Monday afternoon a ping went out asking people to be around for ops around 01:00 EVE Online time. Something big was going down, but what it was all about was well above my need to know.
Still, I like to show up when something is going to happen, so I was online when the first ping went out. However, I had just stepped away for a moment when the ping landed and a lot of people were online and ready to go, so I missed the Asher Sacrilege fleet that I was aiming to go on. Additional fleets were promised.
They were not, however, immediately forthcoming.
After about a half an hour, a ping went out for a bomber fleet on Dabigredboat, or DBRB, and the question was whether to go on that or wait for the next opportunity. When DBRB is on his game, his fleets are exciting and he has a knack for finding capitals to kill. It was on one of his ventures that I got on my first super carrier kills. (He was also there for my first big battle fleet op in null sec.) But he has a reputation. His fleets can be manic chaos at times and there is a long standing rule to wait a couple of beats before you do anything his says. He has been known to shout, “Warp to X!” only to countermand that seconds later and declare that those who warped might end up dead.
Still, the kills can be worth the effort, so I got in a Purifier and went along for the ride.
Chaos started right away as we traveled out to our destination. DBRB was a few different channels and his orders were not always clear and he himself found that part way into the trip he had grabbed a bomber without a covert ops cloak and somebody had to find him one on the route to our destination.
Still, we got there, one of those Drifter wormholes.
We motored over to it… the beacon you land on puts you 100km off the hole… and waited for DBRB to tell us to jump through.
DBRB got his black ops battleship, the blops, to us, found his covert ops cloak, and soon we were all gathered there. Then the order was given to jump through, though he said to jump through to Jove Observatory, which confused many people, as there was a Jove Observatory in the system with us, but that was a few AU off of us. But, as I suspected, he meant the wormhole. Eventually that got clarified and we all jumped through.
Once in we were told to spread out and cloak up. Standard stealth bomber practice.
While we were sitting there I say that the Sisters of EVE Flotilla was in the hole with us.
We were sitting and waiting for DBRB to get set up and I wasn’t sure I would have the time to zip off and take a look… but things were quiet for a bit, so I decided to chance it. I managed to warp in and get a screen shot of the flotilla moving along through space.
Of course, after some minutes of quiet, as soon as I warped off DBRB started talking to us again, though in his usual fashion. Somehow I managed to interpret him correctly and warped to him at the out hole, though I would wager half the fleet didn’t get that and there was a repeat later that got everybody there.
Once assembled, DBRB gave us the outline of what was going on. GSOL had spammed a bunch of Athanors around TEST space… no doubt we had some extras sitting down after the moon mining changes made some moons not worth the effort… all set to finish anchoring and go into their repair cycle around the same time. The number was later reported in the war update thread as “dozens.” The expectation was that, to cover as many of these as possible, TEST would send out individual dreadnoughts to kill them. A single dread can manage that when in siege mode. We were going to go after any solo dreads we could find.
And it wasn’t long before DBRB had a target for us. He had a covert cyno close to the target, so we all went through the wormhole into normal space, got on the blops, and were bridged on to the dreadnought. On landing there was a Revelation there waiting for us. We started shooting. Those of us who brought focused void bombs set up and launched them to drain his capacitor. I am no expert bomber, but even I can line up and launch a bomb on a target if I am just motoring around without anybody shooting me.
And we got him, a 4 billion ISK kill.
Help arrived to support him, in the form of a Jackdaw fleet, but we were already off and cloaked up. The only loss was the Athanor.
DBRB already had another target for us and we were quickly back on the blops and being bridged to another system where we found another Revelation waiting for us, in siege and shooting another Athanor.
There we once again managed another dread kill… along with a cyno Falcon… before help could show up to save him. A Munnin fleet arrived and managed to catch a couple people who were slow to cloak up and get off grid… though, honestly, we lost more people to the guy who launched a scorch bomb at the Revelation and managed to catch a few blues in the blast. Still, a very much ISK positive strike, even with the Athanor getting popped.
After that the locals seemed to be alerted to our presence and we had to hide for a while as DBRB looked for targets. We were bridged to a trio of capitals and came very close to killing a Nidhoggur before a cyno let help arrive to save it.
We could have gotten it, but some of the fleet warped off as the capitals began to land. DBRB expressed his disappointment in this, as losing a bomber… which will get an SPR payment… was worth killing a hostile carrier. We warped off having only killed an Arazu cyno ship.
So we went back into hiding. A couple of more false starts came and went before he had a fresh target for us. There were three dreads on an Athanor and we were going to try and get one of them. By this point the blops was out of fuel and we had to gate to the target. We had a subcap fleet trying to catch us and those who were slow had to cloak and motor out of bubbles before warping off.
We met up on the final gate and jumped through. DBRB warped us on grid where we found Revelation, a Phoenix, and a Naglfar waiting for us. DBRB picked the Naglfar and we opened up on it. It was a near run thing. At least one of the dreads on grid was HAW configured, which means it was setup to shoot subcaps like us. We started losing some bombers. DBRB, who got popped, called for us to overheat our launchers, which speeds up the missile cycle time at the cost over damage accruing. The Nag went into structure, but got a rep up on its shields. A cyno went up and some additional caps started jumping in. We stayed on grid, shooting at the Nag as it was beat back into structure and slowly got to the end… then finally exploded. Another dreadnought kill.
After that it was time to safe up again.
DBRB had us on the move again, once somebody donated a ship to him, but easy targets were not so readily available. We managed to pop a Sabre that was trying to slow us down, but we were also down some ships. A ping went out for a reinforcement fleet, so it looked like we would be waiting a bit, so I decided to call it a night. It was getting late for me and I was happy enough to go home on a last win.
Getting home meant going through the TCAG-3 gate in G-M4GK (which people refer to as “Gee Magic” on coms). That is the border between TEST and the Imperium and the gate is often heavily camped and, with us in action in their region, that night was no exception. I arrived at a perch under the gate to find a half a dozen large warp disruption bubbles deployed and a small fleet hanging around waiting for some solo pilot to wander into their midst.
I sat on my perch and went to go do the dishes.
When I got back, I found that the fleet had pulled back to one of their structures and there was just a single hostile on the gate happily looting and salvaging any wrecks in the vicinity.
This helped me out a bit. The locals had also dropped an array of jet cans around the gate so as to decloak anybody like me trying to sneak to the gate unnoticed. But Mr. Salvage was clearing a nice little whole in the litter for me. So I warped to the gate, getting stopped at the nearest bubble, and began to thread my way through the debris.
This was like any submarine movie with the sub trying to make its way past mines and nets to get to its destination. I had to corkscrew to the gate, and was worried for a moment when the happy salvager seemed to be coming my way. But then he moved off in the other direction and I carried on.
I made it to the gate and jumped through. Our side was not camped. Activity seemed to be focused on TEST space, so I was able to warp to our Fortizar and let it repair my overheat damage. I had enough nanite repair paste to keep my missile launchers and cloak in good shape, but the bomb launcher needed a lot more paste than I had on me, so that got fixed up.
From there it was a few jumps back to 1DQ1-A and home. I put my main alt on the gate into the system to make sure it was not camped, but it was all clear, so I arrived safe. Somebody on the fleet had been recording some of our handiwork, so there is a short video up showing our dread kills.
Later on the war update thread laid out the bigger picture. The Athanors in TEST space had been dropped and timed to coincide with the removal of a Keepstar we had in 3-FKCZ out in the eastern end of Querious. TEST and its allies had to decide whether or not to let a bunch of Athanors successfully anchor in their space… and many did… or try to grab/kill the Keepstar.
The cover fleet, which included a lot of titans, was probably more than enough to discourage them, though they did have a Charon freighter logged off to attempt to scoop the structure when it was unanchored. The Charon was quickly blown up after logging in, and we successfully retrieved the Keepstar.
Another day in the war goes by.