At the height of the 3rd Border War, the Imperial Armada had been spread out too thinly to effectively maintain peace across the Imperium. To prevent any upstart minor power from exploiting this perceived weakness within the Imperium, as well as to prevent any uprisings from within they had to form a new type of defensive force to patrol the borders and sectors across the Imperium. These were known as the Colonial Militias, and were to be tithed forces, armed with locally manufactured weapons and supplied within their local systems – but under direct Imperial control.
More often than not, the Colonial Militias were granted only second rate equipment and were ill-equipped to combat any of the threats that reared during the Border Wars. Pirates were disabling shipping lanes all across the western regions of the Imperium and the Militias had their hands full trying to maintain even a semblance of Imperial peace. As the 3rd Border War dragged on, many of these Colonial Militia regiments were also transferred, away from their local systems, in order to bolster defenses across the frontlines of the war and the tithing of such militias to bolster the war effort rose slowly but surely, along with a growing dissent within the affected regions.
While the Imperial Court was not blind to the problems rising within the western regions; their internal intrigues and power struggles prevented them from accurately assessing the problem. The western regions were, after all, the regions closest to the frontlines and it was perceived that it would be easier to tithe and ship militia units from these regions rather than from the more peaceful eastern provinces. To address this, however, the Imperial Court devised another internal security force; the Colonial Control Unit.
They were formed along the lines of the Militia forces, but tithed at a much lower rate and given better equipment and training than all other Militias. These units were then shipped to the western provinces to bolster their defenses, and to secure the peace and prosperity of Imperial rule. It was the hope of the Imperial court that not only would this prevent any further disruption of trade, but that the new provinces would absorb some of the culture and philosophies of the eastern regions – effectively uniting the Imperium together. Thus, the Colonial Control Units were also heavily indoctrinated in Imperial lore and were encouraged to share with their less developed brethren.
Imperial Expedition Force on the Move
Unfortunately, this only further enraged the member states of the western region. Not only were they hard pressed to supply Militia units for a pro-longed and distant war, they were barely keeping peace across the shipping lanes and now they had to supply a growing force of, what they perceived, as propaganda units – there to enforce Imperial rule, and keep the population in check. Dissent spread like wildfire, meaning that Colonial Control Units were now more occupied with just keeping the peace within the Imperial worlds and were ill-prepared to defend from any incursions.
Meanwhile the Saari Communion was becoming hard pressed to stave off the Imperial Armadas advance into their territories. Desperate, they found out about this growing dissent across the western regions and were forced to exploit it, in order to buy them some respite from the conflict. Their plan was simple in its execution; begin an organized series of piratical incursions and raids deep within the western regions, hoping to destabilize the Imperium from within. However, the Saari Communion had never targeted civilians before and while their plan would work, it would also bring about the Second Schism within the Communion – diversifying the otherwise united Communion further.
These raids were methodical, effective and lighting quick. Once the piratical bases of operations were set up across the western region, shipping was effectively stalled completely within the western region. The Colonial Control Units could not spare any men or ships to combat this growing threat and had to rely on the Imperial Court to come to their aid. The court decided, in what has since become known as the greatest mistake, that seeing as the Saari was now desperate enough to implement these measures would mean that the Imperial Armada was pressing home the invasion. The Colonial Militias were therefore to combat this threat, and tithing of these forces would increase tenfold to secure Imperial shipping across the western region; it was believed that the 3rd Border War would end within the year, provided that the Militias could uproot the pirates swiftly – thus the tithing was increased in order to quickly reinforce the western provinces.
Sol Militia preparing an Ambush
That was the final spark for the Sol system. For years they had been bled dry of material, men and what little they had gained in the form of protection from incursions had proven to be completely ineffective. So it was to be that in the year 414-5th, the Sol system overthrew the Colonial Control Units in one of the bloodiest coups in Imperial history; utilizing the recently raised Colonial Militia regiments that were bound for combating the Saari pirates’ superior numbers and local knowledge to fight off all Control Units within the Sol sector within a single week.
As the Imperial tithing fleet, Pax Mammonia, entered the Sol system, they were surprised to be met with a flotilla of warships and all of the escorting picket-ships were instantly destroyed or crippled as soon as they left the entry point. As luck would have it, for the rebellious Sol system, this tithing fleet had recently collected four Militia regiments from the nearby systems, who were quick to join the Sol system in their rebellion. It is important to note, however, that whilst the coup was bloody – the general principle of the rebellion was not to overthrow Imperial rule as such, but to regain some manner of localized control over their region.
The Imperial Court, however, was outraged. They cared little for the rebels motives; what they saw was treachery at its highest – not only had they overthrown the Control Units, but they had attacked and plundered an Imperial tithing fleet. Not only would this setback the end of the 3rd Border War by at least two years, but would also mean that other systems might begin to think of doing something similar. In all haste, it was decided that the Imperial Expeditionary Forces who were bound to return back for rearmament and rest, were to redeploy to the Sol system and quell this rebellion, swiftly and surely – to dissuade any other systems within the region to follow the example of the Sol system.