Tag Archives: Goon Expeditionary Force

An Exit from Tenerifis and Convoys Home to Delve

The high tide of the GEF expedition into the southeast of null sec has been reached.  After purging the flood plains of FI.RE and getting into their core region of Tenerifis, the end of the road was reached.

Two leading candidates

Late last week in the system of 46DP-O on the boarder with Detroid, a barrier was hit, the extent of our grasp was reached, and the campaign seemed to have reached its conclusion.

It wasn’t a defeat.  There was a point when titans were dropped and went on to lance the locals, destroying a Machariel fleet.  Capital ships engaged.

But the sov contest failed when we lost a HAC fleet or two of our own.  FI.RE and their PAPI allies held on and going back to try again seemed like more trouble than it was worth.  We had already burned down most of their core region.

Tenerifis – May 25, 2022

Come the weekend and the fireside it was announced that we would be pulling back.  The southeast had been burned down and some other groups were testing our other frontiers.  Fraternity had grabbed HED-GP in Catch and was making threatening noises about some slight by Imperium alliance Dracarys.  Meanwhile, some bits of PAPI had been nosing around Pure Blind, so the time seemed right to head home.

Of course, leaving is a challenge all its own.  In any deployment getting all your ships back home in one piece is a challenge, and I have already complained a few times about having ships scattered all along the route or our advance.  And the locals were not going to let us get away without some harassment.  There would be no solo/yolo flights home.  Gate camps awaited us in Tenerifis and Feythabolis and they were retaking the ihubs to re-establish their own footholds again.

So the plan was to move back one staging Fortizar at a time.  Our first move would be to pull back from Tenerifis to Feythabolis, then to Esoteria, and so on down the line to home, getting everybody to each stop.  That means a week’s worth of move ops because there is always somebody who doesn’t get the word or is late or on vacation or is otherwise busy.

I had been preparing to leave some smaller ships behind for asset safety, but for the first stage of the move out I actually left nothing behind.  It took a few trips out of our main staging Fortizar, but I have everything back in Feythabolis.

Saying farewell to Tenerifis for now

That was only four ships though.  That number became six once we got to the Feythabolis staging, and will become eight when we get back to the next stop.  That includes a blockade runner and some ammo and drone supplies that I brought out and then mostly never used.

But people are generous in letting others use hangar space in the capital ships jumping back.  I hope I won’t have to fly ALL the ships I brought or bought during the campaign back home.

Eventually we’ll get close enough to home that the move ops will be quick and end in Delve.  Once I can pile everything back in the Keepstar in 1DQ1-A I’ll feel better and swear once more that I won’t end up with so many ships on a deployment.  But somehow I always do.

Follow on:

So I meant to post this LAST Monday, and then every day there was something else I wanted to post, so here we are a week later and move ops have pretty much come to a close.  FI.RE and PAPI have popped our staging Fortizar in Tenerifis, so anybody who had things left behind will have to go find them in asset safety.

But there were lots of move ops.  I ended up going on three so between two characters flying ships and somebody carrying ships in their SMA space in the capitals, I managed to get all ten ships I somehow ended up with on the deployment back home to 1DQ1-A.

Of course, it was not without its minor challenges.  Move ops, especially combined move ops with capitals, supercapitals, and subcaps, tend to be slow and problems arise, people go AFK, instructions get ignored or misunderstood.  The patience of the FCs was pretty high given all of that.

It was basically 12 gates from Omist to home thanks to the Ansiblex jump gate network.  But supers can’t go through those and when you push capitals through allied gates you sometimes empty the tank and have to make another plan.

Sometimes the Ansiblex is just out of fuel

Still, it was one of those uniquely EVE Online null sec things, convoys of ships from frigates to titans all moving together.

Carriers, dreads, and faxes taking an Ansiblex

The enemy was on the lookout for stragglers, and did try to “waterboard” us a couple of times… that being the in-game term for just making move ops miserable by using drag bubbles and interdictors to slow everything down… but it wasn’t very effective.  I think self-inflicted slow downs were much more common.

Mostly is was gate, align, wait, capitals move, subcaps cover, do a jump, wait for a timer, rinse and repeat all the way back to Delve.

I remember when capitals couldn’t take gates

There are still people moving from some of the waypoints, but the most distant two are mostly clear… or completely clear in the case of the one in Tenerifis now that the Fortizar is gone.

Now to see what is next in Delve.

Action in Tenerifis

I managed to have some free time when a big op was planned on Saturday, so was able to actually see some action up in Tenerifis.  This was a planned op with a few objectives, so I was able to get on and ready before we undocked to get on a titan.

Getting on the titan for another op

The first on our list of things to do was to go babysit a coalition Fortizar that was set to deploy.  The bridge went up and we were sent on our way deeper into Tenerifis.

Off we go

We landed deeper in the region, ready for action.

Landing after the bridge

Once there we just had to hang around and wait for the timer to count down before it could then start its final 15 minute deployment.

A new Fortizar about to finish

That part of the op passed without incident… or without enemy interference.  Somebody in our fleet by the name of Smoky DaBud started shooting the Fortizar despite it being friendly and being told multiple times over coms to knock it off.  We were promised a Fortizar to shoot, but this wasn’t it.  Eventually our FC, Apple Pear, unable to get Smoky to stop, broadcast him as a target and we shot him instead.  Boom.

At least we got on one kill mail for the fleet.

Once the Fortizar was deployed, a titan jumped in to bridge us to our next location, 46DP-O, deep within Tenerifis.

There we took up station at one of the gates to pop any of the locals or their allies from getting in to interfere with what we had going on.

Battleships holding the gate

We were there to fly cover and guard against the inevitable heavy assault cruiser response fleet the locals would pull together to stop our fun.  Multiple missions were going on and we were only part of a couple bits and pieces.

The gate duty saw some targets, but you had to be fast to lock them in time.  This was one of those times when being closer to the data center in London helped, and being in California meant even when I was on the ball I rarely got a shot off before the target died.

Eventually they got a cyno up past the gate and brought in a Cerberus fleet to counter us.  We pulled back to defend the Apostles hitting the ihub.  There we engaged with the Cerbs as they tried to swoop in and get a capital kill.

Bubbles controlling the grid around the ihub

That saw some kills, but it was after that when the real action began.  Once the ihub was set our focus was on the staging Fortizar the enemy had in the system.  We setup with a couple other fleets, The Initiative in Navy Apocs again and an Eagle fleet that flew in from 1DQ1-A, to set a time on the Fort.

The setting for the final part of our fleet

There the

Cerbs showed up again, running in and out to try and pick off targets of opportunity, while our long range guns tried to pick them off.  They focused on a couple of the Apostles that were on grid with us, acting as logi for the battle ships.  Coordinating with the gunner in the Fort, they managed to pop one of the Apostles.

The Apostle blows up

That was a blow, and our most expensive loss of the day, zKillboard figuring it being worth 5.6 billion ISK.

The Cerbs went after a second Apostle that was on grid with us, pouring missiles in at it while our logi wing went off to try and help it.

Missiles incoming

We managed to keep that Apostle alive until it was free to jump out.

We then ran off to cover some titans that were on the field with us.  As we landed one of our hictors put up a bubble, which was not something you should do.  Bubbling your own caps gets you shot.

Titans in an unplanned bubble

We had a series of bad bubbles during this fleet and Apple Pear, who is often one of the more chill FCs, was starting to get pissed off at this.  Some days we can be a trying group to lead.

After that the Fortizar was reinforced and we started heading back towards home.

Armor fight when that timer is done

However, the enemy wasn’t keep to let us slip away unscathed and chased us for a bit, slowing down our extraction.

Piling up on a gate on the way out

There were some more losses as stragglers who were not aligned or who didn’t get out of bubbles got picked off.  But that only lasted a couple of systems before we were away and back to the Fortizar we had covered earlier.  There a titan gave us a bridge back to our staging.

Bridging back at the end of the op

And that was it.  All told the action lasted about 3.5 hours.  The battle report for the whole encounter over multiple systems ended up looking like this:

Battle Report Header

Again, the number of losses seems pretty small relative to some of the clashes back during World War Bee, but this is… mostly… just a SIGs and squads deployment against a secondary group from PAPI.

Things came out in our favor, but we were clearly pushing in force on the op, and there was action going on across several systems.  Nearly 20% of our ISK losses were that one Apostle and a Paladin that got popped as well.  Some people like to bring expensive toys on ops, but they do attract attention.

That was only one of the ops that went off over the weekend, and the map of Tenerifis may look even more bleak for the locals by the end of the week.

Forward into Tenerifis

I thought I had heard… and I might be mistaken… that Tenerifis, was going to be the line in the sand, the end of the flood plains and the beginning of the real defense, the place where FI.RE and their PAPI allies would make their stand.  This would be the tough nut to crack.  There was even some loose talk about making this a more formal coalition deployment, as I hinted last week.

And so we formed up and bridged in this past weekend to test this, taking on some of their structures.

The fleet landing on its way to the shoot

But when we got there, we only really had the structure to contend with, a Pandemic Horde Fortizar on its armor timer.

Not as Kinky as all that really

We rolled out in the Baltec doctrine, which is Megathrons and Apocalypses, while The Initiative was out in the Navy Apocs.

INIT showing off with a starburst

But the PAPI threat never quite materialized.  They threw some bombs at us from the fort, but we shot ourselves more than they shot us as the GEF and INIT FCs each had their fleets shoot the other’s leader.  I think the main casualty was John Hartley, who got shot after he booshed part of the GEF fleet off of our orbits.  A Bifrost doesn’t hold up like a Monitor does.

There was a threat of getting bombed on the gate, or maybe some stragglers getting caught by dictors as we moved to leave, but it didn’t happen.  We took precautions, stayed safe, and got home… except for John Hartley I guess.

And that seemed to be the way things played out even when we started taking down their ihubs and laying down our own.  The Imperium grabbed some of their core space.

Tenerifis – May 18, 2022

Of course, once we did that and set down some structures of our own, it was time to move into a new staging system to be all the closer to the the alleged action.

And, frankly, move ops are going to be the end of me.  I will never recover financially from leaving ships strewn about the southeast of null sec.

Well, it isn’t that bad.  I haven’t actually spent much ISK on ships.  Almost everything I deployed was World War Bee surplus, save for a Sleipner.  Frankly, I’d like to lose a few of them just to get some ISK out of insurance and reimbursement because I sank a lot of ISK… for me at least… into ships in anticipation of a bloody defense of our final constellation in Delve.  But it never came to pass.  So I am hull rich and kind of ISK poor.

Fortunately, the coalition hasn’t gone through a round of doctrine changes.  The only new item was the Sleipner doctrine, meant to supplant Muninns… and then the we gave up on it once I had one in my hangar.  But that is the way it goes sometimes as a coalition line member.  I have hulls in my hangar back in Delve just waiting for some old doctrine to return.

My main problem is just not having that much free time to be a part of the deployment.  It has been a busy couple of months and I can go a week or ten days between ops, which seemed to be just about the right amount of time for us to need to move to a new staging system, hence my anxiety.

So I don’t really have much to report, just some nice screen shots I have taken here and there when I do manage to get on something that isn’t just a move op.

Baltec fleet bridging out again

The campaign is far from done though, so opportunities still await.

The Campaign in the Southeast of Null Sec

I mentioned back in March that the Goon Expeditionary Force, a SIG within the Imperium, was deploying to the southeast of null sec.  Initially it was to push back PAPI forces that were encroaching on some of our allies in Esoteria.

The one on the left is the official GEF forum bee, but I am too lazy to make another graphic

The situation was reversed and soon the GEF were pushing PAPI and its allies back into FI.RE territory, bashing structures, popping ihubs, and getting a fun fight now and then.  Nothing huge, nothing to make any headlines, just the sort of nuts and bolts operations that keep those of us who are into the push and shove of null sec invested and busy doing something.

I’m not like The Mittani, complaining about wretched peace.  But I have little else but war left in the game that interests me.  It hasn’t been much of a war, but it is the only one we’ve had.  And there have been some accomplishments.  Look at the ihub map of Omist:

Omist region – May 10, 2022

I think that is the first region map I have posted since the weekly World War Bee updates.

All of the ihubs have been knocked out, save for the one The Initiative planted in the forward staging system.

My only problem with the campaign so far is that I have been away for almost three weeks during the whole thing so far, and every time I come back the staging system has moved and I have to get ships to a new system.  I have things strewn across our path into the east

But the whole thing seems to be coming to a head.  We have pushed through most of the… lets call them flood plains, to borrow a term from another conflict… and have started knocking on the door of some core territory that FI.RE, and PAPI as a whole, might be more invested in defending.  The Tenerifis region has them forming up and defending more aggressively, calling up friends and family to join in the fight.

I was in a scuffle late last week in the system of ZO-P5K where we reinforced an ihub and drew quite a response.

My Megathron out by the ihub

Then, just yesterday, while I was at work… so I had to watch the pings while I tried to focus on what I was supposed to be doing… another clash broke out as GEF reinforced an ihub in T2-V8F.  A battle developed that actually got a call for reinforcements from Delve, with The Mittani breaking into the strategic tilde reserve in his pings to emphasize that this might build to something.

The battle report shows about an even exchange between attackers and defenders.

T2-V8F Battle Report Header

Now, by World War Bee standards, a battle that didn’t even break the 30 billion mark in losses barely registers.  Those are some peacetime losses.  But getting 750 characters on the field, for something that isn’t a war, but just a SIG deployment… that feels like it could build to something.

Of course we just had the Siege Green update on Tuesday, which made capital ships a bit more replaceable.  And, if you go look at that battle report, you will see capital ships on the field for that ihub reinforcement.  Not a lot, and all on the Imperium side this time.  But maybe we might see more given the industry changes.  One can only hope.

Anyway, a little conflict has been brewing.  Wholesale coalition conflicts have brewed up from less than what we’re up to now.  The entosis battle over the ihub is tomorrow in EUTZ and it will be interesting to see how big of a draw the fight will be.  We will have to see how it goes.

Forward into Feythabolis

I mentioned the Goonswarm Expeditionary Force deployment to Esoteria in a post a couple of weeks back.

Two leading candidates

This started off as some help to defend our allies in Red Alliance and a few other groups that are heavy on Russian and Ukrainian players.  They had previously gone in to fill the vacuum in Esoteria after the collapse of Army of Mango, but with them distracted PAPI got back together to start moving into the region.

The deployment was a welcome distraction, something to do in the game, and enough to get me to resubscribe after a month of Alpha.

I actually spent more time moving stuff out to the staging Keepstar in Esoteria than I did on actual operations, but it gave me a purpose.  And PAPI forces were pushed back out of the region, falling back into Feythabolis.

The southeast of null sec – Stain, Impass, Esoteria, Paragon Soul, Feythabolis, and Omist

And that meant us chasing them into Feythabolis.  More move ops, though with Ansiblex jump gates it is only three jumps from the Esoteria staging to the new one in Feythabolis.  You just want to take care because the route is obvious.  It is too dangerous to go alone and all that.  Go with some caps.

Caps taking the regional gate to Feythabolis… I’m in a subcap somewhere in there

For all this moving around I still don’t have a ship for every doctrine we fly, and we have even added a new one along the way, though it is at least superseding another.

Feythabolis is home to alliances in the FR.RE coalition, which is also heavy on Russian and Ukrainian players, and part of PAPI.  Having roved into Esoteria, PAPI is now defending Feythabolis.  This has led to some propaganda showing up on r/eve, though it is very much TEST focused.

TEST, having lost it all in World War Bee, forcing it to flee from its home in places like Esoteria, Impass, and Paragon Soul for distant Outer Passage, has been in a bit of a rough patch in trying to rebuild.  Once nearly 17K players in size, it has dropped to about 10K players.  A significant number of those leaving have moved to Pandemic Horde, swelling their numbers from 22K to 28K over the same time frame.  Included in those departing was Vily, architect of the PAPI war on the Imperium, and the corporation he runs.

So while TEST remains a sizable null sec alliance, being fifth in ranking of sov holding by membership, the departures seem to have driven them to a recruiting campaign.  While “Dreddit is recruiting” is a meme in null sec, there is now a “Keep the Feyth” propaganda and recruiting series in r/eve.

There was enough of that going on that Brisc Rubal harnessed his own artistic skills to make a parody in the same theme, poking at TEST’s relationship with Pandemic Horde.

She’s “Keeping the Feyth”

I don’t know if the propaganda is helping TEST.  Their numbers haven’t exactly grown this month.

As for the results in Feythabolis, there have been some skirmishes off and on.  I have yet to be involved in one myself, but the time for that seems to be a little earlier in EUTZ than I can get on.  Instead most of my time in the region has been shooting structures, mostly those owned by Pandemic Horde.

The grand total of my Feythabolis kill mails

In the end, even though structures have been gunned and some of our fleets have been opposed, PAPI seems very much on the defensive.  The most fierce resistance I have seen around a structure defense was some bombers attempting to take advantage of the rather static nature of such events.

Isn’t the Nemesis the worst of the stealth bombers?

Also, multi-boxing.

There have been some ops to tear down the sovereignty structures, but aside from the system we’re using to stage the deployment nobody is bothering to claim the systems once the ihubs and TCUs are down.

So far a moderately paced deployment.  There are multiple ops during every day if I am around when they are pinged, and there is a kill mail or three to get on if I hit the right fleet.  Enough to keep me busy without feeling like I absolutely have to be on all the time.

Addendum: Of course, I wrote this last night and this morning I wake up to find a capital brawl exploding in Feythabolis with nearly a thousand people in system, close to 200 billion ISK destroyed, and both sides are pouring in reinforcements, all over a Fortizar armor timer.

Battle Joined

I got there in time to get on at least a Naglfar kill.

Addendum: Oops, got the chop myself, but I got this guy on the Fort.

Here is the battle report, if you are interested.

J-TPTA Battle Report Header

The Imperium lost the ISK war, but completed the objective by winning the armor timer on the Fortizar under attack.

Move Ops to Esoteria

After months of peace… peace in null sec generally being the absence of a large war, there are always smaller conflicts going on if you pay attention… the Imperium decided it needed to give its line members something to do.  So the Goon Expeditionary Force (GEF) was reactivated for the first time in almost two years.

One of these bees is our logo, I forget which at this point

SIGs and squads are often up to something, and various corps and alliances invent their own missions, but the GEF is a… uh… A SIG I think, the difference between SIGs and squads being somewhat flexible… formed back in February of 2020 that is open to all members of the Imperium and is for those of us in the coalition that stick around solely for deployments, big fights and (mostly) structure shoots.

Acceptance into the group is automatic, so there are plenty of spies in there I am sure, and it basically acts as a communications conduit so that our adventures can be pinged out to those who have opted in to the whole thing rather than having to go to all-all over Jabber.  You can come and go as you please, nobody is purged for inactivity or missing deployments.

The last time GEF was deployed, back in May of 2020, we lurched up to Cloud Ring to try and make trouble in low sec, which never goes well for us.  That ended somewhat abruptly, and we were pulled back to Delve, when it leaked that most of null sec was teaming up to attack us, which led to what is called World War Bee, World War Bee 2, or Beeitnam, depending on who is speaking.

After the end of the non-invasion pact (NIP) between Legacy and the Imperium on July 5, 2020 there was a good 59 weeks of war, then clean up and reorientation as null sec settled into its new post-war configuration.  The main result, aside from a lot of destruction, was TEST alliance going from being our neighbor to living in a spot literally as far away in null sec as they could get from us.

Now things have settled down and people are getting restless in this time of relative “wretched peace.”  So it was time to spin up a deployment for people like me who just want to go on fleets, shoot things, and stare out the window to take screen shots.

We have deployed to Esoteria, which you knew 400 words ago because it is in the title of the post.

Why Esoteria?

During World War Bee Esoteria was a secondary front.  The Bastion, an Imperium alliance, deployed there after losing its holdings in Fountain, along with some of the locals who were already hostile towards Legacy before the war, and grabbed the northwest corner of the region, becoming one of several thorns in the side of TEST and its coalition.

The region was mostly held by TEST alliance, but as the war progressed Army of Mango Alliance  (AOM) pulled back from the front lines of the conflict to fight on this front, taking over much of the region, and completing that acquisition once the war was over.

Then, after getting into a losing struggled with its arch rival from the Serenity server, Fraternity, AOM gambled on trying to reverse merge themselves into the Imperium by taking over leadership of candidate Imperium member Ranger Regiment, got caught, and ended up imploding.  I have a whole post about how that kicked off elsewhere.

That left a power vacuum in a chunk of the south end of null sec.  That led some of the coalition formerly known as PAPI to start nosing around down there, which in turn got the Imperium and its allies interested in the area.  That got GEF called up and we were on our way to Esoteria.

That was also enough for me to resubscribe my main, so I am no longer in the maxiumum alpha state.  I just took a month off from the game.

Then it was time for move ops.

Another group headed to Esoteria

As far as move ops go, this is a pretty easy run.  Thanks to Anisblex jump gates, it is a whole seven jumps from 1DQ1-A to our staging.  Also, I once again want to thank whoever it was at CCP who gave us the option to include player jump gates in the routing.

A seriously excellent feature

The route has been camped, but there have been regular move ops to get people through safely.  The only problem for me has been the request that we have ships for half a dozen different doctrines to hand.  The market hasn’t been stocked yet and even with regular move ops, moving ships one at a time takes a time if you need a bunch of hulls in place.

I have been tempted to get a second account running, as having two characters able to log in smooths out logistics.  Or I could get one of my capital ships out and haul a few smaller ships in a single trip.

But what I will probably do is get a few doctrine ships out there and ready to go, then wait for the market to get stocked in order to add/replace anything I need.

We will see if this deployment develops into anything big.  Both sides in the south have large Russian contingents, the Imperium being allied with Red Alliance and the Stain Russians, while PAPI has FI.RE coalition and its Russian corps on it side so, while neither group is exclusively Russian, there is a gap in their memberships due to the war in Ukraine.

Six Years of Reavers

We are at the sixth anniversary of the founding of the Reavers SIG.

Reavers forum bee

As has become the norm, I post on or around this date every year to commemorate the founding and to recount what mischief the SIG got up to since the last post.  For those interested in past tales, you can find them here.

This year my post is a little bit different.  While I am happy to raise a glass to the SIG to mark the passing of another year, I don’t actually have anything to look back on since the five year anniversary post.

It is not that nothing has happened over the last year.  Asher and various members of the SIG have been quite active.  But there wasn’t a lot of opportunity over the last twelve months for the Reavers to run off and do their thing in distant lands.

There was a problem with an overlap of objectives between Reavers and Liberty Squad for a stretch.  And when Liberty Squad was stood down, with its leadership heading off to form their own group elsewhere in null sec, there was the formation of the Goon Expeditionary Force to take its place.

The logo on the left became the official forum bee, but I still like the helmet on the other

The GEF was sort of the Reavers writ large, a mash up of them and Space Violence and Liberty Squad, a way to bundle up the people in the Imperium who play for war and deployments and who chafe during peacetime, to give them something to do.  Founded back in February, it was there to take the show on the road.  And from them until this past June, it deployed, ran ops, blew things up, and gave some of us a sense of purpose in the sandbox.

And then, of course, the war came.  Well, the leak that indicated that war was coming, which was denied right up until it wasn’t, when the non-invasion pact between Legacy Coalition and the Imperium was cancelled by Vily and the count down to conflict began.  Then everybody came home, we pulled back what we could, and there was a sense of purpose every day you logged in.

Asher and many others had bigger responsibilities, tasks beyond the scope of a single SIG in the coalition.

So you might ask, with nothing really to report on over the last year and nothing likely to come while our space is being invaded, is Reavers effectively dead?  Are we just a channel on Jabber and a hidden section in the GSF forms?

The answer is no.

Despite having no official task, Reavers still forms a cadre of players who Asher can call on for special tasks.  It has been that way for a while.  Reavers haven’t recruited in ages.  You cannot get in without a personal vouch and I don’t even think we’re taking those any more.  Everybody left has been around for a long time and the names in the channel are all familiar.

So there will be a ping to Jacketpals, or Trashtiertactics, or another of the many ping groups that Asher has created to send us notifications on Jabber, looking for some people for a special op or to have a special fit ready, or to hold off on the main fleet ping that is coming up because there will be another fleet coming up that will be more our speed.

I think the SIG almost universally signed up for the Spec Ops SIG that was formed for the war, along with a couple of the other groups.  When I am out on an op doing ECM burst interceptors or Sippery Pete’s or something like that, there are always names from Reavers in those fleets.

And when Asher suggests training something up, like EDENCOM ships or whatever, I always jump right on that.  Maybe it will pan out, maybe it won’t.  But if the time comes and there is a Jacketpals ping asking who can fly some specific ship, I don’t want to be left out.

Ansiblex Clash in Cloud Ring

On Saturday I was down in Delve again in a fleet for a project that will be the topic of another post later this week.  But while people were down there, PanFam came by and reinforced the Ansiblex jump bridge and Pharolux cyno beacon in F7C-H0, the staging system for the Goon Expeditionary Force deployment.

We came back on Sunday for the final timers, with some early pings to ask people to be on hand and ready should PanFam decide to come back and contest the final timers for the two structures.  I logged myself in and got in my Guardian, assuming that Sacrileges would be the main doctrine yet again, and I was not disappointed.

The ping came that PanFam was coming and I quickly jumped into the Sac fleet being run by Apple Pear.  That fleet filled up and a Jackdaw fleet was called as well.  In addition, the Initiative had some Abaddons ready to go and capitals were logging on in case the fight escalated.  When the word came to undock the hostiles were already in system and time dilation was kicking in.  I got to watch ships streaming out of the Keepstar for almost a minute before the client got around to drawing the structure.

Undocking from the invisible Keepstar

There were PanFam Hurricanes and Feroxes already on grid around the two contested structures, with the beacon under attack.  We warped out and interdictors starting dropping warp disruption bubbles to hold the hostiles down.

The Pharolux cyno beacon being hit

The Hurricanes were close by when we landed and the Sac fleet began hitting them when we landed.  Anchored up, I put my drones out to take care of any small targets that wandered into range, but initially we had little to do as logi save keep up.  The Hurricanes were focused on killing the beacon, and we were likewise focused on the Hurricanes.

Sacrileges moving on anchor

They were lingering outside of drone range for me (60km) so I mostly had my drones chasing around their Sabres and the occasional command destroyer that might MJD us away from the fleet.  With the beacon down the fight moved towards the jump gate.

The new center of the fight

We remained focused on the Hurricanes.  The Ferox fleet was further off and TEST alliance was around with a small fleet of Zealots and another of bombers to try and third party on the whole thing, but Hurricanes remained the closest targets.

Hurricane taking hits by the Ansiblex jump gate

Meanwhile, at the peak of the fight, time slowed down, as it always does, with time dilation down to 10%, which meant everything was taking ten times as long to accomplish.

A sign of a big fight… or an Imperium move op

The TEST bombers began making runs on our fleet.  Running in slow motion meant our ability to react was good, I was able to turn off my MWD with each run, but it also meant they had lots of time to consider their warps and launches.  Things began to get busy for logi and people broadcast for bomb damage.  We had to get somebody in command to set the marker for when people should broadcast (below 50% armor) to get a handle on the stream of requests.

Meanwhile, we had undocked super carriers and a few titans who warped onto grid to take shots at the various hostile fleets.  There was also a fleet of dreadnoughts waiting to drop if PanFam escalated to capitals.  However, the dreads were disappointed as no targets came for them.

Then the jump gate exploded.  The Hurricanes had done their work.

The jump gate goes up

But that did not mean the fight was over.  There was still a fight going on around the wreck of the gate.

My Guardian in a tight turn to keep up

Interdictors kept bubbles up on the hostiles as they tried to pull away and more Hurricanes were hit as they attempted to run.

Hurricane target

The TEST bombers kept making runs, keeping those of us in logi busy.  Looking at the kill mails for some of them, they were being less than picky about targets, hitting PanFam and us (and themselves occasionally), but we were a big, obvious ball of ships so were targeted regularly.

The fight eventually moved to the gate out of the system where we congregated to try and grab those trying to get away.

On to the gate

There the fight petered out as those who were able got away.

PanFam won the objective, the beacon and the jump gate were both destroyed.

The Keepstar framed by the broken jump gate

However, the cost of doing that was pretty high according to the battle report.

Battle Report Header

We clearly won the ISK was by a fair margin… by a margin big enough to replace the two structures certainly.  A new jump bridge was in place not too long later.

As we were coming down from the fight, covering capitals as they got back to where they needed to be, a pair of ISD Polaris frigates showed up to see what was going on.

ISD out for a Sunday drive

They were no doubt scoping out what we had been up to.

ISD on the overview

ISD does a few things, including work on the stories from New Eden that go on The Scope or the Interstellar Correspondents page, so maybe the fight will get a mention.  I am given to understand that ISD members with the “BH” prefix are “bug hunters,” so maybe something happened during the fight that send them out to take a look.

Either way, the fight seemed to get positive reviews from both sides over on /r/eve.

Fortizar Kill in Notoras

To cut to the chase, we blew up a Fortizar in Notoras, which is Black Rise, which is low sec space.  It belonged to Snuffed Out.

Another structure goes boom

There were actually a lot of us on that kill mail.  Looking down the list of the 413 characters listed, I can see at least three different fleets represented.  The Initiative brought a Zealot fleet, while a Sacrilege and Jackdaw fleet formed up in Cloud Ring and flew out to join in.

Zealot getting reps after flying into the PDS

There were also some capitals formed up and jumped to a mid point, though they were not called in.

We were clearly expecting a fight.

I didn’t see any pre-pings for the op, but happened to be online and done with work in the afternoon just in time to join up.  Asher was leading the Sac fleet and I almost didn’t get into it, as it filled up so fast.  A few people must have jumped to the Jackdaw fleet or swapped to a capital, because I managed to slip in after getting the fleet full message for a while.

I was going out in my lucky Guardian, being lucky that it lived through the last op.  I actually volunteers to be a capacitor transfer Guardian this time around.  You pull off the remote repair modules in your high slots, swapping them out for some more capacitor transfer module so you can cap up other ships in the fleet if they need it.  I had read up on the doctrine and saw this was something we might need once in a while, so had brought the modules with me.  I would be in the cap chain, but could turn off broadcasts for repair as I couldn’t repair anything.  I was just there to fill up the tank of other ships.

Things formed up and got settled pretty quickly and we were soon undocking.

Everybody out of the Keepstar

The capitals jumped from the undock, while the subcap fleets went off to meet up with a pair of titans to get bridged on their way to the target.

Simultaneous bridges up

That got us into low sec, where we gated out way to the destination, fighting the usual time dilation issue that comes up when you start pushing a few hundred ships through otherwise quiet parts of space.

The gate animations are pretty cool in slow motion

We got into the Notoras and sat on a friendly structure for a bit before being warped on grid with the Fortizar.  The final repair timer was already counting down and a gunner was present in the structure.

On grid with the target

On grid with a lot of ships, we didn’t see any opposition other than the structure itself.  But Asher told us the hostiles were formed up.  Capitals had jumped into position to oppose us, having passed through a mid point while somebody was watching, while they were reported to have a full Muninn fleet and additional formations ready to drop in on us.  A fight sounded imminent.

And then a Pilgrim force recon showed up at range from us and lit a cyno.  Asher warped us to it and we blew it up quickly enough.  A quick kill to get the event started.

Asher warped us back into range of the Fortizar and we went back to shooting it.  Well, those with weapons did, the logi just orbited around their anchor and listened to what was happening in coms.

Guardians out and orbiting

Arrendis, the logi anchor, moved us around to keep us in range of the fleet but to avoid some of the bombs coming from the Fort.  In taking stock of the logi, he apparently noticed Crake MaddAdam for the first time, who was along in an Exequror.  Arrendis told him he was likely to die when the fight came, but I had to admit he had picked the right SKIN to join up with us.

Still the best logi SKIN ever

Meanwhile, we started getting word about the impending fight.  Its likelihood seemed to be diminishing rapidly.  Asher reported that the hostile capitals were spotted heading back from whence they came, that some subcaps that had flown in from the dronelands were homeward bound, and that the Muninns might be standing down.

The question then was whether or not we had killed their only cyno ship, because everything seemed to be building for a fight right up until that exploded.  It seems unlikely, but sometimes people forget to have backup plan.

So it looked like we were just going to blow up a Fortizar with a bunch of people.  As the structure got down under 10% I slipped away from the logi and into range so I could launch a drone to get in a couple of hits so I too would appear on the kill mail.  The gunner had abandoned his post as the end came near so the PDS was off.  My drone made it there and back.

Things went boom.  Nkosis wanted to loot and there was some discussion around that.  And then we turned around and gated back home.

Returning to base

That took a bit, once again due to time dilation caused by pushing that many ships through low sec, but it wasn’t all that far to go, even without a titan bridge short cut.

We made it back, free burning most of the way, and I docked up, pulled the extra cap transfer modules off the Guardian, putting the remote armor rep modules back on lest I forget, and that was that.  There were a few points during the fleet where bombs were hitting us and I thought about repping, only to realize I could only cap people up, so I had very little to do save look out the window and listen to coms.  But at least my Guardian made in back home again.

Addendum:  And the next day we blew up another one in Rakapas, again with little opposition.

Rebuffed Again in X-7OMU

We had another op out of Cloud Ring run last night.  The ping popped up as I was sitting down, so I logged right in and got in the fleet.  We were once again headed out in Sacrileges, so I went with the logi wing in my Guardian.  As we were getting ready I stepped away for a minute, got distracted, and when I got back I heard the FC, Kocicek, telling us to align for the Ansiblex.  I quickly hit the undock button and got out just in time to pick up the warp and follow the fleet, jumping through not too far behind.  By the next gate I was caught up.

Sac fleet outbound

We took the same route we took the other day after the move op, heading up to 6RCQ and into Pure Blind.  It was gate, Ansiblex, gate, and so on until we hit our first waypoint, KLY-C0.  There an armor timer was coming out on a Pandemic Horde Raitaru, which we formed up and shot, sending it to the final timer.

Just a blob of us flying around

That done, we warped off to a Fortizar of our own and met up with a titan who quickly bridged us off to our next destination, X-7OMU.

Off we go

There again.  That was where we had a tough time after the move op, and PanFam and the locals were formed up and waiting for us again, with Abaddons and Muninns and capital support, again.  This was another armor timer, thus not the final fight for the structure, so I suppose there was some question as to whether they would show up.  Question answered.

We got on grid with the Astrahus, as we did back on Saturday, and started putting damage on it as the time came out.

Circling the Astrahus

Unlike the last fight, where we left the citadel grid to take the fight elsewhere, this time we stuck it out.  It did not go well.  The gunner on the Astrahus was throwing a mix of damage and void bombs at us, the latter which can disrupt even cap chaining Guardians.  The void bomb hits and your capacitor is suddenly empty to the point that your cap transfer modules turn off and if you’re not paying attention you can find yourself drained and falling behind.

Meanwhile the damage bombs were keeping everybody broadcasting while the web on the Astrahus was on our anchor to slow us down, though we kept swapping anchors in order to mitigate that.  And then the hostile fleets came out to get us.  Things seemed to fall apart about then, though I was very busy following broadcasts for damage.

At one point Kocicek warped us and I caught the warp just as an interdictor bubbled the fleet, so I was alone until I could turn around and warp back to the fleet with a couple other ships that happened to be as quick to align as I.  That broke the cap chain where I was until I got back in range, by which time one of my cap buddies was down, as were two of the alternate anchors.

Kocicek told us to starburst as a bubble went up and warp to a safe.  I was getting yellow boxed as that happened, but had quickly scooted out of the bubble that was on us and was warping off as damage began to hit.  I was going to get away.

Almost on my way out… just pixels left on that align bar…

And then another bubble went up and I was just inside of it, cancelling my warp.  I scooted out of that, overheated my hardeners, and set myself to warp once more.  Damage was landing and I had to move to align and things looked pretty dicey for a bit there.  And the warp drive kicked in and I was off.

The hull is still half full, right?

I had warped to a planet, but wanted to get away from there, so warped to another in order to make at least a mid-point bookmark.  But X-7OMU is one of those huge systems and I fell out of warp before I made it to my destination, my capacitor drained.

So there I was, wandering at a mid-point in the system, halfway into my structure, heat damage on my lowers (and no nanite repair paste, I seemed to have forgotten it), and not really in any shape to do anything but hide.  However, Kocicek spoke up and told us to warp to him when he said to… so I got that up and ready to click… and he said “Warp to me…” and I was off.  And then he counted down from three, so I landed way off from him, but still on grid and close enough to get the fleet warp that pulled us all off to the J-CIJV gate, where we jumped out of the system.

An unguarded way out

We went from there to G95-VZ where we tethered up on yet another Fortizar we have hanging around the region and the repair function slowly took care of my hull, armor, shields, and heat damage.

Repairing on the Fort

From there the way home was pretty straightforward.  Once everybody was ready we made our way back to the end of the Ansiblex network and headed back to Cloud Ring from whence we had started.

Back in the Cloud Ring nebula

The fight, such that it was, did not go well for us.  The battle report, which looks incomplete to me… though if you don’t get on a kill you don’t appear on the list and we got precious few kills… shows us taking a pasting for very little gain.  We lost the objective and over 100 ships for only 9 real kills.

Battle Report Header – Click to Enlarge

But we cannot win them all.  Mistakes were made, ships were lost, and hopefully some lessons were learned, as I am sure we will be back again.

During the fight I did see Riverini get called as a target, one of the few I I recall coming up.  The experience of the fight was invigorating enough that he actually wrote about in on EN24, his first post in quite a while.  There was also a short AAR on Reddit, again highlighting that this was not a shining moment for the Imperium.