Tag Archives: Fade

Imperium Ignorance Saves the CO2 Keepstar in DW-T2I

After laying down a Keepstar in Cloud Ring last week, the Imperium went straight to work on Circle of Two, reinforcing their Keepstar in DW-T2I the next day.  The Imperium staged in Cloud Ring meant that most of Fade was in capital range, if those capitals took the gate between the two regions.

Fade Map with Locations noted

With the Keepstar in DW-T2I reinforced, the next big even was set to be the armor timer.  To destroy a fueled citadel you have to go through three battles.  The first is the shield layer.  You can attack at any time and if you get the citadel’s shields down to zero, a timer comes up.  When that timer finally counts down the citadel goes into a 15 minute repair cycle.  You have to form up and shoot it again, this time shooting its armor layer down to zero.  By applying enough damage you can stop the repair cycle and get through the the final timer.  When that comes up you do the same thing again, only shooting away the structure.  If you succeed, the citadel blows up.  If you fail, you get to start all over again.

So it was the second round, the armor timer, that came up yesterday.  It was set to hit at a little after 19:00 EVE Online time, which is UTC.  However, because fleets had to move and get in position, the call to form up came a good four hours before then.

That was before I got out of bed here on the west coast.  I turned on my computer to find fleets already forming and heading out from Delve.  But that was okay.  I wasn’t interested in heading out with main fleet for the long drive there and back to visit CO2.  I hung around waiting for something to form up in Pure Blind.

And I was rewarded for waiting with a fleet ping from Dabigredboat.

Some might not consider that a reward.  Boat can be an acquired taste.  But he works hard, gets you in the action, and tells you what is going on.  Plus, he was handing out free ships.  We were going to head out in Tengus to snipe targets of opportunity and run down disconnects.  I was happy enough to be in a Tengu again that I bought the snappy new Ghostbird SKIN for it.

55 PLEX well spent to my mind

Meanwhile I already had an alt online in a stealth bomber in DW-T2I to watch what was happening with the Keepstar and the system in general.  CO2 had been busy.  Both of the gates into the system were heavily bubbled, so any fleet trying to gate in to contest the timer would have to get past that.

The P-33KR Gate

You can just barely see the Keepstar in the background of that screen shot, through the dense layer of bubbles laid about the gate.  The array of bubbles was big enough that if I pulled back to get them all in the screen shot, the gate and the small bubbles around it become difficult to see.

The same gate from a distance

Everything seemed to be coming together for a big fight.  While Boat was arranging a black ops bridge up to DW-T2I my alt sat and watched CO2’s allies start to show up.  Darkness and their coalition brought a Tempest Fleet Issue fleet.

Darkness in a ball

Ranger Regiment brought an Ishtar fleet.  NCDot brought a Machariel and a Cerberus fleet.  CO2 undocked a fleet of Megathrons.  And capitals began to form up about the Keepstar.

Boat got us a bridge into system and we went off to safe spots to cloak up and wait for something to do.

Tengus on the way

In system Boat was keeping us up to date about what was going on while also looking for something to shoot.  We went and tried to pick off some transports that were parked near the O-CNPR gate.  We didn’t get a kill, but we scared them off at least.

Then Boat said we were going to go try and shoot the cyno jammer in system.

This was the first of many times I would hear the words “cyno jammer” during the op.

Boat explained that the previous day and evening the Imperium spent time putting up POS towers on every free moon and reinforcing the towers that CO2 or anybody else had deployed in the region.  This was to keep a cyno jammers from being deployed.  A cyno is a beacon which lets ships with jump drives travel to it.  You need a cyno lit in a system in order to jump into it.

A cyno jammer, as you might imagine, blocks cynos from being lit.  The ones on a POS jam the whole system, and CO2 had one in DW-T2I.

(Cyno jammers do not block covert cynos, which only black ops capable ships may use, such as our Tengus, which is how we got into the system.)

So Boat warped us over to the POS with the cyno jammer and had us start shooting it.  Very shortly a Minokawa force auxiliary logged on just outside the POS, close to the cyno jammer, and started to repair it.  CO2 had prepared for an attack on the jammer and, later, more Minokawas were spotted on the POS.  The Minokawa was repairing faster than we could inflict damage, so Boat warped us off and we went to our safe spots again.

As we sat around I turned up the volume on the INN stream of the event and heard Boat talking about the situation.  There, and on our own coms later, he explained that somebody running the preparatory ops believed that cyno jammers would not function on reinforced POSes.

This turned out to be a fairly wide-spread belief.  Progodlegend, on the same stream, said that they had just done the reinforce thing to Fraternity recently.  However, it appears that Fraternity just didn’t try anchoring a cyno jammer on a reinforced POS, no doubt because they believed the same thing.

GigX however, knew better it seems.

If we had known some simple contingencies could have been put in place, like leaving behind some logged off dreadnoughts to knock out the cyno jammer quickly to let fleets start pilling in.  But we didn’t so we were stuck.

That left the only way in to the system for the converging Imperium fleets… with more capitals on the way than the defenders had ships on hand… with one way into the system; through the O-CNPR gate.  But, as I mentioned, that gate was heavily bubbled.

The O-CNPR Gate

And it wasn’t just heavily bubbled.  It was also heavily defended.  The direction scan of the vicinity of the gate showed the following:

O-CNPR Gate DScan

Yes, you cannot possible read that unless you click on it.  But among the things on the list were 425 battleships, 124 super carriers, 35 carriers, 683 fighters from the carriers and super carriers, 504 drones from various ships, and a titan.

That titan, just sitting in a bubble waiting to boson somebody

So while it was possible that the Imperium could have thrown everything through the gate and eventually muscled past the defenses, it was going to be a slog.  Defending on a bubbled gate like that is referred to as “water boarding,” because it is torture that the attackers cannot escape.  With more bubbles no doubt set to be deployed and inderdictors on the field, a hostile fleet could be kept writhing in that mess for hours.  Certainly they could be held in check until the repair cycle on the Keepstar finished up.

Instead everybody turned around and went home.

That was it.  GigX won the day and saved his Keepstar.

As far as I can tell the biggest fight in the whole event was a smart bombing drop by NCDot on an Imperium Jackdaw fleet.  They did kill a lot of ships, 64 according to the battle report.  However, they lost 20 of the black ops battleships they used, destroyed by their own fleet’s smart bombs, which left the cost of the operation at roughly ten times the ISK of the hostiles they destroyed.  Not a good trade.

Battle Report Header from the Black Ops Drop

That was fine for everybody else.  However those of us in Boat’s fleet were still in the system and he was on the INN stream talking about events as they unfolded.  However, the stream wrapped up pretty quickly once it was announced that the Imperium was not going to show up.

Boat did not forget about us, though he forgot about his titan in the super fleet for a bit and almost got left behind.  He got a black ops battleship in to send us all back to Pure Blind, staying behind to cover two people who had gone AFK long after some FCs would have left them to their fate.  I got one last look at the Keepstar before we bridged out.

Still 35 minutes left on the clock

I was glad again to not have schleped all the way up from Delve in a Baltec fleet only to have to turn around and go home again.  But that was still shorter than having a fight before the return trip, so a bunch of people got some of their day back.

The Mittani held the weekly Fireside Chat on coms where he explained what went wrong and how we were going to go back to doing things the old fashioned way, grinding and suppressing the region until CO2  retreats.

Not our most brilliant hour.  Reddit will be filled with comments about Goons being dumb and not knowing POS mechanics for a while.

I guess we know the answer

But everybody knows about that POS mechanic now for sure, so if if anybody else falls for it… well, more of the same on Reddit I suppose.

So the war goes on.  We still have a Keepstar of our own on the border of Fade and SIG and Squads are still roaming north from Pure Blind.  The fun is not over, but it may be a while before we pave our way to the Keepstar to do anything more than keep it reinforced.  I suspect we’ll keep reinforcing it to ensure that CO2 can’t pack it up and move away.

Meanwhile there was no saving the TEST Keepstar down in 4-GB14 in Immensea.  They couldn’t even use GigX’s cynojammer trick since hostiles had already grabbed the ihub for the system, and if you don’t own the ihub you can’t setup a cynojammer.  And so that Keepstar died.  It wasn’t their capital Keepstar, but losing one hurts no matter what.

And then there was the Provi Bloc Keepstar, anchored down in 9UY4-H, which went online successfully.  This event also involved a cyno jammer, that being the EVE Online word of the day.  Hostiles sacrificed dreads to incapacitate it, but Provi just finished it off and anchored a fresh one, leaving the attackers without an easy way in.  Even being able get the cyno jammer offline doesn’t mean you’re good to go.

[Update: Or maybe Provi repaired the jammer. I’ve heard both stories now.]

So it was quite a day for null sec Keepstars, with one successfully defended, one destroyed, and a new one online.  And we all know just a bit more about POS mechanics, just in time for them to go away at some point in the near future.

Others on this topic:

CO2’s Keepstar Reinforced in DW-T2I

As expected, with our own Keepstar safely installed in 6RCQ-V the night before, operations directly against Circle of Two in Fade began.

Fade is not a big region, and while CO2 also holds a bit of Pure Blind as well, the bulk of its holdings are in Fade, including its capital and Keepstar in DW-T2I.  So that system and Keepstar are not far from where the Imperium’s own Keepstar is now planted as well as being close to NPC space in Pure Blind where Imperium SIGs & Squads have been based for the last few months.

Fade Map with Locations noted

Fleets were called up for various tasks last night, including Reavers.

I actually missed the initial ping, but reports were that nothing really happened and I managed to get online and catch up with the fleet as we headed off to DW-T2I.  There we hung out for a while on one of the Raitarus we have anchored in the system, waiting to see what CO2 would do when another group started shooting their Keepstar.

We spend a lot of time hanging around structures

While somebody was at the helm of the Keepstar and using its weapons to hit the attackers, no resistance showed up in ships, so we were allowed to run off and shoot something on our own.  Our target for the night was the Draccous faction Fortizar that replaced the station in system when CCP did the great outpost conversion back in early June.

CO2’s Draccous Fortizar

We approached this with some caution.  We were not a big fleet and a Fortizar’s defenses are not without teeth.  But nobody was at the helm and when scanned we found that only the default fittings that came with the conversion, the rigs and services, were there.  Without defenses we were clear to fly around and let our drones reinforce it… and goof off a bit.

HarleyQ trying to catch up to us

Aside from a lumbering point Proteus falling behind the fleet… somebody may have webbed him… the shoot went without incident.  The armor timer was set to go early on Saturday.

Draccous Reinforced

After that we warped over to the gate that would send us in the direction of home.  That gate is on grid with the CO2 Keepstar and we stopped to watch the attacking fleet for a bit.  There were some titans with fax support with Megathrons and Ravens along for the shoot as well.

Titans in defensive bubbles, battleships just barely visible

Looking at the related kills over on zKillboard, it looks like the Keepstar defenses were able to pick off some of the battleships, but none of the capitals were in danger.  And, looking at some of the kills, at least one was blue on blue.  I don’t know what Kun’mi did, but all the pilots on the kill mail for his Nestor are in the Imperium.

The Keepstar didn’t have much further to go.  It was down to the last few percentage points of shield when we arrived, so we saw a bit of shooting before it was reinforced.

Keepstar reinforcement timer

After that we were off for home, the evening’s work done.

The next attack, the armor timer, is set to come out on Saturday… if I am doing my calculations correctly… at about noon Pacific time, which is 3pm Eastern time, or 19:00 EVE Online time.  that makes it an evening event for the Euros and an afternoon fight in USTZ.

This puts the fight in contention with the final timer for the TEST Keepstar down south, so I suspect many of the possible allies of CO2 will punt on the armor timer to get in on a potential Keepstar kill at the other end of New Eden.  We shall seem come Saturday.  Meanwhile ops continue in the north to suppress the locals and reinforce other structures they have about.

Welcome to the New North

Which is pretty much same as the old north.  At least the north as I last wrote about it, and it has been a while.  I mean, sure, some of the names and colors have changed.

The North around Pure Blind – July 5, 2018

Mordus Angels folded up and most of its corporations moved to other alliances in the area, many of them to Circle of Two.

MOA Dropping Off

Circle of Two, having suffered a stinging defeat when The Judge defected to GoonSwarm, stealing a huge amount of assets on his way out last September, lost Impass and had to spend some time on a couch in Vale of the Silent to rebuild under the protective umbrella of Pandemic Legion.

Good times… good times…

However, Circle of Two is back now, sent from the safe couch to fill in part of the hole in the front lines left by MOA’s departure, taking over Fade and part of Pure Blind.  Their leader is The gigX, who is rumored to actually be gigX, whose account was banned after threatening The Judge.  I am not sure if this is true, but even if it is not, it is somebody flaunting their defiance to CCP.

Meanwhile the Imperium SIGs and squads took a break for the first half of June, which no doubt helped CO2 get settled in.

But that has since ended, as has my own vacation time during the back half of June, and now we are back to our usual business of trying to draw out the locals to get them to fight.  The three usual methods are back in play.

The first is shooting their structures, setting timers, in the hope of getting them to come out and defend.

Shooting up an Astrahus just last night

The second involves planting our own structures around their space.  If the locals come out we get the fight we’re looking for, and if they do not then we get a safe spot to tether up and repair in their space.

Another Raitaru anchored and repairing

And third there is the ongoing hunt for their ratters and miners.

A CO2 Rorqual under attack

I was back from vacation just in time to get on that kill.

This is a priority, hunting down miners and ratters in order to suppress the income of the locals.  The Imperium, as reported over at the New Eden Register, has stepped this campaign up a notch by creating the National Goons Surveillance Agency.  Under this plan people will get participation links for cloaky camping hostile systems in the north, systems being doled out to get maximum coverage, as well as bounty payouts if they call in a hot drop that ends up in a kill.

The response to this from our foes was naturally dismissive.  They questioned the economic sense of it… to which one can only ask if they read the Monthly Economic Report… and claim to have setup an always on-call coalition-wide defense fleet of capital ships ready to counter-drop any Imperium activity.

The latter could be a thing.  We do, after all, operate under what should be their capital umbrella.  However, though I haven’t been out on a ton of ops this month, I have yet to see evidence that this counter force is in place.  It certainly didn’t show up to help that Rorqual, and we had to wait out its PANIC module.  Plus, it had a cyno and fuel.  So what happened?

Yes, they did counter drop a couple days later and made a save.  That proves that they don’t really have to deply a lot in order to counter-drop.  But Rorquals still seem to be shy in the north.

Anyway, the usual tempo of operations… we’ve been at this since at least November with a few breaks… continues.  We’ll be out on the evenings USTZ to play the structures game and the cloaky campers will be on the look out for targets on which to drop, all the while waiting to see what the north does in response.

A Return to Quiet in Fade

After the thousand ship battle of the previous night I wondered if GotG would keep that up to clear our structures from their space.  However, it seems that level of effort two nights running wasn’t going to happen as we formed up again and headed to DO6H-Q.

We went back to their staging system again, this time with less than a hundred ships, to cover a couple of things.  We were, once again, dropping a pair of Raitarus on their Keepstar grid.  In addition, the remaining Raitaru was coming into its final timer, so if GotG wanted to destroy it, this would be the time.

The Keepstar from the active Raitaru

The GotG response, however, was desultory.

We arrived in system and not much was going on.  We roamed around the grid where the two new Raitarus were deploying, but no forces were forming up to meet us, much less chase us off.

Two Raitarus deploying

To pass the time we went off to one of their towers to shoot their jump bridge module.  This, as before, meant more work for logi as the tower on which the jump bridge had been anchored was armed.  Lots of calls for reps.

Shooting a jump bridge module again

As we did that a few of the locals headed out to the structures to hit them as a way to annoy us.  We warped back a couple of times and caught a few after which they became a bit more wary.  Back on the jump bridge a couple of game pilots tried to bomb us.

It was at the jump bridge that we suffered our only loss, a Vigil that got popped by the tower.

A Raitaru deploying

The Raitarus take six days to come online due to being in space owned by somebody else.  Those will be future fights.  After we popped the jump bridge, deciding to make them spend the ISK to replace it rather than making them repair it, we were back to the online Raitaru to watch its timer tick down.

Just two minutes or so to go…

That went without issue and the Raitaru was saved, leaving GotG to start over again on the cycle to destroy it.  I understand that they got out a small fleet of bombers and Eagles to shoot it this morning to get that under way.

After that we had a Raitaru in a system next door to watch as it came online, leaving us another place to tether and dock up.  As we roamed around I noticed another Raitaru coming online in their space.

Another location coming soon

Overall as we did that we managed to pick off enough of the locals to make it worth generating a battle report to get the tally.

Battle Report Header

We ended up blowing up a few pilots multiple times, and got the pods on some, which is how the number ends up with 48 ships but only 23 pilots.

Meanwhile, as we did that in one fleet I had an alt in another fleet that was cruising around and blowing up leftover Pandemic Horde structures.

Astrahus going up

Aside from running into some Caldari faction warfare pilots, who chased us off, but then killed the Astrahus we were shooting, so goal accomplished, it was an easy op delivering torpedoes on one target after another.  And while PH is no longer in the area, these being gone means less places for any of the locals to tether up.

And so it goes.  One night a thousand people in local.  The next night almost nobody is there to resist us.  So we laid the groundwork for further fights.  We shall see when GotG chooses to rise up and defend again.

Escalating Battle Sizes in Fade

Asher always warns us to not talk to much about our deployments while they are in progress.  Talking about them… especially on Reddit… brings attention to the fact that there are decent, small scale fights happening somewhere in null sec regularly which gets other people to considering flying over to join in on the fun.  Then things escalate as more people show up and sooner or later you’re back to time dilation sized fights, which are fun once in a while but not something you want to face every night.

So our deployment up into Pure Blind to hound Pandemic Horde and Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t get a lot of mention for a while.  We’ve been up there since November and for most of that time we’ve done our thing with small fleets, occasionally teaming up with TNT, who have a had a fun times deployment like our own going in Lonetrek, but mostly keeping things light.  We prod the locals, drop on their ratters and miners, and dock up when things get too hot for our band.

Then Pandemic Horde moved to Geminate and Guardians of the Galaxy started coming apart under the pressure of our presence, pulling back from trying to camp us, letting us drop structures in their staging, and letting us get away with things an organization that size ought to be able to stomp on given their local capital and super capital dominance.  One of their FCs quit the game while a number of high level defections hit their moral, while some of their internal reactions embarrassed them in public, all of which was documented over on the /r/eve section of Reddit.

Anyway, enough preamble.  GotG’s leader Sort Dragon is back from vacation and knows he is facing a crisis that requires the coalition to stand up and win some fights, while all of this passing through Reddit means that more outsiders will be showing up for battles.

And so it was last night.  One of the Raitaru’s we had anchored on grid with their Keepstar in DO6H-Q was in its final timer and GotG was keen to kill it.  Removing us from line of sight of their staging point would be a good start towards boosting moral.

The Raitaru in question as seen from the Darkness Keepstar

To make sure that they won GotG enlisted the help of their allies NCDot, Mercenary Coalition, and Pandemic Horde for the fight.

At our end Asher was pinging about a big fight to get as many of us on as well as getting the TNT deployment to come over and join us.  In addition TEST, stepping beyond just watching and spamming local in DO6H-Q, brought over a fleet to help us.  We also got a fleet of Jackdaws from Federation Uprising (FEDUP), a faction warfare group that took some space in Cloud Ring on a lark a while back in September and are still there more than six months later. (Kirith Kodachi is part of FEDUP.)

At our end we formed up with the TNT group and were bridged up into Fade to get into position.

Bridging into Fade yet again

There we hung out on the Raitaru with TEST, led by Vily, who once long ago was an FC for the CFC.  They had brought a Cerberus fleet.

Vily in his command ship

There we watched the enemy form.  GotG was forming up a Loki fleet with Hendrink Collie as the FC, flying one of the new Monitor FC ships.  That was the first one I had seen on the live server.

Hendrinks new ride

GotG also had carriers out and were sending fighters towards the Raitaru as the timer counted down.  Also on the field were NCDot in Cerbs, MC in Feroxes, and PH in Jackdaws.

The timer was already in play and the fighters were slow boating towards it before anything happened.  It was not obvious as to whether or not the fighters would get there in time to hit the Raitaru when Asher had the Ishtars spread out around the structure, drop sentry drones, and then led us off tether and into combat.

The Ishtar Train speeds along

Our formation was pretty simple.  We all follow Asher with prop modules on.  The Ishtars shoot the targets called, the support ships bubble, boost, paint, or apply ewar, and the logi tries to keep up with calls for reps.  As with the last fight, life in the logi channel was very busy right off the bat as the enemy tried to trim us back so they could kill off the Ishtars.

That was also when things began to slow down.  Time dilation began to rear its ugly head, so what seemed like a long and busy fight from my own subjective view did not last too long in game time as it was moving at about 20% of normal.  More than a thousand people in local will do that.

Popular Fight

We seemed to be fixed mostly on the Loki fleet which was following Hendrink around in a tight ball.

Monitor and Lokis

They had an advantage on their side.  Being in their staging system they could replace losses very quickly and more than once I heard a target called that we had blown up once already.

A Loki going, only to return again

Our losses ended up jumps away in our staging system with a hazardous path back to the fight.  However our Ishtar fleet was big enough this time around to take down Lokis while we hand substantially more logi than last time so were able to save many ships.  In this the tidi helped with that.  When the game is moving slowly it becomes easier to lock up and get reps on people because the pace becomes leisurely.  The only frustration is that it does take time for modules to spin down, so it can feel like you’re not going to get reps on somebody in time.  But we did pretty well, saving people deep in armor (or sometimes in structure) before they blew up.

The haze of the cap chain and reps in the battle

Meanwhile we kept in contact with the Loki fleet, chipping away at them.

Inside the Loki ball

At one point GotG dropped an Apostle force auxiliary on grid with us and the Raitaru to help rep the Loki fleet.  This became a priority target and was blown up before too long.

The Apostle coming apart

Somewhere along the line I had launched the Warrior IIs in my drone bay and then lost track of them.  They were likely done in by smart bombs in the Loki fleet.  But that meant not having anything to send towards the Apostle to get on that kill.  Ah well.

Meanwhile I am not sure how much the fax helped GotG.  Their fleet zoomed by the wreck not long after the Apostle was lost.

Lokis near the Apostle wreck

As this was all going on the fighters from the carriers had arrived on the Raitaru with about a minute left on its timer and were able to stop it as they chewed away at its structure.

The Raitaru in the middle of all of this

There came a moment of decision.  There was a mass of fighters on the Raitaru.  We could try to shoot them and maybe save the citadel, though it was not certain we could do it, or we could shoot GotG ships some more.  Asher opted for the latter and among the eventual victims was Hendrink Collie’s Monitor, aptly named, “Asher NOOOOOOOOO.”

Target the Monitor

That was the first Monitor kill for almost everybody though again, having lost my drones somewhere, I missed out.

By that point the Raitaru had exploded, fighters were being recalled, and our reason for being there had expired.  It was time to go.  Asher sent the Ishtars off to scoop up their drones, sentry drones being stationary, long range models.  That actually led to a series of Ishtar losses.  There were still hostiles on grid with us and they started picking off lone Ishtars.  They would broadcast for armor but were mostly out of range of reps and sometimes out of lock range, so we took some last minute losses that might have been avoided.  Nothing like being on top of broadcasts for a long stretch and then getting a string where you can’t help.

We then headed out, keeping together so as to prevent stragglers from being picked off.  The tidi outside of DO6H-Q was worse than inside the system as several fleets pushed through gates.  Asher told us we needed to get back to our staging and reload drones as there was another objective to hit.  But by the time we got back to the station that event had already played out and we were done for the night.

On the GotG side of things they managed to complete their main objective in DO6H-Q.  They destroyed the Raitaru in question and another without any resistance.  The battle report shows they paid a price for that objective.

Battle Report Header

The ISK war clearly went in our favor.

Furthermore, as Asher notes in his after action report post on Reddit, while this was going on other forces were able to go out and kill a Tatara and an Athanor, so you can understand why we might feel pretty good about how the night turned out. (Also his AAR explains the broader fight as opposed to my narrow logi view.)

There is also a video of the fight up on YouTube now that shows a few items I mentioned above.

And a thousand ships is a sizable fight.  It seems like we might be past the time of 60-80 person fleets going out for objectives.  The fights are growing in size as the nature of the conflict escalates for GotG into a need to prove they can defend their own space.

 Addendum: Another video of the fight, this one with some of our coms, including bad puns.

Rising to the Occasion in Fade

Asher called it while we were still docked up long before the fight.

Having suffered the humiliation of yet another defection which, among other loot, involved us ending up with a Keepstar they had yet to deploy, the Guardians of the Galaxy coalition was rightfully pissed off and so formed up better numbers than usual when it came time to contest another Raitaru coming online on grid with their Keepstar in DO6H-Q.

They were not out in huge numbers, the sort of numbers a shared feeling of righteous fury would bring.  But it was more than we’ve seen in a while and it was more than we were able to field.  We were especially short on logi, undocking with only eight Guardians in the chain channel, about half of the number we’ve been working with recently.  Two more caught up later, but I am not sure the last one to arrive got in the fight before our logi was toast.

Still, we formed up and rolled out for DO6H-Q, arriving with plenty of time to spare before the event.  As we hung on on structure we could see the enemy forming.

Calm before the battle

As the time drew near we could see their Eagle doctrine ready to go again, with capital support in the form of carriers.  I thought that the numbers against us were enough that we might not take the fight.  But we were there and the time was set and Asher seemed keen to test them, so we broke tether, leaving safety to warp onto the repairing Raitaru.

The first thing we had to do was chase off the fighters already there and set to attack, the plan being to use the carriers to hit the structure while the Eagle fleet kept us busy.  But the Eagles weren’t coming for us yet so the fighters had to withdraw for the moment or get chewed up by our drones.

Then the Eagles were in play and we started warping around the grid from point to point, looking for an optimal position from which to fight them.

Bouncing off yet another deploying Raitaru of ours

That went on long enough that Asher wondered aloud on coms if they really wanted to fight us or not.  But they did want to fight us and, after a few more warps the fleets began to grapple.  We, as usual, went after their support ships first.  You can see in the battle report that we stripped out their tackle, boosters, and some of their logi.

They did the same… after a bit.  For some reason they were hitting Ishtars early on, leaving those of us in the logi chain to scramble in order to save people.  The Eagle fleet didn’t have enough burst damage to alpha any of us off the field, but their rail guns were chewing through armor quickly enough that it was tough to save anybody.  Waiting for armor reps to land, which they only do at the end of the module cycle, meant often seeing ships wink out from my UI before they could be saved.

Then they turned on the logi and we were then quite busy trying to save ourselves.  I managed to get reps onto my down chain logi partner early on, which was enough to get him reps in time and make the enemy swap targets, but the pressure began to tell.  Soon one Guardian was down, then another, and with each one gone the rest became that much easier to kill.  You can tell how busy I was because I only took the two screen shots above during the whole fight.  No time to gawk with my head out the window looking at space.

My turn came.  I had my hardeners pre-heated and when the yellow boxes began to blink on my overview I turned them on.  I broadcast for armor, but by that point there were only a couple of Guardians left.  I was probably gone before reps could finish their cycle and then I was out and about in a pod.  I warped for one of our structures, then headed for the gate and the few jumps back to our staging to get another ship.  The enemy was fully engaged with our fleet, so the route home was clear at that point.

I sat docked up and listened to comms.  Asher was still maneuvering, trying to find weak spots from which he could extract another kill.  Eventually though, the loss of logi, tackle, and other support meant the end of the fight for us.  The enemy was not keep to let him go, looking to get more kills while they held the advantage.  The straight route home was blocked by that point and Asher led the fleet on a round about march back to our staging, losing a couple of stragglers along the way but still bringing home the bulk of the fleet.

In the end Guardians of the Galaxy won the day.  For us the objective was lost, the Raitaru destroyed, and the ISK war tilted against us as well on the battle report.

Battle report summary

There was about another 1.6 billion in ISK lost on our part during the extraction and move back to our staging, which puts the ISK balance clearly, if not overwhelmingly, in their favor.  GotG has their own after action report up on Reddit.  A victory for them.

But another day has dawned already and more citadels will be coming online.  Our time in DO6H-Q is not done yet.  And it is worth noting again that we are taking these fights to them, in their staging system, on grid with their Keepstar, with fleets of between 70 and 100 pilots.

Granted, there is a pile of suicide dreadnoughts waiting for a few stray supers to show up, but it still seems like they could undock capitals in force and shoo us away without much effort.  They could clear their Keepstar grid in a week or so and be done with that nonsense.  This was, after all, the same group that just a couple months ago was bubbling our station and trying to camp us in with capitals and supers.

Our staging, not all that long ago

We shall see if this new resurgence is just temporary or not.

Fade and the Art of Structure Maintenance

I was again out with fleets in the north last night.  During the day, if I read the pings correctly, the EUTZ crew was shooting their structures.  But come the evening and USTZ prime time, it was time again to defend our own structured being deployed on grid with the Darkness Keepstar in DO6H-Q.

We formed up in Ishtars again, so I grabbed my Guardian and got in the logi channel to play space priest once more.  Undocked we spread out in front of the station as everybody got together.

Ishtars once more in space

There is always somebody changing to the right fit at the last second, and even I was at the hairy edge of that as there was a call to change the Guardian fit from what I had been flying.

This time out we took gates to DO6H-Q.  It isn’t that far away and nothing was reported lurking between our staging and there.

Ishtars landing on a gate

We arrived in system and tethered up at one of our already anchored structures and looked around to assess the situation.  We had a bit until the first structure finished deploying and entered its 15 minute vulnerability window as it came online.

Coming online in a little over 12 minutes

You can see, in the background of the above, another Raitaru slowly deploying.

Raitaru deploying

By default Upwell structures take 24 hours to deploy, but as part of the sovereignty mechanics of conquerable null sec, deploying a structure in space owned by somebody else ups that time to six days.  So that Raitaru will be ready on Monday morning EVE time.

There was a moment of hope that GotG was going to bring a fight with something new when a Tempest Fleet Issue undock from the Keepstar.

Tempest Fleet Issue

However that turned out to be just one person undocking it for whatever reasons.

As the timer on the first structure ticked down Asher, privy to coalition level intel, decided that the locals were not going to undock a fleet at this point to contest the onlining.  We were going to stay in the area in case something came up, but do something else while we waited.

Asher warped us off to a gate and we jumped, and warped off to a POS where the locals had a jump bridge anchored.  The tower was armed, so we left light stuff with a bit of support back at the gate we came through.  We landed, anchored up, and disabled the warp disruption batteries on the POS first, then started in on the jump bridge module.

Shooting the jump bridge module

This was probably the most challenging part of the evening for logi.  The tower had no shortage of guns and we were big enough to hit fairly easily, with just a couple of shots able to put an Ishtar or Guardian into armor.  Also, when POS guns shoot in their autonomous mode, they switch targets regularly.  This meant a steady stream of calls for reps as everybody seemed to get their turn as a target.

Rep, cap chain, and neut effects on the Ishtar ball

A year from now, if CCP keeps on task, the venerable POS will be a thing of memory and jump bridges will be a different beast,  But last night we were in for the old school experience.  We knocked the jump bridge module down to half structure, then tried to rep the armor back up a bit.  The owned have to decide if the want to spend the time repping it back up or if it is easier to just shoot and kill it themselves in order to drop a fresh module.

We did not get much time to rep the module however.  As we were shooting things on the tower, a small group of locals undocked in bombers, along with one Ferox battlecruiser, in order to shoot the onlining structure.  They were hitting it with enough damage to stop the repair timer, but were making slow enough progress that we had time to finish disabling the jump bridge before heading back to shoo them away.

When we got back into DO6H-Q and landed on grid with the Raitaru, the locals set themselves to warp off.  But the Ferox pilot was a bit too slow on that front and ended up locked down, unable to warp, or even move very fast.

A Ferox in trouble

Asher wanted to let everybody get on the kill, so had us drop just one light drone each.  But as we started to eat through him he has logi start repping him as well.

Repping a hostile Ferox

I do wonder what was going on in the pilots mind as time dragged on and we were both shooting him and keeping him alive.  He kept trying to move and shoot us and launched his drones, which were shot as well.  That is all you can really do, just keep squirming and maybe there will be a mistake and you can get away.

After keeping him as a pet for a while, Asher had us all launch two more light drones to apply damage to see if logi could keep him alive.  I activated my other two reps on him as the extra drones hit.  As it turned out, we could not keep him alive.  According to the kill mail he managed to tank a lot of damage with us repping him.

We were briefly able to capture a Nemesis stealth bomber as well, but it was too fragile and blew up very quickly.

After that we were left alone to tether up and wait for the timer to count down, after which we headed back to our staging.  Or tried to.  On the gate out we got fed a couple of targets and started to wonder if this was a ploy to keep us there.  But once everybody’s aggression timer finally ran down we jumped through and headed home.

We went back because it was late for some people… it was late for me even, though I get up at around 5am, so late is a relative term… so we docked up and let people log off.   A few more people joined the fleet and I decided to stay for the next round.

Asher said that we had intel indicating that they would undock for the next timer so we might get a fight.  That merited a ride out to battle, so we got in range of the titan and waited to be bridged directly to our destination.

Waiting for the bridge

Back in DO6H-Q the locals, like earlier this week, had formed up a fleet based on the Eagle heavy assault cruiser.  However, like last time, they didn’t form up enough numbers to overwhelm us so, once we clashed, things turned very quickly in our favor and they had to flee the scene.

As that happened a TEST pilot, Cpt Sobad (alt of Capt. Soban), indulged him in his alliance’s tradition of shitting up local by haranguing the locals for not being able to stop us despite being in their staging system and under their capital and super cap umbrella.  We, as usual, stayed silent in local.  But seeing an outsider taking the locals to task was amusing.

Cpt Sobad tethered at our citadel

He was able to tether up safely at one of our structures because we have them set to be open to anybody not in GotG or PanFam.  We let him warp out a pick up a souvenir corpse from the battlefield.  He has since returned the favor by writing to PepsiCo about the obvious state of our thirst after this hard work.

That was about the end of the action.  Asher deployed his MTU, named after Erebus SilentKill, the only MTU he will tolerate on the field, and it cleaned up the wrecks so as to leave nothing for the locals.

A Vigil valiantly salvaging wrecks

Once the Raitaru was online a hauler was brought in to fuel it up.

A Prowler and a covert cyno

That was it for the op.  We rolled home without incident.

The battle report for the night, which covers both interludes, shows the ISK war tilted again in our favor.  We didn’t kill as much as the other night, but we didn’t lose anything expensive this time either.  Somehow I didn’t get counted on the battle report even though I was on a few ship kill mails.  The zKillboard related kills shows me, though it has a different time frame.

Also, a side note on the topic of GotG FC Erebus SilentKill; he apparently has decided to quit EVE Online, for which he was memorialized and/or mocked over on zKillboard, depending on how you look at it.  We have faced him more than a few times lately.  He was the one harrying our fleet when we went back to shoot the Sotiyo again.  On the other hand, he was also streaming his fleet with no delay and talking about his intentions, so handed us a bounty of intel.

Anyway, I wonder what the leader of GotG, Sort Dragon, who is vacationing in Japan currently, will have to say when he gets home?

Addendum: See my comment below on what has happened this morning, including the theft of a Keepstar.  More links there.