed to bomb a patch of empty space 20km away from both the gate and out fleet, so giving up we returned to the station system. However before we jumped in the scout reported that there was an enemy drake sitting 250km off the gate, it’s Tony. Examining the facts, Tony knew what our fleet was, how big it is and he had at least 15 seconds in-between our fleet jumping in and reaching him in which warp out, all while being at full speed align to a celestial. A lesser man would have backed out; a lesser man would have warped out the moment the fleet arrived and thrown expletives at us from safety. Not Tony, here is how it went: Knowing that Tony was well versed in our fleet capability, and that we could not stop him from escaping the FC decided on lighting action. “Jump jump jump, burn for him, call tackle” we did. As my ship loaded the systems grid post jump, I immediately kicked on the MWD and burned towards our brave heroic friend. Our fast tackle, most of the fleet, were expecting him to warp out at any second. A fleet of 50+ frigates speeding towards you can have a bowel loosening effect on most Drake Pilots. But to our shock Tony hunkers down, the drones go out and the first missile/Drone blob heads strait for a Dramial. Reaching the drake I programmed in an orbit course of 500m and punched the scram web and Neutralisers on him. Flicking over my overview settings I targeted a drone and set my lone Hybrid on it, hoping to take a bit of damage off the fleet. But soon the Drake, much like the coercer wilts under the plague of frigates.
After this prolonged activity in hostile space the FC decided it was time to drop off the radar. The fleet was given orders to burn as fast as we could to a target system where we will prepare for our next incursion. During this burn some of the fleet lagged behind slightly and disaster struck. Because our burn target was a different target to where my auto pilot is set, like a lemming I, along with around 15 other pilots burn to the wrong destination. Seeing our mistake a few jumps away we do a quick swing around and head to the correct destination, chagrined at our mistake. This is when it happens. The front end of the burn, being now 5 jumps away, find and engage a Vagabond, dispatching it before we can catch up for the kill. One killmail I’m not on for being stupid.
Having dropped off the radar for the moment we began to move towards our next station system target. LXQ holds a special place in my heart every since I managed to accidently kill a Worm with a bomb on one of its famous gate camps. Long story short, during our stealth bomber embargo in the system, I threw a bomb at a Blackbird and warped off. When watching the logs for the kill, instead of a blackbird a Worm appears on my kill list, happy days. But I digress, after scouting the system we decided to set up camp on the new station (when did that appear!?) and just after the bubbles go up, what should jump in but a Gila. Settling into my usual routine, MWD, burn to orbit and tackle but this time the Gila drops before I even get in tackle range, which was later explained but its extreme lack of any tank. When looking at the killmail later, I realised that the pilot of this Gila was the same as the one whom I relinquished of his worm all those months ago, if you read this, bring me a Machariel next time please!
We returned home via a quick stop in the same station system we visited and who should undock in a coercer? That’s right Brave Sir Tony, after we have finished showing him our pretty disco lights we set off home and call it quits. On the way back we did encounter a single Manticore who attempted to bomb us on a gate. However thanks to some quick thinking (realising that a Manti uses Kinetic which shouldn’t kill my Shielded Crow as long as I don’t MWD), I managed to get a lock on and prevented him from cloaking; the fleet destroys him before the bomb even lands.
Through the evening we lost about 4-5 ships and killed around 1bn worth of ships with a fleet consiting of only frigate and Destroyer hulls. Having gotten into a rut of using my Drake for nearly every fleet, this has been a wonderful reprieve and reminder of the fun of shear blistering speed. As my pod nestled into to its resting place at the station, my Raptor was defiantly up a notch on the list of favourite ships.

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