So as my Cloaky Tengu came out of standby, I was not surprised to find two of my corp mates in high-sec desiring a way back in. One pipe exit was a high-sec system, but it seems the exit bookmark was missing from the list of bookmarks we'd obtained. So I headed down the pipe to take care of the problem.
It was easy sailing as the three intervening wormholes were quiet. I arrived at the HS hole and found it end of life. I should have jumped through and marked the exit, but my mates would have many jumps to get there meaning it'd probably be gone by the time they arrived. Besides, I just didn't feel lucky that night. There was a decent low-sec entrance into the pipe as well and it wasn't EOL. They could use it.
As if moved back up the pipe, I of course hit d-scan at every jump. There were probes in the system just down pipe from our static. I made the announcement on comms and proceeded with caution to the entrance into our static. I landed several kilometers off, and sure enough there was a Tengu on the hole. It cloaked soon after I arrived.
Taking that as my queue, I approached the wormhole cloaked and gave the order to jump. There was no way the Tengu could catch me. It couldn't lock fast enough after decloaking. Besides, the pilot was probably face deep into scan probe data by now.
I emerged into our static and found nothing on d-scan. This told me nothing. If there is one thing I've learned living in Anoikis for ten months, it's that nothing found means nothing at all. The only certainty is a positive contact. I proceeded to our static entrance with caution, landing several kilometers off after having bounced from a celestial not in a direct line from the wormhole I entered by.
There were two Proteus and a Falcon on the hole. Well, hell: I made the announcement on comms just as the three ships warped off. It was in the direction of the hole I'd just come through so I figured they were with the Tengu. I breathed a whisper of relief and headed for home.
The customary d-scan was unnecessary as I arrived. Plainly visible on the overview was a Manticore. It was in our home system. When I'd left, there were miners in our belts. I announced a Manticore in the home system, and without hesitating I decloaked and approached. The Manticore didn't leave. I announced I was engaging the Manticore and put a warp disruptor on it and kicked on my microwarp. His shields so started to fail.
I had the Manticore below half armor when the two Proteus and Falcon arrived. Soon my shields were below half and falling rapidly as the Proteus came within optimal. By this time I had the alliance's full attention. Our FCs took over and help was marshaling quickly within the home system. I just had to hang on.
However, my shields were failing and I had Caldari paper mache for armor. I was advised to jump back through if it got too hot. I de-aggressed and jumped back into the static. After announcing this I was advised to hold cloak, which I did. Help was on it's way.
Soon though it was time to leave or lose cloak. The four ships had followed me through the hole and were waiting for me to break cloak. I decided to do it at a time of my choosing. I'd done this a hundred times. Yes, the adrenalin was pumping. Yes, I was excited. But I could do this and help was coming through the wormhole at any moment. I aligned to a celestial breaking cloak. Then I immediately stabbed the recloak button on my control panel - twice.
You know how your finger can kind of acts like a spring? You know, there's enough give in the ligaments that you can crook it hard and then the muscles spasm it straight again for you? I hate it when that happens. I cloaked, then I de-cloaked. And then my Tengu exploded. Well, it wasn't that fast. First they pointed me, webbed me, neuted me and jammed me back into the stone age. Then my Tengu exploded. Nope, not lucky at all that night.
However, it wasn't for nothing. My alliance mates got one of the Proteus and the the Manticore in trade. My Tengu was worth 600 mISK. They lost a Proteus valued at 850 mISK and a Manticore valued at 50 mISK. We win; good fight Polarized. I hope you had fun.
Now, let's get real for a moment. That's how I'd like to remember this encounter. The reality is I was neither this calm nor this helpful during the fight. Let's go through my mistakes. This will help me get better and hopefully you as well. That last is aimed at my fellow carebears. As much as we'd like to believe we can live and let live, the reality is you will, at one point or another, have to fight for what is yours. So, on with the lesson.
- I did not use break-break to make my announcement of hostiles. There was a lot going on in comms. Just saying so isn't enough when you have hostiles in your hole. People need to know it's urgent and by not using break-break they didn't immediately understand what was happening. The fact that I was actually asked what was going on is indication that I failed to properly inform.
- I acted BEFORE I reported. I decloaked in front of the Manticore giving him plenty of time to assess the situation and call his friends back. More importantly, I didn't give my alliance mates enough time to react nor the intel needed to counter the threat. They were still bringing their ships out of stand-by when I started firing at the Manticore. This is especially egregious because time was on our side. Get your ducks in a row before doing anything. Time is an advantage. Use it.
- I was not in fleet. Yep, that's right. I had neglected to join the alliance fleet on startup. I had to take precious seconds in the middle of the fight to do so. There is a reason we have a standing fleet. It's partly for situations like the one I found myself in. I failed to follow alliance procedure. Follow procedures.
- When the fight got hot, I got vocally excited. We've all heard this many, many times. It's important. Take a deep breath. Keep your voice level. Detach yourself from what is being done to your ship and be efficient. This will also help you wade through the myriad of buttons you will have to be pushing on your console. Buttons to fire. Buttons to talk to others. Buttons to align. Buttons to cloak. That doesn't even take into account the here a click, there a click, everywhere a click-click dance going on at the same time. All of these must get done in seconds, and all other things being equal the pilot that does it best wins.
- When I spoke, I failed to quickly and accurately relay valuable information. There is a way to speak in combat. Once upon a time I knew how to do this. Time and lack of practice makes one rusty. And this is a game, so it just doesn't occur to me I should use it. Perhaps if I traded my Sennheiser for a CVC helmet... never mind. The point is, learn battle comms and live by battle comms. After the fight, I was clued into an excellent guide done two years ago by Jester. It's Jester's guide to PvP Voice Communications. Read it. Learn it. Live by it.
I will soon get to practice all of these things and more. Surely You're Joking is in Alliance Tournament XI. It's all hands on deck for practice. Our combat pilots need people to maneuver against and I am a perfect target. I may lack experience, but I can fit a fair number of ships. And I want to learn. Next time, I want to get both Proteus and that damn Falcon too!