Duct Tape Supreme

Docked in a far corner of the Jita trade hub, I was playing around with a cheap Widow fitting. With a sigh I put away the simulation tool. This would still be a painful investment for my wallet. Without actually looking at it, I stare at my second screen where BjornBee was streaming internet spaceship violence.

He was killing some time until a scheduled fleet, roaming around Caldari lowsec with a kiting Tristan. On the first round he didn’t get too great engagements and ends up back in Jita. While witnessing him board a new ship, I take a look at my own hangar. Something my exhausted eyes transfer trigger a thought far in the back of my cortex. It takes a view moment for it surface from my subconsciousness.

I assemble the hull and load up a fit from the last FFA proving grounds. It’s a shield-buffer fitting with a Web. In the abyssal arena, you would have kited with this thing and played in the fall-off of your guns. The Web get’s switched for a Scrambler and I set course for Tama – a honorable 1v1 at the sun or the top belt on my mind. The anticipation of some hot spaceship-on-spaceship violence brightens up my mood a little. “You should undock more often,” I say to myself.

Me, looking at a stack of Rifters in my hangar.

A quick look at the second screen. Something is off. My ship is landing an the third gate until I realize Bjorn is burning to “Mara” instead of “Tama”. Damn! I hammer ctrl-space to pull the handbrake. My Rifter stops with a protesting screech milliseconds before the board computer finishes the next jump-calculation. Hastily I adjust my route, cursing my warp speed.

Bjorn was a couple jumps ahead of me while I kept burning and hoping for something to show up on his dscan to distract him a bit. I reached Mara maybe 30 seconds after him. He was on the course to Tama again, but through lowsec. Had I just kept burning, we would have probably met there at the same time.

About 14 jumps later, I eventually catch up and see his name in local. I pause the stream. It’s already a bit unfair since I know roughly what he’s fitted. My strategy is simple: Ram with heated MWD and get a scram on him asap to make use of my close range guns. If I get kited for too long, I’m dead. If I can catch him quick enough, I may have a chance.

D-scan shows the vessel named “Buzz Buzz” at the novice PLEX. My hands start to shake as my ship lands on the site. How silly, I have flown ships into certain death that where worth a million times more than this one. Adrenaline is weird stuff. He’s a couple seconds ahead and will be able to kite away. Being quick is everything now and I follow through the acceleration gate instantly. Bjorn was already at range and taking a turn at ~30km. The 200mm Autocannons are just finishing the reload to EMP S bullets and I heat my Microwarpdrive towards the Gallentean Drone Boat. I think I’m being professional by double-clicking into space to cut off the Tristans path. But like the true noob at Frigate PvP I am, I underestimate the insane speed the overheated engine of my Rifter is capable of. Bjorn makes a turn at the right time and while I’m still busy with heating my guns, I slingshot myself out of scram-range again.

Ooooof!

Again my Minmatar vessel generates noises of protest as I turn it around 180 degree and engage the already steaming Microwarpdrive again. Cursing while attempting to correct my mistake. I’m completely out of range, busy with piloting, no time to take the heat of my guns. Bjorns drones pound into my shield buffer and the red bar on my UI is growing fast. The Rifter is gaining ground. Painful seconds go by and I start to see my live passing by while I hammer the command for the warp scrambler: Me as a child on the beach. Parents blurred faces. My first pet, a bunny named Starlite. Me, holding hand with my first crush. Me graduating…

SCREEEECH! SCREEEECH! – the sound of my shield alarm pulls me back into reality. My subconsciousness has kept spamming the command for the scrambler – and it finally activated! I try to stay at range at all costs now and just hope my guns will track well enough. Bjorn tries to slingshot again, but I manage to stay in range this time. He reacts quickly and makes attempts to generate more transversal by manual piloting; Tries to make my 200mm turrets miss some shots that way. I try to counter with manual piloting as well and we both look very concerned at our armor going down rapidly after both our shield buffers are depleted.

“That’s it,” I mumble. Gallente ships usually have much stronger hulls than Minmatar ones – if you are so desperate to recognize duct tape for hull. It’s getting incredibly close. I’m afraid my turrets will melt before they could reduce my duelists hit points to zero, but I keep them heated. Now or never.

Both our armor is gone, I still try to improve tracking by manual piloting. Meanwhile Bjorns drones happily punch more and more holes into my vessel. I’m at 50% hull. The lights start to flicker and I smell burned metal. 30% hull and the unsettling hull alarm goes off. With an angry grunt I turn it off and focus on my transversal velocity. My hull shows 18% as the Autocannons fire their last rounds and go offline with a lasat stutter. Their barrels glowing in darkness of space, their steel frames deformed beyond operational capabilities.

Heat damage: 100%

At the same time the drones stop firing. A Tristan is slowly dwindling past my beat up Rifter and explodes in bright flash.

gf, Bjorn.

Killmail, for posterity.

I awkwardly apologize for being unable to give a pod-express with my defunct guns. Then initiate warp to the closest station for some urgently needed tape replacements. As I set course for the docking perimeter, it hits me: NO! I forgot to scoop my corpse-trophy!


Thanks for reading.

You can see the fight from Bjorns perspective in the Twitch-VOD on his channel.

o7

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