I briefly mentioned flying the Celestis in a post some time ago, The life of an adventurer. My time with that ship didn't last very long, since it was jumped by 2 battleships and a T2 cruiser and destroyed. It was never proven in a battle it could possibly win.
A few days ago, after finishing a whole bunch of skills, I equipped the Celestis and went out hunting pirates. That is, after all, what I was born to do. The Celestis, I was led to believe, is a cruiser that is underestimated by many pilots, but its ability to cope with PVP is impressive.
One of the funny things about Molden Heath these days is that pirates are often few and far between. There used to be a time when you could find pirates in Atlar and Illamur at any time of the day, on any day of the week. But now there's hardly any!
I attribute this to the NMTZ alliance, which is heavily active in Molden Heath. With over 500 highly organised and powerful pirate hunters, Molden Heath is becoming quite... silent.
And so, as I (and my corp) hunt for pirates, all we're finding are miners and travellers. This is actually fantastic, as far as I'm concerned, because it means that the goals I created for my corp, to make Eve safer, are actually coming to pass. Admittedly it's because of the alliance, but I'm proud to be part of that and contributing to the pirates finding other systems to nest in.
Oddelulf, however, seems to be where many of them nest. Which is strange, as it's only 1 jump from Atlar... Anyway, I digress.
I found a couple of pirates, both of them in Rifters. I wasn't yet sure of my capabilities against two frigates at the same time, and so I didn't engage in combat. I did, however, help one of them - Minmatar Devil - find a corpse of one of his previous clones...
They didn't attack me, and so I departed. I'm not attacking anyone first, as I don't want my security status negatively affected. However, I came upon Minmatar Devil again in another belt, this time without his friend. We faced off against each other, neither of us attacking first, but both of us target locked. A wandering Raven entered the belt, and Devil departed, just in case. However, the Raven pilot was only looking for rats, so he departed as well.
I suggested to Devil that he might like to return and we can end this once and for all. Which he did.
He engaged, and I dampened his sensors which broke his lock. I webbed and warp scrambled him so he couldn't get away. Because he was in a frigate, I decided to 'take it easy' on him... eg. I didn't deploy the drones. As it was, my rockets quickly vaporised his ship, and his pod was left sitting there in space, looking quite forlorn.
We had a brief chat, and I found out that he was a 'weekend pirate', choosing to have fun with his secondary clone while his main clone, going by a name I can't remember right now, is actually a 'good guy'. He seemed like a decent fellow overall, so I encouraged him to turn away from the 'dark side' and hunt pirates instead of being a pirate.
I'm not sure if I got through to him, but we bowed to each other via the commlink, and parted ways.
I wasn't sure if the Rifter was a good enough test for my capabilities, so I wandered around some more. I even tried 'baiting' some pirates, offering verbal temptations for them to accept. Unfortunately, none of them were prepared to do so. There was another alliance member in the system, and they were afraid I was calling them out in order for the two of us to ambush them. Untrue, of course, but they didn't believe me.
And then Draghkar offered to duel me, which I happily accepted. They didn't have a negative sec rating, but it seemed they followed the pirating path anyway.
They showed up in a Stabber, and immediately engaged. Being able to get the first shots in, they got my shields to about 80% before my sensor dampeners engaged. This time my drones were also deployed.
Unable to get a lock on me, and being chewed up severely by my drones, they withdrew out of the range of my dampeners and my drones. They never got in range enough for me to engage the web and warp scrambler, so all we could do was play cat and mouse with each other.
Draghkar kept on trying to make a rush to get me in range of their weapons, but the range of my dampeners and drones caused them some severe problems. It was obvious if they came all the way in to get into range, they would probably be destroyed before they could engage their weapons.
It was a stalemate. Neither of us could successfully engage the other. I bowed to them, thanking them for helping me test my ship, and they left.
So overall, I'm very happy now! The training I've been doing, heading towards getting myself an Interceptor and appropriate extras, has really paid off.
I'm looking forward to further 'tests' of this Celestis. So far, I like it!