Tag Archives: Venal

Another Titan Sacrificed to the God of War

All I was going to do in EVE last night was one anomaly, then go to bed.

No strategic operations were planned.  Nothing else was required of me.

So I was back in my home system in null sec, for the first time in a few weeks, in my new Tengu, the old one having been blown up back during the Delve campaign, and blazing away an Guristas while watching local and the intel channel for Deklein.

Stock Tengu Image

And then things started to buzz in QPO-WI.

QPO is the staging system that the CFC has been using for the war against the Northern Coalition and its allies.  For a run down of who is who… or at least an amusing Goonswarm view of the players… there is a post up on The Mittani.com that lists out the usual suspects in the war: The Basement Dweller’s Guide to the War.

The intel channel reported that there were some hostiles in QPO, then as many as 90 hostiles and that they were on the station bubbling.

And then it was reported that the hostiles had a CFC titan tackled QPO, which was the point when, as they say, shit got real.

I had just killed the last NPC in my anomaly when that news hit the intel channel.  Jabber started its call to arms and fleets were hastily formed.  I headed back to the station, swapped out my Tengu for a fleet ops Drake I keep there.

QPO was only two gates and a jump bridge away.  I joined one of the fleets, got onto the right channel in Mumble, and started moving.  At the jump bridge to QPO I joined a few others waiting for the word that the other end of the jump bridge wasn’t camped.  Meanwhile, coms were confused as a cap fleet and a sub cap fleet tried to form up while using the same voice coms channel.

We were given the all clear to jump into QPO and upon arriving, the FC… or somebody giving orders over coms, I never quite figured out who was really running the show… told sub caps to rendezvous at planet three in the system.  I started warping there.

And just as my ship entered warp, that order was countermanded, we were not to jump to planet three as the hostiles were landing there.  Too late for me, I was on my way.
I landed at planet 3 and was quickly in a bubble.  I gave it the old junior college try, locking up a Sabre that was close by and opening fire as I tried to get out of the bubble.  He had me webbed though.  Still, for a moment I seemed to be doing okay, and then I got called as the primary and lasted long enough for 74 pilots to whore on my kill mail.

It is like a kill board public service.

I was podded before I could get clear of the bubble and warp to the station, where I had another ship handy.

By this point it appeared that the CFC titan, a LAWN Erebus worth more than 72 billion ISK, had been neuted and destroyed.  That was the second CFC titan loss of the day.  Earlier a RAZOR pilot fell for the CCP titan removal trap and clicked the jump button rather than the bridge button and jumped his Erebus into a red fleet at Y-WIQ3.

There was, for a short period of time, excitement on coms.  I had just reloaded into EVE and was wondering what to do when it was announced that there was another titan, a Black Legion Leviathan, in QPO.  There might be a possibility of some payback.

I used my jump clone in QPO to get back into the system right away, got into another Drake, undocked, and waited for… something.

It quickly became clear that the hostile titan had eluded us.  Reds disappeared out of the system save for a few observers.  The fight was over and we had lost in a big way.  The kill board shows the hostiles winning heavily in kills and overwhelmingly in the amount of ISK destroyed.

I warped out to planet three to see if there was anything left to loot.  The space scavengers are amazingly efficient, but there was still one unlooted wreck.  So I was able to grab something.

Some loot, better than no loot

And then I realized that in my hurry to get back on grid, I had neglected to upgrade my clone.  So I was flying around space recently occupied by hostiles with a 900K skill point clone backing up my 83 million skill points.  Not a good plan.  So I headed back to the station.

The station itself has been renamed to commemorate the occasion of our dual titan loss: QPOnly two titans lost in a day.  As usual, click on the picture to see it full size.

New station name

And so the war across Venal and Tribute goes.  You can find further details about the QPO fight here.  The comments actually add to the story.

On the one hand, it is a nice change to face opposition that doesn’t throw in the towel after losing one or two big fights.  That is the way things went in Branch, Tenal, and Delve.  Everybody complains on coms when the war becomes a routine of structure shoots and hostiles fleeing before the great CFC blob.

On the other hand, winning is a moral booster and fills fleets.  Losing… well, then the leadership has to work on morale.  I heard a couple of people comment that this war now sucks.  And to some people, we can never really win.  If we hold the field, it is because we are bad at EVE and just blob, and if we lose a battle, we are bad at EVE and blobbing.  Life in the CFC.

Myself, I am happy enough to have an ongoing war close to home that provides regular fleet ops with an enemy that shows up.  Fleet ops are my favorite thing in null sec at the moment.

Of course, I didn’t just lose a titan.

We Redeem Ourselves in US-TZ at 42XJ-N

And Dabigredboat was pretty happy about it.

The op was set to go and take out a Northern Coalition tower.

The end result went as planned.

NC tower at 42XJ-N

After the latest Goonswarm CEO Update, we had something to prove.  The combined AHAC fleets opposing us, the main backbone of which has been Zealot heavy assault cruisers, had been chopping up the Maelstroms and the Drake fleets during prime US timezone hours.  It was time for a change.

AHAC Fleet

A ruse de guerre sent the opposition elsewhere, allowing us to arrive at the target system 42XJ-N.  They jumped in and the fight was on.

Missiles vs. Lasers, Drakes vs. Zealots

I flew a scimitar for the fight, so no kills for me.  No time for sight seeing either.  A good thing we did well, as I pulled my usual stunt of buying a ship quickly off of a local contract and undocking without that whole “insurance” step.  It came home in one piece, minus drones as usual.

Early returns showed us losing around 30 Drakes and a handful of Scimitars from the main fleet.  A lot of that was offset by this Proteus we killed.  That kill ended enemy resistance aside from some bombers that made a too late run at us when we were leaving the system.  If somebody posts a real battle report, I’ll link it.  This should not be mistaken for anything of the kind.

Meanwhile, over Jabber, The Mittani sent his regards.

We have won a fight, won a tech, nuked a bunch of expensive shiny toys, and done it all with disposable tech one battlecruisers, As Is Our Way. Turns out that Drakes + Artycanes is hilarious fun!

Note: having damps in utility slots on Drakes is goddamned hilarious when the hostile fc is damped for literally the entire fight and unable to call targets.

Sounds like a doctrine change might be posted soon.

After that it was a tower shoot, which was followed by the raising of our own tower.

Afterwards, DBRB had us all get in the bubble, then he reset permissions and the password which sent us all flying back out again.  There was enough time for me to record that just for fun.

Nothing special, just another goofy EVE moment.  It is hard to see in the small resolution, so try watching it at YouTube.

Weekend War in Venal

In null sec wars are like buses; if you wait long enough another one will show up.

Which is a good thing, since war and the accompanying fleet operations are my favorite null sec activities.

OTEC, which previously brought various parties together, isn’t quite holding together it seems.  The upcoming nerf to technetium production… which will either kill tech moons and make us all poor or is purely for show and won’t change a thing, depending on who is speaking… seems to have shaken at least one member of the coalition out of the ranks and into conflict with the rest of the cartel

Tech moons were already under attack in Venal, which like Stain, is one of the more amusingly named regions.  Black Legion and our old foes from the south, Nulli Secunda were on the move there.  But then Northern Coalition, a member of the cartel, joined in as well.  I do not know if this was a dispute over other cartel members dumping tech on the market and killing the price or if they were just looking for something to do after the “mate war,” but things were on. (I have to go listen to the intel collected from NC comms.)

And so the weekend consisted of a series of fleet engagements base on reinforcement timers, starting on Friday night.

Friday night was pretty much a bust for me.  The fleets started off before I was home from work so by the time I could log in everybody was headed for home.

I have one shot.  I happened to be on coms and at the staging system as fleets were coming back when Black Legion tried to hot drop on our Drake fleet in 9-R6GU.  There were carriers on the field and I burned out to join the fight.  However, by the time I got there not much was left.  I managed to lock up an Abaddon and get missiles launched before it blew up, so I got on the kill report with 0% of the damage.

Saturday morning though, that was a different story.  Everybody seemed to be hungry for a big battle.  One of Northern Coalition’s tech moons was coming out of reinforcement the word was that they were going to gather up some friends and fight for it.

On our side we filled up an Alpha, a Tengu, and a Drake fleet and then had to make another Drake fleet.  Even The Mittani logged in and got into a fleet.  Just moving ourselves from VFK to the staging system brought up some serious time dilation.

13% TiDi and we haven’t even left yet!

I joined up with the first Drake fleet.  The FC was Zarks who has the cool demeanor of a late night FM disk jockey (if such a thing still exists).  Somebody in the fleet was complaining that the FC was “shouting” at them, and idea of which made people laugh and openly mock the person.  I have never heard Zarks speak in anything but the most moderate tone imaginable.

To counter that, we did have Suas along to be the Drake anchor.  And unlike Zarks, Suas always sounds like he is shouting with that finely honed British tone of voice that seems to imply that we are all morons because he had to even bring up a particular item, much less shout it at us to get us to pay attention.  So it was sort of Good FC/Bad FC.

We slowly bridged out to Venal and started burning towards the target system, N6G-H3.

Red in the ships/pods killed view

In what seemed like an odd turn of events to me, we did not face that much of a threat before Northern Coalition’s tower was destroyed.  Some stealth bombers came our way, but that was it.  Of course, that was just the part of the battle I was in.  The count in local was up beyond 1,200 people and TiDi was heavy, so something was going on.

With the tower blown, we joined the real battle.  With one of the first targets being a carrier that was inside the tower shields.  That went before I could lock it up.  Then the combined force from Northern Coalition, Black Legion, Nulli Secunda, Ev0ke, Ewoks, and Intrepid Crossing, with a few Gypsy Band ships thrown in for fun, collided with the CFC fleets.

Drake fleet in the fight

This followed the pattern I have seen in such battles in the past.  Once one side starts chewing away at the other, the balance of things quickly gets out of hand.  Our own targets were battleships and logistics at first, then the opposing Drake fleet until the focus became keeping them from escaping.

One of their battleship fleets retired to another station they had in the system where they were safe within the POS shield.

Battleships in the POS Shield

There were a few other skirmishes after that.  Stealth bombers plied their trade, attacking us while we roamed around the fleet safely in the shields.  The password to get in was known by us and at one point we flew into the shields and attempted to bump some ships out to face the waiting guns of the lurking Alpha fleet.

Drake formation in the enemy POS bubble

While an Iteron V that was sitting on the edge of the shields did get bumped out at one point, the exercise was not very successful.  If a ship is under way it is difficult to bump it very far, and the enemy fleet set themselves up orbiting the tower once we started bumping which put an end to our ambitions.

The end results, like the odds, favored us.  We put nearly double the number of ships in the system in the end which lead to us dominating the kill board for the fight.  This of course brought up the usual arguments about how the CFC is bad at PvP and needs to bring favorable odds in order to win.  That still leaves the open question, “If we are bad, why would we do anything else?” along with “If you’re so good, why do you need such evenly matched odds to win?”

I ended up with 84 kills for the day, though 44 of them were POS modules.

Kill totals for the weekend

I am not sure how I ended up with 43 out of those 44 kills.  I only shot the tower.  But I guess you somehow get credit for the module that are destroyed or collected afterwards.

Both sides drifted off the field and we headed back to the staging system where I parked my Drake in anticipation of the ops that were set to go on Sunday.

The Sunday ops were early in the morning for me.  As much as I like fleet ops, I wasn’t going to get up before 5am in order to participate.  It seemed like I wasn’t needed in any case.  These ops were to defend and rep our own towers that had come out of reinforcement, as opposed to going after the towers of the opposition, so Northern Coalition and friends were less inclined to go head to head.  I got on coms near the end of the second of the mornings three ops and it sounded like it was more of a cat and mouse game with a lot of scanning and probing.

And by the time the third op went out, the opposition had had enough of that, so we flew around hindered only by TiDi and our own incompetence.  Our inability to follow orders when we aren’t actually shooting things is phenomenal.  At one point, on the way home our FC, Reagalan, said one destination system in voice coms, then quickly changed it to another destination, which he said a few times, which was linked in the fleet channel, and which was broadcast in the fleet window, and still a good 10-20% of our fleet wandered off in the wrong direction.

We were also very lucky.  While the Tengu fleet went out with 55 Scimitars to support it, we had just two.  That would be about 18 shy of sanity.  And then one of them dropped off, which left us with just a single logistics ship, the pilot of which seemed quite concerned.  It is the logistics ships that keep us from getting turned into so much wreckage most days of the week, so we were primed for disaster.  But nobody showed up to fight us, so we hung around until our towers were repaired… we even sent our sole scimitar off to help… what good was it going to do us… and then headed home.

Moon Harvesting Array

The war of the moons in Venal continued on last night while I was asleep.  We shall see if it continues on with as much vigor next weekend or if, like so many past wars, the stand up fights come early and after that it turns into another bug hunt.

Retaking the Tech Moon at 42XJ-N

In which pretty much nothing happens, so you might as well just look at the pictures and move on.

I was not sure I was going to get to go on this op.

There was an update to fleet doctrine recently, during the war in Delve, with new fits, new ships, and even new fleets becoming part of official policy.

I can still fly Drake fleet of course, since my skills in missiles and shields are just about all max’d out.  And I am still good with Alpha fleet, even if I have to fly the Maelstrom with training wheels because of my low gunnery skills. (Both on my character and in person.  I never seem to have the right ammo for starters.)

But Welp fleet changed fits to something I am going to need to train for, while the Bomber fleet just scares me because, while I have all the skills, I have no clue on how to actually fly the ship and really don’t want to figure it out in my usual manner, which generally involves screwing up badly.

And then there is the Tengu fleet.

Tengu fleet is the new darling of fleet ops, as unlike Drake fleet, it doesn’t need a nearly full fleet to be effective.  So it has become the go-to fleet for odd hour weekday operations.  It is odd, fleet ops in Delve at late hours were filled to overflowing but back in Deklein we seem to be scraping by with much smaller turn outs.  No war fever I guess.

Of course, the promise of a fight related to defending or attacking a tower might have worn thin over the many tellings.

So it was last night when the alert came up promising a fight over the control of a tech moon in Venal.  This is where Black Legion and our erstwhile foes in Delve, Nulli Secunda, have been hitting OTEC installations in the wilds of Venal in hopes of provoking a serious fight now and again.  Bless them for giving us something to do.

The call was for a Tengu fleet, which got a very low interest reaction from me.  I can fly the official reimbursement Tengu fit.  However, our alliance policy also requires some minimum subsystem skills in order to qualify for reimbursement.  This is something my pal Gaff found out the hard way.  I am level 4 across the board, but some level 5 skills are required if you want to get paid for the loss of your 600+ million ISK ship.  So no Tengu ops for me until I spend a couple weeks training.

An update came along a bit later asking for more people to get in the fleet, even if it was only in a Drake.

There was the magic word.  I can afford to lose a Drake even if I don’t get reimbursed because I brought it to a Tengu fleet.  And strong still is the call to “go shoot stuff” for me.

I got into the game, clone jumped to VFK, saddled up a Drake a warped out to the rally point.  And there we sat as DBRB called for more Scimitars to support the fleet.  Logistics, space priests, ever the linchpin of our fleet operations.

So I volunteered to reship to a Scimitar, as I happened to have one parked in VFK in the right configuration.  Apparently one more logi was all he wanted, because the fleet started off before I was able to undock.

You may be tempted to mention at this point that, in flying a Scimitar, I can join any of the standard fleets (aside from bombers) that the CFC puts up because we never have too many logistics ships.  And you would be correct.  My reluctance stems from two things.

First, I am pretty sure I am bad at logistics at this point.  I do not have a lot of direct evidence from the four times I have flown them on fleet ops, once I was blown up very early in the fight and the other three times (which includes this very op) things ended up going so well for us that I suspect everybody else was simply able to carry my dead weight without notice.  But the fact that I ran off without nanite paste or performance enhancing drugs again (I actually have some nanite paste, but never remember to buy the drugs) seems to argue in favor of my failings as a logi pilot.

Second, I like to shoot stuff.  Getting kills still thrills, even if I am just one ship in the Drake blob.  And, frankly, the only way my corp or alliance seems to know I am doing anything at all is when I get on the kill boards or when I submit reimbursement forms.

But, in the name of getting a fleet op going, I will bite the bullet and fly a Scimitar.  I suppose there is no other way to learn.

Of course, as I mentioned, the fleet took off so I was rushed, which is part of the reason for no paste/no drugs.  The fleet had used a jump bridge and was a couple of gates into Venal when I finally caught up.  Getting to the target system was a good dozen jumps from the jump bridge, but soon we were sitting on the gate to 42XJ-N, at which point the logi leader told us to take our drugs.  Yeah, oops.

Then it was through the gate and into the waiting arms of a Black Legion Abaddon fleet, which started off the battle on a bad note for us, when one of our Tengus got popped before everybody was together and focused.  I was still locking up key individuals when the “need shields” call came, and by the time he was locked there was only a pod to rep.

My first though was the hope that we were not sailing into a fiasco.  But the kill turned out to be a quirk of fate.  Black Legion was able to primary him before we were together.  We did better after that.  Even drug free me got reps off on ships taking damage, including our heavy interdictor who was something of a key to the operation.

It was he who was to put up the bubble to trap the enemy and to light the cyno to bring in the dreadnoughts.

Bubble AND Dreadnoughts present

DBRB said later on coms that Black Legion had asked Nulli Secunda to not form up, except as a bomber fleet, as the expectation was that we wouldn’t be able to field enough ships to want to fight if they both showed up in force.  Then we dropped capitals on them.  And once that happened, things pretty much went our way, with 13 battleships and 2 carriers getting popped as they pulled up stakes and headed for the exit.

At one point I deployed a combat drone and assigned it to one of the Tengus in hopes of whoring myself onto at least one killmail, but the drone sat idle the whole time, then got left behind as we hopped around a bit to try and chase down the opposing fleet.

That done, we jumped to the tower we were there to destroy.  Here I managed to fly too close to the tower defense, which locked me up and started shooting at me.  However, between my speed, size, and reps from fellow logis, I barely sustained any damage to my shields at all beyond the tiniest sliver of red showing.  But it looked exciting.

OMG the tower defenses are shooting me!

And then it was everybody’s favorite activity, a POS shoot.  Fortunately, the dreads stuck around and helped make it a short shoot.

Big guns make for short work

Once the tower was down, it was time to put up one of our own in its place.  The dreads trundled off and we got to sit around guarding the tower during its vulnerable deployment and onlining stages.  Each of those takes 30 minutes.  So there was an hour of flying in circles.

The boredom of the wait was mercifully broken by Nulli Secunda, which had some stealth bombers in system.  They took runs at us now and again, the most comic of which took place just as DBRB went AFK for a bathroom break.  The bombers swooped in, launched their bombs, took a loss, but got a Tengu kill.

When DBRB got back he was incredulous.  How could a Tengu die to such a weak attack?

It turned out that the victim brought his ratting Tengu to the fleet op.  A look at the kill mail shows it fit for active tank Guristas operations, with a low (25K) effective hit points.  Compare that to one that is fit for Tengu fleet operations, with an EHP of 125K.  Ratting ships do not do well in PvP, as I could tell you.

A later bomb attack hit the logistics ships dead on, which knocked shields down about 25%.  Not a big threat to the right fit.

As the timer counted down, people started to get really bored, or cranky, or both, which DBRB tried to solve with a combination of trolling and talking about Kristen Stewart getting caught cheating on Robert Pattinson with her recent director Rupert Sanders, who also happens to be married.  It was like TMZ in space.

Then DBRB said how old he was on coms, and the age difference between him and I happened to be exactly the same as the age difference between me and my father, which was mildly disturbing.

And then, at last, as the timer for the tower going online dropped below the five minute mark, the word was given to head for home, all gates green.  Back to VFK I went, calling it a night when I hit the station.  But it was not the end of things for DBRB.  He had an op planned for two hours later, in which he planned to hunt the great truffle whale or some such.  I will have to go read the forums to see how that turned out.

Meanwhile, I still do not know how badly I suck at the logi thing.  But I am going to remember to buy some drugs.  I swear I’ll have them next time.

Visions from the War in the North

Deklein, shit. I’m still only in Deklein.

Every time I think I’m going to wake up back in Venal.  When I was home after Branch, it was worse.  When I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the fight.

I’ve been here a week now. Waiting for a mission, getting softer.  Every minute I stay docked I get weaker. And every minute Black Legion squats on a gate camp they get stronger.  Each time I look around, Local looks a little more crowded.

Everyone gets everything they want. I wanted a fleet op, and for my sins  they gave me  one. Brought it up to me like room service. ”

-Fleet Commander Willard, before his last op in Venal

It was December 18, 2011 when I joined the BSC Legion, a corporation in the TNT Alliance.  By the next day I was in a fleet, in Branch, helping to prosecute the war against White Noise.  The war in the north of null sec had begun, and I was there.

The North, December 18th, 2011

When Branch was overrun, the North seemed quiet.  We thought there would be peace.  But the war had only slowed down temporarily.  It still festered along the border between Branch and Tenal, with Raiden and the CFC prodding each other.

Then, at FanFest, it flared up.  The seeming weakness of The Mittani emboldened our foes.

The war flared with a renewed fury.  We convoyed to our forward base at CS-ZDG and began operations to beat down the enemy.  After a fierce weekend of fleet engagements the enemy’s will to resist broke.  Raiden began to evacuate Tenal and the systems in the region changed sovereignty rapidly.

Then came the punitive expedition in Venal against the Northern Coalition, who had broken a treaty to come assist Raiden against the CFC.  Then tech moons in Venal were to be the price of their actions.

We must kill them. We must incinerate them. Ship after ship, pod after pod, tower after tower, fleet after fleet. And they call me a griefer. What do you call it when the griefers accuse the griefer? They lie… they lie and we have to be merciful for those who lie. Those nabobs. I hate them. How I hate them..

-The Mittani, speaking on the Northenrn Coalition expedition (paraphrased)

We formed up and plunged into the region in force.  The struggle in Venal was costly.  We lost battles, though we kept to our objectives and took moons.  Despite losses, fleet ops were organized and run every night.  Last night I came home expecting to be in another large formation headed into Venal.

Instead, I found a message waiting for me.

It said the war was over.

The North, April 19, 2012

Diplomatic negotiations between the alliances had come to an accord.  Fleet operations were cancelled.  Convoys from our forward deployment were being organized.  We were going back to our home systems.

But I still have visions of the war.

Direct link to the video here.  Sorry it won’t play on mobile devices, but the rights management associated with the music turn off that ability.

Hey, man, you don’t talk to Dabigredboat. You listen to him. The man’s enlarged my mind. He’s a poet-warrior in the classic sense. I mean sometimes he’ll, uh, well, you’ll say hello to him, right? And he’ll just fly right by you, and he won’t even notice you. And suddenly he’ll call you out, and he’ll say “Do you know that ‘if’ is the middle word in life?” And then he will start in about people’s mothers — I mean I’m no, I can’t — I’m a little man, I’m a little  man, he’s, he’s a great man. I should have been a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas…

-A new guy, after a six hour Boat fleet

Now, four months later, the war appears to be over.  Convoys are bringing ships home.  I am back in Deklein.

Maybe it is time to get that Hulk out… that Hulk I had shipped to null sec all those months ago.  Mineral prices should be going up soon.

And Then Nobody Showed Up in Venal…

Well, nobody but us.  A full Alpha fleet and an overflow fleet.

So we flew around in a Maelstrom conga line while the scimitars repped our tower and Dabigredboat told us about his new computer.

A daisy chain of battleships...

He has four monitors now.  He linked us pictures in fleet chat.

Dabigredboat prefers IE 9 over Chrome and Firefox.  He said so, right there on coms, where everybody could hear him.

Addendum: It seems like things went south later on in IRC territory.

Sacrificing a Scimitar in the Venal Bloodbath

Way back in February I was wondering what ship I should fly next.

There were a number of good choices, but I went for the Scimitar both because it required Minmatar Cruiser V, which opened up some other interesting possibilities, and because there was a clear CFC drive to get people to fly logistics in general and scimitars in particular.

Last week I finished the final big skill, Logistics V, pulled up Pyfa (Pyfa is the new EFT, like 40 is the new 30… sometimes you just don’t have a choice) to check out the fleet fits only to see that I was not cap stable as I expected.  I was only good for five minutes in the Alpha fleet fit and under two minutes in the Drake fleet MWD fit.

The classic EVE Mon scenario for me.  Yes, I only needed to train Shield Emission Systems to II in order to fly the ship, but if I wanted to be cap stable, I needed to train that up to IV.

So last night I was finally there, cap stable and with the repair drone skills added in to boot… since I missed those as well.  Just in time for a fleet call up on Jabber.

The call was for a Drake fleet at CS-ZDG, and I dutifully logged in, got into my Drake, got on coms, and joined the fleet.

The fleet was headed to Venal to break up a Black Legion fleet that had another small CFC fleet cornered in some part of the region.  A rescue mission.  Unfortunately, we were not going anywhere because there were only a couple of scimitars in fleet.  The FC wanted a dozen or more and there were four.

After about the fifth request for people to swap over to a scimitar on coms, I asked in fleet chat if we were desperate enough to take a brand new scimitar pilot who was just able to fly the fleet fit that very afternoon.

I was asked “Do you have logi IV?”

I replied that I had logistic V and was told to go reship for logistics.  I bought one from the contracts at the station for 200 million ISK, swapped the fittings for Drake fleet MWD. (It came with fittings for both Alpha and Drake fleets.)  And so I joined the fleet for the first time as a space priest, healer of shields!

Wilhelm's first Scimitar

I got on the logistics channel and the anchor was nice enough to go over the basics of who to put on the watch list and how to anchor up scimitar style.  I was reminded to change my fleet broadcast view to show shield requests while turning off targets.

By this point the FC was impatient.  We had nearly doubled the number of scimitars in the fleet (to 7) and he was ready to go.  We started bridging down to Venal when I realized that this contract scimitar did not come with any drones.  Oh, and that I forgot to insure it.

Still, when does Drake fleet ever lose, right?

We arrived in Venal, got a bridge deep into the region, finally jumping into N6G-H3 where we were greeted by a sizable fleet.

Those who sought to kill us...

Then began the bounce game.  We started popping around the system, warp, align, warp, align, while the opposing fleet gave chase, dropping in on us time and again just as we warping away.

Aligning again at one of our bounce points

The FC explained later that a fleet of Tornados and Muninns  is exactly the sort of fleet that will tear apart a Drake fleet.  So he was trying to arrange a favorable engagement.

Unfortunately, on one jump we hit a drag bubble.  We aligned to warp away and just as fleet warp hit one of their heavy interdictors put up a bubble that caught a chunk of the fleet, while the rest flew off.

The bad guys then dropped on top of us.  There were only two scimitars and we were primaried and blow up pretty quickly as we tried get out of the bubble and away.  Thus my first scimitar loss mail.

So my worries about screwing up on my first fight in logistics did not come to pass.  I really didn’t have time to screw up.

And then, when ships had been blown up or had gotten away, focus came back to me, still trying to sneak out of the bubble in my very slow pod.  And they blew that up too.

Which only continued the comedy of errors for me for the night.

Not only did I not have insurance, but I realize that I had implants in that clone (though cheap-ish ones, it wasn’t my +5 clone), and that I had forgotten to move my clone up to CS-ZGD, so I came back into being in VFK, a long way from the fleet.

Meanwhile, it became clear on coms that things were not going well.  Basically Black Legion had a bubble waiting at each gate while the fleet was scattered around the system, bouncing between safe points and trying to find a way out.  We had been well and truly screwed. (Hey, the Black Legion kill board says we killed one of their ships! Go us!)

The sure fire way to tell things have gone badly is on voice coms.  If the fight is a win, or even a close run thing, everybody loves the FC.  But when things go badly, there are always a half a dozen people speaking up with perfect 20/20 hindsight about what we should have done.  And so it was on voice coms for several minutes until the FC got control of things again.

The plan for the fleet was to get out, which they managed somehow, and to get back to CS-ZGD and reship as Alpha fleet.  Jabber had some choice words on the subject from the FC.

We are all fucking terrible at this game, but the one thing we do well is blob more dishonorably than anyone. We just had a subcap engagement, in USTZ, outnumbered. The fuck? Let’s set this right. They will either bow to our superior blobbing and we take more tech for the tech throne, or we murder dudes.

Unfortunately, being in VFK pretty much put me on the other side of Venal from the rest of the fleet.  They formed up in 92D, and for me to get there I would have had to fly though all the hostiles.

So I left fleet and logged of for a bit.

I patched LOTRO, played with the cats, chatted with my wife, and logged into LOTRO to get my five year anniversary gifts.  I left myself logged into voice coms, and listened in now and again.  It sounded like we were at least doing some damage in the return engagement.  After a bit I logged out of LOTRO and was thinking about going to bed when Jabber popped up this gem.

Would you like to kill Supercaps? Our caps are being hotdropped.. BURN TO 92D : Op 5 || Fleet Name: Reinforcements || FC: Corlan Dashiva ||

Well, you cannot say no to that.  I had purchased a new Scimitar in VFK, so I logged back in and began to burn for the battle.

My thought was that a supercap fight would drawn in everybody, friend and foe alike, and that I ought to thus have a clear run to the target system, which had just been broadcast in fleet.  Just 17 jumps to go!

My theory appeared to be fairly accurate.  I saw two reds in local at one point, but they appeared to be burning for the same goal about a gate ahead of me, so I never got a visual on them.

And then the word came back that the enemy supercaps were gone, the tackle had been broken, and that we were going to form up and head home.  By that point I had made it one system past 92D, so I turned around to wait on the titans that were waiting to bridge us home.

I still think titans are impressive

The general consensus on coms seemed to be that we lost for the night.

I filled out my reinbursement forms and had ISK in my wallet when I got up this morning.  TNT seems to be pretty good about quick payouts for operational losses.  Or maybe I just know how to fill out the form correctly.

Meanwhile, the comment thread on my Six Fleets in Venal post over at EVE News 24 included this tidbit that I did not know.

NCdot called in ewoks, evoke and IRC to help out with a fight in venal. IRC sent a small fleet to venal, but never actually engaged in the fight, instead opting to duke it out with a -A- oracle fleet in Tribute: http://irc.eve-kill.net/?a=kill_related&kll_i…

Meanwhile, DBRB’s alt, Jarna Civire, convo’d the IRC fleet, and said, basically, “Mittens warned you, you ignored it, now your CSAA’s are in trouble.” DBRB then raced his 200 goon fleet back to Cobalt Edge, attacked a JB POS and a CSAA POS. IRC put up a Maelstrom fleet and a harassing bomber fleet, and NCdot brought in a small Tengu fleet, but without much effect.

It is unclear at this point whether:

– Goons ever intended to NOT attack IRC;
– IRC was intentionally flaunting the “warning” Goons sent them, or just misunderstood what was and wasn’t “allowed” according to Mittens blustering;
– Goons are now going to split their already slightly overextended attention between their so-called “bonus round” against NCdot in Venal and their promised retribution anti-csaa campaign in Cobalt Edge.

I cannot verify how much of that is fact (the poster was “Some Dude”), but it seems like the quick clean war in Venal to punish Northern Coalition might indeed bog down into a long grind of nightly raids on multiple fronts.  We shall see.

(Oh, and there is a thread on Kugu about the war in Venal.  Signal to noise ratio about normal for Kugu… which means lots of shit posting between drops of information.)

Addendum: Black Legion has their own version of last night’s battle up at EVE News 24.