Operation Billystick – The Fall of Rome

(*All names have been changed)

Alliances are built on trust. It doesn’t matter how many pilots you bootstrap into your fleet, if those pilots don’t trust that their leaders are doing right by them, then the whole system is effected. It may not grind to a halt at first, but like a handful of sand in a well-oiled machine, it will start a hell of a rattle.
So it was with EN* and ZG*. More and more frequently the ZG pilots were relying on third parties to help defend the space and infrastructure of the constellation instead of calling for action from EN to drive us away. The grunts of EN were more than a little confused at the sudden hostility of their brothers-in-arms, not realizing that the nice, easy fights they had been conducting were simply diversion against the main attacks we were apply to their allies.
On the other face of the coin, ZG was furious at their loose-lipped partners, who kept laughing about how we were “good guys” and “better to talk to” while ZG’s pilots spent most of their time either repping structures or docked up hiding from the cackling jackels of our forces.

Finally, something unexpected upset the applecart and broke up the partnership for good; Sansha. All of a sudden the zombies began pouring into the area, setting up defenses and jamming all cynos. An Incursion had begun, which immediately halted both our advances in the area, and the slow bleed of pilots and corps from our enemies. Both sides retreated to safer space to regroup and restock.

Or so the leaders of ZG had hoped. The mass exodus out of the area in the first few days of the Incursion had exposed something that probably would have been better to hide. Their high security supply route. Our raiders fell upon them like starved wolves dropped into a butcher shop, paying CONCORD their blood money and signing the war declaration with glee. The boys on the frontlines tell me it was a good week.

At the same time, EN had their hands full dealing with the loss of their staging PoS, which was suddenly annihilated by a roaming gang of PoS-bashers, un affiliated to us if that can be believed. Unfortunately for them, the blokes stuck around to finish the job as well. I never could get anyone to admit how much gear was lost, but by reactions, they were hurting badly.
The lack of support from their allies even in high security space was the final straw for ZG. When the dust began to settle and Sansha had gone home, the Germans gave the boot to EN, preferring to fight by themselves than rely on (apparently) useless help.

The writing was on the wall however, and even the Germans began to shed corps due to burnout and frustration. “Fire Brigade” fleets of various German-language groups, once regular occurrences, had slowed to almost non-existance. No one wanted to travel out to help with no prospect of an actual fleet fight, so they didn’t bother, while lone pilots and small groups were getting jumped on a daily basis.
Then, the moment our Dread pilots had been waiting for arrived. A single ZG PoS-tender who, after watching a 25 repcarrier fleet sans support, cyno away after repping the shields to 51% began onlining guns and turning on arrays, and then logged off. No strontium refills. No shield hardeners online.

No more PoS.

After that event, ZG began to fold in upon itself. Trains of Jump Freighters and Carriers headed for greener pastures, leaving our forces basking in the glory and satisfaction of a job well done. The area was ours, and the accomplishment of causing a superior force to pack up and leave was a heady feeling indeed.


Operation Billystick – Zee Germans

(*All names have been changed)

When the intel officer handed out the summary of the reports, I couldn’t help but smile. This was going to be a psych-war primarily. Shadow-dancing, cloak and dagger work. My kind of war.

Our main targets were a German/English-speaking alliance (call them ZG*) who had called in another alliance (EN* if you will) to cover their timezones against us. This second alliance was mainly English-speaking. They may have had some German translation going on, but if they did, none of or intel showed it, so it probably wasn’t prevalent.

A plan was hatched. As it stood, the difference in numbers was too great for us to do any real damage to ZG. We needed to start creating holes in their ranks before we could effectively fight them in a more traditional brawl. We needed to isolated them and make sure they had no one left to turn to. And it would be no ones fault but their own.

Now, as I did my patrols, I had a simple rule to follow: Smile to EN, smack with ZG.
Now, just because I was smiling doesn’t mean I stopped the attacks. I was just pleasant and talkative as I was doing it. Chatting idly with cap pilots as I was popping their cyno ships, giving them (bad) fleet advice while we harassed their ratters and complex-runners. They didn’t trust me, but they knew I was good for a laugh.
To ZG though, I was a trolling, mean-spirited ghost who would revel and cackle as millions of Isk in loot decayed and drifted away after they docked up because of our presence. There was almost always a gank fleet with a lure out and active in their home system.

Over time, we began shifting our operation times, easing pressure off of EN’s timezone, and piling ever more pressure onto the already harried pilots of ZG. The war with EN became an almost light-hearted game of tag, while ZG’s war was a logistical nightmare, with our gangs reinforcing multiple PoS’es and Customs Offices only to disappear into the darkness at the first hint of a serious fight. When the timers rolled over, they repaired and refueled, never knowing why we never came to finish the job.

Tempers began to fray very quickly. And my social engineering plan began to bear fruit.

Operation Billystick – Arrival

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.