Ratting can be a boring profession for those of us who aren’t in fancy carriers and supers. It’s essential to success and growth, who’s to argue, but sitting here ruining my standings with the Blood Raiders I get to thinking about the days I tried all professions. This thought train leads me to piracy and my first real loss. Everyone has that loss that tanks your killboard and buries your ratio in the sand. If you’re lucky it happens to you while you are with an NPC corporation. Thus no one has to bear your shame with you. This isn’t one of those stories.
My first real loss. The first vessel I ever considered my flagship was a Rattlesnake and I’ve never shaken the curse since. Every one I’ve owned, I’ve lost or had to sell. It feels like a ship type I’ll never truly be able to hold on to. The fit was atrocious. The location? Hell itself. I’ll be honest when I tell you, I’m really, really not sure what I was thinking at the time.
I was apart of a small group of pirates living out of the notorious Tama system. A tiny little rat hole in the backwaters of The Citadel, we mostly harassed people that haplessly wandered into our system. We had rivals and friends, but mostly stuck to ourselves. Every once in a while, things would slow down and I’d try my hand at honest ISK making. I was invited by my battle buddy who was a decently high ranking member of the Black Dragon Kabal. I hadn’t been in the corporation long, maybe a week. It was after one of those vacations most old players have taken. So here I am in Tama, odd time of night, for me anyway. I was stationed in Germany and I wasn’t very good at doing time conversions. What was red-eye thirty for me, was prime time for others. It was slow at the time, only blues in local. Good time as any to go make a few ISK right? Wrong. There is never a good time in Tama to go make a few ISK.
I came through the gate from a neighboring lowsec system and held my cloak for a moment to get a good idea of my surroundings. I remember it like it was yesterday; there was only a rupture on d-scan. Not only was he on scan, he was right in front of me, maybe six kays off. He then did something I wasn’t expecting, he yellow boxed me. In this moment, my inexperience truly shows. Everything I had been taught, everything my battle buddy drilled in my head, gone. Buy the ticket, take the ride. Gate guns, aggro, it all be damned. I had a fight. I do what any crazed pilot with too much ego does, I red box him right there at the gate. I had recently spent a full month training my torpedo skills up and I was itching to try these new Torpedo II’s that I waited what felt like an eternity for. I overestimated my ship and my knowledge. Pilot failure all around. My heavy payloads began ripping through his shields and into his armor. Each salvo put me closer and closer to the solo rupture kill I needed to christen my fit with. In my excitement, I lost sight of the inevitable plus one in local.
It was a trap.
It started with a Drake. A single Drake. The Drake landed nearly on top of me and pointed me. She wasn’t doing much damage, just holding me and trying to eat the best I could throw at her. The Drake began to move, slowly, mind you, but with a purpose away from the gate we had aggressed on. By now the Drake had saved the Rupture from sure defeat. She had led me about thirty clicks away from the gate and freedom. The gate began to look further and further away as time droned on. The Drake had long point on me and this was a time before micro jump drives, and all the endless possibilities I could employ now. These were the ‘good ole days’ old players only really nostalgically miss. The enemies legs were a little longer than mine and slowly but surely he started to walk away from me and out of range of my torpedos. All the damage in the world won’t save you if you can’t apply it. It wasn’t until this exact moment that I knew I was going to lose.
By now word spread of my opponents having fought me to a stale mate. Reinforcements were sent for, or perhaps the mighty fist of karma itself was punishing me for some manner of transgression, whatever the case: there was a local spike. Red after red began landing on-grid, new targets started locking me and scraming me. I was stuck, firing away at whoever came in closest to hold the tackle on me once more. It was a slippery slope. I watched as my powerful shields slowly were ripped away, then boom. Their weapons ripped into the hull of my Rattlesnake. Sirens sounded. I took one final look at the flagship I had just fit. Boom.
Good fights in local didn’t make the loss sting any less. You’re probably wondering what I did after that. How did I recover? I didn’t. It was that moment I realized low security space was not for me. The gate guns, everything about the engagement left a bad taste in my mouth. Not a week later I found myself in null where I belonged.
While my skills are now two thousand days better, the loss always sticks with me. I think about that snake and wonder. Will I ever be ready to fly it into real combat?
I hope you all enjoyed looking at my terrible fit and my recalling of the one that got away. Tell me your Great White Buffalo stories in the comments below. This is Johnny Crowe from Afghoonistan, wishing you all much greater luck than I had.