Slugfest in 3-DMQT over iHub and Azbel

After spending much of the weekend shooting targets on secondary fronts after the pasting they received at the hands of Imperium bombers in two consecutive fights, PAPI decided to make an aggressive attack on the ihub in 3-DMQT just before 00:00 UTC yesterday.

As I have mentioned in the last few weekly updates, the system of 3-DMQT is the focus point for PAPI in their attempt to break into the O-EIMK Constellation which is the capitol of the Imperium and the last bastion of our defenses in Delve.  As such, both sides have Ansiblex jump gates setup to facilitate piling forces into that system

O-EIMK Constellation – May 17, 2021

As the fight started several fleets were called for on the Imperium side, including one for carriers and supers.  As we had done previously, the carriers sat on the Fortizar nearby the ihub on tether and sent their fighters in to clear enemies from the ihub.  The subcap fleets went in to keep the hostiles from being able to simply shoot fighters.  We have a fighter shooting doctrine we have used to great effect previously, and PAPI sent in a Harpy fleet to do that.

Battle around the ihub

I went in with the Drake fleet under Kretin Valefor, in part because it was the first fleet called, but also because I am happy to see the return of the Drake to a fleet doctrine.  It isn’t quite 2012 again with clouds of perma-MWD Drakes prowling the spaceways, but the hull is back and spewing heavy missiles.

Yes, I can bring my Drake

For whatever reason… I guess I thought this would be a short and/or easy fight, I decided to dual box and got my main alt in a Scythe to play logi.  What could possibly go wrong?

The ihub grid was crowded when we got there, with bubbles up and the usual mess of clashing fleets.  There were around 2,000 people in the system and, while tidi was clearly in effect, it managed to hover between 13 and 20% for much of the fight, meaning the server had slowed us down, but was still able to keep up and process commands.  Things still took seemingly forever to accomplish… nothing like the FC having you change ammo and then, just as that starts to cycle, seeing a different fleet on grid, tells you to change back… but nothing was backlogged.

This was the costly part of the battle for me, as I managed to lose three Drakes during the skirmish over the ihub.

Seeing your ship brew up from your pod

The finance team was on the job though.  I applied for SRP for my losses and was paid before I was back in the fight with a fresh Drake… expect for the second one, when I was in a hurry and forgot to check if the rigs were in the cargo hold before I undocked.  SRP Denied.  Oh well, I guess Progodlegend and I have something in common now, though I only did it once in a single fight.  But getting back into the fight was speedy and I was on a couple of the better kills, those being the two Minokawas that PAPI dropped in to rep their subcaps.

Minokawa brews up on the ihub

I did considerably better with my alt in the Scythe on the second screen.  I couldn’t be bothered to save my own Drake it seems, but I managed to get reps on a few others and, with my armor and hull drones, managed to haul one Drake pilot back from the brink.

Back from the brink

One more volley would have done in that Drake, but the enemy saw he was getting reps and switched targets.  Oddly, the hostiles left my Scythe alone for the most part during the ihub fight and I was able to amble about the field repairing as I went.  We were intermixed with a fleet of hostile Harpies, but aside from the occasional potshot, they focused on fighters and ignored me.

The ihub battle went on until the vulnerability window closed, after which both sides pulled back a bit and we safed up on the Keepstar in system.

The doomsday reaches out to hit some PAPI pilots who strayed too close

We were waiting for the next round, which was one of the PAPI Azbels that was set to come out of its six day timer and anchor.  As the time ran down we got on an Astrahus that was 1,051km from the Azbel.  Because we own the system, it only takes us a day to anchor a structure, so we can always plant one near any of the ones they are trying to drop.

Azbel with 2 minutes left

They deployed bubbles and ships between the two structures, but there are enough bounces in the system that when the time came we were able to warp in right on top of it.

They got the core in and the 15 minute repair timer started counting down, but we stopped it before it hit 10 minutes and it never moved after that.  It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the Azbel was going to die.

Instead both sides brawled in an attempt to destroy as many opposition ships as they possibly could as drones and some Bigbillthaboss specials chewed away at the structure.

BBtB Myrmidons from his personal fleet

In this fight the Drakes were mostly ignored by the enemy, who sought out more valuable targets.  The only exception was my Scythe, which got blapped at one point.  But I was able to reship with my alt and rejoin the fight.

We shot the Azbel ourselves from time to time, then get stuck into whichever hostile fleet we could find.  Slowly but surely the health on the Azbel ticked down until it exploded.

Azbel blows

The quantum core dropped… because cores have a 100% drop rate per that update… and a TEST Mammoth scooped it, only to be destroyed.  But the core dropped again… because cores have a 100% drop rate… but I don’t know who ended up with it.  It is 50K m^3 in size, so you can’t just grab it with an interceptor and run.

After that there was a bit of a frenzy to get in some final kills and then we settled down back on the Keepstar.  The fight was over but we needed to wait for PAPI to extract in order to ensure they were not up to any more mischief.

That took a while because PAPI, having learned its lesson, didn’t try to squeeze through the out gate in one giant, server melting mass this time.  Instead they went out by small groups, which took them a good while.  Eventually they cleared off and we were able to take the Ansiblex back to 1DQ1-A and log out ourselves.  I was tired at the end of that, being a long battle that started just as I was done with work… and since I work from home, meant sitting in my desk chair for another five hours.  But that wasn’t as bad as our FC, who said at the end he had been up for 25 hours straight.  He must be young though, I saw him in a ping leading a fleet the next morning.

It was a long fight.  The battle report showed quite a bit of destruction.

Battle Report Header

PAPI soundly won the ISK war, with the Imperium losing more than double their number.  This was helped along by a Nyx super carrier that got itself blown up and some dreads and faxes of ours that were on grid for the Azbel part of the fight.  I am pretty sure part of the reason the Drakes were left alone is that they were going for big targets.  And as well they might.  We would have done the same.

Progodlegend posted a brag on Reddit about PAPI winning the ISK war while being outnumbered.  That is certainly true, though it also raises an eyebrow when the side that has three times the total pilots of its foe can’t out number them in a big fight.  What good is blueing up over a hundred alliances if they won’t blob for you?

The Imperium, however, can claim to have won all of the objectives.  The ihub did not get reinforces and PAPI once again failed to anchor a structure in 3-DMQT.  Having made no progress for all the effort, PAPI has to do it all over again.

So the “Siege of 1DQ” carries on.

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