The Reformation War
An event worthy of its name, the Reformation War not only changed the face of Arcatian politics, but the surface of the planet itself. The War, most agree, has its roots in centuries of economic and political oppression suffered by The Rastakgan Hierarchy and The Jahangi Coalition at the hands of other nations. Typically, radical movements in both Jah and Rastakgan would strike out against foreign assets in isolated terrorist incidents, which their host governments would be forced to quickly condemn and offer reparations for. Such attacks hit an all-time high in 438 S.E.C., before dying out almost completely with the promotion of Rastakgan’s new Prime Hierarch, Salveus Neccaro. This, it turns out, was simply the calm before the storm.
A BLOODY ASSERTION
Early in 439 massive explosions tore across a Serican military docking facility in Midstream, killing thousands and causing billions of credits of damage, not to mention incapacitating nearly one fifth of the ESIS fleet. The perpetrators were quickly identified as Rastakgic nationals, and the Hierarchy was called on to denounce their actions. To the surprise and horror of the rest of Arcatia, they refused.
The Hierarchy announced that any foreign vessels to enter its sovereign territory would be treated as hostile combatants until they were granted a list of political and trade concessions that would place them (in their eyes) on even footing with other state powers. The Jahangi Coalition immediately followed this up with their own announcement that they would be following a similar policy, and lending their full support to Rastakgan in the form of The Northern Liberation Alliance. Most Rastakgic and Jahangi officials hoped that the crippling loss of military hardware coupled with the appearance of a two-state military alliance would force Serican policymakers to quickly agree to their demands, rather than drag their constituency into the nation’s first declared war. They were sorely mistaken.
Billions of credits of arms contracts flooded Supercorporations around the globe, as the Commerce Republic began a wardriving policy that would more than triple its armed forces over the next year. Serican patrols began mercilessly exterminating any and all Alliance vessels who strayed into their territory. Sunport acted as a staging area for the impending invasion of Midstream and the Rastakgic archipelago. The Alliance consolidated their forces preparing for a scale of war which had not been seen since the dawn of the Era of Communication.
THE BATTLE FOR MIDSTREAM
Three months into the conflict, a large ESIS force was deployed on Midstream, backed up by incredible air and naval power. The Alliance forces stranded on the island were quickly surrounded and ground away. With no possibility of escape, they adopted suicide bombing and other tactics of desperation in an effort make Serican forces lose stomach for the conflict, or simply to bring as many down with them as possible (it is worth noting that these attacks were conducted almost entirely on the offensive ESIS military force, not the few civilian targets still on the island). It was at this point that a handful of radical Rastakgic military leaders made one of the greatest mistakes of the war. Horrified by the idea of leaving the brave few still fighting on Midstream to die, they launched a small flotilla to breach the Serican blockade and evacuate their forces. In order to stand a chance against their technologically and numerically superior foe, they disguised a number of warships as civilian vessels, used others as manned ordnance, and committed numerous criminal acts on the civilian population in the guise of ESIS forces, in an effort to rally the support they’d need to accomplish their mission. Though they were partially successful (what was left of the Rastakgic holdouts were extracted, but the island itself lost almost immediately afterwards) the price would turn out to be far greater than anticipated.
After reviewing evidence presented by the Serican government, and completing investigations of their own, The Pax Equilibrium condemned the rogue Alliance forces for their actions, demanding that the leaders responsible be immediately tried. Of course, the NLA refused. Soon after, the Equilibrium pledged its forces to containing and neutralizing criminal Alliance aggression. With two nations now surrounding Rastakgan in preparation for a full scale invasion, Jahangi leaders saw the tides turning against them. Looking to muster whatever allies they could, a great deal of financial support was given to several of the more powerful Kharaki resistance groups, hoping to turn their attention away from their traditional Unity enemies and towards Serica and the Equilibrium. This turned out to be another horrific mistake.
The Kharaki resistance groups in question completely ignored the Jahangi pleas, dedicating all of the resources they’d been granted towards fighting the Unity. Once they discovered the connection, enraged Unity leaders were quick to declare war, joining with the Equilibrium and Commerce Republic to form The Northern Containment Pact. Less than a year earlier, the NLA had believed itself to be in a prime negotiating position against a single ill-prepared enemy. Now they faced down more than half of Arcatia’s population. Whether their decision not to surrender was an act of extreme bravery or extreme foolishness is a matter of great contention.
The Jagangi Coalition was overtaken in a matter of months. Vast numbers of Unity forces surged across and laid waste to the fertile lands of Jah while fleets surrounded and besieged their cities. With all major metropolitan areas completely cut off, and little hope of assistance from their embattled Rastakgic allies, the Jahangi were given an ultimatum. Surrender unconditionally or face one of the more brutal realities of total warfare: extermination of their civilian population. For many, the choice was simple, but nearly half of Jah’s Supercities elected to break away and continue the fight. In return they suffered bombardment with incendiary, chemical, and radioactive ordnance before a full-force ground invasion. An estimated 8 million Jahangi citizens died as a result. A large number of military officers took any chance they could to flee their homeland, bringing any equipment, vehicles, and forces they could to Rastakgan to continue the fight under a different banner.
With Jah effectively removed from the conflict, the Unity flooded Rastakgan with nearly 40 million combat and support personnel, almost half the nation’s dwindling population. The conflict that followed was slow and brutal. Rastakgic civilians joined the fight in droves, using any means available to strike out at invading forces. The remnants of the Alliance naval and air forces formed into opportunistic strike teams, slicing Containment Pact supply lines wherever they were vulnerable. But no amount of underhanded tactics, desperate holdouts, and brutal guerrilla strikes could oppose the three-nation war machine that was grinding Rastakgan slowly but surely into the dust. Over almost a complete cycle Rastakgan’s cities fell one by one, and its landscape, once the most verdant of all Arcatia, was burnt away. The Alliance needed a miracle. Fortunately, they had invested a staggering amount of resources into creating just that.
Every credit Rastakgan had saved with its crude, cheap warfighting had been diverted to research and development of a promising new discovery uncovered, as far as anyone can tell, sometime in 437. By this point in the war it had been very nearly perfected. Prime Hierarch Neccaro advised his government that their project be kept quiet until it was ready for action, but the driving need to refresh the hope of their people and get hold of a bargaining chip against the invading Pact hordes got the better of them. They announced, with perhaps the last shred of power they had, that Rastakgan had developed a biological weapon, unphased by modern medicine, that they would be forced to unleash should the invasion continue. They didn’t get the reaction they were hoping for. Minutes after the announcement, The Dassadin Protectorate joined the Northern Containment Pact, citing the need to combat this new “global threat”. Protectorate forces arrived in Rastakgan less than an hour later. The rest of the Pact did not change their tactics, either assuming it was an elaborate ruse or seeing it as further evidence that they needed to redouble their efforts.
The Containment Pact, now four nations strong, surged towards Jior, the capital of Rastakgan. Rather than fight to the last man, many Alliance units chose to retreat, a tactic very different from the desperate stands of earlier in the war. This continued for weeks, and Pact leaders boasted that the war was soon to end, a claim they quickly grew to regret. Barely a month after the Hierarchy’s threat, Pact forces found themselves swarmed by forces eluding description. Confusion reigned as what seemed to be a vast array of creatures, from swift and stealthy humanoids to lumbering tentacled behemoths, poured across Rastakgan. To the horror of all, they seemed to be fully integrated into the Hierarchy’s military, moving with the full support of every remaining Alliance unit. Panic and trauma spread throughout the invading forces. Infection and mutation came soon after. Attacked by monsters and watching their own men twist and reform before them, the Pact soon realized Rastakgan had not been bluffing. The Rapid Adaptation Mutagen had been unleashed.
For the first time in over a year Alliance forces gained ground. The mutagen was swept into a devastating cocktail of insurgent warfighting. Isolated strikes infected enemies and devastated their morale, mutant soldiers rampaged unimpeded across battlefields plagued by chemical weapons, and psychological warfare threatened to break the will of the invading forces. These tactics came with a cost. The Alliance, which had long enjoyed the popular support of the surviving civilian population, gained a monstrous new image. Some occupied cities fought back against their ‘liberators’, claiming the Hierarchy had gone too far. Human rights groups across Arcatia withdrew their support. The mutagen had given the Alliance a tiny glimmer of hope, it was only a few months before it began to dim.
THE FALL OF JIOR
By early 441 Alliance forces had been swept out of every major city save for Jior. Running counterinsurgency operations across the country, the Containment Pact prepared for the brutal, inevitable final struggle of the war. The siege of Rastakgan’s capital. Hierarch Neccaro was given one last chance to surrender and spare the immense bloodshed to come. He responded with a threat. He claimed Jior’s atmosphere processors had been repurposed. If the city came under siege, they would pour enough mutagen into the atmosphere to blanket the planet. No living being would escape. Once more, the Pact ignored him.
Soldiers from four nations fought through monstrosities beyond description, paying for every last step towards the city with their blood. Hundreds of warships poured fire into a city that stretched into the clouds, and the Alliance threw every last weapon it had at its disposal back at them. Lightning arced across a sky blanketed in VTOLs, each tearing through the clouds in an effort to grind Jior into ash. Within a day unnatural storms began to rise around the city, fueled by miles of scorched earth and burning seas. Jior had become a hellish vision into the depths of brutality. At its heart still stood the atmosphere processors, wreathed in smoke and fire. Barely a day after the siege began, they began to churn. Neccaro had made good on his promise.
The Pact renewed the assault, assured that Protectorate forces would be reinforcing them soon. Sure enough, by the end of the second day a Dassadin fleet came to a halt on the horizon, half a dozen miles from Jior. This was the last thing anyone near the city ever saw. Forty-two hours after the siege began, Jior was wiped off the face of the planet by the most powerful blast in recorded history. All of Arcatia shuddered under the impact. Thousands of miles away, people looked upon a light that shone far brighter than the sun ever had.
Officially, the blast was the result of some great miscalculation on the part of the Alliance; a horrible accident that cost them their city and the war. This theory, however, is highly contested. The apparent stop of the Protectorate fleet just outside the blast radius (no ships were lost) has led many to believe it was an intentionally deployed weapon, despite international agreements prohibiting the use of nuclear force for the protection of an already wounded planet. The Equilibrium was the only nation to back this assertion, and in fact took the blast as a declaration of war by Dassadin, an enmity that continues to this day.
The aftereffects of the explosion are still being felt, and its full impact on Arcatia’s geology and climate may never be known. The political consequences are just as numerous, and nearly all of the issues Arcatia faces today stem from the war in some way.
Though the Jahangi have returned to some semblance of their former existence, Rastakgan remains non-sovereign territory. Small despotic governments exist in the cities of Guar, Ratago, and Salvani, and some elements of the global mutant network known as the Rebirth claim to represent the Hierarchy, and that Rastakgan was never truly defeated.
Altogether, the Reformation War is believed to have claimed the lives of four million Alliance combatants, three million Pact personnel, and over twenty million Rastakgic and Jahangi civilians. The blast at Jior alone accounted for more than fifteen million of all deaths throughout the war.