A Rifter appeared briefly on gate and Kaeda instructed Starwalker to jump through the gate and potentially catch the Rifter on the other side. The Rifter duly came through but Starwalker had not de-cloaked yet and the targeting failed. Starwalker tried to de-cloak but it was too late, the Rifter was gone.
The roam continued and Kaeda decided that they would head to the End of the Universe – A2V6-6. It seemed like the entire pipe, that was apparently popular with ratters and those improving their security status, was largely empty. Although, strangely, there was an abandoned Velator near the YVA-F0 gate – so they ended its existence with a couple of bursts of rocket fire. Starwalker went to jump through the gate but the aggression timer was active and so they waited for the timer to expire.
Heading back down the pipe, they went into Fountain and flirted with the odd potential target like a Tengu but it amounted to nothing. It looked like they would get no action and so they headed back to Pure Blind. Then a few jumps from the end a Cynabal landed with Starwalker on the gate. The targeting failed as it simply jumped through but Kaeda was on the other side.
Starwalker jumped through and Kaeda commanded: “Burn back to the gate and hold”. The Cynabal decided it was going to fight as it targeted Starwalker’s Hookbill and opened fire. Kaeda engaged it with the Jaguar and a Hurricane and Tornado jumped through. The situation had just changed and Starwalker asked: “Shall we jump?” Kaeda understood it as warp away and noted “…I am pointed” but Starwalker had meant jump through the gate. First mistake, he had forgotten gate mechanics.
In the confusion, Starwalker thought he had heard “yes… I am pointed” or effectively get away, I will follow you or try to warp away. So Starwalker jumped. Second mistake, he did not independently assess the situation, just waited for a command.
As soon as Starwalker jumped he realized that Kaeda could not jump through the gate because of the aggression timer. And almost simultaneously, that the three ships on the other side meant that Kaeda’s Jaguar would not escape. Starwalker was on the wrong side of the gate - “Shall I jump back?” But Kaeda was too busy trying to burn down the Cynabal to respond and so Starwalker burnt back to the gate and jumped. Third mistake, it was too late to fight now.
No Jaguar, no fight, just the Cynabal, Hurricane and Tornado. It was over. Starwalker warped to the next gate. He was disappointed in himself for having left a Rebel to fight alone and that he had jumped. It didn’t matter whether he thought Kaeda was telling him to escape - he should have stayed. Fortunately, Kaeda was disappointed but philosophical about the Jaguar loss.
The reason Starwalker should have stayed was because he agreed with Kaeda’s assessment. There was a chance to take down the Cynabal, even with the two battlecruisers present. The Jaguar alone could not take down the Cynabal but the Jaguar and Hookbill had a real chance. Of course, they would die in the process but it would be a good exchange and worth trying to kill the Cynabal.
If the fight was simply lost and there was no chance that the Cynabal would go down THEN it would have been reasonable to escape. Instead, it was an opportunity missed because Starwalker also thought they could kill the Cynabal.
It was for that reason that Starwalker was disappointed and why for him the first Null-Sec roam had ended badly. However, every cloud has a silver lining and a couple of good lessons were learnt:
- Assess the situation and decide whether to fight or not yourself, especially if the situation calls for potentially sacrificing your ship
- Fighting on gates requires knowing gate mechanics, whether you will be fired on or not and when you can use them or not