journalisticRoman

Second Lieutenant
41 Badges
Oct 31, 2018
128
9
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Surviving Mars
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Magicka 2
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Victoria 2
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Crusader Kings II
Nice story you got here, I love what you've done with world-building and such!
 
Chapter Ten - Paying Tribute

eoncommander

First Lieutenant
27 Badges
Jul 18, 2018
285
224
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
The Progenitors

The galactic core was a dense network of stellar masses. So intense were the gravitational forces that hyperspace itself had collapsed, and the region was essentially unnavigable. For those whose technology far outstripped what was currently conceivable to scientists of the younger species, it made for an effective fortress. The remnants of three ancient empires had retreated here and now called it home; collectively, they are referred to as the Elder Races. In the southeast quadrant, close to vailon space, lay the Chroniclers, who kept a watchful eye on the galaxy, gathering as much data as possible before the stars became the forgotten dreams of gods. Northwest of the galactic center was the T’Jell Remnant, militantly isolationist and wishing for nothing more than to be left alone to mourn in the ruins of their once-vast realm. And in the northeast were the star systems of the Bothrian Progenitors, who among the trio of fallen empires were the most active in galactic affairs.

The bothrians could best be described as enigmatic. Once the holders of a vast empire, covering nearly half of the known galaxy, they now ruled over no more than ten systems. To hear the bothrians tell it, they had voluntarily chosen to withdraw upon realizing that maintaining the bureaucracy necessary for such an expansive empire would be all-consuming and, more to the point, very boring. According to them, from that point on they had simply watched the galaxy turn, civilizations rising and falling, interfering in wider affairs only when such action would substantially promote the diversity of life. Since they consistently refused to explain what “substantially promote the diversity of life” actually meant or how they applied the concept, to the younger species sharing the galactic stage their actions often [1] appeared arbitrary and capricious.

In May of 244, a bothrian courier arrived at a border station, bearing a message for the administration in Sedrin. A delegation was on its way to TUG space, with urgent business for Director-General Telnik; they would arrive in two weeks and expected to be accorded all proper respect. The message included no stated purpose for the meeting. Telnik would have dearly liked to decline the meeting, but the note, however vaguely, hinted that saying no would be considered a grave insult and greeted with extreme displeasure. There was accordingly very little to do but to prepare for the arrival. The bothrians had certain expectations for civilizations they deigned to grace with a visit, and the administration threw itself into preparation for a formal banquet.

The delegation arrived at the border with the Commonwealth aboard a diplomatic yacht, escorted by a powerful warship. [2] A brief flurry of messages was exchanged, as the TUG had not expected a military escort to accompany the diplomatic vessel. [3] Eventually, both ships received permission to enter vailon space, though only after the administration had transmitted a formal complaint to the delegation. The bothrians then proceed to travel through the Lyctabon and then the Tebza system. Despite their technological superiority, they traveled at a leisurely speed, seeming to encourage the numerous onlookers to gawk at the majestic sight. And there were many onlookers, ordinary citizens who found their way onto civilian ships; no official estimate exists, but media reports put the number of vailons who witnessed the journey in space in the eight figures. The delegation approached Tebazed with numerous civilian vessels in its wake; on the ground, a massive crowd gathered at the landing field outside the capital, where the diplomatic yacht touched down on May 22 (the escort remained in orbit, a constant reminder of the complete incapacity for any resistance on the part of the hosts). The banquet that evening was the grandest in living memory, with over five hundred administration officials and MAs dining with Telnik and the delegation. Food was flown in from across the planet, ensuring that the visitors could sample a wide variety of cuisines, as was befitting for a vailon ceremonial occasion. [4]

The day after landing, the delegation met with Telnik and several of his senior advisors. The delegates were smug and supremely confident, traits that did not endear them to the hosts. But their condescension paled in comparison to their shocking, albeit extremely simple, demands. Researchers on Cradle, the planet the bothrians now called home, had determined that the TUG was unlikely to last more than a few centuries, based on extensive AI modeling techniques trained on the thousands of species that had risen and fallen after the bothrians had withdrawn to the core. However, the Progenitors were committed to the preservation of life in all its forms, and they would act to protect the vailon species. They had constructed a special preserve on one of their planets, which they wished to populate with 10,000 vailons. This group would ensure that the species survived after the TUG collapsed. The bothrians would not forcibly abduct any vailons; they maintained their belief in self-determination as the first principle of sentience. If the vailons wanted to risk extermination, that was their right. They would have to decide in just seven days, however; when the time was up, the delegation would leave Tebazed no matter what the final decision was.

BothrianDemand.jpg

The Bothrian Progenitors made an extraordinary demand of the vailons.

Internal deliberations were fierce. The first decision was whether or not to reveal the demand to the public. Throughout history, vailon political institutions had adhered to strong norms of transparency; the open and deliberative nature of society precluded any concept of official government secrets. Telnik, however, was a leader for a new age. Competition and even conflict with alien civilizations had influenced his worldview, and he incorporated into his own governing philosophy many ideas – here, specifically, executive privilege – from other species. Telnik looked at political trends on Tebazed, including a movement away from rational objectivity and towards subjective ideology, and concluded that debating decisions in public would not lead to ideal outcomes. Instead, he shared the contents of the bothrians’ demands with only his inner circle advisors and a few key political leaders whom he believed could be trusted not to immediately go public with the information. This action occasioned the last wave of retirements and resignations of the old guard, those who were left over from Vakor’s time in office and still believed in a vision of open governance. The incumbent Director-General was not sorry to see them go; the entire apparatus of government was finally controlled by his own handpicked officials. He revealed the bothrian demands only to select leaders in the Assembly and the College, asking for their input and in doing so coopting them into keeping the deliberations private. Of the major factions, he only excluded the newly coalescing nationalists; their leaders would not hesitate to use this information to stoke tensions and gather more support behind themselves, and Telnik would not allow that to happen.

On the merits of the request itself, both Telnik’s advisors and the political leadership were split. Those in favor of honoring the bothrian demands argued that the bothrians, far superior in technology to the vailons, shouldn’t be refused lest the TUG invite their anger. A smaller group actually took the bothrians at their word; it wouldn’t hurt, they argued, to have a contingency plan to ensure the continuity of the species if catastrophe struck. Those against making a deal were aghast at the suggestion that the administration might capitulate. Vailons were not slaves; they entered into the political compact that was the Tebazed Unified Governance of their own free will, and nobody could be removed from the compact against their will. Moreover, there would be no negative consequences from the bothrians if the vailon administration declined the request. To emphasize this, they cited not only the delegation’s promise to allow the vailons to freely choose, but also the numerous times the bothrians had engaged with other species in a similar manner and not done anything in response to being rebuffed. As a rebuttal, those in favor of accepting pointed to other incidents in which states had agreed to the seemingly whimsical demands of the bothrians and were later on rewarded with riches or advanced technologies. The benefits of cooperation with the ancient empire, they pointed out, could be great.

Telnik himself was disposed to accept the proposal, primarily out of expediency; provoking the bothrians could lead to retaliation, however unlikely, which would definitely upset his plans. Telnik’s inclination was reinforced by the loudest voice arguing for accepting the demands: the Director of Labor, Galdrig den Piriam. Though she was much younger than other administration officials at her level, she had proven herself to be extremely capable, demonstrating a thoughtful, questioning outlook on processes implemented by her predecessors, and she consistently found creative ways to increase economic efficiency and productivity. Born in 211 in Muntadar, after graduating from her cohort [5] Piriam received a posting as an administrative assistant in the Consumption Section of the Science Directory, around the same time that Telnik was being promoted to lead the department. The two developed an unlikely rapport – Telnik was reserved and mistrustful of others, whereas Piriam was outgoing and brash, but the two shared a mutual respect for each other’s abilities. When Telnik ran for director-general, Piriam was a key advisor on his campaign, and within a few months of being selected, Telnik had found a role for Piriam as his Director of Labor, having ousted the aging Vagors. Piriam’s support for agreeing to the bothrians’ demands mirrored Telnik’s own instincts, and it very quickly became clear to the other advisors, and the leadership in the Assembly, which way this decision was going to go.

Telnik made the formal announcement a few days later, in a speech on the floor of the Assembly simultaneously broadcast to all Holonet receivers. Researchers estimated that 50% of the population, some 20 billion vailons, watched the broadcast live, a record for any event. In the speech, Telnik explained the demands made by the bothrians. Though they were given the opportunity to decline without any consequences, the director-general informed the audience, the administration did not wish to accidentally invite the wrath of the ancient empire, and so they would be accepting the demands. This did not mean, however, that any vailons would be forcibly removed from the TUG. Instead, he called for volunteers: 10,000 individuals who would voluntarily give up all ties in the TUG to go live in the territory set aside by the bothrians. With this concession, Telnik had won the grudging approval of a significant proportion of the political leadership, even among his erstwhile opponents. Most importantly, however, more than 12,000 vailons eventually volunteered for exile. A handful were devoted scientists, hoping to learn as much as possible from the Elder Race; some were disaffected citizens, unhappy with their place in the meritocracy; still others were inveterate wanderers, searching for the final resting place that vailon society seemed unable to offer them. Altogether, they volunteered in sufficient numbers to fulfill the demands of the Progenitors. When the bothrians departed, it was with the promise of future cooperation; there was even a hint of assistance to forestall the purportedly inevitable extinction. What to make of this promise, Telnik was uncertain; however, he had ensured that this still dangerous, if decadent, power would not interfere with his plans, and that was enough for the moment.

I call on 10,000 vailons, no less brave than those pioneers who first showed us the possibility of living amongst the stars, to make the sacrifice, to give up their position in the Governance and return to this preserve…

- Vabrig den Telnik, excerpted from his Address to the Assembly, May 26, 244

The Clans

Two years after the agreement with the bothrians, Telnik again faced a dilemma forced upon him by an external power. In late 245, rumors from the galactic rim began filtering in to the director-general’s office. The Qvefoz marauders were stirring once again on the southern border; one of the larger tribes, long-range scans suggested, was assembling a raiding fleet. A decade earlier, the TUG had allowed safe passage to a clan fleet planning to attack Mandasura Prime. This time, no such request would be forthcoming. Instead, in January, a representative of the tribes met with the leaders of the new colony of Firintarogga, on the border of clan territory. The marauder informed them that they were preparing for a raid on the vailon homeworld, which would with certainty overwhelm the TUG’s defenses and win plunder and prestige for the clan. He hinted, however, that the clan would be willing to skip the bloodletting altogether, if the TUG was able to offer sufficient tribute up front. After the meeting, the administrators, in a panic as Firintarogga sat directly astride the invasion route, immediately informed the metropole of the situation.

QvefozTribute.jpg

A Qvefoz clan attempted to extort the TUG in 246.

In the capital, Telnik took the news more calmly than anyone could have expected. For him, the calculation was very simple. Pay off the clan, or allow the marauders to conduct a raid that would be costly in vailon lives and treasure and likely result in an even greater loss of resources, derailing his plans for the future. Telnik fully intended to choose the former option. Most of his advisors agreed. The TUG had accumulated a large stockpile of raw minerals in the last five years, which they would be able to dip into for the tribute. The main objection they could foresee was of a practical nature: the Qvefoz were not known to be particularly trustworthy. They were a collection of bloodthirsty and decentralized tribes, not a unified polity likely to sign a formal treaty. However, they had maintained peace with their neighbors for nearly forty years, and they had followed through on an agreement with the TUG in the recent past. Xenoethnologists in the Science Directorate concurred with this view; according to their research, whatever the outside world might think of the Qvefoz, the clans considered themselves honorable. Reneging on an agreement when they had given their word would be considered deeply dishonorable and entail a significant loss of status for any clan that engaged in such behavior.

In stark contrast to the incident with the bothrians, the public was unaware of the impending raid, and Telnik felt no need to share the information with them. Panic would ensue, and there was no cause to allow that to happen since he was prepared to hand over the tribute that the clan demanded. Telnik did consult with several of the more discreet leaders in the Assembly, making a behind-the-scenes show of inclusion even though everybody involved knew exactly how much the MAs’ input was valued. Even before the Assembly had a chance to deliberate, Telnik had communicated his intention to the Qvefoz to hand over tribute in the form of 50 cargo ships, holds stuffed to capacity with a variety of raw minerals mined from the great ore veins of Hasar.

But the Director-General miscalculated, and word of the deal leaked. Immediately, individuals in the administration began casting blame on anyone they suspected might have been the source. Some of the more militant enthusiasts of executive power in Telnik’s inner circle pointed to the MAs who had been briefed on the demands. However, more sober-minded advisors, including Piriam, suggested that the various local officials and traders that comprised the backdoor diplomatic network with the tribes were the more likely culprits. Not that the source mattered; the public outcry that ensued was going to be massive no matter how the news spread. As with the controversy over mith-fell colonists at the beginning of Telnik’s term, the outrage was directed not so much at the decision itself (though plenty were mad about the capitulation) as at the process by which the decision was made. If vailon politics were no longer about public deliberation and mutual trust in debate and logic, what would they be about?

The scandal, for it could be called nothing less, did not dissuade Telnik from pursuing his chosen course of action. He was denounced for wasting precious resources (by the PPI, ever concerned with economic security), and for selling out vailon interests to hostile aliens (by the emergent nationalist faction), but the Director-General did not need to be responsive to their criticisms. He had no political base to keep happy; he was free to do essentially as he pleased. In this case, it was expediency that he prioritized. A large raid would have been a major disruption to his plans, in addition to being very costly in lives and resources. No announcement was made; in fact, Telnik refused ever to acknowledge the payment in public, even years after the fact. 50 cargo ships set out from Tebazed on January 18, en route to the border, and the horde was stayed. Though many individuals were incensed, eventually the anger faded, and the incident fell from the public consciousness.


Footnotes
[1] Always.
[2] The pair of ships did not in fact travel through mith-fell space to reach the border; instead they suddenly appeared in the Isius sytem near the hyperlane to Lyctabon. Analysts concluded that the ships were equipped with the technology to make jumps directly through the hyperspace stratum without needing to use the network of hyperlanes as a guide. Such jumps, while theorized by scientists, were far beyond the capabilities of contemporary vailon hyperdrives.
[3] Though the bothrians were very secretive about the actual capabilities of their navy, vailon naval analysts believed that the single escort outgunned the entire TUG fleet by a considerable amount.
[4] The delegates were particularly impressed with a dish from the remote southern coast of Mastadar, a whole roasted frostfish on a bed of violet and crimson tundra berries.
[5] Coincidentally, she was educated in the same cohort as the great admiral of the varelviv war, Sarim den Piriam, though 35 years after the esteemed commander.
 

Surt

Field Marshal
29 Badges
Jan 29, 2003
7.415
823
Visit site
  • Semper Fi
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • 500k Club
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Deus Vult
  • Crusader Kings II
As long as the Vailon doesn't have a bigger hammer, they have to pay, unfortunately the blackmailers have a tendency to come back.
 

Vilhelm

Stellaris Nerd
56 Badges
Jun 10, 2017
283
17
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Surviving Mars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Surviving Mars: Digital Deluxe Edition
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall Deluxe edition
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Surviving Mars: First Colony Edition
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
I like you how breathe so much political life into simple in-game events that simply require you to push a button with minimal consequences. Plus it puts a much better spin on the FE taking a pop event.
 

Macavity116

The First Stormbreaker
17 Badges
Mar 1, 2018
1.117
396
archiveofourown.org
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Stellaris: Lithoids
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
Agreed. This was a fascinating read.

I'm still a little shocked that two blackmail events occurred back to back. :eek: Those are some awful big bullets the Vailon are dodging.
 

Nikolai

Basileus Romaion
76 Badges
Jun 17, 2001
20.794
3.171
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Semper Fi
  • Sengoku
  • Supreme Ruler: Cold War
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Knight (pre-order)
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Stellaris: Nemesis
  • Divine Wind
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Magicka
  • March of the Eagles
As long as the Vailon doesn't have a bigger hammer, they have to pay, unfortunately the blackmailers have a tendency to come back.
True, but perhaps by then the Vailon is able to retaliate against the Marauders.
 
Interlude - Favors

eoncommander

First Lieutenant
27 Badges
Jul 18, 2018
285
224
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
Sno’s Hub commercial center
Urytry
Isius system, Mith-Fell Independent Commonwealth
March 10, 241


It was raining, not an unusual occurrence on Urytry. Bakrig den Polosch had taken cover under an awning when his communicator buzzed, but he was still getting dripped on, which was somehow worse than being out in the downpour. He had his mini-tablet out, transmitting the vidcall from his XO on the ship, but the water was giving the screen fits and it kept shorting out. The sound was coming through on the earpiece just fine, though this was small comfort to Bakrig. Seklir only had bad news to give.

“He called about an hour ago. They can’t deal either, said it would be a waste for us to make the trip out there.”

“What’s the excuse this time?” Bakrig asked.

“He said there’s no surplus for us, they slowed production this quarter, plus a few buyers unexpectedly purchased from them on the futures market. But he was lying, of course.” Of course. Bakrig had confirmed the factory was working a double shift just last week.

“Did you push him?”

“I called in all of our favors; he wouldn’t budge.”

“You reminded him about the New Rebrin thing?”

“I tried! He wouldn’t let me, the bastard.” Someone shouted at Seklir from off-screen; he turned around and shouted back that he was working on it. “Truthfully, that’s to his credit though,” he said, returning to Bakrig. “He told me to save it for another time.”

“He was always one of the good ones,” Bakrig said regretfully. They fell silent for a moment.

“We’re going to miss our quota, aren’t we?” Seklir asked.

“Probably.”

“It’s because of the war, isn’t it?”

“Yeah,” Bakrig agreed.

“Some of the crew are starting to worry. The younger ones, especially. They thought they had made it big, getting to work under you.”

“I’m not the only one who’s going to miss quota, if it’s this bad out here.”

“Yeah, but they don’t know that.”

Bakrig cursed. It wasn’t the crew’s fault that everything had dried up so fast. But they might start to be a problem if this continued. “Look, if we miss quota, we miss it. We’re not going to rot in a cell for it. I’m still meeting with Pit’tse’ar later, and we’ll see what she has for us.”

“Pit’tse’ar isn’t going to save us,” Seklir replied dubiously.

“No, she isn’t. But at least she’s taking the meeting. Maybe she’ll have some advice.”

“Or maybe the Bureau is using her to relay a message.”

The Security Bureau did like to play their games. It wouldn’t be the first time they used traders as back-door conduits to the TUG administration.

“We’ll find out soon enough. Keep the crew quiet until I get back.” Bakrig cut off the transmission.

The trader pushed up the hood of his cloak as he stepped back into the rain. Walking quickly, he emerged from the side street onto the main boulevard, where there was still a lot of foot traffic despite the rain. Mith-fell feathers were exceptional at whisking away water, a necessity on their rain-soaked homeworld; the only concession Bakrig’s fellow travelers would make to the storm was protective covering for the packages they were carrying. The few vailons in the crowd were easily distinguished by the oversized hoods they wore, needing to cover not just their heads but also their horns. Hissma, despite being partners in a grand federation with the mith-fell, were rare on Commonwealth worlds; having evolved in the desert climes of Hissom, the hissma found the waterlogged planets that the mith-fell preferred to be somewhat hostile to their existence. Pressing onward, Bakrig wandered the market streets, sampling wares and negotiating with merchants. The deals he was able to strike were small: twenty kilos of a silk-like material woven by the arachnids native to Urytry; three kilos of mith-fell spices, much prized on Varba; a half-ton of platinum ore. One merchant attempted to sell Bakrig authentic First League artifacts found at a dig site on Trunt IV, but the trader strongly suspected that the trinkets were actually of a recent vintage and manufactured probably not very far from where he stood negotiating with the seller. He arranged to have the purchases dropped off at his ship at the docks, knowing full well that the crew would be disheartened by the limited deliveries. But it was better than returning home empty-handed, which seemed possible given the lack of willing partners.

Scattered around the market were vailon-owned shops. These merchants were usually selling goods imported directly from the TUG, mostly commonly from the manufactories of Varba, just on the other side of the Isius-Lyctabon hyperlane that served as the border between the two empires. A thriving community of these expat traders had grown on Urytry in the last decade, pursuing a dream of wealth accumulation not available to them in the TUG. Several were friends, or at least acquaintances, of Bakrig, to whom he could talk and listen and gather information. Today, they had very little information to give – very little of use, anyway. They all shared quite similar stories of being approached by Bureau agents who suggested that it might be to their advantage if they built up a significant stockpile of their inventories in the coming weeks. These stories seemed to confirm Bakrig’s theory, which offered scant comfort to the trader.

Pit’tse’ar’s office was near the center of the commercial district; Bakrig’s meandering path was slowly taking him in the correct direction. He found himself a couple of blocks away from the building with still an hour left to kill, and he decided to stop for his midday meal. He ducked into a small café and sat in a booth near the window, looking out at the street and watching the rain and the crowd walk by. He ordered a plate of phuphu and ate it slowly, passing the time by making a mental inventory of mining outposts in the region to which they could pay a visit if he couldn’t close a deal with Pit’tse’ar. Bakrig found the dish, a mixture of raw and roasted vegetables originating from the southern continent of Urytry, delicious; he chatted with his server, asking about the chef’s inspiration. The server offered a vivid description of rolling hills and lush river valleys, explaining that he and the chef were among the first mith-fell born in the settler communities on the planet. They were themselves helping to define a native cuisine, and they were grateful for the appreciation by an offworlder, especially a vailon. Eventually, Bakrig paid and left, heading back into the storm, which had been at a steady downpour but somehow felt much worse for having dried off, to reach his destination.

In the lobby, he was recognized by the receptionist, or, more likely, by the security system that scanned everyone who came into the building. After briefly consulting with his terminal, the reception sent Bakrig right up; Pit’tse’ar had not cancelled the meeting in the last couple of hours as Bakrig might have expected, given his luck on this trip. Instead, she was waiting for him in a conference room with another mith-fell whom Bakrig had never met. She flapped her wings in a friendly greeting, and she motioned to the back of the room. Laid out beneath windows overlooking the commercial center and the ocean beyond was a buffet of food from across the Commonwealth. Such a gesture was not the norm among mith-fell hosting vailons, Bakrig had found, though Pit’tse’ar had always taken care to respect vailon customs when she interacted with them. She was more malleable than most; in a few cases, Bakrig was pretty sure she had adopted vailon habits herself. He made a small plate for himself and took it with him to the end of the table, where Pit’tse’ar and her colleague sat. Introductions were exchanged; Pit’tse’ar’s associate was Krr, a special advisor to the executive.

“Thank you for seeing me,” Bakrig began.

“Any time you’re planetside. My door is always open,” Pit’tse’ar replied.

“I’m feeling a little burned by people telling me that but not following through. So I’m grateful.”

Pit’tse’ar nodded, one of those vailon mannerisms she had adopted as her own. “I’m not surprised to hear that’s the case.” They were speaking Mithian; it was easier for Bakrig to mimic the whistles and clicks of the mith-fell tongue than it was for Pit’tse’ar, or any member of her species, for that matter, to recreate the guttural sounds used in Laggish.

“In the last month, lots of people I would have called friends have given me the brush-off or agreed to meet only to cancel later on.”

“You should know that I would never do that to a friend.” That was a lie, but a convenient one under the circumstances. Bakrig let it pass.

“Look, I want to be direct, and I don’t want to waste your time. I need to make my quota, and to do that I need to buy in bulk. I need to fill a single size three cargo hold; one of your prefab factories outputs enough products to fill that hold in an hour. Can we work something out?”

Pit’tse’ar’s wings fluttered apologetically. “I’m sorry. I wish I could give you a better answer.”

The loose knot of frustration in Bakrig’s chest tightened into a ball.

“We’ve had a huge increase in demand in the last few months,” Krr chimed in. “We’ve put most of our facilities on double shifts and still we can barely keep up. All of our production line for the remainder of the year have been fully pre-ordered.”

The trader did not like to be patronized. “People cancel orders all the time,” he pointed out, suppressing his annoyance. “Can I jump in on an orphaned shipment?”

“We started a waiting list,” Krr replied. “All orders are fully accounted for.”

“I’ll beat any offer by ten percent.”

“You know we can’t break our word to customers,” Pit’tse’ar said, with a hint of scolding in her voice.

“What if it were twenty percent, and you can have the pick of my cargo on my return trip?” Bakrig was desperate enough to offer the mith-fell a major concession.

“That’s not going to happen,” Krr emphasized, which earned him an irritated flap from Pit’tse’ar. She then turned back to the vailon.

“That was rude of my colleague. I apologize on his behalf.” Krr had the good graces, or the good sense, to look chagrined. “Your friendship is important to me,” Pit’tse’ar continued. “If it was at all in my power, I would help you in any way I could.”

That much Bakrig believed. They had met on one of his first supply runs during the war. She was just a plant manager then, but they had been introduced by a mutual acquaintance, a smuggler who vouched for her as a reliable source of goods. She had allowed Bakrig to buy a shipment of small arms off of the dock, which the vailons desperately needed as they stared down a potential invasion from the varelviv. Not that Pit’tse’ar was being altruistic at the time; Bakrig had later heard that a half-dozen shipments had been stolen from that particular warehouse. Pit’tse’ar’s had put her proceeds to use by building her own industrial empire, in whose headquarters they now sat.

But, powerful as she had become, she was unable to come to his aid today. Though expected, it was still disappointing; the final strand of hope had snapped. He stood up and walked to the windows, staring out at the vast waters that stretched out until it met the solid grey sky at the horizon. An old friend had once taught him a breathing exercise, something to use when the world seemed to spiral out of control. Bakrig had scoffed at the time, but in the years since had more than once found the technique helpful in calming his mind. He used it now, knowing that Pit’tse’ar would have the courtesy to wait him out. It came back to the trader that he had a second purpose for arranging the meeting, one which he could yet fulfill. He turned back to the mith-fell, still sitting at the table, though only one patiently. Deciding to be blunt, he asked, “The Bureau instructed you not to sell to any external buyers, didn’t they?”

Krr squawked and began to object, but Pit’tse’ar cut him off. “Any private buyer, in fact.”

Bakrig had guessed correctly. He perked up at this thought. “Is the war going that badly?”

“I don’t know,” Pit’tse’ar replied. “They’ve done a good job preventing the spread of any news, bad or otherwise, from the front.”

“But one can make an educated guess,” Bakrig said.

“Yes, one can.” The trader was unsure whether she did in fact know, through her contacts in the Commissariat, or if she was genuinely telling him the truth.

“They’ve hit everyone I know, and presumably everyone I don’t, too. Some of them make paper products. Some of them make textiles,” Bakrig pointed out. “Why does the Bureau think these industries are crucial to the war effort?”

“This I can answer. The government will buy just above cost and sell at the market rate, keeping the profit for themselves. In times of emergency, we have often found that direct control is easier to maintain than attempting to levy harsh taxes.”

Bakrig suspected that the Commissariat was actually acting on the instincts of all militaries everywhere. No matter the nature of the mission, there was always an institutional imperative towards direct control of resources. But there was no reason to contradict his host. Regardless, the Intelligence Directorate would find it interesting.

“So there’s nothing I can do?” Bakrig asked, returning to his primary concern. He was resigned to returning with an empty hold, but it couldn’t hurt to ask one more time.

“I didn’t say that,” Pit’tse’ar responded. Krr squawked and ruffled his feathers again, but he didn’t say anything. Pit’tse’ar continued: “I can give you a name. I can’t tell you where he works, but I will tell you that he can assist in getting you a government contract.”

This was old smuggler code for a contact inside the government, usually looking to place a semi-official order for goods unavailable on the local market. Bakrig had worked extensively on the other side of that type of arrangement during the varelviv war, finding mith-fell traders willing to export military hardware to the TUG. He may not be able to go home with a full hold, but he would have ready cash and what would likely be a very long list of products to acquire on behalf of the Commissariat. “I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with him,” Bakrig said, attempting to conceal the relief that flushed through his body.

“My friend typically prefers to work with other mith-fell,” Pit’tse’ar explained. “Not as an issue of discrimination, you understand, but as a matter of internal security. When he came to me, I told him you were reliable and trustworthy, and that you would be an effective partner. I hope that remains the case.”

During the varelviv war, there were a few notorious instances of traders taking information they received from the TUG, and either trading against it or selling it to the VIS. “You know I’ve worn his horns before,” Bakrig replied, accidentally slipping into a Laggish idiom. “I wouldn’t renege on a contract.”

“Good. I’m risking some credibility here. Don’t throw it away.”

“I won’t,” Bakrig assured her.

They ended there, Pit’tse’ar having to rush off to another meeting. She left Krr behind to provide the contact information to Bakrig. Krr handed over a slip of paper with a name and number handwritten on it. This was an indication of the desire for secrecy in this matter, which the trader respected. Krr, on the other hand, indicated that he did not respect Bakrig. As he handed over the note, he said, “I was against making this approach, but I was overruled. If you screw us, you’ll regret it.”

This probably revealed more than Krr intended. The ‘us’ that Krr was referring to was the Bureau, the vailon was certain, which meant that they were embedding agents directly within private corporations. A troubling sign, he thought, making a mental note of the threat for his report to Intelligence. There was nothing to say in response, so Bakrig said nothing, accepting the note in silence. Krr then escorted him back to the elevators before parting.

It was still raining when Bakrig stepped back onto the street, but he didn’t really mind anymore. He began the walk back to his ship, ready to give the good news to his crew.
 

eoncommander

First Lieutenant
27 Badges
Jul 18, 2018
285
224
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
Nice story you got here, I love what you've done with world-building and such!

I like you how breathe so much political life into simple in-game events that simply require you to push a button with minimal consequences. Plus it puts a much better spin on the FE taking a pop event.

Agreed. This was a fascinating read.

I'm still a little shocked that two blackmail events occurred back to back. :eek: Those are some awful big bullets the Vailon are dodging.

Thank you thank you thank you! I was shocked too, and somewhat annoyed, but we make the best of what we can.

As long as the Vailon doesn't have a bigger hammer, they have to pay, unfortunately the blackmailers have a tendency to come back.

True, but perhaps by then the Vailon is able to retaliate against the Marauders.

Here's hoping they leave me to my own devices for a while yet.
 

YoshioPP

Private
15 Badges
Sep 23, 2019
13
0
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Knights of Pen and Paper +1 Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
Aw dang this is good! Love the detailed debates on how to respond to the events. You add alot of little things that are really cool, especially in the post with the trader.
 

eoncommander

First Lieutenant
27 Badges
Jul 18, 2018
285
224
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
Hello everyone! Sorry I've been away for so long. I have been writing, but only very slowly. Good news is, I've been able to play and plan ahead, so I've got six or seven chapters lined up now. I should be able to post the next installment by the end of the weekend. After that, the pace of updates should pick up somewhat.

Aw dang this is good! Love the detailed debates on how to respond to the events. You add alot of little things that are really cool, especially in the post with the trader.

Thank you!
 
Chapter Eleven – Consultations with an Admiral -- Part I

eoncommander

First Lieutenant
27 Badges
Jul 18, 2018
285
224
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
Office of the Director-General
CONFIDENTIAL
INTERNAL USE ONLY
DO NOT SHARE

September 25, 248
Meeting Summary re: Adm Piriam
Principals: Director-General Vabrig den Telnik
Admiral Sarim den Piriam
Director Galdrig den Piriam​
Agenda: Varelviv, long-term strategy
Interstellar situation
Domestic preparations​
Notes:
  • Adm Piriam in office with aide Cmdr Hullos
  • Explained intention to prevent the VIS from threatening vailons. Slaving raids growing in size and strength as truce approached end. In order to end substantial threat to vital interests, invasion and eventual regime change necessary
  • Pushback from Cmdr Hullos, who was extremely resistant to idea of aggressive war. Adm Piriam remained quiet as aide attacked plans for being “irresponsible” and “contrary to all reasonable analysis.” This dynamic repeated throughout meeting
  • Presentation detailed astro-strategic position: we are shielded from most threats by powerful mith-fell-hissma alliance, but have no long-term allies. The Commonwealth is regional hegemon, but leadership in the Commissariat not prepared to consider regional stability a vital interest of the state. TUG must be responsible for own security. Only way to ensure safety of people is to preempt threat
  • Cmdr Hullos strongly objected. “Reckless” war likely to lead to substantial casualties. Points to numerous wars around the galaxy for support. Mith-fell total war with saathids went poorly; economy flagged and one colony was captured, resulting in the mass murder of millions of beings. Favorable Entente attacked from all directions, with billions dead from planets captured by djunn. Avarrian fanatics have been making aggressive moves against our commerce and publicly broadcasting threats to our citizenry
    • Pessimism was anticipated; Cmdr Hullos well-known for caution and hesitation when bold action called for. Additionally, Cmdr unaware of continued, fruitful negotiations with cyggans, moving in the direction of a formal alliance. When agreement is finalized, will have partner that will come to our defense should we be attacked. Offers security for us to project power. Obviates concerns about threats. Explained this dynamic in detail.
  • At this point Adm Piriam joined conversation, echoing his aide’s caution. Very recently turned 70, displayed no outward sign of declining faculties. Could simply be a healthy mind and body; or could be evidence of long-rumored ‘anti-aging’ drug regimen. Regardless, force of personality shone through.
  • Meeting devolved into extended exchange over dangers of strategic planning without clear concept of military feasibility. Adm Piriam argued that political goals should be subordinate to strategic planning, instead of other way around. It was a testy conversation, one not much welcome on our end: we invited the admiral in to explain the plan to him, not to have him – or his aide – question it at each turn. Director-General, very generously, acknowledged Adm Piriam’s argument, but insisted that the decision lay with him and had been made already.
  • Meeting wrapped up with discussion of preparations necessary for waging of war. Adm Piriam needs time to develop formal plans, which we of course allowed him. Naval construction proceeding as expected, on track to reach a fleet size of 40 warships by the end of the decade. Expansion of Starbase Con Viab set to begin within weeks. Completion of expanded facilities and additional weapon platforms will ensure core systems are safe from invasion. Agreed with Adm Piriam to coordinate operational planning with Naval Staff in coming months.
 
Chapter Eleven – Consultations with an Admiral -- Part II

eoncommander

First Lieutenant
27 Badges
Jul 18, 2018
285
224
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
Log entry re: strategic planning session, December 1, 249

Met with Admiral Piriam and Commander Hullos today. They had just returned from a simulated naval exercise at Starbase Tebza. The results, apparently, were not good for our strategic planning. In the ten-year simulation, our forces managed to win every battle, but never even threatened the enemy’s core systems! Piriam told us he observed the entire exercise; he assured us that his fleet commanders really did attempt to execute the mission, but they were constantly stymied by swift counterattacks. One OpFor fleet would draw away our force, while another would recapture lost outposts. A frustrating experience, we were told, but an illuminating one. It seems more likely to me that the admiral was attempting to spin a disastrous performance by his personal staff, who were leading the Blue Team for the exercise. I’ve met our OpFor commanders – they are incredibly arrogant, to be sure, but for good reason. The Red Team seems to have run circles around Piriam’s team; maybe they should be promoted in his place. Of course, that’s not really serious – there are very good reasons to keep the admiral around – but I feel like his staff could learn a lot from a training class led by this group.

The commander presented an alternative plan: instead of delivering a hammer blow, our fleet should be split into two task forces, one of which would capture outposts in the border sector while the other would screen any attempted counterattacks. This would be followed by a combined push on Viverva. The admiral claimed this to be the safer, more prudent course of action, but I am pretty skeptical. The assessment that Intelligence put together was unequivocal: the technology gap, the thing that staved off invasion last time around, has only widened in the last decade. The varelviv navy may still outnumber our fleet, but they continue to rely on missiles, which we know how to exploit. The new destroyers coming off the line are equipped with the most advanced point defense systems in the galaxy. Piriam’s attitude is incredibly frustrating. Our fleet can and should find the varelviv fleet and annihilate it, and then immediately attack their homeworld. There shouldn’t be a need to waste time. A direct strike on the capital will force the Overlord to come to terms with a minimum of civilian casualties.

A real victory, a total victory, the admiral pointed out, probably requires occupying Viverva with ground forces; we were able to agree on that much. But we differed, once again, on the feasibility. I believe a quick strike to seize the Vagghra Palace and capture Spagruum will allow us to set up a new government more responsive to the varelvivi and put an end to the injustices of slavery. He believes that only a protracted ground campaign will allow us to overthrow the regime and install a friendly government, and only one likely to meet with little support from the populace. I pointed to the massive flows of sathori refugees, fleeing from the advance of the genocidal djunn, as proof that we need to fight for liberty wherever we can; he pointed to the inflow as an example of the only way to ensure a successful regime change, by simply ousting or killing the native population. We were left at an impasse, which Telnik broke, speaking up for the first time during the meeting. He acknowledged that Piriam may be right, but then undercut the admiral by informing him of the new Army Staff which would be handling the planning for the invasion. Piriam was furious, but we were prepared to accept that. It was time to shave back his horns a little bit. There were, once again, no outward signs of drug abuse, but his addiction is pretty much an open secret by now. There are even rumors that he is seeking additional alternative medical care, that the anti-aging regimen was actually making him sick, though nothing is for certain. Regardless, we had decided to take away some of his responsibilities – and there was little reason for a fleet admiral to be in charge of ground armies anyway. For political reasons we cannot fire him altogether, much as we might like to. The hero of the Varelviv War commands a lot of support in the Assembly and the citizenry. More to the point, he is still highly respected within the Unified Navy, and appointing a new admiral would be dangerous for morale. So he gets to stay.

The rest of the meeting covered various logistical concerns in the preparation for the war. For the last few years, Galdrig den Piriam, in his role as Director of Labor, has been prioritizing wealth creation over cultural endeavors in making postings, ensuring that the necessary resources will be available to fuel the war effort. Superfluous expenditures have been reduced, including allowing our arrangement with the Curator Order to lapse. The expansion of Starbase Con Viab is well underway, and the engineering team expects it to be completed within a year. Unfortunately, the project has required a sizeable proportion of our advanced alloy production, and it has gone over budget in that department. This has resulted in a shortage at the major shipyards, slowing naval construction. The admiral expressed concern about this; only 30 ships are currently available for combat, and only a few more have been laid down. Naval planning had called for 40 ships to be available by the end of the decade. It may not be ideal, but we all agreed that it would still be enough to defeat varelviv fleets. We reviewed topline economic numbers as well. The admiral was primarily concerned with the extremely high consumption of energy – the economy is already running at a deficit, and it would grow worse once the fleet got underway. The data also showed a significant surplus of raw, unprocessed metal ores, which we expect to dip into in order to make up the shortfall. We are also set to announce a new policy priority in postings, emphasizing expanding the workforce in the colonies. We concluded by scheduling monthly planning sessions for the principals, to ensure our continued preparations were effective.
 
Chapter Eleven – Consultations with an Admiral -- Part III

eoncommander

First Lieutenant
27 Badges
Jul 18, 2018
285
224
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
Personal journal, subj: touring the fleet with Admiral Piriam, September 1, 250

I joined Admiral Piriam on an inspection tour of Task Force Mirasma this morning. The fleet just completed a two-week maintenance cycle after six months of intensive exercises. They are now undergoing final preparations to depart for the staging point near Starbase Con Viab. This will be the last time I see the Admiral or his staff before the war, and presumably for years after it begins. I am more melancholy than I would have guessed, given our contentious working relationship over the last few years. We disagreed, often vehemently, on the pursuit of war, and many things resulting from that decision. There was more than one occasion when I tried to get him fired, but the Director-General, much to his credit, overruled me every time. But the Admiral is, at the very least, a very capable naval commander, with the tactical acumen to outwit any enemy he encounters, a fact he proved numerous times with his exemplary service during the first Varelviv War. To win this second war, we will need vailons of his ability.

Commander Hullos greeted me as I disembarked my shuttle aboard the flagship. Her demeanor was icy, as was mine. I do wonder if this was a deliberate move by the Admiral, to put me off-balance. If so, it definitely worked. However much we disagreed, Piriam himself has always been civil, courteous, and professional. Hullos has very often been extremely direct and discourteous during our meetings. I think she views the world with a deeply conservative, or even paranoid, outlook, and does not have that fundamental trust of others that is so deeply embedded in our psyches. I would not want her anywhere near command; her judgment is so faulty that I fear disaster if that ever comes to pass. Unfortunately, Telnik believes it is important for administrators to be able to pick their own staff, and that extends to flag officers. The Admiral seems to trust Hullos, and so we are stuck with our mutual antipathy.

I toured the gun deck and the bridge with the Admiral. He spent most of our conversation extensively praising the crew. They largely ignored us as we explored the decks, continuing their work prepping the ship to get underway. It was inspiring, after a fashion, seeing these vailons who had volunteered their lives so that others would not have to. Some of the older crewmembers were veterans of the last war; others were fresh-furred and only recently out of their cohorts. I felt my confidence growing as we toured the ship; I hadn’t even really been fully aware of the anxieties that were being dispelled.

The Admiral did not share my renewed confidence, he told me as we shared my shuttle on our way to Naval Command on Starbase Tebza. This is not a war likely to go as you think, he said. I asked what he meant; he replied that space is big, that the varelviv supply lines will be much shorter than our own, that our single fleet, no matter how severe a beating it inflicts on the enemy, cannot be in two places at once, whereas the VIS has enough ships to be in three places at the same time. Most of all, he accused the administration of dramatically underestimating the scale of the task in front of us. The political apparatus surrounding Overlord Spagruum was more robust than we gave it credit for. Piriam was an amateur historian, a rare enough hobby to have; his chosen field was, conveniently enough, comparative political philosophy. According to him, slavery and autocracy have deep roots in varelviv culture, much as meritocracy does in ours. Most varelviv are probably content with their lives, and do not want hostile aliens to come and destroy everything they know. Such a project, I was told, would require an extended campaign, both in physical and metaphysical terms. An army of occupation would be needed to root out all resistance, probably in place for many years, with the attending collateral damage and engendered mistrust with the local population; and a species-wide, decades-long educational campaign will convince the varelvivi of the evils of slavery. I joked, somewhat darkly, that he was talking about mass indoctrination, and he acknowledged that I was precisely correct! That this was the fundamental problem with “The Plan”. Telnik, in his hubris, has no understanding that his radical solution necessarily implied radical methods.

I was somewhat shocked by this open and harsh criticism on the eve of war. I think the Admiral means well; that he sincerely believes the plan is fatally flawed. But it seems to me that he’s lost touch with rationality a bit. Of course the varelvivi masses – certainly the portions of the population that are enslaved, at least – want to overthrow the emperor and the systems of oppression built up around him. Only brutal suppression of dissent prevents their voices from being heard. It is the inevitable course of events that despotic regimes look invulnerable, right up until the moment someone gives it a shove, and the people rise up in revolt. I accept the notion that they would not wish for aliens to rule them in place of the imperial overlord, of course, but that is not our intentions at all! All we want is to help set them on the right course. The Admiral does not see this eventuality.

I did not raise these points with Piriam on the shuttle; it seemed unwise, or perhaps unbecoming, to debate a point I had already won. The decision to go to war had already been made. Piriam could not change that now; pushing back against him would only be gratuitous. So I let him make his points, shed the extra layer from his horns; he would need to be sharp for the upcoming conflict. At Naval Command, we had a final briefing on fleet readiness – everything was up to spec and on schedule - in the conference room overlooking the two-tiered command deck. Afterwards, we met the watch commander, who gave us a quick tour of the facility. The Admiral, obviously, has been there many times, so it was really a tour for me; either I or someone else in my position would be spending a lot of time here in the future, serving as a liaison to the Naval Staff and the fleet during wartime. We watched a demonstration of the recently installed real-time holographic displays, which I think is more intended to impress me as a civilian rather than be actually useful in communicating information. And then, we were done. He walked with me back to my shuttle, where we parted – the admiral was remaining at HQ to do his last briefing with the Naval Staff before the fleet set out. I offered him both congratulations and luck in the coming conflict, and he did the same to me. We shook hands, as a final sign of respect; his hands were shaking, hard to see beneath his extensive fur but obvious with physical contact. I mentioned this to Telnik upon my return to Sedrin; he was not much impressed by my deduction that Piriam was experiencing serious drawbacks to his rumored drug regimen. His mind is still exceptionally quick, and that is all that matters to the DG. Filing this away for future reference.
 

slothinator

Major
52 Badges
Oct 20, 2016
712
432
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Victoria 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome Gold
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
I've just finished going through the whole story and I'm really impressed! I love the way you've managed to detail the culture down to Vailon-specific idioms. I'm also a big fan of the more narrative sections with some really compelling characters!
I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen with the upcoming war and especially with Telnik's dismissal of conventional Vailon structures. Who knows, maybe the war will require some emergency powers to be thrust upon the director general.
 
Chapter Twelve - The Second Varelviv War

eoncommander

First Lieutenant
27 Badges
Jul 18, 2018
285
224
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
DOWSecondVISWar.jpg

Director-General Telnik’s plan in action.

A Grand Adventure

The TUG plunged itself into war on September 12, 251. In the previous several years, the administration had attempted to assemble a coalition for its operations, billing their aggressive action to other regional powers as a proactive anti-slavery campaign. Throughout the 240s, this approach had led to deepening cooperation with the cyggans, who were themselves frequent targets of varelviv slave raids. Though the TUG’s strategic planning was underpinned by the assumption that the cyggans would not agree to a full alliance, Director-General Telnik hoped that the emperor Slugradeb would recognize the opportunity presented to him and launch a coordinated invasion of the VIS. His hopes were dashed when the emperor announced a renewed war with the Seban Commonwealth in February 249. The cyggans had been at war with the sebans for most of Slugradeb’s long reign, and as he neared the end, he wished to prove his worth in combat once more. [1] His foreign ministry was apologetic, but they were mere advisors to the unitary authority embedded in the person of the emperor. They were instead only able to offer the TUG stronger cooperation agreements in the form of scientific knowledge-sharing and very favorable terms for bilateral trade opportunities. This was a poor substitute for a full alliance, but the Director-General appreciated the gesture nonetheless. Any assistance, even tacit, for the coming war would be welcomed.

The administration, recognizing its inability to find a partner for the invasion of varelviv space, began to look further afield for diplomatic arrangements. Though some species were receptive to the vailon overtures, none were yet willing to support the TUG in their war efforts. Telnik still hoped for a strategic alliance with the cyggans, though he recognized that this may have to wait for a new emperor to take the throne on Cyggia. Thinking of long-term goals, the director-general began to focus diplomatic efforts on regimes that would be amenable to cooperation with both the vailons and the cyggans. A likely candidate was the Pithok Confederacy, holding numerous star systems due west of the galactic core and sharing a hostile border with the sebans. The pithoks hailed from the densely jungled Thokkia. The society of the arthropoid species was structured around units known as “families” – nomadic clans comprised of millions of individuals, which could generally trace their lineages back millenia, to the earliest proto-societies. Each family functioned as an autonomous political entity, developing their own cultures and engaging in intense competition for status. Over time, a small number of families were able to consolidate wealth and power; though they still competed amongst themselves for primacy, they had largely been able to exclude other families from rising in the ranks for several centuries. The Aspinaca family currently held power, having successfully put their own candidate into the position of High Commissioner. Xybber Aspinaca was a willing servant, seeking to expand pithok hegemony in the quadrant in order to feed the extensive factories of the Aspinaca economic empire. In this, Telnik saw an opportunity, opening negotiations with the High Commissioner on the potential for future cooperation. The pithok leader was encouraging but noncommittal; the delegation left Thokkia with the belief that a show of good faith towards the pithoks would dispose them to treat favorably with the TUG in the future. While this offered little help to Telnik with the immediate prospect of war, he recognized the need for the vailons to forge deeper diplomatic ties across the galaxy. On May 7, 250, the administration issued a formal announcement that the TUG would provide material support to the Pithok Confederacy, in the event of unprovoked hostilities against the arthropoids. This was received favorable on Thokkia, and the ruling family transmitted promises of future agreements via their permanent embassy on Tebazed.

On December 1, 250, the long-awaited upgrades to Starbase Con Viab were completed, turning the station into the strongest defensive bastion in the quadrant, aside from those rumored to exist inside the borders of the Chroniclers deep in the galactic core. By mid-year 251, Task Force Mirasma was in place to begin its invasion of varelviv space. Everything was ready for the plan to proceed, save for Telnik’s own confidence. The director-general was engaged in frantic negotiations with the Commonwealth, seeking to draw them into the impending war. He already had the agreement of the hissma to provide material support; now he simply had to convince the mith-fell to aid the vailons as well in order to bring the full might of the federation fleet into play against the varelviv. The mith-fell had no reason to love the slavers themselves, having been the targets of the Great Raid of 223; moreover, the militant crusaders for democracy believed in using their might to bring liberty to all individuals across the galaxy. However, the Commissariat was still licking its wounds after a disastrous preemptive war of its own with the saathids. Instead of cutting down the threat, the Commonwealth Navy was forced to fall back, losing contact with a colony on the border between the two empires. The fate of the mith-fell on the colony was unknown, but one could only guess at the horrors which they must have endured at the hands of the genocidal saathids. It was not a time for the Commonwealth to return to a war footing, and the Commissary-General was hesitating to even offer implicit backing for “this grand adventure of yours”, as he termed it in one communication with Telnik. The vailon persisted in his entreaties, but to no avail; the mith-fell refused to budge over the course of three months and numerous high-level negotiating sessions. Telnik eventually realized that his efforts were futile, and in September he unilaterally set in motion his war to end the varelviv threat.

I do not believe you will find any support among the mith-fell populace for this grand adventure of yours. We may respect your intentions, but this does not seem a promising course of action to us…

- Commissary-General Plume of Khaki, excerpt from letter transmitted to Director-General Telnik, July 23, 251

The war began with a major success. The TUG had achieved complete strategic surprise; Task Force Mirasma entered VIS space unopposed and was able to operate for several months before the varelviv fleet eventually made its presence known. After pushing through Ushminaria, the task force bore down on its first major target, Starbase Bihjall, the site of a strategic blunder by the esteemed Admiral Piriam in the previous war; its defenses were disabled and it was occupied by vailon marines within the first two months of the war. Command and control specialists moved in quickly and set up a forward operating base on the starbase, turning it into a major staging area for the early period of the war. By the end of the year, logistical lines of support were set up, and the task force set out to secure the surrounding star systems. Over the course of the next twelve months, the fleet seized Veyer, a dead-end system just outside the spiral arm, and then Arrakis, up-spiral from Bihjall. In April of 253, the varelviv finally counterattacked, with an assault on the TUG position at Arrakis. The two VIS fleets involved mistimed their attacks, one arriving in-system several weeks before the other; Mirasma dispatched this first wave with ease, destroying fourteen ships, including one destroyer, for the loss of only two corvettes; however, moderate damage to most of the other ships necessitated a retreat in the face of the second wave. Admiral Piriam pushed his ships’ engines to the max, racing to reach the safety of Con Viab, at points mere hours ahead of the chasing VIS fleet. Aided by a delay to retake the outpost at Ushminaria, the task force reached Starbase Con Viab, ahead of the varelvivi and relatively unscathed, in April 254.

20190824181341_1.jpg

The First Battle of Arrakis confirmed vailon intelligence reports about the relative powers of the two fleets.

Losses

The tactical retreat by the fleet necessitated a temporary withdrawal from Bihjall. The fleet left behind a legion of marines, with instructions to fortify the station and hold out until the task force could relieve them. Though the VIS fleet did manage to disable the starbase’s defenses while the vailons undertook repairs, they were only able to seize portions of the station’s interiors before the task force returned in December to relieve the siege. After a hard-fought battle against the larger blockading fleet, TF Mirasma regained control of the system, taking heavy casualties but inflicting still greater punishment on the varelvivi. Over the next five years, the fleet would maintain its forward base at the starbase, as Piriam attempted to execute his mandate and consolidate control over the cluster, territory which had been surrendered to the varelviv in the previous conflict. Most of 255 was spent conducting repairs and reinforcing the fleet. The industrial sector was on a war footing, and the replenishment rate for ships began to outstrip the rate of losses in battle. The Naval Staff predicted that the TUG fleet would begin to outnumber their adversaries in combat soon. This prediction was borne out in a second engagement near Arrakis, where TF Mirasma soundly defeated a similarly sized VIS force.

Signs of a downturn in fortune were beginning to appear, however. Disturbing rumors reached Telnik’s desk across 255 and 256 about Admiral Piriam’s condition, suggesting that the war hero had seen a rapid decline in mental and physical abilities. Though all reports from the Naval Staff denied the rumors, the seemingly lethargic performance of the task force under Piriam's command provided at least anecdotal evidence. By the end of 256, five years into the war, only Veyer, Bihjall, and Arrakis were in vailon hands. The VIS still held the remainder of the cluster, and the fleet had been unable to put any pressure on the varelviv core worlds beyond. Telnik, concerned about the conduct of the war, attempted to find out the truth of the matter, first via official channels, and later by sending aides to have informal discussions with sub-flag officers posted to the Naval Staff. He also assigned some linguists in the Sociology section of the Science Directory to study Piriam’s messages back to headquarters on Starbase Tebza. While none of these avenues offered concrete evidence or firsthand knowledge, in total they all seemed to point to the admiral’s increasing frailty and inability to perform the job of commander of the fleet.

Matters came to a head in early 257. While in Sedrin, Telnik prepared to force the Admiral to retire, even in the face of stern political opposition, at the front a VIS fleet was detected transiting the Prothon system. The varelviv were preparing another counterattack at Arrakis. The attacking force were split into three waves; once again a failure of coordination allowed TF Mirasma to engage with smaller groups separate from the main fleet. In the first two engagements of the Third Battle of Arrakis, the task force was able to pick off several corvettes, giving the vailons an advantage in numbers for the main engagement, which occurred on April 17. With more ships, and more effective ships, this should have proved to be an easy fight. For Admiral Piriam, it instead proved to be the end of a long and distinguished career. Afterwards, different theories about the cause were bandied about; some believed that Piriam’s age finally caught up with him and overwhelmed the effects of the drugs, while others suggested that his supply of drugs had been disrupted and he was going through an intense withdrawal. Regardless of the particular cause, when a glancing blow from a coilgun rattled the ship, something snapped between the admiral’s horns. The official report from the captain of the flagship stated that the Admiral became unresponsive, refusing (or unable) to acknowledge anyone speaking to him, simply standing on the bridge and not saying a word. After a few minutes of chaos, Vice Admiral Valdrig den Hullos, commanding Squadron Two of the task force, declared Admiral Piriam to be incapacitated and therefore relieved of duty; Admiral Hullos herself took overall command of Mirasma for the remainder of the battle. The fleet was lucky not to suffer too badly from the loss of its commander; for the several minutes when nobody was in command, fleet cohesion broke apart and three varelviv ships made it inside the vailon formation, causing heavy damage to one corvette and moderate damage to several others, but the hole was plugged quickly once Hullos took charge and the remainder of the enemy fleet was driven off. In the end, TF Mirasma only lost the one ship, destroying eleven VIS ships during the day, but the greater loss by far was the esteemed Admiral, who did not recover from his fugue state for several days after the battle. When he woke up and learned of his actions, he gracefully accepted retirement, allowing his former aide Hullos to take over the post of Admiral of the Fleet.

20190902231840_1.jpg

The Third Battle of Arrakis was a bittersweet victory for the vailon task force.

Admiral Hullos had a reputation for caution, one she very nearly obliterated with her quick thinking during the Third Battle of Arrakis. It reemerged rapidly in the aftermath. Having long been a dissident against the war planning of the administration, she wanted to regroup at Starbase Bihjall and reevaluate the TUG’s options in the war. To her, it was clear that the vailons were, if not losing, then certainly not winning either. As she had predicted before the war on numerous occasions, one task force, however much stronger than the VIS forces it was, had been unable to consolidate control over the cluster and ward off counterattacks at the same time. Instead of pursuing such a foolhardy idea, Hullos proposed retreating all the way to the Con Viab bastion and patiently replaying the strategy from the previous war. They could trade space for time, and use the time to continue the naval construction program. Within a few years, the TUG fleet would outnumber the VIS fleet in addition to outgunning them, and the fleet could split into two task forces – the stronger of which would seek out and destroy the varelviv fleets while the weaker would seize lightly defended outposts.

While this plan had its proponents in Telnik’s inner circle, the Director-General himself and those closest to him vehemently opposed it. The VIS had clearly been surprised by the invasion, and the current strategy had kept them off-balance so far. The lack of coordination displayed by the varelviv had led to several easy victories for the vailon forces in the first years of the war. The admiral’s ideas were not completed dismissed; Telnik believed that the forces on hand in 257/8 were enough to execute the strategy. He ordered a detachment of ships to be split off from the main fleet and form Task Force Kampas, whose command he gave to Admiral Hullos, sidelining her from future involvement in the major events. He promoted an ally from the Naval Board, Modrig den Harak, to take command of the main fleet. Under Harak, TF Mirasma would be tasked with driving on Viverva and drawing varelviv attention, and most importantly, fleets, away from the smaller task force, so that it could capture the outlying star systems in the border region. This plan appeared to be working through 258; by the end of the year, TF Mirasma had taken Prothon, defeating several small detachments in the process, and blockaded the only hyperlane route to the front from the VIS home cluster, while TF Kampas was nearing the former TUG outpost at Turim, which was expected to be retaken with minimal effort.

But in 259, the first truly organized resistance from the VIS navy made its presence known. Two large fleets, no more than a day apart, were detected en route to Prothon. Harak withdrew his fleet to Starbase Bihjall, where he planned to make a stand backed by the guns of the station. The varelviv fleets combined, and, outnumbering Mirasma by 50%, bore in on the fleet’s position in orbit of the star. A fierce battle ensued; the vailons inflicted significant damage on the varelvivi ships, but in the end the weight of numbers was telling, and Harak was forced to retreat, lest the entire task force be overwhelmed by the assault. The starbase itself held out for a few months, but this time no reinforcements were in the region, and the command center finally fell in February 260. Eight-plus years of hard work, winning nearly every battle, had left the TUG in the same position in which it had started.


Footnotes
[1] That the emperor himself would never go near a battle was no sticking point for the propaganda machine on Cyggia.
[2] At the outset of the Second Battle of Bihjall, TF Mirasma stood at 32 ships strong, eight destroyers and 24 corvettes. It attacked a VIS fleet of twelve destroyers and 27 corvettes. The vailons were able to destroy fourteen enemy ships, losing only nine of their own, before forcing the defenders to retreat.
[3] This will be elaborated upon in a subsequent chapter.
[4] Telnik offered to keep the old admiral on as a member of the College and an informal advisor to the Navy Board, but Piriam declined, preferring the quiet of obscurity to live out his days. He died five years later, largely a forgotten figure, though later historians would resurrect his legacy.
[5] In five days of near-continuous combat before being forced to retreat, TF Mirasma lost three destroyers and ten corvettes, while the VIS fleet lost a total of four destroyers and nine corvettes in the two phases of the battle.
 
Last edited:

eoncommander

First Lieutenant
27 Badges
Jul 18, 2018
285
224
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis 4: Emperor
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
I've just finished going through the whole story and I'm really impressed! I love the way you've managed to detail the culture down to Vailon-specific idioms. I'm also a big fan of the more narrative sections with some really compelling characters!
I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen with the upcoming war and especially with Telnik's dismissal of conventional Vailon structures. Who knows, maybe the war will require some emergency powers to be thrust upon the director general.

Thank you! If the war keeps going like this, we are more likely to see a vote of no confidence rather than a strengthening of the executive.

The war is going to be covered in three installments, the first of which you have in your hands - in front of your eyes, I guess - now. The next installment will cover developments on the home front, and then we will wrap up with chapter fourteen covering the end of the war and its aftermath.
 

slothinator

Major
52 Badges
Oct 20, 2016
712
432
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Stellaris - Path to Destruction bundle
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris: Synthetic Dawn
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
  • Stellaris: Humanoids Species Pack
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Distant Stars
  • Europa Universalis IV: Dharma
  • Stellaris: Megacorp
  • Crusader Kings II: Holy Fury
  • Europa Universalis IV: Golden Century
  • Imperator: Rome
  • Imperator: Rome Sign Up
  • Stellaris: Ancient Relics
  • Stellaris: Federations
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings III: Royal Edition
  • Victoria 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome Gold
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
At least this time the war is being fought in VIS and not vailon space. Although at the moment it feels a lot like Hannibal in Italy, hopefully it will end better in this case!
A shame about Piriam snapping. Were he still the vailon of a few years ago, maybe he could have held Bihjall.
I’m looking forward to the look at the home front. Telnik hasn't made any friends and that leaves him very vulnerable...