After a week or so in Fountain shooting towers and getting the occasional fight (EUTZ had a couple of good ones I heard) the Reavers withdrew from their staging and headed back to home. Asher convoyed a chunk of us out this past weekend, avoiding a large Pandemic Legion fleet that apparently didn’t know we were there and managing to work around a LowSechnaya Sholupen fleet that looked to be actively hunting us. Fortunately we were in a part of Aridia at that point that had a number of cross connected systems, so they went one way, we went the other, and we ended up looping around them and off to our wormhole without direct contact with the hostiles. Op success and I didn’t even leave yet another 300 million ISK Basilisk parked in a distant station.
And there we rested, the Reavers standing down again.
Not that there aren’t things to do. Northern Coalition decided to come to the north from which its name was initially derived to try to coordinate with Mordus Angels and stir up some action in Pure Blind. There have been an ongoing series of ops in the region, enough to keep everybody busy.
Plus Asher always has his eyes open for other non-deployment actions for the Reavers, such as the planned recon fight against Ron Mexxico and Pandemic Legion.
Then there are always the doctrine experiments. We’ve gone out with him, had fun, and occasionally died horribly, in a variety of ships over the year or so that Reavers have been a thing.
And so it was that this week Asher said he was having a batch of what he called “Fozzie Claws” imported so we could go out on a roam. The Claw is, of course, a Minmatar interceptor, like the Stiletto it is a tech II variation of the the Slasher.
A Claw up close
Always keen to try something new and, having recently passed 145 million skill points, likely having the skills required, I bought one when they came up on contract. (There are still gaps in my training though. When the Ron Mexxico fight came up I found that I had never even injected the skill for recon ships. There is always some new skill I need.)
The fit was… interesting.
I generally fly logi, so am no expert on interceptors. But still, strapping on an interceptor with no web, no point, and no propulsion module seemed… odd. Sure, the three guns and the missile launcher, those were good in the way that firepower always is, though the range seemed awfully short. I don’t generally spend much time… alive… at the under 12km mark around hostile ships. Sensor boosters make for a quick lock, so I got those in the mids, but the warp core stabilizers though, that was new.
I was certainly keen to find out how this would work.
Of course, there was a plan, even if my limited imagination could not see it.
Asher called us up after leading an op in Pure Blind and we assembled in YA0-XJ and got in our Claws. Once we undocked he sent us racing off to Cloud Ring. At least in an interceptor movement across regions is still quick. When you’re able to move at 8 AU a second, there are systems were you spend more time waiting for the gate transition than you do flying through the system. We were at our destination fairly quickly.
Cloud Ring, abandoned by The Imperium as part of the Fozzie Sov realignment, has been a hotbed of activity. J4LP… or Fweddit, to call them by their main and best known (and best named) corp… tried to fill the power vacuum when The Imperium pulled out, but was set upon by various entities such as Pandemic Legion and their newbie friendly subsidiary Pandemic Horde, Lethal Intent, Black Legion when it was still a thing in null sec, The Irukandji, Suddenly Spaceships, and even The-Culture from across the Fountain border. Systems have see-sawed back and forth, and our Imperium allies, SpaceMonkey’s Alliance have jumped into the fray as well.
Basically, fights happen in Cloud Ring and, as it turned out, Asher’s Claw doctrine depended on fights in progress. Once we arrived in the region we went cruising for hostiles and, once we found some I got a taste of what the doctrine entailed.
We would all hang in space, aligning where told, while Oxygen, who had a ship fit for probing, would scan down a hostile. He would then fleet warp us all to the target. However, he was exempt from fleet warps, so we would all warp off while he remain, having essentially “thrown” us at a target.
When we landed… and if we found ourselves within our rather limited engagement range… we would lock up the target, open fire, and then Asher would warp us back to Oxygen after a volley or two for another throw. A small target would generally be dead by then and we would be back and ready for another throw soon enough.
Of course, a small target would also die very quickly under the hail or 220mm artillery fire, so it was time to learn how to lock and fire quickly. To the speedy went the kill mails, while I fumbled for quite a bit until I got a system down.
From there we went off stalking targets.
Lock range… and just gun range… were important factors. We had to land right on top of a target to be able to bring it down before it was time to warp off. Oxygen had to identify a target and warp us to it while it was still there. Even moving at 8AU a second, a fast moving target would often be well out of our range by the time we landed. Even I could appreciate that there was clearly as much “art” or “feel” for where and when to throw us as there was science.
But it was a lot of fun.
Again, being used to the lumbering logi and bigger ships in general, zipping around space in an interceptor. There is a sense of speed and agility in landing, shooting, and warping off. You’re like a bird of prey.
And we did catch some targets. We butted in on a running fight between an SMA Drake fleet… seeing Drakes in action brought back a surge of nostalgia for 2012 and the reign of the perma-MWD Drake… and some WAFFLES Gilas supported by Scimitar logi. We bounced around trying to get a good shot at somebody, but the Gilas were to well hardened and the Scimitars were moving fast enough that finding the right opportunity was a challenge.
We were in and out of that battle, but after a lot of throws we didn’t get any direct kills. We did manage to hit a Scimitar that SMA finished off for us.
We had better luck with some Pandemic Horde pilots we seemed to be hanging about in space in Prophecies doing…something. We got thrown at a couple of those and managed some kills. Those were ships that took a lot more than a couple volleys to take down, but the pilots seemed to be rather docile. If they had launched some drones they could have taken a bite out of our fleet, but they seemed more keen to run.
Fortunately, somebody couldn’t fly a Claw and brought a more conventionally fit Crow with a point, so we were able to hold them down long enough to kill them. (kill one and kill two)
We almost got a third, but we found him on a gate, which lead to a bit of a stand off.
We sent the Crow through to grab him when we jumped, but he didn’t seem keen on jumping. He was waiting for us to engage so we would be stuck behind a 1 minute aggression timer when he jumped. So a couple of us started shooting him, slowly wearing him down. However, a Prophecy can have a lot of EHP, so he was content to wait us out for a while.
Eventually he jumped through and the Crow pointed him on the other side. We all jumped through as well, locked him up and opened fire. However he went straight back to the gate and had enough armor left to get there before we could bring him down.
So he got away, but not before we put some fear into him I am sure.
We had a few people who could have taken us at range and picked us apart run off. A couple dozen Claws dropping in your vicinity can be unnerving, and I supposed nobody suspected that we would be running around without an MWD fit to allow us to close or give chase.
All good fun and a new experience for me.
Along the way, in 00TY-J to be exact, I was recognized by Orion Sa-Solo, newly part of WAFFLES, and he called out in local. We follow each other on Twitter.
Somebody in fleet had to mention this to me as I tend to keep the message column for local compressed as far as possible… because how often does somebody say something useful in local… so it is mostly just a list of names for intel purposes. Thus prompted though, I waved back, as such things go.
[ 2015.09.23 04:47:44 ] Orion Sa-Solo > Wilhelm Arcturus heyo
[ 2015.09.23 04:48:19 ] Wilhelm Arcturus > Hey hey!
[ 2015.09.23 04:48:28 ] Thomas Hornigolds > Spai
[ 2015.09.23 04:48:46 ] Orion Sa-Solo > a damn good one too dont you forget
Ships passing in the big night sky of Cloud Ring. We were off to another system a minute or two later, but I’ve seen another #tweetfleet person in space!
We flew about for a bit more, but things seemed to be dying down in the region, so we were soon pointed for YA0-XJ or other systems or other systems closer to home.
An interesting tactic, being thrown about in a short range interceptor. But I’m still not sure why they got the name “Fozzie Claws.”
And I have a few screen shots from our time out in Cloud Ring. Click on the images to see larger versions in a gallery view.
Close up of a Claw
A Prophecy pointed
A close up of a Prohpecy about to die
We got thrown at a POS at one point
Chasing a Prophecy around a gate