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Battle For Oubliette 2

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A military and political milestone in the Orbital Wars, the battle for Oubliette 2 is marked with infamy. In the nearly three weeks that it lasted, approximately six and a half thousand lives were lost as a direct consequence. To date, it is the second-most horrifically bloody space conflict noted in our history; its place marked with both an embarrassed hesitancy to mention even that it happened at all or why, and an evasive befuddling of explaining whom it was to emerge victorious.

For to this last question, the answer of course is nobody. At least, that is to state that none of the participating military forces were to prosper from the carnage. There is a strong case for recording that one specific person, or persons, was perhaps the ultimate winner of the whole sorry affair; but, even now, there is little clue as to their identity or to the reason for their imprisonment on Oubliette 2.

Of what little truth is known, it is certain at least that the conflict occurred a little over mid-way through the Orbital Wars. Each side was losing heavy numbers of military hardware and personnel, and each sought a 'quick-fix' to total victory with increasing desperation and urgency. So it was to be when multiple fleets of impressive size and number, the largest of which being the Kelvodian, Jatok, and [New Unified Terrans]?, but with many other races and credos represented similarly, emerged near the grim prison world of the Oubliette. The Kelvodian force is sometimes attributed with having arrived first, however, there is no fact to support this, only the historical basis of their then immense military omniscience. Indeed, little fact is known at all, for come the time that the battle was over, there were no survivors from those first arriving fleets.

It is known that terrible and vicious fighting broke out between the assembled forces, and that each immediately sent back urgent cries for reinforcement. Due to the Belated History Effect, many of these assisting parties did not arrive for as long as eight months later, with many more still only beginning the transit to the prison world. It is recorded that eleven months were to finally pass in total, before all forces could be informed of the battle's end.

As a consequence of this delay, the sizeable and intimidating initial forces were soon rubbed out, with only neighbouring, lesser hardware available to respond quickly to the calls for help. Some concerns were not so fortunate, and found themselves quickly annihilated, with no help coming for many days, weeks or even months to come. At the end of the first week, with many would-be aggressors finding themselves worn down through sheer numbers, only the Kelvodian and [New Unified Terran]? forces remained in any significant number.

In the meantime, the besieged Oubliette 2 lay at the centre, surrounded by such epic and wanton destruction, with no idea of who to trust, or why this was even happening. It had received only a few contrary reports from each side, with each demanding entrance and total cooperation, before several aggressors decided to simply scramble all communication to and from the world; a simple method of basic military espionage, now considered quite antiquated. Consequently, the decision was made within the Oubliette that until later otherwise proof, all harbouring forces were to be considered hostile. Presently, each side found itself soon under heavy assault from the bleak prison world, its weaponry designed for exactly this sort of threat; an aggressive force attempting the retrieval of an imprisoned superior or loved one was old news, familiar throughout history's vast halls.

Never had there previously been such an assault as this however. Throughout the struggle, each side repeatedly sent ships toward the gaping entrance of the Oubliette, only to come under fire from their watchful enemies, including the planet itself. It is said that the a surprisingly high percentage of casualties, came from a vessel being knocked off course from the maw, to instead crash into the protective Gaurron shields that surrounded the planet, impenetrable and vast.

Finally, in the last few days, one shuttle did successfully make it inside, hurtling daringly into the aperture of the prison world, and down onto the surface. Somewhat ironically, it was neither Kelvodian or of New United Terran design, the two largest remaining presences. In fact it was to be a Jatok craft, part of the small remaining Jatok contingent, that made the unlikely invasion. Always the cunning strategists, the Jatok had remained on the fringes, hoping to seize the opportunity in such a way, over-looked as they were.

This success was to yield no celebrations from that force, however, for the ship did not emerge again that day, nor for either of the following two cycles. Soon there came the nineteenth day of conflict, and each force was a severely depleted ensemble of barely functioning craft, crewed by demoralised and injured survivors. It would be over a week before any more ships were to arrive on any side. The Oubliette itself had been disarmed some days before, its weaponry not designed to repel such a massive and sustained barrage on all fronts.

To the great surprise of each remaining side, it was on this fourth day after entry that the penetrative shuttle finally re-emerged. Even the Jatok concern was to be shocked, for instead of returning, the shuttle sped away at an engine-damaging speed, fast and far away from it all. The fighting continued for two more days before each side wearily disengaged, embarrassed and angry at such an ultimately pointless encounter.

Who was the pilot of that shuttle? It is possible that several were aboard, possibly including some or all of the Jatok crew. Theories abound on this subject, ranging from the ubiquitous Alexander Ducant to other such intriguing characters of history. It is typically argued that whomever it was, it would have been someone of use to each side, be it politically or intellectually. Of course, this then presents the question of who first arrived at the planet, and more important, whose idea was it first?

Conventional scholarly wisdom would suggest that the plans of one side were somehow leaked. If so, then, how did so many different participants of the Orbital Wars all discover this secret? Given the massive numbers that were to participate, the huge numbers of important and high-ranking personnel that were to arrive and to largely all be eventually killed there, it seems illogical that such a plan would be so poorly hidden from spies and enemies. Clearly, if there was such a leak of information, then practically all the significant forces of the wars must all have gained this intel simultaneously, for so many to have arrived all together in the manner that they did.

One theory, popular amongst urban folklorists, holds that it was in fact the mysterious passenger(s) of the escaping Jatok shuttle that are responsible for the entire debacle. The idea that such an entity could have successfully sent word out, undetected by the highly paranoid security of the Oubliette, is hard to accept, however romantic such a notion. Still, this argument is hard to sway, when no real evidence has yet to appear to the contrary. I need not remind you that the second Oubliette was home to many of the worst criminal elements alive at the time, many of whom were easily capable of the most incredible, even improbable acts of villainous brilliance.

How ever the conflict started, its origins are lost to us, through records destroyed intentionally, or in the course of the wars. Details of the battle are a historians gold, even now resulting in a stir of excitement whenever some new light is shed (typically a forgery, alas). Nonetheless, it is certain that after this battle, each side was to find itself badly wounded by the loss of so many ships, so many key officials. It is thought that such a blow to each side was an expeditor in the ending of the wars. If so, then perhaps it was not all in vain after all.

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Last edited September 26, 2004 8:28 am by Andrew (diff)