For years I rummaged around Gallente highsec, running missions and doing some smalltime trading, usually as a member of corps with the same group of pilots I’ve known for years. Finally, bored out of our skulls, a few of us created a new corp (No Fixed Abode - NOFAD) and joined Saints amongst Sinners alliance in Querious. For the first time I was part of a sovereignty holding nullsec alliance! With the plentiful beltrat bounties, the havens and the sanctums also came the CTA’s, gatecamps, roaming gangs and skirmishes. I scored my first solo pvp kill, got killed too and generally enjoyed it thoroughly. If there’s one thing I regret, is that I didn't do this earlier!
But all was not well. We were in Querious as IT renters, but, unbeknownst to us IT was on the verge of a failscade. Pretty soon it looked like IT wasn't able to repel the assaults directed at Fountain, and when IT needed more support, they upgraded us from renters to allies and gave us the entire constellation instead of just our home system B-7DFU. But for IT, it really was too late to turn the tide and it became clear we were on our own.
For a while, we were able to withstand the annoyances of Goon cloaky SB pilots (true, that wasn't the hard part) and the occassional roaming gang of reds. But when IT caved in, we soon encountered other enemies at our doorstep. We fought off Atlas. a few times - including their cap ships, I might add. We gate camped, scored kills, destroyed a number of SBU’s, but in the end we couldn’t withstand the combined pressure of –A-, Atlas. and Pandemic Legion. After we lost a few key battles, most of us evacuated our goods to either NPC nullsec or into Khanid and bade farewell to a part of New Eden that served us well.
For the past few weeks, –A-, Atlas. and PL have been duking it out in KFIE-Z, which is a dozen or so jumps away from our former home B-7DFU, and as long as PL has the ability to hotdrop –A-/Atlas. fleets in the region on a whim, I'm not sure someone else will claim sovereignty there. The -A- guys have had their butts kicked painfully, a few times, and I don’t see things changing in their favour anytime soon. In other words: unless Pandemic Legion gets curb stomped unexpectedly, it holds the keys to who’s going to have sov in our former home in Querious.
The impact of IT's once powerful cap fleets being able to move quickly throughout New Eden via their jump bridge network, has allowed them to project power across a large expanse of the cluster, more or less allowing us to find a nice and relatively safe spot under their protection. But when IT caved, the same mechanics allowed large enemy cap fleets to knock on our doors in no time. It still seems that holding sov in nullsec is a large alliances' game; you need the cap fleet and, preferrably, the backing of a large coalition if you want to establish a long term presence.
But then.. what is long term, in Eve Online nullsec? The biggest changes on the map have often happened in very short time frames, sometimes even overnight.. remember to pay that sov bill, guys!
So, as for Saints amongst Sinners: after a turbulent time in late 2010 and early 2011, we now find ourselves in a much different place. We are reorganizing in NPC nullsec, and will be preparing for a next stab at sov in nullsec. Stay tuned :)