That first night in combat with my interceptor had left a deep impression on me. I wanted more. When I logged on again the next morning, I grabbed a shuttle and dived back home. There was another waiting ship in the hangar of Weld I was eager to climb into.
It was an interceptor, but slightly different to the one I had used yesterday. This was a Malediction. It used a combination of missiles and lasers, in place of the traditional Amarr all-laser layout. It also had an extra midslot over the Crusader, which is very important. Midslots on frigates are highly coveted – they create a more versatile ship. That third slot would let me fit a propulsion web and a warp scrambler at the same time, allowing me to play a much more effective tackler against a fast ship. Such as another interceptor.
And after last night, hitting other interceptors was something I very much wanted to do.
There weren’t many pilots about that morning. And by all accounts Great Wildlands had no current invaders. But I saw plenty more of the Black Omega Security corporation hanging around in Egbinger, the last system of Minmatar Repbulic space before you entered 0.0. It would be breaking the law to fight in secure space without an officially sanctioned Concord war, so all we could do was glare at each other as we passed, fearing the sentry guns that watched us.
I decided to set up a mini blockade in B-VIP9, the entry system into the Wildlands. If any of those Black Omega were planning on pulling another stunt like yesterday, they’d have to go through me.
Camping a stargate, I had been told, was a very boring affair. But my gate began to glow only a couple of minutes after I got into position. I had read an article by one of our allies on how to guard a gate in a frigate, so I knew what to do. The gate had activated, so somebody was now here within range of the gate, still under temporary cloak for their system jump. I activated my micro warp drive, and waited. When the newcomer moved, breaking their cloak, I immediately double-clicked, propelling my ship towards theirs. If they were an enemy, I’d only have a second to lock and warp scramble them before they warped away.
What I imediately noticed however, was that this ship was not aligning to warp. It was heading towards me. The icon was red, indicating it was an enemy. I looked at the size of the brackets and saw it was a frigate. Looking closer revealed it was an interceptor. It was the same interceptor as last night, with the same pilot and the same ship name.
Suddenly this little encounter had a lot more weight to it.
I locked him, and reached for my guns. But in an instant, we had flown past each other, and he was over twenty five kilometres behind me. I commanded the ship to turn and orbit, but then realised my ship was immersed in a familiar blue glow. My engines were fighting to move at even a regular pace. Ceptor-speed was out of my reach. He had hit me with a web.
The mechanics of propulsion webs were such that you had to get close, under ten kilometres to use them. But once activated, a web would reduce the target’s speed for roughly thirty seconds, even if you left that ten kilometre range. As we had passed each other, he had used his web, but I hadn’t used mine. For the next thirty seconds, he was the interceptor, and I was the snail.
And that’s how I know that he took less than thirty seconds to kill me, as I was still enveloped in that blue light when my ship crumpled.
I only had time to sigh in exasperation before he was chucking missiles at my pod. Interceptors have a fast lock time, I was learning. I got away, but I didn’t accept my defeat with the same joy as before. I wasn’t given the dignity of a duel, I was cheated of my promised excitement. Denied the opportunity to return fire, I had been merely efficiently and ruthlessly tossed aside by a more experienced pilot.