’twas teamnight in our C2 training and I eagerly raced home from work to participate in the inevitable mayhem, slaughter or ISK making that defines these evenings. I was also interested in meeting our newest batch of recruits, Dean, Evenstar and Skip have refilled the ranks after sending off most of our last cohort to our C4 or C5. New bros are always interesting since they bring fresh ideas how to do stuff and we love to learn from them.
Logging in finds me with the team forming up, critiquing each other’s fits of fixing someone’s TeamSpeak. Some run PI in sweet anticipation of the glorious riches, some are still in high sec on some errand. But slowly the fleet forms up, like a good kindergarten teacher, Dean starts shooing us toddlers around trying to make a beastly PvP fleet out of us. Good luck, mate
Tonight, we have only our low security hole and our C2 neighbor and I take my reasonably new and unbled Proteus for a stroll next door. I am not in love with this Proteus fit yet, it is an improvement on my last but I still feel awkward in a T3. I miss the agility of my Stealth Bombers. But it has >75k HP and crazy resists, so its a better fleet tackler than my usual paperplanes.
Our C2a is lovingly called “Swiss cheese”, it sports our hole, 2 C4s, 1 C2, a High Security hole and a bunch of signatures and anomalies. No players though which is a bit disappointing but the evening is young. I scan and scan, going deeper and deeper into the chain and find – diddly squat. Where is everyone? Mowing lawns? Making babies? While either would be necessary for humankind’s survival, I’d rather they log in with some site runners, blissfully unaware of our team forming a few jumps away. But no luck.
A hole-closing team assembles and I quickly nip into our neighbor’s high sec hole to scout one of our haulers in when I notice a gaggle of alliance mates in the same system (local channel is cheating). It is the corp that recently occupied a C5 and it turns out that – by total happenstance – we share the same route to empire space. Figure that! Calculating the odds makes me dizzy and we think of clever ways to do something glorious and – likely – suicidal. But we are surrounded by peacful high security space, both of our chains to empire are dead, dead, dead and they have no plans to attack their own sleepers until later that night. So, we bid them farewell, hoist a tankard to their King’s health (oh, wait that is a different MMORPG) and I watch our Orcas pop the hole much like a teenager pops a pimple.
One of our newer recruits beats me to scan down the new hole but gives my Proteus the honor to jump in. Its a C2 (of course) with a static nullsec and a static C6 hole. It has more signatures than a 15th Century peace treaty and more anomalies than a Wall Street Company’s financial statements. And while I like this place, my team seeks a decent route, PewPew and PvE (what else do they want? Backrubs? Fresh orange juice?) and I barely make it back in time before they slam the door shut.
The next hole has static nullsec and C5 holes (wouldn’t it be funny if we met our C5 crew again via this route) I barely get to sniff around that system before I get overrun by our thundering herd of Orcas stressing our hole to death. Ok, my crew doesn’t like that one either, I guess. Geez. Today’s generation has high expectations. When I was a pod-tadpole, we ran what we had and didn’t question our elders, yessir, pass the ale.
But I grudgingly admit, the next hole seems to be a lucky strike. It has 2 towers, a static high sec and a static C4. In fact, this is a really nice hole and I am surprised that the corp in it is a 9 man outfit which – in reality – means, its one sad neckbeard with 12 accounts. This is a perfect C2 and worth evicting someone over. If we didn’t have a home, we’d go for it. But we do and hence we don’t and all we do is to snoop around, first round of Intel. As usual, I am the first one in with my Proteus but our team has grown a bit and I am not a alone, one of us comes out in a CovOps and Evenstar fires up his Proteus as well when I run into a Venture blipping on D-scan somewhere in midspace – well, I assumed it was at a gas site until I counted the sigs in this place. The number was three. C2s have 2 statics and we just created a new hole. That makes three. Not four. Means, there is no gas site in this place. Its all WH space. Where did he come from? The C4? High sec?
Well, he disappears from my scan but I get a hunch and find him at his POS doing exactly nothing. I kinda figure out which signature he came from and our CovOps pilot smartly scans it down as the actual C4 hole without revealing his probes to the Venture at the POS. Man, our guy is good.
Anyway, our guy warps to the C4 at range, Evenstar is inbound and our fleet is assembling on our side of the hole when our scout reports a motley fleet of battleships jump back from the C4. And as I am an ageing gentleman, my dear reader may forgive that I don’t recall the exact ship types. I remember them being big Amarr jobs with the odd Baselisk thrown and a Noctis for good measure. While our scout is calling ships, Dean is screaming for tackle and Evenstar and I race across this very large system. The new bookmark is not in corp folder yet and we must use our scout as warp-in beacon – he is 40+ km off and by the time I land my slow Proteus and will it into the direction of the hole, the last 2 Battleships warp off. Damn, damn, damn.
Dean is cursing at us for being too slow and he is right, I kinda “knew” that this was a big system and I should have abandoned my POS perch and warped closer to the anticipated signature, aligning when landed. When our scout found the C4, I would have been in a better – shorter position.
Anyway. The fleet is out of the C4 and in the C2 and they have not seen us, so the game is still on. Or is it?
Wtf is a Drake doing on Dscan with our corp ticker in his name? Oh,yes, one of our newer recruits with oh so much experienced that he doesn’t feel it necessary to listen to our FC unless and only comes online if quick money can be made for himself. So, he half overheard Dean screaming at Evenstar and me to jump to the C2a-C4 that he assumed the order was for him to jump his non-cloaky boat in. Nice job, fleet mate, you just gave our game away. Note to self, have words with him once this is done.
And true enough, some of the opposing team switches into Covert Operation frigates themselves and we see probes zooming around the vacuum. The rest (and there is a surprising number) jumps into a kitchen sink PvP boats that we don’t quite understand. A Rokh. An Abaddon. Something else. The fat Abaddon is generally used to close holes so I am pretty sure whats coming next and advice Dean to scatter the non-cloaked team from our side of the Wormhole. I had parked my Alt in a Blackbird, circling my crew flying their favorite things. Dean agrees and we scatter like roaches from a flashlight out of D-scan range of the hole. The hope is that the opposing team, truly tries to close the hole in which case Evenstar and I can tackle the Battleships on their return trips and hold them polarized until our crew arrives.
And true enough, their scout jumps in, doesn’t see anything – presumably – and jumps back out. But the opposing team is not reshipping into a true hole-closing fleet (= Orca or Abaddon / Dominix + EWAR and DPS support) but into PvP ships. A Cynabal among them makes Dean salivate more than an Anglican church steeple Pavlov’s dog. Unlike many Wormhole ships, that hull serves only PvP purposes and since they don’t know our numbers, we are certain we can drop the hammer on them. Sure, they have seen our eager-beaver Drake but thats about it. We can do this.
I am feeling the rhythm of a beautiful Tango welling up in me. This dance, nobody wants to miss and everyone is crowding around the hole like returning submariners at the entrance of a stripclub. The Cynabal warps hither and tither followed by Evenstar and myself in our cloaky Proteus’ in slow pursuit with (figuratively speaking) hanging tongues trying to keep up with the much, much faster ship.
All of a sudden, the Wormhole flares and in pops the opposing Buzzard again, right into the middle of our wee armada. We got caught red-faced like kids listening to their parent’s Christmas planning through the closed door and we smartly revealed the Buzzard our full fleet strength -oops.
And the Buzzard doesn’t jump back, he cloaks and is out of our reach. We imagine him getting into a safe and lazy orbit and making popcorn when the Cynabal jumps to their side of the hole, clearly wanting to bring it. A Stabber also follows and Dean has enough of this crap and jumps in baiting the ships with his. Thats kinda a good idea, at least we really signal now that we are eager to commit and we still bank on that they don’t know about us cloakies yet.
But what follows is less a Tango than Menuet, a group dance with stylized moves, slow rhythm and certainly no intimate touching or groping. In other words, we don’t get a shot off at the opposing team, despite every trick we have, cunning, guile including false warping / logging off culminating in a false and baiting Proteus decloaking errors (err, ok, don’t tell Dean, that was real, I fell asleep). Nothing. They don’t engage, we try hard, and the evening is basically lost.
Skip decides to say goodbye with his signature move – dropping a can in front of their POS and shooting it with fireworks from his modified bomber, thus creating a bag of flaming poo. But his spellchecker and his fireworks launcher malfunction, crowning this night of mishaps. I find the move hilarious and nominate it to an alliance-wide post action signature. If we lived through the action, of course.
Our guys decide to roll the damn hole and try again but I can barely keep my eyes open and make it back into our nest when they slam the last Orca through the hole. Good riddance but a series of “almost” excitements was pretty cool for a couple of hours and I am looking forward to next Wednesday…