All I could remember was that painful tug at my heart as I continued to run. Despite the fact that my legs were ready to give out on me and my breathing was becoming quite erratic, I kept running as fast as I could. The plasma fire continued to fly by me, cooking the air around me to a crisp. Not that it was any cooler before then. I remember looking up from the ground to the swirling red sky overhead.
An enormous red giant was home to this star system. It had once been our secret base of operations. We were being forced to abandon it then before the Whites captured us. The Whites were what we called the military for our own government, the government we'd started a rebellion against almost seven years ago. We called them the Whites because they were all implanted with machines with outer casings made of a pure white element. They were cyborgs, and even their skin had been dyed white. They were once our family and our friends. Our government promised perfection once the implants were added. Little did everyone know, that was just a cover-up for their real purpose. Our government had once been a proud and honored nobility among the intergalactic community. Then one day, our President turned his ugly face to us. As soon as half the population had submitted themselves to become part machine in the name of "accelerated evolution", the President suddenly declared himself Dictator. Democracy was slain that day.
Then something we didn't expect happened. Our friends and family that had already been implanted turned on us. What the government didn't tell us, was that the implants would also allow them complete control over every individual. Our Dictator didn't want peace; he wanted to conquer the known galaxy. He turned half of the population into his army. Those that had not been implanted were killed. The few of us who made it out alive left the homeworld and made a new home elsewhere, hoping that the Whites wouldn't find us. Some of us didn't want to just hide somewhere and hope they never found us, though. We wanted to fight back to avenge our friends and family that had been forced to become murderers.
For years we moved from base to base, each one being discovered eventually by the Whites and destroyed. We sought help from the other space-faring races of the galaxy, but each one continued to fall to the Whites. The only reason our rebellion survived was because we knew when to run.
There we were running again.
Just as that thought grazed my mind, the back of my right shoulder exploded with fire and I crashed to the ground like an asteroid impacting a planet. I yelped with pain and went face first into the dried mud, leaving a trail in the ground about as long as I was tall. I fought the darkness and rose up from the ground, the pain continued to sear into my face and shoulder as both bled horribly. I attempted to ignore my face and held the wound on my shoulder with my other hand, realizing the plasma burst had nearly ripped my entire arm off. I was quite lucky that it hadn't.
I scrambled up as fast as I could. The plasma fire in the air was beginning to thicken. I could tell they were getting closer by the sounds they made through the leaves that layered the ground. They were likely growing in number as well. I ran as fast as I could. I knew the base was getting closer. That sharp pain welled up within my nose as the pain in my arm continued to throb horribly. I could feel my blood streaming out between my fingers on the wound. The already dark world was getting darker. I knew I was dead if I didn't make it to the base before I fainted.
I was getting slower. The pain was continuing to build, the darkness was beginning to overcome me. Even as I could see the base not a hundred yards ahead through the sparsely scattered trees I knew I would not make it alone. I stumbled and fell to the ground. As I fell, a plasma burst flew past me, not half an inch to the left of my head. I could hear the air sizzle and cook as it went by, and then I felt the searing hot pain of a first-degree burn that it left on that side of my face. It had been too close. It could have been worse, but it was still pretty bad.
I remember howling in pain. My entire body was giving out on me. I became tired and ready to give up. I wanted to sleep.
It was at that moment that a pair of arms took me in their grasp and carried me toward the base. I heard a voice say, "You are going to be alright. We are going to get you out of here." I knew as soon as I heard the voice that it was my good friend Sahvid. He was Group Leader for the Rebels. I was Alpha, Rebel Leader.
I remember him carrying me as I barely held on to consciousness. I knew we had reached the base when the sounds of leaves below his feet was replaced with the pleasant patter of his boots against the marble platform the base was located on. He laid me down behind a pile of rubble that had been blown off of the top of the base. There I heard the voice of Oria, Sahvid's second-in-command, speaking with him. I think she was asking if I was all right. I couldn't be entirely sure; there was a ringing in my ears that shot through my head like a needle.
I heard Sahvid call for a medic, and the next thing I knew, I felt something metallic and cold pierce my neck as they injected a suppressant into me to numb the pain. It worked within seconds and I instantly felt better. The world around me was still getting darker though. I heard Sahvid say something else but it sounded like nothing but inaudible whispers to me as reality continued to fade. The last thing I remember was feeling something tight wrap around the wound on my shoulder as I drifted off into a black abyss.

I awoke covered in a thick, cotton blanket on a cold metal table. The lights were bright, flooding my vision, and burning me at first. I was utterly confused. My memory of what had happened back at the base was degraded. Forgetting my wounds, I had tried to lift myself up. There was a slight aching in my shoulder for a second, but it quickly faded. No doubt the regeneration was nearing completion. When I sat up and dropped my legs over the table, I discovered Oria walking toward me, smiling pleasantly.
"It is alright," she said. "We made it. We are aboard one of the shuttles."
I moaned groggily as I rubbed at my eyes.
"Your wounds should not cause you any trouble. The regeneration should be just about complete."
I sighed, pleased though lacking the appearance. "Then the nanites are working." A few months ago, one of our scientists had been working on the development of nanotechnology to implant into our bloodstream that would allow us to heal more efficiently when attacked by the Whites. It was actually a technique from them that we copied. I have to admit there were some harmless benefits to the technology they were implanted with.
"Indeed," she replied, "it appears that they are. Although, I would not have been too upset if we had to have waited longer to find out."
"I concur," I said wearily, remembering the pain as the memories finally came flooding back. I inspected my entire face with my hands, expecting there to be scars from my fall I took into the ground after being hit with the plasma fire. I found none. I didn't even find a scar where the plasma burn on my face was. The nanites had performed better than I expected.
Suddenly I remembered the base. "What happened to the base?"
Oria's smile faded. She looked upon me grimly. "Destroyed," she exclaimed. "Sahvid has ordered us en route to New Haven. We attempted to communicate with the other bases in the Violet and Cerulean systems. All we received were garbled messages, short, but enough to understand that they were also under attack. It would seem that the Whites issued a full- scale attack. Sahvid ordered them to abandon the facilities as quickly as possible and rendezvous at New Haven. We have yet to receive word of their condition."
I gave a slight nod, figuring that Sahvid acted appropriately. I would expect no less from him. "How many of us escaped the surface?" I asked, though reluctant for fear of the answer.
Her eyes befell the floor, unable to look at me. I took it as a bad sign. "Only three shuttles made it off the surface. However, we encountered a blockade in orbit. The other two shuttles were destroyed. There are only five of us aboard."
I winced at her words. Only of thirty-two.
"The other two, besides you, Sahvid, and I, are a medic, Briannan, and a technician name Velial. Briannan is the one who treated you on the surface. Velial had to repair the ship before we left the base, for it was incapacitated during the attack."
I tried to put the others' deaths behind me. It was not the right time to mourn their loss. I did my best to move on. "How long until we reach New Haven?"
"Less than an hour," she answered.
"I wish to converse with Sahvid," I stated, plopping onto the floor and off of the bed.
She nodded. "I shall send him in."
She left then, through the only exit. A few moments later, Sahvid walked in. "Alpha," he said, standing at attention. "You wish to see me?"

"Indeed," I answered. "You may relax," I told him, frowning at this acknowledgement of my superiority by standing at attention. Under some circumstances, I would expect it. However, then was not the time for such an acknowledgement. I watched him relax and give me a slight smile. I returned the favor. "I wish to thank you for helping me to the base. Were it not for you, I would not have made it." I stepped closer to him and gave him a pat on the shoulder as a gesture of appreciation. "You have my deepest appreciation."
"It is nothing that you would not have done for any other, Alpha," he said. "It was my pleasure to do it for you."
I gave him another smile. I was about to congratulate him on doing the right thing in ordering the other bases to evacuate when we were unexpectedly interrupted. The sound came from Sahvid's communicator. He put it to his ear. "Go," he said, answering it. A few seconds went by before he finally said, "Acknowledged." He closed his communicator afterward and reattached it to his belt. "It was Velial," he said to me, "he exclaims that we are within sensor range of New Haven and that there is something we should see."
I gave him a nod and we both left through the exit. We walked to the end of the corridor to the entrance to the bridge and stepped in. With myself now awake, I took charge. "What is it that we should see, Gentleman Velial?" I asked, stepping up to his station at the front of the bridge.
"It is New Haven, Sir," he exclaimed. "I am detecting a lethal amount of plasma residue in the atmosphere, and all communications have gone unanswered."
I felt my heart sink then. A lethal amount of plasma residue within an atmosphere meant that the surface had been rendered uninhabitable due to an orbital plasma bombardment. New Haven's only defense was a small fleet of Rebel ships..
"Can you detect the Rebel defense fleet?" I asked hopefully.
He worked his console a few seconds and then answered grimly, "Negative. I am, however, detecting a small debris field just outside of orbit. The fragments have a signature consistent with the hull signatures from the defense fleet."
I stepped back, sighing heavily as I did. "Can any shuttles from the other bases that were to meet us at New Haven?"
He again worked the console a few moments before answering me. "I am detecting two other debris fields just outside the system. Both contain signatures consistent with the shuttles from the other bases."
I stumbled back into the command chair at the center of the bridge. Everyone else aboard was left standing in horrified awe. "If New Haven and the other bases have been destroyed." Oria said slowly, ".then."
".Then we are all that is left," Sahvid said, his eyes on the floor in sadness.
What I had not wanted to realize was that Sahvid was right. With New Haven gone, and the other bases neutralized, then all that was left was this last shuttle. Our entire Rebel faction, once a glorious population of just dwindled to a compliment of five people. It would seem then that a full seven years of making allies and leading revolts against the Whites had just been obliterated. Everything we had done had been in vain. With no known possible allies left, it seemed the Rebellion was over.
I looked up from the ground finally, my eyes meandering about and my thoughts utterly lost as the pain inside me began to swell. My eyes found their way to the console that Velial was seated at directly ahead of me. On his screen was all the evidence. On a single computer readout was the sum of seven years of years of bloodshed and vengeance.
"Reverse course," I ordered finally.
Velial complied. Sahvid however stepped up to my side. "Sir?" he asked, confused.
I looked up at him. "Somehow they discovered the location of New Haven. They are likely monitoring the system. We are going to have to find some place to go and stay out of light for a while." I stood up then, taking charge, as I should and again trying to put our losses behind me. As any leader should be capable, I acknowledged the loss of my people and immediately put the safety of the rest as priority one. "Velial, search the databanks and inform me of the nearest habitable world outside the White's borders."
He answered me as soon as he completed his search through the databanks. "There is a planet seventeen light-years from their borders. It lies within a single-star system and contains a race of intelligent mammals at an advanced stage of industrial development. The natives call the planet Earth."
"Space-faring?" I asked.
"Their capabilities are limited. They appear to have a single primitive space station in orbit, in addition to several artificial satellites. It is likely they would detect our presence as soon as we reached orbit of their world."
I sighed. Normally I would not take the risk, however this was a very fragile situation. "Take us to it," I said. "Put the shuttle on Stealth Mode and keep the ship out of phase with normal space-time to avoid visual detection."
"Acknowledged, Alpha," Velial replied.
"Sir, if it is inhabited." Sahvid began.
".It is perfect," I interrupted. "We can take the form of the natives and hide amongst them. It is unlikely that the Whites will expect to find us on such a primitive world. They will search uninhabited worlds before they even consider a world such as this." I looked to Velial, ".What did you say the name of this planet was?"
Velial turned in his seat to answer me. "Earth," he answered.
"Thank you," I said to him, then turned back to Sahvid. "Earth. I suspect this Earth will provide us with a safe location for the time being."
"Yes, Sir, I see your logic in the choice you have made, however it is the behavior of these natives that concerns me. What if they are violent?" Sahvid explained.
I gave him an understanding nod. "I understand your concerns, Sahvid." My gaze found its way upward as I thought back to a time that I remembered reading about a planet called Earth. I knew it sounded familiar I simply had not discovered the reason until then. "I believe that I remember reading about a planet called Earth. If I remember correctly, the natives call . I believe they have a society resembling the one on our world before the Whites. They are much like us, if I am not mistaken. Therefore it should be simple to mimic their behavior."
At that statement, I knew we'd have to do some studying of these humans. "Velial, how long will it be until we reach earth?"
"Estimated Time of Arrival is five hours, Sir."
"Thank you," I said to him. I turned to Sahvid and Oria. "The rest of us have some studying to do on . We are going to have to prepare ourselves to integrate into their culture."