September 30, 2015

Contract Recap: Black Hole Theory

This contract recap was written by Godolphin for our internal forums. Used with his permission. 

Quick Summary: Black Hole Theory hired Mercenary Coalition to destroy a heavily shielded Amarr large control tower in J130253. During the tower reinforcement we also approached the clients about smashing the POCOs in system since we were already there. The client agreed to pay us additional for the POCO kills and even came out to help. Sorta. The terms agreed upon were completed to the client's satisfaction and thanks to the 8 POCOs, destroyed we even came out ahead on ISK efficiency.

The plan was fairly simple. Or so I thought.

Completing a contract in Wspace always comes with its unique set of situations. In this case one of our biggest logistical challenges was getting everyone from our home system to the contract wormhole. J130253 is a C4 wormhole with a C4/C2 static. Since a class 4 wormhole cannot connect directly to known space (with the exception of micro wormholes) a class 4 wormhole is the most secluded and hardest to reach from known space. The first entrance the client gave us was a nice tidy highsec not that out of the way. We initially brought AHAC 2.5999 (mostly Legions) to reinforce the tower. After about 3 hours of shooting the tower our friends Odin's Call/Wrong Hole dropped by for a visit. Their doctrine included a mix of heavy beam laser/neut Legions with webbing Lokis and rail Proteus. After completely annihilating our clients early warning Bestower ( they proceeded to attempt to get tackle on a couple of the clients' Vargurs sieging the target tower. Heavily bubbled, the Vargurs were able to MJD to safety after the Sabre/initial tackle were volleyed off.

In standard wormhole fashion Odin's Call slowly ramped up the engagement by first warping in a small contingent of Guardians (in this case 4). After the fighting began they brought the rest in. An unconfirmed number of Guardians which numbered at least 4 but not more then 7. In addition to the Guardians they brought along their Nestor. After a number of hours shooting a POS, Odin's call showing up suddenly was a bit jarring and we were a tad unprepared. With our brains close to mush, we proceeded to fight our way out of tackle and attempt a few kills. Being too outnumbered to do any real damage we were forced to leave the field taking a few losses. The end result can be seen in this battle report: (

After the engagement, Odins extraction was rather sloppy. They miscalculated the mass left on the hole they entered from and it collapsed leaving about 6 T3s stranded with no logi support. Unfortunately maintaining tackle on a couple nuet Legions and a ECM Tengus is nearly imposible with a solo Stratios with a scram (the entirety of our tackle in fleet). Even timing my navy cap 150's with my scram cycle I eventually lost tackle before we could kill anything. I scanned their new exit and chased them around a bit but in the end we decided to just let them go and get back to the objective. At this point we decided to reship into bombers to complete the objective with no further interference.

Wormhole exploration can be incredibly frustrating at times, especially when your route collapses behind you. After scanning out the new entrance through the target wormhole's C2 static we brought the bombers back in and finished the job. The tower entered reinforcment for 1D 16H as per the wormhole standard of "buying as much time as possible". In an effort to create even more unrest, the POCOs were set for downtime which is not an awesome timezone for MC. Downtime nearing and our current connection to the C2 static was nearing the end of its natural lifetime, broadcasts were made on Slack to seed early for the upcoming tower/POCO destruction. This connection was 2 jumps from Dodixie and was an amazing hole to abuse. Sadly at downtime the hole died and the new static C2 was a Nullsec/C4. Basically a dead end. We eventually found a way in through the Static C4 however, through the course of the day after the POCOs were destroyed the client had put the hole on the verge of collapse by "playing with a raven" which was then EOL by the tower op. Not being able to manipulate connections by collapsing wormholes due to a lack of a wormhole closing kit we were totally at the mercy of BOB and his inhumane humor.

Attempts were made to get people into the wormhole through this EOL/CRIT chain but not being able to send somone out to guide people in severely hindered our attempts, as well as corp bookmarks not propagating (not sure what was happening with the bookmarks) left us with just what we had in system. Thankfully this Amarr tower now had 15 offline hardeners and the job was much, much faster. Not having been in the chain home in awhile we were surprised to find that the way home had collapsed. Stranded in this new wormhole with multiple people scanning furiously we eventually found a C2 with a static highsec. Funny enough the new C2 was the same one as an old which reduced the amount of scanning drastically. [NEHE] was able to reconstruct the chain we used and visually represent it. For all those who want to know why you did not have a way in.....

The Red "X"s denote a wormhole that died and forced us to rescan. Green denotes the final exit used. This is the reason for the "confusion" and the subsequent frustration that occurred. Combine this level of complexity with lack of sleep and you got a very stressing op. You can also see the amount of scouts that were employed to keep us safe by watching for hostiles in the chain. Each gray wormhole above had a scout. Its important to note that the Odin connection happened the day after the fight and was not there when they showed up initially. That is the will of BOB. Also of note: Exohmin slept through his alarm and missed the final POS bash. As a result he woke up with a broken toe. Punishments from the wormhole god can sometimes be extreme.