Stranding My Drake in High Sec and Other Nonsensical Tales

Manisulus, one day they will write songs about you

-Quo Vadiss, in fleet chat

A long summary of not much at all.

I realized I was half way into the month and I had yet to get on the kill board.  Everybody says they love logi pilots, but when they are lauding people in corp-wide mails, it is always the guy with a couple hundred kills who gets mentioned, not the guy who played space priest.  You got no kills, then your contributions are invisible.

Ah well.

And there was a huge opportunity to get on the kill board with the Vile Rat Memorial Diplomatic Disaster Op that went off Saturday afternoon my time, but I was out and about and missed it.

But late Saturday night I was finally at my computer and not doing anything when a Dabigredboat message came up on Jabber about a sniper gang in UMI-KK.  I was parked there and had ships on hand.  It sounded like the right moment.

At first though, things didn’t bode well for any fun.  We had a fleet of about 45 ships, that included everything from frigates to carriers out on the undock staring at the sniper gang some 300 km off.

Undocking at UMI

For a while there was a long range game of cat and mouse, all of which took place outside the range of my Drake.  Subcaps were variously sent back into the station and then to stand off on our own to await our moment.

A motley collection of subcaps

Eventually, after a lot of jumping around, we managed to drop on some of them, get a bubble up around them and pick a few of them off.

I was on the edge of our fleet closest to the enemy and got yellow boxed by a few of them and tackled by one of their frigates.  I started taking some damage and called for reps… only to realize we really didn’t have much in the way of logistics support.  Damn me for not flying my logi.

Without many other options, I put the enemy at right angles to me and hoped that the increase in transverse speed would let me live a little longer.  And I started pouring missiles into one of the ships shooting at me.

Some combination of this and the rest of the fleet picking off bad guys let me live, which was good as I had just bought the ship and forgot to insure it in my rush to get out and shoot things.  Again.

A few kills were achieved.  Probably more interesting to me was the fact that I managed to get three final blows and a most damage ranking among those kills.  That doubled my lifetime final blow score, which is what you get when you fly in the blob.  When you are shooting with 200 other people, getting that last hit is a low probability event.

The most damage rank was achieved because I decided to shoot at one of the ships that was shooting at me before it had been called as a fleet target.  That gave me time to get in two thirds of the damage on the target before everybody else joined in for the kill.

Things petered out after that.  We looted the field and then I went to bed.

The next morning I was up and there was DBRB again calling for a Drake fleet.  I had a hard stop a couple of hours away, so foolishly I jumped into the fleet.  My pal Gaff was in as well.  Some mix of temporary amnesia and enthusiasm made me think that this might be a short op.

Certainly, riches were promised at the end of the trail.  Solar Fleet was involved in a fleet operation against Evoke and friends, as tales were spun about a rich bounty of Tengus to be harvested along with several carriers and what not.  We just had to get on the titan and get ready to go.

While I wait for traffic control…

Of course, this being a boat fleet, we had to go shoot a structure first.  There was a cyno jammer to be taken offline.  So we bridged out and traveled to it.  The shoot went as usual.

Drakes shooting another cyno jammer

Then apparently the universe decided it was a good day to drive DBRB insane, a plan which kicked off with a pilot named Manisulus.

DBRB had us form up and head away from the POS after the jammer was offline.  As usual, there were stragglers, people still orbiting the jammer, people still shooting.  The usual lag after the intense action that a structure shoot entails.  People go AFK or get otherwise distracted.

The standard amount of shouting on coms by DBRB got the stragglers headed in the right direction until there was just Manisulus left behind.  He had targeted a POS gun and was shooting away at it, but now all of the defenses were shooting at him.

DBRB shouted at him on coms.  People typed in fleet chat.  Players from his alliance tried to ping him.  But he just sat there as first his shields then his armor was peeled away by the POS defenses.  Somebody flew back to try to bump him out of the way.  DBRB threatened to just waste him.

Finally, deep into structure but getting some shield reps, Manisulus began heading in our direction.  I am not sure he ever communicated with us.  And as he came into range of the fleet, people began shooting him… because I guess they thought DBRB meant it when he said we were going to off him ourselves.

This got DBRB shouting into coms, half an octave higher, to stop shooting and that if Manisulus died anybody on his kill mail would have to send him 150 million ISK in compensation.  The fire curtailed and, surprisingly, Manisulus remained alive.

We jumped to one of the gates in system where we held for a bit while DBRB checked on intel.  I could see what must have been most of the fleets armor repair drones orbiting a Drake, which must have been the badly damaged Manisulus.

Then, back on coms, DBRB announced our destination.  We were to head to AD-5B8.

Only he didn’t say that.  He said the destination was “A D Dash” (DBRB doesn’t say “tack” I guess), that all gates were green, and that we should hold up four gates out.

So, some of headed towards AD-5B8, which is down in Geminate, some of us headed to AD-CBT, which is back in Deklein, and some of us began to complain on coms that the destination was 50 jumps out because their autopilots was set to chart the safest route, which meant a long diversion into high sec.

More shouting and eventually somebody broadcasting the route gate by gate in the fleet window.

Then, as we we began to get close to the end of our 20 jump trip, DBRB started asking if anybody had any contacts in Solar Fleet to, you know, let them know we were coming to help out.  Always the sign of a well planned operation.  As far as I could tell, nobody did, but we pressed on, eventually jumping into AD-5B8.  On arriving, DBRB had us all say hello to Solar Fleet in local.

The niceties having been dispensed with, we began looking for Tengus.

We found them at the Eurgrana gate, which is where I took yesterday’s traffic control screen shot, as it had to be about the 25th time I had seen that message during the fleet op,  where we managed to kill a few before they jumped through.  I managed to get on the tally for two Tengus and a Scimitar.

We jumped into Eurgrana after some of them, but only managed to get the gate guns in low sec to start shooting at us.  There is a change of rules when moving from null to low sec.  We then turned around and jumped back into AD-5B8, but it was beginning to look like the party was over.

Meanwhile, my time was up.  We were going to go see some of the women’s soccer tournament over at Santa Clara University where my daughter’s soccer team was going to get to be the ball retrieval girls and play a scrimmage during half time. (We also got to see Brandi Chastain, who is the SCU coach, and who is about as famous as famous gets in women’s soccer in the US.)

So while DBRB was figuring out where to go next, I had to drop.

Looking at the map, I noticed that Eurgrana connects directly to high sec space, so peeled off from the fleet and made the jump to relative safety in Aldik, in Minmatar space.  I then set the auto pilot to park me in the station at Jita 4-4, sent my Drake on its way, and headed out to Santa Clara.

This, of course, left me in an odd spot.

While it is not problem getting myself back to null sec via jump clone, my fleet ops fit Drake was now sitting in Jita, and it really isn’t a ship you want to travel with solo through hostile space.  So now I have to figure out what to do with it.

I could repackage it and have it shipped back, but then I loose the rigs and the freshly purchased insurance.  I could sell it in Jita, which might be okay.  Or I could strip the fittings (to minimize the cost of any loss), ship those back, and try to run the gauntlet in a hollow Drake.

Selling might be the best option, given the announcement of the great big heavy missile nerf coming with the Winter update.  That will likely affect fleet doctrine.  It might be time to get back to training gunnery skills.  Of course, with my luck, the next fleet doctrine will require lasers or drones.

When I got back home, Gaff told me I hadn’t missed anything after I left, except a long run back to base.  But I still needed to get back there myself.

In planning my jump back, I noticed that I had a Drake and a jump clone parked up in CS-ZGD, a left over from the war in Branch and Tenal that wrapped up back in April.  I decided it was late on a Sunday night, I might have a shot at just driving that left over ship all the way down to UMI-KK.

And so I took the long route down, taking advantage of a couple of jump bridges, but otherwise doing the slow boat thing system after system.  But I arrived safe, and I rescued one Drake from a distant station while stranding another.  So the day was about a wash on that front.  But I did get a few kills, so I can go back to flying logistics until next month.

And, most importantly, according to the kill boards, Manisulus survived the fleet.

His fellow space monkeys must be proud.

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