The three-way race to prepare Simyr in cycle 210 was concluded with a simple result – Princess Duval’s forces have an impressive ability to mobilise freighters. She took a mid-cycle lead in the contest and finished with 325 thousand merits delivered. Shadow President Winters was a distant second with 241 thousand merits, and Emperor Lavigny-Duval dropped out early with 104 thousand merits. President Hudson also joined late with 34 thousand merits, though it is thought he was simply trying to squash unintended preparation attempts, rather than making a serious attempt at the system.

 

Princess Aisling Duval‘s lack of expansion effort so far this cycle suggests that she had no plan to make an earnest attempt to claim the system. As Simyr is so far from her HQ, she would have to overcome a stark logistical disadvantage with 6:1 expansion triggers. Whether the move to prep Simyr was meant to spite Felicia Winters, or had deeper strategic value, is still up for debate. At the time of reporting the opposition to the expansion has a lead of 290 thousand merits. A huge number to be sure, but still less than her forces hauled winning the preparation battle in the first place.

 

Cycle 210 saw expansion attempts from four powers. Zachary Hudson cruised to an easy win in the highly profitable system of GCRV 2743 – a system recently wrested from Simguru Pranav Antal’s influence. Archon Delaine continued his harassing action in Atata, but as usual fell well short of achieving any concrete results. Felicia Winters tried to expand into the lucrative system of HIP 38747, while the Emperor attempted the nearby system of Sokojiu. If both expansions had succeeded, they would have cancelled 36 Command Capital (CC) from each other, making HIP 38747 only marginally profitable, and Sokojiu a big lossmaker. However the Federation forces prevailed in both systems, winning HIP 38747 for Winters and denying Lavigny-Duval her ‘weaponised’ expansion.

 

Imperials will be relieved that this cycle has broken the Federation string of successful expansions, with neither Hudson nor Winters having an expansion to contest. Aside from Aisling Duval’s attempt in Simyr, Delaine’s Kumo Crew once again attempt a seemingly perpetually-doomed expansion into Tai Quambis. The Sirius Corporation has been again beset by saboteurs who are attempting to force CEO Li Yong-Rui to accept the system of Holvandalla at a loss of 35CC, and at the mid-cycle update they appear to have a strong lead of 32 thousand merits.

 

Meanwhile Zemina Torval is attempting three expansions, all of them at high cost to her Command Capital. HIP 29716 costs her 44CC, and Dechengh costs her 10CC, although at the moment neither has seen any significant action for or against, and may be left to fail. The third system is HR 2883, which costs Torval 63CC, but also costs Felicia Winters 38CC, and the action here is fast and furious, with both sides putting in big numbers. Currently Torval’s forces are ahead by a relatively slim 30 thousand merits, however it should be noted that Torval’s forces cannot hide their merits in a ‘snipe’, while the opposition forces can.

 

With all the excitement in expansions, it seems few powers have had time to consider serious preparations. Delaine is preparing Atata as usual, while Winters, Torval, Antal and Grom have all either made no move or have the usual set of saboteurs and miscreants to deal with. All the other powers have already consolidated.

 

Sagittarius Eye Breaking News team

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