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Published September 14, 2012

My people, I have called you here today because the tragic attack on the Benghazi consulate on 9/11 has taken one of our own. Vile Rat was a close friend of mine in real life and in game; we spent much of the last six years speaking to each other every single day over jabber. His death has not only impacted those of us who have known him personally, but our coalition and community as a whole.

We have normal categories for death, even unexpected death. We have all learned the hard truths of disease, of car accidents, and of war. But we have no words or understanding for a friend being killed in a far-away place under such dire circumstances. What happened in Benghazi is outside of our ability to rationalize or explain. The seeming unreality of it all makes it harder to cope with, and I understand and sympathize with your confusion and dismay; I feel it myself.

For those of you grieving, I have three pieces of advice that may sound mundane, yet have helped me manage more than all the heartfelt condolences we have received - which I do appreciate, mind you. First, take a shower. Second, shave everything you normally shave. Third: One foot goes in front of the other.

Somethingawful is arranging a fundraiser for Vile Rat’s family, and we will be throwing our full weight behind it. SA has experience in arranging donation drives, and we will be more effective as a community focusing on one fundraiser, rather than making separate ones.

I know that many of you want to do something ‘now’, but it is better to wait and work as a coordinated group. Patience was always one of Sean’s best qualities. Keep that in mind. Many of the arrangments for the fundraiser have to go through Sean’s widow, and she is understandably overwhelmed at the moment.

Today we watched Hilary Clinton praise Sean in the official repatriation ceremony, and she extolled his virtues as a diplomat in Eve Online. Then the President himself praised Sean. Like many goons, Sean had a deeply ironic sense of gallows humor, and if he knew that he had induced Hilary and the entire United States to learn about this damn silly game, he’d be laughing his ass off.

EVE was not Sean’s life; his work and his family were his life. But EVE was his hobby, and this coalition’s success is a testament to his efforts. I do not think it is appropriate to conflate Sean’s life with EVE, or to try to lash out against our in-game enemies for perceived slights against Sean’s memory. Band of Brothers launched in-game wars for that sort of nauseating hypocrisy, and we will not repeat their shameful errors by letting our tempers get the better of us.  

But at the same time, Sean would not want us to stop playing, to give up, or to let his efforts over the past six years go to waste because of what happened in Benghazi. We must honor his memory and his hobby, put one foot in front of the other, and move forward.  

Sion Kumitomo, my Chief of Staff, will be replacing Vile Rat as the head of Corps Diplomatique. Sion began as a junior diplomat, and it was Vile Rat himself who suggested that I tap Sion to be my Chief of Staff; he is renowned for his patience, his quiet nature, and his ability to de-escalate conflicts. Corps Diplo will never be the same without Vile Rat, but it will continue in the same spirit that he created.

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It is now time to talk about internet spaceships, and what comes next for us as a coalition.

For more than a month now, we have been at war with NCdot, Black Legion, Nulli Secunda, and occasionally IRC and Ev0ke.

This war began when NCdot again violated one of our diplomatic agreements. The first violation was in March, when one of their FCs, Supertwinkey, SBU’d BKG in Branch and lost three Titans in the ensuing battle. As a reprisal, we took their Venal tech moons and warned NCdot that if they violated another treaty, we would purge them.

Last month, the very same perpetrator of the March incursion once more broke our agreement - this time losing a fleet of blap dreads on a FCON tech moon - and the purge began.

We will make no more agreements with NCdot or their spinoffs, as they have conclusively proven that one cannot make deals with Triumvirate. Their space and their assets are forfeit.

Despite NCdot’s perfidy, the OTEC agreement remains; Ev0ke and PL have held true to our agreements. Ev0ke might help defend NCdot’s space, but they have not shot a single CFC tower, nor will they. We will not be attacking Ev0ke space or assets, as we have great respect for enemies who abide by the treaties that they sign.

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This conflict has been the most intense war we seen in years. Too often, we have invaded a foe only to find them breaking and collapsing within a week. By contrast, NCdot and Black Legion have fought back against us every step of the way.

This is a good thing, and we should thank NCdot for it. Our last deployment to the South left us sloppy and full of hubris. The Southern Coalition was so incompetent at Eve that we came to expect our enemies to simply welp fifty or more Lokis and Tengus into us at the drop of a hat. Our most green skirmish commanders began to think that the SoCo way of war was ‘normal’. The fact is, we were playing the game on easy mode.

In the north there are real stakes at war - technetium, rather than garbage space like Catch - and the competition is fiercer. Our doctrines were outdated, and the enemy rapidly adapted their fleets to take advantage of this fact. We have since done the same, adapting Alphafleet with Rokhs, changing Drakefleet, and introducing new sniper doctrines with Instacanes and Tornadoes to compensate.  

At the strategic level this war has seen the CFC win a string of victories. Our war plan is much the same as in the past: we focus on the tech moons within the range of our staging system while ‘siegeing and punting’ on sov targets until the enemy gives up. Once everything within range of our staging system is conquered, we move it forward and repeat the process.

Already, everything within range of QPO, our first staging system, was taken; we have now moved to UMI and have now taken every single hostile tech moon within range of that station.  

Yet this steady march towards victory has not come without a price. The enemy continues to fight us for each objective. In the case of Black Legion, they fight us because their primary fleet commander is involved in an internet love affair with a director in NCdot; the loss of objectives matters little to them, because the objectives are not owned by them. In the case of NCdot, they have mostly resigned themselves to losing their moons and space, and so continual strategic losses have less impact on them.

We may own half of Tribute. But this will be a long war, and we must prepare ourselves to see it through until its conclusion in Vale of the Silent. It will not end while NCdot or their renters hold space in the North.

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I want to speak specifically about our new combat capital doctrines. In recent weeks we have adopted the philosophy that it is better to risk and lose capital ships in combat than to lose them to inactivity. As a result, we began deploying ‘blap dreads’ in subcap engagements.

Following on this, we have, with PL’s assistance, begun to deploy armor-tanked sentry carriers, which are essentially the same doctrine as Das Boot but with a carrier instead of a Dominix. I highly recommend everyone to train towards a Boot. They are tremendously fun and we will be using them at every realistic opportunity as this war continues.

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Vile Rat is no longer with us, but we remain. Life must go on, and Eve will not stop being the most hostile galaxy in gaming because we are stricken with grief over our loss. We - as people, as players, and as a coalition - must persevere.

Fleets are going up now and we will continue our difficult work of purging Tribute. Drakefleet, Capswarm and Bombers are all to be used. Prep your ships in UMI. We will be making a major push this weekend. I prefer to cope with grief through work. Please join me in putting one foot in front of the other.

Thank you. 

 

The Mittani
Goonswarm Federation CEO, Space Tyrant. Likes yoga, Alaskan Malamutes, bacon, and delegation.