We knew they would be coming for us in force. After the fight two days before, where we failed to hold them back and they put the station into the armor timer, the last timer, a fight was pretty much guaranteed when the clock ran down.
I was a bit late for the fight. I logged in after the timer had already expired. Furthermore I was off in Badivefi, a few jumps from ED-L9T and without a ship. Supplies had run out, again after that last fight, and so I was sitting in my pod without a doctrine ship handy. Fortunately, our supply team had been busy as the timer ticked down and there was a Basilisk up on contract for me.
I hopped in the Basi, insured it, undocked, joined the fleet, and headed for the fight. I warped to the first gate in a flash, hit the next system, zipped across that, made it into Efa, the low sec link to null and landed on the 3-FKCZ gate. I clicked the button to jump and suddenly my world slowed way way down. I was clearly crossing nodes into the time dilation zone.
I was already on the logi channel for the fleet and had alerted them that I was coming to join the fight, but I had to revise my arrival estimate. It was going to take a while to move across one system, take another gate, and get to the fleet.
With that bit of slow travel under way I logged in my alt to see where he might be. He was actually in the station in ED-L9T and in an Ishtar, the doctrine of the day, and ready to go. I joined the fleet and undocked him… and found myself in the middle of the fight.
There were several capital ships right on the undock. Ours. There was a pile of hostile capital ships off to one side, maybe 40km away, in the middle of some warp disruption bubbles. There was a hostile subcap fleet ball, made up of the usual tech III selection that Darkness favors, rather close at hand. And then there was our Ishtars about 80km off the undock.
That left me in the rather awkward position of being the Ishtar closest to the enemy, and I could see the yellow boxes, indicating that they were attempting to target me, begin to bloom on my overview. I dropped my first batch of sentry drones… they were well placed to hit the enemy from there… lit the microwarp drive, and began to burn towards the fleet with an eye to anchoring up on Asher Elias. I also requested shield reps knowing that the pain would be coming soon and hoped that our logi wasn’t too busy elsewhere.
Fortunately logi was not all that busy and were able to hit me with reps in time to stave off my destruction as they yellow boxes turned red and incoming fire began to hit. I never got below 50% shield, and after the first volley stayed mostly fully topped off until the hostiles sought another target.
I got myself anchored up, assigned my drones to one of the fleet drone triggers… drone assist is still alive, if in abbreviated form, so you can assign drones to another person and whatever they shoot your drones will shoot as well… and settled into my orbit so I could go back and get Wilhelm on grid.
By that point the Basilisk had landed in system. Time dilation was running around 15%, which means 15% of real time, which means very slow. This final station fight had brought a lot of people out to play. There were over 1,200 in local when I got there. In addition to us defending the station, Lazarus Telraven had brought some Tengus down from Deklein, Pandemic Legion had some units in the system helping us, as did Pizza, and I thought I saw Brave pilots on grid as well. On the hostile end of things Darkness had support from Northern Coalition, Gentleman’s Club, and Black Legion. Hell, even TEST was in the fight. It seemed the place to be that Friday night.
With a fair amount of warning I was able to get on grid, join up with my fellow Basi pilots, get in the cap chain, and… well… not so much else.
The fight was… for lack of a better term… at odd angles from the usual brawl. Down in Querious, where the fights had been relatively small (and tidi free) for much of the campaign, there has usually been just a couple fleets in action and the main point has generally been to get on grid in an advantageous position and let the other guy have it. This time around we had at least ten fleets operating independently and each pursing its own objectives. The enemy capital ships were intent on knocking down the station, their tier 3 fleet was defending them, another was hunting down off-grid boosters, a pack of electronic warfare ships was damping whoever got close or seemed like a threat, Pandemic Legion was on and off grid, while another group was chasing them around, a couple groups of bombers were hitting one side or the other now and again, and we were sort of flying around shooting targets of opportunity, but were never really anybody’s primary target.
Well, except for that hostile Celestis fleet. They seemed determined to damp us all evening.
But for the most part we cruised around as Asher called targets and generally shot the hell out of things while not taking much fire ourselves. There were relatively few calls for logi, except when a bomb hit and everybody panicked and suddenly 20 people were calling for reps. My alt ended up getting on quite a few kills without a lot of effort, though he missed getting on the Elo Knight kill mail when our squad leader accidentally warped us off grid. By the time I was able to get back on grid and reconnected to my drones he was gone. I was not alone in my disappointment.
All of which was well and good… everybody likes some kill mails… but it wasn’t winning us the fight. The hostile dreads were hitting the station hard and while we gleefully knocked a few of them down, they were going to finish off the station long before we killed the last one.
A dreadnaught can be a tough target, though none was tougher that Mtak and his mighty Phoenix. The Phoenix might be the fourth choice out of the four dreadnaughts, but it has a mighty tank, and Mtak sat on grid for what seemed like ages absorbing fire while launching salvo after salvo at enemy caps, watching three hostile carriers burn before finally being brought down.
We were too far away to rep him, though close enough to lock him up and hope that we would pass close enough to give him a boost. But it was not to be, and I watched him fall into structure and then slowly drop away until the inevitable explosion, leaving a wrecked hulk on grid.
Meanwhile, the station itself was well into structure and it was clear that our little reps… for we had been told to rep the station if we had not other duties… were not going to hold back the tide of incoming fire. There was one last hope however, as the station came to its last few hit points, we joined in firing on it as well.
Among the many odd bits of the Dominion sovereignty mechanics, there is the bit where the alliance of the pilot who gets the killing blow on a station gets control of the whole thing. If we could get in that final blow, the station would be ours again and the hostiles would have to shoot it again. In fact, if things went exactly right, we might end up with another two day timer.
We got lucky, but not that lucky.
A pilot from SpaceMonkey’s Alliance got the final blow and took possession of the station. However, since the station’s alliance ownership changed, the territorial control unit became vulnerable. The fight then moved from the station grid to the TCU where, once again, we managed to get some more kills… more hostile dreadnaught wrecks on the field, but were unable to keep the TCU from eventually being destroyed. The system rolled into an unowned state.
At that point we headed back to the station grid to pick off a couple more targets that were still in bubbles. By then it was past midnight and, after a long day, it was time for me to go to bed. I docked up in the station, since we still owned it. There was talk of getting ships and supplies out of the station while we still held it, but I had already set myself up for the most part after we lost the shield timer fight. I had a clone for every ship I wanted to get out. I logged out.
The fight itself went very much our way, at least when measured by ISK destroyed. The battle report indicates that of the ~200 billion ISK lost, 80% of that could be assigned to our foes, who fly under the name Guardians of the Galaxy at the moment.
The war, the strategic objective, on the other hand, clearly went to Darkness and their allies. The battle report by Arrendis over at TMC indicates that after I went to bed there was a further fight to drop SBUs and TCUs in a Dominion sovereignty mechanics wrestling match to control the system.
Darkness prevailed in the end and the system rolled to their control about eleven hours after we lost control of the system. The battle for that corner of Querious… an odd battle that saw the Reavers go from hit and fade tactics to stand up fights and taking sovereignty and ended up drawing in friend and foe alike until we ended up in full on tidi lagged battles… was over.
There is some cleaning up to do, and we still have some friends in the area, like Pizza, who we will no doubt work with some more. But that could be the last Dominion sovereignty battle I see in New Eden. Next month will be Fozzie Sov, and with it will come a new set of special quirks I am sure.
But it was a hell of a fight and a good time when otherwise not much else exciting has been going on in The Imperium.
And, of course, I have some additional screen shots from the fight.