The amendment to the Treaty of Vacillus was tested a mere year later when a natural disaster struck the Junker world of Bahariya IV. Bahariya IV was an arid world, populated by rugged microbial life that had evolved to eke the most out of the limited moisture in the thin atmosphere. Bahariya IV orbits a large, spectral class F star called Dis. Life on worlds like Bahariya never evolve beyond the microbial stage, because their stars burn out long before complex organisms take to the stage. A world like this is grist to the Junkers’ mill.
The colony was under the governorship of Giaus Marcius Galena when a massive coronal ejection from Dis engulfed the whole system. Most of the millions of personnel on the colony survived the initial cataclysm in their underground warrens, but the planet’s marginal ecosystem was wrecked beyond repair by the radiation. The cargo fleet berthed on Bahariya IV’s second moon was damaged by the event, so Galena sent an urgent transmission to the Senate requesting an evacuation. Food stocks would only last for a month, and then the colony faced starvation.
Ironglass proved tardy in its response. Galena was a progressive ruler, who had in the past criticised the Senate for its brutality and had survived several assassination attempts. Now the Senate saw its chance to be rid of him, at the paltry cost of nine million labourers. Galena then petitioned VASA for aid, also to little avail, so he then took the unprecedented step of deactivating the neural spikes in all the convicts and resigning his post. In gratitude at this, instead of lynching him immediately, the doomed colony got behind the governor’s daring attempt to escape their dire situation. Ironglass responded by sending in the troops and a war broke out between the rebels and the Senate.
The developing situation played out on the Sec-Net information bulletins throughout Pan-Humanic space, and public opinion on the better off worlds roundly condemned Ironglass. Viridia declared that under the conventions of the new Treaty of Vacillus, Ironglass was guilty of war crimes against its own people and dispatched a fleet from the nearby Tethys system to ostensibly monitor the situation and conduct peacekeeping activities. The Senate were predictably outraged at this perceived violation of their sovereignty and demanded that VASA order the Viridians out of their system. VASA demurred once again, claiming that the Viridians were acting in accordance with the Treaty’s new provisions, so their hands were tied. In turn, Ironglass determined that the Treaty permitted them to use force against any power that attempted to interfere with the running of one of a Homeworld’s colonies. The Senate ordered their ground units to engage the Viridians. For six days a particularly brutal war raged across the lifeless and open surface of Bahariya IV, in which the coordination and long-range capability of the Viridans easily broke the back of the numerically superior Junker force. VASA finally stepped in to broker a peace deal, as their role demanded, and the Junkers reluctantly accepted the secession of Galena. Galena then left Bahariya IV to establish a new colony along with his followers on the ocean world of Samudra. The Senate has since maintained that Galena’s new colony is nothing more than a puppet regime of the Viridian Assembly.