- It is a historical event of apocalyptic proportions, which broke the Third Imperium, destroyed interstellar commerce, and caused a second Long Night to occur.
- Interstellar civilization was rent asunder with terrible consequences.
- This is one of three disasters that rocked the Third Imperium: The Break, The Wave, and the The Black Ships.
- 1 Description (Specifications)
- 2 History & Background (Dossier)
- 2.1 Rebellion Year 1116
- 2.2 Rebellion Year 1117
- 2.3 Rebellion Year 1118
- 2.4 Rebellion Year 1119
- 2.5 Rebellion Year 1120
- 2.6 Rebellion Year 1121
- 2.7 Rebellion Year 1122
- 2.8 Rebellion Year 1123
- 2.9 Rebellion Year 1125
- 2.10 Rebellion Year 1129
- 2.11 Rebellion Year 1130
- 2.12 Rebellion Year Aftermath: Long-Term Rebellion
- 3 References & Contributors (Sources)
The conflict known as the Rebellion was instigated by Dulinor Astrin Ilethian of Dlan, Archduke of the Domain of Ilelish. Dulinor believed Imperial policy was overly focused on preserving the status quo and unresponsive to the needs of its people. He believed the only effective way to change this was to seize the throne himself. In 1116 he executed a carefully prepared plan to assassinate Emperor Strephon, expecting to have a claim to the throne through Right of Assassination be recognized by the Moot. As a backup, he secured the loyalty of the Imperial military forces in his Domain and planned to dominate any rivals militarily.
Dulinor killed not only Strephon, but Strephon's heir Ciencia Iphegenia as well; the succession passed to Strephon's mentally unstable nephew Lucan, who was rumored to have killed his older brother Varian to gain the throne. Hostilities then began between loyal forces under Lucan's command and Dulinor's forces. Attempting to defeat Dulinor with overwhelming force, Lucan ordered sector fleets from peripheral regions of the Imperium to reinforce the fleets from the core areas. This left those border regions open to attack by Vargr corsairs, Solomani forces bent on recapturing Terra and other Imperial-occupied regions, and Aslan ihatei. These attacks cut off the Domain of Deneb from the main body of the Imperium and led other high-ranking nobles to split off and form their own factions, who were then subjected to attacks both by outside invaders and to punishment actions by Lucan. One of these factions was led by an individual who claimed to be the actual Emperor Strephon (claiming the assassinated Strephon was a clone acting as a court double).
Primary Rebellion Factions
The rival factions of the Rebellion have their own distinct leadership, aims, and backgrounds:
- Aslan: Driven to colonize new worlds, even if they are inside the Imperial borders.
- Brzk: The Archduke of Antares, convinced that the Imperium will never accept him, a non-human, as Emperor.
- Dulinor: He sparked the Rebellion by killing the Emperor, and now he claims to be Emperor by right of assassination.
- Lucan: The Emperor's nephew and a legitimate heir but also rumored to have murdered his own brother in order to win the throne.
- Margaret: The compromise candidate proposed by moderate elements in Imperial society.
- Norris: Claiming allegiance to the Imperium but refusing to support any specific faction.
- Solomani: Champions of human supremacy, intent on imposing their way on all of humanity.
- Strephon: Is he the real Emperor or an imposter?
- Vargr Raiders intent on looting the undefended border provinces of the Imperium.
- Vland: Intent on reestablishing their own empire.
Conventional Military Conflict (1117 to 1122)
From 1117 to 1122 the war was a more-or-less conventional military conflict, primarily with Lucan and Dulinor attempting to achieve absolute military superiority while the other factions mainly acted in self-preservation; none were able to decisively defeat their rivals. It was a five-year period of constant naval maneuvering, sporadic battles, planetary invasions, and open conflict that destroyed most of the military assets of the former Third Imperium, now a balkanized ruin.
Black War, Scorched Earth and Hard Times (1122 to 1130)
From 1122 onward the factions, believing that outright superiority was impossible, switched to a strategy of asset denial and started a period called the Black War. Black War actions started a set of mutually-reinforcing trends that decreased interstellar trade and travel, degraded infrastructure, and reduced populations, leading to a period known as the Hard Times, where the notion of a reunited Imperium died in the minds of its citizens.
The Collapse and Charted Space Apocalypse (1130)
Dulinor started one last attempt to seize Capitol in 1129, but in 1130 his Coronation Fleet inadvertently released a superweapon developed by researchers working for Lucan, the Virus. Virus worked far too well and essentially destroyed interstellar civilization over most of the space of the former Imperium and beyond, an event called the Collapse. Only the Domain of Deneb remained as an interstellar state, by imposing a strict quarantine at its borders.
Assassination: The moment that the rebellion started can be determined quite specifically:
- Video cameras recorded the event, and precise timers noted exactly when the first shot was fired.
- At 1517 hours on 132-1116, Dulinor, the Archduke of Ilelish, fired four shots from his personal sidearm, and in succession, assassinated the Emperor Strephon, the Empress Iolanthe, the Grand Princess Ciencia Iphegenia, and the Aslan Yerlyaruiwo ambassador.
- The throne room was thrust into immediate turmoil.
Rebellion Year 1116
Most of 1116 was taken up in the transmission of the news from Capital to all parts of the Imperium. As the news was absorbed, the many constituent factions of the Imperium made choices for their next course of action.
- Archduke Dulinor fled Capital immediately, retreating to his own territories in Ilelish where he had already prepared an uprising to support his claim to the throne.
- In the immediate aftermath of the assassination, the Emperor's nephew Lucan declared a state of emergency and crowned himself Emperor. When the Moot opposed such swift action, Lucan dissolved the assembly. Lucan also dispatched fleets in pursuit of Dulinor and sent couriers to all parts of the Imperium condemning Dulinor and calling for support of the Imperium against all of its enemies.
- News of the assassination reached Vland by X-Boat (Jump-4) in 19 weeks. It reached the Spinward Marches via X-Boat in 51 weeks. However, elite Naval couriers (Jump-6) using a secretive shortcut through the Great Rift had delivered the news to Archduke Norris at Regina in just 49 weeks - 2 weeks ahead of the "official" news.
Rebellion Year 1117
In 1117 the basic factions established themselves.
Solomani Confederation fleets in the Imperial border crossed it as soon as official word of the assassination reached them. The border was pushed forward some 20 parsec and Terra (world) was recaptured by the Solomani.
Dulinor's fleets clashed with Lucan's fleets in systems midway between Capital and Dlan. The battles produced tremendous attrition in both sides' fleets. In order to reinforce the fight against Dulinor, Lucan made a decision to strip the Corridor Sector, the Lishun Sector and the Old Expanses Sector of fleets. Corridor felt the sting of Vargr plunderers almost immediately. Lishun remained stable for a few months, but then it was rocked with a succession of Vargr invasions. These Vargr actions cut off the Domain of Deneb from the main body of the Imperium, leading Archduke Norris to declare himself head of an effectively autonomous region of space nominally loyal to the Imperium.
Archduke Brzk of the Domain of Antares renounced his oath of loyalty to the Emperor, claiming Lucan's ascension was questionable at best. Assuming control of the Domain in the name of Emperor Strephon, he signed a pact joining it to the Julian Protectorate.
The Old Expanses was already under Solomani attack and the withdrawal of the Imperial fleet left the Sector's nobles no alternative but to surrender.
The factional situation became more confused with the apparent reappearance on 204-1117 of Emperor Strephon at an Imperial vacation palace on Usdiki. This Strephon claimed that the Strephon assassinated by Dulinor in 1116 was actually a clone acting as a double for routine court functions, and that he, the "real" Strephon, was not on Capitol when the double was assassinated. The "real" Strephon's faction became a second-tier power opposing both Lucan and Dulinor.
Rebellion Year 1118
In 1118 each faction struggled to strengthen its own position while weakening all the others.
The nobles of Vland Sector felt threatened by the advances of Vargr in neighboring Lishun and Corridor sectors. When Lucan demanded a portion of Vland's fleets to reinforce the assault on Dulinor, Vland refused and declared its independence as the Restored Vilani Empire.
Lucan ordered the Daibei Sector fleet to transfer to Zarushagaar Sector to reinforce his battle lines against Dulinor. The sector nobles refused this order and announced that they would take an independent and neutral path as the Federation of Daibei under Duke Craig of Warinir.
Rebellion Year 1119
In 1119 the Rebellion settled down to a dedicated battle to the death between Lucan and Dulinor.
Other factions contributed their forces to resolving squabbles between them, picking away at Lucan or Dulinor or both, or just trying to survive the chaos that was enveloping the empire.
Rebellion Year 1120
By 1120 the factions had destroyed the mighty Imperial Navy. At the beginning of the war there were 320 numbered fleets and an equal number of reserve fleets, by the end of the year there were fewer than 95 numbered and 130 reserve fleets, and those reduced to 60% strength or less.
Rebellion Year 1121
In 1121 the factions continued to hammer away at each other with what force they had left. However, limited resources dictated warfare to devolve into banditry, surgical strikes and terrorism.
The "Real" Strephon's forces were largely destroyed by Lucan's fleets by 1121, although one or two subsectors around Usdiki remained loyal to the former Emperor until the end of the war.
Rebellion Year 1122
1122 saw the start of the Black War, and the lines separating war, terrorism, and piracy—always thin to begin with—began to vanish. Economic conditions, already shaky from years of warfare, worsened. Governments in the frontier areas, formulating their own survival, became neutral or opposed the war. The factions, not having the resources to hold questionable areas, saw their areas of control shrink.
Rebellion Year 1123
Germ warfare strikes and failing infrastructure caused various epidemics to spread among many worlds. Merchant traffic outside the safe areas began to decrease, and what traffic there was was often associated with the Doom Trade, bringing inhabitants of failing worlds into the safe areas (often at extreme prices).
Rebellion Year 1125
Regularly scheduled interstellar trade in the areas between the factional safe areas ceased completely; 1125 is considered the start of the Hard Times as a result. Many marginal worlds suffered complete population loss as their infrastructure failed. Other worlds in the wild areas banded together to form pocket empires for mutual protection and survival. Desperate citizens began using low berth units to attempt to hibernate their way through the war.
Rebellion Year 1129
Dulinor began one last campaign, assembling a Coronation Fleet with the intent to personally battle his way to Capitol and take the Iridium Throne by force.
An individual claiming to be a researcher from Lucan's faction publicly sought asylum in Dulinor's territory, only to be assassinated moments later. Dulinor's investigators determined he worked at Core sector's Research Station Omicron, and his research had something to do with viruses.
Rebellion Year 1130
Dulinor's Coronation Fleet was largely successful in its campaign proceeding into Core sector. However, when they reached the system containing Research Station Omicron, they discovered it was not researching biowarfare, but artificial intelligence applications. It was the development site of the Virus. Commandos landing at the station transmitted the contents of its databanks back to the fleet, unwittingly starting the spread of Virus. The Coronation Fleet's vessels became the first vampire ships and jumped out into the larger former Imperium, spreading Virus as they went. Dulinor himself was killed on 243-1130 by a piece of robotic farming equipment after his malfunctioning ship set down on an agricultural planet. Eventually Virus infected the X-boat network and spread to the entire former Third Imperium and beyond. Only the Domain of Deneb survived intact by imposing a strict quarantine. The Rebellion ended with no sides as victors.
Rebellion Year Aftermath: Long-Term Rebellion
Each faction of the Rebellion quickly established a base of power. At and within a reasonable radius of that established base of power, the faction could expect to hold a fairly solid base of power. That reasonable radius, computed based primarily on travel times, works out to about 20 parsecs for each faction.
Beyond 20 parsecs from faction's base of power, controlling and directing worlds becomes quite a difficult proposition for the faction. Fleets need orders; armies need supplies and support; and, in addition, attacks need coordination. And the farther the battlefields are moved from the base of power of the faction, the more difficult they are to direct and control. Losing battles is expensive, but on the other hand, so is winning them. Even committing fleets and forces uses up resources that might be needed by the faction more desperately later. The least expensive course of action is to cautiously prepare, building strength while waiting for the other side to make a mistake.
Beyond the roughly 20 parsec radius of power, the territory of the Imperium became a no man's land, left alone, completely to its own devices.
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