Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! One of the grand traditions of Thanksgiving in the
States is the early close. Companies all
across the country shut down around 1-2 pm instead of the usual 4-5, giving you
a few extra hours to use as you see fit. We celebrated Thanksgiving last
weekend when we went back home, and we’re only doing a slight dinner today. The
kids were happy at preschool, so the wife and I took some time for ourselves,
which, meant setting up for an adventure later that night.
Recently, I made the decision to head on into Guristas space and make a play at killing ratters. I resisted doing so out of a lingering sense of loyalty for more than two months after leaving the CFC. Somehow, it didn’t feel right to simply charge on over there and start popping ratters and miners.
I wanted to leave a little time so all of my services and APIs dropped, and allow time for folks to shift around their assets and habits enough that I wouldn’t feel as if I was using any special knowledge from my CFC time. It’s one thing to kill your former alliance mates – that’s understandable and acceptable. It’s another to use your knowledge of them against them. I remember sense of outrage I felt when a corp once left Razor and, on the way out, immediately began camping systems and killing folks; it seemed underhanded.
But, after two months, all is fair. So I packed up a Stratios and headed up to Venal to cause a little mayhem. The entertainment value of killing CFC PvE folks does not disappoint, nor did the famed CFC response time later that night.
There are very few stations in Venal. Some would say far too few, given the Guristas’ supposed profit levels and the size of the region. In fact, now that I think of it, we need more. So you have lots of travel time between regions. I decided first to strike out in the direction of Branch, and very quickly, I came upon a Procurer that understood how to fit for defense. He tanked over 29,000 points of damage, which probably put his ehp at around 54,000 or so.
He lasted a couple minutes; in that system, with multiple alliance mates there, it should have been enough. I was a little surprised not to see a response form in the time it took me to kill him. The pocket I was in was lousy with stations, and I passed several folks as I penetrated their space. A friend of mine even said hello on a private convo because he saw me reported in intel.
After the kill, though, I saw local spike and noticed seven pilots on dscan, a motley range of ships that suggests it was a response fleet. I stayed cloaked up for about fifteen minutes. I’d love to say I was studiously assessing their actions and devising a cunning strategy to outwit them. I was really just putting the wife to bed.
When I came back, I was sitting on a perch off the B-G gate when I saw a Tengu jump through. That gate leads deeper into the ratting pocket, and I was built to kill ratters, so I thought I’d give him a minute or so to warp off and start to focus on his ratting before following him in.
When I finally did jump through, I saw him sitting on the other side of the gate uncloaked. I originally thought perhaps he had simply gone afk and outlasted his decloak timer. Then I saw him cloak up and quickly decloak again. He wasn’t moving.
So, did he simply double-click his cloak accidentally (thinking he was cloaked), or was he bait? I took to Eve-kill to find out. He had a 5.0 security status, which suggested he was just a ratter, but he did have some small gang kills, which suggested he had some sense of how to PvP. But his numbers were all very low… a handful of losses and a couple dozen kills each month. The occasional PvPer, perhaps?
I’d like to say I made a tactical decision to engage, but in reality, my research took a little longer than I thought and my cloak timer ran out. I tabbed back to him locking and warp disrupting me. I quickly locked him, but his Tengu landed two neuts on me before I could do the same to him. It was a race… who would cap out first? All the while, I hit him with my EM drones, which do a pretty substantial bit of dps.
Then I saw the cyno pop. But instead of an overwhelming gang of 300 ships, all that dropped was a single Panther. The dps wasn’t too extreme, but I was taking damage. I started trying to move in closer to slip under the Panther’s guns (my own chance), but the Tengu had me scrammed and webbed. At least, he did until he popped.
It’s a strange feeling when you achieve your primary objective in a fight. From the moment my ship was scrammed by that Tengu, I knew I was dead. My goal was simply to kill him – costing him more isk than I lost and about 3 days’ training time for the sp loss – before I died. And when only a single Panther came through, I realized I had a chance of it.
It was a similar experience to what happened a couple days ago. I killed my target, but found myself with a little more time. Yesterday, however, I didn’t hesitate. An Atron and a Sabre had come to the party as well, so I targeted the closest one and killed him. The Sabre wisely chose to keep his distance as the Panther finished me off. It cost him my pod, but admittedly it wasn’t a very valuable pod.
I have to give respect to that Tengu for baiting me and bringing in only a single Panther for backup. I can respect someone putting his ship at risk when bringing in only one guy to fight me. Given my fit, I couldn’t take on a Panther with EM drones, but a different fit could possibly take it on (I’m thinking active rep, TD-fit), so he was putting some pretty pricey hardware on the line. And for that, he has my respect.
All in all, it was a fun little excursion. I killed a little over 500 mil all combined, while losing a little more than 300 mil. I’ll take that trade, particularly for the pride of successfully fighting outnumbered. Despite the cost, I’m really digging the Stratios, and will 10/10 do it again. It was an enjoyable night, and a lot more fun hunting the ratters than doing the actual ratting!