“I’m Johnny Crowe, coming to you live from an umbilical cord in PNDN-V” – Dirk MacGirk
I told you I would steal that and shamelessly I have. He wasn’t wrong though; I was essentially attached to an umbilical cord, nourishing me, keeping me safe from the reality of my world. The story doesn’t start here.
An hour before, I was sitting in the lounge slash bar of the fabulous Hakonen VII station, taking Mindflood and drinking some Quafe Ultra on the side to keep my buzz even, when I got a ping that said: “Can a Claw FC x up for me please.” Naturally, in the next minute or so within Skirmish Commanders was hectic. A few ‘ceptor heroes fought over who could be the FC of this fleet. Fortunately, a man named l2azor Clear was given the reigns; I definitely would’ve mucked it up. We were given a strategic objective, one that would force me to kill you if I ever revealed it to you (or maybe I just didn’t know it.) Anyway, we allowed a few minutes for the slow form to happen. This was a blessing for me as I needed time to properly elevate myself for whatever we had planned.
As we were in interceptors there was not much to be done when we docked up – no destinations, no long pre-aligns. We were nullifier immune, instawarping, and mean. I’ll admit, I’m extremely biased when it comes to interceptors. I love them, they are on equal footing to my love for Flycatchers. They are great, easy to FC, great to burn home in. Any pre-align ‘ceptor is just a damn fun ship all around to be flying. I’ll admit they are a little light on the DPS side, but as we’ve all come to find in New Eden, if you throw enough of anything at something, it dies horribly in a fire.
We started off pretty open comms and relaxed until we hit Taisy gate to M-O. As most of our little bees can attest, It’s not wise to muck around in M-O when you’re a goon. There is usually a nice gate camp – things waiting on every citadel. It’s much like I imagine hell to be, only hell would be much more keen to see me never leave. We burned through M-O; I wasn’t sure how far our group would be displaced. Usually, fozzieclaws transverse much distance but in this instance, we did not. Within the span of a few jumps into hostile territory, we found ourselves tethering on a roach motel.
We left our little scout bee behind then warped to gate, jumping into the enemy, and holding cloak. L2azor expertly managed to warp our fleet off to a blue Astrahus awaiting us. The hostile fleet was far enough away from us to be far outside of burning distance and close enough that we could still get a visual on them. We waited, regrouping on the FC as he gave his orders to not aggress anything in order to keep us tethered.
Then it happened. A blue Jackdaw fleet landed on the hostile Machariel fleet awaiting them—you know, the usual Machariels plus a bunch of support for said ships. The start of the fight was intense; the blue fleet and enemy fleet started hammering away at each other, both trying to force the other one into their prime weapon ranges. We still hadn’t engaged, but the trap was sprung; we were ready. Then the warp came—our FC calm as he relayed the first target: a Machariel. Our claws landed on the Machariel at zero.
Amidst the fight with the Jackdaws, the enemy fleet didn’t have time to save the Mach. We bravely orbited him at five hundred, afraid of getting smart bombed, but also of losing the juicy target. Success. – 1 Machariel. Even if we did nothing else, that Machariel was worth more than our fleet, but the fight didn’t end there. We warped off as we started to get hammered. We aligned back, and warped onto another Machariel, but this time it was different. As we started to burn him he managed to scram our FC, nearly getting the head-shot we were warped off and abandoned him.
We bounced around awhile from roach motel to roach motel allowing our FC time for reps. Then, we burned through the hostile fleet awaiting us at gate and moved onward a few systems. We arrived at a friendly citadel a few jumps out, ready for the next engagement. On the undock was a carrier waiting for us. Unfortunately for him he couldn’t tether, nor break ours. We sat there for a moment gaining our composure, then we warped off. The second engagement was over much quicker. We landed on a group of Feroxes and various support ships while another fleet was being hammered by them. Again, we picked off the strays, the stragglers, all was well until the red cyno went up.
The escalation was quick, from a few sub caps, to three carriers, and a fax. They must really have wanted these Feroxes. So naturally, we did what any tiny ‘ceptor pilot would do when dropped on. We got right out. We bounced again, waiting until a few Feroxes fell out of line with their fleet, then we melted them too. Here we are, sitting amid the wreckage, me holding onto this umbilical cord, and staring at a group of hostiles we may or may not have goaded into fighting us.
Moments before, the carrier had lost fighters as we did what interceptors are good for: quick, hit and run games. At some point during the engagement, an enemy fleet managed to head-shot our FC and naturally, the backup FC linked in local to orbit him. Never not link intel to local am I right? Soon after we made one more quick stop to the carrier, blapping a few more fighters before we burned our way home.
Next time you ping
As we look back on our time in Hak, I will answer a question the FC asked us. How much did I like this fleet, one to ten? Your fleet was a 10 L2azor. I had a great time; next time you ping, expect me to join you. For an FC that got headshot, you recovered wonderfully and got your fleet home without the backseat taking over. Also to the little bee who ejected to give the FC a replacement Claw, you’re the true goon hero of this fleet, even if I am too inebriated to remember your name. We lost a small handful Claws and did over a billion ISK in damage. Well done L2azor.
This is Johnny Crowe from the umbilical cord saying, neener neener never gonna catch us.