The trap itself was set up by Escalating Entropy [CHAOS] and Shadow Cartel [SHDWC]. The two alliances had prepared to meet Snuffed Out and their allies Project.Mayhem. [16-13] in battle over the final timer of the Fortizar citadel in the Prism system of Black Rise. However, their enemies chose instead to attend the battle of PNQY-Y in Fountain.
Snuffed Out and Project.Mayhem. had amassed a Nightmare battleship fleet and were burning towards the system when they came across a Vanguard Coalition Tengu strategic cruiser fleet heading there as well. The Nightmare fleet quickly blocked the path of the Tengu fleet, forcing The-Culture [-T C-] and its allies to rescue them. With more allied fleets converging on its location, the Snuffed Out/Project.Mayhem. fleet was forced to withdraw, returning home without seeing action.
Escalating Entropy and Shadow Cartel saw this, and decided to use the frustration of Snuffed Out from the lack of combat to their advantage, devising a plan to lure the alliance into engaging with its super capitals. 12 dreadnoughts were prepared, along with a small sub-capital fleet of mainly heavy interdictors and a bridging titan. The plan was simple: reinforce a tower in the Melmaniel system in Verge Vendor belonging to Snuffed Out to get their attention. As a further precaution, most Escalating Entropy and Shadow Cartel pilots were told to wait on log-in screens to allay suspicions.
The 12 dreadnoughts were brought to the Snuffed Out tower and fired once before entering their siege cycles properly, in order to alert Snuffed Out leadership. Once in siege, the dreadnoughts started to pummel the tower, waiting for Snuffed Out to react. Within moments, a Snuffed Out hauler entered the tower’s force field in order to adjust the strontium levels in order to get a favorable reinforcement tower. At the same time, Snuffed Out scouts had eyes on the sieging dreadnoughts.
Snuffed Out and Project.Mayhem. quickly formed a Proteus strategic cruiser fleet and logged in super carriers and Apostle force auxiliaries. However, with the two alliances’ staging systems being far apart, the bulk of the sub capital fleet was still in-route to the target system when the battle commenced.
The Escalating Entropy dreadnoughts had just finished their second siege cycle and started aligning towards a station in the system, having reinforced the tower. Seeing their prey getting away, Snuffed Out had a Falcon force recon cruiser de-cloak on the grid and light a cynosural beacon. Into the system bridged nearly 2 squadrons of strategic cruisers and heavy interdictors. However, the Falcon was simply volleyed by the dreadnoughts, causing the beacon to evaporate and the Snuffed Out sub capitals to be dispersed across the system.
Regardless, the sub capitals rallied and warped to the tower, managing to tackle 4 of the dreadnoughts, as the rest simply warped off and docked in the station. At the same time, the hauler had burnt out of the tower’s shields, and lit a cynosural beacon of its own, ushering in, according to Snuffed Out, 20 super carriers.
This was the moment Escalating Entropy and Shadow Cartel were waiting for. The call was made for all pilots to log in and get in fleet as one of the tackled dreadnoughts lit a cynosural beacon to let the heavy interdictors be bridged in. The cruisers landed on grid and started focusing their warp disruption fields on the super carriers as the Escalating Entropy/Shadow Cartel fleet formed and bridged to aid them.
Snuffed Out quickly reacted to this development and attempted to remove as many heavy interdictors as possible, while every super carrier that was not yet tackled warped off to safety. This left approximately 9 tackled super carriers who changed course and tried approaching the safety of the tower’s shields, all the while sending fighters to chew through the heavy interdictors.
However, before Snuffed Out could free their super carriers, Escalating Entropy and Shadow Cartel forces started jumping en masse to the system, bringing in a Machariel battleship fleet to help tackle the super carriers as well as an entire super capital wing which included several titans. By then Escalating Entropy/Shadow Cartel had 160 pilots in the system, compared to the 40 pilots Snuffed Out had.
With the Machariel fleet and the super capital wing on grid, the Snuffed Out sub capital force was dispatched with ease, auto cannon rounds chewing through the thick armor plate of the strategic cruisers. With the sub capitals pushed out and more warp scramblers applied to the super capitals, the force auxiliaries came next. One by one the Apostles caved in to the relentless fire barrages, aided by the hostile super capitals on grid.
For the Escalating Entropy/Shadow Cartel super capital wing, the focus was on taking down the Snuffed Out super carriers. Titans were given free reign to fire their doomsday devices, concentrating beams of light or creating micro black holes before unleashing the stored energy on the fleeing behemoths. Thick swarms of fighter bomber squadrons took to space, their crafts firing scores of torpedoes on Nyx and Aeon super carriers, who groaned under the constant barrage which poured like a torrent against their armor . The docked dreadnoughts of Escalating Entropy joined in, leaving the comfort of their station and warping in, their capital turrets focusing on the crippled super carriers as they hurled their own devastating payloads.
One by one, the Snuffed Out super carriers gave in, their hulls ripped apart by massive explosions as the relentless firepower tore through their structure. Chunks of debris, some the size of battleships, were hurled to the void as clouds of vapor coalesced around deformed super structure. Those near the behemoths in their final moments were bathed in the fires of their last breath, often sustaining shield damage and even having their armor plates scorched by the flames of their death.
Finally, the Project.Mayhem. reinforcements arrived in the system, warping to the tower at range from the carnage. Unable to contest the Machariel fleet and the growing number of super capitals which were entering the field for Escalating Entropy and Shadow Cartel, the Proteus fleet skirted around the fight, trying to apply remote armor repairs to the remaining super carriers as they desperately sought refuge in the confines of the tower.
The Escalating Entropy/Shadow Cartel Machariel fleet was not about the let them interfere, and targeted the new comers. A hail of auto cannon rounds blasted the strategic cruisers, destroying many of their support ships as well as their logistics cruisers and forcing them off the field.
Of the tackled super carriers, only 2 managed to reach the safety of the shields, the rest were brutally cut down by their brethren. With nothing left to salvage, the remaining Snuffed Out forces and their Project.Mayhem. reinforcements retreated from the system, leaving Escalating Entropy and Shadow Cartel to loot the field.
With the field secure, Escalating Entropy and Shadow Cartel looted the field, scavenging the wrecks of their enemies before safely extracting their forces and bringing an end to the fight.
The Battle from the Perspective of the Escalating Entropy\Shadow Cartel Machariel Fleet
The Battle from the Perspective of the Escalating Entropy\Shadow Cartel Super Capital Fleet
Battle report for the Melmaniel system can be found here.
All told the battle lasted 12 minutes with the system hosting an estimated 280 pilots at the height of the fighting and Time Dilation not reported. However, Snuffed Out pilots did report a wide range of phenomena during the fight, such as disconnects, desynchronizing and trouble activating and cycling modules.
Snuffed Out and Project.Mayhem. suffered the lion’s share of losses, 26 including 7 super carriers, 2 force auxiliary and 10 strategic cruisers for a total of 210.21 billion ISK.
Escalating Entropy and Shadow Cartel lost only 6 ships in the fight, all being bait dreadnoughts for a sum total of 20.62 billion ISK.
Salivan Harddin is a member of V0LTA, WE FORM V0LTA, and covers battles across New Eden