Art by Major Sniper
Chaos in The Kalevala Expanse
An unimaginable scenario unfolded in the backwater system of 74-DRC in The Kalevala Expanse on the evening of January 25, 2018: Black Legion Muninns and support ships collaborated with The Imperium’s Liberty Squad and members of Tactical Narcotics Team (TNT) to destroy three Northern Coalition Revelations. The fight spilled over from nearby systems under entosis siege by Imperium forces, where Black Legion hesitated to engage and Pandemic Horde – the local holder of sovereignty – made no attempt to intervene. The encounter followed weeks of harassment by Liberty Squad of Pandemic Horde’s structures and holdings in The Kalevala Expanse, as well as TNT’s campaign to nibble away sovereignty from Horde in the region’s southern systems.
Various Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Squads organized by The Imperium have spent the months following last summer’s War of Reckoning against Pandemic Legion, Pandemic Horde, and Northern Coalition harassing those entities across their home regions in the northern reaches of New Eden. This campaign utilized diverse strategies including cloaky camping, a tactic that became so destructive to the north’s economic productivity that it was banned by name (for a period of time) in the treaty that ended the war. At other times it has involved deep strikes into northern territory, such as this one that laid waste to over 100B ISK worth of Pandemic Legion Rorquals and mining barges. In ways large and small, Imperium SIGs and Squads punished the northern alliances, sparing only Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG) from activities prohibited by the armistice ending The Imperium’s deployment to Cloud Ring and the surrounding regions in the summer of 2018. Liberty Squad’s current activities in Etherium Reach and The Kalevala Expanse continue this campaign of harassment.
The Kalevala Expanse is significant as a buffer zone between lowsec systems surrounding The Forge and Pandemic Horde’s primary holdings in Geminate, and as such it is the southernmost boundary of the entire PanFam coalition, bordered on the south by Prothean Alliance, which is neutral to Horde. Prothean Alliance has resisted Horde’s expansion southward due to pressure from surrounding adversaries LAZERHAWKS (whose only nullsec holdings are four systems in Etherium Reach) and Tactical Supremacy. Instability within Etherium Reach drives all sovereignty holders to the edges of the region, which, coupled with frequent raids from Brothers of Tangra to the east guarantees that systems cleared of Horde’s claims next door in The Kalevala Expanse would be highly desirable to any of these entities.
An Unexpected Ending
The situation on January 25 began with the typical mendacity of a sovereignty conflict. As Imperium forces focused their attention on entosising I-Hubs in multiple systems in The Kalevala Expanse, Black Legion moved toward a system where the three NC Dreadnoughts had begun to bait targets. At the same time, Pandemic Legion maneuvered to blockade Liberty Squad’s retreat through lowsec systems bordering The Forge. Imperium fleets concluded their entosis activities and began to search for targets of opportunity, eventually settling on the volatile system of 74-DRC as their best prospect for a good fight to conclude a lengthy and uneventful night of entosis warfare. An initial dive into the system produced a wild-west shootout in which the NC Dreadnoughts, Black Legion, and Imperium pilots all targeted each other.
Liberty Squad quickly warped off to regroup, and, following a few minutes of silence from Fleet Commanders Thomas Lear and Cainun, returned to the fight with instructions to ignore Black Legion. An uneasy armistice ensued between Imperium forces and Black Legion, and the Dreadnoughts died in rapid succession. Despite skepticism from line pilots that any agreement between The Imperium and Black Legion would be honored after the death of the original targets, the two sides parted ways and declined to pursue one another.
Later reports from INN, including commentary on the Open Comms podcast on January 26, indicated Black Legion has reset standings with many PanFam entities in the north in an effort to re-establish the alliance’s reputation as a third-party force operating across lowsec and nullsec. Representatives from Black Legion and Liberty Squad did not respond to requests for comment on the situation in The Kalevala Expanse.