I must be getting old or something because it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay up late. I sat down at my computer around midnight last night in a half-stupor, fully intending to log everything off and shut it down. Time for bed. Long past time for bed.
As my sleeping screen awakened, I noticed Teamspeak bloated with people, and a ping on Jabber that had been sent merely minutes before. Something big was about to go down. And it was midnight. *Sighs* Time for pvp.
“What do you need.”
“Machs and guards, Susan. But we could really use more guards…”
I decided on hopping in a Mach. If I fell asleep half way through the fight it would be a lot less detrimental to my fleet if I was in DPS, rather than a guardian. Falling asleep in a guardian is bad. Very, very bad.
My Mach was still damaged from the last fight we had with Goons 24 hours earlier. That fight had been both insanely fun and a bit stressful. High TiDi. Massive numbers against us. Everyone had to pay attention—applying dps and ewar and anti-ewar to the appropriate targets.
I’ll be honest. Sometimes I just want to set there and click F1, and see killmails roll in. But, unfortunately when you’re a little pirate alliance (or group of pirate alliances) going up against the ‘evil Imporium of doom and rage and gnashing of teeth’ (or whatever they’re called these days) you don’t have that luxury. Most of the time, our ‘line member’ DPS ships are managing multiple targets and roles at once, applying damage, applying E-War, and feeding our logistic buddies some much needed anti-ewar support.
I guess you could say that low-sec pirates are like the cowboys of pvp. In addition to firing our guns we also have to ride horses, and keep our cowboy hats from blowing off in the wind.
Apparently, our alliance leaderhip’s directives (and cracking of whips over our heads) to ‘not be bad’ has paid off. The fight ended like this. 57 Billion ISK in damages, to 11 billion of our own. And that doesn’t include the multitude of skillpoints lost by the hostile CFC fleet while losing all those Tengus—probably another good 8 Bil or so, in terms of plex prices.
Needless to say, we probably made them mad. We had poked the hive in that fight, and had riled up a large swarm of very angry bees. And so, I was interested to see what would happen in this new engagement that was brewing –even if it was now half past midnight and I was quickly turning into a pumpkin. (I apparently complain about late fights and ‘turning into a pumpkin’ a lot to my corpmates. Someone affectionately gave me a ‘pumpkin’ title in-game…lol)
“One fleet is bringing Tengus….”
“They have an entire squad of 20+ Crucifiers…”
“Looks like may have at least 30 supers on standby.”
As intel rolled in as to what we were about to go up against, my heart sank. This did not sound promising, and I was afraid that we would be standing down. We’ll go up against some pretty heavy odds stacked against us but there is a limit to when boldness turns into suicide and our FCs pull the plug. And I knew our current FC very, very well having flown with him for many years, and I heard an edge in his voice that told me things were beginning to get tight as to our probabilities of surviving.
However, I was also hearing whispers, and intel of another sort throughout various channels. And it quickly became evident to me that we were forming Voltron.
For those interested in the nuances of politics in EVE, Voltron is a term used by low-sec pilots to describe the stars aligning in the political back channels of the pirate kingdom. ‘Voltron’ happens when the various pirate groups (amongst other low-sec inhabitants) suddenly (and briefly) come together to fight a common foe.
It doesn’t happen very often, and generally only occurs when there is an invading force of some kind that is considered to be ‘outsiders’ in the minds of the various involved entities. In all my time in Snuff, I can only remember it happened one or two other times. And with the current war between BBC and Shadow Cartel, it has been many, many months since there has even been a hint of the possibility or need.
Not being up on my nerd-speak, I asked a corpy why people called it ‘Voltron.’
“It has to do with cat robots, Susan.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty epic…”
“Cat robots that form together to make a bigger cat robot…”
I stared confused and snickered a little at that explanation in corp chat. Null-sec pilots give themselves super fancy coalition names like ‘The Imperium.”
We are super epic cat robots. FEAR US.
And of course, it was approaching 1 AM. And EVERYTHING is funnier at 1 AM. So, as I undocked to make way to our titan, I was giggling like a little drunken fiend.
“Refit arties. We’re going to try to alpha some stuff off the fight during the beginning of the fight.”
I scrambled to refit in space, our Nestor helpfully idling in space nearby.
“Tell Exodus they will need to clear those Crucifiers. Those are priority.”
Exodus. For all your super old school elite pirate hunter needs. I’ve been in a few fleets where we asked a couple of them to come along and have heard them hunt their prey first hand.
They are scary dudes. I wouldn’t wanted to be on the receiving end of their talents.
“One fleet they’re bringing has over a hundred tengus…”
“Right.” Our FC responded.
I looked at our fleet. We were sitting at over 100 pilots, but if you took away all the scouts and the off grid boosters....
“To hell with it. Light the cyno.”
“Bridge is up. Bridge. Bridge. Bridge.”
“Warp to the pos, www’s in fleet.”
This was a pos rescue mission. So, the pos we were landing on was friendly and we all cruised into the shields.
“Everyone move out of shields, and then anchor up. Out of shields, now.”
“Go ahead and triage. We’ll risk it..”
“Easy for you to say…” one of shield triage pilots muttered lightly on coms.
As I popped out of the shield I quickly went through the check list. Anchor on DPS anchor, check. Lock assigned logistics bro and feed remote sensor boosts, check. Verify guns are stacked correctly to current FC specifications, check. Brackets are turned off, check. Secondary anchor is watchlisted, check. Drop sentries to prepare for firewall, check.
“Hostiles incoming. Hostiles incoming.”
I gulped as my overview flooded with red flashing hostiles. They landed a solid 200K+ from us, and there were hundreds of them.
I smiled as I saw a local notification from Exodus grabbing points on some of their small stuff.
“Go Exodus go.” Someone muttered.
“Wooohooo, go gettum boys.”
“Here they come.” The bulk of their fleet was burning toward us.
And then it began.
I got hit hard with TDs from multiple crucifiers, and an ECM burst wiped out all my locked targets.
“Get support back on Logistics!”
I began prioritizing relocks on my logi bro, and made sure he was getting fed sensor boosts before turning to my dps target.
“Guardians are jammed.”
“Guardian down, guardian down.”
I refit to projected ECCM on one of my mids, and relocked my logi bro, having been ECM bursted again.
It was touch and go for a while. We were losing guardians, and our fleet was being pounded with ECM bursts. It seemed like every time a coordinated artillery fire was called, I lost lock.
“POS bug! I can’t lock anything!” someone called.
“I can’t lock anything either …what the %$&^%?!
And thus started our second major problem of the evening. There seems to be a weird bug in EVE where occasionally it will not let you lock targets because it thinks you are inside the shields of a starbase, even though you are very obviously a generous distance from any shields.
“Logi can’t lock!”
“Burn us further away, burn us away.”
After trying a few things it was determined that we would need to stay a much bigger distance from the shields to avoid the bug. Not the best idea, but there’s no fighting the game ‘mechanics.’
Finally, I noticed the TDs dropped from my ship.
“Logistics is stabilizing.”
“How many we have left?”
“At least three guardians down.”
“What’s the status on those crucifiers?”
“Looks like Exodus has forced them off field.”
We continued popping Tengus. Sometimes, our volleys were coordinated enough and they evaporated. Sometimes, their logistics caught them and we were too staggered. And every couple minutes, locks would drop as more ECM bursts arrived.
TiDi was in the orange, so it was a bit painful. But, things were slowly moving in our direction and it was looking like we would probably be winning this. It would be a slow, tedious win. But we would hold the field and save our POS.
It was far past 1AM and heading closer to 2AM when everything changed. The fight had been going on well over an hour. There were ebbs and flows as Goon e-war came back, and was forced off again. And a constant cycle of getting ECM bursted, relocking, ECM burst, relocking. We knew they had a trump card, but up until then they didn’t seem willing to use it.
“They are mobilizing their supers! Also, a large capital fleet incoming!”
“How many carriers do they have?” our FC barked.
“Supers landing, supers landing!”
“At least forty carriers also landing.”
Game over. They were trumping out.
“Everyone back inside the shields now. Move back, move back. Go. Go. Go. Go.”
A full-scale, organized retreat ensued. And while most of the fleet made it out, there were a few that didn’t quite get there in time as the swarm landed on their heads.
“Once inside the shields, warp to station. Go, now.”
“Guardians, stay outside shields as long as you can and rep people.” The guardian anchor piped up. “Keep our Machs alive.”
I gave a big sigh of relief as my Machariel slowly slipped past the shield bubble to safety, and began to initiate warp to the station.
In the end, we ended up with about a 50/50 split in the ISKlost. (not including lost skill points) We lost field, and lost our POS. Goons brought in around 30 supers, and nearly 50 capitals at the end.
The ‘bring supers when all else fails’ is a card we’ve played against others in the past. So you will find no ‘grr goons’ here on that account. They’ve been losing to us rather soundly since they arrived, and I suspect that losing field again was simply not an option.
Well played, good fight.
“So, how long are we going to be in this station?” I asked FC sleepily.
“Go to bed, Susan.”
And so I did.