Header Art by Cryo Huren
Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on r/eve by Chillback, a member of Goonswarm and a dedicated player. Aside from some minor copy-editing, this post remains as it is on reddit. This is an amazing story, and we commend Chillback wholeheartedly.
Now that the war has ended, I wanted to tell the story of how every man in the war counted and how a line member became a leader and then became the bogey man.
In 2017 after a recommendation from Norrec Lafisques, I became a GSF coordinator and for the most part I took care of the defense of Querious. I initiated the movements into Fountain for the first week until The Culture folded and moved. I used some influence with a few friends to kill a couple of alliances, 3 in total, nothing special and I’m still not sure if the information of those alliance fails and how they came about are supposed to be public knowledge, so I’ll leave it at that.
Coordinating is a lot of work. It takes a lot of time attached to a screen, a phone, plugged into literally everything at all times. I was allowed to choose my replacement and step down, and joined the recon team where I spent about 6 months in semi-retirement lighting cynos and putting packages in sneaky places.
Then I could see the writing on the wall during the GEF deployment against Snuff, fuck lowsec by the way. With Panfam constantly showing up to “third party” and TEST showing up in a fake alt corp it was clear what was going to happen. So, I had a chat with Hartley and rejoined the coord team again. Sure enough, days later, Test announced they were ending the NIP, and then announced they were invading like some smooth brained medieval duelist. It’s like through the entire war they literally never watched a single war documentary or read a book.
Then… then they made the two biggest mistakes of the war before it even started. They assembled 103 alliances and 150k characters and declared “Total War” on goons. Total War is a term people like to throw around but is in fact a fallacy. Total War would mean every single character spending every second of their time to help the war effort. Were you sleeping for victory, taking a dump for victory? We all know you weren’t fucking for victory. And the second and biggest, declaring a war of extermination on the goon community. This part has been expanded upon by people much smarter than me, so I will leave it at that.
July 5, 2020, the war started. PAPI had dropped their Keepstar chain of cowardice and attacks on Fountain and Querious began in earnest. While most of the major engagements at the beginning were in Fountain, I spent most of my time defending all the half-assed attempts at hitting Querious.
Fountain fell, and by the time PanFam started in earnest on Querious, people were so tired of going to Querious and Period Basis that I was defending the hacks mostly solo with a mk1 super speed tackle ares and my trusty Harperion (a Hyperion that aligned and warped at the same speed as a Harpy). To the point it was expected that I would stop it, and on multiple occasions Mittens called me a 1-man army.
Finally, Querious fell and Period Basis fell and my trusty 100 kill mark Harperion was killed in a trap losing the TCAG iHub. ‘Rain667: Can you help me with this iHub? It’s just a prophecy.’ There was a nano gang that was deeper in Period Basis engaged in a fight that broke off and came to kill me. F: https://zkillboard.com/kill/87608876/.
The next couple weeks I spent gunning structures and coordinating with harassment fleets just to bleed them as much as possible.
Then came Operation ENHO, which I didn’t know was happening until it was announced in comms. As a coord in a giant fight I always tried to be in the tankiest ship possible that wasn’t an FC ship. For ENHO, I just happened to be in a HIC in the right place when it was called. A cyno went up and I was told to warp straight to it and put up my bubble and prepare to die, so I did and we all know what happened. Server ticks, blah blah blah. However, what nobody knows is that my Devoter is still alive to this day and sitting in some back-ass system in Stain.
With the momentum from that fight and a few months too late PAPI finally dropped their first Keep in NPC Delve. The hero of all heroes, Kcolor, saw it drop, reported it and we got fleets out in time. I lost my only Cerb of the war in that fight in the last charge of Asher Elias and his Immortals.
Within the hour after pouring countless subcaps, energy, and time PAPI dropped a second keep in FWST. HC [High Command] said let it go and we prepared for a Keepstar fight while outnumbered in our backyard.
This was something that had been prepared for, for a long time. I was told to buy an interceptor with a specific fit and get in a fleet. So, I did. There was, as you can imagine, a lot going on in command, and it just so happened I was in command, in a trusted position and not doing anything important. So, Asher asked me if I was willing and able to do something special, he had a plan.
I had my main sitting on the fort in an Ares, an alt sitting in 1DQ1 docked, and a third alt sitting on the Keepstar grid cloaked. I was given a bookmark pack with thousands of bookmarks and told to go to another channel with my spotter, I’m not sure if my spotters want to be named but I do remember both of you, now and forever. Yes, this was the fabled dread fleet of FWST.
Asher told me the cadence he wanted and the rest was up to us. I separated long-range and short-range dreads. My spotter gave me a bookmark which were all alphanumerically numbered. So, I spent the next 11 hours using dreads as if we were doing artillery strikes in the military.
For instance… Spotter: “Folder 35, bookmark mg 350 long range.” Me: “Confirm Folder 35, bookmark mg 350 long range” Spotter: “Confirmed.” Me: “Atrum, thank you for your sacrifice, you shall arrive in Valhalla, shiny and chrome.” So it went for everyone I sent. There was a time where PAPI sent a few fleets in an attempt to stop the bombardment. Having heard they were coming I sent as many people as I could to a POS in system and started flinging from there while we cleared the Fort with carriers. I think in that fight the Keep timer got down to like 4 minutes and we had to sacrifice a few more dreads cynoing them in at zero to keep the timer paused… after 11 hours, second Keep dead.
I think in shock, or another moment of Hubris, PAPI didn’t immediately drop another one. They waited a day and a sharp-eyed Goon (I’m sorry I don’t remember your name) saw the third one drop and we got the third one on the drop timer and within the hour they dropped a fourth in 319.
So again, we had 24 hours to plan for the fourth Keepstar drop in a week and the plan was to not use as many dreads as we had the time before. So, the fitting team, in a herculean feat, built over a thousand Ravens both T1 and T2, our bombers (which were the true heroes of both fights), ALL the ratting ships, some ‘Asher special’ comps and of course dreads and carriers on standby. After about an hour of flying in an Asher special Magus keeping damage on the keep, the decision was made to start sending in dreads again. As I had pulled the trigger for 11 hours a few days prior I was voluntold to do it again.
Unfortunately, I had lost my voice for the most part from all the talking, so I did all the same work and Total Newbie did all the talking and everyone went to Valhalla shiny and chrome. People were having so much fun with it, the guys, my friends, my comrades, my trench buddies were saying things like “I have been chosen, REMEMBER ME” and just happily losing their multi-billion isk ships for the cause, for each other, for lulz, for fuck PAPI. I remember a guy from Bastion writing a personal AAR calling me “Immortal Chillback.”
It was in those moments, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we may lose Delve, but the goal of “killing goons” was never going to happen, NEVER. Not with that amount of comradery and love for each other and the organism as a whole. There was a point in both of those fights that was both annoying as fuck because I was doing so many things and humbling almost to tears. I had about 10 private messages open of people saying they hadn’t gone yet or requesting to bribe me to go to Valhalla next. All these dreads and battleships were SRP’d literally immediately.
I saw some PAPI guys talking in local about it being a “turkey shoot” of caps and “we didn’t want that Keepstar anyway.” Bullshit to both. You kept dropping super group after super group trying to stop my boys from putting damage on the Keepstar. There was also a little bit of grumbling on comms, “you flung me to the wrong spot, I didn’t get a shot off.” I sent everyone exactly where they needed to be. I watched as I sent a Phoenix at zero and because PAPI was so fucking thirsty and had no DD discipline, that Phoenix ate 3 groups worth of doomsdays. I watched as I sent a short-range Naglfar to a long-range spot and fighters chased it all the way to the other side, and then put 2 more long-range Nags where those fighters used to be. Anyway, after another 12 hours, fourth Keepstar down.
Papi drops a fifth Keepstar within the hour and we make plans. And then, because PAPI didn’t need those Keepstars anyway, they bubble wrapped the fifth making a full-fledged assault difficult at best. So, I was told by my superiors that there was a plan for this, we were going to let it online and move to the next stage of the war.
For just short of 4 years at that point I had dedicated all my online time and a lot of offline time to being a leader, a coordinator, a recon member, a one-man army. A direct quote from TheAdj: “Chillback, you have the patience of a God.” I had been a part of a lot of positive changes within the coord hierarchy and Emily, Koci and TheAdj had shit on lockdown. So, after 4 years of being a leader, a planner, and a big part of the war, and after putting in over 40 hours in a week and multiple stressful 10+ hour days I stepped down from coord again.
I had a talk with Mittens once IRL, I don’t even know if he remembers, but I said “hey I’m [real name] Chillback in game.” He was like “oh, you’re one of the coords right?” and I was like “yeah I’m just a coord.” And he was like, “That’s some battered wife shit. JUST a coord. Do you know how important the things you have done and are doing for the organization are? Don’t let me catch you talking like that again.” Out of everything you said to me Mittens, thank you for that the most.
So, I’m no longer a coord and I’m doing the recon thing when Total Newbie tells me, “Hey Chill, you should come be a part of GSOL.” I felt like I still wanted to be useful, just not in such a breakneck capacity. So, I joined GSOL and fueled the things and scooped the things and did the job and gunned the structures and remained a vital part of the war effort.
I had an itch though. I wanted to do something offensively. I wanted to be proactive instead of reactive. So, after a fizzled Reavers deployment and with my own isk, I imported a bunch of Drekavacs and Zarmazds to U-Q. I told a few people and did a few handout bash fleets. After about the fifth fleet, Sharted Armor showed up with a 200-man Muninn fleet and I experienced my first and only fleet wipe. Nobody but me was out of pocket anything and the dudes were having fun, so I imported a whole new batch of replacements and the purge of Impass began in earnest. After making some friends with the Russians in Wrong, Sorry, MI22 and Red Alliance, and making nice with all the small gang groups in the area minus Dreadbomb, we went untouched through Impass and purged it clean minus 3 Keepstars and barely missing out on catching the 68FT Keep getting scooped.
Once again, my work was noticed. I’m not sure if he wants to be named, so let’s just say a benefactor came to me and said, “hey Chill I would like to get in on what you’re doing and I would like to provide the infrastructure. I have a sig called The Black Order that was meant to be used for something else, but it seems like this would be a good place to use it.” So suddenly our little bash crew was legitimate, with a name, The Black Order, a working jabber channel, a ping broadcast target and a bit later, thanks to Gru, our very own discord channel. I was given a badge and a gun by Sarin and the option to keep all the loot and use it as SRP or give it to the alliance and have the alliance do SRP. I chose the former as I thought it would be easiest for everyone.
With support, infrastructure and a name we decided to go balls deep on Catch and with the Black Order as the bulk of the dps in most of the structure shoots, we dismantled Catch brick by brick. 45 days straight I FC’d and together with the Rampage Crew and some nights -A-, Catch was destroyed. There were 5 instances where Legacy showed up, the first two Marginis Fortizar hull attempts, the BUZ fortizar, and the first 2 GE-8 Tatara attempts, which of course we blueballed.
I read a sob story recently from Dunk that they couldn’t defend Catch by themselves. My immediate thought was on our BEST nights, we had 40 dudes in fleet. You couldn’t defend Catch against 40 dudes? Led by an F-tier FC at best? That’s some high praise.
Between Catch and Impass, The Black Order destroyed trillions and looted hundreds of billions in cores and salvage, ships, bpcs, etc etc.
I had been complaining about a stomach ache for most of the time during Catch and I thought it was just an ulcer, until a few people who I believe legitimately care about me told me I wasn’t allowed to FC a 46th day until I went to a doctor. On May 17, 2021, I was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. So before killing the GE-8 Tatara and the BUZ Fortizar, which were the last 2 structures left in Catch that weren’t Keeps, I moved the guys to Esoteria in an attempt to help Bastion stem the tide of the AOM push, and try to do something special and noteworthy for the coalition and not just for us. Unfortunately, it became a fighting retreat and we put the Dreks in stasis in Stain. I gave the group to Shoop and on June 8, I went through a total pancreatectomy.
We had made enough of an impression that the day before I went into surgery someone from HC said they had a task for The Black Order. It was going to be a shitty task but a very important one. So, I gave the plans to Shoop and went into surgery.
I watched from my tablet on the RampageInc stream and from Shoop’s update as the group I had created poked the enemy backfield over and over and over and over and over and over until finally something broke. An Astrahus went abandoned and while we were “contained” in the 1DQ1 constellation, The Black Order pulled off the single biggest loot heist over the course of the war and got 90% of it back to 1DQ1, roughly 350b. Someone is gonna say, but Chill, the titan that madcows stole is worth more now after inflation and scarcity. Fuck you. Nobody is buying 500b titans.
Over the next few weeks, I watched the sig steal multiple unanchored structures and kill others right in the enemy backfield. The same small group of dudes putting in god’s work night after night… and I come to the meat and potatoes of what I wanted to write, along with leaving my legacy. The Black Order, Hoods, Delta, Genesis are owed and have due all the thanks in the world, in an effort of patience, fortitude, and comradery that is unparalleled.
Then came VG day. In a final push of stupidity and foolish design PAPI went all out into the 1DQ1 constellation while simultaneously unanchoring all the Keeps that were down. I don’t need to expand on this either as it has again been covered very publicly.
In a twist of irony and I suppose some fate, after mainfleet started cleaning up most of Delve, The Black Order was given the task of making sure as few as possible of Brave’s infrastructure in Querious got away. So, I returned to where I began, making Querious safe again while again cleaning an entire region of Brave’s structures and assets.
Penultimately, I would like to thank everyone in The Black Order for… well everything. The people in High Command that took a chance on me. Norrec for always keeping me humble, John for telling me I’m only half-retarded, Emily for being a boss and forgiving me for being a prick, Brodog for being the most awesome Aussie. Francisco for ferrying everything in and out of Catch, while people were waiting for shit in 1DQ1. Noms for solving all of the back end shit, Ratknight1 for stepping in and giving me perspective and making sure I couldn’t FC until I saw a doctor and took care of myself, and especially to Shoop for being the best friend and #1 a goon could ask for.
Finally, Anime and Jesus. Drizznones and nuggies.
Chillback – Linemember, FC, Recon, GSOL, Coord, SIG Creator, Friend, Goon.