Capital ship convoy ops had been announced. The alliance was in motion. We were headed to Curse.
So I asked the Black Sheep Down CEO, Gaff (who has started to insist that people refer to him as “El Supremo”) when we would start having convoys for sub caps. Given the destination, that seemed like it might be an adventure in itself. It could be the best roam ever given a sizable fleet.
He laughed… though not in a way that indicated mirth… and told me that there would be no convoys for sub caps. The alliance had set up an office down in Curse and that if I wanted to get down there I should relocate my death clone to that office, undock in my pod, and self-destruct. And, if I was good, he might let me use my new carrier skills to drive one of the Archons down to Curse as part of the big-boy convoys.
I realize that this sort of tele-mort routine is convenient… though it would be more convenient if we had decided to hole up in a station that had medical facilities so I could upgrade my clone easily afterwards, without the risk of getting blown up and losing a skill… but it just goes against the grain for me to willfully self destruct if travel is at all possible.
So I grumbled to myself a bit until I saw that the Goons, on their totally separate with different fleet doctrines deployment to Curse, we actually running sub cap convoy fleets to their staging system. That sounded like a plan.
Only they were heading out from high sec and, of course, by this point I had collected my ships for the deployment up in Deklein. Still, I wanted to give this a try, just to do it.
So I took my alt, newly in Deklein, clone jumped him back to Jita, then bought and fit out a fleet doctrine Harpy for him.
And I want to say at this point that our alliance actually has some pretty nifty web tools. If I recall right, you can pretty much thank us for the blessing/curse of participation links. Corporation Danmark has a whole site set up for us with fleet doctrines and fits that you can access via the in-game browser that, in turn, opens them up in fitting windows in-game which you can use as a shopping list and then save to your fittings and use to “auto-fit” your ship
This is also the first time I have used the “auto-fit” feature, and it is a blessing for me as I tend to have too much junk sitting around in my hanger and always end up spending five minutes sorting and resorting to find that last module in the bin.
Anyway, I had me alt in a harpy and had to immediately race southeast in space to get to the rally point for the convoy, which actually meant heading through somewhat new space for me.
More after the cut. Pictures, words, the usual nonsense.
And, though I rank more highly as an achiever on the Bartle test, explorer comes in second. I like to see new things.
If I dig out the in-game map and look at the places I have been (I need to do an update on this post, which shows that in-game map), it shows that I have spent a lot of time in the Caldari and Amarr spheres of influence, a little bit of time in the Gallente influenced regions, but almost no time at all in Minmatar space. Borrowing/stealing again from DOTLAN maps, the regions on this map marked with an orange-ish tint.
And while I have ventured into the Minmatar sphere of influence in the past… I recall having to go there for a research agent at one point… and getting blown up in Rancer… it has been a long time. So as I made it to the fleet and we started out, the tourist in me was all agape as I saw new structures against a backdrop of unfamiliar nebulae.
Which, of course, meant I kept falling behind the fleet as I goggled at one thing or another and tried to line up the camera to take screen shots.
The trip to Curse was surprisingly quiet. We ended up having to veer from the most direct route there from high sec because of a serious gate camp, but our detour did not take long and went through a pretty desolate area of space.
I have heard people complain in the past about empty space and unused systems being a bad thing or wasted resources. But I really feel that the fact that there is empty space, that you can find yourself and your fleet alone in a system or a series of systems, is an important aspect of the game. There is a tension to it, a sense of loneliness, and a feeling that New Eden is really an immense place. If every system was full, if every gate was camped, if every place you went was being heavily utilized, it would change the spirit of the game.
Anyway, our passage went unchallenged, though every gate through which we passed was another potential ambush. Then we arrived in G-0Q86, which was alive with red and blues and neutrals in the local channel. As we dropped into the safe POS I was wondering if we had dropped into a battle.
I had momentarily forgotten that the Goons picked this system because it was where TEST had chosen to make their home after their retreat from null sec. So, as a system, it is pretty much destined to be full of hostiles until either the Goons or TEST decided to move elsewhere.
We managed to slip into the station between bubbles on the undock. While there I even saw former TEST leader BoodaBooda engaging in the hobo-camping station undock games that were in full flower at the moment.
There we were, safe and docked up. We clicked our participation links, thanked the FC, and dropped fleet.
Only I was not home yet.
TNT had set up a few jumps down the road, which meant some more travel. The intel channel seemed to be quiet, but then again most attention seemed to be focused on the undock circus act being played out by TEST and the Goons.
Between demands that he receive a 23-gun salute as his due, El Supremo suggested that I wait until morning and try and slip into our station during the AM lull. That seemed like rather sane advice, considering the source. But there I was, one character stuck up in Deklein, another sitting just a few jumps away from my goal. I decided I couldn’t give up with at least peeking into the next system.
I undocked and got out of the bubbles and into the safe POS. From there I warped to 100km off the first gate to get eyes on it and see if it was camped, ready to warp off at the first sign of hostiles. The gate looked clear, so I warped to a celestial and then back to the gate at zero and jumped through. The next system had two hostiles and two blues. I bounced off another celestial and dropped on the gate to find it clear. A hostile uncloaked and warped off as I landed.
And then from there it was clear. I made it to our home station in Curse with my alt.
Now I just have to get more ships and more supplies, along with my main, down there and I will be set.
For now though, I can participate and I have some snapshots from my first trip out.