Wednesday, May 11, 2016

When smack talk bites you in the ass

There has been a general advice going around that you should not smack talk in local. There's rarely anything good that will come of it. I try to live by this philosophy and not taunt my opponents too much. Sometimes it's hard to resist. But smack talking in local will only make your enemies extra motivated to kill you. If you do manage not to get killed, chances are your name will be remembered next time you encounter same people, which brings to our story.

After stalking yet again inactive c4 I was on my way to scout for a new home. The current system has a c2 static which has a c4 and a high-sec statics. That's my favorite kind of c2. I scan the system, check surrounding connections and get ready to move to, what looks like, a decent c4. As per standard procedure I check a killboard activity of every system I visit. Killboard was nothing out of the ordinary. It had bunch of random kills/losses as expected for a system with a high-sec static. I usually look for same corporation/alliance to appear on different dates to identify locals. With a bit of scrolling one particular name stands out - ArcAngel7 saken. He has repeating kills and losses in this system. But there's something more to it. For some reason this name sounds very familiar. I do a quick search in my blog and indeed, I have a last year's December post turn up.

Memory quickly comes back. This is the guy that me and my, at the time, partner tried to ambush by setting a trap bubble between the towers. Our trap failed as instead of expected shiny slow battleship he swapped for a quick light dictor and escaped the bubble before we could get him. We then proceeded to fool around on high-sec connection, hoping that one of us will make some sort of mistake. In the end we called it a day and moved on. But it wasn't an "elaborate" plan that made this encounter memorable. It was the smack talk:

ArcAngel7 was very confident. And why shouldn't he. He had all the rights to brag. We failed to gank his ship and we failed to trap his Bhaalgorn on the high-sec wormhole. I did not reply anything, but simply moved on and forgot the encounter. Until today.

Everything that happens in w-space happens for a reason. It's no coincidence our paths have crossed. It's Bob's will! I prepare for the hunt. Wormhole seems to be empty so I move in my Nestor fleet and scan out all the remaining signatures. Park my Proteus on the high-sec exit and wait.

Glimpsing with a corner of my eye to the monitor while watching TV, I spot a strange visual effect. Upon closer look I now see an active bubble. Interesting. I did not hear any jump sound, but now there's a mobile warp disruptor. An guess who shows up on my overview!

ArcAngel7 in a Tengu! Of course he is in a safe spot and I can't get to him. I could warp from celestial to get his position, but my Proteus is not interdiction nullified and I don't feel like refitting as I might get spotted with wormholes all around the system. Instead, I will scan him out.

I warp off d-scan range, launch probes and get back to my safe. I'm not sure what ArcAngel7  is doing, but we must not be alone in the system. There are sisters core scanner probes and I don't think they are his. Regardless, I scan the Tengu out and warp to him at range. I could decloak and go for the kill right here, right now, but I keep the cool head instead. First, I check out which direction this strategic cruiser is flying to. Turns out he is aligned to his tower.

If probes are not his, he must be waiting for someone to make their move. If that's true, my chances in getting him are very slim. I try to follow and wait for him to change direction, but he slowly gains distance. His speed is higher than mine and soon I find myself out of scram and web range. Then Tengu turns on his propulsion module and flies away with 1km/s+ speed. Back to square one. I get back to position and wait for the next opportunity.

I start to think that next opportunity might not arise anymore. He warps back to tower. I follow. He warps back to high-sec, I follow again. To my surprise Tengu lands on exactly same spot as I have scanned him out. I must have been very lucky to get his signature when he was in his "safe". Of course he immediately aligns back to the tower and warps away again.

I watch him swap for a Dominix this time. There are a couple of active c4 exits and he is crashing them both. For a second I think if I should try and get him polarized or when he lands 10km off the wormhole. It's very tempting, but I am not sure if he is not fully wcs fit. I must be patient. If he is crashing the wormholes, farming might take place. In his killboard he has t1 battleship losses, so I guess he won't use anything more expensive to clear the c2 sites. I sit at the tower and wait for Domi to finish rolling those wormholes. At least he is doing like a man and not using any yachts. Points for that. Finally Dominix lands and I eagerly wait for him to swap a ship. What will it be? An Armageddon? A Rokh? Or Perhaps an Abaddon? He has different kind of battleship losses on his killboard. No, he swaps to a Tengu again!

My hunter senses go off. I've already seen him warp to the tower and back to the high-sec wormhole to the same perch. Perch that I have bookmarked. Without even waiting for Tengu's velocity to go up, I warp out to his spot near the high-sec. It's a gamble, but I follow my hunch. In just a matter of seconds Tengu appears on overview. I watch distance decrease and once I'm sure his exit from warp will be close to me, I decloak.

I spam lock like a mad man and nervously watch his speed pickup while my lock timer counts down. Target locked. Scram, web and disruptor are on. I exhale. He is not going anywhere now.

My Nestor fleet arrives and I proceed in murdering the strategic cruiser. With combined 6 heavy neutralizers I was expecting this to be a short fight. But Tengu turned out to be quite resilient. His shield would just go up and up and up. I would understand for it to go up once, twice or even trice after neutralizers kicked in, but he just kept boosting his shields up. Suddenly I see my heavy drones were going down like flies. I even use faction drones for that extra hp, but that didn't seem to matter. What the hell is going on?

Figuring this black magic shield boosting sorcery can't go on forever I keep applying the pressure and throw more heavy drones from my vast drone bay. Finally the shield gives in and ship explodes.

3 large ancillary shield boosters with light missile launchers. That explains this supernatural tank and why my drones were taking such heavy damage. Given the circumstances, I must admit he put up a good fight. I even manage to lock the pod and send him pod express back to high-sec, saving the travel time. Such a good guy I am. With the fight now over, I convo the pilot to see if he still feels in the same chatty mood as he felt almost half a year ago.

Turns out he also had a memory of our previous encounter. I must admit, this kill felt good. The value of the ship is nothing to brag about, but the hunt itself was a worthwhile experience. But probably the most fun part is that if it was not for the smack talk I would have most likely ignored this wormhole and the pilot as I had a very attractive c4 to go to. I guess every action has a consequence. I throw the dead body to cargo container to pay my respects to Bob for granting me such an opportunity and move on with my journey.