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Then, and now.

Aldali, 0.4 - a long time ago.

The little Incursus nestled amongst the looming asteroids, it's pilot tense with trepidation. This was a proud day for Reikso Feesh, novice capsuleer and recently promoted CEO of a small industrial and salvage corp. The ship she was currently interfaced with had been entirely built by her budding corporation - every module lovingly crafted, guns carefully maintenenced, the finest materials refined from the highest grade asteroids - it was a thing of beauty, to be sure. The rack of three Light Neutron Blasters was filled with ammunuition supplied by her business contacts who had links to the Federation Navy - so even out here in Amarr space, where the Kernite span in belts scattered across the high security regions of space, Reikso could get her hands on the finest Gallente military munitions; truly, she was a force to be reckoned with!

Or so she believed.

Local transmissions had been few and far between - nothing but frightened industrialists fleeing between gates, seeking the fastest routes between trade hubs. Not even the ever-present belt-pirates had made an appearance today, the over-eager pilots usually so willing to hurl their barely-equipped ships at every target in overview were suspiciously absent. It was quiet.

And then, she appeared. A face in local, a quick background check revealing a less-than-savory character. The name, obviously an alibi. The details - negative security standing. Outstanding bounty. Wanted for questioning. While this information was processing, the overview lit up yellow - she had arrived. 20k out, and with a sudden adrenaline surge, Reikso's trembling mind attempted to activate weapons systems, propulsion systems, disruptors, damage controls, drones - wait, targeting might help, aquire the lock, set the orbit, dammit, set the orbit...

The overview flashed red.

As the first barrage of shots from the Moa crashed into her shields, Reikso became aware of several things. Time slowed, and all of a sudden the asteroids that had seemed so sheltering suddenly became a claustrophobic nightmare. With no room to maneuver, the Incursus bore the brunt of repeated volleys of hybrid power head on, dissolving her pitiful defences. The tiny Hobgoblin drone she so desperately tried to release never made it out of the drone bay, as her ship accelerated straight towards the waiting demon, and-

Pod fluids boiled. What had she been doing in Aldali?

Aldali, 0.4 - present day.

The graceful Myrmidon swam through the glittering field of stars, it's pilot watchful, at ease. A cluster of asteroids lay some 70 clicks below, the hard lumps of rock interspersed with the more valuable jewel-like crystal formations - a miner's happy dream. A group of drones were returning from a successful sortie with a Battleship sized belt-pirate - in recent times, the local rats were getting bigger and bigger - a fact both worrisome, yet profitable for those prepared. Reikso's Battlecruiser was a wonder of modern technology - manufactured by her own corporation, and fitted with the finest high-grade advanced tech available on the market - her rack of advanced Heavy Ion Blasters filled with deadly faction ammo, her armor bolstered by layer after layer of active hardeners. Truly, she was a force to be reckoned with!

And she was right.

Local was quiet - barely a blip, save for the occasional courier running between gates on one errand or another. Several waves of bold belt-pirates had come and died, their deadly but mechanically-minded pilots unable to discern fair game from certain death. And still the Myrmidon wandered this way and that, direction often changing, motion never ceasing.

And then, she appeared. A face in local. If there was the slightest twinge of recognition in Reikso's mind, she didn't feel it. A quick background check - false name, bad sec status, medium bounty. As soon as the details had registered, the overview lit up yellow - she had arrived.

70k out, nestled amongst the asteroids, the Drake turned to face the Myrmidon. A transmission came through local:

"Care for a rematch?"

"Have we fought before?" came Reikso's reply.

"I believe so."

"Was it in Ami?"

"No, Aldali."

Then the time for talk was over. Like some avenging angel, the Myrmidon descended from on high. Like a creature from hell, the Drake erupted from the asteroids - glorious battle would join! The distance closed rapidly. Microwarpdrive screaming, Reikso's mind raced to remember. Who was this pilot? When had they fought before? A flash of memory - a tiny ship, an ugly cruiser, a brief, fiery death...

The overview flashed red.

The first volley of heavy assault missiles crashed into Reikso's shields. At that moment, she unleashed a flight of drones - 2 Ogres, 2 Hammerheads, and a little Hobgoblin, back for revenge! Setting orbit as close as possible to the flat, mean-looking Drake, Reikso set all her little helpers onto it, and activated her group of advanced Heavy Ion Blasters - a mighty volley smashed into the solid block of energy surrounding her enemy. As the last of her perfunctory shields were vanishing, Reikso activated the bank of hardeners and the two medium repairers - the little damage control that had been ticking over until now continued it's cycles - it's time was yet to come.

Pinwheeling through space, the two combatants raked each other with wave after wave of horrific damage. The massive shield buffer of the Drake seemed to disappear only millimeter by millimeter, while the continuous barrage of navy heavy assault missiles kept Reikso's armor repairers straining to handle the incoming damage. Rippling waves of nanobots flowed over the surface of the Myrmidon, trying desperately to fill the widening gaps, whilst Reikso continuously pumped round after round of enormous cap charges into her booster to keep the whole show running.

The Drake was down 3/4 of it's shield, when suddenly, Reikso lost her lock - the enemy battlecruiser was still in range, but her guns had shut off! Was it an ECM burst? Quickly reaquiring the lock, Reikso was thankful her drones were still plugging away - so far, the Drake had ignored them and focused solely on blasting her ship. As soon as her guns reactivated though, they stopped doing any damage - looking quickly to her object targeter, Reikso saw the Drake afterburning away from her short blaster range. Pulsing the Microwarpdrive, and using precious capacitor energy, Reikso moved her battlecruiser back into range, only to lose lock again! What was happening?! And then she saw - light ECM drones! They weren't showing up in her
overview, but they had been circling her the whole time! They were barely effective though, and the lock was soon reaquired.

Unfortunately, these delays had meant the Drake had caught up to Reikso damage-wise - her shields were almost gone, but Reikso's Myrmidon was starting to take structure damage. The powerful repairers were keeping her barely in armor, but it was now the little damage control's time to shine! As the Drake's shield finally broke, the race to the kill was on in earnest. The afterburning Drake once again tried to move out of range, but this time, Reikso was ready - another quick burst of Microwarpdrive brought the enemy ship back into range for a final set of volleys, as the last of her cap charges was pumped into the booster. The drake's armor gone, and structure fading, the two ships were neck-and-neck. The damage control cycled on, it's incredible bonus to structure resistance was the only thing keeping Reikso in the race. A short transmission appeared in local: "It's going to be a close one..."

And then. The brief moment where the lock disappears. The guns shut down due to a lack of determinable target. And space lights up with the explosion of a mighty battlecruiser - the Drake was no more.

Pod fluids bubbled in almost tangible triumph and relief. Both pilots offered 'gf' as the little pod sped into warp. Scooping up the loot, Reikso though, 'THIS is why I came to Aldali.'

This is my first contribution to Eve-Pirate, i'm a big fan of the site, and I hope you enjoy this account of a satisfying victory over an old foe of mine

- many thanks for a fantastic fight! :-)