AU History chapter 2
Original text by Rells
Copyright Agony Unleashed
Chapter II: The Fear Begins
It was in 2006 that AGONY made its first real foray into 0.0 space for the purpose of living. Since Jump Freighters had not been introduced yet and capitals were restricted to massive alliances, the move resembled an old Battlestar Galactica episode with a train of haulers protected by several smaller ships via recon. The system UM-Q7F was the destination of the fleet. It took a bunch of haulers and runs back and forth with ships but the agony pilots finally got all of their gear a scant two jumps into what was known at the time as the most violent area in Eve.
At this time PF-346 was a bright sun of a system on the "ships destroyed in last 24 hours" map. Anyone who wanted to prove their virtual manhood in Eve would go and try to hit PF and most of them ended up dead. The attraction of the system was more historical than anything else. PF-346 was the system where people in Beta would go to fight when there were few in the immense universe of Eve and after the start of the game PF-346 remained PVP central. Even to this day on the test server, PF-346 is the central location where people go to fight. In 2006 PF-346 was a nasty place and Syndicate was an extension of PF-346. No one could claim Syndicate for very long before they were crushed by the tide of resident and tourist PvPers. Into this violent soup I had thrown AGONY.
It wasnt easy living in 0.0 for the first time for many of our pilots. You had to constantly watch your back and you were never able to relax. Some of our members couldn't handle the pressure and left. Other members thought that we should join up with larger alliances. The character Ezra from Brooklyn was one of those and despite being one of the first co-directors, he didnt get what I was trying to accomplish. The first crisis in the survival of AGONY occurred when Ezra took nearly half the corp and left to go join another alliance. I was determined to stick it out and to not have any blues unless there was something damn good in it for AGONY and there rarely was in those days.
When Ezra left I was pissed to be sure. I felt betrayed by a friend and livid. Fortunately I still had another co-founder named Rasql with me and I adopted a bright young pilot who joined with a good percentage of his entire corp after their ex-ceo stole everything from the corp and left. Sever Aldaria became another director of AGONY as did Stein Vorhees. Despite the "MHC Incident" with a class, another pilot named Carenthor Loon promised to be a future expert in covert ops. AGONY continued to run its classes and build up but out main focus was getting together the class gangs and trying to figure out how to not get crushed like a grape by the feet of the enormous alliances around us.
Necessity was the mother of invention and Knez Rex was sick of waiting for classes to go out and kick some butt. He fashioned together a Rifter, one of few ships he could fly at the time, and put on the biggest guns he could, then a small buffer tank with a plate. Then he put on two webs and a warp disruptor. At that time that is what you needed to stop an interceptor. The two webs would drop the inty by 90% each, stacking on each other and the point would keep him around -- the scrambler at the time only gave 2 points at 10km with no microwarp turnoff. Knez went out on the first fishing trip ever; he sat on the Harroule gate in MHC-R3 and just waited. His first customer was a Malediction interceptor and he destroyed it to the dismay of the inty pilot.
By this time other inventions in AGONY were well under way. The safe spot was as old as beta but very few people had bookmarks spaced around a gate at 300km. Some sniper ships which were common at the time would have a couple but the majority of bookmarks in the game were to allow a pilot to warp to 0 on a gate. At that time you could only warp to 15km and so pilots would mark 15km behind a gate and warp to the bookmark -- they were called instas. Although instas went the way of the dodo when warp to 0 came about, through thick controversy, other types of tactical bookmarks came into being. When we discovered we could warp if the target was 150km or more away we knew we could use that to our advantage. Since we didnt have huge fleets to back us up, necessity forced us to innovate and tactical bookmarks started getting marked around gates. We had straight up, behind, all manner of bookmarks. We had bookmarks to drop us 5000km off a gate to scan and other bookmarks to warp up to those sniping battleships who liked to mark directly above the gate. Our covops pilot learned to anchor the fleet in tactical warps and many a sniper died to the fledgling upstarts in AGONY. The alliance 3FA amongst others declared all out war on AGONY in 0.0.
The problem 3FA had with us was not that they couldn't out gun us; on the contrary they could crush us with firepower. Their problem was that we moved so quickly and with such agility that they couldn't catch us. We would pick off their tacklers, their lead ships and their stragglers and then vanish before they could get a hold of us. On one incident in particular a fleet of nearly 30 3FA ships were chasing the 15 man AGONY fleet through Syndicate. The race was on to get out and their tacklers and fast warping cruisers were trying to catch up to us. One rupture set up to do 4km/s was almost on top of us, being only 1/2 a jump back and 2 jumps ahead of the main 3FA fleet. AGONY went through the next gate and just stopped. As soon as the rupture came through he saw the waiting fleet and held cloak as long as he could. It wasn't long enough. The rupture was popped and podded, the wreck was destroyed and the AGONY pilots were warping off grid just as the gate was firing for the main 3FA fleet. Between the experience AGONY pilots were gaining with tacticals and the fast moving tactics, 3FA and other residents of Syndicate were stymied on how to deal with this pest of a corp.
The one thing 3FA and other had to fend us off was their vastly superior firepower and 10 to 1 superiority in pilot count. They stopped sitting at 100km and sniping because they lost a lot of ships to AGONY doing that. They stopped running ahead of thier main force because too many got picked off. They stopped attacking AGONY frigs with interceptors because fishing had become commonplace and they lost a lot of valuable interceptors to AGONY. Fleet warfare had devolved into 3FA and others sitting in a tightly bunched ball, huddled under the protection of the main fleet. The laughter at the frig packs roaming once every week through syndicate had subsided and they tried their best to avoid the classes. They had learned that smartbombing BS didn't kill the pack of pesky noobs and they had lost a lot of equipment trying. The frig packs were so quick that the fleets they deployed to take them out couldn't catch the pack and when the pack did engage those fleets the pack would lose a few cheap frigs and typically pop the most expensive thing in the other fleet. Of course the smacktalk never ceased.
AGONY wasn't content with that situation. Even though the puny corp of less than 20 active players had forced major changes in the behavior of large alliances, AGONY pilots were bloodthirsty and inventive. One day when Rells was sitting over the gate to Harroule watching the 3FA come and go, an interceptor decided to power out to his cormorant at high speed. This was not a good situation for fishing which required catching the inty at short range and pinning it to neutralize the speed tank. Rells was in an annoyed mood and had an up to date clone so he fired his tech 2 rails at the incoming interceptor. All of the shield and half the armor of the ceptor vanished in the first volley. The ceptor pressed on and ended up in orbit after closing the distance at 8km per second. But the tracking of the destroyer and the tech 2 125s was too much and the third voley finished the armor. The interceptor turned to run out of point range but the fourth volley turned the ceptor into plasma.
It occurred to Rells how to annoy his opponent at that time and he asked people to train up tech 2 small weapons and destroyers. It only required six or seven to execute the plan but ten would be better. Once trained up bookmarks were set and the next 3FA huddled fleet was to get a nasty surprise. A couple days later 3FA was firmly entrenched on the Harroule gate with fast lock tacklers. They saw 12 AGONY come in local adding to what they assumed (correctly) was the covops pilot already there. They scanned and saw the group of destroyers on scan and their snipers salivated at the comming kills. The AGONY pilots appeared on overview and the fleet commander called the primary AGONY target. They didn't get the chance to lock. It took less than six seconds and one volley from all 10 agony destroyers and a malediction was rubble on the gate and the fleet was gone. The second pass blew up a Crow and the FC sent out tacklers to grab the fleet next time they appeared. The tacklers were ready to snare the nasty ships, but the destroyer pack appeared next another 100km further away and a tackler lost their ship to a single volley. Placing more tacklers strung out, they were detearmined to take the force out. The AGONY destroyers, however, didn't oblige and appeared on the other side of the gate and launched a volley at a tech 1 cruiser. Wounded but not dead, the cruiser powered up his repair mechanisms but the second pass blew it up. After 10 min and 10 kills all the light ships had enough of the AGONY guys. They jumped out as soon as they saw the AGONY guys on overview. Chasing at them was suicide, trying to warp was too slow. Now 3FA was to be denied tacklers as was the rest of their allies in the area.
It didn't take much longer before 3FA had left the area and subsequently broke up. Over time more and more corps gained grudging respect for those pesky AGONY guys. The laughter had subsided and anyone that had locked horns with the tiny group in Syndicate came away with a healthy respect and the conclusion that they had to take a new look at tactics within Eve. Pilots had begun to fear AGONY and that made it harder to get targets for the bloodthirsty maniacs. Eventually they had to move to find more.