While everyone has been distracted with the ongoing conflict in Fountain, Darkness of Despair <-DD-> has been slowly taking systems in Esoteria from the Dinner Squadron (DinnerSq), a new coalition in the southeast that counts Ethereal Dawn, Unclaimed, and Insidious Empire among its members. The first system, D-FVI7, was captured on June 2nd. On June 19th, Darkness of Despair captured a station system (0-O6XF). The TCU fight of Rokh fleet vs. armor fleet was the only major battle in the conquest of that system—the killboard shows only some small ships, the i-hub, and some SBUs destroyed before the final fight.
Darkness of Despair is a primarily Russian alliance, based out of NPC-owned Stain, and working with a few other Russian entities. They have been flying mainly Rokh fleets, winning several bloody battles against DinnerSq armor fleet compositions. Recently, DinnerSq has been striking back in Stain. A look through Darkness of Despair's killboard shows they've lost a tower and a couple Rokh-on-Rokh battles with the occasional assist of DinnerSq supers. However, thus far, -DD- has kept all the sov they've taken, and they are still pressing on for more. A look at Dotlan shows a positive slope for Darkness of Despair, whereas Ethereal Dawn's membership and sov is a great deal more depressing. Most of the corps who have left Ethereal Dawn have gone to other DinnerSq entities, especially Unclaimed and Insidious Empire.
In total, Darkness of Despair has captured twelve systems so far, all in Esoteria and all formerly owned by Ethereal Dawn. C0VEN owns a thirteenth—also formerly Ethereal Dawn—system in the area. Darkness of Despair attempted to capture C9N-CC on June 23rd, destroying the Ethereal Dawn TCU with an unopposed fleet and flipping the system's station at 20:02. However, the onlining -DD- TCU went boom at 21:28, and the station was flipped from -DD- to Unclaimed <TROLL>. The Unclaimed TCU came online at 05:34 on the 24th, keeping the system in Dinner Squadron hands.
While we reached out to a few members of both organizations, we were unable to get an interview in time for publication, relying instead on publicly available information. Overall, morale appears relatively high on both sides. There have been a number of good fights. While -DD- has the sov, DinnerSq has been holding their own, most notably in some battles this past weekend. It will be interesting to see how the war develops as each group's stamina and war chests are tested in the ongoing conflict.