I was sitting in Auner wondering what to do. I had spent much of the morning sneaking in modules and ships with my hauler alt and had plenty to choose from.
Maybe it's time to put together a Merlin now that I have Caldari Frigate skill up to IV and Small Blaster Specialization at III. I sorted out the items in the warehouse, remembering to use a Miura Bull(tm) approved medium shield extender instead of the small, and soon had a neutron blaster equipped Merlin ready to face the vacuum of space.
I headed out to an asteroid belt to shoot a rat or two just to see how well the blasters worked. They seemed to do ok - with one shot the Angel frigates were turned to space dust. I set the orbit range to 500m because blasters have a very short range.
While shooting the rats I noticed a destroyer on scan - a thrasher. I thought that would be a very good test of the merlin - if I could get under his autocannons, I might be able to destroy him before my ship turned to a burning wreck. But I did not have high hopes - my frigates usually die to destroyers.
I headed to the top belt to make it easier for him to find me. While I waited I cruised away from the Angel frigate and battleship that were guarding their precious rocks. When the frigate got close, I destroyed it in one shot. Nice.
Then the thrasher landed. The pilot was named Kolt and I saw that he has been playing since 2003 and has a -9.7 security standing. An experienced pirate. I assumed his destroyer would be well equipped and I started making plans to get my pod out when my destruction happened.
Fortunately, he landed more than 100k away from me. My plan was to fight up close - the closer the better - and so when he came in my direction, I kept moving away from him. After a minute or two I decided to bite the bullet and take the fight. I headed to the sun and figured that he would follow. I chose to land at zero in hopes that he would do the same so that we would be very near to each other at the start of the fight. I had no hope of approaching through the barrage of 7 autocannons that a thrasher carries.
I landed and waited.
Soon I saw him on dscan and a few seconds later he landed. 3k away! Perfect! My only hope was to get in close. I had noticed at the asteroid belt that his speed (4k+/sec) indicated that he had a microwarp drive - so when I scrambled and webbed the thrasher it was pretty much dead in the vacuum. I set my orbit at 500m and started pummeling him with my hybrid charges.
Death came quickly to the thrasher. I might have taken a glancing blow, but hardly more and Kolt's ship was soon a fiery heap of wreckage! I scooped up as much loot as I could from the wreck (noting that it had been an arty thrasher - to explain the lack of damage to my close fast flying frigate). But I couldn't get all the loot into my hold - 3(!) Covert Ops Cloaking Device IIs had fortunately survived the explosion and were too big to fit. For those I had to return in the station and head back in my own destroyer (due to the larger cargo hold) for retrieval. It was a very fortunate drop for me...
Afterwards we had this postmortem in local:
Jack Dancer > gf
Kolt > lol pressed to zero , my bad , gf
Jack Dancer > I was hoping that might happen...
Kolt > yep i had already figured that out in warp lol
My first impressions of the blaster merlin were very favorable...