Chapter I: Insurrection

Chapter I: Insurrection

A Chapter by Maksim T. Siggurd

Excerpt. Follow the men and women of the 5th Volstra Fusilier Division as they embark on a mission which will test their wit, courage, and moral compass.



Chapter One



The warm, dry air blew across Ethan’s face as he peered out the window of the assault vehicle rolling across the terrain. He let his rifle lay across his lap over his right thigh as he held on to the interior roll-cage with his left hand. The vehicle, the Recon Armored Assault Vehicle, more commonly referred to as the RAAV, bounced over the rocky ground as it raced toward the village.


The RAAV was a rugged, all-terrain infantry vehicle which seated four occupants; a driver and three passengers with some models having a top-mounted machinegun turret for additional fire support. It was outfitted with four large tires which were capable of propelling the vehicle over multiple types of earth. The body of the RAAV was reinforced with Urashin, an expensive alloy that was used in hull-armor in Republic fleet vessels. The assault vehicle they were in today was an older model that lacked the top-mounted fire support turret, as most of the newer models had been shipped to theatres where direct conflict was occurring.


He looked out his window at the rear-facing mirror, noticing and appreciating the battle scars that adorned his face. Although he was your average grunt �" six feet tall, 190 pounds, and a signature shaven head �" he had the heart of a battle-hardened soldier. He had a scar that ran across the right side of his jaw toward his ear; a souvenir from his time spent in the Mubassa System and a lifelong reminder of what a power-armored fist can do to a face.


“We’re coming into range of the village, stay sharp,” Ethan shouted. He moved his left hand off the roll-cage and onto his rifle in preparation.


“I’ve got foot-mobiles at two o’clock,” a deep, bellowing voice shouted above the roar of the engine. Behind him was his friend and fellow Fusilier, Maksim Siggurd. Maksim was commonly referred to as a “brute”, standing six and a half feet tall and weighing more than 275 pounds of muscle with a shaved head; his stature alone was enough to intimidate even the most veteran soldiers of the sector.


Maksim was your stereotypical meathead; he enjoyed lifting, fighting, gambling, and of course, drinking. Ethan and Maksim had known each other since primary school, growing up together on their home world of Volstra. Their fathers had served together in the Volstra Fusilier Division and now they, too, served together. Maksim bore the scars of many courageous actions in battle, and many stupid fights in the bars. Beginning at the top of his forehead and running down diagonally over his nose to his jaw was a scar from a Confederate bayonet; as luck would have it his thick skull had saved his life.


His left arm from the elbow down was now a cybernetic prosthetic, his real arm blown off by a grenade blast during the Mubassa Campaign. Despite these, and many more wounds, Maksim never allowed himself to be taken out of the fight for very long. As his boot-camp instructors would note in his file, he was a born warrior.


As the RAAV leapt over mound after mound of dirt, Ethan kept his eyes open for potential targets; every person moving about the area could be a potential attacker. If there was anything his rather short time in the armed forces had taught him, it was to expect the unexpected.


He had been stationed at Forward Operating Base Indigo on the planet of Araejo for the past three weeks and until this morning those three weeks had been nothing but boredom and routine patrols under the punishing sun. FOB Zulu had been established on Araejo for the purpose of providing assistance in keeping rioting and uprising under control. According to the briefing he received when the 5th Volstra Fusilier Division landed, the planet had been suffering from a drought and famine over the past few months. The frustration and starvation of the Araejo people led to rioting amongst the civilians, so much so that the colonial militia was unable to keep them from overwhelming food distribution centers as the rebels organized themselves into an insurgent force.


The only thing they knew about the situation they were barreling toward was that a Republic infantry squad had come under attack from rebels attempting to capture the food center outside of the capital. Ethan reflected on the irony of the situation, as Araejo had once been one of the major food manufacturers and distributors to the sector and now they struggled to feed its own people.


Ethan reached over to the dash panel of his RAAV and picked up the communicator from the radio system and glanced down at the cheat-sheet of radio call-signs attached to the forearm of his armor, “One-Alpha-Six to Raven-Actual.”


“This is Raven-Actual,” the voice of the squad leader in the village responded. Ethan could sense the stress in his voice as gunfire exchanged in the background of the transmission. Whatever was going on out there wasn’t good.


“We’re entering the village on the south end, give me a Sit-Rep,” Ethan asked, referring to a situational report. He pressed a button on the dashboard computer which brought up a map of the village and a beacon on the position of the squad.


“We’re being engaged by small arms fire on the north end of the site. They have snipers on the rooftops in the west flank overlooking the road you’re coming up,” the squad leader responded.


“Hard copy,” Ethan replied. He tossed the communicator onto the dashboard and pulled his rifle from his lap, propping it up on top of the open window. “We’re weapons-free!”


The clinking of bullets against the armored hull began ringing inside the RAAV. He pressed his index finger hard against the receiver of his rifle before moving it down to the trigger; it was a ritual that he did with little to no thought. He looked out his window and observed a figure pop up from the top of a roof holding a rifle. Before the rebel had the chance to fire off his pot-shots, Ethan slammed his finger down on the trigger and released a volley at the target. He watched as a burst of crimson exploded from his chest, causing the target to flail and fire a few shots into the air before falling off the roof.


“Contact right!”


He was startled by an explosion ahead of their vehicle which sent a plume of rock and dirt into the air. He trained his rifle from the rooftop down to the street and began scanning for targets. As he scoured the ground-level for enemies, the mirror he had been glancing back into suddenly exploded in front of his face; he quickly jumped up in his seat from the realization that the round could have very easily struck him in the face.


As they passed an alleyway corridor, he observed the flames from the muzzle of a rebel rifle firing toward their vehicle. He moved his rifle over to the target and expended the remainder of his magazine down the corridor; the burst of blood out of the figures chest provided a visual confirmation the target was down.


Ethan dropped the empty magazine out of his gun and onto the floorboard. He reached down into his ammunition pouch to draw another one and quickly slapped it into the rifle. With his left hand he dropped the bolt back into battery and secured his ammunition pouch. Had he not trained himself in creating this muscle memory, the seemingly simple task of reloading under fire could have seemed monumental.


“Check right! Check right!” Maksim shouted over the deafening sound of his rifle on full-auto.


Ethan looked out the windshield and down the road ahead; he could see the infantry come into view as they neared the distribution site. They were crouched down behind sandbags and taking cover behind the food trucks. He looked to his left just as a white streak of smoke spiraled toward them. With a violent detonation, a rocket exploded right next to the left front wheel of the RAAV.


“S**t!” was all that Ethan could shout before the rocket struck and flipped their vehicle.


For that split-second, time seemed to move in slow motion. As the vehicle overturned and began barrel-rolling through the air, blood from the driver splattered onto his face; he could see a massive wound across the soldier’s neck which had no doubt been caused by the rocket shrapnel. Glass fragments and spent casings floated throughout the interior as if there was no longer any gravity. He gritted his teeth and clenched his eyes shut as the RAAV crashed into the earth, causing him to collide with the roof which had now become the floor. Disoriented, he slowly opened his eyes; the blood from his driver trickled down his face, wires dangled from the equipment and sparked with what little power they had left, and a throbbing feeling overtook him. The concussion of the rocket caused his hearing to make everything sound muffled.


“Maks,” he murmured. Everything from his left eye appeared blurry and watery and the intense pain pulsated throughout his body. “Maks, can you hear me?”


He mustered the energy to look into the rear of the RAAV; he didn’t see Maksim anywhere. The rear passenger, a soldier whose name he never had time to get, had his head crushed between a piece of the collapsed hull and the roof of the vehicle. Ethan could hear what sounded like muffled gunfire outside of his RAAV, and it sounded close. The passenger door of the vehicle flew open and he felt a hand grab the collar of his suit; he looked over the top of his head and saw Maksim pulling him free of the wreckage.


“Keep your f****n’ head down,” Maksim shouted as he knelt down and fired his rifle at advancing rebel insurgents. Spent casings fell down onto Ethan as he desperately fought to regain his composure. He extended his right arm into the RAAV and pulled his rifle out; he wasn’t going to go out laying on the ground waiting for his number.


“I…I can’t see out of my left eye,” he said while wincing in pain. Maksim looked down at him with an expression that told more than any words could. Although he couldn’t see what his face looked like, it was obvious that it was mutilated.


“You’re going to be fine brother, but we have to move,” Maksim shouted to him while grabbing his suit collar once again. He began dragging Ethan across the road which had been littered with debris.


Ethan looked up over his chest and saw targets closing in on them from down the street. He lifted his rifle up and squeezed his hand, firing his rifle toward the insurgents to help provide cover for their retreat. The whizzing of bullets zipping by overhead provided a slight bit of relief that he was regaining his hearing.


Maksim pulled Ethan behind the wall and dropped down onto his butt. With his left hand he reached up to the radio module on the chest plate of his armor. He clicked it over to the general frequency, “One-Alpha-Six to Command, we need immediate CASEVAC,” Maksim shouted while scanning the streets for enemies.


“One-Alpha-Six be advised, additional support is already en route to your position. ETA is two minutes,” the technician replied.


“Raven-Actual to Command,” Ethan could hear the desperation of the squad ahead, “we’re falling back! Position has been compromised; I say again, position has been compromised.”


Ethan winced in pain as he put his left arm behind him and pushed himself up, shuffling himself back against the wall. He dropped the spent magazine out of his rifle and loaded a fresh one. He looked across the road at the pile of smoldering wreckage which had moments before been his RAAV. He let out a long sigh and tilted his head back against the wall, reflecting on how close he came to being blown apart.


“I can’t see s**t,” he said while popping his chinstrap loose and dropping his helmet off his head, “how bad is it?”


“Well,” Maksim paused and looked over at him with a smirk, “it’s going to take a couple more drinks than usual to get those dames to leave the bar with you, that’s for sure!”


Ethan chuckled while gritting his teeth at the pain laughing caused him, “I’ve never been a looker.”


As the pair sat in cover against the wall, the resonant sounds of gunfire began to close in on their position; the situation looked bleak. He heard the echoing voices of his fellow soldiers from down the corridor, approaching their position. He glanced over to his left to see the retreating squad of soldiers moving toward them, backpedaling and firing their rifles to cover their retreat. The squad of soldiers joined Ethan and Maksim, taking a defensive position and scanning the corridors.


Ethan reached up toward his chest and pulled a fragmentation grenade free of its pouch. He pulled the pin out with his teeth and spit it out onto the ground, smirking at the others. With a light release, he allowed the spoon to pop free before tossing the grenade out into the street. The explosion sent debris flying toward them and he could hear screaming out on the street.


“Contact left,” Maksim shouted while rising to his feet and firing his rifle down the street. “Tango down! Two foot-mobiles, two o’clock!”


The squad of soldiers fired at the seemingly endless waves of insurgent troops who were trying to overrun their position. Ethan peered down his sights, releasing controlled volleys of fire down the street and into his targets. He watched as one of the soldiers was struck in the forehead with a round. A long, crimson stream of blood burst out the back of his head as his body crumpled to the pavement like a ragdoll.


Behind him he heard the sound of something that he couldn’t quite place, almost like a metallic clinking. Turning around, he watched a fragmentation grenade rolling across the rubble toward them; it was a gray ball of death bouncing toward them.


“Take cover!”


The grenade exploded as predicted; in an awe-inspiring display of flames and concussive power. He fell back onto his side as the debris and dust enveloped him; the dust cloud was stifling and barely allowed him to breath. Insurgent gunfire erupted, piercing the dust cloud and striking multiple soldiers. Ethan began returning fire in a frantic and sporadic gunfire toward where he was only guessing the enemy was. A sudden, intense pain overtook his left thigh and he knew that he had been shot. He gripped his leg and shouted while lifting his rifle and firing off the remainder of his magazine.


The round lodged in his thigh broke his pain tolerance threshold; he rolled onto his back, dropped his rifle into the dirt, and began screaming in agony. He tipped his head back and watched as Maksim fell to one knee, his right calf bursting open from an insurgent bullet. To his left the squad leader was shouting and firing off his rifle before being silenced by a volley of gunfire.


“This is it.” He thought to himself aloud.


A quiet overtook the chaos; he could hear the moaning of his fellow soldiers and the chattering of insurgents as they walked into the alley. He watched as one walked toward him, his rifle in hand with an intense look in his face; he could tell that he had every intention on finishing Ethan off. The insurgent stood over him, looking down at him and aiming his rifle muzzle at his face.


As Ethan began slipping into unconsciousness from the mixture of pain and loss of blood, he looked up one last time at the insurgent. With his last, blurry image, the chest of the insurgent soldier burst open in a violent hail of gunfire…


“Quinn, wake your a*s up,” Maksim said as he sat up from his bed.


“Oh man,” Ethan replied while he rubbed his eyes, “I had that dream again.”


“Are you for real? It’s been three months since that,” Maksim exclaimed while standing up and stretching his arms over his head. He yawned and started to scratch his lower back with his left as he walked toward the kitchen. “If I knew you’d be this bad, I’d never have pulled your a*s out of that truck,” he said while laughing.


“Yeah, well, you don’t see the scars from it every time you look in the mirror,” Ethan replied, laughing off his comments.


Ethan swung his legs over the bed and placed his feet into his boots. He tightened the laces until he was satisfied they were securing enough and rose to his feet, outstretching his arms to the sides. He walked into the bathroom and turned on the faucet, allowing the water to get as cold as possible and partially fill the basin. He cupped both hands together and submersed them in the water, bending over and splashing the refreshing liquid over his face.


He looked up at himself in the mirror; the face he saw was only a remnant of his former self. From the middle of his forehead, down across his left eye was a jagged scar from the rocket attack; his eyeball had been replaced by a cybernetic prosthetic eye. In addition, the scar he suffered on Mubassa remained, running from the right side of his jaw back toward his ear. He had grown to accept his appearance, as did all soldiers maimed during their terms of service. The scars were reminders of his selfless service to his people; that they may live their lives without the fear of the same fate he and countless others had endured.


He reached over and grabbed a towel, patting his face dry and rolling it into a ball. He looked across the room at the laundry basket as he threw it into the container; at least his new eye had uses that his old didn’t. His replacement �" a Ghassar Industries H64 Cybernetic Eye �" identified targets, judged distances and depths, and had the ability to zoom and create a clearer picture. If it hadn’t been for the unnatural and mechanical look of the prosthetic, he would probably have his other eye replaced as well.


Ethan walked out of the bathroom and into the bunk room where Maksim was now sitting, enjoying a bowl of standard issue mush. He walked across the room and sat down on his cot, reaching underneath to pull out his MAV �" short for Modular Assault Vest �" vest. The MAV was created by Republic Research and Development to be used in conjunction with the FH42 Combat Assault Armor which was standard issue to every infantryman in the armed forces.


The MAV system was a genius design which allowed each soldier to customize their load-out to their own liking. The base system consisted of a front and rear panel as well as a cummerbund which provided additional space for pouches around the side. The only requirements of a Fusilier were to setup his or her MAV so that the communications control module was placed on the front of the chest and that the re-breather supply tank was mounted horizontally on the back behind and across the scapula. It was also commonplace for a Fusilier to attach an assault pack to the back panel, situated just underneath the re-breather supply tank; this allowed the soldier to carry additional gear should they be out in the field for an extended period of time.


Typically, an average Fusilier carried twelve magazines in four pouches; because Ethan was a rifleman he carried a fifth pouch which gave him an additional three magazines. He attached two canteens to his vest, placing them just behind each hipbone.


“Gear-check already? S**t man, we don’t have to report for two hours,” Maksim sputtered through a mouthful of gruel.


“You always were a procrastinator,” Ethan chuckled as he shook his head at Maksim. “Toss that bowl and start getting your s**t together.”


Ethan tossed his MAV to the side and reached back underneath the cot to retrieve his rifle case; it was stowed in a large polymer container that was emblazoned with his name and serial number on it. He pulled it out and set it down on the cot, popping the locks and lifting the lid up.


Inside was a Republic Standard Issue R352 “Harbinger” Assault Rifle; the mainstay implement of war in the Halcron Sector. The R352 was a magazine-fed, recoil operated, bull-pup rifle and was known as the most dependable rifle in the sector. Ethan picked his prized-possession up and inspected it from muzzle to stock, opening the bolt and inspecting it for cleanliness and obstructions. Although he usually preferred to maintain his own rifle, this time he had sent his to the armorer to be worked on in spite of the injury to his eye. After giving it a detailed inspection and satisfying himself it met his standards, he dropped the bolt closed and propped it up against the wall next to his MAV.


“What do you think it’s going to be like?” Ethan asked as he rolled into his cot and placed his hands behind his head.


“Well,” Maksim spoke while chomping on his food, “I imagine it’s going to be ten minutes of boredom until we get in range of their anti-aircraft, and then it’s going to be hell on earth.”


“Yeah, that’s what I was afraid of. I wonder if they have any clue we’re coming for em’?”


“You can’t exactly miss a hundred starships entering your airspace man,” Maksim laughed while standing up and walking to the kitchen to drop his bowl in the sink. “Quit thinking it over, there isn’t really much to get worked up over. We’re the ‘Fighting Fifth’; we drop, stomp, and roll out.”


“First in, first out!” Ethan shouted.


“We’ll be back in time for the holidays. Hey, Ethan?” Maksim asked. Ethan looked over his left shoulder and saw him standing facing him holding up two gray uniform shirts. “Should I wear the gray one or the gray one?”


“I’m thinking the gray one,” Ethan replied while laughing at his friends antics.


“Yeah, me too…brings out my eyes,” Maksim chuckled as he tossed his spare uniform shirt onto his cot.


“Two hours Maks,” Ethan declared while looking up at the ceiling it anticipation. “Two hours.”



© 2011 Maksim T. Siggurd

Author's Note

Maksim T. Siggurd
I think I'm happy enough with this chapter to call it done for now. Reviews and Comments encouraged and welcomed!

My Review

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Featured Review

I liked it. The only suggestion I would give is to ease up on the detailed description of the military hardware and procedures. If it doesn't add to the front story than you should ask yourself whether it ought to be there. During these descriptive paragraphs, you tended to tell and not show. Otherwise, I wanted to read more, and I think that's a big deal.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Your writing was for the most part clear and precise, I saw no major problems with grammar, syntax, spelling, etc. which a lot of people on WC seem to have difficulty with. The one exception was the one part near the end, " MAV " short for Modular Assault Vest " vest" first of all, that's the word "vest" three times because of the acronym, and the subordinate clause in quotations should just be in parentheses. Other than that, very well done. The characters are simplistic right now, but seem like they could have more to offer later on, which is great. However, I really didn't need that much detail on Ethan's load out or gun, I can't imagine any of that precise detail will aid the story later on, and is kind of a chore to read through as-is. I very much look forward to reading subsequent installments. With some revisions, in my humble opinion I'd say this is publishable.

Posted 9 Years Ago

I liked it. The only suggestion I would give is to ease up on the detailed description of the military hardware and procedures. If it doesn't add to the front story than you should ask yourself whether it ought to be there. During these descriptive paragraphs, you tended to tell and not show. Otherwise, I wanted to read more, and I think that's a big deal.

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

It's really good and intense and yeah, I guess you can add more to the ending, but not too much and overall, I like the characters very well so far!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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3 Reviews
Added on August 7, 2011
Last Updated on August 11, 2011
Tags: science fiction, sci fi, scifi, military, military scifi, military science fiction, civil war
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Maksim T. Siggurd
Maksim T. Siggurd

The Frigid Tundra, ND

I am a Military/Science Fiction writer who has spent years working on designing a universe in which to base a series of novels off of. I have been part of project teams who have been tasked with desig.. more..