In the early European evening of Monday, March 25th, a freighter carrying 27 billion ISK's worth of cargo started a journey towards Jita. Two groups of pilots almost immediately began hunting it. The freighter, a Providence, was piloted by Corinthia Clete, a member of Cookies Dealers corporation. Cookies Dealers had left the predominantly Russian DarkSpawn alliance just the day before—and DarkSpawn is one of the many alliances at war with The Marmite Collective <MYM8>. As a result, the freighter pilot and his corpmates were still operating under the war dec they had 'inherited' from DarkSpawn.
Moving a freighter under a war dec along a well-travelled route was their first (painfully obvious) mistake. Marmite is quickly becoming one of the best-known (and most effective) high-sec mercenary alliances with their killboard bloated with war targets along the Amarr-Jita axis. As of this writing, they're operating 82 different war decs, making Empire space a target-rich environment. A Marmite pilot spotted Corinthia's freighter roughly halfway between Dodixie and Jita, heading towards the Citadel. The hunt was on.
Meanwhile, the Goonswarm high-sec ganking group 'Ministry of Love' (Miniluv) was powering through another day of freighter kills, having just executed a Charon in Haatomo. After a truly gruesome day last week, the organization has returned to its late-2012 heyday. Alts fitted with cargo scanners were deployed as usual, covering the regular routes to and from Jita. One scanner, Lavender Princess, was set up with eyes on the Dodixie-Jita highway. A peek at an incoming Providence revealed a treasure trove of cargo. Lavender PMed Braygo Khallazar, who broadcasted in all caps: "LOG IN DPS AND BUMPERS UEDAMA, THIS ONE IS COMING FROM SIVALA." A fleet was quickly formed with Miniluv leader Warr Akini as FC. DPS pilots were given suicide Brutixes, and Miniluv freighter-bumpers in fast battleships and SFIs moved into position on the Sivala gate in Uedama.
Corinthia Clete jumped through to Uedama and the bumpers launched towards their prey. Before they could make contact, the freighter was gone. Surprise on comms was followed by the realization that Corinthia was not alone. Two corpmates, in a Malediction and an Ares, had tagged along to web the Providence. Being webbed allows a freighter to enter warp much more quickly, and canny haulers will often enlist an alt or corp buddy to 'web-warp' their way through dangerous areas. Miniluv, momentarily flummoxed, moved on to the next system for another attempt.
Unbeknownst to the Goons, Marmite was also stalking the freighter. Noting that the pilot had his corpmates scouting, they moved further along his route and began setting up a login trap in Anttiri and Juunigaishi. Unaware of the webbing, they intended to log in on both sides of the gate upon the freighter's arrival in Antirri, trapping and destroying him.
Once in Juunigashi, the Providence once again entered warp almost instantly with web assists. Perhaps spooked by the hostile war targets in local and Goon Stabber Fleet Issues bearing down on him, Corinthia Clete docked up instead of continuing to Jita. Miniluv, disappointed, began to reset to Uedama, but they left a scout watching the station. Disappointment turned to urgency a few minutes later as the freighter undocked again. The scout was able to get another cargo scan revealing that the potential loot had actually increased in value—the target was picking up more stuff to bring to Jita! Warr Akini, determined not to let the target slip away a third time, ordered all ships into Antirri where the greater part of the Marmite force happened to be logged off and waiting.
As before, the webbing scouts entered system first, checking local for war targets. Finding it clear, the freighter was brought in. At this point, Miniluv took drastic measures. Arch Sera, in a suicide Blackbird, jammed the Malediction and Ares as soon as the Providence decloaked. They were unable to web the lumbering freighter, and the Providence was stuck aligning as usual until CONCORD responded. It was enough time for a Stabber Fleet Issue piloted by Helfeln Meathead to hit the freighter with a mighty bump, knocking it hopelessly out of alignment. Other bumpers joined in, and soon the freighter was bouncing along at 500 m/s. Arch Sera soon died to CONCORD, but the seconds he bought had meant that no amount of webbing could save the freighter. The Goon DPS began preparations to engage the target.
The Marmite Collective had been watching, though. Spotting the freighter pilot's predicament with an alt, <MYM8> pilot mylittleangel logged in, burned to the freighter and engaged. After a point was secured, the Marmite gang logged in en masse. Mylittleangel's Proteus was soon joined by two Lokis, a Firetail, a Rupture, and a Megathron Navy Issue.