Cainun had pre-pinged that we had a big op planned for last night, that he wanted as many of us who could make it. He was determined to undock and take whatever fight was offered after standing down a few times when Pandemic Horde and its allies brought out multiple fleets.
The enemy was laying in wait for us again, though Cainun had called in some help. In addition to our Eagle fleet, which swelled to over 200 pilots when we undocked, not bad for just a squad like ours, we had an additional fleet of Cerbs fly out from Delve, and bomber fleet led by DBRB come along, a fleet from TEST, and another from GoTG to all converge on LXQ2-T in Etherium Reach.
We sat on one side of the gate in Paala while Pandemic Horde and its allies sat on the other. And then we went in and the battle started.
The first stage of the evening took place around the Paala gate in LXQ2-T, which PH had thoroughly bubbled. Those of us in the logi wing were immediately busy as the fleet started moving and engaging the battleship fleet close to hand.
Things did not appear to be going too badly for us so far as I could tell. We were catching people and repping them before they died, including one lucky Eagle pilot who was way into structure before we saved him.
He ended up on a lot of battleship kill mails and made it through the night.
But as you can see in the first screen shot of the gate, the pink spots at about 11 o’clock of the gate, PH dropped in capital ships, carriers and super carriers, to support their battleships.
Even the capitals were not so bad at first. Fighters take some time to get around and are vulnerable. Drones were sent against them as we popped battleships.
But eventually the fighters started to overwhelm us, focusing on the logi in the fleet. There were more than 30 people in the chain channel and as one would be blown up they would drop out. The fighters were overwhelming our reps more quickly as each Basilisk went down and I spent then last two minutes of the fight trying to swap up who I was chained with for capacitor as the losses were hitting faster than I could lock people up. I was the next to last person in the logi wing before I too went down.
I happened to be near the edge of one of the bubbles… and a good 100km off the gate, so I motored out and warped off. With the logi gone Cainun took the rest of the fleet out as well and tethered up at a citadel we had in the system.
I don’t know why I felt I needed to get out. It was an empty pod, no implants, so getting blown up would just put me back in our staging station. That would have been convenient too, as Cainun was calling for logi to reship and get back into Paala. But the word was that there were no more Basilisks up on contract and I had been using my backup Basi already, not having replaced the one I lost previously, so it seemed like we were done for the night.
Still, I figured I would try to get back to our staging. I warped into the thick of things and started to motor to the gate, pretty sure that somebody would shoot me eventually. It took a while, and I had decided to self-destruct rather than wait, but then I was painted, marking me for a quick return home.
Being back in our station didn’t help much. There were still no Basis on contract. But Cainun kept telling logi to reship and get into Paala. And then I checked the contracts for the third time in 20 minutes and found that somebody had listed a bunch. So I reshipped and headed to Paala where we tethered on an Astrahus and waited for instructions.
The situation was unclear to me at that point. Actually, it is still unclear to me now. I have tried to build up a battle report for the events, however the data the tool gets in dramatically incomplete. I suspect that the new push to keep people from giving zKillboard their API might be having an effect. Long a Pandemic Legion tactic, somebody recently decided that you give away too much intel if you have your API linked there. So a lot of kills do not show up on the battle report, including my own. But my kill is there on zKill, so maybe the tool is the problem.
Meanwhile, our fleet was split up. Cainun and the bulk of the Eagles and surviving support were sitting tethered on a citadel in LXQ2-T while the reconstituted logi wing was doing the same in Paala, with just a gate and a killing ground between us.
Eventually he called for us to warp to the LXQ2-T gate and hold. We sat there for a bit, then he called for us to jump and anchor up and the fleet was back together again.
However, by that point the whole thing had been going on for almost two hours and most of the locals had moved off to other things. We were not alone, but there wasn’t much to shoot at in the mass of bubbles. So Cainun took us out of the bubbles and warped us off to the 8KE-YS gate where we jumped in.
There we were able to find a solo Apostle hanging around in space, which we quickly jumped on and bubbled and started to shoot.
However the Apostle was able to cyno in some friends and we soon had nine HAW dreads drop in to join the fight. At least I could nine on the kills, eight Revelations and a Naglfar.
This didn’t seem to bother anyone despite our mauling at the hands of a single HAW dread just the other night. However, that dread had a subcap support fleet. This pack of capitals were on their own. PH was busy elsewhere, though a Jackdaw fleet did show up to try and support the caps. However, the Cerb fleet from Delve was still roaming around looking for targets, so they came and chased the Jackdaws off, leaving us to our work.
I was bummed at this point as I had been in a hurry to get to Paala when Basi contracts went up so I forgot to buy some drugs and I forgot to stuff a combat drone in the drone bay to whore on easy kills, and this group turned out to be pretty easy.
Cainun just pulled us back out of the optimal range for high angle weapons and proceeded to pick the dreads off one by one. The fax slowed us down, and the first dread was well fit, so that first kill took a while, but eventually we got there and it exploded. And then another exploded.
The dreads seemed happy to sit around unbubbled for quite a stretch, accepting their fate while trying to score a kill. Still, we wanted to kill them all so a call went out to get some more dictors in fleet and over to help hold them down and maybe keep away any rescue attempt. I had my alt already logged in. He was in a Naglfar, as there was the possibility of us counter dropping, but I swapped him to a Sabre and zipped off to join the effort.
Eventually we were down to the Apostle, and then the drag began. The Apostle had armor repairers mounted and was able to counter the firepower the fleet was able to bring to bear. Now I really wished I had some combat drones with my Basi, we needed every last DPS. I even put the little guns of the Sabre on the Apostle.
Eventually Pittsburgh2989 dropped by in a Revelation to add his firepower to the fight, and even then it wasn’t going well. There was talk of getting a second dread to join up with us. But eventually the tide started to turn and with each rep cycle the armor on the Apostle was pushed back ever so slightly from the previous peak. Soon we could see damage bleeding through into structure and the end seemed in sight. The Apostle was doomed.
With the Apostle down… and he did not go easily into the night… we had ten capital kills under our belt for the evening. I am not sure that balances out losing 30 Basilisks earlier, but it made us all feel pretty good.
At that point it was time to wander back towards home. We stopped again in LXQ2-T to loot the battlefield and shoot the drag bubbles still arrayed about the gate.
With a full cargo hold (do I really need 150 cap batteries?) and no combat drones I just orbited the gate until we were done. Then we moved on to our staging and stood down for the night. We were almost at the four hour point by then, so a second PAP was issued for those of us who stayed around after the first action.
Meanwhile The Mittani was pinging about war on Jabber, so I am wondering if this was the opening salvo. We will find out on Saturday, or so I am told. (Though, naturally enough, Reddit claims to know the target already. We shall see.)
Addendum: Another battle report tool (there are no end of EVE Online tools out there), mentioned in a Reddit post about the battle, shows an about even split when it comes to the ISK war, though PH won the objective, installing an ihub in LXQ2-T. (We didn’t really talk about the ihub in fleet that I recall.)
That report includes both systems where I fought and includes my dead Basi as well as the Apostle that tanked us for so very long. That group of dreads and the Apostle helped balance out the ISK war.