The First War of Ouranir refers to a series of conflicts, primarily in and around Ouranir Galaxy with some limited action in the Via Lactea Galaxy. It occurred between the 23rd and the 24th millennia during the UFSS' multi-century campaign to ensure sovereignty over the satellite galaxies of the Via Lactea.
The war was triggered mostly by a renewed nationalism within the UFSS and a general desire to expand human territory. In its opposition, the native states of the Ouranir Galaxy led by the Interstellar Systems of Ysau formed a wide coalition to resist the returning invaders, intent on remaining free of the human control their ancestors suffered under during the existence of the Lactean Confederacy.
After diplomatic options were exhausted, the UFSS launched an attack on 22,006 CE, and after a series of intense fighting in the Tarantula Nebula region of the galaxy was repelled and held back for three years. However, the UFSS enjoyed a significant superiority in industrial capability and hence was able to deploy more vessels, eventually overpowering the coalition after three years, annihilating the majority of their navy and triggering its collapse. Very little large-scale organized resistance took place after the offensive before the capitulation of most major coalition members. The Confederacy of Borealis itself did not intervene as per the special treatment the UFSS had in the treaties.
|“||The Ouranir Galaxy might as well be two billion light-years away.||”|
— UFSS administrator for the Clouds, c. 8600
Being the fourth largest galaxy in the local group, the Ouranir Galaxy was a desirable place to control. It was very close to the Via Lactea as well as rich in many materials the UFSS desired. The Piray of the Piray Empire and the Interstellar Systems of Ysau were the two major nations within the Ouranir Galaxy. The CoB federal government approved this expansion while disregarding both species' wishes. These two small civilizations were unable to stand up against the might of the Via Lactea, and soon both fell.
Under Confederate control, the native races of the Ouranir Galaxy maintained significant political influence unlike what is seen in the rest of the Via Lactea where human migrations and political power generally sidelined them. The Cloud was administered by the Confederacy as a subdivision within the Via Lactea, and yet their control there were largely nominal. The Confederate leaders in Earth were generally more concerned with affairs of the core regions of the galaxy (particularly regions near Earth), or matters concerning interstate tensions at the far frontier galaxies. Hence, the seat of the Confederate governance in the Clouds was in the Small cloud (Ventemir), even when the Confederate only controlled a small proportion of the SMC, and power was heavily delegated in the Ouranir Galaxy. The Ysau in particular controlled a significant portion of their old empire in all but name, further expanded with the more advanced colonization technologies originating from the humans.
The Ysau, under the Interstellar Systems, were by a large margin the most powerful non-human species in the Ouranir Galaxy, and were considered by both their allies and enemies to be the leader of the UFSS' opposition. Several other major spacefaring interstellar species - such as the Pirayans, Disians, and Seknigans - which had previously submitted to the Confederacy of Borealis allied themselves to the Ysau. This alliance comprised perhaps four-fifths of the Ouranir Galaxy's non-human population and ninety percent of the Ouranir Galaxy's non-human military power. A number of native polities that had bad blood with the Ysau instead joined the Confederacy. Additionally, a number of independent human polities or colonies preferred to remain independent from the Confederacy, and in many occasions fought alongside the Ysau against the UFSS. Estimates suggest that around one-sixths of the Ouranir Galaxy's human population fell under this category.
Around one-third of the Ouranir Galaxy's human population opted to remain neutral in the conflict, leaving the last fifty percent of humans immediately joining the UFSS and agreeing to provide support to the potential war effort. The size of the UFSS' expedition in the Ouranir Galaxy varied by time, from a full galactic fleet at the start of the invasion to barely enough personnel to garrison forward outposts during certain periods of the conflict. Regardless, aside from the aforementioned occasions when the UFSS expedition had been redirected elsewhere and at the late stages of the conflict, the bulk of the UFSS' force in the Ouranir Galaxy throughout the conflict were sent in from the Via Lactea. A number of comparatively minor non-human species, generally occupying enclaves within human space, also sided with the UFSS.
As the CoB assembled its expeditionary force and began transporting them into the confederate controlled regions in the Ouranir Galaxy, the Ysau began to conduct diplomatic maneuvers to attempt to sway as many non-human species and independent human polities as possible to their side, with mixed success. On New Year of 22,000, the CoB unilaterally declared the reintegration of the Ouranir Galaxy into the UFSS, a claim not challenged by any major intergalactic powers. This declaration triggered a series of mobilizations and militarizations in the Ouranir Galaxy, especially in the traditional Ysau-Human border region of the Tarantula Nebula. The outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula were increasingly crowded by human and Ysau fleets alike, and the military buildup around the nebula would continue for the next 5 years without major incidents. There were other buildups across the galaxy as well, but not as extensive.
On 1 August, 22,005, the UFSS issued an ultimatum to "parties in the Ouranir Galaxy" - demanding disarmament of the region and compliance with reintegration to the UFSS. Both parties had expected this ultimatum for some time and both parties knew that it served little more than a symbolic role. A deadline of exactly one Earth-year was provided, and during the time period the Magellanic polities mobilized further and the UFSS deployed more ships and personnel. Days, weeks, and months passed with little change of mind in both sides, and as the deadline expired, the UFSS declared the Magellanic parties to be "hostile armed organizations", beginning a wide-scale offensive exactly as the deadline expired in full on 2 August 22,006.
Course of the war
The first UFSS offensive was focused in breaking through and capturing fortified coalition systems, particularly in the Tarantula Nebula. A multi-layered series of systems housing FTL interdictors were key to the coalition defensive plan, which aimed at forcing a war of attrition which would not be politically acceptable to the UFSS populace. Beyond the nebula, similar fighting also occurred, but due to its strategic and political importance, most forces were concentrated in the region.
Despite some initial successes in holding back UFSS offensives, uncoordinated coalition forces soon began to expose weak points in their defensive systems, allowing several localized breakthroughs by the UFSS, which were rapidly exploited to advance deep into the nebula. Limited wormhole technology was also used by the UFSS to bypass part of the defenses, forcing the coalition forces to withdraw to the core regions of the nebula to avoid envelopment. While the vanguard fleet of the coalition managed to fight off pursuing UFSS fleets, the retreat turned rather disorderly and forced the UFSS to withdraw further from their initially planned second defensive positions as they did not expect to be able to reorganize in time for the UFSS. By the end of 22,006, the coalition had been pushed to their third line at the far edges of the nebula. In other parts of the galaxy, fighting was more sporadic and frontiers less well defined.
UFSS forces immediately launched an offensive in order to attempt to fully expel coalition forces from the nebula but failed due to various sabotages in their rear by small fleets in the nebula and the reduction of fleets in the front due to damage caused by coalition defensive bases and fleets. Several defensive victories were won by the coalition and inflicted further damage on the UFSS, which was forced to halt the offensive in order to preserve their strength in the event of a coalition counterattack and to pacify their rear from partisan attacks. The coalition, on the other hand, used this time to construct more powerful defenses and stabilize spacetime in their immediate rear to prevent another wormhole-led offensive. This stalemate in the nebula, interrupted by occasional probing attacks by both sides, remained for two years. Outside the nebula, a number of systems changed hands multiple times as both parties did not commit significant forces to the region, in a lot of cases due to a number of semi-neutral polities in the region which had opted to disarm but not join the UFSS yet.
As the UFSS wanted to finish off the war in the Ouranir Galaxy as soon as possible due to growing tensions with extragalactic powers over the UFSS' attempts to reclaim many regions of Aylothn Galaxy and Zalanthium Galaxy, it deployed considerably more forces to the Tarantula front and began to build up a considerable numerical superiority over the coalition, which was already heavily mobilized and could deploy little additional forces into the region with their already strained economies.
Operation Conception, launched on 7 August 22,009, was a large-scale offensive across the entire nebula which broke through coalition defenses in multiple locations and cut off many of the defenders, which soon found themselves unable to escape their systems fast enough before UFSS forces mopped up the broken-up and isolated tiny fleets. It was estimated that one-third of the coalition fleet was destroyed or disabled in the first three weeks of the offensive, with a further one-quarter being dispersed in the ensuing months of 22,009. The UFSS suffered significant damage as well, but to a lesser extent than the coalition and the UFSS was able to replace losses much more easily.
On Earth, the UFSS government declared their success in the operation as a "victory", and referred to ensuing fighting as "cleanups." Coalition states, on the other hand, rapidly descended into panic as UFSS fleets breezed through the poorly defended regions of the Ouranir Galaxy towards their centers of power, facing almost no resistance from the disorganized and battered native fleets.
Dismemberment of the coalition
The UFSS breakthrough caused panic within the leaderships of the coalition, and soon enough, many member states of the coalition began extending diplomatic feelers towards the UFSS in order to secure a more favorable surrender over an expected demand for unconditional surrender and outright annexation. This acted against the interest of the Ysau, and they hence threatened the smaller members of the coalition with force if they agreed to separately making peace with the UFSS. While a large bulk of the Ysau fleet had been destroyed or scattered in the nebula, they still possessed a considerable number of vessels in their home systems and core regions to realistically threaten other members of the coalition. However, most members saw the war as a lost cause, and by 22,011 several smaller states had capitulated to the UFSS.
As the UFSS fleets continued towards the Ysau's core, the panicked Ysau government tried their best in diplomacy in order to ensure that their most important allies, especially the Piray, to stand and fight. The UFSS, however, had offered relatively favorable terms of surrender to all except the Ysau, and hence the Piray were unconvinced by the diplomatic efforts, especially after the crushing defeat of a Ysau fleet thrown together in the path of the UFSS' navy. The UFSS saw the Ysau as the primary "troublemaker" in the outbreak of the war and intended to fully destroy the UFSS' government, and eventually integrate their space through colonization of empty systems in their territory by UFSS loyalist species (primarily humans).
With the Ysau fleet all but eliminated and the UFSS fleet encroaching on the defenses of its core regions by 22,013, and without any allies holding back the UFSS, the Pirayans were just about to declare a ceasefire with the UFSS when a Ysau fleet arrived at Piray. Without any warning, the Ysau began to bombard the planet and destroyed several major cities with the Pirayans being completely unprepared and not expecting the sudden attack, and the fleet departed before the Pirayans could mobilize their own fleets for a counterattack.
Roughly three billion residents of Piray were killed in the orbital bombardment, out of the planet's population of around 80 billion. The Ysau leadership later referred to this event as punishment for treason.
After the Piray incident, the Ysau considered holding a last stand in their home planet, but wrote it off as their fleet was severely outnumbered and outgunned without any potential allies (especially after the incident). Instead, they opted to conduct a guerilla war throughout the galaxy, hoping that they could cause the UFSS to withdraw if harassed enough. The decision was also intended to minimize civilian casualties and damage to their home system. The Ysau hoped that, like in the past, the UFSS would ignore administration of the cloud and leave an informal power vacuum for the Ysau to fill.
Regardless, as the Ysau's military forces dispersed into isolated and remote sectors and systems of the galaxy, the UFSS' advance reached the Ysau system, and the remaining civilian government there surrendered without any bloodshed. After a surrender ceremony, the UFSS declared an end to the conflict, and withdrew most of its expeditionary forces back to the Via Lactea for redeployment in more distant galaxies where tensions were high.
In the initial few decades after the capitulation, the remaining fleets of the UFSS received assorted surrenders from the many smaller allies of the Ysau and mopped up some remaining fleets of those who did not yet surrender. The exiled Ysau government and fleet, on the other hand, evaded detection and did not conduct many operations, choosing to hold onto the previously undersettled and underdeveloped furthermost corner of its territory as they slowly rebuilt part of their fleet. Many Ysau also moved there, as new colonies were established with caution to avoid detection. In occasion, UFSS patrols which passed through the area would have their sensors jammed in order to ensure that the new colonies and industrial installations would not be detected. Due to the extreme secrecy in which the Ysau attempted to rebuild their fleet, the UFSS did not realize that the Ysau remnants were getting stronger gradually for decades and then centuries, until around the 22,600s.
While the Ysau opted to avoid conflict during this period, there remained occasional skirmishes between stray Ysau ships or small fleets with UFSS patrols and escorts, and on occasion systems did change hands. The UFSS did not treat this with major concern, as this was considered standard practice and they assumed that there would be some remaining holdouts. Using their old intelligence, they assumed that without a coherent government, population or industrial base (which they failed to detect that the Ysau had managed to relocate), that the holdouts would only remain a minor nuisance not really worth launching an expedition against.
By around 22,500, however, as the Ysau had rebuilt a considerable fraction of its fleets, it was getting bolder as it gradually began to launch more frequent and daring raids against key UFSS locations, taking advantage of many hyperlanes that the UFSS was not familiar with. By this time, a number of previously uninhabited systems scattered around the Ysau core regions had been colonized by humans, and these became targets for these raids, which often aimed at damaging key space infrastructure or even targeting colony-ships in transit. With civilian casualties beginning to mount, the new colonists began demanding that the UFSS take action against the "Ysau terrorists". A number of small expeditions launched by local authorities did manage to destroy a number of Ysau stations and moon-bases, but the Ysau had intentionally launched assaults from old well-known bases and used ships which survived the initial conflict in the nebula in order to minimize the chances that the UFSS would discover their new colonies. Their newly established bases and colonies, alongside newly launched ships, would remain largely in reserve during this period.
In this period, a small number of Ysau ships also launched intergalactic expeditions to the Via Lactea, going semi-dormant and hiding on small moons, sustaining the crew with local resources as they planned to launch limited surgical strikes on wormholes or hyperlanes towards the Ouranir Galaxy.
Despite the Ysau's efforts to avoid detection, as they continued to build up it became inevitable that their plan would be discovered, and hence they opted to launch their attack in 22,645, during a period when a large fraction of the UFSS fleet had been withdrawn from the Ouranir Galaxy. Taken by surprise, a large proportion of the UFSS' systems in former Ysau core regions were overrun and recaptured by the Ysau, however, the UFSS fleets had largely opted to abandon their positions in order to retreat in good order. They retreated towards old Ysau last-resort defensive lines, which had not seen much fighting during the initial conflict and hence was still in good condition. The Ysau leadership recognized the difficulty of breaking through their own defensive positions and opted to instead consolidate their position first.
The Ysau expeditions in the Via Lactea encountered mixed results. While some of the fleets managed to achieve some or all of its objectives, a significant proportion was destroyed by the UFSS home defense units before they could do much damage, and the hyperlanes and wormholes to the Ouranir Galaxy remained operational, though with a severely reduced capacity. This did help the main Ysau force as the UFSS reinforcements were heavily delayed and could only trickle in. However, the Ysau leadership received incorrect intelligence that the UFSS' supply line to the Ouranir Galaxy had been crippled and hence thought that they had more time to prepare to destroy the UFSS' local forces before reinforcements arrived. In fact, it would not be until 22,648, when the UFSS had managed to increase the number of forces in the Ouranir Galaxy by 50 percent when the Ysau decided to continue their attack.
The Ysau attack inflicted heavy damage on the undersupplied UFSS fleet, but due to the large area of contact did not manage to achieve a significant breakthrough past the fortified systems which bought the UFSS enough time to conduct an organized withdrawal towards the old defensive positions along the Tarantula Nebula. The fighting took a heavy toll on the Ysau fleets, which recognized that they could no longer defeat the UFSS in offensive warfare. Instead, they recaptured their old systems, focusing on old Ysau territory and some limited acquisition of former allied space, and began to dig in. The Ysau hoped that their show of force would result in sufficient political pressure in Earth to force the UFSS into the negotiating table.
The political scene of the UFSS at that time, however, did not enable such actions. Other developments beyond the Via Lactea's immediate neighborhood had tilted the political and popular climate in the galaxy to a much more jingoistic mindset, and UFSS' leadership calculated that resorting to negotiations, an action which could be seen as capitulation to an inferior force, amounted to political suicide. Therefore, Ysau overtures were rejected, and as the wormholes were reconnected and hyperlanes repaired, the UFSS fleets began once more massing in the human space of the Ouranir Galaxy.
Even with such odds, the Ysau did not wish to surrender and mobilized their economy and population for a final, total defensive war. A much larger number of systems in their home territory were fortified with various anti-space defenses, and most of the civilian manufactories were converted to producing military materiel, particularly spacefaring vessels. Conscription was implemented, however, this caused a significant degree of political controversy as many Ysau civilians had enjoyed relative peace and formed economic links with the rest of the UFSS, and did not see full independence as being worth another destructive conflict. Several internal rebellions broke out due to this, though the Ysau managed to largely stamp them down. Between 22,650 and 22,750, hundreds of such revolts on many important population centers were subdued.
Third UFSS offensive
During the interbellum, fighting continued as both parties tried to probe one another's defenses and attempt to secure strategic systems. The UFSS had by now promoted multiple commanders who fought as rank-and-file in the earlier phases of the war and was extremely familiar with the galaxy's strategic lanes, systems, and political scenes. Many of these commanders were personally familiar with pro-UFSS Ysau leadership and many other species, particularly the Piray, who by now had grudges against the Ysau. Many sabotage actions were organized against the Ysau's defensive lines, to be conducted in conjunction with the upcoming human offensive. The Ysau, on the other hand, no longer had the element of surprise and most of their attempts to infiltrate the human defenses were foiled.
UFSS launched their all-in offensive against the Ysau defenses on 22,758, enjoying not only a considerable numerical superiority but no longer being hindered by Ysau intelligence superiority. This time, the Ysau were also suffering from the behind-the-lines action, and hence in many systems Ysau defenders could neither stand and fight as long as they wanted, and in many cases their path of retreat had been damaged or cut off before fighting even began. As a result, the majority of defenders were unable to escape envelopment by the UFSS, and once the Ysau's fleet was decimated, the UFSS-backed insurrections in planets with strong UFSS leanings immediately broke out. Only a small number of Ysau fleets, mostly ones held in reserve, managed to escape the military disaster, and the UFSS rapidly exploited this opportunity to force their way through Ysau territory.
Second resistance phase
Unlike after the first offensive, the UFSS decided to be more thorough once they had recaptured most of the Ysau's territory, and focused especially on the Ysau's prior stronghold at the corner of the galaxy. The swift capture of this region completely dispersed the Ysau leadership, which could no longer risk a single centralized resistance movement in the Ouranir Galaxy and was forced to scatter to remote systems, mostly to airless or desert planets and moons orbiting red dwarves. By 22,900, only four E-Class planets were held by the Ysau's defeated government, a number that further reduced to just one in 23,000. This planet managed to avoid capture as it was recently colonized, and the UFSS at that point had not yet realized of its presence.
Even with most of its territory lost, many in the old Ysau military and government continued to fight on. Occasional raids were launched against UFSS shipping routes and the occasional military outpost, but no major attempt to retake population centers were attempted. The broad Ysau populace had by this point been permitted a limited degree of self-government at the subplanetary level, which was enough to satisfy the majority of the population and reduced the exiled government's support further. By 23,100, lower ranking officials and military officers began to individually surrender to the UFSS, further damaging the legitimacy of the government.
Beyond political and popular legitimacy, the resistance had to contend with internal issues over their eventual goals and many short-term courses of action. Some wanted to launch one last major battle against the UFSS, others preferred the status quo to await any weakness within the UFSS, and some more preferred dispersal across the galaxy to develop more local resistance cells across Ysau planets. Lack of centralized leadership meant that the UFSS could on occasion exploit differences and cause the resistance units to fight one another only for the UFSS to swoop in right after. Eventually, the last E-Class planet was taken after brief fighting in 23,374, and by that point all parties already recognized that the government in exile could no longer sustain itself for long. Still, the top leadership held on for another thirty years before eventually surrendering.
Exact death tolls was hard to estimate especially during the course of the guerilla fighting, as many died over an extended period of time due to sporadic fighting but was not recorded accurately by either the UFSS or the Ysau as combat deaths. It was estimated however, that in the initial conflict some 200 billion UFSS personnel were killed, mostly during fighting in the Tarantula Nebula, and 800 billion were injured. The Ysau and allies suffered some 350 billion deaths and about a trillion injured, with 2 trillion captured excluding those temporarily taken as prisoners of war when their states agreed to ceasefire. In terms of civilian deaths, the initial conflict had enough of a buildup to allow civilians to evacuate the combat zones, and hence the number was lower than in similar conflicts of the size, with just around 20-30 billion deaths including those killed at Piray, many arguably being those supporting the fleets of either side.
The next six hundred years only saw sporadic fighting with an estimated death toll of some 5 billion on either side and 5 billion civilians, as the Ysau intentionally avoided being too much of a problem. The Ysau reconquest, on the other hand, caused a larger toll than the first phase of the war, with 400 billion UFSS personnel killed, a trillion captured, and perhaps another trillion wounded. The Ysau suffered some 400 billion deaths as well, with a similar amount injured. Civilian casualties were particularly heavy among human colonists inbetween Ysau territory, with an estimated 500 billion killed, many in intentional orbital bombardments.
In the eventual UFSS recapture, roughly a trillion Ysau were killed and two trillion captured, a casualty rate which crippled their armed forces while the UFSS suffered around half as much. Another 300 billion civilians were killed in the process, and the guerilla wars between the conclusion of major operations and eventual Ysau capitulation is estimated to have killed another 500 billion civilians and soldiers. In total, the war had directly cost over four trillion lives, mostly Ysau, and the various political and economic instabilities caused is estimated to have contributed to some six trillion more deaths.
Within the UFSS, aside from the brief Ysau recapture of the galaxy, the war resulted in increased levels of desire to regain old territory, with the jingoists in the population seeing the many small independent states in former LaC territory to be weak, easily conquerable states.
The Ouranir Galaxy's astropolitical scene was permanently shifted by the conflict and ensuing colonization project. No longer will the Tarantula Nebula, which had acted as the traditional human-nonhuman boundary of the galaxy, act as such, and a large number of systems previously strategic due to hyperlanes became irrelevant as new routes were forcefully opened. In particular, the subjugation of the Ysau, previously considered primus inter pares in the galaxy, paved for a proper human political dominance over the other species. Over the next millenia, humans will further settle systems in the galaxy, to the displeasure of the remaining species, especially the Ysau, and leading to a series of low-level conflicts known as the Magellanic Troubles, which many consider as a "Second Magellanic War".