William: "Some heroes are inspired by the mission, not the recognition. What about you? Consider a career with the Imperial Intelligence Agency. Be the first line of defense for the Galactic Imperium. Be your absolute best."
January 14, 2098
Getting to go to the canteen during his lunch break was what got Orgus Myfel through the first part of his exhausting work day. Like many others on Rerador, he was a miner, working long hours to extract minerals in the mining facility next door.
Orgus fixed his eyes on a holovision screen at the bar and watched the Galactic Imperium run one of its many propaganda clips. He let his mind wander as he pictured what his life could be like if he worked for the IIA. He imagined being a spy, sneaking into some compound and single handedly taking out an entire cadre of Aurelians. Perhaps afterwards there'd be a girl waiting to give him a kiss. William Nantucket, the best spy in the Imperium, would be there too, to personally thank him for his work.
His wild daydreams were interrupted and he was snapped back into reality when his friend, Sereck Tokan, plopped down onto the stool next to him, spilling some of the beer from his bottle onto the counter.
Sereck looked at what was captivating Orgus so much.
Sereck: "William Nantucket, huh? What a tosser."
Orgus: "You think so?"
Sereck: "I met him once, you know. At one of Governor Lusso's charity events. He got completely plastered and started hitting on Lusso's wife!" he said chuckling.
Orgus: "You were at a charity event?"
Sereck: "As food prep."
Orgus: "Oh yeah, I forgot you did that."
Sereck: "I gotta do stuff like that on the side cause bein' a miner just doesn't pay all the bills."
Orgus: "Tell me about it. And all these taxes Qoter's been putting on us doesn't help."
Sereck: "It helps Qoter," he spat. His tone had suddenly shifted from excited to angry. "But that reminds me, I gotta tell you what happened last night."
Sereck: "You know Fain Jerra?"
Orgus frowned slightly and a concerned look came over his face. Fain Jerra was once a news writer. He was fired from his job after creating several radical political publishings. After that he started voicing his views to public crowds and gathered a decent amount of supporters. It was rumored Fain was behind several minor upheavals across Rerador. He was nothing but trouble.
Orgus: "Yeah..." he said suspiciously wondering what his friend was getting at.
Sereck: "Well last night I met him and his Libertarians. We went to the loading docks."
Orgus: "Scrim, Sereck! Tell me you didn't do anything stupid!"
Sereck: "They were stopping supply ships again, keeping them from unloading their cargo. I helped."
Orgus: "Are you trying to get arrested?!" he asked, genuinely worried for his friend.
Sereck: "Fain's right, there needs to be change. We have rights. Qoter can't treat us like this just because we're a colony."
Before Orgus could reply, the sound from a loud buzzer filled the canteen. Everyone inside started getting up and headed for the exit. Sereck sighed.
Sereck: "Time to get back to it."
Orgus decided they would continue their talk later. They both got up and returned to the mine.
The two of them stood next to each other in the mine tunnel, picking away at the rock to find valuable ores. Orgus moved his gloved hand over his forehead, wiping away the sweat. This was his life. Every day he was here, cracking open rocks hoping to find some minerals. There was no end in sight. What was even the point?
Orgus: "I'm sick of this. Slogging away down here every single day. We're not even getting paid close to what we deserve."
Sereck: "There's a way out."
Orgus: "What, join Fain's Libertarians? They're borderline terrorists."
Sereck: "I think they have a chance. And it'd be doing something instead of just complaining."
Suddenly another miner stormed into the tunnel, his face was twisted with rage.
Miner 1: "They did it! Qoter's senate passed the Mining Act!
When they heard this, several other miners began yelling angrily and throwing their tools down. Sereck joined them in thrusting his pickaxe to the ground.
Sereck: "I don't believe this," he muttered.
Miner 2: "Great! Now they're taxing all our tools!"
Miner 3: "Those cranks! They wouldn't have even won the war without us miners!"
Hearing all of the commotion, the supervisor came to see what was going on.
Supervisor: "What's going on here?!"
Miner 1: "Didn't you hear, Yuro?" The first miner spoke to the supervisor. "They passed the Mining Act!"
The clamor rose again and Yuro tried to get everyone under control.
Yuro: "Quiet! Quiet! I know you're all upset and think this doesn't seem fair. But we all have jobs to do, alright? Have faith in the system... I'm sure it'll work out."
Miner: "You don't seem sure."
Yuro: "This isn't the place for this. All of you get back to work."
Sereck looked at Orgus and just shook his head. Orgus himself was frustrated although he didn't display it as much as some of the others. The implementation of these taxes was really hurting the citizens of Rerador. Eventually everyone calmed down a bit and returned to their work. However they were significantly less productive.
Finally their workday ended. Orgus and Sereck walked towards their housing complex which was a couple of domes away.
Sereck: "You know what I want, Orgus? I want to move out of our shoddy little housing tower, meet a nice girl and start a family with her. But the way things are looking, I don't think I'll ever be able to afford a life like that."
Orgus: "I know, man. It sucks. They've made everything so expensive nowadays."
After a while of walking, they noticed something in an adjacent dome.
The two moved towards the edge of their dome's glass wall and peered over the fields of lava to the next dome. There was a man standing on some makeshift stage talking to the crowd that had gathered around him.
Sereck: "That's him, that's Fain."
Orgus: "Come on, it's getting late."
Sereck: "No I wanna see what he's talking about. I bet it's about the act. Let's go," he said eagerly walking towards the dome exit.
But Orgus didn't move.
Orgus: "I don't think that's a good idea," he suggested nervously.
Sereck turned around and looked at him.
Sereck: "It's not a big deal. Whatever, I'm gonna go see what he's saying."
Orgus watched his friend leaving and after some hesitation decided to go after him.
Fain Jerra stood confidently on his platform, speaking to his audience with eloquence and with very logical statements. The crowd seemed to admire him and they believed in what he said.
Fain: "I'm sure by now you've all heard that the senate of Qoter has passed the Mining Act. This means all of our tools and technologies used for mining will have an additional tax on them. This is another unfortunate policy that once again hurts us and our mining industry. Because of Qoter's various legislation, our miners have to work in poor conditions for long hours and without reasonable pay. Now I am not a miner but millions of people on Rerador are. And Qoter is hurting their livelihoods. It is unacceptable how Qoter thinks it can treat Rerador's citizens! The senate keeps overtaxing us to repay their war debts. The war would not even have ended were it not for the miners! Constantly we are treated as second class by the people of Qoter. Why? Because we're a colony? My friends, we no longer need to depend on Qoter. We no longer need to listen to their puppet that is Governor Lusso. We can be independent!"
Crowd members: "Out with Lusso, in with Jerra!" some of the people in the audience began chanting.
Fain: "Thank you," he said quieting them. "I encourage all of you to stay strong. Once again we will be at the loading docks tonight. Anyone is welcome to join us. Do not give in to Qoter! Stand strong for Rerador!"
Fain stepped down from his stage as he received a great applause. He began talking with some people individually while most of the rest began to disperse.
Orgus and Sereck had stayed for the whole thing. Sereck began walking towards Fain.
Orgus: "What are you doing he asked?" reluctantly following his friend.
Fain turned around when he saw them approaching.
Sereck: "That was quite a speech."
Fain: "I know you, you were with us last night. What is your name?"
Sereck: "Sereck Tokan. This is my friend, Orgus Myfel."
Orgus sheepishly smiled and nodded.
Fain: "You two are miners?"
Sereck: "Yes, we are. And we believe you're doing the right thing with your movement to improve the industry."
Fain: "Thank you. But improving mining is not my only goal. I believe if we all come together, we can be free from Qoter."
Orgus: "You actually believe we can gain independence?"
Fain: "We need to be united in our efforts. Being a colony of Qoter is simply not an option anymore." after a pause he added "Will you be joining us again tonight? If they want to raise the prices of goods, we'll just refuse to buy them."
Sereck: "I'll be there."
Orgus looked at Sereck perplexed.
Fain: "Good, good, we need all the help we can get. Now you'll have to excuse me," he said walking off.
Orgus grabbed Sereck by the arm.
Orgus: "What are you thinking?"
Sereck: "I have to do this. You should come too."
Orgus: "No way."
Sereck: "This is bigger than us. We can be part of a movement that actually makes a difference."
Orgus: "It's illegal."
Sereck: "It's the right thing to do."
Sereck walked off as well leaving Orgus alone in the middle of the square.
Meanwhile Fain was returning to his home to get some rest before night came.
He poured himself a drink and paced around one of the rooms in his house, deep in thought. His thoughts were then interrupted by a deep mechanical voice.
Fain: "I'm doing exactly what you said to do," he said looking up at the source of the voice. "It's working. More people are joining."
Voice: "Good. Follow my instructions and you will lead Rerador to independence."
Fain: "You know I'm glad I found you, Folium. You really helped me see the way. And don't worry, I'm still working on getting you repaired."
Fain walked past the remains of a Corsair android hooked up to several devices on a table. The name printed on its chest plate read 'Folium of Descartes'.
In the small apartment that he shared with Sereck, Orgus was getting some much needed rest. He was awoken from his respite when he heard noises coming from another room. He jumped out of bed and went to investigate.
Orgus: "You're going?" he asked Sereck who was making his way to the exit.
Orgus: "Is there anything I can say to make you stay?"
Sereck: "No. I need to do this, Orgus. I want a better life. For everyone."
Orgus: "Okay. Well... Good luck."
Sereck smiled slightly and left the apartment.
That night at a loading dock, Fain and his Libertarians had already gathered. Sereck joined them shortly. He noticed that many of them were miners just like him.
They all waited for the incoming supply ship. Once it arrived, the party would not allow them to unload their crates of goods. Hopefully acts of defiance like this would one day make a difference.
Fain: "Here it comes," he said spotting the ship beginning to approach an entryway in the dome. "Not a single crate comes off."
The craft landed and its boarding ramp came down. One of the ship's crewman stepped out and faced the Libertarians.
Crewman: "All of you need to move out of the way."
Fain: "I suggest you return to your ship and go back the way you came."
The crewman sighed and his frustration was clearly growing.
Crewman: "Our orders are to deliver these supplies. Can't go back until we're done."
Fain: "That's not going to happen. We're not accepting Qoter's overtaxed supplies."
Crewman: "Alright, I'm sick of this, bring out the crates!" yelled the crewman to another inside of the ship.
As they began to unload the crates of mining and other supplies, some of the Libertarians took out guns they had concealed in their garbs. The crew of the supply ship took on looks of shock and fear. Sereck watched as guns were pointed at the crewmen. He was beginning to have doubts about what was going on. He didn't want things to get violent. They couldn't hurt the ship's crew who were only doing their jobs.
Crewman: "What are you doing?" he said suddenly fearing for his life which was now in the hands of this unpredictable group.
Fain: "I insist you go back."
Crewman: "We... We are just doing our jobs! Please, you can't hurt us!"
The crewmen recoiled in horror but soon realized none of them had been hurt. The supply crates, however, had been riddled with bullets.
Fain said nothing, only silently stared down the crewman for several moments.
Crewman: "Let's go!" he finally said to the others.
They all quickly returned inside their ship and left Rerador.
Fain turned around to face the others.
Fain: "Good work everyone. That's all for tonight."
The Libertarians began leaving the loading dock but Sereck stayed behind.
Fain: "What did you think, friend?"
Sereck: "I thought you were going to kill them."
Fain: "They were innocent. We would not harm them."
Sereck: "What exactly does this accomplish, Fain?"
Fain: "Displays like these will show Qoter that we are unhappy with their legislation. It will lead to change."
Sereck: "I've heard of other colonial planets making movements to gain their independence. It usually starts with a war."
Fain: "To be free, a war may be unavoidable. If it comes to that, we are prepared to fight."
Fain paused as he saw Sereck thinking.
Fain: "And you're most welcome to join us."
In a government building on Qoter, a very high ranking member of the Galactic Imperium sat in his office. The Trade Minister was fully aware of the situation on Rerador and was contemplating what action he should take or if he should take one at all.
His thoughts were interrupted by a buzzing on his desk. He pressed the button to activate the intercom.
Assistant: "Sir, there is a Commander here to see you," spoke a male assistant.
Trade Minister: "Send him in," he said in a very mild mannered voice.
When the Commander entered his office, the Trade Minister stood up and walked towards him.
Takeshi: "Greetings, I am Trade Minister Takeshi Nakamura."
James: "Commander Jaines Elun of the 467th Lileven Battalion."
Takeshi: "I must say I was not expecting you, Commander. Is there something I can help you with?"
Elun: "You must be aware of the small... Group on Rerador led by Fain Jerra?"
Elun: "They're not Aurelians, they're not against the Imperium, they're against Qoter's government specifically. Which governs them as well due to their status as a colony."
Takeshi: "I am aware of Jerra and his group. What is your point, exactly, Commander?
Elun: "Then you must also be aware of their recent attack on another one of our supply ships. As the Trade Minister, it is your responsibility to make sure all trade operations are going smoothly. What are you doing in terms of increasing security?"
Takeshi: "I have yet to make any decisions."
Elun: "Well I'm not trying to tell you how to do your job here, Mr. Nakamura, but you need to do something. The Libertarians, or whatever they're calling themselves, can't be allowed to persist."
Takeshi: "Many citizens of Rerador, especially miners, are upset with how Qoter is managing the colony. This resistance is not surprising."
Elun: "Surprising or not, it doesn't matter. I've been cleared by Governor Boan and Governor Lusso to move my men into Rerador."
Takeshi: "You mean to occupy the planet?"
Elun: "It'll make them think twice about biting the hand that feeds."
Takeshi: "It may even increase resistance. We are already fighting one war, we do not need another, especially one with our allies."
Elun: "There will be no war. Those miners couldn't possibly fight the Lileven military."
Takeshi: "Are you asking for my permission to mobilize?"
Elun: "That's exactly what I'm asking. As I said, the Governors have already signed off."
Takeshi: "If you think this is the best course of action... It is not my place to try to stop you."
Elun: "Thank you, Mr. Nakamura. I appreciate your support."
Takeshi: "You do not have my support, Commander. But as I said, it is not my place to stop you."
The Commander hesitated but he now had all the approval he needed to go into Rerador. He left the Trade Minister's office to begin preparations.
Alone again, Takeshi looked down and stared at the designs on the polished top of his desk. These were difficult times they were living in. The system was divided and each day, the divide only grew bigger. He often wondered if the Imperium was the right side to be on. He once held so much faith in it but now, he couldn't keep turning a blind eye to their less than moral practices.
Shortly after on Rerador, several troop transports began arriving. Multiple squadrons of Lileven's elite troopers dropped down. These were highly skilled men and women much like Knightborn's Shock Troopers. They began scattering throughout Rerador's populated areas. Their presence was intended to keep the peace and prevent anyone, especially the Libertarians, from doing anything problematic.
Immediately the soldiers received suspicious looks from the citizens. They did not like that they were being watched so closely.
Libertarian Base of Operations
In their base, Fain and his followers planned their next move. Another Libertarian then entered and went to speak with Fain.
Libertarian: "They've done it, Fain. Just like you predicted, they sent their troops."
Fain thought for a moment. The planet was being occupied. This was what he needed and what he was told would happen. Every minor act of defiance he had committed had led up to this. What would happen today would decide the future of his insurgency.
Fain: "Then we know what to do. Everybody, grab your rifles, we're going."
Fain led his men through the streets of Imola. He carried a fierce and determined look on his face as he confidently marched to their destination.
Sereck and Orgus who happened to be nearby saw the group. Sereck immediately ran after them.
Orgus: "Sereck!" he yelled following closely behind.
Sereck and Orgus matched their pace and began walking with them to where they were going.
Sereck: "What's happening, Fain? There's soldiers everywhere. Where are you going?"
Fain: "Out of the way, the both of you. You don't want to be where we're going."
Sereck: "And where's that?"
Fain ignored the question and continued walking. Orgus and Sereck ignored his instruction and continued to follow.
All of them came to a stop in a local market. The whole area was full of Lileven soldiers who quickly began to noticed the armed group. Several of them began walking over when they saw who was leading them.
Soldier 1: "Fain Jerra. You're under arrest for sedition."
As the soldier began moving forward, the Libertarians raised their guns. The other soldiers followed suit. Sereck and Orgus were frozen with shock at the escalating situation.
Orgus: "We need to get out of here," he whispered to his friend.
But Sereck could not move or reply. He wanted to see what would happen.
Fain: "You get off this planet," Fain said through clenched teeth.
Soldier 2: "Put those down. Come peacefully."
Fain: "Get. Off. This. Planet."
Soldier 3: "Put the damn guns down, you're all under arrest!"
Libertarian: "You put 'em down!"
Soldier 1: "We are ordering you. Lower your weapons or we will open fire!"
The situation was intensifying with each second. For Sereck, time was moving in slow motion. All sound was muffled and he couldn't register Orgus pulling on his arm and pleading for them to get away. He could only faintly make out the arguing between the soldiers and the Libertarians.
And then everything went black...
Elsewhere on Rerador, in a camp set up by the Lileven soldiers, Commander Elun was busy with some work. A lieutenant then rushed into his quarters with some urgent developments.
Lieutenant: "Sir..." he said nervously.
Elun: "What is it?" he asked turning to face his lieutenant.
Lieutenant: "Something happened at a market in Imola today. One of our soldiers... Killed a civilian. Then the Libertarians wiped out the whole squad. It was a massacre..."
Elun: "Who was the civilian?"
Lieutenant: "Some miner. Things got heated and he got hit."
Elun: "We killed a miner. On a planet full of miners. Can you imagine the outrage this will cause?"
Lieutenant: "What are we going to do?"
Things had been set in motion now. There was no stopping what would happen next and the Commander knew this.
And season 2 has begun! I think the picture quality could've been better if I had better lighting but I didn't really want to keep delaying the premiere... This episode is a little different since it doesn't have any of my main characters in it. There were several ways I could've approached this storyline but I settled on having a miners' perspective for it. Also the title is a reference to the David Bowie song...
Late comments for the win! Sorry for not replying mate, but I would still like to say that I loved this episode! Great work expanding on Rerador and Lileven, and the story-writing and sets throughout were very well done. Loved it all mate, and I'm looking forward to season 2!
I like it
February 14, 2018
Great premier! Seeing things from the miners perspective is a great change of pace! Awesome writing as always. ~G~