Result: Decisive Imperial-Federation victory
|Dates: March 14-16, 2376||Location: Reydovan Prime|
Imperial Reydovan Empire
Emperor Kieran Devaneaux (RE)
Fifteen capital ships: one battleship, two dreadnoughts, three battlecruisers, five destroyers and four carriers - two carrying 150 bombers each, two carrying 225 fighters each (RE)
|Fifty-six capital ships; one Flagship, eighteen battlecruisers, thirty-one destroyers, and six carriers - three carrying 150 bombers each, three carrying 225 fighters each|
Imperial Guard, one division and two brigades, 27,508 officers and men (RE)
|1.4 million officers and men in various militias|
Four ships, approximately 2,000 officers and troops (RE)
|Twenty-eight ships, 875,000 officers and troops|
The Ides of March campaign was a joint Federation-Reydovan effort to liberate the Imperial capital of Reydovan Prime from the clutches of the evil Artimus Devaneaux. Orchestrated by Artimus' son, Emperor Kieran I, and carried out by both him and the senior Federation commander, General Jeremiah Neill, the result was the most decisive victory in Imperial history, finally ending the Mad Emperor's reign of bloody terror and bringing the Reydovan Civil War to a triumphant conclusion. The campaign is so named because the majority of the fighting took place on March 15, known as the Ides of March in the ancient Roman calendar.
It is of some ironic note that on that very day in 44 BC, exactly 2,420 years earlier, is when Roman dictator Gaius Julius Caesar was assassinated, and it is reported that the survivors of Artimus' daily massacres on Reydovan Prime cried out "Sic semper tyrannis", meaning "Thus always to tyrants", believed to have been the words shouted by one of the senators (or possibly the assassin, Marcus Junius Brutus) following Caesar's assassination.
Planning the CampaignEdit
Plans for a full-out assault on Reydovan Prime were whispered about as early as February 2376, when Artimus resumed power and sent the government of Imperial Chancellor Joshua Underwood running into exile. This was dismissed as idle chatter until one day, when all hope seemed lost, Underwood found the true successor to the Emperor's throne...
Artimus' son Kieran, though the youngest of the high-ranked officials at only 21, possessed a sharp mind and was not afraid to voice his opinions. He was appointed Warmaster of the Reydovan Military Body in October 2375. But he was destined for greater: with aid from his advisors, Underwood offered the Imperial crown to Kieran, saying that it was a chance for the people to rally behind someone who could defeat Artimus and free them from his maniacal tyranny. On March 4, 2376, he was crowned Kieran I. Immediately following his ascension, Kieran cemented his alliances within the Federation, and opened relations with an empire known as the Aetherian-Roman Empire, created by a devout Catholic Eugenic who had fled Earth when the Eugenics Wars began. On March 13, he met formally with Federation President Meriah Broussard and discussed his plan to retake Reydovan Prime and finally end Artimus' rule.
Kieran's plan was two-fold; it would involve a major space battle before troops could land on the surface. His chief tactical advisor, Commanding General Jeremiah Neill of the Starfleet Marine Corps, would lead the initial assault on the Separatist battle fleet and destroy the Flagship Hand of Artimus. Then Neill, along with Imperial Warmaster Matthew Russell, would lead the Starfleet and Imperial troops onto the surface, liberate Montagne Noire, and destroy the mirror Joshua Underwood, who had taken residence in the citadel of the Chancellor, Whitesoul Spire. After Montagne Noire was secure, Admiral Kiran Joshmaul, the resident Omega expert, would lead a squad of Starfleet Marines into the depths of Artimus's stronghold, Castle Devaneaux, and sabotage the Omega reactor. Finally, Kieran, along with Joshmaul and Underwood, would confront Artimus in his inner sanctum, and destroy him. The President approved this plan, and ordered the chief of Starfleet Tactical Command, Admiral Daisuke Tokugawa - the only Starfleet Command member with nearly as much seniority as Joshmaul himself - to give what aid he could.
Tokugawa's highest-ranked subordinate, General Neill, volunteered for the assignment, as did the Admiral's nephew, Takeshi, the captain of the Galaxy-class Prestigious. Both men would be selected to command the mission, though Neill was the senior of the two. The Talon joined Neill's flagship, the Shenandoah, as the other Sovereign in the force. Finally, the commanders of two more ships, both Galaxy-refits, volunteered for the mission: Captain Nicholas Johnson of the Phoenix and Major General Jonathan Ross of the Stonewall Jackson. His force assembled, Neill and his ships rendezvoused with Emperor Kieran's task force, led by his flagship White Hunter, and departed for Reydovan Prime on March 14.
The Invasion of Reydovan PrimeEdit
The Imperial-Federation fleet arrived at Reydovan Prime late the following day and came up against former Imperial Guard general David Highland onboard the Flagship Hand of Artimus, and the fifty-plus other warships in Artimus' fleet...all with inept commanders and crews. General Neill, displaying his renowned tactical genius, worked out a plan to corner the Hand of Artimus. He sent in the Talon and the Phoenix to force the escort ships to chase them, thus bringing the Flagship into the open. After that was complete, he gave the order to his two senior commanders, Captain Tokugawa of the Prestigious and General Ross on the Stonewall Jackson, to focus their fire on the weakly-shielded aft hangar.
Neill's plan worked; the attack from the two ships at just the right location led to the destabilization of the Flagship's reactor. Finally, it exploded, incinerating the Hand of Artimus, destroying eight other Separatist ships and damaging fifteen more. Finally, deprived of their leadership and desperate for survival, the Separatist fleet surrendered. Imperial Marines from the Chancellor's flagship Absolution secured the surrendering Separatist vessels and allowed for the Imperial Guard and Starfleet Marine forces to land in Montagne Noire. By the end of the day, Montagne Noire was in Imperial hands again. Accompanied by his personal squad of Marines from the Shenandoah, Neill made his way into the Imperial Palace compound and up into the inner sanctum of the Chancellor, where the maniacal counterpart of Joshua Underwood awaited them, surrounded by his guards.
The mirror Emperor denounced them as weak, and boasted that his counterpart was probably too paralyzed to face him. Underwood soon proved him wrong. Giving the order to fire, Underwood and the Marines killed all of the guards. The mirror Underwood tried to escape, but the real Underwood proved to be quicker - he blasted the counterpart's right foot off, then gestured to his own Imperial Guards to hold him steady. Pausing only to sentence him for his crimes, Underwood unsheathed the sword in his cane and beheaded his mirror counterpart on the spot.
The Death of Artimus DevaneauxEdit
Hours later, Joshmaul's sabotage of the Omega reactor was successful, and along with Underwood and Kieran, determined that it was time to finally end the war by dealing with Artimus. The three men beamed into Artimus' throne room and confronted him. A brief psionic duel between the Mad Emperor and the Admiral broke out, Artimus exhausting himself with his attempts while Joshmaul barely flinched. Realizing he could not beat Joshmaul in the realm of the mind, Artimus then turned his attention to Kieran, projecting images of the torture and mutilation of his friends and loved ones in his mind. But Joshmaul and Underwood were right there, boosting the Emperor's blocking of the horrific images. His resolve restored, Kieran confronted his father and told him to accept fate; the war was over, he could not win. Artimus boasted that Kieran could not beat him on even terms, and he knew it. "So does your mother," he said next, grabbing his ex-wife Anastasia, battered and broken, and throwing her to the floor. That did not have the effect that Artimus intended.
Filling with rage, the Emperor hurled his sword into Artimus' chest, piercing his blackened heart. Stunned and disbelieving, Artimus was left leaning against the base of his throne, his last thought within his body an admission: that perhaps Kieran was stronger than he anticipated. Then he fell forward, and as if time had suddenly sped up, dissolved into dust. All that remained was the blade that had ended his reign and the ring he had worn on his left hand, the Celtic knot wedding band he wore even after Anastasia divorced him, the one speck of humanity that remained in this vile soul. The inscription on the inside was a line from Shakespeare: "For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come."
After Artimus was destroyed, the three men were alerted by a violent shaking in the castle's foundations. Below them, an internal explosion ripped through the "opera house" at the bottom of the castle, set off by zealots trying to trap them. In addition, radiation levels from the Omega reactor rose enough to interfere with transporting. The Marine command ship Shenandoah, along with the starship Prestigious, linked their targeting scanners to beam the three men aboard, along with Lady Anastasia Devaneaux, the former wife of Artimus and mother of Kieran. Joshmaul, the last to beam out, activated the remote destabilization, starting the fifteen-second countdown to the containment field's collapse. Then, just as the timer reached zero, Joshmaul was beamed away, and Castle Devaneaux consumed by the fury of Omega. Joshmaul had set the destabilzation just enough to destroy the tower, the surrounding terrain, and whatever remained of Artimus' forces, before the reactor fizzled out. That was enough.
The Ides of March campaign brought the ongoing conflict to a triumphant end; Artimus Devaneaux was dead, the Reydovan people had been liberated, and the Reydovan Empire's true government restored under the rule of the new Emperor, Kieran I. But there was still much work to be done; Montagne Noire and much of Reydovan Prime's infrastructure was in ruins. But working with their Federation allies, the Empire has ensured that it will see the dawn - and possibly, the next century.