We had been warned that something might be coming up. We had been given hints about when it might be and had been asked to have doctrine ships ready to go in 1DQ1-A.
Doctrine ships were no problem for me. I had left them all in the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A when we returned from the war up north in the big move op. So I figured we were ready to go.
Finally, yesterday, the ping came. Asher was going to take us out for some sort of deployment again. People logged in, got in fleet, and waited. I got into my Guardian, put on the Emergency Response SKIN, and sat on the undock ready to go.
And there I waited for a while. Asher told us where we were going. There was an operation afoot to kill the Hard Knocks Keepstar in wormhole space. There info about that over on Reddit as well as an update this morning over at INN. We were waiting for a wormhole that would get us there. In the meantime we were advised to pack for a week’s stay without any resupply and likelihood of living in space the whole time.
I docked back up.
I had not stocked up on enough supplies for that sort of expedition. So, as we waited, I grabbed a mobile depot, a cloak, enough drugs for four long battles, replacement drones, a couple of sentry drones in case we shot a POS so I could whore on the kill, the extra modules we are supposed to carry but which I tend to leave in the station because we never swap them out.
I also got out my alt with the perfect scanning skills and put him in his Astero. I was going to drag him along to get myself out of the wormhole should I get left behind. I loaded up the Astero with extra probes, a back up mobile depot, extra drones, extra drugs, and a few more items. If there was room in the fleet he was coming with us.
There were discussions going on as to how much to bring with us and what else we might need.
But eventually we went back to waiting. The hole that we had logged in for hadn’t been right, so we were waiting for the next one. Comms quieted down. Asher, with not much else going on, went to appear on the Meta Show. I pulled up the iPad and watched U.S.S Callister episode of Black Mirror. I also undocked my alt and zipped around the system for a bit to see the new jump gate. I didn’t really have to go far to see that.
As I idled on tether at the Keepstar I noticed an orange glow on one of the uprights that could only be an explosion. I looked up in time to see a Rorqual coming apart. A neutral had jumped to the cyno beacon and had been bubbled and blapped.
I didn’t quite get the camera on the beacon in time for the excitement, but if you are sharp eyed you can see the Rorqual wreck at the top of this screen shot.
Before the Meta Show ended, while Asher was still on, a whole became available. He pinged us to be ready go and had us free burn into Fountain. There we grouped up and took our first ride on one of the new jump gates. My first ride at least.
I had already setup the auto-pay on Wilhelm, but my alt wasn’t set yet and I have to approve a payment for 2,900 ISK in fuel to jump his Astero through.
From there we had another burn, though we traveled as a group this time. Well, some of us did. The more eager took the destination as a free burn. Those of us more familiar with Asher’s style knew that if he didn’t say to free burn we would be going together and everybody should just jump through every gate and then align to the next one in order to be fleet warped.
Eventually we arrived at our hole. The fleet gathered together so we could go through as a group.
When we all seemed to have arrived, Asher sent us through. We were in Thera.
Once there we took the long warp to another hole, only to find somebody had been left behind. DBRB went back to be a warp in for him. One the lost sheep was collected, it was through the hole.
Only it collapsed before everybody got through. A chunk of the fleet had been left behind and had to eventually wind their way back to wait for another fleet. Apparently the Initiative had just pushed a fleet through that hole, so it wasn’t as fresh as we had been led to believe when we set out.
Those of us in the new hole were scattered about the system, the effects of a hole collapse. I seemed to be inside of the sun. Asher warped some people to our next hole, but that only caught some of the fleet so we had to wait a bit to collect. Then we were off again, through nearly half a dozen more holes until we arrived in J115405 and saw the Hard Knocks Keepstar.
The armor timer was already running, the shields having been hit already. The armor timer was set for late USTZ, so it seemed likely that I would be able to get online to see the fights that developed.
And that was really only the first Keepstar. They have two together on the same grid, along with an array of other smaller structures.
The first Keepstar was named Fort Knocks, while the second was Unassailable Wealth. We shall see about that. But there is a lot of fighting to be done here.
In addition to the Hard Knocks structures, somebody on our side had gone in and dropped over two dozen Raitarus in the hole in order to get us some place to tether and dock up. I am sure most of those will get destroyed, but only a couple need to survive to make our foothold more tenable.
On arriving there wasn’t much else to do. We scattered about the system, made safe spots, cloaked up if we were going to hang around or safe logged if we were not.
The only thing we’ve done so far is help the Initiative guard a hole into the system to keep Hard Knocks from getting anything in. That mostly meant anchoring on Zed Starshine for a while and orbiting the hole, with the occasional trademark Zed Crazy Ivan turn to scatter us about and let the slower ships catch up.
Anyway, it is good to have a deployment of some sort going on. I had been fairly dormant in null sec since returning from the war. We shall see if more Keepstar kills result. You can keep an eye on the kill board for the hole over at zKill to see what is dying. Some POS towers are already down.