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Author Topic: Davion & Davion (Deceased)  (Read 51721 times)

cpip

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #60 on: 26 November 2017, 10:04:14 »
Definitely enjoying it -- and I admit, had someone just told me the premise of the whole thing I would've told them they're mad to think I'd like it, but I'm really enjoying this.

I will say this last posting seemed to be a bit rushed; there's a few more formatting/editing issues than there were previously, and given how well-done everything has been so far, it sort of jumped out at me, like gristly bits in an otherwise tasty hamburger. Still, that's nothing that couldn't be solved with a proofreading sweep.

Well done and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next.

mikecj

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #61 on: 26 November 2017, 15:21:32 »
 Nicely done, as usual.  Thanks!

Was Theban Legion a Nightwing?
« Last Edit: 26 November 2017, 17:11:52 by mikecj »
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

PsihoKekec

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #62 on: 04 December 2017, 02:36:39 »
Noticed this fic in SB and today it dawned me that it's most likely posted here as well. Really a joy to read.
Shoot first, laugh later.

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #63 on: 04 December 2017, 05:46:32 »
Nicely done, as usual.  Thanks!

Was Theban Legion a Nightwing?
Yes, it was.
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

mikecj

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #64 on: 04 December 2017, 20:40:08 »
Thank you!
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #65 on: 14 December 2017, 18:25:53 »
The Star League Council, 2767

The Star League Council - sometimes the High Council - is the supreme ruling body of the Star League. While the First Lord wields some executive authority, he cannot overule a majority decision of the Council. He is only first amongst equals, able to break ties but otherwise his vote counts for more than that of the other Lords. The right to the role was invested in House Cameron by the original membership during the negotiation of the Star League Accords.

The lords of the six member-states hold voting seats upon the Council and always have. After the Reunification War, the Bureau of Star League Administration appointed four Periphery Administrators, one for each of the four conquered territorial states. These Administrators were seated upon the Council but never granted the right to vote. This was the only representation permitted to the periphery for more than a century. In 2722 the administrators were removed and the lords of the four states replaced them, though with no more power - they may speak but not vote in the decisions of the Council.


Stefan Amaris
President of the Rim Worlds Republic
Born 2717, Reigned 2738-

Stefan is the only child of the middle-aged Cynthia Amaris, who was terrified that her heir might prove unfit to lead the Republic. She therefore began training her son effectively from birth in the skills she felt Stefan would need - he was said to be a liar and a manipulator before he left the nursery. Certainly he was intelligence and curiously, relentlessly studying any question he felt he lacked a satisfactory answer for. Even before his mother's death, the young Stefan became a power player within her court, making backroom deals to begin assembling the arsenal that the Edict of 2650 denied to the Republic.

One assumes that Cynthia was proud for as soon as he succeeded her, Amaris broadened his plans and staged deniable raids into both the Draconis Combine and Lyran Commonwealth, using each other's colours. This fanned the flames of the conflict between the pair  - furthering the schisms forming in the Star League Council. Within the Inner Sphere he played the buffoon in public and secretly began to establish ties within the Terran Hegemony.

Following the death of Simon Cameron, these ties included the young Richard Cameron. Stefan studied the young First Lord and unleashed his prodigous charm to win over and mould the child. It would have been entirely within Stefan's ability to rule by proxy through Richard but this did not interest him. Indoctrinated from his youth with a history of slights by the Camerons against House Amaris, the lord of the Rim Worlds Republic gambled everything to supplant Richard.


Allyce Avellar
President of the Outworlds Alliance
Born 2732, Reigned 2765-

The daughter of Beatrice Avellar's son Lukas who died in 2745. Allyce and her brother Simpson had grown up in the household of the strong-willed grandmother. Allyce was heavily invested in the cultural and social agencies Beatrice had established, activities that suited her artistic temprement. She entirely missed their use as cover for guerilla operations as Beatrice deeply resented the exploitation of her people by Inner Sphere corporations and proved receptive to Amaris' approach.

When Beatrice died in 2765, Allyce felt it was her duty to her beloved grandmother to take over her duties to the Outworlds Alliance - despite having little to no grasp on the actual policies being followed. Simpson Avellar might have been better suited by temprement to lead the Alliance and he'd very much been in Beatrice's confidence as to the Secret Army. However, he was too much a leader in the warrior aristocracy mold of the Inner Sphere and the peace-loving Allyce, much less forceful in her moralism than her grandmother, received widespread public support.

As such, as the Periphery exploded in revolt, the distinction between the secessionists - effectively under the command of Simpson - and the official government under Allyce was genuine, unlike the Magistracy and the Concordat where the difference was a thin legal fiction. This may have contributed to the savagery of the campaigns in the Alliance, something that horrified the President and throughout her short reign so far, Allyce Avellar has campaigned vigorously but without success for an end to the violence.


Nicoletta Calderon
Protector of the Taurian Concordat
Born 2707, Reigned 2725-

Nicoletta Calderon took office at an early age with her grandfather retiring as soon as she met the minimum age requirements. The previous heir, Nicoletta's uncle, had been murdered and despite occasional mutterings there was no evidence linking her to the conspiracy responsible. Gregarious and popular, Nicoletta spoke up for the Periphery during the chaotic period as the BSLA representatives yielded their places on the Council to the lords of the four territorial states. Politically she was very close to Beatrice Avellar, who had similarly assumed office at a young age two decades before.

This political ties didn't benefit the Concordat as much as might be hoped as the Outworlds Alliance wasn't sufficiently industrialised to help counter the economic exploitation. Nicoletta therefore looked for other allies but found both Vanura Centralla and Stefan Amaris to be supine in the face of the Star League's member-states. In the 2750s, Nicoletta found a potential ally in Vanura's heir Janina and cultivated the future Magestrix assidiously. Her real surpise though was tentative offers from Stefan Amaris that concluded in a secret pact in 2754. Nicoletta was without question behind the Taurian Freedom Army that stirred up trouble to draw the Star League into the periphery and proclaimed the seccession of several Taurian worlds from the Star League to be an 'internal matter' despite the fact that they remained part of the Concordat.

As core Taurian worlds were secured by the SLDF it seemed only a matter of time before evidence was uncovered that Kerensky would use to indict Nicoletta as a traitor to the Star League. Only the sudden revelation of the Amaris Coup prevented this but what could have been Nicoletta's victory turned to ashes for her as Amaris made it clear that he would readily make peace with Kerensky and support the crushing of the other territorial states in order to keep his power on Terra. Having believed herself Amaris' partner, Calderon had in truth been just another pawn.


Janina Centralla
Magestrix of the Magistracy of Canopus
Born 2723, Reigned 2760-

The Star League Council experienced rapid turnover in the 2760s with three members passing away in 2760 alone. Vanura Centralla's death opened the way to her daughter Janina and brought a rapid change to the political stance of the Magistracy. Long the most favourably inclined towards the Star League of the Territorial States, whatever House Amaris claimed, the Magistracy had been left open to economic exploitation by a succession of changes since 2722.

Unlike her mother, Janina took a strong stance against this and formly aligned herself with the seccessionist movements and accepted military aid from the Rim Worlds Republic. Under her governance, co-operation between Magistracy Armed Forces and the SLDF was terminated and she actively bolstered her forces with mercenaries. Having been considerably more discreet than some of her peers, she avoided being identified as one of the principal ringleaders of the Periphery Uprising until events were well underway, although her involvement on some levels was never really in doubt.


John Davion
First Price of the Federated Suns
Born 2719, Reigned 2745-

John Davion rose in his lifetime from fourth in succession to the throne of the First Prince without any ambition on his part - his father and grandfather died in battle, his cousin in an accident the younger Davion had no way of arranging. Richard Davion appointed John his heir only a few years before his own death and the young prince threw himself into preparing to serve the Federated Suns, completing his military service and studying the administration of the realm.

Once he became First Prince, John prioritised the Suns over the Star League, doubting the organisation that had failed to save his father and grandfather. Where political dealings couldn't convince him otherwise - although he made his name as a honest and evenhanded leader - Simon Cameron won his support when he appealed directly the people of the Star League... alas, Cameron died almost immediately after this in a tragic accident.

Balancing the interest of the Federated Suns and the Star League has proven a narrow path to follow. Davion has consistently supported Aleksandr Kerensky, nominating him as regent and placing the AFFS in harm's way to support him. However, he also launched an invasion of the Capellan Confederation, further destablising the regency period. This middle road has left John as a key vote in the High Council, but also left him without allies... a dangerous position for the Federated Suns.


Takiro Kurita
Coordinator of the Draconis Combine
Born 2646, Reigned 2691-2767, Died 2767

The firstborn child of Coordinator Urizen Kurita, Takiro was designated as heir to the Combine despite the concerns of some courtiers that he lacked the fire to lead. Raised in the samurai traditions that had been re-instated by his immediate predecessors, Takiro rose to the role, impressing the Combine with his sense of honour and balance of the spiritual and martial aspects of their culture. When Urizen stepped down in favour of his son, the First Hidden War had been ongoing for years. With the DCMS downsized by the Edict of 2650, newly independent mechwarriors had begun challenging SLDF mechwarriors to deadly duels.

At first the Combine's success had shocked the SLDF but Takiro saw the increasing success of the Gunslingers of the SLDF and ensured that revisions and improvements were made to the training of the DCMS in anticipation of continued struggles.This preparation served the Combine well between 2725 and 2730 when they were freed to champion the children of Takiro's brother Soto in their claim upon the Federated Suns. While the fighting wasn't entirely in their favour, Takiro saw his loyal samurai drive deep into the territory of their traditional foe, only halted when the SLDF finally unleashed overwhelming power.

While relations between the two states remained poor, Takiro Kurita was impressed by the rise of John Davion, finding his new peer similarly practical and concientious - a worthy rival and sometimes ally as both men had concerns about the rising tensions in the Periphery and recognised that previous decisions of the Star League Council had led to the problem.


Minoru Kurita
Coordinator of the Draconis Combine
Born 2705, Reigned 2767-

Takiro Kurita had raised his only son to succeed him but passed on at an unfavourable time. His great-nephew Drago and his family, the senior branch of Soto Kurita's descendants, were on Terra during the coup and Amaris seized them as leverage. The elderly Takiro collapsed upon learning this and died a week later. His last instructions were that Minoru should seek a diplomatic solution, a request his son swore to obey.

Unlike his father, Minoru had grown up with the Star League in visible decline and he'd seen action in the War of Davion Succession. As a result he had first hand experience of the AFFS' failings at the time and lost friends and comrades as the SLDF smothered the offensive. Possessed of a more belligent temprement than Takiro, the new Coordinator presents a civil face to the universe over strong convictions of Combine superiority. When he wasn't deputising for his father on Terra or Luthien, Minoru was active in expanding the DCMS strength - a process which began well before the Edict of 2650 removed the formal barriers that had chafed for more than a century. The sudden coup may have surprised Minoru but it validated many of his beliefs. Only his oath to Takiro restrains him from action... and when he does act it will be to the benefit of the Combine, not the Star League.


Barbara Liao
Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation
Born 2731, Reigned 2760-

Warex Liao had built up the Capellan Confderation Armed Forces rapidly since 2753 but when he died seven years later they remained weaker than their rivals in the Free Worlds League and Federated Suns. The last thing that the new Chancellor needed on her ascession was a military crisis but the nuclear attack on Demeter forced her hand for she could not afford to begin her reign by backing down. Less militant than her father, she nonetheless blocked Star League interference.

For almost two years the Capellans held their own on the relatively limited front that the Federated Suns had invaded on. Neither side was willing to risk widening the conflict - the Capellans fearing greater AFFS numbers could swarm their borders. Instead both sides focused their forces on only three worlds - a deadlock that lasted until John Davion took direct command. Only the ascession of Richard Cameron avoided disaster and the new First Lord judged the invasion illegal, forcing Davion to withdraw.

Barbara has struggled to balance strengthening the military further against potentially creating an internal threat to her rule. John Davion's decision to commit forces to assist the SLDF keeps him active as a threat in Capellan eyes, while the change in Captain-General in 2763 raised the possibility of improved relations with the Free Worlds League.


Kenyon Marik
Captain-General of the Free Worlds League
Born 2734, Reigned 2763-

Ewan Marik conceived his only child during a drunken flung while on leave. While he married Kenyon's mother to legitimise the child, he immediately exiled the woman after the birth. The young Kenyon proved to be an intellectual prodigy, much unlike his brutish father. Enrolled into mechwarrior training at the age of thirteen, Kenyon was at first out of his depth and after a blunder in 2749, his father brutally brutally beat him. Hospitalised, Kenyon began quietly courting his father's political enemies.

Rather than serve in the FWLM, Kenyon entered the SLDF and enjoyed a brief but meteoric career, serving on Kerensky's staff in 2756. Responding to a civilian protest on Pollux with lethal force, the young Marik showed himself to be his father's heir. The unrepentant Kenyon declared that an 'upstart Russian peasant' wouldn't dare to punish the heir to a Council seat and was proved wrong when Kerensky cashiered him without hesitation.

Despite his discharge from the SLDF, Kenyon has excellent credentials as a military mind and has proven similarly adept at politics. Ewan's death in 2763 conveniently avoided any need for a damaging confrontation and the young Captain took the reigns of power smoothly and without incident. While the change in Captain-General has smoothed over some tensions on the Star League Council, Kenyon's continued hatred for General Kerensky has created new fault-lines.


Robert Steiner
Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth
Born 2701, Reigned 2760-

Robert's father Michael had never expected to become Archon, content to live the life of a junior officer in the Lyran Commonwealth on detached duty to the Nagelring and the University of Tharkad where he'd received a research fellowship. In contrast, Robert's mother Joan was a Lestrade - duchess of Summer and holding joint citizenship in the Hegemony. A dynamic businesswoman and diplomat, Duchess Joan was the dominant figure of Robert's childhood and the alienation from his father grew as Michael poured his paternal interest into a young Terran student a year older than Robert, and Robert's twin siblings born almost a quarter century after him.

In 2729 all of this changed with the sudden and accidental death of Archon Jonathon Steiner. Michael Steiner became the Commonwealth's leader as the Star League struggled with the First Lord's mental illness and  the after-effects of the Davion Civil War where Michael's protege Aleksandr Kerensky won glory. Despite becoming heir, Robert remained sidelined - the new Archon was heavily focused on military affairs and left it to his wife to prepare Robert for office.

A further three decades of estrangement followed with Robert focused on building alliances to the aristocratic families of the Commonwealth as his father squabbled with Ewan Marik. Joan's death in 2752 effectively cut the last tie between Archon and heir. Never seeking a military career of his own, Robert left this to his younger brother Paul, just as he neglected relations with the Lyran populace themselves, except through the Estates General who he cultivated heavily during the last few years before Michael's death.
« Last Edit: 14 December 2017, 19:08:01 by drakensis »
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #66 on: 16 December 2017, 01:23:51 »
Book 2
Loyalist


An unforgivable tragedy
The answer isn't' where you think you'd find it
Prepare yourself for the reckoning
For when your world seems to crumble again
Don't be afraid, don't turn away
You’re the one who can redefine it
Don't let hope become a memory
Let the shadow permeate your mind and
Reveal the thoughts that were tucked away
So that the door can be opened again
Within your darkest memories
Lies the answer if you dare to find it
Don't let hope become a memory

When you think all is forsaken
Listen to me now (all is not forsaken)
You need never feel broken again
Sometimes darkness can show you the light
The Light, Disturbed


Nagumo, Ozawa
Lockdale Province, Terran Hegemony
11 August 2767

The drop port was a smaller field rather than one of main facilities that handled freight and public transportation for the planet. Those facilities would be very useful for unloading the military equipment and supplies currently in orbit. For that reason the Rim Worlds garrison had defended the ports by shelling them with a mix of high explosive and artillery-deployable anti-tank mines. Engineers would have to finish securing the latter before the damage to the former could be made good.

As a result, the Fury dropship set down on a single relatively small runway and pulled up a little harder than the pilot seemed to have expected. The escorts wouldn’t be setting down here to rotate, a second landing field had had to be set aside and guarded for that purpose.

The massive security presence made it no great secret who was arriving, but at least they didn’t have a brass band, John thought. A small convoy of olive-painted APCs rushed out to the Fury and were joined by two identical units that exited the dropship’s vehicle ramp.

After a complicated little dance on the ferrocrete, the personnel carriers broken into groups and departed in several directions, one of which was the bunker complex that supplemented the original hangers and control tower. Elements of one of IX Corps’ engineering battalions had assembled it in the last seventy-two hours. John had pulled a platoon from one of his own battalions and had them watch, issuing a single one word order: “Learn.”

For all their newness, the conference facilities were perfectly functional. The First Prince rose from the table and greeted Joan Brandt with a gentlemanly bow. “Welcome to Ozawa.”

“Yes, wasn’t your plan to have the planet secured by now?” she said without ceremony.

“The plan was to push as far as this or until we ran into opposition we couldn’t confidently defeat without the main force under your command.” He offered her a chair and then re-joined Janos Grec, who now sported a Vice Admiral’s rank badges, and General Verschaffelt, whose arm was in a sling. “We’ve reached that point, so we stopped and waited. That’s as near as you can reasonably get to being on plan once you consider that Amaris’ forces have a plan too.”

Brandt shook her head. “And who took a shot at you, General?” she asked.

“No one,” the commander of IX Corps replied. “The jeep I was in yesterday hit a pot-hole and over-turned.”

“Could have been worse then.”

“Most of my men would agree,” Verschaffelt told her. “I think they have a new appreciation for how bad the fighting was in the Periphery.”

Brandt shrugged. “You’ve liberated seven planets from Amaris, well four and three halves. Given you managed that with eight divisions, it’s not all that bad.”

Grec cleared his throat. “It was going rather well until the attempt to take Rio’s Castle Brian. The entire division involved has had to be pulled back due to casualties. That’s why we haven’t pushed at the fortifications.”

Castles Brian were from the previous round of grandiose defensive works built for the Hegemony. The massive underground fortifications were intended to allow an outnumbered garrison to hold out and harass the invaders until a relief force arrived. Updated regularly over the centuries since Brian Cameron had commissioned them and given them his name, the six that had been encountered so far were performing the task superbly.

The problem was, due to Richard Cameron’s blind trust of Stefan Amaris, the men defending the Castles Brian were the invaders.

“There are fortresses like this in the Periphery,” John added. “As far as I know, not one of them was taken during the Uprisings.”

“Not the Uprisings, no. There are four in the Rim Worlds Republic though and they’ve been in their hands for ten years now. Damn Dick Cameron,” Verschaffelt said angrily. “The General will have this to deal with out there as well.”

“We can’t change what’s happened already,” John reminded her. “What we need to focus on now is arranging a smooth handover between your troops and Admiral Brandt’s Army Group.” It sounded odd to him to have an Admiral in command of ground troops, but there was little permanent structure in the SLDF for field command above the level of an Army – the five regional ‘Army Groups’ had been administrative in nature.

To be fair, until the entire Periphery had gone up in flames, there hadn’t been any situations that had called for more than one Army. Any one of the twenty field Armies would have been enough, combined with the attached fleet elements, to seriously threaten one of the House Militaries. On the few occasions when such was attempted, like the PERSUASIVE FORCE exercises of 2757, the Commanding General had taken charge directly.

Faced with three such challenges at once, Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky had taken direct command of the Armies fighting in the Taurian Concordat, deferred operations in the Outworlds Alliance to his Deputy, Aaron DeChevilier, and finally selected the Director of the Star League Navy to take operational command of the army group fighting in the Magistracy of Canopus.

Responding to the shift of focus away from the three breakaway territorial states had been complicated enough without making major changes so at least for now the Army Groups would retain the same basic composition, only the commanders and their personal staffs switched between them to allow for their specific capabilities to be best used.

“We’ll need her if the Rim Worlds fleet come out to hit our support,” Hanse noted. “But it feels strange to have an admiral telling the army what to do.”

It should feel strange for you to be here and talking without them noticing, John thought. But I guess you can get used to anything.

“In the absence of major space ports, General Lucas will probably need to use combat landing procedures to get his troops down,” Brandt decided. “Not all of his transports are rated for that so we’ll be sending troops in based more on what they’re loaded aboard than any sort of sensible troop deployments. At least some of the space ports survived the fighting on other worlds.”

“The important thing is to get his forces in to secure our grip,” John told the Admiral. “From what you sent ahead, there’s going to be quite a lot of reorganisation going on anyway before we press further.”

“Do your spies expect a counter-attack?” she asked him.

“With the way Amaris has clamped down on HPG traffic since May, most of our agents are cut off,” John answered. He’d been surprised to learn that the SLDF held his intelligence personnel in high regard. From what Hanse had told him about their failures in the other timeline, they had not performed well in this era but it seemed that the reforms he’d made on the ghost’s recommendations had changed perceptions. To be fair, it was probably also a factor that with a good idea of what challenges they’d face had allowed him to focus resources in the key areas, as well as point investigations in the right direction.

“The hidden fleet reported a force of thirty warships being massed at Al Na’ir, so I think he was considering such an attack but between our stopping our advance and your arrival they haven’t seemed to leave the system. It’s possible it was a demonstration of strength for the Combine -” Al Na’ir was a significant naval stronghold on the Hegemony’s border with House Kurita and it boasted a Space Defense System of ground bases and drone warships that made it an extremely secure base of operations. “- or more probably the information of your arrival preceded you and Amaris decided not to risk having his fleet run into a superior fleet.”

While IX Corps and the AFFS elements of the advance force had more than thirty warships between them, they were necessarily scattered across not only the seven liberated systems but also the supply lines back into the Federated Suns. A concerted strike could have wreaked havoc. In order to ensure Third Army’s security though, Brandt had amassed almost a hundred warships with lithium fusion batteries that gave them double the usual strategic mobility and raced them across the Federated Suns to reinforce convoy escorts and patrol squadrons from various missions around the Hegemony’s border.

If Amaris had sent only thirty warships in to attack then he could easily have lost them all to a rapid response from Third Army’s escorts. While the full story of the coup that had secured the Hegemony for him remained obscure in many ways, it was clear that the occasions where Rim Worlds warships faced the Star League Navy on anything approaching even terms had cost Amaris heavily in both ships and crews.

The first he was replacing from the Hegemony’s own stockpiles and shipyards. The second was less certain but given time he would no doubt manage.

After last December, it would be a long long time before anyone underestimated Stefan Amaris again.

.o0O0o.

Fourth Army Headquarters, New Rhodes III
Lockdale Province, Terran Hegemony
20 September 2767

Liberating the worlds was one thing, restoring everything to full functionality was another. Thus far only New Rhodes of the seven systems had a functional HPG and that had apparently strained the resources of capabilities in the nearby regions of the Federated Suns. The Army Group’s headquarters had been set up there as a matter of necessity and since General Baptiste of Fourth Army was acting as Brandt’s field commander for ground operation, Fourth Army had landed there to begin with.

“Good to see you again, General.” Jack Lucas returned McGuinness’ salute quickly and then offered his hand.

She accepted. “It’ll be good to be see action with you again, General Lucas. A little strange to be under your command rather than the other way around, but good.”

“I’m glad you feel that way.” Lucas gave his old Corps commander a searching look. “I considered asking for one of the other Corps to be seconded to Third Army for the sieges on Ozawa but LXII Corps is the one I have most confidence in.”

“I should hope so.” She gestured towards her office. “If I’d been picked to take over – and I don’t know if I was even being considered, then I would have tapped you to take over the Corps. I’ve no grounds to complain if DeChevilier saw the same potential in you.”

Inside she closed the door and checked the anti-surveillance gear set up at one end of her desk. The building had been a police station once. “The command structure’s a little strange anyway, what with Davion being shoe-horned in as Deputy Army Group Commander.”

“That’s just political though, Baptiste’s the real exec, isn’t she?” Lucas asked. “Not that the First Prince seems like he’d be a disaster but he isn’t SLDF.”

“In practical terms I’d guess it’s more like Baptiste is Ia and Davion is IIa,” the Major General clarified, referring to Operations and Logistics respectively.

“That much I can live with.”

“Yeah. Gonna be getting a lot of gear from the Feddies, hopefully it’s on par with their intelligence.”

“It’s not going to be as good as the Royal grade hardware built here in the Hegemony,” said Lucas. “But at least he got as far as Ozawa. My headquarters is right next to the Veridian Dynamics factory and the damage is pretty superficial. That should help bring my regiments’ organic artillery up to strength even the Diplan factories won’t be giving us new ‘Mechs any time soon.”

“Oh yes, they make the Vali on Ozawa don’t they?” The 8x4 light artillery vehicles was built on the same chassis as the ubiquitous RR-4 Recovery vehicle, but it carried a payload of twenty-five Arrow IV fire support missiles.
 
“Recovery vehicles too. There was an AFFS purchasing officer there when I visited.” Lucas smiled tightly. “Thought I was going to have to set him straight on priorities for the artillery but he just wanted six regimental sets of RR-4s.”

“It’s almost as if he knows his idiot Mechwarriors are going to get their rears hauled off the battlefield more often than not. You’re not going to be using them to storm the Castles Brian, are you?” she asked as a sudden thought crossed her mind.

“No, they need a rest and refit anyway. I think they’ll be attached to Sixth Army once that’s done but the reorganisation isn’t done. They seem to have carried their weight here though. General Kerensky must have followed through with what he said at the staff conference.”

McGuinness thought a moment and shook her head. “I must be blanking. What was that?”

“He was going to make sure the regiments sent here were more like the ones Waynewright used on that training exercise the AFFS ran before the year, not the regiments that got sent to the Concordat. I’d say Davion got the message.”

“No Syrtis Fusiliers, or whatever he was sending into the Alliance… Robinson Cavaliers?”

“Chevaliers,” Lucas corrected her. “And yes, one regiment each from those formations. Two from the Avalon Hussars, then one each Tancredi Loyalists and…” He frowned for a moment. “Dragon Lords, that was it. And they’re going to stay tied into their own brigades and divisions this time so it should be less of a complication for the rest of us. I’ve only met one of them so far, a Major General Simons, but he seems to know what he’s doing.”

“As long as they stay out of my hair, that’s fine. Maybe he’s a footslogger. They can at least accept basic instructions like ‘stay where you are and scream for support if someone shoots at you’,” McGuiness joked.

“We’re going to be demanding a bit more from our infantry clearing the Castles Brian,” Lucas said gruffly. “Digging them out isn’t going to be fun.”
« Last Edit: 17 December 2017, 05:19:42 by drakensis »
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #67 on: 16 December 2017, 01:24:08 »
Uedo Castle Brian, Ozawa
Lockdale Province, Terran Hegemony
17 October 2767

“Go, go, go!” Marge Pritchard shouted as their Demon pulled onto the rough road leading into the Castle Brian.

If Huber Koopman had any qualms about the order, he kept quiet about it. Instead he floored the accelerator and focused on getting sixty-five tons of tank through or around the obstacles in their path.

Unlike prospecting for rebel bases in the Periphery, here LXII Corps had the advantage of personnel who knew the Castles Brian well and could pinpoint the entrances for the assault as well as outline the defences. Less fortunately was the scale of those defences.

Pritchard had taken it with a pinch of salt when told that artillery would suppress the guns covering the door but the amount of fire from not only the regimental groups but all three battalions of the 255th Royal Mechanised Infantry division’s artillery reserve had been impressive.

Nonetheless, as the armoured spearhead pushed closer at breakneck speeds, it was clear that the fight was far from over. Wreckage of the 247th Dragoons’ tanks used to cover for the engineers rushing the entry were adding to the complications of the approach and as the hole blasted into the armoured doors came into view, a dual autocannon mount opened up.

Reflexively, Pritchard dropped into her hatch and sealed it above her. The guns were firing flack and although the tank next to them was the first target, she’d be just as dead if she was hit by a ricochet with her head and shoulders out of the cupola. “Target, turret, one o’clock.”

Next to her in the Demon’s turret, Johann Steuben brought the gun around to bear but then elevated it. “It’s out,” he told her flatly and triggered the gauss rifle. The Demon bounced over something Koopman apparently didn’t see the need to avoid as the gun breech opened and a second slug was fed into it by the autoloader.

“What are you shooting at then?” she asked, strapping herself down before she wound up doing herself an injury on the inside of the turret.

Steuben kept his eyes focused on his screens. “The turret behind it.”

An APC had over-turned in the middle of the road, the cause unclear. Pritchard saw the tank head of them skid around it to the left and Koopman automatically turned their Demon to the right. Engineers pressed themselves against the sides of the narrow canyon, making room for the armoured column. It was vital to penetrate deep inside the defences before anyone tried to seal the breach by cutting off sections of the Castle Brian.

The doors reared up above them and the first tank gunned its engines, roaring up the low, improvised ramp up over the lip of the door. Something hit it low and to the side as it entered and the sixty-five ton vehicle began to roll to the left as it vanished into the shadows.

“Night vision,” Pritchard ordered, switching the display. “Target left quarter, low as we enter…”

“Got it.” Deeper inside the tank, Alois Ranson took control of the laser mounted on the left side of the Demon.

There was a thump as the front wheels hit the ramp and somewhere Koopman found an extra bit of horsepower because as they reached the top, Pritchard would have sworn that all six of the large wheels left the ground.

A trail of crackling explosions followed them as they crashed down again on the roadway inside the Castle Brian, vanishing into the squeal as the thick rubberised wheels fought for traction.

“Field gun, I hit the ready rounds.” Ranson’s voice was steady as he scanned the surroundings. His job was to watch for attacks on their vulnerable flanks and to neutralise them with secondary weapons.

Pritchard’s responsibility was to the mission though. “Get us moving, we’re on point.” The tank ahead of them had lost its fight with stability and now lay on one side, the crew crawling out. A short-barrelled autocannon dropped out of the ceiling and began to chew at the exposed underside of the Demon.

They went past the tank without stopping to help, perhaps someone behind them would take the autocannon out but they had to press on. The space inside was a broad ramp, leading down and away from the entrance through three dog-legs, each with their own security doors.

Sapper ‘Mechs from the 247th should be ahead of them, but how many had made it was hard to guess. The first door was open and they raced through it, Koopman pushing them up past seventy on the highway-broad and level surface of the ramp.

Pritchard felt the turret twist. “Door’s not cleared,” Steuben said without any particular emphasis. He fired the gauss rifle, sending a round howling down the passageway ahead of them.

“Shit!” Peering ahead she could barely make out the heavy doors at the bottom of this section. One was gone, in fact, but the other half was simply buckled. There was room for a tank moving slowly and carefully… but this wasn’t a time for being slow and careful. “Koopman, can you thread the needle.”

“Maybe.”

Another crash from the gun. “Ram the door,” the gunner proposed as the portal loomed closer. The gauss rifle cycled another hundred and twenty-five kilo slug. “We need it wider.”

The sergeant looked at him and saw, in the red internal light, the laconic expression on Steuben’s face. As if they were back in the laager, setting up to camp in or beside their tank. Koopman was one of the best three or four drivers in the 111th. If he couldn’t reliably make the gap… “How square?”

“Two metres, approximately.” He fired once more.

“Koopman! Put our right wing two metres from the edge of the door!” Pritchard screamed and braced her feet up in front of her.

There was the start of what might have been a prayer from Ranson and then they hit.

The crash was only the first impact. She felt the rear of the tank spin left into the open space left by the door that had been removed. Then the edge of the door, weakened by Steuben’s shots, gave way and they lurched fully into the next section of the ramp, tank up on only three wheels and threatening to tip past the point of return.

There were ‘Mechs in front of them, Pritchard saw. Two of them, a Banshee with some of the giant bangalores used for breaching doors still strapped to it and a Guillotine. For a moment she thought they were still friendly and then remembered the 247th didn’t have any Guillotines – and her own regiments would still be well behind in the next wave of the attack. “Target, Guillotine!”

“Firing.” Steuben said simply and the gauss rifle spat again.

The recoil brought them back onto all six wheels, slewing them again as the front right wheel was jammed. Pritchard wasn’t bothered about that. The gauss slug had hit the wall, the first time she’d ever seen Steuben miss a shot – not that she could blame him.

Then it glanced off the wall and caught the heavy ‘Mech right in the knee. Not missing the opportunity, the 247th Banshee launched a kick at the same limb, tipping the Guillotine to the floor.

“You jammy bugger,” she exclaimed, feeling the tank straighten.

“Pardon?” he asked.

“What’d you do, Koopman?” she asked and then looked back. “That shot…”

“Banshee was in the way,” he said clinically. “I had to use the wall.”

“Cut the damaged wheel out of transmission, Sarge. We’re down to sixty, tops.”

A second tank made it through the now wider gap, followed by a third. Then stabbing light rose from the final door, ahead of them, cutting Pritchard off from worrying about Steuben’s absurd claim. The Republicans were opening the final door themselves and towering silhouettes, like ancient war gods, stalked out.

The warbook pinged a warning. Rampage. RWR assault ‘Mech, primary armament heavy autocannon, LRMs, large laser… And there were eight of them.

The Banshee, last of four she could now tell in the light, was caught exposed as the RWR assaults began to lumber up the ramp, weapons tearing into the lightly armed ‘Mech. Though larger and just as heavily armoured – the reason it was used for this work rather than smaller Work ‘Mech – the Banshee couldn’t possibly withstand that fire for more than a few seconds.

“Get us down there!” Pritchard heard a shrill demand and was surprised to recognise her own voice. The Demon lurched forwards, rapidly picking up speed again as the other two tanks followed. She’d given them no signal – in fact with all the jamming she probably couldn’t – but they must have seen the same logic that she did.

Without engineers, the door at the bottom could be closed again even if they somehow managed to defeat the Rampages. But block it from closing and SLDF reinforcements would have access to the marshalling yard that should be beyond, and at least a fighting chance of penetrating deeper.

The Banshee fell and the Rim Mechwarriors turned their attention to the tanks. Already damaged from the collision, the Demon’s frontal glacis couldn’t take much more punishment, only Koopman’s driving and the enemy splitting fire among the three tanks sparing the Pritchard’s crew the brunt of the lasers and autocannon fire directed up the ramp.

Steuben and Ranson were firing, to what effect she couldn’t guess. The first Rampage was before them, side-stepping and drawing one massive metal foot back with obvious intent.

“Koop - !”

The crashing collision tore away the already damaged wheel and spun them through one hundred and eighty degrees. The lights dimmed to a handful of emergency LEDs as the tank’s abused fusion reactor shut down abruptly.

“Urgh.” Pritchard shook her head. They’d ended up against the wall of the ramp, somehow intact but not functional. “Crew check?”

“Alive,” Ranson replied. “Missile launcher jammed, no power for the lasers.”

“Likewise.” Steuben tested his controls clinically. “Turret locked. Capacitors charged and a slug loaded so I have one shot.” He reached up towards the hatch. “I’ll need to shoot visually, the screen’s out.”

Silence.

“Ranson, check on Koopman,” she ordered. “Steuben don’t fire that shot unless I tell you to.” Pritchard unstrapped and started working on her own hatch. When she poked her head out cautiously she saw they were now behind the Rampages, but someone was still fighting. It wasn’t the two Demons that had been behind them though. Both tanks had been smashed open by the brutal fire directed at them. It was small consolation that one of the enemy ‘Mechs had joined them in death.

Looking back she saw the door and beyond it the floor of the marshalling yard. Still open, still lit. and at least right at this instant, with no back-up for the Rampages in her admittedly limited field of vision.

“One of them’s almost lined up,” Steuben noted. “Just needs to move forward a little more.”

“Don’t shoot,” she ordered.

“Sergeant?” he asked, turning baby-blue eyes on her with an air of slight suspicion.

“Hold it.” She ducked back down into the tank. “Ranson?”

“Koopman’s out, but he’s breathing. Without power we’re not going anywhere even if he wakes.”

“That might not actually be the case,” Pritchard told him. “Are we in neutral?”

“Yes…?”

“Release the brakes,” she ordered with a sly smile. Maybe it wouldn’t do anything. Lord only knew what was left of their wheels but…

“Brakes released,” Ranson told her.

But she could tell already, because their Demon was beginning to roll backwards towards the bottom of the ramp. She smiled. “When I tell you – not now, but when, I want you to brake but just for the left wheels. Can do?”

“It’s been a while,” the gunner told her drily. “But I think I remember the right controls.” Fortunately the release for the brakes worked on the emergency battery even without main power.

“Right. Take your hands off the trigger, Steuben. Right now we’re doing something more important than back-shooting one ‘Mech.”

Looking back she saw the doors were beginning, very slowly, to close as the remaining security recognised what they were doing. Four soldiers even rushed out into the doorway to fire up at them with assault rifles

Even in this state, they might as well have been firing spitballs for all their weapons would do to a tank, but Pritchard huddled down, her helmeted head just far enough out of the cupola to judge when to give Ranson the breaking order.

For his part, Steuben pulled out his sidearm and fired four shots back down towards the door, as coolly as if he was still firing a gauss rifle rather than a laser pistol that would have fit easily into his hip-pocket.

“Get your pretty head back inside the tank before it’s shot off,” Pritchard snarled.

“Setting aside the chain of command, you’re still not my type, sergeant. Besides, who’s to shoot at me?”

With a frown, Pritchard looked at him and then glanced ahead. The four soldiers from before all lay sprawled on the ferrocrete of the marshalling yard, at least thirty yards away. “From behind,” she said weakly, and then swore. “Ranson!”

Fortunately, the man took her curse as an instruction and the Demon turned sharply as it approached the door, finally crashing rear-first into one of the closing panels as it slid towards them. Such was the sheer mass of the door that it actually started pushing them to start pivoting on the left wheels until Ranson locked them too. While they continued to skid at least they were more or less straightened out on the threshold.

There was a crash and then a grinding noise as the bow of the Demon encountered the other panel and began to buckle.

“Right, everyone out,” Pritchard decided. There was no use getting crushed if the tank couldn’t handle the doors. “Steuben, help Ranson with Koopman.”

“Which way?” the gunner asked.

The sergeant looked in the two possible directions. “Into the base,” she decided. There was a better chance of finding somewhere to hide than on the open ramp, particularly as Rampages had machineguns and flamers if she recalled correctly.

.o0O0o.

Fourth Army Headquarters, New Rhodes
Lockdale Province, Terran Hegemony
3 December 2767

“Some of those soldiers deserve Medals of Valor,” Brandt noted as she turned away from a display still running news footage of the earlier awards ceremonies. “That tank crew from Uedo, for example. But politically we need to reward them now rather than wait what could be years so the Commanding General can present them.”

The highest grades of the SLDF’s awards for merit could only be awarded by the highest uniformed member of their service, which was a slight logistical problem at the moment. While they could have waited, working with the media to keep the SLDF’s public support high was pushing commanders to make decisions more expedient than they’d normally have done.

“I didn’t notice any complaints about the number of Army Crosses and Cameron Stars you were handing out,” John told her drily.

“The Liberation Ribbon was a stroke of genius,” she added with more than grudging respect. “It underlines Amaris as the greatest threat we’ve ever faced.”

While most medals came with their own distinct ribbons, John had suggested a new one to be added for any soldier who received an award while fighting to liberate the Hegemony. Stark black and pristine white, Kerensky had approved the additional ribbon as an alternative to devaluing the rewards offered alongside some medals such as knighthoods or land grants. Some of those were out of reach. In fact, so far as it was known the only Star League Medals of Honor, the single highest award that the Star League awarded, off Terra were those already awarded. Unissued examples would presumably still be in a vaults under the Court of the Star League on Earth and SLDF Headquarters on New Earth.

Tatjana Baptiste shook her head. “So long as no one gets reckless chasing the extra braid on their uniform,” she said. “Moving on?”

“Go ahead, General. Ground forces strength is next on the agenda, I believe?”

The general gestured to the display. “Across the five armies we have assembled, we’ve mostly been able to bring intact divisions up to strength by absorbing independent regiments although this leaves us significantly short of independent BattleMech regiments at the Army level. In future we’ll need to either look at cutting brigades from the TO&E, cutting the Corps Regimental Combat Teams or bringing in reserves from units in the Member-States.”

“General Kerensky has authorised the latter,” John advised. “Second Army is working with my Department of Military Education to build cadres from their existing RCTs that new recruits can be fed into. It won’t provide Mechwarriors, pilots or a lot of other specialised personnel quickly, but in the short term replacements for infantry and a few of the more basic combat vehicle crew positions should begin to arrive in another six months.”

“Six months?” Janos Grec shook his head. “Basic and trade training is four times that by SLDF standards. Those soldiers will be raw.”

“We’re cutting a lot of corners,” the prince admitted uncompromisingly. “There are two streams, the second stream will have four months basic and eight trade, but until we have enough people coming through that we’re pulling the top twenty percent of applicants and rushing them into Second Army units where they can hopefully learn on the job, freeing up the existing men and women to be transferred into the vacancies here.”

Baptiste adjusted the controls. “We have fifty-five SLDF divisions and two AFFS divisions as matters stand. The Third and Fourth Armies remain the largest, due to the losses taken by the Nineteenth and the lower force strength of the two Armies that were previously stationed in Capellan space. Rather than trying to balance the load, we’re regularising it into two heavy armies to carry the weight of the offensive and three lighter armies to act as a reserve and cover garrison work.”

“By disbanding LXIX Corps and LXX Corps, as well as transferring in LVI Corps from the Nineteenth, both the Third and the Fourth have consolidated to three Corps of five Divisions each, around sixty-three percent of our field strength before we went to the Periphery.” She moved the slides showing these armies so that those of the Sixth, Seventh and Nineteenth appeared. “Similarly, by disbanding out of the XXXVIII and LVIII Corps we’ve been able to bring the Seventh and Nineteenth to nine divisions split between two Corps, roughly sixty and forty-three percent of their previous strength.”

“Jesus,” Brandt blasphemed. “No one put it like that before for me.”

“Sixth Army only has seven divisions still combat effective,” Baptiste continued, unphased. “Consideration was given to breaking it up to reinforce one of the other Armies. Instead, Prince Davion’s three divisions have been attached as a short Corps to bring them up to near parity with the other light armies. My apologies, your highness, but AFFS divisional structure is a little… different from ours.”

“I’m not offended, general. The facts are the facts.”

“Walk me through that last point,” asked the Army Group commander.

Grec glanced over at Baptiste who yielded the floor. “Essentially, one of our divisions has three line brigades of three regiments each. Depending on the build that could be two infantry brigades to one ‘Mech brigade or the reverse. Then supporting elements in company, battalion or even regimental strength are attached for supporting purposes, anything up to two further brigade equivalents.”

“And the Federated Suns?”

“An AFFS division, at least the way their contribution has been structured, integrates the specialised units into the line forces, with around one company per battalion being configured to contain their anti-aircraft, artillery, aviation units and so forth. The divisions also include a fourth brigade built around armoured combat vehicles.” The Rear-Admiral spread his hands. “It’s out of my field to say if it’s better or worse than SLDF arrangements.”

“It’s a little experimental, units still in the Suns are still working out what suits us for higher level organisation.” It was also a compromise between what Hanse described from his own era and the rather different force and transportation balances that John had to work with. If anything, the Ceti Hussars, Crucis Dragoons and the units they were working with seemed to be working towards something smaller and more flexible.
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

snakespinner

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #68 on: 16 December 2017, 01:54:19 »
Great to see you continuing the story.
Any chance of a map if not I don't mind. O0
I wish I could get a good grip on reality, then I would choke it.
Growing old is inevitable,
Growing up is optional.
Watching TrueToaster create evil genius, priceless...everything else is just sub-par.

2ndAcr

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #69 on: 16 December 2017, 06:48:24 »
 One nit pick, Condor was not around in 2767...............IIRC it comes around in like 2801 or so.

 But, otherwise, excellent writing.

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #70 on: 17 December 2017, 05:18:53 »
Thanks, I'll fix it.

For a force with such a massive infantry force, the SLDF seems to have had remarkably few infantry transports.
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

Alexander Knight

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #71 on: 17 December 2017, 06:18:34 »
That's what the bulk cargo space was for!  ^-^

2ndAcr

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #72 on: 17 December 2017, 10:37:43 »
 Yeah, I asked a while back about that same issue in the General Forum. Of course there is the Czar, carries 36 infantry platoons.

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #73 on: 21 December 2017, 17:09:38 »
Fourth Army Headquarters, New Rhodes
Lockdale Province, Terran Hegemony
4 December 2767

Too tired to look further at paperwork, too keyed up to sleep, John was helping Hanse play solitaire when Brandt entered the office he’d been using. “Marshal,” she said and then added “At ease,” as he started to rise.

“A gentleman always rises for a lady,” he said solemnly and would have offered her a chair if she hadn’t taken one without waiting.

“The only person who calls me a lady is my husband. I’m a fighter pilot, for crying out loud.”

“The two aren’t mutually exclusive,” he told her, but sat down again.

“Ten of Sharks to Mech of Orbs,” Hanse told him.

It was tempting to give him a sidelong look. Sometimes he wondered about the other man’s manners.

“Don’t let me spoil your game,” the admiral told him. “I didn’t know you played cards.”

John moved the selected cards. “I don’t as such. I picked up solitaire on Valexa as something to kill time when I wasn’t going to be able to get any constructive work done but I couldn’t sleep.”

She looked down at the cards as Hanse tapped the deck and John dealt three more cards over the hand he’d been working from. “Periphery deck?”

“I didn’t have any with me. Someone on my staff picked them up out of the Rim Worlds quarters when they were being cleared of personal effects and had them handy when I asked.”

“Four of Avellar to Five of Centralla.”

He moved the card off the hand as directed. Each suite referenced one of the great houses. Playing cards for Hanse felt like a microcosm of the last several years – closer to eight than seven now, wasn’t it? Although at least if he disagreed there was nothing stopping him playing the cards as he wished rather than as directed.

“Odd not to at least see a Hegemony Star in a deck,” Brandt noted. Most decks used four Inner Sphere houses, usually the manufacturer’s nationality, the Hegemony and whichever two realms lay on the far side of the manufacturer. There had been a fad when John was younger for decks of six suites, representing all the Member-States but it made games trickier so most people would shuffle two suites out and the fad died away. It occurred to him to wonder which suites were commonly used here in the Hegemony.”

“It’s all a matter of perspective. Can I help you?”

“I just want to shuffle a couple of things for the conference tomorrow.”

“She’s made a decision,” Hanse told him. “Mech of Avellar to Duke of Calderon.”

“Is it about the plans?” John asked Brandt, looking up as he moved the cards. He almost dropped the Three of Centralla and had to slip it back into place.

She nodded. “Firstly, I want to move the mention you’re heading back to New Avalon to earlier in the meeting. If it comes later it might feel like a reaction.”

“A bit awkward to have the departure brought up mid-way through the meeting. Might have them wondering why I’m around for the rest of it.” He turned over three new cards for Hanse. “I assume that means you’ve decided on Jack Lucas’ plan?”

“I have. Is that a problem?”

John took a deep breath and cudgelled his brain for something that could perhaps change her mind. Both plans were aggressive, that wasn’t the concern. But while John’s focused on liberating as many worlds as possible, focusing on the lightly defended in order to deprive Amaris of resources and hopefully give the Hegemony a core of up a dozen more worlds with hopefully minimal damage to their industry and infrastructure, General Lucas had proposed going directly for two of the well-fortified worlds in reach of the current liberated zone.

Not systems with SDS networks, fortunately there were only three such star systems in the entire province, but Addicks and Tigress both had multiple Castles Brian and might have significant numbers of defenders. Knocking them out would prevent the worlds from being used as bases for a counter-attack but it was just as possible that very modest garrisons might tie up half of the Army Group for between six months and a year.

“This is a test,” Hanse warned and John realised he’d been quiet too long.

“I have no other arguments than those I’ve voiced already, Admiral,” he said quietly. “I disagree, but you’re in command. If you’ve made up your mind then both you and General Lucas will have my complete support.”

“That must come hard to you, taking orders.” Brandt sounded amused. “If you’d rather we can switch the deployments and hold Sixth Army with your troops in reserve, Nineteenth Army can take over the supporting attack on Ankaa.”

“As I understand it, the decision to keep the Nineteenth Army in reserve was based on their greater need to shake down their new command personnel. Since that logic hasn’t changed, I don’t see that as being in the operation’s best interests. Unless the situation has changed?”

She smirked. “No, it hasn’t. Alright, we’ll brief out as discussed then. You might want to get some sleep first though. It’s not good for morale for a commander to look that worn out.”

“Well now I know what the decision is, perhaps I’ll be able to.”

She nodded. “Just for the record, John, I liked your plan. It had panache. But you were practically baiting Amaris to come out and try to force us out. Fighting on seven worlds at once, with only twelve divisions in reserve to reinforce us or to cover the worlds we’ve liberated so far…”

“I wish to God that he would. As best we’ve been able to determine he brought twenty-four or twenty-five divisions with him from the Rim Worlds Republic and for all his talk about thirty divisions, it’ll be at least a another year before they’re ready. Right now he can’t strike at us with anything like numerical parity so he needs to stay behind the fortifications he’s captured.”

John swept the cards together with both hands, covering the rough pile with both hands. “I’m not going to lie and claim it would be quick or easy but right now anything he sent out in counter-attack would be far more vulnerable than we are. He’s holding down over a hundred worlds with a smaller force than we have – he’s much less of a reserve than we have.”

“We can’t afford heavy losses, Marshal. Much less to give him a victory. The fighting in the Republic isn’t going badly but the other Army Groups are too far away. If we take serious casualties I’d either have to hold off on further operations or pull fresh divisions out of the garrisons in one or more of the Member States. That would cause… problems.”

“We’re going over old ground.” He started tidying up the deck. “Is there anything you want me to set in motion on New Avalon to help with the plan we’re actually using?”

Brandt shrugged. “There’s a list Lucas has put together. I don’t claim to understand why he wants Alacorn Mark IV tanks instead of Mark VI models, I’d have thought the newer ones were better. Things an Admiral wouldn’t know I suppose.”

“Mark VI Alacorns carry three gauss rifles,” John told her. “Fine weapons for open range fighting but the Mark IV we licensed a few years ago carry three heavy autocannon. Given how brutal the in-fighting was inside the Castles Brian on Ozawa, New Florence and Rio were, I’m guessing he wants to be better prepared for the future operations like that.”

“There you go, you understand it better than I do. Makes you the right man back on New Avalon and me the right person out here to keep the army from getting lost,” Brandt said with forced cheeriness.

.o0O0o.

Avalon City, New Avalon
Crucis March, Federated Suns
4 April 2768

“I’m not convinced that this is the time for such changes.” Vasily Sandoval frowned at the map display of the Federated Suns. “Right now we have regiments that are very familiar with their areas of their responsibility and the officers they’ll be working with. If we were to come under attack before they’re settled into the new arrangements then our defences will be at a disadvantage.”

“And then there’s the espirit de corps of the March Militias.” Duchess Rita Hasek frowned at the idea. “They’re become very popular as champions of their respective regions in the biannual training exercises. You know how sports fans get about their teams.”

John and Vasily exchanged looks and came to a silent agreement that this wasn’t the time to correct the duchess’ use of ‘espirit de corps’. With one tour of duty in the AFFS she met the basic requirements to lay claim to the traditional right of a March Lord to serve as military commander of their March, but while Vasily’s service had been on the frontlines of the War of Davion Succession, while Rita’s tour of duty had been served entirely on the march capital of New Syrtis, with the Sixth Syrtis Fusiliers.

“The situation isn’t going to get any better,” John explained to the Draconis March lord. “Not until the Star League Council agrees on a new First Lord and right now the vote is four to one in favour of deferring that until Richard’s fate is confirmed.”

“That’s ridiculous,” snapped Rita. “Amaris would hardly undermine his claim to the position by leaving Richard alive. He might have spared the children, but the Camerons would have been given a choice between forswearing the throne or execution. That’s just plain sense and given how stiff-necked they are, nine-tenths of them probably wound up in front of firing squads. The Usurper can’t allow a rival claimant to live.”

“She’s not dumb, John. No soldier, but no fool either,” Hanse noted.

John turned to the duchess. “I think that’s the real issue, Rita. Without any idea of what the line of succession is and the Camerons no longer in practical control of the Hegemony, any regent or new First Lord would be painting a target on themselves.”

“Does Amaris have the forces to invade another Member-State?” asked Vasily in surprise. “I would have thought he had enough to deal with given the fighting on Tigress and Addicks.”

The Hasek shook her head. “Don’t be foolish, Vasily. Not soldiers: assassins and terrorist attacks. After Amaris suborned so much of the Hegemony government, there’s no knowing who else he might have agents close to in other realms.”

“Why not you then, sire? Or, what’s her name… Richard’s aunt… uh, dammit, Vincent Davion’s wife.”

“I have enough on my plate,” John told the Duke drily. “Between my own duties and supporting the SLDF’s activities, I’m already pushing work off onto Edwina and Joshua. Besides, the other Lords wouldn’t accept me, or Guerever for that matter. Just because they don’t want to risk getting pulled forwards doesn’t mean they’d accept me as even provisionally wielding the First Lord’s authority.”

“Dogs in a manger.”

“Yes. But we’re getting away from the point of this conversation.” The First Prince tuned back to the map. “You’re right that at the moment regiments within the Combat Regions are largely familiar with each other and their commanders, but even with the way we’ve shuffled regiments for GALAHAD and the various expeditionary forces over the last eight years, most of them aren’t very familiar with troops outside those regions. My concern is that if several regions were under attack and one was on the brink of collapse, neighbouring regions wouldn’t recognise this or offer support until news reached a higher level command.”

“There are facilities for that,” Vasily protested. “Operational Area command -”

John raised his hand. “Let me give you an example. Suppose the DCMS were to launch a surprise attack, with raids all along the border covering for a deep strike at Fairfax. If they neutralise the headquarters there, then not only would the Fairfax Combat Region be leaderless, but they’d also leave Dahar without a direct chain of command to you on New Syrtis because Fairfax is also headquarters for the Operation Area. It could take weeks to re-establish control of regiments in the area, those that weren’t overwhelmed without anyone to direct them on whether reinforcements were on the way or if they should withdraw to regroup.”

“Hmm.” Vasily studied the map. “And Fairfax is halfway between the border and the edge of the Crucis March.”

“Yes. Troop densities simply aren’t at the same level within the interior as they are along the border since we can’t be strong everywhere. With a base of operations deep in the Draconis March, Draconian raiding parties could wreak havoc.”

“And you think that this would reduce the risks of that?” asked Rita thoughtfully. “Wouldn’t these new…” she squinted at the screen, “Polymorphous Defense Zones have the same problems?”

“Right now, a single headquarters controls a sector of the border as well as all the territory back to the rear-edge of the border march,” John explained. “To use my example from earlier, if one PDZ is taken out then there are multiple PDZs either behind or in front of it due to the way their areas of responsibility interlock. It gives us layered defences that would be harder to neutralise before reinforcements can be assembled.”

“It won’t do much good for Chesterton,” she said. The smallest of the border combat regions only contained five worlds, including the Demeter salient.”

“I didn’t claim it was perfect, just that it was better than our current arrangement.”

Vasily drummed his fingers on his desk. “The idea has some merits, but given the disruption it’ll cause, I’d like some precautions in place to minimise our exposure.”

“What do you have in mind?”

“The backbone of our defences against the Combine are the Robinson Chevaliers.” Duke Sandoval eyed John a little suspiciously under his thick eyebrows. “I know you respect their abilities, given their deployments of late but I want a commitment that they won’t be pulled around like that until the new organisation has had a little while to get established – five years or so.”

“What do you mean, pulled around?”

“Expeditionary forces, or getting their homeworlds settled. It’s been bad for morale – lots of service families having to uproot to follow soldiers around.” The large man shrugged. “I don’t begrudge that they should do their part, but between the Outworlds and now the Thirty-Second being sent into the Hegemony I think the Chevaliers have earned enough glory to let other regiments have a chance at it.”

John leant back in his chair. “You want the Chevaliers to retain their current postings for the next five years.”

“There’s no real impact in this of which worlds need garrisoning, just which headquarters they look to. So while the one is in flux, let them stay on worlds they’re familiar with. If you must move troops around, there are plenty of Avalon Hussars to do that with.”

“And no more sending the Chevaliers into the Hegemony for the next five years.”

“There are other regiments,” Vasily pointed out, not mentioning that the Chevaliers were the second largest brigade in the AFFS BattleMech corps, almost twenty percent of the whole.

“And the same with the Syrtis Fusiliers.” Rita didn’t hesitate to take the same position.

A third of the AFFS’ BattleMech regiments locked into place and unavailable for service in the Hegemony. Setting down roots on their postings and settling into routines.

But I don’t have the leverage to fight the March Lords on this. “That’s fair,” John told them. “As long as the current situation extends, that is. If the Federated Suns comes under direct attack, I can’t promise to leave them in place.”

“Oh naturally. And since there will be more PDZs than the current Combat Regions, we’ll need to federalize additional militia regiments to provide them with March Militia brigades.”

John sighed. The various planetary lords had been very enthusiastic about building up their militia forces to compete for status in regular exercises, right up until he’d federalised the best prepared brigades in each combat region in 2754. Somehow he didn’t think they’d fall for that again. On the other hand… “I’ll leave the selection up to the two of you,” he declared. “Let me know your decisions by the end of this year’s exercises and you can announce the five new March Militias in time for the presentation.”

Rita blinked and opened her mouth only for Vasily to shake his head. “You walked into that, my dear,” he warned her. “Can we at least look at a finals round between all three Marchs?” the Duke asked John. “There’s still some enthusiasm after the way the Crucis Militias have been bragging about their part in Operation GALAHAD.”

“Not this year, but I’ll see if we can schedule it for the 2770 exercises,” the prince agreed.
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #74 on: 21 December 2017, 17:09:59 »
Avalon City, New Avalon
Crucis March, Federated Suns
7 April 2768

“This may be seen as presumptuous on your part,” Bennett Green warned. The Bureau of Star League Affairs’ Administrator for the Federated Suns was meeting John in Joshua’s offices rather than the First Prince’s own in part to keep the meeting low key and partly so John had the excuse to leave his office. With so many public appearances being delegated he’d begun to feel a degree of cabin-fever when it came to the admittedly luxurious office suite.

“I don’t plan to do anything drastic with the position,” John assured him with a flicker of guilt at the dishonesty. “But there are some administrative duties associated with it and Kerensky barely had time for them under Richard’s regency, much less now.”

“However innocent your intentions, the fact is that you’re discussing one of the First Lord’s secondary titles.”

“The High Council would raise something of a protest if some of the ducal powers were abused.” Joshua pushed a cup of coffee across the table to Bennett. “And with thirty worlds involved, I’m surprised we’ve gone this far without friction.”

The administrator made a face at the point but didn’t verbally acknowledge it, accepting the coffee instead.

John studied the man and concluded that he was only really holding out for form’s sake. Conferring the title of Duke of New Avalon on the First Lord’s heir had originally been entirely honorary but in the first century of the Star League the position had been granted certain powers by the High Council for reasons of convenience.

Some of those powers would be best left untouched, at least for now. Joshua was absolutely right that the High Council would be infuriated if John, acting as regent pending a new First Star Lord to take up the title, used the traditional perquisite of calling and dismissing the High Council at his own convenience. That was only intended to make allowances for visits by someone who could only briefly visit New Avalon and not necessarily fit the annual assemblies into his busy calendar, not for use by a First Prince who lived there.

Similarly, granting – and revoking - noble titles was a power carefully kept out of the First Prince’s hands over the years. The nobility of the Federated Suns had arisen first out of the titles of world rulers when the federation was founded and formalised under Simon Davion when a formal roll of honours was established to somewhat standardise the relative power of the great, middling and sometimes quite astoundingly petty nobility of the Suns. The power to meddle in that was something the High Council took very seriously and for the most part the Camerons had used it judiciously to reward citizens of the Federated Suns for their services to the Star League as a whole.

Perhaps Richard Cameron had forgotten about it. John shuddered to think how it might have been abused if Richard had been so dissolute when he received his title.

“I’d be happy to leave the position untenanted if it weren’t for the colonies,” he said in a conciliatory fashion. “If the worlds under the Duke’s administration had been released to receive Federation membership as used to be the custom this wouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately, the last Cameron to do so was Jonathan Cameron, almost eighty years ago and now we have thirty well-developed colonies that are still technically property of the First Lord’s office.”

“Quite. Can you imagine the repercussions of any drastic action once a new First Lord is elected,” Green asked nervously. “I imagine the new Cameron would have something to say about any disposition he disagreed with.”

“And yet there are issues that need to be tended to in their administration.” John turned to his son. “I’m sure you’ve realised that in practical terms, those will fall to you rather than me.”

“I didn’t think you were here for the coffee,” Joshua replied.

“That’s just a benefit,” his father admitted. “What have you been doing to the catering here?”

“I hired retired AFFS catering personnel to replace the previous contractors. When military food is a step up, you know you have a problem.”

Under the Star League terraforming science had advanced in leaps and bounds, allowing settlement on scores of worlds within the boundaries of the member-states that had previously been bypassed. In tribute to the close relationship between the Federated Suns and the Star League – and perhaps to solidify his position as a very young successor to his nigh-legendary great-grandfather, Prince Zane Davion had placed these new colonies of the Federated Suns under the protection of the First Star Lord in 2615.

Protection had become administration and effectively ownership. Which meant money in the form of rents and other fees paid by those who settled or made use of lands not covered by the founding colonists. And as the colonies grew and developed, so did that income. Perhaps greed hadn’t been the primary motivator in deferring the transfer of those rights to planetary governments… but it might have been as much a factor as neglect.

John looked back to Green. “I don’t require you to actively approve of my taking responsibility for administering the Duchy. And I won’t be selling off its assets, although if the Commanding General does want to start giving the usual land grants associated with military medals, the duchy would at least give him some land to grant.”

“That’s true, I suppose.” The administrator sighed. “We’re going to lose assets as it is.”

“What?” Joshua blinked. “I thought matters were going well – it hasn’t come up with the committee at least.”

“Not in the Suns,” Green explained. “The other Lords haven’t been as accommodating and my counterparts have had to cancel a number of projects we were involved in for various reasons – lack of Hegemony-built equipment, personnel resigning to join Kerensky’s training camps – we hire a lot of veterans and we were already stretched with reservists called up to cover for units in the Periphery. And then there’s money.”

“Always it’s money,” Joshua grumbled.

“It makes the Sphere go round,” John confirmed. “I’ve had some reports that some of the FWL provinces have been holding back Star League taxes.”

“If by some you mean Regulus, then yes.” The Principality of Regulus was one of, perhaps the, largest provinces of the Free Worlds League. They’d been one of the three states that leagued together in 2271 to found the Free Worlds League and while the ruling dynasty had changed over the centuries, their pride hadn’t. “The Duchess is withholding the funds in lieu of funding for social programmes that Administrator Hughes simply can’t provide. The same’s happening on a smaller scale with planetary governments in the other three states.”

“Can’t Kenyon Marik put a stop to it?”

The two older men exchanged looks. “He probably could, son. But why would he? Right now he’s hitting General Kerensky right in the pocket-books just by not lifting a finger to stop it.”

Green nodded sourly. “If revenue keeps dropping like this then we’ll need to look at other ways to raise money for the SLDF. If that comes at the expense of other activities then we could wind up alienating more local rulers.”

“And then there’s the lawsuits,” warned John. “Even if you haven’t actually breached contract, getting embroiled in litigation over it – and with the Supreme Court on Terra I don’t think they’d be a good place to appeal to – could wind up being another drain on the coffers.”

A morose silence fell over the office.

“Take the duchy,” Green said quietly. “Just swear to me that we can at least rely on that not happening here.”

“We’re at war, Bennett,” John said coldly. “That gives me legal options I wouldn’t have otherwise. I can’t promise no one will make trouble – that’s human nature.” And then his voice was like iron. “They won’t do it twice.”

.o0O0o.

Avalon City, New Avalon
Crucis March, Federated Suns
12 May 2768

“News from the Republic?” John guessed as Janos Grec settled into the chair opposite him.

“Damn your spies are getting good,” the SLDF officer replied good naturedly. “Are you sure you don’t have one on my staff.”

“Just logic. I conferenced with Brandt yesterday about the Ankaa situation, so if you need a meeting it’s probably about something else.”

Grec’s eyes hardened. “Yes, that… disaster is quite enough from that front.”

“It could have been worse. Kenyon Marik could have had troops there,” John replied lightly.

Ankaa wasn’t a major industrial world or particularly heavily fortified so they’d seen relatively little of Amaris’ hand so far. While the had been some economic rumbling, they’d not seen the factory quotas demanded of less fortunate worlds and so the idea of a new leader replacing the unpopular Richard hadn’t tarnished there as it might have.

The first sign of trouble when Sixth Army had landed was the planetary militia mustering under the banner of the Amaris Empire Armed Forces. Vastly outnumbered, it had still taken three months for the SLDF divisions to pin down and crush the Terran soldiers. The irritated commander of the Sixth, Janeth Apostolaki, had convened court martials for the survivors on grounds of treason. Massive public demonstrations and direct orders from Joan Brandt had just barely dissuaded him from hanging them.

And then First Division, Federated Suns Auxiliary Corps, had landed to take on some of the garrison work as LXIII Corps prepared to move on.

Local opposition went berserk, mass rallies accusing Apostolaki of selling out to the Federated Suns and insurgents striking at SLDF and AFFS patrols. A formal petition had been presented to General Gerik Chudzik of LVII Corps, asking for the direct personal intervention of General Kerensky to remove the ‘tyrannical Apostolaki’ and ‘invading Feddies’.

“I can just imagine how that blowhard would have handled it. What was it his precious Napoleon was known for? A whiff of grapeshot?”

“Fortunately Chudzik has more sense.” Experienced in difficult civilian relationships with the SLDF after serving years in the Confederation, the cool-headed Major General had rotated the 309th Royal BattleMech Division into the garrison posts the AFFS was still settling into. The almost entirely Hegemony-born troops had soothed the situation and Major General Simons’ First Division had, through a hasty raid of the captured Militia stores for uniforms and lots of olive paint been re-branded as ‘SLDF Volunteers’ patrolling away from the major cities. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he replaces Apostolaki shortly.”

“There’s a lot of that going around,” Grec agreed. “But yes, I’ve heard from General DeChevilier in the Republic. They’re making good progress, but the factories there aren’t as extensive as had been hoped.”

“I suppose if Amaris had a larger industrial base, he might have left more troops to defend the worlds,” John noted. “If not from the SLDF than from his own insurgents.”

A surprising number of worlds had welcomed Kerensky as a liberator – Amaris’ smooth public relations machine had focused on the Hegemony rather than his own domain it seemed. Outlying Rim Worlds Army detachments hadn’t just forted up because it was their only hope against the massive SLDF forces – some of them had been in genuine fear of being over-run by local rebellions. Not all, not even most… but enough to add more positive news to last year’s victories.

“It does leave us with some problems, particularly in the area of mid-weight BattleMechs. Are you familiar with Cosara Weaponry?”

John paused and saw Hanse perk up. “Northwind,” the ghost advised him.

“Based on Northwind?”

“Yes, they won a contract back in 2719 to supply the SLDF with their medium design, the Crab.”

Memory flooded back. “Oh lord, yes I remember now. What did they managed to build? Thirty or forty a year? The lawsuit came up back around the time Simon Cameron died.”

“Yes, well that set things back badly.” Grec shook his head. “Anyway, under the emergency budget authorised when we deployed to the Periphery, the General granted a new contract to Blueshot Weapons in the Lyran Commonwealth to build another ‘Mech in the same weight bracket for us – the Starslayer.”

“More trouble?”

“It’s like your psychic,” the admiral said sarcastically. “They can’t get their production lines together and naturally Steiner is stirring the pot merrily.”

“Oh bloody hell, Robert.” John started to massage his forehead. “Alright, what can I do to help?”

“I understand that Achernar BattleMechs are looking to build a new factory?”

“Yes, on Point Barrow. Between us, they’re having trouble meeting demand and it was going to be convenient to the supply bases on Andalusia and Bonneau.”

Grec nodded. “We’ve activated penalty clauses in the contracts with Blueshot and Cosara that let us grant licenses and provide the schematics for another firm to begin building their ‘Mechs. Steiner will kick off, but he’s already annoyed the General quite enough that one more piece of wood on the fire won’t make matters any worse. I’m authorised to offer both licenses to Achernar, along with technical support from Second Army to get production up and running as fast as possible.”

“Do it!” Hanse exclaimed. “Those are our bread and butter, John. Heavies are just the backbone, the one thing the AFFS can’t do without is a steady supply of workhorse mediums.”

“I can’t speak for Achernar’s board, I’m only one shareholder,” John told his guest and his ghost. “But you certainly have my support and I’d be glad to arrange a meeting. Will you handle it personally or shall we drop it on Joshua and Bennett?”

“On this one I’ll have to take point since it’s the SLDF granting the license. Fortunately I can let Bennett handle some more conventional contracting. Corean and Johnston will be getting more of our funding for their vehicle programmes.”

“You’re going to the League, then?” asked John in surprise. “DeChevilier’s closer to Stewart than you are right now.”

Grec smirked. “It’s nice to get one over on you every now and then,” he informed the Prince. “They do have some tertiary facilities right here on New Avalon and since Captain-General Marik isn’t supportive of expanding SLDF contracts to suppliers within his realm, they’ve offered to retool and expand their presence here to build armoured vehicles for us.”

“Point for you,” John conceded.

“They built the Valkyrie and the Centurion for us here,” Hanse noted and then frowned. “Probably not started the Valkyrie yet, the Centurion assembly was relocated here late in Ian’s reign.”

“While we’re on the subject of tertiary plants,” the First Prince continued, “I’ve had a message from Erskine Cobb about some shortfalls affecting their production for the SLDF. Heatsink components, specifically, now that they can’t import from the Hegemony. It’s going to be another four months before we have enough endo-steel coming from our new orbital factories to fill the demand. Longer if Amaris decides to send out raiders after them.”

The admiral grunted. Orbital factories were unavoidable given the need for micro-gravity to manufacture so many key materials these days, but they were far more vulnerable to naval raids than factories buried securely in a planet’s crust, where only invasion or an extended bombardment could get at them. “What are you angling for?”

“We’re still struggling with our heavy fighter numbers, the types we’ll need for anti-shipping strikes,” John explained. “And it’s not as if you can afford to pull them back from the frontlines, for the same reasons. If Amaris does push anywhere, you need them too. But someone on my staff pointed out that the Vulcans the rebels were flying in the Periphery must have come from factories in the Rim Worlds Republic.”

“That would follow. They’re not great fighters, but they’re certainly a threat to dropships. What do you want, the tooling?”

“Enough that we can copy it here. We’ll share output, of course.”

“You can probably have the lot,” Grec told him. “It’s bad enough identifying targets with Amaris using SLDF hardware against us in the Hegemony. The last thing we want is to add to the confusion by having Rim Worlds designs fighting alongside us.”
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

2ndAcr

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #75 on: 21 December 2017, 17:49:00 »
 The Suns are going to come out of this extremely powerful it looks like. Hanse was already a huge bonus but now they get 2 medium mechs and a fighter design.

 Great read.

Daryk

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #76 on: 21 December 2017, 17:52:41 »
I just love this line:
Quote
"...the relative power of the great, middling and sometimes quite astoundingly petty nobility of the Suns."

nerd

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #77 on: 21 December 2017, 19:37:56 »
Starslayers and Crabs!
M. T. Thompson
Don of the Starslayer Mafia
Member of the AFFS High Command

mikecj

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #78 on: 22 December 2017, 01:48:04 »
nicely written.  The 6th Army's commander's reaction is understandable.
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

DoctorMonkey

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #79 on: 22 December 2017, 07:30:14 »
Still absolutely loving this
How much have you micro-manage or detail fixed things like the composition of the Armies or what exactly makes up a Davion Division versus an SLDF one and how much are you just going for "plot"?
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ChanMan: "Capellan Ingenuity: The ability to lose battles to Davion forces in new and implausible ways"

mikecj

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #80 on: 22 December 2017, 11:17:11 »
He posted the outline a while back, the file I saved it in is dated 12 AUG 2012.  Its an interesting TO&E, but I'm not sure if its changed.

« Last Edit: 22 December 2017, 15:39:33 by mikecj »
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #81 on: 23 December 2017, 04:19:00 »
I've got a (lengthy) list of what Corps are which army and how many divisions each Corps has at a given time. Unless it's particularly  plot relevant I don't worry too much about which division is which or about the independent regiments.

The AFFS division organisation is somewhat in flux through Idealist and Loyalist as they work out what they want. In general they've settled on a principle at battalion and brigade level of "2 line units, 1 composite unit of specialists". Susan Sandoval's battalion was an example of this earlier in the story with 2 line companies of Warhammers and the third company made up of her command lance, an air defense lance and a fire support lance.

What evolves through Loyalist (albeit mostly in the background), is what the AFFS call a Demi-Brigade - one line regiment of 3 battalions, supported by 2 additional battalions to provide combined arms capacity - for example, an infantry regiment with attached battalions of artillery and tanks, or a 'Mech regiment with a wing of aerospace fighters and a helicopter battalion. There are a lot of variations of this but generally a brigade has 2 demi-brigades, then a division has 3 brigades (10 regiments, with 4 broken up to provide the battalion attachments for the other 6).

The SLDF, per canon, works out fairly similarly in the field by attaching elements of the division-level specialists to line regiments. However, because each of their brigades is 3 line regiments, an SLDF Division works out as 4/3rds the size of an AFFS division. SLDF independent regiments tend to have additional battalions permanently attached, making them roughly equivalent to a demi-brigade so the AFFS TO&E is something of a compromise between having a division structure and independent regiments.
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nerd

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #83 on: 25 December 2017, 17:33:26 »
Hmmm, just reread this bit:
Quote
Heatsink components, specifically, now that they can’t import from the Hegemony. It’s going to be another four months before we have enough endo-steel coming from our new orbital factories to fill the demand.

I thought Cray was clear that DHS don't require endo-steel components?

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #84 on: 26 December 2017, 13:02:29 »
Quote
The ease with which the double heat sink can be built ensured that even the poorest Periphery world had the ability to produce it for its armed forces so long as the endo-steel frame for the heat sink was available.
Era Report 2750 indicates at least some quantity and variation of endosteel is required for DHS although it may not be same variety as that used for 'Mech structure and it may not be a huge proportion.

It could have been retconned but I'm going what my copies say.
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

Daryk

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #85 on: 26 December 2017, 13:50:24 »
Here's the thread where it came up, and ER2750 was cited by the other side of the argument.  Not trying to change your mind here, just let you know what was said about the subject.

I love this story!

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #86 on: 26 December 2017, 15:45:55 »
New Haifa, Robinson
Draconis March, Federated Suns
24 June 2768

There might have been more obvious ambushes laid in history but Susan had trouble thinking of one.

“If you keep sitting me next to Jimmy Wolfe, then I may wind up punching him,” she warned her mother.

“Why would you do that?” Sarah Sandoval asked in bemusement. “He’s such a pleasant young man.”

Susan rolled her eyes. “Yes, as long as you don’t hear him tell the same joke over and over again. I’m aware the First Dragoons have a wolf on their banner but it’s not as if it really represents his family.”

“I’m sure you can break him of the habit without breaking his jaw,” Reuben offered. Another jaw of the trap was her brother being at home when she got here on her long-awaited leave. They hadn’t met since their unexpected clash during the GALAHAD exercises and she’d thought that the reshuffling of the March’s internal boundaries would be keeping him busy since his Eighth Chevaliers were stationed on Mayetta, command world for one of the new PDZs.

“It’s a very breakable jaw,” she said. “Look, I know keeping Woodbine sweet is important to Dad, but just sit one of us somewhere else. I’ve only got five more days before I head back to Goshen.”

Her mother and brother exchanged looks. “Susan, please don’t be difficult.”

With a roll of her eyes she set aside the magazine she’d been planning to take down to the beach. “Fair warning, mother. I’ll see you when I get back from surfing.”

“What happened to just lazing around this afternoon?” asked Reuben, “Didn’t you say that was your plan until dinner?”

“Yeah, well after lunch I have some aggression to work off. Better to take it out on the surf than father’s guests.”

The ducal manor at New Haifa had been the original home of the Sandovals. While formal administration had shifted inland during the reign of the Leightons and Rostovs who’d used Robinson as their capital during the era of the Terran March, the Sandovals kept their roots here. Reuben and Susan had been raised in the planetary capital but this was always their favourite retreat between school semesters.

Stepping off the path down to the boathouse, Susan ignored the grass whipping around her ankles and hiked up the hill where she could take cover behind the trees and look down on the estate. Up above her were the security posts of the perimeter, but even from only a few dozen metres up she had a sweeping view of the main house and the sprawl of guest-wings, staff-housing and other structures that she’d run and played amongst as a girl.

It disappointed her to see Count James Wolfe jogging up from the beach a few minutes later. That he headed for the boathouse rather than the main buildings just confirmed her suspicions.

Taking a deep breath she worked her way back down the hill to the small suite she’d claimed after graduating from Albion back in ’58. This wasn’t going to be a conversation she wanted to have wearing a sarong and a bikini.

It only took twenty minutes to change and track her father down in the library. Arguing with Reuben or mother wouldn’t get to the root of the problem. Even if Reuben had ostensibly invited James Wolfe, their father was the one who’d introduced him to the then heir to Woodbine, years ago. The friendship made sense to cultivate – Woodbine’s rulers carried weight in the outer reaches of the Draconis March, always a problem since the centre of power had shifted towards the Terran end of the region.

But this was a step further politically and there was no way that Reuben could have talked mother into playing along without at least consulting the Duke.

“Good afternoon, father.”

“Susan!” He looked up warmly from the map spread out on the library’s main table. “I don’t see you often in here. Finally run out of water sports to fill your days?”

“A change is as good as a rest.” She looked at the markings of the plastic-covered sheets. “Is that an old Terran Alliance map?”

“Yes, standard issue for Terran Alliance marines stationed here in the early twenty-third century,” he said cheerfully. “I think it might be the only authentic hardcopy left for Robinson. Fascinating to see what’s changed and what their cartographers simply missed.”

“Speaking of missing things, did Reuben forget to tell Jimmy Wolfe about the ‘no playing footsie where it might cause a scandal rule’ that you set down when we were old enough to notice the opposite sex? Or did someone waive that rule and not tell me?”

Her father removed his glasses and polished them with a cloth for a moment. “You’re closer to thirty than twenty now and your brother’s the far side of that. I do believe that you’re both capable of discretion.”

“And who do you mean by both of us? Me and Reuben, or me and…? Mother’s seating arrangements have been unusually fixed since I got here. Woodbine and Goshen are a long way apart so I’m not likely to see him again for years, if ever.”

The question hung between them and then he shifted his shoulders slightly and directed her to a chair. “Leftenant Colonel by twenty-eight is an accomplishment. I’m very proud of you,” Vasily told her. “But those who can do more are called to do more and it’s time for you to come home.”

“I’m a soldier, I follow my regiment.”

“I understand you wanted to make your own mark, and you have. I wouldn’t offer you this just as my daughter, but the Twenty-Second Chevaliers need a new Colonel.”

“The Twenty-Second are stationed on Woodbine?”

“Yes, they needed somewhere stable to rebuild and the First Prince has agreed that they won’t be redeployed for five years.”

“I only made Leftenant Colonel last year.”

“It’s more than within my discretion to arrange the promotion, and don’t pretend you’re not qualified. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t be looking over your shoulder – Woodbine’s actually further away than Goshen is.”

Sarah shook her head. “Five years is a long time, especially when there’s a war being fought.”

“Time to settle down; maybe – just maybe – have a family.” Her father shrugged. “I’m not forcing James on you, but it would help if you at least have a friendly relationship with the ruler of the world you’re stationed on.”

“Is Reuben getting the same treatment?”

“Your brother’s been short-listed for Brigadier-General, although I’d rather he didn’t learn that just yet.” Vasily smiled a little slyly. “I’m saving it for his birthday. Once that’s confirmed his next tour will be with the Clovis brigade of the March Militia.”

“I’m surprised you’re not offering me his regiment,” Susan joked.

Her father laughed. “No, that wouldn’t work. Putting you in his shoes never did and I know it.”

“Are you saying I’ve got big feet?”

“Well, not you but perhaps your ‘Mech,” he teased. “Ninety tons is a touch on the heavy side.”

“Thankfully I’ve been assigned a replacement,” she told him. “In order to simplify some of the issues supplying the SLDF, they’ve relaxed a few regulations and by the time I’m back on Goshen I should have a factory-fresh Cestus waiting for me. At long last a ‘Mech that can hit sixty without having to jump off something.”

Her father’s face tightened. “When I said the Twenty-Second need a colonel, I mean now. So you won’t need to go back to Goshen. The transfer can be approved by the end of the week and your promotion would be applied by the time you reach Woodbine.”

“That’s a little sudden!” Susan protested. “There are things to do back on Goshen. I’d be leaving the First without their exec after barely a year on the job.”

“Susan, you’ve had ten years away. The Chevaliers… the Draconis March… needs you. It’s time for you to answer that call rather than running off to the far corners of the Suns.”

“The Suns also needs me,” she said stubbornly. “And since Personnel are keeping me with the Dragoons it’s pretty clear where they want me. Or are you going to tell me that the Draconis March’s needs take priority?”

“For a Sandoval, absolutely! It’s our responsibility to serve the Federated Suns as the champions of the Draconis March against enemies external and internal. Not the Capellan March or the Crucis March, which have their own advocates.” Her father pushed his chair back. “Or does that duty mean nothing to you?”

“My duty means more to me than being your coin to buy Woodbine’s favour,” she snarled back. Her chair tipped backwards as she came to her feet. “How dare you ask me to abandon my comrades for your political gain?” Somewhere at the back of her head, alarm bells were warning that people outside the library might hear them.

“I would never put myself before you!” His face was florid with outrage. “We have responsibilities as well as privileges, Susan!”

“And you pulling strings to promote me isn’t a privilege?” She stabbed one finger towards him. “When I’m done wiping the asses of your toy soldiers I’ll be ready to spawn you some grandchildren, is that it?”

“Don’t you talk to me like that!”

Susan planted both hands on the table, not caring that she was putting pressure on the ancient plastic. “Fine.”

“Fine?”

“Fine,” she confirmed. “There’s clearly no use talking to you.” Pushing off from the table – and inadvertently sliding the map towards her father – she turned on her heel. It wouldn’t take fifteen minutes to have her bags packed and she could find somewhere else to stay if there wasn’t a place available on an earlier ship to Goshen.

.o0O0o.

Terra Prime, Apollo
Apollo Province, Rim Worlds Republic
5 July 2768

The body of Mohammed Selim had been removed from where Stefan Amaris’ unfortunate regent had been hung after a mob of Rim Republic Army-led citizens had stormed the government buildings.

That didn’t mean the mood of the capital had settled. Some were still hunting Amaris supporters’ hiding places but others had begun to wonder what would happen next. This wasn’t the first time the SLDF had come to Apollo with fire and fury, although on that occasion they’d been there to reinstate the rule of House Amaris, not to obliterate it.

Phillip Drummond found it darkly amusing that right now he was probably safer here surrounded by SLDF soldiers than he would have been in the little redoubt still waiting for him in the mountains. Such boltholes were exactly what hundreds of other officers and bureaucrats of the old regime were looking for and there were few lengths that the mobs would not go to in order to get hold of those people, particularly since popular legend had it that the former elite were taking small fortunes with them to finance new lives once matters had settled down.

Personally he doubted the last part. Amaris had even emptied the government vaults of germanium and other precious but less useful metals when he departed for the Hegemony.

There were two other men in the room, a SLDF Lieutenant with Logistics Command tabs and a bearded civilian who’d barely looked up from his noteputer when Phillip entered.

“Please come with me, gentlemen,” a voice invited from the door. The speaker was a sharply-uniformed woman wearing the unit patches of the Eighteenth Royal Mechanized Infantry Division on her uniform. As far as Phillip knew, no such unit was still operating as part of the SLDF forces in the city, predominantly II Corps of the Twelfth Army. Despite wearing dress uniform, she carried a very functional looking shotgun slung from one shoulder on an assault-rig.

“Don’t mention the patches,” the SLDF officer who’d been waiting with him advised quietly as they followed the woman through the building.

Phillip glanced sideways, annoyed that his attention had been picked up on. “Sore subject?”

“Twelfth Army consolidated two Corps together after they pulled out of the Magistracy last year. Out of nine divisions, only three were judged fit to be reconstituted. The Eighteenth Royals weren’t one of them – all that’s left is a regiment assigned to guard the General.”

There was no need to guess about who was meant by ‘the’ General and if that wasn’t enough of a hint, the woman threw open the doors to an ornate audience chamber typical of the Amaris palace and revealed the slightly-built Commanding General sitting at a desk poring over the data of a dozen holo displays. “General Kerensky, your guests.”

“Thank you, Teresa,” he said warmly, looking away from the screens. Pushing his chair back – a simple office chair rather than the pseudo-antique engraved wood that fit with the desk and was now pushed back into a corner where it supported a neurohelmet and a flak vest – Kerensky rose to his feet. “Please come in gentlemen, I apologise for the wait.”

“I’m quite literally at your disposal, General,” Phillip answered drily when neither of the other men responded verbally.

“That’ll be all, Teresa.”

“Sir,” the woman protested from behind them.

Unless the civilian was more dangerous than he appeared – unlikely, Phillip thought, looking at the posture and build – the concern was more than likely directed at him.

“If you’re concerned for my safety, Teresa, you can issue Major Drummond with a pistol. He’s quite the shot. Otherwise get some sleep, please. We’ve a busy few days and I’ll be relying on you in much more dangerous conditions than these.”

The door closed and Kerensky pushed his chair over to four others clustered around a steel and plastic coffee table that had obviously been salvaged from somewhere else. “Mr Blake, Lieutenant Karrige, Major Drummond. I have rather a task for you.”

“Involving HPGs, I assume.” The civilian made a depreciating face. “The station here will be fully functional within a fortnight so elsewhere?”

“That is correct, yes. To provide introductions, Mr Blake is from the Ministry of Communications, one of the top engineers available outside of the Hegemony. Lieutenant Karrige’s come here from overseeing battlefield salvage operations with Army Group Eleven and his last posting before then was New Syrtis, while Major Drummond recently joined us from the Rim Worlds Army, he’s also got an overlooked background in intelligence operations.”

“That sounds mysterious, sir,” Karrige said wryly.

“There’s a difference in nature between the courage to face the Usurper’s forces in open battle and to enter the heart of his power alone.” Kerensky gave Drummond a respectful look. “But the magnitude is no less. If you’d succeeded then we might be in a very different place right now.”

“If.”

Blake twisted his hands, seeming not to know what to do them. “I don’t follow.”

“If it wasn’t for a… well, ******-up is all I can call it – Stefan Amaris would have died in a dropship accident about a year ago.”

“It’s for the ability to survive such a ‘******-up’ that I’ve chosen you for this mission, Major. I trust that a transfer in your existing grade to the SLDF won’t be unwelcome.”

“Very welcome indeed.”

“Excellent, the paperwork will be ready when you leave.” Kerensky leant back in his chair a little. “While operations in the Republic are far from over and it will take time – a painfully long time – to prepare our forces for the main effort against the Hegemony, there are several issues that are already evident in communicating with the Army Group already engaged there.”

“Without the Hegemony’s stations, all contact has to loop through the other Member-States to reach us here. The length of those lines of communication will shorten once my headquarters leaves the Republic but only establishing a direct link through the Hegemony’s own worlds will remove our dependence upon the other states, and we must assume that HPG stations will be severely damaged in the process of liberating Hegemony worlds. That’s certainly been the case so far.”

“At this time, our relations with House Marik and House Kurita are… unpredictable. It isn’t impossible that our message traffic through either state may be compromised, either in security or delivery. There is a smaller, but existing threat of such problems within the Capellan Confederation and the Lyran Commonwealth.”

Karrige shook his head. “I don’t see the solution, but I assume that Mr Blake can provide one.”

“Automated relay stations,” the engineer replied absently. “I worked on some preliminary designs for a back-up military network independent of the civilian HPGs. The idea was considered in the 2720s but cancelled as no real need was envisaged. There was a design study ten years ago for more limited networks through the Periphery states but the funding wasn’t there.”

“Precisely so. The difficulty is that if even one such satellite is found and recovered intact then it would endanger the rest of the network and the Republic doesn’t have the facilities to build such devices.”

“I take it that we’ll be heading to the Suns then?” asked Drummond.

“Correct. Mr Blake will be in charge of devising the satellites and placing them in production. Lieutenant Karrige’s contacts should allow him to secure the materials needed without drawing attention and you, Major, are responsible for ensuring that the satellites are prepared without information about the leaking to either Amaris or the House Lords.” Kerensky paused. “That includes Lord Davion. While he’s certainly our supporter, letting him have direct access to HPG technology would likely alienate his peers. I don’t expect that he’ll look too closely, for that very reason, but not all of his people will be as scrupulous.”
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

drakensis

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #87 on: 26 December 2017, 15:46:10 »
Camp Jordan, Kilarney
Free Barony of Kilarney, Free Worlds League
19 August 2768

There was a bittersweet feeling in the area as Ethan Moreau’s class received their graduation papers and rank pins. Ordinarily the classes still undergoing training would have been marched in formation to stand witness as the class of ’68 formally completed both the Mechwarrior and leadership courses.

But there were no such classes.

The drain had begun the year before as facilities were closed down through the Camp. With the war in the Magistracy over and the Amaris Coup shifting, some adjustment was no doubt necessary but then instructors were replaced or simply reassigned without filling the vacancy. At the start of 2768, several courses were cut and entire classes part-way through their Mechwarrior training were informed they’d complete their training elsewhere.

It wasn’t until March that it was confirmed – the training base was to be shut down and all classes due to graduate after the end of the summer were being transferred. Some were going to training camps established in the newly liberated Rim Worlds Republic, others to schools still operating in the Suns but by the start of June only four classes remained at the once bustling school.

Already FWLM personnel were at work. Ethan still remembered the first sight of officers of the house military inspecting the facilities. It seemed that the base wasn’t even being simply closed down against future need. Instead it was being sold off entirely.

The last two months had seen the cadets and their last instructors all but confined to barracks and a single classroom block. The Mechwarrior training had ended, with three classes boarding a chartered transport – not even a SLDF dropship – and despatched to Sixth Army in the Hegemony as replacements. Surrounded on all sides by technicians stripping out equipment for use elsewhere and FWLM work crews repurposing stripped buildings, morale had been on the floor.

“Chin up, lad.” Lieutenant General Fletcher gave Ethan a pat on the sleeves. “This isn’t the end of the road, just a turning point.”

The young Mechwarrior forced a smile for the sake of the school’s director. Replacing another temporary commander for the last few weeks hardly seemed like a worthwhile endeavour, but the infantry officer had taken over the leadership classes himself, throwing open the floor to discussions of everything from small unit tactics to the politics of the entire League.

“There are more important things to worry about than one small facility in the corner of one Member-State,” he’d declared from the lecturer’s podium. “These are the times that test men’s souls. Does it gripe me that we’re selling this place off? A little, but what does that matter compared to the billions living in chains under Amaris’ rule? For better or for worse, you and I will be going to war soon. A war that will shape the next few centuries of human history. Don’t worry about what we can’t change, take hold of what you can and shape it as you must.”

Stepping aside, Ethan joined the small crowd of his class who’d already received their commissions.

“Moreau?” It wasn’t a loud voice, just carrying over the sound of the remaining presentations.

Looking for a source, he saw a single officer who wasn’t wearing then olive of the SLDF. A purple-trimmed white jacket and pants, gold over-trousers stretching up to the thighs - Ethan had to fight not to show his annoyance that an officer of the Free Worlds League Military had intruded even into this.

“Moreau,” the voice called again.

Turning back to the stage, Ethan tried to ignore the voice. It could wait, at least. There were only ten more personnel.

The third time the voice was closer. “Ethan Moreau.”

Gritting his teeth, the newly minted lieutenant looked sideways. “Yes?” he hissed.

“How’d you get through Mechwarrior training if you’re hard of hearing?” the man said quietly.

Around him, Ethan could practically feel the eyes of his classmates. “How did you get to Force Commander without any grasp of decorum?” he replied, just as quietly.

“You can blame your teacher for that. Made it real hard to speak to you.”

“Then you can wait until we’re done.”

The officer shrugged. “This is the one place I was sure I could catch you before you ship tomorrow.”

Ethan glared at him but the man at least fell silent until the last of the new officers had been sworn in. Then he grasped Ethan’s arm. “Now, come with me.”

“And where do you think you’re going with my officer?” Fletcher demanded, following the last graduate down towards his former students. “This is still our base until 1200 hours tomorrow and I can still throw you off it. And I do mean throw.”

“Just across the way. It’s in the lines of a civil affairs chat.”

Ethan pulled his arm free. “Whatever you have to say, say it here.”

“Very well. I don’t know if you’ve been keeping track but this is a courtesy visit to ensure you’re aware of the Abbey District Assembly have passed Amendment 14B6 of their Militia Act.”

“Which means…?” The Militia Act was the fundamental law behind the operation of the Abbey District Militia, the province’s native military force. Ethan wasn’t familiar with the amendment though.

The officer shook his head. “I see. Well, until now the ADM had a policy of offering all SLDF veterans from Abbey District enlistment at their final rank as of discharge and irrelevant of whether they hold reservist status or not.”

“Until now?” asked Fletcher warily.

“After the number of ADM personnel who’ve been recalled to SLDF service, Amendment 14B6 has struck down provision for SLDF personnel, reservists or otherwise, to serve with the ADM. Apparently the Assembly don’t feel they can rely on them to serve their province anymore.” The FWLM officer smiled thinly.

“I see. Is that all?” Ethan hid the sting of rejection. He’d always vaguely thought that if he lived to retirement, thirty or forty years from now, he might look for a place with the militia.

“And to let you know that if you are looking at your options down the road, the Free Worlds League Military won’t be passing such a short-sighted regulation.” The officer looked around at the other young lieutenants. “When you’re done with the SLDF you can always come home to us.”

.o0O0o.

Atreus City, Atreus
Marik Commonwealth Free Worlds League
10 October 2768

The new Captain-General hadn’t moved into his predecessor’s quarters in the executive wing of the Parliament complex. While Ewan Marik hadn’t used them much when he dealt with Parliament, preferring an estate outside of the city, the apartments had still been stripped and for a while there had even been talking about demolishing the building and constructing a new one in its place.

Edward Hughes could only feel sympathy for the Society for the Preservation of Historic Atreus. They’d saved the elegant building first erected for Juliano Marik and the other founders of the League, but the man they’d saved it from was vindictive by nature. Somewhere, somehow, they would be made to pay for thwarting him.

Kenyon Marik now made his lair on the uppermost floor of the building, which Edward remembered had been repurposed as office space by Brion Marik after he usurped the position of Captain-General from his brother Carlos. Before then they’d been guest suites for ‘companions’ of high ministers within the administration of the Free World’s League. It was possible that the young Kenyon was unaware of the original purpose… or perhaps he was all too aware.

“You’re here to talk about taxes again,” the man in question said abruptly from where he sat, framed by one of the arched windows. He had a book open in front of him, the binding matching that of other volumes shelved along with window-sill. Looking at the spines, Hughes saw without surprise that they were a collection of commentaries on Shakespeare’s plays. “Seeing what else you can squeeze out of my people.”

“An army is expensive to operate. I believe that would be why your predecessor agreed to levies upon the Periphery to find the expansion of the Free Worlds League Military.”

“The most expensive army in history.” The Marik flipped the page of his book, apparently dividing his attention. “SAFE tells me that the Rim Worlds is defended by only a handful of divisions but Kerensky needs millions of men to subdue them. Perhaps he should feed his men captured Republican rations. It seems to make his enemies fight with the strength of a hundred.”

“He is, of course, without your advice on the matter.”

Marik looked up sharply, brows furrowed. “Yes. He is. I can justify the expenditure of part of my budget to purchase SLDF bases as improvements to our own infrastructure, but Parliament has good reason to question why we should pay trillions of dollars to the Star League when we receive so little in the way of benefits.”

“I would point out, sir, that the current economic issues rest to some degree on the loss of trade with the Hegemony. Removing Amaris is an investment in redressing that situation and my office is asking for no more than the taxes that your nation’s worlds are due to pay.”

“My ancestors gave your League the option of having us collect the taxes for you but the Camerons preferred to send their tax collectors to each world without intermediaries. Surely what was good enough for such giants as Albert Marik and Ian Cameron must also be good enough for us. If your own system isn’t producing the desired results then that’s really the consequence of your own decisions and I would be wiser to give you free room to move. Perhaps you could ask General Watanabe to detach some of his regiments to act as your tax collectors. I’m sure that Parliament will be delighted to know that Star League soldiers are shaking down their homeworlds for money you’ll be spending in the Federated Suns.”

“Whatever gave you that idea, your excellency?”

The Marik closed his book abruptly. “Kallon Industries have extensive facilities in my realm, sufficient that I’m aware that their branch on Talon is building a new Wolverine model for the SLDF and the AFFS, just one example of the contracts being offered to Davion firms and yet I see no similar requests of Kallon’s branch here. And who funds all of this? The common taxpayer of the League. As their Captain-General, I must demand to know where their money is being spent.”

Hughes felt a surge of contempt. “Kallon is a branch of Earthwerks Incorporated, your excellency. If they haven’t reported and paid taxes on the rushed orders for more ‘Mechs from their Keystone factory then your accountants may wish to investigate. Similarly Irian BattleMechs and many other SLDF suppliers. You are correct though, that these investments are significantly lower than those in the Suns.”

“Aha!” The Captain-General slammed the flat of his hand against his desk. “I knew Kerensky was favouring his so trustworthy ally!”

“Administrator Green is able to fund more extensive activities in the Suns than any of my peers for two reasons, neither of which General Kerensky plays a part in,” Hughes told him. He held up one finger. “Firstly, the worlds of the Federated Suns continue to pay taxes to the Star League in full. While the economic conditions have reduced his income, it’s far closer to the levels of two years ago than any other state can claim. I’m far from the only one having to sell off Star League assets to maintain operations.”

“Yes, I heard that Barbara Liao has added ten destroyers to her fleet,” Marik noted with a scowl. “Ships that have been stationed along my border.”

“Obsolete ships that were being reconditioned for service in the Periphery. Contracts that might have been open to your own shipyards if they’d expressed an interest, but alas your own navy’s needs left them unable to take on the work.”

“Apparently they shouldn’t have bothered with all that hard work, just sat back and waited for the Star League to give me ships on a platter.”

There were many things Edward Hughes wanted to say in response. That the SLDF wouldn’t be giving up the destroyers if they had the slightest choice was only the first. They – and those in Combine yards – had effectively been confiscated by the Capellan Confederation Navy and Draconis Combine Admiralty respectively.

House Kurita had made a token payment to the SLDF at the time but the Chancellor had tried to claim they were in settlement of late payment of the repair costs until General Kerensky had sent a stern note, suggesting that if the laws of property were no longer in effect then the SLDF could restore order. How much of that was a bluff, Hughes was unsure. Presumably the Chancellor wasn’t sure either but she’d paid compensation in thousands of tons of badly needed supplies so the matter had been allowed to drop. The two House Lords had still managed to boost their navies by paying pennies on the dollar for the ships.

“The Federated Suns branch of the Bureau also doesn’t have to cover legal costs for thousands of lawsuits being brought against them. It seems that the First Prince is reaping the rewards of supporting Administrator Green in the current situation, whereas in other realms we’ve had no choice but to cut funding to hundreds of programmes and default on obligations just to maintain operations,” he continued, aware he was letting bitterness leak into his voice. “Apparently just because the planetary government of Manotick isn’t willing to pay taxes to the Star League doesn’t mean they’re unwilling to champion the men and women we’ve had to lay off because we don’t have the money to pay them.”

“You make it sound as if you’re hovering on the brink of bankruptcy rather than handling the second greatest budget in the Free Worlds League, second only to the national one.”

Hughes caught himself from saying something very unwise about how much of that budget was servicing short-term loans from banks House Marik had interests in, taken out to cover redundancy pay-outs incurred in the first half of 2767. “Then I’ve managed to convey our position, Captain-General.”

“I’m not unsympathetic, but I have my own budget to consider and with the SLDF focused on the Hegemony and the Republic, the FWLM has to stretch to cover the League against raiders.” Kenyon Marik seemed far smugger than he did sympathetic. “I will speak to Parliament and ask Members to pressure their governments to seek out-of-court settlements of the suits being pressed against your offices. That should at least allow you to cut the ongoing legal costs.”

At the cost of paying the settlements, which will probably wind up gutting the remaining administrative infrastructure, Hughes thought darkly. But however useful prime office buildings would be in reconstructing the Star League’s bureaucracy after the war, right now they were sitting empty and there were higher priorities for funding than keeping the utilities paid on them. “That would be beneficial, thank you.”

“Of course. Now if you’ll excuse me, the business of government…”

Hughes rose from his seat. “Good day, Kenyon Marik.”

He almost thought he imagined the murmur of “It truly is,” from behind him as he left. Almost.
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

ckosacranoid

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #88 on: 28 December 2017, 01:03:43 »
nice updates. boy is the captain a Berkeley for sure. nice to see mr blake seen in the story and how hanse will react to meeting the person behind comstar to start.

mikecj

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Re: Davion & Davion (Deceased)
« Reply #89 on: 29 December 2017, 03:37:25 »
Ouch, destroyers to the CCAF & DCMA...
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

 

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