The term “Dutch courage” is synonymous now with drunken bravado. Back in the day it was an insult, used by the English to denigrate their foreign rivals – a Dutch man is no kind of man if he has to drink to be brave, as they believed.
In EVE, I’ve did my best to stay away from solo combat. I’ve been ingame for only two months – I’m young, naive, inexperienced and ill-equipped. The pilots who populate the Great Wildlands – the disputed area of low security space claimed by the Foundation/Kieretsu Alliance, and threatened by countless other alliances and PVP Corps – tend to have been ingame for far longer than me. They fly battleships, heavy assault cruisers (HACs), interceptors, covert assault frigates…my lowly, plain ol’ battlecruiser is run of the mill alone against any of them, and destined to die. Which is why, any time I’ve ventured into the Great Wildlands, I’ve done so en masse.
Except for the night I came home with a few beers in me. Dutch courage, you see? It had been widely acknowledged that this week was to be frigate week for F/K pilots. A wolfpack of ten low cost, low tech frigates have as much chance of taking out a battleship as anything else. This week was to be about PvP, in ships anyone could afford to fly. Late Thursday night I came home, at least one sheet to the wind.(another ol saying pertaining to drunk is “three sheets to the wind”. If the three sheets (guide ropes) holding the sails were loose, the ship would lurch about like a drunken sailor on free shore leave). Diving into The Unpaid Debt II , my battlecruiser, I immediately loosed anchor and set sail for E02, the heart of the Great Wildlands conflict. Dagnammit, if there was fighting to be done, I was going to do it!
Halfway through my thirty-system journey I grew bored and smoked a cigarette. Flying on autopilot, strapped in and waiting, the journey would take close to forty-five minutes. Even with insta-jump bookmarks it’s a twenty-minute crawl. I entertained myself by trying to target-lock any enemy ships I saw in passing, before remembering that firing first would have repercussions for me – regardless of whether I killed them until I reached 0.4 space or lower.
In Aeditide, near the crucial choke point system of Egbinger, I spotted a mercenary pilot complex. It looked shiny and bright, and full of loot, and besides I was bored of traveling and no-one seemed to want to allow me into their war-gang. As I warped in the ship’s computer told me that this was the local Red Light district for the Angel Cartel of pirates. Whatever, I replied. A category five complex would be hard for a Ferox, but, with luck, I would clear it out.
No-one was a surprised as I, however, to find that someone else was in the process of clearing it out when I arrived. Even more surprising was the red square and minus icon on the scanner next to his ship…this was an enemy, in a Raven battleship, the peak of Caldari ship design. Would the pirates have damaged him enough for my lesser weapons to take effect? I havered and though about warping…then I hit the lock button. Damn! His shields were at seventy-five percent, and the Angel ships around him were dropping like flies. There was no way I could defeat him at that strength. I fled, heading back onto the path that would take me to E02. At the next gate, into Egbinger, Drilla awaited. Drilla is an enemy corp pilot who, while not feared, is known. He sat at the gate into Egbinger, alone. My adrenalin pulsed as I warped closer to the gate, hoping beyond hope that my insta jump bookmark would land me close enough to the gate to go straight through to Egbinger.
I warped closer, slowed down. The warp drive disengaged…and I was seven kilometres from the gate, too far away to jump. As The Unpaid Debt II crawled slowly towards salvation, Drilla began locking me. He could easily kill me with no danger to himself – his Tempest was far more powerful than the Debt. I edged nearer, ever nearer. Another two red squares appeared on the scanner…RagnarH, whom I had met in the complex, and someone called DJBoo, who belonged to Shinra, along with Drilla, a rival faction that was unequivocally Kill On Sight… if you were able, that is.
RagnarH > get out plz
RagnarH > that was your smartest move
RagnarH > Drill
RagnarH > Drilla
RagnarH > say hi to Shinra from me
Drilla > Will do
RagnarH > thx
Drilla > Smart move?
RagnarH > he locked me
Drilla > hehe
RagnarH > that M plquet something
Drilla > Foundation noob
RagnarH > was gonna kill him for it
DJBoo > how can you be a member of the press and also foundation?
Seven kilometres became six became five became four. Before it two I had smoked two more cigarettes and had a pee. My ship was still untouched, Drilla’s lock incomplete. I think I slept for some eight or nine hours, because suddenly I was in Egbinger. I was safe! I had made it! I was free!
One, two, those red squares appeared behind me. I had no other option. I had to run and hide like a baby and scream for help.
Days passed, seasons turned. We missed an ice age, and still no one helped. I jumped to B-Vip, followed all the way. Drilla and his cohort, now joined by a third corp-mate, guarded the way out of the Great Wildlands, while I hid near the way in, waiting for reinforcements to organise and move my way. The com channels were full of talk, but no action was forthcoming. Eventually, a scout in a cloaked ship was organised and sent into B-Vip. Drilla’s small force now numbered five, and they knew an enemy was in system. Our quandary was whether or not we could make it from the safety of the 9-SNK gate to their position without them escaping.
Night became day became night became day became night eternal thanks to some unspecified curse caused by apathy amongst EVE gang members. Drilla and his friends realised we were gathering forces and left. Our fighting passion unspent, our war-gang headed south down the GW pipe, towards E02, and more enemies.
6WT became the battleground I was waiting for. Three enemies waited for me at the gate into the next system, and my insta-jump was off. I had too much ground to much up to reach the jump point, so I headed back the way I had came. An interceptor, an assault frigate and a battlecruiser locked me while I tried to warp out. One of them started to warp scramble me – thankfully, due to the mechanics of warp travel he merely catapulted me towards my destination faster than I could have managed alone.
I once again guarded a gate, alone, waiting for enemies to come find me. Across the com channels I called numbers and begged assistance. Again I waited for reinforcements that weren’t coming. I was alone, inexperience and quite probably outgunned. I had cold sweats, tremors, I was afraid , dammit.
The Moon got bored of it’s orbit and went off to visit Mercury. Micheal Howard evolved into a sentient lifeform. Margaret Thatcher became Pope and still help did not come . Eventually, the tell tale trail of a warping ship appeared… and so did the red square of an enemy.
I targeted, locked, fired. My computer reminded me that firing first was a criminal offense. I didn’t care – this guy was in a frigate to my battlecruiser, I could take him. Railguns and missiles fired hot metal death at the lowly fool…. and missed as he sped around me at speeds I could only dream of.
This was an interceptor, not a frigate. He was faster than my guns could track, faster than my missiles could fly. The computer informed me that I was now warp scrambled – I couldn’t escape. As two more red squares appeared I frantically told the ship to jump out of the system, to the relative safety of the next hostile infested star system.
But I fired first, committing a criminal offense. The stargate wouldn’t activate. I was doomed.
I cried for help through the com channels, meeting only derision. It was clear to my allies that my imminent doom was my own fault – I shouldn’t have camped the gate. Small comfort, as first my shields were drained, then my armour then my hull… my own inexperience and naivety was my doom.
Ain’t that the thing?
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