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Circle of Two Defection Part 4: Fell by a Whisper

July 17, 2016

By Seraph IX Basarab

I strongly recommend reading the other parts before continuing on with this final article.

Part one established the importance of Co2’s defection through quotes of prominent individuals.

Part two provided more interviews comparing and contrasting differing perspectives regarding role that chance and planning had on Co2’s defection.

Part three focused on an interview with Co2’s Head Diplomat at the time, Da Winci.

The fourth and final part will detail the very point of origin where by chance the disposed make use of opportunity for a revolutionary act. I have my own role in this process and thus I will combine my perspective with the interview of others involved.

In the second half of 2015, Black Legion dissolved with the bulk of US TZ corps joining the rebuilt Psychotic Tendencies, a Syndicate/Placid based alliance. During this time I was looking for something to keep myself busy with in Eve. Throughout the Viceroyalty campaign, I saw firsthand just how deteriorated the CFC’s war capabilities had become. In the past the CFC would fight sov wars with clear objectives and throw two to three times the number at their opposition until they won. Lowsec proved to be much more challenging. Although the CFC acquired the moon towers they had set out to take, they did so at great losses. Initially Psychotic Tendencies and Snuffbox resisted the CFC and over the weeks other entities joined in to oppose the incursion. It was very obvious that the CFC had enough numbers to attain a singular objective. But when it came to fighting multiple fronts they could not always leverage their numeric advantage so well. Compounding this problem was the fact that CFC suffered from a lot of “brain drain.” Many high level leadership members had left the CFC.

I envisioned a multi-front attack through three attack corridors and went to work to finding individual alliances that would be interested in such a campaign. I had no idea of Lenny or his interests at this point and my own alliance had zero interest in such a thing. Instead I reached out to SUAS, head of OSS and a former Goon himself. He was interested in deploying to Venal and attack from deep within CFC territory while also working with the Russian alliance known as Out of Sight. OSS and OOS both had success in handling entities like Razor and FCON but when it came to Co2 the exchanges were much more even. I felt that fighting Co2 was a waste since they could stand on their own. Razor and FCON were much more dependent on their coalition. It was around late 2015 that I contacted Co2 primarily speaking with Da Winci and TheJudge. The initial conversation was fairly general asking about the war, their sentiments in regards to the CFC and the fighting over moons in Venal with OSS/OOS. Da Winci made it clear then that they felt the CFC was not fair with them and cited the example of Venal. They were the ones defending the coalition moons in Venal despite being given a disproportionally low amount while Razor and FCON offered only token resistance. The chance of convincing Co2 to defect from the CFC in November/December was a pipe dream but I did see an opportunity to lay the groundwork down for future potential diplomatic agreements. I contacted OOS leadership Nync, l0ser and Moxich for a potential NAP regarding moon assets in Venal and brought terms to Da Winci showing what OOS leadership had said to me:
December 2015

Moxich: They (Co2) are a lot more capable than FCON and Razor.

Seraph Basarab: This is true. Ok so agreement as it stands. Co2 and OOS don’t hit each other’s towers. Co2 does not show up to defend other towers in Venal.

Moxich: We’re okay with that generally but we want several days to check which poses are where so that they can have ones they got easy to defend and vice versa

I showed Da Winci this conversation and the following is our discussion.

Da_Winci: You’re going way too fast. I didn’t even agree on the proposal.

Seraph Basarab: I simply said they were on board. They’re Ok with the idea.

Da_Winci: Good to know then.

Seraph Basarab: I mean it’s really just up to you at this point how to handle it regarding the moons. But I put it up on the table for you.

Da_Winci: I do appreciate your efforts – but keep in mind I’m not in a hurry at all.

Seraph Basarab: That’s fine. Status quo can be maintained regarding moons until you are ready. OOS leadership would like to hear your analysis on how you think such an agreement would benefit them.

Da_Winci: Short term no benefits I think. I’m sure the status quo provides them and us enough opportunities to hold moons and get content. Any agreement would not benefit us in the short term. Moons in Venal are mostly earmarked meaning that we won’t ever hold excessive amounts of them. Longer term the trend of less cohesion in the coalition will ultimately lead to alliances holding what they can hold/defend themselves. Again, that’s not even a secret analysis… there is broad consensus on this. OOS is quite capable of holding a large portion of valuable moons, with our without an agreement. And letting evolution take its course will lead to that situation with or without an agreement. So both them and us shouldn’t be in any hurry – just not acting stupid and let nature take its course. If we would go all out on OOS we could hurt them way more than they could ever hurt us. That is in no way a threat, it’s a mere objective opinion. We have no intention of doing so, the situation as it is suits us fine. Mutual understanding that when shit hits the fan we could discuss “things” is enough for me right now. That said – time for Christmas festivities – talk later.

On the off chance that Mittens leaves his echo chamber and reads this I am sure he will attempt to use it as some kind of proof that Co2 “were always going to “betray” the CFC.” But let’s keep in mind some clear objective points:

1. Co2 was holding the front in Lonetrek as well as defending coalition assets in Venal despite receiving little assistance from the entities that benefited mostly from their efforts.
2. Co2 did not make any agreement to harm any CFC entity. They simply acquired the security of their own assets because of point 1.
3. Da Winci saw that the CFC would naturally deteriorate and even stated he was in no hurry to force this natural progression but simply opening up lines of communication when such reality would come about.
4. The terms were actually agreed upon officially *get this* in local during a skirmish between OOS/OSS and Co2 by GigX. It wasn’t even hidden in anyway. Literally anyone there knew about it. How this escaped the famed Goon Intelligence Services is beyond me.

I interviewed Moxich from OOS who was the individual I mostly had contact with.

Seraph Basarab: Hey how are you. I’m doing an article regarding Co2’s defection and I wanted to get OOS’s perspective on things.

Moxich: Oh hey mate. Yeah of course. You were the main guy behind it.

Seraph Basarab: Well the whole process had a lot of moving parts and certainly OOS played a role too. We did manage to get an agreement going between you guys (along with The OSS) and Co2 regarding moons in Venal and I think that acted as a sort of proto-type for a potential relationship. What did you think when you were approached in regards to diplomacy with Co2. Nync seemed quiet skeptical, yet you were more open to the idea.

Moxich: Well Nync liked the idea. L0ser was a bit more skeptical. Still we looked through the moon list and discussed which moons we can trade.

Seraph Basarab: How did this NAP with Co2 change things for OOS?

Moxich: Well it kind of formalized the state we were for some months that time. When Razor and FCON decided to elite pvp the shit out of us we stopped the pressure on Co2. No need to fight on two fronts.

Seraph Basarab: When did you first engage with Co2 diplomatically regarding such an agreement?

Moxich: When you first contacted me.

It was this initial agreement that encouraged me to continue my talks with Co2. Our discussions were always cordial but there were moments of tension when I felt that Co2 needed to accelerate and push things forward while Da Winci preferred to take a slow and steady pace. Throughout this process I always kept in contact with SUAS considering ways to build upon the previous agreement eventually bridging to a full Co2 defection. SUAS had told me that OSS was planning to build numerous dreads in Venal but needed the minerals moved there. I suggested that Co2 could build the dreads in Tribute, jump them to Venal and sell them to OSS. This would have provided them and the various groups that were yet to pour into Venal the heavy assets needed to destroy countless towers while the bulk of the CFC was staged in Saranen. Da Winci however preferred caution. Securing an agreement to keep their own assets unmolested was one thing while providing their coalition’s enemies with supplies was something else entirely.

Throughout the months I continued to be a point of contact slowly pulling other individuals into orbit of the discussion. I interviewed the man who handled much of Lenny’s financing to the various forces assembled, Boson Dubstep. “I first met them (Co2) through you.” I inquired upon his perspective and roll regarding the defection and he continued stating, “I approached a bunch of different people and after talking to them individually we had a meeting. GigX at the meeting said that Co2 would be fighting for the CFC for the M-O timer because they were not going to turn their backs on their friends, even if their friends turned their backs on them. Killah Bee was not happy about that. Killah was in a tough spot because he couldn’t really just go off of what Co2 were saying and the MBC would look dumb if Co2/CFC won the timer. Co2 said that they would defect no matter what the outcome of the timer would be. Right after the timer, we all got into TS and finalized the terms. I wanted to be very clear that there was no (payoff) deal. I believe 100% that had the M-O battle escalated to supers, GigX would have sent his entire super fleet into us with his Revenant first. So we had to keep a very close eye on them and because they acted honorably, MBC respected their sovereignty. They kept their word and immediately afterward started reinforcing CFC’s assets. Props to them. The defection would not have happened as early as it did without you, I’m confident about that.”

Although I maintained a line of communication with Da Winci, I did not necessarily trust him completely. He was representing his own side and has his own interests mirroring my own conduct. Even though he outlined various instances where CFC mistreated his alliance, I also had to consider the possibility that it was some sort of set up. Naturally he had similar concerns that had least a nominal presence in his own thought process.Co2 suffered some setbacks in early March in the form of a few lost Titans. It was in instances such as these that I pressed Da Winci to “make a decision.” On the 23rd/24th of March Da Winci sent the following message to me:

Da_Winci: Make me an offer concerning Co2 – Bastion and Lawn in the next 24hrs if possible.

Seraph Basarab: So this deal would be for all three? Are the other two parties in the know regarding our talks or do you plan on bringing them aboard once an offer is made?

Da_Winci: I talk for Co2 of course and Co2 alone. I talk continuously with them and the time has come. For this to work we need more than Co2 alone. I have a meeting with them in 12hours on this subject.

Of course as we have seen in the previous articles LAWN and Bastion leadership would instead be meeting with Mittani opting to evacuate to Saranen. Ulimately what made Co2 “budge” was Mittani’s own actions, abandoning Vale and leaving Co2 to hold the door as the coalition fled to Saranen. This would cost the CFC all their territory and the hundreds of billions of isk in materials going to building Super Carriers and Titans. After this conversation I contacted Vince Draken after which he sent the terms to other MBC leadership to discuss.

SUAS, former GSF, currently of OSS and the first person I informed about my talks with Da Winci explains his perspective: “When Co2 joined the CFC they had a strong internal identity. Part of the strength of the CFC was its ability to grind down those internal identities (as it did with razor and SMA) and realign them with the Goon identity. But due to the strength of the personality of Co2 this just wasn’t happening. This started to cause friction, and internal politics started becoming a little aggressive. Whilst Co2 would always help with sov timers or any important offensive fights they had the strength of character to do what’s best for them and so they were able to say no to bullying less powerful/experienced players and alliances and so they started to gain a reputation of becoming dissenters. Goon internal politics are not particularly forgiving towards people with any opinion other than the officially sanctioned one, so it wasn’t long before bitchy “dossiers” started getting written in preparation of Co2 being reset by goons if they ever needed some close to home content, but Co2 were not politically inexperienced, nor were they blind and it became quite apparent that their time in the CFC was coming to an end. Now, enter World War Bee. Co2 put up, by FAR the best fights in the entire war. They also held out longer than the entire rest of the coalition put together. Before they begun hemorrhaging space and members, yet they were the ones with the least to lose. The MBC weren’t here to reduce their numbers, or take their space. They were just in the way of goons. I think it must’ve felt pretty galling to be the defending an alliance that you knew didn’t really like or respect you, and this is where the talks came in. Co2 leadership have never started/waged holy wars on people and so had a good network of friends and associates outside of the CFC. People respected both their fighting ability and their staying power and so they were the kind of people that would always get listened to if they wanted to speak. As I said, before the war already began, they were interested in leaving. Seeing nothing more but token support for their space is only going to catalyze and cement those feelings of isolation from the rest of the coalition. Ironically or amusingly, or hell, stupidly, after Co2 left the CFC, goons released some leaks about how little Co2 were liked in the CFC in an attempt to smear the good reputation that they had, however all it really proved is that Co2 were absolutely correct in their assumption that they were being targeted and logs being kept about them. Goons, ever keen to blame others for their own failures were blaming the “fall” of tribute (bear in mind as I said that they held out longer than the rest of the CFC put together) on Co2’s incompetence/arrogance. This I think was the final straw for the Co2 leadership who were perfectly cognisant of that fact that it was Co2 providing the bulk of the CFC skilled fighting force. We were always in contact with Co2. We knew that their removal from the gooncamp in the war would be both good for the MBC and good for Co2. It was a win-win situation for both parties. Only Co2’s sense of pride and honour kept them allied to a group that had such public and outward disdain for them. We would talk regularly, and honestly. We’d discuss the war, we’d discuss Goons, and we’d discuss Co2’s place in the war. As time went on it became more and more apparent to both Co2 and MBC diplo’s that Co2 were not just providing the bulk of the fighting force but essentially propping the CFC up. If they were to “Hit the button”, goons would lose their most valuable allies, and not only that, the MBC would gain a huge ally. The talks, bear in mind; were mostly done in secret. Various teamspeak/skype meetings happened, some weeks and months before the defection but as time passed and Co2 were being left more and more out alone, they intensified. Ultimately it was Mittani that sealed the deal. He bribed Bastion and Lawn to abandon Co2 (who Co2 had fought for, tooth and nail to be part of any deal they made for themselves), and so Co2, feeling ultimately disappointed with their ‘friends’ decided that the time to leave had, indeed arrived. If Mittani hadn’t tried to screw another ally, we may have still been fighting in tribute when Lenny ran out of money and the war ended. The deal was made before the big battle of M-O (amusingly, the last big battle of the war) and it’s a testament to Co2 that they still wanted to fight. They know it’s a game, and not a business. Now let me just clear up a few questions I’ve seen bought up by various people in the last month or two. 1) There was NO plan to hit the goon super fleet. Killah Bee (who was informed of the co2 situation a week before they left the CFC) said “I know what the answer will be but I’m not doing my job if I don’t ask. Would you consider backstabbing goon halfway through the fight.” ANYONE that knows anything about the real co2 (as Killah did) will know what the answer to that would have been, and was. No. A big resounding no. It was the ONLY talk about betrayal and “plans within plans” in any of the convo’s with the, and it lasted about 15 seconds. Co2 are standup, and honest. I kind of addressed with 1. The reason a lot of people didn’t know about Co2 leaving the CFC was because of the compartmentalization of information. Killah didn’t lie on the Jeff Raider show, he just hadn’t been told. The people I know spoke to them a fair bit were myself, you, boson and towards the end Lenny and Sabre.”

At the beginning of the series I set out to identify the importance of the defection, provide varying perspectives on why and how it happened. I did this in order to avoid accounts of speculation or misrepresentation to take root, as has happened in the past, and in order to give voice to the various individuals involved. I hope that this has been enlightening to readers and helped flesh out the already expansive Eve universe for current and future players of this great game. This is the kind of diplomacy that is made possible by shared mutual respect. As Da Winci’s parting statement he writes “…the Butterfly Effect trailer was what drew me into Eve. I’ve quit the game now, but I consider my role in this as the height of my ‘career’ in Eve. Pure diplo heaven.” For myself I can say it was a pleasure to have been part of something like this and I echo Da Winci’s sentiments completely. I’d also like to thank all others involved in the process and for the insightful interviews.

~ Seraph IX Basarab