With the fall of our foothold in Querious at ED-L9T, I was left in a bit of a bind.
When we lost the shield timer a couple days before that, I took a bit of time and moved out some of the excess items I had stored there, lest they end up locked in a hostile station. My plan was to be able to move everything left out with the chances I could create if we lost the station.
And, of course, we lost the station. So it was time to assess how to move out.
If it hadn’t been past midnight after a long day at the office and a full Saturday of outdoor activity waiting in the morning, I would have used the brief window we had left after the fight on Friday night to make a couple of round trips and I would have been done. But I opted for bed and not being completely wiped out the next day.
The bind was that, as I left things, I had to take care of the trapped asset problem before I could really do anything else in EVE Online. My alt was okay, docked in the station in ED-L9T with only a single ship. He could jump clone out and come back later. But my main, also docked up in the station after the fight, had two ships to move.
Well, three actually, but one was a disposable, cheap-fit Vexor that was destined to die as an AFK structure shoot ship anyway. I could forget about that one.
But with a jump clone installed and there in the station, I had two outbound runs available and two ships to move out. I couldn’t jump clone off and do something else without leaving behind a ship. So I was determined to get both ships out, stuck until I got one out, and impatient.
Saturday evening, past the usual European prime time, I logged in my main and my alt to just see how things look. I saw a dozen people in local, but ten were docked up with me in the station. Feeling like the moment might be right, I decided to go for it with my alt. I just had to go a couple of jumps and I would be safe. It was just a question of which route to take. There happened to be three possibilities.
The first was the straight route.
Just take a gate to 3-FKCZ and then on to Efa and the bubble-free joy that is low sec.
Of course, that was also the most likely route to be camped. People are lazy or think they can just slip through, so why not just go for it? I have been tripped up by that thinking many times myself.
At the opposite end of the spectrum was the long way to safety.
Head to LS-V29, then to I1Y-IU, then into 3-FKCZ, and finally into Efa. That would certainly be the least expected route. However it also meant going through the staging system the hostiles were using, I1Y-IU and would maximize the amount of time exposed to risk or bumping into the wrong people.
In the middle was the middle route.
Going via 9SBB-9 would avoid the direct route and the most likely gate camp or drag bubbles that would no doubt be on the direct route. That was clearly the one to choose.
(And yes, these little diagrams seemed like a good idea at the time.)
So I undocked my alt in his Ishtar. I found myself in a mobile warp bubble anchored just off the undock. However, nobody was minding the store. I aligned to the 9SBB-9 gate, lit the MWD, and motored out of the bubble. Then it was a quick warp to the gate, which proved to be clear, then a warp across 9SBB-9, which proved to be clear, then that one last cross-system warp to the Efa gate, which proved to be unobstructed. My alt was in Efa and moved on the Badivefi without any further worry.
That was easy!
I decided not to push my luck immediately though. I logged off my alt, lest anybody who might have been cloaked or otherwise keeping an eye on this notice that there was a breakout attempt going on, but left my main logged in. Let them get used to just seeing me idle in local… nothing going on, no undock planned… while I watched some TV.
I came back a couple hours later and compared local with those docked up. There were half a dozen hostiles out in the system. That did not bode well. I left myself logged in… let them camp me while I am AFK… and went off to get ready for bed.
A while later I was wandering up the hall after having given my daughter a push in the direction of bed when I decided to peek in on the game. There were only three hostiles in space in ED-L9T. It might be time.
But which ship to take?
The Basilisk was faster, but was fit to work in a group of like ships chaining capacitor between them. Alone it would run out of cap just leaving the MWD on. Then there was the Raven; large, awkward, and slow, but cap stable and fitted with a Microjump Drive. That is still a new module to me, but seemed like it might come in hand for this sort of venture. So I decided that the Raven would be the one to try to sneak out.
I left the station and found the undock still bubbled, but otherwise clear. I aligned to the 9SBB-9 gate and triggered the MJD. It spun up and then launched me 100km ahead, well clear of the bubble. From there I warped directly to the gate.
And found myself in trouble.
There was a Malediction sitting on the gate. This little Amarr interceptor immediately locked me up and pointed me. I wouldn’t get away in system. As that was happening, another ship landed on the gate, a Stratios. The Stratios locked me up but did not engage me, knowing that to do so would put him on a one minute aggression timer. He wouldn’t be able to jump through the gate with me if that happened and I would likely get away.
So there we sat, the Stratios waiting, the Malediction keeping me from warping off and plinking away at me. I regretted using the MJD to get out of the bubble, though they might have scanned me down and warped to me if I had tried to slow boat out of it. The re-use timer on the MJD seemed very long as I sat there. But as it wound down I decided to jump through.
On the other side of the gate the Stratios appeared. I held my cloak until it faded on its own then, even as I was aligning towards the 3-FKCZ gate, he locked my up and pointed me. I wouldn’t be warping off, but I remembered that MJDs are immune to warp disruption and the cool down timer was just about up.
As I started to activate the MJD a Loki came through the gate and uncloaked along with the Malediction. Now I had some real trouble on hand. I could tank the Stratios and the Malediction for a long time, but the Loki could likely burn me down faster than the MJD would recycle again.
Then the MJD went off and I was 100km away. A second or two later the warp disruption effect faded and I was able to warp off to the far gate. I landed at zero and sat there. The Stratios locked me up again and this time he began banging away at my shields, thus triggering his aggression timer. The Malediction just sat there, as did the Loki, waiting for me to jump through. My shields were slowly being eroded, but I had time. I waited for the MJD to get close to the end of its cool down. I jumped through into 3-FKCZ and immediately aligned for the Efa gate. The Malediction was through the gate as well and on me with its warp disruption module. Then I triggered the MJD and jumped that 100km and was able to enter warp before the Malediction was able to cover 30km in its attempt to catch me on grid.
The Malediction followed me to the Efa gate, but the Loki and the Stratios apparently gave up the chase. They must have decided they didn’t have enough to force my hand on either side of a gate. So I was into Efa and then on to Badivefi.
I was particularly proud of not dying, even if my escape ruse wasn’t all that clever. And, once again, I proved that I am much more likely to survive any hostile encounter if I don’t bother shooting at anybody.
And now the pressure was off. I still had my Basilisk to retrieve, but I could do that at some distant date if I so desired. I logged off and went to bed.
The next afternoon I was online but tinkering with other things when a ping came in on Jabber announcing a Reavers fleet. I suspected it might be a break-out fleet so, when the appointed time came, I logged in and got on coms to see what the plan might be.
It was indeed going to be a break-out fleet. However, the break-out was going to take a while as we all logged in and got into the station in ED-L9T. There was much discussion of who had space to carry what out and what was worth carrying. I had already made my plan and only had some cheap ammo, some tech I armor and hull repair drones, and that throw away Vexor I mentioned. I put the cheap stuff up on the market and put the Vexor up on contract for 11 million ISK, which is what I paid for it, and waited for things to get sorted out.
Of course, a bunch of us all showing up in local and docked up in the station was a bit of a give away. Hostiles started showing up and by the time we were ready to go our cloaked eyes on the station said that they had formed a merry little kitchen sink camp.
For reasons that escape me we decided to push Ohno no Borrox out of the station first in his Arazu on the theory that once everybody started locking him up the logi could undock and save him. That didn’t quite work out. By the time we got undocked and started locking him up, he was already in his pod.
But then everybody in a combat ship undocked, the logi anchored up and got the cap chain running, and we killed or drove off the hostiles on the undock and then blew up their mobile warp disruption bubble. I even managed to drop a combat drone and got on one of the kills.
The station grid clear, the haulers undocked to join us and we all aligned for 3-FKCZ to take the most direct route out of Dodge.
As we were aligning out and about to warp, a Vexor undocked and took some shots at us and was promptly blown up for his effort. At least I assume it was. The kill mail never made it to the kill board, but Asher commented that the fit looked like the AFK Vexor fit we had been using at one point during the war.
When he said that I immediately checked my contracts window and found that one of the pilots that was camping the undock, and who lost his ship, had docked up and bought the Vexor in order to take another run at us.
That was my money back on that ship. And then we were off to Badivefi.
Once back in high sec there was a short side task to take care of, after which everybody formed up to take a wormhole back north to the home regions of The Imperium. I skipped that trip home. It was time for dinner and I wasn’t in any hurry to move my ships back north. The last time I put in the effort to get all my ships home from a Reaver deployment to Querious, we were right back in the same spot just a month or two later.
So that was that. the end of our deployment to Querious. We started heading down south with the main fleet back in the middle of March and now we’ve returned home long after the main fleet has retired. And on our departure I cannot help but have a specific mental image of what we have left behind after our deployment.
We had no real business taking that system, but we certainly made the locals pay to get it back.
Now for some quiet time after an exciting campaign while we wait for Fozzie Sov to hit.
Addendum: Arrendis has a post summarizing our time in the south over at TMC if you want a wider view that I can provide, and includes an interview with Sort Dragon of Darkness.
There is also a summary of the war up on EN24 as well.