I have a bad habit of leaving ships all over New Eden.
Part of the reason I have jump clone related skills trained up to V is that I feel a need to leave a jump clone behind, when I can, to go and rescue these ships. I can have a total of 10 jump clones and I would say five of them are just sitting in distant stations where I have a ship… or two… or three… to pick up and return home some day.
I’ve mentioned my jump clone usage before, including the fact that I had a jump clone, a Caracal, and a pile of ammunition sitting in Fountain, in our old staging system at 4-EP12. The ammo all sold finally… there was way too much to carry back in a Caracal… so that jump clone seemed superfluous. I could have just deleted it, but I still had that Caracal sitting there.
I hate to just leave stuff behind. According to one utility I have nearly 8.5 million “things” sitting in various stations around New Eden. (8,453,486 items to be exact, taking up 56,763,749.86 m3 in volume, and of an estimated 15,475,474,834.55 ISK in value, if these things are to be believed.) Better to clean some of that stuff up that leave more of it about.
Besides which, flying a ship home alone through dangerous space… especially a cheap ship you don’t really care about losing… is a bit of a challenge. Adventures in moving and all that.
So I decided later in the evening, after the Russians were fast asleep, when even the night shift Euros should be getting tired, and the US East Coast players ought to be fading, to see if I could undock and slip back into Imperium space.
The route wasn’t too long. According to DOTLAN, just 21 jumps.
And some of it was through low sec. There aren’t even warp disruption bubbles in low sec!
So I undocked the Caracal, knowing that was an irreversible move… The Culture owns the system and the station, and we have no docking rights with them… and headed off down the line.
The first few systems were empty and I made straight jumps from gate to gate.
In EI-O0O there were a couple of neutrals, so I did a bounce off a planet between the gates, which turned out to be a good move as there was a drag bubble in line between the gates. Then I jumped into J5A-IX, the capital system for The Culture, and found a lot of people.
A Huginn picked me up on the gate and followed me to my bounce, where I was nearly done in. I warped to the planet at 100km and got hung up on the customs office trying to warp out. The only thing that save me was that he warped to the planet, so had to cover some distance to get in range. After one of those agonizing rounds of “warping… no, not warping… warping any second now… no, not warping…” I zipped off to the B-DBYQ gate. When I hit the gate there were a couple of ships waiting there, but I was though and in B-DBYQ and warping off to the DY-F70 gate before the Huginn appeared. He wasn’t very interested in chasing me though, as I never saw him again.
Then it was a couple more jumps through quiet space before I hit low sec, jumping into Alsavoinon. Factional warfare low sec is a strange beast to somebody from null sec. The systems are often full of people and your overview is crowded with stuff.
And yet that mix seems to keep people busy, as I have often flown through systems in the past with a couple dozen people and saw not a soul. They generally appear to be off doing whatever it is you do in FW. Even when I have run into somebody on a gate, they have seemed uninterested in me. But with gate guns and all that, attacking somebody on a gate requires a bit of commitment.
Or at least that had been my experience. It has been a while since I last left Jita, slipped through Black Rise, and ended up in W-4NUU, one of the waypoints on the old Deklein to Delve jump bridge network.
Long gone is that network and the wide empire it once girded.
A jump or so into low sec in the Placid region, I picked up a friend. An Exodus pilot in a Succubus, one of the Sansha’s Nation faction ships, had me yellow boxed as I was warping off a gate, no doubt trying to point me.
He landed with me at the far gate and tried again after we jumped, failing to grab me. However, he also picked up a friend in a second Succubus. At that point I knew I was as good as dead, it was just a question of when.
At the next gate my original pal jumped through while his friend stayed on the out gate with me, where another pal in an Exequror Navy Issue dropped in to join the fun. They yellow boxed me, meaning I was targeted, but I waited until the Succubus aggressed by pointing me before jumping through.
On the far side the original Succubus locked me up and pointed me as I aligned towards the out gate. I figured this was the end of my journey, unable to warp off, so I started to lock him up, set my hardeners to pre-overheated state, ready to turn on once I started taking damage. But as I was right clicking to launch my drones, just to throw every tool I had in the box at him, I think I must have passed just out of range of his point, because it dropped off of me any my ship warped to the far gate.
However, by that the aggression timer on the other two apparently had dropped as the second Succubus met me at the far gate as I was jumping through. Once through into Odamia, four jumps shy of my destination and what would be the final system on the trip, I tried to align for the next gate hoping there was enough time to get away, but the Succubus was already through and close enough to point me without worrying about me wandering out of range.
As before, I locked up the aggressor, set hardeners to the pre-overheated state, then on once I started taking damage, launched my drones, and started spewing out heavy assault missiles. My only hope was that maybe my EC-3000 drones might break his lock on me and let me warp off.
It was not to be.
The Exequror Navy Issue showed up next and started pounding me, then the other Succubus, and finally a Malediction arrived on scene to add its point to the mix. If I had been quicker, I might have been able to do in the Exequror. I locked it up later in the fight and noticed that it had taken a lot of damage, no doubt from the gate guns, so I tried to turn my missiles on him in hopes of getting some small victory out of the battle, but I was way too late. Already in armor, the Caracal blew up before I got a missile off.
And then they blew up my pod, which basically sent me to my destination the quick way. No implants lost or anything.
A loss, but for a ship I was considering just abandoning in any case, not a very expensive one. More fun than just leaving it behind. And my record remains intact. Never once have I survived an encounter where I was alone, not in a fleet, and turned my weapon systems on another player. Complete, 100% loss rate on that front.
Now I just have a Basilisk down near Providence, a Manticore and a Prophecy in Curse, and that Dominix in B-R5RB, veteran of the big fight, to try and fly back some day.