Monday, February 12, 2007

Of Victory and Defeat

"Glory is not obtained with the sacrifice of your is only harnessed by their collective will and achievement. One who believes in 'Glory for the One', has no understanding of the world or himself." - Zor Fermathus, Kor-Azor Court Librarian

Some say that blood is the price of victory…but for me, it is the price of glory. Victory and Glory do not always go hand in hand…but often share the same road in life’s travels. I am reminded by the Amarr ‘victory’ of San Dumas against that awful Matari uprising 142 years ago. Although the field of battle was owned by the 52nd Royal Regiment…the cost in blood was incredibly high.

The Space Fyad control tower that we had sieged finally used up its strontium core, and OEC forces decided to press the attack…even though we had no Dreadnought support of our own. Folly most would assume…and in some sense they would be right. The fight raged in sector for quite awhile, with the OEC pinning a CONIN carrier within the seiged station. We were killing the cyno generating ships as fast as we could, but ultimately the MC cavalry did arrive and we found ourselves vastly outgunned once again. The OEC lost quite a few warships with no real tactical goals achieved. The end of the battle culminated with a carrier vs. carrier action near the SF station. Although we believe we destroyed well over 400m worth of CONIN fighters, we ultimately lost our own carrier in the action.

OEC took it on the chin. But from that we secured our own victory of showing we would not be idly pushed around…no matter the size of the fight. At the very least I got my answer to the question of CONIN hiring themselves to attack our station. I had expected more from a professional mercenary group…they had no reason to state they were on official contract. I would rather them just simply show up and start shooting while saying “we want your station”. Maybe they wanted to keep up appearances since technically we share the same intelligence channels, and a lot of the same friends.

Our ships will be replaced, along with the carrier. Such is the commitment of the OEC command to its members.

With the battle in Aridia resolved with neither station being destroyed, we believed we had secured the field of battle for the time being. CONIN is obviously very busy up north on a large (real) contract so we moved back to our Beke garrison operation as we had reports that large amounts of Pirate forces were entering the sector. Our client was not happy with this at all, and notified us that something had to be done (we are still on retainer for Beke Garrison Duty). I sent Gamma Command up as a forward force as we moved our freighter full of ships and supplies back up to Genesis. By the end of our 48 hour action we had regained control of the sector and neutral shipping was restored.

And then there was the NosDomi fight that I simply must write about. As people may well know my utter distain for Nosferatu spec’d Dominix class battleships, I feel like I must share my simple combat story.

We got reports that NIE pirates had been using NosDomi’s to attack local neutral shipping in asteroid belts. I ordered the station dock workers to refit the Amarr Apocalypse class OEC Westwall for specific anti-Dominix warfare: 6 heavy NOS with 2 Large Smartbomb modules. The rest of the ship construction is classified for obvious reasons, but most analysts could probably figure out the fitting and role. Then I got an interesting comment from a newer OEC member:

“Sir, that NosDomi won’t engage you unless you are in a cruiser…it just runs away from a fair fight,” He opined over voice communications.

“Well, that maybe all that you saw recently…but from my experience, a Pirate NosDomi simply cannot resist an un-escorted battleship sitting in a belt,” I replied wryly. I noted we had a few Battlecruiser losses in the area, so I understood where he was coming from.

With that I set the ship from dock and proceeded to the first belt in the ship’s overview. I had my battlecruiser escort wait at station or outside the sector waiting to jump in on my mark…making sure they did not break cover until I notified them. Positioning myself near the center of the belt…I told the crew we were “fishing” and for them to get comfortable. It did not take very long when the target NosDomi pilot warped into 3,000m range off port…the trap had been sprung.

I let her lock my ship down and begin her energy capacitor assault. Soon the expensive T2 drones were let loose upon my ever decreasing shields. Finally, I told the crew to “sink the hook”. With my own NOS batteries now fully hitting the large Gallente hull broadside, I scrambled and webified the ship in place. A deadly locking of horns had taken place…one of our ships were going to die that day no matter what.

My large smartbombs cleared the enemy drones off my hull after two pulses. At that moment my prey knew it was a trap…an Apocalypse Battleship set up specifically to kill a NosDomi. My Battlecrusier escort was ordered into the fray, but a sudden rash of technical difficulties ensued to where only one showed up. This was getting interesting…as I had no way to kill the Dominix myself.

Sensing this, the pirate ship quickly changed its focus to the sole OEC Drake class Battlecruiser that had started to pound its hull with heavy missile. Additionally, she called in support of its own, with a new enemy Ferox class Battlecruiser warping in 5,000m from my ship. Now the fight was getting extremely dicey. My escort screen had fixed its problems and started to warp in, locking down the Ferox as well. We switched focus fire on the Ferox as I had the Dominix in submission, but while doing so I made the mistake of letting some of its drones get through to the Drake. A new enemy Caracal showed up at long range and started to hit the Drake as well…it was only a matter of time I knew.

The OEC Drake finally had hull failure, but in turn the Ferox and ultimately the Dominix were dispatched with one pod kill between them. While I now think we could have come away with no loss, that is the price of an ever changing battle. NIE Corp quickly left the sector to lick its wounds and we once again controlled Beke for the time being.

We 'fished' for another few hours…and destroyed two more Drakes from a passing anti-pirate operation that mistook us for pirates. After the end of the day's operations some wondered why the 'fishing' tactic is so successful. I simply replied "That's one of the oldest pirate tricks in the book...but these days, the new pirates just don't recognize it." Beers were had all around.

All in all, an interesting 72 hours of operations…proving once again the resilience of the OEC cadre. They are true professionals of their field, and I am honored to fly with them.

Friday, February 09, 2007

High Stakes Poker

While I normally do not comment about ongoing events here, I feel that I must put some ‘pen to paper’ on recent happenings. We have been playing a game of poker CONIN it seems, and their unaligned sister corporation Space Fyad (SF). After reinforcing our own moon with a large POS, and capital sized weapon arrays (the large projectile station is larger than my Maller), we decided to wait a week and see what would happen. As I predicted, the MC are extremely busy up north on a very large contract, so CONIN did not show up to re-engage our POS operations. Not wanting to stand idly by and move into a garrison stance, we decided to attack the Space Fyad POS in the same system.

We arrived to a large Minmatar station with no active weaponry or defensive structures…just the shield. While 45 million hp rating shields are extremely difficult to bring down with no dreadnaughts, the OEC completed this task. As of this writing the POS has come out of reinforced mode, and a CONIN carrier has jumped into system and positioned itself at the enemy POS.

This confirms the bogus contract status in my eyes…but again I hope to be proven wrong in the future.

I have never disputed the fact that the OEC cannot possibly ‘win’ against a full CONIN attack in the system. We simply do not have the manpower, experience, and equipment to make an effective defense (this blog is named 'fighting broke' for a reason). That stated however, I think it would be extremely unwise for this situation to get out of hand…seeing as we still view the entirety of MC as friendly. I have given orders to the OEC membership not to engage MC outside of our operations in Aridia.

What will happen over the next 72 hours no one fully knows…but our plans are in place. My hope is that the OEC is calling a bluff and not an ace high flush.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Unforeseen Circumstances

Our campaign in Fountain has raged for a good full 3 weeks now. The membership is glad to be home, as well as having access to our old hunting grounds. Serpendis has beefed up their pirate patrols, and CONCORD has responded in kind with larger bounties.

We have been fighting alongside Coreli and Aftermath for the most part. Xelas typically stays up north in their stronghold of PNQY. Fountain Core is a complete warzone, but the ‘friendlies’ seem to control the tempo and traffic at most times during a 24 hour cycle. Last night we trapped an enemy Vindicator in a nearby system…but he was able to elude probes with the help of his escort pilot flying a Falcon.

And I suppose I should address the attack on our POS operation in Aridia by the Mercenary Coalition.

A week and a half ago, our only POS in Aridia was put in reinforced mode by 6 dreadnoughts from the Mercenary Coalition. MC forces stated it was just business, and a valid contract…and we took them at their (CONIN) word. We decided to take down the POS and was given an extension to do so. In the meantime as we were waiting for the Strontium core to run out…we did our usual intelligence gathering.

What we found was in a word…disappointing. OEC High Command now believes that CONIN (MC) just hired ‘itself’ through a shell corporation as an excuse to attack our station. While this maybe common in the Eve Cluster…I had held the MC corporations to a higher regard as this is also my profession. I suppose that is what I am most disappointed about…the lack of professionalism. If CONIN wanted our station, they should have just stated outright they were taking it….not giving the appearance they weren’t hired by their alt corporation (verified via employment histories, forum postings, etc).

I am sure they will disagree with our conclusions, which is fine. We do not have solid 100% proof…but none is needed in my book if the gut says one thing, and the eyes back it up. So in turn, we simply reinforced the station with a larger tower, large guns, and more shield resistance arrays you could shake a Matari whore at. Disrespect begets disrespect…and even though this is a side issue for us and the MC, I doubt it will wash away any time soon.

The time has been kept us away from defending Fountain Core, but we are slowly back in business there. While I fully expect the MC to come back and finish their job, they have since held off doing so. My only hope is they rethink their plans for our station…as we surely cannot defend it against a full MC attack being such a small organization that we are.