The Initiative. (INIT.) continued their campaign of terror in Catch this weekend, preying on transports and stragglers as Brave and other Legacy groups attempted to evacuate to their ‘new homes.’ In a concentrated effort organised by INIT.’s recon group, the disruption of this and neighbouring regions reached a pinnacle with 130bn in assets destroyed for 7bn in losses.
At the same time, in a Sunday (February 28) Interim SOTA, Brave leader Dunk Dinkle stressed the importance of holding onto Catch. “We can’t lose sight of our existing places in Catch, we need to continue defending them strongly,” he said, but with ongoing fights to claim sovereignty in Querious, and constant attempts to repel attackers in Catch, it remains to be seen how it will end.
How has BRAVE fared over the past three weeks since the release of their director channel discussions? Dinkle said Sunday that the state of Brave was strong and that the alliance had grown during the war. He failed to mention that the “growth” was due to neighbouring alliances collapsing. Brave’s three most recent additions – Flaming Fist, DNS Requiem and Savannah Logistics – all joined from Warped Intention or Vindictive, losing a sizeable proportion of their numbers along the way (Flaming Fist dropped by 50%).
In addition, Brave has seen its members in Catch under constant pressure. Ratting, mining, hauling and exploring have all been put to a halt as it’s estimated that INIT. alone has destroyed over 1 trillion ISK in Catch this year. To illustrate the scale of killing, certain Initiative. pilots now rank as the ‘top killers’ within Catch systems for all time on zkill. A staggering feat considering INIT.’s deployment only began in 2021.
Similar to assaults in Delve, burning Catch has been slow progress, with INIT. ascendant during European TZ and Brave in USTZ, enabling ‘timezone tanking’ on iHubs. Although Brave still maintains control of most of its iHubs in the constellations surrounding GE-8JV, ADMs have been lowered in almost all other systems to levels one or two. With Warped Intentions having almost collapsed, it’s now only a matter of time before INIT. brings its full attention to Brave’s remaining systems in Catch.
Sometimes Quickly, Sometimes Slowly
It’s not all bad news for Brave. In the past month they have managed to secure footholds in around 20 systems within Querious, and although harassed by Siberian Squads, the combined weight of the PAPI coalition has assisted them in forging some space. Yet, there are some voices within Brave that are reluctant to depart the established wealth of Catch for the warzone of Querious. One Brave explorer, who did not wish to be named, firmly stated, “I will not be leaving Catch. I’ll go when all my assets have been blasted into space.” It is clear that Brave leadership does not share that pilot’s affinity for Catch.
This weekends announcement was the first planned address since the leaks, and there are signs that Dinkle is attempting to rein in his members. “No one has ever won an argument only on the internet – stay out of arguing and let our guns to do the talking,” he said. “Put your energy into [fighting] rather than posting on reddit.” Reflecting on the war as a whole, Dinkle mentioned the pace of the conflict and once again showed his surprise at its longevity. “It is a slow grind,” he said. “I don’t think either side knows how to end this war. But the time for hedging our bets is over. Querious is going to be Brave’s long-term home.”
INIT., The Undead Alliance
Since The Initiative. conceded Fountain early in the war (then swiftly re-occupied it), the so-called “dead alliance” has reveled in its spoiler role. It’s given them opportunities to provide reinforcements to major fights in Delve, defend partners in Scalding Pass, and prosecute their campaign against PAPI’s defenseless rear areas. February also saw them close their grip around Brave’s capital system of GE-.
As the war has changed since M2 so have INIT.’s tactics. “Originally our main plan was to lower ADM’s, INIT. FC Shvo said. “But since Brave leadership declared that they are coming back to Catch to make ISK, in order to fill up their wallets, we took the opportunity…dropping on anything that moves, shutting down their ratting/mining income dramatically.”
Jaden Jast, a member of INIT.’s recon group, described their Catch deployment. “We’ve been hitting them at every opportunity that we can,” he said. “Sometimes we run black ops fleets during our main fleets to kill stuff. I’ve had times in the middle of a fight where we are also dropping bombers on a target or pausing a timer somewhere else. We have even killed caps on unanchored Keepstars due to this. Some guys in Brave still gate caps and freighters around without escorts.”
Dinkle attempted to reassure his 13,000 members Sunday, saying, “I don’t want people to think that tomorrow Catch will be a desolate place…we match INIT. every time we form up strong, we beat them. In a straight up brawl we have been able to push them back every time.” Yet with alliances on their flanks collapsing, the question remains of how long Brave will be able to hold onto their former home territory.