The forward deployment for the Tenal campaign continues. It takes some time to get a group of alliances that consists of hundreds of people to pack up their suitcases and head to the far edge of our territory.
I was lucky. I happened to have left a Drake only a few jumps away from our forward deployment point after an op a few days back. It sounded, even then, like we might still be doing things up in Tenal to support Razor and the few systems they had grabbed in the region. So I used a jump clone to get back to home turf, leaving the clone and the ship to wait for my return.
Well, the war has been heating up. As I mentioned, Raiden and its allies stepped up the pressure on the CFC, hoping to find us confused and demoralized after the events surrounding The Mittani and the Alliance Panel.
Part of that pressure was an attempt to reclaim the few systems in the Tenal region we had grabbed. And that meant dropping Sovereignty Blockade Units in those systems so that they could be contested and captured.
Just to show how things go around, I was part of the screening operation that covered Razor when they planted SBUs in these systems to take them from Raiden in the first place. Now it was our turn to do what Raiden failed to do, destroy the SBUs.
There was a fleet announcement on Jabber while I was already on and figuring out what else I needed to bring out to forward deployment, so I figured I would see if I could tag along. Despite being a call for an Alpha Fleet, which means Maelstroms, I joined with my Drake. Nobody seemed to mind. Everybody was still getting ships moved out.
I undocked at the forward deployment base, where there was clearly something going on. A fleet of CFC carriers were there repping the station. I am not sure what that meant, but it was more carriers that I have probably ever seen at once, so I took pictures.
From there it was a jump out to a POS where a titan was waiting to bridge us out. Jokes were made on coms because poor Zarks had lost a brand new titan earlier in the evening when, in attempting to open up a jump bridge to a cyno deep in hostile territory, he instead hit the wrong button and jumped the titan there. And then hilarity ensured… for somebody.
Our titan driver was more careful and opened up the jump bridge to send us on our way.
Out in Tenal we set about blowing up SBUs. I now have three SBUs on my kill detail for March.
SBUs are durable, but a hundred or so ships laying into one will take it down eventually.
When we completed that, there was a sudden call to get back down to VFK. A hostile fleet was going to go after one of the towers that was coming out of reinforce. We headed back to forward deployment as quickly as we could. Dabigredboat (DBRB) told anybody who had a jump clone to jump to VFK or the vicinity and get in an alpha fleet ship.
I was actually ready for this. I had a jump clone in VFK. I was cleared to jump as my timer had already run down and I had my Maelstrom sitting in VFK.
DBRB had us switch fleets to the Alpha Fleet in VFK, told those of us who could to clone jump, to the rest to burn to VFK as fast as possible… and then said stop. And then said go. And then waited a few minutes and said hold up and then never mind and then called a stop to the whole operation. The tower was already down.
At which point I and a lot of people were already in VFK. So DBRB jumped to VFK himself and the open turned into a convoy to get more ships back up to our forward deployment. I installed a new jump clone in VFK so I could jump back again at need. They are relatively cheap and I can always destroy one if I use up my allotment. (The number you get is based on a skill, and I think I get 5 jump clones at where I am trained.) I stayed in my Maelstrom, thinking that an Alpha Fleet ship would be the best thing to bring to the forward deployment next.
At about this time The Mittani showed up on coms to talk about the war, Fan Fest, his getting banned, and other things people asked about. This went on for a bit and then, to give us some entertainment for what looked to be a boring convoy op, Mittens agreed to tell a story from days past in EVE Online.
Story time is part of the great oral tradition of the Goons that brings players new and old into the history and traditions of the alliance. It is part of their strength, that they immerse themselves in their history and bring new members along with them. In fact, we had a new player, just two days into the game, on coms and in the fleet. (And, in the DBRB fleet tradition, he requested people send the new guy ISK, so suddenly he was very rich by his own measure. 100 million ISK is huge when you are new. I feel like am I poor when I get down to a billion ISK these days.)
And then we ran into a gate camp. We were spread out, traveling more as a stream than a convoy, as gates had been declared green all the way. A Maelstrom got tackled in one system and there were a few reds in another system and people were trying to coordinate a response which was hindered by the fact that Mittens was telling his story and we could not get him to shut up.
The immediate theory was that he had recorded all these old stories and, when asked to tell one, would turn on the recording and walk away. This was given credence by the fact that he seemed to press on with his tale without change of tone or pace no matter what was said on coms.
Eventually somebody pinged him by another method and it came out that with his new microphone setup he had accidentally turned off the sound and so thought he was telling the story to a silent and attentive audience. There is a metaphor in that somewhere I am sure.
That got straightened out, people were rescued, the fleet arrived, and Mittens pondered the idea of actually recording these stories to be played on demand for story time. Goons on Tape.
And so I got my Maelstrom and a load of ammo to the forward deploy. Logistics in EVE… the actual moving crap around, not the cruisers… can be a bitch. I still have a Hurricane I should bring out if we need a welp fleet, a back up Drake I should probably have on hand, and a Scimitar which I still have to figure out how to fly, but which I now have the minimum skills for to fly in fleet.
But we’re in for the long haul, so there will be time.