Once more into space went our VNI fleet, undocking for another foray into harms ways.
The op had been announced well in advance so I was ready and resupplied. I even had a new SKIN for the VNI, having had SKINs on the mind with the advent of the CCP Blaze memorial SKIN set, which I also picked up.
The Glacial Drift SKIN was readily available in Jita for a reasonable price, so I grabbed that for the op.
As these things go, we got ourselves together and out on the titan to wait for our ride into the fight.
One more trip into the POS shields. Some day… maybe even some day soon… that will no longer be a thing in New Eden. There aren’t many roles left for the good old POS, aside from hiding titans and anchoring jump bridges.
We waited a bit, but the call to take the bridge came as the blue effect swirled about the POS. We jumped, landing on the Astrahus in DW-T2I.
We were there just in time as the counter ticked down to the appointed hour.
The enemy had not yet appeared as the timer rolled over and the repair cycle began, but that situation did not last for long. Soon Pandemic Horde dropped just off the citadel with the expected Tempest Fleet.
As they had previously, they came with an Apostle force auxiliary for reps.
In addition they had reinforcements from their allies Guardians of the Galaxy coalition in the form of a Cerberus fleet.
We had a bit of support of our own, which arrived as the fight kicked off. Asher set us up to hit the Tempest fleet first and we were able to pick off some choice targets almost immediately, including a pair of Basilisks, a Vulture, a Tengu, and a Cerberus that strayed too close to us.
However, they managed to get webs on Asher long enough to slow him down and pop him, which put us off our stride. We went to a secondary anchor, shot a few Tempests, and then had to warp off as our drones we getting shredded. Along the way I was red boxed by the Tempest fleet, but speed and our logi support saved me.
Meanwhile, a Jackdaw fleet that had flown up from Delve joined in the fray. Also present were some bombers from The Initiative who were fresh off their server first Guristas Sotiyo kill. After waiting out our aggression timer on at a safe, we docked up in the Astrahus to swap fresh drones into our drone bays from cargo. Asher meanwhile had reshipped and rejoined us, leading us back on grid to the fight.
For this round we stayed at the edge of lock range in an effort to avoid getting webbed again. Our survivability depends on keeping our speed up to avoid being hit by the battleship guns. That made our ability to engage a bit dodgy as our drones had a long way to go and the Cerberus fleet, or target for this round, hove in and out of lock range.
A number of times we would get drones on a Cerb only to have it move out of range, though our drones would keep attacking. During that engagement I managed to get the kill mail on one of the Cerbs. It was pure luck, as these things tend to be in fleets over a certain size, but it did give me a third kill mark on my VNI.
We kept at it and were able to take down a string of Cerbs though, once again our drones were getting chopped up. A smart bombing Machariel was in their midst, taking its toll. I lost my full second flight of heavy drones and towards the end had only my two backup heavies engaged.
We were not able to do much versus the Tempest fleet at that point, and they kept on hitting the Astrahus, eventually winning the timer. That advanced the assault on the citadel to the final round, the fight to destroy it, which initiates six days hence.
At that point the main event was over. We docked up in the citadel again to move whatever drones we had left in cargo over to our drone bays. That meant some sentry drones for me. The hostiles hung around a bit then started to warp off. However, a few of them were too close to the structure model and ended up bumping it while trying to align out. A Sabre of ours outside the Astrahus, waiting for just such an opportunity, put up a bubble to hold them and we all poured out of the citadel, launched our reaming drones, and picked off the stragglers.
That netted us a couple more Cerbs, a Loki, and a Scimitar to finish off the evening. Then people began to loot the field then pop wrecks to keep the enemy from picking over the remains. A daring Ibis and a Catalyst warped in and out looting and salvaging, staying just out of our reach.
I moved back to pick up my sentry drones and waited for the trip back to our staging.
So the fight was a bit of a split decision. The enemy achieved their objective and sent the citadel into its final timer. However, the results of the battle show the ISK war coming out very much in our favor in a fight where we were, once again, out numbered. We lost about 6.6 billion ISK while blowing up more than 13 billion ISK in hostiles.
As I hung about waiting for the run back to staging I managed to catch a screen shot with an ad running on the Astrahus that seemed amusing.
My ship lived to fly another day. We shall see if the VNIs undock again for another fight.