14 Oct 2009

Frigate roam

Everyone loves frigates and there has been much discussion within our ranks of going back out using these small, nimble and cheap ships for maximum mayhem and damage. I never left them but we've had an influx of new pilots join our ranks and the ship mixes in the fleets have been a bit too haphazard for my liking so the 'senior management' have decided on trying to fix this.

Using the frigate as an example, we decided to maximise its strengths of speed, tackling ability and cheapness with a scattering of frigate based ECM. Quite straight-forward in anyone's books but it was useful just to go back to basics. The aim was also just to get some of the newer pilots used to flying with us. A date was marked in the calendar and we started talking internally on what would be the ideal fleet setup(s). Operation D-Day was the 13th October, 19:30 EVE Standard Time.

A quick roll-call and we set-up a fleet with an emphasis on speed, DPS, tackle and cheapness. We're pirates and need to maximise our isk flow; most of us don't have the luxury of GTC selling or alt mission running.

The fleet was as follows:



The taranis and stabber were the odd ones but they proved to be excellent additions. However, the operation didn't kick off as swiftly as I would have liked but no matter. With a route in mind, the fleet roared out of undock, startling the dozens or so of sleepy haulers lumbering out of the station. With two scouts racing ahead we tried to zip through systems as quickly as able but one jump from Evati we were already rumbled. Under the various Minmatar republic intelligence channels, our fleet was announced system-wide.

We ignored it and led by our scouts we soon made good progress.

It was Platinum who called a pause in the movement.

"I have a blinky brutix here. It is a Mean Coalition ship. Locking him." Platinum was in his taranis, he had no other frigate hulls available and opted to go expensive with the taranis, a close-range face melter. The brutix didn't immediately fire on the taranis and Platinum wisely didn't engage it - doing so would have given the Brutix time to activate the star gate and jump through. Excess energy from any weapons discharge would take at least 30 seconds or so to entirely dissipate before the star gate can safely engage its own drives. Such are the mechanics and rules of conflict around star gates.

Anyway, the Mean pilot, Kashmyta, like many of her colleagues are far from stupid. They are skilled operators having years of experience in low-sec. He didn't immediately engage but warped to another gate. Platinum followed but was joined by Coochie and Maltrox. The latter coming in from our home base in his stabber.

"Maltrox - engage the brutix and force him to jump." I said, still with the rest of the frigate fleet two jumps out.

"Roger." The communications channel went hazy as Maltrox spun up his auto-canons. "Engaging."

"Coochie here. Engaging as well." Coochie was in his incursus, a ship he had perfected into a T1 killing machine. I moved the fleet closer.

"Frigate fleet jump into Sotrenzur, warp to the Ingunn gate and hold." I repeated the order two more times to ensure it was understood. "Execute, execute, execute."

The frigate and destroyer fleet whipped into warp space and raced towards the gate, meanwhile Coochie was giving us a running count-down and the Brutix had eventually decided to fire back. He had drawn aggression and until he stopped firing, he could not activate the gate. He was also pointed. Cue Platinum to join-in.

We held and waited but only for a few minutes as an intelligence source informed me that Mean corp had mobilised and dispatched a dominix class battleship to assist the beleaguered Brutix. It was only seconds from activating the gate.

"Frigate fleet: jump, jump, jump." With a flash, our fleet disappeared from normal space and were thrown millions of kilometers to the Ingunn solar system. We raced towards the engagement, our ships dropping out of warp, together like a deadly swarm. The Brutix was held tightly and attempting to fend off the other three ships; now joined by a dozen more.

"Primary is Brutix. Primary is Brutix. Watch out for his drones."

The rest of the fleet responded and poured fire onto the battle cruiser. The star gate flashed and I checked local. Right on cue: there was a pilot from the same alliance as Kahmyta. It was Serenator and my intelligence source was correct, dominix-class battle ship.

"Primary is Brutix. Secondary is Dominix." Like a well-oiled machine, the fleet re-adjusted itself to confront this new threat. There was a blinding series of flashes and Jellyworm cried out:

"Smart bombs! The domi has smart bombs!" These weapons are deadly to anything smaller than a destroyer and it was a mild 'surprise' that this ship came in one of the few weapons systems to really hurt us. However, the smart bombs went off too soon and didn't catch anyone.

"Fleet: orbit the domi at 9KM and maintain point and focus on primary and secondary." The brutix eventually caught fire and was badly hulled. At this time, we lost a frigate and our DPS dipped slightly.

"Drones are on me. Bugging out!" Said Platinum, his taranis spurting fuel and atmosphere as he turned and raced to safety.

"Watch out for the domi's drones!" I said to no-one in particular. The brutix was entering structure and I ordered Cpn Planet to drop his point on the hull and prepare to snag the pod. He was in an incursus and shouldn't have any problems.

I was buffeted by the sudden appearance of an armageddon, flown by 'General LaoTse'. He wasn't aligned to Mean Coalition so we kept a wary eye on him. He jumped through, no doubt calculating on the odds of his survival if he engaged. Oddly, Mean didn't scramble anyone else to assist, their HQ was only 2-3 jumps and we knew they had ships out and about. Maybe the Domi pilot didn't feel like calling for help? Either way, our DPS wasn't high enough to my liking though the Domi was dropping through structure.

The brutix finally exploded in a bright flash and Cpn Planet attempted to snag the pod but Kashmyta knew her stuff and her pod slipped into warp in a blink of an eye. The Domi was aligning to the gate, it may have been her attention to race for the gate - who knows? There was the flash of incoming gate fire and we were engaged by a Mean Coalition maller-class cruiser; it's distinctive slab sided, 'long-chin' appearance already flashing with impacts from our own ordnance.

"Primary is Dominix, secondary is maller." I said as I increased my orbit to get out from potential neut range and put some distance between me and the new hostile. We lost another frigate and a destroyer by the time the dominix finally exploded. However, a thorax had dropped in, the armageddon from a few minutes ago (found a pair finally) and a phobos flown by my good friend, Muhaar. The fact that he immediately locked me didn't distract me from waving at him.

The thorax and 'geddon were friendly with each other and no doubt with the Mean Coalition but seeing the odds and that we've had our pound of flesh, I ordered a withdrawal and everyone smoothly disengaged. I was already on fire from multiple hits and couldn't hold the ship together and popped as I entered warp. No matter; we had done well in this engagement though disappointingly, we didn't pick up any of the dropped loot!


Altogether, a successful engagement with some worthy adversaries.

The fleet was on its way back much buoyed up due to the fight. We had some pilots leave and new ones join the fleet for part 2: a roam into null sec. We came close to hi-jacking a mining operation inside a null-sec system but were a fraction too late to point anyone. We did lose two frigates to an enterprising destroyer pilot.

Part 3 was a run down to Amamake, FC'ed by Cooch and a fourth roam had z0de as FC. I had, by this time already retired from the field. Still, great to be back with a fine bunch of lads and lasses.