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The Second Heer Stekeveel War was a conflict primarily between the Drodo Empire and the Heer Stekeveel Confederation in 2802, fought by proxy through armed insurrection in the Drodo-colonized Heer Stekeveel territories.

PreludeEdit

Drodoian ConquestEdit

The origins of this war lie in the peace deal ending the first war. In the deal, both France and the Drodoian colonies obtained Heer-Stevekel territory. For obvious reasons, this caused unrest in both nations, but this unrest was exacerbated in the Drodoian territories due to poor government policies, and attempted cultural integration through the use of "residential schools"; Taking Heer-Stevekel children away from their homes to be forcefully educated in the ways of Drodoian culture, history, manners, dress, and language, while being forbidden to speak or express their native culture or language. This all made the Heer-Stevekel territories an unstable place with a people yearning for freedom; And it only took one man's return to turn this dream to reality.

Release of Stekius GaivelEdit

As time went on, and the aftermath of the war died down, the Drodoian commander Cesterity Isordon pondered the fate of his former-enemy and ex-chieftain of what used to be a great tribe, Stekius Gaivel, whom he respected for his fierce defense of his homeland. He looked into the issue, and after discovering that Stekius had practically fallen off the face of the Gigaquadrant postwar, he asked his good friend, French Marshal Aurélien Ortiz, if he knew anything of his disappearance; Suspecting the French to be responsible. Ortiz, somewhat reluctantly, revealed that Stekius was and had been detained for over a year in a cryocell in the French Colonies in the Mirus Galaxy, being captured by the French on the final day of the first war.

Cesterity, who had just written his Declaration of the Conduct of War which deemed such behavior illegal, was outraged. He decided to write a letter to the ruling French President Laurene Maxime, declaring his knowledge of Stekius' imprisonment (but naming no source of the information for Aurélien's sake), questioning why Gaivel was still imprisoned for so long after the war, and demanding his immediate release or else he will make the issue public. His letter, while hardly blessed with a diplomat's penmanship and tact, was to-the-point, powerful, and made its demands very clear. He did not receive a response. As promised, he took the issue into the public eye, meeting the Drodoian Head-of-State, Premier Harponis at his office. After discussing the issue in a lengthy discussion with him, the Premier was moved by the recent development, and soon after made a speech addressed to the international community denouncing French detainment of Gaivel, and praising Cesterity for his efforts to make the issue known.

The outrage was nothing the French government could have ever anticipated. Protests in the Empire, France and beyond, along with followup speeches by both Cesterity and Harponis further stoking the flames put enough pressure on France to release Gaivel.

Once released, any gratitude Gaivel had for the Drodo was quickly dispelled when he reached the colonies. Seeing his people oppressed, he started secretly organizing protests and resistance cells across the Heer Stevekel region; Making sure to stay underground so he would not be arrested. Despite his efforts to stay hidden, however, rumours spread of his existence and operation within Drodoian space, and his identity became a symbol for many Heer Stevekel to rally under in the name of independence. Gaivel contemplated going public, but delayed this course of action until a large, bloody event transpired that he could ride the wave of outrage on. He would not have to wait long for this event.

The Galavasius MassacreEdit

The event that would spark regionwide revolution and Gigaquadrant-wide shock started as a peaceful protest on the plaza in front of the Governor's palace on the major world of Galavasius; The capital world for the Heer Stevekel province. Organized by Heer Stevekel intellectuals and foreign-taught Heer Stevekel students, this protest soon became very popular with the people, as thousands from all walks of life joined the protest. The protest continued without great issue for two weeks until the governor; Tyatar Gitterun, a former military commander and a notoriously heavy-handed and arbitrary governor, branded the protestors as "rebels" and "threats to the peace"; Calling in ten Infantry regiments, five Cavalry regiments and two armoured divisions to put down the protest "in the most severe fashion and without delay", in the words of Governor Gitterun. The units encircled and marched into the city, which panicked many locals of the crowded city and caused chaos. Some regiments, keeping true to their orders, began to immediately open fire on the "protesters"; killing many and injuring yet more. As the denizens began to become more organized- and enraged- densely-packed mobs began to form. In response, cavalry units began charging into them, using the flats of their blades to incapacitate rioters.

However, amongst the utter chaos that unfolded, some regiments witnessed the atrocities being committed, and began to mutiny. Many attempted to pull out or evacuate civilians, only to be stopped by regiments still loyal to the government at the outskirts. Violent firefights ensued amongst the divided army, with civilians and protesters caught in the crossfire. In one instance, a mutineer Mechanized Infantry regiment turned away a loyalist cavalry charge, and an armoured section of MBTs at the city outskirts; successfully evacuating several hundred innocent civilians.

Hours passed, and the situation did not improve. As Loyalist regiments fought and massacred their way through both mutineers and civilians, the Imperial Drodo Mounted Police detachment inside of the Governor's palace saw it fit to stage a coup. In a well-orchestrated break-in, several dozen heavily-armed IDMP officers burst into the governor's office, arresting him and charging him with Crimes against Sapient Life, mass-murder, and severe abuses of power. Despite their valiant efforts, however, this did not as much as slow down the chaos outside the palace, as the Loyalist regiments grew ever closer.

By the time the Loyalists reached the palace, there was only four regiments of infantry, one cavalry regiment, and a single armoured regiment left that didn't either mutiny, rout, or be destroyed by mutineers. In the palace, terrified civilians, the last unfortunate remnants of the mutineer regiments left in the city, and the original patch of protesters lied in wait, while the IDMP frantically called nearby systems to bring transports and military units. The mutineers set up pillboxes at chokepoints and major streets at the very edges of the plaza outside of the Palace, where the Loyalists would soon be approaching from. Loyalist soldiers started pouring down the streets, and the defending mutineers wasted no time in opening fire with machine guns, mortars, even field guns set at a flat angle. This halted the advance for around twenty minutes; Enough time for the first transports to arrive in orbit. The fortunes soon turned against the defenders, however, as the last of the armoured regiments advanced, and ammunition started running low. The mutineers started to pull back from the makeshift fortifications and found themselves near or in the mass of terrified protesters in the centre of the plaza. The transports started to touch down as the loyalists opened fire on the mob of protesters, who dispersed and fled all around the plaza in a futile attempt to find shelter. The final few of the mutineers made a last stand with pistols, swords, and bayonets but where exterminated by machine gun fire. The plaza was a bloodbath as the transports stood empty; The IDMP currently controlling the Palace not daring to throw open the gates to it. In the end, it took another Governor of a nearby system to order the troops to stand down.

In the aftermath, the Galavasius City was in ruins. Many buildings were destroyed by tank and artillery fire, blood ran through the streets and with a civilian death toll of up to 10 000, and a military death toll sitting around 750 (The vast majority of which came from the army's infighting), it was perhaps the bloodiest government crackdown in Drodo history. The outrage; Both within and outside of the Drodo Empire; Was immense. This was partially sated, however, by the harsh sentences of all involved; Governor Tyatar Gitterun was found guilty of all charges and was hanged for his crimes. All of the major officers in command of the Loyalist regiments where found guilty of mass-murder; They where dishonourably discharged and similarly sentenced to death. All of this, however, did not satisfy the Heer Stevekel population or Gaivel, who saw this as his major opportunity to go public.

The War BeginsEdit

Gaivel goes publicEdit

Just as he was finishing his preparations for a territory-wide revolt by forming autonomous rebel cells, the Galavasius Massacre gave him possibly the best catalyst, at the best time, from which he could go public from. Arriving on Galavasius two days after the massacre to great crowds of Heer-Stevekel, he started his well-prepared and extremely anti-occupation speech on an improvised stage on the very square the height of the massacre took place. The Drodo government did not intervene physically at any point; Respecting his right to speak and not daring to spark yet another violent episode. However they refused to televise it and police attempted to keep filming crews away from the premises.

The speech, despite the Drodo's best efforts, was still heard and seen far and wide across the Quadrants; Heer Stevekel civilians instead resorted to using handheld cameras and uploading the videos to the net. The many rebel cells that Gaivel had established across the occupied territory knew that this was their signal, and most rose in armed revolt anywhere between a few hours to a few days after the speech.

Shockingly, most revolts where successful. The general tactic that Gaivel had planned for most cells was to barge into the governor's palace with a small, heavily-armed team, and from there capture the head of government. With them hostage, the cell would then, in a high-profile, televised demand, order that all Drodo forces and government agencies stand down lest the heads of government; And everyone else in the building, where killed. From here, the rebels would continue to encourage protests and where instructed to arm and train the populace for an inevitable counterattack. The tactic, whilst heavy-handed and risky, worked spectacularly, and from here the rebels generally received support from the people.

Drodoian CounterattacksEdit

The Drodo where quick to respond to this shocking revolution. Quickly levying militia armies and mobilizing regulars, the Colonial government put together the 1st New Arcadian Garrison, and the 1st and 2nd Ceildehleese Armies to launch a counterattack.

However, by now most rebel factions had contacted eachother and had organized under Gaivel's leadership. Gaivel, knowing that the Drodo would outnumber and outgun him if he where to defend everywhere at once, pulled back most of his forces to the area in and around Galavasius and entered talks with the Heer-Stevekel government, urging intervention.

Occupied zone

Rebel-controlled Territories and the Drodoian counterattacks, 2802. Rebel forces (mahogany-red) where able to halt to the Drodoian advance (yellow arrows) at several key planets, but not without taking severe losses. Orange line represents the new frontline after the Drodoian advance.

As according to Gaivel's plan, the Drodo attempted a massive counterattack. The 1st New Arcadian Army and the 2nd Ceildehleese where to attempt to batter through and outflank, encircling the Rebels around Galavasius, while the 1st Ceildehleese; Composed primarily of hardy Ceildehleese highlanders already seasoned with service in the first war, was to strike straight through Rebel defenses and into Galavasius, while the flanking forces would move in from behind as reinforcements.

Much to the Drodo's surprise, however, the Rebels held, if only barely, against the initial strike only lightyears away from Galavasius, managing to force an uneasy stalemate, and afford Gaivel time to enter further talks with his homeland.

The Confederation Steps In Edit

The Confederation AnswersEdit

Confederation Counterattacks

The Confederation army, in an unexpected twist, managed to humiliate the Drodoian Armed Forces.

After several days of deliberation, the Heer Stevekel Confederation decided to answer Gaivel's pleas. Mobilizing their army, they set up defensive perimetres around the major worlds of the Confederation, anticipating a counterattack of some sort by the French. As they did this, they also marched a formidable army and fleet through the shared border between the rebels and Confederation, and smashed through the right flank of the 2nd Ceildehleese, routing it, while the second half of the army surprised and routed the New Arcadian garrison around several major worlds, forcing it to retreat. The elite 1st Ceildehleese were the only force to hold firm, and dealt major losses against the first Confederation army when it tried to attack.

A Surprise Turn of EventsEdit

With the destruction of over two-thirds of the colonial army and the populace now sick of the war, the war was looking grim for the Drodo. The colonial government, who now lacked the funds and time to raise a new army of even conscripts, and were faced with a liberal government unwilling to fund another, distant war on top of the Xonexi war, considered their few options left and saw surrender as the only option left. While drafting their peace offer, however, a stroke of extraordinary luck would hit them; A change of government back home, and an effective end to the Xonexi war in the Milky Way. Under a new, reinvigourated government, Fiihar Jivirik III quickly contacted the colonies and ordered them to cease any peace negotiations with the Confederation or the Rebels, and to wait for the reinforcements; Help has arrived, at long last.

The Drodoian army, now absolutely massive due to the upsizing of it for the Xonexi war, would arrive days later to the rejoice of the populace and Colonial Government alike. For Fiihar, this was mostly a political move: To further ride the wave of his already-massive popularity, and to show to the gigaquadrant that the Drodo Empire, despite its economic downturn, was still very strong, he sent a large fraction of the army to the front for a punitive counterattack and blitzkrieg on the Federation. The goal: total annexation of the Heer Stevekel Confederation.

The Fall of the ConfedederationEdit

My fellow citizens, I speak with absolute truth when I say that we shall not be humiliated twice, and certainly not by upstart rebel scum! I also speak the truth when I say that this war is righteous, and that for the sake of our country, and its pride and its prosperity that we must strike back this evil with extreme and total prejudice before it engulfs us! This blight on the majesty of the Empire shall not go unnoticed, and it shall not go unpunished! Imperials, to arms!'

- Archduke Fiihar Jivirik III, Drodo premier at the time formally declaring war on the Heer Stevekel Confederation.

Press coverage was heavy as three main divisions; The 1st Army, the 2nd Army, and the 3rd Army, swooped in with terrifying efficency and speed into the Confederation and rebel-occupied areas. The 1st army, largest of the three by far, was tasked with piercing into the Rebel-occupied territories (where Confederation forces were most concentrated), taking back Galavasius, and working outwards, wiping out all resistance in the area. The 2nd army was to seize the Confederation's capital and establish a Drodo forward position in the heart of the confederation. The 3rd was to come in after the 2nd and, with detachments of the second, occupy the rest of the Federation mainland and destroy all resistance.

The 1st Army, while meeting initial resistance, managed to break through the Heer Stevekel's first lines of defence and reconnect with the 1st Ceildehleese, which had been under siege for quite some time now. With this significant manpower boost, they proceeded to completely surround Galavasius, and then take it over in a decisive assault.

The 2nd Army, meanwhile, suffered very little resistance on its way to Ludicius, the Confederate armies being occupied by the 1st and 2nd. The 2nd army would then begin its assault on Ludicius. While the initial strategy was to immediately assault the city and work there way to the capital, this was seen as too costly. Instead, a few fatal flaws in the defences of Civi Lacrima were found. These flaws were mainly blind spots with anti-air defences, and the lack of shielding around the city. So instead of a lengthy, costly street brawl in Civi Impera, the Drodo instead deployed several elite Ceildehleese highlander regiments in Civi Lacrima. These regiments, thanks to their ferocity, discipline, high morale and also the lackluster morale of the opposing troops, easily burned a path through the city, and within several hours had it under Drodoian control, and the government practically taken hostage.

The 3rd army would follow close behind the second, but instead of invading Ludicius, it instead had the less glamourous job of skirmishing with remaining Confederate forces and ambushinf confederate fleets tasked with relieving the siege of Ludicius. Casualties were fairly low in the entire operation for the third, thanks mostly to the new Basilisk-class battleships the Drodo military was equipped with, which far outmatched that of Confederate designs especially in skirmishes.

The whole invasion played out within 48 hours. News teams and journalists followed the armies closely, documenting practically every battle, maneuver, takeover and victory the Drodo achieved live on television and on social networks. 12 hours after the invasion and taking of both Galavasius and the Federation's capital, Ludicius and Civi Lacrima, the Heer-Stevekel Federation would sign its formal instrument of surrender, and agree to being annexed into the Drodo Empire. The war was over, but the struggle for control had only just begun.