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Sins of a Solar Spymaster #84: The Tribute War

Posted Tue, Dec 04, 2012 by The Mittani

The war for Tribute and Vale of the Silent between the Clusterf*ck Coalition (The CFC) and the Dotbros (containing Northern Coalition., Black Legion., Nulli Secunda, and Ev0ke) raged without pause between its outbreak on August 1st, 2012 and November 23rd, when the last system in Vale fell to the CFC. Unlike almost every other sov-war taking place under the onerous Dominion sovereignty system, the Tribute war did not see one side break and be swept away within two weeks, which was the ignominious fate of recent conflicts in Branch, Tenal, and the grossly underwhelming Southern Coalition defense of Delve, Querious, and Period Basis. For the first time in recent memory, two blocs tested each other and fought bitterly for four months, an echo of the kind of war which once was common under pre-Dominion ‘Pos Warfare’ sov mechanics.

Fleet

The Setup
The Tribute war began with an accident. NCdot, Ev0ke, Pandemic Legion and the CFC had signed the OTEC treaty, setting up a technetium cartel that kept the price of that critical mineral artificially high. Technetium had always been a conflict driver in the north, but after the conquest of Tenal the CFC seized the majority of NCdot’s technetium in Venal, and the threat of further losses brought NCdot to the OTEC table.

NCdot was not originally a sovholding alliance; named ‘Northern Coalition(dot)’ as a joke at the expense of their now-dead enemies in the old NC, the alliance is mostly comprised of former Triumvirate corporations, and led by Wicked Princess in the US TZ and Vince Draken in EU TZ as ‘Co-CEOs’. When the old NC fell, NCdot found itself in charge of Tribute and half of Vale, vastly enriched. Their membership was split; half wanted to hold the space in order to profit off technetium, and the other half wanted a return to the sovless freedom of the old Triumvirate lifestyle. This conflict was also spread across time zones; the EU NCdot under Vince Draken mostly kept to its treaties, while the US NCdot players increasingly aligned themselves with Black Legion, a sovless alliance living in Venal under Elo Knight’s leadership. Wicked Princess and Elo Knight had even gone so far as to engage in a romantic liaison. When Black Legion - not a member of OTEC, and thus free to siege OTEC moons - attacked CFC tech moons, Wicked Princess brought her US TZ NCdot faction to the party, shattering OTEC and kicking off the war without co-CEO Vince Draken’s knowledge or consent.

Fleet War

The Early Phase
Having anticipated that it was only a matter of time until NCdot violated OTEC, the CFC immediately launched an offensive against Dotbros assets in Venal from QPO, a purpose-built outpost in East Deklein. Where the CFC had traditionally been considered strongest in the US TZ, this early war for technetium in Venal proved that it was EU TZ, not US TZ, which the CFC had on lockdown. NCdot swiftly lost every technetium moon within one jump of QPO with the misfortune to be timed to what had been NCdot’s prime time.

Having conquered every moon within range of QPO, the CFC began hitting sov timers in Tribute still within QPO range, and set its sights on UMI-KK, which would become their staging system for the remainder of the war. By August 31st, UMI was in CFC hands, and Tribute looked to fall soon thereafter - but then the CFC ran into a brick wall as the Dotbros began to defend in earnest.

Tribulations

Fleet Battle

Having lost EU TZ to the CFC hordes spearheaded by Mister Vee, the Dotbros realized that the supposedly preeminent CFC US TZ had become fat and lazy. During this timezone the primary FC of the Dotbros forces was Elo Knight of Black Legion, and he adopted a doctrine of massed T3 Battlecruiser snipers, mostly Tornadoes and Nagas. These not only made it difficult for the CFC to siege in Tribute, but they were expendable, hard to catch, and outranged the CFC’s favored battleship doctrine, the Alphafleet.

Alphafleets were designed before the implementation of Time Dilation, and first rolled out against IT Alliance in Fountain more than two years ago. Dotbros resistance had revealed an ugly truth: the CFC’s doctrines were woefully obsolete, a consequence of too many wars where the enemy broke and ran within the first two weeks of fighting. Alphafleets, comprised mostly of Maelstroms, are also hellishly expensive; when one was wiped out it cost half a Titan to reimburse. The CFC EU TZ began to siege Tribute to make up for the faltering US TZ, but US TZ began to feed the Dotbros Alphafleets, losing them at an alarming rate.

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