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Operation: Yellow Salvation (Veltorina Annexation)

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Operation: Yellow Salvation
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4:44 AM LOCAL TIME:

VENCEIA, CAPHIRIA

Centurion Atrus Iocopheno had been given orders to report to the Ministry of Diplomacy for an apparent classified debriefing, which made Iocopheno nervous since this was the first time he had ever received such an order. Having only been in the Legion for a few years, he had made a name for himself as a particularly valiant and stouthearted soldier but he did not think his actions were that impressive for a face to face with one of the most influential people in all of Caphiria.

Iocopheno waited for about fifteen minutes in the lobby before the doors to the office opened and he almost couldn’t believe who came out. The Imperial Commander of the entire IAF, Varrus Pavolcinax, was a tall and sinewy man with a grizzled face. He had a well-groomed beard that was turning grey and he had a steely look in his eyes that could only be given from seeing the horrors that a man in his position was allowed to see.

Iocopheno immediately snapped to attention and stood up, saluting the Imperial Commander as he approached him. “At ease, Centurion. Please…Join us.” Iocopheno had a brief look of confusion in his face as he followed the Imperial Commander of the Imperial Armed Forces of Caphiria into the offices of the Minister of Diplomacy. What a morning I am having, thought Iocopheno. The office was massive and had multiple tables stacked with books and documents sprawling across them.

The Imperial Commander was in the opposite corner of the office where the Minister of Diplomacy was on the phone. “Yes, Princeps Senatus. I agree and understand completely. Yes. We’re about to debrief and prepare now. We will establish a link and then touch base once everything is in place.” The Minister hung up the phone and sighed slightly and pinched the bridge of his nose before silently waving two fingers at Iocopheno, signaling him to approach the desk.

“I imagine this is all a bit jarring for you, Centurion.” The Minister paused. “We’ll get right down to things as time is of the essence. Commander?”

Imperial Commander Pavolcinax nodded. “Based on a combination of outstanding active and non-active duty performances, it is with great honor that I hereby promote you to the rank of Dux. You are now a commanding officer in the upper leadership of the IAF, albeit in the lowest capacity. You will still maintain your position as an active-duty leader and being a Dux will allow you to exercise more direct control over your Legion.”

Iocopheno’s eyes widened with disbelief as he shook the Imperial Commander’s hand. He had just been promoted to lead and oversee an entire Legion. He was pretty sure this made him one of the youngest people in modern history to hold this rank. “Thank you, Commander, truly. But…Forgive me for asking, why me? Why now?”

The Minister chimed in. “Caphiria needs you, Dux Iocopheno. The Imperial Commander needs you. I need you. There is a highly sensitive mission that is required of someone of your caliber and you are our first choice. I won’t sugarcoat or lie to you; this is guerilla warfare plain and simple. But before I can fully debrief you, I need to know that you are committed. This is national security after all.”

Without hesitation, Iocopheno agreed to his commitment and listened attentively as the Ministry of Diplomacy and Imperial Commander debriefed him on the task at hand. The Imperial Commander looked on stoically and simply said, “This is Yellow Salvation.”


...​



6:15 AM LOCAL TIME:

CAPHIRIA-VELTORINA BORDER


As his first major action as Dux, Iocopheno had been given the choice over which legion he would command. He chose the 114th legion, known as the ‘Deathstalkers’ for their high precision and low failure rates, after the most dangerous species of scorpions. The 6,000 strong legion was on the Caphiria-Veltorina border waiting for the green light to execute their mission. It was pretty straightforward: their objective was to secure two cities within the state of Veltorina and within that, secure any key points such as political and financial centers, airports, and military bases as needed.

Dux Iocopheno sent a third of the legion to secure the city of Amorium, called Unit Bravo, while he would lead the second third to secure the capital city Constantinople called Unit Alpha, leaving the last third to quell any conflicts that would arise and prevent them from completing their objective, Unit Charlie. It was predicted that the entire operation should take less than a full day. After waiting for approximately 15 minutes, Iocopheno received the green light. Operation: Yellow Salvation was officially started.

Unit Bravo consisted of 2,000 soldiers and they moved from the Caphiria-Veltorina border on the western part of Veltorina to the northern part where Amorium was. They landed approximately 6 kilometers from the city and began to mobilize. They were in the Lagunaria region and had identified 5 key points to secure: the Avendicci river, Vetsini Airport, the Agriklion military base, the Egathraia district, and Psylaos, the political center the region.

Unit Bravo then divided into six Centuries, with each one taking responsibility over securing one of objective points. The 6th Century remained in Amorium and their focus was securing the city and occupying it. The First Century Bravo mobilized towards the Avendicci river, a key stronghold in controlling the water supply to neighboring areas. The Second Century Bravo had a more complex task in that they had to secure the Vetsini Airport. They had the option of using air support but the main focus of the mission was self-containment. The Third Century Bravo was already near the Agriklion military base and identified the commanding officer, Sofronio Glaros as the VIP asset to take alive. The Fourth and Fifth Centuries Bravo would be working more or less together as both the Egathraia District and Psylaos center were within close enough proximity that a full assault seemed a better use of resources than two smaller ones.

Unit Bravo encountered minimal resistance in every key point they focused on except for the Agriklion military base. Naturally, a firefight ensued there. The Third Century Bravo was prepared for an assault with Veltorinan forces, though they sustained heavy casualties. By the time the Third Century had been able to secure the majority of the military base, the element of surprise had been lost and reinforcements had been called to that particular location. This proved to be a double-edged sword as it seemed that the Veltorinan forces were not yet aware of the other locations that were being secured, buying them more time but at the same time the Third Century Bravo was not prepared for an all-out assault with the military. They were losing men and slowly losing their foothold on Agriklion. Options were slowly running out. They’d have to call in reinforcements to match the Veltorinan’s or use one of their hail Mary air strike options. The latter of which would surely result in a full-scale war, which would make this mission a failure.

...
[TO BE CONTINUED.]​
 
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Unit Alpha was having a better time securing the Veltorinan capital of Constantinople than Unit Bravo was having dealing with the growing firefight at the Agriklion military base. Led by the recently-promoted Dux Iocopheno, the unit stormed into the city in their standard issue Humvees and made their way to the Kalamata district where the bulk of the city center was. They had three battle tanks in the unit as well just in case of emergency use, but it was more for a show of power. And it worked pretty well. The main Humvee that Iocopheno was in had a screeching loud siren blaring from its sound system, scaring the civilians and sending them scurrying from various shopping centers and plazas to seek shelter and make their way indoors. Unit Alpha approached the city center where a massive statue honoring the founding father of Veltorina, Timoleon Spinos was. This would be their main occupational site and Iocopheno ordered for Unit Alpha to secure the perimeter around the statue.

After the area surrounding the statue was secure, Iocopheno had Unit Alpha break into the standard Century divisions. Each Century had their own specific objectives, namely to patrol the streets of the capital and secure any crucial building locations and await further instruction from Iocopheno. Before he sent the Centuries out however, Iocopheno gave them the order to not use lethal force unless absolutely necessary. He had received word about the firefight occurring at Agriklion and wanted to contain any conflict to that area. After all, a firefight on a military base makes sense. A firefight breaking out in a predominantly residential area was simply bad optics.

Dux Iocopheno gave the order for Unit Alpha to break and execute on his orders and as the went to secure the capital, he would have to travel to the military base with his Century to provide support to Unit Bravo. He would also be bringing two battle tanks and leaving the third at Constantinople, his rationale being that in the event that Units Bravo and Charlie failed to secure their objectives, the entirety of the legion could fall back on the capital and if nothing else hold that.

When Iocopheno was en route to Agriklion, he received word that the Veltorinan government was catching wind finally of what was going on. This made him smile because the operation was nearly half complete at this point but it did mean that he had to be on his A game, now more than ever. The Veltorinans would be mobilizing their military and they still had to secure Agriklion before they would have enough leverage to properly secure the country.

The occupation of Constantinople was also running to issues the farther Iocopheno moved away from it. Hundreds of protesters began to organize and rally outside of the Veltorinan parliament, a pivotal location in the entire operation. One of the Centuries of Unit Alpha engaged with the protesters using tear gas to quell it, but that seemed to only add fuel to the fire as more anti-Imperium protesters began to group together as a self-defense militia. One of the soldiers that Dux Iocopheno left in charge at Constantinople decided to use this to their advantage as he instructed a few squadrons to distribute weaponry to the pro-Imperium supporters who had begun rallying around their main occupational area near the statue of Timoleon Spinos. Even though they had orders not to use lethal forces against the people, there was no order against inciting a small civil conflict.

Many hours later, Dux Iocopheno had arrived with his Centuries to provide support for Unit Bravo at Agriklion military base. At this point however, the military of Veltornia had been mobilized and was engaging and resisting directly with Caphiriavan forces but were vastly outnumbered.

In central Veltornia, the 35th Armoured Brigade deployed a battalion of Chieftain tanks, BMPs, and an artillery battery against the Unit Charlie and fought delaying actions near the province of Anavoa. In the south, the 15th Armoured Brigade moved immediately to evacuate its forces to the southern provinces. Some Veltorinan aircraft were scrambled, but approximately 30% were lost or captured by defensive Caphiriavan forces. An air battle with the Imperial helicopter airborne forces was fought over Agriklion inflicting heavy losses on the Veltornian troops.

The final blow was delivered by Dux Iocopheno calling in an air strike in tandem with four battle tanks securing the area around Agriklion. The Veltornian military had been either killed or captured by Unit Bravo and the last military units were desperately fighting throughout the area until they were out of ammunition or overrun by Caphiriavan forces. Unit Bravo had sustained some casualties and by the time they had properly secured Agriklion, approximately 15% of Unit Bravo had been killed via combat.

Dux Iocopheno left a small battalion at Agriklion to occupy the military base and continue to secure it as he retreated with the remaining forces back to Constantinople. At the same time, he commanded that Unit Charlie - which had been primarily acting as a defensive force -, to regroup with him at the capital. This was it, the final push. The home stretches. Despite taking a decent number of casualties, Iocopheno was doing a fairly good job as his first major engagement as Dux. But the engagement was far from over. They would have to secure the city of Constantinople, quell the growing resistance, and wait for the Imperium to install their puppet government before the annexation was officially underway.

Days later and back in Constantinople, Caphiriavan troops had attacked Santadra Palace, raided the Petroullini Armory, and the Royal Residence. Since the military of Veltornia was already scattered and trying to regroup, Iocopheno wanted to strike while the iron was hot and keep the pressure on as long as they could. The resistance had boiled over into a full blown civil war, with anti-Imperium and pro-Imperium Veltornian forces engaging each other via peaceful rallies and non-peaceful self-defense groups that were being funded through the occupying Caphiravian forces.

The city council of Constantinople had already called for formation of "people's militia" units to "ensure firm defense" of the city from "extremism" and hours later, Veltornian parliament members called for an extraordinary meeting. During this meeting, Dux Iocopheno had gotten word from the Imperium, who had relayed to him the next phase of the operation. He spoke directly with the Prime Minister of Diplomacy who was already aware of the parliament meeting and instructed Iocopheno to relay information to them. He also told Iocopheno about a particular strategy he wanted him to employ.

And so the Veltornian parliamentary meeting was interrupted as Dux Iocopheno, surrounded by two dozen Legionaries entered the Parliament of Veltornia, who said that per the words of the Prime Minister of Diplomacy, they were not considering the annexation Veltornia but instead were giving the “free people of the state the opportunity to have their fate in their own hands. Only citizens themselves, in conditions of free expression of will and their security can determine their future.” Iocopheno proceeded to explain that he did not want any of this, nor did he want to have to cause more casualties, but he was prepared for any event. To demonstrate this, Iocopheno called each of his commanders who were occupying the key points throughout the country. The Avendicci river which was the largest river in Veltornia, the Vetsini Airport which was the main transportation hub, the Agriklion military base, the Egathraia district which was one of the busiest retail areas, and the Psylaos, the city center of Constantinople. He told them that the only casualties thus far had been soldiers, from both sides of the conflict, and that it was isolated to Agriklion. But if they did not change the topic of their meeting to whether whether Veltornia should accede to Caphiria or engage in full-out war, that he would instruct his men to routinely gather and execute the militia that they had created.

Iocopheno was led out of the Parliament building with his two-dozen deep Legionary force and returned to their base of operations around the statue of Timoleon Spinos. As they made their way to the Opcenter, he noticed a thousand or so pro-Imperium protesters surrounding it. They had signs that read “Imperium saved us” and “We Support Annexation: Bring us Home”.

Towards the end of the first week, only pockets of resistance were left in the country with Alcana Air Base of was the only base still unoccupied. A day later, Veltornian aircraft flew resupply missions from the southern provinces throughout the day in an effort to mount a defense. However, by nightfall, Alcana Air Base had been overrun by Caphiriavan forces. From then on it was only a matter of time until all units of the Veltornian Military were forced to retreat or be overrun.

A referendum was finally put to a vote and the High Court of Veltornia declared the dissolution of the independence of the state and Free State of Veltornia was formed. With annexation of the state inevitable, more anti-Imperium forces grew to form a full resistance. Iocopheno kept to his word and non-lethal force was used on all civilians, even going so far as to instruct Veltornians to replace their Veltornian license plates with Caphiravian ones, and also set up an extensive system of security checkpoints to patrol the Veltornian population. 400,000 Veltornian citizens left the country after the invasion, and a network of safe houses was established for those who remained and joined the resistance.

The Imperial Senate of Caphiria then convened a meeting in which they would discuss the future of Veltornia. Taking less than an hour, the special meeting was over and the verdict was reached that Senate President Bruco de la Lyconcerva would install a “special” government consisting of 200 Senators and 2 Consuls to preserve what remains of the integrity of the newly-created Free State of Veltornia, as well as bring stability to the region.