Out and about

“Hostiles in the next system. Squad 1 jump through. The rest of you wait on the gate.”

I set the Gesture to a tight orbit on the gate. We needed to be moving but close enough to jump through if necessary.

“Check, check. Two Myrmidons and a Hurricane landing on the gate. Attempting to engage.”

I checked the distance to the gate again. Well within range for a quick jump. Keeping an eye on the gate I checked over the jump initiation sequence again. We’d had some issues earlier with a delayed jump. It wasn’t something I wanted with hostiles in system.

“Hurricane is pointed. Stand by.”

The life support system noted my increased heart rate and adjusted the pod cooling to compensate. I wondered if other capsuleers had the same configuration? I like to be cool in the pod so as not to get overcome by the heat of battle. Was this just a Gallente trait?

A flash from the gate broke my reverie. I checked local. New hostile. I toggled the micro wrapdrive on and loosened the orbit. Two more flashes.

I moistened my lips in anticipation. Senses heightened I scanned local. A Blackbird came into view 10km away followed by a Hurricane and Myrmidon. Another flash.

“Primary is the Hurricane. Secondary is the Blackbird”, the instruction repeated over the fleet channel. Time to get to work.

It had been an inauspicious start. I couldn’t sleep so logged on to check a few things. The usual suspects were hanging around the station talking to one of the FCs that was soloing a few systems away in a command ship. Messages in alliance chat gave in invitation to a bored roam. Vent gave instructions for BCs or less, preferably fast. I picked an Interceptor at random, opting for a Taranis this time, and headed off.

Racing a couple of other ships I joined the FC 6 jumps from home and we went into a system known to be a favourite of our Russian friends. We positioned ourselves on a gate and waited for everyone else. After what seemed like an age the rest of the fleet assembled at our location and we set about scanning the nearby systems looking for targets.

We were spread over 4 or 5 systems, covering gates, but only caught brief glimpses of reds traversing the spacelanes. I did see another Taranis but it warped off to a system we didn’t have anyone in so had to let it go. This wasn’t that much more interesting than station spinning so we came together again and headed out towards one of the nearer Empire border systems.

We jumped from system to system, clearing bubbles as we went. We didn’t want to get caught in them on the way back. When the scout reported that a system had neutrals in it we spread out, each stopping off at an asteroid belt or planet to see if we could catch anyone on the way to the next system. No luck. Where was everyone?

We got to LX2Q-T without any issues and again cleared bubbles off the gates. As we were clearing the bubbles off the Paala gate a ship uncloaked. “Bomb! Bomb! Bomb!”. We all warped off, no one taking any real damage.

Hoping for pursuit we waited on the outbound gate but nothing appeared. It looked like an unprofitable roam. Still we’d not lost anyone either.

We burnt back towards Insmother. Two systems out our scout reported a red in the next system. We waited. Two reds. Three. Four. Five. Three battlecruisers now reported on scan so must be headed for our gate. The FC ordered some of the heavier ships through. The rest of us huddled round the gate.

Vent echoed with combat comms from the other side of the gate. A Hurricane was pointed and engaged. Two Myrmidons and a Blackbird joined it and they all jumped through. How odd, they outnumbered our fleet on the other side, why were they running?

With the gate fire and reds showing in local we got into combat mode. Interceptors and frigates orbiting the gate with MWD or AB on. The Hurricane and Blackbird were first to drop cloak and declared primary and secondary. I got a point on the Hurricane, set a 20km orbit and sent my drones after him. I tried to get a point on the Blackbird as well but the orbit swung me away.

The two Myrmidons dropped cloak and started to engage. The Hurricane was deep into armour and going down. The FC called one of the Myrms as secondary and, knowing there were more points on the ‘cane I dropped my point on it and swung around to one of the Myrms. The first two ships went down and we concentrated on the two Gallente Battlecruisers. I was being yellow boxed by both of them so took care to keep outside scram and neut range. I couldn’t keep both locked as my targetting range was only around 27km and the orbit would swing me further than that from the second one.

The first Myrmidon exploded and I hit orbit on the second one. By the time I’d swung around and got a lock it was deep into structure and I’d no chance to get in on the kill. Still, I’d managed to get on two BCs and survived!

We warped off in case of reinforcements then, with none arriving, warped back to take stock and loot the wrecks. Our smallish fleet had lost an Ishkur and two Blackbirds but managed till kill all four ships and two pods. A more than fair exchange.

Once we’d got back into Insmother a few lessons learnt were discussed. The first was that if you are in a frigate don’t get close to a BC. One strength of the Ishkur is its drone capacity. If the pilot had stayed at range he could have used his drone DPS and had a chance of survival. Being close he got scrammed and with an AB wasn’t going to outrun the MWDs on the BCs. Its questionable whether an AB fit is viable in a small gang.

Another lesson was with the Taranis fit. With the need to stay away from the larger ships it wasn’t possible to use my blasters except against the bubbles. It would have been better to replace one of the low slots with a Signal Amplifier module to give me improved targetting range. I’d have been able to keep both Myrms locked then and been able to quickly switch to the second after the first had died.

For a pick up roam it was fun and, in the end, successful. I think its probably the one and only time I’ll see a roam with two Ishkurs in it. They may be good for PVE but, at the moment, they struggle in PVP.

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