The word is out that war may be coming to us again.
In the middle of last week there was a special weekday fireside chat in the Imperium where The Mittani told us that, based on intel received, a chunk of New Eden might be forming up to take another shot at us. For the first time since we were driven out of the north and started our move to Delve war will be coming to find us.
This past weekend the regular weekly fireside repeated this message and the weekend was spent on preparations for a possible war. If was was coming, we needed to tighten up out lines of defense and be ready.
Since we set up shop in Delve back in 2016 most of our time fighting has been part of deployments to other regions. From our foray to Hakonen three years back to the current Cloud Ring deployment, we had been on the road a lot. The Eye of Terror Jump bridge network extends all the way up into Pure Blind. We had a staging Keepstar for a while in KQK1-2, on the edge of Tribute, far from home, left over from driving PanFam out of Tribute and Vale. That one got killed when we tried to remove it via stealth. The rest of them will be taken down with fleets watching over them as we prepare.
And so I spent some time over the weekend shepherding fleets here and there, keeping capitals safe and hostiles at bay.
The Goonswarm Expeditionary Force deployment was pulled back from Cloud Ring to Fountain… basically two jumps… to put fleets within the perimeter of the Imperium. I managed to get all three ships I had there back on the first try.
Mostly though it was watching capital blobs move here and there, getting ready for operations in the coming week to cover structure removal.
After that we will be back to our core areas, which are Delve, Fountain, Period Basis, and a little bit of Querious.
The thought of war, of hostiles coming for us, did spur some enthusiasm in those of us who were around through the time in Saranen, when hostile fleets were on the station undock most hours of the day. Despite the loss and the retreat, it is a time looked back on fondly by many of us for the pretty much non-stop action. We would form up, undock, fight, dock up, and then do it again. I probably went on more ops during that time than I have done in any comparable time frame.
Then the situation became untenable as our ISK balance ran down while the hostiles enjoyed essentially unlimited ISK from the now banned casinos.
Things are, of course, much different now. Delve is much more of a fortress than Deklein ever was. We won’t be as concentrated as we were in Saranen, as our space is still a lot of ground to cover.
Part of me felt during the fireside on Saturday that this might be all too much to hope for. With Guardians of the Galaxy/Dead Coalition actually dead and gone, we are back to a tri-polar set of super powers in null sec. There is PanFam and its allies in the northeast, Legacy Coalition in the southeast, and the Imperium in the southwest. It isn’t unlikely that two of those powers would join forces against the third. Certainly Legacy and the Imperium have joined up a few times to go after PanFam.
But PanFam isn’t that close to us now, with a few regions laying between the and Fountain, and they have not shown an inclination to deploy that far from home. Legacy Coalition butts right up against us, but we have a non-invasion pact, the NIP, with them. We are not blue with them and we shoot each other freely and roam each other’s space, but the NIP keeps it to that. We don’t shoot each others structures in the home spaces of the others and we don’t mess with sovereignty.
So one of the questions at the fireside on Saturday was, “What about the NIP?” It was, at that time, still in place and The Mittani said that if Legacy broke it without warning there would never be another agreement between the two coalitions again. And without breaking it, an invasion seemed unlikely.
But all this intel could have been wrong. Intel often gets interpreted with more hope than reality. People might be seeing shadows. And Goons have a certain level of institutional paranoia built into their mind set about the galaxy being out to get them.
But it is probably still a good thing to clean up our forward outposts and be ready just in case. And, since the even the most basic spy has access to the firesides, the word quickly spread. Over on r/eve the attitude seems mostly dismissive of the idea and was viewed as a chance to mock The Mittani.
And then yesterday an announcement came up on Reddit. Legacy Coalition announced that the NIP between them and the Imperium would expire on July 5, 2020, basically giving two weeks notice, with a strong indication that war would come then. The tone on r/eve changed some. Skepticism remains, but there is also some hope for a big war and the propaganda machines are starting to roll out fresh memes. Look at all those pink “propaganda” tags in the subreddit today.
We shall see where this ends up. There is work to be done all around between now and then.
Addendum: I am reliably informed that the Imperium plans to call this war, should it come to pass, “World War Bee” because “screw your narrative.” So I guess I can get that tag going for real now.