Exercise 'Brotherhood', the largest joint military exercise between the Federation Navy and the Republic Fleet has begun in Metropolis.
After much discussion between representatives of the Republic Parliament and the Federation Senate about whether to delay the exercise in the aftermath of the Malkalen incident, manoeuvres started only three days later than originally planned. In a joint statement, both parties played down the rumours that the Federation Navy stayed on home turf to defend against perceived Caldari Nationalists taking revenge; they instead cited the reason for the delay that "they were showing respect and honour to the dead and bereaved."
Captain Yvangier Islentte, commanding the Megathron Class Battleship 'Amitierre' took time out from her busy schedule to explain what aims the exercise hoped to achieve. "We have, of course, worked closely with the Republic Fleet in the past; small scale exercises, operations, and our very successful Officer Exchange programme. This is the first time we have been able to exercise an entire operational Battle Fleet. During the first week we will be conducting dry runs at a tactical level, with our ships facing up against the Minmatar ships. The second week we will have a joint fleet exercise, mainly testing our ability to communicate and trying out some integrated tactics. As the exercise enters its third week we will have a live firing phase, where we will test our command and control against a fleet of Drones controlled by the exercise umpires."
"It's a privilege to be picked to take part in this exercise." remarked Lieutenant Commander Jastor Gedurart "We had a competition on our base, consisting of an absurdly hard physical assault course. The Rupture crews with the shortest overall completion times got the chance. The crew of my Rupture have worked very hard for this opportunity to work with our friends from the Federation, and we hope to show those Thorax guys just who is boss in an up close knife-fight. The brother of my Navigation Officer is onboard one of the Exequrors that is visiting. After the exercise and debrief is complete, we're going to have a traditional Brutor tribal meal and invite his crew along. We'll show those Gallente who has the best parties as well!"
There was hostile reaction from both the Caldari State and Amarr Empire. A spokesman for the Caldari Navy said "It's bad enough that they feel the need to rattle sabres. It's alarming that they have the audacity to do it on the border of the State, but most of all, it's disgusting that they feel they are able to conduct this exercise so soon after the atrocity at Malkalen." A source from the Ministry of War commented "This is exactly how I would expect these animals to behave. They have no understanding for common decency or respect for the families still in the process of grieving. It speaks volumes about the mental abilities of a Matari that they would think it is acceptable to associate themselves so closely with the Federation Navy at this time."
The Federation fleet escorted three of its own Obelisk class freighters into the exercise area. The Federation Navy insisted that these contained essential equipment to support the exercise, but given the long history of logistical assistance to the Minmatar, it is unsurprising that the cargo of these ships was questioned by the Amarr Empire.