Art by Cryo Huren
Thursday night once again drew attention to the constellation of NJU-QV as thousands of players once more descended on the system of M2-XFE. This time the battle was for control of the iHub in this and neighbouring systems. Although dwarfed in scale by actions earlier this week, shaping manoeuvres by both sides will prove important for subsequent operations.
A four-hour fight resulted in the PAPI coalition claiming iHubs in ZXB-VC & 5-CQDA, but despite a numerical advantage they could not flip M2-XFE. In terms of losses, the fight remained even throughout, with the Imperium claiming a small advantage of 27bn killed to 25bn as fleets stood down. Yet, in a linked engagement, PAPI destroyed the undefended Keepstar in 1-SMEB, increasing Imperium losses another 200bn.
Capsuleers On Standby
As hostilities commenced both sides formed heavily with PAPI deploying six HAC fleets and the Imperium three HAC fleets and a smaller “supertrain” fleet as long-ranged support. In addition, operational reserves consisting of large numbers of titans, supers and dreadnoughts were held in their corresponding staging areas of T5Z and 1DQ.
Despite a huge number of capsuleers online the fight never escalated to more than a skirmish. HAC fleets from both sides conducted rapid strikes to destroy enemy hackers, but maintained range and dispersion to avoid bombers and bubbles. With the Imperium fixed on the hellcamp and PAPI aiming to divert attention from an unlikely defense of the 1-SMEB Keepstar, combatants were content to achieve their limited objectives without becoming decisively engaged.
Views from the Frontline
Pandemic Legion FC Hedliner said, “We formed up to get out into [the] constellation and take a fight over any of the nodes which spawned for the ZXB and 5-C iHubs coming out of reinforce. Most of our time was spent dipping in and out of M2 and facing off with Imperium HAC fleets on nodes, mainly in 5-C and M2. After we won the ZXB timer we spooled up on the M2 iHub for a bit. This provoked a short, albeit fun, engagement, which mainly happened at range between our fleets. After the Imperium fleets broke off we dispersed to cover the 5-C nodes where we resumed facing off with each other. When the timer was done, we headed over to 1-SMEB and killed the Keepstar. It’s not the first time we’ve engaged each other in and around M2 and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Credit to my guys who put in a five-hour shift and did all the heavy lifting.”
Imperium FC Minifoegann with The Initiative said, “Our objective was to make sure another M2- breakout didn’t happen. INIT bridged in and sat on the Keepstar while Goons stayed in 1DQ with their sub caps to protect the iHub there. Hostiles flipped two iHubs and started to toast the M2- iHub, which we had a little fight over. We cleared toasters and started trading logis. Nothing major. Goons did entosis in M2- to take it out of ‘overtime’ while hostiles finished 5-C. Was a long fleet with lots of small skirmishes. Hostiles went home to form for the 1-SMEB Keepstar final timer at the same time we bridged home to stand down. We weren’t going to contest that Keepstar under a cyno-jammer.”