As I noted in my June in Review post, things had been quiet in the part of null sec where I generally live. I wrote that we needed a war and that the Goons tended to go to war in the summer, so maybe we would get something to do soon.
And my wish was granted even before that post went up.
So I came back from vacation to find war was declared, a lot of people already redeployed to Delve, and battles already under way.
This will be the fifth war in Delve for the Goons, who I gather have now taken to seeing the region as a place to take their summer vacation. They know it well.
I, on the other hand, have never been and had to get their. Regular convoys of ships seemed to have ceased. I was left with some directions and a note on the fridge saying, “make sure you turn off all the lights, see you in Delve!”
Delve is kind of far away, in EVE terms, from my usual home up in Deklein. (Map from the usual source.)
Just putting in our staging system in as the destination put the route as 61 jumps from VFK-IV. Jump bridges had been set up along the way to cut that number down by a fair margin, but it is still a ways to go. And, of course, the route was all through null sec, so danger lurks at every gate.
Still, fun beckoned, fleet ops were being announced regularly, and I wanted to go. So I decided to risk it and run the pipe down to Delve on my own. So I grabbed one of my fleet fit Drakes and a copy of the route and headed out.
And I made it about a third of the way there.
As seems to be usual for null sec, a few systems had people in them, but most along the way were empty or had one or two other players. And things went smoothly until I hit 6-4V20.
There were five hostiles in the system when I landed at the jump gate. I had the intel channel up, but the system had not been mentioned by anybody up to that point. Nobody was in sight, but they might have been cloaked, as I was, around the gate.
At that point I had three choices, go forward, go back, or go hide. Going forward meant warping to the jump bridge in the system and heading to the next destination. Going back meant turning on the microwarp drive and trying to cover the 15km to the gate before I got webbed, jumping out, and then working on where to go next quickly if they followed me. And hiding meant warping to some other point in the system, a belt, a planet, or a moon.
I probably should have tried hiding. There was an off chance I might have been able to work my way around, staying ahead of the hostiles, and then hit the jump bridge.
But I happened to come through the jump gate aligned almost right for the warp to the jump bridge, so I had a chance of at least warping off successfully. With a Drake, aligning to warp can take time, enough time that you can get warp scrambled and held before you can get away. So I went for the jump bridge.
I uncloaked, aligned very quickly, and warped off. As I did so, the hostiles all broke cloak as well. They did not get me at the gate. But they did not need to. They knew where I was headed.
Just short of the POS and jump bridge was a drag bubble they left on the path. I hit that, dropped out of warp and was hanging there in space, trying to align for another point in the system when they showed up. I was webbed and scrambled pretty quickly. I had hardeners on and locked up and fired away at the ship that was keeping me from warping, but it was a futile effort and I knew it.
It actually took longer than I thought it would for them to take down my ship, but it blew up all the same. Here is the kill mail.
In that picture you can see the drag bubble, the closer sphere, and the POS shield in the background.
And I was quickly podded after that, which at least saved me the trip back. At least I was in a no-implant clone. Though to add insult to injury, I realized that I had grabbed one of the Drakes I had not bothered to insure, so my payout was the minimum, 17 million ISK. And there is no alliance reimbursement for fools like me who get caught trying to travel alone. Not that the ISK is a big deal… though I am glad I wasn’t flying a fleet fit Tengu, which costs about 8x… but it does make one feel stupid.
And I wasn’t the only one to get picked off there on the way to Delve.
So I ended up back in Deklein in a new clone. I will have to wait until more people are traveling to Delve to make another attempt to get to the war.