It's an odd little Maya stream. A long-limbed Somali man, wearing an askew blue baseball cap with "Aristaea?" scrawled meekly across the top and an old StarCo dress uniform, leans back in his chair. His feet are kicked up onto a holotable, a massive, detailed thing displaying active fronts on Paradiso. Military medals and trophies from half a dozen actions, including a prominently mounted Samaritan helmet, decorate the wall behind him and the faint buzz of a retro-electronic beat wafts through the air, clearly physically playing somewhere in the cluttered, militaristic room rather than integrated into the stream. He takes a moment to pull a canteen full of something steaming hot from just out of view, taking a long sip, R-EDM thumping faintly in the distance, as the holo-map shifts away from Paradiso. It shows Dawn in miniature, fleet deployments and the Aleph Blockade highlighted, alongside news of the Merovingian's Last Stand and the new mineral deposits on Novyy Cimmeria. Finally, he finishes, setting the canteen down off-screen and looking directly into the camera. "So," he says somberly, "Fucking Dawn, right?" The screen flashes black, "VVX WAR TALK: NOVYY CIMMERIAN CONFLICT' splays across the screen in bright red letters. When it flashes back to normal, the room has changed. The table is still there, but the walls behind the host are now a grand map of Novyy Cimmeria, settlements, outposts, and bases highlighted. The Somali man has pulled his feet from the table, and is instead leaning forwards, uncomfortably close to the camera. "Hello, and welcome to War Talk!" says the Somali man, "I'm VV, your host, and our very special episode today is on the brand-spanking-new Novyy Cimmerian conflict. I'll be putting out more of these as the conflict continues, and hopefully one in the immediate aftermath, but for today we'll be focusing on how we got here, possible goals for the factions involved, and the current facts on the ground." VV is an animated speaker, every sentence punctuated with hand gestures and his voice reminiscent of some ancient radio host. "Not going to spend too much time on how we're here. The news has covered that basically adequately, so let's lightning round this shit!" says VV. A timeline pops onto the screen next to him, scrolling through events as he rockets through it. "Yu Jing sets up an outpost here. It's a shithole so no-one cares, there's a research station and a Haqq prospecting site but who gives a shit. Then the Japanese decide that they want to be pointlessly murdered by their own unaccountable, sociopathic secret police instead of Chinese, Korean, or Mongolian unaccountable, sociopathic secret police and rebel. That goes down, Nomads set up a Node, Haqq prospecting site gets shot up, and this shithole island in the middle of nowhere is suddenly internationally important because, surprise surprise, Japan only took some of the Island. PanO can't let their hand puppet get shot up and set up PanOc-23, Yu Jing wants to kill all these motherfuckers some day and create their base, and Haqq wants people to stop shooting up their mining op and sends in a garrison force. Haqq finds some Nessium and Teseum just fucking lying around, so suddenly the shithole is valuable." The timeline stops and the last item, RARE MINERALS DISCOVERED ON NOVYY CIMMERIA, glows gold. "This is what gets us into our conflict. Cause suddenly this isn't a tense shithole in the middle of nowhere, it's a tense shithole in the middle of nowhere with the resources to seriously upset the balance of power in the human sphere and harm the economies of PanO and Ariadna. An enormous, rich vein of Nessium would cut deep into Svalarheim's functional monopoly on the stuff and has already done a number on corporate stocks in the field. Whereas that Teseum mine can't complete with a planet full of alternate mining sites but can seriously damage Ariadna's control over the market. PanO has some control of the situation since, hey, they've got a base and the Japanese are nominally on their side, but the Concillium does that thing where it ignores international law for political reasons and so Ariadna doesn't really have much soft power over the mine." It's clear this, the political and economic ramifications of the discovery, the tools nations have to contest it with, is what interests VV. He hops out of his chair, paces the room as he outlines the JSA/YJ borders on Novyy Cimmeria, pulls up stock prices of Svalarheiman corporations in the Nessium trade and projections of economic consequences, and a full, lengthy list of the motions Ariadna had filed in the Concilium. "Now this kicks everything off. Ariadna figures, hey, if international law won't do it, armed conflict might!" Lafayette pops up on the map, near the border between Yu Jing and Japanese territory, while the De Hell Ekranoplanes appear in the distance. "Lafayette's a good start as they begin to build up, but the Merovingian's want to do something a bit more...dramatic. They load up some Ekranoplanes and plan for an aggressive expansion with the reinforcements, fortifications and the like that would allow them a higher operational tempo and more solid defensive position in the conflict to come. It was a genuinely good plan!" The holographic Ekranoplanes launch, heading shorewards at high speeds. "Pity about the Combined Army invasion force." Red dots light up the shore, plasma volleys trade with missiles barrages as the Ekranoplanes hit the shore, and then two of them burst into flame, crashing catastrophically into the ground. "With over two thirds of their force out of action before contact is properly made, the De Hell Group should've been doomed, and the CA assault still a secret. But thanks to God and the French, they weren't. The De Hell Group managed what armies on Paradiso didn't, they took on a CA force that outnumbered them, outgunned them, and outmaneuvered them, and stopped them dead long enough to warn everyone else about an alien invasion. They died, but they won in every meaningful way. How were they supposed to know that we would all start shooting each other over it?" More locations pop up, largely in Japanese territory. Lafayette, PanOc-23, Johnny-5, Duban, Kurage, Zhan Huo, but also Yaochi City and the Belesbat Sea. Red begins to fill in the map around contested areas, representations and approximations of troop movements. Every major faction is represented save for Aleph, the Combined Army, and the Tohaa, who each have sigils and force estimations along the side of the map. "So the Merovingian's get their message out and everything goes to shit. Guns are already out, but people are shooting them now, missiles and airstrikes are flying and that's where we've been since," says VV. The model fast forwards through conflict, mounting Aleph and Combined Army attacks on the Kommstat until Haqq swings in to reinforce. The constant tug-of-war between Ariadna and Tohaa, NA2, and PanO. The desultory, perfunctory raids on Kurage, made amidst the constant bombardment and then intensified over the last days as Yu Jing assault troops establish an amphibious beachhead. And then, all at once, the map freezes. "So here's where we are right now. Conflict is most intense to the North and East of the island, with Zhang Huo and Duban significantly less contested than other regions. On the plus side, this has largely kept casualties to military areas, away from the civilian populaces at Duban and Yaochi, but I imagine this is little comfort to the poor bastards getting pasted on the front lines." "At the far north we've got PanOc and Johnny-5." He waves and Johnny-5 blooms on the holotable, taking up the entirety of the surface, the dense networks of repeaters and fortified bunkers of the Node itself sprawl over the table, markers and holographic figures showing estimated death counts and records of skirmishes over the past days. "The Node Base is the center of both Nomad and Aleph interest in Novyy Cimmeria. The Nomads need to keep their expansions safe for what I desperately hope are obvious reasons, while Aleph has a vested interest in keeping the Nomad network as small as physically possible. This has resulted in an enormous Aleph offensive, most notably at the Kommstat-" The network of repeaters glows gold, while Haqq, Nomad, Aleph, and CA forces in the area are highlighted. "-where Aleph may well have captured the facility's comm network in her initial assault were it not for a flood of Haqqislam defenders. This has also been the nexus of Combined Army operations but the forces of the EI have been largely ineffectual. We can only theorize as to why that is, but it is possible that they weren't expecting so many human factions to come into conflict on Novyy, that the MRRF did more damage to their invasion force than previously assumed, or that Aleph's blockade and the increased naval presence have left them unable to replenish their numbers. Whatever the truth, the Combined Army is tactically terrifying but strategically hobbled on Dawn and this will almost certainly continue until they can manage a more focused, organized offensive than they have before. The Nomads, and to a lesser extent Aleph, have very limited presence elsewhere on Novyy Cimmeria, something that shows their interests in the theater. Aleph is clearly here to check Nomad expansion, at least until a Combined Army base becomes more clear, and are largely neutral to the other conflicts going on. There have been skirmishes elsewhere, notably at Duban and Zhan Huo, but the lack of follow up indicates that these were likely meeting engagements or targets of opportunity rather than an Aleph interest in taking the territory. The Nomads, meanwhile, are almost certain to negotiate the ongoing existence of Johnny-5 with whoever ends up controlling Novyy Cimmeria. As such, it makes little sense for them to engage in the wider power struggle, instead focusing all of their efforts on keeping Johnny-5 intact to be negotiated over. These are, to be frank, roughly what should be expected from the two factions. Sensible, focused operations to secure their interests in the region. The Combined Army, however, has committed relatively large amounts of resources, considering their smaller presence on the continent, to a smattering of fronts. While we fundamentally don't know what their objectives are a spread out attack like this will cause many, distributed casualties but will be terrible at actually taking and holding ground. This is for the best for humanity, but we can't rely on it continuing and should prepare for either a renewed attack on the Kommstat-" The CA forces around the Kommstat swell, but the army simply seems too small to challenge the massive Haqq-Nomad garrison, "-Or more likely, a pivot into a lightly defended region. Kurage and PanOc 23's main Camp are both relatively lightly defended. Amphibious assaults into Kurage Station or a concerted offensive into PanOc are dangerous possibilities, ones with potentially disastrous consequences for the Sphere's hyperpower." The map zooms out to encompass the entire northern half of the isle, then zooms back in on PanOc-23, notably its main barracks and embattled aircraft shelter. The relatively light defenses around the main camp are highlighted, while holographic representations of the Combined Army forces at the Kommstat are added to their existing attack force here, resulting in a force disposition that pointedly does not favor PanO. Then the phantom forces disappear, and we see the embattled Multi-Base in its full glory once again. "The time for such a pivot may well have already passed, but that might not matter for PanO," says VV, "The Multibase has seen heavy fighting since the beginning of hostilities, and the hardened aircraft shelter, source for PanO's air support in the region, has been occupied for hours by Ariadnan commandos on at least one occasion. While PanO controls it for now, the battle teeters on the edge of a knife and that is terrible news for the hyperpower, because PanO has many, high level interests on Novyy Cimmeria. They've invested a lot into the Japanese Uprising and have a vested interest in keeping their new thrall loyal, compliant, and alive, and in that order. In addition, Duban's Nessium veins threaten to break Svartalheima's monopoly, with disastrous consequences for PanO's economy and soft power. As such, the Multi-base was clearly positioned to support operations to keep the Japanese independent, thwart attacks from Zhan Huo, and take Duban to safeguard the PanOceanan economy. With the multi-base lost it would be exceedingly difficult to manage that, but even its current siege means that PanOceana is not able to pursue its actual objectives. Every PanO soldier defending that base is a soldier not attacking Zhan Huo, screening Kurage, or looting Duban, while a loss of the base would make any of those immeasurably harder and be a deep-seated public humiliation for the Hyperpower. They've tried to solve this with an alliance, bringing NA2 on board and signing some sort of agreement with Aleph and the Tohaa, but it is unclear whether or not this will actually save them, or is simply an opportunity for others to accomplish their goals without PanO interfering." The holotable screams away from PanOc-23, buzzing through beautifully rendered mountains before resolving into the Lafayette Forward Airfield. The screen behind VV resolves into a publicized diplomatic communique, one swiftly becoming infamous among these sorts of news circuits. The publicized peace talks between Yasashi Fuyu and Commander Cabaray and resulting public...exchange of words. The table, meanwhile, shows the brutal three way fight currently underway, with Tohaa attacks on the prefabricated barracks and constant mercenary and JSA assaults on the outer fortifications highlighted. "Things haven't really gotten better for Ariadna after the De Hell group went down. Tohaa and Japanese-aligned assaults stand a serious chance of capturing the entirety of Lafayette. Ariadnan troopers have been mounting a heroic defense, fending of both attacks while attacking PanOc-23, but the margins are uncomfortably close. If more of their enemies are allied than they believe, say, Tohaa and the Japanese, then it is entirely possible that they could be overwhelmed anyways. As such, while the Ariadnan defense has been valorous so far, their High Command needs to secure some sort of defensive alliance to ensure that they aren't brought down by simple strength of numbers. Yu Jing would appear to be a natural ally despite their competing claims to the island, for the simple reason that Yu Jing hates PanO and the JSA about as much as Ariadna does, while the apparent PanO-JSA-Aleph alliance and Tohaa involvement would seemingly invite closer cooperation with the Nomads and Haqq. However, previous actions and animosity may make such alliances difficult, and an agreement with the Tohaa more appealing. However they play it, completely removing foreign presence from Novyy Cimmerian soil looks increasingly like an impossible goal, but removing the most odious players may well still be achievable if clever diplomacy is married to valorous combat." The map expands, Lafayette now sharing space with the besieged, undersea sections of Kurage station. "But even barring diplomacy and trickery, the failed peace negotiations with the JSA have put JSA High Command in a precarious position. Unlike most other forces on Dawn, the JSA is a hidebound military dictatorship where face is unspeakably important. The communicae going public, and Commander Fuyu's decision to double down on it, have tied his reputation (And that of the Japanese garrison) to the conquest of the Lafayette Redoubt. Now that he's committed, failing to take the Redoubt would be disastrous for his career and those under his command, and an embarrassment to the entirety of the Kuge. However, with Yu Jing assaulting Kurage itself the JSA may be forced to draw down their assault to protect their claim to Cimmeria. I honestly don't know what their best option is, but am genuinely curious as to what they will do next." "Most mysterious, however, is the Tohaa. While obviously opposed to the CA, their other interests on Novyy Cimmeria are entirely unknown. So far they have committed to an extensive and well organized assault on Lafayette, perhaps indicating mercenary work or an alliance with the JSA, however it is entirely possible that this is a ruse. That they've signed some lucrative deal with Ariadna, or Yu Jing, or someone else entirely regarding Lafayette, or that they are simply there to ensure that PanO does not become too powerful, and as such cannot afford to strain the ties between Human and Tohaa. Their motivations, goals, and next moves are all entirely alien, but if one thing is clear it is that their strategic acumen cannot be underestimated and if you are not currently negotiating with the Tohaa, you should probably start." "Finally we get to Haqq and Yu Jing. Haqq's interest in the area is simple, hold Duban through the conflict so they can profit from it after the conflict. That said, Duban is secure, and so the Haqq garrison seems to have taken to reinforcing the Nomads, further endebting their closest allies to them by reinforcing the Kommstat against attack. Their other goal is to ensure that whoever ends up in control of Novyy Cimmeria won't cause problems for the prospecting site, but with the outcome of the conflict still in flux, this is almost certain to be a diplomatic mission rather than a military one. Yu Jing is in a similar defensive position, Zhan Huo is secure and by all accounts exceedingly lethal to assault, but until recently Yu Jing has not had notable offensive success. However, a recent series of aquatic raids upon Kurage would seem to reveal their plan. With the Japanese claim to the territory anchored through Kurage, capturing the station would let them neutralize the Japanese claim without a prolonged campaign, putting them in a better position to negotiate with Ariadna and thoroughly humiliating PanO. If their attack on the Sensoring succeeds, we could well see a more comprehensive attack on Kurage, with the aim of securing their claim on the island, in the near future. That's all for tonight, folks! I'll be around to answer questions and hope to periodically update as the situation continues to develop."