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Parhelion/The War of '84

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It all started when, in an attempt to spread Vidalist revolution worldwide, coups were launched in Southern Oceania and in Siberia, effectively aligning the SAO and RB along with the Workers' Republic of Vidalia. Sadly, however, fate played a cruel game: the Atlantic Federation and the Salviatian Staat, realising the danger, attacked - the Atlantic Federation on Bolivaria, and Salviatia against the new land of Vidalskaya Rossiya, for they knew that there was to be no negotiations with the vile slaves of Vidal.

This invited action from the Empire, who hoped to destroy Vidalist elements on its lands in one stroke, while inviting the attention of Jihadia and Trans-Sahelia, who promptly attacked the Salviatists and the Imperials. In recent memory, the war would prove to be the very last world war ever fought on earth. The Eurasian half of Vidalia was effaced, while Salviatia and the Empire would unite to crush the Jihadians and the Trans-Sahelians once and for all. This they did, although it took only 3 months for both factions to self-destruct, but by then the damage was done. The earth, already scarred and bleeding from the superpowers' past wars, could no longer be saved. Oceania was devastated, and all Europe save for England and Scandinavia was rendered no better than a toxic wasteland.

Global politics prior to the war

By the late 20th century, it was clear that political pressures and climate change were creating a great deal of political instability. Despite the use of vernalization to at least keep its people well-fed, the Workers' Republic of Vidalia was facing immense pressure from within its borders - vernalization required massive amounts of energy for it to work, even if the Agitprop department of the Production Commissariat proved otherwise.

Outside of Vidalia's borders, things were not going well, either. The Nilotic War, fought primarily in the Mediterranean, Eurasia and Africa, had drastic consequences for the world economy, and the prices of food at home were as high as the tonnage of shipping continuously being lost at sea thanks to commerce raiding and privateering activity by the eight superpowers that dominated the world. To date, the hardened attitudes of each faction against their contemporaries doomed any possible chance of averting further bloodshed - almost fifty years of constant warfare of differing levels of intensity had blunted the appetites of the main powers for compromise. Mutual suspicions between the Jihadian caliphate and her neighbours (notably Salviatia and the Empire of the Rising Sun) were at an all-time high after the disastrous 1976 Casablanca Meetings failed to reach any long-lasting settlement over Western intentions on Africa and the continuous commerce raiding carried out particularly by the New Golden Horde (the "SAO"), while the paranoid dictates of Vidalist Communism continuously preached the expansion of the Revolution as a means of putting the capitalist menace down once and for all.

The Starkov Plan

Despite history being made by great men with great weapons of mass destruction, the War of '84 cannot be said to have been the work of a mad dictator hell-bent on world domination, but was actually the brainchild of a simple bureaucrat.

During the 1968 Summer Politburo Meeting at Vidalopol, a Security Commissar named Gennady Starkov submitted a plan which would, in his words, "end war once for all, on Vidalist terms". Starkov's plan was that Vidalia, already short of resources, need only use police action by supporting revolutionary movements as opposed to mass military manoeuvres. He pointed out the existence of Vidalist elements in the Bolivarian government and amongst the circles of the Khans in Northern Eastasia, and speculated that by supporting these factions covertly, Vidalia could create a confederation of nation-states staunchly married to the Vidalist cause of "proletarian liberation". This was cheaper than sending tanks and Marine Infantry to die in distant lands for no apparent gain. This plan, the "Starkov Plan", envisioned the following:

  • Moral and technological support given to Lord Sarba of the SAO to align him and all of Northern Eastasia with Vidalist interests;
  • Covert smuggling of weapons acquired through Horde piracy to fund coups in Southern Oceania to overthrow the Tapioca dynasty, aligning the Bolivarian Republic with Vidalia; and
  • The strengthening of the White and Yellow Fleets and the Marine Infantry reserves to defend this new coallition, called the Vidalian Union, which would stretch well from the North Sea all the way to Southern Oceania, disrupting Federal trade with the Japanese isles and removing Bolivarian support for Salviatia, potentially weakening an oil-dependent Salviatia into acquiescence of Vidalist rule.

As brilliant as Security Commissar Gennady Starkov was, his plan smacked of several fatal flaws. The very first one was the massive amount of travelling that Vidalian forces would have to undertake in reinforcing both its Eurasian and Oceanic factions from either side of the Pacific Ocean. In the ensuing war with the Empire and the Federation, this would not only result in the breakdown of the plan, but would eventually lead to the destruction of Vidalist Eurasia itself as supply lines between Vidalian elements in the future Vidalian Union were severed.

The other flaw in the Starkov Plan was that he believed too deeply in Marxian predictions of capitalists being too engrossed with their own fetishising of commodities to actually cooperate with one another. When asked, he replied, "See for yourself! the capitalist pigs of America will eventually come to a head with the Salviatist tyrants over Oceania, regardless of who owns it...there can be no true cooperation between them. We will bury them all, comrades!"

Opening moves

From the beginning, it seemed that the world of the future was going to be red in colour, and spoke Russian. With the consummate ease his Plan was accepted with, Starkov was dispatched to Shinte-Saray in the winter of 1971, and after two years of length and strenuous bargaining, backstabbing and murder by KGV agents, the Great Leader got his wish: Sarba capitulated in 1972; and the Bolivarian revolution culminated in the Kiev Treaty of 1972. Taking advantage of the war between Jihadia and the Western powers, a series of operations were then launched against Federation-held England and Hawai'i to prevent the Federal naval forces from interfering while Vidalist bases were set up throughout the Pacific. Although the Vidalist ruse in Europe was a costly one that even resulted in a Federation attack on Vidalopol itself, it achieved its objectives nevertheless: by 1973, the Shinte-Saray Pact was concluded with the Vidalist faction in the New Golden Horde. The Vidalist Union was born.

Pax Vidalica

Although the wording in the Kiev Treaty and the Shinte-Saray Pact treated the exhausted Bolivarian and SAO nations as equals to the Workers' Republic of Vidalia, in reality the rulers of these nations knew full well that they were no better than the many Commissars who slaved away in the bumbling bureaucracy of Vidalopol. Everyone was dependent on Vidalist technology, arms and advisors - indeed, the adoptation of Vernalization helped stave off a potential famine in Tierra del Fuego following the brutal winter of 1978. Yet, this was not merely a case of comrades in arms helping one another any more than it was a slavemaster taking on new retainers to oppress their own slaves. To replace their industrial losses, scientists, heavy machinery and even whole monuments were dismantled in their home countries and shipped to Vidalia for the glory of worldwide communism and liberation of the proletariat.

Whatever it all meant, of course. Claiming to represent "the oppressed and immiserated of the earth", the Great Leader himself made a rare public apperance in the summer of 1978, declaring the creation of a pan-global confederacy, which he called the "Vidalist Union":

"So let us now unite, brothers, for we all share the same goals and the same dreams. We cherish the same values of life - of camaraderie and of shared bread. And the death of all oppression! let us, together, march into that brave new world where feudalism and superstition are all but extinct, and the pecuniary and spiritual monopoly of the prenicious bourgeoisie is a thing of the past. Long live the Proletariat! long live the Revolution! Vidalists, awake!"

More triumphs were in store for Vidalia, too. Following the withdrawal of Vidalist forces from Western Europe, a non-aggression pact was signed in Barcelona between representatives of the Salviatist and Bolivarian governments in the spring of 1977, whilst new programmes to explore the possibility of space exploration were launched, and cosmodromes were constructed — two in Tapiocapolis and Buenos Aires, and another two at Vidalopol and Kharkov.

With peace at last, it seemed it was only a matter of time before the Great Leader could "paint the whole world red."

The gathering storm

As large as the new Vidalist empire was, its fall too was equally unpredictable and tragic.

As expected, the Vidalist Union consisted of the three Vidalist nations on earth - resource-rich Bolivaria, the New Golden Horde, along with Vidalia as the ringleader. The smaller nations of Angola and Gabon in Africa were invited to join, but they flatly refused the invitation. The achievements of this new nation were obvious. It had immense resources of manpower and materiel, and while space programmes were now rather common in the late 20th centiry, it was definitely Vidalia which first created the world's first orbital space station, which led to new advances in technology, especially with regards to food and industrial output.

By 1979, however, the other nations were wholly uneasy over the existence of the Vidalist Union. Previously, the other powers - especially the Salviatians - were content to leave the untermenschen alone as they posed no threat. But now, with Vidalian industry sucking up resources from some of the world's most productive areas - the Devil's Hole of Potosi, and the fabled mines of Siberian mountains - the other superpowers realised they could not sit back and ignore the threat.

In the 1980s, a new terrorist group came to the fore. Hitherto, the Castelo Brigades (named after ex-Bolivarian military officer do Castelo) were often brushed aside by the Bolivarians as little more than rustic bandits. This time, however, they came back with a vengeance. Denouncing the hypocrisy of Vidalist communism and vowing justice in the name of Christ and humanity, they sought to expunge Vidalism from Southern Oceania, and launched raids on many cantonments.

At first the rebels were successful. They managed to conquer the cantonments of Belmopan, Manaus, Quito and Cartagena, forming for a while the "Free and United States of South America". The Vidalist response, however, was sufficiently swift: the Bolivarians, combining Vidalist mass assault tactics with their own finesse in jungle warfare, moved north from their bases and crushed the rebellion with much loss of life.

This would not have possed problems, except for one problem: the Federation and the Salviatians, even though they were locked in a war over Greenland, swung their lot behind the rebels. The Salviatians, claiming Bolivaria as an unfairly occupied ally, provided weapons. The Atlantic Federation, however, lent an even better resource: it claimed to support the freedom and liberty of the new nation and Federal forces rolled into the jungles of Southern Oceania.

Then Vidalia did the unthinkable - taking the attack on the Bolivarians as a pretext for war, it mobilised its forces east and west. Vidalist troops thundered across Poland and the Black Sea, taking the Salviatians, still reeling from the war in Greenland, unawares even as Horde vessels landed in the Arctic Circle to flank the Federation, with the help of insiders in the form of the Goldstein Brigade. Things then ground to a halt: Vidalian forces took Franz-Heinrichsstadt, but were stalled as they struggled to cross into Holstein; on the other side of the world, the Horde was trapped in a pincer movement and annihilated at the Peace River; and the Bolivarian war had settled into a bloodletting that would not end. And even then, it was but a matter of time before the Salviatians and the Federals would be bled dry.

The downfall

All this would have worked to creating a world where Vidalism was the sole unifying force, except for one problem. Or rather, three.

At the point when Vidalist forces were being turned back worldwide, disaster struck. The Jihadians, Trans-Sahelians and the Empire, hitherto merely acting as spectators, decided to strike, taking advantage of the weaknesses of the warring factions. Jihadia attacked the soft southern underbelly of Vidalia, in an attempt to take back the Caucasus, while the Empire marched troops into Horde territory, finally conquering Northern Eastasia once and for all. Left with nowhere to go, the Horde troops in Northern Oceania disbanded into several smaller factions that carved out ephemeral khanates right where they stood, while some others joined the Goldstein Brigades.

Nevertheless, the end was inevitable. By 1984, the age of the eight powers had come to an end: Trans-Sahelia experienced drought that forced and already desperate people into even more desperate anarchy, made no better by the imperialist expectations of its king James; Jihadia was overstretched and facing revolutions and riots; almost half of all human civilisation from the Horn of Africa all the way to the White Sea was on the edge of extinction as food shortages fuelled unrest, which in turn exacerbated hunger, conflict and the collapse of human society.

And what of Vidalia? its end was as bitter as its heyday was glorious. Faced with war on all fronts, and running low on resources in the Eurasian cantonments of the Union, the Vidalist Army, the pride of proletarian liberation movements and the scourge of capitalists and militarists, launched a mutiny, plunging all of Europe east of the Elbe into civil war. By the end of the year, Bolivaria remained the sole standard bearer of Vidalism, made popular thanks to the abuses under the Tapioca regime.

Although no ceasefire was declared, no major military manoeuvres took place like as in past years among the larger powers, while the lesser powers slowly decayed and died from within, their people eventually falling into brigandage and thievery just to survive. Starved, weary and losing their grip on control, the survivors of the War of '84 - the Federation, the Salviatian Staat, the Empire and the rump Workers' Republic of Bolivaria - now the last remaining bastion of global communism - could only eye each other through the glaze of hatred and battle fatigue, even as they prepared for the final battle of their lives....

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