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Author Topic: AU: Der Tag (The Day)  (Read 54260 times)

beachhead1985

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  • 1st SOG; SLDF. "McKenna's Marauders"
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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #390 on: 03 October 2019, 00:55:34 »
Blazer
- 7kg
-The Blazer makes a good weapon for mobilization-only troops for a few reasons;
*It's an Energy weapon and thus; can have it's power-packs recharged easily
*It's a laser and thus marksmanship training is easy.
*It's one of the better-anti-armour weapons in the game for a general-issue weapon, with decent range too.
*It's not fully-automatic; therefor the entire squad won't be blasting through their power-packs in the first 3 seconds of a fire-fight.
-Now; the Blazer is far from cheap (2190 CB in MW1) and it's relatively high-tech. But providing these weapons as the basic rifle of the Mobilization-only units gives them an equalizer against better-protected enemies (especially massing fire) that they would not have otherwise. Another side-benefit is that Blazers are AVAILABLE. Every Successor State, plus at least the Taurians and Magistracy will have been cranking out production runs of these weapons for much of the succession wars. As late as TF: Serpent; the Blazer was still considered a high-end infantry weapon and we know this because it's was the DEST troopers used in their Kage armour. These are DEFINATELY NOT the LosTech-quality Zeiss-Lorraine Blazers the SLDF regulars have.

Uzi
-4kg (SLDF Version)
-220m Effective Range
-10x25mm/30 round box magazine
-I wanted a weapon for my support troops which they could easily fire from a standing, sitting or kneeling position. Something, which; in a pinch they could fire-one-handed, even if not very well. It needed to be cheap and easy to use. The Uzi is rather heavy in any version and an SLDF version in 10mm Auto would only be heavier. While it may not be the most reliable weapon; it is easy to use, which was key here. Another good thing about the Uzi? It's not a demanding weapon to produce.

Needler Rifle
-1kg
-40m max range
-20 shots capacity
-Needler rifles were a natural choice for several reasons; light weight, cheap to produce and feed, easy to use and excellant at providing protective fire up-close. These are copies of the M&G model and so can fire full-auto or burst. I'm not sure how easy or hard it would be to actually *make* needlers.

Sniper Rifle
-Figure the sniper rifles in the mobilization-only units would vary widely in practice based on what is available. Overall; the Canton Worlds are a firearms culture; so good hunting rifles are not only available, but they are ubiqitous in a wide variety of types and ammunition. Figure this could be anything from a stock ATOW Sniper rifle, to a laser or gyrojet to an M&G 150. "Can I use my own gun, Sergeant?" "Actually; we prefer that. Do you reload?". Some of these rifles would be made locally; they might even be custom-made. But many will be imports and some quite old. The good thing is being able to rely on the least-regulated aspect of the weapons market, after shotguns, but before air-rifles.

Battle Rifle
-4.4kg
-600+M
-7.92 Mauser/20 and 30-round box magazines
-I am picturing something very much like an H&K G3A3, complete with bipod, scope and telescoping stock. But in the same 7.92 Mauser ammo as the Mg42s for commonality's sake. I wanted a serious rifle for when and where it would be needed. The G3 isn't a really *difficult* weapon to produce, but I still figure that in order to get a decently accurate, reliable rifle you can fire in short bursts when you need to; munfacture would be more demanding than most of the other small arms.

VG5
-4.6kg
-300m
-7.62x39mm/30-round common assault-rifle magazine
-I picked the VG5 because I needed a back-alley bike-shop take on an assault rifle. I figure if you are *not actually* looking at the Red Army bearing down on you in 1945; that higher manufacturing standards would really improve these. The Mobilization-Only forces aren't *that much* of a last-ditch force and they benefit from decades of planning and preparation in their equipment and training. Figure that ICOM has been building these through cottage industries for as much as 20 years or more by 3099. I went with the 7.62x39mm M43 round, because I KNOW that Kalashnikovs will still be in use and production in more than a thousand years and I wanted ammo-commonality. I picture AKs being cranked out on and off everywhere from time to time and use by almost any low-level force from Pirates to regular house troops.

UBGL
-2.3kg
-350m
-40x46mm NLV
-an underbarrel grenade launcher is an easy way to add a lot of flexibility and utility to a given small unit's firepower. I picture this unit like an M203, with a swing-out barrel able to be set to swing out to either side and able to be fitted to any of the Mobilization-Only unit's standard long guns. I figure they would mainly have HEDP rounds, but there are many other types of rounds they might find useful in a given situation. This is; like with the Blazers, a *good* spot to spend more money.

Mg42
-11kg (SLDF Version, light role)
-800m (light Role)
-7.92 Mauser/50 round semi-disintegrating-link belts
-For a GPMG; I wanted first of all; a real GPMG and second; I wanted something that would be cheap and easy to build and aquire in order to save money better spent on ammunition and spare barrels. Using an Mg42; they are going to eat a lot of both. I see the Mobilization-Only rifle Platoon as a life-support system for it's support weapons; as the whole organization is as well. So the "rifle squads" are just as much if not more Machinegun Squads. As the Mobilization-Only units are principally defensive in nature; this seemed a good call to make. Also; we save time training troops on the personal weapons in order to spend more time on the support weapons. Figure this weapon resembles more the Mg3KWS seen below, but in 7.92 Mauser. Now what *about* that ammo? I see it resembling in performance and specifications; an AP-version of the S.S. Patrone round from WWI; a high velocity 194gr projectile optimized for long-range fire. In practice; my Mobilization-only platoons can fit their guns to tripods and dial them in with colimator sights and engage targets directly out to 2500m. I know from personal experience that this is doable with modern GPMGs not benefitting from a round like the 7.92x57mm 194gr S.S. Patrone. The standard ammo would be a ball-tracer mix for training and an API-Tracer mix for war stocks. The Battle rifles use the same rounds. In Battle tech terms; these weapons would do 1 damage out to 3 hexes against battlefield units like mechs and tanks, capable vs infantry to farther out and the 2500m indirect-fire range is something I'd role-play and use in fiction.

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/01/06/bundeswehr-mg3kws-upgrade-program/

Support Machine Gun
-40kg
-From what is written in various books; this is the Battletech Equivalent of an M2HB .50 MG. We'll be needing those. They will make a nice complement to the Mg42s. No gas-operated guns for my MG teams. This is how serious people kit out their dirtbag militias when they expect to use them. I'd expect a Mobilization-Only Company to put their SupMGs in a commanding position with a lot of ammo and either scuttle them, die in place or fight off the bad guys. Once in place; I'd not expect them to be moving too much, but they would have packframes to do it with in a pinch.

SRM Launcher
-10kg (launcher only)
-The standard pre-MW3 BT Infantry SRM launcher. Basically an SRM2 launcher with people doing the training and loading of the weapon.They will have standard APHE rounds and Infernos at the very least. These are the Rifle Platoon's anti-armour weapons. In place of LAWs, they carry SRM packs to reload these guys. Figure the gunners would fire off 2-3 packs before the whole platoon would be pulling back to redistribute ammunition as needed or they would be dumping off a platoon's worth of SRMs with these guys before an ambush or hasty or deliberate defence.

MANPADS
-24kg
-Battletech has not yet given us a really good MANPADS system. What I picture is something like what Backblast has in GI Joe . So it's heavy; probably has to be assembled in place; you would not want to move far with the main unit and three missiles. The monopod would be okay for static use; but in broken terrain; you'd want to re-position it and be more flexible with aiming. This is a semi-automatic command-to-line-of-sight system; using radar guidance. Which is both good and bad. Good; because you do not need a heat signature to fire. Bad because you need to keep the target in LOS to hit it. In Battletech where most weapons fire is resolves across a 6-second turn, this hardly matters, but in real life; airborne targets are very fleeting making positioning this system where it can get good LOS and being able to track the launcher rapidly to keep it are key. Three missiles; three shots before reloading; figure on one reload of three missiles in the gun team for a total of six missiles per launcher basic load. Again; this suits the kind of over-matched defensive operations I forsee for the Mobilization-only units. And yes; it's not much to cover a company.

-For battle field effects; I'd be basing those on how I rework the portable AA Mk.1 and Mk.2 weapons. longer range than an SRM though with less damage and maybe an AP roll.

Heavy Recoilless Rifle
-60kg
-I have no idea how I am supposed to picture the Heavy Recoilless rifle from TRO 3026. It's 60kg and has three shots, I can see that much and the rest is clearly game-balanced. I'm not sure how to handle this one. When I designed the SLDF heavy Recoilless rifles; I based those on WOMBATs; 120mm British jobs, but SF-ed em up with a rotary chamber to ape the extra shots in 3026. i figure it must be some kind of gravity-actuated rotary system like a revolver; and so a davis or burney recoil system. Could not do that with the American Kumoskit system.

-What I see here though is a longer-range anti-armour weapon in place of field guns. The down side to recoilless rifles is that you CAN NOT hide them once they fire. I'll know more when I get into my weapon revision project someday.

Heavy Flamer
-35kg (SLDF version)
-The existence of the flamethrower proves that at some point in history someone had to have said; "I'd just love to set those people over there on fire; but I am just not close enough to do the job myself."
-3 heat, 1 damage +1d6 vs infantry.
-used in defensive choke points and during counter-attacks and asset-denial operations.

Medium Mortar
-50kg
-https://bg.battletech.com/forums/index.php?topic=51934.msg1520887#msg1520887
-Basically THE firepower of the Mobilization-only company. It's Mortar Platoon. This is what makes these operations work, if they work at all.

Ablative/Flak Suit
-The only people in a Mobilization-only company who are *issued* body armour are the Sappers. They have the key roles in asset-denial and counter-attacks and so; they need it most. Too bad they only muster as a squad.

Long-Range Personal Communicator
-25km range
-30 channels
-monitor 6 channels at once
-zipsqueal
-Plug ins for range-finder binos and small video cameras (no trivid capability)
-1kg
-Geeze i wish I had one.

Basic Field Communications Kit
-50km range
-40 channels
-monitor 15 channels at once
-trivid camera
-dish antenna accessory for laser/microwave
-radio rebroadcast capable
-Can hook up two LRPCs for an additional 6 channels each for monitoring
-5kg Manpack

Level I Field Communications Kit
-100km range
-60 channels
-monitor 30 at once
-digital recorder
-all other capabilities of the basic kit
-accepts remote senors (up to 30 of any type)
-10kg portable

Med Kit
-Contains basic medical supplies; dressings, tourniquets, bandages, plasma, blood expander, ect. Medics carry two in order to have more supplies on hand. Also includes a folding stretcher.

Field Surgery Kit
-more complex medical tools and supplies for more serious wounds. Carried by the senior medic. Assuming that slot in the ORBAT is filled by a person. In real life; these things are never perfect and a unit rarely resembled it's Order of Battle in detail.

Otter Forward Support Vehicle and Otter Pup Follow-On Unit
-I'll detail these a lot more eventually. In short; an ultalight, amphibious tracked support vehicle. Imagine if a BV206 and an M29C Weasel had a baby. They can mount weapons, but extra weapons for these purposes are not normally supplied to Mobilization-only units. In practice these help move the Company's Support weapons around and haul ammunition, other supplies and wounded. Mobilization-only units may use these assets for mobility, but always fight dismounted. They simply aren't trained or equipped for anything else.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

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The McKenna File
« Reply #391 on: 31 October 2019, 19:38:30 »
The McKenna File


This Document is rated: 4C

The following is a transcription of a verbal message dated as received at the Geneva HPG on 9 August 3095; it was verigraphed at the Wyatt HPG on 5 May 3095 and recovered from the personal offices of Devlin Stone, on Terra. Analysis indicates that it was transcribed and verigraphed directly from a previously-recorded video message, with an added text salutation at the beginning of the file. It was likely recorded in a single take, from memory, by a person with excellent recall. The diction, cadence and tone are all a very good match for the noted General of Stone’s Coalition (retired); Belle Lee, when contrasted with various recordings dated from no later than 3084, as well as interviews with former associates.

It is the assessment of this office that this document is highly likely (Rated 4; 80%+ chance that this document is authentic) to be what it looks like; biographical data of Lord Protector McKenna, compiled by Lee and delivered to Stone no later than August the 10th, 3095. While there is every chance that it could have been planted for SLDF troops to find; to what end remains a mystery. Likewise; while the chain of evidence is far from ideal, the source is fairly reliable (C; we have reasonable confidence in the field forensics procedures in place at this time and their execution in this instance. Given the content, we rate it unlikely that the document was planted as misinformation or propaganda or was tampered with in any way. Overall 65% source reliability).




Devlin

Don’t ask me for anymore favours. And stop trying to put the band back together.

-Belle


*Deep breath and sigh*

We believe that Steven McKenna was born on or about 3036 on one of the heavier-G worlds in The Capellan Confederation. But that’s mainly guesswork; at the end of the day; neither I, nor any of my contacts could find out for certain and I burned a lot of good people trying to find out, hoping it would matter somehow. At this stage, I seriously doubt it does. He appears to have no meaningful national loyalty outside his little hermit kingdom (despite the anomalously good relations the 3rd League enjoyed with the Confederation, today) and given what we know of the state of medical technology in the 3rd League; he is unlikely to drop dead anytime soon of natural causes.

*116 second pause*

He worked as a scout for the local garrison as a teenager. Sometime in 3051; he purportedly discovered a Lostech cache or had a key role in finding it. That’s his legend, anyways. But, for all we know; he lived in the cache and traded it later. Frankly; in that region of space, in that kind of environment, any accessible records are a miracle. In any event; the idea that he just got lucky seems remote. As a reward or in trade or to get rid of him; the Capellan government gave him a grant that he used to travel to Belmont in the Lyran half of the old FedCom and undergo formalized training.

The Belmont facility was, in essence; a private military academy set up by some retired mercenaries as a source of steady income in 3031. They taught a variety of subjects, but exactly how well and what seems to have varied from year to year, according to old SOF back-issues. What is known is that being below the truce line; Clan Jade Falcon invaded the planet on 29 November, 3053 and the AFFC did not have the resources to retake the world, relative to its importance to the Commonwealth, overall. Belmont is still occupied by the Falcons, today.

McKenna, along with surviving students and faculty took part in a guerilla campaign over the course of the next few months, before eventually being rescued through a raid by some of the faculty’s old contacts. These retreated off-world, with the surviving guerillas in tow where they made it back to Arc Royale. Again; conjecture, but it looks like this active mercenary unit already had a contract lined up with the Explorer Corps and following their freelancing to save their old buddies; they needed some more bodies and equipment to make good.

*22 second pause, sigh. *

Remember that this was back in 3054; way before Trent giving us the Clan Homeworlds; back then we were still looking for them and ComStar’s Explorer Corps was a huge part of that. Not telling you how to suck eggs, but last I saw you; your memory from before the war was still touch and go.

Originally; the Corps consisted of mainly ComStar personnel and a few contractors, but after Tukayyid; they couldn’t spare much in the way of bonafide ComGuards to provide the muscle and escort, so they were hiring mercs like crazy. These were good contracts in some ways; high risk, but also very high pay. If you made it back, you could count on plenty of cash, connections in the right places and normally a bump to your Dragoon Rating; back when that was still a big deal.

What the old Corps records indicate is that the expedition that “Karlson’s Kompanie” were escorting started missing regular HPG check-ins after their last one in September, 3055.

From here things get extremely tenuous. Now, I’m tapping into friendly Watch sources, who are doing handshake deals with their counterparts in other Clans for details. No matter what though; we’ll probably never know what happened next for sure, because, full disclosure; the contacts were not very good to start with and I am sure they kept back more than they gave me.

I’m going Cats to Sharks to Horses here; but the gist is that it was the Horses who jumped McKenna’s unit and the Explorer Corps detachment they were supposed to be protecting. I have no idea what happened to the rest of them; those records have a disciplinary seal on them dating to Malavai Fletcher and whoever was feeding us this stuff couldn’t override even an old Khanate prohibition, wouldn’t or lied about it.

Between our own ComStar records and the MRBC reports we have almost a full roster of everyone who should have been there. McKenna is the only one who is ever heard from again, so far as we know and we have record of him next, not even as a bondsman; but a full-fledged *MechWarrior*. He’s hunting bandits with some ad-hoc dezga outfit scrapped together and hurled off into the deep dark, but he’s there; multiple missions and he always has that ‘Mech of his that shouldn’t be a thing.

*48 second pause*

It’s just a theory, but let’s be real here; after all that’s happened, you wouldn’t be coming to me now; after all this time, if you didn’t have a lot of respect for my mind.

And also no other good options. I still hear things and I know that the 3rd League is something like the pool filter of the galaxy; you’re pumping resources into it, but they’re reliably skimming off most of them.

So, I’ll reinforce; this is built on nothing; it’s just one wild-ass theory among many, but my gut-reaction is that the only way this happens is that there is something similar to what Phelan went through going on here. I’m saying that possibly; our McKenna is the real McCoy, so to speak. What I mean is that he’s got DNA linking him to the Terran McKennas. James, Norm; the whole deal. I have exactly nothing to back that up; we’d need a DNA sample ourselves to confirm it. But it fits the facts and there is some degree of precedence though what Phelan experienced.

But this timeline is unreal; it’s like the Horses shoot his mech out from under him, take one look at him; give him the crash course in the Hell’s Horses way of war and put him back in the saddle in a disposable outfit, with hardly any indoctrination. He certainly shows none of the behavioural markers common to repatriated Bondsmen.

Then the last records I could get out of my Watch contacts have him on a mission hunting down some Dark Caste in 3056.

I’ll pause here and sum up what we’re looking at, from my perspective.

I ran some of this work through my people during the war, but you told me to drop it, so I did; I told you it was a mistake, but I did it anyways. Victor agreed with me, if you recall. But this is the first time I’ve had a chance to actually get all this data in front of me all at once. I purged everything I had collected at the time, as you ordered and I never even read most of it. I’m sure you had your reasons and I’ve always trusted you…But Jesus, Dev…

*deep breath, 16 second pause*

Anyways…

Looking at this, I’m forced to ask myself what this guy really is? Not who, but what. Who the hell made him this way? Why is he *like* this, after what he goes through and how do we live in a universe where this guy goes through this stuff and then ends up where he does? It’s enough to make you believe in karma.

I remember something I read once from some old Terran warlord; “You must have sinned greatly, or else God would not have sent me.” Devlin; what the hell did we do so wrong to deserve this creature?

*20 seond pause*

The people who go through this stuff; they tend not to learn from it and apply it like we see here. They have trauma; they put their lives on hold to deal with it or it kills them. Or they write a book. But yet we have exactly the right or wrong guy (I’m still not sure) going through just the right or wrong experiences to give him all the right or wrong tools he needs for the person he becomes later on; in the situation he finds himself in.

It’s eerie.

McKenna’s like this piece that just gets moved around the board, or his life is like a flow chart where every option is a box that reads; “THIS is going to SUCK; so, try and learn from it.” Winters just has to be something special to live with this guy. I know first-hand he was just a treat to work with during the Jihad and his people weren’t much better. I swear he either picks them like that or influences them. We know he puts his mark on his troops as a whole, somehow.

And I have only the vaguest notions of what he started out as, in a personal sense.

This is a guy who starts out in a dirtbag militia; pretty helpful if you’re going to have a career working closely with those kinds of outfits and later; and he does. Combat experience? We don’t know. My gut, just from meeting the guy says; “Child Soldier”, but with everything else he has going on, whose to say? If there was anything, it was pirates; which is always a hoot and a half. Which, again; fits what we see later on.

Next he goes to Belmont; Bam: Basic MechWarrior and Infantry, OCS program; plus, we’re pretty sure a broad familiarity with other arms. I doubted it, but looking at what the place was offering in ’47 and some interviews; plus, what we see from McKenna later and he definitely has formal training in soup-to-nuts combined arms and most of it had to have come from his tenure at Belmont. Don’t ask him to march in step; but he can make air, ground and artillery work together. The only way I can explain the naval stuff is that his backwater Cappie Militia has and probably had some blue and brown navy assets and he might have worked with them as a scout and seen how they operated. I know they do Naval gunfire support; just like we saw first-hand from SOG on Terra, near the end.

I know I’m jumping all over the place here, but I need to get this out before the spawn wake up; so I’m fitting this in between the cows and the kids. Sue me; you get what you pay for.

Then, they get hit by the Falcons and; pow: guerilla experience and from what we gather; expertise. It’s only around half a year, but I’ve seen people get more from less. I can only guess some of the surviving faculty had actually done those awful bloody tours before themselves and already knew the nuts and bolts, because as these things go; they were incredibly successful. And not just in that they lived to be rescued; they actually did some real damage.

It’s a footnote in the Clan War, but it’s pretty easy to find; you may not remember, but there was this copycat tri-vid series that came out after Somerset Strikers?  Loved that show. Anyways; based on a true story; just like the ‘Strikers, but not as popular and it turns out this was that group. Crazy. I watched the re-runs all the time.

That kinda crap is about all the war stuff I can handle anymore, but I re-watched it with my kids and I think there’s even a McKenna-analog in some of the episodes. It’s hard to tell; but I think it’s that wild girl with her own little band they run into half-way through the second season? Again; I’m assuming your swiss-cheesed brain remembers this…anyways it turns out they thought she was a grease-stain from day 1; but here she is putting heads on sticks and they do the whole; “We have to be better than they are"-thing?

The details are all scrambled, but I checked and two of the original staff and one student who didn’t join up with the mercs afterwards are actually on the show as technical advisors and guest-stars (they get rescued at the end of season 3; I’d never let my kids watch something that didn’t have a happy ending. Anything else is too real for me). There’s this weird change in tone that happens on and off throughout the series; where you kinda get a look behind the curtain of this primetime family action-drama and they slip something past the censors and writers and the details get really authentic for a scene or just a line. Know where that picks up? Yeah. Middle of the second season.

Her mannerisms; how she talks and what she says---her tactics---she pilots a Firestarter; which is the same type of mech that we know McKenna brought out with him in 54, when they got rescued. She even does that thing Mckenna does where he’s this awkward guy in a group, but he’s totally different in front of the group. If you can find it (of course you can find it; you’re the Boss now); watch those episodes with your back to the player; it gave me flashbacks. She’s in episodes S02E7-S03E16 when they kill her off after she does this redemption story arc. The local net has fan sites and forums for the show and it seems that the character wasn’t popular after they had her change in Season 3. But the girl doing the role actually got an award, a small one; but only one of two the show ever got, for her acting in Season 2. If you want to really creep yourself out; go read the boards and fan sites. Cult-following doesn’t begin to describe it and she’s got a whole other fanbase just for her character in that show. It’s called; “Knives in the Night” if you can find it. It’s really not that bad if you’re worried about; you know…

But yeah; I think there may be something to that theory because the creator interviews make a big deal of how the characters are all based-on or composites of real people who went through the actual events…

*26 second pause*

So, they get rescued and he slides right into more conventional merc work; so, he gets that bedrock experience of doing the more normal job to go right alongside the basic MechWarrior skills he’s picked up and the boy-guerilla-stuff. Again; patterns already in place: excellent gunner, poor to middling pilot. The MRB wogs that assessed him write him up as a better jumper than a walker. Yeah; one of those and that tracks with what we saw of him in the war. Which basically puts to the bed the theory that the guy who goes into the Periphery is literally a different person from the one who comes back; no *way* the Clans would ever pass a pilot that bad.

He works with the Corps. Picks up who knows what kind of esoteric information about lost worlds, connections; working in the Periphery, ect. Then the Horses get him and we start living with white space in the narrative again; but the Hell’s Horses aren’t just the only Clan that emphasizes Tanks and Infantry; they also use them pretty damn well. The BattleROMs from Strana Mechty and Victor’s refusal over the invasion bear that out fairly well, even if they eventually lost. So here; we figure he picks up more basic tank-mech-infantry cooperation training and experience. This is the first time we see him in any records with that damn Marauder II and he’s assigned to hunt bandits in a pre-emptively disgraced outfit filled with Solahma and various other misfits and rejects. Which is about the only part of his experiences as a Bondsman that makes any sense whatsoever. It’s somewhat inconsistent with the rest of the narrative, but more in line with the kinds of work spheroid bondsmen tend to get in the Clans. The temptation is to either toss the first half of the story or look at the second part of his Clan experience as a cover.

I make the assumption that the Horses are actually pretty good at this hunting-Dark Caste-thing, because you only pick up good anti-partisan tactics one of two ways; you learn them from past masters or you figure it out the hard way. And McKenna seems to have this stuff down pat in a “grab them by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow”-sort of way from very early on. I’m not saying that they weren’t rebuilding this outfit from the ground up every time they came back from the deep dark, but what I got from my Watch contacts, if anything; suggest the opposite. I’ll note here that I doubt it’s generally known within the Clans that McKenna even *has* a Clan background. Figure the Nova Cats and the Sharks at least know something and it explains how the so-called 3rd League manages to get on so well with the Horses when almost no-one else does. Given what else we’ve seen of the guy personally; Clan culture might even have been a useful social mechanism for him to get along with. So, I wouldn’t just assume that this guy who comes off as fundamentally broken as a human being could never have made it there on merit.

*9 second pause, yawn*

Next thing we know; he’s jumping into Kuritan space with everything he needs to get started: people, gear; a JumpShip, dropships and after he sells the Union-C; he has cash. But it never feels like he’s starting a merc unit and those Clanners, even the dark Caste; they stay with him till they die or learn how to retire. I know mercs, Dev and this “Studies and Observations Group” he sets up doesn’t feel right from day 1. We look at the SLDFiE as this abomination of an army with a nation attached from pretty early-on in the war. But even SOG basically looks like that in embryo right out of the gate. They have a little of everything; a large raft of camp followers who start providing fresh bodies pretty quickly and they start developing their industrial arm pretty fast too.

From here on, their war record isn’t all that hard to follow, but there are some inconsistences I’ll get to later.

What really sticks out is that despite clearly being known of by at least people in what’s left of the old Mercenary Review Board at this time and the MRBC; these guys are never, ever bonded and yet they still not only get consistent work, but they manage to get it without the kinds of contracts that un-bonded mercs normally have to settle for. It’s hard, nasty duty; yeah. But no one ever tries to company-store these guys or press-gang them. Nobody ever makes any noise officially or unofficially about the Clan-aspect of the outfit and their contracts are consistently well-paying, with good to great perks. That alone is highly inconsistent. They have some truly bizarre riders on those contracts too.

I have some evidence that someone in either MRB or MRBC, or both was feeding them breadcrumbs, but it goes nowhere solid.

From here, we get into their actual war record and the less said; the better. But I will say that it makes a kind of sense to stay un-bonded if this is how you want to run things, because even the MRB would have shut these guys down in the first year otherwise.

Right in the door at Galatea; this guy should never have been allowed in charge of anything. For various reasons; and the personality issues don’t even make my top five. The merc business, as we know from personal experience is very much an environment where money talks as they say. But without some trade safeguards there isn’t much to choose between mercs and pirates and the un-bonded crowd usually lean towards pirates skirting legitimacy. Thus; I agree with what you’ve done with the trade post-war.

But to prove my point; here comes McKenna, walking in like the pocket Wolf’s Dragoons from right out of Clan Space. Has a damn dropship to sell and it should have been like; “Who is this guy? You’re from where? These people are who? Your business model is what???” This is only a few years after the Red Corsair for crying out loud!

*Recording stops. Restarts*

So much for finishing this in one go; had to make breakfast for the kids, since I woke them up.

But yeah; Red Corsair. A few years later and people accept The Raging Horde pretty easily with a jacked up noble acting as their agent, but this is earlier and gets almost no press at the time. You’d figure it would have been worth at least an article in Soldier of Fortune? New Merc Unit on the block formed from people from this Clan we’ve only barely heard of? Nada. Zip. Zilch.

He should have ongoing issues with his people; their background, his leadership. Nothing ever comes up. They say that really good leaders need to be flawed for people to relate to them; perfect angels are so unknowable that only sycophants ever really feel loyalty towards them and even that’s debatable. Mckenna would never be mistaken for perfect and; I totally agree with you and David: he’s clearly got some serious issues that go way beyond being “flawed”. Trauma? Learning disability? Some sort of disorder? I was pretty sure he was just sociopathic for a while, but I’m not certain he isn’t some kind of idiot-savant for warfare.

Certain forms of autism could explain many of his behaviours and quirks and from my research (read; I asked around some families in town) sometimes; the kids pick up all sorts of funny interests that they pursue to the exclusion of all else. Some of them, yeah; are like the stereotyped cliché idiot savants. I’m kinda big fish here, so I have more latitude than you might expect; but I visited one family and their son can not take care of himself; he can just about get more food in his mouth than on him. But their entire home is covered floor to ceiling in some of the most beautiful art I’ve ever seen. He just sits there on their back porch; flapping one hand and painting with the other. Then he switches and uses the other hand when it gets tired. When he isn’t painting, he’s reading about art or flipping through his reader looking at different paintings. I know you’re not much for culture, but David…

*Gasp, 92 second pause*

Sorry, Devlin. I know how hard it is; I went through the same thing with my grandmother. Whatever’s passed between us; always know that you two have my deepest, most sincere sympathies.

Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #392 on: 31 October 2019, 19:38:50 »
*deep breath, 34 second pause*

Short version; this kid can barely go to the bathroom by himself and he’s mastered a dozen different styles of painting. I could go on about him for hours, it’s unreal; his family actually supplements their income by selling his art, sometimes. He doesn’t care because he has a literally photographic memory and everything he creates; he remembers forever, he can even reproduce it nearly perfectly if he feels like it and sometimes, he gets stuck in loops and just does the same thing over and over for days. But he doesn’t know his sibling’s names anymore since they moved out and can’t recognize his own sister unless she bleaches her hair blond and she hasn’t been blond since she was 12. 15 years ago.

I went on the GlobalNet and got into some forums for these conditions (there are thousands of variations of autism and they’re still only general guides) and when it comes up; the interest can be anything. Parents come online to get sympathy because their daughter won’t talk about anything except animal taxonomy from dawn till dusk, another has an eight-year old who knows every make of ground car ever made by sight and at a glance; another is into knots but doesn’t speak or let himself be touched; his parents have him knitting all day long to keep him from pulling the threads out of his clothes.

I know it’s hard to put that together with the reality of the New Model Army, the Draconis campaign or especially his stuff in North America at the end. But…

I placed a few discrete inquiries online and to a university with a pediatric psychology department (don’t ask for the name; you won’t find me like that). And it’s not impossible for an autistic kid to have savantism for military things. It would be more likely for them to be more into ‘Mechs or lasers specifically; even myomer bundles. But sometimes their interests are a bit broader and lots of autistic people are functional enough you’d never know they had any issues. Some iron everything out on their own before they leave school. McKenna clearly never has, but he’s also clearly on the higher-functioning-end. Arguably.

It sounds like a hack, but autism, plus military leadership? Sounds like making your quirk not having a quirk, so to speak. No one came right out and gave me a for-sure no and it’s just another theory, but it would explain a lot. But if you’re looking for a silver bullet for this one, you’ll probably need something else. Not quite what you’re used to from me, I know. But I’m not really who I was anymore. I get obsessive about things and I want answers…

*53 second pause, sigh, 13 second pause*

Had this guy been enough on the right radars, there was a time when it might have been practical to either have him killed or subvert his unit out of his control, but maybe not; Condorcet…

Damn, how I hate that pig of a man.

Condorcet is another possibility, but I’m not sure how much to really attribute to him. If for no other reason than that the super-spy rabbit hole has no bottom and once you start attributing things to him, you never know where to stop.

Getting much on Condorcet before or during the war was basically impossible; the guy was old-school ROM and secular way before it was cool and got away with it from what little we do know. Now? Good luck. You probably know more than I do; but last I heard was that he hadn’t been heard from in years and might have settled down with that red-haired WOB chickee he used to spar with on and off during the war, if you can believe that.

I think a good place to put the sanity filter, as concerns Condorcet; is to simply ask what he knew and when he knew it.

It’s possible that McKenna and company were on his radar from their brief detention in Kurita space (maybe he’s what got them out?) and he protected and groomed his guy and his command from the get-go for the Star League Army he knew would one-day be needed to drive back the Clans and defend the Inner Sphere. How deep do you want to get into conspiracy-theory land? Because I have one contact who’s obsessed with an old Star League cloning program he thinks existed and the Clans based their eugenics program off of. He has this wild theory that McKenna is some kind of super-soldier held in suspended animation and Condorcet is an original Belter SLDF officer who stole a ship and left the Clan Homeworlds when he didn’t like what he saw Nicky doing there; came back and started looking for the freezer to thaw McKenna out of to rebuild the real Star League.

So; you see there are lots of reasons I don’t care to pick up the vid-phone, so to speak, and get in touch with my old network again.

At a minimum; we know Condorcet was aware of SOG back in the day and somehow convinced the right people---whoever the right people were back then---that this was the right unit and leader to build the new SLDF on. Clearly no face-to-face interview was required.

And yes; that horrifies me as much as it does you and it’s also basically our entire issue with the SLDFiE in a nutshell. Yes; *our* issue. I’m still on your side, Devlin. Just because I’m no longer willing to be your soldier and I’d rather have a life, doesn’t mean that I’ve changed my mind about what we fought for and against and why; the ideals we built the Republic for and the philosophy we want for the Inner Sphere.

*27 second pause, sniffing, laboured breathing*

Certainly some of SOG’s contracts are easier to explain if you have a super-spy guardian angel greasing palms and pulling strings to prevent investigations from progressing and keep the right people happy and/or checking their doors at night.

I think a reasonable compromise is that Condorcet somehow became aware of SOG years before the New Model Army program got started and probably eased their path at least somewhat. The rest could have been simple word of mouth. The people around McKenna are no slouches, either. I am certain that several of his inner circle could possibly have managed the kind of extortion here and there that would be needed to make their war record play out as it did. All the time? That beggars belief. Toss in a rouge ROM operative with a messiah complex and things seem more reasonable.

What I am not willing to do is to just sail this one on pure luck and human vice and stupidity. Not in this case. From a distance that seems plausible, but when you go case by case…regular Merc units are lucky to even survive these kinds of contracts. They rarely pay out, because they normally lose. SOG wins time after time and they do it fast and it sticks. They do that by employing a level ruthlessness normally absent outside war crimes trials.

Would McKenna be convicted? Probably. But I can count at least fourteen separate incidents that should have put McKenna and his band on an MRBC or ComStar Tribunal by themselves.

I discount luck completely. Forget luck. I’m lucky; you’re lucky. McKenna pissed off Murphy just by being born and he’s been paying for it ever since. If you look at his personal record, it’s a series of “what are the odds?” events that he’s able to mitigate, somehow. You find a Star League Cache and the best the locals can do when you hand them the keys is a pocket full of cash and a kind word? At a minimum he should have gotten his Capellan Citizenship; but no. He gets the boot.

You get the shot every kid in the Inner Sphere dreams about and the Clans invade the planet? It’s above the truce line, but still.

Your merc unit gets swallowed up by the deep dark never to be seen again? Everyone you know dead or basically enslaved and only you get out with a band of combat-rejects and pirates?

All their contracts are filled with mission-creep, bad karma and things that just should not have happened. McKenna or his people manage to get them out of it, but it usually means heavy casualties. The unit’s medical bills for just the first four years are unbelievable.

People wind up on Zaniah III for a fraction of the blood this guy has on his hands and “it could have been worse” is about the nicest thing I can say about any of it, along with “It shouldn’t have happened.”

*19 second pause, sigh*

I tell you though, Devlin…I look at the reporting I have on some of those incidents…contracts…ops…The ones where I honestly don’t think I’d have handled it as well don’t bother me very much; because, seriously? What are the chances things would ever go that way?

It’s the ones where I think I’d have done the exact same thing---or tried to---that McKenna did. Those keep me up at night.

My honour.

It’s not something I think a lot of, or talk about. We all did bad things in the war…but I can still look at myself in the mirror in the morning and I value that. You know that’s part of why I had to go, right? I honestly didn’t have the stones (no pun intended) to go through with what we all saw was needed to make our dream a reality. And I couldn’t tell you that until right now…

And then I think about just throwing it all away for so much less because I’m in some god-awful situation---that I signed on the dotted line for---and there’s no way out and my people are dying...And I probably couldn’t have made it work anyways; but I’d still have tried…

I don’t sleep all that much, Dev. I don’t have to tell you what helps with that, do I? And I’m sorry again. I’m sorry for a lot of things.

I’m rambling now.

Hell, I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t have collective years of experience fighting guerillas; I was one. Maybe this is normal? Maybe that’s part of why we hate this guy so much? God forgive me though; I actually feel bad for these people reading the reporting…

I wouldn’t bother re-reading any of the reporting you have on the SOG contracts yourself. Even if you have something new. If you’re looking for insight; I say this as a someone who cared a lot about you once, Devlin; save yourself the nightmares. I don’t know about you, but I’ve made a lot of progress these past few years. This project has set me back; I hope you realize that and understand why I can never do anything like this for you, again. I think it actually cost me a bit more of my soul, in fact. So, thanks for that.

But I was always your person for all this crap; strategy, tactics, intelligence, organization. Take my word for it; look elsewhere. I know you’ve already read it anyways, just don’t do that thing you do where you pour over it endlessly until it’s burned into your mind. Please. You forget that you didn’t live it sometimes; I remember that; talking you down.

*30 second pause*

So yeah; McKenna gets the job running the cadre for the New Model Army. Which is where a bad situation gets orders of magnitude worse.

I didn’t learn a single new damn thing about that whole mess that we didn’t already know.

There’s money, people and resources all in vast quantities that just start to *go away* in the 60s without anyone noticing. Maybe even before? We know that Dwight was heavily involved in the materiel and material sides of things and that basically everything that makes the SLDFiE what it is has McKenna’s fingerprints all over it.

After that; there are some interviews. I didn’t get squat out of them. The ComStar woman who was part of the reviewing party right before the Jihad is still alive. The only one who still is. If you care; that story about getting the news while on parade is true.

She…actually thinks he is the devil. Literally; The Antichrist. Or the second coming of Nicholas Kerensky in her case; being One Star, reformed now.

And then there’s the war; and by their works, ye shall know them. God; I have skipped my mom and I am becoming my Grandmother…

Anyway; at that point I am actually reading and hearing my own words, literally. I might have been able to add something if I had yours or Victor’s notes; anyone else really. But que sera, I’m sure you will add your own conclusions anyways; you always did.

So, you’re only getting my perspective, really. But you wouldn’t have come to me if that wasn’t what you wanted. Or you would have sent more along through the dead-drops, at any rate. I hope this is useful anyways.

Good Luck, Devlin. I fear you’re going to need it someday. I shudder to think of that army out there in the dark with that man in charge of it. But better you than my kids. It’s hard to explain how deeply I believe in the Republic and what you’re working towards when I won’t fight for it anymore. But that’s how it is. Selfish as it is; my war is over. For as petty as it seems in retrospect, I’m glad things worked out how they did; because it’s given me the chance to have a life outside of war.

For what it’s worth, I can’t imagine any way we could have done things differently.

Goodbye, Devlin.

Belle.


Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

marauder648

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #393 on: 07 November 2019, 02:29:49 »
Verrrrrrrry interesting and DAMN well written! But so many questions asked with few answers, you tease us good Sir!
Ghost Bears: Cute and cuddly. Until you remember its a BLOODY BEAR!

beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #394 on: 07 November 2019, 19:47:29 »
Verrrrrrrry interesting and DAMN well written! But so many questions asked with few answers, you tease us good Sir!


I wasn't super-happy with the profile/character sketch I did of McKenna earlier. Okay; great, here is something written however long after a guy benefitting from the full gamut of late first-league medical tech finally dies.

That is of limited value compared to something written by a contemporary with top-flight skills and access during the era our story takes place in.

I think I came across with a little bit more of really *why* or what it is that bothers "Stone and The Gang" about McKenna from very early on. Looking back, I kinda feel like I just laid out this situation with no because-why to explain it, just because it needed to be there and so it was. I hate that kind of story-telling. I've said before how I wanted to make a character markedly different from the common mould we see in so many of the protagonists in BT and I think I did that, but failed to explain just why those others are going to have this reaction to him that inevitably leads to war.

I chose Belle Lee as my vehicle for this for a few reasons; for one there has to be a reason why she ups-stakes shortly after the Jihad and just walks away from the republic, essentially cutting ties with Stone and The Gang just when things are looking good. She's not very well flushed-out, overall and I have never seen the whys explained to me. So I made *some* whys, but Belle is a complex woman and there are many reasons for doing what she did; it wasn't something she just came to: there were multiple contributing factors. The Belle we see is Stone's military gal-Friday in the Jihad and the (great?)Grandmother of our first Dark Age Protagonist in Stackpole's Dark Age into fiction from way back when.

The Belle in Der Tag is less a mechanism in the background and more of a human being. She is not a central character by any stretch, but *my* Devlin Stone won't ever have been happy with taking no for an answer on her walking away. He's mysterious, but he's human as well. So while he fits well with the trope of never explaining himself to anyone; he still knows he needs friend and allies. Losing Belle as both things hurt him and he feels that more and more all the time. I thought about how I feel about the friends I've lost in various ways; how I think: "Man, I wish he were here to talk to about this..." and I put that into my Devlin Stone. But Belle cannot ever come back to that life.

What started this was that basic salutation;

"Devlin, Stop trying to put the band back together. -Belle"

Man, that fit somehow. Then; Bam! Of course Devlin goes to Belle to learn about McKenna.

Then, I made this whole template for how Belle would talk and how that would look like in text. I actually really enjoyed writing it. When you read it; you should imagine that she actually talks like this, with the little asides, digressions and verbal parenthesis. And even as a serious-damaged war-vet, mom and farmer, she is still fascinated by things she learns about the world around her. It fit like a glove to have her fascinated by the life of a severely autistic boy in the community she lives in; a place that knows her, but keeps her secret out of respect and admiration; because Belle Lee is not only famous and cool, but a truly great person. Where Stone is Batman; Belle is Superman with more scars.

I hope for all the questions about McKenna, there were still some answers to be had.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #395 on: 04 June 2020, 22:47:51 »
Why We Fight: The Republic's Case for Estrangement, Isolation and Inevitable Conflict with the 3rd League


After the falling out between the Nascent 3rd League and Stone’s Coalition; tensions ran to the boiling point.

But later generations still have trouble grasping the attitudes of the day surrounding the end of the 5th Succession War and questions persist around this confusing period in human history.

The Republic found itself in a position it had never planned for. Instead of peace, disarmament and prosperity; they went from a total war, into a cold one and saw all their plans hobbled to one degree or another.

Instead of sitting as the unquestioned dominant force in the Inner Sphere, the Republic had to settle for being the popular choice in a contest of ideologies, keenly aware of their own weaknesses and unique vulnerabilities.

Be it noted, however; that had this been simply a contest of personality on the galactic stage, history would have played out very differently in all likelihood.

Having planned for a post-Jihad Galaxy where they held all the cards and maintained all the major players on their side; instead the Republic found themselves unwillingly roped into another round of the great game they had hoped to put an end to once and for all.

The end of the 5th Succession War found the optimism of the Republic compromised from the uneven tempering of an environment no-one had foreseen. Yet the Republic remained determined at all levels to face this surely final challenge and see their plans through in the end.


Transcript from INN’s Hot Spots, with Michael Bosworth

Interview recorded sometime in the mid-late 3080s, but first aired November 15th, 3088.

Analysis and narration provided by Shannon Douglas-Lei; Professor of Media History, New Vandenburg Memorial University. 08 July, 3250.


Michael Bosworth: And now, I’d ask you to give a warm welcome to our special guest tonight and my personal friend; Doctor David Lear.

---Audience erupts in wild applause and cheering. Technical analysis supports credited data and suggests that this was indeed a Live audience.

Lear Enters from Stage-left, walking at a measured pace over towards MB, rising from behind his iconic desk set to welcome the Republic’s First Gentleman to his well-known studio interview ensemble.

Lear takes time to wave and smile warmly to the crowd, clearly recovered, at least publicly from his wartime experiences by this date.

He and MB shake hands warmly and Lear also leans in to grasp MB’s shoulder in the manner made famous by his Father Kai, as Champion of Solaris’ Mech Gladiators. In his turn, MB responds to the gesture by raising Lear’s fist in the air; the image of the conquering hero. The crowd eats it up and the spectacle continues until 2:48 in the recording.

These activities are typical of Lear’s public persona from shortly after the end of the War, until mid 3093, when there is the first notable change in his mannerisms. Experts in the field claim to be able to cite tics as early as 3085, but my analysis is that they are picking ‘gnat shit out of pepper’, as my great aunt would say.

History records that the office of the Exarch obscured incontrovertible evidence of Lear’s affliction until 3094, when Stone announced the diagnosis; but his own memoirs indicate that he knew of the reality of the familial predilection for the disease as early as 3073. His first suspicion of his future husband’s acquiring of it is noted in writings referencing the days before the launch of the assault on the Sol system.

The bottom line to this digression being that any vultures looking to this recording for evidence of Lear’s impairment can look elsewhere.

MB: David, thank you again for making the time for us and coming out tonight.

Lear: As always; the pleasure is mine, Michael. You know, it’s only thanks to you that I ever got over my stage fright and got used to the media circus; I really can’t thank you enough.

---MB’s reply is drowned out by the adoring crowd, but he appears genuinely touched; a rare penetration into the studied and controlled stage-persona he moves into after the transition of Hot Spots from a current events program, into a more open-format in late 3083.

MB: So, David; I know the audience would love to hear anything about you and Devlin---

---Another predictable outburst from the audience follows, which MB deftly brings under control with a gesture. Real, or staged; he appears as the unquestioned master of his domain. One may debate MB’s true nature as a journalist, pundit or entertainer by this stage of his career, but it is impossible to impugn his public persona and his command of human emotion in any arena.

MB: but that isn’t why I asked you here tonight…

---The silence in the studio is palpable. Lear nods and gestures for MB to continue.

MB: David; people are scared and they’re confused. An event that should have been the happiest in many of our lives has instead been marred by misgivings; recrimination and a not a little bit of disillusionment in many corners; and I have to admit I count myself in that. Even years later. With all the time that’s passed; can we finally talk about the Banshee in the room?

---“Banshee” in this case is a Lyran cultural idiom, which has fallen out of use along with the mech it references; the BNC-Banshee assault mech. For much of their career; Banshees were known as the very image of the “White Elephant” cliché. Elephants themselves being large land mammals uncommon in the Concordant, but found on many worlds today. A “White Elephant” being a metaphorical allusion to a large, useless and expensive gift, which is impossible to hide from view. The Taurian Equivalent would be to “bury the Davion in the closet”. In both cases the phrase means to broach an unpleasant but necessary subject obstructing normal interactions, but thus far ignored.

   Addendum: Recall that the Republic managed, through incredible feats of perception-management and information-warfare to hide first the fact of and later the seriousness of the deterioration of relations between the Coalition and the 3rd League for several years. Proof of the success of these efforts is in the general good-feeling displayed by Republic citizens towards their officials when they learned that they were effectively in a state of simmering tensions with a much-vaunted ally and had been for several years by the time this program was shot.

Lear: Well, Michael; I think people have every right to feel the way they do, you included; and Devlin and I aren’t immune to it either. Recent events have taken what should have been a triumph over evil and cast almost everything into doubt. And of course, we’re not just talking about the falling out of the Coalition at the end of the War, are we?

MB: “Coalition”, David? Come on now. I think the “Coalition” is just fine; what’s fallen out is half the allied forces who joined the Coalition’s efforts to defeat the Word of Blake---

---The Audience erupts in shouting, boos and hissing.

MB: Hold on, now; settle down. Settle down.

---The Audience is quelled.

Lear: Well, that’s certainly one way to look at it; another is that we all agreed to go into this thing---

MB: You mean; the final campaign against the Word?

Lear: Yes. We agreed; we all agreed to go into this thing under a unified command.

MB: How’d that work out for you?

---quipped from behind his meme-bait practiced expression. But the audience is notably unwilling to take up the familiar bait, despite a flawless delivery. A rare fumble for Bosworth.

Lear: Well, Michael; it’s no secret now that there were issues from day one---

MB: But, Dave; you and I could go on about the war all night; it’s the event which has shaped the lives of everyone listening at home right now: it’s how I first met you and Devlin; all of you, really. But one thing neither the folks at home, nor my producers are looking for right now is a recap. So, let’s just get to the heart of the matter, shall we?

---The audience makes firm, approving noises from beyond the scope of the Tri-Vid Cameras.

Lear: Michael; When you’re right, you’re right. I’ve always respected your style; so here it is: The so-called “Third League” Is a conglomeration of Rouge States playing at legitimacy and the SLDF-in-Exile are Pirates.

---The Audience explodes; there are shouted refusals, shocked gasps and disquieted mutterings filling in every audible space.

MB: Alright, alright; let’s quiet down: Let the man talk…David; I have to say that those are some very strong words, especially from someone who only a short time ago called the SLDF our allies. And as you know; they also saved my life and the lives of countless others. Many here tonight look at Commander McKenna and his troops as heroes. I know you’re not a man to talk out your exhaust port; but I gotta tell you; I can’t have statements like that on my show go unchallenged or without comment, even from you; someone we all respect and admire.

Lear: And I expect nothing less. That’s why I was so glad to accept your invitation to be here tonight. But I can and will back up what I’ve said and I am prepared to meet any and all challenges on the subject. Even from you and your famously unforgiving audience…

---serious, but not raucous applause

Lear: I know that Hot Spots is a forum which is heard and respected in every corner of human space; even within McKenna’s Hermit Kingdom, even on some of the Clan Worlds. And Devlin and I have spoken at length about me coming on tonight; privately and with our most trusted advisors and I give you my word---I swear to you by my mother---that I; that we are prepared to be forthright and open on this subject to the very limits of national security.

---more unhindered applause, cheering.

   Lear’s own not-inconsiderable talents as a speaker and molder of perception making themselves felt now, beside Bosworth’s.

MB: Glad to hear it, Dave. More after this brief commercial break.


« Last Edit: 04 June 2020, 22:50:55 by beachhead1985 »
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #396 on: 04 June 2020, 22:48:41 »


-Contextual insert.

Things began to unravel from what had always been a frayed tapestry in the final stages of fighting for the heart of the Blakist Empire.

To this point, cooperation between the SLDF and its retainers and Stone’s Coalition had been nominally effective, but strained. SLDF officers though poorly of Stone and his rag-tag inner circle and seemed to work best with those forces farthest removed from the Coalition in terms of origins and command. On Terra things simply broke down.

McKenna was only allowed to see the detailed plans of the assault on the Sol system at nearly the last minute. The Coalition had only reluctantly allowed the participation of SLDF troops from the outset as a necessity and under the firm agreement of their subordination to the Coalition command hierarchy until D+30 at least. Once the fighting began for the system, itself; the SLDF’s considerable Naval and Aerospace assets ignored or outright refused orders from Alain Beresick and other Coalition Naval officers and even Stone, himself.

McKenna had warned of the difficulty that could be experienced if his officers were not granted all due consideration, but no-one expected anything like this. SLDF Naval forces would maneuver and strike independently; often using Coalition assets as bait or responding to direct orders with counter-offers and alternative plans.

The worst was yet to come.

Only allowed into the high-level planning sessions when the approach to Terra was finally underway, McKenna was at first deeply critical of the plan and then openly hostile. He blamed the Coalition for he failure to control his subordinates and made it clear that they were stuck with him and couldn’t afford such divisions any longer. Reluctantly, Stone was forced to concede.

McKenna wasted no time in switching much of his force to the first wave of the assault and significantly reorganized the assigned objectives. His changes divided the fragile alliance between the various large force commanders. Some were pleased to see their troops shifted to the second or 3rd waves in favour of SLDF forces, others were angry at being denied the targets they had trained to take.

Eventually, most of McKenna’s changes were accepted and historians have never stopped debating the implications for the campaign that followed. That the Coalition ended up needing every ship, mech and rifleman the SLDF could muster and then some isn’t contested. The timetables and the interrelated human and material costs of the campaign most certainly are.

The end of the Campaign on Terra saw a personal ultimatum presented jointly to Lord Protector Steve McKenna by Devlin Stone, David Lear, Victor Davion and Phelan Kell. It was a simple binary solution set; either disband the SLDF entirely, or agree to its integration under the auspices of the RAF. Under no circumstances would McKenna remain in command of these or any military forces.

Not only did McKenna refuse; he stated in no uncertain terms that any attempts to interfere with his forces or their ongoing program on Terra and elsewhere would be met with violence.

Unable or unwilling to continue the war on those terms; the leaders of the Coalition were forced, essentially at gunpoint to stand by while the SLDF---once again effectively in-exile---disengaged and departed the theatre with their forces and agenda intact over the next several, very tense months.

The memoirs and commentary of the involved parties all paint a different picture of just what happened and what was said. But Stone, Lear, Davion and Kell are all independently agreed on what their goals were before the fateful meeting and what they expected the outcome to be. Only Khan Kell made any a priorii statements of doubt on McKenna’s eventual accession to their demands.

While they disagree on what happened and why; all four have stated in no uncertain terms that the particular outcome of the meeting came as a shock. The knock-on effects of McKenna’s decisions even moreso.

The basic premise seems to have been agreed as facing down McKenna from a position of moral authority; out-numbering him with a gallery of the most senior and respected surviving figures of the Jihad and out-gunning him with the weight of an argument based on what they saw as common-sense and human decency, backed up by a mass of sheer charisma, wit and intelligence.

In retrospect; one wonders if they knew their audience. But it pays to recall that these were arguably the pre-eminent statesmen of their day; with experience and talent to dwarf most of their contemporaries and many of those who came before and after. These four men were quite simply used to getting their way across battlefields and negotiating tables. By sheer force of personality and will alone if bereft of other tools.

No-one seemed to have been prepared for their intended quarry to essentially tilt his head; squint at them like a confused dog while appearing to think hard and then firmly tell them to go pound salt before threatening them with another war to eclipse the apocalyptic nightmare they had all just finished. It was quite simply beyond the pale.

If McKenna’s rejection was a shock and disappointment; however, it was as nothing compared to the wholesale defection of a great mass of troops from the combined forces then gathered. While many were both tacit and sworn allies to the Nascent 3rd Star League, with the end of the war, it was simply taken for granted that their loyalties would revert naturally to more familiar flags.

From our perspective; it seems ludicrous not to have expected that badged Star League troops would simply follow their acknowledged leader into exile. But we make that judgement without having fought beside those same units and in some cases; their leaders and even rank and file soldiers through the Jihad and in some cases; the end of the Clan War.

So, recall that Stone’s Coalition counted many of those ostensibly in McKenna’s camp as their people at-heart. This does seem like a somewhat sad misapprehension of reality in retrospect; but from their point of view and with what they knew then, it was believed whole-heartedly that such as the Eridani Light Horse, 1st Royal BattleMech Regiment and the survivors of the storied Black Watch were more likely to mutiny; or even attempt a coup of the SLDF, before officers that such as Victor Davion had known personally for almost 30 years would simply leave the table without a backwards glance.

While arguably foreseeable, given the circumstances at the time; the defection of around 80% of the remaining ComGuards was an equally personal betrayal, particularly to their oft-times leader; Victor Davion. But with morale in shreds; their future as a corps uncertain and their once-vaunted reputation a memory; the SLDF was the sole remaining claim the Guards had on any kind of pride and self-respect. Well before the infamous “McKenna Ultimatum”, the Coalition leadership had held several conferences to decide the fate of the ComGuards and none of them had ended well. Perhaps in another universe where the choice was the RAF, retirement or destitution; things would have worked out differently. As it was; the loss of the ComGuards was a foregone conclusion from the moment McKenna uttered his firm obscenity.

By contrast, while the loss of Wolf’s Dragoons and their overnight transformation from rabidly-independent Mercenaries to staunch soldiers of “House McKenna” was a shock to outsiders; to the Dragoon survivors, it was likewise inevitable. Well before the end of the Jihad, it was only the lack of viable alternatives that had kept the once-legendary Dragoons together following the successive failures of leadership that characterized their record during the Jihad.

What no-one could have predicted was that the Nova Cats and Diamond Sharks joining the League was even on the table. The Khans of the Cats had chosen to keep their visions regarding McKenna and the SLDF a closely-guarded secret and had opted to form a bridge between Stone and McKenna’s forces, often acting as go-betweens and diplomats in an effort to unite the two factions in an odd-couple three-way rarely approached in history. When the time came to choose, though; the Nova Cats did not hesitate and were well-rewarded when the 3rd League spent all of their measurable diplomatic Ryu to ensure the Cats’ maintained their holdings and independence in what was ostensibly Combine Space.

For the Sharks, there was nothing personal in their ultimate decision; just the bottom line. Years before the 3080 trade talks, Coalition efforts to curb the Shark’s trading and gain tighter control over their spacelift assets were already beginning to bite. Adhering to freetrade as the closest thing to a religious principle that they possessed; the Sharks embraced 3rd League offers of protection and McKenna’s ideals of free enterprise and open navigation of the space lanes.

After that; mere diplomatic moves such as those in the former Free World’s League or even the willing estrangement of the Capellan Confederation in favour of the 3rd League amounted merely to “Pissing in the Rain” as Archon Adam Steiner famously put it in one of his famous digressions to simple soldier’s words.

However; the subsequent moves to pursue Lear’s anti-mercenary agenda, while arguably a much-needed boost to post-war confidence and the morale of those in the inner circle, served to further strengthen the 3rd League as once-reliable free troops went to McKenna for employment and in some notable cases; enrollment as SLDF regulars. This continued into the 3090s, despite the reaffirmation of the ARDC and easing of some anti-mercenary policies among the Republic and its allies. Despite this; things worsened further with the defection of serving house troops and veterans of certain disbanded and stood-down formations with historical ties to the Star League.

Clearly there were those who wanted something different than what Stone and Lear’s post-war galaxy seemed to offer them and they saw it in the 3rd League.


MB: And we’re back! I’m still here with Doctor David Lear and tonight on Hot Spots, we’ve been discussing the ongoing estrangement of the Republic and what many have been calling the “3rd League”. David; you were just about to try to make the Republic’s case to the people of the Inner Sphere---and more importantly; to me and our audience here tonight---

---Laughter, scattered applause

MB: ---for what some pundits have described as passing on the dawn of a New Age for a kind of “Cold War”; a term I had to look up to understand.

---Lear attempts to speak, but MB silences him with a gesture.

MB: …I wasn’t sure I wanted to even bring this up, David; but I’ve just decided I’m going to. You know that I have been a believer in Devlin, in you and in the Republic from the darkest days of the Jihad. But I have to tell you; here and now: This is not the vision we were promised.

---there is a heavy, oppressive silence in the studio. It only lasts a few seconds, but feels like an eternity, even on repeated viewings. Awkward.

MB: There are many people, myself among them who feel like we’ve all been complicit in allowing the ideals of the Republic to be sold out in exchange for more of the exact same kind of meaningless militarism which you, yourself have so often opposed. Here we are years after the end of the war and our worlds still lie poisoned and in ruins; some may never be reclaimed.
   There are still people living in the camps.
   Your Ploughshares program hasn’t been nearly as successful as we’d have hoped; there are still some places where people haven’t even got the message that the war *is* over.
    The economy still hasn’t recovered; many of *us* still haven’t recovered.

Instead of the bright future *you* promised us; our horizons are darkened by yet another one of the kind of conflicts our parents and grandparents back to the First Star League have had to live with.

David; what’s it all been for?

Lear: Well, Michael; as a matter of fact, those two issues are intimately connected.

And I can assure you that we haven’t sold out our principles. But something it took the Word of Blake to get through my skull was that all the high-minded ideals in the galaxy don’t mean anything if you can’t beat the bad guys, save the ones you love and above all: live to see the dreams made real.

What life with Devlin has taught me is that the best revenge really is living well.

----Uproarious applause and hooting. Lear looks down and away, smiling and blushing noticeably. A rehearsed reaction or genuine?

Lear: I came really close during the war---a few times---to never living to see the end of it. And the only thing that got me through it was the willingness of people like my husband to actually fight for what they believed in with more than words.

I realized in those moments of utter helplessness, before those who lacked my scruples; exactly what it was going to feel like to die with only the cold comfort that I stuck to my proverbial guns to the very end. Because, in those times; I was as close to dying for what I believed in as you can be and still have a pulse.

And you know what I learned, Michael?

MB: What’s that, David?

Lear: That it’s better to live for your beliefs than to die for them. The vindication just isn’t worth it; satisfaction brings no one back from a mass grave and without that life; there is no future: no hope of anything better. I know; I saw more than enough martyrs in the war. I could admire them, but never envy their fate.

That’s what the last few years have been all about for me.

You’re right: We haven’t delivered. But we haven’t because the only alternative was to sit back and allow a rouge power; one without thousands of worlds and lives to rebuild, to instead produce a galaxy-conquering army unopposed while we sat back and tried to pretend it wasn’t happening.

Enjoying the things our friends---my friends---died for, until McKenna decided to come and take it all away from us; again.

---The audience murmurs, but Lear continues.

Lear: it’s easy to forget the world our generation grew up in before the Jihad, Michael; but if I’d paid more attention I’d have learned a lot earlier than I did that the same piece of cheap garbage accelerated by primitive explosives is enough to kill me; or an innocent child, even a warrior like my Father. We can’t play with these people; to keep that threat from those we love, we need an army; we need the RAF: the RAF we have today and are working to build to defend tomorrow.

---scattered applause.

MB: They’re very fine words, David and no-one here doubts you mean them; but your personal transformation from pacifist to pragmatist isn’t quite the inspiring rhetoric that the people need right now. And it doesn’t explain how we got here. It was one of the Auburns who said that to prepare for the future we have to understand that its roots are in the past. What are the roots of the time we find ourselves in?

Lear: I think that’s actually a wiser place to start this whole thing, Michael. So, thank you for that.

---MB nods, sagely.

Lear: So; everyone knows that the Jihad began within hours after the Second Star League voted itself out of existence. The Word were waiting in the wings to accept their newly granted status as members in the League. But instead; the House Lords took the opportunity to once again ruin everything: The Word of Blake threw a fit and started attacking everyone all at once with weapons not seen since the darkest days of the Succession Wars and here we are today.

MB: Sure…

Lear: What isn’t common knowledge is *why* the issue was even brought to a vote to start with.

---Bosworth cocks an eyebrow and leans back, hand on chin. It’s a common enough question, but one most have given up on ever answering.

Lear: Sure; things had got off to a very uncertain start; just ask me how I feel about the first few rotating First Lords and how exciting they made my life; go on: ask me!

---The audience awards Lear a fair degree of laughter and applause; gallows humour still being in vouge at this time.

MB: But, hold on, David; I thought the 2nd Star League was only formed to defeat the Clan Invasion? By that point the job was basically done in terms of the Clans as a combined force after we took out the Jags, so why keep it up?

Lear: Michael, that’s a pretty cynical view of things, even for you. The Clans may have brought the House Lords to the table for the first time in 300 years, but I don’t know about you; me? And a lot of others? We hoped for more than war under a new banner.

MB: Well, we saw some of that; the Star League brought us a great deal of recovered technology; cures and science that had been lost for centuries. Standards of living were going up and trade was good…

Lear: But it should all have been better, especially after the FedCom Civil War, but it wasn’t. Why?


We have the official transcripts of the last Star League Summit, but the official version doesn’t quite add up; yes: The League had been used as a tool to further the ends of whichever of the Great Houses held the reins at the time, but what else is new?

But the idea that it just COST too much? Anyone ever run the numbers on that, hm?


---Lear looks out over the audience, beckoning them. No one rises to the bait.

Lear: Well I Have and its BULL(CENSORED), quite frankly. At the surface; what did the League cost us? Sure, our taxes went up a little, but that was peanuts in the grand scheme of things. What the hell did the League cost us besides partial upkeep on a few regiments of troops? And after the WOB started tossing nukes, we were all too distracted to look at the books…

---Lear appears to pause and collect himself. He takes a deep breath and blows it out. The audience, as well as Bosworth appear to hang on his every word.

Lear: About halfway through the war, Uncle Chandy’s people came across some data that we initially discarded---well, we were interested at first; major movements of manpower, refugees and all kinds of materiel---but it dated from the early 60s, and so it wasn’t likely to help us much in mid-’73, right? So, we forgot about it. Then, as we were closing in on Terra; we got more and more data from different sources showing the same thing and we started to look into it.

We were all busy as hell; but it was a mystery from a whole ten years before. Harmless brain-sweat. So, it made a nice distraction and we big brains love puzzles…

What it all added up to was tens of Millions of people; we never knew how many Trillions of C-Bills-worth of equipment, raw materials….Everything being quietly gathered up behind the scenes and shipped to parts unknown; the trails going cold near the Lyran Periphery.

MB: Now, Dave; you know *I* get it, but to a lot of the folks at home, this is going to seem pretty far-fetched.

Lear: Oh, so I’m not the only one who thinks I’m crazy?


---Laughter, raucous applause.

Lear: But, seriously Michael; the Word of Blake Militia was created, not quite from whole cloth, not quite in secret and over a longer period of time; but we had no idea the extent of their forces until the swords started falling towards our necks.

Even now, a lot of the pieces are still missing for us; but the bottom line up to the final Whitting Conference is that the Second Star League; an institution whose reality never approached its ideals, was building a secret army and it bankrupted them. But the real killer to this one is that I don’t think anyone at the top really knew. It looks to all have been done on autopilot; someone or someones’ personal initiative got the ball rolling on the avalanche that destroyed the hope that our generation grew up believing in.

And the guy riding the wave? Somehow, that ended up being this ex-mercenary-war-criminal; McKenna.

MB: Dave, you’re telling us no-one knew about any of this?


Lear: No. It’s eerie. When I told Victor, he hit the roof. None of our people’s connections could turn up anything. Just picture the House Lords all signing these huge checks like a rich man, paying off his wife’s bills and wondering if he has any money left or if she’s spent it all. It would be funny if the result wasn’t so tragic.

---The audience is totally silent on the recording at this stage.

MB: But surely; once the Jihad began, McKenna acted in all our best interests?

Lear: Michael; he acted in his own interest.

McKenna spent years consolidating his own powerbase; tossing forces all over the Inner Sphere and beyond on glory missions while some of us were fighting and suffering. Did he kill a lot of Blakists? Sure. But whoever invented his reputation as a great military leader must have overlooked anything at all of strategy; because I deliberately knew next-to-nothing of the military when the war began and even I could see that the battles he was fighting were unnecessary and did very little to contribute to the overall war effort before 3075.

Again, and again; the SLDF-in-exile is pissing away lives and equipment hitting the Word where it does not matter. McKenna is a savage who was out killing people for fun, wasting his soldiers because he could until he started to run out of useless targets to hit and then he had to actually start working with the people trying to win the war; the Coalition.

MB: David, David, David; what are you saying here? What does this have to do with things as they are today? I know that a lot of people who were liberated by those “useless battles” will eventually see this program and take what you’ve just said very personally.

Lear: What I am trying to explain, Michael is that these people; McKenna, his so-called “SLDF” and their “3rd Star League”…They are not heroes!

---The audience is filled with murmuring, some of it quite loud and unhappy.

Lear rises to his feet and walks out across the stage to address the audience, directly; leaving a somewhat miffed Michael Bosworth sitting impotently behind his desk; the master, seated, yet dethroned.

Lear: McKenna and his private army are an abomination. They are a parasite that’s eaten the host down to the bone; killed the thing that everyone I ever looked up to wanted to make real more than anything…

A parasite should not be able to survive without the host and yet; McKenna builds this army with a nation-attached that goes against everything we believe in and this monstrosity is able to rip it’s way out of the host’s ravaged body and start walking around on it’s own; a worm pretending it IS the host.

---scattered applause, some vaguely-affirmative-sounding statements. Bosworth has by this point decided to settle back in his chair and observe, chin on his fist; contemplative and above it all, his eyes unfocused.

Lear: What McKenna and his people have built is not legitimate. Their nation takes no notice of the will or consent of the people he keeps as slaves.

That is why, we of the Republic refuse to recognize the 3rd League and instead see it for the opportunistic clique it is.

---These lines were cut from viewings in certain regions, obviously. Lear has now turned the audience to his side and he has to shout to be heard over the noise and applause.

Lear: As such and in accordance with the Ares Conventions: I name all of McKenna’s forces Pirates and his fiefdom a Pirate-Kingdom!

Lear (Barely audible, before he turns and returns to his seat): And we will treat any who stand with him accordingly.

MB (Without missing a beat): Come on, now Dave; tell us how you really feel?

---The audience explodes in laughter and applause, once-more firmly back where they belong; in the pocket of their true master.

Lear, smiling and laughing along with them simply shakes his head.

MB (Turning to the camera): We’ll be back after the break, were my special guest; David Lear will tell us what we really want to know---

---An audience member shouts out something obscene, which has been censored through erasing the sound data on the original sample of the recording we hold. I assess it as a sexually-inappropriate statement, given the wolf-whistles, laugher and Lear’s schoolboy blush captured just before the program cuts to a commercial break.

   The remainder of the program was broadcast spliced-in with an earlier segment and the rest remained un-aired for some time. Bosworth fans have obsessed over the mystery of the “Clip show” edition of the famously live and minimally-edited Hot Spots series, having detected the abnormality of the repeated segment and Bosworth’s change of attire between the segments. However; the theory that the David Lear segment was always much longer; complete with people who swore they were in the audience when it was shot has only recently been vindicated with the discovery of this full-length segment.
   
   Prior to this, Republic sources and Lear’s press agent had always insisted that these were two separate interviews. Personally, I doubt that this segment was ever intended to be aired at all.

   This will be hard to get past his afficionados; but I think the great man dropped the ball here.

   As this is sure to be a treat for the even-more-obsessive Stone-Lear historians, I have produced and distributed several copies of this work to the appropriate “researchers” in the fandom/field. May God have mercy on my soul
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #397 on: 04 June 2020, 22:49:49 »



-Post script

While history records the publicly-stated grievances between the two great powers of the day and detailed hindsight analysis has revealed others, this file documents a rare look at the human and emotional reasons behind the conflict.

Even centuries later; Lear’s raw appeal to basic humanity and visceral imagery reaches us as only the man himself could have done. His expressions, body language and gestures have been studied at length, but it remains a tragedy that for all the tri-vid recordings we possess, his illness robbed us of so many more great speeches and impromptu lectures on topics esoteric and banal.


-Juxtaposing Lear’s statements with public policy.

Lear managed to elucidate in a clear and accessible way much of the real and complex political situation behind the estrangement of the Republic and 3rd Star League. This may, in and of itself provide a clue as to why it didn’t get past the Republic’s infamously far-thinking perception-management advisors.

That the League always suffered from issues of legitimacy is inescapable as a historical conclusion. Republic political efforts ensured that this hobbled the opposing alliance economically and politically.

Lear’s hyperbole regarding the SLDF’s War Record and the intent behind the 3rd League’s Meritocracy is impossible to miss and while it is understandable from many perspectives, it is equally effective with the audience.

Calling the League a Pirate Kingdom was probably uncalled for and had diplomatic relations between the two been open, would have severely damaged them, but invoking the long-since defunct Ares Conventions was a brilliant move granting his position the moral weight of righteousness empowered with the general ignorance of the population to matter of intergalactic law. At the same time, Lear’s statements left the Republic unencumbered by any legal obligation to initiate a conflict.

What Lear fails to mention is the way that the 3rd Star League undermined various Republic policies and equally-important philosophical positions. Bosworth alludes to this with the abetted failure of the Ploughshares program, which exchanged privately-held military equipment for land grants, hard cash and Republic Citizenship, sometimes at gunpoint. However, Lear declines to take the bait.

Just when we think we have it all, something like this pops up and it leads one to wonder what other data might still be out there somewhere; perhaps not even hidden intentionally, but worse yet; forgotten?
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

marauder648

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #398 on: 05 June 2020, 04:20:41 »
Blimey that was a big update and the gauntlet has been thrown, basically accusing the SLDF of building a secret army and then declaring them to be a pirate/rogue state.  Excellent writing as always and great to see this still going!
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EAGLE 7

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #399 on: 05 June 2020, 08:23:43 »
Hmmmm...

I must of read something different, the story I read had Lear saying” The Republic has the best toys and if you do not do what we want the Republic will bite you”.

It is amazing how having kids helps you understand “Nation-speak”

   Thanks for the update Beachhead. :thumbsup:
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beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #400 on: 05 June 2020, 09:28:05 »
Blimey that was a big update and the gauntlet has been thrown, basically accusing the SLDF of building a secret army and then declaring them to be a pirate/rogue state.  Excellent writing as always and great to see this still going!

Thanks, man! I am really loving your Raven stuff as it develops...looking forward to your next update!

I like to think that a lot of the power of what Lear is saying comes from the kernel of truth within it. He's a gifted speaker and man of the people, but; "it's all true, from a certain point of view."

The roots of Der Tag as an idea lay in me being baffled at the house lords walking away from the Star League. I've always said that real life can be anything; bbut good fiction needs to make sense. Der Tag is me forcing the dissolution of the 2nd Star League into rational dimensions I can understand. It's been many years since I did the foundational research now, but I recall the root cause cited as money. As-written, I couldn't see where the 2nd League cost very much, except morally. So I made my AU based around that.

Here: the New Model Army and the nation Mckenna builds to support it in perpetuity are much of Lear describes; a secret army (much smalelr in scale than the WOBM), whose construction destroys the very alliance it was made to protect.

Calling them a rouge state or a collection of rouge states is pretty reasonable from the perspective of the Republic and any in their camp.

Likewise; as-written, the old Ares Conventions described any armed force acting without legitimacy under recognized national auspicies or within the bounds of the convention as literally or legally pirates and thus subject to the permitted measures to deal with same.

Hmmmm...

I must of read something different, the story I read had Lear saying” The Republic has the best toys and if you do not do what we want the Republic will bite you”.

It is amazing how having kids helps you understand “Nation-speak”

   Thanks for the update Beachhead. :thumbsup:

Oh, Eagle! (WOT Player?) you speak Weasel!!!???

You're not really wrong. Part of this is that the RAF in Der Tag is superior, overall to the SLDFiE. As a toy; the RAF is better. Doing what the Republic wants at this stage is, however; nothing short of full and complete compitulation from the 3rd League and it's member-states. As-developed they simply can not share the same realm of knowledge. Unless one or the other wants to pull an exodus...and we know how that turned out...

The time to settle things peacefully was on Terra or before that, when the Jihad as we know it was still raging. As soon as the ultimatum was set, war became inevitable. It was just a matter of when the day would come.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

marauder648

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #401 on: 05 June 2020, 10:19:01 »
Quote
Likewise; as-written, the old Ares Conventions described any armed force acting without legitimacy under recognized national auspicies or within the bounds of the convention as literally or legally pirates and thus subject to the permitted measures to deal with same.


Aye its basically a 'good' way to declare war. Its basically another Pollux Proclomation https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Pollux_Proclamation

Namely the 
Quote
We intend to extend our benevolent protection into every corner of Human-occupied space, whatever the cost, until every man, woman, and child prospers and flourishes. Let no one stand in the way of Human progress. The time for reunification has come.
part.
« Last Edit: 05 June 2020, 10:21:00 by marauder648 »
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beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #402 on: 05 June 2020, 12:37:56 »
Aye its basically a 'good' way to declare war. Its basically another Pollux Proclomation https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Pollux_Proclamation

Namely the   part.

« Last Edit: 05 June 2020, 12:42:58 by beachhead1985 »
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

EAGLE 7

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #403 on: 05 June 2020, 21:43:11 »
Who has the fancier uniform, Republic or 3rdSL?
The old military theory about least shiny uniformed shorts .


“Likewise; as-written, the old Ares Conventions described any armed force acting without legitimacy under recognized national auspicies or within the bounds of the convention as literally or legally pirates and thus subject to the permitted measures to deal with same.”
[/b]

Haa Haa .....reminds me the time I was at a NORDIC /NATO training event, and  I pointed out that under Geneva Convention UN peace keepers meet requirements to be considered mercenaries.
      The ICRC civilian presenter, went into a flutter, and wanted me thrown out for speaking such heretical mutterings against the overlords of peace the United  Nations.
« Last Edit: 05 June 2020, 21:53:19 by EAGLE 7 »
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beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #404 on: 06 June 2020, 00:49:10 »
Who has the fancier uniform, Republic or 3rdSL?
The old military theory about least shiny uniformed shorts .


“Likewise; as-written, the old Ares Conventions described any armed force acting without legitimacy under recognized national auspicies or within the bounds of the convention as literally or legally pirates and thus subject to the permitted measures to deal with same.”
[/b]

Haa Haa .....reminds me the time I was at a NORDIC /NATO training event, and  I pointed out that under Geneva Convention UN peace keepers meet requirements to be considered mercenaries.
      The ICRC civilian presenter, went into a flutter, and wanted me thrown out for speaking such heretical mutterings against the overlords of peace the United  Nations.

That's a tough one!

And historically an interesting pitfall over the whole; side with the simplest uniforms wins-thing.

I haven't seen a good RAF uniform depiction, but in almost any catageory, it would be the SLDFiE, overall. The various member-states haven't changed much, except that the Blood Spirits have continued to make-work and make-do with whatever they can get. Be a long time before they can afford the good stuff for any but the highest ranks and the culture right now is to forego any needless extravagance.

While the most commonly-worn uniform in the SLDFiE is a line of primary-coloured skin-tight, disposable leotard-bodysuits that help keep the troops clean inside their gear; with "Regimental Culture" being a really big deal, essentially every outfit has their own dress uniforms they source locally. As such items are a forced personal purchase already, quite a bit of individuality crops up in quality and fit. Naturally; the armed-ranks purchase their own service sidearms for dress and combat. SLDFiE Dress uniforms are scalable in their ornamentation from a "Business Casual" attire for certain working environments, through the far and away favourite "Walking-Out" dress (which keeps all of the pretty and discards the uncomfortable and inconvienient), through Parade Dress to "Mess" Dress, which is the fanciest. All ranks have mess dress as an option; but only Warrant Officers, Pilots, MechWarriors and Officers of Company-grade and up are required to get ahold of it.

Day-to-day the entire SLDFiE from the Black-Navy to the Tunnel Rats wear what are called "Utilities" or "Togs". This is an issue medium-olive drab green or tan uniform worn with or without the unit headdress (Ballcap or Tilly when not required). These are minimally adorned and come in a small selection of climate variations. This is what all SLDFiE troops wear when on the job and not in battle dress or dress uniform.

The rarest kind of uniform in the SLDFiE is the "BDL" or Battle-Dress, Light. These are issued to candidates for basic-training, but only worn operationally by the light infantry units. BDLs are lightweight, climate-varied camouflage uniforms; available in a range of patterns. Candidates in basic get what is available. BDL may be supplemented with sneak suits and body armour, but is made of an IR-suppressant fabric identical to the original SLDF field uniform issue. That means that your battle-booty shorts can stop bullets if they hit you where they cover. Figure it's about equal to Level IIA in today's NJP scale. But it will protect you from light shrapnel and most needler hits, even at close range. Lasers are tougher. try not to get shot with a laser rifle if you can help it.

Lower-readiness units normally make do with non-standard uniforms, togs or sometimes BDLs.

If the simple uniform-thing is accurate; the SLDFiE is in a lot of trouble. Heavy Infantry (which is most of the force) are equipped with "Assault Suits"; well-protected, SLDF-tech lightweight fullbody armour/environmental suits. MechWarriors have a modernized version of the MechWarrior Combat Suit and coolant suits have even made it down to some very low-readiness mech units. Tank and Vehicle crews wear a hybrid of the less-advanced tanker smock, with some of the refinements of the MCS and assault suit. Even support troops are issued a full-body suit providing armour and environmental protection with climate kits available. SLDFiE Navy (Blue, Black and Brown) all have their own version of the vehicle suits, with relevant differences. A variation of the Assault suit is employed by Black-Water Marines and extreme-environment units and finally; the Galactic Marines have their own suit that will see them from deep space to deep winter, water or anywhere else they need to go.

***

Careful with stories like that; rather close to rule-4, that.

But I relate. I used to enjoy telling my fellow Canadian Army-types that our flags were too-small to count as vaiable national insignia under the GC. They never believed me till they looked, but then they'd still scoff. Well look who has bigger flags now! And they are welcome to them.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

mikecj

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #405 on: 07 June 2020, 18:15:25 »
Was that a Tigers of Terra reference?
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beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #406 on: 07 June 2020, 23:23:10 »
Was that a Tigers of Terra reference?

Entirely possible.

I am a HUGE fan of that particular obscure series; I mourn that we are unlikely to see it finished, as it seems Mr. Nomura has retired from comics.

To which part do you refer, out of interest? I am intrigued the point to which Families of Altered Wars has permeated my brain.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

DOC_Agren

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #407 on: 16 June 2020, 23:10:08 »
Was that a Tigers of Terra reference?
Was that the space version of the Flying Tigers as a comic book from back in late 80/early90s?
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #408 on: 17 June 2020, 11:23:51 »
Was that the space version of the Flying Tigers as a comic book from back in late 80/early90s?

That was a highly visible part of it, yes. Honestly an incredible series which suffers only from scatter-shot story-telling (You often got dis-jointed snippets here and there across different titles in the same series) and the fact that it was never finished.

The art style combines highly realistic equipment with influences as diverse as classic 1940s japanese Manga and Archie Comics.

I recommend it.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

DOC_Agren

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #409 on: 11 August 2020, 14:08:13 »
I was back in the days reading his books...  went looking and they were not where I thought they be.  :-(

I had a comicbook shop I went to back in the day, and he would get me "odd" like these when they came out.
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #410 on: 13 August 2020, 19:09:10 »
They are unique.

I actually follow him on FB as well.

If you want to read them again, they can be found on some of the online comicbook sites.

I work in references where I can; mainly to JJ Condorcet.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

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Irreconcilable Differences
« Reply #411 on: 24 August 2020, 18:36:52 »
Transcripted excerpt from interview with Baron Dmitri Von Gudaerian, 091422PMAY31

Gregor Sax: So, at that point there was no big, “Master Plan”, as it were?

VG: *Snorts derisively* Well; that would have been my job if any such thing existed and I can tell you that I was aware of no such thing that could be described in that manner. The contingency planning for anything remotely like a “Master Plan” didn’t begin until it was already clear we had no other choice and that was in the latter stages of the war by then.

GS: You were all caught totally by surprise? Just like everyone else?

VG: In short, yes. I think that many in the intelligence community knew that the bloody Blakists were up to something, but no-one could say what it was. In retrospect; all the hints are there in the reporting and many had access to near enough the full picture; we certainly did. But to suggest such a thing, never mind act on it?  No. There wasn’t remotely enough to take a suspicion like that anywhere.

Our contingency planning at the time so far as the Word of Blake was concerned was the starry-eyed possibility of supporting or spear-heading a drive to liberate Terra in order to place it under Star League control once more, possibly to be administered by ComStar once again. Possibly not. But those were roughed out war plans only; pure just-in-case stuff played out in Thursday-wars by the people in the cell whose job that sort of thing was.

As Chief of Staff for what was about to become the New-Model SLDF, an active war-plan like that would have been my chief responsibility through the plans section. But warplan-4 lived in a off-network databank over at the contingency planning sub-section subordinate to my office, with all the other number-plans.

My time was consumed with how we were going to dovetail the New-Model Army in with the proto-SLDF that-was. We were in the final stages of developing our transition program when the inspection group arrived unannounced.

GS: So; no one at all?

VG: No one. Not ROM; not the new SLIC, not our own people, not even Bloody Jack Condorcet, himself had an inkling; so far as can be known about that man. And if anyone had known, it would have been him. For all that’s decent; we’d got him on and off Terra alive and with his bloody memory core intact.

GS: It’s fair to say then that you went into the Jihad without any real “Plan”, then?

VG: Of course not! You’re looking at all of this the wrong-way-round. The before ceased to exist when we got the word about the attacks. It didn’t matter anymore what anyone knew or thought. It was after that when we figured things out.

GS: Figuring things out as you went along,
VG: *Sighs* Again; No…we were none of us super-men. Nor are we now. We weren’t gods or masterminds. We are and were; People. I’m not one to be a grouchy old man…*GS cocks a brow quizzically*…Alright, let me start again; we had just lost our entire world. Your generation can’t imagine that. For 300 years, all of the cultures of the Inner Sphere had been permeated by the dream of re-establishing the Star League.

To acquire a better grade of absinthe, if nothing else.

Even the coming of the Clans didn’t dull that dream; it just showed us how not to do it and cast it into sharper relief.

In my lifetime; I saw that dream of centuries realized.

And in an instant; it was gone.

Forcing the universe to make sense again? Reshaping it to our will? Those were the Commander’s ideas from their birth; but they came later. In the beginning, our goals were simpler; to strike back and consolidate our strength.

Those aims proved relatively simple to contextualize and work towards.

GS: Why couldn’t we have worked together more closely with Stone’s Coalition? Many believe that the ideals of the Republic were similar enough to the original Star League that we should have been happy working towards them.

VG: Firstly, though it wasn’t common knowledge across the Inner Sphere at the time; the Revolution had already occurred by the point that the Coalition truly got organized. After that, I don’t think there was any real chance of meaningful integration with what the Stone-Lear clique were planning for the post-war Galaxy.

GS: Why not?

VG: As was made eminently clear much later; before and then after Terra, you understand? *GS nods* Right at the very top of the Coalition, there was no tolerance for our system of governance. They refused to even examine it any deeper than the broadest of impressions---

GS: “The Warriors are in charge.”

VG: “Just like the Clans…” yes. And never-mind that it was still a much more representative system than that enjoyed on many worlds, even today; David Lear made it clear that they could never accept a political alliance with a timocratic state, once the truth was known.

GS: And reforming the Star League?

VG: Was never realistically on the table. The Old League failed. It failed for reasons which were foundational to the League, itself. It was always going to fall and not just in that inevitable sense of all great empires; it was just a matter of when.

The Second Star League bore little resemblance to the first, beyond the most-shallow trappings, but even *with* the active threat of the Clans to consider, the alliance served functionally as nothing more than the Great Houses and their clients taking turns abusing their power. We’d begun to worry in mid 3064 that the League would need to be reformed if it were to survive.

GS: Do you think that was part of the original intended purpose of the New Model Army?

VG: Explicitly not. I was privy to everything Steven was when it was presented to us, originally. And a bit part of why SOG was chosen as the Cadre was that the…interested parties…wanted a force best able to maintain a shaky and shifting power-structure against internal and external threats. With our background; we were perfect for that.

Whether the long-term thinking was that a reform would occur naturally, or be made to happen from within, I can only speculate. It hardly matters now.

GS: Was any compromise ever attempted, by either party?

VG: Part of the issue with this period, why I decided to write my history on it; is that there were so very few of us active at that level. Something might have been back-channeled through the Chaplains or the Mess, but on the official level, we were severely handicapped on our side by a dearth of trained or natural diplomats and on theirs by their ideals.

It’s no secret that I came to be involved with the old Studies and Observations Group because I’d finally talked my way out of the last of my friends and had the bad judgement to do so on the cusp of the FedCom Civil War. Another man or woman from my Class would have doubtless served better in this, if nothing else. But I think my greatest contribution was probably having the tact not to kill Thomas Hogarth in either of our duels.

But we all have our regrets, I suppose.

Anyway; I think that gives you an idea of how well we saw eye to eye on things…

GS: Was anything ever offered though, by either party?

VG: *Sighs* I blame over-work and excessive availability of alcohol, but someone once made the mistake of leaving The Commander un-chaperoned…

Then Miss Winters almost got to him in time, but his suggestion that we could all just live and let live and “all just get along” almost precipitated a bloodbath at the publicity event we were taking part in.

Standard grip-and-grin nonsense. Chandrasekhar Kurita with one hand on each; surrounded by their most-trusted lieutenants, dwarfed by the two Great Men of the age.

Naturally; some real socializing was required within security parameters…*Vid cuts here, resumes 4 minutes, 23 seconds later*

Steven’s suggestion; as impolitic and poorly-delivered as it might have been, however…it was really the best we could offer and ever think we might get. They were never going to join us in a new Star League and such an idea had barely begun to germinate at the time anyways.

As it was; I think it must have been looked to them something like if the Smoke Jaguars had approached the Great Houses as emissaries of the Clans and asked the same thing, all while wearing a cheap screen-printed T-Shirt that screamed; “I orbitally bombarded Turtle Bay, and all I got was this stravag T-Shirt!” in rainbow glitter.

GS: But that seems pretty reasonable to me; I mean, it is a big Galaxy, right?

VG: Well…less so if you want to maintain effective trade-links and we discovered we needed that quite sorely later on. Not having it complicated things tremendously, as we all know.

The real issue at heart was that our two camps had developed an almost mutual loathing upon meeting.

GS: How though?

VG: Well, from our very first joint exercises with the Coalition, we had the impression from top to bottom that we were dealing with a pack of lucky idiots. As a result; our officers and men quickly decided to ignore everything they said in briefings and do our own ground work. We destroyed them utterly in a series of force on force exercises, which was unfortunate, politically. All this eventually culminated in a hand to hand brawl between two field-grade officers, who shall remain nameless…in their assault mechs…

Little did we know that the whole thing was some kind of a test, which we failed miserably and we came out of looking like a bunch of Feddie Cowboys who couldn’t be trusted to follow any plan we were made a part of.

Anytime they were literally *forced* to include us; our people tended to reinforce that impression through their expression of “Mission Tactics…”

The Commander was his normal brilliant, but utterly obtuse self and pissed off basically everyone he met…Someone stole someone else’s Regimental standard…illegal duels with everything up to live ‘Mech weapons…It was a mess. We had to lift just to avoid opening another front to the war then and there.

Shortly after that, they learned about how we applied the Laws of War; someone finally connected the dots with Steven and SOG and when those records came out…

After that; the name of the SLDF was basically mud with the Coalition. They looked at anyone joining us as misguided at best and traitors at worst. Although some held out hope until the end, I understand.

GS: I got the basics of this in school, but hearing it all myself; suddenly Stone’s ultimatum makes a lot more sense. Was it just their idea though? The boys club at the top of the Coalition?

VG: I honestly doubt it. Attitudes were fairly uniformly negative, with a few noted exceptions. We had some converts over time, especially on Terra---The Kell Hounds wouldn’t exist today, if Steven hadn’t basically stepped in and started acting like such an ogre.

But siding with the SLDF was a good way to get yourself frozen out and re-assigned if you were a part of the Coalition. And those personal relationships…well; take it from one who’s ruined almost all the ones in his life; those relationships are vital to your professional and personal life.

GS: What happened then?

VG: After the Ultimatum?

GS: No; after that first meeting, or the falling out after it, I guess?

VG: Ah, yes; well it took a few months to sink in, but we knew we had years and years left to fight in the war, before the Blakists would be beaten. But it became clear that if we didn’t figure something out; we wouldn’t have a part in any post-war civilized Galaxy. We’d waste away and be no more than another obscure historical footnote.

Steven could look ahead and see that path ending in the SLDF dying a slow death as our troops gradually deserted to eek out a living as mercenaries or pirates.

No-one really fancied another exodus; the last one hadn’t worked out so well and the Cats couldn’t recommend a second. But we were reliant on supplies from the Coalition and the liberated zones we had little to no direct control over. Without that, we’d simply wither on the vine.

Another Star League was something that had been discussed, but foolishly; we kept thinking of it as something someone else was going to do and invite us into as, at least a part of the military. When or if that ever happened, it was clear that we were a disposable and extremely filthy tool the Stone-Lear Clique would make use of while they had to, but they wouldn’t let us go on our own recognisance afterwards. They couldn’t.

GS: What do you think of the theory that joint operations in the last few years of the war were specifically aimed at manipulating SLDF forces into situations where they would take heavy casualties?

VG: Conspiracy theories. No proof. And a highly unlikely plan to succeed, as we’d go our own way as often as not. But it doesn’t mean there wasn’t a conspiracy. We know they withheld intelligence on several occasions, which we only found out about later. But something was going on with the planning for Sol. Those deployments and schedules didn’t make much sense to anyone. I think that’s why Steven’s…amendments…were ultimately allowed to go ahead.

The originals simply didn’t hold water.

Pride, decorum, procedure; diplomacy…these things are vital to coalition warfare. But the men and women gathered there that day; it was going to be them and their soldiers risking their necks.

The Commander’s plan made obvious sense. If it had a weakness, it was that it was so obvious in retrospect.

Of course, we’ll never know now.

If something was going on, the Coalition Command Ring couldn’t or chose not to go ahead with it. As it was; we paid enough for that damn system.

There is not a veteran of that campaign alive today who wants anything to do with Sol again.

GS: So, what was the problem with the 3rd League then? Couldn’t we just have unilaterally decided that we were done with the rest of them and got on with it?
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

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Irreconcilable Differences
« Reply #412 on: 24 August 2020, 18:37:38 »
VG: The problem was the League itself. Not just the military units who opted to join, but the member-states and even our allies. It legitimized us as an alternative to the Republic and it became increasingly clear as the war wound down that what Stone and Lear were planning wouldn’t work outside of a unipolar political system. A viable alternative to the Republic undermined a lot of their incentives; it became harder to convince people to go along with the various programs if they had another viable option.

Losing the Nova Cats and in such a…look; no one expected McKenna to make the Kurita-Nova Cat pact work. No one even considered trying it. I can only explain it as every dog having his day and Gott un Himmel! That was his.

To lose the Cats in a way that left them independent, but allied in every way as a 3rd League Member State was totally unacceptable to the Republic. The Nova Cats needed to be Republic allies; preferably at least somewhat dependant on the RAF to guarantee their territory and Republic diplomatic efforts to keep the DCMS from actually testing the RAF on the matter.

The Sharks were another problem; you can’t afford *not* to trade with the Sharks and they were our trade loophole. Once you factor in the Blood Spirits; then we’re this new Clan Axis in the Lyran Periphery, which is the last thing anyone else wants.

Finally; the Capellans. The Republic’s entire strategy for dealing with Sun Tzu was in isolating him from outside support. Here we are as a steady, reliable trading partner and offering to provide advisors and all kinds of technical expertise.

This is without getting into the Warships or the stay-behinds and Special Forces units…

GS: But why did we have to fight them? Professor Hu’s paper on comparative combat power is pretty convincing, even to a layman that actually going to war with the League would have been an endless nightmare for the RAF and the Republic would never have tried it.

McKenna could even have accepted the ultimatum. I mean; would walking away from the military and allowing the Canton worlds to revert to democratic rules have been so bad?

VG: I have my doubts that Steven really could have accepted the Ultimatum. Later; he seemed confused that they seemed surprised he’d turned them down. Others I suppose could have accepted it, but to be frank there is every possibility that most any equivalent historical character would not have found themselves in such a situation to begin with.

I don’t think he wanted to be the next Kerensky; so much as the alternative never occurred to him. Retirement, sure; but to see all he’d built dismembered? As a MechWarrior; to surrender to dispossession, under any circumstances?

People forget as well that anyone else probably never would have got that far to begin with.

Steven may be a little…

GS: Obtuse?...Hey; you said it, not me.

VG: Yes, obtuse…but as a military leader he has many great qualities. I never met anyone else like him. Where to find someone else to fit the bill as well as he did? Maybe Condorcet would have had a shortlist; I have no idea myself.

But it wouldn’t have been at all the same army then. In many ways. And the New Model Army turned out to be just what was needed in a few different places and times during the Jihad.

The rest of us though? Some could have walked away. Many did! Post-war, most of the active duty force was fully or partly demobilized. *Laughs* By thunder, this has to be my fourth retirement by my count!

But we would have been giving up a lot too. And I’m not talking about the uniform. Although I have nothing to even approach my service with the SLDF; it’s the League I’m proudest of.

GS: *Confused* But Baron; you didn’t have anything to do with the Revolution…or did you? Are you saying you did?

VG: Well; I proof-read things for Steven, helped him better frame his ideas. Mainly I just watched as he pulled a system of government out of his ass from half a galaxy away and then helped him fine tune the legalese.

But I got to help create the Galaxy where the real 3rd Star League could exist and that I am proud of. And I would never wish to see it diminished.

GS: Again; we all read about it in History and Moral Philosophy class; but I never really got the how’s and why’s of it all.

Why Timocracy? Especially our form of it? And why another Star League? As you said yourself, Baron; it had failed twice before.

VG: And our League is still very young, Gregor. But as similar as it is, it is different as well and I think those differences will stand the test of time and see us prosper.

As for the system? Steven just said he got the idea from a book he’d found somewhere and just made it fit our world.

GS: *Incredulous* That simple? Really?

VG: So, it seemed to him, anyways. The man is like a son to me and I can’t pretend that I understand him fully. Don’t bother asking his wife; she’s no help whatsoever.

But the League? Honestly…*long pause of 43 seconds follows*

…I think he just fell back on our original mandate for the New Model army; applied what we’d had to do in the Cantons to make it real and then expanded it to a form of state-******-alliance.

And even by the end of the war; walking away from that…no; walking away even from what we had before the war; giving all that up to settle for the Republic?  No. No. Never.

GS: Why is that?

VG: Ever seen the Grey Plague?

GS: No…

VG: And you never will. It’s a form of supremely necrotic hemorrhagic fever. It came through the Barony when it was still my Grandfather’s…

There is something to be said for inoculating soldiers with horror when they are very young. Those nightmares stayed with me. The Kuritan front, even the Clans; nothing I saw with SOG…none of it rated after that.

The Second League; The Republic? They hardly bothered.

Lear’s disease? It isn’t even rightly called that. It’s Alzheimer’s. There has been a cure since the first League. It was in the Helm core. No one ever bothered though to create the necessary infrastructure to manufacture it. So, all the data was there, but it was a cipher. Even to the Republic.

From the beginning, The Commander made sure we invested in all the old wonders with even a peripheral connection to making good soldiers. No wonder we bankrupted the Second League!

Vaccinations and gene-therapies in pill-form for hundreds of hereditary ailments. All virtually unknown in the ancient Terran Hegemony. Cures for thousands of diseases. Surgical and clinical knowledge to correct the same. Water purification, weather control; terraforming technology!

Look at me: I was looking at the last decade or two of my life at most when I first met Steven. It’s more than seventy years later and I will have decades more to enjoy the culmination of my life before it finally ends. My daughter will outlive me by at least a century. We’re Belters now, essentially.

GS: You don’t think the Republic would have prioritized those developments, down the road?

VG: We’ll never know. But would I, as a known undesirable have ever seen the benefits? Doubtful.

Frankly, I doubt they could have in time to benefit anyone alive then. It would be arrogance and not a little spiteful if I didn’t recognize that the Republic had hundreds of worlds they were personally responsible for rebuilding. How many more they would never see benefit from again? I should know; I was kept apprised of our efforts to hobble them. The houses were no better off.

Us? Nothing compared to that. Even recovering and pioneering the Cantons was never as daunting as any five given Republic Worlds.

Our system is a good one. Our people are free, all of them---

GS: Even those not free to vote or hold office, certain jobs?

VG: I could argue that the Civilians are freer than the rest of us for not having those responsibilities. But they have every other right; many more rights than the vast majority of known worlds have and, I think; better guaranteed than anywhere else today.

There’s more; but frankly…and I can speak for many when I say this…By that point in my life, I already knew what I was and I’d offered up my life for much less before. There was really no need to negotiate.

GS: And what of Doctor Hu’s paper? It’s been in the news quite a lot lately.

VG: *Sighs, breaths deeply; seems to actually shrink before our eyes* Gregor, I wish I could give you some high-minded philosophical argument about freedom and justice…maybe something from Aquinas or Liao on just war theory…Hell; I could try to dazzle you with military rigmarole…*Long pause follows for approximately 36 seconds*

GS: Baron? Would you like to stop? We can continue another day…

VG: *Smiles* No, it’s just my granddaughter. *Sits up, mutters something unintelligible; analysis suggests 62% likelihood of “Stupid old man” or similar*

GS: Pardon? What was that?

VG: My granddaughter.

GS: The Baroness? Yes, what about her?

VG: She hates when I lie…Her mother did too. But she just lived with it. I guess growing up with me as a bitter old bastard and seeing how I was with her own mother and my wife, she just accepted it. I did it anyways. To all of them. Whenever I felt like it, really. Sometimes just to keep them off balance. I lied to everyone.

Part of my “charm”, you could say…

But the first time Caramelita put it together that her Grandfather was a liar, she told me right to my face that she didn’t like it. Good people shouldn’t lie, she said; and it made her sad that I had.

I remember I started to tell her what I always told the women in my life; that I wasn’t a good person and she could take it or leave it. It always got me what I wanted, until it didn’t.

But I looked down at her…she was crying of course. I’ve seen oceans of tears…

There was something in her face though. Something that touched me in a way no one ever had before…

I thought I’d felt shame before. Disgust. Self-loathing. I was wrong. I’d never felt that before. It was all I could do to make it out of the room before I threw up and it was much, much later, after many glasses of my best Glengarry Scotch before I could face her again.

When I did…I apologized to her and I promised I’d never lie again. Maybe the first promise of my life I ever meant to keep and I have. So far. Being a liar is like being an alcoholic, I guess; one day at a time…

Do you know what she said to me, Gregor?

GS: No.

VG: She said; “I know grand-pa-pa; you’re a good person.” And I never felt prouder or more unworthy of anything in my whole life…I carried her everywhere for the whole rest of the day.

Hu’s right.

The Republic would have needed the combined strength of at least two Great Houses, in addition to all their other allies to defeat us on our own territory, completely and in any decent time-frame.

Any war like that, without those additional assets; on whatever pretext, would have just gone on forever. I’m not certain they couldn’t have won in the end. But no-one ever benefitted from a long war. Even a Cold one.

But as soon as they gave Steven that Ultimatum: War; terrible and likely total became inevitable. The only question was when the day would come.

So; simply put: We decided to start the war, fight it on our terms and on ground of our choosing, when we could beat them.

We all agreed it was coming. Stone and his crowd said as much at the time and post-war Republic propaganda reinforced this perception.

Since it was going to happen anyways; we decided to pick the day and fight the war we could win.

GS: So, with that in mind, what was the strategy going forward?

VG: Shortly after we realized that things weren’t just going to go our way, we started thinking about that. But individually. The first time the words were spoken out loud was during a closed-door bull session in late ’75. It was a funny thing. A subject discussed informally, but under the strictest secrecy. No records whatsoever, in small circles. At my level.

GS: *pauses and cocks in his head quizzically* At your level? How do you mean?

VG: Well this was a subject of some unfortunate popularity within the messes. Essentially from the outset of direct relations. It was most disparaging for those of us hoping for an amicable arrangement.

*recording pauses for 10 minutes, 26 seconds, exactly*

*obvious cut and splice at this point, cutting off another statement*---by the time of the ultimatum, however; we had a very serious idea of what would be required in mind. It was simply left to modify some already-in-place contingencies such as the stay-behinds, the Special Forces and what we called the “Conservation Campaign”.

Chiefly; we had to ensure that any war did not spill over into yet another sphere-wide conflagration. The member-states; to say nothing of our allies would never countenance that and would demand a cessation of hostilities immediately, no matter the outcome or situation.

After that; it was the influence of the Republic that needed to be broken. How to do that was the question. Naturally; the RAF would need to be defeated decisively, including as many Coalition heroes of the 5th War as the timeline permitted. That was really the easy part, obvious part to conceptualize? The rest? The political influence of their leaders and major personalities alone had the potential to overcome any victories we might win on the battlefield, the emotional appeal to the common man and woman. How to overcome that?

GS: Did you ever find a way around that?

VG: It was The Commander, predictably enough. He pointed out that no matter the Republic’s Soft-Power appeal to their ostensible allies and legions of untitled moral supporters, if there was no Republic to support, it wouldn’t matter. Then we just had to delay any external entries into the war and for the most part we managed that ably.

GS: And what about after the War?

VG: *Leaning back, taking a drink of water* Our belief was that The Republic was the sole author of our misfortunes. Without an influential power of moral authority to contend with, there was little real reason to freeze us out. So long as we didn’t create any of those reasons ourselves, of course. And some simple peace offerings couldn’t hurt either.

GS: You mean; dozens of previously abandoned worlds, whose populations had been seeded with nationalistic fervor?

VG: More extorted or seized by force, but that’s essentially correct; it didn’t hurt.

GS: So, in your opinion, Baron; how did it all work out? Were you right in those assumptions?

VG: I think the historical record speaks for itself, don’t you?
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

beachhead1985

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A little Meta
« Reply #413 on: 24 August 2020, 23:46:06 »
Why?

Well, it occured to me that a big issue with Der Tag, overall is something that left a quandry for BT fans that was eventually answered with the Dark Age.

Why fight anymore?

As Der Tag is an anti-Dark Age in many ways; I needed a good answer for why and why not?

You've reformed the Star League; where do you go from here? AKA; how can we screw up this one in order to keep the game going and advance the plot?

Irreconcilable Differences is about answering that question. Less a "Where do we go from here?" and more of a "How did we get here?" piece; I hope it does the job.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

DOC_Agren

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #414 on: 29 August 2020, 17:29:37 »
 :thumbsup:

I like the reasoning
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill, And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"

beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #415 on: 30 August 2020, 10:00:01 »
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

marauder648

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #416 on: 30 August 2020, 10:25:52 »
Excellent stuff, as always, brilliantly thought out and written as always!
Ghost Bears: Cute and cuddly. Until you remember its a BLOODY BEAR!

beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #417 on: 30 August 2020, 10:44:09 »
Excellent stuff, as always, brilliantly thought out and written as always!

Thanks man!
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

truetanker

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #418 on: 20 September 2020, 19:14:20 »
I like this alot. Keep up the writings please.

TT
Khan, Clan Iron Dolphin
Azeroth Pocketverse
That is, if true tanker doesn't beat me to it. He makes truly evil units.Col.Hengist on 31 May 2013
TT, we know you are the master of nasty  O0 ~ Fletch on 22 June 2013
If I'm attacking you, conventional wisom says to bring 3x your force.  I want extra insurance, so I'll bring 4 for every 1 of what you have :D ~ Tai Dai Cultist on 21 April 2016
Me: Would you rather fight my Epithymía Thanátou from the Whispers of Blake?
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beachhead1985

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Re: AU: Der Tag (The Day)
« Reply #419 on: 28 October 2020, 13:31:49 »
I like this alot. Keep up the writings please.

TT

Thank you! Working on another now.
Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries

These, in the day when heaven was falling,      Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
The hour when earth's foundations fled,         They stood, and earth's foundations stay;
Followed their mercenary calling,               What God abandoned, these defended,
And took their wages, and are dead.             And saved the sum of things for pay.
     
A.E. Housman

 

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