Picket Duty

“Gate fire”, the message was automatically relayed to the fleet commander elsewhere in the system.

“Wait to see them”, came the reply.

“Loki. Proceeding to engage”

“Affirmative. All ships converge on the gate”.

As my Taranis engaged the Loki I waited to see what it was going to do. Would it burn back to the gate and jump through, in which case my soon to arrive fleet mates could follow, or would it engage on this side.

Drones out. It was engaging.

“Loki has aggressed”.

I settled into an orbit and tried to stay alive long enough for the fleet to arrive. The Loki was autocannon fitted and they were making a mess of me. I had to decide what to do. Tighten the orbit to increase traversal, or get further away to increase the range. The Loki had me pointed and webbed so getting close won out. I pulsed the MWD to try and throw the drones.

Where were my fleet mates? Armour was bleeding away and I was beginning to take hull damage. There were over 10 in fleet and so far no one else on the field. Just as my hull collapsed another interceptor and a couple of battlecruisers arrived. Maybe the loss would be worth it.

I warped my pod safe and saw the fleet engage. Then the gate flashed again and three more tech 3 cruisers jumped in to help the Loki. This wasn’t looking good. One by one our ships were lost. All in all a disaster.

The above is a fairly typical description of a pick-up fleet system camp without a recognised FC. You can’t really rely on getting help so engaging is at your own risk. I wasn’t overly bothered about my loss, its comparatively low-cost and expected. I could afford to lose it and, within minutes, was back in its twin. There are obvious lessons from the encounter though:

  • If a Loki engages on a gate in a system full of reds (to him) he’s probably got friends.
  • The second tackle arriving should jump the gate and see what is on the other side.
  • Make sure you know the fleet composition before aggressing. My excuse was that I was tired. However the big shiny Loki sucked me in.
  • Have an FC. Even if its a informal fleet you still need someone to call the shots.
  • Disengage when help doesn’t arrive. This probably wouldn’t have helped given the Loki web, but its worth bearing in mind.

There were some tears over the battle cruiser losses and we tried to catch the T3 fleet as it withdrew but, by the time we’d assembled a credible threat, they were long gone.

A little later I was doing the same thing. Sitting alone on a gate waiting to see what came through. A Caldari Navy Hookbill jumped in, I tried to lock it but it aligned and warped about half a second before I could lock it. I warped in pursuit and landed in a bubble a little way from it.

He was burning away from the bubble towards the gate but not fast enough to escape my lock this time. My warp disruptor engaged and I deployed drones and settled into an orbit with a web on him for good luck. As I was the only other ship around he engaged. I overloaded the guns as we began the dance of death. My shields were depleting quicker than mine but I stuck at it. It would be a question of relative tank.

By the time his shields were gone I’d almost lost all of my armour. I was still confident as the Taranis’ tank is its hull. Sure enough each volley from my guns and drones took huge chunks out of his armour and then hull. I was only 15% into structure when the Hookbill died. I quickly locked the pod and spared him a long slow ride home.

So one loss and two kills, both of which were worth more than my loss. All in all a decent hour of play.

 

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