Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thank you, Gentle Reader

My name is Ka Jolo and I'm addicted to the rapacious initiation of force against space-faring vessels. I admit that even rookie pilots in rookie ships hold an unfortunate fascination for me. But I have to admit that with time, it takes more and more of a fight to give me that adrenaline rush at the intensity I crave. Velators and Ibis's, of course, give me a quick fix. Navitas's and Imicus's are fine for a snack. But even poorly skilled pilots piloting poorly fitted cruisers don't really do it for me as much as a dyed-in-the-wool PvP'er who knows what he's doing. There's nothing like the thrill of being locked in combat with an Incursus or--worse--a Rifter, when it's clear the pilot knows what he's doing, when I'm unpleasantly surprised at his DPS or tank, when his tactics startle me and doubt raises its ugly head.

Yesterday a Rifter jumped in on me as I was scanning some belts. I've learned to fear Rifters and their barrages of relentless, never-miss missiles. At the same time, I've learned that if I can get in close, they melt before the awesome destructive force of my Incursus' T2 guns, ammo, and drone. Since the Rifter locked me while still 50 km. away, I got out quick; I pictured wave after wave of incoming missiles while my close-range blasters sat on idle, waiting--too long--for their chance. But then the pilot mentioned he'd just read this blog, and thought I had more fight in me. I directed him to read again about my experience with Rifters; he good-naturedly referred to the parts where I speak of ships running away from my blinking redness, and avowed his intention of not depriving me of the action I so crave. Eventually I was able to jump in right on top of him--and he warped away before I could lock my scrammer on him. That sums up good PvP--each pilot trying to pick the fight to his own advantage, in terms of opponent, range, and conditions.

Today after an hour or two of fruitless hunting, I again stumbled over my canny adversary. There are only three systems with asteroid belts in Onne, and I could tell from my jump-in point that the Rifter was not in any of those around planet VIII. Planet VII had two belts, and Planet VI had but one. Rather than scanning the Rifter down, I decided to take a chance and warped directly to the VI-1 belt. The scanning process can turn into a cat-and-mouse game; but if I was lucky and my foe was at VI-1, I might be able to catch him by surprise.

Alas, he saw me in the system and greeted me in a friendly fashion. (Many pirates are quite courteous, greeting one another and thanking one another for a good fight and good loot from one another's wrecks.) I tried a nonchalant wave ( o/ ) in response, hoping he still wouldn't be expecting me to warp in on top of him within seconds.... And indeed, it looked I would be warping in right on top of him, as VI-1 and the Rifter both came within scanning range at the same moment. When I dropped out of warp space, the Rifter was less than 4,000 meters away; I had the computer try to lock on to my target as I set a close orbit and launched my drone.

As close as I was, I wasn't close enough to power up my blasters yet. As the range closed to 3,500, then 3,000, inching closer to the 2,000 I would need to have a chance of hitting, and the 1,000 I wanted to be able to really unleash my full fury, his missiles started to shake my Incursus like I was some kind of dog toy. I sent my lone drone ahead to start in on my foe, but by the time I engaged my blasters my shields were simply gone, and I was beginning to take damage to my armor.

My confidence shaken, yet by no means in despair, I anxiously watched for the effect my guns would have on the fight. Happily, they seemed to be working quite well. His shields melted, even as huge chunks of my armor were being blasted away. Then his armor begin to shred, even as mine held on, stubbornly protecting my hull barrage after barrage in spite of the pounding it was taking. We both got past the others' armor and into ship structure at about the same time; vital life-giving gases were bleeding into vacuum, brief flashes of light marked where explosives met not only fuel but also oxygen, and I knew I'd won this one. Though late, my DPS had the momentum and the Rifter blew up in a beautiful fireball while I still had about 85% structural integrity. Much too close for comfort, though!

I wanted this guy to have a personal experience with me that he would not soon forget, so I watched for my chance and managed to lock down his capsule. As my drone and guns did their dirty work, the pilot--now a pod pilot in an extra sense of the word--offered to pay. I asked for just 5M, more than most of my victims will pay but probably significantly less than his implants were worth, seeing as how he'd brought up the subject of ransom--and asked him to hurry, as my computer reported several more pilots making an appearance in the local system, one of them flagged to me as a special danger. As I combed the Rifter's wreckage for a nice set of usable T2 modules, my computer flashed that 5M had been added to my account. I thanked my worthy foe once again for a good fight, and we went our separate ways.

Respect to you, pilot; if I'd been just one more kilometer farther when I dropped from warp, I doubt I would have made it. And thanks again for a class-A hit of the good stuff.


Anonymous said...

Heh, I enjoy this blog quite a bit, and enjoy your stories. You have an engaging style of writing. That said, I tend to be rather care-bear-ish at the moment. Of course, I'm only three weeks old (in-game), so, that may be part of it. But kudos for being courteous and interesting. :-)

Ka Jolo said...

Is that you, Gentle Reader? Great fight. Too bad we couldn't get that Thorax to let go his death-hug on the station in Hevrice later when we joined forces.

Anonymous said...

Heh, Afraid not. I'm a carebear pilot in Empire space. But, hey, I'm training up another char, and he's going to be a pirate. Probably.

And, no, I won't tell you my carebear toon's name...I admire you, but I'm not an idiot. :-P

Ka Jolo said...

I found my target's comments on his own corp killboard; looks like I missed an opportunity for a much larger ransom! Ah well, that's life. Or piracy anyway.