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Author Topic: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic  (Read 59298 times)

Shadow_Wraith

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #480 on: 08 March 2020, 09:24:51 »
It's a nice side story, broadens Melissa SD's role.     
« Last Edit: 08 March 2020, 16:26:27 by Shadow_Wraith »

PsihoKekec

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #481 on: 08 March 2020, 14:22:47 »
Quote
The physical sciences and cadets of CMS had largely borne the brunt of Kurita’s attack
The college of ifinance was also burned to ground.
Shoot first, laugh later.

Niopsian

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #482 on: 08 March 2020, 17:56:36 »
The college of ifinance was also burned to ground.

That just means Melissa can have it rebuilt/restaffed to her exacting specifications.


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Red Pins

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #483 on: 08 March 2020, 21:40:45 »
The college of ifinance was also burned to ground.

Shhhh.
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Dave Talley

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #484 on: 08 March 2020, 23:27:26 »
Shhhh.

oooh
Melissa's gift, a Lyran business and finance school, all as a gift to the people of the suns
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DoctorMonkey

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #485 on: 09 March 2020, 06:43:23 »
The college of ifinance was also burned to ground.


it's a fiat faculty, it exists because you collectively believe it exists not on the basis of a holding of any particular precious item like water, gold, silver


That just means Melissa can have it rebuilt/restaffed to her exacting specifications.


oooh
Melissa's gift, a Lyran business and finance school, all as a gift to the people of the suns


Total War includes financial/commercial warfare, just explain it like that to any doubting FedSuns types


Tell any doubting Lyrans that effective warfare helps to improve the profit margin if done well - after all, dead soldiers can't consume goods you manufacture but if you can get everyone to use rotary autocannons you can make a fortune selling autocannon ammunition


Nice piece. I hope Chris keeps it.

I always found that Melissa was not enough covered in canon and underappreciated. Also I think the FedCom didn't put enough emphasis on domestic growth. This addresses both.


I would be tempted to examine how to conduct a guerre de course ([size=78%]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce_raiding[/size]) against the enemies of the FedCom - you don't even need to completely smash the trade infrastructure of, say, the Draconis Combine, you just need to hit a few key places and delay carefully worked out schedules and perhaps take out a few key JumpShips or DropShips or recharge stations to disrupt them and then the Kuritas would have to choose between preserving their economy and pursuing an offensive. This would be worse than what happened to the Fed Suns with Operation Rat as it would be unplanned by those on the receiving end  >:D  The Lyrans can supply U-boats and privateers (privateers sound like a very Lyran concept!)
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croaker

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #486 on: 09 March 2020, 11:21:47 »
We're getting a bit off topic here but I suppose there isn't a 'What Drakensis oughta finish thread'.

I will merely comment that you didn't mention one of my other unfinished BT fics...

Kiko Sento, please.

Kwic

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #487 on: 11 March 2020, 08:44:28 »
I do wonder what Hanse is working on to balance the warship playing field.

Congratulations mr smith. As reward you are given the system Odessa and the dark nebula / erit cluster as you have expressed interest in interstellar trade

Can’t wait for more.

DOC_Agren

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #488 on: 11 March 2020, 12:52:08 »
I do wonder what Hanse is working on to balance the warship playing field.
given what they have access to, could Hanse start building Ship engines?  That was big stumbling block right? 
Also did Mr.Smith have any info on where SL mothballed fleet assets?  Could see recovery missions being launch for easy ones

Congratulations mr smith. As reward you are given the system Odessa and the dark nebula / erit cluster as you have expressed interest in interstellar trade
[/quote]
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truetanker

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #489 on: 11 March 2020, 14:00:48 »
If the get to Camelot first, maybe...

TT
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Kwic

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #490 on: 03 April 2020, 21:33:03 »
I wonder if smith will use a bit of meta game speculation to push for some resources to look into the aurigan reach.

He knows there was a game set in the region from his founder status. He know knows where from links to his memory. If there was a game developer dropping toys and story elements into the region.  It would be fair to assume that there might be something worth investment of resources.

The amount of interesting bits would depend on the effect of his si jump. But there might be something worthwhile.

Stay safe.  Stay home. Stay writing!!!

Can’t wait for more

Derain Von Harken

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #491 on: 04 April 2020, 01:19:35 »
Melissa unleashes the power of economic development and Infrastructure.
Takashi I would tell you to be afraid but you would not listen. Instead we can only hope for something like this to happen.

Political cartoon of samurai mocking the feeble archon because he thinks she is no threat next to the fox.
Then cartoon melissa breaks his sword and pounds him into the ground using a giant bag of money.

thtadthtshldntb

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #492 on: 04 April 2020, 07:40:40 »
Melissa unleashes the power of economic development and Infrastructure.
Takashi I would tell you to be afraid but you would not listen. Instead we can only hope for something like this to happen.

Political cartoon of samurai mocking the feeble archon because he thinks she is no threat next to the fox.
Then cartoon melissa breaks his sword and pounds him into the ground using a giant bag of money.

and afterwards goes for her swim in the giant sea of money in her Moneybin.

ThePW

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #493 on: 04 April 2020, 10:52:08 »
I wonder if smith will use a bit of meta game speculation to push for some resources to look into the aurigan reach.

He knows there was a game set in the region from his founder status. He know knows where from links to his memory. If there was a game developer dropping toys and story elements into the region.  It would be fair to assume that there might be something worth investment of resources.

The amount of interesting bits would depend on the effect of his si jump. But there might be something worthwhile.

Stay safe.  Stay home. Stay writing!!!

Can’t wait for more
He's fixated on the Clans ATM. Even IF the Outbound Light (or any other EC-flagged ship) does not enter Clan space and starts the invasion, it is inevitable unless something prevents it (like a bold Batchall to change the crusader mandate)…

mikecj

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #494 on: 04 April 2020, 11:05:23 »
The folks on SB are constantly speculating about the Reach but Smith is always thinking about the Combine and then the Clans.  It'll be interesting to see where Chris takes the story.
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Red Pins

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #495 on: 04 April 2020, 11:51:24 »
That tread is going to get shut down soon, the endless details are a bit much.
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Tyrchon

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #496 on: 04 April 2020, 12:12:54 »
It is one of the "necessary evils" of SB, great for sussing-out ideas but far too easy to dive into unnecessary tangents.  That said....

I am curious as to how Chris will have the 4th Succession War end.  We know that the gains on both the Lyran-Combine front and Davion-Capellan front are better than canon, but just how much better will they be at the end?  How are things evolving, or devolving, in the Combine and where will that lead to?  Where are things going to go regarding the Rasalhague worlds; a full independent state like canon, an independent protectorate like the St. Ives Compact was, or will they become a new March for the FedCom?  What situation is the FWL left in, as there have already been mentions regarding tensions rising internally there from several factors?  Will Andurien still secede, align with the Canopians, and then try to take chunks out of the corpse of the Capellan Confederation?  What about the situation in Skye, since they have a minor rebellion in canon in 3034 that causes some headaches for the nascent FedCom.

So many interesting things could happen.

PsihoKekec

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #497 on: 04 April 2020, 14:40:51 »
From what Chris insinuated in his commentary, Rasallhague will be incorporated into LC under more competent leadership than Kelswa (Nondi is there to keep the fool under control).
4th SW will end with OTL exfiltration of Justin Allard and assault on Dieron by 4th Davion Guards and 4th Royal Guards.
Skye rebellion will lack the leadership and won't have the example of Rasallhague independence.
Shoot first, laugh later.

Chris OFarrell

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #498 on: 26 April 2020, 20:16:35 »
The following extract is from ‘Thirty Years On - how the 4th Succession War still defines the Inner Sphere today’. Tharkard City Publishing House, 3058.

Chapter 8 - Concord; Broken.
January 3029 - April 3029

The Capellan Front


For all the (very real) mental instability the Capellan Chancellor, Maximilian Liao was cursed with, it is undeniable that at his best he was an incredibly shrewd man. One with keen political insights and a breathtaking ability to exactly walk the line between audacity and stupidity that more often than not played out in his favor. We may never actually know with certainty, for example, if Anton Marik was executed and replaced by a Liao doppelganger (something all but taken as a fact by a surprising majority of people in the Free Worlds League despite the lack of hard evidence). But even if this was not actually the case, it is true that for minimal investments of his own Maximilian caused massive disruption to the Free Worlds League that took them well over a decade to recover from and left scars on the Captain General that never healed. And with the League busy licking its wounds, he had been left free to concentrate on House Davion as they in turn concentrated on the Combine.
The anticipated endgame of the Hanse Davion ‘Doppelganger’ scenario has been the subject of immense speculation, but all that can be said for sure with any certainty is that if Maximilian had been indeed successful in replacing Hanse Davion and abrogating the Federated-Commonwealth alliance (at a minimum), he could have changed the strategic picture of the Inner Sphere for generations in his favor. And again, seemingly at very little cost to himself. And, if Colonel Ardan Sortek had not stumbled onto the plan on Steins folly and started unraveling the threads? There is every reason to think Maximilian would have gotten away with it as he had in the Free Worlds League. At least for long enough to cripple the Federated Suns and give him breathing room badly needed.

Ironically, it was in coming so close to a total success that the Chancellor now had fate turn against him as his greatest asset became his greatest liability. As we now know, Archduke Michael Hasek-Davion was not a great patriot playing a long con who died in glory on Sarna, but the greatest Federation traitor in a century, seeking to supplant his brother in law on the throne of the Federated Suns and fully engaged in a secret alliance with House Liao.
Of course, Maximilian also surely knew full well Michael would just as soon turn on him after he got the throne (hence the popular theory that the first thing his ‘Fake Hanse’ would have done would have been to order the AFFS to move against Michael) but for now at least, it was very clearly in both of their interests to try to slow Hanse Davions spearheads and force a stalemate. Accordingly, when the priceless data on AFFS logistics and troop movements arrived from Michael in late 3028, Maximilian eagerly took the data at face value and built his strategic planning on its foundation.

Unfortunately for Maximilian, Hanse Davion (who had been traditionally indifferent to the Confederation with his focus on the Combine) had in fact turned his full attention to House Liao after coming within a hair's breadth of being replaced by a brainwashed and mutilated man who genuinely thought he was Hanse Davion. It would seem that, somehow, in this new spotlight of attention and resources Hanse Davion and his spymasters became aware of his brother not simply desiring the throne (something of an open secret in the highest circles of the Federated Suns Government), but that he was fully engaged in high treason with Maximilian Liao to get his hands on it any way he could. Hard evidence was in the First Princes hands as the (admittedly injenous) secret transmitter in Michael's bionic left hand was compromised by DMI Division 3 providing gigabytes of damning data. But rather than simply charge him with High Treason, Hanse instead (predictably) saw the opportunity to ‘flip’ his brother-in-law into an unwilling agent against Liao to feed false information to his enemy.
Although sounding simple on the face of it, given that Micahel had been the former head of MIIO and had all but run the Federated Suns while Ian Davion was off fighting wars on the front lines, this took a considerable amount of very meticulous work from New Avalon to pull off effectively (see Chapter 3 ‘Spy Games’ for more details).

But pull it off Quintus Allard and Hanse Davion did.

3028 had certainly included a number of sharp, hard blows for the CCAF and Confederation after Hanse Davions wedding toast. Tikonov, the most industrialized and one of the most heavily defended worlds in the Confederation, had fallen to the Davion Sledgehammer with the entire Crucis Lancers brigade being dropped on it in a deployment worthy of the hedy days of the 1st Succession War. A follow up wave had then made it clear to the Capellan Confederation that Davions troops were far from exhausted and there was no doubt that Hanse Davion was not planning to stop anytime soon as the Terran regions were all but carved away from the rest of the Confederation. The traditional Capellan strategy of an ‘elastic defense’ of battalion sized Mech forces backed with moderate supporting units that would ‘pin’ attackers allowing for reaction forces to arrive in overwhelming force using the Confederations far superior lines of internal communication had worked well during the 3rd Succession War and limited attacks pushed back. But it was worse than useless with Davion RCTs crashing down on worlds across the entire region all at once, pitting border garrisons and reaction forces both against three times their number of AFFS units and wiping them out wholesale.
Yet Davions terrifying progress over the first three waves now started to slow as the need to garrison worlds cut into not simply the units available to attack, but also the Jumpship logistics that became increasingly strained despite the addition of Lyran ships, Kuritan Jumpships captured at the Battle of Misery and Davion civilian ships conscripted into military service. And while the Confederations allies had not proven terribly useful, there stood reason to believe (at that time) that if a strong enough showing could be made, the Free Worlds League might yet get involved on their side.

While recapturing all the worlds taken was too much to hope for even in Maximilians heart, simply drawing a line and limiting the Confederation losses to part of the Terran region worlds would have been an incredible achievement given the odds stacked against him. And with the un-engaged units of the Northwind Highlanders moving up to the front and McCarron's Armored Cavalry also starting to shift towards Sarna as planets pushed past their shock to prepare for the fight of their lives; the CCAF would never have a better chance to make an effective counter-attack. With the best estimates from Hasek-Davion that the next Davion wave would kick off middle to late January, there was indeed a narrow window to seize the initiative and go on the offensive.

The only remaining question was, where?


Operation RIPOSTE

The brainchild of Tsen Shang, Operation RIPOSTE was prima facie the very picture of elegance. Michael Hasek-Davion, although kept at something of arms length from the AFFS war planning, was nonetheless an Archduke and had thus been able to piece together the jumpship logistics chains in use by the AFFS. His data, although perhaps a little thin, nonetheless conclusively pointed to six worlds just over the old border with the Federated Suns serving as the primary logistics bases for the AFFS in this invasion. Stockpiling massive amounts of material from all over the Suns and Lyran Commonwealth that was then distributed by a highly sophisticated network of ‘just in time’ jumpships inside the Confederation, it meant the AFFS RCTs did not have to ‘live off the land’ and could press their attack with incredible speed.
Hasek-Davions data was very painstakingly put together - as would be expected from a former director of MIIO. Never getting the full picture or even absolute evidence from any one or two sources, but pulling together enough that when assembled he could only draw one possible conclusion. The six aforementioned worlds were hidden in plain sight; worlds of no real strategic value that the CCAF wouldn’t bother to counter attack. Worlds without any line units on them, few military resources to ransack … and accordingly little to no useful presence by the Maskirovka that might even be able to give away such a secret. A point underlined quite strongly in the Archdukes messages to Maximilian.
Any military mind watching the progress of the war could see that Davion had built a superb logistics machine that was allowing an almost unprecedented flow of constant attacks to take place with an unprecedented number of troops (for this time period). But ironically, the sheer overwhelming size and power of his RCTs was a weakness in and of itself. As for all their brutal self-contained striking power and occupational abilities, their logistical footprint was enormous compared to the far looser Battle groups used by the DCMS or CCAF. And while trying to match the AFFS Mech for Mech would be little more than a fast way to throw away troops, a sudden strike at the enemy logistics to pit critical strength against critical weakness with agility and cunning was very much in the best traditions (and notable successes) of the CCAF.

And so accordingly, Tsen christened his bold plan ‘Operation RIPOSTE’.

Maximilian Liao leapt on the plan as salvation for the Confederation. If those bases could be destroyed - or even better looted by the Confederation then destroyed - the AFFS attack would seize to a halt as the sheer size of the AFFS Juggernaut and the immense logistics needed to run Regimental Combat Teams was turned against it. Their next attacks would need to be postponed and the looted material would strengthen the CCAF instead. Davions dispersed forward garrisons would be left vulnerable to counter-attacks by the concentrated force of the CCAFs best with local superiority and indeed; the native populations stunned by the speed and ferocity of the Davion attack may yet be stirred to patriotic resistance!

On paper anyway.

There was of course the slight problem of where to find the troops to make this attack - but showing his typical pragmatic ruthlessness, the Chancellor ordered the shattered survivors of units who had managed to fall back from the overwhelming first waves to make the effort. While only a shadow of their former selves, collectively they could field up a force of five or so mixed regiments in strength to attack the six worlds identified and with the jumpships already in place to support them, they could be in action swiftly. And, as the worlds were said to be only lightly guarded, it was hoped this level of force would be enough to get the job done.
The troops were also ‘encouraged’ by their leaders' orders; making it clear that if they succeeded in these attacks, their failures (daring to flee while other units had stood their ground and fought until death or at least, until they had no other options) would be wiped clean and they would be lauded as heroes of the Confederation. Left unsaid but well understood was the implication that if they failed and lacked the grace to die in service of the state this time; their families would be made to pay the most brutal price possible along with themselves.

Justin Xiang (in one of his many acts of sheer gall as the greatest of Davion spies) did note to Maximilian the limits of their own intelligence to crosscheck Hasek-Davions and pleaded for time to confirm it before committing, but his concerns were impatiently brushed aside by Maximilian who feared the window was far too narrow for such things. Xiang accepted the orders, but did successfully bring to the Chancellors attention his suspicions of a secret NAIS logistics base on Axton, one he had been developing intelligence on completely independent of Michael Hasek-Davions information. He thus suggested his own planned raid to hit and investigate that could go off under the RIPOSTE banner, with the bonus of concealing and confusing his father's spies of their sources of information.
Of course, by this point in time the first confused rumors from the Combine front of ‘Lyran Supermechs’ and ‘Dragoon Devils’ had given way to the reality of the ‘Nightmare on Tikonov’ where the AFFS (and especially the Fox’s Teeth in a very high profile attack leading in the rest of the 7th Crucis Lancers) had shown off exactly what their upgraded designs could do as TSM upgraded designs first started to appear in the AFFS ranks. By the fourth wave of attacks, at least thirty five percent of the AFFS Mechs were running Triple Strength Myomyers and (again) very high profile showings of more ‘Super Mechs’ in gloating AFFS propaganda footage had the Strategios in something approaching a panic.
There was no doubt that Maximilian had put his hope in the supply depots having plenty of examples of this technology to throw onto his own Battlemech units (partially explaining his eagerness to launch the operation) while delaying the AFFS rollout, but Justin explained in turn that he strongly ‘suspected’ the technology was coming not through the Department of the Quartermaster but through the Department of the Military Research and Development - hence Hasek-Davions near complete lack of data on it. And that if he didn’t miss his guess, NAIS was in fact locally manufacturing and shipping it from Axton. Meaning not just the fibers, but the very machines that made it could be ripe for the taking...
Maximilian of course enthusiastically agreed to cover his bets before, without pause, switching gears to order the death of Colonel Pavel Ridzik whose own suggested plan of action the Chancellor took to be nothing more than an attempt to gather the best of the CCAF to his own banner for the purposes of taking back his Homeworld of Tikonov before coming to Sian to try and take the throne itself.

There were two pieces of news however that became harbingers of the future for the Confederation at roughly the same time. Firstly, the Free Worlds League formally refused Maximilians demands to intervene in the war, citing the Davions just released presentation around ‘Operation DOPPELGANGER’ as evidence that this war was one that the Chancellor had brought upon himself, although he did continue to offer trade and some logistical support to the CCAF. Maximilian was far from pleased but pushed aside, for now, any immediate response. At the same time, news came that the Northwind Highlanders - one of the key units in the counter attack Maximilian hoped to launch on the offensive after RIPOSTE- had suddenly and without notice, charged straight off for Northwind. So too had their two units that had still been stubbornly holding Davion up on second and third wave targets also thrown in the towel and abandoned the worlds (that to be perfectly fair even Maximilian knew were untenable to hold) and boosted to join them.
The short messages the Strategios received suggested the Highlanders had seemingly ‘gone rogue’ but not betrayed the Confederation, deciding that they would charge for their home and take it while they still had the chance before it slipped away. Maximilian was certainly nonplussed at the action, but ultimately clearly decided that such a deep strike into the Federated Suns rear areas could only be a help to him. Especially as Davion would be due to launch his next wave of attacks about the time they reached their long lost Homeworld, now deep behind enemy lines. So, rather than uselessly trying to order them back, he retroactively sent a HPG message for ComStar to chase them, giving them his blessing. Reasoning that if they survived and somehow held their ground, it would be in his name. If Davion counter attacked? Well, with four regiments in defense it would pull a major AFFS force off the front lines to defeat them. If Davion ignored the attack, it would provide a secure deep-strike base for the CCAF and even the DCMS to attack into the enemy rear areas from.
And even if they failed and were mauled (hopefully doing major damage even in losing), by sending a message of approval and good luck they would know they would be welcome back if they had to retreat. … and probably be in no position to quibble over being absorbed into the CCAF.

And so with a flurry of HPG messages, Operation RIPOSTE was launched as the personal Christmas and New Year gift to Hanse Davion from Maximilian Liao. 3028 ended on a rare feeling of hope in the Strategios that once again Maximilian Liao had seemed to find that daring path between recklessness and audacity that would save them all once more.
"I, the Baron of Strang, care not for your new names. Clans? Jade Falcons? I call you by your true name: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will, persecutors of the Periphery come back to lord it over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans!"

-Baron Stepan Von Strang

Chris OFarrell

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #499 on: 26 April 2020, 20:16:56 »
Operation AMBUSH

The Federated Suns counterpoint to Operation RIPOSTE, AMBUSH held three key objectives for House Davion.

The most obvious objective was operational; draw in as many mobile Capellan units as possible and murder them while tying up their jumpship logistics to make the attempt. In reality, most of the AFFS supplies had been pre-positioned on recently taken worlds inside the Confederation itself as well as two deep-space ‘dumping grounds’ whose location was a carefully guarded secret. The six ‘supply bases’ were not empty of military equipment though; eight RCTs and six independent Mech regiments were lying in wait at these bases including no less than two Davion Guards RCTs and when the provisional attacking forces hit each of the bases, they were unsurprisingly obliterated with little problem. No matter the Chancellors later insistence that these troops were dead anyway; the truth was that these were losses the CCAF could ill afford even in normal times. Just as bad as the manpower and equipment loss however was the morale loss (albeit only at the higher levels as propaganda carefully hid the truth even from senior field commanders) when it became clear the Chancellors grand counter attack had been nothing but another of Hanse Davions painstakingly prepared traps. And while the assasination of Pavel Ridzik clearly brought a rare genuine smile to the face of Maximilian Liao, the loss of perhaps the finest theater commander the CCAF had didn’t do terribly much to firm up morale in his subordinates as the collapse in the morale of the task forces Pavel had been scraping together edged towards outright mutiny.

Perhaps most pressing logic behind AMBUSH was that Hanse Davions' need for his brother in law as a conduit for misdirection had now reached its end. While the First Prince had been willing to tolerate Michael Hasek-Davions treason so long as it proved useful to him, Michael was no fool and would surely realize he had been used to send misinformation to Maximilian Liao. Indeed, Hanse Davion ‘lit the fuse’ as it were by sending a priority message to Michael personally after the news arrived on New Avalon, explaining that he had deliberately arranged things as a canary trap to prove there was a leak in the very highest levels of Capellan March Command. And he ‘assured’ his brother in law that Quintus Allard was sending a crack specialist team in to conclusively ‘deal’ with the situation, with the Capellan Ambassador to his court already declared persona non grata and escorted off the planet not quite at gunpoint as the contact for the spy, a MIIO team on world doing so without even bothering to tell the local authorities until it was all over.
Despite all of Michael Hasek-Davions experience and skill, when Hanse Davion ‘beat the grass to startle the snakes’ the Archduke unquestionably panicked. He did not attempt to shift the blame onto someone else or spin the leaks around to present himself as trying to play a similar con on Liao. Or even seemingly question if Hanse did have hard proof or simply suspicions he could ride out or try to work to his advantage somehow, given the cutouts he had tried to work through gathering the bits of information Quintus had carefully put on the end of his fishing line...

Of course, it could also very well be that Micahel suspected if he tried to save himself by those approaches, Maximilian would simply openly leak via ComStar the hard evidence of their covert meetings on Sian in revenge for the spectacular failure of RIPOSTE in the hope of setting off a civil war among his enemies. Nor did he try to stay put and simply brazen it out ... but then given the incredible success of Hanse Davions highly uncharacteristic yet undeniably highly effective media manipulation in the Capellan March (See Chapter 12; Operation KATHERINE); Micahel may have feared a general revolt if Hanse went public while he was still on-planet. And if even his own trusted household troops might turn on him...

In any event, the Archduke made his choice and left his palace shortly after receiving the message from the First Prince, downloading and taking with him as much strategic data as he could from the High Command in a hurry. He then eluded his security (claiming to his wife to be going on a hunting trip in the Snow Forests a few hours from the capital) to take a long range shuttle which moved to dock with the Jumpship that was taking the Capellan Ambassador home.
As it turned out, this was a very poor choice. The shuttle pilot was in fact a MIIO plant and Michael remained completely unaware that he had docked with the wrong Jumpship (the Ambassadors ship having left the system six hours before he arrived at the jump point) until he stepped off the shuttle and was greeted by a ‘welcoming committee’ of a squad of handpicked Davion Assault Guards infantry led by Major Jackson Davion, son of Princes Champion Yvonne Davion. Michaels half hearted attempt to go on the offensive over this ‘outrage’ fell apart almost immediately when it became clear to him that Hanse had him dead to rights and shortly after being declared under arrest for High Treason, he was chemically sedated with a tranq-gun ‘before he could do anything stupid’ and taken rapidly to New Avalon via a makeshift command circut.

Finally, although not anticipated, a clear benefit to the events came to Justin Xiang and his profile in the Capellan Court. The loss of Micahel Hasek-Davion caused major headaches for the Maskirovka both in cutting off information and forcing them to suspect everything he had sent to them even though it was clear Hanse Davion had allowed some truths to leak out via Micahel to make their headaches that much greater. Maximilians already considerable trust in Justin Xiang was now taken to a whole new level. His openly voiced doubts about Michael’s intelligence were now vindicated, while his plan to hit a secret NAIS base he had ‘developed intelligence on’ independently of Hasek-Davion was a triumphant success. He and his handpicked team returned with three dropships filled almost to bursting with enough Triple Strength Myomer fibers to refit a half dozen Battlemech regiments, ‘complete’ engineering data on it and key components from one of the modified myomer looms to make more of the incredible material.
Presented with such overwhelming success the Chancellor awarded Justin the Baton of Illustrious Service on the spot and each of the surviving members of the 4th Tau Ceti Rangers were awarded the Liao Sunburst of Gallantry for their efforts at the same time; their sins wiped clean as the equipment was offloaded. No expense was spared as Hellespont Industrials worked with breakneck speed to pull the high-capacity looms out of their existing Battlemech production lines (causing a months worth of disruption to Battlemech production that again the Confederation could ill afford but seemed more than worth it) and start up production. The dropship loads of the kits looted from Davion were rapidly shipped out to CCAF units expected to be beyond the next attack wave of Davion, including the Big MAC who were routed to Sarna secretly, to prepare a very warm surprise indeed when Davion came calling.

Even more good news came from Tsen Shang (no doubt eager to make up for the complete failure of Operation RIPOSTE that had been his brainchild) that no less a titan than Yorinaga Kurita was heading straight for New Avalon on a mission to kill Hanse Davion and that he had taken the liberty of a time limited offer (while Justin had been the initial contact, he had passed this over to Shang while he was away leading the raid on Axton) to ship a dozen of the new Electronic Warfare kits to a deep space rendezvous point at a request from House Kurita.
The request had come, specifically, from Chandrasekhar Kurita who was serving as something of a back channel contact for House Kurita at the time (see ‘Case: TARGARYEN’). On behalf of the Combine he reached out to the Confederation, offering not only the gift of an enormous strategic distraction of Hanse Davion having to defend (and hopefully fall defending) his capital, but on offer to share the data the DCMS obtained from their very limited Lyran salvage on an ongoing basis of the TSM technology the FedCom powers were using.
Maximilian was (understandably) delighted at the news that Hanse Davions capital was going to be hit by perhaps the greatest living Mechwarrior in the Inner Sphere and his elite unit, correctly anticipating that the Fox himself would no doubt seek to confront the invader personally as a matter of honor. A handful of the Confederations hand-built EW units (especially if they proved to be a major contributing factor in a Kurita victory that he could parly for later favors) was indeed a small price to pay for that. And if Justins or his own operations failed to find any trace of the TSM technology, then at least he would have something to work with.
In the end of course, it was a ‘magnanimous’ Maximlian who forwarded via ComStar the complete technical data of the TSM technology to the Combine, with only slightly snide comments noting ‘his hope that the Mighty Samurai would soon be able to face the merchants of the Commonwealth on even ground’ and Chandrasekhar wasted no time stewing over the smug comments, instead leading crash programs to manufacture the enhanced Battlemech muscles at Luthien Armor Works.

The return of Justin Xiang with the Davions secret technology did much to bring hope back to the higher ups of the Confederation after the shocking reversals. The best revised estimates (free of Micahel Hasek-Davions ‘intelligence’) were that Davion would launch his next wave of attacks in April or May, with Davion needing time to shuffle units that he had clearly positioned as reaction forces against the Capellan counter-attack back into place. The time was most welcome and used by the Confederation to reinforce worlds by calling up every reserve they could muster to bulk out conventional brigades of infantry who would make poor Anti-Mech units, but certainly could cause trouble to occupation units. At the same time, the CCAF was working around the clock to both re-equip the most elite and critical units with the TSM fibers looted by Justin and making truly herculean efforts to get local production spun up. It was expected that Yorinaga Kurita would hit New Avalon at the end of March or beginning of April and there was clear hopes that if Karma balanced and the legend actually managed to kill Hanse Davion, the entire Federated Suns would be thrown into chaos in an instant and open up opportunities. Although he had mostly given up on Morgan Hasek-Davion, the Chancellor also suspended his edict of death upon Micahel, pending the attack on New Avalon. Clearly hoping that if Hanse died, Michael would take his last chance to rip free and seize the Throne now that he had been publicly ‘exonerated’, an act he fully expected Hanse’s loyal followers to fight back against which would yet open up chaos that he would be fully prepared to exploit.

The Battle of New Avalon as it turned out of course was a terrifyingly close run thing for the Federation given how close Hanse Davion came to dying. Yorinaga Kurita showed his reputation as a living legend was indeed well earned and if not for the equally legendary intervention of one Subaltern John Smith, his attack could very well have turned the tide of the war in a stroke and changed the course of history.

But, it didn’t.

The attack, ultimately, was a strategic failure. A spectacular failure the Combine milked for internal propaganda value to the limit (no less than twelve rushed propaganda vid films were broadcast across the Combine, the “best” two of which became staples on Confederation state media channels), but a failure nonetheless. Worse, instead of making Davion look weak to his people and draining support for the war, Hanse Davions popularity only seemed to grow to new levels of strength as he was carefully presented as not only having avenged his brother's death but having successfully defended his capital personally. To say nothing of the still seething fury all opinion polls pointed to from Maximilians failed attempt to replace their Prince with a fake which Hanse Davion had spun into masterful propaganda to cloak his war in righteousness - especially after a modest amount of criticism had come his way for his glib ‘wedding gift’ of a war to his bride that had been the culmination of Katrina Steiners peace process. It was a feeling that cut across not simply the Federated Suns, but into the Lyran Commonwealth where conversations about the Federated Suns ‘wasting its time’ with the Confederation switched almost overnight into righteous support for putting down a man ‘who had finally gone too far’ with DOPPELGANGER.

There were still a couple of silver linings for House Liao from events though. Firstly, the damage to NAIS would keep it out of action for some time and unable to throw any new headaches at House Liao (although Operation LACTIC would prove NAIS had already put the pieces on the board). Secondly, the attack on New Avalon did cause disruption and distraction to the AFFS, costing them perhaps an additional one to two weeks of time as shipments from New Avalon and nearby worlds were rerouted and delayed on already strained Jumpship links with no slack in capacity. And lastly, no matter how much the Federations press gloated about their victory, Capellan spies suggested that a lot of the more senior nobility on New Avalon and worlds around it who had never come under the threat of attack in living memory were rather more skittish than the general population. Having seen even when ‘playing nice’ how easily Kurita had raided deep worlds with seeming impunity and worrying if either the Confederation or Combine might double down, a very possible political friction point to attack … but he would never get the chance.
"I, the Baron of Strang, care not for your new names. Clans? Jade Falcons? I call you by your true name: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will, persecutors of the Periphery come back to lord it over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans!"

-Baron Stepan Von Strang

Chris OFarrell

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #500 on: 26 April 2020, 20:18:24 »
‘We regret to inform you…’

It is now known that a very secret but very real protocol had existed between House Davion and the Clan Elders of Northwind after the conquest of their world by the AFFS in 2842. Essentially a handshake agreement between Lord William Stuart - one of Paul II Davions closest advisors and friends- and the Clan Elders that was later codified formally by House Davion, it ensured that the planet would not make any trouble for House Davion and offer their full loyalty. Given that this was the height of the 2nd Succession War, this decision may well have saved Northwind from the fate of other Terran core worlds fought over and left as wastelands. House Davion essentially agreed to ignore open lines of communication (beyond the given neutrality of HPG messages via ComStar) between Northwind and the Highlanders who, despite their complicated history since the fall of the Star League, still considered each other kin and family. Annual ‘official, unofficial’ visits by senior members of the Northwind Highlanders continued through the centuries and House Davion even turned a blind eye to the retirement of Highlanders to Northwind and descendents leaving Northwind to join the unit in service to House Liao as the Clan Elders stood by their agreement and remained loyal to the Suns - a loyalty that became steadily more than pro-forma as the Davion cultural and Governance structures returned the planetary Governance back towards the Terran norms and remained mostly hands off, while the Clan Elders watched House Liao increasingly slip into more and more of a police state as the wars dragged on.

To say the least it was a somewhat unique arrangement, but both sides made it work reasonably well over the centuries with House Davion gaining a highly loyal world in a critical strategic position that served as a major staging hub for AFFS units in the Terran regions. Meanwhile, being formally cut off from their home curiously led to the Highlanders embracing Northwinds culture as never before and adopting new customs to hold their links and traditions close even as their more Confederation loyal members died off in battle or retired. Most notably the ‘pilgrimage’; a right-of-passage for any officer promoted to lead one of the Regiments. A visit where they would present themselves to the Clan Elders on Northwind and either reaffirm their oaths to the Clans if a member, or, formally be initiated into the Clan, if said Elders found them worthy. And while the Confederation continued with each new renewal of the Highlanders contract to assure them that as soon as practical they would spearhead the ‘liberation’ of their homeworld, as the decades turned to well over a century, it became very clear that Northwind was of little strategic concern to House Liao.
No matter how much it chaffed the Highlanders that their homeworld remained denied to them, the odds were high that any attack on Northwind would invoke a violent Davion response that could leave their world a wasteland. Even as such actions faded away into the much less brutal 3rd Succession War campaigns, House Liao remained unwilling for various reasons (cynically one might think that they were afraid if the Highlanders got their Homeworld back, they would recall they were in fact Mercenaries and simply offer their services to another great power) to commit to more than a few minor probing raids.
Nonetheless, the ties between House Liao - and a great many other noble houses from the Confederation in fact - and the Highlanders went back even to the Age of War and the Capellan Government skillfully played on that history to keep them loyal and in a place of great respect over the decades. Many other mercenary units were formed and fell by the wayside as the wars dragged on but the Highlanders maintained excellent support from their employer and so repaid it with loyal service even if they always looked to Northwind in their hearts.

It was only truly at the tail end of the 3rd Succession War that friction between the Northwind Highlanders and Liao started to grow to a disruptive level. Several things other than the lack of action on their Homeworld undoubtedly contributed to this, including the steady decline of the Confederation as a power and the ‘questionable’ leadership of Maximilian Liao. But arguably, the greatest direct cause of the Highlanders becoming increasingly disillusioned with their situation was the emergence onto the scene of another multi-regiment Mercenary unit who became the ‘hot new thing’ in the Confederation.

‘The Big Mac’ (as McCarron's Armored Cavalry were called) were a relatively new unit compared to the Highlanders. Formed in 2930 but only coming into the de-facto permanent service of the Capellan Confederation in 2996. They were welcomed with open arms by the Chancellor who quickly moved to tie them to the Confederation by awarding them a major landhold on Menke and either supporting or turning a blind eye over the next decades to their business dealings that let them build up considerable supply chains and industry (up to and including black market links to the Lyran Commonwealth and Free Worlds League) independent of Capellan Government sources. The Big MAC also quickly proved themselves both an accomplished unit - and a surprisingly brutal one and it was not long before friction started building between them and the Highlanders. The first true instance being blowback from the Big MAC’s raid against the Davion world of New Valencia, targeting the Wolf’s Dragoons base there in apparent retaliation for being consistently beaten by these ‘newcomers’ on the battlefield, determined to show them who was best. But when their raid became bogged down against the Dragoons highly competent defense (rather proving the Dragoons the superior soldiers), McCarron changed tactics and proceeded to attack the undefended nearby city of Raiteland, trying to find the Dragoons dependents and kill them, forcing the Dragoons to come out from their defensive positions to push the MAC away in a brutal days long battle broken only when the Eridani Light Horse arrived and forced the Big Mac to withdraw. Leaving behind a four-digit civilian body count and hundreds of millions of H-Bills worth of property damage.

Lauded as heroes when they returned and made into media darlings, the Highlanders' quiet protests to the Chancellor about their appalling behavior was dismissed politely by the Chancellor who insisted their claims were just them unknowingly repeating Davion propaganda and exaggerations, seemingly forgetting the channels the Highlanders maintained which assured them they were not. Archibald McCarron also found out about the Highlanders protests and sent them a message not quite politely telling them to mind their own business, ensuring relations between the two units were strained very quickly. A quiet meeting by several Highlander officers with Jamie and Joshua Wolf during their short service with House Liao several years later also confirmed the truth, only helping to make more than a few Highlanders wonder at both the type of people McCarron had working for him and the fact that the Chancellor seemed to delight in their actions.

The Highlanders' disquiet with McCarron's Armored Cavalry deepend in the aftermath of McCarrons famous ‘Long March’ - where more tactics that could be said quite easily to be outright War Crimes went without passing comment (let alone censure) by the CCAF. More and more material was thrown into the ‘Big MAC’ to help them rebuild while the waiting lists the Highlanders were on seemed to stretch further with every month despite their own high, if rather less ‘flashy’, operational tempo. It seemed to many that rather than seeing their long history of loyal service to House Liao as something worth rewarding as previous Chancellors had, the CCAF were increasingly seeing the Highlanders as little more than glorified House Troops. New unit assignments increasingly shifted individual Highlander Regiments around as a ‘fire brigade’ to cover weak spots in the Confederation without consulting - something their contracts did allow the CCAF to do, even if historically the Stratos had been much more consultative about deployments. In hindsight, it is clear that the Highlanders' reputation with the Dukes of the Confederation was in fact so great that there was enormous politicking of the Chancellor for those units to be assigned to worlds as a force powerful enough to make even the Davions pause. And accordingly, the Chancellor was unsurprisingly willing to use the deployment orders of the Highlanders as a sign of his favor, to be given or withdrawn accordingly.

McCarron however, seemed to be given leave to pick and choose his missions with much greater freedom when not rebuilding in defensive garrisons. Although this was something of an exaggeration, it is undeniable that Maximilian was far more consultative with the Big MAC, although seemingly because he understood he was riding the tiger with them. And that Archie McCarron was ‘a raging flood that can only be channeled, not halted’ as he would later put it.
Still, from the Highlander point of view, more than one Colonel asked the question (very quietly) if this was the start of a long Company Store play. Their own finances were still solid thanks to very careful sideline income investment portfolios that most of the bigger and longer term Merc units used to cover cashflow bumps, but they were undeniably trending long-term into ‘war’ being unprofitable for them. Support they had long assumed upon from the Confederation started to dry up and even as the Big MAC held what all but amounted to a homeworld of their own with both impressive direct industrial support and rumored black-market connections to support them, the Highlanders were still denied their own homeworld. And despite all the historical links between them, the simple truth was that the Confederation was the poorest of the Successor States.

In hindsight Maximilian Liao was clearly not attempting a company store policy. But the confluence of a mixture of missing the warning signs and making poor choices in managing his relationship with the Highlanders ensured that from the point of view of the mercenaries, the end result was not dissimilar. It was undeniable that he had long since taken both the Highlanders loyalty (and even their very presence) for granted, forgetting that they were ultimately mercenary units who had long -politely- declined offers of Capellan Citizenship outside of those few who joined them from the Confederation, with their sights set on their homeworld alone. And while its equally clear in hindsight that Maximilians prioritising of the Big MAC over the Highlanders was not in any way intended as a slight but simply a logistical necessity given that the damage McCarron caused was only matched by the damage his people took, he also made no efforts to reaffirm their loyalty or personally reach out to the Highlanders and assuage their concerns. It was only in early 3028 that he assigned his youngest daughter to that task while on her personal landhold of Highspire where the 1st Kearny Highlanders were stationed, instructing her to take the time to engage with the Highlanders and make sure of their continued loyalty to the state - and even then, seemingly more as a pro-forma test of his daughter then a recognition that the Highlander relationship had reached a very delicate level.

Suffice to say, Romano Liaos attempts, on behalf of her father, to reassure the Highlanders Colonels of their continued place in the Confederation were not successful. When the Colonels of the Highlanders pressed her on several concerns they held, the blunt and flat responses were far more in the line of a superior correcting a slow servent (although by the standards of Romano Liao it should be noted that by all accounts this was her being quite charming and on her best behavior) and only helped solidify the increasingly audible concerns of the senior officers of the Highlanders that House Liao genuinely didn’t see them as anything more than House Troops. Quiet agreements by the command staff were made in the aftermath that in 3030, when their contract was up for renewal, House Liao would need to make substantial concessions if they wished to retain their services, but further discussions were aborted as the Duchess was suddenly recalled by her Father to Sian and a few days later the confused Highlanders found out why - along with the rest of the Inner Sphere.

Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner were to be married on Terra - a wedding to which Romano was invited.

The declaration of war and announcement that the Confederation was to be his wedding present to his bride by Hanse Davion that followed didn’t immediately catch the Highlanders, but in the second wave the the 3rd Davion Guard squared off against Marions Highlanders on Ningpo and the 5th and 6th Crucis Lancers dropped against the 2nd Kearny Highlanders on Jonathan in the third wave as they redeployed from Tikonov. In hindsight it is very obvious that the Davion units engaging the Highlanders were very much using the kid gloves, working to hold the Mercenaries in place while doing as little damage as possible. The accordingly very drawn out conquests that resulted ironically had the Chancellor himself lauding them for their valiant and skillful defense that was tying down elite Davion units for far longer than any other units that had stood in the path of the Davion juggernaut.

But even as half of the Highlanders went into battle, the CCAF sent orders for the remaining two units of the Highlanders to shift to Wei to form part of a task force to counter-attack the Davion invasion, denying their requests to head up and relieve their comrades before it was too late. Unknowing of the Chancellors plans with RIPOSTE to crush the Davion supply lines and open a window to strike (due to the extreme compartmentalisation necessary) it seemed that the Chancellor was perfectly happy to leave their two engaged units alone to die, saluting their courage but not sending so much as one extra Mech. Compounding this, news started to flow through the Mercenary grapevine (pushed by Wolfnet) of the specifics of Wolf’s Dragoons falling out with the Draconis Combine, followed rapidly by news of the ‘Death to Mercenaries!’ order issued by the Coordinator which was exploding across the Draconis Combine with grim consequences to units in the Dragons employment. To say that this horrified and struck at the values of the Highlanders would be an understatement. Especially when the Eridani Light Horse and later the Kell Hounds were further named as having edicts of death declared against them by the Combine alongside the Dragoons.
The idea that the Eridani Light Horse of all units would ever stoop to the acts they were accused of was all but rejected out of hand. Scattered - but increasing - news down the Merc bush telegraph (as well as still ongoing messages from Northwind) of other units in the Combine being set upon simply for being Mercenaries led to the Highlanders sending a priority message to Archibald McCarron, suggesting the two of them send a joint message to the Chancellor to implore him to denounce the actions of the Combine against fellow Mercs and hopefully snap the Combine back.
McCarrons completely indifferent response to the events in the Combine as he worked to rush his units towards the front was half expected, but the Chancellor unknowingly missed his last chance to prove the Confederation was a nation worth serving when he ‘reassured’ the Highlanders by telling them he had sent a personal message to the Coordinator that he would buy out the contracts of any Mercenaries he otherwise would wish eliminated. Even offering to pay for them to be shipped to the Confederation in place of death - so long as they agreed to fight for him until against the Federated Suns until the debt was paid, of course.

Less than impressed by the response, the Highlanders took a serious look at their position. Half their forces looked sure to be wiped out without relief that the Chancellor refused to give and Davions massive invasion, even this early on, looked like it would be the end of the Confederation. With Northwind squarely sitting between the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth who were carving what would become the Terran Corridor out of the Combine and Confederation, it was clear that the new House Steiner-Davion would never tolerate the Capellans trying to get it back even if they did survive as it moved further and further behind ‘enemy’ lines.

And so ultimately, the Highlanders leaders made a fateful yet surprisingly practical decision. Stalling their departure from garrison positions to quietly prepare their dependents for departure with them, they decided to wash their hands of a house who clearly held little respect for them despite the blood they had shed for generations in its name. The most senior of the Highlander Colonels, Colonel Fiona Chattan, reached out to the Northwind Clan Elders through a one-time message code hidden inside their regular communications to request that they engage with the Federated Suns and seek terms for the Highlanders coming home and changing their allegiance. Emphatically noting that this included allowing their brothers and sisters already engaged with the AFFS to be allowed to withdraw safely and with honor (and their Mechs).
Expecting that it would take weeks at the very fastest for negotiations to reach a point where the Highlanders could leave with confidence, the Colonel was rather stunned when instead two days later a priority message returned from Northwind with utterly incredible news. The Elders of Northwind had been assigned an AFFS liaison from the Fifth Deneb Light Cavalry who was conveniently placed to approach with the Highlanders offer … only to be more than taken aback when after presenting the Highlanders offer, he immediately pulled a folder from his office safe and presented them an already signed offer from the First Prince himself that would become the foundation of what became ‘The Northwind Agreement’.

That an offer was already on the table was, suffice to say, shocking to the Highlanders officers.

That it effectively offered them everything they had asked for - and plenty more besides - was almost unbelievable to several of the dozen officers ‘in’ on the plans to the point that some wondered if MIIO had a spy among them somewhere - especially given that they had only made the offer days ago and after days of careful discussion!

Included also was a request to confirm their acceptance as soon as possible to ensure their sister units could be allowed to disengage safely from the shadow boxing that the AFFS could keep up only so long. And while some were suspicious of the incredibly generous terms, others pointed to the very similar help he had provided to the Dragoons to pull them out of the Dragons claws as credit of his trustworthiness (to say nothing of the fact that they all knew this would deny Liao four crack Regiments and give him four in turn which in anyone's book was worthy of considerable concessions). Thus, signaling their acceptance, the Highlanders lifted and took their dependents with them, leaving behind only carefully planted rumors that they were heading to retake their world once and for all and would gather their forces on the way.

Which was true … from a certain point of view.

The Highlanders Jumpships arrived at Northwinds Zenith point on January 3rd. Their triumphant homecoming parade through the streets of Tara to the literally millions of cheering civilians led by the massed pipes and drums of their regimental bands ended is of course one of the defining images of the 4th Succession War, but strategically more important was Major Mitchell McFarly taking the time the planet was busy ecstatically welcoming the Highlanders home to visit the local ComStar Hyperpulse generator station. There he sought and was granted a meeting with the local Precentor and proceeded to drop the signed paperwork into his lap that formally invoked several clauses in the Highlanders contract to terminate their relationship with House Liao before lodging the paperwork signed by Colonel Chattan and Marshal Green-Davion that registered the new contract signed with the AFFS.
To say that ComStars First Circuit were unhappy would be an understatement given their goals, but they dared not do anything about this situation given that the Highlanders had dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s in their paperwork, executing perfectly valid clauses in their contract to terminate it. Given that the sheer mess Precentor Myndo Waterly of Dieron had made of the Death to Mercenaries response that was currently causing a complete PR nightmare for the First Circuit (and Maximilians alliance with Takashi and refusal to condemn his allies actions had in fact been one of the cited reasons invoked by the Highlanders), they dared not make any trouble here which might move the considerable suspicion ComStar was being seen in right now by many Merc units into genuine hostility and a rejection of their critical perception as a neutral actor.

Ultimately, ComStar just processed the paperwork and forwarded the news to Sian. A personal note to the Chancellor addressed ‘We regret to inform you…’ clearly shocked and enraged His Celestial Wisdom after it was delivered to him, but he pushed past it for now and simply vowed to not to forget this treachery, perhaps wary of inciting his own ‘Death to Mercenaries’ blowback he could not in any way afford given the number of Merc units on his payroll.
Romano Liao however was said to have personally executed the servator who presented her with the news - especially as her Father had not even bothered to inform her that his orders had left her personal fief of Highspire horribly open to attack by ordering the Highlanders off anyway, an opening the AFFS soon took full advantage of to her considerable angst.

Time moved forward however and Maximilian did not have the time to fret. On the 4th of April, the tense relative silence of the Capellan front was shattered as the next wave of attacks were launched. The AFFS leaped forward once again as they moved to sweep up the last of the Terran region worlds. But only four days later on the 8th, the strategic situation took a twist as factions in the Free World League finally started to make their own moves … to the great detriment of the Capellan Confederation. And then on the 9th, the ‘Dragon’ of the Draconis Combine grew several more heads.
"I, the Baron of Strang, care not for your new names. Clans? Jade Falcons? I call you by your true name: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will, persecutors of the Periphery come back to lord it over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans!"

-Baron Stepan Von Strang

Chris OFarrell

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #501 on: 26 April 2020, 20:19:14 »
‘Case: TARGARYEN’

Named for the three headed Dragon banner from the popular 21st century Vid series ‘Game of Thrones’ partially re-released in 3027, ‘Case TARGARYEN’ was the operational name for contingency planning dealing with House Kurita (the Dragon) finding itself with multiple factions (or heads) at war with themselves. One of a great many contingency plans that were prepared and updated throughout the 4th Succession War in the Fox’s Den, it was not so much a detailed plan of what to do as most others so much as a highly detailed database for field commanders to the anticipate first, second and third order consequences in the event that the Coordinators hold on power was challenged and boken. Key focal points were identified using extensive psyops modeling around the power structures and key personalities in the Combine updated with considerable new intelligence developed from 3026 onwards. More than anything else, the document was an attempt to give both strategic command and field commanders information and broad contingency planning to deal with the Combine starting to shoot at each other as much as they shot as the AFFS.

While to the outside world - and the lowest rungs of Combine society - House Kurita took great pains to present a monolithic face to the rest of the Inner Sphere, in reality the contemporary Governance of the Combine was finely balanced between the theoretically absolute power of the Coordinator and his family on one side and his four Warlords on the other. Nominally servants, but in reality faction leaders as powerful as the Princes of John Davions era in the Federation and far more ruthlessly ambitious. Threaded between them were the power structures and lesser players -official and unofficial- both looking to support their superiors … and to replace them. Unsurprisingly, this made the TARGARYEN case book one of the heftiest contingency plans in the entire 4th Succession war.
House Kurita had survived for centuries through careful preparation and a supremely ruthless ability to play factions off against each other when they couldn’t be bound loyally to the Throne and Takashi was no exception. Combined with a general population fully indoctrinated from birth to death to accept Kuritan Supremacy as the natural order of things and the Coordinator was undeniably at the top of that order. But throughout the 3026-3028 timeframe, Hanse Davion and Katrina Stiner put considerable effort into setting up Takashi for a rapid series of hammer blows to undermine the structures that put Takashi there, all timed to hit with maximum effect concurrent with the Steiner-Davion wedding.

The first impacts undeniably took place very early in 3026 after the successful raid against Helm that publicly netted incredibly valuable war materials - Lostech war materials no less!- but secretly and infinitely more critically, the Helm Memory Core. Quintus Allard and Simon Johnson painstakingly worked to ensure data leaked that the memory core had been ‘lost’ with the Nagayan Mountain complex to keep ComStar from any knee-jerk reactions, but also making it clear to their enemies just how incredibly valuable this cache could have been if Marik or Kurita had been able to get there first.
At the same time, the two leaders and their spymasters also laid out just enough ‘breadcrumbs’ to finger Archduke Hassid Ricol in the Combine and Duke Garth of Irian in the League as the sources of the FedCom information. Men known for their ambition who had been deep in independent plans to grab the cache without bothering to do anything so reasonable as informing their lieges of their intentions. Clearly, Davion and Steiner intended to drive (another) wedge between the two most powerful members of the Concord of Kapteyn who already had little to no love for each other - and in that it worked splendidly. But in a more subtle way it's clear that there was a hope that by ratting out the men responsible for leading the FedCom nations to the cache, they would in turn come under a microscope that laid bare their reasons for wanting such a cache and, hopefully, provoke a response from internal factions that would distract them about the time Hanse and Katrina were ready to move.

Suffice to say, the end result was quite possibly greater than even Hanse Davion may have hoped.

While SAFE were not able to quite get the level of proof needed for an open accusation (as the Duke of Irian proved very agile in destroying all evidence of his intentions and killing a few loose ends) enough was sniffed out by spies and fairweather friends in the court on Irian to more than convince Janos Marik of the Dukes intentions … yet it was simply not to prove it in a court of law, making an open accusation a very very dangerous thing in the mess that was League politics.
Worse, it became clear to the Captain General that Duke Garth had built a surprisingly broad amount of support across many of the smaller provinces and independent worlds - support that took him off guard. It meant that any move against him without overwhelming proof was fraught with risk of both sides rapidly bringing in more and more supporters and a full scale civil war breaking out.
Accordingly, Janos and Duke Garth worked to consolidate their positions and chip away at their opponents' support. Things started to move down a chillingly familiar path for Janos as it became clear just how much support Garth had, with the League Parliament serving as a proxy battleground as MPs acting for both sides while everyone tried in public (with increasingly strained expressions on faces) to pretend everything was normal as provinces and major worlds started to play their own games...

In the Combine however Ricol, perhaps in arrogance, did not realize how firmly in the Coordinators crosshairs he had been placed until it was far too late. In truth, the Duke was a member of one of the factions of the so-called Black Dragon Society with a personal code-name of ‘Ruby’. In a microcosm of the Combine itself, the Society worked to present themselves as a unified force against the Coordinator, but were riddled with sub-factions and groups often only vaguely aligned with each other - sometimes even with entirely clashing goals united only by an absolute desire to take down the Coordinator. It also seems clear that Ricol had been involved in a confused attempt to clearly eliminate at least Takashi Kurita and possibly Theodore Kurita in 3019 - one that he may have been double crossed in. Ricol escaped with his life and reputation intact thanks to some very rapid thinking -and a quick murdering of the only person who could link him to the conspiracy- but it is clear he had not given up his ambitions, highly dissatisfied with his position as a ‘mere’ Duke in charge of a half dozen worlds. And he spent much time looking to expand his domains, spending a considerable amount of time outside the Combine looking for opportunities, something that helped keep him off the ISFs radar.
If he had planned to raid Helm for his own ends, those of the Black Dragons - or indeed, even perhaps simply turn it over to House Kurita in exchange for considerable concessions? No-one will ever know for sure except MIIO and they to this day refuse to declassify the intelligence generated from The Red Duke outside of the most broad of strokes.

Unfortunately for Ricol, the Steiner/Davion press conference that alerted him to being in the crosshairs came roughly one week after a ‘vigorous’ exchange of notes between the Captain General and Coordinator. The lone ISF contact on backwater Helm (whom Ricols own agents had liberally engaged without bothering to ask for permission from the ISF) had already been picked up by SAFE and questioned. Worse, the local contact in question was not an ISF agent per se and she (when sufficient H-Bills were applied along with a ticket off Helm) proved perfectly happy to tell SAFE everything.
From there, the finger was pointed (via diplomatic channels) at Ricol by a furious Janos. Partially, to be sure, an attempt to domestically deflect the fact that the head of the Stewart Commonality was screaming in his ear at the fantastic value that had been lost to the Steiners thanks to an upstart Duke trying to snatch what was not his. Based on testimony from many people around the Captain General at that time, it seems clear that Janos strongly suspected that the Kuritas had been doing yet another of their ‘wink and nudge’ plays with a vassal ready to both take the blame if necessary or act through intermediaries while keeping the Coordinators hands perfectly clean from an operation he had authorised. And that ultimately, Takashi had simply been beaten to the punch by Steiner and Davion.
Suffice to say, the relationship between the two most powerful members of the Concord of Kapteyn that was strained even at the best of times turned somewhat frosty at both the accusations and angry denial. So much so that things had not appreciably improved even by the outbreak of the 4th Succession War and all at the low cost (for the FedCom powers) of giving up a Combine Noble that Katrina Steiner already held something of a minor grudge against.

For Takashi Kurita, while causing the Coordinator to lose face to Marik for an action he had in no way authorized or known about was far from a pleasing outcome, a more pressing question remained; what exactly had Ricol been doing going to Helm and raiding an ally of the Dragon in the first place?
Given that the very act was treason and going out on a limb himself for the contents just to turn them over to his liege seemed highly unlikely, at that point Subhash Indrahar moved in and set his people to watching Ricol closely. So when the news from Hanse Davion and Katrina Steiner broke, the ISF simply observed as Ricol promptly panicked and started reaching out to a great many very interesting people (several of whom had already been under suspicion of being Black Dragons) - which was more than enough to convince the Coordinator exactly who he was working for. Ricol himself ended up being invited to Luthien and, in front of the assembled Warlords and Coordinator (clearly as an object lesson to the more ambitious of the Warlords) he was granted the ‘Honor of Wakizashi’ after -carefully- admitting to (and being only accused of) grossly overreaching his authority on behalf of his Lord in going for the Helm Cache. Of greatly embarrassing the Dragon in front of its allies too. Ricol paid with his life ... but his family and House were formally spared any blowback from his ‘failure’ on Helm as he nominally atoned and balanced the scales by offering his life.

In hindsight, it seems obvious that Takashi was trying to hide the fact that he knew about Ricols associates from said associates. By all accounts, the Black Dragons seemed to buy the deception and Indrahar took the once-in-a-century chance with both hands. Carefully but quietly moving to identify the links in the chain that both he and Takashi believed would terminate with Marcus Kurita.
But if that was his plan, it would come crashing down in rather spectacular fashion as 3028 arrived and the relative calm of 3027 was shattered under strife both internal and external the likes of which hadn’t been seen in the Combine in generations.

First of course was the Wolf’s Dragoons spectacular and highly public exit from the Combine. Kurita had seemingly been determined to force the Dragoons to make their permanent home in the Combine and had given Warlord Grieg Samsonov orders to this effect while applying subtle but increasing pressure from his end to press the Dragoons into compliance in a carrot-and-stick approach. It turned out to be a horrific miscalculation as the Dragoons firmly resisted the attempt at press ganging them into the Combines services through soft measures - and when Grieg Samsonov attempted to raise the stakes to the level of sending in an ISF strike team (posing as ‘patriotic civilians’) to seize the Dragoons Hephaestus space station and its crew as hostages, the Dragoons were ready. Having been forewarned of this exact plan by Hanse Davion himself through back channels, the Dragoons eliminated the ISF team (at the cost of six members of the 7th Kommando and some minor damage to the station that wouldn’t be fully repaired until it swung by Galax in 3032). And now primed with clear proof that the Combine were moving from simply pressuring them into joining the Combine into outright putting a gun to their heads, the Dragoons executed contingency plans put in place after their fallout with Anton Marik to get themselves out of Kuritan space. By the time Takashi Kurita received word of the events unfolding, they were far beyond even his ability to stop as the Dragoons blasted their way clear, sending their dependents to Robinson with their supporting forces and training command while all five Mech regiments and independent commands diverted to Misery. There they met up with their long suspected offshoot of Snords Irregulars who just so happened to have come all the way from the Lyran Commonwealth to the Draconis March. There, they drew a line in the sand and all but dared the Combine to come at them as their formal contract with the Draconis Combine reached its end.

The Battle of Misery (due to a combination of factors) turned into a complete fiasco for Samsonov and the Combine, leaving the Galedon Military District sucked dry of line units seemingly overnight. The AFFS also did their very best to help while the units were slugging it out on the aptly named planet, burning down critical supply bases on a half dozen Combine worlds now left uncovered and ‘liberating’ over a dozen near priceless Monolith, Star Lord and Invader class jumpships from the DCA to boot! While Grieg Samsonov had put the blame squarely (and not entirely unfairly) on Minobu Tetsuhara who led his command squarely into Wolf’s trap on the Opdal Glacial Fields, he vanished before the DEST teams stormed his palace to arrest him, leaving Takashi extremely alone politically given how deeply involved he had been in the fiasco.
Ironically, the wedding of the century on Terra actually seemed to provide something of a reprieve for him as the AFFS, per an agreement Hanse Davion had made with the House Kurita, would stand down to a defensive stance as the wedding approached and hold it for a month after its conclusion should Takashi attend. If not for that, surely Hanse would have launched a general offensive into Galedon on the spot but now he had a three month ceasefire at a minimum if he attended. Using it, he put orders into place to shift assets around and prepare for whatever attack he was sure would be coming his way from the Federation once the ceasefire ended. Stripping units from the Lyran border and Combine interior - including the 1st Sword of Light from Luthien itself - and transferring the highly competent Kester Hsiun Chi to lead Galedon in the place of the deserted Samsonov. And with things in motion, Takashi headed to Terra determined to show an implacable face to the Inner Sphere despite all recent setbacks.

This determination crashed straight into a very much alive, very much angry and very much ‘determined to do this in front of the entire assembled senior nobility of the Inner Sphere’ Jamie Wolf barely minutes after he had arrived at ComStars formal reception. Speaking in fluent Japanese of a grossly disrespectful cadence as fascinated nobles from all five Great Houses watched on, Wolf squarely laid the blame on the Coordinators shoulders for the events that had unfolded between the Dragoons and Combine. Scorning him him as either a lying murderer or a weak and incompetent ruler completly incapable of controlling his subordinates; Wolf cast the family swords of his friend and Takashi’s loyal-to-the-end minon Minobu Tetsuhara at his feet. Castigating him as utterly unworthy of the honor and loyalty his vassal had shown him, Wolf warned Takashi that his realm would pay a very special price for his betrayal and to watch his borders before storming away.
The loss of face in front of a good chunk of the Inner Spheres nobility would have been bad enough for House Kurita and absolutely guarantee an attempt to counter it by obliterating Wolf and his people (which was of course exactly what Hanse Davion and Jamie Wolf were counting on), but less than an hour later, Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner found themselves formally welcoming the Coordinator to Terraa and their wedding and things got much, much worse. Their conversation for a time was the expected pro-forma between great enemies gathered in nominal peace ... but it took a right turn off-script when a comment from the Coordinator (who was perhaps still somewhat shaken or off balance from Wolf’s enraged berating) regarding their recent history might have gotten a little too close to both the ‘Ian Davion’ button and the recent attempted kidnapping of Melissa herself.
It was not a faux pas that could be easily dismissed, what with Yorinaga Kurita not far away in the middle of a polite but rather intense discussion with Morgan Kell … and it resulted in Hanse Davion taking the opportunity of an opening to warmly congratulate Takashi on his newest grandchild. Noting that a granddaughter named after the woman who had compiled the Dictum Honorium was a bold choice, almost as bold as Theodore naming his first legitimate child Hohiro after his own father. And almost impishly noting that he and Melissa had considerable ‘work’ to do to catch up - earning him a jab from his fiance that shut him up before she added her own sincere congratulations.

Takashi Kurita held his composure astonishingly well ... given that this was actually all very much news to him.

It was well known in the Luthien Court by then that Theodores unwillingness to entertain his father's attempts to arrange marriages had strained relations for years. The breaking point had been after the aforementioned Black Dragon attempt on their lives in 3019 where Theodore's betrothed was caught up by her father's undeniable involvement in the plot and executed over Theodores most stringent and angry objections - alongside the rest of her family. Despite her clear innocence and ignorance of the plot.
The rift between father and son was torn wide open at that point and Theodore had flatly refused every attempt to set him up since then and Takashi in turn exiled him with a ‘promotion’ to lead the Legions of Vega - where Theodore unsurprisingly thrived and generated fanatical loyalty from his subordinates as ‘one of them’. But even Tasashi had probably never thought that his Son would go so far ‘in revenge’ as to marry and have no less than three children (by two women!) in secret. Such an action was no less than a direct challenge to the very authority of the Coordinator and his rights as the head of House Kurita to order his children to marry as he saw fit. Even the Heir.

Especially the Heir in fact.

Surprisingly from what can be pieced together with the power of hindsight, while his father was understandably angry at Davions revelation that his son would have done something so foolishly rebellious simply to spite him, he was actually far more alarmed that the only way Theodore could have kept this enormous secret from him given the number of spies Takashi supposedly had in place around him, is if Subhash Indrahar (his ISF chief) and Constance Kurita (the head of O5P) were deliberately keeping this truth from him.
Just like that, one of the most critical legs of the chair that kept Takashi Kurita at the top of the pile of seething ambition that was the Combines government had just been kicked out from under him as Takashi realized he could not trust his spymasters.

Yet the Coordinator, most impressively, showed none of this. With astonishing poise, Takashi offered a few more brief exchanges of plesenteries before declaring he would retire for the night while ordering his cousin to remain and represent House Kurita in his place as he returned to his suite of quarters - and so it is claimed, he promptly collapsed.
There is no formal record of the exact events that followed but it is undeniable Takashi Kurita suffered some kind of medical episode - a micro-stroke being by far the most likely - brought on by extreme stress. A crack medical team from the Physicians of the Dragon acted swiftly in extreme privacy enforced by the Otomo - so much so that even ComStar did not know what was going on under their noses until years later - and managed to keep Takashi ‘active’ through the visit, albeit with his social activities cut back to the absolute minimum possible to attend without losing face. Taken at the time as a calculated mild snub to his hosts.
However he did take the time in response to Wolf’s goading to issue his ‘Death to Mercenaries' decree the very next day and sent it via ComStar, at considerable expense, to all worlds of the Combine and all units of the DCMS. Something which would cause major headaches for many of his subordinates when it was sprung on them with no warning (and a whole new kind of ‘misery’ for other Mercenary units in service to the Combine).
Next came of course the legendary wedding reception itself, after which the Combine left Terra immediately correctly anticipating that war would be coming to the Combine. However before leaving, he did again have a large number of HPG messages sent out from Terra directly, bypassing his chains of command by having ComStar send them personally to specific people. One of which being an uttermost priority message to his son demanding he immediately come to Luthien with his wife and all of his children.

Alas, when his dropship arrived at Luthien via the command circuit on September the Ninth, waiting for him was only the grim news that his only child and Heir Theodore, was dead at the hands of Patrick Kell and the Kell Hounds in the opening wave of attacks.

For almost any parent, being forced to bury their only child would be a horrible burden and Takashi had more than enough of those already. The Coordinator perhaps took some solace in the fact that by all reports his son had met his death like a true Kurita, fighting hard against hopeless odds and finally confronting the enemy CO in a fair duel that he lost, taking his own life by his own hand with his own sword rather than becoming a prisoner of the Lyran Commonwealth.
Even so, evidence strongly suggests that Takashi had a second micro-stoke on the burn in from the jump point to his capital at the news, requiring more extreme medical intervention to keep him up and active.
Nonetheless, utterly driven to not lose face as a week of national mourning and vengeance for Theodore was declared, Takashi walked off his dropship looking perfectly normal (thanks to the most robust medical support possible). His first official act upon returning home and with unseemly curtness moving through the ceremonial greeting of his household was to order the Kell Hounds (despite polite but intense private protests from Yorinaga Kurita) to be added to the Death for Mercenaries edict, before sending his cousin to bring both Subhash Indrahar and Constance Kurita to a private audience chamber.

The events of the meetings are not entirely understood, but a broadly accepted picture of events has been put together from various sources.

For Indrahar, Takashi simply dismissed him from his position. It would appear that Takashi accepted his oldest friend's assertion that he had hidden the truth of his Son’s family after finding out only to prevent deepening the schism between Father and Son at a time the Combine could simply not afford it. Accordingly, Takashi essentially ‘exiled’ him to a desk job on New Samarkand with his remit narrowed only to focusing on the threat of the Black Dragons and eliminating them entirely - a task that would be impossible to ever finish of course. Serving to exile him while still making use of his exceptional talents in service of House Kurita.
Ironically this also put him squarely in the line of fire when Natasha Kerensky visited the world in 3029 and it was only by the skin of his teeth that Indrahar avoided being quite literally stepped on as the Black Widow smashed her Warhammer through one side of the ISF headquarters building and out the other. More than that though, his absence from Luthien would prove catastrophic in the coming year and open up a window of opportunity that the Black Dragons would not hesitate to take advantage of.

Constance Kurita however suffered a harsher punishment. She was removed from her position that afternoon as Keeper of the Family Honor then thrown into an ISF cell (without offering any resistance or protest) when she refused to provide Takashi the location of Takashi’s grandchildren and his apparent daughter-in-law. The Coordinator clearly did not accept her protests that she did not know where they were. Only the fact that she was also the daughter of Marcus Kurita probably stayed his hand to not do anything more than order her arrested - for now. Although the ISF, out of a rare showing of professional courtesy, quietly worked to make her ‘stay’ as comfortable as they could, most likely on final orders from the still extremely respected Indrahar.
"I, the Baron of Strang, care not for your new names. Clans? Jade Falcons? I call you by your true name: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will, persecutors of the Periphery come back to lord it over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans!"

-Baron Stepan Von Strang

Chris OFarrell

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #502 on: 26 April 2020, 20:19:26 »
Finally, after dismissing the minimal court and returning to his chambers, Yorinaga is known to have approached his cousin and after some discussion, gained permission for a ‘deep strike’ against the Davions. He already had plans advanced to gather and reforge the last of the Ryuken into an auxiliary unit attached to his own and he now presented his plans to jump the border and start an intense and rapid raiding campaign behind the Davion front line.
Takashi, after consideration, seemingly eventually agreed with his cousin and gave him leave to attack the Federated Suns. Ordering him to cause the maximum possible disruption to keep Davion off his back, while the Coordinator would focus his attention on the Dragoons (who Yorinaga would hopefully isolate from any help) and the Warlords threw back Steiner.
It is highly doubtful that Takashi gave explicit permission for him to run all the way to New Avalon, throwing away his units as well as several Jumpships and Dropships for a high-profile but ultimately futile attack on the enemy capital … but seemingly trusting his cousin's judgement now that he had moved past his obsession with Morgan Kell, he had orders sent to Kester Hsiun Chi to launch against the Dragoons at once, refusing to accept any more requests for delays to rebuild his defenses and reminding him that boldness in the attack and seizing the initiative was the best form of defense right now.

In any event, Yorinaga left Luthien almost at once (impressively he had already shifted his unit to Misery on his own authority with the ISF successfully hiding this fact from Davion spies) but there was one last Kurita to visit Takashi on this evening.

Chandrasekhar Kurita was a more distant relative who had been exiled from the court by Takashi, on the grounds of him seemingly refusing to take anything seriously. However, hiding behind his eccentric persona was an incredibly sharp and keen mind that saw only the long game, with massive public business interests that would easily have put him in the top fifty richest men in the Combine. Although in reality, like an iceberg, his ‘public’ interests were simply what he allowed to be seen with the far greater bulk of his power and resources remaining hidden and dispersed across the Inner Sphere making him secretly one of the ten richest men in the entire Inner Sphere who was not a House Lord, with a vast information network through his ventures that brought a considerable amount of information to his attention.
Unlike Ricol however who was often his closest point of comparison, he remained loyal to House Kurita and had been especially close to Theodore. And despite the lateness of the hour and his own fatigue, Takashi granted him an audience … and was probably rather surprised when, along with his loyal wife Jasmine Isu, Takashi found himself being presented his two ‘legitimate’ grandchildren; Hohiro Kurita and Omiko Kurita. Along with their mother and his daughter in law, Tomoe Sakade.
Takashi was by all accounts quite pleased with the two children, perhaps due to lingering regrets about the way things had ended with his son - or just like most grandparents throughout history, being immediately bewitched by his incredibly young grandchildren and especially the toddler ‘Omi’. Trusting them for now into the care of their grandmother to rest from their long voyage, he instead took the opportunity to closely interrogate his new daughter-in-law, after silently reading her DCMS record that Chandrasekhar had passed to him before excusing himself.

It is almost certainly apocryphal given the lack of any primary evidence support, yet it seems taken almost as fact by the Combine that Takashi tested his Sons widow by promptly ordering her banished from his home and barring her from ever seeing her children again. Naming her a peasant of no birth who had polluted the Kuritan bloodline that he would try to salvage. Sakade (supposedly) in response laid out four of his crack bodyguards in less than five seconds when they tried to grab her, before holding the Coordinator himself at gunpoint with one of their weapons and freezing the reaction team that burst in in their tracks. With utter seriousness belaying the auto pistol pointing at the Coordinators head, the younger woman informed him that she was in fact descended from the original Prince of Rasalhague as well as the pre-coup union of Duncan Cameron and Johanna Kurita. And that she also had no intention of abandoning her children.
After a long moment of Silence, the Coordinator -supposedly- laughed aloud and congratulated her for passing the test and offered her at once a position both in his household and a transfer, given her undeniably impressive DCMS record, into the Otomo. With her first assignment decreed by him to be remedial hand-to-hand training for his bodyguards, who had clearly proven slightly less impressive than he had hoped. With Sakade promptly surrendering her weapon back to the rather miffed bodyguards, prostrating herself and swearing her allegiance to Takashi and House Kurita.

It should be noted again there are no primary sources which back up these events. All that can be said for sure is that Sakade became officially a part of the Kuritan household at this time, albeit a quiet part in the background with little to no public profile.

One week later however, Takashi’s attempts to keep medicating past his health problems in the high-stress environment while maintaining his activity resulted in the inevitable; a far more serious stroke. One that left him unconscious in an induced coma as the fate of the Inner Sphere was decided. An absolutely iron-clad security lockdown around the Palace of Unity was invoked to hold the truth in place with the ISF working hard using dozens of carefully pre-recorded generic messages that Takashi, with great foresight, had recorded on the trip back from Terra designed to be pieced together in case he became incapactied. House Kurita was undeniably at its most vulnerable in centuries with the Coordinator at death's door, his son dead and his new and untested new heir Hohiro over a decade away from being able to take the throne.
In Takashi’s place, a secret council nominally chaired by Chandrasekhar Kurita issued orders in the Coordinators name and kept up the illusion Takashi was saddened and withdrawn by his son's death but working hard to rally the DCMS, throw back the Steiners and redress the grievous insults of the Dragoon war criminals.

It is clear that, eventually, the Warlords found out the truth through their network of contacts, but none moved to act - at least not yet. The pell-mell rush to the Throne that might have (would have) been imagined in normal times was prevented by the simple strategic reality of the war with the Warlords of Benjamin, Dieron and Rasalhague fighting for their lives on one hand against the fact that Chandrasekhar quickly started to do a rather good job, supporting them while letting them run their theaters. The new Warlord of Galedon, Kester Hsiun Chi, was busy trapped in his own nightmare as his initial attempts to rebuild had been all but thrown away by a micromanaging Takashi into the jaws of the Wolf while in Chi’s former district of Pesht, the young new Warlord Hogo Manati showed his loyalty to Luthien by squeezing everything he could out of the interior regions of the Combine to support the front lines. Although his enthusiastic efforts of trying to get more blood from a stone did start to cause disruptions to the social harmony of the Combine that would only grow over time.
Even so, it seemed, on the surface, that the entire Combine leadership was rallying to face the threat together.

But only on the surface.

The first hint that something was wrong came when Kester Hsiun Chi found that a large force of units he had been able to painfully pull together on Marlowe's Rift had vanished, to his considerable anger as they left behind not a clue where they had gone. This sudden movement was also detected by DMI across the border who had been watching the gathering force and in response Archduke Sandoval ordered the Eridani Light Horse to shift forward, ready to counter any new attacks  …

But none came.

All five units instead appeared in orbit of Luthien on the 8th of April under the command Grieg Samsonov.

Perhaps unfairly looked down upon in 3040s history books as an enraged buffoon whose greatest skill was blaming everyone else for his failures, the truth is that Grieg Samsonov was an accomplished leader who reached his post mostly on genuine merit. His district had higher productivity than any other and showed a greater ability to bounce back from losses as the 3rd Succession War dragged on. He retained (perhaps surprisingly) high loyalty from his troops and his reputation as a Battlefield commander was solid, if lacking the awe and genius of contemporaries such as Yorinaga Kurita.
While it is certainly true he had enough ambition for all five Warlords and if ‘betrayed’ would level entire star systems, he was also not kept around by the Coordinator so long because he was an ambitious fool either. And after fleeing the immediate consequences of the Battle of Misery one step ahead of the ISF (who had been ordered to arrest him and bring him -or his head if it was absolutely necessary- to Luthien), it seemed that Samsonov was at some point approached by and accepted an alliance with the biggest faction of the Black Dragon society, seeing little to lose by throwing in with a possible new order.

As the political situation on Luthien deteriorated, Samsonov made his dramatic re-entry by approaching the units trying to pull themselves together on Marlowe's Rift, three of whom were at roughly sixty percent strength and with absolutely no supplies feeding through the ruins of the district's logistics network. Known personally to the officers of the 8th Sword of Light, Samsonov’s arrival with dropships filled with significant logistics support from the Black Dragons (via Yakuza middlemen) clearly threw the officers for a bit of a loop given the orders out to detain him, but earned him at least a seat at the table to explain himself and he took maximum possible advantage.

By all accounts, his presentation was very slick as Samsonov lied through his teeth with the truth. Starting with revealing the true state of the Coordinators health and what was happening on Luthien, accusing Chandrasekhar of launching what amounted to a palace coup to place Theodores mixed-blood bastards onto the Throne - presuming they even were Theodore's children of course - while Takashi was unconscious. That he would effectively seize power for himself in the childrens name, using them as a figurehead and disposing of Takashi with a ‘turn for the worse’ at a convenient time. He supported his arguments with entirely valid evidence proving people were using pre-recorded videos to maintain the illusion of his activity and that all the orders in the name of Takashi they were receiving were nothing of the sort, but were from a council of fools trying to rule the Combine from the shadows.
It certainly did not hurt his case that almost all of the senior officers present who knew of Chandrasekhar knew only the reputation he had cultivated which was about as far from the conventional image of a strong noble leader of the Draconis Combine as it was possible to be. The thought of him secretly leading the Combine during its greatest crisis without having been formally given the position by the Coordinator was a slap in the face to the members of the 8th (whom the other units looked to for their lead) and when added to the unsavory rumors about Theodore himself that had led to his exile …

It was not, therefore, in the end terribly hard for Samsonov to paint himself -and those who stood with him- as patriots standing up for the Combine in its darkest hour to save their Coordinator. Even more so because, probably to the surprise of many present, he was not seeking the throne (or a regency for the Coordinator) for himself but acting in service to a far more ‘worthy’ candidate. And even as Samsonovs unit started their drops onto Luthien, Marcus Kurita (who had been very solidly frozen out of the shadow Government for the very good reason that none of those involved trusted him) was already moving. Having led the Otommo for years it was quite easy for him to convince enough of them that he was acting in the best interests of the Combine and, accordingly, it would be for the best if he took a regency in Takashi’s name, very carefully presenting himself as simply defending Takashi’s interests and not looking to the Throne himself.

At least not yet.

Thus, with the Otommo in turn remaining formally neutral and withdrawing their attention entirely to guarding the Coordinator until his recovery, the way was clear, with only the ‘children of Theodore’ were in his way.
Tomoe Sakade however was warned by O5P agents as Marcus started to move and with the help of a handful of the Otommo who chose to side with her and the ‘true heirs’, she managed to gather both her children and vanish into the night with ‘Uncle Chandy’, taking a fast dropship away from Luthien. Several aerospace lances of Chandrasekhar’s personal guard sacrificed themselves to ensure they made it away clean to a jumpship waiting at a pirate point when Samsonovs incoming forces diverted some of their own aerospace units in a probably futile attempt at a tail chase, with Marcus and Samsonov secretly blaming the other for letting the children and Chandrasekhar slip out of their fingers.
Even so, while Marcus Kuritas victory was not complete (and the escape of Theodore's children would ultimately be his undoing), it did mean at least on Luthien he took control swiftly. The ISF’s leadership was in chaos and this kept them out of the way during the crucial time period of Marcus and his Black Dragon allies consolidating their power. A situation not helped by the near destruction of their ancient headquarters on New Samarkand and sheer chaos that was causing their operations.
O5P too were far from helpful to Marcus, even after the Keeper of the Family Honor and titular head Constnace (Marcus Kuritas daughter) was released and restored by the Regent. All without realizing that it was in fact she who secretly passed on the warning to Sakade that let her escape and that O5P would be a silent thorn in his side in trying to find Theodore's children and those who started to support them.

In the short term Marcus was able (with surprising smoothness carefully cultivated support from the Luthien court led by Black Dragon members across the planet) to seize the reins of power. The next day, broadcasts went out across the Combine to all worlds and Warlords openly stating the truth of Takashi’s current incapacity to the general public, but reassuring them that a strong Kurita was now standing firm as his regent until the Dragon recovered. Including footage of Marcus prostrating himself before the bed ridden Takashi and pledging his life for Takashis of course. Marcus also used the speech to name the beaming Grieg Samsonov Gunji-no-Kanrei Gunji of the DCMS, with a remit to bring order and coordination sorely lacking to the Combines struggle against their enemies as they turned their own technology against them. Topping off the message was a cross to a live feed of a DCMS Dragon from Luthien Armor Works showing off its own new Triple Strength Myomers with its speed and power evident. Built entirely by new lines setup in the Combine (through truly herculean efforts by Chandrasekhar’s people Marcus took credit for it should be noted), the unsaid message to the Warlords that if they wanted this they needed to play ball was heard loud and clear.

It was a message that would be rather well ignored. CASE TARGARYEN would be declared on the 11th of April by the AFFS.

It would not be rescinded until 3036.
"I, the Baron of Strang, care not for your new names. Clans? Jade Falcons? I call you by your true name: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will, persecutors of the Periphery come back to lord it over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans!"

-Baron Stepan Von Strang

Chris OFarrell

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #503 on: 26 April 2020, 20:19:48 »
The Eagle takes flight

To say that the Free Worlds League was divided over what their response should be to the outbreak of the 4th Succession War would be of probably little surprise to anyone, least of all themselves. The strongest voice for joining in on the war on the side of the Concord of Kapteyn was from the Duchy of Tamarind, with Prime Minister Otho Korituk insisting that now was the time to strike towards Bolan. However he was a very notable minority in his enthusiasm as even longtime allies in such thoughts like the Silver Hawks Coalition and Stewart Commonality were surprisingly cool on the idea.

There are several reasons to point at for their lack of support of course. One was purely strategic; the sheer mass of the Lyran and Suns assaults were almost unprecedented in their power and force, making it clear that Katrina and Hanse were ‘playing for keeps’ and were operating a scale that would clearly take a national response to coordinate. Even the vaunted DCMS was being torn to pieces and the wild rumors of ‘Lyran SuperMechs’ (with carefully organized LIC leaks to make it clear that units remaining facing the Free Worlds League were also being upgraded with the TSM technology) added a whole layer of ambiguity. Ergo, the ‘Hawks and Commonality publicly took the stance that patience and time would give a better chance for the Free Worlds League to jump into the fight fresh when the other powers were exhausted - and that it would take a national response, not a few border provinces, to get them to move on that.
It also didn’t help that the Draconis Combine had with their ‘Death to Mercenaries' order earned the ire of Kristen Marik, the Captain General's daughter and an aspiring mercenary herself. A public statement denouncing the Combine publicly for their vile actions no doubt increased the Captain Generals headache, even if she nominally held no formal title or position, the media gave her words considerable play. And with both the Free Worlds Leagues allies reputations being dragged through the mud, public sentiment for simply staying out of the war was riding quite high, no matter how many messages Maximilian sent Janos demanding assistance.

But in truth, the main reason there was little enthusiasm for pushing into the Lyran Commonwealth is that the power players in the Free Worlds League were far more interested in events inside their borders than outside it when they were under no clear threat themselves.

While Lord Garth of Irian had failed to get his hands on the Helm cache, he had also been shrewd (and fast) enough to ensure that he was not caught red-handed in his intentions. It might have been taken as a foregone conclusion by the Captain General and his close allies that he had indeed been planning to use the equipment to put his ambitions for a much higher post than he currently held, but, without anything like the hard evidence to prove it, there was little that Janos Marik could do. Especially as it became increasingly clear that Garth had a huge support base through many of the ‘lesser’ provinces and independent worlds that no-one had anticipated - as well as a strong ally in Dame Catherine Humphreys and Andurien who had put considerable resources into the remarkable rebuilding of Irian BattleMechs Unlimited (that the Captain Generals troops had destroyed to deny to Anton during the civil war - a sore point to many people on the planet).
In the aftermath of Helm, Garth seemingly settled in for the long term and decided he could only go forward, not back. The block that Garth had formed could be broadly said to be anti-Capellan and with his Helm project ruined, he seized on it as a wedge issue and pushed, perhaps inspired by Cranston Snord's Trolling masterpiece on Nestor during the Helm covering raids. For all the border worlds history and hate of the back-and-forth with the Lyran Commonwealth (and the clear fact that Cranston Snord was, yet again, taking the opportunity to tweak the Captain General at a distance), the giant ‘artwork’ got incredible play in the media on worlds closer to the Confederation. The reminder that their leader had gotten into bed with a man who had eagerly supported his brother only a few years back trying to steal his throne?
Seemingly overnight even as the Free Worlds League struggled to come to grips with the events on Helm, Garth had become leader of the ‘loyal’ opposition to the Concord and the leader of the anti-Capellan block that Dame Humphreys had nominally led (and seemingly had no problems with him taking on). And as the Captain General dared not publicly accuse him without hard proof, Garth ruthlessly took every opening he could to reposition himself and discourage Janos from sending in Federal troops to just kill him and be done with it, lest he touch off a second civil war.

Of course, Garth also had more than a few enemies; most notably the Captain General himself but also an understandably furious opponent in Earl Hector Stewart. Leader of the Stewart Commonality and speaker of the Federal Parliament who used every trick in the book to cut support away from Irian with limited success, counter-balanced directly by the Silver Hawk’s who chose to support Irian, being no friends of the Confederation. The Duchy of Oriente, while nominally neutral in the entire glaring match, had absolutely no desire to jump into a war on behalf of House Liao and little care for taking on House Steiner and opinion polls taken there were rather receptive to most of the sentiments pushed by Garth's faction. The Principality of Regulus, just to be contrary, decided to proclaim a motion of support for the Captain General … apparently just because he was doing a good job, given that there was ‘officially’ nothing to support him over. And unsurprisingly Marik was firmly behind Janos. Most of the remaining provinces also did their best impersonation of denying there was any issue at all inside the Free Worlds League, while privately making it clear that they didn’t want anything to do with this … unless it was in their advantage to do so, while independent worlds support tended to be measured by how close they were to the Confederation.

This left the Captain General in the most curious position of publicly supporting an alliance he hated, supporting a war he refused to actually commit to and finding himself in a political tug of war with a man who wanted his job to do exactly what he wished he could do.

The calculus shifted even more in late 3028 when Hanse Davion publicly announced the truth about operation Doppelganger to the Inner Sphere. The primary audience was of course the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth, but it was fair enough to say it hit like a lightning bolt across much of the Free Worlds League. Hanse Davions war was reframed almost overnight and Garth wasted no time at all in having his allies in Parliament scathingly point out on the very next sitting day that while the Captain General had seemingly decided to forgive and forget Maximilian inciting his little civil war, Hanse Davion at least had the guts to take the attempt made on him and repay the Liao. With interest!
There was of course the expected back and forward at that, but it was when a young MP from Zion, Casandra Knight, stood up that things moved into a new paradigm entirely as she asked the question of how they knew that Hanse Davion was the only one to have suffered from this? Wondering aloud how they could be sure that the Anton Marik who one day decided to rise up in rebellion … had really been Anton Marik? How did they know that he hadn't been the original prototype of Doppelganger and the real Anton not tortured for everything he knew and disposed of afterwards, as had almost been Hanse Davion’s fate?

The young MP of course had not the slightest evidence and on the face of it, the accusation should have been dismissed out of hand. But in the new reality of Hanse Davion’s terrifyingly perfect duplicate, the accusation landed like a crashing Overlord onto the floor of the parliament. After a shocked silence lasting several seconds, a shouting match erupted in which the nominal ‘Garth’ faction were joined with increasingly broad support as they threw themselves with full voice behind that question until Hector Stewart shut down the floor for the day and suspended parliament for the rest of the week in a rather transparent attempt to buy time.
It was a futile effort of course as the Free Worlds League media erupted into an utter frenzy on the back of Hanse Davions revelation. The Capellan ambassador tried to rubish the accusation - and undermined his entire attempt by repeating, almost verbros, the official House Liao line that Doppelganger was a complete lie word for word, refusing to engage on the subject no matter what evidence his host presented from suspiciously rapidly delivered press kits from the Federated Suns that destroyed his credibility and only ramped up the accusations and suspicions almost to the level of paranoia in some parts.

If LIC or MIIO had any hand in pouring fuel into this fire is still unclear, but it is undeniable that the idea spread like wildfire across the League and public opinion was firmly against helping the Capellan Confederation. The Captain General’s refusal to condemn the Combine for Death to Mercenaries or the Confederation for Doppelganger only played into Garth's hands until finally in January even as RIPOSTE was going in, the Captain Generals hand was forced and he decreed that the Free Worlds League would not attack either of the FedCom powers unless attacked in turn. While noting that they still reserved the right to provide economic and logistical support to their allies. The Captain General made little secret of his contempt for the Chancellor trying for yet another civil war in his enemies, but equally not wanting to make any rash decisions, he fought to keep the Free Worlds League out of the war.

As compromises went, his decision undercut the increasing noises in parliament to openly begin legislating to terminate the Free Worlds Leagues participation in the Concord of Kapteyn, but it hardly did anything to calm the border regions which were seeing the AFFS crushing the Confederation and, frankly, wanting to get in on the ‘fun’. Even the Captain General's own advisors pointed out the stark strategic fact that if the Federated Commonwealth were able to heavily damage the DCMS and shater the Confederation not simply militarily but politically, it would leave the Free Worlds League badly isolated and instead of having one weaker and one strong nation on the border, they would have a unified mega-nation surrounding it that would have control of the Confederation on top of their own industries, glaring across the borders at them because of who they had chosen to stand with. And if - somehow - the Confederation survived, they would certainly be unhappy with them abandoning them at the crunch anyway.

In short, the Captain General had to pick a side.

Incredibly, Janos refused to act - perhaps fixated on his internal issues and not wanting to deploy his Federal and loyalist troops into a battle they might not want to fight. And given that at this point in time Hanse Davion had ‘only’ taken thirty worlds from the Confederation and there were debates as the delay after the 3rd wave grew if he would continue the push, the Captain General held firm to his guns and refused to act, instead refocusing his efforts on trying to splinter Garth’s support base. Unknown to him however, Garth had been in secret contact with the leaders of the Federated Commonwealth from later 3028. Via an elaborate courier chain into the Lyran Commonwealth of still unknown methods that somehow managed to evade even the intense net SAFE had thrown around him. Through this chain, he received assurances and concluded several agreements on behalf of the Free Worlds League. And with them in place, Garth decided to take his plan to the next level.
The Captain General had been found wanting by many actors in the Free Worlds League, seemingly paralyised and unable to either make a decision to support his ‘allies’ or break away from them. And while Gath had long since lost his support for a straight play at the Captain Generals throne, he had been reborn as a Champion of the Free Worlds League against the Concord they were trapped in, seeking to build a new powerbase with considerable success in that space as the Captain General ground his teeth and fruitlessly tried to find evidence with which he could hang the man.
But finally, through the first months of 3029, more and more reports from SAFE came in insisting that Garth was rallying his forces and allies for a major move. The Captain General did what he could to dissuade any rash actions and urge this stupidity to end, but in April news came back to Atreus that at least fourteen provincial Battlemech units were on the move, including several Mercenary units and a large number of support forces - and possibly even two Federal units!
The Captain General ordered all his allies to full military readiness even though it would take weeks for them to arrive at the capital or any other ‘friendly worlds’ … but it proved unnecessary.

The first units to hit the Capellan Confederation went in on the 8th of April; all three Sirian Lancer regiments arriving at their homeworld and wasting no time in launching a full scale invasion to ‘reclaim’ the world the Confederation had ‘reclaimed’ just prior to the Concord being signed.

They were not alone in launching attacks.

Two units of the Defenders of Andurien jumped into the Zenith point of Betelgeuse and started a full burn for that planet even as additional units hit Sigma Mare and Latice which were all but undefended and took them with barely a shot fired from the local militia. A near dozen units scraped together by other worlds along the border jumped in as well, albeit over the next two weeks as jumpships had to shuttle back and forward, with Federal units staying put and watching in a mixture of shock and awe as the border erupted.

Raids in the Terran Corridor, targeting the Dutchys in the Tikonov Commonality as yet not targeted by Hanse Davion found surprisingly weak resistance and indeed, in four cases, the local units outright defected to the League troops with incredible speed. It would later be confirmed negotiations had taken place between Davions 3rd and 4th Waves with the worlds and units on them, with the ‘League’ representatives pointedly noting they had the choice of joining the Free Worlds League, or, being crushed under Hanse Davions stylish boots and spurs. In fact, Hanse Davion himself had given his consent to the Free Worlds League in general to attack all the border Dutchys without any contest - with a singular exception for the world of Outlook, which the Federated Suns claimed, albeit with a concession to hand it over by 3035 (in hindsight they very clearly knew about and wished to loot the significant industrial assets that had gone unlocated since the fall of the Star League).

Only on the worlds of Tall Trees and Hall was there any real fighting - and then not directed at the Free Worlds League. The Maskirovka seemingly getting wind of the plans of the locals to outright defect attempted to do the unthinkable and open up the weapons vaults of the ancient genetic research facility that had been the development site of the New Tierra del Fuego II Plague, with plans to ‘salt the Earth’ and punish the population who were so eager to betray their Chancellor.
Mission orders would later confirm in fact that they were supposed to move the weapons offworld and back to Sian where they would form part of the ‘special weapons’ cache to be held in reserve as a last ditch defensive option against Davion, but were taken off guard by the planets sudden decision to defect when the Free Worlds League troops arrived and started to burn inbound. The Tall Trees Militia moved to stop them and were only partially successful; a single missile managed to airburst over the city of Helena and would result in the deaths of over eight million people, although six other targeted cities were saved by truly heroic work by the militia. The Free Worlds League moved in quickly to bring what support they could, but an undeniable resentment would stir in the population for the catastrophic losses as a result of the League troops arriving. Albeit, with far more hate directed towards the ‘Monster on Sian’.

Concurrent with the launching of the attacks, a broadcast from Lord Garth was disseminated to all Free Worlds League media stations on the capital, provincial capitals and key worlds - and would from there be quickly spread to the rest of the League. Standing with a dozen powerful figures from Provinces and Worlds bordering the Confederation, Garth announced that history was on the move and the entire Inner Sphere was being reshaped. And as the Captain General was refusing to accept this, it fell upon true patriots to act.
He did take pains to stress that he was not Anton, nor was he seeking the Captain Generalship (a statement that no doubt incurred a great deal of scorn from a great many Nobles). Rather, he insisted that he and those with him were launching an operation to eliminate one of the greatest threats to the Free Worlds League once and for all. A war of retribution against the Confederation for what they had done to the Free Worlds League and Anton Marik, condemning the Captain General for his cowardice as he broke bread with a man who had either backed his brothers bid for the Throne or, far worse, stolen his brother away and replaced him with a twisted mockery under his control like he had come so close to doing with Hanse Davion.
And that if the Captain General had no interest in avenging his brother and the League, then they would as they would no longer tolerate the insanity of existing with House Liao, but would help put him down like the mad dog he was.

At the same time, he acknowledged that they did not have the strength to take on the Confederation themselves, but with the Federated Suns now launching their next waves of attacks, they could make a very good start, calling upon the rest of the Free Worlds League to follow - and for the Captain General to lead them into this battle as was his role. That unless he wanted the Federated Commonwealth alone to redraw the map of the Inner Sphere, the time was now to move forward as one nation and let history be their judge for the sake of their children and their children's children!

Twenty Four hours later later, Oriente (who had seemingly held back their own forces at their jump points to see what would really happen) launched an invasion of the world of Jasmine with quite overwhelming force with two units of the Fusiliers of Oriente backed up with two Mercenary units, clearly looking to minimise their footprint to defend, while still clearly pulling a seat out at Garth's table … and establishing a foothold in the Confederation only two Jumps from Sian itself as everyone wondered what course Janos Marik would now take.
"I, the Baron of Strang, care not for your new names. Clans? Jade Falcons? I call you by your true name: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will, persecutors of the Periphery come back to lord it over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans!"

-Baron Stepan Von Strang

Red Pins

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #504 on: 26 April 2020, 21:57:22 »
>Squee!<

An interlude just dropped at Spacebattles - I was there minutes after - and its - just - perfect.
...Visit the Legacy Cluster...
The New Clans:Volume One
Clan Devil Wasp * Clan Carnoraptor * Clan Frost Ape * Clan Surf Dragon * Clan Tundra Leopard
Now with MORE GROGNARD!  ...I think I'm done.  I've played long enough to earn a pension, fer cryin' out loud!  IlClan and out in <REDACTED>!
Glitter - the herpes of the craft supply world.

Giovanni Blasini

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #505 on: 26 April 2020, 21:58:51 »
And the butterfly's wings keep on beatin'.  Good chapter.
"“Eternity is a long time, especially towards the end.” -- Stephen Hawking

worktroll

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #506 on: 26 April 2020, 22:07:34 »
Bravo! Truly epic in scope.

What a mess ... for some.
* 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"

mikecj

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #507 on: 26 April 2020, 23:08:45 »
Beautifully crafted!
There are no fish in my pond.
"First, one brief announcement. I just want to mention, for those who have asked, that absolutely nothing what so ever happened today in sector 83x9x12. I repeat, nothing happened. Please remain calm." Susan Ivanova
"Solve a man's problems with violence, help him for a day. Teach a man to solve his problems with violence, help him for a lifetime." - Belkar Bitterleaf
Romo Lampkin could have gotten Stefan Amaris off with a warning.

cawest

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #508 on: 27 April 2020, 00:29:28 »
GREAT WORK! 

SulliMike23

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Re: This Was Easier on the Tabletop - a Battletech SI Fic
« Reply #509 on: 27 April 2020, 00:55:22 »
John's ultimate change to the Inner Sphere can be felt everywhere. I look forward to see what would happen if the Clans got a whiff of what was happening.

 

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