A number of- well, numbers have made me realize something, which at first had left me rather stumped: I'm old.
Okay, maybe not exactly old, but I can't really call myself an upstart novice pirate anymore; I feel established of some sort, well-known and somewhat notorious among the residents of at least Essence. Feels nice (or at least imagining it does).
Also kills that once could have been referred to as remarkable achievements of a talented combat pilot now have an entirely different flavour to them. And more often than not, they have come to taste a bit stale. They have become "same old".
In hindsight, this seems to be the prime reason that I have been flying more recklessly recently, attacking for the sake of fighting more than for the sake of gaining something out of it.
So reckless in fact, that it endangered a goal I had set for myself: accumulating 500 kills before exceeding 50 losses.
The little incident with Caster Rom you can read about in the previous post had made my losses "skyrocket" from 47 to 49 - at that time my kills stood at 475.
I'm not usually obsessed with my numbers, but I became determined to go for that 25 to 1 run in order to gather 500 kills at a ratio of 10 to 1. Numbers that pretty couldn't merely be disregarded.
The prime issue in this endeavor had been picking targets and survivability. I could easily force myself to minimize risk, but as far as survivability goes, it mainly came down to selecting the right ship for the job. First I considered my Imperial Navy Slicer, but in the end I didn't feel comfortable enough with approaching some tricky targets while staying out of scrambler range. Regardless, I was sure that I might either engage against unfavourable odds more likely or that my lack of experience with the Slicer would lead me to miscalculations.
However, there was one ship in my hangar that refused to explode despite my worst efforts: my Jaguar. Of all things a ship a lot of people aren't very fond of (to freely quote Kishin Hattori: "When I undock in a Jaguar I instantly go 'Waaah kaboom [more exploding sounds]!!'").
No mystical necromantic powers or other wildly exotic fittings, just a plain full-tackle shield-tanked run of the mill cookie cutter Jaguar. But it works for me - the tank is huge compared to what I'm used to, the speed is decent enough, the damage sufficient against a good range of targets and it can hold down anything it manages to scramble (safe for Dramiels maybe, but I always ignore them anyway).
And well, there is no great tale to the 25+ kills I managed to score before being blown up for the 50th time. Not many of them were against worthy foes, mostly easy pickings. But my personal objective wasn't 25 epic killmails, was it?
There is another number that seemed to hit me out of nowhere: I've been a Tusker for almost 10 months now, not much less than a whole year.
Suddenly I realized that I was no longer one of the new guys among all the other applicants pouring in - in fact, I was even being referred to as a "veteran" by one of them recently. Woah, veteran? Me?
Well, it's not really like I felt the need to correct him...