Header Art by Major Sniper
Hello Again Everyone!
This article is part of a series on my time in Eve Online, having made much of the journey through the game solo or otherwise with limited assistance. I am functionally independent, but recently there has been a very interesting change in this regard.
Before I start, I want to leave a disclaimer. I’ve said this in all my previous posts, and I understand that not everyone is interested in reading this part, but it needs to be said. It really isn’t all that hard to figure out who I am from all of this, but I ask that you do not search. These posts are generally reliant on an honor system, which is a risky proposition in Eve Online.
So far it has gone well, but it really wouldn’t take much to cause damage. If that happened, this series would be ruined, which is a net negative for everyone. Please be nice!
Master of My Domain
With control over my new system – the details of the capture being available here – I set out to take advantage of it like I had never done so before. I wanted real capacity this time, and I would have it. A combination of scouts, lowsec station bailout cyno, and gate bubbles saw protection over a Rorqual that lay siege to the ice belts of the system. I began to mine, and mine, and mine, sometimes for hours without incident. On a particularly auspicious day, I mined an entire ice belt out solo in 9 hours – a good 2 billion isk securely packed away.
For a rando, this was a huge income source. I took more and more advantage of it, until a pair of close calls encouraged me to scale back my mining time. In both cases a fleet of 15+ interceptors randomly showed up in my system right as my indy core was exiting. In one case I managed to jump out right as the ceptors landed in the belt, and in another I had mere seconds of warning to jump before they came into the system.
Despite the scaling back, I had quite a coffer to work with now. The money went into a few capital ships, system infrastructure, and a few camping stealth bombers to ambush the spooky asteros that would relentlessly sweep the region. Things were looking good, and the hope of having a permanent home began to show.
You thought those were all mine? Hah! Not a chance. This was from an op that I ran to accumulate fuel for my friend’s corp in sov null. We had a jump freighter program that provided free trips once a week. As fuel costs had recently gone up due to the fuel requirement changes – and being so far from Jita – the corp had made a policy to completely cover the fuel costs of the weekly program.
Wait, Ketriaava! How did that happen?! You were just in NPC null living your dream! You had a home!
Well, as it turns out, it only takes one bloc that doesn’t like your dream to shut you down. A dozen carriers and dreads from a major bloc cleaned out the surrounding systems about a month into my stay, and then I was next.
I gave them a good fight on the first timers, wiping a ton of fighters out with effective citadel gunning. Nearly a billion isk evaporated from my opponents’ fighter tubes, but they continued unimpeded, bringing in a dreadnought to finish the last few points of health before I could take them out.
I reached out to a contact and asked for help. I was fully prepared to go down swinging, my last defiance of the oppression of the blocs, and then quit the game. I got my dreads ready for the armor timer – all three of them. A fourth was close but not trained into jump drive calibration, and thus would not be able to fight. But a surprising twist came to pass. My contact stepped in on my behalf, and behind closed doors, something unspeakable must have gone down, as the bloc elected not to return to the system.
But despite the rescue, my morale had been beaten. I was defeated and deflated, my final push to retake a home had been struck down so quickly that my motivation reached a cliff and I gave up. A friend who had been helping me through emotional trouble IRL offered me a full-time spot in his corporation in a sov null bloc, and I accepted. I knew I wouldn’t like it in the long run, but I needed something to get me through things, and that was the best I could find.
The one good thing that’s come from this is that in the time since, the community seems to be much more aware of the small groups being blobbed and oppressed out of existence. I am no longer alone in that. I don’t know if there’s sympathy for me, but I do know that there is a newfound motivation by the community to at the very least care about my kind, so to speak. There may be hope for us yet.
The op in the picture above, as well as a few others, went off without a hitch, being deep in bloc-protected sov. We got a good amount of fuel in a very short amount of time. But I was not satisfied.
And Everything Changes Again
Not yet willing to return to NPC null, I had received advice to try a new lifestyle: Wormholes. I had never been a fan of the concept as I had felt it would not be for me, but in I dove. I started scanning lowsec around Jita for a C2 wormhole with a lowsec static. A few jumps down the chain later and I had found a system that I liked. Decent PI and sites were appealing enough, and I flew back into K space to get a citadel to anchor.
Unfortunately, I was not proven wrong about my opinion of wormholes. They were everything I expected, which meant I hated it. The constant probe scanning, endless mashing of dscan, the fear of being surrounded by cloaked ships, and being unable to tell if there was ever anyone in my system that I could fight if I was looking to do so. Though I had a little help, they were also very unsatisfied with the experience, and we all elected to leave after only being in the system for about a week.
I renamed the structure saying I was selling it, and luckily I found a buyer who took a decent price for it within a short time. They were also kind enough to buy all my ships, infrastructure, and stored loot as well. I imagine if they hadn’t, I would have had a lot of losses come up should what was now their structure eventually explode.
Zero from Five
Since I hadn’t left my friend’s corp during this time, I saw that things were beginning to heat up in sov. A lot.
The battle of UALX was brewing, and my friend’s corp did what we could. We committed our capitals and even our supers, with a few supercarriers and one titan of ours joining the brawl on Legacy’s side. I myself was a dreadnought, and I went from never having been in one of the “big ones” to taking a cyno and landing at zero from FIVE hostile titans, with what looked like a hundred more all around me. I sure was in the big one now.
We were tasked with destroying enemy FAX during the battle, and I did my diligence, keeping my guns cycling and focusing on trying to lock new targets under the massive server load, which made everything difficult to execute. I had no idea if my locks were going through, or if I was even shooting the right target anymore. At one point, the FC of the fleet was taken out of the fight, and our dread group was directionless. A higher up came in and asked someone to take over. I’d had capital training since my first experience – a miserable failure in my memory – and I was far more capable than I had once been. I strongly considered speaking up to begin calling targets. This could be my moment in Eve History – commanding a wing of capitals in one of the largest fights of all time.
But hesitation held. I considered the consequences of failure. There was far too much at risk that I could not comprehend. I did not want to be responsible for the loss of the dreadnought wing, or worse, for making poor calls and failing to reach an objective that would cost the rest of the fleets crucial progress in their battle. The stakes were too high for me to get involved. And so I remained silent, and a fellow director in my corp took over instead. I sat silently and followed instructions, contemplating what was happening, and what could have been.
After some kills were traded back and forth and the majority of the enemy FAX began to fall, my dread got blasted by supercarriers, and I podded myself back to the staging to get a new dread. After waiting nearly an hour and a half with a trade window open, I finally received one, and jumped back in to find myself being bosoned. My dread died before I even fully loaded the grid – but as it died, the node crashed, and I was forced offline.
I logged back in to, of all things, find myself back in the dreadnought that had just been destroyed. I had a kill report and everything, but… there it was, very much alive, warping down to the grid. We had orders to loot the field and clear hostile fighters that had been abandoned as the opposition was not logging back in. So off my guns went, cycling on fighter after fighter – until comms got very excited – a hostile Avatar was on dscan, logging in. Was this round 2? I quickly composed myself and prepared for a night of no sleep. But nothing else logged in, and we got the order to shoot the titan. It went down quickly, and I got on my very first Titan kill!
I didn’t whore on any of the other titans that died during the main battle of UALX. I had always wanted to earn any serious kills. I don’t whore on Keepstars or supers unless I’m a major participator in their destruction, and as such I’ve never been on a Keepstar kill, and to this day that titan remains the only one on my killboard. I look forward to earning those properly!
That Naglfar dead center in the picture is me. While the dreadnoughts around me are friendly, every titan, carrier, and supercarrier you see in that picture is hostile, and most definitely wants my head.
The War of One
Finally hitting my limit on life in sov null did not take long. My friend’s corp considered leaving the bloc as many of them shared a somewhat similar view, but ultimately the corp merely changed one blob for another. For me this was the final straw. I took all but one of my toons out to go off and do my own thing once again.
Feeling like I wanted to do something really bold, I set my sights on a bloc for the first time since my journey began. A recent collapse in one of the members of a bloc had left some the hastily recaptured sovereignty vulnerable to harassment. To add to that, the systems were highly undesirable and did not have anyone living in them. These were an easy target, even for a single person. They would be the focal point of my next stage. This bloc had evicted me from NPC null three separate times in my earlier time in Eve. I had a grudge to settle.
I knew a campaign like this would be a long, brutal slog. Resiliency would be paramount, but as I had far less to lose than my opponents, I had the advantage. I bought a hundred slashers and rifters, outfitted them for hardcore cancer and entosis, and shipped them up to a nearby NPC station. I undocked my alts, and began to entosis structures.
Sov notifications are not like citadels. While only the owning corp of a citadel is notified if it is in danger, hitting a sov structure pings the entire alliance. After the warmup cycle, all 2000+ toons would be notified. So all I had to do was warp to the structure, cycle the warmup, and immediately align out to see what would show. A combination of multiple warp core stabilizers and a cloaking device ensured my escape from the random members who wearily trekked the several jumps and hundred-plus-AU warps to get to me. Once away, I would sit, wait out aggression, and log off, only to come back immediately and entosis again. And again. And again. With all my alts across all the target systems, I was pinging structures about ten times a day, per system, day after day, without losing a single ship.
Since the entosis ships were untanked and unarmed, I could not contest any defenders who showed up to stop me. But since my goal was harassment and not actual takeover, my campaign began to show results. Salt and tears from the alliance made their way into local. Some frustrated members came and began following me wherever I went, determined not to let me entosis. The solution was simple enough – lead them a few jumps away, and then send in an alt to entosis, which would send them scurrying back to stop me, leaving the other toon free to find another system to snipe.
Eventually, I had an opening. A fleet from another bloc was looking for something to fight, and a fleet from my foes was out bashing a structure. I ensured the two groups would meet by entosising the TCU in the system and notifying the other bloc. My foes were scared off, and for the first time, I completed a successful reinforce. Amazingly, no one showed up to the node timer, and my toons made quick work of their ownership. I did not claim the system for myself as I had my sights set on another one elsewhere. However, the original owners did not reclaim the system in time, and another small alliance snapped it up and quickly raised the ADMs. The system, HHK-VL, remains under their ownership to this day.
The success was incredible. I had managed to take sov off a bloc thousands of times my size, through sheer resiliency, power of annoyance, and serendipitous timing from unaligned ‘friendlies’.
Filling the Niche
While the campaign to harass my bloc foe had eventually resulted in success over a system, the region had other vulnerable targets. An entity that had fled the region for greener pastures had left its sov unreclaimed. While I set my sights on the bloc, I also made a beeline for the essentially unclaimed system. A lack of defense by the original owners meant an easy capture. The success from my operations convinced me to contact the bloc and ask for a ceasefire, and we came to an agreement. Not only had I taken sov from them, but now I had a system of my own. Among the megacoalitions sat one very persistent rando.
Taking advantage of the new system would not be easy. Mining was essentially a non-starter, and ratting was a nightmare. The system saw traffic of over 1500 jumps per day, and would often groups of 20+ would spike in out of nowhere as bloc-level fleets from multiple sides of the conflicts of the time would pass through on their way to various objectives. In a few cases, the system spiked to over 200. Clearly ratting in a VNI was not a viable option. I had used one with numerous warp core stabilizers, but this would only let me escape, not generate worthwile ISK. A new plan was needed.
I thought back to a silly idea I’d had in the past for ratting in NPC null. Since the traffic there had been fairly high as well, I’d considered how I could stay hidden from it. Cloaking wouldn’t work since rats would lock. Warping off and resetting was a lengthy process. Was there another way I could hide?
Yes there was.
Combat Recon Ships.
I broke out my trusty Pyfa fitting tool, and started looking through the options. I needed a ship with VNI-level tank at least, with reasonable drone damage. There was only one option – the Curse. Plenty of midslots combined with a drone damage bonus meant I could fit up a 380 dps ratting ship with acceptable shield tank that would be undetectable on directional system radar. A fleet of a hundred would never find me – unless they chose to simply warp to sites and see what they found – a tactic commonly used by roamers, especially in systems where dscan does not cover the entire system diameter. I would need to go a step further. Havens, Sanctums, Forsaken Hubs, and Forsaken Rally Points were off the table. I had to drop to using regular Hubs, as these had decent value and did not require awkward tanking or avoiding trigger spawns.
The concept worked beautifully. A pair of Curses got to work keeping the coffers funded as hundreds of players, sometimes simultaneously, obliviously passed through the system every day, never aware there was a ship grinding out sites right under their noses. Sometimes said ship had been grinding AFK for quite a while!
Eventually roamers would pass through with combat probes, and my few times going AFK would see me punished. I’d blinged out some of the Curses to raise the income, and several billion+ killboard entries remain to this day to show my hubris. A good lesson to be learned, and one I admit I enjoyed learning. Dying in Eve isn’t always a bad thing.
A New Frontier
With my new income, I started fitting up various solo PvP ships. In particular, there was a RHML Typhoon fit I found very enjoyable. The high system traffic meant there was content pretty much whenever I wanted it – all I had to do was sit and wait for a few minutes and someone would come in. Trying to pick off tackle, blasting through small gang roams, and hurriedly escaping before the hordes descended was quite enjoyable. But one group passing through changed everything when they accepted my “Hey. Fight me.” in local, and we met on a gate. A group of assault frigates took the bait on my tank and one managed to fall prey. With a killmark and a victorious battle, the opponents asked me if I wanted to tag along, to which I gladly accepted.
This roam was a particular favorite, as a Typhoon trying to keep up with Assault Frigates on 100+ AU warps led to a good amount of laughter. But I managed to keep pace somehow, and together we snagged our share of targets. Needless to say I kept that discord, and eventually they were in my area again. Roam after roam with the gang had me eventually a full part of their group, and later still I took my corp and merged it into their alliance, leaving my sov in the hands of an alt corp. Perhaps the greatest reason I joined, even moreso than the social aspect, was their announcement that they were heading to NPC null to set up a home. I couldn’t possibly say no to that.
Though our entrance into NPC was exciting, it certainly started off on a wild roller coaster ride. Introducing ourselves to the locals resulted in several escalations. A Hel bashing one of our structures was dreadbombed, but a quick response fleet of supers quashed our defiance. After some capital training and reminding fleetmates to anchor cyno inhibs, we were granted another shot, but that group was wrecked as well. Fortunately, resiliency is strong in dedicated groups like these. We would have another chance at another target.
With our presence more cemented in the region and some allies agreeing to come to our aid, we set out to officially grab something major. A few hunting ops yielded nothing of substance, but eventually an unaffiliated Aeon landed right outside our doorstep, having logged on for the first time in a year. Tackle was swift, and our dreads were mobilized. Backup was called – because who doesn’t want in on a supercap kill, but also in case we were counter-escalated. Bubbles went up around the Aeon, and a small team of dreads came through to blast it apart. I personally was particularly pleased, as my hatred of Aeons and their disgustingly ugly model is well known.
A side note on Aeons. I have a stance on this ship – that if I ever own one, the only reason will be so that I can self-destruct it, to reduce the number of Aeons that exist in Eve Online.
With a win under our belts and on a success high, I made a pitch to my alliance for a new mini-campaign. Something I’d been after for a long time was within my reach.
The Cap Stable Naglfar Returns (The Siege, Part I)
Remember the locals from the “nearby constellation” from my 30 months post in the ‘Back in NPC Null’ section?
I didn’t think so. They only had a sentence covering them, but that’s okay. I never forgot. I was back now, and I had a drive that was revving up. I wanted that system. But more than that, I was a different person now. I wasn’t a pushover anymore. I had earned my battle scars now, fought locals alone and won, taken on a megacoalition of thousands, alone, and made them bleed ever so slightly.
I was back, and I. Wanted. Revenge.
So I took it.
With some pressing on my alliance, I fitted up a new Cap Stable Naglfar. The old one is still safely stored away in a station far from here. I intend to keep it forever as a trophy and memento. But the new one had modifications. I had optimized the fit to be more sturdy, both in raw defensive strength, but also in capacitor sustainability. This one could do more than just take on a poorly fitted Tatara. This one was capable of taking on Fortizars, and winning. And so the war began.
I began my opening volley with a week of cloaky camping. The system was far from any stations and as the locals were risk-averse miners, was highly vulnerable to a cloaky camping campaign. I had no intention of mercy this time. Eve had taught me a valuable lesson – no one will fight a war for you, you have to fight it yourself, alone if you have to. But fighting a group larger than you takes preparation. I needed to chip away at their morale before I struck a real blow. After about a week of camping them, their local numbers saw signs of dropping. Fewer people were logging in or sticking around. Strangely they never made any attempt to stop me or even contact me. In the previous encounter they were quick to confront me in their own spoiled way, but this time they said not a word.
Most types of player who take up a life like this do not have much of a stomach for bitter, drawn out warfare. Cloaky camping in particular is exceptionally powerful against them, as they do not see the value in a counterattack. It’s also very hard to stop. If they don’t want your space, you need to present yourself as not being a target, have a way to escape when they tackle you, or destroy them when they try to farm you. Ultimately you can dictate more of the terms of engagement in such a situation.
But if they do want your space, you can’t remain defensive. You have to take the fight to them. These locals did not. My structures were not attacked, my roaming ships passed unimpeded, even my JF cynos lit on my structure were untouched despite being quite visible to them a few AU away. They did not contest.
With their morale damaged, the real fight began. The locals had two major structures to destroy in the system – an Azbel and Fortizar. Our FCs had made the call to attack the Azbel first as its armaments were weaker than its counterpart and would still allow us to gauge the response, and learn of any reinforcements the locals could retain.
One Down, One to Go (The Siege, Part II)
The Azbel came under fire quickly from my Naglfar. This time, I was prepared. I had run a full stress test of all the targets I expected to siege and had crafted a fit that could out-tank and outregen any pressure, be it raw damage or capacitor warfare. Even the Fortizar could not break me alone this time. With backup roaring in alongside me, we had a massive advantage. The Azbel’s shields dropped as the gunner wondered desperately how he could not be utterly deleting the dreadnought before him. Without incident but against millions of incoming damage, the Naglfar and its support blasted through the shields and armor. The kill timer approached quickly, and backup was assembled in case of an unexpected escalation.
Carriers were assembled, fighters readied. We moved into position, and engaged.
The Naglfar poured round after round into the Azbel, blasts of enhanced phased plasma rippling throughout the body of the once proud structure. Staggered gunfire ensured that even if nobody shot it but me, the structure would remain paused until its destruction. As the hull dipped lower and lower, into its final quarter, a hail mary by a defending fleet arrived. A gang of 8 Kikimoras with Deacon logi had come to the structure’s aid. But such a fleet could do nothing against the tank of the Naglfar, which was designed to withstand ten times the combined incoming firepower. Helpless to stop the incoming barrage, the Kikimoras disengaged as the structure’s systems blew out for the last time, and blasted apart in a fiery explosion.
The assault on the Fortizar followed almost immediately. Its shields taken down while its hosts logged off for the night led to an easy initial reinforce. The armor timer required a forcible commitment, having exited at a very late time for many of my allies. Initially the plan was to attempt another reinforcement that might lead to a better exit, but I was undeterred. In came the Naglfar, and despite the Fortizar firing back in full force, the Naglfar once again proved its worth. I let the shields drop low on numerous occasions, to encourage the Fort to continue firing on me. This would keep its attention away from firing on the fighters orbiting it, and sparing them from the difficult micromanagement needed to avoid bombs and other incoming damage. However, any damage I let retain was a ruse. Whenever I needed, I could repair my shields to full in mere moments, undoing all the progress the gunner may have believed he had made.
The battle quickly became a long, drawn-out slog as we realized how much extra damage would need to be done to the Fortizar’s armor. It was heavily plated, granting it vastly more health for this phase. Though the Naglfar would survive as long as it had strontium to power its siege mode, there was a real concern of simply running out of either strontium or ammunition. Fortunately, help arrived in numerous forms. Carriers were mustered by folks who stumbled sleepily onto comms, additional damage was brought in with haste, and a resupply was organized to keep the Naglfar fully operational for as long as was needed. The Fortizar began to creep into lower health, and as more ships arrived, the health dropped faster and faster.
And then capitals undocked from the fortizar.
Two Naglfars of unknown armament appeared before us. For unknown reasons, one quickly returned to the Fortizar, but the other turned its guns on me and fired…
…and I took zero damage. The Naglfar was using close-range guns, but due to the size of the Fortizar, was over 110 kilometers from me. I had positioned myself behind the fortizar in anticipation of this very event, as we had seen a Phoenix move itself from the Azbel to the Fort before that structure had been removed. With the range advantage, I knew I could likely tank the damage from the Fortizar as well as a long-range dreadnought. But this was much more amusing. While the rest of my comrades shifted to an uneasy tone, I chuckled quietly to myself. I had prepared for this. Nothing had changed. Fighters were ordered to attack the Naglfar, and its shields dropped into the 80s, and then the 70s. Unfortunately we were unable to spare a ship to tackle it that could survive the Fortizar at point-blank range. So before anything could be done, the Naglfar docked.
This time, two new ships undocked – a Nidhoggur and a Minokawa, and both quickly pulsed smartbombs, supposedly to attack our fighters. The tactic, though interesting, did not see much effect. Our fighters quickly returned to stable orbits around the Fortizar, returning damage to it. The Nidhoggur launched various fighters to strike at the Naglfar, but were quashed by our own, and a full squadron was managed to be downed before being recalled, generating at least one killmail for us. This was not the only fighter loss of theirs, however. Over the course of these two bashes, we had destroyed an entire zkill page’s worth of structure fighters.
While a few fighters were lost to tired flight control, no squadrons of ours were lost. No further progress was made by the defenders, and the Fortizar was sent to its final timer.
A Lesson in Mercilessness
With the Fortizar’s fate sealed, the locals found themselves in the precarious position of having high-tonnage assets stored in a doomed structure. While asset safety was always an option due to the system’s relatively isolated location, the locals saw fit to evacuate the capitals in a more… interesting fashion
While sitting watch over the system, I noted a Nidhoggur and Naglfar on dscan, which quickly confirmed them at 5 degrees on the Fortizar. I checked the cyno map for likely jumpout points. Perhaps we could catch them as they moved. But little did I know, the capitals were not planning to jump. Suddenly the capitals disappeared from dscan, but the pilots remained in system. I assumed they had docked, until I pulsed a 360 degree scan and saw them again. And then, almost bewilderedly, a thought crossed my mind, which I mused aloud on comms:
“Wait a second. Are they warping?”
I decloaked my Malediction and warped to the nearby gate, while hastily logging in a sabre pilot. To my utter amazement, there they were, landing on the same gate. I can only imagine the capital pilot’s horror to see me waiting for him. With no bailout cyno, the pilot jumped the gate, and I followed. My interdictor reached the gate before the capitals exited their decloak, and suddenly I had two capitals tackled, with the nearest assistance more than ten jumps away.
A rage ping went out as this had happened entirely out of nowhere. Ensuring tackle became increasingly perilous as my comrades burned to me – the two ships were aligning away from each other, creating a large gap in between them. I had to split my tackle, with my sabre bubbling the carrier and my malediction longpointing the dread, but thankfully my malediction had a ship scanner which confirmed the dread was fit with its capital guns and had no neutralizer to speak of. The interceptor was under no threat. The sabre, however, was hounded by fighters. I was forced to crash the gate numerous times despite the carrier sailing further and further away from it.
I held strong, and nearly 15 harrowing minutes after I had voiced my initial musings, backup arrived and my job was eased. With extra tackle assured, a small team of dreadnoughts were mustered to engage. Due to the distance we prepared to split our team in two, but as we jumped in on the dreadnought one of our two entrance cynos was destroyed by the carrier. As a result, we made the call to clear the first target with all our dreads, and then warp to the second target with mobile inhibitors active on each as hostiles with potential escalation strength were spotted nearby. The first target vaporized swiftly under our guns, and the carrier followed shortly after.
My victims were to receive no quarter. My revenge would be thorough, painful, and final.
While my foes burned, I set about expanding my scope. The locals in this system were not my only target. Another group had existed alongside them, largely unaffiliated, but an obstacle in our path nonetheless. While I had no grudge against this group, I was fully committed to clearing the area, and they were to be next.
Additional cloaky camping ships were assembled as the final timer for the Fortizar ticked down. With no ammunition or fighters left after its previous struggle, its only gunner logged off shortly after the fight began. The Fortizar fell to congratulatory cheers and a satisfied combat wing.
Only one opponent remained now.
The Citadel Cleaner Strikes Again
While systems burned around our conflict, a minor victory of note had transpired. While moving a dreadnought into the area, I noticed a system with an abnormal signature, one that I knew all too well. A citadel had been unanchored and left unscooped.
The citadel stealer in me leapt for joy as I quickly burned a Viator to the system – a stressful seven jumps later and a free Astrahus was mine! This is the third citadel I have stolen in the past 12 months, and I have since re-anchored it elsewhere, a quiet monument to a notorious thief.
Cessation of Hostilities
With the campaign to take the new system having peaked with the destruction of the Fortizar, I turned my attention to the last major holdouts in the area. Their corporation was stubborn and had stood defiant of my attempts to pressure them out. I saw fit to issue an ultimatum – perhaps I could end the fighting early. I offered them 48 hours to initiate the unanchoring process to vacate their structures out of the system I desired, and in exchange I would grant them a cessation of hostilities in all other systems nearby. Should they refuse, I would camp every system even remotely linked to them.
To me, this seemed an appropriate deal. I was willing to give up the numerous structure killmails and end my campaign early, but in exchange for a victory on my own terms. But no response came, and the first passed. I sat hesitant as the last few hours ticked away. Could they have backup stronger than us that I was unaware of? Why had they not called them in sooner? Why not attack me and force a fight to ensure we knew they could beat us, if this was true?
The last day ended. Time was up.
I could not hesitate. I had given my word, and I would see it through. I brought up a squad of cloaky-cyno maledictions and placed them in every system in the constellation. It was not long before one bore fruit – a moon had popped in one system and the locals were mining it. I appeared on grid to spook them off – showing them I would not let them mine the moon might help tip their decision making. Maybe they didn’t think I was serious.
After giving them some time to get comfortable with me in system, I brought in a Loki and noted which rocks they were warping to, and pinged friends for blops. The response was immediate. A small team was assembled and moved into place. It was mere minutes before an opportunity presented itself. The locals were attempting to soft align back to their Athanor to give them safety, but they were not fully aligned. I warped down, decloaked, and got tackle on two Procurers. A covert cyno later and our team ripped them to shreds in seconds, and pulled off grid before the Athanor could lock anyone but me. I was unharmed by the citadel’s meager fit, not built to handle subcapitals in short durations, and I warped off after my cyno decycled.
Would this be the blow needed to cement our statement? The locals had not responded, even as they were destroyed. I came back cloaked to watch the grid. A half-hour later and another mining ship, this time an Endurance, undocked and attempted to start mining. But as it orbited, somehow complacent despite the Loki having never left system, it left itself vulnerable. After warping back down and waiting for the ship to face away from its expected align point, I decloaked again and tackled it, downing with nothing but a flight of light drones.
Still no response. I got back into my ships and began to camp. It did not take long for them to see I had stayed true to my word. The entire constellation was now under my watch. And then, the words I had hoped to hear came into local: They surrendered. “You win”.
And there it was. The campaign’s main two objectives won. Success at last. Victory at last.
I spoke to them at length, and brokered an agreement where they would have time to remove their structures without interference from me or any of my alliance. With the deal in place, the main operation was over. All that remained was to finish clearing out the abandoned structures. There was no one left to challenge me.
While the system was largely mine now, the task of finishing off the remaining structures still remained. The rather prominent acts of destruction had resulted in the potential for nosy hunters and bloc scouts to stop by and interrupt bashes. With my friends’ alliance experiencing a lull in activity and deciding to merge into another entity, I would not have the same commitment I had available previously. As such, trying to bash the remaining structures with dreadnoughts felt foolhardy, if not downright suicidal. But a previous push by my friends to train our alliance into Drekavacs gave me the idea to go a step further. I had a bunch of alts, why not train them all into Leshaks?
A hop, skip, and jump through Pyfa and Multibuy later, and a gang of Leshaks were in the cargohold of my Rhea on their way to killmails.
Bashing with Leshaks is quite an experience. Even with mediocre skills, taking about a week to train, the Leshaks poured dps out like a waterfall. Reaching damage cap was easier than ever, and the added imposing factor of Leshaks gave them some inherent protection against a random passerby thinking they could grab one – as previously I had used untanked Vexor Navy Issues to grind timers.
Around this time, the now evicted residents, despite no longer residing in their remaining structures, made a play to timezone tank their remaining few. An Athanor and Raitaru were able to dodge destruction long enough to switch over. An old enemy from another part of the region, who once batphoned 40 hurricanes on my head, decided to offer his services to defend the structures. Apparently he wasn’t happy that I was still around – though he and I had traded blows in the old system and each of us had landed respectable hits, I didn’t really have anything against him. With my VNIs, I didn’t stand a chance against his PvP fit ships. With Leshaks though, all he could do was watch while I ripped the insides out of the Raitaru on its kill timer. The Athanor followed a week later, and the old foe was notably absent there.
While I would be happy to mend fences and merely fight for fun, I do not know if he reciprocates as he did not respond to my offer when I mentioned it. I suppose time will tell.
For the Last Time
The system I held in my last article was eventually captured by the nearby bloc, as I had left it abandoned. My old home in NPC null – the one this article started with that was temporarily spared – was eventually purged, ignoring the objections that had taken place long ago. I suspect that if I had tried to return to either place I would have been blobbed by the blocs fairly quickly, and as such I have little confidence that the old systems are in any way greener pastures. I am fully committed to my friends and my new system.
This will likely be my last entry in the series, at least for a long time. While it’s possible that there may be another in the future, I’m a fairly established Eve player now – more than three years have passed since I started Eve, and my adventures are no longer those of a wide-eyed newbie. While I’ve been all over the galaxy and been in all kinds of groups, I have come to find that being a small, dedicated, and capable rando is all I’ve ever wanted to be.
While I will still publish articles, they will likely not be about this journey. I have kept my independence and I believe I can continue to do so, which I imagine most of my articles will reflect.
I suppose being a rando puts me at risk of annihilation by the blocs like it has in the past, but I have a measure of confidence in the community’s opinion of groups like ours to continue growing in favor of supporting our survival. I hope that others will take the journey like I have and do what they can to carve out their own little home in space. This journey has been one of the the most rewarding things I’ve done in my entire real life, and I’m in some of my greatest spirits, having been able to share it with you.
If you really want to follow along after this point – a full twenty five pages as I write this on Google Docs, my corporation is finally recruiting. PM me on Reddit at /u/Ketriaava if you would like details.I welcome you to share my adventure with me in person.
Thank you so much for reading, and for following me these past few years. This article has been quite a lengthy one, and for anyone who made it this far, I extend you my deepest gratitude.
Until we meet again.