Despite the vast distances between the various Hives that the 8th legion were infiltrating, the lack of communication between the various branches of the legion and the differences and unique challenges that each provided, the actual operation largely played out the same across them all. From the moment that the first of the branches made their move to the final Hive being completely under Imperial control, the whole operation spanned a grand total of four months.
Within that four month span, a number of hive cities ranging from the minor Hive Bullhead to Hives Oklahoma and Houston were flipped to Imperial control with very little in the way of resources or fight. For the amount of land that had changed hands at what would be an utterly mind bending speed compared to the grind of wars during the Unification, there was relatively little bloodshed. In every Hive, Pacific forces were always given the options of abandoning the Hive or surrendering and being treated as respected prisoners of war, with violence being saved for those that refused to do either.
There was some degree of disquiet on this campaign about the measures employed by the 8th in order to maintain control of the hives once they had taken control. Declaring martial law, the 8th would round up many of the leading figures, those of higher rank in various organizations and noble families and hold tribunals, trying each and every one of them for being traitors to the former Merica state (a former trusted ally of the Imperium) and Pacific collaborators. These trails were swift, uncaring and almost always ended with a verdict of guilty and execution.
Critics of the 8th made a point of disagreeing strongly with one of the Emperor's armed forces declaring themselves judge, jury and executioners of what were highborn and noble lineages and that these purges were a combination of revenge killings from before they joined the Emperor's armies and the legion installing officials loyal to them personally by putting them in now vacant positions of power. The 8th itself defended its actions, claiming that since it would take time for the Imperium to reinforce their new position and holdings, harsh measures were required in order to ensure stability and prevent sabotage from within, least betrayal lead to the hives falling back into Pacific hands.
What is certain through was that the Mercia Front swung in the Imperium's favor practically overnight, with the Pacific held fortress hives of Florida suddenly being at major risk of being completely surrounded and cut off as the Imperium now had a second front line that threatened to bypass them and punch directly into the heart of Mercia and attack both west and eastern borders at once.
If you knew the right places, it was possible to do an utterly mind blowing amount of damage to a Hive or its population for very little effort. Prevent water from being recycled or flowing around for a grand total of two hours and countless people would die in a matter of days, from thirst and fighting to the death over what few drops of liquid could be found. It was largely the same with any resource required for the Hive to function. Fuel, food, power, coolant... any disruption to the supply line could have untold, catastrophic consequences to both people and infrastructure. That didn't even factor in the cascade effects: A disruption to one vital resource tended to cause issues for other vital resources.
If you knew the right people
, it was possible to aim
the disaster. Select which part of the hive was suddenly going to go without power, light or heat for an extended period of time and watch the chaos unfold.
Of course, there were a number of safeguards in place to both ensure that no one ever did such a thing (either intentionally or not) to begin with and plans and people in place to sweep in and try to fix it as quickly as possible if it did. As one of the more goat like member of the auxiliary forces smashed in the skull of the last over the overseers with a club, the first line of defense crumbled.
To say that the water station was 'quiet' would have been something of a lie. Between the humming of power, the flowing of liquid and the general noises such industrial machines that provided such a vital function and would never be willing shut down unless things were truly dire, silence was not something one would ever find here. However the sounds of conflict and hostilities had now come to an end.
Jzzist Al-Allal took a moment to admire what he was seeing. This wasn't the only treatment and recycling station that the Water Guild controlled in the Hive for logical reasons, but this far up in the hive structure the quality of the room, its machines and the conditions that its workers needed to toil in were considerably better then those found lower down. It made sense in a way... after all, this station provided for the elite at the top of the hive. If the nobles didn't get the best water and air, there would be hell to pay somewhere down the line... and that had the additional benefit of giving those providing that to them access to it as well.
The air here... it was fresher and cleaner then any he had ever breathed in before outside of the lab in which he had been transformed. Artificial still of course, but...
He shook his head as he allowed the moment to pass. They had things to do.
Squads of auxiliaries and marines were setting themselves up, digging in so that they would keep their new prize. He had a different task through. "Boyle, long time no see! How would you like a once in a lifetime opportunity?
Boyle Vea was a 5' 0" tall, white skinned man with enigmatic, light brown eyes, a lean face, a square jaw and plucked eyebrows. Bald, with tattoos fully covering his lower back, chest, upper body and left arm and an impressively long, perfectly shaped beard that was a shade blonder than his hair... and right now the middle manager of the Water Guild looked at Jzzist with a mixture of fear, awe and curiosity. He was also the highest ranked member of the Water Guild the 8th currently had access too and the person Jzzist knew
could unless targeted harm if giving motivation to do so.
"Jzzist is that... holy shit! What is going... what have you..." Boyle began, clearly never expecting to see someone he had once known become..., well, whatever he was now or experience this situation. With a clearing of the throat from a marine flanking Jzzist to try and get Boyle refocused, the conversation continued "I-I... Sorry, what's this about an opportunity?"
A massive, armored hand that could crush muscle and bone with ease planted itself with surprising softness on Boyle's shoulder as Jzzist explained "Long story short, we're working for the Imperium now and we're going to take over Houston. You and your crew have a very rare opportunity to not only help us do that, but be heavily rewarded for doing so.
" With a free hand, he gestured towards both the carnage of the enforcers and overseers that had resisted and the ease in which they had been dispatched... as well as the fortifications that were being made by those who did the slaughter. "I can assure you, the pacific forces aren't going to stop us, but you could help speed the process up considerably.
A marine listening into a vox caster looked up and called over "Al-Allal, squads three and four have secured the power station and preparing for counterattack, squads five and two have fortified the air purifier. Remaining squads are still securing their locations, but they've managed to secure local assistance for the mission.
Jzzist nodded to the vox man before looking back to Boyle. Boyle gulped a little as sweat started to form on his brow as he asked "I'm not an idiot. You want us to turn water off to certain sections of the hive, right?" There was a nod that the man was correct. "We could do that... but what kind of reward are we talking about?"
Jzzist grinned. This was why he liked Boyle. The man wasn't going to pass an opportunity to benefit himself pass him by. "I'll be blunt with you Boyle. After we take over, we're going to kill most of the people living in the upper hive. Nobles, guild representatives... pretty much anyone with power or influence that might cause us trouble before we get reinforcements. Oh, the reports will say we gave them trials and all that, but they're all going to die for collaborating with the Pacifics, regardless of if they did or not.
" The ease in which Jzzist spoke of purging the highest rungs of Houston society, be they guilty or not was horrifying to behold... but Boyle didn't get to where he was by caring about the pain and suffering of others.
"As for the Water Guild... well, I'm thinking we might start out investigations into traitors and collaborators with... well, whatever your direct boss's rank is and working our way up from there. Of course, after the purge... well, new leadership is going to be needed for the Water Guild and since you're one of the highest ranks left and proved their loyalty to the Imperium, I feel confident that your appointment to head of the Water Guild would be accepted.
" It was more of an afterthought when Jzzist added "And of course veterans of the Water Guild will also be risen up to fill the vacuum left by the now dead traitors or positions emptied by those moving up. But you would be in charge of it all.
There was a moment of relative silence as Boyle needed a moment to process the extent of what he was being offered. Once he did, an ambitious, greedy smile started to grow on his face. "You son of a bitch, I'm in!"