In the system of Aeschee in the Essence region, a Keepstar and a Fortizar belonging to the lowsec alliance Shadow Cartel was destroyed today by Imperium and Gallente Militia forces.
The Keepstar was destroyed at 01:12 EVE time, with the Imperium bringing in a supercapital fleet consisting of 168 titans and 129 supercarriers. This contingent was supported by multiple capital and subcapital fleets from both Imperium and Galmil.
Apart from light harassment by interceptors, there was no defensive effort and the Keepstar swiftly died.
A Fortizar belonging to Shadow Cartel was later destroyed in the same system at 0233 by GalMil forces. The attackers fielded Nightmare and Ferox fleets with Imperium providing light support. Again, there was no attempted defence from Shadow Cartel.
Shadow Cartel had for a long time been a prominent force in lowsec space. The alliance often clashed with Snuffed Out and the Gallente Militia alliances that lived nearby. They had recently been observed to side with North-Eastern Bloc forces and the Caldari Militia, which gave the Imperium and Gallente Militia a reason to attack their space and infrastructure.
Moreover, the Keepstar would have provided a convenient southern forward staging point from which North-Eastern forces could operate. While it did not directly threaten Imperium or GalMil at the time of its destruction, it may have done so in the future. Therefore, it appears that the attackers decided to engage at the current point in time. This is consistent with Imperium policy surrounding any non-friendly Keepstars within their sphere of influence.
The first attempt at destroying the Aeschee Keepstar had seen Northern Coalition. forces defend the structure’s armor timer, forcing the attackers to try again a second time. During this second attempt at the armor timer, no defense was formed, and the Keepstar entered its hull timer.
It is unclear whether or not North-Eastern Bloc forces will attempt to defend Shadow Cartel’s remaining structures. Most observers speculate that the bloc, having written off this Keepstar, will be too busy defending their own timers to save the beleaguered Shadow Cartel alliance.
It is understood at this time that Shadow Cartel deployed to Auga, a system in the Heimatar region. This spot is close to the content hub of Amamake, and also only one jump from their allies Siege Green, who stage from the system of Siseide. However, Auga is also the staging system of No Handlebars, a rival low-sec alliance. Fighting has intensified in the area during the past few days and is likely to grow even more serious.
The eventual fate of Shadow Cartel is likely to be interesting – and NER will keep an eye on the situation going forward.