Few conflicts has changed founding corporation Caldari Independent Navy Reserve as the Mito conflict has. Many officers in CAIN remembers the hard choices that was made. Recently, CDR Svetlana Scarlet has put these memories into words and made them public for all to read. It is a true story of CAIN, a story many remembers and reflect, the story that led to changes that made CAIN what it is today.
For those of us in the Caldari Independent Navy Reserve, there are few events in our history which resonate through the last decade so much as the Mito Conflict. This war between a number of Caldari loyalist organizations and a group of pirates and anarchists that raged from August to November 108 was the crucible that turned CAIN from a run-of-the-mill group of antipirates into what we are today. Without Mito, I have no doubt that CAIN today would be a very different organization, if it was still around at all.
In the summer of 108, the Reserve had joined a group of Caldari loyalist corporations in a new alliance, the Kimotoro Directive. They moved to the Mito constellation in Caldari space, where pirate activity had long been an issue, hoping to be a stabilizing influence and give its pilots some valuable combat experience.
It did not take long before the local criminal element began to take note, especially after members of some of the other Directive corporations began to argue and chide pirates on GalNet, much to the chagrin of the Reserve's leadership. In August 108, the Gurista-aligned pirates of the Black Rabbits moved into the Jan system and it did not take long before there was an unofficial state of war between the Directive and these pirates, with combat occurring regularly.
At the same time, Star Fraction, a well-known group of anarchists who had fought the Reserve previously, began to move into the Mito area, and a war of words began to escalate both on GalNet and in local communication channels between the anarchists and the pilots of the Directive. The Reserve began to prepare for the coming conflict, which came in early October, as both the Black Rabbits and Star Fraction declared war on the Directive.
What made this conflict different from the others that the Reserve had fought previously was that Star Fraction's goal was not simply to get some easy kills or harass what they saw as soft targets for a few weeks and then leave, but to destroy the Directive and its component corporations, making an example of them – to show the impotence of state-aligned capsuleers in the so-called Empyrean Age. With a large number of advanced starship and module blueprints and a vast supply of cash, the anarchist forces maintain their war for a length and pace that was unlike anything the Reserve had faced before.
CAIN led fleets against the anarchist and pirate forces regularly, pitting standard cruisers and battlecruisers against advanced enemy ships, often inflicting far more damage in terms of monetary losses than they took, but the enemy's deeper coffers made these victories for morale rather than substance. Propaganda, in the form of dueling war reports on GalNet, became another battlefield, one where CAIN quickly learned it needed to maintain discipline and do not engage in pointless attempts to score rhetorical points. Unfortunately, their allies did not seem to share in this lesson, and this began to deepen the divide between rest of the Directive, and the Reserve, which was increasingly seeing itself as a professional military organization.
Week after week, the war continued in a stalemate. Unfortunately, while the military battlefield was evenly matched, the anarchist coalition was much tighter. The pace of operations exacerbated tensions between the Reserve and the other corporations of the Directive, with CAIN's leadership growing increasingly frustrated with the attitude of its allies, and its allies growing frustrated with what they perceived as a new elitism on the part of the Reserve.
When CVA provided the Directive with a large cache of supplies and most of them were claimed by the rest of the Directive, despite the fact that CAIN had been doing most of the alliance's heavy lifting, it was the last straw. CAIN pulled out from the Directive on 17 November 108 and withdrew from the war a week later, negotiating a ceasefire with the anarchists.
Mito changed CAIN forever. To build experience and cash reserves, they moved to Pure Blind the next month, marking the start of a nullsec life for the corporation. The failure of the Directive inspired CAIN to create its own alliance, the Fourth District. And the battles of Mito created the most decorated leaders of the Reserve, including Ladel Teravada, Derrys Otireya, and Svetlana Scarlet. Even for those pilots who have have joined CAIN since, they still hear the stories of Mito, and for those who fought there and have since left, it remains a formative element in their development as pod pilots.