Into The Vale of the Silent

Last week I was looking at the map of the Tribute region in EVE Online and wondering if the war against Norther Coalition might be coming to an end.  NC held just three systems in one corner of the region after internal politics and the trench warfare of the sovereignty grind basically sapped their will to live and they lost eleven systems in one day.

The implication seemed to be, as demonstrated by excerpts from one of NC’s recent alliance meetings, that if they just gave up in Tribute, they could get back to more fun aspects of null sec life, like getting stuck into the Russians in Solar Fleet.  Good fights and good times, and no more shooting SBUs and repping towers.

A State of the Goonion message gave the CFC response to this idea.  The TL;DR version being:

We’re chasing NCdot to Vale and purging them. Also their techs in lowsec. Fuck’em.

So… War On!

The CFC has even built up enough infrastructure in Tribute… in the form of POS and jump bridge locations… that we are not even being asked to redeploy again.  We have a pretty simple commute to and from the war at this point.

The Vale of the Silent is a little more complex, sovereignty-wise.  In addition to NC, there is EvOke and Ewoks and Rolling Thunder, and Babylon 5 rattling around in the region, each with some sovereignty carved out.  Some are known quantities, like EvOke, others I have no clue about, like Rolling Thunder, who showed up one day when Raiden imploded in the north.

The Neighborhood

And, in amongst all of that there is NC and 25 tech moons.  Time for more strat ops.

More on that… with pictures… after the break.

Are you a spai?

Saturday there was a call for a tower shoot operation in The Vale.  I knew it was coming, I was hanging around waiting for it.  I saw the “fleet up” announcement come in over Jabber.  And by the time I managed to log in, the fleet was full.  255 people had already piled on to get in on the shoot.

After a couple of minutes, a second fleet went up under Schadenfreud.  While the first fleet was Alpha Fleet doctrine… battleships with big guns… the second fleet was declared an Insta-cane fleet.  Intel expected opposition in the form of stealth bombers, which the Insta-cane… a Hurricane battlecruiser boosted to lock very quickly and deliver a heavy broadside… is well suited to oppose.  We would fly cover for the tower busting battleships.

We took the jump bridge out to the forward deployment system where the Maelstroms and Rokhs of Alpha Fleet waited for a titan bridge to the target.  Our fleet went ahead via the slow route, jump gate to jump gate.

Alpha Fleet waiting for their bridge

We ran off ahead to the target system, 4-HWWF, posted watchers on the gates, shook ourselves out into a loose cover formation, and waited for bad guys while Alpha Fleet moseyed in and shot the first tower.  This tower had active guns in place, so we had to keep out of range as we did not have any logistic support.

First Tower Down

That went off without any interruption, so we moved on to the second tower in the system, where we again stood off to cover the fleet hitting the tower.

Better lighting this time!

As the second tower was ground down, it became clear that no bad guys were going to show up.  The FC warped us in amongst Alpha Fleet so we could get a few shots in of our own.  This was good, as I was looking to get on the kill board for the month of October still.  I have managed to get in on at least one kill mail every month since I have been in null sec, and while that hardly denotes any sort of elite status, it does at least give an indication that I am participating.

The titan that was set to bridge Alpha Fleet back to the staging system jumped in early and joined in on the shoot.

Avatar joins the shoot

The tower went boom.  The titan did not even get the top damage dealer spot on the list.  But I got on the kill mail.

Second Tower Pops

At that point, we were pretty much done, mission accomplished and all that.  Alpha Fleet rolled up to the titan for their bridge home while we covered in the remains of the tower modules.

Hurricane among the remains

Schadenfreud had us set our destination to the staging system for the journey home, and we were about to head out when he said he had an idea.

He wanted to know if we all wanted to take a detour on the way home.  He thought that perhaps it might be worth a laugh to fly to G5ED-Y, NC’s home system, and sit on their station undock for a few minutes to taunt them and zap anybody who came out to play.  This is one of the specialties of the Insta-cane.

The response was pretty positive, so off we went.  We ran into a couple of reds along the way, but nothing really worth mentioning happened.  Schadenfreud had us all form up on the jump gate that went to G5ED-Y.  When we were formed up there, we jumped into the home NC’s home system.

And there was a hostile fleet sitting on the gate.

My overview runneth over with targets.  A lot of targets.  Way more targets than we could possibly handle.  There was a bubble up, there looked to be a tier 3 sniper fleet sitting on the gate, and we appeared to be well and truly screwed.  Somebody on coms said as much and that we might as well take a few with us, so I locked up the nearest Naga and opened fire.  Why not?

Then Schadenfreud told us to set the staging system for our destination and run like hell for home.

I had already been targeted at this point, but I was at the edge of the bubble, so I was able to MWD out and warp off while deep in armor damage.

Red is bad, and there is a lot of red

I hit the far gate, the first on the way home and was stuck.  I couldn’t jump through the gate.

There is a timer that prevents you from using a jump gate or docking up in a station within 60 seconds of firing on somebody.  The dread aggression timer.  Come the Retribution expansion in a month, there will be nice, visible counters for such timers.  Currently though, it is still the invisible 60 seconds.

So I sat there at the gate clicking the jump button over and over while the enemy fleet began to warp in on grid.  Click, click, click, click as more bad guys showed up.  Then, after an eternity, I finally got the “Session Change in Progress” message that meant I was being sent through the gate.

And into a bubble.

The gate was bubbled and we had to MWD out of it before we could warp off to the next gate.  As reds began pouring through the gate and as I saw three nearby ships display the pulsing yellow box in the overview, meaning I was being targeted, I heard somebody on our coms say, “I guess I shouldn’t have bubbled.”

Yeah, we did that!

I managed to get outside the bubble, to the next gate, and through without taking any more hits.  And then it was warp to gate, jump, warp to gate, jump, as fast as I could.  Somewhere along the line they stopped chasing us en masse, though I saw a couple of reds with us for four or five jumps.  Stragglers were reporting gates camped along the way, but I appeared to be just ahead of the wave.

I made it back to our staging system and took the jump bridge back to UMI-KK, our home in Tribute.

And then the laughing began.  Losses were light, considering the situation.  It appeared that our scout declared the gate clear then jumped off to put eyes on the station while, in the mean time, the hostile fleet showed up at the gate just in time for us to jump through.  I don’t think they were specifically there to get us.  You wouldn’t put a sniper fleet right on the gate the go toe-to-toe with Arty mounted Insta-canes, would you?

In any case, this will become one of those tales.  People will be talking about the game and somebody will say, “Remember that time Schadenfreud wanted to go troll NCdot at their home station?”

4 thoughts on “Into The Vale of the Silent

  1. EvENewbie

    Can you explain why it is so important to get on the “kill mail”. Do you get some form of monetary compensation from the corp if you do? Or is it just an epeen thing?


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @EvENewbie – It is pretty much an epeen thing I guess.

    As I said in the post, it is a visible way of showing that you participated in a thing. We also have participation links for fleet ops… URLs to click on that record your presence in a fleet and the ship you are flying… so the alliance can track who is flying. But almost nobody gets to see that data, so when I fly logistics, which never gets on kill mails, I leave no mark on the internet that says “I was there.” I like to have reminders of having been places. That would be the reason for this blog, as an example.


  3. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Gevlon – I am sure they had been in reinforce mode, but by the time we got there, they were out and NC and friends made no attempt to refuel or rep them. Or even defend them. An op the next day went pretty much the same way.


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