Oh dear god.
Fortunately we were only in Tech 1 frigates so the cost of failure was low. Good thing too.
Attempt #1 - Atron + 3 Tristans
We were headed towards Tama when in Kedama we see neutrals in local with two of them being pirates. I send one of my Tristans (I'm in a short range Atron) to the sun so he can scan the plexes open in the system. He spots a Kestrel in one. I have the other two Tristans and my Atron align for the plex as the "bait" Tristan warps to there. The gate flashes and a neutral Kestrel appears.
"Ignore the neut Kestrel here on the gate," I order, thinking of what gate guns would do to our ships. Our "bait" lands on the acceleration gate and as he activates it I give the order to the rest of us to warp. As my buddies warp off, I discover I've been pointed. Right: I'm a pirate. Free engagement invite. Damn.
While I'm struggling to get away from the Kestrel pilot at the gate, my three Tristans get into a fight with the Kestrel in the plex and his buddy in a Merlin who shows up. My team kills the Kestrel but we lose all three Tristans in the exchange.
Fortunately, just as this ended I finally got away from the neutral at the gate while bleeding structure.
Attempt #2 - Atron + 2 Tristans
Marcel had to go so it was just me in my repaired Atron and my two
meatshields corpmates in new Tristans. I decided to head back to Kedama and see if we could try another go round with those feisty neutrals.
Now on the way back to Nenna to reship I say a pirate cruiser gate camp but since there was no small tackle I thought nothing of blowing by it. And as we went back towards Kedama it was still there and hey, why does it have a Procurer in the middle of it?
Ah yes, the super sensor boosting mining ship with faction warp disruptors. How could I forget? My speedy Atron got off OK but my fleetmates in their aptly named "Fatmen" frigates were soon space junk.
Attempt #3 - Atron + 3 Tristans
Since misery loves company, we reshipped in Nenna once again and were joined by another corp mate who thought his kills to losses ratio was getting too lopsided in favour of kills. I decided to go the other way in the same manner that a card players gets up and walks around his chair to reverse his luck with the dealer, and in Oicx we spot some actual real live war targets! Only three of them so our fleet of four looks like the perfect size.
In an effort to not scare them off, I go in first in the Atron to find them and see a Tristan and a Griffin in a small plex with no sign of the third pilot. I call in one Tristan to warp to the plex gate after I go in and engage, with order to the other two Tristans to warp in after I land in the plex. The idea is that the slower escalation and heat of battle will prevent them from running before the fight starts.
However, what I did not count on is how fragile the Atron is. I'm used to flying in an Incursus or even Daredevil with powerful active tanks and not the think plated Atron. I was down before my first Tristan reinforcement arrived and worse, the enemy called in a Catalyst as my other two Tristans showed up.
The good news is that we only lost one other ship besides my Atron. The bad news is we had to retreat without any retribution.
Despite the almost complete failure I learned a few things (or rather reinforced some things I should have known) and next time I will be better for it. I never thought it would be easy and I'm glad my corpies were good sports about it ("Better blowing up than ship spinning." Thanks Yonko.)