Another night, another fleet. The ping was for Eagles as usual, so I logged in and got the important bit out of the way; deciding which SKIN my Basilisk would wear.
I have to figure it out in advance because you can’t change your SKIN when somebody has you locked and, being in the logi wing, I was set to be in the cap chain and locked by two other people for most of the op. Usually I run the Emergency Response SKIN, which is done up like an ambulance, complete with flashing lights, since that goes with the Police SKIN the Liberty Squad FCs usually run on their Monitors.
This time I figured I would go all red with the Rataa Sunset SKIN. Liberty Squad is full of faux patriotism and I tried to get the logi wing to go all red, white, and blue SKINs at one point. In what is probably a reflection of the general population, about half the fleet embraces SKINs in some way, while the other half rejects then and wants nothing to do with them.
And so it goes.
While I was pondering that our FC, Zintage Enaka, was trying to get the fleet composition together. Our problem of late seems to be getting the right number of boosters for the fleet. Not that that is a new problem. I think half the fleets I’ve gone on over the years has spent some amount of time trying to find the required boost, with a good percentage of those threatening not to undock unless they get them. I always feel a tinge of guilt during that scenario, as I have the skills to fly a booster. And, when it comes down to it, the job isn’t difficult. Boosts up when the FC says, boost down when he calls for that, gently remind the FC now and again when boosts are still up when they are determined to suddenly travel. I just hate the waste of being a booster. Inevitably I have the wrong implant so have to buy the right one and destroy the old one to put the new one in. Then on the next fleet they’ll need somebody with the old one and the cycle will repeat. I’m not poor, but I’m not keen waste that much ISK nearly every fleet. And FCs can be insistent about your implant. I had an FC threaten to kick me if I didn’t change my implant for a move op. A freaking move op, with no fixed doctrine and a wide mix of ships, but my implant was somehow critically important. So I gave up on that.
Instead I sat quietly in the logi channel while that got sorted. I take comfort in the fact that, after boosters, logi is the other thing that the FC will call for before they undock. At least I am filling one of the critical roles.
And things did indeed get settled. Boosters were found, sufficient logi pilots filed into the fleet, and we at last undocked. However, rather than turning the usual direction to head into The Kalevala Expanse or The Spire, we headed for a different gate. We were headed into Geminate, the core home area of Pandemic Horde.
As we flew into their space Zintage explained that PH was off to fight with Guardians of the Galaxy… because the north is still fighting amongst themselves in addition to having us lurking about… and we were going to use this opportunity to do what we do best… fly around in circles and shoot structures.
And, specifically, Ansiblex jump gates.
These have the advantage of being a bit less of a commitment than reinforcing something like a Fortizar as well as the immediate impact of disrupting the local jump gate network. When you put them into their reinforced state they stop being able to pass ships.
While PH was away these were mostly undefended. Mostly. People put them on grid with Fortizars and Keepstars for a reason.
And somebody did wander out to take potshots at us from the Fortizar. Killing subcaps at that distance with a Fortizar takes some serious luck, but it did mean that logi had to wake up and rep somebody now and again.
The gunner had his fun I guess, though he mostly complained in local about the state of Upwell structures. He did not stop us from reinforcing the the Ansiblex under his care.
PH times their structures for USTZ, which means we might form up for a return visit.
We moved on to the next Ansiblex on Zintage’s list. This time nobody came out to gun the Fortizar so we just flew around the Ansiblex and fired away.
When that one was about in the bag Zintage did an ammo check to see if we had hauled enough rounds along to reinforce a third Ansiblex. People were running dry on T1 structure bash ammo. It turned out a lot of people had been getting deflections all along, meaning their shots were over the damage cap and weren’t being counted. Had we started out the evening with guns split and pilots only shooting half their rack we likely would have had the ammo for another target. But thinking about that two structures in meant we were not going to make it that far. It was time to turn for home.
Word from the north was that PH had a mixed bout with GotG up in C4C-Z4 in Fade. However, further word was that their Munnin fleet got caught by somebody on the way home that turned the loss meter way up for them.
Zintage looked into positioning us to intercept the remains of their fleet as it gated home… some of their jump routes now being in operable… but they took a route back out of our way. So we turned for home ourselves.
Another op success in the smoldering east of New Eden.