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Diplomatic Background of Circle-Of-Two’s Departure from the Imperium

March 30, 2016

By Seraph IX Basarab

Hello my name is Seraph IX Basarab and I’m a member of Psychotic Tendencies. [TISHU] . I’m also what passes for a diplomat for the alliance and that’s actually relevant for the following story. I write opinion articles and this time in particular I have some unique insight on recent events.

Before going on read this if you haven’t already: http://evenews24.com/2016/03/29/breaking-co2-to-reset-the-imperium/

I’m writing this in part to avoid the many misconceptions already out there and the many more that are likely to follow. The notion that Circle-Of-Two [CO2]’s decision to leave the CFC was due to this recent battle or even “during the battle” is completely false. The events leading up to this reached much further back. Not “at a Sir Molle’s BBQ in 2007” but still a bit more than “rolling out of bed this morning and deciding to flip.” Furthermore Mittens is currently grinding out the wheel on his spinmaster 10,000 detailing some elaborate plot to bait out super caps and imagining that somehow he still came out of it as the “real winner” regarding recent events because the Imperium managed to (tin) foil said plans. But I digress…

Towards the end of 2015 the CFC seemed invincible even attempting to immortalize their legacy with an ill planned and expensive kickstarter for a book detailing their past success evicting Test Alliance Please Ignore [TEST] from Fountain. Their campaign into lowsec in order to force the various entities there to pay them tribute and take moon assets was also just announced. It was during this period that it became obvious to several people that despite the CFC’s level of strength, they had no chance to hold all their territory in a multi-front war.

Now I don’t want to mislead readers into thinking I was somehow “masterminding everything from behind the scenes.” A few people were going around trying to make things move and while some of us were in light contact with each other, we largely worked individually. The best way to describe this would be as a “Stand Alone Complex” a concept of a phenomenon where unrelated, yet very similar actions of individuals create a seemingly concerted effort. It’s also the main theme of a very good series. Everyone played their respective part.

One of the parts relevant to today’s events was contacting CO2. I was familiar with the group, viewing it as the 2nd most powerful alliance within the CFC as well as having an independent mindset and tendency to keep their own identity over many of the other alliances in the coalition. They held a very key and central position within the CFC both as the 2nd largest contributor to fleets as well as having a strong geographic position.

I contacted CO2 sometime in December 2015. There was no sneaky dark plan to “Betray the Goons.” We just talked about the game, the viceroyalty program, the fighting in lowsec. I had genuine respect for them as an alliance and wondered how they fit into the CFC. They referred to publicly known matters, that Circle-Of-Two liked to keep its own culture and identity and this made Goonswarm Federation [CONDI] leadership uncomfortable.

“Exactly 5 months ago Sion threatened to expel CO2 from the coalition. In very clear terms we were ordered to fall in line or suffer the consequences. We choose the latter and informed our members that expulsion was imminent from that point on.” ~CO2 Leadership, Public statement via reddit.

My timing was lucky and the heavy handedness from Sion and CONDI leadership made our discussions a repeat affair. Throughout December the CFC presence in lowsec had pushed the lowsec/Syndicate groups such as TISHU, Snuffed Out [B B C] and Shadow Cartel [SHDWC] among others to work together. Even so any notion of CO2 leaving the CFC was scoffed at. The possibility CO2 considered more realistic was an internal collapse of the CFC due to lack of direction and the possibility of continuing their relationship with The Bastion [BASTN] and Get Off My Lawn [LAWN], alliances which both heavily relied on CO2’s military prowess for security.

As the holiday week approached TISHU was considering its options to deploy elsewhere. However the IWantISK (IWI)/SpaceMonkey’s Alliance [SMA] contract fell in our lap and the terms were too good to pass up. At this point there was almost no notion that there would be a serious war against the CFC. This was strictly a punitive contract against SMA which after we finished up we would depart.

The wide success of this campaign have been detailed elsewhere. The important factor however was that the Fade campaign along with the successes of The OSS [OSS] and Out of Sight. [OOS] in Venal put a lot of blood in the water. Yet CO2 proved they were capable in several engagements against lowsec powers on the border with Tribute and easily had the best track record in the coalition.

Periodically over the length of January and February discussions would continue regarding their situation in the game. While they showed results on their front reclaiming moons other alliance members had lost, or were unwilling to fight for, CFC command would demand they give them to groups unable to defend their assets. Corps that had harmed CO2 and were blacklisted were given a backdoor entrance into other CFC alliances. Sion’s consistent attempts to “leash” CO2 were met with nonchalant disinterest and poor diplomacy on CONDI’s part only served to further push CO2 away.

“Plenty of times Goons (Corps Diplomatique in particular) showed a total lack of consideration – we remained silent. Corporations were poached from us, disregarding coalition procedures. The Goonswarm director responsible is still sitting in his chair – we remained silent. Blacklisted corporations were recruited by allies – unblacklisted because it suited them – we remained silent. We were not okay with messing with Provi’s sov – we remained silent. The Viceroy plan was just ridiculous – we remained silent.” ~Co2 Leadership, Public statement via reddit.

A very similar sentiment was noticeable even during the early phases of our discussions. Despite these numerous insults, CO2 was committed to wanted to work out their situation within the coalition as best its leadership could. Its leadership was interested not only in the well being of its own alliance, but would often discuss the well being of BASTN and LAWN. Hardly the “Back stabbing traitors” Mittens would want to spin CO2 as. In fact when I asked CO2 to import minerals and build ships for the CFC’s enemies in Venal fighting against Fidelas Constans [FCON] and RAZOR Alliance [-RZR-] it politely turned me down saying they were not willing to work against the well being of their current allies.

I’m not going to lie, I was fairly frustrated. The war that I had wanted to happen seemed unlikely as the major powers that would have been able to bring it about were skeptical at best. Even my own alliance although successfully striking at SMA, were considering their next deployment far away elsewhere. I wanted CO2’s departure from the CFC to be the major catalyst that would bring this about. I felt perhaps they were simply stringing me along so that I would slip some sort of intel. Doubt had certainly set in my mind. Cooler heads prevailed and my CO2 counter part was correct in biding his time.

The battles in Hakonen and 2DWM-2 further brought forth the reality that the interests of the CFC and CO2 were diverging. The continued level of disrespect which CO2 leadership felt was being leveled towards it reached the boiling point when the CFC announced their withdrawal from Vale of the Silent. BASTN and LAWN, the two alliances CO2 had planned to work with for their mutual defense, simply retreated from the region behind other alliances leaving CO2 to feel the brunt of the invader’s force.

“We had, separate from Goons, made plans to defend Tribute and Vale together with The Bastion and Get Off My Lawn. All it took was a candlelit dinner with Mittens for The Bastion and Lawn to completely abandon Vale and leave CO2 alone to defend Tribute. The whole time other Imperium alliances were called to Saranen, while we were not even informed of such movements or how they would relate in regards to the defense of Tribute.” ~Co2 Leadership, Public statement via reddit.

So far from being the eager traitor that Mittens wants to spin the situation as, CO2 had made plans to stand and fight with its close allies, who instead preferred to hide behind CO2’s lines. I personally think that CO2 hoped it could survive the invading forces along side BASTN and LAWN as CONDI would eventually lose control over the other alliances. Perhaps they thought the CFC would naturally realize its limitations and either cease their dominating attitude toward their coalition members. CO2 could maintain their relationship with the allies they cultivated and protected while also not having to deal with the likes of Mittens and Sion and their humiliating demands. When your coalition puts you in a situation such as CO2’s you have two choices: betray your own members or act as a meatshield.

“Over the past few months it has become increasingly clear that we have served (only) as a meatshield. Circle-Of-Two is NOT a meatshield. We will not stand as the wall that defends Deklein from the angry hordes for the benefit of Goons. We will no longer subject our pilots to the indecency of watching their hard work burn while Goons sit in their ivory tower. We will no longer stand as an unequal partner in The Imperium. For the good of our members we will be separating ourselves from The Imperium with a full and complete reset of all Imperium member alliances as of 2016.03.29 at 00:01 EVE Time.” ~Co2 Leadership, Public statement via reddit.

The terms negotiated are not for me to share. However I can say that there’s no complexity or much intrigue in it all. Despite what Mittens may claim ISK was not exchanged to “buy off” anyone. Throughout all of this I have to remark that shutupandshave (SUAS) of OSS was an extremely helpful ally and friend. SUAS is a skilled and experienced FC and as a former Goon himself he knew the CFC’s strengths and weaknesses better than most. Although more than justified with his many years of experience, he had never once talked down to me or addressed me with any sort of arrogance. I would have likely dropped the entire diplomatic discussion with CO2 were it not for his council. However he remained committed as much if not more than anyone else involved in the early months of the conflict and certainly deserves every bit of credit owed for this. Moxich of OOS was also an ally in this endeavor and he too kept an open mind and line of communication with OOS leaders. Lastly Vince Draken to my surprise reached out to me and had an open mind regarding the offer in its final stages. And of course the CO2 counter parts who maintained a courteous and respectful composure even when we missed each others’ points at times.

The impact of such a diplomatic maneuver cannot be over stated for players who joined this game particularly for the meta gaming aspect. I’m happy to be able to share the experience with other fellow players and look forward to see how the rest of the conflict plays out regardless of outcome. The war is not yet won. I won’t make any claims, as others in the past have, that the conclusion is forgone by one singular act of meta gaming. Fleet commanders and alliance leaders will need to harness the collective might of thousands of pilots as they hurl destruction against each other. There’s still a lot to do and opportunities for everyone to be involved.

Lastly throughout this endeavor people who were rightfully skeptical of such a possibility posed the question to me of “Why would we/you have such an opportunity. Why us/you? Who are we/you to have that?” The truth is just as in life, in Eve you make your own opportunities. My response to them as I hope yours will be in your own similar situation was: “Why not us? Why not me?”

In closing I leave you with easily my favorite Eve related video.