Friday, October 2, 2009

All's fair in love and war... except everything.

Short update (not really). I met a nice girl in the Guristas bar in Ishomilken by the name of Viella. Civire, like me. Hell, we even had matching tattoos. Weird coincidence. Turns out she'd dropped out of the State War Academy to try and make a living hauling between Jita and lowsec for the Guristas. It sounded boring, but she technically didn't have friendly status with us so even I could get away with shooting her up.

I bought Viella more than a few drinks and she was ordering another when I decided to ask her for help. The music blasting out of strategically placed speaker drones was all encompassing, some weird fusion of Caldari parade music and Minmatar mindfuck percussion. I swear I picked out a few notes from Icharugi's Sixteenth Odyssey for Kalaakiota. Anyways, I managed to drag Viella out of the bar and into the corridor where she was just barely retaining enough sobriety to speak. I wasn't much of a drinker myself, and had to speak slowly and simply for her. I asked her if she could acquire some Rifter hulls as well as weapons modules and ammunition back in empire space. I offered to pay her of course, but for whatever reason, alcohol or something else, she said she'd do it for free. All I had to do was cover station tariffs. Not bad.

We returned to the bar for a few hours, back to the eternal party of the Guristas, and I considered trying to coax Viella back to my bunk but she was already sobering up. Stupid capsuleer metabolism. When I reminded her of our agreement as we parted ways, the rather angry look in her eyes told me she likely wouldn't have made the same agreement fully sober.


Viella got back with the hulls today. I threw a couple million ISK her way despite previous arrangements and at this her eyes lit up. I tagged her in my NEOCOM for future business and she hurried off. Something about a shipment a Manticore that needed to be in Providence soon. I watched through the station windows as her Iteron III ripped open a warp tunnel and disappeared. Something about a girl with her character flying the giant space phallus that was an Iteron amused me.


I had the hangar crew fit one of my new Rifters and I stripped down and slipped into my pod. The hangar cranes lowered it into the ship and I initiated the undock sequence. Seconds later I realized I had neither insured nor named the ship, and I scrambled to do both. I shot a line to the station's insurance office and Aura connected me to the automated systems. Probably better than dealing with the seedy businessmen that ran it. Not feeling particularly creative, I designated the Rifter as Misericorde like every other Rifter I fly, and undocked for real.

Jumping through several systems, I spotted no potential targets. Mara was well populated, by scanning revealed that most pilots in the system were piloting battlecruisers and were engaged with a Pithi fleet somewhere in deadspace. I moved on, eventually ending up in Aurohunen. A number of the battlecruisers appeared behind me on the gate as I uncloaked and I asked in local comms why they were going after a lone rifter with so much firepower.

The Drake pilots explained that a Gallente battleship had engaged them and they were fleeing. I felt some sympathy towards them, they were Caldari afterall, victims of Gallente hypocrisy and double standards just like me, but they were still loyal to the State. Oh well. Their loss.

Just as I was about to head back to Isho, I identified another Rifter pilot and following my usual strategy, initiated a fleet link with him. To my surprise for a pilot of his age, he accepted. I forced a fleet warp to the system's star but his ship was nowhere to be found on the overview. I ordered Aura to locate and warp to his ship, and my warp tunnel collapsed in an asteroid belt, revealing his rifter firing on a number of Gurista 'Wreckers'. Apparently he couldn't compete with them, and was burning away with his afterburners. I locked him and began my pursuit.

The Wreckers returned to their patrols near the asteroids as I took matters into my own hands and proceeded to engage all modules when I had spiraled into range. But hold on a second... He'd dropped fleet and tried to scramble me first. Weird. Okay. No big deal.

We orbited each other at speed, autocannon slugs and rockets filling the space between us as we danced in the name of death. I noticed my shields were dropping significantly faster than his, but a lucky rocket strike near his pod evened things out and as our shields failed and armor began to strip away, I saw myself pulling into the lead. I tried to engage my armor repairer but the adrenaline coursing through my body made it difficult to formulate coherent commands for my ship. As the last of his armor melted into the void I managed to initiate the repper, and it looked like the fight was mine.

It wasn't.

Another pilot appeared in local comms and seconds later a Cylone dropped into the belt. Shit. Shit. Shit.

It crossed my mind that I might have time to finish off the rifter before the cyclone manages to get a lock on me. Experiene with my drake had taught me that battlecruisers took ages to target frigates.

Not so, in this case.

Just seconds after he arrived a number of drones spilled out of the belly of his ship and began racing towards us. I tried to warp out but even as the other rifter exploded and I began to accelerate towards a safespot, the Cyclone scrambled me. His drones made short work of my rifter, and lag with my control systems prevented me from escaping with my pod.

I woke up seconds later, feeling a strange absence of something as my new body had not been exposed to high levels of adrenaline for several consecutive minutes. I don't even know how to describe it. The emptiness was quickly filled however, as I seethed with rage.

Not at the loss of a ship, no. I overcame the sense of despair at losing a ship long ago. But I was angry at the Cyclone pilot. The first equal fight I've been in where I matched my opponent in both skill and firepower is interrupted so close to it's finish. It doesn't really have anything to do with fairness. I mean, camping the gates into Jan is hardly fair for our victims, and half of the pirate spirit in a fight is ensuring you have some sort of advantage (Unless your some crazy bastard like Kane Rizzel ) but I can't help it. It's embarrassing to listen to battle stories in the bar while the only kills listed under my name on the corp charts are some unfortunate novices in ships hardly fit for combat.

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