|Theaters||Vanduul Systems, Vega, Oberon|
|Participants||United Empire of Earth
|Leaders||Kelos Costigan, Admiral Bishop (UEE)
The Vanduul War is an ongoing interstellar military conflict between the United Empire of Earth and Vanduul clans. The war status was formally declared by the UEE Senate on 2945-11-10 as a reaction to the Vanduul incursion into Vega. The attack roused a previously complacent UEE, and for the first time since the Messer Era the UEE military is mobilizing on a massive scale. Wartime budgets are being implemented, the first UEE dreadnought is being sent into battle, and the Militia Mobilization Initiative has been railroaded through senate in an effort to arm the public against the Vanduul threat.
- 1 Background
- 2 Buildup to War
- 3 Declaration of War
- 4 Frontlines
- 5 Leir Raiding Party (2946-03-01)
- 6 Operation Mandrake
- 7 Militia Mobilization Initiative (2946-10-05)
- 8 Effects of the War
- 9 In Media
- 10 References
For 250 years, since first contact in 2681, the Vanduul have been hostile towards humans. While not organised under a single banner, the Vanduul clans have repeatedly refused diplomacy and attack UEE representatives on sight (despite having trading relations with the Banu). As far as the UEE are concerned, the Vanduul's only desire is the destruction of Humanity. Three UEE controlled systems have been lost to the Vanduul since that time - Caliban, Orion and Virgil. The Vanduul attacks are growing in frequency and the UEE doesn't appear to have dedicated enough resources to defense. Since 2942-01-01 the UEE War Finance Committee has sold War Bonds valued at 100 UEC, although this was before the declaration of war. Shortly after Virgil fell to the Vanduul, Vega System was not only flooded with refugees, but also suddenly became part of the conflict’s front line. Just prior to the attack, the Polo Initiative (a military spending cut) was under consideration.
Oberon Scout Incursion
At 2945-06-11_02:40 SET, a distress call was sent from the civilian refueling station “Diamond Jim’s Fuelporium” located within the Oberon system near the planet Oberon VI. The 341st Squadron, already on patrol nearby, was sent to investigate when subsequent attempts to hail the station were unsuccessful.
Upon arriving, the 341st discovered that the station had been destroyed. No survivors were found.
Information pulled from the station’s recovered data drives reveal that at 02:36 SET two Vanduul Bombers, UEE designation ‘Void,’ had entered within range of the station’s proximity sensors. After detecting the presence of these hostile Void Bombers, owner and operator of the station, Citizen Jim Hester, had initiated emergency procedures which triggered the aforementioned distress call. Though the station was armed with turrets, it seems that the Vanduul Bombers were able to maneuver past the station’s defenses and release a devastating mixture of missiles and boarding craft. No ships or escape pods were able to launch from the refueling station before it was overwhelmed. All 56 beings aboard at the time of the attack were killed.
At the time, it was the opinion of the Naval High Command that this was not indicative of any organized Vanduul incursion into UEE space, but rather a solitary raid. However, the later Battle of Oberon should call into question that assessment.
Attack on Vega II
"We interrupt your spectrum programming for urgent breaking news. We have just learned of a major Vanduul raid in the Vega System.
Details are still coming in, but we have received early comms indicating that the Navy border fleet is currently engaged with a massive Vanduul force outside of Aremis’ orbit. No firm word yet on what could be heavy military and civilian losses.To repeat, there has been a large-scale Vanduul incursion into the Vega System directly above Vega II. Not much is known at the moment; we have been trying to establish contact with our local affiliate but have had no success so far. We suspect that the array grid has been severely damaged in the fight."
"Next thing I knew, I opened my eyes to find the city awash in flame and smoke. A body, charred beyond recognition, stared vacantly at me. As I pushed myself away, I realized that everything was muffled, like the world’s volume had been turned down. I shakily got to my feet and turned to look at what had knocked me out. It was a crumpled Aurora, still smoldering from plasma blasts. I could taste ash in my throat. My eyes burned from the thick clouds of pulverized concrete and smoke as I stumbled down Mackelroy. With each step, the ringing in my ears subsided. I didn’t know where I was going. Neither did anyone else. We were scattered. Crazed. Scared."
Local law enforcement and private civilians battled above the city while others try to flee. Attacks occur planet-wide.
"People slumped on the floors, covered in dust and blood. Screams and sobs echoed over the shouts of medics and doctors as they struggled in the smoke to save lives. It was tough to tell who was dead and who wasn’t."
The 2nd Fleet mass above the planet, near the Vega-Virgil jump point. Commanded by Admiral Ernst Bishop, who has served on this front for some time, the group of ships includes a Bengal carrier, several destroyers and a handful of smaller capital ships.
Three hours later, the explosions subside. The main Vanduul force has been repelled and Admiral Bishop has won.
When morning comes, fires are still burning out of control. Comms are down.
Admiral Bishop, the "Hero of Vega", goes planetside to survey the destruction personally.
"They say it could have been worse. That if Admiral Bishop’s fleet had not pushed the Vanduul back, the destruction would have been more severe. I don’t know if I can believe that."
Some in the UEE find the events surrounding the Attack on Vega II to be suspicious.
UEE Senate Emergency Session (2945-10-10)
Admiral Ernst Bishop addressed the UEE Senate shortly after his remarkable victory in the defense of Vega II. His speech galvanized the public throughout the Empire. In it, he called for a plan to reclaim systems lost to the Vanduul.
"If there's one thing the Vanduul have taught us, it's that without victory, there can be no survival!"
False Alarm (2945-10-18_22:49)
Young pilot Jeff Klesko reports a Vanduul attack to Jata authorities. He disobeys instructions and engages and destroys a lone Glaive before it can be identified. The ship turns out to have been an Esperia reproduction model flown by Victor King, a Citizen from Ferron. Advocacy agents are lenient and file a charge of manslaughter on Klesko.
Buildup to War
"Since the latest attack, border systems have reported a significant decrease in raids, so it seems that the victory at Vega II was a decisive blow against what had been a previously very determined Vanduul threat. While the Vanduul don’t seem to have any kind of cohesive organization outside of their individual clans, this notable decrease indicates, to me at least, that the destruction of the kingship has sent a message to the other clans. So it feels like an ideal chance to capitalize on the momentum."
Recognition of Vega II (2945-11-10)
"To me, who saw the Vanduul attack first hand, who saw their ferocity and absolute lack of empathy for another sentient species, it seems that they are already at war with us.
It is time we return the sentiment.So, as my first action as a UEE Senator, I would like to file a motion to close discussion and call a vote on the Imperator’s declaration of war against the Vanduul."
Declaration of War
Imperator Costigan calls for a declaration of war against the Vanduul. The High Command quickly provide their support of such action. The people show their support by rejecting the Polo Initiative. Because the opposing Vanduul clans never opened diplomatic relations with the UEE, the declaration was primarily unilateral.
Since the attack on Vega II, the UEE has prioritized security in any system bordering Vanduul territory. Among the many failings that led to the horrific attack in Vega were malfunctioning deep space sensors.
Recently, the Senate approved a spending measure to ensure all sensors protecting the UEE from the Vanduul were working properly. This massive undertaking requires the Navy to confirm that each and every sensor is operating correctly and to repair or replace those that are not. To do that, the Navy needs to train more of its pilots to perform these missions. These repair missions are often considered to be among the most dangerous in the Navy.
Aegis Dynamics has designed the Sabre in response to a United Empire of Earth Navy’s request for proposal for a next-generation fighter capable of outmatching the Vanduul Stinger-class heavy fighter in speed and turning. The Navy has not yet accepted the Sabre bid.
Using scans taken in battle and schematics created from salvaged parts, the Navy has commissioned Esperia to manufacture a line of faithful reproduction Glaives for use in live simulated war games. The highly skilled UEEN Aggressor Squadron 323, specializing in mimicking Vanduul tactics, was selected to be outfitted with these Human-made Glaives and have been operating training skirmishes around the clock to make sure the brave pilots defending the Empire are ready when the next marauding clan attacks.
For some decades, United Empire of Earth aggressor squadrons have operated replica Blade fighters produced under exclusive contract by Esperia, Inc. These spacecraft, produced in great quantity, have been used to train generations of fighter pilots for Vanduul engagements. Today, Esperia manufactures Scythe and Glaive clones for training and testing purposes, with most former Blades having been returned to the manufacturer for storage and disassembly. The so-called “Esperia Boneyard” (location classified) contains hundreds upon hundreds of used examples in varying states of disassembly. In the wake of the recent attack on Uriel, many of the Blade trade-ins produced in the past decade are being outfitted for frontier defense use, part of an extremely controversial program aimed at better-arming those threatened by alien attack.
Militia membership in systems on the Vanduul front has increased dramatically.
"Some are just anxious to help. They see the Vanduul and crime as the main threats to the Empire and are devoted to helping stop them. The Navy itself has been actively cooperating with these militia groups and many in the military see them as another asset in the ongoing war effort."
Others militias simply see the military as ineffectual or incompetent. They point to the sharp rise in Vanduul aggressions last year as proof that the military isn’t up to the task alone.
Elements of the 36th Fighter Squadron are presently forward deployed aboard the UEES Sebek. Little information is available about their current missions against the Vanduul, although the consistency with which 36th FS pilots appear in weekly casualty lists indicates that battle is joined frequently.
It is rumored that the UEE military’s elite black watch divisions make use of a squadron of 350rs for covert operations requiring extreme speed; reports of stealth-grey racer-class ships without broadcast transponders operating along the Vanduul border can not be independently substantiated.
Fast becoming the symbol of the Vanduul Race, the Scythe is the foot soldier in every raid and the target of every human fighter pilot. Featuring a hefty weapons payload, the Scythe’s real asset is its maneuverability, found in the twin main and twelve maneuvering thrusters.
A long-rumored version of the iconic Scythe fighter, the UEEN-designated Glaive has now appeared with more frequency in a variety of systems. Initially attributed to one of the more notorious Vanduul aces, military intelligence has confirmed that there are indeed multiple versions of the symmetrical fighter in a number of clans. Analysts theorize that only the top pilots are given these powerful and resilient spacecraft, indicating that they may even be a recognition of rank within the Vanduul clans.
The Blade is the Vanduul armada’s lightest fighter, focusing on maneuverability over shields and weapons. With over a quarter-millennia of recorded encounters, the Vanduul Blade is both one of the first of the species’ spacecraft encountered by the United Empire of Earth and one of the most common. A dedicated light fighter and skirmisher, earlier models of the Blade took part in the first raids on Human colonies in Orion. Although aspects of the design have been upgraded over the decades (and like all Vanduul ships, vary slightly from clan to clan) the modern variant has retained an extremely similar silhouette with improved control surfaces and more modern weapons attachment points. Tens of thousands of individual Blades have been destroyed over more than two centuries, and countless others have been tracked by Naval intelligence.
While the Blade’s more advanced cousins, the Scythe and its offshoots, have become iconic symbols of present-day Vanduul terror, the light fighter remains a hugely important supporting element of the Vanduul frontline fleet. The most notable feature of the Blade is its shifting wingspan, which ‘cuts’ between a streamlined travel mode and a more expansive battle mode. When in travel mode, the Blade lacks significant offensive punch but improves its direct speed and maneuverability; when in attack mode, the pilot has access to three forward-firing gun positions and a pair of missile racks.
A small Vanduul raiding party (two Scythes and another vessel) originating from Vanguard, trip border sensors from Leir. It is initially believed to be responsible for an attack on a homestead but this turns out to be false.
Operation Mandrake (aka Battle of Oberon) began when the UEE received credible intelligence that a Vanduul clan was in the process of mounting a second attack on the Oberon System. Concerned about such a possibility, Admiral Bishop had detached a small strike team to sweep the system. When the Vanduul appeared, these forces were able to intercept and engage the clan before it could attack another Human settlement. While the advanced forces occupied the aggressors, Admiral Bishop ordered Retribution into the system and cut off any escape back to Vanduul space.
With Operation Mandrake, Bishop’s campaign against the Vanduul scores its first major victory, against a medium-sized clan. No Kingships are present, but multiple capital ships are reported destroyed.
For the first time in its history, Oberon now hosts a contingent of Navy capital ships. Though the Retribution has moved on, a large fighting force remains in the system charged with protecting it from further Vanduul incursions. The fleet’s presence has already begun to have an effect, as outlaw activity has dropped and relief aid has begun to arrive. Though some herald this as a possible second chance for the system, there are plenty who predict that the Navy will pull out soon. If they do, Oberon may never recover.
Militia Mobilization Initiative (2946-10-05)
The UEE created the Militia Mobilization Initiative to embolden the general public to help defend the Empire from the Vanduul and other aggressive forces. To facilitate the arming of new militias or home defense units, they will be able to purchase a variety of military-grade and specialty ships. In addition, a government subsidy is being offered to discount the bulk purchase of ships. UEE Navy tactical experts even created specific pre-designed ship teams to aid in fleet formation.
Effects of the War
Shifting Economic Priorities
Spurred on by the declaration of war against the Vanduul, the Senate can now expedite any expenditures earmarked to aid the effort. Numerous such measures have been passed since then, adding billions to the budget deficit.
"Simply put, the people of our great Empire are suffering, and we all know that this government lacks the credits needed to deal with every issue. This financial strain is forcing us to make difficult decisions. Do we prioritize system security so our people can safely fly between worlds without worry of an outlaw attack? Do we strengthen the social services so orphans of the Vanduul War get the support they deserve? Do we allocate the necessary funds to build the infrastructure needed to ensure the people of Tram have safe and clean water?
Or do we stick with the status quo, where millions of credits are spent on the Synthworld with little to no oversight?
It is with this in mind that I have drafted the Sensible Synthworld Amendment, designated AV4-3223, aimed at improving the accountability of the Project Archangel Initiative by changing its budgetary designation from “mandatory” to “discretionary.” So, rather than mandating that a percentage of the overall budget must be spent on the Synthworld each year, my amendment makes it a discretionary expenditure, empowering the Appropriations Committee to review and approve its budget every year.That way, when reports like the one just released from the CCF reveal reckless spending, we can actually do something about it. In these strained economic times, it has never been more important to guarantee that every last credit spent by this government is being put to good use."
"The last time this Empire faced such a steady and steep increase in crime was roughly 2792 to 2805. Many credit that surge to the chaos created after the disintegration of the Messer regime. It took a few years for Imperator Toi and the new administration to restructure the government, but once she did, she had to immediately pour a lot of credits into getting crime under control. Considering our economic situation, I don’t see the current government undertaking a similar initiative any time soon. In the minds of many politicians, those credits are still being spent protecting the Empire, but there have been a number of studies showing that funding anti-crime initiatives within the UEE does more toward improving people’s everyday life than spending that same amount of money on the military."
Impact on Charon III Civil War
"To be honest, the UEE entering into a war of its own has been the biggest issue we’ve faced. Vanduul attacks have brought out the best in people all across this Empire, but they also diverted a lot of public and private resources away from this civil war.
The UEE Navy no longer has the presence in system to ensure (humanitarian) protection. After war was declared against the Vanduul, a majority of the UEE fleet keeping an eye on the conflict was reassigned to the Vanduul front.Once they left, both governments accused each other of using humanitarian shipments to import various munitions."
Damage to Aremis
By 2946-06, rubble and crumbling buildings are still a common sight in certain parts of the planet.
Laura Quinn's investigation uncovers that insurance companies have been denying policyholders’ claims by invoking the ‘war exclusion clause’ that’s standard in most homeowner’s policies. This came about due to the UEE's declaration of war, spurred on by Aremis' own Senator Edward Aemile. It could affect the rebuilding efforts on Aremis as well as potentially change the way claims are handled as the war against the Vanduul continues — especially if the conflict expands into other systems.
Operation Solace (2945)
Everyone who is anyone was in Prime for the massive “Aid for Aremis” relief gala. Operation Solace organized the extravaganza to help those affected by the horrific Vanduul attack. Vid stars, pop idols, fashion icons, socialites and celebrities spent beaucoup Creds to attend. Felix Gibraltar, a spokesperson for Operation Solace, claims that it was the Empire’s biggest fundraiser since their event following the Lyre tsunami almost twenty-five years ago.
In order to better prepare its pilots to face the growing threat of Vanduul Glaives, the Navy has asked Original Systems to update their Arena Commander Vanduul Swarm training simulation to more closely and accurately reflect the dangers of facing these elite ships.
- Squadron 42 Page
- Galactic Guide: Virgil System (Original RSI URL)
- Comm-Link:Writer's Guide - Part Seven (Original RSI URL)
- The ARK Starmap
- 10 For the Chairman: Episode 69
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- Classified Report: Vanduul Bomber Identified (Original RSI URL)
- Comm-Link:Empire Report - Vanduul Attack On Vega (Original RSI URL)
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