|The Great Crusade
|Date||2900 - 294X|
|Part of||Imperium-Tau War|
|Location||Byzantine Imperium, Tau Dead Sectors|
|Casus belli||Tau subversion of Imperial authority on Ephesus|
|Result||Decisive Imperium/Haruhiist victory
The Great Crusade was a decades long conflict that began in 2091. It was a 'war to end all wars' between the Byzantine Imperium and the Tau Empire. The Holy Empire of Suzumiya Haruhi participated much later.
Leaders of the Conflict
Heraclius XX the Great, God Emperor of Man
Few men in history have made an equivalent impact, much less marshalled an entire populace through sheer charisma and organized strategy on such a grand scale. Taking upon during his coronation quite appropriately the name of a long dead Eastern Roman Emperor who had saved the Eastern Roman Empire from near extinction due to Persian assault in the 7th century AD, he rallied his people and led them to victory over the Tau. He practiced Total War to its very extremes; all men and women were conscripted to the service of the Imperium, either as a soldier, or an engineer or scientist. Some were allowed to stay behind to take care of children but at least 60% of the population took to the field. Some degree of cloning and robotics was employed when required, but these were mostly found in elite formations when the need for heavy firepower was sorely needed. Regardless, Heraclius XX, like his namesake, led his people on the field, battling the Tau Empire on the front lines, or leading the fleet through space.
That he is a master tactician and strategist cannot be denied, and it was through his machinations that he managed to lead his people to total victory, even though it was built on the backs of billions of dead. He may be reviled for his use of bioweapons and genocide, but no one will deny his genius. Further, there was no way the Tau Empire could not be destroyed without a good portion of his populace wiped out, especially after all the atrocities the Tau had committed (though many historians outside the Byzantine Empire, New Anglia, Holy Empire of Haruhi Suzumiya, Clans of Hiigara, Bragulan Star Empire, Shepistani Republic, Grand Dominion and Tianguo, agree that the Tau Empire could have been neutralized without the need for extermination). The Tau had also left too large an impact on the surrounding areas of space, controlling client races through coercion and pheromones. His detractors would no doubt detest the man, but secretly, some were glad the Tau could no longer manipulate other races as they had always done so.
Council of Ethereals
The Holy Empire
Haruhi Suzumiya sat on the throne of the Holy Empire during the Great Crusade as she had for centuries prior, and she would continue to do so long after the conflict ended. Most of the actual planning and fighting, however, was performed by the capable officers of the SOS Imperial Armed Forces.
The leadership of the SOS Imperial Armed Forces at the time of the Great Crusade and the concurrent Directorate War was made up of both centuries-old veterans and relative neophytes, with the oldest officers having seen service as far back as the Neo-Britannian War of the early 2600s.
SOS Imperial Guard
SOS Imperial Marine Corps
Of the many officers who served with the Marine Corps during the Great Crusade, five managed to achieve positions of great prominence during the course of the conflict: Madoka Kaname, Homura Akemi, Mami Tomoe, Sayaka Miki, and Kyoko Sakura. The "Magnificent Five," as they were called, had started out at the very bottom of the Marine Corps hierarchy at the start of the Directorate War, though they rapidly rocketed up the ranks as that conflict gradually made way into the Great Crusade.
While other officers of their stature would have simply chosen to remain far from the front lines, Madoka and her comrades elected to lead directly from the front instead, in the same manner as their comrades in the Byzantine Imperium. They fought alongside their own men and women as they led the Holy Empire's advance into the Tau Empire's own territories, and they were subjected to the exact same horrors that their subordinates were as they continued their advance. When the Holy Empire's forces finally met up with those of the Imperium, they could finally see with their own eyes the lengths that both sides were willing to go to in order to end the war. Their experiences during the Great Crusade left the five women with truly hideous emotional scars, which only worsened with time as they kept fighting in other conflicts.