II. THE “ONE YEAR WAR” (THE RISING OF JION).
At the end of April 78 U.C. some Zack of Jion’s carry out a show of force in Side 6, self-declared neutral, that turns out to be an attempt of a real military occupation. Answering to the foreseeable Federation’s reaction, covering with two Saramiss battleships the transfer of the most part of civilian refugees to the unfinished Side 7, the Jion’s Principality declares war: it’s the 3rd of January 79, the beginning of the so called “one year war”. Jion’s independentist forces, attempting to lead a flash war, launch a massive attack against the Sides 1, 2 and 4 using chemical and nuclear weapons, ravaging them and almost wiping out their population. Then they started the so called British Operation, attaching engines to a colony in Side 4 intending to drop its huge mass (about 20-mile long) onto the UNT’s headquarters at Jaburo, in South America. In spite of federal cruisers intercepting it, the colony crashes down the Earth, but fails its target and falls on Sidney, in Australia, destroying one sixth of this continent and ravaging the planet’s climate. On January 15 Jion’s troops resume the “british tactics” attaching engines onto another colony in Side 5, but this time the federal army is ready and joins a strong battle near Loum colony. The engines are destroyed, but the federal fleet is wiped out and its commander, general Revil, is captured by Char Jion’s mobile suits.
After just two weeks fighting there were about 3 billions casualties that drove both parties to a truce in order to let negotiations. Diplomatic meetings ended on January 31 with the signing of the Antarctic Treaty, by which nuclear and chemical weapons are banished and british tactics is forbidden. Anyway, the treaty was worse for Earth Federation, that hadn’t got yet its own mobile suits like Jion had: actually, besides the Zack, they had developed two more powerful series, Dom and Gouf. Jion’s MS particular suitability for close fighting allowed the Zabis to easily take control of the rich mining deposits of America and of the most part of Europe and Asia, according to their ambitions of total control. By the way, they revealed their real intentions with the cruel sacrifice of Sides’ civilians they caused applying the british tactics.
In spite of Jion’s troops prevalence, the frantic activity of federal army’s intelligence service shortly gave its results. General Revil’s “sacrifice” actually was a bait to allow federal spies to infiltrate enemy ranks in order to snatch informations about Jion’s mobile suits’ electronic self-perception. General’s bold escape, just before South Pole’s diplomatic meetings, allowed UNT to acquire vital data for the development of the MS-EMBS (Mobile Suit-Electronic Motion and Balancing System), essential to grant manoeuvrability and stability to UNT’s mobile suits. On the orbital front, meanwhile, Jion’s forces were consolidating their positions carrying out, between May and June, a fortified defense line among the new space base of Solomon, the asteroid base of A Bao A Qu and the city of Granada, settled in Tsiolkovski crater on the dark side of the Moon.
Made up for technological gap, the UNT Spacy, after developing a first type, in July 79 finally completes at Side 7 the building of some mobile suits prototypes, including the RX-78/2 Gundam, whose main resource is its ALCS (Auto-Learning Computer System), able to record actions and manoeuvres and to repeat them automatically in the same fighting conditions. Preliminary tests reveal the incredible Gundam’s power which, however, is unable to fly, so that at the underground base of Augusta, in North America, they start planning the type RX-78 NT1 Gundam “Alex” too, provided with reactors for directional flight and, especially, with a PCS (Psychic Communication System), a telepathic impulses operating system for newtype pilots, men endowed with mind powers and recognized as founders of a new race developed among the native colonies’ population.
In August prototypes’ testing at Side 7 ends, and from the Earth they send the Pegasus class home battleship, White Base, to pick them up. But its voyage has been spied by a Zack MS-06 squad, led by Char Aznable, which penetrates Side 7 area and starts destroying some experimental mobile suits. The raid, however, is driven back thank to Gundam RX-78, that shows its power and forces the enemy to withdraw: its accidental pilot is a sixteen years old civilian, Amuro Rei, a federal engineer’s son. The boy, who’s showed to be very suitable to RX-78 characteristics, embarks White Base as irregular under the command of lieutenant Noah Bright, who’s taken ship’s temporary control in order to take it back on the Earth together with the remaining MS, a RX-75 Guntank and a RX-77 Guncannon, and its freight of civilian refugees.
In October 79 the federal army — after taking back control of part of Americas — starts mobile suits’ mass production, including, besides RX-75 and RX-77, RGM-79 and RX-79 Ground Type, less powerful versions of the RX-78. During its voyage back to the Earth, White Base is intercepted several times by Jion MS corps, but every time it comes out unscathed thank to the Gundam and to the ability of Amuro Rei, who turns out to be a newtype with incredible reflexes and intuition. After entering Earth’s atmosphere, near New York, on the 4th of October 79 the RX-78 shoots down the Gau of Jion’s invasion troops’ Commander, Garma Zabi, Degwin Zabi’s last son, thank also to major Char Jion, who hates the Zabis and so doesn’t come and help him.
On November 7 White Base arrives to Eastern Europe to take part in the Operation Odessa, by which UNT mean to take back control of Europe and its mines. General Revil’s troops, strong of RX-77, RGM-79 and brand new RGM-79/G serial version, succeed in defeating Jion’s forces, led by general Ma Cube. The operation’s outcome gives new strenght to federal offensive, and so White Base is sent to Jaburo’s base to be prepared for Operation Star One, the federal multi-step plan to neutralize Jion’s space bases. In the meantime, the “Alex” project is completed at the antarctic federal base and the RX-78 NT1 becomes operative, but Jion’s intelligence service succeeds in infiltrating a four MSM-03C Hygogg squad into the base. Although the attack was unexpected, the federals are able to load the NT1 on a space cargo leaving to Side 6 escorted by Pegasus class battleship Grey Phantom. Anyway, after few days searching, a Jion’s commando, provided with the new mobile suit MS-18 E Kampfer, finds and seriously damages it in Riah colony, preventing it from being sent to the White Base, as already planned.
After a failed attempt to take Jaburo, Jion invasion troops play their last chance attacking in South-Eastern Asia, in order to hold up the UNT space operation. Although the new mighty mobile armor (non-antropomorphic robot) Apsaras III is deployed, the assault is driven back by the Far East Mechanized Battalion, at the orders of general Ethan. So war’s back definitively to space, and on December 24 federal troops succeed in taking control of Solomon’s space base, thank to a solar energy conveyer too, the Solar System. Solomon’s commander, Dozul Zabi, is killed by the RX-78 while driving his formidable mobile armor, the Big Zam. The taking of Solomon causes a fatal breach through the fortified Jion’s front line and so, on December 31, federal army lays siege to A Bao A Qu. Degwin Zabi tries, now, to negotiate an armistice, but his son Giren Zabi comes to stop him. Actually, trying to surprise the federal during the meeting, Giren aims the terrestrial fleet with the Solar Ray, an experimental solar mirror, and fires, without caring of his father’s laying on the fire line. Degwin Zabi dies in the explosion and so Jion’s troops are defeated: then Kishira Zabi kills her brother Giren to avenge her father’s death and takes control of a now disbanded army. Meanwhile, the federal army, in spite of huge casualties caused by the Solar Ray, reorganizes its fleet and attacks A Bao A Qu again. A last Jion’s bulwark is the Elmeth, a psycho mobile armor provided with powerful remote drones started by telepathic impulses, driven by a Char Jion’s fellow, newtype Larah Sun. But just in order to save her leader from a Gundam’s attack, she has to stop her impulse, and so is destroyed. Federal ships take the chance and conquer A Bao A Qu, but White Base is irreparably damaged in action and its crew abandon it on the asteroid. On the background of Jion’s defeat there’s the neverending duel between Char, driving an experimental psycho mobile suit — the Jiong MSN-02 — and Amuro Rei’s Gundam. Both newtype, they neutralize each other and Char runs away to complete his revenge killing Kishira, last Degwin Zabi’s daughter, who hasn’t joined Aguille Delaz’ group of Jion’s refugees, and who’s going back to Side 3 trying to prevent the Princedom’s fall. But a second republican moderate party has now got the power there, and so, on the 1st of January 80 U.C. they sign on the Moon the Peace Treaty of Granada, and all Jion’s war supplies pass to Earth Federation: “one year war” is over, but peace won’t last.
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