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Author Topic: Hegemon  (Read 1087 times)

Red Pins

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Hegemon
« on: 14 August 2022, 21:09:57 »
Ok, a few excuses first.  I chose a writing project from the list for a 5-day, no-electronics allowed camping trip, and I need to type it up and get it done - I'm running out of time before summer cleaning ends and teachers start to make life complicated, and my chore list isn't getting smaller very quickly.  I can't type/write fast enough and wait for smarter, more educated people to explain what the roman culture (in Ancient terms and in the Marian Hegemony) is like, so the rewrites are likely to be brutal, but I'm excited to write about my favorite faction, so...

All the errors are mine.  Some volunteers in this thread (https://bg.battletech.com/forums/the-periphery/need-roman-history-and-marian-hegemony-advisors-for-a-fanfic/) are going to try helping me to keep to some kind of historical and fictional accuracy.  You're welcome to chime in, and comments are always welcome.

*Edit - due to time constraints and subject matter, from now on all story entries will use headers with 'under review' or 'final copy'.  On the plus side, there should quickly be no need for them as I get more familiar with the culture.
« Last Edit: 19 August 2022, 13:12:34 by Red Pins »
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Red Pins

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #1 on: 14 August 2022, 21:13:43 »
Final Version                    Final Version                   Final Version                    Final Version                    Final Version                    Final Version                    Final Version
HEGEMON

Day 1
  November 22, 3162
  Caesar’s Palace, Alphard
  Marian Hegemony


  “For years after the putsch, it was what I did to the cat I regretted most.”
     -Cyrus O’Reilly

  Engrossed in the latest historical treatise from the notable scholar Roger Fermet Wilson of Universitas Alphard, Cyrus was shocked back to an awareness of his surroundings as the scarred and elderly cat suddenly howled and scrabbled among the notes and texts scattered across the table to turn and dash past his chair.  Rearing back on his chair from the maddened animal, the muffled gunshot and searing pain in his right shoulder suddenly brought the situation back into focus and he turned to face the door as Angelica, one of the young noblewomen from among his mother’s body servants dropped the smoking barrel of a disguised single-shot pistol.

  The sight made him freeze, as the pretty, short-haired blonde woman turned to close and lock the door before pulling a small but sharp-looking knife from beneath her plain grey robes and began to march toward him as alarms began to sound in the hallway.

  “Angelica?!  What the hell’s going on here!”  Recovering his senses, he began backing away, cradling his arm and getting up from his chair to put the table between them, only to stop as she began climbing onto the cluttered table.  “What do you think you’re doing!”

  You idiot!  What do you think she’s doing?

  Seeing his chance as she reached the middle of the table, he fled deeper into the library to keep his distance among the stacks, coming across the terrified cat cowering in a dead-end.  Picking up the hissing animal by the scruff of the neck, he fled back towards the library’s rear door as Angelica turned the corner in hot pursuit and the two began circling one of the smaller sets of shelves as knocks at the main entrance began to turn into heavy thuds that rattled the door in its frame before a short burst of gunfire and the sound of breaking glass seemed to firm her resolve to finish him off at any cost and she tore the books off their shelves as she tried to climb them.

  Perfect.

  Taking advantage of her distraction, he stepped forward to throw the cat at her head.  Not completely unaware of the situation she raised the knife to defend herself as the cat, hissing defiance and contorting in mid-air to land hissing and clawing on the knife in her hand turned into a dead weight pulling her arm down and forcing her to try and tug the knife free.

  Two of the Palace’s Royal Guards turned the corner at a run as he grabbed the largest book he could conveniently hold and threw it as hard as he could at her head, connecting and drawing blood before throwing himself behind another stack and landing on his injured arm.  The Guards, seeing him out of the line of fire, immediately opened fire.

  The book is mightier than the knife, his mind gibbered at him.  Shit!

  “Cease Fire!  Take her alive!”, he yelled.  His father would be very interested in discussing the day’s events with her.  Better her than me, he thought morosely.

*

  “…as insiders among Senatorial aides have concluded yesterday’s tragic accident over Ostia has dealt a blow to House O’Reilly not seen since the Jihad, representatives of the Caesar’s household have refused comment.”
  -Ada Kryzinsky, Channel 3 News

  “And his mother and siblings?”

   Paul Flamen, Director of the Ordo Vigilis, sat in the austere office of Palace Security and could only grimace.  Lit by soft, indirect lights and continuing the common theme of marble and native woods in the remainder of the Palace, the dress uniforms of the Praesidii Praetoris cast an ominous shadow over the two men looking conspicuously out-of-place among the elegant surroundings, despite the silk and other fine fabrics replacing those of the standard-duty uniform.  Like nearly every room within the Palace the ‘window’ framed a high-resolution monitor, normally showing a pastoral view of Neuva Roma but presently showing a repeating loop of the announcement of a new Caesar of the Marian Hegemony and head of House O’Reilly. 

  News and images of the unfortunate VTOL accident claiming the lives of the Caesar and his Heir had spread too quickly to be suppressed, but the news of his death had been announced to his wife Adrijana in the company of her body servants and one of them had taken the opportunity to poison the rest of the group and the O’Reilly’s youngest children before nearly killing Cyrus as well, leaving the men of I Legio enraged and the Ordo Vigilis quietly looking for clues to her true allegiance.

  In the meantime, the Caesar had endured the removal of the small-caliber bullet and bandaging of his wound with local anesthetic and reinforced the security forces of the Collegium Bellorum Imperium around his remaining siblings with Contuberniums of Infantry and Battlearmor from I Legio.  Having discussed the situation with several of the most powerful Senators to confirm their support for his claim to the title of Caesar, he was currently ‘consulting’ with the remainder of House O’Reilly from the Dais and the majority of the Palace staff was confined to their quarters as the Ordo floundered.  His foul mood seemed to be a mixture of pain, grief, and the tension of browbeating the older, more influential members of his family in positions of authority across the planet to support the announcement of his new status.

  “Their deaths were quick and painless, thankfully.  It means ours are likely to be, as well.”

  His deputy, Donald Effeil, CO of the Securitatis Internum and the man most likely to precede him to a cell and eventually The Wall in a secluded corner of the Palace, seemed uncertain.  His middle-aged features and dull blond hair and uniform made him look the image of a younger brother, seeking council before some momentous occasion, and not liking his choices.  The clock quietly continued to count the minutes, and eventually one of the Guards reached out to tap the corner of desk and return the image to its default sunny Palace courtyard as he stood up, ushering the two men from the room.

*

  Cyrus looked like the stereotypical evil Hegemony villain, an extra doomed to a particularly gruesome fate, and he knew it.  And…  completely reveled in it.  His parents and most of his siblings were dead, and his normally relaxed, friendly face was pinched and grim with pain and loss.  And STILL the influential shareholders and executives of House O’Reilly - money-grubbing, back-stabbing, hypocritical narcissists - seemed determined to pursue the most idiotic, selfish, destructive policies for personal gain it had ever been his misfortune to be pitched by seemingly earnest, patriotic Patricians, ‘for the good of the Hegemony’.  It gave him exactly the motivation he needed to offer quietly-reasoned arguments to do as they were told in a calm, mild voice with the words ‘or else’ followed by silence, presumably remembering the actions of I legio and the Ordo Vigilis in the wake of avus Cassius’ ascension to the Dais of the Marian Hegemony.

  He was utterly willing to execute a wayward member of his own House if it meant controlling it, and after a uniform pause of about three seconds, they ceased being a nuisance and became confident supporters to his claims.

  In public, anyway.

  Still, the appearance of measured, calm consideration for law and order – and the deployment of I Legio to strategic locations around the capital – should see him through the day and an appearance before the Senate tomorrow morning for its customary rubber-stamp approval for his claim to the rank of Caesar of the Marian Hegemony.

  Rising from his curule chair and descending the dais in the modest audience room set up for the video conference calls his father had preferred for quiet conversations between senior members of their House, he followed a functionary from the Officium Caesaris to the next meeting and whatever crisis someone felt needed to be addressed.  His escort made the short journey to his father’s private cubicula in sober silence, and Cyrus allowed himself the time to take stock of his situation.  With the family’s safety assured he had time to consider his next moves, and the trip through the elegant halls of native marble was complete before he had more than a few minutes of peace.

  Passing the Royals Guards already present, having secured the room and ensured his safety, he ignored the uniformed and civilian men and women standing to attention and restrained himself to a gracious nod and subdued salute before climbing the dais at the front of the room to seat himself in another chair beside a lectern with an agenda and other paperwork beside it.  His father’s closest advisors and confidants of the Consilium Securitatis made a colorful audience as they returned to their seats with several of them shuffling papers on their own lecterns as he picked up the briefing notes to orient himself with the agenda as the topic became clear.  “Intelligence shortfalls”, clearly the after-action report of his father- and brother’s helicopter accident and the assassination attempts within the Palace.  Surveying the room and seeing the expectant faces looking up at him, he took a deep breath and began.

  “So,” he began lamely.  “What have we learned so far?”


*edit - Securitatis Internum is a civilian-run outfit, so rank is inappropriate.  Paul and David have no rank. Nor are they in uniform.  Nor is it Paul's office.  And they're under guard.  Fixed.
*edit - typos, Consilium Securitatis
« Last Edit: 19 August 2022, 13:38:21 by Red Pins »
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drakensis

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #2 on: 15 August 2022, 01:25:38 »
in the wake of avus Cassius’


I'm not sure what the avus means here. I assume Cassius is Cassius O'Reilly, who would most likely be Cyrus' father?
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CVB

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #3 on: 15 August 2022, 01:43:40 »
Ancestor, progenitor, forebear, grandfather?
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Red Pins

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #4 on: 15 August 2022, 02:10:15 »
Comes through the latin/english translator as Avus/Grandfather.

Avus Cassius was the father of Ignatius, who was father of the main character here, Cyrus.  Sorry, like a lot of things, I have no idea how a family member would refer to a grandfather, and so 'avus Cassius' it is until somebody can correct me, although I suppose I should capitalize it.

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Adacas

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #5 on: 15 August 2022, 02:51:56 »
Ignatius' father was Lucian killed in combat on Logan Prime.

drakensis

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #6 on: 15 August 2022, 08:25:10 »
Thanks for the clarification. Looks interesting so far.
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Daryk

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #7 on: 15 August 2022, 10:21:17 »
Perhaps Pater Familias?  ???

Adacas

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #8 on: 15 August 2022, 11:33:55 »
Perhaps Pater Familias?  ???

It is a fairly broad term Pater Familias, it could be taken as that or as Los Paters Familias, the most exalted of the Patricians for being together with the O'Reilly since the Foundation of the State

Red Pins

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #9 on: 19 August 2022, 14:54:32 »
Final Version                      Final Version                    Final Version                    Final Version                      Final Version

  Imperator Blacklake, his father’s chief military advisor and field commander, rose from his chair and descended the amphitheater’s wide, shallow steps of the audience rooms to stand at attention and salute in the center of the empty space before the Dais.  The brown hair and deep tan set off the dark uniform of the Legions and his grim visage made him the center of attention as the rest of the council seemed to hold its breath.

  “Caesar,” he intoned.  “Battleroms from the Caesar’s escort and eyewitness accounts from members of I Legio have allowed technicians to identify the probable cause of the accident; a fatigue fracture in the main gearbox.  Examination of the wreckage has begun, but a thorough examination of the crash site and some testing will be necessary before we can be certain.”  Report delivered, Blackwell remained in place as Cyrus considered the news for a moment.  I Legio was well-known for fanatic loyalty to the Caesar, and the care and concern taken to ensure his vehicles were maintained was beyond reproach to the point of photographic evidence taken by technicians to document it.

  “Very well.”  Taking in the rigid posture and stony face of the Imperator, a thought struck him.  It wasn’t unusual for the Legions to mete out justice and punishment to those they felt deserved it with a heavy hand and few repercussions.  What would the fanatics do to the men they felt were responsible for the accident?

  “And…  Unit discipline?”

  “A Gauntlet, dishonorable discharge from the MHAF and exile, Caesar.”

  “I see,” he said.  Not taking his eyes off the Imperator, he took a few seconds to consider.  Clearly, the Imperator felt there was nothing to be gained from their deaths.  If they survived the gauntlet – and the Imperator seemed to consider that a foregone conclusion – they would be considered to have atoned for their failures and be taken to the borders of the Hegemony as free men.  “Very well.”

  Placing his right fist over his chest in salute, the Imperator turned and walked stiffly to his seat.  As he did so, the mood in the room turned darker, more somber.  The ruling elite of the Hegemony, as a rule, were acknowledged as only a step above banditry and harsh punishments considered routine.  Still.

  Standing to read the documents on the lectern he allowed the silence to remain for a moment before declaring, “I believe the Ordo Vigilis will have found nothing of such a deeply buried plot in such a short time.  Prefect Diaz? Has the Praesidii Praetoris secured the Directors of the Ordo?”

  As another middle-aged man in the uniform of the Palace Guard began to descend to the floor of the room with the heavy footfalls and rattle of his archaic (but fully functional) armor, a side door on the floor of the amphitheater opened and a pair of well-dressed, similarly-aged men with their hands chained in front of them and in leg irons shuffled forward with a pair of armored guards behind them to stand in a rough line before him.  Their duty complete, the guards took positions at the bottom of the staircases where they continued to watch their charges.  As always, the guards were excused from offering salutes while performing their duties to safeguard the Palace.

  “Caesar,” began the Prefect, the ceremonial armor and salute looking strangely appropriate amidst the marble of the Palace.  “The investigation remains ongoing.  Directors Flamen and Effeil are continuing to perform their duties under the guard of the Praesidii Praetoris.”

  “Director Flamen,” Cyrus acknowledged the man in control of the Ordo Vigilis.  “My father admired your dedication.  What have you to report?”

  “Caesar,” the older prisoner responded, shuffling a step forward, his voice grim.  “Our preliminary investigation has found the probable source of the compounds used to create the poison used by the assassin – it was hidden within makeup containers of several different types and from different manufacturers, both foreign and domestic.  Her weapon seems to have been a similar combination of parts from furniture to jewelry, assembled from materials inside the palace and hidden until an opportunity presented itself.”

  “Her age, obvious inexperience, and background make it extremely unlikely she was recruited until she was moved to the Palace as part of your mother’s entourage, which leads us to the assumption that someone more experienced and dangerous remains in the Palace.  Until that person can be found a heightened state of alertness must be maintained, and it may be necessary to purge a great many non-essential personnel from the Palace.”

  Cyrus nodded, but internally he was taken aback by the scale of the attempt.  Domestic and Foreign manufacturers?

  “And does the Ordo have records of these items being brought into the Palace?”  Cyrus inquired.

  “Yes, Caesar.  Serial numbers have been used to identify their owners and the dates they were brought to the Palace, but several have been identified as belonging to your mother and sisters.  Chemical analysis of samples from outside the Palace are still being performed, which might provide some insight on how widespread the plot is but right now anyone with the potential for supplying the needs of the Palace has been detained and interviews are being conducted by Section A.”

  “And does your subordinate have anything to add?”

  The two prisoners exchanged places, shuffling back and forth to an accompaniment of clanking chains.

  “No, Caesar.  Although,” Director Effeil trailed off.  “It may be there is no trail to follow.  All that may be left to you is vengeance.”

  As the three men fell silent, Cyrus felt the anger at his family’s murder come to his face but could only take a step back from the lectern and return to his seat, he could only wonder at the time spent preparing the attack that had come so close to success.  The nature of the conspiracy would make it extremely difficult to prove and the longer it took for the populace to see someone punished could encourage others to see weakness.  Still – not for him, the role of the mad prince.

  “Let us hope not,” he said tightly.
« Last Edit: 28 August 2022, 22:53:38 by Red Pins »
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Red Pins

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #10 on: 20 August 2022, 14:09:33 »
Replaced entry.
« Last Edit: 28 August 2022, 22:54:21 by Red Pins »
...Visit the Legacy Cluster...
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Adacas

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #11 on: 21 August 2022, 09:32:09 »
Interesting, the status report meeting seems suitably tense as it should be, the Imperator seems more interested in hanging the Ordo than someone looks too long in his direction Good!
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Red Pins

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #12 on: 28 August 2022, 22:57:23 »
Final Version                    Final Version                     Final Version                    Final Version                     Final Version
  “Let us hope not,” he said tightly, as he leaned forward in his chair slightly and fixed the three men with a hard look.  Waving in dismissal with his good arm, he came to his feet again amid the clanking of Director Effeil shuffling back into line with the other men.

  “I find the response of the Praesidii Praetoris appropriate, Prefect Diaz”, he said formally.  “I find the performance of the Ordo…  Confusing.”

  “For now, continue your investigations, Director Flaman, Director Effeil.  Seek the truth.”

  He gave a meaningful wave toward the door they had entered from, dismissing them and nodded acceptance of the Prefect’s salute as he turned to climb the stairs to his seat once again as the two men accepted the guidance of their guards to turn and precede them from the chamber.  The sound of chains and armor ended quickly and as the door sealed once again, he was left returning the stare of his father’s advisors before standing once again and selecting from among the papers on the lectern next to the Dais.

  “Next, approval of the text of a public statement from the Officium Caesaris.  Any comments?”

*

  His remaining siblings, the twins Horace and Helena, had been ushered into high-security bunkers under armed guard as a temporary measure to ensure their safety while the Ordo continued their investigation into the plot behind the assassinations.  As an amateur historian Cyrus knew the danger of disputed successions and taking the opportunity to ensure the twins’ safety while keeping them isolated from supporters and assassins alike had been his first order. 

  That order was quickly becoming a bone of contention between them, however.  Protocol demanded either a face-to-face visit or a video link, and while he would have preferred to use his own, the situation required he maintain the appearance of fulfilling the duties of his new status rather than leave it to intermediaries, leaving him to try having a private conversation surrounded by aides from the Officium Caesaris and the ever-present bodyguards.

  “As the oldest remaining descendent, yes, I expect to inherit our father’s rank and become Caesar.  Is there a problem with that?”

  The twin’s glares were answer enough, the background behind the pair’s short black hair and pale features shifting slightly as the portable device on the other end was fought over by the twins.  “Let us out of here, Cy!  We can help!”

  “Really?  With what?”, he asked evenly.  “Will you order I Legio to avenge our family?  Demand our spies find the conspirators and bring them before me – us?  Why do you think I’m calling you?”

  Rubbing his face with his good arm, he continued tiredly.  “Imperator Blacklake has failed to find any reason to loose I Legio on the enemies of our House.  The Directors of our intelligence service and Section A have discovered the means of our mother’s death, and it points to either a wide-spread conspiracy from across the Periphery states, or penetration of one of our most secure facilities by a foreign government.  How, exactly, are Mechwarrior Cadets going to solve these problems when the Ordo Vigilis and Consilium Securitatis is silent on these matters?”

  Silence returned to the video call and looking up to the screen once more Cyrus could feel the beginnings of eyestrain and a growing tension in his forehead that presaged another of the headaches that told him he had spent too long in the library again.

  “Let me be blunt, Horena,” he said, using his sibling’s nickname.  “I’m calling because within moments, news of our parents’ deaths and my rise to the Officium Caesaris will be announced and I need your support.  A state funeral is going to be announced, and decisions have been made for you to allow you to participate in a safe manner.”

  “‘A safe manner?’”  “What do you mean?”

  Hearing them trying to talk over themselves caused Cyrus to feel a twinge of nostalgia – the children had often tried to completely monopolized their parents attention speaking out of turn until his father had threatened to impose the same parliamentary rules of order as the Senate on family dinners.

  “We aren’t certain of the security of the Palace, Horena.  Until we can confirm that, my own security overrules me except for the necessary actions to secure the Dais and the Hegemony.  Which means that to secure a line of succession, Horace will be presented to the Senate as the Heir after the funeral.”

  The twins exchanged glances.  “This is more of that moldy old history of yours making you think you know everything that might happen, isn’t it,” demanded Helena.  “I’m the oldest – why aren’t I the Heir?”

  “Because the Hegemony has a tradition of male Caesars, and this isn’t the time to rock the boat,” Cyrus reminded them tersely.  “We aren’t the Magistracy, Helena.  You know I’m not responsible for this.”

  “Because you won’t try, Cy, even though the people would support equality those old men in the Senate would sooner retire to fondle farm animals on their estates rather than put meaningful legislation to a vote in the Senate.” Horace nodded in support from the side of the screen as Helena finally managed to dominate the camera, her faced twisted with anger.

  Through force of will, Cyrus managed to control his own temper and fought the urge to close the connection and stalk out of the room in annoyance.  The twins had been arguing about the same topics since they were old enough to complain they were left out of their older sibling’s games and why they couldn’t have the same treats or pursue the same careers.  Those arguments had seen the twins sent to CBI as both chose the Legions to pursue the rank and privileges they felt they deserved as scions of House O’Reilly on their own merits.  From what he had gathered from occasional conversations from his father, the twins would have already washed out of their classes without the family name to shield them from the consequences.

  “It’s been a long day and tomorrow looks to be worse.  I’ve told you what I know, and the statement has the rest of the relevant information for the next couple of days.  I need to go, Helena.  Horace, a package with the relevant information will be delivered tomorrow.  The two of you read it, and I’ll answer your questions tomorrow.  Good night.”

  The satisfaction he felt ending the call without allowing the ‘babies’ of the family an avenue of rebellion quickly ebbed as he realized he had just eliminated one of the final duties standing between himself and the silence of the Caesar’s personal quarters.  Remaining seated at the Dais, he wished he could simply slump back in the chair and let the day’s events consume him for a few moments in privacy, but his new rank was still fragile and Caesars had never bowed to the temptation despite the tragedies and crises that seemed a constant punishment for the audacity of House O’Reilly to try and build an empire in the Periphery.

  Beckoning one of the as-yet nameless functionaries of the Office forward, he rose to accompany his escorts and attendants to clean and re-bandage his shoulder before allowing himself to mourn and try to rest in the privacy of his parents’ personal apartments.
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Adacas

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Re: Hegemon
« Reply #13 on: 29 August 2022, 04:47:27 »
I like how it shows the relationships and conflicts due to different points of view between the young O'Reilly