"And there was the War in Heaven: The Highest Marshall and all his soldiers fought against the Great Enemy; and the Great Enemy fought against his soldiers, but was defeated utterly and found no place again among the stars." ― A revised 29th-century version of the Book of Revelation (approved GTU translation)
OverviewEditThe Second Galactic War, as it would later be known, was a galaxy-spanning, five-decades long conflict involving all the governments and leading sentient species in the Milky Way Galaxy. The war officially commenced in September 2615 following a rejection of the demands issued by both the Jaz Gavaz Peacekeepers and the Xani Restorers by the League of Non-Aligned Powers, resulting in a three-way conflict that escalated rapidly out of control. The war itself was characterized by extreme brutality and sheer destruction unlike anything the galaxy had ever seen, which included widespread use of planet-destroying mega-weapons and the ripping of dimensional boundaries between universes, leading to an invasion of unknown entities intent on harvesting all life from the Galaxy.
While its formal title is the "Second Galactic War", in the GTU it came to be known as the War in Heaven, a reference to the mythological end of time battle between good and evil, common in human religious thinking. Many other races in the Galaxy came to adopt the term, as the calamity was often beyond their own philosophical capability to understand, and calling it simply "The War" seemed to minimize just what it was. The consequences of it would be so severe in fact that an entirely new historical naming convention would be adopted, with the years following its ends being abbreviated as "AWH", or After War in Heaven.
Following the defeat of the Mesh-Ben Protectors, the nearby Xani Shard became hostile to its neighbors, and in particular the Greater Terran Union. For uncounted millennia the Xani had led an existence of decadent isolation, content within their post-scarcity economy, and overwhelming technological superiority, which allowed them to view the younger races of the galaxy with thinly veiled contempt and lack of concern. When the GTU defeated the Mesh-Ben, many of their previously held notions were held incorrectly. Enraged, and most likely also fearful, the Xani declared themselves as the "Xani Restorers", and proclaimed the restoration of their ancient Empire that had long ago fallen away due to their lack of attention and care. The exact political boundary of their former territories having long since been forgotten by everyone, including themselves. Nonetheless, a single Xani ambassador arrived on earth, teleporting himself directly into the national council chambers while they were engaged in a debate on how to deal with the ongoing War on Five Fronts. In an act of unrestrained arrogance, the Xani ambassador demanded the unconditional surrender of the GTU and its political submission to the will of the Xani. He then moved to an apartment owned by one of the high Marshall's, claiming it for his own use after teleporting all humans within the structure out to await the Terran surrender. At the same time, an Ambassador of the Jaz Gavaz also arrived on Earth with the demand that the GTU comply with the subjugation of demands of the newly proclaimed Jaz Gavaz Federation. Both Ambassadors set forth a 24-hour deadline for the compliance of the GTU, a period that came to be known as "the longest day".
On May 25, 2615, 40 minutes before the 24 hours elapsed, the GTU delivered a formal response to the Ambassadors of the Jaz Gavaz and the Xani on their demands. It was simply one word. "Never". Agents of military intelligence then attempted to capture the Ambassadors for interrogation, but they escaped. At the same time, the Marshals' of the GTU delivered their own response to the citizens and subject races of the Greater Terran Union flanked by the Commissar Generals of all the Terran Commissariats and Protectorates.
With events rapidly spiraling towards a cataclysm, the GTU and the Stellar Axis suspended their ongoing conflicts, bringing the first galactic war to a sudden end. Shortly thereafter, the Jaz Gavaz and the Xani went to war with each other, sending their fleets across political borders in a naked showing of force and contempt for the younger races. They also delivered their final ultimatums to the GTU. Submit or be exterminated.
With the GTU preparing itself for another desperate war for survival, an embassy from the Sophox Garden of Worlds arrived in Earth orbit. The Sophox, long isolationist had been watching events transpire in the Galaxy for centuries, and having decided that the GTU was the sole military power capable of preserving their own independence and those of the other races, presented the national council with a request to form an alliance in opposition to both the awakened Empires. The Sophox offered what support they could, in exchange for the commitment of the GTU to defend them from the threat posed by the awakened empires.
On May 29th, 2615 the National Council approved the Sophox request and promulgated the Solar Accords. With the signing of the accord, the League of Non-Aligned powers was proclaimed and committed the GTU to the defense of any race that refuses the demands of both the Xani and the Jaz Gavaz, With the declared opposition of the GTU to the awakened Empires, the rest of the Galaxy also began to sign on with the League, barring a few notable exceptions. Space was set aside in London for the newly proclaimed League, to include a political coordination body and a unified fleet command.
Following an invasion of Xani ships into territory controlled by the Pux Directorate in January of 2616, the Greater Terran Union invoked the mutual defense clause of the Solar Treaty and declared war on the awakened empires.
First Stage - War of the Awakened Empires Edit
Total War Edit
Following the declaration of war by the League, the Xani and the Jaz Gavaz launched an all-out invasion of the territories of the Stellar Axis, Bright League, Star Concord and the GTU Puppet nation of the Rixian Galactic Directorate. On the GTU-Rixian Front, the Rixians mounted a powerful defense of the Kerbol System in a similar way to their stubborn resistance of the GTU that had lasted for centuries. The Siege of Kerbol would last for nearly a decade, and the planet would never be taken. The success only made possible due to the GTU's unilaterally suspends the military restriction imposed upon the successor states of the Compact as well due to the relatively intact industrial prowess of the Rixians. Efforts by the Xani to invade the GTU through the L-Cluster en-masse were likewise thwarted by Fleet Command in the Styx system, and its successful defense marked one of the few decisive victories of the League that left the GTU and its vassal states relatively intact during the duration of the war.
For their part, the Jaz Gavaz unleashed their superweapon "The Egg of Oblivion" upon the worlds of the Axis member-states, and any semblance of Axis' resistance rapidly crumbled by the indiscriminate use of such weapon. The Egg appeared to draw ambient energy directly from hyperspace to form a self-sustaining shield around any world targeted, effectively cutting off everything beneath the shield from contact. Not even light itself or any communication could penetrate the barrier, let alone ships. The Stellar Axis and the Florian Matriarchy, in particular, were wholly unprepared for the scale of the conflict, its economy military and infrastructures are all but in shambles due to their previous fanatical war against the GTU. Attempts to destroy the shields surrounding their worlds were foiled due to the simple fact that sub-space links of the shields were simply too powerful, and scientists estimated it would be hundreds of thousands of years before they decayed sufficiently to be taken down. This action came to be known as "Glazing" in common parlance, and the Jaz-Gavaz appeared to have no restrictions on carrying out the action.
The GTU was likewise in no condition to fight, having not recovered from the War on Five Fronts. The 4th expeditionary fleet was dispatched to the Kerbol System to engage a Xani fleet in order to test their military capabilities, and the results were not promising. the Xani possessed overwhelming technological superiority. While ostensibly required to assist the Florians against the Jaz Gavaz, the damage done to the GTU by the Florians was still fresh, and so for the next several years, the Union focused on repairing its economy, leaving much of the fighting to other members of the league. While the Jaz Gavaz had free range in the galactic south, the Xani encountered much more fierce resistance in the Galactic East, suffering numerous setbacks against the Pux Directorate, Ru Confederated Worlds and the Kingdom of Partoga. The eastern front would be a grinding campaign that would see the devastation wrought on the nations of the Star Concord, but not to the same level as what was being done to the Stellar Axis. Unsatisfied with the pace of their campaign, the Xani launched an assault in the Galactic West hoping to speed up their conquests, seizing Fort Gibraltar from the GTU in December of 2623. Efforts by the GTU to retake the fort repeatedly foundered due to the presence of a Gateway in that system, and even a combined Federation task force was defeated by the Xani in 2628. Efforts by the Xani to push further into the GTU were subsequently thwarted, largely due to sustained attacks by the League in the Galactic East drawing off their fleets.
GTU Counteroffensive Edit
By 2630, the GTU's economy had recovered and its fleets expanded to the largest size in history. A blitzkrieg was launched into the Latian Commonwealth, a nation that had signed on to the demands of the Jaz Gavaz. To the GTU and the League at large, the Latian's were traitorous cowards who had mistakenly believed the Jaz Gavaz would be the clear winners, and they would be able to feed off the scraps they left behind. Fleet Command intended to disabuse them of this notion forcefully, and the Terran assaults on their worlds were noted for the total disregard of civilian casualties. Billions of Latians were slaughtered by an unrestricted kinetic bombardment of their worlds and the subsequent invasions by Land Force Command. The survivors found themselves annexed to the GTU and relegated to the very lowest tiers of citizenship, denied all basic rights and privileges. Including showers.
With the Latian Commonwealth fully annexed, efforts were focused upon the Xani. With the Terran fleets taking point, other fleets from the Pux and Ru soon joined alongside in a major offensive. Despite their clear technological superiority, long millennia of opulent decadence and peace appeared to have stripped the Xani of their military traditions and institutional knowledge to use their weapons effectively. In an effort to push back the Terran offensive, the Xani marshaled a massive armada of warships but utilized them in a haphazard manner. In a maneuver that left the Terran Admiralty aghast at the sheer arrogance and incompetence on display, the Xani Armada launched separate wave attacks against the League fleet, allowing the concentrated force to initiate a textbook "Defeat in Detail" of the Xani fleet by October of 2631. By 2636, the League fleet had entered the heart of Xani space, and on April 15 of that year, the Xani world of Xurt was destroyed by the Sword of Terra in retaliation for the awakened empire's use of superweapons against the League. By 2637, the Xani homeworld of Core was seized by the Greater Terran Union utilizing the Sword of Terra neutron sweep. With the vast majority of the Xani now dead, the survivors were declared undesirable in the Terran Union and scattered across the Galaxy, ending forever their legacy.
In the Galactic south, the Jaz Gavaz continued to advance unopposed, but their indiscriminate use of jump drives resulted in unforeseen consequences. The Jaz Gavaz jump drives greatly weakened the inter-dimensional boundaries between real space and alternative universes and seemed to draw the attention of an extra-dimension intelligence known as The Unbidden. Like moths drawn to light, the Unbidden emerged in the Galactic South on March 11, 2637. Their arrival, while not formally ending the War in Heaven, marked a decided endpoint to the conflict from a military perspective as all sides shifted their focus to deal with the emergent threat.
Second Stages - The Unbidden Incursion Edit
The Unbidden erupted into the Galactic South and the Jaz Gavaz's newly forming empire in a sudden blitz that saw entire Jaz Gavaz battle groups sucked through inter-dimensional rifts. Those ships that survived were rapidly destroyed, as more Unbidden fleets erupted into real space and began spreading like a plague across the galaxy. Refusing to respond to any attempts at communication, the Unbidden unleashed a campaign of total annihilation about the galaxy. Any life-bearing world that fell into their grasp was rapidly and ruthlessly stripped of any form of living material. Subsequent analysis of the stripped "dead worlds" would find that not even microscopic bacteria, even in the deepest ocean trenches, escaped the touch of the Unbidden.
As losses mounted, the Galactic Coalition that had begun to prevail against the awakened empires fell apart. For many of the races, particularly those within the Star Concord, the concept of war, especially a war of such brutality was itself an alien concept as the massive sacrifices of souls and material required to sustain such a calamitous conflict, became too great for their political systems withstand. In a fit of Irony, the only two primary military powers other than the GTU capable of defending the Galaxy, the Florian Matriarchy and the Ragutharian Imperial Domains, principle members of the Stellar Axis, lay in the path of the Unbidden. Having already been bled white by the Jaz Gavaz they were in no position to resist and the prospect of the imminent extinction, not just of their civilizations but their entire species' came to be seen as inevitable.
When the Florian Homeworld of Garden was enveloped by the Unbidden and stripped of all life, it seemed the fate of the Galaxy was sealed. The Sacrifice of the Florians, however, had not gone unnoticed within the GTU, who while having endured terrible costs as the hands of the Matriarchy had come to respect the dedication and sacrifice shown by their people in the defense of their world and species. Ethics which had defined the GTU for centuries. In response, even as the other races of the Galaxy retreated, the GTU went on the offensives, pouring ships through the gateway network into the devastated remains in the Florian Matriarchy and the Algorithm. Fleet Command would launch a massive defensive campaign of hit and run tactics that the Star Compact had for centuries used against it to great effect. All the while buying time for the great shipyards to churn out ever more and more ships.
In an effort to break the stalemate, the Unbidden would launch an all-out assault on the GTU in the extragalactic cluster. Unbidden Fleets poured into the Styx System, and in the subsequent Battle of Styx, the GTU and the Warband of the Great Khan would defeat the largest concentration of Unbidden fleets in the Galaxy. The victory would prove decisive. Terran Battle groups poured forth from the L-Cluster and into the Raguthurian Imperial Domains, who were fighting a losing campaign, with their own homeworld on the brink of sharing the same fate as the Florians. Billions of Raguthurians looked up in stupefied awe as the skies above their planet were filled with the glow of nine separate Terran Navy battle groups, the largest concentration of ships Fleet Command had ever sent abroad in the entire history of the GTU. It was also the single largest battle-fleet ever fielded in the known history of the milky way galaxy. Fleet Command descended on the Unbidden like a thunderclap and drove them from the Imperial Domains within weeks.
At the Battle of the Rift, the Unbidden mounted a final last-ditch effort to halt the Terran advance. By now joined by the auxiliary fleets of the protectorates and the emboldened coalition, the Unbidden were swiftly and rapidly crushed. Enough light to create a new star in the heavens of countless worlds was unleashed upon the rift by the Terran battle-fleets, and when it was over the rift had collapsed and the Unbidden were cast back to the dimension from which they had come.
The War in Heaven resulted in the cataclysmic losses endured mostly by the races in the Galactic South, who have already endured repeated defeats at the hands of the GTU and the glazing of their worlds by the Jaz Gavaz would also have to face the initial fury of the Unbidden as a direct consequence of the glazing.
The Stellar Axis, long the primary counterpoint to GTU power would be utterly destroyed except for a few isolated Florian colonies and a Ragutharian Rump state. The governments of the Bright League and the Star Concord would likewise be plunged into chaos and collapse as the destruction and economic ruin wrought on them manifested fully in their societies and political bodies.
As a result, the Greater Terran Union emerged as the sole undamaged hyperpower in the Galaxy and possessing twice over the entire fleet capacity of the rest of the galaxy combined. It also saw the GTU transformed from an existential threat to the Galaxy into its ultimate savior, while at the same time forced the people of the GTU to come to terms with the fact that even the alien could aspire to its own ethics as the Sacrifices of the Florians and the Warband of the Great Khan showed. The consequences of the War in Heaven would reverberate throughout the galaxy for millennia.
The first manifestation of this change was an act of the National Assembly declaring an end to the "Common Era" in historical year abbreviation. The year 2658 would be the last. As January 1st came, Union citizens would not usher in the year 2659 CE, but the year 0 AWH, After the War in Heaven. With few exceptions, all other races in the Galaxy did the same. The change in the era would usher in a period known as the Unification Campaigns, a combination of peaceful annexations and outright wars that would see the entire Milky Way Galaxy brought under the control of the GTU and all sentient life regardless of species offered a place in its citizenship tier structure.