Seeking Retribution

One of the most unfortunate consequences of my extended down-time was a cessation in my studies. As a capsuleer I normally maintain a steady program of knowledge acquisition to ensure the continued development of my skills as a pilot, amoung other things. Naturally, now I’ve been cleared for flight once again, I have resumed my studies. I decided to focus specifically on advancing my understanding of various topics with which I was already familiar, with the objective of raising the level of technology I am able to use. As a result, I have recently qualified as an Assault Frigate pilot. It seemed, therefore, that a Retribution would serve my goals very well.

It took a couple of days for my market broker to locate a ship at the price I wanted but, that done, I was quickly able to get it fitted and ready to fly. The weapons tech I’m using isn’t the most advanced available (although that is soon to change) but I made the investment across the board for the rest of the ship’s modules, ensuring I would get the best out of this advanced frigate platform. I’ve flown everything from frigates to battleships from both the Amarr and Gallente line-ups, in the past but never before a ship this advanced. I wanted to make sure I would get to keep it for a good long time!

By the time the hanger techs had finished installing everything into the ship, it was getting late—and I was getting tired, not least from the headaches of figuring out the nitty details of fitting so many advanced modules with which I had little prior experience. But, with the job finally completed, I was eager to put the Retribution through its paces. With a final green-light from the mechanics and techs, I gave my crew the nod: it was time for a shake-down run. Pre-flight checks were completed quickly and efficiently and, as clearance to undock was given the little frigate was launched, and I set course for the nearest asteroid belt. A field of rocks provides useful oportunities for fine-tuning tactical maneuvers when checking out a new ship, as well as some soft targets to cycle test all ship functions. Soft Blood Raiders in this case.

Belt rats in high-sec space provide little work-out though, especially for a ship of this caliber. Fortunately, my agent-runner friend was out taking care of some business (not for Lahara, as it happened, but for one of her lower-level collegues) and was more than happy to have me tag along to give the Retribution a bit more of a work-out. I was a bit nervous, not being sure how well the little ship would stand up to the enemy forces my friend expected to be dealing with, but was reasonably sure I could avoid drawing too much fire if I hung back and let her lead us into the fight.

As it turned out, I needn’t have worried. The Retribution performed well beyond my expectations. The Assault Frigate had more than enough speed to evade most of the enemy fire that came my way, and the advanced armour plating and damage control systems I’d fitted did a great deal to minimize the damage the ship suffered from those shots that did land. My repair teams were well able to keep up. I’ll be happier when I’m able to upgrade the pulse lasers for some increased damage output, but this ship can surely take a beating.

In fact, the very next night I found out how little I’d explored the limits in that regard. Lahara had given my friend a rather challenging assignment, and she was having difficulty getting the job done alone in her Apocalypse. Facing multiple Angel Cartel hostiles in ships ranging from Frigate-class all  the way up to Battleship-class, it was looking like a long, drawn out fight ahead. I almost had my crew transfer back to my trusty Harbinger. However, the Angel Cartel had several Iterceptors in their fleet and the Retribution seemed better suited to dealing with those. Our plan was the same as the previous night: Suri would warp in first and draw enemy fire to her Battleship-class Apocalypse; I would follow and concentrate on taking out the Interceptors—followed by the other Frigate- and Destroyer-class ships, if we lasted that long.

Good as our plan seemed to us, reality was less pleasant: the Angel ships quickly shredded Suri’s shields and were working through her armor at an alarming rate. I’d barely taken down the first of the Interceptors when Suri’s voice crackled in through the static on comms: “They’re tearing me apart! I have to jump out now. You’d better follow before you get their full attention.” What Suri didn’t know was how little damage I was taking from the few Angel ships that had already focused fire on me. In fact, the smaller class ships were giving me much more trouble than the Battleships or Cruisers. The larger ships’ guns were finding me too difficult to track. As a reult, I was able to hang in and take down another Interceptor before warping away.

Much encouraged by my Tactical Officer’s report as I followed my friend out of the line of fire, I began to form a new plan. Suri and I re-grouped for field repairs and agreed a new strategy: this time, we would warp in together. I would continue to work on clearing the last of the Interceptors and the other Frigate- and Destroyer-class ships, as before. But this time, Suri would deploy her drones to support my fire against those smaller targets, rather than have them follow her guns to the larger targets.

Combined fire from my Retribution and Suri’s flight of five medium-sized drones made short work of the remaining Interceptors and we were quickly able to move on to the lower-threat frigs and desis. Sustained fire from a number of the twelve Apocolypses in the Angel fleet was more than Suri’s ship could withstand for long, though, and she was soon forced once more into retreat. With growing confidence in the Retribution, however, I elected to stay the course a little longer (much to the incredulity of my crew). Before I knew it, we were bearing the full brunt of twelve Battleships, three Cruisers, two Destroyers and a couple of basic Frigates. The weapons crew were working flat out, the repair teams were being run ragged, but the Retribution was holding together and clearing through the enemy forces from the bottom up.

Secure comms crackled to life again as Suri checked in. “OK, I’m patched up and ready to make another run at the Cartel. Where are you?”

“Still engaged,” I replied. “I’m finishing off the last of the Destroyers now, but I expect I’ll need your fire-power to take down anything bigger, so come on back.” For a moment or two, there was nothing on the comm channel but static. Then:

You’re still there? How many hostiles are engaged?” I rechecked the tactical overview to be sure I had the count accurate, then relayed the information. “You’re taking fire from all twelve of the Battleships, and the rest?” I could hear the disbelief and, frankly, would have shared it if I hadn’t been the one on the receiving end of all those weapons!

“That’s right,” I replied, “Well, some of the Angel Battleships are out of gun range, but all have me locked so you should have no problems re-engaging. Come on back, I’m on the first of the Cruisers now and I don’t have enough fire power to break him alone.”

All that came back over the comm channel was a rather quiet, “On my way…”

From there, it was simply a matter of focusing our fire. The Angel Cartel fleet continued ineffectually to engage my Retribution, leaving Suri’s Apocalypse free to rain havoc on their forces. With her calling targets based on her position and me, in the faster ship, simply moving where I was needed while continuing to out-run the enemy missiles and guns, we were able to grind them down without further need for retreat.

I had to be a little careful when moving from target to target; speed is little advantage when flying directly into enemy fire head-on! But as each target fell, the work-load on my repair crews was reduced. I’m sure the damage my small pulse lasers did to the enemy Battleships played little part in their destruction, but as long as they continued futilely to focus fire on a ship they could barely hit while ignoring the larger threat of the hostile Apocalypse in their midst, Suri was more than happy to have me stick around!

I over-heard enough of the chatter amoung the crew as we squared the Retribution away in its hangar for the night to know they feel the same as me: I love this ship!

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~ by Laurie on February 6, 2009.

One Response to “Seeking Retribution”

  1. […] Having learned the essential ins and outs of the Retribution Assualt Frigate, and begun putting the ship to work, I realised that this awesome little ship still had a lot more to offer. A lot has been going on […]

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