In the previous article I detailed why telling the story of Co2’s defection in depth is needed as well as presented quotes from prominent individuals in Eve underlining the importance of the defection itself. In part readers will see how much of a role planning had in Co2’s defection. This is where opinions begin to differ and we get to compare and contrast perspectives.

I contacted Sabre A, head of Mercenary Coalition, and asked about his involvement in Co2’s defection. He was one of the main commanders of the Tribute/Lonetrek front. He states, “The plan was discussed at the end of November (2015) to flip Co2 and the campaign was designed for just that goal. The Co2 front was my front and we had a 3 phase plan over a 4 month period which only took 3 months to achieve. Then once we got them to the table talking to us, it went back and forth for a week or two and then m-o happened. Terms were agreed to by Co2 after the fight as they knew what we had previously talked about. They were not bad terms for either side. The natural wedge that was between Goons and Co2 just before m-o was huge. Co2 tried to make terms for Lawn and Bastion as well and Mittens jumped on Lawn and Bastion to move to Saranen before talks were completed. Co2 was really pissed and made it easier for us to get them to agree to flip and fight Imp. Negotiations took place over weeks once we got them talking. Myself and suas talked to them the most and the agreement was made on OSS coms. Co2 flipping was the result of Jan to end of March nonstop fighting and lack of support by Goons while Co2 bailed out Razor, Bastion, Lawn, TNT and Fcon.”

Lenny corroborates it was part of a plan stating, “It was high on our priority list to get them to flip late January/Early February. They wouldn’t budge unless we extended the offer to Lawn and Bastion, which we were not very keen on doing unless the three of them left the CFC and the region. We didn’t want them hitting our lines from the rear. When Lawn and Bastion essentially abandoned Co2, we pushed for those negotiations hard as that was a prime opportunity that we needed.”

I asked what Da Winci (Co2 head diplo at the time) thought regarding MBC forces on their front and what affect it had on their negotiations. His thoughts contrasted sharply stating, “When I talked to him and the others he mentioned we were still doing just that… talking. And my plan was to get lawn and bastion to agree to drop coalition together. The three of us could easily handle anything that they could throw against us on that front. If Carn and Thor kept to the original plan we’d still be a more or less neutral group of 3 alliances in vale/trib. Alas, they took the path of going down with goons. Only from that moment onwards more people got closely involved, as in talking openly to them. The moment of defection was discussed and communicated with a handful of people, including the ones he mentioned, but only as a heads up. We told them we would go and defend m-o, refused to consider trapping cfc caps and told them good luck on the battlefield. None of the people outside co2 had any hand in the decision to defect or the timing. MC’s campaign was seen by us as content, not a threat to our survival. So in that respect it had no effect on the negotiations. By that time I already had secured a deal with OOS to not attack our money moons in Venal which goes to show that overall coordination was weak. So whatever MC was doing it was strategically speaking, meaningless. We had our back covered.”

Already we have a couple different perspectives regarding the timing, the effect of the campaign against Co2 and what was actually stated/negotiated at the meeting. Sabre A’s perspective is that Co2’s defection was at least in part a result of a campaign by MC and others which led them to a back and forth negotiation. Da Winci dismisses this completely and refers to the meeting almost as an afterthought to “give them a heads up” of what was happening. There are a few possibilities for these inconsistences. It’s possible someone is lying, but I’m inclined to believe that people were simply working with the perspective they had and developed their belief based on that vantage point. The Tribute front’s effect on Co2’s decision can be debated along with the question if everything was based on a long term plan. Is it possible that certain members of preMBC leadership sat down and said “We will do X Y and Z and as a result Co2 will flip?” Sure. It’s also possible that any CFC alliance flipping would be great especially the strongest individual alliance and that in retrospect humans tend to place things in a pattern. Same story, different perspective. However all the sources indicate a reference toward Bastion and LAWN. I decided to speak with Carneros, the head of Bastion and asked him to share his thoughts on the matter.

Seraph: Were you kind of aware of tension between Co2 and GSF? Specifically Da Winci and Sion?

Carneros: I was aware that CO2 didn’t feel like The Imperium was doing enough to help Vale/Tribute members. They felt like one fleet per day was being sent out to our area and that was completely inadequate. I was not aware of anything specifically between Da Winci and Sion. I’m actually still unaware of anything specifically between Da Winci and Sion.

Seraph: Well at the very least we can say they disagree in regards to some aspects of the CFC/Imperium. In any case I’ve been told that Co2’s plan was to hold the line with Bastion and LAWN. Was this discussed with you guys in depth?

Carneros: Take a look at Vale of the Silent on Dotlan with me. The Bastion was based in TVN-FM. LAWN was based in FH-TTC. We decided to speed up our form-ups by both corporations deploying together to 2DWM-2 as a new combined staging system. This happened to allow us the side benefit of camping a key XLSAA in build. CO2 was already pretty fast on their form-ups and didn’t need to take such a step. We’d been in 2DWM-2 about 2 weeks (which is not enough time to be fully set up as a new staging system) when it was clear we were going to lose control of the XLSAA and the system. We needed to fall back. Gigx and Da Winci met with me and Thoric and our skymarshalls. They suggested that BASTN + LAWN fall back to TVN-FM together. They wanted to slow the rate at which we ceded territory to the attackers. We listened to what they said and then asked if we could get Mittens in the channel to for a second opinion. Gigx does not care for Mittens and does not want to speak to him in any meeting. So Thoric and I reached out to Mittens and learned he was coming to Southern California for his wife’s conference presentation. Thoric was very busy, but I went down and had dinner with Mittens (and Mrs. Mittens) and laid out the situation and the Gigx/Da Winci recommendation of TVN-FM. Mittens suggested that our combined organizations would have too much shock from moving staging systems too many times, too quickly. He was seeing us move to 2DWM, then TVN-FM, then somewhere else (maybe M-OEE8), then maybe Saranen… and our organizations just getting shocked into confusion and paralysis and fatigued. He counter-proposed a direct move to Saranen as a final move, with returns in fleets to protect Vale/Trib. We agreed to meet with Thoric for lunch the next day to lay out that plan. After lunch, we met with Gigx and Da Winci on Skype and they didn’t just disagree with the Saranen idea, they reacted to it as if Mittens were doing something negative to them personally. That meeting was short and we went back to defensive coordination and move ops. I never got another good meeting with them about this subject before the watershed moment where CO2 flipped sides.

Seraph: Da Winci presented the possibility of having both lawn and bastion actually keep their sov in a deal with MBC. What were your thoughts on that deal?

Carneros: To whom did he present this? He didn’t present this to me.

Seraph: To Cody I’m told.

Carneros: They had a separate dialogue happening. This is very possible. My reaction would have varied based on what was actually presented. But it was not presented to me so I had no thoughts. When the moment came that CO2 switched sides, I was as surprised as anyone else. I did not see that coming.

Seraph: If Co2 had come to you directly and said “We have a way out of the CFC where we keep our territory intact” what do you think your reaction would be?

Carneros: Really hard to say in retrospect.
Seraph Basarab: Did you think that help could be given from Saranen? That the staging system was viable in defending Tribute?

Carneros: I’m more of a political leader than a military leader.

There had long been a sort of plan within the mind of Co2’s leadership that if the CFC were to crumble, they would form a mini-coalition with Lawn and Bastion. However Mittani’s meeting with Carneros and Thoric changed that. As we see Carneros thought that a fighting retreat through Vale/Tribute would be too costly on a morale level. But the most interesting thing for me here is we see the effect of the “fog of war.” Da Winci did not outright tell Carneros about the possibility of striking a deal with MBC. When I asked Carneros directly if he would have taken a deal had he known, he did not say no. So it is all together possible that hard Carneros known about the plan in full, we may still be seeing Bastion and possibly Lawn in Vale working with Co2. The judgement call against Co2 being explicit is understandable considering the risk.

In the next article we will see an in depth step by step perspective of Co2’s head diplomat at the time detailing the milestone moments that guided Co2’s decision to defect.