As an individual pilot, I'm not new to 0.0 overall, although I will admit my life in 0.0 (now approaching a year straight) has been mostly in NPC 0.0. Our alliance has recently sided with the SC in the current "great war" in hopes of gaining some decent sov systems and the benefits that come with it. We successfully have sovereignty in 4 systems, but no station systems. That was on the agenda to change last night, but sadly, did not work out in our favor.
Shortly before 00:00 EST in RL, I heard crickets. That's my "quiet" alarm on my iPhone, the one I use for alarm-clock ops so I don't wake the wife. I get up, bio and settle in to my desk, EVE has been logged in all day in anticipation of an ugly fight for sovereignty in FIO. When I went to bed (two hours earlier) there were only a dozen or so people in local, and half of them were alliance. After an unopposed takedown on a Tech moon the night before, I wondered if MH and the NC would just roll over for this backwater system with station. I didn't expect them to, but I wondered...
I'd been idle in FIO all day, sitting cloaked at a fairly deep (but within Tyrannis bounds) safe in my light dictor. It was the best ship I'd had available when we started this fight, although when I get back to station I can put together some LR battleships and HICs finally since my gear has arrived in 0.0. I watched local hover in the teens, mostly neuts and reds when I checked, so when I went to prep for the final battle I was mildly surprised to find local over 250 with only 20 blues in that count. What I wasn't surprised with was the crappy local spam that is part of current lag-based warfare. Note to CCP - an option to ignore a pilot in local (and have their local broadcasts blocked) would be a godsend in the current game. Anyway, I fire up vent and look for the fleet, join up and am immediately dismayed. Our fleet numbers 62 pilots, and the station we are attempting to take comes out or RF in 30 minutes. That means the current odds are a little under 6:1 against us. Well, I figure, I'll sit it out and see if we actually can put this together. After all, it's 12:30 AM EST, which means our strong Euro group is just waking up, and the U.S. folks are really pushing into the later night. We've had larger fleets in roams - no reason it wouldn't pick up to around 100 - but then the other shoe drops. The majority of our small fleet is still in our home staging system. They haven't even begun the trip out here, and the road is heavily camped this close to the actual combat timer.
After some up and down discussion, it is determined that we will be able to utilize a Titan bridge courtesy of CH (currently blue to us for the war), and they've got a fleet that could be as large as 100. Things are starting to look up, although now the timer is at 15 minutes and counting... Count in local is now about 300, blues account for 20 +/- pilots. As the fleet is warping to the titan bridge, word comes out that the POS the Titan rests at is set to shoot non-alliance. Pilots should be entering a password before warping, CH is working on the POS settings, it sounds like this could end badly before it begins. Well, as it turns out, things get arranged and folks start bridging in a couple systems from FIO. Of course, the timer is up and the NC is now pounding on our SBUs, ready to end this siege. Our fleet arrives at the E9 gate into FIO, are alerted to the enemy count on gate, and the situation, and they call for all alliance pilots in FIO to get into E9. Most of us warp to 0 on the gate from our various spots and jump into E9. Two neuts follow us, and the fleet fails to pop or stop them, as they (in bombers) are able to warp off successfully.
We sit for a while on gate as intel feeds in from FIO. The bulk of the NC fleet is now on the other side of this gate - so our fleet sets up at optimal ranges. Of course, our FCs aren't thinking Sov warfare - why would they jump out when everything they need is on their side of the gate. They can sit there and end the Sov battle by destroying our SBU while we sit on the other side of the gate debating tactics. Finally a tactic is arranged, the whole fleet warps around to a secondary entry gate in FIO. As we approach that gate, the fleet splits back up and half goes back to the E9 system and gate into FIO. Apparently we will try a two-front assault in hopes of...I guess a good fight. At this point, the SBU is reported destroyed. The battle for FIO is over, NC defended. Our allies have jumped in, are trying to engage the NC fleet but are in HACs/BCs and don't have the firepower and armor to survive an assault from the NC fleet, which has at least 5 guardians on the field. After some brief discussion, our FC decides that we came for a fight, and we were going to do it, if the majority supports it. As most pilots are in T1 Battleships, and insurance still pays a win, we decide to jump in and go down in our true suicide fleet way.
As we jump into FIO, the NC bubbles the gate all to hell. Still cloaked, my overview is full of targets, and the FC starts calling targets. I realize that my little dictor is useless in this unless I can get out, so I align to a celestial and start to MWD out. I'm targeted almost immediately, and with two volleys I'm at 20% armor. I get out (in 80% hull) and am able to regroup and repair my armor - but as I watch and listen our fleet is going down steadily. At the end of the day, our KB shows 53 losses, 8 kills. I'm not going to try and paint a rosy picture, we got wiped off the field. But it is the nature of the beast - this alliance is about the fight, win or lose, as long as everyone (or the majority) supports the decision for a suicide fight. Round 1 of the battle for FIO and Fade goes to the NC.
Just under two hours from the alarm going off, I'm headed back to bed. We'll regroup and reassess in the morning, I expect.