[TGG] The Sundered Dream - The Federation Civil War

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[TGG] The Sundered Dream - The Federation Civil War

Post by Steve » 2007-02-26 12:06pm

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The fall of the Federation was considered inevitable by a majority of experts by the late 2150s, and many saw in the Nullification Crisis of 2164 the beginning of the end. However, if you were to go back to 2165 and tell them that within twenty-four months the Federation would be effectively gone, shattered by civil war and Communist revolution, they would probably disagree with you and even dismiss you as a radical of one camp or another.

At the time, most academics, and even policy analysts, had failed to understand the deep current of discontent against the Federation in the Colonial populations (in general, as opposed to
individual charter colonies, which were easier to judge), and with this came the judgment that it would take at least another generation for the threat of a total collapse by a unified effort of the colonies to change the system. The American case of the 19th Century was used as an example; the first clear crisis between North and South, free state and slave state, occurred forty years before the American Civil War, and the process of the break between states took nearly twenty-five years, from the start of the petition crisis in the Congress of 1836 to the election of Abraham Lincoln. The Federation Nullification Crisis, similar in spirit to the American one of the 19th Century, was used as a starting point for this process, and it was expected the Federation would last at least until the 2180s, if not to the beginning of the 23rd Century AST.

But as often happens, history took a turn none foresaw. In October 2165 AST, an internal Federation review of colonial finances found that a number of charter colonies were not reporting their national GDPs accurately and were claiming them much lower than they actually were. The news leaked to the public and sparked protests and condemnations of the colonies, most specifically Pacifica, which had been the worst offender. The Federation Council ordered the charter colonies to reimburse the government for the dues that were not paid as a result of the trickery.

All colonies reluctantly agreed.... save Pacifica.

After the Nullification Crisis had ended with a relative draw - the colonies proving willing to rebel openly if the Federation did not back down from another due increase - the Pacificans had grown bolder in asserting their legal rights, long ignored or subverted by the Federation. Their militia was now effectively an army, armed with surplus equipment from the Alliance's massive Dominion War stocks. Like many colonies, Pacifica had taken advantage of the Dominion War and the aftermath to purchase the surplus warships that had been flowing out of Alliance shipyards and, in retrospect, had put together the perfect fleet for waging a war of resistance against the Federation. The Federation Government had even endorsed this, seeing it as an alternative to keeping Starfleet at strength, and only realizing the danger during and after the Nullification Crisis, when they started to reform Starfleet as well.

The Pacificans made an error early on that guaranteed the war would come; they assumed that the Ovnork Presidency would react as it had to the earlier crisis and negotiate. But they did not. By this point, Ovnork had been so reduced in influence in the Idealogue Party that he was effectively bullied around by Jacob Wilmington, the Party Clerk, who was closely allied to Hector Milano, the new C-in-C of Starfleet. Both were founders of the Association for Federation Unity, a militarist branch of the Idealogue Party born out of the Dominion War that favored a pseudo-fascist corporate model for the Federation as opposed to it's current welfare-state system.

Instead of negotiation, a Starfleet vessel, the
Geronimo, was sent. Once in orbit of Pacifica, having to that point claiming innocence and the ferrying of a government official appointed to "work with Pacifica", the Geronimo suddenly and without warning beamed President James Tyler and his Cabinet, as well as many key leaders of Congress, on board and from there to the Presidential Mansion, where they were held as prisoners. The local Idealogue Party leader, Horton Raymond, was appointed Governor of Pacifica by Ovnork and declared a curfew and a limit to protest in the streets of Jefferson and Lafayette, the two major cities of Pacifica where Federation offices were present. Thus began the Pacifican Crisis.

The Federation's ham-handed efforts at suppression enflamed the populace of Pacifica. The colonies on Pacifica and it's surrounding worlds, united under the Federated Republic of the Pacifican Worlds and granted charter by the Federation nearly two centuries prior, had been founded by immigrants from the former United States who refused to accept the dissolution of the American Republic by the new government on Earth (itself a recognition of a fact established by the outcome of the Third World War). Though the population in some areas had diversified, the Pacificans remained largely loyal to their American roots, and the actions of the Federation had long rankled and offended them. This, quite literally, was the last straw.
The protests continued in defiance of Raymond, who ordered Starfleet into the streets to "keep the peace" after local police forces proved unable and mostly unwilling to do as Raymond wished. The result was virtual martial law, with a growing contingent of Starfleet Security being sent in by Wilmington and Milano while forced exactions, meant to pay back the lost dues from the years of understated GDP, closed down Pacifican businesses and banks and depleted the planetary treasury.
While all of this occurred, the Pacifican militia remained on the sidelines. They no longer had a recognizable legal authority to send them into action and none of the commanders were quite willing to commit themselves to rebellion without further reason. To his credit, Raymond resisted attempts from Milano to order the disarmament of the Pacifican forces, knowing full well it would spark just such a revolt.

This state of affairs continued for almost two months until a spark lit aflame the Crisis and brought about the sequence of events that led to the outbreak of the Federation Civil War.....

- Excerpt from the Opening Chapter to "A Short History of the Federation Civil War" by Lawrence Williamson, Prof. of Modern History, University of New Virginia, published 2189 AST

Jefferson, Pacifica, United Federation of Planets
Universe Designate ST-3
11 December 2165 AST
(4 July 2380 ST-3 Calender)

Despite the tumult of the previous weeks, and the near state of martial law imposed upon the public by Governor Raymond while the government of Pacifica awaited trial under house arrest, the people of Jefferson had tried to retain a normal life. Despite the closing of banks from the rush of attempted withdrawals, despite the closing down of businesses or their official seizure by Starfleet on behalf of the Federation, and despite everything that had done so much to disrupt them, the people of Pacifica stoically tried to soldier on and live their lives as they pleased.
One thing they had decided to keep on schedule was the yearly July 4th celebration, another homage to the American roots of the Pacifican worlds. Most cities had them to varying extents, including firework displays and the like. Governor Raymond had not rejected this, desperate as he was to avoid provoking the populace, but he had been forced by his superiors on Earth to raise the Starfleet presence should the celebrations turn into "mass riots", the euphemism in the Federation for any wide-scale anti-Federation demonstrations on a charter colony world.

The celebration in Jefferson was taking place in Liberty Park along the east bank of the Washington River, with the Main Street Bridge and the skyscrapers of downtown Jefferson to provide a scenic backdrop to the fireworks and for a concert being performed by the Screaming Eagles, a rock band formed on Pacifica some time before. Over a hundred thousand people jammed themselves into Liberty Park to enjoy fireworks, music, and other festivities, a chance if anything to escape from the growing pains of what was swiftly becoming a military occupation by Federation authorities.
After nightfall, with the first batch of fireworks having gone up already, the rock concert began. For thirty minutes the band serenaded the crowd with newer music and older music, gaining cheers from the assembled as everyone had a decent time.

Then, standing amongst his fellows, band guitarist and singer Harry Molosky raised a hand toward the audience. The thirty-three year-old's voice boomed across the park. "Hey, hey hey, Jefferson! Not just Jefferson, but all of Pacifica! Hey, folks, I know that these are tough times, I mean, I really do. We've all lost jobs, lost money, or had friends and family lose jobs and money, because of this occupation! But you know what?! We don't have to take this lying down! We can raise our hands and our voice and say, 'We want our lives back!' And just remember, folks, that we've had this happen before! And do any of you remember what happened the last time we were taxed without representation?! Huh?! I'm sure you do!" Molosky's voice had to strain to get over the roar of the crowd. "And this here, this is what happened last time!"
The band picked up the music again, a rock rendition of "Yankee Doodle Dandy", before they moved to a new tune, one that they'd found from records of old 20th and 21st century rock groups. And after about thirty more seconds of instrumentation, the words of the song began to roar over Liberty Park.

"A desperate situation!
Forced to retaliation!
The task ahead, a burden
Men will suffer, that's for certain!
We'll charge into the fire!
The cause, we must inspire!
We raise our fist to tyranny!
A high price, Freedom is not free!

The crowd began to roar their approval, their hands and fists raised, while the band performed more instrumentation before beginning the next stanza.

"The odds are stacked against us
But with our resolve relentless
And arrogance their weakness
Our cause is just, we won't be beaten!
Upon this declaration
Will come a brand new nation
Where men are seen as equal
Governed by and for the people!

And with that, the crowd still roaring, they began the chorus.

"So we make our stand and pray
With liberty I will defy!
So we make our stand and pray
Give me LIBERTY or give me DEATH!
I'll FIGHT 'till my last breath!

As the first chorus ended, a plethora of fireworks erupted in the night sky, in red white and blue, and one set even detonated in such a way that the bright embers falling in the night sky emulated the flag of the Colonies during the War of American Independence.

Instead of moving on to the third stanza, Molosky's voice broke over the crowd, the guitarists still playing a strong riff and the drummer keeping up with the beat. "C'mon people, let's do the chorus again and again!"

And so the crowd joined in.

"So we make our stand and pray
With LIBERTY We will defy!
So we make our stand and pray
Give me LIBERTY or give me DEATH!

They repeated it once more before Molosky broke in. "We'll give you the tune, you give us the words!"
And so the crowd sang, the Screaming Eagles providing the music for them, and their combined voices were strong and clear, full of meaning and intent.

"So we make our stand and pray
With LIBERTY We will defy!
So we make our stand and pray
Give me LIBERTY or give me DEATH!

Content that the crowd had let loose it's repressed feelings over the occupation, the band moved on to the next stanza.

"With virtue as our beacon
Our cause is charged as treason
Battle worn and starving
Through the hell of war we'll keep marching
The birth of our new nation
An act of desperation
We'll force....

And then the music came to a shrieking halt. The words were drowned out by the shrill sound of a transporter effect, and five distinct columns of light enveloped the Screaming Eagles until they vanished, torn away by the transporters of the Starship Geronimo in orbit. The crowd looked around, bewildered and confused, and only starting to notice that virtually all of the city's Starfleet Security contingent had surrounded the Liberty Park and the concert area.
The sound system came back on, but this time it was a man speaking in a somber, business-like tone. "Ladies and gentlemen, by order of the Emergency Federation Governor of Pacifica, you are ordered to disperse to your homes. Repeat, you are ordered to disperse. Any who resist will be arrested and tried for disturbing the peace under Federation law. Please disperse and return to your...."

And the crowd exploded.
This, then, was to be the spark. The final catalyst for the volatile mixture that the Federation had unwisely created among the Pacifican people. The crowd had come to enjoy music and festivities. Instead the harrassment of the Federation had followed them here.
And they weren't going to take it anymore.
Almost instantly, a number of fights started at the periphery of the crowd, where they were confronted by the dark-uniformed Starfleet Security troops with phaser rifles in hand. The Starfleeters were armed, they were not, but in a moment of rage a growing number of people set upon the Starfleeters. They screamed and cried for beamout, for reinforcements, for the Geronimo to do something to stop the enraged crowd, but before they could do anything the crowd erupted from the thin cordon of biege-turtlenecked Starfleeters and into the streets of Jefferson. They walked across the Bridge toward downtown Jefferson and across the suburban areas of the eastern bank of the Washington River.

Beaming them up wasn't an option; there were too many for the transporters to get in time. All Starfleet could do was try to contain them, and when this failed they fell into confusion, uncertain of what to do.

Governor Raymond was a stout, bookish man, a political hack of the Idealogue Party who'd spent his career in various party and government positions. He'd been born on Pacifica, and so Ovnork had tapped him to be governor.
But though born on Pacifica, Raymond really wasn't Pacifican, and he mostly dismissed "his" people's attitudes and past as nonsense and "reactionary".
When he'd learned what the band at the celebration was doing, Raymond had immediately cursed his laxity and ordered Starfleet to break it up. Now this had blown up in his face; the people were in the streets and despite an attempted media blackout the news was spreading like wildfire.
An aide stepped into Raymond's conference room, where he and his "ministers" were monitoring the situation. "Sir, we've successfully cut all land and satellite communication."
"That means nothing if we can't jam all transmissions," Raymond barked in reply, sweating profusely as he thought of how everything was spiraling out of control.
His Starfleet advisor was Lieutenant Commander Rebecca Halls. Cmdr. Halls was actually in her fifties, having retired some years prior before she returned to Starfleet during the Dominion War, taking membership in the Association for Federation Unity. She was a thinner woman, with graying auburn hair and a round face that seemed perpetually on the edge of rage. Overall, Halls was a harsh woman and her attitude since the beginning of this round had been vicious.

"Since we cannot jam all channels withou interfering with our own communications, our only recourse is to have the Geronimo stun the crowds. We can bring in screen emitters and surround them with force-shields while we make an internment camp to hold them for screening and trial."
"An internment camp?" one of Raymond's subordinates said, looking very uncertain. "There are a hundred thousand people in that crowd, even if we stun them for a few hours..."
"If they have to remain in the open at first, more's the pity, but they have left us no choice. The needs of the Federation outweigh the impassioned rage of a rebellious mob," Halls remarked. She looked to the Governor. "It is your decision, Governor, but I suggest you do something soon."
Raymond swallowed. He knew full well that the Unityists now had control of the Party Central Committee and Starfleet, and that his career, maybe even his freedom, was on the line. "Fine, you have my authorization. Have Captain Kreveth stun the crowd."
"But sir, the stunning will effect innocent people, people with certain conditions could be hurt or...."
"We have no choice," Raymond said, cutting off his complaining supervisor while Hall sent the order to orbit.

Outside the crowd was still moving through the city, other city denizens joining it out of interest or, having heard what happened, anger. Not all joined it of course, as some weren't willing to stand with the crowd if something happened or to risk arrest; their own desires or their dependents forbade this.
But it did them no good, because the beam that struck from the sky did not discriminate. The Geronimo's stun beam swept down the length of Main Street until it ended, leaving several thousand Pacificans on the ground unconscious, as well as those who had been in the buildings surrounding Main Street.
The crowd began to flee and disperse, but it was too late, and a second beam soon struck, stunning the tendril of the crowd moving toward the Presidential Mansion where Raymond ruled and the government of Pacifica was kept under strict house arrest. Thousands more were down, and over a tenth of the revolting crowd was out of action, not to mention every innocent person caught in the stun beam's radius.
A third beam struck, and managed to stun another thousand, but then it strangely winked out, leaving the crowd to continue if it desired. And when it saw the lights flashing in the night sky, they did so.
After having stood aside and permitting the Federation to come oppress them, the fleet Pacifica had raised was finally defending them.

The Plymouth - a Juneau-class Alliance-built "gun" cruiser - was one of the dozen or so Pacifican vessels that remained in orbit, keeping a close eye on the Geronimo as they waited for their superiors to decide on whether to act on behalf of their imprisoned government or not. In the ship's command bridge, built into it's armored keel, Captain Theodore Radcliffe was handling what had seemed to be an ordinary watch.... until he saw the phaser fire lash out from the Geronimo at the city of Jefferson.
His bridge crew all looked up, their visible headsets serving to keep a constant neuro-feed to the ship systems that allowed for near-instantaneous response and action. "Mother of God, what are they doing?" he heard the weapons officer, Lt. Martin Gold, say in disbelief.
"Sensors indicate the phasers are at a rough stun setting," was the remark of Lt. John Taylor at the sensor post.
"A starship phaser isn't a hand phaser," Gold said irritably. "It's powerful enough to kill people if it lasts for even a second too long...."

They all looked to Radcliffe, and he could feel the strong weight of decision upon him. At the moment, the Plymouth was the effective command ship of the orbiting squadron.. The others would only act if he acted. The burden of the first act had come down on his shoulders.
"They're firing again! Captain!"
Gold's voice shocked Radcliffe out of his momentary silence. A decision had to be made, here, and now, if he was to preserve the lives of hundreds, possibly thousands of Pacificans.
Dear God, please make this right, he thought to himself as he made a decision, a decision fated to have repercussions beyond his lifetime...
"Mister Gold, lock on Geronimo's weapon systems and fire."

The Starship Geronimo shook violently when the first particle blast struck it's unshielded hull. The hull of an Excelsior-class vessel, even a Flight III Excelsior, was not strong, and the blast tore through it like it was paper and ventilated three decks before it stopped.
Kreveth, the Andorian captain of the vessel, bellowed, "Shields up! Report!"
"We've been fired upon by a vessel, Sir," the Trill at the tactical station replied. "IFF codes identify it was a Pacifican vessel, the Plymouth, that was loitering in orbit."
"What class is she?"
"Juneau-class Alliance-built cruiser, sir!"
Kreveth frowned. The Geronimo, even with upgrades, was only a fair match for the older Alliance "gun cruiser" because it could do damage with it's quantum torpedoes; the Plymouth was just as fast and maneuverable as an Excelsior and had a far better complement of weapons. Damn the Idealogues for trying to cut corners by letting the Colonials have their own warships was the thought that went through his head, and for a good reason.

Now that one had acted, others were. A spread of quantum torpedoes from the Geronimo struck back at the Plymouth, but didn't quite make it. A smaller cruiser moved up alongside, small charges of particle fire lashing out from it's point-defense interceptors and destroying the quantum torpedoes save for one, which failed to knock out the shields of the Plymouth. "She's the New Tampa Bay, Alliance escort cruiser, Kaimon-class!"
"Switch to tactical display! Helm, evasive maneuvers, Pattern Theta!"
The Geronimo began a series of twists and turns as the two Pacifican-crewed Alliance cruisers bore down on her, other dots representing Pacifican ships starting to move toward them as well. The forward particle cannon turrets on the Plymouth fired, sending solid blue streams of energy into the Geronimo's shields. Mark XIII anti-matter torpedoes raced out from the forward launcher on the cruiser, three striking Geronimo's shields. They flickered and died under the particle cannons of an arriving ship, the Angela Samuels, one of the two older Florida-class battleships purchased from the mothball yards of the United States (SE-1) and fixed up and upgraded in Pacifica's Commercial Transports Inc. Shipyard.
"We'll get pounded to pieces if we stay, Captain!" Cmdr. Lewis Rogers, the ship's XO, said. "We have to withdraw!"
Kreveth looked very unhappy at that, but knew he had no choice if he was to save his ship and crew. "Helm, set course for Starbase 19 and engage, maximum safe warp!"
The Geronimo leapt to warp just in time, avoiding another pair of torpedoes from the Plymouth.

On the planet's surface, the ending of the phasering and the clear signs in orbit of combat emboldened the crowd. They went straight to the Presidential Mansion, where Starfleet Security began to stun anyone who got too close.
With little choice left with the withdrawal of the Geronimo, Governor Raymond, Lt. Cmdr. Halls, and their staffs fled to a runabout while Starfleet Security held the Mansion. There was no room for the prisoners of Pacifica's government, and Raymond was certain the only hope they'd have of escape would be leaving the leadership behind anyway.
As the runabout Neva made orbit, Raymond sat in the back passenger apartment with Halls. "They'll have my head for this," he sighed.
"Probably, Governor," Halls replied succinctly. She smiled grimly. "But don't worry, because I'm certain that no matter what happens to you, they'll do much worse to the Pacificans for this."

President Tyler was a stocky, well-built man, with graying brown hair and solid blue eyes that looked happily to the doors when they opened and he was greeted by General Anna Reynolds, the tan-skinned commander of the Pacifican 1st Army. "Mister President, I'm proud to announce that the remaining Starfleet Security troops on-planet have surrendered in return for being given passage off-world on an Alliance freighter," Reynolds said happily. "I'm also happy to report that the ship they're leaving on was relieved of it's cargo; $2 trillion Alliance dollars taken from our central bank and an additional $40 million worth of foodstuffs and consumer goods."
Vice President Henry Gruder, a thinner and older man, frowned deeply. "This isn't over. The Party's going to come after us, and hard."
"I know. But we've crossed the Rubicon now. Or rather, our own people have done it for us." Tyler looked to Senator Gregory Duke and said, "Senator, I want to hold a joint session of Congress by tomorrow, before Ovnork and his handlers can respond."
"I'll do what I can," Duke promised, the two men nodded despite being of opposite political parties; in this situation, as far as Tyler was concerned, there were no political parties, just Pacificans faced with a dangerous choice. "What is the agenda?"
"Today, I'm going to send a letter to President Ovnork and the Federation Council, demanding a reduction of the dues by half and the return of all Pacifican capital and businesses to their owners. I expect them to disagree. If they do so, then it'll be up to Congress to draft a response."
"What kind of response?" asked General Reynolds.
A gleam came to Tyler's eye. "The only option we'll have left, General. I'll ask Congress to draft and pass a declaration of independence for Pacifica."
Fear appeared in the eyes of the older Gruder. "They won't take that lying down, not like Nova Savona. Not with Wilmington and Milano in control. James, if you do this, then it'll mean...."
"War," Reynolds finished for the old man. She looked to Tyler. "The Armed Forces of Pacifica will do what is necessary, Mister President."
"I hope it'll be enough, General, I'll hope it'll be enough."

Paris, Earth, United Federation of Planets
12 December 2165 AST

Ovnork Re'kwish, President of the Council of the United Federation of Planets and Chairman of the Central Committee of the Party of the Federation's Ideals, was not a stupid man. Unfortunately, neither was he very wise.... or courageous. He was a politican through and through, always wavering, always trying to find the deal to get out of an impasse.
But now he had no room to squirm. Not under the cold brown-eyed gaze of the muscular, well-built Jacob Wilmington, or his thinner and more vicious comrade Admiral Hector Milano, Starfleet C-in-C. Wilmington was a clean-shaven man with brown hair growing gray at his temples, while Milano's hair was all gray, kept trim to regulation, as was his gray beard. They had him in their trap, one commanding a slight majority in the Party Central Committee and the other controlling Starfleet Command.
In the years since the Dominion War ended in the Alpha Quadrant, and especially in the year and a half since the Nullification Crisis ended with Ovnork backing down on another needed dues increase when threatened with secession from the Pacificans and other major colony governments, the Association for Federation Unity had grown ever stronger in the ranks of the Party, far stronger than the brief resurgence of Deborah Miller's PAPAL (Pacifist And Progressive Action League) could deal with. They now held a virtual majority in the ranks of the Party, and an even larger contingent of Starfleet, especially in the younger ranks, which provided Milano with a ready core of replacements for more established officers he wanted to get out of key commands.

They had been the ones to insist on the ferocity of the Federation response to the Pacificans' defiance in the face of the discovered financial discrepancies. They had demanded the arrest of President Tyler and his government and the occupation of Jefferson and Lafayette, and indeed had demanded the forced disarmament of the Pacifican military when an opening was presented. And Ovnork was powerless to do anything to stop them; he was a rubber stamp, and his only hope was to wait for them to overextend themselves while he gathered his own quiet allies in the Party ranks.
But now they had a powerful new hand to deal. Raymond had been one of his, and had been chased out ignomiously. The State Press had successfully buried the story, but word was beginning to filter through the ranks of the Party that Pacifica had gone further than any colony had before; they had fired on a Starfleet vessel, attacked Starfleet Security and forced it's surrender and withdrawal, and seized capital and materials due to the Federation by law. A strong response was necessary, and Ovnork knew it was over; negotiations would be impossible.
"So, gentlemen, what do you think should be done?" As always, Ovnork asked for his orders in the guise of seeking advice. They would, of course, play along, as both aspired to the Presidency one day and did not want to undermine the integrity of the office itself.

"We have only one recourse, Mister President," Milano announced. "We must send in Starfleet, in force, and occupy Pacifica. Their armies must be disbanded and their fleet turned over to Starfleet control."
"More than their armies, Admiral," Wilmington said, cutting in. "We should disarm them period. Outlaw all firearms and have them seized under threat of arrest and imprisonment at a Federation penal colony. This music band that sparked the riot should be arrested and imprisoned as well, and all identified anti-Federation figures in Pacifican government, academic, and cultural circles."
"You're talking about violating their rights under Federation law," Ovnork replied.
"As they have constantly snubbed their noses at the law, they cannot protest when it does not apply to them. They are in a state of rebellion, open rebellion, against us. We must crush it, utterly, before the Pacificans embolden the groups in the other charter colonies."
Ovnork looked to Milano. "I'm calling in every starship in the area. The Pacifican fleet is made up of old Alliance ships that we let them buy in the war, but it's also small, so I'm confident it can be overwhelmed."
"And what about the Alliance?"
"Dale tends to be less aggressive than Mamatmas was, so we don't have to worry about another Algrossa." Wilmington smiled. "The Dale Administration is pre-occupied with other matters anyway, and Dale won't want anything to rock the boat while the Alliance Council is still debating the matter of the treaty with the Taloran Empire. And I don't think the Talorans will look favorably on the Alliance helping a rebellion, and he certainly won't take that risk. We have nothing to worry about, Mister President."

Ovnork snorted, a particularly porcine sound from his Tellarite features. He was truly trapped, and there was nothing he could do but write and sign the orders that Milano and Wilmington had "proposed" to him. He couldn't help but think that they might be wrong.... and that this might be the beginning of the end for the Federation....

The Capitol Building, Jefferson, Pacifica

With held breath the crowd waited, hearing that the President was due out shortly with the decision of the Congress. The word had come that Ovnork was not negotiating, that the Association for Federation Unity had flexed it's muscles again and were forcing a hard line. The Federation would come again, in force, arresting any who questioned it and forcefully disarming the people of Pacifica, leaving them helpless to protect themselves and their rights.

The militias were mobilizing. Volunteers were coming in by the truckload, the news having spurred them to action. On every world in Pacifica, the people were actually relieved that the decision time had come, that the choice was so clear. Fight or submit. And right now, they were ready to fight.

When Tyler appeared, his expression was grim but determined. He tapped the microphone piece on his shirt collar before speaking. "My fellow Pacificans, today I have with me the demands placed upon the Pacifican people by the United Federation of Planets. We are demanded to submit to the following terms.

The government of the Federated Republic of the Pacifican Worlds is to surrender to the Federation and stand trial for crimes against the Federation, including treason. An interim occupation government under Starfleet will be instituted until such a time as the Federation Council deems appropriate.

One tenth of the property of the Pacifican Worlds is to be seized and placed under Federation control to cover unpaid dues required from Pacifica under the Colonial Dues and Requirements Act of the Federation Council.

The armed forces of Pacifica are to formally disband and turn their equipment over to Starfleet.

The firearms of the people of Pacifica are hereby confiscated by order of the President of the Federation Council. Any Pacifican citizen who refuses to relinquish their firearms to Starfleet will be arrested.

Any who write, publish, or demonstrate anti-Federation views will be placed under arrest until released by the authority of the Federation President.

Tyler listened to the boos and shouts of outrage from the gathered populace. Waving them down, he continued. "This, my fellow Pacificans, is the response that the Congress of the Pacifican Worlds has agreed upon, and which I now announce to you."
He swallowed and began to speak, to his people and to the Recorder of the High Court known as History:

"Throughout History, there has come times when one People must for their own security and liberty remove themselves from their association with another, and establish themselves as an Independent State within the Multiverse, entitled to the station that the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God dictate for them. Respect for the opinions of other sentient beings and for the posterity of civilization demand that they declare the reasons for their seperation.

We hold as true that all sentient beings are created as equals, and that their Creator has intended for them certain Unalienable Rights, among them the Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to ensure these rights are secured and maintained is the purpose of Governments, and that a Government that violates these rights has lost the legitimacy of it's claim to authority and sovereignty over the people they have so abused.

The facts of the past seventy years have shown that the Government of the United Federation of Planets, which once held sovereignty over the United Worlds of Pacifica, has lost it's regard for these Rights. They have Imposed unfair taxation upon us to support benefits that are not extended to us; they have stolen the property and possessions of our worlds and our people; they have allowed our people to be abducted and enslaved by foreign persons and governments without protest or opposition; they have attempted to illegally overthrow our Constitution; they even now are attempting to disarm us by force and compel us into helpless servitude, threatening protest with arrest and imprisonment.

As such, we, the Representatives of the United Worlds of Pacifica, assembled in General Congress, appeal to the Supreme Judge of the Multiverse for the fulfillment of our just intentions for our People, and with their full support and authority, do solemnly declare the following:

That these United Worlds are and should be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved of all previous Allegiance and Obligation to the United Federation of Planets, and that all political connection between these Colonies and the Federation is and should be totally dissolved; and that as Free States, they have Full Power to establish Commerce with other States, negotiate Treaties and Pacts, operate Military Forces for Defense, and all other things that Free and Independent States may do. And to support this declaration, with reliance upon the protection and aid of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other and our People our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Honor.

The deed was now done. Pacifica and the sixty-three worlds she held under confederation had declared independence from the Federation. They were not Nova Savona or Algrossa or Nippon; they had twice the wealth, population, industry, and territory than the three prior rebel colonies combined. The Federation would not, could not, tolerate their secession. Period. There would be war, and Pacifica would either win and live, or she would be forever ground down into the dirt by the Federation.

There had indeed been some debate in the Congress about too-closely emulating the words that Thomas Jefferson had written down so many centuries before. Some were concerned that it would be too "wordy", too much rhetoric and not enough legality, and there were indeed changes made; but in the end, Tyler and his allies had triumphed on the important part. Namely, that this was not new ground; it had been trod on before, and that the same principles that motivated the Founding Fathers of the American Republic in the late 18th Century were the principles they were going to defend here in the 24th Century. The Pacifican people, the spiritual and physical descendants of the militiamen who marched out to meet the British Redcoats in 1776, were now faced with that same struggle, and that so closely emulating the Declaration of Independence from 1776 here in 2380 would remind the people of their roots and inspire them to live up to the old legacy of their forefathers.

As Tyler stepped away, he was met by Gruder. The elderly Vice President had already offered his resignation; his age, and his disagreement with the policy of outright revolt, would not be good for the Pacificans now, and he had the dignity and honesty to accept that. "We've already picked up messages from New Anglia, Novy Moskva, R'rekleshi, and Rutari. They're asking you what you intend to do."
Tyler knew that the other charter colony governments would be apprehensive. They too were among the richest of the regions left in the Federation and knew that if it came to war, Starfleet would move on them no matter what they decided upon if only out of fear of a decision to turn independent. In a way, he regretted that he had not been given the opportunity to warn them of the coming ordeal. But he had not been given the choice, and could only hope they would forgive him for the storm Pacifica was releasing upon the Federation and the worlds contained within.
"I'll send them a full report later. But for now, you can send them this reply. Iacta Alea Est."
Gruder stared at him. "And just what the hell does that mean?"
Tyler smiled grimly. "It's Latin. It means 'The die has been cast.'"

Author's Note: The Song "Declaration Day" is by the group "Iced Earth" and was released on their album "The Glorious Burden". BUY IT NOW. :P
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-03-04 10:59am

Chapter 2 - Old Friends

Just a mile or so away
is my dearest friend in this world
He wears the blue and I the gray
and God it hurts me so...
- First lines of "Hold At All Costs; Gettysburg Day 2" by Iced Earth

U.S.S. Chimera NCC-78273, Near Starbase 19, Beta Rexin System
United Federation of Planets
18 December 2165 AST
(11 July 2380 ST-3 Calendar)

In the vicinity of Starbase 19, long valued as a crucial post that connected the Federation commands facing the Klingon and Romulan borders and the neutral Triangle Region between, the 10th Fleet was gathering, ordered in on an emergency basis by Admiral Milano himself. Normally a Federation fleet only consisted of about 110-120 vessels, and was thus no larger than a Task Force of the Alliance Stellar Navy.
But observations of the Alliance's tactical abilities, and the successes the Cardassians had enjoyed after their war with the Alliance by adapting a similar naval formation system, had finally led Starfleet to emulating it. The old system had remained in place for the Dominion War, with "Fleet Groups" substituting for Fleets in the Alliance form, but by the end of the war the system for adjusting the "Fleet" to a larger formation had been implemented. And it showed now, with no less than three hundred Federation starships having been gathered from all over the region to deal with Pacifica decisively.

Positioned with Cruiser Group 10, a part of Cruiser Wing 10-3 (The equivalent of an Alliance squadron), was the Chimera, an Akira-class torpedo cruiser under the command of Captain Trevor Laughlin. Laughlin was a veteran of the Dominion War, having participated in four of the battles in it, including the Cardassia Prime Campaign when the Federation and Alliance broke through the final defense lines and brought about the fall of the Cardassian Union. A man with a slight graying beard of auburn color and matching hair, Laughlin was a friendly if professional officer who treated his crew well and was therefore well-liked, though he never let his affections for his crew get in the way of duty.
Laughlin was in his ready room going over the list of intelligence on the Pacifican fleet when the door chime sounded and he bid the person to enter. It was his XO, Cmdr. Raquel Sanchez, a lovely younger woman from Venezuela with a accented English and a Mediterrenean complexion. But while she looked pleasant, Laughlin knew that she was a highly dedicated officer, not very interested at all in relationships and very interested in climbing through the ranks. He liked her for her skills, but he found her too harsh in her dealings with the crew, such to the point that they frequently were brought to play "good cop, bad cop" with the others. "Captain, we are in formation and Admiral Hunter suggests we will be departing in two hours."

Laughlin nodded slowly. "Have you ever been to Pacifica, Commander?"
"Lovely planet. Very nice people, very hard-working. Some of the best officers I've served with were Pacificans. I even roomed with a Pacifican at the Academy. He's my best friend." Laughlin looked at something on his desk, a picture of his wife and children. "He was godfather to my children, hell, he was probably more of a father to them than I was when I was out on exploration duty and he was doing his instructor tenure at the Academy."
Sanchez nodded, not needing to say the obvious.
"And now here we are, about to go to war with the Pacificans.... with our own people."
"They started it."
"Did they? Seems to me we started it, and we start it every time we tell them to hand over more cash every year to pay for things they don't get to enjoy." Laughlin frowned. "I hope to God Ted's not over there."
"Ted who?"
"Ted Radcliffe. Theodore Radcliffe, the friend I was just telling you about."
Laughlin saw the look on Sanchez's face, the distraught and a bit of shock, and a bad feeling twisted in his gut. After all, she had already fully studied all the intel and reports while he had not.... had she learned something? "Commander?"
"Captain Theodore Radcliffe is in the Pacifican Navy, Captain. He is in command of the cruiser Plymouth..." An uncomfortable pause. "...and he is the one who fired on the Geronimo first."

Laughlin felt like he'd just been kicked. "Oh my God," was what came out of his mouth as he rested his head against his right hand, propped up by the elbow on the desk. "Ted... he was always for making the hard decisions. Oh Christ..."
Sanchez appraised her commanding officer carefully. "I'm sorry, Sir."
There was no reply for a moment. "Commander, can you please give me some privacy before we depart?"
"Yes, sir."
"Then you are dismissed."
Sanchez nodded and left the room.
Laughlin looked at the door for a moment and then turned back to his monitor. He rubbed his temple strong, hoping against hope that it was just a second officer named Theodore Radcliffe.... until his hopes were dashed by his friend's image on the screen, showing the commander of the Plymouth, who was wanted for court-martial for firing on a Starfleet vessel.
Oh God, Ted.... why did it have to be you? Laughlin was thinking hard about this. This was his friend, the man he'd named his second son for, someone his wife adored and that he had held as a friend his entire professional life. Without Theodore Radcliffe, Cadet Trevor Laughlin would never have graduated as high as he did at Starfleet Academy.
And Laughlin found himself praying that his friend would survive the battle to come... and that he wouldn't have to face him.

P.R.S. Plymouth CL-498, Pacifican Border

Radcliffe's attention was on the battle proper while his crew maintained their duties of managing the ship's effort in the unfolding battle. Plymouth shook from hits while she gave as good as she hit, her particle cannons successfully tearing open a Steamrunner-class vessel to the point its warp core breached and exploded.
The battle was not going well. The Angela Samuels was a dead hulk in space and her sister, the Thomas Mashburn, had retreated after a prolonged attack from several Federation ships. The Pacifican fleet had been outnumbered from the start by almost three to one, a hundred and twenty Pacifican versus three hundred and twenty Starfleet. The war-modified Starfleet vessels were far closer a match to the Alliance vessels, even those built as late as the Dominion War, than the numerical disparity could make up for, and the Pacificans were left fighting a desperate attrition fight.
"Sir, Admiral Linkovich is transmitting orders to retreat!"
Radcliffe nodded to his helmsman, who went to change their course and leap to warp.... but nothing happened. "Sir, engineering reporting plasma leak in starboard warp nacelle. Warp inoperable!"
"Then we're stuck here. Signal engineering to get that fixed as quickly as possible! We'll buy the squadron time to escape!"
The orders went out and the Pacifican fleet slipped away piece by piece, leaving only about ten warships with damaged warp drives. Starfleet resumed course to Pacifica at that point, save for a force of forty ships that remained to deal with Plymouth and the stragglers.

As the Plymouth's torpedoes lashed out and turned into scrap a Miranda-class ship, Radcliffe overviewed the tactical situation and saw that the most powerful ships left facing them were three Akira-class vessels. The Strathclyde, the Vosh'lu, and....
The Chimera? That's.... that's Trevor's ship, went through Radcliffe's mind as Lt. Gold raked the particle cannons over the starboard shields of the Vosh'lu. He remembered Trevor Laughlin's letter from all those months ago, telling him about getting the Chimera, and how it'd inspired Radcliffe to seek his own command - outside of Starfleet, as it'd turned out to be.
And now they were facing each other as foes.
The sharp, bitter irony had finally occurred to Radcliffe, and as the battle raged around him and his subordinates skillfully carried out his orders he considered how many of them had started in Starfleet. How many friends had been made throughout their careers whom they would now have to fight in war?
How could he fight his friend? Trevor had helped him get through the Academy. They'd introduced each other to the women who became their wives and Trevor had been there for him when Alice Radcliffe had been killed in one of the skirmishes with the Klingons about seven years ago. The Laughlins had even named their second son after Radcliffe.
The ship rocked sharply yet again. "Torpedo hits on ventral hull! Deflectors are down and we've suffered hull damage!"
On the screen the Vosh'lu was in similar bad straights, her aft torpedo tube having exploded in their last exchange. A particle beam from another of the crippled Pacifican ships ripped into her starboard nacelle and blew it apart. He saw the lights flicker on the ship as it lost main power.
Wounded, Plymouth turned her attention to Strathclyde, and the two cruisers exchanged a volley of torpedoes that left them both worse for the wear. Radcliffe half-wondered if he'd purposely targeted Strathclyde so he wouldn't have to shoot at Trevor. He looked to his ship status screens and knew that soon he would have to make the decision to abandon ship.
And then the decision was made for him.

U.S.S. Chimera

"Sir, shields holding at fifty-four percent," Laughlin's operations officer reported for his benefit. On their screen, an Alliance-built Kaimon-class cruiser drifted, deprived of power and reduced to a hulk in space with her crew having no choice but to await rescue and captivity. Another hit from the torpedoes she'd volleyed before the final hits slammed into Chimera, blasting through shields for a moment and detonating on the Akira-class cruiser's armored hull. As the rocking finished, the officer added, "We've lost phasers, estimated time to phasers is four minutes."
"Sir, the Vosh'lu has lost main power and her sublight engines. She's adrift." Sanchez looked to him, her brow furrowed. "Strathclyde is dueling with their biggest ship left, but she's had too much damage from the battle. We have to aid her and leave the rest of the Pacifican cripples to the others."
"Target the vessel firing on Strathclyde, then. Come about."
The Chimera twisted in space and approached the two combatants from "below". As they did, Laughlin's eye went to his tactical monitor and saw the information displayed there. His gut twisted when he saw "PLYMOUTH" beside the enemy contact. Ted's ship....
Particle and phaser fire erupted between the two ships as Strathclyde twisted to evade the Plymouth. Laughlin saw that the Plymouth's gunner was good, and his hits were strong; Strathclyde had suffered a grievous blow to impulse drives as she'd moved by and was losing acceleration. His mouth went dry as Sanchez said, "Sir, we have to help..."
"That's.... that's Ted's ship, Commander, that man over there is my friend....." Laughlin looked at her and could tell she knew what was wrong. Plymouth's shields were down and her hull suffering damage. The only weapons they had for the moment were their quantum torpedoes, and just one might be enough too...
Sanchez could see that nobody else had heard Laughlin's whispered words, and so she made the decision for him and for his sake. "Fire torpedoes. We have to get a hit."
There was no immediate response, as the weapons officer knew quite well what would likely happen, but before Sanchez could repeat herself more forcefully, Laughlin swallowed and said, "That's an order, Lieutenant. Fire torpedoes!"

The weapons officer obeyed, dutifully, and a string of five quantum torpedoes flew out from the forward launcher on the Chimera. The relative velocities of the target and the torpedoes, and the range from Chimera, ensured a number of hits, but the weapons officer had been unwilling to risk his comrades on the Strathclyde on the off-chance that the remaining point-defense on the Plymouth might take out a number of fewer torpedoes.
They did indeed fire, and the point-defense particel charges from Plymouth detonated two torpedoes before they could hit, but three would turn out to be more than enough. The first two torpedoes impacted at the same time on hull, blowing away entire sections of the Plymouth's ventral side and killing many of her crew. This exposed her damaged central keel to the final torpedo.
When the torpedo hit, it also hit in the best or worst spot, depending on your point of view, and detonated the Plymouth's torpedo magazine. The resulting explosion tore through the Plymouth and sent debris everywhere, the radiation and blast wave so severe that nothing could survive. Radcliffe died with his crew in the command bridge of the gun cruiser, as did virtually the entire crew of the Plymouth.

Laughlin's heart threatened to stop. His gut wrenched terribly and his eyes watered up. The battle raged on around him, but for just a couple minutes more, as numbers and some skill overcame the crippled Pacifican vessels and they were forced to surrender the wretched remnants of their ships, hundreds of Pacifican dead within the vacuum and twisted metal. "Detail the Kamagawa and Chevalier to pick up survivors," Laughlin said. "All other ships without warp capacity are to aid. The rest of us will rejoin the fleet."
As Chimera and twenty-eight other Federation starships went to warp toward Pacifica, Laughlin stood up. "I'll be in my Ready Room, Commander. The bridge is your's." He didn't look back to see Sanchez nod in acceptance and continued on to his office.

It was well-furnished, with pictures of his family and friends upon his desk and a shelf, as well as books and holoimage containers from various moments in his life. Laughlin slumped into his chair and looked over his collection of pictures. His friends and peers, his parents, his siblings, his wife Lucy, his children... including a couple of images of Theodore Radcliffe Laughlin.
Radcliffe's picture was also here and there. A family outing he'd come along with here, a dinner there, and the image of Laughlin's wedding to Lucy when Radcliffe had been best man and his late wife Alice had been bridesmaid.
Now they were gone. Ted, his friend, his comrade, the man responsible for his marriage, for his entire life as he'd known it since his wedding day, was gone, killed, at Laughlin's command.
He had killed his best friend.
As he looked at the pictures, tears welled up in Laughlin's eyes. He began to weep bitterly, mumbling, "God, forgive me," and he kept asking that for a time.
He was given no answer.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-04-23 04:55am

Chapter 3 - The Blood-Dimmed Tide

"Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned..."
- William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming"

Camp Cartman, Pacifica
19 December 2165 AST
(12 July 2380 ST-3 Calendar)

Joshua Justman was 22 years old, a young man from Alpha Centauri who had joined the planetary militia two years ago as a way to escape the boredom of life in the Inner Worlds. He was a striking image for the militia, tall and well-built from a youth of holoparlor gaming with well-kept brown hair and bright blue eyes, the kind of young man who would end up on the posters and holo-ads encouraging enlistment.
The militias in the Federation Inner World had been around for a long time, mostly recruiting those unable or unwilling to win admission to Starfleet. It gave them extra credits to supplement the government credits they normally received and offered a chance to meet new friends and even new love interests. Unlike most militaries, the militias - save that of the Andorians - widely permitted fraternization and other things that professionals considered to be undermining the effectiveness of the militia, but since they rarely saw combat - even in the Dominion War - it was not seen as too great a drawback.

There were over sixty thousand men preparing to advance on the Pacifican capital from the west, while another sixty thousand cut it off from the east. Joshua's division, split into five brigades of 2,000 men apiece, was assigned to taking the farming community of Hillman and a stretch of grain-covered hills that commanded Highway 110 heading northwest out of Jefferson. Joshua and his friends were full of confidence, as they had the better tools and weapons, didn't they? The artillery and guns that the Pacificans had bought from the Alliance would not hurt them with their personal shields, and their phasers were more than powerful enough to demolish any defensive works the Pacificans threw up.
No, it wouldn't be long at all before the capitalists that started this horrible fight were in a brig, where they belonged, and Pacifica brought back into the fold.
The order came down to be ready for the advance. Joshua, his friend Lewis, and their common lover Marianne were kneeling together in the same position, amongst a line of other militia checking their phaser rifles and ensuring their personal forcefields were fully charged. "Ready to go?"
"Of course," Lewis chuckled. "First one there gets to fuck Marianne tonight!"
She flashed them a mischievous look with her hot blue eyes, her mane of blond hair put into a bun. "I'll decide who gets to fuck me," she replied to them with a slight hint of a French accent, for she had spent her childhood in central France outside of Vichy.

"B Company, advance!"
The trio jumped up and joined their company in the advance on the distant hills. Without Hoppers or other vehicles, it would be a direct march of the kind they practiced all the time; tiring but exhilirating. Confident in victory, Joshua kept a strong stride, determined to be the one to celebrate victory with Marianne.

Cliff Masters, like Joshua Justman, was 22 years old. He had briefly held a job at 19, working as a farmhand on one of the family farms in the Jefferson Heights before the BLN Bureaucracy of the Federation bankrupted it by forcing the farm to sell it's entire crop for a year at only half price, eliminating every bit of cash the farm had kept and resulting in it's sale to one of the banks in Pacifica for just enough cash that the owners had moved to the Alliance.
Unable to afford an education or get a job and faced with homelessness, Cliff had enlisted in the Pacifican Army. As a private in the 2nd Infantry Division Cliff was part of the force that was stationed at Jefferson itself, allowing for him to be in the frontline as the Federation forces came on.
He was standing in the hill-top trench on Hill 33, part of the property of the Grovenor Mill Company that farmed the area, his FAM-29 assault magrifle loaded and ready to fire. Word had been passed down from command that the division assaulting Hill 33 and the rest of the central defensive line at the western edge of the Jefferson Heights was one of the Warhammer divisions.

The Warhammer Corps was a creation of the Dominion War. At the height of cooperation between the Federation and the Alliance, volunteers from Starfleet and from the planetary armies and militias of the Federation were put under Alliance training. Only a few of them saw action, however, as by the time their training was complete and their units were outfitted the Dominion had been broken in the Alpha Quadrant, and after cleaning out pockets of resistance the Federation swore off the rest of the war, refusing to support the Alliance's continued war with the Dominion in the Gamma Quadrant.
The Warhammers were officially broken up to appease those portions of the Party backing Miller during the brief resurgence of PAPAL; unofficially, many former Warhammers were used as trainers for the militia so that, after the Nullification Crisis and the breaking of PAPAL, the Federation was able to officially restore the Warhammers to active service with the old Warhammers returning with their trainees and even more volunteers to train. Within a year their numbers had swelled to almost a million, forcing the Federation to concentrate the best troops in the Warhammer Corps - 100,000 men divided in five divisions - and to make the rest into "A-Class" and "B-Class" Sector Militias (class determined by skill and equipment). The A and B classes had mixes of Federation and non-Federation equipment; the Warhammers were almost entirely non-Federation equipped, either from stocks bought by other nations or produced on lease in Federation factories (many of which, it had to be admitted, being on colonial worlds).

Having never seen battle, Cliff swallowed hard and looked over to his friend, Leonard Cotton, a fellow jobless farm worker that Cliff had grown up with; Leonard's sister Jessica was the girl Cliff often dreamed about marrying. Leonard gave him no reply, just a quick nod, as in the distance they could hear the rumble from the Warhammers' artillery.
Overhead point-defense lasers lashed out, shooting down the shells as quick as they could, so there were few explosions around them and behind them. Below, at the feet of the hills, Cliff could see the mechanized vehicles of the Warhammers approaching. His weapon was useless against them; he would be using it to pick off infantry instead while the dedicated anti-vehicle teams took out the IFVs and the accompanying tanks, most of them Chieftan VI hovertanks bought from the British Empire of Universe CON-5.

There were plumes of fire from the hovertanks and dirt and soil shot up in front of Cliff from the impacts. He held onto his rifle tightly, terrified and relieved that the battle was finally underway. He remained silent, waiting for the order to return fire.
As the Federation vehicles began to go uphill, the anti-vehicle weapon teams rose from the trenches. Missiles lashed out, accompanied by fire by anti-vehicle phaser cannons. Cliff could see some hits succeeding wholly or partially, destroying the IFVs and tanks or disabling them. Infantry began to emerge from the crippled vehicles while the IFVs opened up with their anti-infantry weapons.

The Warhammer troops moved quickly, more quickly than Cliff could follow with his rifle. The order to fire was given and he pulled the trigger, his rifle's magnetic field throwing out rounds at supersonic speeds. He didn't know if he got any hits, all he could see being the enemy as some of those standing were perforated by supersonic rounds. But they weren't getting all of them, and other infantry advanced up, their suppressive fire taking out or keeping down the anti-vehicle weapon crews while the vehicles continued their advance.
Cliff was prepared to deal with an assault on his trench, not realizing that this was never the intention of the Warhammers. The infantry stopped just short of the trench, going prone, and the reason for that was revealed when grenades started dropping into the trench.
Leonard acted before Cliff could, jumping upon the nearest one just before it exploded, gutting his body in the process. Cliff was thrown to the floor of the trench by the explosion, losing his rifle in the process.
The Warhammer troops began jumping into the trench. They looked more fearsome and deadly than Starfleet Security troops could ever hope to be, wearing all black powered body armor with no apparent face plate. Cliff scrambled for his weapon, but couldn't get to it before the first burst of rapid phaser fire from the armored men came down on him. The hits were not capable of vaporizing his whole body, but were not designed to; they were designed to only cause massive cellular disruption in an individual area. Several hits meant that most of Cliff's chest was lit aflame in pain by the phasers' effects, his body armor unable to protect him from all the hits.
After several moments of pain, he fell unconscious and died shortly afterward.

Around the bodies of Cliff and Leonard, the Warhammers struck hard, advancing over the trenches methodically and using their tanks and vehicles to repel all attempted counterattacks. After a fierce fight for this central section of the front, the Pacificans opted to preserve their reserves and cease attempts to dislodge the elite Warhammers. The Federation now controlled the central hills of the western edge of Jefferson Heights.
It was not all bad news for the Pacificans though, as the rest of the battle had a decidedly different outcome....

There was a rumble in the distance as the Pacifican artillery opened up, but Joshua paid it no heed and kept marching forward at a quick pace. It was grueling, longer than he'd ever had to march at this speed, but with the hills in the distance he knew it wouldn't be long until they won.
Even though this was battle, he didn't even consider getting killed. How could he? The forcefields were working at full strength, nothing could touch him. They would sweep right through the Pacifican forces, hopefully demoralized at having to fight on behalf of the money-men who dominated their worlds and kept them oppressed. It was the one thing he'd heard since a child - that the colonies were in the thrall of all the greedy men who had left Earth when the Federation started forcing them to share their wealth and that the colonists were forced to be loyal and kept oppressed while the Federation was held back by the shield of law, a shield that the capitalists had now thrown away in their lust for latinum - and Joshua had no reason to question it.
There was the sound of explosions ahead of him, the artillery shells going off over the heads of the companies in front of his. There were some flickers of energy as the personal forcefields were meant by shell fragments and energy from the blasts....
And then the companies fell.

Joshua could barely believe his eyes as the units ahead of his simply fell apart. They fell, screams breaking through the monotony of the march. As he advanced into their midst he actually slipped and fell, not realizing he had slipped in a pool of blood until he found himself face to face with another young man who's torso and arms had litterally been cut to pieces.
There was the sound of more artillery, and Joshua didn't move from the intense fear he saw at this gore. What had happened to their forceshields? This was all wrong! They should...
The next explosions ripped overhead. Shrapnel from the artillery shells rained down upon them at supersonic speeds, their mass and energy overwhelming the personal forcefields that were designed primarily to repel plasma.
Pain filled Joshua's body. He looked down and saw that his legs up to his hips had literally been cut apart. He screamed in agony while more shells exploded overhead. This time he was spared, as they'd exploded too far away for any fragments to hit him.
Crawling in the blood-soaked grass and dirt, Joshua came upon a body that had fallen beside him. He recognized Marianne by her body shape, which was important because her face had literally disappeared. Her right eye was gone, a hole through her head where it had been, with other bloodied holes in her cheeks and a chunk of her jaw and mouth ripped away by a bigger piece of shrapnel. The entire back fourth of her head had been removed by another fragment of shrapnel, spilling her brain matter onto the ground.

He heard heavy breathing and turned to see Lewis. Lewis was leaning on his side, his right arm cleaved off and his hips and belly ripped up. His intestines and stomach were hanging out of the wounds, all shredded, and his face was growing deathly pale. His one remaining hand was reaching for Joshua. He said something, but it was drowned out by an explosion overhead.
Shrapnel ripped through Joshua's body. One chunk ripped through the back of his head, cutting through his brain until it emerged out from his upper neck, tearing off his jaw in the process. Other fragments cut into his torso, cutting up his guts and his lungs and tearing up the muscles in his arms.
Though he died before seeing it, the same burst of shrapnel ripped apart Lewis' chest, carving up his heart and lungs. He fell back and died, pain filling his body to the last moment.

Across the front, the Pacifican artillery took it's toll on the unarmored Federation militia that had blundered right into it's prepared kill zone, unwisely reliant upon the personal forcefields that, it would turn out, had never been adequately tested against cluster shells that fired shrapnel at supersonic speeds. The grass and soil of the land at the foot of the heights became a charnel house of slaughter, thousands of young men and women from the Federation's inner worlds falling to die on the foreign soil they had come to reclaim. None even reached the hills to fight the Pacifican infantry, as survivors turned and fled and left wounded to bleed and die where they'd fallen.
When the Pacifican shelling ended, 40,000 living Federation militia became 2,000 fleeing survivors and another 10,000 or so wounded crawling through the mud and gore from their 27,000 slain comrades, screaming in pain and begging for help.

When the day was over, the Federation had seen the horrible slaughtering of almost 40,000 men and women; four out of five troops sent to attack the Pacifican positions were either dead or wounded. Behind them more troops were going to be landing, and more every day, as the Federation fed militia and more Warhammers in to try and nip the Pacifican revolt in the bud.
The flanking attacks had failed under the guns of Pacifica, but the Warhammers had succeeded, and with their success the entire western half of the Jefferson Heights could come under the guns of their artillery batteries. Pacifica had won in terms of losses inflicted against losses incurred, but the Warhammers had delivered to the Federation forces a crucial position, one that would decide the tide of battle over the next days.
The Battle of Jefferson Heights had begun, the bloody harbinger for a conflagration soon to engulf trillions of living beings...
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-05-05 06:41am

20 December 2165 AST

Planetary Defense Command Bunker, Jefferson, Pacifica

It was early in the Pacifican morning when General Anna Reynolds met with her Chief of Staff, Maj. General Sylvester MacIntyre, and General Patrick Velasquez, the commanding officer of the Jefferson Defense Region's forces (Reynolds' 1st Army, General Dusseldorf's 5th Army, and General Taylor's 6th Army).
Casualties from the previous day had been steep enough, reaching to 16,000 or so dead and wounded from the successful Warhammer assault on the central hills and the failed counterattacks on the first day.
Though their casualties had been less than half those of the Federation, the Pacificans were in the tighter spot in manpower as the Federation could simply use it's space superiority and call in more units, including A-Class militias and perhaps another Warhammer division, while the Pacifican Army was not yet fully mobilized and had to advance over land under protective fields to prevent orbital attack.
"I still believe we should also hold stronger in the east," General MacIntyre insisted, his wiry frame shifting in his seat. "It'll be harder for the enemy to cut us off from the rest of the planet."
"Until 5th Army arrives there's no point in trying to hold the eastern half of the city beyond the bridges. It's too open, and the Federation units on that side are too mobile. No, our best chance is to hold the Heights." Reynolds pointed to the holomap. "We can hold a defense line in the urban areas of the east bank with fewer troops, concentrating on the west and keeping open the roads to Grover and Hutchville. We need only hold out for, at most, another week, and then 5th and 6th Armies will be arriving and we can pin the Federation forces in."
"Let's just hope the fleet can regroup and drive them out of orbit," MacIntyre said.

As she laid out her plan to her superior and chief of staff, Reynolds quietly lamented the fact that if the trouble had only taken a few months more to develop, Pacifica would have completed the sale and delivery of millions of Alliance dollars worth of anti-orbital artillery and other ground-based defenses that would have made this much easier. But this was the hand they'd been dealt, and she had to live with it.
Finally she got down to the matter of the day. "Today we're launching brigade-level armored counter-thrusts on the flanks of the Federation force. We're hoping to encircle and isolate the Warhammers in their new positions." Reynolds pointed out the exact units and movement orders on the holographic display they were looking over. "If not, at the least we could cause more damage to their militia units and cause a scandal on the homefront that might make the Federation take pause and buy us time."
"You hope," Velasquez remarked.

Camp Cartmen

The thunder of artillery filled the air once more. This time it was directed at the camp itself, the sprawling complex of prefab facilities that the Federation's ground troops were using for their home base.
Men and women scrambled for cover and the shield systems and anti-artillery laser defenses activated. The two combined to prevent the shelling from causing any harm to the camp, the shields being far more effective at stopping artillery than the personal forcefields of the poor doomed militia from the prior day's charge.
The shelling soon shifted, however, focusing on the two roads that led to the hills held by the Warhammers. Now shells began to hit ground, killing and wounding men and women not in protective gear or in vehicles. Lighter transport vehicles, necessary due to anti-transporter jammers, were blown away completely by the bombardment.
Word soon came on another development, and the Federation leadership watched from their command vehicle as two Pacifican mechanized brigades struck out from the hills. Their intention was obvious; a pincer attack to cut off the Warhammers and force them to abandon the hill positions.
And so the battles of the second day commenced.

Highway 193

Kevin Lambert's Stuart LHBT-3A (Light Hover Battle Tank) raced alongside the light armored battalion that acted as a screening force for the 5th Mechanized Brigade, Pacifican 1st Army, moving on to the Federation lines. Seated comfortably in his gunner's seat, Lambert had the heavy particle cannon charged and ready to fire.
The tanks raced onward, propelled by their anti-grav fields toward the Federation's lines. Ahead of them was a slight screening force of Federation light tanks, French AMXs. Unfortunately for them, they were older tanks than the Dominion War surplus Stuarts, and their light coilguns were designed for taking out vehicles as they had been meant for fire support more than anti-tank combat.
At Sergeant Forsyth's command, Lambert took the controls of the turret and rotated it about ten degrees to lock onto an oncoming AMX. The turret's systems took over, turning it and moving the particle cannon to maintain a lock, until Lambert was satsified with the shot and took it.
A stream of blue energy erupted from the cannon and raced at near-light speed, almost instanteously striking the Federation AMX. The cannon hit frontal armor and then a bit of a side, where the armor skirt protecting the AMX's anti-grav generators melted and yielded from the blast. The AMX crashed into the ground, throwing up dirt and soil in it's path until it came to a stop.

The tank's turret turned to face Lambert, but another blue energy beam from an accompanying tank struck the AMX in the cannon, destroying it's main weapon. Lambert grinned and fired again, this shot raking alongside the weak side armor and penetrating into the space within, killing the tank screw save for his opposite number, who scrambled out of the cockpit. Lambert was interested to note that the tank occupant was Andorian, dressed in combat fatigues instead of the all-black Federation combat suit.
Lambert soon noticed the insignia that, while charred a little, was still visible on the side of the tank. Many in the military knew it; the symbol of the Andorian Imperial Guard Corps.

Colonel Gralo l'Rikt, commander of the Andorian 3rd Guards Cavalry, was ironically not a Federation citizen, not any longer. Gralo was one of thousands of conservative Andorians who tired of seeing their homeworld gripped in the "socialist madness" of the Federation and who had promptly emigrated, first to the outer worlds and then to the Alliance, where a thriving population of conservative Andorians had raised cities on the planet Corworth and been accepted as subjects of the United Kingdom.
As the Dominion War came many of the Andorians, young and old, had gone from raising a militia to winning a unit of their own in the British Army, the 4th Corworth Rifles. Ironically assigned not to the Dominion front but to the fronts of Universe CON-5, they had won many battle honors in fighting against the Chinese and the Plymouthites, leading to the British granting their regiment royal charter and a new designation, the Royal Andorian Rifles, which were Gralo's "home" unit. Following the war, the commanders of the Royal Andorian Rifles had success in winning the Rifles an official appointment as a unit of the Andorian Imperial Guard Corps, which consisted not only of the actual Imperial Guards of Andor - still surviving to this day - but of the elite units of other Andorian colonies throughout the Alpha Quadrant.

And so Gralo was here, near the end of a term of cross-unit service with the Imperial Guards (having officially retired from the British Army post-war), and obligated by oath to help the Federation he disliked suppress a Human government he had sympathy for. Duty and honor required this service of him, the utmost he could give, and he gave it despite his misgivings.
Seated in a command vehicle, Gralo looked over the armored regiment he had been given command of, two battalions of tanks and one of infantry. He looked over the Pacifican advance and nodded, to the mystery of his Andor-born subordinates, as he deduced the mechanics of how the Pacificans were attacking. "They are eager, too eager," he concluded, his Andorian heavily accented from a lifetime spent on outer colonies and Corworth, such to the point his Homeworld-born men often joked about it. "And they are inexperienced in the arts of mechanized warfare. They're letting their tanks get too far out from their infantry." Gralo looked to his comm officer. "Pull our tanks back and let the enemy rush into our infantry formations. I want all anti-tank support weapons prepared for the enemy advance. We will stop them here."

Lambert was watching the enemy tanks retreat and happily kept firing, listening to Sergeant Forsyth give the order to pursue. The entire battalion was advancing against the inferior Federation force, looking to successfully pinch off the Warhammers in the hills and save their homeworld.
The battle was doing much to reinforce Lambert's perceptions of Core worlders. They were lazy, incompetent idiots who couldn't do crap and wanted to be waited on hand and foot. And he and his countrymen weren't taking it anymore.
The Pacifican tanks advanced onward, taking potshots at their fleeing enemy, but also unwisely leaving behind their infantry support.

Lambert's screens soon showed a hastily-improvised trench line of infantry. He lowered his gun and fired it along the trench, the powerful cannon punching through soil and killing several occupants. He turned his attention back to the retreating AMXes after this shot, scoring a back armor hit that killed another tank crew and sent the tank careening to the ground.
A number of Andorians suddenly emerged from the trench. As Lambert noticed them, he also noticed the weapons slung on their shoulders. "ATGMs! We have ATGMs!" he shouted, turning the turret to try and shoot some fo the men holding them.
A barrage of particle cannon fire came down on the Andorian men, killing many, but not enough as the survivors and some of the doomed managed to fire first. A swarm of ATGMs raced across the distance, and though the driver of Lambert's LHBT-3A was good, he was not good enough. The missile impacted against side armor of the Stuart and it's shaped charge erupted, sending a stream of super-hot plasma through the armor plate. It penetrated with sufficient energy to spare, and plasma filled the tank's inside. Lambert died with a bloodcurdling scream in his throat as his body was charred to a crisp.

Gralo was satisfied with the result showing on the holographic command screen in his C&C vehicle. Pacifican tanks along the northern sector blipped out repeatedly and the survivors began to retreat. At that point Gralo gave the order to counter-attack and his armor raced forward, accompanied by IFVs as they went on to collide with the mechanized brigade attacking along the north.
To the south the situation was not as good, though still viable; the enemy commander there had kept his tanks in with his infantry, but his advance was slower here. Gralo sent a dispatch on to the commander of the 22nd Guards Division (known as the "Shran Division" after the 22nd Century figure) advising forces be re-distrubited to only hold the southern flank while utterly routing the Pacificans on the north.
His advice was ignored, much to Gralo's consternation, with a counter-attack instead ordered against the more dangerous enemy to the south.

Sergeant Beverly Lamb was a forty year old veteran of the Pacifican militia, Alliance-trained, and commanding one of the Stuart tanks of the 8th Mechanized Brigade. Her unit was on the northern edge of the southern thrust and so the first to come into contact with the counter-attacking Andorians.
She gave the order to engage and her gunner did so, the twenty-year old recruit firing his weapon as best as he could and killing the older Andorian-crewed AMXes with ease. A hit thudded on their armor, but it held.
Ordering careful maneuvering given by Lieutenant Patterson in the tank to their right, Sergeant Lamb was among those who heard the call over the radio to fall back. "Northern thrust has failed, large scale enemy counter-attack developing on south. All units fall back." There was enough panic in the voice to make Lamb realize the situation was becoming grave, but she didn't let her men hear that, giving calm orders to keep them from panicking.

Panic would have ruined the Pacificans in the south, but there was none. An entire mechanized division began to bear down on them from the north and the response was to fall back, abandon the gained ground, and return to their defensive positions in the hills. A fighting retreat it was to be, conducted in ordered fashion with half of the armored battalion facing forward with their strong armor and providing cover fire for the tanks retreating with their rears to the enemy, the two halves switching roles every minute or so. Lamb had a front seat view to the fight as her tank endured fire from the enemy. An ATGM zipped by them, missing, and another zipped by them only because it was aimed at Patterson's tank, which erupted from the hit and was reduced to a smoking casket for it's dead crew. "This is Sergeant Lamb, I am taking command of the platoon," she said over the radio in a strong voice. "Maintain fire and continue falling back."
It was her unit's turn to turn, and turn they did, the gunner keeping his turret rear-facing. "Concentrate on IFVs, we don't want them letting their infantry getting close enough to hit with ATGMs." Lamb's order was followed by all three tanks, most of their shots striking the IFV-5 Knight IFVs of the attacking Andorians and a number of them penetrating the IFVs' armor and killing the occupants.
"Keep it going people, do your jobs and we live through this," Lamb said to encourage her younger tankmates.
And they did.

The progress of the counterattack was of no surprise to Gralo. As the minutes became hours in the hot firefight, it occurred to him that the brigade-level commander in the south was better experienced than his northern counterpart, as he maintained an excellent fighting retreat that was mauling the 22nd Guards.
With casualties mounting and approaching the danger threshold, General Rokral finally followed Gralo's advice and halted the costly counter-attack. The 22nd Guards fell back to their defensive lines and let the enemy retreat to safety, leaving behind the husks of destroyed vehicles and thousands of dead and wounded, more Andorian than Pacifican in makeup. It shamed Gralo that so many good men and women had been thrown away on a foolish attack when he had been robbed of the chance to crush an entire enemy brigade on the northern flank, an enemy brigade that had successfully escaped to the protective umbrella of enemy artillery cover.
The sun was setting and the day's battles were over. Both sides were capable of firing at night, but the Federation had not yet fully recovered from the horrendous casualties of the first day and the Pacificans seemed inclined to simply hold and not try to dislodge the Warhammers with night fighting. With this as a rule for both sides, combat ended save for stray shots fired in the lines set into the hills.
Leaving the command vehicle for the regimental barracks and his room within, Gralo looked at those hills in the distance and knew it would cost a lot of blood to punch through them. But the Federation would have to if it wanted to seize Jefferson. And it would be his duty as an officer of the Andorian Imperial Guard Corps to help a government he despised crush people whom he was growing to admire.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-05-10 04:20am

21 December 2165 AST

"I repeat, you are to cease offensive activity against the Pacifican defenses until such a time as you have the necessary manpower and firepower to break the Pacifican lines." Milano's angry visage filled the monitor screen in Admiral Robertson's command center. "The losses from two days ago were too severe. We're already having street protests led by that damnable Miller."
"Understood, Sir, but concentrating on the east isn't good enough. The enemy can still escape from the west because of the roads here, and I can't spare the force to take and hold the roads without jeopardizing my encampment. Not without taking the Heights."
"Unless you've got some bright idea on how to take out those defenses, that's exactly what you're going to do."
At that point one of Robertson's subordinates walked up. A lean, almost scrawny man named Oliver Hilton, a Lieutenant Commander, said, "Sir, if I may, I might have a solution?"
Robertson looked to him as Milano watched. "Yes, Commander?"
"We can use pattern enhancers to get around enemy transporter-jamming, sir, and excavate pockets underneath their position, replacing the soil and earth with explosives," Hilton said. "Give a day or so and we could have enough to wipe out their defenses completely. And if our troops are ready for a big push..."
"That's a good idea, Commander," Milano said, stopping Robertson from speaking first. "You do that and you'll be a Captain very shortly."
Hilton realized what was going on and looked to Robertson sheepishly, but the admiral nodded. "Do what you have to," Robertson said. "Go, you're dismissed." Hilton nodded and left.
"Remember, we need the Pacifican government taken alive if possible. Dead they are matyrs. Alive, we can put them on trial and humiliate them. And by breaking Pacifica we can soon break the other colonies." Milano's expression grew grim. "Don't mess this up, Admiral, or I'll have your head on a platter. Possibly in literal fashion. Milano out."
Robertson watched the Starfleet C-in-C disappear from the screen and sighed, distraught by the circumstances he'd been caught up in.

Jefferson (East Bank of the Washington River), Pacifica

The whine of phasers and steady rythym of pulse fire sounded through the man-made canyon of mid-sized office buildings and structures in the Drucker area of Jefferson. Perched near a window in an abandoned office building, Sergeant Samantha Cunningham non-chalantly checked the charge level of her MP-10 while her squad poured fire into the street below. She checked the grenade-launcher underslung on her barrel to see how many rounds she had left for it before stepping up again. On the street below she saw the Federation troops scurrying from cover to cover, avoiding the fire coming from her company in the surrounding buildings. Flipping a switch to select her grenade launcher, Cunningham's aim went to a door alcove in a shop that the Feddies were using for cover and her finger pulled the trigger. The high-velocity grenade closed the distance in the blink of an eye, causing not just a small explosion but a shower of anti-personnel shrapnel. Screams came from over the din of battle and blood was pouring out from the alcove.
"We've lost the Hartman Building!" a voice cried over the Pacifican comms, and Cunningham recognized it as Lieutenant Sampson, acting commander of Charlie Company. "We're falling back, will try to hold them at Shea Elementary!"
Cunningham frowned at that, since her daughters and son had all once attended Shea and she hated the thought of the school getting wrecked. But she had little time for complaint, given the next call over the radio was from Sergeant Alvarado. "Feddies in through the north door! We've lost Billings and Somoza, I can't hold them!"

Given the disparity in numbers, and the fact that they were facing an A-class sector militia and not the pajama-wearing cannon fodder that had been massacred on the west bank, Cunningham knew that they couldn't last. With a hand movement she ordered her men away from the window, intending to make her way to the west side of the building and out the door there.

Lieutenant Avery Sandhurst, a lanky 26 year old from Earth who served in the Europe Corps of Earth's militia, was long unnerved by his first taste of combat. The weapons being used by the pacificans were barbaric and vicious, cutting people up and spilling large quantities of blood into the streets - unlike the clean, civilized phaser weaponry that Sandhurst and his men were employing. It seemed that everyone was right. The colonies were filled with people who had rejected the progress and peace promised by the Federation, intent on living in the bloody past. Now, to prevent them from causing more harm, he was going to have to kill them, and do it with far more merciful weapons than their horrific devices.
A wave of his hand prompted his platoon to move forward toward the west side of a five story building. Another platoon was already entering from the north, and he hoped they could cut off and force the surrender of the enemy troops within.
The fireteam moving in front raised their phaser rifles and fired at the figures coming out. One was hit square in the chest, his body armor not enough to stop the phaser at it's highest setting. Though he was not vaporized, the Pacifican was clearly killed by the hit, his body hitting the ground.
"Go! Go go go!" Sandhurst's English accent made it clear over the sounds around him and his men went up toward the door, intent on pinning the enemy in. "Lippman, do you have the other door?", he asked over the comm.
The commander of the platoon on the north answered with a thick German accent, "Yes, we have it."
"Send your people to the south door, we'll cut them off here and keep them trapped." Sandhurst motioned to one of his squads to go cover the south side and ensure there were no escapes from there. After that he brought his rifle up to his eye and led his troops in.

"Jurgens is down! We've got Feddies on the west!"
The shout from the stairwell echoed up and into the ears of Cunningham, who had been moving to exit from that side. Alvarado was falling back to the south door, trying to avoid getting penned in.
Cunningham's helmet viewer brought up an electronic IR display, which she used to watch enemy troops moving into the building and right for their staircase. She put a finger on her mouth to signal for silence and pulled a frag grenade out of her belt. A couple of the others did so as well, and they waited, fingers around the pins, for the Feddies to begin coming up the staircase. They were being careful, Cunningham noted, showing the training given A-class militias in the Federation.
At her signal she and the others all threw their grenades into the stairwell and got out of the way of the entrance. A series of explosions went off in the stairwell.

Sandhurst heard the explosions as he came up on the stairwell and watched the man ahead of him collapse, blood rushing from his torn throat and the hole in his body armor. He reflexively stepped backward, his surviving troops holding their phaser rifles up and preparing to contest any attempt to come down the stairwell.
When nobody came, Sandhurst looked down at his wrist and the tricorder device displayed there. He noticed the first life sign coming in front of him in time to look up and see an armored figure lift a rifle at him.... with a grenade launcher slung on the bottom.
I can't believe I'm going to die here was the only thought he had time to have.
It fired, and he had just enough time to scream before the grenade hit him and exploded, tearing him and his remaining troops to bits.

With only one grenade left, Cunningham led her troops past the gory remains of the Federation troops and out the west door. "This is Alvarado", a voice said as they exited. "They have shooters covering the south door. If you've gotten out, we need them suppressed!"
"We've got it," Cunningham answered. She checked her rifle on the move, verifying the charge level was still the same and that sdhe had only two grenades left for the launcher, and with no reloads until they got to a supply source.
The building was a plain one, almost a perfect square, with bushes lining the parking lot. Cunningham's sensors confirmed that the Feddies were there, eight in all. She motioned to her troops to take cover and brought up her weapon. Aiming at one gaggle of five in close proximity, she fired and watched the round explode within the bushes, setting them on fire and sending out the lethal shrapnel that the weaker body armor used by A-class militia could not protect from. She turned and difred another round before the last three could react, blowing them apart as well.

But one of the enemy figures was still alive, and Cunningham saw the phaser rifle barrel poke out of the flaming bushes just in time to feel the phaser blast impact on her chest, knocking her backward. A terrible pain gripped her chest from where the phaser had vaporized or partly damaged her lungs, stomach, ribs, and heart. Gasping for air, she motioned to her men to go on. Cunningham knew that this was it.
She felt one of her troopers, a large man named Forrest, lift her into his arms, but was too weak to rebuke him. She simply felt the man carry her along as life slipped from her second by agonizing second, her final thoughts on the husband and children she was leaving behind....
And that was how Samantha Cunningham died, only a kilometer away from the place she was born, the home she had grown up in, and the house she had raised her children in. Unlike Avery Sandhurst, she had at least managed to die at home.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-05-12 04:03am

Washington, D.C., Earth
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1

The conference room within the confines of the White House, once the home of the United States President of HE-1 and now the home of the President of the Allied Nations, was silent in anticipation for the arrival of the President. Those assembeld made up the "business end" of the Alliance Security Committee, the deliberating body of the Alliance's highest political and military leaders who led the way in enacting the military and astropolitical policies decided upon by the President, whom they were tasked with advising. Present, from left to right sans the seat at the head of the table for the President, were Marine Corps Commandant Lewis Wilcox as Chairman of the Joint Command Staff of the Alliance Armed Services and Defense Minister Matthew Darlington; along the left sat Sir James Bronson, the President's Alliance Security Advisor, and Foreign Minister Peter Wells.
After some delay the door opened and President Robert Dale entered. Six feet tall, with well-kept black hair and green eyes, he looked comfortable in the business suit he was wearing upon entry. It was known that whenever on business he was dressed for the occasion, a way of showcasing seriousness and dedication to the awesome responsibilities that had been placed on his shoulders. "I apologize, gentlemen," he began, finding his seat. "I was going over travel plans with my staff."
Everyone nodded. Though he would remain long enough to give a "State of the Alliance" address to the new Alliance Council when it was inaugerated in late January, almost immediately thereafter Dale would be departing for a trip expected to last up to three months, the high point being a state visit to Talora itself in the first historical meeting between any leaders of the three great Superpowers of the Multiverse, including the formal signing of the new friendship treaty with the Taloran Empire.

"Given the situation with the Federation..."
Dale lifted a hand to silence Wilcox. "Commandant, I'm not going to cancel something that has been in planning for a year, and if I did it'd probably panic the Federation into thinking we were up to something. I trust that you won't plunge me into a war while I'm off."
"Given what happened the last time..."
Wells' comment brought back the memory of the Algrossa Crisis, of Clyde Kumanti's scheming and Defense Minister Rathbone's passive acceptance of it while Mamatmas had been on his state visit to Minbar in the aftermath of the Centauri situation, as it had been Dale who had prevented the outbreak of war by giving the recall orders from the Pentagon that kept 3rd Fleet from crossing the demarcation line and engaging Starfleet. "I don't think that'll be a problem," Dale remarked with teeth almsot clenched. Fortunately, he knew that none of Darlington's subordinates were like Kumanti, and that Darlington was not like Rathbone; he'd been the one to get them all hired to the Defense Ministry in the first place.

"While that is true, Sir, we should still at least consider the possibilities of Hephaestus."
Dale looked at Bronson. "The Nitse Reaction?"
"Yes, Sir. This could set it off."
"And you want us to arm and aid the rebelling colonies," Dale said, finishing Bronson's thought for him. "It occurs to me that the best route of managing the reaction is to prevent outside powers from taking advantage of the distraction to expand."
"I don't know, Sir, it might not be preferable to see the AFU win," Bronson answered. "And they would be the big winners in this conflict. Having a fascist party in control of the Federation is not in our best interest."
"The Alliance getting involved would be like throwing gasoline on the fire," Wells retorted. "And what it'd do to our standing with other governments I can't begin to imagine...."
"At the very least, sir, we could allow the current shipments in transit to be delivered before taking any action to prevent more. Or we could simply stand aside and let the arms companies decide whether they want to take the risk of selling weapons to these people."
Dale considered that option for the moment. "Allowing our arms companies to sell to rebels would be like giving them the weapons ourselves. No, I think we'll need to have those blocked if we can get them in time."
"If I might say so, Sir, I don't see why we can't. The Federation's popularity amongst other governments has never been high...:"
"Yet it still sets a bad example if we interfere willy-nilly in other nations' civil conflicts. Gentlemen, I am not going to authorize any kind of scheme to grant official aid to the colonies. Anything that can be traced to us directly or indirectly is off-limits, and that leaves damned few options." After a sigh, he continued, "I wouldn't mind helping these people out any more than you would, but there are larger issues to deal with. I won't allow this Administration's goals to be jeopardized over the Federation. I can't. My decision is final; no Hephaestus, no advisors, no secret supply drops, nothing. We'll announce our intention to resist any attempt to strike at the Federation during it's distraction and that is all. For show, Commandant, I recommend that some of the SB-1s be redeployed to Algrossa and Orion. A nice reminder to the Romulans that the Two Worlds are in easy pickings range. That is all."

After the conference ended, and Dale returned to his smaller office (as opposed to the Oval Office), Bronson was brought in to see him. "Sir James, what's keeping you?" Dale asked. "I thought you had another briefing with AID tonight?"
"I still have some time before I'll have to be in Bowie." Bronson stepped up. "Sir, I have to say, I don't think you're making the right decision here. Standing aloof like this, when most of our citizens are responsive to supporting the colonies, does not fit well. It could hurt you in '68, sir."
"That actually sounds tempting," Dale joked. "I'd rather leave the politics out of deliberations, Sir James, especially given we just had an election and no have two years before we have to start worrying about the next."
"If the Federation wins, Sir, it could become a threat. The annihilation of the pacifist elements that held it back and the subjugation of it's rich charter colonies would allow the AFU to build up strongly. Our people familiar with the organization's upper ranks show that their secret agenda for 'corporatizing' the Federation's society could actually solve the production shortfall that has crippled the Federation's capabilities these past years." Bronson took a seat. "I needn't remind you that the AFU has a revanchist element and considers Algrossa, Nippon, Nova Savona, and other worlds once in the Federation to still be Federation territory. You might end up with a war anyway."
"Maybe so," Dale replied. He looked up and, looking back down at the paper he was now signing, placed his pen down and put his hands on the table. "I know what was going unspoken in that room, SIr James. 'If Mamatmas were here' sums it up, wouldn't you say?"

Shifting in his chair, Bronson nodded.
"Well, I have to agree with you on one element. If we could turn back the clock ten years, we would be acting differently in this situation. I would be acting differently. But the Multiverse has changed, Sir James, and you know that better than anyone. The Alliance is no longer the sole superpower of the Multiverse. And right now we are still in the delicate early stages of the trilateral superpower arrangement of the Multiverse. The Habsburg Empire and the Talorans have to be effectively courted so that common ground can be found and, together, we can work to keep the peace. I'm praying for the Pacificans, Sir James, but I cannot hold their welfare, or the welfare of all the secessionist colonies in the Federation, over that of the entire Multiverse and the threat that it can be torn into opposite camps."

"Or would you rather have me confirm the worst fears about us in Valeria and Vienna? Would you like to see those empires draw closer together, throwing off the balance of power, and begin actively courting other states at odds with us? Imagine the harm if the Talorans and the Habsburgs started actively courting Katherine Davion, or Praetor Neural, or Emperor Akihito? An official and full Habsburg-Hispanic alliance in CON-5 could destablize the entire Rimward region from Plymouth to Gilead to Slavia, and given Habsburg methods of expansion could result in the Hispanic Empire being subsumed into the Holy Roman Empire one day. The Talorans could promote their own sphere of influence in the Gamma Quadrant, causing us major defense concerns in the protectorates there." Dale shook his head. "As it is now, neither has done what it very well could do, for various reasons undoubtedly, and I do not intend to give them a reason to start. I want to build trust with them, and I cannot do that if I go haring off to attack another sovereign state, directly or indirectly, without casus belli. And I do not intend to do that."
At that, Bronson could only nod in reluctant agreement, even as his mind considered other options. "Well, Mister President, seeing as I can't persuade you, I'd best be going for my briefing with Director White Eagle."
"Please, give him my regards."
"Yes, sir." At that, Bronson left. The conversation was over, but the issue itself was not...
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-05-17 05:47am

Paris, Earth
United Federation of Planets
Universe Designate ST-3

It was fair weather as always in the City of Light, but Ovnork's mood was hardly fair. The portly Tellarite was under a fire that he never expected to deal with, as the Council and the Party debated what to do and Starfleet warned of other colonies seeking to break off.
Wilmington and Milano had come again to give him his marching orders. "Stay the course" was the effective term for it, with the casualties not mattering a bit to the AFU. Ovnork took it in stride, as he had already hit the depths of depression and had resolved to go on with a stoic acceptance of his role in history.
This change in attitude had not gone unnoticed by the two AFU leaders. "You seem rather different today, Mister President," Milano noted. "Anything wrong?"
At that, a snort and laughter came from the Tellarite. "Oh, why would you think anything was wrong, Admiral? Thousands of Federation citizens are dead and we are on the verge of a civil war. How could anything be wrong?"

"There won't be a civil war if we crush Pacifica," Wilmington said. "Even if there is, Starfleet can seize enough of the colonies' shipyards and facilities to keep them fractured and ensure our victory."
"And if the Alliance arms them?" Ovnork asked.
"Again, sir, President Dale will not do anything that could upset his relations with the Talorans. He fears that they and the other reactionary empire, the Habsburg one, will unite against the Alliance," Wilmington predicted with an air of confidence. "If he moves against us, the Talorans will back us."
"Why would they? To their eyes we are even worse," Ovnork remarked. "Oh, I've read the reports from our own services, but I've also read better sources on them, and I've spoken with their ambassador here. I can see the contempt in his eyes, gentlemen, and I know that even if the Talorans, for reasons of tradition, refuse support for the colonies and denounce those who do give it, they will not go out of their way to aid us. If you want weapons from them, the price will be steep."

At that point Ovnork sighed and looked out the window, ignoring his "subordinates" for the moment. Had he been a firmer man, he undoubtedly would have given his resignation at that point, or he would have tried to assert control and deal with Pacifica, even if it meant tolerating their secession. But he was not these things, and with the moment of decision come, and with no room to maneuver, he could only sit and watch as things developed. "Do as you will, gentlemen. I am certain that when History writes her judgement of us, we will all be thoroughly damned."
"History is written by the victors," Milano remarked.
At that, Ovnork snorted again. "Unfortunately, we are not at war with the entire Multiverse, and even if we win this war, they will get to write history as well, and I doubt it will be very flattering." Ovnork motioned them to the door. "Please, leave me, I wish to be alone as I watch our peoples' great dream crumble in my hands."

Near Jefferson, Pacifica
23 December 2165 AST

Captain Cornell Winston, 22nd Infantry Battalion and part of the 8th Division, was standing with the men and women of his company as they prepared to travel to the forward deployment zone and take up positions as reserves for the frontlines against the Federation forces that were still entrenched to the west. They were all fitted out with body armor and weapons, glinting in the dawn light of their homeworld. volunteers all and ready to fight for their independence. Winston himself hid all the uncertainty he felt about the survival of their cause as he prepared to lead them into potential battle.
As the vehicles that were going to drive them into the hills pulled up, WInston reached into a pocket on his uniform and pulled out a picture, showing his lovely honey-haired wife Pam and their two year old son Sam. Thankfully they did not live in the area but were back home in Johnsonville, about two hundred miles from Adams Bay, and so they at least were safe. That was about the only thing that Winston felt at ease about given their situation and the growing strength of the Federation attack. The east was on the verge of collapse, and in the west the Feddies were undoubtedly about to launch their next major push. The survival of the Pacificans as a people rode on the outcome of this battle.

As he went to lift his head from looking at the picture in his hand, Winston felt the earth shake beneath his feet. An ear-splitting thunder echoed through the air and it came from the west. Looking in the direction of the hills of Jefferson Heights, Winston watched a massive cloud of dust and particles move skyward, joined by others. "What the hell?" he whispered as the others of his unit murmured.
For several eerily-silent moments everyone just stood there and watched as explosions rippled across the western skyline, sending smoke and debris skyward. Finally a frantic call came over the radio, and WInston felt his heart grow cold as the panicked voices informed him and everyone else that massive explosions had torn apart the defensive lines covering the hills.

Jefferson Heights

The tank saved Beverly Lamb's life.
It was as if the planet had gotten angry and tried to throw them off. A massive rumble beneath their vehicle and she and her tank crew were suddenly airborne, straining against their safety harnesses. By miracle or by luck, her driver had the skill and sense of mind to activate the anti-grav units that propelled the tank while in mid-air. The resulting anti-grav field repelled the smaller bits of matter away from them and, when the tank came crashing down, stopped them from hitting the ground hard. They landed on the tank's rear, and with a rumble and jerk it plopped down onto it's bottom as it was meant to.
Lamb brought up her scope and looked around. A few other tanks in their company had survived, but seven had landed hard. Crews that had been outside had hit the ground hard, dying from shattered skulls and broken necks, sometimes even before hitting the ground.
"This is Sergeant Lamb," she said into her helmet. "Everyone to a functioning tank, now!"
There was movement from some of the lost tanks, the crews scrambling out. Lamb watched her gunner begin to unbuckle his harness and grabbed him by the ankle. "No," she said firmly.
"But Sarge, there are people...."
"Let the others get them, we have to be ready to move immediately."

Around them the men and women of their unit tried to discern the wounded from the dying. Those who were wounded were brought to surviving tanks if possible and placed aboard them. A couple men brought a wounded kid to Lamb's tank, and she climbed out of the hatch to helm them secure the moaning soldier. "Get to a tank, now!" she cried at them, and they did so.
It was not a moment too soon, as she was just settling back into her seat and looking at her scope when the first Andorian-crewed AMXes crested the nearest hill. "All units, fighting retreat!" she ordered, realizing that the entire battle had just taken an amazing, horrible turn.

Planetary Defense Bunker, Jefferson

Tyler was watching with horror and surprise as Reynolds and Velasquez got reports from the field.
Just as sunlight came to Jefferson, explosions tore through the earth below the defenses in Jefferson Heights. In one terrifying moment five Pacifican divisions disintegrated, suffering major casualties and being completely disrupted. They had been reduced to individual companies and platoons against the onslaught of a renewed Federation advance of six divisions, including the elite Warhammers, which by reports were already scything through the second defense line established in the Heights, which had also suffered from the Federation attack.
The east was collapsing, and so was the west now, and Tyler could only watch as every hour shifted the map to show more red and less blue. He overheard as his generals dispatched reserves to try and prevent the Federation from breaking out of the Heights and somberly hoped they would succeed.
All he could do was pray that all of this death would not be for nothing.

Camp Cartman

Watching the situation with equal interest and concern was Admiral Robertson. He was in the safety of his command center as he sent other Federation citizens to fight and die in a battle against other Federation citizens. The older man could not help but feel that his oath to Starfleet was being betrayed, even now, by the raising of arms against those he was required to protect.
Commander Hilton was in the command post, quite pleased with himself. Accepting congratulations from other staffers, Hilton noticed Robertson's expression and went over to him. "Admiral, thank you for having faith in me." He blinked at seing Robertson's lack of response. "Is everything all right?"
"We're killing other Federation citizens, Commander, so no, nothing is all right." Robertson looked skyward. "Nothing will ever be all right ever again."
"Well, Sir, I understand, but the Pacificans started this."
"No, Commander, we did. We started it when we decided that we had the right to force them to give us their wealth so that other peopel could live in luxury while they worked for a living." Robertson put his hands together. "And now it's led us to this. Some Enlightened Society, huh?"
"Commander, you wouldn't be...."
Understanding that his subordinate was concerned that he was voicing thoughts of treason, Robertson brought a hand up. "Don't worry, Commander, I swore to serve the Federation and I intend to follow that oath, even if the Federation might not deserve it anymore. I don't have anything else, really. No wife, no kids.... my career was everything." He grinned sadly at the young officer, whom he knew to be career-orientated as well. "Keep in mind that sometimes, the career isn't worth it."
Hilton nodded, and not wanting to discuss this subject with Robertson anymore, he left the admiral alone to consider the enormity of what he was doing.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-05-19 09:12am

Barberville, Pacifica
24 December 2165 AST

Damien Landers, of the A-class militia unit of the 10th Alpha Centauri Infantry, could see that the town had long been abandoned when his unit entered Barberville, a suburban community on the southern outskirts of Jefferson, right on the Washington River. It seemed so different from his hometown back on Alpha Centauri. There were abandoned cafes, restaurants, and small shops, not a single public replicator in sight, nor the public eating spots that people used when taking their meals in the community.
So this is what the charter colonies live like. No wonder they're so backward, every day must be a struggle for survival if they can't even get food or water without money. was the thought that went through his head. He looked over at his childhood buddy Peter Osinski, who was taking in the sights as well from the open back of the anti-grav truck they were in. "Think they'll let us take any souveniers?"
"I'd say we help ourselves if we want, these people don't deserve to have things if they're going to horde them and not share them like they should," Pete replied with a smirk. He was carrying a Type IV pulse phaser rifle, the same as Damien's, that both were well-trained shots with.
Driving through the center of town, their company wound up at the Barberville waterfront. A boat marina was nearby, some of it's berths empty from those who fled but plenty left. "We have orders to appropriate anything that can be carried," Lieutenant Lewins informed everyone over the comms. "And that means everything from everyone. The Pacificans have to be taught that resisting the Federation and trying to harm it's people mean they lose everything and not just a little fraction."
Damien heard this and looked back out at the river. They had cut off the Pacifican capitalist regime from escape, and soon, very soon, it would face the firm but benevolent justice of the Federation. It was probably more than they deserved, but that's how things worked, and it wasn't easy being the Enlightened Society sometimes....

Jefferson (West Bank), Pacifica

Winston's company was surrounded. That had been his expectation, but he had not argued orders, and that was to hold their positions as long as possible to buy time for 5th and 6th Army to relieve Jefferson.
The company had taken over a cluster of buildings, warehouses in the western portion of Jefferson in the city's oldest sections where the industry was currently all located. The Federation militia would push and Winston's people would throw them back with heavy losses, but ammunition was running out fast.
Looking over the nearby streets, Winston made the decision. He turned to his radioman and ordered, "We're attacking east to try and return to our lines." The orders were sent out and Winston held up his FAMAS-P Particle Rifle. He left the upper floor of the warehouse he was in and followed a squad and his company HQ.
At his order, Lieutenant Parkman's platoon immediately counter-attacked a Federation militia attacking their warehouse from a nearby car factory. They moved across the streets and to the doors of the building, where the B-class militia fought heroically but futilely, dying under the guns of Parkman's troops. Winston followed, the factory being secured and immediately abandoned as they moved over to the next street.

This time, however, they came under intense particle fire, and Winston could see the battle-armored hulks of Warhammer infantry as they moved through the next building, a furniture factory. He resolved to go around and ordered his troops to the southwest, heading toward one of the industrial center's recreational parklands, though he intended to go to the warehouse facility just north of the park to maintain urban cover.
They were nearing the corner when the first shot hit Winston. A particle bolt that burned through his armor and scorched his left shoulder. He cried out and fell for a moment, one of his men catching him. "Just a shoulder wound, keep going!" he shouted, urging the men onward.
They got to the building and entered it just as Warhammers entered it from the north. Winston held his gun up, spraying particle fire in their direction as bolts of blue particle energy flashed around indescriminately, wounding and killing anyone they hit.

Winston led a group of men around a stack of boxes that hadn't been been completely demolished by the energy fire going around. As he came around the corner, there was a clatter, and he turned in time to see a grenade on the floor. A number of the men ahead of him tried to get to it, but they were too late, and the last thing he saw was a bright flash from a miniature plasma eruption....

Planetary Defense Bunker, Jefferson

For the first time, President Tyler was considering defeat, and truly. The screens showed the situation; the roads on both sides of the city cut off, individual companies and battalions being encircled by Federation Warhammers and mechanized forces cutting right toward the heart of Jefferson while in the east the Federation created a cordon, consolidating it's control of the eastern roads to prevent any breakthroughs there. Jefferson was a trap, a big trap, and there could be no escape.
"How long until 5th Army is in position?" he heard Velasquez ask a subordinate.
"We don't know," was the reply. "The Federation has severed all land communications and is jamming all wireless channels.
Tyler chuckled, unable to help himself. "Just one more thing gone wrong." As he said that, he couldn't help but wonder.... had he been wrong? Had he moved too early? What other options could he have played that might have prevented this?
Was there anything else that he could have done?
He was certain that there was none, but he couldn't be sure, and that tormented him for some time to come....

Camp Cartmen

Cordell Winston woke up with a headache that felt like it was splitting his skull. The light above him seemed light, too light, and he brought up his arm to block the light.
But after a moment, he realized his arm wasn't responding. He looked up, trying to look around to see what happened, when a uniformed Starfleet nurse came up. She was a relatively pretty girl, with honey-colored hair and freckles, and she put a concerned hand on him. "You musn't get up now, you were badly hurt."
Winston thought hard, trying to remember what happened after the grenade. "Where am I?"
"We're at the field hospital of Camp Cartment. And you need more rest."
Winston tried to get up anyway, but none of his arms and legs seemed to be obeying. He raised his head and looked around. His mouth hung open in terrified shock at what he saw.
His arms and legs were completely gone.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-05-21 10:01am

Sanford, Earth
Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1
25 December 2165 AST

Along the southern shore of Lake Monroe, one of the many lakes to follow the course of the Saint John's River from upper Central Florida to it's mouth at the Atlantic east of Jacksonville, the city of Sanford had grown up, west of the site of Fort Mellon, a Seminole War-era Army fort. The old US National Guard armory on the fort's site, now converted into a local military museum, was still along 1st Street near the Seminole County services building, still existant nearly two centuries after it ceased being a hospital. Sanford had, in the past two centuries, not only retained it's position as the seat of Seminole County, but had kept a smaller town atmosphere despite the mass expansion of the Orlando Metropolitan area into most of Seminole County.
In the recent several decades, the city had begun holding an annual Christmas celebration at Ft. Mellon Park, overlooking Lake Monroe where, to the north, the great suburban sprawl of Deltona could be seen. Marching school bands down 1st Street from old US 17-92 to Mellonville Avenue and the old Sanford Memorial Stadium, a Christmas meal for the needy at the Park itself and the nearby civic center, and sundry other activities, including a yearly concert at the Memorial Stadium where it's expanded seating allowed for two thousand people to see lower-level bands perform Christmas music along their own tunes. Everyone was in wear appropriate for the season; sweaters and pants with the weather having dipped down to the 40s, which was far preferable to the prior year when Christmas Day saw temperatures up to the upper 70s and not below 58.

A local "old-time" barbershop quartet finished the Christmas song "Can You Hear What I Hear?" and left the stage at midfield to the applause of the crowd. After they did, a portly older African-American with a graying beard stepped up. City Commissioner Paul Collins was the most senior of the city's commissioners, a man who started politics later in life and hadn't advanced very far for it. "I hope you've all been enjoying the show," Collins began, drawing cheers mostly from a contingent of his Midway constituents, to whom he was the local hero for rising from a lower-class Midway home as a child to being a successful local businessman. "Before we continue, I'd like to address the crowd for a moment. As the news has reported lately, a conflict has broken out again in Universe ST-3. The Pacificans, a people who are pretty much our cousins, have been forced to rebel from the Federation to prevent the Federation from impoverishing them to enrich it's inner worlds. Now, since the Pacifican government was illegally arrested and deposed by the Federation some months ago, some concerned citizens in the Allied Nations, and on our own Earth, have formed the Friends of Pacifica Committee, and I have been given the singular honor of recently being asked to lead the Sanford chapter of the Friends of Pacifica Committee."

"Our purpose is to help get donations to support Pacifican families in this harsh time. Now I know a lot of folks don't have a lot of money right now, you've already bought gifts for your families or spent it on other charities, but I'd like to ask you now if anyone can lend something, anything. Even a few dollars can get a Pacifican child an extra meal while his folks are off fighting. And it all adds up."
"Now, to show you folks how strongly I feel about this..." Collins pulled something out of his pocket, and waved the slip of paper in the air. "This is a check for ten thousand Alliance dollars. This represents all of the spare money I have at the moment. This check is written out to the Friends of Pacifica Committee and will be provided to the Southeastern North America Regional Office of the FoPC first thing tomorrow. I am now at the mercy of my next paycheck, just like so many of you. That is how firmly I believe in the rightness of the Committee's work. One of the greatest American qualities is our generosity with our wealth, and I believe that the good people of Sanford will step up to provide for these hard-working people in their time of great need."
"Now, if any of you are worried that your money will go to buy weapons or military goods of any kind, you needn't. The FoPC has ensured that it's donation accounts will go directly to food, and medicine, and clothing, and only then shipped to Pacifica. I promise that if you give a donation, you are not paying money to their government to fight, you are providing innocent Pacifican families with the things they need to survive."
"Throughout the show, Committee volunteers will be in the stadium courtyard to collect any donations you see fit to give. I thank the good people of Sanford for their attention and patience, and now, I have the honor of introducing to you Sanford's very own big record band, Jenny & Charlene!"
As the pop/country duo came onto the stage with a round of applause, Collins left and returned to a seat.

When the Christmas concert was over, and everyone returned home, it would be estimated that the crowd of 2,000 had given $5,000 ADN to the FoPC, ranging from children putting loose change into donation cans to other wealthy citizens writing out checks into the hundreds of dollars (and some cynically noting them for tax purposes).

The only unique feature of this scene was the specific circumstances of it, as the process of seeking and winning donations was carried out across the Alliance. The metaphorical "loose change" of the Multiverse's greatest industrial power was going to start flowing to Pacifica very shortly.

Camp Cartmen, Pacifica
Universe Designate ST-3

Admiral Robertson wasn't surprised at the reports coming in, but the disappointment on his officers' faces was clear.
For two days they had advanced without ceasing, but here on the third day, they could go no further. The Warhammers were exhausted from all of the fighting they had gone through, and most of the militias simply could not advance against the determined, fanatical resistance that the hitherto-inexperienced Pacificans were putting up.
He listened to his commanders prattling on. "One more push" was the common refrain. All of his commanders, even the leader of the Warhammers, was for it. Only one regimental-level commander had voiced opposition, and he - Col. Gralo l'Rikt of the Andorian Imperial Guards' 3rd Cavalry Regiment - was looked upon with suspicion as he was officially an Alliance citizen, not a Federation citizen.
Reports from orbit indicated that nearly a quarter million Pacifican troops would be arriving on both banks of the Washington within four days, and that would make it impossible for Robertson's forces to do anything but hold their ground - and even that with difficulty - so their only chance to take President Tyler's rebelling government as prisoners was here and now.

Robertson's final push in that direction was a message from Milano, indicating that there were growing problems in other charter colonies as pro-independence factions grew bolder and drew more political support. The problem had to be dealt with immediately if they were to avoid a general civil war.
Sighing, and wishing he had retired back around Stardate 54200 like he'd initially wanted, Robertson gave the order to launch a full-scale attack on both banks.
The final act of the Battle for Jefferson was about to be played...
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-05-24 09:33am

Jefferson (West Bank), Pacifica

Just under a mile west from the Presidential Mansion was Monticello Avenue. It was a major road in the city, one that started and ended on the Washington River, running north-south through the outermost edge of the city's urban core on the western bank of the river and basically serving as a line that touched both ends of the bend the river made around Jefferson.
Now Monticello Avenue was to be the battlefield. The Federation's troops stormed forward over the road, aided by a short, prepatory artillery barrage that was the most effective attempted so far due to the loss of so many Pacifican anti-artillery defense batteries in the Jefferson Heights explosion.
When the barrage ended and the troops came forward, they found that a number of buildings had been shattered or otherwise damaged in the barrage, and hoped that many of the Pacifican defenders had been in them. This hope was dashed when the first mortars exploded in the middle of the street, killing and wounding many as six depleted Federation divisions began their advance.

It was soon apparent that the barrage might not have been the best idea. Pacifican troops moved forward, finding the cover of rubble to be a great advantage while it simultaneously provided an obstacle to the Federation infantry. In two sectors, along Parson Street and Carr Street, Federation tanks managed to penetrate the Pacifican lines only to be wiped out by the reserves and their anti-tank missiles.
High atop the Parker Building, a fifteen story office building overlooking Monticello Ave., Captain Harry Davis watched the Federation attack unfold and directed what was left of the Pacifican artillery assets in Jefferson down on them. Lack of space in the urban environment had forced the dispersal of the artillery, most of it in the Riverfront Park or Landing Park, which commemorated the spot that the colonists of Pacifica had landed on two centuries prior. Now, in the distance, he could sometimes see the brief flashes of where the artillery was firing, raining more cluster munitions and armor-piercing shrapnel rounds on the Federation troops as they rushed onward.

From his place Davis could watch much of the battle unfold along the six mile front. There were ten thousand Federation troops per mile of front, a density of volume of ground troops not met in Federation history in a long time, and these men and women - exhausted, suffering from loss and desperation - charged onward almost recklessly. Those who had never seen battle before this campaign had become hardened by what they had experienced, their less-worthy comrades long claimed as casualties. They were a far cry from the worry-free core worlders they had once been, and what they had experienced had filled them with rage toward the Pacificans and Colonials in general, just as most Pacificans detested them. Just as Davis himself abhorred them, having seen how they lived, how little they thought of the men and women who worked hard just so they could live carefree. The pre-war prejudices had now been enflamed into bloody wartime rage.

The breaches at Parson Street and Carr Street were sealed by reserves, but the Federation's 8th Tellarite Infantry Battalion forced a breakthrough at Roosevelt Street, where the tanks of the Andorian 22nd Guards began to filter through. From his place on the Parker Building, Davis saw this happen and called for an artillery strike. The roughly-porcine Tellarites looked fierce as they pushed their way through the street, firing up at the nearby buildings and braving the murderous crossfire as some of their platoons broke off to take the buildings.
Then the shells hit. Precise and deadly, they sprayed hot metal over the Tellarites at super-sonic speed, overcoming their body armor and shredding many. The dead and dying soon covered Roosevelt Street while the survivors responded to an order to take cover, which forced them into the buildings. WIthout infantry to support the tanks, the anti-tank units made short work of the Andorians, who promptly fell back having lost six tanks within a minute.
From where he watched, Davis saw the Federation's wave of troops falter on Monticello as the street ran with the blood and entrails of over half a dozen races; Human, Vulcan, Bolian, the list went on. The sight served to reinforce to Davis how much of an underdog Pacifica was if she were forced to fight alone. There were thousands of inhabited systems in the Federation, while Pacifica had only thirty in its sphere. Yes, they were almost all highly-populated and productive, not literal colonies any longer, but the Federation had the largest portion of the Alpha Quadrant under its flag. How could tiny Pacifica compete with that?
The sun would be down soon, and Davis was ready to shift on his night vision as he did not expect the fight to lighten up simply because of night.
Then he saw movement beyond Monticello Avenue The roads were filled with armored troops coming up, and Davis recognized them easily as the Warhammers. Without stopping to do much more than slightly reform their ranks, they began moving across Monticello, collecting shattered or disorganized units around them to join them in resuming the offensive.

Jefferson (East Bank)

Chief Pablo Hernandez, a native of Acapulco back on Earth, was commanding one of the squads in the 9th North American Infantry Battalion, Beta Company, and had his men resting for the moment in the confines of a former restaurant. They had already raided it's stores for food and eaten, so all that remained was to wait until the order went out to try again for the river.
They were almost there. From a nearby office building's eighth floor, Hernandez had seen the Guise Bridge which connected the two halves of the city, and which was his unit's final destination.
Over the comms the order was given to resume the attack and to try and overwhelm the Pacifican defenders nearby. Hernandez led his squad back out into the street, finding the attrited remains of his platoon without their commander (Lieutenant Wilder had been killed just hours before in the taking of the aforementioned office building), and brought them together to resume their advance.

They moved swiftly down the street until they found themselves opposite an office building from which Pacifican troops opened fire on them. Hernandez quickly ordered the platoon into the building's main doors, which the Pacificans had not blocked.
The lobby was grand, four floors high by itself, with a marble fountain still spewing water dominating the scene. There were visible cafes on three levels, while the directory listed off dozens of offices for companies, law firms, insurance firms, and ironic enough, the office space for the local branch of the Federation's BNA Enforcement Bureau.

Particle fire erupted from the upper floors and Hernandez and his people took cover, though not before two of them were claimed by the first. Hernandez lifted his own Type 1 Particle Burst Rifle, a Federation knock-off of the MP-10, and opened fire at the open floors. His shots hit nothing, but his troopers' firing allowed him and a squad to get to the stairway and begin working their way up. They were soon joined by other infantry, as another platoon from Beta Company began to slip into the building. A burst of particle shots fired at some of them as they took cover demolished the fountain statue and chipped away at it's basin, sending water to the floor and making it dangerously slippery.

Up and up the stairs they went, crouching and ducking under the solid railings to avoid fire as best as they could. They made it to the third floor and rounded a corner, hitting the ground just in time to avoid fire from the Pacificans. Hernandez pulled a photon grenade off his belt, pulled the pin, and tossed it across the open space between the walkway and the nearby office corner where a fire team of Pacificans were firing. The explosion's heat washed over him, feeling almost painfully hot, and the screams of dying Pacificans could be heard, one changing in volume quick enough that Hernandez knew that the poor soldier had been blown over the railing and fallen two floors to the wet floor below.
There was a burst of particle fire from another direction, and Hernandez and his people took what cover they could, though he saw one of the younger members of the platoon fall with direct hits to her torso. As he turned to check on the girl, a clattering noise came to his ear and he saw the frag grenade hit the ground. Without thinking, he jumped upon it just in time for his body to take all of the released fragments. They had just enough power to break through his body armor, but lost enough kinetic energy in the effort that most of the pieces failed to get through his body entirely, embedding themselves in his guts, ribs, and lungs. Hernandez coughed up blood and it would be several seconds before his last breath came and went.

Around the spot where Hernandez fell, a ferocious infantry battle broke out that would last for the next three hours. When it ended, it was from the exhausted Federation infantry being pulled out by their commander, who could no longer bear to see his people die against the fanatical Pacifican resistance and decided to admit defeat on getting to the bridges.

Jefferson (West Bank), Pacifica

The Warhammer attack reinvigorated the Federation's troops, and Davis watched from his perch as they began to surge forward. They got down Parson Street again and then Roosevelt, though the knocked out tanks on Carr barred their progress. The British-built Chieftans used by the Warhammers proved more resilient against the anti-tank weapons of the infantry reserves, absorbing many hits before going down and threatening to exhaust the ammunition for the anti-tank forces.
It didn't take long for Davis to see his own building come under attack. The Warhammers and two other militia companies surged into it, driving the companies attached to him up and up the building. It was soon clear the building would fall, and Davis knew that this position could not fall into Federation hands. Over his comm, he gave the building's location off for a full-scale barrage from the remaining artillery.
The shells soon came in, and Davis had a moment to feel the building rumble beneath him as the high-explosive shells crashed through the structure and exploded, doing enough damage to ruin the building's structural integrity. As it began to crumble, a shell overhead went off and sent a solid piece of shrapnel through Davis' helmet and skull and into his brain, killing him instantly.

With a roar, the tanks of the 8th and 11th Mechanized Brigades moved forward from their positions at the Riverfront Park, and one of the platoons was under the command of Brevet Lieutenant Beverly Lamb, granted a battlefield commission to replace her lost commanders and for her performance in the prior week of battling. She sat in her tank, directing the movements of it and the other three under her command as her company commander had instructed.
The Stuart was no match for the heavier Chieftan normally, but in these close environments the range advantage of the Chieftan was negated more than the speed advantage of the Stuart, so her tank had more than a fighting chance against them.
With a single order her entire armored company was sent to shore up the faltering left flank, where Federation tanks had penetrated on six streets. Not wanting to take them on at the front, she ordered her squad of four tanks to travel down Constitution Street first and attack an enemy column moving up Johnson Street on it's right flank. They rumbled through the growing darkness of the Jefferson streets, the civilians in this neighborhood long evacuated to the riverfront shelters or the handful of foreign consulate buildings in Jefferson, and the noises of battle kept the enemy from hearing their hover engines until they were almost in range. They got to 3rd Avenue and turned, coming up on the enemy column as they went down Johnson Street just 200 meters or so away. With a single button press on her console Lamb had all four of her tanks fire, and all four hit their targets thanks to the close range, striking the weaker flank armor of the Chieftan tanks. Two burst into flames, one simply stopped from damage to it's tread, and one was hit at such an angle that the Stuart's cannon failed to penetrate it's armored skirt.

The attack caught the Federation column off guard, and it paused just long enough that Lamb got another shot off with two of her tanks, destroying the crippled tank and a fourth before she pulled her tanks back to avoid the devastating return fire that the Chieftans could give.
As the tanks pulled back, moving to another street to try and catch the Federation tanks in the flank again, Lamb's sensors showed that another enemy column of four tanks was moving down Constitution Street to attack them. She ordered her tanks to keep going and turn turrets to engage the enemy attackers, aware that against a Chieftan's main gun even their frontal armor would be no protection. Thankfully for her, Lamb's tankers got off the first shot at the enemy, damaging the cannon on one and scouring armor on another. A thunderous sound boomed in the air, and Lamb saw Sergeant Lister's tank explode. There was no time to grieve, as Lamb had to save herself and the others by turning down 4th Avenue and away from Johnson Street to avoid the enemy column.
She had help now, as an infantry platoon with anti-tank weapons had been moving up from the scant reserves to plug in the gap in the Pacifican lines, and they had taken positions in a building to fire down on the Federation tanks. The plunging fire was devastating, rockets and missiles blowing up the columns on both streets and allowing Lamb to turn her tank around and resume the movement to Monticello Avenue.

Presidential Mansion

From an upper floor of the mansion, Tyler was able to look out on the city and see the fighting rage from the flashes of light in the night sky, the explosions. So many had died, and more were dying, in this war that he had unleashed.
The weight on his heart was heavy. Tyler himself was not an eloquent, grandiose man. He had entered politics to try and change the world for the better and had ended up making the same cynical deals that all politicians had to make to advance their careers and their agendas. Now History had taken him and placed him upon its stage, and his actions would determine his fate, the fate of Pacifica, and perhaps trillions of more people across the Federation and the Multiverse itself.
Behind him, aides finished preparation to evacuate to the Madisson that overlooked Washington River, since the fall of the Mansion could not mean the fall of the Government. The ballroom there was already being prepared for Congressional sessions the next day, as they sought some way of maintaining a norm while their city came under siege, with relief still days away.

News came that Federation tanks had been spotted by the Capitol, which was only about one hundred and fifty yards away, and nearby explosions seemed to indicate this truth. Just as Tyler was allowing one of his aides to pull him away from the window to evacuate, a series of explosions was joined by a report that the Federation tank force had been defeated by Pacifican anti-tank weapons and the evacuation ended partially. Tyler returned to his place at the window, nursing a cup of iced tea and too nervous to eat the baked potato provided to him by the Mansion's cooking staff before they were evacuated.
For hours that spanned an eternity in his troubled soul, the flashes of light and explosions in the distance continued. Beautiful Jefferson, the Pacifican capitol built to resemble Washington, D.C. on Earth (the Presidential Mansion was designed to look more like Thomas Jefferson's Monticello mansion than the White House, though), was being reduced to rubble and her streets drenched in the blood of her people and the invading Federation troops.
"From time to time, the Tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants" was a saying of the great man the city was named after, and here Tyler could see, at a distance, that watering taking place at a scale he had never tried to contemplate. The war against the Dominion had, after all, scarcely touched Pacifica, so he had not seen those horrors, and aside from the brief Alliance campaign against the Orions and the short Klingon Civil War, this region had not seen such bloodshed since the Federation-Klingon border skirmishes a century before, in Kirk's time.
And again, it was all on his head. Tyler's heart quailed as he tried to consider the lives being ruined, extinguished even now, due to the things he had ordered. A part of him wanted this to end now, at any cost, but he would not. He could not. History would never forgive him if, once upon its stage, he refused to see this through.
And so the bloodshed continued through the darkness....

Camp Cartman

The displays on the screen were all Robertson needed to see. In the east, only the thinnest sliver of territory remained in Pacifican hands, but that sliver contained all of the bridges that could allow his troops to bridge the mighty Washington River. The forces on the east had advanced for days through urban terrain, taking horrible losses as they went and now so overstretched that, if the enemy had more troops, they could easily counter-attack. Their commander, Admiral Supek, had called off the attack, not seeing the point in continuing when his troops, even the Vulcan contingents, were too exhausted to break the enemy's defense.
On the west, the battle was still raging as the night hours continued, but it was clear to Robertson that things were not going according to plan. Although his forces had very nearly seized the Capitol, and had advanced up to nearly 2 kilometers into the city's heart along one street, the urban terrain was aiding the defenders too greatly, and the attack had lost all momentum. Pockets of Pacificans were still holding sections of Monticello Avenue, and save for a couple further penetrations the rest of the Federation force was being held at a line running parallel to the western edge of Landing Park, where in some cases artillery guns were being fired like cannons directly at approaching Federation tanks.

"This isn't going to work," Robertson said to the viewscreen image of General Thompson, the graying old commander of the Warhammers' 2nd Division and the lead commander of the assault. "You're not breaking through fast enough."
"The rebels are so battered that if I can just get one more push through...."
"One more push?!" Robertson exploded in rage at the man, making him recoil from the screen and drawing the attention of his aides from the outburst. "One more push you say! How many more 'one more pushes' will be necessary, General? Even one is too much now. We have scarcely three days, maybe as little as thirty hours, to get your troops out of combat, back to Camp Cartmen, and reorganized and replenished to deal with the eight fresh Pacifican divisions about to come down upon us! Face facts, General, this battle is lost! We cannot press on further no matter the strength of the enemy, not with our units torn apart and in disarray from the fighting. Continuing to so will only lead to unnecessary losses and diminish our ability to hold our base camps until more reinforcements arrive!"
"But Admiral, sir..."
"You either pull those troops out, General, or I'll sack you and find a man who will!"
The unexpected force, or rather vehemence, of Robertson's orders finally broke Thompson's protests. He nodded and quit the channel, and within moments Robertson could see his orders being enacted. The Federation troops, battered and exhausted, were pulling their scattered units back, and the orders would soon be cut for the units on both sides to fall entirely back to their base camps and prepare defenses to fend off the oncoming Pacifican reinforcements. Within hours, many of the roads out of Jefferson were again open. The siege had been lifted.

Although it was now officially 26 December 2165 AST, some of the observing Multiversal commentators from the media, diplomatic corps or other sources - for drama purposes or simply from not accurately realizing the change in date - began to dub the battle the Miracle of Jefferson.
The battered city of Jefferson, and therefore an independent Pacifica, had been preserved.
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Post by Steve » 2007-05-28 11:06am

U.S.S. Hood NCC-80045
Near Pacifica, Disputed Space
27 December 2165

The U.S.S. Hood was of the new "Flight III" Galaxy-class ship line, one of the few post-Dominion War ships in Starfleet. A true "lessons learned" design that incorporated elements picked up from ten years of examining other navies' designs, the Galaxy incorporated stronger shields and an armored hull, a greater complement of phaser weaponry, and a pair of large pulse phaser cannon batteries on saucer hull-turrets that gave them a wide arc of fire. Upon her bridge sat Admiral David Masters, Commander of the 10th Fleet of Starfleet's Defense Branch.
Below them the battle had been stalemated, and the Pacifican theater shields made it impossible for his fleet to effectively bombard any of the approaching troop concentrations or the capital itself. All he could do was wait and watch as more reinforcements moved in here and there.
As he studied a post showing the status on-planet and the continued withdrawal of the troops to their landing camps to defend them, he saw a subordinate shift at his post. "Sir, picking up multiple warp signatures."
"How many?"
"At least a hundred."
"I see the Pacifican fleet is coming back to the rescue," he said. He had the numbers to take them on, but then again, the tactical situation had changed somewhat. "Deploy all Cruiser and Battle Wings to meet them. Light Wings will watch our flanks."
WIth those orders the Federation fleet deployed to meet the Pacificans in battle once more, with two hundred and sixty vessels against the hundred, perhaps a hundred and ten, Pacifican. Over the next hour or so he watched their fleet come on, led by the battleship Abraham Lincoln, an Alliance Missouri-class vessel that had been rebuilt while in mothballs following it's crippling at the Battle of Alpha Paternis. Fortunately the Pacifican fleet was not very powerful, and the Pacificans had never been able to afford a superdreadnought, as the Federation still had no dreadnought-equivalent ships (preferring to make faster, more durable vessels that would, at most, rate as battleships in the Alliance Navy). Decent for it's size as of now, it could still not match the Starfleet force in firepower or number.

The Pacifican fleet acted conservatively, engaging at range and pelting Masters' cruisers, his Ambassadors and Akiras and Excelsiors, with missiles. Watching some of his ships began to disappear from his tactical display after receiving mission-killing damage, Masters ordered his fleet's bulk forward, looking to decisively crush the Pacifican fleet before more lives were lost.
The Federation fleet advanced, the Hood coming toward the lead, her quantum torpedoes lashing out and smashing into one of the Pacifican heavy cruisers and causing it's shields to partially fail. The Pacificans didn't react initially, remaining in a simple wall formation, and Masters began to get suspicious.

"Sir! More warp signatures, right behind us!"
Masters turned to the sensor man in shock. "What do you mean? Why didn't you detect them?!"
The answer to that was given when the ships that came out of warp behind them were seen to include two Marathon-class electronic-warfare cruisers, their jammers having actively hidden the arriving vessels with the Pacifican fleet's open arrival "covering" them on subspace sensors. The fleet that came on was nearly equal to the Pacificans' in size, but looked a bit larger, and Masters felt his gut twist when his Vulcan tactical officer confirmed the presence of a superdreadnought-sized vessel that their systems identified as the Rek'ter, a vessel of the naval force of the Thu'tassk Federated Republic, a union of Human, Tellarite, and Andorian charter colony worlds; she was a Sam Houston-class heavy dreadnought of Texan FHI-8 design, their attempt to match the first "superdreadnought" of the Multiverse, the Israeli Tikvah. She was clearly not as advanced, or deadly, as an Alliance Freedom-class, but the size of her 600mm mass drivers was testimony enough to her raw power, and deflector screen systems could always be upgraded at least.
But what was truly jarring for Masters was the presence of the Thu'tasskian fleet. Robertson's failure to take Jefferson was taking effect now; other charter colonies that were starting to stir with anti-Federation sentiments were going to be emboldened.

"Come about!" he shouted. "Engage the Thu'tasskian fleet!"
The 10th Fleet began to turn, but it was already too late. The Thu'tasskian fleet fell upon his lighter starships and began cutting them to ribbons, mass drivers and railguns and particle cannons firing into the weak deflectors and thin hulls of the mass of Mirandas and Steamrunners and even the newer Reliants. The four Defiant-class vessels in his fleet were engaged by their Alliance-designed Boxer-class counterparts, nullifying any advantage they might have given.
Now the Hood and her counterparts came on, led by Hood herself and the Sovereign-class Magnificent leading the way. He watched the Rek'ter come up alongside the Magnificent while her shields took the blows of the Hood's forward guns without faltering. It's mass drivers erupted, sending out rounds that smacked the Magnificant with the kinetic energy equivalent of four quantum torpedoes for each round, then added to it with their own shield-piercing warheads. The explosions were designed to put maximum stress on the other ship's shield generators, much as newer models of quantum torpedoes were meant to, allowing for shields to become too weak to stop the KE of other rounds.
The Sovereign-class's shields had been made to withstand, as much as possible, such broadsides, and they held, but Masters knew that they couldn't take many more hits like that. He saw their phasers lash out at the Rek'ter while the Hebridia's 290mm particle cannons retaliated across her shields from the Missouri-class ship's position "above" the Rek'ter.
Then the Rek'ter fired again, and this time her cannons prevailed. The Magnificant's shields buckled under the onslaught and explosions racked her port side from the multiple hits. Her port nacelle exploded spectacularly, sending debris everywhere, and the mighty Sovereign's lights began to blink out.
As 10th Fleet began to plow through the Thu'tasskians, the Pacifican fleet came hard on the cruiser wings that had been watching their flank. Masters knew they couldn't hold out, not with the heavy units of the Pacifican fleet in the fight, and tried to pull the cruisers back and gather his fleet together to break out into open space and reform.

The many energy beams and pulses and solid weapon rounds were making space deadly, and as the Federation fleet closed range to it's preferred "knife-fight" tactics and to partially negate the advantages of the other fleet's superior point-defense, the Thu'tasskians and Pacificans tried to maintain a relative distance to take advantage of their ships' preferred range.
With concentration and drive, the 10th Fleet forced it's way through. The Hood shook under the onslaught of the Thu'tasskian battleships Hebridia and Simmons, making it to warp just in time to escape from the trap.
Masters watched on his tactical displays as the 10th Fleet pulled away from the fight for the moment, forcing the Pacificans and Thu'tasskians to turn and very nearly causing them to hit each other with shots aimed at the Starfleet vessels. In these precious few seconds, he would be able to reform his fleet....
"Sir, warp contacts bearing from the upper plane of the system, coming from New Hollandia!"
That phrase brought with it defeat. New Hollandia, the actual origin for the colonists who later created the Algrossan Republic that had provoked the great crisis with the Alliance in 2158 AST, was a noted hotbed of secessionist intent, and their rich veins of dilithium and latinum ensured that even with the Federation's forced dues, they had enough money to buy a capable, if small, fleet. If they were coming in, there was no doubt that they were here to support Pacifica. And like Thu'tasskia and her federation of colonies, they had been known to purchase not one but two superdreadnought-level warships, enough firepower to go with the numbers of the Colonials to overcome 10th Fleet.
"Signal to all ships, break combat and fall back to Starbase 19!"
With that order, the 10th Fleet went into full retreat, leaving almost a third of it's number behind for the Colonials to capture.

Camp Cartman

Admiral Robertson listened intently, and stoically, as General Velasquez recited to him the offered terms of surrender. His people would be provided hospitable confinement at a prefab prison camp being erected in the temperate climes of the State of Stafford to the north, their weapons would be turned over, and the Starfleet medical personnel would be provided with ample support to provide for wounded Federation personnel. Admiral Robertson himself and Admiral Supek were being offered softer confinement at the newly-appointed Vice President Regina Gustafson's palatial home overlooking Adams' Bay, not ten kilometers from where his men would be encamped, though both men knew that they would not accept. Furthermore, promises were made that Robertson and Supek, and all of their men, would be offered asylum upon Pacifican or Thu'tasskian territory if, upon the termination of hostilities, they had reason to fear imprisonment for whatever reason.
Robertson looked to his staff and the looks upon their faces. The only missing face was Commander Hilton, who had been given the singular fortune of having beamed aboard the Hood the prior day to go over plans with Admiral Masters, and had thankfully been detained by duty long enough to escape with them.
As for the rest of them... The bitter taste of defeat was already to be had, but would they accept the humiliation of surrender? Robertson believed they'd have to, and more to the point, he was willing to save their lives and take that upon himself.
"General Velasquez, you are a good and generous man. Despite the blood you have lost to this struggle, your terms are exceedingly generous," Robertson replied. "With my authority as commander of the Federation Armed Militia's Pacifica Expedition, I hereby accept your terms of surrender."
"Thank you, Admiral. History will honor you for ending this bloodshed now."
"That's good to hear, because I have a feeling History may yet find a lot of things to condemn both of us, and our causes, over, General Velasquez." Nodding to a subordinate to transmit the announcement to his field troops, Robertson continued, "I can only hope that the Federation sees the wisdom of negotiation now that armed might has failed, and that the bloodshed these past few days will not be joined by more. Robertson out."
As he closed the channel, and prepared to turn himself over to the arriving Pacifican troops, Robertson's heart quailed in the knowledge that his hope was a forlorn one. The bloodshed would not end. Indeed, he couldn't help but fear that it had scarcely begun...

New Windsor, New Anglia
28 December 2165 AST

The Kingdom of New Anglia had never been very happy with the Federation, even in the pre-New Way days before the Basic Necessities Act and the yearly GDP dues to pay for it. The founding of New Anglia was rooted in British conservatism that had managed to survive the Eugenics Wars, the Third World War sparked by the Greenists, and the rise of "progressive" government spurred by Vulcan prodding. As the saying went, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and for every danger that the more misguided elements of late 20th Century progressivism brought, the more some people began to wonder if maybe things had been better off in an earlier time.
The final stage was the founding of the Federation and the successful salvation of Humanity and it's new allies from the Romulans. The government on Earth had won the war while implementing integrationist policies meant to nearly abolish national governments, and the victory in war gave them legitimacy for domestic policies that included the "final victory of rational, progressive politics over the savage past"; the "Dissolvement Act" of 2165 (ST-3 Calendar) that officially declared that all monarchies still legally active on Earth were dissolved without reservation.
At that point, the thousands of British, Canadian, and Australian monarchists still alive and committed to the Royal Family resolved to maintain the British throne, and to do so, they emigrated, finding New Anglia at what was then the edge of Federation space, unclaimed but with hitherto-undiscovered latinum and dilithium deposits in it's solar system.
The final catch had been the division of the monarchist movement into a pro-Windsor and a Jacobite faction, resurrecting the centuries-old Jacobite claim and adopting an even more extreme archconservative view, namely that the Hannoverians and Windsors had let things go too far. This feud had the potential to nearly kill the possibility of New Anglia being founded, but was resolved by a happy coincidence, that the current Windsor claimant had a German wife, Charlotte von und zu Liechtenstein, who was the rightful heiress of the Stuart claim that originated from the deposed King James II and VII (and of the Princely Family of Liechtenstein to boot, though the population of Liechtensteiner monarchists was so small that it was soon subsumed into the primarily English and Scots population of New Anglia, leaving only a quaint "New Liechtenstein" city near New Windsor that became a tourist oddity and where people learned a little German for matter of atmosphere). This neatly unified the two factions and, on 9 March 2173 ST-3 Calendar, the Kingdom of New Anglia was formerly created.

The reaction in the rest of the Human sphere was akin to the reaction of one seeing the bearded lady at a carnival freak show. Press pundits didn't know whether to laugh or be angry at such a display of "reactionaryism" as the Federation prepared to move on into the future. The progressivists of the Earth government, always aware that their Dissolvement Act had barely skirted by a court challenge and was dubious under the Earth constitution, pressed hard for the Federation to quash it. And nearly quashed it was, until the debate was subsumed by the wider debate of how to ensure that new alien races would want to join the Federation in the future despite a disparity in settled planets. As such, the "United Federation of Planets" essentially re-designated itself to a mere "United Federation of Homeworlds" (as one critic called it) while other worlds with populations of the founding races were offered "sovereign charter", meaning autonomy and partial sovereignty, in exchange for relinquishing any claim to a Federation Council seat, permitting Federation authority in foreign affairs, and agreeing to place all defense forces under Starfleet in time of war. Thus was the birth of the "charter colony".
The bargain saved the newly-formed Kingdom, which applied for and received charter colony status despite the vicious howling of the anti-monarchists on Earth. Most contemporaries, and later many historians, believed that the Federation Council accepted the charter just to get the issue out of the way, not wanting to delve into a "particularly Human" political matter, though it would find itself drawn back into the "monarchy" debate when the Betazoids applied for Federation membership decades later.

And so the "Great Joke of New Anglia" began, and while the loyal monarchists labored to make New Anglia prosperous, they were treated with scorn and popular derision by the majority of the rest of Humanity, though this didn't stop them from getting a sizable population as the latinum and dilithium mines opened up. Soon this early wealth, and a succession of excellent Prime Ministers in the early 23rd Century, made New Anglia one of the wealthiest charter colonies in the Federation, further permitting the diversification of it's economy with major industries such as shipyards, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals. And the population continued to boom, with many millions proving that while they might particularly care for monarchial government, they didn't mind it if it let them be prosperous.

Then came the New Way, the Neo-Socialists, and their merger into the Idealogue Party. New Anglia felt the crunch as badly as everyone else, and the damage to their prosperity ironically turned an originally apathetic population into staunch supporters of the Royal Family, which resisted every dues increase, every nationalization, and every other injury to the agreement that granted New Anglia her rights. No longer was "God Save the King" constantly subjected to ridicule or humorous alteration at public events, or republican sentiments expressed by the population. The monarchy was their ally, their friend, against Core Worlder exploitation.
By Multiversal Contact secessionist sentiment was high and was very monarchist, while the republican movements on New Anglia were increasingly dismissed as Idealogue shills (ironic given that most had been founded almost at the origin of New Anglia by Earth progressive parties trying to get rid of the restored monarchy quickly).

Now the news spread across the worlds of the Kingdom of New Anglia like wildfire. First had been the successful defense of the Pacifican capital, now, the defeat of Starfleet's orbital sieging fleet by the combined might of the Thu'tasskian, New Hollandian, and Pacifican navies.
The popular reaction began soon enough. Demonstrators complaining about the Federation demanding a lump sum from New Anglia to compensate for "lost dues" openly harrassed a Federation official of the BNA Enforcement Bureau as he went to his office, pelting him with any object they could find and shouting at him while the New Windsor bobbies tried to hold the demonstrators back.
Of course, for the official, the day was not yet over, for no sooner did he get to his office that armed Constabulary arrived and asked for him to come with them for his own protection. Soon the official was on a shuttle to take him to a Vulcan transport in orbit which took him back toward Earth, along with every other Federation official on the planet.

Soon the rest of the population began to realize something was going on. Members of the Anglian Army reserves received comm-calls informing them to report to their mobilization centers. Royal Anglian Navy personnel on leave or off duty were called to their posts, leaving behind concerned and uncertain families. The families of Parliament members saw them off, and Parliament held a full emergency session of the House of Lords and the House of Commons by mid-day.

And then the news came. Starbase 32, the central Federation position inside Anglian territory, was undergoing some form of rebellion or uprising, and all communications were cut off. Reporters from nearby planets reported that local army units were mobilizing and that the navy was being called into action. All of New Anglia seemed to be in a strange kind of orderly uncertainty, with it's populace awaiting with bated breath whatever Parliament and the Government was up to.
They got their answer about an hour before sunset, as the Compensation Hours began to catch up the 20 hour New Anglian day to the 24 hour Earth standard. Every holovid and open news station showed the sight at the Winston Churchill Parliamentary Building at 12 Churchill Street as Prime Minister Wallace Pitts stepped out onto a balcony overlooking the street and the gathered crowd at Nelson Square. He was flanked on his left by Her Grace Duchess Diane Howard of New Norfolk, a prominent figure in the House of Lords and popular due to her long suffering and complete fidelity for her husband Edward Winfield, who as a young man disappeared during the Cardassian War and was later rescued from Madred Village 23 on Dervak by forces of the Allied Nations and Federated Commonwealth in the Winter War; on his right was Defence Minister James Hamblin, former Starfleet captain and military analyst most known in defense circles for his accurate assessment of the Alliance's potential in the early 2150s AST; on the left of Duchess Howard was also the Right Honourable Gregory Toomb, MP of Shetford, the Speaker of the House of Commons.
With hands on a PADD device, Minister Pitts began to speak in a loud tone to the crowd below, his "New Cornwall" accent prominent to the crowd.

"Three days ago, the Kingdom of New Anglia received privately a demand from the office of the President of the Federation Council, and the Commander-in-Chief of Starfleet Command, to relinquish the vessels of the Royal Navy to Starfleet possession, and to disband three quarters of the Army, demands concurrent with the resumed demand that New Anglia pay a sum of approximately three hundred billion pounds for 'purposes of recovering lost dues and penalty for defrauding the Federation Council'."
"Again, His Majesty's Government proclaims that it is innocent of the charge of defrauding the Federation Council, and further charges that the Federation Council is using the accounting irregularities of other governments to justify extortion from innocent ones such as our's. Furthermore, His Majesty's Government has already refused all demands on the issue of payment or disarmament."
"Due to Federation actions toward other governments to refuse their unlawful demands, and to the conduct of the ruling party of the Federation and the electorate that has supported it for the past fifty years, it is clear to us that the Federation no longer abides by the spirit or form of the charter agreements that lawfully bind it to the Kingdom of New Anglia or to any other Colonial government. As such, His Majesty's Government has only one course open to it."
"On this day, 21 July 2380 Earth Time, the Parliament of the Kingdom of New Anglia has elected by majority vote to adopt a resolution written by His Majesty's Government, with the full input and support of His Majesty Edward XI, King of New Anglia and Sovereign Prince of Liechtenstein, that officially dissolves all political connection with the United Federation of Planets and which asserts the full sovereignty of the Kingdom of New Anglia as a lawful and independent Interstellar State of the Multiverse and furthermore recognizes as independent and sovereign all colony governments that commit the same act of dissolution from the Federation."

A cheer erupted from the crowd, with cries of "God Save the King!" from many voices. Even if the other peoples of the Federation, even the other Colonials, saw such monarchism as silly, why shouldn't they voice their loyalty and devotion to the King who had worked tirelessly to safeguard their rights, to strive for the return of property stolen from them, the King who sheltered innocent Anglians from fradulant terrorism charges that would have resulted in their abduction by the Federation for extradition to Cardassian torturers, the King who remained in the Palace of Saint George as Jem'Hadar and Cardassian ships approached New Anglia and the Federation bureaucrats abandoned the people they had been bilking for decades?

The cheer subsided as Pitts continued. "It is the opinion of His Majesty's Government that with this announcement, the Federation will likely commence military action to subjugate the Anglian people and to depose His Majesty from His throne. In light of this, the Parliament has elected to grant the Government with extraordinary Emergency Powers to aid in the Defence of the Kingdom, and so with this authority I herebly announce that the New Anglian Army and Royal Navy are considered fully activated. All reservists are to report to their mobilization centers and all leaves are hereby canceled. Furthermore, upon a careful study of the requirements for the likely coming war, the Government will adopt further measures regarding the economy, the production and distribution of both war material and ordinary goods necessary for civilian life, and the rationing thereof."
"Before I leave, I would like to read to His Majesty's People a letter written in His Majesty's pen, addressed to you. It is as follows.

To my Beloved People,

It is My Opinion that the days to come will be difficult, perhaps the most trying times for our people in over two hundred years. I furthermore hold that it is a burden that We must bear. These are the times that try the souls of all Good Men and Women, those times when Heaven places upon our shoulders the Heaviest of Burdens so that we might prove ourselves in the eyes of History and to ourselves.

I do not for a moment doubt that you, My Loyal Subjects, are capable of bearing this burden. I place my faith in you and in God that the Kingdom shall come through the times not merely as Survivors but as Conquerers. Traditional British Liberty is at risk. The tyrants of Paris and San Francisco move against us even now, and after numerous Offences against the Kingdom of New Anglia and it's People, We can no longer bide our time but must Act, and Act with Decision befitting Britons. As our ancestors Repulsed the tyrant Napoleon at Trafalgar and Waterloo; as they Repulsed the tyrant Hitler in the skies over Our Earthly Homeland, and Drove his evil Legions from the beaches of Normandy back to the German Homeland; as they Repulsed the Vile Aggressions of the tyrant Khan Singh and his Monstrous Armies at Basra and Bangkok; and as they Overcame the Lies and Delusions of the tyrant Colonel Green and his Madness, so too must we, their Descendants, their Blood, Repulse the tyrants Ovnork, Wilmington, and Milano.

The Honour of all Britons calls upon you, My Subjects, to answer the Call to Arms and to Gird yourselves for Battle. So long as your spirits remain Insurmountable, we will not be brought low and We Shall Not Surrender. We shall fight on the beaches, in the hills, in the cities and towns, in the deserts and forests, and of all the stars above our planets, and we shall never surrender. So long as a single British Heart beats Free, our People cannot be Defeated.

No matter what may come, I shall remain here, in the Palace of Saint George, as my sons and daughters and their children join their commands in the Army and Navy and prepare for battle. If this city falls, if this planet falls, I shall not flee, but will join any left here in facing our fates.

May God Bless Us With Victory

His Majesty Edward XI, King of New Anglia and of its worlds, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Sovereign Prince of Leichtenstein

The crowd recommended the cheering, and across the planet, the people of New Anglia answered the call to arms resoundingly.
New Anglia would fight for it's freedom to the last.

New Orleans, Earth
United Federation of Planets
1 January 2166 AST

Earth was burning.
For some it was hard to grasp. It seemed like a nightmare, not reality, but the truth was inescapable. Across the globe, much like many other worlds across the Federation Core, the populace was in the streets rioting, looting, protesting, as their response to the day's announcement that rationing had been imposed on the use of replicators for food or goods due to "impending material shortages brought on by the revolts of the colonies".
The ranks of revolting charter colonies was spiking every hour, it seemed. Fully a quarter of them had declared independence, representing about thirty percent of the Federation's industrial potential between them, and a dozen more had not only because Starfleet Security had acted swiftly enough to detain their governments as the Pacifican one had been detained. Three more were under interstellar siege, their navies having fought against Starfleet vessels and the planets in question actively resisting landing Federation forces.

Now the planetary mobs were lashing out. Convinced of their entitlements, enraged at having real limits placed upon them for the first time in decades (even during the Dominion War the "daily credits" were so high that nobody realistically used them all), they lashed out at the most convenient targets. They attacked shops and stores, seeming to present the "business owners" that in the colonies were responsible for this. They attacked government offices sometimes. But most importantly, they attacked anyone clearly identifiable as from a charter colony, even ones that had not yet seceded. Indeed, any outsider was immediately at suspicion of being a "Colonial" and thus risking attacked.
One of the mobs was moving through the city of New Orleans, hunting down a wealthy Pacifican family that had made the unfortunate choice of not leaving before the crisis started, and which had been barred from departure. A husband, wife, and two teenage children, they fled through the streets as fast as their legs could carry them, their home in New Orleans already being ransacked by some members of the mob while others sought to hunt them down, baying for their blood.

Jerry Stanton, the husband, led his wife Samantha and daughters Trudy and Wanda to the one place they thought they could find shelter, at a restaurant they always frequented when in the city. And it was through the doors of the closed Sisko's Bistro that he sought sanctuary.
They were soon met by the man who ran it, the elderly and snappishly tongued Joseph Sisko, father of war hero Rear Admiral Benjamin Sisko, and his grandson Jake. As Jake scrambled through the house, shutting all of the doors, Joseph prompted the family to escape over a wall into a nearby street while he distracted the mob, instructing Jake to follow them to the Planetary Transporter Terminal, run by one of Ben Sisko's former subordinates and a man who could be trusted.
Jake shook his head. "I can't leave you with them, Grandpa Joe. They're going crazy out there!"
"Jake, I'm not going to argue with this on you. Your dad needs you, and these people need you to help them get to the terminal. Now go!"
Seeing the look in his grandfather's eyes, the look that told him that the stubborn old Sisko wouldn't bend, Jake submitted and ran off to join the Stantons, helping Trudy get over the wall into the nearby street before jumping over himself.

Joe Sisko opened the door and was nearly knocked over by the mob. Some he recognized somewhat, others he didn't, all New Orleans natives who spread out and began to move around the restaurant. "Where'd the Colonials go, Sisko?!" one of the male voices demanded, and Joe Sisko thought he recognized it as a part-time patron who sampled his Cajun dishes every month or so.
"There's nobody here but me," Joe replied defiantly. "I''m closing up for the night, so please go."
"I saw them enter here," a female voice screeched. "Lying old man!" The crowd gathering around Joseph grew while their compatriots moved throughout the building, and began to loot it as well.
Two pairs of arms grabbed the elderly man from either side and a host of voices demanded answers. Joseph shouted, "You people should be ashamed of yourselves! Goin' around, destroying things and beating on people because you've been asked to sacrifice a little. Have you fallen so far?!"
"You were always one of them!" a voice cried, and Joseph did recognize this one as a man he knew named Weston, a young wastrel who lasted about three days in the bistro as a waiter before Joseph fired him for being a slouch.
Fist after fist, moving too fast and with the crowd too big for Joseph to identify, began to pummel the old man. Pain filled his ribs and stomach, and soon his face was being bashed in. Joseph's nose broke first, then he lost teeth, and an eye swelled shut, and he generally collapsed as his already ill-health couldn't take the strain of the beating. But it continued on and on, until long after Joseph Sisko breathed his last, thinking of his children and grandchildren to the very end.

San Francisco, Earth

Barely an hour after Joseph Sisko's murder, his grandson stepped out of an aircar driven by Chief O'Brien with the panicked Stanton family in tow. The mobs were rampaging through San Francisco too, beating and even killing anyone who stuck them being wealthy, businessmen, or Colonials, as well as holding a violent, vicious protest that was besieging the Alliance Embassy, naturally the target of the mob's impassioned suspicions, though even they lacked the courage to actually attack it given the deadly rifles and weapons in the arms of the Embassy's enlarged Marine guard.
Of course, Jake was never bound for there in the first place, but rather to the Embassy he was most familiar with, a place he could get in easily at. He first looked back to Chief O'Brien, who winked at him. "Good luck, Jake. Hope your grandfather makes it out all right."
"Thanks, Chief, you're a life-saver."
"Just doing my duty," O'Brien replied in false cheer before driving off. Seeing him go, Jake turned to the building in front of them. The power armor-wearing guards opened the massive steel gate protecting the Embassy grounds for Jake, though the Stantons were nervous even as they crossed the threshold of that gate to legal safety and trod upon the beautiful tiled mosaic of a mailed fist, the same mailed fist on the blue flag snapping in the sunset sky of San Francisco and marking the building as the Embassy of the Lyran Commonwealth.
At the door, another pair of guards in power armor emblazoned with the same fist looked to him and, recognizing him, one said, "Mister Sisko, a pleasure to see you again," in a faint German accent. Jake nodded and led the Stantons inside, where he was quickly led to the office of the Charge d'Affairs. The waiting room was filled with the mementos of it's office occupant and was exquisitely furnished. The secretary there, a somewhat plump blonde woman, smiled at him in recognition and then saw the Stantons. "Who are they?"
"Pacificans. They were staying in New Orleans when the rioting broke out, and a mob attacked them. Grandpa made me bring them here."
"Oh dear. Let me see you in...."

Moments later, Jake and the Stantons were standing in the office of the Lyran Commonwealth's Charge d'Affairs, Gustav Furst. It, too, was well-furnished, though the desk was covered in papers. Most of the pictures in the room were upon the desk or nearby tables and stands, with the except of the replicated copy of a Titian-esque equestrian portrait of Archon Victor Steiner upon the wall behind Furst's desk, between the two windows looking out at the San Francisco sunset. The portly Tharkad native shook Stanton's hand and gave a gentlemanly kiss on his wife and daughters, as conscious of gentlemanly social mores as any Lyran dignitary, before turning to Jake. "Yes, it's so horrible out there. The Baron is upstairs in his office informing the Archon and his staff on our situation as we speak," Furst lamented. "I will have to speak with the Ambassador, but I certainly don't see why we can't give the Stantons, or you, asylum here, and perhaps even political asylum in the Commonwealth complete with visas."
"That would be good, Mister Furst. Thank you very much."

Jake had scarcely emerged into the embassy's main hall when footsteps echoed from behind and a slightly-accented voice cried out, "Jake!"
He turned in time to see a beautiful young woman with tanned skin - clad in a business blouse and skirt that only made her more attractive to him - run into his waiting arms. Cordelia Muller's blue eyes looked at him, tears in them, before she put her lips to his in a kiss. When it ended, she sobbed, "After I heard on the news. I was so worried...."
"What news?" Jake asked. "I... I haven't heard anything..."
"Oh Jake...." Cordelia began to weep. "Grandpa Joe.... they found him.... the mob, they.... they..."
Jake felt his eyes tear up and knew his grandfather was dead even before his lover managed to get "they killed him" out between her sobs, for between her fears for Jake's safety and her own admiration for Joseph Sisko, she was a complete wreck. Jake held her tightly, trying to fight the tears coming down his face as he thought about how, if only he'd stayed, Grandpa Joe might've lived. If only he had stayed...

Looking up, he saw Jerry Stanton standing nearby, looking exhausted from the day's ordeal. He saw the two of them together and said, "Your Grandpa said you were seeing someone finally."
"Oh, Mister Stanton, this is Cordelia, Cordelia Muller. She's one of the Ambassador's aides here. That's how I met her."
Cordelia waved weakly at him, tears still in her reddened eyes.
"I'm glad to hear it." Stanton wiped at his eye, a tear having been coming down from it. "Listen, Jake.... I'm sorry for your Grandpa Joe. I wish he had gone and I had stayed, just so long as Sammie and the girls were all right."
"He wouldn't have wanted that," Jake said softly. "He... he wouldn't have wanted your family to lose you..."
Stanton nodded at that. "I just... just wanted you to know that we're all sorry, and that if there's anything we can do for you or for your Dad..."
"Escape," Jake said. "Go to the Lyran Commonwealth like they're going to offer you. Grandpa would've wanted you all to be safe."
At that, Stanton nodded and left Jake and Cordelia to grieve.

Paris, Earth

The fires were finally dying down, Ovnork could see. He stood in his office and watched as the violence finally subsided. It had taken a disorganized mobilization of the planetary militia, troops from Vulcan, and Starfleet Security detachments from every ship in the system to restore order, but it had finally been done. The casualty estimates were coming in every ten minutes as more bodies found, both of rioters and their victims. In the span of a single, horrible day, Earth had lost it's status as a happy paradise. The future never looked so much in doubt as it did at that moment.
Behind him, an aide came in to report that the rioting had ceased in London. Ovnork, without turning, thanked the man and sent him away, returning to his thoughts as he could still see the flames in the distance, the occasional flashes of phaser fire from the security forces stunning rioters joining them.
It was all coming apart. The AFU had forced Ovnork to overreact to the Pacificans and that had tugged at the string, unraveling everything. He could see the Federation begin to collapse all around him, with every charter colony secession, with every Starfleet ship defection, and now with the cities of Earth and of many planets across the Core burning as his own people turned their back on their vaunted, pacifist "enlightenment" and indulge in rampant violence, beating, looting, and killing in an orgy of madness.

Ovnork felt his soul shudder under the weight of what was happening. And he knew he was damned to sit here and watch it happen until the very end. He would be the last President of the United Federation of Planets, or at least of what it had been, since the Federation under Wilmington and Milano would be more akin to Cardassia or the Dominion than anything, not truly the Federation anymore.
This Federation, which he grew up loving, which he wanted to serve, was dying. His life's work was being trampled down into the dust, along with all hope of the better future, of the Enlightened Society, that Ovnork had felt when he was a young man. All that was left were the ashes of what might have been.
Ovnork looked out at the remnants of his sundered dream and began to weep, for even as the fires that lit up the streets of Paris died, even as the phaser flashes stopped, he knew it was not the end. It was the beginning.
The Federation Civil War had begun.

End Prologue
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

Admin of SFD, Moderator of SDN, Former Spacebattles Super-Mod, Veteran Chatnik

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