We had just stood down from killing a miscellaneous Ferox fleet when someone dropped the d-scan into alliance showing a fair amount of particularly juicy targets a mere three jumps from home.
It was Goonswarm and it was obvious that they were there for blood.
Fights happen for a variety of reasons in low-sec. We have wars and rivalries and go after each other’s assets. We fight over poses and pocos. People put on events, or twitch themselves romping around with a group of their friends.
Sometimes, however, a fight happens for no other reason than that someone has the bloodlust. They plant themselves in an open place, and bare all—daring the locals to come engage them.
And, it was clear that this was the case with Goons. It was obvious they knew who lived nearby, and how to get our attention –the shiny battleships and capitals they had brought to our doorstep were as good as a loud taunt to come fight.
Our FC began to contemplate some ideas as what to bring, and a certain amount of theory-crafting started up on coms.
One thing I’ve always found intriguing about BBC is the level of strategy that goes into some of our fights and engagements. As a small gang pilot, it’s easy to assume that all larger groups adopt a “FC and a bunch of F1 pushers” mentality. But, this is rarely how we operate.
The DPS and rep power of the enemy is discussed, and whether we have enough tank to hold and DPS to break them. Often, precise ship numbers are called for. The number of Vindicators, triage, dreads, and other ships we have are not a matter of ‘luck of the draw’ in who wants to fly them, but are specifically asked for and planned out.
Additionally, specific fits are called for based on whatever strategy we’re using, often down to the ammo types and scripts we will need to use for various parts of our plan. During some fleets, we have a secondary caller who’s job it is to merely call out ammo type switches and etc.
It is all a lot more complicated than I ever thought it would be. Sometimes, I think that it is even more complicated than the solo pvp and ultra small gang warfare I came from—which goes against what most small gang pilots will generally tell you. I find smaller gang pvp easier simply because there are less factors to consider, both within your own fleet and for the enemy fleet. And the less factors you have to consider, the more in-control you are.
Anyway, back to Goonswarm, who had gotten comfortable camping a random gate three jumps from us. They had a mixture of carriers and dreads, as well as a fairly shiny battleship support fleet –including Bhaalgorns and Paladins.
“They have a cyno inhibitor setup on the other side of the gate.” Our scout informed our FC.
“This is totally bait.” Someone else commented. Others agreed. “I wonder what they have up their sleeve…”
The FC began to rattle orders. We would go in two separate waves, on two separate cynos.
“Can I have someone volunteer to be our quadrant cyno?” I giggled a little at this. We had a backup to the backup of the backup. We were willing to spring whatever trap this was, but we weren’t going to give ourselves away without a fight.
“Okay guys, this is going to have to be super fast.” Our first cyno would just be a Cheetah –not much wiggle room for getting a bridge up and thirty or so people through safely.
“Go in three……two…..one..”
"Bridge, bridge, bridge. Bridge, everyone bridge now!”
“First wave of capitals in now. Go go go.”
We immediately tackled a Goon Moros who was slightly off the gate we were bridging into, and melted him as his friends escaped through the gate.
We had been more or less expecting this move from them, due to the cyno inhibitor they had setup on the other side. However, we had a few minutes to adjust things a bit, as we had at least two caps stuck in siege/triage.
“Okay, what can you do for a cyno on the other side.”
“Just a sec….” our scout/second cyno was concentrating. “Okay. I’m out of range of the inhibitor, 28K above the gate, and around 20K from their fleet.”
Most of us were on the gate, however we still had our second wave of capitals to bring in.
While all this was going on, I smiled to see a random neutral fly his cloaky hauler through the gate. The poor guy probably peed his pants a little, arriving on gate to be surrounding by a large, red-flashy BBC gang, only to jump through smack into the middle of a big scary Goonswarm fleet.
Gotta love low-sec.
“Okay, we’re ready. Everyone get ready…”
“Jump in three…..two….
“Jump and hold cloak. Jump and hold cloak.”
I jumped my Machariel in, and quickly switched to friendly overview to see if anyone had accidentally decloaked. Not a single fleet member showed up.
“Broadcasting our primary, secondary, and tertiary targets. Get ready for decloak."
“Decloak now, decloak now. All DPS on the primary. Go Go Go.”
I quickly set range on our anchor and began locking the three broadcasted targets, waiting for the other shoe to drop. There had to be more of them –or some other fleet nearby getting ready to sandwhich us. Every bone in my body said it was a trap.
Meanwhile, Goon capitals were quickly beginning to melt under our guns, along with Bhaalgorns who were called primary to lighten the neut load off our on capitals.
Our Vindicators and dreads were doing their job,--I only made one or two volleys on targets before they evaporated off the overview.
“We’ve got a triage down.”
“Going in. Going in.” another friendly carrier triaged to take his place.
“Don’t primary that Damnation, it’s probably their FC.” Our FC had broadcasted their on-grid links.
“Good call. Guys, ignore the Damnation I just broadcasted.”
It is fairly common practice in low-sec combat to save the hostile FC for last. It has been our experience that death of an FC can often cause a premature termination of the fight, with everyone starbursting away from the field at the death of their leader.
I jumped a little in my seat as a Ragnarok suddenly appear in my direct line of sight. A friendly Ragnarok.
I stifled a giggle as a hostile dread disappeared, doomsdayed off the field.
A nice shiny Goon fleet? Of course one of our more kamikaze titan pilots would probably be chomping at the bit to jump in and doomsday one of them. BBC super pilots are not exactly a passive, nor safety-inclined bunch.
The fight did not last especially long, and as time went on I barely had time to lock targets before they disappeared. They were more or less evaporating off the field. Finally, Goons called the retreat.
“Grab points. Point them!”
When all was said and done, we lost a single triage, and managed to kill over 50 billion ISKworth of battleships and capitals.
“There’s tons of crazy loot here…”
“Yeah, loot the field…go crazy guys.” The FC told us.
We spent fifteen minutes or so gathering shiny mods and loots, while some of the guys compared killmails and complained at the fact that all the goon pods they killed were mostly empty.
“Crap pods, all of them. Pffft”
"That was probably their ride home."
Finally it was time for us to head home. As we all collected on the gate and prepared to jump, our FC let out a yelp.
“What the hell are you doing?!?!”
The Ragnarok casually landed with us and jumped through. “I thought I’d gate home with you all…”
I snickered. Yeah, my alliance was positively certifiable.