Intaki is reclaimed! For some of you, this news is a swing of the pendulum, merely a single speck of a world changing color. Very well. History is a pendulum of striving and repeated human failures. If you wish, hear ours.
The Placid Economic Security Commission was formed as an alliance between Ishuk-Raata investment bank and Rezeki-Osmon affiliate group, the prime stakeholders behind the SPD Task Force. It was forged as the capstone of cooperation after the vicious sieges of Ostingele and Dastryns last year. That conflict broke the back of organized FDU resistance in Placid, but an underlying problem remained - the ongoing support of the local pirate groups, namely the gang called “Cruisers Crew” - for the old Gallente regime. The FDU had given them a free hand and would not interfere with them when they accosted innocent travelers on the Stacmon gate, while the pirates would not interfere with the FDU in any strategic operations against the State. Instead the pirates restricted their predations to Caldari fleets.
This incestuous relationship between these murderous brigands and the “shields of liberty” was further solidified by the defection of many former FDU pilots to pirate groups following our purge of gangs such as “Average Pilots”, “Norman’s Gang” and “Hull Warning”. Several of these sons of Luminaire rose to high ranking positions in their new role, exchanging the green eagle for the skull and crossbones with a wink and a glib smile.
Let me pause to remind my foreign listeners that this is by no means a new problem. Federal neglect of the Intaki loop goes back generations. Peace has always been maintained by Federal thuggery in Placid. PLESCO’s formation put a lid on a simmering pot, a cap on a fusion leak slowly going critical. We knew another conflict was inevitable but we could not predict the time of the explosion.
The inciting factor was SPD Task Force’s temporary departure from the warzone to participate in the destruction of the wormhole base Atlantis. As the Raata said, “When Thunder Bear leaves the mountain, the wolves gather.” At the same time, a new pirate group, inexplicably named “Toilet Paper” moved to the region and immediately started funding a proxy FDU organization named “Pony Industries”. Cruisers Crew funded their own proxy group and it became a daily occurrence to see a flock of pirates escorting a barely armed “freedom fighter” of the FDU in raids on Caldari complexes. The Scope, of course, focused on the minuteman. “Ostingele liberated!” Cue close up of our lone hero in a crowd of unknown volunteers. Cut to commercial.
The Federal news machine was hard at work churning out headlines about “Caldari corporate looting” in Placid as the situation deteriorated and rank pirates advanced under the FDU banner while Caldari businessmen fled for their lives. Inspired, a wave of volunteers joined the FDU, barely trained, barely armed and in many cases running their ships on automation protocols. What these miscreants lacked in substance they compensated for in sheer number. At the crest, the State was losing five infrastructure hubs a day. This was the backdrop for the renewed siege of Ostingele.
Brave Caldari aces from IRED, SPD and MARMS flew daily into the teeth of impossible odds. I do not exaggerate when I say it was typical for Caldari forces to be outnumbered two or three to one. On one occasion I recall us being outnumbered five to one, flying simultaneously against fleets from CC, TBC, TRM, Aideron, TP and even Electus Matari. In addition, the enemy was well equipped. The “pirate” groups (the distinction between pirate and FDU had since become entirely blurred), favored frigate “hot rods” such as the Succubus and Worm. When circumstances permitted, they were eager to escalate to Sleipners, Vargurs or even capital ships. By contrast, few vessels in the State coalition could be appraised at more than fifty million isk, mostly frigates and cruisers.
The outcome of these battles was heavily slanted - in our favor. Caldari fleets countered these numerous advantages in the same way we always have: superior training, discipline and motivation. In short, we defeated them in detail and with hit-and-run tactics. Gallente forces were poorly motivated, lacked central command and were mainly experienced in set piece battles. Our fleets would engage one group, decimate it and then warp away just before reinforcement from another command arrived or a carrier dropped. We would annihilate their expensive pirate hot rods from their Punisher fleets and disengage before they could inflict losses. We picked off their FDU proxies with a handful of snipers to prevent their fleets from broadcasting proper IFF codes to complexes. This frustrated the pirates enough that they ripped off the last shreds of pretense and hoisted the Gallente eagle with the full blessing of the Federal “authorities”.
Through we inflicted roughly three to one losses in men and isk, it was not enough to recapture Ostingele. From there the situation became even more dire. Every system in Placid was set to fall, with the sole exception of SPD headquarters in Agoze. The weight of the enemy then fell squarely on our heads. The system became heavily contested as the conflict continued to escalate. We launched hit and run attacks on their structures in bombers and long ranged HACs from bases hidden outside the warzone. They retaliated with capital fleets. The fighting reached a crescendo in Pain, where several hundred capsuleers from three opposing coalitions slugged each other inconclusively over a lonely Raitaru.
With their hubris matched only by their rising frustration, they retaliated by dropping an Erebus class Titan on PLESCO Astrahuses in Agoze and Dastryns. The SPD HQ Astrahus was then destroyed following a pitched engagement. The enemy closed in on our Dastryns base, Eskeitan, a.k.a Defender, the old bulwark that had broken the back of the FDU a dozen times last year.
The ensuing battle was orchestrated under the command of the peerless John Revenent. We delayed their attack by forcing them defend one of their own structures before the timer, then withdrew as their capital fleet arrived. Our Cerberus fleet engaged a mirrored one on Eskeitan - the pirates had adopted the doctrine to prevent our typical dancing around them, but they did not know how to use it. As it became apparent they were outmatched, they set their HACs on approach to the structure and died to the last, exchanging their lives to buy time for their carrier fleet to arrive. Which it did, and as the fighters launched, they clearly believed they’d checkmated us.
We set course to engage. Then the lid on the trap was slammed shut, and our reinforcements arrived and crushed their carrier fleet as we held it down. It was a total rout. I will not soon forget the sounds of allied cheers reverberating inside my pod. To many of you, the scale of our struggle may seem small, but no one who participated will forget Eskeitan.
Following this, pirate activity has dropped off sharply. Everywhere, the enemy is in retreat as we nip on their heels. And then, following a final blitz, our coalition fleets have stormed uncontested to reassert Ishukone’s lawful presence in Intaki. Our work is not yet done. The enemy is beaten, but not yet finished. There are torpedo tubes to reload and a reckoning to be wrought.
Glory to the State.