Every ship has an expiration date. They may not break down and they may need minimal maintenance but, every ship that is piloted into the vast universe will one day perish.
That is the nature of New Eden — life, destruction, death and life again.
Some capsuleers choose to live under the protection of Concord in high security space or sovereign alliances in null security. They protect their ship by trading some personal freedoms and their ship lives long because of it. I do not fault you for this.
However, any pilot who wanders the low security regions for any length of time knows that ships flown out here may live shorter lives, but their lives seem brighter and more meaningful. This is because in low security space, one ship actually can make a difference and one pilot can carve out an existence for themselves, even by themselves, should they dare.
But that existence means nothing without a ship to project the capsuleer through space. The ship is the most effective tool the pilot can use to challenge themselves and so without it, there is nothing. I feel it is this fear of nothingness and a want of power that pushes the capsuleer forward and thus forced into the cycle of destruction within New Eden.
The pilot must undock to test themselves but by undocking the pilot risks losing their power. So the struggles and fights begin and then, eventually, must end.
That end, is where I found myself over the past week.
I was having such success in my Jaguar for quite some time. I made the ultimate tool to use against those that would threaten my home and my existence.
So effective was this ship however, that it stopped fulfilling that sense of challenge we all need to survive. Of course, the ship had brought me over a billion credits in wealth in the form of loot and bounties, but at some point that is not enough.
In the beginning the money was justified as enough reason to keep flying the ship because it was just starting to show its personality and well… I had a debt to pay off. I borrowed a sizable loan from the Serpentis to fund this venture and they are not known for bad bookkeeping.
Regardless, I knew that nothing, save a capsuleer’s mind, lasts forever and nothing screams “You are about to have a bad day” like making that final payment and becoming the sole title holder for your ship.
So there I was, ship paid off and the nagging thought in the back of my mind that I could accomplish more if I went and took on larger groups of more experienced capsuleers.
This of course is rarely true because even if you do manage to claim some victories, the odds of collecting loot and salvage out from under the rest of the fleet are quite low. Detruction is meaningless if you don’t get paid. 😦
Regardless, reason is rarely in the decision making tree when a capsuleer is drunk with money and power. So off I went, back to my summer home in the Hakisalki region to pester the locals.
Well, it turns out that you can forget a few things that are crucial to fighting out-numbered when you are used to flying one on one in attempts to extract ransoms. I was used to devoting so much of my time and energy into spinning charismatic phrases to disarm and dodge my opponents that I forgot to focus on the more technical aspects of the fight. Such as:
“Oh wow, that Porpoise is drifting into my orbit path and hasn’t placed my ship under warp disruption like his other mining buddy… I wonder if he has the capability to shut off propulsion like most Porpoise should?” -What should have been the thoughts of Sai before they lost their favorite ship.
But that was only the mistake that blew up my ship, it was not why I lost the fight. That was a series of bad calls that culminated in the snuffing out of what was once a brightly shining star of a ship.
My first mistake was I was already committed to causing some hurt. So focused was I on where I was going and why I was going there that retreat never even crossed my mind. When I took the stargate into Krirald, I knew where I wanted to warp to and what I wanted to do and so I did it. When my ship dropped out of warp and I saw a three vessel mining fleet within range I picked my target and punched the accelerator.
I go for the weakest ship first because I can’t stop them all from leaving and those that get away will be able to make a fast response in combat ships since we are only 300 km off their mining structure. Their choice however, seemed to be to only send one back to activate the structures energy neutralization modules against me. Worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up speed and range with that against me, I disengaged.
Curiously, the stress of the energy neutralizer on my ships battery was not as strenuous as I thought it would be… It would be risky, but I chose to dive back in and continue the fight, knowing full well that it would be prolonged and not in my favor. As I said, I cam here with a purpose — Mistake number one.
Once back in range, I train my guns on the Procurer because its shields are already down a bit — Mistake number two, I know that they have plenty of hull that I would still have to take out even after their shield goes down but I felt committed to the target.
Finally, the Porpoise identifies my orbit and matches my range on the Procurer so that as soon as I move within 10 kilometers of the ship I come to a near gut wrenching halt — Mistake number 3.
The Jaguar was no more. I had, foolishly, underestimated the mining ships. Mistake number 4.
Unfortunately, my welcome back party didn’t stop there. Not to be deterred, I decided to try my hand at piloting a new ship design. I went to my hangar and pulled out an oddly fit Jackdaw. I’ve only had limited experience with the tactical destroyers thus far, but that experience had neither been overly bad or good. Wanting to get a feel for how this ship might handle itself in combat before I took it against other capsuleers, I decided to test it against some rogue drones first.
It turns out some rogue drones are stronger than others. You fought brave young Jackdaw but it was just not meant to be. Maybe I shouldn’t use a pirate ship to do the work of those that I pirate.
And finally, there is the relearning of the local area that I forgot to consider. It turns out, I may not be the only pirate around, especially in regions like Metropolis as compared to Molden Heath. Just because you know what the area was a few month ago, doesn’t man the locals haven’t changed much.
There I was, lounging in my Nemesis, enjoying the leisurely feeling of being cloaked up and simply waiting for the prey to come to me when suddenly, I discovered I was not the only one employing this tactic and the other was doing so in a much nicer ship then mine.
Ransoming explorers can often net those willing to do it quite a bit of isk in exchange for a minimally costed ship. The use of cargo scanners and a stealth bombers fast locking capabilities see to it that very few target will ever escape. The only downside — the Astero.
The Astero has a tough shell and a stealth bomber will never get through it but it has one weakness, it can not immediately lock your ship once it decloaks. Unfortunately, that advantage does me little good when Iam focused on scanning the cargo of another ship and fail to realize the Astero decloak right next to me.
They made short work of my bomber but I knew I had no chance. My best bet was to deactivate all offensive modules so the my criminal status would stop flagging Concord. This allowed me dock immediately after my destruction and grab another ship to bring back to the battlefield because if there is one thing about explorer hunters, it is that they will always go for the loot before re cloaking so I knew I had at least some time but surely no more than a minute.
I swap ships, and warp back to the coordinates of the battle. I land just as the pilot is looting the remains of my ship and I burn straight towards them but… missed them by milliseconds. Well played capsuleer, maybe next time.
Pirated and counter pirated.
All in all, it was a rough week for piracy on my end but plenty can be learned for that is the way of surviving low security space. Just because I’ve been flying a lot lately doesn’t mean I’m not rusty.
So as always,