There was a time last year when merely watching the Jabber announcement feed would end up giving me a quick fight a couple times a week. I took note at the end of February 2012 that there was always a party. Hostiles would show up and camp the undock in VFK-IV, the de facto Goonswarm capital and we would go out to fight them right on our doorstep. Sometimes we’d bag something big, like a carrier, right in VFK. And sometimes I would get popped. But stuff seemed to happy right in our midst on a regular basis.
And then came the wars to recolor much of the null sec map.
The action moved elsewhere. We deployed to various locations on the map and the fights followed, first up to Branch and Tenal, then down to Delve and Querious, and then into Tribute and the Vale of the Silent. That was pretty much a year’s worth of fleet actions.
And then they were over. The new territories were split up and I returned to my starting point in Deklein. Where not much was happening.
But there was still a war being settled down in the south and something of an inadvertent conquest in Cobalt Edge, so the attention of what I would guess I would call the free companies, groups who wander null sec looking for fights as opposed to sovereignty, was focused elsewhere.
Now though, things are a bit quiet. Well, except for some pundits declaring that after over a year of non-stop war and change, that null sec is now dead. But the quiet is really only relative to the massed fleets. The operational tempo goes on at a smaller scale. Roams become more of an activity, both by us and our neighbors and the free companies.
And so it was that last night alone I was in two different homeland defense actions.
The first was a force of Nulli Secunda and Northern Coalition that drove into Deklein and which we assembled to face. Normally I would have just pulled out one of my Drakes to join this fleet, but Hurricanes were on the list of ships desired, and I happened to have one in VFK, so I grabbed it. It was a DigiCane fit, which was for a fleet doctrine that became obsolete about 30 seconds after I bought it. And so, despite my bringing it along on any number of ops where we expected to die and dragging it along to every war over the last year, I never managed to lose it.
Well, I took care of that last night. We undocked, got on the II-509 gate, then went through to meet the enemy who put the hurt on us, winning the kill war at a 2 to 1 ratio, then took off while we were reshipping. We gave chase, ending up amidst a null sec incursion, which change the color of space if nothing else.
Failing to catch up to the bad guys, we hauled ourselves back to VFK.
Fawlty7, our FC, was going to take the fleet out again in a roam to see if he could find some more trouble, but I declined to follow along on that and logged off for a bit.
And a while later, there was another call on Jabber. Black Legion was around VFK in force. This time the call was for Alphafleet and I had my Rokh ready to go. As fate would have it, about the time we were ready to undock and face the bad guys, Fawlty7’s fleet was returning to VFK and got hit.
The Black Legion fleet fell back a system and we spent some time on opposite sides of a gate waiting for one side to barge in on the other. Neither side was taking that bait however, and so they fell back to another gate and we followed. And again.
Eventually the Black Legion fleet ended up in a pipe of systems that fell between the two ends of one of our jump bridges and we spent the next 40 minutes jumping through the jump bridge to block them at one end and then the other of the pipe, in something of an internet spaceships version of pickle. Our fleet was a little bit bigger, but not big enough that we could divide our forces and press from both sides.
This went on long enough that we had to call a service guy out to ensure that the jump bridges would have enough fuel to keep it going. A Rorqual showed up, which we were not supposed to mention on fleet chat because it is a high value target, and which I think we successfully mentioned less than a dozen times on all possible channels. So much for operational security.
Black Legion clearly knew what was going on and eventually sent a sacrificial lamb out to bubble us on the jump bridge at one end of the game, which makes the jump bridge unusable, while they escaped out the other end of the pipe. The bubble went up and we were stuck there for a bit, but it wasn’t long enough. We caught up with them at FO8M-2 for a short, sharp fight where the kill totals favored us this time. We got them in a bubble and the shooting began.
However, after blowing up their FC, Ipsimus, the Black Legion fleet made their way out of the bubbles and to the exits. Well, there was that and the fact that a fleet of 27 CFC carriers dropped onto the field. That tipped what would have been a fairly even fight into odds heavily in our favor, so they withdrew with good reason.
Somehow I managed to fail to get on a single kill mail in the fight. I seemed to be always targeting the guy who just blew up just warped off.
And so it goes in Deklein, where such smaller fights seem to be becoming the norm again.