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ORS TECH ENTRY #35b - The Secession War (Part 2)

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Brought to you by popular demand, the next entry in the Exile: Into the Dark Waters Historical Database: The Secession War (Part 2)!

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Welcome to the Siraxta City Library, citizen.
Category: History, Selected Article: #35b
Thank you for using this terminal. Have a good day. Ad astra per aspera.
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The Secession War (cont'd)
    Operation Punisher (1)
At the beginning of September 2339, the Secession War was still far from concluded. GTA and ORS forces had fought to a stalemate. The Syndicate fortified its positions on Europa, Io, Ganymede and Rhea while the GTA's control remained secure on Titan, Iapetus and most of the moons of Uranus and Neptune. Fleetmaster Tessandras and Admiral Rossendarch continued to keep each other in check in the Asteroid Belt and neither could gain an advantage over the other.

On September 4, Admiral Donathan Walker, an up-and-coming GTA officer, took command of the GTD Proteus and the entire 1st Gaian Fleet. He appeared before the GTA Security Council and presented a bold and audacious plan: Operation Punisher. Walker proposed to break the deadlock by dispatching the majority of Earth’s defensive forces to aggressively hunt down the Lazarus, penetrate its perimeter over Europa, and commence bombardment of the Galilean moons. Unlike previous bombardments of the Secession War, Walker did not intend to make precise strikes against factories, shipyards and military bases. Instead, he planned to decimate the population of Europa, Io, Calypso and Ganymede with massive thermonuclear explosions and thereby discourage other colonies from continuing the war. Other GTA admirals opposed this plan not only for moral and humanitarian reasons, but also because it would leave Earth vulnerable to an ORS counterattack. In particular, Admiral Hector Caliphtys of the GTD Ironclad very loudly insisted on continuing the war of attrition and crippling ORS infrastructure rather than leave Earth unprotected. Walker, however, remained committed to his strategy. To ensure that Caliphtys could not interfere with its execution, Walker reassigned the defiant admiral to a flotilla stationed in Earth orbit as a reserve. With Caliphtys sidelined, there was not enough opposition to keep the GTA Security Council from approving Operation Punisher.

On September 20, final preparations to launch Operation Punisher were underway. The 1st Gaian Fleet had been ordered to strike simultaneously at Europa, Io, Calypso and Ganymede. Luckily, ORS Intelligence found out about the offensive only a few hours before it was scheduled to begin, allowing the ORS to withdraw ships defending Rhea and several other colonies and redeploy them around Jupiter. The Lazarus maintained its patrol over Europa, while the Calixta, the Enyalius and the Leander defended Io, Calypso, and Ganymede, respectively. When Fleetmaster Tessandras, still fighting Rossendarch in the Asteroid Belt, learned of the upcoming attack, he had the Apam Nepatis launch its fighters and bombers against incoming GTA forces while he ordered the destroyer itself to redeploy to whichever moon first needed reinforcement. As the ORS fleet rallied to stand against the GTA invasion, civilian liners, supply ships, miners and transports from all over the Outer Rim began rushing to Jupiter to evacuate the moons' civilian population. The threat of genocide, this time at the hands of their Terran brethren instead of by the Shivans, rallied the Outer Rim's citizens to a common cause.

As both sides gathered their forces, the fate of the Outer Rim hung in the balance.

    Operation Punisher (2)
The GTA invasion force, consisting of almost the entire 1st Gaian Fleet and elements of the 2nd Martian Fleet, arrived at the four Galilean moons simultaneously at 07:43 hours on September 21. The GTD Proteus, the GTD Dauntless and a large flotilla of GTA warships engaged the ORD Lazarus-led defense force in close combat while GTA bombers, hoping to divert some ORS forces from the main fleet, attacked civilian convoys fleeing from Europa. The same strategy was used at Io, Calypso, and Ganymede as well. After a fierce engagement, both sides suffered 70% casualties. The GTD Dauntless was so badly damaged that it was forced to withdraw while the Proteus and the Lazarus gave each other a wide berth to continue fighting at long range.

Io became the first of the Galilean moons to fall to the GTA. Having destroyed the ORD Leander and its entire fleet at 08:50 hours, the GTD Salvation began firing upon the surface of the moon with thermonuclear bombs. Fleetmaster Tessandras dispatched the Apam Nepatis in a desperate push to prevent further bombardment. Despite heavy losses, bombers from the Apam Nepatis' 199th Eviscerators squadron destroyed the Salvation's missile launchers. The Apam Nepatis then managed to destroy the majority of the Salvation's escort ships. However, the Apam Nepatis was soon caught in a cross-fire when GTA reinforcements led by the GTD Holmgard arrived. The Apam Nepatis' jump drive was damaged and Tessandras, unable to retreat, put the Apam Nepatis on a collision course with the Salvation and ordered his crew to abandon ship. As Tessandras and his surviving crewmembers dashed to safety in their escape pods, the Apam Nepatis collided with the Salvation, resulting in the destruction of both ships as well as the death of the Salvation’s commanding officer, Admiral Ivanov, the Butcher of Adamant Shipyard. Tessandras and his crew were quickly rescued by the rest of the ORS fleet. With his flagship destroyed and unable to hold the line at Europa any longer, Tessandras withdrew the remainder of his fleet to reinforce the crumbling defenses at Ganymede.

    Operation Punisher (3)
The assault on Ganymede was led by the GTD Adrasteia. The ORD Calixta had been critically damaged while defending Ganymede alongside the remainder of its fleet when Tessandras' ships arrived. The remaining Eviscerators, along with fighter escorts from other squadrons, were sent to destroy the thermonuclear missile launchers on board the GTD Adrasteia. However, the Adrasteia’s fighter screen was stronger than expected and the Eviscerators lost more than half of their squad members as well as all their escort fighters. The surviving Eviscerators were ordered to retreat but refused to withdraw and they continued pushing forward while surrounded by GTA fighters. The last three bombers, designated Falchion 2, Falchion 4 and Illusion 3, managed to reach the Adrasteia’s missile launchers and destroyed them seconds before they were finally overwhelmed by the Adrasteia's fighter screen.

(The 199th Eviscerators' ultimate sacrifice would be honored many years later when their squadron name was given to the BOD elite gunship squadron stationed on the ORD Vermillion.)

At 09:20 hours, after a hard-fought engagement at Calypso, the GTD Excelsior destroyed the ORD Enyalius and began bombarding the moon. The ORS' last reinforcements, led by the frigates ORFg Alexander and ORFg Antaeus, were deployed to destroy the heavily damaged Excelsior, but were stopped when the GTD Holmgard arrived from Europa. (No one is sure why Admiral Rossendarch chose to reinforce the EFN forces at Calypso rather than bombard a now-defenseless Europa, but some have theorized that he thought reinforcing the Excelsior was the greater priority since he could return to Europa at his leisure afterwards.) As a result, the Excelsior was able to bombard Calypso without interference. The moon's largest cities were completely destroyed, resulting in at least 128 million dead or missing, the greatest genocide committed by humans since the Unification Wars.

    Operation Punisher (4)
At 09:40 hours, the Lazarus and the Proteus closed to within striking distance of each other over Europa once again. With both destroyers heavily damaged and their escort flotillas decimated, Admiral Walker called the GTD Ironclad and its fleet for help. After standing on the bridge of the Ironclad for hours hearing numerous reports of atrocious civilian casualties from the GTA bombardments of Io, Ganymede, and Calypso throughout the battle as well as the GTA attacks on civilian convoys at Europa, Admiral Caliphtys came to a sudden decision and ordered his fleet to leave its assigned position near Earth and jump to high Earth orbit.

At 09:45 hours, the Ironclad and its fleet arrived in high Earth orbit at GTI Zion, the installation which housed GTA Headquarters and was presently hosting the members of the GTA Security Council who were monitoring the progress of Operation Punisher. The Ironclad destroyed Zion Installation with the entire GTA High Command and the whole Security Council on board.

At 09:55 hours, the Ironclad then arrived near Europa and outflanked the GTA invasion force. The Proteus lost all its remaining escort ships and was forced to retreat back to Earth orbit. At the same time, the Ironclad's fleet split into three units that separately arrived at the orbits of Calypso, Io, and Ganymede and engaged the heavily damaged GTA flotillas. Working together with the remaining ORS forces, Caliphtys and his forces destroyed the GTD Adrasteia and the GTD Excelsior and forced the GTD Holmgard to withdraw to Mars.

Operation Punisher had finally come to an end.

With Zion Installation destroyed, Earth collapsed into political chaos. GTA Fleet Command had been totally shattered. Several commanders of GTA forces tried to act independently and continue the invasion of the Outer Rim, but without coordination they were easily driven off by ORS forces. More and more colonies of the Outer Rim rebelled against GTA authority and joined the Syndicate. Admirals Walker and Rossendarch returned to their home planets and began regrouping what was left of the GTA fleet. Mars itself wasn't saved from political turmoil, as many poorer provinces like Hesperia, Nepenthe and Syrtis used this opportunity to secede from the GTA. Despite Martian local governments sympathizing with Outer Rim ideology, the Syndicate did not possess the means to reinforce Mars with ground troops to defend autonomous provinces from GTA counter-offensives. For this reason, the Martian secessionists did not join the ORS; instead, they proclaimed their neutrality from both the GTA and ORS until the differences between the two powers were resolved. Thanks to Rossendarch's political efforts, Mars' most resourceful regions remained loyal to the old order and even became the most active political players within the GTA, preventing it from total collapse.

Although victorious, the newly independent ORS was devastated and exhausted. Thermonuclear bombardment decimated the population of Calypso and inflicted heavy damage to cities on Io. Less than 30 percent of ships created by or defected to the ORS survived the final stage of the war. The only destroyers left in the ORS fleet were the heavily damaged Lazarus and Calixta as well as the newly-joined Ironclad. Admiral Caliphtys sent his forces to secure the Outer Rim, look for survivors in bombed colonies and fight any GTA holdouts still remaining in the Outer Rim. Many ship captains from Earth and Mars, suffering from lack of supplies and without orders from Command, surrendered or defected to the Syndicate. On September 24, Admiral Caliphtys met with High Fleetmaster Glenzmann, Fleetmaster Tessandras and several Syndicate Magistrates to merge his forces with the ORS military and officially accept the rank of fleetmaster. Although his attack on Zion Installation over Earth generated a lot of controversy, many in the ORS agreed that his actions prevented further bombardment of the Galilean moons, saving millions of Outer Rim citizens and the Syndicate as a whole.

On October 18, a summit was called at Covenant Installation, located in neutral territory at the edge of the Asteroid Belt. Among the participants were Admiral Walker of Earth, Admiral Rossendarch and Prime Minister Bryant representing Mars, with High Fleetmaster Glenzmann and High Magistrate Helena Smithson representing the Outer Rim. As both sides were unable to continue the war, they agreed to a ceasefire and set a demarcation line along the Asteroid Belt. The Covenant Treaty signed between the Galactic Terran Alliance and the Outer Rim Syndicate was in fact the first recognition of ORS independence from Earth’s government. It would be 12 years before the GTA's successor state, the Earth Federated Nations (EFN), would attempt to restore Earth's control over the Outer Rim again.

The Secession War was over.

To be continued in...The First Interbellum.

Just caught up after reading the other two posts. Awesome work! I look forward to seeing the rest updated. :)

I remember spending almost two hours reading the lore and other tech descriptions for Exile before starting up the campaign when I first played it. Seeing a great story getting some well-deserved polish (heh) is definitely a treat. :yes:

Upcoming update of ItDW will come with fully rewritten techroom and ingame chatters. Su-Tehp decided to pick monumental task, but so far I see he's very stubborn to accomplish the task... With great results :yes:

Cool, looking forward to the final update :)

And right now, we've only just finished one war out of three waged between the GTA/EFN against the ORS. There's more carnage and mayhem ahead. Just wait until we get to the Martian War... :eek2: :nervous: :eek:

But yeah, all the History entries are done/rewritten/edited and have been for several weeks. One additional purpose of making these posts is so that I can do a final proofread of each entry and make a few last-minute polishes just before I present it to the audience. Not to mention any additional lampshade hangings where the story might require it, especially to smooth out any plot wrinkles I missed the first time. Case in point: the parens in the last paragraph of Operation Punisher (3) about Rossendarch traveling to Calypso rather than bombard Europa (the ORS capital) after he had driven Tessandras off was a total lampshade hanging on my part when I realized that Rossendarch could have taken out the ORS high command by bombarding Europa and winning the Outer Rim Conflict right then and there. Of course, Rossendarch would have been right about returning to bombard Europa after reinforcing the Excelsior at Calypso, if it hadn't been for Caliphtys switching sides at just the most opportune moment.... :shaking: :nervous: :shaking:

But yeah, there's much more to go in the history of the Rim Conflict: the First Interbellum, the Martian War, the Second Interbellum and Operation Mjolnir, then capping it all off with the Shivan Invasion of Sol...though I still have to double-check with Nyct about the sequence of events for that last one. From what Nyct told me, I think Exile had several writers who apparently didn't consult with each other on the exact dates/sequence of events leading to the Invasion of Sol or it was one guy who didn't bother to proofread his own stuff for contradictions. Granted, Exile's backstory is huge, so perhaps mistakes are inevitable, but that only highlights the need for an editor who's looking at the greater whole for exactly those same mistakes.

But that's why I volunteered for this job. :cool: ;7 :drevil: :D

EDIT: Here's a question for all you guys: did any of you have any trouble following the action/story? With all the multiple battles and characters in this story, I'm wondering if it's hard for anyone to keep all the characters and ship names straight as well as who is fighting on whose side. I feel like I'm writing a Tom Clancy novel filled with Loads and Loads of Characters. :nervous: :nervous: :nervous:

EDIT 2: I just added a throwaway line in the second paragraph of Operation Punisher (2) to mention that Admiral Ivanov, the Butcher of Adamant Shipyard, got his just desserts when Tessandras arranged for his flagship, the Apam Nepatis to ram Ivanov's flagship, the GTD Salvation. I didn't notice until tonight (9/1/2020) that Ivanov's fate was never revealed as Exile's backstory was originally written...but then again, Exile's original authors never made Ivanov to be such a Hate Sink; that was all me.


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