A new month means the op count resets and I once again think about hitting my extremely modest goal of going on at least one strategic operation a month. KarmaFleet would like us all to go on one op a month, though the only check every three months. That means I could live for a while on the 8 ops I went on in April I suppose, but I also like to play the game and, while main fleet ops out of 1DQ1-A are not ideal to my mind, you go with what is available.
Also, you tend to hear a lot more about what is going on in space from the FC if you go on strat ops that actually leave Delve, as opposed to home defense ops and the like. So when I saw a ping saying that there was going to be a big form up at 20:00 EVE time on Saturday, I figured I might go along. That is 1pm in the afternoon here, but it isn’t like I had any big plans for the day.
Still, I managed to forget that it was happening and only checked by computer at about 25 minutes after the appointed hour, which for smaller ops is just about late enough to not be able to catch up. But this was another big op like the one from two weeks before, so it was late getting ready and slow to get rolling, meaning I was in time to join up.
Mostly in time. Fleets fill up from the top of the ping down. I don’t know if that is because the most popular doctrine is at the top, the most popular FC, or if Goons just stop when they reach the first fleet name in a ping, but the Sacrilege fleet under Apple Pear was full by the time I got on. That was a shame because I already had the correctly fit logi ship for the doctrine. Next on the list was the Muninn fleet under Havish Montak.
That doctrine I did not have a ship for and I had to look up what the options were in the forums. I decided to go the logi route as usual when I saw the Scimitar was the choice. I had to buy one off contract as I didn’t even have a hull sitting around to work from, but there were some available so I grabbed one, fitted the rigs (ships on contract usually have the rigs in the cargo so they can be repackaged and moved without losing them and I have flown a couple of ships with the rigs unfit because I forgot to check, including a Basilisk I flew for an entire deployment), and was ready to go.
I was kind of happy to be flying a Scimi again. It was the logi of choice back when I came out to null sec about eight years back, so I feel a bit of nostalgia flying one. The Guardian and the Basilisk tend to be the choices these days. The Scimi is also fast, has a big drone bay (room for whore drones), and looks damn fine with the Frontier Safeguarder SKIN applied. That may be my favorite SKIN now as it is obnoxiously loud and flashy on all the hulls it was made for, which is about all I can ask for out of a SKIN.
Because I was late I didn’t have to wait as long as some for us to get going, but even I had to hang around for a bit for the order to undock came. From the Keepstar we warped off to a titan that bridged us off to the boarder of Delve and Fountain.
That seemed like a bit of a waste, saving us only two gates. However, we were once again pushing 600+ pilots northward up the Eye of Terror network and every system transition bogs down the game and introduces time dilation. That was also the reason to let the Sac fleet go first, so they could get ahead of us and maybe we wouldn’t be all hitting the same server at the same time.
That idea seemed to work okay for a bit. Tidi kicked in while we were pressing through Fountain, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Basically it was the same op as last time, at least until we got up into Cloud Ring. Rather than carrying on to take the jump bridge to 6RCQ-V and routes into northern null sec, we veered to the right and headed into low sec via Placid.
And there the tidi really began. I think low sec’s best defense against big fleets is the fact that it is otherwise so lightly utilized that CCP doesn’t exactly bless those regions with the most processing power. Once again, we were not shooting anybody, just taking gates through systems, and we were dragging the region down. We caught up with the Sac fleet and then the Harpy fleet, the third fleet, caught up to us, so we had to hang around a gate to wait for the Sac fleet to get into the next region in the hope that the tidi would lighten up.
We rolled through Placid to Black Rise and finally to Tama in The Citadel. And then the real fun began.
Our destination was Ignoitton, a low sec system where a timer had been set on an Imperium Fortizar. To get there in the fewest gates meant passing through five high sec systems, and few things are more amusing than the amount of angst this can cause a fleet full of Goons.
We live in null sec where the rules are simple; if it isn’t blue it is hostile and you should kill it or expect to die. There is no CONCORD, no gate guns, and security status is pretty much meaningless. So passing into high sec means intense paranoia. So many non-blue ships. CONCORD mad and yelling at half the fleet. War decs and war targets looming. Also, the sky is so bright! Why is it so bright?
I think we lost five ships going there in back in just high sec as we free burned from the relative safety of one low sect system to another.
Once in Ignoitton, we found the Fortizar waiting for us, the repair cycle having started.
However, no hostiles had shown up to contest the timer. There would be no fight nor explosion today.
There and with little else to do, we naturally decided to hit the hostiles structures in the system, setting timers for them as they had done for us. Ignoitton isn’t particularly convenient for either side, though it is likely more so from Malpais than Delve. Still, we try to return the favor.
This is when it came out that for most of the fleet we had a Sacrilege in our fleet. He wasn’t hurting anybody really. He was just with the wrong doctrine and was armor fit so wasn’t going to get a lot of help from the shield logi we had along.
Apparently he had disconnected at some point and when he got back on the Sac fleet was full. Havish had kicked him a couple of times, but he kept on coming back until Havish investigated what he was up to. He didn’t have a home so he rode along with us.
Also with us was M4X HEADR00M from last op, again in a Vigil.
I noticed him when he had to broadcast for reps due to bomb damage from the Astrahus. He was deep into armor, but I had armor repair drones in my bay, so got him back up to full health. Frigates were supposed to be on a perch, but there is always somebody who doesn’t get the word of does the wrong thing.
Once our structure had repaired and the time had been set it was time to turn for home again, starting with the return run through high sec.
Once across that to Tama we pushed on through, trying to stick together as there was at least one gang trying to snatch stragglers. They got one, though we landed back on them and returned the favor.
Even though we tried to spread out the fleets we once again cranked up the tidi in low sec for a while.
Once we were back into null sec things sped up, and by then we were just 10 gates from home out of the total of 24. Going from Cloud Ring to Delve is doable in about two minutes if there is no tidi.
And once into Delve it is just three gates to home, going through what is likely the most dramatically lit Ansiblex in the game, the one we parked at the sun for whatever reason.
I take screen shots every time we go through that Ansiblex because it is always so starkly lit. It is also good for a few flying past the sun shots as you fly in.
And from there it was through the gate then another then time to dock up. No fight, no kills, but another structure saved, and all under two hours this time around.