I contacted Dran, TEST’s diplomat, to ask questions regarding the events surrounding Circle-of-Two’s so called “Judgement day.” For those not familiar the short version is that in September of 2017, Co2’s diplomat known as The Judge seized control of the alliance’s 68FT Keepstar and a number of other structures transferring them out as well as robbing the alliance of large sum of money. Judge flipped over to Co2’s enemy alliance, Goonswarm. Co2’s coalition allies reset Co2 and essentially placed the blame on Co2’s leader, GigX citing that he was difficult to work with and did not hold to wider coalition agreements. I wanted Dran to tell me what his experience with the whole situation was and he gave me a detailed account.
When TEST left the north with Co2 and settled in the south,
they took care to ensure Co2 would be on the far side border away from
Goonswarm as to not cause war to break out. Co2 had defected from Goonswarm’s
Imperium coalition being the single largest cause for MBC’s victory in World War
Dran had to devise a way to ensure the different alliances that had come south had enough space to rebuild but also not to cause any major conflicts.
“Being the largest, TEST did the sov maps for what each alliance was going to take, putting ourselves in eso inbetween goons and co2, because we knew if they were neighbors goons would eat co2 alive. Remember, this was like less than a year post WWB still.”
Dran continued that the first spot of tension was when Co2 took space promised to Requiem Eternal stating that Req was not pulling their weight. Dran admits that GigX was probably right but that one still needed to uphold agreements being made. Dran worked to manage the situation as best as possible in order to preserve the coalition.
“The original cut had req taking like 3 consts in feyth, and co2 got 1-2, and the rest was going to be left to solar, at the time a member of the DRF (xix’s coalition). So co2 took all 4 or 5 or whatever, and we rejiggered space to accommodate everyone else.”
This was a negotiation hardship that isn’t done justice with just a short paragraph, but it was one of the key factors that cemented Dran’s reputation with the coalition. The chain of events that would follow however was something even he could not salvage. Co2’s renters, which The Judge was in charge of, were placed on their border with DRF coalition. This ensured that Co2’s renters would fall target to DRF’s attacks increasing tensions between the two groups. A few months later it comes out that Triumvirate are looking to leave the DRF. TEST makes an agreement with DRF saying if Triumvirate attacks, TEST would back the DRF. Dran states that The Judge agreed to a series of NIPS with solar, something GigX had never heard about when Dran brought it up.
“Fast forward another month, and co2s renters are still getting eaten alive, and Gigx starts shooting solar (DRF) again, and blues TRI as TRI decides to exit the DRF and attack Phoenix Federation, which at the time was a subset of the DRF.” Dran continued that TEST basically had a choice between siding with DRF who had only begun having a relationship with but had never broken an agreement, or Co2 who had been breaking agreements multiple times denying said agreements ever existed.
This is where it gets interesting because everything up until this point has more or less worked its way as public knowledge in the Eve community.
“Now here’s where history and my perspective of history may differ. Gigx said they had no agreement, and that was his justification for war. The Judge absolutely signed that agreement, I still have logs of it. I don’t know if Gigx played the fool to try and take what he wanted at the expense of our coalition reputation, or if Judge never actually passed on the agreement to Gigx. They had a weird relationship. Judged played the reasonable man in the room to Gigx’s crazy uncontrollable leader, but I always suspected that Gigx was mostly an FC and a firehead, and judge really ran the day to day of the alliance. So I think a series of Judge telling me one thing, and Gigx another, and Mactep (DRF) a third lead to a situation where he couldn’t move pieces in a way that kept both allies anymore, and when given the ultimatum Gigx chose TRI over TEST…Tri started losing the war against XIX, co2 was surrounded on all sides by hostiles, and I think judge took that as knowing he needed a way out. I think he had been all but leading things at that point, and gigx decided to assume control again since everything was falling to shit and judge made one last leadership decision to self-destruct his alliance and take a cashout.”
This was a fascinating revelation which explained a lot of what had been going on in Co2 leading up to that point. GigX had been the leader of Co2 for sure, but his role was focused on FCing and just shooting things in space. His goal was always getting on grid with enemies and turning ships into wrecks, the enemies’, his own, it didn’t matter as long as there was a fight. The empty space between fleet fights were not as important to him. Up until mid-2016 Da Winci was the lead diplomat of Co2 and handled the majority if not all of diplomatic and meta gaming for the alliance. Da Winci was the one that I negotiated with regarding their defection from the Imperium. Judge only posted the announcement on reddit because he wanted to keep a low profile.
Aside from Judge trying to get money out of me toward the end of negotiations, he had been completely irrelevant. When the dust of World War Bee settled and Co2 and TEST allied up Da Winci left the game. GigX had wanted to give TEST certain systems in Tribute prompting some disagreement between Da Winci and GigX. I don’t know what else was involved if anything else but at the very least it did show GigX was not “greedy for space” as some detractors like to claim. Whatever the reason, Judge was suddenly promoted from being Da Winci’s coffee fetcher to having to fill his shoes.
My own corp joined Co2 around this time and because of my history with Da Winci, GigX made me co-diplomat, something Judge was extremely unhappy about. Suddenly Judge wasn’t the bubbly friendly fellow that wanted to ask me about my day and oh by the way can I get him in contact with Lenny, IronBank and IWantIsk. Now he was the guy that’d randomly remove me from leadership channels having GigX have to re-invite me. When NCdot and their allies, in their infinite wisdom, decided to invade Co2’s Tribute, Judge was at Eve meets buddying up with Mercenary Coalition leadership and badmouthing Co2. While GigX was liquidating his own characters and super caps to continue funding Co2’s SRP program, Judge was coyly asking if he could get the money he invested into the M-O Keepstar before NCdot would destroy it.
Dran’s claim that it seemed like Judge was making multiple
contradictory agreements without consulting GigX falls very much in line with
his way of doing things.
“You think Judge did it maliciously or incompetently? You probably knew him better than I did tbh.”
Dran posed a very good question that I had to pause and ask myself as well. Was Judge secretly some meta gaming mastermind that had orchestrated all of this? Putting their renters on the borders with DRF to incite conflict? Making multiple contradictory agreements and then blaming GigX when it all played out? Everything wrong that could have happened did. If Judge was capable enough to orchestrate this, surely he’d just have made his alliance succeed and be remembered as a good successor to Da Winci. Instead, even his Goon friends talk about him in a condescending manner. Aryth explains how he saw Judge as his mark at the CSM and how he succeeded in “flipping” him. No personal agency, no actual input.
He just got rolled over. Most likely Judge bumbled in his role not being able to deal with the complexity of managing an alliance, made excuses, and ran into the arms of Aryth who was there to tell him none of it was his fault. One has to wonder if even Aryth thought it was difficult to flip Judge or if he simply had to stand under the self-interested fella as the gravity of greed and momentum of incompetence caused him to drop like an over ripened fruit in his hand. Now Judge lives as a trophy where even he admits no one will ever trust him with anything.
Despite what detractors may claim, this event didn’t kill Co2. The alliance moved up north and was actually one of the most capable fighters in the north against the Goon led Imperium on behalf of GOTG Coalition. As GOTG’s allies learned recently, Darkness failed to pull their weight and for the same reason Co2 likewise pulled out of that conflict. More than a year after Judge flipped, Co2’s corps eventually merged into Pandemic Horde.
You may not like GigX because of his angered comments in the wake of Judge’s actions. People can talk and I personally don’t make much fuss about what they say. If I reported everyone that threatened me over making articles on a pretend news site about internet spaceship pixels, we’d have a few less players today as well. You may disagree with Co2’s actions during World War Bee…although they were the undisputable best performing Imperium member with the strongest front up until that point. Plenty of other alliances departed the coalition for what some may say was poor coalition leadership. You may find GigX to be too blunt or harsh, although personally he was one of the easiest people in leadership to work with. Generally as long as you didn’t talk out of the side of your mouth you got along with the guy.
What isn’t a matter of opinion is Judge’s role not only in
September of 2017, but also all the factors that led up to that point. Being in
charge of renters and placing them on the border with a hostile force
instigating conflict, making multiple agreements to different parties as Dran
likewise recognizes, failing to communicate and play his rule as a good
diplomat, these matters led to the upheaval. It might not have the simplicity
the “GigX bad” crowd might be accustomed to but for the more informed
individual the details matter and paint these events in a new more nuanced
light. GigX was betrayed long before Co2’s assets were seized, by a series of
incompetent mistakes carried out by his diplomat, Judge.
***Special thanks to Dran for helping out with the investigation and truly illuminating how things went down from a holistic perspective.