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Hello, my name is Hugh Caswakk and I’m a writer and part-time conspiracy theorist for EN24. The half-mad ravings here are my own and do not represent the official view of EN24, my corp, alliance or coalition.

I put the disclaimer in because I’m going to try some analysis which may verge on conspiracy theory. Don’t take this too seriously, though maybe there’ll be something of substance in what I write. So, with our tinfoil conspiracy hats on, let’s get into this.

Setting the Stage

It is my belief that ‘the North’ may be preparing the opening moves for an invasion of ‘the South’. By this, I mean Panfam (Northern Coalition., Pandemic Legion and Pandemic Horde) + GOTG vs Imperium (lead by Goonswarm) + Legacy (TEST + Brave). We know that the two power blocs are at war. There was that unpleasant business in 9-4 for one thing. Panfam and TEST are currently shooting each other over Providence. Suffice it to say that relations are not particularly warm.

One key thing that the Imperium likes to do is raid other groups’ ratters and miners. Particularly, they’ve been basing out of northern Fountain and hitting Horde assets in Cloud Ring. They’ve been, to my understanding, somewhat successful.

Now, for pressing demographic reasons, Horde is moving away from their current holdings. That makes a good deal of sense. GOTG, it seems, is likely to be taking up the burden of providing security. GOTG used to have Horde as a solid buffer against GSF invasion. Fozziesov means that it takes weeks to grind through even a lightly held region. This, once Horde moves, will no longer be the case.

This means that GOTG can’t go on any coalition deployments to interesting places, for fear of the Goons grabbing their space. But if they are going to invade the Imperium – then they don’t need to.

More Rambling

So, GOTG would like to resolve this security challenge. Otherwise, they have a hostile force on their border with easy routes into their space. But, how can this problem be resolved? Conquering Delve, and therefore destroying GSF as a threat, is out of the question. However, there is a quirk of spatial geography which can be exploited.

To hold the entirety of northern Fountain, you need to deny the enemy passage through two systems. D4KU-5 and KVN-36. If these are held, then the enemy will be unable to effectively deploy by gate into northern Fountain. The map below has both those systems circled in red. If you look at them, you can see that holding those two systems turns the rest of Fountain into a buffer. Of course, capitals and bridges allow some movement around this. But it does reduce the security challenge significantly. Holding northern Fountain might also permit the invasion of all Fountain – up to Y-2ANO. That would entirely isolate GSF within Delve.

Fountain with key chokepoints highlighted. Source: dotlan

Conspiracy Intensifies

Okay, so, let’s keep going. Let us say that the north wants to take half of Fountain, providing a defensible buffer. If they tried that, however, the Imperium would bring their supercapital fleet. Now, that alone can be dealt with. The north can probably take the Imperium supers. But if TEST came to join as well, with their supercapital assets, then it all becomes much dicier.

So, TEST needs to be dealt with. Evicting them is beyond the capacity of the North. However, tying them up is. In a post-Phoebe world, you need to keep your supers in one place. Jump fatigue means that, to get any use out of them, they have to be based in – at most – a handful of regions rather than bouncing all over the place.

This is where Horde come in. Horde have pressing and good reasons to move to Geminate. However, their movement might also be rather useful to this theory. From Geminate they might help the DRF finish off Triumvirate (TRI), an alliance in the south bent fighting nearly everyone. We know they’re already fighting TRI, so this doesn’t seem a massive leap. After helping the DRF, they might be able to cut a deal to base out of DRF territory to attack TEST. The DRF did let TEST base out of their territory to attack GOTG – so they’re not averse to basing agreements. Further, DRF and TEST are not intrinsically friends. They are probably going to compete over renter space.

Now, obviously, Horde cannot evict the entirety of Legacy. But they – in addition to whatever allies they bring – can annoy them. There is little more terrifying than a horde of newbies with nothing to lose. Now, they can be shut down. Capitals and supercapitals are a great way to do that. If not that, then significant and boring effort by line members is required.

But if TEST keeps their supercapitals and capitals back home to fend off annoying Horde incursions, then they’re not helping the Goons against the combined northern supercap fleet. Given that they hardly love Goons, I suspect that they’d rather let the Goons lose than commit huge effort to holding their space.

So, if we put it all together, then we get this situation:

  • Northern Fountain is vulnerable to GOTG/PanFam supercapital-led invasion.
  • TEST has its main force tied down dealing with Horde being annoying.
  • The Imperium must either gamble their supercapital force in a direct clash or give up northern Fountain. Either way, they’re not in a great position.

Back to Reality

Okay, so, that was a deep dive into some fun conspiracy theory. I don’t want to end it on a downer, but that scenario is quite unlikely. Even leaving aside the various flaws and vagaries in the plan, of which I am sure there are many. Northern alliance leaders are unlikely to want to do something like this. In many ways, that’s quite right. Their primary objective is to serve the needs of pilots in their organisations.

But I do think that something like this should happen. Not precisely like this, of course. It’s not massively workable. But something of this magnitude.

I’m not going to appeal to the health of the game – though a genuine Third Great War would be amazing. Instead, it’s a matter of geospatial strategy. The Goons are coming. They’re building a preposterously large super fleet. Hakonen and 9-4 were probes. Invasion is a matter of when, not if.

An offence is the best form of defence. By taking northern Fountain – or indeed, all of Fountain – they can be contained. War cannot be stopped, but it can be shaped. An aggressive posture might be one way to tip the odds. And having seen the MERs, well, those odds might just need to be tipped.

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