EN24 discord
sov map

A Brave Story: The King, The Broker, and The One Good Man

April 22, 2015

Author’s Note: The events depicted are true, although not cited for readability reasons. Extensive interviews were conducted with many of the involved parties, although few did not respond to requests. The article is written in story form to make it easier to understand. This is also considered a extended version, of the “A Brave Story: Kingdom Come.”  

 

Preface: Black Hole

Gravity

EVE is a niche game that appeals to only a few types of gamers, but one trait they all have in common is that their mesolimbic dopamine pathway is spiked by discovery and learning. In ancient times this brain system pushed us to discover the “next high.” It’s now a stimulation center we trigger at will with the use of narcotics, alcohol and/or behavior (gambling, sex, processes), all of which can lead to addiction.

EVE plugs straight into that neural pathway:

“Dopamine is the good feeling of getting a reward that meets your needs [Solving Complexity]. Serotonin is the good feeling of getting respect from your fellow primates [Single Shard and Meta]. Oxytocin is the good feeling of belonging to a protective group.[Safety and Risk]” – Psychology Today 

Not everyone overcomes the initial learning curve: The rewards do not come fast enough to overcome the frustrations of learning, but if you are predisposed to solving complexity, EVE becomes its own reward, and you are hooked. The typical player demographic of an older male, employed in technology, is no mystery.

The single-shard sandbox with real consequences is a Pavlovian box of delight for these types of players, continuously activating the high mind for improving, perfecting, winning. That’s the gravity in EVE and it has kept some players around for years.

Event Horizon

Any gamer that arrived in New Eden after being lured in by news of colossal battles, came looking for fast-action, with no “fucks given.” Their experience was doomed.  When the action slowed, their enthusiasm dried up unless they got hooked on some other aspect of EVE.

The Brave pilots that did get hooked want more than a senseless death. After two years, they now qualify to fly better ships and use better equipment. Most want to leverage that investment, but Brave is dedicated to new players first and foremost. Their doctrines and strategy are catered to new players.

This creates a motivational divide, an event horizon, whereby Brave pilots are pulled into the professional pvp funnel, while the beginner “fly-n-die” maxim that makes it okay to stay a beginner, holds them back. The spaghettification, when stretched between “care-free” and “improving,” is the backdrop which started the infighting that ultimately threatened the kingdom of Brave itself.

The Collapse of the Realm

The King

In March 2015, Brave’s king and figurehead was Lychton Kondur. Brave founder Matias Otero had handed him the reigns of Brave’s small kingdom a year and a half before. The new king grew Brave up to 15,000 pilots and literally put them on the map, in Catch region. Catch was a porous region that is hard to defend and has seen some of New Eden’s toughest campaigns. During this growth, he preserved their primary directives; fun per hour, stay classy. He loved and cosseted all his newbies like a tattooed, facial-haired mother.

The king, was the “people’s king.” He never missed an opportunity to remind everyone that he, himself, was a newbie. Through fireside chats, flying with the troops, and wide open channels to hear grievances, he set a unique tone among alliance leaders. He wanted nothing to do with null-sec narratives of the past. “Fuck the great wars,” he said. Brave, under his leadership, was not interested in taking sides. You can run from null-sec politics, but you will only die tired.

Unfortunately, Brave was too big to be ignored by other null-sec empires, and the end-game content for any alliance is to settle in lucrative outlaw space. Logical options were to shrink down in size and return to low-sec, or to build protective relationships. The king rejected these options and found a way to involve his troops in the null-sec, while staying clear of the politics of treaties.

In March, his plan was to buy time. He knew that once EntosisSov hit, the game would change and Brave would immediately have its sov-holding weaknesses (limited capital strength) wiped away. The clock could not tick fast enough for FozzieSov, but there was a second clock ticking down. Unbeknownst to him, time was running out on his reign.

The King’s Chancellor and the Court

Second in command was the king’s chancellor, Lquid Drisseg, who was a sturdy bureaucrat that kept things moving. He was head of Brave’s IT services as well as head of their diplomats, two powerful positions in their own right. In the king’s absence, which was often, he governed with the help of the diplomats and military commanders.

The diplomatic circles were filled with influential members of Brave. Major figures, like smart but contentious Anna Niedostepny, the measured Lorilath, and the charismatic Malanek Askelus. Anna and the chancellor were often sighted having private discussions in the halls of power. They worked closely together on many tasks. Anna had openly opposed Matias Otero’s selection of Lychton for king , and resigned in protest. After months of exile, Anna was allowed to return under probationary terms. She was carefully watched by the king.

Brave benefited from very committed leadership that allowed an alliance of 15,000 members to grind onward. Nancy Crow ran the logistics, while Lumpy positioned and fueled the towers. While the troops enjoyed the combat provided by the support of the leadership, the king was lavished with praise, as most figureheads are.

The chancellor also worked closely with the Intelligence Officer, Markonius. The Intel Officer took initiative to place spies in other alliances. He was also the liaison between Goonswarm and Brave, and became friendly with Sion Kumitomo, Goonswarm’s chief of staff. Goonswarm’s organization impressed him and he advised the king on many facets of it.

Being an Intel Officer also put Markonius in a place to discover that the king had been approached with a deal from Goonswarm to allow Brave to move to Delve. The king would not commit and asked the Officer to get more information. At the same time the king consulted a fellow executor he trusted, June Ting. June advised against the move as it reeked of null-sec politics. When the king discovered through back-channels that the powerful N3 coalition had designs on Delve, the king squashed the deal. Brave would not be a pawn between the CFC and N3 coalitions. The Intel Officers 10 page analysis, with maps and plans arrived too late, and was discarded without a glance from the king.

The Commanders

Most Fleet Commanders (FC) are only interested in fighting. They let others handle the politics and management: Progodlegend lets Gorga run Nulli Secunda, Lazarus Telraven and Mister Vee leave the coalition to Sion, who in turn leaves The Mittani to be the figurehead. In that tradition, Brave head FC, Blue Ice, left politics to others.

In the militant alliances, NC, Pandemic Legion, Black Legion, the FCs are both leaders and figureheads, and organizational work is delegated down to someone else. Both major Brave FCs, Travis Keikira and Lament Icarus (Capital ships), followed that militant alliance tradition and involved themselves in politics, when necessary. Anna Niedostepny, Malanek Askelus and Lorilath also FC’d and were entrenched deeply in the politics.

The Military Director was Blue Ice, but the US timezone Military director was a non-FC, Kelnon Tealth. He was responsible for organizing fleets, but did not often command them. Unbeknownst to him, his position was given to him as recompensation for furnishing Brave with ships and equipment early on.

Kelnon was CEO of a wealthy capital building corporation that built supercapitals and equipment that Brave relied on in the early days. He had a scientist named Impala59, who was the engine behind all the building. The scientist was able to PLEX 37 accounts (111 characters) to build everything Brave needed, from capitals on down. There were grumblings in certain circles over the apparent conflict of interest. The pilot in charge of dispatching fleets was also in charge of selling them to Brave, at a profit, which funded his corp’s ship replacement program. Kelnon kept his corp’s culture separate from Brave itself. It was a kingdom within a kingdom.

Kelnon’s Corporation wasn’t the only corp to be independent within the alliance. The Diplomats had their own with the Chancellor as their CEO. The FCs Travis and Lament belonged to their own corporation. Brave had a number of side corporations that harbored their own independent cultures, but Brave Newbies Inc. was the juggernaut that harbored the masses. Those smaller corporations would later serve as power centers that were leveraged by shadowy forces to unseat the king.

Another notable FC was the enthusiastic and adored Kira Tsukimoto. She ran the newbie Dojo and was in charge of training new arrivals. Her peppy demeanor was engaging, but behind that facade was a very smart and calculating leader, eager to maximize her contribution to Brave. She was a favorite among Brave’s line members, even though she’d only been playing EVE for three months.

Return of the Plague

The FCs had lead Brave through the fires lit by Pandemic Legion, but at a cost. Participation had dwindled and the troops were exhausted. Fleets that previously were 400 strong trickled in at around 150 pilots. The repetition was too taxing for the troops. The result was a disillusionment of the king’s leadership within leadership circles. The Intelligence Officer, Markonius, quit and moved to Goonswarm to start their reddit-based corporation called, KarmaFleet.

Eventually Pandemic Legion was lured away to do a contract against Solar Fleet. The storm had cleared allowing Brave to take inventory, and initiative. Finally on the offense, FC Lament, along with help from Progodlegend, planted flags on moons in Stain region. But the optimism was short-lived.

Pandemic returned and noticed Brave had acquired moons. Pandemic quickly took them away and started back on its reinforcement routine, challenging Brave to defend themselves. Brave leadership knew they could not withstand another long campaign; the attrition would dissolve them.

Pandemic was deploying skulduggery by using an alt resembling Brave’s head FC, and tricking Brave pilots into joining a fleet that would fleet-warp them to their death [article]. Brave’s morale was ebbing.

At around this time, Revan Chion, CEO of a corp in a sister alliance to Brave had recently recruited a very smart and persuasive pilot that demonstrated his usefulness quickly. The new recruit contacted the king’s Chancellor and brokered a deal to get Revan’s corp into the Brave Collective. And this was only three days after joining.

A few days later, Revan presented FC Lament with the outlines of a plan that might save them, and put Brave back on the offensive. The plan was the brainchild of  Revan’s old trusted friend and the new recruit that had just brokered them into Brave. FC Lament loved the plan and immediately called other leaders to work on it. So pleased was Revan, he made the broker a director in his corp.

A New Hope

The plan presented to Lament was an ambitious clustering of Black Legion, Russian alliances on both sides of Brave and Nulli Secunda, all into a brand new coalition. Their purpose:

“To free the south from the relentless flexing of NC. and Pandemic Legion. The dissolution of N3 to be replaced by the DRF Rus Coalition in the east and a free south in the west. (Consisting of HERO, & N3 defectors.) In addition to securing the long-term future of the south from the CFC.” –

It proposed coalition of 30,000 pilots, with Brave in Impass, a highly defensible region unlike Catch. The Coalition would stretch to Catch where they could wage war. Their goal:

“The goal is to threaten PL enough that they don’t feel comfortable sustaining their Apex force against the coalition. PL will switch from an offensive front to a defensive front and will be forced to pull back. This gives us breathing room to attack the East.”

The plans were handed over to the chancellor, who took it to the king. The king embraced the concept but with some modifications. He didn’t like the idea of renting. Elo Knight, chief FC and figurehead of Black Legion, was asked to approach the Russian Alliances, with whom he had good favor. The king and his chancellor took the deal to ProgodLegend in Nulli Secunda.

Results rolled in. Gorgon Empire was on board. Dream Fleet was on board. Solar was seriously considering it and Red Alliance would likely follow Solar Fleet. Stain Alliances would fall in too. The massive gears of war were in motion. Brave logistics spent 400 billion in capital ships, Tengus, and assorted ships, along with tons of Sov structures. Finally, Brave’s opportunity to do their own thing had arrived.

Then silence.

Nothing ever came of the plan [link].

Meanwhile, the Pandemic Legion dreadnoughts could be heard pounding away at yet another station.

It was later discovered that ProGodLegend was not interested. “The Russians will never help you,” he said. “The fact that you are even bringing it to me shows me how little you know about Null-sec.” The king walked away from the deal, but never informed the FCs or any of the allies.

Desperate Measures

The silence from the king and his chancellor was deafening. Finally the main USTZ FCs Travis, Lament, and Cyberking11, all from Apathy LLC Corp, on their own initiative developed a plan of their own and attacked an Impass station belonging to Nulli Secunda.

Nulli Secunda scrambled to defend, and Pandemic Legion hurried over while the killing was good. Brave successfully reinforced the station and managed to extract their dreadnoughts. It worked and the troops’ morale spiked at the success.

The Brave king, who had been out of public sight for some time, and his chancellor, were caught off guard. The FCs had mislead the chancellor and taken the navy. To avoid looking-out-of-touch, the king and chancellor embraced the move in public but minutes after the battle was over the FCs were pulled in to explain themselves. The meeting turned into a fierce rebuke of the king’s strategy and leadership, mainly by the FCs.

I have actually deflected eight fucking spy fucking coups” – Lychton Kondur

By the end of the meeting, message received, the king promised to go on the offensive to raise morale. This would be a break from being on the defensive against Pandemic Legion

Secret Treaties

One of Brave’s wealthiest benefactors, financier Lenny, privately reached out to Pandemic Legion to secure a deal to protect Brave’s staging system. Unfortunately, the financier paid 20 billion to a Pandemic scammer who had no authority to make deals. This mistake, for better or worse, opened the door to a second deal, this time with Pandemic leaders. Pandemic Legion agreed not to take sov if Brave formed defensive fleets for final station timers. The arrangement cost the financier 60 billion per month. This was nothing to him. His wealth is measured in trillions of ISK.

It wasn’t the king’s deal, but he didn’t stop it. The deal allowed him to deploy to low-sec without worries of losing Catch. Brave would just need to show up for final timers every few days, something his troops would do anyway. This literally bought the time needed to wait out sov mechanic changes.

The king was hearing dissent grow and decided to keep more secrets, shrinking the circle of influence around him. He was being advised by his trusted chancellor, who was heavily influenced by his new protege, the broker.

The king was not the only one progressing his agenda in secret.

Sacrificing Powerful Allies

The broker had already transplanted Revan’s corp into Brave. During negotiations the broker also impressed the king’s chancellor, who hired the broker to help with IT needs. They were to build Brave forums and services so they could finally stop using the very public reddit. Brave needed a space where only members could discuss Brave business.

The broker however had now worked his way into the halls of leadership. From his quiet corner he could hear that leadership was rife with dissent. A perfect environment for a coup was forming. He knew who the allies were, and how strongly to approach them. Earning trust and gaining influence with the king’s critics, the broker began to manipulate them, pushing them further down the road of sedition.

The broker was especially friendly with the FCs that attacked Impass; Travis and Lament. They too were seeking to unseat the king, but they disagreed on how far to go. The FCs wanted to leave the king as a powerless figurehead, but the broker urged them to get rid of the king completely. The FC’s would not consider it, so the broker decided he had to eliminate the FCs and their competing plan.

The transcript of their conversation mysteriously found its way into the chancellor’s hands, who gave it to the king.  The king immediately purged the FCs and their entire corporation, a rare punishment. What was unknown at the time was that the transcripts were heavily doctored to maximize the damage to the FCs while minimizing the exposure of the broker. He sacrificed the FCs to win the king’s confidence and it worked. He was appointed the new Head of Intelligence, and made the Director of Recruiting corporations for the alliance.

Exiled FCs Travis and Lament would later be approached by Pandemic Legion to start their version of Brave, Pandemic Horde. The scientist, Impala59, joined them as did FC Cyberking.

Stacking the Deck

The broker and his CEO, Revan, were discussing alliance voting mechanics when it was suggested that the king was the ruler of the alliance only when he had 51% of the corporate members’ support. The broker, along with some allied diplomats, were convinced this was the avenue to use for a coup.

The broker and diplomats enlisted a charismatic, but easily influenced, FC named Malanek Askelus, who enjoyed broad support from the troops. The broker recruited corps into Brave and secured their loyalty. He then approached other CEOs and emphatically warned them that Brave was about to fail cascade unless they voted to remove the king. This was untrue, but it gained them eight more CEOs.

The king had unwisely allowed his court members to have their own corporations in the alliance. This allowed a power base to exist that could unseat him. With the broker recruiting the necessary corporations to turn the majority of CEOs against the king, the die was set to be cast.

They just needed to pick the right moment.

Catch Retreat

Pandemic Legion had reinforced the Brave forward operating base in GE-8JV. Brave troops, having lost two of their major FCs, rallied to the task and piled 1,600 pilots into the system to defend the station. Pandemic Legion picked off Brave ships, but could not contest the timer. Brave saved the station. Unfortunately, that kind of commitment was not something Brave could count on, so they decided to fall back to their main capital, HED-GP.

It was then that Pandemic secretly agreed not to take station timers for 60 billion ISK, provided the Brave troops always showed up to defend the stations. The deal was a closely guarded secret. Only the king and his financier knew of it.

There was a second deal on the table. Brave would join with Pandemic Legion to execute a mercenary contract against Nulli Secunda, on behalf of Goonswarm. They would divide the 600 billion, and possibly create a new working relationship. The king was very uneasy about the implication of what it would mean for Brave’s independence. To pressure the king to take the deal, Pandemic increased the attacks on Brave’s home and reinforced the GE-8JV again.

The commanders, sensing the uptick in aggression decided to abandon the station, not knowing this would violate the financier’s deal with Pandemic. On the field, it appeared to FC Malanek that Pandemic had every intention taking their sov. He declared Brave’s “line in the sand” would be the armor iHub timer in HED-GP. This puzzled and amused Pandemic, as it revealed that the FCs were not aware of the king’s deal. They formed a fleet worthy of testing the Brave FCs’ resolve.

The king had disappeared from public view (Fan Fest with dead laptop), but he had left instructions to deploy to Aridia, while committing the troops to come back for final timers against Pandemic. From the king’s perspective everything was proceeding according to his plan, even though Brave was reeling from Pandemic Legion’s attacks.

Pandemic summoned the Brave financier. The king’s deal was over, because no troops formed to defend their forward operating base, GE-8JV. Brave was too busy falling back and preparing to defend an iHub. Mercenary alliances, like Pandemic, must maintain their word, it’s good business. They wanted to make it clear they were no longer bound by the contract, and since the king had not taken their offer to work together, they unleashed hell.

Pandemic took the station in GE-8JV as a punitive measure. This confirmed Brave leaders suspicions that Pandemic was moving them out of Catch. Pandemic headed right for HED-GP where they abruptly burned everything to the ground. The chancellor, worried about trapped assets, changed the king’s deployment order to a full evacuation order. He was also in the dark about the king’s agreements. Brave fell into a panicked retreat to Aridia that landed them in the middle of a war zone in full swing between two null-sec superpowers; the CFC and N3.

The retreating Brave troops were being annihilated in HED-GP, and picked off as they arrived in Aridia. Their hasty planning caused them to relocate a few times before finally settling in Defsunun system. Equipment and pilots were scattered and weary.

Brave FC Kira Tsukimoto ran breakout missions in HED-GP to free the trapped newbies, but Pandemic was shooting everything that undocked. They invited others to join them by camping the exits. Pandemic would have to find another way to ally itself with a horde of newbies for merch work; perhaps a horde of their own. (In a way, the Pandemic Horde became the Ammatar to Braves Minmatar Republic.)

The Coup

The Catch debacle was the opportunity the conspirators were waiting for. At a critical leadership meeting after the evacuation, the king was blamed for the chaos. Although his standing orders had been overridden by the chancellor, the king said nothing and took the blame. He placated the council and set future plans for Brave. Satisfied, he retired to his chambers. He did not know his time was up.

The broker and diplomats executed the vote while the king slept. They took control of the alliance and appointed one of their corporations as alliance executor, which put the CEO of that corp in charge. The CEO was the king’s chancellor.

He would hold the position, urge the king to resign, and hand the crown of Brave Newbies Inc over to the FC Malanek, at which point the vote would be cast to return the executor-ship to Brave Newbies Inc.

The votes were said to have only counted proper member corporations. This was another brokered lie. They had used all the corporations, including holder corporations they had access too. The broker, only a director in his corp, voted without the consent of his own CEO, Revan.

iwmheoQ
List the broker used to track votes taken in favor of removing the king. Some criticize the image as doctored.

The broker urged the chancellor, who was now in charge, to purge corporations that voted“nay.” Leaving them as members would invite a power struggle and confuse the Brave masses. The chancellor refused. The broker pleaded but the chancellor stoically would not budge. Although the chancellor had agreed the king should resign, he refused to seal the king’s fate by locking in the coup. He did confiscate 100 billion in Brave funds to protect it from a departing king.

The king awoke and was informed that he was out of power. A vote like this, New Eden has never seen. A vote of no confidence from his CEOs at the hands of his leadership circle. But the king still had power. He was still CEO of the 10,000 pilots in Brave Newbie Inc. If he moved the corporation out of the alliance, all of Brave would be in turmoil, as the pilots would have to choose their loyalties; to the king or to the alliance. The king sought council from an old friend, Matias Otero, who advised that he would be justified if he chose to move.

The king spared everyone the trouble. He agreed to the power transfer and a date was set to hand over Brave Newbies Inc, even though inside he was melting down at the notion he could not lead his newbies, the only people he cared about in New Eden.

In the meantime, Brave was locked down. The government in waiting wasted no time negotiating mercenary deals with N3 and CFC. The ambiguity of their positions puzzled both parties. Brave was too disorganized to work cohesively in the aftermath of the evacuation.

Sort Dragon, the hero-tanking Titan pilot that essentially won the battle of BR5-R for the CFC and Russian coalitions, was at this time the leader of Darkness (N3). He and Sion, the man in charge of CFC, had a disagreement over Brave’s involvement in their conflict. When it was leaked, Sort was kicked out of the long standing diplomatic channels.

Coalition wars resemble sumo wrestling. Two huge masses collide until one is rocked off balance. Once momentum swings, it is hard to recover. Delve broke wide open and the CFC marched through the borders, burning everything down. At this time the conflict was in a precarious balance, with Brave in the position to tip the scales.

The counter coup

Not everyone was satisfied that the vote was proper. Diplomats and FCs had been involved in coup attempts before and this time it seemed to work, but it didn’t sit right with a wormhole corporation Dropbears Anonymous. One line member, Suev Raylap, started to investigate. He had always suspected the motives of some of the diplomats, especially known dissident Anna Niedostepny. Suev, the line-member, quickly started to uncover facts that didn’t add up.

He handed his findings over to his CEO and together they started a campaign to persuade CEOs to take a second look, and eventually a second vote.

By now, the broker had done all he could to purge the Dropbears and other dissenting corporations, mostly wormhole corporations, that were far away from the leadership clashes and political infighting.

General uneasiness spread to the reddit channels. The broker urged the chancellor to censor the posts and ban opposition moderators because they were destabilizing the alliance. The chancellor refused, and reminded the broker that Brave founder Matias, himself, had the last word on the forums, and warned all the moderators not to intervene.

Sensing an opportunity to help stabilize the alliance, FC Kira tried to field answers on reddit from some angry detractors. The answers spawned new questions. The backlash was growing fast, and the hour of the crown transfer approached.

The Dropbears CEO was working hard, flipping votes. The king contacted his advisers, current and past, asking their opinion on how he should proceed. He was consulting his own ghosts of failures past, maybe for forgiveness.

On the morning of the power transfer, the Dropbears CEO informed the king that he should not step down. They had uncovered irregularities, and the CEOs were coming back to his side. Military Director Kelnon changed his mind and would vote for reinstatement. The broker and diplomats were trying to stop the process, but the chancellor would not hear of it.

One by one the CEOs secretly re-voted. At each vote, the king tested his ability to kick out the chancellor’s corporation, one by one. Suddenly, the king messaged, “Holy shit, kicked.” The chancellor and his corporation were purged. Next, the broker and Revan’s corporation were purged. The king then added holder corporations that only he could access to lock the voting system.

The coup was over, hours before the transfer of power. The king had survived his 10th coup attempt and he addressed his troops.

The One Good Man

The chancellor returned the 100 billion and kept all communication services up and running during the whole process. With the responsibility of seeing an alliance through a hostile leadership transition, he held off his own protege and advisers.

The normal course of power transitions always leave the original alliance fractured, usually in large chunks, as leaders split up and take their supporters with them. The chancellor had stayed neutral and held Brave and the voting process together.

His diplomats were purged and scattered. His allied FCs left, or were encouraged to leave. Still, after all, he was content that he made the right decisions.

The chancellor was exiled.

The Broker

The broker slunk away, having come within a razors-edge of pulling off a coup of one of the largest alliances New Eden had ever seen. With sheer force of personality and persuasion, he cut right through the typical barriers of entry and planted himself in the highest levels of power without raising suspicions. And all this, he did in one month.

Had the Chancellor followed the broker’s instructions, the coup would have been successful, and Brave would have been following a different leader to places unknown. The broker outplayed everyone, but he could not overcome the integrity of one good man.

The broker was exiled. His corpse is currently in suspended animation.

Epilogue: The Brave New World

Brave Newbies survived its big political test but not without casualties. The purged members were some of the hardest workers for the alliance. Goonswarm’s KarmaFleet and Pandemic Hordes are both growing fast. Both started by former Brave leadership. FC Kira Tsukimoto is rumored to want to start her own corporation soon after taking some time in a different newbie friendly corps. The players that wanted Brave to grow up and compete broke away but are still dedicated to the new players of EVE.

Brave was once again offered territory by Goonswarm. This time Lychton, the king, took the offer and moved into Fountain. Standings between Goonswarm and Brave were set to 2.5 for a limited time as things got shuffled around. Brave will now start EntosisSov in a good region with Lychton as their leader. He continues to steer them clear of overt politics and the newbie fervor is as strong as ever. His crown sits a little more comfortably on his head.

The CFC and N3 war ended with the dissolving of both entities as they were known. The Former CFC is now the Imperium coalition and centered in a highly defensible and rich region. N3 coalitions split apart and remnants of the massive Northern Associates renting empire have transitioned to new owners. The entire null-sec political map is in flux, and Brave is positioned well to inherit the brave new world.

Deconstructing the Broker’s Identity

The brokers name was Toasty Biggums – An alt that was bought by an alt, that was bought by another alt, until the trail disappears into obscurity. Whoever Toasty really was, and what he really wanted to accomplish goes with him, but in blind communications with him it seemed he intended to stay with Brave and preserve his allies. Perhaps there was a second act in motion, foiled by the chancellor’s refusal to purge dissenting corporations from Brave.

A deeper investigation of Biggums reveals that the character itself started its career as a spy for Pandemic Legion. All the patterns are there, going from Russian corps to NPC back to Russian corps. Then, when the spy is burned enough it is retired, landing back in Pandemic Legions main corporation, Sniggerdly.

At a certain point the spy becomes useful in another way. Toasty Biggums was put into an highly exclusive eight-man corporation called FackToReal. That corporation was one of only 2 corps in Deadzoned. The first corp had four members, ever. The second corp had eight members. Access to Deadzone was limited to only the most trusted Pandemic Legionnaires, at the top of the foodchain. Remember, only 12 characters, all alts, were ever allowed in. Why? Deadzone was the dummy corp made by Pandemic Legion to “deadzone” SolarFleet in R3P0-Z. This means Toasty Biggums was owned by a very high ranking Pandemic Legion member, perhaps leadership.

But Toasty was sold off and no longer associated with Pandemic Legion.

Tracking the buyer leads to burner alts used for this kind of work. Investigation into the posting behavior of the alts rendered few clues. These alts were probably a collection of alts used for this purpose, since they were used very little for buying or speaking in forums, and their corp histories were unremarkable.

Occasionally, you can trace spies by noting the corps they were in, the alliances they were in, what was happening on those dates, what wars were going on, and who the spy wanted to infiltrate, and why.

Investigations were made into the “bumping” behavior of the alts – sometimes a seller will bump a sale with multiple alts and therefore give away his associations, or post multiple times on a topic when opinions are strong. There were some irregularities, but they could be explained.

Finally the sale of Toasty Biggums comes under suspicion. The price was a 45 billion buyout, but the first offer to match that price was not taken. Instead it was sold to the second offer. This indicates that the sale was targeted, to a friend perhaps.

Asked directly, Toasty, as the broker, says little. When cornered he says nothing, but given space he does admit to having been in Goonswarm many years ago. That is all he says. Unpublishable research reveals that among his contacts are some highly influential Goonswarm members, both past and present. He emphatically denies any current affiliation with Goonswarm or their agenda, stating simply that he is his own boss.

Conclusions

The clues lead inexorably to one conclusion: The capsuleer, Toasty Biggums, was one face, of a player, with many faces, that is part of a cabal, of other players like him. This group is the closest thing EVE has seen to an “Illuminati,” and they are as real as EVE. They may not lead coalitions, but they have seats at all the tables that matter. They are the meta behind the meta.

We may never hear from Toasty again, in this form. This identity is burnt, but his memory will transfer to another alt. Like a capsuleer’s clone, he will no doubt reappear, but with a new face, new identity, and new agenda.

We’ll hear from them again, perhaps in an alliance like yours.

tweetfleet