It wasn't supposed to end this way. Count Ta'Sessine and Serenity
Steele had envisioned a new form of business in href="" target="_blank">EVE,
a target="_blank">venture capital group devoted to
populating the deserted tracts of 0.0 with outposts, the ferociously
expensive player-created stations which, in late 2005, no single
alliance had the capital or werewithhal to build. Created as a neutral
entity that would be above politics, the Interstellar Starbase
Syndicate (ISS) was the darling of New Eden's investor class. Each new
outpost they created was a separate corporate entity providing
dividends to its investors, and there seemed to be a bottomless desire
for ISS shares. At its height, many in the gaming media wrote about the
ISS's  href=""
target="_blank">IPO stock offering as an example
of emergent gameplay. But then, everything with wrong. By December of
2006, ISS had become the focus of a proxy war - a brushfire conflict
where massive powerblocs tested one another. Everything they had worked
for was ruined, and a GIA agent was there to help usher them to their

href="" target="_blank"> style="width: 200px; float: right;" alt="EVE 01"

There are some regions that just aren't worth fighting for, and the
core of ISS lived in one of them - Catch. Centrally located in the
galaxy and adjacent to equally undesireable (and roleplayer-infested)
Providence, the territory held by ISS amounted to little more than a
galactic parking lot, with no valuable mining or ratting to attract
hostile attention. This was ideal for a neutral business entity, as it
allowed the ISS to rely upon a small volunteer defense force to patrol
their space, the ISS Navy. ISS's only neighbor was a small alliance
whose only ambition was to fly around while extremely drunk and bash
into things, the Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate (IAC). Every now and
then IAC would shoot ISS, but it was hardly a threat; the very idea of
IAC being a strategic threat was patently ridiculous, given how
inebriated they were at any given moment.

After their first few successful outpost ventures, the injection of
fame and riches led the ISS leadership to expand their ambitions. No
longer would they merely hold worthless space, they would engage in
direct partnerships with existing powerblocs, setting up outposts on
their behalf in valuable regions. The first of these would be in
Tenerifis, for Lotka Volterra (LV). This would not compromise ISS's
neutrality, Count Ta'Sessine insisted, but while investors could be
fooled, the enemies of Lotka Volterra - the RedSwarm Federation (Red
Alliance, Goonswarm, and Tau Ceti Federation) - began openly denouncing
ISS for becoming a LV pet.

href="" target="_blank"> style="width: 200px; float: left;" alt="EVE 02"

The neutrality policy had been at the core of ISS's defense for years.
By holding themselves as unaligned in 0.0 politics, investors could be
assured that ISS's outposts - technically, shareholder property - would
not be seized by other alliances. This policy was publicly and
vigorously enforced against any ISS member who spoke out too openly
about 0.0 politics. In one such incident in July 2006, a ISS Navy
director named Jacob Majestic was formally censured and stripped of his
roles and duties because he openly disagreed with the Band of Brothers
attack on Goonswarm.

Meanwhile, IAC had been expanding in a constellation within five jumps
of ISS. The third IAC outpost, in F4R, was constructed right next door
to two ISS properties, KDF and ZXIC. Proximity gave rise to escalating
tensions; rather than seeing IAC as adorable drunken neighbors who you
can have a friendly scrap with, ISS began to view IAC as a strategic
threat. And unlike in the early days of their existence as a mercantile
alliance, ISS was now absolutely loaded with isk. Enough was enough;
the next time IAC reset standings with ISS, Count TaSessine hired the
best mercenaries in New Eden and announced that he would protect his
investors assets by annexing everything IAC owned, driving them from
0.0 forever.  

At the time ISS began work on Lotka Volterra's new outpost, the
RedSwarm Federation had just completed the conquest of Scalding Pass
and Wicked Creek, seizing the regions from LV and their allies. Both
sides were exhausted from months of conflict. On the verge of a LV
counterattack in Cache that would have created a new front and months
of inconclusive fighting, the leaders of each side made a gentlemen's
agreement: rather than risk anything of value to one another, each
powerbloc would take a side in the growing ISS vs IAC scuffle and have
a delightful little proxy war.

href="" target="_blank"> style="width: 200px; float: right;" alt="EVE 03"

As with the 'little wars' of Cold War fame, suddenly the conflict
exploded as multiple powerblocs piled in. The attraction was
inescapable: pilots from the deep 0.0 alliances could have a lark
blowing each other up and absolutely wrecking Catch, and there would be
practically no strategic blow-back for their own homeland. ISS hired
Mercenary Coalition (MC); Firmus Ixion (FIX) and Lotka Volterra joined
in. They formed the largest capital fleet at the time in the game, with
more than 50 carriers, 50 dreadnaughts, and two titans. On the IAC
side, Goonswarm and Tau Ceti Federation threw in, trying to staunch the
IAC losses; before the declaration of the proxy was, they had lost F4R
and been whittled down to two stations.

Suddenly, Catch was a whirlwind of both fleet battles and shadowy
politics, and the eyes of New Eden turned to this backwater war. In
order to counter the formidable Mercenary Coalition, I asked UAxDeath,
at the time one of the leaders of Red Alliance, to get in touch with
his friend Evil Thug, since Red Alliance was sitting this war out. Evil
Thug, leader of Against All Authorities (-A-), came into the fight on
the IAC side, announcing that he hoped to kill the Mercenary Coalition
Titan. This inspired MC href=""
target="_blank">"405"to find a quick 'out' from
their contract with ISS and evacuate. Meanwhile, Goonswarm reached out
to Dusk and Dawn (D2), the German alliance on the other side of the
galaxy, and inquired about the possibility of a simultaneous attack on
an ISS outpost outside of Catch. Abruptly, ISS found itself besieged on
all sides, the prospects of an easy victory in a regional war dashed.

The endgame for ISS was an insult to injury, an act of long-awaited
vengeance. Six months prior, after having been humiliated for his
support of Goonswarm by his fellow ISS members, Jacob Majestic got in
touch with the GIA and began working for us as an agent within the ISS
Navy. Seemingly eager to demonstrate his loyalty to ISS despite the
insult, he had recovered his roles and position as a director and
primary fleet commander. As pressure mounted on ISS and the war
escalated, Jacob was increasingly relied upon. On the day of reckoning,
when D2 attacked ISS in Pure Blind, IAC, TCF and GS attacked in Catch.
Rather than allowing a fair fight, Jacob Majestic struck from within
ISS itself and delivered the coup de grace. He offlined the towers in
the two remaining ISS stations - ZXIC and F4R - and stole everything in
the corporate hangars of the ISS Navy. Resistance collapsed utterly as
howls of outrage and treason rang from inside ISS. Within the space of
two weeks, ISS had gone from contemplating an easy victory over IAC to
being utterly annihilated.

href="" target="_blank"> style="width: 200px; float: left;" alt="EVE 04"

The joke wasn't just on ISS, however. Proxy wars are never safe,
predictable things, because it is nearly impossible guess who will
intervene - the normal rules of strategic interest do not apply.
Afterwards, entanglements and grudges inevitably follow. The deep 0.0
powerblocs had dabbled in the ISS war out of amusement, but the
aftermath set the stage for the explosion that was the Great War.
Sensing weakness in Lotka Volterra after their failure to protect ISS,
RedSwarm Federation immediately renewed the war for the South and
invaded Detorid and Tenerifis - now with IAC help. LV drew closer to MC
and their BoB overlords, who then intervened to defend LV from RSF
invasion. A war that began as an amusing diversion flared up into the
largest conflict in EVE history, a war which is still raging, two years

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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016