Tag Archives: Delve 2016

Finding Ways to Help the Coalition

Okay, back to what was slated to be yesterday’s post before the big news dropped and I pushed this out to write a very quick… and perhaps a bit too smug… nod to a big change in New Eden.  Back to me being more like me, long winded and meandering.  At least that post has lots of links out to other posts on the topic, with varying points of view, perhaps its one redeeming point.

In the backwards way I sometimes look at the world, I tend to approach guilds and in-game organizations with the question, “What can I do for them?” rather than “What can they do for me?”  There is probably some self-esteem issue manifest in that, when my first thought is trying to figure out why a guild would want me.  Or maybe it is ego, thinking I might matter.

Or maybe I just know how my varied my interest and schedule can be.  Some weeks I have the time and I am all in, other times things are busy or I just can’t build up the interest.

So I often end up in little guilds or corps with a few friends, eschewing larger guilds and the greater opportunities they can sometimes afford.  Check out a post I did a few years back about guilds I’ve been in.  Never going to be a raider with those credentials.

Which sort of makes my time in the CFC/Imperium a bit of an oddity.  The corp I am in started on the usual path, with Gaff already in it and getting me to come along for the ride.  (Potshot was even in there for a bit during the Fountain War.)  The corp itself wasn’t big and largely flew in EUTZ, so I was sort of free to pursue whatever I wanted.

That didn’t leave me with a strong sense of corp identity… my corp CEO is going to read this too, sorry Hir… but there was a war going on at the time, which ended up making me identify more with the coalition than my corp.  It was the Winter war against White Noise and Raiden and I wanted to be useful to the coalition.

You can, of course, be useful just showing up to fill out the fleet numbers.  I was able to do that, especially when the main doctrine changed to Drake Fleet, a ship I had skilled up for long before I came to null sec.  And being counted in the fleet helped my corp and alliance.

But I felt like I needed to do more, and so began what is now an almost five year search for how best to be useful balanced with finding things I can actually build up some enthusiasm for doing.

The first and longest standing of those things I have gone after is being a logi pilot.  Since I didn’t need to train anything for Drake Fleet, I went after Logistics V and the ability to strap on all of the ships the accomplished space priest might choose to fly.  And flying logi remains my stock in trade for being useful.  I keep one for each fleet doctrine on hand… fortunately the coalition has tried to keep logi fits somewhat unified lately, so I don’t have too many in my hangar… and whenever logi comes up short or Arrendis pings for more logi, I try to fill that position.

Though some days I do just want to shoot something.  Especially when we fly a laser doctrine.  I rarely flew logi when we had an Apoc doctrine because I just enjoyed being part of the light show too much.  But I am mostly ready to fly logi in any fleet.  I have never quite gotten myself to the point of being the logi anchor… but I’ll play the healer most days of the week.  And I think I am reasonably good at it.

After I had logi trained up I started thinking about other roles I might take up.  There were times when I had to work on training for the main fleet doctrine… when Megathrons were the mainstay, I found I was lacking in gunnery skills, while a switch to armor doctrines showed up my long focus on shield skills.  But I found time to train towards new goals and side projects along the way.

One I went after a while back was fleet booster.  Aside from Fleet Command V, I have all the fleet boosting leadership skills trained all the way up.  And then I actually realized what being the booster actually meant… sitting alone, away from the battle, running links and hitting dscan to see if anybody is trying to probe you down.  I appreciate those who actually take on this task, but it sounds like the dullest assignment in the world and not the way I want to spend any fight.  (I do have hope for the boost changes coming with Ascension.  Maybe I will end up using those skill.)

I also trained up to fly interdictors, heavy interdictors, the Archon, the Naglfar, and probably a few other specialty ships that I never ended up flying.  I did buy the Archon, but I have never flown it in action, just using it to haul stuff now and again.  It was very handy in getting my stuff out of Tribute the day before the word went out to evacuate.  And, of course, it made the long trip down to Delve carrying a lot of my stuff.

Wars came and went.  The Fountain War was probably the peak of my fun being a line member in the main fleet.  After that my participation tapered off somewhat.  I logged on to make sure I was still showing the flag and being useful, but no more than that.  By sheer luck I happened to pick some of the more memorable battles to attend, including the last part of B-R5RB.

As my interest fell off I tried flying with the USTZ SIG called Freedom Squad.  That gave me something to do, but it tailed off itself, eventually being replaced with Reavers.  Reavers was new and interesting, flying in much smaller groups and living out of a POS in the middle of enemy space.  That meant new things for me to learn and new skills to train as Reavers quickly became my home in the game.  I haven’t been on every op, but I believe I have been on every deployment.

That went on until the great war in the north, the Casino War or World War Bee, the beginning of which are just about a year old at this point, as things began to heat up in Cloud Ring in what Noizy dubbed “The Kickstarter War” last November.  From that point until our retreat south in July was a time of almost continuous fighting for us.  Reaver deployments tapered off as we fought in the north in a wearing campaign that saw, among other things, a constant series of doctrine changes on our side as we sought a way to come to grips with the foe.

After that, there was the road south to Delve, the conquest of the region, and setting up a new home.  At first one could help out by just ratting or mining to help raise ADMs.  My trusty Ishtar, refit from fighting the Guristas menace in the north to the Blood Raider menace in the south, could engage in that.

Again, lasers are more fun than guns or missiles

Again, lasers are more fun than guns or missiles

Easy enough once the region was a bit secure and lucrative as well.

That ushered in a somewhat more normal rhythm to life in the coalition.  Reavers deployed again to our old stomping ground in Querious… now very close to hand… a staging system was set, jump bridges starting going up, a home defense system started working, with capitals ready to drop on any interlopers, and Delve became our new home

But more was needed and the word went out asking people to help out if they could.  The first involved scanning for wormholes.  We have a third party tracking system that lets you log in and uses CREST to map where you are so you can scan down wormholes, you just enter them and the connection gets recorded.

Having done scanning for a bit way back when wormholes were a new thing, I decided I could go after that.  I had trained up all the skills to at least four and in some cases five.  And I still had the ship I used to scan in back in… 2009.  It has been a while.

Buzzard from long ago... and the TNT logo

Buzzard from long ago… and the TNT logo

So I got out the ship, flew it to Amarr, stripped it, found a fit online I could use (here), bought the additional modules I needed along with probes, and set about trying to figure out how to scan again.

Fortunately, I found a video that got me back up to speed.

 

Soon I was scanning down cosmic signatures again… if not like a champ, than at least well enough to actually get the job done.

Found one!

Found one!

So now I have something to do when there is a bit of free time and no fleet ops going up.

There was also a request to start helping build up our own supply of raw materials in the region.  While Delve has its upsides, proximity to the Jita market is not one of them.  It is a long way to New Eden’s space WalMart, so there was a promise that if people went out and mined and such, various organizations would make sure that buy orders existed at decent rates so we wouldn’t have to ship stuff back to Jita to sell and industrialist wouldn’t have to ship stuff from Jita to make things.

Like SynCaine, I decided to give Planetary Interaction a try.  This was alleged to be low effort if done right, and I had trained all the skills up to four at some point in the past.

Of course, doing it “right” is an exercise left to the student to figure out.  I still haven’t found a decent tutorial that tells you exactly how to make things work.  I suspect that this is largely due to the usual abominable CCP UI choices.  Once you figure it out, it becomes natural and you forget you have to tell people how many clicks it really takes to setup a link and then a functioning route between two structures.

Eventually though, I did get something working.  As there were many barren planets to hand, several warnings about not working with gas planets, and encouragement to make parts used to create fuel blocks, I went into mechanical parts production.

Something setup on a barren planet

Something setup on a barren planet

So I just setup to harvest base metals and noble metals, refine them into reactive metals and precious metals, and then combine those into mechanical parts.  Every couple of days I check to make sure harvesting is running, and then when I am in the system I stop at each customs office, grab the output, and sell them to the buy order which also happens to be in our system.

Mechanical Parts sales

Mechanical Parts sales

It isn’t a huge amount of ISK, but it very low effort and the output is used locally to keep us running.

And so it goes.  I try to do my bit for the team.  All of which is a lot of words for a post that was originally just going to be “hey, I’m doing scanning and PI now.”  Like I said at the top, back to my rambling style.

Delve Conquest Complete

The return to peace time life and normlacy continues in the south as we wrapped up the conquest of Delve.  The map now shows all sovereignty in our hands.

Delve - September 14, 2016

Delve – September 14, 2016

Along the way to pacifying Delve, the Imperium picked up a new alliance, with Brother’s in Arms joining us and getting a constellation in the region.

Brothers in Arms

Brothers in Arms

The only system not held by the Imperium now, aside from NPC space, is 9GNS-2, which is held by United Systems of Aridia (USA), a member of the coalition that holds Period Basis with whom we have a non-agression pact.  Aside from that, and a couple of stations that are still in the freeport state, Delve is done.  We just have to wait for the sovereignty indexes to rise to install the jump bridge network and we will be set.

One item of note that came up recently is that the sovereignty index numbers displayed over at DOTLAN EVE Maps are not necessarily correct.  I gather from a ping that went out that they are being calculated based off of the date/time of when the TCU was dropped… how it worked in Dominion sovereignty… but with Fozzie Sov it is now the Infrastructure Hub drop time that determine the sov index.  So there a lot of those numbers are wrong. (Especially for systems with no ihub installed.)

That just means more work and more things to keep track of for GSOL, the infrastructure team that places all the towers, installs upgrades, keeps things fueled, and all of that.

And, just in case GSOL was not busy enough already, there were also some operations going on in Querious.

While not interested in conquering the whole region, the Imperium has decided to take what is called “Fake Querious,” a stretch of systems that are flagged as part of the region, but which only connect to Delve.  You cannot get to those systems via gates without going through Delve, so that is our Alsace I suppose, if you want a horrible historical metaphor.

Querious - September 14, 2016

Querious – September 14, 2016

And, were that not enough to keep GSOL busy, the Reavers deployed to the other end of Querious for what was planned to be a long term operation to take moons of value in the region.  We took a couple of systems just to stage from, liberated the station at ED-L9T, a location of legend from a past deployment, to free up any supplies left behind, entosised some things, shot some things, but generally didn’t have to do much as the locals, as Asher put it, folded like ironing boards.

I had my alt just entosis stuff at random some times...

I had my alt just entosis stuff at random some times…

Those that didn’t just get the hell out of Dodge with the dissolution of the Querious Fight Club seemed happy enough to sell us prime locations for a bit of ISK and a short count to let them get away.  Instead of getting fights we added revenue assets to the coalition which, as noted, GSOL has to run around to setup and maintain.

So that deployment was over much sooner that expected, leaving me time to start getting adjusted to life in the south.

As I said in the previous post, it doesn’t seem quite like home to me yet.  The system names are all foreign to me and I have to have click on systems that get mentioned in the intel channel to see how far away they are in order to tell if I should be worried about a couple of Svipuls on the loose.  Are they next door or on the other side of the region?  Something that will just take time to get a feel for.

I am also figuring out the logistics of living down south.  Back up in Deklein and Tribute I never worried about hauling anything in and out of null sec.  The proximity to Jita meant that shipping was cheap and quick.  Down in Delve though… Jita is a long way away, the prices have tripled, and the schedules are less reliable.

There are some alternatives.  Amarr is closer and therefore cheaper to haul from, though the market there isn’t as robust as Jita.  I can also get things back down to below the rates in the north if I don’t mind hauling stuff across high sec to a waypoint on the delivery run.

Of course, once I have gotten things that far, the question becomes, “Why not just haul it myself?”  I had a Deep Space Transport loaded with supplies, including a module refit for my ratting Ishtar sitting on the edge of low sec and said, “What the hell.” and just went.  Why wait when you can get same day delivery on your own?  All you have to do is simply not get blown up!

Mastodon on the way

Mastodon on the way

My decision was influenced by my past experiences in low sec… no warp disruption bubbles means getting away from anything by an overwhelming camp is reasonably likely… and the fact that we have the start of a jump bridge network already up and running in Delve.  So all I had to do was get into Delve and I could bypass most of the danger there.

My old friend the jump portal array

My old friend the jump portal array

That got me to the main staging system in Delve, where I dropped off some of my stuff.  But I still had to get the Ishtar fit out to where our Fortizar was so I could help keep ADMs high in our home constellation while making ISK.

Fortunately, that is within jump range of a carrier, so I loaded my good into the Archon and then… needed a cyno.  I had to log on my alt, give him a cyno ship, and have him fly out to the destination to light it, which slowed things down a bit, but wasn’t a high risk operation.  Things are pretty quiet in Delve.

Soon enough I was able to jump my carrier out to my destination and refit the Ishtar.  The old Guristas fit sort-of worked.  It could manage a hub, but I had to be careful not to get in over my head or things would go south quickly.  The new recommended Ishtar fit however, it works brilliantly.

Ishtar dodging beams at a Blood Raiders hub

Ishtar dodging beams at a Blood Raiders hub

I was tempted to go with the Rattlesnake fit that SynCaine mentioned in his post.  There is nothing like feeling secure in a tanky battleship, plus Caldari supremacy and all that.  But I already had the Ishtar, and while the module refit was extensive, going from a shield to an armor tank, it was still cheaper than even the Rattlesnake hull.  Plus the Ishtar is a drone loving machine.  I fly in circles around my MTU while the drones go do all the work.  I just watch the intel channel and listen to a podcast while watching the scenery.

Floating Stonehenge, with lasers

Floating Stonehenge, with lasers

So we continue to settle in down south.  I keep looking at the map on DOTLAN, hoping to remember the names of systems.  And life in New Eden goes on.

A Return to Normalcy in Delve

America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality, but sustainment in triumphant nationality.

-Warren G. Harding, 1920 Presidential campaign

Such was the election winning sentiment of the nation after WWI.

Some sense of normalcy is also what the Imperium clearly sought after departing the north of New Eden in defeat at the end of the Casino War just under two months ago.  And so we packed up and headed south towards Delve, basing first in Sakht, then 1-SMEB, and finally in D-W7F0, dropping citadels everywhere, as the conquest of the region progressed.

Another Fortizar going up

Another Fortizar going up

The locals set up to hold the line against the Imperium, but were seriously out numbered and required allies from the north in order to commit to any sort of serious resistance.  Fights around the first constellation were largely supported by Pandemic Legion and Northern Coalition.

Later, as the Imperium expanded its hold on the region, and the locals began to evacuate, TEST formed up and came down to make common cause with the remaining residents against us.

The low point for them was getting a Machariel fleet bottled up in a dead-end constellation with an incursion running in it, which had the bonus effect of blocking cynos.  It isn’t clear why they chose that constellation, though a going theory was they were going to run the incursion to help raise our ADMs.  But, there they were, so we setup a blockade.  SynCaine and I were both in the initial fleet for that.

Camping a gate, waiting patiently

Camping a gate, waiting patiently

This led to them logging out, then logging back in later to try and slip away. (Their leader was not so patient and got popped early on trying to run the gauntlet.)  The blockade stayed in place, watching the exits, and a confirmed 30 Machariels were killed, along with half a dozen other ships from the fleet and an unknown number of self-destructs.  As I mentioned in the August in review post, one pilot ejected from his Machariel (screen shot) rather than face the apparent shame of giving us the kill mail, at which point Jay Amazingness hijacked the ship; pretty much a direct transfer from TEST to GSF.

Shortly thereafter TEST declared their deployment a success and set a course back to Vale of the Silent, though as last as this morning errant Machariels were still being knocked off trying to slip away.  TEST pilots reportedly have three days to get back to Vale. (Reference: Progodlegend coms meltdown early in the Delve deployment, after which “three days” became a meme in the Imperium.)

None of which did much to slow down the sovereignty grind, so that now almost all of Delve is in the hands of the Imperium.  Just a few systems left to go.

Delve - September 7, 2016

Delve – September 7, 2016

The remaining members of the Imperium interested in holding sovereignty have been given a couple token systems each.  TNT, like LAWN and Bastion, got the TCUs in two systems, though GSF holds the ihubs and stations still.  I guess this was a point of pride, being back on the map or some such.  But since ratting and mining is now a free-for-all in all Imperium held space, it isn’t as though we were restricted to just those two systems.

And ratting is very much under way, with a standing fleet and coordinated response teams, to help raise ADMs and the boost our wallet balances.

Blood Raiders use lasers, which is a change from the Guristas

Blood Raiders use lasers, which is a change from the Guristas

We even have our own Fortizar online.  I visited it at one point while it was going up.

Fortizar deployment under way

Fortizar deployment under way

Later, after it was live I docked up and found that I had been given access to the defenses!

Take Control? Don't mind if I do!

Take Control? Don’t mind if I do!

I was able to see the fighting interface for the citadel, which looks just like the interface for ships, with a special module or two.

Gunning the Fortizar

Gunning the Fortizar

So now I just need somebody to attack the damn thing when I am around so I can shoot them.  However, that doesn’t seem likely in the near term as resistance has fallen off in the region.  even next door in Querious a number of the locals have packed up and moved away.  Some, such as Brave, were already absentees, while others in the region are looking to make deals with the Imperium over space.

Western Querious - September 7, 2016

Eastern Querious – September 7, 2016

The Imperium has spilled over into the region in a few places, but hasn’t been actively pursuing sovereignty. (Though some former Delve residents are trying to settle in.) I’m not sure Red Frog Freight, for example, could stand up to were we determined to take the region.  It is more a place to look for fights and to test out new doctrines.

Giant griddles roaming Querious

Giant griddles roaming Querious

But even with the some groups in region keen for fights, we have had to wander further afield at times, into Catch or Providence, to find hostile fleets.

All in all, it is a quiet time now after the six months of continued warfare that went on during the first half of the year.  People are settling into their new homes in Delve.  For some, it is a return to a familiar place.  For me it is still a bit strange.  I’ve been down to Delve on deployments a number of times (back in 2012 we helped TEST conquer the region and I’ve been back a few times since), but I have never lived there, so I still have to keep DOTLAN EVE Maps handy to figure out where I am, where reports on intel channels are happening, and how to get to places in the region.

And so we live in Delve now.  Just a few more systems to grab, a bunch more citadels to drop, and then the wait for the sovereignty levels to rise up enough to get a jump bridge network in place and we will be set.

Addendum: It seems SynCaine also chose today to write about making a home in Delve.

Addendum: Also, it looks like that LUMPY Fortizar went *boom* as it came online. Pictures.

Committed to Delve Now

When move ops were announced late last week and over the weekend I was a little confused.  Were people still back in Saranen?  Was the Rakapas Cartel getting anxious?  The pings were a little vague about the end points of these ops.

However, when I actually looked into what was going on, it turned out that this wasn’t about the move down from the north.  This was another move.  We were giving up our low sec staging base in Sakht and moving into Delve proper.  We were moving to D-W7F0, highlighted below on the map of the Delve region.

Delve - August 16, 2016

Delve – August 16, 2016

At a glance the system doesn’t look to be the worst spot on the map, but it seems like one might choose better when it comes to a staging system.  There isn’t even a station there.   However, this is one of those instances where Wollari’s wonderful maps do not really reflect the shape of space.  The region maps on DOTLAN are setup to show all the systems and the interconnection of gates between them.  These maps do not show the actual distance or relative position of systems in space.  For that you need to use the Range option under Navigation over at DOTLAN, which will show you a different map.

Where can I jump from D-W7F0

Where can I jump from D-W7F0

That map shows the relative positions of the systems in the game, and every one of them in red is within 5 light years of D-W7F0, which means a capital ship can get there in one jump.  There are 72 systems within jump range of D-W7F0 and, while eight of those systems are in Querious, that still covers a substantial number of the 97 systems in Delve.

As for there being no station in D-W7F0, we look to be living out of citadels now.  There are three Fortizars and a couple of Astrahuses setup in the system for us to dock up in.  One has been designated as our staging citadel and, thanks to last week’s update, which added contracts to citadels, pre-fit doctrine ships are available in addition to the market getting stocked.

Now all we lack is the ability to insure ships in a citadel, which seems like something that ought to have been added already, but who knows what the code looks like or what CCP’s reasoning behind its absence might be.

That is home now, which meant getting stuff out of Sakht.  For me that includes a carrier and a bunch of sub caps.  I took care of the carrier first, loading it up with all the ships I could cram into it, grabbing about fuel for a couple of trips, just in case, and undocking.

Carrier on grid!

Carrier on grid!

This was between the Astrahus busting fleets on Saturday night when Asher setup a move up for us.  It was supposed to be for subcaps only.  He has setup a bridging titan in 1-SMEB while RatKnight1 (of the Ratkingbois meme from our Wicked Creek deployment) kept a cyno going at the Fortizar.  But with lots of ships covering and a cyno in place, he said we could take our chances if we wanted to move a capital via the cyno in fleet.

This meant doing things with my carrier that I had not done before.  So far, I have only ever jumped station to station, with the exception of that jump to a citadel from Rakapas.  I actually had to warp the carrier.

And it warps slowly

And it warps slowly

At the end of the warp, I had to take the gate from Sakht to 1-SMEB.

How do supers fit through this thing?

How do supers fit through this thing?

I had to do this because the jump gates between Sakht and 1-SMEB are of the very long range region connecting variety, so the distance covered is well beyond the 5 light year range limit.  Again, the DOTLAN route planner illustrates the path you would have to take to bypass the gate.

So I took the gate and jumped to the cyno once I was clear.

On the Fortizar

On the Fortizar

Then it was time to move some subcaps.

I remember back around the Phoebe release CCP was expressing concern that we might simply all use death clones to move about to bypass jump fatigue, especially after they removed clone costs.  It was part of the justification for restricting how one could set their home station. (Which also happens to be in the same time frame when we left Delve back in 2014.)

But if you are moving a ships between two points, death clones make it easy.  After docking up my carrier, I got out of it, undocked, and set my pod to self-destruct.  Upon my destruction, my death clone was activated in Sakht, where I boarded a subcap, took the gate to 1-SMEB, then Asher’s titan bridge back to D-W7F0, where I docked up, got out of the ship, undocked, and kicked off the self-destruct yet again.

Rolling up to a titan for a bridge

Rolling up to a titan for a bridge

A few rounds on that with both my main and my alt… and a little jump fatigue… and I was pretty quickly out of Sakht.  Everything I moved south is now in a Fortizar in the middle of Delve.  Time to settle in, evict the current residents, and help put down the natives.  It is no longer the Guristas for ratting, but Blood Raiders instead.

Blood Raiders use lasers

Blood Raiders use lasers

I just have to remember to not to go AFK in an anomaly when the doorbell rings.  At least I had gotten a couple of runs out of that Myrmidon and remembered to insure it.

So I am fully committed to Delve.  All my stuff is there now.

And it seems as thought TEST might have some commitment to Delve as well.  According to their latest (and very short) state of the alliance recording, they are being paid to come down to Delve and shoot Goons.

Astrahus Busting in Aridia

Citadels are all over New Eden at this point, with the medium sized model, the Astrahus becoming a common site just about any place I fly.

Saturday gave us the opportunity to clean up a few of these citadels.

A fleet went up on Asher Saturday evening (at which point it was already Sunday in New Eden) with the objective to go shoot some things, which is usually a euphemism shooting structures.  It was an Augor Navy Issue fleet, which meant lasers, which are good for structure shoots as you generally don’t have to reload a laser unless a frequency crystal burns out over time.

I was actually in the middle of something and didn’t see the fleet was up until almost 45 minutes after it had been announced, generally a sign that it might be too late to catch up.  But it was Saturday evening, structures take a while to shoot, and we haven’t been going too far afield for these sorts of things, so I decided to log in all the same to see if I could join in.

Logged in and on coms, I was able to spot where they were using the map option that shows where fleet members are located and the destination was linked in fleet after I had set out, so I was able to take gates and link up with the fleet shortly after they had arrived at what sounded like was their second target for the night, an NCDot Astrahus that was coming online.

An Astrahus in Aridia

An Astrahus in Aridia

When a citadel finishes its deployment cycle, it then has to go online, a process which isn’t too long, but which can be interrupted by shooting at it.  This is the best time to kill a citadel, as it cannot defend itself during that time and you can kill it right then and there without any additional timers.

I appreciate that CCP decided not to carry on with the whole entosis link module thing when it came to citadels.  Everybody shooting something is at least a bit more interesting (and much prettier when you’re using lasers) than a fleet sitting around watching one person use their Fozzie laser on a structure or command node.  But to keep citadels from just being blapped quickly out of existence by a supercap fleet when coming online, there is a cap on the amount of damage that can be applied.

For an Astrahus, if you are applying damage at the cap, it takes 22 minutes to kill one when it is vulnerable.  So we were out there with our Fountain allies, LowSechnaya Sholupen, blazing away at the citadel named, if I recall right, Steak and Onions.

ANIs shooting the citadel

ANIs shooting the citadel

This was the second NCdot Astrahus on the list of targets for the night, another having been popped earlier in the evening.  NCDot apparently wanted to seed the route down to Delve with citadels to cover any potential move op, but didn’t use a neutral alt corp and subsequently didn’t show up to defend the citadels as they went online.

And so I got to see my first Astrahus explosion. (kill mail)

Citadel goes critical

Citadel goes critical

I will put the explosion sequence I caught in the gallery at the end of the post.

After that, our we diverted off to help LowSechnaya Sholupen with a tower belonging to The-Culture (formerly that part of Black Legion that wanted to live in null sec) that was coming out of reinforcement.  They even provided a titan to bridge us over to the fight.

An Avatar tethered on an Astrahus

An Avatar tethered on a different Astrahus

Given how careful we tend to be with our titans, it was kind of fun just to see one hanging out on a citadel waiting to bridge us.  We were bridged out but arrived a little too late to get a kill on the tower.  The shields were already up past 50%, so they could add more stront.  Along the way there Asher was looking for somebody with a cyno… and eventually somebody had to go buy one… during which time it came out that, while nobody had one, several of us came armed with festival launchers.  SynCaine was in fleet and called me out for being on that list, so I targeted him and sent some copper fireworks his way.

SynCaine's ANI

SynCaine’s ANI

The cyno was so we could bring in a few LowSechnaya Sholupen to join us in the fight that eventually developed around the tower, where we traded a few ANIs for a Minokawa fax machine and some Rattlesnakes, which won us the ISK war for sure.  On the down side, mine was one of the ANIs that went down.  Hopefully somebody looted that festival launcher.  Good thing I brought down an extra.

If you look at that kill mail, I clearly forgot to clear my cargo hold after moving the ship down to Delve.  Ah well.  I was at least reminded to empty out the cargo holds of a few other ships.

I was able to watch the battle from my pod as the hostiles couldn’t spare any attention to blow me up.  That put me on a couple more kill mails as a pod, including the one for the Malediction that had tackled me.  When the fight was over I had to warp over to the POS to get somebody to blow me up and send me home.

That was it for the moment.  The fleet headed back home and there were some administrative things to look into.  But a while later a Confessor fleet went up in order to bust the third Astrahus of the night, and the second for me.  Keeping to what seemed to be a food theme, this one was called Meatball Sub.

Your meatball sub is up

Your meatball sub will be up in about two and a half minutes

This citadel shoot also went uncontested.  We got ourselves anchored up and, once the timer finished its count down, opened fire on it.

Confessors firing on the Astrahus

Confessors firing on the Astrahus

LowSechnaya Sholupen and a couple of their allies joined in for this kill as well.  Even with a smaller fleet… no dreadnoughts helping out this time around… we seemed to be able to hit the damage cap fairly easily.  You can tell when you’re there as you will start registering zero damage hits every so often as the damage output exceeds the cap.

I tried to get a different camera angle on the second Astrahus when it exploded, but the underside view wasn’t dramatically different.  And it all leaves the same wreckage in the end.

Astrahus remains

Astrahus remains

Once done it was back home to Delve.  Not exactly a huge set of blows against NCDot.  Astrahuses are pretty expendable.  But it was nice to finally get to see a couple of them explode.  If you’re going to shoot structures, you ought to get a pretty payoff when they blow.  More explosion pictures in the gallery from the op below.

Last Ship out of Saranen

Getting subcaps out of Saranen has proven to be considerably easier than getting my carrier down to Delve.  That week long adventure represents most of my effort when it comes to the move down to Delve. (The five days of jump fatigue I accrued faded away and was never an issue, so I won on that front I guess.)

On the plus side, I was able to stuff quite a few ships in the carrier, so when it finally docked up in the station at Sakht, I had a pile of ships at my disposal.  But that still left me with a few ships up in Saranen to fly south.

We had been told to leave behind a few current doctrine ships in order to cover capital move ops, should that become necessary.  While I understand there are caps and supers still in transit south, the bulk seemed to have made it down and ops out of Saranen tapered off, aside from the occasional subcap move op.

It came time to send my remaining subcaps south to join my carrier and whatever else I had hauled out.  The run down south is a bit of a haul.  The most direct route is 41 jumps, but requires flying through Syndicate, which is null sec, which means bubble camps and the like.

I opted for a safer route, putting Amarr in as a way point, which added 5 jumps, but kept me our of null sec.  Low sec can be dangerous as well, but there has to be a determined camp able to point you almost immediately and with the firepower to blap you before you can get back to the gate laying across your path.  During the first couple of days after the move south was announced, those were pretty common.  But as the days ran on they seemed to disappear.  I was kind of hoping to meet a frigate gang when I was flying out my heavily tanked clownshoe Sigil.

Sigil on the move

Sigil on the move

Fit to be an expendable entosis ship with enough tank and shield regen (giving it something like 70K EHP) to survive interceptors until help arrives, I thought it might be fun to watch somebody plink away at it while I motored back to the gate even as the gate guns blazed away at my attackers.  But it was not to be.  Even my ideas about the Sigil being bait… I was traveling paired up with my arty fit Hurricane… didn’t pan out.  My ships all flew through unscathed and unchallenged.

The only other possible threat was from a war dec from NCDot, which meant they could shoot me even in high sec space.  However, they weren’t camping the route either.

I did see two NCDot pilots in space along the way.  One looked like he might have been pursuing my Crane in a Vexor, though he might have just been traveling the same direction.  Either way, my faster warp speed meant he fell further behind at each gate until I no longer saw him.

The other I saw landing on a gate at 15km just as I was warping off, indicating he was auto-piloting through high sec.  I considered turning around to blap him but, as noted, I was moving my ships in pairs, and the Hurricane was already slowing the Sigil down as it was, so I just carried on.  Some Marmite probably got him later.  Clearly, I lack the killer instinct, focusing on the mission rather than kills.

Finally I had one last ship up in Saranen.  Well, two actually.  One was a cyno Kestrel that I put up on contract for two million ISK, which sold pretty quickly.  I should charge more I guess.

The other was a Vigil setup with target painters.  It was then that I noticed that I still had a bunch of stuff in the station.  A Vigil isn’t a big ship and I wasn’t going to be able to carry it all out.  I put the the expendable stuff up on the market.  Somebody got a Warrior II drone for cheap, along with a couple of shield repair bots.  Then I packed everything else into the Vigil and undocked.

Vigil leaving Saranen

Vigil leaving Saranen

Then it was down the path south one last time.  I was a bit worried a couple of gates into the trip, as there was about a dozen NCDot pilots in local in Tamo.  However, they seemed to be up to something other than camping the out gate, so I slipped by unseen.

The high sec run was likewise quiet, especially after Amarr.  The Kor-Azor region, never a hotbed of activity when I was there, was quiet.  Of course, flying through there on Wilhelm I saw that I still had piles of ore sitting around in stations from some buy order I did ages ago.  I think the plan was to go around from station to station in a freighter to pick it all up to move to market.  I no longer own a freighter and it was so slow I am pretty sure that I was deterred from doing the collection run back when I had it. Ah well.

Then from Kor-Azor it was into Aridia and the last few gates to my destination in Sakht.

Docking up in Sakht

Docking up in Sakht

That was it, the last items to move.  I am as out of Saranen as I can be and pretty much all-in on Delve.  My last bit of cargo hauled in the Vigil was:

Valuables

Valuables

Because you can never have enough fireworks handy.

A Fortizar Goes Online in 1-SMEB

TODAY 23:00 MAX NUMBERS DIVORCE YOUR CHILDREN, SACRIFICE YOUR WIFE AT THE ALTAR STRAT OP, SUBS, CAPS, SUPERS, TITANS, RORQUALS. BE THERE.

~~~ This was a broadcast from asher_elias to all at 2016-08-01 18:29:53.901185 EVE ~~~

Somebody was trying to impress upon us the importance of the 23:00 op.

As it happens, 23:00 is about the earliest time on a weekday when I can possibly make a fleet op, and I was home in time, online, and ready to pile into Asher’s fleet once the official ping went out and the fleet went up.  This was officially a Proteus fleet and I got into my Oneiros again.

The fleet filled up quickly enough and a second fleet went up on Apple Pear, one of our EU TZ FCs who was up late.  His fleet seemed to be… less discriminating.  There was a call to get people in fleet, alts included, in whatever ship was to hand.  So I logged on my combat alt, put him in a Crucifier, and had him join Apple Pear’s fleet.

Meanwhile, there was a capital fleet forming up… and all of us were using the same coms channel.  While confusing at times, this is generally a sign that we are doing some sort of coordinated op.

With one fleet full, another filling up, and the caps doing whatever it is they do as they assemble, we began to undock, with Asher’s fleet going first.

Once more out of the Genolution Biotech Production station

Once more out of the Genolution Biotech Production station

We undocked, headed to the 1-SMEB gate and jumped through.  The Apple Pear’s fleet undocked, warped to the gate, and then stood to there as the capitals began to hit the gate.  The landed there in two streams, one from the station and one from the safe POS, and jumped through.

Caps landing on the 1-SMEB gate in Sakht

Caps landing on the 1-SMEB gate in Sakht

On the 1-SMEB side, once most of the caps were through, Asher warped us to a spot on grid.  Had I been more aware of my surroundings, I would have seen it on the overview.  But, as I have grown used to citadels showing up there, another one didn’t strike me as something worth noting.  But as when we landed on it, I saw what was going on.

Fortizar going online

Fortizar going online

Yeah, I know, big deal, right?  There are lots of Frotizar’s in New Eden now.  We lived under the unblinking gaze of three of them in the Quafe Factory Warehouse back in Saranen.

You can see three Fortizars on grid now

You could see three Fortizars on one grid in Saranen

But this was ours.

The Imperium has put down dozens of Astrahus medium citadels.  They were in Saranen, all over Venal, in Pure Blind, and dotted the route south to Delve.  But for us to actually bother putting down a Fortizar, as common as they may be, is something of a statement I suppose.

And we were all there to make sure it went online without a hitch.  So all three fleets spread out around it and watched it count down through its final period of vulnerability, after which it could be gunned and would require the whole timer routine to kill.

Supers in a semi-circle around the Fortizar

Supers in a semi-circle around the Fortizar

One hostile landed on grid with us during the process, but warped off quickly.  Otherwise nobody showed up to try and keep our new citadel from going online.

When the counter finished and it was live, there was some cheering.  Asher and another titan pilot shot off their lance doomsday weapons.  And Jay Amazingness let us shoot his Chimera, a sacrifice to the welp gods in Delve no doubt.  We were also encouraged to troll Reddit by putting up pictures with 1-SMEB replaced with 93PI-4.  Somebody did one that looked pretty good.  My own attempt was a bit more… raw… in the grand MS Paint tradition.

And that was that.  We had a large citadel in Delve.  It isn’t a Keepstar, but we’ll get there I bet.

Then it was time to run the whole thing in reverse, with subcap fleets covering each side of the gate as the capitals went back home.  A participation link was generated, my first one for August, and I got to click on it with both my main and my alt. (Though, since they are both linked to my forum account, I am not sure if that really means anything.  But I did it anyway.  Never not click on pap links.)

Not a terribly exciting event, but one that was good for the team.  Once we were done shepherding the capitals back, the op was done.  We were encouraged to go mine and rat in 1-SMEB to build up the ADM.  I got out my Procurer to help out, but as it turns out 1-SMEB only had two asteroid belts (one of which was already mined out, and the other was almost gone) and wasn’t spawning any mining anoms, which put a damper on that plan.

So I decided to use the time to jump clone back to Jita to list all the items I shipped there from Saranen.  More assets converted to ISK.  I also stopped to look at the TNT Delve 2016 video.  See, we’re still a thing, we have a video!

The array of ships around the Fortizar as we babysat it was pretty neat, and a number of people put up good screen shots:

And I have my own screen shots from the Fortizar op:

Breaking into Delve

Not everybody in the Imperium spent last week wandering casually down to our staging station in Sakht.  Fleets had been active in Delve for several days, focusing on the constellation YX-LYK, and by Saturday we had already taken the system Q-HESZ.

But the first real test of the invasion wasn’t until yesterday, when the ihub, station, and TCU in the system 1-SMEB, previously reinforced, were contested.  1-SMEB was also the capital system for the League of Unaligned Master Pilots (ticker: LUMPY), which gave it a boost to its ADM, making it a tougher nut to crack.

There had been pings in advance asking people to show up and be ready for a fight.  The first ping for a subcap fleet, under Jay Amazingness, went out at 16:30 and it filled up quickly.  It was a Proteus fleet and I got out my Oneiros, which I had just run down from Saranen on Friday, and joined up with the logistics contingent.

Once that fleet filled another went up, and another subcap fleet after that.

We undocked after only a short wait.

Emerging from the Genolution Biotech Production station

Emerging from the Genolution Biotech Production station

We held on the gate to 1-SMEB and waited for a bit.  Then a fourth fleet showed up to pass through the gate.  It was a fleet of capital and supercapital ships, jumping into 1-SMEB for the event.

Once they were through, we jumped into 1-SMEB ourselves, then into 6Q-R50, and then into RCI-VL, where we set up around the MJXW-P gate, which seemed like sort of an odd, dead-endy location.

However, it turned out to be the right place, as the hostiles fell on us there, starting with the Pandemic Legion FC Killah Bee, who landed on grid prematurely and was immediately targeted.  I even managed to get an ECM drone on his, so as to get on the kill mail.  After that though, I let my drone take its own course as there were reps to be applied as the two sides closed and got stuck into each other.  NCDot and PL had a T3 fleet, which formed the bulk of the opposition, while the locals, led by LUMPY, were using Gilas.  On our side there was the Proteus fleet, a Confessor fleet, and Asher’s Cerberus fleet.  Bubbles were up to hold the foe in place.

The fight develops

The fight develops

In the middle of all of that, a cyno went up.  As I watched, a single Wyvern supercarrier landed on grid.

A wild super suddenly appears!

A wild super suddenly appears!

Time dilation was already hitting hard, so the capital fleet jumping in on top of the fight unfolded slowly.  Soon, however, I was in the middle of a lot of big ship.

My Oneiros in the midst of a lot of caps

My Oneiros in the midst of a lot of caps

With the presence of a capital fleet on grid, the fight went from a brawl to trying to knock off as many hostiles as we could before they could get away.  I even got to see one of the new doomsday effects as one of the titans  We even got an official observer when ISD Lunaire Elois showed up in a Polaris Inspector Frigate to watch the supers in action.

Somebody has come to watch us

Somebody has come to watch us

That was towards the end of the fight and, as usual, a couple of pilots lit out after the ISD ship, only to find its performance envelope was well beyond their ability to catch.

Meanwhile, our foes escaped as best they could and that was about it for big fights for the day.  All told, that was about 90 minutes of time from undock to the caps heading back towards 1-SMEB where they formed up on a gate to smart bomb the Pandemic Horde and Mordus Angels frigates and interceptors that were in the area.  The battle report for the fight unsurprisingly shows the ISK war going in our favor, though not that much ISK was expended given the values of the fleets on grid.   However, the totals and participants keep changing when I go back to look at that report, so I am not sure how far to trust it.

July 31, 2016 RCI-VL fight

July 31, 2016 RCI-VL fight

It did seem that the majority of the hostiles were not Delve locals.  They must miss us up north.

With the fun over, the work began.  It was time to play the Fozzie Sov game so, over the next few hours we spent time running entosis link modules over command nodes in order to take ihubs, stations, and TCUs.

A command node in "action"

A command node in “action”

There was a bit of see-saw on a couple of the objectives.  At one point LUMPY was at 95% for the 1-SMEB TCU.  However, they seemed to give up before they got that last 5%… though with us roving through the constellation in force, I guess I can understand why… and the actual command node objectives were left to us.

The only opposition was a gang of interceptors that were dropping on nodes to try and break lock on the nodes to slow things down.  This was aggravated by our decision to use force auxiliaries… fax machines… for entosis work.  If I understand correctly, we did this because they were supposed to be immune from ECM while sieged.  However, this turned out to be only true for directed ECM and not area affect ECM burst.

So we ended up with the worst of both worlds.  Fax pilots had to endure the capital entosis warm up cycle penalty both when they started in on a node AND whenever an ECM burst broke their lock.

Fax machines continued on, but there was also a call for subcap pilots to come out and run entosis links as well.  By that point our fleet was split up by wings and sitting on nodes in a system where no hostiles bothered to show up, so I got out my alt.  He happened to have a Rapier fit for solo entosis work, so I ran him out to our system and put him on whatever nodes were available.

With multiple objectives in play, coordination was… not very well coordinated.  If the goal of Fozzie Sov was to reinforce the officious “spreadsheets in space” aspect of EVE Online, then op success, because this sort of event pretty much requires some master spreadsheet coordinator to run with any efficiency.  Instead we had multiple fleets on multiple coms and people going here and there.  On a couple of nodes I was running a fax machine would show up, having been assigned the node.  I would convo with them and tell them to let me know when they had spun up through their initial cycle, after which I would fly off to another node.

But at least I was out doing something with my alt.  The majority of our fleet was just sitting around watching nodes get wanded.  As I have said before, this is not engaging game play.  You don’t see ISD ships flying out to watch people conquer sov.

Asher, on his latest podcast, had some idea for updating Fozzie Sov to make it more interesting, or at least force more fights.  But it seems like CCP, buoyed by the cheers of people who don’t actually engage in sov warfare and who, in some cases, seem to actively dislike sov null and its residents, will not be revisiting Fozzie Sov for the foreseeable future.

Life in sovereign null sec.  We’re told get too much attention paid to us one day, and then on another day we’re blamed for the PCU drop because we’re not warring hard enough to keep people’s attention.

On the bright side, hours of entosis work… I spent 3 hours on it myself after the initial fight before decided I wanted to do something else for the rest of the day… did get us some ihubs, and TCUs, as well as freeporting a couple stations in Delve.

The result of Sunday's work

The result of Sunday’s work

The Ministry of Truth even put out a song about the fall of LUMPY in Delve.

So the conquest of Delve seems to be off to a good start.  Now we just have to hold what we have taken while doing the Fozzie Sov shuffle in a about a dozen more constellations.

My screen shots from the day collected up into a gallery:

Seven Cynos to Sakht

There is no reward under the opportunity system for “achieved maximum jump fatigue” in EVE Online.  I know, because if there was one, I would have gotten it last night.

Just four seconds late on the screen shot

Just four seconds late on the screen shot

Five days is the hard cap on jump fatigue, a change that came in with the Parallax expansion last November. (Did you know that Parallax was the last named expansion in Syndicate?)  Before then, from the launch of the Phoebe expansion until Parallax a little over a year later, you could ruin a character for jumping for long stretches.  Now you can max jump fatigue out on Sunday and be fresh and ready to go the following weekend.

Just don’t plan to do any jumps over the days in between.  The wait between jumps gets a bit harsh.  Here is where I stood after maximum fatigue hit.

That is almost as long as a whole DBRB fleet

That is almost as long as a DBRB fleet feels

So how did I end up with all that jump fatigue… or, more to the point, why?

Opportunity!

The night before, after making my jumps, I did managed to get my cyno alts inserted into the next two destinations.  So when I got home from work, I  jump cloned back to my carrier from Sakht and did those jumps almost immediately, thinking that I might have to spend the rest of the evening getting the next jumps into position.

Another jump in the Archon

Another jump in the Archon

As it turned out, these two locations represented the most difficult spots into which to get a cyno alt, since they involved flying through NPC null sec in the form of the Syndicate region.  All the cyno spots after that involved runs through relatively safe, and mostly deserted low sec space, with a quick jaunt through one of those high sec enclave in the middle of low sec that makes you wonder what sort of job CONCORD is doing.

And… well.. with cynos alts in position, why not take the jump?

If I had known that back end of the route would be that easy to get into position, I would have structured my jumps differently.  I would have let the ~50 minute fatigue from the first jump wear down to below the 10 minute mark before making the next jump, keeping my fatigue from building to over an hour.  Maybe, I might have not bothered with the timer on the last couple, but by that point quick jumps would have left me with jump fatigue that would have been gone over night.

Instead, not knowing which jump might be the last one for the night, I took them about as soon as I could, and the jump fatigue started to build; an hour, four hours, ten hours, twenty three hours, three days and change.

Exotic stations under strange stars

Exotic stations under strange stars

After five jumps I was sitting on a lot of jump fatigue already, and had a 90 minute count down until I could make the next jump, but by that point I figured “What the hell!”  I had an alt ready and waiting, so I lit the cyno.

Burning the beacon at the last station for the night

Burning the beacon at the last station for the night

And then it was time to jump.

Somewhere in Aridia

Somewhere in Aridia

That was it for the night.  Jump fatigue was at maximum and the next possible jump window was over eight hours away.

And I still wasn’t in Sakht yet.  Sakht was seven jumps from where I started and I blew my load in six.  As I said above, if I had known I was going to get this far, I would have done it differently.  But now my carrier, with a pile of ships in the hangar, is just one jump from our staging station in Sakht.

I sent my in-alliance alt ahead, and he made it all the way there.

Destination gate in sight

Destination gate in sight

The smart bombing battleships were taking a night off from gate camping, so it was an easy set of jumps.  And now I have my main alt, my combat alt, in our staging system.  He even made the trip there entirely via gates in an frigate with only a cyno module fit and 250 units of liquid ozone in the cargo bay.

My carrier road trip is almost at an end.  I just have to not screw up on that last jump.  Given my ignorance or capital ship operations, I am surprised I got this far without any real incident.  I managed to place my cynos on stations in a fashion that wasn’t horrible.  I think worst landing I had put me 3km off the undock, distance quickly covered.  The rest were under 200m, with most showing 0m.  The tactical overlay option that shows the landing zone for your cyno when you mouse over the module gets the credit on that front.

The tactical overlay helps

So easy, even I understood it!

I also only lost one of my cyno ships.  I bought four Kestrels, named them Bait 1 through Bait 4, and only Bait 2 died, getting blown up on a gate in Syndicate.  I expected cyno ships to get popped sitting on the undock much more frequently.

Hell, I expected my NPC corp cyno alt to get popped by my own side at some point, being in a “Not Blue, Shoot It” coalition and all.  But he never got shot.  In fact, he got convo’d by a GSF pilot at one point asking about his name (a misspelled Jack London reference) during which I said I was just a lowly Imperium cyno alt, and which point I was told that I was holding up somebody’s jump as they were paranoid because a neutral was sitting there on the undock. (I forgot to dock up after the cyno went out… and still nobody shot me.)

Anyway, it was an adventure, getting my carrier from Saranen to Sakht, a 13 jump multiple day event.  EVE Online is one of those games where you have to focus on the journey most of the time, because the destination is usually just the starting point for the next trip.  But if you’re sick of my traveler’s tales in New Eden… and I admit that I haven’t gotten to see anything as cool as this jump… there are probably only two, maybe three posts left in the “Getting to Delve” series, I swear.

Now to let that jump fatigue wear off… wait, I still have one more jump to go.

Leaving Rakapas and Arriving in Sakht

Given my lack of luck with convoy ops over the last few days, I decided to try and move my carrier forward on my own.

The route had been posted in the CapSwarm forum, along with some instructions for one awkward, no-station jump… which, as it happens, is the jump from Rakapas.

But first I had to go get some cynos lined up and in position to guide me along the path south.  I got on my second account, on my “main alt” character, the one with 110 million skill points, clone jumped him out of his implants alt, and sent him off to Jita to buy a few cyno ships.

I opted for simple, buying 4 Kestrels and fitting each with a Cynosural Field Generator I and loaded with 250 units of liquid ozone, enough to power the module for one cycle. (I obsessed and trained the relevant skill to V, just in case I needed to light a covert cyno.  More on jump drive operation here, if you are interested.)  I got my alt into one, contracted another to a second character on that account that I had trained up to be a cyno alt, and headed off to get myself situated.

Kestrel on the way out

Kestrel on the way out

I had at first thought about starting from Amarr or maybe Saranen, but as it turned out, Jita was by far the closest common point to the target systems.  Getting through to them, both in low sec, did not present any real problems.  The only hiccup I had was, after getting my main alt to his location, I logged on the secondary cyno jockey and was in such a hurry to fly out that, after I clone jumped him to Jita, I forgot to accept the Kestrel contract… or even get in a ship… and just started flying to the destination in a pod.  Yeah, slow down there bro.

After a couple of jumps I was suddenly all, “Oh yeah… the ship… right…” and went back to get it.  Once that was squared away, I was able to get out to the destination system and docked up without issue.

I logged him out, got back on my main alt, and got myself setup in the first destination system.  Since it lacked a station, the instructions in the forum said to cyno your capital in to the Astrahus citadel, let it refill your ship’s capacitor (citadels are handy like that, refilling and repairing like a full service gas station of old), and then warp off to the safe POS to wait out your jump timer.

Unfortunately for me, it was a Goonswarm Federation POS, which meant I wasn’t welcome inside unless I had the password.  So I was going to have to skip that step.  That meant facing the dire warnings about people coming to bump your capital off the citadel to get it out of tether range, at which point it could be blown up.

My solution to this was to jump out as soon as I possibly could, spending as little time as I could manage tethered.  That meant logging in the next cyno with the secondary alt, which would require logging off the primary alt, which I could not do until the cyno module cycle ended, something that takes a full ten minutes.

I decided to just light the first cyno and let module run to almost the end of its cycle before jumping in.  That meant I might lose the cyno ship before I could jump, but that seemed like the least cost failure scenario.  So I undocked him from the citadel and lit the beacon.

Earlier there had been a bunch of traffic through the system, but I seemed to have picked a quiet 10 minute window and my cyno ship went unmolested.  As the timer reached the last minute or so of its cycle, I undocked the carrier in Rakapas and made the jump, ending up hanging tethered on the citadel.

Archon tethered, cyno still burning

Archon tethered, cyno still burning

After the jump, I had a little over two minutes to wait before I could jump again.

The timer counting down

The timer counting down

The cyno did not last that long, and I was able to swap characters and get in position well in advance of the jump reactivation timer.

As I sat there on the citadel, I noticed on the overview that the system had a gate to Rakapas.

Wait, I went how far?

Wait, I went how far?

I had waited all this time to jump what amounted to a single gate?  Well, sometimes that is how things work out.

At the station I faced two potential issues for the next jump.  One was where to place the cyno.  I do not do this enough to have a favored position for each station type, as some people do.  After watching other people, I try to get both a ways off the undock on both the horizontal and vertical axis so as to avoid bumping and such.  So I picked a spot a bit out and above the undock.

The tactical overlay helps

The tactical overlay helps

The other problem was that I was using a neutral alt in a system that was full of Imperium pilots.  While it was likely they would assume a neutral cyno was somebody’s alt, there was still a non-zero chance that somebody would shoot it just because.  So I got undocked, setup, and lit the cyno as quickly as I could, jumping the moment it was up.

Carrier on the undock

Carrier on the undock

I docked up, op success.  I was now two jumps further down the line towards Delve.

I docked up my secondary alt when his cyno went down and traded him some replacement fuel that I was carrying along in my carrier, and sent him off to the next destination.  I had about two hours of jump fatigue and was planning to let that burn off before I jumped again, but I figured I ought to get the next jumps queued up.

The secondary alt got to the next station easily enough, at which point I logged my primary alt back in, flew him to catch up with the carrier to refuel, and then sent him off to the destination after the next one, so as to have two jumps lined up once again.

However, getting to that target meant flying through null sec space in the Syndicate region.  So it was not unexpected that, with the jump from low sec to null, I immediately hit a gate camp that had an interdictor.  It threw up a bubble when I landed in system and there wasn’t anything I could really do.  I decloaked and headed back to the gate on the off chance they were completely incompetent, but without an prop mod, that was a tiny gesture of defiance at best.  They blew up the ship and podded me, sending me back home.

Kestrel going down

Kestrel going down

But I had planned for that, expecting to lose these ships.  I had set my home in Jita for this, and was able to pick up another of the Kestrels I fitted out and started heading back towards the destination system again.  I stopped in a station before I got to the null sec transition again, thinking I would wait until later in the evening for that.

As it happened, while I was waiting, Asher pinged about a move op.  He was going to take people from Sakht, our current staging point, back to Saranen to pick up ships, at which point people up north could join the fleet and fly back down.

That seemed like an opportunity.  I couldn’t bring my main alt along to drive a ship as his jump clone timer still had many hours to go, but Wilhelm didn’t have a jump clone timer problem and was just sitting around in a station.  So I joined the op, watching it move around the map via a couple of wormhole connections, until it started to close in on Saranen, at which point I clone jumped to the area, picking the Oneiros I left parked in Ashitsu on Saturday.  As it happened, I did the jump just as they were passing through the system and was able to follow them back to Saranen.

Once there it was time for a break, during which I decided to fly my Cerberus down to Sakht.  Once everybody was back, we undocked and headed to the first wormhole, which was just a few jumps away in Eha.  We went through the wormhole, however it collapsed before everybody got through.  Those of us who made it were in Heimatar, in Minmatar space, where we had another dozen gates to take before we got to the next wormhole.

Those left behind in Eha were told where we were if they wanted to burn to us to try and catch up, but we moved on to the next hole.  However, the route to the next hole took us through what so many fear, high security space, and a 1.0 sec system in particular. (How can those rebel Minmatar have so many high security systems?)

Yes, we we're in Heimatar!

Yes, we we’re in Heimatar!

Those with negative security status avoid high sec space with its NPC enforcement complications, and a full 1.0 system posed a threat to some along for the ride.  Never having had a negative security status rating during my time in New Eden, I never think about that as being an issue.  Even though I have bad standings with the Minmatar and Gallente factions (-4.72 and -5.74 respectively, the latter which should make me “shoot on sight”) after running so many Amarr/Caldari missions over the years, somewhere along the line I trained the social skill Diplomacy to level IV, which mitigates that sufficiently that I am merely loathed, but not actively shot at.

Some in the fleet hadn’t invested in that sort of stuff.  We were set to burn individually at best possible speed to get past the high sec terror and to the next wormhole.  Several people were locked up by the local faction police, and the occasional potshot was taken, but faction enforcers don’t warp scramble and in at least one case the webbing action of an NPC actually helped somebody get into warp faster.  Basically, comedy ensued, but nobody lost a ship.  We went to Hek and back mostly unscathed.

Once safely into low sec space again, we collected up again around the wormhole and jumped through.  Everybody got through safely and, it being a low sec to low sec connection, we were all in Aridia, just a few jumps from our destination.  We flew on, scattering the smart bombing battleships that were gate camping along the way, to arrive in our new home.

Get Sakht

Get Sakht

So now I have at least been to Sakht this year.  I haven’t been this close to Delve since April of last year.

Of course, there is still work to do.  I have that carrier to move and a couple more doctrine ships to convoy down.  But at least I have made it through once… and I am no longer stuck in Rakapas.