The State of the Goonion came and went. The Hell March from Command and Conquer was played, always a harbinger of a long slog somewhere , along with the Hymm of the Soviet Union, the ironic-but-not-really nod to the fact that the bunch of nominal libertarians running the Imperium have found that autocratic socialism is the only way to effectively run their empire.
The Mittani then spoke, hurfing and blurfing, which is the term of art in null sec for the bombastic propaganda in which alliances tend to engage at such times, about rather non-specific foes, finally announcing that we would be heading North.
He then noted that air of non-specificity about much of his hurfing and blurfing, saying that intel indicated than almost everybody in the north was sure we were really gunning for them and that he wasn’t keen to let anybody relax just yet, doubly so since this was all broadcast over Twitch with many of our potential foes watching. A transcript is available an Imperium News.
The only details that we got were that we would likely tangle with two ongoing conflicts. The first is an ongoing struggle in the Syndicate region between our own Initiative and Mercenary Coalition, where it was obvious with who we would side. The second was TEST’s deployment north to fight with Darkness and their friends, where he had to to make clear we would be cooperating with TEST. The last time we allied with TEST in any way was back during their Summer 2012 conquest of Delve, at the end of which was the break that led to the Fountain War and so on.
That still leaves a lot of room… and a lot of space… and other groups… unmentioned but possibly in the way. What would really speak to our intentions was where we ended to staging. All we were told about that was we would be staging our of low sec. That leaves three possible regions from which to base.
If the target areas are as The Mittani said, and I wouldn’t put a ruse de guerre of announcing the wrong targets past him, then there are only three low sec regions that make sense as staging. There is Placid, which puts us close to Syndicate, but also gives us a pipe to Pure Blind. There is Black Rise, which is further from Syndicate, but gives us the back door route to Pure Blind and Fade via Cloud Ring. And then there is Lonetrek where returning to Saranen would put us back on the doorstep of our former homeland with routes into Pure Blind and Tribute, but which is the furthest from Syndicate.
My gut says Lonetrek is the place and that Syndicate was mentioned to muddy the water. But it would take a move op to find out where we were headed.
Move ops were immediately announced for the Euro Time Zone. I would have to wait until I got home from work before joining up with the first US Time Zone move ops.
The call came early in the evening, with fleets up for capitals, shield doctrine subcaps, and armor doctrine subcaps. Since I only had one armor doctrine ship I planned on bringing, but three shield doctrine ships, I opted for the shield fleet, logging in my alt and my main and joining up.
The shield fleet was made of mostly light ships, frigates and destroyers, so my pair fit right in. I was running a Bifrost command destroyer and a Purifier stealth bomber north because they were special fits that I expected I wouldn’t be able to find on contract later once we settled into our staging.
Theoretically our light fleet could move north pretty rapidly and be setup in out destination in an hour or so. However, all the move ops would be coordinating, and our fleet of light ships would be used to shepherd the capitals, scare off any tacklers, and to scout. So our pace was dictated by the pace of the capitals. We would spread out over a corridor of gate and watch the capitals pass, then catch up to them as the hit a point from which they would jump.
Once they jumped we would free burn to catch up with them and start the process all over again, covering them as they gated while their jump fatigue timers ran down so they could jump again.
We also kept an eye on the armor doctrine fleet, made up mostly of Typhoon battleships, shepherding their stragglers and making sure everybody was safe.
That turned what would have been a quick trip for us into a slow slog, with many stops as we waited for caps to group up again or jump or otherwise get on with their own slow journey.
So the whole thing stretched out beyond the three hour mark before we reached our destination in the north. But it was necessary. The Euro TZ capital op had some problems with hostiles on its trip north earlier in the day and a couple of stragglers had been tackled and blown up. So we had to take care lest the same occur on our watch. And the hostiles were out there, their ships not always subtle in name.
In another call back to 2012, I actually saw Makalu Zarya, one of the main opposition FCs from the Delve war back then, along the way north. He’s in NCDot, so we might be shooting at him again.
And when we finally arrived at our destination citadel, we were told that it was not our staging system, but just a waypoint where multiple move ops could collect up and be ready to move to and secure our actual staging point.
Meanwhile, down in Delve, with the local numbers reduced as combat pilots streamed north, the mining care bears were learning just how effective the defense network can be as Rorqual losses started adding up. I expect that the monthly economic report for August will show a significant drop in Delve mining. However, I bet that doesn’t change the price of tritanium in Jita, since we use all we mine in Delve and have to import more.
So that is what I saw on the way north. We’ll see where we end up and when combat operations actually begin. SynCaine is on his way north as well, so he’ll have his own perspective. Until then there is a silly video about lighting beacons/cynos across New Eden.