Disclaimer: EN24’s reporter, Muffin Paladin, is a member of the Iron Armada, one of the alliances featured in this conflict. That being said, every effort to remove bias is being made.

EIH-IU, Wicked Creek region. On the 19th of November at 0300 Eve Standard Time, an engagement between the Heathen Coalition, comprised of Feign Disorder [FEIGN] and Iron Armada [FLEEP], and a coalition between The Bastard Cartel [TBC] and Manifesto. [.M.] occurred, in the heart of Heathen territory.

The objectives being fought for were two Heathen coalition money moons, which had been reinforced by the Bastard Cartel/Manifesto exactly 24 hours prior. The attackers began moving into position an hour early, bringing a 30 man Machariel fleet with no logistics support, indicating to the Heathens that they planned on escalating to Force Auxiliaries. As the Machariels warped the first POS, they sat on grid for a minute before aligning to the second objective. On landing they realized they were too early, and began to talk about daylight savings and “timezones are hard” in local chat. They began to head back towards their home in H-ADOC, under watchful eyes of the Heathen scouts.

During this period a defense fleet was flashformed and a roughly 25 man Tengu fleet sat perched off a gate on the route out of the constellation. As the Machariels landed on the F-QQ5N gate in U-HVIX, a scout spotted the waiting Tengu fleet on the other side. The Machariel fleet, unwilling to jump head first into the meat grinder without their support, pulled back to a safe spot in U-HVIX and began safe logging out. Seeing their enemy logging out, the Heathens rushed in to try and catch any stragglers, managing to fell a Proteus strategic cruiser.

With the reinforcement timers on the POSes ticking down ever so slowly, the Heathens went to work. They prepared a small super capital force, and brought in their allies from Madhouse [PSYCH] and Salt the Earth [NA-CL], all the while dispersing eyes into Bastard Cartel and Manifesto staging systems, and began preparing the entry gate into the EIH-IU system.

Eventually, it was time. As the POSes approached their vulnerability period, the Bastard Cartel/Manifesto Machariels logged back in. Their staging system of H-ADOC in Curse still held 15 pilots in local, meaning a sizable potential escalation was on its way. With the anchored bubbles on the U-HVIX gate in EIH-IU, the point of entry of the Machariels was going to be the first battlegrid. Perched on gate ready to defend their force auxiliaries repairing the POS’s, the Tengufleet waited. Scouting the situation, The Bastard Cartel Fleet Commander gave the order, the Machariels jumped in and the fight began.

Immediately, a Devoter lit a cynosural beacon on grid, bringing in a Ninazu-class force auxiliary as well as two carriers. After one Machariel was felled, the fight quickly turned into a stalemate, with neither side able to break the tank of the other. The Heathens in particular struggled against the Ninazu, as it repaired ship after ship, nanites restoring armour plates as if from thin air. Eventually, the call was made by the Heathens to bring in two Hel supercarriers. A cynosural beacon was lit, and the Hels went to work immediately, sending swaths of fighter bombers to destroy the Ninazu. It’s defenses were nearly overwhelmed, only holding out long enough for the Hels to be chased off grid as Bastard Cartel/Manifesto interdictors and heavy interdictors attempted to tackle them. The Heathen Tengus, turned their wrath on the exposed interdiction ships and took them down piecemeal. Though the supercarriers hadn’t managed to take down the Ninazu, they had provoked more Bastard Cartel/Manifesto triage to jump into the system.

By this point, the Bastard Cartel/Manifesto fleet was tired of fighting a stalemate, and sought to move in on the reason they had come in the first place: the POSes. Their force auxiliaries left triage and aligned to the POSes, the Machariels rapidly destroying the anchored bubbles. This move to exit triage, however, severely hampered the Machariels ability to survive, with the Tengus missiles relentlessly battering themselves against their defenses. As armour crumbled and hull became exposed, some of the Machariels were forced to warp to the sun to avoid death. The Heathens, eager to finish their work, followed them, landing tackle on a few of the battleships. This forced the rest of the Bastard Cartel/Manifesto fleet to follow as well, leading to another skirmish at the Sun. With the force auxiliaries taking a long time to travel across the system, a few Machariels were destroyed, their frames ripped apart by the hostile bombardment, leaving nothing but twisted metal to float in the cold void. Still desiring to get to their objective, the Machariel fleet pushed Heathen tackle ships off of them and aligned to warp to the first POS on their agenda. However, as the battle had been raging, the Heathen force auxiliaries had been hard at work, restoring the shields of the POS and re-stronting the towers. Without delay, the Machariels launched a furious attack, cannons flaring, the projectiles hammering against the starbase’s shields.

As the Heathens prepared a capital force of their own, their commanders were contacted by Fraternity. [FRT], as well as a Cloaky Ninjas bomber fleet, both of which told the Heathens that they were on their way, hungry for some Machariel kills. The Heathens, in light of this, opted to delay their escalation, choosing instead to begin setting up bubbles across the Bastard Cartel/Manifesto’s route home. Meanwhile the Machariel fleet reinforced the first POS just as the Heathen triage had successfully repaired the second, forcing the Machariels and their accompanying capitals to either reinforce it once more, or head home. Weary from the long and hard-fought engagement, the Bastard Cartel/Manifesto fleet chose the latter. They began making their way out of Heathen space, aligning towards the U-HVIX gate. The Heathens arrived as well, and began harassing the Machariels, who didn’t end up warping to the gate, but to the Infrastructure Hub of the system. The Tengus followed, hot in pursuit, and the Bastard Cartel/Manifesto force auxiliaries were forced to entered triage once again, tying themselves to the grid. Round three of the battle began.

This time, however, the Heathens were ready to call upon their newfound allies. The bomber fleet decloaked, and began firing torpedoes at Machariels, adding to the hail of ordinance already projected by the Tengus. This was, however, still not enough, as the combined powers of the Bastard Cartel/Manifesto force auxiliaries were still able to keep their fleet alive. Not wanting to stick around, they aligned out once more, this time ready to leave the system. Unfortunately, as the Machariel fleet warped out, a Ninazu-class force auxiliary was left behind, tackled by the Heathens who again forced it to reenter triage to save itself. This Ninanzu had survived the entire ordeal, sitting at 3% hull after the attempted Hel drop. The Bastard Cartel and Manifesto, unwilling to leave their star pilot behind, returned to the IHUB, ready to save their comrade.

It was at this moment that the Heathens and their allies dropped the hammer: as the rest of the Bastard Cartel/Manifesto force auxiliaries landed on grid and entered triage, a cynosural beacon was lit, and Fraternity’s Machariel fleet was bridged in via titan, supported by a handful of force auxiliaries of their own, as well as a dreadnought squadron.

Dreadnoughts entered siege mode, their guns firing slugs of supercharged plasma across the void, slamming into the hulls of the Bastard Cartel/Manifesto fleet. The force auxiliaries were overwhelmed, their structures unable to withstand the barrage of fire from the combined forces. As their systems shut down and their frames collapsed, they were engulfed in explosive fire, reduced to nothing more than salvage. Without their triage support, the Machariels suffered a similar fate. The extraction began and two carriers managed to jump to emergency escape cynosural beacons. The Ninazu that had originally gotten itself caught even managed to jump itself out of the fray to safety. Knowing they were now outnumbered and outgunned, the surviving Bastard Cartel/Manifesto sub-capital forces bounced to pings across the system, and began a hasty retreat towards their home. The Heathens and their allies left the door open for them, comfortable with the knowledge that the bubbles they had scattered would slow their enemies down considerably.

However, they were not done yet. With the taste of blood in their mouths, the Heathens made their way and set themselves up on a titan, ready to bridge in pursuit of the fleeing Machariels. After receiving confirmation from a scout, they bridged into the system of DE-A7P, just as the Machariels jumped in. After managing to tackle an additional Proteus-class strategic cruiser and Machariel-class battleship, the Heathens returned and stood down. With that, the hostilities for the night had ceased.

When asked about the fight, Tridgit, CEO of the Iron Armada and one of the fleet commanders for the Heathens, had this to say:

Yes, this was a blob and a dunk. However, this is our home turf, so the fucking gloves are off.

The Bastard Cartel/Manifesto forces declined to comment.

All told, the battle saw 168 pilots in local, with no time dilation reported.

The Heathens lost 2.44 billion ISK in assets.

The Bastard Cartel/Manifesto forces lost 16.39 billion ISK, including three force auxiliaries, two carriers, and 11 Machariel-class battleships, and four strategic cruisers.

The NPSI bomber fleet as well as the Fraternity Machariel fleet incurred only negligible losses.

Total ISK lost on all sides was 21.13 billion ISK. The full battlereport can be found here.

Muffin Paladin is EN24’s resident grammar hound. When he isn’t flying with the Iron Armada, he drinks too much coffee and makes fun of Salivan’s use of commas.