Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.
Reading Taurean's post about his recent return to Hevrice, I decided that it was due time for me to wander over to Verge Vendor and see what they were up to. What's that you say? No, it didn't occur to me that going to the home of a group of top-ranked PvPers might not be a bright idea.
OK, I may not have set out with that exact goal in mind. It was actually that a new member of The Cartel was out in his Rifter (Yeah, yeah...) and had encountered some targets he wasn't sure he could take on. By the time I got there in my Arbitrator, they weren't around anymore, but I did notice I was now only a few short jumps from Hevrice and thought I'd give it a go. After all, if you're not finding anything to fight, what faster way than to poke a hornet's nest?
What was initially planned to be me sticking my head in to see if anyone was about changed when I saw Bonni3 in local. I first stumbled upon Bonni3's artwork on Kishin's blog banner and thought it was terrific. She has her own blog now, but I still had no idea where she based out of in EVE. Imagine my surprise encountering her hanging around in Hevrice. I gave a quick hello on local comms and then started fiddling about for a bit as not to be rude in case she replied.
Of course, idle hands are the devil's plaything and it didn't take me long to start getting into trouble. I had set up a quick mid-safe when I entered the system and found myself waiting at it punching the D-scan repeatedly as I always do when sitting still. How could I not notice the Vexor?
Letting the Rifter pilot from earlier know what I was onto, he started making his way towards me while I narrowed the Vexor pilot down. To a complex at five degrees. Surrounded by wrecks. I was soon hurtling through space while the Rifter pilot still approached. Landing at an acceleration gate, I sent myself inside and...
Nothing. Quickly whipping my D-scan back around I found the Vexor pilot. At five degrees. Still surrounded by wrecks. I had managed to find someone's mission that just happened to be between me and a complex. A bit frustrated at the disappointment, I went back to my safe. At which point I noticed another interesting ship in local.
A Brutix-class Battlecruiser was intermittently on scan. I wasn't sure how a Cruiser and Frigate duo would fair, but I was willing to give it a try. From the way the Brutix was moving around I began to suspect he was also hunting me. Time to give him what he wanted.
Setting myself up at a nearby belt, my fellow pilot in a Rifter was now waiting on the other side of the gate. It didn't take too long for the Brutix to land right next to me and I gave the word for the Rifter pilot to jump in. The Brutix was soon Locked, Webbed, Scrammed, Neuted and Tracking Disrupted. And then a second later he wasn't.
At first I thought he had somehow warped off. I was confused by this, because I couldn't imagine a Tusker equipped with Warp Core Stabs. I was quickly reminded that he hadn't warped off when his no longer TDed Blasters ripped off my shields in a single volley. Oh right, I was being jammed by ECM Drones.
I relayed this piece of info to the Rifter pilot and he assured me he'd get a point on the Brutix as soon as he landed and then start working on his drones. When the first Jam cycle finished, I resumed my E-War assault on the Brutix and reassigned my drones to attack his. I had taken about 20% armor damage at that point, but as long as my Tracking Speed Disruption was intact, he was only getting glancing blows. Somewhat relieved by this, it was a short lived feeling as I was soon jammed again.
This time, by two back-to-back jam cycles from the drones. My 80% armor was now closer to 30% armor by the time I got a new lock. Unfortunately for me, once I got a lock I was able to see my drones were back to attacking the Brutix. Thankfully, the Rifter pilot had managed to dispatch all but two of the annoying little things.
With my own drones back to the real threat, it didn't take long to clear the last of his drones. Of course, my armor buffer couldn't last forever, even against glancing hits. 30% had quickly become 20% and we hadn't even made it through the Brutix's shields. But then, at 14% armor left, something miraculous happened.
The Brutix had ceased firing entirely. My Four Energy Neutralizers, no longer burdened by the constant lost locks, had done their job. Putting all our DPS onto the Brutix it was still a bit slow going, but once his shields were down, armor and structure melted. We had briefly considered the prospect of ransoming him, but with a handful of Tuskers in the system, we decided not to press our luck. Probably a good idea as it didn't take long for a Hurricane and Wolf to show up on Scan, or for the Brutix pilot to reship into a Drake.
Good Fights were offered up in local and quickly returned. I don't think I've ever meant it more either. With 86% of my armor gone, I was dangerously close to a dead man. It was truly some tense fighting for me until the Brutix capped out. If any of my readers happen to be fellow Tuskers, I'd be curious to hear if the pilot just wasn't able to rally reinforcements fast enough, or simply didn't want to spoil the fight by calling for backup.
Either way, my hat is off to this Tusker for putting up a very good fight. One of the best perks of fighting an Outlaw being that I didn't have to wait out a GCC timer, I quickly left Hevrice in search of a safe system to dock and repair. One of our new members and I retelling stories of the glorious fight all the way home.