The nice thing, Mike thought, about being a known pilot is that you started to have a wider range of activities you could join. Channels opened up and invited you to participate and there was always someone willing to shoot the breeze with you. Once in a while you even got a fleet offer.
“Formin up a mom fleet Mike, you want in?” Divyas dulcet tones and odd little accent were nice to hear when you were between the stars and far from home.
Mike tapped his assets tracking and looked to see how close a decent ship was. “I can bring an abaddon but I am a bit over 20 jumps out. Have I got time?” Another tap sent a copy of his ships loadout along as an attachment, a courtesy among incursion fighters.
“Fly like the wind Mike, you will make it.” She replied
The nimble little ship he was in spun on its access and headed back to a nearby hanger as he laughed. “You call, I come a runnin.” He listened to her laugh and then added. “Same goes for Grant, so no sexist overtones there.” Grant and Divya were often found in the same fleets and Mike had flown with both of them before. Divya was a scorpion pilot and one who had single handedly saved more than a few ships, She had been the one to pull a whole fleet out of a bad zone staying behind to jam the tackle and sacrifice her own ship to rescue several others. Grant was usually in a Guardian and his calm voice reporting ‘I got ya’ was a relief to many an armor ship. These were folks Mike had trusted over and over in the past weeks and would travel across many constellations for the privelege to fly with them.
His comms altered as the fleet overlay appeared on his screen and he joked about how he was shoveling coal and whipping the side of the abaddon to get there faster. As he travelled the fleet grew from low 50’s up into the high 60’s. There was a lot of discussion about various fits and pilots as they were sorted out for the expected fight against a super-capital. OPne large discussion centered around a shield tanked and very expensive ship being willing to risk being in a armor repping fleet. The chatter varied from ‘let him join and be a meat shield’ to ‘ooh, that is gonna be expensive’. In the end the fleet commander decided to play it honest and turn the pilot away as it would be too dangerous and we were not ones to use our even newly found wingmen as nothing more than sacrificial lambs.
He was almost to the incursion constellation when the decision was made to blitz a side system to ‘encourage’ the super capital to make an appearance.
This is where it became obvious that the wheels had come off of the wagon.
Mike was two jumps out when he heard “Why are you shooting me?”
He was one jump out when he heard the call of ninjas on the field. ‘Odd’ Mike thought. ‘Ninjas show for the supercapitals but not for anything less, just not really worth it.’ It is a measure of how Mike flew that he did not yet see what was happening. The ninjas were not there for isk or drops, they were there for the fleet itself.
It was until after that they put together what had happened. Forming a ‘mom fleet’ is different than most smaller fleets. You try to get a nice big cohesive unit but occasionally you are forced to take a few folks just to build up your numbers to an adequate level. The mmebers of Suddenly Ninjas had managed to get Lilly Debauchery, one of their non-member pets to join. She claimed to be flying an Oneiros but afterwards it becase obvious that she had just false posted a fit when asked (an easy thing to do). Once the battle had started she had allowed some hurricanes to shoot at her and then when she was being repped the logistics chain of the main fleet came under attack.
Most of the fleet agreed it was a clever trick as they could not return the fire without risking the wrath of concord, leaving the hurricanes free to prey on the logies. Of course, being ninjas, they were not that good at open combat against a group and they found it very difficult to capitalize on their advantage. Theyh brought in the inevitable orca to switch ships and even then they could not break a well built team. The fleet, after a round of finger pointing, identified Lilly as the mole and removed her from comms, which allowed them to make some plans of their own.
Waagstrom,Lilly, Bladewise, Set Shwayo, and another minor functionary or two (such as the orca pilot) sprung the trap well. They did manage to get a navy megathron before they disengaged and went looking for other targets. Having one of the aggressed logistics pilots switch to a more combat ready ship started to spook them and cockroaches do tend to skitter away when the light shines on them, especially if said light is a set of lasers. Mike laughed to hear calm old Grant list all the ships he could fly and wondered at his choice to use the guardian.
What did this do to the fleet? Well, it stalled them enough that the super-cap fight never materialized. It also started something a little better. You see, the ninjas then set their targets on a new shield fleet forming hoping to get a second run in. Except a lot of pilots, Mike included, fly both types of ships and have friends on both sides of the philosophical debate of which is better. Mike contacted the FC ofg the building shield fleet and handed over the names of the ninjas. The second run for them did not happen. It also opened the lines of communication up for a huge mixed fleet to form. Now this has often met with disaster in the past and it was a shaky start but the door is now open for more of that sort of thing to happen.
As Mike turned for home he smiled.
He also set the offending pilots standings so he would notice if it happened again. The light of open communication between FC’s would slowly clean this little infestation up.
Aggro mechanics. The better we learn them the less than can be used against us.
Some are accusing the fleets of becoming elitist and this is one of the reasons why. If you fly with someone and a single misstep can allow 5 pilots to hold 60 up there is good cause for caution.
A far as I know, this is the closest to tears they got. A lot of cross cautioning from pilots kept the anger and frustration from boiling over. On the other hand, one of the ninjas was a roomate of one of the fleet pilots. (the list of suggestions made in fleet should make the ninja nervous about going to sleep, eating, or bathing anytime soon in the shared accommodations)