Asher has brought the Reavers out on a new deployment, one where we will be working out of a familiar station in Reavers history.
Having a station, rather than living out of mobile depots in safe spots as we did in Impass, means having the option to field multiple doctrines during the deployment.
I barely made it into the deployment fleet and did not have time to arrange to have somebody carry a ship for me in a capital ship. I just grabbed one of the doctrine ships I had handy and undocked to catch up with the fleet, which was already on the move. I made it, but I I was locked into the single doctrine.
Fortunately, from where we are staging, it is possible to fly a ship out without an undue amount of risk. Returning to an old stomping ground means that perches and safe spots are bookmarked already, making the journey more viable. I jump cloned back and empty clone I hold in Jita, bought and fit a Cerberus, and flew it on out to our staging system.
The route through high sec was easy enough, but I waited until the evening had turned into night and the online user count had dropped down before heading into low sec and then null sec and the end of my journey. I had arrived, safely docked up, and logged off when Asher sent out a ping for a Reavers fleet.
The doctrine called for was the first ship I flew out. That doctrine requires implants and, having just cloned jumped a few hours earlier, I could not jump back into that clone in time for the fleet. I remained logged off and started tinkering with Minecraft. I noticed after a bit that another ping had gone out and that the doctrine had been changed to the Cerberus fleet. I logged back in, got on coms, and joined the fleet.
The fleet was already undocked and in combat, following Asher around and kiting the enemy in his usual fashion. The problem for me was being able to warp in and join up. The Cerb doctrine is built to move fast, so warping carries risk. By the time one comes out of warp the fleet will have moved quite some ways. When you warp, you go to the point your target was at that moment.
So I tried warping in, found myself way off from both friend and foe, then warped off to a safe. I did this a few times when Asher cleared people to try and warp in, however on my fourth attempt I managed to land right in the midst of the enemy fleet, also flying Cerbs, and was pointed before I could warp off again. My brand new Cerberus exploded before I could even overheat my hardener. I owned it for barely three hours total.
Loss keeps the New Eden economy thriving.
I was able to warp out in my pod and dock up, but that left me out of the fight. The only other ship I had was not appropriate for what we were doing, so I was sitting in my pod in one of the stations listening to the fight continue.
There were additional losses and Asher eventually rounded everybody up and docked to asses how things stood. We posted our losses in fleet and Asher tried to sort out getting people re-shipped. I didn’t have anything else I could fly… and couldn’t get in the clone for the ship anyway, once you have clone swapping in citadels you start to miss it in stations… so he asked who had something for me. There wasn’t a spare Cerb or logi to be had, but old school Reaver Norrec Lafisques had a Sabre sitting his hangar.
I was asked if I could fly it and said that of course I could. And it was true, I had trained up the skills for all things interdictor related ages ago. So Norrec traded me the ship and I threw some money at him hoping that it was enough in case I lost it, got in the Sabre and prepared to undock.
Of course, the question nobody asked was whether or not I knew what to do with a Sabre, or any other interdictor, once I was strapped in. I had trained up the skills, but I had never actually flown one. Interdictors are ships that require some individual skill and initiative. They are tech II destroyers that can put up warp disruption bubbles, an action that can save the day when done at the right moment or get us in deep shit done at the wrong. I’ve watched some masters of the art in Reavers use them to great effect, so I felt a little bit of pressure not to screw up.
Still, hostiles were in system, we were set to undock, so I figured one more ship even ineptly handled would be better than no ship at all, so long as I didn’t screw us by bubbling. I had the ship insured and given that interdictors are generally high priority targets I wasn’t sure I would last long in any case, so when the command came I left the station with everybody else.
And then I set about trying to figure out what buttons to press.
I was in a panic for a moment as I couldn’t find the module for bubble deployment. I wasn’t even sure what it would look like, but knew it had to be there somewhere. Norrec had put it at the far end of the hot keys so it was under the fleet window, the traditional place to hide modules you don’t want to set off by accident. (e.g. cynos, bomb launchers, smart bombs)
I also had a little 125mm Gatling AutoCannon to let me whore on kills… shells down range to the target get you listed even if they do not hit… as well as what I took to be a light missile launcher loaded with EM missiles. That seemed a bit redundant until I went to use it mid-fight and found it was loaded with Defender missiles, the new hotness for destroying incoming bombs.
Meanwhile the fleet was on the move and I was going with it.
There were other interdictors in the fleet, so I was pretty sure I would be the last choice when Asher was looking for somebody who knew what they were doing, but part of the job of an interdictor in the fast moving Cerb fleet is to drop bubbles regularly when told to in order to shield us from people warping in on us.
When the time came I just sort of watched to see when the other interdictors were bubbling and when there was a gap I launched by own bubble. Nobody said anything so I am going to guess I didn’t mess that up.
The fight itself had been a running series of engagements with a Ferox fleet and a Cerberus fleet. Then the Feroxes moved off, only to have a Machariel fleet show up. We moved and shot and occasionally knocked down a foe. While the Sabre doesn’t have the range of the Cerb, a few targets fell within range so I was able to get rounds in their direction and get on the kill.
The fight had us in the next system over and we were headed back towards base when the Machs were reported on their way. We ended up with us on one side of the gate and them on the other. We jumped through and attempted to zip away, but a couple people got caught, including Norrec, who lost his Cerb of many kill marks due to being in a bad spot.
We zoomed around some more, though the Machs were fit for speed as well, so we couldn’t engage at will.
The battle report shows us coming out on the short end when it comes to ISK… Cerbs are not cheap… but the odds were generally against us at each step, so not getting trapped and slaughtered meant some measure of success.
After we docked up again I asked Norrec if he wanted the Sabre back, seeing as he was now down a ship as well. But he said I had bought it, so I suppose I threw enough money at him. Now I have a Sabre there for future use. In the mean time though I got my alt out in Jita and bought up a few more ships and some supplies to send out to our staging.
There was some talk about getting doctrine ships up on contract out where we are staging, however they have to be alliance contracts, since people will mess with you if you’re not paying attention with public contracts. And being one of the few people not in the main alliance, well, it might be better to have my own stuff to hand in case things are popping again and nobody has time to find something for me. Another one of those times where I think my life might be easier if I just joined KarmaFleet.