Saturday night was a surprising example of log in, join fleet, receive pew pew bacon - particularly given the quiet systems I'd been seeing recently. Between the quiet and lots of summer things to do I hadn't really done much in Eve for a while, even going so far as to install some new games for a bit. But Saturday night was different. Sara and Doc Odin had a standing fleet running and I heard them talking through diving into a small plex as soon as I hit comms, so I jumped into a Merlin. That little Merlin was about to have quite a night.
Doc Odin lost a Slicer before I could get to the fleet, but while he was reshipping Sara (in a Thrasher) and I found a Ishkur in a small plex. We went in and soon enough the Ishkur was burning down hard. Then a Succubus dropped in to join the fun. I admit that I was worried to see the pirate frig join in, since the blasters and speed combination of the Merlin is very cap sensitive. Fortunately for some reason the Succubus latched onto the Thrasher, perhaps because it was closer or perceived as a greater threat than my T1 frig. However, trying to cap-drain an autocannon Thrasher over a blaster Merlin wasn't a great choice. We finished off the Ishkur, swapped to the Succubus and burned it down too. Sadly the shiny afterburner didn't drop.
Scythe Fleet Issue
We moved on and popped an unlucky Rifter. It wasn't clear if it was meant to be bait or not, but by the time a pile of his friends were entering the plex we had already killed it and scampered on. We kept moving on, picked up a fourth pilot (Kurt), and then Sara realized we'd walked our way out of the usual FW space. Rather than retrace our steps Sara started to lead us in a couple hops through highsec towards the Gal/Cal FW space. In the absence of plexes I was wondering if we might find people not used to the Rifterlings ticker and FW-like roaming. When Sara and I came through a gate with a neutral Scythe Fleet Issue be decided to act like we were threatened - Sara warped to the nearest belt and I warped to the sun, while Doc and Kurt stayed on the other side. The Scythe chased Sara and the fight was on.
Sara's Thrasher was running without a point, so I knew it was critical to get on him with my scram before the Scythe pilot realized he was taking on a gang (Thrasher, Worm, Rifter, Merlin). That also meant I was quickly the primary - which was mostly a concern for the drones once I got into a close orbit under AB. I really wish I'd thought to turn on Fraps here to see the details, but I started getting pounded - maybe I was orbiting too close and my speed was dropped. My MASB was cycling and I overheated guns and the MASB. My last charge was cycling and I was about to tell the gang I was going to lose scram when suddenly the damage stopped and my last charge took my shields back to near full. The pilot must have gotten frustrated at not breaking me and switched targets. He moved on to kill Doc's Worm (probably a good choice) and Sara's Thrasher (also a good choice), but then we took him down. I was pretty damn proud as Sara called my Merlin a beast when we saw I had top damage on the downed Scythe. Good fights and friendly chat in local - it was generally happy all round, though Doc probably was the worst off for having lost his Worm right after losing the Slicer earlier.
Given that every module on my Merlin was heavily heat-damaged I ducked off to repair (and pick up more cap50s) while people reshipped. On my wander back I was certain I D-scanned a Brutix on a planet. I called for backup and warped in, scram overheated and hoping he had medium drones only that might not be able to chase me effectively. But there was no Brutix. Sure enough D-scan showed that he was within 1.0 AU. Sara (now in a Firetail) joined me and we started asking on comms for a prober, since we were only two jumps out from home in Sirekur. Sitting there probably wasn't a great idea, as suddenly we had a Garmur and a Slicer jumping in. We warped out, but Sara went right back in to try to dance with them. I tried again, but my Merlin wasn't going to be able play in that MWD speed world unless my warp-in managed to get me in scram range. In the end I think it was a largely bloodless dance with neither side getting what they wanted, but I wasn't there for it.
Meanwhile Xenovenom dropped in with his Anathema and quickly pinged the Brutix and started orbiting it close under cloak. Frosty grabbed a Cyclone to provide the heavy hitting, and we all dropped in hard and fast. If the Brutix pilot (Twinkletoes) was AFK, he got back in control fast and primaried me since I was on top of him and providing the scram. But between my orbit and Sara's TD his blasters couldn't track and I didn't see any signs of drones. Soon enough the Brutix was down and that capped off the night for me. Two hours, four fights, and that includes at least 30min where I was futzing around as I made my way back to our usual hunting grounds.
* Ammo Choice: The Scythe Fleet Issue went down with Hail loaded and the Brutix had Null loaded. Both were trying to fight off frigate attackers and yet loaded ammo that reduced their tracking. I remembered to load Void when attacking the Scythe, though I'm honestly not sure I remembered for the Brutix and got some pretty massive damage numbers.
* FRAPS: If I'd remembered to start up Fraps I'd be able to review what happened in each fight to see what I missed, but I forgot. I need to make that standard practice.
* Overview (Drones): I didn't have my overview loaded to have a Drones-only view, which could have been critical when taking on those bigger ships. I got lucky that both times that didn't kill me.
Sidenote: I always get confused which ship people mean when they say "SFI" - I think it is generally the Stabber Fleet Issue, not the Scythe Fleet Issue. Maybe the Stabber is the elder of the two? Or just more used?