08:00hrs.:location----Nether-Rim Territories;///----Status: holding position outside of Misinia----Cruiser: Revenant
Even outside of the battlefield he dreamt about it; it followed him home, was waiting for him when his mind grew tired and weak until sleep was necessary. He no longer slept well and had a constant feeling of anxiety for the day to arrive. He slept restlessly that entire night until the holo-panel in his barrack awakened him. It buzzed and flashed urgently and a computer voice spoke “Incoming transmission from Admiral Yoki.” He rose sharply, yawning and arching his back to stretch. He deftly entered the proper access code and suddenly, with a flash of light, the hologram image of the admiral was standing in front of him.
“I’m sorry to wake you Commander Karin,” he spoke, “Chancellor Ymene demands your presence at the bridge; he said it is of a matter of extreme importance.”
Commander Karin felt the pit in his stomach begin to grow “perhaps he only wants a report of our progress in the Nether-Rim Campaign” he thought to himself. But his attempt to think otherwise failed. “I will be there immediately” he replied.
And with that the admiral saluted him and the hologram disappeared. Still wiping the sleep from his eyes Commander Karin began to don his armor. It was an almost iridescent white and was adorned with black and red markings distinguishing his enlistment with a specific battalion. As he was placing the armor on one piece at a time, he stared at his helmet which sat across from him; staring at him as if he were under examination. It was fierce and threatening; the thin black T-visor, which provided only a reflection of the outside world; containing a mystery within, peered into him. It too was brandished with black and red markings. Lastly, the pall, which extended from his neck and completely covered his left shoulder and the Nishiro skirt, wrapped half-way around his waist, were meticulously added to complete the armor. These pieces identified his rank to the soldiers; the brothers he commanded and identified a massive threat to the enemy.
As he made his way to the door of his barrack, he glanced once more at his helmet, still sitting, waiting, and ready for anything. He wondered if those few who had gone AWOL during the Galactic War had been right all along; that they were expendable assets; that more were being created everyday and that no matter what, they would always be treated as such. Commander Karin left his room and began to make his way to the bridge. As he passed his soldiers; his brothers, he thought about their purpose in the war. He and his troops were a thousand or so of but three million who were all the same; grown, not born; trained, not nurtured. They were clones: each created from the same genetic template, and were modified to obey every order; altered down to the smallest and most infinitesimal points, restricting all forms of individual identity and independence and providing an endless supply of troops. As he continued to walk down the corridors, Commander Karin felt a sense of pain and sadness followed shortly by pride, reminding himself once more as many of his brothers had done over the course of the war, that Deagon-IV was the only home they would ever have, and they were prepared to die in the wake of its defense.
Commander Karin reached the bridge as one of the troops shouted “Commander on deck!” immediately, the entire crew halted their tasks and, in unison, straightened their bodies and saluted him. “At ease” he spoke. While Commander Karin was walking toward Admiral Yoki standing next to the holo-panel on the bridge, he stared out into space; intensely watching the planet the two battle-class cruisers were holding position in front of. The planet was called Misinia and was a major defense post of the Galactic Union in the Nether-Rim Territories. It was home to an early-warning system which alerted the capital planet, Flostis, of enemy presence and possible invasion. They were given orders by the chancellor to take two cruisers to Misinia, for an unknown reason, where they were to then await further instruction.
“Admiral” Karin ordered “clear the bridge, this transmission is on a need-to-know basis.”
“Yes sir” replied the admiral “Everyone to the armory, we will begin making landing preparations immediately!” barked Admiral Yoki.
Once alone on the bridge, Commander Karin activated a switch that was only to be used by certain personnel. Entering yet another access-code, the commander stepped back, immediately a dark, faceless figure rose from the screen below.
“Commander Karin, I have discovered the Ecrof are planning to over-throw our established government and seize power for themselves” Chancellor Ymene explained.
Commander Karin’s heart sunk.
“We must quell this insurrection immediately; therefore, effective this very moment, all Ecrof officers are to be considered traitors to the Galactic Union and killed on sight. I am officially ordering the execution of Directive-881” he continued. “Set down on Misinia and have your engineers establish a transmission alerting all Ecrof that Flostis is under-siege by the Confederate Alliance. There, we shall wipe them out in a single blow as the might of our forces descends upon them.”
The transmission ended and Commander Karin stared at the holo-panel with his fists planted on the periphery of the screen. The day had come; he was to betray the Ecrof under order of Chancellor Ymene to insure no resistance to his implementation of a new system of governments; an Empire.
The Ecrof were a group of “mystics,” that would be the best way to describe them.
They were linked to a special entity which existed throughout the universe and made them tremendously powerful. With the outbreak of the Galactic War, the Ecrof were made generals and given command of hundreds of clone battalions to march into battle. While some of the Ecrof refused to recognize Karin and his clone brethren as equals, others formed close attachments to them; some were even given names. According to the Deagon-IV records, all clones are designated by a serial number. In the case of Commander Karin, he is designated as CC-1751. The names given to them set them apart; gave them an individual identity.
Karin’s mind returned to the question he had been pondering over earlier; were we expendable? “The Ecrof saw past our identical features; saw us as individuals with distinct personalities” he thought “They fought alongside us, losing brothers just as we had. Many lost their lives trying to save our own.” Karin felt his heart begin to heavy and wondered how he could even consider killing them. Were this order given to another clone officer, it would have been dutifully carried out instantaneously, without thought or hesitation. Commander Karin, however, was designated a NullClass-Special Forces Commander.
He and a select group of clones were chosen to undergo advanced combat training on their home-world of Deagon-IV; in other words, those who survived the process were the best of the best. However, there were “abnormalities” of the NC-SFC genome…they could think independently and could defy an order if should they chose provided, of course, the decision was made to benefit the Galactic Union and prevent harm from coming to it.
This was but one directive hard-wired into their genetic code; a strict set of instructions, of responsibilities to the Union, which preserved their increased ability to consider orders prior to acting on them without compromising the integrity of the infrastructure of their genetic engineering. They were exceptionally loyal, yes, but to the Galactic Union and acted, always, for the preservation and advancement of the Galactic Union.
An NC-SFC could not willfully disobey the orders given by an acting general, especially where the well-being of the Union was concerned, simply out of fear or through some other reason for non-compliance, for this would undermine their basic engineering. Their capacity to consider, something which set them apart from the rank-and-file of the homogenous military might of the Union, was restricted to the benefit of the Galactic Union and could not, therefore, be used to benefit the individual; as in the case of personal advancement through the ranks.
He knew full well that he would be unable to deal with the guilt if he had handed over the Ecrof to death. Commander Karin shook himself from this daze and called to Admiral Yoki:
“Admiral!” he barked.
At once the admiral returned to his side.
“What are your orders sir?” he asked.
“Are the troops prepped and ready for landing?”Commander Karin asked.
“Yes sir. Shall we begin making our approach?”
“Inform Captain Iscis on the Serenity to prepare his battalion and make ready to land in sector 5-1-5” he ordered.
The commander saluted him and ordered the bridge crew to return to their posts
and begin the necessary landing sequences. Instantly, an alarm sounded which alerted all troops to form up in the landing bay and for pilots to prep their ships for troop and artillery transport. Commander Karin left the bridge and made his way back to his quarters. He picked up his helmet and gazed into its face; “to think that all this time, we were ultimately created for betrayal and fear; we were pawns” he thought. He placed the helmet over his face knowing it would be the last time. He then clipped a belt which holstered two A5-7 blaster pistols, standard issue side-arm of officers in the army of the Galactic Union. After checking their ammunition gauges, he disengaged the safeties and made his way to the landing platform to join his brothers.
1030hrs.:location----Nether-Rim Territories: Misinia///sector 5-1-5;///----Status: Revenant and Serenity landing----Cruiser: Revenant
By the time Commander Karin reached the landing platform, Block Battalion was in formation and ready to move. “They truly were impressive” thought Commander Karin as he surveyed his troops; motionless, faceless, and fearless. Each shouldered an X1 rifle and carried at least three thermal detonators. The tanks, Vega transports, and star ships were also prepped and ready; Commander Karin chuckled quietly to himself at the irony of it all “the chancellor certainly knew what he was doing while he planned all of this; he couldn’t have picked a better army for the job” and made his way to the front of the battalion.
The Revenant and Serenity had already entered the atmosphere and were making their final approach. They set down in one of the very few clearings on the otherwise dense and lush forestry of the planet. As soon as the ships were securely docked, Commander Karin gave the signal to lower the landing platform hatch.
“BLOCK BATTALION!!” cried Commander Karin
At once the thousand clones snapped to attention; the clap was deafening.
“MOVE!” he ordered.
In perfect synchronization the dozens of rows of troops marched; left foot, right foot. The foot-falls heard were menacing; a machine of war was on the move, ready for battle. Commander Karin made his way to meet with CC-2035, or Captain Iscis, as he was also known. Like Commander Karin, his armor as well was adorned with color separating him from the “common stock” clone. It was a brazen orange which striped down the sides of this arms and legs and fanned out across his helmet like the wings of a phoenix.
“Captain Iscis, reporting for duty, sir!” spoke Captain Iscis as he bolted to attention.
“It’s nice to see you again captain; at ease” said Commander Karin with a smile.
Captain Iscis removed his helmet and spoke plainly:
“Well, since we are through with the formalities, you mind telling me what the hell were doing down here? I like to be prepared…”
“We are going to set up shop in the early warning station. After getting everything in order, I need you to assemble Frost Battalion, have them rendezvous at the landing site with Block Battalion; have some news to break to the men, and I doubt they will like it” said Commander Karin sullenly.
1500hrs.:location----Nether-Rim Territories: Misinia///sector 5-1-5;///----Status: NA----Cruiser:NA
After the hours spent loading supplies and armaments into the base, Captain Iscis ordered the troops of Frost Battalion to the landing zone and form up beside Commander Karin’s troops. Before long, the commander walked to the front of the soldiers; Captain Iscis stood beside him.
“Brothers, our chancellor has betrayed us” he began.
Immediately there arose a frenzy of questions all throughout the lines. Captain Iscis fired a shot from his A5-7 pistol into the air, demanding silence.
“I have received a direct order to purge the Union of the Ecrof; those who fought and died beside us in defense of something greater than any of us could ever imagine” he continued.
“I have no intention of carrying out this order, and that means that none of you will either”
“How can you ask us to betray our chancellor?!” cried a voice from the crowd. This was followed shortly by a congregation in agreement.
“ENOUGH!” commanded Karin. “I FIGHT FOR THE GALACTIC UNION, NOT ITS LEADERS! I FIGHT FOR ITS IDEALS AND ITS FREEDOMS! WHAT OUR CHANCELLOR HAS ASKED US TO DO IS TREASONOUS AND I WILL NOT STAND IDLY BY AND ALLOW IT!” The entire crowd hushed; stunned by the commander’s words.
“We will stand against this treachery and fight to ensure our Ecrof generals learn of this dealing.”
“WILL YOU NOW, WHEN NEEDED MOST, STOP AT ONLY WORDS?”
All at once there began a roar; small, beginning from the rear rank, then growing. He had won the hearts and loyalty of his men. Though he managed a smile, he knew it would be the only victory of the day.
The troops began to mobilize at once, tanks were moved from the Revenant and Serenity and were placed in front of the base; along with a few hundred men, they would engage the defecting clones on the ground. The battle-cruisers were to return to space with a small crew to man the star ships and serve as the first line of defense. Just then Captain Iscis approached:
“What is your plan of action sir?”
“Have our engineers establish an encrypted signal to all Ecrof within as far a range as possible” said Commander Karin.
“Yes sir. What of our defenses?”
“The main objective will be to keep the signal going as long as possible. The Revenant and Serenity along with our pilots have received their orders to engage the chancellor’s forces in space” he explained.
“Stalling them is key here; if the chancellor wants that signal destroyed he will be forced to land his troops. It will be far easier to engage them on the ground” said Commander Karin.
“We will more than likely lose the two battle-cruisers along with our pilots; that will cut any supply off from us; not that anyone would be coming to help us this time” Captain Iscis remarked slyly.
“You understand what must be done?”
1700hrs.:location----Nether-Rim Territories: Misinia///sector 5-1-5;///----Status: NA----Cruiser:NA
It had begun to rain, and the air was thick and humid. It matched the atmosphere perfectly. Commander Karin was surprised to see his troops had come to terms with what they would soon be doing; they would be standing against their brothers. They would kill them if necessary, but the action was easier said than done.
Just then, Commander Karin heard the whining of an incoming message from his holo-pad. He held the disc-shaped communicator in hand and activated it, it was the admiral.
“Our pilots have finished preparing their ships and we are holding position to meet the chancellor’s forces” he informed.
“Excellent work admiral” replied Commander Karin.
There was hesitancy in his voice.
“Sir, it has been an honor serving under you” he said at last.
“The honor was mine admiral.” The two saluted one another and Admiral Yoki’s figure disappeared.
Captain Iscis then informed Commander Karin the signal had been established and two squads were in place as a last line of defense. Before Commander Karin could make his way to the troops stationed on the front lines, the holo-pad whined once more. As he activated it, the form of Chancellor Ymene appeared:
“KARIN!” he shouted, “WHY HASN’T THAT SIGNAL BEEN ESTABLISHED?!”
“Sir, effective immediately, I, Block, and Frost Battalions are no longer under your order.” And with that, he ended the transmission.
Then, as if on cue, one of his troops informed him that slip-space ruptures were detected and that Admiral Yoki and his pilots had engaged the chancellor’s forces. Commander Karin ordered the trooper to sound the alarm and make certain that everyone was in place. Again, the pit in his stomach grew; today was the day alright, the day he put an end to this. He checked his weapons and ran to the front lines to fight alongside his brothers.
1800hrs.:location----Nether-Rim Territories: Misinia///sector 5-1-5;///----Status: Battle preparations----Cruiser: Revenant destroyed…<ERROR ispforward><signal lost>
Admiral Yoki and his pilots did a wonderful job of stalling the chancellor. Unfortunately, as Commander Karin predicted, the two cruisers were obliterated. What was left of the chancellor’s fleet began to touch down. The rain gave way as a mist began to settle in front of Karin’s and Iscis’ forces. They could hear the foot falls of their brothers approaching, yet saw nothing. The tension and anxiety was thicker than the mist and infected them all. Once more Commander Karin’s holo-pad alerted him to an incoming message.
“Commander Karin” a figure spoke.
“Commander Ansalis, I’ve been expecting you” replied Karin.
“Lay down your arms; think of your men!” pleaded the commander.
“I am” he said and deactivated the holo-pad.
For a short while there was silence. Still nothing could be seen through the dense foliage and mist. Then, a hell-fire of blaster shot was hurled toward Commander Karin’s forces.
“TAKE COVER!” he shouted ferociously.
“INDEPENDENT, FIRE AT
WILL!” with that order, Block and Frost battalions returned a seemingly endless
volley of fire at their former brothers.
“ARTILLERY! CONCENTRATE FIRE ON SECTORS 6-9!” he ordered. The deafening sounds of the blaster rifles, thermal detonators could be heard for miles.
Dozens began to fall on both sides. Shortly after, the chancellor’s forces deployed star ships for ground cover. At that, the commander ordered the retreat. More clones continued to fall as they ran to reinforce what was to be the last line of defense.
Captain Iscis stood at the ready with his troops and were shortly joined by Commander Karin’s forces in retreat.
“WE HAVE TO GET INSIDE OF THE BASE OR THEY WILL OVER-RUN US!” commander Karin shouted; the blasts getting louder.
“GO INSIDE, I WILL STAY WITH FROST BATTALION AND HOLD THEM OFF AS LONG AS WE CAN!” he replied.
Commander Karin removed his helmet, visor cracked, and discarded it to the ground; it could no longer question or define him. Captain Iscis removed his as well. The two stared at one another for a short time, never saying a word. The two brothers knew they would never see one another again. Commander Karin smiled again and said:
“Farewell my brother.” Tears welling in his eyes, Captain Iscis only nodded in reply.
With that, Captain Iscis began to form up his troops and charged into battle; his back would be the last thing Commander Karin would ever see of him.
Once inside the base Commander Karin looked around to survey what little troops he had left. “A company at best” he thought. He ordered the doors sealed; with their backs against a wall the remainder of Block Battalion stood motionless. Seeing the commander without his helmets caused his brothers to do the same. They looked around at all of those familiar and yet so distinct faces one last time. Just then amber light began to cut through the door.
“We hold them here” began Commander Karin breathlessly. “WE HOLD THEM HERE! FOR THE UNION!” he cried as the blast doors were demolished. A hail of blaster rifle shot flew in all directions.
Taking cover, Commander Karin fancied one final look at those who stood beside him in the wake of countless battles. As he watched them, he again returned to the former question:
“Were we expendable?” “No, we fought for what we believed in, genetically manipulated or not. Brothers stood beside brothers against evil, nothing would change that.”