The Ferthlon Insurrection was the first and (as of now) only civil war in Mechyrdian history. Fought from 156 UC (2796 AD) to 160 UC (2800 AD), it nearly destroyed Mechyrdia, and is commonly cited as the Empire's darkest hour.
Map of Mechyrdia with sector loyalties labeled. Loyalist sectors are in yellow, traitor sectors are in red.
|154 UC - 160 UC (2794 AD - 2800 AD)
|Casualties and losses
Though the Insurrection was directly caused by the temporal rift that separated Ferthlon from the rest of Mechyrdia, there were precipitating factors that made much of the Mechyrdian populace and military eager to join the Ferthlon rebellion.
In 138 UC (2778 AD), Mechyrdia's western border was attacked by an invasion from the Arkant Horde. Previously, the Empire had no idea what was beyond the western frontier, as in the center of the Arkant Horde's space was an eldritch anomaly that damaged the sanity of all who looked directly into it. When the Arkant Horde invaded, they showed no mercy. Mechyrdian infrastructure was destroyed, and rebuilt in the Khagan's name. Entire planets faced the enslavement of their populations. Eventually, the Great Khagan was defeated, and Mechyrdia reclaimed the world that it had lost. But the invasion did its damage: the Mechyrdian population was now extremely paranoid, and the illusion of Mechyrdian invincibility was shaken off.
After the invasion of the Arkant Horde, the Mechyrdian Senate passed many laws intended to further militarize the Empire. These laws were unpopular with the people, as they included surveillance, taxes, and limits on consumer industry, but were accepted by the Chancellor and the politicians in the Senate.
The Mechyrdian military, at the time, was organized into per-sector Polemarchies (Mec. pólemarhstuon, singular pólemarhstuo), each led by a Marshal (Mec. marsčal, plural marsčala) directly appointed by the Sector Governor, rather than the per-planet Chapters used today. This arrangement was part of what led to disaster, as the military might of an entire sector was concentrated in the hands of a single, corruptible person. The reason why the military was reformed to use Chapters instead of Polemarchies was because of the Ferthlon Insurrection and the damage it had on Mechyrdia.
In early 154 UC (2794 AD), the entire Ferthlon sector was yanked out of temporal sync with Mechyrdia by a bulkspace anomaly.
In late 154 UC (2794 AD), only four months after its disappearance, the Ferthlon sector returned to sync with Mechyrdia. While four months had passed for Mechyrdia, over four decades had passed for the people of Ferthlon.
At first, the people of Ferthlon seemed ecstatic to return to Mechyrdia. The Marshal of the Golden Guard (the polemarchy tied to Ferthlon), Phanaius Lykaius, personally greeted the Chancellor and Prime Minister in a political summit. Unbeknownst to the Mechyrdian leadership, Phanaius secretly renounced his oath of service to Mechyrdia and was already planning to declare a revolutionary war.
Swaying the People
Phanaius went on a tour across the Empire, making political speeches in support of non-Earthling (Tylans and native humans that evolved on worlds other than Earth) rights and diversity, in order to build up popular support with his favored demographics.
At the same time, Phanaius was making many secret meetings with the military leadership of other sectors, offering them absolute power over Mechyrdia if they joined Phanaius' rebellion. Most refused, however a few accepted. One of the Marshals who accepted was Anakreon Kostakes, of the Varannia Sector's Legion of Fire, who took the name Apolluon and became Phanaius' second-in-command. Althar Vraksras, Marshal of the Vostoctyla sector's Children of Divinity, was easily manipulated by Phanaius. One legion that turned without their Marshal's approval was Vescar's Saviors of the People, who voted out their previous Marshal and elected the new Marshal Navyaric Vekar to join Phanaius' rebellion.
Of the other eventual traitor Polemarchies, Angrivar's Black Hands had to be coerced into supporting Phanaius' rebellion by force; their old Marshal Wilhan von Tarquinian was assassinated and replaced with his Ferthlonite lookalike Vargh Qavarn. Qavarn, a former adult films actor, was given no autonomy and received his every order directly from Phanaius. Later historians only found out of this replacement when they compared pictures of Qavarn and von Tarquinian and found that Qavarn's crotch bulge was considerable larger than von Tarquinian's, pointing to his earlier career in the adult films industry.
The Nicolei sector's Emperor's Chosen, the Languavardian Eternal Knights and Imperial Templars, and Mestyla's Iron Hearts also turned to Phanaius' rebellious cause.
Three of the most loyal Marshals, Franz-Wilhelm von Hohenburg of Texandria's Angels of Death, Krovasrar Vargetrar of Ciapadtyla's Blood Guard, and Nonaq XXII of Janus IV's War Hounds, were sent far from Mechyrdia. Bombings and riots were orchestrated in the Stock Exchange on Kaiserswelt, forcing the Angels of Death to intervene. Phanaius forged an order from Mechyrdian High Command to send Krovasrar to the Vrestassa cluster to patrol, where he would later be attacked by a joint rebel task force of the Iron Hearts and Children of Divinity.
Outside of the military, Phanaius swayed large parts of the Mechyrdian academic community, as well as several prominent celebrities. Actor Marcanus Iwanów and singer Aurecia Tegnówa, among many others, publicly endorsed Phanaius' rebellion on live teleorasis.
The first sign that the nine Polemarchies had turned traitor was during the Pacification of the Thraxite Diadochus. The Diadochi were various remnant Khanates left over from the Great Khagan's conquest of western Mechyrdia. The Thraxite Diadochus, led by Joro Khan, tried to invade the Starkihet sector of northwestern Mechyrdia. Seven entire Polemarchies were dispatched to deal with the threat: Caesar's Legion of Olympia, the Iron Fists of Starkihet, Janus IV's War Hounds, Vescar's Saviors of the People, the Emperor's Chosen of Nicolei, Angrivar's Black Hands, and Ferthlon's own Golden Guard. Unbeknownst to the Mechyrdian government, four of those seven Polemarchies had joined Phanaius and turned traitor.
Phanaius used his influence with the military to ensure that the loyalist ships and armies would face the most destruction, and the traitor forces stayed safe. When the Diadochi were repelled, Phanaius turned his guns onto the loyalist ships and fired the first shot of his rebellion. One of the loyalist ships, the Iron Fists' flagship CMŠ Titus Caesar Vespasianus, made it out of the slaughter and traversed through bulkspace to warn Mechyrdia of the rebellion. Phanaius realized that he would be unable to pursue the Titus Caesar Vespasianus without compromising his rebellion, so he opted to instead send a vulgar message to Captain Henrik Heskali. Immediately after sending the message, Phanaius ordered his fleet to fire on the Titus Caesar Vespasianus, disrupting their bulkdrive and forcing them to make a shorter journey to uncharted space.
Flight of the Titus Caesar Vespasianus
Captain Heskali's journey to Mechyrd was one fraught with danger. He had to navigate through particle storms as his ship traversed through bulkspace, and when the ship returned to normalspace it was ambushed by Diadochi marauders. These marauders were only defeated by ejecting positron torpedo warheads out the airlock manually, as the torpedo tubes were nonfunctional.
First Contact with the Prenn
Heskali made first contact with the Prenn, a primitive race on the planet Sowilo Shchita I that evolved alongside a plethora of dangerous animal wildlife. He crashlanded a shuttle on the planet in order to take the resources necessary to repair the Titus Caesar Vespasianus: resources such as hyprite for the circumdrive and atom printers, zanite to forge the minsteel necessary for repairing the hull, gravitite for repairing the teleportarium.
Heskali and his crew were invited into the borders of a tribe known as the Chaebodes (singular Chaebos, native language: Ĥajvōdiz, singular Ĥajvōz), led by their chieftess Maqara Vrakhs, who asked to see Heskali in private. Heskali's first officer advised against it, but Heskali accepted the offer. Chieftess Vrakhs listened to Heskali tell the story of Phanaius' betrayal, the particle storms, and the Diadochi ambush. Meanwhile, Heskali's first officer was negotiating a trade with the Chaebos minister Ukarnu Astaki. The Chaebodes would give Heskali the resources necessary to repair his ship, and in return, Heskali would give the Chaebodes the technology for building starships.
In the day, when the red giant sun was burning their side of the planet, the Chaebodes were attacked by a rival tribe, the Vulfilii. The Vulfilii, using shielding armor to protect themselves from the burning day, had the strength to annihilate the Chaebodes completely. And they would have, were it not for the Mechyrdians and their technology to fend off the Vulfilii's attack.
Chieftess Vrakhs was greatly impressed by the Mechyrdians' skill in battle, and pledged the support of the Chaebodes to the Loyalist Mechyrdians.
Heskali and his crew returned to the ship, repaired it with the resources they had received in trade, and re-entered bulkspace on journey to Mechyrd.
Return to Mechyrd
Heskali made it back to Mechyrd with his bad news. He requested an audience with the Chancellor, explaining the situation to the clerk, and was almost laughed out of the room were it not for an intern who believed Heskali and convinced the clerk that he was speaking the truth. This intern followed the news on Phanaius, and explained to the clerk the suspicious nature of Phanaius' recent activities. Heskali was granted his audience with Chancellor Immanuel Lindów, and explained to him the fact that four polemarchi had betrayed Mechyrdia. Lindów, shocked at the news, ordered that the entire Empire switch to Štalert 2. (Štalert was the number-based predecessor to the color-based Štagróz, ranging from 7 at the most peaceful to 1 at the most alert)
The Tylan Front
The Tylan part of Mechyrdia faced its own troubles in the Shadow Wars. Ciapadtyla and Elcialothar were the only Tylan-administrated sectors to remain loyal to Mechyrdia, and they faced the ravages of the rebellion harsher than any other sector.
The Siege of Tyla
The planet Tyla was in the Ciapadtyla sector, and was still held by Mechyrdian loyalists. The only way to get to Mechyrd from Tyla is through the Lysander Corridor, a valley of stability in bulkspace surrounded by high amounts of particle flux. A traitor fleet of the Eternal Knights and Imperial Templars closed this reach temporarily using a stormbomb, trapping Marshal Kovasrar's fleet in Ciapadtyla. (Stormbombs are illegal under Mechyrdian law, as they are capable of disrupting bulkspace travel with massive particle storms, however the method of manufacturing them is known to most military personnel, as well as many civilians)
This forced the Tylan loyalist fleet to stay back and defend Tyla, a decision that was likely for the better, as another traitor fleet of Iron Hearts and Children of Divinity came to Tyla and attempted to bombard the planet. The Tylan traitors were, for the most part, motivated by restoring the percieved glory days of the Tylan Theocracy. This traitor fleet almost broke the loyalist defense, until a surprise counterattack from the Black Teutons of Elcialothar annihilated the traitors.
The End of the War
On the industrial planet Velocité, a rebellion sprang out against the local pro-Ferthlon administration. This rebellion was not pro-Mechyrdian, however, instead the rebels followed their own ideology of National Futurism. The local citizens formed paramilitaries known as the Escadron, that harassed shipping originating from the world. The traitors relied heavily on Velocité, as it provided them with many of their weapons and ships. With it out of the picture, the Ferthlon rebellion started to lose pace.
In response, a local fleet of the Golden Guard came to a moon of Velocité, Lallün, and broke it apart with a planet-cracking bomb. They intended to set an example to Velocité by killing 400 million people, however this merely enraged the Escadron.
It was by this time that Phanaius realized that he had no choice: he must press his advantage and push towards Mechyrd, or lose his advantage and with it, the war. Phanaius rallied the entire traitor navy in the Marcium sector, decimating the Children of Tyra polemarchy in the process. Once the fleet was assembled, Phanaius pushed into the Mechyrd system.
Defense of Mechyrd
The remnants of Caesar's Legion and the Iron Fists made it to Mechyrd almost immediately after the Titus Caesar Vespasianus. While there, they made various war plans and realized that an offensive war was impossible while Phanaius was still alive. As the direct commander of the vast majority of traitor forces, Phanaius was a strategic genius, and could not be defeated while the war was on his terms. The Mechyrdians opted to wait until Phanaius pushed into the Mechyrd system, and they knew he would as many of the traitor Marshals hated each other's guts. He needed to press his advantage quickly, else his rebellion would dissolve into petty squabbles and personal feuds.
The defense of the Mechyrd system was divided into several spheres of command:
- Sphere A oversaw the planet Mechyrd and its moons, commanded by Sigfrid Colxów, Marshal of the Pretoriani
- Sphere B oversaw the mining colony Sethlancj, commanded by Martan Adalhet, Marshal of the Iron Fists
- Sphere C oversaw the gas giant Peroun and its rings and moons, commanded by Gnaeus Septavius, Marshal of Caesar's Legion
- Sphere D oversaw the ice giant Niorther and its moon, commanded by Nonaq XXII, Marshal of the War Hounds
- Sphere Z oversaw the inner worlds Wotan, Suotowid, and Tivo, commanded by 83-68-63, Marshal of the Silent Watch
Phanaius and his fleet reached the defenses of the Mechyrd system in early 160 UC (2800 AD). At Sphere D, Marshal Nonaq XXII had his armies infiltrate traitor ships and steal battleplans, and relay them to the inner spheres of defense. At Sphere C, Marshal Septavius successfully lured some of the traitor ships in orbit of Zrogia, where their crews went insane and fired on each other. At Sphere B, Marshal Adalhet sacrificed himself to destroy a massive portion of the traitor fleet. Finally, at Sphere A, the Battle of Mechyrd began.
The Siege of Mechyrd
Phanaius laid siege to the Mechyrdian capital world almost immediately after making it past the numerous defenses. He bombarded the surface at areas of high population, thus causing more civilian casualties.
Phanaius also sent several armies to secure key parts of the Mechyrdian capital; using his ship's teleportarium, he was able to send them into Paludlic Placj and Helvet, where they caused considerable damage to the government and power grid.
Phanaius' siege would be halted when an unexpected ally arrived: the Chaebodes' star navy, coming to lift the Siege of Mechyrd in honor of their recently-formed alliance. Phanaius' fleet, reduced by attrition and Mechyrdian defense lines, would be no match. Thus, he rammed the planet in an attempt to destroy Swamp Square. Luckily, Phanaius' ship's shields were collapsing, and so it exploded due to heat from atmospheric friction. Finally, the lord of the traitors was killed.
Phanaius' rebellion died with him in all but one sector: Ferthlon, Phanaius' home sector. Every other sector was successfully reintegrated into Mechyrdia in less than a decade, while Ferthlon, even following the release of Miliciastathem and Calibor and the expansion of Janus IV and Varannia, still has planets under martial law. It has been hypothesized that the sector was permanantly corrupted by the bulkspace anomaly that caused the civil war in the first place, however nothing can be conclusively proven.
Much damage was done to the Empire, and much of its military and academia had to be purged during the reconstruction. Phanaius' deputy Apolluon fled to Diadochi space, after that it is not known what happened to him. It is possible that he is still alive, and planning to finish what Phanaius started.
The Chancellor of Mechyrdia following Lindów, Elchar Venachrar, would be elected on a bid to reform Mechyrdia's military in order that such a destructive rebellion can never happen again. He accomplished this by splitting the per-sector Polemarchies into per-planet Chapters. The Chapters would be unlikely to cause as much damage as a Polemarchy, as they are much smaller and if one betrays Mechyrdia, it would likely be surrounded by loyal Chapters and be unable to cause any devastation.
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