There’s eventful, then there’s eventful. I came on duty to find that Main Gate had been completely infested – and Hyperial thereby completely cut off from the rest of TRI space. My new squadmate, Rail69, was stuck in Hyperial space, so I immediately took off from QC and headed to Oct Core for a Raptor. Very first thing I noticed was how heavy the flux spawn was. I had a Whistle equipped, granted – but I had no less than 5 flux spawn in any sector between QC and OC. Even more interestingly, I had 9 spawn in 2 sectors, and 12 in another. All at once. We aren’t talking whistle respawns. That’s… curious. When multiple curious things happen in a short period of time, that’s worth noting.
In any case, I swapped ships at Core, loaded up with nukes, and headed toward the infests. hifly had dropped the infest to MG from GVB just minutes before I arrived, so I went to work on the gate to Inner Cloud. Sinver and ORBITER both contributed toward the beginning of our runs on the infests, but it was late in both pilot’s duty cycles. hifly dropped the infestation of Reaches, and I dropped the infestation of IC. We decided to work together on the infestation of Lesser Locks. We worked together for some time, but we mutually decided that we were close to breakthrough. I waited for hifly’s nukes to impact, and they destroyed the infestation. We joked that it was a good thing that I saved those nukes… and jumped into Lesser Locks.
Suddenly, Sent song! We exchanged a warning, and started searching for the Sentient – but Conflux started appearing steadily. Jellyfish, Squid, Snails…. I destroyed several Jellyfish, because I hadn’t yet spotted the typical Kraken they’re so fond of. hifly and I both sped through a now-sizable group of drones, trying to spot the Sentient, killing as we went. I had killed half a dozen when, suddenly, a Manta was on my tail. I turned to deal with that threat, and eliminated it. Furiously cycling through targets for something Out of the ordinary, I spotted another Manta after hifly. I burned after it, and together, we destroyed it, as well, turning our attention to more of the drones. Suddenly, I saw and heard the distinctive weapons fire of a Kraken-class, and my shields cascaded downwards. I launched my HellRazors, and punched a flashfire, trying to give myself additional room. hifly joined the fight, and the Sentient engaged them. Completing my circle, I launched a Sabre, in hopes that the distraction would cause him to evade, and allow my shields more time to recharge. There were probably two dozen drones (perhaps more) in sector at this point, so the general level of fire was fairly heavy, not even counting the Sentient.
I re-engaged the Sent, and both hifly and I attempted to beat him off – but when I reached 6 armor after a particularly unfortunate exchange, I saw that hifly had disengaged, also damaged – I popped another FF toward the NC gate. The Sentient came around, but only gave a desultory chase. Seeing there were no available POS in sector to r/r/r at, I followed hifly toward SC. Behind us, the LL>MG gate suddenly showed as infested once again.
We continued on toward Core, docked (with a bit of difficulty in my case, because I had exhausted my fuel in that last sprint toward the gate), and reloaded with nukes and missiles. We raced back toward LL as fast as we could, hifly in the lead, and launched our first salvos at the gate in succession. hifly had access to a POS in sector, while I did not. hifly docked, while I returned to NC to rearm. hifly launched yet again, as I returned to LL, and made my own run thereafter. hifly rearmed, and I made the long trek back to NC. I entered NC, and was headed to dock, when I saw the message that hifly had destroyed the infestation. I commed “returning”, not bothering to dock – I had a suspicion – and just as I jumped back into LL, we heard Sent song once more.
This time, the Sentient was content to simply attack hifly immediately, instead of spawning hordes of drones first – as we were widely separated. I turned my ECM on, and used two flashfires to get to the scene as soon as possible – hopefully unnoticed. As far as I could tell, I succeeded. I launched two screws as soon as I was in range, and the Kraken evaded, allowing hifly some breathing room. I had a missile warning in return, and did some evading of my own. Both hifly and myself then vectored in on the Sentient, and I believe we both launched missiles at the Kraken. Some wild evasions followed, but the Sentient’s shields went down steadily throughout. Finally, hifly had to break off momentarily, as he had armor damage, and very low shields – so the sentient and I circled. Oddly, it proceeded to make an exceptionally shallow circle, and seemed to hang in space right in front of me for several seconds – the perfect ammo target – which I used to hammer away at the Kraken, destroying it. Very odd, though I won’t complain about the kill.
Perhaps it ran out of a Conflux’s equivalent of AB fuel – or… it let me kill it. I don’t know. It was just strange. I don’t feel bad about hightailing it in the first fight. We were both in bombers, and sentients can be tough opponents even in fighters with lasers equipped. Considering that we were both in ammo bombers – and that I, at least, had nukes in my hold – I don’t think we did too badly. Still and all… it struck me as too easy. Which, given the effort it put in to spawn a horde of drones, completely infest a sector, and re-infest the access to Main Gate against the two combatants it knew about… strikes me as odd.
Why Main Gate? Why block off Hyperial? What’s suddenly important there? I don’t know. Might want to find out, though. That was a major effort put in by the Conflux tonight. Glad I had hifly for a wingman. Ended up with 77 kills (including one Sentient), and an infestation. Patrolled back through the area on my way back to QC – still high spawn – 5+ in most sectors – without a Whistle. I repeat – odd. Time to sleep.