A combined force of nearly 400 pilots, mostly from PFR and HERO fell to a less than 200-man BOT/RUS fleet. This comes after what would be considered a win for the PFR from claiming part of the Scalding Pass region. On December 15, Phoebe Freeport Republic has liberated the last outpost in Scalding Pass belonging to N3 – 4-CM8I, which is now PFR’s Freeport 2. The other 11 outposts were captured by their like-minded allies The Gorgon Empire. The new owners do not want to repeat N3’s mistakes and hold a different approach to their SOV.
All 12 outposts in Scalding Pass are, as of now, freeports – the docking fee is removed, and all services are available to anyone. The Gorgon Empire has claimed that anyone willing to settle in the region will be granted a limited NAP with them which applies to POS, sovereignty structures and fleets that are formed to defend sov or to grind the remaining N3 systems.
The loss stands as a stark contrast to the jubilation PFR felt in the early days of their existence. AS them being the only entity to have retained the SOV they essentially ninja’d following the post-Pheobe shuffle over the last couple of months. Although it’s clear now that the only real reason they got this far so quickly was support from other entities and lack of any true opposition.
Well that changed as the primarily Russian alliances of xXDEATHXx and Total Absolution decided Freeport 1 was an eyesore. And despite claims that they’re just absentee landlords, it would seem that they have lived up to their reputation and flipped the station after the final armor timer.
Today we gather to mourn the destruction of Phoebe Freeport Republic’s Freeport 1 in Etherium Reach. The port fell and its doors shuttered late Monday night – but not without a fight…
From the first days after PFR’s rag-tag fleets claimed and freeported CT8K-0, there was resistance from Total Absolution and Absolution Alliance (a/k/a Whitenoise 2.0) – the groups who had “bought” that pocket (and others) in Etherium Reach. Clearing TA/AA offensive SBUs then seeing our defensive SBUs killed by their Ishtars/Tengus/dreadnoughts quickly became a daily ritual. So it came as no surprise when a decisive TA/AA/xXDEATHXx force SBU’d and reinforced the freeport two weeks ago (xXDEATHXx being a friend/ally of TA/AA).
We turned the tide once while supported by The 99 Alliance and Spectre Fleet when TA/AA/xXDEATHXx blueballed the station shield timer, but last week saw the overwhelming hostile fleet show for every timer. After a few days the hostiles had destroyed or reinforced all PFR assets in the system, deployed their own POS infrastructure, and sent Freeport 1 into its final station armor timer.
Facing an enemy with more numbers, better equipment, and better training, PFR nevertheless dug in for one final battle to save Freeport 1. The station’s timer was set late for us, but brutally late for the predominantly Russian opposition, and an armor doctrine was readied to try and inflict more damage while also being ready to repair the station.
Looking for help or at least assurance that Freeport 1 would at least get the sendoff it deserved, PFR hastily mailed invitations to friends and sympathizers across New Eden. Long distance travel changes have slashed the cords of traditional batphones, but for a true last stand, there was still a chance Han Solo might show at the last minute and blow Vader off our tail.
The best ship is friendship
As the timer drew close, offers of aid were pouring in, and coordination channels were hastily set up to guide the chaos as best it could. We had a huge turnout – even neutrals and reds formed to help save the station, under the “nobody gets to beat up my little brother but me” theory of space politics.
Offers of aid also came from large and distant entities, but the logistics were prohibitive: everyone loves a good fight, but nobody loves traveling 30 gates each way. And sov warfare means winning one fight is never enough – over time, the determined force will always win, and a hail-marry bailout from across the galaxy can only buy time.
Just two hours before the fight, a random voice in CT8K-0 local piped up, asking if anybody was interested in a short wormhole chain to Catch – just one jump out of GE-8JV, the HERO staging system. It was Toren Song of Brave Newbies – and it was a miracle. Within minutes of him announcing the hole, PFR propagandists were shitting up GE- local looking for help, and friends from HERO were busy planning a support fleet.
All told, friends from Hero coalition (notably Test Alliance[FN1] and Brave Newbies, maybe/probably others too, I’m not great at space politics), PFR’s blues, assorted local entities, and a random Black Legion bomber wing (that looked suspiciously like an isboxer-assisted endeavor) joined to save the freeport.
When the station’s timer dropped, hundreds of temp blues were in local to support the PFR Vexor/VNI/Augoror fleet, and the only sign of hostiles was a small bomber wing. Reps began hitting the station, and the most significant challenge became keeping various friendly third parties from mistakenly shooting one another as we waited for TA/AA/xXDEATHXx to crash the party.
Fashionably late but ready to throw down, the hostiles eventually jumped in – packing two small but well-supported fleets, one of Mallers and one of Ishtars. When the hostiles jumped in, the they were outnumbered at least 2:1 by PFR and friends. Violence erupted first on an in-gate, and then across the system and onto the station. PFR logi was quickly vaporized (the enemy had enough firepower to nearly alpha us), but tireless logibros reshipped again and again to try and hold the line. Bombs rained down on friends and foes (and there was at least one report of two friendly bomber groups accidentally bombing each other). Wrecks piled up on both sides, with many support fleets bombed off the field shortly after the battle began.
PFR began the fight with a strong numerical advantage, but for a few reasons was not holding the field. First, the defense coordination was a last-minute and daunting task that quickly eclipsed PFR’s experience, leaving friendly forces communicating in a basic fashion but not operating as a perfectly cohesive unit (a major area for improvement next time). Second, Bob – God of wormholes – is a fickle god. While He saw fit to enable mass transit between Catch and Etherium Reach, the final hole in the chain only allowed frigates and destroyers through. As a result, distant friends came in huge numbers but mostly in Cormorants, Mauluses, tackle frigates, and bombers – leaving he few dozen PFR + local blue cruisers making up the main combat force.
As the meatgrinder raged on, it became clear PFR and friends were bleeding ships faster than they could be replaced, and the bold enemy took the opportunity to drop dreadnoughts to decisively end the conflict. The crippled friendly forces couldn’t break the tank on even one dreadnought, and under the fire of capital weaponry, the station quickly flipped to the aggressors.
By the time the PFR TCU fell and local cleared out, hundreds of wrecks floated in a halo around the fallen freeport.
The reinforcement fleet’s name is “bad idea”
The strategic objective looked lost, but the bloodlust was not quenched. A Brave Newbies reinforcement fleet of roughly 70 Moas decided to fly the 30 gates from Catch, even knowing the station was a lost cause. By the time they arrived, a small PFR + local friends kitchen sink fleet had also been assembled to cause trouble even if the night’s result was already certain. Hilariously, Emma Kado – a local war target with a softspot for PFR – was commanding PFR’s haggard revenge fleet when Brave showed up, leading to Brave headshotting our FC and our FC calling a Brave ship as primary. Mistakes were made.
But laughs were also had and 7os were exchanged in local, and the combined fleets sorted their shit and got to work firing on hostile onlining TCUs. Plans for continuing the fight were discussed, and prayers to AU TZ players were quietly whispered, but after an hour or so it became clear the outcome was certain – hostiles had left five TCUs onlining across several well defended POSes, and there simply wasn’t the manpower or the firepower to tear them down.
PFR joins faction warfare
Realtalk: PFR was beaten to a bloody pulp by a competent and dedicated enemy. No spin – we had our asses handed to us. While we had fun, our hope has always been to both have fun and get shit done, and shouting after losing “didn’t want that freeport anyway” or “already replaced” trivializes both our efforts and those of our adversaries.
To be worthy of the time and effort so many have devoted to PFR, we must improve for next time. We will be back, and we will be better: not just with more pilots, more isk, and more sp – but with more practice flying together, more training, and better planning. Not every fight can be a win, but every fight is a lesson. PFR intends to be an entity where losing is O.K., but failing to learn from the past never is.
So what’s next? Well, not actually faction warfare – but also not failscading. We’ll be around – shoring up our forces to continue fighting and freeporting across New Eden.