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Author Topic: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little  (Read 17475 times)

Daryk

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #240 on: 19 August 2022, 16:18:07 »
Which only reinforces Theodore's feelings for a certain aide...  ^-^

drakensis

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #241 on: 20 August 2022, 05:13:17 »
Chapter 10

San Martin, Dieron
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
3 December 3019


Max stared at the reports on Takashi Kurita’s demise. “I would have thought Marcus’ death would have averted this,” he admitted.

Leaning back in his seat, Frederick nodded. “And in your recollections, Takashi would have survived?”

“Ja… Ivan Sorenson was on the same dropship and they escaped in his ‘mech - managed to leap free and survive the fall using its jump jets.”

“More than ten years of changes - Ian Davion lives three years longer and Takashi dies… thirty years sooner?”

“Thirty-five, I think.” Max shook his head. “Yeah, he’d have ruled until 3054.”

“Is this better or worse? You said Theodore was a very able general.”

“I’m not sure.” The balding man rubbed his eyes as he thought. “Could go either way. Takashi was tremendously able politically, but he wasn’t as flexible as his son when it came to military leadership. Fortunately for their enemies, Takashi was almost never willing to work with Theodore. That conflict is gone now, but Theodore wasn’t as politically able and hasn’t had the time to build up his military reputation… or the experience he had in that history. I’ve no idea what sort of Coordinator he’ll make at this point.”

Frederick nodded thoughtfully and Max watched the general think the matter through.

“Well,” the younger man said at last, “We always knew that changing things would make your predictions obsolete. It’s surprising at this point that things are still so close to what you recall.”

“The Inner Sphere is a large place, but even so…” Max shook his head. “I’ll be less use to you in the future, realistically.”

“You’ve been helpful in more ways than just that. If you want to retire back to Duran or somewhere else, you’ve more than earned it.” Frederick ran his hand through his short blond hair. “But I hope you’re willing to keep working with me. You didn’t get the barony because of what you knew, or who you knew. Katrina gave it to you for your contributions to using the data we recovered, and that was entirely your own work.”

“If we hadn’t found it…”

“If someone else had found it, you could have done the same,” the general shut him down. “Face it. You’ve earned everything you received. Including your Orion.”

Max made a face.

“It’ll take a while to replace that,” admitted Frederick. The 'mech had served Max well, but after the battering it had taken, a careful examination had found hundreds of microfractures in the ancient chassis and parts for an Orion that old were hard to come by, particularly since the other ‘mechs from New Dallas would all now have to be checked for the same issues. “Even with all our salvage here, we don’t have quite enough to fill every unit out so I can’t justify giving you another ‘mech. It’d be different if we weren’t sending half the lostech chassis back to Tharkad but…”

“Don’t worry about it.” Max thought back to that battle in the desert and managed to avoid a shiver. “I can live without a working ‘mech until replacement parts can be made.”

“Every mechwarrior dispossessed fighting on Dieron will get their ‘mech replaced,” Frederick pledged. “Even if it has to be sent to their heir.”

“I’m almost sixty,” Max pointed out. “I know that’s not as old for you as my head tells me, but I don’t think I’ll jump into another battle if I can reasonably avoid it.”

“You did well.”

“I survived.” Max sighed. “Maybe I’ll join Duran’s militia when I’m there.”

“That would be traditional for a retiring hero.” Frederick chuckled. “Do you want to go back there now?”

The ‘mech was always more of a loan than a gift, Max thought. I’m not married, I’ve no children. The chances of either changing now weren’t high. When I die - and no one lives forever, even in the thirty-first century... He’d never told Frederick, but his last will and testament gave his worldly wealth back to his friend.

“Not now,” he admitted. “You won’t have to find another wingman for your sports time, but I’m feeling my mortality. Call me a coward if you want, I won’t be offended.”

“You went out to face the Golden Dragon at my side. If anyone calls you a coward, I will be offended,” Frederick snapped. “Only a fool has no fears, and you are one of the furthest from a fool I can think of. Of questionable sanity perhaps, but not a fool.”

“I'm not going to be a priority anyway, you've a lot of mechwarriors needing new ‘mechs or repairs. I note that you turned down upgrading your Zeus, again.”

Frederick snorted. “Katrina’s decision to keep all the lostech in the Royal Guards isn’t just a security measure. It also means it doesn't become a boasting point for every social general to have some for their ‘mechs rather than on that of fighting soldiers. I’m not going to be the first chink in the dam for that.”

“The Dragoons have confirmed they’re not going to renew their contract?” Max asked, changing the subject.

“That’s right. Unfortunate, but not really a surprise. Jaime Wolf is visiting all his regiments on his way back from his mysterious mission, so he won’t be back on Mizar until their contract is almost up. Officially, we don’t know what they’ll be doing next, but we have enough spies to know that Takashi confirmed a contract with their usual condition: the Dragoons won’t be deployed against us.”

“That’s not quite as great as it sounds: with five more regiments on their border with the Suns, Theodore can spare more forces for his border with us,” Max pointed out. “But it’s better than nothing.”

“And there’s every chance they’ll end up at odds with Warlord Samsonov,” Frederick continued, referring to the scar-faced commander of Galedon Military District. While they’d never met, he’d apparently earned his scars fighting on Halstead Station during Frederick’s own raid there. “Who knows how that will turn out?”

“Not I. Could be better, could be worse. But you’re right: Samsonov will want command authority over the Dragoons, he’ll hate having them operate in his district without being under his control,” agreed Max. “On the other hand, Galedon District is only half the Davion border. I doubt Yorioshi or Sorenson will be so picky.”

“Sorrenson in particular. Dieron’s short by four entire ‘mech regiments compared to two years ago, twice that in conventional troops.”

Max sighed. “Either way, it’s not good news for the Draconis March.” He consulted his noteputer. “I guess Duke Sandoval will be putting the Swordsman to use right away - the first production models should be entering service next year, just in time for the Dragoons to arrive.”

“Life’s often like that,” Frederick said philosophically. “And between that and the agreement to return Ian’s body, Hanse will be under pressure to maintain his alliance with us. Which is all to the good. If he’s feeling bold, we’ve had enough of a pause to launch Operation Toledo if he really wants to.”

The pact for the AFFS to launch diversions during the attack on Dieron had included a similar agreement for the LCAF to keep the DCMS’ attention this year, pretending that they were going to try to retake Vega, Buckminster or Kessel. Not because that was realistic without more time to recover, but to keep the Combine’s reserves focused on them.

With that as the case, Ian Davion would have entrusted his brother with the forces to launch a major assault on the Tikonov salient with a goal of seizing the industrial world. The Federated Suns had tried for that several times before, but right now their chances were as good as they were ever likely to be.

Unfortunately, the scramble for the throne meant that Hanse was in no position to take advantage. The political upheaval of carving out a new march from the existing three - and his impending fatherhood - meant he was in no position to directly command such an attack and letting his main political rival do so would have been insane.

“I suppose Tikonov is just as near to the Draconis March, but side-stepping Hasek-Davion that blatantly would be costly for him.” Max shook his head. “Unless he finds a general he can trust to handle such an operation -”

“Yvonne Davion, perhaps?”

“No, she hates the Haseks. Sending her to the Capellan March right now would be incendiary. I can’t see a major attack on the Capellan Confederation in the near future. He might assign the regiments to Aaron Sandoval - launch an attack on the Draconis Combine but the Dragoons would almost certainly be thrown up against them and…” He spread his hands.

It was Frederick’s turn to shake his head. “No, he knows how well they fight, doesn’t he?”

“He served on New Aragon after the Dragoons retook it for the Suns in 3007. I don’t recall if he served in that campaign but I assume he at least saw reports. Still, it might be better than ceding them the initiative.”

“Maybe Al Na’ir.” Frederick looked into the distance for a moment, perhaps recalling his own raid on the world. “Taking that would be another bite out of Dieron District. Still, they don’t call him the Fox for nothing. Chances are, whatever he does it’ll be unexpected.”

“Ask Sortek,” Max suggested. “He’s on his way back here isn’t he?”

Frederick scowled.

“Frederick, Sortek’s pretty much a paladin, what is it you dislike about him?”

The duke clamped his mouth shut.

Max rubbed his face. What the hell was this about? It had only begun when Sortek arrived with Nelitha and…

“Oh for crying out loud. Frederick, are you jealous of the time he spends with Nelitha?”

One disadvantage of the pale coloration that Max shared with the Steiners was that they flushed easily. Frederick’s ears went red with embarrassment.

The older man considered teasing his friend further but instead reached over and slapped the younger man’s shoulder. “You know, even when he’s around, Nelitha is looking at you, not him, right?”

The startled look on Frederick’s face was far more rewarding that the irritation a joke would have provoked.

San Martin, Dieron
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
31 December 3019


The pouring rain had boiled off the hull of the dropship after its descent, and off the ferrocrete pad beneath it. The process had cooled both to the point that those aboard could disembark sooner than the schedule had anticipated, so there was a breath of time for Frederick before the formalities continued.

He and Nelitha stood either side of the casket containing Ian Davion’s remains and watched as Ardan Sortek went to meet the disembarking honor guard.

Each of the eight regimental combat teams of the Davion Brigade of Guards had sent a soldier from each and every regiment in their ranks - more than seventy people, some of them pulled directly from war zones. But this was a unique occasion. Never before - never in centuries of war - had a Successor Lord’s body been captured and then returned via a third Successor State.

“I doubt Marcus Kurita’s body will be transported with such ceremony,” Frederick muttered.

“Unlikely. I’d guess that the new Coordinator will want the failure here buried quietly.” Nelitha was at crisp attention, only her eyes turned towards him.

Max was right. How much more had Frederick missed - how much time had he wasted? Because now she was leaving, and he didn’t know what to say.

“I…” “I…” They each began.

Frederick tilted his head fractionally. “Ladies before gentlemen.”

“I’ve enjoyed my time here on Dieron,” she told him. “Although it may be the company rather than the place itself.”

“I’d welcome you back - here or to any other posting I have.”

Nelitha looked away. “Hanse has asked to consider taking a ministerial position. It would mean resigning my commission… and I’d rarely have the chance to leave New Avalon while I serve in that role. At most I could return home to Galax on a semi-regular basis.”

Frederick felt his hands curl into fists and forced himself to relax. What can I say to that? ‘We’ll always have Dieron?’ The idea was appalling. “What sort of position?”

“Administrative Services. It’s something of a catch-all for what other Ministries don’t handle and it wasn’t a byword for competence even before the previous incumbent crawled into Hasek-Davion’s pocket.”

“That sounds like a job that needs doing.” Dammit, he added inside his head. “Even if you take the job, can I tempt you back to Dieron when we unveil the statues?”

To memorialize the battles of the last two years, and remove certain House Kurita monuments, a sizable park in San Martin - previously open only to the social and military elite - was being remodeled and opened up. Once complete, it would boast statues of one hundred heroes that had contributed to the victories. Not all had been there - Katrina Steiner and Ian Davion would both have statues - but all had some supportable claim to say that without their contributions, one or both of the two Battles of Dieron might have been a Combine victory.

Nelitha smiled. “I wouldn’t miss seeing you squirm when your own is revealed. Did Max manage to avoid one benign made of him…? What’s so funny?”

Frederick forced back his smile. “Ah, well it’s supposed to be a surprise.”

“What…?” She broke her parade stance and looked at him. “You can’t be serious. No one puts statues up to supply officers.”

“We do. And in this case, I think it’s justified. If you hadn’t arranged those supplies from Addicks, we’d have never been able to risk the pincer movement on Deber City that let us crush Brion’s Legion - and that drew out Marcus Kurita. Without that we might still be fighting, or even have lost Dieron by now.”

She shook her head. “But putting a statue up of me next to, well…?” She gestured towards the casket.

“It’s far too late to complain now. We’ve already commissioned them.”

“...you were keeping it secret in case I objected?”

“That was Max’s idea. Alas, I depend on him for the paperwork so I was unable to keep him from removing his own name from consideration.” To be fair, for all his courage, Max hadn’t played a major role so it would have been hard to get him onto the list of heroes - and counterproductive. The baron preferred a low profile and had managed it surprisingly well.

Nelitha bit back a laugh. “That does sound like him.” She sobered as Ardan led seven other Davion officers towards them, each wearing the badge of a different Regimental Combat Team.

“General Steiner.” Sortek saluted crisply. “Thank you for bringing our Prince home.”

Frederick returned the salute. “Ian was a comrade and he died in support of my campaign. I would no more abandon him than any of my own men.”

The officers behind Sortek made approving noises. One of them took a half-step forwards. “I understand that you plan a memorial to him here?”

“The First Prince has granted permission for his brother’s statue to stand among the heroes of Dieron,” Frederick answered. “We discussed placing him alongside the Archon’s statue, but Hanse asked that Ian be remembered among the soldiers of the invasion, so his statue will share a plinth with that of my cousin, Pete Steiner, who died fighting the commander of the Third Dieron Regulars.”

“I think Ian would have approved,” Sortek agreed. “I know he had hoped that one day our cooperation would reach the point that he could fight alongside you.”

“Perhaps in the future. Prince Ian laid the foundations of a powerful alliance with our Archon. I hope that she and Prince Hanse - as well as others from both the Commonwealth and the Suns - will build upon those foundations for the betterment of both roles.”

“We were just discussing how the Suns contributed to the victories here,” Nelitha picked up smoothly. “I’m sure General Steiner would be glad to provide similar support to efforts against our mutual enemy.”

“Every defeat the Kuritas suffer is a victory for both of us.”

“Well said.” Sortek led his companions up to frame the casket. The eight of them would serve as pallbearers. “I think we’ve caught up now with the schedule.” With effort that might have been smoothly rehearsed on the way here (save Sortek, who hadn’t been on the dropship with the other seven) the little squad lifted the casket up and onto their shoulders.

Frederick and Nelitha adopted parade stances and saluted crisply, something that left them staring at each other once Ian was carried back towards the dropship.

“It’s not really an occasion for dancing,” Nelitha admitted ruefully.

“We’ve danced on New Avalon and now here,” he replied. “Perhaps one day we can do the same on Galax and Duran.”

“Your homeworld and mine?” She gave him a challenging look. “Not Tharkad?”

“There too, if you want. It’s not really my home - I have a house there when business takes me there but…”

Nelitha nodded. “New Avalon is exciting, but it’s not where I grew up or where my family lives.” She paused. “I’m sorry, your parents have both passed away, haven’t they?”

He nodded. “My sister and her son live on Porrima - I think Max has spent more time in the ducal residences on Duran than I have over the last decade. It’s probably why…” No, don’t bring up Donna’s stupid joke!

She smiled in response. “I’ve heard the stories, Frederick. I don’t believe them - anyone who sees the two of you together knows there’s nothing romantic to it. You’re brothers-in-arms.”

“That’s a good way of putting it. I handle the fighting and he handles… the rest.” That sounded unfair, but it wasn’t as if the final decisions weren’t his on the other matters. Max kept things going and made sure he could focus on military affairs, just handling the financial and political issues that absolutely required him.

“Perhaps I’ll find myself suitable deputies and be able to come back to the Commonwealth for more than Prince Ian’s statue… and my own.” She shook her head, disbelieving. “I’m sure Hanse would approve a mission to further good relations between our realms, I’d just have to convince the Minister of Foreign Relations not to steal the chance from me.”

“If you can pull that off, let me know and I’ll have Max clear my schedule - in the interests of better relations.”

“International or personal?” Nelitha asked him with a wink.

“By definition, my relations with you are international. Whatever those relations turn out to be.” Frederick tried to look charming, which from the way her lips curled was a complete failure.

“If that’s the charm of a Tharkad courtier, I should be glad you’re an honest Duranian… Duraite?”

“Durian,” he admitted.

“Isn’t that a fruit?”

Frederick winced. “Yes, a particularly pungent one. But it’s also the commonly used term for a native of Duran.”

“Galaxian doesn’t have such connections,” the blonde said with a smile. “Let’s make a pact then. You’ll introduce me to your homeworld and I’ll give you a tour of mine. In the interest of better relations between us in the future.”

Fort Joshua, Mizar
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
13 February 3020


It was the first time Frederick Steiner had visited the Wolf Dragoons on Mizar, and since they were packing up to depart the Commonwealth, it would certainly be the last.

“Given that you’re the one who hired us, I expected to see more of you,” Jaime Wolf noted as the general was admitted to his office. “But, except on Dieron, you’ve not spent much time with the Dragoons.”

The Steiner grimaced. “Katrina was angrier than I thought about my hiring you without telling her. I don’t tweak her nose intentionally so it seemed better to avoid the appearance of conspiring with you. But I doubt she’ll mind if Theodore Kurita thinks you and I have a close friendship.”

The mercenary snorted and gestured towards the chairs. His office looked barer than usual, some of the contents were already aboard the Chieftain, but it was still basically functional. “Trying to sabotage us even when we’re pledged not to fight the Commonwealth for the next five years?”

“Well, that does mean you’ll be fighting our allies.” Frederick accepted the seat. “And then there’s your other allegiance. I respect the Dragoons, but that doesn’t mean I want to see you spearheading an invasion force. I’d like to think we might be better prepared than the Combine was on Dieron but I’m not so foolish as to count on that.”

“Your defense there was excellent.” Jaime sat down and leant back in his own chair. “I don’t know that I could have redeployed more than a token force to support you if I had been available, but Natasha would have jumped at the chance to fight on Dieron again.”

“I’m sure.” The larger man crossed his arms. “Her Black Widows would have been a formidable asset. I suppose having a Kerensky with you to support your report helps with your credibility.”

Jaime couldn’t help but narrow his eyes. How much did he know? “Natasha is a straight shooter. Some people would take my reports less seriously if she didn’t verify them, that’s true.”

“So do you think they’ll be coming?” Frederick asked bluntly.

A chill went down the mercenary’s spine.

“I know Katrina hopes that whoever you answer to will open friendly relations,” the Steiner continued. “She doesn’t believe all the stories out of the coreward periphery.” He paused. “Okay, I don’t believe all of them either, but I believe enough. Your people could have re-established contact a long time ago and been way too far out of reach for any of the Successor Lords to do anything. But they sent you to scout us out when the Inner Sphere was beginning to claw our way back from all the damage we did to each other. That tells me what at least some of your leaders are thinking.”

Jaime closed his eyes. He waited until after I reported. For a moment he considered giving the orders that would mean Frederick Steiner didn’t leave the fort alive. Considered the idea, and then dismissed it. Even if the Dragoons escaped, it would mean a blood feud with House Steiner - that would cripple the new mission Kerlin had given them.

“We have new orders,” he said at last. “But I have to ask: what do you know?”

The larger man met his gaze soberly. After a moment he answered: “General Kerensky’s Exodus settled some worlds ‘a thousand light years from the Inner Sphere’.” He made air-quotes around the term.)“I don’t know if that’s from Terra, from the edge of the Draconis Combine or just hyperbole. It’s coreward of us, but that covers most of the entire galaxy, so that doesn’t narrow the location down much. Before he died, the general recorded a message to the Inner Sphere and it was transmitted to us by a radio signal that has yet to arrive directly.”

I think he’s telling the truth, Jaime thought. They don’t know where the Homeworlds are. That’s a relief. I didn’t know about a radio message, but that would explain something about his knowledge.

“After his death, the SLDF splintered into their own civil war, roughly around the time of our own First Succession War. However, your war ended with a decisive victory for a confederation rallied around someone claiming to be Kerensky’s son. Since Natasha is verifiably his descendent, I guess that was true.” Frederick smiled ruefully. “Either Kerensky managed to keep children secret from every spy agency in the Inner Sphere, or his son may have been the source of the rumors that your people create children in test tubes.”

“We do that, but it’s not where the Founder came from.” I shouldn’t have said that, he thought too late.

Fortunately, the Steiner didn’t seem to take it poorly. “Anyway, your people have continued to expand slowly, with a few clashes against other colonies in the area or between your own member states. Obviously, you were sent here to try to get an accurate picture of our status, without giving away corresponding information.” He trailed off, and then gave Jaime a challenging look. “And your new orders?”

“You’re not going to ask more about my people?”

“Would you tell me?”

“...no,” Jaime admitted. If he did then he’d be lucky to survive as the Dragoons’ commander, or maybe just to survive. Not all the Dragoons were taking their new instructions well.

“Why waste both our time asking them?”

That forced a laugh from Jaime. “Interest in the Inner Sphere has waned since we were sent, which… is probably for the best. But there are still those who believe we should return and restore the Star League.”

“I think the window for that passed when Kerensky left.”

“By force,” Jaime continued.

Steiner shrugged. “My last point stands. Kerensky had an army and a fleet larger than any of the House Lords, but that was two centuries ago, when almost all of his followers were soldiers. Can a few dozen fairly small colonies support an army that large? For all the deaths caused by the Succession Wars, there are more people in the Inner Sphere now than there were in 2784 - which may say something profound about the reproductive urge - but even if your people grew twice as fast, how many people followed Kerensky? Ten million? Less than that? Are there as many people in all your homeworlds combined as there are on Mizar? Or on Tharkad? Or Terra for that matter?”

I don’t know. But does it change anything? Jaime shook his head, trying to dismiss those thoughts. “Does the Lyran Commonwealth have even a single regiment for every one of its worlds?”

“If you count tanks, yes. If you count infantry, much more,” Frederick replied. “Moving enough garrison units to take control of the worlds we took in the last two years was a pain in the ass. Our control of Dieron is still far more shallow than I like. There are two thousand worlds in the Inner Sphere. You might be able to co-opt their leadership, but to really control those worlds. I can only guess at the number of people you’d need.”

There was a pause as the two of them looked at each over a gulf of a thousand light years in their thinking.

“Maybe I’m wrong,” Frederick said at last. “But I admit that your people even trying to conquer us would cause a lot of damage. And we’ve gotten away from your point, you were telling me about your orders.”

“For now it’s fairly unlikely that there will be an invasion.” Jaime picked his words carefully. “But there’s no way to know if that will last. My immediate superior believes we have a responsibility to protect you so…”

“...generous of him.” Somewhat predictably, the Lyran officer bristled at the idea that he’d need help to protect the Commonwealth. But he shook his head. “No, that’s ungrateful of me. So what does he want you to do?”

“In general terms, to prepare you to protect yourselves.” Jaime got the distinct impression Frederick found this laughable. “It’s more of a problem than you might think.”

“I assume that this doesn’t include giving us actionable intelligence,” Frederick asked, and when Jaime shook his head, he sighed. “I see at least part of your problem. How do you prepare us without telling us what we need to defend against? And of course, you’re telling me this right as you’re leaving the Lyran Commonwealth. Dare I hope that you’ve the discretion to not prepare the Combine? I could live with them getting steamrollered by your people.”

Jaime tried to look withering. Could factional politics take a backseat for a moment?

“I didn’t think so,” the Steiner admitted, “But I had to try.”

“I’m trying to help you, General Steiner. We’ve already trained the cadre for your Commonwealth Jaegers, you’re on an upswing for military production and the Archon has been stamping out the corruption problems. Depending on what things look like in five years we might come back to you, but right now it looks as if the Combine need us more than you do. What more do you want from me?”

Frederick had an expression eerily like the one Joshua had worn when he was fed a straight line. “How about battle armor?” he asked.

Jaime shot to his feet. “Who told you about that?”

“Aha! I thought that you would have it!” The general looked triumphant.

I am really not cut out for this. “Would you please tell me where you heard about battle armor?”

Frederick beamed smugly. “The Cobra people who conquered the Tanis system had it. We were pretty sure they’re part of your little confederation.”

He grit his teeth. Natasha was right about that then. “I’ve no direct connection to them, but yes.” Of all the Clans to do something stupid like this, why did it have to be a Clan that Kerlin wouldn’t move against? If it had been a Clan in the Crusader faction then they could have wound up crippled or even absorbed, removing their votes from the Grand Council. But no, Kerlin wouldn’t risk losing Warden votes…

Like a thunderbolt he recalled that Frederick and his sidekick Mustermann always called them the Wolf Dragoons, not the Wolf's Dragoons like everyone else. They knew far more than they should... but just as Jaime wouldn't freely hand out data on the Clans, Frederick would likely not say how much he already had.

Jaime sat down slowly. “We do have some of those suits.”

To his surprise, the Lyran shook his head. “That’s probably not a good idea. I’d imagine they’re completed units? If we start just copying them, it’ll be pretty obvious they’re the result of a long development process that there’s no evidence of. Your people’s extremists would know we got them from you and likely panic.”

“We’re their only source of information on the Inner Sphere,” Jaime pointed out.

“Are you sure?”

“...” He was about to confirm it, but if the Lyrans had picked up on the existence of the Clans through monitoring periphery trader’s rumors then it might go the other way. And battle armor was exactly the sort of thing that would be high profile news. “I very much doubt they have any other direct sources, but if you think that it’s too risky then what do you want instead?”

“Can you give me design documents for earlier models?” Frederick leaned forwards. “I assume they started as industrial exoskeletons or SLDF prototypes of some kind? Something I could plausibly have found?”

“Something you could have plausibly found? I don’t think you understand your reputation.” Cranston Snord could not shut up about Frederick. There was a betting pool among those in the know that Snord wanted the man to be Rhonda’s second father.

Frederick shook his head. “If we have some basic data we can set our engineers on, whatever we build will be something we can fully explain and support - not to mention, built for our own needs.”

Jaime nodded. What else could he do? This was not the conversation he’d expected to be having. He’d been ambushed and outmaneuvered by a Lyran of all people. Perhaps it was a good thing they’d be working for the Combine for the next few years. Their warrior ideals were closer to those of the Clans and Theodore Kurita was a young ruler, who would probably be open to new ideas…




A/N: Thus ends Book 2. I have Book 3 outlined (although it'll need some refining) and I hope to have that done by the end of the year.
"It's national writing month, not national writing week and a half you jerk" - Consequences, 9th November 2018

PsihoKekec

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #242 on: 20 August 2022, 06:00:06 »
The things that are most obvious are often hidden from our eyes, for they are not an automaton but a loyal servant of our mind.
Shoot first, laugh later.

paulobrito

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #243 on: 20 August 2022, 06:20:14 »
Amazing stuff, as usual.

Daryk

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #244 on: 20 August 2022, 07:53:41 »
Amazing indeed!  I was really hoping Frederick would finally ask Nelitha, but obviously that has to wait.  A Steiner-Green-Davion would be VERY interesting...  ^-^

cawest

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #245 on: 20 August 2022, 10:46:48 »
great stuff. i can not wait for more.  i do hope that Fred or Max off the WD an escape path when not if things go wrong in the combine.  working with Blackwell also could have been on the table for something.  IF they come back to the LC or FedCom maybe Kwangjong-ni could be the WD's new home.   

Daryk

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #246 on: 20 August 2022, 11:03:29 »
I expect Versailles will enter the conversation once the FedCom becomes a thing too...  ^-^

mikecj

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #247 on: 20 August 2022, 11:29:42 »

Like a thunderbolt he recalled that Frederick and his sidekick Mustermann always called them the Wolf Dragoons, not the Wolf's Dragoons like everyone else. They knew far more than they should... but just as Jaime wouldn't freely hand out data on the Clans, Frederick would likely not say how much he already had.


That was an elegant way to address the earlier point.
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Gorgon

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #248 on: 20 August 2022, 12:49:30 »
Thank you for sharing this great story with us, drakensis! It's an amazing read, I'm eager to see what new surprises will await us in book 3.

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #249 on: 20 August 2022, 13:05:13 »
We haven't even made 3020 yet... I'm looking forward to Book 5 too!  :thumbsup:

PsihoKekec

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #250 on: 20 August 2022, 13:15:51 »
Given the devastating losses DCMS just suffered I reckon they will not be able to pull five regiments worth of mechs and recruits to create Ryuken of the OTL, perhaps a couple of battalions instead.
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Sir Chaos

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #251 on: 20 August 2022, 13:54:10 »
Given the devastating losses DCMS just suffered I reckon they will not be able to pull five regiments worth of mechs and recruits to create Ryuken of the OTL, perhaps a couple of battalions instead.

Unless ComStar is feeling generous again...
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paulobrito

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #252 on: 20 August 2022, 14:00:40 »
Unless ComStar is feeling generous again...

Providing hardware is easy for Comstar. Now, providing mechwarriors, is way more difficult, even more on this date - the massive expansion of the Comguards has not started yet I think. Even if started, they are very green, and while the Combine can accept mechs, I don't believe look well to so many foreign mechwarriors.

kioras

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #253 on: 20 August 2022, 14:08:45 »
As far as Comstar understands, they accomplished their goal.  They crippled a lot of Lost Tech machines and forced both sides to stand defensive for a while.

No reason for a cache to fall off the back of a Dropship now.

The Combine in general has a lot of historic antagonism towards Comstar also.  Without a Fedcom they can probably hold off on direct action.

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #254 on: 20 August 2022, 16:18:42 »
Good ending!  I really like the exchange written between Federick and Jaime at the end.  I kinda wonder if Kerlin back in the Home Worlds is going to eventually raise a stink about Clan Cloud Cobra annihilating 90% of a civilian population when taking the Tanis system.  That could mean a different Clan Invasion, maybe happening later after they build up more forces and the invasion involves all the Clans, or maybe not happening at all. 
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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #255 on: 20 August 2022, 17:12:28 »
The Khan shook his head. “You were right to keep that out of the reports. I will dig up what I can, but the Cobras are a Warden clan. I do not want to alienate them.”

I suspect not.
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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #256 on: 20 August 2022, 18:18:03 »
Just going out of left field here ... Fred finds some way to let Ardan know about Operation Doppleganger, which gets it headed off/cancelled, but leaves Hanse in Fred's debt. And there'll be no marriage with Melissa, and no 4th SW as a result. But ...

Imagine the society wedding of Fred & Nelitha, hosted on Terra. And Hanse gives a gift to the new bride & groom - as a symbol of the common interests of the FedSuns & Commonwealth, he gives them the Tikonov Republic ...
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Daryk

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #257 on: 20 August 2022, 18:25:44 »
Now THAT's a 4th SW I can get behind!  8)

Kujo

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #258 on: 20 August 2022, 19:18:37 »
Or the wedding of Melissa Steiner to Hanse and Dana's son (rough Mel being 28 to 30, Son being 18 to 20, definitely a gap, but no where near the gap of Hanse and Melissa),  I could see a somewhat down-scoped 'wedding' gift as Hanse 'gives' them the Tikonov  and maybe Sarna commonalties While Katrina 'giving the Rasalhague military district or maybe Morgan Hasek-Davion is made the heir (or helped into that role by dear old dad) and he syncs even better with Melissa's age.  Somehow I think we are going to have a double Steiner-Davion wedding.  Thank you.
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Daryk

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Re: Frederick Steiner and the Man Who Knew Too Little
« Reply #259 on: 20 August 2022, 19:34:14 »
Ten years isn't even remotely too much of a gap... my wife is just shy of ten years older than me, and we have four kids...  ^-^