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Poll

What is your favorite Star League Era story?

Fall From Grace
12 (50%)
What I Remember Most
1 (4.2%)
So Costly a Sacrifice
0 (0%)
A Veiled Betrayal
1 (4.2%)
Battlefields
0 (0%)
The Theseus Knot
0 (0%)
Memories of Rain
0 (0%)
Seventy
0 (0%)
The Pear
0 (0%)
Destiny's Call
1 (4.2%)
Destiny's Challenge
0 (0%)
Way of the Champion
0 (0%)
Pulsar
2 (8.3%)
The Top of the Scrap Heap
1 (4.2%)
Greater Than Yourself
0 (0%)
Self Defense
0 (0%)
An Ill-Made House
1 (4.2%)
Living Legends
2 (8.3%)
Rise of the Animal
0 (0%)
Star Lord
0 (0%)
Tactics of Betrayal
1 (4.2%)
Desertion
0 (0%)
Hard Justice
1 (4.2%)
The Dark Night of the Soul
1 (4.2%)

Total Members Voted: 24

Author Topic: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era  (Read 69607 times)

Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #240 on: 26 May 2021, 11:32:38 »
Date: December 16, 2769
 
Location: RWR Outpost #25

Title: Off the Grid

Author: Herbert A. Beas II
 
Type: Sourcebook Fiction (Escape From Castle Wulfensteiner)

Synopsis: General Roland Offenbach pits his Warhammer against Major Grossman's Guillotine in a practice engagement pitting RWR forces against an OpFor emulating the Hegemony Armed Forces.  Grossman is taken by surprise as "HAF" artillery pounds the battlefield, hitting their own troops.  He argues that the "Terries" would never shell their own forces, and that Kerensky would never have the guts for such a maneuver.  Offenbach responds that the RWR certainly would use such tactics, and they should never make the mistake of underestimating the lengths to which an enemy might go.  The battle scenario ends in a HAF victory.  As the troops stand down and the clean-up crews move in, Offenbach's conversation with Grossman is interrupted by an Omega-Ten priority call from RWR Outpost #25's command center - The Stone.

Notes: The RWR Outposts were first teased in the original "Hot Spots" supplement for Mercenaries Handbook 3055, shown on a map as RWR Outpost #27, but without a corresponding contract.  (Presumably one was planned, but didn't make the final product, and FASA didn't feel like changing the starmap.)  Later sourcebooks indicated that the inclusion in the Hot Spots book was an accidental leak by ComStar Cartography, and that the Adept responsible had been severely punished.  The Interstellar Expeditions book added several more RWR outposts, and Shrapnel added the fictional RWR Outpost #666 as part of a MechAssault holovid.

RWR Outpost #25 appears to have been one of the secret deep periphery staging/training grounds for Amaris' secret army.  In this case, however, rather than joining the rest of the Amaris war machine in its seizure of the Hegemony, the Omega-Ten alert sets up a mysterious event that leads explorers there centuries later to delve into the mystery...and perhaps never to return. 

The dialogue between the RWR officers sheds some light on how the rank and file of the Rim Worlds viewed the SLDF and Kerensky, and why they felt confident that their lord's scheme would work. 

It's unclear whether the practice engagement is using simulated weapons or is a live fire drill (with or without powered-down weapons), but several blasts cause buildings to collapse and the Guillotine is smoking at one point, so it certainly seems like the Rimmers play rough with their toys. 
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #241 on: 27 May 2021, 01:59:46 »
Date: October 17, 2772
 
Location: Terra (AE)

Title: Fall From Glory

Author: Randall N. Bills
 
Type: Novel

Synopsis: In Moscow, under the rule of the Amaris Empire, young Kolya and his mother wander through the city, dropping off anti-Amaris leaflets.  Young Kolya, already agitated by the family's frequent moves since the "big thing" that happened recently, goes to play in a nearby park and meets a girl his age and a slightly older boy, arguing over a game called First Lord, a tag variant where the first one caught is the First Lord, and is ruled dead, while the last caught is Amaris, and the rest have to carry him around.  Kolya clarifies that the dead First Lord is Ryszard Semyonovich - a name that confuses the older boy, but makes the girl very scared.

As Kolya leaves, the girl's caretaker, Megan, slips out of the park with her "niece," Jes, and wonders how, out of all the people on Terra, she'd run into that particular family.  She worries that after evading assassins for years, all her efforts could be ruined by a chance encounter.

"Kat" - Kolya's mother - has watched the scene from afar, and noted Megan's panic as she approached the children.  She wonders if Megan could represent another potential contact for the underground cell she's establishing.  With the other children gone, she collects Kolya and takes him for ice cream and they return home, checking their backtrail for pursuit. 

In their apartment, she decides it's time to tell Kolya the truth - that his real name is not Kolya (the name she's used for him all his life), but is actually Nicholas Kerensky, and that he, like his father, is destined for greatness, once Aleksandr returns at the head of the Star League Defense Force.

Notes: So, here we begin to see the origins of Nicholas' father issues.  Raised to keep secrets and await the day his great hero father would arrive, only to be sorely let down by Aleksandr's unwillingness to fight further to keep the Star League together.  Starting early, the habit of secrecy and manipulation will become a core part of his character.

Jes, of course, first seen in Liberation of Terra II, is the illegitimate daughter of Richard Cameron, allegedly with one of his sisters, sent to be raised in secret because of the scandal.  As a blood heir of Richard Cameron, she'd of course be hunted by assassins, since Amaris was determined to exterminate the entire family line.  While Megan never joined Katyusha's rebel cell (describing Kat as "crazy" in Liberation of Terra II), Jes and Nicholas will become the closest of friends during their time in occupied Moscow.

Andery is, at this point, not let in on the secret, and was left with a babysitter during their excursion.  That leaves the weight of the kept secrets on Nicholas' shoulders alone.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #242 on: 28 May 2021, 00:45:35 »
Date: November 12, 2772
 
Location: Zebebelgenubi (LC/TH)

Title: Conflicts of Interest

Author: Joel Steverson
 
Type: Short Story (Eridani Light Horse Chronicles)

Synopsis: After five years of vicious fighting, the battered Eridani Light Horse musters on Zebebelgenubi as part of the SLDF's efforts to liberate the Hegemony from Stefan Amaris.  Major Astric Karlsson marvels at Captain Calhoun's ability to have scrounged up dress uniforms for the honor guard as the Rim Worlds Republic flag is lowered amidst the ruins of Ulsop Robotics' Ultracom training complex - where SDS operators were trained. 

ELH CO Colonel Ezra Bradley gives a lecture about duty, noting the values spread through the Hegemony's Modern Chivalrist movement, and the betrayal of Amaris the Usurper.  He cites the dedication of the Ultracom staff who gave their lives to halt the Republic's efforts to use the facility to train RWR personnel to operate the SDS systems, and notes that the Rim Worlders responded by turning the ruins into a death camp.  He describes the Rim Worlders' acts as having desecrated the world, but says that the population's perseverance has brought them through six years of tyranny to freedom.  At Bradley's signal, the RWR flag is lowered and burned, and the Star League flag is raised once more.

While watiing for a shuttle back to the ELH field HQ, Astrid and Captain Maeve Ramirez (CO of Maeve's High Flyers rapid scout company) commiserate over the destruction of the ELH's 19th Striker Regiment, which had been wiped out by the RWR garrison during a raid against Talitha, costing Astrid her nephew.  Astrid offers advice on dealing with emotional trauma - Maeve's unit had been the one to liberate the death camp.'

Colonel Bradley joins them at the shuttle pad, and advises Maeve that hating the Rim Worlders isn't the solution.  He admits that the Amaris Dragoons are monsters, but says the average RWR soldier isn't too different than most, with up to 1/3 of their forces consisting of conscripts.  He recommends Maeve form a support group to help herself and her peers to get through the long and difficult road ahead.

Notes: The opening epigraph identifies Zebebelgenubi as being part of the Lyran Commonwealth's Federation of Skye.  However, per Historical Liberation of Terra I and II, prior to the Amaris coup, Zebebelgenubi was a jointly owned planet, and wouldn't be formally annexed by the Commonwealth until years later (2783).  The fact that the Star League flag is raised instead of the Lyran one strongly suggests the Lyran-only epigraph is...premature.  Especially since none of the Great Houses, Steiner included, provided direct materiel or logistical support to the SLDF, so there wouldn't be any Lyran administrators on hand to oversee the world's rehabilitation under the Isle of Skye's aegis. 

Zebebelgenubi was a tough nut to crack.  Per Liberation of Terra I, it had two Castles Brian, but lacked an SDS (strange for the main training center for SDS operators to not have one they could train with...).  Despite the sabotage efforts, the facility trained several thousand RWR officers in SDS operation, and were able to bring all the Hegemony's SDS systems fully on line, so the partisans' sacrifice didn't really make that much of an impact.

Per LoTI, Bradley is correct - there are lots of conscripts in the RWR military - tens of thousands of unwilling HAF citizens pressed into service as infantry, overseen by loyal officers.

Zebebelgenubi was hit by the 15th Army Group's 11th Army.  While the ELH is normally assigned to the XI Corps, which was in a completely different army group, this is explained by a line of dialogue that the 71st ELH Regiment had been temporarily transferred from the XI to the 11th Army's V Corps for the assault.  The free-floating nature of the ELH allows them to be active outside their standard slot in the SLDF TO&E.  With the full V and XLIX Corps hitting the world, the RWR forces were overwhelmed, despite the protection afforded by the Castles Brian.

The stress of not only the battle for Zebebelgenubi and witnessing Rim Worlder atrocities, but also the years of fighting to conquer the Rim Worlds Republic is reflected in the tattered state of both the uniforms and their mental fortitude.  Interestingly, the ELH's V Corps wasn't involved in any of the Periphery Uprising campaigns - their first action would have been in 2767, when Kerensky sent Army Group Fourteen (including the ELH's 11th Army) against the Rim Worlds.  Due to the gross mismatch in troop strengths (789 SLDF BattleMech regiments, 882 SLDF conventional regiments vs. 15 RWR BattleMech regiments and 36 RWR conventional regiments), there wasn't much fighting, as the truly hard-core troops had gone to Terra with Amaris.  So, the hard fighting and mental wear/tear must be almost entirely from Zebebelgenubi and witnessing the death camps, though the death of the 19th Striker suggests that the ELH may have spent the years following the fall of the RWR raiding into the occupied Terran Hegemony to gather intel and support resistance groups, and that would more fully account for the stress and wear that's shown here.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Wrangler

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #243 on: 29 May 2021, 07:16:37 »
Truly a brutal war. I hope more stories are done or novella about aspects of it come out for it.
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Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #244 on: 04 June 2021, 01:32:54 »
Date: November 14, 2772
 
Location: Van Diemen IV (TH)

Title: Conflicts of Interest

Author: Joel Steverson
 
Type: Short Story (Eridani Light Horse Chronicles)

Synopsis: Aboard the SLS McKenna's Pride at the Van Diemen system's zenith jump point, SLDF Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky records a congratulatory message for Colonel Bradley, then issues orders to rejoin the 21st Striker and 151st Light Horse to support SLDF troops against the Amaris Dragoons on Lyons.

Notes: It's interesting that the epigraph notes Kerensky to be at the Zenith Jump Point for "Van Diemen IV."  The ComStar Cartography Corps' naming conventions vary wildly from system to system.  Some include the number of the primary settlement in the starmap designation - "Hesperus II" and "Van Diemen IV" being ready examples.  The question is, in this case, is the "IV" appropriate?  Or should Kerensky have just been at the "Van Diemen Zenith Jump Point," since the relative position of the main colony is irrelevant to the McKenna's Pride?

Historical: Liberation of Terra shows Lyons being hit by the 16th Army, under the 20th Army Group.  The 25th Amaris Dragoons and supporting Patriot battalions anchored their defense on the world's Castle Brian and liberally deployed biological and chemical weapons.  The siege of the Castle took two months before the last of the Amaris holdouts were cleared from its tunnels.  The Patriot forces were supplemented by thousands of conscripts, forced to man turrets and barricades under threat of having their family members tortured if they refused.  As a result, the SLDF forces tried to use non-lethal weaponry against the Patriot forces whenever possible.

The rapid transfer of the ELH around the active theater as a fire brigade shows.  After helping mop up on Lyons, they get transferred all the way across the Hegemony to support the besieged CAAN regiment at the Quantico fortress on Carver V, which has been holding out since the coup.  If they were ragged and exhausted after Operation Intruder (recon raids that preceded Operation Chieftain), imagine how shredded they'll be by the end of Chieftain.

The note on use of non-lethal rounds leads me to wonder - what did the SLDF have on that score circa 2772?  Are/were there 'Mech-scale sonic stunners?  Or mostly just gas-warheads for LRMs, SRMs and artillery shells?  Rubber bullets for machine guns?  The reckless abandon the Dragoons showed in deploying chem/bio attacks suggests they had plentiful stocks of environmental suits, so sleeping-gas strikes would be unlikely to have much effect, unless the Patriot brigades were underequipped and lacked protective gear.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #245 on: 04 June 2021, 04:49:00 »
Date: July 15, 2773
 
Location: Carver V (TH)

Title: Conflicts of Interest

Author: Joel Steverson
 
Type: Short Story (Eridani Light Horse Chronicles)

Synopsis: Astrid and Maeve engage Rim Worlders on Austera Island in Carver V's Sarmentosa Archipelago, along with the rest of the 16th Recon Battalion, while the rest of the ELH continued on to Imbros III with the 16th Army.  The 16th Recon is supporting General Saul van der Kolk's Cavalry, Armor, Aerospace and Naval (CAAN) regiments, operating out of the Quantico Marine Fortification, keeping Amaris' Republican Guards from fully conquering the planet, despite a six year struggle.

A Rim Worlder ambush places the irreplaceable LAMs of Maeve's lance under threat, so Astrid orders her unit to withdraw, much to Maeve's displeasure.  Astrid reminds her subordinate that the LAMs will be of far more utility providing recon data than blowing up Rimmers.  Astrid also notes that seeing the big picture and obeying orders are part of being a good commander.

Notes: The action in this scene provided a rare glimpse at long vanished technologies, by modern standards, with Firebees, Phoenix Hawk LAMs, Jackrabbits, and Demons dominating the field. 

Historical: Liberation of Terra I notes that the ELH began launching raids on Carver V by the end of March 2773, in support of the CAAN forces, keeping them intact in the face of strong Amaris reinforcements through '73 and '74.  According to the table on p. 81, Carver V had neither a Castle Brian (the Quantico Marine Fortification did not qualify as such) nor a Space Defense System.  That means that the SLDF fleet would have been able to enter the system and escort the ELH to orbit without the risk of the transports being smashed by Rimmer aerospace or WarShip elements.  (The Rim Worlders lost most, if not all, of their aerospace assets during their failed attempt to take Quantico out with nuclear strikes at the outset of the coup.)

The statement "With such a heavy naval presence, though, Kerensky's forces held on with few problems, further staging additional raids deep into the heart of the Hegemony core" suggests that the SLDF had more or less full control of the Carver system, and was able to use it as a staging point for further raids even while the Rim Worlders remained in control of the capital city of Korce and other portions of the planet.  One wonders, then, why the SLDF didn't move its ships into high orbit and begin pounding Rimmer positions with orbital bombardment to further support the CAAN troops.  (Perhaps they did - that might explain why the ambushing RWR troops are shown coming out of hidden tunnels to attack.)

However, the concerns about a lack of spare parts for the LAMs suggests that, at least circa mid-3073, there was no such overwhelming SLDF naval presence in the Carver system.  (Or that the SLDF, in general, was already running out of LAM parts, no matter how secure their supply lines were.)
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

VhenRa

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #246 on: 28 July 2021, 09:28:30 »
The statement "With such a heavy naval presence, though, Kerensky's forces held on with few problems, further staging additional raids deep into the heart of the Hegemony core" suggests that the SLDF had more or less full control of the Carver system, and was able to use it as a staging point for further raids even while the Rim Worlders remained in control of the capital city of Korce and other portions of the planet.  One wonders, then, why the SLDF didn't move its ships into high orbit and begin pounding Rimmer positions with orbital bombardment to further support the CAAN troops.  (Perhaps they did - that might explain why the ambushing RWR troops are shown coming out of hidden tunnels to attack.)
Well, if they control the population centers there is a very easy method to make someone trying to liberate an area hold their hand from the usage of ortillery.

Move your troops into said population center.