On May the 29th, 2006 (being eight years and roughly four months ago) I lost my first ship in PvP “combat” when I took a cruiser into lowsec for reasons that seemed sufficient. I think it may have been in Horkkisen, but memory is fuzzy and I no longer have the killmail. The bloody-handed pirates who did the deed? Them I remember; it was Swiftness and Omae Gaw’d.

History, they say, doesn’t really repeat itself; but sometimes it echoes. Last night I lost a ship for the first time in 1027 days, to a gang of The Trolls From Tunttaras. Here’s how it went down.

One of my time-killing hobbies in EVE is to run a series of high-sec belts in a fast ship, just to look for Dread Gurista pirates. You find them more often than you would think, and they have a chance to drop some really nice loot. It’s no way to spend a day, but one run through a system in a fast ship before bedtime makes a relaxing way to unwind, sometimes.

Since I’m refitting all my ships, I fitted up a deluxe ride for this project. It’s a Cerberus with rapid light missile launchers. This Cerb (probably the first one I ever bought) is so old it’s got Large rigs fitted; as you children may not remember, there was a time when there were just “rigs” and when the rig sizing was introduced, all the existing rigs were sized as “large” even if they were installed in a cruiser or frigate. You can’t fit a large rig in a cruiser today, but a pre-change cruiser can still have the ones it used to have, and many of my ships are like that. This Cerb is one of those. Rigged and fitted and crewed by me, the light missiles have a 117km range, which is conveniently close to the Cerb’s 118km lock range. I fitted it with an MWD and a long point and a modest shield tank, but mostly for missile gank damage against small and medium targets. It’s not intended for any serious PvP, but it might work for ganking any small flashy reds who accidentally found themselves on the same grid with me.

Ironfleet headquarters is in Eitu, so for the maiden voyage of the new fit I cruised the Eitu belts. Nothing found, as expected. Then, fueled by optimism and alcohol, I decided to jump over the wall into Horkkisen and check *those* belts, too.

This was not as crazy as it sounds. Absent a big gate camp, which is not usually present, I should have been able to get into the belts unmolested. Warping from belt to belt at random ranges between 50 and 100km, I was unlikely to land on a gank squad. They could chase me all day, but how likely were they to get within point range? The Cerb on MWD is a speedy thing; it won’t outrun a truly fast ship but I should have plenty of time and opportunity to disengage if I accidentally land on a grid with hostiles.

That was the theory. And it worked just fine. I actually think it’s a pretty good theory. But alcohol, remember? Eventually I found a Gurista battleship. I decided to nuke it from range, just for the lulz and sec-status improvement. That went smoothly.

And then the part that doesn’t make as much sense. Just the usual suspects in local, I haven’t seen a one of them, they are all slumbering in station, right? Of course I haven’t so much as opened my directional scanner to confirm this comfortable theory, but despite that, I not only loosed my salvage drones (new! shiny! like!) on the wreck, but I scooped in to loot the can.

That? That was stupid. If I’d stayed at range and kept moving, I’d have been fine. But instead, three pirates landed on my head. I never had a chance after that. Against a Vigilant, a Proteus, and an Arazu, there was nothing to be done, even if I’d been fit for a fight. One launcher full of light missiles barely scratched the armor tank on the Vigilant, and then it was over. They were kind enough to compliment my tank, after, and I told them the kill was nicely done. As indeed it was. Sure, I was overpowered, but that’s how to win at EVE; and they were nimble enough to put their gang on top of me with no warning just as soon as I stopped skipping. That, too, is how to win at EVE:

2014.09.20 03:49:00

Victim: Marlenus
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Cerberus
System: Horkkisen
Security: 0.4
Damage Taken: 9086

Involved parties:

Name: Who Man (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.40
Corp: The Trolls from Tunttaras
Alliance: Bad-Intentions
Faction: None
Ship: Vigilant
Weapon: Heavy Electron Blaster II
Damage Done: 5475

Name: Juggerr
Security: -0.4
Corp: The Trolls from Tunttaras
Alliance: Bad-Intentions
Faction: None
Ship: Arazu
Weapon: Arazu
Damage Done: 2074

Name: Guristas Destructor / Guristas
Damage Done: 984

Name: Broem
Security: -1.6
Corp: Spanked and Straddled
Alliance: Bad-Intentions
Faction: None
Ship: Proteus
Weapon: Proteus
Damage Done: 553

Destroyed items:

Damage Control II
Metal Scraps, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II
Antimatter Charge S, Qty: 100 (Cargo)
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II
Large Hydraulic Bay Thrusters I
Large Rocket Fuel Cache Partition I
Ballistic Control System II
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II
10MN Microwarpdrive II

Dropped items:

Ballistic Control System II
‘Arbalest’ Cruise Launcher I (Cargo)
Metal Scraps (Cargo)
Salvage Drone I, Qty: 3 (Drone Bay)
Salvage Drone I, Qty: 17 (Cargo)
Caldari Navy Scourge Light Missile, Qty: 1520 (Cargo)
Medium Shield Booster II
Warp Disruptor II
Mjolnir Cruise Missile, Qty: 100 (Cargo)
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II
Medium Peroxide Capacitor Power Cell (Cargo)
EM Ward Amplifier II
Ballistic Control System II
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Tripped Power Circuit, Qty: 4 (Cargo)
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II

A look at their killboard tells me they are resident(ish) in Horkkisen, and they do a lot of this sort of thing. There’s clearly been some combat-power-inflation in the past couple of years; when I left the game, that would have been a formidable and unusual gang to encounter in a backwater dead-end lowsec system.

On the bright side, I have three more Cerb hulls in the hangar, and a jammed-full fittings bin. So the sting of the loss is strictly emotional. Economically, I could do this every night for quite awhile. Rest assured, I do NOT plan to do that…

P.S. Just to test the nifty new partial-payout bounty system, I went ahead and put a minimum bounty on The Trolls. I’m 100% clear that it won’t bring them any extra fights — not unless it was a lot larger! — but it strikes me as a cheap way to receive notice of any misfortunes they may suffer in the near future.

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