The Shattered Ring
The Cascade War
The Cascade War was a brief and bitter conflict fought thirty years ago on the surface of and in the space around Sekothai, with an alliance of clone forces from Pariah and soldiers of Zvitter facing a loose coalition of separatists from Tranquil, The Sundered Ring and Sekothai itself backed tacitly by troops from The Helium Lords of Turbine and some Heoroti halls.
The war is generally agreed to have originated with the discontent caused by Zvitter’s colonialist behaviour (at least, as it is perceived elsewhere in the Cluster) amongst the inhabitants of Sekothai and Tranquil leading to outright rebellion on Sekothai itself and the destruction of a Zvitter power facility by separatist forces. In truth, Heoroti sabre-rattling and the quiet support of the Helium Lords probably contributed heavily to what would otherwise have been a relatively short engagement between poorly-armed rebels and precision strikes by forces loyal to Zvitter. It seems very likely that the separatists from Sekothai itself were inspired, armed, trained and directed by an off-world force given the peaceable native culture, but this has never been substantially proven. Divisions within Zvitter itself also contributed to the conflict, with some factions supplying the rebels with armaments and transport in defiance of the Consortium’s wishes.
What resulted from this convoluted and volatile situation was a conflict on a wide scale on the surface of Sekothai, with small engagements also taking place in near space between Heoroti ships transporting supplies and troops in from elsewhere and Zvitter vessels bringing clone troops to the front. The battle on the surface of Sekothai was marked by shocking brutality on both sides. Zvitter deployed vast numbers of clone troopers bought from Pariah and distributed them liberally throughout the combat zones, vastly outnumbering the rebel forces who resorted to biological weapons created with the expertise of Tranquilite bioengineers. Sekothai commandoes, trained and assisted by retainers of the Helium Lords (and, so Zvitter claims, warriors from Heorot) used detonation charges to sink Clone transports, drowning tens of thousands.
The brutal conflict was brought to an end by Zvitter’s deployment of Cascade Warheads, the complicated weapons that gave the bloody engagement its name. These were designed to bore into the ocean floor beneath the seas of Sekothai before detonating, producing a colossal upwelling of water that would radiate out and swamp nearby islands, most of which were low-lying atolls (as are the majority of Sekothai’s landmasses). In this they proved extremely effective, and casualties amongst the islands targeted (along with those nearby) were close to 100%.
Shocked by the massive collateral damage and indiscriminate destruction wrought on the generally peaceful world, leaders on all sides called for a cessation of hostilities, and negotiations were swiftly entered. The devastating impact on Sekothai itself united the generally ineffectual Sekothai Parliament for the first time in centuries behind a single issue, with an unprecedented unanimous vote leading to an elite team of diplomats being dispatched to join the negotiation. The principle powers of the Cluster – Heorot and Zvitter – dominated discussions, their respective strengths held in the balance by the brilliance of Sekothai diplomatic talent, but it was a member of the delegation from Lens (which had remained entirely out of the conflict) who crafted the final settlement – the formation of The Conference of Worlds, which would guarantee peace and stability throughout the cluster. The major powers were manoeuvred into accepting the terms by the enthusiastic delegation from Sekothai, and members of the rebellious factions reluctantly agreed to the terms, facing the prospect of being entirely sidelined by the powerful forces driving the discussions. Many left the table bitter and angry with their erstwhile allies, resentment which is only now coming to a head as the Conference faces the greatest crisis in its short history.