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Seraph IX Basarab: Between Courage and Cowardice – My Brave Experience

June 18, 2015

By Seraph IX Basarab

(I wrote this article to share my experience within Brave after many of my former students from the dojo classes came up and asked why there wouldn’t be anymore covops classes. The following is the story from my perspective.)

I’ve been a fairly big supporter of Brave Newbies Inc. since about late 2013. While I was skeptical at first, I warmed up to them when my alliance at the time (Surely You’re Joking [HAHA]) had them as allies. I had built a fairly friendly relationship with Brave’s leader, Lychton Kondur, and during the event known as “Dralethgate” I helped provide some incriminating logs to foil the plans of the trio Anna niedostepny, Draleth and Nonnak Severin (AKA The Mini-Coupers). The stories are covered here and here.

During the latest coup attempt, I bit the bullet and actually got into posting on reddit adding my voice to many others critiquing the manner by which Lychton was thrown out of leadership. Suffice to say, Brave was a group I really wanted to see succeed and I was extremely protective of the alliance in my own way. Was I even in Brave? No, but I liked the concept of “Stay Classy” and I wanted to see new players succeed.

At the time I had just pulled my corp out of a brief stint doing highsec wardecs with some friends. I wanted to get back into the 0.0 game now that the new sov changes were coming. However, many of the groups out in 0.0 didn’t appeal to me. It simply made sense that I would go to Brave. I wanted to bring my corp, Hades Effect, into Brave. I contacted Lychton, Parker, Matias Otero, Cagali Cagali and even June Ting on skype and proposed my idea to them.

Hades Effect would be a corp that had a 3-tier purpose within Brave. We would train individuals in using cov ops running small gangs of bombers. Being one of the early members in Bombers Bar, I had experience training new players on the use of bombers. Next, we would not just fly these small gangs by themselves separate from the main alliance fleets. We would integrate these capabilities into Brave’s strat ops providing the alliance with a standing bomber wing for any and all combat engagements. Lastly, I wanted to help develop Brave’s intelligence capabilities doing things ranging from gathering intel on enemies, outing hostile spies and working with the propaganda department.

 

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Lychton liked the idea, but needed to talk to Parker. Parker liked the idea but needed to talk to Lychton. It had taken me over a week before even having a chance to speak with Lychton myself. Eventually I was given the go ahead and was told to apply to Friends of Brave [BF4LF]. I can’t say that I wasn’t put a little off by this. So spies can make 1 day accounts and stroll right through, but someone that has been friendly toward Brave for over a year wants to bring a crew of experienced cov ops pilot and train up Brave line members needs to be vetted? I didn’t complain. I thought it better to stay a little humble and not cause any waves. Once we were in we began our work.

The initial idea was to use such a group split between defensive operations in Fountain and offensive operations via Thera. However it soon became clear we would need to focus almost exclusively on Fountain operations and my corp moved to Brave’s staging system in the Serpentis NPC cluster of Fountain. I ran a small class on Thera, the corp and what we were trying to do as well as FCing a quick Bomber fleet to get a feel of what sort of knowledge the line members had.

About a week later I was sent a mail by one of Brave’s secondary diplos, Tackly Tacklson, that Hades Effect would be removed within 24 hours. I thought maybe it was a joke, a mistake of some sort, or perhaps I was misreading it somehow. I grabbed Tackly as soon as he logged on and we sat on mumble and went over the matter.

I was told that Hades Effect did not have the required number of 50 members to be in Friends of Brave. Tackly felt that Parker (who is the primary diplo and ranks above Tackly) went over his head when he allowed my corp to join. He told me that there had been a director meeting and people had voted to kick Hades Effect out.

Now to explain how these meetings work, it isn’t as if everyone who is anyone gets a vote. It’s whoever wants to or can show up. It was a bit annoying to me because I had tried to set up a meeting with as many alliance directors as possible to explain to them what my plan was about. It really was meant to be as an “in-house-project” with full input from Brave leadership on how to best develop this group.

The membership issue surprised me a bit as I didn’t recall either Lychton or Parker make an issue of it. At the very least they felt that the circumstance of the project warranted some understanding. I had never done mass recruitment, instead preferring to handpick individual people to the point where I became very familiar with each of my member’s preferences and mannerisms. I wasn’t just bringing in “another corp” but rather a group of individuals that were capable leaders and experts in their field, with the intent of providing this leadership to Brave and create and develop something beneficial for the alliance. But “another corp” was exactly how the idea had been portrayed. Even worse, because I had intended to use the system of Thera for future offensive operations, I was being pegged as “another wormhole corp.”

I found out that many directors belonging to the k-space corps considered the wormhole groups such as Dropbears Anonymous, as irrelevant. Some viewed me and Hades Effect as simply being another iteration wh corp that simply wanted to snatch up Brave’s line members into w-space where they wouldn’t be able to defend Fountain. I would have loved to disprove that incorrect notion but I never had a chance to have a meeting with any of the directors.

Tackly eventually spilled the beans and told me what the real issue was. The membership matter was simply the tool by which they wanted to get rid of me as Tackly put it. A couple of the CEOs in Brave simply felt that I was trouble. “Seraph meta games” was the issue.

Well hold on. What is metagaming? “Metagaming is any strategy, action or method used in a game which transcends a prescribed ruleset, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game. Another definition refers to the game universe outside of the game itself.” So when you are about to take a fight and you check your target’s killboard, that’s metagaming. When you have meetings with your directors about what to do with the minerals you just mined, that’s metagaming. When you use teamspeak instead of the Eve in game voice tool, that’s metagaming.

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Metagaming is an extremely broad term that covers a variety of actions. You cannot assume just because someone “metagames” that they are inherently dishonest or out to cheat or steal from you. That’s like assuming everyone that owns a gun is automatically a murderer. But that’s basically the judgement placed upon me was. I found it ironic I was being accussed of metagaming in a bad way when much of the Brave leadership had just supported a coup against their own leader. I asked Tackly “do you think I could have a meeting with these directors and explain my situation to them?” He told me that he would “look into it for me.” I spoke to Lychton which quickly put an end to that nonsense. Hades Effect was here to stay…or so I thought.

The next time I spoke with Tackly he apologized over and over again for the mess up. “Yeah I’m extremely embarrassed about how Brave’s leadership works. If you wanted to leave anyway I’d completely understand.” The last sentence stuck with me because he must have repeated it a half dozen times in this one conversation. If I wanted to leave, he would completely understand…as if he was trying to convince me to go regardless.

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I thought the matter was more or else over with but I still wanted to speak at a meeting with as many directors as possible. While I joined the alliance strat ops and ran classes on cov ops, I was also asking Cagali, Nancy, Parker, Lychton and anyone else I could in leadership if I could just join in on one of the weekend CNM meetings Brave held.

In the process of trying to set up this meeting, I found out exactly who was leading the rally against me. J3B CEO and Brave Military Director, Kelnon Tealth was fond of referring to me as “plutonium” and other unflattering things. I was a bit surprised as the only conversation I had with him before joining up with Brave was extremely friendly. Kelnon had been a prominent member of the coup against Lychton and was somewhat unhappy how an EN24 article had portrayed him so when he spoke with me he was extremely chipper. Suddenly the very nice guy was extremely hostile. I tried again and again to speak with the guy on skype only to be ignored. So I basically had a situation where someone in a high position in the alliance had the audience of his peers constantly reinforcing the notion that I was a bad person and my corp was here to just steal members for w-space.

Toward the end of my time with Brave I finally managed to speak with Kelnon on skype. I asked him if I somehow offended him in the past, and what was the reason for him acting so hostile. Eventually after enough tooth pulling, he leveled this real “charge” against my character. He informed me that during “Dralethgate” I had been “playing both sides” and had been “crunching APIs” for N3.

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My first reaction was…what the hell is API crunching? Secondly, even if I had done such nonsense, this was over a year ago and what sort of information could I get? Where Brave was hiding their Atron cache? Thirdly, Kelnon was a prominent member of the coup against Lychton and by definition a bold faced traitor. I had been pro-Brave and loyal since before I had even joined up. It seemed completely hypocritical. I asked him to provide evidence. He told me that he doesn’t answer to me and doesn’t have to. He also told me that at this point that information is either false or unprovable, but that his source was good.

Now pay attention to this as it shouldn’t be missed: The reason that his source was so reliable was because his source had known “for months before proof existed that Anna was a CFC spy.” So my question became, if Kelnon knew Anna was supposedly a CFC spy…why would he work with him during the coup. By Kelnon’s own words, he worked with someone who was a CFC spy to try to overthrow Lychton. I mean me “crunching API’s” is kind of burying the lead here. One of the defense pleas that many coup leaders in Brave was that they were “mislead by Anna and Toasty” or what not. But here you have Kelnon admitting that he had known for months Anna was a CFC spy and chose to support the coup anyway. Unlike some, I provide evidence. Enjoy the logs: http://pastebin.com/PPbUuPuk

Lychton finally got back to me and said we should have a meeting. I agreed and hoped to finally put this high school drama behind us and move forward. I even urged Lychton and those present to wait and allow as many directors to get on as possible, including Kelnon who eventually outright refused to show up. The two topics of conversation was to be Hades Effect and the issue of Jan Irvam, a former member of J3B that Kelnon kicked from his corp for helping me with organizing cov ops fleets, and then had him banned from HERO coalition as a whole for supposedly making real life threats. The claim is complete garbage and anyone can look up the extensive literature discussing the topic and decide for themselves.

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The meeting was mostly composed of J3B directors and others that had been listening to Kelnon for the past month talking about me and never had a single discussion with me beforehand. For much of the meeting Tackly, Iakopo and Benju (J3B) seemed to simply have the goal of trying to tie me to Jan, as if somehow me having any sort of contact with the guy would automatically make me guilty of something. Character assassination was their only talking point, not the issues at hand. Eventually Lychton said “What the hell does any of that have with what we’re talking about?” And he presented a fair proposal.

Brave has a 50 member minimum in order to join. But since it was Brave’s culpa for allowing Hades Effect to join under that number, we would be allowed to stay in Friends of Brave until the new sov hit. At that time if Hades Effect hit the 50 member mark, we would be able to join Brave Collective proper, and if not, we would be rejected. I thought it was a fair proposal and something we could work with.

The idea was relayed to Kelnon on skype and he immediately informed the meeting via his representatives that this would not stand. The J3B side was not happy until Lychton agreed to simply boot Hades Effect completely and even if we did manage to recruit 50 members and come back, that our presence there would be blocked still. Lychton messaged me after the meeting stating that he appreciated what I had done for him and Brave but that he has too many daggers pointing at him right now. That perhaps such a plan would work later on when the conditions were right.

This made me wonder, did the coup really fail? Or did it simply evolve to keep Lychton present enough so that many of those leading the coup could continue having the huge member base that BNI provided? That’s for someone else to figure out. I don’t really care that much anymore. I wasn’t going to crawl over broken glass in order to appease J3B leadership and their paranoia. In the tradition of many others, I left Brave and have joined up with Black Legion. [MEN.]. Once again, small minded petty politics of a certain directors in Brave have driven away experienced players and content creators into the arms of Brave’s enemies. To further illustrate my point I’m going to compare Hades Effect to another corp that was in Friends of Brave at the same time and was accepted into Brave Collective [BRAVE]. These screen shots were taken on the same day:

It’s true; Hades only had 14 members but outmatched Pandas as far as participation. Due to petty politics, and terrible recruitment policies, Brave lost a cov op specialized corp to Black Legion while gaining well…this.

[ 2015.06.07 04:43:07 ] Seraph IX Basarab > selling  Siege Module I Blueprint  Triage Module I Blueprint  Judgement Blueprint  Oblivion Blueprint
[ 2015.06.07 04:43:41 ] Maynard Dallocort (Flying Panda)  > you fucking dick
[ 2015.06.07 04:44:07 ] Maynard Dallocort (Flying Panda) > i hope you get cancer and die
[ 2015.06.07 04:44:10 ] Seraph IX Basarab > moi?
[ 2015.06.07 04:44:31 ] Trueno Crux > not very nice
[ 2015.06.07 04:44:34 ] Fencer8 > woah
[ 2015.06.07 04:44:40 ] Allannon kado > reported
[ 2015.06.07 04:44:43 ] Vic Jefferson > Maynard Dallocort Why are you so mad?
[ 2015.06.07 04:44:44 ] Ragnar Momaki > Maynard Dallocort not being classy there
[ 2015.06.07 04:44:46 ] Ragnar Momaki > tone it down
[ 2015.06.07 04:44:50 ] Allannon kado > stay classy
[ 2015.06.07 04:44:52 ] Seraph IX Basarab > Very classy…

I’m not going to claim that I’m some Eve expert or the end-all-be-all of anything concerning cov ops. I know enough to pass on a few skills to some other people and that’s all I claim. I intended to help Brave out by offering whatever I could. Hopefully Brave’s middle management will eventually learn how to take advantage of that rather than push them into joining their enemies. The experience may have been unfortunate but there was still much to learn from it for me.

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