Tag Archives: Liberty Squad

Frack Denied

We were out again shooting at structures.  This time is was an Athanor belonging to Pandemic Horde over in The Kalevala Expanse in LEM-I1.  Liberty Squad mounted up and followed Cainun off into PH space where we found the structure waiting for us.

Detailed naming scheme

The Athanor had been reinforced already and we were there for the armor timer.  The first run, the initial reinforcement, doesn’t mean much, save for setting a date for the next two possible events.

The interesting thing about this particular Athanor was that it was in the midst of breaking off a chunk of the nearby moon as part of its mining cycle.  This is called a frack, since the station is fracturing off a chunk of the moon.  It is one of those things that looks pretty neat out in space.

Frack in progress

It is actually a bit of a trick to get the camera to get all of that lined up because the size and scale of the different parts are so different.  The Athanor is tiny, visible only due to its proximity, and jumps around quite a bit as you move the camera.  The moon and the planet are both huge and distant and barely move at all unless you pan the camera aggressively, which sends the Athanor flying off screen.  And then there is the chunk of moon itself, which is close than you might think.

EVE Online does a pretty good job of delivering on size and perspective.

Anyway, the Athanor was mid cycle, hauling in a moon chunk that would be broken up and available to mine in a few days. (EVE University has a bit about the process here.)

Would, except that we were there for the armor timer and PH was not.  Not much happens when you first hit an Upwell structure.  But when you win the armor timer and set things up for the final match, certain operational restrictions start to apply.  You cannot remove modules or reconfigure the structure.  And, if it is a moon mining platform mid-frack, you lose the moon chunk.  So when we finished our shoot and the next timer came up, the moon chunk was gone.

Disappearing moon chunk

I’m not sure where the chunk goes.  It is just no longer there as the mining cycle was turned off.  It would be nice if CCP left the chunk there for a bit, showing it drifting off to become a small satellite or have it crash back into the moon.  But that is probably a bit too much to ask.  We weren’t going to stick around long enough to watch that sort of thing.

Off we went once the next timer was set, knowing that there was one moon that wouldn’t be mined soon.

Will That be the Last Stick for Me?

There was a ping to go shoot a player owned starbase, a POS.  It was an NCDot tower over on the edge of Pandemic Horde space.  It wasn’t even fueled, so it was an easy kill… we just needed to be a bit patient.  It was a full sized Minmatar tower… as opposed to a medium or a small… so there were a lot of hit points to chop through to get the kill.  But unfueld meant none of the defenses were operating.

So off we went to shoot the stick, the tower that is the core of any POS.

Dramatic stick shooting screen shot

And as we calmly orbited this unresisting target I wondered if this would be my last POS shoot.

I have been on many POS shoots over the years.  One of the assignments for Reavers back in the day was to sit behind enemy lines and shoot their structures.  That was a time when SBUs and POSes counted for most of the options.

Now though, now the once common POS is slowly fading from New Eden.  The Onslaught expansion for EVE Online brought in new Upwell navigation structures to replace the last bit of practical POS functionality.  Two weeks later they turned off that functionality for POSes and they became little more than hungry safe bubbles in space.

So now I wonder that every time we shoot a POS, if that particular one will be the last one I shoot.  At some point, likely this year, CCP will remove them from the game and they will be no more.  So with each monthly update I look for signs that the end is nigh.

Not that the POS has disappeared from New Eden yet.  There were lots of them out there.  Over at zKillboard you can see a few get blown up every day.  But with Upwell structures they have started to be slowly abandoned.  Our unfueled friend was one of those, left in space, not worth the effort to keep running or retrieve.

So we shot it until it blew up, then shot the modules for good measure.

Tower brewing up

And so that became the latest POS I shot and, perhaps, the last POS.  I won’t know unless we find another one.

Liberty Squad and Running Away in Geminate

It was time for my first op of the year and for my first fleet op with Liberty Squad.

Liberty Squad is a group in the Imperium that runs in US time zone.  Formed mid-2018, the stated goal was to be something akin to Space Violence, a EUTZ squad meant to go find content for line members during peace time.

The Liberty Squad forum bee

Liberty Squad is not the first USTZ group with a pseudo patriotic name.  Back in the day there was Freedom Squad.  I flew with them some, but never joined because their fleets were open to and pinged out to everybody.  However, Freedom Squad dissolved and some of the team running that ended up forming Reavers from the remains.  I jumped on board that a little over four years back when recruitment was open to all.

Since then Reavers has become more difficult to join.  You need a vouch in from a current member in good standing with the notice that if you vouch in somebody who ends up being kicked for cause, you’ll likely be kicked as well.  While Reavers often operates in USTZ, it isn’t a group you can just join.  Reavers can also run hot and cold.  I spent most of 2018 docked up north in the long running Reavers deployment in Pure Blind.  When Reavers are active, it isn’t a casual operation.  And when we’re not, the group doesn’t do much otherwise.  Especially when Asher is out directing operations as the Imperium Sky Marshall during a war.

So Liberty Squad was formed to fill something of a gap in the USTZ.  Unsurprisingly, the leadership and members overlap with Reavers to some extent.  With Reavers quiet since the Hard Knocks wormhole operation I decided to sign up with Liberty Squad to see how things went with them.

My application was accepted without comment, which tells you how low the bar is at the moment.

Last Wednesday night was the first op that came up while I was around.  The fleet formed up on Thomas Lear, a familiar voice from Reavers.  He used to FC Reavers ops a while back.  In fact there were a number of familiar voices and names from Reavers.  I was not the only one looking for some USTZ ops while Reavers were idle.

The doctrine was the Jackdaw fleet.  I had a Scalpel handy, the tech II Minmatar frigate logi ship, so joined up with that to go wherever we were headed.

We first headed up into Aridia, where a wormhole was waiting to take us north.

Scalpel headed to the wormhole

We popped out in low sec space and made a run through high sec to get Oijanen, a low sec system in The Forge that adjoins BWF-ZZ in Geminate.

BWF-ZZ always rings a bell to me as it was the system where I got on my first supercarrier kill mail.  That was almost seven years ago. (Also, I am pretty sure the Megathron in the first screenshot in that post is Baltec1.)

These days BWF-ZZ is the gateway system to the home of Pandemic Horde.  We were just passing through to go try to blow up something of theirs.  We slipped into their space and headed to NQ-9IH where an Ansiblex jump gate waited for us.

The Ansiblex awaits, with a Fortizar in the background

The jump gate had been reinforced, so it was offline.  The final timer for it was ticking down as we arrived and we were there to shoot it once the clock was done.

Just 21 seconds left

A bomber fleet had come along as well to provide more firepower.  The hope was that the Jackdaws could handle whatever Pandemic Horde would throw at us to defend the gate.  However, the locals had other plans.

The first defender to show up was a Broadsword, the Minmatar heavy interdictor.

Hitting the Broadsword

We were happy enough to light out after him, trying to hold him down for a kill.  And then he lit a cyno and some hostile dreads started dropping in on us.

Dreads landing as the Broadsword goes up

While we were able to destroy the Broadsword, a second cyno was already up and it looked like Pandemic Horde had invited some friends to the party.  Pandemic Legion and NCDot were both there in some force and it quickly looked like that Ansiblex jump gate would not be getting blown up.

Thomas Lear decided to pull us out and we headed back towards BWF-ZZ.

However, the hostiles bridged there ahead of us and had the gate to Oijanen and escape bubbled up and camped.  We would not be going that way without taking heaving losses getting to the gate.  In addition our wormhole home was also that way.

Intel indicated that there was another wormhole options available to us.  We just had to move fast to stay ahead of the defenders.  With the Jackdaw fleet speed wasn’t a problem, but there was always the probability that the enemy might figure out where we were headed and bridge ahead of us again.  So off we went, jumping into a system aligning, and being warped to the next gate to do it all again as quickly as possible.

We were headed deeper into hostiles space, up into the Vale of the Silent and the system AZBR-2.  There, in Pandemic Legion space, was a wormhole to Thera.  Thera, the big shattered wormhole system introduced with the Rhea expansion back in 2014, always has multiple connections to normal space, and so can act as something of a transit hub.  In our case, if we could get into Thera, there was another connection that would drop us into Cloud Ring, closer to home and relative safety.

While we were shadowed by the locals almost all the way, their main fleets did not managed to catch up and we were able to slip into Thera and back out as we had hoped.  From there we just had to get to our own jump gate network to take the quick ride through Fountain into Delve.

The new Eye of Terror, running from Querious up into Cloud Ring, is living up to its predecessors.  Without any jump fatigue accrued, fleets are using it to zip up north and back in very little time.  This is apparently causing GSOL a bit of a headache as they have to refuel the gates with liquid ozone more frequently than the old jump bridges.  We made our own run down it into Delve without issue and ended up back home without further incident.

And so ended my first op with Liberty Squad.  It wasn’t exactly a rousing success, but most of us got home safe and there was a bit of adventure along the way.

Meanwhile, I suspect that I will be headed up to Geminate again in the future.  It seems like Pandemic Horde will be the next location where Imperium SIGs and squads go to find content.  Space Violence is already reported to be in the vicinity.