It has long been known in communication studies that perception is influenced not just by the topic of conversation, but also how that subject is framed. How it’s presented. Controlling the narrative itself rarely helps your cause when the way the narrative is perceived by the masses is in a negative light. For the longest time, the Amarr Empire had both the narrative and the framing working for it. I’m not referring to their attempts to proclaim that enslaving an entire race was for their own good; rather, I’m referring to their reputation as simply being unbeatable. No one challenged the Golden Fleet for the vast majority of its history. It simply wasn’t done. As much as most of the Seven Tribes may have hated their enslavement, when caught between the narrative of their enslavement being “good” for them, and the framing that even if it wasn’t, there was nothing they could do about it, it’s little wonder that before the Rebellion, there were few serious attempts to actually free themselves.
Of course, once the Golden Fleet got hammered into dust at Vak’Atioth, things changed rapidly. Suddenly, the Amarr were mortal. Suddenly, the vaunted Golden Fleet, the Fleet that was known to block out the sun to ensure that the Empire’s will was imposed, was able to lose. That kind of sea change, especially for enslaved races like the Minmatar, simply can’t be overstated. Almost overnight, the largest Rebellion against the Empire had begun. The Empire, for all its power and propoganda, had lost the framing battle in that distant system of Vak’Atioth. They didn’t realize it immediately. Large empires used to simply always winning rarely do. However, although on a broad level the Empire may not have realized that it was time to be knocked down to mere mortal size, certain sectors of the populace clearly did. One of them was the Constellation Governor in Ani. He realized surprisingly quickly that the Empire had lost its sheen of infallibility, and set out to rectify that perception. His solution: a massive battlestation in the heart of Ani. Within a surprisingly short time, he had built Lord Bastion, where even the name was designed to give an air of authority and fortification. Granted, it probably helped him that he built the Bastion within the heart of the Nefantar tribe. Undoubtedly, the fact that the soon-to-be Ammatar were so pro-Amarr gave Lord Basad the buffer he needed to get the station built. Unfortunately, even Lord Basad’s plans were too little too late in re-establishing the framing that the Amarr had worked so hard over the centuries to piece together. As Aura notes:
The Amarr governor in the Ani constellation held only nominal powers due to the favored status the Nefantars enjoyed. Yet when the rebellion broke out he became a very important figure in the constellation, rallying the local forces to fight the surging rebels. The governor, Lord Basad, constructed a formidable space fortress orbiting Hjoramald XII, ancestral home of the Nefantars. The fortress soon became known as the Lord Bastion and held out for two months before finally succumbing to the rebels. Many Minmatars want this relic of Amarr domination torn to pieces, but the majority regards the bastion’s ruins as a symbol of the Minmatar spirit and resolve.
In some respects, its impressive that the Station was able to hold out for so long. Since the Nefantar were both pro-Amarr but also one of the Seven Tribes, the rest of the Rebellion didn’t actually assault Ani until late into the war. By then, Minmatar ship and ammunition production capabilities were in full swing, and momentum had definitely shifted in the Rebel’s favor. Once again, perception was that the Rebel victory was inevitable at that point. However, perception and framing are only useful if unchallenged by piddling things like reality. The Empire was fighting tooth and nail to keep the Matari people within the Empire, and they were less likely to be affected by attempts of Matari framing and propaganda.
Today, Lord Bastion is but shadow of its former self. The hulking superstructure is all that remains; the rest of it has been picked clean in the intervening years. Even the bulkheads have been recycled into scrap, leaving only a hauntingly golden ghost that is completely hollow inside. The surrounding space is littered even to this day with debris from the siege. One of the hulking old-fashioned Amarr cruisers can be seen destroyed amidst a number of nearby asteroids, serving as a silent reminder of the price the Amarr paid to attempt to hold on to Ani. As if the ruined station itself didn’t serve in that function. In fact, the only working station in orbit of Hjoramold XII these days was of Minmatar origin. A small museum floated amongst the wreckage, built to remember and commemorate the Minmatar lives lost during the siege of the Bastion. A number of ships, mostly of Minmatar origin as well, could be found here as well. Some of them were even chatty with vessels that were passing through.
Perception is a powerful thing. In the right hands, it can be used to build empires, as the Amarr proved so well. Yet in many respects, perception is fleeting and ephemeral. Empires cannot be built on sheer reputation, framing, and perception alone, though they definitely help. Prior to the battle at Vak’Atioth, the Amarr seemed to have forgotten that. Stretched so thin to provide security amongst the soon-to-be-born Republic, they based their control over the Minmatar almost solely on their narrative and framing of that narrative. Once the Minmatar realized that the Amarr COULD be beaten, and beaten decisively, the entire house of cards came tumbling down in the Republic, leaving only ghostly reminders of the Empire and its perceived power that used to be.
- Attraction: Lord Bastion
- System: Hjoramold
- Security Rating: 0.5
- Region: Metropolis
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4.5 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.