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"When the few of us remaining gather together in a bittersweet vigil, we look back on those brief few moments; those glimmering moments before we got it wrong, and they bring such joyous smiles to our faces for they were the best and most brilliant days of our lives. We needed change and we were that change. It is my biggest regret, and one for which I can never atone."
―Ramona Ehrhoff, Blooming Flowers, (2573) [1]
Kafkian Uprising
PeaceKeepers.jpg

Troopers from the 77th Marine Regiment (left) and 101st Shock Troops Battalion begin peacekeeping operations post conflict.

Conflict:

2554 Mid-Rim Protests

Date:

March 8th - 18th June 2554 (Overthrow of Government)
9th August - March 30th 2555 (UNSC Arrive)

Location:

Kafka

Outcome:

Decisive UNSC victory; Rebellion Crushed; Original objective completed; Mendel and her surviving cabinet members dismissed.

Belligerents

United Rebel Front

United Nations Space Command

Commanders
  • Colonel Caroline Danton †
  • Major Oliver Thompson †
  • Vice Admiral John O'Kelly
  • Lieutenant General Jamal Adams
Strength

URF Forces:

  • 2,500 Soldiers
  • 35,000 Irregulars
    • 1000 Kafkian Rangers

Ex-Colonial Militia:

  • 7,000 Troops
  • 100 Mechanised Units
  • 25 Aircraft

New Tunisian Task Force:

Task Force 342, Kafkian Peacekeeping Force

UNSC Navy:

Casualties
  • 5,600 Irregulars killed and wounded
  • 27,000 Irregulars captured.
  • 1788 URF Soldiers killed and wounded
  • 3,781 ex-Colonial Militia killed, wounded or captured.

New Tunisian Task Force

UNSC:

  • 900 Colonial Militia
  • 5,542 Marines Killed, wounded or missing.
 

The Kafkian Uprising was a brutal, violent uprising that took place upon the Mid-Rim world of Kafka in 2554. It was a part of the larger, sector-wide 2554 Mid-Rim Protests, yet unlike other protests it evolved from non-violent demonstrations into a full-scale secessionist uprising. Originally the Protests had sought to simply end the monopoly the Government had created on its power after it had been in power since before the Human-Covenant War had began. As the government became more and more aggressive in its efforts to subdue the colony-wide protest, this meant that they rolled on much longer than anyone had originally anticipated, and insurrectionist thinkers and officers were able to infiltrate the student-driven movement at a grassroots level before making their way to the upper echelons. Eventually this turned the movement from its non-violent origins into an openly secessionist movement that sought to remove Kafka from the United Earth Government and establish itself as an independent world. Upon the ousting of the Government, the dedicated revolutionary element became increasing extreme in its methods, firstly by destroying a frigate that had arrived in-system to rescue the government and then massacring the survivors. Secondly, after the student council broke away from the rebel movement, over half were hunted down and executed days before Kafka's secession was announced. Such escalation deeply frightened the United Nations Space Command as Kafka was one of the few surviving worlds with an advanced military infrastructure. A Battlegroup was sent to quash the rebellion at all costs. The violent rebellion had raged for almost eight months before it ended when the Headhunters of VIOLET-III successfully assassinated the Rebellion Leadership.

Background

Motivation

"Since governments take the right of death over their people, it is not astonishing if the people should sometimes take the right of death over governments."
― Guy de Maupassant, Collected Stories Of Guy De Maupassant, (ed: 2008). [2]

The war with the Covenant had been all-consuming and had forced the economy of the UNSC to be solely focused on war production creating a state of total war. The United Earth Government's dominance in its original political role was slowly being superseded by that of the UNSC’s military role – soon the two became indistinguishable as the UNSC absorbed the last vestiges of the UEG’s old power. It became apparent to those at the top of the pyramid of power that it would soon become much too difficult to maintain effective administration of the colonies from Earth. As such, in 2535, the UNSC devolved a series of powers to the colony worlds they still held. It allowed the colonies to administrate their own fiscal and economic policy within a certain spectrum. Each colony was allowed to determine what it contributed to the war effort, and that was it - the economy was forced to be based on war production which left a general feeling of disdain in the ordinary people who were forced into making draconian cuts to their lifestyles. On top of that, each colony was allowed to create its own militia forces from those who were in the armed forces. When it became clear that the Mid-Rim worlds were not going to be attacked by the Covenant, many leaders enacted emergency laws that curbed civil liberties and strengthen their position of power. Propaganda was used to help solidify the position of the emerging despots. It was stated that what they were doing was in the best interests of the people, the war effort and the UNSC. Civil strife was at a minimum and life went on as best it could in the times.

Ariana-Mendel.jpg
Prime Minister Ariana Mendel - Colonial Governor of Kafka.

However, when it became clear that the war would be won—news reached the Mid-Rim of the Sangheili fleet helping the stricken Home Fleet arrived a fortnight after the beginning of Raid of the Ark. Murmurings began as people questioned the need for the strictness of the colonial governments' control over the people. Many called for fresh, democratic elections as many of the ruling parties had been in office for the duration of War. The governments urged caution and patience from their populace. They argued that it was too soon after the war to begin the transition back towards democracy as they had yet to receive official word from the government on Earth of the end of the war and, on top of that, they had to allow the economy to wind down from total war and allow its transition into other areas of growth and development begin. This did much assuage the fears of most of the civilian population throughout the Mid-Rim. However, the rulers of the Mid-Rim were shocked by the sudden outcry and took steps to strengthen its grip on the colonies. A conference, styled as the 'Mid-Rim Gathering' was held, all of the leaders of the colonies met and came together discuss trade issues. Though in secret, a pact was created. They agreed that should one of the colonies suffer a protracted case of civil resistance, the other colonies would come to its aid. This pact led to the passing of a series of secret legislation that effectively turned the colonial governor into a dictator. Strikes and unions were banned and new political parties were forbidden from being formed. While political opposition was allowed, it was severely limited in what it could do. Censorship was strengthened and it was now illegal for any publications to openly criticise the governments. Elections were held, but they were rigged and monitored by state officials and throughout the Mid-Rim the pro-regime party—Coalition for Mid-Rim Stability (CMRS)--was returned with a vast majority.

The obvious curtailing of civil liberties had the precipitating effect of causing widespread discontent amongst the intelligentsia. They were most open in their criticism of the new policy direction from the government. They began to whip up discontent among the middle-class and the working class. Anti-Government propaganda was circulated in the work places that demanded the creation of unions. Many unions were created as a wave of anti-government feeling swept through the Mid-Rim and strikes were held in the manufacturing sector as well as among disillusion civil servants. The government sent in troops to disperse the striking workers, when they refused to move the leaders were rounded up and imprisoned without trial. This was a fool move by the governments, who were working in unison as they all faced the same problems, and it led to an even great resurgence in anti-government sentiment. Strikes turned into protests as millions marched demanding more democratic freedoms as well as the release of their imprisoned leaders.

Though political reasoning was a big factor in the motivation of the protesters, it was not the only factor. The state of the economy also played a large part in shaping people's feeling toward the government. The state of the economy in the colonies was grim. Each colony had almost exhausted its resources with its part in the war effort. After the war ended, there were massive lay-offs in the manufacturing industry as it was now unsustainable to keep on the surplus of people required to fit the quota tasked to the colony. As a result of this, unemployment in the colonies stood at a staggering 35% of the available work force. The colonial governments were unable to do much to rectify these problems as they themselves were in significant debt. The civilian population began to see the ruling elite to be unskilled and unsuitable to lead the colony and what's more - many people thought the government apathetic to its people's suffering.

Martian Dimension

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Riots in the Seven Hills suburb on Mars.

It was widely accepted that the majority of the population of the Mid-Rim colonies knew of the Martian Food Riots that had taken place immediately after the war had ended. The people of Mars had taken to the streets demanding an increase in their food rations as most of the population were close to starving. The Martian government was unable to satiate the demands of its people and as a result, the people began to rise against the government. The protests, which had started as apolitical, became more and more political in nature as they demanded greater freedoms from the grip the government had on the population and, indeed, from the crippled UNSC itself. Fortuitously, the protests remained largely non-violent as there was a great spirit of brotherhood between the people and they did not wish to see human bloodshed, especially after the horrors of the past twenty-eight years. Though that is not to say that there wasn't violence - rioting broke out, but it remained largely confined to the capital and as such causalities on both sides—civilian and pro-UNSC—remained low: fewer than three hundred people were killed during the eight month long riots. The riots were largely successful as rationing was loosened and fresh elections were held - the Martian people set a precedent for the rest of the surviving colony worlds.

The non-violent nature and the considerable rapidness of the success of the Martian protests inspired the repressed Mid-Rimmers to action. They took direct inspiration from the Martian tactics of civil disobedience against the ruling party. There were many tales told of how the United Earth Government had not been heavy handed in its attempts to quell the rebellion, instead it had taken the prudent decision to listen to the concerns of the people and address the issues where they could while also promising to address the others whenever it could. Many people in the Mid-Rim worlds believed the same would be applied to them and as the protests began, there was a degree of optimism that had not been in the colonies since before the war.

The Revolution

Overview

Kafka was considerably different from the rest of the Mid-Rim Worlds, as it had long maintained its own distinct characteristics despite the integration that had taken place across the sector. Of all the Mid-Rim colonies, Kafka was the most rigidly individualistic and had been known in the past to harbour Insurrectionists fleeing from persecution on the Frontier Worlds. Kafka became a 'stopping point' for those heading to cause mayhem on the far-flung secessionist battlefields, and those escaping it. It was because of these factors that the United Earth Government decided to focus Kafka into a military heavy world, in the hope of covertly keeping order while supplying its armed forced. It worked, Kafkians took great pride in being the biggest arms manufacturer in the sector. It became harder and harder for rebels to find succour upon the shores of Kafka, but the individualism remained in the forefront of the character of the Kafkian people. Politically, it made it difficult for governments to remain in power for longer than one term and the voting populace were fickle. When elections were suspended for the duration of the war, many Kafkians, rightfully, viewed this with suspicion. Indeed, when it became clear that the government was doing all it could to maintain its grip on power, the Kafkian people took to the streets with a vigour that many later political commentators saw as over seventy years of pent up frustration finally venting itself.

Non-Violent Protests

"Government for the people, by the people!"
―Main chant of the protestors.

The Kafkian people took to the street a week after the New Canadians began their campaign of civil disobedience against their own corrupt government. Beginning in the Capital of Vienna, the protests at first only attracted a few thousand. Like the size of the protests, the original demands of the protesters were small and easily achievable. They demanded elections be held again after the rigged ones that had occurred two months prior. Irked by this, the government began putting its propaganda machine into full-swing, creating fictitious high-profile members of the movement and spinning stories of looting, drug abuse and several stories of them raping women. Indeed, in order to give the stories meat and avoid suspicion of convenient happenings of aggression, several young women were paid by the government to go on television and say that they had been subjected to acts of sexual assault. The blasé manner of their interviews in fact invited more suspicion onto the government and hackers and freelance journalists began to dig deeper into the story to find out exactly what happened. It didn't take them long to discover that they had indeed been hoaxes. Sebastian Ward, a freelance journalist with several hacker contacts, compiled a thirty page document exploring and explaining the extent of the government's corruption and how the stories had been fabrications. He submitted to the e-newspaper The New Parisian Express, the most widely circulated and well respected broadsheet daily. The publication of the report sparked widespread outrage among the populace of Kafka and allowed for a mushrooming effect of the numbers of active protesters. Within three weeks, the protests of around five thousand had swelled to the hundreds of thousands and was growing daily. The government quickly responded and declared martial law to be in effect and began to increase the number of state-militia on the street. Parliament Hill became surrounded by troops and armoured equipment. Such an escalation shocked many of the protesters but they remained undeterred. The entire economy of the Capital shut down as the streets were a sea of people marching and demanding a return of their political rights and for the government to resign.

MarchOnVienna.jpg
Colonial University of Vienna students augmented with protesters march on Parliament Hill.

After the first month, protests began erupting throughout the Greater Vienna Area, as it housed the vast majority of Nexodus's fifteen million population. This made it the largest protest within the Mid-Rim sector when considered proportionally to population. 1.5 million people took to the streets, lead by the Students Union of the Colonial University. Commentators noticed the young, vibrant flavour to the protests as people passionate about politics and civil liberties preached a compassionate and inclusive message. There were daily speeches made by leftist activists who advocated for a greater transparency in how the government on Kafka operated and called for Mendel and her cabinet to resign. As the weeks droned on, and the government remained silent, the rhetoric became more and more aggressive and called for more action should the government continue to refuse to listen to the people. Caroline Danton and Oliver Thompson, two leading members of the United Rebel Front realised the potential to turn the protests from just wishing to remove the government to actively fighting against the UNSC. The duo joined the movement on April 3rd with the intention of reaching the upper echelons. The protests concurrently started picking up in momentum, the protesters began to march closer and closer on the legislature, before they had always been wary of the militia which they had viewed with suspicion. In fact it was not the militia the people had to worry about, but the police. Riot police came out in force for the first time on April 7th, and faced a group of protesters numbering 3,000 in one of the richest suburbs of the capital. Thirty protesters were killed and one hundred and twenty-seven were seriously injured, while just forty police officers suffered serious injury, it was dubbed the Battle of Camden Avenue, and was the bloodiest day prior to the violence that later erupted. It did much to further engender the protests to the local populace. Police officers became ostracised by their communities and it became harder for them to leave for work as their cars were vandalised. There were localised incidents of violence towards family members of police officers, actions that were largely condemned by the movement.

As the second month neared its end, the government's silence had remained total. The heavy handed treatment continued, with police officers using water cannons and tear gas almost daily. Indeed, the daily arrest count was in the low thousands. On April 21st, the government issued orders for known notable members of the protest movement to be arrested. On the night of April 23rd, the Special Branch of the police launched raids on dozens of homes with the intention of arresting key members of the movement. While heavyweights within the movement were arrested, the vast majority of the core leadership remained free. Once again raising the stature of the protests while further denigrating the government's position. Shockingly, on April 27th, the Minister of the Interior resigned publicly and endorsed the rebellion. This gave the protests a much need momentum boast and on the 30th of April, the students of the Colonial University led the march on the Parliament as they believed the fall of the government was imminent. What greeted them was unexpected and struck fear into movement, the militia had been deployed in an aggressive posture with machine-gun positions being erected and the limited armoured capability the militia had was deployed. Furthering this, several UH-144 Falcons circled overhead with snipers. The protesters and militia faced each other down for several hours, with each side expecting something to occur. Eventually, the protesters backed down and retreated back into the city with no blood having been shed on either side. The leadership was beginning to become disheartened and believed that they were making next to no progress in their ambitions. Caroline Dalton began to make herself more and more vocal, and she suggested they take a radical approach to the protests and have them become increasingly more violent. While her plans were not adopted, they did create a foundation for her and Oliver to exploit in the weeks that were to follow. At the end of the meeting, the group announced that they would continue marching on the capital building until a response was received.

Secessionist Uprising

"Violence is justified when a government no longer works under the auspices of its people. It is to be no longer considered our duty to follow its laws, we must take back from it what we gave to it."
―Caroline Danton, The Art of Revolution. [3]

On May 6th, Caroline and Oliver had successfully infiltrated the movement and had the ear of the leading council. The duo began quickly radicalising the movement, testing the waters to see how people would feel about an armed struggle. Oliver managed to sneak off world on May 9th, with the intention of bringing in six thousand United Rebel Front soldiers. His leaving was quickly downplayed by Caroline who said he was getting support from off-world for the protests. During Oliver's absence, clashes between the protesters and police became more and more frequent and as a result, the militia were deployed to protect significant military assets. Indeed, three companies of militia, totalling four hundred and eighty men were sent to guard the planet's Onager Cannon, while much smaller forces were sent to guard Anti-Aircraft guns, and refuelling and repairing stations. Rumours began circulating that United Rebel Front troopers were on their way to augment the large protest movement. By May 13th, Caroline had persuaded a few of the movement's leaders that violence and armed struggled against the government, and by extension the UNSC, would soon be a necessity as the government had still refused to bow to the demands of the protesters despite the duration of the protest. On the morning of May 15th, Caroline received a transmission from Oliver that he had managed to gather two thousand five hundred URF fighters; not the six thousand figures that they had first hoped for. Indeed, the Human-Covenant War had taken a substantial toll of the numbers of the rebel group. Oliver reported that their numbers had fallen beneath the ten thousand threshold and that the number the United Rebel Command had sanctioned showed a large leap of faith on their part for the success of the Uprising to be as such numbers were not easily replaceable. He had finished his message by saying he would arrive on planet with the compliment of armed, dedicated revolutionaries on May 18th and told Caroline to hold any provocative actions until after the 19th. On the date of Oliver's return, Caroline had successfully convinced the remaining leading members of the movement to adopt violence, saying quite strongly that the peaceful protests had been unsuccessful. However, she made it unequivocally clear that violence should only be adopted after a heavy-handed government response. She and Oliver spent the next two days using the URF fighters to spread the message of possible upcoming violence and to gather a rough estimate of those protesters who would be willing to join in the campaign of violence.

Caroline Danton.jpg
Colonel Caroline Danton, leader of the rebellion on Kafka.

During the early hours of May 23rd, one thousand six hundred of the URF compliment positioned themselves just outside the Naval Parts Building Yard which house the Onager cannon, as they waited for the order to rush and capture it. At noon, the protesters marched towards Parliament Hill as had been the routine for the preceding weeks. However, the night before Oliver and Caroline had deliberately let it get out that URF troops were augmenting the protesters on the march the following day. As such when they arrived at their destination, they were met by militia and police forces on edge, desperate to avoid any confrontation. The commander of the militia spoke and demanded that the protesters give up the rebels within their contingent. As most of the protesters were unaware of the rebel involvement, they became increasingly agitated and more confrontational as they believed this was an act by the government to discredit their movement. Indeed, that morning the government had passed to the police and the militia that since the URF were now involved, the movements were treasonous and must be stopped immediately. After ten minutes without a single person being given up, the police and militia began to move en-masse to arrest the protesters, as they did so a solitary shot from a rebel MA2 Combat Rifle fired into the air. In doing so, the rebel spooked the already jittery milita and police forces into action. They fired with impunity upon the protesters. Within twenty minutes, over five hundreds protesters had been killed. While retreating into the city, Caroline was contacted by several militia companies throughout the capital declaring their support for the protest movement and agreed to fight the loyalists which had broken several intra-galactic laws by opening fire on unarmed protesters. By five in the evening, she had gathered up over eight hundred fighting troops and marched on the parliament building, determined to take it. Even while mustering here make-shift attack force, more and more company commanders threw their lot in with the rebels. By the end of the day, seven thousand had declared support for her movement and were moving to the capital to assist. As Caroline marched on the capital, her group were joined by several thousand protesters armed with civilian issue firearms. Their original attack on the capital building was unsuccessful, with the militia able to hold them back with their defensive positions providing better than the open ended nature of the street. This delay allowed for the Kafkian Cabinet to be successfully withdrawn from the building and into hiding. Upon receiving news of the cabinet's successful escape, the militia guarding the parliament building retreated into the suburbs. As the loyalists retreated, they sabotaged any and all military hardware, such as anti-aircraft installations, artillery pieces, and heavy machine guns. These actions would severely hamper the Rebel forces during the UNSC's reclamation campaign. At the end of the first day the rebels out-numbered the loyalists approximately forty five-to-one, however the remaining pro-UNSC militia and police forces would adopt guerilla tactics in the urban centre still free from rebel occupation and would remain a problem for the remainder of the rebels control of power.

Revolution.jpg
A university student spray-paints the word 'Revolution' onto the Government Building.

Concurrently during the shooting at the parliament building, the rebel soldiers posted outside the Onager Cannon had been given the green light to storm it. At two in the afternoon they had successfully managed to breach the facility without alerting the militia. Immediately following this, they massacred the control room which housed the ability to fire the cannon, however it was not done cleanly and an alert was sent out around the base. The rebel fighters quickly moved methodically through the naval parts yard and cut down the remaining defenders. By the end of the engagement at four-thirty, four hundred and fifty of the total compliment guarding the base had been killed, the other thirty escaping on board the APCs they had used to get there. This left the most dangerous weapon on Kafka in the hands of the rebel forces and would be a problem for any reclamation force. For the next four weeks, the rebels experienced inconsistent street battles towards the south of the city with minimum loss of life on both sides as the pushed to secure the capital. While upon first glance it seemed the rebels controlled the entire city, the south and west would be a constant reminder that the entire populace was not on their side. On June 16th, a UNSC frigate from the New Tunisian Task Force, the UNSC Mehmet, arrived in system to extract the members of the cabinet that had escaped. It dropped in-atmosphere to survey the carnage for itself and provide a report for the UNSC to decide whether or not it was an separatist movement or not. It was unaware that the Mac cannon was still operational. As it deployed a pelican to extract the government, Caroline ordered the cannon to wait until the cabinet were confirmed to be on board before engaging. The cannon slowly adjusted its positioning to lock onto the frigate, and when it was confirmed the cabinet were on board, they fired. It struck the frigate amidships and immediately caused critical damage to all systems, it plummeted to the ground landing in the Wastes, approximately seven miles outside of the capital of Vienna. Most of the ship's crew were killed upon impact, including all but three of the remaining members of the cabinet, Mendel, her Justice Minister and the Agricultural Minister were able to flee to a nearby village where they were given succour for the duration of the conflict. On June 18th, the rebels arrived at the crash site and killed any and all survivors. Such egregious action against the UNSC all but made clear that the colony was now at war with the United Earth Government and was seeking to become an independent world. This was definitively confirmed when Caroline and Oliver made a joint statement declaring Kafka to be a 'world free from Earth's tyrannical institutions.'[4]

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The UNSC Mehmet crashes upon the surface of Kafka.

On June 21st, the Kafkian Planetary Council was formed to act as the provisional government for the newly independent world of Kafka with Caroline and Oliver at its head. They both knew that the UNSC would not rest on its laurels long and that a campaign would inevitably be launched against them. Oliver was given the gargantuan task of reorganising the makeshift military they had gained in the hopes of stalling or repelling the invasion to come. Their 'military' amounted to two thousand four hundred and seventy-eight URF regulars, over six thousand five hundred members of militia who had joined them, and the bulk of their numbers was made up of over thirty five thousand protesters whom had been dubbed the 'irregulars' by Oliver. They were further boosted by the militia being able to acquire several examples of UNSC armoured vehicles and aeroplanes, though while outdated would still present a substantial threat to anyone engaged against them. This gathering of revolutionaries were brought together into the Kafkian Revolutionary Army. The militia and fighters were given orders to train the protesters in hopes of making them passable soldiers. Secretly, however, Caroline and Oliver were aware that any action taken against them by the UNSC was likely to eventually end in their defeat, they could only hope that they would be able to hold them off long enough to bring them to the negotiating table. The success of any holding action relied almost entirely upon the will of the protesters they were converting into soldiers, as they had not been subjecting to the rigorous training that the militia and ex-servicemen of the URF had, it left them completely unaware of how exactly they would cope during the heat of battle that would inevitably occur within the streets of Vienna. By July 15th, divisions had begun to form within the Planetary Council as the student leaders who had begun the protests began to feel jaded towards the more revolutionary element. Indeed they vociferously denounced the actions the Council were taking in strengthening their own position, seemingly following the exact steps the recently ousted government had taken. On the 20th of July, a mass exodus from the council occurred, with all but one of the student leaders leaving the movement, citing that it had become too extreme in its methods and the spirit of brotherhood and peace had long been forgotten. The consequences of their actions led to the most violent action taken by the Planetary Council while in power as it tracked down and executed twenty four of the forty-five students who had resigned, leading to increased resentment felt towards what had at first seemed like a perfect alternative to Mendel's rule.

UNSC Reclamation campaign

"Anyone with a weapon is to be neutralised with total prejudice. We make sure people know that although we're weakened, we will not allow these rebels to mock the blood shed to save them."
―Vice Admiral John O'Kelly; mission briefing.
KafkianFlag.jpg
Flag of the Kafkian Planetary Council.

Prior to the declaration of independence the United Earth Government had been preparing to negotiate with the protesters, and later revolutionaries in finding a settlement to what had been dubbed the 'Kafkian Crisis'. However with the destruction of the Mehmet at the hands of the revolutionaries followed by the subsequent declaration of independence and the intention to wage war upon the UNSC should they come to the planet with the desire of retaking it. The UNSC quickly moved to mobilise any and all available forces to combat the insurrection quickly in the hopes of dying down the flames of any other potential separatist movements that may exist in other disgruntled colonies. Fortunately for the UNSC, Kafka appeared to be an aberration. Immediately post-war, the consensus experienced a huge boom of solidarity towards them. A fact that had been noted amongst the other Mid-Rim protests which had not been aimed towards the galactic human government, but their corrupt local one. This left the Kafkian rebels isolated and created intense animosity towards them. It made it considerably easier for the Human Parliament to pass legislation to grant UNSC the authority to launch a reclamation effort on Kafka. On July 31st the operation was christened KINDRED STAR, and was lead by Vice Admiral John O'Kelly, commander of Battlegroup Ireland with orders to blockade the plant to stop any ship from leaving or arriving in-system without the proper clearance. General DeShawn Adams was given command of the hastily assembled 36th Marine Expeditionary Force, which consisted of three Marine regiments, the 9th, 17th and 77th, two tank battalions from the 506th Tank Regiment and the 101st Shock Troops Battalion. The Office of Naval Intelligence requested the presence of VIOLET-III on board, to help with the tracking and possible capture of the rebel leaders who had instigated the violence. This lead to a total of 14,500 servicemen and women being sent to retake the planet. It was the largest military operation undertaken since the war's end. The expeditionary brigade left from Earth on August 1st for the planet. The morale within the group was high and many of the soldiers, like their non-combatant peers, were enraged that they were being deployed to handle an insurrection whenever humanity was still recovering from the egregious sufferings that had been bestowed upon them by the Covenant over the previous twenty-nine years. John O'Kelly made an impassioned speech to the fleet as they left stating that victory here would show that Humanity remained strong and that they would not take any threats to their sustained survival.

OnagerDestroyed.jpg
Destruction left by the archer missile strike.

The fleet arrived in the Kafkian system in the early hours of the morning on August 9th. Immediately upon arriving in system, several UAV drones were sent into the atmosphere to reconnoitre the capital city of Vienna and the surrounding areas. The findings made clear that the Onager Cannon was far enough away from any major populated area to warrant a spatial attack. O'Kelly ordered the UNSC France, the only Paris-class heavy frigate in the battlegroup, to launch a single Archer missile at the cannon. At approximately 0954, the missile was fired at the terrestrial target. Within the city of Vienna, a screaming was heard across the sky as the missile broke through the sound barrier several times before it hit its intended target. At 0956, the France launched it own UAV drone to determine if the hit had been successful. The UAV revealed to the relief force that the target had been completely destroyed, thus depriving the rebels of any effective anti-ship and anti-air capabilities. After this, O'Kelly ordered the deployment of a reconnaissance platoon to find suitable landing zones, Alpha Company from the 101st had its second platoon plucked for the mission. They dropped from the UNSC Dublin and landed in the south side of Vienna where they had been getting reports that there were several remaining holdouts of loyalist militia. Indeed, Police Commissioner Sara Simoncelli was leading the resistance with limited success, furthermore the surviving student leaders had been granted refuge in the few enclaves the loyalists held. Second platoon was lead by Alpha Company's Commanding Officer, Michael Trask, a veteran of almost every single major campaign that took place during the Human-Covenant War. He rendezvoused with Simoncelli at 1500 hours on the 9th and immediately began discussing were it would be suitable to land the invasion force. It became clear during their discussions that the landings would have to take place from the rebel-controlled and heavily reinforced northern side. The Southern side of the city lead toward the vast ocean that covered most of the planet. Michael and his platoon then headed north through the deserted streets to find a place to bring down the rest of the battalion. On the evening of the 11th August, they exited the city having experienced no contact with the rebels, but they quickly realised that they would have to push further away from the city to gain a clearing big enough for the expeditionary force to land. The maps provided by Simoncelli showed that such an area existed approximately 20km away from the city. The platoon hiked and upon inspection decreed that the area was suitable. The platoon called down the rest of the battalion at 1931 and by 1938, all were present. A beacon was placed and the 101st moved to secure the road leading towards the landing zone. At 2000, the landings began to commence. It was not unnoticed by the rebels and they sent out the ex-militia to engage the landing troops and secure the road into the city. At 2045, the first engagement of the reclamation campaign was fought. Bravo Company from the 101st made contact approximately 10km from the city. The two hundred combatants of the company faced off against six hundred UNSC-trained rebel fighters. The fire-fight lasted for fifteen minutes before the rebel forces had pulled back. Bravo company sustained a few dozen wounded, but no fatalities while they had inflicted almost double that on their opponents.

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Rebel Militia prepare to defend the road to Vienna.

It was not until August 13th that the UNSC's 36th Expeditionary Force was ready to advance. The 101st Shock Troops Battalion was picked to spearhead the assault on the rebel positions blocking the fork in the road that would lead to the eastern and northern entrances. H-hour was to be 2300 hours, ten minutes before the three companies of the 101st were moved into position on the outskirts of the intersection. A strong contingent of the rebel Militia had made rudimentary fortifications in anticipation for the UNSC assault. At 2303, the ODST battalion launched grenades and rockets fired from M41s at the dug in rebels before calling in mortar rounds to further soften up their positions for assault. Before they advanced, Montag called in smoke artillery to cover their advance. The barrage was successful in covering the battlefield in a thick white smoke. The precision of the prior rocket attack by the ODSTs had sufficiently damaged the advanced machine gun posts, that allowed for them to move through the smoke with next to no hostile fire. Upon reaching the encampments, the ODSTs quickly eliminated the hostiles with minimal casualties. However, before the Expeditionary Force could advance to the position of the advanced forces, a small contingent of rebel Colonial Militia launched a counter-attack using the few pelicans they had at their disposal. This took the troopers by surprise, as intelligence had failed to report of the militia's remaining mechanised capabilities. However, after their original shock, the troops were able to rally and push them back. The fork in the road, and the office block that stood there, became the headquarters of the reclamation forces. At approximately 0600 on the 14th of August, the forces began their push into the city. The 17th Marine Regiment, along with the 2nd Battalion 506th Armoured, took the road to the eastern entrance of the city. This meant the 9th and 77th Marine Regiment and the 1st Battalion 506th Armoured moved on the Northern entrance, they were accompanied by the 101st and VIOLET-III Spartan team, as this was the more heavily fortified of the two entrances. The Eastern attack force was to act as a diversion, drawing off some the mechanised units the rebels and allowing the ODSTs and Spartans to be air-dropped in to begin their search for the rebellion leaders. The diversion worked, when the Eastern attack force made contact with the rebels at 0851 hours, they began shifting their anti-armour capabilities to deal with what they believed to be the only armoured threat they faced. This allowed the ODSTs and Spartans to land in the city at exactly 0900 hours, and begin scouring the city for Danton and Thompson. Twenty minutes later, the main attack force reached the front entrance of Vienna, were they might stiff resistance, despite the diminished forces. The two pronged attack left Thompson a serious dilemma, and if effectively meant he had to choose which entrance to the city was expendable. He decided that the Eastern could be lost, as bridges connected the East to the rest of the city. He ordered the mechanised militia to withdraw and destroy the bridges. The defence forces left behind were quickly over run and by 1100 hours, the Eastern attack force had secured the Eastern half of the city, and were pushing towards the now destroyed bridges.

Thompson's plan was to defend a pocket of twelve miles stretching across the city, giving his troops ample vantage points in the most urbanised area of the city. He left a small, but dedicated group of militia and URF fighters to protect the bridge crosses, which ran along the entirety of their left flank. The Northern Entrance to the City, was a huge ornate wall with a gap allowing for traffic to come and go. It was also a choke point, and it made it difficult for the Northern Attack force to advance. Indeed, APCs carrying troops of the 77th Marine Regiment had entered the city in haste, and were quickly destroyed by rebel forces that flanked the main entrance. This provided a problem as it nullified the threat the Armoured Regiment possessed, secondly, as the rebels had taken up positions within the city, all forms of assistance, both aerial and orbital were to be refused, on account of the possible civilian casualties.


Violet-III's campaign

Aftermath

"The dream of this revolution was to bring about the end of the tyranny entrenched within a political system left unchecked for decades. A government that was allowed by the most destructive war in Human history to install fail-safes and mechanisms that locked them tightly into the power structures they so desperately wished to maintain. The students, the life-blood of this vibrant, young planet, saw the beginning of a new dawn that culminated with the ending of that war. They looked within themselves to show that from the smouldering remains of the once gargantuan empire, a phoenix would emerge, that humanity would rise again and rebuild. This uprising, this revolution was to be the catalyst for a new generation of space-faring, of scientific advancement, social restructuring, and to pursue integration with their new non-human allies. This was to be the great remoulding of humanity; a new golden age. Instead of finding their Prometheus, they found their Kali. The naivete of the students, the blinding incandescence of their youth and idealism allowed them to be tricked egregiously by these revolutionaries who promised much but meant none of it. They ripped the heart of this pure revolution out and made it hollow. Interested in their own desires, the new leaders of the movement lead the people of Kafka down a road none wanted, but many feared. In the end, the revolution was not the new foundation of an energised humanity, rather it became the very reminder that despite surviving, humanity was very much divided. The optimism faltered, and a new age of pessimism emerged. For decades after, the surviving students were haunted by their actions. It is a tale that saddens the hearts of those who wish to learn about it and, to this day, it is a tale that inspires none. What we lost during those fateful months is unknowable and can never be knowable. We can only ponder and dream like those golden-hearted youths did, and hope that one day, such idealism will strike again bearing fruit."
― Final paragraph of The Lost Great Generation, by Jaromir Price, 2594.


The rapid escalation of the Kafkian Protests to that of full-scale revolution surprised and scared the remnants of the United Earth Parliament, which itself was still trying to substantially restructure itself in the wake of so many lost colonies. Indeed, during a parliamentary session in the House of Colonial Representatives, in Cairo, an MP from the former colony of Reach argued that 'such heinous disregard for human sacrifice should be met with the fullest force we can muster.' It was a sentiment largely shared by public opinion. A poll conducted on July 4th, four weeks before UNSC intervention, showed that the consensus among the body politic was in favour of a large scale military intervention (72%), while a further 8% considered the Kafkians to be traitors. This was a significant shift from the public opinion polls conducted on May 1st, three weeks before the uprising began -- in this poll, 64% of people were active supporters of the Protests, believing them to be a legitimate expression of frustration. On July 16th, the ruling party -- the Coalition of Progressive Conservatives, introduced a bill granting the UNSC a significant mandate in dealing with insurrectionists; effectively giving them complete discretion in taking punitive measures to combat uprisings. It was derided significantly by the two important, but significantly smaller coalitions: the Coalition of Colonial Socialists, and the Federalist Party of the Colonies. They argued that the bill would render the Foreign Office impotent, and would make Parliament irrelevant when dealing with their new allies in the Sangheili. The leader of the Federalist Party, Alsayed Ali Ahmad Alshaykh, delivered a passionate speech to the House on July 17th, saying that 'if we follow this road of averting our eyes from the Military Wing of the UNSC, we risk devaluing ourselves. We risk losing our sovereignty in dealing with the allies who saved in. We instead begin a steady march, arm in arm, towards a Military Junta. A Junta we will gleefully give the pistol to as they pull the trigger on our democracy.' The Bill generated such a fervour, that riots erupted on several cities on Earth, that included New York City, London, Oslo and Cario. While New Belfast on Luna, and New Kashmir on Mars both experienced large scale riots in protest of the bill. Despite the spirited opposition, on July 21st, the bill passed the lower house, and on July 23rd, it was passed in the Colonial Senate, with it being signed into law by the President that very day. As the law was being passed by the Senate, a mass walkout was orchestrated by the Socialist and Federalist Parties, signifying the opposition to the bill. The walkout was complimented by further demonstrations throughout Earth and the surrounding colonies. On July 24th, the 36th Marine Expeditionary Force was creating and began mobilising; likewise Battlegroup Ireland was siphoned off from the rest of the surviving Human Fleet, with Vice Admiral John O'Kelly becoming the first UNSC leader to exercise the new military and political power that had just been granted. By August 2nd, the Battlegroup was ready for deployment and finally set off.

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President of the United Earth Government, Ruth Charet.

The 'Insurrection Suppression Act' (2554) was only the beginning of the gradual shift towards the right in the human political sphere. The end of the violence coincided fortuitously with a General Election. The swift end to the ground campaign, along with the short period of time the peacekeeping force was deployed helped to shift public opinion back towards the Progressive Conservatives, which had been experiencing devastating loses in the polls. Their General Election win in May 2555, was considered by a coup by many political scientists and it set a precedent for the next fifteen years, as they would go on to win the next two elections, even more comfortably. The most lingering aftermath of the Kafkian Uprising was how the UEG handled the colonies. In what many saw as a necessary action, Mendel and the surviving members of her cabinet were arrested and sentenced to seven years for corruption, but it was to be the only liberal action taken. Charet and her cabinet embarked on a series of reforms that would tighten Earth's grip on her surviving colonies. The Governor was now to be hand picked by the Parliament, taking another power away from the colonies. Indeed, a proviso was added towards the end of the Bill's passing that stated that the Governor did not have to be from the planet itself, creating a new political class of career Governors. Furthermore, the colonies were no longer to be in charge of their own contingent of militia. The UEG further centralised this power, creating a Colonial Militia Force, under the jurisdiction of the newly formed UNSC Colony Military Wing. The reasoning of this was the perception that should an uprising occur, locally sourced militia forces were more likely to abandon the UNSC and join the insurrection, as had been the case in Kafka. It meant that Martian Militia. for example, were now likely to be stationed on planets like Kafka as they were outside of their colonial cluster. The centralisation of this enraged the surviving colonies. Several petitions were sent to the parliament in Cairo asking for an explanation as to why this was happening. Charet's cabinet drafted a memo that stated that such actions 'were taken to ensure the stability of Earth and the colonies in this period of reconstruction.' The Federalist Party enjoyed a huge surge in party membership immediately following the consolidation, and indeed made a significant gain when it won a seat on Mars in a by-election in late 2555, but it would not be able to mount a substantial challenge on the government until the late 2570s. The political culture within the Human sphere was fractured almost irreparably, as many of the colonies saw the steps taken by the UEG immediately following the Kafkian Uprising as draconian and hyperbolic. It deeply separated the colonies from Earth, even traditionally loyal colonies like Mars began to vociferously voice dissatisfaction at her sister planet's actions. In the end though, no more uprisings were to occur, in fact the UEG took a gracious step on November 8th 2555 by offering an amnesty to all members of the United Rebel Front, if they embraced politics - a policy which was to be a resounding success and by 2557, all the URF's weapons had been decommissioned. However, it was a move that left many Kafkians shocked, hurt and disillusioned.

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Seat of the Kafkian Patriarchate: Church of the Most Holy and Apostolic Saint Mark, Vienna.
"They were school boys never held a gun
Fighting for a new world that would rise up like the sun
Where's that new world when the fighting's done?
Nothing changes nothing ever will.
"
― Turning - Les Miserablés


Culturally, the revolution had a deep and lasting impact on the Kafkian populace. The uprising caused many to question the rugged individualism that had so defined the psyche of the Kafkian people. Sean O'Conor, a citizen who had originally taken part in the protests wrote in a diary entry in 2562 that, 'we no longer walk with austere faces, instead we address each other warmly, embrace the nature of our existence and help.' Immediately following the conclusion of the UNSC's peacekeeping mandate, several charities were set up across Kafka with the intention to help rebuild the capital city of Vienna. It was a marked contrast with just a year prior - charities and charity work were almost universally looked down upon by the Kafkian, it was a cultural shift that stupefied many sociologists, as not only were these charities set up, but almost as quickly did money begin pouring in to fund them. Within the first week, over one million cR had been donated, and by the end of the month, over six million had been donated. Another important change to happen in the colony, was the surge in church attendance and adherents. The colony was one of the few worlds to have an Oriental Orthodox Christian Church as the most populous, specifically the church was able to claim descent from the Syriac Orthodox Church. As many Kafkians were desperate to lose the individualistic trait as they rebuilt the nation, they flung themselves into the unity religion brought them as they hoped to stitch together a community spirit that was enriching and gave hope for future generations in the wake of the Revolution. Indeed, such was the devotion and fervour that the Syriac Orthodox Church of Kafka was granted autocephaly on June 18th 2569, becoming known as the Kafkian Orthodox Church. The first Patriarch of Kafka and the Mid-Rim Colonies was Patriarch Redmond Augustine. This became a point of pride for the Kafkians as by manipulating events, the coronation fell on the day of the year that caused all Kafkians to feel shame, but it was now a celebration and many Kafkians hoped it would help them to move on past the violence that had rocked their colony. However despite the cultural and religious changes that took place, the biggest social change in Kafka came in their politics. Since being granted a parliament, the Kafkians had always elected parties who fit snugly into the 'centre-right' political bracket. However, in protest of the draconian actions taken the Parliament in Cairo, many Kafkians began to view the Conservatives with significant distrust and began to distance themselves from it. In the election held at the beginning of 2556, the centre-left Social Democratic Party won a plurality, while the further left Socialist Party won enough to be named the Opposition. Again, the Kafkians ability to reinvent themselves almost over night, confounded sociologists and Political Scientists. The Social Democrats quickly began implementing their policies. Perhaps their most important policy, was the legislation passed to drastically reduce the power of the Governor. Indeed, under the bill, named the 'Colonial Sovereignty Act, Kafka,' 2556, it allowed for pieces of legislation that applied exclusively to the colony to be passed with just Prime Ministerial assent, completely bypassing the need for Gubernatorial assent. On top of this, the bill significantly curtailed the power of the Governor, too. He was no longer able to dismiss parliament on a whim, it now required for a vote of no confidence by the parliament itself before he would be allowed to officially dissolve parliament. These small legislative acts of rebellion helped Kafkians feel better about themselves, as they were showing to the human sphere that despite everything, they remained strong and dedicated to the democratic process.

In the years that followed the Uprising and the reprisals taken against the colonies at large by the Parliament on Earth, many of those student activists who had lead the protests in the early weeks and months withdrew from public life. Their names were known to those living on Kafka, and as such were often shunned by their fellow Kafkians. Though while many Kafkians understood that what the students stood for, originally, was fair and just, they could not see past their collusion with the United Rebel Front, and indeed, upon the pardoning of the organisation as a whole almost immediately post conflict, further hostility was generated towards them. The one saving grace for the surviving students, was the mass resignation and subsequent murder of over half of the students brave enough to stand up to Caroline Danton. However, despite attempts to hide his identity by the new Colonial Administration, the one student who stuck with URF was discovered and murdered in late 2556, and his named became synonymous with betrayal and fratricide. Many of the students felt that in order for Kafka to heal, they would have to leave it and over two-thirds of the surviving students eventually left. It was not until the journals of Student Activist, and one of the key leaders of the movement Ramona Ehrhoff, were published in the early 2570s that the reputation of the students began to be rehabilitated. Her journals provided a stark and personal battle with the collusion and subsequent radicalisation of the movement. Ordinary Kafkians began to accept that the students were too easily swayed by the idea of a weak, and appeasing UNSC and the over-stated importance of the colony. Secondly, it became clear through the journals that many of the student leaders had been intimidated by the URF troops once they had arrived and that during council meetings, they were not granted a platform to speak. In 2575, twenty years after the end of the peacekeeping mission, the surviving students met in the Patriarchate Chapel and took part in a prayer service asking for forgiveness from the people of Kafka - they were given such. Thousands of people stood outside the chapel, holding hands, in front of the entrance lay thousands of purple gloves - the traditional graduating gift of students from the Colonial University. There was a mass flurry of weeping and embracing between the students and the congregation, allowing for both a symbolical and literal joining together of the self-imposed exiles of Kafka. The following March 8th, the Prime Minister announced that the date would forever be known as 'Exiles' Day,' and that the symbol of purple gloves would come to represent the day. Another tradition was created, as the date also became a day of mass worship, with all services ending with strangers embracing signifying the unity of the Kafkian people after a tragedy. In the end, the Kafkian Uprising would leave a positive impact upon the colony. The once individualist nature of the people, transformed almost overnight into a warm, forgiving and accepting society that would never again let itself be trampled on.

References

  1. Ehrhoff, Ramona (2573) Blooming Flowers, Martian Independent Press
  2. Guy de Maupassant (2008) Collected Stories of Guy De Maupassant, : Barnes & Noble, Incorporated
  3. Caroline Danton (2543) The Art of Revolution, Mamore: Mamore Independent Publishing.
  4. Caroline Danton, and Oliver Thompson (2554) 'Kafkian Independence', Kafkian Times, 1(1), pp. 13 [Online]. Available at: kafka.ex.net (Accessed: June 2554).

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