Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion Review

First there was entrenchment, when we bunkered down in vast starbases. Next came diplomacy, when we attempted to settle our differences with words, alliances, and pathetic paper pacts. Now there is rebellion in the ranks – in the Advent, the TEC, and the Vasari – with loyalists and rebels across all sides. Mighty Titans have made war more direct, more fatal… more fun. I was chosen at random; unproven, unsolicited, and uncertain. At least, so it seems to me. We are guided by The Unity, the cosmic power that informs all life. Yet only we allow it into our lives, to flow through our minds and unite us with one another. It informs every part of our culture and it empowers us, making us stronger than anyone could possibly imagine. There are those who would ignore its lustrous call, though they too will one day know the grace of the Unity. They will be subject to our creed; unwilling if need be, as I too have been thrust reluctantly into the role of leader. I have held the command for skirmishes in the past, but never for anything of this magnitude.

Explore. Expand. Exploit. … Exterminate. With these words in my mind I shall erect a solar empire

Seeds of an Empire

The Advent, mighty in psionic ability and endless in our capacity for vengeance, are not above division. There are those among us who would forgive our enemies of their past atrocities, but the Unity does not forget. I know this, and so I was given a world, and was told to prove myself. Kabraki is far from any other charted planet, a tiny arid dot that I could lose among an infinite backdrop of stars. It is only the start however, and as a mighty tree sprouts from a humble acorn, so too will a vast empire rise from this modest desert planet.

Kabraki is not alone out here. Beyond the gravity well that circles this infant civilization, more planets lie in wait. Bulbous gas giants, raging volcanic rocks, and even asteroids will join the Advent’s celestial web of influence. I don’t expect to see my conquest go unopposed, though. Already, my scouts have come tumbling back to Kabraki, reporting that pirate ships float aimlessly around the mass of ripe planets and unremarkable asteroid belts. No matter. All shall join The Unity eventually, whether it is through right of conquest, occupation, or the subtle dance of diplomacy.

Orbiting my capital world, safely within range of my defences, are my mining operations. The gravity well surrounding Kabraki is thick with metal and crystal deposits, secreted away within dull lumps of rock. I will need them for my empire’s expansion. Meanwhile I receive a steady trickle of credits from the population of Kabraki, happy to be ruled by one true to the principles of The Unity, overjoyed to surrender themselves to our collective mind. Construction on my first capital ship is almost complete, and my frigate factory has supplied me with a modest fleet of Disciple Vessels. They will be an honor guard as I strike out among the stars to colonize, to expand, and to kill.

Chasing Vermin

A web of worlds. A million minds. All of them speak with one voice. Unity

I command them all, flicking my glance from one gravity well to another as effortlessly as I will exact our vengeance. The seed has sprouted and it grows, winding its way up a tree of technology; new weapons, new ships, more crew to pilot an increasingly developing fleet. Concerns of diplomacy and improving the culture of my planets has been suspended for the time being. Now is the time I have been waiting for. Now is the time for war.

The pirates were the first to rouse my ire. They exploded out of space, announcing their intent to pillage and destroy and almost razed Kit-Kunis, an asteroid with a meager population and of little tactical importance. Nevertheless, I felt the insult keenly. Once my fleet had mobilized and met the pirates in combat, I could see that victory would be mine. They were a raiding party, designed to annoy, to distract, and to enrage. And enrage they did. I crossed half a dozen worlds with my swiftest ships until I found their base. It was a trivial rock surrounded by a swarm of craft; vermin, insects, as good as dead.

I began construction of a second fleet in a neighboring gravity well under my control – a volcanic world named Tataria – and soon I had enough ships there to launch a pincer strike. I launched all of my strength from Kit-Kunis, plotting a course straight for the pirate’s base of operations. The fleet was made up of vicious corvettes and weighty Radiance capital ships. In addition, we Advent have a range of support-class ships available to us. I had a dozen of such vessels, to bolster my shields and disrupt my enemy – a jewelled glove over an iron fist. It was a massacre. My main fleet drew the pirate swarm’s fire while a cloud of Acolyte Corvette’s rose out of space from Tataria to take the pirates in their flank. It was a victory. I lost many ships, but what of it?

I will build my army again on top of the debris of this broken flotilla, and the centerpiece will be my faction-specific Titan: The Coronata. Scouts have confirmed the presence of the TEC in this system. They will join the Unity, or follow the pirates to the grave.


Skirting The Sun

The time was to be now. The hour of victory was to be this one. The day was to be mine, I thought. A dozen skirmishes won and lost would be justified with this final assault. With knowledge of the enemy’s capital world I gathered my strength and began my march through the stars. I would rush onward to victory, I thought, and dowse the enemy in plasma.

The TEC ships have thick, unwieldy hulls. The Advent favour shields and quick, inexpensive units. I have sent hundreds to their slaughter, to dive onto a hundred outstretched spears. A hundred carcasses float around this star, itself equidistant from Karbraki and the capital world of the TEC Empire. My titan, the Coronata, was the first to this graveyard of shredded metal and crystal – a gargantuan behemoth, capable of bringing any planet into the Unity immediately, and it was ripped to ribbons in a minute.

Lumbering into the local gravity well, en route to the TEC’s capital world, the Coronata found itself staring down the TEC’s own titan, lying in ambush. Like a gun of galactic proportions, the Ragnarov Titan sat there at a range far greater than my own, sinking gauss into the Coronata. I had leapt blindly into this course of action and now there was no turning back.

Half a minute later my fleets arrived. I split them, away from the forward-firing TEC titan, taking each half to one side of the Ragnarov, where they could avoid fire. Then the TEC brought their fleet toward me in one cobalt wave that almost blotted out the light of the stars. There was nothing to be done. I had lost. For all the emphasis I put on my offense and for all the resources I sank into those ships, it mattered for nought. All of it was undone by a single act of rashness. I had no meaningful infrastructure, and no way of rebuilding what I had lost.

I was impatient. I was foolish. Now it has become apparent that I cannot raise an empire among the stars by throwing hundreds of vessels out like so many toys. I need to learn restraint, subtlety, economy, and even diplomacy if I am to succeed. It takes more than a single-minded warrior to successfully navigate the stars as a leader. I will go back. Empires rise and fall, and the kind of empire I can build here is vast beyond imagination. I will have revenge, and I will taste success.


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Author: Aled Morgan View all posts by
Aled has served with distinction as a UNSC Spartan, become a Pokemon master, and saved the kingdom/world/galaxy more times than he can remember. Mixing a passion for gaming with a passion for writing since he was a child, Aled will play anything and everything he can get his hands on. When he isn’t trawling through virtual worlds or pawing at a keyboard to make words happen, he plays Ultimate Frisbee.

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