Fighting for capsuleer freedom is, unfortunately, not always as simple as “find a target and destroy or plunder or both.” Sometimes there are awkward logistics involved and sometimes those logistics have me making deals with the enemy.
The trick has always been balancing war funding via those I oppose while still inflicting a substantial amount of damage upon them. Who would have known that a lesson in freedom fighting could be told from the journey of three Procurer class mining vessels — one of them mine.
After months of patrolling Minmatar, low-security territories I grew tired of the constant chase. The repetitive steps of jumping my combat frigates through gates and trying to quickly locate enemy supporters before they became too suspicious of me. Although keeping capsuleers docked in station just by having an active presence does reduce the ISK supplies for Concord, it is not the most effective use of my time. So, I decided to do a little undercover work to break up the space monotony.
My first course of action was to repair my standings with Concord so that I did not show up as an ‘outlaw’ on other capsuleer’s overviews. I new a guy in the Angel Cartel that dealt in old, junked ships that he stripped for spare parts. We worked out a deal where I got the decommissioned hulls and, through a few other contacts, reactivated the ship’s licenses. Once they were back in the database I let loose a few missiles at each, obtained the proofs of kill and wouldn’t you know it, Concord thinks I’ve seen the error of my ways and am part of their machine once more.
Next up was the ship. When it comes to innocent looking ships that are still combat capable, pickings are pretty slim. Picking one of the remotely formidable versions means any capsuleer with a strong knowledge of pirate tactics could recognize the bait when they see it. Nevertheless, the Procurer is a common choice for a reason. Formidable defensive capabilities and the bonus to combat drones means it can still pack a punch, particularly against unsuspecting victims or ships with active, onboard repair options. With everything in place, it was time to continue the hunt, only this time, I was both predator and prey. Introducing Procurer number one.
I took the Procurer, which I had simply christened “Proc” to make me appear dimwitted, through my usual route about Minmatar space; Metropolis, Heimetar and Molden Heath; but systems in these regions where either empty or had people who already knew to keep their distance. Not to be disheartened, I ventured out into null-security where my name may have been a little less well known.
After more empty systems, I chose a few stargates that created a dead end pocket. As I predicted, there were capsuleers hiding here and who were working hard to fill their alliances coffers.
Upon entry into their cluster I saw that they were conducting raids on the local Angel Cartel. I attempted to disrupt them by attacking their transport ships but their response was swift and aggressive and I had to warp away from the battle.
Knowing that is was only a matter of time before they set up camp on the only stargate I could exit through I attempted to quickly evacuate this pocket of systems. No luck though. The Procurer is a fine ship but is only so fast and before I could make it out I had a Hurricane class battlecruiser and a Vagabond class heavy assault cruiser blocking my path. Neither where a ship I could take even one on one, much less at the same time.
It looks like I wasn’t going to be able to win this one and I wasn’t going to be able to escape any time soon so I did the only logical thing. I parked my ship in a random section of space, powered it down so they couldn’t scan me and took a nap. I figured two hours sounded good, it had been a long trip already anyways.
Two hours up I grabbed a mug of Quafe and started bringing the “Proc” back to life. One scan of the system and I grin, my nap had been more than successful in helping me escape, it was about to net me some opportunities for profit as well. In system was a single pilot and on scan was a single ship — a Nergal.
A Nergal was not only something I could easily take down but was worth a lot of ISK too. No doubt after spending that many credits on a ship the pilot would indulge in a few other expensive upgrades as well.
Not wanting to give them the opportunity to call in backup or switch to a bigger ship, I punch in the warp coordinates for the outbound stargate and send the “Proc” into warp. I wait on the exit gate for a moment, just long enough for a semi-competent pilot to figure out where I’ve gone, and then I jump through to where I plan to make my stand. Not wanting to give anything away, I point my ship to the next exit gate and make it look like I’m the slowest warping ship in the galaxy. The Nergal takes the bait.
The pilot burns their ship straight at me, straight into range of every offensive module that a Nergal wishes wasn’t activated on them. I drop their speed, I disable their Micro-warp drive, drain their capacitors and then let my drones demolish the disabled ship.
With the ship destroyed I transfer any surviving salvage over to my cargo hold and make a fast, tactical decision to run away. Good thing too because they reshipped fast and got hot on my trail. Molden Heath was only a few jumps away however, and they did not seem to keen in following me into low-security space.
I stashed the loot in a hangar I keep on standby in the Ennur system since it is more than enough to pay for my ship if I lose it and decide to retrace my steps back to one of my favorite trade ports — Hek.
It’s fairly quite, just like the last time through except for one unsuspecting but critical member of the story. In the system of Hadozeko I come across Dresh, the pilot of Procurer number two.
I had their ship on scan from the moment I jumped through the Hadozeko stargate and so I held the one-minute cloak that the materialization process allowed me and used that time to narrow down their location. First I reduce scan range to limit the number of celestial bodies they could possibly be at and then I reduce the angle.
I get them on a narrow scan towards an asteroid cluster and so I warp that direction. I land 15 kilometers off from them but they have no reason to suspect another mining vessel means them any harm. That is until I lock them. While they are still sorting through their confusion, I launch into negotiations. No need to go for a kill here, the salvage likely won’t be worth much. Before I can even name a price though they are already saying how all they have is the ore they’ve mined. A lie if I’ve ever heard one. Some of the rules of piracy are the victim always lies and they always have something of value. So, I took their ship.
I offer them 10 million ISK if they eject from their ship and leave the system, thus allowing me time to board theirs and safely haul it into station. I didn’t have time to draft up a bill of sale but fortunately the station police weren’t looking to closely and I was able to park my new Procurer right next to the original.
What with my new, although fairly roughed up, ship safely stored and this operation going so successful, I couldn’t just call it here no matter how exhausted I might be. After all, I still had at least three more systems to explore on my way back to Hek. So I undocked the “Proc” and set my destination for the Auner system where I found Praxis Jedar, Procurer pilot number three.
Jedar was found mining moon minerals outside their corporations personal station and, since my last encounter went so well, I didn’t bother thinking twice but just warped in and went strait for them. Jedar however, did have a corp-mate or two in system and so I figured they would not be as keen on negotiations as Dresh so, I went for a showing of force instead and figured we could try to talk payment for their anti-freedom antics after.
The logs seemed to have bene a bit corrupted so I’m not able to tranfer them here but the short version is they were a little sad at the loss of their ship but like any capsuleer worth their salt they knew they could carry on. I admired their perseverance and felt I could do some good here. While making some profit at the same time, of course.
I told them, that I just so happened to recently acquire a brand new Procurer that I would be more than happy to sell them to replace their loss, at a discount price even!
They were a little skeptical at first but then I sent them the contract to transfer the title and their tune changed dramatically. I posted the contract for 20 million ISK for a Procurer with all the bells and whistles and just a bit of hull damage. All they had to do was put in a little tender loving care and move it a few jumps to their home system (and watch out for pirates on the way of course). I gave them four weeks to come up with the ISK and within two days, they bought it. Procurer number three, meet Procurer number two.
And so continues the cycle of the attack on Concord along with the capsuleers they brainwash into the ISK grind and the continued funding of the effort. And just because this sale is final, that doesn’t necessarily mean that is the last time I’ll be seeing that Procurer.