Sometimes losing a target can be worse than losing a ship.
I know because a while ago my first Taranis got shot down. Long story short, it was eaten by the drones of a Harbinger. I spotted it in Hulmate, where it was hunting Serpentis pirates. My fellow corpmates were happy to provide some firepower after I went in first for the tackle. So Skyhook died the death of a true interceptor after all. It already had paid for its own worth, but there even was enough loot to fully reimburse me.
By losing its ancestor, I now am able to bring Skyhook II closer to its limit, coming close to its full potential.
In conclusion, I have much more tales to share than before.
The first is of a Retribution I found ratting at a belt in Lisbaetanne. I was able to observe it for a while, trying not to bother with potential bait. A while later though, the risk got much lower as the system got emptier. I now decided to check what this assault frigate was capable of. Only one midslot. Huh, how about that. No chance this ship was going to be able to pin me down and keep up. I only had to be aware of its possibly massive armour tank. There basically was none. A "waste of a Retribution", as corpmate Suleiman Shouaa pointed out. Agreed. Nevertheless it was a good fight - I left the field with 95 percent structure left.
An actually well fitted Vexor was another nice engagement. He had me targetted, but neither were his Hammerhead Is going after me, nor did he ever web me. So with his little training, his small blasters weren't able to track my movements sufficiently. How fortunate that I didn't lose this target for good when I missed to overheat my afterburner, giving him a chance to dock. I would have had to kick myself if he had stayed in there or fled back to empire space.
But I mentioned how losing a target can be worse than losing a ship. Here is why:
A typical roam in Essence; not much around except for the well known local rivals in their bigger ships and occassionally even bigger fleets. Routinely I check Lisbaetanne, which is directly connected to empire space and close to a trading hub. I was in for a treat that evening (or so I thought at least); as soon as I make myself comfortable at my usual scanning spot, an Omen appears on directional scan. Checking the belts, I'm able to pin-point its location. Quick safety 360° scan as usual and back to 5° as soon as possible. Gone. Checking the stargate leading to empire: damn. Local drops one pilot, no more Omen on scan.
As I'm heading back to Aeschee, a thought occurs: Lisbaetanne, Aere, Hulmate. A little "escape route" I once figured out when I had been camped in by a big fleet with interdictors. My Incursus back then was able to make a run for safety through Aere, where the faction police isn't able to catch a quickly moving frigate. So I know that Hulmate was two jumps away for this Omen pilot. Without any hope of seeing him there again, I dash through Aeschee and Onne. And there he is. Gleefully I'm checking the belts. Bingo - warp to IV-I at 0. I land 30km away from him. Come on, come on! Blast, his warp drive kicks in. Where is he running to? His overview bracket merges with the local station's, but also a planet's. I'm thinking that this was it, he's at the station for sure. No such thing - scanning dead ahead as I pass the station, I can still see the Omen. Finally! Sweet, well deserved carnage! Loot, blood and glory! I cycle up my guns and scrambler, patting myself on the back for my great instincts. I initiate lock as soon as I land right next to him. Target locked, the blasters greet him with a hard volley and - wait... WAIT! Oh god DAMMIT!!
I check my combat logs to confirm what I already know. Except I'm wrong. No warp stabilisers. No warp scrambling notification either, only the damage of the first volley.
For some reason, my guns were able to hit him once, but my scrambler apparently would have needed another fraction of a second.
I head back to Hevrice, not believing what just happened. Everything turned out so nicely, he was several times within an arm's, no, a freaking finger's reach. Sigh.
I remember that I received a message from the Omen's pilot when he was warping to the planet. I only know its headline until now: "What's your deal?" Phuh. Take a wild guess, mate. I open the mail. There is but one word beneath the headline: "bitch."
Disappointment and disbelieve fade as I am filled with furious anger. I will make him eat those words. Hell, I almost did on the spot!
I never had a "list" before. Well, this guy made it. I will have to congratulate him personally for that. I'll know when he hops into his Omen the next time. And I'll be waiting, monitoring his movements. Xildjin, you will lose your ship by my hands.
I'm sitting in Hulmate as I write these lines. I'm calmer now, two days later. I don't know for how long I will limit my hunting grounds to Essence to stay near his last whereabouts. But the area is visited well enough for me not to get bored until he'll show his face again.
It is visited exceptionally well even. My mind is a bit more at ease after dispatching a Cyclone battlecruiser class ship. Oh what fun it was, scanning him down at a belt, not believing my eyes, checking his employment history again, confirming that he really had barely a month of training. I don't care that I must've looked like an idiot the way I started to grin when I initiated warp. I popped his Valkrie I drones completely out of glee, so that I could saviour the moment just a bit longer. His missiles barely did any damage while my blasters and drones were wantonly chipping bit after bit after bit from his doomed hull. And what a glorious explosion it was. Even if Lady Loot apparently decided to have a bad day once again, my own could not get any better.
Just kidding. I know damn well how it could get even better. But for now, I'll gladly wait another day for my revenge, provided I am kept busy with fools in enormous ships.