Pandemic Horde’s planned relocation to Geminate continues to hit difficulties as the infamous Keepstar in 9-4RP2 once again entered reinforcement while unanchoring in the early hours of February 20. Several other Horde structures were damaged during the night, further complicating the withdrawal. Roughly 14 hours later, Horde-led capital and supercapital ships, including 35 titans, took the field to destroy Imperium structures remaining in the system. Despite their best efforts, Horde was only able to destroy one GSF Fortizar and one GSF Astrahus, leaving a handful of Imperium citadels still in the system.
Horde stated their plans to unanchor the Keepstar as well as other structures and relocate them to Geminate in a surprising announcement nearly two weeks ago. Since then, however, they have struggled to unanchor valuable structures which they have intended to relocate. Drone Region Federation will make space for their new neighbors by continuing to push into Insmother, claiming the former Triumvirate controlled region for themselves as a new home. If Horde is unable to relocate the structures, they will have to be abandoned, leaving the prolonged effort to defend them as nothing but a long but bitter defeat.
Some Imperium material was lost in the brief battle over the Keepstar, including two Thanatos and one Archon carrier. Losses on the Imperium side totaled 12.62 billion ISK. Pandemic Horde, on the other hand, lost 2.13 billion ISK in material, over a billion of which came in the form of a fleet of Claw interceptors which failed to escape a from a handful of Proteus smartbombers. In addition to the lost material, the costs of logistical difficulties of being unable to extract fully from Cloud Ring are yet to be seen. If the Keepstar cannot be unanchored, it’s only a matter of time before Horde has to admit it is unable to keep it, abandoning it – and its significant material costs – to be destroyed by the new inhabitants of the region, or the Imperium.
Later that day, as a several other GSF structures entered their own structure vulnerability windows, Pandemic Horde deployed part of its capital fleet to ensure the destruction of the Fortizar and Astrahuses that Imperium forces have been using as staging in the system. In an intense battle that quickly escalated, a force of 83 Horde carriers stormed the system, managing to destroy the Fortizar and a single Astrahus in their final timers. Pandemic Horde had also called upon their allies in the form of Northen Coalition. and Guardians Of The Galaxy, the latter providing only subcapital support for the timer. The NCdot flotilla consisted of a force of roughly 70 supercapitals, which was moved across two regions from their current staging system of 15W-GC in Tribute at the last minute. Other Imperium structures still remain in the system, however. In addition to the two structures, one Imperium carrier was lost, as well as a smattering of battleships and destroyers. Horde and allies did not lose any capital material, but still lost subcapital ships valued in excess of 35 billion ISK.
The system gained notoriety in a previous battle which had been hyped as a possible “million dollar fight,” but failed to develop into such as the Horde Keepstar was saved in part due to “time dilation” mechanics making fleet operation difficult for the aggressors, and in part due to the escalation of capital forces which would have made committing forces towards destroying the citadel costlier than the value of the citadel itself. Now in retrospect, the hidden costs of keeping the citadel are beginning to tax Pandemic Family logistics. The deployment of a large capital and supercapital fleet to dislodge Imperium staging stations from the system indicates Horde’s desperate need for a “win” in the system. If Horde cannot unanchor the Keepstar successfully, it will have to be abanoned, or defended indefinitely in the Cloud Ring region, far away from Horde’s new home in Geminate.
In the end, the Keepstar citadel that was once a symbol of Pandemic Horde’s power in the region has become an albatross around its neck.