I suppose “perfect” is overselling things, not to mention the whole “perfect for who?” aspect. But after more than a month spent in fleets policing sovereignty and mostly denying hostile entosis ships their targets by hanging out on ihubs and nodes, it was a damn good fight.
And I almost missed it.
The usual post-work evening activities went their usual way and as I sat down at my computer to see what was up, I saw that there had been a call for a Hurricane fleet under Oxygen about 25 minutes before. I figured I was probably too late for that, but even as I sat there thinking it, another ping came in for the fleet. It was a request for more logi in the fleet. That meant it hadn’t left yet.
I figured I could make it and, having half a dozen Basilisks strewn about our various staging locations, I was pretty sure I could fulfil the logi end of the bill as well. So I logged in, found myself in a station in Tribute. I quickly un-assed the ship I was in, opened up the character panel, stopped my training queue, swapped to the jump clone tab, and clicked on the clone in Saranen.
After a momentary transition, I was there… and I didn’t have a Basilisk. As I would later figure out, I had swapped that Basi to my alt to fly a while back and had never quite gotten around to swapping it back. But it didn’t matter, the fleet was already undocked and on the move. It was too late to log my alt in and do the swap or start skimming the local contracts for a correctly fit Basi. But I had a Hurricane… and a correctly fit one at that. After the Higgs Anchor fiasco, which came about because I didn’t want to use a slightly out of date fit, I went through and made sure all my ships were up to date.
So into the Hurricane and after the fleet.
They were not too far ahead to catch, so long as I didn’t waste time. But you never know what the travel plan is, if we will just be burning gates or if there is a titan waiting to bridge us or what. As it was, a jump bridge was part of the plan and I first caught site of the fleet as the were bridging out from it.
Oxygen held up on the other side so I was able to get through and join the fleet.
From there it was a run into Fade.
It had been a bad day for The Imperium. We had lost a CSAA fight earlier and, been beat in Fade, and NCDot had managed to take a TCU in Fade. (Who says there are no more big fights?) The CSAA meant that a baby super capital was aborted, while the TCU loss gave our foes an additional moral boost. It is one of the ways that Fozzie Sov is different, and not necessarily in a good way, from Dominion Sov. Under Dominion, taking the TCU would have meant that the system had been totally conquered, since to take that you would have had to take the ihub and the station first. In the world of Fozzie Sov, those three elements are all now independent. So this cool change on the sov map over at DOTLAN only means they took the TCU.
The station and the ihub, the latter of which affects ADM, are still owned by SMA. It would have snapped any jump bridge in the system, had their been one, since the sovereignty level, which is accrued by holding the TCU over time, would have been reset to zero. The sov level has to be three in order to support a jump bridge if I recall right, which takes about a month.
Anyway, some people in the fleet had been on all day and were looking to inflict some damage on our foes, and we were headed to the 7X-X1Y constellation in Fade to do just that.
NCDot and TEST and a few hangers on were headed there in numbers as well. Our Hurricanes would be set against their combined fleet of T3 Destroyers… mostly Confessors… and Slepnirs, the command ship variation of the Hurricane, or so intel reported.
Before we faced them, Oxygen drilled us a bit on how this was going to have to play out for us to have any success against the more heavily tanked Slepnirs. We were going to have to fire as a unified volley so as to apply our damage in as concentrated a burst as possible, which should allow us to break through the defenses of an individual ship and destroy it before any reps from their logi could make a difference.
This is sort of the meta at the moment in our part of null, it is how the Machariel fleets operate as well, and is something of a return to a state of affairs that was going on when I first joined TNT back in late 2011 when the Maelstroms of the Alpha fleet doctrine were being used to do the same thing.
That bit of practice done, we went into YKSC-A to face the enemy. Our first targets were the Confessors and supporting ships around us. That was the TEST fleet. For that we were told to sort by distance and fire at will, and we popped quite a few of them before turning towards the Slepnirs.
For that Oxygen would call a target and wait until we had a good number of people ready to fire, then have us volley as a group. We were able to successfully volley off a nine Slepnirs in succession.
However, the enemy had not been sitting around watching us do this. They too had been locking up Hurricanes and blowing them up with a single volley as well. I got that treatment about halfway into the skirmish, which left me in a pod and able to watch how things were evolving.
Hurricanes were dropping quickly, and the fleet soon reached a point where the combined damage of a volley would no longer take down a Slepnir. It was time to pull back. Oxygen was still going at that point, but got tackled as we warped away and his Onyx popped.
We lost 96 ships in that go, worth about 7 billion ISK, but we managed to take down 130 ships in exchange. They were mostly cheaper ships, but the more expensive Slepnirs weighed down the ISK exchange, so that we inflicted 10.8 billion ISK in damage. The round to us on points I suppose, though we had to leave the field to regroup. Still, not bad considering the numbers were almost 2 to 1 against us.
Here is a battle report for that part of the fight.
Hanging about, my pod got cleaned up and I was back in Saranen to pick up a new Hurricane off contract (a good contract, from a Goon source) because we were headed back. We were going to return for round two, as both sides still seemed keen to brawl.
We flew back to Fade as a group to rejoin the survivors of the first round who had holed up in a station a couple jumps back from the fight. Having reunited, we headed towards the foe again, burning through a bubble to the YKSC-A gate to resume the fight.
On the far side things started as before, with us hitting small stuff. But the enemy was not so keen to sit and exchange volleys this time. In the ensuing fight we managed to pin down and kill some WAFFLES Cerberuses that had joined in, but the Slepnirs we being more circumspect, leaving the field after a few losses. We ended up chasing them into FIO1-8 and then E9KD-N, extracting a few more kills, before they headed out and the fight was over.
The second round was almost exactly evenly matched when it came to ship count, with us losing 36 ships to their 71, leaving an ISK balance of 2.6 billion in ISK lost by us to 7.4 billion in ISK lost by our foes.
Here is a battle report for round two.
There was a combined battle report for both rounds being circulated, but it is missing some data… specifically, it was missing me. I am not sure how the two individual reports managed to include me but not the combined.
Anyway, a win for us at the end of a bad day, unless you have some new metric for victory that discounts ISK, ship losses, the odds, or who ended up holding the field at the end of things. It doesn’t make up for the drubbing earlier in the day, but it was something.
And because we held the field, we now had to clean up. That meant sending our support off to chase down some individual entosis ships in the region, sitting on an ihub node ourselves for a bit, and then watching an entosis ship reinforced the NCDot TCU in E9KD-N.
The ADM for the system… ADM supported in part by the SMA ihub… applied to the NCDot TCU, in another fun quirk of Fozzie Sov.
Sitting there would have been dull except for the curious case of Madlightning and the fastest Hurricane in New Eden.
Madlightning reports a problem with his modules when going into the second round of the fight. They would not activate. To fix this he docked up and fiddled with them, the undocked to catch up, jumping through the gate to join us.
Once he was through the gate he reported a new problem. He thought he had been bumped by something big, because he was suddenly moving at very high rate of speed. Very, very high. He sent us a screen shot, from which I clipped this:
My Hurricane, with the same MWD lit, goes about 1,500 m/s, so 999,854 m/s would be… more.
A couple of frigates in the fleet tried to warp to him to see this in action, but reported that Madlightning would move off grid even as they were landing. As he experimented with this, it appeared to be related to activating his MWD. Somehow the upper limit or his ships mass or the power of the MWD had been messed up, allowing him to pilot his Hurricane at phenomenal rates of speed.
He filed a bug report about it, the spent his time simply enjoying his new found ability. At a couple points he tried to join us and orbit the TCU, but he would flash by and disappear off grid quickly.
That about wrapped up our evening. After the TCU had been reinforced, we headed for home, popping in on a couple of systems to shoo away the last couple of entosis jockeys as the vulnerability windows for SMA space closed for the night.
The war goes on, but fights like that, where even the losing side extracts a price, keep people engaged.