There is a growing realization in New Eden that the Drone Russian Forces (DRF), in combination with their vassal alliances, primarily Raiden[DOT], Ev0ke, Northern Coalition[DOT], Pandemic Legion and a cast of smaller players and hangers on, comprise a clear and present danger to the free alliances of nullsec.
[Fiddler's Note: Yes, PL are vassals now. PL may protest that they're their own masters and can run wild at any moment. However, a wolf may only remain in the master's kennel, wear the master's collar and bark at the master's command for so long before it becomes the master's dog. PL may be a dangerous beast, to be handled by their master with caution, but they are domesticated all the same, and there is no doubt who holds PL's leash.]
Some residents of free nullsec had hoped that the DRF and company, having taken over of the Northern Coalition's former holdings, would be content with those rich territories; that the DRF might rest easily on their spoils of war and leave the rest of nullsec to go their own way. Alas, one can do anything with bayonets except sit on them. Like unto the heads of Europe who discovered that ceding Czechoslovakia to Germany in 1938 did nothing to end the latter's territorial ambitions, the free alliances are awakening to the knowledge that the DRF's appetite for ever more space will not be sated.
Seems there's never enough leibensraum.
The principal DRF vassals have already launched an invasion of Goonswarm's home territories and had their first incursion turned back. A bit over a week ago the Goons executed a counterattack against the invaders' staging areas in VFK-IV. Repeating a tactic used to good effect against IT Alliance last January, the Goon's and their allies caught the invaders off guard and trapped the bulk of the invasion fleet in "rapecages", bubbling the station and POS locations to prevent warp outs and camping them heavily. Thus hamstrung, the DRF Vassals were unable to respond as the Deklein Coalition forces rolled back the invaders' earlier gains.
However, the DRF and their vassals are not the hollow man that IT Alliance was back at the beginning of the year. While the DRF minions were rocked on their heels, it would be wishful thinking to assume they are going to rattle off the rails on the strength of one set-back. If the Goons are going to hold their territory, they're going to have to show they can pull many more rabbits out of the hat while hanging in a grinding sovereignty fight that could last months.
[Fiddler's Note: This weekend Pandemic Legion coordinated a suicide subcapital attack on VFK-IV's cynojammer with a mass login of their trapped superscapital ships. The PL supers were able to jump from the system , taking down a Deklein Coalition super on their way out the door. Yeah. This fight isn't over.]
Meanwhile White Noise announced its intention to invade Against All Authorities (-A-) and other Southern Russian Coalition territories. In fact, White Noise went so far as to make an appointment, telling -A- that the invasion would begin on Sunday the 24th. White Noise also let it be known that they would invade Catch from the adjacent Providence region; an odd point of entry given that region's location in relation to the White Noise home regions.
As per schedule, White Noise supported by Northern Coalition[DOT] attempted to take T-RPFU in Providence; one of the gateway systems to -A-'s home region of Catch. The system holder of record, Curatoris Veritatis alliance (CVA), received most of their current Providence holdings in a peaceful hand-off from Northern Coalition[DOT]. However, either CVA was unwilling to cooperate with the invasion, or their cooperation was not sought. CVA has been fighting alongside -A-, Cascade Imminent, Nulli Secunda and Atlas[DOT] against the DRF fleets in a see-saw battle for control of the system.
Now, the fact that White Noise was broadcasting invasion plans that didn't make a great deal of sense should have been a tip-off to the lads at -A-. There was very obviously a big ol' tarp off in the bushes somewhere close by, lying in wait. And sure enough, today the tarp made itself known.
Not long after the T-RPFU dust up was losing steam, a second invasion force, headed by Red Alliance with support from Bloodbound and Legion of Death, rolled into the Teneferis gateway system of 46DP-O. Along with En Garde, Red[DOT]Overlord and Stain, -A- is making a stand at that side of their territories as well. However the larger DRF plan is becoming clear: -A- is being forced into a two front war, caught (so far) between hammer and anvil in the South, while Pandemic Legion, Raiden[DOT] and Ev0ke at least pin the Deklein coalition down in the North if they're not able to overrun the Goons outright.
This is how it begins. Maybe this is how it ends. That's the sandbox for you; we get to choose. If the Goons or the Southern Russians fall, so does free nullsec. The free alliances of nullsec have a choice to make.
They must, as the saying goes, stand together or hang separately.