"The Duster Cloud"
*The Duster Migrations: The Cloud of Dusters envelops the Outliers, with horrors of all kinds emerging from within. For over two weeks, the whole Outlier line constantly battles the massive wave of inhuman creatures seeking to gain entrance into the heart of Humanity. In these battles, legends are born, as Colonel Aslan Konev, the leader of the Russians is recorded to be fighting with his men in the choking dust against the horrors, standing next to his men as they hold the monsters at bay. This scene is repeated all over the front, with men from all over the civilized space throwing their lives to stop the united enemy. In the dust and muck of the migrations brotherhood is born, as more then once European and Russian soldiers find themselves in the same trench, fighting the same creatures. Nightingale, Ranger, Maroon, European trooper and Russian soldier all together defend against these creatures, with food, bullets, aid and equipment from Russia, China and Europe flowing to the Outliers. The soldiers of the Outliers, trained by Rangers and Nightingales, fed, fueled and clothed by the Europeans and Russians, find themselves in an almost surreal scene of cooperation. A song is even created, translated in English, Russian, French and German, as well as various European languages, singing "...as the Chinese and Americans Cower, we stand firm/as the monsters attack our lines/we will not squirm/as our fate intertwines/we will not burn..."
More then once the Euroshuttles and the RNS Georgi Ivanov
are seen bombarding forward units of the Dusters, as well as artillery shattering the back of the lines of said creatures. And in several times the Dusters direct heavy fire towards the airforces of the two nations, with the shuttles escaping harm by the skin of their teeth several times. All vehicles are heavily protected, but it would seem the Dusters recognized the importance of vehicles as they throw themselves in attempts to capture whatever fighting vehicles they can get their hands on. Eventually, with thousands dead on both sides, the horrors recede into the Dusts once again, leaving a pile of bodies scattered all over the region.
*Montanha Vermelha Mandate: As the migrations recede, the Mandate starts to calm down, preparing for the unwinding of the tensions. However nothing like that happens, as the Russians clear out the bodies surrounding the outliers, Chinese troops move through the dunes over the Agricultural settlements, citing "Russian and Scottish Aggression" for the reason of deployment, seeking to secure the Agricultural settlements long claimed by Yinghou city. This of course draws the few remaining Russian defenders in the factory complex belonging to them, leaving only a skeleton crew to guard the complex. Inside however, while tensions boil over, a firefight erupts in the complex, with the Russians reporting several figures responding to the descriptions of Nightingales exchanging fire with other figures, who are of unknown nationality or loyalty.
As the Russians attempt to relocate more troops, the explosion much discussed in world news shakes the ground, leaving a dusty hole in the place where the factory used to be mere seconds after the distress signal. A few buildings around the complex are also enveloped in the explosion, causing massive riots from both Russophiles and phobes. As the powers mobilize, the people do so as well, the outliers refusing to fight for any power and returning to their homes while the Battle Group, Russian Military, Chinese National Army and Arcturus Security all mobilize. The Commander of the European Military Force, Marshal Maximilian Galitieri, establishes a bridge with the Russian forces almost immediately, ordering all European Units to stand down on the Russian-European borders and even managing to locate Colonel Konev and patching him through the European network to avoid the confusion within the Russian comms network.
| RossoBoronExport IC 0,149 (0,1%)
*A general air of militarization falls over the whole of Mars following this, with Russian troops deploying en-force to the former Victoria Road (Now called Lermontov Highway by the Russians, after the Russian writer of Scottish descent Mikhail Lermontov, and simply Martyr's Road by the Caledonians), cooperating with the Scottish they establish a series of block-posts aimed at destroying all potential bandits, soon enough body piles begin multiplying around the road, with some bodies left intentionally to deter more attackers, with several crucifixions appearing here and there that rightfully scare the crap out of the Scottish.
*La Raza Riots and the Integralists: As the dist of the explosion settles over the Mandate, anger explodes on the streets. With the Brazilian Integralists deciding to take matters into their own hands, march with the support of several government organizations including elements of the Mandate's military, capturing key locations in the city, including barracks of the military, the broadcasting station and encircling parliament. The Latino population, already fearful of the Brazilians and their racism, begin organizing, pushed by the Liberation Theology Catholicism and inspired by Bolivarianism and racial pride, they begin rallying around a movement calling itself "La Raza Cósmica", after the famous ideology of Latino José Vasconcelos. Distinguished by their Brown Berets, the Raza movement manages to quickly establish themselves as the main and in certain places, only, visible force patrolling the streets. In the meanwhile, the Integralists, growing tired of negotiations and seeing their support swell, move on to parliament, forcing a regime change. With High Commissioner Gertrudes Ferreira imprisoned right away, and the leader of the Integralists, Téo Edmundo Campos, declaring himself Pai Campos. This is the spark that needs to ignite the region, as the Raza rises up in arms against the newly declared Directorate of the Montanha, declaring the Nación de Bronce out of the occupied neighborhoods under Frey Quirino Peláez, a well known Cumanán supporter. The riots that explode following this are akin to outright civil war, with the Pai expected to move in with the soldiers if the chaos does not deescalate.
*Negotiations between Whitecliff and the Russians over the release of the Ranger are successful, as the British move the soldier to Russian hands in return for aid and more support. But regardless of that, once the Ranger is released from custody back to his own kind, the hills come alive with activity. Late in the night after the release, a massive attack is launched on Whitecliff. With the Maroons throwing an unprecedented amount of people at the flanks of the British, while the Nightingales' John Maclean Commando unit releases non-lethal fentanyl derivative gas to open gaps in the lines of the defenders. The few British not equipped with power armor quickly fall victim to it, but overall the line holds. But the master stroke comes when the Rangers, using high-quality military grade chaff launchers disable the sensors of the two Mallets attempting take off. While the elite pilot on one of them manages to guide it to a safe landing inside the perimeter of the British base, the second Mallet spins out of control, with its emergency parachutes deployed to allow it to land safely. Problem is, it lands way outside of British territory, safely within the hands of the Rangers. A few seconds later the Mallet is seen flying off, the fate of the pilots unknown. But while part of the Ranger force withdraws, the rest remains with their comrades, slogging through enemy forces guarding equipment and stocks. A few Maroons manage to fight their way through a substantial force, rushing in to destroy some of the British artillery positions, taking a few weapons down before the British manage to respond effectively and disable the large group of Maroons, capturing more then a squad. In the meanwhile, the Nightingales using cocktails, fire, gas and all manner of explosives fight their way into the weapons stocks, managing to seize some power armor, before finding themselves surrounded on the escape trip back, with only a few managing to get out of this predicament with the power armor in tow. Eventually, the Greater Movement's men are forced to withdraw, when Colonel Bowens himself with his crack squad uses the cacophony of the fighting, to buy himself time to outflank the enemies, with his big force having to slog through rough terrain to avoid detection, after a while they manage to walk their way back to the enemies and hit them from the back, where least expected. The Maroons are the first to take the hit, with their operatives guarding said flanks, they are more then surprised when the British descend on them, folding their line rather quickly. After a while of fighting, when the glaring gap in the lines becomes apparent to all parties, a fighting retreat is conducted. The Rangers, Maroons and Nightingales withdrawing in formation, leaving fields of fire as they move out, before eventually breaking and scattering when obvious Bowens won't press the chase. The Battle is over, the British, have won.
*Phobos weeps: An unmarked shuttle is docked in Phobos, stopped by the European security forces on the station. Oh high alert after the recent tensions on Mars, the ESA operatives attempt to search the shuttle, with the occupants refusing to allow them. After a brief argument, the personnel of said shuttle decides to act, killing the ESA guards, after a pitch battle with the guard bots, the hangar is secured. The Europeans respond by activating a emergency shut down, closing the fighters in. Forced to improvise, the fighters take the shuttle and fight their way to the east side of the planet, before doing a forced deployment through pods into the life support of the station. After almost an hour of fighting and many lost lives, the life support is under the control of the fighters, forcing the ESA to evacuate all non-essential personnel to Mars Alpha.
As the Europeans attempt to respond quickly, they manage to scramble a Euroshuttle against the rebels, secure in the knowledge that the weapons controls of the station are securely under European control. But as the shuttle is scrambled, inside the weapons control, as well as the power control, undercover agents of the enemy fighters attempt to disarm the guards and people working in those areas, leading to a heavy firefight, in which all the defenders and workers who resist are killed. After a few minutes the two zones fall completely under rebel control and the shuttle finds itself under fire from Phobos' own anti-aerospace guns, forcing it to land, with severe damages inflicted.
As combat begins to die down, the rebels, broadcasting from the aerospace control tower announce that the "Phobos Free State" is created under the command of Colonel Yukari Weyland, a former American Colonel who created her own Private Military Company, dubbed Redrock. It is discovered that most of the attackers are Redrock employees, with control over most of the station established, many civlian shuttles left behind in the fighting attempt to escape, with Phobos' weapons' control refusing to fire on them, even though the Colonel declared that everyone flying in the aerospace zone of Phobos will be fired upon. 4 shuttles split from the mass of escaping civilian ships and re-enter Martian atmosphere.
It seems however, that the Phobos Free State will be short lived, as the Colonel was making her declarations on the net, the contingent of elite Legionnaires were using it to pin-point her location. Having used the distraction of the Euroshuttle to smash their way out of the station, they used the following chaos to walk all the way through the eastern side of the planet, walking for more then two hours. Once in range of the tower, they used boosters to smash through the roof of the place using their advanced heavy powered armor to protect them. In the following half an hour, after a heavy firefight and an enormous death-toll on both sides, the leadership of the "Free State" lay dead in the tower, the rest attempting escape with hijacked civilian shuttles. The voice of Commander Pepe İsmail comes on the air, the leader of the Legionnaires on the ground quickly takes control of the situation, under his orders, the ESA quick-response force that is finally arriving from Mars Alpha begins a heavy bombardment on the weapon's control, dropping a MOAB on it.
The resulting explosion could be seen from the ground on Mars, as it levels half the complex from the weapons' control onward. Colonel İsmail comes on the line following the explosion, his grim voice spilling into every ship and station in space above Mars "I take full responsibility for this action". With the weapons control down, the Euroshuttle, backed by smaller ESA craft quickly establishes aerospace dominance above the moon, shredding several shuttles that attempt escapes, with only 3 escaping, one of which seems to be the shuttle with which the rebels arrived on Mars in the first place.
*The attack on Phobos comes as a massive shock to both the ESA, the EU on earth and New Europa, with the populace angry at the government, and in particular, Commissioner Jean-Charles Müller, for his complete mismanagement of the security and foreign situation on Mars. In no part due to the Martian Colony's unique standing in the politics of Europe (able to vote for the European parliament due to its size and population, but its Commissioner is still selected by the Parliament on earth and put in charge) Mr Müller was able to retain his post even after the recent European elections, despite being part of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. But that quickly changes, with anger on the European streets after the shuttle incident, not to mention the total mismanagement of Europol's investigation on corruption, the Phobos attack served as the straw that broke the camel's back. Mr. Müller is promptly sacked from office and brought back to earth to stand trial for "mismanagement of public property" in Hague, among other charges, including allegations of corruption.
In his spot, following a lot of fanfare, arrives Marshal César Gransstorm, one of the most controversial and famous European Commissioners, this causes quite the stir not just in Europe, but in the rest of Mars. As Marshal Gransstorm was one of the top brass in the Spanish European Battle Groups, fighting the civil war on behalf of Europe. He became the subject of media attention for his oftentimes controversial statements, like his angry retort to reporters about Europe's involvement into the Spanish Civil War, claiming "Europe is a beacon of civilization in a sea of barbarism! It is our duty!" and recently, he became infamous in Egypt as the "European Imperialist" for his comment to the Egyptian President Al-Maghili "Europe hears you, Mr Al-Maghili, Europe doesn't like what it hears, and when Europe doesn't like something, Europe destroys it." in response to Al-Maghili's secret talks with Russian President Mikhailov, which were recorded by a microphone still active unbeknownst to the two leaders, saying "Europe won't hear about it, and even if they do, they won't care".
*European Media, Europol and the ESA's investigators are all throw in the mix over the Phobos debacle, beginning a manhunt for those responsible. Pouring over camera data and internal records, Europol's agents acquire a solid lead on who is at fault. Intentional or not, the allegations leak to European media, who quickly explode with the headline "American involvement in the tragedy of Phobos", displaying all sorts of evidence of American connections to the Redrock PMS. Information is even discovered of the Americans selling a military grade Ittie to the Redrock, an Ittie which has disappeared without a trace after the fight. Not only that, but one of the many shuttles that lands on Mars following the escape from Phobos, lands in the NAU's Barack Obama Airport, only to be put under a military cordon. Media on the scene report that between the many refugees, several armed Redrock operatives are seen.
*Later that month, the North American Union suffers a massive cyber attack, with a flood of traffic of Chinese descent smash into American systems, taking large swaths of government run infrastructure offline and placing, including Jericho and Arcturus Security's own sites. On Jericho's site the message: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” appears, while for Arcturus its “We will ask nothing. We will demand nothing. We will take, occupy.”. As the North American Union cyber experts activate an AI to stop the attackers, they discover this is more then just a DDOS attack, with an enemy AI detected running through the secondary nodes that are brought online to compensate for the loss of the main ones. The enemy AI is datamining, attempting to withdraw secure information from the North American Union. In response, the AI activated by the North American Union attacks the enemy intelligence, shutting off different channels strategically and attempting to force it into a single server that can physically be disconnected to kill the AI. In order to avoid that, the enemy AI is forced to activate the main lines of connection, withdrawing through the VPN connection of the government back into its own servers. It is unknown how much information it was able to acquire, but what is a fact is that this is the largest known electronic attack ever to impact the servers of a governmental institution after the Euro-Russian Electronic War of 2114.
| ArctSec 31,54 (31,5%)
*Following the attack on the servers, while the AIs are battling, a massive attack is attempted, in an effort to stop the camera network the NAU installed in Liberty One, the hackers attempt to cause physical harm to the servers containing the data with worms and advanced viruses, while American cybersecurity experts are attempting to help the AI. However, the camera network proves more sturdy, having a dedicated private network outside of the general internet, allows the experts to just shut it off from the outside and keep the network running on certain terminals in the main offices of Arcturus. While this is happening, explosions rock Liberty One, with government officials' vehicles detonating on several occasions (with a councilor dead, and two more wounded, with a fair number of Secret Service operatives dead as they started the vehicles before the targets), as well as small bombs being placed in key locations, only stopped by the prompt deployment of bots. A call comes to all the protesters that participated in the Occupy movement, with the hardliners arriving on the capital en-mass to march onto government buildings, however this time they are not faced by Liberty Security operatives, but rather by a full deployment of Arcturus Security Bots with escorts. The bots form a defensive perimeter around the protesters right-away, linking together to enclose the hundreds of people in the center of the city in a tight wall, a tactic only reserved for emergency situations, only letting through medical bots to bring food and water to the "emergency camp".
In the rest of the city, Arcturus under the emergency security contract closes down major highways, roads, banks and schools, everything that could come under attack with only a small part of its force remaining the Arcturus' own camp. In the process of a few hours, they capture over 463 suspects, with 4 of them taking cyanide pills before being captured. Even with that, a bank, previously left untouched, is hit by alleged Nightingales, who give the customers 30 seconds to leave and manage to make out with a large sum of cash.
*Following the Nightingale attacks on Liberty City, a clip is distributed in YouTube, showing a North American convoy in the Outliers, sent to distribute weapons allegedly coming under attack. The clip gains prominence, as instead of fighting, the enemy combatants, later revealed to be Nightingales, stroll up to the "defending" American soldiers, and shake hands with them. The video is taken by the Nightingales themselves and shows the commander of the Americans handing said convoy to the Nightingales as per "deal" between the two, allegedly the order is handed over by the general staff of the North American Forces on Mars so the soldier claims before the camera that he is unable to disobey. This leads to a huge scandal, with the North American Union intervening personally, sacking several high-level generals in the force and discharging several administrators allegedly tied to this scandal. Overall this has lead to a massive loss of face for the North American Union.
*Even with Mars' escalation in tensions, the movie industry doesn't sleep, as New Europa is rapidly evolving into a movie mecca, with many stars traveling to the "Eurowood" to participate in the movies, even the government puts its hand in the pie, funding movies about the colonization of Mars. The "Red Planet" becomes an instant hit, as it presents a very very detailed (and very dramatized bad rosy) explanation on the Euro-American-Russian mission to land a man on Mars, the long journey to the red planet (empathizing Europeans and their qualities over their crew-mates) and ending in a heartwarming shot of Colonel Corin Wendel Scheer setting foot on Mars for the first time and exclaiming "This Red planet is but a stepping stone into the great unknown".
| EuroMovStud 1,238 (12%)
*A noticeable hole is opening in the inter-communal relations in Lyon-sur-Mars, with a European cultural week being controversial on all fronts. In the large Chinese quarters in the city, a torn European flag is seen, with protests over the recent Euro-related violence in the city. With protesters seen on the European side as well, protesting Chinese aggression across Mars. So far, the protests are peaceful and keep to their own parts of town, but with Lyon-sur-Mars' pro-European administration and their growing dislike of the Chinese quarters, this might change.
*The Martian commotion reaches earth, the Europeans and Russians are calling for blood, with the two powers opening a week long session in which the two leaders of the nations discuss and sign a non-aggression pact, humorously called the "Likov-Van Coop Pact" by opposition declaring their united stance against "aggressors, terrorists and hostile forces". In Baltimore and Xi'an, this agreement is seen as a direct threat, as politicians in said states call for a united stance against the "Euro-Russian Axis". This also faces opposition at home in both countries, with Premier Antonov's own Orthodox Faction of the United Russia Party, expressing criticism of what they see as a "spit on Putin's grave", reminding the ruler of the Triune Nation who opposed Russia in Ukraine during Putin's reign. In the European Union, some protests and grumble also comes from the opposition parties, who voice their massive displeasure of President Abbadelli's move to ally with "murders and butchers who condone genocide", but in the face of the tragedies faced by both powers, these voices of displeasure are hushed.
*After the virtual attack against the North American Union, all over sites and forums on the internet, the Nightingale-Bogdanovist manifesto, named "Why do you obey?", is spread around. In underground movements all over populated space, not just Mars, it gains a cult following, it is only slightly less popular then the Maroon manifesto spread out earlier.
*Following the Phobos Rebellion, Collin Quid is seen personally directing the relief operations for the last civilians stuck in the station, as well as organizing a comity to begin the reconstruction of the station. With the Hangars still active, they are restricted to military vessels only, while all traffic is redirected to Mars Alpha by Mr Quid personally, who relocates to the station mere hours after the attack begun. Despite his presence, he was unable to stop Commander İsmail ordering the MOAB to be used on the station, for which huge losses are expected to hit the ESA following the loss of large parts of the station. Mars alpha in the meanwhile is fully militarized with robotic security and an increased Foreign Legion presence on the station, not to mention screening of every operative, every person and piece of luggage.
| ESA PTC 12,56 (12,5%)
*In the Malaysian Civil War, Military led units, allegedly funded by Russian interests, take the capital, Kuala Lumpur, after a month long fight against the Pro-American Democratic Movement. In the south, the rest of the Malaysian fleet, which has been island-hopping for a while, arrives at a Chinese harbor, protected by the Chinese navy. This has sparked a small crisis, when Malay Military ships, allegedly crewed by Russians, attempts to chase down the fleet, coming under fire by Chinese ships and responding. After some political posturing from both Russia and China, the countries stand down, but the Malay crisis is eerie reminiscent of the cold war posturing.
*In New Glasgow, two attempts at the lives of Russian businessmen are made, the first, Victor Morzov's assistant dies as he tastes the food for the Russian businessmen, with huge levels of racin found in the food. The perpetrator is not found, but later that month, a second attempt goes differently. When the small convoy of Ivan Revov is shot at by men, apparently aligned with New Glasgow's Russophobe factions. However, as Caledonian authorities respond to the disturbances, a fighter is killed as the rest escape. His body is examined and he is discovered to be a Swiss-born European radical, tracked by Europol on earth for Nightingale friendly activities.
*Even more movements are born out of the Red Sands of Mars, one being the Association of Free Settlements, envisioned as a catch-all organization for the illegals who wish freedom, but instead quickly becomes a tiny Nightingale offshoot in the illegals, with few members, due to it being created by Nightingales. Despite attempts to keep the organization neutral and all-inclusive, it remains a movement tightly tied to the Nightingales, thanks to its overzealous leadership chosen from the Illegal settlements, who, as customary for people converted into an ideology, are more Nightingales then the Nightingales themselves.
*In response to the terrorist attack in the Mandate, the Russians are going into full militarization mode, the creation of the Mikhail Kalashnikov Electromechanical Memorial Plant is announced deep within the Gorchakov camp, as specialized workers and materials are imported from earth to begin production immediately. The goal is to produce high-quality, non-plastic weapons that can be sold cheaply on Mars. Interest in it is peaked right from the start, but due to the massive mobilization and armament, it is mainly arming Russian soldiers for the time being. Additionally, the Internet Brigades are mobilized, aiming and chasing down the Shadow Network with Ddos attacks, and outright destruction of physical equipment. The Maroon Music Appreciation Association is especially hard hit after a particularly vicious attack on all venues and organizations close to the MMAA, the attacks are so well operated and done, that experts speculate they may include heavy usage of an AI of some sorts. The only thing that survives the massive strike from the Russians is DJ Mad Dog's Radio Kathrene, which survives many successive attacks.
| MMAA 51,57 (51,5%)
*In the Clearwater Agricultural Settlements, a few shots are exchanged between known Nightingales and Russian soldiers, apparently the Nightingales have distributed anti-Russian propaganda in the agricultural settlements. With Russophile settlements chasing away several Nightingale and Chinese groups. Sinophile propaganda is massively increasing, especially with Chinese soldiers in the area.
*Puria mining extractions double in this cycle, thanks to increasing SolCorp demand, including elements stockpiled and ready to be used in their expanding business of selling androids. Even though Sakai corp still holds monopoly, an indigenous model made especially for the martian person is seen as a big step forward.
*With the destruction of Gomovedea, Rosoboronexport is expected to take a dive, even though that was a small investment for the company, the investors in find it to be an adventure that wasn't worth it, withdrawing support. The Rosoboronexport CEO, Vladimir Yvlenko is hoping the new investment in the Mikhail Kalashnikov plant will turn for the better.
*With Liberty City in full lock-down, Arcturus security, in conjunction with the Chinese set up an exclusion zone around Unity City, based on the Agricultural settlements, over 5 000 American troops built a combination of check-points and locations to enclose Unity City in a solid anti-smuggling ring. With Chinese civilian shuttles landing later on quickly constructed landing sites and disembarking more then 3 000 Chinese National Army soldiers to man some of the sites. This creates discomfort in some Arcturus operatives, as right-wing American media is going on and on about China's supposed participation in the cyber attack on the NAU, but so far that remains unproven by authorities, as the only proof they can build on is the Chinese IPs used in the DDoS attack.
"Raising the flag above the bridge"
*The Battle for Unity [click here for map
: At the begining of the season, the city lays silent, with only small gun-battles all over the massive front that spans the entire city, the fluid battleground it would seem has grind to a exhausting, urban trench war. With over thousands laying dead, both sides seem to be exhausted by the fighting, with both choosing to consolidate positions.
But not for long it would seem. While the Fumers are reluctant to attack, having lost many lives in the previous fighting, and have taken and used the silence to re-arm and dig in, choosing not to make any tactical attacks this cycle, instead deciding that defense is the best offense. The silence on the Red side however is because of a much more tragic circumstance, having not responded to any hails for days, Consul Joseph's body is finally found, he lay with his unit, slayed in the heaviest fighting in the city by Fumer hand, fighting next to his men.
As he is found dead, a power struggle emerges, due, before everything else to his force being at the center of RES control, after being kicked out of the bridge, Citizen Guan Yu and his brigade take the lead in negotiations, mostly by positioning his troops outside of the building where the high-leadership of the RES gathered. Under Citizen Guan Yu's leadership, Delegates Juanita, Yuri, Ungambi, and Ji introduce delegates Hannibal and Tamoyo in their ranks, both colonels from Citizen Yu's brigade. This is a noticeable shift from the criminal past of the RES, so out of said conference, the organization is also re-branded into the Unity City Liberation Front.
This all happens behind closed doors, the first time anyone hears of the new organization is when the Red flag is hoisted over the Dam, the UCLF, with a united support by the newly announced Revolutionary Front for the Salvation of Mars (An umbrella organization for the Nightingale-Bogdanovsts, Maroons and UCLF). The Last remaining pocket in the dam is quickly destroyed as the reds push forward with newly established zeal. Especial attention is given to the Maroon contribution to the fight, as their power armors, adorned with big red crosses and wings are a focal point in the fighting, pushing with a religious vigure as they seek to punish those that delude the words of God. They stand out in the colorful front for when they are not fighting, they are preaching, with a bible in hand a gun holstered they prey and chant even as they fight.
As the Red advance smashes into the White lines, the Fumers hold off by the skin of their teeth, their morale in the gutter due to now chronic lack of men on all sides and general overstretching. But two things are really what breaks the camel's back in the mining district, as the engines of the Mallet hum over the district, deafening all but the loudest of Maroon chants, destruction is reigned below. Even with that, the Fumers hold, under the guise of Alfred Pleath, they hold, they chant, they scream, but they hold. But sadly for Mr. Pleath, he has made a name for himself in infamy, and the ranks of the Front/Rangers are hunting him vigorously. The lucky strike that ended his life however is dealt by a Nightingale bullet, unaware of what he has did, the Abu Mustafa Commando Sniper's strike catches Pleath mid-prayer, going right through his head and splattering his brain on his comrades.
This is the final blow to the White morale, with the force collapsing all over the front as news quickly spreads of the death of their beloved leader. After vicious fighting in the mining district, with the protection of the Mallet (named Ashes to Ashes), the front is slowly advanced, reaching the bridge. Here, the fighting for the block-houses of last cycle is repeated, this time the other way around, with the Fumers desperately defending each blockhouse and finding themselves slowly but surely pushed back to the center of the bridge. With Ashes to Ashes' assistance their line slowly begins to collapse.
Using this, the UCLF begins a general offensive in the south as well, choosing to ignore the largest buildings but instead go around them, they rush for the bridge, reigning death on those same buildings they have surrounded with RPGs and rocket fire. With pressure applied on the bridge units form both sides, the Fumers at the highway also fall under constant attack, unable to supply or help their comrades in the fighting for the bridge.
With the fighting increasing, the bridge unit completely falls apart. Some soldiers are seen jumping of the bridge itself, while others attempt to give up, when they are promptly executed either by overzealous UCLF soldiers, Nightingales or Maroons. By the end of the season most of the bridge is almost under full Red control, with he Red flag being hoisted above it as well. With the Fumer force collapsed in the mining district, the rest of the force condenses around the highway and the access to the Tarsus district.
In the Tarsus district, while the bridge battle is happening, the Front goes on a combined offensive as well, this one however does not reap the same successes as the north. Mostly because Tarsus has been "purified" long ago, and is the center of Fumer control, meaning that everyone and their grandmother is armed with machine guns and holds back against any movement. With slow advances being the key of their strategy, the Red line slowly begins to creep upwards, but at tremendous losses. A huge number of fighters, more then a 150 Nightingales, are caught by the newly instituted American defensive screen, attempting to sneak into Tarsus, as the Americans attempt to arrest the fighters, a firefight brakes out with the Nightangles forced to withdraw. Such occurrences are not rare by far, at the start of the cycle, 10 Maroons are arrested, pending trial, over 50 Christians and 140 right-wing fighters have been caught for the entire season, all arrested with orders from high command on how to deal with them pending.
As the UCLF fighters slowly gain ground under heavy casualties, a large Nightingale-Maroon force moves through the city, harassing enemy fighters and striking at their flanks with their "tachankas" (a Chinese-made jeep with a gun mounted at the back), they become known as the "roving deathsquads" by the Fumers, as they strike fast, where the enemy least expects, backed with artillery and withdraw before the Fumers can organized a good response. This tactic however has its downside, since Tarsus is the home-front of the Whites, the tachankas are themselves harassed often on return, having to change routes often, as buildings opening fire on them out of nowhere are not unknown.
Behind the lines, on all districts, the Rangers are handing out weapons to civilian police units, cheap Chinese plastic guns it would seem, all donated. They are however good enough to keep support high and crime to low in those areas. In the meanwhile, the Maroons are creating their chapel-clinics all over the place, with preachers as well as medics helping the thousands of wounded coming from the front, all the while preaching, chanting and singing. This helps bring the spirits of many up, as well as secure the Maroons quite a few conversions, recognizable by wearing the large red cross painted on their suits, armors, dresses.
*The Caledonians are starting even more construction, with the project for the water refining plant restarted once again, this time with Scottish companies competing for the project, with subcontractors hired by major interstellar firms when needed. This is a lot more successful then last time, and several large firms answer the call, especially Siemens, Caterpillar and Al-Damask Constructions, who flock to the project, highly interested in the construction. However all the contracts are quickly gobbled up by Royal Alba Engineering, making many to call this a blatantly corrupt move by the government, as RAE really lacks the men necessary to do this, but the Delegates in command of the project still hand it over to them (with a lots of money rumored to be going into their pockets as well). With this, RAE begins the project previously, subcontracting several other firms, but generally keeping most of the profits. This triples the project's cost, thanks to the generally inefficient manner of construction. Still, the plant is expected to be operation next cycle.
| RAE LLC 23,147 (23%)
*With the recent militarization of Mars, and the conflicts raging all over the planet, a force of 5 000 Elite American Marines, veterans of the wars in India, Africa and deployments all over South America, 500 Canadian Rangers, the most elite force for fighting in mountains and inhospitable, inhumane environments and 100 High Command GAFE, considered the highest ranking elite soldiers in the NAU military, extensively used in hunting down drug lords in Mexico and personally being responsible for the capture of Abubakar Kabono, the head of Boko Haram. Along with that, 10 Dempsey M3X1 Automated Tanks, 100 Montgomery M6 Automated ACPs, 100 Automated HMMWVs are deployed, almost doubling the American force on the Red Planet.
*The Ministry of Exploration and Colonization of the Triune Nation announces the Martian Dawn Settlement Programme, heavily invested and backed by the Martian Directorate in the spirit of Interkosmos. Russia has its diplomats all over the world, spread the news to friendly nations and powers, offering to help fund the creation of a small settlement on Mars for their nations. Interest is wide, and many projects are offered by friendly, neutral and even some not so friendly nations, but most projects are by far unrealistic. A few, however, pass the initial level of examination with flying colors, a joint Hungarian-Finish project for "Kuujoki", the Egyptian "Al-Qahira" project, pushed by the military junta is seen as a good counterweight to the Compact's Mahd Adh Dhahab, other projects that pass are the Armenian "Avazat’umb" base, the Bulgarian "Chervenozem" station and finally the Thai "King Naresuan" program. The Russian Ministry is examining the projects and they are forwarded to the Martian Directorate for further negotiations.
*The head of the HSBC bank jumps from the golden gate bridge, after its exodus form the UK following the formation of the British Federation, HSBC has been falling form one low to another, loosing more and more customers and eventually filing for bankruptcy. The bank was also discovered to participate in funding criminal activity on behalf of the British government, which was one of the many nails in its coffin.
*The Water Purification in the MSC stops working for hours when a group, calling itself the Bishamonten Group, occupy the station in their crusade against the European "occupation" of the Martian Space Center. Claiming the ruling consortium to be funded and protected by European interests and as such claiming that said consortium's hostile takeover of the MSC was illegal. The occupation is broken within hours with the local security forces storming the water purification station and taking out the rebels, at the cost of several of their elite policemen. In response the ESA has sent a high-valued ambassador to oversee the fledgling ownership of the Mitsubishi Consortium and help in "securing the assets" of the Consortium, not to mention the huge amounts of modern weapons flooding into the local security force. Still, even though the siege is broken, the Bishamonten Group is established as a solid rebel force fighting for Japanese (American) corporate interests.
| SpaceCntr Mars 12,83 (12,8%)
*Even with work available for most Scottish citizens, sectarian scuffles are still seen on the streets from time to time, as Protestants and Catholics exchange a few hits or at worst, shots from time to time, as well as Albionites and Caledonians. But overall, the situation remains calm for now, as New Glasgow has settled into some level of calm after its explosive growth and even more explosive revolution.
*In the tightest ever finish, the aerospace races in earth's orbit finish with the North American flyer, John Boone, securing a victory for his team "General Dynamics' Tigers" against the RossoHranMag team that previously held the title. In a difference of 0.11 seconds, this is the closest finish-line in the history of the sport.
*The Russian authorities approach New Bengaluru with an offer to construct a traditional Russian Datsan and move a number of Siberian Buddhists to the monastery complex, this intrigues the Guru of the colony, one Jeetendra Joshi, a close follower of the Dalai Lama Choejor Wangchuk, hailed by everyone outside of China as the true and only Dalai Lama. Such a move however is opposed by the Panchen Lama in China, appointed by the National Government of China, the Penchen Lama has served as a tool for the Chinese to push a version of tibetian Buddhism that is close to China. The Panchen Lama has limited to no followers on Mars though, so Guru Joshi is quickly swayed, allowing a limited amount of Siberian Buddhists to begin construction of a Datsan next cycle, with its completion planned to coincide with the Dalai Lama's arrival on Mars.
*With the battle for Phobos having finished, traffic to Mars sees a massive decrease, with projections of many companies going through the roof. An economic crisis is expected, as contact between Mars and Earth is slowing to low season levels, increasing costs of tickets and transport of goods.
*Mostly thanks to the hard economic environment following the battle for Phobos, the SolCorp manages to absorb various small Supermarkets, Self-Employed business' and Online Retailers, increasing the SolCorp gamma of goods and managing to push their goods more effectively for a change. SolCorp goods, being constructed on the spot from the Mars One factory, are increasingly finding use for middle-class families, but are still far from beating the corporate hold of companies like Siemens, General Electric and others.
| SolCorp 16,153 (16%)
*The Dying Jihad: Having prepared for the offensive for months, the Israeli-Palestinian Defense Force is finally on the march against the Jihadists. With a long campaign by air before the attack, the Al-Mossad has been spending its resting time wisely, meticulously mapping positions of the enemy. With mobile hospitals set up and a huge force assembled on the borders, the IPDF finally goes to war mid-cycle.
As the deep dark night of Mars falls above the Red Sands, three massive columns roll out form Al-Jalil, surgical air-strikes hitting enemy positions before them, with the new weapons proving their worth fairly quickly as general chaos quickly grips the lines of the Jihadists who are forced to withdraw as deep as possible into the mountains. With the brunt of the assault being taken by the weakest western flank, which has mostly citizen soldiers, as opposed to the other forces. It however sees massive support from the air, and makes great headway.
Slowly but surely, with a rising death-toll, the IPDF routes the Jihadists on several important battles, with the "Wasps" proving to be one of the best assets, smashing into Jihadist positions from the air. The Al-Baghdadi Brigades are increasingly forced to use more and more underground tactics, with the mountain being on fire for over five months, constantly exchanging shots. But in time, even quick guerrilla actions become dangerous for the Brigades, as the Israeli-Palestinian Defense Airforces constantly making rounds, or IPDF soldiers almost instantly deploying as reinforcements in conflict zones via the wasps.
By the end of the cycle, after heavy fighting and a massive death-toll on both sides, the Israelis stand tall on the peak of Mount New Hermon, overlooking the New Jordan river and from there, they can see most of the mountain is back in rightfully Israeli-Palestinian hands.
*Even with Jordan Jericho's plead in front of the commission, the scandalous former Congressmen John Andreas, accused of Mafia allegiance by the public, remains at large, with the last trial of him ending in a protracted legal battle and Mr Andreas paying a bail.
*With the construction of Icarus well ahead of schedule, the ESA lunches the Europa mission, called "Dawnbreaker", the European mission lands a small colony of bots on the frozen moon. They begin digging in the ice of the planet, discovering several interesting life-forms below the ice. This groundbreaking discovery shows that life is a lot more easily found in the universe, and makes scientists reconsider the whole hypothesis of development of life. It also draws increased interest towards Europa, with other powers starting to make plans for colonies.
*With the warming relations between Europa and Russia on earth, Comissioner Severijns is released on bail, after he was accused of lobbyism and subverting the state. However Europol continues to keep the highly Russophile Commissioner under close surveillance.
*In the biggest such disaster of its kind, a Heaven Station in the North American Union shuts down prematurely, with some of its occupants having been connected to it more then 40 years. Without the proper escape algorithms in place and due to old technology, only 5% of the occupants actually survive the experience. But as their minds are transferred back in their bodies, they find themselves in a mass-storage with thousands of other bodies crammed inside for storage, fed only the most basic food to keep their brains alive, but nothing else, their bodies are near-useless. As they are pulled out of the system, the few survivors vow to sue the country, but quickly find the state attempting to cover up the scandal.
*Greenpeace is caught attacking a Chinese factory, eco-terrorism being on the rise on earth since the 21st century, it is now a problem plaguing most countries, with Greenpeace being the largest terrorist organization to conduct such attacks. Last month, a Greenpeace ship, sailing under their banner in the south pacific, attacked a large oil tanker, taking it under control and managing to sell it back for a massive ransom.
*Following the scandals and conflicts, Jordan Jericho III finally brakes his media silence, as he is forced to stand before a federal commission on corruption charges. The footage of him on Cspan is played over and over again, it shows a man who while impeccable in his clothing and vocabulary, is visibly shaken. He speaks about the devastating loss of some of his closest friends, one to terrorists the other to criminal elements. He goes on to explain that he is doing what is within his powers, to rid Liberty city of corruption and punish those responsible for the death of his closest friends. Pining the blame for Alma's death on the European Union. His heartfelt defense and the huge pile of evidence he brings with himself, convince the Federal administration to drop all charges against him, concentrating their investigation on the people around Mr Jericho. On the streets, Jericho is seen as a tragic hero, surrounded by incompetence, but looking out for what is best for America.
*A surprise visit of the British monarch in the Canadian provinces of the NAU turns into a international scandal, as the monarch apparently requested asylum. It turns out that this is far from a surprise visit, actually the monarch was attempting an escape from the Britain. The North American Union keeps the Monarch confined to Toronto Airport until the legal situation can be clarified.
*A series of bombs are discovered in Clearwater city, placed in key locations, including the Tower of Hope's lobby, the bombs are discovered to be merely duds. As the media frenzy envelops the case really fast, overturning all stones for nuggets of information, wild theories range, before a manifesto is released, mirrored closely on the Maroons' humanist propaganda, it states that the bombs were deliberately duds not to cause any harm, but serve as a warning that if the blue party does not step down, real bombs will be used. This however causes aggressive protests by the pro-Russian community in front of the Movement of Liberation's headquarters, with a few people blaming them personally for the attacks. So much so, that Sergey Lisandro has to schedule a speech and media conference on the subject next cycle. Perhaps as a response to this, Russian Specnaz troops have begun training the Clearwater forces, now increasingly more well armed.
| ClrWtr LLC 0,97 (0,9%)
*Clashes between Turkey and Armenia are increasing. With Armenia holding a large chunk of Turkish lands under Russian patronage, the new Turkish prime minister is seen it as a great target for his revanshist rhetoric, not to mention that General Badem might need a military action to unite the populace, considering Ankara sees some protests against the disappearance of the civilian elected parliament.
*With the recent problems in Phobos, Hosprings city might be facing a crisis, as many tourists coming to visit the city are stuck in it due to the fighting on Phobos. Until the lines are fully restored, Hotsprings is forced to rent out more rooms for no money for customers stuck in the city.
*The Occupation of Horizon is becoming an increasingly hard thing, fighting a radicalized American population is turning to be pretty hard for Tranquility's military force, which is embroiled in vicious urban guerrilla movement. Tranquility is even considering acquiring help from the European Legion stationed in the Lunar Space elevator.