Tag Archives: Thomas Lear

Faction Fortizar Throw Down in Sujarento

At least my efforts in moving that Naglfar across New Eden were rewarded.

Liberty Squad deployed north over the weekend, and after the structure shoots in Tribute our FCs were clearly looking for some blood.  From the moment we arrived at our new staging in Frarie we were out trying to provoke a fight with Snuffed Out and their local allies.

It started with some reinforcement timers in Frarie.  We have citadels there and so do they.  But when, on Sunday evening they declined to show up for one of them after we had formed, Thomas Lear and Cainun led us out to Sujarento, about 8 gates away, to reinforce a faction Fortizar owned by one of Snuff’s allies Pen Is Out.

They gunned the Fortizar for that, which made it a busy time for our logi wing as our Abaddon fleet set the first timer.

Hanging around the Fortizar

With the timer set to come out in less than 24 hours we had effectively scheduled the next big op, all while only losing a single Augoror.  Of course, then we lost five Abaddons on the way home because the locals formed a small fleet to catch stragglers and we apparently cannot all align.  You cannot spell “Abaddon” without “bad” I guess.

You don’t tell me where to align!

Anyway, the blood lust was on us.  Pings went out to get people on.  We were going to take this fight.  And, the next evening, at 23:00 UTC, we were piling into fleet while it was reported that the Snuff and allies had about 200 people logged into their staging system.

Low sec still has local.

Once we got a pile of Abaddons together, along with some Leshaks, Cainun had us undock.  The call was for battleships ahead of logi, so I left my filthy Guardian in the hangar and went with the fat boys.  I trained up lasers ages ago so I like to use them when I get the chance.  So pretty.

An Abaddon blob undocking

We had battleships together, which were bridged in a group to the target, and dread alts on standby, logged in, in the fleet, and insurance windows open, ready to go if the fight escalated as we expected it might.

When we arrived we aligned to the target, which had already begun its 15 minute repair cycle.

The Pen Is Out Fortizar

Snuff had a Machariel fleet waiting for us, which was what we had hoped to get stuck into.  We got on grid… maybe a little too close, since we the station PDS was hitting us… and the Leshaks began hitting the Fortizar while the Abaddons began engaging the Machs.  That was a fairly busy time, especially for our logi wing again.  But even in the Abaddons there was much to do, including capacitor management.  The fit isn’t cap stable and when the station is throwing void bombs at you that drain your cap… cap you need to fire the guns and keep your hardeners going… you spend some time feeding in cap boosters and turning things on and off just to get another shot in.

We were exchanging when my turn came up to be primary.  Logi was busy so many of us were letting our armor sit unrepaired until it got critical, so when I saw the yellow boxes light up on my overview it seemed unlikely that I would get enough reps in time.

Sure enough, my ship exploded.

I was floating around in my pod, nobody had time for me at the moment, when Snuff began jumping dreadnoughts into the fight.  As soon as that happened Thomas called for our dreads to insure and undock.  I swapped windows, dragging my main over to the second monitor and my alt onto the main, and undocked the Naglfar.  We jumped into the fight, sieged up, and began hitting targets.

I think was the third time I had used a dread in combat, which pretty much means I had little idea what I needed to do beyond going into siege and shooting the broadcasts… and hitting the emergency hull energized when I became primary.

You know how this ends… Fortizar visible in the background

By the time my number came up Snuff had dropped titans on us.  I lasted long enough that I had a titan on my kill mail.  That might be another first for me, first capital loss and first capital hit by a titan.  The hull energizer kept me alive for a while, which may have saved somebody else as people had to keep shooting me for a bit.  But I was dead soon enough.

After that I was sitting around in system in two pods.  At that point I realized that my main actually had implants and that maybe I shouldn’t let him just sit around.  I gated him safely home to our staging.

My alt was implant free however, so he stuck around on grid taking screen shots of the unfolding fight, some of which I put in a gallery at the end of the post.

Once the titans were on grid the battle was decided.  Dreadnoughts were as far as we could escalate, so after a few more targets people who could jump out did.

By any reasonable measure, we lost the fight.  We failed the objective, lost more ships, lost more in ISK value.  But it was the battle we had been aching for.  I, for one, had been dragging that Naglfar around with me since March waiting to drop it into a desperate fight.

I tried to do a battle report, but as I always say, low sec is strange.  Low sec groups can be as clannish as any null sec coalition, so it is difficult to tell who was there with Snuff and who was just there, so I sorted the header into Imperium and everybody else.

Battle Report Header – Click to Make Legible

That was a lot of people in system during the fight.  Enough to help make Sujarento the most violent system in the last 24 hours per DOTLAN.

Most Violent Winner of the Night

And lest you wonder, the vast majority of that violence occurred during a pretty tight time frame.

That peak, that is us

However, despite the pile up of players in system over a short duration, there was no time dilation invoked that I saw.  Maybe somebody had the foresight to reinforce the system.  There have been times in low sec where just gating a group of 60 ships have brought tidi into play.

Anyway, we have introduced ourselves to the locals by throwing them a nice party.  We’ll see how things develop from there.

Related Items

Selected screen shots from my pod.  Click on the pictures to enlarge.

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.

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.

The Other Keepstar Falls in Rage

One one Keepstar awaited in wormhole J115405.  Named “Unassailable Wealth,” the Initiative had been in the night before to get it to the final timer.

Unassailable Wealth waits to be assailed

That was the last big target in the hole known to some as “Rage,” the final loot pinata to smack, and its timer was running down, set to end just after the transition to December 15th on the UTC clock that EVE Online uses.

There was a bit of a warm up a couple of hours before as a Fortizar on grid with the Keepstar had its final timer come up.

Astero with the Fortizar

Above the Fortizar is the Keepstar, below it the planet around which they all had been set.  My alt got out on grid in his Astero to drop a sentry drone in order to get on the kill mail.  I also got out Wilhelm in the Hound he looted to take a few shots as well.

Hound over the Fortizar

The main effort was by the usual ball of Ravens that the Initiative favors for these operations.  The Fortizar, lacking the Arcing Vorton Projector doomsday weapon, just sat there and took the damage until it blew.

The Fortizar erupts in flames

According to the kill mail my Hound actually kept up with individual Ravens as far as damage went, though damage deflected by the damage cap makes that an odd metric to figure.

After that there was a couple of hours off before the big kill.  As the time approached pings went out to alert everybody who wanted to be there for the final fight… if there was to be a fight.  It seemed unlikely that Hard Knocks would show up in force at this point, but complacency on our part might make resistance viable.

For Reavers Thomas Lear came out to FC our Ishtar fleet.  I jumped into my Guardian and, this time, remembered to put the Bouncer II sentry drone I brought along into the drone bay.  I wanted to be able to tag the Keepstar, as last time around it didn’t work out.

The rules for this fight were laid out up front.  This time around the Initiative, which had spent the last year setting up this whole event, was claiming the loot from this Keepstar for itself.  Once it blew everybody else was going to have to get off grid as they would be shooting any outsiders looking to scavenge.

In the Reavers channel this didn’t get much of a response.  It certainly seemed right to me that those who did the bulk of the work reap the rewards.  And let them try to haul stuff out after we were done.  I was there for the spectacle and a couple of kill mails, not some random stuff I would have to worry about taking home.  (I almost never loot after battles.  I don’t even think to do it until somebody mentions it.)

On the main fleet coms however, people were apparently pissing and moaning about getting left out of the sack of the Keepstar.  If there were ever a reason to join a SIG or a squad, it is main fleet coms.

The event itself went down about as expected.  Various fleets showed up, the main one being the ball of Ravens fielded by the Initiative.  They unleashed their barrage of cruise missiles at the Keepstar and, in return, the Keepstar gunner zapped them with the Arcing Vorton Projector whenever it cycled.

The Keepstar reaching out

With a 10 minute recycle time, only two shots were made before the final moment when the Keepstar exploded.

The Keepstar, now brighter than the sun

Then the loot pinata began spewing hangar containers to loot.  At that point the Initiative did something special.  They warped in and formed their logo in brackets on grid.

The Initiative logo in spaceships

For reference, this is their logo on DOTLAN EVE Maps.

INIT info

It is really only the center part of the logo, but it was a nice bit of work.  My screen shot of it isn’t that good, since I was caught unaware and just had to use whatever overview I had to hand to try and see it.  Over at INN their post has a screen shot with just the ships and aimed so the sun is behind the eye of the logo.   Very nice.

It is my understanding, confirmed on NER coms, that on person set that up, making the bookmarks for each ship location, then handed them out before the fleet so everybody could warp to the spot and, tah-dah, logo in space!

At that point all the wise people not in the Initiative warped out and docked up or tethered.  Those foolish enough to ignore the warnings, or unlucky enough to have missed them, were blown up according to the kill board.  More loot for the Initiative.

There are still some more structures to blow up and the Initiative has committed to hitting every last one of them, leaving only after they have all been destroyed.  Much of the rest of the Imperium headed home though.  The big kill mails and epic loot are all gone.  Only die hard structure shooters like Reavers are hanging around for some more kills.

And so it goes.  That post at INN looks a bit at Hard Knocks.  They aren’t imploding or shedding members.  They still have their null sec rental space in Cobalt Edge.  There is a rumor that they are folding into Pandemic Legion and merging their rental space, but there is as yet no substance it.

I suspect that once we have cleared out of JJ115405… nobody in the attacking force wants to keep the place… that Hard Knocks will return.  They will probably set up a more modest holding there.  No Keepstars.  The Keepstars were an extravagance, some bling to show off to the world.  And that is why we ended up there.  Fortizars are cheaper and would suit their needs.

I  do wonder whether CCP might look into the Initiative’s Raven fleet tactics to see if EVE Online players have found yet another hole in the game mechanics that ought to be filled.  What starts as ingenuity tends to become the meta.  We shall see.

A Short Visit to Geminate

Peace is dull.  I don’t mine nor do I rat any more.  I have accumulated enough ISK to tide me over for some time, helped along by alliance SRP payouts for losses.

SRP is the “ship replacement program,” where the alliance uses its wealth to compensate pilots for ship losses.  There is some nominal payout for peace time operations, but operations that are considered strategic get better returns for losses.

Also, strategic ops have that element of purpose, a sense of “doing something” that a separates them, in my mind at least, from the random roam or other attempt to fleet up just to find trouble.  That is probably my professional life bleeding over, as I am inevitably the person in sprint planning meetings pointing out that a sprint isn’t just a random three week period of time to do whatever.  If there is no goal or deliverable or whatever we might as well not bother diligently creating new sprints.

Anyway, I live for the Jabber ping that has a fleet flagged as “strategic,” and after going nearly half a month without seeing such a ping, one popped up yesterday.  Two, actually, though the first one was just a call to roll a wormhole and clean up some bombers that leaked through into Delve.

The second one though, that was a call for a Cerberus fleet to run out to get in on a fight that was brewing somewhere undisclosed.  And Thomas Lear, long a member of Reavers before he split off to form Liberty Squad, was going to be the FC.  That looked to be exactly my cup of tea.

I got into game, into fleet, and into a Cerberus, which I had to buy off contract because I appeared to have mislaid the one I thought I had hanging about.  After some cajoling about numbers… we had a lot of support and not enough Cerbs… things finally got under way and we undocked and got on a titan.

Three Avatars in a row

We were getting a titan bridge out because the new, fatigue free jump bridge network was still in the process of getting deployed.  In fact, CCP Fozzie announced the first connection between the new modules just this morning.

The old jump bridge network is still up and functioning, and I suppose we could have take that to get our first leg over, but a titan was handy so we used that instead.  The bridge went up and off we went.

Sent on our way

We were headed east.  As the story eventually came to me, TEST had reinforced a Pandemic Horde Sotiyo up in Geminate previously and were now set to contest the armor timer.  We were invited along to help them as they were expecting a fight.

So we gated our way into TEST space where they provided a titan to bridge us a bit further along.  Then it was up through Scalding Pass and  the Great Wildlands towards our destination, 04-LQM in Geminate, where the Sotiyo lay.

That gave us plenty of time to see the new gate graphics along the way.

A fiery Minmatar gate

We moved as a group through system after system in that familiar warp ball, our destination slowly moving closer, the 255 of us causing time dilation now and then as we transitioned.

Cerbs moving together

Unfortunately the dithering about getting the fleet composition right as well as having to gate most of the way (there was a wormhole, but it collapsed before we got to it) made us late to the party.

By the time we arrived in 04-LQM, the combined fleets of Pandemic Horde, NCDot, and Black Legion had destroyed much of the TEST battleship fleet and sent the rest packing.  There was only two minutes left on the repair timer when we arrived on grid as well as a lot of hostile ships already loaded and looking for fresh targets.  It was not our best timed arrival.

Still, we had come all that way, wrapping around half of null sec, driving from Delve to Geminate.  Thomas wasn’t going to go home empty handed.

Thomas brought us through the gate to LX-ZOJ and had our interdictors bubble it up in the hope that we could pin the enemy down and take some out at range with missile volleys.  The enemy followed through as expected, Elo Knight in his Monitor being one of the first ships to break cloak.

Looking at the bubbled gate from range

Cainun, who was shepherding logi and support, called targets for us, starting with the expected Munnins.  The plan was one volley per target in the hope that enough damage would land when the missiles arrived to alpha the ship.

Following the Muninns was a fleet of Nightmare battleships, which became the targets of choice.

Nightmares down in the bubbles

However, our volleys were falling short of our hopes.  I saw several Munnins and Nightmares knocked down into structure only to survive because the threat had passed as we moved to the next target.  A second volley might have pushed a few over, but I could see reps hitting many of those close calls so that follow on missiles would have to face full shields and reps.

Meanwhile we were losing our own ships as the hostiles started popping Cerbs.  Pilots who overheated their shield hardeners, remembered to trigger their assault damage control, and broadcasted for reps quickly, and in that order, likely survived.  But those who were slow or who slipped up went down quickly, long before any help could reach them.

With the death of Cerbs, our ability to alpha targets with a single volley stopped being a viable plan.  While we got in a few kills, we were losing more than we killed and things were tipping even more against us as time went on.  Thomas had us align out and we managed to escape, bubbling the gate behind us to slow pursuit.

Having already won the objective and the ISK war, the locals seemed content to wave bye-bye as we left.  They didn’t have anything left to prove.  The battle report tells the tale.

Battle report from the full fight

At least I got my strategic participation counted and got myself on a few kill mails, proving my existence in the game for yet another month.

Of course, we were still way the hell out in Geminate and a long way from home.  The route back to Delve was about 60 jumps.  While I like touring the new gate graphics, I wasn’t feeling the need to see that many gates.

As we were heading back the word came down that there might be a wormhole for us, running from Insmother, about a dozen jumps from our then current location, to Aridia, the low sec space adjacent to Delve.  That would cut a lot of gates out of our journey.  The problem was that the person with the wormhole information was getting it second hand and nobody actually had their eyes on the wormhole to know its state.  It could have been ready to collapse.

Eventually the person reporting it got there, saw it was up, and went through to verify that it did, indeed, poke through to Aridia.  Off we went, forming up at the wormhole.

Waiting on the wormhole

While some anxious people went through early, most of us waited until Thomas gave us the green light to enter the wormhole.  It stayed up for the whole fleet.  From there it was just a dozen gates or so to Delve.  Amarr gates, to compare with the Minmatar gates. (Both of which look better than the Caldari gates.)

An Amarr gate with the new doodads

We ran into a LowSechnaya Sholupen smart bombing battleship gate camp, which claimed an interceptor that was scouting ahead.  But they got out of the way when a nearly full Cerb fleet started landing on them.

From there it should have been simple.  However, there was an incursion going on in the constellation that includes 1-SMEB, the system that connects to Aridia.  So we grouped up there before going through, lest the incursion rats, known to camp gates and tackle passers by, take their toll for passage.

The gate into Delve, Fat Bee present, ships jumping through

As it was though, the incursion rats apparently had other business to which to attend, so everybody passed safely through to the jump bridge and through to home.

It was good to shake the rust off a bit and get something of a fight.  All this peace is too much to bear.

CO2 Keepstar in the Cross Hairs

Talk has already started about what various groups are going to do after the war in the north lapses.  In part this has been predicated on the assumption that once Circle of Two has been driven out of Fade and their structures destroyed that victory will be declared and the Imperium will go back to accumulating its huge pile of wealth in Delve.  However, during The Meta Show on Saturday The Mittani did suggest that we might stay in the north so long as we were getting fights in the Fade region, so we may be sticking around for a while.

Fade forces disposition… for the moment

Either way we have a couple of tasks left.  Back in July the CO2 Keepstar in DW-T2I was saved from destruction when the Imperium apparently didn’t know who cynojammer mechanics worked.

I guess we know the answer

That was a setback to the Imperium drive to hit CO2.  There were other targets though, so the Imperium went after the NCDot staging Keepstar in X47L-Q where the armor and final hull timer battles saw dozens of titans die along with the citadel.

There were also NCDot and PL allied Keepstars in low sec that were take out.

On the southern front, the was seems to have petered out with Fraternity attempting to anchor and subsequently losing a Keepstar of their own.  What with all of that and the two Keepstar battles in the south earlier, it has been the war of the Keepstars.

During all of that there has been an ongoing entosis campaign in Fade as the Imperium has attempted to remove cynojammers as a factor in the region, allowing it to drop its super captial force at will.  The pressure has been on and the north has formed up to defend the critical infrastructure hubs that allow cynojammers to be anchored.  But the Imperium has pushed forward, system by system, until last week when the ihub in DW-T2I was finally taken.

With that task complete, the CO2 Keepstar was reinforced very shortly there after.

On Saturday fleets assembled for the second of the three events needed to take down the Keepstar, the armor time.  Most of this had been happening in EU prime time during the week, when I have been at work.  But on Saturday I was able to get to the staging system in 6RCQ-V.  With the ping fleets were assembling and filling up.

I managed to make it into one of the Baltec fleets, with Thomas Lear in command.  Asher the Sky Marshall was in overall command of the multi-fleet operation.  We started moving out in a relatively short time span given that more than a thousand characters were logged in and in fleets.  The captial ship component jumped off on their own while the subcaps flew off to titans for jump bridges.

Waiting for our turn to bridge

With no cynojammer available to keep us out, we bridged straight into DW-T2I.  Looking over at the timer on the Keepstar, it was clear we were there early.

Armor Timer Counting Down

We were clearly not leaving anything to chance.

In previous Keepstar fights the armor timer had been heavily contested, so we were there and on grid with the structure to make sure there wouldn’t be any issues on that front.

On arrival we tethered up on the friendly Fortizar that had been anchored on the same grid as the Keepstar and waited for instructions.

Watching the Keepstar

We had not been hanging off the Fortizar for too long before Asher announced from the command channel that the locals were not going to defend the timer.  There would be no fight, no tidi, no clash of capital ships.

It was also about then that I think people began to notice that Asher had the Real Ultimate Power theme song running on speakers in the background throughout the operation, as every time he keyed up it was there to hear.  The YouTube version of the song had been discovered earlier in the week and I am pretty sure he had been playing it non-stop ever since.  Like ninjas, Sky Marshals are also mammals and are also fight all the time.

Except when the enemy doesn’t show up.

While the enemy was now not expected to take the field we still piled into the system, likely both as a show of force and to keep the locals from changing their mind.

A few tasks were handed out as we waited for the timer.  Our fleet warped over to an Athanor mining platform in the system to reinforce it.

Baltecs shooting a structure

Being in Reavers, shooting structures is practically a way of life.  With a full fleet though that did not last very long.  Soon we were back hanging off the Fortizar on our tethers wondering if anything would happen as the timer for the Keepstar counted down.

A supercarrier fleet jumped to the Fortizar and tethered up above us with heavy interdictors putting up defensive warp disruption bubbles around the supers to keep anybody from warping directly on top of them.

The supers in their orange hictor bubbles

Fighters from the super fleet were tasked to do the actual attack on the Keepstar and most of the voice coms traffic involved getting their fighters deployed and to the right location.  Even that coms traffic died off after not too long and things were pretty quiet.

I took off my headset and let coms play through my speakers while I made a snack.

As I ate that I started to sketch out some ideas in a blog post draft that eventually took form and became the post about acquisitions and CCP that went live on Saturday.  I suppose it is a productive fleet if I end up with two blog posts out of it.

The timer came out and the supers hit the Keepstar.  As expected, there was not much in the way of resistance.  A few CO2 pilots undocked to try for targets of opportunity and a Pandemic Horde interceptor fleet shadowed us coming and going, but neither were going to change the expected result.  The Keepstar itself was gunned and managed to pick off Xenuria when he strayed too close and got hit by the PDS.  But the fighters were successful in getting through the armor of the citadel and the timer for the final event was set.

Count down to destruction

That timer puts the final fight on this coming Thursday Wednesday.  With the timer set in DW-T2I we withdrew back to our own staging in 6RCQ-V.

Rumor has it that the final timer will not be contested either as CO2 is already well under way evacuating assets to the Keepstar in DO6H-Q.  However, the ihub in DO6H-Q was also taken by the Imperium over the weekend, leaving the Keepstar there unprotected by a cynojammer.  It seems quite likely that we will stick around until that too has been destroyed.

Three Years of Reavers

I just want to point out that Iceland is going to the world cup and the USA isn’t. America has a shit soccer team and star citizen. Iceland: Better at football and space ship games.

~~~ This was a broadcast from asher_elias to reavers at 2017-10-11 02:06:32.634838 EVE ~~~

-Sample of what you get on the Reavers ping list

So we are here at the three years mark of the Reavers SIG.

Reavers forum bee

I remain a bit cloudy on the exact founding date for the group, but middle-ish October works as a general rule.  It isn’t like the hard launch date for a video game… back in the days before early access and whatnot… where there was a line between when you couldn’t do something and when you could.

Anyway, here we are at the third year.  Summaries of the past two years are available here:

As for the last year, the map of null sec has changed some since then.

October 14, 2016 and October 14, 2017 compared

Probably the largest change to note is the alliances that were pushed out of the north in the wake of the Casino War, many of whom landed in space to our east and led to a refactoring of various coalitions. (Also, as I mentioned on Monday, look at LowSechnaya Sholupen losing the same area of space in Fountain two years running.)

Those changes influenced what Reavers did over the last year.

The first Reaver operation I went on after the last anniversary was in December and involved us helping Volition Cult pop an Astrahus that had been dropped in the territory in Catch.  It was a temporary alliance with them against Honorable Third Party.  Thomas Lear led us in our new Sleipner doctrine, getting on the citadel kill, a carrier kill, and an ESS kill along the way home.

In February Thomas Lear again led us in our Sleipners, this time up north into Pandemic Horde space in Cloud Ring, again to contest an Astrahus being anchored.  That went less well as PL dropped some of the newly OP Rorquals and used sentry drones to hit us.  I lost my Sleipner there, but at least I didn’t have to fly all the way home.

Asher led us north later to join in on the fights going on around the Circle of Two Keepstar in M-0EE8.  I had to go back on my own for the kill though.

Rolling past the Keepstar in Asher Cerbs

Once CO2 moved south we set up to camp their ratting and mining ops in their new home in Impass.  I killed a lot of MTUs while we were out there.  It was also my first time flying a Stratios and my real introduction to scanning things down to shoot, though mostly I shot MTUs.

In May we all deployed out to one of our favorite locations, H-ADOC in Curse to stir up some fights.  I lost a Cerberus almost right away.  We lingered out there for a time, setting up an Astrahus to work from so we could switch clones/implants at need.  We went home for a bit, but returned again in July.

From there we ranged out into the Great Wildlands with our new Typhoon doctrine to shoot a Silent Affinity Fortizar.  It cost an Apostle but we helped take it down.

I used my MTU scanning skills to blow up a bunch of Fraternity MTUs in the area.  They like to rat and run missions around there and have a habit of leaving their MTUs behind.

Eventually we were called home to Delve.  That run took two days and featured a heated discussion about BBQ sauce, pizza, and other aspects of cuisine.

We were back home to join in on the deployment north to Hakonen.  While that wasn’t a Reavers specific operation at all, it did see wide-spread use of the Reavers Typhoon doctrine.

Reavers however got the opportunity to fly a special doctrine during the fight.  Azure and Argent led a little fleet of us in Atrons fit for ECM Burst operations that we would fling into the midst of the enemy, after which we would hit the burst and warp back to our perches to cloak up. (Ops one, two, and three.)  An interesting new experience, but hell on your sec status.

After that it was time to come home.  I fixed my sec status and flew my Typhoon back to Delve, only to learn that we would no longer be using the doctrine, at least coalition-wide.  It might still be a Reavers thing.  Things were beginning to brew to the east of us… and then Judgement Day hit and the war was aborted.

All of which doesn’t sound like much activity from Reavers.  I know I missed a couple of Reaver adventures, like the flight of the armor tanked Drakes.  But it hasn’t been like the first year of Reavers when we seemed to spend a lot of time behind enemy lines.  Not only has the sovereignty map changed since then, the reality of holding sovereignty has changes as well.  And Asher led a lot more ops around the map over the last year (like this one), they just weren’t Reavers exclusives.

Overall though, that is about as many things as I posted for year two, so I suppose we’re steady.

Anyway, that was my view of year three of Reavers.  We shall see what the future brings.