Rise of Rhotun

Written by David Cherry on . Posted in AE Stories

[The planet R-11 in the Amulian system was colonized two hundred years ago. Their founders came from a trading company based in the outer arms of Centauri-22. The planet was dry and frigid, but the people survived and soon thrived on their new planet. The trading company eventually went under and had to sell all their assets, including R-11. The highest bidder was a warlord in the Granete system who sent military ships to R-11.

The planet was occupied and thrown under subjugation to a warmongering culture, becoming a slave colony, mined for the strongest metals to craft the warlord's military barges. The warlord renamed the planet Rhotun, his culture's word for "slave pit". This slavery went on for one hundred years before the United Colonies sent a flotilla to the Amulian system. Having already clashed with the warrior culture multiple times before, the Admiral of the fleet ordered the invasion of Rhotun to liberate it. After a three year long siege, Rhotun was liberated and made a commonwealth of the United Colonies, although their administration was only slightly better than the reign of the warlord. For another half a century the people of Rhotun suffered under an oppressive  government. 
Four years ago, a man named Julian began setting off bombs in all administrative buildings on the continent of Rhemus. This significantly crippled the administrative efficiency of the local governor for the Colonies and sent the planet into a military lockdown. This angered the population who rose up in revolt, fighting a planet-wide ground war against the Colonial Governor and his military detachment on Rhotun. Recently, the civilian operators of merchant ships and cargo barges joined the cause and functioned as the naval branch of the resistance. Within the last two months, the ground forces have sacked all cities but the capital, which they are currently assaulting. The battle for the air has continued to rage as Colonial ships continue to enter the system and slowly pick off the militia ships.]
"Julian, the men are ready. The fleet has the payload ready whenever you give the signal," informed Julian's second in command, Mark Anthony as he dismounted the armored car that just rolled down the street to beside where Julian was talking with one of his commanders. The middle aged rebel leader turned about to face Mark, his grey eyes meeting the emerald orbs of Mark's tired and scarred face. The two shook hands and hugged as the armored car continued down the street into a lower level of the highway, following the road that led underneath the shipyards for the capital and deeper into the industrial field.
"Thank you, Mark. The armored group is positioned outside the gate. We have a small firefight going on in the northern buildings of the shipyards. Some Colonial Guards got dropped off in gunships and are giving our scouts a good pelting. We have been trying to get them on the radio for half an hour and-" Julian's words were cut off by static on his personal radio. As he answered the call, a series of explosions went off in the shipyard and a rocket flew through the sky and slammed into a Colonial gunship that was flying overhead. The ship took a hard turn to the left, smoke and fire pouring out of the metal shell as the vehicle crashed into a towering office building. Julian, Mark and the surrounding soldiers all ducked down as the series of explosions unfolded, all the time a rebel lieutenant sending a sit-rep into Julian's earpiece.
"Julian, this is Lieutenant Lucas Goen. Captain Augustine has fallen and I assuming command of the scouting mission. Three gunships landed some guards in the shipyards. We have managed to push the guards back into the dry docks but two gunships are still flying around lobbing rounds at us," reported Lucas as he lead his squad through a large warehouse full of assembly lines. A series of plasma bursts pierced the walls of the warehouse, pounding into the conveyor belts and machinery.
Lucas ordered his men to hit the floor, trying to find cover behind the machinery and shipping containers. The gunship continued to rain hell down upon the rebels, the troops only possessing small arms to return fire with. They had made use of their last rocket to take down the other gunship. The constant plasma bursts caused part of the roof to collapse, revealing the gunship to the pinned squad. Lucas leaned out from behind a metal crate and opened fire on the cockpit of the gunship. The pilot pulled the ship around to get out of the line of fire, giving the squad enough time to make their way through the warehouse, though their only place to go was back out into the open on the sprawling asphalt of the shipyard. 
Alex, a member of the squad, kicked the door open and raised his shotgun, looking to the right before making his way left, along the wall of the building, crouching when he reached the corner. The rest of the squad followed him out in a similar manner, Lucas picking up the rear. The Colonial ship cruised around the warehouse again, slamming plasma into the ground just in front of the squad. The rebels backed away from the corner as the gunship continued to lay down fire, slowly orbiting around the corner, trying to get the squad in its sights. Lucas lead his men back towards the door, passing it up and making a run for the lot full of ships in mid-production, giant pieces of machinery towering above the vessels, welding, placing panels, etc. The bursts of plasma continued to follow the soldiers as they darted between moving pieces of machinery and the large ships,  The lot became dotted with holes as the gunship's gunners made every attempt to get a bead on the running rebels.
"Lt. Goen, this is Julian, how are you boys holding up in there? We are trying to breach the gate but our armored group is meeting some resistance. They are just outside the western wall of the shipyards. If you can make it down onto the highway, you will be able to rendezvous with them just outside the administrative district's gate. A captain named Tim Puller will brief you once you make it onto the highway. Stay frosty though. Our makeshift navy is about to receive the command to start dropping Rods into the capital. They will be targeting the command centers dotted throughout the city, so watch out," instructed Julian as he climbed aboard an armored car. The car followed the rest of the convoy down underneath the shipyards, following the highway. The group of vehicles made their way through the industrial field as Julian got in contact with the rebel admiral who was leading the fight in space against the Colonial Navy.
"Yes Julian. As you command. The barge is in position. Payload will be delivered in thirty seconds," responded the rebel admiral as he gave a hand signal to a crew member sitting at a monitor. The crew member nodded and turned around to face his screen, typing some orders up and sending them to a different ship. The crew stationed on the command deck of the admiral's flagship, a re-fitted debris recycler, all watched out of the deck's window at the cargo barge hovering above the capital city, the planet Rhotun rotating slowly beneath it. Along the bottom of the barges' hull, two rows of panels opened up, green lights flashing around each hole that was revealed. The flashing green lights soon became a constant red as twenty metal rods began to slowly descend from the holes, steadily building up speed as they fell further and further, closer and closer to the planet's surface.
As the rods fell, they opened up, unleashing several smaller metal rods.
"Copy that, Julian. We are making our way through some dry docks right now. The guards are taking pot shots at us and the gunship continues to take bites at our asses. We will work our way west," responded Lucas as he shot back at a few guards up on top of the ships being built. "Alright guys, orders have changed. We are instead supposed to meet up with a Cpt. Puller on the highway west of here."
The squad continued to pick off guards as the gunship floated around, still slamming plasma into the ships and machinery, causing some of them to fall over, turning the dry docks into an obstacle course for the rebels to overcome in order to reach the western wall. Lucas slid underneath a piece of fallen debris, bringing his rifle to his shoulder as he slid, popping three bullets into the abdomen of a running guard, causing him to topple over and slide to a bloody stop. As the lieutenant rose to his feet to continue running, the gunship strafed a few shots across Lucas' path, one of the bursts slicing through Alex who was running on Lucas's left side. The young soldier hit the ground hard, a smoldering hole in his chest. Lucas could only look back for but a second as the rest of the squad made their way through the debris, dodging more plasma bursts.
A loud whistling could be heard as the shootout raged on, a seven foot rod falling quickly from the sky. Lucas and his remaining squad mates made a dead sprint for the west gate, small arms fire landing around their feet and the gunship's cannons continued to lob plasma at the rebels. The rod landed towards the eastern side of the shipyard, turning up buildings, ships, and asphalt. The wave of destruction stretched out across the industrial field, clipping the gunship, pulling it down onto the ground, smashing against the pavement.
By the time the shockwave hit the western gate, the rebels were already making their way down onto the highway, beneath the ground level. Ten minutes of walking led the squad to the armored group which was exchanging fire with the Colonials defending the underground gate that led to the administrative district of the capital. The scout squad entered onto the stretch of highway between the gate and the assaulting armored group, missiles and small caliber rounds flying all around the rebel infantry.
As the group made their way south towards the armored group, they became targets for the defending guards and one of the group instantly fell prey to a sniper's bullet. The round slammed into Felix's lower spine, shattering the bones, toppling the bullet, end over end as it tore through flesh and out of Felix's abdomen. The bullet continued on, piercing Justin's knee-cap, bringing him to the ground on his side, sliding a few feet. Blood poured out onto the pavement as more bullets hit the ground around Justin's body as he laid there, writhing in pain. The rest of the squad continued running as a Colonial launched a missile towards the armored group, but strayed off and hit the ceiling of the underground highway, a chunk of the roof caving in, the street above falling down onto the highway. The rubble came down quickly and heavily, crushing Felix and Justin beneath the debris.
The ground continued to shake as more rods fell down from the sky, hitting their targets throughout the capital city. Captain Puller opened up the back door to his armored car as Lucas and his squad reached the back of the convoy, the exchanging of rounds still continuing up by the gate. The old captain greeted Lucas with a puff of cigar smoke and beckoned him inside the armored car. The younger officer climbed aboard as the rest of his squad was directed further back to the personnel carriers making up the rear of the convoy. As the door to the car closed, another series of explosions went off, shaking the highway's ceiling, chunks off it coming down on top of a few cars and some Colonials in front of the gate.

City Devestation
"What's the situation here, Captain?" asked Lucas as he sat down at a monitor next to Puller, cigar smoke filling the inside of the car from his frequent puffing.
"The gate is too thick for our small cannons and the turrets along the gate keep us from sending demolition crews forward. The rods did a hell of a job on the surface but this gate remains very well defended from any bombardment. The Colonials are definitely defense oriented," explained Puller as he continued to issue orders from his monitor. More explosions continued to go off and the cannon on top of the captain's car began to open fire. "I have been on the radio with Commander Anthony for a minute now. They have a mining drill en route to our location. The laser will be able to break through that gate. We just have to hold the highway until it gets here."
"Admiral White, the Colonial destroyers just took out another corvette squadron. They are now 4500 meters out."
"Thank you, sailor. Cassidy, hail the _Cleopatra. _Lieutenant Commander Long of the corvette _Cleopatra_, this is Admiral White of the flagship _Memphis._  I have a special mission for you and your crew. The Colonial flagship is the blue frigate with the white star on the port side. We need you to bring it down. Your squadron is the last. A fighter detachment is taking off now from the surface to come and assist. We need to maintain air superiority until the surface defense mainframe in the capital is ours. We need to get the shields up. Can you boys accomplish this for me?" requested Admiral White as the face of the teenage captain appeared on a large monitor. The young face responded quickly.
"Yes, Admiral. We will sink the frigate."
The sleek body of the _Cleopatra_ came to life as the engines roared silently in the void of space. The turrets un-folded themselves and lit up, scanning the area for targets. Behind the _Cleopatra _was eight more corvettes revving to life. The squadron launched forward, the destroyers taking shots at the slightly smaller corvettes, never hitting their mark. The rebel squadron dropped a barrage of missiles on the top of the frigate, shattering two of the turrets and damaging the hull. The frigate turret behind the command deck got a bead on the rear corvette and unleashed a burst of plasma, tearing the rear of the ship off. The corvette attempted to stay level but eventually careened into the bottom hull of a nearby Colonial destroyer.
The fighter squadron erupted from the atmosphere and straight into the fray, pelting the destroyers with lasers, entering into a dogfight with the ship's turret arrays. Commander Long's corvette zoomed by the destroyer, its rear turret unleashing a heavy barrage of laser blasts into the command deck, tearing it to pieces as the vacuum sucked the crew members out into the void or the path of a laser. The fighters continued to take shots at the engines on the destroyer, disabling them. The warship began to tilt left as it fell down to the planet, the destroyer knocking against the frigate as it descended. This did little to the flagship as the corvettes and fighters now swarmed it, losing three fighters to the final two turrets on the frigate. One of the fighters skid along the top of the frigate's hull as a Colonial fighter detachment was being raised up from the elevator. The crashing fighter slammed into three of the Colonial ships, tossing them out into space. The rebel ship exploded on the elevator, destroying two other fighters and breaking the powered elevator, causing it fall down into the frigate and preventing the airlock doors from closing.
The corvettes took the opportunity to target the exposed area, lobbing missiles and laser bursts down the elevator shaft, destroying the innards of the Colonial flagship. One of the frigate's remaining turrets continued to fire at the squadron, the blasts missing their targets but carrying onward to slam into the side of another destroyer. But as the frigate was falling through the atmosphere, two squadrons of Colonial corvettes entered the planet's orbit, gunning straight for Long's squadron. The rebel ships lost formation as they took fire from the enemy. The corvettes dove into the atmosphere, zooming through the clouds to try and evade their pursuers.
"Julian, this is Lieutenant Commander Long of the corvette _Cleopatra. _Third Squadron has managed to take down the Colonial's frigate but two squadrons of corvettes entered our orbit and are now chasing us down to the surface. The rest of the fleet is finishing off the destroyers. The air battle is about to hit the capital's skyline."
The frigate began to tear in half as it sliced through the atmosphere, spinning out of control as it made its way towards the capital, the corvettes fighting each other all around the falling debris. As the fight became closer and closer to the surface, the sounds of explosions and engines roaring grew louder and louder. The bottom of the frigate crashed into the top floors of an office building, raining rubble down onto the street, the Colonial ship continuing to crash into buildings, next slamming through the corner of another building, forcing the ship to spin, the back end of the vessel knocking through a high-rise apartment. Fighting between the corvettes continued as Commander Long and his crew piloted their warship between the falling frigate and the crashing buildings. The sleek corvette flew beneath some falling rubble and through an office building, busting out of the opposite side, a Colonial ship following close behind, their turrets taking shots at each ship as they maneuvered through the skyline.
A large explosion sprayed pieces of the frigate all across the city as the engines finally combusted, weakening the upper floors of more buildings, causing the top levels to fall over and crash onto the ground. The ship was now officially in two pieces, both of them still tearing through the skyline before crashing onto the ground level, crushing highways and rail systems. The trail of destruction was covered in smoke and flames and the corvettes continued to dogfight amidst all the rubble. Long's ship took a missile to the rear of the hull, causing the vessel to spin out of control, crashing through office floors, skidding to a stop in the middle of a badly damaged building.
Long and his crew of twenty made their way out of the wrecked ship and onto the office floor, the building slowly burning as the Colonial corvette circled back around, strafing blasts of lasers along the windows of the building, one of the beams tearing a crew member in half before colliding with a piece of the frigate crammed into the building.  Another rebel commander watched the whole scene unfold and ordered his crew to keep the ship steady and level with the burning floor. The side airlocks opened up and Long and his crew sprinted through the office space as the building began to tilt, running for the friendly corvette's open doors. Long made it in along with five other crew members but the building was too uneven for the rest to make it to the door and they slid along the floor, toppling over desks and chairs as they and their crashed corvette slid out of the windows, falling down onto the street as the building came crashing down on top of them. The rescuing ship had to yaw quickly in order to avoid falling debris, one of the other five crew falling out of the door before it was closed. The sailor plummeted down onto the paved highway.
The ground continued to shake from the crashing ships and structures above as the mining laser finally managed to drill through the gate, allowing the armored group to move forward, guns blazing. The inner defenses fell prey to the rapid fire of the armored units as Lucas and his squad, now reinforced, cleared the administrative buildings, executing Colonials along the way. The road soon gave way to open air, allowing the rebels to lay their eyes upon the burning frigate that was embedded in the capitol building, small explosions going off all over the building. Julian's convoy caught up with the forward units who were taking fire from the enemy corvettes as only three rebel crews remained with a whole Colonial squadron still able to fight.
The convoy revved up their engines and accelerated through the streets of the administrative district, laser fire pounding into the asphalt around their vehicles as the enemy pilots continued to try and destroy the armored cars and trucks. Captain Puller's gunner turned the cannon around towards a tailing corvette and opened fire, the metal rounds ricocheting off of the strong hull of the ship. The corvette turned upside down so its turrets could open fire on the armored car. The lasers trailed the back of the car as it raced down the road, but the turrets eventually hit their mark, disabling the rear of the vehicle. The car spun out of control and flipped, rolling on its side along the road before crashing into a building, smoke billowing out. 
A rebel corvette flew above the upside down Colonial ship and unleashed a barrage of lasers on the bottom of the ship, causing it to explode and tear in half, debris scattering across the streets and rooftops, setting a building on fire. As the explosion died down  and the dust settled, Lucas and his squad made their way into the burning building, executing the wounded Colonials inside. More soldiers came up a stairwell as Lucas rounded a corner. He let loose a barrage of rounds into the two soldiers in front, knocking them back and onto their squad mates on the stairs behind them. Another Colonial reached the top of the stairs and lobbed a grenade towards Lucas. He quickly dove away, the Colonials spraying rounds at him as he tried to avoid the explosion. The grenade went off, blasting a hole in the floor. The floors above began to creak as the fire burned away the building, the crashed corvette embedded in the upper levels. The ship soon came crashing down as the floors gave way, the large piece of debris smashing some Colonials and rebels into the floors below. The walls began to buckle as the side of the building came crashing down.
As the floor tilted, Lucas and his squad began to slide towards the windows, busting through the glass and falling fifteen feet onto the roof of a neighboring building. The building they fell from continued to collapse, crumbling in on itself, crashing those who were still inside. Lucas and his team made their way down a fire escape and out onto the street, sprinting for the capitol building as corvettes chased the armored cars through the network of roads.
Two cars were driving side by side down a street, a Colonial ship right on their tails, spraying lasers all over the road and buildings trying to hit the cars. The two turrets for the armored vehicles turned around and opened fire on the corvette's command deck, the rounds exploding inside, killing the crew and causing the ship to crash down onto the street. The corvette skidded to a stop, ripping up chunks of asphalt and billowing smoke behind the wreckage. The turrets still remained alive, rotating around to continue shooting at the two armored cars. One of them took a direct hit and erupted in a ball of fire, flipping over into the first floor windows of a building.
The fighters zoomed down into the skyline, another destroyer falling from the sky as the small ships made their way between the remaining skyscrapers. The falling destroyer crashed down onto the smaller, outlying buildings of the city, skidding across the ground before flipping over onto it's side. The ship began to roll, steamrolling the taller buildings as it approached the center of the capital. The destroyer finally came to a stop, halfway through a skyscraper. The building collapsed straight down on itself before twisting and falling like a felled tree onto the wall surrounding the administrative district. As the building came down, three Colonial corvettes flew underneath of it, but weren't fast enough to avoid getting crushed into the ground.
Julian and Mark led a platoon of men into the capitol building, clearing out the hallways as they made their way deeper into the government complex. The resistance was relatively little within the building. What soldiers they did encounter quickly fell prey to the invading rebels. They finally reached the top floor, and the office of the Colonial governor of Rhotun. Julian kicked the door in and raised his pistol, killing the two guards inside with two quick rounds into their skulls. Their dead bodies slumped over and onto the floor as the governor stood up and backed against the wall, a handful of rebels piling into the room. Julian marched up to the desk and lodged three bullets into the governor's skull before taking a seat in the governor's chair. Mark stood beside Julian as he pressed a blue button on the desk. The intercoms on the rebel ships and throughout the cities of Rhotun began to buzz as Julian took a deep breath.
"Attention, patriots of this world. My name is Julian Cesar, and for the past four years, you brave souls have risked your lives, killed your fellow man, and watched your comrades perish in the name of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our home has been someone else's property for two centuries. But on this day, we are no longer an estate in someone's faulty republic or enslaved by a warmongering tribe. We have persevered and have risen victorious from the ashes and rubble of our world. I cannot thank you all enough for continuing to push forward and free our home. This rock is ours, and the whole galaxy will know it. Thank you all. The fallen fathers, the beaten brothers, the sobbing sisters, and the mourning mothers. I thank you all for your service and sacrifice to our cause. History will forever remember our struggle and our victory, but we must bear the memories of our losses. We shall heal, in the same way that we will rebuild our world. Until such time that a new constitution can be drafted and a functioning government established, I will make use of the Executive Powers and work with my seconds in command to help establish a republic and begin the process of reconstruction. It will take time, but we will have our democracy. We will have our republic. We will have ours. Long live Rhotun."

This story was submitted by David Cherry for the AE Stories Event. Find Details on sending your own Story here.