Last cycle resulted in some contrasting situations for Dictator Yuri Grom and Pirate King Archon Delaine. Delaine’s forces entered turmoil with three systems on the brink of revolt, while Grom started expanding to four new systems. Although there appears to be no link between the two events, this seems like a significant step forwards for Grom’s forces in the struggle against the pirates. However, there is more to this story than this simple summary would suggest.
It is true that Delaine is in turmoil and faces the loss of three systems: Panjabell, Oxlahatta and Hiranyaksha. However, all three have low incomes and currently make barely any profit per cycle for the pirates. In addition, the effort of administering these systems increases overheads for their domain as a whole. If the Kumo Crew were to lose all three, they would be a massive 222 Command Capital (CC) better off every cycle. The careful choice of provoking such poorly profitable systems into revolt in a “self-turmoil” manoeuvre looks very deliberate, and suggests the pirates and their allies managed to outsmart the ‘fifth-column’ forces that have so frequently managed to scupper the recent self-turmoil efforts of other powers.
On the other side of the conflict, Grom’s four expansion targets are not as impressive as they first seem.
Ongkatavi is simply an unprofitable backwater, and would cost Grom 82 CC per cycle. It also happens to cost Li-Yong Rui 6 CC. Fortunately the expansion triggers are terrible and it is meeting strong opposition, and is currently 120,000 merits away from succeeding.
Ngobogdii is barely profitable and only gives Grom 4 CC per cycle. But adding another star to the Dictator’s empire increases administrative overheads of all the other systems, adding an extra 158 CC in costs. At the time of writing no merits for either side have been handed in, and if this continues the expansion will fail, much to everybody’s relief.
LTT 5131 is the other side of marginal, costing Grom 2 CC per cycle. It also costs Edmund Mahon 17 CC and Shadow President Felicia Winters 9 CC. As with Ngobogdii, the increased overheads for Grom’s empire for simply controlling an extra system would be very high. Nobody wants this system, and at the moment neither expansion nor opposition have reached the 100% mark, again leading to failure by default. Should this change, we can expect strong resistance from the Federation and Alliance forces.
Meidubi will cost Grom 58 CC per cycle, and also cost Edmund Mahon 24 CC, possibly shattering the uneasy detente that has been established between the two powers. Unfortunately the triggers are more than 5:1 in favour of expansion, and with a current lead of nearly 200,000 merits, likely from the efforts of saboteurs, it seems almost inevitable the expansion will go through.
At the same time, Grom’s saboteurs completed last cycle’s expansion attempt into Katuri, costing both Grom and Mahon 47 CC each per cycle, plus increased administration costs. Despite such terrible economics, as with Meidubi the expansion triggers were extremely favourable, making success likely insurmountable.
Contrary to first impressions, Delaine appears to have executed a master-stroke of tactics, while Grom’s expansions seem at best rudderless and haphazard, and at worst burning funds and provoking needless costly wars. The exodus of the senior cadre of Grom pilots in cycle 217 continues to have dire effects on the cohesiveness of Dictator Grom’s forces.
Elsewhere the Galaxy was significantly calmer.
President Zachary Hudson successfully expanded to the system of Mislika without significant opposition, earning him an extra 5 CC per cycle.
Shadow President Felicia Winters lost an aggressively weaponised expansion into Baal. It would have cost her 74 CC and Emperor Arissa Lavigny-Duval 115 CC, but had such disadvantageous expansion triggers that it was easily defeated by 370,000 merits. She now has an expansion into Breksta which costs her, Li-Yong Rui and Hudson CC, and seems likely to have been initiated by saboteurs.
Zemina Torval attempted to expand to Areklici, which would have cost her 70 CC and Winters 39 CC. Despite intense fighting on both sides resulting in over half a million merits combined, the effort was narrowly defeated.
Edmund Mahon is attempting to expand to V2578 Ophiuchii which has reasonably favourable triggers and will gain him 2 CC per cycle. At the time of writing he has a strong lead with trivial resistance.
Emperor Lavigny-Duval has an expansion attempt in progress in Caerape. This system would cost her 20 CC and has unfavourable triggers, and it has been tried before and failed. It seems to be the system of choice when the Emperor needs to distract her more subversive elements, but cannot manage to fully consolidate. The expansion is currently failing, though her saboteurs appear to be trying their best.
Similarly, Li-Yong Rui has an expansion to Baliscii, a marginally-profitable system with poor triggers that is a common top choice as a placeholder that is unlikely to succeed. At the time of writing it is being crushed by opposing forces with almost no apparent effort being put into expansion.
Sagittarius Eye Breaking News team