TEST and the HBC were fully on the defensive for parts of this month. The Battle of M0O-JG at the end of January 2013 was a precursor to what was to come for residents of Delve and Fountain. Black Legion. (MEN.) and Darkness of Despair (-DD-) immediately began harrying TEST and its HBC allies throughout February with reasonable success at the beginning of the month.
Skirmishes across Delve and Fountain continued for the better part of the month, culminating in MEN. and -DD- capturing some HBC neo and dys moons, successfully killing several TEST (and unaffiliated CFC) carriers, and reinforcing a moon with a capital ship ssembly array (CSAA) containing a Nyx in production.
As a consequence of the Delve and Fountain developments, the interim leader of TEST, Fras Siabi, announced on February 13, 2013 that:
Since TEST can't seem to handle these kinds of things unless we deploy (TEST is shit at home etc), we're deploying to NOL. Its [sic] a simple deployment but it puts us into a really good location to put Delve on lockdown and even respond to things in Aridia and Fountain. We're still going to be just as close to our friends in NPC Delve as well.
Developments since the deployment to NOL have included an increasing pressure on TEST members to form up in large numbers for strat ops. On February 16, 2013, over 700 HBC members showed up in force to save the CSAA that MEN. previously had threatened. MEN. did not mount a response or attempt to destroy the CSAA. The massive turnout was a huge morale booster for HBC's line members and their directorate, who earlier in the week had been struggling with relatively anemic numbers for strat ops.
The following weekend saw TEST and the HBC on the offensive, with several more moon towers of Black Legion. and Darkness of Despair reinforced or destroyed, although not without occasional losses from various neuts and reds. In the case of T-8UOF, the TEST Rohk fleet was decimated by enemy bombers, but Raiden., Initiative., and other HBC allies were able to save the day, preventing -DD- members from destroying a tower. Other operations involving the recapture of and reinforcement of towers in Fountain were met with little resistance from MEN.
Around 0300 EVE time on February 18, 2013, the weekend concluded with Shadoo leading a quick TEST raid on Sahkt, reinforcing two MEN. moons. The TEST fleet were generally being a nuisance in the MEN. staging system and were goading Elo Knight with various propaganda posters such as this one.
The rest of the month will no doubt continue to be bloody for all sides involved, and it will test the resolve of HBC members to continue to form up in the numbers required to successfully hold their space and to properly repel MEN.