Monday night a ping went out from Asher Elias noting that he would be leading a fleet Tuesday evening. I am always happy to go on an Asher fleet so I made sure I was home and ready to go at the appointed time. I wasn’t sure what we were up to, but I was willing to go along for the ride.
When the ping for the fleet went out on Tuesday as expected the doctrine was Cerberuses and Caracals. We would be spewing heavy missiles. I had a doctrine Cerberus ready, a ship I hadn’t flown since Asher took us up to Tribute for one of the battles around Circle of Two’s Keepstar in M-OEE8. I still had the remote sensor booster fit from that fight that was used to boost Asher’s FC ship. I mentioned that in fleet chat and he told me (and a few other pilots) to leave the remote sensor booster fit and do the same for this fleet.
Meanwhile another ping went out for CapSwarm, of which I am also a member, calling for a dreadnought form up. The a ping for a frigate support fleet to take off the excess pilots from the Cerb fleet as it had filled to capacity very quickly. A fight was said to be likely and the dreads seemed to indicate that a structure might be involved.
It seemed to me that we might just be shepherding the capital ships to a target, where they would do the shooting while we flew cover, swooping in at the last bit to tag the target so as to get on the kill mail. So off we went, taking a jump bridge as the caps jumped, then it was time to spread out and cover gates and the might dreadnoughts lumbered along.
However, once there the situation was different than I had assumed. There has been an ongoing series of battles in the Catch region around GE-8JV and V-3YG7 between the locals, made up of Brave Newbies, TEST, CO2, Drone Walkers, and FCON and a force being led by Pandemic Legion that includes their usual host of allies from the north. PL already has a foothold in the region so fights have been coming up nightly. SynCaine was in one of the fights the night before.
This particular fight was over the armor timer of a Brave Newbies Astrahus in GE-8JV. Nothing to do with us in the Imperium really. Some locals a couple regions over trying to fight off PL who has grabbed a foothold in order to farm them for fights.
But we were not there to third party. We were actually there to help Brave Newbies, working with them and TEST to shoot Pandemic Legion and its allies. But it was a bit complicated. We mostly didn’t shoot at Brave, and restrained ourselves from shooting TEST too much, but their other allies, such as CO2 and FCON, enjoyed no such prohibition on our part. At one point during the fight an FCON Svipul fleet hove into range and we shot it up with gusto.
But mostly we shot Pandemic Legion and their friends, who were out there with Machariels and some dreads of their own.
Our fleet was there to kite, moving fast into range to spew missiles but never sitting still long enough to get pinned down, Asher leading us from his Phantasm. I even remembered to take the right drugs for the op.
The flight time bonus for Antipharmakon Toxot (part of the reason few use drugs is you cannot tell what they hell they do from the name) is for missiles, effectively giving them an extended range. Missiles take time to move from launcher to target, but they will chase things down so long as they have the range to get to them.
The fight itself was both fast and slow. Zooming around in the fast cruiser fleet put us all around the battle.
However, there was also time dilation to deal with. It wasn’t as bad as in some fights, but it got bad enough a couple of times that I was having problems cycling my launchers on to new targets. They would get stuck in the red flashing cool down state and I would have to hit F1 a few times to clear them. A side effect of that is a couple of times the next target was gone before the launchers cycled, so the missiles would launch against Asher, who I had to keep targeted to run the remote sensor booster on him. A volley now and then barely scratched him, though if he had been blown up… and a group tried to headshot him at one point… it might have been a bit awkward to be on his kill mail. We’re not NCDot.
As it turned out the dreadnoughts, who I thought might be playing the starring role in our effort, were merely a force in being for the fight, hanging out in the vicinity as a warning to others against escalating to supers. They just sat and waited.
Fortunately the wait wasn’t too long. The armor timer limited the amount of time we were going to stick around, though I honestly never saw if the Brave lost the timer or if Astrahus repaired itself and reset the whole destruction process. At one point I saw the citadel repairing, but I didn’t see the end result. It wasn’t ours and there wasn’t a kill mail to be had on it this fight, so I wasn’t paying close attention to that.
Our fleet did well enough. We had a few deaths, mostly due to people falling off the anchor and flying off into space on their own due to a mis-click or not having their MWD running. The ECM frigate fleet that went with us however got roasted. I think the FCON Svipuls were shooting them while we were shooting the Svipuls.
There is a battle report that shows the results of the fight. Of course, results are in the eye of the beholder. That report is laid out from our point of view, with green being us, red being the people we were trying not to shoot, and blue being those we shot early and often.
If you were one of the locals, you might sort the columns in a different way. My only regret was that I did not divert off course long enough to get on Dirk MacGirk’s kill mail, though looking down the list I see at least one of the pilots in our fleet took that route. It is always just a bit more fun to get on the kills of the space famous.
But once the object was complete… for somebody… it was time for us to rally up and then escort the dreads back home.
That was slow, but not intolerably slow. The dreads were willing to build up a little extra jump fatigue at the end of the night, so just about three hours after we started to form up we were back at the keepstar with the capital ship size bee floating above it.
And since it was at the three hour mark, we got a second participation link. So in one fleet I got some kills, a kill mail of my own (top damage and the final blow, so another kill mark on my Cerb), and half my participation quota for the month. 5/5 – would fleet up again.
INN has a post up about the fight, which is much more high level than this. Technically the Imperium wasn’t there to third party because we were helping one side, though we effectively third partied because I think we ended up shooting everybody at some point. I am on one Brave and five TEST kill mails. Oops.