This story starts some days before the actual battle.
I am a hauler. I love taking my DST and flying out to Jita to buy a few things, maybe bring back some supplies to the hole and fit out a cheeky ship or two. I’m also easily distracted by fitting, and it tends to come back to bite me on the backside. So there I was; sitting in Jita, buying this and that, maybe refitting an experimental and ill-fated Drake Navy Issue for one-on-one PvP, when the call goes up on voice Comms: “There’s a Nightmare in this hole. Form up, we’re gonna kill it.”
You have not seen someone operate the controls of a corvette so quickly in your life. I was 12 jumps out from our wormhole and every second was torture as I hear all my corpmates X-ing up in fleet and undocking to lay their trap. I arrived one minute too late and shipped into my Prophecy just as they got the kill. One billion isk, not a bad night’s work for those involved. All I could do is say to myself that I would be there for the next one.
Well, the next one came…”There’s a Rattlesnake and a Tengu in this hole. Form up, we’re gonna kill ’em.”
And I was in Jita; in my DST, messing around with fits, 9 jumps out.
You have never seen someone operate the controls of a corvette so quickly in your life…and I got podded by a gate-camp just as I entered the system with the wormhole chain entrance. I was then politely informed that a shuttle would be far faster, which turned out to be true as I dodged the belligerents the second time round and made it into the chain with just enough time to re-ship into my trusty Prophecy and undock in an effort to meet the fleet, who were assembled a few holes over.
The fleet itself was formed organically from what we had at the time, as there were only a few people online when the call went out. More and more people dropped in as the pings were posted and finally we had enough warm bodies to project a tactically complete trap; we had Logi, interdiction, DPS and eyes ready.
The aim was to track the Rattlesnake and its accompanying escort Tengu (who were ostensibly ratting in a neighboring system), and launch an assault when they hit a site.
The problem came when we realised that they had no idea we were coming. Our eyes had lost them in a hole beyond and we didn’t want to spook them by risking having a ship on D-scan; so the fleet waited and mulled their options.
Then, cut to me: minutes late and charging through wormholes like a madman, I symbolically X-ed up in fleet and jumped through into the next system – only to be met with an astero sitting on the other side…which then proceeded to target me. I knew that if this little Astero wasn’t immediately warping out from my Prophecy, then its buddies were on the way, so I immediately started yelling at the fleet, which proceeded to turn ’round and get on grid as ships from New Jovian Exploration Department [NJED] arrived (completely unrelated to our quarry) and proceeded to burn away half my armour before our own percussive diplomacy landed and they bugged out in the face of our fairly sizeable presence.
Our logi patched up my armour and we were together at last, the problem now was that the fleet had left the hole and there were no eyes on the side that contained our prize. We arrived and sat, debating what we should do; whether we should send someone in or just wait. Eventually the decision was made to have our Sabre and Purifier (Flown by Captain Cornfed and Der Schattengeist respectively) jump through to bubble the other side…when a most uncanny thing took place.
Two pulses of the wormhole, meaning that two ships had jumped through and were now sitting cloaked for a maximum of 60 seconds on our side of the hole. They had just cross-jumped our ships.
We all held our breath as we heard confirmation of the bubble going up, waiting for them to pop into our overlay and dumbfounded with disbelief at our luck; then, sure enough, the Rattlesnake and the Tengu decloaked as our interdictor jumped back and popped a second bubble, cutting off their escape on both sides.
Immediately we scrammed their engines, holding them im place while our weapons scoured the large ratting platform and held off the Tengu, which was doling out it’s own dose of hate.
After some time, it became obvious that we were going to bring down the Rattlesnake, so the Tengu chose to break off and jump back through the hole. We all set course to follow, with the spectacular sight of the Rattlesnake’s reactors purging plasma into surrounding space behind us, but we were slow to approach. Only one of us made it through in time: Astronomocat was flying an Astero and quickly jumped through, She burned fast and tackled the bird, holding it long enough for us to catch up, in doing so however, she had little chance of escape and the Astero exploded seconds before the fleet arrived.
After bursting through and scramming the Tengu for a second time, all our weapons trained now upon the formidable ship, but it was more slippery still and tried a last time to evade our grasp, jumping through the wormhole back to where the wreck of its friend now floated listlessly.
But its gambit was no good as one by one, we jumped again, spotting the craft making for the edge of the bubble. It was now only a matter of time as our warp scramblers took hold and the targeting locks snapped into place.
The rest of the story is numbers as our DPS eventually overcame the Tengu’s tank; a cheer went up as an explosion ripped across our screens. Our operation had prevailed, the adrenaline of the moment coursed and as the killmail came in, we only then realised the magnitude of what we had done.
As it turns out, the two ships were blinged quite substantially and after looting, we made off with a few hundred millions in modules.
I won’t be so blatant as to mention the value of the killmail, as doing so feels a little crass, but I will link it below. Definitely worth a look.
So concludes the story of The Serpent And The Bird; a most successful little op.