I had most of the day free to play, so I figured I would take my time and see what sort of fights I could find along the way. At first the trip was pretty uneventful. I crossed paths with a few large blobs that I didn't care to engage, and kept moving. For half a dozen jumps I kept pace with a Tusker in an Incursus who seemed to be heading the same direction. The one T1 frigate that I fairly consistently lose fights to in my Merlin is the Incursus, when it is flown competently, so I considered engaging, but decided against it. He probably could have beaten me, but made no real effort to engage me either. Perhaps he had other plans.
I got my first fight when I passed through a faction warfare area. I located a Punisher in a plex and decided to have a go at it. When I went through the acceleration gate I dropped on him pretty much at 0, scrammed and webbed him, and tore into his armor with my blasters. It took a couple minutes of pounding, and he actually put a pretty good hurt on my ASB charges, but his cap eventually ran out and then he died. I warped off to repair and reload just as a Kestrel landed on grid. The system was pretty stirred up, so I decided to move on.
The next bit of action I had was in Molden Heath. I docked up in a station to take a bio break, with a few players from a new German pirate corp called Douchebag Patrol sharing local with me. When I came back and undocked, two of them were waiting for me in Ruptures on the station undock. All of us had pretty respectable sec status (mine was an upstanding -3.1 points), so I just orbited one of them. He decided to scram me, and I immediately docked up and undocked to break his target lock, then got point on him and tackled him while the sentry guns reduced his cruiser to a yellow triangle. Then I pointed his mate, who had agressed me in the meantime, and started shooting. The stations guns were tearing through his armor, and I was tanking his drones pretty well, but I wasn't paying attention to my orbit and drifted out of scram range (noob mistake, I know), and he was able to warp off. Then I looted the one wreck and docked to drop the loot in station, and when I undocked the rupture was back. I started shooting and burned him down. His guns were unable to track me, and he had lost his drones when he warped off. Then I popped his pod.
By now the Newbies were on to my tricks. They had a fleet out hunting me. We played cat and mouse for about a half hour. In the end, it culminated with about 15 of them, all in frigates, and one of me, sitting on a gate together. They couldn't attack me without getting blapped by the sentry guns. Some of them were already -5 permaflashies, so I decided to just start fighting those guys one by one while the rest of them orbited and watched. I had no real strategy in it other than not shooting at the Ewar frigs. First I killed a Slasher, then a Merlin. During the fights several of them attacked me and got themselves blapped. There was a bit of banter in local and one guy challenged me to a duel, which I ignored. The Merlin pilot was actually pretty good, another ASB fit, and by the time he went down I was out of charges and into armor, and the Newbies decided, fuck it, they would gank me, gate guns be damned. My Merlin died in a blaze of glory, I warped off my pod, and good fights were had all around. The one guy still wanted a duel, but alas, I had no ship. And so ended my roam and my first encounter with Brave Newbies Inc. 7 killmails and one loss, a good day, and I don't know how many more died to the gate guns.
As an Eve University grad, I can't help but compare the experience of visiting E-Uni's lowsec campus (LSC) with visiting the Newbies in their home. From time to time I have gotten the idea in my head to get in a frigate and visit the LSC looking for fights. It is almost always a disappointment for me, mainly because when I'm in local they either dock up or organize a well disciplined blob and set out to hunt me. While I can generally evade these blobs in lowsec (i'm really good, i know), they don't spread out and give easy kills, they almost never even respond if you ask for 1v1s in local (I've even offered 2v1s and 3v1s when there were more than 30 of them around, and heard only crickets). Their entire philosophy of PvP, with the exception of certain individuals, is to play to win, not to take excessive chances and give up ships. And not to talk to hostile parties. (boring)
Visiting Brave Newbies was altogether a different sort of experience. While they clearly can and do mobilize a fleet to deal with a threat, they don't seem to panic when somebody loses a ship out in a belt. The first guy I killed chatted with me in local about my fit, the second one convo'd me and told me how I caught him by surprise, and was a great sport about it. The whole blob scene at the end was quite unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was truly a memorable PvP moment. In the end they gleefully suicided themselves to the gate guns to kill me, something I can't even imagine an E-Uni fleet doing. E-Uni would have docked up unless they had something that could tank the gate guns (which they probably would, because they actually have an abundance of veteran players).
All in all, I have to say that I am impressed by Brave Newbies Inc. All the rumors I had heard were about their great fighting spirit, and I was not disappointed.
So what is next for me? We'll see.