We decided that we want a slightly heavier gang last night: battle ship class with Vig insisting on showing off his damnation in all its glory. A mixed gang of fleet members assembled eager to pillage and plunder and we undocked from our home station, scattering the haulers and passer-bys. Evati was quite busy last night and we were confident that we would get something. We tried sparring with some of the local denizens but failed to grab anyone: the battle ships we were in had much slower locking times and the enemy battle cruiser gang we had spotted easily made distance on us and slipped away.
Not disappointed we started to roll towards Ardar way, though we could see that Lady Shaniqua was unavailable and therefore, the locals would be out and about. With our scouts and friends moving ahead we sprung a trap where a criminal gang were camping the (usually camped) Klogori / Orfrold gate. Our megathron got himself tackled and pointed an enemy myrmidon. Then his friends all piled in and it was our queue to jump in. As we started to land at the gate, our megathron pilot told us that the enemy battle cruisers were disengaging and moving away. He tried to keep his point but his slower ship was unable to keep range and the myrmidon escaped. Cursing our luck with a second potential engagement not actually hotting up we pushed down further towards Amamake.
A fleet of 50 or so craft were reported in various channels that they had tackled a carrier. We decided that to gate crash this would be fun BUT it would result in our almost certain fiery demise. It was not my intention to suicide us so I turned the fleet around. Determined to get some kills we went back to Evati and discovered to our delight that there was a new camp on the Todi / Evati gate.
With our excited chatter still reverberating in my ears, I sent in a battle ship to get their attention. As the megathron rumbled towards the gate, looking to all intents and purposes an auto-piloting ship, the pilot quickly called out that he was being yellow-boxed.
Everyone else in their battle ships tensed in anticipation.
"They've red-boxed me! One, two, three of them!"
That was our cue and we moved in; determined to get them. The align and warp felt very slow. I tried to mentally push my typhoon to get into warp quicker, to turn faster to get there before hell froze. As we ambled into warp, we wondered whether we would be successful on this third attempt at hostile engagement.
As we landed, I noticed the tell tale warp out signatures of half a dozen ships.
Some of our ships landed just a bit quicker than me but their locking times were too slow and the enemy battle cruisers slipped away. Third time unlucky in the night but all we could do was to move on and seek combat and loot elsewhere.
The fleet meandered our way towards another hotspot: Akora and one of our forward scouts spotted a camp. However, local had one or two suspicious looking fellows in there and I feared that our presence was already announced. Sure enough, the trap was sprung, our forward scout & bait was red-boxed and we went in, the slow align of the battle ship was beginning to grate on me; so used to the swifter cruiser and battle cruiser hulls. We landed and jumped into the next system but the camp had cleanly disengaged and moved off. Our scout had a point but couldn't keep up, even with the slowest ship.
Fourth time unlikely for tonight. Yes, piracy is feast or famine but this was the worst of all events: plenty of targets, plenty of opportunity just a bit unlucky in seizing the opportunities presented. It was also possible that we had a large and intimidating gang, all flashy and angry and word was probably moving ahead of us.
However, The Bastards are a stoic bunch and shrugged, it was part of the lifestyle we had chosen and it wasn't meant to be easy. If it was, why would we bother?
So we pushed down towards Metropolis, another good area to snag travellers or to encounter hostile gate camps. With out 8 battle ships and some light support, we had no logistics, it was deemed big enough to handle most of the usual encounters that we were used to.
Our luck changed for the worse however. Let me recall in full agonising detail.
Naughty Spawn in his zealot was ahead and was moving slowly towards Ennur. I had split the fleet up to cover more ground when Naughty Spawn informed us, calmly that he had encountered a camp.
"This is N.S. Location: Offikatlin gate in Tabbetzur. Enemy camp encountered."
Another camp, another opportunity, come on lady luck, fifth time lucky? I thought to myself.
"Am holding cloak. I see a T3 cruiser and a couple of other ships. One Maelstrom."
That sounded good and I moved the fleet to intercept the camp.
"All ships move full speed to Tabbetzur gate in Offikatlin." I was hoping that Naughty Spawn would be able to hold on long enough. I ordered him to re-approach the gate and jump back to us. There was a lot of interference on the reply back but it appeared that there were more ships landing on him at the Tabbetzur gate in Offikatlin.
Red Vegas in his hurricane (we weren't all in battle ships) - rolled ahead just as Naughty Spawn started swearing. His zealot had lost cloak and was pinned and being cut to pieces on the other side of the gate. The bulk of the fleet had not even joined me and Red Vegas in Tabbetzur but we couldn't let one of our own go unpunished. So Red Vegas went ahead to the Tabbetzur gate followed by me in the trash can shaped typhoon.
As he arrived, some of the enemy camp had come jumped into us in Offikatlin - no doubt to prevent Naughty Spawn from jumping back out and escaping. Instead they encountered an angry Red Vegas who promptly lit up an enemy maelstrom. I joined in.
The rest of the fleet were now landing around me.
"Hold on Naughty Spawn. We're almost there."
"Naughty spawn is down. There's a horde of ships this side. Be advised, large number of ships coming through."
There was a flash on the gate, and another and another and my overview started to fill up. Not used to seeing strategic cruisers, I refreshed my view and yes, indeed the enemy camp was made up of almost all T3 strategic cruisers: at least three tengu and one proteus class ships with a logistics ships thrown in for good measure. It was 13 versus 9.
Rifter (yes, tis true)
We had been dealt our hand and had no option but to play.
"Hmmm, looks hot but let's do this." Someone said.
This is why I love The Bastards: our motto is 'Overwhelming DPS then GTFO' but 'Stand your ground' is equally applicable. No one was scared or frozen into inaction as we opened fire, fully aware of what the capricious Gods of war had sent us.
The sentry guns opened fire on us to add to our woes.
The first to go down was Naughty Spawn, helplessly cut-off and alone on the other side. Red Vegas's hurricane, was second to die though he still kept on firing even as his ship was cut to small pieces. If Red Vegas could have strapped on guns to his pod, he would have stayed.
The primary was one of the tengus, a mistake by me but there wasn't much choice until the guardian decloaked. We set him to primary and nailed him. The fight wasn't the usual fast cut and thrust exchange of fire, our remote repair work was working but they were slowly grinding their way through us. The sentry guns were peppering our ships and each minute meant that we would be in greater danger. A minute or so later, Tibbs went down, yelling curses. Interdict was next to me, repairing my armour as I was repairing his but the damage was creeping towards overwhelming and Interdict saluted the fleet and punched his capsule out. His ship, spurting fire and gas and raining out crew escape pods burst open.
We all died except Fenneck who managed to get his ship out.
The last to go was Viginiti who's damnation had a huge tank and managed to hold on in the face of massive firepower. In fact, he managed to tank and jump through into Offikatlin but was caught by another ship who was obviously tasked with snagging those trying to withdraw from the fight. If it wasn't for this ship, Vig may have gotten away. However Vig's damnation, already seriously mauled and out of capacitory finally died.
Fleet Fight Summary
A good fight but as per title, we were still quite fired up so we grabbed new ships and continued to hunt. We chased a stabber fleet issue and sleipnir as well as a hurricane and the chase ended up in Ingunn where, out of boredom we started to pop the haulers that infested the area. We caught bits of pieces as well (a faction fitted stealth bomber, a hurricane) but the high light were the noobships. Fun and a nice way to relax after having been beaten up ourselves.
The drops were disappointing obviously, but one pirate did snag some cargo hold expander IIs. A nice bonus.
We also met up with an old sparring partner: General Dogzbody. Dogz, amazingly, is now not classed officially as a criminal/pirate and therefore not flashing a bright angry red in people's overviews. I actually did a double-take as I thought I had the wrong person. He was a respectable -10 or near to it for a while, so he must have done some serious repenting to be acceptable to CONCORD. Strange seeing him like that but times change I suppose. He was also out of M34N alliance but am sure still blue to them. Being positive sec does have advantages mind: now, pilots cannot just engage him on gates and stations in low sec as Dogz has sentry guns supporting him.
Being on the end of sentry fire is no fun but a hazard for the pirate that must be considered.
We chatted to see whether we should try and solo him but I laughed it off. Tackling his maelstrom with our hurricanes on a gate and Dogz having sentry fire support was foolish and not profitable to us. If he was flashy, then maybe but Dogz isn't stupid.
No big deal though. We exchanged pleasantries in local and I took the fleet home - eager to get a shower and some sleep. It was a fun night ending with the proverbial kicking of the puppies after getting your own arses kicked but I would prefer not to meet another T3 gang for a while!
After Hours 20: Alan Mathison - After Hours Episode 20 with Alan Mathison is now available HERE. We discuss all things Exoplantary in perhaps the nerdiest After Hours so far. Project Di...
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