Author Topic: Clarion Call (AU)  (Read 5600 times)

Takiro

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Clarion Call (AU)
« on: 06 March 2011, 14:50:49 »
Alright folks, I wanted to post the first nine chapters here and tell you that the first part of chapter 10 is now up over on OurBattleTech.com! Hope you enjoy the old stuff and come over to comment on the new.  ;)

http://ourbattletech.com/forum/parallel-universes/clarion-call/
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 06:10:41 by Takiro »

Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #1 on: 06 March 2011, 14:51:20 »
-1-

Avalon City
New Avalon, Federated Commonwealth
17 June 3052


“CLEAR!”

The abrupt command was followed by a swift jolt and suddenly everything had changed. But how? It all seemed so real. However, his new surroundings indicated otherwise. The sudden cold, the white ceiling above, and the bed he unexpectedly found himself all felt very real.

As doctors and nurses continued to work on reviving the First Prince his mind raced. Was it all a dream? Had he seen his own death? His wife assassinated? A reborn Star League? A Clan annihilated? The disintegration of the Federated Commonwealth? The Jihad? What had happened? Did his mind generate some kind of vision as he lay dying or had he actually seen the future?

As an oxygen mask was placed over his face Hanse smiled. He must be in pretty bad shape to be thinking like some ComStar Acolyte. This must be a hospital room at the New Avalon Institute of Science. It was a good guess looking at the medical personnel and their advanced life saving equipment.

Glancing past the defibrillator his suspicions were apparently confirmed but was it possible? Joshua Marik?? He had seen the young heir to the Free Worlds League succumb to his leukemia after years of unsuccessful treatment by the NAIS. His death and the failed cover up, which Hanse had begun to plan, led to a disastrous war. He was still weak, unable to move much or speak at all. Could he undo what had been done?

Whatever happened to the Fox left him confused to say the least. While he hated to admit it, Hanse Davion would have to wait to recover. Seeing Victor and his friend Galen bought some relief to the beleaguered ruler of the Federated Suns. He remembered now. They had found him in his office watching Sun Tzu’s damned announcement. A pity Candace didn’t kill him rather than Romano, if she only knew what he would do.

Oh well, Romano deserved it for what she had done. Crazy witch. Once he got out of this darn hospital he would deal with Sun Tzu. Then he saw someone who almost gave him another heart attack.

KATHERINE!
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 05:22:16 by Takiro »

Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #2 on: 06 March 2011, 14:51:51 »
-2-

New Foundation
New Earth, Federated Commonwealth
18 June 3052


The alarm sounded the start of another day for William York. Being home was a far cry from the hell of Tukayyid only a month distant. His battalion was part of the ComGuard’s 91st Division formerly known as the Visions of Words. After their “victory” against Clan Ghost Bear his unit received a new moniker, the Luk-y 91st. Even so he didn’t feel very lucky. Many of his men had perished in the great conflict and despite his flesh wounds William often wondered if they were the lucky ones. There were many times he wished that he could change places with them but for some reason it was not to be.

While a sense of greater destiny provided his psyche comfort William felt haunted by his recent “heroics”. Survival and a proud heritage had earned him a promotion within the Order. As the great-great grandson of Primus Hollings York, who had also been Precentor of New Earth, certain doors were opened to him that might not have for others. At least that was the unspoken accusation that hung over every opportunity he ever got on New Earth or in ComStar.

The sudden death of Primus Myndo Waterly, the elevation of Sharilar Mori, and resulting Reformation had thrown everything into chaos. William’s new appointment to his ancestor’s post was a stabilizing move politically speaking. Not that he relished the idea of playing politics. He much preferred the role of soldier to that of statesman but in these trying times he would do his best. Just like Jerome Blake did after the Amaris Coup, he thought as he rolled over to hit the alarm.

Blake’s example and organization was something very special to him. Besides being the Precentor of New Earth wasn’t so bad. The administrative post had diminished in importance since Hollings once held it. No longer a relevant member of the First Circuit it was now merely a symbolic position. “I hope the Primus knows what she is getting here, Blake knows I’m no Hollings York.” Going from the military to administration would be different and running a key HPG station presented its own challenges anyway. Rolling out of bed he said to himself, “lets get to work”.

*      *      *      *      *

“Perfect, in this kind of chaos no one will be the wiser.” Nigel Hawkins was a long time operative of ROM, ComStar’s dreaded security arm. The truest of believers he had been chosen by Waterly’s rightful successor to deal with the ‘York problem’. The Precentor of New Earth was a grave threat to all that was holy. “It’s a pity he has chosen to back the heretics. York could have been a valued ally and servant of Blake.” William was a likable no nonsense type but allowing that witch Mori to use his good name was an unforgivable sin that he could not excuse.

It had to be done and slipping into the New Earth HPG facility amid the aftermath of Operation Scorpion was easily accomplished. Hawkins had been on Terra when the Primus launched her audacious scheme to deliver mankind from itself. Unfortunately it was not to be. “I guess it is true what Blake said, you can only save those who want to be saved.” While Nigel had his own reservations about the plan it led to the unmasking of a growing sacrilege within the Order. “Blessed be Blake.” Waterly should be sainted for her holy vision, her faith in Blake, and the courage to do what must be done. Now he had work of his own that must be done.

*      *      *      *      *

All was ready for his grand entrance even if the crimson robes of a Precentor didn’t look right to William. As he stepped through the door and assumed his new role in life the stage before him was set. A large Communications Center filled with people was a big change from the close confines of a BattleMech. As York entered view the command “All Rise” echoed through the room quickly bringing the Adepts and Acolytes to attention. “The Precentor of New Earth”. Many bowed heads in silent acknowledgement as he strode to his duty station. Past installment ceremonies had been more elaborate but this simple transition of authority suited William fine.

Reaching the Central Console, which had served as an altar to Blake since the days of Toyama and Kaprov, he turned and faced the assembly. The New Earth HPG had nearly eighty dedicated personnel, not including ComGuards, because of its First Circuit status. Many of these positions were non essential but the importance of the facility dictated additional billets. Several holes had been created in the station’s roster thanks to the latest Interdiction and its consequences. Many including the former Precentor had left the Order rather than serve the new Primus. Some had even gone so far as defecting to the Free Worlds League and taking sanctuary on the planet of Gibson. He could understand those who retired or those who remained in hiding but aligning yourself with a Successor Lord who was once a ComStar Precentor was an act of sheer madness.

Clearing his mind and gathering himself the Precentor began his introductory speech. “May Blake’s wisdom guide us in the challenges that lay ahead. It is my distinct honor and privilege to take up this post once held by my forebearer. With your help we will continue to fulfill the sacred mission of our beloved Order, the preservation of knowledge. Indeed many have questioned our new direction and the very future of ComStar. To those who would doubt us or the righteousness of our actions and to those who would use the Word of Blake to justify their own twisted ideas take heed. Your ignorance will be your downfall.”

*      *      *      *      *

Following his speech, which apparently went over well, York met his personnel. Some like his two Demi-Precentors were old colleagues from the ComGuards he had requested. Joseph Calloway was a self proclaimed technophile who had been York’s Chief Tech in the 91st and jumped at the chance to run HPG operations on New Earth. Demi-Precentor Alpha’s joy was tempered by the fact he had to perform double duty. Until the ComGuards rotated back from Tukayyid he would also handle Zeta’s responsibilities. With only a small security force present this assignment wasn’t all that distracting but anything that took Joe away from his new toy made him grumble. It’s a good thing that William knew how to handle his friends when they got upset. Hermann Von Weid had almost left ComStar after Tukayyid but York had convinced him to stay. Together they could make a difference he thought. Hermann was a fine executive officer in the Guard and would make an excellent Chief Security.

The other members of his staff weren’t as familiar to him. Before today he only knew them from the dossiers which he had been presented upon his appointment. Melissa Sanders, Adept Sigma, had been assigned by the Primus to maximize York’s public relations value. William couldn’t decide if Von Weid hated or loved her as the two went out of their way to argue. Doctor Winston Graves, Adept Kappa, was another new member of the New Earth staff replacing departing personnel. Extremely knowledgeable he seemed like your typical doctor and his record was exemplary. The rest were holdovers like Emeka Azuka, Adept Phi, who had in addition to his fiscal responsibilities ran the station in the interim. No small feat and Azuka had done a fine job keeping the operation despite the situation. The oldest member of the staff was Chetan Singh, Adept Eta, whose sage advise always helped those in need. Yeva Petrov, Adept Nu, was full of infectious enthusiasm and incredibly seemed un-phased by the Reformation. Instead she was caught up in the ‘heroics’ of Tukayyid.

There was a familiar face in the crowd not on his staff, not even from ComStar, who claimed ‘real authority’ over the HPG. Simon DeGrason was the Federated Commonwealth’s Planetary Consul on New Earth and an old friend of York’s. Their families once influential and still somewhat rich were now old news. They were forgotten by many powerful ‘modern’ nobles as has beens. “A lovely ceremony, congratulations on your new position here in the Federated Commonwealth”. York smiled at the not so subtle reminder that alluded to their claims of ownership over HPG facilities in their territory. “Thank you Consul DeGrason, it was an honor to have you and your armed guards here again today”. Such chiding was the norm for them but others had more serious matters to resolve. Von Weid got right to the point. “Yes Consul, I must protest these are ComStar grounds maintained since the fall of the Star League”. Simon shot back “Your Order’s recent actions have done much to sully their former impartial status. The New Earth HPG is now under the protection of the Federated Commonwealth”. York’s childhood rejoinder “Whatever Simon says” got everybody laughing and won him the initiative. “We have many issues to discuss and I’m sure things will get worked out between our respective employers”. About half way through his sentence an incoming transmission would alter the status quo.

*      *      *      *      *

A damaged courier jumpship had arrived with news of Prince Davion’s heart attack. The message was a divine master stroke thought Nigel Hawkings. The assassin who was masquerading as the aptly named Doctor Graves simply smiled at the bulletin. York’s “accidental” death won’t even be noticed by those outside of New Earth. At most it would be a tragic afterthought. All was ready. The Precentor had an interview with Tau Ceti Broadcasting, a planetary news network, tonight. His limo was due for some unexpected difficulty he thought. “What a tragedy” he muttered.

It is a shame the Fox isn’t dead. While the Davions were always a thorn in Blake’s side this one had been particularly troublesome. Hanse had nearly conquered the Human Sphere with his Lyran allies and made an effort to cut into ComStar’s sacred monopoly over interstellar communication. Only the coming of the Clans seemed to derail his plans, thank Blake. Perhaps he would pass into the great beyond and spare us any further suffering.

News of the Prince’s condition would likely spread slowly with the HPG net in complete state of disarray. The Federated Commonwealth’s “Black Box” system simply could not match the speed and efficiency of the Word of Blake. This crude device operated like a fax machine and could only transmit limited messages like a text or still picture. Added to the fact that its services were not widely available reliable information could take weeks, if not months, to travel. Had recent events not conspired to disrupt the status quo reports would appear instantly via the HPG from one end of the InnerSphere to the other.

Thanks to the heretics everyone would have to wait for updates. Sure the House Lords might find out most of the details but the masses would be subject to more uncertainty in these troubled times. Just as well. Suddenly York emerged from the Precentor’s office with Consul DeGrason. As they walked to Central Console it looked as though the Precentor was going to address the station personnel once again. What was going on? Was he going to brief everyone present on the situation? Did  Hanse die? No, they looked serious not mournful, almost united in purpose. His eyes widened, NO!

York spoke “Can I have your attention please. The captain of the FCS Hermes has asked us to relay a priority message from New Avalon to Tharkad. As you know First Prince Hanse Davion has suffered a heart attack which could threaten the stability of the InnerSphere. The Hermes was badly damaged in a misjump which likely resulted from a quick charge of their KF Drive. As such an unacceptable communications delay has arisen which could spark a renewed Clan invasion. Effective immediately, I am ordering the restoration of HPG operations here on New Earth for the express goal of maintaining stability.”

Hawkings silently fumed as York paused. This heretic will surely burn for these actions. The Master was wise to want him dead. York continued “I have spoken with Consul DeGrason and have reached a temporary service arrangement based upon pre-Tukayyid rates to establish a link between New Avalon and Tharkad. So lets go to work. We have to repair the HPG and contact our fellow stations including Terra. Adept Sanders will you please contact Tau Ceti Broadcasting and tell them I won’t be able to make it tonight.” Blake’s Blood! Hawkings was so livid he had to stop himself for a moment and regain his composure. You may have escaped for now York but I will not fail. You will certainly die.
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 05:24:01 by Takiro »

Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #3 on: 06 March 2011, 14:52:23 »
-3-

Tamar City
Tamar, Clan Wolf Occupation Zone
19 June 3052


Phelan looked over the capital city of the Wolf Clan Occupation Zone. It was a horrific reminder of what continued conflict with the InnerSphere could bring. Sadly the ancient birthplace of the Tamar Pact was reduced to rubble less than a year ago. The defenders had waged a brutal house to house campaign trying to stop the Wolves advance. Their effort proved futile but was costly to the urban center which incurred immense collateral damage. While the lower castes had worked hard to rebuild what they could much remained devastated. Further destruction had to be avoided.

WorkMechs, excavators, wheel loaders, bulldozers, and laborers continued to toil even as life for the denizens of Tamar City went on. It appeared more like a construction site than a city with few buildings standing. Aside from prefab living quarters scattered near the city’s edge only the Bloodnamed Hall of the Wolves was standing and even that was incomplete. All of these Clan constructs were unimaginative copies of existing structures which was the norm. Clan architecture seemed so monolithic to Phelan especially compared to what had been there before.

At least the streets were cleared and passable Phelan thought. saKhan Ward glanced over at his new aide, Star Colonel George Kerensky, as they approached the Council Hall. He wondered what this trueborn Clan warrior thought of all this destruction. A Wolf ristar Star Commander George had been a member of Alpha Galaxy along with Phelan during much of the invasion. His combat accomplishments included various intra-Clan trails, Operation Revival, and of course Tukayyid. In addition George was an ardent Warden who proudly pointed to the Clans’ heritage and rightful duty as guardians of the InnerSphere.

When Phelan was elevated to the rank of saKhan and command of Beta Galaxy he tapped George as the new commander of the 352nd Assault Cluster. As Phelan’s right hand man he had not disappointed winning his Trail of Position as a Star Colonel and his bloodname shortly afterwards. Together they had begun the difficult task of reforming Beta Galaxy, which had been fervently Crusader, along Warden lines. Many Beta Crusaders like saKhan Garth Radick had been killed or severely wounded like Star Colonel Erik Kerensky. The former commander of the 352nd was so badly hurt that Clan warriors considered him dead.

As the officers from Beta Galaxy strode into the Khan’s Chamber they were greeted by the ilKhan. Ulric Kerensky had called this meeting to come up with proactive solutions to the Crusader threat. It had only been a week since the impromptu Grand Kurultai on Diosd had settled on the fall out from Tukayyid. By the slimmest of margins the Clans decided not to abrogate the Truce in light of ComStar’s actions. For now a fragile peace had been established but just how long this status quo would last was anybody’s guess. The Crusaders would surely press for a resumption of hostilities as soon as possible.

The ilKhan had gathered some of the Wolf Clans finest to formulate a Warden strategy that would counter the inevitable challenge. Those in attendance included Khan Natasha Kerensky, now commander of the Wolves Alpha Galaxy, whose legendary presence needed no introduction. Her top aide, Star Colonel Marco Hall, had recently been promoted to command of the 13th Wolf Guards Cluster also known as the feared Wolf Spiders. Star Colonel Jera Carns the commander of the 4th Wolf Guards Cluster was also present despite being wounded at Tukayyid. Her determination made her a fearsome presence in nearly any environment. As the consort of the ilKhan her input would not be ignored.

These were the top figures representing Alpha Galaxy who were now Phelan’s chief rivals in the Wolf Clan touman. Despite his Alpha Galaxy origins he looked forward to renewing the traditional competition between the Galaxies. Of course, saKhan Ward wouldn’t rest until Beta had bested his old Galaxy. Galaxy Commander John Ward of Delta and Galaxy Commander Anton Fetladral of Epsilon were invited to give their opinions. The only front line command not represented was Gamma Galaxy where Crusaders held sway.

“Please be seated” the ilKhan began “thank you all for coming on such short notice. Over the next fifteen years we are obligated to uphold the Truce of Tukayyid but threats to this momentary peace abound both from within and out.” Galaxy Commander John Ward perhaps the haughtiest Warden wasted no time stating “Our ultimate goal should be an end to this foolish invasion, Operation Revival is a failure.” While the comment was accurate the thought of losing was distasteful to any Clansman that it drew sharp rebuke. “What do you propose Galaxy Commander Ward, that we meekly tuck tail and run, quineg?” said Khan Natasha Kerensky.

Such a comment from a lesser officer would have sparked a Trail of Grievance undoubtedly but not even Clan warriors were so quick to challenge the Black Widow. Biting his lip Galaxy Commander Ward responded “Neg, Khan Kerensky I did not mean to imply such a cowardly course of action”. Phelan interjected “Unfortunately we are saddled with this Crusader nonsense and must stay the course”. “Sir, I respectfully disagree.” Shocked many present starred down Star Colonel Kerensky but the ilKhan motioned for him to continue. “Operation Revival is a failure, we should say so, and develop a new operational scheme to achieve our goals.”

Incredulous, Galaxy Commander Fetladral spoke up “The Crusaders will not lay idly bye and watch us end their holy Crusade to restore the Star League.” “I was not suggesting we should Galaxy Commander but we have to beat the Crusaders at their own game, quiaff?” As the room was clearly his Star Colonel Kerensky continued “One of the biggest flaws of the initial invasion was not all the Clans were included. The task was so significant that all the Clans should have been included from the outset.” Star Colonel Jera Carns protested “The InnerSphere would be slaughtered in such an event; I thought we were gathered here to prevent such a holocaust, aff?”

“Aff, Star Colonel, we are Wardens whose sacred duty is to protect the InnerSphere – a birthright inherited from the SLDF. Given the set of circumstances that lay before us I am trying to outline the best plan forward.” “I think I see where Star Colonel Kerensky is going” Star Colonel Hall said “he is redefining the invasion into a Warden instrument”. “Oh, I like it” said Natasha with a devilish smirk. “I am afraid I do not understand” exclaimed a puzzled Galaxy Commander Fetladral “why include all the Clans it intensifies the conflict, quiaff?” Before George could respond saKhan Ward interjected “If a portion of the Clans are defeated then others could mistakenly believe they could succeed.”

Star Colonel Kerensky nodded “All the Clans must participate in the Crusade or they will not learn that its very concept is flawed.” With an approving gesture the ilKhan turned to him “So how would we precede Star Colonel? You seem to be on a roll.” Smiling the Star Colonel rose to assemble his notes remarking “ilKhan, I did indeed come prepared.” The remark drew laughter from the assembly. “May I present Operation Restoration for your review? Essentially we will steal the Crusaders thunder and give them a painful series of lessons to keep them occupied during the Truce.”

“Phase one would see the Invading Clans square off for the right to command an invasion corridor which would remain unaltered from Operation Revival. The main contest for these routes designated Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta would likely be between Jade Falcon/Steel Viper and Smoke Jaguar/Nova Cat. Trails to settle this issue could take as much as a year. These primary Clans would have twenty front line Clusters to advance their claim as the ilClan along with any number of Garrison Clusters they require to maintain their holdings. After the issue of corridor leadership is determined the Home Clans would be bought in as allies.”

Clearing his throat he continued “These Clans would have five front line Clusters to forward their position in the InnerSphere along with Garrison Clusters. These pairings will likely result in a series of Territory Wars that will establish each Clan’s holdings in the InnerSphere. It will likely take a year for these forces to assemble and reach the Corridors. It could be some time perhaps three to five years for the Trails of Possession to shake themselves out. Also during this time the Home Clans would receive training and possibly undertake raids into the InnerSphere.”

“Finally after these territorial squabbles have been resolved we launch the final wave of Operation Revival which will take the Clans right up to the Truce line. This large scale action will allow us to gauge the Spheroids response and help us prepare for a renewed invasion. Stacalkas-Nomen as the Jags call it would begin May 21, 3067 – fifteen years to the day after ComStar’s victory on Tukayyid.” Natasha looked over at Phelan “I should not have let you take him from my Galaxy.” saKhan Ward chuckled “I will defend any attempt to retake the Star Colonel with all my available forces.”

Galaxy Commander John Ward had his doubts “Seizing the initiative in this way could prove dangerous and this plan is anything but full proof. I could very well see this spinning out of control and devolving into an orgy of Crusader bloodlust. Better to stay the course and deal with problems as they come.” Phelan realized “We can not just sit on our hands, the Clans our warriors and will demand chances for combat. Some outlet must be provided, quiaff? Operation Restoration will provide that.” Galaxy Commander Fetladral chimed in “Aff, but what then? This may keep the Crusaders busy for fifteen years but what then?”

“Hopefully,” spoke Star Colonel Kerensky “it will be enough time for the InnerSphere to defend itself adequately, the Warden cause to grow, and Crusaders to understand the great error of their ways.” “Perhaps the opportunity will present itself to enact such a plan in the near future Star Colonel” said ilKhan Ulric Kerensky. “It is an interesting proposition and it would anger the Falcons and Khan Crichell. Yes, perhaps one day we shall see how we can execute Operation Restoration. Seyla.” The gathering unanimously stood and shouted “Seyla” in unison. Everyone apparently satisfied that the options had been discussed.
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 05:26:44 by Takiro »

Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #4 on: 06 March 2011, 14:52:55 »
-4-

Avalon City
New Avalon, Federated Commonwealth
24 June 3052


Doctor Lara Hampton was at her wits end. “Would you please sit down” exasperated by her patient she almost forgot the honorific “your Highness. You have to slow down or risk another heart attack!” Despite the fact he was extremely tired Hanse was up and moving “Thank you Doctor but I’d like to get the hell out of here.” Victor stepped in between the two combatants “Come on dad, take it easy”. “Take it easy” Hanse shot back “you let your sister run the government for the past week!” Victor frowned “Katherine is the Regent of New Avalon and is quite adept at managing the press. You did approve her little news conference in this very room yesterday.” Hanse slumped down in a chair “Victor you are the heir to the throne, the Archon Prince of the Federated Commonwealth, it should be you running things in my absence not Katherine.”

Victor didn’t speak and Hanse sighed “I know you like politics as much as I like being in this hospital son.” Dr. Hampton shot back “Well your out of danger now Prince Davion and if you follow my instructions you’ll be out of here that much sooner. Your in pretty good shape for seventy years old and surgery has corrected your immediate heart problems. Heck before I know it Archon Steiner will be here to take you home, thankfully.” Hanse laughed as Victor said “I can’t wait until mom gets here so I can pass the buck again.” The door to the room opened revealing two familiar figures whose youth matched the Fox’s. Wearing a big smile Quintus Allard quipped “I hope he isn’t giving you too much trouble Doc”. Ardan Sortek snickered “I’m sure she would rather have the Plague at this point Quintus”.

“Mind if we take him off your hands for a while” Quintus asked. Victor who had spent all week at his father’s bedside stood “I know I could use a break, try to take it easy on these guys pop.” As father and son exchanged an embrace, Hanse looked up “I’ll be fine now son, thank you.” “Try and get him to rest gentlemen” as the Doctor departed “the Prince needs it”. As the door closed Ardan mumbled “We’ll need an Atlas to get you to rest”. The Fox’s old friends both smiled but Hanse was quick to get to the point. He had to tell somebody. Hanse had to share these remarkable memories that he had with someone. “I’m not sure you guys are gonna believe this but I’ve got to tell you what I’ve seen.”

*      *      *      *      *

Looking at each other in sheer disbelief Sortek and Allard didn’t know what to say. The Fox had gone on for an hour in detail about his horrifying vision of the future. General Sortek broke a long pause “That’s quite a dream.” Without hesitation the Prince replied “It wasn’t a dream.” Recognizing the quizzical expressions of his friends Hanse went further “At least it didn’t feel like one. It was all so real and there is still so much I haven’t told you.” Quintus Allard hated to sound like a therapist but the approach seemed appropriate if anything could be so in this situation. He asked “So what would you call this episode if not a dream?”

Unflinchingly Davion replied “A premonition of things to come.” Again Ardan and Quintus looked at each other with quizzical expressions wondering if their sovereign, their friend, had lost his mind. “I’m not crazy” Hanse said “I know what I saw.” Skeptically Sortek replied “It sounds a little thin. I mean how does the Word of Blake amass such a military unnoticed?” Allard interrupted before the two men could engage in a further debate about the veracity of a prophecy he barely believed. “I think what we need is something solid to confirm or dismiss this vision then” said Quintus.

Sortek looked at Allard like he was going mad as well. “Prince Davion gave us some intriguing specifics we can investigate – like the true identity of the Captain-General” Quintus said. Continuing “We can do some discreet inquires on Thomas Marik and if we can substantiate that key piece than we’ll go from there.” Visibly encouraged by the course of action Hanse nodded “Right, sounds good, let’s do it.” Allard held up his finger and continued “If this tale doesn’t square then I want to you to forget about this.” Hanse shot back “It will check out!”

“Your Highness, we are trying our best to safeguard your position” Sortek said trying to make the Prince understand the real world consequences of having such visions. Davion seemed to get the message. Rising from his chair the Prince touched both men on the shoulders. Acknowledging their concerns Hanse simply said “I know, thank you both for listening.” The door to the room opened and a clearly exasperated Doctor Hampton scolded the visitors “I thought I told you the Prince needs his rest!” Allard smiled and have heartedly replied “Sorry Doc, we were just finishing up.”

“Feel better Highness” Sortek said as both men exited the room at the doctor’s urging. Hanse lay down in his hospital bed once again and stared at the white ceiling above. After Doctor Hampton was satisfied her patient was in bed to stay she turned off the lights and sternly said “Get some rest.” However, Prince Davion knew he wouldn’t get any rest until his visions were proven real. He was certain he was right but would anyone else believe him?
   
*      *      *      *      *

As Sortek and Allard walked down the corridor of the NAIS Hospital they quietly contemplated a singular question. Had the Prince of the Federated Suns really gone mad?
It was an agonizing prospect for them to contemplate as the pair walked to the elevator. As the doors closed Ardan Sortek blurted out “If it wasn’t Hanse Davion I’d say that poor bastard had gone batshit. What do you think about all this Quintus?” Allard sighed heavily “I don’t know. Perhaps this is part of Capellan plot having to do with his abduction. Did the Maskirovka create a sleeper agent long ago that Sun Tzu has now activated?”

“I thought all the effects of the Doppleganger Program were well documented” Sortek said “besides the Federated Commonwealth is in good order. Archon Melissa Steiner had rapidly authorized the creation of a command circuit of jumpships after learning of Hanse’s condition. Morgan Hasek-Davion was traveling to Tharkad to ensure the Lyran State was secure especially along the Clan front and Peter Steiner-Davion was in place as the Regent of Tharkad. Plus there has been no overt Capellan action whatsoever in the past week”. Quintus acknowledged all of those facts but in his business anything was possible. “I’m still gonna give that message from the Chancellor a once over” he said.

Allard continued “I hate to sound like a psychiatrist but even if it is a dream the Fox has remarkable insight. Perhaps his subconscious mind has accurately analyzed the current situation. After all no one would dispute his strategic acumen and much of what he said doesn’t seem to be totally impossible.” Sortek frowned “Just extremely unlikely.” Quintus shot back “This is Hanse Davion you remember; I don’t need to recount all of our adventures.” Ardan frowned “Of course not but I think your ignoring the fact he is a seventy year old recovering from a devastating heart attack. Unfortunately I think we have to consider that our friend has lost some of his mental faculties.”

As the doors opened Allard replied “I realize that but Hanse Davion has never lead us astray and if he says he can see the future now then who the hell am I to say that he can’t.” As they exited the building Sortek said “Well that’s good enough for me, I guess, can’t hurt to do some due diligence on it.” Quintus laughed “Besides who knows what we might turn up”. Ardan chuckled but was given pause by a few random thoughts that entered his mind. As both men got in their vehicles what if Hanse was right and what would that mean if he was? “Nah” Sortek quickly disabused himself of that idea.
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 05:28:03 by Takiro »

Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #5 on: 06 March 2011, 14:53:20 »
-5-

New Foundation
New Earth, Federated Commonwealth
25 June 3052


Demi-Precentor Hermann Von Weid was taking no chances. Even though he had checked for surveillance equipment in the Office of the Precentor just two hours ago Von Weid was meticulous. A week ago someone had sabotaged the personal conveyance of his friend and commander, William York. Luckily no one was harmed and the damage was discovered before a fatal accident occurred. Hermann had been on edge ever since, determined to find the saboteur but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Satisfied that his bug sweep was complete he took the added precaution of activating a white noise device before speaking.

“Alright” he said “nobody will be listening into our conversation”. Precentor York was anxious to find out what was happening “So do we have any idea who screwed with the limo?” With nothing solid to report on that front Von Weid tried to lighten the mood, “Somebody who wants you dead”. Somewhat amused by the comment William sarcastically shot back “Wow, you figured that out already - thanks for vindicating my faith in you as Chief of Security”. Wiping away his smirk Hermann spoke about the only thing he did know for certain, the current security situation. “We’ve increased security especially since you’re a higher profile target now, a consequence of the HPG restoration.”

Frustrated York followed “But no clue who did this?” Still scanning the interior of the office Von Weid replied “Oh I have plenty of ideas who did this, our friends the Wobbies come to mind. Obviously they have motive, means and opportunity. Evidence is another matter as the sabotage was fairly generic and left no trace material behind. This indicates a high degree of professionalism eliminating most with an axe to grind against you and the Order.” Hermann ceased his scrutiny of the room to smile at his old friend, “So you know of any rogue ROM operatives?”

Snickering the Precentor though aloud “Just a couple of hundred”. Shaking his head in agreement Von Weid admitted “Unfortunately the Reformation has left our security so full of holes that any Blakist agent has a high potential for success.” Frowning York uttered one word in disgust “Wonderful.” While he was the resident security expert Hermann felt almost powerless “It seems that the best trained and equipped assassins in the Human Sphere seem to be going over to the Word.” Silence hung in the room as both men thought about the dismal situation they faced. William finally asked “So where does that leave us?”

Von Weid sat up and looked his friend straight in the eye with the unpleasant news, “Regrettably we have to wait for the assassin to strike again. You got lucky the first time but we are more prepared now. Thanks to your friendship with the Consul we’ve gotten excellent cooperation from FedCom authorities.” Looking away for a moment the Precentor fatalistically responded “Great, I’m well protected bait.” Hermann said something to break the pre-funeral mood “Hey, you were the one who wanted this posting buddy; I’ll keep you alive even if it kills me.”

Shaking off the darkness for the moment York changed the subject “Are we all set for the interview tonight?” “All the arrangements have been made” the Demi-Precentor of Security said. A macabre thought snuck right out of William’s mouth “Marvelous, I wonder what the ratings will be if a Precentor gets killed on camera?” Von Weid smiled back “Probably be pretty darn good, too bad for Tau Ceti Broadcasting that won’t happen on my watch.”
   
*      *      *      *      *

While the response to his sabotage was laughable in many respects Nigel Hawkins could have kicked himself. The Reformation had created gapping holes in the apostate’s defense that even an untrained communications acolyte could exploit but the situation remained wildly unpredictable and very dangerous. His experience reminded Hawkins that circumstances were fluid and could work against him. Even though he’d never been in the center of such a fratricidal conflict Nigel had seen similar events destroy able contemporaries in the spy game. Besides the dumb luck that saved Precentor York’s life, it was possible that a ROM operative that he knew could turn on the Word of Blake and reveal him.

Regardless of the fallout his next opportunity would not be so easy. Now that security was alerted to the presence of an assassin any future attempt would meet resistance. His cover as Doctor Winston Graves remained intact as no link to his involvement remained. Nigel was sure he left no evidence and the suspect list could include almost anyone at this point. With ComStar and FedCom personnel mingled around the HPG there wasn’t even a way security could narrow the search. As such Hawkins continued his “medical work” with little worry that he was compromised.

Suddenly a knock on the door of the infirmary by Demi-Precentor Hermann Von Weid dashed his confidence. “Hey Doc, got a minute?”  As the Chief Security entered the room Hawkins mind raced, does he know? Carefully managing his raw emotions Hawkins responded with “Sure, what can I do for you Demi-Precentor?” Nigel was moving around pretending to be busy organizing medical supplies. He couldn’t be certain why Von Weid was here so he was preparing for war. “I wanted to talk to you about the attempted sabotage of the Precentor’s vehicle” Hermann said. Reaching for his sidearm Nigel replied “Have you identified a suspect yet?”

For a moment there was nothing but silence as the ROM agent thought his number was up. He was relieved to hear a sigh from Von Weid followed by “Unfortunately no, I was hoping you could help”. Turning Hawkins could hardly hide his relief and sudden joy “How can I be of assistance?” Hermann didn’t see the reaction as he was looking over the infirmary “Well right now I’m marshalling my resources and I see you have some experience with criminal investigations.” Recalling his alternate identity’s profile Hawkins recalled “I’ve done a little bit of forensic work in the past if that is what you mean.”

The security officer laughed “I think your being a little modest Doc, your record is exemplary, and you’d be a valued asset as a part of my team.” With a little grin Hawkins said “I’ll do whatever I can to help.” “Great” Von Weid replied “I’ll be in touch.” As the Chief of Security exited the infirmary Doctor Winston Graves returned to his duties. This is better than I ever could have hoped for Hawkins quietly thought to himself. As a trusted part of the investigation I can not only get inside information but mislead these heretics. Blake does reveal his path in strange ways. Who knows maybe I can even give them a fall guy for York’s eventual murder.
   
*      *      *      *      *

“Good evening, I’m Russell Ferris of Tau Ceti Broadcasting. Tonight on the Idea Exchange we are sitting down with Precentor William York of ComStar.”

“Thanks for having me, sorry I couldn’t make it last week”

“We’re just glad you could be here with everything that transpired. Is there any truth to the rumors that you were the target of an assassination attempt?”

“We are looking into an alleged case of sabotage but the investigation is ongoing so I really can’t comment on the incident any further.”

“Was this a consequence of your directive that restored the HPG network?”

York smiled “While I showed some initiative during the emergency the Primus authorized the restoration of the network for the express purpose of transmitting news of Prince Davion’s condition.”

“But you laid the ground work with Consul DeGrason?”

“I just did my job. After all Jerome Blake’s original mandate from the Star League High Council was the restoration and maintenance of the HPG network.”

“So you see yourself following in Blake’s footsteps?”

“I do my best to uphold his legacy”

“You have quite a legacy of your own. The York family has ancient ties to New Earth stretching back to the first extra-solar colonists. They were the founders of the Terran Hegemony whose service to the Camerons was valued throughout the Star League era. Then there is your great-great grandfather, the legendary Hollings York, who became the eighth Primus of ComStar. That’s a lot of history right there.”

“I take great pride in the accomplishments of my family and humbly hope to add my own chapter one day.”

“So why ComStar? The life of a wealthy noble didn’t suit you?”

“As strange as it may sound I always wanted to be part of the Order. While it’s holy traditions and righteous actions appealed to me from a very young age it went beyond that. Call it destiny if you’d like, somehow I knew that service with ComStar was what I would end up doing.”

“All those chants and robes never bothered you?”

“Actually outsiders fail to understand those incantations serve a real world purpose. In order to safeguard basic knowledge Acolyte’s were required to recite the principles of operation for all machinery they operated. This policy which was recently made optional by the Primus insured the survival of scientific information during the depravity of the Succession Wars.”

“How do you feel about the reforms undertaken by Primus Sharilar Mori?”

“I think the Reformation was long overdue in many respects. Our new direction spreads the wisdom that Jerome Blake protected since the fall of the Star League. Hopefully this will enable us to fight of the tyranny of the Clans.”

“You were wounded on Tukayyid fighting against the Clans, what are your feelings towards the descendants of Kerensky?”

“I lost a lot of good friends during the Clan Invasion, so I think you can imagine what my feelings would be. It is a tragic legacy for the SLDF who once embodied the best spirit of cooperation to return after centuries in self imposed exile as would be conquers. General Kerensky realized the folly of such conquest over the entire Human Sphere which many lesser men have not.”

“How about women like Primus Myndo Waterly?”

“Certainly, Operation Scorpion was a very ill conceived example of such futility that ComStar continues to suffer for. Like the Star League our Order is at its best when it works to foster cooperation rather than imposing its authority.”

“Some have accused Precentor Martial Focht of executing his own takeover in the wake of Tukayyid. As the top three Techs including yourself are now ComGuards at the New Earth HPG I have to ask, has there been a military coup within ComStar?”

“No, absolutely not. Many disaffected Blakists have spread such lies in the wake of the Reformation. Demi-Precentor Holloway and I transferred out of the ComGuards following Tukayyid. We received our assignments from the Primus who, in spite of scurrilous rumors, remains the Chief Administrator of the Order.”

“It doesn’t sound like your too happy with the dissidents who have departed for Gibson.”

“That’s because I’m not. I will not sit idly bye and watch this Brotherhood divided. I can understand the doubts which many have about our Order’s new direction. For those True Believers I hope that we can one day reconcile these differences in good faith. However, there are some fanatics who have managed to escape justice that I think we have been far too kind to.”

“Well unfortunately I’ll have to end it there as we are out of time. I’d like to thank you for coming in today Precentor and hopefully you’ll join us again one day.”

“That would be great, thanks again Russell.”

“I must say I approve of ComStar’s new openness, we’ll be right back.”
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 05:31:09 by Takiro »

Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #6 on: 06 March 2011, 14:53:48 »
-6-

Katyusha
Strana Mechty, Kerensky Cluster
27 June 3052


Tiny battlemechs moved across the simulated swamps of Wolcott, nibbled away at by hovercraft, wasting their firepower against decoys while the real enemy struck from cover. "Fools." Khan Virgilia Truscott managed a smile. “Obviously the Smoke Jaguars learned nothing from the experience.”

The Star Adders had studied the strengths and weaknesses of the Inner Sphere since the Dragoon Compromise. They carefully analysed the intelligence sent back to the homeworlds, training their touman for the challenges of the invasion. But when the time came ilKhan Leo Showers ignored her counsel for a broader more powerful assault. Virgilia challenged the ill-conceived Operation Revival on the grounds it endangered the Clans.

Unfortunately the Star Adders were narrowly defeated in a Trail of Refusal by the Smoke Jaguars. Using the dezgra tactics of the InnerSphere the 417th Adder Sentinels of Kappa Galaxy nearly bested the Jaguars who ruthlessly defended the ilKhan’s plan. Only the Jaguars sheer aggressiveness won the day, a fact that Virgilia would not forget.

Her warnings had gone unheeded by the Invading Clans - in fact their response to the Trial was a galling move by Leo Showers to censure the Star Adders which only added to the rivalry between the two Clans that dated back to the Mongoose Absorption. - and now they were bound by a fifteen year truce. It gave her small satisfaction that the Jaguars had gone onto suffer reversals on Wolcott, Luthien, and Tukayyid.

Tapping a control on her computer switched the display from recordings of Wolcott to the latest folly, against the ComGuards who also defeated the Diamond Sharks, Nova Cats, and Steel Vipers. Only the Wolves and the Ghost Bears won any sort of victory in her opinion while the Jade Falcons were awarded a draw. After computing various scenarios Virgilia found herself wishing she could have been there. “Precentor Martial Focht might be a rare challenge.”

But it was not to be. Such depressing thoughts were becoming more common place for the aging Khan of the Star Adders. Even by Clan standards thirty four years of age was not old but the passage of time seemed particularly cruel to her. Virgilia had been Khan for almost five years now and the daily reports from the invaders served as a constant reminder that she had missed an opportunity. It was not something she was accustomed to: Virgilia had passed her Trial of Position as a Star Commander and won a place in Alpha Galaxy. Her early accomplishments won her recognition as a ristar and mention as a candidate for Adder Keeper. Virgilia had upset those plans when she won her Bloodname only a year after earning a place in the Touman. By 3041 she was a Star Captain and who commanded a trinary of the Adder Command Keshik. Disagreements with Khan Cassius N'Buta, who considered her naïve, led to a transfer back to Alpha Galaxy. Any thoughts of a career slide were quickly dashed when Truscott won command of the 5th Assault Cluster in 3045. When Khan N'Buta died in battle against Clan Burrock two years later Virgilia was able to secure leadership of the Star Adders with backing from younger warriors.

While many outsiders expected her to be displaced for failing to secure a place in the Crusade her predictions of disaster were proven all too accurate winning her wide spread support in the wake of Tukayyid. Virgilia kept the Star Adder touman strong, channeling her warriors' frustration into fighting off frequent challenges made by other Clans seeking to 'punish' her for opposing the ilKhan.

As Virgilia picked up her glass to drink some water a slight buzz alerted her to an incoming message. She was surprised to see a recording of the ilKhan on her vidscreen. Unlike the Smoke Jaguars, the Wolves had learnt from the Wolf Dragoons reports, and their victories on the Inner Sphere were an impressive contrast. They were also realists: Virgilia had continued preparations for action outside the Homeworlds by creating a base of operations in the Deep Periphery. While some protested the move ilKhan Ulric Kerensky had been grateful to the Adders for volunteering to establish such a presence. Patrolling the Exodus Road for pirates or undiscovered colonies was hardly considered prestigious but like Khan Truscott, the new ilKhan realized the value of proper logistics.

Pressing play Truscott sat back in her chair and listened intently. “Greetings Khan Truscott, no doubt you are monitoring the progress of the invasion and realize that recent events have altered the Crusade forever. A young Star Colonel reminded me of your pre-invasion objections and counter-proposals which seem particularly useful at this time. We are currently developing a contingency plan named Operation Restoration that I would like to get your input on.”

A short pause followed as the old gray Wolf smiled, “And yes Virgilia, you were right. Operation Revival was ill conceived but I doubt you will hear that from the Crusaders. It would be my honor to get your thoughts on a renewed operation. Please let me know as soon as possible.” As the ilKhan’s image faded from view she realized that the Star Adders' time had come. No doubt Ulric was playing some kind of political game but that did not matter to Truscott. Warden or Crusader it mattered not. This was her second chance to join a new invasion and this time she would get it right.

*      *      *      *      *

The hastily assembled gathering considered the possibilities that now lay before them. “We should align ourselves with the Jade Falcons” said Adjutant Tabitha Paik. This trothkin of Virgilia was a fierce warrior who was without a doubt fit for the Khanship. While stymied by the rise of others Tabitha had risen to become Adder’s Adjutant which oversaw the civilian castes. “The Federated Commonwealth presents a worthy challenge for us to overcome and the Falcons are fellow Crusaders. A partnership with them would be the most advantageous perhaps even leading to a greater role in the future.”

"The current Falcon Khans are far too nefarious for my taste - best not to get near to their dark talons," Loremaster Dagmar Lahiri was quick to retort. One of the last of the old guard his words could always be counted on to carry wisdom and special insight. "Our Clan took Arcadia along side the Ghost Bears, we should take the Inner Sphere alongside them as well. They are more pragmatic Crusaders, much like ourselves, who have shown steady improvement throughout the invasion.”

“Even the Wolves could prove to be good allies,” proposed saKhan Roderick N'Buta, his face not revealing how serious he was about the notion: it would not be unlike him to raise an idea in order to ensure that it was rejected. Elected following his successful challenge of then saKhan Delton Lahiri’s inept command in 3047 this well-built Mechwarrior was three years Virgilia’s senior. While the two of them did not always agree she valued his counsel in all matters. “The ilKhan maybe suggesting as much through this message, his leadership of his Clan and the invasion gives every indication that it will be the Wolves will be the best placed to seize Terra once our effort resumes.”

Silence hung in the air as the room looked to their Khan. “You have mentioned three of the leading Invading Clans, what of the Smoke Jaguars?” she asked, a faraway look in her eyes.

Many began to laugh as the mere thought of pairing with that hated Clan was incomprehensible. Ever since the Mongoose Absorption neither Clan could stomach the other even though both became leading members of Crusader movement working together was beyond the realm of possibility. The young Adder Keeper Hannibal of the Banacek line recovered his composure enough to say “I do not think that would be an ideal cooperative, quineg?”

“Neg,” agree Khan Virgilia Truscott with a nod. “But who said anything about cooperation with the Jaguars?”

The amusement of the Adder’s High Command was replaced by bewilderment. “What exactly are you proposing?” saKhan N’Buta asked with a quizzical expression.

Standing before the assembly Virgilia smiled thinly. “I like the look of their Invasion Zone, my trothkin. Surely the warriors of the Draconis Combine have proven themselves worthy foes and many of their most valued worlds were nearly reached during the invasion, so we could be sure of glorious battle to prove our might to all the Clans, and the Nova Cats already share the path - unlike the Smoke Jaguars, they are strong in the arts of war, not merely those in battle: worthy allies, quiaff?"

Cutting off any responses she continued: "Aff, I like the corridor very well. But as you say, I like the Jaguars not at all. However, there is an obvious solution to that: look at the heavy losses the Jaguars have suffered just recently on Tukayyid and on Luthien. Combine that with their loss on Wolcott and it tells me one thing. Our age old rival is vulnerable and we should exploit this weakness. It is my intention that we should challenge Clan Smoke Jaguar for a Trial of Possession for their Invasion Corridor and for their status as an Invading Clan.”

“Thanks to our preparations since the invasion began we have remained at a near constant state of readiness. Logistics Adjutant Alexander LeFabre has worked tirelessly to establish a supply network that includes our forward bases on Absalom. This habitable world which lies along the Exodus Road can be used to harass any Jaguar resupply effort. Naval Adjutant Samuel Guidice probably knows that area of space better than most thanks to our bandit hunts. Meanwhile Intelligence Adjutant Roland Turgidson can pinpoint vital Jaguar industry for such efforts here on the homeworlds. Finally Defense Adjutant Vanel Talasko has assured me that our Provisional Galaxies can be quickly reorganized to support such operations.”

Adjutant Paik hesitated, weighing the alternatives. “It might be better to strike at the Diamond Sharks as they are by far the weakest Invading Clan,” she offered cautiously.

"Do not mistake their small forces in the Inner Sphere for a weakness of spirit, Tabitha." The Khan walked over to her chief competitor. “I tell you, the Jaguars are the key to this all."

Puzzled Paik now face to face with her Khan inquired: “Just what exactly are your intentions Virgilia?”

Raising herself as tall as she could Khan Truscott exclaimed “We shall reveal their weakness, the rot that threatens the entire invasion and for the good of the Crusade we shall replace them. Our Clan will not only take part in this renewed invasion, we shall lead it!”
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 05:32:57 by Takiro »

Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #7 on: 06 March 2011, 14:54:19 »
-7-

Avalon City
New Avalon, Federated Commonwealth
29 June 3052


“Ahh, it's good to be home.” For a time it seemed as though Hanse would never return to the Prince’s residence. To him years had pasted during a near death experience that in reality must have only lasted hours. While the vivid experience had some what faded from his focus the memories remained. Thankfully many of those horrors had been replaced by the far more cheerful presence of his family. Everyone save Peter, who remained on his annually scheduled trip to Tharkad, had gathered to spend time with their father who was recovering from a devastating stroke. After two decades spent as a mere ghost it was a role that Hanse was more than happy to settle into once again.

“Thank you, that will be all,” his beautiful wife Melissa said lovingly to the household servants who had faithfully assisted Hanse to his bedroom. It was unusual for him to rely on such assistance but the Fox was in no position to refuse such help even though he hated to admit it.

As his attendants filed by wishing him well Hanse realized just how glad he was to be out of the hospital. Settling into his own bed he smiled at his family affectionately. “It's great having you all back together again.” The demands of the Federated Commonwealth super state made such gatherings far too infrequent – a dilemma that he vowed to correct.

The expressions of concern from his family jolted Hanse back into the moment. Rather than thinking of his next move as the future ruler of the Inner Sphere he realized for the first time that his family was still in shock from seeing their father hobbled by a near fatal condition. Besides what were his dreams if the results would one day end in the nightmare he had foreseen? If any of his plans to undo what he envisioned bore fruit it was here in this room with his wife and their children that the foundation would be laid.

“We thought we had lost you dad,” said young Arthur.

“Lose me? Not a chance,” Hanse retorted. “I told you I wouldn’t miss your birthday.” As Arthur embraced his father he couldn’t know that a few helpful reminders from his staff had told Hanse that his little boy would soon be fifteen.

With all that had happened it was a wonder that the Fox could even discern what day it was. Hugging a son that he once thought dead was just another in a long line of confusing events. His wife smiling nearby had not been so lucky but that was then and this was now. As Hanse sat up in bed Melissa helped arrange his pillows. “I'm glad to see you're feeling better."

“Oh my love to gaze upon your beauty again is enough to get my blood flowing.” The sentiments brought a wry smile to his face and then to hers.

“There is my Old Grey Fox,” she replied.

As Yvonne started to giggle Katherine asked: “Should we give you a little privacy?”

“Actually I wanted to talk to you all.” Hanse admitted. “When a man comes face to face with death he wants to know that his future is secure. And to be quite honest I have my doubts about the unity of the Federated Commonwealth.”

Victor chimed in immediately. “You should. In the wake of the Clan invasion Separatist groups are screaming bloody murder. Lyrans think that Davion did nothing to help them during the invasion and people from the Federated Suns really don’t see the Clans as their biggest problem – other traditional enemies like Liao or Kurita draw more of their ire. Hell, much of the Draconis March still wants to use the Clan invasion to help finish off the Dragon.”

“Watch your language in front of the children!” Melissa scolded Victor angrily.

“Oh mom I’ve already heard much worse than that."

Arthur's response only made Melissa more upset. “That isn’t the point – your brother should be able to control himself.”

Victor shook his head. “You're right mom but those people just make me so darn mad."

“We should really talk about this later,” said a concerned Melissa. “You should get some rest, love,” she told Hanse.

“Dad is alright mom;" Katherine objected. "We need to do something to get the press on our side.”

Victor snorted. “Unfortunately many of those ba-, uh, people are already spreading lies while treating dad like a glorified corpse.”

Hanse interjected “Naturally son, I think people who get into the press just like to stir the pot. Remember they have their purpose and you can use their tendencies to your benefit.”

Katherine smiled, “Well said, father. What we have to focus on are supporters of the Federated Commonwealth not its detractors.”

“Sadly many of our most ardent supporters fell during the Clan invasion or now reside with the Occupation Zone,” said Melissa despondently.

Like an epiphany the idea hit Hanse producing a large smile. Of course! Such an operation would utilize all of our best traits. He leaned forward and kissed his wife lovingly. “You’re a genius, my sweet. We will retake the initiative and make certain we leave no one behind.”

*      *      *      *      *

As they walked through the Royal Palace both men were still in a state of shock. Information on Isis Marik had just been introduced to the public and was still coming in to the Federated Commonwealth intelligence apparatus. The healthy albeit illegitimate alternative to the ailing Joshua Marik was quickly paired the new Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation to establish a renewed alliance with the Free Worlds League. Luckily her blood work had just arrived at NAIS as a potential donor for her sickly half-brother which would have been a long shot anyway given their relationship.

Incredibly the outcome was just as the Fox had predicted. Ardan and Quintus had double then triple checked the results of the test. Sortek shook his head “I still can’t believe it”. “What part” Allard asked dispassionately “the fact that Thomas Marik isn’t Thomas Marik?” The glib matter of fact response bought a smile to Ardan’s face. “Yeah for starters” he responded “but the fact that Hanse knew before we even got a hint of this”. The accuracy and lucidity of their friend’s recollection had been enough to convince them to check things out but neither had foreseen the consequences of their investigation.

Approaching the final security check point before reaching the Prince’s Chambers Quintus had to admit “The implications are profound to say the least”. Presenting their credentials to the guards each was thoroughly vetted per standard procedure then allowed to enter. “Can you imagine the advantage this gives us” Sortek said quietly as they continued “if he knows everything that will happen for the next twenty years…” His voice trailed off as a servant passed them by. “Let’s just start with what we do know and can confirm” Allard asserted “there is no need to engage in pointless speculation”.

Arriving at Hanse’s quarters at the prearranged time the duo knocked before entering careful not to disturb the Prince if he was resting. Of course he was waiting for them in spite of his condition “You two are right on time come in”. Closing the door behind them Ardan became exasperated with his old friend “You should be resting! If Melissa knew about this meeting she’d kill us.” Of course the Fox only smiled at this scolding “You sound just like her Sortek, now what did you find out?” Quintus spoke as he sat down “Before we go into the specifics I think we should bring Melissa and other trusted individuals into this.”

The Prince nodded in approval “Providing the results of our investigation bare out the Archon will be the first individual we will involve in these continuing efforts”. While all three men were anxious to discuss the results Quintus held up his hand to forestall that discussion just a moment longer. Carefully choosing his words he whispered “I’ve also had some thoughts on making all of this more plausible to the general public and our adversaries. Many would use these discussions against the Federated Commonwealth especially if they knew they came from the Prince”. Hanse mused at the insinuation “So I’m not crazy?”

General Sortek couldn’t help himself from making the obligatory snide remark “No, this certainly proves you’re crazy like a Fox.” That comment bought laughter from all three men but Allard eventually recovered his train of thought. “The foundation of a new intelligence group, possibly an unofficial unit of the Intelligence Secretariat but certainly one dedicated to the continued unity of the Federated Commonwealth, would make an adequate umbrella for the gathering and analysis of such unusual information.” The Prince picking up on his friend’s lead followed quickly “Such a band of mystic patriots would insulate me from any scurrilous rumors of psychic forecasting and allow us to make effective use of my vision.”

“That is how I see it” Quintus said. Hanse agreed “Good, I have further thoughts on the formal unification of the Commonwealth but lets get to it – how did your search turn out?” Still in disbelief Sortek raised his eyebrows “Your information on Thomas was spot on.” He handed the Prince the electronic reader with all the details they had uncovered adding “Your vision was disturbingly accurate enough to make a believer out of me or any who hears it”. Allard stood up and placed a small recording device near Hanse’s bedside “It certainly makes me curious in what else you can recall in detail”. As his friends sat Hanse placed the reader down and lay back trying to gather up all his revelations once more. Ardan calmly spoke “Tell us everything you remember.”

*      *      *      *      *

Entering the Fox’s Den as the direct representative of the sovereign was an experience for Victor. He had previously visited the military headquarters of the Federated Suns several times before but this would be his first time as “the guy”. While the twenty two year old Kommandant was a veteran of the Clan Invasion and heir to the throne of the entire Federated Commonwealth he still felt out of place. Historic stories of younger now legendary rulers repeating in his mind didn’t replace a natural sense that he just didn’t belong. Brushing aside further thoughts of nervousness the young Duke of the Sarna March proceeded to the head of the table. Placing his notes down Victor came to attention and saluted the assembly “Good evening everyone”.

“Highness” was the general acknowledgement that followed along with a crisp return of proper military etiquette. Victor continued “At ease, please be seated – thank you all for coming on such short notice. I will be acting as the Prince’s Champion temporarily until General Sortek concludes a personal matter.” Looking up he saw a giant holographic display that broadcast a live feed from Asgard on Tharkad. The military headquarters of the Lyran Commonwealth was located beneath Mount Wotan hundreds of light years away. Thankfully the temporary agreement between ComStar and the Federated Commonwealth had been extended until contract talks could be commenced. This enabled the HPG link between the capitals and their respective military HQs.

Marshal of the Armies Morgan Hasek-Davion spoke from Tharkad “Your really burning the midnight oil there Victor” his smile grew “how is your father?” The youthful Prince couldn’t help but grin when delivering his response “Oh I think you’ll see by these new orders that the Fox is recovering nicely.” Morgan laughed “Yeah I figured he’d be giving the doctors hell” which caused further chuckling as he continued “so do you need our finest lance of Mechs to restrain him”. Victor smirked but managed to proceed with the formalities of the impromptu meeting of the AFFC High Command “Additional verification for these orders authorized by the Archon and the Prince will follow through secure channels”.

This thinly veiled reference to the Black Box network operated by the FedCom Intelligence Command got the conference back on track. Exhaling before he continued Victor knew the extensive reorganization that his parents outlined had to be in place fairly quickly. Many of their reforms were discussed previously but their sudden execution today was sure to bring objections. Victor began reading from the notes his family had only recently compiled “The immediate implementation of Operation White Knight, and its supporting directives, are paramount to the security of the Federated Commonwealth. Our goal is to successful rescue our brave warriors from the clutches of the Clans.”

Recognizing the stress the young heir was under made the mood somewhat tense. Morgan nodded his head “Understood, could you elaborate on the supporting directives.” Victor looked straight ahead “Several organizational changes with the AFFC are desired by the sovereigns to promote greater unity and efficiency by utilizing natural strengths in both realms thus aiding in this vital operation.” Field Marshal Jackson Davion, the State Commander of the Federated Suns, questioned “Are we talking about a departure from the successful AFFS model?”

“Hah, the Davion military structure did little to halt the recent Clan advance” retorted State Commander of the Lyran Commonwealth Field Marshal Nondi Steiner. An annoyed Field Marshal Toni Reynolds who ran the Department of Military Education “Several independent reviews and innumerable studies conclusively found that the Davion model was the best available for the new AFFC”. As further widespread grumbling began to erupt for the membership Morgan intervened “Order! This is not a debate society. Continue Highness.”

Victor merely glanced down continuing to read from his notes which appropriately addressed many of the concerns raised “Building upon the effective structure currently in place the First Prince and the Archon direct the High Command to apply the following changes to the FedCom military. One, the Department of Military Intelligence (DMI) is to be fully integrated with the AFFC becoming the nation’s first joint intelligence agency staffed by personnel from both nations.” Field Marshal Ivar Bergstrom the current head of the AFFC Department of Military Intelligence raised his hand to comment “Highness, how is this to be achieved? The prospects of such an enormous amalgamation seem to raise many questions that should immediately be resolved.”

The Prince shook his head in acknowledgement “Your smaller existing Department will be merged with Davion Military Intelligence creating a single organization. That DMI structure will remain largely unchanged with the exception of the Rabid Foxes. That special operations branch will be attached to MIIO which will require the formation of a new MI6 commando unit. Personnel will be determined on a voluntary basis. Davion operatives will be given a choice to serve in the new combined agency or join MIIO which will remain in the service of the Suns. Lyran operatives get the choice to remain with LIC in much the same fashion or join the newly united DMI.”
 
Not completely satisfied Field Marshal Bergstrom asked “Despite the name of my Department some personnel just don’t fit the mold of DMI. Military Police and JAG officers fall well outside the bounds of that organization.” Victor quickly responded “Quite correct Field Marshal, that is why the second directive ordered by the sovereigns establishes a Department of Military Justice which will incorporate those parts of the AFFC’s current Military Intelligence.” Mollified by this development Bergstrom simply nodded “Well you’ve addressed all of my concerns on the issue, thank you Highness.”

As he smiled in acknowledgement Victor thought to himself that won’t be the last objection unfortunately. Returning to his notes he read out loud “Thirdly, the sovereigns desire an expansion of the Department of Mercenary Relations to encompass a wide range of Military Affairs. DMA will become home to the liaison branches of the AFFC which will work to enhance our operations with independent allied commands as well as domestic troops who have retained their local autonomy.” The Chief of Mercenary Relations, Marshal Grissom Miller, seemed pleased “Basically this combines our responsibilities with the LCAF’s House Troops Liaison that oversaw corporate and noble troops throughout the realm.”

Not everyone was as pleased as Miller. Field Marshal Jessup Winston seated just to Victor’s right ran the Department of the Army and Navy stood to lose some authority. “Sir, I must protest. My Department handles these concerns quite adequately now.” Prince Victor looked directly at the Field Marshal “You won’t like the final directive any better. To improve AFFC military operations in space it has been decided that an independent Navy is necessary and proper.” Enraged by the order Field Marshal Winston rose to his feet “This is outrageous!”

Despite the sudden indignation Victor refused to be intimidated. Rising deliberately to his feet the Prince faced the Field Marshal who suddenly seemed to remember his surroundings and gave space. Still he did not return to his seat. Victor spoke “Field Marshal if you can not abide by the wishes of the First Prince and the Archon you may of course resign”. While the Field Marshal stewed inwardly he returned to his seat saying only “No sir.” The Prince remained standing “Good, I expect all of these directives to be implemented as quickly as possible”.

“Yes sir!” the assembly universally responded. Satisfied with the accord Victor exclaimed “Excellent, dismissed!” As the meeting broke up Morgan remained behind to speak to the young Prince “I was worried about you for a while but you did well seizing command”. Victor finally relaxed sitting back down in the chair “I felt awful chastising Field Marshal Winston – we are asking a lot of him all at once”. The Marshal of the Armies smiled “Asking the impossible is the business we are in Victor, such is the burden of command.” Laughing just a little Victor said “Right you are.”
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 05:35:18 by Takiro »

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #8 on: 06 March 2011, 14:54:48 »
-8-

Hilton Head
Terra, Sol System
1 July 3052


Nigel Hawkins muttered to himself as the dropship descended towards Earth “You just can’t make this stuff up.” In less than a fortnight his target had been promoted, restored a crippled HPG network and risen to fame. These rapid series of events naturally dictated further recognition by the heretics who now infested ComStar’s once holy headquarters. Hard to believe that Tukayyid and Operation Scorpion were only slightly more distant but everything had been turned upside down. As the ship touched down the assassin thought with any luck he might be able to kill all three of the Great Apostates.

“That evil trinity of Mori, Focht and York would likely have in place the highest security measures possible” Hawkins thought quickly disabusing such glorious illusions from his mind. Unbuckling his harness Nigel was grateful to be among those chosen as part of York’s entourage as the investigation into his first attempt on York’s life had heated up. While he was sure that no link to his handy work could be established things were becoming tense. He couldn’t decide if Demi-Precentor Von Weid suspected him or trusted his expertise. The Security Chief was proving to be a formidable adversary.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer was an axiom to live by in the espionage business. As he stood Hawkins was surprised to hear a deep voice behind him “Don’t move.” This shocking declaration was accompanied by the all too familiar cocking of a slug throwing pistol. “How?” panicked he rethought his every move since entering the room. Nigel had secured his quarters prior to atmospheric descent leaving nothing to chance. Already a paranoid individual to begin with his ROM training only reinforced this natural mistrust but somehow the intruder must have entered during the landing operation.

“Just listen Brother, I bring word from the Master.” While the tone of the unfamiliar voice eased his nerves somewhat Nigel couldn’t be sure. “Forgive me if I don’t take your word for it Brother but could you verify your identity?” A slight laugh “Its better you don’t know me at all Nigel but you can call me Harbinger if you like. Sorry I can’t do any better Mr. Hawkins but in these turbulent times no ROM catch phrase or password would be acceptable at least to me. So Falchion why haven’t you completed your assignment with the heretic York?”

The use of his real name, call sign, and current mission details was enough to convince Hawkins that this was individual was a Blakist agent. “He managed to escape his fate once thanks to a lucky turn of events, it won’t happen again.” Expecting to be scolded or worse Nigel was taken back by the response. “Unfortunately, luck had nothing to do with it. Ever hear of the Overseers?” A quizzical look overtook the assassin’s face as he nearly turned around forgetting the circumstances. “I thought they were a myth.” The figure in his peripheral vision for a moment moved out of sight “Well that garbage you’ve seen on the vids is conspiracy theory nonsense but they are very much real.”

Still curious he turned back to face the wall of his quarters desperately trying to get a glimpse of Harbinger. “Well what is real then?” The messenger responded “That is the big question now isn’t it? The Overseers are a super secret group that functions outside the established Order to help forecast the course of human events. Since ComStar’s earliest days they have used every possible method to further Blake’s vision. Thankfully they have remained true to the Word of Blake and now serve the Master.” Skeptical Nigel rebuked him “Well you haven’t told me anything the scandal vids haven’t.”

“Do not mock me Falchion! All was foreseen by the Overseers. I have seen their work with my own eyes. The evidence of their predictions is irrefutable and more importantly to you it is the only reason you haven’t been punished for your failure to kill York. You see Hanse Davion should have died on June 17th 3052.” Nodding in realization Hawkins spoke gradually drawing the conclusion “But he didn’t and that was the reason the apostate canceled his first public appearance and avoided his own fate.”

Harbinger spoke approvingly of this assessment “Correct now everything has started to unravel. Years of work could be rendered worthless by this Fox Anomaly.” Still trying to fully understand Nigel asked “What can I do to restore the humanity to Blake’s Path?” As the massive doors to the dropship opened signaling general disembarkation the herald spoke again “The Master is pleased that your cover as Dr. Winston Graves is still intact and the Overseers are hopeful you can still complete your original mission at a future date. Certain events are destined after all.”

“Look for the Fox and the heretics to meet before you strike. May the Peace of Blake be with you Brother” and with that he heard the door to his quarters close. Turning quickly he saw the room was empty. Harbinger had gone. Rushing to the door Hawkins scrambled to find him but ran head long into Demi-Precentor Von Weid. “Are you alright Doctor? It looks like you’ve seen a ghost.” Recovering his composure Nigel simply smiled “I always get nervous during landing operations – you never can tell what is going to happen.”

*      *      *      *      *

York remembered his first visit through the sacred halls of Hilton Head as the young Acolyte guided him to his meeting. After all it wasn’t even a month ago that he had been visited the First Circuit Compound as part of his promotion. William would have liked to better appreciate the historical and scientific significance of this blessed site without all the damn politics but it wasn’t in the cards. He’d rather be back on the battlefield with the ComGuards where he at least had the luxury of facing his opponents. The Acolyte knocked on the door to the Office of the Primus announcing his arrival, “Precentor William York of New Earth.”

“Please come in Precentor” said Primus Sharilar Mori who remained seated behind her desk. As she continued to look over reports Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht rose from one of two chairs in front of the desk “Its good to see you again William.” York wanted to salute his former commander but remembered that wouldn’t be proper etiquette given his current station. Instead he nodded and simply said “Likewise sir.” The two men who had met formally after the Battle of Tukayyid during an award ceremony shuck hands and faced the Primus. She thanked the Acolyte who closed the door and left them to their business.

“So how do you like your new post?” Focht said. William smiled “Not as safe as I thought it would be.” Primus Mori rose to her feet apparently angered by the remark “Well perhaps if you didn’t invite such violence with your hasty actions and frequent public appearances you might feel safer.” For some reason York didn’t feel the need to apologize “Cowardly assassins who spread their message by attempting to silence others doesn’t exactly inspire me to sit quietly bye and do nothing.” The Precentor Martial tried to play peacemaker “I think what the Primus is trying to say William is you could stand to learn some diplomacy.”

However the Primus would not be easily appeased “Take a seat gentlemen.” As both men sat Mori seemed to maintain her displeasure with the Precentor of New Earth. “Your reckless actions haphazardly restored HPG operations and could have cost ComStar control of the network.” York didn’t know how to take her critique “As I’ve explained given the fluidity of the situation quick action was required to alleviate a potential crisis.” The Precentor Martial added his support “The operation did have its benefits Primus and Precentor York didn’t violate any protocols.”

Mori was undeterred “Precentor York acted to alleviate a problem with the Federated Commonwealth not ComStar that is what concerns me. Given the fragile state of our Order after the Schism more consideration should have been given to the consequences.” Keeping his composure William coolly responded “Primus over the course of my life I have learned not to hesitate and everything I did I would do again.” Mori sat back down but her gaze did not abate “The Precentor Martial is departing on a diplomatic tour of the InnerSphere and you will accompany him.”

Wonderful York thought to himself “I look forward to the trip. Is that all Primus?” Mori continued “Hopefully you will learn some caution because it is now required of you. That is all.” The Primus returned to her paperwork again as Focht rose with William “I’ll meet with you soon and discuss the particulars.” A smile returned to York’s face “Excellent, I can’t wait to leave” as he shuck the Precentor Martial’s hand once again before leaving the room. As the door shut Focht turned back to the Primus “Why were you so hard on the young Precentor? I thought you were pleased with his actions?”

She looked up from her desk “I was simply testing him Anastasius. I wanted to see how our new Precentor would react to my negative appraisal.” Focht nodded his head “Ahh that makes more sense as York’s actions halted the precipitous drop of the C-bill and restored the flow of capital into our coffers. Not to mention the public relations boon for the Reformation.” The Primus smiled “I have to admit that I had doubts about our efforts but perhaps the future isn’t so bleak. In fact if all goes well with your trip I’m going to go ahead with the reform and expansion of the First Circuit.” Focht seemed to recall “Oh yes your idea to balanced out the Advocate Precentors with Blake’s original membership.” Turning around Primus Mori looked out the window into the distance “Who knows I may just have found my eventual successor.”
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 05:36:20 by Takiro »

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #9 on: 06 March 2011, 14:55:22 »
-9-

Tamar City
Tamar, Clan Wolf Occupation Zone
4 July 3052


Conal Ward sat quietly as the Bloodnamed of Clan Wolf continued to file into the Great Hall built for such occasions. Construction of this magnificent structure was a triumphal symbol of the Ways of Kerensky over the barbarous Houses of the InnerSphere. Its traditional settings and soaring architecture recalled the superior aspects of Clan society. One day he reassured himself such a glorious edifice will take its place on the sacred grounds of Terra regardless of our recent shortcomings. The one time Galaxy Commander could not help but think that Clans situation now mirrored his own as he was now disgraced.

Interfering in the final Bloodname trial between Phelan and Vlad had cost Conal dearly. Demoted and placed in charge of a mere solahma cluster the former Loremaster would now be forced to watch silently as his successor was elected. The Star Colonel remained confident that his Crusader philosophy would triumph despite his own personal setbacks. “The first of many victories” Ward thought as he smiled to some of his political allies entering the chamber for the vote. Turnover thanks to the farce of Tukayyid had seen an upswing of Crusaders in the Council and throughout the Clan as a whole.

Despite his shame Conal still retained informal leadership over this growing political bloc within the Wolves. It was just enough to orchestrate the selection of Star Captain Dalk Carns as their candidate for this high position. His protégé would lead the calls for removal of the ilKhan and the renunciation of the Truce. Over time his good name in spite of his enemies would be restored much as Aidan Pryde had done with the Jade Falcons. Conal’s cause was in ascendancy and it was only a matter of time before the Crusade was successfully concluded.

As the Warden Khans entered the room and bought proceedings to order Conal thought “No matter what you do your cause is doomed”. These Wolves were a dying breed who only held onto power through a careful mix of well timed political maneuvers and pure luck. ilKhan Ulric Kerensky rose from his chair “Trothkin of Clan Wolf we meet this day to elect a new Loremaster. I hereby open the floor for nominations.” While the statement drew Conal some glances most warriors looked towards the future searching the room for suitable candidates.

Galaxy Commander Mikel Furey rose just as they had planned and nominated his Gamma Galaxy aide, Dalk Carns. The fact that Mikel was an abtakha from the Smoke Jaguars concerned Conal somewhat. The Wolves had harvested such talented warriors from all over Clan space to further their goals and in spite of his adoption he wondered if some supporters might be put off by his unyielding hatred of the InnerSphere. A typical Jaguar trait if somewhat politically naïve he thought. Furey had proven himself an excellent commander and was the highest ranking Crusader currently within the Clan so Ward reassured himself especially after a positive response from the gathering.

Star Colonel Marcos Radick commander of the 37th Striker Cluster acknowledged the general reaction and seconded the nomination. While a passionate Crusader his former subordinate from Delta Galaxy was not much of politician. Severe injuries to other advocates would leave young Dalk on his own if the Wardens debate the issue but that would not matter. Their likely candidate was his replacement Galaxy Commander John Ward whose ardent beliefs and supreme arrogance made him many enemies. As the furor died away following Carns acceptance Conal simply smiled awaiting the fait accompli.

Khan Natasha Kerensky stood “I nominate Star Colonel George Kerensky, commander of the 352nd Assault Cluster, and architect of Operation Restoration.” Stunned Conal hardly noticed that the assembly went wild discussing what the Black Widow let slip. There was however no missing the cheerful second of Galaxy Commander John Ward who added his ringing endorsement. The ilKhan cut through the banter “The nominations have been made let the candidates debate orderly.” Dalk Carns was the first to speak in a sarcastic tone “Perhaps you could elaborate on this grand operation so we could all share in the excitement.”

As George Kerensky revealed his plan to transition from one invasion to another the horrible realization hit Conal. The Warden Wolves were attempting to seize the initiative not only of all future conquests but within the Clan as well. As Loremaster he had used his position to carefully promote Crusader ideals like placing like minded instructors in charge of sibko training. Ward silently cursed himself for not seeing their scheme sooner but now it was too late. As both candidates laid out their cases it became clear that Kerensky was swaying warriors from the Crusader candidacy. The frown on his face grew into a mask of rage. Ulric and his band had done it again.

The Crusaders had been accused of plunging headlong into danger without proper planning. By plotting a new course that would schedule activities during the truce years the Wardens effectively had stolen their thunder and Conal could say nothing. The result could be devastating to say the least. While he had hoped that the vote might still go his way Ward grew more disappointed with each passing moment. It remained close but in the end George Kerensky was elected the new Loremaster of Clan Wolf. Before the ceremony concluded Conal walked out. He had to consult with his allies as their whole cause was now in serious jeopardy.

*      *      *      *      *

“How could this happen!” Galaxy Commander Mikel Furey roared with all the fury of his birth Clan’s namesake. Focusing his rage into single finger of blame Mikel pointed squarely at Conal “Your plan has betrayed us old man.” While the accusation was the least of the former Loremaster’s worries at the moment it did draw his ire. Ward angrily shot back “How was I to know of this Warden deception?” As the two warriors closed distance the situation looked as if it would certainly come to blows. Only the sudden appearance of a third figure prevented further escalation.

The senior Khan of the Jade Falcon Clan emerged from the shadows to scold the would be combatants. “It is no small wonder that you Wolf Crusaders can not even win a simple election” said Elias Crichell. Since the death of ilKhan Leo Showers it was Crichell who emerged as the undisputed leader of the Crusader movement throughout the Clans. “As I recall Star Colonel Ward it was your plan to elect Ulric Kerensky as the ilKhan, quiaff?” Even though Conal had heard of the Jade Hawk’s reputation for blaming others for his failures the allegation stunted him.

Galaxy Commander Furey was infuriated “Is this true” he demanded. Ward looked coldly at his erstwhile ally “Your interference in our affairs is not welcomed Falcon Khan.” Despite their current situation Mikel acknowledged this truth “This solahma warrior has a point if you have business with the ilKhan or our Khans then you should speak with them.” Crichell shook his head feigning disbelief “Apparently your support of Phelan for sakhan of your Clan should have signaled the end of Crusader influence among you all but now this. Do you know what your ill conceived ventures have wasted?”

“I know that a warrior has to handle this and so I shall” said Furey. Disgusted by all of the continued talk the Wolf Galaxy Commander outlined a simple line of action “While you politicians scheme I shall challenge our new Loremaster to single combat.” Conal rolled his eyes “Oh that is brilliant, even sibling warriors realize that the election of a Loremaster by the Clan Council is not challenged by tradition.” Raising his arms Mikel waved off the older warriors concerns “That upstart insulted our righteous views of the Crusade and is more than susceptible to a Trail of Grievance.”

Conal opened his arms wide trying to make Furey understand “Such a dispute will only unify our opposition no matter its resolution and seal a Warden victory.” Elias merely laughed “The Wardens already hold sway here. I can see this endeavor has been a waste of time” Disgusted Mikel began to walk away “Enough of this talk; I shall deal with both of you on a field of battle after I dispose of this George Kerensky.” Star Colonel Ward locked his gaze on someone he once considered worthy of respect. Now there was only disgust in his face as turned his back and departed - not once did he look back.

Clearly the Wolf Clan was now beyond his grasp. Any true conquest of the InnerSphere despite talk of this new Warden operation would now have to include the death of the Wolves. Elias knew he would have to have allies in order to complete such a legendary task. It suddenly hit him. Thoughts of a new Crusader Alliance of several Clans built on the common seizure of the Kerensky lineage could fit the bill. The legacy of the Founder was jealous guarded by the Wolves. Only the legacy of his brother, Andery, was shared in any significant amount with any other Clan.

Not even the Coyotes who were also ardent Wardens were permitted to claim this sacred bloodname. While the Falcons, the Jaguars and others had all tried at different times to secure such rights none were ever successful. A new joint effort to liberate the greatest of the Clans from such a corrupt ideology and destroy the Wolves in order to advance the Crusade a new could be the way forward. Khan Crichell would have to speak to his political brethren among other Clans to propose such an alternative. Crichell smiled as though to himself he never did feel right about working with the Wolves.

*      *      *      *      *

Conal took his place among the many observers of the hastily arranged Trail of Grievance. True to his word Mikel Furey had challenged the new Loremaster for his verbal shots at the Crusade. Thankfully the Galaxy Commander’s flowery language avoided a dispute with the entire Clan Council. The fact that Kerensky chose augmented combat which played to both their strengths wasn’t a surprise to Ward. Such a ‘Mech duel avoided the physical complexities introduced by Tamar’s environment. The world’s heavy gravity and intense solar radiation would be mitigated by their war machines.

What took Conal and nearly everyone else by surprise was the speed with which the contest came together. Thanks to the eagerness of the combatants every aspect of preparation was expedited which reminding him of a sibko yard fight. The Wolf Clan training grounds some 20 kilometers north of Tamar City would serve as the site for the contest. Smitton had been a small village surrounded by dense forests before Operation Revival. During the invasion it was the site of a major battle between the Wolves and FedCom defenders.

The Clan had designated the area as a training ground following the battle for its historical significance and heavily wooded landscape. While Smitton was perhaps less than an ideal for ‘Mech combat it was the closest most ready zone for such a battle. Almost a Cluster of BattleMechs from all across the Wolf Touman formed a Circle of Equals. Conal and his Gargoyle were one of those given this honor probably because of his former status. Furey would also be utilizing the same Mech which the InnerSphere had dubbed a Man O’ War in the Trail.

Ward began to size up the competition as the combatants took their positions. While Galaxy Commander Furey had been wounded at Tukayyid he showed no sign of injury and was probably more prepared for this fight. Loremaster Kerensky had piloted a Linebacker until the same battle but it had been so badly damaged that Technicians chose to scrap it rather than repair it. He would instead be using an older Timber Wolf, or a Mad Cat as Spheroids were fond of calling it, that the ilKhan had assigned him. Both warriors were considered elite by the high standards maintained by the Clans.

Kerensky was a better pilot while Furey was a better gunner. Conal had to admit that the Warden possessed a natural flair as Mechwarrior that few could match. Despite his youth he had a reputation as a cerebral opponent whose methodical style was so far undefeated. Mikel was the more experienced Mechwarrior who had learned cunning from the Wolves which he paired with aggressive tactics from his birth Clan. The former Jaguar could have been forced to drop weight or choose a lesser Mech if this affair had been considered a Trail of Refusal.

As the warriors saluted each other and signaled their readiness Conal could not decide if the new Loremaster was foolish for not trying to recast the issue in his favor or honorable in the extreme. At the signal both Mechwarriors drove their war machines forward closing the nine hundred meters that lay between them. The thick vegetation slowed their speed and negated long range fire. Instead of an early exchange of weapons each opponent bounded toward the other dodging objects and trampling underbrush. The sound of branches snapping and trees crashing was not what Ward had been expecting.

By studying the visual and sensor data Conal could see that Furey had chose to configure his Gargoyle in the standard “C” with little variation. This short range arsenal gave him excellent firepower at close proximity something that the terrain favored. Six Extended Range Medium Lasers supported a massive 203 mm Ultra Autocannon which could deal tremendous amounts of damage in tight quarters. Mikel had replaced the Anti-Personnel Pods in the normal package with a double heat sink and an Extended Range Small Laser which were more appropriate to the situation.

As many configurations of the Timber Wolf featured long ranged weaponry Ward guessed correctly that the new Loremaster was using the “D” configuration. This pod mount was typically seen during a Bloodname Grand Melee or in the invasion against the inept armies of the Successor Lords. Redirecting all four Streak SRM 6s forward together with a single Extended Range Small Laser gave Kerensky extremely accurate close range firepower. The drawback of this variant were the t two Extended Range Particle Projection Cannons which were intended for long range destruction.

This meant that the Warden Heavy Mech might well be outmatched by the Crusader Assault Mech in this setting even though there was only a slight weight difference. To Conal’s surprise the first shots from Kerensky were not the weaponized lightning of PPCs he was expecting. Instead the unmistakable flashes of dual Large Pulse Lasers gleamed from the Tiber Wolf. While most missed the mark through the dense thicket some beams found the Gargoyle’s right torso. The Warden had chosen his arsenal better then Ward had expected.

As Furey was again peppered with laser beams at a distance he attempted to respond with his own weaponry but failed to connect. Mikel dispensed with most maneuvering charging directly at George in a desperate bid to close the range quickly. As he did Kerensky managed to lock on with some of his Streak SRMs. Clearly agitated by these hits the Galaxy Commander responded with a single massive strike against his Warden opponent. While a number of these weapons missed a huge autocannon shell found the torso of the Timber Wolf.

Staggered by the blow Kerensky steadied his machine and returned his own alpha strike. Beam after beam, missile after missile landed on the Gargoyle with tremendous force shattering armor and creating many holes. Clearly damaged under such withering fire Furey limped ahead trying to finish off his adversary. Unloading again with all his arsenal Mikel appeared to succeed if only for a moment. The Timber Wolf disappeared among the devastating blows and growing forest fire started by earlier misses. As the smoke cleared it was apparent that the Warden remained.

Despite the enormous jolt of such an attack George skillfully moved his machine with blinding speed to flank his crippled opponent. Mikel was now obviously dealing with a broken Mech hip and could barely keep the Timber Wolf in his line of sight. Kerensky fired again as he rushed by Furey now off to his right. As he did a volley of missiles struck the Gargoyle in the head sending it hurtling to the ground. The giant robot sat on its side completely motionless. As the hulk lay smoldering among a heap of fallen trees it was understood that the Trail was over and the matter resolved.

Technicians scrambled to the cockpit of the Gargoyle to find what Conal Ward feared most. Mikel Furey was dead and with him the slim hope that the Crusaders would ever again lead the Wolf Clan. The Wardens were once more in charge and this time they would not relinquish the leadership of the Wolves. Conal felt completely defeated as the lifeless corpse of Galaxy Commander Furey was removed from his Mech. Disgraced by his past acts, forsaken by his allies outside the Clan, and betrayed by Crichell what was left of the Crusaders in his Clan were now lone wolves.
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 05:37:50 by Takiro »

nerd

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #10 on: 06 March 2011, 19:31:24 »
Nice seeing this back up!
M. T. Thompson
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Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #11 on: 06 March 2011, 20:29:07 »
Good to be back and like I said with my first post check out OurBattleTech.com for Chapter 10. Eventually I plan on creating a full AU around this story. Here is that link again.

http://ourbattletech.com/forum/index.php?topic=373.msg10069#msg10069

Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #12 on: 23 July 2011, 19:34:40 »
Been awhile guys but Chapter 10 is going now as well as some other stuff. Gonna post the first part of 10 here now. See the latest, part 2, over of OBT now. Enjoy!

- 10 -

Avalon City
New Avalon, Federated Commonwealth
5 July 3052


The Grand Dining Hall of the Royal Palace was an imposing place that frequently hosted distinguished nobles and foreign dignitaries. Even such illustrious occasions barely seemed able to fill the cavernous hall. For the first time in his life Hanse thought that today’s family breakfast filled the room beyond capacity. Maybe he was going soft, perhaps it was his recent brush with death, or visions of things to come that filled this vast space. There was much to be done the Fox thought to himself and only a finite amount of time to change things for the better.

Hanse wasn’t all that concerned with his own mortality as his family, friends, and medical attendants frequently pointed out. That fact bought a smile to his face as his children bantered about the table. His own seat at that table, a wheel chair, was another reminder of his present physical shortcomings. He was determined to make a difference in the future that he had foreseen and continued to haunt him. The stroke would not stop him, this was his second chance, and he would not fail. Still something scarred him about this day and as he looked across at his beloved wife he knew what it was.

Melissa had been obviously concerned since her arrival on New Avalon and with each passing day Hanse could see that this concern grew. He wanted to keep all of these dark events from her most of all but knew that would be impossible. If things were to be altered for the better the Archon would have to know the truth. The Fox couldn’t hide the grim look on his face as Katherine offered some suggestions to her mother on today’s public appearance. Hanse looked away as Melissa glimpsed his momentary discomfort. Not the first time it had happened but after today things will get better.

   “I’m still getting used to all these changes that we’re making to the AFFC” said Victor who had carefully been reviewing the new reforms. “You really think it is the best time for all of this dad?” Hanse took a breath “Son you’ll find out that there is no more ideal time then the present, no matter how chaotic it maybe, to change things for the better. Project Unity is necessary now more than ever especially if Operation White Knight is to succeed”. Victor sighed “Yeah pop, I understand life isn’t always going be perfect but this might be a bit much even if the Clan threat has receded”.

   Looking at his eldest child Hanse asked “Isn’t it obvious that the first AFFC ranking system was destined to be abandoned as it was over simplified to ease integration?” Victor reluctantly nodded in agreement “The new conventions are a more complex mix of old AFFS and LCAF ranks which will eliminate resentment about career stagnation as fewer ranks led to longer promotional intervals.” The Fox continued “Everything about Project Unity from organizational restructuring to personnel reassignments is aimed at fostering national pride while promoting the benefits of our continued alliance”.

   Suddenly Melissa’s voice cut across the family gathering “Alright everyone I need to talk to your father alone.” A collective “Awwh!” went up from Arthur and Yvonne who had played about during the meal. Hanse knew it was time “Common you guys, we have to plan Arthur’s birthday in secret”. With that playful slip the younger Steiner-Davions rejoiced quickly hugged their parents and ran out of the room. The servants accompanied them leaving Victor and Katherine to say there goodbyes. As the elder siblings left the giant hall only the sovereigns of the Federated Commonwealth remained behind.

   Sitting down next to Hanse the Archon began to lose her calm demeanor “Your son is right. Damn it Hanse you are going too fast.” Melissa grew increasingly upset “Ever since you woke up from that stroke you’ve been in overdrive. I’ve signed off on your reforms of the Federated Commonwealth because they were sound…” The Fox interrupted “That is what I want you to do.” Standing she demanded “Then what are you up to? You’ve got Sortek and Allard running around like crazy and we’ve invited the best warriors of the Federated Commonwealth here today”.

   Taking her hand the Prince said softly “I’m sorry my love. I should have told you from the beginning but I wanted to be sure”. Melissa fell to her knees at his side “Sure about what? You know you can tell me anything?” Hanse shook his head “Not this my dearest I had to be sure – what I saw was horrific beyond words.” Both House Lords were clearly upset and for a time consoled each other without so much as a word. Wiping the tears from his wife’s face Hanse asked “If I could call Ardan and Quintus in I think we can explain.” Melissa simply nodded as he pressed the button to alert his friends.

   Soon after Ardan Sortek and Quintus Allard entered the Grand Dining Hall carrying all they had compiled on their friend’s visions. Recounting the story to Melissa the pair revealed their initial skepticism. They went into detail on how every other angle from brain damage caused by the stroke to previously unknown effects of the Fox’s Doppleganger experience. Recounting certain events from Hanse’s visions that had been double and triple checked shocked the Archon. With DNA evidence in hand Melissa asked “So, Thomas Marik isn’t Thomas Marik?”

   “No, my love he isn’t” Hanse said as he tried to marshal all his mental acumen to say most of all what he didn’t want to. “There is something far worse”. Melissa managed to blurt out a nervous laugh “Worse than a Federated Commonwealth Civil War, a Second Star League sundered, and a Blakist Holy War.” Quintus spoke gingerly “Perhaps you’d better sit down my lady.” As she sat words slowly came to the Fox “There is something I have to tell you about, Katherine.”
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 05:39:01 by Takiro »

Shadow_Wraith

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #13 on: 29 October 2011, 14:47:15 »
 :) Looking forward to more stories! 

Hellfire

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #14 on: 29 October 2011, 18:36:03 »
I just don't get breaking up the FedCom military into State and Federal Commands. It just seems to be introducing the problems that broke up the Star League into the FedCom and dooming it further down the road.

sandstorm

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #15 on: 30 October 2011, 00:28:48 »
Well, going for the Federal command over the National commands in Canon might help thigns stay together better than what went on in Canon.
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Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #16 on: 31 October 2011, 02:29:49 »
Don't fear there is more on the way gang including the final part of Chapter 10 which will deal with opposition to the very thing you discuss. Certain folks have worked too hard to put the FedCom together according to their own ideals to watch Hanse throw a wrench into it.

However I am always interested in feedback - how would you organize the FC?

Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #17 on: 11 February 2012, 20:32:42 »
*      *      *      *      *

Rather than appear from “on high” atop Mount Davion the decision was reluctantly made to go to the Albion. Hanse was determined to make this announcement more than a simple tri-vid-op to ease any public health concerns. The silence that hung in the air through the ride to the military academy left the Fox thankful that it was a short trip. Melissa was as strong as she was beautiful but all the revelations he had unleashed upon her were enough to stun any person. While Victor was not privy to these visions yet he had reservations about the centerpiece of today’s message.
 
   As the leaders of the Federated Commonwealth approached the central parade grounds for the proclamation Hanse was hopeful. The idea he “borrowed” from Thomas “Marik” might help cement the FedCom Alliance for quite some time. The heroes gathered here today exemplified the Alliance at its very best. This new knightly order would highlight their achievements during the Clan invasion and the benefits of continued cooperation. His son however remained critical sighting the Knights of the Void and the infamous Mechwarrior Cabals that had haunted first the Terran then the Davion Royal Courts.

   Hanse remained confident that this neo-chivalric ideal would steal any thunder that separatist malcontents could muster. As the sovereigns appeared on the grand stage which overlooked the academy grounds wide spread acclamation rang out. The heart felt ovation was especially touching to the still recovering First Prince and seemed to improve the mood of his companions. A throng of media and security personnel weren’t the only ones to greet the royals. Over one hundred and fifty elite mechwarriors and aerojocks led by Ardan Sortek formed the heart of the gathering.

   Assembling such a notable group in a little over a month was an impressive feat. Many were veterans of the Clan War whose heroic actions were to be recognized on Tharkad and New Avalon. The jumpship command circuit reaching between the state capitals had expedited their movements. Hanse took heart that such rapid action was indeed possible. Even if most of their equipment was in transit well behind them the Knights could begin to advance the unity of the Federated Commonwealth. As they waited for the ovation to die down the Fox grinned all the wider.

   Few people were truly aware of the significance of what was about to transpire in the next few moments. Hanse glanced over at his wife and eldest son going over the script he had prepared for this special event. The past, present, and future he thought. He would speak first about what had already happened, Melissa would then talk about current circumstances while Victor concluded with their plans for tomorrow. The message which would be transmitted throughout the realm was short and to the point. Growing quiet the crowd anxiously awaited their sovereigns’ first words after all that had happened.

   “We endure.” This simple two word affirmation drew an uproarious cheer from all gathered. From his wheelchair Hanse tempered the shouts of enthusiasm with a raised hand which allowed him to continue. “A little more than thirty years ago Katrina Steiner made a revolutionary proposal of peace to a Human Sphere that was plagued by more than two centuries of war. This courageous act led to our grand alliance that has enabled us to overcome unforeseen hardships like an invasion from beyond the Periphery. Some have started to whisper that our peoples would be better off apart than we are together.”

   Pausing briefly Hanse smiled as he looked over at his wife and eldest son “Yet we know this is false.” Again the crowd erupted as Melissa kissed his forehead and hugged him while Victor placed his hand on his shoulder. As the moment passed the Fox continued “The great benefits of the Federated Commonwealth are clearer to me than ever before. Our new nation has seen a technological renaissance like no other and we continue to prosper. Not just economically, militarily, but socially on a much more important goal. To be better people than what we were yesterday.”

   Seamlessly Melissa picked up where Hanse left off “Today is a day of thanksgiving as we gather here to honor those whose illustrious service allows us to thrive.” As the royals applauded and thanked the heroic assembly before them others in attendance did the same. In a more somber tone she continued “We also remember the sacrifices made by so many that may never be recognized.” A hushed silence quickly spread as most bowed their heads in a gesture of respect to the fallen. “What we have lost is daunting but we have to be grateful for what we have.”

   “The Clans may have taken more than forty billion people on 67 worlds and laid waste to over twenty AFFC Mech regiments along with a host of conventional regiments but this is not the end. Our forces have given us time to prepare and we have learned valuable lessons. New volunteers and production will continue to bolster the efforts to free those now under the invaders yoke. Our commitment to resist any further assaults and to save those in the Occupation Zone will never waiver.” As more applause followed Melissa’s comments Hanse held her hand and awaited Victor.

   “The continued unification of the Federated Commonwealth brings new challenges that require constant adaptation. Project Unity aims to finalize the structure of the AFFC clarifying national identity and organization in the future. Existing ranking conventions will be expanded, new departments will be created and certain units will now be declared Exclusive State Commands. These contingents staffed and equipped by their member-state will operate much as House Troops did during the Star League. The renewed LCAF and AFFS will safeguard their own state interests while advancing our alliance.”

   As Victor paused silence hung in the air. Hanse could tell his son was out of his element. Public speaking and hiding his feelings weren’t his forte. While his speech was very matter of fact it was still a tough sell. It was after all a reversal of policy which since the establishment of the AFFC called for complete integration. After his vision the Fox had changed his mind and successfully argued to alter it. Victor continued “Institutions like this academy, the Nagelring, and the Sanglamore will be maintain their AFFC roles while others will become State Academies.”

   “Integrated Multinational Commands known as the FedCom Corps will include the Royal Guards, the Deneb Light Cavalry, as well as some others.” Victor smiled and nodded to his parents “Today we’d like to announce the creation of a new FedCom command.” Melissa took charge of the ceremony “Would the warriors assembled please kneel. We hereby award you all the Order of Steiner-Davion as you have earned through heroic deeds. Now arise the Exemplar Knights.”

David CGB

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #18 on: 11 February 2012, 20:36:56 »
very nice
Federated Suns fan forever, Ghost Bear Fan since 1992, and as a Ghost Bear David Bekker star captain (in an Alt TL Loremaster)

snakespinner

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #19 on: 11 February 2012, 22:44:32 »
Great to see an update. [cheers]
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Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #20 on: 12 February 2012, 06:09:40 »
Thanks guys, I have cleaned up the thread so the old posts can be read clearly once again. Again if you want the latest part of Clarion Call all you have to do is go to the link below. Your actually one behind on the old CBT boards. I'm currently working on Chapter 11 dealing with the Word of Blake and ComStar. Hope you enjoy this all!

Part 3 of Chapter 10
« Last Edit: 12 February 2012, 06:12:46 by Takiro »

iior

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #21 on: 13 February 2012, 08:03:46 »
Nice read. Feels like I'm reading a published Battletech novel. Keep it up.  O0
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Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #22 on: 28 July 2012, 17:50:10 »
*      *      *      *      *

As the First Prince was wheeled into his office in the Royal Palace he realized just how tired he really was. Instead of complaining about this damnable chair or being pushed about the Fox was grateful his son Victor was there to move him about. If not for his “near death experience” the patriarch of the Steiner-Davion family might have expected such compassion from his daughter Katherine but now he knew better. Maybe some of Hanse’s appreciation was caused by the fact he didn’t want to do this but action had to be taken and of this he was certain.

Gingerly his eldest son placed him behind the same desk where just a few weeks ago Hanse had his stroke. Victor must have sensed his father’s growing discomfort with the difficult task that lay ahead. “It has been a long day pop and we’ve accomplished a lot” the young Prince suggested “you don’t have to do this, at least right now - it can wait.” Shaking off his malaise the Fox straightened up “No son this has got to be done and now is the time to do it.” He smiled to reassure his heir “Besides the sooner we get this over with the sooner I can get some rest. Please show her in.”

With the slightest of grins Victor dutifully nodded and made his way to the room’s entrance. Opening the door he motioned for the visitor who quickly barreled into the Prince’s office. Before the young Prince could shut the door Olivia Fenlon roared “What the hell is going on Hanse?” The Fox knew that the Chairperson of the Political Formation Committee would be upset by all his sudden maneuverings but she could barely control her rage. Trying to soothe things over Victor playfully asked “How are you Auntie Olivia?”

   Fenlon was not amused and did not respond in the slightest to Victor’s attempt to divert her anger. While not a blood relative the Duchess of Chesterton was truly part of the royal family. Her intimate relationship with the Steiner-Davions had begun long ago as a trusted companion of the Fox. Some in the Royal Court once believed that the pair would one day wed but that was before Melissa entered the picture. Hanse sighed “Recent events have bought greater clarity to my vision of a united Federated Commonwealth.”

   Glaring at the wheelchair bound sovereign of the realm she placed her hands on the desk she and leaned down towards him. “Perhaps you should have consulted your chief director of such affairs before you implemented all of these sudden changes?” In spite of Fenlon’s sarcasm her statement rang true. The Political Formation Committee was established after the 4th Succession War to guide the integration of the Federated Suns and the Lyran Commonwealth into a single national entity. Olivia was placed in charge of this 9 person body, whose members represented each March of the Federated Commonwealth, following the War of 3039.

   Returning her angry stare with a quizzical look Hanse moved his head to one side “I wasn’t aware that the First Prince was under any obligation to clear policies with you first Duchess?” For the first time since the meeting began Fenlon seemed to cool noticeably “Well when your new plans are in direct contraction to the previously established agenda I became concerned Highness.” The Fox leaned forward in his seat “Nothing I have done is contrary to the ultimate goal of establishing a new super state that spans the Human Sphere.”

   When Hanse motioned to the chairs in front of his desk both Fenlon and Victor sat down. While the Chairperson was still clearly agitated she was clearly more relaxed “While I question your stated reforms to the AFFC that is not my area of concern.” Leaning back in his wheel chair the First Prince nodded understandingly “Then what is Olivia?” The familiar use of her name sparked a slight smile “May I inquire as to any further political developments that could have consequences to our previously discussed strategies?”

   Anxious to start with a topic that would not be so controversial Hanse thought through his recent policy changes. “In the Lyran State we will be disbanding the Periphery March.” Olivia earnestly agreed “Good Highness, it was never a true March in the Davion sense anyway just a temporary way to placate Alarion and Coventry who feared a loss of authority during the FedCom transition.” Even Victor felt confident enough to concur “It is probably for the best to avoid any problems with this territory which includes much of the former Rim Worlds and could be linked negatively to the old Outworlds March which historically betrayed House Davion.”

   The Fox looked down at his personal computer to refresh his thoughts “The region never had a planetary capital or political ruler just a single military commander.” Victor cleared his throat “Still Duke Serfass and Bradford will wish to be compensated for any perceived loss in status.” Hanse shook his head “That leads me to the new peerage system of the Federated Commonwealth under which they will be elevated to Marquess of their Provinces.” Fenlon asked “These new Marquess would be elevated above Dukes but not as high as March Lords?”

   “Quite correct Olivia although March Lords will be referred to as Margraves” answered the First Prince. The Chairperson of the Political Formation Committee frowned “Highness both noble titles have the same meaning historically the only difference is their origins and use until now. Not sure I like the Lyran version taking precedence over Davions but it is largely symbolic.” Well you certainly won’t like the next part my dear, Hanse thought to himself. “That brings me to the Regents who will head up the States of the Federated Commonwealth.”

   Prince Davion drew a breath “However, these Stewards of the Realm will no longer be Steiner-Davions.” As expected both of his guests were stunned by this announcement so he continued before objections could be aired. “Following Melissa and I select branches of the Steiner and Davion families will take up the thrones of Tharkad and New Avalon.” Fenlon in sheer disbelief simply uttered a single word “Why?” Hanse responded “Not only will it give the member nations of this grand alliance their own representatives but also an identity.”

   Standing in sheer frustration Olivia inquired “And just where will the Steiner-Davions rule?” Hanse smiled “From the new capital of the Federated Commonwealth and my new home, New Earth.” Fenlon turned away in disgusted “New Earth! I can’t believe you would choose that hell hole.” The Fox leaned forward “Not only is it centrally located but it was the site of our greatest battle ever with the Lyrans. Rebuilding this shattered world, humanity’s first extra-solar colony, will serve as a powerful symbol of unity between our two nations.”

   Facing Hanse and pointing to the scar on her face “Look at what those animals did to me on New Earth!” The Prince looked down “I remember Olivia what those bastards in the Brotherhood did.” She leaned in “I just can’t believe all of this Hanse! We had agreed that New Avalon would be the best choice at one time, remember?” The Fox nodded “Yes.” Victor was visibly shaken by the admission but Fenlon continued “We both agreed that the Lyrans were completely inept as leaders and bogged down by their foolish noble hierarchy.”

   The young heir to the Federated Commonwealth asked his father “Is this true?” Olivia scolded him “Of course it is! The most logical way to make this alliance successful was to assure Davion leadership. It is only proper.” Summoning all his strength a stern faced First Prince looked directly at his old friend “That is why I have to ask for your resignation”. Stunned she screamed “What! After all I have suffered for this alliance! My sons died in the 4th Succession War! My only family has been the Federated Commonwealth, I have given everything in its service and now you dismiss me?!”

   “Yes” Hanse responded “I grieve for your sons and hold your service to the nation in the highest regard but you are no longer able to fulfill your duties.” Taken aback Olivia stammered “Unable to fulfill my duties?” The Fox narrowed his gaze “I have watched you become bitter towards our Lyran allies to the point where you are inflexible.” With a mock laugh she asked “Who will you find to replace me?” There was no hesitation from the Prince in his answer “Jason Eddies, the Ambassador to Rasalhague and son of your old counterpart Chancellor Cynthia Eddies, will succeed you as Chairman.”

   Shaking her head in continued disapproval Fenlon spoke “This is folly Hanse. Eddies doesn’t have the experience. Your making a terrible mistake. Please reconsider.” The Fox began to move his wheel chair out from behind his desk which immediately bought Victor to his side. Turning his attention to his old friend one last time “Olivia, I expect your resignation on my desk before you leave the room.” Speaking to his heir without giving anyone else a hint “I think it is time we got on to the next item on my agenda today.” Hanse was tired and looked forward to a welcome respite.

mikecj

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #23 on: 28 July 2012, 18:42:07 »
Ouch, this won't be the end of her...
There are no fish in my pond.
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snakespinner

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #24 on: 28 July 2012, 21:41:54 »
Let the political backstabbing begin.
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Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #25 on: 03 October 2012, 21:19:12 »
*      *      *      *      *

It all felt as if the entire weight of the Federated Commonwealth was falling upon Archon Melissa Steiner. The nightmarish return of Kerensky’s children, the multiple near fatal encounters her eldest son had at the front, and the suffering of her people some now enslaved under Clan rule were already bad enough. Now the near death of her beloved husband bought more complications then anyone except for him could have foreseen. Hanse’s terrifying prophetic visions only added to the surreal atmosphere sweeping the Inner Sphere.

Thankfully her closest friend Misha Auburn, the Countess of Tikonov and Court Historian, had also made the emergency trip from Tharkad. While the presence of her life long companion was very reassuring to the Archon it all seemed so overwhelming. Hopefully Melissa thought she could somehow confide in her best friend but where to begin and what to disclose without sounding crazy. As the door to the Lyran Ward of the Davion Royal Palace opened she renewed her focus on the task at hand. “One step at a time” she muttered as her cousin Field Marshal Roman Steiner entered.

Roman briskly strode towards her and halted at the appropriate distance to deliver a crisp salute, “Reporting as ordered Archon.” While he was only fifty five years old his lists of military accomplishments were impressive beginning with his first posting to the Royal Guards in the last days of the 3rd Succession War. He went onto lead the 3rd Royal Guards in the 4th Succession War and commanded the Sarna March during the War of 3039. His loyal support which dated back to her mother’s reign combined with a tireless work ethic and superb organizational abilities led to his current position.

While he had performed exceptionally as the Deputy State Commander of the Federated Suns during the Clan Invasion the abrupt reforms now being implemented would soon lead to his dismissal. Melissa moved to the massive communications screen and broke the silence “At ease, thank you for coming Field Marshal.” While he physically relaxed it was readily apparent that Roman’s attitude remained somewhat tense. “You summoned me cousin, so I am here” he said frankly. The curt response could have been interpreted as disrespect but Melissa knew his preference was to cut to the chase.

“I understand you are planning to retire” she said bluntly gesturing to his recently penned request form. Without hesitation he replied “Well Highness in light of your sudden reforms to the AFFC it seems my services are no longer required.” Looking down at his resignation letter she quizzically asked “You want to spend more time with your family?” Again Roman quickly answered “Yes Archon, my wife and my youngest grand daughter Amanda await my return to Tharkad.” He smiled after a short pause “Tabitha who is about to turn twenty is transferring to the new Royal Guard from the 1st Davion Guard.”

Looking up Melissa deliberately made eye contact “I know these changes are difficult but they are absolutely necessary if we are to remain united and defeat the Clans. I know your only daughter is now a prisoner of the Jade Falcon Clan but we will get her and the 10th Donegal back.” Marshal Sarah Steiner had been forced to surrender her command on Zoetermeer after several clashes with the invader. Roman shook his head “Even though White Knight offers some hope of Sarah’s eventual return it is the prospect of returning home to my wife that now gives me something to look forward to everyday.”

Searching for the words his gaze fell upon the floor “While I will always support you Archon and the Federated Commonwealth my heart just isn’t in this new AFFC your creating.” As he finished the Archon began to tear up his request which shocked Roman causing him to refocus. Forestalling any protest she held up her right hand “I can not accept your resignation at this time Field Marshal.” Melissa tapped a remote that activated the huge viewer bringing several distant figures into vision. A direct link to the Royal Court on Tharkad was instantly established via ComStar’s HPG network.

The real time feed revealed the familiar faces of the Steiner family gathered together on their icy capital planet. Most were minor scions or distant relations to the royal blood line like Adam Steiner who’s Strikers had recently made a name for themselves during the Clan Invasion. A few however stood out among the crowd. Of course there was Regent Peter Steiner-Davion who was Archon Pro Tem while Melissa was present on New Avalon. At his right were Field Marshal Nondi Steiner, Lyran State Commander, and Duchess of Gallery.

To the left Marshal Iris Steiner, commander of the Lyran Guard, and Duchess of Furillo. Next to her somewhat surprisingly was Ryan Steiner, head of the dissident Free Skye Movement and Duke of Porrima. Lastly Duke Hermann Steiner of Duran was the Archon’s grand uncle and something of the unofficially patriarch of the family being the oldest born in 2968. As one they all bowed with the typical Lyran etiquette towards their ruler “Highness.” As Misha quietly joined her on the left Melissa glanced at Roman to her right as he smiled at his beloved wife and family.

The Archon began her planned address “No doubt you have already heard that the Royal Guard has been reassigned to the FedCom Corps. Lyran soldiers who have chosen to remain with their unit will now serve alongside personnel from the Davion Royal Brigade of Guards as the elite force of our grand alliance. While proud Lyran traditions will now carry on as the premier military contingent of the Archon Prince and the entire Federated Commonwealth their departure has left a void we must now fill. Fortunately another initiative of Project Unity has provided me with the inspiration to restore what some say we have lost.”

She continued after a slight pause “While highly skilled and well equipped the Clans simply can not match our numbers. All our resources, our entire national industry can overwhelm them in spite of their advantages. In order to defeat these invaders we must commit ourselves totally to victory. To that end I have ordered Interstellar Mobilization to begin across the entire Commonwealth. Mechwarriors and Aerospace Pilots in reserve or private service will be assembled into new units for deployment across the realm while Armor and Infantry will also be called up for local defense where necessary.”

Melissa could hear the discord across the stars at the mere suggestion of conscription on a scale not seen since the early days of the Succession Wars. Cutting through the background chatter at Court she resumed “Yes such a massive effort will not be easy or painless and there will be some that say it is beyond our capability. Yet in the years since the last mobilization of 3039 we’ve had time to strengthen our defenses and create new reserves. History shows us that such endeavors can indeed make a difference. We have drawn upon the successes of the Citizen Regiments and the failures of Concentrated Weakness to create this new strategy.”

Smiling she put forth the conclusion of remarks “Today it is with great pride that I announce the formation of a new Lyran Command, the Steiner Huscarls. Drawn from volunteers of the Royal Guard, select members of the Diplomatic Guard, and filled out by loyal Steiner retainers this new formation will take up the duties of the old Guard while serving as the benchmark for the new conscript units to come. I have made arrangements to personally finance the creation of five such BattleMech regiments that will represent the each of the four Steiner owned worlds and Tharkad.”

Looking to her right “I hereby proclaim Field Marshal Roman Steiner first commander of the Huscarls, High Guardian of House Steiner, and Deputy Commander of the LCAF.” A round of applause rang out across the channel to a surprised senior officer who could only say “You honor me Archon.” Melissa looked at him “I intend to do more than just garrison interior worlds. Have your men ready for service as soon as possible.” Returning to attention he saluted “Yes Archon it shall be done.” Quickly thanking the assembly for their time Lady Steiner could once again think about talking to her best friend about the horrible events that were soon to come.

Shadow_Wraith

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #26 on: 06 October 2012, 11:45:12 »
Hope to read the listing of all the units for the AFFC/AFFS/LCAF when you get to it!  Keep it up!   O0

Takiro

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #27 on: 06 October 2012, 15:24:31 »
Thanks Wraith! Looking forward to getting it all set so we can really start to see things change. AFFS is on deck.

Dave Talley

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Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #28 on: 06 October 2012, 15:39:37 »
tag
Resident Smartass since 1998

Ah the League, one shout away from a civil war. It's an interstellar Lebanon... panzerfaust150

I agree. Conditionally. I have no qualms kicking the favorite faction in the crotch--repeatedly. But the fact of the matter is, I prefer to kick EVERYBODY in the crotch as often as possible, like a game of whack a mole, only here's it's whack a crotch. Because we're playing in a wargame universe, and if you're NOT getting kicked in the crotch (repeatedly), then you're not in the ****** game.
- Herb

clansittingducks: is it wrong to want to take a baseball bat to their groin so hard their testicles fly out of their eyes upon impact?

Jaim Magnus

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  • Assisting your enemies and you equally.
Re: Clarion Call (AU)
« Reply #29 on: 16 October 2012, 05:52:51 »
Hmm... interesting.

Not sure yet how I feel about the dream angle, but I'll continue reading to see.
Star Colonel Jaim Magnus - Raven Alliance Watch