One of the amazing things in EVE Online is how quickly you can escalate content and incorporate many different players with the goal to kill something. Sometimes a single pilot can escalate an event that takes dozens or even hundreds of players over the course of minutes or hours. This was also the case in the system J204030, owned by Cro-Magnons and Zacharia Explorations Group, where a small fight between two entities led to an escalation that involved 109 players over a period of 1 hour 45 minutes. On the 10th of September a neutral player by the name of Dhuras decided to use an alt in that wormhole to gather intel on the locals, as they were confirmed to have multiple capitals inside the wormhole over a period of two months. Around 15:00 EVE, he noticed that the local residents anchored both a Fortizar and an Astrahus within a short timeframe. A small hostile force of Strategic Crusier Club had set up shop in order to smash these Citadels down during the anchoring period. Their fleet consisted of a few random kitchensink ships, and a small plan was hatched. After talking to Alexhandr Shkarov and Virtuozone, Dhuras decided it would be a great idea to bring two triple rep Hyperions and a meme-drake with application mids. We can win this, right?….
Once we started to prepare to move however, the locals used three basilisks to fight Strategic Crusier Club and friends, meaning we couldn’t reliably deal with the increased difficulty. As the high-sec also died at that time, we decided to utilize the time to quickly pull in friendly corporations ( House of Asterion and Gambrini) to join us in our fight. In about thirty minutes most groups were formed and moving towards the connection, waiting one jump out to prevent showing our hand right away. Meanwhile our scout that kept eyes on the connection started to call out that multiple bombers arrived on the wormhole at zero. Oh shit. Spectre Fleet arrived in a buttload of bombers. Great. For those who do not know the game very well, bombers are fantastic ships in the sense that their damage application on large targets is absurdly high, but as a pay off they can not hit small, agile ships. As they can cloak and warp away with their cloak, it becomes possible for them to disengage at long ranges and be extremely damaging to our fleet.
Time, however, was of the essence. At the moment the call was made, there were 55 minutes remaining on the anchoring time for the Fortizar. With all the preparation and movement included, it meant that our fleet arrived right when the Fortizar was at around 9 minutes from finishing its repair timer. The Strategic Crusier Club and friends were bashing the Fortizar with two Rattlesnakes, a handful of Feroxes and two Basilisks. We quickly engaged with the order to spread tackle randomly and ensure that none got away, resulting in a very quick two minute dumpster of the Strategic Crusier Club guys. At this time, the Fortizar was down to 07:38 before it would finish repairing, and we proceeded to hit the structure, ignoring the Astrahus completely. But wait, you might ask. What about Spectre Fleet? Well, they ended up starting to mess with us from range on the Fortizar but eventually pushed off towards the high-sec connection. There they set up shop in order to try and catch stragglers in our fleet as well as rolling ships. Twenty bombers with 400 DPS each kill battleships incredibly quickly. As we were losing a few ships, we decided to pull off the Fortizar to push off the Spectre dudes but eventually the risk of losing the Fortizar kill was too large for us to keep bouncing back and forth. Funnily enough, the first battleship to eat the dust was that triple rep Hyperion flown by Dhuras. Talk about having bad luck! All these tactics force us to have people reship into anti-tackle frigates in order to cull the herd, giving us many many bomber kills.
Eventually, after a good hour of constant harrassment, drone pulling and redeploying and repositioning, the local defenders decide that they have had enough of sitting on the sidelines and proceed to actively drop their capital fleet onto us. Oh boy, things are going down. After warping to a ping, the local defenders land their fleet smack down in the middle of our fleet, and attempt to burn off our Bhaalgorns and Armageddons. With three Armageddons and four Dominixes, supported by a Thanatos and an Apostle, the locals brought a small but very gnarly fleet that ended up costing us a few ships before we managed to pressure their Apostle enough to start killing their subcapitals. Personally, I was really glad I got my Turbo Chicken Prophecy along, as I ended up taking the brunt from the hostile fleet for quite some time, just about holding with four guardians repairing.
Slowly though, the Fortizar bled time due to reduced DPS on it, pausing eventually at 28 seconds remaining. Oh shit, all drones on the Fortizar and try to kill the rest with minimal DPS. Not ideal, but we didn’t want to let that Fortizar get online. Luckily, the FC for Spectre Fleet agreed on our mutual interest as pilots to kill the local defenders, resulting in their bombers leaving our fleet alone for the most part. Of course, sometimes you got these special snowflakes that don’t listen, but overall it was neat. With their pressure and the relaying of primaries, life became a lot easier and slowly each capital started to burn down, starting with the Moros, followed by the Thanatos and finally the Apostle. As the fight for the capitals went on for a good 40 minutes, the Apostle ran out of charges. Apparently they weren’t fully prepared for an attack of this scale.
As the capacitor for the Apostle was completely depleted, the remote repairs were failing and eventually we cleaned up their entire fleet. Virion Stoneshard honoured his promise as Spectre FC and moved his fleet away from the grid in order to allow us to gather loot and salvage all the wrecks after which we gathered around 4-5 billion ISK worth of loot across the board. A good amount and definitely helping to cover our losses.
In the end, three guys with a plan caused a total of 109 pilots to skirmish for the kill of a Fortizar, three capitals and many different subcapital fleets, with over 35 billion ISK worth of kills across the entire system. One note of respect must be given to the local defenders. It takes balls to drop your entire capital force on an superior hostile fleet and be willing to fight to the death to defend your home system. Groups like these, no matter their background, form the basis of wormhole space and need to be properly honoured for their effort.