In Fury Triumphant
Assault in San Sebastian 08 February, 1936 The Galactic Geographic Magazine By Jake Halloway
Since six o’clock in the morning I have watched the popular government troops based out of Guipuzcoa pound rebel positions with mortar and artillery fire in the once quiet and fertile crescent of the San Sebastian farm district. The attack seems aimed at securing the Corona road which runs through the heart of San Sebastian and serves the entire region as its major artery. Failure to occupy the only decent road through this wild and jungle choked countryside insures that nothing moves through it, aside from the civilians scurrying to avoid the hurtling shell fire and the occasional charge of an enraged dinosaur, driven mad by a bullet or the sound of the barrage. The appearance of such a beast sends fighters under any flag into a panic of rapid fire until the beast is dispatched.
This is the third such assault by Republican troops in as many days but it is the closest so far to the stone farm where my camera man and I have holed up. An unusually cold wind from the North country blows the smoke and ash from burning farms and jungle back on us in great choking clouds for hours. Our guides joke that it is a curse thrown down the mountain side by the Royalists for bearing arms against the King.
From our vantage point at the peek before the descent into the worst of the San Sebastian killing fields we can make out government troops in their third valiant push for the road since dawn.
Just when it seemed that the fighting had finally turned in the favor of the Republic, the sky was filled with the whistling scream of engines and three of the ugly armored DO-17 assault transports made a descent out of the sky with a sound like a trio of New York subway trains. The beasts coughed out fountains of metal and death from powerful weapons mounted in their nose. Upon landing two Italian tanks and one of the German’s new two legged walkers, the first we’d had a good look at in the conflict, rolled out to engage. The arrival of enemy reinforcements pushed the government troops grudgingly back from the Via Corona and that was that. The rebels with their foreign allies seemed reluctant to move out of their positions for the day and fighting once again subsided into a lull broken only by the intermittent crack of a rifle.
About an hour later we were roused out of a late breakfast by the whine of rebel mortar rounds. This correspondent is not exaggerating that he and the dirt floor of the farm house became closely acquainted as six shells burst within a few yards of our farm. With a brave, “Let’s get the hell out of here!” we heel and toed it out the back door diving for the concealment of the heavy jungle waiting to receive us…
The War in Spain
The King remains on the throne of Spain.
Popular enthusiasm behind a return to Spanish glory in space united the Spanish public during the early 1920’s and attracted the migration of a great number of workers, engineers, scientists and military minds from throughout the Spanish speaking world.
In the early years investment capital from throughout the Latin world flowed to Spain to build a grand future that was wholey Latino, filled with the flower and the pride of the Spain that was and would rise again. Spain’s massive gold reserve, the largest in the modern world was not squandered in those early years. It was carefully and expertly metered out into construction and public works projects which built modern industrialized cities where rough colonies and dirt roads had existed just a few years prior.
The situation might have remained stable if it had not been for the manipulations of the Carlist faction and their supporters both in Spain and abroad. From roughly 1925 through 1930 certain politically astute members within the Carlist faction provided funds for anarchist elements and the more radical of the labor unionists to mount sabotage and bombing campaigns within the Spanish colonies. Despite the great strides forward there were still those who remembered the poverty of the years prior to the arrival of the Hegemony. Certainly it was true that the new Spanish wealth seemed restrained to a very limited segment of the population. Perhaps fifteen percent of the total population settling in the Spanish colonies enjoyed the opulence of urban life while fully eighty five percent lived in poverty. The Carlists, seeking a path to the throne for Charles counted on the old scores still lingering in the disenfranchised population.
Two assassination attempts were made against the King directly but failed. The attempts encouraged Alphonso to conduct a hard line policy against the labor unions and protests against wages and poor conditions in Spanish factories were met with the bullet and bayonet of the Spanish Legion.
The King was carefully isolated both politically and geographically from the reality of life for his subjects both on Earth and in space. In the later half of 1935 a chain of labor strikes and student protests spiraled out of control. Civic buildings were damaged. One of the newly built Spanish cathedrals was burned. Outraged at such an anti-church action by a movement which Alphonso perceived to be largely communist the Legion was directed to restore order. The Carlists influenced key members within the officer corps to make certain that the Legion came down heavy and hard on the protestors. Dozens of civilians were shot. Hundreds were arrested. Labor leaders began to vanish into the night. By December of 1935 the unions and various student movements had, enough.
On January 1st, 1936 a radio message was inserted into popular broadcasts in every corner of the colonies. At midnight a message of “The skies are clear throughout all of sleeping Spain.” signaled the start of a general worker’s revolution.
Republican forces seized national armories and secured the control of numerous cities and spaceports. Disgruntled divisions of troops whose pay had been cleverly diverted by the Carlists rose up in arms and joined the Republican cause. Soviet support of the unions was soon apparent in the overt operation of communist brigades within the Republican forces and the appearance of Soviet weapons in the fighting. When partisan troops armed with rifles began to feature the red scarves, stars of the communist party those involved in the plot new that the time was right to launch their own brand of revolution.
Thus the ground work for the coup was carefully set. Those at the center of the plot understood the reaction that Catholic Spain and its neighbors in Roma would have to the possibility of a communist government occupying the Spanish nationalized corridor. Rallying support from conservative leaders the Nationalists rallied to the cause of halting the Antichrist communists.
The three way civil war in Spain was on.