It's getting to the point where I don't even see the bookmarks. I just see an active static wormhole, an exit five hops from Jita, an incoming connection to a class 4 system. Colleagues inform me of some earlier PvP in the C4 that connects in to us, and that they are going to rub salt in to the wounds by taking strategic cruisers in to the system to clear their anomalies. But as the fleet forms a foreign Buzzard appears in our home system, the covert operations boat scanning. It perhaps has come from the class 6 system that connects in to the C4 incoming to our own home system, but I won't strain myself trying to explain w-space connections, not when there's a pilot to hunt.
I launch my Malediction interceptor and speed to our static wormhole, presuming that the Buzzard has entered through the K162 and is looking to progress. A colleague gets her Onyx sitting on that K162 in case the pilot turns tail, but he indeed moves onwards. The Buzzard warps to our static wormhole and jumps. I send my interceptor after him, and on the other side of the wormhole deftly get my micro-warp drive active and Malediction pulsing towards the cloaking cov-ops. I get the bump, my warp disruption modules hot as I lock the Buzzard as soon as it re-appears on my overview, its covert cloak cut. But the Buzzard is aligned, warping out a split-second before snared by a positive lock.
My companion in the Onyx heavy interdictor is now on the opposite side of the wormhole in our home system, ready for the Buzzard's return, but I am warping again. I land on the newly scanned static wormhole to a class 1 system, where I am not left waiting for long for the same Buzzard. We dance a second time, doing the jump and bump, but I am left a wallflower on the wormhole in the class 1 system. I consider my next move. A corporation scout ahead has a Tengu, Drake, and Prophecy engaging Sleepers in a C2, the single strategic cruiser and two battlecruisers making an alluring target for our growing numbers and current fleet configuration. I forget about the Buzzard.
A couple more pilots join the fleet and a second scout comes out to scan the entrance to the C2, so that our spearhead can maintain contact with the new targets. My Malediction impatiently thrums on the wormhole to the C2, joined by the Onyx and a third pilot in a Tengu, our second scout returning home for a more appropriate ship and collecting another capsuleer ready to fight. The targets have almost wiped out the Sleepers in their current site and look ready to move on, our spearhead giving the command to jump and warp to his position. I waste no time in doing so, confirming my actions only after making sure they are done.
'What an idiot', says an unfamiliar pilot in the C2's local channel as I am in warp. The targets were about to warp out of the site as our scout in his highly inappropriate Anathema cov-ops decloaks to engage the three combat ships. It would seem like an act of stupidity, but he's probably eating those words when the fleet drops on top of his position and the Onyx's warp bubble prevents their escape. The Tengu is our primary target, called before we enter the system, and my Malediction immediately locks and points the ship, settling in to a comfortable high-speed orbit around the strategic cruiser.
I think I am stopping the Tengu from fleeing, but I'm only half-right. The cruiser has its reheat on, or maybe a micro-warp drive, and is burning away from our ambushing fleet. I don't really notice because my interceptor has speed to spare, keeping up with the Tengu, hot exhaust trailing in a helix behind us. We are now out of the Onyx's warp bubble, and indeed were after only a few seconds of combat, which is not true of the other ships. The Tengu gone, the Prophecy battlecruiser is targeted first, soon falling to focussed fire. The Drake is next, but the Prophecy's death and pilot's podding gives the second battlecruiser time to clear the warp bubble, warping away.
We are now seventy kilometres from the action, the Tengu and me, and increasing the distance. The extra corporation pilots turned up quickly, the Navy Comet frigate and Curse recon ship helping to kill the Prophecy, and now the Curse comes to quell the Tengu. The strategic cruiser refuses to be confined, continuous fire of heavy assault missiles cracking around my craft. The high speed of my interceptor confounds the missiles, as they skip and twirl trying to catch my spinning ship. I am taking damage but mostly just shrapnel, my puny defences absorbing the heavily mitigated attacks. I watch as my shields deplete, but ever-so slowly, amazed that I am surving the full onslaught of a Tengu with HAMs.
My colleague in the Curse has the tools to slow the Tengu. He just needs to get in range to do so, and we're speeding directly away from everyone. By the time his warp drives engage, move him, and disengage, we are tens of kilometres from where I was when he warped to my position. But our man is smart. He picks a celestial body ahead of our trajectory and warps to that, returning from that opposite direction aiming to drop short, so that the ground we make up puts us directly in his path. It takes a couple of attempts but the Curse manages to lock and engage the Tengu too, his energy neutralisers shutting down the strategic cruiser's reserves, forcing the micro-warp drive to disengage from being starved.
Reduced to a crawl, the Tengu loses its edge. The fleet behind us, now a hundred and seventy kilometres away, finishes off the Scorpion battleship that the Drake pilot decides would be a good idea to bring back to the battle, and warps to my position to turn on the Tengu. Deprived of capacitor energy the Tengu can no longer escape, nor can it power its shield booster, and our combined firepower obliterates the Tech III cruiser. The pod flees, being sensibly aligned from the moment he fled, our Onyx not quite caught up to encapsulate him. Wrecks are looted, corpses are scooped, and the sacrifice of our scout, now returned and in a Harbinger battlecruiser, is acknowledged. His Anathema will be replaced on the corporate account.
What a thrilling encounter! It is my first strategic cruiser kill, and I didn't even fire a shot. I am impressed with my Malediction again, being able to hold the Tengu and withstand its concentrated fire for around five minutes, and although my shields were below 8% at the end I still had all my armour to use before needing to worry. The fight was challenging and a great team effort, the fleet easily co-ordinating to defeat the Prophecy and Scorpion, followed by excellent intuition from our Curse pilot to bring the Tengu to a halt. And, in recognition of his insight to give his ship so that the rest may fight, the scout is awarded the Sacrificial Lamb decoration.