Battle of Vak’Atioth
One of the earliest space stories I remember hearing as a child was the great space battle in Vak’Atioth. I remember distinctly hearing about this tory and my mom soon picking up an (age-appropriate) book on the subject for me. Within a few weeks, I could have recited every fact in that book. It would probably be a stretch to say that I’m a capsuleer today because of my fascination with that battle, but it would not be a stretch to say that learning about the battle was the first time I became truly fascinated with something that happened outside of my immediate surroundings on Gallente Prime. It was not just the excitement of how the battle quickly sparked the Minmatar Rebellion. It was the mystery surrounding the Jove ships. How were they able to so completely overwhelm the mighty Amarr Empire? What secrets did their ships hide?
After becoming a fully licensed capsuleer and gained my space legs, one of my first dips into the world of null-security space was a trip out to the system, now simply called Atioth. I had hoped and dreamed that I would be able to find the battlefield, and take a look for myself at the Jove ships that had so captured my imagination as a child. But I was disappointed to discover that the battlefield could not be found using ship systems. Whether it be the Empire itself trying to hide the site of its most famous defeat, the Jove trying once again to hide the secrets of their vessels, or CONCORD in one of its convoluted schemes meant to protect the Cluster from us capsuleers, the battlefield from the Battle of Vak’Atioth has long been hidden from view. But that has not stopped me from returning every few years in hopes that I had somehow missed something, or that someone had finally made the battlefield more public.
You can probably imagine my excitement then when CONCORD announced that the site of that storied battle was finally being made public. As seems to be always the case these days, it seems that the CONCORD announcement was purposefully made at the worst possible time for me to be free to travel to null sec for an extended tour. But as soon as I could free myself from the obligations of my planetside life, I set course back down the now-familiar path to Atioth. In a display of how eager I was to finally see the battlefield I had dreamed about since I was a child, I found myself seriously considering taking the faster Professor Science over Scientia, a slower Tengu-class ship but one far more suited to travel in null security space. Eventually, common sense won out as I undocked in the safer Tengu-class ship, but I silently urged her to pick up the pace as I warped from jumpgate to jumpgate along my route.
And then, quite suddenly, I was there. As Scientia’s scanners resolved the system after the last jump from K-IYNW, the beacon resolved on my scanners, clear as day: “Battle of Vak’Atioth”. I nudged Scientia into the proper alignment and cautiously triggered the ship’s warp engines. The warp bubble soon collapsed around me and I found myself at my destination.
The first thing I noticed when dropping out of warp was the silent visage of a Jove Observatory, a station we are now quite familiar with but, at the time, would have been a complete mystery. Surrounding the station were groups of Amarr wrecks, clearly the remains of the losses suffered by the once-thought-unbeatable Golden Fleet. But I wasn’t here for Amarr wrecks (there seemed to be a plethora of those these days anyway), and I quickly searched for the wreckage of Jove ships. But I was disappointed to discover that the only remnants of those storied vessels were a few twists of scrap metal. Anything else from the quick Jovian ships had either decayed in the harsh environments of space or been plundered by the Amarr, CONCORD, the Jove, the Angel Cartel, or some other mysterious entity long ago. The dreams I had long harbored of seeing the sleek Jovian vessels had been dashed.
While I contemplated my next move, I pinged the local beacon for the information about the site, and found a surprisingly comprehensive summary:
The Battle of Vak’Atioth was the major engagement of the Amarr-Jove War. It was fought in 23216 AD (BYC 20) in the system of Vak’Atioth, now known as Atioth, between two hundred ships of the Amarr Navy and a detachment of Jove ships headed up by a Jovian Mothership. The battle was a massive defeat for the Empire and had far-reaching consequences. It was, for a time, the largest battle in New Eden’s history.
The Empire decided to strike Vak’Atioth, a border system which contained only a small Jove research station, as a show of might. For weeks beforehand they broadcasted messages of Imperial dominance and the Amarr position as God’s chosen.
Forewarned, the Jove were able to meet the Amarr fleet with a perfect counter. The Amarr fleet was composed mostly of battleships and heavier cruisers. Its support was light, leaving the fleet sluggish and unguarded.
The Jove countered with small wings of frigates. While the Amarr scored the first kill, destroying a stationary Jove ship, the Jove frigates quickly reached full speed and were able to pin down the Amarr vessels. It was then that a Jovian Mothership was brought onto the field. An ancient vessel of a size nearly unmatched throughout New Eden, it had been equipped with the latest and most devastating of Jove weaponry. Each shot was capable of destroying an Amarr battleship entirely.
The Amarr, finding their ships pinned by the Jove frigates and being picked apart by long-range cruiser fire and the Mothership’s doomsday weapon, fell into chaos. Their lines of communication were broken and Amarr battle doctrine refused surrender or retreat.
The entire battle lasted just under six hours and ended with the majority of the Amarr ships lost, while the Jove had lost only a third of their vessels.
The Empire was shocked by the complete loss to the Jove. It quickly regrouped and planned a second assault, using different tactics that would be capable of countering the Jove frigates. The Jove, meanwhile, withdrew from their border systems and regrouped for a more concentrated defense.
The second battle never came, however. Shortly after, the Minmatar took the opportunity to rebel, aided by sympathetic elements within the Gallente Federation. The Empire quickly turned its eyes on the Minmatar and entered into a hasty peace treaty with the Jove.
The Battle of Vak’Atioth provided the Jove Empire a reputation of invincibility that spared them any further assaults from the Empire or the other races.
I pinged the abandoned research station as well. I had expected the generic analysis found at every other abandoned Jove observatory, but was surprised that Aura managed to dig up some additional information for me:
This decaying wreckage wis the remains of the Jove Research outpost that was the only known Jove presence in the Atioth system before the Amarr attack that lead to the famous Battle of Vak’Atioth.
Although the outpost survived the battle unscathed, it was abandoned by the Jove soon after the battle as they withdrew from systems bordering the Jove regions. Ultimately, the Jove severed all gate connections between the Jove Empire and the rest of New Eden. Outposts such as this one were left to gradually disintegrate as their integrity maintenance systems broke down, leading to so-called “nanorot”, while pirates and other occasional opportunists braved erratic defense mechanisms to plunder the abandoned facilities.
Although disappointed that I couldn’t see the Jove ships I had long dreamed about (at least beyond the remains of a few pieces of scrap metal; it is perhaps needless to say that the Jove mothership did not remain on the field after the battle), at least I had still managed to fulfill one of my childhood dreams. I was literally flying where history had been made. Though the Jove ships still remain a mystery to me, they were flying right where I was currently positioned, high above Atioth I. That fact was not lost on me. Maybe some day I’ll finally see a true Jove vessel. But until then, there’s nothing wrong with having a new dream to reach for.
- Attraction: Battle of Vak’Atioth
- System: Atioth
- Security Rating: 0.0
- Region: Geminate
- Potential Hazards: Atioth is deep in 0.0 space, involving jumps across a number of different alliance territories, many of which may be operating under “Not Blue, Shoot It” protocol. Gate camps (including warp interdiction bubbles) can be found often in transitioning from 0.0 to empire space, as well as on other gates. Caution is advised.