The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

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The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

Postby Guswut » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:14 am

After unlocking the Red-Tail, and noticing that it was Rebel colored, I decided to go and make up a short story regarding the reason it's being played. I'm not a very good writer, and I know that the first few chapters are a bit wordy with little action, so feel free to reply as you'd like to, as I'm writing this for myself first and foremost.

I'm trying to keep the chapters, after I finally got together the start loadout, at one chapter per jump.

I'll be updating the first (story post, technically the second post in the thread, but let's not split hairs) post until I reach a character limit, or if there is no character limit when I decide to switch over to the next post.
Last edited by Guswut on Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:19 pm

Re: The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

Postby Guswut » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:15 am

Chapter One

History is written by the survivors. That does not mean that it is in any way what actually happened. Very few history book talks about the Federation’s constant overbearing policies being the cause of the GCW (Galactic Civil War in case you have been living in a nebula for the last thirty years). You’ll find references to Zoltan idealism being tainted by the terrorist underground or ancient first world concepts about a utopian system run through the good will of every citizen causing the first riots. You won’t find a reference to the Federation arming pockets of the outer colonies with large caches of weaponry, trained men, and a simple mission of genocide because that never happened if you want to believe what the survivors tell you.

My name is Gregg Longhorn. I grew up on a backwater moon with little chance of ever being anything more than a simple farmer. I grew up understanding that the Federation was what we called the alliance of races, and that they were the “good guys” who protected us against the unnamed enemies that would surely be named if they ever got a chance to step forward without risk of being slapped back. During my sixteenth year (the term “year” originated from the first world’s solar cycle, and has been kept and referenced through force of usage) news about the first riots started to filter in, along with warnings from the Federation leadership that everything was under control. The downfall came right before I finished my schooling, when an organized group calling themselves “The Rebellion” directly attacked four major Federation bases, killing thousands and destroying a great chunk of the Federation fleet. The recruiter showed up a few days after my class graduated, and I was signed up and on a ship to the nearest Federation base before I truly understood that I was about to get into something I had only ever read about in history books: war.

Basic training was a fourth year, during which I proved that I was as special as everyone else. Those that truly stood out were taken into advanced training to hone their skills, be it piloting, tactical, engineering, or anti-personnel combat. The rest of us were assigned to a ship, and sent off to carry out the least important missions recruits can be given. My first assignment was a Kestrel class cruiser called “Stargazer” which was patrolling a sector even less important than my home sector. I was twenty by the time that I was finally recalled, and the Rebels had taken over half of the Federation’s systems with half of the remaining loyal ones constantly being fought over. I spent a few weeks on a Torus class Engi cruiser alongside Bovee and Tomas, Engi Federation members who needed a third wheel to assist with systems. My assignment with them ended abruptly when Tomas was struck down during an investigation of a large collection of titanic araneae. Bovee and I survived until we were able to get to a Federation base, where I was then sent off to have some downtime as per standard Federation requirements after a death on ship.

I spent a week among other Federation members as news of the Rebellion filtered in restricted by the official channels. I spent more and more time in the bar, until my next assignment, the Federation class Cruiser “Claymore”, was ten hours away. I had certainly had too much sythika as I was face down in a puddle of my own vomit when an explosion tore through the bar. The Rebels had mounted a small invasion force, and destroyed a good number of the surviving fleet at this base, trying to make sure we were weakened enough for the full brunt of their invasion force. As the dust settled I awoke to carnage and destruction unlike anything I had ever witnessed. The Claymore, among other Federation class cruisers, had been attacked in dock and made useless. The few Federation ships that had survived were attempting gone, most likely fighting back the recent attack I guessed. As my brain processed the events, the sythika still clouding my judgment, I spotted a crashed Rebel Red-Tail class cruiser.

Making my way towards it after circling around to the side to avoid any possible fire from the weapons systems, I found myself able to make out the Rebel identification which read “Sellama”. The airlocks all appeared to be closed, and there were no signs of a powered reactor. Given my intoxicated state, attempting to break into Selma appeared to be a wonderful idea. I spent a few minutes attempting each airlock before I was able to force my way into the portside shield airlock. The air tasted electrically burnt, and the overhead lighting was out leaving only the emergency backup lighting in a fairly horrific red coloring which worked to help me regard sobriety. Making my way to the starboard hatch, I felt the radiant heat from the engines and reactor core having been shut down recently. The hatch refused to open, so I attempted the fore hatch, which opened with a well-placed kick into the medical bay.

Tomas was the first person (I use this term endearingly as the Engi are not human, nor are they fully biological, but they deserve the term people more than a great deal of fully human and fully biological beings I have had the misfortune to meet) I had ever seen die, and while the three bodies I stumbled upon were not torn into chunks and thrown around by horrible massive spiders, I found myself unable to keep from being sick. The smell of burnt electronics was overpowered by my mess, and then the sound of death was overpowered by the terrifying sounds of life coming from further foreward.

A Rebel standard issue personal defense weaponry system contains a small laser, a power system able to produce one shot per second roughly, and a small safety mechanism designed to keep people from losing personal parts accidentally. It is identical to a Federation standard issue personal defense weaponry system except for the coloring, which should have led to questions regarding the source, but history books won’t ever be found going into those details. I grabbed the nearest laser I could grab before the starboard hatch opened, and a burst of cold air flooded the medical bay with the sweet smell of purified air run through a modern life support system. The laser was targeting the empty space where I had expected to find a squad of Rebels, until I noticed that I was being targeted by a young girl well under my current aim. Her weapon was shaking but it still aimed directly at me, fully charged and armed, waiting for a single slide of the finger to command the energy blast to end my life as I held her in the same grasp.

We stayed like that for fifteen seconds before I lowered my weapon, and dropped it to the floor. I had signed up to fight a faceless nameless enemy, not someone only a few years younger than me, with a face that looked as scared as I felt, and a name on her uniform declaring herself as “Kanzas”. Her weapon stayed trained on me as I found my voice finally.

“Please don’t shoot me, I don’t mean you any harm” I say, weakly and in hindsight, fairly stupidly considering the situation. Perhaps the honesty of my statement was what caused her to drop her aim, or it could have been that the faceless nameless enemy having asked for his life. She collapsed and started to cry, her weapon forgotten among the rest of the mess on the medical bay floor.

Chapter Two

I did not move until she finally stopped crying, and looked up at me.

“Who are you?” she asked me, her eyes bloodshot and her face streaked in tears.

“My name is Gregg. I was on the base you attacked. Where is the rest of the crew-“ I started to ask before I was cut off by more tears, as she collapsed further, trying to hide herself from the reality of where she was. I moved slowly towards her, all thoughts of her political affiliation lost amongst the social requirements of humanity for social comfort. She continued to cry even after I gently held her, trying my best to avoid saying useless comforting garbage such as everything will be all right. The starboard hatch opened into the life support system, and a slow lingering smell of death from an unclear source unlike the three corpses in the medical bay.

“Look Kanzas, the base here is more or less destroyed. There aren’t any other ships here, and I doubt any of the supply stations were not hit.” A small nod from her confirmed my statement.

“We were trying to take out all docked ships’ life support, as well as the base’s supplies so you would be forced to spend time falling back. We didn’t expect you to have a defense network setup around this base. We had to switch to missiles to take it out, and by that time we had lost most of the attack force. Those of us left tried to escape after doing a quick run through the shipyard when we took a direct hit. The helm took a direct hit, and after a few seconds we crashed into the base. When we passed through the defense field on the way down, we lost the main reactor so I rerouted power to the life support system and the medical bay to try and keep the crew alive.” She stumbled for a moment; tears threatening to break free again as she fought back her emotions.

“Captain Patrick died first; the wounds to his lungs were too much for the underpowered medical systems to contain. Vincent died next as he had been in the shield room trying to keep it together when we passed through the defense field. The electrical burns across his body were too great for the medical system to take care of, and he was too weak to hold out for very long. Jon had been in the weapon room when we crashed, and hadn’t been hurt I had thought so I didn’t even think to check him out what with Vincent and Patrick dying on my hands. By the time Vincent and Patrick had passed, I wasn’t really thinking. I didn’t notice as Jon became weaker, went blind, and died from a stroke. I had already fled the medical bay to the life support system, hiding from... From…”

“Kanzas, what is your position on this ship?” I interrupt the silence, trying to thread my past the poisonous atmosphere it had caused. The reality of the situation settles down in my brain as I start to feverously plan. My own voice sounds foreign coming out of my mouth, as if I was watching someone else in my body speak.

“I… I’m the chief engineer.” She waits, but slightly more at ease back in her own world.

“Chief Engineer Kanzas, we have a few days until the survivors of this base run out of supplies. What will it take to get the Sellama operational to the point that we can make a jump to the nearest populated system?” The tone of command sinks deeper into my voice as I latch onto a plan to survive. Kanzas’s eyes go wide and she slightly defocuses as she mentally processes the known damage.

“Gregg, I’m not sure, but it shouldn’t take more than recoupli-“ she started before I cut her off

“Kanzas, I nearly failed out of basic engine systems. If you left me alone in the engine room and asked me to do something you’d find extremely easy, I’d likely end up vaporizing myself. Please go look into it while I go review the rest of the ship, Chief Engineer.”

I stand up letting go of Kanzas as she stands up as well before walking through the hallway into the life support system. A quick scan shows that there is no obvious damage. I check the main port airlock for damage, and find none. Through the starboard hatchway I look down the main hallway past the open hatch showing the door control system which appears to be fried, and into the hatchway leading to the helm which looks like a total mess. I turn back starboard, and open the hatch into a set of crew quarters. Both are very spartan, but a few pictures and pieces of clothing show that neither bunk is Kanzas’s. The starboard airlocks appear to be in good order, as does the sensory control system. A second set of crew quarters are even more spartan than the first, and Kanzas’s spare uniforms are on one of the bunks. The second crew quarters lead aft to the weapon control room, which appear to be undamaged. Sounds from the open port hatch into the engine system, and an occasional grunt of concentration tell me that Kanzas is hard at work. I peek my head in.

“Chief engineer, status report please.” The words roll off my tongue as my memory of my time on the Stargazer fills in my lack of direct command experience.

“Sir, the reactor core should be fully operational within the hour. I should have FTL and impulse back online in a few hours. I don’t see any damage in the weapon and shield systems, but life support has been overtaxed and underpowered so we will need to replace the scrubber culture soon.” The tears had dried away, and now back in her element she appears older than I’d have original guessed.

“What about the helm, chief engineer?”

“Sir, the helm is going to need the hull patched, but besides for that, it should be fully operational. The door control system is my major concern as it was overloaded during the defense field intersection.”

“Alright. After you have the reactor and engines back online, take a look at the door control system. I’ll go patch up the hull in the helm, and then see if I can salvage a scrubber culture as well as any supplies I can find.”

With that, I walk through the shield room, the smell of fried air strong again, and I step outside for a moment to review the surrounding area. The defense field was still up at full power, but none of the usual air traffic was overhead. There was no sign of life at all from any of the nearby buildings. Smoke slowly filtered up into the atmosphere, starting to overload the life support system, from burning targets. Taking another breath, knowing what I had to do next, I went into the medical bay and checked the three corpses for their ID tags, and weaponry. Taking all three, I hauled them one by one out of the ship and down to the ground. The thin layer of soil was deep enough to make three shallow graves. I quickly stop in medical to clean myself of soil, blood, and tears as I wash away the memories of Captain Patrick Treams, Defense Officer Vincent Coldarm, and Weaponry Officer Jon McVakles, and placing their ID tags in a cabinet, I make my way to the helm. The missile that tore through the hull of the helm appeared to have gotten a fairly lucky shot as it appeared to be an anti-personnel load. The systems appeared to be in working order, although without the reactor online I had no way of making sure. As if on cue, the hum of the reactor kicked in, the systems kicking on as well.

“Mm, well now… We’ve got a mark two shield system at full power and no damage, mark two engine system at full power but entirely offline, mark one life support with some damage, mark four weapon system with three basic lasers and an artemis missile system with five missiles, although the missile system was damaged in the crash, mark one medical system…” I trail off, as I continue to review the basic system specifications, moving onto the subsystem readout.

“Helm mark one is fully operational, sensors mark one are fully online, security and fire suppression mark two is offline, and the reactor, mark eight, is online. Ten units of fuel, no drones, and a few dozen pieces of spare parts. Ok. I can do this.” I take a few breaths as I start checking the system, verifying the control systems operation. I had logged time in the simulator for helm training, and I had flown the Stargazer a few times when needed. The helm controls were nearly identical. After spending a few more minutes making sure I understood everything I could understand, I went to work patching the hull. The basic repair devices stationed in every room work wonders for simple repairs of inner hull damage as well as systems (even if the user would burn themselves when trying to change the drive catalysts), so the repairs were completed quickly. I stepped out into the airlock leading to the door control system, and met Kanzas’s eye.

“You… You buried them. Why would you do that? We’re enemies. Why are you-“ tears streak her face again as I close the distance, and embrace her.

“Kanzas, the Federation and Rebels may be enemies, but you are not my enemy and I’m not your enemy. Patrick, Vincent, and Jon were human beings, and good people doing what they thought was the right thing to do. I may sound Zoltan, but they deserve to be buried, and remembered. I placed their ID tags in the medical cabinet near the starboard hatch. Now, how does this door control look?” I walk past her, giving her room.

“Gregg, the door control is going to take a while, and I’m not sure that I’ll be able to restore the IFF and fire suppression systems. I can get it to mark one operational level, but we’ll need some parts to fix it up to mark two operational level again.”

“That’s fine. Will we be spaceworthy soon, or should I go look for supplies? If we stay around here, the life support system will kick into emergency mode soon enough from all of the smoke. The defense field is going to end up being locked from both sides shortly if that happens, I think.” My eyes wander back to the helm, an itch in my brain starting to make itself known.

“Yes sir, we’ll be spaceworthy as soon as I get the door control back online, and get impulse back online. We can do the rest of the repairs to the FLT in space. Er, Gregg, where are we going to go?”

“Kanzas, there is a supply station within impulse in this system. We can go there, and resupply. It’s Federation, but we should be able to provide the IFF code so it doesn’t attack us. We should be able to find another scrubber there, and hopefully some missiles. From there, I’m not sure. At this point, the safest place to go might be Zoltan space, if we can find asylum there. I don’t want to try and rejoin the Federation fleet as I’m sure they’d consider me a traitor, and I doubt the Rebels will be any more understanding.”

The tears start to build back in her eyes as I feel the hurt well up in my heart, knowing that I’ll likely never get to see my family again. I bite them back, and turn back towards the stern of the ship.

“Chief Engineer, I’m going to adjust the IFF codes. Come tell me when we’re ready.” My feet take me to the sensor system, and I lose myself in adjusting the IFF codes for Federation standard.

Chapter Three

An hour passes as I move from adjusting the IFF codes to using all of the sensor controls to take readings of the outside, as well as the nearby sector. The Federation base was stationed at the edge of a nebula sector, with a trailing cloud of nebula passing through the next sector. Without any Federation starmaps, the only location data I have to go by is the Rebel starmaps, and none of them have anything more than jump beacon locations. As I chart possible jumps through the sector, I hear a light tap on the door.

“Sir, door control and impulse is back online. We’re ready.”

“Thank you chief engineer. Man the engines and I’ll get us spaceborne. After we get through the defense field, we’ll need to get our bearings so I can chart the location of the supply station.” I move to the helm and power all systems.

“Captain to crew, prepare for impulse.” With just Kanzas, it feels almost silly, but I know that tradition requires I follow procedure. The feeling of weight following the transition between the base’s artificial gravity and the artificial gravity of Sellama give a moment of weightlessness, then the force of moment upwards towards the defense field are unfelt by us. We slip through the defense field unchecked, the IFF code allowing passage easily. After distancing ourselves from the base, I tried to take a bearing to find the supply station. After ten minutes, I’m sure that I’ve found the direction of the supply station, so we start to head that way whilst Kanzas repairs the FTL.

Four hours later, FTL is operational but the station is still nowhere to be found. I sign, and page engines.

“Chief Engineer, I’m fairly sure that I’ve gone the wrong direction, so we’re going to jump to a nearby system. Prepare yourself for FTL”

“Ready, Captain.”

I chart a jump to a nearby beacon which I hope I remember being civilian. When the FTL fully charges, I engage it. The kick of momentary nonexistence followed by existing in two places at once as space is warped around us to move us in position of the other FTL beacon adds to the excitement of my first time in command. The sensor array picks up nothing nearby besides a small star and a few life-devoid planets.

“Looks like nothing is here. Ok, here we go again, Kanzas.”

“Ok. I’m ready.”

Chapter Four

Nebula as far as the sensor can scan. The FTL beacon should have been more of a warning, as nebulas are extremely dangerous even after being explored. You never know what ends up hiding in them, waiting.

“Kanzas, are you alright? That beacon wasn’t marked as a nebula. I’m not reading any system dama-” I trail off as I look at the visual sensors. The swirling gases mixing and floating around, catching light from the ship’s lighting system, catch all colors of the rainbow at once. I don’t even hear Kanzas enter the helm, concerned that I did not respond.

“Captain, is everythi-“ she stops as her breath catches, the beauty of the nebula truly breathtaking. We spend the next few minutes just watching before I speak up.

“Ok, we have to get going. We’re down to eight FTL fuel, and we really need missiles before we get lit up by someone that thinks we’re a Rebel, or worse, someone that thinks we’re an easy lunch.” The FTL drive finishes powering up as I chart a course to the next beacon.

“Captain to crew, prepare for FT-“ I’m cut off as a distress beacon rocks through the sensor array.

“Belay that last remark. Chief Engineer, I just got a class two distress beacon somewhere local. It appears to be coming from a Federation science vessel. Keep the FTL spooled up, but bring up impulse drive and get us within hailing distance.”

It takes a few minutes as we triangulate the distress beacon whilst trying to move in the correct direction. As we get closer, the sensor picks up increased electrical activity ahead. I divert energy from weapons, the medical bay, and move it into the shields engine, and life support.

“Captain, we’re barely at break-even as far as energy goes. If this storm gets any worse, we’ll have to turn off life support to be able to move.”

“Understood. We’re in communication range. Opening a channel… Vessel in distress, this is the Sellama. Please acknowledge and confirm your status.”

The comm stays dark for twenty seconds before the channel reopens.

“I am Gweieoh, captain of the science vessel Opticom. We’ve lost the majority of power to our reactor in this electrical storm, and have taken heavy damage to our engines. Whom am I speaking with on the Sellama?” The voice is smooth, and flows beautiful. I can tell it’s a Zoltan just from the tingle I get from listening to it. It also has a much more human tone to it compared to the Engi, which can sound similar.

“This is Captain Gregg. Do you have teleportation? We do not have a teleportation system onboard the Sellama.”

“Gregg, we do, although we’d have to drop our shields to use it as we do not have enough power otherwise. There are only two of us aboard. If you are alright with allowing us passage on the Sellama, we will beam over and discuss the further terms.”

“Kanzas, what do you think? It’s still technical your ship, after all. I’m fairly sure that Gwe… Gweie…. I’m fairly sure that Gwei is a Zoltan.”

“Captain, so long as you think it is an alright idea, I’d say let’s go for it. Have them teleport into the portside airlocks so we can vent the atmosphere if need be, and so they’re close to medical in case they need medical assistance.” I give her advice a few minutes to process, impressed with how logically she processed through the data, almost like an Engi.

“Captain Gweieoh, please proceed to teleport into the portside airlock. I am positioning a beacon in the room now.” I flip a switch and target a transportation targeting beacon on the portside airlock.

The sensors report a flicker in the shields as I stand up and make my way to the portside airlock through the life support room. When I reach it, it is empty and the doorway to the medical bay is open. I hear voices coming from inside.

“Kanzas you say? That is a lovely name. It sounds reminiscent of an ancient civilization that existed on-“ I enter, and the voice stops talking as I nearly walk right into one of the largest mantises that I’ve ever seen.

“Excuse me, Captain Gregg I take it?” The mantis says, in a clicky raspy voice which is certainly not designed for human languages, but has taken the effort to learn to be understandable.

“Ah, er, yes. I’m sorry, but I have never had the pleasure to meet a mantis in person before.”

“Well your react-ion has lacked screaming, so it is acceptable. My name is Fgfhhg, but please call me ‘Fgf’ as that seems to be close to within the spectrum of your speech system..”

I try out the letters on my tongue, as “Fgfhhg” is outside of my ability to produce, especially given the inflections required.

“Fgf, thank you, and welcome to the Sellama. Gweieoh, are you and Fgf injured?”

“No Captain Gregg, Fgfhhg and I are both fine. I do not think our ship is as lucky, though, but we would be most grateful if we could try towing it out of the electrical storm to see if we are able to isolate the issue with the reactor and engine.”

I nod, and look over to Kanzas.

“Chief Engineer, would we be able to set up a tow cable and tow their ship?”

“Sir, we should be able to do that. We have a tow cable set up in the rear reactor access portal designed for his type of situation. I’ll go verify that it is functioning properly.”

As Kanzas moved back to the engine room, I turn to Gweieoh.

“Gweieoh, if I may ask, what were you doing this deep in the nebula?”

Gweieoh quickly glances over at Fgf, who nods slightly enough that I’m still not sure if it was in fact a nod or a normal movement of his head.

“Captain Gregg, Fgfhhg and I are a part of a group of scientists trying to locate data on the origin of the rockmen. Specifically the rumor regarding a precursor race, usually considered a mythical race of beings. I am sorry to say that we have not found any signs of them in this sector.”

I nod as Kanzas returns.

“Captain, the tow hook is armed and ready.”

“Thank you, Chief Engineer. Gweieoh, Fgf, if you will excuse us, we will attempt to tow your ship to a safe distance so we can dock and verify the damage to your engines.”

Returning to the helm, I get the Sellama into position, and wait for Kanzas to give me the go ahead.

“Captain, we’ve got her connected. Take it slowly forward, no more than a third impulse, as I’m not sure about the strength of this cable.”

“Roger, Kanzas. One fourth impulse speed it is.”

Fifteen minutes later, both ships rest in a serene part of the nebula. The docking connectors link up, and air pressure equalizes as Gweieoh and Fgf step back aboard their ship. The design is like no other ship I have ever seen. My guess would be Zoltan as I’ve heard Mantis ships are a whole less cleaner internally. Kanzas starts taking the engine apart, making general sounds of disapproval.

“Well, it’s safe to say that this engine is fried fairly well. It wouldn’t have been such a problem if the normal maintenance had been done on it. At this point, your ship is going to require a full replacement engine system, as well as extensive rewir-“ Kanzas is cut short as sparks fly, small arcs of electricity catching across the room. The lights flicker twice before dying as the emergency lights turn on.

“-ing. And a new reactor, if that was the reactor overloading and shorting out which is what it sounded like. I’m sorry, but this ship is a goner.”

“I understand, Chief Engineer Kanzas. Captain Gregg, if we may further impose on your already great generosity, we will need assistance in getting back to our research outpost on a station a few sectors away. If I may suggest that payment would be handled through salvage rights to the Opticom sans any materials related to our research and any personal attributes of Fgfhhg and mine. We would also volunteer to assist in regards to operating your vessel. I understand shields and can assist with their operation.”

“And I am at home on weaponry systems, Captain.” Fgf interjects.

Taking a moment, I run down the last day of my life and retracing the steps that brought me to this decision. I grin widely.

“Gweieoh, Fgf, I would be honored if you joined my crew for as long as you’ll stay. We were forced to leave port fairly understaffed, so all of the help we can get is appreciated.” I stop for a moment, and then decide to just come out with the entire story.

“I must also warn you that this is a Rebel ship, although I am Federation. Kanzas is a Rebel, and, at this point in time, we are planning on trying to get to Zoltan space to seek asylum.”

“Captain Gregg, I would advise against attempting to seek asylum among the Zoltan. While we are a peace loving people, there are few factions of Zoltan that would risk harboring deserters. There are collections of non-combatants that are outside of the general Federation civil war zone that would be safe for a good long time. I will assist you in whatever ways I can with this, especially as this is the first instance of Federation/Rebel interaction I have seen. I would like to hear further detail about the reason for your interaction.”

“Gweieoh, of course. We can discuss it further after we salvage what we can from the Opticom and get underway to a safe location. Kanzas, let’s prepare to get to it.”

Chapter Five

We were able to double our fuel store (enough for sixteen FTL jumps), and we salvaged a mining laser that we have modified to complement our three basic lasers. We jettisoned the artemis missile system as it was fully beyond repair. The door control system is still beyond repair at this time, and in fact it’ll likely require a brand new unit. My gut is telling me that we need to make haste, although I’m not really sure why.

“Chief engineer, are we ready for FTL?”

“Yes, Captain.”

“Shields and weapons, prepare for FTL jump.”

“Yes, Captain.”

“Yes, Captain Gregg.”

With that, I engage the FTL drive. Space warps around us as we move between nowhere and two somewheres before settling on the second somewhere, outside of the nebula and directly into an asteroid field. Asteroids smash into the shield every few seconds as I attempt to maneuver away from the largest collection when the sensor array screams a warning at me.

“Oh crap, what the hell is that? Kanzas, do we still have the Federation IFF enabled? I think we just tripped a Rebel automated drone. Everyone, battlestations!”

As soon as I say as much, I hear the reactor start to power up to full load as our four lasers start to charge their capacitors. The whine causes the shield to flicker very slightly, along with the inside lights. I turn my view to the energy drone, and pull up the ship scan overlay.

“It only appears to have a level one shield, so we should be able to target the shield and weapons systems before it can hit us with its missiles. Weapons, make those your priority. Shields, prepare for possible ionization!”

Seconds tick by as our lasers charge, asteroids impacting our shield every so often until the drone fires an ion blast shot, and then a missile a half of a second later.

“Incoming!” sounds Gweieoh over the comm. system.

Our lasers all fire right before the ion blast hits our shields, ionizing the shield array for a few seconds. The missile flies towards us, not concerned about the state of our shield, aimed towards the main corridor to the helm. It impacts, smashing into the hull and explodes through it in a burst of fire, causing the entire main corridor to burst into flames.

I quickly open the starboard airlocks between it and the fire, causing the forward crew quarters to be partially vented into space. Thankfully, our lasers impact, destroying the shield system and heavily damaging the weapons system on the drone.

“Starboard airlocks are open, and we’re venting fires from an impact. Any other damage to report officers?”

All reply that there has been no damage, although Gweieoh mentions the shields are still ionized and will require a few more moments before the charge can been dropped.

“That’s fine, weapons. We have the drone’s shield system down and the weapon system is heavily damaged. Continue firing on the weapon system, but change the shield system target to the engines. I don’t want to chance it getting away.”

Right before our lasers fire the second, and final, round of this drone’s life, it gets off another missile. As our lasers tear through it, the missile impacts the hull slightly bowward of the previous impact, knocking out the door control system.

“Oh hell, door control system took a direct impact. The drone is destroyed, so I’m going to repair it before I can reseal the airlocks.”

I move towards the door control system and grab the repair device and start repairing it. After it is repaired, I go back to helm and recycle the airlocks, and then balance pressure around the ship. The drone starts to slowly break apart.

“Ok, I’d say that was fairly well done. Let’s go salvage what we can from that drone.”

We are able to recover enough fuel for three FTL jumps, find one and a half dozen pieces of spare parts, and even find a specific drone controller. After making sure everything is secured in the cargo hold, we prepare for another FTL jump to get out of the asteroid field before sensors pick up two distress beacons.

“What the… Kanzas, can you confirm that we’re seeing two distress beacons?”

“Yes sir, they both appear to be unmarked, but they both appear to be distinct. We should likely look into routing around to the side before approaching them as the direct FTL path appears to take us close to a gravitational disturbance.”

“Acknowledged. Crew, prepare for FTL.”

Chapter Six

The Sellmar skips through space and reappears near the FTL beacon within hailing distance of a large gas giant. Our timing is fairly good as a comet is passing near the planet, blazing gloriously. Before we have time to enjoy the show, we get a hail from a settlement on a moon of the gas giant.

“Hello, travelers. Your ship seems to be outfitted for combat… Care to take up a bit of mercenary work?”

My instincts tell me that I should decline, but I stop to think it over, and discuss it with my crew.

“Crew, we have just been contacted by the nearby settlement asking if we are willing to assist them with a mercenary job. I’d like your opinions on the matter.”

“Captain Gregg, I am against all forms of needless violence, but there is no harm in at least listening to what they have to say.” Gweieoh is first to respond.

“Gregg, on our way over here, Patrick had stopped a few times to assist settlements with such problems. Often times, it was just simple requests such as stop a local pirate group from attacking, or the like. We should at least see if it is a reasonable request.”

“Captain, so long as we are fighting honorably, I say we do it.”

I return the hail, asking for more details.

“Thank you, Captain. Some of our friends have taken to piracy in the recent chaos of the civil war. We’d like you to… ‘Convince’ them of their poor decision by severely damaging their ship. We’ll pay you well as long as you don’t kill them… all.”

The entire crew agrees to the proposal, so I send our acceptance of the mercenary contract. The settlement directs us to a nearby moon, leaving us with a nervous “Just be sure not to blow them up, please!”. As we fly around the nearby moon, we stumble across the pirate ship docked. They power up, as we wait for them to break atmosphere. A minute later, they are within hailing distance.

“Your money or your life!”

I try to keep from laughing as I hear Kanzas break out in a loud giggle.

“Battlestations. All weapons to full power. Aim for their weapon systems, and keep them down. Let’s try and keep from hitting life support, engines, and helm so they don’t end up losing control.”

As the seconds tick by, and I watch the laser capacitors reaching full charge, I also watch the ship’s sensory estimate of the charge of the pirate laser, and missile launcher. Their missile launcher fires a half second before all four of our lasers fire and slam into their weapon system, knocking it offline although not before their laser fires, hitting our shield harmlessly. The missile they fire steaks towards our ship. I try and dodge, but I end up “dodging” it right into the life support system, knocking it offline.

“Damage report, chief engineer!”

“Captain, life support is offline, but reserve atmo levels are well within survivable ranges. As soon as we take these pirates down, I’ll go patch it up.”

Like a cue, our lasers fire right as the pirate ship hails us.

“You win! We’re not cut out for this!”

I give them a second as our first two laser blasts hit them before I reply to their hail.

“We will spare your lives, pirates, so long as you give up this business for good. Go back to your settlement, and stay out of trouble!”

They agree and quickly fly back towards their settlement.

We limp back towards the settlement to settle with our contractor as Kanzas repairs the damaged life support system. As we near the settlement, we get a hail.

“Thank you, they returned to us before you did. I don’t think they’ll be needing this anymore.”

They send the small pirate ship towards us, and drop almost two dozen spare parts as well as a weapon module. We collect the items, and review the weapon’s data.

“Captain, this appears to be an ion bomb. We can use this to directly target enemy systems using a teleporting ionic bomb. We could easily swap this for any of our lasers, although it does require the usage of a missile for the explosive base.”

“Excellent, thank you Fgf. For now, let’s keep it in storage. Kanzas, how does that life support system look?”

“Gregg, we’re all patched up. We should be ready for a FTL jump as soon as I get power restored to the scrubber.”

After a few minutes, Kanzas gives me the go ahead for a jump.

“Ok, off to that first distress beacon. Everyone prepare to jump!”

I target the closer distress beacon, and engage the FTL.

Chapter Seven

As space settles down, I focus the sensors on the distress beacon only to see pirate ship markings on the closing Federation Scout class ship. They don’t even open a hail as they start powering weapons. No lifesigns are evident on the nearby planet.

“Battlestations! Weapons, target their weapons system. We should be able to pierce their defenses easily enough and keep them from firing on us.”

Our lasers charge, seconds tick by, until all four of our lasers fire. Moments before our lasers impact, they get off a single shot before we knock out their weapon system. I send a hail demanding their surrender, but the only response if their weapon system coming partially online, a single laser charging. Regretfully, I command the lasers to fire again on the enemy. The lasers tear through their shield, and pierce the hull. The Federation Scout is unable to take the damage, and explodes.

“Crew, stand down. Enemies… Destroyed.”

We salvage three units of fuel, a missile, and over two dozen random spare parts from the wreckage. After a quick system’s check, I punch in the next distress beacon.

“Crew, prepare for FTL!”

I engage the FTL system, and prepare myself for the worst as I fail to notice the FTL starmap showing a slowly increasing bubble of space marked in red.

Chapter Eight

We appear over an m-class planet, with a small orbiting space station. There is some traffic that appears to be fleeing from the station. I send out a general hail trying to find the source of the problem. The communicate channel is flooded with conversation, which takes a few minutes to quiet down before finally, I make out a message coming directly from the station.

“Help! We’re being overrun by some sort of giant alien spiders!”

My mouth goes dry and I have a flashback to Tomas’s death. As I relive the last moments of Tomas’s life, I remember the distress call almost identical to this. I take a few moments before talking to the crew.

“I’ve had a run in with these giant alien spiders. They killed the last captain I served under. I’m going to see about reporting this incident to the nearest starbase, but we don’t have the equipment to handle them.”

The crew agrees, and I inform the station that we will alert the nearest starbase, and to order a full lockdown if they want to survive. They thank us, although it is hard to hear them through the sound of the screaming giant alien spiders in the background trying to break into the room. As I wait for the FTL drive to engage, I notice a notice label on the map.

“Chief Engineer, I’m seeing some sort of notice label on this map. It looks like a… Bubble? With an expanding radius…” I trail off as a cold feeling in my stomach starts to blossom.

Kanzas comes up and checks out the display. She spends a few seconds checking through the alert, and finally comes up with the specific status page regarding it.

“Oh no… This alert is about the Sellama! The Rebel fleet is searching for us. It says that the ship was captured by the Federation, and that we have vital information. We are to be stopped at all costs, and if need be, destroyed. Gregg, do you have any idea what this means?” I think for a moment.

“I’m literally a nobody in the Federation. You don’t have anything you’re hiding from them, right?” She nods her head.

“Fgf, Gweieoh, please tell me this has nothing to do with you.”

Silence over the communication system tells me all I need to know. I pass through the crew quarters and enter the weapon system as the engine room door is closing. Rushing forward, I open it to see the shield room door closing. I make my way into the shield room a second later as Gweieoh and Fgf stand in the corner, arguing with each other.

“I told you that they would end up coming after us for this, Gweieoh!”

“Fgfhhg, we have no reason to fear persecution just for attempting to find the forbearers. It’s surely a misundersta-“ Gweieoh turns toward me.

“Captain Gregg, I’m sorry, but I think we may be at the root of this problem. Part of the mythology behind the precursors to the rockmen state that they were an extremely technologically advanced race. We were working within Federation space, and our research group was based out of Federation space, so it is entirely possible that the Federation Rebellion is concerned that we have obtained some knowledge on the location of precursor technology. It does not seem entirely socially logical to me, but it would likely be a good course of action to review.”

“Gweieoh, Fgf, without needing to tell me what it may be, do either of you two have knowledge that might be worth hunting us down? I don’t think it is likely at all that they’d try and hunt us down over a myth, but if we’re left with nothing else, we’ll have to assume that is what it is and run as fast as we can.”

“No captain Gregg, we don’t have any other knowledge that would make us a target.”

I sigh and give the world a moment to see if it wants to suddenly toss us into a gravitational singularity before I head back to the helm. The search bubble, as it was now labeled, had grown slightly during my conversation.

“Chief Engineer, make sure that the IFF is displaying the Federation codes. For now, we’re flying under Federation colors as the Sellama codes would end up giving us away quickly. We’re going to need to stop by an outfitter to get the IFF code change settled, so I’m setting course for a market beacon. Tell me when you’re all ready.”

The crew all chime back that they’re ready. I target the FTL for the store beacon, and jump the Sellama.

^~~~~ POSTED 2012-09-19 @ 21:30 ~~~~^

Chapter Nine

We appear over a larger than normal m-class planet and instantly are bombarded by advertisements for products. We dock with the station, and take the station transport down to the surface to look over the wares. Sticking together, we stop by the dockmaster where I ask about repair costs. He quotes me at six spare parts for a full repair, which I agree to on the spot. We then make our way down, and find a weapon merchant.

“Welcome, welcome, to Bob’s Kill ‘Em Supply Store! You’ve got the enemies, I’ve got the solutions! We currently have two hot items in stock. An authentic Pegasus missile launcher which DOUBLES your missile output! That’s right, the creative deployment system of this bad boy allows for TWO projectiles for the price of one! At a low cost of only eighty spare parts. We also have a tried and true classic, hull beam mark one. This bad boy eats through hull like a slug through your wallet if you drink with them! This thing will slice, dice, hell it’ll even make Zoltan fries! All for the low low price of seventy spare parts!”

Fgfhhg walks up, and stares at the merchant for a few seconds before turning away.

“Cheap junk!”

We walk past him and see additional merchants trying to sell trinkets and other such things. On the loop back, we pass a systems merchant.

“You look like a crew in need of a drone control system. No longer will you have to personally go into a decompressed room. You’ll be able to send our defense and offense drones to do all of your dirty work for you! The cost is only eighty spare parts, and I’m cutting my own life support at that! And if that isn’t your flask of beverage of your choice, we’ve also got a cloaking system ‘rescued’ from certain destruction and yours for the taking at the break-my-spirit price of one hundred and fifty spare parts!”

After a discussion with the merchant about ionization of the shield system, which he suggested could be avoided if you drop the shield right before the weapon hits although you run the risk of taking direct ionization damage, and the cloaking system that involved the usage of the phrase “not stolen” more than three times, we make our way back to the Sellama.

“Well, that wasn’t a complete waste of time, as we got our hull repaired. The search area has grow greatly. I’m going to take us through the nebula to see if we can give them the slip. Everyone prepare for FTL.”

After the crew confirms that they are all ready, I target the beacon in the far side of the nebula, and engage the jump drive.

Chapter Ten

Right as we appear a mantis ship starts closing on our position. A quick scan of it shows that it is a salvage ship, which does not seem to want to stop on its way back home with its haul. They start arming their weapons, two MASSIVE lasers (the mantis do NOT mess around when it comes to killing you).

“Battlestations! Weapon, can you hail them and see if they’ll stop trying to kill us?”

“Captain, they have started hostilities. At this point, they would see such an attempt at communication as a weakness meaning we deserve to die. I suggest targeting all lasers on their weapons array to try and take out their weapons before they can use them against us.”

“Make it so, weapon. Engines, shield, prepare for possible impacts.”

Our lasers slowly charge, and fire just as they fire their lasers. Their shields drop and all three of our lasers strike home, knocking their weapon system offline. One of their lasers knocks out of shields for a moment long enough for the second laser to slam into the port airlocks. The sensors are not functioning because of the nebula, but air pressure seems stable so it is unlikely that they punched a hole through the hull. Our second round of lasers destroy their ship.

“Kanzas, get ready to start salvage operations. I’m going to go check on the port airlocks.”

I verify that the airlocks are intact before we start salvaging the destroyed ship. We find just barely enough fuel for a single FTL jump (which means they may have turned to piracy in the end to try and get enough fuel to make it home), as well as a drone part, and two dozen spare parts. We store the supplies, and I go and check the FTL map.

The expanding search pattern seems to have been slowed down by going through the nebula, although not by much. I target the nearest beacon, and prepare the FTL to jump at a moment’s notice.

“Crew, let’s get a bit of rest. We should be safe in here long enough to get some sleep and maybe eat a decent meal.”

I step away from the helm, and walk back to the crew quarters. Gweieoh and Fgf are preparing the forward crew quarters for their own usage. I nod to them and then walk into the sensor system room. The nebula cuts off all sensor systems, blinding us to everything not on communications of FTL channels. I start to move to open the door to the rear crew quarters before I remember that who I’m sharing it with. I knock, and wait for a reply.

“Er…. Captain, is that you? You can come in; no need to knock. I change in the restroom, even when I shared this room with Jon.” Her attitude is far more upbeat than before, the harsh life of surviving by the skin of your teeth seems to agree with her far more than it does with me, and those mantis.

“Thank you, Kanzas. Were you and Jon… Close?” I blurt out my question stupidly, in the true fashion of young adults too stupid to keep their mouths shut. She stops midway between folding one of her spare uniform as tears well up on her face. Before I can say anything else, she speaks.

“Captain, while I am on your ship I will faithfully serve your command. And Gregg, I’m truly grateful that you were the one that found me instead of someone less likely to ask questions first and shoot later, but I had spent almost a year with the… members of this crew. They were like family to me, and I must still be in shock over their loss because I know this really should hurt more than it does.” She wipes away the tears, and tries to smile.

“Now, let’s get some sleep before we get attacked by a space duck. Oh, and I have the top bunk, Captain.” She laughs, and I laugh as well whilst remembering to look up what the heck a “space duck” is, let alone a “duck”, when I have the time. We both bed down, and try and sleep away what time we can.

Sleep does not come ease, nor does it stay quietly. I dream of horrible deformed faces surrounding me, screaming at me, while I hear Kanzas whimper out in pain. My feet are like rocks, and as I look down I see that they are rocks. Or some sort of crystals. My entire body is slowly turning into shiny faceted crystal as I feel the heat draining. Right as the crystal passes my hips, I jolt awake as the Sellama’s alarm system kicks in to tell me that six hours have expired. Sleep does not leave as easily as it came.

The crew and I spend an hour preparing ourselves for another shift. We quickly eat our daily ration, and man our stations. The FTL target is still set, and the FTL drive is still hot, ready for my signal to go.

“If everyone is ready, I’m going to take us to the nearest beacon.”

After each member of the crew checks off their station, I engage the jump drive.

^~~~~ POSTED 2012-09-19 @ 22:05~~~~^
Last edited by Guswut on Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:19 pm

Re: The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

Postby Guswut » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:15 am

Holder for story content. #1.
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:19 pm

Re: The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

Postby Guswut » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:15 am

Holder for story content. #2.
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:19 pm

Re: The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

Postby Guswut » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:16 am

Holder for story content. #3.
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:19 pm

Re: The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

Postby Guswut » Thu Sep 20, 2012 4:17 am

Holder for story content. #4. I wonder what the character limit per post is? Hopefully I won't need more than FIVE full posts for this story (discounting the preamble).
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2012 1:11 am

Re: The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

Postby jonathino001 » Sat Sep 29, 2012 11:42 am

I like it a lot. It's creative, interesting and makes good use of (and expands on) the story information the game gives us. You conveyed the intensity of the situation at the beginning very well, I was completely engaged. Love to see this completed, keep it up :D
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:53 pm

Re: The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

Postby mush » Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:19 am

The story is very creative, keep it up, i read it over a billion time but the suspense you put in make me wonder that if you are the god of story.
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:52 pm

Re: The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

Postby Samson » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:45 pm

Fantastic read. Keep up the great work.
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:33 pm

Re: The Rise and Fall of the Rebel Empire

Postby cannonfodder » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:16 pm

great story, i like the use of the Crystalline (crystal men) in the plot, good luck with future chapters!
My name is Cannonfodder on Subset Forums, but I am also known as NotSoLoneWolf on Discord which I prefer as a name

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