We can’t just rat and mine in Delve all the time, so when a warning ping came up Sunday morning that there would be an op later I got myself over to our staging system and ready to go.
And so did a lot of other people, judging by the response the official op ping got. There were two fleets called for, one for our Machariel doctrine and one for our Jackdaw doctrine. I was already online and in a Mach fleet ship, so was able to join that fleet before it filled up. And it filled up very fast, hitting the 255 ship cap in well under a minute.
I was in an Oneiros primarily because I already had it there and ready to go, but also because logistics is generally a protected class in fleets. If you’re flying logi you’ll almost never get kicked out of a full fleet to make room for other critical roles such as boosters.
However, the logi turn out seemed to be especially good. In fact, according to the FC, turnout in general was good with people in ships appropriate to the doctrine. There had been a call put out to stop bringing random ships to fleets as there had been a growing number of people who would join up in interceptors, crowding out doctrine ships. For the Machariel doctrine, it needs a certain number of the main line ships in order to be effective, relying as it does on its alpha damage to destroy enemies in a single volley. Anyway, people seemed to take this to heart and the Mach fleet did not have too many off-brand members.
There was more than enough logistics and when somebody asked if they could switch from logi to a Machariel, this was greeted with some enthusiasm, and even after those people swapped over the FC said that he could stand to lose another half dozen logi if more people wanted to switch over.
So I looked at the contracts listed and, sure enough, there were a few Machariels available. They carry a 550 million ISK price tag. That is a lot of ISK for me. I don’t do much to boost the ratting and mining numbers in Delve. But it was also a ship I had never flown, so after a bit of thought I decided to splurge and bought one. I swapped out of my Oneiros and into the Mach and got it fit out as dictated in the fleet MOTD.
Among other things, the doctrine Machariel comes with a load of modules in its cargo bay so they can be refit to meet the needs of the moment. That is another reason I have tended to avoid the Mach, staying in my logi boat. While I am used to refits, flying with Asher means having a mobile depot and refits with you all the time, they are a complication that my Oneiros doesn’t face.
I got myself set and undocked to look at my new ship. Shortly there after we were given a “burn to” destination and off we went.
Seeing as I had a shiny new ship, I logged my Jita alt in and check to see if the Guardian’s Gala SKIN for it was available. It was, so I splurged and bought one even though it was about half the price of the ship itself. It is only ISK I guess. Plus that is one of the better looking SKINs in the game, and possibly the only good SKIN for Gallente ships aside from the Quafe SKINs.
We made our way out to a titan, where people who had not read the fleet MOTD were given time to refit their Machs using the fitting service of the super. Then there was a bridge and soon we were at our destination, the system of Gehi in Amarr low sec space.
If I understood correctly, this is also where NCDot has been staging for things like the HED-GP fight the other day. We were there to blow up a Raitaru engineering complex belonging to one of NCDot and PL’s allies, Darwinism.
Our fleet was there, the Jackdaw fleet was there, and because there were still people who wanted to go out and get a kill mail of some sort, there was a Hurricane fleet that rode out with us as well. Needless to say, we had damage o’plenty in order to stop the repair timer and start bringing the structure down.
The Mach fleet anchored up on the FC then put out drones to attack the Raitaru more as a means to make sure we got on the kill mail than to beat the structure down any faster. We were already well over the damage cap that the citadel mechanics enforce, so firing our guns would have been a waste of ammunition.
My Warrior II drones were putting up zero damage almost the whole time. They ended up getting about 1,400 points of damage, which divided over the total structure hit points rounds down to 0%.
The outcome for the Raitaru was pretty much a foregone conclusion. There were more than 550 of us on the kill mail for what is essentially the smallest of the Upwell Consortium structures. A light missile spewing Jackdaw got top damage and the whole thing went boom.
Nobody rose to oppose our assault on the structure, so the most difficult aspect of the whole operation was just getting ourselves home. Sure, travel is simple, but pushing more than 500 pilots through gates in low sec space causes time dilation to kick in. So our fleet waited around a bit while the faster fleets got off the same node.
After a bit of a wait we were given a destination, jumped through, and moved out as a group.
We moved along, still bringing up time dilation and traffic control every time we passed through a gate. The joy of driving a full fleet through systems that generally do not get a lot of traffic and are provisioned accordingly. You can see how much we spiked the jumps metric in Gehi that day and can see which systems we took by following the spikes through low sec.
I also remained convinced that the traffic control mechanism that throttles the passage of players through a gate to keep the system from getting overloaded is biased against me. Either that, or it sorts alphabetically and, being a “W” I end up at the end of the queue. I swear I can be the first on the gate and still be the last one to show up in the next system.
The trip gave me further time to admire my new ship and the SKIN I bought for it.
About two hours after the first ping went out for the fleet we arrived back home in Delve in 1DQ1-A, where we docked up in the Keepstar and disbanded.
That was about the high point of operations for the day. Other fleets went out, but not strategic ops. The coalition was back to ratting and mining and I was off to do other things.