The Hunters Become the Hunted

I log in Saturday morning to find most of the corp already in-game. Not much is going on, we have our static wormhole connection to lo-sec and that’s about it. No anomalies, no other signatures, in short nothing to do. I get my planetary obligations sorted out and deliver a new order of rocket fuel to the ever eager missile production team. It’s nice to feel wanted.

Our connection is close to hi-sec, right on the border actually, so Oz and I take the opportunity to go shopping. Our wallet is flush with cash from his subsystem production and I’m more than happy to help him spend it. We had been talking earlier about the recent engagements we’ve had in the HQ system. After browsing through our hangars we realize we have a very specialized fleet. Almost no T1 ships to speak of, and the T2’s we do have are very specialized and honestly not particularly useful in many fights. We need to solidify a good fighting base of ships to keep in the HQ for system defense.

I write up a corpwide email detailing our new goal. Every pilot should have two combat ready battleships and two combat ready battlecruisers focusing on damage output. It won’t guarantee that we can fight off every hostile force that comes our way, but it certainly will be more effective than just bombing the wrecks in our own system’s anomalies.

Between one of our runs to Amarr we notice a hostile pilot in our HQ system’s local communication channel. Apparently he had warped to the tower and managed to not get decloaked in our warp bubble and can traps. We quickly scan down the new wormhole that connects us to a class 2 wormhole system and setup a blockade. We park an interceptor on either side of the wormhole and I position my new sniper Oracle 95km off of our side of the hole. With my sensor boosters and tracking enhancers I can lock frigates in less than three seconds and pop them in one or two volleys. The waiting begins.

The waiting lasts for a long time, and we never actually see our intruder again. Eventually we collapse the C2 connection trapping the scout in our system. We see him later on in the static system, where he threatens to bring out his pvp ship. Interesting how he has a pvp ship in this system he didn’t have a connection to until we locked him out of his own wormhole.

Now that the intruders are dealt with and our new purchases are fitted out and sitting in our hangars, it’s time to hunt! Oz, Snow, and myself fit out some T1 cruisers and get ready to roam. I’m piloting a speed tanked Arbitrator, Oz is in a brawler of a Maller, and Snow rolls out in a Retribution. Unfortunately we find a few ships in safespots in our static system, so we ask Snow to head back to HQ and get a scanning boat instead. It’s incredible how often you find ships in safespots in lo-sec systems, especially in FW systems. Having that scanning boat leads to a lot of kills and I’m grateful she was willing to forgo a combat ship to help the team out.

We find an Imicus afk in a safespot, and as par for the course, I blow that shit up. We cruise around for a while longer looking for someone to shoot but don’t manage to find much. Until a Jaguar lands on Oz’s Maller at one of the gates. He warps through and Oz gives chase as the rest of us enter warp to catch up. After a short game of cat and mouse Oz manages to lock him down at the sun of the system we’re currently in. I enter warp to join the fray. The Maller is having a hard time breaking through the Jaguar’s shield tank. Luckily my Arbitrator is fit with some serious energy neutralizing power. After one cycle of the neuts, the Jaguar starts breaking down. Another Jaguar enters the fight but is surprisingly ineffective at, well everything. He start shooting my drones, which is annoying but doesn’t accomplish much. I have plenty more. The first Jaguar finally explodes and our attention shifts to the second one.

The second Jaguar begins rocketing away from us. Neither Oz nor myself can keep up with him, our caps are both empty. Not only that, but they aren’t regenerating very fast at all. Neither of us see any neutralizers or vamps on us, but our cap is still not regenerating. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m not a fan. The Jaguar is out of disruptor range, but he’s still not warping out.

Well shit, that means this is going to be a trap…

Sure enough I click the d-scanner and see a whole fleet of ships start to appear in system. We need to get out of here and now. I align to a FW complex (probably not the best idea, but I was panicking). A Talos leads a small fleet of ships into our area. I don’t remember what they all were, but it was a lot more than we were going to be able to handle. Oz’s ship is aligned and just about to enter the warp bubble when his warp engine gets disrupted. I warp out, Oz is a lost cause at this point. I’ll never be able to save him. Oddly the enemy fleet is able to catch his pod as well. A near impossible feat without specialized modules. We’re surprised and saddened when his pod explodes ejecting his corpse into space.

Still in the grand scheme of things we managed a 53 million isk kill and lost a Maller that topped off around 40 million I think. So not too bad, although losing all of Oz’s implants definitely swings the scale back to the negatives. It was still a fun roam and we’re getting better at the fleet combat every time we go out. I’m excited to see us improve even further.

Another interesting point I wanted to make involves the Pilgrim speed fit I had come up with a few weeks ago. Oz had actually built one and tested it out before all of this went down (during my first trade run). He topped out at about five kills if I remember correctly, before he accidentally got caught on an acceleration gate and subsequently destroyed. But the reports coming back from him are promising. He was able to chase down assault ships that tried to run from him, and the flexibility of being able to engage and disengage at will is incredibly valuable. My Arbitrator fit mimics the Pilgrim fit, but with only four mid-slots, it has a hard time being as effective. Still I think a switch over to the new Pilgrim fit is in order for tomorrow!

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