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The complete official name of the Council is the Council of National Unity and Liberation. This name is rarely used anywhere but the decrees issued by the faction's ruling body, the High Command.
The Council was officially founded in 645 AGS, but its history is traced directly back to the year 609 AGS when several democratic parties of Gallia joined to form the Gallic Liberation Movement. At that time, Gallia's political culture was divided into two major parties because of the recent discovery of human colonies in the Sirius sector, a discovery that was made public in 590 AGS. The majority supported the Crown in their efforts to isolate the House from Sirius, build up its military forces, and strike against the unprepared colonies of Sirius when the right moment arrived. This would not only allow Gallia to avenge the old betrayal at Sol, but would also grant Gallia the leading position among all other Houses and access to the vast resources of the Sirius sector. The minority supported the breach of isolation and establishing contacts with the governments of Sirius. Among the voting portion of the population, the correlation of the groups was about 5 to 1 in favor of the militaristic isolationists. The logical course of action for anti-isolationists was to try to reach Sirius on their own. However, at the time when Sirius' existence was made public, the Navy had already made all necessary precautions in order to prevent any unauthorised ships slipping through what would be the borderline of the Gallic Border Worlds : the jump hole leading from Languedoc into Tunisia (Orkney) and the jump hole leading from Lorraine into Berne (Omicron Tau). Attempts to breach the blockade failed, and attempts to find an alternate route ended in failure as well. Political opposition in Gallia attempted to prevent or delay building up the mine fields by promoting dissent within society and in the parliament. After the failure of these strategies, the most active anti-isolationists chose to regroup and form the Gallic Liberation Movement.
The Movement participated in the elections of 610 AGS and gained over 10 percent of the seats in the Estates-General, which was a troubling sign for the Crown. Leaders of the Movement did not officially declare themselves as republicans who intended to change the political regime. Yet, the Movement's main goal was re-uniting with Sirius' houses and forming a partnership based on the principles of peace, economic freedom, and respect for civil rights. Achieving this goal without overthrowing the current dynasty was not an option, and those who voted for the Movement were well aware of this fact.
Towards 620 AGS, the Gallic Liberation Movement faced increasing pressure from the government. Media was heavily influenced by the governing regime and refused to provide access to the Movement's representatives. The voting results were being manipulated, and the Movement's representation in the parliament was steadily decreasing after each election. Yet, King Henry VII who succeeded popular King Richard V in 608 AGS was a lackluster and indecisive monarch, which played into the hands of the Liberation Movement. In 631 AGS, Henry VII abdicated and was succeeded by his son Louis IV, a young and charismatic leader. Preparing for the electoral campaign of 635 AGS, the King did all he could to discredit the Movement, but against all odds it still won over 18 percent of the popular vote. The King could not accept that result, and his secret services were ordered frame the Movement for vote fraud. The night of the elections turned to be a dramatic event, since initial results showed over 26 percent support for the Movement. While Movement leaders were celebrating their success, they were arrested and charged with electoral fraud. Actual votes for the Movement were announced to be no more than 6 percent, which caused a public outrage. The Movement was accused of organizing demonstrations of its supporters who allegedly attacked the Police and provoked civil unrest in cities across Gallia. As a result, in 636 AGS the Movement was banned from the Estates-General and disbanded by official proclamation.
When the Movement was prohibited, its former members were split in two. Those who did not want to go out of the bounds of law joined other democratic parties and groups. Many did not see any more potential for fighting the government within the bounds of the law. They centered around several secret societies formed within the Movement in the early 620s. Moderate societies were the ones that would later form the bulk of the Council. More radical societies would form the Maquis movement. Towards 640 AGS, the groups worked together in gaining more followers and accumulating the financial strength to build a faction that could operate in space. To some extent, they were assisted by the Normandy separatists who were always interested in destabilizing the situation in Gallia.
At a large meeting held in 645 AGS on Planet Amiens, various Movement groups chose to unite into one, named the Council of National Unity and Liberation. Destruction of mine barriers between Gallia and Sirius was declared as one of the prime goals of the group. At that time, the Maquis already formed a union of their own, but they chose to join the Council as well to get a head start with their space operations.
The Council used its huge finances to build its first bases, Macon and Vichy, and the basis of its fleet. The faction kept a low profile for over two decades, recruiting new followers, stealing ships and technology, and accumulating greater financial reserves. The Maquis, who turned to active terrorist activities in the late 650s, were expelled from the faction, but close ties between the groups remained. Macon's population grew steadily, as Council followers and even whole families abandoned Gallia and settled on Council bases. The Crown disregarded the threat at first, considering the Council as yet another pirate faction that started to operate in Gallic space. When it was clear enough that the Council were not a bunch of ordinary criminals, the government initiated a rumor that the Council was a faction created as "training dummies" for the Royal Navy in order to prepare them for a real conflict in the Sirius sector. Rumors of this sort were also used to explain how the Council managed to steal four brand new cruisers from Fourchambalt Shipyard in 472 AGS. Crews of the cruisers actually chose to support the Council, and parts of the crew who stayed loyal to the Crown were forced to leave the ships.
But the promising start did not guarantee the Council's success. The faction encountered a number of setbacks. The Navy, Police, and secret services never stopped hunting down Council agents both planetside and in space. As if it was not enough, there were serious complications in relations with other pirate groups. It took over 60 years to prepare to the inevitable all-out war with the Royal Navy. During all this time, the Council received continuous support from sympathetic members of the Gallic public, business community, and political establishment. Despite the dangers, people found ways to help the Council. Many Navy and some Police officers joined the group, often bringing with them their ships, weaponry, expertise, and other possessions. Such defectors were officially recognized as traitors and would face capital punishment if caught. They, however, did not have a shadow of a doubt that they were fighting and dying for the right cause.
Towards 710 AGS, the Council was almost ready to start the war in order to take control of the mine paths into Sirius. However, they needed at least one populated planet under their control to replenish resources, recruit more men, and obtain a permanent base for maintaining ships and building up the fleet. Marne was the obvious choice. The social situation on Marne was extremely complicated, but the government was oblivious to the potential for rebellion. On 710 AGS, a worker rebellion provoked by the Council started on the planet. Shortly afterwards, Council forces openly attacked the Navy, and the Second Gallic War began.
Currently, the Council is still the second most powerful military force in Gallia after the Navy. The Council is geographically split into two groups. Champagne's population managed to build heavy fortifications during the war that GRN fleets would not be able to breach without suffering losses that were unacceptably high so close to the launch of the invasion of Sirius. Languedoc's population, the fleet that actually seized Montpellier and paid a dear cost for accomplishing the Council's goal of breaching the isolation, has fled to Orkney and then to Rousillon and has begun building up their own defenses to protect their new home from the Royal Navy that is hunting for them. The Second Gallic War has not ended, but the conflict did not weaken Gallia nearly as much as the Council expected. The Royal Navy did not use all its power to fight the Council, and has no plans to sacrifice its men to drive the faction out of its fortified bastions in the near future. The Navy also feels sufficiently secure from the Council's threats in Champagne and elsewhere, since their casualties in Languedoc were so high that they are no longer a threat for the Navy in open combat, at least not for the next few years. The Council's reputation was also severely compromised during the years of the war. Like any war, the Second Gallic War was accompanied by atrocities on both sides, but the public's attention was inevitably drawn to the Council's shortcomings by media sympathetic to the Crown.
Despite all odds, the Council has now achieved its goal of breaching the isolation of Gallia from Sirius, and it is not going to surrender. One day, they believe, there will be a chance that Sirius' nations and the Council will stand united against the Royal Navy. And when this day comes, their dream of the democratic Republic of Gallia may become reality.
The Council's Bases
Roussillon - D4
Roussillon - D5
Le Boulou Outpost
??? - B7
Roussillon - D4
Burgundy - H5
Champagne - C5
Champagne - F5
Champagne - H4
Champagne - F6
Champagne - A7
Champagne - D7
Saint-Quentin Space Colony
Picardy - F4
Picardy - F4
Battleship De Grasse
Orkney - A5 (8k above plane)
Battleship La Fierte
Picardy - F4
Champagne - C5
Planet Amiens, Council Landing Site
Picardy - E6