The spice must flow
The Spacing Guild, Dune
As usual, the hint that something was up on Sunday afternoon came in the form of a Jabber broadcast.
We’re going to be doing something special tonight at 3:00 EVE, forming up in VFK with Alphafleet. It’s special enough that I’m not telling you what we’re doing at all – except that I will personally be logging in to ‘Eve Online’ and going on this fleet, which hasn’t happened in, christ. The last invasion when I wasn’t banned, I guess.
There will be an op post up shortly – but it will be similarly empty of relevant information, except VFK, Alphafleet, Mystery Op, and Me Logging In.
This one was from The Mittani himself and promised not only a special fleet op for that evening, but in it he declared that the op was so special that he would actually log into the game, undock from a station, and fly as part of the op.
The Mittani. He posts in the forums and on Twitter. He broadcasts to the CFC over Jabber. He shows up on voice coms for the State of the Goonion and on ops now and again. And, of course, he appears live and uncensored on Fanfest video streams.
But I have never personally seen him in space playing the same game I play. This held the promise of being an interesting event.
And many in the CFC shared my interest it seems. Despite kicking off at 03:00 EVE time (03:00 UTC, 20:00 PDT, my time zone) near a Sunday/Monday transition for most of us, there was quite a crowd out for the fleet.
Originally there was going to be an Alpha fleet. Then it became an Alpha fleet and a Drake fleet. And then as both of those fleets filled up, another Drake fleet was added and got up to 150 members. A fleet can have 256 members, and the first two fleets were full, so we are talking about ~650 people online and committed to this mystery operation.
Well, committed is a stretch for some. I do not think I ever saw more than about 550 people in local, so there were clearly some people in the fleet but not with the fleet. But that always happens.
We left VFK for a jump bridge, then jumped into the connecting system where two titans were waiting to bridge us to the final destination. I did not arrive early enough for the main fleet with The Mittani, so I was in the Drake fleet Dabigredboat. After arriving at our titan… there was one for us and one for the Alpha fleet… we all formed at at 2,000m and waited for titan bridge to go up and the signal to jump.
For about the first 30 minutes on coms there were the usual stragglers. Somebody would ask if we had left VFK yet and they would get told where the fleet was. Then the jump bridge ran out of fuel, so some people slow boated out while others waited around for GSOL to refill it.
There turn out in expectation of an Alpha fleet was so big that a good percentage of the Drake fleet was Malestroms. They and their burst of firepower are the backbone of Alpha fleet, but they are not so useful in Drake fleet, which depends on moving at MWD speeds at all times. The Maelstroms could not catch up.
As it turned out, most of the Maelstroms in our fleet were Fatal Ascension pilots. A plan was put together and they were bridged out to a base where they would swap out for Drakes and then get bridged back to fleet.
While this was going on, one of our cats threw up on the bed. So I went AFK, fully expecting to find the fleet gone by the time I got back. My wife and I stripped the bed, made it up again fresh, and I tossed the now cat barf soiled sheets in the washing machine.
I returned to find the fleet still there. The titan had pulled all of us into the POS bubble. As it turns out, I happened to have put in the shield password already, so I was not one of those people bouncing against the shield.
And on coms, the same jokes were going around. For some reason… well, the reason was to distract us… DBRB started up with the Star Wars “Red Two Ready” sequence, encouraging people to come up with other “red” things. So there was plenty of “Red Skelton ready!” and “Red Bull ready!” on voice and in fleet chat.
That did not really hide the fact that an hour after the op started moving, we were still sitting on the titan waiting for the go code.
People were looking at ships. I found The Mittani and took a screen shot to prove he was in space.
(The ship label is the result of my getting a Liberty Prime overview, which I saw mentioned somewhere… but I cannot remember where, so that link was thrown out to the first site I could find that mentioned it. Missing from their FAQ, how to remove their changes.)
There was also the lone Raven in our fleet, with the name “Hilarious Lossmail,” along with a Harbinger and a Rifter that were along for the ride. It is something of a requirement that there be a Rifter in any CFC fleet operation.
I also picked Aleph Gideon out of the fleet. He is a regular reader and always says hello to me in fleet chat. He said I had to do a post about this operation… though he said that really early on, when it looked like we might do something. This will teach him.
Somebody with the right privileges began changing the name of the POS in which we were sitting. This became my main source of entertainment for the next 20 minutes or so, as I let the usual nonsense on voice coms wash over me. I took screen shots of them all, but they didn’t get saved. During the op I noticed that it was taking a few seconds to save screen shots, which I figured was because the screen shot folder was pretty full up with nearly a thousand pictures in there.
I tend to take a lot of screen shots.
So I renamed the folder, foolishly assuming that any programmer worth their salt would check that the folder existed when trying to save to it, and finding it missing, would create a new folder. Or, at the least, save them to the root directory where the executable lives. But no, the EVE client just fails to save the screen shot without any error.
Do they not teach exception handling to young programmers any more? Everybody likes to code the happy path, nobody likes to catch the people who wander off of it.
Anyway, I am saved from cropping and assembling a couple of dozen pictures of the tower with names like “Hey, I’m talking to you!” and “DBRB make me a sandwich!”
In the midst of my amusement with the tower a Northern Coalition Tengu showed up. The tower said hello. I thought perhaps we might get to shoot something. That Tengu was followed by a small fleet, all of which sailed right through our POS shield, because all of our enemies know the default password, even though half of our own fleet does not. Or so it seems.
And then DBRB got on voice coms and explained what was going on.
This was an OTEC operation. Apparently Against All Authorities (-A-) put at least one Pandemic Legion (PL) tech moon into reinforce, and it was set to come out. Since PL is a member of OTEC, the rest of the cartel was called up to defend their moon. So we sat on call, ready to come and help defend their moon mining operation. We could see the PL fleets in fleet finder and they could see ours because we were all temporarily set to be friends.
However, DBRB told us over coms that PL had several triage carriers on the tower and that -A- was unable to break their tank, so gave up and went home. Black Legion also showed up, but were not able to make any progress either. We did not bother to jump through as, showing up in such force would almost guarantee no fight.
So, instead, the titan opened up a jump bridge to VFK and we jump back to where we started a little more than 90 minutes after we left.
Another sit and wait op.
However, we now have a measure as to how serious OTEC really is.
And I saw The Mittani in space. There has to be an achievement unlock for that.
This also looks like it might be an ongoing thing. Last night -A- apparently had 40 Tengus attacking a tech moon. However, without the lure of The Mittani, turn out for fleet ops was not quite so overwhelming. Vily was calling us names on Jabber trying to get people to fleet up. I chose to go to bed.