BALM Ideas novel chapter 1
After flying through the belts of the local asteroid fields, John Colan came across a Hulk sitting there mining without an escort. What a prize kill this would be; it even had a can sitting there, next to it, obviously full of ore. John was cloaked at a range of about 4,000 meters. With this fat target there, and no hauler to be seen for the last five minutes, this was going to be really easy for the veteran pilot of 3 months. Never had John seen such a precious gift. Blasters, and his newly fitted warp disruptors, would easily take care of this ship.
Grendel knew that a ship was cloaked in system with him, he had other plans though. A veteran of over 20 such killings, he was playing this game close to home. Instead of carrying his compliment of attack drones, he only had mining drones aboard and they were out in the open at the moment. He knew he was safe though, due to another three ships close at hand, real close actually. Somewhere behind him was Melantari in a logistics ship. Grendel’s Hulk was safe today; there was also Viper, cloaked as well, in his Megathron class battleship. Viper had recently changed to blasters on his battleship after collecting enough money to finally fit it out correctly; this would be good. The third ship in the awaiting cloaked fleet was a cruiser fitted out with warp disruptors, jammers and energy vampires. They were all ready, but when was their prey going to take the bait? This solar system was well known for its can flippers and that’s why the BALM Corporation had decided to give their plan a go. They were here to help a friend who had gotten it wrong and was now sitting in a pod awaiting some funds to get a new ship.
John was now within 3,000 meters of the Hulk, it was time to uncloak and lock up his target. Uncloaking, John had to wait until his targeting systems came out of standby before he could lock up the Hulk. Grendel saw the ship, a missile boat damage dealer, Drake class battlecruiser, and being this close was going to hurt. The TeamSpeak server lit up as all four pilots claimed kill rights on the target. Viper, being the fleet commander for this little operation, called for silence and that no-one was to uncloak. Equcin was ordered to move within 3,000 meters of the target and be ready to uncloak at a seconds notice. Melantari was 70 kilometers away and orbiting, never getting any closer. Viper could not believe his luck, this drake was less than 5 kilometers off the starboard bow and closing.
John finally got his targeting systems online; he locked up the Hulk, which had started a lazy turn towards the closest station, but its drones were still out. “Well, more to collect later,” John thought, “the pilot has forgotten his expensive drones.” Life as a pirate was getting better. Grendel knew what he had to do, align towards the closest station without warping while leaving the drones out and acting scared, the Drake pilot would think that Grendel is trying to flee. John acquired lock; warp scrambled and jammed his prey, and launched his first volley of missiles at his target. This ship was going nowhere. Looking at his damage control console, Grendel noticed the shields of his Hulk were going down relatively fast. “That Drake must have some high tech weaponry fitted if the shields won’t hold,” Grendel thought to himself. Grendel let the shields of his Hulk drop; he needed to be into armor before they could spring the trap. Into armor he went after the next volley, followed by a proposal for submission in the local channel asking for 100 million ISK. But John would still destroy it.
The message flashed across the local channel, "100 million ISK to spare your ship!"
"Stop, stop, I don’t have that much money," Grendel replied.
"Make me a good offer or you lose the ship," proposed John.
On TeamSpeak Equcin heard the long awaited command, "Now! Shut him down, now!" That was all they needed. Equcin uncloaked and immediately began acquiring lock on John’s Drake. Melantari uncloaked and locked up Grendel’s Hulk. Viper held off and waited for his cue to enter the fight.
"What in the...," was John’s first response when he saw a ship at 70 kilometers appear. John had his tactical scan set at a longer range so he could spot such a happening; this ship was not getting closer though. They would not be able to close the distance fast enough, so he was mildly pleased. What he had not seen was the cruiser class vessel that had uncloaked behind him and acquired lock on his ship. The first thing he realized was that his capacitor was rather low; strange as his ship was fit to be capacitor stable at 60%, but it was now down below 30%. Next thing John noticed was that his missiles were doing no damage to the Hulk; in fact, the Hulk had no damage to its armor anymore.
“What’s going on here,” John thought.
A message was transmitted across the local channel by Grendel demanding, "200 million ISK or you lose your ship!"
"Not likely," responded John, aligning himself with another moon. John braced himself as he attempted to activate warp, but something was wrong, he was going nowhere. In fact, his ship had been slowed by a stasis webifier down to a snail’s pace. It was time for John to return to his tactical display to assess the situation. He narrowed down the range of his tactical scan only to reveal a Myrmidon class battlecruiser. It was pulsing out waves of energy and he knew exactly what was happening. The Myrmidon had him locked down and going nowhere. Locking the Myrmidon, it was time to start fighting back and John immediately launched his two medium Hammerhead combat drones; John also redirected his missiles to the battlecruiser.
John was on his own out here, with no help, but these fools were not firing on him. A Hulk with no weapons and a Myrmidon with tackling capabilities only... he could take these attackers out with his drones. John could see himself getting out of this situation to fight another day.
Melantari locked up Equcin’s Myrmidon and started using his remote repair capabilities on him. One module would be enough and Grendel didn’t need all four anymore either. One was to be left idle in case Viper started taking damage and now was the time for Viper’s appearance. Viper uncloaked his Megathron at a mere 3,000 meters from the bow of the enemy Drake.
"Oh crap," John exclaimed to no-one in particular. It was a Gallente battleship and it was too close for comfort, really close. Some trap this had turned out to be... a trap that he fell into, and not the other way around. 200 million ISK to spare his battlecruiser was sounding nice, but he did not have it.
Viper and his fleet were not interested in the money from this little operation, it was the revenge that they were seeking and they knew all too well on how to deal it out. Sitting just one system out, another gang of BALM members was awaiting the outcome of the trap. There were 15 members in this other fleet and they all were awaiting the command by Sacro to jump into system and join the fight. Viper locked up the drake and then opened up with seven large blasters ripping right into the drake. Three volleys later and the drake was taking armour damage; not good for a shield tanking ship. Another four volleys from the blasters and it was into structure.
John knew he was in trouble with no tanking ability due to a lack of capacitor. His drones were attacking the Myrmidon but going nowhere into its armor, due to Melantari repairing it remotely. This was happening too fast, and there was no time to react. The drake went bang... no more Drake. Its drones turned idle, but there was still a pod there with the pilot in it. This was the pilot that had podded their friend, a hauler pilot who helped them out in times of need. This pod had to be destroyed to revenge their friend’s death and Grendel had the final say in that. His hulk was not carrying its normal array of strip miners, no… not for this trip. He had on board, three smart bombs, just for this specific occurrence. Only little ones, but they would do the trick and now they were ready to go off. The small tech two EMP smart bombs went off simultaneously and ripped into the pod; there was no escape for John Colan.
John woke up in the clone vat in his new body, his implants destroyed and his head a blur. Thinking back he realized what had happened; he got ganked and ganked big time. But why, why had they been waiting for him... he would find out sooner or later.
Grendel turned off his smart bombs, and the deed was done; revenge was almost complete. One more kill on this pilot and things would be even.
Viper called the fleet in and told them to return home and home was 27 jumps away, and this was a perfectly executed mission. Jumping a fleet accompanied by a hulk that far would normally be difficult, but being in a low security area of space, and having friends, would make the trip manageable. Sacro called in the jump freighter and it would load all the ships up for the return home. BALM’s reputation would, again, grow as a fear to the pirates, their reputation of righteous vengeance. They ask, “Why do they come and attack us? We never attack them.” We say, “Just don’t attack another helpless ship,” we say,” and you will never know who we are...”