[Closed][Companion Story to "The Dawn"] Rising Hope of The Sun

Andrew

Tal'Aestaesys of Lorenz
Staff member
Ayem'vu Aquila POW Camp
Craethel-USC Occupied Ayem'vu
230km from Celeste City



Aquila POW Camp also called the “Death Pit” by those who were held and died there. It was a forced labor facility where those who refused Craethel rule or those left behind by their governments after the Second Battle of Ayem'vu. It was a place of desperate circumstance, where survival was merely the motivation day to day as inmates were forced to toil in the open mine pits drilled by the Craethel Logistics facilities in orbit, a harvesting ground for minerals and metals utilized in their ever expanding and hungry war machine. Men, women, and children were forced to work in dangerous and inhospitable conditions, sleep in overpacked bunks with no access to proper running water or fresh food. It was a place you worked until they were killed or their bodies gave out from under them.


The day before had been unlike any other day, as the first shift toiled under the rising sun, small pieces of paper dropped from the sky above written in specialized ink tuned to the frequency of the Norian eye with a simple message, “Be ready.” It was the first sign of hope, the pieces of paper were stuffed in pockets, and those left on the ground appeared as litter to the imperfect sight of the Craethel. Their collaborators, the USC soldiers either chose to keep quiet, or they themselves were ready for a change. Either way, the whispers tore through the camp like a storm, pickaxes swung harder, and the day yielded higher than any other had before it. Freedom was coming...


Sunrise, the Ayem'vu Star rose from the depths of the sleepless night, it's pink and orange flames marred the cloudy horizon and bathed the camp in the light of a new day. It was shift change, the night sentries had returned to the depot and fresh troops were deployed. The Craethel Armors walked in formation from the depot towards the housing pods where the prisoners were kept, as their visors scanned the barracks it would appear as any other morning, that was except what hung from the forward most pod. Nailed to the exterior wall hung the corpse of a Norian USC officer, pegged to the wall with spikes through his shoulders and knees, green and violet trickles of blood stained the wall, and written in his blood along the forward face of the trailer-style building was a single word “Collaborator.” The Craethel Armors ceased their approach, visors flashing as orders passed between them and they drew their battle rifles into the ready position.


“FREEDOM!” the shouts of the prisoners came from the work pits behind the cluster of barracks. Their shouts attracted the attention of the four Craethel soldiers and the formation of USC troops that moved behind them. Another flash in the visors of the Craethel Armors and the sirens began to blare as shielding and turret systems on the four towers at the corners of the camp were brought to the ready. “All inmates, you are to return to your barracks. Put your hands on your heads and walk in single file, those who follow protocol will not be harmed,” the electronic voice of the Craethel computers announced in accordance with the prisoner riot protocols.



The lines of inmates stood in the pit, they watched as the Craethel fanned out in formation as they moved through the space between the rows of barracks, armed with rocks, mining tools, whatever they could get their hands on, they made it look like they were going to make a stand. The Craethel Armors in front opened fire with rounds designed to be warning shots which exploded into tiny puffs of dust as they hit the ground in front of the prisoners.


“Up here assholes!” the call came from the roof tops of the barracks, Caeyorian active camouflage disengaging which revealed the white desert-style camo-jackets of the group of marines. Shoulder mounted rocket launchers ignited, and missiles swarmed the air they zipped towards the towers that guarded the perimeter, and detonated, ignoring the programmed shield frequencies of the towers. Meanwhile, the remaining marines opened fire, quintessence pulse fire showered from the rooftops into the formation of Craethel and USC soldiers. Two of the Craethel fell immediately, their helmets busted open and leaking blue goo onto the sandy ground before their recall systems activated and they disappeared to wherever they went when they were killed.


Two Vesta-Class Skiffs dropped from the cloud cover above, the emblem of the Caeyorian Nations proudly a lit upon their ventral surfaces, braking thrusters fired as the skiffs lowered to the ground in the pits. More Marines came from within, loading the prisoners into the skiffs, tagging them with marker chips and tended to the young and wounded. The Depot was mobilizing more Craethel Armors, more USC soldiers were leaving the posts but some were leaving their rifles behind, torn pieces of bed sheets flared white in their hands as they waved their surrender and ran to the skiff hoping to be saved with the prisoners. The Craethel were shooting the USC soldiers first, and the Caeyorian Marines stuck to their positions, their primary objective was the prisoners, when it came to the collaborators, they at the moment were merely men taking fire so they didn't have to.


Once the two Skiffs were filled, they blasted off, their complement of Marines remained in place, to exchange fire with the Craethel to protect the remaining prisoners as two additional Skiffs were lowered from above. The USC had begun to mobilize fighters, they took off from small landing areas close to the depot. Missiles dropped below the cloud ceiling and blasted into several of them before they were even able to get fully airborne. Scimitar-Class Armors came in, pulse-cannons firing towards the remaining USC fighters as the last two skiffs were loaded, the Marines ran from their positions to catch a ride before they blasted off into the clouds above. While they could not escape the planet, due to the Craethel Defence Grid, they could at least get these people to a place safer than enemy run POW camps.


Marine Field Installation – Aquila Slaughter
Temporary Caeyorian Marine Field Base



Soldiers scrambled from various tents and shelters as they flocked to the landing zones to help unload the rescued POWs. They would be processed, and those who were not Caeyorian would be returned to their respective government representative within the camp. They were the braves souls left behind, to prepare for what was to come. Coded transmissions had already passed back and forth between the Camp and Command, during resets in the Craethel Defence grid, carefully timed blips of information to prepare for the evacuation of the remaining Norians. Other Marine divisions were at work, hidden and striking from the wilderness of the alien world towards the strongholds of the USC and Craethel.
 
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