There's a difference between individuals that take the initiative and those that do not. It's a matter of intuition, of insight, of taking a situation into perspective, identifying what needs be done and moving to accomplish those objectives. Seizing the initiative doesn't necessitate taking the first move, at least visibly. It doesn't entail being aggressive. Initiative is merely created and exploited by those that employ their minds during an engagement, allowing one to dictate terms and ultimately secure victory from any number of larger or more powerful foes.
After flying alone and leading gangs for so long, a pilot gains an innate grasp of what can and is occurring before and during a fight, and can apply his experience to turn the advantage. Looking at the pieces on the field, a Cyclone and Kitsune versus my Myrmidon, I knew the odds were against me. However, I saw through the facts of the situation, and took the initiative. I tapped my MWD and burned away from the station to meet my foe, locked him, and left him with few decisions to make.
I knew that the opposing pilot had the EWAR advantage. This would give him a sense of superiority, and prompt him to act with more confidence he may normally have. Predictably, he engaged me. Instead of attempting to maintain range, or taking a cautious approach, he closed range as fast as his ship could allow him. Medium Barrage rounds slammed into my Myrmidon, stripping shields and laying bare energized plate, which twisted and buckled under the punishing assault.
However, if there is one fact I understood better than any other, is that even the best laid plans never survive contact with the enemy. While yes, the Cyclone pilot did have an ECM ship in his gang, that ship wasn't on grid. It couldn't deny me from fighting back while still held in reserve, and fight back I did. Allowing himself to approach into such close proximity meant I could quickly recall and launch drones as they took damage. It meant I didn't have to expend capacitor to close range myself, and could devote all my juice to running reps and tackle equipment. It also meant if more of the Cyclone's buddies showed up, or the Cyclone itself was more than I could handle, I wasn't terribly far from the station to retreat into.
Once within 10km, I responded to the Cyclone's advances. My mixed drone stack sailed out of their hanger, and followed a fairy trail to their target caused by my warp disruptor and scrambler. Between the fierce projectile exchange between the two ships, it was remarkable how ably and securely the drones orbited the Cyclone, avoiding the glittering trajectories of autocannon fire to exploit previous damage to the integrity of the Cyclone's shields. Occasionally turrets and missiles would switch targets to track the larger members of the automated flight; however their proximity to their carrier meant escape was a simple activity. While the Matari battlecruiser cycled from drone to ship to drone, it made little headway on either and only sustained further damage itself.
Seconds passed and accumulated to form into a minute as our two battlecruisers slugged it out, trading shell for shell, testing the resilience of the Cyclone's passive shield tank against the endurance of my active armor tank. It became clear that the Cyclone wasn't able to best my dual MAR setup, while his shields steadily declined to nothingness under the caress of my arsenal. The Cyclone was going to need help to escape from this encounter alive, help that was taking too long coming. Where was the Kitsune that was still on scan? Was it at a POS, or indeed piloted?
The Cyclone's shields failed, and with its tank routed, the armor and structure that remained were quickly swept aside. While Gallente drones had been the brawn behind my attack, it was a burst of 425mm shell that tore into the Matari battlecruiser's heart to loose the sapphire fire that raged within. Smug with victory, I informed Raxip of the results and started to approach the twisted remains of the Cyclone. He congratulated me, and informed me that he had a replacement Rifter underway to my position. Acknowledging, I began retrieving the spoils of my conquest. It's amazing that the final explosion missed over five thousand clips of Barrage M, not to mention why any pilot would take so much ammunition into combat in the first place.
Aligning back to the station to deposit loot, the Kitsune exited warp behind me, seventy kilometers off from my position. I waved to the pilot in local, watching him warp off to an unknown destination within the system. Docking with the station, I couldn't help but smile at my good fortune. It didn't matter much to me what reasons the Kitsune pilot had leaving his corpmate to die by my hand. It was only further proof that I was right to take a chance, and attempt what had appeared impossible. Despite what scouts tell you, what intuition predicts, the results of a fight are always suspect. It takes action, following opportunity and riding out it out to its conclusion to understand what will really occur during a fight.
Take the initiative. Go out and seek engagements on your terms, possibly conceding a term or two to the opposition. What follows is the crux of it all, the reason why we play EVE. Just remember to joke, laugh and have fun with the guy you're shooting at while you’re at it.
The roam ain't over yet! Hell, the Myrm hasn't even blown up yet! More combat reports to come. Hope y'all are enjoying the (mental) show.