The Siege of Ceres

The Siege of Ceres was a major feature of the Pan-Eurasian War and the one engagement to occur in the Sol System. It was a bloody affair which the neutral powers appeared content to let happen. The siege lasted until the end of the war; the Toronto Treaty officially recognised the Asian Coalition’s claim to the territory.

Human involvement on Ceres began before the advent of FTL travel; habitation and industrial units were developed under the rocky surface at the behest of the Chinese part of the Coalition. It had a population of over 1 million at the outbreak of the War; it’s industrial capacity made it a target for the European Union almost immediately.

It proved a difficult target. The Union Navy established a blockade around the world to begin with, assuming the population would quickly run out of food and water. Water was readily found as ice across the asteroid’s surface and the settlers had long since developed mature colonies of krill for food. These methods provided the populace with the very bare minimum of food but little else; life became increasingly difficult from the start of the blockade.

The Union experimented with orbital bombardment but the humans had buried themselves too deep. Even the docking ports were buried within canyons and other natural phenomena – Union dropships were easily repelled.

Still, the siege was relentless. The Union engaged in psychological warfare; they flooded local networks with terrifying images, they dropped earth-shaking bombs around the clock. The only relief came from brave Asian Coalition relief craft – tiny cargo ships bringing extra supplies to hidden docks and airlocks. The majority of these brave flights (nicknamed the Tokoyo Express after their WWII forefathers) were successful; the ships would occasionally be caught by the Union blockade. The best case scenario was being destroyed by their big guns. Surviving blockade runner crews were typically humiliated and tortured by the frustrated Union siege forces.

The Union denied accusations of torture and resisted United Nations calls for a ceasefire and humanitarian response. The post-War UN vote as to whether the siege amounted to a war crime was derailed – unsurprisingly – by European votes.

The colony developed into a hub of industry following the war; it builds heavy machinery and colony equipment for use throughout the new human sphere of influence. The hub of activity grinds to a halt once a lunar year, however, in a quiet memorial to the War, the siege and the thousands of people lost to starvation, preventable ill health and other causes.

The Tordov System

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Tordov V is a ‘ghost world’; once a burgeoning European Union colony now desolate and empty.

Early in the conflict with the Wun’Tux, mankind scaled back colonisation efforts; governments prioritised the ability to protect a colony over any favourable resources or environmental conditions. Survey ships continued to search for new worlds and report their findings. One planet discovered at the start of the Third Age stood out as particularly tempting.

The fifth planet of the Tordov system was similar to Earth in size, had a oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere and welcoming climate. Topographical scans indicated layers of ore and ‘rare’ earth metals, too. It was, however, on the cusp of Wun’Tux territory; well within the reach of their patrols. The major powers declined the opportunity to colonise one by one until the European Union bucked the trend.

A large fleet of Pan-Eurasian War era vessels accompanied the colonisers. They transported the materials to build an orbital defence platform capable of targeting multiple targets at long range and were crewed by veterans of the drawn-out war with the Asian Coalition. They were led by decorated war hero Admiral Grigor Golovko – a man who held great influence and knew how to use it. They considered themselves prepared.

For six busy months no threat emerged. Construction on the surface took shape; the first city expanded and grew. The defence station was tested and found to fuction and the fleet ran readiness drills on a regular basis. Golovko had hoped a show of force would convince the Wun’Tux to leave the world alone. But it didn’t.

The Wun’Tux came eight months after the colony formation – scouting parties at first; easily driven away by the Union ships. But these forays were only testing the water.

BroodClan Xylos arrived with a hundred ships – an intimidating formation of capital ships and Twinfang escort. The orbital defence station opened fire the fleet at extreme range – each shot destroyed or critically damaged a Wun’Tux attacker. But the reptiles had arranged their weakest ships at the front of the vanguard; the station’s cannon was unable to attack anything of real value as the aggressors drew inexorably closer.

Golovko’s forces had cut their teeth against the smaller, quicker adversaries of the Asian Coalition. They were not used to fighting against slow, armoured foes such as the Wun’Tux. Their organised formations were easily targeted by the stronger Wun’Tux weaponry. Ships exchanged fire at the periphery of the battle; the Union counterparts coming off the worse.

The orbital defence platform came under fire next. Although heavily shielded and thickly armoured, it presented a static target. The larger Wun’Tux ships formed a flying ‘square’ and concentrated fire from their biggest guns. Salvo after salvo began to ship away at the station; Golovko and his best ships were diverted to tackle these ships but they were outnumbered and harassed constantly by Enforcers and Gunships.

The facility lasted an hour under sustained fire; it was able to inflict critical damage on several of the larger Wun’Tux ships but was soon surrounded and overpowered. The explosion was seen from the planet’s surface and sent colonists into panic; rioting and escape attempts made the Union’s ground defence near impossible. An attempt to rally around Golovko’s flagship was brought to a quick end by it’s destruction; Union forces were routed and staged a ragged retreat. Wun’Tux utilised their air superiority to besiege and bombard Union ground forces into submission. The assault lasted four days; defenders held out hope of reinforcement but the Union Navy were unable and unwilling to gather enough ships to try to break the siege.

Xylos harvested wave after wave of slaves; their main Broodmothers took the best specimens and traded away the rest to less respected BroodClans. The old and sick were left alone on the planet; the reptiles did not consider them worth even a quick death.

The ruins of the colony remain; decrepit, overgrown and home only to the rodent-like scavengers native to the world. The occasionally enterprising human ignores the ghost stories about the colony to head down and raid for scrap or old equipment but most stay away – through fear, respect or a mixture of both.

The loss at Tordov V – along with the disastrous conflict with the Oroso –  prompted a major overhaul in the European military thinking and equipment.

Ompolor VII

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The Battle of Ompolor VII marks the turning point of the brief war between the Gnobo and Illayko. The League opened with a lightning offensive, various mercenary brigades working together in a coordinated assault across the Illayko border. These Gnobo forces then concentrated their numbers into a spearhead aimed at the Illayko homeworld.

The colony at Ompolor VII was viewed as the weakest link in the Illayko defence. The Gnobo intended to overpower the defenders, strip the world of supplies and use it as a springboard towards their final goal. Although they met little initial resistance around the planet itself, once landed they found themselves victim of a carefully prepared trap. The Illayko army on the ground were dug in, well supplied and tactically adept. Many of the overconfident Gnobo generals found hundreds of personnel dead before the dropships could land, sniped from the air by specialist artillery.

A drawn out ground battle followed. The dug-in Illayko could afford to take their time; the Gnobo were in a rush, wary of losing momentum on their push towards Ehoi. Their hurry made them careless, however. Their fleet broke from a defensive formation in order to strike at targets planetside. Then and only then did a similar sized force of Illayko starships – led by the IFS Shroud – arrive to strike at their vulnerable flanks.

The Gnobo were routed; the commanders left with the few ships and troops they could muster. Their war on the Illayko stalled as it waited for reinforcements from home. The defeat at Ompolor VII led to acrimony and indecisiveness amongst within the shaky Gnobo alliance. A counter-offensive followed, forcing the League to retreat. An armistice followed within months; the Illayko border restored. Ompolor VII was the closest the Gnobo League got to the Illayko homeworld.

Sadly, the conflict and following fallout led to world being evacuated. It remains a uninhabited graveyard of war machines and soldiers to this day.

Soril Tulaco was involved throughout the Ompolor VII campaign, from the setting of the trap to the ground fighting and counter-strikes, earning the respect of his superiors and peers in the process.

Dronta VIII

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Ruins at Dronta VIII

A small jungle world on the Wun’Tux border, Dronta VIII was home to the biggest galactic slave market through the Second Age. The only races aware of its existence were those interested in doing productive business; external threats were considered unlikely. The responsibility for security was given to a Wun’Tux BroodClan of low standing – akin to latrine duty.

It was a surprise to everyone, then, when a United States Expeditionary Force (USEF) Task Force jumped into the system and began an assault on the fleet in orbit. This battle was swift and one sided; American fightercraft made short work of the picket ships and forced the remaining vessels – whose crews were mostly planetside shopping for slaves – to flee.

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A joint Ranger and Marine force made landfall at the slave market proper and engaged the shell shocked Wun’Tux warriors and various market customers with uncontested orbital support. This battle was almost as one-sided as the naval engagement; the market soon lay in ruins, the slaves freed from their pens.

Ruins at Dronta VIII

The Battle of Dronta VIII – which occurred at the dawn of the Third Age – was seen as both a military and PR victory for the US. Several hundred humans were freed alongside many other aliens. It helped to solidify support for the colonies at home and garner a little favour from alien races abroad.

Following this incident, the slave market administrators became paranoid about security. They went on to host the further markets aboard large, mobile starships with the ability to evade detection. In this sense, Dronta VIII was the last of the static slave markets. The world is now home only to flora and fauna; the old buildings and slave pens overgrown but not forgotten.

Ruins at Dronta VIII