As Delve has been quiet, Reavers have been deploying to Querious off and on. Since Delve and Querious are so close together… a chunk of Querious is actually something of a functional enclave within Delve, which is sometimes called either Fake Delve or Fake Querious depending on who is speaking and whether or not they remember what they called it last time it came up… there was some discussion as to what to do about the region.
The previous inhabitants for the most part moved on to other areas of null sec rather than live under the shadow of the Imperium. Our first deployment to the region after Delve was to take the valuable moons. However, the holders were mostly willing to sell them to us… along with a couple of citadels… to finance their move elsewhere.
After that, the region was somewhat sparsely held. I ran around in a Raven and was unmolested as I ran sites during the Purity of the Throne event. Of course, a sparsely held region invites people to show up uninvited. To keep the worst kind of baddies from moving in, the coalition gave Asher the green light to try and turn the region into a fight club. Details of the idea were posted on Reddit a while back.
There have been a few takers and Reavers have been back in Querious off and on to help people move in and evict people who have declined to join. We popped a Voxis Accord Astrahus earlier in the month after they said no to the idea. Last week we started on Brute Force Solutions and their Astrahus in 0-WT2D. (BFD on the map above.) They had been giving Asher the run around, claiming they needed 6-8 weeks to process his request, along with doing a level of trash talking in local above their weight class. They seemed keen to provoke a fight, so their citadel had to go.
Killing an citadel requires three passes. You have to get through the shield layer, after which it goes into reinforced mode for 24 hours. Then you go through the armor layer. After armor, the reinforcement timer is related to local sovereignty. Since they owned the system and ihub and had flagged it as their capital, the ADM was up to 6, which meant a six day wait for the final structure event.
I was there for the shield event, a Barghest fleet where I flew logi, but missed the armor event where BFD dropped carries on our fleet, so we countered with some caps and our bridging titan, which left BFD down 10 carriers. The final event was slated for Saturday night in later USTZ.
After the second event Asher asked people to get more Barghests down in our staging for the final fight. The previous fights had been more logi and support than actual combat ships of the line. Being ISK rich (for me) I invested 900 million ISK in one of the space griddles and flew it out from Jita during the week to have it ready for Saturday night.
As the time approached on Saturday, the ping went our for Reavers to form up and get ready. There were about 60 of us online, in fleet, and on the titan ready to bridge into the event.
Reavers is not all of the Imperium, so for us getting 50-60 people deep in USTZ is about par for the course. That would still give us an edge on BFD, as they and their local allies seem to be good for about 50 pilots while we would have our own local pals, Sarcos Federation and Imperium Divine along to help.
The wild card would be what help BFD would be able to call in. Asher said up front, as we sat on the titan, that intel indicated that Pandemic Legion had been called and might be joining in on the fun, so we could be in for a serious fight. We bridged in a little before the Astrahus entered its vulnerability.
We setup as the timer counted down. Once vulnerable, there is a 15 minute timer. If that runs down, the attack fails and the Astrahus goes back into its initial state and we have to start the whole routine again. The timer is paused by applying sufficient damage to the citadel, which also wears down the structure. If you keep the timer paused and finish off the structure, the Astrahus explodes. There is also a cap on the damage so you cannot burn it down in less than ~25 minutes. (The dev blog about all of this here.)
We setup around the Astrahus, dropped our sentry drones, anchored up on Asher, and when the time came opened up on the citadel.
BFD and their local friends had some assets on the field and we exchanged blows with them. They brought out some dreadnoughts and carriers as well. At that point things were going our way, the frying pan fleet was getting a few kills while our logi was keeping us safe. Then a cyno went up, which we zapped pretty quickly. A couple of Pandemic Legion caps got in on a cyno.
And then a Tech III fleet made up mostly of Legions and Proteuses got into the system and the fight started to go badly for us. We outnumbered what BFD had fielded, but the Pandemic Legion fleet had numbers on us and, when combined with BFD, put us at a serious disadvantage with the odds about 2 to 1 against. We were hard pressed to break any of the T3s, managing to knock just one off the field (on which I got the kill mail). On the other hand, they trimmed our logi back and then started knocking off the Barghests one by one. I lost my fresh Barghest when we were just trying to get out of bubbles and get away. I still had all the refits in the cargo too, so pretty much a complete loss of my purchase. Only two Barghests got away.
It seemed like we were done. Asher put out on intel that there were some caps to shoot, which got a few Imperium CapSwarm capitals and supers to drop on the fight.
However, there was still a few minutes left on the Astrahus timer and most of the Reavers had their clone set in our Fortizar just six jumps away, so the decision was made to give it another run in the Cerberus doctrine. I have my clone set in Delve, but I had a doctrine Scimitar set and ready to fly there, so I burned back towards Querious. With a jump bridge the fight was 14 gates away.
As I burned I could hear the fleet arriving back at the Astrahus where they managed to apply damage and stop the timer with very little time left on the clock. It sounded like they got chased off but got back to apply damage again, stopping the timer with just seconds to go.
At about that point I had finally gotten back to the system. However, in getting to the fleet I managed to warp in pretty much on top of the Pandemic Legion fleet, which meant my Scimitar got popped pretty much immediately.
I managed to get away in my pod and flew back to our staging to pick up a Vigil I had sitting there in hopes of getting back before the fight ended. However, before I got back our Cerbs had been mostly eliminated allowing the timer to start back up again and finish before any further damage could be applied. BFD’s citadel had been saved.
The battle report, which is broken up into Imperium and allies, Pandemic Legion’s fleet, and BFD and its local allies is… deceptive. The raw numbers look even, 129 vs 136. However, everybody who shows up in a Cerb, along with a few Scimitars, are counted twice because we went back and reshipped. Then there are the Imperium caps, which killed a couple carriers but didn’t move on the citadel. And then there was an Imperium Confessor fleet which showed up just long enough to kill a Magus before heading off.
If we had managed to coordinate all of that, we might have gotten the Astrahus. But we did not, so it is back to the reinforce cycle to try and kill it again next weekend. Life in space, such that it is.
Meanwhile, SRP on my Barghest was 400 million ISK. (And I think I got a Reavers bonus payout at that.) So while the Scimitar was covered, the Barg was an expensive one fight ship.
Addendum: Asher also has a new podcast up where he talks to Elise Randolph about the war in Tribute and the Alliance tournament.