What Happens After the End of White Noise in Branch?

The crusade by the Deklein Confederation (or whatever the right, polite company term is for the Goonswarm and their allies in the Deklein region of space… I know what the real one is) appears to be winding down.

This pretty animated .GIF from the Something Awful forums tells the tale, showing progression from Dec. 20th to Jan. 8th.

White Noise in Branch

White Noise got squished, with the Deklein Coalition pushing in hard from the west, while White Noise ally Raiden was handed to some systems on the east.  WN only owns KMC-WI in Branch at this time.

As they put it over at EVE 24, Mission Accomplished.  And I was able to help in my own small way at the start and the very end.  They also serve, who only x-up and wait.

The question now is what comes next?

The situation map now looks like this. (Map source, as usual.)

State of the Game - Jan 10, 2012

There are still some cards in White Noise preaching the “Deklein Free of Goons” line.  They claim, among other things, to have canned all their carebears and other slackers, to be building a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude, to be forging their spirits in the traditions of their ancestors, to be the vanguard of a new war because the whole game is going to come to their aid because it is solid 100% fact that everybody hates the Goons, and yadda yadda yadda so on and so forth.

White Noise has been playing the WWII metaphor game, trying to paint themselves as the Soviet Union when the Germans attacked in 1941.  Unfortunately for them, Poland in 1939 seemed closer to the mark, or maybe this pre-Barbarossa quote came to pass for them, “We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down.”

We are in a “deeds not words” time for White Noise, the credibility of their rhetoric being pretty low at this point.

So, barring a magical White Noise resurgence, what else can happen?

The Deklein Coalition could keep rolling on and go after Raiden, which holds a lucrative corner of null sec.  They were, after all, involved in the war, coming to help their ally White Noise before helping themselves to some of the WN systems.  There has been some speculation and analysis about the Goonswarm long term plans in that regard. [Addendum: EVE News 24 also has a look at the remaining power blocs in null sec.]

Or there could be a cessation of hostilities allowing everybody to consolidate their gains and figure out what to do next.  My read on this could be totally wrong, but Raiden does not appear keen to launch their own campaign into Branch yet, and there is a theory running around that the Goon offensive might come to an end just because everybody is done with their holiday break at this point and cannot stay up around the clock to prosecute another intense war.

This would allow Hulkageddon V to go forward.  It was announced that the Goons would be sponsoring this round of Hulkageddon, but with the war in Branch that had to be put off.

The Mittani and Helicity Together

Things seem quiet enough in Deklein and Branch now that I think we might be coming to a period of consolidation and planning.  Certainly on the Deklein Coalition side of things, consolidation would allow the upgrading of systems and the installation of infrastructure, like jump bridges, which would make a continuation of the fight later more viable.  Right now, travel from Deklein to the front line of Raiden systems is a long series of jumps, with plenty of gates to camp in order to interdict reinforcements and supplies.

To turn to another WWII metaphor, like Rommel at El Alamein, The Mittani has long and exposed supply lines, while his potential opponent is sitting on their home turf, fleets ready.

Meanwhile, Raiden does not seem to be running ops into Branch.  The intel channels are quiet, except for the usual chatter about some neutral in system or some third party setting up a gate camp for kicks.

So it seems like we might be headed for a lull, perhaps a phoney war, perhaps a consolidation and adjustment to a new status quo.  But what I do not know about the situation could fill a very large book.

What do you think is going to happen?