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Old December 7th, 2011, 12:39 AM
LeperColony LeperColony is offline
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And lastly...

1121 and 1122 bore witness to intense fighting on the Ilelish front, first with the invasion of Dlan itself, then later with the pursuit into Verge. The full-scale assault on a high pop/high tech world is not done lightly, and the Dlan operation had projected casualties in the order of the Terran campaign a century earlier. However, despite a bloody and contested landing, Imperial forces managed a stunning victory largely due to the reluctance on the part of Dlan’s citizenry for armed resistance. The Virasin faith, in its requirement that believers die a non-violent death, hampered the kind of partisan operations witnessed on Earth. By mid 1122, the planet was firmly in loyalist hands. Strephon’s fleet then advanced spinward towards Verge, meeting the Archduke’s forces in the largest naval engagement of the Ilelish campaign. Those remaining under the Archduke’s flag were the most stalwart of his supporters, but also those commanders who had participated in the Zarushagar campaigns. The Emperor had promised harsh penalties for the perpetrators of the resource strikes in the early years of the rebellion. In either case, neither class of people was like to surrender, with the result that the remaining battles were often fought to the last Ilelish vessel. Casualties on both sides were heavy, but especially so among the rebel forces. Finally, on 277-1122, Dulinor was killed while commanding the rear elements of his retreating fleet. The remaining ships surrendered over the rest of the year. On 328-1122, Dulinor’s daughter Isis returned to Dlan, formally surrendering the Ilelish forces. She had in her possession a letter from her father to Strephon, written on 131-1116. Never intended for delivery, it was a stirring and quite eloquent apology, obviously meant much more as an attempt to reconcile the upcoming murder of his friend and supporter with a larger moral objective. Some claimed the letter was a cleverly crafted piece of propaganda, meant to soften an Emperor already well known to anguish over those who had died, even among the rebels, during the course of this rebellion. Whatever the truth of the matter, Strephon confirmed Isis to the title of Duchess of Ilelish, and pardoned her for any actions during the rebellion. (It was known she had served in only a public relations capacity in any case. Isis and Iphigenia had even maintained a warm and public friendship prior to 132-1116)

Through 1121 and 1122 the Vilani front remained relatively static. Despite occasional small engagements, usually in the course of reconnaissance, neither side was willing to give battle. As the news continued to pour in, Ishuggi realized the inevitable result. By 180-1122, he had acquiesced to Imperial demands, preparing his fleets for full mobilization. Though it was known he balked at the demand to place his ships under Brzk, the Vilani Archduke knew he tread on thin ice, and agreed with as much grace as he could muster. Gushemege and Dagudashaag likewise leapt back into line, not only sending their fleets to the Solomani front, but also offered to pay for a significant portion of the Ilelish campaign, and organized sector wide celebrations in honor of Strephon and the Imperium.

1122 was the grimmest year for the Spinward Marches. Zhodani fleets had overrun much of Glisten, Mora, and Trin’s Veil subsectors, even as far as Rhylanor. The combined Imperial fleet, which by 97-1122 included not only most of Spinward Marches and Deneb fleet, but also the remaining Corridor forces were stalled in Regina subsector. Effective coordination by the local Consulate colonial fleet commander and several key Vargr raiders stumped Imperial advances. Though possessing far greater naval assets, Imperial forces constantly guarded against a pincer attack from Rhylanor, and could only reclaim Efate and Allel by the end of the year, managing no significant inroads into Jewell. Following up on its earlier successes, the 208th fleet remained in the Sword Worlds. Easily defeating the returning Sword Worlds fleets, the rest of the year was spending in various suppression roles, while waiting for new orders. Many spinward admirals wanted to take the combined fleet against the Zhodani forces in Rhylanor, but Norris overruled them, saying simply that he had put his bet on Strephon, and wasn’t about to change now. What exactly he meant by this remained unclear until the following year, as Brzk led a massive relief force through Corridor.

In 1122, stalwart efforts by Adair and his Vegan allies forbade the Solomani further advances for yet another year. However, his fleets began to suffer from lack of replacements and even proper maintenance. Confederation raids in the coreward parts of the sector made re-supply difficult. Increasing the Vegan Autonomous Region became an embattled enclave of Imperial strength, and though impressively provisioned for such an occasion, was beginning to show signs of economic strain after five years of war. In the Old Expanses, it was no longer possible to draw an accurate picture of political control. Several smaller polities, propped up by Imperial or Solomani deserters, sprung into a brief existence, only to suffer an ignominious end, often to a larger band of rogues. Meanwhile, small units a single squadron in size or less continued to prowl the sector, loyal to one side or the other, targeting support structures belonging to their enemies. As trade ground to a halt, corsairs and other villains went in search of fresh prey. By early 1123, coreward Alpha Crucis became their new hunting ground. In Daibei, Duke Craig’s forces continued a determined resistance, but were nevertheless forced out of the rimward 4 subsectors. Solomani advances had been slow but constant, and the Imperial situation might have collapsed with one stunning success. Unfortunately for the Confederation, Duke Craig was able to find unexpected help from the Aslan. Significant land grants (including territory not within the pre-war Imperial borders), post war economic considerations, and personal contacts managed to gain the Duke the allegiance of several new Ihatei fleets. Though no match for front line Confederation forces, the Aslan proved a significant disruption on Solomani supply lines.

Part 5

This is the last part of the alternate rebellion line. This one does not end in the Collapse, or contain Virus. However, as I am a TNE fan at heart, there will (someday) be another alternate rebellion line thread that does end in the Collapse.
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