Spent a few days in the black hunting Osmium, Platinum and Painite as well as exploring the area around the nebula in the Dryooe Prou region. With 264 tons of material buttoned up and no more limpets I headed back towards Fort Mug to deliver the payload and tank some more credits. Some upcoming projects are likely to seriously cut into that account. Upgrading our Type-7 to a Type-9 or Type-10 is high on that list. As I approach within 10 jumps of Colonia Nebula I switch to combat systems and spin up the shield boosters and defensive weaponry.
It was not long before that little ritual was rewarded. Within 6 jumps of the destination a contact appears on sensors. It's an Alliance Chieftain (putting me on alert) and it's hailing me with a demand to stop. Before I can respond the warning lights are on and I'm sideways in an interdiction. The Annie is not a nimble boat and with a full hold even less so. I might be able to right this whale, but the guy is good and I decide to submit and keep all my options without coming in tumbling head-over-heels. He can't mass-lock me so I can still low-wake quickly if I need to.
We drop into normal space and I hit the comms to communicate, "This is the CMDR of Narada. Look, we can work th-". No use, I'm taking hits. Narada is not some paper ship but she's also not a fighting corvette. All the same we are in it now. I deploy the hardpoints, balance the pips to shields and weapons, spin to face the chieftain and go to full reverse thrust. I then open up with everything I've got. Chiefs are usually weak on shields and this guy is no exception. The class 4 beam chews the shields off of it in seconds. Then we run into the chiefs' best feature. Armor for days. The shields are down but it just soaks up damage while they recharge. I launch chaff, and boost past to let my cannon and burst turrets keep pressure on him while I get a break from the hits but he's got a chance to get through my shields before I can do enough damage to shut him down.
This dance continues a while. His shields go up and down two more times while his armor soaks up the auto-canon rounds. I've only got him down to maybe 60% armor. My shields are holding but down to 30%. Chaff and heat-sinks are helping but if he gets through, I'll have to bail. Then it happens, I see his engines in boost and he's coming straight at me. "What the f-" is all I can get out, and he plows into my hull. Warnings are now going off everywhere, shields are down, systems are reporting damage all across the board. We are holding up though, 90% hull but now Narada is taking damage from his fire. "This idiot did what"? was all my rage-filled head could contemplate. The kicker... he just crippled his ship. It's now at 20% hull.
"Well, now you die psychopath" is my next thought. I might have let him run before, but ramming is psychotic and I am not going to let him live through this mistake. I pour everything to weapons and engines and I spin into him again. Systems are popping and the bridge is filling with smoke but I'm not going to separate, I win, or I die here and I'm fairly certain he can't win this war of attrition. Those Alliance ships are just impressive in the damage they can take and this guy is committed. Five percent hull and he's not backing down. Finally I see his ship start to tumble and some puffs of flame, then he's gone in a flash of light, gas and debris.
I take a moment to breathe. "Jesus, that was stupid Cramer. 600 Million in ship and cargo on the line and you let your rage run the bridge in a showdown with a maniac" I say to myself in a question. The spikes of adrenaline pain are now stabbing my lower back like hot knives. It takes a little while to clean up the ship and patch up the damage. Lots of small breaches to seal up. The sensor array took the brunt of the damage from the impact. A bit of pain spread to the FSD, engines, and life support but it was minimal. The rest was minor damage to non-critical systems. I used the AMFU to repair the sensors, FSD, life support and thrusters. The rest could wait for a station.
What was the point I wonder? I mean, he was in a capable ship, with effective weaponry, if he'd simply wanted to skim some cargo he could do it. Maybe not easily if you pick corvette class ships to tangle with but certainly some of the smaller mining ships would almost have to submit. But taking on a ship that out classes your defenses, shooting first without a word, and then trying to ram it like a Japanese kamikaze fighter of old? Was it just suicide? I deplore the violence, but I guess there is nothing more to know. He's dead, I'm not. Everything else is academic, right?
Kaylen could see it on my face when I got back to port:
"Jesus, Cramer... What happened"?
"It's not important", I said. "Hey, get on the horn with Mel and Etienne. It's time we got that work done we've been putting off".
"Alright", she said with hesitation. "... and the holes you've put in her there"?
"Give me a call once the repairs are complete", I said. "We're also going to make a stop at Colonia Hub next trip out, time to add some armor against madness".
Kaylen gave me a curious look and started to say something more.
"Just get it done, Kaylen. I'm going to go sleep for next 12 hours. If it doesn't involve something I own blowing up, I don't want to hear about it until after."