As I was busy with getting up to date with the various EVE podcasts, surfing here and there, and having my ex interrupt me a few times for help with Xmas gifts and getting the boys in the car I didn't want to do anything too serious like W-space ops (well, more on that later) or a roam to Low-sec or 0.0, so some missioning was in order. A bit more ISK is never bad! I did a couple ones and then realized I could now talk to the in-space agent giving away the Epic Arc missions. So I said to myself sure, why not. The first one was rather easy; well, I didn't go through the whole exploring part of it and simply bought what i needed to complete the mission and voila, mission complete. The second mission was a lot harder and I didn't complete it, but Epic Arc missions have this fun little feature: they don't expire. So I can get another shot at it whenever I want. Getting spanked in that mission meant I needed something else to do. In goes the Tempest and out goes the 'Cane of Exploration.
This was funny cuz the exploration trip was short yet successful, but had to be cut short just as fast. In the span of about 30 minutes I had scanned down a Class 2 wormhole right in Rens, got in to see a lone Probe (the ship) on scan, tried a site only to find out the second spawn was too heavy for a 'Cane, warped back to the exit wormhole only to see the Probe 10km away, with probes out, immobile. So I taught this day-old newbie the lesson of "never go afk in 0.0" by blowing him up and podding him. I didn't get a convo or eve-mail so he must still be wondering what the hell happened. I went back to Rens to re-ship to my Broadsword to see what I could catch, but when I saw a Muninn land at the edge of my bubble I decided I wanted to keep my HIC a bit longer. Maybe I could have out-tanked him, but maybe he had buddies. So I went back to Frarn to do another mission or two, and this is where the fun really started.
I was happily chewing away on some Angels when another Probe appears not too far from me, with the distintive yellow cross-bones tag, and not only that but he's clearly looking for a fight as he turns red. Fully knowing what may happen after I say "fuck it" and give him a volley that sends him in half armor and he warps off. All is quiet until a few minutes later a red Cyclone appears on my overview, and settles about 50km away from me. Just enough time to recall my drones and dock up for a PvP ship; good thing I came to Frarn in my Vagabond!
Right away I headed for Frarn I at a bit farther than zero and issued my challenge in Local. Sure enough the Cyclone came, but as I put the burn on to start my death spiral he noticed he wasn't dealing with the usual average mission runner and he made himself scarce. Hrmph... disappointed I was, and made him know in Local I did. I toured the planets looking for him but to no avail. I gave him another challenge at Frarn I and this time he commited himself and the Dance of Death started. He had arrived very close to me and I was afraid he might have a web fitted, but apparently not as I was able to get to my ranged orbit without any trouble. So out went the drones and the autocannons started to sing. As per a Cyclone's bonuses he had a shield-boosting setup that my guns and drones had a hard time to crack, but he was having just as hard a time because I was flying at the edge of Barrage and disruptor range. Next thing he did was to NOS and neut my Warrior IIs and set his own drones on killing 'em. Well, knowing that those drones would be on me once their task was done I switched my overview to my drones tab and started killing his more dangerous Hammerhead IIs from a safe distance. When he noticed that he set his drones on me at first, but then reconsidered and returned 'em to bay. He did have to deal with my own drones so he had to pull 'em out, and each time he did he popped a few of mine and I popped a few of his, until it came down to guns. And the only thing that allowed me to break his active tank was to overheat my guns. The good part was he wasn't hitting me as hard as I was hitting him so eventually something was going to have to break. And after some careful overheating to make sure the guns wouldn't just die, I finally got his armor and now my shots were really hurting him, while his couldn't get rid of my shields. After what seemed like an eternity (13 minutes in reality) the inevitable finally happened, and Packard Goose was victorious.
This epic duel left both of us drunk on excitement at the ups and downs and we had a good chat in the aftermath, and of course all the banter that preceded the battle was put aside. Yarr wanted to recruit me to his corp, as a PvP instructor of all things! I told him about my reluctance to join a corp just yet, plus he has a bit more piracy in mind than I do; I mean I'm not into can flipping to look for a fight. I also told him about my BOZO past and he seemed to be interested. I pointed him towards the website and the in-game recruitment channel but after that it's up to them.
So all in all, I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend Christmas Eve in EVE. I made some good money, did some exploration and got a kill out of it, picked up the glove someone had slapped me with and showed that I was the wrong pilot to flip a can on. An awesome boost of confidence this is!
Merry Christmas, fly safe, but become dangerous when the time comes