Peace is dull. I don’t mine nor do I rat any more. I have accumulated enough ISK to tide me over for some time, helped along by alliance SRP payouts for losses.
SRP is the “ship replacement program,” where the alliance uses its wealth to compensate pilots for ship losses. There is some nominal payout for peace time operations, but operations that are considered strategic get better returns for losses.
Also, strategic ops have that element of purpose, a sense of “doing something” that a separates them, in my mind at least, from the random roam or other attempt to fleet up just to find trouble. That is probably my professional life bleeding over, as I am inevitably the person in sprint planning meetings pointing out that a sprint isn’t just a random three week period of time to do whatever. If there is no goal or deliverable or whatever we might as well not bother diligently creating new sprints.
Anyway, I live for the Jabber ping that has a fleet flagged as “strategic,” and after going nearly half a month without seeing such a ping, one popped up yesterday. Two, actually, though the first one was just a call to roll a wormhole and clean up some bombers that leaked through into Delve.
The second one though, that was a call for a Cerberus fleet to run out to get in on a fight that was brewing somewhere undisclosed. And Thomas Lear, long a member of Reavers before he split off to form Liberty Squad, was going to be the FC. That looked to be exactly my cup of tea.
I got into game, into fleet, and into a Cerberus, which I had to buy off contract because I appeared to have mislaid the one I thought I had hanging about. After some cajoling about numbers… we had a lot of support and not enough Cerbs… things finally got under way and we undocked and got on a titan.
Three Avatars in a row
We were getting a titan bridge out because the new, fatigue free jump bridge network was still in the process of getting deployed. In fact, CCP Fozzie announced the first connection between the new modules just this morning.
The old jump bridge network is still up and functioning, and I suppose we could have take that to get our first leg over, but a titan was handy so we used that instead. The bridge went up and off we went.
Sent on our way
We were headed east. As the story eventually came to me, TEST had reinforced a Pandemic Horde Sotiyo up in Geminate previously and were now set to contest the armor timer. We were invited along to help them as they were expecting a fight.
So we gated our way into TEST space where they provided a titan to bridge us a bit further along. Then it was up through Scalding Pass and the Great Wildlands towards our destination, 04-LQM in Geminate, where the Sotiyo lay.
That gave us plenty of time to see the new gate graphics along the way.
A fiery Minmatar gate
We moved as a group through system after system in that familiar warp ball, our destination slowly moving closer, the 255 of us causing time dilation now and then as we transitioned.
Cerbs moving together
Unfortunately the dithering about getting the fleet composition right as well as having to gate most of the way (there was a wormhole, but it collapsed before we got to it) made us late to the party.
By the time we arrived in 04-LQM, the combined fleets of Pandemic Horde, NCDot, and Black Legion had destroyed much of the TEST battleship fleet and sent the rest packing. There was only two minutes left on the repair timer when we arrived on grid as well as a lot of hostile ships already loaded and looking for fresh targets. It was not our best timed arrival.
Still, we had come all that way, wrapping around half of null sec, driving from Delve to Geminate. Thomas wasn’t going to go home empty handed.
Thomas brought us through the gate to LX-ZOJ and had our interdictors bubble it up in the hope that we could pin the enemy down and take some out at range with missile volleys. The enemy followed through as expected, Elo Knight in his Monitor being one of the first ships to break cloak.
Looking at the bubbled gate from range
Cainun, who was shepherding logi and support, called targets for us, starting with the expected Munnins. The plan was one volley per target in the hope that enough damage would land when the missiles arrived to alpha the ship.
Following the Muninns was a fleet of Nightmare battleships, which became the targets of choice.
Nightmares down in the bubbles
However, our volleys were falling short of our hopes. I saw several Munnins and Nightmares knocked down into structure only to survive because the threat had passed as we moved to the next target. A second volley might have pushed a few over, but I could see reps hitting many of those close calls so that follow on missiles would have to face full shields and reps.
Meanwhile we were losing our own ships as the hostiles started popping Cerbs. Pilots who overheated their shield hardeners, remembered to trigger their assault damage control, and broadcasted for reps quickly, and in that order, likely survived. But those who were slow or who slipped up went down quickly, long before any help could reach them.
With the death of Cerbs, our ability to alpha targets with a single volley stopped being a viable plan. While we got in a few kills, we were losing more than we killed and things were tipping even more against us as time went on. Thomas had us align out and we managed to escape, bubbling the gate behind us to slow pursuit.
Having already won the objective and the ISK war, the locals seemed content to wave bye-bye as we left. They didn’t have anything left to prove. The battle report tells the tale.
Battle report from the full fight
At least I got my strategic participation counted and got myself on a few kill mails, proving my existence in the game for yet another month.
Of course, we were still way the hell out in Geminate and a long way from home. The route back to Delve was about 60 jumps. While I like touring the new gate graphics, I wasn’t feeling the need to see that many gates.
As we were heading back the word came down that there might be a wormhole for us, running from Insmother, about a dozen jumps from our then current location, to Aridia, the low sec space adjacent to Delve. That would cut a lot of gates out of our journey. The problem was that the person with the wormhole information was getting it second hand and nobody actually had their eyes on the wormhole to know its state. It could have been ready to collapse.
Eventually the person reporting it got there, saw it was up, and went through to verify that it did, indeed, poke through to Aridia. Off we went, forming up at the wormhole.
Waiting on the wormhole
While some anxious people went through early, most of us waited until Thomas gave us the green light to enter the wormhole. It stayed up for the whole fleet. From there it was just a dozen gates or so to Delve. Amarr gates, to compare with the Minmatar gates. (Both of which look better than the Caldari gates.)
An Amarr gate with the new doodads
We ran into a LowSechnaya Sholupen smart bombing battleship gate camp, which claimed an interceptor that was scouting ahead. But they got out of the way when a nearly full Cerb fleet started landing on them.
From there it should have been simple. However, there was an incursion going on in the constellation that includes 1-SMEB, the system that connects to Aridia. So we grouped up there before going through, lest the incursion rats, known to camp gates and tackle passers by, take their toll for passage.
The gate into Delve, Fat Bee present, ships jumping through
As it was though, the incursion rats apparently had other business to which to attend, so everybody passed safely through to the jump bridge and through to home.
It was good to shake the rust off a bit and get something of a fight. All this peace is too much to bear.