The first started with the sighting of a Tengu. Solo ships are rarely alone in wormhole space so we expected that this Tengu had some friends. We had what we thought was decent intel on the number of visitors in our hole as well as eyes on our entrances to be aware of any reinforcements. After some time running PI and generally trying to evoke a response, I decided to clear our sleeper site in my Dominix. It is a tanky ship I have used in C3 wormholes before and has micro-jump drive capabilities to get out of sticky situations. If the Tengu wanted something juicy, I figured this would be it. Our scouts were cloaky, though in smaller Astero frigates and we had one of our more experienced members in a Recon ship ready to go. Not a terribly powerful combination, but perhaps enough tor a Tengu and maybe a companion.
As I was nearly finished with the site, as expected, the Tengu dropped and here we began making mistakes. First, our scouts left their positions to engage. For a small corp, it is necessary to bring any available pilots to a fight. We do not have the luxury of dedicated scouts in most cases. Some of us run multiple accounts but for the most part we are individual players. Unfortunately, the hole the solo scout left was the one the reinforcements came in. We had alts on at least one other entrance, just not the one that ended up being critical. In the end, our small contingent was dropped on by three Tengu which made quick work of the Recon which had landed directly into the fray instead of landing at range. A simple piloting error, but a costly one. Luckily for me, my Dominix was able to MJD to safety and make it out alive.
In our second encounter the next day, we took the bait of a Drake lingering in the wormhole scanning and jumping from hole to hole and eventually being caught on our high-sec entrance. Our high-sec entrance was a busy starter system so this type of visitor is often commonplace in our wormhole when we have that type of connection. I was in my hunting Astero and gained lock and tackle while my corpmate landed with his Proteus. The target jumped to high-sec and the Proteus followed (later learned to scope out the situation in high-sec and check if there were reinforcements). Unfortunately for us, the reinforcements were in the wormhole, not in high-sec and when the two came back polarized, it seemed our good fortune that we would now destroy this visitor who could not warp way or duck back into the wormhole. It was at this point that we should have disengaged. No high-sec visitor or even WH resident in a Drake set upon by a Proteus and Astero would jump back into a wormhole, polarizing himself, unless he knew he had the friends to back him up. The heat of battle sometimes gets the better of you. Two Proteus, another Drake, and an Onyx landed almost immediately and began laying into my corpmate and his Proteus. I made for cover knowing that as soon as that Onyx dropped his bubble, I was done. The only other corpmate online was the Recon pilot from the first encounter who had yet to replace his ship or have any other PvP ships available. The Proteus was lost and there was nothing we could do about it.
We are supposed to learn from our mistakes. The reality for us, and this was a topic of discussion inside the corporation after these encounters as well, is that we continue to be behind the curve in active members. We are not lacking in attitude or willingness to fight in the members we have. These are solid pilots with superior dedication to the corporation and what we are doing together. I feel bad in many ways that I escaped with my ships while they did not. We continue now to explore new ways to bring pilots into the corporation with some great ideas coming out of of our memberships. Our community is strong though small. We are doing plenty of internal things to strengthen that but our biggest hurdle continues to be growth and we are starting some projects to maybe address that long term which I will definitely discuss later as they take root.