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Chapter 4: Viridians

We can accept that there are many more battles to fight, but how many of you are willing to champion the unpopular view that things cannot go back to the way they were? It is our duty as the birthplace of mankind to assume the leadership of this new struggle, and we can no more be content with our allies than we can with ourselves. Can no one here understand that it was the status quo that nearly spelled our annihilation?

Academician N.M. Dirac in an open session of the Viridian Assembly

The Viridian Sector

The north shore of Iskandria Major serves as a startling contrast to the surrounding cityscape, here the endless march of steel and duroplaz gives way to lush green jungle and orchards, clean parks and vibrant forests. Rising from this verdant sea like a scattering of diamonds are the solar cities of the Viridians, enormous self-contained domicile units that contain an entire support system for their inhabitants, from food-processors and consumer goods manufactories to entertainment complexes and medical centres - all powered by the clean energy solar panels that track the movement of Arkadia across the sky each day to maximize their gain.

The Viridian Sector is the breadbasket and power plant of Iskandria, supplying much of the planets nutritional and energy needs via its intensive agribusiness and clean energy practices - the foundation of Viridian economic strength. The intensive cultivation of hybrid forests and croplands, in addition to ultra-efficient hydroponics yields, ensures a wide-variety of terrestrial crops are available for consumption. Both fish and kelp farming, as well as deep sea harvesting, also provide a tremendous amount of Iskandrian dietary needs. But the Viridian genius for agriculture does not stop at such simple produce, for their output of whole foods is dwarfed by their production of biopastes; a primary ingredient in many foodstuffs manufactured throughout Iskandria. Biopastes are recycled and purified organic matter available in different protein densities, primarily consisting of fish paste and extracts from the aquatic and terrestrial agri-industries.

New Fontain is the primary city in the Viridian Sector, consisting of a conglomeration of some twenty-three smaller solar cities and manufacturing centres linked by a web of monorails. It lies on the southern border of the Solar District and is well placed to take advantage of trade and business contacts with the Free City to the south, and it has long had the most cosmopolitan population of any city in the Viridian Districts. Its importance has only grown during the present conflict as it is the headquarters of the Free City Assembly in Exile as well as the Iskandrian Defence Force, in addition to being the major manufacturing, logistical, and staging area for all Viridian military operations on the planet.

Neo-Karas, located in the mountainous northwest of the Cordillera District, is the political and intellectual capital of the sector and serves as the seat for the Viridian Assembly of Iskandria. Nestled amongst vast acreages of wind farms and high-altitude cropland, Neo-Karas is a transport and communication hub between the Viridian Sector and the neighbouring VASA Sector, its sky- port and monorail stations always busy with the flow of traffic to and from these sectors.

A direct line leads from Neo-Karas to the massive industrial port of Seabreak, in the Marakata District, the largest port of its kind on the planet. Seabreak's fisher fleet and sea-farming industries are responsible for some forty-percent of the Viridian Sector's total aquatic produce - the endless alternating bands of cultivated grey and green that spread horizonward from Seabreak transform this region of the Nephrite Ocean into a kind of oceanic farmland. Seabreak is also home to the Viridian Surface Navy of Iskandria which, though traditionally little more than a patrol and rescue service, has recently become essential in combating the Koralon threat - the undersea alien colonies that lie beneath the waters to the north. Unfortunately Seabreak was amongst the hardest hit by the Koralon spore infection that spread southward in the early weeks of the invasion, for much of the city is built along unconventional open- air principles rather than the easily sealed solar city design, and intense fighting with hybrid elements in the city continues.

A very different coastal city is Duncan, located in a remote eastern outcrop of land called Karnasus District. Duncan is completely owned an operated by Inter-Planetary Pioneers, one of the most powerful and pervasive of Viridian corporations. The city actually predates the presence of Viridia itself on Iskandria, IPP having been one of the two main contractors hired by the Karnisian Free Traders, and later Iskander himself, to terraform the planet. Much of the biota used to convert Kyklop's atmosphere was first cultivated and spread from this city (then more of a huge regulated greenhouse than an actual city), and much of the richness of the soil in the Viridian sector is due to the intensive build up of organic matter originating from this point. The city today is still extremely important in maintaining Kyklops' environment, and boasts a large number of desalination and weather control facilities. But today Duncan is primarily a secret research base, open only to IPP personnel and affiliate scientists, as well as certain members of the VAF and civilian government. It is rumoured that a new submarine program has been initiated here with designs on taking the war to the Reef Cities of the Koralon themselves.

The Iskandrian Defence Force

A soldier's strength lies with three factors, motivation, training, and equipment. Of the three, motivation is primary; without it the best training and the best guns will get you nowhere; with it a group of average men and women can be made into an unstoppable force. Motivation is at the core of the IDF.

General Vonic Isambard, Commander of the Iskandrian Defence Force

Viridians have always favoured direct action when confronted with a crisis, but the convoluted nature of the present Iskandrian disaster has taxed their ability to wage conventional war on the scale to which they are accustomed. Unlike the Syntha the Viridians adhered to the letter of the Partition Treaty and limited their forces in the system to a small garrison and core of technical specialists, mostly military engineers leased to various private business concerns within the Viridian Sector. And while the Junkers and VASA each had irregular forces through which they could act in the neutral zone and remain, at least ostensibly, within the bounds of legality, Viridia had to create theirs from scratch. Thus was born the Iskandrian Defence Force, an unprecedented mobilization of manpower and industry that is as much a testament to the Viridian genius for adaptation as it is to the courage of the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who comprise its members.

The Koralon and Syntha invasions threw Iskandria into chaos, and whole sectors were depopulated as citizens fled to the apparent safety of the Great Power sectors. The Viridians received the largest number of refugees, as their reputation for humanitarianism and their close economic and cultural attachment to life in the Free City made them the natural choice for much of the population of Iskandria Major. While these refugees put a strain on Viridian resources they also provided opportunities in the form of political legitimacy for a new military organization and much of the raw manpower to staff it.

The Free City Assembly in Exile comprises most of the political authorities of the Iskandrian Neutral Zone and, while VASA has established a similar body (the Emergency Municipal Council) the Viridian sponsored body enjoys a broader base of legitimacy. After all, it controls a volunteer military organization a quarter of a million strong, the Iskandrian Defence Force, which has plunged headlong into the conflict in the neutral zone in order to protect the territorial and economic integrity of t type="text/javascript" src="">he Free City and stave off hostile actions by competing irregular forces and the Koralon themselves. So far the IDF has met with mixed results, but as this new army gains experience and as more sophisticated techniques and weapons are developed to suit the unique conditions of the Neutral Zone it has become an ever more formidable fighting force.

The IDF, all pretence aside, is of course an appendage of the Viridian Armed Forces, though the majority of its new recruits are natives of the Free City. But from the highest tier of command to the line officers in charge of leading this inexperienced volunteer army one finds only career VAF soldiers, most of whom have been recently promoted to fulfil new command level requirements in an ever-growing force. Thus, many non- commissioned officers have found temporary commissions as platoon commanders while capable lieutenants have been assigned full companies. The head of the IDF himself, General Vonic Isambard, was a brigade commander prior to the outbreak of hostilities on Iskandria, and it is thought by many that the inexperience of most of the IDF senior staff at their present command level has resulted in less operational efficiency than in customary in a body such as the VAF.

But the IDF also possesses an unprecedented degree of rank mobility for those who have proven themselves capable under fire and, as a body, it has seen a great deal of action and thus a great many opportunities to identify leadership talent in its fresh recruits. Mindful of its shortcomings the emphasis for the IDF has been on encouraging initiative and creativity at the tactical level, and many capable commanders that may normally have been promoted to deal with the organizational crisis have been retained on the frontlines. The platoons and companies that see the most action in the neutral zone have become not only the tip of the IDF spear point in contested sectors, but also the crucible from which new talent emerges.

While the IDF may appear structurally identical to the VAF on paper, with a traditional platoon-company-battalion-regiment-brigade- division structure, much of this is misleading. As mentioned emphasis has been placed on tactical coherency and low-level command, and thus over- strength battalions or regiments have become the primary manoeuvre and command elements in the field, acting in much the same way as a brigade might in a more conventional conflict. While the IDF retains higher-level divisions within the army these are generally for administrative purposes only.

This 'lead from the front' mentality is due in part of course to the urban environment of Iskandria, but also to the character and equipment of the IDF trooper. For all its ad hoc qualities the IDF is extremely well equipped, and the sophisticated protective, optical, communications, medical, and intelligence gathering technologies available to the IDF soldier go a long way toward rectifying his inexperience. So too have career soldiers and specialists of the VAF, such as the commandos of the Special Forces and the deadly Shock Marines, made an impact on the field disproportionate to their numbers. But it is the motivation of the common IDF soldier, often a refugee and native of the Free City, that has proven most decisive in the conflict. More than any of the other forces employed by the Great Powers the IDF can truly be said to be fighting to protect their home.

The Viridians at War

Just show me where the fight is.

Major Icarus Trask, 'Viridian Lions' Off-World Regiment

The intitial stages of the Iskandrian War were chaotic episodes of ad hoc organizations and makeshift armies dealing with unforeseen and, in some cases unimaginable, threats. The Viridian's ability to rapidly mobilize and equip a field army while simultaneously stabilizing their domestic population and providing internal security as well as humanitarian relief for the streams of free city refuges that fled northward has been second to none. However political constraints, such as an unwillingness to abandon the letter of the Tripartite Partition and Intervention Treaty and an insistence on procedural formalities in its dealings with the Free City Assembly in Exile, have hampered the speed and decisiveness with which it could have acted.

Luckily, the IDF ranks are free of such constraints, and the ability of forward command elements to act decisively and mostly autonomously has lead to an unprecedented degree of success at the front. But this flexibility has come at a price for, though it was always the Viridian intention to maintain a wide defensive front while seeking some kind of peaceful end to the conflict with the other Tripartite Powers, field commanders have chosen to prosecute the war in the most direct and efficient means possible - and this seldom proves to be the most politically expedient.

An example of this can be seen in the Preswerd Wold incident that has significantly worsened relations between Viridia and VASA. A small VASA detachment in the New Thane Sector, which lies close to the two powers' mutual borders, had cordoned off the Preswerd Wold arboretum that was full of dozens of mutated hybrids. An IDF platoon from the 4th Tactical Brigade was engaged in kill sweeps of the area, seeking out those infested with coraline and destroying them. The Viridian Sector in this area has very porous borders, and its lush vegetation has proven an ideal hiding spot for the thousands of hybrids spilling northward every day. The VASA team had orders to hold the creatures until they could be captured for study, believing these could hold an answer to the infection. Viridian Sergeant Yath, however, had a different idea, and felt he was acting in full compliance with his orders when he disarmed the VASA suppressor team and destroyed the arboretum with controlled demolitions and fire bombs. VASA was of course outraged by the incident, but such is the latitude given to IDF field officers, many of which are new appointees.

The IDF limited its operations to Iskandria Major, establishing a solid defensive position as far south as the Four Bridges Sector (which they lost to the Koralon), the Pergama Sector and Iskander's Mausoleum, and the Vomeen Bal Sector that they hold jointly with VASA. They have created numerous field headquarters and Mobilization Points (MPs), some of which resemble plasticrete fortresses, and had settled down to a defence in depth until the arrival of reinforcements - with new VAF leadership - and then launched the Iskandrian War into its second, deadlier phase.

Nearly ten new VAF Divisions were landed from orbit to bolster the Viridian military during Operation Arkadian Dawn, and thousands of tonnes of hardware, equipment, and supplies. Already the VAF, which had decided to ignore the Partition Treaty, has committed a large force - comprising mostly of veteran Off-World Regiments of Viridian natives - to the retaking of the Koralon infested centre of Iskandria. Not only have they moved on the Four Bridges Sector but they have sent a formidable force to the Acreus Sector on Iskandria Minor. This force has already seen heavy fighting with both the Koralon and a tremendous Gladiator army under the Warlord Hamilcar that seems to be acting independently of Junker command.

A new offensive has also been planned against the Syntha in the centre of Iskandria, all pretence at treaty rights having been abandoned. Many of the new generation of military battlesuits, the CLAUs, have been earmarked especially for this campaign, in an effort to offset the Syntha's advantages of mobile firepower. Thus far the VAF and IDF has limited itself to probing forays and search and destroy patrols against the Syntha all along the neutral zone front, but the highly mobile Syntha's raids and feints into Viridian rear areas has checked the VAF's willingness to commit too much of their front line to an invasion thus far. Attempts to enlist VASA aid for a mutual strike against the Syntha have so far been rebuffed, VASA preferring to pursue its own ends unfettered by Viridian involvement.

  • Viridian Landscape 1
  • Viridian Landscape 2
  • Viridian Landscape 3