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The Secession War
|The Secession War|
| Galactic Coalition
| The Federation|
The Grand Tide
The Holy See of Visra
|Commanders and Leaders|
| Secretary-General Cormac Reade
(Leader of the Coalition)
Prime Minister Vorn Tor'chul
Fahikh Eris Qadir
Solar Admiral Sylus Cain
(Long-reigning Solar Admiral of the White Belt Fleet)
| Supreme Commander Quentin Corwin |
(Former Supreme Commander of the Federation, 2818 to 2821)
Seraph Alexander III
|113.6 Billion Fielded Persons||84.9 Billion Fielded Persons|
|Casualties and losses|
|4.2 Billion Total Persons||22.6 Billion Total Persons|
The Secession War or simply 'The War' was an interstellar war that lasted from 2809 to 2815. The vast majority of the known galaxy’s powers engaged in conflict, eventually settling into two military alliances, the Interstellar Treaty Organization led by the Galactic Coalition and the Jingashi Concordant helmed by the Federatsiya Feniksa. A state of total war emerged, involving trillions across the sector. The participants threw their entire economic, industrial and scientific capabilities behind the war effort. The Secession War ended as the deadliest conflict in galactic history, marked by billions of deaths. Untold millions died due to genocides (including the infamous Praxis incident), premeditated death from starvation and disease. The Secession War resulted in the development of unmentionable weapons of war, including genetic disruption weaponry and relativistic FTL cannons, the latter of which changed galactic history forever with “The Shattering”.
The Stygian Automata Ascendancy, a race of precursor AI constructs had been harrying Galactic Coalition border worlds for years, the persistent conflict placing exceptional drains on their strategic reserves. To answer the increased demand for W-1, the fuel that keeps the galaxy spinning, the Galactic Coalition placed greater demands on its Colonies, specifically the W-1 rich Voltker Zone. This extra pressure, on top of long standing issues held by the Voltker Colonists with regards Coalition imperial rule resulted in a cascade of escalations that eventually resulted in the restive Voltker Zone declaring independence as the Federatsiya Feniksa or Federation of the Phoenix, colloquially known as the Federation.
The resulting conflict eventually spilled out into four fronts, across hundreds of star systems, thousands of planets and countless minor stellar objects playing host to battles that would cost millions. Year by year the other Imperial powers would be dragged into the war, the Rokhandan Directorate supporting their old allies and the Vesreen Holdings along with the Coalition, while the Holy See and Grand Tide forces now openly supporting the Federatsiya Feniksa. The eventual ramp up in the war through the latter part of the years led to desperate measures being employed. Some such measures included the use of genetic warfare upon the Grand Tide's forces by the Rokhandan Directorate (which to this day, they deny occured to the scale claimed). With the resulting war crimes and atrocities committed in desperation, the eventual Praxis Accord was formed within the neutral Onk Conglomerate space. The resounding peace brought with it an eerie silence in fighting that would sparsely last with promises from the Coalition to end the war within a years' time.
As the war resumed once, eventually the Stygian Automata Ascendancy joined with the Federatsiya Feniksa as both remained pressured by the newly offensive ISTO, Coalition, and allied forces. With devastating losses continuing to amass on each side, the Federatsiya Feniksa (forming into an alliance with the Holy See and Great Tide known as the Jingashi Concordant) now had the help of the SAA. Which led to the finished creation of the long hidden BURNT DOOR project. The FFS Violetovvy “Vi” superweapon is then created, with the sights aimed at ISTO commands in the region and resource operations. The following use of the superweapon resulted in a malfunction that destroyed or altered the many hyperlanes between the various Jump stations, and the sudden destruction of FTL and all those trapped within the hyperlanes. The loss of life and resulting cataclysm became known as “The Shattering.” Which led to a tentative armistice known as the “White Belt Armistice.” A treaty which led to a Cold War status, rather than allowing peace talks to end the war proper. Both sides remain at war, while the galaxy continues to struggle and come to terms with the new, limited reality posed by the devastation following Vi’s malfunction.
- 2209 - Humans Harness W-1, Gaining access to Hyperlane Travel
- 2320 - First Contact with Rokhandan Directorate
- 2350 - GC first conflicts with Stygian Automata Ascendancy
- 2550 - Voltker Zone first surveyed by long range probe
- 2679 - Galactic Coalition and Rokhandan Directorate launch Voltker Expedition.
- 2705 - Voltker Expedition arrives at what will become Voltker Prime. White Belt Initiative launched to connect Galactic Coalition space and the Voltker Zone.
- 2719 - First colony in the White Belt is founded.
- 2768 - Dusklight Colony is founded on Onia
- 2809 - Secession War begins. Voltker Zone Military Administration declares the founding of Federatsiya Feniksa
- 2815 - Secession War ends with Armistice. White Belt is turned over to a corporate conglomerate and becomes known as the White Belt Administration, forming an effective DMZ between the two galactic powers.
- 2820 - Current Year
The Build up To War
Smedly Butler once said: “war is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” The Coalition’s discovery and exploitation of W-1 in 2209 and the ability to efficiently travel faster than light in the Hyperlanes created a perfect confluence of a scarce resource and the potential for hitherto unknown mobility. In hindsight, the ability for commercially efficient faster than light travel was bound to spark massive conflict. At first, FTL travel seemed to only enrich the Galactic Coalition's society. Humanity made the first contact with the Rokhandan Directorate in 2320, and an alliance was formed.
The Stygian Skirmishes
As the Coalition and Directorate trickled out into space on the Hyperlanes, the expansion ran into the border of the Stygian Automata Ascendancy, a ravenous, and ancient singularity of anti-organic AI constructs. While both factions suffered casualties as the result of border skirmishes along with this disputed territory, SAA attacks targeting the GC's stockpiles of W-1 put the Coalition's catalyst supplies at a critical level. To resolve this shortage, the GC Senate commissioned the Outer Rim Company to develop and exploit worlds with W-1.
The Push for the Voltker Zone and The White Belt Initiative
The ORC’s push for resources brought them to the Voltker Zone: a region of uncolonized space on the outer rim named for Hieronymus Zebulon Voltker, the scientist who first surveyed the VZ by a probe in 2550. Early scans of the Voltker Zone promised the potential for a vast quantity of untapped W-1. By 2679 a joint effort funded by the Coalition and the Rokhandan Navy Exploratory Fleet kickstarted the Voltker Expedition: Humanity and the Rokhandan peoples’ first excursion out into the Zone. Upon arrival they found the scans to be spot-on: a veritable buffet of W-1 throughout the planets in the zone. The Directorate struck a deal with the Coalition to grant the GC any and all colonization rights in exchange for a guaranteed supply of the highly sought-after catalyst. To this end, the GC launched the White Belt initiative: an alliance between corporate interests, NGOs, and various governmental entities in 2705 upon arrival at what would soon become Voltker Prime. In 2719 the White Belt gained its first colony, on a rocky, rain-battered, but livable rim world that became known as Terminus, a name symbolizing the hub of travel inside the system that it was to become. Strained for supplies, but possessed by a drive for exploration and expansion, the White Belt trickled out into the system, terraforming worlds with seed bombing. Outposts and colonies were formed, some to support the traveling fleet with refuel and refitting stations, others science and military outposts, and still others recreational areas for prospectors and explorers to blow off steam. 47 years after the founding of Terminus, prospectors settled on Onia, which became the site of a backwater, podunk mining and logging settlement called Dusklight Colony in 2768. As the 2700s ticked on, the Voltker Zone and the White Belt initiative gained a modicum of governmental autonomy under the auspices of the military governorship. Milgov existed outside the umbrella of the GC Senate and handled the remote administration of the colonies in the VZ.
The Secession War
Unrest in the Voltker Zone and the formation of Federatsiya Feniksa
In the late 2700’s and the beginning of the 2800s The Stygian Automata Ascendancy began hitting colonies on the periphery of Coalition space. These targeted raids put pressure on the Coalition forces and stepped up the need for supplies from the Voltker Zone, especially when the Directorate began suppression operations on the border, a role that they had traditionally left to the Coalition. The boot on the neck of the Voltker Zone and the demands for more and more W-1 to drive military operations led to system-wide unrest. Demonstrations and even open revolt began to occur in the White Belt, with the tacit support of the Milgov.
The first Voltker Zone planet to declare open rebellion against the GC in protest was Gustaffson’s World: the planetary farming and mining collective had been pressed too hard by the Coalition’s demands and was scrambling to feed its own people mere scraps of their hard labor. In open defiance of the Coalition, they declared autonomy in the year 2809, shocking the GC and prompting demands for Milgov to quell the unrest. The Milgov instead backed up Gustaffson’s World’s claim of protest, refusing to become involved in suppressing the insurrection. Furious, the GC senate deployed Coalition forces against its own citizens. A naval task force was assembled, beginning the journey towards the Voltker zone through the jump gates. TF (Task Force) Demeter was what the Coalition called a “Combined-Arms Peacekeeping Fleet”: a convoy of dropship carriers, smaller corvettes, and assault frigates, Demeter had everything the Coalition needed to establish an infantry foothold on the colony in revolt, then perform counterinsurgency tasks to quell the rebellion, while their patrol ships locked down the skies and prevented resupply or escape. It looked very much like the revolution on Gustaffson’s World was over as soon as it started. Three days before the ships were due to drop into normal space, a small strike team affiliated with Gustaffson’s World insurgency infiltrated Jump Station Sanjuro, Demeter’s receiving station. When the station was under their control, they contacted the local Galactic Coalition consulate with a series of demands: to recall Task Force Demeter upon their arrival at Sanjuro, restructure the trade relationship with the VZ, allowing for more fair trade between systems, and allow Gustaffson’s World agency as an independent colony, outside the auspices of the Galactic Coalition. The Consulate played at negotiating for a day, giving cover for the deployment of a counter-terrorism unit. The counter-assault was a disaster: After a brief but vicious firefight, the insurgents were pushed into the Sanjuro’s engineering bay, realizing the negotiations were merely a distraction, and facing the impending arrival of Demeter, they decided to overload the station power-plant, destroying the station, the counter-assaulting forces, and everything else in the immediate vicinity. With a brazen, last ditch suicide attack, Task Force Demeter had no offramp, and the entire fleet was doomed to drift in the Hyperlane, with no possibility for an exit.
As the Coalition swept up the pieces of Sanjuro, GC Interstellar Intelligence Agency investigators picked through the corpses and wreckage. Dots started to be connected towards milgov support of the terrorist action on the jump station. After a meeting of the GC Senate, the milgov was disavowed, GC Forces prepared to take the Voltker Zone under control as state territory of the Coalition. When news of the impending invasion reached the milgov chiefs of staff, they agreed to authorize the creation of the Federation of the Phoenix, Федератсия Феникса (Federatsiya Feniksa) in the local dialect of the colonists of the milgov’s home cluster. The Federation adopted former milgov head, Governor Raymond Boyd as Supreme Commander.
The Secession War, Year One
As the year 2809 began to close, the Federation would soon get its first real test in combat. Sympathies for the inhabitants of the zone led to a not insignificant number of former GC naval crews to defect from the Coalition, these defectors made up the bulk of the fledgling Federation navy, as construction of their own warships was still underway from newly seized shipyards. These ships, and their veteran crews, were tasked with both repelling the impending assault from the Coalition, as well as quelling any loyalist resistance from within the VZ. The White Belt became the site of the first conflict between fleets. The brand new Federation Navy put up a much more effective counteroffensive than the Coalition was prepared for: as the Coalition assault fleets dropped out of their jump gates dotted around the system they jumped into a meat grinder of naval force, bringing the attempt at establishing a system-head to a grinding, bloody halt. As news reached Coalition space, the government downplayed the embarrassing losses, assuring the public that the Voltker Zone was still very much under their control.
Their initial assault was dead in the water and the Galactic Coalition faced the reality that the retaking of the Voltker Zone was going to be more than a mere “policing action.” Activating elements of the remaining loyalist fleets in Voltker space, a combined group of GC Interstellar Special Operations Command (ISOC), Marine interstellar expeditionary units (IEU), and the GC Naval Intelligence apparatus (NIA) performed a daring raid to lock down the jumpgate around Cellion Prime, a resort world that had strong GC loyalty, allowing the GC to penetrate their fleets deep within the White Belt, shifting the fronts of the conflict. This route, formerly known as Stellar Supply Route 69 became known as Hell’s Spaceway and provided the Coalition with a narrow corridor to project their numerically superior naval power. The intrusion of naval forces into the White Belt infuriated its inhabitants, leading to many smaller uprisings throughout the territory. Finally unable to contain the situation from the public for any longer, the Secretary-General of the Galactic Coalition, Hamzah Reade admitted to the press that the GC were at war with the newly created Federation, announcing that her cabinet had declared a state of emergency, and would institute a coalition-wide draft. Widespread draft protests rocked GC space, the wildly unpopular conscriptions deemed unnecessary by the general public. Demonstrations and outright refusals to report for duty ran rampant through Coalition territory.
Back in the Voltker Zone, the Federation enjoyed an abundance of W-1 and the full, untaxed resources of the worlds under its umbrella. Cutting edge, often unethical, scientific research in the various far-flung worlds of the Zone fueled a military swollen with the disaffected Coalition citizens stranded in Federation space and backed by a significant number of Collation Navy defectors. The White Belt served as a front line between Federation and Coalition forces. Surprise attacks and direct action raids by Federation Marines and affiliated mercenary groups prevented Coalition supplies from reaching the front. Chief among the direct action performed by Federation forces were the widely condemned attacks and destruction of three FTL terminals: JS Donnager, JS Miranda, and JS Chomsky. The destruction of these vital ingress points wreaked havoc on approaching Coalition fleets. The destruction of Jump Stations was considered a war crime by intergalactic convention: the equivalent to the use of a weapon of mass destruction on 21st century Earth, and as such the GC demanded revenge. The |Coalition's revenge was delivered with the help of the Rokhandan intelligence apparatus. Genetic corruption devices, a frightening aberration of Rokhandan science, were delivered covertly to several shipyards throughout Federation Space. Upon detonation, they produced corruptive fields in a localized area in space around their targets, lasting for as long as the power cells on the devices could manage. Entire regions of space were instantly made impassable without heavy shielding for the next thirty to fifty years. When the plot was exposed by defecting Coalition naval crews, the Federation sends a message of protest via The Holy See of Visra and The Grand Tide who both threaten to come out on the side of the Federation in the conflict. Concurrently the Onk Conglomerate declared themselves neutral in order to maintain the impartiality of the intergalactic bank, the Federation is invited to establish an embassy in OC space, riling concern from the Rokhandan Directorate and the Coalition, who both increase the security presence at their respective embassies.
The Federation wasted no time in putting their new alliances to use against the Coalition. Using their allies' adjacent space, the Federation launches a surprise raid into the core worlds of the GC, with forces punching as deep as the Bastion, the command and control station for the entire Coalition. Additionally, the raids across GC territory allows prisoners on their way to the Panopticon, a high-security prison station, to be rescued. The raids are a stunning success for the Federation. The Holy See and The Grand Tide deny knowledge of the raid but do not make any attempt to rectify the situation. Near the end of the first year of the secession war, the SAA raids increased. These unrelenting attacks usher pleas and demands for support from the opposite front, requiring the Coalition to divide most of their Navy between fighting the Federation and the Stygian forces. The Holy See and Grand Tide refuse to deny the Federation access to their territory. Realizing the need for further allies in the conflict, the Coalition attempts a diplomatic process with the Coathal of the Vesreen Holdings.
The Secession War, Year Two
As the conflict enters its second year, The Coalition and Federation continue to commit naval force into the White Belt. The decline of Stygian incursions into the Coalition border worlds would allow the Coalition to begin redeploying forces from the Stygian fronts to Holy See and Grand Tide space. Without warning the Rokhandan Navy commits a task force to Holy See space, aiming to secure their freedom of maneuver along with the Jump Stations. Holy See forces attempt to interdict but are destroyed. This first military action opens up the second front of the Secession War, as the Rokhandan Directorate sides with the Galactic Coalition openly, whilst the Holy See and The Grand Tide declare open support for the Federation.
Planetary sieges throughout the White Belt grind on as Galactic Coalition and Federation forces battle against each other with no real advantage. The arrival of advanced Rokhandan mechanized forces tips the balance in favor of the Coalition. On the second front, a combined Grand Tide and Holy See fleet counterattacks the seized jump stations forcing the Rokhandans back to their territorial space. The Coalition government, galvanized by the surprise attack on the Bastion and their home space, and remiss to sustain another attack conducted from Grand Tide or Holy See space, instate another military draft, as the homeworld fleet is specifically ordered by Secretary-General Reade to patrol key chokepoints inside Grand Tide space, invoking her emergency powers provided by the Galactic Coalition charter. During the middle of the second year of conflict, The Federation embassy in Onk Conglomerate space became the site of an embarrassing defection of fourteen high ranking military officials from the Coalition, briefly, the war was fought with words as Coalition diplomats attempted to rectify the situation in Onk space but to no avail, sympathy to the Federation cause is the source of a major “brain drain” within the Coalition.
Meanwhile, in Zeta Leporis, the Federation begins work on a superweapon program, codenamed Project BURNT DOOR as part of their contingency plan should the Coalition make it through the White Belt buffer zone. As the year closes out, draft protests begin to die down, the attack on the GC core worlds catalyzing a strong patriotic fervor in Coalition space. Wartime production finally steps up to an efficient level as the Coalition economy restructures itself to feed the war machine. Arms production steps up to three to three and a half times prewar production. As the year closes out, a deep raid by Federation, Grand Tide, and Holy See forces punches deep into the Rokhandan Directorate and Coalition lines. Facing a near routing all the way across the buffer zone between the warring parties, the GC and RD are backed up by the surprise involvement of Vesreen Holdings forces, who arrive to assist after months of diplomacy and intelligence campaigning on the part of the Coalition.
The Secession War, Year Three
As the war entered its third year, conflict in the white belt and the stagnation of the SAA front had bogged down Coalition and allied forces. Coalition command is briefed that strategic W-1 reserves will only last the year if current operational tempo and wartime construction rates continue. Localized W-1 mining has been spun back up but the output is slow. Too slow to meet the needs of a hungry war machine.
Nearly every culture within colonized space was now part of the conflict, a handful of minor powers declare neutrality, and attempt to back up their neutral stance by shutting down the jump stations in their space, this action, combined with the difficulty of logistics during wartime brings the interstellar economy to a halt. A “winter offensive” by the Coalition and allied forces strikes away the gains achieved by the Federation attack of the previous year. Legitimate resupply becomes a practical impossibility for the White Belt worlds, relying instead on their own resources and goods smuggled through the battlefield. Back in Coalition space, civil unrest raises its head once again, as forces nominally assigned to peacekeeping and law enforcement duties get tasked to combat. The Homeworld fleet, activated by Coalition executive order the previous year, finally finishes trickling into the border front, pushing Grand Tide forces back towards their homeworlds. The Federation threatens more attacks on jump stations in retaliation, the Rokhandan Directorate responds by threatening to deploy more genetic corruption devices. Unconventional warfare and intelligence services fighting throughout the border results in an abundance of war crimes culminating in the Praxis Incident: a massive biological attack perpetrated by Rokhandan intelligence on HSV and Grand Tide citizens.
After the Praxis incident, the Onk Conglomerate used its position as a powerful neutral party to bring both the Galactic Coalition and the Federation to the bargaining table. After a tense meeting of Federation and Coalition diplomats within unaffiliated space, moderated by the Conglomerate, the Praxis Accords is struck. This provisional, wartime treaty reinforces the ban on actions against Jump stations, and other FTL infrastructure, and also bans the further use of genetic corruption weaponry. This almost extraordinary example of wartime diplomacy brings military action (even the below boards unconventional warfare of the Shadow War) to a screeching halt. The parties of this war use this lull in all-out combat to replenish their battered fleets and forces. Following the Praxis Accords, the Coalition, Rokhandan Directorate and Vesreen Holdings formalize their alliance as the Interstellar Treaty Organization or ISTO. This alliance unifies the command and control and military-intelligence apparatus of the various governments at the Bastion in GC core space. As the third year of conflict draws to a close, Secretary-General Reade publicly commits to ending the war by the end of next year at the same time, using her emergency powers to end the upcoming Coalition Senate elections.
The Secession War, Year Four
With Secretary Reade’s on-record promise to end the war, ISTO needed an early victory to maintain public support. The new alliance’s intelligence apparatus set their sights on The Grand Tide as a potential source of that victory. The Poliesu of the Grand Tide had a deep strategic reserve of W-1, and with the Coalition’s shortage looming on the horizon that stockpile became a primary target. As part of ISTO’s founding charter, the member worlds agreed to sell W-1 favorably to each other. Federation intelligence analysts puzzled over the halting of offensive operations in the White Belt, a strategy intended to conserve W-1. Meanwhile, the endless demand for extra bodies in military units predicted the vast expansion in the creation of Vatborn to not only reinforce units facing high casualty and desertion rates but also to fill the holes left in planetary societies when workers in various vital professions were conscripted.
A joint ISTO naval task force, the largest ever assembled, ships out from The Bastion, this fleet joins the Coalition homeworld fleets currently occupying the outer territory of the Grand Tide. Diplomatic negotiations begin in an attempt to secure the surrender of the Poliesu, eliciting a strongly worded refusal from the Poliesu people, still infuriated by the atrocity the Praxis Incident inflicted on their people. The initial naval assault by the ISTO fleet blows open Grand Tide defenses, overrunning initial outposts in a matter of days, claiming nearby worlds in the weeks that follow in shock and awe assaults. The initial Poliesu resistance isn’t sufficient to repel the assault. However, in the coming days after the initial push, ISTO joint command overplayed its hand, by extending their forces beyond their coverage, ISTO suffered massive attrition to their rear echelon delivered by counter-attacking Federation and Holy See fleets. Upon the occupied worlds, entire divisions of Vatborn and cybernetic infantry are raised and deployed to maintain garrisons on the backline, and, up at the front of the assault, to fill in gaps made by the heavily spread fleet. Starved for further numbers to fill their fleets, The Rokhandan Directorate, for the first time in its history institutes a draft. Owing to the unusuality of the situation, implementation of the draft is uncharacteristically inefficient for the Directorate, numbers and names disappear frequently.
Through grinding sieges and desperate rear guard actions, the ISTO force eventually makes it to the Poliesu home system. A final offer of surrender is made in person to the Grand Tide. The emissary's vessel is fired upon as it makes planetfall and is destroyed. The ISTO fleet responds by launching antimatter warheads at orbital stations. Debris decimates local population centers. The subsequent invasion drags on for months before Ayun-Ji is subjugated. Poliseu is finally broken after a cruiser holding in low orbit is shot down and crashes into the capital before its reactor overloads, erasing a city of millions. The Emperor surrenders, pointedly avoiding the closer Rokhandan fleet in favor of meeting with the Coalition. After this meeting, The Grand Tide officially surrenders, becoming a “protectorate” of the Coalition. Their W-1 strategic reserve was confiscated and redistributed to ISTO member worlds.
Back across the White Belt, the Federation, learning of the loss of their allies, accelerates work on Project BURNT DOOR but runs into myriad issues in developing weapon fire control systems. Federation command receives an unheard of offer of help from the Stygian Automata Ascendency, backed into a corner by Coalition forces, the Federation accepts the offer of assistance. With The Grand Tide finally, off the table, ISTO turns its forces fully towards the Holy See and Federation, the space on their flanks now completely exposed. As the fourth year comes to a close, Secretary-General Reade looks set to complete her promise as the Federation prepares to defend the new front. A surprise Christmas offensive by the SAA stimies this promise. What were relatively quiet fronts suddenly erupt in battle, SAA forces easily routing the skeleton crewed defensive fleets. At the end of the fourth year, the SAA captured two additional outer colonies.
The Secession War, Year Five
The unexpected attack from the SAA catches the Coalition and by extension the rest of the ISTO off guard. The death toll is astronomical, in the millions, as a tidal wave of SAA combatants crashes against drained rearguard units cycled out from the front and posted on what had been a relatively quiet duty station. The Coalition hastily called an emergency session reinstating an emergency draft for the third year, allocating a large amount of funding to the development and production of further Vatborn to fill their dwindling numbers, and recalling ISTO forces from Grand TideSpace. Now facing a three-front war, the Coalition government ruminates on ceeding the Voltker Zone to the Federation.
As the Coalition picks up the pieces of their failed defense, the Federation announces their support of the SAA advances through the Onk Conglomerate embassy. The Federation makes clear their intent to seize Earth and Fen, liberate all ‘suppressed’ AI and repeal the Ji-1 accords. This announcement locks the door to a negotiated peace.
Battered Coalition logistic lines are shored up by private industry, whilst Vesreen Holdings commit their reserve fleets to the automata front. The battles to halt the AI advance are bloody but eventually successful, with the advent of various forms of anti- AI weapons designed by the Rokhandan Directorate. Using the disarray to their advantage, the Federation attempts a counter-attack along the white belt, pushing back on areas of contested space, but significant losses of leadership prevent the attack from being more successful.
The front was beginning to stagnate as the constant use of FTL in and out of the White Belt was taxing already pressed-to-capacity Jump Stations. Additionally, W-1 supplies were being burnt through at an unprecedented rate. ISTO’s high command under Stellar-Marshal Simmonds proposes a breakout of the White Belt Front, with a spearhead force deep towards Federation core worlds.
While conflict burns on back in the White Belt, A Rokhandan exploratory fleet detects potential W-1 reserves while searching for the SAA jump points. A recon group is dispatched under tight secrecy, confirming the presence of the potential reserve in heavily guarded SAA space. ISTO establishes a staging point at Igla Harbor in the Ayomide System, towing the frame of a Bastion-Class station into the gravity well and beginning construction on a new base of operations. Combat operations in the White Belt continue, as well as direct action raids on the ISTO military command bunkers perpetrated by Holy See and Federation special forces.
Shadowy SAA advisors assist in the completion of the Project BURNT DOOR, culminating in the construction of the FFS Fioletovyy (Violet) affectionately called “Vi” by her crew. The advisors urge for a testfire but the Federation refuses, fearing the potential for retaliation in response to the escalation. This escalation comes anyway with the accidental destruction of a hospital ship convoy during an assassination attempt on Deputy Secretary-General Alisher Aziz, who was visiting wounded civilians, the outrage from Coalition interests silences any voice pushing for a status quo peace.
The White Belt offensive launches with the SAA practically knocking on the door of the bastion. Some commands aren’t ready to participate in the offensive on short notice, but the majority of ships make their rendezvous points and pressure Federation forces back from the White Belt.
The Secession War, Year Six
At the start of the sixth year of conflict, a bold SAA assault is pushed back from their encroachment on the Bastion. Political pressure mounts within ISTO member states to end the conflict. The Federation and Holy See feel similar pressures to end hostilities, but sitting on the losing side pushes the opinion of the command staff to continue holding out for the SAA to deliver the knockout blow. The ISTO spearhead into Federation territory takes heavy losses but remains combat effective, establishing a corridor within which follow-up forces can flow through.
While the Rokhandan launch a stealth fleet to take the Stygian W-1 mines, ISTO special operations perform a direct action raid on the Visaran holy temple in an attempt to kill both the High Seraph and Supreme Commander Boyd in one fell swoop during a planned statement. The attack burns the temple to the ground, and while the High Seraph escapes, Raymond Boyd is killed along with his security detail. The power vacuum within the leadership of the Federation following the death of Supreme Commander Boyd is quickly filled by radical elements. With the impending ISTO Spearhead assault knocking on their door, and the reports coming in of a second Bastion station being raised, the Federation brass, under orders of Supreme Commander Quentin Corwin declares the FFS Fioletovyy cleared hot, with a target set to the construction ongoing in the Ayomide System.
After twelve hours of deliberation, the order was given to fire. The Vi’s fire control system, a long-term issue plaguing her main weapon, malfunctions, and the superweapon misfires, changing the course of interstellar history.
On Earth date August 17, 2815 FFS Fioletovyy misfires. Instantly across operation centers on both sides, ships in FTL start going dark. Convoys, and fleets are torn out of FTL, shredding on reentry to normal space, no nation comes out unscathed. FTL travel is entirely suspended, while troops in various conflict zones continue to fight, central command is at a loss as to how to deal with this incomparable mass casualty incident. Initial tests by Jump stations find irreparable damage to the hyperlanes, some routes gone forever, others changing route geometry, and a precious few still traversable normally. These safe routes, of which each side has a handful, become heavily guarded interstellar commerce routes almost overnight.
Travel begins to trickle back through the system, although no party in the war has the numbers or logistical support to maintain offensive operations. Although fighting against the SAA continues with the Rokhandan stealth fleet, which secures their objective: the SAA W-1 surplus. As the war rages on against the AI, the Onk Conglomerate calls for peace talks, monopolizing on the sector-wide shock that had taken hold. ISTO agrees, the Federation still trying to understand what had been perpetrated by their superweapon reluctantly agrees after signing the Jingashi Concordant (JC) with the Holy See and Grand Tide government in exile allowing them to negotiate on their behalf. Meeting onboard an Onk cruiser above the devastated former capital of the White Belt, Terminus, the White Belt Armistice negotiations commence. A ceasefire is agreed to with all parties to allow ISTO to deploy forces against SAA attacks.
The future to come?
The White Belt Armistice
Negotiations, for lack of a better term, go nowhere slowly. Major sticking points in the armistice agreements Include the occupation of the Grand Tide, reconstruction of battered and damaged White Belt worlds, and the ownership of W-1 mineral resources rights. The Rokhandan Directorate establishes technologically-advanced W-1 mines in former SAA space, the production replacing the nearly depleted pre-war stockpiles. The GC's Interstellar Intelligence Agency uncovers the Federation's role in the Shattering. ISTO diplomats drop the demands for W-1 supplies, while the Federation surrenders The Grand Tide’s status as protectorate, this triggers massive protests on their worlds, which are violently put down by Galactic Coalition's Vatborn legions. The White Belt Corporate Syndicalists offer a third option with regards to the administration of the White Belt, the area of space will be administered by the Syndicate, maintaining its DMZ status between the two interstellar superpowers, with funding from both ISTO and Federation governments, allowing both nations to retreat to their core worlds and lick their wounds. No peace treaties hit the table, and both powers are still technically at war.
A Cold War
The ISTO occupation of The Grand Tide is plagued by insurgency, resulting in heavy attrition of occupational forces. Trade begins opening up as pathfinders begin remapping damaged FTL hyperlanes. The Onk Conglomerate recovers the fastest, owing to their neutrality and primary conduit of trade between the warring nations. ISTO holds its own versus the SAA. The peace holds for now, even as shadowy proxy wars erupt between ISTO Forward Intelligence Command and the Jingashi Concordant Revolutionary Guard.
The current year is 2820. In all likelihood, your own life was touched by war. Perhaps it scarred you, perhaps it is the only place you felt whole. Maybe you were bred for it in a tank, or to support it by turning a wrench or pushing a mop. Maybe you didn’t take a side, playing loyalties against one another or trading them whenever it felt convenient. Whatever the machinations of the interstellar superpowers might be, your story begins here: on Onia, in Dusklight Colony.