The conversation was short and to the point - as I've come to expect from Security Division agents. It seems they needed some well armed thieves eliminated and some sensitive items retrieved. The ISK bonus was nominal. However, the implant offered was more than adequate compensation. Doing this for the Federation would not help with my Caldari problem but, it would certainly further my other goals. I decided I'd accept the mission and hope I didn't need to buy a better ship to complete it.
However, I needed a little time to get back to my home base and make that decision. I asked for a small delay, which she granted. I burned for home and took a look at what I had available. There really was only one choice. Though I have no battleships, I have several Battle Cruisers, only one of them stood a chance.
[Statistics - Prinz Eugen (Drake)]
Effective HP: 45,707 (Eve: 38,908)
Tank Ability: 362.34 DPS
Damage Profile - Angel Cartel (EM: 10.88%, Ex: 58.71%, Ki: 18.93%, Th: 11.48%)
Shield Resists - EM: 65.44%, Ex: 70.25%, Ki: 79.26%, Th: 72.35%
Armor Resists - EM: 50.00%, Ex: 10.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 45.00%
Capacitor (Stable at 81.92%)
Volley Damage: 2,221.25
I decided the tanking version with Shield Flux Coil IIs would be better than the higher buffer fit I run in Incursion fleets where logi pilots take care of me. There would be no one to help me where I was going. I'd just have to avoid having them all engage me at one time right?
I arrived at the acceleration gate not long after returning to accept the mission. All launchers were loaded and five Hobgoblin IIs on standby in the drone bay. I was certain I'd run into frigates. That was one thing Prinz Eugen could tank endlessly but not actually destroy. The drones would do that. I jumped.
As my warp ended, I got a good look at the welcoming committee. I mumbled, "That's a lot of ships" as the warp field collapsed. A quick look at my overview showed I was in for a long fight. As I read down the list of hostiles, the idea I'd had about keeping them all from engaging at the same time was forefront in my mind. I thanked the stars they weren't Incursion Sansha...
The gate left me close, too close, to the group of frigates and cruisers. They were on me in an instant. Before I could even fire up my engines the Angel Webifier frigates had me stuck like a fly at a spider convention. As I my engines labored to the point of tearing themselves apart, I took out a battle ship. But another was closing fast and opening up on me. I quick check confirmed that all the battleships were converging on the Prinz Eugen. Crap.
I launched the five Hobbgoblin IIs but they immediately took off after the battleship I was engaging - stupid drones. By the time I'd realized what they were doing, the other frigates had destroyed two of them. I redirected to the Webifiers but one died as it turned. They weren't going to make it. I had the remaining two drones attack the nearest Defiler frigates and take out two before they perished. With my drones gone and the Webifiers dancing around me in glee, I align to the only station in system. When the shield alarm sounded, I warped off.
I restocked with Warrior I drones for the return trip. They were readily available and ultimately disposable. I bought 15 in all. With the drone bay full again and the remote armor repper (for damaged drones) replaced with an Auto Targeting System (it was a lot of ships,) I returned to the battle.
I was fortunate. I'd managed to lead the Webifier frigates a long ways off and they stupidly ignored me when I returned. That was a fatal mistake but not for them. I immediately opened up on the nearest two battleships and aligned to the station. This took me away from the Webifiers. The battleships followed.
They stayed at a comfortable distance of 45 to 50 kilometers. The Webifier frigates continued to play stupid. A few cruisers joined the battleships but it wasn't enough. I popped them all without any shield warning. The Prinz Eugen is an outstanding ship.
The frigates never engaged. They were now over 90 kilometers distant. It would take forever to get to them so I warped to station and warped back to the acceleration gate. When I landed again, I was just under 30 kilometers from them. I smiled and launched my drones while target locks confirmed. The first Webifier died before he even knew what happened. The other two burned for me but the Warrior drones popped one and then the other before they even got into range.
With the only real threat to me out of the way, I proceeded to lure the remainder of the enemy fleet into hopeless slug fest after another. The only thing that concerned me was running our of advanced heavy missiles for the battleships. I had some precision variants that I could use on the smaller ships, but the battleships would tank them easily. A little ammo management later and with the help of the drones, which finished off the last of the frigates without getting touched, the staging area was clear. I proceeded to the objective with fully charged shields and reloaded launchers.
The final fleet was considerably smaller (to my relief.)
I'd have enough advanced heavy missiles to finish off the last two battleships. I targeted, launched drones and engaged. The drones once again quickly took out the frigate. Then I turned them on the cruisers where they proved to be fairly effective. I rained missiles onto the battleships one at a time while Prinz Eugen shook off everything they threw back. It was... gratifying.
Two hours after I'd started, the Angel Cartel fleet was sparking wrecks drifting in the vacuum of space. I returned with Itty Bitty, an Iteron Mark III (one of my first ships in fact) I had parked close by, and salvaged the wrecks. It wasn't a great haul but it paid for the lost Hobgoblin IIs and the missiles. Agent Gere was quite pleased. Now when I pass Federation officers outside my captain's quarters, they all nod in my direction. It seems word gets around. It makes the fact I'm now a marked man with the Angel Cartel easier to ignore.