As I wrote in SirMolle's Stand last week, the IT Alliance plan to turn the tide, both on the military and morale fronts, was dependent upon their ability to make Fountain the front line in the war against the Deklein Coalition. To that end, SirMolle directed his forces to make a stand in that place, keeping the enemy off the Delve Doorstep.
And it all went badly.
IT Alliance forces in Fountain staged themselves in 6VDT-H. Apparently believing they had time before Deklein coalition (DC) could organize themselves for a new assault, most of the IT forces were concentrated in the station and staging POS in that single system. Learning of this, Goonswarm's leadership quickly assembled a large force, and besieged the system. IT Alliance forces were largely caught in their station and POS, which the Deklein Coalition quickly "rapecaged", bubbling the station and POS locations to prevent warp outs and camping them heavily. Several break-outs were attempted to little avail and IT was apparently unable to call up and deploy additional forces to relieve the siege.
Their enemies effectively bottled up, the DC took 6VDT as well as the station system 7BX-6F next door, with little effective resistance.
Meanwhile, Against All Authorities (-A-) and Stain Empire, with pitch-ins from several other alliances have undertaken the reduction of Querious. -A- and the Fallen Angels alliance have taken two critical gateway systems in the region, 49-U6U and A2-V27 respectively. What is interesting in the Querious campaign is the relative lack of resistance to the invaders. Defenders calling for help from IT Alliance have received little in the way of response, let alone assistance.
Word on the street is that IT Alliance leadership, aware that several critical corporations, such as Destructive Influence (DICE.) are planning on departing the alliance, have realized they do not have the numbers to hold three regions. In that case, with the Fountain line broken and the Southern Russians invading Querious, it would make sense for SirMolle to cut loose those regions, pull his remaining forces back to Delve and set up a new line of defense there. IT Alliance corporations unwilling to deploy to Catch and Fountain these last months, may be more inclined to step up to the line if that line is on their home ground.
That would account for the phone ringing unanswered when Fountain and Querious based allies call. SirMolle is not given to sharing his strategies outside of the IT Alliance boardroom. Rather than betray weakness by telling allies they're on their own, IT leadership are more likely leave allies and enemies alike to interpret silence.
There are, however, a few breaks in the clouds gathering at Delve's borders.
Earlier today a number of IT Alliance supercapital and capital ships were able to escape from 6VDT-H when the Goon's left an opening in their coverage of that system's siege. It's unknown at this point whether this was a tactical error on the Deklein Coalition's part, or simple indifference.
Additionally, despite all the bad news, IT Alliance has not gone into failscade. This suggests that SirMolle and IT leadership have been able to keep their retreat to Delve from becoming a rout.
However, a number of corporations within IT Alliance have been hedging their bets for some time now. Much will depend on whether SirMolle can count on those corporations to hold the line if and when the invaders arrive at Delve's door. Assuming resistance remains at its current levels in Fountain and Querious, how much breathing room IT Alliance has to prepare its defense will depend on whether its enemies wait to reduce those regions fully before staging for an assault of Delve.
In either event, the storm warnings are up and the skies around Delve grow darker.