Cardassian Union/History/Hebitian Age

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Cardassian recorded history begins in the first Hebitian Era. The reign of the Hebet dynasty and the subsequent prosperous and peaceful years of the Hebitian League are considered to be a golden age of Cardassian civilization. While it is true that this was an era of unparalleled artistry that produced many of Cardassia's most valued artifacts and monuments; the Hebitian League was built on the backs of slaves and the lower classes. As ever, most Cardassians were simply struggling to survive.

The First Hebitian Period

Garash Hebet was born the only son of Onat Hebet, the ruler of the city of Korlarem. Onat had used Korlarem's armies to conquer much of the surrounding region. He raised crippling taxes on conquered peoples so that he could build Korlarem into a vast and majestic city.

Garash was raised to rule over his father's empire. However, as he approached manhood, it became apparent that he was cut from a different cloth than his father. His aunt Madita, who was matriarch of Korlarem's wealthiest merchant family, had supervised Garash's education. Madita taught him that money and bargaining were often better methods for achieving one's goals than force. While Onat was a straightforward man, Madita was wily. And Garash learned that from her too.

Onat refused to hand over his city and his armies to his son. But little by little, Garash gained control. With Madita's assistance he gained a prominent place on the city's council. Here he could influence monetary and legal rulings for the city and the conquered lands. Time and again he clashed with his father over council decisions about taxation and funding for the army.

As Onat grew older he lost the stomach for the constant battling with his son. He spent longer and longer away from Koralem, leading his armies in battle. Garash Hebet became de facto ruler of Koralem. History does not record the fate of Onat Hebet.

Initially, Garash's reforms were slow. As his influence increased, he made more and more sweeping changes. He abolished the heavy taxes that were such a burden on the peoples that his father had conquered. He sent diplomatic expeditions beyond the borders of his lands. His armies were re-deployed defensively. Soon news of Korlarem’s wealth and prosperity spread throughout the Okaba region.

Harahk, the ruler of the city-state of Gurrettal saw Korlarem as a rich target for his conquest. On four occasions, Garash had to lead his armies in defense of his realm. Time and again he sent emissaries to his enemy, with offers of alliances and trading pacts.

Harahk grew bored with the offers of peace and had the neck bones of one emissary sent back to Garash. Enraged, Garash raised a huge army and lead them to conquer Gurrettal. Garash Hebet was killed during the siege of the city, and Gurrettal was razed to the ground in vengeance.

Garash's eldest son, Famar, became ruler of Korlarem. The city coffers had been depleted by his father's campaign against Harahk. Famar knew that he must expand the city's trading links to restore the city’s prosperity. He sent emissaries and explorers to ever more distant lands.

He was rewarded when one of his expeditions met a similar party of Ka'radan traders from Hannarad. These men had traveled far and wide in search of trade. They knew of many peoples who were willing to exchange foods, goods and treasures. The Ka’radan traders were invited to return to Korlarem to meet Famar Hebet.

Famar was delighted to meet them. He spent days in discussion with them. The more he learned of Cardassia, the more he wanted to know. Eventually the Ka’radan traders were dispatched back to their home, laden with gifts and with a singular offer. Famar Hebet himself wished to make the journey to Hannarad to discuss an alliance.

From this meeting the Hebitian League was formed. Initially the League was only a trading agreement between Korlarem and several city-states in Hannarad. In the decades that followed the trading expeditions from Hannarad and Korlarem spread the news of the League. Slowly the League grew to incorporate dozens of cities, spread over thousands of miles. Food, livestock, jewelry, and works of art were traded across Cardassia. Eventually nations were formed peacefully within the alliances of League. It was a time of peace, abundance, and prosperity that lasted for four thousand years. Cardassia would never see such a time again.

The Fall of the Hebitian League

The League did not reach all of Cardassia. On the other side of the virtually impassable Heshkar Ridge were the Sotaran nations. These peoples developed at a slower pace then the Hebitian League as they did not have the benefit of shared technologies and peaceful coexistence. These were a people endlessly at war. Their nations were created through conquest and borders rarely remained constant from one year to the next.

Conflict was inevitable when the Sotarans first encountered the Hebitians. The Hebitians appeared to be a fat and complacent people, ripe for conquest. But in fact the Hebitians maintained a well-trained and well-equipped army. The first Sotaran assaults on the Hebitian cities were repelled with ease and punitive raids against the Sotarans were simply massacres.

The Hebitians were all too keen to trade with their new neighbors after they had been put in their place. The Sotarans learned Hebitian metallurgical techniques and other technologies to craft swords and other weaponry. They traded for riding animals to build a cavalry. Within a generation of their first defeats the Sotarans struck again.

The Hebitians found themselves at war with a battle-hardened enemy that was as well-equipped as them and determined to avenge past defeats. Wars raged on and off for one hundred and fifty years. Bitter internal divisions within the Hebitian League caused fractures within. Nations and cities not under threat from the Sotarans refused to aid those who were. Nations in western Patka saw their opportunity to seize territory from the hard-pressed Hebitians on the other side of the straits. One by one the Sotarans pillaged the League cities until they reached Koralem itself.

The siege of Korlarem lasted three years. The Sotarans breached the great city’s walls one by one. When the attackers reached the heart of the city, they put every man, woman and child to death. Fasmar Hebet, ruler of the city and head of the Hebitian League, was executed and his headless corpse was hung over the city gate for a month.

In the following centuries, small nations were born and died all across Okaba. The displaced Hebitian peoples built new cities and fought the Sotaran conquerors while Sotaran warlords fought over conquered territory.

The Second Hebitian Era

Historians broadly classify four and a half thousand years of history as the Second Hebitian Period. This is inaccurate in two ways: primarily because this era had little to do with the Hebet dynasty, and secondly, there was no single political entity that lasted throughout the entire period.

The catalyst for the creation of a new unity between the nations of Cardassia was the priest Heket. He had spent much of his life traveling throughout Cardassia to study and catalogue the vast pantheon of gods worship by different peoples. From all that he learned, he distilled a single, all-encompassing doctrine of faith. This he named Telerath Jonak. And his followers spread his teachings across Cardassia.

Julun Kassat, a powerful Sotaran ruler, learned of Heket's teachings and took them to heart. Some accounts say that Kassat's transformation from aggressive warlord to advocate of Telerath Jonak was nothing short of miraculous. It is more likely that Kassat had mellowed in his old age. He had achieved both wealth and renown, and had a large family. He was perhaps looking for something different to occupy his time.

He had been recently been approached by Xanam Hebet, a leader of a small Hebitian nation called Darada. Hebet had proposed and alliance, but Kassat had laughed in his face and told Hebet that he would conquer Darada if he chose. After he read Heket's doctrines, Kassat summoned Hebet back to him. He told Hebet that he would agree to an alliance, provided Hebet agreed to teach Telerath Jonak to his people. He also threatened to conquer Darada and teach it himself if the other leader declined. Hebet agreed.

In a similar manner, Kassat the Warlord spread Heket's word to many surrounding lands. His devotion to Telerath Jonak was famous, but it was always the promise of alliance that brought new nations into the fold. By the time of Kassat's death, there were peaceful and allied nations across all of Okaba.

Kassat’s eldest daughter, Galebra, was a Telerath Jonak fanatic. She married Xanam Hebet, and together they expanded the alliance, through conquest and threats. Their descendents would continue to exert considerable influence within the alliance for over five hundred years.

At its height, the Hebitian alliance was spread across a third of Cardassia. Art, philosophy and religion flourished, hand in hand with science and discovery. Many significant advances were made in metallurgy, engineering, weaponry, agriculture and medicine. However, it was those technological advances that brought an end to the alliance.

The history of the Hebitian alliance was never a peaceful one. Nations within the alliance fought amongst themselves and those states on the borders had to constantly defend themselves from without. The development of gunpowder weaponry sparked off an arms race within the alliance. As one nation gained bigger and better cannons, they felt compelled to demonstrate them by trying them out on their neighbors. As artillery became heavier and musketry was introduced onto the battlefield, more and more nations were convinced that they had superiority over their enemies. Eventually the entire alliance was at war with itself.

The former alliance nations waged war amongst themselves for several hundred years. Several attempts were made by rulers to unite nations and restore peace. Usually they only succeeded in achieving temporary agreements between a handful of states. Some were more successful than others.

Rifon Haradas founded the Third Hebitian Empire when he negotiated a pact between twelve nations. Together they conquered all of Okaba and most of Sotara. Haradas declared himself 'Emperor of Cardassia' and ruled from Korlarem with an iron hand. His empire lasted until the death of his great grandson, who left no heirs. The twelve-nation pact collapsed as its signatories fought bitterly over who would rule the empire.

The Sotaran-Hebitian League was a loose alliance of states in Okaba and Sotara that were freed after the collapse of the Empire. They allied for mutual defense and economic benefit and brought peace and prosperity to their peoples for over two hundred years.

Historians classify other multinational alliances in Okaba as the fifth through to seventh Hebitian eras. Some even consider there to have been eighth and ninth eras. By the end of the thirteenth century, there were no longer any accords between nations of any kind.

The Unification of Cardassia

The crash of the Bajoran solar sailing vessel is arguably the most significant single event in Cardassian history. It inspired one man to unify Cardassia, to halt the planet's descent into chaos and to drive Cardassians into space. And it remained the most closely guarded secret on Cardassia for 800 years.

In the three hundred years since the end of the second Hebitian era, Cardassia had entered the industrial age. Cardassian nations exploited every last resource that the planet could offer. The air in some cities was so polluted that it was unbreathable. The oceans became dumping grounds for sewage, toxic waste and waste nuclear materials. Vast swathes of forest were destroyed to make way for the gigantic factory farms that were required to feed the ever-expanding population, and the pesticides used on these farms found its way into the water table to poison flora and fauna alike.

The shortages of resources resulted in conflict. Wars were fought for control of resource-rich regions, farms and even over single mines or factories. There was international trade, however Cardassian leaders generally believed that it was better to take something by force rather than pay for it.

One such leader was Urrent Gar. He was the ruler of Lerasan, a large nation in eastern Sotara. Gar understood modern warfare and weaponry and his army was his pride and joy. He had conquered two small nations and possessed nuclear weapons to deter his larger neighbors.

The Coming of the Bajorans

It was early on a summer evening when the Bajoran spacecraft came hurtling through the skies and crashed in a remote part of Lerasan. Once the true nature of the crashed object was known, Gar's military moved quickly to seize the craft. It was removed to a nearby base and a cover story was concocted. The crashed vessel was later moved to a secure location for detailed study. The corpses of the Bajoran crew were autopsied.

Until the existence of the Bajoran craft was revealed, history had shown Urrent Gar to be megalomaniac conqueror. But the truth about his motives is little different. When Urrent Gar came to see the vessel, he was shocked by the absolute proof that aliens existed and that they had greater technology than the Cardassians. He immediately realized that these aliens posed a threat to Cardassia. Gar spent long weeks wondering what to do about the ship. He considered informing the world about the ship, but he did not believe that other nations would put aside their rivalries, even in the face of an alien threat. His final solution was a dramatic one; he would unify Cardassia and prepare the planet to fight.

Gar's Campaign Begins

Gar made careful preparations. He knew that his nation could not conquer Cardassia. He increased the size of his armed forces and began to stockpile nuclear weapons. He dispatched emissaries to secure allies and sent spies to every nation on Cardassia. He hoped that the Bajoran ship would yield technological advances that would assist him, but he did not count on them.

It was more than four years before he made his first move. Within a week Gar's assassins killed heads of state in two nations, plunging them into political turmoil; his tanks rolled across two small nations and into a third; and his nuclear missiles destroyed four major cities of his most powerful enemy.

Nations across Cardassia protested uproariously about Gar's actions. Gar appeared cowed by the threats of retaliation, but while Cardassian leaders talked, he was consolidating his gains.

Gar waited for almost two years before he struck again. He began slowly, by seizing resource-rich territories from three neighboring states. He then waited for their response.

The nations of Aravasi, Jarosana, and Koloen formed a defensive alliance against further aggression by Gar. But Gar's spies had learned that the alliance was somewhat shaky. Gar sent secret proposals to Aravasi and Koloen offering them security and territory if they did not assist the Jarosana when he attacked. They both agreed. Gar's armies outflanked Jarosana’s by maneuvering through Aravasi and Koloen. Jarosana surrendered after only six weeks of fighting.

This relatively straightforward conquest allowed Gar to continue his expansion. A small expeditionary force was transported across the ocean to the desert region of Elekanda. They seized towns and settlements and established bases with little resistance from the small indigenous population. When the occupiers began to enslave the local men and abuse their women, a fierce resistance movement began. The rebels hid in the desert and waged a guerrilla war. Gar's troops could not fight and survive in the desert and failed repeatedly to hunt down the rebels.

Gar's forces also conquered several small nations to the north and to the west. His expansion continued until his borders met those of powerful nations. Now Gar controlled almost two entire continents but his next obstacles were formidable ones. He was surrounded on three sides by nations armed with nuclear weapons.

Conquest of the North

Again Gar paused to consolidate his gains. Leaders loyal to Gar were installed in conquered nations and the populations were allowed the freedom to continue with their lives. Only a small fraction of the resources from the conquered nations was siphoned off for Gar's armies. But this was enough for him to expand his armies still further.

To the north lay Findara, a nation of fiercely independent people. Their nuclear arsenal was relatively small but was easily capable of destroying Lerasan. The Findarans had repeatedly threatened Gar with nuclear strikes if he continued his aggression. Gar knew they would not hesitate to retaliate if he invaded their homeland.

Gar's agents gradually infiltrated the Findaran military. They discovered of the location of the Findaran’s missile silos and they learned the exact quantity of mobile launchers. Gar's special forces were dispatched across the border to destroy the mobile launchers while his agents sabotaged the silo-launched missiles. The operation was almost entirely successful. When Gar's tanks rolled in Findara only two missiles were launched. One destroyed the Headquarters of Gar's northern army and a significant percentage of the supplies and munitions required for the coming invasion. The second was a dud that landed on the capital of Lerasan, only meters from Gar's command bunker.

The invasion of Findara was a long and bitter struggle. Gar's army had to root out the enemy from every mountain village and coastal harbor. The Findarans were a seagoing people and their navy was superior in both men and ships. Gar's army constantly found itself under the guns of Findara's battleships or being outflanked by amphibious assaults. Gar's air force systematically destroyed the Findaran navy before the army could make serious progress.

It took almost two years to conquer Findara and pockets of resistance fought on for years later. In the following year Gar's armies marched through the rest of the Hannarad continent. Most of the small nations were happy to acquiesce to Gar's rule when promised that they would be left alone on the condition that they supplied him with the resources he asked for.

Eight Days

Gar adopted different approaches to Redaran to the south and Wasir to the west. The Rendarans were a belligerent and aggressive people. Gar knew that he would not get off as lightly as he had in the conflict with Findara. Instead of the expected attack, he chose to amplify his policy of deterrence. He increased the number of nuclear missiles stationed close to the Rendaran border. His message was simple: any Rendaran attack would be suicide. Gar knew that his solution was not permanent, but it would keep the Rendarans out of his hair for a while.

Gar adopted a policy towards the Wasiri that was almost the opposite of his Rendaran one. Wasir was a semi-democratic nation whose people considered their way of life to be superior to that of every other Cardassian nation. Gar offered the Wasiri peace. He unilaterally withdrew his nuclear weaponry from the Wasir border and offered a non-aggression pact. The Wasiri government accepted the hand of peace. However there was some internal dissent in Wasir. A large number of Wasiri considered the formation of any kind of alliance with Gar to be a betrayal of their principals.

To continue his campaign of unification, Gar need to bypass either Wasir or Rendaran to reach the regions of Okaba, Venarhond and Kolari. He achieved this through the backdoor. Golun Jakat, Gar's ambassador to Wasir successfully negotiated a trade agreement that included a paragraph allowing the movement of men and material through Wasir. The Wasiri did not anticipate that Gar would use this clause to mount an invasion.

The Wasiri feared the worst when Gar's men and tanks poured across their border. However Gar was simply taking advantage of his agreement. His officers were under strict instructions that no harm was to come to any Wasiri person or property, any damage was to be paid for and any man violating these orders was to be handed over to the Wasiri authorities.

However the troop movement caused uproar amongst the Wasiri populace, despite its legality and Gar's personal assurances. There were riots and blockades of the highways preventing the passage of Gar's troops. The Wasiri head of government resigned. The troops merely waited until the local authorities cleared the roads and passed through without major incident.

Gar's target was the small and inconsequential coastal nation of Saditir. The Saditiri army was well aware that Gar's army was coming, however they were outnumbered ten to one. Gar's navy began shelling the Saditiri capital from offshore as his army passed through Wasir. The Saditiri government's resolve faltered even before a single tank crossed into their country and they surrendered. Their Generals were made of sterner stuff and refused the order to surrender. Instead, the army fought the invaders to the last man.

Gar believed that he had secured his beachhead into Okaba, but the Wasiri had different ideas. The new Wasiri leader, Keren Hunak, closed the roads through his nation and demanded that Gar withdraw his troops from Saditir. Gar responded by returning his nuclear weapons to the Wasiri border and sending a new convoy of troops into Wasir.

A large contingent of Wasiri troops halted the convoy and surrounded it. Hunak gave Gar an ultimatum, "Withdraw all occupying forces from Saditir, and order the return of the troops currently in Wasiri territory within eight days or face the most terrible consequences."

The whole of Cardassia waited with baited breath for eight days while two great nations threatened to begin a war that could result in the destruction of their entire planet. Hunak believed himself to have the moral high ground and his actions were widely supported by his people. Gar, however was unwilling to see the end of his campaign to unite Cardassia. But it was Gar who backed down.

On the evening of the seventh day, Gar publicly announced his compliance in person. His carefully worded statement portrayed the Hunak as the aggressor who had almost plunged Cardassia into a nuclear holocaust and suggested that it was time for Cardassian nations to begin nuclear disarmament.

Nuclear Conflagration

While Gar's diplomats worked very publicly with their Wasiri and Rendaran counterparts, his troops were being relocated to Elekanda. Here they began to systematically crush the rebels that had been plaguing his outposts for years. Hunak condemned Gar's actions in Elekanda, but Gar knew that the Wasiri people would not support a confrontation over a few savages in a land thousands of miles away.

Gar continued his campaign in the only direction that was open to him - into Rekonda. Long supply routes that traversed the ocean and thousands of miles of deserts hampered his army, but it was fighting less technologically advanced peoples with disorganized militaries.

Gar fortified his borders in eastern Rekonda, and began to build his forces. Short-range nuclear missiles were targeted on Patkan cities.

While Gar's troops were preparing to invade Patka, his diplomats were negotiating the disarmament of long-range nuclear weapons in Okaba and Sotara. His negotiators had strict instructions not to agree to any inclusion of short-range weapons in the talks. Gar knew that he would need in his continuing campaign.

Despite the fact that his forces were poised to invade several Patkan nations, Gar began to paint himself as a peacekeeper and unifier. To add weight to his claim, he returned three conquered nations to the rule of their own people. These were three of the least troublesome of his conquests, whose governments would support extensive treaties with Gar. The three nations were not permitted to have their own armed forces. Instead Gar's troops were stationed in their territory, supposedly for their defense.

Gar's critics, especially Keren Hunak, claimed that he was merely trying to mask his warmongering conquests with his talk of unification. But Gar's words did not fall on deaf ears.

In Patka, eight nations were attempting to negotiate a mutual defense pact. The talks fell apart when two nations declared that they intended to negotiate an alliance with Gar. Like dominoes, the other Patkan nations followed. None were prepared to face the might of Gar's armies alone. Soon every nation in Patka was clamoring to join Gar in an alliance. Gar's troops moved into Patka uncontested and looked across the straits towards the nation of Gerish.

Okaba was home to the richest and most technologically advanced nations on the planet. Gar knew that without these nations, he would never fulfill his vision of a unified Cardassia.

Gar moved his short-range nuclear missiles close into Patkan cities. His troops ruthlessly quashed local protest. He was gambling that Gerish's leaders would not target the populated areas with their own nuclear weapons.

Gerish's ruling elite was among the most ruthless aristocrats on Cardassia. Some families could trace their lineage back to the First Hebitian era. They had remained in power for thousands of years by crushing revolutions, conquering their enemies and betraying their friends. They did not appreciate being threatened by an upstart like Gar.

Gerish launched a pre-emptive strike. Tactical nuclear missiles were launched at concentrations of Gar's forces. Within minutes half of Gar's soldiers were dead, consumed by the fierce heat of nuclear fireballs.

Gar made a mistake by believing that Gerish would not fire on Patkan cities. But Gerish's leaders were equally mistaken when they ordered the nuclear strike. While they severely damaged Gar's ability to mount an attack, they failed to target his nuclear weaponry and they succeeded in making an enemy of the Patkans.

The attack inflicted significant collateral damage on Patkan cities. Twelve thousand Patkan civilians were killed, forty thousand lost their homes and uncounted thousands would suffer the extended effects of radiation poisoning. The Patkans demanded retribution.

The Patkan leaders requested that Gar launch a retaliatory strike. Gar agreed, on the condition that the Patkan nations would lend troops to conquer Gerish. They readily agreed.

One hundred and twenty two tactical and strategic nuclear warheads were launched at Gerish. Every city and town, every military base, every power station, and every major road were demolished by nuclear explosion. Forty three million men, women and children perished that day. In the invasion that followed, Patkan soldiers slaughtered every survivor they encounter in revenge for their countrymen.

Every Cardassian nation condemned Gar. Across the world, leaders began to negotiate defense pacts. Keren Hunak tried to organize an alliance of nations to stop Gar, but too many leaders could see the outcome of opposing him.

The End of the Campaign

Gar knew that he could not halt his advance into Okaba. His forces could not wait for re-supply and reinforcements in the radiation soaked wasteland of Gerish. He ordered his forces into Ashkawin, a small agricultural nation to the north.

The Ashkawin army held firm against the first assault. Morale was low among Gar's troops. Many were suffering from radiation sickness and all of them had witnessed the horrors of nuclear devastation first hand. When the Ashkawin forces counter-attacked, Gar's army was routed out of Ashkawin and back into Gerish. Gar's generals withdrew their forces back across the straits into Patka, against Gar’s direct order.

Gar was furious when he learned of the retreat. He had three of his generals executed for disobeying his orders. He began to plan another assault into Okaba. He vowed that any nation that stood against him would face nuclear annihilation.

After Gar's rage abated, he began to listen to the calmer heads amongst his advisors. Notable amongst them was Dal Vetrecia, a senior intelligence analyst and Gar's lover. They suggested that Gar should cease his attempts to conquer Cardassia by force. They proposed he should set up a world government instead, and invite every nation to join.

Vetrecia's intelligence on unconquered nations swayed Gar towards their proposal. Most nations were afraid of Gar's military. The annihilation of Gerish had every advanced nation building short- and medium-ranged nuclear weapons. Any further nuclear conflict would begin a nuclear arms race that would have cataclysmic consequences. In private, Vetrecia pointed out to Gar that a Cardassia unified by conquest would be too weak to resist any alien attack. This convinced Gar.

What he did not realize was that Vetrecia had manipulated him. She had played down the importance of vital intelligence concerning the security of several conquered nations and the potential effect Gar's apparent weakness would have.

Her motives for her actions remain unclear. Perhaps she simply sought peace, or wanted to be the first lady of Cardassia at Gar's right hand. Most likely, she was engaged in an elaborate scheme to seize power from him. But any historical evidence was lost in the chaos that followed Gar's fall.

Gar announced to the world that he was planning a summit meeting for the leaders of every nation on Cardassia. This historic meeting would be the first step to forming a united world government, Gar grandly claimed. He also suggested that his empire was about to begin a space program, and that he would allow any state that participated in the summit to join the space program.

The summit appeared to be enormously successful. Only three nations refused to attend: Wasir, Saditir and the government in exile of Gerish. Every leader in attendance wanted to meet with every other. More trade agreements and defense pacts were signed during the summit than in the whole of Cardassian history.

In reality the summit had achieved little. It overran by almost three weeks, yet the heads of state failed to collectively agree on anything except that they would hold further regular summits. The nations that had joined up to Gar's space program had only agreed to commit small quantities of resources with no promise of anything in return. Despite this, after the delegates returned to their respective nations, Gar declared himself the Unifier of Cardassia.

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