Good fights ain't always ones you win

I have always loved small, fast ships. Since the days of Hero Ceptor piloting back in Null, I have thrilled to the concept of lightning fast points and quick fiery death.  This probably has more to do with my own internal romantic notion of space combat than it does the reality of the situation within Eve, so be it. If I want to imagine myself as an X-Wing or Viper pilot then I might as well indulge, Eve is after all the after-school snack for my eight year old self trapped within the adult who plays at internet spaceships.

And so the Dramiel happens to be one of my favorite ships and has been for a long time now. Incredibly fast, agile and tough as nails (for a frigate at least) the Dramiel represents everything to love about small and fast within Eve.  I have refined and perfected my fits for this ship over the last two years and I am confident in the little ship.  It's a blast to fly.

So yesterday I went out primarily to complete some bookmarking along one of the longer hunting trails towards Metropolis. During the coming weeks I plan on expanding my hunting grounds, and being prepared is the first rule. I was, of course, hoping I'd find some tasty targets along the way.

The bookmarking went fine, but no tasty treats. I almost caught a few things here and there, but the second rule of flying the Dramiel is to pick your targets carefully.  Or you will pay.  As we shall see in a moment.

So I swung back around and decided to head up towards OMS. That path takes me thru some target rich systems and if they didn't pan out, well then OMS/Heyd is always good for some fun.

In Vit I played around with a Ranis, he wouldn't let me catch him and kept warping away. Finally he landed right on top of me at the Sun, but sadly this time, it was me that was warping away.  This Ranis would come back later on.  Local emptied out and so I moved on to Hevrice, usually a good place to find a fight.  And sure enough local was 8-10 or so and I started my scan plan. I'd share the details of my scan plan with you, but then I'd have to kill you, suffice to say I was in hunting mode.  Some ships in local, but nothing to be worried about. The Ranis was one of them.

One of the most important things to remember when flying any ship, but especially small ones is the SCALE.  And I don't mean big to small, I mean weight to weight. Where on that scale are you and your ship? And how do you relate to those around you? You can never be sure of your enemy, his fits, his skill, his training, nothing. But you can make assumptions based on experience.  In the local scale we had a Catalyst, a Taranis, a Thorax, a Drake, and a few fly-byes that don't matter. (Fly-Byes are ships that are passing thru the system, they change all the time and don't much matter usually.)

In the system scale at that moment I had nothing to worry about. Each of those ships represented a legit target for me and my Dramiel.  The trick was to make sure they didn't get the chance to gang up on me, because then the scale could swing the other way.  How to know?  Association.  The Ranis and the Thorax were both Tuskers, everyone else in local were singles. So I knew they would be together.  I could take either alone, but together they could be trouble.

And then I landed right on top of the Catalyst ratting in one of the belts. Poor guy didn't have a chance, I could've killed him blind-folded.  I'm keeping an eye on the scanner while I'm killing the Cat and then his pod. Sure enough, as his pod is exploding the Ranis lands in the belt.  There isn't a Taranis fit (within reason) that can kill me in my Dramiel solo, it is only a question of how long it is going to take, I needed this to be fast.  It wasn't.

Two things against me from the outset.  I needed to kill him quickly and he wasn't cooperating. I knew the Thorax would show up eventually and I needed the Ranis dead before he did.  I was also hoping the Ranis would think he could kill me alone and not call for help, so I kept my drones in longer than normal and didn't use my repper for awhile.  I can only do that for so long though and as the Ranis entered structure the Thorax landed.

Now, if the Thorax had landed and launched normal drones my options would have been numerous. As it was sadly, he launched ecm drones and I lost lock on the Ranis.  And so my biggest mistake of the day came back to bite me. Because I was making bookmarks I had fitted a mwd to my ship, if I had fitted the AB instead I could've gotten away, or drawn the Ranis away from the Thorax enough to kill him.  As it was, pointed, jammed and locked down, all I could do was align out and save my pod.

Good fight. A classic example of a long, drawn-out bash that is awesome fun even though it doesn't end the way you hoped it would.  Oh well, the Catalyst kill meant I won the point battle, and the rest was worth every second. I don't mind losing and we all talked a bit afterwards in local.  Hey, at least they didn't blob me or drop three Carriers on my Dramiel. 

Already have three more fitted up and ready to go.