Sometimes things just line up.
It was about 15 minutes before I could in good conscience start taking lunch, even on a Friday, when I saw the first ping about a fleet forming to go and blow up a Keepstar. I wanted go blow up a Keepstar. I always want to go see structures blow up. But I have gained a no doubt undeserved reputation as a solid worker who doesn’t slack off such that I feel the need to reinforce that illusion by not disappearing for lunch at 11:15 am.
Oh well. I can’t be there for all of them. And it isn’t like there haven’t been a lot of Keepstar kills in the last few years. We’re long past the days when I managed to be on more than half of those kill mails.
A while late there was a call for a second fleet, but I figured they would be off before I could break away. I was also pairing with another team member and didn’t really have an excuse to drop off. Then a little past 11:30 am she had to drop off and I immediately turned to my home computer, a 90 degree turn of the chair from my work setup, and logged into EVE Online to see if any of the fleets… a third had been called by this point… were around or had any room left.
I jumped into the third fleet, which was the Imperium’s Stormbringer doctrine. But then I thought about how long a Keepstar shoot can go and figured I had better fly in something I could dock up or safe up somewhere without missing. A Stormbringer is a pricey ride and I only had one hanging around in my hangar.
I dropped that fleet to see if I could get in the Eagle fleet. I have half a dozen Eagles sitting in my hangar, war surplus, and if I had to dock one of those up in an NPC station far from home because I had to get back to work, that would be no real loss.
Then I was in the fleet, led by AcidF, hanging around waiting for us to get going then, because these sort of ops get called early. I had no idea how far we might have to travel, but I had some time now. And then the order to undock was given and the destination announced in fleet chat: R-ARKN.
That wasn’t very far at all. It was also the location of the great loot pinata structure shoot a year back with the Army of Mango Alliance debacle. I had been on a Keepstar kill mail in that system before.
Taking the Eye of Terror Ansiblex highway eastward, it was just nine jumps to Esoteria and the destination, thanks to our new allies in Sigma Grindset who have set up shop in Paragon Soul. So we were there pretty quickly. And on arrival I could see that the timer for the Keepstar didn’t have long to count down.
We got ourselves into position and lolled about a bit while waiting the final minutes before the timer finished its run and we could begin to shoot the structure.
At first I thought we might be getting in on a FI.RE coalition structure timers, but we were outside of their old zone of influence. This Keepstar belonged to What Could Possibly Go Wr0ng, a member of what was the Cockroach Coalition down south, some tolerated unaligned groups living in space that was otherwise not considered prime real estate.
I wasn’t sure why we were after them, but we were there and setup and ready to go with three fleets when the timer ended. We got in closer and started shooting.
You can see the warp formations in use there as we closed up in the wall position, spreading ships out the avoid being easy, clustered targets for the structure to throw bombs at.
I was interested to see if anybody else would show up to the shoot. We were in the middle of some contested space, so it was possible that some FI.RE remnants or Pandemic Horde might wander in on the whole thing. But aside from a couple of individuals, it was mostly just us in the system. I think the Stormbringers were counting on some hostiles to show up, their thing being to bounce lightning off of ten targets. They had to make due with the standup fighters from the Keepstar.
The shoot was otherwise uneventful. Sure, the PDS zapped some droned and bombs flew and fighters were launched, but for the most part we all say around cycling our guns to keep the damage inbound. The fact that nobody was around to fight with on grid and that we capped out at under a thousand characters in the system meant that tidi stayed manageable, speeding up the whole thing.
Eventually, as the remaining hull counted down, we got in close to cover the drop of the quantum core, that bit that CCP added to dockable Upwell structures which became mandatory about two years back. That is a 30 billion ISK item that is required to power up a Keepstar and which is a guaranteed drop. We were all up close as the Keepstar blew up.
You can see the defensive bubbles near the center of the model to guard against somebody swooping in and making off with the core.
The kill mail showed 854 involved parties.
We hung around for a bit to cover GSOL doing their thing, then the three fleets started their move back to Delve.
It was during the trip home we got a bit of story time about what we had been up to. Apparently WR0NG had made a deal to sell the Keepstar to Pandemic Horde. (Edit: Reference here) We found out about the deal, because everybody has spies everywhere, and put a stop to it by removing the structure.
I mentioned earlier in the week in the post about FI.RE’s flight from the southeast that there was a possibility of friction as Pandemic Horde and the Imperium began to butt up against each other along a common boarder. I suspect this won’t be the last structure we go after on the periphery of our holdings.
Meanwhile, we got back home to 1DQ1-A with some time to spare so I could make myself a sandwich and actually had some lunch during my lunch break.