Art by Paramemetic
INN reported the destruction of a Shadow Cartel Keepstar in the lowsec system Aeschee two days ago, noting that the owners did not attempt to defend the Citadel. Today, Saturday July 28, Imperium forces achieved a similar victory, plowing over a Keepstar owned by Pandemic Legion holding alliance Waffles in Kinakka.
In total, the Imperium mustered nine fleets to support the operation, with subcapitals beginning to form at approximately 14:00. An initial Jackdaw fleet provided reconnaissance for two supercapital fleets and two capital fleets, all of which filled to capacity during form-up in the Imperium’s forward-staging Keepstar in 6RCQ-V. Two “Baltec” battleship fleets formed shortly afterward, followed by two additional Jackdaw fleets.
Capitals and supercaps jumped to Okagaiken, four systems away from the destination of Kinakka, and waited for jump fatigue to expire while the Keepstar entered its final vulnerability timer at 16:30. Drawing on the experiences of the operation in Aeschee, Fleet Commanders initially jumped Titans into Kinakka to apply damage to the Keepstar while Carriers, Dreadnoughts, and Force Auxiliaries waited in the staging system. Due to the overwhelming damage brought to bear against the Keepstar, FCs ordered Titans to ungroup guns to conserve ammunition.
Following the Titans’ onslaught, the remaining capitals jumped into Kinakka and warped to within 30km of the Keepstar. Carriers and Dreadnoughts applied token damage as the Titans relentlessly hammered away the Citadel’s remaining 27% hull. Throughout the engagement, the Imperium’s subcapital fleets harassed a handful of hostile pilots from various northern alliances who assembled to provide a gesture of defense. An assortment of third-party spectators joined in the melee, most focusing on the Keepstar in hopes of making an appearance toward the bottom of the inevitable killmail. In total, just over 2,000 pilots participated in the battle, with the vast majority of them flying in the Imperium’s capital and supercap fleets.
Despite moderate time dilation and occasional disconnects affecting all parties, the Imperium reported only one capital loss – a Naglfar targeted by the Keepstar during the worst effects of “tidi.” Following the destruction of the Citadel, subcapital forces withdrew hastily while the capitals and supercaps organized a jump back to 6RCQ-V. A preliminary battle report shows negligible losses for both the Imperium and its adversaries, with the obvious exception of the $320B Keepstar lost by allies of Pandemic Legion.
The engagement bears similarities to the earlier attack in Aeschee, particularly in the overwhelming assembly of force by the Imperium and the absence of any meaningful defense. As the Imperium continues to target alliances that opposed it during the Casino War of 2016 for retribution, such entities face the unenviable choice of whether to defend their assets, surrender them (as in Aeschee and Kinakka), or seek preemptive diplomatic relations with the Imperium in hopes of paying a lighter price than the toll extracted thus far from Shadow Cartel and Pandemic Legion.