Well, that had been embarrassing.
It had started out innocently enough: fly down to my former stomping grounds, borrow a short-range Apoc from my former corp to help my former alliance help their new friends to take down two POSes...
Yes, yes: there were a lot of ‘former’ in the before statement, but it never hurt to keep connections alive. Plus: Siege Rorquals!
And as bonus, I had discovered one more fully-fitted ship that I had left behind: My good old Thrasher, which supported me on my first (and unsuccessful) WH walkabout. Just the right thing to fly back after the op, into the nearest trade hub, to restock my supply in ship modules.
I was deep in Amarr space, and such expected no troubles on my way to Amarr Prime, but nonetheless, while the autopilot suggested the route, I did fly it by hand: warp to gate, jump, warp to next gate.
As expected, no problems. Until Sarum Prime. A gate like any other - I jumped.
And on the other side, a Factional War target on grid - or as it’s also known: “an orange flashy”.
I remembered the torrent of thoughts running through my mind at that moment.
“Wait? What? Why is is he flashy? Why not red?
“Oh, FW target. ... FW target?! I can shoot him!
“What’s he in? A Probe? That I can handle! Ok, accelerate, target... this is getting close... Dammit!“
I didn’t make it: he jumped the gate seconds before me, and he had left the grid by the time I got to jump the gate myself.
But all the while, a memory had started to haunt me. It had been taught to us in Academy, and other pilots had picked up on it as well. It was one of those kind of things which sounded obvious on paper, but were surprisingly hard to realize.
I hadn’t been in the right state of mind for this encounter - I had been in state ‘White’ even though I should have been in ‘Yellow’, given my current association.
Such a simple guideline to keep in mind - yet I hadn’t. Maybe because it was such a simple one.
At least not all hope was lost: I did manage to avoid mental state ‘Black’.