Our small band of capsuleers is under wardec, nothing serious and nothing we can’t deal with. But it is annoying, it restricts movement across high security space and – most disgustingly – it stopped me from recruiting. We still have bunks open.
So I find myself logging in after work, my crew is already hard at work wiping the sleepers in next door’s C2 out. I had scouted there before, a bunch of signatures, wormholes and so on. That specific C2 has a C6 and a nullsec static and its obvious who lives there – a bunch of nullsec alts who log in every few weeks to make ISK and then funnel it to their – Russian – lewt PvP toons. So, we are not expecting much action and for the guys to run the sites is a good idea. My alt in his bomber has other plans, there are (really) a C2b, C6b, C3b and 2 nullsec holes to explore. In addition to the one to us, this breaks the record of the most holes I have ever seen in a C2…
All the adjacent holes seem devoid of capsuleers, some are EOL, C2b has scanning probes in it that I had hoped would lead to a nice kill but no. The scanner uses 4 Sister’s core only and to find my WH and I get a “sammich” while he struggles getting a lock. He jumps over, we try to shoot it, we fail, so not much new here. But that was this morning and now all is quiet. The nullsec systems of course are devoid of activity but one has a another wormhole, this time to low security space. I check it out and its somewhere remote but pleasant for hauler runs etc and I shall bookmark it.
When I come back from the lowsec, I see a capsuleer in local (I still think, local is cheating) whose corp name is eerily familiar. And he flies an Onyx Bubble Maker – very unusual for a solo pilot. With some ships, it is like deer crossing the road – you know there are many more on the other side even if you cant see them. I warp carefully around when I see 2 more pilots from the same corp arrive in this system. Time to bug out, put eyes on the WH from the C2a side and warn my site running crew that my spider sense is tingling.
I jump in and into the arms of Svand who – not very subtle – keeps guard on the nullsec hole in his Coercer. Bless. As soon as my hole fire cools down and I initiate a lazy orbit, the hole fires again and the Onyx shows up, farts a bubble and basically position itself as threatening. Well, what to do…. My bomber is nearly outside its bubble already and I can easily cloak or keep going. My friend however is engaging – not much choice, really. I just say “fuckit”, target and let torpedoes fly against the bubble ship. If memory serves me right, these things have a beastly tank and I do not expect to make a dent. My goal is to force the Onyx to make a choice – go after me (and I can escape) rather than my fleet mate in his destroyer.
Obviously, at this point things go wrong. One fleet mate T Lyran jumps to us un-asked for in his Algos. While that is a pretty boat, it will be fuel to the imminent pyre. The Bubble sucks him in and he sits plumb on top of the Onyx when a hostile Proteus arrives or decloaks and starts making a hash of things. I get this only in peripheral vision since I am trying to keep range – my paperboat is extremely vulnerable to sudden death. With the Proteus on the field, I switch targets while simultaneously broadcasting the situation to our home fleet, see if anyone else comes. In my head, I already wrote off the 2 destroyers, question is, can their pods at least escape through the nullsec hatch? The answer is no. With the two destroyers down, the hostile attention turns to me, a Tengu had landed on the deck and Pilgrim shows up on D-scan. Thats not something I can handle solo and I decide to warp out, not before my shield is wiped out by a flight of drones from the Proteus.
We have an additional Destroyer in the hole – as a site salvager. Against all common sense and fleet doctrines, it has no cloak and is now warping around safe spots advertising to all hostiles that we have more ships here. He decides to make a run for it home and lands smack on the bubble that the Onyx put up on our home hole. Yes – I should have warped first to give the all-clear. Anyway. For some weird reason, he can escape and resumes warping around. Again, in my head, I wrote him off but at the same time, our fleetmate Bleichrodt pipes up and says that he is bringing the heat on the guys.
Now, I need to step back for a second and explain who this guy is. Bleichrodt has been in our home hole before – un-invited and used our site runners as clay pigeons . My friends from the C4 and I decided to gently evict him and set a gorgeously thought through trap – just to have our 3 T3 Strategic cruisers turned into wrecks without a single kill from our end. I wrote about this here. And while others may hold a grudge, I was in awe of his skill and determination to risk all ships, bring the rain and basically go balls out as PvPer. So, we staid in touch and when he was looking for a base to further his raids, we gladly accepted him.
So, my friend decides to engage, brings an Astarte and other ships, jumps through the hole while I try to give him intel. My shields are back but I am still in armor from my last engagement with the Proteus and I lost a lot of buffer. If I make a mistake now, I lose my boat for good. The short fleet of my mate engages and I have to think twice before I target. His toons had not joined our fleet, his coms has died and we are communicating in corp chat. To make matters worse, I had his character still set to -10 after our last encounter and my overview shows him as bright red. In Wormhole fights its not as big a deal since we know all of our fleet mates but it did confuse me for 1/2 second.
Anyway, I engage the Proteus and see a satisfying change in his armor. He sends drones after me which I can speed tank for a little bit but eventually, I am out of shield, out of armor and about to go into structure. The fight goes on but without me, I need to warp away, reload and return to the field at greater range.
Easier said than done. The Onyx still has its bubble up and I land at 10km – cloaked – but I need to pull range before I engage or I will be blapped away by the assortment of ships that are now on the deck. Slowboating the bomber away is painful but a bounce off a celestial would change nothing and I grid my teeth and burn away. I estimate that these guys have short points and at 25km or so, I decloak, paint the Proteus and let Torps fly. My MWD now gains me speed but sucks my Cap dry so, I am stingy with it. In addition, it blooms my signature radius which does not help me one bit. After about 4 volleys, the Proteus releases his Hobgoblins again and I know, I am in trouble.
In warp, I reload and some shield recovers – as soon as I land, I turn around for my third run at them and land – predictably – again in that blasted bubble. Just in time to watch our Astarte going down unfortunately. Gaining range, decloak and torpedoes on the Proteus. This is starting to be routine now. The torpedoes hit – my skills on this char are not very good – and this time the Proteus is trying to burn after me – he wants to point me – but for the first time in PvP, I am actually understanding the fight, open my MWD wide and easily gain range. He realizes that and gets back to the old “Hobgoblin II” trick that has worked the last 2 (3?) times and works again now. I barely make it out, only slight structure damage and no significant flames to put out by my non capsuleer crew. My warp is long this time and I recover some shield, reload the torpedoes and turn around for the fourth time. Just to find – nothing. Well, not quite. A corpse of my friend and his Astarte wreck. The Onyx and the Proteus are not on Scan, the Tengu is. A Proteus can of course fly cloaked and it is common practice to put a T1 cloak onto an Onyx as trap. But where are my fleetmates?
To make it short, the fight ended while I warped off. The Astarte was the only serious ship lost in this fight – the Destroyers don’t really count, sorry Swand and T Lyran! And considering the size of this fight and the issues with comms, fleet and other problems, I rate this not as a total failure but as a solid attempt to engage a very experienced and geared crew and disengage with far less damage than could have happened.
And damn, my bomber needs repairs….
The “battle report“