Friday 30 May 2014

When nightmares turn reality: The Sansha invasion

For a time, Sansha's Nation was a tale used to scare children into obedience, claiming *Sansha would take you away in the night!* and to unnerve young capsuleers of what could be out there. Little did we realize that those tales would become reality in the year YC 112. That year, Sansha began raiding inhabited planets all over the cluster, taking people to serve in his twisted aberration of a Nation.

This is a report on how it all started and how all these events progressed to evolve into the Sansha incursions we all know today. An official summary report can be found here: The war on Nation's Resurgence.
You can find a technical analysis on the Sansha attacks here: The Sansha attacks, a benchmark for the future


It began with a series of smaller incidents concerning a mysterious attack on the Ducia Foundry station in the Pure Blind region. After investigation it was found out to be a Nation raid that Concord tried covering up.
Despite the outrage, Concord refused to comment on this, claiming it was an isolated incident.

And then Nation attacked...

On the 11th may of YC 112 everything changed... Sansha fleets lead by Slave 32152 began raiding inhabited planets in empire space. In a single day, 6 systems in all 4 nations have been attacked, taking away people from the inhabited planets to reinforce Nation's population...
For the next 10 days Sansha's Nation would continue raiding the planets, only opposed by a small group of capsuleers who hastily organized themselves against the sudden rise of this threat.

Ships used by Nation as they raid planets

However, it seemed that Nation didn't account for capsuleer resistance either, as initially most attacks after the first wave were held back successfully. But as the attacks continue, the first few reports on what happened planetside start to pour in, and they don't show a pleasant image: Uplifting people. Despite valiant actions taken by capsuleer defenders, the first week was one marked by disinformation as Concord Official Sutola Endoma denied all allegations of increased Sansha activity, blaming the capsuleers for what happened: Official Concord response by Sutola Endoma.
This course of action caused capsuleers to turn their aggression not only against Sansha's Nation, but also against Concord who apparently helped Nation.

In the second attack on the Tama system, at 15 May, a first glimpse of Nations power and advanced technology was shown, when Slave Tama01 appeared in a capital ship. After she was defeated, she stuck around, explaining to capsuleers how Nation had 'saved' her two days ago and teached her knowledge beyond all. While her comments were initially taken with scepsis, Sansha's teaching methods were undeniably beyond that of what capsuleers could reach, as Slave Tama01 learned to pilot a supercarrier in a mere two days...
This exposition of Slave Tama01 at the second attack of the Tama system would later be known as the Tama Talks, due to the large amount of information shared by this True Slave, giving a deeper insight on how Nation worked and why they raided planets. They were after crew and biomass to man their massive fleet of warships, in preparation for even larger strikes in Empire space... Not to mention they were out to 'correct' our 'flawed' existence...

Sansha's fleet using a Wormhole to to attack anywhere, anytime across Eden

A day after, it was revealed why Concord did nothing to stop Nation. Concord Commander Sutola Endoma revealed herself as a Nation agent during the attack on Lustrevik where she called reinforcement from Sansha at her side...
With great effort this attack was pushed back. It also saw a change of Concord Stance as Commander Dorgiers was appointed, who actively fought Nation on many fronts, earning him the respect and trust of many capsuleers.

During all this, a strange True Slave was also encountered, Slave Heavenbound02. Of all the True Slaves that we would meet through all these attacks, she remains the most unique. She is the fused mind of Seriphyn Inhonores former wife and his son, a truly gruesome experiment. Of all the True Slaves she is the most emotional, prone to anger but also to playful moods.
And yet, despite this 'imperfection' among Nation, she is still one of the most dangerous True Slaves employed, that would abduct more people than any other True Slave would....
On top of all this, Sansha Kuvakei announced his return and demanded capsuleers to pledge their allegiance to him! At the end of the first wave of attacks, he was sighted in Maut, conferencing with Capsuleer Nation Loyalists...

With all these events and revelations happening in the first 10 days, capsuleers realized this was only the first wave of many more attacks to come... After these 10 days of continuous attacks, a silence arrived, no sightings, no attacks, just the silence before the storm...

Nation comes for our people... We are their first and last line of defense...

Nation forces obliterating a Capsuleer defender fleet

And then, a month later, on the 13th of June, Nation returned. Initially, capsuleers managed to fend off the first few attacks of this new wave of invasions. But the success wouldn't last.... Nation adapted to the capsuleer tactics, bringing larger fleets and staging multi-planet and multi-system attacks, dividing the capsuleer forces.
The result of this was grim, millions upon millions of people were taken from their world, their minds brainwashed by Nation nanoprobes to abandon their homes to serve Kuvakei's Nation....
A public intel report kept track of all the attacks & their losses: Strategic Intelligence Analysis Report (SAIR) Sadly more updated versions are no longer available, they are assumed destroyed during the massive attack on Yulai on a later date. More detail on how these intel maps came to be can be found here: Sansha's Nation Strategic Analysis, which gives an overview on how all these events and attacks unfolded.

A call for unity among capsuleers against the increasing power of Nation attacks

As a result of the setbacks, capsuleers improved their organisation, forming a variety of groups each focused on a certain task. From FCORD that organized large fleet engagements, to Bad Moon, a small, elite strike force that employed the latest in acquired Nation knowledge to halt the invasions.
And then, success was achieved. During a Nation raid in the Huttaken system, the Capsuleer Mouse Nell successfully managed to attach a probe to a Nation ship that retreated from battle through the Wormhole. The image it provided is now etched in the collective memory of the defenders. More detailed info on this can be found here: Wormhole reveals true power of Sansha's fleet

The iconic image of Sansha's capital fleet, provided by Mouse Nell

The station shown in the image was quickly identified as the Jove Prosper Vault Station.... Concord officials and Kuvakei did confirm it here: Eyes on Huttaken. This revelation put everything in a new light... Sansha using a Jovian system as staging location? There were previous signals pointing to that Jovian system, but they were initially dismissed, believing to be faulty readings as it was believed no-one could contest Jovian sovereignty. Turns out, Kuvakei could through the use of his Wormhole generator... For long the Jovian role in all this was unclear, had they been attacked and driven back? Or did they support Nation somehow?
Later, it would be revealed that Nation attacked the Jovian Directorate and occupied the system for a good time. After a while, the Jovians would manage to retake the system and drive out Nation. This info was provided by Concord at a much later date.

Meanwhile, more success was achieved, when capsuleers managed to locate a second staging system in the Stain region, Sansha's Nation space. Now that the defenders had located two staging systems, they were able to get a warning system up, alerting them when a True Slave appeared in those systems, as it meant an attack on Empire space was imminent!

Defending Deltole from a Nation raid

All the while, the attacks would continue. Despite capsuleer best efforts, almost 50 million people would be abducted by the end of this second wave of invasions. Nation employed many diversion tactics to split up capsuleer forces and deployed large amounts of ships to counter the defenders. And then they fell silent once more... Would this be the end? Or the start of an even greater threat...

And during this time of silence, Sansha Loyal Capsuleers used deception to lure the Capsuleer defenders into a trap. It was hinted a large Sansha force would invade Maut and we took the bait. But as the date grew closer, realisation dawned it would be a trap. However due to the amount of forces gathered, it was decided to go through with it, intending to overwhelm the trap by sheer numbers. In the end, it just turned out both sides fell for a trap set up by Morsis Mihi and Pandemic Legion to crush both sides when they heard of the trap laid out by the Sansha Loyalists.
This devastating defeat became known as The Battle of Maut.

Are you ready to witness True Power? For Master Kuvakei is coming for us....

After a month of silence, Kuvakei announced his presence to the universe in a dramatic holofeed. And this time, he would come after us, Capsuleers... This time, he would be focused on breaking us...

I have returned, and I know you better then you know yourself
Kuvakei's message to Capsuleers

Kuvakei held his word... He returned, and with him he brought a massive attack force, thousands upon thousands of ships that obeyed him and his True Slave minions without question.
In this third wave, the defending capsuleers had to face the full might of Sansha's Nation. They had to stand firm against nearly impossible odds. Should they fall, dark times would lie ahead for the people of the Eden cluster... On top of this, Nation unveiled their newest ship, the Revenant Supercarrier, a powerful and deadly ship, finetuned to Nation's tactics.

The Uedama attack, the first of many attacks that would display the full might of Sansha's Nation

Initially the meaning of this third wave attacks wasn't fully understood. Sansha's Nation attacked with massive fleets at capsuleers that rallied to defend, yet hardly any dropships were sent out. However in the cases they did send out dropships, they took millions upon millions with them, depopulating entire worlds.  Lucky, the Gallente Federation officials were glad to help them out, pointing out that Concord systems were compromised: Understanding the Sansha Threat .

It was realized soon that these massive attacks were just diversions, dragging away attention from the covert operations that Nation was running to hack the Concord networks.
Then a major breakthrough was achieved when a Sansha attack was stopped cold in the Antem system. Through a joint operation with Concord official Dorgiers, Red Frog freight delivered an Obelisk freighter packed with explosives to the Wormhole that was opened to initiate a large attack. Once arrived the pilot detonated the ship, the resulting blast travelled through the wormhole, shutting it down!

However, the euphoria of this succes was short lived, as more and more information poured in that Kuvakei was planning something big, and had to be stopped. Multiple Concord routers were already compromised in subsequent attacks, soon the Concord Headquarters in Yulai would be vulnerable to tampering...
After a successful attack in Monalaz, resulting in Sansha's Nation hacking the Concord database, the attacks stopped...

The Seylinn invasion, seeing the first deployment of the Revenant Supercarrier

But this time, capsuleers wouldn't be fooled, they knew something big was coming up, and it would be in Yulai. A month passed and then the final stage began, several systems were placed under heavy Nation attack, slaughtering hundreds of capsuleers in their wake.
And then Kuvakei broadcasted a cryptic message, that he would 'behead the king that lords over the four princes'. Instinctively, most capsuleers realized that Kuvakei was going after the Concord HQ in Yulai!

As people rallied in Yulai to defend the HQ, Nation poured in, deploying multiple wormholes at several planets. This time, the capsuleers would not just face another Nation commander, they faced Kuvakei himself, and his most deadly commander, Slave Heavenbound02. With thousands present, the capsuleers defended Yulai, trying to halt Nation. Alas... they failed and Kuvakei completed his objective.

Coupled with this was an attack on the Promised Land system, where Kuvakei later showed up and created a stable wormhole, leading directly into the Stain region, Sansha's Nation home.... But this wormhole could only be used to those who were part of Kuvakei's Nation. More info on this massive attack can be found here: Eve Tribune: Kuvakei attacks Yulai & Promised Land and Sansha Invasion in Yulai.

We failed...

A few days after the massive defense of Yulai, the full scale of our failure to stop Kuvakei was shown.
In 5 constellations, comchannels suddenly blacked out shortly after Nation fleets were reported in various systems. Sansha's Nation just had launched the largest attack in the recent history of Eden... Eve travel has an extensive report on this event, complete with background: Emergency Travel Advisory!
Initially people were not sure to handle this situation, causing the loss of hundreds of capsuleers as these constellation wide attacks saw the deployment of more advanced versions of the classic Nation ships.
But capsuleers are a creative sort when it comes to fights, and after a few days they managed to organize in strict & powerful fleets to take on this next step of Sansha's desire to bring the population of the Eden cluster under his control.

Within a week, most of the constellations were freed from Nations grasp. But at the same time, it was realized that this would be the new reality in Eden, a reality that endures to this day.
Nation can strike anywhere, anytime, taking on a whole constellation. The only force that stands between Sansha's Nation and total dominance is us, the capsuleer.
Intel operations lead to the creation of the Sanshadex, listing  the various advanced variants of ships used by Nation in these incursions.
To this day, fleets of dedicated capsuleers fight the Sansha incursions to this day, in the faint hope that one day, Nation will cease their attacks.... Until then, stay vigilant!

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