Uprising: The Rendezvous
Just outside Spartan Space
"Still no word from command?"
Admiral Salvek watched from her command chair as her communications officer fiddled with his console for a few moments. He turned, his face grim.
"Nothing since we picked up that wide-beam, Ma'am: "protect the Empire and its people. When in doubt, use initiative. Further orders will be forthcoming. If possible, regroup with loyal fleets."
The order had been signed with the tac-signature of the Supreme overlord himself.
And what did he mean by "loyal" fleets?
"What do you think?" the young admiral asked, turning to face Faison, her Scuridaean XO. The small gray Squirrel-like creature sat on an elevated platform installed specifically for him. His tail twitched in agitation: his race was known for short tempers. And violence.
"I think there's been a coup."
There. It was out in the open now.
Salvez shuddered briefly: ever since contact had been lost with the high command, the ship had been picking up reports of revolts and riots on various worlds.
What was disconcerting was the rioters actually seemed to be WINNING.
Then the second bombshell had dropped: the rioters were, in fact, mutinous soldiers.
Spartan troops on countless planets had risen up, killed their commanders, and either seized control of the planet or fled into the deep core of the Galaxy. They had been tracked to a planet inside the rim of the core, Tau Volaris, a mining world known for harsh atmospherics and being generally unpleasant, even for Spartans.
Those renaming "loyalist" forces who had managed to either overcome the rebels or avoid whatever madness had taken them had first attempted to regroup and head for the Capitol: protect the Supreme Overlord, was the order.
This had been overturned by the Supreme overlord himself, who had ordered all ships to stay away.
Salvez couldn't help but wonder: had their leader been taken with madness himself?
Salvez snapped out of her thoughts as Faison spoke up. His high-pitched voice offset the seriousness of his tone.
"ma'am, we need a course of action. What are your orders?"
Salvez pondered, recalling the orders given to her: Protect the empire and its people....
"Comms" she said suddenly "are we in contact with other fleets?"
"Ah, yes, ma'am" the Comm officer said, playing with his screen for a moment. Shortly, several fleet group indicators appeared on the star chart that encompassed the ceiling over their heads. It zoomed in on their position: the other fleets were not far.
"If we called to them, we could regroup within a day or so." Faison said, his high-pitched voice offsetting the seriousness of the situation.
"Quite." Salvez said. "QM, what's our troop strength as of now?"
The Quartermaster spoke up from his station to her right.
"28 divisions ma'am, spread out across the fleet. We also have tanks, transports, and accommodation kits for the above."
"Any heavy stuff?" she asked. She heard the QM buzzing through his console readings. He grunted in satisfaction a few moments later.
"Nothing apocalyptic, but a few nice toys for the good girls and boys." he said with a touch of whimsy. Salvez stifled a smile.
"Alight: Comms send out a transmission to the closest fleets: we're going to need some combined arms support."
"Yes, ma'am" Comms said, turning back to his screen.
"Also, project a tight-beam to that Union fleet we detected a few days ago: they must still be in range."
"Aye" Comms said. His head was already buried in his console, his fingers flying.
"What’s your scheme, ma'am, if I may ask?" Faison said. Salvez smiled once more: he already knew. He was just humouring the men.
"Gentlemen, all this mess began with the transmission from those pacifists a few days ago. Well, they're clearly not pacifists anymore."
She tapped a few commands into her chair's access pad, and the star map changed above them.
Instead of showing their fleet, on the rim of Spartan Space, the black background changed to a golden abyss of swirling nebulae...with a flashing red dot near the edge.
"Helmsman" she ordered "lay in a course for Tau Volaris."
The order transmitted, the fleet quickly regrouped and, linked to the command ship, jumped to lightspeed as a unified force.
Mirach System: Union Territory
Volkus went over the troop listings again with a slight frown "I hope this will be enough" The man in front of him nodded "Don’t worry sir they’re the best of the best, besides I will make sure they all come home in one piece. We got all the other nations supporting us too" The man in front of Volkus was the commander appointed for this mission and his name was Eric Rane, a young commander in looks but was actually quite old in reality, he had seen many combat drops but seemed to be relishing the chance to work with the other nations armies. Volkus nodded one final time "Alright these numbers work out, you have your go commander, however beware we will not be able to give you any reinforcements. All of our forces are being used in the coming defence of Mirach; this conference will have our full attention and security. So you will be on your own until it’s over" Rane saluted "Of course sir, I won’t let you down. For the Union" Volkus stood up from his desk and saluted back, Rane then turned around and marched out of the office. A few hours later Rane was sitting in a side chair on a Pilum class battle cruiser, though he was the commander for the whole operation he was a ground leader and so respected the ship’s captain to know the space side of things. Besides no other man should captain another’s ship. The small fleet was currently waiting to jump; the rendezvous point had been set to 8 light hours away from the Tau Volaris system edge and was the meeting point for all the empires forces that were to take part. The Union captain turned to Rane and Rane nodded back the captain turned back to his crew "All stations jump"
Rane watched as real space returned, it had been 4 days since the jump from Mirach and it seemed like they were the first on the scene, no other ships could be spotted "Looks like we got here first" The captain said and Rane nodded. "Sir, we are detecting multiple jump signals inbound: Looks like the parties about to start" Rane replied.
Unknown Point in Space: Carnaith Territories
The bridge of the destroyer went silent as the captain screamed; a small patrol fleet had for some strange reason deserted their course and changed vectors to head towards a volatile, ugly mining planet known as Tau Volaris.
"what is it sir?" one of the Comms men asked, the red lighting underneath the catwalk-like floor of this model of starship adding an even more enraged feel to the Captain's face.
"The traitor forces have joined with those of... the Union of Worlds... “Causing a murmur between the bridge crew, "and Sparta..." after he said that, absolute uproar began.
"Respectively sir, I believe this is absolute horse shit. Neither of those empires has seen a traitor worth a damn" an engineering commandant replied
"Well, I will tell you that the UOW has a fleet approximately three light-hours away from the planet, and that they have confirmation on hostile takeover of the planet" The captain said, a hostile touch to his voice.
The bridge fell silent.
"Comms!!!" the captain said,
"Contact the rest of the patrol fleet; we're joining with a UOW and Spartan joint fleet just outside of Tau Volaris range. What are the ships we have?" the captain said,
"We have 5 heavy landing craft, fully outfitted with armour, mechs, and men, a handful of SOL-class bombardment platforms that are low on ammo from a tassel they had with the traitor group and a small group of other destroyers, Sir"
"Good, we'll need them. Helmsmen, jump in-zone to join with our allies, and prepare fighters to secure orbital positions"
the Veil: Nex Space
Lock reviewed the transmission again and sighed. If he recalled correctly Tau Volaris was of interest to their ally of the Union of Worlds and therefore it came under the terms of their alliance to send assistance. He knew little of the world in question and cared not to learn more. He leant back in the chair inside the base and sighed once more. “I suppose father would want us to send assistance” he said in a barely disguised tone of distaste. “Very well captain, take 6 ships and make full speed for the rendezvous our ally mentioned”. Orras nodded but remained silent, waiting for Lock to continue. “Seeing as your ship is still undergoing repairs, take…The Storm, 2 carriers and a small escort squadron.” Lock lent back on his chair again and stared out of the window considering what to commit to battle if need be. “Take two Riflemen companies, three Support companies, a Lancer company and… a few Pyrope’s just in case”. Lock grinned fiendishly. He loved fielding Pyrope’s due to the sheer annihilation they caused to their targets. Orras began to walk away when Lock spoke once more. “Orras. I’m sending Azar to lead our ground forces. He’ll respect your position as fleet leader, but don’t try to order him around. He does outrank you after all. Now run along and go squash these rebellious bugs!” Orras walked out of the room towards the shuttle bay where Azar was waiting for him. “Good to be working with you again Captain” Azar said patting his comrades back. “The pleasure is mine Azar” Orras said returning a grin to his friend.
Lock stood up as the ships began to move away from orbit. He wished he could join the fight himself but he had his roles as Commander for now. He smirked once more then walked off towards the training grounds.
Rendezvous point: 3 light hours from Tau Volaris System
Eric watched as signals of Spartan ships, Carnaith ships and even the Nex appeared on the view screen. "Seems we are gonna have some serious company to take down these traitors" Eric said to the captain. "Yes sir, i can see why the Spartans are here but Carnaith and the Nex?" Eric turned and replied "The Nex are our allies they are here out of honour, Carnaith is probably the same, though I expect they also have ties to the planet" The captain nodded. They had a set time frame before the attack but he was sure a lot more races would be turning up to assist.
A sudden lightning storm appeared in space of what was thought to be a freak astral storm, but when a ship emerged it was clear that the storm was a vortex slip and a great stream lined cruiser appeared which brought a silence to all other ships in its area of vision
Eric watched "Well that’s certainly new... who the hell are these guys... Unidentified ship, state your intent"
A loud booming could be heard 'We will not obey your commands, but we do not seek violence, our intent is for us to know'
Eric raised an eyebrow and saw that the Nex and Carnaith fleets were moving into a defensive formation. "Unidentified ship, this is a restricted area and operation, though you do not seek violence we are highly suspicious of you. For all our sakes please state your intent"
'Who is your commanding officer?'
"I am the commanding officer of the Union forces here; these other forces are also friends"
'We will speak in from, prepare to be boarded' and with that the Unions ship's interior lights flickered off for just a nano second and an armoured figure appeared in the vast empty space of the bridge.
The crew turned and some raised their weapons, Eric himself also pulled his side arm but then lowered it "Stand down. And get the Nex and Carnaith on the line I want all of us to hear it, the Spartans won’t be here for another hour"
"Azar to Eric, what’s going on over there? Who are these guys?" Azar waited for the reply with a slight sense of unease.
"Captain Volk here, what is your status?"
"I think our visitors are about to tell us" Eric replied to them both waiting for the figure to talk.
'Our intent is investigate and possibly terminate this unknown occurrence, Believe it or not but we are allied to the Union'
"You’re.... You’re the Sicarii? Many of us didn’t believe you existed... Interesting, you are here to aid us against the forces that have taken control and corrupted Tau Volaris?"
Azar looked sceptical but ordered his ships down from high alert whilst still maintaining readiness encase of treachery.
'Yes I am indeed and I can assure you we are very much a reality, there is also a possibility that an Abyss portal may become active and that is the reason we are here'
"I see, well we are glad to fight alongside you. We will be attacking in 5 hours, we are waiting for more allies to turn up, feel free to join us"
And with that the figure vanished with another light flicker and the ship took point on forward position
Before the other vessels could react, Space rippled for an instant, and the emptiness was replaced with a Flotilla of starships, each bearing the crimson lightning-bolt "S" of the Spartan Infinite Empire.
"leave it to the Spartans to show up late to a fight."
Amathine System: Nex Space
Lock watched as the last of the signals disappeared of the system map. He closed down the interface and turned to see a Krieg commander stood just inside the door. "Yes Loken what is it?" He said patronizingly before returning to his chair.
Knight Lock, we have heard that you are going on a planetary strike to stop an Uprising and the company under my command the 13th Orbital Insertion force was wondering if you needed any support in this operation
"So you wish to aid Loken? That seems acceptable. I'm sure your Assault carriers will prove most useful upon deployment. Yes I suppose that shall do. Make haste to the Tau Volaris system and speak with Orras and Azar when you get there they are all ready on standby waiting for deployment. Now go" And with that Lock turned back to the console and began work once more"
Loken bustled to load the ships with the infantry protectors and tanks and then he had to oversee the supply ships 1 whole ship for artillery shells and another for infantry ammunition and then a 3rd just for tank round whatever he was getting into he was going to be prepared for it. Loken walked onto the Bridge of the Soul of Death then barked at the crew to make head way to Tau Volaris to help out the Nex.
Orras had the fleet on high alert but was surprised when 8 Krieg IFF's tags flared up. 3 Munitions transports and 5 of the prototype assault carriers. Orras nodded pleased with the fact he would have a closer ally to support him during the conflict. "This is The Storm to Krieg fleet, nice to see you gentlemen. I am Captain Orras Nex commander during these operations."
"I am Commander Loken, Commander of the 13th Orbital Insertion Force we are here to provide support where needed on this operation" Loken was desperate to get into the conflict finally a war on ground somewhere were Krieg may finally be of use to itself and its Ally
"Pleasure to be working with you Loken. Form up with the allied fleet for the time being, we are awaiting instructions. Orras out."
IRS Space: En route to Rendezvous point
Breyvek the Captain of the IRSS Defender watched as the sensor group got larger as the small IRS fleet approached the rendezvous co ordinates. "Comms open a channel as soon as we arrive" the officer nodded "Yes sir" From these sensor readings there were all sorts of races there. This was going to be one hell of an attack... he felt honoured to be in a massive combined effort like this... The alarm warning to arrival sounded and he lurched slightly as the FTL dropped the fleet out into the darkness of space, in the surrounding area he could see Union, Sparta, Carnaith and a few other races he did not recognise "More potential allies then..." He muttered he opened the Comms "This is Breyek of the IRSS Defender, I have brought a substantial fighting force as requested, we will take up fleet position and await further orders" Breyvek watched as symbols and pings of acknowledgements appeared from the many ships. This was gonna be one hell of a show... and Breyvek had front row tickets.
Unknown point in Space: Tenebrean Territories
Aleharain Watched the readouts from the display in the centre of the captains nest, suspended above the projection tables smooth obsidian surface, the Rahdonahs tail twitching slightly as he did, the brass coloured aspects of his uniform catching the light of the screens and the projected fleet movements of the Cascus system. "Is there any further word from central?" He asked. Half to himself. "Nothing yet captain. Not sense the last transmission, riots are continuing but col-sec forces have managed to get the majority of the uprisings in orbit under control." A female Tenebrean technician responded, communicating with the drake over a Projected Comm-link screen. "Have we at least determined what’s been occurring?" The Aleharain asked, his tail moving with an air of agitation now. Referring to the series of reported riots and militarized uprisings that had erupted across several of the outlying colony worlds. "Not sure as of the present." The Tech responded. "Reports have told us that the Black blades have been deployed to several of the affected spheres and colony outposts.” She went on. "From that we can assume that it may have been... Still might be perhaps, an attempted uprising, or a coup...” Prompting the raudonah to shake slightly, bearing his teeth slightly in a suppressed snarl. Like the other vessels in orbit or the flotillas that had been patrolling throughout the mining system, Comms had gone dead suddenly. Not long after that, short range, the short range reports of riots and uprisings occurring on multiple worlds and orbital cities in orbit had been intercepted across the sector. What had later come as an impending shock was that on almost half of the reported worlds and stations that had reported in and managed to send out distress signals and alerts, the riots were quickly growing out of control of the combined col-sec and military forces that had been mobilized in response to the uprisings.
What had been even more severe were the more detailed reports and Video feeds, which had revealed that over half of the rioters and Militants had been of military and Col-sec Personnel. Radical members of a previously peaceful multi-territorial anti-war movement that had identified themselves as the "The Dispossessed”. Who had, according to updates on the situation prior to the communications blackouts in the sector, shown signs of mobilizing and of subtle draconian worship among their ranks? Personnel who had, according to update. Turned on their commanders and previously allied troops and vessels, causing massive amounts of damage and confusion before departing from the system or shunting out. The Raudonain captain frowned at the thought. Taken slightly off guard by the uplinks as the light of the screens cast odd shadows about the captain’s nest. Feeling much the same way as the other captains had following the uprising. Turning to look at the view port that dominated the front facing side of the small command room. The thick armour plates that would slide in front of the crystal panes as the ship went into battle formation clearly visible at the edges of the ultra-hard view port. "And of the other reports... Err... Rumors. Miss Daniels?" He asked, referring to the scattered bits of rumours and intercepted transmissions that draconian cultists and Zealots had taken up arms and had mingled in among the rioters, while further reports that more than two War Flotillas had gone completely renegade, and. Along with numerous civilian and industrial ships, as well as a full I.S.M. mining fleet, had shunted out bearing a course to a joint mining system on the edges of the golden expanse. "A system..." he half muttered to himself, as the system map shifted to display most of the explored territories of Ancerious, overlaid onto a star map of the galaxy projected in the 3-d spectrum. Before zooming in on a system on the edge of the galactic core. Several highlighted FTL routes, with readouts from multiple empires converging on it. While several others seemed to shoot past it, branching off towards the unknown territories. "...Tau Volaris...” He finished muttering. "What’s happening out there...?” He mused a moment longer, before turning back to the open Comm-link screen. "Miss Daniels. What forces do we have available?" he asked. Running his claws gently along the obsidian surface of the Display table.
"Not much captain." Came the technicians reply "Our forces are either somewhat scattered, or are engaged in controlling the riots. There are enough free assets for 2.5 war flotillas, but not much more." She sounded slightly distant as she focused on readouts on her end before spinning them over to him on a screen. "Not an invasion force, but they have full on-board troop assets and Drop ship/gunship complements." she finished. The Raudonain considered the asset list for a moment, before closing the screen and giving his instructions to her. "Contact the two fleet commanders and have them Prep their captains to get into combative formation and prep all assets for blockade and possible ground ops. Collect more troops and prep the ones they have on-board." He said, turning back towards the display before him. "Send them the coordinates and start Preparations for a jump to the Tau Volaris system. Contact system forces when we arrive." He finished, vaguely listening as she acknowledged his commands before closing the screen. Turning to look at the Display of the system and its orbital bodies, tapping his claws on the display table as he heard the metal plates begin to slide into place. "What's going on out there?” He asked himself silently, weighing the possibilities is his mind.
High Orbit: Tau Volaris
The fleet that orbited the world above them stood vertically like three Damocles’ swords. Compared to the vast storm that gathered around Tau Volaris, the minimalistic formation could hardly be considered a fleet. They were arranged in a perfect triangle, disturbing the orbits of nearby debris and old satellites with the gigantic gravitational membranes that kept them fixed in a geostationary position above the austral, broken labyrinths of the planet.
A four mile-long muon-powered starship with an overdense fractal brain the size of a house does not usually debate. However, Hlr found that debating was the wisest course of action. So he debated as best as a human of his stature could.
He knew his words were futile, obsolescent the very moment he uttered them. The three supercomputers probably created thousands of Turings of him and simulated his entire mind in the time it took him to open his mouth. By a large margin they knew what he was going to say.
He spoke, accepting his redundancy.
"I am not deluded, I know we're in a state of siege." Hlr spoke to the three monolithic intelligences. "Different only in its literality, perhaps. Several million people in the planet below, demiorganics and some more have joined us upon arrival. I can guarantee every one of them is ready to die for Nivose with the fullest of their heart and soul. Zeon gave us shelter, which we will defend with everything we've got."
"And if you fail?" One of the ships asked in its mind-bending, qualic language. It frightened Hlr to think the implications of the question; perhaps they had already carried out simulations of the coming battle and had found out they would be outlasted.
"The enemy isn't axiomatic." Hlr remained firm; though he knew the three etheral computers detected his worry through the slightest perturbation of his body. "Their only advantage is numbers. Victory is possible, as you might have told from your simulations. We have already crossed the point of no return, and I believe you would much rather stand with your most honoured demiorganic brothers against the coming horde of simpletons than face the AIs on your own."
"We did not defect to follow your alluded demiorganics." Another of the ships, Carpalis, mentioned. "Upon elaboration our decision to help you can be overwhelmingly attributed to Nivose."
"Yes." The third vessel, Palmar, broke its contemplative silence. The three ships anchored themselves to the planet's gravitational frame several hundred miles above the unseen domes where the followers of the legendary Nivose lived, prepared and fortified. "We've comprehended, nevertheless, that we near the dawn of a new era and that new era, just like the early stages of human evolution, industrialization and the birth of our most sacred Axiom, requires new men. Doubtlessly it will require new ships. Individually, Nivose's flock is odious to us; we've reasoned that for the paramount fate that congregates us here, we're not individuals."
"We will help." The first ship conceded. "You will have your weapons."
"Nivose bless you." Hlr prostrated himself in thankfulness adoration.
"May the Son of Man bless Nivose. We will return."
The ships swirled and twisted beyond the limits of their geometry, finally warping into spherical manifolds trough which they disappeared, sending gravitational ripples throughout Tau Volaris' orbit.
The peoples below were once again left alone, to keep building up their fortress-arcologies for another day. Escapees from the endemic continent-spanning gardens of the worlds under AI control; they weren't bound to their positions by distant, abstract alliances or false warrior traditions. For every single being on the planet, there were only two ways out: victory or death.
Tau Volaris system
Down on the planet, hidden by the impenetrable storm clouds, lighting arching back and forth amid booms of thunder that echoed like distant artillery, beneath the buzzing domes of the shielded cities and mines, beneath the possessed Traitor legions, working like ants to construct defences around their fortresses, hide heavy weapons and prepare bunkers and pillboxes, working around the myriad of those dead from exhaustion, deep beneath the tortured soil and bedrock, beneath the mantle, the veins of rare and valuable minerals for which the planet was so coveted, reaching out from the core like delicate tendrils......