Continued from we got movement!
A few chores and a meal later I was back online, arriving in time to respond to another muster to counter an anti-pirate force. Something Rotten had stirred up the Crimson Dragons alliance, which had formed a sizable ball of ships in Gonheim on the Istodard gate. With several logistics ships available, I undocked my only armor tanked battleship available, my reliable heavy neut plate fit Tempest and headed over to Istodard.
Arriving on the Gonheim gate in Istodard, I met up with the 520 gang, consisting of several battleships, three Guardians and Lt Graham’s Blackbird. Dirty Protagonist called for me to jump through and reapproach gate, which would hopefully prompt the anti-pirate gang to incur GCC. However recent action with the freighter had hosed my sec, and I was well into outlaw status. This fact didn’t change much and I jumped through the gate.
I was greeted by a wall of ships on my overview, easily double the size of the 520 gang on the other side of the gate. The anti-pirates lacked battleships and logistics, which should give the pirate force an edge in the engagement. I decloaked, began moving back to the gate while locking targets, waiting for the opposing force to begin aggressing. Aggress they did, a dozen odd ships obtaining lock and firing upon my Tempest in quick succession.
About the same time the enemy gang began firing upon me, I realized that I had miss-clicked my MWD, so instead of powering to the stargate, I was only 3km closer to my destination. Further, my fit was meant for small gangs rather than high DPS fleet engagements and had a LAR equipped rather than an additional plate or resistance module to enhance the buffer. Enemy DPS poured on, and I was already touching half armor by the time the gate began flashing with the arrival of friendly forces.
With gangmates decloaking, I meekly clicked the “Need armor” broadcast, however by the time Guardians began locking me I was already in structure, my battleship not long for life and unable to jump through into Istodard due to my MWD mismanagement. The Tempest popped shortly afterwards, though the gang was able to drop a few anti-pirate ships before they themselves disengaged and jumped through the gate.
Reforming, the gang then headed out two jumps to Oddelulf, warping to the Bosena gate. Bosena has been host to the remnants of COW had been evicted from nullsec, who now pass time regularly camping the highsec entrance gate to kill the unwary. One such gatecamp was currently in place, manned by two battleships, two battlecruisers, a cloaky T3 hull and a faction battleship. Baiting with a force of two battleships, we managed to snare a Dominix and Brutix, however the remainder was able to flee from the gate before tackle was established.
The next few hours was a gankfest, every 30 minutes or so another ship was found, probed, tackled and destroyed. A hurricane was found in Istodard, burning away from the Oddelulf gate. Once out of sentry range, Sieth Silverstein of 520 was able to tackle the lone BC with his Ishtar, allowing our reshipped gang to whore on the mail. An hour later Coffee located a group of battlecruisers missioning in Oddelulf, this time a Harbinger with a Hurricane salvaging behind it. The Cane had the misfortune of landing on the entrance gate just after our gang arrived to savage the Harbinger, preceeding his comrade in death by only two minutes.
Waiting down GCC from those kills, a Raven and Paladin decided to give missioning in lowsec a go, regardless of the half dozen GCC pirates in local, and on scan from his mission site. Coffee again proved his worth, scanning the marauder down in seconds and tackling the T2 battleship while the gang arrived at the entrance gate and began warping in. The Raven managed to flee before additional tackle had arrived, but the Paladin’s destruction was more than worth that sacrifice.
Amusingly, seconds after the Paladin went down, room wide aggro from the level 4 mission switched to Coffee’s Cheetah, which incredibly was able to tank the 30 odd NPCs with the aid of two Guardians to warp out with 17% structure remaining. Damage controls are vital on frigates folks, especially when running those higher level missions.
Little occurred over the next hour, so the diminished pirate force decided to roam, flying first to Atlar, then progressing down the pipe to Ennur, splitting off into Metropolis via Offikatlin. Here Coffee was able to spot several ships in space; a Myrm, Cane, Ishtar and Raven. Following close behind, I jumped my Sleipnir in, warping to the highsec gate where Coffee had located the opposing force.
The Hurricane and Myrmidon were chasing down a pirate Ishtar, the Raven holding on the highsec gate, lacking a speed module to follow the two BCs. Spying my Sleipnir the Ishtar warped off, the two BCs warping back to the gate to rejoin the Raven. I had warped my command ship to the gate at 50km to assess the situation, and had begun idling away towards a celestial. The Ishtar left local, heading deeper into Metropolis and missing the pirate gang in Tabbetzur.
After a minute of eying each other, the Hurricane decided to warp to a nearby planet, which I reported to my gang, and began aligning my Sleipnir to follow. Looking back to the overview, the Myrmidon had been busy as well, activating his MWD and burning at my Sleipnir at an impressive rate, closing the 60km between myself and the stargate to land tackle on my ship! Chagrined, I swapped from Barrage to Fusion while locking the enemy BC, calling for my gangmates to jump in.
I’ll touch on Sleipnir tactics at length in another post, however allow me to inform my readership of an often misunderstood fact about this vessel: it is not a frontline tanker. Yes, it has impressive resistances, and a hefty shield boost bonus to augment an active approach. However, it simply doesn’t have the capacitor or buffer to weather typical amounts of incoming damage for a lengthy period of time. Rather, that tanking bonus is better served mitigating damage incurred from skirmish range, 20-30km from target. At this range, the Sleipnir is able to apply its impressive arsenal effectively, provide tackle with a ganglink running or faction disruptor, and maintain range while remaining on the field applying bursts of MWD or shield booster, respectively.
Thus, scrambled off the gate with two angry, gank fit shield tanked battlecruisers (Great work switching to Fusion for that Myrm, Sard) slamming into my tank, I was sweating over my situation. The Raven had warped off the gate about the same time my gangmates began jumping in, likely to warp back in range to support his comrades. Meanwhile, under capacitor pressure from the Hurricane’s medium neuts, my DG X-L booster had quickly burned through my available reserve of capacitor, and a single medium cap booster can’t cycle 800 charges fast enough for sustained cycling of the shield booster.
Pirate reinforcements began landing just as my buffer was depleted and my Sleipnir began bleeding armor plate. Focusing on my tank, I neglected to mind my rack of autocannons, which had been set to overheat to burn down the Myrmidon. While I had smashed through the Myrm’s buffer and dip the opposing BC into armor itself, I burned out my guns in the progress. The two battlecruisers were sure to finish me off, especially with that Raven inbound and without my DPS to help.
Fortunately for me, Gooch of 520 decided to bring a Blackbird out on this roam, and managed to jam the Myrmidon, which was the only BC tackling me. I warped my command ship out with half my armor gone, quickly moving back into Tabbetzur and eventually into Ennur to repair my modules, and hopefully return to help out in the fight. The pirates managed on their own however, finishing off the Myrm and downing the Cane before the Raven was able to arrive.
Later still that night, the gang had reduced to Coffee, myself and Dirty Protagonist (DP). We had traveled back to the Istodard pocket, where we were able to find a Cane missioning in Gonheim, which was quickly dispatched by DP’s Cane and my Sleip. Thirty minutes later, DP sighted a Gentlemen’s Club Sacrilege in Oddelulf somewhere above a planet, which Coffee was able to probe down. I switched to a Huginn, and between my webs and DP’s autocannons we were able to gank the HAC before the pilot was able to return to the keyboard with his plate of toast.
The Sacrilege marked the conclusion to the day’s festivities, and we logged off for the night.