Given my lack of luck with convoy ops over the last few days, I decided to try and move my carrier forward on my own.
The route had been posted in the CapSwarm forum, along with some instructions for one awkward, no-station jump… which, as it happens, is the jump from Rakapas.
But first I had to go get some cynos lined up and in position to guide me along the path south. I got on my second account, on my “main alt” character, the one with 110 million skill points, clone jumped him out of his implants alt, and sent him off to Jita to buy a few cyno ships.
I opted for simple, buying 4 Kestrels and fitting each with a Cynosural Field Generator I and loaded with 250 units of liquid ozone, enough to power the module for one cycle. (I obsessed and trained the relevant skill to V, just in case I needed to light a covert cyno. More on jump drive operation here, if you are interested.) I got my alt into one, contracted another to a second character on that account that I had trained up to be a cyno alt, and headed off to get myself situated.
I had at first thought about starting from Amarr or maybe Saranen, but as it turned out, Jita was by far the closest common point to the target systems. Getting through to them, both in low sec, did not present any real problems. The only hiccup I had was, after getting my main alt to his location, I logged on the secondary cyno jockey and was in such a hurry to fly out that, after I clone jumped him to Jita, I forgot to accept the Kestrel contract… or even get in a ship… and just started flying to the destination in a pod. Yeah, slow down there bro.
After a couple of jumps I was suddenly all, “Oh yeah… the ship… right…” and went back to get it. Once that was squared away, I was able to get out to the destination system and docked up without issue.
I logged him out, got back on my main alt, and got myself setup in the first destination system. Since it lacked a station, the instructions in the forum said to cyno your capital in to the Astrahus citadel, let it refill your ship’s capacitor (citadels are handy like that, refilling and repairing like a full service gas station of old), and then warp off to the safe POS to wait out your jump timer.
Unfortunately for me, it was a Goonswarm Federation POS, which meant I wasn’t welcome inside unless I had the password. So I was going to have to skip that step. That meant facing the dire warnings about people coming to bump your capital off the citadel to get it out of tether range, at which point it could be blown up.
My solution to this was to jump out as soon as I possibly could, spending as little time as I could manage tethered. That meant logging in the next cyno with the secondary alt, which would require logging off the primary alt, which I could not do until the cyno module cycle ended, something that takes a full ten minutes.
I decided to just light the first cyno and let module run to almost the end of its cycle before jumping in. That meant I might lose the cyno ship before I could jump, but that seemed like the least cost failure scenario. So I undocked him from the citadel and lit the beacon.
Earlier there had been a bunch of traffic through the system, but I seemed to have picked a quiet 10 minute window and my cyno ship went unmolested. As the timer reached the last minute or so of its cycle, I undocked the carrier in Rakapas and made the jump, ending up hanging tethered on the citadel.
After the jump, I had a little over two minutes to wait before I could jump again.
The cyno did not last that long, and I was able to swap characters and get in position well in advance of the jump reactivation timer.
As I sat there on the citadel, I noticed on the overview that the system had a gate to Rakapas.
I had waited all this time to jump what amounted to a single gate? Well, sometimes that is how things work out.
At the station I faced two potential issues for the next jump. One was where to place the cyno. I do not do this enough to have a favored position for each station type, as some people do. After watching other people, I try to get both a ways off the undock on both the horizontal and vertical axis so as to avoid bumping and such. So I picked a spot a bit out and above the undock.
The other problem was that I was using a neutral alt in a system that was full of Imperium pilots. While it was likely they would assume a neutral cyno was somebody’s alt, there was still a non-zero chance that somebody would shoot it just because. So I got undocked, setup, and lit the cyno as quickly as I could, jumping the moment it was up.
I docked up, op success. I was now two jumps further down the line towards Delve.
I docked up my secondary alt when his cyno went down and traded him some replacement fuel that I was carrying along in my carrier, and sent him off to the next destination. I had about two hours of jump fatigue and was planning to let that burn off before I jumped again, but I figured I ought to get the next jumps queued up.
The secondary alt got to the next station easily enough, at which point I logged my primary alt back in, flew him to catch up with the carrier to refuel, and then sent him off to the destination after the next one, so as to have two jumps lined up once again.
However, getting to that target meant flying through null sec space in the Syndicate region. So it was not unexpected that, with the jump from low sec to null, I immediately hit a gate camp that had an interdictor. It threw up a bubble when I landed in system and there wasn’t anything I could really do. I decloaked and headed back to the gate on the off chance they were completely incompetent, but without an prop mod, that was a tiny gesture of defiance at best. They blew up the ship and podded me, sending me back home.
But I had planned for that, expecting to lose these ships. I had set my home in Jita for this, and was able to pick up another of the Kestrels I fitted out and started heading back towards the destination system again. I stopped in a station before I got to the null sec transition again, thinking I would wait until later in the evening for that.
As it happened, while I was waiting, Asher pinged about a move op. He was going to take people from Sakht, our current staging point, back to Saranen to pick up ships, at which point people up north could join the fleet and fly back down.
That seemed like an opportunity. I couldn’t bring my main alt along to drive a ship as his jump clone timer still had many hours to go, but Wilhelm didn’t have a jump clone timer problem and was just sitting around in a station. So I joined the op, watching it move around the map via a couple of wormhole connections, until it started to close in on Saranen, at which point I clone jumped to the area, picking the Oneiros I left parked in Ashitsu on Saturday. As it happened, I did the jump just as they were passing through the system and was able to follow them back to Saranen.
Once there it was time for a break, during which I decided to fly my Cerberus down to Sakht. Once everybody was back, we undocked and headed to the first wormhole, which was just a few jumps away in Eha. We went through the wormhole, however it collapsed before everybody got through. Those of us who made it were in Heimatar, in Minmatar space, where we had another dozen gates to take before we got to the next wormhole.
Those left behind in Eha were told where we were if they wanted to burn to us to try and catch up, but we moved on to the next hole. However, the route to the next hole took us through what so many fear, high security space, and a 1.0 sec system in particular. (How can those rebel Minmatar have so many high security systems?)
Those with negative security status avoid high sec space with its NPC enforcement complications, and a full 1.0 system posed a threat to some along for the ride. Never having had a negative security status rating during my time in New Eden, I never think about that as being an issue. Even though I have bad standings with the Minmatar and Gallente factions (-4.72 and -5.74 respectively, the latter which should make me “shoot on sight”) after running so many Amarr/Caldari missions over the years, somewhere along the line I trained the social skill Diplomacy to level IV, which mitigates that sufficiently that I am merely loathed, but not actively shot at.
Some in the fleet hadn’t invested in that sort of stuff. We were set to burn individually at best possible speed to get past the high sec terror and to the next wormhole. Several people were locked up by the local faction police, and the occasional potshot was taken, but faction enforcers don’t warp scramble and in at least one case the webbing action of an NPC actually helped somebody get into warp faster. Basically, comedy ensued, but nobody lost a ship. We went to Hek and back mostly unscathed.
Once safely into low sec space again, we collected up again around the wormhole and jumped through. Everybody got through safely and, it being a low sec to low sec connection, we were all in Aridia, just a few jumps from our destination. We flew on, scattering the smart bombing battleships that were gate camping along the way, to arrive in our new home.
So now I have at least been to Sakht this year. I haven’t been this close to Delve since April of last year.
Of course, there is still work to do. I have that carrier to move and a couple more doctrine ships to convoy down. But at least I have made it through once… and I am no longer stuck in Rakapas.