Tag Archives: The Initiative

Covering another Keepstar Deployment

MAX DUDES RED CRAYON CTA RIGHT NOW

TITAN>SUPER>FAX>CARRIER>DREAD

WE NEED EVERY WARM BODY WITH A HULL

THIS WILL PROBABLY BE THE LARGEST SUPER FLEET FORMED SINCE B-R5 SO YOU PROBABLY WANT TO BE HERE FOR THE SCREEN SHOTS ALONE

-tiberizzle to allcaps

How could I say “no” to that ping?  Besides, it was Sunday morning, my wife and daughter were off to other things and I had no plans for the day.  So I clone jumped to the staging Keepstar, jumped into my Apostle, and got into the armor capital fleet.  The armor fleet passed 200 people, while the first shield fleet filled up and they had to roll out a second.  There didn’t seem to be any special fit required, aside from having a prop mod to speed up gate travel.

Once I got myself squared away I undocked and warped off to one of the citadels ringing the Keepstar so as not to be yet another massive object on the undock that people might bump into.  The force auxiliaries are not as big as a titan, but they are bigger than a super carrier and make carriers look like mere battleships in the fleet.

My Apostle in warp with Tiberizzle’s Wyvern super carrier

As the fleets settled down we were given a destination to gate to and off we went.  Traveling in a capital taking gates means jumping through a gate, clicking warp/jump for the next one, then running your prop mod as you align until your ship finally approaches the speed it needs to warp off.  Then you turn it off and, as it cycles down, you should warp… unless you bounce of of another capital, which has a habit of knocking your speed back down to below the warp threshold.

Then you just want to get through the gate at the far end without bouncing off of somebody as ships land in a streaming mass and ending up out of range to jump.

That gate has to be feeling the pressure…

On voice coms somebody was telling people to spam the jump button in order to avoid that fate.  I opted for the old auto pilot trick.  Since we had a destination, as I my Apostle headed to the gate I would turn on the auto pilot which would then jump me through the gate itself hands off.  You just have to remember to turn it off as you jump, as you could end up 15km off the next gate and slow boating for the next jump if you’re not careful.

Then you’re through the gate and everybody is spread out, uncloaking, and aligning for the next gate.

Capital fleet doing its align thing

We bunched up on a Fortizar as our first waypoint, then were given a new destination a few more jumps out.  There was sat on a Raitaru, bunching up in a giant mass of capital hulls.

Make room! Make room!

We sat there for a while, so I was pretty sure this was where we would be jumping from to get to our destination.  I still did not know what we were up to, if this would be my first capital op to involve a fleet action.  Things were quiet on coms and I wondered what was going on in the command channel.

Then the order came through to jump to cyno that had been lit.  The order was quickly amended to restrict faxes from jumping through, so everybody else jumped out leaving a convention of force auxiliaries on the Raitaru.

A meeting of faxes

There were complaints of tidi and bouncing and whatnot from those who had jumped.  After a few minutes that settled down and faxes were given the clearance to jump.

Entering the jump tunnel from the Raitaru

Once through I could see capitals strewn about the field, but that was all the client was drawing for me immediately.

Landing after the jump

This happens some times when you land on a grid with a lot of objects to draw.  Ships get drawn first.  After a bit though the client got around to filling out a Keepstar citadel where we were all hanging about tethered or bouncing.

There we are

You can see some titans a bit off that may have bounced a bit.

This was the point of the operation.  Whenever a Keepstar is set to go online a large capital fleet is assembled to protect it while it goes through its initial repair cycle, the point at which it is most vulnerable because a hostile force can blow it up without all that mucking about with timers, as happened with the Keepstar over in Auga about a month and a half back.

To prevent that a large force is mustered to sit on the Keepstar to dissuade any attack.  And so there we were.  No fight was likely given the forces we had on the field.

Sitting on the Keepstar waiting

This was the first Keepstar for our Imperium colleagues in The Initiative who, as it was going online, also won their match in the alliance tournament.

So there we sat.  Jay Amazingness said that once it was online we would sit out our jump fatigue before we headed home again.  That was going to be a while so, to entertain us Jay asked a pilot in a Phoenix dreadnought if the fleet could doomsday his ship if Jay bought him a new one later.  He agreed and warped off to another citadel before returning to be in range off us but at a distance.  On command all of the titans fired on him.

Doomsdays away

I did not have a very good angle setup when the doomsday fire went off, but Jay linked us a better screen shot in fleet, which I have borrowed.

Jay’s view of the doomsday fire

To stretch out the shoot the Phoenix pilot activated his Emergency Hull Energizer which boosts resists to 99%.  However, even with that the weight of damage being thrown at him was so much that he exploded fairly quickly.

Phoenix down

That left us some time to sit around and stare at the fresh wreck or take a break while our collective jump fatigue timers ran down.

Phoenix wreck lit by an explosion

As I was looking for a good screen shot of the Phoenix wreck, it was lit up by something that happened behind me.  While I missed it, The Initiative blew up an Archon on the undock to sanctify the Keepstar going online or just to join in on the fun.

After that we mostly sat about.  There wasn’t anything like a BBQ war in coms, which was probably a good thing.  With about 15 minutes left on jump fatigue we were roused out of our torpor and given a destination.  We set out to take some more gates to put us in range of home.

We had to wait a bit as there was a titan running behind.  Somebody needed a bathroom break, but only after we started out taking gates.  He eventually just jumped to us, leaving him within range of home and giving him the option to either double jump, and take a jump fatigue hit, or just wait it out and use the safe cyno later.

I don’t know what he chose, but the rest of us took the cyno once it was up and landed back at home.

Back at the staging Keepstar

Unlike the move op the other night, we were not cyno’d into the Twerk zone, there being some fear that a titan might bounce, escape the model, and end up flung hundreds of kilometers away.  I’ve seen that happen.  While the ship would likely not be in immediate danger, it is best not to take chances with expensive toys.  After all, PL keeps dreads on hand for such opportunities.

And that was it for the operation.  Another capital op for me, though I have yet to use my Apostle to rep a single ship.

John Hartley took some video of the fleet which includes us landing on the Keepstar, featuring some titan bounces, and the doomsday shoot of the Phoenix at the end.

 

A Long Way to Go to Die to Rorquals

There was word that there might be a Reavers op about the time I arrived home from work.  And, sure enough, shortly after I was able to sit down at my computer a ping went out from Thomas Lear to get into his fleet.  It was going to be an opportunity to use our Sleipnir doctrine again, an expensive command ship we fly on occasion.

However, he broadcast the fleet ping to all-all rather than just to Reavers, so he had to spend a while weeding out non-Reavers who joined the fleet.  They were at least relatively easy to spot, not being in Sleipners.

Once that was sorted, along with getting boosters for the fleet, we were off to the local jump bridge on our way out.

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

Sleipnirs landing at the jump bridge module

From the far side of the jump bridge we took a gate and warped to a conveniently located wormhole that sent us directly to the Placid region.  From there we passed into Cloud Ring and null sec space.  As we moved Thomas explained that we were on our way to a fight between Brave Newbies and Pandemic Legion.  PL had an Astrahus citadel going online in 9-4RP2, a system Brave recently took from the Imperium North group, Initiative Mercenaries.

(The Mittani said in a recent Fireside that The Initiative, while off on its own, was still considered to be part of the Imperium.  There are actually some familiar old names in The Initiative these days, including WALLTREIPERS and Fweddit.)

We were going there to third party on the fight, to shoot targets of opportunity from both sides.

Our first targets were a fleet of Pandemic Horde Talwars that cross jumped us at a gate on our way.  We managed to put an interdictor back through the gate quickly and jumped as many people back into QXW-PV as possible to blap the PH destroyers.  We got a fair number before getting back on course for the real fight.

Once in 9-4RP2, the Astrahus was going online, sitting in its vulnerable self-repair deployment process where an attacker can kill it in one go rather than having to wait for the vulnerability window and going through three attacks spaced by two timers.

Brave Newbies was out with an Augoror Navy Issue fleet to attack the citadel, while PL a small Rorqual fleet sitting tethered on the Astrahus along with the remaining PH Talwars.

We started off hitting the PH fleet as they were in range, taking down some more Talwars along with a couple of their logi support.  I took a target of opportunity and blapped a Rifter that was coming straight at us, so there was no tracking issue for my arty fit Sleipnir.  I almost got a solo kill on that, but one of our Sabres managed to get a hit in on him.

However, while we started off easily plinking small stuff, PL got themselves into action soon enough, dropping a battleship fleet to support them.

A GotG ball of Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

A ball of PL Maelstroms and Rokhs, with a Minokawa for logi support

The Rorquals had deployed sentry drones and put them into action against us as we got in range and things started to go downhill.  The PL drone trigger targeted me and I called for reps early, but we did not have much logi along with us, so while I lasted for a bit, the firepower of the Rorqual drones chewed me into armor and then into hull, popping my Sleipnir.

Sleipnir out of control

Sleipnir out of control

You can see my ship in the above screen shot, glowing with erupting explosions and turning out of control.  My pod had already ejected by that point, but the death animations continued on for a bit.  So dramatic.  A Brave Newbies pilot got on my kill due to some bomb damage from earlier, along with some Initiative pilots that were running ECM bursts.

The fight was pretty much done for me at that point.  I had hit a few targets before I blew up, so got on the kill mails after they went down even though I was in my pod at that point.  So I pottered about on grid for a bit and tried to take some screen shots of the Rorquals.

Rorqual Gaggle

Rorqual Gaggle

Sitting there with their sentry drones shooting as one, they reminded me a bit of the old wrecking ball carrier tactic from back in the day, except rather than being spider tanked and able to rep each other, the Rorquals can make their whole fleet invulnerable for a bit should they get in trouble. via the dread Pulse Activated Nexus Invulnerability Core that came in with the Ascension expansion.  Combat Rorquals are a thing.

On coms it sounded like we were losing ships slowly but surely.  Meanwhile, the Brave Newbie fleet left the scene.  Apparently we unintentionally blew up their FC and the fleet decided to get off grid after that.  That left us as the main target and it sounded like time for us to make an exit as well.

As that was coming together I suddenly realized, as Iolled about in my pod in the middle the battle, that I had implants in my clone.  Not super expensive, like a full set of Slaves or anything, but a couple of implants that were a bit pricey for me.  50 million ISK here, 90 million ISK there, soon that starts to add up into real currency.  I decided that I had best be on my way as well, heading for the out gate ahead of the fleet.

I didn’t feel the need to keep together with the fleet, since I wasn’t going to be able to help them at all, instead running ahead as something of a pod scout.  Fortunately, there was nothing between us and the wormhole back home to worry about.  It was also fortunate that I remembered to bookmark the wormhole when we arrived.

Pod back at the wormhole

Pod back at the wormhole

I got back through and arrived home safely, minus one Sleipnir.  It even had a kill mark on it for a short period of time.

Looking at the battle report I rolled up for the engagement, we lost the fewest ships, but the ships we lost were expensive.  Nine Sleipnirs down adds up fast.  Now to see what sort of reimbursement I will get for my loss.

Pandemic Legion carried the day, winning both the object and the ISK war.  Another small skirmish in the ongoing conflict that is New Eden.