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The Vritra Liberation

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Hydriatus

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The Vritra Liberation

PostMon Dec 21, 2015 1:50 pm

A/N: So this is a short piece that was originally going to act as a prologue for a longer story, but time and events have contained it to this little intro. I'll talk more after the interesting bits, here's the fiction for you to enjoy!

THE VRITRA LIBERATION
DRAMATIS PERSONAE
PROLOGUE: CRY FOR HELP
CHAPTER ONE: CROSSING THE LINE
CHAPTER TWO: UNAUTHORISED ACCESS
CHAPTER THREE: OPERATION INDRA
CHAPTER FOUR: ZERO HOUR

-

Prologue: Cry for Help

Ajit hated sand. He hated how it felt blowing against his skin, he hated how it was the only thing he could see for miles, and he hated how despite his best efforts it still managed to find its way into his boots. Being born on Vritra, he had lived surrounded by sand all his life. The entire planet was an arid wasteland, as rugged as the people who lived on it.

The dark-skinned man splashed some water on his face, enjoying the sensation of moisture. He glanced into his canteen, nodding to himself as he checked the contents. Still half-full. More than enough to keep him going. He hopped off the hood of his technical, stowing the canteen away in a spare pouch before getting back into the vehicle. Pulling down his goggles and raising his scarf over his face, Ajit thumbed the ignition, the hardy vehicle growling into life.

Break time was over.

With a lurch, the truck set off across the wasteland, kicking up a plume of dust. He had another seventy miles to go before he reached Outpost Nineteen, the agreed upon staging area for their little operation. Seventy miles of endless, dusty horizons. Ajit reached over and dug a disk out of the passenger side glovebox, slotting it into the radio. There was an angry whirring before the sound of the engine was joined by the steady beat of drums, swiftly followed by the strings of an electric guitar. Ajit drummed his fingers on the steering wheel along with the beat as the cymbals joined in.
And so with musical accompaniment, Ajit Khare drove across the wastes of Vritra towards the oilfield labelled Outpost Nineteen.

-

“Three hours left,” Devak Sharpe reported.

Maria Semyonov, the Owl of Vritra, ignored him. Sat in a stool overlooking the maps and papers scattered over the table before her, the brunette had her hands clasped together, resting her chin on top of them. The only movement the woman made was with her eyes – scanning the various documents and images spread out in front of her.

Sharpe frowned and cleared his throat before trying again. “Ah, three -”

“I heard you,” the Owl replied, glancing at him with an irritated scowl. “Let me know when we have an hour to go,” she ordered, turning her attention back to the jumbled mess of information.

Knowing a dismissal when he heard one, Sharpe offered his commander a lazy salute before leaving.

Maria was nervous, though she knew better than to show it. Her eyes continued to look over the plans, contingencies and annotated maps. She had been at this for over two hours by that point, from time to time reaching out to pick up a pen and make a note, or run a quick calculation. Three hours left. Three hours before they made their move. It had taken months to organise, ever since they had picked up the message.

They were not alone.

Human civilization still endured amongst the stars. The Scourge hadn't gotten them all. Morale had skyrocketed after that discovery – which was a godsend since they had been nearing the end of their rope. A century of surviving in the harsh wastes, raiding outlying garrisons and convoys for supplies, sleeping fitfully in caves and camouflaged camps, always wondering when their luck would run out.

And now, they had hope. The colonies were coming, and they were going to burn the Scourge from the face of the galaxy. Maria didn't know much about the colonies in truth – her parents had told her the stories their parents had heard from their parents, of lush worlds and cities were one could live without fear of becoming dominated by some parasite. Of worlds like New Eden and Earth, cradles of human civilisation.

Paradises despoiled by the vile aliens that even now occupied Vritra.

But not for much longer. The message they had received almost half a year ago had been a communication from a scout ship. It was simple, but it was enough. It had identified itself as a vessel of the United Colonies of Mankind, before requesting any humans on the surface to respond. The message had been broadcast on all the resistance channels, but whilst pretty much every cell on the planet had heard the messages, none of them had a way to reply. The only communications array powerful enough to do that was in New Horizon – the planetary capital. And that belonged to the Scourge.

After a brief conference between the other cell leaders, it was agreed that a message had to be transmitted off-world, to the UCM. The scout ship was surely long gone by this point, but if a message requesting help could be sent into space, on the same frequency, then there was a chance the colonies would hear it.

It was a chance that they all agreed was worth it.

As the most strategically gifted, and in command of the largest cell (actually, more of an army), Maria had been nominated to lead the attack by the other cell leaders. She had accepted the nomination, even though she knew the reasoning – as the leader of the largest resistance force, she had been a natural rival to the other bands roaming the wastes. Either she would succeed in the assault – bringing the UCM to the planet, giving them all an opportunity to retake their world – or she would fail and lose the majority of her soldiers.

Either way, the Owl of Vritra would no longer be a problem in the eyes of the other cells. It was unbelievable that even now some people were more concerned with their personal standing than the liberty of their planet.

Maria grimaced as she slowly stood up, wincing as her leg muscles protested after such a long period of inactivity. The plan she had drawn up was solid, she knew that. Yet she still poured over the charts and reports, scrutinised the few maps they had. The coming attack would reap a bloody tally on her forces, of that there was no question. Even after days of planning and tweaking, she was still looking at a projected 70% casualty rate. And that's if everything went as well as she expected it to. If things went smoothly, then that amount would drop to only about 50%. If things went bad for any reason, that number would leap up to 85%.

Poor odds, but they had no choice. It had taken them months to find and fix up every last piece of hardware they could get their hands on – every last vehicle and gun the cells could find had been gathered deep under the Rajalayas, stockpiled for this day.

Less than three hours to go.

Maria Semyonov sighed and rolled her shoulders before walking over to the old couch that doubled as her bed. She lay down and closed her eyes. Sharpe would alert her when there was only an hour left. Until then, she would get some rest. She had done all she could.

-

The disk had played through about thirty songs by the time Arjit made it to Outpost Nineteen. On the way, he had managed to join up with a pack of trucks heading in the same direction, shadowed by a pair of AH-16 Cyclone gunships. Arjit had let loose an appreciative whistle at the sight of the rotorcraft – it had been a long time since he had ever seen anything in the sky that wasn't Scourge.

He had heard that some of the gangs that roamed furthest from the city and the mountains still had a few such aircraft, the Scourge content to let them be as long as they kept to themselves. Exactly how the Owl had managed to acquire their services eluded Arjit, but then again that was why she was in charge – she had a knack for pulling off the unlikely.

The blaring of a horn startled him from his thoughts. Glancing around, he noticed what the convoy had – another plum of dust being kicked up into the air, some thirty miles to the east of them. Another band heading towards Outpost Nineteen. They were only a few minutes away now, the structures of the oil field hazily materializing on the horizon. Outpost Nineteen was one of the few still functioning oil fields in the wastes not taken over by the Scourge. During the initial invasion over a century ago, some quick thinking administrator in New Horizon deleted much of the records listing the various oil fields, refineries and quarries scattered across the planet.

Places which became safe havens once New Horizon fell to the aliens.

Over the years, a fair few were rediscovered by the invaders, the small communities that had formed around them swiftly enslaved or killed. The facilities were then repurposed to supply the aliens, slowly starving the resistance of resources. As supplies became scarce, many bands formed around the remaining outposts, some of which engaged in raiding one another to supplement their own produce. The Salt Flat Saints, a horde of bikers who roamed the dried out sea to the west of New Horizon, were a group which survived entirely through raiding outposts, ever since they lost their iron mine to a Scourge patrol some thirty years ago.

Outpost Nineteen was part of the Flock – the small army that had formed around the woman known as the Owl. A month ago a call had come, broadcast over all resistance channels requesting assistance in an operation to summon help from off-world. Arjit remembered hearing stories about some kind of message having been received from a human starship, but he had been busy repairing his technical at the time and had missed it himself.

Just his luck. Missing a historic moment like that because he wanted to tune up his ride. At least he would make up for it by being part of either the most historic offensive the planet had ever witnessed, or the shortest. With that cheery thought, he continued to drive on, more dust trails becoming visible around the convoy as more and more vehicles sped to Outpost Nineteen. The Scourge's complacency was going to be the greatest asset in this operation – their indifference to the humans roaming the wastes giving the resistance enough time to form up into a single determined wedge to drive deep into New Horizon's western sectors.

Arjit remembered the orders. Everyone was to gather at Outpost Nineteen by 1900, and head east towards the capital by 1905. Any units that were late were to head directly for the capital and join up with the offensive. It would be a slaughter, but the humans had little choice. What were their lives worth when measured against the possibility of salvation from the stars?

-

A/N: So there you have it. The thinking behind this fic was to get a setting for my local play group to wreck with reckless abandon, and tie into the desert board I am currently working on. Vritra is the serpent of drought in Hinduism - something I find in tabletop games is a lot of leaning towards "recognizable" mythology, so i thought to indulge in something a little different.

The idea was that the planet Vritra would have been a planet claimed by a company, ergo a great focus on resource exploitation across the planet's surface. No large settlements due to the desert/wasteland type landscape, just a gleaming jewel of a city for the administrators and associated services to live in, and everyone else living in small towns within sight of the oil fields/quarries/mines whatever.

A low priority target for the Scourge certainly, but resources are resources! Maybe the Scourge in charge of the attack was complacent, taking an easy victory and leaving the stragglers to survive in the wastes as potential hosts - maybe the current Scourge overseer of the planet encourages a mentality of hunting for new hosts every few years, preying upon the surviving resistance groups?

Then again, what if this was a world which cut ties with Earth the moment the Scourge attacked, and was too far from the UCM and was cut off in turn? What if there was an independent government based around those in the city and those in the wastes? Resistance vs Resistance? But who would be allied, and who would be feral?

The notion was that upon the message being sent out, it would be picked up by a wolfpack - a small fleet mainly scouting the fringed of UCM space to discourage PHR and Shaltari, and the glory-seeking commander leaping at the chance to re-enact his own mini-reconquest.

Of course, all this was written off the top of my head before I maanged to get a copy of the Phase 1 book...at which point I realized this was waaaay too similar to Foley and his little operation...
Last edited by Hydriatus on Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:19 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Cry For Help

PostThu Dec 24, 2015 7:12 am

Brilliant work. I really enjoyed that. Totally immersive.
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Re: Cry For Help

PostTue Dec 29, 2015 3:31 pm

Very good. I dont care that its a bit the same as Foley. Didnt notice until you said it.
Do you have any pics of your board?

Cheers Thunder
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Hydriatus

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Re: The Vritra Liberation

PostMon Sep 26, 2016 11:16 pm

A/N: So I recently got back to writing this. A tenative chapter one is about two thirds finished. Until then, I present the current list of characters appearing in this fic. This list will grow as time goes on.

-

Dramatis Personae

UCM Personnel
The 301st Reserve Fleet
    Hans Radec - Vice Admiral, captain of the Ernest King (UCM Seattle class carrier).
    Gregor Raptis - Captain of the Mark W. Clark (UCM San Francisco class troopship).
    Johnathan Walker - Captain of the Mascarenhas de Moraes (UCM Rio class cruiser).
    Choden Tenzin - Commander of Wolf and Lion squadrons. Captain of the Urip Sumohardjo (UCM Jakarta class frigate).
The XIIth Aurumn Legion
    Gaile de Montfort – Colonel.
    Donald Hawthorne – Legionnaire.
    Markus Weiss – Legionnaire.
The XXIIIrd Ferrum Armoured Battalion
    Javier Benitez - Colonel.

Vritra Resistance
    Maria Semyonov – The Owl of Vritra, commander of the Flock.
    Devak Sharpe – Lieutenant of the Flock.
    Ajit Khare– Technical driver.

Scourge Occupation Forces

-

A/N: So yeah, I chose to name the ships of the UCM fleet after historical generals associated with the nations associated with the cities making up the ship classes. Seemed as good a choice as any really.
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