Oshur's End

Disclaimer:I do not own PlanetSide, SOE does.

No one knew how long the war had gone on, and I'm pretty sure that few people knew when it started. No one but a few of the top Terran Republic jarheads know when the wormhole collapsed, which eventually leaked out and lead the dual rebellions from the Vanu Sovereignty, a group of soldiers and scientists obsessed with utilizing and worshipping the alien artifacts on Auraxis; and the New Conglomerate, groups of people up in arms for Freedom and Liberty.

The past three and a half years I've died more times than I care to remember and just as many times I've utilized the re-matrix device and stepped out of a tube alive and healthy, and usually more than a little pissed off. Auraxis has granted Humanity (or what's left of it in my opinion) a good deal of powerful technology, but scientists on all three empires believe there is more to discover.

Who knows? Maybe there is, after all, the rumors of "Core Caverns" being discovered are growing with each passing day, and platoons and outfits currently on active duty disappearing for days or weeks on end doesn't help answer any questions. But I digress; the Caverns are not my current subject of wonder.

Five days ago my outfit the Blue Lions of the New Conglomerate was ordered to the barren continent of Oshur to participate in the offensives against the Vanu Sovereignty. A small Terran Republic presence was seen but not confirmed in size. The battles were raging all over the continent by the time our Galaxy transport made it over top one of our bases being overrun by Vanu.

"Listen up soldiers, plain and simple hot drop. Get down there, mow down anything in your path and secure that CC."

We dropped virtually unopposed thanks to the tank drivers of the outfit bearing down on the base with Vanguard assault tanks. Within ten minutes, we had secured the base from the clutches of the Vanu and started rolling out in vehicles towards another contested base held by the Vanu.

The Terran presence made itself known as they quickly secured two bases through a previously unknown lattice link. Rumors quickly spread about the link coming from one of those Geowarp Caverns that no one knew anything about. It turned into a three-way stalemate within hours as the Terran numbers grew to match ours and the Vanu's.

There was no haven on Oshur in the hours that followed, between the heavy armor rolling around with their two- or three-man buggy escorts or Reaver assault jets and carpet bombing from Liberators. I don't think I've ever had to respawn so many times for one battle before.

Reinforcements for all three empires poured in through the warpgates and rained down from the HARTs in orbit above, but nothing helped. Attacks were mounted and repelled, towers swapped ownership back and forth so quickly that soldiers bypassed them altogether to save time.

The New Conglomerate finally got their strategies together and we mounted a fierce and large attack on a Vanu-held Technology Plant, the only other Tech Plant on the continent not under our control. I had just shot a Vanu defender on the perimeter catwalks when I felt something.

At first my mind told me that it was nothing more than the rumblings of our tanks, or perhaps a legion of Terrran Prowlers looking for trouble, but then I felt it again. It was nothing close to the steady almost-rhythmic vibrations of a tank, but rather more like a giant fist had punched the ground nearby.

Then it happened. Everything bent, and then twisted, in the wrong way. My squad leader was trying to shout out orders, but he was so caught up in this new phenomenon that his words were nothing more than a jumble of sounds strung together. And then the skies rained fire.

It started small, something the size of pebbles pelting down and bouncing off my Reinforced armor like rubber. But then it grew, the pebbles turned into golf balls which started taking gouges out of Standard armor, and then into baseballs which cracked helmet visors and snapped pieces off Agile armor.

The baseballs increased in numbers and velocity, making everyone, Terran, Vanu and New Conglomerate alike, duck for cover. They once again increased in size, this time to nearly the size of a soccer ball, one of which shattered my Rexo breastplate and gave me at least four broken ribs.

A squadmate pulled me under cover and we watched as it continued to rain fiery rocks from the heavens. A rumbling sound was heard again, but coming from above us. We could feel the temperature rise; we didn't need our heads-up-displays to tell us that. Reavers and Mosquitoes were flying everywhere, trying to avoid the deadly barrage of superheated rocks.

Above the frantic maneuvers of the pilots was a giant ball of fire. It was easily bigger than the base we were attacking, and Tech Plants accounted for more square meters than almost every other base type. A few brave or foolish souls stepped out from under the cover to fire anti-air and anti-vehicle rounds into the sky, aiming at the flaming ball of death ominously descending on our position.

The rounds did nothing, they either didn't have the range or were destroyed before reaching whatever was in the sky. My savior muttered several curses before kneeling on the dirt to pray. I thought he was ludicrous until I glanced around the courtyard and noticed that more and more soldiers were praying as well.

With nothing to lose, I followed suit. I didn't believe in God then, but now I'm not so sure. I remember praying for our lives and the safety of those I treasure. Turns out I treasure a lot of people. Hell, I didn't even finish naming them all when it ended. We re-matrixed in our sanctuary as if nothing had happened at all.

That was a lie. Everyone looked up to see if the same catastrophe would occur here, but that left their mind as they saw something completely out of the ordinary. Auraxis' sun, a yellow star very similar (or so I've heard) to that of Earth's, was gone. In its place were not one but three suns, a red dwarf, a blue dwarf and a yellow giant. I guess our visors automatically compensated for the brightness levels and adjusted them to what our eyes could handle.

Four days ago all military operations were put on an indefinite hold as the braniacs attempted to figure out just what in hell happened on Oshur. The brass wanted some fancy-schmancy cock-bite answer. I figured 'big rock go boom' would suffice for what actually happened.

Today all military operations have been given a go-ahead. Fourteen different New Con outfits have already warped through the gates safely, emerging upon almost familiar territory. No one could quite describe it, but there was something off about the continents.

The Blue Lions were ordered to reconnoiter Oshur, and if deemed a winnable battle, we were to engage the enemy and capture or re-take the bases. When we emerged from the warpgate, we entered a whole different continent. It was actually a three-island chain, with man-made bridges linking all three, and one or two bases on each island and towers scattered plentifully around.

But the biggest shock was the Oshur we knew was almost completely barren and devoid of flora and fauna. The island-chain somehow still registering as Oshur was one-part ice like Esamir or Ceryshen but minus the cliffs. The second part was jungle foliage, thicker than Forseral or Amerish. The final island resembled the Oshur we knew, barren and arid, similar also to Ishundar.

And we weren't the only visitors. In a strange sense of déjà vu, outfits belonging to the Terrans and the Vanu stepped out from the other warpgates and gazed around in amazement at the transformation Oshur had undergone. Then we all caught sight of each other, and with the command to attack from our outfit leader, we charged.

The war had taken on a new twist, but we'd be damned if that was going to stand in the way of our victory. After all, we fight for Freedom from oppression and Liberty for all. We're the New Conglomerate, and we hereby claim Oshur's Battle Islands.