Om Saturday evening I was settling down to play some RimWorld and listen to a few podcasts. It seemed like a good way to hunker down for the evening as my wife and daughter were watching some of “their” shows on the TV.
But then a ping came though on Jabber for the Zungen Ops list. That is the Black Ops auxiliary group in the coalition, which I am included in by virtue of being in Reavers. At one point the two groups were working closely together, and since then we’ve been able to tag along on their ops without being full fledged members of their group. (We get to sit in the Foreign Legion channel.)
The ping said there was a capital to kill. They often say that. The ping could me a quick bridge to drop on somebody, or it could mean moving into position or waiting for long periods. But I didn’t have anything else besides RimWorld going, so I logged in and jump cloned my alt out to their staging and grabbed a Purifier bomber I had in my hangar. Then it was time to undock and wait on the black ops battle ship until it was time to go.
It had been a while since I had been out on a Black Ops run. A really long time. I think the last time I went out with them was when PanFam was pulling back into Malpais and The Kalevala Expanse and many targets could be found just one Black Ops bridge from the outpost in NPC Geminate. There are still targets in that range now and then, but all the juicy ratting and mining ops have faded well out of one bridge reach. So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that our first bridge was just a travel bridge.
We landed in a system with a wormhole… a new sort of wormhole I hadn’t seen before. I guess I haven’t been paying attention to wormholes.
We were warped to the wormhole and landed about 100km off of it and were told to burn to it. It was then that I realized I had made a mistake. There were two Purifiers in my hangar when I clone jumped to the station in Geminate and I just grabbed one and undocked. (Actually, two mistakes, as I also forgot to set a jump clone in the station in case I died.)
The Purifier I picked was a leftover from the Liberty Squad deployment to Geminate and was fit to meet the needs of that, which was largely structure shooting. It still had most of the right mods on it, including a target painter, but the propulsion module was an afterburner and it quickly became apparent that the fleet was fit with microwarp drives, making everybody faster to burn than myself. I watched the whole fleet pull away from me. My only saving grace was that the fuel truck had only a somewhat higher top speed than mine, so people had to wait for that to catch up with me only slightly behind.
I was in danger of being “that guy” who has shown up to the party dressed incorrectly and gets called out for it. At one point, later on during the op, Zungen actually called out over coms, “Why don’t you have your prop mod on?” and I felt a bit of panic knowing that my failure had been discovered. But it turned out that one of the Loki pilots had literally not lit their MWD as we burned for another wormhole, so I was overlooked as I watched the fuel truck burn past me yet again.
We took two wormholes and did a jump and ended up sitting in an empty system in Malpais waiting for a target. At that point I was tabbing back to RimWorld every so often, only to notice that when I tabbed back to EVE Online I ended up with that odd bug where you cannot move your camera anymore, which can be awkward when you need to find the black ops battleship after it decloaks and click on it to bridge through. You can clear that problem, but you have to fiddle with it a bit and I ended up staring at a moon for a bit when it happened. So I closed RimWorld. No need for any additional complications.
Anyway, I got that cleared up in time to ready for the jump to our first target, a pair of Rorquals. We landed near one that went into PANIC pretty quickly.
There was a second Rorqual about 100km off in the anomaly and some people rushed off to get that on tackled as well… and to put up a second cyno inhib to keep help from jumping in. I took up station at about the mid point between the two so I could shoot both without having to move too far. Again, that AB made me slow.
But help did arrive. A Rapier warped into the anomaly and lit a cyno before that second inihib was deployed and soon the super carriers were landing on us.
Zungen warped us off to safety, but then decided to warp us back in to see if we could blap the Rapier quickly and then run off again. However, the supers had their fighters out already and as we landed and got in range people started taking damage. A few of our bombers were blown up and I came very close to going down myself, warping off just in time.
We grouped up again and bridged out to another system. There we got a report of another Rorqual idling on a beacon, apparently AFK. This was declared bait for a trap right away, but we bridged out again just to see. We got in some hits, but it wasn’t long before super carriers started jumping in to get us.
Off we went again to safe up and jump out to wait for another opportunity. At this point we were a little down on the balance sheet, with some losses for no kills in return. So Zungen found us a quick win. There was an Apocalypse Navy Issue doing an anomaly nearby, so we jumped in and blapped him… so quickly that I didn’t even get a screen shot. My alt got top damage, which meant for the first time I completed the daily Skilling is Just a Means of Communication task, earning me 10K skill points.
Also, in another first for me, the Apoc died and launched a frigate from its escape bay, an Imperial Navy Slicer, which was quickly tackled and blown up as well. I didn’t even get on that kill mail it went so fast. And then we got the pod. As Issabella said on coms, the frigate escape bay basically gave some people another kill mail in this situation, which put her firmly in favor of the idea.
After that we grouped up again to wait for another target.
The Apoc was fun and at least put us on the board, but the next target was more of a meal. We dropped on a Thanatos that was out ratting and quickly had him tackled and down.
That was followed by another Thanatos that was likewise caught flat footed and did not last long.
Those are the sort of kills that make you feel like you’re doing your job to stimulate the economy.
We also picked off his fighters and, of course, his MTU. Death to structures, large or small.
At that point we had been out for a couple hours, so Zungen turned us towards home. Again, we ran through wormholes and again I felt exposed as the slow guy in the AB Purifier. That was when the prop mod comment I mentioned above happened, but nobody pointed at me. I managed to just barely keep up and arrived safely back at our staging system, where I got myself tethered on our Astrahus to repair the armor and hull damage I had been carrying around since our first encounter.
As I sat there on tether, somebody spotted an Eos going through one of the gates in the system and started following them. Zungen call for people to get on the blops again and, when the Eos and its three sister ships, a Vexor and two Prophecies, were tackled, we dropped in on them. The Vexor and one of the Prophecies were blown up fairly quickly. The other Prophecy got away while we had to chase the Eos around a bit. It got out and warped to the sun.
By the time I got out of the bubbles and to the sun the Eos had warped off to the TCU or the Ihub… both were called and I warped to the wrong one… where he was blown up. But I had gotten a few hits on him back in the bubble, so I got on the kill. The Prophecy we blew up had an entosis link fit, so it was suggested that they might have been out doing some sovereignty stuff.
After that it was back to base. I docked up and logged out, then back in with my neutral Jita alt who fit up a Purifier according to the Black Ops doctrine and flew it out, then flew the AB fit Purifier back to Jita. Next time I will have the right fit, though in hindsight I could have probably just bought one off of contract in the station we’re in. They are up on alliance contracts and, since I moved from TNT to KarmaFleet, I am actually now in the alliance under which they are posted. I’ll remember that for next time.
Anyway, I’ll be ready to go. Zungen and his team do a lot of work so that people like me can ride along and shoot big stuff. The least I can do is try to show up with the right fit.