After a couple of weeks of training and practicing, I thought my interceptor was ready. My microwarpdrive and capacitor skills were now very healthy, I had begun to balance out a ship setup, and I had searched out some rare lasers for that little bit extra effect.
So I flew my crusader into the Great Wildlands for the second time. Eve politics can develop quickly, and ours was a more unstable region than most. Our corporation was a member of the Foundation alliance, who were claiming the Wildlands as their home. When I last visited, we had been in fierce battle with the Kieretsu, but ceasefire had been called some time ago, and they were now our allies. It was relative peace for the Wildlands.
But there’s always somebody who wants to cause trouble. This week it was the Black Omega Security corporation. They were a mercenary corp, and I believe they had been hired against us.
As I begun the journey through the B-VIP9 corridor, reports came in over the Foundation’s intelligence channel of Black Omega in E02-IK, the heart system of the Great Wildlands. Three frigates and an interceptor at the stargate into 8YC, attacking passers by. I thought it would be a little optimistic to take them all on by myself, so when I reached the system in question, I called for aid.
And it came. A fellow frigate joined me at my gathering spot. Two blackbird cruisers reported they were on their way, along with a tempest battleship. But somebody else blundered through the gate before we were ready, sparking the wrath of the Omega. My frigate gangmate dived in to help, and I followed.
This was only the third time I had warped in to attack another player, and the first time where I felt I might be in a position of power. But it was the first time I had warped in on top of an enemy battlegroup instead of a lone ship. I was terrified. I locked the nearest red blip on the overview, a speedy vigil frigate. After that, I looked at nothing else. My attention was fixed firmly on the flashing icons relating to that ship as I hit him with a web, ran around him in very fast circles, and pelted him with laser pulses.
And then it was over. The little fragile frigate popped underneath me. CONCORD sent me an evemail with the details of the encounter, victim, involved parties, ship types, location. I had only received such mails with my name in the victim slot before that moment. My very first kill-mail, for my very first kill. Almost six months into the game. My face would have been beaming, but I was still a little shocked it had happened.
I sat back and took a look around. The two blackbirds had arrived, and it appeared at least one other of the enemy had been taken down. The enemy interceptor had gotten away, however. He had pointed his ship in a random direction and activated his micro warp drive.
Somebody called that one of the defeateds was leaving the station in a new rookie ship. We all warped, but didn’t get there in time. We saw the two remaining combat ships of the Black Omega at an observing safespot, however, three hundred kilometres away. They were watching us. We sat and watched back for a while.
Three months ago, the last time I had attempted to help with defense in the Great Wildlands, I had sat at a similar safespot to theirs outside the station in E02. An interceptor had run toward me, proving that such safespots were far from safe. I warped away to safety, but the moment had stuck with me.
I looked around, and saw that I was the only interceptor of the good guys present. Here was that role I had been looking for. I stood up bravely, announced my intentions, and activated my micro warp drive.
I felt like a miniature hero as the others cheered me on. I was the only one who could fly towards those two ships fast enough to reach them. It would probably come to nothing, though. They still had time enough to warp away, just as I did three months ago.
But they didn’t. I began to get nervous, as the distance between us hurtled closer. The rifter and the crow sat and waited for me. They’re both powerful ships, went my thought. Both capable of considerable damage. I’m going to die, went my thought.
I arrived. I locked the rifter, who, being an ordinary frigate, I thought I could defeat as easily as the earlier vigil.
It didn’t go like that, though. He fought back with rockets and artillery. My orbit was too close, not enough time to outrun those rockets. He started to take down my armour faster than I was melting his.
Just as my armour was about to fail, and my structure take the hits instead, the rest of my gang arrived, warping to my position. The rifter fled, just before he killed me.
Again, the crow, that Omega interceptor, had escaped by application of speed. He had stopped again, several hundred kilometres away. I’m sure he was grinning at me.
I don’t know where the rifter went, but I decided I was going for the crow next. He had run from every fight so far, and it was time somebody gave chase. I repaired my armour, recharged my capacitor, then activated my micro warp drive once again. I set course towards him.
And there began the most impossibly cool high-speed duel there will ever be. He was just that smidgen faster than me, and he kept at range for a while, thirty kilometres growing to thirty five. I couldn’t get a lock. The others tried warping to me, but we were flying away from the station too fast for them to be of any use.
But then he turned, locked, and fired a volley of missiles. He was still out of my range. The missiles hit me head on, instantly ripping off my shields. I wasn’t going to hit him by following behind if he was faster and had a longer range. I cancelled the auto-orbit, and double-clicked in space. I was going to fly this ship manually. I closed on him, locked, and fired. I hit him, and his shields began to fall.
The station was so far away now. Just a speck in the distance, and falling further. Our battle now moved in all directions as we dodged and manoeuvred for our perfect ranges. I turned around for another pass, as he attempted to regain his orbit. We twisted in space, and danced. Then he blew me out of the sky.
A grin on my face, I warped back to the station in my pod. I was hooked from that point. Eve combat had transformed from the slow pummelling of larger and larger ships, to something far more appealing. I had no more ships in the Wildlands, however, so I docked to rest for the night.
They were still chasing that enemy interceptor when I logged off.