So I went and joined a fleet to defend Fountain.
With nothing else to do that day, I figured dying in a ball of fire would be the ideal 'kill or cure' remedy for a New Year's hangover. That and I happened to log in just as a fleet was forming up. Thankfully I had already gone through the torturous authorisation process to get on Goon comms, so I didn't have to deal with a byzantine system of checks and balances that otherwise would have fried what few remaining brain cells I had. A few others weren't so lucky, but I was unmoved by their pitiful cries for help. I had barely understood the process sober, no point trying to explain it in my present state.
Our Fleet-Commander was a fast mover, so much so that I often lagged behind, bleary eyed and wondering what the hell was going on. We had barely formed up when the call went out to start moving. A few jumps later I was sat in a POS staring at an Erebus Titan. A swarm of Maelstroms surrounded me, so I figured I must be in the right place.
We sat there for a while admiring the sleek Gallente lines of the Titan. I was tempted to move in and give it a friendly nudge, but it's pilot was quite vocal about us keeping our distance. Suddenly the bridge went up, and we attempted to jump through to our destination. But there were just too damn many of us. Traffic control denied my requests to jump and it was with some difficulty and much delay that we eventually made it through.
My recollections of the day are some what hazy, and it doesn't help that the majority of null systems have meaningless collections of numbers and letters for names. In short, we flew back and forth a bit and ended up somewhere else. Apparently it was an enemy system. There we deployed along side our capital fleet and reinforced some dude's Outpost. It's this sort of high quality coverage that gives EVE PRIVATEER it's good name.
Through out the day I randomly hit 'PrtScn' and hoped the resulting images would make some form of narrative sense later. This shotgun method means I usually end up with a few good shots that I can actually use. On reflection I'm not entirely sure how the midget porn got in there, though perhaps some mysteries are best left unsolved.
This image stands out though.
We had returned from the raid on the outpost to defend PNQY-Y from IT Alliance. However a couple of hours remained until the station there came out of reinforcement mode. After taking a break, I logged back in to witness the terrifying sight of IT's super-capital fleet laying in wait outside the shield of the Goon POS. In Providence, Evoke's titan and eight super-carriers had looked impressive, but that memory paled in comparison to what IT had deployed here. I figured we were totally screwed.
As more of the Deklein Coalition fleet logged back to join us early birds, Local rose to over a thousand. The node was beginning to show the strain, so much so that I temporarily lost connection. Logging back in, I lagged so badly that by the time my display initiatised I had already warped back to the POS. This was a problem, since I hadn't had time to re-enter the POS password, and subsequently had been ejected 100km outside.
The IT support fleet took note of this and began targeting my Maelstrom. It was looking like I'd be applying to the TEST reimbursement program soon. Time for me to be somewhere else. I picked a random planet and hit warp, and prayed that my battleship would align before any interceptors burning towards me arrived. Still lagging badly I found myself in warp perhaps a minute later. It seemed I had escaped.
Or perhaps not, since an enemy Sabre was already waiting for me as I arrived at the planet. Months of roaming through null-sec solo had paid off though. Instinctively I had not warped to zero, so there was a good 50km between me and the interdictor. I picked another random celestial and warped out as a hundred or more enemy battleships arrived on grid.
After bouncing around the system for a while I finally rejoined the fleet just in time to lose connection again. I guess it was only to be expected in a battle of this size. I took the opportunity to secure EVE more bandwidth, by squeezing Teamspeak's down until it was barely intelligible. By now it sounded like something important was happening. Our FC was either calling primaries or shouting bingo numbers like a manic. Time to get back in the fight.
I returned once more. There was a major lag spike as grid loaded, but otherwise the node was holding steady. Our mighty Maelstroms appeared to be alpha striking the IT support fleet into dust. No wonder our FC was shouting primaries so fast, he could barely keep up as enemy battleships vapourised beneath the collective volleys of massed 1400s. In the end I gave up trying to follow what he was saying and just spammed targets in alphabetical order, and opened fire.
A short while later the surviving enemy warped to safety, leaving behind a impressive grave yard of floating wreckage. We had taken a few loses, mostly Scorpions I think, but already Wildly Inappropriate reinforcements were bridging in.
Did we destroy the enemy Sovereignty Blockade Units next, or had that already happened? My memories of the day are blurred. Certainly at some point the station was repaired, the system secured, and victory declared.
It appeared that we had won. Though as I guided my Maelstrom home to it's berth, I was at a loss to explain how. What had happened to the impressive number of enemy super-capitals? What had our capitals been up to? Did Ackbarre need GROON?
It's a sign of experience that our FC pretty much gave us the minimum necessary information during the operation. It was simply taken for granted that spies would be present. I guess that's the difference between younger alliances and ones that have held sovereignty for years. Back in OWN Alliance a whole defence fleet was once routed by a single Evoke spy, and I've heard similar stories in Providence.
In the end, someone out there has a much clearer idea of what happened in PNQY-Y than me. Hopefully, they'll be a good sport and post it on EVE News24 so I can finally get the big picture.
In the meantime this Rebecca Aventine somewhere in Cloud Ring, signing off.