"I've never seen people break down like that," Grath told me, beaming with pride. "We might have gone a little overboard." Grath told me that some pilots even went as far as to file petitions with CCP in order to argue against Pandemic Legion's methods. But despite what members of HTA might have felt, the attacks were anything but personal. "They were just on the tracks when the train was coming through."
It was a classic case of a much larger but much less disciplined army going up against a small group of highly trained veterans. Grath told me of one of his favorite conflicts of the fight, in which Pandemic Legion scouts had spotted an HTA carrier "ratting" (killing NPC characters for money) in a system. Expecting it to be a trap, Pandemic Legion took the bait anyway, and for almost an hour 14 Pandemic Pilots fought off dozens upon dozens of HTA forces to the point where they had to share ammo because their ships were running so low. "It was so grim," Grath said, referring to the ceaseless slaughter of HTA forces who continued to throw ships at them.
Honorable Templum of Alcedonia's final stand came shortly after, when they amassed over 400 pilots in a last ditch effort to bring the pain to Pandemic Legion. Hearing Grath talk about it now, the whole operation feels like a depressing disaster. Pandemic Legion mustered their own force but when they finally pinned down the HTA main force at a stargate, one by one the HTA pilots inexplicably jumped through the gate. Little did they know that on the other side a force of Goonswarm bombers were waiting. When the HTA main force arrived at the other gate, haphazardly scattered, the bombers began unleashing hell. Not knowing what to do, HTA jumped back through the gate a second time, arriving back into the jaws of Pandemic Legion, bleeding profusely from the heavy bombing they had suffered. It was a massacre.
"It was an unmitigated disaster. It was lethal," Grath said. Shortly after, Honorable Templum of Alcedonia collapsed. Demoralized and bettered, the member corporations that comprised the alliance fell apart, doing what they could to escape the region. For his part in dismantling the alliance, Grath was given the incredibly rare gift of an Adrestia—one of 50 faction heavy assault cruisers given as a reward to Pandemic Legion by CCP for winning the Alliance Tournament VIII now worth somewhere around 160 billion ISK (he regretted to inform me that he had sold it for only 15 billion).
For an outsider, it can be hard to understand why the fall of HTA was such an important moment for Grath. But for him, the war wasn't about finding good, fair fights. It was about learning and building a process for dismantling superpowers with as little effort as possible. It showed Grath that a small force used effectively could cripple much larger organizations, and it became a challenge to see how well he could refine the process. "I became addicted to it," he said. "It's my favorite thing to do in EVE."
"It just became something I like to do. How few people can I turn off your space with and make you not be able to live there."
And while none of Grath's victims have folded quite as dramatically as Honorable Templum of Alcedonia, the collapse of that rather insignificant alliance certainly played its role in instilling within Grath Telkin an insatiable hunger to push himself and his pilots further, to find that perfect equilibrium of most destruction caused by the least amount of force. As if Pandemic Legion wasn't already dangerous enough as it is.