Keepstar Nocturnal Mission

I was up because it was hot.  It had peaked over 100 degrees in the afternoon in Silicon Valley, and even as midnight approached the temperature hung in the mid-80s.  It was too warm to get to sleep easily, so why not just stay up and see a couple of Keepstars blown up?

Given how long they have been around, there haven’t been that many Keepstar kills.  The list of losses over at Zkillboard isn’t that long, even if you add in the couple that didn’t register correctly.  I’ve been around for a few of the kills… including multiple Circle of Two Keepstars… but it is still something of a special event to see one explode.

And that was my initial plan.  Very low commitment.  I was just going to slip into M-OEE8 with an alt in a stealth bomber and watch the fireworks there.  We had a couple of citadels parked around the target, so I could tether up and watch.  So nearly an hour ahead of time I was setup and watching.

The M-OEE8 Keepstar awaits

There were actually multiple targets on grid, but only one really mattered, and the timer was counting down.

Other targets on grid, with blues on their own citadel

That would let me watch one Keepstar, but there was a second one in 0-YMBJ that was set to come out about 30 minutes after the first.  For that one I logged in with my main.  The target was just one jump over from our staging, so I would just stealth bomber over to watch that one as well.

And then the calls for fleets started going up.  There were nearly 2,000 pilots logged into our staging system, and I decided to go with one of the Baltec fleets.  I already had a Megathron.  That would get me on a kill mail or two.

But then they needed logi… somebody always needs more logi… so I bought an Oneiros, put on the Emergency Response SKIN, stuffed a Bouncer and four Warrior IIs in the drone bay and undocked.

Oneiros ready to go

Sothrasil was our FC, and he warped us off to the Athanor off the undock, then back onto the titan that was going to bridge us.  However, everybody was so anxious to go that there were dozens of titans crowded in and it was tough just to click on the correct one.  The call had to go out for titans to dock back up because they were bumping the bridging titans.  We got to hear about that because it was another operation with all fleets on the same voice coms.  But things did clear up for us and we were bridged into M-OEE8.

And from there we gated one system over to E-OGL4 to shoot a Fortizar that was already out.  We landed in close enough that I was able to put a Warrior II on it before we anchored up and motored well out of drone range.

You can almost see the Fortizar

That went placidly as nobody bothered to gun the Fortizar until it was almost dead.  When somebody did show up they turned on the PDS and killed my drone, but the structure was down to 5% at that point, so I was on the kill when it exploded.

The Fortizar explodes as we align out

Meanwhile, back in M-OEE8, more ships were piling in.  Super carriers were putting fighters on the Keepstar the warping to tether up while a range of third party fleets from TEST and Dead Coalition… and even a couple of NC/PL ships… were hanging about watching the structure get chipped away, waiting for their moment to get in range to take a few shots so as to get on to the kill.

Supers strewn about the field

Sothrasil brought us onto the Fortizar on grid with the Keepstar where we tethered up and waited our turn to take a shot at the big target.  One person in our fleet, alleged to be a non-English speaker, warped off to the Keepstar to get his shots in on his own and was blown up for going off on his own.  About the same time a carrier pilot in an Archon trying to control their fighters ended up warping to the Keepstar and was likewise blown up.

Archon sacrificed at the altar of the Keepstar

Somebody ran out in a blockade runner to try and look the wreck, but I don’t think they made it out safely.

Caught grabbing the loot

My alt in his stealth bomber decloaked and put some torps into the Keepstar, then warped back to tether up and watch the outcome.

Sothrasil then had us align and we warped in to take out shots.  I dropped the Bouncer II I had brought along and set it to firing a few rounds before scooping it up.  We then aligned back just as the call for the titans to jump in came over coms.

Our little fleet visible as the titans land in front of the Keepstar

Asher was directing the titans.  The plan was for them all to land and then use their doomsday weapons in order to send off the Keepstar in style.  It didn’t quite go to plan… people shot their

weapons early… but it still looked pretty neat.  I put my camera on the Keepstar and got some pretty shots through the uprights.

Doomsday beams of many colors

A bunch of screen shots were posted in chat, so I’ll link to some of those if you want to see more of that moment.

The Keepstar blew up, most everybody got on the kill mail (more than 1,500 people recorded), the titans got their money shot, the operation was a success.

Keepstar blows up

Now there was just the matter of the other Keepstar, now out of its timer and repairing, eight jumps away.  When the M-OEE8 Keepstar blew I immediately sent my alt in his bomber off towards the gate to get to the next target.  For the first couple of gates it was like swimming through molasses due to time dilation, but it soon cleared up and he was moving quickly.  Fortunately there were no gate camps.

Over in 0-YMBJ a fleet of carriers had been sent to put fighters on the Keepstar to stop the repair timer and chip it down to get it ready for the kill.  However, the fighters had been doing a very effective job and there wasn’t much left to shoot when my alt arrived, and he was there ahead of the whole fleet sitting in M-OEE8.

Calls were made to pull some, then all fighters as the fleets began jumping in.  People were getting antsy about getting on that second kill so, despite being told to take a shot and stop firing, people blazed away with all they had.  As titans landed, more doomsdays were set off, without much regard to who might be in the way.

Somebody blowing up in the pack

I put my alt in range and set torpedoes flying, but my main was still in M-OEE8, sitting on a titan waiting for the bridge to go up.  Meanwhile people were calling the percentage left on the Keepstar, getting everybody worked up.  The call was 8% left when our bridge finally went up.  But there was traffic control and many of us stayed in the jump tunnel for a long time.

When I finally landed, there was only 2% left on the structure.  I immediately dropped my Bouncer II and set it on the Keepstar.  I was just in time, but others in our fleet landed too late.  The Keepstar quickly exploded.

The second Keepstar blows

Still, more than 1,500 people were on that kill mail as well.  I managed to get on there with both accounts.

After that it was just a matter of getting everybody home.  On the bright side, we were all just one gate from our staging.  On the downside, it was now 1:30am local time for me… and much later/earlier some others… so people were sluggish about getting going and the subcaps had to sit around and make sure that all the big stuff got out safely.

The Mittani got on coms… it must have been 3:30am for him, though he is younger than I… and congratulated us on the kills and said that we needed to work out how to move this many people around between kills, since some people didn’t get on both as promised.

We were later informed that, with these two Keepstars, the total value of structures and ihubs destroyed in Tribute now exceeded 1.7 trillion ISK.  Somebody is going to have to go kill a lot more Rorquals back in Delve if they want to claim that equal damage is being done back there.

Slowly but surely the capitals drained out of 0-YMBJ and we were able to go home ourselves.  We docked up, I logged out, and then headed off to bed.  It was still hot in the house, but it was a little less so than earlier and I was now tired enough to drop off to sleep.

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