Captain Rico Estuardo drummed his fingers on his armrest.
His bridge crew found it intensely annoying. Each impact seemed to echo through the ship like a hammerblow in the quiet, still atmosphere of the bridge, wreaking havoc with their concentration. They'd tried to get him to stop, but unfailingly when stress came upon him the fingers started moving.
He stopped drumming his fingers and leaned forward. "What's our ETA to Port Kane?" he asked.
"Half an hour, sir." the Helm officer reported quickly, glad that he'd stopped the infernal noise.
"Accelerate to the maximum stealth velocity," Estuardo ordered. "Comms, send the signal."
"Yessir," the Helm and Comms officers said quickly. The Comms officer sent a series of bursts of electromagnetic static through the ship's comm system, while the Helm officer bumped up the speed of their Rebel IDA Frigate just a tad.
The long, dark, lithe shapes of Rebel Mod Starbridges and Rebel Dragons that hung in space all around them powered up from their blacked-out condition and accelerated to maximum speed. They headed for Port Kane, barely visible in the distance.
"Long range scan indicates that they've seen the advance elements, sir." the Tactical officer reported. "I have two Fed Carriers and five Destroyers on my scopes, all from the Fifth Fleet."
"Understood." Estuardo said. His task done for the moment, he returned to drumming his fingers and waiting. The bridge crew stifled groans.
The advance force of Rebel warships was sizable. Ten Rebel Mod Starbridges, divided into five pairs (A, B, C, D, and E), took the lead. Behind them followed six Rebel Dragons, divided into two groups of three (F and G). The Dragons were outfitted as heavy support vehicles, armed with a pair of Bio Relay turrets each and equipped with huge Hellhound bays. The Starbridge pairs divided up the Destroyers amongst themselves while the Dragon trios descended on the Carriers.
The agile, maneuverable Starbridges dodged and weaved around the lumbering Destroyers. The Destroyers poured firepower amidst the enemy ships, who dodged most of it while landing devastating blows from their railguns.
Starbridge C1 dove under a Destroyer to get away from a particularly accurate gun volley, ripped beneath her, then inverted and came up her drives guns blazing. The Destroyer's drives gouted sparks. Inside in the Destroyer's engine room panels exploded, sending screaming engineers to the deck. C1 blasted over the top of the Destroyer while C2 came in to deliver the killing blow, but the Destroyer was anything but down for the count. She lined up her guns and delivered a blistering barrage. C2 dodged, but her wing was torn off by the volley. Crewmen convulsed as they were blasted into the void along with burning scraps of hull, and armored bulkheads slammed shut to prevent further atmosphere loss.
Dragon G1 lead the way for her trio, bearing down on their Carrier target. G trio opened up at range with their Hellhounds, disgorging a brutal barrage of heavy missiles in a blistering fusillade. The Carrier’s Quad Light Blaster Turrets blazed away at the incoming sheaf of missiles. Taking out one missile took out a whole swatch of them, given the blast radius on the Hellhounds, but those that the guns missed blasted into the hull and the explosions caused eruptions of burning metal to blow out from the hull. Two of the Carrier’s QLBT’s were blown away in the firestorm.
The Carrier retaliated by filling space with a ferocious volley of Heavy Blaster Turret and Medium Blaster Turret bolts. The incandescent storm of charged particle bursts ripped into G2 and blasted off the front half of her nose, instantly killing her captain and bridge crew. The ship, out of control, continued forward inexorably while her crew raced to escape pods. The pods blasted out of the ship in rapid succession, while the rest of G trio raced to escape the impending collision. The Carrier attempted to move out of the way...
Not fast enough.
The rest of Dragon G2 collided with the Carrier. The Carrier rippled with explosions as the Dragon slammed into the Carrier’s bow. The Carrier and the Dragon exploded. The remainders of G trio barely escaped the fireball.
The fight continued to escalate. The Fed warships fought like devils, but they were heavily outweighed in firepower, and their defeat was inevitable.
As the last Destroyer went up in smoke, the advance forces proceeded to clear the area and recovered a number of escape pods from Rebel and Fed warships. Once they’d cleaned up and detonated all floating munitions, they sent a signal.
“Sir, we’re getting a signal from Captain Byron, in command of the advance forces.” the Comms officer reported. “He says we can come ahead, and that they have cleared the area.”
“Then there’s no time to waste,” Captain Estuardo said firmly, standing up and clasping his hands behind his back. “Light us up and set a course for the station at maximum speed. Scramble the fighters and ready the marines for boarding operations.”
The Rebel IDA Frigate RCS Thundergod came to life. Banks of lights flickered on along the length of the ship. Turrets stirred and whined as they sought their targets. Missile bay doors swung open. And the massive aft drives roared to life, driving the ship towards the station.
Meanwhile, onboard the RCS Thundergod, rebel Vipers and Thunderheads were lifted from storage onto launch decks, where the ground crews raced to hook them to launch catapults. In the barracks that had been established where once there were cargo pods ranging the length of the ship, hundreds of marines prepared to board, strapping on powered battle armor that bulked huge and clamping on their assault weaponry.
The RCS Thundergod powered towards the distant speck of Port Kane....
It was only three weeks after the end of the long, quiet war. And the beginning of a harsh, bloody, and violent revolution.
In an attempt to draw out the rebel military for destruction, the Bureau gathered hundreds of thousands of innocent Vell-Os on the surface of Georgia, in the Nesre Primus system. It announced that they had been discovered to be dangerous, and were set to be executed in one week’s time. There were huge fleets standing by, ready to attack the rebels at the drop of a hat.
The rebels knew it was a trap. But they came anyway.
The resultant battle level annihilated Spacedock |V, and leveled most of Georgia. The Rebel fleets were outnumbered by dozens to one, but they managed to destroy a huge portion of the Federation fleet while their ships evacuated the Vell-Os. The Vell-Os’s implants forced them to fight against their rescuers, however the Rebels were able to sedate them for travel to Rebel 1.
The outcry against the Bureau’s actions in the rest of the Federation was unprecedented. People on the street had used camera phones to record the events and upload it to the internet, shortly before Georgia was leveled. Revolution was stirring.
Then the Rebels made a public announcement, to the effect that while they could not hope to win, nonetheless their principles forced them to declare war against the corrupt Federation goverment. The dam broke. Somewhere in the Federation, a military base was obliterated with a suitcase nuke. Things broiled out of control, overwhelming the Bureau’s ability to control the situation, and a full scale revolution erupted. When the Rebels moved in, they moved in on a Federation which was reeling from hits in every direction.
The Federation, wracked with internal conflict, declared martial law and announced their intention to use unprecedented levels of force against any and all ‘terrorists’ encountered. Surveillance systems, curfews, security checkpoints, and fingerprint checks were put into use.
Meanwhile, the Polaris began to bestir themselves, watching events interestedly. They decided to send an envoy to the Rebels.
And on the frontier, the Auroran Empire discovered that there was no more frontier guard. They began to prepare for full scale and final invasion of the Federation.
The Rebels determined to focus their invasion efforts on Port Kane, since the Federation had fortified the northern frontier too heavily for an invasion to succeed. The Rebels launched a secret invasion, relatively small in scale but designed to penetrate the lighter defenses of Port Kane and place an enormous Rebel force on board. With Port Kane secured, the Rebels would have a staging post to attack Tichel, and from there Sol itself.
The RCS Thundergod docked with Port Kane, which had no choice but to accede to the Rebel’s demands with a fleet of Rebel warships leveling guns at them. The Rebel marines advanced onto the station section by section, prepared to give any hostile force that confronted them living hell.
Suddenly, as the marines advanced down the central corridor, fragmentation mines went off on the ground! At point blank range, the Freyon coated shrapnel eviscerated the marines, even in their armor, but at range they simply bounced off. Federation infantry in power armor took up positions on the upper level balconies and poured blaster bolts onto the Rebel marines, who took cover and returned fire.
Lt. Blake of the Rebel Marines examined the situation. Peering over cover, he spotted an elevator on the side of the central corridor. If they could get to it, they could take the Fed infantry from behind and end this the hard way.
“Major Nuerman, this is Lt. Blake of Fifteenth Squad,” he called over his radio. “There’s an elevator on the west side of the corridor, if I could get some cover fire I can take the Fifteenth up behind them!”
After a moment, Nuerman responded “Roger that, Lt. You’ll get your cover fire. Thirteenth and Sixteenth squads, lay down fire on the west balconies!”
As the Rebels opened up on the balconies, Lt. Blake looked at his squad. “Well, men, this is it,” he said. “Follow me!”
Blake leapt out of cover and pounded towards the elevator, the rest of his squad close behind him. Gunfire poured down onto them but most of the infantrymen were keeping their heads down.
The Fifteenth boarded the elevator. “Security wheel!” Lt. Blake ordered, and his squad formed up, guns leveled out the doors with him in the middle.
The doors opened. The Feds were waiting for them. The Feds opened fire, when someone below pitched a grenade and blew their formation into chaos. The Fifteenth charged.
Port Kane was secure.
The battle was long and bloody, but the Rebels had finally won.
But now the Federation fleet was on its way, forewarned of the enemy occupation, and ready for action. Rebel reinforcements had arrived to support the tattered Rebel invasion forces, and there were a handful of Polaris capital ships as well.
The war would continue, and there was no guarantee of victory for any side.
The only sure thing was that when the dust settled, it would be a new world.