Art by Major Sniper
Around 17:00 on September 12, 2018 there was already a flurry of activity in the staging system of the Imperium, 6RCQ. It was to be slightly more special day than all the other special days, especially for members of the Imperium. For today would be the day that the Imperium would attempt to destroy Co2’s home Keepstar in DW-T2I.
A Path to the Present
There is a long and storied history between Co2 and the Imperium. In fact for many years Co2 and other members of the Imperium (known as the CFC at the time) got along just famously. But as time went on Co2 leadership became more unruly, especially Gigx. Great efforts were made by Corps Diplomatic of the Imperium to keep Co2 an active and happy member of the Imperium. But these efforts were ultimately proved futile.
Any reasonable person would have considered ongoing assistance given in managing an alliance a good thing. When the corruption that was rife within Co2 was pointed out by the Imperium it was met with hostility. When auditing and guidance was given regarding alliance income it was only met with demands for more.
Co2 leader Gigx was also more than happy to push the narrative of Co2 being a PvP powerhouse. This was something that was also pushed by others leading up to The Casino War. But there were already plans afoot by Gigx. In the summer of 2015 he was quite vocal in his own alliance that they had no need for the Imperium, and that Co2 was being harshly treated in the spoils of war. At almost every turn Gigx was inclined to lay the blame for any alliance membership woes at the feet of the Imperium. Not enough wealth from moons, well that is the Goon’s fault for not giving Co2 more moons. It has nothing to do with embezzlement by Co2 leadership. When Co2 failed in their objective in Providence it was again not their fault.
At the end of March in 2016 Co2 made a decision that still has repercussions to this day. After a nine-hour battle between the Imperium and PanFam-led forces, Co2 self-destructed their Machariel fleet and reset the other members of the Imperium. Co2 was not content with this, they doubled down. Co2 then provided very sensitive information to the enemies of the Imperium. There is also talk of Co2 attempting to lay a trap for the Imperium super capital fleet. As you can well expect, the Imperium was less than pleased by the actions of Co2.
So Co2 went on to fight alongside their former enemies. the Imperium pivoted and moved to Delve. Co2 setup home in M-O in Tribute.
At that time Co2 was getting friendly with TEST Alliance Please Ignore. How sweet this new romance was. This was to be expected as both had history in common and both seemed to have similar goals. This happy union was keenly watched by others. In all honesty, TEST and Co2 represented a powerful force in the region, at least at a sub-cap level. Perhaps unwittingly, TEST and Co2 then found themselves garnering the attention of the other key members of PanFam. TEST and Co2 seemed to be preventing the plans of PanFam from coming to fruition. As such they had to go. In little time this eviction was completed by PanFam, and TEST and Co2 moved south.
They set up shop in the southern regions of New Eden. Everything was all nice and rosy initially, but the signs were there of a troubled future. TEST and Co2 did not have a unified diplomatic policy. In all reality Co2, diplomacy was sorely lacking if actually ever present at all. This led to a situation where the diplomatic policies of Co2 and Test were at odds with each other. Test had aligned with the DRF while Co2 had aligned with the enemies of the DRF. As you would expect this ended badly, probably not helped by Co2 declaring war on the Imperium. But soon this unfortunate state of affairs was settled by The Judge. The Judge was a senior leader within Co2 who had tired of the leadership style of Gigx. As a final act within Co2 The Judge handed over many assets to the Imperium, including a nice new shiny Keepstar.
This act of betrayal made Gigx quite angry. In fact angry enough to make real life threats against his former senior element of his alliance management team. CCP stepped in and permanently banned Gigx from Eve Online. You would think that this would be the end of it all. Gigx however had other plans. Soon Gigx returned to reform Co2. He dodged the ban from CCP quite openly in calling back former members of Co2 from the likes of MoA and Darkness. When MoA collapsed, Co2 even benefited from those corporations looking for a new home.
Oddly enough the highly principled members of PanFam and their allies seemed to be missing in regard to Co2. The northern allies were all seemingly quite content to offer assistance to Co2 despite the ban from CCP on their leader Gigx. NC. even went so far as to offer Co2 a new home in order to regroup, but this was short lived as soon Co2 headed west to fill the gap left by PH.
Gigx was keen to state that this move was one that Co2 had requested. Continually he made claims about the fighting spirit of Co2 and that they would never back down. But those who have followed Gigx’s less than illustrious FC career will know that it was rare for the words to ever be backed up in actions.
Imperium forces were deployed to the north in order to cause issues for GotG, but Co2 happened to step in between the Imperium and GotG. This was an event that was met with relish by many within the Imperium. Scores would be settled again with the banned Co2 leader Gigx and his supporters.
The Events of the Day
17:00 in 6RCQ saw the very quick form up of initially three full fleets from the Imperium. Two Baltec fleets in conjunction with a Jackdaw fleet. This was not to be the last fleets from the Imperium, far from it. But it was indicative of the sentiments present within the Imperium. Today would be the day when the Imperium would get to kill yet another Co2 Keepstar.
At 18:15 a Ferox fleet from NC. undocked in their staging system of DO6H-Q. This Ferox fleet left quickly and were bridged into the system of X47. Time will tell if they make an appearance later on. The main event of the Keepstar was still some time off. But both sides were busy with meeting secondary objectives and surveying the lay of battle.
18:45 saw a brief respite on the side of the Imperium. Chatter was light and would often turn to the anticipated relish of causing Co2 and their “valued allies” more pain. The staging system of PanFam, DO6H, was still seeing local numbers of 650. On a normal day these would be considered impressive numbers in a staging system, but this was no normal day.
Once the initial pings were sent out by the Imperium around 19:00, the sentiment within was all too clear. This signalled the main event of the evening, the destruction of the Co2 Keepstar in their home system of DW-T2I at 20:45. The warm up for the days events was already well underway. With the death of a Co2 Fortizar in the system of X5-UME here and another in the system of GME-PQ here.
At 19:15 DO6 burst into activity, but this time with something more unusual. NC., a member of PanFam, had moved their capital fleet to 3V8-LJ. This gave them a number of jump options as can be seen here. With 360 NC. pilots in system this would form part of the PanFam defence plan for the Co2 keepstar in DO6.
So of course this is all about the Co2 Keepstar in DW-T, so where was Co2? Quite simply, Co2 was nowhere to be found. They seemed to be attempting the tactic they had employed during their loss of their M-O Keepstar. On that occasion Co2 had also chosen to be somewhere far from the action.
Further clarity was given with a ping from the Imperium. In this ping it was stated that Sort Dragon, the leader of GotG coalition, was less than happy at current events. Sort Dragon went on to state that if Co2 will not defend their space then GotG will not do it for them. Perhaps this was a sign of things to come.
Just under an hour to go for the main event and the Imperium was still hitting secondary objectives, all the time completely undefended by PanFam forces.
More activity from 3V8 around 20:00 from the NC. caps, and this time they seemed to be heading towards 9SL-K9, which was quickly confirmed by Imperium forces. NC. forces were also spotted in 0-YM and UMI. This was not in the right direction at all for the defence of Co2.
Meanwhile in the Co2 staging system the local population of pilots rose to over 1400, almost entirely comprised of Imperium members. Still busy chipping away at the damage-capped Co2 structures. Every single structure was destroyed with no real resistance being offered from the Northern “Allies”.
At around 20:45 the Co2 Keepstar in DW-T was again vulnerable and perhaps for the last time. Over 1700 pilots were now in the system. Still the vast majority members of the Imperium. The Keepstar was paused with 29m 51s remaining on the repair timer. The amount of damage potential available to the Imperium was immense. It would likely take a miracle for this Keepstar to be saved. Perhaps if the North could form three full fleets of e-war frigates that would apply 1 ISK bounties to all in system things would be different. But alas this was not to be the case.
At 21:03 Jay Amazingness was made aware that one of his alts was now in a pod. Much to Jay’s dismay his alt had been killed by TEST. Could this be a sign of cracks forming in the relationship between the Imperium and TEST?
21:25 and local was over 2,300 pilots, still mainly from the Imperium. No resistance of any real degree was offered by the North. A token at best. Then the night sky was lit up with the only action this Keepstar would ever see; an inferno, made of the symbolic home of Co2.
Now began the extraction of the Imperium capital forces. An often time consuming event due to all those little hassles that happen along the way, but the Imperium has been quite active with the movement of their capital fleet so things moved quite quickly for them. The fleets from the Imperium returned to their forward staging system of 6RCQ without incident.
Wrapping it up
It would be hard for any to claim that the events of the day were anything but a huge win for Imperium forces. There were not the piles of shipwrecks that many hunger for but there were kills to be had. Some of the most notable aspects of this engagement is what the Northern Allies did, rather than help a “valued ally”.
The losses for the Northern Allies stands at a zkillboard value of 418 billion to the meagre losses from the Imperium at 3 billion. Almost 2,400 pilots from the Imperium were on this third Keepstar loss for Co2. A reasonable battle report can be found here.
With Gigx banned again it is unknown if he will attempt to circumvent the ban and whether others will try to help him as they have before. Dotlan continues to show a decline in the Co2 membership. An insight perhaps into the internal mood of Co2 itself. The likelihood of Co2 line members being particularly pleased with the current situation is considered to be low.
The intent of the actions by the Imperium in the North were simply to make the North suffer, specifically GotG. Co2 just happening to land in the thick of it all was just icing on the cake. There has been no sign of the Imperium slowing its pace of operations. Although the Northern Allies continue to bleat that “the Goons have no stamina for a real war”, they seem to forget that there is a core within the Imperium that have been fighting BoB for over a decade. There is no sign of this attitude changing.
The Mittani (PBUH) has made it clear that any entity offering safe harbour for the now beleaguered Co2 will fall into the sights of the Imperium.
Meanwhile it is uncertain where the Imperium will strike next. But there are still plenty of targets to be had and most certainly the willingness to do so.