One of the occasionally frustrating aspects of working from home is that I can leave Jabber up and running and see what is going on all day while I am working. That means any time something big comes up I am sorely tempted to join in. Sometimes, if it is something quick around lunch time, I take a break and run off on a fleet. I got to help blow up yet another TEST POS tower, this time in Querious, as I ate yesterday.
But when pings start going up for something big and I am at least an hour from being done with work I have to just ignore the them and concentrate on what I am supposed to be doing. Besides, if a big fight does end up going down, there are always reinforcement fleets later on in the fight to join.
And so it went yesterday. About 90 minutes after I saw pings start for a big fight going down somewhere, I was able to finish up with work and find a fleet headed off for the action. It was an Ares interceptor fleet with ECM Burst jammers fit, with XoB Codie as the FC. We formed up in 1DQ1-A and headed off for the fight.
Our route was northward into Fountain, so it seemed an easy guess that there was something brewing over the ihubs that PandaFam had previously reinforced in the Taurus constellation.
Traveling up there in interceptors was quick, right up until we got into the vicinity of the action, when everything slowed down to 10% tidi and it was clear that the server hosting the area was past its point of keeping up even at that rate. At that point we spent a lot of time waiting for system transitions and for warps to end.
People were disconnected and the fleet got spread out, but we were in interceptors, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
The fight was over the ihubs which were out, so it was another high effort entosis race… a race through quicksand… and we were there to try and keep the attackers at bay while The Initiative tried to grab nodes around the constellation. By the time we were in and helping three ihubs had already been saved, but the hostiles were putting in a major effort to take the last two. The main fight broke out in L-A5XP, in the middle of the constellation, where The Initiative and PandaFam capital fleets clashed.
I never saw any of the big fight. We were out in the periphery chasing down hostile entosis ships to tackle and kill.
That was quite fun for us. There was a bit of cat and mouse to our job, as the hostiles had a roaming fleet of Jackdaws to protect their entosis ships, but we also had some Jackdaws and Tengus running around as well. We would swoop down on a node and try and grab one of the entosis ships. Surprisingly, at least to me, our little band of interceptors was able to bring down battlecruisers.
That Drake was a struggle. We were chased off once by Jackdaws, but somebody warped back and tackled him. Jay Amazingness showed up with his Slippery Pete Tengus and the Jackdaws fled and we were able to warp back and help finish the job.
During that time tidi swung rather wildly. It had edged up to about 12% for a while, which meant everything was slow but responded, and then it was up in the 20s, then 50s, and then was gone completely for a good ten minute stretch. I gather whatever was going on with the big fight had slackened by that point. But then it returned again and it was down to 10% once more at times. We kept on trying to defend nodes the whole time.
We got some more kills, including a few Bifrost entosis ships, which are a bit pricey compared to the frigates and battlecruisers. And for a while it the push-pull of the conflict looked to be going our way. But the hostiles were still pushing hard. At one point we had tethered up between attacks and saw cynos go up and local pop as PandaFam capitals dropped into the system.
We kept up our attacks, but the tide was turning against us again. I managed to get the final blow on one of the entosis ships, which means a 50 million ISK bounty for me. But more got away as support came to defend the entosis ships. We had a Prophecy down into structure but had to warp out when Jackdaws landed on us again.
In the end, the attackers took the ihubs in 9D6O-M and YRNJ-8. That isn’t a war ending loss… the other ihubs were saved and Ansiblex jump gates into the constellation remained… but it is a setback and shows we will have a hard time defending when the enemy decides to press into our space in force.
Overall the battle went badly for us. Two objectives were lost and the battle report shows that we were soundly beaten on the ISK war.
A lot of people were on the field, but we only had 64% of what the enemy fielded and we were much lighter in capital ships.
As things wound down we tethered up for a bit while XoB Codie charted a route home for us. He did a stellar job leading us considering that it was past 4am for him by the time we headed home.
On our way out we got one final kill. There was an abandoned Pandemic Horde Ferox just sitting at zero on a gate. We stopped to shoot it, and at first thought it might have been bugged. We knocked it down to 70% shields, but then it stopped taking damage. Our guns were firing, the animations were going at least, but nothing was happening. It must have been something backed up on the server, as after a bit it suddenly caught up and the Ferox was into structure suddenly. We watched it explode on the gate.
A kill mail collected, we took the Ansiblex out and headed back down to Delve, another fight behind us.
The enemy looks to have collected themselves and I expect that we have some rough times ahead. We’re still fighting on our front lines, but we’re also spread out and our internal lines of communication, the Ansiblex jump bridge network, work for subcaps, but not for supers and titans.