Sunday 9 May 2010

A return to the field

Last night saw my return to space and oh what a night to rejoin the foray!

I hopped into my long-point Ares and joined a "BC and below" fleet part-way through the evening which was being run by an FC from Evil Doers. I tend to err on the side of caution with an FC I've not flown with before but was soon impressed with how calm and tidy things were. In particular there was clear definition between the designated scouts and the rest of the tackle which was a nice touch for me, feeling slightly out of my depth after almost 3 weeks docked up and thus clinging to the main fleet like lump of snot.

We had a little roam around Black Rise trying to track down a small fleet of Caldari war targets who were giving us quite the run-around. Time and again we moved to cut them off only to have them slip through the net, cue the Benny Hill music.

I loathe the EER WUT? feeling you get (or is it just me?) when back in front of the controls after a break and as such missed my first potential catch of the night by forgetting to pre-activate my point before I targeted. “ nvm” fell out of my mouth. Not the best start.
This early fluff-up was soon redeemed when two of our target fleet’s scouts meandered into the gate we were currently sat on and, either through my amazing elite tackling skills or more likely their own inexperience, I caught both ships and their pods . Woohoo! Simple catches but I was certainly feeling a bit more “in the zone” after that.

One of our scouts finally caught sight of a group of more juicy targets heading presumably toward Sujarento but through the opposite pipe, and so we made best speed through Kedama and Tama to grab them on the Suj gate. If we missed the intercept the Caldari would reach Nourvukaiken after Tama, which was their own high-sec.

We knew there was a cloaking Proteus with them, who had been baiting other militia earlier that evening, so this ship was quickly assigned a dedicated tackler, the rest of us would focus on the Drakes. In an effort to slow them down before we arrived my suicidal colleague, Drackarn, who was further ahead went in to aggress them... in his Manticore. A rather humorous "I'M AGGRESS...I'm down..." came over coms, followed by much light hearted p!ss taking. But it worked and we were on the Suj gate just as they started to jump through.

Sadly the Proteus escaped but his friends did not have the same luck. The result was 2 Drakes and a pod on the Tama side followed by 2 Drakes and a pod on the Suj side.
By now our 22 man fleet had become something of a monster, having picked up numerous new x’s all evening. But there was a distinct lack of anything interesting coming in through the intel channels so our FC moved us to the Nourvukaiken gate in Tama for a spot of fishing (albeit not in the true sense as we were BC heavy rather than in Stealth Bombers and Interceptors).

Nothing interesting wanted to play or was stupid enough to walk into us and even when a small contingent of us braved the NPC agro and jumped into Nourve we failed to catch anything. Nourve however was absolutely heaving with Caldari war targets and there was much chatter coming in of a large fleet forming up.

As we reformed on the Tama gate the beginnings of pretty impressive BS heavy Caldari fleet came over to greet us. Time to go!

We sped home to Nisuwa with a rough plan of a short break (some of the fleet had been out for a few hours by now) and reforming into something heavier later on. This would also give the Caldari time to get going with their fleet.

I docked up and swapped my Ares for an RR Dominix. Intel continued to flow in on the Caldari movements. It sounded as though they had split into 2 separate fleets and there were also reports of a few Carriers being spotted. We were potentially in for quite a fight.

After 20mins or so Gallactica took over FC duties and moved us out to a safe spot with our Battleships plus a contingent of logistic support. With what we now had available it looked like we were going to be rather outnumbered if the Caldari showed up in full force and there was some discussion on whether or not we should sit this one out or simply go for it. I find SOTF and friends rather gung-ho and willing to dive into a good fight, whatever the odds are. However there is always a difference between loosing ships in a decent skirmish and simply throwing away an entire fleet.

New intel came in informing us that the first Caldari fleet was heading to Nis and so we quickly formed up on the gate, it was now or never.

And in came they came. Now I’m wracking my brains to remember what showed up in that first wave but as always I forgot to take a screenshot when things got exciting, but it was mostly Battleship heavy.

We made a beeline for the suspected enemy FC and another prominent fleet member but both promptly jumped back out. The rest of the fleet however was in full swing. I kicked out a round of Gard IIs for DPS whilst keeping half an eye on the armour broadcasts. A pinch of lag started to kick in
which slowed my reaction time but was pleased to see several enemy battleships quickly fall.

We appeared to be making good headway when a new wave of Caldari reinforcements came through. Target calling shifted to cover some of the new arrivals and I was lucky enough to bag my first killing blow, a Scorpion, in 2 months.

I noticed Gallactica's shield dipping into red on my watch list so promptly locked him up and chucked all 3 of my reps on him. I'd also noticed my own shields drop very slightly and a few red boxes began to flash on my overview. It appeared I was now secondary target after Gallactica. Sometimes I wish I had a name starting with Z.

Gall held on for another couple of kills but by now the full force of the Caldari fleet had appeared, which indeed included Carrier support. Another target caller took over for 1 more kill before the bail command was given.

Most surprising was the fact that almost all of our fleet then got out, no one was pointed... well apart from yours truly that is. I watched with slight dismay as my comrades left the field and my armour chipped away. Not so much dismay at the loss of the ship, it had been a good night, but I had just realised I 'd not renewed my insurance before I’d undocked... pants!

Steering my pod back to station I was pleased to see a bit of banter but distinct lack of cock-waving in local. It had been an enjoyable skirmish and made a nice change (truly a welcome one) to be the guys fleeing the field. There was some chatter about reforming and such but for me it was time to dock up and hit my bunk. I was also quite keen see how the final tally was looking on the killboards.

Here is the final battle report – taken from the Caldari Eve Kill site as our board appears to have an unrelated battle mixed up with the stats.

I guess if you want to pull teeth you could argue that they should have caught and killed a lot more of us at the end there, as it turns out we popped more and got most of our guys out. But the Caldari militia in general has been on a downer for a long time. The fact they had these numbers and pilots fielding caps is at least promising sign of what is hopefully to come. And hey we got the fight. In a game area that has no real tangible purpose that is always the best possible result!

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