Circle of Two Loses Another Keepstar

As I posted on Monday, the sights of the Imperium were set on the CO2 Keepstar in DW-T2I.  The destruction of this Keepstar has been an operational plan since July, when the first opportunity was thwarted by ignorance about cynojammers.

Lots of work since then led to the situation on Wednesday evening when the Keepstar, no longer under the protective umbrella of a cynojammer, came out of its final timer.

The question was whether or not there would be a fight.

Given that there was no defense of the previous timer and that the Imperium had picked off a number of jump freighters hauling cargo that smacked of an evacuation, it seemed likely that no defense would be offered.

But spies were also reporting that the north was trying to rally together a defense, with various organizations sending out pings looking for a maximum effort.  However, the north is not like the Imperium.  It does not have a unified communications and command structure.  So not every entity is on board with every plan.  And rumor had it that CO2 was not planning to defend the Keepstar.  Whether they saw it as a futile effort or because The GigX, the rumored return of the perma-banned GigX, was himself (or herself if you’re into the “Mrs. GigX” story) banned shortly before the CSM summit, it appeared that they were not going to show up.  And it is understandably hard to get motivated about defending something when the owners have given up.

We however were planning to show up in force.  In part that was to ensure if any defense operation managed to coalesced that it could be dealt with, but also because everybody wanted to get on the kill mail for the Keepstar.

There was actually a list of CO2 structures to destroy on Wednesday, with the Keepstar as the final course.  Operations opened with a pair of Baltec fleets forming up to run bridge out and take care of a pair of CO2 Fortizars.

Baltecs Bridging Out for the First Shoot

I managed to get online and into Apple Pear’s fleet in my Oneiros to go along for the ride, combat drones loaded to be sure I had a chance to get on the kill mails myself.

The initial ops were unopposed.  The Fortizars were empty and the shoots were quiet enough that one could focus on other thing in the long silences between Apple Pear’s instructions.  We were close enough that people packing drones were able to join in on the shoot.

Drone Dyson Sphere around the Fortizar

We hit both without incident or interference.

After the two of those down we went back to 6RCQ-V to stand down for a bit.

Aligned out as a Fortizar explodes

Not too long after that it was time to form up for the main op.  This saw over a thousand people logged into our staging before we started to head out.  Again I managed to find a spot in Apple Pear’s Baltec fleet with my Oneiros.  The fleet filled up and was sorted out in very short order at which point we were undocked and on our way.

We took a gate to meet up with our titan and were then bridged directly to the Fortizar on grid with the Keepstar in DW-T2I.

The Keepstar in the distance

The Keepstar still had more than an hour on its timer, but there were other activities planned for us.  There were three other structures coming out of their final timers in quick succession before the grand finale.

The first was an Azbel.

On the Azbel

Once that was down we moved on to wreck a Tatara mining platform that was already being hit.

Tatara wreck before being quickly salvaged

There was a pause after that to wait for the next target, a Sotiyo whose timer had a ways to go.

Circle of Two Sotiyo

Once that timer hit we warped over to it… all of these structures were on the same grid, so you could see them from our Fortizar perch… and commenced to bash that.

The Sotiyo was like some sort of pinata.  When it died almost 40 empty Magnate frigates spilled out or were destroyed… or both… as my kill board got credit for them.  40 more frigate kills for me and everybody else who was shooting the Sotiyo I guess.

The Sotiyo wreck

With the Sotiyo down the preliminaries were over and only the main even awaited us.  We perched back up, tethered on the Fortizar and watched the super carriers get themselves situated.

Fleets tethered up on the Fortizar

The plan was the same as it was the previous Saturday, with the super carriers launching fighters and sending them over to a command destroyer which formed the first of a chain of such ships that would AOE micro jump drive the ball of fighters to the Keepstar in 100km leaps.

This involved a lot of cajoling as controlling fighters isn’t completely intuitive and there is always somebody whose Nyx starts slowly trundling towards the target or whose fighters are headed off into space or end up inadvertently attacking somebody.  I feel for them.  I did the capital ops class on using fighters then forgot half of it within a day.  It is something you need to do a bunch for it to become second nature.

Still a lot of fighters ended up on the command destroyer.

Fighters swarming – Picture source unknown

That screen shot was linked in a ping.  I don’t know who took it, but it shows lots of fighters orbiting, ready for an MJD to take them closer to the Keepstar.

Fighters were in place when the Keepstar timer finally ran down.  The attack on the structure began as we all sat and watched.

The plan was to keep as many people away from the action until the last minute when everybody would jump in or warp to the Keepstar to get in their hit before it died.  So we just sat and watched, TiDi free, as the fighters chewed up the structure.  There were about a thousand people in local.

Then, as the Keepstar got down to 10% the word went out.  Cynos were lit.  We aligned to the target.  And about a thousand more ships landed in the system looking to get in their hit.  A host of titans jumped into our path as we slowly warped to the Keepstar, the tidi slamming down on the node, bringing us to 10% speed.

Titans blocking the view of the Keepstar

We flew on through the titans, and I spotted a Molok as we passed.  Things were slow enough for me to notice that.

That is a Molok, look at the paint job

We landed just 30km off the Keepstar.  I had prepared for this, loading up a sentry drone in my drone bay.  As I came to a stop I dropped the sentry drone, targeted the Keepstar, and engaged.  I saw a few hits recorded… and then my client crashed.  I hadn’t turned down my graphic settings and I am sure the client went beyond the 32-bit RAM allocation limit and terminated.  I was on grid and close proximity with a lot of ships.

All those ships, all visible

Fortunately this wasn’t as bad as some of the big fights.  I was able to log right back in and re-join the fleet.  I had not even warped off as I was still being warp scrambled by the Keepstar, something it does for 30 seconds when you start shooting it.

However, my Bouncer sentry drone was still in my drone bay, so something had gone out of sequence.  I dropped it again, locked up the Keepstar, and started shooting it again.

I also zoomed out my camera to maximum distance and turned it away from the fight in hopes of fending off another client crash before the Keepstar died.

I also did the control-shift-alt-M command to bring up the client monitor to see how my memory usage was doing.  I was riding on the edge there.

My memory numbers after logging back in

We had the order from Apple Pear to align back to the Fortizar, so I pulled the Bouncer.  However, I wasn’t sure if I had hit the Keepstar again after the re-log, so I launcher a Warrior II and sent it after it, willing to sacrifice a light drone in order to get on the kill mail.  Then I aligned and waited for things to go “Boom!”

The Keepstar was done very shortly thereafter.  I was even able to recover my Warrior II.  The Kill mail shows me… and a lot of people… having done zero damage.  But we got counted, which was what mattered.

And then began the unwind, the return to the Fortizar, the recovering of fighters, the capitals jumping out, and then finally the subcaps being bridged out.  Some impatient people decided to gate home and got caught by gate camps.  It was better to be patient.

So I managed to get on six structure kills in my Oneiros and never had to rep anybody.

Most Valuable Recent Kills

The Tatara was apparently significantly under valued.  A ping went out from Tuzy about the Tatara that explained how much the tech II rigs on it were actually worth:

I was just looking over the battle report today from all the structures we killed and I wanted to call this out to everyone. Take a look at this Tatara kill. https://zkillboard.com/kill/72384288/ I noticed it’s value was ~ 10b isk so I immediately looked at the rigs. Aha! But what did I discover? This was a 92 billion isk structure. Take a look at the rigs….both are T2. Zkillboard drastically undervalues them because these rigs are simply NOT sold anywhere in game. Anyone who needs these specific rigs are large, rich alliances – all of whom build them themselves. Go to https://eve-industry.org/calc/ and type in those rig names. That Reproc rig is 66 billion isk. That reactions rig is 15.9b isk. So you can add another 82 billion isk to this killmail to our tally for the day.

So we can add that to the value.

Through all of this, no defenders stood to.  There was a fleet of NCDot and other locals in interceptors hanging around, but they seemed as interested in getting on the kill mails as anything.

And now with that accomplished, with the Keepstar in CO2’s capital system destroyed, we get to ask, “What next?”  CO2 has other citadels in Fade.  Even another Keepstar.

We passed this while killing the Fortizars

But from what I am hearing CO2 is trying to pack up their citadels and it is now a race to see if we can blow them up before they get carried off.  Then there is the NCDot Keepstar in DO6H-Q.  The ihub has been cleared there, so that might be on the list of targets as well.

After that… well… Mittens says that we don’t want Fade, so we’re not going to take the sovereignty.  And we don’t have anybody lined up who wants to take it.  But we also don’t want CO2 to have it, so I suspect that we will stay deployed in 6RCQ-V until we’re sure that CO2 has moved elsewhere.

The destruction of this Keepstar took place on the anniversary of the last year’s betrayal of CO2 by The Judge which ended up with the Imperium buying the CO2 Keepstar in 68FT-6 from him, then turning around and selling it to TEST.

This is on top of the events of late 2016 when CO2 lost a Keepstar at M-OEE8 when NCDot and Pandemic Legion decided to take Tribute after the Casino War had ended.

As an alliance, they have not had great luck with Keepstars.  But their leadership made their bed, so they get to sleep in it.

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