Few of Days and Full of Trouble
steppingstone to Unification Day
Aphrodite was a key strategic asset for the Alliance during the Unification War, a forward foothold from which to strike out at the Independent strongholds of Shadow, Hera, and Boros.
The Independents knew this, and so they threw everything they had at Aphrodite as a show of strength, culminating in the lengthy siege and urban campaign.
This response unfortunately played right into the Alliance’s hands. Alliance General Yu Kwan essentially offered Aphrodite up on a silver platter to the Independent Faction in the hopes of forcing them to overextend themselves (note: the Independents played this same game against the Alliance on Athens). The Independent expeditionary force, well-equipped by Browncoat standards, was soon pinned down, encircled, and slowly strangled. The siege was costly for both Alliance and Independent forces, to say nothing of the civilian population.
Today, Aphrodite still bears the scars of the heavy fighting that took place during the war, but the Alliance was quick to shower the world with reconstruction contracts and federal largesse, as payment for services rendered.
Aphrodite has four moons: Sturges, Hill, Thornley, and Anton.
It was Aphrodite’s first moon that proved to be the major tipping point of the Unification War and the wedge by which the Alliance claimed Aphrodite. The Battle of Sturges struck a blow against the Independents in bloodshed that only the Battle of Serenity Valley surpassed.
During the first months of the war, the Browncoats had near unchallenged control of the skies. All thanks to the 12th cavalry’s gunboats, which could slip in quick as you like, open a sizable hole in the side of Alliance capital ships and then be gone before you could say “humped”.
Fast, maneuverable and cheap to arm, these Firefly Series 3 military variants proved to be the strong edge of the Independents offensive strategy. Alliance forces suffered major losses in entanglements with these mid-bulk fighters.
It was at the Battle of Sturges when the Alliance unleashed their answer to the Firefly gunboat – the AFAS, the boat responsible for taking space superiority away from the Independents and making the gunboat all but obsolete. The AFAS was small and quick, making it difficult for the gunboat’s railguns to target them. It had minimal armor, which it traded in favor of four turrets, below & above wing, and two big cannons on the front.
The tactic it used to down a gunboat was simple and effective: Attack in small three-ship wolf packs. While two AFAS hemmed their target in, firing turrets while staying clear of the gunboats weapons, the third would drop behind and cut loose with those forward cannons. Among the Alliance, the AFAS were known simply as gunboat killers. Among the Independents, they were called “Shinigami”, fast and silent death for anyone caught in their crosshairs.
Many historians believe it was the deployment of the AFAS that turned the tide of war in favor of the Alliance. The Alliance pressed their advantage after Sturges, using their big ships for ground bombardment and to carry fleets of Shinigami, which ensured no Browncoat ever took to space again without paying the ultimate price.