We had been deployed long enough. We got some good fights, annoyed the locals, and blew up a Fortizar, but things were starting to slow down. Asher had been busy with Alliance Tournament practice, things were brewing on the home front, and there was the promise of a different adventure on the horizon. It was time to pack up our belongings from our favorite fishy referencing system in Curse and get back to Delve.
Of course, packing up is easier said that done. We came out with two fleet doctrines and added a third while we were there, and being remote means keeping an extra ship or two on hand for each doctrine along with extra ammo and charges for things like boosts or interdiction bubbles.
The latter was exacerbated by Asher’s fondness for a Boy Scout level of preparedness, meaning we carry mobile depots and modules so we can refit to match the occasion, leading to full cargo holds and an oft repeated meme.
On the bright side, we also brought carriers and dreadnoughts over to Curse, so there was some space available to carry extra ships.
As the time to the move op home ticked down, I made arrangements. Ships I was unlikely to ever use again were stripped, repackaged, and shipped to Jita. I organized what was left, decided what would just stay in the NPC station to await our eventual return, and tried to figure out how to get the rest home.
The smaller ships were not so bad. RatKnight1 took my Scimitar, two interdictors, and three Vigils in his carrier. That left me two Typhoons, a Damnation, and a couple of covert ops scanning ships. I decided to leave a Typhoon and the cov ops behind, along with jump clones, so I could go back to hunting Fraternity deployables at some future date. They were leaving MTUs around for me to shoot for a while.
That meant flying home a Typhoon and a Damnation. A lot of people chose to fly their Typhoons back, battleships being awkwardly large, though I did see smaller ships along as we moved.
Tuesday night the appointed hour came and we all logged on and got into the fleet, captials and subcaps sharing the same fleet and voice coms, something that always leads to a bit of confusion. Actually, most of us had been logged in for hours before the fleet, leaving the system empty under the threat of a few dozen Imperium pilots hanging about with nothing to do.
Then came the call to undock. Capitals undocked first and jumped off to wait for their first dose of jump fatigue to wind down and for the sub caps to catch up. Then the subcaps undocked, heading for our first waypoint on the road home.
We made it to the appropriately named system 0SHT-A, where we met up with the capitals. The system is on one side of a inter-regional jump gate that the capitals had to take in order to continue on the way home. The distance covered by the gate is beyond the capital jump range, so they either take the gate or travel a much longer, and more dangerous, route home.
The capitals logged on and got undocked and ready to go as the subcaps went through the gate to U-QVWD in order to cover them. They came through and jumped to the next cyno. However, as that was in motion, the locals showed up with a Loki fleet. The system is an obvious choke point, so them showing up wasn’t any act of amazing foresight. Any Imperium fleet traveling through the area is likely to show up in that system.
We sat there on the gate with a bunch of hostiles in local as the carriers and dreadnoughts came through and made their jump. The Loki fleet showed up on grid, though far off from us just as the last few capitals were coming through. Asher had us point towards the Astrahus we have in the system and somebody put up their fleet boosts… likely Asher… just in case a fight started. I took that cue and ran the boosts on my Damnation for a cycle as well. And then the Lokis warped to us, just as the last dread was jumping away, and Asher warped us to the citadel where we tethered up in safety… except for Asher, who left his boosts running, something that sets an aggression timer and keeps you from tethering or jumping through a gate. He had to warp off and back to get safe.
We were not totally outnumbered by the Loki fleet, but they were a coherent combat fleet while we were a mix of various doctrine ships traveling together for safety in numbers rather than looking for a fight. We were not going to challenge them.
So we all docked up. The capitals had docked up at their end. All we could do is wait. However the Loki fleet seemed to be patient, so Asher called the fleet for the night, got us our participation link, and said we could go but asked that we stay logged on if we could just to keep our friends in the Loki fleet hoping for kills they were not going to get.
So ended the first night of the move op. We were scheduled to reconvene the next night to finish the run home.
Wednesday night had most of us sitting at the login page waiting for the word to get into the game and resume our journey, there being no desire to show up early and tip off the locals again that we were in town.
As people got themselves set and got onto voice coms, the subject of pizza came up because Thomas Lear was ordering Dominoes for dinner. What started as a condemnation of the position of Dominoes in the hierarchy of pizza quickly devolved when the New Yorkers on coms adopted the standard line that there is no good pizza outside the five boroughs of New York.
Having worked with people from New York in the past… one of the oddities of Silicon Valley is that so many people here are from somewhere else, so you learn which parts of the country think their the only ones who can do a given thing… I opted to stay out of that discussion since you might as well argue with a brick wall as a New Yorker on that topic.
Then, however, the topic somehow slid into the relative merits of regions BBQ styles in the United States, at which point it seemed like the SIG might break up as passions flared and intemperate phrases were tossed around about coloration and the appropriateness of vinegar and other ingredients in something as sacred as BBQ sauce. Quick thinking saw a straw poll put up on the topic asking us stand up for whichever variety we supported.
I did not bring up Alabama white sauce lest I be accused of some form of heresy and be branded as beyond the pale of polite company. I voted for Kansas City style, less out of any true passion than because it is the style I grew up with and what is used at my favorite local BBQ place, where I have been eating since I was a kid.
Tempers cooled as everybody was able to vote for their choice. There seems to be a calming effect to being able to have your view counted. The discussion then somehow moved to the prevalence of spam in Hawaii and eventually sputtered out as the call to log in came. The caps logged in and made their jump and then the subcaps got into the game, undocked, and continued the journey back to Delve.
Nobody formed up to oppose us as we settled into the usual routine of jumping and aligning as we Asher warped us from gate to gate. An Imperium Jackdaw fleet caught up with us and moved with our fleet for a while, reducing the likelihood of anybody showing up to challenge us.
Along the way we learned that not only does Thomas Lear have bad taste in pizza… the only aspect of the pizza discussion on which we could all agree… but that he had never been to a concert in his life. So that was added to the list of his sins.
Eventually we wandered into Querious, then Delve, and found ourselves in jump of the Imperium staging Keepstar. From there it was onto a titan and a bridge to the cyno which, by tradition was lit inside the model of the citadel, a position known as the “twerk zone” because of the way ships bounce around when they land.
From there we could bounce around if we liked or dock up and be done for the evening. Our deployment was over… except for the people who did not make the move op. There is always somebody who can’t make it and needs to be extracted at a later date.
As with the fleet, I expect any comments on this post will focus on the critical issues of BBQ sauce, pizza, and what concerts Thomas Lear should attend in the wilds of Kansas.