For the last week, Legion of xXDeathXx (X.I.X) has been attacking BricK sQuAD. towers and sovereignty in the region of Geminate. According to X.I.X diplomats, this action is not primarily intended to take space, but rather to provide PvP content to the Russian alliance's pilots. BricK sQuAD.'s resistance has proven ineffective, and X.I.X has made steady progress, moving first through infrastructure hub and then station timers in the systems of AP9-LV and 2H-TSE, both station systems.
Just Another Structure Grind (In Bridge Range of Uemon)
The final timer of the AP9 station exited reinforced mode at 2243 hours on February 13. This late EU timer was very much on the late side for Legion of xXDeathXx, a Russian alliance, so they reached out to allies and fellow Vale residents Gentlemen's Agreement (GENTS) for support. X.I.X formed up with Alpha Maelstroms at a safe POS in the target system; meanwhile, GENTS formed a support fleet of close-range Nagas on a titan in Vale, ready to come in if any trouble arose.
The station exited reinforced and X.I.X's fleet began shooting the station. For the first thirty minutes, it seemed like the station would be captured without incident. However, both X.I.X and GENTS kept wary eyes on the system of Uemon, an otherwise unremarkable system in the Forge that is in titan bridge range of AP9. It also happens to be home to a feisty little alliance known for owning a few supercapitals and being pretty okay at the whole PvP thing: an alliance known as Pandemic Legion (PL).
Rokh and Roll
Pandemic Legion, sensing that the attackers were growing bored and inattentive, formed up in Alpha Rokhs to fight the X.I.X AlphaFleet. My count put the PL AlphaFleet at twenty-nine Rokhs, nine Scimitars, two Lokis, a Vulture, a Tengu and a few tacklers. This fleet was fairly evenly matched with the X.I.X fleet, who had a slight numeric advantage. As PL bridged into AP9, battle was joined between the two Legions, resulting in some initial losses of X.I.X Maelstroms to the rapidly-cycling 425 mm railguns of Pandemic Legion.
A Disagreeable Error
Meanwhile in Vale of the Silent, the GENTS fleet was salivating at the thought of all those big, vulnerable Alpha Rokhs. Since the only Rokhs in the system belonged to PL, probing would be trivial, and it would be easy for the GENTS fleet to get a warp-in at 0-5 km, allowing the Nagas to use their blasters at full effectiveness while the Rokhs would have difficulty tracking them. Seeing an opportunity to turn the tide of the battle, the GENTS FC ordered the fleet to bridge to AP9. However, with a nearly audible "womp-womp", the GENTS cyno was lit in the wrong fleet, and the 60-man GENTS Naga fleet was left sitting impotently on their titan in Vale. A delay of five minutes ensued as the battle raged between X.I.X and PL while the GENTS cyno cycled off. This caused tremendous consternation, as it used to be possible to change fleets and rebroadcast an existing cyno; however, this option was removed some time ago, and oops-lighting cyno pilots everywhere miss it greatly.
Once More With Feeling
At last the GENTS cyno went up and the Naga fleet bridged in. Kippig, FC for the GENTS side, launched probes and got the promised warp-in. Within seconds, the PL fleet was fighting like lions against a force that was more than twice their size. Local topped out at approximately 150. At first, from the GENTS perspective, targets seemed to be dropping quickly. However, it rapidly became clear that PL had another trick up their sleeve. From Kippig's battle report:
I started calling primary on Rokhs and saw them dissapear from my locked targets. I continued doing that for about three more Rokhs until Kesper noticed that they weren't dead, but instead were using target spectrum breakers. With that knowledge we relocked every primary and managed to kill some Rokhs.
The PL fleet was thoroughly bubbled and unable to escape. Thanks to the lockbreaker mods and the PL fleet's reps, it was slow going to grind through the Rokhs. PL focused on X.I.X's Maelstroms, knowing the Nagas would be harder targets for their AlphaFleet to hit, so the GENTS fleet suffered only a couple of losses. The brawl raged on for another 10-15 minutes, during which time a few confusing things happened, such as a PL Erebus inexplicably entering the field alongside a single Chimera. Both were tackled, but neither were fired upon, and the battle went on until PL's AlphaFleet lacked sufficient alpha to take out X.I.X's Maelstroms.
PL Taketh Away
Again, the GENTS FC:
After about 10-15 minutes of brawling 13 PL Rokhs had died and their dps probably wasn't enough to kill XiX with anymore. They had to escalate to save their fleet and titan and that is exactly what they did. A cyno went up and in came 25 Slowcats about 30km away from the ball of Rokhs and Naga's. This was the time to disengage and we lost only a single Naga during this.
This meant the fight was over for GENTS and X.I.X, as neither fleet had the DPS to counter both AlphaFleet and SlowCats. The PL Erebus bridged the Rokh fleet home, and soon both it and the SlowCats left the field. The GENTS Naga fleet warped back to try and snag the SlowCats that were slow leaving the field, but the SlowCat fleet instantly jumped back again to save their fellows.
At this point, X.I.X bridged the GENTS fleet home and resumed shooting the AP9 station with its remaining Maelstroms. Additionally, carriers were brought in to assign fighters to the ships attacking the station. However, one of the X.I.X carriers drifted outside of the POS shields, and the PL Erebus returned to DD it.
This left the final battle report at 21 ships (worth 4.57 billion ISK) killed by PL to 31 ships killed by X.I.X and GENTS, worth 7.64 billion ISK.
Although PL asserted firm control of AP9, demonstrating that they could dominate the system at any time, they also took pity on X.I.X for spending all that time shooting structures. According to Shadoo of PL:
Well, we felt REALLY bad after DDing a carrier once we found out they had been shooting that station for like 3h so we decided to take it to 3% with supers and fly off.
However, this assistance came with a price:
Ashok > if you name this station a GoT spoiler, we'll leave at 5%
A grateful X.I.X made sure the station was duly given a name that spoils a major event in the Game of Thrones book and TV series. They then went on to capture the station and system of 2H-TSE without incident.
The remaining question of this conflict is where BR1CK was in all of this. While GENTS scouts reported that a few Abaddons formed up during the conflict with PL, they never actually put an appearance in system. It may be that BR1CK feels they are unable to stand against XIX and have ceded control of these systems to them. It remains to be seen whether they will put up a fight for future timers, if any.