The back half of September has been somewhat quiet in space. At least for me. There is always something going on somewhere, but since the move back to Deklein and Freedom Squad hell camping Mordus Angels back into their station and taking all their towers earlier in the month, there has not been a regular set of foes in space.
I tend to leave Jabber up most evenings, and not a lot of op announcements have been showing up. And those that did pop often came at awkward times. I have to be at my computer and ready to go and have the free time available when things get rolling. A non-strategic fleet op tends to get moving somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes after it has been announced, and once an op is undocked and on its way somewhere, catching up can be a dubious proposition. Travel in EVE Online is not trivial. Catching up to a fleet op solo in anything other than an interceptor can be a dubious proposition. Gate camps that will hide from the main body of the fleet tend to close in to try and grab stragglers and you have to cover every inch of space that the fleet has covered. Nobody can summon you to the raid, you have to fly there on your own.
Still, sometimes it works. I did managed to get into a fleet already 30 minutes live, fly out, and get on a kill mail before getting blown up myself. I managed to warp into spot that made me the closest target and that was that.
Saturday night I gave it another shot. There was a call for a Harpy fleet already 15 minutes old when I sat down at my desk. As my wife was going to be away for a couple of hours, I figured I had time enough to give it a shot. I logged in and got in my Harpy and then couldn’t get in the fleet. I commented on the CFC general channel that the fleet was full and the FC, Alphastarpilot, got back to me in less than a minute with a “try now.” And, hey presto, I was in.
And I was behind.
They were already 8 jumps down the pipe towards their destination and the FC was calling for people to catch up. I undocked and immediately started down the route posted in the MOTD in fleet chat. Three jumps in and then the FC began calling for people to reship to Bursts, as we were short on logistics. I had to stop and ask myself if, already running behind, I should further compound that by turning around and reshipping or if I should just press on to catch up. I decided to press on rather than miss out. And it started to sound like the J4LP guys coming from another direction might have us covered on the logistics front.
I got to within a couple of jumps of the fleet before it started moving again, so it was just warp and jump and warp again trying to catch up. Eventually the fleet stopped. Part of the plan was to pass through a wormhole that the Circle of Two team had found that would get us a big leap towards our destination. But he wanted everybody to go through together so nobody ended up lost in W-space where you actually have to know how scan and such to get out. I managed to join the fleet on the wormhole.
Once we were assembled, we passed into W-space, flew to the exit wormhole, and ended up in Black Rise, Caldari low sec space. From there Alphastarpilot had a plan.
Based on intel he had, we were going to drop on a group attacking a POCO in Pavanakka. Our Harpy fleet, with about 70 people present, would land on them and attack in hopes that the would call in reinforcements in the form of a carrier. So the FC got us into position and we landed on them and starting shooting up their logistics support. Some of them were spooked, but the rest held on, a cyno was lit (which we were told not to shoot) and an Archon landed in our midst.
At this point Alphastarpilot calls in a Razor fleet that has been hanging around the area and we all drop on the Archon for the big kill. Op success.
At that point the whole thing was probably the best fleet op I had been in all month. A capital ship kill is always worth the effort, and another 16 kill mails was nice. We could have gone home happy at that point.
But, according to intel, the people we dropped on were pissed and looking for a rematch. Razor went on their merry way, happy to have helped, but we were still hanging around many jumps from home with nothing else to do, so we decided to stick around.
The one thing we had lost was logistics, so while our foes got themselves sorted out, we docked up in a station and started scrounging for replacements for our lost Bursts. The J4LP guys managed to come up with a couple of Bursts and a few logistic fit Bantams for us, which gave us just enough coverage to go back for a second run.
Again, intel managed to put us in the right place at the right time and alerted us to the fact that our foes had phoned in for some help in the form of some ECM Blackbird support, no doubt in hopes of locking us down to be easy meat.
However, that did not end up working out for them. When we clashed again, this time in Akidagi, Alphastarpilot called the targets, we shot them with a minimal amount of target splitting (when you get a secondary in the midst of a reload cycle, it is easy to think you should just move on to the secondary target if the primary looks like it is going down), and managed to get on top of things, again taking few losses and tearing a strip off of our foes. I was on kill mails for 9 of the Blackbirds that came out in support.
From there we headed to the station when they seemed to be hold up and hung around the undock in hopes that they might come out for another round, but it did not look promising. After a while playing undock games, Alphastarpilot pointed us back towards our wormhole and brought us home.
All in all, it was the best op of the month for me and ended a slow September on a high point. I tried to assemble a battle summary to sum up who was there. Alphastarpilot and his team did a great job. I also have to commend Alphastarpilot for just being a great FC, calling all the right targets, and being able to pronounce, seemingly off the cuff, every low sec system we passed through. I know a couple of time I thought to myself, “Ah, so that is how you say that name.”
And I also had a new ship spotting. I saw my first Mordu’s Legion ship, as we had an Orthrus cruiser along for the ride. It takes a while for new ships to filter into fleets.
As is the norm, I have some screen shots from the op, including a couple of the Orthrus, after the cut.
Our visit to low sec.