There was nothing special about the fleet I joined late on the eve of the 16th; just a routine formup for a Spacemonkey’s Alliance tower coming out of reinforced. Due to a few factors (consolidating a combined 401K, BL, and PIZZA fleet into one TS) we were behind schedule, and a combination of Goon / SMA carriers led by Dabigredboat (commonly DBRB or Boat) were already repping the POS shields back up when we arrived in system. Thankfully, it was a much shorter trip for us than CFC. I caught up before operations started, landing in destination system with the friendly fleet at a shallow safe. Confusingly (since the formup was to harass a hostile RF timer for a fight), the FC (Elo Knight) called to enter ‘420’ as the POS password, and that we would assuredly die if we did not. After congratulating us on having “no ships named ‘420’ on d-scan” we were fleet warped to a field dominated by carriers, sentries, and a moderately-sized red and orange support fleet. However, with a well-adhered Loki doctrine including Oneiros support we far outmatched the enemy support fleet in raw combat capability at the risk of more expensive loss mails. I personally flew a dual web brawl-fit Merlin which ended up being a little more helpful than initially foreseen, but we’ll have time for that later.
Of course, we landed in the middle of the enemy POS. I braced for the bump, assuming the previous password to be for a friendly ‘safe’ POS in the system … but it never came. We were parked in the POS shields right next to the enemy support fleet, and quickly anchored up to avoid getting split up if they changed the password. We used the lapse in security to catch a breather and get ‘ping’ covert ops frigates into position to provide our Loki fleet with the ability to warp around the field with relative impunity. It also served to provide a nice (temporary) parking spot for the interdictors we brought with us.
Sure enough, we soon warped up above the grid, with the enemy support fleet leaving the shields to try and engage us only to warp back into the safety of the tower’s shields after the first few volleys. A Maelstrom was caught by me and the other tackle in the scramble to get back to safety. Apparently they finally changed the POS password around this time, as one of our dictors sitting in it was kicked out only to safely warp up to us. We sit quiet for a moment, surveying the field and setting up more ping spots. That’s when someone in TS chimes up, having noticed that a Fatal Ascension Thanatos(the Gallente carrier) had dropped fleet and seemed to be aligning for warp. We of course did the smart thing and took a few potshots to give him an aggression timer. The enemy support fleet did not to tackle the disconnected carrier to keep him on grid, and he emergency warped.
Our probers, being sexy professional men and women of the highest caliber, soon discovered the wayward carrier’s location in system well before the Goon prober (if he was even looking for it to begin with) could, and we warp at zero to the esteemed covert ops pilot after he called point. Since hardeners go offline when a pilot disconnects, our Loki fleet and its sprinkled bombers (mostly PIZZA, represented by Elftor and his mom) quickly chew through the carrier’s armor. He ends up logging back in at about 30% armor, and far too late to do anything. We end up smashing his pod as well, but he only had ~80M in implants compared to the usual slave set for Thanatos and Archon pilots.
The first order to come down was for the interdictors to burn back towards planet VI (location of the hostile POS) in order to lay out bubbles in case the CFC support fleet came to save the beleaguered carrier. This is a smart tactic when warping to any off-grid high-value target, because it prevents most support fleets from engaging you effectively unless they receive prior information regarding your bubbles. Even then it causes their arrival to be delayed somewhat, buying your fleet valuable time to chew on the target. Unfortunately for us, the CFC support fleet never arrived on field. They may not even have known we were killing the carrier. They did by the time he was dead though, with Goons setting up a fresh bubble on their own cap fleet to prevent any more disconnected or otherwise wayward carriers from warping off and receiving the same treatment.
Bloated up on a fresh capital kill, we head back to the POS to try and harass off what we can, only to see the hostile support fleet trying to leave system via H-PA, a questionable choice considering our fleet had multiple tackling frigates and interdictors. We proceeded to get a series of battleship and t2 cruiser kills on both sides of the H-PA<––>1-Y connection, but many escape our grasp due to most of our dictors staying cloaked on grid watching the hostile carriers, and the prize of the evening, Dabigredboat‘s Nyx (which we didn’t end up killing despite much heated mail-lust in voice comms).
The CFC carrier fleet also decides it’s a good time to leave the field, choosing to warp off towards a safespot in line with the sun to cap up and jump out. However, the Boat’s Damnation landed on grid shortly after the fleet warp, and is promptly grabbed by cloaked bombers and burned down. Carriers wind up back on grid in an attempt to rep the Damnation, upon which they are heavily bubbled. Primaries are called, cynosural fields go up, and a combined Black Legion and 401K super fleet jumps in, immediately unleashing bombers on the CFC slowcat blob. My Merlin sits in the middle of the carrier blob with consistent aggro from three or four different carriers keeping transversal and popping tech II sentry drones, getting the odd remote rep to keep me running. I probably killed a combined twenty sentries, taking a chunk out of the CFC carrier fleet’s DPS and taking pressure off of the friendly support fleet’s logistics cruisers.
After eight more carriers are killed with the rep-breaking power of fighter-bombers known Goon supercarrier pilots begin logging in en masse, and a Razor armor-fit hurricane support fleet sets up a titan bridge chain to get into system to save the bubbled carriers. This is the cue for friendly supers to disengage and jump to safety, and the end of our capital kills for the evening. After the supers reach safe spots the Loki fleet and I leave field to support them. We were informed briefly after leaving field to regroup and fight for the supers that the Razor titan jumped through to the cyno instead of opening a bridge for the hurricane fleet. It’s probably best he wasn’t actually the final link in the bridge chain, because I feel that a “whoops wrong button” titan on the field would have been enough to bait the supers back into engaging and getting mopped up by the scrambling GSF supercap fleet.
Goon supers stayed online however, and our supers jumped back to the safety of their nearby parking towers. With the super fleet’s safety ensured, we returned to the field to try and pick off stragglers with the nimble Loki fleet only to find that the hostile carriers had managed to jump to safety, barely missing the tackle on a straggling Goonswarm Federation Archon. With nothing left to kill, priority shifts to getting the Loki fleet out safely. Several pilots returned to the system shortly after in order to loot the field with black ops bridged blockade runners with a small support fleet to cover them, plus a prober to search the system for lost fighter-bombers. Combined we hauled in around 240M in recovered friendly and enemy bombers, plus an estimated 400M in capital loot and salvage. Total losses for the entire engagement encompassed one Loki, a few dictors, one bomber, and a Thorax; but not a Merlin.