So I took a spin around some new systems, laying down bookmarks in my wake and hoping to give somebody a bad time. Ardar, Floseswin, Aset, Isbrabata, Turner, and Uisper all were empty and I found no one to challenge. I set my destination for Auner and started the trip home hoping to find some trouble along the way.
When I was in Hadozeko, Dreksl pointed out on the private Black Rebel channel that Sol Malorion was in Resbroko in an Ishkur and he's "normally up for a fight." I didn't want any part of that. An Ishkur is a bit out of my class - a T2 assault ship (just the description sounds nasty!) - sure death (actually, in my case, there are very few opposing ships that aren't in the "sure death" category...). Resbroko is the system between Hadozeko and my home in Auner, so I would be passing though.
In Resbroko I stopped at a couple safe spots to check out belts to see if there was any activity. Nope. No miners plying their honest trade. No novice ratters bravely making the belts safe for honest miners. I was ready to head to the Auner gate when in the local channel I see, "ah, the infamous jack dancer"... "Infamous"? Me? It was Sol Malorion and he challenged me to a fight in local. What was I to do? My honor was at stake. And the honor of the Black Rebels. And the honor of every hardworking Eve blogger. Plus I have plenty of rifters - so I can afford to lose another in exchange for some experience.
I immediately accepted and we headed to the top belt.
I landed and so did Sol Malorion's Ishkur about 14k away. I spiraled in on him by centering his Ishkur and clicking halfway to the screen margin (Hey experts! Does it matter how magnified my ship is for this? Should my rifter be a dot on the screen? A centimeter wide? Two centimeters? Filling half the screen?).
My modules were all turned up to 11 and overheating! I shot first and he was immediately hurting. He hit armor before I did and I was feeling pretty good about things. I still knew I was doomed against a competently flown Ishkur, but at least I was doing some damage.
Then I noticed the drones...
Hobgoblin IIs. Lots and lots of them. Well, actually five. My armor was rapidly being destroyed despite the best efforts of my overheated armor repairer. I thought about switching target to the drones, but by then my hull was crumbling. Red lights everywhere. Then the big explosion!
Death by Ishkur, but my honor (and the honor of all Black Rebels and bloggers) was intact.
I pointed out in local how I had been ahead for a few seconds, and Sol Malorion noted, "I was kinda panicky". That got a laugh out of me!
Afterwards Sol Malorion opened a communications channel and we chatted about the fight, the neighborhood and the Black Rebels. Generously he offered to return my surviving modules (sadly the exotic dancers perished) but I let him have them as spoils of war. There are plenty of rifters where that one came from.
Lessons learned? Try to find an opponent that isn't spewing hobgoblin IIs...