No, I didn't forget. Had a lot to do, but here is Part one of the Prologue for Rising Thunder. I would appreciate any and all comments/criticisms. Enjoy!
Legions of the Empire: Rising Thunder
Prologue: Investigation (Part One: Lord Marris)
Location: Eros System. Planet Kusun. Imperial Base: Soundguard. Time: 0823
“We all fight in war… You’re probably not as aware of it as I am. I’m not talking about conventional warfare. I’m talking about morals, emotions, and peace. The real fight isn’t with the sword or the gun, the battlefield isn’t before you, but within you. Don’t you understand? The most important battle is the one that rages in man’s heart for good and evil, a struggle that has a beginning before time ever existed. Every hour is a fight, everyday is a battle in this war we call life. Even if we think it’s easy, it isn’t. The easier the fight, the harder it becomes… My only regret in this life is that I didn’t understand what was important to me, before it was too late.” – Interrogation transcript, 56-004.
The command center’s alarms had been silenced hour ago, but the emergency lights still bathed it in a red glow. The room was large with the front containing a large shield of glass that overlooked the base. The wall was dotted with computers, holo-screens, and technician stations. The center of the room held a large holo-table that could display anything that was needed; currently it had the layout of the base sprawled over it. Sections were flashing red and bright dots moved slowly around it. Gray uniformed Technicians and other personal bustled around, while the armored silent guards stood near the door; all of them giving a wide berth to the woman near the windows. Natalia Johnston, Colonel of the Red Arrow Brigade of the 5th Legion and the commanding officer of Soundguard Base.
Brushing back her brown hair, Colonel Johnston looked back up at her computer screens in the command center. She was short and a bit stocky, but strong and efficient. Her watchful and serious attitude was something her superiors liked enough for her to be in charge of Soundguard. Soundguard was the Imperial Base for regional communications. Before the arrival of the Imperial Republic, it was an infantry training base, but had been commandeered for other purposes. It was their primary duty to ensure secure communications, and discourage or crush any resistance that should form in the area. Supposedly, it shouldn’t be that hard. The base was located at the foothills of the Soundguard Mountains. The land around it was mostly farmland and woods, no major cities nearby except for Medina. Not only did the clear sight range help, but so did a series of outposts and patrols that stretched up into the mountain as well.
But they had been hit. Hard. Nearly three hours ago, during shift change, the base had been assaulted by an unknown enemy force. The most disturbing thing about the attack was that they could find no enemy casualties, or vehicle support. The handiwork showed evidence of a small man team, perhaps even up to twelve. Their target had been simple. The comm tower. A series of explosions tore through the base, destroying the comm tower, and a few other buildings randomly in the base. It puzzled her. While the comm tower was important, none of the military assets were directly touched by the attack. There had been fire fights though. From the damage and the bodies, it seemed like the attackers were moving towards the command center. But then they vanished. No enemy casualties or an idea of how the base was breached. But they were still working on the investigation and repair. Luckily, they had a captured prisoner, who at first they thought was another of theirs who was wounded. Until they had ran his ID and linked him as a deserter from another Legion. Quickly, they had taken him to the interrogation chamber and began pressing him at once, hoping that he was the key to the attack.
“Control, Sitrep,” ordered the major. A skinny man in front of a holo-screen turned to face her. He was dressed in a Operational Dress Uniform (ODU), which composed of simple gray pants and collared shirt, which only displayed the Lieutenant’s name, Division identifications, and the sown on bars of his rank. A technicians visor created a holographic screen on the right side of his face. “The mobile towers report an ETA of an hour and a half. All scout teams have reported negative so far. The 73% of the fires are under control. We-“
The report was cut short as the console emitted a soft beep. The tech paused for a moment and reached up and touched his earpiece. “Soundguard C- wh-… Yes, sir… Clearance granted… Pad- Yes, sir. Pad 12 is open and now reserved for you.”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” snapped the CO, the vein in her neck throbbing with anger. “I gave an explicit order that only no craft are to be-“
“Ma’am,” tried the tech, his face was pale. He liked his lips and tried again. “Ma’am that was Lord Marris… H-he heard about the attack and s-something else… he’s coming. ETA 5 minutes.”
Now it was the Colonel’s turn to lose the color in her face. “You allowed him to land?”
“He allowed himself.”
Johnston turned away from the technician, and closed her eyes. “Assemble my personal unit,” ordered the Colonel. “I will take full responsibility for what happened to the base, and apologize to Lord Marris personally. Meanwhile, continue base repairs and and raise our status to orange.”
The larger rectangular blast doors to the command center whooshed open. A towering giant of a man walked into the control room, flanked by two troopers. He wore midnight black armor, which covered most of his body, but the torso was the most armored part, leaving his limbs to be more mobile. It customized slightly as most of the older soldier’s do with a larger left shoulder guard, bearing a red arrow, the Battalion’s crest. The left arm was also noticeably larger; she suspected it was a deploy-able combat shield. On his hip was a non-standard, massive pistol with a saw blade-like spring loaded bayonet. The man was balding, but his bushy black mustache gave him a wild look.
“Ma’am is everything alright?” asked the giant in a thick deep voice, snapping a quick salute. His accent was reminiscent of Ancient Earth’s United Russian Republic, which according to legend was the last surviving threshold of democracy on Earth when the United States collapsed in the late 21st Century.
“Captain Azarov,” she acknowledged. “Yes. We have an Undead Lord coming. Let’s go meet Lord Marris.”
She strolled past him without looking up at him. The captain paused for a minute, before turning around and rushing after her. "Colonel?" he tried asking again.
"Just follow me please," she said.
They walked out of the command center and into the beautiful sunny morning of Kusun, and right onto the "yard". The yard was the nickname given to the space of land in from of the towering command center. Officially it was for uses of parade grounds, mass assembly, and extra space if a temporary shelter or prison needed to be stored. Unofficially, it was the rec area for soldier's during R&R times. Adjacent to it was several landing pads for quick supply drops or evacuations. One of these Pads was Pad 12.
"Ma'am? I don't get it," said Azarov. "I've never seen you this spooked before. Not even on Bronus when we got attacked by the dinosaurs. Who is this guy?"
"Azarov. Are you familiar with Undead Lords?" she asked, starring off into the sky.
"Is that what he is?"
"Yes. Only a few people can become an Undead Lord. Its because of an odd genetic mutation that happens upon death. If this mutation is harnessed in time, then the individual can be resurrected," she stated. "The person also has the ability to control the mysterious powers of the Void, giving them near God-like abilities. that Void though, is also a weakness. Should they over exert their powers, they loose a lot of Void and that bond binding their soul and body is broken, and they die again. They serve in positions of power and counseling... Lord Marris is one of these Undead Lords."
"Hmm... I heard once that the Hierarch, The Lord of the Undead, was the first Emperor of the Imperial Republic and ancestor to the current Emperor," commented Azarov.
"That wouldn't surprise me. They live for a long time... It looks like our friend is here too," she replied, pointing into the sky. Off in the distance a shuttle was approaching the base of Soundguard. The closer it was, the more detail she could tell on it. It was a Reverence-class transport, one only used by high ranking officials. It was a long and curved ship, almost like an arrowhead. The end flared out quite a bit when compared to the front, making room for the engines. Two fins, closer to the center of the rear sat at 45 degree angles. It was painted white with a deep royal purple shield, and a yellow hawk on its side. With incredible grace, the pilot bought the ship to a perfect landing on top of the pad. The ramp lowed with the hissing of hydraulics, and Lord Daren Marris walked down the ramp.
His appearance took both the Colonel and the Captain by surprise. They were expecting an old man, or a figure encased in armor. But instead, he was a relatively young man. He had a long mane of fiery red hair, and had the face of a young noble aristocrat with bright green eyes and a pearly white smile. He wore a long royal purple coat with a high collar, vest and pants that matched in color. All three were elaborately embroidered in a brilliant gold in a brilliant gold. Underneath the coat he wore a long sleeved white shirt with a gold colored cravat. Around his neck was a golden amulet, with a large and brilliant emerald in the middle. He held a silver brief case in his left hand.
"Colonel Sarai J Johnston and Captain Vadim Ararov," said Lord Marris, with a grin on his face. His well polish black shoes clicking slightly on the ramp. "Just the people I wanted to see."
"My Lord Marris," said Johnston with a bow. "We were just under attack, but I have the situation well under-"
"I have no interest in your failures Colonel. I am here on a mission of my own," he interrupted, waving his hand as if he banished her words. His smile becoming a little more maddening, a little more demonic. "I understand you have a prisoner, a deserter, recovered from the attack."
"W-we do my Lord. How did you know?" asked Johnston.
"I have my sources," he said, the smile vanishing. "He's caused a lot of problems for the empire on this world. Where is he and why did you keep him out of the report?"
"He's in interrogations my Lord," interrupted Ararov. "They're trying the third time on him as we speak. I can take you there."
"Finally, some competence!" replied the Undead Lord, clapping a hand on the bigger man's shoulder. "I was beginning to worry about this place."
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