My ship came out of warp near Yulai 3 with a shudder while explosions flared around me. A battle was raging during what was supposed to be a peaceful protest against slavery. As I tried to make sense of what I saw, I caught the telltale streaks of ships entering warp. I had arrived just as one side of the conflict retreated, leaving the field of battle to a PIE fleet, golden Apocalypse and Armageddon battleships, along with smaller ships, surrounded by the forlorn shapes of abandoned drones, most bearing the tags of well-known anti-slavery groups.
As I watched, many of the PIE ships aligned themselves to one of the systems star gates, then warped off. I followed, hoping to catch a glimpse of their foes. Once again my ship informed me of warp scrambler being used as my ship arrived at the gate. By the time my camera drones deployed, however, the gate was occupied again only by the forces of PIE. I positioned myself where I could observe to good effect and waited while a force of heavy combat craft took up position around the gate, streaming smoke rings of distortion indicating sensor boosters at work.
It has been said that fleet combat is hours of boredom punctuated by seconds of sheer terror. Regardless of the ratio, there is no arguing the fact that most of the time spent in a fleet is time spent waiting. This is the side of combat that you don't see in holovids. This is the side of combat that you can't really understand until you experience it yourself.
The PIE ships waited at the gate, waited for an enemy to warp in, waited for those seconds of terror. Every so often a ship would warp off to another gate to seek an enemy they could not see. After a time the golden ships approached the gate and jumped through, scattering on the other side to pursue their foe or return home, I do not know which.
Returning to the third planet I found a lumbering industrial ship salvaging the remains of the battle. With quiet patience it moved among the wreckage taking on anything its captain found valuable. Within an hour of the battle even the drones were gone.