As my last remaining reader may recall, I live in WH space, staging with NOMEX out of a C2. And while fleet fights are awesome fun with our solid FCs, occasionally I get “wanderlust”, drift away with my two characters and deliberately go down chains with EOL holes. When the last known connection expired, when the bookmarks become stale and old, I really get the old feeling of being totally isolated and alone. Whether I engage hostiles or not, whether I live or die, win or lose is now all up to me, no excuses, no regrets.
And so I drifted from Wormhole to Wormhole over the weekend with my Legion and my Stratios, sniffing around dozens of holes, checking out citadels for activity, keeping a mental log of how many anomalies or gas sites should be there but are not (indicating recent PVE), checking if the POCOs are allied with the citadel owners, checking the citadel owner’s killboard and so on. Much has changed (for the worse) in WH intel since POSes are gone but I just try to get a feel for each hole I travel to and get a mental image of the people who live there.
I bumble into a C1 with a static Low Sec connection. Its a very large system (which is good, so I can make excellent safe spots to log off in) and I tend to like C1s. In general, they are inhabited by PvE guys who seek riches from PI, hacking, mining (the anomalies are nearly worthless) and of course as manufacturing base. I look around and see an Astrahus and 2 (!) Athanors pulling in rocks. All owned by a 7 man corp (i.e. 1 guy with 3 accounts and 2 Jita trade toons). A single POCO is being reinforced, comes out in 24 hours or so. I shall sleep here tonight.
The next day, I am working from home where I can put my character 1000 km off the Astrahus and watch for activity while I am on the phone or answer emails. Nothing happens really, but the timer on the POCO faithfully counts down. The CEO / main of my “host” logs in a few times, takes a Helios out and scans, checks out the POCO (yes, still there!). A Gnosis warps around the system and I am getting clammy hands – I could take a Gnosis easily with my two characters, especially if he runs any one of the anomalies (for which I have tacticals, warp-in, warp-out etc…). But the Gnosis re-docks and nothing happens. Oh well, the wormhole deity “Bob” rewards patience and patient I am.
Its evening now and I am on comms with my corpmates who “roll for content” and scream for pilots to log in. I am stuck in this C1 like a sad person without friends and watch an empty structure. It wears my patience down. The LS connection from here is terrible, somewhere off the map in Minmatar space and we have a Frigate hole which I watch attentively. Frigate holes never bring things I can catch my cruisers but can bring a lot of stuff that can hurt me.
Action! Two guys undock from the citadel, a Myrmidon (still an amazing looking ship) and a Dominix. Solid, hard-ass, well tanked drone platforms, about the worst that I could deal with. They can be built in active tank to withstand any DPS I have. I know this because I love both hulls, they are still my favorite ships in the game. They warp off to another POCO and eject 10 Ogre II.
Well… So if this is how they bash POCOs, I am not sure I can do anything about that. These are really hard nuts to crack each and I have two of them. 10 Ogres II can mess up my sunny day and while my Legion has decent tank, most Domis have Neuts in their high slots.
I decide to wait. I can be here for days if I need to. They have 2 (!) Athanors pulling rocks, one of the rocks is ~ 1-2 days from fracturing (I measure rock speed, I am that guy). Bob’s Patience.
Other Real Life things happen and I am afk for a little. When I get back the two targets are in the exact same spot which makes me think that they could be AFK. Risk it? Just drop on it?
I casually watch while doing work-stuff on the other screen when an Astero drops out of nowhere on-grid. He is not cloaked (idiot) and just sits there. The pilot is not part of this corp but comes from a WH outfit. He must have come from the Frigate hole. So, my thinking goes, if my targets don’t react to this they could be AFK and I should risk it.
Caution gets the better of me. That and real life again. 10 minutes pass when I decide that its late and I need to log for the night. Bob is more pleased by a small kill with patience than a reckless banzai charge.
I turn my Legion around and initiate warp to my safe spot. Its 50 or more AU away and I am mentally logged off when I see a flash on my overview, a Hound Stealth Bomber is on grid and I see the distinct icon of a bomb hurtling toward my target. But I am in warp already! Damn it!
I warp the 50 AU and yank on my reigns, turn the cruiser around and warp back. It takes forever and when I finally land, nothing has changed. The Myrm and the Domi still peck away on the POCO, all Ogres are circling and no sight of bombs or bomber. My targets were afk through a bomb attack? They have to be afk. They must be.
Oh for Bobs sake: !!!BANZAI!!!.
Without thinking, I warp my Legion to zero onto the POCO, activate my tank and tackle the Myrm. The “plan” (there really isn’t) is to burn down the Myrm, then the Domi as fast as I can. I briefly think about killing the drones first but dismiss it because both boats have enormous drone bays and I would be on grid forever, giving the bomber boys a chance to get their stuff together and come with a swarm of angry frigates and destroyers. No, this either goes fast or it doesn’t go at all.
While my Legion scrams, shoots, has drones out and a Neut (not going to be much good but whatever), I struggle with my Stratios. I never really liked the boat, yes, its a jack-of-all-trades but it does everything worse than a Strategic Cruiser. It has no tank, so it has to be stand-off, it has anemic DPS but its relatively quick. So, I circle at 20km and send drones downrange, I even have some lasers in the high adding measly DPS. But there is so much that needs to be done manually that I am getting overwhelmed.
While I wrestle with the Stratios, something scrams my Legion. I think its the Myrm and don’t pay attention, that guy is going down hard and fast. I am now dipping into armor which is fine, the Myrm is breaking. Its harder than it looks but the drones from the Stratios are now landing and his end is swift. The Myrm blows up and the pod races off. Now for the Domi. Shit, he is scramming me. Should I get away? He is not neuting, I can try to burn him down. His tank is untested. He may just have all DPS on a POCO basher for all I know. I target and shoot. Damn, my Legion has Rapid Lights, great for ambush but terrible for prolonged fights. I reload. It takes forever. My armor is 1/2 which really means I should get out of here. The Stratios and my combined 10 medium drones finally crack into the Dominix. D-scan clear, no sign of the frigate boys and their bombers. Oh come on, clench your cheeks and hammer through this. The Domi armor gives faster than my Legion. Its now a race who can hold out longer. I am losing the race. My alarms screech.
I realize that I am losing the Legion if I stay on grid and align to somewhere. My MWD is useless of course, I need to get out of his scram range before I can get away. He target paints me now as well which helps his Ogres a little I think but that really makes me thing that he is not as harmless as I thought he was. Damnit, I am not going to make it. Hull alarm is sounding, I overheat whatever I can but it doesn’t matter. My legion blows up in a fireball and I warp my pod away. My Stratios stays on grid, he is way outside scram range and maybe, just maybe if I can keep shooting the Domi just dies? Without holding it down myself, its unlikely but I’ll try. Suddenly his Ogres are on top of me and within 1 salvo I am in 1/2 armor. The painter shines on me now, this Domi is not going down, he is staying on grid and slugging it out. I D-scan and see a “Hound” somewhere, not on grid but I know now that the frigate boys are finally inbound. If I don’t pull away, I’ll lose the Strat to someone.
I disengage, offer GF in local and head my pod for the LS. Only way to get him back to civilization, 20j through low sec. I feel that at every gate, a bell rings and people shout “Shame” as I run the gauntlet. To make my shame complete, I decide to convo my target and get ready for well-deserved insults, gloating, Drake-memes etc but none of that happens. My target is a thoroughly nice chap, we chat about WH life, fits, the danger from the frigate holes etc. No asshattery at all and I don’t feel quite as terrible anymore when I make it to Jita, reload my loss mail and click “buy all”. Because, what killed me was not the fit, it was skill and situational awareness. And thoroughly underestimating my target…
However, Bob is moderately pleased with my performance and may his blessing shine upon my next roaming venture….
And yes, I thought the title of this post was really clever. Maybe not. Good song tho!