Baystation 12:Ares Confederation

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Ares Confederation

The flag of the Ares Confederation at its height in 2213, symbolizing that Earthling influences (blue) are kept from the freedom of space (black) by the sacrifices of the Confederation (red). A white star is present for each member state, with all 25 represented. Earliest versions of this flag used three stars.

The Ares Confederation was a loose confederation of human colonies that sought to oppose the Terran Commonwealth during the beginning of the 23nd century.

The confederation was a unicameral body composed of elected or delegated representatives from its member states, which had signed the Confederate Charter. At its height the Ares Confederation had 25 members, consisting of 2 planets, 2 moons, 4 planet-side national governments, 4 corporations, 12 asteroid-based governments, and 1 nomadic fleet.

The Confederation was seen by most of its members as a 'necessary evil' to keep influences from the Terran Commonwealth away from Mars and the disparate frontier, which at the time had little in common with Earth and the Luna.

Founding of the Confederation

Initial Independence

July 15th 2130 was the day that the United Nations of Earth ratified the Commonwealth Act, an act of union that would bring the disparate nations together as the Terran Commonwealth in order to centralize operations in deeper space and manage recovery efforts from ongoing climate collapse. On Earth, people celebrated, and the idea of a unified 'Terran' identity and human culture became a staple of life in the solar system. Offworld, however, established groups and colonies began to worry that the Commonwealth Act was stripping away civil liberties and the right to self determination. These fears manifested in riots in many of the frontier worlds.

Populists on the colonies began to act quickly on these fears, leading strikes against any pro-Commonwealth institutions. It wasn't long before calls for independence began to ring out. On Mars in particular, the old cry of "No Taxation without Representation" was a popular slogan among the general public. The Municipalities of Mars banded together under a treaty dubbed "The New Articles of Confederation", which was quickly replaced with "The Federal Constitution of Ares", signifying it as the first planet to truly declare its independence from the Commonwealth. The latinization of 'Ares' was seen as a move that would put Mars on the same level as Earth.

Word of this independence movement reached Earth shortly after, and the Commonwealth began preparing a security dispatch to settle things down. The dispatch was intended for relief effort, but was seen by citizens of frontier settlements as an invading force.

Similar independence movements were forming all over, notably the moon of Europa and several large permanent installations on the asteroid belt. These three worlds sent delegates to the then-neutral Pluto to discuss the plans for independence moving forward. The initial goal of this delegation was to form a 'United Front of Colonial Nations', but as word reached the system that a Commonwealth Force was in route, it was clear a united military action would be necessary to secure independence. It was on the 7th of October, 2195 that the three governments officially founded and joined the Ares Confederation. The delegation lasted a month, in which the Confederate Charter was signed by all three delagates, and the First Confederate Congress was planned to take place on Mars in the following month.

The Confederate Charter

The Confederate Charter was a simple document, beginning with the words "Earthlings, Together we Stand against your Aggression!", which became the unofficial and later official motto of the Confederation. The Document outlined several important points for the government of the confederation. The Confederate Congress would not regulate trade or tariffs, not operate prisons of any kind, and allow strict internal autonomy for its member states so long as the conditions for joining would be aptly met.

The conditions for membership, referenced in the charter as the Unalienable Truths, were that no member state could limit immigration or emigration from other members, that a percentage of a members GDP be set aside for the Confederate Army, and that representation would always arrive promptly to sessions of Confederate Congress, barring emergency.

Lukas Devereaux, a long time advocate for autonomy within the frontier and one of the first people born on Mars, was elected as the first Speaker of the Confederation, with his vice speaker being Anna Campbell from Europa. Term limits of 5 years were set aside for both offices, with the term of Devereaux and Campbell was set to officially begin on the first of January the following year.

Commonwealth Response

The Commonwealth security dispatch arrived in Martian orbit in January of 2201, setting up a base of operations on the Martian moon of Deimos. The Confederation did not have time to construct any actual fleet to combat their arrival. It did however have time to construct various launch sites on the surface of the planet for ground to space missiles, which were, after much deliberation, fired upon the Commonwealth Fortress known as Fort Gascony. The fort was decimated in size and many commonwealth soldiers died, unprepared for the onslaught. The shelling of Fort Gascony would mark the beginning of what is known as the Commonwealth Civil War, officially declared by the Confederation on January 12th of 2202, then the Commonwealth shortly after on the 23rd.

War with the Commonwealth

Early Organization

The Confederation had a large volunteer army prepared on mars, one that almost doubled the size of the Commonwealth's forces, but they were underfunded and under equipped, as the frontier hadn't fully industrialized yet. 2202-2207 saw a massive push for Martian wartime industries, and frontier-based corporations saw opportunity in cooperating with the confederacy.

2203-2207 saw various other frontier installations and colonies, including the planet Amaranth and Plutos moon Charon, join the Confederation, marking a surge in pro confederate sentiments across the solar system and beyond. Many extrasolar colonies either joined the Confederation outright or declared neutrality, not seeing anything good coming from picking sides in the conflict.

Underhill Conflict

Underhill was an important historical site on Mars, a small town located around the site of a former underground base from the Gideon period. It's location on a large plateau made it the optimal location for drop ships from the commonwealth to dispatch the first small invasion force in September of 2207.

The Confederate Army woke quickly from the nearby Underhill Barracks, armed mostly with outdated assault rifles, shotguns, and the first prototypes of photonic weaponry. They took up strategic positions within the city, planning to catch commonwealth forces off guard.

Commonwealth forces numbered just under 100, but believed their numbers disadvantage wouldn't matter in the face of an untrained militia. However, the Commonwealth maintained several casualties due to the geurilla tactics and knowledge of the territory in and around Underhill. In 2209 the Commonwealth called for reinforcements, which began arriving in the following months.

The invasion at first seemed to be going in the Commonwealths favor, as they were being resupplied by drop pod from orbit. This would change however as the Titanium Starfish, a disorganized pirate gang from the Keiuper Belt, cast their lot in with the Ares Confederation and began shooting down Commonwealth supply ships.

The battle was then over quickly, less than a month after the invasion began, with minimal casualties and a scattered Commonwealth retreat. The battle of Underhill made it clear to both sides that a planetary invasion would be off the table.

Battle of Mercury

Mercury was considered a massive untapped pool of resources at the time, being made almost entirely of metals useful in ship and weapons production. With no actual colonies planetside, the corporate members of the Confederation pressured command into launching an extraction force. As Confederate ships began to move towards the sun, the Commonwealth responded, and in orbit of Mercury on March 17th. 2213 the first fleet action of the war was underway.

The Confederate fleet was larger, though it was made of mismatched and outdated ships. The Commonwealth fleet was brand new, and much more disciplined. The battle seemed at first to go in the favor of the Confederates, completely destroying 3 of the Commonwealth ships before the problem of supply became apparent.

Closer to Earth orbit, fresh crews could arrive to the Commonwealth fleet much quicker and with less resistance. After almost a full year of combat, the Confederate fleet began retreating on February 2nd of 2214, taking heavy losses on the way back to Confederate space.

These losses enraged the government of Amaranth, who alongside with other colonies in the Gilgamesh system was very split on the Confederate ideals. Together they dropped out of the Confederacy in 2228, founding the Gilgamesh League

Belt Disputes Period

The Battle of Mercury put the Confederation on the defensive for the years following, and no major battles were seen, planet-side or otherwise. The asteroid belt provided the heaviest resistance to Commonwealth Forces, with ambush fleets and artillery barrages coming from within asteroid concealment.

A crop famine struck Mars and the disparate nations of the planet Gaia, and the following economic depression severely weakened confederate resolve. Confederate Members both in and outside of the Solar System began to lose favor, one by one repealing the confederate charter in an effort to regain trust with earth.

Collapse of the Ares Confederation

CORPAC

In 2229, the Confederacy was on its last legs as Mars, the Belt, Gaia, and Charon were left alone after 4 corporations formed a Bloc in confederate congress known as the Corporate Office of Restructuring Post Ares Confederation, or commonly CORPAC, then motioned to leave the Confederation. Congressional authorities and the office of speaker attempted to forbid this, but laws were ignored by CORPAC who left the Confederation anyways.

CORPAC, led by Nanotrasen, Mars' strongest corporation, had been secretly negotiating with Commonwealth officials in order to bring an end to the war. CORPAC agreed to leave the Confederation if the Commonwealth would reform and allow more rights and representation for Solar Corporations. CORPAC purchased a sizeable chunk of land on Luna, which would lay more of the groundwork for corporate domination of the planet, and negotiated the first drafts of what would eventually become the Sol Central Government.

With CORPAC abandoning the cause, other members of the Confederation decided perhaps it was time to surrender, and representatives from the Ares Confederation, CORPAC, and the Terran Commonwealth met on Luna in 2230 to discuss capitulation.

The End of the Confederation

The Ares Confederation was completely dismantled with the Lunar Treaty, but Mars, specifically Martian Corporations, received many benefits from the negotiating table. The postbellum government would move its capital to Mars, making it easier to police pro-confederate sentiment there as well as making the restructure not seem like an occupation to the martians.

No arrests were made of confederate soldiers or officers, and in fact many of them were effortlessly integrated into the Sol Central Government Army. Commonwealth Citizens would say they won the war, whereas Martians and other Solar System Confederates would say that they willingly joined Solgov after negotiating peace. On the frontier, many former Confederation members would keep disdain for the solar system, eventually laying the groundwork for the Gilgamesh Colonial Confederation.

Legacy

Memory of the War

The Commonwealth Civil War is taught in Solar schools almost exclusively from a pro-commonwealth stance. Almost a century of peace has left the Ares Confederation as nothing more than a distant memory, and the Commonwealth is seen as the true precursor to Solgov, which is the pride of many Martians.

Still, humans are not keen on forgetting their roots. Re-enactments of battles from the period are frequent on and around Mars, and a fake ship made of wood and aluminum is destroyed in Mercury orbit every year on the anniversary of the Battle of Mercury. Commemorating these battles is, to Solgov, a reminder of humanities history of division, and a display of how far we’ve come.

Confederate Holidays

The 12th or January is recognized across both Solar and Colonial space as “Civil War Day”, but there is no formal celebration or relief from work for this holiday. Occasionally on civil war day, you’ll see people wearing period accurate Commonwealth and Confederate hats.

The Confederate Flag

The flag of the Ares Confederation is still flown by private individuals on mars and in the colonies, to much controversy. Defenders of the flag argue that it is a symbol of anti-government centralism and states rights, whereas its opponents say it is a symbol of division and treason.

The red, blue, and black color scheme can also be seen on the flag of the ICCG, being symbolic in its own right as well as a display of its anti-earth roots during its time in the Ares Confederation. People who fly the Ares Confederation flag are often berated as “Gilgamesh sympathizers”.