GUARENTEED FIGHT IN FOUNTAIN TONIGHT
-Blawrf McTaggart, the broadcast some claim jinxed the whole thing
Black Legion still has a tower set up in Fountain. We had put it into reinforce and the timer was set to come up last night. We were going to go and try to finish it off.
Reagalan put up a broadcast about fifteen minutes in advance of the form up time for the fleet, but otherwise it wasn’t really on the calendar or anything, so when Blawrf finally sounded the horn there were already about 40 of us in the YA0-XJ station and in the fleet. The follow up got another 50 or so people, putting us at 93 total.
Not bad for a week night without much in the way of advance warning. Enough to cause trouble most days of the week.
The fleet composition had yet to be announced. Reagalan wanted to take a Hawk fleet out, an experimental doctrine, but was overruled. Neither were we destined to run out to Fountain in Tengus, which was probably a good thing as my Tengu is still down in F2OY-X. The call from command said we were to go out as a Baltec fleet because this was serious business, a strat op, and not just some roam.
So we got out our Baltec ships. I got into my Apocalypse, which had made it back from Delve, and joined everybody out at the staging POS so we could begin the part of every fleet op where we discover we do not have enough boosters or logistics. I am still ages away from being able to fly a boosting ship and I wanted to get on a kill mail, it has been a slow month so far, so I was reluctant to give that up for logistics.
As it was, we had to escort somebody a couple of jumps to pick up a boosting ship in order to cover him from a hostile gang roaming the area. We managed to land on them at one point and I was able to lock up and get on a kill mail, helping blot out a tackled interceptor. I even got top damage.
My need for a kill mail satisfied, I volunteered to swap out for an Oneiros logistics ship.
Some other people swapped for logi and we ended up with a fleet composition worth taking out at last. Then it was a quick warp to a titan to bridge us a little ways along before we picked up the well worn trail to Fountain. The route was posted in fleet for us to free burn to B-DBYQ, the gateway system to Fountain from the north, where we spent so much time last year. I barely needed to look at the route, as I can fly it by rote at this point.
We burned out way, spreading out along the route, light ships landing at the destination as the battleships slowly followed a few systems back. Reagalan was trying to get the battleship pilots to hurry up by having them cycle their MWD modules before starting the process to warp to the next point in space. This is supposed to speed up the transition to warp by bringing the ship up to the 75% of top speed threshold needed to engage. Wags on coms were pointing out that this was shaving off about a second from the align and warp time, but that the extra second was pretty much being eaten up by the actually having to cycle the MWD.
As we arrived in B-DBYQ over time, Reagalan had us hole up at the POS where the jump bridge was located. The battleships finally caught up and joined us within the protective shield.
There we sat for a bit, the force now consolidated again, when Reagalan, without preamble, warped us to the local customs office. This was unusual as part of the doctrine is to keep everybody aligned so that we will all warp and land together. As we were all spread out in the POS and facing this way or that, this lead to a long, ragged fleet warp. I happened to be facing almost exactly 180 degrees from the destination, which meant I was one of the last to warp off, but which also meant I got a pretty good view of the new warp termination effect as the rest of the fleet landed in front of me. A pity it is so faint and transitory that it is tough to capture effectively in a screen shot. It looks very nice when you see it happen, but a single frame can’t seem to capture its essence.
Reagalan then had us align back in the direction from which we had just warped. A we landed back at the jump bridge he told us to take it, which got a collective moan out of the fleet on coms. Taking the jump bridge would send us in the wrong direction. That was the way home. That meant no fight for us.
Reagalan confirmed this. While we managed to get a fleet of nearly one hundred together, Black Legion had a Tengu fleet up with a reported 150 members in fleet, roughly one third of them logistics. That last bit is a key factor.
Logistics for sub caps is the new trend (well, new-ish at this point) in why null sec is broken. Back in the old days, long before my time in null, apparently fights were often blood baths where winner and loser could wander off almost equally mauled. Everybody got kill mails though, so even the losers in a fight where they were burned down to the last ship would feel that at least they had inflicted some losses on their foes. They had some tangible effect and the fight was not in vain. Some of the bad guys… and your foes are always bad guys… had to walk home too.
Now, however, if two fleets of roughly equal size square off, if one has better logistics support not only is it likely to win the engagement, it is likely to do so with minimal losses. So, in the absence of other ways to win a fight, piling on logistics support has become a thing. We no longer fly strat ops with just a couple logi ships. Instead the FC has to chide people into support ships under the threat of standing down if we do not get sufficient numbers in the space priest column. The same go for boosting ships, though calls for nerfing boosters has been going on for a while now, at least for off-grid boosting.
Anyway, so you can add “nerf logistics” to the “fixing null” sec bingo card along with “nerf jump bridges,” “nerf jump drives,” “nerf supers,” and “fix sovereignty.” (“Grr Goons” is the center spot and everybody gets that as a freebie.)
The upshot of this was that we faced a formidable foe by the reports that were shared with us. Spies on both sides mean that we all generally know what we are facing for this sort of timer fight unless somebody is very, very clever. The Tengu fleet alone seemed very likely to chew us up unless handled badly. Add in the fact that Black Legion’s allies had assembled an additional fleet of 100+ ships for the fight, and the decision was made not to give the enemy an easy victory by fighting them with the odds in their favor. We headed back to the staging station in YA0-XJ to stand down.
We got our participation link for showing up. While Dabigredboat took a bomber fleet down to harass the hostiles at about the same time we headed out, I am sure Black Legion saved their tower. I am also equally sure that we will soon be headed down to reinforce it yet again, so there will be more timers and more possible fights.
Addendum: And there was a fight there again already. Oops, sorry about that LAWN.
Addendum2: Or maybe that wasn’t the same tower. Still, bloodbath in Fountain.