Category Archives: Null Sec

I Survive My First Capital Op

While Burn Jita was still raging on Saturday afternoon, I was back in Delve and going out on my first real Cap Fleet operation.

I have formed up a couple of times for operations that never went anywhere, and I went on last week’s training on SiSi, the public test server, but those don’t really count.  But yesterday I happened to be sitting down at my computer just in time to see a ping from Thomas Lear for a CapSwarm form up.  I was already in our staging, so I hopped into my Apostle and got undocked to wait for instructions.

Cold Iron Apostle on the Keepstar

Cold Iron Apostle on the Keepstar

And then I docked back up because we were told to fit 500MN MWDs to aid in speeding up warping between gates.

I chose to go with the Apostle because I ran with my carrier during the training op on SiSi, which proved to me that I have no clue how to use fighters.  I have to find a guide somewhere about the basics of moving them, as everything I have seen so far seems to operate under the assumption that you have that part mastered and just need to hone your technique.

Anyway, I undocked with the MWD fit and waited for instructions again.  That was a bit difficult as we were sharing coms with Asher’s subcap fleet that was coming along to cover us.  There is an oft repeated joke that USTZ fleets are much more… talkative… on coms than EUTZ fleets.  I don’t buy it fully, as I have been on some EUTZ fleets that could sperg with the best of them, but this fleet seems set to prove the rule.  For the first time in a long time I had to go down to the “no chatter” channel, where you only hear people on the command channel.  And even that channel was a bit chatty as there seemed to be a bunch of people there across the two fleets.

We were first given a destination, then told to warp off to another citadel as the first gate we needed to take was on the back side of the Keepstar, so attempting to warp straight to it would end up with some of us just bumping off the face of the citadel.

I picked a nearby Astrahus and warped off, then turned about and headed for the gate.

Apostle warping off

Apostle warping off

While capitals have jump drives and can move 6 light years at a jump, jump fatigue keeps us from using those drives unless we have to.  So we went by gates to the first system in Fountain.  Once there we took off the MWDs and used our jump drives to put us close to our target, hopping over some hostile space, then took a few more gates to the target.

Caps and subcaps landing on a gate

Caps and subcaps landing on a gate

The subcap fleet did managed to bubble us on an in gate at one point due to the presence of hostiles, so we had to hang about for a short bit while that came down.  No hostiles were trapped.

Partially bubbled cap fleet

Partially bubbled cap fleet aligning out

The only tense moment for me during the trip either way was when I lost connection.  We were jumping through a gate and I was stuck in the warp tunnel for a long stretch, then got disconnected.  When I got back in game an rejoined the fleet, I had to go through the return from disconnect routine.  My ship had been warped off, so it had to go back to the spot it left from, which happened to be a few hundred km off the gate.  I had to warp to the gate again and jump.  Looking at local though, the fleet had left me behind, but there were half a dozen hostiles in system.  However, they didn’t show up and I was able to jump the gate and catch up with the fleet at the first target, a tower belonging to The Culture in G95F-H.

There wasn’t much for faxes to do during the first shoot.  I put out some Warrior drones and shot modules with the carriers, but other than that we were orbiting around Thomas Lear while the carriers and dreads did their work. (I even got on the kill mail for a couple of modules, though I didn’t think you could kill modules unless you killed the tower, only incapacitate them.)

We then went after a second tower, which was also reinforced.  This one had a jump bridge, which required the usual special treatment wherein you burn it down to half structure, then rep the armor back up to half again, so the owner has to either take the time to rep it back up or put damage on it to destroy it and replace it.  When it came time to apply reps the faxes were told to go into one cycle of triage.  The triage module greatly boosts the amount of repair a fax can put out, but you cannot recieve reps, move, or warp.  I lit mine for a cycle and started applying my reps.

The blue effect indicates Triage mode

The blue effect indicates Triage mode

And then, as I watched my capacitor drain away, I realized I did not bring and charges for my cap booster.  Well, something for the list.  So I turned off the repair modules after a bit and just let the triage timer run down.  Something to remember for next time.  Once we were done with that it was time to turn around and head for home.  Enough time had elapsed for our jump fatigue to wear off, so after a couple of gates we were able to jump to Y-2ANO and then gate back to our staging.  I managed to get through the op without screwing anything up too badly.

One thing I did notice was that, while the Cold Iron skin for the Apostle looks really good, in the darkness of space it can sometimes be too dark.  I ended up changing to the all white Purity skin every so often just so I could see myself.

Skin change in progress

Skin change in progress

But otherwise I was able to keep up with the fleet, jump when told, and find my way back when disconnected.  I just have to remember those cap boosters for next time.

And Sometimes You Sit on a Keepstar While Things Go Wrong

I managed to get into a fleet last night that went out into low sec where we blew up a tower belonging to Darwinism.

One of the modules exploding for effect

One of the modules exploding for effect

The tower had been reinforced previously, so it was a quick shoot.

We also went about reinforcing one of their Raitaru engineering complexes.

Fleet getting boosts near the complex

Fleet getting boosts near the complex

That one will have to wait as it has to go through the three stage process required to destroy an operational citadel or complex.

If I understand correctly this operation, and a number of other ones that went out yesterday to hit Darwinism structures, was in response to Darwinism hitting Merch Industrial structures.  Merch is a long time Goonswarm Federation corporation probably best know for being the home of DBRB.  It even got a MiniTru video.

Basically, the usual order of things in New Eden; somebody pokes us, we poke them back.  The highlight of the op were managing to kill a 2.6 billion ISK pod and my running an Oneiros with the Guardian’s Gala SKIN, which may be the first skin for the ship that is worth having.

Oneiros orbiting near the fleet

Oneiros orbiting near the fleet

A fine day’s work in New Eden, and I logged off after that and had dinner, watched a bit of television, and let the night roll on.  As it got later I went back to my computer to tinker with an alt I rolled for an upcoming event which I will write about later.  As I was running him through the new player experience, a ping came in.

This has meme potential

This aspect of the NPE has meme potential

It was one of those ping, sent to, and in, ALL CAPS, with an urgent call to get in fleet NOW!

This was followed by a similar ping for a subcap fleet, but I figured “what the hell!” and logged in, got in my Apostle, and joined the fleet.  Then it was pointed out to me that the ping only called for carriers and dreads, so I swapped to my Archon and undocked.  Then I saw that lots of people were bringing faxes, so I docked back up again swapped back to my Apostle, and undocked once more to sit tethered at the Keepstar.

Sitting on the Keepstar

Sitting on the Keepstar

As we sat there, the story unfolded… rather loudly at times… as to what was going on.

A group of Peoples Liberation Army corporation Rorquals had been dropped on by Pandemic Legion in NIDJ-K, which just happens to one of the TNT vanity sovereignty system, so we can say we do hold sov.

The PL fleet tackled them and then put up a cyno inhibitor.  We sat there listening as one of the PLA guys tried to light us a cyno so we could jump in and help.  He managed to get a cyno up, but in the wrong fleet before the inhibitor went up.  He also did not speak English very well… PLA is a Chinese corp… and was apparently playing inside of a wind tunnel judging from the background noise, which did not help the cross-lingual communications.

A titan bridged a few subcaps out with cynos to try and get somebody in close enough to be a jump target for us.  The subcap fleet itself took a jump bridge to the vicinity of the fight and set up to block egress.

An Avatar bridging out some scouts and interdictors

An Avatar bridging out some scouts and interdictors

In the end though, the PL fleet killed all seven Rorquals that PLA had in a mining anomaly along with a Hulk, some mobile depots, and several ships that warps in to assist.  We eventually killed the cyno inhibitor.  The battle report shows it to be a lopsided victory in favor of PL.

That Viziam guy was in a Revelation

That Viziam guy was in a Revelation

I got an alt out to help search and scan, but the PL fleet looked to have logged off to wait for another day.

As we sat there on the Keepstar, I came to an important decision.  I decided that, while the Purity white SKIN looks pretty good on the Apostle, the Cold Iron SKIN is the one to have.  So I bought one.

Cold Iron Apostle

Cold Iron Apostle

I still can’t remember which way the Apostle is facing, but at least it looks a bit more menacing with a dark SKIN.

So that was New Eden for me yesterday.

In summary:  Some things got blown up and I got new SKINs for two of my ships.

 

Some Days You Just Sit on the Titan

I haven’t written much about operations in EVE Online of late for a couple of reasons.

First has been because I have been busy with other things.  Life will get in the way.  And, second, there has also been a drawn down in the number of ops I am likely to join.

The so-called Winter War between Stainwagon and the refugees from the north ended up in a Stainwagon collapse, with the defenders now mostly pushed off the sovereignty map as TEST, Circle-of-Two, and the Drone Walkers… soon to be joined by Brave Newbies… moved in. (Images grabbed from the usual source.)

Just six weeks passed...

Just six weeks passed…

That has put and end to that for us.

Which isn’t to say there haven’t been ops running.  There is always some op forming up to go do something; roam, homeland defense, poke a bear, or some such.  But I have become a picky bitter vet of sorts.  I want strat ops and concrete objectives or, barring that, an FC I trust.

Last week it was Thomas Lear who took us out in Sleipnirs.  Earlier this week it was Asher, who called us out for one of his plans.  He had some bait planned and moved us out to sit on a titan and wait for the right moment to spring the trap.

We even brought the titan with us

We even brought the titan with us

Sometimes that sort of things pays off, sometimes it goes badly awry, and some nights nothing at all happens.  This time around it was the last item.  The bait was out but nobody seemed interested in taking it.  So we sat there at a POS… at least a change from sitting on a citadel, which is the new normal… staring at the titan and wondering if we would go or not.

My Guardian floating there behind the Ragnarok

My Guardian floating there behind the Ragnarok

This is the nature of sandbox PvP.  Sometimes nobody shows up at your party.  We sat there for a while before Asher eventually called it a night and bridges us back home.  At least we took one bridge.

It wasn’t all that bad.  Being on-call let me tab out and work on other things.  I have screen shots lined up for my other blog into next month now.  And with a wireless headset I was able to get up and do things around the house, like put something in the oven for dinner, get a package from UPS off the door step, and use the bathroom.  My thoughts about broadcasting the latter over coms were held back by the fact that my push to talk button is mapped to the keyboard, which was still sitting on my desk.  Probably better for all concerned.

But other than getting what might be my last peak at a moon mining operation before it is changed to drilling rigs in the fall, there wasn’t much going on.

Moon mining modules running

Moon mining modules running

At least it yielded as strategic participation link, a strat PAP, the collection of which is one of the few reasons I think my corp keeps me around.  It certainly isn’t for my deep involvement in alliance activities.

Later I ran a couple of anomalies and actually netted an escalation finally.  It has been months since I got the last one.

It was the Dark Blood Fleet Staging Point escalation, which is a three part project, only our local escalation running service will only do the third part.  That isn’t bad.  The first two parts are doable, it just means I have to pack up the Ishtar and take it on the road.

The first part was in a nice dead-end pocket and I was able to complete it and drop off the resulting loot in a citadel to pick up later.  We have citadels… usually multiple citadels… in every system in Delve at this point.

The second part however was in one of the heavily traveled pipe systems, which meant I spend about two hours running what is maybe a 20 minute encounter.  Every time I would get settled in intel would announce some roaming gang was in an adjacent system and I would get myself lined up.  Then they would jump in the system and I would pull drones and warp off to a citadel, only to have them just pass through.   Then it was back to the start point, motor to the acceleration gate, and back into the encounter only to have intel ringing the bell yet again.

Somebody finally put up a homeland defense fleet to chase off one gang that had been roaming the area for a while and I was able to wrap things up at last.

Then I got the third part alert, which was in a nice quiet system as well, so it looked like I was in luck to get it run for me.  The last two… the only two… escalations I have had in the region both ended up in NPC Delve, and Lucky Runners doesn’t go there.  Too many hostiles buzzing about.

I went to the escalation, bookmarked the beacon, names it correctly, contracted it, and waited for the ISK to show up.  And then, many hours later, I got a note saying the contract had been rejected due to a contract bug.  But there was still about six hours left on the third stage.  You only get 24 hours from when each part appears in which to run it.  So I contracted it again and actually got paid this time.

So that is life in Delve at the moment.  I’ve been able to build up my ISK reserves, but I haven’t gone on many fleets.

Moving Day Again

If there is one bad habit I have had in New Eden, it is my propensity to collect crap.  The “All Items” tab in the Assets window is a scary place for me.  Once it took so long to load I thought I had crashed the server by opening it.

Just a snippet out of the long, long list of places

Just a snippet out of the long, long list of places

I have a recurring nightmare about having to go out in a ship and haul everything back to Jita or Amarr.  Some of that stuff has been out there for a long time too.  I don’t think I have spent time in Hageken for nearly a decade.  And then there was that unfortunate region-wide buy order in Domain.

So when it was announced yesterday that the coalition was moving to a new staging system, I wasn’t exactly thrilled at the thought of moving my stuff yet again.  We were not moving too far, just a couple gates, but there was still the prospect of a lot of hauling in my future.

Dead pods mark move ops

Dead pods mark move ops

However, things didn’t turn out as bad as I thought they might.  I managed to stuff my Mastadon full of stuff and moved most of the loose modules and other items in three runs under the protective eyes of the local standing fleet.

After that, it was time to move all the ships I had stored up.  That is usually the tough part.  But as it so happens, I haven’t been collecting quite so many ships lately.  I used to buy a couple ships for every doctrine, but the coalition has been trying to keep logi stable between doctrines, so I have been able to re-use the same ships.  That, plus the fact that I now have an Archon and an Apostle, both of which have hangars capable of hauling assembled ships, meant I was able to carry almost everything over to the new staging rather than flying each ship.

Apostle ready to jump

Apostle ready to jump

So having two capital ships finally pays off.

The only downside to the whole thing is that the ships you are carrying in the hangar can only have ammunition and other charges for modules in their cargo.  So I had to pull out all the refits and mobile depots and nanite repair paste and what not and shove them in the cargo hold to be sorted out later.

So move op completed for me more quickly than usual.  Everything I had in the old staging Keepstar is now in the new one.  However, it still feels like I have a ton of stuff rolling around in my inventory bin.  Also, I have to go through all the fits and figure out which ships need modules in their holds.  I might save that task for the start of an actual op.  There is always some lag time while we assemble.

A Long Way to Go to Die to Rorquals

There was word that there might be a Reavers op about the time I arrived home from work.  And, sure enough, shortly after I was able to sit down at my computer a ping went out from Thomas Lear to get into his fleet.  It was going to be an opportunity to use our Sleipnir doctrine again, an expensive command ship we fly on occasion.

However, he broadcast the fleet ping to all-all rather than just to Reavers, so he had to spend a while weeding out non-Reavers who joined the fleet.  They were at least relatively easy to spot, not being in Sleipners.

Once that was sorted, along with getting boosters for the fleet, we were off to the local jump bridge on our way out.

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

From the far side of the jump bridge we took a gate and warped to a conveniently located wormhole that sent us directly to the Placid region.  From there we passed into Cloud Ring and null sec space.  As we moved Thomas explained that we were on our way to a fight between Brave Newbies and Pandemic Legion.  PL had an Astrahus citadel going online in 9-4RP2, a system Brave recently took from the Imperium North group, Initiative Mercenaries.

(The Mittani said in a recent Fireside that The Initiative, while off on its own, was still considered to be part of the Imperium.  There are actually some familiar old names in The Initiative these days, including WALLTREIPERS and Fweddit.)

We were going there to third party on the fight, to shoot targets of opportunity from both sides.

Our first targets were a fleet of Pandemic Horde Talwars that cross jumped us at a gate on our way.  We managed to put an interdictor back through the gate quickly and jumped as many people back into QXW-PV as possible to blap the PH destroyers.  We got a fair number before getting back on course for the real fight.

Once in 9-4RP2, the Astrahus was going online, sitting in its vulnerable self-repair deployment process where an attacker can kill it in one go rather than having to wait for the vulnerability window and going through three attacks spaced by two timers.

Brave Newbies was out with an Augoror Navy Issue fleet to attack the citadel, while PL a small Rorqual fleet sitting tethered on the Astrahus along with the remaining PH Talwars.

We started off hitting the PH fleet as they were in range, taking down some more Talwars along with a couple of their logi support.  I took a target of opportunity and blapped a Rifter that was coming straight at us, so there was no tracking issue for my arty fit Sleipnir.  I almost got a solo kill on that, but one of our Sabres managed to get a hit in on him.

However, while we started off easily plinking small stuff, PL got themselves into action soon enough, dropping a battleship fleet to support them.

A GotG ball of Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

A ball of PL Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

The Rorquals had deployed sentry drones and put them into action against us as we got in range and things started to go downhill.  The PL drone trigger targeted me and I called for reps early, but we did not have much logi along with us, so while I lasted for a bit, the firepower of the Rorqual drones chewed me into armor and then into hull, popping my Sleipnir.

Sleipnir out of control

Sleipnir out of control

You can see my ship in the above screen shot, glowing with erupting explosions and turning out of control.  My pod had already ejected by that point, but the death animations continued on for a bit.  So dramatic.  A Brave Newbies pilot got on my kill due to some bomb damage from earlier, along with some Initiative pilots that were running ECM bursts.

The fight was pretty much done for me at that point.  I had hit a few targets before I blew up, so got on the kill mails after they went down even though I was in my pod at that point.  So I pottered about on grid for a bit and tried to take some screen shots of the Rorquals.

Rorqual Gaggle

Rorqual Gaggle

Sitting there with their sentry drones shooting as one, they reminded me a bit of the old wrecking ball carrier tactic from back in the day, except rather than being spider tanked and able to rep each other, the Rorquals can make their whole fleet invulnerable for a bit should they get in trouble. via the dread Pulse Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core that came in with the Ascension expansion.  Combat Rorquals are a thing.

On coms it sounded like we were losing ships slowly but surely.  Meanwhile, the Brave Newbie fleet left the scene.  Apparently we unintentionally blew up their FC and the fleet decided to get off grid after that.  That left us as the main target and it sounded like time for us to make an exit as well.

As that was coming together I suddenly realized, as Iolled about in my pod in the middle the battle, that I had implants in my clone.  Not super expensive, like a full set of Slaves or anything, but a couple of implants that were a bit pricey for me.  50 million ISK here, 90 million ISK there, soon that starts to add up into real currency.  I decided that I had best be on my way as well, heading for the out gate ahead of the fleet.

I didn’t feel the need to keep together with the fleet, since I wasn’t going to be able to help them at all, instead running ahead as something of a pod scout.  Fortunately, there was nothing between us and the wormhole back home to worry about.  It was also fortunate that I remembered to bookmark the wormhole when we arrived.

Pod back at the wormhole

Pod back at the wormhole

I got back through and arrived home safely, minus one Sleipnir.  It even had a kill mark on it for a short period of time.

Looking at the battle report I rolled up for the engagement, we lost the fewest ships, but the ships we lost were expensive.  Nine Sleipnirs down adds up fast.  Now to see what sort of reimbursement I will get for my loss.

Pandemic Legion carried the day, winning both the object and the ISK war.  Another small skirmish in the ongoing conflict that is New Eden.

Fighters and Faxes and Capital Plans

I have had a carrier for a while now.  I picked up the hull back in September 2013 and managed to jump it home successfully on the first try.

First successful jump

First successful jump was to 0P-F3K

That was back in the then CFC when the big push to get everybody into carriers… specifically the Archon… was a thing.  That was also when an Archon pilot with Jump Drive Calibration V could hop 14 ly at a go and didn’t have to worry about jump fatigue.

I don’t think I ever got the Archon fully fit and I was still short a couple of skills so I couldn’t apply to CapSwarm until that was complete.  But I could get into CrapSwarm, the group for people who own capitals so they can get in on move ops but aren’t there yet for actual combat ops.

CrapSwarm!

CrapSwarm!

Back then I “only” had 110 million skill points and there were still subcap skills I needed, so I put carrier skills on the back burner for a bit while I worked on those.  I had been in the coalition for nearly two years and there wasn’t really a war going on for us at the time, the Fountain War having wrapped up.  The Halloween war was brewing, but I had put my all into the last war and skated through that, though I managed to show up at B-R5RB.  Not in a carrier, just a neuting Dominix.

Then there was Reavers, which meant focusing on subcaps ever more so and then the Casino War, where the Archon helped me stay ahead of our crumbling northern empire as I jumped out of Tribute then Pure Blind just ahead of trouble.  That all culminated in the retreat to Delve, most of which I covered on my own, and the Archon carried a lot of my stuff with it.

Exotic stations under strange stars

Exotic stations under strange stars

Once in the south, there was the conquest of Delve and settling in to our new region before capitals and, more importantly, capital production became a priority again.  Then the call was for force auxiliaries, the capital log ships.  Only two of the four fax machines were recommended, the Minokawa and the Apostle, but since I had trained up for the Archon already, I was well on my way to the Apostle as well.  I put in an order for one after The Mittani pushed us to have a couple on hand, they being the apparent key to any supercap battle, and started back on the capital ship training plan.

About a month after I ordered it, I had an Apostle.  However, I wanted to wrap up training to be able to fit a tech II triage module to it, so it took a bit longer until I was ready to apply to CapSwarm.

Medical White Apostle

Medical White Apostle, with a Minokawa in the background

Eventually I was trained up, had a fully fitted Apostle (I stole a lot of the modules from the Archon and its list of “required to have” items) that I really had no idea how to use.  I mean, I guess it is just a big logi ship, so that part is simple enough; put reps on big things that ask.  But capitals are also serious business, and I’ve seen a few “if you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t go on capital ops” notes over the years.  I was also set back a bit by the “read this first” guides for CapSwarm, which seemed out of date and assumed you were in GSF.  Meanwhile, asking questions on Jabber got me “just jump in with the fleet and die quietly” level responses.  I don’t even mind losing the ship, I just don’t want to do so because I am clueless and I really don’t want to do something that screws up an op.  I’ve already had, “Oh my God” level responses for asking simple questions while on the move op to Rakapas.  So I opted to stick with supcaps ops, leaving my Apostle back in staging, hoping for a an updated guide or training op or something.

Now, however, there is a new call to train for capitals.  This time we’re back to carriers, which have been deemed especially effective against sub caps.  Somewhere along the line I had trained up fighters, because having a carrier and not being able to use its primary weapon system just seemed wrong.  I might have just ignored this new call to caps, but there was a statement about training… like the coalition is going to provide some so people actually feel good about using their capitals.

For just the suggestion that there might be training I got my Archon out and jumped it back to our staging system.

Archon, also in Purity White, hanging off a Fortizar

Archon, also in Purity White, hanging off a Fortizar

And then I checked it fitting and backup modules and found that I was well out of date on the basic fit and that I had, in fact, pulled a lot of the modules for the Apostle.  Also, while I have the skills to use fighters, I haven’t actually bought any fighters.  So I now have more than a billion ISK in modules and fighters being shipped out.

But that is fine.  I’ll be up to date again.  And I am willing to spend that on the off chance I will actually get to use my carrier in combat, or at least feel confident enough to answer the call and get into fleet should the situation arise.  Maybe I will even figure out the Apostle as well.

Falling Back in Catch

CCP is going to try to fix the 4-07 system in 10 minutes. You will be booted. get safe

-Ping from last night

I had the flu… or a cold… or whatever the mucus based eldritch horror that was going around the office was… last week and through the weekend which, among other things, altered my video game activities.  So while there has been a war going on in Catch, of which I wrote previously, I haven’t had the wherewithal to go out on fleet ops.  Instead I have been playing things that are… interruptible… or which at least don’t require a three hour window of time.

I think I spent most of Saturday either napping or slumped sideways at my computer playing Minecraft and listening to an audio book, and that was done in part just to be upright so things would drain.

But the war has gone on without me.  Over at The Nosy Gamer there have been some regular updates as to changes in sovereignty and such, mostly collected under the Winter War 2017 tag.  Stuff has happened, including some awkward stuff.

As noted in a post over at Imperium News, a tackle on a TEST Leviathan was offset when an Imperium Ragnarok pilot hit “jump” instead of “bridge,” the classic bridging titan screw up, giving both sides a titan kill for the evening.

Picture source: unknown

Picture source: unknown

The evening’s fun was further complicated when Imperium forces went to extract their capital forces only to find that Against All Authorities, an absentee (and long standing anti-Goon) part of the Stainwagon Coalition, had put up a cyno jamming array in HY-RWO, a system which we had been using as a waypoint for capital operations.  We had to pile in some dreadnoughts to blow up this new bit of system infrastructure as we couldn’t get anybody from AAA to respond.

This led to a quick fireside chat yesterday where The Mittani explained the situation and that our response was going to be to pull back away from AAA’s territory and back towards Querious to cover the approaches there.  The whole thing was summed up in a modified piece of a comic from The Oatmeal which even The Mittani tweeted out as a representation of what happened.

Nope!

Nope!

We were no longer going to stage in central Catch and AAA could lose all their space.  Capitals would fall back to the gates of Qeurious while subcaps would be heading home.  So when I was finally feeling well enough for fleet ops again it was time to pack up my subcaps and head back to Delve.

So it was time to get myself setup for the return.  I had three ships to move and only two pilots.

Asher solved the extra ship problem by offering up space in his titan to Reavers, so I was able to hand over the Cerberus for him to carry back.  He also carried it out for me and I never actually flew it during the deployment.

The Cerb secured, I got myself setup in the Guradian I had in EX6-AO, loaded it up with anything I left in the citadel, and then logged in my alt so he could fly my Scimitar back with the move op fleet.

Only I had forgotten that he had not set his death clone of EX6, so when he got blown up back at the Fortizar battle in F4R2-Q, he ended up back in Delve.  I hadn’t bothered to get him back out to Catch and now the move op was about an hour away.  It was time to get him moving.  But how to get him out there without ending up with yet another ship to move back and without building up too much jump fatigue?

I realized that he still had a Clownshoe fit Sigil, the Amarr industrial we were using (along with the Nereus) as very annoying entosis ships back during the Casino War.  The Sigil warps fast, has a huge tank with a lot of passive regen in the Clownshoe fit, and would reduce any jump fatigue by 90%.  So I stripped out any excess modules and cargo, including the entosis module and all the stront, and headed off to the system with the jump bridge.

The Sigil proved its worth as I managed to get past a Pandemic Legion gate camp in T5ZI-S consisting of a Taranis, a Sabre, and a Kirin, along with several drag bubbles, that I managed to blunder into and escape from… though I am not sure if that is an endorsement of the Sigil or a rebuke of the gate camp’s competence.  They chased me to the jump bridge system but I kept out of their reach.

Once there I flew to the last system in Querious, parked the Sigil in the citadel there, installed a jump clone, and then docked up in the station in the system, which caused Pend Insurance to issue me an Ibis because I was docking in a station and had no ship available.  Free corvettes are still a thing you don’t get in citadels.

From there I flew the dozen jumps to EX6-AO successfully, avoiding a couple neutrals and a trio of CO2 interceptors, a Taranis, a Raptor, and another one I forget at the moment, one of which will come into play later in this narrative.

Happily at my destination, I docked up in the Fortizar, handed over the Scimitar to my alt, and waited for the move op to begin.

Once it got pinged I joined up.  Due to the usual confusion where at least 10% of any group never sees the ping or gets the instructions passed to them, the fleet filled up and there were lots of questions about moving caps.  That eventually led to us undocking and covering the gate to HY-RWO so a bunch of capitals could come to EX6 and either use the Fortizar there or jump to 4-07MU where another Fortizar was available.

Of course, it was about that time that a ping went out to indicate that there were problems in 4-07MU.  People in the Fortizar were having strange issues, couldn’t undock, had problems with modules, and other ailments.  Anybody jumping to the system was advised not to dock at the Fortizar, though tethering was okay, while people at the coalition level started trying to find somebody from CCP to look at the problem.  There was also a report on intel about TEST moving a capital fleet at about that time, an opportunity that passed because key people were stuck in the broken Fortizar.  Or so I heard.

After covering the caps, we moved off on our way back to Delve, out destination being 4-07MU.  That coincided with an update that CCP was going to bring 4-07MU down and back up again, which was broadcast as the ping at the top of this post.  Our estimated time of arrival at 4-07MU was going to coincide with that because or course it did.  Later The Mittani was on our coms and heard about that, among many other odd turns of event, and thought maybe we should give up on any current names and just call the whole thing “Murphy’s War” after the well known law that seems to govern, among other things, life in New Eden.

Otherwise though, it was a move op.  A slow move op, with battleships in tow, so we were limited to warping a 2.0 AU/sec, but a move op.  Jump through the gate, align to the next gate, wait for the fleet warp, do it all again.

The fleet ball warping yet again

The fleet ball warping yet again

But every op needs “that guy” who becomes the comedy star of the show.  It has been me on past occasions.  That night it was Parvulus Dei from the corp Into the Fray.

As we were moving along he called out on coms that he had made a mistake a jump or two back and had accidentally warp to the sun in his Rokh.  While there he reported that he had been tackled by a Probe, which is the Minmatar tech I scanning frigate.

Questions abounded about how he had managed this feat and Asher told him that since we had moved on he was on his own unless somebody in a small ship wanted to run back and save him.  We moved on our slow way while getting updates from him and from a couple of people who decided to run back and give him a hand.

After a chunk of time had passed… much more time that one would imagine would be needed to notice this… Parvulus Dei amended his status to indicate that he had, in fact, been tackled by a Taranis, a Gallente interceptor, and a considerably different ship in almost all regards.  This just made laughter and speculation swell on coms as people tried to figure out how one could mistake a Probe for a Taranis.  One guess was that he saw a combat probe on his overview, another was that the ship was named “Probe,” but I cannot recall if we ever got a definitive answer on this.

Help did reach him in time and the Probe-Taranis was blown up.  It turned out to be one of the CO2 interceptors I had seen coming out and had duly reported on the intel channel, complete with names and ship types, as being in that very system.  I don’t know what happened to the other two.

For the rest of the fleet there were ongoing jokes referencing Parvulus Dei and his side trip.  He caught up with us around the 4-07MU gate, where we had to wait as we did, in fact, arrive just as CCP took the system down.  Parvulus took this all very well and spoke up when somebody wanted to know who this had happened to and so on.  The only way to deal with being “that guy” is to just roll with it until it wears out.

Once we heard that the 4-07MU system was back up we did the prudent thing and just sent a couple of ships in to make sure it was working okay.

Hah hah!  No we didn’t, we shoved the whole 250 person fleet through the gate as soon as we possibly could before wondering whether or not that was really a good idea.

As it turned out, everything was fine.  We headed off to Querious and the jump bridge that would land us a couple of gates from home.  Along the way we drove off a gate camp with a few bubbles trying to catch people coming back solo.  After that we took the last gate, docked up in the Keepstar and called it “Op Success!”  Asher even gave us a PAP, which after getting 11 from him already this month seemed like a bit much, but maybe they hadn’t rained so generously on others.

Now I just have to go back and pick up that Sigil at some point.