A return to level three missions

12th January 2009 – 10.52 am

Trying desperately not to repeat myself, I made the journey back home to Caldari space, got my mission-running and salvaging ships to an agent's station, and set a skill training that would take around a week to complete, thus stopping me from poking around the EVE Online certificate planner, at least long enough to be able to complete a mission. I have no more excuses, it is time to talk to my agent and get some work.

'Hello Mr Agent, I know it's been a long time and you've probably forgotten about me, but I was wondering...'

'Oh my goodness, Cadet Ibramovic. Didn't you go in to low-sec? I thought you'd gone in to low-sec. Look, the replacement limb hasn't been rejected by my body and I'd really like to keep it this time so, uh, why don't you take care of this smuggler interception. It's really dangerous.' He throws a file in my direction that misses me by a few feet and skids out the door of his office. I suppose he's still getting used to the new arm, but unless I'd been there during the unfortunate incident I'd never guess it was a replacement. I pop out to get the file so I can read over the mission. 'It was good to see you again', my agent says as his door closes, and locks, behind me. Holy cow, I'm on a mission.

I'm not just on any mission, though, I'm on a level three mission, which is quite a change from the level one missions I have been running in Minmatar space, the best my poor standings with The Republic could muster. My skills have advanced a little, but not as much as they could have over the time I was away from Caldari space as I was training PvP skills mostly. Mind you, I was regularly running level three missions before I left so I must be capable of completing them still. My ship is not the same, as I lost the old Drake after carelessly running in to a gate camp, but it is equipped with good fittings. I should be just fine.

I realise I am not just out of practice with level three missions but mission-running in general when I remember only after I am warping to the deadspace location that I could have checked what faction resistance I was likely to run in to and tailored my active shield hardeners for the specific damage types. I've been out of space for too long. I have kinetic and thermal hardeners fitted, which is pretty much a generic Caldari space set-up, and the last thing I want to do is head back to a station to give me the chance to procrastinate some more. I cross my fingers and wait to drop out of warp.

I said previously that I wanted explosions and I'm getting them, mostly from missiles hitting my shields. There are a couple of dozen red crosses, big and small, and they are all shooting at me! Luckily, my passive shield tanking set-up is holding excellently for now, my shields barely registering damage, so I start locking on to targets and firing off my heavy missiles. I also launch my drones and watch them happily fly off to wreak their own damage. Soon enough, I get some real explosions as enemy ships are destroyed beneath my barrage.

A second wave of ships comes in and I get another realisation that I need to learn some old lessons. My drones are picking their own targets aggressively, even though I'm sure I told them at one point to be passive and only attack under orders, and the second wave of enemy frigates sees the drones as more of an immediate threat than my battlecruiser, particularly with some of their own cruisers to engage me. The frigates attack the my drones and I lose all of them one by one. I needed to build up more initial threat on the new wave of hostile craft before setting the drones loose on them. It is a minor set-back, as I can always buy more drones, and I manage to clear the deadspace pocket of enemies and probably intercepted the smuggler in doing so. My journal is blinking happily at me, suggesting that my mission has indeed been completed.

It has been quite a while but it looks like I can still throw a Drake in to the middle of wasps' nest and come out the other end unscathed. My shields didn't fall below 90% during the mission. I may have lost the drones but at least I know why it happened and can apply my experience to future missions. I also have another two million ISK sitting in my wallet from the mission reward and bounties, even before I take my Cormorant back to the battlefield to salvage the wrecks. I'm finally back in the action.

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