Or rather the lack of it on the op I participated in last night. I started the evening roaming solo, searching for the ever elusive, final "above class" kill. I attempted to track a likely target: a caracal with a young pilot. Unfortunately he escaped without me being able to take a shot at him. So I decided to see if I could motivate a few Tuskers to do a little fleet op. I got three pilots on side; Caster Rom, Egrat, and Leo Solunar. We decided cruisers were the order of the day, so I hopped out of my faithful Incursus and into my Vexor. Leo and Caster brought a Thorax apiece, and Egrat brought along an Arbitrator. We spent a good fifteen minutes sorting out the fits for our ships, so that they complemented each other nicely. The Thoraxes were both gank fitted, the Arbitrator was decked out as a multipurpose support ship, and me? Well I was the bait. The Tuskers were well known in this area as pirates so no one would go for any traps they laid, which is where I came in. Not being officially associated with the Tuskers people would think I was soloing and try to jump me for an easy kill, at which point the other three would jump in to the rescue and duff up the ship intent on taking me out. If only our teamwork and communication were as good as our plan and setups.
We set out, jumping through systems looking for targets. We came across a few likely targets in one system: a trio of young pilots in mix of ships ranging from a battlecruiser to an interceptor. We tried to track them down, but we couldn't get a bead on them and they soon left the system. There was also a Hurricane battlecruiser in the system that I successfully baited but unfortunately failed to catch and hold long enough for my friends to show up. The next target was where the problems started. We got a Harbinger battlecruiser on scan and Caster managed to coax him into following him for to a belt. He called point and we started to warp. We should have warped earlier, cruisers are sluggish and we reached the belt too late to save Caster, but just in time to witness his ship exploding. The Harbingers weapons had shredded his ship in about thirty seconds. It saw us arrive and warped out. Caster escaped in his pod and I collected the things from his wreck so he didn't lose too much money. Then all of a sudden the Harbinger was back! He had made a mistake in returning, a mistake that the three of us that remained would make him pay for. We engaged. Just then we noticed Egrat wasn't here. We sorely needed his Arbitrator to jam the Harbingers oh-so-lethal weaponry with his ECM drones. We Desperately called Egrat back, the panic in our voices very pronounced at this stage. We had thought that with the Arbitrator backing us up we had a distinct advantage, its absence put the ball cleanly in the opposing pilots court and Leo's Thorax swiftly followed Casters as the ships lasers carve his ship into cubes. I was the only one that remained. If could just hold out long enough for Egrat to arrive, I could finish him. My Vexor held out well and tanked more damage than I thought it would. I dished out a healthy amount of damage, eating away at his armour with my blasters and drones, and just starting to bleed him into structure, unfortunately at this point I was deep into structure. Then Egrat arrived with his Arbitrator, and the tables turned, if only for a short time. Egrat's ECM drones jammed the Harbinger, and he lost lock. This had saved me I was barely on 10% structure. I focused fire hoping to get through the last of his armour, but he was tanking, and it was slow. I would get through his armour, get a shot of at his structure, then some of his armour was repaired. If Egrat could keep him locked I might just be able to....he achieved lock. I exploded. Egrat fled. The day undoubtedly belonged to the skilled pilot of the Harbinger, who also seemed to be in possession of a rather large bucket full of luck. With three loses and zero kills, we limped back to our home station of Hevrice and we called it a night.