Well, that was exciting. I haven’t been a part of a planetary invasion force since… well… the last time we invaded Logasiri.
So, having crushed or co-opted Black Star to the point where most of them have run off to form a new colony under Aria, Logasiri was left with few friends, especially after Jarek Bal’iban and his allies managed to run off with their carrier flagship, as well as governor Aton Kal’Hirek’s favorite slave, who was also Jarek’s wife.
Since then, there’s been a concerted effort to fuck with them. Priceless batarian artifacts were recovered by Quinn, Jarek, and Artemisia and given, quite publicly and with much pomp, to Grothan Pazness of Lorek. Jarek’s wife was appointed by Jarek as the “Governor of Logasiri in exile” to the Omega Nebula Senate, effectively representing a colony that would give anything to assassinate her. There was a concerted campaign of propaganda and insurgency operating on the ground, including militant cells loyal to Jarek and simple citizens swayed by the way the cultural wind was blowing.
So, it came as no surprise that whole bunch of folks got together to discuss the necessary direct action to finally topple Logasiri’s regime and put Jarek back in charge.
The “Senate subcommittee meeting” (or group of conspirators, depending on how you look at it) consisted of Senators Pazness, Kal’Aine Bal’Iban, Siala Jonis Atma T’Kala, Matriarch Galliae, Solem Del’Serah, Lily Asada, and my own Senator, Daro Tas… so about half the entire council. They each brought in various loyal operatives to discuss strategy and tactics. After a briefing by Cynthia Hawkins who had done most of the prep work in seeding insurgency and infiltrating agents onto the planet, we discussed targets and resources.
Hawkins mentioned that the concerted propaganda campaign throughout the nebula had netted a small, rag-tag fleet of “independent batarian operators” who wanted to help. It was assumed that some of them were actually Logasiri plants, and so Senator Asada put some of her time into ensuring their loyalty. She managed to convert two of the captains to her religion, and straight out bribed or blackmailed the rest of them. We were also going to be bringing the Pride of Khar’Shan to the battle both for it’s definite naval power, but also as a symbol of which side was in the right. It was therefore absolutely essential that any simmering mutiny be taken care of. One shouldn’t forget that the ship was basically stolen by stealing the captain’s loyalty, and there were still, doubtless, many Logasiri sympathizers among the crew. Senator Daro Tas pulled some strings with his corporation to ensure additional security for the Captain, and went aboard himself to keep an eye on things. Furthermore, Senator T’Kala gave a rousing speech to the “indentured servants” serving on the ship exhorting them not to rebel, for victory might meet their ultimate freedom. Jarek pulled his own strings to make sure his loyalists on the ship were watching for mutiny.
Another problem was how to make the popular uprising that had been seeded and fomented by Hawkins actually effective. Artemisia pointed out that all the colony safeguards against environmental breach, like sealing bulkheads, etc., were absolutely also being used as a method of control and suppression. The population can’t revolt if the doors to their homes are all sealed. Nova and Kragg arranged a VI virus from some… computer… guy? It was never really explained. His name is apparently Eli and he’s apparently some sort of computer genius where even Kragg is asking him for help? Whatever. The point of the virus was apparently to unlock every door and disable all the emergency environmental systems. Upside: can’t lock rioters into their homes. Downside: Hopefully there isn’t a dome-breach or everyone asphyxiates.
Senator Daro Tas and Jarek pooled some resources to hire Jorgal Nask and his army as shock ground troops to take the spaceport, and Daro furthermore secured the services of Aepheus Virdros and Aleena to provide perimeter security in case they had any naval surprises. Malus Apian and his crew of engineers were pulled off the mass relay project to support Nask in case anything critical at the spaceport was damaged.
Having secured these resources, we hooked up with a small Blue Suns fleet, and the rag-tag batarian fleet, and headed to Logasiri.
The space battle was abrupt and fierce. Obviously a concerted propaganda campaign made it more than clear that we’d eventually be attacking, and Aton Kal’Hirek had pulled his most loyal military commanders tight around the colony. With the advantage of the Pride of Khar’Shan, we punched a hole in the defenses, and Jorgal Nask’s brutal planetary assault ships impacted the spaceport spilling vorcha commandos, supported by Lily Asada and her irregulars. The fighting to get to the command tower was particularly fierce, but they pushed through only to be confronted by a grizzled three-eyed batarian with his finger on the switch to blow the whole place. Lily, though, recognized that he was willing to die because he believed that his soul was already damned. She pulled out some obscure quotes from some batarian religious texts and quickly re-interpreted them for him, convincing him that his soul was not, in fact, lost… that she could show him redemption. Nask told me about all this later, with an expression of complete disbelief on his face. Apparently the guy bought it, put down the trigger, and is now one of Lily’s fanatical followers.
She kinda scares me.
With spaceport secured, the rest of us hit the ground. Silana and I were with Artemisia and that crazy quarian Sira’Taal, fighting alongside a Blue Suns assault force. Our objective was Logasiri’s military HQ. We hit the building hard and pushed in, supported by the biotic vorcha Artemisia brought along. The quarian was a terror with those inferno grenades and her highly fortified shielding. We routed the initial defenders, but had to breach the interior bunker. Silana used some sort of built-in hacking suite, but it exposed her to fire when the doors opened. Artemisia put herself between her own bodyguard and danger… kinda defeating the purpose of having a bodyguard, but oh well. She got shot up… again… but Sira’taal and Silana leapt over her into the bunker and started slaughtering while I stood above Artemisia providing covering fire so she could recover. We secured the HQ in short order.
Simultaneously, a team consisting of Nova Noir, Brother Astrophel, a krogan medic from Omega named Ganar Kurg, and a quarian associate of Lily Asada’s named Ora’Shen, supported by Blue Suns, assaulted the colony’s fusion reactors. They had identified these during the planning stage as a great place for a toppling regime to make a dramatic suicidal gesture. While the reactors themselves would probably be very resistant to easy meltdown, channelling the power output through the colony’s “strategic eezo reserve” could dramatically destabilize the planetoid itself, destroying the entire colony. Fortunately, the local powers that be assumed the heavy-duty bunker doors would require minimal military support. With the VI virus opening every door, the defenders were put on the back foot, and they fought their way into the reactors with little difficulty. They then held off counter-attack while Ora’Shen secure the systems from sabotage or tampering, and shut off power to the strategic eezo reserves. Apparently Kal’Hirek had, indeed, put such a disastrous plan into motion.
At the same time as those two assaults, Drala, Kragg, and Gillian vas Idenna assaulted the governor’s palace. I say “assaulted” although the plan was, originally, a covert entry. The covert part was kinda blown by some rigged explosives, but Drala nevertheless managed to get Kragg and Gillian to a security station where Kragg seized control of the palace’s systems, spoofing a colony environment breach, causing all the internal bulkheads emergency drop doors to activate. This effectively interfered with palace security’s capacity to respond. Gillian defended Kragg while Drala made her way through maintenance shafts or whatever to find the governor himself. She found him, alright, railing against his sudden inability to communicate with his forces, or even leave his office. There was only a single batarian female slave in the room with him, his security having been locked out. Drala noticed the slave getting a regicidal look in her eye, and so took action to take Kal’Hirek prisoner instead making it clear to the slave that her help wasn’t necessary.
That’s when Jarek and his gang of insurgents, backed with Blue Suns, flanked by camera drones, made his triumphant march to the palace. The colony’s systems were flooded with pre-recorded propaganda announcing the new regime while rioters in the streets cheered. Kragg worked the palace systems to ensure the triumphant march was uninterrupted, and Jarek confronted his old enemy, trussed up in his office. Their conversation was broadcast for all, but before Jarek could put the ceremonial collar of slavery on his rival, Kal’Hirek alluded to one last strike…
That’s when Aleena and Aepheus alerted the fleet to incoming. Four cargo ships came out of FTL at full thrust, powering for a crash-landing onto the colony. It was generally assumed that they were packed with enough devastation-power to wipe the whole place out. Quinn demonstrated some admirable bullshitting, convincing one pilot to hesitate, then demonstrated some admirable piloting, managing to use the Long Reach to ram one ship into another ship without serious damage to the Long Reach itself. Malintzin nudged the hesitating vessel out of its own dangerous trajectory while Daro Tas, apparently, managed to hack the fourth vessel from the bridge of the Pride of Khar’Shan, sending it on it’s own safe course. This delayed the impacts long enough for the Pride’s fighters and main guns to make short work of them.
When he realized his last suicide gambit had failed, Kal’Hirek submitted to Jarek, and the colony was officially captured.
Regime change isn’t fast, though, and we ended up hanging out for about a week while the aftermath was sorted and everything was cleaned up. The Logasiri military had to be disarmed, and so the Pride and the Blue Suns took over defensive duties while the loyalties settled out. It seems that Jarek’s governorship is reasonably well-assured, although I suspect he’ll be handling occasional assassination attempts for a little while at least.
He gave a rousing speech to the whole colony, the orbital fleet, and the entire system about returning Logasiri to its traditional values. He freed all “mercantile” slaves, i.e. those slaves bought with credits, but did NOT abolish the practice of slavery, insisting that traditional batarian slavery, as a result of crime or defeat in warfare, would continue. This did not make some of his allies happy, but most people recognized that you don’t change a society overnight. Multiple ships volunteered to transport freed slaves to Omega, where they’ll be encouraged to move on to Thessaly. The economic shortfall of so many freed slaves was made up for by financial and material aid from the Elkoss Combine, a loan that I’m sure they made at very reasonable rates.
Ultimately, we left Logasiri in its new hands and returned, ship by ship, back to Omega. Governor/Senator Siala Jonis was not notably happy about her former associate not abolishing slavery entirely. We’ll see how that all plays out on the senate floor, but as Jarek said, he’s happy to provide his colony’s strategic eezo reserve to the cause of repairing the mass relay… provided he’s not given a reason not to. From what I understand, Kragg has already figured out how to fix the relay, he just needs a ton of eezo. They’d be foolish to antagonize Governor Bal’iban too much, I think.
There’s one detail I glossed over. During the initial senate meeting where this was planned out, Spectre Saelan Viris addressed the assembled. He talked about a suicide mission through the Omega-4 relay. The plan would be to attach fusion torches to the derelict reaper hulk and fly it at speed into the galactic core relay, destroying it before the Leviathan’s agents could finish converting it into an alpha relay, and thus preventing the leviathans from having a major hub through which to dominate any renewed mass relay network. He said he had the ship, the torches, the equipment… all he needed was the personnel. He would require one or more skilled engineers willing to die. There was some discussion. Apparently this Eli guy, the computer genius, might be convinced to go. The issue was tabled until after the Logasiri thing. I imagine that will be a matter soon discussed. I can’t imagine anyone wants those brain-controlling monsters to have any more advantage that they already have.