The Rebellion Riven Asunder - A Short Story

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stylesrj
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The Rebellion Riven Asunder - A Short Story

Postby stylesrj » Mon Nov 23, 2015 4:29 am

At some point I said I'd write the backstory behind the Riven, a Rebel Siege Destroyer that got damaged in battle and now is fighting for the Federation after being exiled.

Ship can be found here:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=28819

Here's the story:

---------------

Captain Beth Thorne looked out the windows of her ship as it traversed through the stars. It was almost the same size as the other cruisers escorting it but only because of what it was carrying on the starboard nacelle; a massive energy cannon.

A weapon that can shatter systems in a single blast. I think it’s highly appropriate why our ship’s name was chosen, she thought to herself, glancing at the ship’s insignia on the side of the gun. It was a large blue eagle with the letters MFK inscribed in the centre. The insignia of the Rebellion, the symbol of hope and pride for Humanity.

Underneath this emblem was the ship’s name, “RSS Riven.”

“Riven, comms check” the Fleet Captain stated.

“Riven here. Systems green” Beth replied, looking over at the escort fleet “Siege Cannon is ready to charge at your orders.”

“Keep it offline for the moment” was the order that came back.

Beth brought up the ship display and checked on the crew. She had a fine team of people to work with. All of them Human of course; she didn’t want any alien blood tainting the deck or even studying the weapons systems.

Her Executive Officer, Lieutenant Thomas Ibarri said over the comms “Something doesn’t feel right about this place.”

“We’re in the Borders of Tengelgrad. It’s Zoltan space” Beth explained “The fact that a Human colony could survive out here with all those laws and regulations is a miracle and a great opportunity for the Rebellion.”

Thomas had his doubts though as he checked the sensors. The scans indicated a lot of active asteroid mines but very little fleet traffic going between them. More asteroids were arriving every hour by the colony’s tugs though.

Then the Fleet Captain appeared on the screen. He had a wide smile on his face as he tried to calmly deliver the next orders “Fleet, forward scouts have a confirmed Federation incursion in this system. All ships move in to engage. Happy hunting.”

The Riven wasn’t just armed with the siege cannon in combat. At close range it was armed with an array of burst lasers and beams. While it couldn’t take on a cruiser and match it blow-for-blow, smaller ships would have a tough time trying to break through.

“Why would the Federation be out here?” Thomas asked Beth.

“They think they can retake the colony” Beth explained “Because the Zoltan Resource Protection Committee can’t do it themselves obviously.”

Several Federation bombers moved in to greet them as they approached the battlefield. Several shots later, they were scrap metal. Then the cruisers arrived, releasing a barrage of Vindicator Artillery into the Rebel lines.

One of the Riven’s escorts exploded into a cloud of debris as several red lasers swept through the shields and into the hull. The crew rushed for the teleporter and the escape shuttles.

The Rebel cruisers fought back harder. Anti-Ship Batteries rained a fusillade of energy bolts into the Federation hulls. The Riven would occasionally drop a few shots in with the conventional guns as the battle raged.

A Federation Hacker Fighter swooped in on the Riven and dropped a hacking drone over the destroyer’s shields. Beth heard cries of pain on her comms as the device activated, zapping everyone in the room with a neural disruption field.

She ordered the crews to shoot down the fighter before it made another pass when a Rebel Elite Fighter did the job for them, sending a Hermes missile into their hull.

“This is too easy” Beth said as the Federation cruisers were whittled down to three. The ships kept on fighting however. “You’d think they’d fall back or surrender by now, unless...”

Thomas picked up multiple disruptions in space-time around the planet. “Holy crap!” he shouted just as a massive fleet of Federation cruisers appeared in orbit. The asteroid mines began spewing out squadrons of fighters and bombers.
“It was a trap!” Thomas shouted “The Federation was in control the whole time!”

Beth turned the Riven around “We need to get out of here. I’m setting a course for the FTL beacon.”

There were no arguments from the crew on this decision – they were an artillery ship with a weapon that they didn’t want falling into the hands of the Federation. Suddenly the orders came in from the Fleet Captain “RSS Riven, fire the Siege Cannon at the planet.”

Beth recoiled and fell out of her seat in shock. “Sir, are you serious?”

“The Federation baited our fleet here. Wipe the colony from the map and we will send them a message” the Fleet Captain said.
Beth sat back in her seat. She had already seen the effects of the Siege Cannon on uninhabited planets during the initial testing phase. She had used it to destroy entire Federation fleets. But this battle was different.

The sensor displays showed the Rebel and Federation ships positions; there were hundreds of isolated skirmishes across the planet’s orbit and out in space. The targeting computer and the weapons officer were giving an estimate on the damage the Siege Cannon would cause if fired at the designated target.

A massive holographic sphere appeared, engulfing everything in its radius. “Everyone would die. We’d perish as well” Beth said nervously “And for what purpose; to send a message?”

“I cannot comply by such orders, sir” she said to the Fleet Captain “The risks are too great.”

One of the Rebel ships shouted over the comms “This is the RSS Predictably Damaged! We need reinforcements! Get the Riven out of here until they arrive!"

A series of red beams swept across the ship and it exploded nearby. Several laser bolts swept across the Riven’s shields as the Federation’s bombers did a strafing run on the destroyer.

“Do not question our orders! This sector must be under our control! Your lives do not matter” the Fleet Captain said “I’m assuming direct control.”

Beth’s hands suddenly reached for the artillery controls and the Siege Cannon began charging. “What are you doing?” she shouted, unable to control her actions.

Mind Control. That would mean there’s a controller nearby, she thought to herself. She tried to will herself to move, to stop the gun from charging but the controller was too strong. “Do not resist or I’ll force you to stop breathing” the Fleet Captain declared “You will be a hero.”

She pressed the button and the Siege Cannon fired at the colony. A massive glowing green projectile shot forwards, rushing towards the planet at high speed. A nearby Rebel Cruiser was torn apart as the energy bolt went straight through it.
Then as it hit the planet’s atmosphere, there was a white flash and nothing…

Beth didn’t know how much time had passed, but she knew she was alive and in control when she awoke to the sounds of Life Support running at critical levels. “We survived?” she said wearily, diverting what little power she could.

As the scrubbers began recycling the air and fabricating new molecules, Beth could breathe a little easier and assess the damage. “Crew, report.”

A man coughed as he accessed the comms and said “Thomas here. Is the medbay intact?”

Beth smiled at hearing another voice. She didn’t want to be the sole survivor of a dangerous situation. Many soldiers went insane from the isolation in short order. She remembered there was an Engi vessel she once encountered in another ship that only had one person flying it.

“Anyone else alive?” Thomas asked. There was no further responses on the comms.

“Can you get interior sensors working? I’m not registering anything on the starboard nacelle” Beth suggested.

“I’ll try but I think I’ve got some internal bleeding I need the nanites to deal with after this ma’am” Thomas said, hitting the console and then limping for the medbay. The map of the Riven appeared on Beth’s console and she gasped in horror.

The whole Siege Cannon had been destroyed, taking the starboard nacelle with it. Large holes had been torn in the hull and pieces of weapons floated past. Lifesigns only registered two people – Thomas and herself. The rest of the crew had died or was dying as the air drained out of the rooms they were trapped in.

All around the RSS Riven was the same sort of carnage. Twisted and mangled ships drifted past; grey Federation hulls and yellow Rebellion ships alike. Beth looked out at the planet and only saw a massive glowing crater where a once-thriving colony used to be and perhaps a verdant world.

“So much death” Beth said, more to herself than to her crew “I didn’t ask for this to happen.”

“It’s not your fault Captain” Thomas said, stretching his arms and getting the blood flowing again “Command forced you to press the button. We all know about Mind Control.”

“But why? What message does it bring to cause all this destruction?” Beth asked.

“The time for talk is over? We’re here to put Humanity first whether you like it or not?” Thomas suggested, grabbing his multi-tool “When we get back to the Fleet, I hope you don’t mind if I resign from active duty.”

“The same here. I don’t want to be involved in a cause that sacrifices lives so needlessly” Beth said.

They drifted for what seemed like hours as the two attempted to get the engines online. Several power cells had fallen loose from the core and were irreversibly damaged. The only functional weapons seemed to be a dual-shot laser and a Pike Beam.

The shields went online next, a blue bubble forming around the ship. However only one layer could be generated.

As soon as the engines started to flare however, the sensors picked up an incoming FTL signature. A small black ship flew into the system, scanning the area with a grid-like red laser. “An automated drone!” Beth said “We can contact the Rebel Fleet, let them know we’re alive.”

The automated vessel however sent them a message. “RSS Riven, lower your shields and power down your weapons and prepare to be annihilated” it stated.

“What?” Beth shouted incredulously.

“Command insists on no survivors. Want martyrs, not heroes” the ship responded “You have ten seconds to comply.”

“This is crazy” Beth said “Why should we die for the cause when we clearly survived?”

“Disobeying orders requires direct action” the drone said, charging its guns.

Beth did the same, charging up the Riven’s weapons and preparing to make a sweeping pass with what little engine power they had.

The vessels clashed, guns blazing at each other. A missile flew past the helm and detonated harmlessly behind the Riven. The ship retaliated with dual lasers, followed by a pike beam across the hull.

The drone’s thrusters immediately shut down and the vessel started drifting away. The Riven match velocity and delivered a terminal blow with its guns on the crippled vessel.

“System error!” the automated ship transmitted before exploding into pieces.

Beth took a deep breath. “It looks like we’re not going home after this” she said sadly “The Rebellion has cast us aside like the rest of the fleet.”

“But what should we do?” Thomas asked, checking the sensors “Become pirates? Exiles?”

Beth shook her head “We’re soldiers. We’re not going down without a fight. If the Rebellion doesn’t want us fighting for them, we shall side with our enemies and fight for them.”

Thomas had his doubts the Federation would take them under their wing; especially after what they just did to a whole fleet and a colony. Beth smiled and informed him that they wouldn’t come empty-handed.

She set a course for a badly-damaged Rebel ship. The excessive blue stripes and markings on the hull indicated it was an exceptionally distinguished vessel – an Elite Battlecruiser.

Several green spikes on the hull indicated that it held some sort of mind control device. Beth gave it several shots with the lasers to make sure it was destroyed before docking with the ship at one of the more intact airlocks.

“Chances are this ship is carrying some important intel. If we can get this to the Federation, maybe they’ll grant us amnesty” Beth said, grabbing a blaster and heading for the airlock.

“It’s a long shot but it’s better than nothing” Thomas said, following after her.

The battlecruiser’s interior was a total mess inside with bodies and dark puddles along the walls and floor. Life support was offline but the emergency lights were on bathing the interior in a red glow.

The hull creaked and groaned under the stresses inflicted upon it. Beth warned Thomas to move quickly for the helm only to be cut off by a large laser bolt impacting nearby. “Intruders detected! All intruders cancelled!” a Boarding Drone beeped, floating past the two on massive tank treads, thrusters going off wildly in several directions.

“Looks like someone launched the drones” Thomas remarked, leaping across a gap in the hull. They soon arrived at the helm - only to find the blast doors wide open and someone peeking out from behind the frame with a gun.

Beth dove for cover as the gun opened fire at them “You Rebel scum! I will destroy you for what you’ve done to Myna Colony!”
“Looks like we’re not the only ones who want that intel” Beth said as laser bolts impacted with the walls nearby.

“I saw it all happen! You shot through your own forces and destroyed an entire colony!” the Federation man shouted “You murdered my friends and family!”

Beth wondered if the man was in shock over the destruction the Riven had wrought. The colony did help the Federation set up an ambush but they didn’t deserve such a fate. The man was still ranting “I bet your faces lit up like an excited Zoltan when you pulled the trigger.”

He spat on the ground “I don’t know how you survived your own destruction but I’ll be certain to…” He was interrupted by Thomas shooting him with his blaster.

“Is he dead?” Beth called out to him.

“I set my blaster to stun ma’am” Thomas said, restraining the man while Beth rummaged through his credentials.

“Agent Eugene Summers” Beth said, reading the identity tags “Federation Bureau of Intelligence.” She paused as she took this information in; the FBI was the Federation’s spy network. While they were slow to pick up on the rise of the Rebellion, she knew their agents were practically ninjas.

“Holy crap” she exclaimed “You just took down a certified Federation badass.”

“He didn’t seem that badass to let me sneak up on him like that” Thomas remarked.

Beth surmised the man wasn’t thinking straight from the destruction of the colony. But she told Thomas that the agent probably had a high security clearance – one that could get them an open channel with Admiral Tully himself.

“We need to take him back to the Riven and find some way of convincing him we’re on his side” Beth said, hefting Eugene over her shoulder and heading back for the ship. The hull of the cruiser was falling apart rapidly.

As they passed the erratic boarding drone, the machine spoke to them much more coherently “You are in direct violation of our laws and you will be punished. The Rebel Fleet does not forgive traitors and exiles.”

Thomas grabbed one of the drone’s guns and gave it a hefty push to one side, firing his blaster until it drifted into space. “Ma’am, I think we need to get a move on. The fleet can’t be too far behind.”

“We’ll be long gone by then” Beth said as they cycled the airlock back to the Riven.

Once back to their stations, the FTL drive was spun up and the destroyer jumped away from the system. “It’s time to redeem ourselves” Beth said “But there’s only one question that remains for the journey…”

She brought up the specifications of the Riven. The damaged nacelle still had several critical pieces of the Siege Cannon left intact. She could sell them for a sizeable amount of other scrap materials or she could try and build a new Siege Cannon, albeit one that wouldn’t be as powerful but still able to pack a deadly punch.

It was not a decision she could take lightly but either option meant a greater chance of survival. But regardless, the path to redemption lay ahead and the crew had to be willing to take it. “Let’s do this” she said as the Riven jumped out of the Tengelgrad sector and went one step closer towards Federation Command.

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