There was word that there might be a Reavers op about the time I arrived home from work. And, sure enough, shortly after I was able to sit down at my computer a ping went out from Thomas Lear to get into his fleet. It was going to be an opportunity to use our Sleipnir doctrine again, an expensive command ship we fly on occasion.
However, he broadcast the fleet ping to all-all rather than just to Reavers, so he had to spend a while weeding out non-Reavers who joined the fleet. They were at least relatively easy to spot, not being in Sleipners.
Once that was sorted, along with getting boosters for the fleet, we were off to the local jump bridge on our way out.
From the far side of the jump bridge we took a gate and warped to a conveniently located wormhole that sent us directly to the Placid region. From there we passed into Cloud Ring and null sec space. As we moved Thomas explained that we were on our way to a fight between Brave Newbies and Pandemic Legion. PL had an Astrahus citadel going online in 9-4RP2, a system Brave recently took from the Imperium North group, Initiative Mercenaries.
(The Mittani said in a recent Fireside that The Initiative, while off on its own, was still considered to be part of the Imperium. There are actually some familiar old names in The Initiative these days, including WALLTREIPERS and Fweddit.)
We were going there to third party on the fight, to shoot targets of opportunity from both sides.
Our first targets were a fleet of Pandemic Horde Talwars that cross jumped us at a gate on our way. We managed to put an interdictor back through the gate quickly and jumped as many people back into QXW-PV as possible to blap the PH destroyers. We got a fair number before getting back on course for the real fight.
Once in 9-4RP2, the Astrahus was going online, sitting in its vulnerable self-repair deployment process where an attacker can kill it in one go rather than having to wait for the vulnerability window and going through three attacks spaced by two timers.
Brave Newbies was out with an Augoror Navy Issue fleet to attack the citadel, while PL a small Rorqual fleet sitting tethered on the Astrahus along with the remaining PH Talwars.
We started off hitting the PH fleet as they were in range, taking down some more Talwars along with a couple of their logi support. I took a target of opportunity and blapped a Rifter that was coming straight at us, so there was no tracking issue for my arty fit Sleipnir. I almost got a solo kill on that, but one of our Sabres managed to get a hit in on him.
However, while we started off easily plinking small stuff, PL got themselves into action soon enough, dropping a battleship fleet to support them.
The Rorquals had deployed sentry drones and put them into action against us as we got in range and things started to go downhill. The PL drone trigger targeted me and I called for reps early, but we did not have much logi along with us, so while I lasted for a bit, the firepower of the Rorqual drones chewed me into armor and then into hull, popping my Sleipnir.
You can see my ship in the above screen shot, glowing with erupting explosions and turning out of control. My pod had already ejected by that point, but the death animations continued on for a bit. So dramatic. A Brave Newbies pilot got on my kill due to some bomb damage from earlier, along with some Initiative pilots that were running ECM bursts.
The fight was pretty much done for me at that point. I had hit a few targets before I blew up, so got on the kill mails after they went down even though I was in my pod at that point. So I pottered about on grid for a bit and tried to take some screen shots of the Rorquals.
Sitting there with their sentry drones shooting as one, they reminded me a bit of the old wrecking ball carrier tactic from back in the day, except rather than being spider tanked and able to rep each other, the Rorquals can make their whole fleet invulnerable for a bit should they get in trouble. via the dread Pulse Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core that came in with the Ascension expansion. Combat Rorquals are a thing.
On coms it sounded like we were losing ships slowly but surely. Meanwhile, the Brave Newbie fleet left the scene. Apparently we unintentionally blew up their FC and the fleet decided to get off grid after that. That left us as the main target and it sounded like time for us to make an exit as well.
As that was coming together I suddenly realized, as Iolled about in my pod in the middle the battle, that I had implants in my clone. Not super expensive, like a full set of Slaves or anything, but a couple of implants that were a bit pricey for me. 50 million ISK here, 90 million ISK there, soon that starts to add up into real currency. I decided that I had best be on my way as well, heading for the out gate ahead of the fleet.
I didn’t feel the need to keep together with the fleet, since I wasn’t going to be able to help them at all, instead running ahead as something of a pod scout. Fortunately, there was nothing between us and the wormhole back home to worry about. It was also fortunate that I remembered to bookmark the wormhole when we arrived.
I got back through and arrived home safely, minus one Sleipnir. It even had a kill mark on it for a short period of time.
Looking at the battle report I rolled up for the engagement, we lost the fewest ships, but the ships we lost were expensive. Nine Sleipnirs down adds up fast. Now to see what sort of reimbursement I will get for my loss.
Pandemic Legion carried the day, winning both the object and the ISK war. Another small skirmish in the ongoing conflict that is New Eden.