Great news by the way, the Cerberus is a better ship in just about every respect. Especially appreciated is that my fit is now magically cap stable with a MWD, something that required a lot more finesse before. On top of that, more speed, more damage, slightly better tank, much better kiting ship overall. Aside from HMLs at extreme range, it's got some interesting applications as a kitey HAM boat as well. FunkyBacon approves.
One of the tactics Gal Mil FCs like is that when we have a decent gang, say 15-20, we'll send a couple people ahead to attempt to entice targets. Hopefully they get tackle on something, and then they will hold it down while the rest of the fleet jumps in and gets there to whore on the kill. That's how our first "engagement" of the night went. Caracal caught in a large plex, FC calls jump, people trickle in. FC even ordered our logi to rep the target while the rest of the gang landed on grid and burned to the target.
I don't particularly care for this flavor of kill whoring, but I understand it to a point. Jumping everyone in too early means the target gets spooked by the spike and bails out. People are in fleet usually to get kills. This is the middle ground, and has been the primary way to get kills in a fleet lately since the Caldari have been loathe to form up fleets against us. We haven't even been able to get any fights when they've outnumbered and out shipped us lately. If not for Sniggwaffe, we probably wouldn't have gotten any fleet fights in the warzone at all lately.
Last night being another quiet night, there were some scattered ships flying around, but no other fleets to fight. The Minmatar/Amarr zone was suggested and immediately shot down as word has it things are even quieter there than in our neck of the woods lately. Apparently the minnies hit Tier 5 and are in mission mode.At tier 5, FW mission payouts are insane, so even the most avid anti-carebears will dust off their tech 3's for 500k-600k LP/hour. That's a pair of Tempest Fleet Issues, or 4 Fleet Canes, or 13 Stabber Fleet Issues an hour. Can't really blame them. We hear the amarr are also pretty dead lately.
So with Waffles off to places unknown for the night, our usual sparring partners are out, and we decide to take a shortcut through 0.0 Cloud ring and come out on the far side of Placid. Based on some sketchy intel, we decide to make for some system at the ass end of nowehre I've never heard of to see about running into a fleet someone thought might be in the area. We ran into that fleet head first. Eve Uni was out, like me, giving the new HAC balance a try. Unfortunately, we did not have the numbers OR the ship types needed to even make it interesting so the FC ordered the fleet to pull back. This was where being the only cruiser hull in a frig fleet came to bite me in the ass.
During the strategic withdrawal, I ended up getting separated from fleet, knowing that if I had jumped through the gate with them, I'd have been caught on the other side before I could get off the gate. I bounced around in system for a bit, and then the gate was finally called clear. E-UNI was still in system somewhere, but what the hell, I made a break for it. Turns out the gate wasn't clear. They had the good sense to drop a point on me before I could warp back off, so there was nothing for it but to jump. Our gang was on the other side 200k off gate, but most of the E-UNI fleet had followed me through.
I only had 2 options at this point: 1. Attempt a warp and hope these guys are slow to tackle. 2. Attempt to burn back to gate. We had logi in our fleet, and a plan was being formed to have everyone warp down at 0, get some reps on me and see if i could be held up long enough to reach gate. As long as I didn't return fire, the logi could jump out if agressed. Would have been a good plan, but the execution was slow and my 60 seconds was up. Didn't make it back to gate. I also lost my first pod in about 6 months. No biggie though, was only a zor's/genolution clone, and 44 million was a small price to pay for not having to make 30 jumps back home.
|Say Hello to my little friend.|
Almost immediately a Thorax showed up on short. Not feeling too confident in a kestrel vs a Rax, I bounced as soon as he landed, and he gave up the chase there. I bounced back to the medium a couple minutes later; Thorax was gone, Manticore on short. There was 1 friendly in local and I figure that's him, but I headed in to be sure... gone. That settled, I began to orbit the warp in at 7500 and waited.
Plexing in a hostile system is a lot like fishing. You set your hook with something juicy that people will want to fight, and then wait patiently to be noticed. In this case, it took 12 minutes for a condor to show up on short. Unfortunately, I screwed the pooch on this one. As he entered, what I *should* have done was flown straight at him to make sure I snagged him nice and tight. Instead I hit orbit which was set for 7800 meters, designed to skirt the outside of blaster/AC range while peppering my target with rockets still within scram/web range. He managed to get enough intertia, thanks to this error, to get just outside scram range, got his MWD re-activated, and was able to pull range.
As I was cursing myself for being dumb, mid range scans showed another condor and a pair of tristans that would likely be joining us in another 30 seconds or so. Karma is a bitch.
After a couple quick attempts to slingshot the condor back into my tackle range, the second condor landed. At this point I knew I was screwed, so I made a mad dash back to the warp in, determined to take someone down with me. As the first Tristan landed, I was all over him like a cheap suit. He was kite fit like the others, and his weak tank didn't hold him up for long.Unfortunately, the rest of them had too much range on me at that point for me to do much else than wait to die.
I hate going out on a loss, and the whole way back to station I kept thinking what I could have done differently. With something to prove, I grabbed another Kestrel, same fit. P-304 streaked back towards Rakapas. After jumping in, I returned to the medium and slid the gate. The Tristan I killed was out of local, probably reshipping, but the other 3 guys were still there.The remaining Tristan was inside the medium, but the range was too far, so I bounced to the small and crossed my fingers.
As I was landing on the small, one of the Condors was already within 15 million kilometers, so 10 seconds behind me at most. I slid that gate, and just had time to pre-overheat the necessary modules as he landed. This time I charged right for him, scram, web, and dead before the 2nd Condor was able to get inside. I saw the 2nd Condor on 15 million just as the 1st went down, so I burned back to the warp in and snagged him just as he entered. Same result. Unfortunately the remaining Tristan got in before I was able to finish the 2nd Condor and managed to get out of my tackle range just as his last friend went down.
With 5 Warrior IIs crawling up my ass, and the Tristan doing 1700 m/s better than my AB fit kestrel, I did what any sensible pilot would do and switched to javelin rockets. His weak kite tank had a hard time keeping up with the javs, so he pulled his orbit back and I took to opportunity to break it entirely and bounced back to the medium. He was smart enough not to follow.
After cleaning up the mess, I decided to continue on to Asakai, but the rest of the night was pretty uneventful. One Caldari Anathema inexplicably warped into one of my plexes to give me a very puzzling 40m ISK kill, but that was it. At least I had a pile of LP, and an exciting fight to console me when I logged for the night.
Final Tally for solo roam: 1 Loss, 8m ISK. 4 Kills, 62m ISK