A quiet Saturday morning shootout over an iHub in Feythabolis escalated into a small but intense dread brawl between the Imperium and FI.RE Coalition. As the fallout from yesterday’s diplomatic cluster starts to unravel, the space once occupied by The Army of Mangoes (AoM) has become fiercely contested. This fight saw XIX and The Initiative. (INIT) fight over the system of TR07-S, where INIT eventually established control – winning the objective and ISK war 50bn lost to 73bn killed.
The events of last week have been remarkable space-drama. Fraternity declaring war on AoM, AoM then defending their staging keepstar against the odds, followed by an unexpected decision to collapse their alliance… This kept many wondering what would happen next. Capsuleers didn’t have to wait long for their next round of drama; AoM attempted to merge into Ranger Regiment (RR) who were then promptly “commissarred” by The Mittani. As it stands, the whole of Esoteria and some border systems in Feythabolis are up for grabs, with Red Alliance, FI.RE and other Russian groups vying for control.
The Vanguard Deploys!
To begin the new year’s seasonal hostilities, INIT have deployed to Esoteria. Although planned in advance of the aforementioned drama, this operation was designed to strengthen Imperium allies in the Red Menace Coalition and counter the Test Alliance Please Ignore (TEST) deployment in the area. Calmly moving through Imperium space, they quickly established themselves in the region. However, after only one night they became entangled in the shifting sands of the south.
Whilst conducting a routine fleet, INIT Ishtars were notified of a large XIX Cerberus fleet inbound. Attempting to defend the iHub in TR07-S they dropped drones and prepared to engaged hostiles. Unfortunately, the Cerberus has an overmatch against the Ishtar, and once XIX cleared INIT’s logistics and Bellicose support the battle drastically swung in their favour. In addition to their missile HACs, FI.RE employed a supporting wing of Retributions and small tackle that pinned the INIT fleet down, causing further casualties. With their fleet severely depleted, INIT FC Dark Shines called for a withdrawal and reship. FI.RE held the field and began installing their own iHub.
Turning the tide.
As FI.RE began looting the field, it was INIT’s turn to cause some damage. Reshipping into Abaddons, they bridged back into the fray. After a short stand-off both fleets clashed at the regional gate. Cynos were lit and a number of XIX Dreads landed on the field, only to be counter-dropped by INIT. This phase of the engagement was short and bloody, with the six XIX Dreads dying quickly but not without assisting in the destruction of three from INIT (including one suitcase Dread that had not been unpacked – no names mentioned.)
As XIX continued to lose logistics under a disco of laser fire from INIT, the battle was turning against them. At a critical moment when both sides were trading evenly, something happened that could have changed the outcome of the battle. Decloaking 30km from the main body of INIT’s Abaddons was a TEST Bomber wing, tips aligned and bombs launched – but instead of hitting their targets, they hit themselves. The screenshot below shows the devastation caused. That’s what happens when your coalition doesn’t have any good bombers FCs…
As the fight remained evenly poised, the cavalry arrived in the form of a Goonswarm Muninn fleet. Using their extra speed and tackle, they were able to pin down the XIX Cerbs as they attempted to make their extraction. What had remained an even battle ended in a bloodbath as XIX attempted to break contact whilst taking heavy losses.
This fight will likely be one of many to grace Esoteria & Feythabolis over the next few weeks. Cascading alliances and free sov are likely to increase conflict in the South, and with TEST deployed to Impass and INIT to Esoteria there’s plenty of opportunity for both good and bad fights!