You mess with the bull…

Remember those lazy summer days as a kid, when school was out and you had nothing to do? You’d throw rocks. You’d sit at home and look at the books on your shelf and think about reading them.  With no school, no structure, and parents away from the house, you’d be aware that there probably were things worth doing, but you just couldn’t drum up the motivation to do anything that was like work, and even fun sounded boring.  Those were the kind of days you’d dream up really dumb ideas to try to find something interesting to do.

In our little anoiki named “Fred”, today was such a day.  We scanned the hole. No anomalies. No signatures but our two static wormholes.  Nothing interesting to do.  One of the wormholes was to a low-security system, with a gate camp between it and popular shopping hubs. A corp-mate had been blown up on the way, and with three tech3 cruisers manning the gate camp, none of us had the chutzpah to attempt to face them.

The other hole was to an end-of-life, extremely dull C2A similarly devoid of anomalies. Nobody wanted to chance it, and no Orca pilots were online available to roll the hole to the next, possibly more interesting C2A.

So we provoked the neighbors in lowsec. We rolled out bait battlecruisers, destroyers, frigates, anything to tempt them to engage us in similar ships. We had a nibble here and there, but when the gate-camping Tech 3 cruisers decided our wormhole was better pickings than their gate camp, we realized we were hopelessly outmatched and retreated back to the POS. Eventually the terrible trio got bored at staring at us in our POS, left the system, then logged off.

We warped around Domain buying miscellaneous blueprints for our resident industrialist. We talked ship fits.  We decided to test our fits. We attacked one another at the perch near our barracks, then remote-repaired and commented on different damage types.  We scanned again, seeing if our C2A had popped yet.

Then, eventually, amidst all the “Nothing Going On”… a new signature!

I warped back to barracks to swap ships to my scanning boat.  T Lyran and I engaged in a race to see who could find it first; I came in two minutes after he did. I’m pretty certain the fact I had to re-ship had a hand in my loss, but as the loser I was designated to check out the neighboring system first.

No ships, several POSs later, we discovered that one of the player-owned stations had weapons and shields offline, with a ship management array and corporate hangar array hanging in the breeze. We organized a little fleet with eyes on the hisec hole and Fred — mostly ignoring the end-of-life C1B hole — to blow them up. Then we thought we’d handle the thirteen or so anomalies in the system.

Reward! About nineteen million in loot blowing up the SMA & CHA. Resident Industrialist picked up the cans in his hauler. We had a slight accident when our rookie FC fleet-warped everyone INCLUDING the industrialist into a Sleeper compound, but our industrialist managed to warp out with all his shields destroyed. We cleared the site with three shooters, but it was kind of slow.  Finally, the last battleship down, we paused to collect our thoughts, reflexively clicking d-scan.

With no discernible warning, a Sleipnir warps on-grid with us, targeting Tarek in his Gnosis. Tarek goes down quickly, instructing us to get out. Clearly outmatched and not in PvP fit, we warp out leaving Tarek to his fate. I tell him he’s been podded, and he tells me he doesn’t know that yet because his screen hasn’t finished updating.  He wakes up deep in Caldari space, far from the wormhole, while we flee the scene of the crime.

A little research later, it becomes clear what’s happened. Let’s call the system our little wormhole training corp connected to the Family of Bulls.  We first poked the Bulls by bashing their POS. One guy online and flying a cloaky Manticore.  He plotted his revenge.  He bookmarked our location and warped away.  From a POS just out of D-Scan range, the enemy we’d provoked re-shipped into a Sleipnir to take out our battlecruisers.

An eye for an eye.

We quickly re-shipped into what we thought might take him down: a kitchen-sink fleet of stealth bombers, battlecruisers, frigates, and cruisers. We warp to the hisec hole to deploy drag bubbles, to find a Bull-owned Prophecy jumping in from hisec. I leapt on it with my Imperial Navy Slicer, and found myself neuted to zero in less than five seconds.  I aligned to a celestial, mashing warp and hoping to get out of range of his war scrambler quickly as the drones chewed through my armor.  I warped out just as another teammate in a stealth bomber warped in.  He died in a fiery blaze to the drones. We warped back to Fred to regroup.

We badgered the bulls back and forth for hours; it was mostly one-sided. With seven kills between the two Bulls to our zero, we returned to our POS to lick our wounds, scan for new signatures, and plot our revenge.

Leadership arrived online.  We discussed fits. The enemy Prophecy was ludicrously effective against anything that drifted into neutralizer range, so we planned fits that did not depend on capacitor or fought outside neut range.  The other teammate on their side seemed ready to re-ship at a moment’s notice, so he remained a wild card.  But we had the makings of a plan.  With an enemy Loki known to be cloaked up at the hole to the Bull’s C2A, we decided it was time to throw out some bait.

Tarek — emotionally prepared for his second loss of the day — hopped in his brick-built Drake, and I hopped into a similarly neut-immune Prophecy and jumped onto the hole. Within seconds, the enemy fleet engaged. With everyone on the field webbed and scrammed, the only choice was to fight or jump through the hole.  Our Drake went down quickly, wounded enemies jumped out when primaried, but we managed to take down the enemy Prophecy.

Then an odd request. One of the opponents wished to “honor duel” in Rifters. So we obliged, and Azander handily beat the bull. They then asked for a Rifter rematch, and did much better, taking Azander down without outside assistance. Momentary armistice over, it was late, and most on the teams went to bed.

Overnight, the c2 closed.

Several Bulls remained cloaked up in our home system. We were, apparently, easy meat, and they wanted to stick around for more kills.

The next day, the games on the lowsec hole began. The enemy had notified their alliance about our location and the new low-security hole, and a Loki, Brutix, Broadsword, and Tengu from the alliance were harassing our ships.  Now, we’re a newbie crew, but we realized from our losses it was time to get organized.

I’m a bit out of time to provide a triumphant recap of the rest of the engagements, but at the end of the day the enemy alliance had retreated from our lowsec gate, down one Brutix and one Tengu with no further losses on our side.  Perhaps another time I’ll cover the details of Recruiting the Ringer who helped us win, Organizing for Action, and training new FCs so that we don’t get our butts thoroughly handed to us looking like villains attacking one-by-one in a Jackie Chan movie…

One response to “You mess with the bull…

  1. ” looking like villains attacking one-by-one in a Jackie Chan movie…”

    Yeah, we sometimes have a habit of doing that too.

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