The townships of the Hellas Basin were among the oldest settlements on Mars and the first to reach the critical mass of population, agriculture and industry that enabled self-sufficiency. Many of the great figures of early Martian history, the politicians and philosophers and artists, were citizens of Hellas. Most importantly, the corporations were weak in the region, concentrating instead on the margins of the icecaps and the tented canyons of the North. Control of Hellas was a natural aim for the nascent Mars independence groups.
In December 2095, the UN awarded a contract for the construction of a Martian orbital tower to Nexant Industries. With a beanstalk in place Earth would greatly tighten its grip on Mars and any hope of the planet becoming independent would fade. The Martian separatists realised that they had to move quickly or face failure.
On 4 July 2097, Eugene Keller, chairman of the Hellas Regional Development Office (and Martian separatist), announced that the Hellas Region no longer recognised the authority of the UN. Furthermore the Region would withdraw from the Mars Intercorporate Development Commission and become entirely self-governing. The Development Office would form a provisional government until elections for the Senate and Presidency of the Hellas Confederacy.
Free Mars activists and provisional government agents rapidly established control over the major industrial and informational centres of the Hellas cities. Transmissions of Free Mars propaganda began at once, encouraging other regions to rise up and gain control over their own destinies. For a few days the people of the Hellas Confederacy were jubilant, partying in the streets of Spallanzani and Zea Dorsum.
The celebrations were to be short-lived. Four days later heavily armed Intercorporate Security troops acting under UN mandate regained control of the Axius Vallis tent habitats despite fierce resistance. Zea Dorsum and several smaller towns fell shortly afterwards and MIS troops readied themselves for the assault on Spallanzani. Faced with the impossibility of victory and the certainty of heavy casualties if resistance continued, the Hellas Confederacy government surrendered. Intercorporate troops moved in to restore order. The entire Hellas Basin was placed under martial law, a curfew was imposed and a system of rigorous security measures instituted.
Despite its prominence in the mythological history of the System, the Hellas Revolt was a short-lived and highly localised incident. Its true importance, however, is as a marker separating the age of UN colonisation from that of Transnational imperialism. From 8 July 2097, the grand adventure of exploring the High Frontier would be forever tainted. Following the Hellas Revolt, the MIDC issued new security guidelines to its member corporations. Martian terrorist groups soon began a campaign of attacks against key Transnational facilities. Under pressure from the Development Commission, the UN passed a series of resolutions that effectively extended martial law across the planet. The MIDC was granted wide-ranging new powers for a 'transitional period' until order was re-established and full civil liberties could be restored. This transitional period would last for almost a century and end in a spasm of violence as the Martian Unrest flared into full rebellion.
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