One of the real challenges of a pirate, particularly an aspiring pirate such as myself, is dealing with the inevitable consequences of your actions. Almost every pirate will, at some point, find themselves locked out of high security systems. Eventually, they may become outlaws, free game for anyone to kill on sight. For any aspiring pirate it is something which is inevitable. As a member of the Guristas Associates once said: “If, at the end of your pirate career, you don’t have a negative sec status, chances are you suck at pirating. Better just hop back in you hulk and get back to mining…”
Last night, I took the plunge and became an outlaw. On the way back from a roam in Amarr space, we encountered a thorax in Mormelot. Naturally, in a large gang and with Tracking Disruptors in our fleet, we could not lose, and the first Thorax popped as expected. As the first Thorax exploded, a second Thorax warped in and engaged us. He too was destroyed. The two engagements were positively mundane; such fights can be found anywhere. The differentiating factor of this fight was that the sec status hit from the first Thorax reduced my sec status to -5.1. I was now an outlaw…
Unfortunately I found no other engagements that night, docked up, and returned to Hevrice the next morning. The remainder of the morning was dominated by logistical runs and I found little solid time to undock until the evening.
Tonight, I took my new, fully fitted, Rifter for a spin. I checked out all of the usual places. However, as I entered Hulmate and Vitrause, the quintessential carebear systems, I found that all of the miners and ratters fled the system as I entered. I tried to engage an Auguror as he was sitting in Vitrause but he bolted as soon as I appeared on his overview. Discouraged, I continued to Palmon where I found no fights. Discouraged further, I decided to head to Old Man Star to find a fight.
As I jumped into Vitrause, I was greeted by a somewhat pleasant sight, an empty local channel. I decided to use this opportunity to run a quick test on my ship. I have heard of finding the sweet spot of your ship -the orbital radius where you angular velocity is highest- and endeavored to find out my sweet spot for myself. I began approaching the gate to do the first test at 500 meters when the gate activated and a Harbinger class Battlecrusier jumped into system. The harbinger spared no time in locking and firing upon my frigate, successfully stripping my shields away and cutting deeply into my armor. Panicking, I jumped through the gate again to Palmon with my armor at 50% integrity.
I waited for several minutes at the Vitrause gate but the harbinger did not jump through to reengage me. I jumped back into Vitrause to find both the Palmon and Onne gates to be mercifully empty.
Again, I found no fights in Aeschee or Ladister and my roam in Old Man Star was uneventful. Disappointed, I planned to return to Hevrice and dock up for the night when I discovered a problem with my overview settings which may have accounted for the somewhat anomalous lack of targets on my directional scanner. I landed on the Ladister gate and found it to be devoid of targets. Confident that the gate guns would protect me while I configured my overview settings (temporarily forgetting that I was an outlaw and that I could be aggressed by other ships without incurring the wrath of the sentry guns) to allow all ship types to appear on my overview, I quickly got to work.
As I configured my overview A Tristan landed on the gate and began to burn towards me. Blissfully unaware of the fact that the Tristan could aggress me at the gate, I thought nothing of it and continued to select the necessary ship types that would appear on my overview.
When the Tristan was within 1,000 meters of me, he locked me and opened fire with his powerful advanced blasters, stripping half my shields away. I quickly closed the overview screens, cycled my weapons and damage systems up and returned the lock. I was able to fire immediately but the one second it took for my targeting systems to acquire a firing solution, the Tristan was able to squeeze off another salvo at my ship, reducing my shields to 25% integrity. My targeting software finally resolved and my weapons systems sprang to life, my 200mm autocannons firing rounds of barrage at my target, melting his shields in a matter of seconds. Now, with both of us into armor, the fight quickly intensified. However, I made the mistake of choosing a tight 1,000 m orbit which meant that my autocannons poorer tracking reduced the damage I was inflicting on my target while his blasters and rockets successfully tore away at my armor. With my armor at 50% integrity and the Tristan’s at 75% I activated my repair systems and attempted to kite him to minimize his transversal. It worked for several moments, and I managed to land a slew of wrecking shots on the Tristan reducing his armor integrity to about 40% while I managed to hold my armor at just over 30%.
Now the fight went downhill. the Tristan called to his other corp member in system for backup, which swiftly arrived in the form of a Rifter class frigate. At the same time, my own Rifter capped out, and, under the combined power of both of the frigates guns, my ship succumbed.
So what did I learn from the fight you might ask? The answer: quite a lot. Firstly, I should always use ammo such as RF EMP for close range work; the tracking penalty inherent in Barrage makes it less ideal for close range work.
Secondly, I must remember, as an outlaw, to be prepared for a fight wherever I go; there are people everywhere spoiling for a fight and I must not become easy prey for them.
Thirdly, and most importantly, if I am going to draw my attention away from the main game screen, I must remember to safe up…
In the end, I made no excuses to the pilot; I simply posted a GF in local and went back to Hevrice in a pod. It was my own idiocy, and general ignorance that lost me my ship, and it my opponents daring and savvines that allowed him to come out on top. Now I know my mistake and shall continue to learn.
The next morning, I awoke to find a pleasant surprise on battleclinic. The offending pilot had lost his ship shortly after I lost mine, and I appeared as the top damage dealer. Justice had been achieved!