Pandemic Legion propaganda chief and CSM7 delegate brings us his (often controversial) views on trecent events.
Elise Randolph: Regional Update – The South – A Perfect Storm
After the SoCo offensive in Fountain petered, -A- tasked their more reliable ally to open a new front in Period Basis. Although there was no indication of an offensive HBC push into Catch, -A- still believed the fight was coming for them and wanted to cause as big a distraction as possible. ROL & Co were happy to oblige, of course, since it would mean they would finally be able to run their own fleets. The ROL & Co offensive into Tribe space in Period Basis was rather tepid; roaming gangs and some JB were reinforced. Tribe responded to the push with a counter-punch of their own and managed to kill all the SoCo Neo towers in Paragon Soul in the process. Good, medium-scale fights were had between the two groups and the ROL counter-offensive fell flat on its face while the frequency of the fights began to dwindle.
Tribe’s lust for fights wasn’t quite sated and, on a whim, they SBU’d the entrance to Paragon Soul. The ROL attitude quickly shifted, this failed offense was starting to look like it would cost them more than a few Neo moons. A few allies were called in for the defense and the small skirmishes became more significant for ROL & Co; Tribe found themselves outmatched. In SoCo, “pets” are left to die if they act with autonomy and the leadership is blamed when they fail. Victims of their own deluded culture, ROL & Co breathed a sigh of relief; they could not comprehend HBC helping out a smaller alliance like Tribe. HBC support did just that, however, and just enough aid was pumped into the Paragon Soul front to keep the good fights going. Not wanting to overwhelm ROL, the HBC sent Drake fleets into ROL Abaddons to milk the fun skirmishes for all involved; a Golden Age of ~goodfites~ was on the horizon. ROL & Co weren’t enjoying themselves nearly as much, though, and tried to push the envelope further with Dreads and Triage. When HBC countered with SCs, ROL were awestruck; RA, Nulli, Fail – none of the former SoCo entities ever received this type of aid. It was just unfathomable.
ROL had an emergency CEO meeting where they asked for -A- support. Since -A- got them into this mess and there was clearly no threat to Catch, surely the support would flow. ROL has been -A-’s most devoted ally for quite some time, so support fleets were haphazardly formed in a sign of good faith. A handful of thirty man Tengu fleets were sent up to Paragon Soul for important timers, though more than half got “lost” on the way and arrived late. When -A- found their motivation, they always attempted to take a fight instead of defending the ROL objectives. Somehow HBC fleets were all able to converge from 4 regions away, and yet -A- with all their infrastructure were never able to make the trip in time. The closest -A- got was 2 jumps away from a ROL final timer. When the fighting started, -A- used ROL as a distraction and strategically advanced in the opposite direction to save their Tengu fleet. The final straw came Friday when a ROL CSAA was coming out of final RF. The system was jammed, the tower was timed to just after DT, and by all means the combined SoCo forces should have been able to save the build. -A- called a CTA but cited FC problems and the fleet never formed. The CSAA, reported as an Avatar or Hel depending on who you ask, was destroyed by HBC forces with significant ROL losses. An hour later -A- formed a 150 man Tengu fleet to go assist Solar forces in Detorid; a slap in ROL’s face.
-A- led SoCo fleets continued West to Solar’s aid while ROL assets were sieged. This distinct lack of support created a schism within ROL. While one group bought into the tried and true -A- rhetoric of retreating to Stain and waiting out the fights, another felt betrayed and slighted by -A-’s abandonment. Not wanting to be another name on the wall of forgotten -A- allies, this ROL splinter group formulated a plan to evolve beyond mere serfdom. Whether it was a matter of respect for HBC culture, frustration from the “SoCo treatment”, a self preservation instinct, a good ‘ol fashion coup, or some combination thereof, this group approached the HBC and made their intentions clear: they were unsatisfied with the direction ROL was going and planned to leave. The HBC offered these new converts a home, if they wanted, and to sweeten the pot they would be given whatever space that was gained in Paragon Soul and, possibly, Feythabolis. At the same time another ROL corporation, acting independently of this rouge ROL spinoff, decided to swap allegiances to the HBC. The hitch? This group owned the sov of ROL’s headquarters in AZN.
Monday afternoon, -A- announced a SoCo regroup to GE- to respond to the Western front with Solar faster. HBC had a nasty habit of forming with -A- and keeping them camped in station, which -A- perceived as more than a mild inconvenience. As -A- formed a 170-man Tengu fleet to go aid Solar, HBC greeted them on the undock. The new Ink/Gypsy/Gorgon/RA bloc began their offensive push on Solar space with an impressive 400-man show of force. NCdot and Co pushed onto Solar’s back end with 80 supers and 300 support. And to top things off, the ROL splinter groups decided to act on their split and left ROL, dropping AZN sov at the same time. HBC were there to flip the station and drop a new TCU while simultaneously camping -A- into 4-07 and reinforcing that station, too. All of these seemingly unrelated actions were acted upon within a 20 minute window. A happy accident, no doubt, gently nudged into place by HBC’s most devious mind, Shadoo. Solar stood down, -A- were left trapped in station while it was SBU’d and reinforced, ROL’s home system changed hands, and the disenchanted ROL member corps left to form their own alliance. With fires flaring up on all sides, -A-’s head FC Makalu came on to reassure ROL that they would always have a place in Stain, but added that -A- would not help them regain their lost home system. Five more ROL corps decided to leave.
While the fate of SoCo alliances is unclear, one thing is obvious: -A-’s master-pet relationship can no longer function in the current Eve diplomatic arena. -A- have acknowledged this fact and have begun to shrewdly salvage the most from SoCo, cozying up to their strongest remaining ally while using the rest as chaff to protect their space. Will remaining -A- allies see the writing on the wall and flourish in greener pastures like Nulli, RA, Raiden, Initiative and Unclaimed, or will they join Cascade and ROL in the forgotten, defeated, husks? The coming months will see just how convincing a story -A- can weave. After all, if anyone can trick an ally to die for them it is -A-. What was once “God Forgives, -A- Does Not” has transformed to “Defend -A-. Obey -A-”.