Tuesday night is my FC slot and pushing the time back just a wee bit; I linked into fleet chat with z0de and others all milling about in local and waiting for me. I was made boss but z0de had an interesting idea: he saw that there was a large Dark-Rising [DARK] fleet in Evati, specifically in the Minmatar plex. z0de, wanting to kick the night off with a bang urged the fleet to suicide jump into the lot and hope to get a kill (or two). I actually thought it would be a good idea and switched to my vexor and roared after z0de. As I activated the acceleration gate, I yelled out in the local broadcast:
"One million per ship! This is a ransom! One million per ship!"
The other pirates, too sensible to join z0de and I snickered in fleet chat as I tried to relay the situation. I landed right into the middle of a swarm of about twenty or so frigates. Who didn't hesitate to lock me and reduce my ship to pieces. I didn't get a single ransom. Nor did z0de. Suitably blooded, I rejoined the fleet and grabbed my claw and within a minute; the fleet was out.
With 14 pilots, a mixed gang of Bastards, Hellcats and recruits we zipped into null-sec. Our first port of call was the infamous EOA-ZC gate and as our scouts moved through; they reported back a bubble and two ships sitting about 200km or so off the gate. I ordered the scouts to bait them to a planet or belt but they didn't take it. Not deterred we moved on and our first catch was a harpy. Complete over kill but what we do? The assault frigate melted within seconds with much hooting and yarrs. We followed this up with a jaguar kill, once again melted it down to it's elements in a few seconds. Great job by Happy for the tackle. We continued with the roam and once again, a call came out.
"There's a hurricane on scan. I can see some probes out..." Reported back San, we moved out of system to give him time to scan the hurricane down without spooking the mission runner.
Ahead, I had Plat running as my scout and some other pilots stretched out. I wanted eyes.
A jolt went through me. I love the feeling when there's some immient violence.
"OK - we need one long point to go in and for San to fleet warp you." Michael and z0de were the two and they hovered eagerly near the gate.
"Found the hurricane - he's outside a wormhole. He's found a wormhole."
"Tacklers, jump jump jump. Warp to Happy. Confirm your points." Two flashes and Michael and z0de were gone, re-appearing thousands of kilometres away and racing towards the hurricane.
The rest of the fleet waited impatiently.
"Point. Point." That was our signal.
"Fleet: jump, jump, jump. Warp to Happy." The fleet, almost snarling, jumped through and raced towards our single target. The hurricane was parked right outside a dazzling ball of light: the entrance to a wormhole. As I suspected, he was within jump range and quickly raced through into worm hole space.
"Everyone but me and Reyna - jump and follow that 'cane!"
Like a pack of wolves, the interceptor fleet fell upon the hurricane and tore it to pieces. Looting the wreck; there was a burst of chatter and noise.
"What did you say? Archon?"
"Yes! An Archon. Here in the worm hole!"
"Kill it!!" Suggested one pirate.
"Point, point, point!"
"Drones are coming out, his warrior IIs are killing me." That sounded like Happy, the only voice I recognised as the voices seemed to get warped. A product of the worm hole?
"Er, are we going to kill it? I mean, the archon? Are we going to kill it?"
"Yes! Let's do it" Replied z0de, somewhat enthusiastically.
"We're not going to kill it. Not with 13 inties. Not an Archon." Injected Fish, with a bit of reality. "He might have smarties."
"He would have used them by now. Let's go!!"
So the inties swarmed around the Archon like angry flies - now, I would love to have the night end with an Archon kill but it became obvious that thirteen inties would not be able to dent the beast and I reluctantly gave the order to disengage and continue with the roam. There were some grumbles from the pilots include z0de who was quite adamant that they should have stayed longer.
The gang continued to move with scouts pushing ahead and pinging their scanners furiously for targets but there was nothing. As the group came together, our scouts, only one jump ahead cleared the way but communications broke down somewhat. A large gang had jumped into our system and their ship types reported back. We were aligned to our next destination and we followed the scouts - the camp appeared to be on our side and with our angel of approach; it was unlikely a bubble could pull us out. We landed and activated the gate and we were then faced with an even bigger camp. Not good. Hesitation killed us as we should have GTFO: the camp had not dropped an interdiction sphere and when it did - the bubble grew slowly enough for most of the frigates to get away; if we had warped away instantly. Instead, four of the gang were caught and destroyed.
Disappointed, the surviving fleet rendevoused with me, two systems away and we re-grouped and proceeded on our way. A slight detour but we were on track and after two more jumps, the group was chatting and having fun once again. The loss of four colleagues now just a memory. Happy spotted a rupture while Fish managed to track down an ishtar. As I decided to split up the fleet, sending some to the rupture and the rest to the ishtar - Happy announced that he had lost the rupture, most likely it went to a pos. Just as this report was being posted, Fish announced that not only had he found the ishtar, he had pointed it and it was at the UBX-CC gate. Just one jump away.
Not waiting, I ordered the fleet to warp to the gate and held back half of the interceptors on this side while the rest whipped in.
"Web it!! It's too fast."
"He has stopped aggression; he is going to be jumping through to you Flash." Said Fish, due to the gate mechanics, it required a ship to wait for 30 seconds before the excess energy built up from firing weapons systems, could be bled out and for the jump gate to be activated. That's why it is always a good idea to have a tackler(s) on both sides of the gate. There was a flash of light as the star gate registered a new arrival.
"Ishtar has jumped to you Flash."
"All ship on the UBX-CC gate, orbit the gate with drones out please. Over load your pumps." We had to maximise our chances and behold, an ishtar dropped gate cloak and started to align. I was 28km and closing, my microwarpdrive burning brightly. The ishtar disappeared from my overview.
"Ishtar has a cloak. Moving towards last known position."
While a cloak is a miracle of modern sciene, it doesn't make one invulnerable. The Ishtar dropped gate cloak and quickly engaged his cloak. However, the inties with me had a very good idea where he was and burned towards him - once you are withing 2000m of a cloaked ship, the interference from your engines cause the cloak to short and disengage. So the ishtar was found, pointed and webbed once more.
"Point and we need more DPS."
The Ishtar was fully repped back up in terms of armour, much to my chagrin but we kept at it and pounded away until it was down to 10% when he once more stopped aggression and crawled close enough to the gate to jump. Happy and Fish both stopped their aggression as well and prepared to jump. We had wisely left two more interceptors on the other side of the gate just in case. The ishtar jumped and was promptly pointed once more on the other side.
We were in a dilemma however: we had 50% of our ships on either side of the gate and it was clear that we needed a touch more DPS to crack the armour tank on the HAC. However, should I commit our entire strength in one go?
"He's de-aggressing. Flash, get ready again." Said Viginti.
Moments later, the ishtar was back and his armour was whole. He cloaked up and we burned towards him, breaking his cloak. We pointed and we webbed.
"Point!" I yelled.
"Webbed." Said Michael.
I checked the distance between the ishtar and the gate: 12KM and he was slowed to a crawl; looked like this time, I had all the webbers with me - some luck. We poured on the fire and he tanked very well but slowly, under the onslaught, damage was bleeding into his hull. It started looking likely that he wasn't going to make it. Everyone piled in, the star gate flashing as my fleet mates raced in, eager for the kill. We left only one person behind.
"Overload. Overload." With the extra damage from overheating our guns, pushing them beyond their manufactured tolerances; we should be able to crack this ishtar. Slowly, inexorably, the ishtar began to die: leaking our fluids and sections of his ship decompressing as precious atmosphere vomiting out. With the help of our webbers, we finally popped the troublesome ishtar. It was fitted and piloted very well by Captain Teneal.
We finally got back home in one piece and it was a superb roam. Well done by all.
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