Yesterday during EUTZ PandaFam continued its attacks into the Fountain region where a series of ihubs were set to be contested. At the end of the cycle, they had added ten more ihubs to their total, bringing the number held as of this moment to 17, taking over the entirety of Taurus and Wyvern constellations, including the key gateway system of D4KU-5.
Without ihubs, no further Ansiblex jump gates can be deployed by The Initiative in those areas, hampering the ability to move forces there quickly. This will also allow PandaFam to quickly deploy Fortizars into those area should they wish to move their staging out of Hophib and into the region, or at least set up Ansiblex jump gates of their own to facilitate the advance into the region.
That leaves the Fountain situation looking like this at the moment.
PandaFam now holds most of the systems in the area circled in red. The critical transportation backbone for the Imperium runs between J5A-IX at the border of the Cloud Ring region and Y-2ANO, which is the gateway to Delve. PandaFam’s position puts J5A-IX and C-4NOD at risk of attack. Both systems have multiple structures, including Keepstars, but they are likely too distant to hope for Imperium titans and supers to save them. These systems may be the first Keepstar fights of the war if PandaFam pushes that way.
If C-4NOD falls the region isn’t lost, but mobility in the north will be hindered and the long gate connection to KVN-36 will become the front line of the fight. The fall back from there is Y-2ANO and Delve. The connection from Fountain lands in ZXB-VC, which will be a tough nut to crack as that falls within a single jump of Imperium titans and supers.
We’re still a ways from that however. But the first line of defense in Fountain has been well and truly cracked.
It is on the boarder with Stain, an NPC null sec region with a bunch of Russians who enjoy nothing more than shooting TEST. (Including, it seems, a TEST Fortizar.) Perhaps not the ideal invasion route, as their jump bridge network connects up to the Paragon Soul boarder and the combined Legacy and PandaFam titan and super fleets are said to be in the two Keepstars in FAT-6P, which is in the Catch region on the boarder with Querious.
We have failed to take the ihub back from TEST a few times, but Legacy hasn’t really done much to exploit the system either. Their plan still seems to be to drop POS towers somewhere in our space to exploit. So yesterday a Baltec fleet went up on Lazarus Telraven, famed FC of the Lazamo and the decision to go all-in at B-R5RB, just as I was finally done with work for the day. I had a Megathron handy so logged in to go along. We were once again headed for that ihub, which was about ready to be contested yet again.
We set up on the heavily bubbled CJF-1P to try and catch anybody slipping in from Stain to try and defend the ihub.
Lighter response fleets were also deployed and enotsis ships to take the nodes as they appeared.
However, Legacy declined to contest the event. Aside from one Scimitar that had the bad luck to jump through the gate and into a hungry pack of Megathrons, they did not show. (I am surprised I was quick enough to get on the kill and even applied some damage.)
The event went our way and we had little to do aside from sit around, help Grath Telkin figure out the GSF SRP system (making sure he put in his favorite ice cream flavor), and watch sumo wrestling on Twitch. I understand that Asher is responsible for the current sumo obsession in the coalition. It can be interesting to watch, though everything is in Japanese, so I am sure I am missing the subtleties. (Though the commercials are anything but subtle. A window into a different culture in that I suppose.)
After the ihub was successfully destroyed and replaced, we headed for home. We were back to the pre-war state in Period Basis for the most part.
Addendum: The New Eden Post has coverage of the changes in Fountain.