The Initiative crushed any hopes of a PAPI sneak attack during the last assault on the O-EIMK constellation. Before the first Keepstar started unanchoring, a major battle engulfed the Imperium’s last remaining systems. Critical to that fight was the clash between the Initiative’s Ishtar fleet and the highly-touted PAPI Tengu doctrine. Despite excitement on behalf of the attackers, the drop behind enemy lines was a total failure, with INIT destroying almost all of the Tech 3 Cruisers for the loss of one Ishtar and a few heroic interdictors.
T3 Cruisers Melt
The battle report shows a crushing loss to PAPI who had pinned their hopes on these T3C fleets to destroy cyno jammers and attack the more vulnerable systems behind 1DQ1-A and 3-DMQT. The first target was N-8YET and the task fell to BRAVE and Voltron. Bridging in around 80 Tengus and Lokis, they set about their task, but before they could begin they had to re-fit from the Covert Subsystem & Nullifier to the combat fit. The Initiative were aware of this: expecting to find a Nestor in system, they did not need to wait long.
Brave unable to refit
Although commanded by Dark Shines, the INIT fleet contained a number of their FC team. As soon as the T3C’s entered system, INIT FC shvo had scanned them down. Warping at zero, he was able to bubble half the fleet before they could refit. The Nestor had not arrived yet. The Ishtars dropped sentry drones and proceeded to tear through the unprepared fleet. Sixteen Tengus were destroyed, including both Shattered Armor and Kel Drosto, the two FCs commanding the operation.
With the BRAVE fleet in disarray, with their Nestor cloaked deep in system, they regrouped and attempted to continue with their mission. But with half the numbers they had planned for, and most of those unable to fully refit, they were at a serious disadvantage. INIT moved a small group of Dreads from 3-D to add extra firepower, but they would not be needed. The Tengus were caught by one of the jammers. A Void bombing run deleted their capacitor and the Ishtars finished up the rest. The battle report showed INIT destroying 30bn for 900mil in losses. The fight for N-8 was over, but neighboring systems were still at risk.
While this fight continued, Goonswarm FC Elo Knight had 150 Muninns in 8WA-Z6. This time it was the turn of the NCdot Loki fleet. With only around 60 in fleet, they were faced with a huge disadvantage from the start. The Muninn fleet quickly ran them down and they, too, were caught mid refit. A quick fight resulted in 20 of 55 of the Lokis being destroyed. The remainder were scattered across the system, with a few unlucky pilots being caught attempting to escape through the 1DQ1-A gate.
The Tengus that had been masterminded by Pandemic Horde leader Gobbins had resulted in complete failure. It was highlighted on The Meta Show that these were being sold at 950mil per ship, despite a Jita Buy price of 650mil. Not only did they fail to achieve their objective, but they were slaughtered so fast it released the Initiative subcap fleet to cause havoc elsewhere. “I tried to warn them,” was Dark Shines’ comment on their new doctrine.
INIT moves from defense to offense
With the fight in 1DQ raging on, Imperium leadership decided that the best use for The Initiative wasn’t to reinforce, but to do their own drop behind enemy lines. Heading back to 3-D they reshipped into Muninns and bridged straight into T5ZI-S, PAPI’s staging system. With PAPI ships dying in the hundreds during their frontal assault, many pilots braved the time dilation to re-ship and take the gate back into the fray. What they were not expecting was 250 Muninns camping the gate.
“We just wanted to see what all the containment fuss was about,” said Shines. Any reinforcements were quickly destroyed as PAPI scrambled to make an organized response. They brought in their own Muninn fleet that was engaged with the battle; INIT won again, with 16bn killed to 5bn lost. It was then that rumors of the Keepstars unanchoring began to reach the fleet. Y2-ANO in Fountain was one of them, in INIT’s home region. Seeing that the battle was won, with PAPI having lost the will to fight, INIT broke off from the battle and headed to Fountain.
August 2, 2021: A Day that will live in memory
The extraordinary events on the 2nd of August resulted in the rapid collapse of the PAPI Coalition offensive. The day saw the fragmentation of several major alliances and a crushing blow to morale. PAPI had placed their hopes on their new doctrine, coupled with their ability to jump behind the bubbles. The plan did not succeed. Combined with the steadfast actions of Goonswarm pilots at the gate, these battles sealed victory for the Imperium in what will be known as the last battle of PAPI’s offensive. The war has now turned and the Imperium become the aggressors.