Misplaced Corporate Roles Strike Again
On Monday, March 11, a Nulli Secunda <S2N> member corporation, Executive Override [VETO.], was the latest victim in a series of high profile w-space thefts. Much like the most recent heist targeting Insidious Design, VETO was set up by an inside man with outsized roles, a mistake that cost their members over 50B ISK. What made this incident unique is that the inside man had no meaningful connection to Bite Me Inc. [BITIT], the corporation that provided the muscle and manpower required to pull it off. BITIT was merely called in as “guns for hire” to help secure and move the assets in question.
Players outside of VETO and BITIT first learned of the theft when screenshots of the loot appeared in a Reddit thread late Monday. In a lengthy and detailed follow-up comment, Zephyr Nomad recounted what he claims was a year-long plot to steal as much as he could from his unsuspecting marks and provided a general outline of the operation itself. Other than his name, not much is known about Zephyr Nomad. He was invited but not available for my interview with TunaKross of BITIT, and BITIT itself knew little about Zephyr aside from the fact that he provided access to billions of ISK. The account he created on Reddit has only been used to post the story and answer questions about the heist.
According to Alisyana, the VETO member I spoke with, Executive Override was in the process of integrating some new members and transitioning to their new home within Nulli Secunda at the time of the theft. The VETO leadership team had actually completed a security and roles audit the previous day, and Zephyr had the roles he did only because of an administrative error by Xermish, VETO’s CEO. Alisyana did not know exactly how Zephyr made it onto the list of members who could be trusted with sensitive roles, but he did.
Storm Clouds on the Horizon
When I spoke with TunaKross, he explained that they hadn't been motivated to help by the ISK, but instead by the prospect of retaliation by Executive Override. As many in the w-space community are aware, BITIT is something of a wildcard, encouraging open conflict with other groups and having little use for diplomatic ties. TunaKross stated that there is “to much piece in wormholespace [sic],” and that BITIT’s long-term goal is to “make war, not pizza.”
If VETO leadership gets their way, war and conflict is precisely what BITIT can expect. In conversations with TunaKross while the theft was in progress, and later when speaking with me, Alisyana promised that “at some not to be disclosed point in the future, Tuna will see the fight he's supposedly asking for.” The explicit threat was that the N3 nullsec coalition would launch an eviction operation and that BITIT would be “burnt to the ground in the end.” At the same time, he was quick to point out that “we're a sov alliance, and we have higher priorities at the moment.” TunaKross laughed at the prospect of an N3 eviction, claiming that the promised retaliation “looks like it's gonna be fun,” in keeping with their devil-may-care attitude.
Perhaps to bolster the credibility of the threat, Alisyana explained to me that many players in nullsec are eager to experience the kind of small gang warfare found in wormhole space, and that “if I were a w-space group, what i'd be worried about, is what the sov guys are gonna do when they AREN'T fighting over some sov space.” Even so, it remains to be seen if a nullsec powerbloc can effectively fight a major w-space group in its natural habitat. AAA was famously stopped in its tracks by a veritable cross-section of wormhole organizations during their attempted eviction of Wormhole Holders last April, and to date, the goal of evicting a well-established wormhole group has eluded the nullsec powerblocs. While the part of these failures may be a lack of commitment on nullsec's part, this may change as nullsec groups expand their wormhole operations, bringing them into greater conflict with wormhole residents.