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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 81494 times)

Mendrugo

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Date: July 9, 2571

Location: Terra

Title: Fall From Grace

Author: Chris Hartford

Type: Serialized Novel (BattleCorps)

Synopsis:  93-year old Captain-General Albert Marik reflects on the success of having all six Inner Sphere Great Houses sign the Star League treaty, ending the Age of War.  He ponders the task left to his heir, 70-year old Marion, as she works with the Camerons to maintain order among the six houses.  Albert and Marion discuss Ian Cameron’s obsession with bringing the four Periphery realms into the League, and regard it as a reasonable possibility only for the Rim Worlds Republic.

He worries that Houses Steiner, Kurita and Davion will press for war as a means of expanding their power and wealth, and that diplomacy will be shunted aside.  Three-year old Rhean Marik is introduced, alongside the power players of the new Star League, and tells Archon Viola Steiner she wants to be a Warhammer when she grows up.

Notes:  The prologue of “Fall From Grace” presents excellent imagery juxtaposition that captures the essence of the Star League.  A treaty dedicated to ending the “Age of War” and bringing peace is celebrated with a parade of BattleMechs through Geneva.  And despite all the hand shaking and fireworks, there are still rifts among the Great Houses. 

In line with the theme of this serial – “Fall from Grace” – the Star League and Rhean are both new and innocent, brimming with optimism and possibility, but already influenced by the omnipresence of the tools and tactics of warfare.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 20:40:25 by Mendrugo »
"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.

SCC

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #1 on: 06 January 2013, 16:51:42 »
Considering that the RWR was involved in bringing down the SL, bringing in the Periphery Nations was probably actually a bad idea

Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #2 on: 07 January 2013, 18:08:31 »
----- 2 Years Later -----

Date: March 6, 2573

Location: Santiago

Title: What I Remember Most

Author: Kevin Killiany

Type: Short Story (BattleCorps)

Synopsis:  Not two years have passed since the signing of the Star League accords, and already ‘Mechs of the 17th Galedon Regulars have occupied the Outworlds Alliance world of Santiago in response to intel reports that the Outworlds Alliance was massing BattleMechs, and that bandit forces were using the OA to raid Combine and FedSuns border worlds. 

Three months after the Santiago Massacre (December 14, 2572), the girl whose injury touched off the incident recalls the events of that day.  She’d been a talented artist who, entranced by a stunning winter wilderness scene, hoped to capture it on canvas.  However, by the time she returned with her supplies, a 17th Galedon Locust had passed through on patrol, destroying the natural beauty.  Enraged, the girl chased after the Locust and threw her paint set at it, getting doused with caustic coolant in return, which permanently blinded her.

She notes that, from the Santiagans perspective, evil strangers marked with a serpentine dragon came and claimed the world, despite its lack of resources or strategic value.  The DCMS forces claimed to be peacekeepers, there to head off the danger of war.  She references burned out buildings, empty storefronts and the overhanging scent of old smoke – a reference to the rampant destruction inflicted on Santiago City as the DCMS ‘Mechs patrolled.  (Despite the nearest reported “pirate” sightings being 12 parsecs from Santiago.)

Notes:  There are a number of substantially different accounts of this event.  The Periphery sourcebook indicates that on December 14, 2572, a DCMS Lance Corporal threw a canister of coolant from her barracks window at children who had been throwing snowballs at the building.  A seven-year-old child (no gender specified) was badly burned, and Combine infantry fired into the angry mob of Santiagans that gathered, killing 27.

The Star League sourcebook, however, indicates that on December 14, 2572, local children were running between a Locust’s legs pelting the soldiers with snowballs, rocks, etc.  A DCMS MechWarrior popped her Locust’s hatch and threw a can of coolant at a boy (gender specified) running alongside.  The cannister burst open and sprayed the kid with coolant.  The ‘MechWarrior tripped over a car while fleeing the gathering mob, and fired into the crowd, killing 27.  (ComStar's Star League report indicates that “there have been many versions of this incident," and declares this one definitive.  Historical: Reunification War reiterates this version.)

However, in “What I Remember Most,” the protagonist is a 13-year-old girl (12 at the time of the incident), who was doused directly by a stream of coolant poured from the Locust above, burning off her hair and blinding her.  Generally, the narrative fiction is considered the definitive account, whereas sourcebook entries represent historical research that may contain errors or be based on bad reporting.  Clearly, in Ian Cameron’s new Star League, the truth was one of the first casualties, and inaccurate contemporary reports misled ComStar historians centuries later.

The reports that the pacificst Outworlds Alliance, of all places, was amassing 'Mechs also seems hardly credible.  As we'll see in "The Top of the Scrap Heap," the OA lacked the technology to build their own 'Mechs until after the Star League collapsed.  If there were any "bandit" 'Mechs massing in OA territory, they probably originated in the Federated Suns.

One other item of note – the doctors say they can’t save the girl’s eyes, and that she’ll never see again.  This presumably indicates that cybernetic eye replacement technology hasn’t yet matured (at least not in the Outworlds Alliance).  Or perhaps there are some injuries that make cybernetic replacement unfeasible.  Frederick Steiner (aka Anastasius Focht) opted for an eyepatch rather than a cybernetic implant, despite ComStar's well documented skills with cybernetics.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 20:42:04 by Mendrugo »
"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 #3 on: 08 January 2013, 05:57:17 »
----- 2 Years Later -----

Date: March 19, 2575

Location: Atreus

Title: Fall From Grace

Author: Chris Hartford

Type: Serialized Novel (BattleCorps)

Synopsis:  Captain-General Marion Marik reacts angrily to news that, in the wake of the Santiago Massacre, the Periphery realms have responded to Ian Cameron’s Pollux Proclamation with a hearty “Bring it on!”  She’d thought it more likely that Ian would lose his temper and declare war, but the Periphery obstinacy has won them an early propaganda coup, and the Reunification War now appears inevitable with the Periphery states in the role of victims.

Young Rhean is excited by talk of war, and expresses worry that she’s too young (at age six), and will miss all the fighting.  Marion is more pragmatic, and worries that the war will be a long one.

Notes:  Continuing in her role as the personification of the Star League, Rhean shows desire for martial glory and belief that the Reunification War will be over quickly.  The chess game in the background represents the maneuvering going on at this stage (politically and militarily), while also evoking the Age of War conceit that warfare is a nearly bloodless game of maneuver.  (This may have been true when it was ‘Mech on ‘Mech, but as we’ve seen, infantry and tanks with BAR armor shed plenty of blood, not to mention what happens when DEST starts tossing fuel-air explosives around.) 

[Insert mandatory reference to the fact that the Taurian Concordat and Magistracy of Canopus never signed the Ares Conventions.  The early sourcebook statement that the Conventions were signed by ten states has been challenged a number of times by careful readers who noted that the Taurians proudly never signed and the Magistracy didn’t yet exist at the time of the Ares conference.  Recent sourcebooks have clarified that signers #9 and #10 were the United Hindu Collective and the Principality of Rasalhague, which were subsequently absorbed by the Federated Suns and Draconis Combine.]

A reference is made to a William Liao marrying into the ruling line of House Marik, much to Ian Marik’s displeasure.  Apparently Marik-Liao dalliances go back long before Sun-Tzu and Isis.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 20:43:01 by Mendrugo »
"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 #4 on: 09 January 2013, 14:14:23 »
----- 3 Years Later -----

Date: October 27, 2578 – October 28, 2578

Location: Caldwell

Title: So Costly a Sacrifice

Author: Philip A. Lee

Type: Short Story (BattleCorps)

Synopsis: TDF veteran tank commander (retired) Vincent MacLaren watches his young grandson Sammy play with toy ‘Mechs, and contrasts the innocence of play with the remembered realities of war.  All three of Vincent’s sons are on active duty with the TDF, holding the front lines against the Star League. 

News comes in that Ridgebrook, where his youngest son Andrew (Sammy’s father) serves in the 15th Fortress Battalion, has fallen to the SLDF.  This ominous news is followed closely by the arrival of a delegation of TDF officers with news that his sons Andrew, Ryan and Daniel have all been killed in battle.  As a final blow, the TDF serves him with papers recalling him to active duty.

Vincent reflects on what military duty has cost him.  His wife died while he was out on maneuvers, and now his sons are gone.  Despite his sons’ widows’ pleas to fight for a service deferment, he bids them and Sammy farewell and departs, vowing to fight to protect his remaining family with righteous fire.

Notes:  The theme of personal sacrifice for the greater good is frequently found in BattleTech fiction, but this scene is highly effective in spotlighting triumph of the warrior’s dedication to duty despite the personal costs he’s already borne.  Vincent notes that if he'd just lost one or two sons, he'd have worked through the grief, but stayed home to take care of their widows and children, but with all his sons gone, he feels the need to finish what they started.  This is the kind of attitude that must have been widespread throughout the people of the Concordat, since they managed to continue the struggle for 20 years.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 20:43:45 by Mendrugo »
"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.

SCC

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #5 on: 09 January 2013, 14:35:28 »
One interesting thing to note is that at this point the TDF has had the Toro for a long time

Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #6 on: 09 January 2013, 15:03:09 »
One interesting thing to note is that at this point the TDF has had the Toro for a long time

The only TDF 'Mech that appears in "So Costly a Sacrifice" is the Talos.  It's interesting that the toy 'Mech Vincent gives Sammy is an Archer, which doesn't appear on the Historical: Reunification War RAT for the TDF.
"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.

SCC

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #7 on: 09 January 2013, 16:36:06 »
My point was more that from what I've heard the Periphery Nations are not supposed to have full blown BattleMechs yet, only primitive ones

Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #8 on: 09 January 2013, 17:38:58 »
My point was more that from what I've heard the Periphery Nations are not supposed to have full blown BattleMechs yet, only primitive ones

The random assignment tables (RATs) in Historical: Reunification War indicate that the Periphery states now have access to a wide variety of 'Mechs in all weight classes.  The entry for the Talos indicates that the TDF had been using a mix of captured 'Mechs and new production based on stolen/reverse engineered blueprints.  The Taurians appear to have been notably more successful in reverse engineering enemy equipment than the Outworlds Alliance was 200 years later.

Most of the Reunification War stories we'll see show the various Periphery state militaries fielding full-fledged BattleMechs, but just not in as great a number or variety as the Inner Sphere forces.  The exception is the OAM, which gets its BattleMech support from the AFFS-backed Pitcairn Legion.  Keep in mind that, despite Star League propaganda, the RWR, TC, and MoC have levels of education and technology roughly comparable to that of the Inner Sphere states, and that the Reunification War takes place over a century after the BattleMech's introduction, giving the Periphery states plenty of time to catch up through battlefield salvage, tech-stealing, and in-house development.
"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 #9 on: 10 January 2013, 06:41:10 »
----- 2 Months Later -----

Date: December 3, 2578 – April 3, 2579

Location: Electra

Title: So Costly a Sacrifice

Author: Philip A. Lee

Type: Short Story (BattleCorps)

Synopsis: Vincent and the other recalled TDF veterans on Electra have little patience for TDF Colonel Bastian Gray’s bureaucracy and regulations.  They know their business and they want to get into the field so they can get the job done.  Vincent effectively shuts down a briefing on reintegration procedures, albeit at the cost of undermining Colonel Gray’s authority and earning his ire.

Four months into his posting on Electra, Vincent has resumed his SOPs from his pre-retirement days and has assumed a position of authority in the TDF garrison – even to the point of mentoring the younger troops and establishing rapport with the unit’s fighting men.  He also uses the mentoring to divert himself from dwelling on what he’s lost.

He discusses the war with Corporal Saunders, who argues that the TDF is fighting this war to force the Star League to respect the Taurian people, and that the absence of the Ares Conventions from the conflict will place the TDF on even ground with the SLDF, even if it places Taurian citizens at risk.

By February 2579, the SLDF task force has driven the TDF’s Pleiades Fleet into full retreat, paving the way for a ground invasion.  With limited assets (Augustus MBTs, Condor hovertanks, artillery, infantry and aerospace fighters, plus a handful of 'Mechs), the garrison commanders struggle to craft a defense strategy that will allow them to out-think SLDF commander General Wexworth and his six combined-arms regiments.

When the landings come, Colonel Gray fails to adapt to the tactical realities, and launches a doomed ambush against overwhelming numbers.  The TDF garrison is crushed and forced to fall back.  Colonel Gray is killed, leaving Vincent as the senior surviving commander of the Electra garrison.

Notes:  The briefing scene does a nice job of exhibiting Taurian pragmatism and propensity for independent thinking.  A similar CCAF or DCMS briefing would be greeted with reverent silence from the troops, while the equivalent Lyran briefing would be indistinguishable from a cocktail party.  Vincent and his colleagues aren’t seeking glory, honor, promotion or wealth.  They’re just there to keep their children from growing up under the Cameron star or Davion sunburst.

Based on his actions, Vincent appears to have shifted his parental role from his deceased sons to the troops now under his command, and by mentoring them, he is "raising" them as he raised his own sons. 

Interestingly, Corporal Saunders frames the Concordat’s refusal to sign the Ares Conventions in the early 2400s as a measure to keep from being overwhelmed by Davion numbers, whereas Reunification War Era Digest characterized the decision as being due to distrust of Capellan intentions, with the memories of the then-recent no-holds-barred Rim War still lingering.

The battle scene is chronologically the first to show conventional tanks taking out BattleMechs, which to this point have been portrayed (when not fighting other ‘Mechs) as unstoppable war-god avatars, striding across the battlefields blasting armored vehicles into scrap with impunity.  The process of phasing out BAR armor in favor of military grade armor probably has a lot to do with the change, since it greatly reduces the number of critical hit checks ‘Mechs will be able to make against tanks.  The ‘Mechs aren’t pushovers, however, and an SLDF Wasp manages to kill a 50-ton hovertank by itself.
« Last Edit: 28 May 2013, 22:01:17 by Mendrugo »
"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 #10 on: 11 January 2013, 06:12:23 »
----- 2 Months Later -----

Date: June 17, 2579

Location: Eleusis

Title: A Veiled Betrayal

Author: Christopher Purnell

Type: Short Story (BattleCorps)

Synopsis:  A team of FWL NIA agents infiltrates the city of Qurtuba on the Magistracy of Canopus world of Eleusis, hoping to win the world via political dealmaking with the Sultan of Eleusis, rather than armed invasion.  The Qurtuba region is dominated by an Islamic theocracy, which has been chafing under the dominion of the Magistracy of Canopus (Qurtuban fundamentalist Islam and Canopian Hellenism/matriarchy being a poor fit).  The NIA agents find Qurtuba’s culture restrictive, but hold out hope of winning the world away from the Canopians without bloodshed.

The NIA agents meet with a representative of planetary ruler Sultan Hossein, who admits hatred of the Canopians but notes great cultural similarities between the FWL and MoC, and asks why the Eleusians should exchange one infidel oppressor for another.  The NIA team promises complete local autonomy as part of the FWL.  The Sultan’s representative agrees, in principle, to allying with the Star League infidels to fight the Canopian infidels, pending the Sultan’s approval. 

However, before a formal deal can be concluded, a Canopian street preacher provokes a riot that turns into a massacre, prompting a spontaneous general uprising in Qurtuba against the Canopian garrison.  The Sultan is taken hostage by the MoC forces.  In the confusion, the NIA agents manage to extricate themselves from the city and report the mission as a failure – control of Eleusis will be decided by war, rather than intrigue.

Notes:  Just as the novel Ideal War drew heavily on imagery from the Vietnam war, the Canopian garrison troopers on Eleusis (as well as the FWL NIA team) demonstrate the effects of a cultural divide similar to that experienced by coalition forces operating in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade.   Interestingly, the FWL NIA agents sympathize with the Canopians (being more culturally in tune with them than with the Eleusians), but think, from a practical “hearts and minds” standpoint, the Canopians should have kept their views on Eleusian customs to themselves.   (A similar level of culture clash is shown in the late-3050s between FedCom garrison troops and natives on Zurich.)

Despite the NIA’s (and SAFE’s) poor reputation in the 31st century sourcebooks, the NIA agents portrayed thus far (in “A Dish Served Cold,” “The Spider Dances,” and “A Veiled Betrayal”) have been shown to be intelligent, competent, and dangerous foes.  If the NIA team leader has a failing in this story, it’s a compulsive urge to analyze enemy tactics and recommend improvements for how they should be doing things to be more effective. 

Interestingly, while Eleusis is portrayed in 2579 as a predominantly Islamic society, the sourcebook writeup for the world indicates that, circa 3025, this is only true for the region immediately around Qurtuba, and that the dominant religion of the planet has become Hellenistic.  Adherents worship Athena as a representation of a Gaian life force.  This may be a direct result of Canopian missionary work.  Canopian monks are seen preaching in the streets, and a gate guard (intentionally trying to give offense) wishes passers by the blessings of Diana.  The venomous hatred directed towards the Canopians by the story’s Islamic characters may be a reaction to just how effective the Canopians are in religious conversion planetwide.

Christopher Purnell’s writing style is top notch in conveying the sights, scents and ambiance of Qurtuba, and also offers an interesting description of practical adaptations to hostile living conditions (a toxic morning mist). 
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 20:55:37 by Mendrugo »
"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 #11 on: 12 January 2013, 06:17:44 »
----- 1 Year Later -----

Date: July 19, 2580

Location: Oriente

Title: Fall From Grace

Author: Chris Hartford

Type: Serialized Novel (BattleCorps)

Synopsis:  Under an assumed name, Rhean Marik attends classes at the Princefield Military Academy on Oriente.  The heirs of noble families run roughshod over the children of wealthy merchants as the pecking order sorts out, and (being undercover as a merchant scion) Rhean repeatedly clashes with Lambert Allison, grandson of the Duke of Oriente, as she refuses to comport herself as his inferior.

Notes:  Despite the rhetoric about the Free Worlds League having at least the trappings of democracy and representational government, it’s clear that many members of ruling families regard themselves as innately superior by right of birth.  In this case, however, Allison’s attempt to put an uppity commoner in her proper place in the social pecking order looks likely to backfire massively once Rhean graduates and reveals her true identity.

Life at boarding school seems utterly unaffected by the fact that a massive interstellar war is being waged, other than Rhean looking forward to starting ‘Mech simulator courses in a few months.  (I recall the Ken Burns Civil War documentary noting that daily life in the North was similarly unaffected.) The traditional elements of boarding school drama are in place, with Lambert playing Draco Malfoy to Rhean’s Harry Potter.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 20:56:44 by Mendrugo »
"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 #12 on: 13 January 2013, 00:05:23 »
----- 3 Months Later -----

Date: October 16, 2580 – October 28, 2580

Location: Electra

Title: So Costly A Sacrifice

Author: Philip A. Lee

Type: Short Story (BattleCorps)

Synopsis: Eight months into the Electra campaign, Vincent reflects on the progress of the war.  The TDF has battled General Wexworth’s overwhelming numbers with unorthodox tactics, volunteer human shields, booby-trapped buildings, and ambushes at chokepoints, but the SLDF continues to advance.  Worse still, the defeat of the Concordat's Pleiades Fleet means that the SLDF can bring in reinforcements and supplies at will, while the TDF garrison is steadily whittled away in a war of attrition.  Vincent’s aides predict total defeat within months.  In an attempt to change the strategic calculus, Vincent authorizes the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons as part of a final stand between Wexworth and Subaru City.

On the eve of the final assault, a number of Vincent’s crewmen withdraw from the mission, citing moral objections to deploying nuclear weapons.  On October 28, TDF Condors, LTV-4s, Tigers, and Augustus MBTs charge the SLDF lines, while the TDF’s few ‘Mechs (including at least one Talos) use a diversionary maneuver to bring the SLDF forces into the killzone.

The warhead arms, but the jury-rigged launcher fails.  Thinking only of the defense of his family, his world, and his nation, Vincent hurls his Augustus at the onrushing SLDF ranks, detonating the warhead as the tank slams into a Thug.

Notes:  Interesting that the TDF is fielding LTV-4s and Tigers – Hegemony and FedSuns designs, respectively.  There must have been a substantial interstellar weapons trade during the Age of War.  Alternatively, it’s possible that the Taurians are extremely good at obtaining technical specifications and making their own copies of other nations’ hardware.  Note that some sourcebooks show the Concordat manufacturing Rommel/Patton tanks and the cutting edge Hatchetman BattleMech shortly after their debuts.

Despite Vincent’s sacrifice, Electra (and the rest of the Pleiades Cluster) fell to Wexworth within months, and the use of nuclear weapons seems to have removed any psychological barriers that inhibited Wexworth from ordering orbital bombardments.  This reinforces the key point of the Ares Conventions – if one side violates them, all sides are free to escalate as they like, and the SLDF’s arsenal of forbidden weapons is a lot bigger and nastier than the Concordat’s.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 20:58:56 by Mendrugo »
"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.

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #13 on: 13 January 2013, 00:12:07 »
As far as I know the TC never actually signed the Ares Conventions, and it might be an usual treaty for a signority to use weapons banned by the treaty just because they were used against them

Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #14 on: 13 January 2013, 08:34:19 »
I think that "So Costly a Sacrifice" was trying to convey that the Taurians had, to that point, held back from using nukes for moral reasons, rather than due to treaty limitations.  A number of Vincent's troopers pull out of the mission on moral grounds.  One of the young officers that sticks with Vincent is optimistic about this turning the tide, apparently not having gotten the word that Ian Cameron has already ordered the SLDF to ignore the Ares Conventions.

Neither the Taurians nor the Canopians signed the Ares Conventions.  (The Taurians didn't trust the Capellans to abide by the restrictions, and the Magistracy didn't exist at that point.)  However, you'll see the massive difference in the conduct of the war on the Taurian front ("So Costly a Sacrifice" and "The Theseus Knot") versus the nigh cordial conduct, partisans aside, on the Canopian front ("Fall From Grace," "Battlefields," and "A Veiled Betrayal").  The sourcebooks noted that the Combine only really got interested in the Reunification War once Ian Cameron scrapped the Ares Conventions, clearing the way for some good, old fashioned war crimes, dragon style.
« Last Edit: 28 January 2013, 10:14:49 by Mendrugo »
"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 #15 on: 14 January 2013, 00:10:32 »
----- 1 Year Later -----

Date: December 19, 2581

Location: Terra

Title: Fall From Grace

Author: Chris Hartford

Type: Serialized Novel (BattleCorps)

Synopsis:  Far from the irradiated battlefields of Electra, now in Star League hands, Rhean Marik (still using the pseudonym of Frieda Moran) and friends enjoy the holidays on Terra at a Swiss chalet.  The Princefield cadets had just concluded a month of inter-school cohesion building visits with Sandhurst, West Point, and St. Cyr (in France).  Using the family estate in Troistorrents is a bit of a risk, since Rhean has already had to scramble to explain why she’s in a family portrait with Captain-General Marion Marik.

Rhean notes that it’s been 4.5 years since the Reunification War started, with no end in sight.  She contrasts the “civilized” conduct of the Magistracy/FWL front against the no-holds-barred Taurian bloodbath, and expects to be thrown into the meat-grinder herself in another four or five years.

Unexpected visitors at the chalet bring news of her uncle David’s death in a car accident.  His demise results in a reshuffling of the line of succession, placing Rhean’s father (and therefore Rhean herself) in line to inherit the throne of Atreus.  Her cover is blown to her two best friends, but she’ll be able to continue as “Frieda” at Princefield, albeit now with a dedicated bodyguard and a thirty-man backup team.

Notes:  The St. Cyr academy (located near Versailles) appears to have either lost prestige or been shuttered by 2750, as Field Manual: SDLF does not list it among the main Terran system military academies alongside West Point, Sandhurst, Frunze, and Forlough.  It did apparently offer BattleMech training simulators that were cutting edge for the day.

One of the biggest fan questions prior to the fleshing out of the Reunification War with Historical: Reunification War and the fiction covering the period, was that of how the Periphery states had held out for an entire generation.  To readers accustomed to the lightning-quick conquests of Operation REBIRTH, in which the Clans overran hundreds of worlds in a mere two years (taking time out to hold elections, for good measure), it seemed incredible that the mighty Star League could have taken a generation to overwhelm their outgunned and outnumbered foes.

This and other Reunification War stories help explain the slow pace.  Attempts to go for a quick kill often resulted in an upset victory for the Periphery states (such as the crushing Taurian naval victory at Tentativa, or MAF commander Burquoy’s destruction of FWL supply depots on the Magistracy front).  The SLDF realized that time was on its side, and resolved to conduct the war conservatively, without once again leaving themselves open to a devastating counterattack by trying to go too fast or do too many things at once.  In addition, this predates FTL communications, so rear-area commanders could be working off reports weeks or even months old, forcing them to leave tactical authority to commanders on the ground, while taking a slow and plodding grand strategic approach.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 20:59:50 by Mendrugo »
"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.

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #16 on: 14 January 2013, 12:40:36 »
This fasinating,  Thank you again for doing this project, Mendrugo.
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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #17 on: 14 January 2013, 14:44:55 »
I think the answer to your question about St. Cyr is that it is not a main Star League facility. Who knows how many "secondary" or private facilities that were listed as such.

Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #18 on: 14 January 2013, 16:21:28 »
I think the answer to your question about St. Cyr is that it is not a main Star League facility. Who knows how many "secondary" or private facilities that were listed as such.

I agree that St. Cyr is probably still around in 2750, but just not one of the leading institutions on Terra.

Field Manual: SLDF indicates that the SLDF operated 200+ academies (60 of which offered a comprehensive curriculum) and thousands of boot camps.  All but three of the comprehensive academies were in the Terran Hegemony.  The most prestigious were Sandhurst, the War Academy of Mars, and the Military Academy of Aphros.

My point was that it seems to have been good enough to have a student exchange with the ultra-prestigious Princefield in 2581, but isn't listed among the "best of the best" SLDF academies in 2750 - thus the relative loss in status.  West Point and Sandhurst are still listed in the 2750 roundup, perhaps indicating that St. Cyr didn't keep pace over time.
"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.

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #19 on: 15 January 2013, 00:03:32 »
----- 2 Years Later -----

Date: April 2, 2583 – April 5, 2583

Location: Cerberus

Title: Battlefields

Authors: Chris Hartford and Christoffer "Bones" Trossen

Type: Sourcebook Fiction (Historical: Reunification War)

Synopsis:  Three years into the Outworlds campaign, Delacour and Phillips (from the Federated Suns and Terran Hegemony, respectively) are SLDF infantrymen fighting their way through Charon City under the command of a former LCAF sergeant.  They get into a firefight with an Outworlder sniper (losing their sergeant in the process), then use Inferno missiles and satchel charges to take down an Alliance Thunderbolt that had been giving an SLDF Griffin some trouble.

Notes:  The hodgepodge nationalities of the troops in the squad are (probably intentionally) evocative of 1950s/1960s films about World War II, in which the squads would invariably be comprised of a multi-ethnic grab bag (Sgt. Fury’s Howling Commandos, etc.).

Anti-‘Mech infantry tactics have matured significantly since AFFS troopers first tried the satchel-charge-to-the-knee-joint tactic against a Hegemony Mackie in the 2450s, and got pulped for their audacity.  Such tactics greatly reduce a ‘Mech’s ability to attack with impunity, especially in a dense urban environment.  The Gray Death Legion got a lot of credit for "innovative" anti-Mech tactics in the 3020s, but it turns out they were just re-inventing the wheel (which, by that time, was LosTech in Trellshire ;) ).
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 21:02:53 by Mendrugo »
"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.

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #20 on: 15 January 2013, 02:55:41 »
The Gray Death Legion got a lot of credit for "innovative" anti-Mech tactics in the 3020s, but it turns out they were just re-inventing the wheel (which, by that time, was LosTech in Trellshire ;) ).

I'm saving this for posterity  ;D
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Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #21 on: 16 January 2013, 06:47:50 »
----- 1 Year Later -----

Date: May 2, 2584

Location: Canopus IV

Title: Battlefields

Authors: Chris Hartford and Christoffer "Bones" Trossen
 
Type: Sourcebook Fiction (Historical: Reunification War)

Synopsis: While Rhean is riding simulators at Princefield, her grandfather, General Ian Marik, marches his Orion down the streets of Delphi City, taking small arms fire from MAF holdouts in a supposedly secured sector.  Ian would clearly like to take the gloves off and lay waste to the city, but is reminded that Captain-General Marion Marik (his mother) has mandated adherence to the Ares Conventions.

Arriving at the Magestrix’s palace, he enters and is met by Magestrix Crystalla Centrella.  Expecting a confrontation, Ian is thoroughly befuddled as the Magestrix seductively surrenders governmental authority to him.  (Adopting a long-term stratagem of co-opting the occupier, rather than fighting them in the streets.)

Notes:  This scene builds off the “Serious Business” sidebar in the Periphery sourcebook.  The details are somewhat different, but that’s sufficiently covered by the sidebar being a second-hand account (that of Crystalla’s lady-in-wating) given 12 years later.

Of note, the Magestrix’s palace is in Delphi City in 2584, but has been relocated to the city of Crimson by the 31st century. 
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 21:05:27 by Mendrugo »
"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.

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #22 on: 17 January 2013, 00:04:11 »
----- 1 Month Later -----

Date: June 14, 2584

Location: Oriente

Title: Fall From Grace

Author: Chris Hartford

Type: Serialized Novel (BattleCorps)

Synopsis:  A month after the conquest of Canopus IV, Rhean Marik is back at Princefield, now with her personal bodyguard, Evangeline.  She’s being put through an academic wringer to prepare her to eventually assume the mantle of Captain-General.

While her friends hit the pubs, Rhean puts in more time at the ‘Mech simulators, then hits the showers.  A drunken Lambert Allison confronts her with rape on his mind, but is swiftly (and violently) dissuaded by Evangeline.  He vows revenge and flees, still under the impression that he was putting a jumped up merchant kid in her place, as befits his noble status.

Notes:  It’s telling that Allison gets off without punishment for his loutish and criminal behavior.  The League, moreso than any of the other interstellar states, is a collection of powerful noble Houses whose members generally enjoy immunity from the repercussions of their actions.  With a few exceptions (such as the obliteration of Regulus’ House Selaj after it was linked to a terrorist cell that tried to assassinate the leadership of House Marik), they maintain a “hands off” approach towards each other.

Of course, when exceptions happen in the League, they usually result in civil war.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 21:08:11 by Mendrugo »
"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.

St.George

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #23 on: 17 January 2013, 05:19:29 »
I can see a fanbook here,,,which it sould be.  O0
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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #24 on: 18 January 2013, 06:12:07 »
----- 7 Months Later -----

Date: February 18, 2585

Location: Panpour

Title: The Theseus Knot

Authors: Colin Donnelly and David McCulloch

Type: Short Story (BattleCorps)

Synopsis:  Commodore Theodore Rasmusen commands the Aegis-class THS Minotaur and joins the Congress-class FSS Klingenthal in battling a trio of Taurian Pinto-class raiders in the Panpour system, hoping to keep them away from a troop convoy bound for Tentativa.  The Klingenthal is crippled by an internal explosion and subsequently destroyed by the Taurians, leaving the Minotaur to deal with them alone.

Rasmusen is haunted by the memories of his previous command, the THS Lakshmi, which was lost with nearly all hands in the battle for Flintoft four years earlier, when the Taurians deployed over a hundred nuke-packing “fireships” to destroy or cripple 16 SLDF warships.

Debriefing the few survivors, Rasmusen learns that the Klingenthal’s energy batteries discharged into its munitions bays, causing the explosion and rendering the ship powerless when the Pintos attacked.  Given the good combat history of the Congress-class in general, Rasmusen and his officers suspect sabotage by Taurian agents.  He would like to contact the main convoy and warn them of the Pintos, but their communications have been knocked out.

As the Minotaur pursues the Pintos and debates using the lithium fusion batteries to rejoin the convoy, a technical failure causes fuel to begin venting from the ship.  Damage control engineers also find traces of a computer virus infesting several parts of the ship’s power net and control system.  It turns out that a team of Taurian saboteurs had intended to sneak aboard the convoy’s flagship, but had been left behind when the convoy moved out ahead of schedule, and settled for wrecking the Klingenthal and Minotaur.

Rasmusen leads the charge to flush the saboteurs out of the engineering bay, and figures out that the Taurians likely planned to ambush the troop convoy at the jump point, once the flagship was sabotaged and the escorts were drawn off by the Pintos.  He intends to use a pirate point to jump to the convoy and turn the tables on the Taurian ambushers.

Notes:  The use of “fireships” – suicide cargo ships either equipped with a nuclear warhead or packed with scrap and conventional explosives – is an interesting development that presaged the creation of modern “pocket” warships.  All that the fireships would have needed to achieve PWS status would have been to mount the nuclear warheads on ship-to-ship missiles, rather than relying on suicidal ramming attacks.

Terminology from this text suggests that the term “NL 55” refers to the bore-size of the laser emitter, referring to it as a “55 centimeter laser.”  Does that imply that a standard Large Laser has an aperture 8 millimeters (0.8 centimeters) across?  [Update: I've since come across references to Large Lasers as "8 centimeter lasers," so it seems that there's a non-linear increase in power output once you transition to capital-scale weapons that doesn't correspond to aperture size.  The points of damage = diameter in centimeters equivalency seems to hold, however, when the order of magnitude conversion to capital scale damage is applied.]

Despite being driven from the Pleiades cluster in 2578, the Taurian navy is clearly still an active threat to SLDF troop deployments, though now reduced to planning elaborate ambushes rather than head-to-head engagements.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 21:09:44 by Mendrugo »
"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 #25 on: 19 January 2013, 01:02:31 »
----- 1  Year Later -----

Date: May 11, 2586

Location: Oriente

Title: Fall From Grace

Author: Chris Hartford

Type: Serialized Novel (BattleCorps)

Synopsis:  With graduation approaching, Rhean humiliates Lambert Allison in a capture-the-flag exercise, showing him that she doesn’t need her bodyguard to beat him in battle.  Allison gets a further blow when Rhean not only beats him out for top honors at graduation, but is publicly revealed to be a Marik, and in line for the Captain-Generalship.

Notes:  Princefield is shown to have fairly sophisticated infantry training courses, with exoskeletons that freeze up to simulate damage.  A similar course appears in several scenes in the Blood of Kerensky trilogy, used by Hanse and company on New Avalon. 
 
Rhean’s training to eventually assume the mantle of Captain-General is evident here, as her primary concern, vis-à-vis Allison, is to take his confidence/arrogance down a notch in the hopes of making him a better line officer after graduation, rather than merely exacting personal revenge.

The Marik clan of this era appears to have significantly better familial relationships than many of the other Houses.  Leonard Kurita's a drunken loon who raids Hegemony worlds looking for his bastard offspring, Viola Steiner has been totally absent from the life of her son, Kevin, while she commands the Rim Worlds front, and Ursula Liao doesn't have any children. 

Thus, this graduation contrasts severely with that of Theodore Kurita, who gets top honors at Sun Zhang but is slapped down by Takashi, while Rhean basks in familial pride.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 21:12:14 by Mendrugo »
"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 #26 on: 20 January 2013, 07:41:26 »
----- 4 Months Later -----

Date: September 9-10, 2586

Location: Milvano

Title: Battlefields

Authors: Chris Hartford and Christoffer "Bones" Trossen

Type: Sourcebook Fiction (Historical: Reunification War)

Synopsis:  Alice Gallene, a pretty office worker on the Rim Worlds Republic world of Milvano, has to deal with the pressures of a foreign occupation by SLDF troops, officially there in a “peacekeeping” capacity.  She goes with a friend to a local club, noting that drink, dance and debauchery has become routine since the occupation began, with life continuing as usual while the RRA regulars hide in the hills rather than fight the overwhelming firepower of the SLDF forces.  She meets and seduces AFFS Major Thomas Hamilton and takes him back to her place...her place being a soundproofed room where her RRA cell can torture and interrogate her victim.

Notes:  A later sidebar in the Historical: Reunification War sourcebook indicates that Alice managed to bag more than a dozen SLDF officers by 2588.  These tactics certainly aren’t new to the Inner Sphere, having been employed against Terran Alliance marines by female partisans on Izar in the Outer Reaches Rebellion 250 years earlier, according to the Periphery sourcebook.

When meeting her victim, Alice speculates as to whether he’s an Elsie or Drac before he reveals himself as a Feddie.  It’s interesting that DCMS troops would have been deployed to Milvano of all places, so close to the Free Worlds League border.  From a logistics standpoint, it would seem to be more feasible to send them to assist in the fighting around Apollo, but the TO&E charts from H:RW would seem to indicate otherwise, showing four regiments of DCMS troopers assigned to Milvano.   Alice’s use of the term “Elsies” for the Lyrans would seem to indicate that their preference for heavy, slow ‘Mechs has been noted and derided over the past century.

The framing of the RWR front as an occupation facing insurgents with significant popular support goes a long way to explain why the Rim campaign took 20 years to conclude.  A large number of SLDF troops would have been tied down with counter-insurgency duty, making the RWR “hedgehog” fortress worlds in the core around Apollo nearly able to hold their own against the remaining forces the SLDF was able to bring to bear.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 21:13:34 by Mendrugo »
"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 #27 on: 21 January 2013, 08:47:01 »
----- 2 Years Later -----

Date: March 19-21, 2588

Location: Wisconsin

Title: Fall From Grace

Author: Chris Hartford

Type: Serialized Novel (BattleCorps)

Synopsis:  Now on the battlefield for real, Rhean takes part in a joint Capellan/FWL operation to crush Shepperton’s Freebooters – former CCAF regulars turned bandits – who have been using the newly settled world of Wisconsin as a base of operations.  19-year-old Rhean is a newly commissioned Lieutenant in the 1st Free Worlds Guards, and pilots a Guillotine.  The Freebooters she battles surrender once they are promised that they’ll be held in FWL custody, rather than being returned to Sian.

After the battle, CCAF Colonel Sheng (CO of Cheng’s Chasseurs) enters into a dispute with the First Guards’ commander, Colonel Appleton, over the disposition of the prisoners, who expect to be beheaded if turned over to Capellan justice.  Sheng is outraged to be casually rebuked by what he takes to be a junior FWLM officer, then shocked that she’s the Marik heir who calls his Chancellor “Auntie Ursula” and can swear in fluent Mandarin.

Notes:  Both sides are using a hodge podge of equipment, rather than the standardization imposed by SLDF in its postwar organization.  (Rhean’s lance consists of a Guillotine, Hunchback, Thunderbolt and Griffin.)  The Freebooters facing the Guards are armed with a Lancelot, Crusader, and Dervish, with accompanying infantry support.  Rhean’s lance destroys the infantry, Lancelot and Dervish, and accepts the Crusader’s surrender.

This account doesn’t quite match the writeup in the House Liao sourcebook, which describes the Freebooters being armed with 55 Wasps and Hornets.  According to the sourcebook writeup, the bandits used their lighter equipment and greater numbers to outmaneuver the Liao/Marik taskforce’s heavier ‘Mechs and take down 16 before the last two light ‘Mechs surrendered. 

Based on the Fall From Grace account, the ‘Booters had a variety of heavy and medium ‘Mechs, and were probably outnumbered by the attackers.  I would hazard to guess that the 1st Free Worlds Guards and Sheng’s Chasseurs would have at least a battalion each in the field, putting the numbers at 72 vs. 55 (assuming the Liao sourcebook estimate of Freebooter strength was accurate).  Since both units are commanded by Colonels, a regiment each would be more likely. 

One possible way to reconcile the two accounts would be to assume that Shepperton’s Freebooters was originally at regimental strength, and that they had two battalions of light scout ‘Mechs, backed by a medium/heavy battalion.  When the joint taskforce hit Wisconsin, the bandits’ 55 remaining Wasps and Hornets of the two scout battalions may have maneuvered to enjoy local numerical superiority over the League/Confederation forces as they closed in on the industrial complex that served as the Freebooters base, where the medium/heavy battalion was preparing an ambush.
« Last Edit: 29 April 2013, 21:15:21 by Mendrugo »
"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.

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #28 on: 21 January 2013, 22:01:58 »
Fall From Grace - March 19-21, 2588

I've never read this short-story, but Mendrugo.  Does it story read like the author was not aware or was ignoring the canon accounts from the old sourcebook material?

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Mendrugo

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Re: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Star League Era
« Reply #29 on: 21 January 2013, 22:23:18 »
The author, Chris Hartford, certainly knew the details of the sourcebook accounts.  He's the author of Handbook: House Marik and thus the leading expert on all things Marik.  (There's even an abandoned FWL system named for him - "Heart Fjord")

When there are discrepancies between sourcebook accounts and narrative fiction, I usually give the benefit of the doubt to the narrative fiction, and assume that the sourcebook accounts (which are usually presented as analytical reports and time-distanced third-party recountings) may be in error.  ("ComStar got it wrong" is a good way to explain anachronisms and discrepancies that appear later on.)  For example, the original account said that the Maskirovka detected the bandit base "near Wisconsin."  Well, what does that mean?  On a world within one jump of Wisconsin?  In the Wisconsin system?  On one of its moons?  It gets sticky trying to adhere exactly to the sourcebook account, so just assuming that ComStar Demi-Precentor Adal Corvin (in-universe author of the Liao SB) meant "on Wisconsin" instead of "near Wisconsin" makes the narrative flow better.

I have no inside knowledge of what Chris Hartford's thought process in putting 'Mechs in the story in variance with the House Liao sourcebook account, but it may have been that sending the Marik heir into harm's way with only a battalion in the face of superior numbers didn't seem like something the Captain-General would do.  In practical terms, it serves as a chronologically convenient backdrop for Rhean's coming of age into the Star League political/miliary arena.
« Last Edit: 21 January 2013, 22:25:40 by Mendrugo »
"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.

 

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