Usually, a "good" ending to an encounter is when myself or my gang can post a killmail (or five) and return home with our ships intact. I ran into a situation last night where over a number of engagements lasting over an hour and involving eight pilots, we only wound up with one killmail and one lossmail yet it was still some of the most fun I have had in combat in a long time.
My gang was made up of an Ishkur (me), Rifter (XTCFreq), Blackbird (Apoctasy), Thorax (TwiceDaSize), Nemesis (Mr Morimoto) and Crow (Golden Helmet). We were engaged in a string of combat situations spanning several systems against a Hurricane and Crow that were flown by possibly the most slippery pilots I have ever run into. The Hurricane pilot was named Nicocat and had popped a Taranis of mine recently when I had become complacent and overconfident at a gate. The Crow pilot was HerrFaul, another opponent who I had recently been pitted against and while I did not lose my own ship, he made me look like a helpless slowpoke in my Blasteranis as he slowly killed my gangmates.
The encounter dragged on. We engaged in several belts and planet in Mara and then several belts and planets in Nikkishina. They trapped us in systems by sitting on the gates (we are blinky red and they are not) and we baited in belts. They engaged and ran. They engaged and we ran. Twice I nearly lost my ship and was beaten into low armor or structure just to escape thanks to our ECM capabilities. We lost a Rifter and finally our Crow pilot was able to kill theirs in a Crow vs Crow interceptor dogfight. Nicocat disappeared soon after and we limped home to Aurohunen, exhausted but elated at the entire experience. A few of us arrived and began to receive messages from the stragglers. Nico and his Hurricane had reappeared and he was chasing them system by system back to Auro! We needed to set a trap at the gate... what ships did we have to bring? A smile crept onto my face as I saw Golden Helmet just outside the station doing maintenance on his Archon carrier. Overkill? Maybe. Fun? Definitely.
GH warped to the gate and I grabbed my Brutix. I warped to the inbound gate just in time to see our pilots and their pursuer arrive in the system.
[04:53:00] Nicocat > Ooh shiny!
Nicocat sat cloaked at the gate. We sat in our Carrier, Battlecruiser and assorted other ships waiting for him to uncloak. Finally he did and made a dash for to get back to the gate. We scrambled, webbed and opened fire but it was not enough. As we began to tear into his shields he hit the gate and jumped out of the system, escaping our clutches for what seemed like the hundredth time in the past couple of hours. Much respect to a pilot who succeeds in flying a battlecruiser as though it is a heavy frigate and gives us such an entertaining night. I hope we run into you again soon.
(1) I am becoming a fan of the Ishkur: It isn't so hot for solo work but as part of a gang it seems to be very effective. The tank, firepower and versatility all in frigate form are what make it such a complete package.
(2) Carrier's are fun: ...especially when I am not the one who has to finance or fly them. What else do I need to say?
(3) Nicocat and HerrFaul are my kind of pilots: Cocky but still civil and respectful. They were willing to continue hanging around and engaging us even though they were outnumbered at all times and even though we had an ECM ship. They walked a very fine line between running away and pressing hard during our engagements. At no point did they seem either scared and running or suicidal and over-committed. It is tough to find opponents who do not fly in either of those ways.
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