“What would we do in response to that?”
“Oh, under the NATO treaty, we’d be obligated to respond by attacking soviet missiles inside the Soviet Union.”
“And then what would they do?”
“Well, by then we hope that cooler heads would prevail, and we’ll all sit down and talk.”
-- Alleged conversation during the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cup in hand, I trudged into our Alliance lounge. The operation early this morning was still in my bones, allowing me only four hours of sleep, and judging from the looks, Greygal had gotten even less. Nonetheless she soldiered on through a quick briefing for us Affirmative members while we still had the time.
I missed most of said briefing, because first of all, I had been there this morning, and second, my coffee cup was empty and I definitely needed a refill.
“Ok,” she said, “before we head out on our roam, a quick update on last days’ activities.”
She looked around the room, before continuing.
“I have talked to our diplomatic contacts in Providence, and from what I have learned, that hit against our offices was not an officially sanctioned operation. In essence they said ‘it’s low-sec - do with those guys what you want’.” She smiled. “And since they hadn’t been very lucky last night, this might be the end of it.”
She took a draft from her cup, and then switched gears. “Right. We have a roam to run - let’s get to it.”
Maybe it was just me, but to me this roam appeared to be quieter than our usual ones. One could lay it on the fact that many of our core Affirmative members were still worn from the op early in the morning - fleet invites happened more sluggishly than usual, questions were answered a tiny bit slower than usual - but at least our Skirmishers were awake and on the ball!
The payback however was meagre. A few tussles here and there, one of which offered us a chance to demonstrate our rookies the art of cross-jumping a gate with hostiles on the other side.
Myself, I didn’t care. Maybe it was a feeling of fey, maybe something else, but it caused me to pay more attention to our comm channels than anything else. And that is how I first noticed John’s messages.
John had been late to arrive, when we were already well deep into null-sec, but natural that he was, he lost no time catching up with us.
And provided recon on the way.
[ As I’m passing through here, do you want a recon our POCOs? ]
Greygal was busy herding our fleet around, so I answered. “Our POCOs are ok, but thanks. I took a look earlier.”
John was not convinced.
[ Well… Volition Cult just hit them, and CVA. ] He paused. [ Yeaaaah, holy shit, 110 hostiles hitting our POCO. ]
My thoughts tumbled - with the majority of our fleet still being in Curse , there was no way we could respond to this attack immediately. Nor did it seem productive to distract GG right away - better to wait until she had a chance to catch up on out-of-fleet events.
John must have thought along similar ways, as he’d already moved on.
But still, I couldn’t stop wondering: What was going on? A simple diplomatic misunderstanding? Somebody going rogue? Or us simply being used as pawns in a power struggle beyond our influence?