A Timeline of Star Wars: Interregnum, Part 6 - The Dawn of Crusades
Two Years After Endor (6 ABY)
With the battles of Thyferra and Rodia taking the momentum out of the Triple Alliance and New Republic, the Human Trader State (HTS) had been rapidly settling and rebuilding in their recently conquered slice of the Galaxy. However, the HTS regime soon ran into a surprisingly difficult problem; what should be done about all the alien species that populated the new territory of the fiercely xenophobic humans? In the end it was decided that some species, like the Rattataki were human enough to tolerate their continued existence. Others, like the Ewoks, were so primitive they were categorized as animals and thus did not have to be exterminated.
But for species that these rules did not apply to, the year 6 ABY was a year of unrivaled tragedy and genocide. Throughout the year, HTS soldiers and colonists alike began a campaign of extermination unlike any ever seen. Fertile worlds with alien populations had their militaries destroyed from space, while the civilian populations were gathered up and slaughtered with a mix of small arms, biological weapons and starvation. More desolate planets were simply nuked from orbit, leaving sterile, radioactive rocks behind for future exploitation. The few space faring species in the sector like the Aryou attempted to flee their homeworlds and convince the other powers to intervene. But the New Republic was too far away to assist, the Empire did not want to aggravate their new allies, and the Triple Alliance had trillions of their own refugees to resettle. Help did not come, and in the years that followed the immigrants and refugees scattered elsewhere in the galaxy had to come to terms that they were all that remained of their people.
But the largest victims of the HTS massacres were species that had not yet developed space travel. For them, such as the natives of the new HTS capital of Hesperides, there was no escape. Only extinction. The traders did not even bother to learn their name before annihilating them and building new sprawling, prefabricated cities on the ashes of their civilization.
Despite the massive slaughter in the Human Trader State, in the rest of the galaxy there was something of a lull in the fighting. Warlord Zsinj was the only major player to initiate a new offensive, hoping to take advantage of a the New Republic's defeat at Rodia, but thanks to a task force under the command of the newly (and controversially) appointed Commodore Han Solo, it failed to acquire any meaningful new territory.
Zsinj's continued activity however did however prove to be a major concern of the Mandalorains. While the rest of the galaxy had been distracted by the fighting, millions of Mandalorains, whether they be immigrants, mercenaries or retired Clone Troopers, had quietly returned to their (often adoptive) homeworld. Throughout the streets of Keldabe, there was a sense of expectation; a sense that something great and terrible was about to happen. A sense that in a galaxy engulfed in war, it was time for the Mandalorians to once again be at the forefront of history.
The atmosphere was similarly charged in Mandalore's plains and deserts, where the now aged former Clone Troopers were teaching the new generation the ways of war. Among the most persistent stories in the camps was that Boba Fett, the new Mand'alor, had secretly made a deal with Ysanne Isard on the planet of their birth, Kamino. The story had no facts to back it up of course, other than the fact Boba Fett did not make any public appearances for a few weeks prior, and the few offworlders who heard it dismissed it as wild soldier tales. None the less, the same offworlders could not ignore the frantic pace of the factories and shipyards of MandalMotors, some of which were producing vehicles of designs that neither Imperial Intelligence or the Bothan Spynet could identify.
"Now is the time" the high missionary of Hapes said to the Unity.
The arrival of the Triple Alliance two years ago had brought all sorts of new ideas and religions into the galaxy. Even far away from Triple Alliance and Human Trader State, refugees from the other galaxy had begun to spread and settle in almost all the major population centers. It was the perfect cover for the missionaries of the Orthodox Advent to do their work. The Unity had waited 1,000 years to begin their revenge against the narrow minded traders that had exiled them. Unlike the Triple Alliance, The Unity could also wait until they knew something about this new galaxy it found itself in.
In small groups, they had sent missionaries to new worlds, indistinguishable to others from the Ascended Advent who entered earlier with the Triple Alliance. Meanwhile the Orthodox evacuation fleet took the long way around the galaxy to avoid running into their old enemies. While the fleet traveled, The Unity learned what the missionaries learned. For The Unity, conversion was not just about faith. It was about knowledge. While the missionaries where often unsuccessful in converting the natives, the handful that did join The Unity brought with them uncountable pieces of information about their new home to be. They learned the best places to settle. They learned about the technology they would encounter, how to use it and how to counter it. And they learned about the planets most likely to join them and those most likely to resist them. With all that knowledge (and dwindling supplies), The Unity agreed the time for waiting was over. After learning so much about their new home, it was time for their new neighbors and future converts to learn about them.
Emerging from above the Corporate Sector, the Advent Orthodox fleet began its crusade with a three pronged attack along the Hydian Way Trade Route, attacking the holdings of Imperial Warlords Zsinj and Ardus Kaine. As the least legitimate governments with substantial territory and no allies, the two Warlords provided the Advent an opportunity to get a foothold in the galaxy without engaging the most powerful factions who were locked in stalemate on the complete other side of the map. It also allowed the Advent to claim they were working with the Galactic Empire to defeat its breakaway sectors. Officials on Coruscant believed that about as far as they could throw the Executor , but it none the less helped put the Advent invasion at the bottom of the Empire's concerns. Even if the Advent were only pretending to be friends, their battle with the Warlords would make the reconquest of the Galactic North that much easier. Perhaps they would even provide a more serious threat to the New Republic than Warlord Zsinj was.
Militarily, the campaign against Zsinj and Kaine could not have been more different. While Zsinj's more aggressive style allowed him to gain more territory than Kaine, it also left his forces more spread out as he skirmished with both Kaine and the New Republic. Several of the more important worlds in his territory, such as Hapes, Kashyyyk and Mandalore had yet to be subjugated, as Zsinj opted to expand his frontier with the plan to annex these independent worlds later. As such, the sudden arrival of the Advent created a third front for Zsinj that he was totally unprepared to deal with. The best that could be said for Zsinj is that while he lost every battle he engaged during the first part of the campaign, he none the less managed to give the retreat order before decisive damage could be inflicted on his fleet.
Grand Moff Ardus Kaine's more deliberate style and better organized Pentastar Alignment proved to be a much more difficult opponent for the Advent. While smaller, the Alignment had secured its borders far better than Zsinj and did not have to deal with more than one enemy at a time. As such, at the first reports of the Advent invasion, Kaine gathered his forces and engaged the invaders at the unimportant world of Bimmiel. While Kaine suffered substantial casualties, the Alignment was successful in beating off the Advent fleet. After facing such resistance on a barely developed planet, the Advent concluded that it would be far more productive to focus on seizing Zsinj's territory first, and rerouted most of their forces to Zsinj's front.
These reinforcements ended any chance Zsinj had of stalling the Advent advance. In a matter of months, the Advent had moved into the center of Zsinj's Empire, and while resistance became more fierce, it was still unsuccessful at driving the outsiders back. As the Advent fleet crossed the Perlemian Trade Route, the Advent prepared to unveil one final surprise that would complete Zsinj's decline from one of the strongest Imperial Warlords to the weakest...