Dom approached the stage with Sola, Minari and Ane as they remained behind the curtain. From where they stopped, they could hear the roar of the crowd as the rebels all waited anxiously for what was to come. It was going to be a minute or two before Ane actually walked out on stage. She felt like she was going to throw up, but with the encouragement of her friends, she forced her fears to the back of her mind.
Going up the steps that led onto the stage, she strolled out and waved. Reaching the middle of the stage, she stopped and continued to wave at all the cheering. It took a few minutes for all the shouting to quiet down. Once it was fairly silent, she began to speak.
Dom stood with Sola and Minari, listening to Ane’s speech. Surprisingly enough, the baking had seriously helped her understand how to express what she wanted to the rebels. Standing there with her, he held her hand, watching that she was starting to motivate and provide them with some sense of hope. Occasionally they would hear a loud cheer from the throng, which made those in the council feel much more at ease that things were going well already. As she continued to talk, it was evident that this was going to be a success—or at least the speech was. Whether they won the battle or not, it was important that they tried.
At hearing the end of her speech, everyone finally erupted in applause as Ane waved as she exited the stage. The four of them celebrated before dispersing off to their quarters to get ready for the battle.
It was a good while till they were all dressed in their armor and ready to head out. Sola had her headset and was completely prepared to run the command center. Dom and Sola embraced before being urged by Minari and Ane to part ways and get to their positions. He followed them out and to the transports they were using to get to their destinations. All throughout the forest people were spreading out, getting to where they were supposed to be stationed. Checking in that the leaders were where they should be, Dom could tell Sola was at her post already.
“How are the urban centers?”
“Ready. It shouldn’t be long before they’ll make their move. The parade will begin in about a half an hour,” Sola said, watching the monitors. Checking his gun, Dom moved in the direction of where he was to remain with the Ewoks. Many of the others were supposed to be in their units that they were fighting in the quadrant of the forest specified by Jon.
“Jon coming online,” he said, hooking up his headset. He was going to reside in the command center with Sola and help with the flow of battle by aiding all of the leaders in strategy.
“Welcome back, Jon. Glad you could make it before the main event took place,” Dom said, grinning.
“We figured you would be lame another week in the hospital wing,” Collin said from his position in one of the urban centers.
“Ha ha, you’re all so funny. No way I would miss this last dance,” Jon said, a smirk on his face. He winked at Sola as he started to watch the maps and take note of all the locations he needed to keep track of. The channel remained quiet for a while as they sat and listened for the final countdown. Every ten minutes Sola would update them all on how long it was until the battle begun. At the instant the parade ended and the GFU and Ritter leaders had at last reached the satellite, the attack would begin. Although the Rebel Alliance was going to be faced with trouble in the rural forest that they had taken as their home, the GFU troopers hard started to prepare to “defend” the city. Across the large open expanse of field that spread between them, they had set up a fort of their own.
“T-minus five minutes,” Sola said, watching how things were starting to work. The parade was almost to the end. At that point, the final piece of the satellite would be put in place and they could begin the barrage. More silence as they all could hear the live feed Sola was sending them over the headsets.
“Urban leaders, at the ready,” Ane said, checking her small screen that showed her the video from an urban hiding very close to the initial site.
“T-minus thirty seconds,” Sola said, getting ready to sound the signal for the rebels to begin the battle. Although they didn’t want to make the first move, it was looking like they were going to have to.
“Fire!” A huge cannonball like object was hurled from the forest rebels and towards the GFU troopers. The object landed and exploded, sending several of them flying. The rebels were going to remain in the forest until the moment was just right when they could reveal their position and rush from the woods and attack at full force.
Dom sprinted through the forest, not requiring a transport like the others. He was rushing with a small team of Ewoks to where they were going to be set up at. Once they reached the small ridge the Ewoks had chosen they would then be attacking from their spot and eliminating the shields and large objects that could possibly cause them a problem. He reached where they had set up some of their items. Looking at Teek and Moose, Dom gave them all a thumbs up. Compared to the other rebel leaders, Dom was the one with the least amount of armor on. Having had them set up several guns in place for their use, he knew that if they had to run, wearing a large amount of equipment would inhibit his ability to flee.
“Alright guys, let’s do this,” Dom said, looking around at the whole group assembled. Some of them were already on their platforms spaced throughout the trees. They were the closest to the enemy and might very well be the first to see any gunfire. Dom heard over his headpiece that Ane had called for the movement in the urban areas to begin. Knowing that now that they were starting their attack, he and the other Ewoks would have a short time before they had to make their move.
Every single one of the Ewoks dispersed and instantly became that much harder to find. Already in the distance they could hear gunfire. Loading his gun, Dom aimed through the trees using his scope. He wanted to get one of the troopers before he even realized what hit him. The birds were deathly silent as the shooting began. All that was left was to wait and remain alert. Just as they could hear the sound of people moving noisily through the woods, Dom saw the troopers and their obvious uniforms. Taking aim, he pulled the trigger, sending a duck straight for them.
It sailed through the trees and smacked into a soldier, exploding in a cloud of feathers. The man was knocked from his feet and instantly no longer a threat. Others had their guns already drawn and glared through the trees, proceeding with caution. Aiming once more, Dom fired and then shot three more times. Each duck took out another trooper. Switching guns, he set up another that was a bit more deadly and definitely had less obvious ammunition. He watched as a large line had come through the forest. They were the most forward so it was expected that they would attack them first. Firing the slugs, he watched through his scope as they instantly made it into their armor and did their job.
* * * * *
Sola nervously watched the surveillance monitor that she made sure was open to where Dom was located. Right now she could easily see him through the forest. Although he was dressed in camouflage to hide him, he told her he would rarely move from his spot on the ridge unless absolutely necessary. From across from her, Jon could tell she was obviously fretting over nothing. At the position Dom and the Ewoks were at, they definitely had a huge advantage. Not to mention they had himself for strategy help.
“Hey, stop freaking out over there,” he said, looking at her.
“I can’t help it! After last time I just… I don’t want to see anything happen to him again,” she said, glancing at her other screens that she needed to keep updated.
“Just pretend he’s paintballing,” Jon said, flicking on the communication to Ane and Minari. “Watch your left flank. Have the fire power concentrated at the center with the heavier guns. Lighter stuff needs to be used to take out the troopers.”
* * * * *
Collin launched his rock from the rooftop he currently resided on. Watching it through the scope on his helmet, he watched as it hit one of the main power stations to the satellite. He signaled for more firepower to be concentrated on that point. Anything else was to make sure they removed the guards. The Ritter leaders and their guards were calling in for more protection. Waving his hand to those on an adjacent roof, he watched as they fired on another point around the satellite, bringing down one of the main power regulators.
A few of the leaders had suddenly fallen either because of injury or some other ailment that had brought them down. Either way, a lot of debris was starting to fall because of the satellite’s more explosive parts.
“Come on! Keep it up!” Collin shouted over his headset. He wanted to make sure everything was handled so that the ground teams could move in and get into the government buildings. Signaling once more, he watched as the next group took their position. Peering through his scope again, he saw several other rockets pierce the power stations before exploding in an array of colored fireworks.
“Take aim at the next station,” Collin said through his mic.
“Take aim at the next station,” Collin said through his mic.
“Snipers take out the guards and turrets,” Jon add, keeping an eye on his camera screens. Glancing to where Sola sat, obviously riveted to the images before her.
“Sola, launch the message. We got a hold of the camera feeds,” Collin said, nodding to his second in command in the urban area. “The broadcast will go out to everyone in the country.” Typing for a moment, the signal went out and several of the unused screens and TVs all over the base flickered to life. It was a message that had previously been prepared by the council.
“You have no idea what they’ve been doing. Your family and friends have all disappeared, yet no one dares question their authority. But can you trust the GFU Ritters party?” Across the screens the video changed from members of the council with their faces hidden in shadows as they spoke to pictures of what horrible things were happening in the secret facilities. Images of torture, brainwashing, beatings and the injured were all shown. “We are here to stop the GFU Ritters and put the rightful government back in power. Join us in usurping them and restoring the monarchy.” With the message continuing to loop on screens all of the country, outside the battles still raged.
* * * * *
Taking aim at the coming forces, Dom stared down the GFU troops. He could hear the chatter from the other leaders over his headset as he watched the Ewoks move about and reset their traps. They were being cautious and becoming smart to their ways of the forest. But they had yet to see all of their tricks and traps. Grinning as he watched them through his scope, he glanced over at Moose, who was getting the catapult locked and loaded. Just as they had gotten a large boulder in the hopper, Dom blinked hearing an odd sound through the trees.
His eyes turned up to the sky, scanning the high blue for what could possibly be the source of the noise. Frowning, he still could not pinpoint what it was. When he was about to look back down, a large flying thing flew low, and dropping something out of its back hatch. It appeared to be weapon capsules, at least that’s what he assumed until his eyes combed across the forest canopy and saw smoke rising in thick black clouds.
“Fire canisters! We have to move fast!” Looking over his shoulder he saw all of the Ewok’s panicking. Although it seemed to be in their area of the forest, Dom knew that the whole forest belonged to the animals. The Ewok village was luckily hidden behind the base, and all of the families were relocated inside the base for just this occasion. But it was the other animals that Dom was worried about. Knowing those fire canisters, they were full of fuel, which once they broke open, would cause the fire to spread faster. Swearing under his breath he looked back at Moose. “Aim for the ships! We have to get them to back away!” Moving as fast as their small limbs would allow, Moose and the others started to aim the catapult in the direction of the airships. Luckily there weren’t too many of them, or else they were really going to be in big trouble.
“All rocket launchers, aim for the large airships above the forest. Take shelter if need be. But we must hold these lines,” Jon said, shaking his head. He had just tuned in to Dom’s camera channel hearing the words “fire canisters.” It took only a few moments before a barrage of rockets were sailing towards the large plane, followed by several rocks from the Ewok catapults.
“Moose! Let’s go! We have to help them down there!” Holding out his hand for the lead Ewok, he started to move towards the edge of their little cliff. It really wasn’t a cliff as it was a large dirt covered hill with steeps sides and rock outcroppings all throughout the middle and top. Feeling the Ewok’s fuzzy hand grasp his, he pulled him onto his back as he started heading down.
“Dom! Don’t go down there! You don’t know how close they are!” Sola’s voice was now coming over his headset. She was watching in absolute horror as he slid his way down the hill.
“I have to Sola. Jon, just keep some of the snipers watching my back. I’ll see if Moose and I can’t somehow direct the animals in some direction. Hopefully near the safety of the base,” he answered, finally reaching the bottom of the dirt and taking off in a sprint for the trees for cover. Even if Dom didn’t hear bullets flying past him, or any sort of gunfire, he knew that the GFU troops were out there. And he wasn’t going to take any chances in wasting his time running around in an open field. Moving through the trees, the forest felt thicker as he went, the smoke from the fires adding to the already dimmed floor. With the canopy so thick, it was making it hard for light to pass through at all. Keeping his guard up, Dom slowed a bit, nodding for Moose to start making some kind of chatter for the other animals in the small area to hear.
From where they were no one was quite sure how far this fire was spread out. But either way, Dom felt it was important to get the animals out as soon as they could. Taking tentative steps through the smoky foliage, he kept his ears tuned to any noises out of the ordinary. Some deer rushed passed them, followed by some smaller animals like bobcats and rabbits. Although some were predators, they weren’t caring about their prey. It was more important to get to safety.
“How far is the fire in each direction?” Dom spoke carefully, hoping someone had a handle on the situation. Maybe there was enough cameras situated throughout the forest that anyone in the base could tell him how long these flames were across. Listening as he made his way between some fallen trees, he shook his head. There was noise from his headset that was for sure, so there had to be someone back there working on giving him the details.
“Looks like it’s up against the far mountains, but I think some of the fire accidentally caught the GFU troops camp on fire. A good portion of them are working on putting it out,” Sola reported, her fingers moving like lightning over the computer keys. Passing through some trees, Dom watched as many animals moved in the opposite direction with Moose’s prodding. Holding onto his back tightly, Moose kept calling out to the forest wildlife.
“Be careful Dom. We’re not sure how spread out GFU is,” Sola said, keeping a close eye on his helmet camera screen.
“I’m headed to the cliffs to make sure the animals are all out. D00m mentioned to me that there might be a wolf pack or something. I wanna go make sure. What is GFU doing?”
“They’re still putting out the fires. And those that can are still locked in battle with us,” Jon answered.
“What are our casualties so far?”
“Not too high. Aldorel is already tending to them. Their sanity isn’t too far gone. And as long as she sees them in the first few hours, their minds can be salvaged… mostly,” Sola said, checking the camera they had set up in the infirmary wing.
“Good. We need to make sure our casualty numbers stay low. Keep me updated on the changes.” All around them the trees were starting to thin and more light was passing down through the canopy. Smoke was still very visible and thick, giving the forest an eerie early morning mist appearance. Seeing that the ground was starting to ascend, Dom followed the tree line until it was merely a few trees and large overgrown bushes. Picking his way up the hillside, he turned as he reached a rock grove to see thick black smoke billowing skywards. He could hear the echoing noises of gunfire and the explosions from the battlefield.
The smoke wasn’t as thick at the cliffs as he thought. And judging by how the wind was blowing, it was going to continue pushing it in the direction of the GFU camp. Moose tapped on his shoulder, gesturing up the rocks to where a wolf was perched above them. Remaining where they stood, Dom nodded and took tentative steps forward as Moose continued to speak. Not backing down, the wolf growled, bearing its teeth at them both. Pausing at where he was, Dom began to back down the hillside, seeing that now the alpha was joined by others.
“Oh, so farked,” Dom whispered, keeping his eyes on the wolves. He had no intention of backing down and turning to high-tail it out of there. That would show a sign of weakness and cause them to give chase. And it probably didn’t help that Moose was like an appetizer on his back. “Well, the wolves are fine,” Dom said; finally back in the tree line.
“Oh good to hear. Now get back to your line. The Ewoks need aid,” Sola said, watching as Dom tripped and rolled down the hill into some bushes. Blinking, she started to laugh.
“Sonnuva—! Moose, you okay?” The Ewok made a noise before his paw formed into the thumbs up sign. Sola could see his paw on the screen. “Okay, let’s go,” Dom said, picking up Moose and starting back through the trees.
* * * * *
Peering around the corner, Collin glanced back and signaled to the others to start moving in. It was uncanny that the streets were so empty. Just a few hours before they were teeming with people watching the parade and celebrating. But now, all that remained was the over-turned crowd control gates, confetti and plenty of strewn paper from earlier. A lot of people had even left behind their camping chairs, blankets and bags in order to get away from the epicenter of the urban battle. Not seeing any sign of people wandering about, they started to more forwards, using a few left behind floats for cover along with buildings that they could hide behind.
“No movement from the GFU base yet. They’re probably waiting for us to get within their sight,” said a voice over Collin’s headset. From where they were currently, it was only ten blocks more to the huge headquarters that the GFU took up.
“Everyone stay alert. We’re going to continue at this pace unless something changes the speed of battle,” Collin answered, nodding to the group he was traveling with as they continued. All of the members of the Rebel Alliance had headsets, as their group needed to be very well connected in order to make immediate commands and requests.
“Take it easy guys. No need to rush right now. Looks like they’re trying to regroup and get as many to the main turrets that we shot out earlier. Rocket launchers, take ‘em out completely,” Jon said, keeping his cameras trained on the satellite at the very center of the GFU headquarters. Listening to the sounds above them, Collin looked up to see the smoke from the rockets speed towards their targets.
“Did we take out any main targets?” Hearing typing coming through his headset, Collin waited for a response from Jon and anyone else that might have an answer.
“Crispy Panini is taken care of. Seems that one of the snipers got him,” Jon answered, his eyes darting to Sola to see how she was doing before returning to his own screens.
“Good, then not too many left. Mephanie Styer, Haurell L. Kamilton, and JK Rofling are left,” Collin said, ducking below a currently parked car. He would have preferred to be at a higher vantage point, but that wasn’t going to happen with the inability to leap across a street in order to reach the next building.
“Don’t take out JK Rofling,” Dom said, his voice suddenly joining in.
“What? Why not?”
“She’s on our side. We’ve been getting all of our inside footage and information from her. We couldn’t get too much from her, but she said she’ll help us as long as we spare her. Take her to one of our safe houses,” he responded.
“You’re sure she’s not going to stab us in the back?” Jon didn’t sound entirely too happy.
“I swear. Remember when Sola and I went out for supplies about two weeks ago? We met up with Rofling, had dinner and discussed plans. That’s how we knew some of the things we did… and got the plans to the satellite,” Dom explained. “Check with Sola. She even signed a contract we wrote up that if she does turn on us, we have the right to take her out.”
“Alright, but if she pulls some kind of crazy stunt, she’s gone,” said one of the snipers, keeping his scope trained on the main doors of the GFU headquarters.
After some careful walking the streets of eeriness, they finally were taking cover approximately two blocks from the large satellite and its surrounding buildings. So far there was no movement outside, or at least from what they could see. They decided to wait for someone from a higher vantage point to inform them of the happenings in the distance. Taking the binoculars off of his bag, Collin carefully zoomed in to where he was able to view what was going on. His eyes widened before he shook his head and took a second look. A huge line had formed across the opening gate, spanning past where he could see due to the buildings in the way. The line was made up of people that were brainwashed. All of them were donned in the same clothes and had the same expression on their face.
“That is a lot of brainwashed people,” Jon said. If they had that many people, this rebel group definitely needed to have their wits about them in order to bring a crushing blow to the GFU troops.
“Jon, you’re preaching to the choir. And suggestions for how we approach from where?”
“Concentrate on using your long-range weapons to take out as many as you can. From there you’ll have to storm the base once you can break through the line. Get in there and take care of business,” Jon said, nodding even if Collin couldn’t see it.
“You heard the man. Long-range, take out as many as possible. Everyone else, move in. We’re going to attack them from the front and from above,” Collin commanded to the fellow leaders in the urban area.
“Yes sir. We’re moving forward,” replied one of them, as the distanced weapons already started a Hail-Mary on the enemy forces. With them being partially distracted, the rebel groups started to rush forwards and attack them head-on. It wasn’t long before the ammunition started flying and people started to drop. Granted, their weapons weren’t normal. Real slugs were flying, along with books and even ramen seasoning packets. There was really no use for real guns—or at least that was the reasoning that the rebels had. They had no intention of killing the brainwashed loved ones. Their objective was to merely clear a path, knock them out and get in to take out the leaders and their machine that controlled the brainwashed beings.
“They look like zombies,” Jon commented, zooming-in with one of the cameras close to the frontlines in the city. “Guess that’s what happens when the clog your brain with all of their information.”
* * * * *
Managing it up the dirt hill where the Ewoks were providing him cover, Dom dove behind a rock with Moose landing next to him with a thump. Panting at having made it up there so quickly, he grabbed a water canteen and downed a good portion of it. Wiping his forehead on his wrist as best he could with his helmet still on, Dom glanced at his buddy before getting up slowly. The other Ewoks were still busily bustling about loading the catapult and using their other forest tricks to take down the GFU troops.
“Where are we now?” Dom called to either Sola or Jon in the central command center. Hopefully one of them could update him on the goings on at the forest front. From hearing Collin, he knew how the urban frontlines were, and it sounded like things were occurring just as they had planned—for the most part. The line was quiet for several moments as Dom moved to the back of the group and continued to drink his water. Tapping his earpiece a few times as he heard static, he finished the bottle and handed it to one of the Ewoks that happened to be standing around.
“Fires seem to be out. They’re moving in again. Looks like you got back just in time,” Sola said, zooming-in several of the cameras to get a better handle on what she could see. With the smoke not fully cleared yet, it took her a few moments to get her bearings, but once she had, she was able to make out the trees and the not too distant camp of the GFU troops.
“We’re running low on ammo over here,” Minari said, not entirely pleased that from her location she was getting reports from several unit leaders of the supplies needed.
“How long can you hold them off?” Jon inquired, watching Minari’s camera feed.
“A few short hours. We’re already not firing as much and using other things,” she explained, obviously not very pleased with her current lack of materials.
“Do you need back up?” Dom was listening intently, pulling out his map as he waited for her to respond.
“Help would be fantastic. If you can spare anyone, then yes. Otherwise hold your own line,” Minari answered. It was getting harder and harder to hear her as static would occasionally break in.
“Alright, we’ll pack up and make sure to lure them to your line. You’re next to us right?”
“…Yeah. Get over her buck-o,” Minari said, before going back to commanding her troops.
* * * * *
Battling through the huge hoard of brainwashed zombie-like people, Collin and his team that were assigned to penetrate the castle were sprinting down the long concrete walkway up towards the main entrance. Bursting through the double doors, they stopped in the large entry hall. Tentatively walking forwards, he glanced to his subordinates and nodded.
“Stay alert. Remember what Dom said, and make sure to take out the mains,” he said quietly.
With ceilings so high it could hold a twenty-foot Christmas tree easily, their boots echoed across the marble floor. It was very peculiar at the thought that somewhere within these monolithic walls were the enemy leaders. Coming to the end of the hall, they came to a crossing of halls. They could either go left, right or continue on straight ahead. So far, no doors stood in their way, so it there was no need to check inside any rooms.
“Anybody got the map memorized?” Not even casting a glance to his fellows, he waited for some kind of answer from either Jon, Sola, or any member of his team. “We are not breaking up. Knowing them, they’re all going to be in one room.”
“It’ll be the most guarded and safest. Judging by the blueprints we got from Rofling, they’re probably in the inner sanctum. Head straight. I’ll guide you as you go,” Sola said, glancing at a map on one of her screens while checking out their camera feed on the other.
“You heard her. Let’s go,” Collin said, signaling his team as they headed forwards and down the hallway. So far they hadn’t seen any security cams that Sola or Jon could hack and gain them access. Now they were just left up to their own fighting expertise and Sola’s guidance. Rushing down the marbled floor at a steady pace, they continued until two large wooden doors shut at the end of the very long corridor.
“It’s not guarded as tightly as we thought,” one of the members whispered, keeping his eyes on the door.
“Proceed with caution. There should be several guards there. And if not, you have to blow the door open and attack with force,” Sola’s eyes scrolled across the map, double checking the notes that Rofling had told them.
“Where is everyone going to be once in there?” Collin wanted no question left unanswered so that all of his team knew exactly what they were going to do next.
“The back and side walls are all computer screens. There’s a table in the center that they all sit around. Styer will be on the far left at the head, Rofling will be on the far right head of the table. Be sure to get anyone in between,” Sola said, examining the names currently scribbled into each little seat around the table.
“It’s all free range beyond that?”
“Your attack is a go,” Jon said, looking to Sola. They both nodded simultaneously and their eyes returned to their screens.
Without even a moment’s hesitation, Collin and his team quietly approached and started to set up the proper explosives to blow open the door. It was bound to be sealed tightly and restrict their ability to just kick it down. After setting up the items, they moved beyond the blast point and waited a moment. Eyeing his team, Collin tipped his head ever so slightly forwards, signaling the explosive to be tripped. Within seconds the doors blasted open, sending smoke and pieces of the door flying in all directions. All of the smoke was now billowing about the hallway and the room beyond the busted doors. Racing forwards, the team quickly stormed the room, and all hell broke loose.Ammunition flew in all directions and the room filled with noise of all kind. A few moments of shooting and all was deathly quiet. As the smoke slowly cleared, several bodies lay across the floor. They weren’t dead, just currently unconscious. It wouldn’t be long before they called in for a clean-up crew to take care of these now ex-dictators and send them to the slammer until they could have a trial for their wrong-doings.