Monday, January 21, 2008

Which foot forward?

Once again, I have transferred my allegiance to a new corporation. My former corporation had a proud history and a proud name, but seemed to me to be in advanced decline. I had joined it with visions of fighting in small gangs and listening to grizzled veterans tell stories of glories past and arcane wisdom, but most of those grizzled veterans left or were leaving the corporation. My former mates were amiable and competent, but my opportunities to learn and grow were too few. After only a couple of days, I have already received more personal attention in my new corporation than I ever received in the old. My new corporation is smaller and relatively unknown, but I personally appreciate very much that one of the veterans took me out into deep space for some one-on-one instruction in high-speed Interceptor tactics.

I wanted to impress my new mates with my hunting prowess, but instead I'm afraid I rather embarrassed myself my first day. My new base of operations is just a couple of jumpgates away from the old, and I thought I'd fly my Myrmidon-class battlecruiser over. I am barely competent to helm that fine ship, and thinking back now I remember resolving not to fly it except in a gang. But just two jumps away! So I took one of my most valuable ships, threw in some quite valuable cargo including spare T2 drones and some skill books, and headed out.

As I came through the second (and final) gate, my heart sank. Two battleships, a battlecruiser, and a cruiser were waiting there; they flashed red on my tactical display, indicating they were known criminals. Oops. I employed the tactic that has worked for me in escaping from gate camps in one of my cruisers--I headed straight back for the gate I just came through, microwarpdrive set on full, and turned on my active armor hardeners. In the past, I've been able to tank whatever damage hit me long enough to jump out, all I needed to do to escape, as my attackers would not be allowed to immediately pass through a gate after initiating hostilities.

But this time I didn't make it.

My speed reduced to a crawl by four sets of stasis webifiers, unable to warp to my base space station just a few astral units away, and receiving the concentrated firepower of four ships' guns, blasters, missiles, and drones, I quite simply disintegrated. Protected in my escape capsule, I targeted my home space station and repeatedly issued the command for my small pod to warp...but nothing happened. Just as I was sure it would finally warp away from the carnage, my ship log (transmitted in a final intelligible burst) indicates my capsule, too, was vaporized. Total value lost to me: over 59 million ISK. Not the best thing to have splashed all over the operations board in the ward room back at base. But there it was.

You can imagine my relief, then, when the very next day that week's data was removed from the operations board and a new week's set of statistics begun. And how good it felt to post the first kills. Piloting my trusty Incursus, in a single engagement I killed a destroyer, two frigates, and an industrial ship--and managed to send one of the pilots to his med clone while I was at it. But that's not how it started....

I jumped into the Covryn system and hit paydirt on my first scan. Two Navitas-class frigates showed up, plus an Iteron-class industrial ship. I assumed the indy was en route to or from some station or gate, but knew there was a good chance I would find at least one of the Navitas's at an asteroid belt, especially since I also detected a couple of mining drones on scan. Sure enough, as I took a narrow reading on the fourth asteroid belt, I found the mining drones and the Navitas--and the Iteron as well!

I quickly initiated the process to warp to the asteroid belt; I wanted to get there before they could recall their drones and warp out. In warp, I determined that the Iteron was my primary target; it was more likely to have valuable modules fitted, plus it could have something interesting in its capacious cargo hold (though it would probably just have ore). Coming out of warp, I quickly closed range, tackled the indy, and began the kill.

Suddenly, a Catalyst-class destroyer appeared on the scene. Destroyers were built to be frigate-killers, so I instantly made him my primary target rather than the indy. I figured the indy and the Navitas would get away while the getting was good, but no--they stayed. After a minute, it was clear that this particular Catalyst was no frigate-killer, at least it wasn't a Jousting Junebug-killer; I obliterated him, and once again locked my warp disruptor on the Iteron (and my guns, and my webber, and my drone). He went down. Still the Navitas hadn't fled; as though he were offering himself to me, he buzzed around ineffectually. I locked him, pinned him still, and destroyed him. And this time I had the luxury of stopping his capsule and vacuum-freezing that specific iteration of his corporeal existence.

I went first to the wreck of the destroyer to scoop some loot, anxiously scanning in all directions to see if anyone higher on the food chain was coming in to snatch my prizes and at the same time reloading my blasters and recalling my drone. Next I looted the industrial, and finally the Navitas; all the while, I was unmolested. Just as I scooped up the frozen corpse and set a course to a safe spot in deep space, though, a Tristan-class frigate screamed in.

Now, the Tristan was built for combat, unlike the Navitas. I could expect to face some blasters and missile fire from a well-armored opponent (hey, that's the pilot from the Iteron!). We closed with each other, and orbited one another, going toe-to-toe. Unfortunately for my opponent, I had a lot more to dish out, and in a real hurry. Pausing a moment to recover some usable modules from his wreckage, I finally relaxed as my ship warped to safety, just as an Ishkur appeared on my scanner's display.

Back at my new base, I eyed the wardroom operations display over a cup of coffee. A new week, and a fresh leaf for me. I nodded in approval at the four kills listed under "Ka Jolo." Quite an improvement over the big red battlecruiser loss that was up there the day before. Now, just a few more kills and maybe I'll have made back what I lost....


Bill said...

This is an excellent Blog. Please keep posting as it's all very inspiring stuff for us wannabe Pirates. :o)

Everir Entar said...


I just wanted to leave a short comment to tell you that you are very talented at writing your thoughts and experiences.

Even, for a noobie *carebear* pilot, your posts all give a great view on what it's like to be a pirate! :P

Have a good one and keep up the good work!

-Everir Entar, Minmatar Pilot.

Ka Jolo said...

Thanks for the encouragement, fellows. What's a "carebear" pilot (in this context)?

Everir Entar said...

Someone who might not enjoy PVP for the moment. :P

Carebears stay in High-Sec. They normally mine, or mission run or farm rats.

The few experiences I had with low-sec pirating were quite frustrating and that's why I headed back to Empire.