After a fantastic month of service, Hunchback IIC met a fiery fate at the hands of True Reign, a FDN splinter alliance. This was the first engagement where I undervalued the devastating effect of 2+ damps on a target in a skirmish setting: as long as ships have the ability to kite away from a target, ships can dip in and out of targeting range, and the victim is forced to switch primaries constantly. This way individuals with buffer tanks are able to recuperate while their comrades expose their buffer to fire, allowing a sort of guerilla action against a target.
After several uneventful roams through lowsec in my Harbinger, I decided to give the B-VIP a go and once again work on my sec status. I traded ships in Egbinger for my Broadsword, logged in my alt scout and jumped into B-VIP after the scout reported the all clear. After roaming a few systems, and chasing a drake to a POS in 0PI4-E, my alt scout reported a True Reign Vagabond moving through SL-YBS, followed soon by a Wolf. Having just finished a Cartel battleship in UNJ-GX, I jumped into SL-YBS, and soon followed the pair into 6WT-BE, then into 9SNK-0.
The alt scout reports another two local bumps in SL-YBS: True Reign Stabber and Arazu hastefully make way towards Sard in 9SNK-0. In 9SNK-0 I skirmish with the Wolf, eventually landing back on the 6WT-BE gate, with Vagabond, Wolf and Arazu close behind. A few long seconds of posturing end with the Arazu placing tackle to force me through the gate into 6WT-BE into their awaiting Stabber. Before jumping, I pulse my MWD to examine if the Arazu is Warp Scrambler fit; it wasn't, and I breathed a sigh of relief that I'll be able to maneuver in the fight to come. I jump into 6WT-BE, followed by the Vagabond and Wolf.
Upon entering system, I employ an old tactic, and MWD towards a celestial to draw the enemy gang out. My foes immediately oblige, and some quick maneuvering lands me on top of the Vagabond. Incoming fire from the combined ships quickly begins to show on my Broadsword's shields, and I overheat my Invulerability Field to buy me more time to accomplish my violent aims.
Overloaded 425mm Autocannons soon see the Vagabond to 20% shields, when the Arazu finally enters system and places its rack of Sensor Dampners on me. To my dismay the Vagabond slips 17km away from me, and my severely inhibited sensors lose lock. I spend a few precious seconds assessing the situation, and switch primary to the Stabber, which was within web range and had a full tackle kit placed on me.
The boon of Heavy Interdictors, the Warp Disruption Field Generator has two modes of use, determined by a script. Without the script it acts much like an Interdiction probe launched from a Interdictor, denying warp of any vessel within 15-20km of the HIC, depending on skills. With the script loaded, it acts much like a Warp Disruptor, with enhanced range and infinite strength. Unfortunately, using the module in its focused form doubles the capacitor usage, which combined with prolonged MWD use chasing tackled targets as they struggle away from my Webifier was depleting my capacitor to dangerously low levels.
The Stabber slips away after reaching armor, and it soon becomes clear to me that calling the Vagabond primary was a mistake. With little more than a quarter shield left, I made a desperation tackle on the HAC. I land within web range, blast through the remaining shield buffer, and start blowing chunks out the vulnerable armor plate of striken ship. Just as the Vagabond reached hull, it pulled free of my overheated Webifier, and without sufficient capacitor to activate my MWD it darted once more out of targeting range. The damnedable Arazu once again proved its worth and denied me my HAC kill.
With a sliver of shield remaining, the Stabber had drifted back into Webifier range to finish me off. It succeeds in maiming my ship, however pays a steep price for venturing so close. The Arazu delivers the coup de grace, a fitting conclusion to a fight dictated by its EWAR.
Congratulations are exchanged in local, and I see my pod home safetly to Egbinger. Reflecting back, I realize I should have engaged the flimsy Stabber first, then moved on to the Arazu as able. These thoughts can't detract from the awesome fight True Reign gave, and I've respect for them for making an otherwise dull night lively. Besides, providence decided to gift me with a kill minutes after losing the Broadsword, which took some of the bite out of the loss. A note to would be Assault Ship pilots: yes, larger ship hulls can't track your tight Afterburner-driven orbits, nor can they escape with a Warp Scrambler placed on them, but you have to get into range first. Not all pilots are oblivious enough to allow that.