GLOR FINDEL ADESTUR
Returning from a short break I return to my office chair, only to find Mitch and Judas in Oblivion. As anyone does when the Top Brass rolls in I try to at least look busy and hope for the best! With an overwhelming number of connections to Oblivion, we began rolling our High Sec and C3 Static with Battleships to force them to close in the hope that we can find content via either hole. We'd already taken a fair amount of mass off the C3 during the day and so rolling it without knowing all the figures is going to be more of an art than a science. I make two passes in my Rolling Mega while Gravonree did what I was certain (or more hopeful) would be the last pass and would (or probably maybe) close once he was home safely. Gravonree was hesitant but only because the last time we were in this position and I’d assured him "You'll be fine", he ended up stranded 55 jumps into Null Sec. He did get home safe though, so I am still confused why he doubts me! Grav bravely went through on his own accord (I basically force him through at gun point) and lands on the hostile side of the Wormhole. Frankly I was as amazed as Grav was that the hole didn’t collapse behind him. As such he starts burning back to it as quickly as possible to ensure it closes as he comes back through to Oblivion.
A few moments later ………
Grav suddenly reports that a Heretic has landed on grid with him and has deployed a bubble. This is always the most vulnerable time when rolling a Wormhole. We've taken so much mass off the thing that jumping through reinforcements to save him might cut our fleet in half meaning that we fight outgunned and all die rather than letting the one guy die while rolling. (Oh, the joys of being FC, having to make that call!) Its for this reason that people wait till you're on the final pass to attack you while rolling. Grav was already too close to the hole when they began landing though and manages to jump back to Oblivion. The hole doesn't close. It’s still open but must be on the verge of collapse.
Grav is safe. There’s not way they'll follow him through.
The Hole activates and the Heretic jumps through and deploys another bubble. This is quickly followed by more rumbling and more hostiles flooding into our system.
While all this has been going on the rest of us had not been idle. I'd ordered everyone to dock up, grab combat ships and Logistics and warp to our Form Up Bookmark. We are a little scattered at the time with some people in High Sec and others scouting, so the form up unfortunately happens too slow for Grav's tank and he starts to take damage. I had to make the call and warp what was available from the fleet to Grav and let the others warp to us when we land. As our initial fleet arrived on grid, this is what awaited us. Two Hecates, Heretic, Moa and a Leshak. Grav's Apocalypse explodes just before we land but he manages to warp off his pod and gets ready for the fight to come. Our Fleet lands almost on top of the Invaders as they burn back towards the Hole that has led them through. An unseen ship with them jumps through first and......BOOOM the hole closes behind him, trapping the rest of their fleet with us. Points are spread out and we go to work. My Bhaalgorn begins defanging our enemies whose weapons almost entirely rely on their Cap reserves. Our Logi locks up targets and begins delivering reps to their brothers and the DPS begin to avenge Grav's loss. Elaris, ever the unlucky is primaried by the enemy and has to warp away to reship.
The Hecates are targeting our Logi now. Nribor calls out that he is under attack and I retarget the Hecates with the Bhaalgorn. I web and neut them and together with Grav (who has reshipped and joined the fight to avenge his initial loss) throw our Alt's DPS onto them to ensure that the Logi survives. If it goes down the Leshak may start to wear us down one by one until we are unable to break its tank. The Hecates almost stop dead in space with the combined might of Ewar that was hurled against them and almost immediately go down in flames. Seconds later the Heretic, that had caused this entire fight to take place, is reduced to ashes under the weight of our combined damage.
The fighting briefly abates, and I take stock of what’s happening. My Bhaalgorn is close to death and only Nribor's quick thinking has kept it from dying. I begin pulling range on the Leshak while spreading Neuts between it and the one remaining Moa. I already feel like we have won. My Armour is being repped. We'd still only lost the Apoc and the T1 Logi. Victory was near!!! I could smell it!
This moment is shattered when Grav's VNI is burst open like a water melon at a Gallagher comedy show. With my Bhaalgorn now out of the range of its Disintegrator it had turned its attention to our DPS pilots and with the intense power of the Leshak’s DPS, Nribor doesn’t stand a chance. The Fight is back on. The Moa now all but a dead brick floating in space is called primary and we rip through it with ease.
And so we face the beast down.
This new ship, with its advanced and complicated technology, is something that none of us have faced in a small gang fight before. We’ve been given a very sharp lesson on how much raw damage this thing could pump out and how much it could take during the fight. We may have cut down its pack, but the creature still has claws of its own and we'd backed it into a corner. And we all know that an injured animal is when it is at its most deadly. I set the full power of the Bhaalgorn on it and hope to drain its cap quickly so that the fleet can tear it apart. We break into its Armor, yet amazingly this thing continues to repair. A tingle of fear passes over the back of my neck as I wonder if we have the ability to break its tank before it could break and scatter our fleet. As an FC, you feel responsible when your orders lead to the deaths of your friends and comrades and I was expecting to have more than a few Kill Mails on my conscience by the time this thing went down. It continues to rep... the doubt creeps in. It continues to rep... doubt turns to fear!
Finally, and almost in slow motion, the Vampiric embraces of my Bhaalgorn finally overcome the fragile cap of the Leshak and our DPS is now scouring deep marks on its hull. The most beautiful explosion I have ever seen starts to form and where the beast has been only seconds before, all that is left is the strewn wreckage of a great ship.