So today I joined the 100th RvB Ganked Roam. It has been a topic of discussion for weeks with R1FTA and with (of course) RvB (where I also have a character). I was excited at the prospect of a big fight with capital ships dropping into the system.
I moved some ships to the neighborhood of the secret fight location during the week and set aside some time this morning for the event. When the call for x's to join the fleet went out Jack Dancer x'd up along with my RvB pilot. I'd have two in the fight. I wasn't sure how I would manage it, but I had them both in empty clones and cheap ships - so nothing too bad could happen even if it was a fiasco.
The RvB character got parked near the expected scene of the action and I mostly concentrated in advance on getting Jack Dancer over that way (it was about 15 low sec jumps away). Patrick Kasper organized things for the Rebels and we all headed off in a relatively coordinated unit (well, as coordinated as our bunch ever is...). The trip to the staging area was like passing through a rainbow - flashy red and yellow ships on many of the gates. Fortunately, they were after bigger (and slower) fish than our frigates.
Finally, after about 2 1/2 hours of sorting the fleets out, we were ready to jump into the system where the fight would happen - Hysera. Jack Dancer's rifter arrived at about the same time as the Caracal of my RvB character. The fight was on!
Or was it? Immediately, confusion reigned. With two (or was it three?) "friendly" fleets of a couple hundred ships each it was difficult to tell who was friend and who was foe. And, with the R1FTA contingent mostly being less than upstanding citizens (and having a flashing red stigma related to our security status...) - we apparently got targeted early. When I heard on comms, "It's ok to shoot the flashies" I had a bad feeling about things...
And with tidi setting in from all the ships arriving, it slowed everything down. A couple of my R1FTA mates were targeted. Then it was my turn. I tried to get out, but no luck. And my pod had the same fate. I woke in a neighboring system where I had assigned my clone and reshipped into a rifter that I had there. I headed back to the fight.
My other character's caracal was mostly sitting around in a confused state and I thought that I might zip out and come back at range to get a better view of things. I picked a random customs station and warped to 70.
I switched back to Jack Dancer's rifter and navigated the slow jump back into the system and pointed him at a safe spot that we had set up earlier.
Then I switched back to the caracal to find it in the midst of a bunch of bad people in frigates who had, by chance, been sitting at that same customs station! Webbed and scrambled my caracal was going nowhere. I did my best to shoot at some of them, but with the tidi and my remarkable (not in a good way) skills, I didn't manage to kill any of them. My caracal exploded, but I got my pod out safely (with a cruiser there's more time for future planning than in a frigate...). I headed out of the system to pick up another ship.
I went back to Jack's rifter and tried to make sense of the audio comms and the fleet chat - but that didn't go so well. I couldn't make heads or tails of it (and I'm thinking I wasn't alone). Most of the R1FTA guys were talking about a new plan for the roam - leaving the system and flying on their own to see what they could find as a small gang.
Somewhere through here I was moving the rifter back out of the system and the RvB character back into the system. Confusion not only reigned in Hysera but also in my mind. I'd go from one character to the other - tidi was making for some slow warps - and back to the first character. And at one point I found that Jack Dancer's rifter had disappeared and I was back in my pod (even though I had the impression that I was flying the RvB character at that time...). How did that happen? I didn't know and checked the killmail. It was the police! The station that had my extra rifters is one jump away in high sec and apparently the local constables took offense at my security status. Fortunately, they don't pod people.
At about this point - 3 1/2 or 4 hours after I had first started the adventure, I gave up. I got both characters to relative safety - Jack to a low sec station and my RvB character to a high sec station - and logged both of them off.
What did I learn? Well, like a small pox inoculation, I think I'm safe from future Big Fights. I'll stick with my solo roaming and small gangs of friendly pilots.
Patrick Kasper did an excellent job of coordinating the R1FTA wing, or squad, or whatever it was. And Mangala Solaris (along with lots of other folks) put a lot of effort into the event. And the R1FTA contingent was, as always, fun to be with. Thanks to all of you. And to you bad people that shot me - no hard feelings...