Warning: This post is mostly of a breathless-battle-report style, so skill to the bottom if that's not your thing.
The FightsThings were looking pretty quiet on Rifterlings comms and there weren't any fleets up. So when I logged in I immediately undocked in my scanner Helios. Fortunately for me though, someone else had already scanned down the WHs in Sirekur and a quick warp to the corp bookmark verified that they weren't out of date. We had a WH to null, a WH to low, and a WH to an actually wormhole system (C3 I think it was).
I docked back up and hopped into an Ares to take a look at the null WH, just in case there were bubbles out there. I asked on comms and heard that it went to CFC space, and the nullers had tried to come through and gank people unsuccessfully earlier. That sounded like a great invitation to return the favor to me. I popped through to MO-FIF and was very sad to find that the two pilots in system appeared to be inactive. I went to check out the gates and found one bubbled up. I considered belt-ratting but unlike CFCers I'm not used to fighting Guristas and I didn't really feel like red crosses with ECM. There wasn't much interest in comms on a null roam, and since I have no experience soloing null I decided to pass.
I jumped back to Sirekur and went straight to the lowsec WH - which took me to Villasen in Black Rise, and thus into the Gallente / Caldari FW space. Even better, there were Caldari FW pilots running plexes! I bookmarked the hole and headed straight for the Small Outpost and the Kestrel inside.
Now there's a couple warning signs here. I'm in an Ares more suited for tackling for a gang, chosen originally for its align and bubble immunity. I also only recently skilled up Interceptors and have no experience really soloing in them yet. But hey, how do you start anyway? Well...
I locked up the Kestrel and to my joy he returned the favor. I'm so used to AB-ships in plexes that I didn't really process this properly as he scrammed and webbed me, and my ship rapidly turned into a puff of Ares-shaped debris. And that was even before his friend in a Corax had a chance to join in and lock me up. Umm, yeah. GF in local and back to the hole, while calling out on comms that I have some Caldari who want fights.
I hop into the first ship I see in my dock, a gimmick Comet fit I stole from the inestimable HippoWhisperer. Dual-tank with what some refer to as a "DPS point" - i.e. your point is that the target dies too fast to get out once they realize they're in trouble. I'm back out and heading to the hole and two corpmates are on their way as well. I'm a bit disappointed at myself - if I'm going to lead this group I really should be able to tackle, but oh well. Back through the hole...
... just in time to see the Small Outpost disappear. Well, surely they'll want the Small Compound next, right? I head straight there and see a Merlin from the same corp. Downside - the plex is 92.5 AU away from the WH, so once I call in the other two it will take a long time for them to get here.
I hit the gate and call for the backup. Lock up the Merlin, go to close orbit and pile on the DPS, overheating guns off the bat since I expect trouble. As the Merlin is dropping the Corax and Kestrel show up on short scan. Oh damn. The other Caldari land just in time to establish point before the Merlin pops. And then their dps, oh my the dps of the Rocket Corax. Now this little Comet has both a MASB and a SAAR. Normally I'd let myself get into armor, run the SAAR and then before it reloads start the ASB as a troll-tank kind of move. Nope, I fire them both up at the same time and overheat them both while I try to get back on the Kestrel. I needed them both. My shield and armor were see-sawing back and forth like crazy. I wish I had FRAPsed it as I've never seen anything like it. I heard the message loud and clear though, and aligned out. Meanwhile my corpmates (CaptainZan Zan, Gideon Enderas ) were landing and engaging.
Pop goes my Comet. I'm cheering them on, hit warp, and ooh, wait.. didn't I just hit warp? Nope, apparently not. And poof, podded. Sigh. As I wake up in an unexpected station (what, I'm not homed to Sirekur in this clone?) I hear as they finish off the Corax. If I had been sent back to where I expected I would have jumped into another ship and gone right back in.
WH Connections for fun and profitThese local WHs provide some of my corpmates an opportunity to make ISK (and some fights) in W-space. They provide a pretty common connection to null that provides roaming/ganking opportunities as well as exploration and ratting that is lower-risk than w-space. I haven't even seen any of the frigate-sized holes yet, but I know some Rifterlings are excited about that possibility. Honestly, unless it's going into a Wolf-Rayet I don't think our corp is big enough to field a frigate fleet that can take on the blingy T3 + capitals type fleets of w-space. However, I could see RVB or a major FW/pirate lowsec group maybe hitting those numbers.
We did have a bit of a surprise since the guys that piled in after me didn't bookmark the WH back to Sirekur as they rushed to help out. Since I got podded, I couldn't hang out and give them the location. Fortunately another corpie was quickly able to poke through the WH to give them someone to warp to. A good lesson for future WH roaming though!
Lessons Learned* Take time to choose the right ship. The Ares interceptor was fine for poking my nose into null, but since I knew I didn't have much backup I couldn't do any more than look. The Ares was the wrong ship for a plex-fight, though fit and flown differently it might have been just fine.
* Take time to choose the right ship. The Comet was fine for solo 1v1, but I rushed. I also knew there was a Corax there who would be able to put out an immense amount of damage at short range to frigate sized targets. A Slicer or Retribution would probably have been a better choice, or maybe even a Catalyst if I wanted to do a DPS race.
* Get the pod out. I've been good about aligning and getting my pod out for a while. I think I was too caught up in the fight happening behind me and slipped the mouse or something. Perhaps also a reminder to use the keyboard more.
* Keep better track of clones. Apparently since I had clone-jumped around recently, my current home for my clone was two regions away, which took me out of any ability to continue to contribute since I had to put together a ship and fly back to home. I also realized halfway home I hadn't upgraded out of my Alpha clone, which could have been embarrassingly painful.
... to Proioxis Assault Force of Caldari FW. I'm glad to hear that despite the recent pounding in losing the warzone to the GalMil you guys are still out there and taking fights.
... to my corpies for following me blindly through a wormhole to find a fight.