Zachary Hudson is recovering from turmoil last cycle with five systems revolting and leaving the President’s control, and only HR 2776 returning to stability. This week they seem to be aiming for stability with no expansion and voting so far is close to full consolidation.
Felicia Winters had a big late prep race at the end of the last cycle with the Shadow President battling fifth column forces for the top slot. A narrow victory of 132k merits over 104k means the system of CD-35 6972 is now in expansion. Favourable triggers have allowed Winters to make a strong start and she is currently leading by 270k merits.
Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval is attempting an expansion in the ex-Winters system of Simyr, and intense fighting is taking place there. According to GalNet she currently trails by a slim margin of 10k merits, but as both sides are earning merits through combat, both can hide merits through sniping (handing in merits at the last minute to take your opponent by surprise) – so the true situation is unknown. The Emperor will be keen to avoid a repeat of last cycle’s attempted expansion into Hyades Sector IC-K b9-4, which ended in failure after a large last-minute snipe from the opposition.
Zemina Torval has four expansions in progress this cycle. The flagship is the highly-profitable AF Leporis system into which she put 50k merits during preparation in the last cycle, and she is currently winning the expansion easily with no visible opposition. The others are all weaponised expansions.
Polus contests Mahon slightly but is a weapon against Winters’ current expansion in CD-35 6972. Hiradhea similarly contests Patreus slightly and is weaponised against Winters for 41 CC. Polus appears to be expanding unopposed but Torval is trailing in Hiradhea. Meanwhile the fourth expansion in HR 2883 would produce equally large losses for both Torval and Winters, but apparently nobody cares very much either way: it has exactly zero merits on the board for both sides!
Having secured expansion into the ex-Winters system of Reieni in the last cycle, and beaten off the usual strong fifth column prep challenge, Aisling Duval now has a large lead in her current expansion into Mahiko of 55k with no visible opposition. Meanwhile Pranav Antal is trying to expand into the ex-Winters system of HIP 24655, but poor expansion triggers have discouraged any significant support, and he is currently trailing by 70k. Not far away, Li Yong-Rui’s expansion into Betel is going much better and has a lead of 45k.
Lavigny-Duval, Mahon, Antal, Torval and Archon Delaine have all so far shown minimal active work on preparation, and it is assumed they will take action later in the cycle. Yong-Rui, Patreus and Hudson have already consolidated and are unlikely to prepare anything. Duval’s saboteurs have put 48k into their usual massively unprofitable system of HIP 1572, so far with little response from the Princess.
The big fight to watch during this cycle is an internal one between Yuri Grom’s preparation into the ex-Hudson system of Frey, which would net them a handsome 42 increase in CC (Command Capital), and the system being pushed by his fifth column of BD-10 5238 which, if pushed to expansion, would cost him 62 CC. Grom loyalists are currently leading by the amazing figures of 658k merits to 424k, but both sides are still hauling like mad, and we might see Elite’s first million-merit preparation by cycle end! This is the fourth cycle that BD-10 5238 has had significant support, but in previous cycles Grom countered by voting for full consolidation. That they are making a race of it this time shows just how badly they want Frey, which Hudson lost in last cycle’s turmoil.
As always, a lot can change in the second half of the cycle. There are always forces building up huge snipes to hand in at the last moment – so keep your eyes on the GalNet boards.
Sagittarius Eye Breaking News team