After playing EVE Online over a year, I have finally visited "the front." That is, thanks to fortuitous timing of in-game events, alliance politics, Vivian's nap, and Jennifer's performance in the pit orchestra of a high school musical, I was able to make my way up to the site of an anticipated fleet engagement with major operational significance.
When I logged off last night I hadn't figured out that the timing would work out -- Ushra'Khan tends to time major operations to take place in European prime time, and I generally don't play during the day -- so I wasn't in proper position. It took me an hour to fly my stealth bomber up to the contested system, 48-U6U. En route I had narrow escapes from two ambushes, but my bomber's cloaking device did its job. Several of my corp mates weren't so lucky. I finally arrived to find 1600 active pilots in system. With a little bit of difficulty I managed to join the fleet and get voice and text comms working. This was primarily an Against ALL Authorities operation, which meant orders coming over TeamSpeak with heavy Russian accents.
After all that, there wasn't much of a fight. The picture above is a typical moment, a few of us, the purple boxes, glaring at the Goons, in red, sitting behind their station force field. We showed up in strong enough numbers that the Goons didn't waste their assets challenge our attacks on their stations, and today's victory should stop the Goon advance, at least temporarily.
Browsing Scrapheap Challenge, I see that the posters think the peak system occupancy of 1700+ is a record. I have to say the server performance was very good, very little lag, although not much actual shooting was going on, which stresses things quite a bit more. Nonetheless, technologically impressive.