Last cycle saw Dictator Yuri Grom’s profitable control systems Lundji and Latugara available for preparation, as he lost them in the prior cycle. It is possible the Federation caused the turmoil that previously forced Grom to retreat from these systems, but multiple parties had an interest and no formal responsibility was taken.
The Federation Powers saw little competition when they prepared the former Grom systems for expansion. Imperial Senator Torval attempted to compete for Lundji and Latugara, but with a meagre 4,536 and 5,250 Trade Agreements respectively. Expanding these systems would be a departure from her current strategy of focusing on weaponised expansions against the Federation. Her agents were likely aiming merely to distract their Federation counterparts.
President Hudson prepared Col 285 Sector CY-N b21-0, which covers the former Latugara region, with 27,819 tonnes of Restricted Intel. If the expansion is successful, Col 285 Sector CY-N b21-0 would contribute 29 Comand Capital (CC) to Hudson’s economy, reducing his default deficit to 256 CC.
In addition, Hudson’s takeover would contest the nearby Utopian control system, 114 G. Aquilae, for 11 CC. As Col 285 Sector CY-N b21-0 was the most profitable choice of control system for Hudson, this action doesn’t appear to have been planned with Simguru Pranav Antal in mind. This is expected to further sour the relationship between the two Powers, which have been going downhill since the turmoil in Utopia last May was attributed to Hudson-aligned pilots.
Due to the 151.22 ly distance from their headquarters in Nanomam, Hudson’s forces will have to fight twice as hard as their opposition to succeed. Despite this disadvantage, Hudson currently has a lead which the opposition could overcome with 24,833 combat merits in addition to their current total of 106,420. As with all combat expansions, both sides can hide their activity from GalNet until later in the cycle, so expect these numbers to change before the cycle closes.
Shadow President Winters prepared Lundji with 30,440 tonnes of Liberal Propaganda. If the expansion were successful, Lundji would contribute 12 CC to Winters’ economy at maximum overheads but an overall increase in overheads means a net change of -76 CC. In the short term, her default deficit would increase to 574 CC.
Winters’ agents will need to work twice as hard as their opposition to succeed, because the system is 155.66 ly away from their headquarters in Rhea. With Winters’ current lead, her opposition would need 49,853 combat merits in addition to their current total of 8,190 to catch up. These values are likely to change as hidden combat activities are reported, so keep an eye on GalNet for the latest information.
While the Federation has ongoing profitable expansions, weaponised expansions continue to be launched between them and the Empire. Aside from those launched by Torval, most weaponised expansions seem to be a way to guarantee those expansions to fail. Many Powers seem to lack confidence about their consolidation vote, which incentivizes them to ensure their leading preparation is either only mildly unprofitable, easy to oppose or forces enemies to oppose them. In addition, launching weaponised expansions costs fewer additional hours of effort than the many additional hours of opposition required from the enemy Power.
Last cycle, Emperor Lavigny-Duval unintentionally expanded to the fortified-profitable Lopemakinn. One cycle earlier, she also expanded to the fortified-profitable Caerape. Lavigny-Duval’s supporters prepared these systems to block worse, massively unprofitable and nigh-unopposable expansions from happening.
Seemingly in response to this setback, Lavigny-Duval’s forces have changed their strategy and prepared L 206-187 with 48,816 Corruption Reports. This currently-active expansion makes a much deeper loss of 89 CC, but also contests Hudson for 101 CC and Grom for 6 CC. This incentivizes Hudson’s supporters to oppose the expansion. The opposition currently stands at 151,010 combat merits, which is already significantly more than the ending opposition totals for Lopemakinn and Caerape.
Similarly, Princess Aisling Duval had an expansion to Wilintae active last cycle. It would have cost her 94 CC, but also contested Winters for 26 CC. Saboteurs would have had to work four times harder than the opposition to complete the expansion. The opposition did indeed end up stopping this expansion with only 23,730 combat merits and a healthy lead. Aisling managed to consolidate on the subsequent cycle, but she may employ the same strategy again as Wilintae is currently being prepared with 46,071 Media Materials.
Senator Torval’s four weaponised expansions last cycle were all opposed with very safe margins due to a combined opposition effort worth 354,120 combat merits. In addition to the Trade Contracts used to compete with the Federation Powers in Lundji and Latugara, Torval’s forces were able to prepare Areklici again. This currently-active expansion contests Winters for 39 CC and costs Torval 69 CC at maximum overheads. Torval would need 167,829 Deeds to catch up with the opposition’s lead.
In contrast to his Imperial colleagues, Senator Patreus seems to have both a firm grip on his consolidation vote and no desire to expand. Despite this, his forces have been consistently preparing HIP 2239 with around ten thousand Marked Military Arms per cycle to compete with unwanted expansions. HIP 2239 would break-even in terms of profitability, is not impossible to oppose and is therefore a suitable system for Patreus’ purposes.
Before their profitable expansions, it appeared that the Federation Powers were following the same strategy. Winters’ expansion to Baal last cycle would have cost her 73 CC at maximum overheads, but also contested Lavigny-Duval for 115 CC. It was opposed with only 15,480 combat merits due to triggers massively favouring opposition. This cycle Winters is again preparing Baal, currently with 35,679 tonnes of Liberal Propaganda.
‘Fifth column’ activities
Dictator Yuri Grom’s fifth column has succeeded in pushing the unprofitable Meidubi to the expansion phase, but currently few merits have been earned by either side, something that is expected to change before the end of the cycle. The system would contest Mahon for 24 CC and make a loss of 67 CC at maximum overheads or 155 CC when including increased overheads. Due to its close proximity to Grom’s headquarters in Clayakarma, the expansion would require the opposition to work 5.36 times harder than the saboteurs’ ships — which have suggested by some to be automated, in violation of Pilots’ Federation regulations.
The other independent and Alliance Powers were all able to consolidate. However, the Kumo Crew and SiriusGov have both been preparing systems of their choice to block any unwanted expansion that might start if their vote fails.
SiriusGov is currently preparing Baliscii, a fortified-profitable system which would be easy to oppose due to the number of nearby systems controlled by patronages. SiriusGov Special Advisor Bravo Oscar Oscar told us:
“We’re prepping Baliscii because it has triggers favorable to opposition and if it comes to that, the only large pad is planetary so it has favorable triggers and random [pilots] will be less likely to try to expand it as most won’t bother with a large pad on the ground.”
Kumo has chosen to go with the contesting route, consistently preparing Gunayeb with approximately fifty thousand Contraband Packages per cycle. Gunayeb would cost 60 CC and contest Aisling for 33 CC.
On the preparation, Senior Kumo Crew pirate Commander QBit commented: “why not just call it what it is: a weaponized prep against AD. Whether it’s defensive, people will find out each cycle…”.
Last cycle also saw significant undermining activity against Hudson and Kumo, but neither Power will be affected much in subsequent cycles. Hudson endured undermining in six systems, all of which was cancelled by fortification. Similarly, seven of his systems reached the undermining trigger, but all were cancelled by fortification. As a result of their successful defences, both Powers had an ending surplus of over 500 CC. In fact, Kumo’s ending balance is high enough to cover both the maximum consolidation input of 500 CC and the preparation cost of his currently-favourite Gunayeb, meaning his undermining triggers will be strengthened by 50% even if Gunayeb moves to the expansion phase in contrast to previous cycles.
Sagittarius Eye Breaking News team