An Exchange of Threatening Looks in Tribute

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All right, I tell you.
Monday we watch-a Firefly’s house, but he no come out. He wasn’t home.
Tuesday we go to the ball game, but he fool us: he no show up.
Wednesday he go to the ball game, but we fool him, we no show up.
Thursday it was a double-header, nobody show up.
Friday it rained all day, there was no ball game, so we stayed home, we listen to it over the radio.

-Chicolini, Duck Soup

As expected, after reinforcing two Sotiyos on Saturday there was an op announced to have another run at them on Sunday.  When the ping went out the population of local in Hakonen swelled past 1,600 as we all sought a slot on one of the four fleets announced.

Initially the call was for two Typhoon fleets, one Hurricane fleet, and a Jackdaw fleet.  They Typhoon fleets filled up quickly and in less than 30 seconds the adverts were down for them to leave a few slots for boosters or additional logi.  I was already online and found the first Typhoon fleet full so had to get into the second fleet under Corbzilla before it closed its doors.

The core elements of each fleet had been in place for a while… I saw the logi anchors being sorted out on Jabber well in advance… so we did not hang about in our hangars very long before the call to undock came and a mass of Typhoons spewed out of the station.

So many Typhoons… not enough skins

Our warp off to the waiting titan was less that perfect.  The POS shield was between us and our ride so we ended up way around the sphere and ended up having to warp off to the sun in order to aim for the right spot.  And so we got a close up look at the orange star of Hakonen.

Typhoons at the sun

The new star effects remain a joy to look at.  The intense color of each star and the roiling plasma surface.   Plus the way it reflects on ships close to the corona…

Typhoons in a misty orange dawn

From the sun we were able to warp back to the POS and take up station near the titan that would be sending us, and the other Typhoon fleet into Tribute.

The POS that sends people places

We’re the tight ball of Typhoons in the lower right, with the other Typhoon fleet spread out in the usual “keep at range” pattern.  If you click on the screen shot and view it full size you can see the dots of other fleets getting in range of titans.

Rather than sitting in hangars it turned out we were going to sit on titans for a while.  Some waiting was good as it turned out the template fit for the Typhoon in the fleet MOTD was wrong, so people had to warp back to station to change up.  This has happened a few times since we have deployed, where the fit is wrong, or gets changed, or includes modules the FC happened to have but which are not on the list of refits line members are supposed to carry according to the doctrine.

So there was a lot of that going on.  Meanwhile, Corbzilla clicked in space or something and flew in and out of the POS shield a couple of times, which was mildly annoying.  Logi is supposed to keep their capacitor chain up at all times, just in case.  So we were motoring around with the chain running.  But the moment somebody enters the POS shield they can no longer target or bet targeted, so the chain breaks.  If you’re zoomed out you might not know why until you try to reconnect and get the error message about the shields.  Also, if you aren’t in the GSF alliance, you can’t go into the shields without a password… and nobody is giving out the password for the POS holding our titans… so people like me end up bouncing off the shield as the fleet sails in.

Corbzilla was busy in command coms however, so we just had to deal with this minor annoyance ourselves until he got us all together outside the POS again just in time to see the first Typhoon fleet bridge out.  It was our turn to get in range of the titan, which some people did with such vigor that they bumped it, much to the annoyance of Jay Amazingness.  Due to how the titan model works, bumping the Leviathan and making it spin actually moved it closer to me.  The mysteries of New Eden.

Anyway, the bridge went up for us and we jumped into V0DF-2, the system adjoining MJI3-8, where the first Sotiyo to enter its repair cycle lay.

There we joined three other fleets in forming up around the gate to MJI3-8 and waited.

Sitting around the MJI3-8 gate

That screen shot is another one of those “need to click on it to be able to see any details” additions.  You can see the two Typhoon fleets and the Hurricane fleet because the capacitor chains, the yellow/gold lines, are visible around the gate.  The Jackdaw fleet was on the gate itself, in the middle of the yellow hexagon in the center of the picture, which is their booster cycling.

The four fleets, at about 250 pilots per fleet, sat there in space, watching the gate… and disconnecting every so often.  Disconnects and people needing to get back into already full fleets has been an issue that has plagued us since we landed in Hakonen.  I don’t think CCP was quite ready for our influx into the area.  Still, we had a over a thousand ships milling about, plus an additional Jackdaw fleet somewhere else and a fleet of dreadnoughts ready to cyno in should they be needed.

The situation in system

Meanwhile, on the far side of the gate PL and NCDot were waiting for us, with over 1,200 ships of their own ready to go.  While I didn’t see how they were arranged, I have to imagine it was pretty much the same thing as the day before when they blockaded the gate in PBD-0G with bubbles and titans and all sorts of other ships.

Something like this

A directional scan showed the ships undocked and on hand waiting for us.  I am not sure how long those dscan links stay active, but this is the summary listing:

Waiting for us in MJI3-8

The “by ship” break out showed that the 1,237 ships included 265 Machariels, 156 Cerberuses, 111 Abaddons, to back up the 107 titans, 127 super carriers, and 122 force auxiliaries.

A formidable force.  Pretty much a death trap for us, had we chosen to go through the gate.

Not wishing to feed them easy kills or give their titan pilots a chance to use their fancy fun sub cap slaughtering area doomsday weapons,  we did not go through the gate.  So we hung out one system over and they won the objective.  We flew back to our staging and that was the end of that.

This led to the usual narrative posturing on Reddit.  Goons are bad because we wouldn’t walk into their pre-planned murder box and NC/PL clearly didn’t want to fight because if they did all they had to do is take a gate, leaving their Satiyo unguarded.  But if the sides were swapped I doubt the results would have been different.  Each side did what was in their best interest.  We’ll see which side gets tired of forming up.

Meanwhile, over in PBD-0G, NCDot started taking down the Sotiyo there to move it elsewhere no doubt.  It certainly wasn’t going to be producing any supers because, as I understand it, you have to configure the ihub in the system to allow that, which requires that you own the ihub, a situation we managed to change.

The situation in PBD-0G August 7, 2017

The station is now a freeport so I can go and get that stack of liquid ozone I left behind last year.

And so it goes, with us continuing to set timers.  NCDot was recently doing the same thing to us down south from their staging in Gehi, reinforcing structures and not showing up for the timer, so their protestations on Reddit might sound a bit hollow.  Of course, they decided to show up for a timer down in Delve, assuming we were all up in Hakonen, and it cost them a few Lokis.

On the propaganda front, a Star Wars inspired “The Imperium Strikes Back” theme seems to be taking hold, buoyed by this excellent piece from Prog:

Asher gets a starring role at last

The highlight for many is the TEST dino stand-in for a tauntaun and the morale Rorqual.

We’ve now been through the first weekend of the deployment and are into the weekdays where huge form ups are less likely.  Maybe I will find some time to play LOTRO.



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