((This is a fairly in-character report from my EVE online character, Julianus Soter. As such, the battle report and background are written from a in-universe perspective. Elements of game mechanics and such are smoothed over for the purposes of storytelling. TL:DR battle report here))
Outer Ring, a desolate expanse of space out past the tumultuous pocket of Cloud Ring, is often overlooked as a nullsec region. No remarkable resources of any kind, few if any permanent stations, and an inhospitable distance that requires several consecutive jumps with a jump freighter or capital ship from the nearest Gallente Federation outpost, make it a brutal and harsh environment to live in. Not to mention a boring one.
However, despite all these obstacles, the Villore Accords saw opportunity. Given the odd fixation by the Caldari State Militia to operate in a very odd timezone outside the capabilities of most of our pilots, we decided to set up an Astrahus here in the Scepter constellation, to provide a base of operations for patrols, exploration, and other military excercises, to allow our pilots to continue to grow and develop and strengthen our alliance.
Some locals seem to have gotten a bit upset about this. The Amish Mafia, a corporation that lives in the central Outer Ring system of 4C-B7X has launched several attacks against our new citadel, which had been code-named “Tartarus”, and reinforced it into the Structure defense timer. The Villore Accords launched a defense fleet of battleships to stave off the final attack by these pilots, and we flew up from our home in Vlillirier to engage the enemy.
Given the limited notice, we marshalled what manpower we could, and selected an old standby battleship doctrine, primarily Megathrons supported by Guardian-class logistics ships and other vessels. The idea for the fleet was to trap the enemy force on the citadel while inflicting damage, and let the Astrahus’s weapons batteries pick away the larger targets.
We flew through the nullsec gateway of Alsavoinon/F7C-H0, penetrating the Cloud Ring border and pushing west. Our scout ships detected several Amish Mafia pilots watching the corridor; it was obvious they were prepared for us. The travel through the nullsec corridor took several minutes for our fleet, and while we were expecting a fight, none came.
Then came word of the bubbles. The Amish set up warp disruption bubbles on each of the entrances to G5-EN3, even the lesser-used gates surrounding the system. We were able to quickly pass through one, but when we emerged from the other side, it took our fleet about thirty seconds to emerge through the bubble’s disruption field radius. The Amish brought their fleet in… though we began laughing almost immediately at the sight of what they flew. Vexors! And not just any Vexors… shield tanked drone Vexors.
Given the situation, I decided to open fire and kill several while we prepared to withdraw to the citadel. We targeted the first ship, 2Skulls, quickly. I targeted him primarily as he was the CEO of the corporation attacking us, and had refused an offer to negotiate a cooperation agreement in the region. He died quickly.
As we moved on to other targets, the Mafia lit their cynosural fields, and a wing of carriers jumped into system. I had been expecting a move like this. Indeed, I wanted them to bring the ships in here, at the stargate, and then draw them to the citadel. Ordering a fleet warp, we had two ships caught by the enemy subcapital fleet, however, I was able to quickly get them back into effective combat ships from the Citadel’s well-stocked ship hangar. We were still in the fight. The repair cycle on the citadel was ticking down in the meantime. We only needed to stay in the fight and keep the enemy distracted for fifteen minutes, and our citadel would be safe.
As expected, the enemy fleet followed several minutes later, no doubt busy trying to get their capital ships turned around and in position. Jasek Steiner, commander of our battleship forces, took the squadron out to the side of the citadel closest to them, and engaged the Mafia’s cruisers and battleships, starting with a Scorpion, Rokh, and some of their Vexor squadron. Our Megathron firepower quickly pounded these ships into dust, and the limited shield support on their side was not able to cope. In an act of desperation, the Mafia warped their carrier wing directly to the citadel, along with a Revelation class dreadnaught. Sensing opportunity, and knowing the firepower these capital ships can do to our battleships, I switched the Astrahus’s missile batteries and fighter squadrons to directly attack the carriers. To our fleet’s astonishment, it worked. The missile volleys absolutely tore through the thick armor hide of the Archon I fired on. He died under the combined fire of Jasek’s squadron and the Citadel, exploding into a ball of flame that signaled a turn in the battle. While the enemy strongly outnumbered our force, we had superior defenses, and the Guardians were able to keep the battleships repaired while we continued to destroy capital ships.
Even with this strong core of battleships, the enemy was able to overcome our remote repair capabilities. I ordered a withdraw of the remaining surving ships, and resupplied our pilots with Omen Navy Issues and Scythe Fleet Issues, along with interceptors. These ships are fast enough to fend for themselves, while still being able to harass a superior enemy force. Meanwhile, I switched the batteries of the Astrahus to the Revelation.
It was at some point during this engagement that we realized with shock and amazement that the Citadel had fully repaired itself. The Amish Mafia, too distracted attempting to save its Carrier squadron, had forgotten to maintain fire on the Astrahus! I almost forgot what I was doing while I laughed out loud at our luck. The entire effort of the past week by Amish Mafia, sacrificing ships and hours of time trying to siege Tartarus, was completely for nothing! We regained composure, possibly loosing a cruiser or two in the process, and returned our attention to the enemy fleet. There was still work to do.
One of our pilots, Aster Vinland, reported he had located the enemy ganglink Proteus. Impossibly, it was located in the orbit of a planet, sitting there, uncloaked for anyone to kill it. I dispatched another of our interceptors to engage the ship and eliminate it, helping our fleet in the process. They managed to kill both the ship and its capsule.
After this point, the battle dragged on into a much more protracted battle of attrition. Our cruiser squadron would dive in, attempt to destroy one or two of the enemy cruisers, and then withdraw, while the Citadel’s systems and capacitor were largely drained. We managed to destroy eleven more cruisers, by which time The-Culture had shown up to attack the remaining Amish Mafia capital ships, catching one before he could escape.
I had our fleet stand down. We managed to pick the field clean of any valuable modules, largely recouping the lost money of our Battleships and Cruisers, and the destroyed carriers yielded numerous fighters that were able to replenish Tartarus’s destroyed squadrons. These citadels can certainly do some impressive things.
By the end of it all, the butcher’s bill was 10.4 billion isk of ships destroyed by the Villore Accords, for about 4 billion isk in losses. Accounting for the additional losses after the fight, The Amish Mafia lost something close to 14 billion isk total.
As always, thanks to the brave pilots of the Villore Accords, and Wouroo, from Aideron Robotics, for participating in this battle. And my sincere thanks to the crews of the ships that were lost, and those that survived, for their steadfast service to the Gallente Federation. A charity fund for those non-capsuleer crews that were lost will be provided by the sale of the salvage of the destroyed enemy fleet.
Aftermath of the Battle of Tartarus