Imagine, for a second, a totally imaginary scenario: Consortium vs. Gaule in open conflict.
Who would win?
The answer is very obvious, even if we know next to nothing about the relative military strengths: Consortium wins, hands down.
Let me tell you why: Infrastructure.
If we look at certain infrastructures, it is very obvious that the Consortium controls all of the important aspects:
- Travel/Transport: the Consortium controls all 5 currently accessible jump gates.
- Water: Spirit of Botswana is under Consortium control. In case of necessity, Gaule could try to extract water from Estación de Amazon, but could only supply The Maid of Orleans with it; for every other station, it'd need jump gate access.
- Food: the main producer is The Ghost of Mail, again a Consortium station.
- Energy: we only have indirect data here through antimatter prices as ship fuel, but that indicates that the Consortium can sell antimatter about 5x as cheap as the cheapest Gaule source (Nouveau Limoges). This indicates that Gaule resells fuel it buys from the Consortium, or only has massively less efficient energy sources. Or maybe the Consortium heavily subsidises fuel on Tau Station. If it does so, it must have some very good reasons, and the economic resources to sustain that over the cycles I have observed this behavior.
- Ships: the Consortium controls 3 out of 5 operational shipyards, the Gaule only one.
Given all these very clear advantages of the blue faction, we have to ask ourselves a very serious question:
Why hasn't the Consortium cut off the Gaule from its infrastructure, leaving them to die?
Or if not leaving them to die, then at the very least to assert their dominance, or to assimilate more Gaule stations over time (as happened to Yards of Gadani).
I have several hypotheses:
- It's actually happening, but slow, in a "death by a thousand cuts" kind of way. Likely the blue don't want to provoke open military action, which would be costly for both sides. But victory is inevitable, and so there is no need for haste either.
- The Gaule have one or more very powerful bargaining chips that I haven't considered yet. The warships that survived the Catastrophe at Maid of Orleans might have interesting databases, and I have no idea where in the galaxy Computer chips, stims and VIP packs are being produced.
- Humanitarian reasons (but who am I kidding?)
- There might be a fear that a dying Gaule administration could strike back with unpredicted strength, possibly through computer-based attacks, or from pre-Catastrophe weapons systems.
It could be a combination of several of these, or I could be missing something crucial.
What do you think, dear reader?