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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Sorry guys, for some reason my screenshots aren't uploading properly and I am not sure why. As soon as I figure it out they should be edited into the post.



Edit: Problem solved.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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Sorry guys, for some reason my screenshots aren't uploading properly and I am not sure why. As soon as I figure it out they should be edited into the post.
I was about to say. No worries.
 

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Images are up. I guess the uploading system is down and I have to use imgur for the time being.
 

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Imgur works perfectly for me and many others. :)
 

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Striking the First Blow

Commodore Manuel Alonso

CCS Aurora, the Colonial Confederation
CCS Aurora.jpg
September 19th, 2365



“The traitors of Mare have refused our demands for their surrender. All ships, engage at will.”

Admiral Ruiz’s orders were clear, and now, Commodore Manuel Alonso’s worst fears were coming to fruition. He had held on to hope, even after war had been declared, that the conflict could be resolved peacefully. Those hopes were no more. He now had orders to fire on Mare Shipyard, a Federal naval installation which up until nine months ago had been a part of the autonomous Colonial Confederation within the FRS. President Finks had forced the issue of secession, and Mare, with its strong ties to Earth and the FRS, had chosen to break off from the secessionists of the Confederation and rejoin the FRS.

Mare’s secession from the Colonial Confederation had infuriated Finks. In response, she had personally planned the attack on Mare Shipyard and had ordered the Tartessos Fleet to secretly pull away from its home sector to participate in a joint attack with the Independence Fleet against Mare. Alonso hated to leave Tartessos undefended at the mercy of the Federal Alpha Centauri Fleet, but he had no choice but to obey the chain of command. With the Tartessos and Independence fleets combined, the Mare Fleet stood no chance and had retreated to Starfort Gibraltar, a massive Federal defensive installation on a hyperlane chokepoint separating the Colonial Confederation from Capital Sector. With no Mare Fleet to protect it, the Mare Shipyard was now helpless in the face of Colonial forces, yet for some reason, its commander had refused to surrender.


Alonso stood wearing his crisp red and blue Colonial naval uniform in the center of the bridge, of the CCS Aurora, an older battleship that had seen action during the Korosi War fifteen years before. He had seen the Aurora during his service in the Korosi War when he had been a young ensign aboard the destroyer FRSS Torlini at the Battle of Kebechet. He remembered the awe he had felt when the FRSS Aurora, as it had been called then, had opened fire with its rail guns and autocannons, tearing apart five Korosi corvettes and two destroyers. He had dreamed of commanding such a ship ever since that day. Yet now that firepower was under his control, he was reluctant to use it.

All around him on the bridge panels beeped, giving notifications to their operators. Holographic displays hummed and flickered, showing the bridge the rest of the Tartessos and Independence Fleets, and voices crackled through the comms. The crew, however, was silent. They all stood at attention awaiting his orders.

“Commodore Alonso,” his XO Captain Guillermo Rodrigues Grassi muttered, “we are awaiting your orders.” His eyebrows were locked together, hazel eyes piercing into Alonso’s showing a mixture of fear and determination.

Captain Rodrigues had been in the Battle of Kebechet as well fifteen years ago. He knows how serious the situation is, unlike most of these boys and girls. The younger crewmembers all stared at Alonso, awaiting his orders like dogs awaiting a piece of meat. Alonso felt intense anxiety clawing at his chest. His hands were tied. He had to give the order.

“You heard the Admiral. Target the forward batteries on Mare Shipyard. All gun crews may engage.” He let out a sigh as most of the crew of his bridge let out a mighty cheer and jumped to their stations to begin giving orders to the rest of the crew throughout the ship.

They wouldn’t be cheering if they knew what it looked like to see a body sucked out of a thirty-centimeter-wide hole, Alonso thought. Only a handful of the crew of his ship had seen action during the Korosi War, and those that had were silent. The rest have no idea what the cost of war is.

The ship rattled and muffled thuds vibrated through the deck as the Aurora’s rail gun batteries opened up on the hapless shipyard. Alonso looked at the holographic display showing the station and watched as the rail gun rounds impacted on the shipyard’s shields.


“Rounds failed to penetrate the traitor’s shields Commodore,” Second Lieutenant Brigette Spears, the Aurora’s tactical officer called out,” Our sensors estimate there shields are at 95% and dropping.”

“They won’t last long under the bombardment of two Colonial Fleets.” Captain Rodrigues grimaced. “This fight was over before it began.”

Alonso looked at the display of Mare Shipyard as it received hundreds of projectiles from both Colonial Fleets. The blue pulse of the shields flickered while missiles exploded around it. The shipyard’s shield meter dropped down to 89% on the display.

Why won’t they just surrender already? I don’t want to be responsible for killing any of them. Alonso slumped into his command seat and watched the display of the shipyard’s shields absorbing an endless swarm of missiles and artillery fire. He was playing with his jacket’s buttons again to help ease his mind.

“Sir,” exclaimed the communications officer Lieutenant Marcos Jackson, “We have received a communication from the CCS Tartessos. Admiral Ruiz is asking to speak with you.”

“Put her through.”

“She has asked the communication be private, sir.”

“Very well, send it to my quarters.” Alonso stood up and began to walk off the bridge. “Captain Rodrigues, you have command until I return.”

“Yes sir, Commodore!” Rodrigues responded.

Alonso walked out of the bridge and headed to his quarters. Why does Ruiz want to speak with me privately, he wondered. A slight nervous feeling crept into his chest again. Maybe she noticed me hesitate to fire on Mare Shipyard…

As he entered his quarters, Ruiz was already waiting on the holographic projector.

“Commodore Alonso, I’m glad to see you on this joyous occasion,” she said with a smile. “I am honored to once again be fighting beside you for the Colonies.”

Alonso sat down at his desk. “The honor is mine Admiral,” he replied with a half-smile.

“I wanted to talk to you in private because Admiral Sanchez is pulling the Independence Fleet back to attack the Rym System to take back rightful Colonial territory from the Feds,” Ruiz stated, her smile now gone, replaced by a straight face with a look of seriousness in her eyes that made him even more nervous. “She has left me in charge of retaking the Mare System. I am going to move the main fleet into low-orbit over Mare and commence orbital bombardment to soften up its defenses in preparation for the Independence Invasion Force to drop on it. I’m putting you in charge of boarding operations against Mare Shipyard. We should be able to knock out their last defensive batteries by the end of the month.”

“Admiral, don’t you think a marine officer should be in command of a boarding operation? Is Colonel Franklin unavail..”

“Normally yes,” Ruiz interrupted, “but Colonel Franklin is a bit of a hothead, and he has strong feelings about Mare’s secession back over to the Federal side. I don’t want any executions or unnecessary violence committed against Federal prisoners under my watch, which is why I am putting you in charge. I know you didn’t want this war in the first place, but that you will do your duty to the Colonies.”

The ship rumbled again from the firing of the railguns.

“Yes sir, Admiral. I won’t let you down.” Alonso knew she was right. Colonel Franklin was a firebrand secessionist and Alonso had heard him say several times that Mare deserved to be glassed for its treachery. He would no doubt take few prisoners if he were to lead the operation. Any atrocities inflicted by Colonial forces would only aggravate the Federal troops, and since Finks had decided to leave it defenseless, Tartessos would likely be one of the first planets to feel the wrath of the Federal military if word got out that Colonial forces had abused Federal prisoners.

“May I speak freely Admiral?” Alonso leaned in towards the projection.

“Of course Alonso. What’s on your mind?”

“I don’t like that we pulled off the Tartessos Theatre for this operation. The Alpha Centauri Fleet has already bypassed Agartha and is moving towards Tartessos itself as we speak. We should be there to defend it. The only reason I stuck around when this war began was to defend Tartessos.” Alonso could feel his face turning red as his voice grew louder in anger as he thought about what would happen to his homeworld when it inevitably came under Federal attack.

“I know Alonso. I don’t like it either. Tartessos is my home just as much as yours, but we have orders and a chain of command that we have to follow. President Finks felt that if we pulled the Tartessos Fleet up to Mare we could catch the Mare Fleet by surprise and defeat it, and she was right to do so.” Ruiz ran her fingers through her long black hair. The Feds expected us to defend Tartessos, and they did not expect us to launch a two-pronged assault on Mare right away. With the Cevasians bearing down on them in the Hyoga Sector, the Federal Navy doesn’t have the strength to beat back two Colonial fleets, and we will be able to take back Mare. With Mare in our possession, we might be able to sue for peace and gain our independence once and for all.”

“I understand that Admiral, but Finks and the rest of the Independence aristocracy seem to be feeding us to the Korosi for the sake of making an example out of their own breakaway system,” Alonso argued. Feeding someone to the Korosi, it is the perfect way to describe what is being done here, Alonso thought. The idiom had come into the Colonial lexicon out of the Korosi War fifteen years before. It had been born when the Federal Navy had pulled back to Tartessos’s orbit, abandoning dozens of mining and research stations near the Korosi frontier. They had all fallen to the Korosi, their crews doomed to slavery or Korosi bellies depending on how hungry their captors had been, but one anonymous crewmember of a research station had sent a message out before the Korosi overtook him, damning the Federal Navy for “feeding [him] to the Korosi,” and ever since then, the phrase had become popular throughout the Colonial Confederation when talking about being screwed over, especially by the Federal government.

Admiral Ruiz’s smile vanished. “We have to obey orders Alonso, whether we like them or not. Let’s try to be optimistic about the situation. When Mare is retaken we will negotiate a treaty with the Feds so they can focus on their war with the Cevasians and we can be free,” Ruiz insisted. “I am sending you the CCS Tartessos’s marine contingent for the assault. Combined with the Aurora’s and the rest of your squadrons, you will have five-hundred marines under your command.”

“Yes sir, Admiral.” Alonso saluted. It’s all about obeying the orders of command when it’s coming from Finks, but no one seemed to have a problem with disobeying orders from the FRS and starting this whole idiotic war.

Admiral Ruiz saluted back and signed off of the communication holograph.
Alonso stood up and played with his buttons to calm his nerves. He walked back onto the bridge where Captain Rodrigues was barking orders to the crew.

“Commodore!” Rodrigues saluted. “Computer analysis predicts that our fleet will neutralize all of the shipyard’s defensive batteries and shield generators by October 1st.”

“Captain Rodrigues,” Alonso returned the salute. “I am glad to hear we won’t get bogged down in some long dragged-out siege. He turned to face the rest of the bridge crew. “We have orders to support a boarding operation against Mare Shipyard. Sail towards it and halt five kilometers out. Send out word to the rest of the squadron that they are to prepare their marine detachments for offensive operations as soon as the defenses are down.”

“Yes sir, Commodore,” Rodrigues shouted. “You heard him, everyone, do your duties.”

The Aurora’s engines powered up as Alonso sat down in his command chair. The occasional rattle of the Aurora’s railgun batteries firing shook the ship as it flew closer and closer to Mare Shipyard. As it approached, he ordered the advanced telescopic holograph to show him the battered station.

The image of Mare Shipyard appeared on the center of the bridge. Its shields were down to 75% now and he could see that its armored hull had taken a beating while he had been away speaking to Ruiz.

“Magnify by twenty,” he barked. The station grew larger and was so clear now he could see the holes that the Tartessos Fleet had managed to create with torpedo fire which had breached the enemy’s shields. Near several of the craters, large amounts of debris drifted away at a slow pace. Even though they were almost microscopic, Alonso knew that some of that debris was the bodies of Federal sailors that he was responsible for killing. The breaches in the armor were important though. Sending marines through the usual docking gates would be a recipe for disaster. There were no doubt several hundred Federal Marines aboard the station waiting for foolish Colonial Marines to try to storm the boarding gates. It would be a bloodbath. The holes made by missile and railgun fire could give the Colonial Marines the element of surprise they needed to make the operation less risky.

“Lieutenant Jackson,” Alonso called out, “contact Colonel Franklin, tell him I need to speak to him about our boarding operation.”

“Yes sir, Commodore,” Jackson replied. He turned and pushed several buttons on his control panel.

Colonel Franklin’s face appeared on the holographic display. He had large bushy greying mutton chops and small-beady-blue-eyes that peered out between his large-pointed nose and the bill of his red marine kepi.

“Commodore Alonso,” Colonel Franklin croaked, “it’s a pleasure to be serving beside you on this glorious day for the Confederation.


A pleasure for one of us, Alonso thought to himself. “Colonel, I was observing Mare Shipyard, and I noticed that our barrage caused a fair amount of damage to the sides of the station.” He pressed several buttons on his control panel and sent the display of Mare Shipyard to Colonel Franklin. “Several of the craters on the side of station appear to be large enough for humans to enter. If we attack from three or four of these points simultaneously we can quickly overwhelm the defenders without taking heavy casualties.”

Colonel Franklin stroked his mutton chops and squinted, analyzing the display. He looked back at Alonso and nodded. “Seems like a good plan Commodore. A direct assault on the docking gates would be costly. I am sure those damn Feds are preparing to give us a nice surprise if we try to storm the station head-on.” He chuckled. “Though to be honest Commodore, whether or not we take heavy casualties during the assault, whatever they make us pay to get in we will make sure to double once we take the station.

“Colonel Franklin, there will be no ill-treatment of any Federal prisoners that we take during the operation.” Alonso narrowed his eyes. “Any Federal naval personnel or civilian on Mare Shipyard who attempts to surrender to us will be taken alive and treated with respect.”

“Commodore with all due respect,” Colonel Franklin protested, “we should at least throw the traitors from Mare out an airlock.”

“Any Marine who mistreats prisoners during this operation will see themselves and their superior officers court-martialed,” Alonso growled. “We are not Korosi savages. We are civilized human beings and we will conduct ourselves as such, regardless of our feelings about Mare.”

Colonel Franklin frowned. “As you wish Commodore,” he growled.

“When will your marines be ready to attack Colonel.” Better change the subject and avoid any unpleasantries, Alonso thought.

“How long till the shields are out Commodore,” Colonel Franklin asked, still frowning from the previous exchange. “They need to be taken out before my marines can launch their attack.”

“Computer analysis estimates we will knock out their shields and defensive batteries by October 1st, Colonel,” Alonso stated.

“My marines will be ready by then. It will be my pleasure to restore the Independence Sector to its proper borders,” Colonel Franklin responded. “I look forward to shedding some Federal blood.”

Invasion of Sirius System.jpg
Pictured: The Colonial Navy entering Sirius System.

The Tartessos Fleet prepares to attack Mare Shipyard.jpg
Pictured: The Tartessos Fleet preparing to attack Mare Shipyard. The CCS Aurora on the bottom, the CCS Tartessos in the middle, and the CCS Agartha on the top.
 

stnylan

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Colonel Franklin seems to be the very human incarnation of a loose cannon on deck.
 

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Colonel Franklin sounds like the kind of guy whom might make trouble for his superiors...
 

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Just beginning to read up on this. I loved your Sol Republic AAR and I'm very interested in seeing how this goes. I'd actually considered an all human start myself so I guess I'll get to see how it works in practice! :)
 

Kautz

First Lieutenant
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Just beginning to read up on this. I loved your Sol Republic AAR and I'm very interested in seeing how this goes. I'd actually considered an all human start myself so I guess I'll get to see how it works in practice! :)
Thank you! I've been meaning to write another AAR for awhile now and I started a few games in HOI, CK2, Vicky 2, and Stellaris for the purpose of doing so but either things went wrong with new versions corrupting my old files before I could get far enough along, or things happened in the game that I felt ruined or were unrealistic based on what I wanted to have happen or thought would happen.

I was thinking of writing another history book for this one but the History of the Sol Republic got me more interested in writing so I decided to go with a more narrative-based story to practice writing like that.

As for doing an all-human game, it was pretty broken for me. Despite my settings of force-spawned custom empires, several alien empires spawned in which I had to delete with console commands, and even though I turned off primitives, there seemed to have been several that appeared due to anomalies. I tried to get rid of them but it ended up being too much work so I just ignored them. I also had to delete the commerce hubs and curator leagues with console commands. It was definitely annoying how hard it was to set up an all human game.

I hope you enjoy my AAR though!
 
The First Drop

Kautz

First Lieutenant
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The First Drop

Corporal Alex Finley

Agartha, the Colonial Confederation
Agartha.jpg
September 20th, 2365


“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, drop!”

Corporal Finley felt his stomach rise up in his chest as the clamps on his drop pod were released and he began hurling down towards the secessionist world of Agartha at over thirteen-hundred kilometers per hour. The feeling of being weightless combined with his anxiety about his first combat drop nearly sent him into a panic attack, but his controlled breathing kept him from losing his cool.

“So who all is excited to kill their first reb, “Alwafi yelled out across the pod.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Private Fenderson yelled back. “My cousins live on Mare. Have you seen the news about the rebs bombing it from orbit?”

“Yeah I saw it on IMC’s feed last night,” Frank Giovanni interjected. “Made my blood boil watching the bombs fall.”

Finley was angry too. He had been angry enough when they had voted to secede and had rounded up and imprisoned Federal loyalists across their systems, and even more furious when they had declared war on the FRS, but now they had attacked a Federal shipyard and were bombing a planet that had formerly been apart of their autonomous state but had chosen to stay loyal to the FRS. The rebels claimed to be fighting for their freedom against the FRS, but their general population couldn’t even vote in their “elections,” leaving political decisions to the old first colonial families’ aristocracy. To make matters worse, they used indentured servants to do strenuous and dangerous labor and forced them to pay for their own accommodations, effectively making it impossible for the servants to ever earn their freedom. There were rumors on darker parts of the subspace network that they even bought slaves from the Sildoria Crime Syndicate on the black market, and it was a known fact that they had used the Korosi they had captured during the war as forced labor in ways that were even more brutal than anything seen in the Xu-Murdoch Prison Colonies or the Galrescom Mining Company. They had somehow managed to convince the general population that lived in their systems that the problems in their society were the cause of the Federal government, even though they had lived with near-total autonomy since 2251. Just another example of some rich a******s starting a war to protect their greed and lying to get the poor to do the dying for them, he supposed.

Finley knew it was nothing new. He had always had a fascination with history and had studied it intensively in school and his free time growing up. From the ancient wars of Mesopotamia to the Bleeding Years and beyond, the story had almost always been the same. Rich people getting into fights with each other for money and power, while the poor fought for them and gave their lives for some lofty, often imaginary, goal. He wondered if he was being used just the same as the rebs on the other side but cast that thought aside. No, it's not the same, he considered. It’s a mistake to make a false equivalency. They are absolutely the villains here. They broke the peace and picked a fight where there was none, and have a sick, twisted, authoritarian ideology. They deserve everything that we are going to unleash upon them.

“We are about to enter the atmosphere,” Sergeant O’Connor yelled out.

Finley leaned his head back into his seat and turned on the dropcam feed on his HUD. The view from the bottom of the pod was incredible. Agartha’s endless rolling gold and green fields lay spread out before his eyes, dotted with lakes and small seas as far as he could see. Directly below him, a pulsing green circle highlighted the landing zone of the 5th Alpha Centauri Orbital Assault Corps. Across the horizon of the planet, he could see other ships firing off thousands of drop pods to take part in the massive invasion of Agartha. He looked back down at the planet’s surface as a faint orange light appeared in the center of the screen and the drop pod began to rattle. Finley could tell it was the heat of friction from entering the atmosphere. It grew larger and larger until he was no longer able to see the planet’s surface at all. He closed the dropcam and looked around. The rest of his squad had also leaned back in their seats, preparing for the atmospheric thrusters to kick in.

A warning appeared on his HUD.

Atmospheric Thrusters engaging in five, four, three, two, one.

The drop pod shuddered and an enormous roar filled his ears. His body felt like a Centauri fur dragon was sitting on top of it as the forces of gravity pressed on him from above.

Frank Giovanni’s face was turning a slight shade of green as the pod shook.

“Hey Giovanni, you aren’t going to puke again are you,” Alwafi gritted through his teeth, “No one here wants to get bathed in your vomit like last time we did a practice drop.”

Finley wanted to laugh at it, but the force of gravity from the deceleration made everything difficult. He opened the dropcam again to see how far they were from landing. Agartha once more appeared on the screen. There was enough detail now he could see various lakes and rivers flowing across its surface, and could make out some of the larger cities and towns now as well. Just off the center of his screen, he could see a medium-sized city. Most likely where our objectives will be, he considered.

“Anyone think it’s odd that we aren’t taking any AA fire,” asked Private Jacob Freger.

“Maybe the planet didn’t want to secede,” Giovanni responded through the nauseous grimace on his face, “like Mare. Maybe they will welcome us with open arms.”

“The Tartessos Sector had divided loyalties when it came to secession, but the government of Agartha was staunchly pro-Finks,” O’Connor interrupted. “The reason we aren’t taking AA fire is most likely because Naval Intelligence picked our LZ away from rebel defensive positions. This is a sparsely-inhabited planet with a small population of only seven billion people on it. The rebs can’t afford to defend the entire surface and have most likely gathered their forces to defend strategic objectives like major cities, industrial sights, and fortifications. The rebs of the Tartessos Sector have a lot more experience dealing with planetary invasions than we do. They faced off against the Korosi War Clans a few years ago and learned a lot about how to properly defend against orbital invasions.”

“Well it’s their loss not trying to stop us from landing,” Alwafi replied. “It’s smooth sailing for us now.”

“Let’s see if you still feel that way when we meet those gathered forces Alwafi,” joked Ustinova.

Finley continued watching as the surface got closer and closer. The altimeter read that they were only five kilometers up now and that their descent was beginning to slow. One pod sped past them, its thrusters flickering. That can’t be good, he realized.

All of a sudden the speeding pod’s thrusters blew out. Finley watched in horror as the pod began to spin violently around and accelerated towards the surface.

“Holy s**t,” Alwafi cried out, “anybody watching the dropcam? One of our pods just went into freefall!”

Finley turned off his cam and felt a sickening lurch of fear in his chest. The last thing I need right now is to watch another one of our pods smash into the surface.

“Poor bastards,” Private Hiro Toyama replied.

“Anyone know which squad that was,” Corporal Schwartz asked, his voice quivering.

“It’s… it’s Alpha Company’s command p-pod,” Sergeant O’Connor stuttered.

Captain James’s pod, Finley realized in fear.

“S**t, what are we going to do O’Connor? We need Captain James,” Schwartz said, his voice panicked with concern.

Sergeant O’Connor regained her composure and barked out “There’s nothing we can do for them now. We have a chain of command for events like this. Prepare for landing in thirty seconds.”

The deceleration became strong and stronger until a sudden thump and a release from the crushing gravity of deceleration as the altimeter reached ground level told Finley that they had landed. A hatch on each side of the pod sprung open with a hiss.

“Go, go, go,” O’Connor barked. “Form a parameter around the pod.”

Finley stood up, the mechanical clanking of his exoskeleton and the shriek of atmospheric strike craft soaring overhead filled his ears as he lumbered out of the pod into position and raised his autocannon. The pod had landed in a sea of one-and-a-half-meter-tall golden grass-like organisms that had flattened around the landing site. The air was filled with the roar of other landing craft and pods coming out of orbit, and a few hundred meters away smoke was rising from the crash site of Alpha Company’s ill-fated command pod.

“Who’s in charge now,” Giovanni asked, his voice wavering with concern.

“Doesn’t matter,” Alwafi quipped, “the Colonel is going to send us into a head-on assault regardless of who our Company CO is.”

“I think it’s First Lieutenant Kowalski,” Fenderson called out.

“I can’t believe our luck. Our first drop and our CO gets killed before we even enter combat,” Ustinova muttered.

The company comms crackled open.

“This is Lieutenant Kowalski,” a voice said, “our planetary landing craft are thirty seconds out with our transportation. Form up on my mark for boarding.” A flashing beacon appeared on Finley’s HUD twenty meters away.

“You heard the Lieutenant,” O’Connor boomed, “move out.”

The ninety surviving members gathered around the beacon and watched as scores of large Manta-class landing craft move down through the sky to bring heavy equipment to the initial forces that had landed in drop pods. One came down near their position and released eight Ram APCs and four Jack Rabbit light recon vehicles before taking off and heading into orbit once again. Finley’s HUD marked the closest Ram as the vehicle they were supposed to board. As they began to climb in, Colonel Yearley’s voice came in on the regimental comms.

“111th, our objective today, as part of the 25th Light Infantry Division, is to act as a reconnaissance screen for the 5th Shock Division and the 2nd Light Armored Division as we move to seize a strategic gas extraction operation located here.” A map of Agartha opened up on Finley’s HUD as he sat down in a seat inside the APC. He could see the pulsing green ring that showed where the 5th Alpha Centauri Orbital Assault Corps had landed and a solid green line stretched out around it like a flower blossoming, showing the 5th’s area of operation on the planet. The map zoomed in, magnifying the green ring and showing the 25th Light Infantry Division’s landing zone on the northern edge of it, as well as a hundred-kilometer-wide red area to the north of that, marked gas extraction wells.
Agartha_LI.jpg

“I requested that we may have the honor of leading the vanguard into the fight.”

“Great,” Alwafi sassed out loud in the APC, “of course he did.”

“Shut the f**k up Alwafi,” O’Connor growled.

“Our regiment has orders to find and report any rebel activity en route or in the target area. If we encounter any rebels we are to dig in and engage while waiting for backup. Intelligence reports that we outnumber the rebs by a large margin. There are two rebel army groups numbering around two million troops on this planet compared to our fourteen orbital assault corps, meaning we outnumber them seven to one. Their forces are made up of mostly local Agartha militia units, but there are several Colonial Guard divisions in the northern army group. We have a good chance of encountering them at gas extraction wells. I’m confident that the 111th will prove more than a match for Colonial Guards, and I’m eager to meet them on the field of battle.” Colonel Yearley chucked over the comms.

The map zoomed in once again to show the route the 111th was taking from the landing zone to the gas wells.

“We will move up along these routes to the wells. They move along sparsely inhabited agricultural lands worked by indentured servants. We have orders from Earth to liberate any indentured servants we find along the way. Their populations will be happy to see us and might be able to provide us with additional intelligence about rebel movements and positions. The gas wells are dangerous places and will most likely be manned by Korosi slaves. We also have orders from Earth to free them. I for one am not happy about freeing those savages and I am sure that many of you feel the same way, but orders are orders. Earth wants this war to be as clear cut as possible to show that Colonial claims that they are fighting for freedom are without merit.”

Finley had mixed feelings about the order, but he grew uncomfortable at the way the Colonel talked about the Korosi. They had been brutal savages during the Korosi War, eating people and harvesting their organs to replace their own genetically-damaged ones, but deep down, they were humans too. Humans corrupted by a tragedy, not of their making. The greed of the EME and its failure to take precautions when dealing with ancient alien ruins had ruined Koros and mutated those living there. They are a product of their environment which we created, he considered. Perhaps if they are not left to their ruined homeworld they will regain their human spirit and become civilized.

“Go forth and make the Federal Systems and Alpha Centauri proud,” Colonel Yearley boomed before closing the regimental comms.

They drove along through what seemed like endless prairie across the surface of Agartha for two hours without seeing a single structure. The planet felt empty but the rolling hills and fields of grass-like lifeforms filled with two-meter-high, six-legged grazing mammalian creatures that stretched to the horizon were beautiful to Finley as he looked through the APCs holocam network. He was glad they were in the Northern hemisphere where it was summer though. He had seen the snow-covered Southern hemisphere from orbit before they dropped and wanted no part of the freezing cold weather other Assault Corps were no doubt dealing with while securing that portion of the planet.

“Can you imagine how boring it would be to live on a world like Agartha where the entire planet has pretty much the same biome,” Alwafi asked the squad. “Nothing but endless rolling plains with no major oceans. No wonder the rebs here were pissed off and decided to leave the FRS. If I had to live on a boring world like this I would be pretty pissed off too.”

“I don’t know Alwafi,” responded Schwartz, “I kind of like it. It seems peaceful enough. Looks like they don’t have any Centauri wasps here, which is better than we can say about AC.”

“Ehh, I will take a few bugs for an incredible ocean view any day of the week,” Alwafi replied with a sneer.

An alert popped up on Finley’s helmet. Unidentified armed personnel detected ahead. Prepare for combat.

“Alright Flyswatters, we are approaching a small village. Looks like there are a few score of indentured servants there as well as some armed men and women,” Colonel Yearley boomed through the regimental channel, “they appear to be Agarthan militia, so let’s show them what you Alpha Centaurians are made of. Prepare for your baptism by fire.”

The APC stopped moving and the rear door opened up.

“Alpha Company, line formation on the left flank,” Lieutenant Kowalski yelled out, his voice wavering under the burden of his new command.

“You heard the Lieutenant,” Sergeant O’Connor yelled out, “everyone out and into line formation!”

Finley gripped his Martian Arms 20 millimeter, triple-barreled, rotating autocannon as he lumbered out of the APC and into line at the far left of the regiment. The low hum of the regimental shield generator, mounted on top of one of the APCs, buzzed as his exoskeleton clanked along through the fields. Up ahead about five-hundred meters away he could see a town of hundreds of buildings separated from them by an ad-hoc barricade made up of farming vehicles, scrap metal, piled earth, and various pieces of furniture. He magnified his vision ten times until he could clearly see the armed troops dug in behind the barricade. It was clear they were militia now. Finley’s targeting system had identified one-hundred-ninety-seven of them, but the numerous red target reticles were distracting so he switched the auto-target computer off. Only a handful of them were in exoskeletons, while the rest were wearing outdated traditional combat armor which would make them slow in the coming fight. Half of them weren’t even wearing the yellow-with-a-green-stripe-down-the-middle uniforms of the Tartessos Sector and were instead dressed in assorted civilian garb underneath their armor. In the center of the barricade, they had a Tartessos Armory Model 2338 coil gun mounted on a stand overlooking the field which the 111th now stood, while the rest of their infantry seemed to be armed with obsolete small arms such as conventional rifles and light machine guns.

“You getting a load of these rebs,” Alwafi asked in the squad comms, “someone forgot to tell them to prepare for modern combat.”

“I almost feel bad for the poor b******s. They barely even have exoskeletons,” Giovanni chimed in, “can you imagine how heavy that armor must be without them?”

“And they don’t even have a shield generator. We are gonna kick the s**t out of them,” quipped Schwartz.

“Quiet,” barked O’Connor, “never underestimate your enemy. We may outmatch them in numbers and equipment but they are fighting in their own backyard.”

“Sorry Sergeant,” Schwartz grumbled.

“Let’s just worry about doing our jobs. Keep your weapons at the ready,” O’Connor commanded.

Finley raised his autocannon and pointed it at a rebel wearing an exoskeleton who appeared to be armed with an older single-barreled 20-millimeter autocannon. I guess having the exoskeletons might not pay off for them after all. It makes them priority targets, he considered.

The 111th Light Infantry Regiment was now deployed into two lines, with five companies including Alpha Company deployed in the front line, and three companies deployed in the backline. The Rams and Jack Rabbits were deployed behind the backline to fire over the heads of the infantry while the regiment’s artillery support company was deployed with two mortar batteries on each flank of the line of vehicles. The logistics and medical platoons were stationed in the rear, out of the enemy’s line of fire. It was the standard offensive combat formation for Federal infantry regiments in open field battles. Finley wondered how intimidated the rebels must have been to see Federal assault troops arrayed in battle formation in front of their meager town.

A Ram command variant bristling with optics and antennae circled around the line of troops and stopped between the 111th and the town. A voice began to boom out from speakers on top of the vehicle.

“Rebel forces of Agartha, this is Colonel Yearley of the Federal Army. Lay down your weapons and come out with your hands up and you will not be harmed. If you refuse, we will unleash hell upon you and your town.”

A moment later the entire barricade erupted in a barrage of fire that caused Finley to jump inside his exoskeleton. The rounds impacted the shield in front of him causing blue ripples to spread out like raindrops on a pond. The rebel coil gun fired towards Yearley’s APC, but being outdated, it failed to penetrate and instead made a large bright blue flare where it came into contact with the shield.

“Guess that’s a no,” Alwafi snickered.

Colonel Yearley’s Ram drove back around behind the line leaving a thin cloud of dust in its wake. When it was safely back behind the lines, Yearley opened the regimental comms again.

“The enemy has refused our generous offer of surrender. Advance to the edge of the shields and prepare to engage.”

The entire front line began to march to the edge of the shield which came down into the field about fifteen meters in front of them. When they reached the edge they came to an abrupt halt and stuck the ends of their weapons outside of the shield bubble.

“All units open fire,” Yearley shouted.

Finley squeezed the trigger at the same time as the rest of the front line. His exoskeleton rattled as his autocannon’s barrels rotated and spit round after round downrange into his target. Finley thought he saw the rebel he was aiming at lose his entire upper right side before he fell over, but it happened so quickly it was hard to tell. He adjusted to select another target but they were dropping or taking cover too fast so it was impossible to find one to shoot at. Explosions from the 111th’s mortar batteries burst in and around the barricade. One landed directly on top of the rebel coil gun which blew to pieces; its gunner’s torso and head blown high into the air in a cloud of viscera, machinery, and dust.

“Finley,” O’Connor’s voice appeared in his squad comms, “fire into the barricade. Even if you can’t see the targets you can penetrate their barricade and have a good chance at hitting them behind cover.”

“Yes sir, Sergeant,” Finley replied.

He lowered his autocannon and fired along the line in front of him, punching holes through the scrap metal and farming vehicles that he could see clearly with his magnified view.

“111th, fire and advance,” Colonel Yearley bellowed. “Tear the rebel scum to pieces!”
Finley trudged forward through the smoke and dust clouds that were drifting over from the town, firing his autocannon in short bursts in the direction of the barricade. As he got within a hundred meters of the town he saw a tattered white banner raised on the end of a steel beam waving over the barricade.

“Hey guys, there’s… there’s a white flag by the barricade,” Finley stuttered into the squad comms.

“Good spot Finley, I’ll relay the message to command,” O’Connor replied.

Within seconds Colonel Yearley’s voice came on the regimental comms.

“111th, ceasefire, ceasefire.”

The staccato of shooting faded away and there was silence across the battle-scarred field.

Behind the barricade, between twenty and thirty tattered militia members, some of whom appeared to be wounded, stood up and walked out with their hands raised. Finley kept his autocannon trained on them just in case, but there appeared to be no fight left in them. As they approached the line Finley could see the terrified or shocked expressions on their faces and felt sympathy for them. They had been woefully unprepared for this fight, and traitors or not, they had only been defending their homes.

As they approached closer some of the other members of the regiment began to call out to them, mocking them.

“You traitors learn your lesson yet?”

“Don’t f**k with Alpha Centauri, rebs!”

“Next time try not bringing your grandfather’s gun to the fight!”

The jeering was interrupted by Lieutenant Kowalski’s voice on the company comms.

“Alpha Company, we have been ordered to move up over the barricade to secure the town with Bravo Company. We won’t have the shield generator with us so stay alert and in loose formation.”

Alpha and Bravo companies fanned out and approached the shattered barricade. One of the farming vehicles had caught fire and black smoke hung over them as they advanced. When Finley reached the barricade he raised his autocannon and pointed it over the other side to clear it of possible enemy holdouts. He could see the shattered body of the first rebel in the exoskeleton that he had killed. He looked to be in his mid-twenties. His helmet had been cracked in half exposing his brown hair and glazed-over blue eyes, as well as the large hole that had torn half of his jaw off. His right arm had been blown off at the shoulder and his torso had been ripped open by autocannon fire, spilling what was left of his lung and liver into a pool of dark blood and red gore that surrounded him. Finley looked away and felt a wave of guilt come over him. It wasn’t even a fair fight, he thought. They never even had a chance.

All around were other torn up rebel bodies; there yellow and green uniforms or civilian outfits stained dark brown by their blood. Some of them were still alive, and the moaning they made filled the air. It was the most horrible thing Finley had ever seen.

“My God,” Giovanni shuddered, “we tore them apart.”

“Looks like you owe Schwartz an apology Sergeant,” Alwafi mused.

“Just because we whipped this militia rabble here doesn’t mean what I said wasn’t valid Alwafi,” O’Connor responded, “Never underestimate your opponent. I doubt they will give up the gas wells so easily.”

As they entered the town Finley saw civilians peering in terror out of the windows of the buildings. He kept his autocannon pointed up in case there were any militiamen hidden inside who were planning an ambush, but he saw nothing but fearful and shocked townsfolk as they advanced down the road towards the center of the town.

Up ahead was an opening that must have been the town square. In the center of it, in front of what was clearly the town hall, the red and blue-striped flag of the Colonial Confederation was flying from a flagpole flickering gently in the wind. Lieutenant Kowalski motioned to two soldiers from another squad, and they walked over and began to pull it down. Kowalski reached into his combat bag and pulled out a folded Federal flag. He handed it to the two soldiers and they began to hoist it up over the town square.

“We got contacts coming down the street,” Ustinova called out, surprising Finley and giving him a stab of worry in his stomach.

Finley dropped to his knee and raised his autocannon. The rest of the companies formed a half-circle around the flag and aimed their weapons. Down the street, a crowd of haggard-looking people were approaching. They stopped for a moment when they saw the Federal troops, then began cheering and racing towards the square. Finley’s jaw dropped.

“I… I didn’t expect any locals to cheer for us,” Fenderson muttered.

“Neither did I,” Finley admitted.

“They’re indentured servants,” Kowalski exclaimed, “lower your weapons.”

Finley lowered his weapons and the ragged mob rushed over.

They looked dirty and tired. Most of them appeared to be sunburned and underweight, and their clothing was faded and cheap-looking, but their faces were full of tears of joy. Several of them ran up to Finley and began to touch his armor.

“Thank you! Thank you,” they cried out, “thank you for liberating us.”

One of them, a woman who looked young but sun-damaged for her age, kissed his visor and handed him a flower.

“Uhhh, thank you for the gift,” he stammered.

“No,” she said, “thank you.”

“Were they mistreating you here,” he asked.

“We have had to work for eighteen hours a day and they don’t give us enough to eat. We work in the sweetgrass fields on the north edge of the town, and if we stop to rest they take away our meager rations or confine us to the justice hall for reconditioning.”

The guilt that Finley had felt about killing the rebel earlier dissipated.

“Well I am glad we could stop that,” he said with anger in his voice. “You should talk to the Lieutenant over there and tell him what you told me.” He gestured towards Lieutenant Kowalski. The woman walked over to Kowalski and Finley turned to look up at the town hall with fire in his eyes. Inside he could see a man with grey hair standing in the window watching.

As the crowd cheered, a column of Ram APCs began rolling into the square, with Colonel Yearley’s command APC leading the way. When they reached the square, the hatch on top of Yearley’s Ram opened up and he poked his head out of the top.

“I’ve been told that you poor citizens have had your rights abused by the filthy traitors here,” he roared.

The crowd roared back in affirmation.

“Then the wealth of this town is in the wrong hands. Soldiers of the 111th, loyal citizens of Agartha, you have my permission to take what you want. The town is yours.”
Finley grasped his autocannon and turned towards the town hall. It probably had more than a few valuables, and the condition of the indentured servants had evaporated what sympathy he had felt for the free residents here. The figure in the window had disappeared and he was eager to find him and have a chat.

“Come on guys,” Finley gestured towards the town hall to the rest of his squad, “we should see what we can find up there.”

“I like the way you think Finley,” O’Connor smirked. “I bet there are plenty of credits in there for all of us, and probably some good intel as well.

“Maybe you’ll make general one day yet Finley,” Alwafi snickered as they walked over to the building's front doors.
 

stnylan

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A great perspective, and believable, though I find the ending a little too pat,
 

stnylan

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Thank you! What do you mean by "pat" though? I'm not familiar with that expression?
In this case it means I found everything believable - the drop, the landing and disembark, the fight- but not the very ending.
 

Kautz

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In this case it means I found everything believable - the drop, the landing and disembark, the fight- but not the very ending.
Well thank you for the constructive criticism, I appreciate it and definitely want that sort of thing. I am curious though, what exactly did you find unbelievable? Was it the encounter with the indentured servants, the fact the troops and servants looted the town, that the Colonel gave permission for it, or some combination of the above?
 

stnylan

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Well thank you for the constructive criticism, I appreciate it and definitely want that sort of thing. I am curious though, what exactly did you find unbelievable? Was it the encounter with the indentured servants, the fact the troops and servants looted the town, that the Colonel gave permission for it, or some combination of the above?
The meeting with the servants and what followed. It just felt too "neat and tidy" as it were. Like a propaganda reel.
 

Nikolai

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18 hour days of work, that is very bad...:(
 

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Hey guys, I wasn't sure if I should post this or not because of the "This thread is more than 5 months old" tab, but I thought it over and decided to do it. If it is against the rules or something sorry, you can delete this.

My old computer died a little while back and it had the saved game on it. I wanted to continue with my screenshots and notebook but considering I had lost the save, it was a fairly bugged and unplayable slow game anyways, trying to write a narrative in Stellaris was incredibly overwhelming, and the release of Federations, I have had family issues I had to deal with, and work issues related to COVID, I have finally decided to give up, much to my chagrin (I even have another chapter 90% done and notes for chapters for the rest of the Civil War.)

I do want to attempt to do another all human AAR again sometime soon, though I am considering attempting an HOI one first. Thanks for reading and sorry for being a quitter.
 

stnylan

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No worries. Real life happens . Look after yourself.