Burning forward, the Thrasher’s autocannons open up, stripping the Algos’ shields. Drones deployed, they return the favour and chew into the assailant.
Adjusting orbit to outrange the guns, tunnel vision takes hold and the Algos doesn’t notice as an Astero decloaks to lay down webbing and launch its own swarm.
Both destroyers now in hull, fusion rounds eviscerating the Algos’ remaining structure as it wills its drones on for a final volley on the Thrasher and…
Jita. Again. Damn. In retrospect a wider initial orbit on the Thrasher would have allowed me time to kill it and potentially chase away the Astero. What is this? The fourth time now? In theory this Algos fit works, hull tank, oversized afterburner, hold the opponent at 8km while drones dish out most of the damage. Perhaps the solo capsuleer life is beyond me. On the other hand, I’ve learned from this failure.
Fitting up a replica, I warp once more into repeating death.
Jumping into Uuna a Corax appears on dscan, a few moments later and it’s narrowed down to a medium complex. An Atron blinks onto the scan results, inciting concern over another third party, but I want to fight.
Through the acceleration gate, landing 9km away, perfect distance. Once more my drones hurtle across space as the dance begins, hoping that the extra speed will lessen the rage rockets’ damage.
The first sign of trouble emerges as the rockets melt both shield and armour at an alarming rate.
Secondly, its shields are proving rather resilient.
Third, the Algos’ hull is now redlining as another scourge volley rushes towards me.
A fresh Algos in hand, I ponder the last fight while searching for another cycle’s potential conquest. The killboard showed that the Corax was likely fit with thermal hardeners, explaining why the Gallente drones proved not to be the best in the galaxy. May need to swap them out for Amarr variants if the shield buffer trend continues.
This low sec cruise is filled with curios; a Condor that repeatedly escapes my grasp. Remnants of a Jaguar/Comet mutually assured destruction nets me enough loot to cover the next loss, note; return the floating corpse to its owner.
A Thanatos appears on gate to Hadeshin. My sign to leave.
During this search for action, a small Algos gang roam has meandered into Okkamon. Aiming to avoid them, I warp to the Reitsato exit, landing in time to see them disappear through the same stargate.
On the other side they’re already buzzing in anticipation. Holding to the last moment of cloak I immediately align a random gate only to be warp disrupted. Afterburner overheated, my Algos surges outwards. These foes, too, are swift, and the sky rapidly fills with their hive. Mere kilometers from freedom, the drones overtake my ship and shred it to pieces.
Hikkoken. Slipping through my scram-fingers, the Atron darts into warp. I move to follow. As I give chase, a Sabre flickers across the overview. Landing 100km off the complex gate, dscan indicates this new challenger approaches. He lands 70km away and burns directly towards me. I set an orbit and burn in return.
40km, his weapon of choice is revealed to be artillery, as this Algos’ shields vanish
10km, webs and scrams fly, drones chip away at his shields. My armour vanishes.
2km, bouncing off one another, our transversal plummets as I fail to adjust orbit closer to counter his howitzers.
4km, hull alarms sound as my drones barely take him into armour.
5km, another volley and…
Jita. Next life. Next ship.
Tama. Gatecamp. Machariel alpha.
Minmatar warzone. A Catalyst sits on a novice complex gate. Eager for blood, I rush forward. As we burn through each others’ ships, I realise I’ve allowed myself to get too close and his blasters’ firepower bears fully down. Searching desperately for an out, I realize with a wry smile, he has not scrambled me. Aligning to a random station, I jump out, hull burning and drones abandoned.
Hadozeko. Feeling confident from the recent near death experience, I hunt down a Svipul that’s set up on a complex gate. This time they scrambled. As their absolutely balanced autocannons open the way to Valhalla, I reconsider my bold engagement profile.
Resbroko. Taming the target selection, a Slasher is tracked down to a small complex. Certain it will escape, I take the leap and surprisingly manage tackle. Frantically setting drones and railguns on the frigate, realistic seconds, but adrenaline fuelled relative ages pass and the Algos claims its first blood in a shower of fragmented rust and meta modules.
A minor victory, but the first, and an indication that this capsuleer has finally acquired skills not granted in training books.
Riding the victory high to Dal, a Tristan shows up. Attempting a new tactic, I enter a small complex to wait, playing the first card. She calls, dropping in moments later and firing the first shot. Setting drones and orbits, we check. Both dropping to armour, I hearten as hers falters faster than mine, only to be dismayed as it surges up repeatedly.
But not as far each time.
Breathing a sigh of relief, I swiftly slide into warp after the Tristan’s tank folds and the killmail arrives.
Kedama. Scanning for tougher prey, a Navy Slicer is tracked to a novice complex. Warping to the acceleration gate I’m met with a blank overview. Bait is set, and moments later the Slicer appears 40km from my position. We burn towards each other, shields already faltering. As we pass below 10km I set off a few seconds of tackle, halting their speed and giving my drones a chance to sting. Agonizingly slowly, the Algos, in all of its oversized afterburner might, turns to slingshot the Slicer. Narrowly catching it on the second approach, it’s locked down and the faction frigate is brutally dismantled.
Once more, Kedama. After hours of clear skies a Hecate finally shows up in a complex. Warping in, I overheat the scram, guessing that it’ll be blaster-fit, to kite the T3 out of optimal. On landing I immediately angle perpendicular to the destroyer and set out drones. The foe is merely 4km away once lock is established and I’m already out of shields.
Afterburner is set on and despite their webs, I limp out of blaster range. Perception of time slows down as the incoming damage plummets. Checking the rates of change, they’re now falling faster than I, still both in armour. As we hit hull, I catch a moment of breathing room only to note with horror that the pre-heated scrambler was missed activation in my haste. As the Hecate turns to disengage, its drives are shut down, leaving its last moments filled with a thousand tiny drone shots.
Exploding into fragments, the vastly more expensive destroyer shatters, revealing a frantically escaping pod, leaving me to loot the wreck. Overshooting the charred wreck once in excitement, I collect its contents and stagger back to Jita, burning with hull damage and victorious passion.
Lessons have been learned, and finally, after countless failures, the solo capsuleer dream of conquering a stronger opponent has been achieved. In the end; all you need is skill.