Line ’em up

As both loyal readers of this blog may remember, I am still flying with the Mercenary Alliance, specifically with Noir Academy., an outfit designed to pressure-cook new pilots into hardened combat machines within a month or so and move them on into Noir. itself.  My erratic gaming time caused me to simmer in this environment and while I wholeheartedly enjoy myself, its really time to move up.  My instructors tell me that all I need to do is to command a fleet and I am good to go – assuming I don’t completely cock up and whelp every single ship into a POS or something.

So, easy, right? I have been in this game for years, been part of large and small fleets and been the guy on the trigger for many encounters.  Why hesitate?  Just grab a couple of Algos’ and start a gate camp?

And thats how it will likely be but I am a little nervous.  Noir. pilots are good, much better than me.  I am getting there, make no mistake, I am not terrible but when I am in a fleet that is commanded by one of the main guys, I know that I could not come close to the skill, tactical and strategic insights and understand what each of the hundreds of different ship types can do with each of the thousands of different weapon modification. Above all, leadership demands deep subject matter knowledge, something that is often forgotten in real life, politics and business alike.  Noir. FCs have it, Mercenary Coalition FCs have it and while I want to be in their company, I am apprehensive of making myself look like an idiot.

But yes, I am slated to find myself a fleet to command.  I pledge to bring back scalps, preferably hostile ones.

Onwards.  Our mercenary outfit is deployed but I shan’t comment on where or who we are fighting.  A) its opsec until someone tells me that it isn’t, b) I have no clue and c) I don’t really care.  I just prefer flying against an organized enemy than whacking a hapless Wormhole corporation but in the end, thee who pays the money chooses the song.  Our current deployment certainly has seen no shortage of content, fleet after fleet is going out to harass, pursue and destroy hostile ratters, miners and camps.

I personally have been very successful, I had a recent streak of good luck.  My killboard is pretty green but – far more importantly – I have been useful to our fleets in scouting and tackle.  I am sure it will change but right now, I feel invincible.

A couple of encounters were noteworthy. Firstly, this Celestis.  We were on our way back to home base and I scouted ahead +1 when I ran into a hostile gatecamp.  I had warped to my (private) tactical and landed way too close to a few reds who must have had a similar tac (about 150km off me).  We are talking 10 ish guys with a Celestis by the gate itself and a Barghest 60km or so off the gate.  Something long pointed me but overheating my Malediction got me out of trouble. I sent the D-scan scrape to the FC who ordered me to drive my boat straight down and tackle the Barghest, no matter the cost.  I didn’t have the exact location and guessed (wrong), bounced off celestial and warped at the range I thought he was but landed way, way off him – no chance to target him.  My fleet mates hard warped to zero km off the gate and just burned to him, literally ignoring the incoming fire.  With the Barghest scrammed, webbed, shot at and bubbled by my fleet mates, I looked around for other things to do.  Oh look, the Celestis is still here.  Tackle, orbit, hold fire, we are right on the gate and there are other hostile boats 40-60 km off, i.e. 1 tick of the MWD and they are on top of me.  I report tackle and FC is polite but amused, who gives a crap about a T1 cruiser if you have a Faction BS in front of you.  Well, said Barghest is going down and while I am not on the kill or the pod, I am holding onto that damn cruiser like an alcoholic to his last bottle.  My fleet mates shift target and splatter the Celestis against the gate but really celebrate the Barghest.  The one kill I am not on.  Oh well.

The other noteworthy kill was a Tengu – my team was doing something OPsec and the Tengu landed way off the main body of our Ishtar fleet.  He was smart, the Tengu pilot, those Ishtars couldn’t get to him in time.  However, a Malediction with overheated MWD can cover the 200km in seconds and I was on him faster than a presidential stain on an intern dress.  As soon as I had him tackled, our Sabres warped onto me and the rest was a turkey shoot.  Bye bye, Mr Tengu. I can not lie – I had a very large smile on my face.

Oh by the way.  Even in an Interceptor, POS guns can hurt (when stationary while opening a bottle of homebrew).  Bad timing but I made it out.  Just.

Malediction Structure

 

Lastly, we are of course entirely discouraged prohibited to participate in /local chatter.  Our targets get a “GF” if we feel extremely chatty and only after getting permission from FC, corporate leadership council, Supreme Court, Vatican and God herself.  But we do read the comments, the tears, the taunts with lofty amusement.  And so we see this after an hour or so of camping a pipe with the locals apparently were getting exasperated.

Pipe camp tears

I call that in itself “Op Success”.

 

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