Providence Bloc brought their usual Sentry Battleship\Battlecuriser fleet, around a hundred and ten pilots large, though numbers increased during the fighting. They were supported by a Stealth Bomber wing and Stain Wagon Coalition, who brought a hundred and ten pilot fleet as well, in Cerberus class Heavy Assault Cruisers.
Against them were arrayed HERO Coalition and several N3 Coalition entities, mostly Northern Coalition(dot) and The Unthinkables alliances. HERO Coalition was in their signature Eagle class Heavy Assault Cruiser fleet, supported by Ferox class Battlecruisers and Harpy class Assault Frigates mixed in, all total a hundred and fifty pilots. Northern Coalition(dot) and The Unthinkables each came in a Tengu class Strategic Cruiser fleet, seventy and fifty pilots respectively.
Pandemic Legion Alliance came in their Proteus\Legion mixed fleet, a hundred pilot strong, hoping to act as an honorable third party, much like in previous fights.
However, things did not go their usual way.
The fighting that broke up was truly chaotic, with Providence Bloc forces sitting around the station's undock and engaging all hostiles, who warped in and out at ranges, as both Stain Wagon and Pandemic Legion forces proved to be the most mobile in the system, specifically the Cerberus who managed to kite the other fleets while spamming their missiles.
HERO Coalition attempted to stay on grid longer than in their previous assault on the station, but both Pandemic Legion and Stain Wagon seemed to have focused their attention on their Eagles, causing many losses and forcing the fleet to leave the field for most of the fighting. The Unthinkables themselves also seemed to have left the field early in the fighting, chased by both Pandemic Legion and Stain Wagon.
At some point the only opposing fleet left on the station grid were Providence Bloc and Northern Coalition(dot) who slugged it out, until Stain Wagon forces warped back to the station and started to focus their deadly missile payload on the Northern Coalition(dot) Logistic ships.
Before they could drive the Northern Coalition fleet off the field, the Pandemic Legion fleet managed to warp on top of the Cerberus, Within seconds much of the Cerberus fleet was bubbled, with many ships being pointed by the Pandemic Legion ships. Northern Coalition(dot) then joined the Pandemic Legion and together the two fleets closed in on the Stain Wagon Cerberus', who were forced to retreat after losing roughly a third of their numbers.
By this time, it was expected that Providence Bloc will be forced to brawl once more with Northern Coalition(dot) alone, when Pandemic Legion warped on top of the Providence Bloc forces and started to engage them. Again, Northern Coalition(dot) joined Pandemic Legion in the task, and soon after both The Unthinkables and HERO Coalition fleets were seen on grid again, assisting in the destruction of Providence Bloc's ships. Providence Bloc forces were unable to bear the punishment poured down on them by the four combined fleets and attempted to dock up what remained of their fleet in the station.
After this unexpected turn of events, Northern Coalition(dot) chose to lit a cynosural beacon on the station. At this point, both HERO Coalition, The Unthinkables and Pandemic Legion's fleets left the grid, and Northern Coalition(dot) jumped in no less than twenty Aeon\Nyx class Motherships and ten Dreadnaughts, mainly Moros and Revelation class. This fleet quickly setup on the station and started grinding it down.
Northern Coalition(dot) fleet grinding the station
Seemingly unhappy with Northern Coalition(dot)'s actions, Pandemic Legion decided to jump into the system its own Mothership group, including the rare Revenant class. This force quickly attempted to remove the HERO Coalition Sovereignty Blockade Units in the system, managing to destroy the last one as the station had only one percent structure remaining. This caused the station, as well as the system, to become invulnerable again, effectively securing it for Providence Bloc.
With the station once more invulnerable, Northern Coalition(dot) forces seemed to have no choice but to retreat, along side HERO Coalition's fleet, who did use Northern Coalition(dot)'s presence in the system to bring in new Sovereignty Blockade Units, and later anchor and online them before leaving. With most hostiles gone from the system, Pandemic Legion forces elected to extract as well, leaving Providence Bloc to lick its wounds.
Once it became apparent that no other threats to Providence Bloc's fleet remained in the system, the fleet quickly left the system, re-shipped and came back in force, bringing a fresh batch of its Sentry Battleship\Battlecruisers, now reaching one hundred and forty pilots. They also brought two Capital squadrons, mainly Archon\Thanatos class Carriers who were quickly put to work repairing the station's armor.
With the work progressing smoothly, Providence Bloc's sub-Capital fleet set to work on removing the hostile Sovereignty Blockade Units in the system. Yet, as the Providence sub-Capital fleet was pre-occupied on the system's gates, another strange turn of events occurred, with HERO Coalition jumping in no less than nine Capital ships, eight Dreadnaughts and one Carrier. The Capital group landed on the station, possibly in an attempt to interrupt the repair operations and maybe snag one of the Providence Bloc Carriers if they managed to bump it off the undock.
Regardless of their intention, the HERO Coalition Capital group was unsupported and vulnerable. Within seconds they were tackled, with Providence Bloc deploying interdiction probes to prevent them from jumping out. With the Providence Capital group safely docked in station, the sub-Capital fleet landed on top of the stranded Dreadnaughts and started to apply damage. In a few minutes, seven Capital wrecks were left on the field, with only two HERO Coalition Capitals managing to escape, an Archon class Carrier and a Revelation class Dreadnaught.
With that taken care of, Providence Bloc returned to the task at hand - removing the hostile Sovereignty Blockade Units and repairing the station. Managing to restore its armor to full, thus securing another reinforcement timer, they also managed to destroy the last Sovereignty Blockade Unit in the system unmolested. Then, they anchored their own, which at the time of writing are still there and online, effectively securing the system and delaying any attempts to contest it once more.
Fixed battle report for the BR-N97 System can be found here.
During the peak of the fighting, the system hosted more than eight hundred pilots, with Time Dilation being noticeable at its peak at forty percent, but not impacting the battle in any meaningful way. Though some random disconnects were observed, server performances seemed to be stable, unlike in previous fights. Some complains have been made about the grid itself, with many commenting its comparatively small size for a station grid. This seemed to concern mainly the Stain Wagon fleet, who relied on speed and distance as its main defense. Stealth Bomber activity during the fighting proved to be quite minimal compared to previous fights.
The final tally of the battle seems to be three hundred and eleven ships lost, with the total damage amounting to fifty seven billion ISK. This time, HERO Coalition suffered the lion's share of the damage, though most of it is attributed to its failed Capital squadron drop.
As the conflict continues to escalate further, many questions arise. How far is Northern Coalition(dot) willing to go to secure HERO Coalition's victory in this war? Why has HERO Coalition been relegated a secondary role in its own campaign? Why did Pandemic Legion decide to prevent the station's take over? Can Providence Bloc stand up to the combined might of HERO Coalition and N3? Only the next few weeks will give us answers.