Leaving Cordelia Base
Most histories of the Mars-Belter War rightly focus on the
struggles in and around the Belt and the commerce raiding that ultimately helped
precipitate the Belters' defeat. The battles at Jupiter, the occupation and
insurgency at Saturn and even the Imperial Navy's Kuiper Raid feature
prominently in most accounts. And the surrender of the Neptune Squadron over
Triton on the day of the armistice serves as a coda to the war and a
counterpoint to the signing of the Peace of Vesta in the most acclaimed war
reference. But what most of these stories mention just in passing, if at all, is
the campaign fought in near isolation near and around Sol's smallest gas giant.
The Uranus Campaign spans more than the length of the war. Fighting continued until the surrender of V104 Spartacus well over a year beyond the armistice date. And if a fatal bar brawl in a disputed Titania outpost could be considered a casus belli, then the war between the Belt and Mars started at Uranus a week before the Strentor Incident.
Uranus was never heavily populated. At the outset of the war, only forty thousand people inhabited the planet and its moons. Three quarters of those were God's Children, mostly living under King's Mountain on Oberon. The Children had sold their gas mining platforms and the Miranda stations to Hesperia less than a decade earlier, and that was the basis of the Martian stake in the system.
On Ariel, a few thousand Belters had held out through the worst of the Dark Age, for more sentimental than economic reasons, but with outer system trade increasing and demands for deuterium, helium three and xenon rising, Belter businesses and co-ops had begun to move in, rehabbing the Umbriel camps and vying with the Martians for control of the otherwise worthless largest moon, Titania.
With commerce came protection. The Martian Imperial Navy maintained a division of corvettes and a squadron of fighters at Miranda. The Belters fortified their Ariel and Umbriel holdings and surreptitiously built patrol bases under craters on the shepherd moons of Cordelia and Ophelia.
On the day after Strentor, two Belter Vigilance class patrol cruisers and a flight of Marauders destroyed the Martian's Uranian gas platforms and raided Miranda. For the next nine years, with little resupply and no relief, a handful of light warships and gunships, along with commandeered freighters and shuttles and miners drafted or shanghaied into irregular units, fought in a cold forgotten struggle.
--Excerpt from the forward of The Forgotten Campaign: War at Uranus, Larrisa Mellon Lupi, Selene ePress, 2540.
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