As I wrote in my last post, I'm starting to get back to the habit of flying around in 0.0 space in a semi-safe sort of way. As I'm mostly flying solo for now I'm sticking to small/fast ships because while I'm not as poor as I used to be, a T2-fit battlecruiser is still a nice chunk of ISK, and I don't have any spare HACs to burn yet. So my ships of choice for this little scouting endeavour: Rifter (T2/named solo fit) and Taranis (forced oral sex fit). Now that I have the entrance constellation nicely bookmarked I'll probably use my special "Yay for small rigs" Jaguar a bit more, and to go deeper I'll use the speed-fit Claw and make bookmarks till my Great Wildlands folder bursts at the seams.
Unlike last weekend I didn't bother to bring some warp bubbles with me; I need time to practice anchoring them at the right spots, time that I didn't get anyway, and I'll do this on Sisi where I can spam 0.0 space with bubbles with little to no risk. This time I concentrated on making as many bookmarks as possible. The entire entrance constellation is now fully bookmarked with multiple safespots per system, and both on and off grid tacticals on each gate. The only thing missing is some deep safes, but for now I've got plenty of escape vectors and I can make more bookmarks on the fly easily.
Great Wildlands is special as far as 0.0 regions go. It's not heavily populated the way Curse or Syndicate are because there aren't tons of stations in every system. There's only three systems with stations and in the rest of the space sovereignty cannot be claimed. But it does a have a few things going for it: it's the springboard region towards sovereignty space and also has a connection to Curse, so there's always a bit of traffic, but at the same time there are a lot of dead-end constellations that see little traffic so it would be easy to feel safe there. Add to that the fact that the entrance is only 8 jumps away from one of EVE's major market systems, and you suddenly have some target-rich space. So of course after doing a whole bunch of bookmarks and seeing what kind of traffic was out and about, I decided to fly more aggressively and maybe get a kill or two... or four!
This happened in two acts: the afternoon roam with the Rifter and the evening roam with the 'Ranis. To start the first act, I parked my Rifter at a tactical on the EO2 gate in 8YC, and watched what traffic may come out of the station system going up towards Empire. When a lone Rifter jumped through I warped to the gate but the pilot was just fast enough to evade my attack. Of course I smacked in Local a bit in order to maybe get him to fight. I was surprised by his response though: "I have much respect for Clown Punchers, and I'm even thinking of applying"... Ohkay! I've been out of BOZO for a few months now but somehow I still have a red stain on my nose :) Sure, all he had to do was "show info" but I still found it funny to be told that as I'm smacking him! But as this is happening a second Rifter jumps through, and clearly seeing me at my on-grid tactical he just stood there. I waited a bit to see if he wasn't the lead for a bigger gang, but after about a minute I decided he wasn't so I warped to the gate and started dancing. Apparently my solo fit was better than his maneuvering fit because I tore him up despite having smaller guns. The pod warped out so we saluted each other and I went to the wreck to loot it. Funnily enough his stuff is still halfway towards my cargo hold when the gate flashes. I brace myself for what may uncloak but I'm relieved to see a Punisher exactly in scram range, and he goes down like a ton of bricks. W00T! Two kills under two minutes, a first in solo flight for me :))
Act Two got under way after I put my boys in bed; I still had 12 hours to go before the possibility to get back in my learning implants so might as well keep doing fun stuff! Wanting a bit more speed and more damage I undocked the Taranis and headed out. Being in something faster allowed me to complete my bookmarking much faster and better, And I even paid a visit to the station systems of EO2 and M-M. There was more traffic about than during the afternoon so I had to fly carefully if I didn't want to get blobbed, but after a while I discovered that I wasn't dealing with a 12-man fleet, but with 3 small gangs. But at some point Luck shined on me, when two unrelated T1 frigs got to the M-M gate in EO2 just as I finished getting my tactical bookmark. I warp in and jump through, and just as I get on gate ready to tackle the first frigate, another Rifter, the gate activates and the fun starts. I hurt him so bad that I don't even have to pull out my drones! And what followed is still striking me with disbelief. After the Rifter died I'm able to tackle and kill the pod in front of the Merlin who was a bit late in helping his buddy. I then tackle him, kill him even faster than the Rifter, and again I'm able to send him on a one-way trip to his home station! YAY! Two kills plus pods under 2 minutes, even better than in the afternoon! Tip for PvP beginners: a pod will warp off as soon as you click "warp". When you know you're about to get wtfpwnd all you have to do is select a celestial (avoid moons as they can have POSes) and spam the warp button. Theoretically I shouldn't have been able to pod these two guys but then again I think their experience in pod safety was a tad lacking.
After docking back in Dock 94 HQ I really felt like a big chunk of rust had come off. It was all the more satisfying as my play time in EVE had started painfully. In case you didn't know, the Epic mission arcs are epic. So epic in fact that I came really close to loosing my Maelstrom (9.6mil ISK repair bill) and lost a Jaguar when I tried the blitz approach. Do these guys have Sleeper AI? It sure seemed like it, and maybe worse. But even before I went out to Great Wildlands I did something that was extremely satisfying, and even made my young boys laugh: I suicide-ganked a scammer in Rens! My time in EVE started getting better all of a sudden :)))
Fly dangerous but plz warp your pod out