While calls for a stable, unified south have been common sight on the GalNet channels lately, it would seem that they will not be fulfilled in the near future; the northern forces had barely began moving out when a new conflict emerged in the regions, this time between former allies, namely the Stain- Alliance and Firmus Ixion.
Tensions started when FIX had reset their standings towards the SA to neutral thereby invoking friendly-fire incidents. Elaborating on the issue, Gritt Pebbledasher, one of the FIX Joint Chiefs of Staff, affirmed that “The Stain- Alliance repeatedly violated the sovereignty of our space and fired on our members; these are not the actions of a friend and so our move to change standings merely accurately described the situation of their making”.
This move was seen as an insult by the SA, for whom the “so called violations” were very minor, as described by Orc A, who went on to explain that “the SA saw in FIX a great ally that came to aid us in a time of trouble. You can imagine how confused we were when we heard the news”.
Confusion that did not to last very long, since reprisal was swift, with the Stain- Alliance launching a swift and accurate military strike on FAST, or FIX Accessible Space Territory,found to the west of Catch.
At the heart of this conflict is the Catch region, which was handed over to FIX by the Stain Empire during the civil war that opposed them to the SA. GalNet observers were quick to point out that it had the potential of undermining the already fragile relations between the SA and FIX.
While it may not be the richest of regions, Catch is a key region for a lot of the southern alliances who use it as a corridor to and from Empire space; as such it holds strategic importance for any group holding it.
Whilst the border incidents and the tactical weight of the region played an important part in deteriorating relations between both parties, Pebbledasher thinks that the Stain- Alliance “covets FIX territory”, going even further to say that, “their avarice has lead … to initiate, what in their minds always was, an acquisitive conflict.” This allegation is not completely refuted by Orc A, who justifies their action: “It's time for more cooperative members to reside in Querious”, with the long term objective being the complete termination of the Firmus Ixion alliance.
The fight, however, will surely be one of attrition, since FIX has already recaptured a number of its stations, and its leadership is quite confident, stating that “FIX is secure and will withstand”, adding that all of its residents were ready to defend their homes and families.
Neighbouring alliances, for their part, are watching with interest, some even taking an active role in the conflict.
Allies to the SA count the Huzzah Federation – who have been helping them from the start, and are still holding one of the stations in Catch – and the Kaos Empire, who have been reported to fly alongside them.
When asked about the issue, FIX preferred to remain vague, stating that they are “perfectly happy to speak to any entity regarding the establishment of peaceful relations”, but they would not comment on any specifics.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time that both alliances have gone to war against each other. The same corporations that now form the Stain- Alliance were leading during the first confrontation under the name of Stain Empire. This confrontation was resolved peacefully. However, MASS – then Executor Corporation of the SE – withdrew from the alliance shortly after, raising speculation as to the real reasons behind this second war, and the terms of the first peace treaty.