I don't own the Mass Effect.
The Terminus War – Post-Redcliffe
The Blood Pack's bid to turn the Terminus systems into a renewed Krogan empire officially began in mid April 2182 when Warlord Ganar Yulaz declared that Aria T'Loak was no longer fit to rule Omega after her forces dismal showing during the Blue Suns War that occurred the year prior.
What follows is a variety of discussions that took place across the galaxy after the fall of Redcliffe, from both military and civilian perspectives.
Redcliffe Campaign Analysis
Report for the Lady Warlord, compiled by Commander-General Tithe
As you requested, I have been examining the records of the Redcliffe campaign compiled by both General Mascal and Commander-General Kaste. I have also reviewed the after-action reports compiled by those officers who could be bothered to follow proper procedure.
First, the raw data taken from the campaign's high point.
Ground Forces: 92 first-line units, 131 second-line units, 47 ad-hoc units. Total available combat troops: 877,000. Supporting troops: 212,000
Naval Forces: 4 heavy cruisers, 12 line cruisers, 27 light cruisers, 5 pocket carriers, 17 destroyers, 39 frigates, variable number of supporting & transport vessels (Typically 50+)
As a preliminary note, naval losses were non-existent after the defeat and withdrawal of Zaen's bondmate and her primary battlefleet. The blockade was never seriously challenged from that point onwards.
On the planet's surface, the total killed in action currently stands at roughly 103,000. This number is not approximate as data is still incoming. However, enough initial information is available to indicate that there were two severe spikes in the combat losses your army suffered.
The first was during the initial three months of the campaign. Losses amongst second-line units fully committed to the fighting were disproportionately higher than first-line units. While their shorter training periods and inferior equipment has always lead to higher combat losses, the numbers during this time-frame were decidedly above the mean.
A general examination would seem to indicate that those forces were not expecting the relative quality of the enemy's forces (which was roughly equivalent to themselves, especially in artillery and mortar support). Casualties decreased as the units gained in experience and learned how to properly handle modern artillery, and how to deal with Krogan and Vorcha who actually think rationally in battle.
What reports are available indicate that the first-line units suffered from a similar shock, but their superior equipment and firepower enabled them to adapt more rapidly and suffer fewer casualties in total.
The second spike occurred during the fighting for Capital City. The combination of a target that we were not willing to destroy from extreme orbital approaches, heavy fortifications, and massive GTS defenses created a perfect storm where a traditional siege could occur. Your forces, in particular Commander-General Kaste, fought better than could have been expected given the utter lack of training, focus, and equipment for such a campaign.
It must also be noted that, despite is smaller and poorly supplied army, the troops of his expeditionary force caused far greater damage to the enemy and suffered far fewer losses than Mascal's force. Unfortunately, fewer losses still amounted to significant percentages of his army.
One note recorded by the General, and seconded by the mercenaries attached to the campaign, was that the first-line regiments became more of a hindrance rather than the primary combat units as the campaign progressed. Their heavy armor caused a general lack of endurance and mobility in comparison to the militia and vorcha that they fought against, and during the later stages of the campaign they actually suffered greater KIA percentages than the second-line units.
I have, as you asked, compiled the following recommendations along with attendant observations that caused them.
One, the preponderance of GTS and AA weaponry on both sides made modern aircraft, atmospheric frigate operations, and drone support untenable. This a complete contradiction of published Alliance, Republics, and Union battle planning (though in line with Hierarchy and Hegemony predictions & operational schemes). Long-term, I must recommend several new research labs be opened or contracted to examine this problem and provide technological solutions. Short-term, increased mobile GARDIAN unit production should be ordered, with these units added to second-line formations to further exacerbate the problem.
Two, During the Capital campaign, General Kaste removed all of the armored detachments from his first-line units and created an ad-hoc armored regiment. This unit was single-handedly responsible from preventing his force being enveloped on no fewer than seven occasions. While the advantages of every unit possessing it's own armored support remain, it also seems clear that there is room in your organization for dedicate armored regiments. Expansion of existing factories will likely serve in the short-term, long-term I would recommend new facilities be constructed.
Three, Morale remains a problem. Were it not for the circumstances that Mascal arranged to trap Kaste's forces in place, the majority would have likely deserted rather than suffer through the campaign as it unfolded. Desertion rates amidst other units remained at standard levels. While still at lower percentages than the other Warlords' forces (excepting the Eclipse), further examination is required. Some Colonels have reported success by utilizing Turian concepts, a heavy emphasization on the regiment and their comrades, but this runs the risk of soldiers becoming more loyal to their commanding officer rather than to you. I have no solutions at this time.
Four, Experimentation with first-line units may be in order. While I am not yet ready to recommend that an entire unit downgrade to lighter armor, it may be worthwhile to equip one or more platoons in such a fashion in order to give each regiment a lighter force. It is possible that their speed and relative agility would open up our combat tactics beyond the Hegemony's Tactical Defensive scheme that we typically train our officers to utilize. Veterans from Redcliffe would do excellently in this role, and could be attached to existing units as elite formations.
These recommendations are, as always, your choice my lady. If it is your will, I will broach them to my equals in rank to further refine them into actual operational plans to be conducted at a time of your choosing.
In the interim, I and my staff will continue to examine the campaign's aftermath and will begin correlating the lessons learned against experiences in other campaigns.
Commander-General Geshen ul Tithe
Subtitle: Division of Warlords
The loss of Redcliffe and Zaen has caused a large number of lesser names to desert Ganar's nascent empire. As per your request, the below is an updated listing of the various alliances. To date, none of the warlords in the Traverse or Dark Rim have assisted either side through anything more than token weapons sales.
Additionally, twenty-one lesser warlords have shifted operations from the Terminus to the Traverse and Dark Rim as the exodus to avoid the fighting continues. The majority of these are deserters who once supported the Blood Pack and are attempting to distance themselves from any fallout as their patron continues to decline.
Current Factional Breakdown
Major Warlords: Ganar Yulaz
Less Warlords: 17
Major Warlords: Aria T'Lock, Jona Sederis, Yan T'Ravt, Heinrich Bauer
Less Warlords: 44
Major Warlord: Gormack
Lesser Warlords: 37
Excerpt from Situation Report presented to Admiral Anderson
… the long term effects of Zaen's death and the fall of Redcliffe seem to point to an inevitable defeat of the Blood Pack forces. While fighting currently continues on forty-seven worlds, the majority of them are minor colonies or simple outposts. Without his subordinate's high-population capital, it is unlikely that Ganar will be able to fuel his warmachine for more than another calender year, two at the outside.
In the short-term, he remains an extremely potent adversary. The worst-case scenario for Aria and the other Warlords allied with her would be if their enemies attempt a repeat of the mutual-destructive acts that the first Krogan Empire engaged in during its final collapse. It would certainly be within Ganar Yulaz's personality profile to engage in scorched earth, genocide, or any other number of actions designed to punish his enemies even as he himself falls.
While this is largely a concern of the warlords, we in the Alliance have a potential complication of our own. Given his losses to date, it is highly likely that Ganar will begin exploring alternative means of improving his production base. With his lack of success in the Terminus, the Traverse would be his logical target.
Our entire sub-committee agrees that there is a eighty percent chance that Freedom's Progress, Horizon, or Antiva will come under attack within the next six months. We therefore must again recommend that all available political options be explored regarding the location of Admiral Hackett's fleet. If the so-called Withdrawal Bill passes parliament, those colonies will be left utterly open to being taken by the Blood Pack.
While they are not Alliance colonies, the notion of leaving any human colony at the mercies (or lack thereof) of a being like Ganar Yulaz is one that we find anathema to wearing the uniform.
- report shifts to raw economic data, end excerpt
Subtitle: Long-Term Effects of Redcliffe's Seizure
I wasn't sure why you wanted me to handle this, then you sent me that shit the Observer tried to write for you about who is fucking who on Illium's Board of Directors. Christ but that shit was dry enough to make epic Asari sex seem boring.
Right, on topic. With Redcliffe in T'Ravt's hands, she's nabbed herself quite the little empire over the past couple of years. Short term she's going to have some problems leveraging all of it, especially with the damage the planet's infrastructure took during the fighting. Looking a bit beyond that, she's essentially supplanted Sederis as the second most powerful Warlord after Aria. The Observer's numbers have her controlling something like forty percent of the region's heavy industry at this point, though die Waffe still has larger and better shipyards.
Now, the Observer and a bunch of other idiots probably think she can supplant old T'Loak, but there's not a chance in hell. Well, there's a chance but it's going to take her a couple of centuries to build up to. Fact is that neither Xentha or Redcliffe is near a primary relay, you've got to make a multi-day FTL hop to get to either. Omega isn't about to be replaced as a trade depot by either one, and Aria could crank up her tariffs to triple her current rate and still have people paying.
Plus Aria's not a goddamned idiot. She's already expanding her own colonial interests in that new cluster her explorers just opened through Relay 487. War's got that delayed a bit but give it a century or two and she'll have plenty of manpower. And Sederis is more likely to side with her than T'Ravt in any fight regardless.
To me, the bigger factor is the new up and comers that Zaen's death has let run loose. You've got three Batarian Ha'diq duking it out over what's left of his territory. My money's on ul Yesh and that human bitch he took as his lover. Give him a year and he'll probably be strong enough to be called a major warlord.
And Ganar's got his own fucking problems. There's that loose alliance forming up in the Traverse under ul Tirravan, and Cessa's already started raiding some of the Pack's worlds near the Rim. One of her old lieutenants has taken two of his colonies entirely, and she'll probably be looking to expand beyond that.
If you want my prediction, I'd say that Ganar's got a year at most before he gets ripped apart. The aftermath will probably last longer than the fucking war itself, especially in the eastern Terminus where all the little wolves will be fighting over the scraps T'Ravt and Aria leave them. Figure another three or four for shit to settle. Of course if old Gormack's health keeps going to shit, you could see a lot of fighting between Sederis and die Waffe as they go after his crap as well.
Figure at least a decade before shit goes back to normal. Or whatever the fuck passes for normal in the Terminus.
(Recorded on the Citadel)
Emily Wong: Steve! About time you got here.
- rises from her chair and hugs the new arrival
Steven Kratsman: Emily.. thank god, you have any idea how much I worried about you?
Wong: You always worry about me.
Kratsman: Of course I do! God Emily, you're braver than most men I know, but Christ that was reckless.
Wong: It's fine. I'm fine. I got everything we wanted. More than that even. Videos, pictures, interviews.
Wong: It's pretty much all on the Redcliffe campaign, only limited information about the rest, but I think we can spin it to show how it's a reflection of the war-
Kratsman: Emily. We talked about this, there's no appetite at the network for anything about the Terminus right now. They put you on administrative leave for talking about it on air when you weren't supposed to, then fired you when you pushed.
Wong: I'm not asking the network, I'm asking you.
Kratsman: ...Christ Emily, you want me to lose my job too?
Wong: Of course I don't want you to, but Steve... this isn't some tiny little conflict. This is a war. Did you even know that the Warlords had ground armies before I told you? That T'Ravt landed nearly half a million soldiers on Redcliffe?
Kratsman: Telling me it'll be educational isn't going to convince me.
Wong: How about the personal stories then? I've got notes on an mercenary commando team. Daily notes even. Interviews about why they're there, their relationships with each other, everything.
Kratsman: Which group?
Wong: The Silver Blades. They're reforming into a full PMC now, and they were in the thick of the fighting from almost the start. I've also got video and still image of the battlefield, and you know the Hierarchy's viewership will eat that up.
Kratsman: Maybe... do you have any sponsors yet?
Wong: All three of the Hierarchy's state media outlets have agreed in principle, provided I bring in at least two Turian experts to analyze the battle tactics. Badass weekly agreed to carry one article per month, and two of the newsgroups on Illium will re-run the documentary when we finish it.
Kratsman: ...really? Which ones?
Wong: Nos Astra News and Mercenary Confidential.
Kratsman: What's your budget?
Wong: Not as much as I'd like, but it's enough to get production rolling. I've got another writer on board to help me with the articles, if we can get enough of those carried by other sites we should easily be able to fund it all.
Kratsman: ...if you've already got all this in place, why do you even need me?
Wong: Because you're the best? Because I can't write, and produce, and keep everyone else on track while I'm also working on the articles and trying to drum up more support?
Kratsman: I like the second reason better than the flattery.
Wong: Is it flattery if it's true?
Kratsman: Stop trying to butter me me up. Christ... my wife is going to kill me.
Wong: Steve, you're not married anymore.
Kratsman: Sorry. My ex-wife is going to kill me.
Wong: You'll do it!?
Kratsman: Don't get too excited or I'll start regretting it. Do you have a script in place for the documentary?
Wong: I've got an outline.
Kratsman: Better than nothing. You said most of what you have is about that one unit?
Wong: That's where my source got most if it from, yes.
Kratsman: Your source? You mean-
Wong: Steve! Not in public!
Kratsman: Woah, all right, all right.
Wong: I'm sorry, it's just... taking a while to get over it. And I don't want people dismissing our focus for any reason.
Kratsman: ...I won't insult you and ask what happened, let's just move on. We can focus on them but we can't make it sound like a propaganda film. Especially if they're shifting to a full corporation, we'd lose any chance of getting more sponsors.
Wong: I know. I want to use them for the personal pieces, but we can edit out some of the markers from their helmet camera footage if you think that would help.
Kratsman: I'll have to watch it first. Is it... was it edited before you received it?
Wong: No, raw footage. I thought we could do two versions.
Kratsman: One for the Turians and one for everyone else?
Wong: More or less. Illium will probably run the graphic content as well, so it might be best not to make it too species specific.
Kratsman: -taking notes on his omni-tool- All right, I think we can work with that. How bad was it?
Wong: I'd... you might not want to eat before you watch some of it.
Kratsman: … did you need to talk with someone? I know a good-
Wong: I'm fine. Steve, I'm fine, promise.
Kratsman: Why don't I believe you?
Wong: The last time you said that you didn't believe me, your wife eloped with that bodybuilder.
Kratsman: ...touche. All right, let's put a list together and see what we can get done before I put my two weeks in.
End Those Who Fight – Vengeance Edition
While I had initially planned to do another chapter for Huntress, it ended up revealing too much each time I tried to put it down. So instead I went with the last planned chapter, which largely covers the after-effects of Zaen's death and the fall of Redcliffe to T'Ravt's forces.
Moving forwards, expect another Those Who Fight to be written specifically for Einherjar.
Please read and review, criticism is welcome, flames not so much, as usual. Reviews are my lifeblood as a writer.. every-time my email goes off with a review it makes me want to write more, so please take the time to leave one. Guests can leave them as well, and it only takes a minute, so please. Even if it's as simple as "I enjoyed it, please continue."