Looking at my various region maps I realised that there were large swathes of Amarr space that I had never really visited; my roams usually focus on Domain and Tash-Murkon. This being the case, I decided it was high time to branch out, so I planned a roam through the Kor-Azor region.
As I was jumping through low sec I spotted a Navy Slicer on scan, and I quickly narrowed him down to a belt. However, I was pretty sure that the Slicer would be fit for speed and range, neither of which my Punisher could deal with.
I did not want to make assumptions, though, so I asked what to expect in the Tusker Public Channel, and received confirmation from the other pilots that I would simply be kited to death. Suleiman, on the other hand, pointed out that if I could pilot in such a way that his orbit kept running him into asteroids then I might have a shot.
That's about as good odds as I could reasonably hope for, so I warped to zero. The Slicer was busy with a high level rat, so I a was able to get close and point him. Unfortunately, he was afterburner fit, so this did not kill his speed.
We both started hammering away at each other while I tried my best to prevent him getting range. I overheated my afterburner and lead him towards large asteroids whenever I could.
It was clearly going to be a close fought battle. He was more fragile than I, but had far higher damage. I also missed a switch from Multifrequency to Scorch for a few moments because of my focus on manual piloting, which lowered my overall dps. Not by much, but enough to make a difference in a fight this close.
Finally, as we both entered into structure, he pulled out of range. However, he was rapidly approaching one of the rat wrecks in the belt, so I quickly bookmarked the wreck and warped to the sun.
I used the time in warp to repair my armour back to full. As soon as I landed I re-warped to my bookmark. I had no idea if he would have lingered near the wreck, but it was worth checking.
Landing on the wreck, I was disoriented, so used my overview to approach my target. As my Punisher aligned and began speeding towards him was surprised to see that there were some drones in the belt. Slicers don't carry drones.
And that's when my ship evaporated.
Post battle review:
Apparently, between me warping out and warping back in, a ratting battleship had warped into the belt (and the Slicer had naturally fled).
I then warped in and hit approach without checking the identity of my target. The battleship, seeing a flashy outlaw warp in and burn towards him, quite reasonably decided to blow me out of the sky. And as I had no transversal velocity, he managed that quite handily.
Obviously, if I had checked the identity of my target before approaching the second time I might have escaped with my ship - a silly error on my part - but I don't want to get too hung up on that point.
Instead, I was pretty pleased that I went up against what is considered by some to be the best frigate in the game with a Punisher and managed to get out with my hull (even if I did immediately get myself blown up by someone else). Equally, I very nearly managed to pull a win. If I had not wasted some damage in the transition from short to medium range, I might well have earned a killmail.
So all in all, I'm not terribly displeased. As far as losses go, it was a pretty good one.
Lessons for the future:
Most of my base skills are pretty solid at this point. What I really need to work on is juggling them all at once. I largely know the correct answers to the theoretical questions, but applying them all at once while under pressure still gives me trouble.