I awoke late in the station’s afternoon cycle, feeling fresh and alert after a dreamless sleep. I splashed some water on my face, then checked alliance comms. One of our FCs had called an ad hoc op which was starting in …. 10 minutes! He wanted sniper HACs, so this was the perfect opportunity to take out the Zealot I’d bought some time ago but not used in battle yet.
I made it into my capsule and then into the waiting Zealot in good time, as usual with these ops they never actually start on time due to the array of “what ship do you want”, “I am 3 jumps out, hang on” etc. calls. I had the training to fly all the races Recons and HACs, and T2 equip them, but due to the nature of what we face on a daily basis, the Vagabond is always the best HAC to use, and as I am very familiar with the Rapier, it’s the Recon of choice (and arguably the most useful, everyone hates it when people run back to gates!).
As a result, I have spent very little time in Amarrian ships. The sub cruiser size Amarrian ships I have dabbled with, but usually a Minmatar ship can do the job and is also faster. Speed keeps you alive around Catch/ Provi. However, the Zealot is an excellent sniper ship, and if it had a utility slot for a cloak, I’d probably fly it more.
The fleet gets underway, and we are told we are going to help defend a reinforced POS and that they are expecting enemy ships to try to finish the job while it’s being repaired. We fly a few jumps, then hook up with a very imposing Amarrian Titan who bridges the fleet into Stain- ZH-KEV.
It turns out the POS at the other end of the bridge belongs to an alliance called C0ven. I had heard of them, but not really seen them around much. Due to a standings issue, we have to warp off immediately we appear out of the bridge as the POS follows it’s programming and starts to lock us up. We don’t take any losses, and it’s quickly sorted out.
We take up positions around a the DABV-N gate in order to interdict any incoming ships, and spread out to avoid being an easy target to bombers. It seems my Beam Lasers can hit 95km comfortably with Aurora loaded, so I orbit the gate at 70km, leaving me enough range if any ships appear on the other side to me. As it turns out, we don’t have to wait long. A rather unfortunate Brick Squad Iteron MkIV jumps through after a couple of minutes. Bubble goes up, I lock him and fire. The thrum of the Beam Lasers is felt through the ship as they shoot focused light across the void, but there is less fuss than the usual autocannons I am used to.
The Hauler explodes in seconds as more people acquire lock and let loose. On board is a large-ish consignment of Neodymium. I know this is used in reactions, but I am no egghead and have no idea what it’s actually used to produce, or whether it’s worth much.
At about the same time, a Brick Squad Hound decloaks and bombs us… however, he isn’t quick enough to warp, and gets locked and destroyed in short order by a Muninn. It quickly becomes apparent there is no enemy anything headed this way, so we leave C0ven to it, and head back to F4. Our bridge back isn’t quite as conveniently placed, so we have to conventionally travel some jumps. As we traversed 4J9-DK, our scout tells us that a Rapier is jumping in from the next system. We have landed by this point, so bubble up…wait for it…gate flashes, Rapier de- and then re-cloaks. I am watching for this, and MWD over to where he was seen last. I don’t have any drones to eject in an effort to make decloaking him easier. I get lucky, and the Rapier’s cloak overloads due to the interference from my ship and he decloaks 1300m off my bow.
Suffice to say he is despatched, and we move on quickly, reaching our Titan exit with no more encounters and courtesy of a Gallente Titan (which I’d never seen up close before, so now I have seen all 4 Titans types) we were bridged back to the familiar surroundings of Catch and stood down. I was impressed with the Zealot…shame about the cloak though!
Later on, a Drake operation is called, and we roam around in a large fleet. However, CVA take particular umbrage to us whenever we do this (to be honest, I really hate going up against Drakes, so I can understand), and rolled out the usual RR BS fleet, but this time they raised 150 ships for our 40. We’d come out for a fight, and as they were using JBs to get around us anyway, we tried to make it so we wouldn’t be pincered. The fight in the end was a rolling fight over 2 systems, and we split them up slightly due to aggression timers. As you’d expect with almost 4-1 odds and many logistics in their fleet, the results were predictable. However, I felt the day was saved by the fact 0rigin and myself got a Griffin kill, the only kill on our side (high five!). I almost got my pod out of the bubble before I exploded, ah well.
My Drake’s insurance (it was actually quite nice receiving insurance worth a damn for once) covered the cost of my new clone with some change to spare. I wasn’t remotely upset, I don’t really like Drakes anyway.