"Look to the sky!" the soldier's voice echoed throughout the entrenchment, as his brothers and sisters in arms raised their gaze into the orange-hued sky above. A few moments later the crack of atmospheric fighter craft blazing over head shook the ground, before being replaced by the almighty flashes of precision weapons fire from beyond the sky, casting a mighty column of energetic discharge downward through the spiralling clouds above. A moment of calmness followed as the clouds dispersed, the soldiers held their heads down firmly against the walls of the entrenchment, expecting the worst.
The calm gave way to the almighty roar of rapid atmospheric decompression and super-heated air exploding outwards; followed shortly by the rumble of polycrete foundations shattering and falling to the ground in continuous cascade. Twisted metal fragments filled their air, superheated and red, as the foundations of the platform moaned under the stress of orbital weapons fire.
"They are here!" the solider shouted again, this time the fear in his voice was apparent. A well placed fear, for the subjugators of this fragile world had arrived to bring their naïve attempt at freedom back into alignment with the Imperial flag. The subjugators would stop at nothing to crush the uprising under the mighty iron foot of the Aquarian Imperial Planetary Forces' war-machine, supported by the crushing firepower of the Imperial Navy from thousands of kilometres beyond the clouds.
Look to the Sky, as it will the the last thing you will ever see.
The sky itself ruptured open, unleashing a torrent of pulsing flashes of light, arcing downwards with brilliant explosions of green-tinted energy blossoming at their points of impact. Polarytic Discharge Cannons didn't simply annihilate terrain and infrastructure indiscriminately, but also cast upon the ruins they leave behind a salting of lethal radiation; quickly inducing protein deterioration in any living organisms unfortunate enough to survive the initial bombardment. There were no specific targets. No military installations, no strategic objective beyond the complete and total annihilation of an entire City Complex upon this barren moon, orbiting the mighty sector of Corona; in the very heart of the dead husk that once harboured the bastions of peace, equality and prosperity, millennia before. Now given way unto totalitarian authoritarianism under the flag the Aquarian Empire, after all, they cannot be trusted with their freedom.
One cannot help but question whether the self-proclaimed freedom fighters of Corsis II ever truly believed they would break free from the iron grip of the Imperial States. One cannot help but question the foresight of the world's government; after repeated warnings from the ATIS Council that failure to submit to compliance to the Imperial Flag would have the direst consequences for the world and her people. Perhaps, they did not truly believe the extent of the lengths the Flag would go to, to crush their freedom.
"Freedom is dangerous." - High Council Chairman, Ragnahr Terrict, ATIS Council
And so the world would fall, crumbling city blocks turned mass graveyards, souls, most of which, had no hand in their own destiny. The self-proclaimed resistance evaporated in hours under orbital bombardment from the Aquarian Imperial Navy's Core Sector Fleet 3rd 'Lightning' Division. By the time the sound of marching boots filled the ruined streets, there was barely anything left alive. Men, women and children, slaughtered indiscriminately by deliberate collateral damage, bodies strewn throughout the streets; many so horrifically disfigured by Polarytic Decay that they were simply unrecognisable clumps of ionised proteins. Despite the extent of the bombardment, Corsis II's capital city would be brought back into alignment within a few short cycles; Imperial Polarytic Discharge weapons were specifically optimised for extremely short and volatile half-lives before dispersing into harmless background radiation; their macabre work already done.
There were survivors. Civilians climbing from the wreckages of twisted buildings, many seriously injured, some died protecting their families, but many were pulled from the ruins by the Imperial Soldiers patrolling the streets. Spotlights from low-flying gunships overhead picking them out as they struggled through the debris. Some believed they were to be rescued, others begged and pleaded for their lives; knowing their fate was already decided. Regardless, all were subjugated as appropriate by the Imperial Flag; seditious citizens faced the highest form of State Punishment available.
In the outskirts of the Capital, many of the city complexes were spared direct impacts from the orbital bombardment. Within these districts, resistance fighters clutched their weapons and dug in, prepared for the worst, many knowing it was a one-way ticket to the gates of hell.
Two regiments of orbital-drop troops from the Imperial Planetary Forces' 9th Core Sector Army touched down in their mighty Heron-class Landing craft; harbingers of Imperial Justice, as they disembarked upon motorised armoured units and swept through the industrial and production districts on the outskirts of the capital, supported by the 9th Army's Atmospheric Airborne unit. Half a local cycle passed before the sector operation's strategic commander, Sector General Kal Venriuolh, was informed that all primary objectives had been met by all divisions, with no losses.
General Venriuolh would report to the Imperial Council on Lorentis the following day, that the uprising on Corsis II had been suppressed with total subjugation of the seditious population. Venriuolh Would be known as the "Butcher of Corsis" by EFPF sleeper cells throughout Aquarius for years to come.
A lone sarcophagus drifts in the outskirts of Corsis II, within which the remains of an unnamed victim of the Imperial assault on the world's capital city is encapsulated.
Recovered by the EPF frigate Monument, operating covertly in the system. It was Ronin Kociero who directed the funeral service, the Old Man had removed his traditional Old Federal Navy captain's hat, placing it aside, one hand on the coffin; the Old Man had spoke no words.
He simply watched as the sarcophagus drifted from the Monument's Cargo bay and into the darkness of the great abyss of space. No time to mourn, Old Man. No time.
Just a subtle nod to another of the countless victims of the Imperial Flag, and yet more human blood on the hands of the Red Sector. The Old Man didn't know how long it would be before vengeance was served. He didn't know if it was even achievable, but he did know he would not rest until it was made so. He couldn't. They had lost too much.