Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Chapter Ten

The Next Great Journey

ISK Balance: 6,680,437.94

Despite the trouble seeking I indulged in by plotting my escape path straight through the midsection of the Drone Regions, I nevertheless expected my journey to be mostly quiet with momentary interjections of anxiety, shock and surprise - as I have found 0.0 to be. And so it proved to be, but I did not anticipate having much to relate upon having successfully trailed rust flakes and plasma exhaust through Smashkill's domain. In fact, I figured I would be able to jump right into my grand scheme for a thorough galactic interrogation of low security's denizens.

Of course, my foolish assumptions just had to be proven wrong. While hustling through the systems immediately following a R0ADKILL station system to shake any potential tail, I nearly missed a pithy entry in local: "sucker."

I paused - probably idiotically - at the gate to the next system. Sucker? I was the only other person in the system - it had to be directed at me. Was it a ploy engineered to give me pause while a trap was sprung, or had I already stumbled headlong into it? Surely, as I stared stupidly at the blinking lights on the Caldari gate and the single malformed insult sitting beside it in local, a carrier fleet was being readied somewhere - preparing to pounce on one last victim before their impending rebalance.

Finally, a clarifier appeared "c'mon, 1v1?"

That could still be a trap - moreso, even - but I didn't particularly care for Icarus in the same way I did Apocrypha or Kabbalah, and I was headed back towards Empire space anyways. "What ship type?" I inquired, and was answered by my engager's Stabber appearing next to me at the gate. I grinned and warped to a planet, beckoning him to follow. "To the death," we agreed.

It turned out to be one of my favorite battles I have ever had, which is ironic because it wasn't really much more than two Stabbers wailing away at one another. Of course, you must understand I am a PvP-starved individual; the bulk of my PvP experience has been needlessly compacted into the fleet and space-trench warfare aspects of combat, leaving the skirmish and the 1v1 as a romanticized ideal in my mind - any small gang or solo combat I can get my hands on instantly reverberates in my memories as a favorite encounter.

I like to think the battle was delicately waged; I eschewed the use of my warp disruptor in the interest of a show of simple dominance. I honestly didn't expect to triumph, especially when I was at half shield and my opponent still had three-quarters of his. Somehow, with a series of strafing runs and missile saturation I was able to avoid the bulk of his fire while whittling down his shields, before teasing his Stabber into a zero-transversal environment where the Barrage from my autocannons tore his armor in half before he warped off. It was appropriately elegant as it plays again in my mind - of course, in the heat of the battle I neglected to take a single screenshot other than one from the outset - with no defense other than a scarce buffer, our speed, our skill, and our wits. Our characters were fairly similar in age, and our setups had only slight discrepancies. I'm tempted to say it was the most pure test of player skill I've seen in the game in a long time; perhaps forever.

From there, my opponent and I went our separate ways; I arrived at the fringes of Empire space as planned, and he disappeared back into the depths of 0.0 to continue his hunt. Best of luck to you, Keeper ofDungeonSquad.

No comments: