"I swore to never surrender to you."---
"Why do you people keep revolting? Don't you see the futility in all of this? We Trans-Stellar Corporations have assets in the billions!"
"You may snuff out our lives, burn our homes. Break our hearts. But we will not rest until we have earnt what we are owed. Our skin is ours. This soil is ours. We will not rest. The flames of our Revolution will burn on in the heads of all."
-Alleged dialogue between a peacekeeping officer and Ares rebel at the beginning of the Ares Uprising.
Even after the failure of revolts within the core worlds of Sol Central against the yoke of the TSCs, revolution still carries its torch into the deep reaches of explored space. One of these rebel factions is the Ares Confederation. The Ares Confederation tethers on the fringe of colonised space and currently holds only a dozen of planets- But exactly those who were coveted and exploited by their TSC overlords for their richness in biosphere or resources, enabling to carry much more punch than their size would normally allow them. While formally seperated from Sol Central, the USDF hesitates to fully mobilise against the unruly colonies, as their cause is tentatively supported by factions within Sol Central, as they weaken the iron grasp of TSCs on daily politics.
Their seat of Government is Paraiso a Àstrea, a former pleasure world turned rebel fortress.
Dawn of a Revolution
Originally only a strike of miners on the dusty, arid planet of Ares in the year 2540, the movement was quickly radicalized as Grayson Manufactories Ltd. answered the public outcry with heavy asset protection. From there on, an outright civil war spread across the planet's surface. After the strike was dispersed brutally by PMCs hired by Grayson Manufactories Ltd., with over the half of the death being unaffiliated citizens, the population of Sars Mara City took up arms- Most of it either scavenged, stolen or outright jury rigged from mining equipment. Organized by retired USDF Colonel Rodrick Gellaume, the rebels assaulted the Sars Mara military base and seized material and vehicles within it. Boosted by this victory, Gellaume quickly turned the tides for the rebels, getting Sars Mara City and outlying mining facilities under control.
From there on, the rebellion ground to a halt, as lack of manpower, trained personnel and sheer logistical issues drove the military effort to halt as Grayson Manufactories Ltd. began to respond with heavy asset protection. A long, bloody conflict broke out, with neither side able to dislodge the other from their entrenched positions. However, time was on the side of the rebellion, who have adopted the name "Zeal of Ares". The population was sympathetic to their cause, sick of their treatment under the TSCs. Collaborateurs and guerrilla warriors joined the cause, leading a shadow war deep within enemy territory.
The elan of the rebellion gained traction again after a devastating sabotage against Grayson Manufactories Ltd. at New Bolkhof, as the Munitions Depot was destroyed by saboteurs. With their air support cut off Grayson Manufactories Ltd. was attacked by the "Zeal of Ares", supported by local partisans, the second city falling to the rebels. With their numbers bolstered and morale exceptionally high, the "Zeal of Ares" won sweeping victories against the various PMCs, which were eventually pulled out by their firms- The loss of material and men simply outweighed the profits of their respective contracts. Ares was officially relinquishing control from Grayson Manufactories Ltd., turning it to the inhabitants of the world, broadcasting to the known galaxy that the people have spoken and that revolution is coming to their sector of the Galaxy.
Paradise on Fire
Although Ares was firmly secured in the hands of rebels, Gellaume, now declared Military Magistrate of the Ares Confederation, knew that, if given time, Grayson Manufactories Ltd. would strike back and assuredly take back the planet. A fleet was needed, so were allies or more territory for the new government he helped to shape. Especially a space fleet was required to take over the various mining and manufacturing stations within the system Ares resides. Unsavoury deals have been made with local pirate groups, pardoning their crimes and allowing them to resocialize into the new society in turn for military fleet service. Surprisingly, quite a lot of privateers agreed to this and integrated into the rebellion more or less seamlessly, taking control of vital shipyards in Ares' orbit. Success bred ambition and with bolstered ranks, Gellaume set out to a Crusade through the local sector, trying to unite the local sector under his banner to protect all the work his soldiers done.
But his rebellion was hungry... Literally. Ares, as an arid, hot planet, was not suitable for most crops and foodstuff was previously imported by their TSC masters. With that out of the equation, food supplies were dwindling. And thus, taking over a verdant world or agricultural powerhouse was mandatory. The decision was easy to make. Gilthari Exports held a fringe world in close proximity. Paraiso a Àstrea. Jungle, oceans full of life. Mostly untampered by human hand ot preserve the nature for rich corporate figures to enjoy. Military presence on the ground were minimal at best, with most of the protection coming from orbital stations and patrol frigates holding the perimeter. Again, the popularity of Gellaume and his policies (such as drastically reducing piracy by simply making the pirates his navy), helped him in securing the planet. Civilian personnel rebelled against Gilthari after several collective bargaining attempts for higher pay and holidays were denied and picket lines roughed up and disabled the orbital strike stations. The frigates had no chance against the overwhelming privateer fleet and Paraiso was put under blockade.
Gilthari had no true interest in picking a fight in a sector where their only presence was a resort and quickly surrendered control over Paraiso in exchange for the captured and held hostage corporate figures on the planet surface, making Paraiso the only true, legally held territory by the Ares Confederation. The following months made the planet's surface drastically change. Military installation, FTL administration and agricultural complexes were constructed, feeding the rebellion and entrenching their hold on their tentative space even further as they expanded their civilian, economic and military control over their holdings, turning the rebel faction into a proto nation.
Limits of Zeal
The following years of the so-called Ares Uprising seen more victories than losses. Despite setbacks and losses of planets after successful insurrection, the Ares Confederation steadily gained more and more territory, firmly entrenching their position on the Fringe as military and economic threat to the TSCs vying for control over resources. Still, the current war os a stalemate, especially with the involvement of the USDF. Successful lobbying by the TSCs has led to Sol Central to send out peacekeeping forces, limiting the military efforts of the Ares Confederation to skirmishes, assaults and guerrilla attacks on outlying TSC planets, desperately trying to keep military response by corporations low, while seeking political allies with the United Federation to recognise their sovereignty and put an end to the conflict. Even unlikely allies were welcomed, such as refugees of other rebellions, such as the communist revolutionnaries of Mars, seeking to make amends by helping another cause against the Transstellars. Rumour has it that even the Syndicate is sympathetic to the Ares Confederation, feeding them military equipment, schematics and information of movements of their enemies. While holding their position and denying any further pushback, their current grip on their systems is tentative and shaky. Currently, they publicly broadcast that anyone is welcome in the new interstellar nation and urge nearby colonies to take up arms as well, while withholding large scale tactical assistance, rather consolidating their military might... At least for now.
The Ares Confederation is, contrary to its name, a largely centralised state. Paraiso a Àstrea holds most of the authority over the conquered colonies, with law enforcement, military, school system and judicracy paid by the federal treasury and handled by federal agents. Beyond that, the Ares Confederation is a parliamentarian, indirect democracy, headed by the Prime Minister, who also represents the state in diplomatic functions. Within the Confederation, two classes separate society. "Residents" and "Citizens". Residents are people, who are tolerated on the Confederation's soil. They are not allowed to hold public offices, cannot vote and are required to pay larger taxes than a "Citizen." In order to become a citizen, a resident needs to finish at least one tour in any of the Confederation's military branches, for a period of two years. This automatically elevates a resident to citizen, making them a fully fledged member of the Aresian society.
The legislative of the Ares Confederation consists of two houses, the Colonial Directive Council and the Liberty Assembly. The Liberty Assembly numbers 1370 senators, which gain their mandate in a "nation"wide election, in which all colonies, habitats and other permament housings of citizens are assigned to one of the 470 voting districts. Each citizen has two votes, one for a direct candidate and one for a party. With this, 470 senators are assigned a spot in the Liberty assembly. The direct mandate does not require membership in a party. The remaining 900 seats are assigned to the party based upon their percentage of votes they got. A party needs to have at least 5% of all votes to be assigned seats in the Assembly. The Liberty Assembly is voted for every four years.
The Colonial Directive Council is, however, appointed by the local governments of the colonies within the Confederation. Every colony (currently 12) sends three delegates to the Council. The Council has no term periods, the appointment is formally void when a new government on the Colony takes power and thus a Delegate may stay infinitely as long his party stays in power at his local colony.
The Liberty Assembly is the main parliament of the Ares Confederation and are those who vote for a Prime Minister and his cabinet. Furthermore, they create, edit and vote federal jurisprudence and laws, which are then legitimized by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is not allowed to veto a law initiative, unless he deems it unconstitutional. This decision can be vetoed by the Assembly. In this case, the law is judged by the Supreme Ares Court.
The Colonial Directive Council has only a representative function for the individual colonies. In case a law does not affect a colony or is outside their competences (like the school system or military), they can declare their dissatisfaction about the law, which does not have any legal binding. However, if the law pertains a colony, causes higher administrative cost for the colony or taxes them more, The Colonial Directive Council needs to give their blessing to the law. In case a simple majority within the council is not reached, the law needs to revised by the Liberty Assembly or is formally jossed.
The Prime Minister is both highest executive and head of state. Much like a president is he the highest diplomatic officer and representative of the state and its people.There is no term limit and the term is four years, exactly like the Liberty Assembly. The current Prime Minister is Gellaume on his second term. The Prime Minister is voted in by the Liberty Assembly based on the majority party and eventual coalition junior members, who also determine the cabinet of Ministers. The PM and the cabinet deal with the day to day business on the interstellar federal level, request the formulation of laws by the Assembly and guide the overal state of the Ares Confederation. Military supremacy is held by the Minister of Defense, or in case of war, the Prime Minister (as is the case for the current Ares Confederation). In case the Liberty Assembly deems the PM untrustworthy, they can hold a vote of confidence. If this vote fails to accumulate a simple majority, the PM is deposed and there needs to be a new one elected within two weeks.
The Supreme Ares Court (residing on Ares) is the highest juristic instance within the Ares Confederation and contains 9 members, the High Judges. They are the guardians of the Ares Confederate Constitution and Declaration of Independence. While holding no iniative, they are the final instance in many cases, from local to federal laws if they are unconstitutional or not. High Judges serve for life or until retirement and are appointed by majority vote of the Liberty Assembly.
The Ares Confederation prides itself of its zealous and ever vigilant soldiers, protecting and expanding the confederate holdings against the Corporate Overlords at the fringe at all costs. Made up of highly disciplined volunteers of all symphatetic sapients, all military branches of the military are highly meritocratic and proud of being a protector of their people.
United Fleet Host
The backbone of the military of the Ares Confederation is the United Fleet Host, with the seperate brances of the Space Fleet and Deep Space Marineers, handling space to space combat, logistics and space to ground invasions. Many of the officers and crewmen of the United Fleet Host are former local rebels, who taken up the torch for liberty across the stars, manning older and mothballed vessels and everything the Confederation managed to ramshackle build themselves by recovered blueprints. While their vessels may be antiquated by modern standards, crew and military tactics benefits from a large pool of experience - After all, many retired military personnel seen their opportunity to live up their glory days for a good cause. Thus, tactics employed by the United Fleet Host are highly unpredictable, rapid in response and capable of exploiting the most of their ships. Still, the fact of struggling firepower and outdated vessels is an issue. Rumour has it that the United Federation supports the Engineering Corps of the Confederation to overhaul, update and build up a proper, modern Space Fleet. The Modus Operandi of the UFH is as followed : Isolate, Exterminate and Regroup. Through precise strikes at the enemy, critical targets of the adversary fleet are isolated and seperated and destroyed. After this, the task group retreats and regroups for repairs and resupply.
Free Host of the Confederation
Colloquially called the "Cossack Fleet", the FHC is an irregular fleet comprised of adventurers, mercenaries, former pirates, privateers and volunteers, open for anyone who is willing to fight for the Confederation. Wild and free, their only directives is to not hurt civilian and neutral targets- Thus, they wildly strike against any enemy of the Ares Confederation, maurading, kidnapping and raiding enemy convoys, installations and patrols. Made up from anything that can fly and carry a gun big enough to hurt another ship, it is difficult to clearly define the main role of the Free Host, but they specialize in harassing the enemy, as auxiliary escort and vanguard for the UFH. Many a ship has its own traditions and rules on board, which are respected by the Military Command of the Ares Confederation. While the UFH is highly disclipined and coordinated, the individual captains of the Free Host are not required to cooperate, many of them preferring their own thing and getting rich on loot, only abiding the orders of the Prime Minister.
Many a Cossack Officer retires after getting enough share of plunder to the colonies of the Ares Confederation, enjoying the prestige they earnt and the status of citizen. Curiously enough, many aliens prefer to gain citizenship through the Cossack Fleet.
Saboteurs, demagogues and assassins... All of this and more is a Firebrand, a member of the Military Intelligence of the Ares Confederation. This branch-encompassing service chooses the best and brightest of their respective fields and trains them to do one thing : Bring revolution. Operating in small cells from one to five people, Firebrands infiltrate with minimal equipment enemy habitats and planets and begin to build up local resistance, liberating military equipment, scandalize and alienate local population, solely for the goal to create an uprising within the colony or installation. For this, they mostly have free reign, although their actions are strongly scrutinized during regular briefings and debriefings to avoid terrorism and too ruthless tactics, as this reflect badly upon the Confederation if Firebrand involvement is found out. After they stage an open coup against local magistrates, Firebrands prodive tactical and strategic support and try to make the new uprising assimilate into the Ares Confederation proper.