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The Red Star Rising - S1A4E1

Updated: Jan 11


The Rise of the Red Star - a quiet moon floating among speck-like asteroids

It had been two months since the last transmission reached SRM Kuiper Station Zulu from the starship Merciful Order. The vessel had been sent on a routine compliance enforcement mission in response to reports that a mercurial group based somewhere beyond the Belt had failed to submit itself to governing faction authority. In response, the Supreme Republic of Man dispatched the corvette, Righteous Justice, to determine the fate of the lost ship, rescue her crew, and complete her mission if necessary.

In the corvette’s cramped commissary, Corporal Reyes felt uneasy. “I don’t like it. It’s not like compliance crews to miss reporting deadlines,” he thought aloud. “If there’s one thing those damned pen-pushers are anal about, it’s schedules.”

Tech Sergeant Keyser put a hand on his shoulder, startling the Corporal so badly he nearly leapt from his seat. “Brilliant observation Reyes, real profound,” she said, letting out a laugh. “With insights like that, it’s a wonder command doesn’t recommend you for an intelligence posting.”

Reyes stood up to face her. “Shut up, Sarge,” he shot back playfully. “Jeez, give a girl another bar on her arm and next thing you know she’s so high and mighty that she’s totally forgotten about that incident in basic.” He leveled a smirk as Keyser turned bright red. She was about to respond when a cool voice came over the ship’s loudspeaker.

“General Quarters. General Quarters. Boarding parties to your stations. We have located Merciful Order.”

 

Several million miles away, a stern, sharp dressed man in a military uniform paces in his plush red office. A menagerie of medals dangle from his chest, clanging as he walks. His boots click softly each time he turns. He pauses for a moment, long enough to nod to a similarly uniformed man in front of a typewriter at a large, solid wooden desk. As he begins to speak, the typewriter clacks in answer:

A Memorandum to President Nerress Hullix of the Supreme Republic of Man

Most Esteemed President Hullix,

I must begin with an apology. It was not my desire that the tragedy of your ships should befall their crews, their families, or your government.


 

Reyes, Keyser, and the rest of their marine squadron waited in the airlock for Righteous Justice to dock with Merciful Order. Through a small viewport, they could see the vessel they’d been sent after growing closer as their ship approached.

“Its lights are off,” said a private, eyeing the darkened ship. “Even the backups.”

Reyes moved to get a better look, confirming what his comrade had said. “Good eye, Jones, they are off. Keyser, any word on the target’s status?”

Keyser spoke into her earpiece, waited a moment, and shook her head. “Comms are dead. Looks like we’re going in blind, deaf, AND dumb on this one.” As she said it, the airlock hallway lurched slightly as it docked with the Order. The air hissed as the pressures normalized, and the hatch door began to open. “Alright boys,” Keyser said. “Time to earn your keep.”

 

Nonetheless, their mission, which you so flippantly sent them on, stood in direct opposition to the will of the workers and people, and so could not endure. You say we must submit ourselves to the caprices of your so-called “governing authorities,” and yet these “governors” would only hinder our glorious Commune’s inevitable march towards progress.


 

As they entered the dark ship’s airlock, the boarding party immediately felt a sense of weightlessness. “Artificial gravity’s off,” Keyser noted. “Switch magnet locks on.” Immediately, each marine’s boots drew them to the floor with a hollow clank. That settled, they began moving corridor to corridor, scouring the vessel for any sign of the crew’s fate. Eerily, however, they met with nothing. Only the occasional hum of the ships auxiliary generator and the amber glow of dim emergency guidelights accompanied their descent into the bowels of Merciful Order.

“What on earth happened here? Where is everyone?” Reyes asked, clearly spooked. Several of his squadmates looked on to answer, but before they could, one called out from ahead.

“Sergeant, we’ve reached the bridge!”


 

Your authorities are slavers, dominators of men, whereas we have harnessed the power of the Artificial Mind and the drone hand of the Machines to create a paradise free from material want. Your authorities are oppressors, guardians of inequality, whereas no member of the Proletariat is without the right to gainful labor and equal membership in the brotherhood of the Supreme Soviet of the Commune. Your authorities are decadent, reveling in sin and vice, whereas the Red Legion maintains the discipline befitting all peoples who dare call themselves civilized. In short, our mighty republic has outgrown the strictures of your feeble, corrupt governing authorities.


 

The marines posted up outside the bulkhead door to the bridge. “It’s unpowered,” Reyes said. “We’ll have to blast it.”

Keyser nodded. “Ready a breaching charge.” The squad sapper came forward with a small round device and fitted it to the door. He pressed a few buttons on a keypad on the charge, and then checked a small handheld detonator against it. After a pause, the lights on both the charge and the detonator flashed green.

“She’s primed, sergeant. Awaiting your orders.”

Keyser motioned for him to stand back. “Alright men, weapons hot. We don’t know what we’ll find in there.” She cocked her rifle’s charging handle. “Blasting on my mark. Three. Two. One. Mark!”


 

Dear President, I mean not to offend the sensibilities of your government, for none here deny the role of the Supreme Republic of Man as the great lawgiver of the stars. Nor do we intend to threaten your government or its impressive martial force. We simply desire our due as a recognized faction, at least as competent to conduct our own affairs as the sneering bourgeois devils your compliance officers would have us submit ourselves to. With your acquiescence to our aspiration to become one among the governing factions, our correspondence hereafter would mirror the character of the eternal friendship we seek to establish.


 

The blast rocked Merciful Order and sent up a cloud of dust as the marines entered the bridge in formation. The ship’s command consoles were dead, the viewports shuttered over with steel blast shields, and the breaching charge had blown out the emergency lamps. The bridge was pitch black and, in the wake of the explosion, totally silent.

Reyes and Keyser activated the flashlights on their rifles. As the dust settled, a lone figure in a suit identical to the marines’ floated limply in the center of the room. “Trooper, identify yourself. Report!” Keyser called.

No response. She motioned to Reyes, who floated towards the figure until he could reach out and grab its shoulder. “About face,” Keyser called. Slowly, Reyes turned the figure around to reveal a horrifying sight.

Through the clear visor of the figure’s helmet, a face frozen in terror screamed in silence. The marine had asphyxiated, and the culprit was obvious: A sickle with its blade embedded in the cracked glass visor hung out from the dead trooper’s helmet.


 

A warning, however, Madame President: to deny our humble request, or to send any more of your fleet to impose your will upon us will be seen as a grave insult. If this be the case, be warned. Our zeal is insatiable, our fury as righteous as it is unstoppable, and our justice will be absolute.


 

Reyes jumped back. “What the hell!” Suddenly, murmuring voices echoed throughout the darkened bridge. The marines raised their lights just in time to see dozens of soldiers clad in brown spacesuits and green helmets leveling rifles towards them. One floated ahead of the others, a red star emblazoned on his helmet alongside the stenciled letters “CCS.” The marines froze.

“Who…?” Reyes began, but he never finished his question.


 

If war is your course, beware, for The Red Wave will envelope all Sol in Revolution, leaving only a crimson banner waving high over the listless corpse of her shattered foes.

-General Secretary of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Commune of Crimson Stars, Aleksandr Melnikov


Sickle -- a new common, one-handed weapon for Starset RPG that offers +2 dice to weapon (melee) and causes two uses against defenders' clothes instead of one.

Red Legionnaire, an Importance 1 NPC for Starset RPG


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