We need options. Our neighbours in the class 3 w-space system are up for a scrap and have fought back me and Fin a couple of times, showing that we simply can't throw enough missiles to combat capacitor-sharing, remote-repairing command ships. If we jammed even one of the Sleipnirs, though, maybe it would weaken the other sufficiently to make a difference. And now that Mick has made it back home we may have the firepower to hurt a disrupted logistics coupling. Our main problem is that most of Mick's ships are still out in empire space, and his weird obsession with Gallente technology limits his choices amongst our collection of Caldari and Amarr ships.
Fin and I are okay for options, though. I suggest taking my Widow black ops ship out for another sortie, thinking its ECM capabilities to be useful, along with being able to cloak should I need to disappear after jumping home again. The Widow will come in handy at least until we have decided our next plan, as I can plant it near our static wormhole and monitor for any incursions. It's a bit late for that, as it turns out, as warping to the wormhole sees a Cynabal cruiser loitering, and a Nemesis stealth bomber jump in, no doubt to make a nuisance of himself. It's good that I dropped short of the wormhole, letting me cloak immediately and start manoeuvring out to a more comfortable engagement range.
The neighbours are showing their confidence. With the Cynabal in our system they clearly want to fight on the wormhole and must have numbers waiting on the other side. If we are foolish enough to assault the Cynabal at close range he will either jump out and hope we follow in to an ambush, or support will jump in quickly to swamp us with numbers. Our best option is to poke the cruiser at range, either forcing him to leave the system or to move away from the wormhole and make himself at least a little more vulnerable to us. What we need is a ship that looks deceptively weak, but can both take and deliver a pounding. It looks like we could use a Drake battlecruiser.
We have recently seen how strong the Drake's tank can be in a pulsar system, and although it can undeniably be broken it should withstand an awful lot of abuse first, giving us time to evaluate the situation as it changes. The Drake also has a good number of launchers and a decent range, which sounds just right for this engagement. As luck would have it, I recently imported an old Drake of mine languishing in high-sec dock, although its fitting is perhaps no longer optimal. Fin boards the Drake, tweaks the modules slightly, and warps at range to the wormhole to start a stand-off.
The Cynabal doesn't move to greet the Drake, which isn't surprising even if it didn't know my Widow is around, and neither do any more ships jump in. We don't want to get too close, and they don't want to be drawn off the wormhole. But this isn't good enough, so Fin moves in to missile range and instigates the third battle. She targets the Cynabal and starts whittling down its shields, as the wormhole flares multiple times. I spot a Sleipnir and a second Cynabal jump in, and the Nemesis decloaks. I decloak too, to join the action, targeting the first Cynabal to add my missiles to the damage, and targeting the rest of the ships to start jamming their systems.
I concentrate on jamming the Sleipnir with my ECM, looking to prevent remote repairs to the other hostile ships, but we still don't have the advantage. We are keeping range, with an eye to warping out if necessary, but most of the hostile ships are sitting on the wormhole. Even if we manage to hit them hard enough, they can simply jump back to their home system to safety. A couple of the ships have been pulled away from the wormhole, though, and Mick warps in to try to add some damage in a borrowed Taranis interceptor. Sadly, the tiny ship is almost instantly popped by some artillery, and he is left to warp back to our tower to look vainly at what ships he can both use and risk losing.
Fin's Drake is getting hit hard now. She has so many drones swarming around her that I can't see the battlecruiser, and there seem to be some ECM drones preventing her even from fighting back. Never the less, the Drake's mighty shield is certainly formidable in our C4 pulsar system, even if it is about to crumple. I am still getting successful jams, but they don't stop the drones from attacking. Fin opines for a smart bomb in the spare high slot, a good point to remember for the future, as the Drake's armour and hull are blasted to oblivion shortly after its shields fail.
As Fin's Drake is seen to finally fail more attention is placed on my Widow. A little late for comfort I notice a Cynabal speeding to intercept me, no doubt wanting to disrupt my warp engines, but before he can make me a sitting duck I focus my ECM towards his ship. A successful jam comes immediately and my aligned ship warps back safely to our tower, joining Fin's pod, where we implicitly agree to settle down for the evening. It was a good fight, with some appreciative messages exchanged in the local channel to that effect, and I think we did well considering we were three against six by the end of the fight.
We may not have got any kills but we went out there and fought, even forcing one of the Cynabal pilots to jump out of the system to protect his ship. We lost a couple of ships, but the losses were relatively inexpensive, particularly compared to what was fielded in total. And knowing we were at a disadvantage, both with numbers and strategic position, made choosing ships more important. In the end, it was an interesting and engaging fight, and I think we carried ourselves well.