Elite Dangerous Wiki
Advertisement

The Pegasi Pirate War was a conflict between the Kumo Crew pirate syndicate and the Empire that occurred from May 14 through the end of 3301. It began with Kumo Crew launching a large-scale expansion outside of its traditional territory, the Pegasi Sector of the Core Systems, and raiding dozens of Federal and Imperial systems. On July 11, the Imperial Navy responded with "Operation Davy Jones", a campaign spearheaded by Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval to liberate the billions of Imperial citizens living under the yoke of Pirate King Archon Delaine in the Pegasi Sector. While the Empire's counterinvasion arguably weakened Kumo Crew, the Pegasi Pirate War did not culminate in a conclusive battle, and was overshadowed by the assassination of Emperor Hengist Duval and the resulting campaign to eradicate Emperor's Dawn.

Background

The pirate syndicate Kumo Crew was once a relatively insigificant gang, one of many such gangs that plagued the Pegasi Sector, but was sharpened to lethal effectiveness by the ascension of Pirate Lord and self-proclaimed Pirate King Archon Delaine in 3264. When Delaine killed his last major rival in 3284, his burgeoning criminal empire had free rein of the Pegasi Sector. While Kumo Crew demanded tribute from numerous Federal and Imperial systems as well as independent ones, the superpowers ignored the situation. It is likely this was because of Kumo Crew's strict rules, which mandated no Kumo pirate could raid a settlement that had paid its tribute; settlements under Kumo Crew protection were not only relatively safe under this system, reducing the need for Federal and Imperial military interventions, but some were also more orderly and productive than when they were free. This carefully balanced peace between the superpowers and Kumo Crew would come to an end in 3301, when Pirate King Delaine's ambition got the better of him.

Events

Reports first emerged of increased Kumo Crew activity in the Pegasi Sector, a frontier region of the Core Systems, on May 14, 3301.[1] Kumo Crew's operations ramped up through June, resulting in the displacement of thousands of civilians fleeing from the pirate raids. Pleas to the Federation and Empire from their colonies in Kumo territory went unanswered.[2] The pirates' advance was tumultuous and somewhat disorganised, however, with successes often matched by failures. Archon Delaine's bid to capture the Pegasi system ended in humilating defeat on June 18.[3] His invasions of Arawere, Huaich, LTT 16548, and San Muss paid off, allowing Kumo Crew to establish new strongholds. By June 24, Kumo Crew had subjugated over 160 systems, encompassing some 20 billion Federal citizens and 6 billion Imperial citizens.[4][5]

While the Federation remained reluctant to get involved, the Empire opted to take action after the pirates attempted to expand into the Cuchua system. On July 11, 3301, at the graduation ceremony of the Naval Academy of Achenar, Senator Arissa Lavigny-Duval announced that "Operation Davy Jones" was underway to liberate the Pegasi Sector from Kumo Crew control, and an elite Imperial vanguard had already engaged Delaine's forces. The news was met with cheers, and 73% of the 10,000 graduates immediately signed on to join the larger Imperial armada that would travel to the Pegasi Sector.[5][6]

Kumo Crew forces were expelled from Imperial space and the Pegasi Sector was under siege by July 24. While the Imperial offensive did not advance as rapidly as the Imperial Navy had anticipated and few gains were made, it did succeed in blocking any further expansion attempts by the pirates. Despite this, the Empire's slow progress in the face of fierce resistance strengthened Kumo Crew's morale. With the Empire refusing to negotiate and Archon Delaine continuing to defy Imperial demands, commanders on both sides of the conflict agreed that it would not be ended at the negotiation table, but in battle.[6] The Empire's optimism held strong by July 29, but signs of disagreement began to appear in political circles. It was reported that Princess Aisling Duval's supporters attempted to solicit the assistance of Federal-aligned pilots against Kumo Crew in Operation Davy Jones, which outraged Senator Lavigny-Duval's followers.[7] Public opinion in the Empire was also split about the humanitarian value of a military intervention in a region of space that most considered to be extremely remote.[8] Meanwhile, pirates and smugglers used the chaos to enrich themselves, and the black market trade increased to alarmingly high levels.[9]

The name "Pegasi Pirate War" was coined for the conflict by August 12. Kumo Crew forces continued to deny gains to the Empire by avoiding opportunities for decisive battles, an asymmetric warfare tactic that the pirates adopted due to their overwhelming numerical disadvantage. In addition, every time the Empire broke a Kumo Crew siege of a system, the pirates would quickly regroup and restore the siege, keeping large detachments of the Imperial fleets busy and scattered. Observers asserted that since neither side had any clear way to gain the upper hand, the war was on its way to becoming a stalemate.[10][11] Federal Congress finally debated the possibility of joining the Empire's war effort on August 19 in response to Kumo Crew's expansion into 140 Federal systems, where 89 Federal citizens resided. No formal resolution was reached, but on August 24, a number of leading Imperial supporters met with their Federal counterparts and requested their aid, a marked change in attitude from the previous month.[12]

Pirate King Delaine shifted his strategy from defence to offense on August 22 with "Operation Uranus", a counterattack on the key Imperial system of Contiku. Pirate raids in the system threw Imperial supply lines there into disarray, but ultimately did not turn the tide of the war.[13] Controversy also erupted on August 25 when the independent think-tank Stratis Information Group claimed that Operation Davy Jones was merely an elaborate cover story for a massive Imperial expansion into undefended Federal systems. Analysts believed that based on historical precedents and the sheer amount of resources invested in the Pegasi Pirate War, the Empire would seek a long-term occupation of the Pegasi Sector after the conflict ended rather than withdraw.[14]

The last significant event of the Pegasi Pirate War occurred on August 30, when an Imperial commando team raided a Kumo Crew forward command post in the Tjakiri system. Evidence was found that indicated the outpost had been in use until half an hour befor the raid, and DNA from strands of hair was matched to Archon Delaine; the Empire had missed capturing the most wanted man in the galaxy by a matter of minutes.[15]

In the weeks after August, events of the Pegasi Pirate War faded from public news feeds as the Empire's campaign against the radical group Emperor's Dawn took precedence over Operation Davy Jones, due to Emperor's Dawn member Brendan Paul Darius assassinating Emperor Hengist Duval on August 5, the day of his planned wedding to Florence Lavigny.[16][17] The shock of the assassination and the ensuing succession crisis as Arissa Lavigy-Duval, Aisling Duval, and Denton Patreus jockeyed for the Imperial throne effectively rendered the ongoing conflict with Kumo Crew irrelevant. As the year 3302 opened, both the Empire and Kumo Crew had essentially disengaged from the Pegasi Pirate War, though small skirmishes between their allies persisted.

Impact

While the Empire failed to deal a decisive blow to Kumo Crew, with the Pegasi Sector still under pirate control and Archon Delaine still at large, the cartel was nonetheless diminished after its many battles against the superpower. By June 3302, it was widely speculated that Kumo Crew was on the verge of dissolution, and the Pirate King would cease to be one of the galaxy's major powers.[18] However, the Empire and Federation soon began focusing their attention on the Pleiades Nebula, where newly-discovered Thargoid Barnacles were found to produce an intriguing and lucrative new material called Meta-Alloys. The race to exploit the Pleiades Nebula brought on a new cold war, which proved to be a sufficient distraction to allow Kumo Crew to recover and reassert its dominance within the Pegasi Sector. The Empire even found itself briefly allied with Kumo Crew in an operation to wrest control of the Daramo system from the Federation, demonstrating that the two former enemies had pragmatically moved on from the previous year's hostilities.[19]

References

Advertisement