"I intend to demonstrate to this rabble the consequence of actually provoking us to true war.
You have three days to prepare. We – and ‘We’ means ‘Everyone’ – are going to Delve, and it will burn. No mercy, no respite, no ‘freeports’, just brutal conquest – conquest which will not stop until this threat to our bloc is extinguished. If that means that we must set all of Catch on fire to remind this ex-NC, ex-IT, ex-BoB excrement of their proper place in the universe, so be it."
- Mittens declares war against -A-, Raiden[DOT] and Nulli Secundus alliances
I write this floating in Goonswarm nullsec space; a song in my heart and a covert cyno generator glowing softly on my HUD.
Mittens' strategy for his war on empire space rests on the supposition that he will be free to call the tempo of the conflict. His forces, he supposes, will launch attacks at the time and place of their choosing while his targets, the denizens highsec and lowsec alike, will be helpless to do anything but react to his attacks where and when they occur. His own forces and resources based out of nullsec should be, by common Eve-O wisdom, secure from any credible threat from the direction of empire.
After all, the reasoning goes, highsec carebears haven't the will or the wherewithal to mount any sort of campaign against him. And even if they did, and could make common cause with some of the small gang PvP elite who ply the lowsec roads to nullsec, the latter are too fractious and scornful of large fleet PvP operations to present a credible threat to Goonswarm's nullsec holdings.
Thus Mittens feels himself free to turn his attention from empire in order to lead the Deklein coalition into a new nullsec war, this time in Delve/Querious/Fountain against the forces of Against All Authorities (-A-) and Raiden[dot] who deployed there over the weekend in support of Nulli Secunda. The Delve scene has been slowly escalating for some time, driven primarily by the limited availability of meaningful sov war action elsewhere since the wheels fell off the Drone Russian coalition.
You'll recall that Red Alliance, driven from their drone space holdings, attempted to resettle in Delve and was battling with Nulli Secunda to that end. For want of other mischief, Pandemic Legion pounced on Nulli and Red Alliance, playing the spoiler against both alliances, and were soon joined in the spoiler's role by Test Alliance Please Ignore. Red Alliance shifted the bulk of their efforts to Querious while Nulli Secunda has carried on fighting in Delve. Over time there's been a slow build up of Deklein forces joining the fray in Delve, and Nulli has been hard pressed.
Now, with -A- and Raiden riding to Nulli's rescue, Mittens has announced publicly that Goonswarm will go "all in" on the conflict. One might wonder why he would do so. After all, the advantage in the conflict was arguably already with the Deklein/Pandemic forces even after the arrival of the -A- and Raiden reinforcements. Adding fresh Goon forces to the fight needn't have been done in such a noisy fashion. It seems that Mittens wishes to not merely win the fight for Delve, but win it in a manner as decisive as the Branch campaign earlier this Spring; to shatter the troublesome Raiden once and for all and land a crippling blow on -A- in the process. Further, announcing a total war posture publicly allows Mittens to claim ownership of the conflict despite the fact that so many Deklein forces are already engaged. Thus, though Mittens arrives late to the feast, the place of honor and the laurels for a Delve victory would go entirely to him.
Regular readers of The Edge will recall that announcing an "all in" campaign is a door that swings both ways. Having taken ownership of the Delve campaign, Mittens has staked his reputation on not only winning it, but winning it in a profoundly decisive manner. Anything less will be a severe blow to Goonswarm morale. Responding to Mittens' announcement, some wildly confident Goon posters in various forums are already declaring victory, though the all-in deployment has yet to occur. A wise leader would recall what I've said elsewhere as to how much mass hubris has in nullsec.
War is, by its nature, uncertain. Nullsec alliances, yet uncommitted, could get pulled into the Delve campaign on either side. Secondary fronts may open in support of the anti-Goon forces. Any number of nullsec entities, seeing Mittens fully committed in Delve, may take the opportunity to attack him elsewhere for a bit of payback or a few lulz, or a little bit of both. War gives birth to the unpredictable, makes mock of the mighty and turns conventional wisdom on its head.
Which brings me to the subject of irony.
I have often pointed out that Goonswarm has a long strand of carebear in its DNA. For many years a central tenet of Goondom has been that even the least pilot contributes to the greater victory; that in sufficient numbers, humble pilots flying humble ships can make life hell for even the best trained and best equipped enemy given determination, grit and a few good leaders. This is the idea that put the swarm in Goonswarm. And amidst all that shiny technetium, and the supercaps and Tengu fleets it buys, it seems an idea Mittens has forgotten.
Now, despite his own alliance's history and culture, Mittens turns his back on empire in order to strike at Delve. Despite having raised a storm of ill-will there, he is confident that this rabble of carebears and pirates will not dare raise their hands against him while he's away. And even if they did, what possible harm could those humble pilots flying their humble ships do the man who sits astride nullsec's Technetium throne?
Rise up you bears. Rise up.