Word came in about this contract through one of our most respected contacts. It seems that they were trying to secure a pocket of NPC Null-sec, and they wanted some help to persuade the current occupants that life would be better elsewhere. Standard job…go in, set up, and proceed to make life miserable for anyone without a blue tag.
When we finally got our gear unpacked in the deployment zone, I took as stroll around the area to see what way the wind was blowing. At first glance, it didn’t look pretty. We were outnumbered, one alliance that was well settled in the area had called in another alliance for help against the single corp who had called us in, a 5 to 1 numbers advantage. That meant a prolonged campaign of guerrilla warfare and AFK cloaking.
Some of the crew began to complain immediately, being of the brawling, toe-to-toe, bubble fighting type, but the prospect of being buried in a blob of ships cooled their enthusiasm quick. Our allies were mostly in another timezone, so the chances of even being able to match one of their fleets was slim. But we were here to do a job, and began to probe the defenses of our targets.
Intel is priority. Names, ships, log times, PoS types, everything. The new guy, Smithie, asks why this kind of info is important, why can we jump the first lone ratter that we see?
Veterans, let the young have their questions and enthusiasm.
A vague “you’ll see soon enough, but orders are orders” speech will usually tide them over until you see an obvious bait ship later in the campaign.
Like I said, intel is priority, even over training. One week is usual, just to get a feeling for who you are flying beside, both with and against. You learn who is a pod-junkie, who barely connects. You learn what times they are sync’ed to, when they sleep. Stray messages tell you who they talk to and what language they use.
If you dislike being called names, this is a time you will not enjoy. It takes a lot to stay cloaked and not respond or retort. Meditation is good. Some load entertainment modules into their capsule’s systems….the one who want to stay sane do, anyways.
Patterns quickly emerge. Some pilots can see the patterns some can’t. It is something that is almost instinctive. I have seen new pilots instantly pick up the concept while people who have flown with me for years are scratching their heads.
Intels reports are written. Strategy is discussed. Orders are issued. NBSI, looting and griefing encouraged. Intense CovOps coverage through the area at all hours, calling in Maulers on any brave pilots trying to get in that last mission, or that Faction battleship that they were engaged with while they thought we weren’t watching. Cheap, dirty, underhanded, and effective. The troops were excited, the week of inactivity had made them all trigger happy.
My department had a special goal.