Tag Archives: Deklein

Being a Distraction from Venal

We formed up again in Venal last night to put pressure on the locals.  There were several citadel timers in play around Deklein, so we formed up in Venal to be a force for which GotG would at least have to account.  If the fought us that would draw them away from the timers, which other groups were planning to contest.  If they let us be then we could get up to mischief of our own.

Ishtars were the doctrine for the night and we were given a bridge after we undocked to get us to the locals.

I wonder how many bridges I’ve take over the years…

That got us to WLF-D3, the gateway system to Deklein via DKUK-G and the GotG staging system to counter out move to Venal.

We moved around the system, visited next door, came back and decided that the locals were going to stay away to deal with the timers deeper in Deklein, so we went looking for targets of our own.  The first on the list was an Athanor that was mid frack, a giant hunk of moon being drawn slowly towards it.

The moon chunk looming large

We were not going to be able to stop the frack, which would require us getting it down to the structure timer, but the Athanor was in the process of being unanchored.  All we had to do was get the first timer set and the unanchoring process would be halted and would need to be resumed again after the timer passed.  So we pulled up to shoot it.

Ishtars strung out and shooting

A gunner got going on the Athanor and began lobbing bombs at us, so the small stuff had to warp off and logi had to wake up for a bit and cover anybody who caught the brunt of a couple of bombs, but otherwise we carried on.  The wind up for a bomb was such that when the Ishtars were stopped and had sentry drones deployed they could pull the drones, take the blast, then drop them again to carry on shooting.  We succeeding in putting the Athanor into its first timer, scuttling the unachoring.

We then spent some time shooting at a POS, deactivating a few modules.  Shooting a well armed POS is a bit different as the weaponry will start shooting even is nobody is gunning the POS.  As we did that the news came down the line that the GotG had successfully defended its timers and it seemed like we might be headed home at that point.  We started moving back towards our staging.

However Asher stopped us a few systems into the trip then turned us around and back to DKUK-G.  We were going to see if GotG would take a fight when they returned home.  In DKUK-G it seemed like we were being setup for a capital drop.  Asher said they were trying to draw us in, bubble us, and drop carriers on us.  We bounced around the system a bit, then went through to WLF-D3 again where we ended up facing off against GotG’s Eagle fleet on the far side of the gate.  Things went well for us there, the Ishtars chewing up their logi and then burning down Eagles until they started moving off.  Logi had some work to do, but we kept most everybody alive.

The Oneiros I was in during the fight

NCDot had some Jackdaws around as well and we managed to pick off a couple of those including the ship of LadyScarlet, the CEO of Destructive Influence, a corp whose alliance history shows it being in Band of Brothers, KenZoku, and IT Alliance, all past foes of the Goons, so every time she is on grid she is the first target called and there is a cheer when he ship goes up.  Blasting an old foe is always a morale booster.

We also blew up another of Hendrink Collie’s Monitor FC ships.  Expensive ships are always fun to blow up, though they are getting cheaper as production of them ramps up.

We ended up in control of the grid around the gate, in sight of their Keepstar, not too far off from where Sort Dragon lost his titan on Saturday. (See this Reddit post for a screen shot.)

Trailing our coats in sight of the enemy Keepstar

Overall GotG won their objective, but we managed to extract a cost and give them a few minor headaches.  The battle report from both fronts showed the ISK war well in our favor.

Overall Battle Report for the Evening

Things were tilted more in our favor if we exclude the other front and just look at the battle report for the Venal end of the engagements.

The Venal end of the night

That was the sort of fight we’ll take every night if we can get it.

Afterwards we went back to our staging and stood down.  There was an AUTZ timer coming up in a couple of hours, but staying up until 07:00 EVE Online time on a weeknight is well beyond my capability.  And so it goes, we continue plinking away at GotG.

Capital Ships Battle in VFK-IV – What Year is This?

In the ongoing tribulations for Guardians of the Galaxy in the north, a director of Slyce Alliance defected and flipped a Fortizar citadel in VFK-IV to the Imperium.  Nice to see that EN24 can still get a scoop these days.

Fortizar in VFK-IV

(Screen shot from this Reddit post)

For those not paying attention or with short memories, VFK-IV was once the capital of the CFC, the staging system from which operations were launched back when I joined TNT and went to null sec.

Me, in a Drake, at VFK-IV station in 2011

It was the scene of the “VFK Headshot” against Goons back in the summer of 2011 which led to the tightening up of the then somewhat loosely aligned DekCo into the unified CFC.

It was also the location that ended up as the oft repeated catch phrase “VFK by February” back when White Noise Alliance said that Deklein would be free of Goons by then.

And, come the Casino War, it was a location we did not bother to defend.  Instead, we holed up in the Quafe Company Warehouse in Saranen to concentrate our forces and try to resist the invasion by chipping away at the invaders.  Eventually we packed up our husbanded resources and took the long trail to Delve to setup shop and rebuild.

The old station at VFK-IV

We lost VFK-IV almost exactly two years ago.  That feels like a long time ago.

VFK-IV Station Today, good through June 5

And then I woke up this morning to find that not only did we suddenly have a Fortizar in our staging system of old, but that a battle had developed.  GotG was using fighters to reinforce the Fortizar and we dropped dreadnoughts on those and GotG escalated with their own dreads, and soon a full on battle was going.  The battle report still seems to be updating, but the numbers look to be in our favor so far.

Of course, I missed the whole thing, but I thought it was one of those moments worth noting in the ongoing and seemingly escalating conflict in the north.

Addendum: INN has their own story up about the battle now.

Addendum 2: A follow up post about the defections at EN24.

Notes from the Pure Blind Front

We’ve been out on this deployment to the north for a while.  I do not think my main has been back to Delve since some point in November of last year.  Back at the start we were running around in VNIs shooting ratters with the same ships they were using.

VNIs leaving the station

I haven’t written that much about the deployment as this sort of guerilla warfare doesn’t always make for interesting tales.  We go shoot structures and drop on miners and ratters.  There are a few posts if you click on the Reavers tag and scroll down the posts, but that does not represent our level of activity.

However, recently a few things have happened, not all of which I was there to see first hand, so I thought I would sum up a bit of the situation.  A year from now we’ll see how all this played out, but for the moment this is what has come up.

Changes Over The Last Month

As I noted previously, Pandemic Horde moving to Geminate left something of a hole in the north that the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition was looking to fill.  They started off right after the whole million dollar battle thing by clearing all of our structures and aggressively camping our staging station, keeping it bubbled and watched.

This is a bubble camp

They seemed to tire of that after a few days and we were soon able to undock to clear the bubbles and kill some of their forces.  Eventually they gave up on that, but would aggressively defend the structures they had planted all over the system and attack any that we dropped.  Then they lost some titans and seemed to give up on activity in our staging system.  We have since been able to drop structures and chip away at theirs in system.

The New Normal

Recently we have had to go into GotG space to get them to form up, since they mostly leave our staging system alone.  We have been into the Darkness capital system to drop structures, or to reinforce their structures, on grid with their Keepstar, acts that don’t always get a response.

Shooting one of their structures, Keepstar visible

We’ve been into Deklein drop structures and reinforce their stuff to see if we can get a rise out of them.  We don’t always form up to defend what we drop or reinforce.

Deploying a Raitaru, visible between the Keepstar uprights

There was a Sotiyo engineering structure we hit, setting a timer.  A Sotiyo is where you build capitals and super capitals.   That they formed up to defend, but when the timer hit we were nowhere to be seen.  Depending on who is telling the tale, one of the titan pilots that formed up either blew up his own titan by playing the self-destruct dare game because they were bored or self-destructed and rage quit the game because they were assured we would show and we didn’t.  They self-destructed a super carrier as well.

Either way, reinforcing that Sotiyo ended up costing them a titan.  So we went back and reinforced it again, along with other structures.  And when we’re not doing that people are still out hunting miners and ratters.

A Rorqual we got after reinforcing that Sotiyo again

The Strange Tale of Bad Juice

At one point in a prod at GotG Reavers chief Asher Elias went to Reddit and posted a link to an enthusiastic video showing the locals shooting a small, undefended Imperium tower.  It was very much in the usual spirit of what happens in /r/eve, a bit of a laugh about them posting that but not fighting us.  Golf clap level stuff.  The video itself got some extra views and a few wry comments and the person who made the video, who we saw in space later that day, seemed chill about it.  More views are better, right?

Then the video maker freaked out, posted another video accusing Asher of cyber bullying for posting the link which ended up bringing legions of haters to his video and declaring that Asher could be facing up to 10 years in prison (according to Texas law).  And then there was the declaration that he wanted to face Asher in an MMA style cage match, a post which he took down because he said CCP Scorpion threatened him with a ban if he did not.  CCP Falcon showed up in that thread to say there was no CCP Scorpion and that he didn’t know anything about any of that.

The drama seemed to be too much for all concerned and the pilot ended up the week looking for a new home.

A MOA Defection

Mordus Angels, who long waged a low key guerilla war against the CFC then the Imperium when we lived in the north.  While their solo war was never more than a nuisance, once the Casino War opened up they found themselves with many allies as we were swept from our space and, in the aftermath, found themselves holding sovereignty.  They soon became part of the GotG coalition, “blue-trals” to their neighbors, and open to ratters and miners and getting fat on the bounty of null sec space.

Now it is us sitting in an NPC station waging a guerilla war against them and their allies.  Despite the occasional hysterical cry that we’re there to invade, we’ve just reversed things.  We just happen to have the economic power behind us to drop suicide dreads.

As the Monthly Economic Report earlier this week indicated, ratting and mining is down and not so very lucrative in Fade, Deklein, and Pure Blind where a lot of GotG lives.  Up in Branch however, some of the coalition are working away relatively unmolested being out of easy bridge range.

That MOA was suffering while others were making bank seemed to set off one of the MOA corps who defected to The Imperium, bringing with them some assets and snapping the local MOA owned jump bridge network.

Anyway, having been in our coalition for almost six years at this point it is bizarro world strange to have a MOA corp defecting to us.  But then, the MOA that lives in Pure Blind now is hardly the MOA that used to live in 5ZXX-K for all those years. (And a couple more corps, FWCEF and FWS, left MOA after A.N.D defected.)

Space Violence Arrives

While a couple of Imperium SIGs have been wandering the north for a while looking to harass and interdict the locals, it has often been a low key affair.  And then the Space Violence SIG announced that they had arrived with ~400 dreadnoughts and were looking for trouble.

The thing with low key is that, while the locals know you’re around and can guess pretty accurately what you can muster (and what it will take to counter), but the rest of New Eden is pretty oblivious unless something big happens, and then they only know after the fact.  That is too late for third parties.

Will a big splashy announcement about Space Violence’s arrival in the north shake things up?  NCDot has come over from Tribute to support GotG on occasion, but they know the drill, that we’ll just fade away if they bring enough supers.

Response by the Locals

Confirming what I mentioned up a way, the GotG response to our presence has gone from aggressively going after us to not forming to fight, this coming from a leak from GotG leadership.  The expectation is that they can time zone tank their structures and we’ll get bored and go away. As Asher notes, not fighting is a legit tactic, and one we have to use ourselves up in the north where we can easily find ourselves outnumbered if the locals form up.  But given our past, I think it will take a while before we tire of shooting structures and dropping our own.

Anyway, unless a war involving us breaks out somewhere in New Eden, I think we’ll be the north for a while longer.

Delve – Now With Contract Values

The Monthly Economic Report for March dropped on Friday and contains all the usual fun data to peruse.  This is the first MER since CCP Quant left the company, so we get to blame any errors on the new minder of the report, CCP Larrikin. (We’ll get to that.)

Going down the usual path I want to look at mining first.

March 2018 – Mining Value by Region

Mining value was up in Delve by almost a trillion ISK.  This came in the face of sagging mineral prices in the market overall.

March 2018 – Economic Indices

That means that there was just more mining going on in Delve, likely related to the ever expanding moon mining operations in the region, all of which left Delve at the top of the stack again.

March 2018 – Mining Value by Region – Bar Graph

Of note are the rather static month over month value of Querious.  I was wondering if that might go up due to Locust Fleet, the attempt to mine out all of the moon mining operations in a single day.  Perhaps that did not go as well as planned.  I heard it was of to a rough start, but did well enough to carry on again this month, running yesterday.  We’ll look back again next month to see if that raises Querious.

Also of note are the falling mining output numbers for Fade, Pure Blind, and Deklein, regions in the north that have been hunted by several Imperium SIGs.  They are all down noticeably over last month, more so than the dip in prices would explain. With the departure of Pandemic Horde for Geminate, the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition has pretty much ceded the staging systems being used against them and has adopted a defensive posture, allowing the Imperium to do its fighting on their home turf, inhibiting mining and ratting operations in those regions.

And since we’re on about that, I might as well move to NPC bounty payouts where, as expected, Delve remains at the top.

March 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region

The change is moderate, up about a trillion ISK for Delve… what a world when that much ISK is a moderate change… so holds its place in the stack ranking.

March 2018 – NPC Bounties by Region – Bar Graph

As noted above, the regions in the north being stalked by Imperium forces saw some impact.  Deklein, once number three on the list, fell back to fifth, having shed nearly a trillion ISK from its 3.6 trillion ISK February number.  In this case a trillion ISK represents more than a 25% drop.  Likewise, Fade saw a significant drop, while Pure Blind wasn’t hurt too bad, but its February number wasn’t that hot to begin with.

As usual, null sec remained the prime recipient of NPC bounties, with its percentage dropping a bit, from 93.3% last month to 93.1% this month.

March 2018 – Bounties by Space Sec Rating

Overall however bounties saw a noticeable dip on the sinks and faucets chart during March, though it recovered somewhat by the end of the month.

March 2018 – Top 8 ISK Sinks and Faucets

I am not sure what was going on during that part of the month, but overall NPC bounties are down some.

On the production front Delve saw a huge surge in March, jumping from 29 trillion ISK in value in February to just past 40 trillion ISK last month.

March 2018 – Production Values by Region

This surge managed to push Delve past The Forge, the region that is home to Jita, in total production value.

March 2018 – Production Values by Region – Bar Graph

That is quite an accomplishment but, as I have noted in the past, Jita sits at the intersection of three regions, The Forge, Lonetrek, and The Citadel, so production centered on the marked hub of New Eden still exceeds Delve overall.  Still, the Imperium is building a lot of stuff as The Mittani encourages people to train into titans.

On the trade value front The Forge remains dominate.  There is a reason manufacturing is clustered around there, it is the place to sell things.

March 2018 – Trade Value by Region

The dominance of The Forge and its Jita market nexus is made starkly clear by the bar graph.

March 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph

The next two contenders, Domain, home to Amarr, and Delve, fade in comparison to such an extent that CCP provides the same graph without The Forge every month, just so you can see how the rest of New Eden compares.

March 2018 – Trade Value by Region – Bar Graph, Forge Excluded

There you can see how the other regions compare to each other when the shadow of The Forge is removed.

This month we got an additional insight into trade when CCP Larrikin added charts about the value of contract transactions per region.  Unfortunately, the main chart appears to have problems.  It is not labelled correctly (it just says trade value by regions) and the number for The Forge is clearly wrong. (Blame assigned.)  However, the accompanying bar chart appears to be correct both in labeling and data, so I will toss that in.

March 2018 – Contracts Trade Value by Region – Bar Chart

Here The Forge is still on top, but Delve is not too far behind.  This is likely due to the fact that doctrine ships are generally purchased by line members assembled and loaded via contract and because capital and super capital purchases are also often done by contract.

Finally, I will end on the usual chart, the comparison of various stats across key regions.

March 2018 – Regional Summary Stats

Things to look for next month:

  • Will Fade, Pure Blind, and Deklein remain down?
  • Will the Space Violence SIG showing up in the north push them down further?
  • Will the “Bee Control” attacks on Delve suppress its numbers?
  • Will the Locust Fleet boost Querious mining?
  • Will Delve production remain this high?
  • Am I going to have to bring up Fountain at some point?

Anyway, that is my look at the New Eden Monthly Economic Report.  The report itself has many more charts and the raw data on which they were based, so if numbers are your thing you should go take a look.  Over at INN they have taken the raw data and rolled a few of their own graphs, if you want to see some of the data presented in a different way.

Blaze Fleet in Deklein

Up north it has become clear that the locals have decided to get serious about the citadels we have been dropping.  Early on they were responding with modest fleets only to find themselves in trouble from time to time even against our own modest efforts.  Battleship fleets started coming with force auxiliary support, then capitals started getting dropped, and we even saw supers getting dropped on us.

You can’t really complain about that.  We’d do the same on our own home turf.  But when our scouts are out reporting on the forces being arrayed against, just standing down instead of taking the fight starts to seem like the most realistic option.  We still tend to go to see if we can at least extract some kills from the situation, but the likelihood of us winning any timers is pretty much non-existent at this point.

We had a couple of timers the other night and Asher had promised us something special.  When we got online we found that, rather than our sturdy VNIs, he had a different theme planned.  We were going out in Armageddons instead.  We could then wear our CCP Blaze SKINs for the ship.

The CCP Blaze SKIN on my ‘geddon

There had been a real push to get people to pick up the limited edition SKINs that CCP offered to honor the late CCP Blaze and raise money for his family.  Pings went out Imperium-wide encouraging people to buy the SKIN pack, while within Reavers there was an even stronger push to get people to grab them as several of the ships are in our doctrine catalog.

So Asher had a whole fleet doctrine imported and handed out ships in our staging station, trading for logi, boosters, support, and the ships of the line, the Armageddon.  I opted for the latter, mostly because I had the CCP Blaze SKIN for it, otherwise I might have considered logi.

As that got sorted out reports were coming in about what was being brought to face us.  In Fade, the Astrahus in DW-T2I had Pandemic Horde coming in Machariel battleships and capitals, while the citadel up in Deklein had a Guardians of the Galaxy coalition was also forming capitals, but were going with a Typhoon battleship doctrine instead.  The odds against us were going to be long whichever way we chose to jump.

It was already clear to many of us that this Armageddon fleet was going to be a one-way trip, but Asher put it out there on coms and asked us if we still wanted to go.  The response in fleet chat was overwhelmingly in favor of going.  So we undocked.

Leaving our station

We did not have as many CCP Blaze SKINs… or SKINs in general… as I would have hoped.  The Armageddon isn’t used very much in the null sec meta, so buying a SKIN for one isn’t much of a priority.  If cash or ISK are short, it is arguably a bit of a waste for a ship you’re unlikely to ever fly.  But there were also some comments from people who hadn’t gotten the word about the CCP Blaze SKIN deal who would have bought it if only they had known.

That is always the way of things.  No matter how much you think you’re getting the word out about something… there was a dev blog, it was in the launcher, it was highlighted in the New Eden store, it was mentioned on EVE news sites, and our own coalition was pinging about it… most people don’t pay that close of attention to their video games.  As I have been known to say, if you’re reading this you’re part of some strange minority that probably obsesses too much about games.

Still, there were some CCP Blaze SKINs present.

SKINs on display

The first thing we had to do was warp to another station as the one we chose to stage out of does not offer insurance as a service.  If we were going to go on a one-way trip opting in on the Platinum insurance plan seemed like a good idea.  That goes double for T1 battleships like the Armageddon, which gets a handsome payout relative to its cost.  Once insured we got to undock again.

Armageddons undocking again

Then it was off to the titan to see where we would be heading.  Even as we were hanging around waiting for the bridge it looked like we would be off to Deklein as the INN coverage of the Fade Astrahus timer was already showing the shoot there winding down.

Drunk Canadian and the fall of the Astrahus

As expected, we went off to Deklein to face the GotG fleet in part, as Asher noted later, because they were flying a Typhoon doctrine, something they declared dumb when we did it, but not so dumb that they didn’t copy it.  The fleet meta defies propaganda.

Bridged into Deklein we gated towards the impending fight, then turned to hang on the gate 3QE-9Q gate in E-FIC0, a system name that always makes me think of my credit score.

The gate of fate

We held there because our scout had reported the hostiles coming that way.  Soon enough they were coming through the gate and the fight was on.  Bubbles were up and and we were off to the races.

Bubbles going up around the gate

The Armageddon gets boosts to energy neutralizer range as well as drone hit points, so we were sent off to neut out targets near our name alphabetically while putting drones on one set of targets while running our rapid heavy missile launchers against another set.

That did not start out very well.  While we knocked down a few Typhoons, their logi wasn’t breaking.  And then we spent some time focusing on one of the Apostles that was nearby in the hope of getting a big kill.

A fat target in our midst

That did not meet with success and all the time we were getting whittled away.  The ECM fleet that flew up from Delve to join in with us was picked off in short order and the Armageddons began to drop one by one.  After seeing that the Apostle wasn’t going to go down we switched back to Typhoons, sending our drones after each broadcast in turn, launching fresh drones when the current ones were cleared away by smart bombs.

The Typhoons did not seem to be hitting us very hard.  I survived quite a while with a batch of them hitting me.  But once one of the 19 hostile carriers on grid sent fighters my way, the end was nigh for my Armageddon.  Fighters eat up sub-caps pretty handily.

Into structure now… I also forgot to turn my neut back on when I capped out

I went boom shortly thereafter, managing to catch my ship coming apart only to have the screen shot ruined by the insurance payout popping up during the most dramatic point.  Still, it looks pretty neat cropped down.

My Armageddon coming apart

From that point on I was floating around in my pod watching the fight.  A couple more Typhoons went down but we were rapidly approaching the point where we could no longer break their tanks.  Fleet chat filled with links to our kill mails as we died and soon logi and support were gone as the final stand ended.

A few ships managed to get away, but the battle report shows we welped and welped hard.  I was sitting back in the station in my fresh pod when I saw the bounty payment notification for Asher come in.  They saved him for later.

Bounty Paid

It isn’t a bad thing to place a bounty on your FC.  The bounty system will often tell you they’ve been blown up well before you hear it on coms so you are ready to change over to the alternate anchor or get the hell out if appropriate.

Anyway, it all went as expected.  We got stuck in, got a few kills, and then died a glorious death in our old homeland. No citadels were saved.  All that remains in the CCP Blaze tribute thread on Reddit and some screen shots of our fleet.  For the latter I have a gallery below:

Three Rorquals Down

After the previous night’s VNI fight, things started to go downhill a bit for me. First, as I noted at the end of the last post, during an interceptor roam through Pandemic Horde space, I managed to avoid the hostiles only to get popped by a Serpentis dreadnought.

Then last night I got back on in again, a little late to catch Asher, but was able to join DBRB’s bomber fleet to join the defense of one of the citadels we have scattered about the north right now.

My Purifier with the Empress Catiz I jubilee skin

That did not go well however.  We never got a good run on them, and were probably shy of the numbers we needed to be effective, so lost some bombers, including my own, while the hostiles were able to kill the Raitaru.

Tempests inside the new blood orange hictor bubble

Still, these things happen.  I fetched a replacement Purifier out to our staging and then logged off for a bit to do some things around the house.  But I came back to find another Asher ping forming a fleet with targets in mind.  I was good to go for that and only a couple minutes late, but was able to get out and on the black ops battleship to wait with the rest of the fleet as things got set up.

The targets were a pair of Rorquals, the capital mining ships that have boosted the mining numbers all over null sec, up in Deklein.  The plan was to drop on them, bomb the Rorquals, kill their excavator drones with torpedoes, then see if we couldn’t maybe kill one of the Rorqs before the inevitable defense fleet showed up to see us off.

The time came, the bridge went up, and we dropped on the pair.  I let my bomb go on one of the Rorqs, then missed getting any of the excavator drones because I had a warp disruptor fit and was rushing in on one of the targets to hold it down and keep it from getting away.  I was a bit quick on that… or people were a bit slow with their bombs… because I ended up getting my shields stripped away and some armor damage from them.  But I got my target locked down and started blazing away at it with my own torps.

In on the first Rorqual

Asher called for everybody to start hitting it and it seemed to be going down pretty well when first one, then the other Rorq activated their PANIC modules.

Still taking fire while invulnerable in the PANIC bubble

This made the pair invulnerable for several minutes, during which I suspect they both expected to be rescued by a defense fleet.

By that point we had done what we had set out to do, which was kill some excavator drones.  Now we had the option to hang out and see if we could get one of these ships when the PANIC modules went down, but that meant also hanging about for a defense fleet we knew was coming and facing that peril in our flimsy bombers

The pair of them in their PANIC bubbles

We cloaked up and warped off to wait out the PANIC cycle as the defense fleet arrived in system.  A mix of Cerberus and Caracals with support, they did not seem very energetic in their attempt to defend the pair.  When the two Rorquals were vulnerable again the fleet did not go after the bombers, even the ones locking down their comrades.  Of course, we dropped in a distraction.

A cyno went up and we brought in a sacrificial Revelation dreadnought to try and pound down at least one of the Rorquals.  A Rorq is worth a few dreadnoughts on the market, so worth the exchange if we could get just one.

Revelation on the scene

The defense fleet seemed entranced to have a big shiny target of their own to shoot and focused on that while the dread and the bombers hit the first of the Rorquals.

Let the pounding commence

At that point I was headed in to help hold the Rorqual down when another bomber pilot let loose with a bomb to help speed things along and I caught it full in the face, destroying my Purifier.  People who had hit me previously were apparently down or gone, so Jinx Hita, the bomber pilot, got credit for a solo kill.

Freed from the demands of combat I hung around to watch the fight.  The hostiles left me alone for a while, so I was able to watch things unfold, including the destruction of the first of the Rorqual.

Rorqual down, op success!

Since I was still alive, on grid, and had done damage to the Rorqual recently, I appeared on the kill mail.  That’s what it is all about, right?

At that point we were ahead of the game, we couldn’t lose enough for the enemy to win the ISK war.  But we were not done yet.  The second Rorqual was going down fast, and even after the hostiles dropped a Minokawa force auxiliary on grid to try to save it, it was too late.  The second Rorqual went down.  Again, I was still alive and had done some damage, so got on that kill mail as well.

At about that point I caught somebody’s eye and my pod got popped and I was sent home to grab another Purifier.  As I started flying the new ship out to our staging, I heard the ongoing fight on coms, where our dread pilot was able to pop a Cerberus and a few Caracals before finally meeting their end.  That put the final tally at about 3.5 billion ISK lost by us versus about 24 billion ISK lost by the enemy.  And it all happened in 0P-F3K, which was my home system way back in the day when TNT was in Deklein.

The survivors left the scene and we were all happy with our success.  But even as we were starting to think about getting back home, word came down that another Rorqual was lolling about, oblivious to danger, not too far away.  High on two kills already, we were keen to try for a third.

I hurried at best speed back to our staging system to join those who had to reship.  However there was still a good chunk of the fleet that was off in Deklein, while our target was in Fade.

Soon we started running into that series of obstacles that can often pull apart an op.  We had to get everybody together at a third staging point, we needed two black ops battleships, we needed fuel for bridges, jumps, and cynos, half of us needed bombs, and we needed a plan.  The target, which had been joined by a second Rorqual at this point, was in a cyno-jammed system, so we weren’t going to be able to drop another dreadnought, and close to where we expected a defense fleet to form up and come get us.

Those of us at staging got bridged to the mid-point first, the Astrahus we had defended with the VNIs previously.  After two bomber losses that night I decided that the Empress Catiz I SKIN might be unlucky and changed to Rata Sunset.

My third Purifier of the night tethered at the Astrahus

We sat around there and listened on coms as the building series of complications tried to get sorted.  It seemed to me at several points that Asher was just going to call the thing off.  The plan, as it eventually shook out, was to slip somebody into the system, put a deployable warp disruption bubble between the anomaly with the Rorquals and the Fortizar in system where they would likely dock up, then spook one or both of them to get them to warp to safety, only to catch them in the bubble, drop on them, bomb them, point them, and kill them, all before a defense fleet a couple gates away showed up to wipe us out.

I could hear the skepticism in the whole idea in the voices of several people on coms and could see how it all depended on the hostiles obliging us at a few points.  And if it didn’t come off, we wouldn’t even get any excavator drone kills.  But we were all there, ready to go, and were far enough ahead on the night with the two previous Rorqual kills that we went for it all the same.

We listened as the drag bubble got deployed, the covert cyno was put in place, and then as the Rorqual, tipped off to flee, at which point it actually warped off exactly as we wanted.  The cyno was lit and the bridge went up.

A Redeemer black ops battleship with bridge up

As we arrived we were rewarded by the sight of a Rorqual caught in a drag bubble and waiting for us to go after him.

Landed on our target, already under fire

We plowed into him, Asher called for people to overheat their launchers to increase their rate of fire, as we tried to take him down before the enemy could react.

As we hit the Rorqual we saw a Rifter flying around us.  A few of us took a shot at him, but he seemed disinclined to get involved.  But then a Stabber showed up on the scene.  He was a lot more interested in getting some kills and he chose me out of the bunch.  I though I was surely going to lose my third Purifier for the night as he chewed through shield and armor and nearly 40% of my structure, but we popped him before he was able to finish me off.  Then it was back to the Rorqual.

Rorqual showing heavy damage

We were able to kill it as the local defense fleet showed up.  However they seemed a bit hesitant to jump on in and we cloaked up, warped off, and plotted our escape.

Then, of course, we had to get out of there.  This entailed a few awkward steps in getting fuel and black ops battleships together in the right location, bridging the fuel truck, transferring fuel, dealing with the people left behind on one bridge and the guy who went through the wrong bridge with the fuel truck, which was headed back into the system we were leaving.

Eventually that got sorted.  Asher said that those of us hanging about were free to burn back to our staging.  My Purified, having been repaired by the tethering service, was ready to go.  Of course, once I got one gate along one of the black ops pilots bridged people back home.  But I got there safe all the same.

We ended up getting out of the second drop having lost a pair of bombers while knocking out a Rorqual, a Stabber, and a Cormorant from the responding defense fleet.  About 100 million ISK loss for us and close to 10 billion ISK for the hostiles.  That, with the previous two Rorquals downed made for a pretty good night.

Below a gallery of screen shots from the evening, with a few that I couldn’t fit into the post along the way.

Last Ship out of Deklein

I am going to have to make a “Last Ship” tag or some such for the blog, as I seem to be, from time to time, trying to fly one last ship back from a deployment or some station in hostile space.  And so it was again last night.

Down in the south, the incursion running SIG is getting rolling again and I thought it might be about time to get back to that to earn a little ISK between deployments.  I still had my incursion fit Scimitar and my clone with the required implants.  There was just one problem; the ship and the clone were still in Deklein.

Time for another off-peak extraction.

The ship and the clone were docked up in 2R-CRW, one gate from our old staging at YA0-XJ.  The question was which route to take out of Dodge.  From 2R-CRW there are two equidistant null sec exits, EC-P8R and 93PI-4.  It was 14 systems to either of them, all through hostile territory.  The EC-P8R route ran through the heart of Pure Blind though, while the 93PI-4 route made a run up what has often been a quiet part of space.  That made the 93PI-4 route more attractive.  Also, my recollections of EC-P8R, with its connection directly to high sec, is that it was always a good gate to camp as people would wander into null sec unwittingly.  So 93PI-4 was my destination, though if there were problems there, EC-P8R was only two more jumps.

The way out

The way out

I got the route all set before I clone jumped because I wanted to be on my as quickly as possible before local intel got anybody on my tail.  So it was a jump to the station, into my ship, a quick check of the inventory to make sure I wasn’t leaving anything behind, then undock and on my way.

Undocking into the red light of 2R-CRW's star

Undocking into the red light of 2R-CRW’s star

There was only one person in system with me, a Brave pilot, as I aligned for the out gate and warped off.  I would be crossing their space soon enough.

In the next system I took a moment in warp to check my possessions in Deklein to see what I might be leaving behind now that my last clone was leaving.  I was bit surprised to see that the cupboard was bare.  I am rarely ever that efficient at cleaning up after myself.

Nothing left in Deklein

Nothing left in Deklein

The same isn’t true for Tribute, and I still have stuff rattling around in Pure Blind as well, but Deklein, where I set up camp for more than three years, was clear.

From CCP-US there was the jump into Fade and DO6H-Q, which is Brave Newbies capital.  There were quite a few people in local, but the gates were not being camped and I slipped through, using a bounce, and exited into Pure Blind via the U-INPD gate.  The bounce was a bit hairy though, as I dropped in on two Brave pilots, but they didn’t seem to notice and I sped off unmolested.

That put me into Mordus Angels space.  That was empty for a few jumps, until I made it to BDV3-T, which turned out to be their capital system and which had about a dozen of them in local.  I decided to use an old corp bookmark as a bounce, though it turned out to be a poorly named one as it dropped me onto the station grid.

That was unfortunate

That was unfortunate

I turned for the out gate and warped off, but I had been spotted.  A Legion had been sitting on the undock, so unless he was asleep my ship had been reported.  I jumped into WW-KGD, which was empty, and warped off to the next gate.  It was a short warp, but even before I arrived, two MOA pilots I have seen in BDV3-T jumped in with me.

The next system was another short warp to the out gate, and I made it before my pursuers arrived in system.  I pressed on hoping that they did not have any friends ahead.  I passed by a GSF Atrahus, still sitting there, a happy sanctuary in the midst of hostile space, and considered stopping there for safety, but decided to press on.  By that point I was getting close to low sec and didn’t really want to make this journey a multi-day epic.

No further MOA pilots were spotted and I finally jumped into 93PI-4, which is held by NCDot.  There were a pile of reds in local there, so I decided to hit a bounce and then head to the gate.  However, yet another bad bounce choice meant that I still hit one of the drag bubbles around the Saranen gate.  I quickly reversed course and lit the AB to get out of the bubble and ready to warp off to a safe… and then I noticed that nobody was on the gate.  There, within sight of the NCDot Keepstar citadel, I decided to just motor to the gate.

In the distance, a Keepstar

In the distance, a Keepstar

Nobody came out to take a look and I was able to jump into Saranen and low sec.

Of course, low sec, where I feel safer because there are no warp disruption bubbles, is where I ran into a problem.  I hit the gate out of Saranen at the same time as an NCDot pilot and came through on the other side in Karjataimon to find another one, who attempted to lock me up.  I warped off in time, headed for the Nannaras gate.

Fleeing through low sec

Fleeing through low sec

I beat them there, but they were landing as I jumped, and on the other side I found yet another red waiting for me.

This time I decided to head to a station, dock up, and log off quickly in the hopes that they might try to follow, not see me, and figure I went to a different gate.  I would just disappear from local and not be where ever they went.  After I logged out I went and rousted my daughter to get her to finish folding her laundry and get ready for bed.

I don’t know if this worked as intended or not, but when I logged back in a bit later my pursuers were gone.  At that point is was just a few more jumps to high sec.  We have a couple of war decs going on at the moment, but they generally hang around Jita looking for fat targets.  I did not see any war targets as I moved into Amarr space.

Back to Amarr jump gates

Back to Amarr jump gates

Once in Amarr space it was time to head to Aridia and more low sec space and then Delve and home.  One last ship out of Deklein.  Of course, once I got back I decided to go to the Incursion SIG section of the forums to see if I had to update my fit… and found out that we switched to an armor tanking doctrine a while back.  I haven’t been keeping up with that SIG since early in the year it seems.

Anyway, one more ship to hand, which won’t go to waste, a jump clone freed up for use elsewhere, and another minor adventure in New Eden.