“Thus, these united nations marshal for war for the sake and sanctity of the Xonexi Cluster, to overthrow the rule of injustice, and to finally restore peace and prosperity to the Gigaquadrant.”
The Battle for the Milky Way (April 5 - present) was a large-scale hyperspatial campaign between the Xonexi Allies and the Delpha Coalition of Planets, the first of the Great Xonexian Schism. Taking place over several months, it involved heavy fighting in the Northern and Eastern regions of the Milky Way. After the Battle of Second Hat'Morh introduced the Angelfire, the Battle for the Milky Way saw the use of hyperspatial weapons on an unprecedented scale by both sides. Engagements took place over mind-boggling distances to the point where it was difficult to discern individual battles from the constant skirmishing that occurred.
As a political event, the Battle for the Milky Way was the culmination of five years of escalating tension from 2797 to 2802 between the Delpha Coalition of Planets and other Xonexi powers such as the Draconid Imperium, France, and the Tybusen Intergalactic Allied Federation. In order to combat DCP influence, these formed the Xonexi Allies, a chain of alliances and organizations which grew in power as the DCP's policies became more and more radical. Finally, in a conflict over the comparatively minor Orion War, tensions boiled over into all-out war when the DCP announced its intentions to annex the entirety of the Orion League on March 31, 2802.
In response, the Xonexi Allies formally met on Paris on April 5, 2802 and unanimously issued the short but strongly-worded Parisian Declaration. Signed by twenty nations, it denounced the DCP's imperialist attitudes and rejected its authority to enforce the international order. Finally, in the closing paragraph of the document, the the allies officially declared war on the DCP, a move which stunned the Gigaquadrant. A cataclysmic conflict which so many had fought to avoid had begun.
Prior to the eruption of hostilities, both the DCP and allies had made vast preparations for war. Fleets had already been deployed to predetermined staging areas, commands had already been assigned, and invasion plans had already been made. All these armies needed was the green light, and it came on April 5, 2802.
The overarching Allied strategy, codenamed Plan A, called for two major assaults on DCP territory. In the Milky Way, Operation Deviant Rim involved a three-pronged offensive against the DCP rim territories in the Norma Arm, while French and TIAF forces partook in Operation Rubicon in Mirus. Concurrently, the Allies planned to defend their other Milky Way holdings in depth, not quite giving the DCP a pitched battle and using the range advantage of the Angelfire where possible.
The DCP, on the other hand, focused its attention on the Northernmost parts of the Milky Way. It expected to be able to use its advanced technology and overpowering numbers to bring a quick end to the war, and the simplicity of its strategy reflected that. Its first act of the war was to invade the Draconid Concordat Trade Route with overwhelming force, thereby severing the Allies' link to the strategically significant Katar Sector. This launched the drawn-out Battle of the Concordat with forces of the Draconid Imperium and culminated in the epic First Battle of Katar and the devastating First Battle of Tholfame-22.
Battle of the Concordat
Both the Allies and the DCP understood the strategic significance of the Draconis Concordat Route: whoever controlled it had easy access to the entirety of the Scutum-Crux galactic arm. It was not by accident, then, that the first actions of the war took place along the route, as three Draconis Battlefleets under the command of Commodore Tarvalon Seranius rushed to intercept DCP formations which had entered it. The Draconis were soon joined by forces from the United Hegemony of Andromeda under the command of Admiral Orkan. In accordance with allied battle plans, their orders were not to repel the superior DCP force, but to make its inevitable advance as difficult as possible.
For days, Allied and DCP fleets skirmished up and down the Concordat, engaging in brief and violent exchanges of hyperspatial weaponry that incurred heavy losses on both sides. However, the DCP, led by an irritable Grimbulosian Commander named Yaxourq, consistently sought to engage the Allies in a pitched battle and had a tendency to overcommit their forces during Allied feints, resulting in disproportionate losses as the battle raged on. Finally, on April 14, Commander Yaxourq regrouped his forces and changed tactics. Instead of seeking to outmaneuver the Allied forces, he formed two flying columns and, using his overwhelming numbers, forced his way down the route towards the Draconid territory of Tholfame-22 and the Katar Sector. Along the way, he suffered sustained Allied fire, though this time, it was the DCP which got the best of these engagements through organized and systematic counterbattery fire. By the 21st of April, Draconid and Hegemony forces had fully withdrawn from the Concordat, and on April 22, the DCP entered the Katar Sector.
Operation Deviant Rim
At roughly the same time Draconid and DCP forces were clashing on the Concordat, the Allies launched their own assault on DCP space. Led by the legendary French Marshal Jean-Baptiste Teindas, Allied forces from all three Triad nations closed in on the DCP Rim Territories in the outer Norma Arm on April 10. These territories were protected by a highly advanced multi-layered defense and would not be easy to capture. Artificial anomalies and gravity wells made it difficult for the Allies to maneuver and fire accurately, while frequent drone and missile attacks whittled down their numbers even before they made contact with the main body of the DCP fleet.
While TIAF and French forces skirmished with DCP fleets in the southern territory, the DCP focused its attention on the Draconis invasion in the north, initiating what later came to be called the Battle of Mana Run, a fierce hyperspatial exchange which lasted for three days and demonstrated how murderous, unpredictable, and chaotic hyperspatial warfare could be, especially when blended with the intense planetary fighting that characterized the campaign. The casualties on both sides were staggering, though it ended in a decisive Draconis victory on April 21. The DCP was pushed back to the center of its territory, while the Allies were able to acquire strong footholds in the north, east, and south, from which they continued to bombard the remaining DCP forces. However, both sides were in bad shape and unwilling to advance on the other. The DCP's forces were in tatters after the Battle of Mana Run and their armies were undermanned, while the Allies faced a logistical nightmare as their supply lines got caught up and destroyed in the Maelstrom. Operation Deviant Rim––which the Allies had hoped would be a swift and easy victory––quickly turned into a lengthy and costly stalemate.
Early Allied victories
First Battle of Katar
- Further reading: First Battle of Katar
The allied retreat would reach Katar on April 22. Upon the declaration of war the Katar Sector Alliance had elected the Drodoian commander Archduke Hidare Ijhakar as the organization leader and the commander of the combined Katarian forces. In invading the Katar Sector, the DCP hoped to eliminate the GITO wormhole near Farengeto, thereby depriving the Allies of a major base in the Galactic North. Despite the growth in recent years, many of the sector's inhabitants lacked hyperspatial technology, and the DCP expected an easy victory against the KSA.
Upon entering the sector the DCP were met with a heavy bombardment of hyperspatial missiles from the KSA and the Allies, their march across the sector met with a severe cost. The DCP pursued the retreating Allies along the Concordat into the Louvelon subsector, where its inhabitants attempted to make a stand. Lacking any hyperspatial technology and possessing only limited hyperspatial missiles, the Louveloni were overrun by the DCP. Seeing the writing on the war, the inhabitants of the nearby Varapha subsector surrendered to the Civilisation after a brief skirmish. By April 23rd the DCP had reached Delcath and the borders of Farengeto.
The DCP launched a two-pronged attack against the Farengeto Republic and the Gargator Republic, the KSA attempted to mount a defence, engaging in numerous skirmishes as they fell back towards the Farengeto capital. As the DCP closed in the Allies took a valiant stand in orbit of Farengeto, with core reinforcements arriving from the Draconid Imperium, the French Quadrant and Andromedan Colonies, and The Hegemony; their fleets arriving through the wormhole from all over Xonexi in just the nick of time. Using their superior fire the allies would rapidly gain the upper hand against the DCP, and after several hours the DCP invasion force was in shambles and Commander Yaxourq's flagship was destroyed.
First Battle of Tholfame-22
Falling back to the edge of Draconid space in the northern rim of the galaxy, forces of the Talon Aetheral Corps - reinforced by forces dispatched from Andromeda - drew up a fortified line to counter the advancing DCP fleets.
The Coalition assault under System Lord Ambisagrus faced severe resistance over the planets of the Anadrosi system. Battlefleets under the personal command of Commodore Tarvalon Seranius, who opened the defence with a barrage of hyperspatial missiles and gravity-assisted cannon volleys that impacted the larger DCP vessels. Understanding that the DCP vessels relied on their immense firepower, the Solinkidor Admiral Entala Sin-Shorr ordered for the larger ships to stay in the shadow of adjacent planets and moons in order to project their munitions along nonlinear trajectories though hyperspace while smaller frigates and strike cruisers drew the fire of the DCP ships. Surface-to-orbit batteries assisted the defending Talon forces in weakening DCP fleets.
After several hours of fighting both within Anadrosi and the neighbouring systems, the tide turned as a volley crippled Ambigasrus' flagship. Seeing the value of the System Lord, Draconid forces dispatched marine teams to it as well as other important vessels. Although crippled, the crews of the damaged vessels put up a valiant resistance against members of the Talon Marine corps, but ultimately failing to protect the command crews as marines ultimately captured Ambigasrus on his command bridge, who surrendered with little resistance.
Ambigasrus, along with several hundred DCP and Kindred Coalition officers and crewmen were taken to internment camps established within Tholfame-22's outer systems.
The Advance stalls
The Imperial Talon Navy had achieved in carving out the deepest foothold in the north of the DCP's territory along the Norma arm, while the other allies attempted to push through the south and east. For the Orion League and TIAF, the Maelstrom presented the most difficulty, and their forces were losing a cohesive strategy. For the Imperial Talon Navy, who's own hyperdrives could navigate the subspace storms better, the main issue was neither the maelstrom nor DCP's fleet directly. The difficulty was capturing and holding DCP worlds. A of the dozen worlds that the Imperial Talon Fleet had captured, not one officially surrendered and were holding out as functional colonies. They were protected from orbital attack below several layers of non-phasic shields. Using hyperspatial missiles was ineffective, given the DCP's equal ability to transpose internal detonations.
Siege warfare was out of the question. As the DI understood from their own experience as a post-scarcity society, the internal generators were powered from the DCP's interstellar grid, black holes or even hyperspace. Quantum replicators provided all necessary food and materials. The DI had no choice but to overwhelm the planetary shields with all the firepower they had got, and this required other ships to protect those. Attempting these manoeuvres was proving costly on the DI's fleet.
Worst of all, it was beginning to come to light that the colonies in the Northern sector had relatively low populations. Most citizens of the DCP lived in megascale complexes: what was known to the Orion League as 'dyson bubbles', 'Bishop rings' and stellification engines, or in great colony ships; in orbit of stars or degenerates, or scattered in interstellar space.
Commander Tarvalon Seranius called for a new daring strategy, Operation Deconstruct. The fleets of the Orion League and TIAF, currently in the south and east were to conserve their Angelfire reserves, which were now dropping at an irreplaceable rate, and were to go in all directions around DCP territory and meet at the Mana Run. The DI could cover navigational issues while the other allies give them some defence during phases of bombardment. The new assault would be directly on the DCP's megastructures, for without this infrastructure, the DCP's useless outposts would present no obstacle to the allies' advantage.
While it was putting all their eggs in one basket, it was in the eyes of Seranius the last chance for a swift victory, or a long war of attrition. A good quarter of the TIAF and Orion League ships didn't make it, although this was predicted. Not waiting any longer, the new joint attack fleets began attacking nearby Bishop rings and Stanford Tori, the capturing of which brought the Xonexi Allies into direct conflict with the DCP's 'ground' forces and militias.
The orbitals became battlegrounds of intense fighting. Before invading the DI had to crack open the shielding mechanisms, and then the DCP's own transposers had to be disabled from within. It became apparent that the Orion League's ground forces were quite unprepared for the DCP's unconventional attacks, seeing their tanks and soldiers coming up against nanowarfare and battlefogs, which could shape-shift, and fallen DCP soldiers rising again from their own battle-armour. The DI used their own nano-warfare and memetics, thus, the war was being fought on levels of scale from the nanoscale to astronomical. Yet capturing cities within the orbitals became a nightmare, as the cities themselves moved and behaved smartly, turning one flag bearer into pink slime. The allies pressed on and managed to capture a few orbital colonies, although were forced to destroy some out right using hyperspatial warfare.
However, by now, the DCP's industry in the Milky Way had simply had not been dented, for the allied attack was in the wrong place from the start. Now up against uncountable reinforcements from both the central sector's industrial heart and other DCP territories, the DCP's fleet number in the Norma arm had tripled.
Fall of Tholfame-22
- Further reading: Takeover of Tholfame-22
Having beaten back DCP advances in the Northern Milky Way, the Allies focused their efforts on Operation Deviant Rim in the south. Katar was left to Katarian reserve militaries, while the defense of Tholfame-22 was taken over by Aedan Eleron Sarenemor at the head of a number of garrison regiments. It was Sarenemor who was put in charge of Lord Ambisagrus' interrogation, over the course of which the system lord took possession of his body.
Using his new identity to fully advantage, Ambisagrus leaked a devastating amount of intelligence to the DCP, leading to the implementation of Plan XI, a synchronized DCP attack on Allied positions in the Northern Milky Way. Over the course of the resulting Second Battle of Tholfame-22 on May 5, Hegemony and Draconis forces suffered a crippling defeat. By the end of May 6, the Allies had lost all of their holdings in the Northern Milky Way save for the Katar Sector, which remained isolated, fortified, and defiant thanks to the two French Nante-class stations that were erected there in the 2790's.
In the aftermath of the battle, the DCP could freely attack the Allied colonial sectors to the south, the Draconis Tolfame-21 and the TIAF Delpha Sector. This forced the Allies to progressively draw troops away from Operation Deviant Rim, weakening it considerably.
Attacks on Tholfame-20
At the beginning of May, the Allies expected the DCP to use a considerable amount of its available forces to reinforce their defense against Operation Deviant Rim, though those reinforcements never materialized. This appeared to be a godsend to Allied forces inside the DCP Rim Territories, bogged down and facing difficulties as they were, though this was quickly shown to be a fallacy. The DCP took advantage of the fact that the Allies were pinned down to strike Tolfame-20 on May 10, the Draconis territory on the Orion Arm. With insufficient defenses and very few reinforcements from the nearby Orion League, the territory surrendered on May 13.
With DCP forces within striking distance of Orion's Spur and Northern Orion's Arm, the Allied Chiefs of Staff finally put a stop to the floundering Operation Deviant Rim and initiated a costly retreat from the DCP Rim Territories, placing the Allies firmly on the defensive in the Milky Way.
Following the end of Operation Deviant Rim, the Xonexian Allies were fighting defensively against the DCP's fleets. With Tholfame-20 lost to the DCP earlier in the month, the allies sought to create a defensive perimeter around the systems they currently held. The allies would dig in and force the DCP to fight in their territory on the Allies terms.
The Hegemony evacuated their outlying Milky Way colonies and retreated to the more heavily populated and defended core territories. They stripped all useful industry from the planets and left behind automated defenses, mine fields, and small bands of Havoc Troopers who were ordered to harass the DCP as much as possible. The Xonexian Allies laid mine fields and created choke points that would force the DCP to funnel through tight, heavily fortified areas.
The Hegemony established multiple long range hyperspace weapons that would be used to bombard the DCP from long range. Each world was heavily fortified, with fortress dotting the surface and defensive installations honeycombing the interior. Each was world was designed to be self sufficient of the other, and the defensive systems of the planets covered both the ground and orbit of the planets.
Incursions by DCP scout fleets showed that these worlds were not invulnerable. The Hegemony brought in multiple defensive fleets accompanied by the massive Hierophant Class Assault Fortresses and Behemoth Altimus Class Starbases, and still DCP fleets were able to harass the allies and raid their worlds.
Into this conundrum stepped Zadra Kalach, Patriarch of the Fist of the Hegemony Astartes chapter. The Patriarch arrived at the defensive line near the end of May with half his chapters strength, fifty thousand Astartes plus their Auxilary fleets and a vast number of regular Hegemony soldiers. The Fists were masters of defensive warfare and set to work reinforcing the already existing fortifications.
Fortress were turned from sturdy defensive structures into fortified bulwarks that were almost immune to orbital bombardment. Each world had multiple lanes of fire designated and kill zones were set up that butcher any attacker landing on the planet. No matter how advanced the allies foe was, attacking the defensive line would result in incredibly heavy casualties.
With the defensive line now fully built, the allies had a brief moment of calm to plan their next move. The Hegemony, with their trademark aggressive drive, began to plan a counter attack to avenge the losses that they had suffered over the past few months. Admiral Vassilus's fleets received reinforcements from abroad, allowing him to replenish his depleted task force after months of heavy fighting. This would allow for the first phase of the plan to begin.
Vassilus would send small groups of fast moving vessels out beyond the defensive rim to harass DCP forces where ever they could. These raiders were to draw as many DCP vessels away from a particular sector of the Galactic North, as well as to keep the DCP from assaulting the Defensive Line. As the month of May ended, the allies were firmly dug in, and the Hegemony planned a daring move to open a second front in the war.
It did not take long after escaping from the occupied Draconid territories that Torvos Ultanos, the region's now-landless viceroy, planned his return. But with the remianing governors firmly withi nthe pockets of the Colaition's government, he knew that a heroic return like those discussed in so many heroic sagas was a pipe-dream. As an Ultanos, he had plenty of places to go and his connection to the Parago nhimself ade hi ma difficult man to isolate and pick off.
Deep within Andromeda, Torvos conspired with mercenaries, crime lords and interstellar corporations with one specific goal in mind: Rather than retaking the galaxy by force, he planned to undermine it's integrity. Through backroom deals and shadow meetings Torvos had arranged for trillions of tons of goods to be smuggled into the Milky Way and distributed within the black market. While a number of the goods were rather mundane such as bootlegged entertainment videos, explicit material, spices and new-model planetary vehicles, the smugglers were also exporting other things into the various starports of the Civilisation though underground connections. Gidden amongst these mroe mundane shipments were also weapons, combat stimulants, military-grade cybernetics but most importantly: nanotechnology.
Since the first discoveries of DCP nanodust within certain members of the Draconid imperium's population, numerous corporations had invested in designign an effective countermeasure against the nanodust to further protect the Imperium's citizens. Torvos knew it would be a race to create a sophisticated counter, but if anything he counted on this as it merely meant more business opportunities and more economic drain on the galaxy. Talking with collaborators he organised for the nanodust to be aimed particularly towards insurgents or resistors to the widespread occupation.
As billions of tons of smuggled comodities spread their way though Andromeda's trading networks, Torvos wondered ot himself as to whether or not flooding the Milky Way's black market with mass-produced Andromedan commodities and weapons would ultimately lead to an outcoem in the Imperium's favour. He had heard tales of the authoritarian restraints the DCP enjoyed applying on their populations for the sake of upholding an iron-stiff stability, but at this point, any way of weakening the Coalition's grip on the galaxy, and the Imperium's colonies, was up for consideration. The worst he fear however, was that with the Imperium's territories under the coalition's control, there may be little reason for people in the galaxy to buy what he and his partners were offering.
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