Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Legacy of the Ixthi (Part 2 of 2)

At the outbreak of the second Multyx-Ixthi War there was a great deal of disharmony among the three members nations of the Sanguine Alliance.  The Glost desired a speedy assault, feeling that delays had cost the war effort dearly the first time around.  The Chinorr wanted to be more systematic, especially with regard to liberating the slave worlds of the Ixthian Empire.  Meanwhile, the Multyx desired a more defensive posture for themselves while their allies led the charge.

Within the boarders of the Ixthian Empire circumstances had also changed considerably.  The Beastslayer had died of natural causes at the ripe old age of 87.  In the wake of his passing two captains were appointed the rank of admiral.  Both had served under The Beastslayer during the first Multyx-Ixthi War, and before the end of his short reign, the second Emperor bestowed the honorary title of "Multyx-Bane" to one officer and "Terror of the Multyx" to the other.  Almost immediately disagreements over naval doctrine arose between the two admirals.  Bane favored the raider tactics of his predecessor, while Terror advocated the use of the new formed Imperial Guard Fleet to neutralize interloping threats through a series of ambushes.  Unlike his father, and his grandfather before him, the newly ordained third Emperor cared little for military cohesion.  His solution to this divisive matter was a simple compromise.  Terror would lead the Imperial Guard Fleet with it's new heavy cruisers, while Bane would be placed in command of a smaller, faster squadron of warships designated the Raider Fleet with Void Wanderer as the flagship.

In a repeat of the first war, the planet Yrd was the first to come under attack.  The invasion fleet consisted of a combination of Glost and Chinorr forces.  Terror attempted his long desired ambush tactic, but was forced to retreat once the defensive installations around Yrd fell to overwhelming Alliance firepower.  However, Yrd itself turned out to be more resilient.  It's people had no desire to endure occupation a second time so they held out under orbital bombardment.  The Chinorr, for their part, were determined to take the planet before moving on.  The Glost, on the other had, grew restless.  While the Sanguine Alliance stalled at Yrd, the Imperial Guard Fleet underwent repairs in orbit over the Ixthian homeworld.  Hoping to catch the Ixthi in a vulnerable position, the Glost commander recklessly ordered his ships to make haste for the Imperial capital of Ix, while the Chinorr continued their siege of Yrd.  For the Sanguine Alliance this proved to be a serious blunder.  The unsupported Glost fleet rushed headlong into a trap and the Terror annihilated their ships to the last.  In a matter of days the entire might of the Glost navy was swept away and for the remainder of war their only major contribution would be in the form of robot armies.  The Terror became flush with success.  So much so he felt confident enough to allow the dying Glost fleet to send off a distress signal to their Chinorr allies at Yrd.  The Terror thought he would repeat his victory a second time, but when the Chinorr arrived they brought with them a secret weapon - battleships.

Ixthian cruisers proved inadequate in the face of this new threat.  The Imperial Guard Fleet was reduced to a cloud of debris over the homeworld's zenith and the Terror perished along with it.  The defense stations around Ix soon followed, as did the valuable shipyards.  Once again the homeworld was hammered from orbit.  The blows were not as hard felt this time though.  The Ixthi had learned an important lesson from the first war, and far down the galactic spiral arm a cluster of forge worlds had been established.  Here, vast amounts of resources had been poured into establishing the infrastructure needed to build corvettes, destroyers, cruisers and legions of troops.  Soon, the factories of war began to produce massive quantities of weapons, armor, transports and warships.

Meanwhile, the Chinorr found themselves in a dilemma.  Without the aid of Multyx ships, it would be impossible to provide acquitted escorts for their freighters.  Thus far the Multyx had not encountered a single Ixthi vessel along their boarders, so it was decided to drop the defensive posture in deference to a ground support role.  Alliance armies, unmolested during their voyages through space, captured Yrd and even the Ixthi homeworld.  The talk among the Sanguine Alliance soon turned to immanent victory.  Surely, the reasoning went, the Ixthi's fleets were scattered and their will to fight broken.  It was a wishful sentiment, completely divorced from the reality of the situation.  Bane and his Raider Fleet were still out there, they simply waited for the right time to strike back.  The next step for the Chinorr was to push on to the mineral rich slave worlds.  It was believed at the time that depriving the Ixthi of these resources would force them to make an unconditional surrender.  Little did the Sanguine Alliance members know about the huge stockpiles of minerals the Ixthi held in reserve, enough to rebuild their entire Empire twice over.  As the first of the slave words fell to Alliance forces, the Ixthi launched a counterattack.

Mining stations, research installations, frontier outposts, one by one they blinked out of existence.  Multyx warships began to wither on the vine.  They turned away from Ixthi space rushing back to defend their threatened planets.  Once, they found success catching a portion of the Raider Fleet as it obliterated the last of the Multyx held Betharian resource extractors.  Void Wanderer was lost in the ensuing naval engagement, but Bane survived, as did the majority of his warships.  Starved of resources, the Multyx could do less and less.  In frustration the Chinorr pushed on to the moon of Dissadia, blasting everything in their path.  Their hope was to fight fire with fire, but the change in tactics proved fruitless.  The vastness of Ixthi held space meant that a large Alliance fleet found few targets of opportunity, while a small fleet would be ambushed and destroyed.  Such was the case with a Chinorr battleship traveling with an inadequate escort.  Lightly guarded troop transports and non-combat vessels began to suffer a similar fate.  Occasionally, an Ixthi corvette would be caught and destroyed, but many more escaped.  Then news came that Yrd had been liberated by eleven legions under the command of General Vir J'Khan.  In retaliation the Chinorr demanded that the Glost launch an immediate invasion of Dissadia, and so armies of robots swarmed out of dropships onto the surface of the arid moon.  The Glost general proved to be an incompetent buffoon though, and before long the long columns of robot soldiers were reduced to mountains of scrap metal by the defending garrison.  The Multyx and Chinorr committed ground units of their own, but these were fed into the battle piecemeal and eventually the landings were repulsed entirely.  Meanwhile, the Ixthi homeworld had been liberated.

Adding insult to injury, Multyx worlds began to fall.  First Holden IV, then Moc Krac, followed in quick succession by Othriga III and Xant Ovac.  The Multyx cried to their allies for aid, but none came.  The Glost had only just begun to rebuild their fleet and what few ships they had were allocated to protecting their own boarders.  The Chinorr had been griped by a kind of paralysis; unwilling to abandon the siege of Dissadia, but unable to divvy up their forces without risking total annihilation.  Next the Multyx homeworld came under siege and capitulated soon after.  The hardest fought battle though was on the remote arctic world of Ullus II.  The Ixthi are native to a dry, warm world and unsurprisingly found the conditions on Ullus II to be hellish even before the fighting started.  To make matters worse, the Raider Fleet performed an incomplete bombardment of the planet before departing on a Glost convoy intercept mission.  Unperturbed, General Vir J'Khan ordered the assault and a hard and bloody battle followed.  Of the seven legions that landed on Ullus II, none rose back up to orbit with more than a quarter of their fighting strength intact.  Nevertheless, the planet was taken and with it, the last of the Multyx worlds were now in the hands of the Ixthian Empire.

Several times during those final months of the war, the Multyx offered to make a white peace and each time the Ixthi rejected it.  Now, the terms were laid bare, vassalization of the Multyx Cooperative and all of its holdings.  While the Multyx balked they were but a shadow of their former strength.  The war weary Glost consented, and the Chinorr, eager to deal with a more pressing rivalry with the Gox Republic, also grudgingly agreed to the peace agreement.  The slave worlds were returned to the Ixthian Empire and there are some who say the Multyx may soon join their fettered ranks.  However, there are others who claim that from the ashes of this destructive conflict a lasting peace might grow.  Already embassies and understanding have been established where once there was only rivalry and hatred.

The future is uncertain, but one aspect of it holds true.  History repeats itself and even this far future conflict bears more than a passing resemblance to Human history, particularly with regards to the second World War and the Punic Wars of antiquity.  Will history repeat yet again?  Only time will tell.  

No comments:

Post a Comment