Rhivera

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~Chapter Ten- The Battle of Mount Rhive Part 1~

~Chapter Ten~

~Arturo~

Mount Rhive has trees and shrubbery strewn about it’s side, perfect for cover. As Miguel and I scale the mountain we know this place will serve our purposes as well. Trinidad and a few others accompany us.

After a few minutes of walking, I realize we have eyes on us.

“Everyone remain calm. The RLA is watching us at a distance now.” I said, “They have a scout to the northwest of us.”

Miro’s followers look to the scout’s position in the distance on a ledge. The scout is in the RLA’s typical camo uniform, and as soon as he notices, us he moves out of view. In moments, other members of the RLA come from the woodwork and surround us.

“Come with us.” The one leading them commands.

They lead us through the mountains and we come upon an opening in the mountain, a base of the RLA. I already knew it’s location, but I don’t want them to be aware of that quite yet. We’re led inside, and armed soldiers follow us from behind. Trinidad becomes anxious, but Miguel is steadfast. Over us are overexposed lights which lit up the base. There are fortifications acting as cover near the entrance, surely in the event of an attack. We’ll make use of those soon.

We’re brought into a large room, the walls lined with members of the RLA, and an elevated stage at its center with a few individuals standing on it. They’ve been awaiting our arrival.

A man with a hefty beard and gut stands at the center of the stage and turns to me. As soon as all of us enter the room, he motions a few of his soldiers to block our way out. This makes Trinidad more anxious, but Miguel gives him a knowing look which calms his nerves.

The bearded man grins, “Greetings Miro! I am Santiago Garcia, one of Eduardo Santoro’s most trusted commanders of the Rhiveran Liberation Army.”

“Where is Eduardo Santoro?” I ask.

“He is far too important to deal with the likes of you. I’ve been asked to meet with you in his stead.” Santiago replies in a pompous way.

“We were told we would meet with him personally.” I respond calmly. I should’ve known he’d be too much of a coward to meet us personally.

“Well that’s changed,” Santiago aggressively points at me, “Remove that helmet now, Miro.”

“I’ll have to decline.”

Santiago sneers, “You don’t seem to understand your situation here, do you? From this day forward, Miro’s army is a part of the Rhiveran Liberation Army. As my subordinate, you will do as I say.”

I stay silent for a moment. But, unable to help it, I begin to chuckle. That chuckle turns into a heavy laugh. I couldn’t contain myself, and it unsettles Santiago and the rest in the room, “Tell me something. Why is it that the RLA targets civilians exclusively? Is it because you’re too weak to do anything else?”

“Watch your mouth!”

“You only harm those who can’t defend themselves. That makes you no different than Population Control!” I turn my attention away from Santiago and to the rest of the room, “As of today, this base is part of Miro’s army. You’ll no longer harm the innocent; instead you’ll fight those directly responsible for empowering Population Control. The government itself!”

Santiago motions to his soldiers in the room and they aim their rifles at us, “You hold no authority here.”

“What will you do when the military arrives here then?” I ask.

Santiago’s expression becomes unsettled, as well as the rest of the RLA soldiers in the room. “What are you talking about?” He asks.

“The military is on its way here, our scouts have confirmed this and they should be here within an hour. Far too soon for you all to evacuate.” A murmur between the soldiers crosses the room; I can feel the panic from the RLA.

Santiago struggles to compose himself and keep everyone calm, “You’re lying.”

“Check for yourself. But be quick about it. We don’t have much time. They’ll be coming from the southwest.” I say, secretly smiling from within my helmet. This is exactly the reaction I expected. I leaked the whereabouts of the RLA’s base to the military to coincide with our meeting here.

Santiago’s confidence begins to waver. He points at a few RLA members, “You three, go check!” The three rush down the way we came.

We wait for a few minutes, with Santiago pacing back and forth on his stage. I can hear the rushed footsteps of the three returning, “He was telling the truth! An army is closing in on us!”

“You... You did this didn’t you?!” Santiago yells and pulls his pistol. I nod to the person standing behind him. They raise their gun and shoot Santiago in the back of his head, and he falls from the stage with blood pooling from him.

I planted a few of our own within the RLA’s ranks to keep an eye on them. The RLA soldiers lower their weapons, not knowing what to do.

“There is only one option for you all at this point. We’ll have to face the military directly.” I announce to the room.

“We can’t fight the military.” I hear an RLA soldier murmur. There was no doubt it was something that the RLA taught him to believe, justifying their actions against civilians.

“My own forces are hiding to the East and West of this position. With your assistance and my leadership, we can win this fight. You all only need to follow my orders from here.” I tell them. I watch the reactions of the RLA soldiers, and each of them realize that their only chance is to follow Miro, and they fall in line.

“First, give me a blueprint of your base, and we’ll prepare ourselves.”

-------------------------------------

I have two battalions waiting to the east and west of our position, they used an exit point from the underground tunnels to the west to reach those positions undetected. Between my forces here and the newly added RLA’s forces, we’re still outnumbered by the military, but I accounted for that.

The RLA’s forces will draw the enemy towards their base. Once we’ve allowed them to enter the RLA’s bases, my forces will close in from the east and west and attack, and they’ll be surrounded on all sides.

I scope out our surroundings. I see the majority of the military’s numbers are traveling on foot to our location with tanks and heavier artillery, waiting farther down the mountain. I’m sure they think that will prevent us from running, but they don’t know the underground tunnels will act as our escape.

Once it’s clear the military is in a losing position, they are likely to call for reinforcements from Joldair’s base. If they arrive, their numbers would overwhelm us completely. We’ll have to make our leave far before that happens. Our goal is to do as much damage as possible until it’s time to retreat.

If the military manages to outmaneuver and overpower us, I’ll sacrifice the RLA’s ranks while my forces escape. But I don’t anticipate that happening.

“Miro! You may want to see this,” A scout says, spying on the military through binoculars.

“What is it?” I ask, reaching my hand out for the binoculars.

“It’s General Lena. She’s near the front lines.”

I look over the ranks of the military through the binoculars and eventually spot her. She’s actually coming here herself? She’s not a coward like Santoro at least. If we can kill her, that’ll be a huge victory for us.

“We could have our snipers take her out.” The scout proposes.

I pause for a moment, “No, that’ll give away our position too early. The plan doesn’t change. We’ll draw them in and surround them. Then we’ll kill the General. If we can draw her into the base, that will be even better.”

I’ve heard that Lena is known for being a glory hound; she probably wanted to be personally responsible for bringing down Eduardo Santoro... If she found out Miro is here, she may act even more recklessly.

A small group of the RLA’s forces take position outside of their base, with me at their head. I want the first thing the military sees to be me, or Miro rather. Trinidad commands the eastern Battalions while Miguel commands the western Battalions.

The military wanders about the mountain, trying to hone in the RLA’s base. I had only given them a vague idea of the base’s positions. If left on their own, they’d find us eventually. But once they drew close enough to us, I give the order to those with me.

“Fire a volley on the military, and gather their attention! Once they’ve started coming to us, fall back into the base!”

We unleash bullets upon the military from above, but we only brought down a few of them before they began to fire their own volleys back. A bullet strikes the chest of my survival suit. I stand steadfast, making my presence as clear as possible to the military before falling back with the others.

The rushed pace of the military indicated they must’ve spotted me. We fire small volleys before retreating into the base. I head to the back of the base where I can relay orders to my forces.

I speak into my radio, “Battalion F, inform me once the military has closed in on the base. Keep your eyes on the General.”

“Yes sir.”

I address the battalions farthest down the mountain, “Battalions C and F, once the military has passed your positions, begin to circle behind them without giving yourselves away.”

“Yes,Miro sir!” The commanders of the battalion respond.

I can hear the echoes of gunfire outside of the base. The military has no idea my forces are hiding out there. So far so good.

“Miro, they’ve entered the base!” The leader of squad F transmits over the radio.

“What of the General?” I ask.

After a short delay they answer, “She just entered inside.”

Just what I was waiting for.

“Battalions A and D, attack and push the military’s forces away from the base! Battalions C and F will block the military’s escape. Squads B and E, be ready to advance. RLA squads, draw the military to the ambush point in the base.”

“YES SIR!”

Although I can’t see the battle from inside the base, I’ve played it out in my mind enough times that I can picture it clearly. With so many lives depending on us being victorious, I needed to.

“Miro, a large number of the military’s forces are advancing westward.” Miguel says via radio.

“Battalion B, move in. Battalion D, take this opportunity to cut the military off from the base.”

“The military is starting to panic and trying to retreat southward.” Trinidad remarks in disbelief.

“Battalion C and F, hold your ground and don’t let them pass. Battalion E move in and support those squads.” I respond, “RLA squad, where is the General now?”

“She’s at the ambush point and we’ve surrounded her. She’s holding that position in the base but we’re chipping away at those with her.”

“Keep at it.”

“Miro, we’ve cut the military off from the base. No one else should be able to get inside.” Squad F leader informs me.

“Good! The RLA will keep the General from escaping. Focus on the military.”

The battle rages on outside. The ambush outside was doing just as I expected, our coordinated effort was causing the military forces to collapse. What forces General Lena brought into the base were being depleted quickly. I’m sure they’ve called for reinforcements, meaning we were fighting on a timer now.

“Miro!” The new RLA commander yells through the radio. “Lena is pushing back in the base, they’re starting to make their way down the eastern corridor. We can’t hold them back!”

They’re pushing towards my location. “How many are coming through?”

“One.”

“What?”

“Just one. I don’t know how, but one broke away from the others and we can’t seem to stop him.”

How is that possible?

“Anyone who can support that position in the base, do so!” I say calmly. It doesn’t help. Somehow, that single person can’t be stopped.

“It’s Nirivo!” He yells through the radio, “He’s the one breaking through!”

He’s here too? Damn it. It’s just a mild inconvenience.

“Allow Nirivo to reach me. We’ll ambush him here.”

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