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Victorian Independent State
Detail.jpg
Geographic information

Star system(s)

111 Tauri System

Homeworld(s)

Population centers

Political information

Government type

Federation, parliamentary democratic system for central government[1]

Commander-in-Chief

Societal and historical information

Anthem

My Victorian Land

Era

Insurrection

[Source]

The Victorian Independent State, also known as the Victoria Rebel Front or VIS, was an arm of the United Rebel Front on the colony of Victoria. Commanded by URF General Howard Graves, the Independent State wielded considerable influence before the General's death. Afterwards, with Colonel Karl Afeld taking command, the organization soon took over Victoria, until the disastrous Battle of Agley in 2553, which led to the Independent State to be forced back into hiding, and Afeld to be sentenced to death by the organization's new commander, Nathaniel Wright, in absentia.

Continuing to hide out in various locations within Victoria densely forested frontier, under Wright's command, the organization performed clandestine raids, as well as operating an extensive intelligence network and preparing for another coup. After having supplied supplies to the New Colonial Alliance for the Ambush at Oth Lodon, and the NCA's reneging on the deal, Nathaniel Wright ordered that all NCA personnel were to be considered enemy personnel for the VIS' personnel.

History

Founding and 'Glory Days' (2516-2531)

General Howard Graves and Colonel Robert Watts, the two men responsible for the creation of the United Rebel Front, and by extension, the Victorian Independent Underground State

"A coalition for our cause must be created, by any means necessary. Anyone who stands in the way of this is an enemy to the cause, and must be dealt with accordingly."
―General Howard Graves, in correspondance with Colonel Robert Watts on the subject of what would later become the United Rebel Front, and by extension, the Victorian Independent State

The Victorian Independent Underground State's forming was through the efforts of Robert Watts and Howard Graves, who, after the disastrous defeat suffered by the Colonel's Insurrectionists at Eridanus II despite support given by the General, proposed the idea of an alliance of rebel groups in order to bring down the UNSC, mainly through covert actions. Graves agreed to Watts' proposition. However, one obstacle stood in his way. While Graves' group on Victoria, based out of Camp New Hope, was by far one of the most powerful on the planet, it was not the only one, and the General feared that the other groups on the colony would attempt to bring down his group while it was preoccupied with building the alliance in order to empower themselves, thereby possibly destroying any chance of a unified rebel force being created. As a result, Graves had parts of his cells work to bring other rebel groups on the colony into the fold of his group, and if they proved troublesome, to begin rumors of their whereabouts that would end up in the hands of UNSC intelligence, leading to their destruction. Even after the groups had been brought into the fold, Graves had intelligence officers work to determine who in the upper echelons of the absorbed groups may have been plotting against him, and put them in important sounding but practically useless positions.

By 2516, once he was content that he had a firm handle on the problem of competing rebel organizations, over a pirate radio broadcast, Graves declared the existence of the Victorian Independent Underground State, and urged citizens to resist the UNSC and aid any stranded Insurrectionist fighters, that they could aid the organization in liberating them.

Camp New Hope, the command center of the Victorian Independent Underground State

Now with one of the most powerful Insurrectionist groups in the Outer Colonies, Graves began an extensive campaign of covert actions[2] against the Victorian colonial government and the UNSC troops stationed on the colony, with the nerve center for command and control of the organization's operations being centered around Camp New Hope, which was located deep within Victoria's inhospitable wilderness. By the Human-Covenant War, Graves not only controlled the VIS, but also all Insurrectionist activity in the system and even beyond with regards to the United Rebel Front. This extensive network of spies and armed guerrilla cells led to Victoria becoming one of the largest hotspots of the Insurrection, surpassing even Mamore. Despite their best efforts, the UNSC was unable to track down the organization, as with every anti insurgency operation mounted, they would be met with multiple surprise attacks from superior forces thanks to intelligence leaked by Insurrectionist plants, forcing them to call off the sweep. Within the planetary government, agents of the organization orchestrated a reign of terror, bringing planetary government officials under the command of the Independent State due to incentives, bribes, or various threats, eventually forcing the Halopedia|UNSC to institute martial law, which caused a large propaganda coup for the Insurrectionists, as many officials were unwilling to speak the truth in case VIS agents exacted reprisals against them.

However, after 2530, a number of attacks had tempered the success of the Independent State. The destroyer URF Origami was disabled, a high explosives manufacturing facility in the forests of Victoria was raided and destroyed, and a number of other incidents had occurred. Independent State intelligence officers were ordered by General Graves to discover what was happening, and how to halt it. They came to the conclusion that the same team of SPARTAN-II's was responsible for most, if not all, of the incidents that had recently occurred, and presented to Graves a possible plan to capture them. Graves quickly accepted the plan, and within seven weeks, three FENRIS nuclear warheads had been brought onto Victoria and into Camp New Hope, along with some of the Independent State's elite commandos. However, the action failed, with the SPARTAN's escaping and Graves being killed. Immediately afterward, the UNSC Bunker Hill destroyed the base from orbit.

'Ideas Are Bulletproof' (2531-2553)

Colonel Karl Afeld, the commander of the Independent State from 2531 to 2553, around the time of The Day of Rallying

"This is Colonel Karl Afeld, calling all units of the Victorian Independent State. General Graves has died, but the rest of us officers have not, and he will be avenged! This organization lives on, for ideas are bulletproof! Continue resistance, for soon, this colony will be reborn, and Victoria will live for Victorians!"
Karl Afeld's speech on May 12th, 2531, known under Insurrectionist control as The Day of Rallying

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Graves' main covert action coordinator, Colonel Karl Afeld, took command of the units that survived the attack. Attempting to score a propaganda victory of some sort from the bombardment, Afeld had photos of the bodies of rebel civilians taken, and disseminated across Victoria via the Chatternet juxtaposed with photos of Independent State fighters helping regular Victorian citizens, and pro-Insurrectionist propaganda captioning it all. Once anything useful had been retrieved from the ruins, the survivors moved away from the destroyed base, looking for any Independent State units in the vicinity to seek shelter with. A week and a half after the destruction of the base, Afeld and the survivors he led found another Independent State unit, who stated that multiple units had simply disbanded with news of the destruction of Camp New Hope. Knowing that he had to stem the tide of hopelessness felt by the Independent State's units, or risk losing any chance of a regime change on the planet, Afeld had members of the unit set up radio equipment, from which he broadcast a message on repeat, that the Independent State's leadership was not dead, urging units to take up arms and continue resistance. The next seven months became some of the bloodiest in Victoria's history. In the capital of Agley, agents of the Independent State, using the disseminated photos of the aftermath of the attack on Camp New Hope and what blackmail material had been recovered by Afeld to stir up a riot, which ended in deaths on both sides, causing further resentment against the Colonial Administration Authority bureaucracy and the United Nations Space Command military government that, while it no longer had control through martial law over the entire planet, still watched over large tracts of it.

As a result, protests and riots continued on. Outside of Agley, on the frontier, those rebel cells that remained active under Colonel Afeld's command waged a war of attrition, cutting off individual units UNSC deep in the areas beyond the lands authorized for settlement before moving in and destroying them. Afeld gave orders to take what the units of the Independent State could use from the units, attempt to recruit those UNSC prisoners of war who seemed to genuinely want to join the rebels, and release the rest.[3]However, not all units followed this order, with some executing those prisoners who would not join them.

After seven of bloody fighting on Victoria, coupled with a massive rebellion on Mamore in 2537, it became ever more apparent to UNSC HIGHCOM that the Outer Colonies were only sapping the strength the UNSC needed to fight the Covenant, the order was given to abandon the planet, making sure not to leave any equipment behind. These orders and the places the gear would be loaded onto ships to be brought off-planet were intercepted by agents of the Independent State, and Afeld gave orders to stage raids on the loading areas in order to acquire the equipment.

Due to the short notice Afeld had given and the security the UNSC had placed on the sites, most of the raids were only partial successes, with only light vehicles such as M12 Force Application Vehicles being stolen. The most successful was led by Captain Nathaniel Wright, who was able to seize a B-65 Shortsword, two F-41 Broadswords, seven M808 Scorpions, and various maintenance equipment for said vehicles off of what was ostensibly a Pigeon-class civilian transport carrying members of a humanitarian group[4] While the UNSC sorely wanted to reclaim the vehicles, the order was given to continue the evacuation and not attempt to recover them, as the commanders of the garrison feared that they no longer even were usable, and that the Independent State would have them lured into a trap.

As well as seizing military vehicles being brought off planet, other units robbed banks, which were already in disarray from citizens who were intending to get off the colony rushing to them in order to get money. These operations were far more successful than the raids on UNSC military evacuation sites, and led to the Independent State initially becoming one of the richest groups in the URF, save for Jacob Jiles' settlement on Eridanus Secundus. However, this would not last, as much of the money was spent by the Independent State to equip its troops, to purchase the URF Origami II, and upkeep various subjects needed to keep the area in order and their government from being overthrown by angry, disgruntled subjects.

While the Independent State had nearly full control of Victoria, life continued much as normal for those on the planet, save for the lack of contact off-planet and the occasional skirmish between rebel forces and pro-UNSC partisans. This was in large part due to the fact that, at the urging of his officers, Afeld integrated some of the elements of the former CAA government, mostly local law enforcement and public utilities into Insurrectionist control, rather than tear it to the ground and rebuild from scratch, as Afeld was ready to do.

The seal of the Victorian Independent Air Force, which only had sixty aircraft at the height of its power in 2552

With regards to a military, the majority of the Independent State's military power on the planet was via self-equipped Insurrectionist militia units. However, the Independent State had its own organized military, with the headquarters for all the units in and around the capital city, with the flagship and lone vessel of the navy being the URF Origami II. After claiming that there was to be a central government of the Independent State, and in particular a standing army under its control, Afeld and his associates began hearing rumors of militias planning coups if he looked to be on the road to becoming a dictator. To quell this possibility, it was set within the constitution that the Victorian Independent Military would be limited to 4,000 men, militias would continue to exist, and that in the case of any military deployments, the units would be under the control of the local militia officers. The third, however, was usually not the case, as most of the time, militia officers simply deferred to the authority of the military officers, having authority in official correspondence only, knowing full well that the units might mutiny, or would at the very least be initially resistant to following the orders of a militia officer, something that could cost lives. The militia was also used for security at military bases, since the military was so small it was considered a waste of resources to put large amounts of the already tiny number of troops on guard duty when the militia could do it instead.

While local militias were also responsible for keeping any pro-UNSC insurgents in check, occasionally the Independent State's military was deployed in cases where the local units could not deal with the rebellions. The most famous of these was in mid-2553, when a group of pro-UNSC rebels, using equipment supplied to them by the Office of Naval Intelligence that was brought onto the planet via Prowler staged a rebellion, with the aim of capturing Agley. Local militia units were quickly overwhelmed, leading to the full deployment of the Independent State's military. In a brutal two week battle, the Insurrectionists took back the territory regained by the UNSC insurgents, but at a heavy cost. Some scholars believe that this rebellion led to an uptick in anti-UNSC sentiment on the colony, which in turn may have led to the tenacious Insurrectionist resistance experienced during the campaign to retake Victoria in September 2553, but that the loss in men and machines by the Independent State during the rebellion may well have saved many lives during the invasion as well.

In the diplomatic arena, while the Independent State sent some support to other organizations in the URF, it was mainly concerned with keeping good relations with the Glabetovan People's Republic, located on the colony of Glabetov, only a few light-years from the 111 Tauri System. In the early years of the VIS, both governments formed a mutually beneficial relationship with each other.

Glabetovan People's Republic Premier Andrey Edwards meeting with Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Wright in Agley during the winter of 2545

Due to Victoria's heavily forested surface, growing large amounts of crops was an arduous process that required at least several months to clear out the land and make it suitable for farming. However, Glabetov was able to farm with ease, owing to the fertile soil that caused its colonization in the 25th century. As a result, the Independent State struck a deal with the GPR in 2538, specifically that if the latter supplied needed food and plants to the former, the VIS would help them militarily against pro-UNSC partisans[5], as the GPR's military was mostly composed of militias, some trained, some untrained, loosely allied under one banner.

The End of the Independent State (2553)

"It was chaos Sometimes you'd see regular VIA members, clad in these torn-up and dirty olive drab uniforms, but most of the time there were just civilians or local militia dug into the ruins of buildings destroyed by charges or shellfire. As teenagers and civilians, we were urged to help in any way we could, so I brought ammunition to rebel positions once or twice, before my mother found out what I was doing, and forbade me from doing that ever again...At the end of the battle, I caught a glimpse of a group of men, probably under a hundred, all dressed in the uniform of the VIA. They were loaded onto a truck and taken away somewhere. I think I saw a friend among them...After the battle was over, all of us went to, or were put, to work to clean up the place. It was horrible work. We would clear away the rubble of a building only to find the shattered corpses of rebel fighters. We loaded them onto trucks, and I don't know where they ended up being buried. Even though the place is cleaned up now, I think they still find skeletons or ordnance left over from the battle."
―An excerpt from an interview with Samuel Gowar, an Independent State citizen who was a teenager during the last days of the Independent State, describing the Battle of Agley and its aftermath

On September 6th, 2553, the URF Origami II spotted a UNSC Navy task force approaching the colony. Alerting the Independent State's high command, the ship's captain, Francis Tolcott, ordered a suicidal charge into the heart of the enemy formation, knowing full well that without the attack, the destroyer would be picked off at long range by the UNSC ships. The battle lasted all of around five minutes, with the Origami II being destroyed, but not before heavily damaging several ships. Meanwhile, on the ground, the final preparations were made for the invasion, with Karl Afeld giving orders to prepare to turn Agley into a frontline city, and all airpower being ordered to secluded airfields to prevent their destruction by the inevitable UNSC air attack that would precede their invasion.

Two Victorian Independent Army soldiers in the basement of a bombed out building during the Battle of Agley

With no other ships in the Independent State's navy to challenge them, on September 7th, the UNSC began landing troops, especially in the area surrounding the Independent State's capital, Agley. After destroying the local airfield and air defense units, the UNSC felt safe from any rebel air attack and began unloading its forces to capture Agley and radiate out towards the frontier to destroy any and all rebel forces. However, despite the destruction of the airfield at Agley, the Victorian Independent Air Force was still very much alive, most of what aircraft that were destroyed at the airfield having been converted civilian aircraft that were unsuitable for combat and therefore used as trainers. As a result, over the next forty eight hours, UNSC and Independent State aircraft clashed in the skies, the latter harrying the unloading UNSC forces. The UNSC also met fierce resistance both on the frontier, where local militias, as well as armed civilians, staged ambushes and fought a guerrilla war much like what had occurred during the Insurrection, and in and around Agley, where the UNSC troops were forced into house-to-house fighting within the city due both to their own fire support and rebel charges demolishing a large amount of the city.

Even as the casualty numbers grew higher and higher on both sides, the UNSC continued its advance, contrary to Karl Afeld's belief that, in the wake of the bloodshed of the Human-Covenant War, the UEG population would be protesting to bring the troops back if the rebels caused enough casualties in the reclamation campaigns. However, Afeld realized that that was not going to be the case, that the UNSC would continue fighting no matter the amount of casualties. Escaping out of the city under the cover of night, Afeld gave no orders to his troops before he left. In the wake of his escape, Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Wright took command, and gave orders to escape or go underground on September 17th. On September 19th, with a surrender document signed by the one living member of the Independent State the UNSC could find, a low-level clerk who was claimed to be a high official of the government, the battle was officially declared over. But on the frontier, Nathaniel Wright and those rebels that had escaped continued to wage a campaign of terror much like Howard Graves had three decades prior.

An Underground State (2553-)

An illustration of two post September 2553 Victorian Independent State fighters from a Colonial Militia field manual

In the aftermath of the defeat of the Independent State during the UNSC's reclamation campaign, and the disappearance of Karl Afeld, Nathaniel Wright took command of what few rebel forces remained. Most of the several thousand men that made up the standing military of the Victorian Independent State had been killed or captured in the battle, and very few fighters had escaped and were prepared to continue the fight. In an attempt to restore support for the Independent State as a viable cause amongst its former citizens and fighters, Wright gathered stories of valor from the reclamation campaign, some true, others half-truths or outright lies. Launching a surprise attack on a UNSC relay, Wright put a prerecorded message on repeat to broadcast the names of those rebels whom he was awarding the Cross of Independence[6]to, including Karl Afeld[7], and urging the citizens to hit the UNSC while they were weak.

However, the broadcast only ran for several hours before the UNSC took the relay, which by that point was abandoned, but while in and of itself it would not have done much, when it was coupled with the fact that since Victoria was back under UEG control, many people discovered that almost ninety eight percent of the Outer Colonies had been glassed, while the Inner Colonies, especially Earth did not suffer the same fate, it was a far more powerful broadcast, only stoking the fires of hate towards the UNSC further. The population believed that the Insurrectionists had protected them from the wrath of the Covenant, which was partially true, owing to the isolation the rebels had put Victoria under, and blamed the UNSC not only for disrupting their lives and killing their families, but also for the destruction of the Outer Colonies, which was, again, partially true.

In the weeks and months following Wright's broadcast, while the numbers of those joining the remnants of the Independent State grew steadily with new recruits, the number of violent incidents between Victoria's citizens and the UNSC occupation skyrocketed. While the UNSC had created a Colonial Militia unit, hoping to recruit those who had fought a guerrilla war against the Independent State, they were forced to disband it by mid-2554 after a series of desertions or uprisings amongst the group.

Notes

<references>

  1. This led to Karl Afeld continually being in charge of the VIS' central government, as his popularity among the parliament members led to his repeated election.
  2. The Victorian Independent State preferred this method of resistance, as opposed to Watts' practice on Eridanus II, which involved more political jockeying than violent covert actions.
  3. This was due to Afeld being in an effective no-win situation. The rebels could not keep prisoners of war, but they also could not execute those prisoners they took due to the propaganda victory that would give the UNSC
  4. While the UNSC and the Office of Naval Intelligence had done their best to disguise the ship's actual cargo, the rebels had several plants within the UNSC commercial fleet headquarters on Victoria that tipped them off to rumors of what the ship was actually carrying.
  5. One outcome of the deal between the two rebel governments was that in return for the opium poppies that the VIS turned into morphine for military purposes, a squad of Victorian Airborne Forces troops was sent to Glabetov in 2546 in order to train GPR troops in anti-partisan operations.
  6. The Cross of Independence was a very rare and obscure award, dating back to the beginning of the VIS, with only seven having been awarded before Wright's mass awarding
  7. Ironically, several years later, Afeld would be sentenced to death in absentia for treason.
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