Skarmer-Omalo War
Location Minerva
Result Victory for Reatur
*Reatur's Omalo domain *Hogram's Skarmer domain
Commanders and leaders
*Reatur *Fralk

The Skarmer-Omalo War was a war between the Minervan great clans Omalo and Skarmer in 1989. By a long series of coincidences, the United States and the Soviet Union became involved on opposite sides of the conflict, thus making the war a proxy extension of the Cold War on Earth.


The Great Clan Skarmer's territories were separated from the Great Clan Omalo's by the Ervis Gorge. Hogram, the dominant Skarmer domain-master, found that overpopulation by his males was taxing his domain's agricultural resources and that he would need to follow an expansionist course. As the situation was no better among his fellow Skarmer domain-masters, he decided instead to push east across the canyon. He sent his eldest of eldest Fralk to present Reatur with an ultimatum: If Reatur would join the Skarmer in battle against the other Omalo domains, he would be allowed to remain as domain-master till his death. Otherwise, he would be overthrown. Reatur rejected the ultimatum, believing it would be impossible to wage war across the massive Ervis Gorge. However, the Skarmer had obtained technology for boat-building from the seafaring Great Clan Lanuam. They made preparations to cross the Gorge during the summer floods, despite the rarity of waging war in the summer on Minerva.

As both sides made preparations for the coming conflict, each side was visited by a party of humans: Reatur the crew of the American space shuttle Athena, Hogram the crew of the Soviet space shuttle Tsiolkovsky. Both missions' commanders, US General Emmett Bragg and Soviet Colonel Sergei Tolmasov, attempted to defuse the situation or at least maintain their neutrality, lest they become embroiled in the conflict and commit acts of war that would lead to a conflict on Earth. They used their radios to give Reatur and Hogram the opportunity to negotiate a peace agreement, but the art of diplomacy was not well-developed on Minerva and the two domain-masters merely exchanged insults. Bragg and Tolmasov each became suspicious that the other was assisting "his" side in their preparations, a misunderstanding which would have tragic consequences. When the Skarmer learned of the power of the Soviet-made AK-74, they coerced Tolmasov into arming them with one. Additionally, Soviet KGB agent Oleg Lopatin was strongly advocating for supporting the Skarmer overtly, believing Marxist doctrine demanded it.


Accompanied by Lopatin, Fralk led a Skarmer army across the canyon. One of his soldiers, Juksal, killed American geologist Frank Marquard, a noncombatant who was examining the canyon's fossil record. The Americans assumed Marquard had been killed by Lopatin and informed Washington, DC of this assumption. The US government brought pressure to bear on Moscow, which demanded that Tolmasov get the situation under control. However, Lopatin's radio had been disabled during the crossing of the canyon, and he was incommunicado. Meanwhile, Lopatin himself, realizing that the death of Marquard could lead to a war with the United States, attempted to leave the Skarmer camp and turn himself over to the American astronauts and set the record straight. However, he was captured by Skarmer soldiers and forced to accompany the army into battle.

Using the AK-74, the Skarmer defeated Omalo forces near the Ervis Gorge, and Reatur's troops fell back to their castle in disarray. There, Emmett Bragg directly assisted them in preparing their defenses and even used his own sidearm to mitigate the AK-74, though as a mere handgun it was much less useful. This allowed the Omalo to stall the Skarmer advance, but the battle at Reatur's castle was beginning to turn toward the Skarmer. Bragg ordered Doctor Sarah Levitt to pilot the Damselfly over the Skarmer ranks and to drop an incendiary weapon on Fralk and Lopatin. This was a very dangerous task, as the Damselfly was defenseless against the AK-74, but Levitt flew bravely and successfully neutralized the weapon, killed Fralk and Lopatin, and turned the tide of the battle. The Skarmer retreated back to the Ervis Gorge. Juksal assumed command and nearly managed to cross the canyon with his surviving forces intact, but he was defeated in detail when Ternat's forces, returning from a victory against Dordal, stumbled upon him.

The Battle With Dordal[]

Reatur attempted to form an alliance with Dordal, his fellow Omalo domain-master, against the Skarmer threat. Dordal did not take the threat seriously, however, and was amused by the preparations Reatur was making for what he was certain was an impossible invasion. He decided to take advantage of Reatur's distraction by sending a raiding party into the northern regions of Reatur's domain. They carried off Elanti's herd of massi shortly before the Skarmer invasion landed. Reatur sent Ternat north with an army to recover the massi and exact tribute as punishment. Ternat found Elanti, who had been scouting Dordal's positions, and with his help launched a surprise attack on Dordal's position, trapping them in a three-sided valley. Ternat recovered the massi herd, carried off a large tribute, and captured Dordal himself. Then he returned to his father's domain, and stumbled upon the remnant of Fralk's army, under the command of Juksal. Ternat defeated the Skarmer in detail.

End of the War and Aftermath[]

With American and Soviet radio, Reatur and Hogram negotiated a peace agreement whereby Reatur would keep his Skarmer prisoners alive through the summer, then send them back across the gorge after the flood waters had receded and exact a heavy tribute from Hogram. Hogram was forced to pay.

The two domain-masters refused Tolmasov's suggestion to promise not to fight again. Hogram said he would consider launching a second invasion if his position improved sufficiently, and Reatur responded by suggesting that he might send an army across the Ervis Gorge himself.

Having lost his eldest of eldest, and having lost his eldest years earlier, Hogram had to declare his second son, Lorkis, as his successor. Lorkis had not been prepared for the position of domain-master, and being very old, Hogram feared he would not have much time in which to teach him.

Reatur demanded that Grevil, Dordal's eldest, who was acting as domain-master, pay a tribute for Dordal's release. Grevil refused, seeking to claim the position of domain-master for himself. Reatur considered sending Dordal back home anyway, in an attempt to incite a civil war in his enemy domain.

Reatur was extremely grateful to the Americans, and invited them to return to his domain some day as they made preparations to leave Minerva. Hogram's relations with the Soviets, on the other hand, grew downright wintry after the defeat of the Skarmer army.

Both the American and Soviet space programs' prestige were hurt by their involvement in an alien war. Bragg and Tolmasov hoped to mitigate the public relations fallout by helping the Minervans negotiate a peace settlement.