The early ping said that there was an op planned for 02:00 EVE Online time, which is just about the optimal time for me. That left enough time to get home, take care of various tasks (it was garbage night, among other things), have dinner, and watch a bit of TV with my wife (Lodge 49) before wandering off to play internet spaceships for a couple of hours.
With all that lined up I seemed set for the evening.
Of course AMC doesn’t just keep you from fast forwarding through commercials when watching their programs on demand, they actually inject more commercials into the stream so the show episode we watched, Corpus, ran well over an hour and into the start time for the op. I left my wife at the credits and strode over to my computer and started logging into voice coms and the game.
As I did that I noticed a fifteen minute old ping from Asher apologizing for the early start for the op. I was late, and late enough that I considered just going back to the couch to watch another episode. I might have done just that if I was more enthusiastic about Lodge 49, but as it was I had already logged in so I figured I might as well ask the usual late-comer’s question, “Can I catch up?”
And it turned out that I could. The early form up was to cover a Raitaru that was anchoring just one jump away, so I undocked in my Oneiros and warped off to join the group.
There we sat tethered on the Raitaru for a bit until the repair cycle ended, after which we aligned for the gate through which we came. Once through though we did not align for the station. Instead Asher warped us to a POS where a titan was waiting. As usual, being the non-GSF member in the fleet, I bounced off the forcefield and they had to give me the starbase password to enter. I did that, warped off, then warped back to Asher to find myself in and on the titan ready for a bridge.
The titan sent us on our way, though we seemed to be going in an odd direction. When we passed through J5A-IX, the gateway to Fountain and a scene of many of the early fights in the Fountain War, I began to wonder where we were headed. But I was also distracted by a survey from Blizzard about the Battle for Azeroth expansion… which was asking for a lot of detail just a week into the damn thing… so I was mostly tabbing back and forth and not paying close attention.
The gate to ZXB-VC however triggered a something in the back of my brain.
Then we jumped through and we were in Delve.
Delve, the highlight of every Monthly Economic Report, the home of excessive ratting, mining, and industry, and a place I had only been back to once since we deployed up to Pure Blind late last year. You can rest assured that I have added nothing to those numbers that get reported for the region.
The question of the hour at that point was why couldn’t we just jump clone back to Delve? Or, better still, wasn’t there somebody in Delve who could take care of whatever needed doing? did we really have to fly all the way down from Pure Blind?
I guess we did.
We took a jump bridge to get deeper into Delve, but with the titan bridge and the jump bridge and a fleet that some people were on earlier, we had some jump fatigue to wear down. Also, apparently we were early for whatever it was we had to do. So Asher took us ratting.
That went by quickly so we ended up in another anomaly shooting more Blood Raiders.
We were hoping for a dreadnought spawn on it, but no luck. After pottering around doing that… from which I walked away with a cool 807,000 ISK, so will surely skew the monthly totals… we were finally off to the real target. This turned out to be a Raitaru anchoring in M5-CGW which NCDot had dropped.
The repair timer was running and had just five minutes left on it.
We paused the timer with our firepower almost immediately, then anchored up on Asher and followed him as he meandered through the structure, trying to wipe us off on various protuberances, before he finally settled into a pocket at the front of the model.
Most of the fleet was taken up with talk on various nerd topics, including video games, Magic the Gathering, and fantasy football. As somebody observed, there was something there for everybody to roll their eyes and tire of quickly.
Nobody came to defend the structure. NCDot was likely already sated having already wiped out a fleet from The Bastion earlier. Dropping a 600 million ISK Raitaru to get nearly 30 billion in kills is a worthwhile investment. So we just shot it until it blew up in that satisfying way that Upwell structures do.
We got a kill… and it wasn’t like our fleet was the one that got worked over.
There was some talk of blowing up the wreck to keep anybody from salvaging it, but we were already facing the drive home and decided to skip that step. Instead it was back into Fountain where we caught a jump bridge that cut a good chunk off the trip. From there we headed to a Fortizar that was within titan bridge range of our staging.
However, even with the reduced jump fatigue, having made a few jumps already during the evening, we still had a good fifteen minutes before we could be bridged. We decided to wait it out on the titan, setting a timer to remind everybody to wake up again and be ready to jump.
At that point somebody joked about how funny it would be if, once we were all back on the titan, Asher mis-clicked and did the classic “jump instead of bridge” mistake and left us all behind.
When the timer rang we all got back in front of our screens ready to go, watching the titan for the bridge effect to go up.
And then Asher selected “jump” and disappeared.
Even though I was half expecting it I still missed the screen shot of the jump effect gathering about his Ragnarok as he jumped away. He had also muted and deafened himself on Mumble, so we were all left there with the nervous, “Ha ha, very funny… uh… you’re coming back right? We’re not stuck here, right?”
It might have been funnier if it hadn’t been spoken before the event. On the other hand, if it hadn’t we might not have believed he did it on purpose. An FC who makes that error ends up with that sticking to their reputation.
Thinking we might have to wait out his orange jump timer, we hung around on the Fortizar wondering if it was time to dock up and call it a night, just bite the bullet and burn to our staging, or wait. But as we waited a cyno went up and another titan… or at least another titan pilot of Asher’s… landed back on us.
We got in range and he bridged us back to our staging where we docked up for the night.
Asher, who had already thrown us one PAP added another one as the fleet uptime had passed the three hour mark.
Not a bad evening. Being fleet coms is the entertainment on ops like that. And it certainly wasn’t the first time that I was in a fleet that went all the way down to Delve just to shoot a structure. I wouldn’t want to make it a regular event, but I’ve certainly been on much worse ops.
As for Lodge 49, I am just not sure I am feeling it… though the extra dose of commercial interruptions isn’t helping either. I am too used to straight through, commercial free binge watching with Netflix or HBO.