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Author Topic: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion  (Read 4949 times)

Grey

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(Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« on: 25 January 2015, 05:42:16 »
Hi, sorry, this one took twice as long as expected as I tried to iron out some kinks based on previous comments, if I haven't done enough ironing please let me know.

This is again something of a test case, to be taken with a grain of salt. While I was thinking on one of the original Kerenskys for the next article I'm beginning to think a more minor character might be more appropriate to test how that works.

Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion

Who: Hanse Davion
What: First Prince of the Federated Suns
When:
Weapon of Choice: 1G BattleMaster
         Politics

Biographical details here:
http://www.sarna.net/wiki/Hanse_Davion

Perhaps the first great game changer for the Battletech setting to feature in fiction as a character was Hanse Davion, First Prince, military genius and far thinker.

Presented in initial material as one of the five Successor Lords at the end of the Third Succession war his write up was a little different. As the youngest of the five his material presented him as something of a young gun and a potential game changer along with the diplomatic Katrina Steiner and cunning Maximillian Liao. By comparison Janos Marik was worn out and Takashi Kurita was too stubbornly set in his ways. This resulted in three elements of change and two stern obstacles, the setting was primed for conflict.

And back at that time, the very dawn of the game, that was all that was really needed, a sense of why the giant war machines were marching out into conflict, Hanse helped provide that.

The game was successful and began to grow and develop, and the characters needed to grow and develop as well in order to keep the setting engaging. There was no use in endlessly holding things at 3025 with Hanse and his contemporaries permanently poised, ready to shake things up, with only the sense that each faction has an equal chance of shaking things up to their favour, such stagnation would leave the game stale. So the setting developed, fiction was written and someone had to come out on top. That was Hanse Davion.

Ultimately Hanse is a man of destiny. To start with he was not the only one, as written in the House Books and other source materials at the time all the Successor Lords, plus a few heirs and others, had the same feel. As written at the time there was an air of provenance, a preamble to change. The way the novels went Hanse was the instigator of that change, and thus claimed the top spot.

A sizable chunk of this comes from the simple fact that whoever wins in the novel has to seem like the ‘good’ guy, and Hanse, relatively speaking, is the ‘good’ guy of the Successor Lords.

Takashi came across as a warmonger and sat easily as a natural antagonist for all comers in the setting, Max Liao was an inveterate schemer and there’s no way to rehabilitate that, Janos Marik was broken, his time past but still determined to do oppose his foes out of sheer spite, or just habit.

Katrina Steiner was much more ‘good’, but hobbled by the rebuffing of her diplomatic overture. She had one trick and it failed in the grand scheme of things. Hanse refused her along with all the others, but was polite, diplomatic, offered a reasonable argument for his actions and opened a dialogue regardless, making him seem just as reasonable as she, taking some of the ‘good’ trait.

I should point out that this does not make Hanse an ethical paragon, the Battletech setting is not one to permit such characters, not successful ones at least. He started two wars, devastated one nation over personal vendetta as much a sense of justice and righteousness for his cause, seriously whaled on two others and dragged the economies and peoples of the remaining two Successor States through Hell, all while justifying it to himself that he was a liberator against tyrannies.

Whether he was right or not is a debate for another time, however from an out of universe perspective he was not entirely wrong. Ultimately each Successor State is a form of dictatorship, even the modestly democratic Free Worlds League is mired in hereditary nobility with an elected body that can at best stymie bold moves by their lord, some of which might even be necessary. Compared to these someone with a modicum of compassion, clear goals that are not completely selfish and the ability to succeed can easily come across as heroic enough for the setting.

For comparison, as written Max Liao was a schemer, self-interested and a little mad, his potential heirs no better, and with a ruthless secret police at his disposal. Where Liao would sacrifice anyone to achieve his goals Hanse comes across as a little more moderate, giving thought to the people he was throwing into the fire, his history giving him a common touch.

Another case in point, taking to the field as the NAIS came under attack. He felt a personal responsibility to remove the invaders and felt regret at the aftermath, however necessary.

He continued to do so regardless of the suffering because, well, simply put a leader of any sizable group can’t put the wellbeing of individuals ahead of the larger group goal. Seeing his goal as worthwhile (who doesn’t?) he pursued it with an aim to making it quick and minimize suffering.

Of course matters are hardly that simple. From inside the universe Hanse is, just as he is outside, a divisive character. On the one hand he can easily be seen as the greatest First Prince since Alexander Davion, if not the greatest ever, for all that he achieved.

That would be the view from inside the Federated Suns, possibly other parts of the universe, even by academics in other nations, from a purely material sense he was the best thing to ever happen to the nation, leaving it stronger than it was at the start of his reign, Clan Invasion notwithstanding.

To every other nation, particularly the Capellans followed closely by the Draconis Combine, and probably no small number of Lyran and Federated citizens who saw the whole FedCom thing as a mistake he was Doom incarnate.

From that same perspective he also seems downright prescient for his strategic capabilities, however we know it is because of genius planning, careful choice of people and thorough analysis, both by him and by those same people.

This is the reason why I have listed his weapons of choice as both a BattleMech and politics, as he was adept at wielding both.

And his choice of BattleMech was something of a given. The first “Assault” weight design of the game along with the Goliath, the BattleMaster is considered a command unit, fitting for a leader, well armoured and heat sinked, it’s weapons, for the time, rather balanced in terms of range, power, crit-seeking, anti-armour and anti-personnel, suitable for a flexible character.

The only times Hanse was ever thrown for a loop was by Theodore Kurita, who was effectively Hanse in another nation, and by the Clans, which were such a radical departure from the expected that they are the definition of an out of context threat.

Both in and out of the universe Hanse was revolutionary because of his approach to war, rejecting the slow wearing down of typical Succession War combat in favour of decisive action, and for founding the New Avalon Institute of Science at a time when contemporary thinking was to just hammer your opponents down with whatever you had.

Again this makes him a natural hero for the setting, a relentless genius with realistic goals and a desire to achieve them, a trust in his subordinates and a genuine sense of concern and guilt over his citizens and what he must do to them to achieve the goals, ostensibly to make the universe a better place. Early on this was the easy interpretation of him, aided by making him a major protagonist through the early novels, though later publications managed to muddy the waters.

While an undercurrent of altruism remained, for Hanse a strong nation meant a strong people, well-educated and fighting because they wanted to fight rather than just for him, more recent materials have shown Hanse to be ambitious, ruthless, more than capable of justifying losses to maintain his position and have enhanced the role his political skills played. Though not enough to tarnish the man entirely, particularly when compared to contemporaries, they do take some of the shine off.

What happened? Quite simply the setting moved on.

In the context of the early setting, where he was a founding character along with every other Successor Lord, he was one of five, all the same with a lick of personality to differentiate themselves and their factions.

By the time of the novels he was fleshed out into a human character with drives, flaws, ambitions, plans and dreams, all the leaders were, however his were made to seem less selfish than most even while engaging in naked conquest. As leader of the ‘Hero’ faction in the novels it had to be done, these were not deep reading materials.

As the game and setting matured and fortunes swung for every nation and faction so did opinion. Hanse could not remain ‘good’ in a setting where those he conquered had an equal claim to support, both in the setting and in the context of the game.

While he is still seen as far better than Max Liao, madman and callous user of the people, he is not the unvarnished conquering hero, having failures and questionable motives that make him ethically suspect. This has been easier to achieve in sourcebooks and reference materials, where his actions and attitudes are usually reported by a third person or in journal segments rather than in a novel from his own point of view.

There is also the need to even out the factions once more, in the most recent developments in the setting the Capellan Confederation has gone from the whipping boy of the Inner Sphere into a nation of nigh unstoppable fanatics. This could very easily come across as an abused people turning around and becoming abusers themselves, instead the wheel turning is more akin to conquered people becoming conquerors against an aggressor. This is a fine hair to split, but if not then Capellans in the Dark Age come across as flat villains.

A final, almost minor note is who better represents Hanse’s legacy; the ethically driven, military oriented Victor or political, ruthless Katherine?

This is a necessary consideration as building a legacy was one of the major points of the character, specifically the Federated Commonwealth super nation, which would live on in part through his children.

And Victor and Katherine are the main contenders, Peter was again more military with a dash of politics, but he lacked the drive and ambition of the other siblings and Hanse, Yvonne was political and again lacked the drive and ambition, though by necessity her focus was on rebuilding and not expansion, while Arthur died (or ‘died’ depending on your perspective) before reaching a point where he was mature enough to show talent outside of his limited military training.

It would be easy to say that each represents a different facet of The Fox, Victor the military and Katherine the politics, creating a yin yang of siblings and foes, and the way they are written it is far from an incorrect assessment but is a function of their characterisation rather than Hanse’s.

It would also be incomplete. Both have ambitions and drives that match each other and Hanse. Katherine wants to rule all of humanity as First Lord, Victor wants to unite humanity in common interest, these both match Hanse’s drives and considering that Victor is military and Katherine is political these drives are mismatched.

Furthermore Katherine callously uses people to her own ends, Victor regretfully sends people out to achieve a goal, Hanse did both and told himself it was for the greater good.

What’s more neither really achieved the goal. Katherine was a contender for First Lord, failed, was deposed and exiled, Victor gave it all up after a fashion to be a unifier.

Ultimately each is a failure at fulfilling their father’s legacy, Katherine was a terrible leader, no military strategist and was all ambition while Victor was a great leader, militarily brilliant but hopelessly naive due to being an inveterate nice guy.

Hanse was a catalyst for change in the setting and he fulfilled that role well. His character did not linger past this change. While he showed enough adaptability during the Clan Invasion that it could be said he contributed, his role was more of a passing of the torch. The Fourth Succession War was his time, and as much as he could have contributed in terms of the evolving storyline he would have become an obstacle, better the clean break the character was given.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #1 on: 25 January 2015, 08:56:51 »
It is a great article. I love the way he is depicted in the books, a clone of William Shatner. The picture of him morphing into a fox is also great.
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noisenerd

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #2 on: 25 January 2015, 22:19:56 »
Just wanted to pop in and say I'm enjoying these, please continue.  O0

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #3 on: 26 January 2015, 00:05:49 »
I will always hold that Hanse Davion's Genius was due mostly to something he admitted himself.  he asked the almighty question of "Why are we continuing to do things this way when we can do things another, better way?"

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Grey

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #4 on: 26 January 2015, 05:13:29 »
I will always hold that Hanse Davion's Genius was due mostly to something he admitted himself.  he asked the almighty question of "Why are we continuing to do things this way when we can do things another, better way?"

And that made him a game changer. Unfortunately now everyone has seen how it's done there's someone new doing the same thing every decade or so. So thanks to him we have Theodore Kurita, Sun Tzu Liao, The Master, Alarac Ward and so on.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #5 on: 26 January 2015, 12:35:17 »
Nice article Grey, I am liking these more and more. I love the balanced look at the character from the good to the bad to the in between. I also liked the legacy and analysis of his children. Can't wait for your Kerensky character studies.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #6 on: 26 January 2015, 13:16:16 »
Oh, no.  Here was this great idea about going over characters and the first two are Victor and Hanse.  Well, ok.  Not the choices I would have made, but fine.

Hanse... old Hanse... he represents something I really disliked about the early BT fiction: pandering.  Who is it that resembles the most professional military?  The AFFS.  What do they do to succeed where others fail?  Organized multi regiment offensives.  How do they do it?  By using inspiration found in a WWII manual found in the Halstead Station raid.

That being said, i'm glad that in recent years the counter debate about Hanse has emerged.  He has become a character worthy of controversy thanks to the ongoing story line and our hindsight.  When those novels and source books were being written the counterargument for Hanse's actions were meek at best.  These days we know it was maybe not ethical launching the largest war in a few centuries simply because you think you have a chance at winning.  We know there's nothing inherently noble about escalating the death toll in wars that had previously been ritualized to minimize casualties.  At least, the questions have been raised.  Back then it was a given that we should root for Hanse because he was the man with the plan.  He was restoring science and making friends with the Lyran Commonwealth.

Quote from: Grey
That would be the view from inside the Federated Suns, possibly other parts of the universe, even by academics in other nations, from a purely material sense he was the best thing to ever happen to the nation, leaving it stronger than it was at the start of his reign, Clan Invasion notwithstanding.

I think it is a mistake to believe he was beloved by all of his subjects.  The thing to remember about Hanse's war efforts was that it temporarily aligned with the bitterness of the Capellan and Draconis March Lords.  In time, when Hanse wasn't pushing to finish off the Capellans it embittered the Haseks.  Unauthorized actions by the Capellan March forces in the War of 3039 attest to the Hasek family's overzealous pursuit of the Capellans.  His unwillingness to continue to push on the Draconis Combine annoyed the Sandovals, even though he called off the War of 3039 to protect Robinson.  As much as Hanse had accomplished, it was never enough for the citizens living in the Capellan and Draconis Marches.  Part of that is their relentless hatred of their neighbors, part of it the historical power balance between New Avalon and Robinson, New Syrtis and the Periphery territories.

Meanwhile, the Periphery and Outback were neglected.  Hanse was spending money left and right, rebuilding education and industry, but for the benefit of his wars.  People in the mostly quiet Outback did not receive the same benefits of Hanse's actions as the Crucius, Draconis and Capellan Marches.  It was one thing when no one had two nickles to rub together.  It is another matter to spend blood and treasure on national projects that still leave your people in a state of decay.  That feeling of neglect would ferment in the Outback until the Taurian invasion, which only highlighted New Avalon's continued attitude of taking the Outback for granted.  Hanse, the agent of change, the modernizer and semi messianic figure left many people in the lurch while spending their tax Pounds all the same.

Let's also not forget that Hanse's use of civilian jumpships in the 4th Succession War also harmed the FedSuns economy in a way that embittered not only his people, but the Lyrans who were required to help bail out their FedCom partners.  Making enemies of Comstar caused a HPG interdiction in the 4th Succession War that would have paralyzed his nation.  Interstellar communications needed just to run everyday affairs, coordinate cargo shipments and humanitarian services would have been cut off.  No one mentions that because Hanse's war effort limped along on Black Boxes.  He knew interdiction was a possibility.  He invited societal and economic disaster to retain strategic momentum.

There was certainly many things to be proud of at the time, but from a macro view.  If you asked around there would be plenty of grievances.
« Last Edit: 26 January 2015, 16:28:56 by False Son »
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #7 on: 26 January 2015, 16:47:16 »
Well written Grey, and well responded False Son. It's always nice to see both sides of the coin...especially when it concerns a character like Hanse Davion.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #8 on: 26 January 2015, 16:50:28 »
Well written Grey, and well responded False Son. It's always nice to see both sides of the coin...especially when it concerns a character like Hanse Davion.

Well, Hanse isn't my cup o'tea.  However, my intent is always to present the other side.  I'm thrilled that, love him or hate him, Hanse is a topic of discussion.  He casts a big shadow.  Maybe tied with my friend Stone, but possibly less than Aleksandr Kerensky in terms of how big a shadow he casts.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #9 on: 26 January 2015, 18:39:12 »
Well the old Combat Ops ISIF gave AK a Leadership Rating of 10 and Hanse a 8 so, yeah he was up there...

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #10 on: 27 January 2015, 00:46:27 »
Hanse must get a Magnificent Bastard award for the stunt he pulled at his wedding,  Great review of a ground and universe shaking character.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #11 on: 27 January 2015, 01:29:23 »
I look at Hanse Davion as the man who after centuries thought outside the box and it worked for him. People have tried before and failed or pulled back but Hanse didn't fail and didn't pull back too soon or was pulled back by others. He was someone that seized destiny and had it in a death grip. And in the end most importantly, he was lucky.

To bad his kids didn't have his luck.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #12 on: 27 January 2015, 02:33:12 »
Great article, thanks for the hard work.  O0

As for the man himself, nothing really to say that hasn't been said already.

Grey

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #13 on: 27 January 2015, 03:57:17 »
Oh, no.  Here was this great idea about going over characters and the first two are Victor and Hanse.  Well, ok.  Not the choices I would have made, but fine.

Well, I am calling these provisional. :)

To me it seemed like the best two to start ironing out the wrinkles on were the father and son Davions simply because they had a great deal of material available and thus any article on them would turn up more wrinkles.

You make a lot of good points, I tried to at least allude to some of them, particularly that he deliberately dragged his own nation through hell to fight the war, obviously not well enough.

In hindsight I think I could have made more of the internal opposition. Michael Hasek-Davion might have been a self serving traitor but he did win popular support and that would require a basis other than his own propaganda, so that's something. What's more the internal opposition in each faction is as much a driving force for conflict and drama as the external

And I'm kicking myself for skipping the wedding. That one moment defines Hanse as a man and a leader, someone who will make an advantageous opportunity out of anything. Would love to know Melissa's immediate thoughts, whether she was in on it or not.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #14 on: 27 January 2015, 05:54:56 »
Ah Hanse Davion (hallowed be his name...). The best character in the BTU to date bar none. He was completely fleshed out (he did have several books to do that so...) and the best leader the FS ever had. Hanse was no angel for sure, but he took his remit and went for it. Leader of the Federated Suns his only goal was to push the FS into pre-eminence amongst the IS houses, and to hell with whatever anyone else was doing. He was unapologetic about it. He may have been hurt personally by sending soldiers to die but he didn't show it and he didn't mewl about it either. Yes he brought war to the IS on a scale unseen since the SL days but it was to bring about the betterment of the FedSuns (and by extension the IS as a whole - as he, and many others, saw it). He redrew the borders of the IS on an unseen scale.

In the books and setting that followed the 4th SW and up to the Clan Invasion there was no other character like him, but with the arrival of Ulric Kerensky that was changed. Very similar characters written in a very similar way by Stackpole (which is how he writes all his main characters I believe). Sadly his children didn't come close to matching his level and his legacy was cut very short.

He was an unapologetic Davion supremacist. Any threat to House Davion and the Federated Suns weren't tolerated or allowed to thrive. The very definition of a successful leader.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #15 on: 27 January 2015, 16:54:36 »
In hindsight I think I could have made more of the internal opposition. Michael Hasek-Davion might have been a self serving traitor but he did win popular support and that would require a basis other than his own propaganda, so that's something. What's more the internal opposition in each faction is as much a driving force for conflict and drama as the external

The opposition of the Haseks went beyond Michael Hasek-Davion.  Like I said, the attitude prevailing in the Capellan March, even up until and during the Jihad was something akin to "no peace, no mercy" toward the Capellans.  Rogue operations by the Capellan March forces in the War of 3039 could have jeopardized the entire campaign.  But, Hanse faced far less internal pressure after Michael Hasek-Davion than his peers in other states.  The kind of internal pressure he faced was far more manageable than anything going on in his rival states.

And I'm kicking myself for skipping the wedding. That one moment defines Hanse as a man and a leader, someone who will make an advantageous opportunity out of anything. Would love to know Melissa's immediate thoughts, whether she was in on it or not.

It doesn't get mentioned all that often, but the biggest mistake Hanse ever made was the formation of the FedCom.  We know his kids obviously fell short of his intentions.  But, the act of uniting the Steiner-Davion dynasty, as opposed to allowing the two FedCom states to exist as separate allied nations spelled the downfall of the entire endeavor.  After the Lyrans were blamed for the failure of the War of 3039 the AFFS took control of the unified AFFC and started calling the shots.  Hanse should have read his Lyran history.  A coup against his machinations was always around the corner.  His mother in-law had gotten into power on the back of a coup, fought off a counter coup and the Skye rebellion.  Hanse tread into Lyran politics with a heavier hand than required.  Hanse set the table for Katherine to take over.

At the end of the FedCom Civil War, made possible and perhaps unavoidable given Hanse's actions the Federated Suns were not significantly better off than they had been prior to the 4th Succession War in relation to their neighbors.  Granted, it wasn't Hanse himself that botched the whole thing, but it was his idea and it failed miserably.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #16 on: 27 January 2015, 21:12:33 »
Making enemies of Comstar caused a HPG interdiction in the 4th Succession War that would have paralyzed his nation.  Interstellar communications needed just to run everyday affairs, coordinate cargo shipments and humanitarian services would have been cut off.

Now to be fair, ComStar already hated Hanse's guts, but it was more of a case of what he was doing that ComStar secretly didn't approve of than anything Hanse was aware he was doing. The Blakists, and Waterly in particular saw the NAIS as, in essence, an obscenity counter to all of their plans. It didn't matter who was in charge of the FedSuns, really, they just wanted the NAIS out of the picture because they wanted everything non-ComStar brought back to the Dark Ages (The pre-space-flight version, not the post Jihad era). Hanse just poured fuel on the fire by pouring pounds into the NAIS.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #17 on: 28 January 2015, 01:42:38 »
This is as good a place as any to suggest it, so I'll go ahead and do so:

Could I please request an article on a 3145 figure?  Jessica Marik might be a good one, or perhaps Caleb Davion.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #18 on: 28 January 2015, 01:47:52 »
Caleb Davion would be a nice choice considering he was the complete opposite of Hanse and Victor.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #19 on: 28 January 2015, 02:30:25 »
Now to be fair, ComStar already hated Hanse's guts, but it was more of a case of what he was doing that ComStar secretly didn't approve of than anything Hanse was aware he was doing. The Blakists, and Waterly in particular saw the NAIS as, in essence, an obscenity counter to all of their plans. It didn't matter who was in charge of the FedSuns, really, they just wanted the NAIS out of the picture because they wanted everything non-ComStar brought back to the Dark Ages (The pre-space-flight version, not the post Jihad era). Hanse just poured fuel on the fire by pouring pounds into the NAIS.

NAIS was also a personal project of Hanse's.  Even if the NAIS issue didn't endear ole Hanse to Comstar, it was the threat of radically offsetting the balance of power in the Inner Sphere that truly threatened them.  Hanse pushing the black boxes into service within a 2 year window of the HPG interdiction meant he knew it was a possibility.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #20 on: 28 January 2015, 05:43:39 »
I was using Michael Hasek-Davion as an example because I'd picked up on the internal foes as a thread to follow up on in future articles.

I would like to say I could get the balance of characters right, but as has been pointed out in previous threads that may be difficult bordering on impossible due to personal bias, lapses in research and simple inability to cover every angle, but I'll do my best.

At this point I'm still thinking Aleksandr Kerensky for the next provisional article, for much the same reason I started with Victor and Hanse, and will probably follow up with Nicholas Kerensky as another provisional after that because contrasting parent and child is an interesting angle for me. After that I hope one more provisional article and then I'll jump in, not sure who to do for number five but probably one of the lesser known characters. Not necessarily one shot or unimportant, but someone from a sourcebook or unit description perhaps. Thoughts?

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #21 on: 28 January 2015, 09:12:02 »
Well, if you are going to write about Kerenskys... Natasha and Ulric both stand out...

Intermittent_Coherence

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #22 on: 28 January 2015, 09:37:24 »
NAIS was also a personal project of Hanse's.  Even if the NAIS issue didn't endear ole Hanse to Comstar, it was the threat of radically offsetting the balance of power in the Inner Sphere that truly threatened them.  Hanse pushing the black boxes into service within a 2 year window of the HPG interdiction meant he knew it was a possibility.
Can't really blame him for being willing to upset Comstar and having a backup plan. Any interstellar leader worth his salt will want interstellar communications that do not have to go through a third party. Didn't matter if Comstar was nominally neutral. It was a monopoly beholden only to its own murky goals. That made them suspect.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #23 on: 28 January 2015, 10:34:56 »
I would like to say I could get the balance of characters right, but as has been pointed out in previous threads that may be difficult bordering on impossible due to personal bias, lapses in research and simple inability to cover every angle, but I'll do my best.

I'll always be on standby to slander the character in question. 

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At this point I'm still thinking Aleksandr Kerensky for the next provisional article, for much the same reason I started with Victor and Hanse, and will probably follow up with Nicholas Kerensky as another provisional after that because contrasting parent and child is an interesting angle for me. After that I hope one more provisional article and then I'll jump in, not sure who to do for number five but probably one of the lesser known characters. Not necessarily one shot or unimportant, but someone from a sourcebook or unit description perhaps. Thoughts?

It is your project, so I won't tell you what to do.  The parent-child angle being explained does put my mind somewhat more at ease.  My initial reaction to Victor and Hanse comes from the fact that they are the two most well known characters in Battletech.  This arrangement of course opens the field up to any number of dynastic comparision; Hanse and Victor, Aleksandr and Nicolas, Takashi and Theodore, etc, etc.

Can't really blame him for being willing to upset Comstar and having a backup plan. Any interstellar leader worth his salt will want interstellar communications that do not have to go through a third party. Didn't matter if Comstar was nominally neutral. It was a monopoly beholden only to its own murky goals. That made them suspect.

Yes, but realistically wrestling control of interstellar communications away from Comstar would have taken a longer time than Hanse was willing to wait.  Even after the war the FedCom states never outright seized control from Comstar.  The black boxes were also a stopgap at best.  I don't fault Hanse for not trusting Comstar.  The point is that Hanse decided to risk annoying Comstar.  He prepared for the eventuality with the black boxes.  His intelligence service was engaged in a secret war with ROM.  An international understanding of history, the kind his intelligence service should be providing would tell him that interdiction is a tool in Comstar's bag it has already demonstrated a historical willingness to use.  In the short term it worked for his military goals.  In the long term it spelled his defeat in the War of 3039 and caused trouble within the Order that contributed to the Comstar schism.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #24 on: 28 January 2015, 12:45:40 »
An international understanding of history, the kind his intelligence service should be providing would tell him that interdiction is a tool in Comstar's bag it has already demonstrated a historical willingness to use. 

This.

We have:
Exclusion of Tharkard
Long a vocal critic of the methods and motivations of ComStar, Archon Richard Steiner moved a bill through the Lyran Estates-General in 2823 to tax all ComStar facilities within the Lyran Commonwealth as any other business were taxed. The very first interdiction lasted a year before the Archon repealed the tax act.

Result: A relatively minor inconvenience to the mercantile might of the LC, but annoying nevertheless. I'm sure it didn't endear the Archon to the Commonwealth's wealthiest businessmen, who in turn applied pressure to the Estates-General to have the tax repealed. Richard was smart to do so.

Exclusion of the Free Worlds League
After receiving evidence of ComStar manipulation of the Free Worlds League, and Captain-General Charles Marik's order to destroy the Class A HPG station on Oriente in 2837, Primus Toyama Interdicted the Free Worlds League.

Result: Coupled with a covert battle between SAFE and ROM, the FWL was effectively cut off at the knees. The other Great Houses captured scores of League worlds and the economy nose-dived. The Interdiction lasted less than a year, but the League paid for it.

I believe Hanse knew an interdiction was possible, but a semi-remote one. History shows ComStar's willingness to use interdiction when directly threatened or attacked. While on the surface the Fourth Succession War was neither,  behind Terra however, we know the FedCom, the NAIS and the Fourth SW were direct threats to the integrity of ComStar and the Order's future goals.

Until Sarna—and to a lesser extent—New Avalon, Davion was only peripherally aware that ComStar wasn't as "neutral" as they claimed to be, and that the Order had a real issue with the NAIS and his new super-state. Nothing he could really prove of course, but a "fact" nevertheless. That's why I don't believe Hanse was particularly surprised by the interdiction, but I also believe he was banking on the speed and surprise of the AFFS's attacks to garner enough territory and success before an unexpected hitch of some kind, like the interdiction, arose. It was a massive gamble with a short-term payoff.

Worse, once Hanse was aware of ComStar's role in the Sarna attack he should have known that ComStar would do anything to protect their interests. Sarna's a clear indication that the FedCom was a threat. That knowledge underscores his failures during the War of 3039.

Seriously, Davion should have known better.   
« Last Edit: 28 January 2015, 12:48:46 by Knightmare »
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #25 on: 28 January 2015, 12:47:03 »
Slander away, aside from keeping me honest it promotes debate. :))

I wouldn't mind doing a four or five part series on the Liaos, at the very least Max-Romano-Sun Tzu-Kali (or in the reverse order) and probably Daoshen. Something about them makes ripe for a series, possibly because they're all good antagonists. And I have to call them antagonists as a group because only Sun Tzu has ever been a protagonist in fiction.

They way you explain it, and I tend to agree, antagonising ComStar was probably Hanse's biggest gamble, one that bit him and the rest of the Inner Sphere down the track in the backside. It was a necessary gamble for game and plot purposes, and one of the cute little things some of the Historicals do is tie events like this and ones more distant back into modern events. Though I suppose that's what real world historical analysis documents do.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #26 on: 28 January 2015, 13:01:29 »
Slander away, aside from keeping me honest it promotes debate. :))

I wouldn't mind doing a four or five part series on the Liaos, at the very least Max-Romano-Sun Tzu-Kali (or in the reverse order) and probably Daoshen. Something about them makes ripe for a series, possibly because they're all good antagonists. And I have to call them antagonists as a group because only Sun Tzu has ever been a protagonist in fiction.

Just curious, why is Ilsa omitted?  She is a Centrella-Laio same as Daoshen.

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They way you explain it, and I tend to agree, antagonising ComStar was probably Hanse's biggest gamble, one that bit him and the rest of the Inner Sphere down the track in the backside. It was a necessary gamble for game and plot purposes, and one of the cute little things some of the Historicals do is tie events like this and ones more distant back into modern events. Though I suppose that's what real world historical analysis documents do.

Hanse knew on some level what he was doing.  Implementing the black boxes, even if only to prevent the possibility of military information being leaked by Comstar was a deliberate choice.  Black boxes were available in 3027, before the start of the war.  Setting up a command circuit to function on them is no small feat.  Black boxes were built, process discussed, documentation distributed, technical staff and operators trained.  That didn't happen just because.  Hanse knew on some level what he was doing.  It worked for him and he was happy to own the successes of his gambles.  Can't take that away from him.  Just mind the asterix.
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phoenixalpha

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #27 on: 28 January 2015, 14:23:07 »
The whole ComStar thing was really because those in power at the time, hated Hanse with a passion, especially Waterly. They saw Hanse trying to get ahold of advanced Lyran HPG tech which would, if rolled out be a threat to CS monopoly. Also tie in the fact that she was born in the Combine, and had a fast track into 05P/ISF meant that her viewpoints on the Fed Suns and Lyran Commonwealth were already coloured against them.

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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #28 on: 28 January 2015, 16:05:32 »
The whole ComStar thing was really because those in power at the time, hated Hanse with a passion, especially Waterly.

The Primus of Comstar at the time of the interdiction was Julian Tiepolo.  When the FedCom Accords were being signed Comstar moderated the proceedings and leaked the signing to the other Great Houses.  They were interested from the beginning in building a counter force to the Steiner-Davion ambitions.

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They saw Hanse trying to get ahold of advanced Lyran HPG tech which would, if rolled out be a threat to CS monopoly. Also tie in the fact that she was born in the Combine, and had a fast track into 05P/ISF meant that her viewpoints on the Fed Suns and Lyran Commonwealth were already coloured against them.

Waterly wasn't Primus until after the 4th Succession War.  Her influence in ROM might have had some factor in Comstar's antagonism.  But, the signing of the FedCom Accords on Hilton Head Island put Hanse Davion right in their midst, annoying them.
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Re: (Provisional) Character Study of the Week: Hanse Davion
« Reply #29 on: 29 January 2015, 03:43:08 »
Ilsa is far more Centrella than Liao, though hides it better than Daoshen's more Liao than Centrella, and I would probably follow up the Chancellors with Magistrix's starting with her as a bridge.

That's the interesting thing about following family (or blood if we talk Clan) lines, the similarities, the differences. Caleb Davion in fact seems to be the answer to "If Hanse is the best Prince, what are the qualities of the best Prince?", someone has to wonder how much Kerensky is in Natasha compared to most of the others we see, and if the diversity of the Mariks all make for good material.

 

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