It has been a while since I’ve been through Saranen, once our staging before the retreat to Delve after the Casino War.
The low sec system remains, however, a fine place to drop citadels in order to annoy those who live in our old space. So there were a couple in there, placed as part of our “plant a citadel and watch fights grow!” campaign in the north, including one dropped by my own alliance, TNT.
That citadel, and Astrahus, was coming out of its final timer last night and Reavers were set to team up with TNT to bring out the Vexor Navy Issue fleet again to see if we could save the structure.
We loaded up on drones and undocked our VNIs well in advance of the timer.
Getting to a fight can be a “hurry up and wait” situation. We had drones loadouts setup and were in space for a while, but then had to wait around for a bit for our ride.
We weren’t there too long before our ride showed up and sent us on our way. We were traveling in style, and avoiding any interdiction effort in between, via a titan bridge.
After that we settled into the citadel in Saranen and waited for the timer to run down so the fight could begin. Looking out the “window” of the Astrahus we could see the hostiles beginning to form, with a Tempest fleet, complete with an Apostle force auxiliary to support them, showing up off the undock.
As the time got close we undocked as well and got ready for the fight.
Once the time arrive the hostiles opened up and paused the timer. Local showed a lot of hostiles. We were able to start off against the Tempest fleet with heavy drones initially.
We were able to pick off a Guardian right off the bat, but their Apostle pilot then got on the ball and foes started catching reps pretty quickly as they got targeted. Meanwhile a support fleet of Algos cruisers showed up.
We pulled the heavy drones back in and sent light drones out after the new arrivals. We kept up after them and were popping them pretty rapidly, but that wasn’t saving the citadel, that was just swatting away an annoyance while the Tempest fleet worked away unhampered by us.
A Confessor fleet showed up as well, but moved in and out of the limit of our drone range, so did not suffer the way the Algos fleet did.
Asher warped us off and then back to the citadel to dock up and swap drones. We dumped the heavy drones and replaced them with sentry drones. We then undocked again and, staying tethered, ran a circle around the citadel to spread out the sentry drones before locking up hostiles and firing on the Tempest fleet.
That worked well initially and we dropped a couple of Tempests with sentry salvos, but the Apostle reps began to catch up while the support fleets closed with us again. We abandoned our sentry drones and launched light drones again to combat the smaller stuff closing in with us.
A Loki fleet from Snuffed Out and Pen Is Out showed up to help, but their numbers did not add much to our side. Our own logi support had been stripped away by that point and Asher’s FC ship had succumbed to enemy fire. It was time to align out.
I did get one last kill mail as we headed off. A Machariel loomed through our drones, smart bombing to clear out our drones. I put my light drones on him as we aligned and scored a few hits. We warped off to another citadel in system… because of course we have more than one, so more fights are coming… where we repaired and listened to the gunner on the Astrahus call his kills as he fought the station to the last second. Among his final victims was the Machariel, a nice expensive faction battleship kill.
Once Asher secured a ship we parted ways with the TNT fleet and headed back to our own staging. We lost the Astrahus and the ISK war (as the as yet incomplete battle report shows), though the hostiles had to bring more than double our numbers to take it from us. To numbers go the victory more often than not, something that has worked for us often in the past. But we still have more citadels scattered about the area and the locals have to come fight us for each one, so more battles await.