|By Alexander of Volzhsky||See other fanon and fan fiction works from Alexander of Volzhsky.|
With the defeat of the military dictator Kuvira and her "Earth Empire", the deposed Earth King Wu decided to turn the country into a republic. Many of the conservative Earth Kingdom Army officers were disturbed by this news, and thought that it could not be allowed to happen. They were highly patriotic, militaristic, and believed that the centralized monarchy would be better for the kingdom instead of republicanism.
The leader of these officers was Ma Yukun, a general who was originally appointed by Earth Queen Hou-Ting as the commander of the Ba Sing Se Military District. An ambitious officer, Yukun was loyal to the Earth Kingdom Royal Family and a nationalist. Kuvira found him to be a competent and intelligent general, appointing him as the Capital Defense Commandant. General Yukun's new position gave him direct control over the units stationed in the country's capital city, including the Royal Tank Corps and the 1st Infantry Division.
He spent several months preparing to overthrow whatever government ended up replacing the monarchy, believing that Wu was under pressure from the international community to abdicate, as they wanted to weaken the Earth Kingdom. Yukun planned to offer the throne to Wu, and if he did not take, Yukun would become the Regent of the Earth Kingdom. Much of the Earth Kingdom officer corps was quite conservative and shared Yukun's beliefs. General Yukun's chief of staff, Colonel Wenli, the former chief of staff of the Omashu Military District who was transferred to Ba Sing Se by Kuvira, served as his second-in-command.
They spent months contacting other officers and soldiers, establishing a network of royalist commanders that would rise up against the new republican government. They successfully subverted part of the Royal Earthbender Guards, who felt that they were being betrayed, and elements of the Royal Air Force stationed in Upper Ring of Ba Sing Se. Meanwhile, Wu appointed the former Grand Secretariat of Ba Sing Se, Gun, to serve as the interim Prime Minister of the Earth Republic.
Gun planned to give a speech to the nation in about a week after his appointment as interim Prime Minister. General Yukun decided to launch his coup on that day, planning to arrest Gun and take control of the Earth Kingdom Royal Palace.
In the afternoon on the day of Prime Minister Gun's speech, the plotters went into action. The 1st Infantry Division took control of the Upper Ring, shutting it off and not allowing anyone to enter or leave. Meanwhile, a contingent royal guards, backed by the tanks of the Royal Tank Corps, arrived at the palace grounds, where General Yukun arrested the interim Prime Minister shortly before his speech was supposed to begin. Several royal guards put up a resistance, but there were too few of them to stop Yukun's tanks. Cadets from the Ba Sing Se Military Academy fought at the edge of the Upper Ring, attempting to break through the 1st Infantry Division's lines.
That evening, the Royal Palace was under the control of the conspirators, but the rest of the Upper Ring had become a warzone between the royalist troops and the forces loyal to the new republican government. The 1st Infantry Division, thought skilled, was greatly outnumbered, and eventually forced to pull back towards the palace. Intense close quarters fighting continued through the night, with many civilians joining on the anti-royalist side, along with the soldiers fighting for the Earth Republic. A ceasefire was agreed to around midnight, as each side restocked its supplies and prepared for a counteroffensive.
The ambassadors of the Fire Nation, United Republic, and Water Tribes condemned the coup. The diplomatic quarter of the Upper Ring was largely spared from the fighting. Meanwhile, in the Royal Palace, General Yukun proclaimed himself the Regent of the Earth Kingdom and stated that Gun's regime was illegitimate. None of the other nations recognized the claim, however. Yukun established a cabinet, which was made up of military officers, making his government not much more than a military junta.
The fighting resumed early next morning before dawn, with pro-republican forces attacking the 1st Infantry Division's troops. The Royal Tank Corps backed them up and pushed back the enemy, and soon they were joined by airships from the Royal Air Force. Several royalist airship crews fought the republican forces by bombing their lines, which they responded to by moving as close as possible to the royalists' defenses, forcing the airships to stop bombing them due to the risk of friendly casualties. The republican army regained many of the gains it made the previous day.
The 1st Infantry Division had taken heavy casualties in the fighting and needed rest. The fact that the republicans were able to hijack several tanks that evening had made things even more difficult. Yukun reluctantly ordered them to withdraw to the palace grounds, where they were backed up by royal guards and elements of other army units that decided to support them. On the other hand, the pro-republican forces received support from the Kuvira loyalist ultranationlists, who only wanted to take advantage of the situation to reestablish an "Earth Empire."
Avatar Korra called for the royalists to stand down, as did Prime Minister Gun and even Kuvira. But the general did not heed the requests, and more fighting began on the morning of the third day. The republican forces had high morale and were resupplied with equipment looted from the military's armories throughout the Upper Ring. The royalist forces put up a fierce resistance, with Yukun turning the palace itself into a fortress. As the anti-royalist forces approached the palace, they began taking heavier casualties and stopped their attack to reorganize themselves. It resumed in mid-afternoon as their coalition began the painful crawl through the palace corridors, ambushed by royalists at every step.
Eventually, the royalist forces were defeated and forced to flee from the palace. Individual pockets of resistance continued to fight for another two days around the Upper Ring before surrendering. Colonel Wenli killed himself rather than surrender, while Yukun was captured and taken prisoner that evening. The fourth and last day of the coup was over.
As the fighting died down around the capital, the Earth Republic government returned to the Palace and began reconstruction efforts around the city. Yukun was given a show trial before being put to death by Prime Minister Gun's provisional government, along with many other top royalist officers. The republican government then carried out a purge of the military, removing all of those officers who were suspected of royalist or pro-Kuvira sympathies.
Although the coup was defeated, it marked the beginning of rebellions and unrest throughout the Earth Republic, some of which was instigated by royalist factions. Demonstrations in favor of one side or the other occurred in several major cities throughout the country.
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