The World of The Gunny

The Wasted World of Gunnery Sergeant DeShane
It is currently 27 Jan 2022 06:08

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: One Step Fourth Try
PostPosted: 11 Feb 2009 22:32 
Offline
Warrant Officer 1
Warrant Officer 1
User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2005 09:47
Posts: 909
Location: Maumee, Ohio
Why did the war start? It’s a deceptively simple question, but to understand how all these billions of people have died, and, indeed, continue dying, requires a basic knowledge of the events that happened before, in addition to a modicum of understanding about Darkfire culture.

Ruthless expansion is the driving force behind all Darkfire ventures. Some would tell you that military conquest is their imperative, but that’s only really part of the picture. There are two industries in the Darkfire Empire: war and colonization. One always serves to feed the other. That being said, one could argue warfare is the primary pursuit of the Empire, and there’s probably some truth to that. Their limitless numbers of soldiers, the awesome power of their mighty capital ships, the brutality with which they crush any opposition; this all speaks to a single-minded drive towards destruction. At least, that’s the common Earth perception.

For decades, the Empire had been using technology licensed from the Draconis that allowed them to grow clones in a few years, and in astonishing numbers. Indeed, many Imperial officers use their soldiers as a blunt instrument, safe in the knowledge that no matter how badly executed a plan is, by sheer dint of numbers it will succeed. And though admission into the officer corps is most commonly by birth, it’s rare to advance far based on blood alone. Because of this, officers who wield their troops like a cudgel almost never advance beyond company command, and the truly awful ones are usually killed by their subordinates.

The Darkfire power structure is as unique as it is convoluted. Though the Emperor rules with absolute power, the aristocracy do have some influence, as does the Leadership Council. The Leadership Council is made up of the twenty most senior generals, the twenty most senior admirals, four field marshals, and the heir to the throne. To attain the rank of field marshal in the Darkfire Army, one must be both a full admiral and full general. Due to the fast promotion of officers in the field, it occurs more than it might in any other army. The commitment required to become a field marshal is so rigorous that only the absolute best in the service even attempt earning the rank, with a 99% failure rate. They are also the only officers guaranteed to command from an Imperial Dreadnought, the most powerful ships in the galaxy.

That being said, the Darkfire army was limitless. For every soldier that was killed, ten more had been shipped out to the front lines that morning. The Draconis cloning technology provided their manpower, but their insatiable lust for resources made them dangerous. Hundreds of worlds have been strip-mined by the Darkfire. They were so thorough and advanced that they would never suffer a strain on resources. The sometimes-inefficient command structure and lack of initiative on the part of their lower ranking soldiers provided their enemies with an edge, albeit a somewhat intangible one. They were constantly vying with Earth for colonization and resource rights, which is as close as anyone can come up with for a casus belli.

And so it came to be that The Third Interstellar War began. Riding high from its victory over several independent worlds, the Darkfire juggernaut began its assault on the Earth worlds. The Taurus system had the dubious honor of being the first to fall. Two full Dreadnought fleets, led by the grandson of the Emperor, warped in on the outer edge of space.

Horatio Darkfire, next in line for the Imperial Throne, was the youngest person to ever reach the rank of field marshal at the age of 32. He was something of an anomaly among the Darkfire high command. Typical Darkfire strategy for pacifying indiginous populace usually involved very high body counts. At the other end of the spectrum, Horatio tried to win the hearts and minds of his enemies, with a very high success rate, as well as trying to reduce civilian casualties to the absolute minimum. In an army where high amounts of collateral damage were a license to bragging rights, he was viewed with a certain amount of suspicion by his peers, though the soldiers that served under him loved him. Failure under most officers would result in death or imprisonment, but unless it was an incredible amount of incompetence that led to the failure, they could expect much more leniency under him. Because of his youth and royal blood, many of the other officers in the Leadership Council don’t believe him to be half as skilled as he ought to be for someone in his position. He was well aware of this, and took every opportunity to personally lead his troops in battle.

As the Darkfire forces arrived, panic spread among the few Earth ships defending the planet. A corvette jumped out of the system almost immediately to run for help. Horatio grinned. “Singe them.”
The Imperial Dreadnought, The Emperor’s Hand, was more than twice the size of a regular Dreadnought. Very few of its weapons actually fired on the first volley. Just enough struck the defending fleet to destroy a frigate or two and send the rest scurrying for help. Horatio deployed his fleets into a defensive formation while The Emperor’s Hand hid behind a moon at the edge of the system and went dark. An hour later, an Earth Supercarrier fleet warped into the system and immediately engaged the Darkfire ships. The Earth ships spread out as fast as they could, wary of a Darkfire NOVA launch, which would effectively destroy any ships within a several thousand kilometer radius.

As soon as the Supercarrier, which had been identified as the Moscow had been seperated from all but a few of her escort ships, The Emperor’s Hand fired up her engines and joined the fight, behind the Earth ships.

The Moscow tried to rally a defense against the new threat, but it was too little, too late. One broadside from The Emperor’s Hand blew out the Moscow’s shields. Grinning as the Earth ships’ fire was absorbed by his ship’s shields, Horatio commanded, “Open a line to the Moscow. Put it on the main screen. If she tries to run, shut her down, but don’t kill her. I want her in one piece.”
The heir had to keep from laughing when the captain of the Moscow came onto the screen. He was obviously terrified, but apparently decided to try and intimidate the Darkfire prince. “Admiral, there’s no reason to keep fighting,” Horatio began. “Surrender your ships and crews and I’ll spare your lives. I won’t even do you the indignity of sending you to a POW camp. I’ll send you back home unharmed. This will be the only chance you get to walk out of here alive.”

“Go to hell, Darkfire! I’ll never surrender, especially not to filth like you.”

“My, my, admiral, no reason to be hostile. I’ll allow you to bear witness to the consequences of your insolence.” Turning to a crewmember, he said, “Fire the NOVA. Burn the world.” On the screen, the admiral was visibly horrified as he saw the NOVA launch from the bow of The Emperor’s Hand. When it impacted the planet, the light was bright enough to rival the sun. As it died down, he could see what had once been a lush green world turn into an angry red wasteland riddled with rivers of lava. By then most of the Earth fleet had been destroyed, with whatever remained fighting to the death or turning to run. It didn’t matter at that point, because by now dozens of worlds were under attack. “Now, my dear admiral, prepare to be boarded. I plan on killing you myself.” The video link cut off.

“Your orders, sir?” a crew member asked.

“I’m going to take a battalion and board her. The Legion will assist me. Admiral, the bridge is yours.” The crew snapped to attention as the prince left the bridge.

“Pretty confident, isn’t he?” one of the crewmen asked.

The admiral grinned. “You’ve never seen the Legion in action, have you?”

_________________
"Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors."


“For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'.”

"The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can't help it."

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."

www.shallowbay.com Best. Band. Ever.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: 12 Feb 2009 00:08 
Offline
Warrant Officer 1
Warrant Officer 1
User avatar

Joined: 25 Aug 2005 09:47
Posts: 909
Location: Maumee, Ohio
The boarding craft was packed with the eighty members of the Omega Legion accompanying the prince on his attack. Elsewhere on the ship, dozens more of these craft were being loaded with Darkfire regulars. In his EVA armor, Horatio surveyed the soldiers strapped into the craft with him. Their black armor shone like polished obsidian, was lighter than any other armor in the galaxy while providing equal protection to the heaviest power armor. The plans and materials required to equip a single Legion soldier were enough to build a heavy cruiser. They were the most elite soldiers in the history of humanity. They were a ghost story to most of the other empires, to be spoken of in whispers late at night. They were the right hand of the Emperor, and answerable only to him. In theory, it would be entirely permissible for a 2nd lieutenant in the Legion to kill a field marshal if the Emperor agreed with his decision. In practice it rarely happened, though it would be impossible to find an officer who enjoyed being around the Legion.

They were pulled violently towards the aft wall when the boarding craft launched, and would have been flung into the bulkhead had they not been strapped in. With the Moscow’s weapons and shields disabled, all they’d have to worry about was a stray fighter attacking the craft, and the blanket of Darkfire fighters in the area reduced that possibility to next to nothing.

When the boarding craft connected with the Moscow, their restraints released and a shaped charge blasted a hole into the side of the supercarrier. Omega Legion soldiers streamed out and into the Earth ship. They were immediately met by fire from the crewmen aboard the ship, but they were no match for the Legion. His plasma rifle in hand, Horatio led the charge for the bridge while the regulars moved to seize engineering.

On the bridge, Admiral Cherdenko watched in dismay as the soldiers in the black devil armor mowed down his crew as if they were untrained militia. All the blast doors on the bridge level were sealed, but he knew it was just a matter of time before they arrived. “All of you, go. Try to get out. There’s a stealth corvette in hanger B, if you can make it there you might get out.”

Before anyone could move, an explosion shook the bridge. “Noble of you to go down with the ship, admiral.” Horatio stepped onto the deck, flanked by a pair of Legionnaires. The admiral drew his pistol and fired, only to see Horatio’s shield stop every single shot. The prince stepped forward and smacked the weapon out of his hand. “That’s quite enough of that. Captain, take the crew back to the Hand. Admiral, I’d like to have a chat.” The Legionnaire nodded and led the crew off the bridge. Horatio unsealed his helmet and removed it. “Ah, that’s better. Lieutenant, stand outside the door, make sure we’re not disturbed.” The second Legion soldier stepped outside.

“If you’re going to kill me, just do it.” The admiral spat.
“God, do they not teach etiquette in the Luna Naval Academy any more? I only said I plan on killing you, not that I would. Now, we’ve never been formally introduced. I’m Horatio Darkfire.” He stuck out his hand. The admiral looked down at the offered hand with disgust. “Oh, right, the armor. Right. I don’t blame you, I might accidentally crush your hand.” He pulled his hand back, overlooking the insult.

His words finally seemed to register with the admiral, who sputtered, “You—you’re…the emperor’s kid?”

“Grandson, actually,” Horatio smiled. “But yes, I’m the heir to the throne.”

“I would have expected someone a little more…”

“Threatening?” He asked. “It’s okay, I’ve heard it all before. I’ve heard I don’t look intimidating enough to be in the royal family. I don’t really know what to tell you, but I’m sorry if I disappointed you.” It did throw people off when they saw him. Far from the monster everyone expected, he had an attractive and friendly face, an easy smile, and dark blue eyes. He was so charismatic that his troops often joked that if Earth ever caught him he could talk the hangman into stringing himself up before they even reached the gallows.

“You have a family, admiral?”

“What?”

“A family. You know, wife, kids, dog.”

“Yes.”

“On Earth?”

“Yes.”

“Do you love them?”

“Of course I do! Not that I’d expect you to understand, Darkfire.” He spit the name out like a curse.

“That’s unfair, admiral. Yes, I’m on the other side, but I’m human too. If I’m cut, do I not bleed? I actually have a wife of my own, in the Imperial City. She was two months pregnant when I left. I may very well be away at war when she gives birth.”

Cherdenko scoffed. “It is a war you started, Darkfire.”

“Actually, I argued against starting this war, but you try reasoning with the Emperor and the entire Leadership Council. Believe me, I don’t want all this bloodshed, but I’m a soldier. I fight for my family at home. And because that’s all you were doing here, I’m not going to kill you. You’re going to go back to Earth, safe and sound, and you’re going to do whatever you think is best, be it going back to war or resigning your commission and staying safe at home. But remember this; if I run into you again, you’re out of free passes.”

Cherdenko blinked at him.

“I’ll be putting you on a shuttle as soon as we get back to port, and you’ll go home, along with any of your crew who surrendered. I only kill when it’s necessary, admiral. My friends in the admiralty won’t be so understanding, I fear. Well, admiral, it was a pleasure meeting you, a shame it had to be under these circumstances. Lieutenant Schultz will escort you out. This is your one freebie, admiral. Enjoy it.”

The admiral tried to sputter a reply before the Omega Legion lieutenant guided him out of the room. Horatio couldn’t help but laugh at his reaction before putting his helmet back on and following them out.

_________________
"Detail makes the difference between boring and terrific writing. It’s the difference between a pencil sketch and a lush oil painting. As a writer, words are your paint. Use all the colors."


“For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'.”

"The only reason for being a professional writer is that you can't help it."

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."

www.shallowbay.com Best. Band. Ever.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 2 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group