Tag Archives: Liberty Squad

An Evening of Explosions in Etherium Reach

Cainun had pre-pinged that we had a big op planned for last night, that he wanted as many of us who could make it.  He was determined to undock and take whatever fight was offered after standing down a few times when Pandemic Horde and its allies brought out multiple fleets.

The enemy was laying in wait for us again, though Cainun had called in some help.  In addition to our Eagle fleet, which swelled to over 200 pilots when we undocked, not bad for just a squad like ours, we had an additional fleet of Cerbs fly out from Delve, and bomber fleet led by DBRB come along, a fleet from TEST, and another from GoTG to all converge on LXQ2-T in Etherium Reach.

We sat on one side of the gate in Paala while Pandemic Horde and its allies sat on the other.  And then we went in and the battle started.

The first stage of the evening took place around the Paala gate in LXQ2-T, which PH had thoroughly bubbled.  Those of us in the logi wing were immediately busy as the fleet started moving and engaging the battleship fleet close to hand.

Bubbles around the Paala gate

Things did not appear to be going too badly for us so far as I could tell.  We were catching people and repping them before they died, including one lucky Eagle pilot who was way into structure before we saved him.

Hemo Lived… once we got reps on him

He ended up on a lot of battleship kill mails and made it through the night.

But as you can see in the first screen shot of the gate, the pink spots at about 11 o’clock of the gate, PH dropped in capital ships, carriers and super carriers, to support their battleships.

Even the capitals were not so bad at first.  Fighters take some time to get around and are vulnerable.  Drones were sent against them as we popped battleships.

But eventually the fighters started to overwhelm us, focusing on the logi in the fleet.  There were more than 30 people in the chain channel and as one would be blown up they would drop out.  The fighters were overwhelming our reps more quickly as each Basilisk went down and I spent then last two minutes of the fight trying to swap up who I was chained with for capacitor as the losses were hitting faster than I could lock people up.  I was the next to last person in the logi wing before I too went down.

I happened to be near the edge of one of the bubbles… and a good 100km off the gate, so I motored out and warped off.  With the logi gone Cainun took the rest of the fleet out as well and tethered up at a citadel we had in the system.

The fight at a distance from my pod

I don’t know why I felt I needed to get out.  It was an empty pod, no implants, so getting blown up would just put me back in our staging station.  That would have been convenient too, as Cainun was calling for logi to reship and get back into Paala.  But the word was that there were no more Basilisks up on contract and I had been using my backup Basi already, not having replaced the one I lost previously, so it seemed like we were done for the night.

Still, I figured I would try to get back to our staging.  I warped into the thick of things and started to motor to the gate, pretty sure that somebody would shoot me eventually.  It took a while, and I had decided to self-destruct rather than wait, but then I was painted, marking me for a quick return home.

Pod express all set

Being back in our station didn’t help much.  There were still no Basis on contract.  But Cainun kept telling logi to reship and get into Paala.  And then I checked the contracts for the third time in 20 minutes and found that somebody had listed a bunch.  So I reshipped and headed to Paala where we tethered on an Astrahus and waited for instructions.

Fresh Basi on the Space Violence citadel

The situation was unclear to me at that point.  Actually, it is still unclear to me now.  I have tried to build up a battle report for the events, however the data the tool gets in dramatically incomplete.  I suspect that the new push to keep people from giving zKillboard their API might be having an effect.  Long a Pandemic Legion tactic, somebody recently decided that you give away too much intel if you have your API linked there.  So a lot of kills do not show up on the battle report, including my own.  But my kill is there on zKill, so maybe the tool is the problem.

Meanwhile, our fleet was split up.  Cainun and the bulk of the Eagles and surviving support were sitting tethered on a citadel in LXQ2-T while the reconstituted logi wing was doing the same in Paala, with just a gate and a killing ground between us.

Eventually he called for us to warp to the LXQ2-T gate and hold.  We sat there for a bit, then he called for us to jump and anchor up and the fleet was back together again.

However, by that point the whole thing had been going on for almost two hours and most of the locals had moved off to other things.  We were not alone, but there wasn’t much to shoot at in the mass of bubbles.  So Cainun took us out of the bubbles and warped us off to the 8KE-YS gate where we jumped in.

There we were able to find a solo Apostle hanging around in space, which we quickly jumped on and bubbled and started to shoot.

Tackled Apostle

However the Apostle was able to cyno in some friends and we soon had nine HAW dreads drop in to join the fight.  At least I could nine on the kills, eight Revelations and a Naglfar.

Dreads arrive to assail us

This didn’t seem to bother anyone despite our mauling at the hands of a single HAW dread just the other night.  However, that dread had a subcap support fleet.  This pack of capitals were on their own.  PH was busy elsewhere, though a Jackdaw fleet did show up to try and support the caps.  However, the Cerb fleet from Delve was still roaming around looking for targets, so they came and chased the Jackdaws off, leaving us to our work.

I was bummed at this point as I had been in a hurry to get to Paala when Basi contracts went up so I forgot to buy some drugs and I forgot to stuff a combat drone in the drone bay to whore on easy kills, and this group turned out to be pretty easy.

Cainun just pulled us back out of the optimal range for high angle weapons and proceeded to pick the dreads off one by one.  The fax slowed us down, and the first dread was well fit, so that first kill took a while, but eventually we got there and it exploded.  And then another exploded.

A dread explodes

The dreads seemed happy to sit around unbubbled for quite a stretch, accepting their fate while trying to score a kill.  Still, we wanted to kill them all so a call went out to get some more dictors in fleet and over to help hold them down and maybe keep away any rescue attempt.  I had my alt already logged in.  He was in a Naglfar, as there was the possibility of us counter dropping, but I swapped him to a Sabre and zipped off to join the effort.

Meanwhile another dread explodes

Eventually we were down to the Apostle, and then the drag began.  The Apostle had armor repairers mounted and was able to counter the firepower the fleet was able to bring to bear.  Now I really wished I had some combat drones with my Basi, we needed every last DPS.  I even put the little guns of the Sabre on the Apostle.

Eventually Pittsburgh2989 dropped by in a Revelation to add his firepower to the fight, and even then it wasn’t going well.  There was talk of getting a second dread to join up with us.  But eventually the tide started to turn and with each rep cycle the armor on the Apostle was pushed back ever so slightly from the previous peak.  Soon we could see damage bleeding through into structure and the end seemed in sight.  The Apostle was doomed.

Our Revelation as the Apostle explodes

With the Apostle down… and he did not go easily into the night… we had ten capital kills under our belt for the evening.  I am not sure that balances out losing 30 Basilisks earlier, but it made us all feel pretty good.

At that point it was time to wander back towards home.  We stopped again in LXQ2-T to loot the battlefield and shoot the drag bubbles still arrayed about the gate.

Back at the Paala gate

With a full cargo hold (do I really need 150 cap batteries?) and no combat drones I just orbited the gate until we were done.  Then we moved on to our staging and stood down for the night.  We were almost at the four hour point by then, so a second PAP was issued for those of us who stayed around after the first action.

Meanwhile The Mittani was pinging about war on Jabber, so I am wondering if this was the opening salvo.  We will find out on Saturday, or so I am told. (Though, naturally enough, Reddit claims to know the target already. We shall see.)

Addendum: Another battle report tool (there are no end of EVE Online tools out there), mentioned in a Reddit post about the battle, shows an about even split when it comes to the ISK war, though PH won the objective, installing an ihub in LXQ2-T. (We didn’t really talk about the ihub in fleet that I recall.)

LXQ2-T and 8KE-YS combined report

That report includes both systems where I fought and includes my dead Basi as well as the Apostle that tanked us for so very long.  That group of dreads and the Apostle helped balance out the ISK war.

Structures and a Short Brawl in Amamake

It started off as many evenings do, with an FC taking us out to shoot structures.  Shooting structures sets timers which end up with explosions one way or the other.  Either we blow up the structure or the owners come to defend it and we get a fight.  Asher Elias called this putting money in the bank.

Pittsburgh2989 had scoped out a few low sec structures that Pandemic Horde and NCDot had dropped.  They were busy elsewhere, so we formed up a Ferox fleet, loaded up on bash ammo, and headed out.  Even Logi were encouraged to add firepower, so many of us loaded up combat drones.  The first target was only a few gates away.  An Astrahus, it turned out to be low power as well, so we got to burn through both the shield and armor.

Feroxes cruising along during the shoot

Once that one had a final timer set for six days hence we moved off to the next target.

Gratuitous Minmatar gate picture

The second Astrahus was powered so we only got to burn through the shield to set the armor timer.

You can tell it is the second because the Feroxes are moving the other direction

The fleet itself was fairly quiet.  There was some discussion of the current hockey game, the Sharks vs. the Avalanche, to rile up Pitts because the last team he supported had already been eliminated from the playoffs.  Somebody decided to see if you could reinforce a structure with smart bombs.  Apparently you cannot, though you can kill a friendly drone or two.

With that timer set we moved on to the third target of the night.  However, when we arrived we found a small fleet from Did He Say Jump in the system with us.  DHSJ is a low sec PvP corp, once part of the most recent incarnation of Black Legion, into whose home area we had wandered.

While they had fewer ships than us, a dozen Legions, a pair of Lokis, five Guardians for logi, and some support, they were still a formidable force.  Low sec groups like that bling up their ships with office mods and tend to run full sets of implants since people don’t pod you as readily as in null sec.

While we have about three times the numbers, our core was 34 fleet fit (meaning cheap fit) T1 Feroxes, though most of our logi was the more durable T2 Basilisks.  That meant there was no guarantee we could trade well with them.  It was also pointed out that we were close to their home and that it was likely that they would drop HAW dreads on us if we got engaged.

With this info, and the DHSJ fleet’s desire to engage at a specific range when we bounced around them, Pitts held back from getting tangled up with the T3s.  The first thing he wanted to know was whether we could counter drop with our own dreads.

Just hearing that got me to log my capital alt in and clone jump him to our staging and put him in my Naglfar there.  However, the distance was not right for us.  We would have to either mid point or take a couple of gates to get into range to drop, either of which would make us forming up to drop obvious and would leave us vulnerable going in and out.  The counter drop was off the table.

At this point the DHSJ fleet had pulled back from where we had been moving around into Amamake, where they were sitting on the gate.  Pitts felt that if we could start in up close to them we might have a shot, so piled us up on the other side of the gate to jump in.

In we jumped and the fight started.

While we exchanged blows they quickly lit a beacon and dropped in a Ninazu before we could pop the cyno.  That made things tough on us as with those reps we were struggling to break the tank on any of their ships.  We came close, driving a Loki deep into hull at one point, but things were not going our way in a straight up fight.

On the flip side we were holding up well.  It went into semi-busy mode for those of us in logi, though targets changed slowly and we kept people alive.  I was the first logi targeted but broadcast quickly and was never in any real danger once reps hit.  I did notice that somebody on the DHSJ side was also throwing fireworks along with projectiles.

My Basi flying through the fireworks barrage

Pitts ended up using the AOE MJD on the Stork we had with us to boosh us and some hostiles around, which opened up an opportunity to get in a kill on a Loki when it was momentarily out of optimal rep range.

However, that moment was short lived as another cyno went up and a Naglfar dropped in to join the fight.  We managed to kill the cyno ship, as well as one of their Guardians, but after that the Nag began burning through the T1 ships in our fleet.  One barrage was not enough to zap a Ferox, but it would knock them into structure leaving so little buffer than even if we repped up shields to full the next volley would finish it off.

And the fireworks kept coming

Pitts tried to get the MJD trick going again, but with only one command destroyer and the cool down time and people fumbling about getting in range at times, it just wasn’t happening.  As losses mounted he had us align to the sun and warp out.

From there we set our destination for home and headed out.

Another Minmatar Gate

The results were not too bad, though DHSJ killed a lot more ships and ended up ahead in the ISK war according to the battle report.

Battle Report Header

Of that 1.6 billion in kills we managed, 1.1 billion of it was in the Loki we managed to kill, with almost another 400 million in the Guardian.  A Harbinger and the cyno Prospect made up the balance.  Our biggest loss was a Cyclone command ship, and I am not sure how we let that one slip.  We were otherwise doing well keeping the T2 ships alive, their resists helping to keep damage under control.

In the end it was an interesting and fun asymmetrical fight.  We could have kept going for quite a while if we had been able to kill the second cyno in time.  But once that HAW fit Naglfar was on the field and toasting Feroxes we were done and had to concede.

Setting Ansiblex Timers in Geminate

Another night, another fleet.  The ping was for Eagles as usual, so I logged in and got the important bit out of the way; deciding which SKIN my Basilisk would wear.

In the new dark and moody hangar lighting

I have to figure it out in advance because you can’t change your SKIN when somebody has you locked and, being in the logi wing, I was set to be in the cap chain and locked by two other people for most of the op.  Usually I run the Emergency Response SKIN, which is done up like an ambulance, complete with flashing lights, since that goes with the Police SKIN the Liberty Squad FCs usually run on their Monitors.

This time I figured I would go all red with the Rataa Sunset SKIN.  Liberty Squad is full of faux patriotism and I tried to get the logi wing to go all red, white, and blue SKINs at one point.  In what is probably a reflection of the general population, about half the fleet embraces SKINs in some way, while the other half rejects then and wants nothing to do with them.

And so it goes.

While I was pondering that our FC, Zintage Enaka, was trying to get the fleet composition together.  Our problem of late seems to be getting the right number of boosters for the fleet.  Not that that is a new problem.  I think half the fleets I’ve gone on over the years has spent some amount of time trying to find the required boost, with a good percentage of those threatening not to undock unless they get them.  I always feel a tinge of guilt during that scenario, as I have the skills to fly a booster.  And, when it comes down to it, the job isn’t difficult.  Boosts up when the FC says, boost down when he calls for that, gently remind the FC now and again when boosts are still up when they are determined to suddenly travel.  I just hate the waste of being a booster.  Inevitably I have the wrong implant so have to buy the right one and destroy the old one to put the new one in.  Then on the next fleet they’ll need somebody with the old one and the cycle will repeat.  I’m not poor, but I’m not keen waste that much ISK nearly every fleet.  And FCs can be insistent about your implant.  I had an FC threaten to kick me if I didn’t change my implant for a move op.  A freaking move op, with no fixed doctrine and a wide mix of ships, but my implant was somehow critically important. So I gave up on that.

Instead I sat quietly in the logi channel while that got sorted.  I take comfort in the fact that, after boosters, logi is the other thing that the FC will call for before they undock.  At least I am filling one of the critical roles.

And things did indeed get settled.  Boosters were found, sufficient logi pilots filed into the fleet, and we at last undocked.  However, rather than turning the usual direction to head into The Kalevala Expanse or The Spire, we headed for a different gate.  We were headed into Geminate, the core home area of Pandemic Horde.

As we flew into their space Zintage explained that PH was off to fight with Guardians of the Galaxy… because the north is still fighting amongst themselves in addition to having us lurking about… and we were going to use this opportunity to do what we do best… fly around in circles and shoot structures.

And, specifically, Ansiblex jump gates.

Eagles shooting another Ansiblex

These have the advantage of being a bit less of a commitment than reinforcing something like a Fortizar as well as the immediate impact of disrupting the local jump gate network.  When you put them into their reinforced state they stop being able to pass ships.

While PH was away these were mostly undefended.  Mostly.  People put them on grid with Fortizars and Keepstars for a reason.

Fortizar on grid with us as well.

And somebody did wander out to take potshots at us from the Fortizar.  Killing subcaps at that distance with a Fortizar takes some serious luck, but it did mean that logi had to wake up and rep somebody now and again.

He’s shooting the boosters just to drive home some sort of point I’m sure

The gunner had his fun I guess, though he mostly complained in local about the state of Upwell structures.  He did not stop us from reinforcing the the Ansiblex under his care.

This timer means we might be back

PH times their structures for USTZ, which means we might form up for a return visit.

We moved on to the next Ansiblex on Zintage’s list.  This time nobody came out to gun the Fortizar so we just flew around the Ansiblex and fired away.

I took more screen shots

When that one was about in the bag Zintage did an ammo check to see if we had hauled enough rounds along to reinforce a third Ansiblex.  People were running dry on T1 structure bash ammo.  It turned out a lot of people had been getting deflections all along, meaning their shots were over the damage cap and weren’t being counted. Had we started out the evening with guns split and pilots only shooting half their rack we likely would have had the ammo for another target.  But thinking about that two structures in meant we were not going to make it that far.  It was time to turn for home.

Word from the north was that PH had a mixed bout with GotG up in C4C-Z4 in Fade.  However, further word was that their Munnin fleet got caught by somebody on the way home that turned the loss meter way up for them.

Zintage looked into positioning us to intercept the remains of their fleet as it gated home… some of their jump routes now being in operable… but they took a route back out of our way.  So we turned for home ourselves.

Eagles through the gate towards home

Another op success in the smoldering east of New Eden.

More Structure Busting in the East

There are still a lot of somewhat low key operations running in the east of null sec on a regular basis.  My own alliance has a deployment running and a lot of ops, though they tend to run when I am at the office.  But Liberty Squad has me covered for US time zone evening ops.

There had been a warning ping about the approaching op, so when the real ping came over Jabber I was already logged into the game and ready to go.  We were advised to bring plenty of structure bashing ammo (read: cheap T1 rounds) so it was clear what we would be up to.

Once we got the fleet assembled… which took a bit because there were other competing ops running… we were able to undock and head out.  We even got a ride to our destination rather than having to gate our way out.

A Ragnarok sends us on our way

We landed in A-YB15 out in The Kalevala Expanse, which meant back to hitting Pandemic Horde structures to keep them from being able to turn the region into a rental income area.

We set up on anchor at a Fortizar and started shooting that, but it was clear to me what the real target of the night would be.  We were just setting up the Fort for later, but there was an Ansiblex Jump Gate on the grid that would be ready to kill in under an hour.

Less than an hour on the clock

We were just biding our time, setting ourselves in place for the real target and to be ready if Pandemic Horde came to defend it.  But for the time being we were pretty much left to our own devices.  Nobody even came out to gun the Fortizar.

The idea was to take up the time waiting for the Ansiblex by reinforcing the Fort, but we ended up done with that and still had 20 minutes on the clock before the main event.  So we found a Raitaru in the system and shot that as well.  That didn’t take long either.  It was even unfueled, which meant we burned through both the shield and armor.  We blamed RatKnight1 for speeding us up with his high DPS Kikimora.

The Kikimora

It took me a moment when I first saw him out there.  To my brain a solid red beam is a target painter and not the Triglavian weapon system.  When spun up to full power he was doing considerably more damage than the average Eagle was.

With the Raitaru set, we just loafed around the Ansiblex, waiting for the timer to get down to zero so we could start shooting.  There was some concern that Pandemic Horde would come out to defend it, since this would be a kill and, while it is easy enough to just drop a new one… it used to be the same deal with the POS jump bridges and so we wouldn’t kill them, just burn through their armor so the owner would have to work to finish the kill or repair the module… it does cost ISK to set these up over and over again as we kill them.

But they let us be and when the timer hit zero we opened fire.

The Fortizar visible in the distance

I had a couple of combat drones in my drone bay and we were close enough that I was able to set them on the structure to get on the kill mail.  However our FC, Zintage, was once again reminded that you cannot use a target painter on structures, and since that is all the monitor can mount, he did not get on the kill mail.  But he had already been in on a Brothers of Tangra  Ansiblex kill earlier, so he was ahead of the game.

The Ansiblex blew up shortly, leaving a glowing wreck behind as we aligned back for our staging base.

After the explosion

Thanks to cooperation with some of the locals we had a ride most of the way home as well, using one of their Ansiblex jump gates.

Sent back the easy way

With rides both ways it ended up being a fairly short op for how much shooting we did.  But I am sure there will be more to shoot again tomorrow.

Sotiyo Fight in The Spire

I let my time in New Eden taper off somewhat in the latter half of March.  But now a new month is upon us.  It was time start earning a few PAP links, the currency that displays your value to your SIG, squad, corp, alliance, or coalition.  It is probably the only thing of value I contribute to my own corp, since I am generally nowhere near them in space.

When I left off Liberty Squad… which is something of “Reavers Jr” due to the fact that there is a huge overlap between the two groups… I hear a lot of the same voices on Liberty coms… we were deployed in the east of New Eden null sec reinforcing structures and blowing up ihubs in The Kalevala Expanse so as to keep Pandemic Horde from turning that into a rental income region.  Or so I understood it.

We have since moved on to a new target.  But I didn’t know that when the fleet went up.  It was Eagles on Zed Starshine and there was a call to be sure to bring structure bashing (read cheap) ammo.  Once together we undocked, aligned for the usual gate, and warped off.

Eagle fleet spilling out of the station

While the first gate was the same, we took a different turn after that and flew through Etherium Reach and into The Spire.  That region is primarily occupied by the rental alliance Brothers or Tangra, which was once owned by Pandemic Legion and is now run by NCDot, though on the coalition map

East Central Null Sec Area

While I missed the coalition update the last couple of weeks, I understand that there is a wider war going on in the east, to which we are totally not committing as a coalition, but that SIGs and squads are roaming about making trouble for one side.

Our target was a Sotiyo, the big engineering complex, the structure one uses to build titans and super carriers, located in the system 5LAJ-8.

We were shadowed on the way to the target, and on jumping in we found a large group of hostiles on the other side of the gate.  Well, Lazerhawks, who are usually hostile to us.  But we were teaming up with them for the structure shoot, so it was going to be one of those evening where one would have to take care not to shoot random reds in the overview.  Not that I would have to worry about that, I was in the logi wing in my Basilisk.

The timer ran down and to shoot the Sotiyo.  It was the hull timer, the final timer, which meant that if we succeeded it would blow up.  A kill mail to be had, I launched my combat drone to take a couple of shots at the structure.  It was safe enough at that point.  The structure was being gunned and it was tossing bombs our way, but that wasn’t enough to keep me very busy as I stayed on anchor.

Early fight with us just tangling with the Sotiyo

The locals were not going to let us just wander around space dodging bombs and shooting their big structure.  A Pandemic Horde Ferox fleet showed up to challenge us, along with a Hurricane fleet from The Damned Brotherhood, an Eagle fleet from NCDot, and some bombers in the mix.

At that point things got very busy for me.  I can generally gauge how active I am in a fight by the number of screen shots that end up in the capture folder.  There were not a lot in there after we started off.

As these things go there was what seemed like a very long stretch of frantically swapping reps onto people, watching the cap chain to ensure I was still giving/getting cap as ECM hit us, and checking to to be sure I hadn’t accidentally clicked in space, a common mid-battle issue for me that can end up with your ship way off anchor and away from the fleet.  Somehow I managed as we trailed the FC around the grid.

Sticking with the FC

It was very touch and go for a while, with neither side making much headway against the other, but with the feeling that we might break if we slackened our efforts even a bit.  While we were repping shields again and again, I was putting out my armor repair drones to pick up some damage that had slipped through shield between reps.  I saw a couple of Eagles with damage down into hull, which means they got saved, but only just.

And then, suddenly, things bent our way.  A Jackdaw fleet joined us and, while they were savaged, they may have tipped the balance.  Feroxes and Hurricanes started going down.  Soon it was just the bombers and the Eagle fleet to fence with.  Cainun, who was anchoring at that point, led the fleet down into the wrecks of the Ferox fleet so people could loot cap boosters, many of the Eagles in our fleet having run through theirs during the fight.

The brawl had distracted us from the Sotiyo for a while and the repair timer had run down as fire applied to it fell below the amount required to pause it.  It had moved from 15 minutes down to under 7.  But now we were able to return our focus to the Sotiyo.

Timer paused again

We danced around the structures defense, though they turned on the point defense system late in the shoot, killing off my combat drone.  But I had gotten a few hits in late enough in the shoot to be counted.  After the brawl the defenders declined to come back and the Sotiyo proceeded to blow up.

Sotiyo erupts

The kill mail showed that it did have a capital shipyard installed.  However, the ihub in the system had already been taken out, meaning that the upgrade necessary to build supers was missing so no construction operations were aborted.  Still, a nice kill and a good, vigorous fight.

The battle report showed things tipped out way pretty solidly.  The structure added significantly to that, but we did okay even discounting it.  The summary below has us in blue, allies in green, and the defenders in red.

The battle report headed cropped for visibility

After the explosion we collected up on the field and then warped off as a group, leaving the wreck behind us.

Sotiyo wreck

From there it was safely back to our staging system to call it a night.  A good start to the month in space.  I suspect we will be visiting The Spire again soon.

Structure Shoots and Eagles in the East

I have probably been more active in New Eden than my posting would indicate.  I’ve been out with Liberty Squad, which is one of the Imperium groups that has deployed out the east of null sec to tangle with Pandemic Horde and its allied.

Freedom Squad – Of Course We Fly Eagles

The thing is, a lot of ops do not really have much to report.  We go out and reinforce a structure.  Sometimes we get to kill one, like that Athanor a couple of weeks back.  That was mildly interesting because it was mid-frack, so we go to see the moon chunk disappear.  But an op to reinforce a structure, or even to blow up something small, that doesn’t always yield a tale worth telling.

An Oracle wearing the Blaze SKIN at a Raitaru kill

Meanwhile, I don’t hear enough about the strategic picture to make much of a comment on that either.  I get a sense that things are not going well for PH over in The Kavala Expanse region, where the ADMs are low and almost all of the ihubs have either been destroyed or are reinforced.   My alliance, TNT, even took the TCU in A-YB15 after destroying the ihub, probably just for fun.  The TCU declares ownership of the system, puts the alliance name on the map, but it is the ihub that upgrades a null sec system to make it livable and useful.

Meanwhile, we have to go pretty far into PH space to find Ansiblex jump gates to knock out.

An Ansiblex jump gate offline and waiting to be blown up

We caught that one down in RQOO-U and blew it up, snapping another connection.  We had to dodge bombs coming from the Fortizar near which it was anchored, but that wasn’t enough to deter us… or even keep those of us in the logi wing very busy.

Not that there haven’t been fights.  I’ve heard tale of them.  But I seem to have spent most of the month missing the ops where the locals show up.  I know they are around.  We got a peek at them last week when we slipped in with some bombers to get on the killmail for a Triumvirate Fortizar that was unwisely hanging about in a war zone without an allies about.

Another Fortizar brews up

We had initially tried to bomb the Pandemic Horde fleet coming in to the shoot, but managed only to bomb a couple of our own.  My bomb, launched a bit late, got a solo kill on a blue capsule.  I don’t feel bad though.  Black Ops bombed us the other day when we were both going after the same target.  It happens.  And somebody learned not to MWD ahead of the pack on a bomb run that day.

Anyway, after a lot of quiet ops over the last couple of weeks, it was nice to show up yesterday and have some ships at which to shoot.

It started with us forming up and flying out in Eagles again.  We sat on a titan for a bit.

I just like screen shots of titans

Then we were bridged into Erstet, in low sec Metropolis, where NCDot was assailing a friendly Azbel with a few dreadnoughts supported by a Minokawa force auxiliary.  We went after the dreads, hitting a Phoenix first.

Phoenix shields flaring under impact

However, we were not able to out pace the Minokawa and its ability to rep, so a couple of dreadnoughts from out side were called up and jumped in, after which we managed… after much struggle… to deploy a cyno inhibitor on the field in order to keep NCDot from reinforcing their structure bash.

The extra firepower turned the tide and the Azbel was saved.  We exchanged a few subcaps for a Revelation, two Phoenixes, and the Minokawa force auxiliary, the wrecks of which stayed on the field.

The remains of the fight

We had to hang about a bit after that.  This took place in low sec, where things are complicated.  Our way back home was through high sec, so we had to wait out suspect timers.  This wait was extended because some of us in the logi wing had combat drones handy and got on a couple of the kill mails.  However, if you rep or cap boost somebody with a suspect timer then you too get the suspect timer, and we were all in Basilisks running a capacitor chain, so it became a self-refreshing round of suspect timers until somebody mentioned we would have to go through high sec, at which point we dropped the chain and tethered on the Azbel to wait out the 15 minutes.

Emboldened by our successful op, Thomas Lear, who was leading us, flew us off to another structure to reinforce it.

Eagles on the move again

Pandemic Horde gave chase with an Ishtar fleet, trying to get around us to cut us off and, if intel is to be believed, ended up with us sitting between them and home.  Finding themselves cut off instead, they then decided not to engage, docked up, and jump cloned back to their staging, leaving their ships parked for another day.  I cannot speak to the truth of that, but it does sound like an odd move.  There are other ways in and out of their space, as we were soon to learn.

After reinforcing another PH structure, Thomas decided that we would go deeper into their space and reinforce one more before calling it a night.  I have no idea what we were going to shoot though, because when we arrived in the system a Black Legion Munnin fleet, led by Elo Knight.  We were apparently not going to take that fight and spent the next hour trying to break contact with them and eventually flying the long way around south through the Great Wildlands and Metropolis before arriving back at our staging system once more.

And so it goes.  We made it back home again, and were out long enough to earn ourselves a second PAP.  But I still have managed to avoid anything akin to an actual fleet fight for over a month now.

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.