In a series of press releases that shocked some and came as no surprise to others, the Mercenary Coalition reset all standings and swiftly followed it up by outlining a new future for the Period Basis region as a mercenary-and-friends owned area “unfettered by the agendas of foreign powers”.
The Tortuga announcement declared that “as of Saturday the 15th of December MC, KIA Alliance, Ev0ke and 0utbreak claim the region of Period Basis as our home” and stated as their reason: “we do this for ourselves, our fellow brethren of space.” It finished by claiming that “once our new home is secure, MC and KIA will be available for regular contract work.”
This latest dramatic twist in the southern war is being seen by some as perhaps the largest turning point in a conflict littered already with many landmark moments. The removal of the Mercenary Coalition from the side of the Band of Brothers means one less group for them to call upon, and arguably the greatest loss so far in terms of willing allies. Leaked instructions have alleged that BoB leadership has ordered their alliance to withdraw from most of the current theatres of conflict and prepare to make a final, decisive stand in Delve.
“All Catch fleet will be pulled to Delve on Sunday and onwards, 5-N2EY will be left, V2-VC2 will be left. We keep FAT-6P and 25S-6P. I’m sorry, but no one spits on our face like that. Ever.”
Words exchanged between the once steadfast allies (or business partners, depending on one’s perspective) are already showing signs of an increase in a tension many have observed for quite some time. Zakma of the MC advised his BoB counterparts that the move could in fact be a blessing in disguise, reducing the number of areas they need defend, and indeed reinforcing the key region of Period Basis which neighbors Delve. His statements however were laced with an animosity that is fast coming to define at least parts of the new MC/BoB relationship.
“In the end, we do what is in our best interest. If BoB’s leadership thought about this a bit more, they'd see that this probably benefits them in the long run. Their south side border is shut off…they have a region less to defend…However, in typical BOB style they'll probably try and go against us. Opening yet another front for themselves, and weakening the defences on the other ones…their ego just can't take it so their leadership will ultimately be their downfall.”
BoB’s leader SirMolle was quick to retort, claiming that since his alliance had come under direct attack from the MC and was thus being immediately threatened, they would not simply ignore it or leave the MC’s actions free of consequence.
“There’s a huge difference between asking ‘Hey, guys, can we have this space here for XXXX and XXXX so that we feel secure?’ or sending in 250 pilots with 40 dreads and attacking head on. I don’t really think it’s us who needs to do the thinking here, if you for one second think that we are going to sit idle while you attack us, you’ve got another thing coming.
Make no mistake, this is your doing, and no one else’s.”
Some of the first public signs of tension between the MC and Band of Brothers were seen months ago during the assault on the Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate in Catch, when GoonSwarm leaked internal discussions between MC revealing a frank and robust debate amongst them about BoB’s tactics and their worth as allies and clients. In a telling exchange, leader of the MC Seleene had this to say at the time:
“One last thing to any of you who doubt it - My loyalty is to the MC, to you. BoB is in no way, shape or form in control of me or this alliance…Don't think for a minute that MC is on anyone's strings. There are always plans within plans and I'm not one to tie our destiny to any specific path. The MC will always adapt and overcome.”
In yet another leaked internal communication, the CEO of Black Nova Corp Coranor was alleged to have labelled the MC as traitors and warned his alliance mates to expect harder times ahead, including the loss of stations. Despite this he maintained that BoB would and should continue to fight regardless and not buckle under the increasing pressure.
”MC is probably going to hit us tonight in Period Basis. Traitorous bastards, to be honest. The goons and company are hitting us tonight in Catch. Pretty much every northern alliance is due to hit us tomorrow in Fountain…stations are gonna go damn quick once this kicks off.
We [have] fights on our doorstep every day now…they think that they can actually drive us out of delve and kill us. They think they're actually better than us. They think we're panicking….We're the un-killable alliance and we're gonna bleed them for every system they take. If we lose our outposts then we move to the [Blood Raider] stations and take them back. We're not leaving delve…Delve is the Alamo…”
It remains to be seen just what the fallout from this latest turn of events will be. Some are expecting the MC to consolidate their space and then open up for business, claiming that it would be unlikely for them to push on further against BoB outside of Period Basis without a contract. What exactly any potential new contracts could bring however, assuming they do secure the region, remains anyone’s guess. Speculation is already flying. Some are predicting that MC’s capital fleet just may enter Delve in their first contract against BoB, whilst others claim that if BoB goes down, MC will be the next target regardless of these recent actions – a suggestion that one of GoonSwarm’s leading pilots The Mittani has refuted.
“If MC goes through with their plan…and gets the hell out of the war, they're no longer on the list of 'people who make me an unhappy mitten'”
As with much at this early point in the next stage of the southern conflict, it remains unclear whether of not his words will hold true in time. For the moment, all eyes are on Period Basis, watching with anticipation of just how deeply these latest changes will affect the conflict at large.