The Other Other Other White Meat

Since I became embroiled in the conflicts of Capsulars I have come to the realisation that there are three types of kills. Each has its own elations, a variance in how they make you feel, much in the same way a fine steak sends different sensations through you to a Star Cake. To continue the food analogy I am not a gourmet yet, but my pallet is improving, and a few days ago I got to enjoy the final missing flavor of death.
Here I will go against the narrative norm, in order to explain the types of kill in the order I wish to, I must tell you my recent experiences in reverse order, I hope you will humor me.
Allow me to set the scene of last night, a long night of battleships killing offline POS towers and Mods in 0.0, a little excitement had punctuated the night when a 30 man shield Battlecruiser gang jumped into us on a gate and was swiftly disintegrated by our fleet. The short but (for us) sweet engagement saw targets popping as fast as you could lock them and cycle the guns once. Fate found us finally sitting on a gate with reports of an enemy fleet (counts at this stage were confusing, fluctuating from 50 to 150 in number) in the next system. Not wanting to go home without engaging, we begun to prepare for battle. First order was to get off the gate, burning in the direction of an out-gate to get out from underneath the enemy when they jumped in. This would force the enemy tacklers to burn towards us at speed, away from their slow moving fleet in order to pin us down and stop us warping away before they could kill us. Just as we got to around the correct distance the Reds jumped in, and the fight begun in earnest. As usual I found myself watching the broadcasts of each primary target and setting my 8 Pulse Lasers to gouge into defenses, while assigning my drones to any lighter ships which dared come close to attempt to tackle us. Suddenly alarms were blaring, shields were down and armor was rapidly dropping. Thankfully I was already aligned to our warp out point at full speed and with no enemy tackle using any form of warp core disruption on me; it was a simple matter of engaging the warp drive to remove me from the field and well out of targeting range. Once I landed at the other end of warp I swung the slow battleship around and warped back into the fray. On arrival back in the fight I called for repairs while re-aligning to the out-gate and cycling targets and guns as swiftly as I could. At this point we were clearly outnumbered by the enemy fleet, however our swift work in destroying the enemies tackle and by deciding our own range of engagement we had managed to pull a good fight out of the situation. However time and numbers were not on our side, with the enemy fleet significantly bloodied and their tackle all but annihilated the order was given to exit the field. We began to flee with the enemy fleet gnashing at our heels at every jump. This kind of situation gets the adrenaline rushing every time, at each gate it’s a race for survival; coming into the system, coaxing the slow ship around to face the exit gate, bringing your speed up to a clear 75% before engaging the warp drive, and finally lurching away from the gate into safety, only to repeat it after jumping into the next system. All the while if a single enemy interceptor (which can do all of the above in around 7 seconds as opposed to the 20-30 it takes a battleship) catches up with us and launches a warp disruption sphere you can kiss good bye to any hope of entering warp while inside the sphere of its influence. Thankfully this only happened once and I was lucky enough to be right at the edge of the bubble; able to quickly adjust course using a microwarp drive to get clear and restart the warp sequence, escaping just as the enemy arrived. For me this was supreme luck, for the Reds were now too busy destroying those not so lucky to give me further chase. A few more jumps and I was safe, warping to a friendly POS, and titan jumping to home.
This was a Fleet kill, tens to hundreds of us against similar numbers of enemy forces. You experience helplessness as you place your trust in the FC whom you must follow without question, in exchange to being part of a bigger picture. Fear of the death that can come in seconds if the enemy fleet concentrates fire upon you, while enjoying doing the same to an enemy. This is a banquet of death.
The day before this night of gorging, I had been involved in another fleet fight, again aimed at provoking the enemy; but significantly less successful. The fleet was idling, gnawing on Station Service modules in boredom while waiting for a target to come out of reinforced mode. One of my oldest friends (Arian Blade) was with me and we were passing the time with idle talk on a private channel, while another old friend (Lore Solo) was making his way to join us in a stealth bomber. Suddenly it got interesting as Lore arrived in our system and announced that a “Hurricane” Battlecruiser and “Merlin” Frigate were sitting on a gate about to jump out. As we were bored with chewing on a target far larger than us, myself and Arian immediately warped away from the fleet to see if we could catch the enemy ships and devour them instead. We arrived on the gate and followed the enemy ships into the next system. I should at this point detail our ships; as previously mentioned Lore was in a “Manticore” Stealth bomber, Arian was in a Hurricane and I was zipping about in an “Crow” Interceptor. Arriving in the next system, I found myself right next to the enemy Hurricane, and trusting my friends to come to my aid if things went wrong, kicked every module on and begun hurtling into an orbit around it, scrambling his warp core and stopping him from warping away. This was a dangerous move, Interceptors rely on speed to move faster than enemy guns can track them, but Hurricanes can be set up especially to combat a speed tanking ship. Luckily for me this Hurricane was not, and my 8k orbit at 4km/s velocity meant that his guns never scored a single hit on me. My friends quickly arrived on the scene and begun applying DPS to the Hurricane (the Merlin got away) and with only two damage dealers the ship lasted a good 20 seconds before he was forcefully ejected. My ships specialised targeting computer also managed to lock down his escape capsule before it could for fill its purpose, and his body was swiftly exposed to the vacuum of space. Pop.
This was a Small Group Kill, comrade of a small group you most likely know well and trust. Fear that your smaller group might be falling for a trap of a larger group. Working as a team to destroy others and having a clear and respected say in the tactics you use. This intimate social meal, designed to bring a group together through a mutual experience of another’s death.
Finally in the narrative, and firstly chronologically I experienced the final type of kill that until now had remained elusively un-tasted by me. Our alliance has formally declared war on the enemy Alliance through CONCORD (law enforcement agency). This means that in exchange for a vast fee paid to CONCORD, we are legally allowed to kill enemy combatants in High Security (0.5 or above) space, where any acts of aggression would bring a CONCORD fleet down upon you to destroy your ship in an instant. I, in a rare moment of downtime, had decided to leave our low-sec staging system and travel to an old haunt nearby. Here I planned to pick up a Stealth Bomber, mothballed a few months ago, in order to bring it into our staging system for use in the war. While traveling to my destination in my Pod I passed an Industrial Hauler belonging to the enemy using his auto pilot to move across space. Auto Pilot allows your Navicomp to handle all the needed commands along a pre-designated route. However for safety it will never warp you to within immediate jump rage of a gate like a capsular would, instead it arrives 10km off of the gate and engages sub warp engines to bring the ship within jump range. This is ok for the lazy when they are sure of safety in a fast moving ship or similar. But for a slow moving Hauler designed for cargo space and not speed, during a time when enemy ships can engage without fear of death by CONCORD it’s a death trap. Unfortunately this opportunity was lost to me in a weaponless pod, so I continued the 10 more jumps to my Stealth Bomber, dusted it off, engaged the primers and begun the journey back. A few jumps out and I ran into the hauler again, slow boating the 10km towards the gate, not believing my luck I double checked that I could shoot him while maneuvering (under cloak) closer to the target. Confirmation of legality it received, I uncloak, lock the hauler, engage the target painter and throw my first volley of Torpedoes at it. As it’s too far away from the gate to jump, and warping out to another celestial would take too long, I don’t even need to scramble his warp drive, hest trapped by his own choices. As the second volley clears the tubes, the first impacts and it removes the ships shields along with half its armor, the next finishes the job, puncturing the hull and detonating in a cargo hold, severing the ship fatally. Unfortunately the pod escapes before I can lock it down so quickly grabbing what few modules survive the explosion I warp away to safety before any more combatants can execute vengeance upon me.
This is the Solo kill, intimacy not with friends but with the enemy, sometimes on even terms, sometimes a foredawn conclusion, but always intimate. Locked in immortal combat, fearing that he knows something you don’t counterbalanced with joy at the possibility of success born of your efforts alone.
All three kills bring joy and horror depending on your place in the ritual, all contain fear from all parties, all are what a combat capsular lives and dies for. Each has its own flavor of death, which is potent in all its forms. Some pilots have a taste for one of them; others like me are less discerning. But over the past three days I have enjoyed a three course meal of destruction, but for all of us the tables can always turn, perhaps next time I will be the meal.

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