Provi, as usual, turned out to welcome my humble Stratios. Half a dozen jumps into their territory I came up against a Drake and a Svipul sitting upon a gate. Innocent Scout informed me of a Cormorant and Sabre in the next system, although they were not on the gate.
I warped to the Svipul and Drake, decloaking on the way in. I was hoping to split them by aggression but the Drake took pre-emptive action and jumped through of his own accord. I tackled the Svipul.
He was no doubt frantically calling for his mate's return and had no intention of escaping. Soon, it was too late. I double webbed and neuted him good while my drones went to work. I made a mistake in launching heavy drones instead of mediums but they started to do a good enough job.
I was dismayed to see the Svipul rep back to full shield. And then even more dismayed to see him do it a second time. I kept cool(ish) and kept the neut pressure on. Sure enough, he soon dipped into armour and then hull. The Svipul died just as the Drake reappeared.
I was thinking of tackling him, too, but then the gate flashed and I decided that the wisest course was to bravely run away to the anomaly I was already aligned to.
I gave a gf in local and then petitioned them to look after my Berserkers, especially Fred who had been a faithful old drone. They had a chuckle at that and rewarded me with a small bounty.
I settled in at a safe spot with a mobile depot. I think of this as a temporary camp site where I can lick my wounds (with a temporary armour repper) while mashing d-scan for probes. This time I made a mistake and, instead of pulling off a drone damage amplifier to make space for the repper I pulled off the armour plate. This was a bad idea. The ship's alarms screamed at me - zero armour remaining! I wonder what would have happened if I had been more badly damaged.
The Drake pilot was loitering. He followed me to the next system and loitered some more. I was determined to kill him but very suspicious. Provi had a well-earned reputation for forming defence fleets, and they had certainly had enough time to get organised.
Innocent Scout checked out the next system (empty) so I decloaked and tried to lure him to that gate, wanting to buy a little buffer time in the form of a long warp. He didn't bite. I then warped back to him. Big mistake! Local spiked while I was in warp and suddenly there were 17 pilots sitting on the gate I was travelling to.
To make matters much, much worse, I had been playing around with the Windows 10 game recording feature. Windows decided that this was the best possible moment to inform me of a conflict with my video card, a conflict that locked my screen and forced me to do a hard restart.
My system booted up quickly and I started up the launcher, thinking gloomy thoughts of lost Stratioses and implants all over the place. I was shocked when I saw that, according to the character selection screen, Zappity was still in her ship! She was already in warp when I saw that she was in half armour. Now I was really confused. They had evidently been killing me when I warped away. Untackled?
I was far from safe, though. My warp took me straight back to the disconnect point, right on the gate amidst the nest of angry pilots.
I played it cool, waiting for them to lock me up. All at once they turned red! I jumped! When on the other side I quickly aligned away from the gate and cloaked, narrowly escaping the three pilots who had not aggressed.
17 pilots! I asked for confirmation of my theory while setting up my camp site on the other side of the system. They told me that the pilot responsible for not restraining me had already been shot.
I love Provi.