It was calm in Madirilime. Close to the galactic headquarters of the Amarr empire, no pirate, cult or rogue fleets would dare tread. That there was a Sansha attack that was swiftly defeated not long ago may have given the system a deadly overconfidence.
There were three Tengus, T3 war machines forged for fire. They alone happened to be in-system when the void tore itself apart, chasming a hole in spacetime, a fount for darkness to spill through.
The Sansha ships are bulbous, heavily engined, and mohawked by a line of menacing spikes that crown their hulls. Seeing them warping into an area is like watching a line of bayonnets thrust. They had congregated at planet 4 before anyone had time to react.
The Tengus met them there as the first line of defence, one that lasted briefly. First one, then another, then the third exploded in the far upper atmosphere of the planet, while below shocked and uninformed citizens saw fire-blossoms in the sky and had a moment to wonder why before countless Sansha collection ships began burning into the atmosphere. Soon their confusion was eclipsed by the shocked realization that, yes, They had come, and, yes, They were here to take THEM.
Across the planet, on every continent that hosted a population center, the spiny vessels cruised to the surface and began to herd.
In space, orbitting the planet, the Slave that commanded the invasion decimated turreted defenses and any soul who lifted a finger to stop them. Massive battleships were there to protect the invasion, equally dastard in their rough-shod, utilitarian design.
Spiked invaders blasted into the atmosphere of Madirilime IV. Miners, civilians, politicians, all the people there realized at once that they were liabilities. Cattle to be herded, they soon were.
As Corporations responded to the distress call the damage was done, as thousands were rounded up into the drop ships before they blasted upward to rejoin with their fleet.
Moira came in roaring. We warped to zero on the planet and spread across the upper atmosphere to stop the withdrawal of Madi civilians.
Aglow in the backlight of a living planet, we traded shots and lanced each other. Some ships destined to extract citizens were shot through the hull and crashed deep below, others captured 1000's of citizens just to have their engines blasted out to crash on the terrain below. In some daring acts troopers contained in attackships rammed into the invading crewships and stormed them, retrieving valuable personnel.
The Sansha had coated the plannet with force, spikes and spines and autocannons filling the starfield. In the end vast groups of interconnected corporations spilled their top-notch battleships and fleets to clog the flow of humans from planet IV to the deadmind space of the Sansha home systems.
Make no mistake, humans extracted would be reprocessed and lost to us. As far as we were concerned, they would be retrieved or killed. Many Sansha gatherer ships were burned from the sky even as others pushed through the loose bloackade to deposit their "cargo" Carrier-side. Yes, the Carrier, piloted by the Slave commander, it loomed behind us all, and as the dropships and frigates carrying their mindless hordes for mental reprocessing returned and docked internally, the banded ships of the highsec defense saw that the invaders had had their fill.
Rarely had I seen such savage violence. Beams and missile/rocket trails had crisscrossed the system. Humans had been harvested.
It was at the wormhole portal that the Amarrians made their last stand. The pilots downed in the initial attack, stripped of their tengus, returned, and brought the thunder alongside countless others. Wild kinetic backlashes and fiery thermic and explosive concussions ravaged the Slave carrier hull., Contained within were thousands, perhaps millions of lives, as the entire defense fleet focused fire on the nefarious Carrier. It came to 500m of the exit point, and all around it in a corruscating cascade that signaled their passage from the zone, Sansha freighters, frigates and battleships, all be-spiked, travelled home.
We didn't save those people. Thousands of humans were taken, we fought as hard as we could but we could not grind that carrier to a proper halt. Next time we will be more ready, they will feel more pain.
A distraction from my core quest, but a welcome one.