31 May 2009

I Panicked

I began the evening by heading out into the frontier in a newly fitted Rifter, Gatlabon. I form up in a fleet with Hatche. It is a small fleet, with Chebri in a Falcon, so I don't bother fetching a Blackbird.

Hatche asks for three scouts. Chebri volunteers since she can do it cloaky. I volunteer my Hound, Dakyxa'is, which is, as far as I know, one jump away. It turned out that she was not in my cache, and was another handful of jumps away. Instead I slip into my Claw, Laxsfanis. I feel pretty fearless moving around in Laxs since she nearly enters warp backwards. The only thing that can stop her is a bubble, and thankfully the systems we are in all have effective dampers in place against that sort of thing.

Our small fleet moves around a little, not finding much in the way of war targets. I've been assigned to Kamela at the moment. That makes me the first scout to see the nearly 30 ship Amarr fleet heading toward Auga. We hunker down. We are two small, and in much lighter ships. We need to get more militia members involved.

"Vol, would you go to Lamaa and relieve the scout there."

I had been warping from gate to gate, keeping an eye on things in Kamela. There were five Amarr, three of which were docked. I warp to the Kamela gate, just in time for that command to be belayed.

In hindsight, this would be where I made my first mistake. I sat on the gate, not moving, waiting for things to be sorted. I know I'm not in a lot of danger, but I still shouldn't've just sat there. An Amarr warps to the gate in his own Claw.

Nice to see that the slaver admires our hardware.

This would be my second mistake. I should've already been prepared for things like this and decided on my course of action. I hesitated. I waited a moment, debating if I should actually engage him. I then debated if I should warp away. This was enough time for him to lock me and nearly strip my shields.

I jumped.

Again, I knew I wasn't in much danger. But I should've thought all of that through in anticipation of a hostile dropping on the gate. I knew he would want to jump through a follow me into Lamaa, so I immediately burned back for the gate. I knew on the other side that the gate was going to force him to wait a thirty second cool-off due to his aggression. That was enough time for me to get within activation range of the gate back into Kamela.

As soon as I saw the gate activate, I signalled my intent. The bubble formed and the gate scooped me up. I knew he would be fighting mad having missed me.

I know that not engaging him was the right decision. I was a scout and needed to focus on that. I was too far to rely on any aide from the fleet, and I knew he had at least one militia mate loose in the system, and another three docked up. I also haven't soloed (which I think that I should), and I don't have any delusions that my Claw is well fitted for a solo fight.

I resumed my patrol inside Kamela. A few moments later, I was ordered to regroup with the fleet in Dal. As I was leaving Kamela, I crossed that same Claw pilot again. He gave chase, once shouting "Coward" in local.

The large Amarr fleet had split between Auga and Dal. They had several militia mates camped in stations, and for the most part owned the field of battle. I and a few others scouted around, but it was clear there was nothing we could do until something changed. We needed a moment.

Until that moment arrived, I decided to fetch up Dakyxa'is. I signaled to the fleet my intentions and went as fast as I could to get the Hound. As I was returning though, our moment came.

Hatche was quickly getting the fleet to rally. The hostiles in Dal were gathered outside of a station, too far to dock. It was decided that we had enough in numbers to deal enough damage to the fleet, if not rout it outright. And if the Amarrians in Auga moved to assist those in Dal, that would free up our pinned-down compatriots to assist as well.

I was two jumps out when the order was given to all ships to warp. The comms were now abuzz as targets were called, reppers were requested, jamming was declared.

I warped through Amamake under cloak and then fearlessly jumped into Dal, knowing the gate would be clear. I didn't even bother engaging the cloak as I warped to the embroiled battle. I quickly locked up the primary and secondary targets and let loose the torpedoes. I surveyed the battlefield and felt comfortable in my position nearly fifty kilometers from the action. The only hostile ship that I didn't have a lot of knowledge of was the Pilgrim.

That was another mistake. I knew it was an Amarr advanced cruiser. I assumed it was a Recon cruiser, but I couldn't tell you what it could do. So when it decided to lock me, I didn't warp away as fast as I should've. I selected a celestial object in my path and was ready. With what felt like two volleys, the Pilgrim had peeled off more than half of my shields. That was more than enough, I signaled the warp drive.

I am an older capsuleer. I'm only 34, but I am sure that most capsuleers are younger than me. I'm also sure that most capsuleers have newer, faster systems, with wonderful graphics drivers. My wetwear is more than a bit dated, barely rated as being capable of manning a capsule. As a result, I keep my camera drone in a very very wide orbit. The battle to my optics is just a distant collection of purple and red dots. I focus on the overview.

I don't know if the overview was just slow to update, or if the Pilgrim really had my warp drive locked down at nearly fifty kilometers, but I was not going into warp.

I spammed the command.

I panicked.

I wasn't going to warp. My shields were gone and the armor was melting.

Some brilliant person somewhere decided when programming these onboard computers that if the warp drive wasn't able to engage, the engines should simply cut out. After all, why get to speed if you can't get to warp.

Move, damn you!

I was spamming the align and the warp command. I wanted the ship to at least maintain speed if she wouldn't go to warp.

At this point, though, I knew Dakyxa'is was lost. But I still panicked.

I don't know if someone was trying to save me. I saw the shields and armor return. Was that a friendly, or was my wetware just mixing signals? Was I already floating in my pod, my ship an explosion around me? I wasn't focused on the overview, I was trying to enter warp, but at this point, I did know for sure that the Pilgrim was on top of me, with a flight of drones ripping at my ship.

The primary that I had engaged had long since gone down. I hadn't bothered to re-task my weapons. I could've helped with the secondary, or attempted to warn off the Pilgrim with a few volleys of torpedoes. But I did nothing, focusing purely on warping away.

Finally, after what seemed like a painful eternity, the message came that I had lost control of the ship. I waited calmly now for the explosion and the jump as my inputs were disconnected from the ship and my camera drone focused on the pod.

And now, I warped away.

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