Yesterday our USTZ squad happened upon a rare site in low sec - a Thanatos carrier gate jumping alone. I asked the pilot who bumped into this behemoth, Cellethen, to write up an After Action Report I could share. Here it is. Enjoy! This is Stay Frosty.
The Unexpected Carrier
Part 1: The Chase
It had been a fairly quiet day of EVE for me. I’d been puttering around in an Ishkur I’d just brought down to Stay Frosty’s home system of Oulletta, having a bunch of the local FacWar folks run from me whenever I showed up on dscan (can’t blame them!) I had managed to sneak onto a very juicy Proteus killmail earlier, but I hadn’t really done any of the work - showed up at the last second, hit it with maybe one volley from some drones, watched it pop. So I was feeling a little melancholic when I was about to log for the night, still alive but I had been hoping for some fights. I was headed home when I saw it. A Thanatos on dscan in Melmaniel, one jump from home.
I figured nothing would come of it - after all, seeing a carrier on dscan in Lowsec usually means it’s either about to dock or about to jump. I didn’t see a cyno on my overview, so I was expecting that any moment the Thanatos would wink out of existence, local would drop by one, and I’d warp on home. I reported it in corp chat, but was still in the headspace of “ah well, time to log off for the night.”
Then it landed next to me. On a gate.
My adrenaline immediately shot up to full blast - a carrier gating through lowsec? It almost felt like a dream. My initial reaction was to tackle it and throw caution to the wind, but in nothing but an Ishkur I couldn’t hold it very long or kill it on my own - I needed help. I put out the call in corp chat that there was a carrier going gate to gate in our neighborhood, and my enterprising corpmates Sadic Anark and Zander Audeles responded immediately, Sadic in a Loki and Zander with the critical piece - a Broadsword. But the HIC needed to be shipped into and the Loki was several jumps out. I needed to slow him down or we’d lose him.
I followed him into Murethand, slapped my afterburner and hit a close orbit. I waited, trying to buy as much time as possible waiting for him to align before I hit my scram and had to tank gate guns - even with an ADC and a deadspace repper, my little Ishkur couldn’t hold out against their DPS for too long. The others were still several jumps out, so I pushed my tackle timing to the limit, waited, waited, hit my scram… and got the “Your target is invulnerable” message. I’d waited too long, and he entered warp.
I was furious with myself - surely he’d been warping to a station, right? I’d just cost us a carrier kill through my own timidity. I should have scrammed and bumped as soon as I saw him. But then, watching him warp off, I saw something amazing. He hadn’t warped to a station, but to the next gate in the system - to Indregulle.
I kept the corp apprised, pinged Discord for more folks, and warped after him (thank goodness for Frigate warp speeds, eh?) Landed before him, watched him land next to me, and followed him through the gate. Same plan as last time - AB on, close orbit, and scram him. But this time I went for it a few seconds sooner, and I had him. The gate guns immediately started tearing through my shield - I hit my ADC, turned on my armor reps, and held him as long as I could, buying time. When the ADC was done, I had to ping off to live, and the HIC still wasn’t quite in position. I was worried. Surely this time he would dock up! He knew we were going for him, he knew I’d tried to hold him, so he must know there was backup on the way. Nobody would be crazy enough to try to solo a carrier in an assault frigate, right? I pinged back, saw him enter warp… towards another gate. To Heydieles. And he’d fired back at me, so I now had a limited engagement.
As soon as both of our weapons timers were done and I jumped through after him, he’d been caught. I tackled him and held him long enough for the HIC and Loki to jump through after us, and we began the arduous task of defanging him.
Part 2: The Kill
Finally, we had him. He was scrammed, webbed, being bumped, and HIC pointed. He wasn’t going anywhere unless he could kill us off and break free. Knowing that we didn’t have the DPS or the tank to burn him down while he was putting fighters on us (well, the other two could mostly tank him, but I certainly couldn’t do so without my ADC active,) we began the long process of defanging him. It went by the book - pick one, focus it down, ping off if the DPS was too much. While it was definitely a time-consuming process and a tense fight with the possibility of help landing, the threat level was never too great for us - he didn’t seem to have any neuts, so nobody’s tank would break too quickly. Our dps wasn’t the best with only three ships, but a neutral in local joined us in a Thorax to help out, and as his fighters kept dying, we felt more and more confident that this was happening. We were going to come away with this killmail.
As he got down to two remaining squadrons, even my Ishkur was able to stay on field and tank him. We finished cleaning up the fighters, I switched to Void for the extra punch, and we started chewing through his armor - not quickly, but just barely too quickly for his local reps to keep up. An Ishkur, a Loki, a Broadsword, and a third-party Thorax were bringing down a Thanatos.
About a reload and a half later, it was over.
GFs were had in local, the Thanatos pilot was an incredibly good sport about the whole thing, and we let it sink in - we’d managed to catch, hold, and kill a positive sec status carrier on a lowsec gate with 4 people, one of whom simply showed up for the fun.
This was absolutely my favorite kill of my EVE career, and while I’ve been subbed on and off, my character dates back to 2009. I’ve fought wars in nullsec, spearfished rorquals, ganked some folks hauling PLEX back when it was still a single item, and nothing even came close to this. William Rageclaw, if you’re reading this, thank you for an absolutely adrenaline-pumping experience. Your old corp sucks for not helping you and kicking you over this. People make mistakes, and while most people will tell you this was a big one, no good corp would kick you over making a mistake with your own ISK, especially when they seem like they were unwilling to help you set up a cyno chain.
Stay Frosty is recruiting, come be a pirate!
P.S. - Ciba, nice job suiciding a Tristan to gate guns to get on the KM, and Astral Dominix, I’m so sorry he popped when you were only a jump or two out. Major shoutouts to Stiforr for joining in the fun and giving us the DPS we needed to break the tank - never underestimate an angry thorax, even when there’s not ten of them.