After nearly three weeks of trying to gain ground in Period Basis, which saw their early gains reversed while their POS tower dropping campaign did little to change he balance, TEST alliance and its Legacy Coalition allies decided to focus on a much softer target.
Perhaps they felt they needed a tangible win for morale reasons. Or maybe they wanted to show PandaFam, which battered its way into Fountain earlier in the week in the face of stiff resistance, that they were carrying their weight in the war. Either way, their target was Querious.
Not that Legacy had not been operating in Querious up to this point. But, with rare exceptions, their efforts were largely harassment level efforts, doing entosis runs to ping warnings on GSF alerts and even setting some timers now and then, but with very little in the way of follow up. But last night and this morning some something of an actual coordinated effort.
The targets were in eastern Querious, systems owned by the United Earth Directorate, a 114 character alliance which was set up, as I understand it, by P.L.A to claim the space that was abandoned when the Querious Fight Club was disbanded on the eve of the war.
That meant that the systems had low ADMs, which meant their vulnerability windows were large and the time needed to reinforce them was relatively short. Plus, as an added bonus, notifications when sovereignty structures were being hacked only went out to UED, which meant they usually got little or no response. So they managed to setup a set of events by reinforcing ihubs that would allow them to destroy a large batch of them in on big operation.
On the Imperium side it was seen as a foregone conclusion that we were going to lose these ihubs. The way Fozzie Sov works, any alliance can attack during an enotisis contest, but only the alliance that owns the ihub can defend, and there seemed scant chance that we could find enough pilots in UED to make any difference.
Losing the ihubs being the accepted outcome, we instead chose to simply make the effort as difficult as possible. Asher Elias formed up an interceptor fleet well after midnight his time on the east coast (the ping for the fleet hit just before 11pm my time… the vulnerabilities were set for Chinese/Austrailian hours) and set out to see just how annoying he could be.
Interceptors are fast align, warp, and move in general and are interdiction nullified, which means that they pass through warp disruption bubbles unaffected. While their individual firepower is not great, a large enough group of them can focus fire and take down a hard subcap target.
Though the fleet peaked in size at just over 100 while I was around, there were rarely ever that many of us on grid at any one time. Of the kill mails I was on over the course of the night, the high water mark was an entosis Drake, a hard target, which got 92 pilots on the kill mail, including both my main and my alt.
(I was dual boxing for a while, as were some others, though that was too much for me after a while and I parked my alt nearby until I lost my main, then the alt caught up and carried on.)
But we also brought down a Prophecy hacker, which was capable of killing interceptors if we got within web range, which just 33 of us on the kill mail.
It was a lot of run and gun, jumping into a system ahead of the fleets that were hunting us, getting around other groups that were defending the hackers, and trying to quickly blot out the entosis ships before warping off.
As Ratknight1 said on the fleet, it did help that we had the home field advantage. There are a lot of citadels scattered about the area, including not a few faction Fortizars commemorating the stations that were once in those systems.
This allowed us to tether up safely… a Legacy interceptor fleet landed on us just as we tethered at one point, so they couldn’t do much save warp off and try and catch us elsewhere… as well as repair the constant thermal damage from overheating guns and prop mods that came as part of our attempts to catch and kill entosis ships that are often equipped with MJDs or prop modes that let them hit the maximum 4K meters per second allowed with an entosis module fit.
Our efforts took what might have been an hour long operation for Legacy if unhindered, into at least a four hour effort while we were around. And it might have gone longer. Asher called it a night as the sun was rising for him, but another fleet was forming up to take out place. It was on its way to 3am for me when I finally logged off.
I ended up lowing two interceptors… both on my main. My alt seemed to have better luck. SRP will cover that, plus I got the final blow on one of the entosis ships, which adds another 50 million ISK in bounties, or basically another interceptor fit for these sort of ops.
In the end though, Legacy won the objective. They have now managed to blow up and replace 25 ihubs in Quetrious.
Holding the ihub gives the owner effective control of the system, though I did learn this week that the TCU is not as useless as I thought. It you hold the TCU you do get notifications if somebody drops a structure in the system, which is how we have been so quick to track down the POS towers that Legacy has been trying to drop in our space.
However, those systems are not completely lost to us. As I noted, many of them have citadels of ours anchored in them, safe spots where we can land and repair. Legacy still has some work to do if they plan to reduce all of those.
But they can point out to their allies in Fountain that they now hold 25 ihubs in Querious compared to the 20 that PandaFam hold in Fountain as of this writing. Morale victory achieved.
We shall see if they can work their way up to taking and holding ihubs in systems we can actually contest.
And you can say I am being snarky about Legacy in this post, but on /r/eve TEST and Brave are hailing this as a great victory, proof that they have the Imperium beat, while trying to discredit any assertion that maybe this wasn’t the triumph they are suggesting it was, so they feel deserving of some prodding. Easy wins should be taken, but let’s not pretend that they were more than that.
I am sure I will be hearing about this in local, in between the usual “we can guard this ihub all day” threats, as I continue my own annoyance hacking in Legacy space.