See Chapter 1 for disclaimers and other information
As usual, thank the crew, and they know who they are.
Ronel was easy, too easy. Part of the reason was it was a application of force not seen since mid Second Succession war against a target designed to withstand a Third Succession War campaign for a month, at most. The other part, was the planet itself was in primus, hostile to humans, so long term fighting wasn’t realistically possible, allowing the sheer superiority of numbers and technology we had to be decisive fast. Ironically, while Tybalt was almost as fast, the reason there, was the old adage, “Surprises aren’t.” It wasn’t easy.
Sun Tzu’s wisdom about deception applies. When you combine it with his words about knowing your enemy… you can bait a trap. It’s a good thing as Kath joked, I’m Bait Phenotype, isn’t it? But, as I learned at Tybalt… be careful. Others you don’t even know about might see the bait, and try to take it.
For all the Glory that Tybalt brought me and my unit, I keep in mind the price. For someone raised and trained in the American late 20th century mindset of war, considering the engagement size, it was agonizing. For someone of the 31st century, it was to be celebrated. Mindsets differ, and times differ. Still. Glory is never worth it.
From the journals and notes of Kikyo Onishi, New Avalon Press, 3291 AD, as part of the “Century of Chaos: The Movers and Shakers.” series.
Command Center, Dropship Xanadu, En Route to Tybalt, 5 days out, June 2nd, 3016.
We were well ahead of the schedule, expecting to land on Tybalt, find the Fury factory and see what it needed, a good month before the plan stated. Hanse wanted to take them at a run, and the Thirty-Fourth and Thirty-Sixth, plus the occupation units, had the fun of chasing down the last holdouts on Ronel. Acquiring ten UrbanMechs, two Cicadas, and a pair of Victors out of the battle, plus outside the Rico suits, enough to restore us to full capability in spares and armor.
"Ma’am?” One of Xanadu’s comm techs interrupted my pondering of Tybalt’s map. “Admiral Rostig would like to speak with you.”
"Put him on.” I nodded. Turning to the pickup. “Sieg! What can I do for you?”
"Didn’t MIIO say before we lifted from Ronel, that there were no enemy frontline forces here?” His tone was amused.
"... wouldn’t be the first time MIIO was wrong, or simply behind the OODA loop, you know that. Why?” I was getting a nasty feeling.
"I count, roughly, eleven battalions worth of transports for ‘Mechs, about the same in armor, maybe an additional regiment for armor, about the same in infantry, too. And a trio of assault dropships, plus, what looks like an additional Vengeance. Just in case that wasn’t bad enough.” His tone was amused and relaxed.
"You’d not be this amused, if something was off.” I sighed. Signaling the tech, I quickly sent out a message to the Armored Cavalry’s commander.
I could hear the glee and predatory anticipation. “Oh, yes. It seems the transports are not going to make landfall in one neat collection, and the assault trio is guarding the Vengeance, and they’re six days out. I count about… one-thirty to one-forty fighters, it would seem, if they could concentrate, that is.”
I drummed my fingers. “Odds of intercepting that trio? What are they?” The data came up on my screen, as Sieg relayed the data Tawara, our command Titan had gathered.
"An Achilles, a pair of Avengers.” His tone was amused. “Call it ninety percent to intercept, fifty percent to force a total engagement, with them using the Vengeance to hot bay the fighters.” I thought long and hard about this.
"I know we set it up so it’d be hard to see exactly what we had, is that still valid?” I really wanted to push the assault, and destroy their aerospace, but…
"They’ll figure it out, the question is, in time?” I heard the shrug.
"Do it.” I made the decision. “The Fleet is yours, Admiral, Fight it.”
"Consider it done, and enjoy two gravities of acceleration.” I shuddered. Kath would enjoy it, Asha shrug, Case snicker, but Evie and I would hate this. Needs must. I paused.
"Petty officer?” I asked the tech.
"Send to the jumpships to relay, and well, Comstar on Tybalt, to relay to the Heavy Guards and New Avalon.” I nodded, then thought. “As well as the Dragoons.” I bulked in as Xanadu accepted the new orders, and Colonel Jonathan Riffenberg sent an annoyed complaint, saying he thought it’d be better if we hurried to land, instead of trying a risky space intercept.
As I felt my weight double, without eating, how unfair, I sent back. “Air supremacy is worth it.” I also sent a message to Sieg, asking would it be possible to tie or lash down ‘Mechs to the hulls of the dropships, to add to their firepower.
Command Center, Dropship Xanadu, Tybalt System, 2 days standard travel out from Tybalt III, June 4th, 3016.
Sieg was grinning. Colonel Riffenberg was just shaking his head. “I can’t believe this.” the Colonel finally said. “They got to know we have over twice their fighters, and well into three times their dropships, and no one’s going to fall for the brainstorm of adding a dozen mechs to our ship’s hulls as mobile turrets.”
To my immense surprise, the transport dropships had hurried planetward, while the carrier group with the assault dropships had slowly matched our course, for an intercept. That allowed us to slow down enough for a period to add as the Colonel said, a dozen heavy and assault mechs to each ship, mostly the most armored we could find. We had carefully kept as many of our carriers hidden near Xanadu in the heart of the formation, but let the Colossus and Excaliburs be seen, which apparently tempted the commander of the space forces beyond compare. He had even added all six of the Overlords, to help provide hot bay space, and had stripped the planet of all the aerospace assets it had.
"Rough count is… we have three hundred twenty fighters, to their - at most - one hundred fifty, about sixty gunboats to their twenty, and well, dropships should be obvious. I’m curious if he did the same as us about our mechs.” Sieg said idly. We’d be moving one assault squadron out to the front, to join the other two, plus the pair of extra Avengers we had, as we launched everything, since interposing the two forces would happen in about an hour.
"Your thoughts?” I said, strapped in, since Kath had gotten Case to step on me and Evie taking our mechs out to bolt to Xanadu’s hull.
"Lunch." His tone was deeply satisfied. “Your authorization of the rocket pods, will go a long way to destroying this flotilla with as little cost as possible.”
Colonel Riffenberg’s tone was more worried. “I sure hope so.” As our last assault ships slid into position, as well as the hordes of fighters streaking towards the main engagement, I saw why Sieg was so happy. I felt the shock of the CCAF pilots, as they realized they were about to close with twice their numbers in fighters, as well as three times their number of assault dropships ran though their heads. And it was too late, due to the cold equations of space travel.
We didn’t know, but the sheer shock was worse. Apparently someone hadn’t made the guess correct on what units were hitting Tybalt, so they thought at worst, they’d have parity in fighters. We found this out by interrogating one of the prisoners we took. But as what seemed for an eternity, the two forces closed, and fire began. The Cappellian forces were clearly not interested in dueling, but getting to the eggs behind them, and our forces had dedicated half our strike to killing them. This would prove costly for them.
I watched as in the ten minute clash, all the Cappelian strike simply seemed to vanish, joined by a pair of AFFS Sparrowhawks, and a trio of mine, as shots ignited their rocket pods. Sieg however looked intently sasified, as our strike wings hadn’t been touched, nor the attack wings slated for the strike. I saw the Vengeance reverse course and try to escape the battle.
Sieg’s voice was deeply amused. “This will be over fast. Do you want us to try to take the ships? We do have the Marines in their suits on the gunboats.”
I thought about it, as the assault dropships met ours, backed up by a strike wing. “If you can, it’d be nice.” HIs answering smile was wolfish.
As Sieg’s smile indicated, the results were predictable, as while our fighters carefully wove and danced through the fire, stripping armor and weapons off the Overlords, they would be falling back with armor damage and other components needing replacement. For some reason, the Confederation Navy didn’t concentrate fire, and while Ajax, Hurricane and Augusta would need yard time, and four crewmen were killed by a compartment breach, the CCAF had lost all nine dropships, with successful boardings of three of the Overlords, as they hadn’t been killed outright, and one of the Avengers.
Evie was laughing. "Wow, just wow. Did Asha cornhole them or what?”
Kath’s voice came over the intercom. “Now we have to deal with their mechs, on planet, guys.”
"True that, been thinking on that. Let’s just drop on their heads and kill them all!” Case cheered. “And have tea and boast of our victories.”
I watched the Vengeance cut her drives, to be boarded. It appears the Confederation Navy wasn’t thrilled at dying when they didn’t have to. “Gentlemen, and ladies.” I dryly said. “I’m thinking about it too. They fell for bait already, bets on their insanity to fall for it again?”
Various snickers, giggles and one laugh answered me, while Colonel Riffenberg had the last word for now. “Depends on the bait, and how tempting, girl… they’re not stupid.”
Command Center, Dropship Xanadu, Orbit of Tybalt III, Local Morning, June 7th, 3016.
Colonel Riffenberg simply looked at me. “This… is either completely insane, or is completely brilliant. I’m not sure which yet.”
I nodded. “They seemed to have all congregated around the main spaceport and capital, knowing if we take that, it’s more of suppressing them. The link up with the local militia gives them… if our count is right, mind you, five regiments of armor, six of infantry, and slightly over eleven battalions of ‘Mechs.”
Kath snickered. “And if that commodore we bagged was right, they put Anton Marik in Charge. Good thing we sent that info off, nothing will stop Jaime from coming here with fury.”
I shook my head. “Not the plan, Kath. We build a nice FOB…” I got blank looks from several, and sighed. “Forward Operating Base.” Several ahhs. “Then everyone decamps to take ‘vital’ positions elsewhere, in an attempt to draw them out, except the command brigade.”
"You honestly think they’ll fall for it?” Case asked. “Seriously, it’s a good idea, but they’d have to be stupid as fuck.”
Gry hmmed. “Actually, I can see it working. After the reaming Sieg’s boys and girls gave them, Anton will need a triumph, and well, capturing our lostech and Kikyo…”
Riffenberg shook his head. “And that’s the part I don’t like. If this goes wrong, the First Prince might shoot us all.”
Seig shook his head. “We practiced for fast launch and lift, and with IR passives overhead, in small balls?” He shook his head. “I don’t say Ferret can take the entire mass, by herself with just me backing her up, but… if we time it right…”
The Colonel sighed. “You’re in charge. I like the concept, I have to admit, I don’t like what can go wrong.”
It was Evie. “Please, it’s Marik. Who thought it was a good idea to piss off Jaime Wolf."
The snickers answered that thought. I gathered my thoughts and finalized it. “We’re doing it. My orders, my authority." I shrugged. “And the trap works best if I am the bait.”
Riffenberg looked at me and shook his head. “And I wondered besides your body, what the First Prince saw. You didn’t even think of body doubles or that. You’re not even questioning being at risk.”
"I drive an Archer, I’m not that much of a risk.” I smiled back. “Just don’t be late!”
FOB Alpha, Tybalt III, 110 km from MacBeth, capital of Tybalt, Local noon, June 9th, 3016
"I really want to know where you got those FASCAM bombs from.” I shook my head watching another flight of Vulcan aerospace fighters pretend to practice their bombing. With very careful plotting, Sieg was making it look like we had taken nearly equal losses in our aerospace wings, or at least damaged the birds enough that we’d be repairing them for a while. It also helped that we sent one of our assault squadrons to the pirate point to take two of them for repairs, as well as our prizes, except Vengeance, which was in orbit, pretending to be empty.
Sieg just smiled. “There’s a richer man on New Avalon who financed the plant.” He shrugged. “The real trick was getting small enough radios that’d survive jump transit, so we could command detonate them, but Asha suggested going with simple transistors, since they just needed to receive the command.”
"I suspect the AFFS is going to make him even richer.” I grinned back at him. Numenor’s fuel cell makers had made a small mint off us already, and the AFFS was looking very closely at how we handled the conversion of ICE to fuel cell, and how the repairs and logistics went.
"In a way, I wish it wasn’t for war…” Sieg sighed, then brightened slightly. “But at least the Federated Suns doesn’t wage war generally on those who aren’t deserving of such, nor do they attack or try to enslave civilians.” He paused. “Generally, and I’d bet you’d be the first to agree, their corporate tactics aren’t the best, either.”
I sighed. “I can’t disagree. There’s that old history term, Carpetbaggers. The Federated Sun business community seems to thrive off it, not so much the Lyrans.”
Sieg thought about it and nodded. “The Free World league seems to do the same as the Suns, as well.” He shrugged. “Though in both cases, at least they don’t allow the rapacious behavior of Canopian corporations.”
I was about to say something, but the scream of shells from behind us, crashing into the ‘firing’ range we had set up, between us and the capital, along the best route between us, interrupted me. I turned to look behind me as the FOB was taking shape.
Colonel Riffenberg walked up, with Kath next to him. “Taking excellent shape.” He stated. Kath just snickered evilly.
"Biggest trap this side since Endor.” I smirked.
Kath instantly sobered, but Riffenberg beat her to it. “I would remind you that the Empire failed there, General.” He shrugged. “Of course we don’t have Jedi on their side, nor are we evil blackguards, but still. Overconfidence.”
I nodded. “Murphy’s rules, no plan survives contact. Hell, the easiest thing they could do to shaft this is… not come."
Kath nodded. “That would suck royally, but, we are working on a backup plan, right?”
I shook my head. “It’s called wait for the reserves to come, then take them.” I sighed. “Otherwise, with the defenses they’re building around MacBeth…”
"Yeah, New Aragon mark two, not my idea of fun.” Kath shook her head.
The AFFS Colonel winced. “I heard about that. It was most unpleasant from what I heard.”
Kath grinned slightly. “Understatement that. It wrecked us, the Dragoons, I mean, at the time.”
"But you still won.” I reminded her. “However, agreed. THAT cost is unacceptable. My view is we undertake a siege, while trying to level their defenses, once we have the reserves. Colonel, where did you get another one hundred and eight guns?” He surprised me by adding to my artillery park a full regiment of guns by my standards. Admittedly, these were towed Thumpers and Long Toms, but doubling my long ranged fire was more than acceptable.
"Ask no questions…” He grinned. “I still want to place my objections to this, at least your part in it, General; but I’m feeling a lot happier. I’m surprised at your liberal use of FASCAM, but I guess you’re thinking defensively, while we of the AFFS prefer to be on the attack.”
"With the command det, yes, it’s great instant defense.” I grinned. “And strategic offensive, tactical defense, is a valid way.” I thought about it for a moment. “I’d agree that it’s not my first preference, but even fights into prepared defenses is a sucker fight, and I prefer not to be the sucker in that case.”
Kath’s sudden cough indicated she had a dirty thought about it, but didn’t say it. The Colonel simply looked at her.
"Well said.” He looked around, and shrugged. “Back to screening, I suppose, to keep lookie loos away from us. This skirmishing is annoying my people.” He wolfishly smiled. “Do save some for my boys, we’re going to want to feast well.”
"I don’t think I can kill eleven battalions of mechs by myself…” I smirked. “I don’t have enough ammo, at that.”
He laughed. “Well, not in your Archer, no. But piled up and buried for safety? I’d not be surprised if you did. This will be very unpleasant.”
I looked at the works, the firing lanes, the semi buried roads, all the work of three engineering battalions, several infantry regiments, and of course, nearly two battalions worth of industrial mechs designed and used for civil engineering. Not to mention a similar weight of engineering exoskeletons for this purpose. “Oh, I think the Capellans and Duke Marik will find it quite unpleasant. That’s if they take the bait.”
Kath snorted. “He’s dumb enough. Even without it, he can’t get half his ‘Mechs off this planet without leverage, he goes back short a regiment plus of ‘Mechs? He’s going to have Maxy shoot his ass.”
"Still, ladies, remember, the enemy plans too. And sometimes amateurs are the most dangerous.” The Colonel’s words rang in our ears, as the next wave of fire struck the defensive belts.
Kikyo’s Tent, FOB Alpha, Late Local Night, June 17th, 3016
I was looking at some paperwork, plus the current to date casualty figures, while writing personal letters to the next of kin, far too few of my people had such, which didn’t make the task easier at all. So far, I had lost about a dozen tankers, two hovercraft, and about two dozen infantry, of all types to the relentless skirmishing. The FSAC, the Armored Cavalry, had lost a pair of ‘Mechs, and a pair of hovercraft, as well.
As I closed the folder, to be mailed out, Evie bounded in. “I’m bored! Where’s the enemy!”
I rolled my eyes. “Where they were two hours ago?” Before I could chide her for being a child, the camp phone rang.
"Ferret Actual, go.” I responded as I picked up the phone.
"Central, relaying for Count Actual.” A click, and a slightly scratchy voice came through. “M’lady? They’re moving. Those IR balls have sent the signal.” Another pause. “Estimate time of contact, call it zero three hundred local, you. My birds will be ready to strike.” I tilted my head and looked at the clock.
"It’s zero two twenty now, they’re a bit stealthier or smarter than I thought. Count?” Evie brightened, and zipped out.
"Looks to be just about four regiments each of armor and infantry, motorized or mechanized, and unless they’ve been hiding some I’d say it’s all their ‘Mechs, at least eleven battalions. Going to have a bit of a fight, since I estimate that Gry and Albert can’t be ready and in position til just about kickoff. FSAC, maybe a bit faster.”
I nodded, forgetting he couldn’t see. “Needs must, I’ll relay.”
"No need ma’am, I sent the message to all. They’re loading as we speak.” I heard the shark in his voice. “Oh, and the Alpha and Beta Regiments of the Dragoons arrived about twelve hours ago, and are headed in system. We might have this over with by the end of the month!” His tone brightened.
"So, to be clear, out of their main force, they left a regiment of armor, and two of infantry at the capital?” I shouldered the phone as Kath came in, with a yawning Case, who had a sleepy grin.
"That’s what we’re calling it up here, yes. Good luck, and good hunting. I need to get my birds ready. Asha will be leading the strike that’ll cover you directly.”
"See you at the party.” I responded
"Be safe." He childed. “The enemy is still the enemy, and with a Warrior house, plus a few of these units, they’re not going to go easy.” I nodded again.
"Will do. Remind the pilots that repairs come out of their bonus money.” He laughed, then signed off.
I looked at my lance. “You heard?” Uri had walked in, looking ready, and a sharp smile crossed his face. “Boots and Saddles, then.”
"We’ll get it done, Ma’am.” Uri nodded at Kath, who looked at Case and Evie.
"Yeah, yeah, keep her off the front lines, we know.” Case rolled her eyes. “She’s more likely to shoot us than them anyways with her aim.”
"Oi!” I snapped at him. “I’m not that bad.”
"Yes you are.” The two sharpest shooters in the Cav shot back, as I pulled out my cooling suit.
"Go get ready and meet at the mechs.” I responded.
Evie caroled as she walked out. “I get to kill and troll! I get to kill and troll!” to Case’s groans. I had to snicker. Case hated Evie’s intentionally bad singing, not realizing that she was actually a very good singer, but was doing it to tick him off. It amused me. And amused everyone else, and with that, no one would be worried. I had wanted another ten to fifteen minutes of warning but the balls weren’t that good. Eh, it would be enough. It had to be.
Phase Line Omega, FOB Alpha, zero two fifty five, local time
Kath’s Marauder was crouched behind the berm, as we watched the recon elements who were hull down and hidden transmit. She tight-beamed me.
"Are we sure Count’s boys and girls will be on time?” She was a bit nervous, since this was a lot of force.
"Armored Cav is in position to avalanche drop five minutes after I give the signal, and Albert is actually where he’s supposed to be, powered down. Gry’s settling the last of his people in, all ours are in.” Which was a good thing, as while the best way to us, was wide, Anton wasn’t a complete fool, and had roughly a battalion of recon on each flank, probing.
Case’s response on the net was amusing. “Won’t save him, and it just means we get to see if Rivero’s plotting pays off.
Ruben Rivero, Major, was the senior engineering officer we had, and he had immense fun building the FOB. The people doing it under him, not so much. He made them do sixteen hour days, and he didn’t exempt anyone - including mechwarriors - who wasn’t needed for other tasks, from digging. Even Bun Bun had used an improvised shovel and hammer to do some work.
Evie’s voice came over the comm line, this time no troll in her voice taking her job as light recon for the command lance seriously. “I’m picking up on seismics and on EM band. They’re getting close to the Killbox. Buncha chatty motherfuckers, aren’t you?”
A few minutes later, we had a quiet overlay of Capellan chatter on their general channels as Evie and Caveman worked on hacking their encryption. Her little Trollcust was remarkable in its sensor capabilities. Her King Crab’s main armament, a pair of Gauss Rifles, had been late and needed to be installed into the monster, so she got to play EWAR tech for this little escapade.
I snorted. She had also plugged into the network we buried, to give us a better view. Even though Ink Blot, what we had dubbed Kath’s sadly unnamed Marauder, and Bun Bun had full command capabilities, enough to run a Star League Division, during the Liberation of Terra, Evie pointed out she was recon. Kath and I simply let her have her way on that.
"Solid, they’re about three minutes out from the minefields, and if they keep this speed, they’ll make Phase line Alpha -” The first of four belts of trenches and firing positions, it was where we had put all our Rhinos and LRM carriers, so they could at least get one salvo off at extreme range. When you were talking about a literal gross of LRM-20’s, accuracy didn’t really matter. “About six minutes. I suppose Uri will have something to say about that, won’t he.”
Case responded to Kath. “Hope not, I’ll get bored if I get no kills today. Ronel was such a waste of effort. Dammed Marines. Hogging all the glory!” He paused. “And let’s not forget Dutchman and her killsteals too…”
Asha’s voice broke in. “Five minutes, Ferret-Actual. Ferret-Three, fuck you. They were trying to overrun Dealer Two, didn’t like that idea.”
"Don’t mind Case, he’s having that time of the minute” Evie quipped. “Recon elements on either side aren’t reconning, they’re basically close enough to play ‘Operation Human Shield’. It’s like their commander doesn’t know how to run a proper screen. A heavy ambush you’d just fire over the screen and charge through ‘em. Probably kill half of them by trampling.”
I looked at the disposition, and nodded. “It’s a valid tactic, actually, far enough out to give some warning, it’s called screening. Not well done, but moving screens of this nature, are a pain. They’re in a valley.” I paused, did some math. “Central, Ferret-Actual. Relay to Budwiser Actual. Free the Clydes.” Snickers from everyone in my command channel answered, as Central responded.
"Ferret-Actual, Central. Relayed. Budwiser says you’re buying once his beer horses are frothed.” I nodded.
"Understood. Relay to Beauty-Actual, Patton-Actual. Begin.” I shifted channels, as Gry, who was amused by the reference to Black Beauty, and Albert Shedlon, my 2nd’s commander, who had been taken by Patton’s movie, would be informed. “Dealer-Charlie-Actual, Ferret-Actual. Begin your rain in… six zero seconds from my mark… targets are painted on main. Two… one… Mark!”
"Ferret-Actual, Dealer-Actual. Rain on schedule.” the amused voice of Jasmine Nurse, our colonel of Artillery spoke.
I sat back, waiting for the moment that the single lone squadron of Boomerangs that were sweeping towards us from the Confederation’s lines, would spot the fact the FOB was completely dark. That’s a bad sign, if you don’t know. It also would almost be timed perfectly for them to hit the mines. Funny how life works.
I watched as for once, timing was perfect. The FSAC’s dropships screamed over them, at the same exact moment they hit the minefield. Worse, cluster munitions struck, and Gry and Albert simply vaporized the recon screen in a massive volley of fire as they swept down the slopes of the wide valley. I saw the entire formation just freeze. It was for only a moment, then the infantry carriers shot forward, clearing the minefield in the most brutal method possible.
Watching on a display screen was akin in it’s own way to using an IVIS system, but far more impersonal. I was used to being much closer when the shells hit, and I was glad for the opportunity to not watch the mines go off, the shells fall. As Evie reported the initial detonations of mines and the confusion started cutting through the background noise of Capellan chatter you could hear the panic creep in.
It wasn’t until the Long Toms began saturating the target area that the screaming began. Men and women yelling in panic as dozens of half-ton shells began detonating around them. I saw a ripple as each of the impacts was shown on my screen by Evie’s network of seismic sensors, showing the red wave of dots saturated with rippling waves of death ripping through them.
One voice cut off the comms, barking in Mandarin as the rest went silent, and a lurch in the red wave signified the Armored Personnel carriers charged forward… and began dying.
"Holy shit.” Evie said. “They just pushed the APC’s into the minefield.”
"What do you expect?” Case’s voice was disgusted. “They’re Russian-Chinese-Nork hybrids. Empathy for human life? Pleaaaaaaaaaaase."
My mind whirled and I toggled a switch as I spoke. “Count-Actual, Ferret-Actual. Expedite Beauty, Patton-Actual, same." Bun Bun began to fire up as I stated the second line of today’s code. “It is not our job to die for our nation, it is the poor sorry son of a bitch on the other side.”
I paused, relaying. “All Ferrets. Expect Phase Line Alpha not to hold, and Bravo unlikely, support Gamma, but expect fallback to Omega. They’re hell for leather, gentlemen.”
"Black Ferret-Actual. Understood.” Uri’s voice sounded clear, as the first salvo from the hidden LRM boats struck at the AFVs, to lock them up, only to find that they had a plan and a use. As sponges.
We could see the detonations from where we were. Great gouts of fire and stray shots flying skyward. The LRMs arcing above the treeline were impressive, and as they fell…
The voice barking in Mandarin sounded off again as half the screen to the left and right rushed forward behind the APCs. The remaining reconnaissance element of the attacking force was the least likely to get hit, least likely to trigger mines as the few light mechs that weren’t exterminated by Gry and Albert darted forward, taking full advantage of their speed to avoid death. The faster mediums from the main body followed suit as the Capellans rushed the LRM Carriers between them and me. The Capellans had chosen their target, they were going to try to break out through the Heavy Cavalry.
"Case, Ostscout, Wasp, Stinger, just out of range.” Evie’s voice rang out as the Trollcust rapidly accelerated to her insane flank speed. “LRM Carriers falling back to phase line Charlie. Shall we sound the horn and bugle boss?”
"Command detonate in five… four… three… two… one. Detonate.”
The bombs Asha and her aerospace fighters had seeded the battlefield with went off simultaneously, blasting mechs and vees indiscriminately. “OHC, Up and forward, meet them at the firing positions on Phase Line Delta, and draw them back for the flankers.”
"CONTACT!” Evie barked as a battered Wasp broke through into view. It was battered, with actuator and internal systems showing as it moved fast towards us. Case fired first, at long range. His Gauss rifle tore a silver streak to hit the bugmech center mass and threw it backwards like a rag doll, tumbling in two pieces as the OHC charged past the unfortunate, torn in half mech.
Kath’s Marauder took the Stinger's leg off with dual PPCs, sending the bug tumbling as the command lance prepped to move. It was like that for almost a kilometer as the OHC advanced. APCs and a few light mechs had made it past the mines and artillery only to face the OHC line of brawlers and assaults. They didn’t stand a chance until we met the Capellan main battle line.
"Evie, Spotter, light ‘em up for indirect. LRMs stand by to fire on the bug’s marks. Case, Kath, you’re with me.”
"Moving.” Evie was doubtlessly white-knuckled on the stick, but the maniacal one gave a mocking laugh, which was mimicked by the loudspeakers sending a deep, sinister laugh as the fastest mech on the field tore forward with the other recon elements to mark targets.
It was deeply impersonal from my perspective, as I fired the first salvo of LRMs over the berm at a Trebuchet that my maniacal Troll lit up for me and the rest. My forty LRMs were joined by a hundred more, and shortly after, Bitching Betty dutifully reported “Target destroyed.”
I took a quick peek at my MFD showing the entire map, the blue symbol of the FSAC was steadily munching it’s way through the rear of the formation, while the strikes that Count, Asha’s father had planned now brought the enemy to no more than half his armor numbers, as Gry and Albert squeezed them like a grape. What worried me was the red icons still charging the berm, not questioning. Not thinking. Not realizing that there were eighty heavy and assault ‘Mechs, backed by the same number of tanks, and now the infantry mortars I had emplaced opened fire, adding to the chaos.
I checked the states of the units on the berm, and winced, as yet another target was lit up by Evie, and more LRMs went streaking after the unfortunate Awesome. We hadn’t taken many dead, but a lot of infantry markers were MIA, and enough of my vehicles were showing motive damage, that I wondered if the crews had survived. But… we had held long enough, as the three other units were now slamming fully into the formation, and all that was left was the dying.
Case, for his part was baiting a Crusader and an Ostroc, Dancing through their fire while answering his own. The pair was trying to get at me, while the obnoxious and garishly painted orange Hunchback drilled the Crusader in the right hip three times until the bigger ‘Mech’s leg separated from its body and it fell as I launched another salvo at an Assassin.
Evie, for her part was doing very well, and Kath stayed close, systematically slicing up targets with her PPCs, and her autocannon, an Ultra model, thundered it’s wrath out upon the Warhammer that had entered her sights.
Evie’s bug was incredibly hard to hit, when my command lance came around the corner there were no less than five Capellan mechs “Chasing the squirrel” and trying to kill the maddening little monster running around their ranks. It said a lot about the panic the OHC had caused that when she ran between them, the most damage they seemed to be doing was to each other’s legs while she sprayed them down with machine gun and laser fire, further enraging them.
Case killed the Ostroc, blasting its gyro to shards, felling the ‘Mech even as Kath’s warhammer opponent went down with it’s right leg sheared off. I let fly on another Awesome that Evie was plaguing only to see twin PPCs slam into the hip joint of the Trollcust, and another took the knee, blowing the leg of Evie’s Locust in two pieces at full throttle.
It seemed to happen in slow motion, her ‘Mech pitched forward, chin slamming into the dirt, then horribly the torso rolled from the momentum causing the twenty-ton mech to somersault twice before coming to rest on it’s top. The Awesome turned and began stomping forward, clearly intent on killing the pilot when I let fly with my missiles and lasers. Case’s Gauss rifle sang out along with Kath’s PPCs and autocannon. Everything hit, and impossibly, the assault ‘Mech weathered the fire and kept stomping forward on it’s mission of murder.
Then we did it again, and as we rushed forward I wasn’t thinking as Bun Bun’s fist went through the Awesome's cockpit as it fell.
Then another blast of PPCs lanced out hitting Kath, and lasers lanced out to caress my and Case’s armor from the FSAC lines! The FSAC had shot Evie down!
While Case frantically tried to get her attention on Comms I turned toward the FSAC lines, "BUDWEISER ELEMENTS. FERRET ACTUAL CHECK FIRE CHECK FIRE!"
"Negative Ferret we’re showing all hostiles on scope.”
"BUDWEISER YOU JUST KILLED MY COMMAND SCOUT CHECK FIRE!”
"Motherfu…” The lead elements of the FSAC broke wide and the lead element officer came through “Budweiser elements verify targets visually. I am showing Ferret Command Units and ONLY Ferret Command units as having Liao IFF, repeat, bad target IDs, verify visually before firing!”
An autocannon shell slamming into my armor reminded me that there were still Liao mechs on the field. I turned and got back to business calling on the radio. “SAR 11, need extract on downed mechwarrior, SLDF Locust tagged Trollcust. Pilot Evangeline Kessler.” I paused as I fired my missiles at the Cataphract coming into view and forced myself to say it. “Pilot condition, unknown.”
It took three more minutes before the Capellans realized that they were dead and began signalling surrender by shutting down their battlemechs and tanks. A few fought all the way unto death, and those fanatics cost me too many of my own personnel.
Command Tent, FOB Alpha, Late Morning, June 17th, 3016
Case walked in, whistling. “Yo, Cabbit.” I looked up from the tallies I was reading. “Troll will be fine, just banged the fuck up.” He shrugged. “Serves the little troll right.” He nodded, ignoring my glare at him. Looking at the papers. “How bad?”
I sighed. “Two hundred nineteen dead, Five hundred eighty-one wounded. Five LRM carriers gone, two Rhinos, figure another dozen vehicles, mostly hovers easier to scrap than repair.” Case winced. “Twelve total write-offs in our ‘Mechs, eight of them bugs, two Valks, and a pair of Griffins.”
"... shit, I didn’t realize…” Case sighed. “And damage?”
Kath shot back from where she was at a terminal. “Let’s say this, if Hanse wasn’t picking up the tab, we’d be out about fifty million.” She looked. “That’s not counting the death benefits or replacement equipment.”
"Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.” Case sighed. “... as sick as this is, Kikyo? We did good. I don’t think there’s been a victory of this scale for the entire Third Succession War.” He smiled. “And this should cheer you up. That Awesome you put down?” I nodded, the one I crushed before it could stomp Evie, he was referring to.
"Pilot lived. Bad Ferret. Or in this case, not so bad. Anton Marik.” Kath shot up, looking at him.
"Please tell me you’re not joking. Please." Kath all but begged.
Case’s savage smile answered it all. “I think we have our key for Helm, don’t we?”
As sick as it was… Case was absolutely right. Not only was the victory the most lopsided in the entire Third Succession war, or at least as far as I could remember, we had just gotten the key we needed to unlock our most critical goal. Hopefully without totally wrecking relations with the Free Worlds league. But… why did I want to cry?
"So how is Evie?” Kath asked.
"She’s still out cold. Concussion, re-broke her ribs on the other side this time, broken arm, broken leg and a nasty case of whiplash. She’s going to be laid up for a while. Bluntly the rescue crews were amazed she lived through that crash.” Case looked like he had a bit of respect. “Evie’s a lot tougher than she looks, that’s for sure.”
Kath rolled her eyes. “And she’s small enough and lucky her straps didn’t break.” Kath sighed, and tossed up a screen. “Preliminary survey.” I raised my eyebrow.
"Oh, that’s the loot?” Case suddenly was interested.
Blonde hair shifted as Kath nodded. “Around one hundred fifty to one hundred sixty ‘Mechs recoverable, about the same in AFV, about the same in APC’s. About half. Rest, realistically, salvage.” She shrugged. “If nothing else, it cuts Hanse’s bill down.”
I nodded. “And we have enough spares, I think for our mechs.” Kath nodded. Jaime not only upgraded our mechs to what he called IIC standards, though outside Case’s Gauss rifle, the weapons were all inner sphere, but made sure we had enough spares. We’d have to buy some more for the Trollcust, though.
I stood up. “The senior colonel remaining is coming under flag of truce. I think he wants to surrender.”
Case lazily smiled. “Can you blame him? We have three virtually intact brigades each with a regiment of mechs, and he’s got what, to defend the capital? Three regiments, one armor, two foot infantry?” Case snorted. “Even with defenses, the piss drinkers can break that in an afternoon. Much less Black Beauty or our very own greaser.”
I had to laugh, even with the pain of losses. “Yes, true. But we’ve already paid the cost, let’s try not to add more?” I looked at the list. “Do you want to write these letters?” Case shut up instantly. “Good.”
Outside my tent, Gry and Colonel Riffenberg were waiting. Across from them at a table, was a somewhat oriental man, who looked shell shocked. “Colonel Shoukov, I believe?”
".. Yes, General Onishi… may I say your beauty is only exceeded by your brutality?” I tilted my head.
"I understand the words, but to be honest, Colonel, my objective was to defeat your forces, while preserving as many of mine as I could. I succeeded.” I didn’t show the frost that had crept into my tone. “What would those forces have done if they had caught us unawares?”
He laughed bitterly. “Your point is taken. What are we offered to surrender without further bloodshed?”
"How many of your troops are local?” I paused. “Those that you can command to surrender.”
"All. But I’d be loathe to surrender them, without some … assurances that Maskoriva’s people can’t get to them.” He sighed. He understood my question.
"Well, I can assure you you and yours if they wish can be transferred to another Federated Suns world, one in the deep Crucis march, if you so wish.” I paused, an impish thought crossing my mind. “Molino, perhaps.” His confusion was clear.
"How can you assure us of that?” He finally responded.
Case snorted. “The bleeding heart here would pay for it if she had to.” He snickered. “This assumes she doesn’t threaten the First Prince with the couch if he doesn’t do it.”
"... ah, those … ah.” The Colonel stood up. “Six hours, and it shall be done. If you would be so kind?”
"Of course, but we still will keep a loose net around Macbeth until the Surrender.” I nodded. “Until then, Colonel.”
"Until then.” He bowed, and walked to the waiting VTOL.
Kath whistled. “And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you ball an ace.”
I sighed. “Hard on the eggs, though.” I repeated myself. “Hard on the eggs.”
MacBeth Spaceport, outside Dropship Camelot, Midday, July 3rd, 3016.
We waited in our snazzy dress uniforms, as Case put it for Hanse Davion to disembark, fresh from conquering Small World. Case joked we were to present him another bone, like good doggies, but I pointed out he paid good money, good taxpayer money for this bone, and Case had to agree. We had found the Jolassa plant, and noted the two things missing to restart production. A Gauss line, and a line for the computer that it was famed for. I honestly pointed out the Fury wasn’t a great tank, and realistically, stripping it of the infantry bay and resetting the reactor line for a 240, might make a better tank. Kath actually agreed, but pointed out Jolassa was technically still in business on Bristol, making small vehicles for the AFFS.
"I still think turning it into a Demon plant makes more sense. Seriously, without an XL, it’s just a command post with a gauss, what’s the point…"I brought up the argument again, as Hanse Davion and Jaime Wolf stepped out of Camelot.
"Hush." Kath was tired of the debate. “I’ll give you it’s a so-so vehicle, but it’s up to Jolassa, not us. Bat your eyes at Hanse to win, not me.” She paused. “Huh. Hanse doesn’t look too happy. Jaime’s in a fine mood, though.”
I had noticed the tightness around Hanse’s jawline and eyes. I had sent a complete report on Camelot’s arrival in system… maybe I shouldn’t have? “I wonder why.”
Case snarked. “Maybe, just maybe you understand, it’s something about an Archer, you know the mech that is supposed to stay in the second line, punching out an Awesome?" He paused. “Naw, it couldn’t be that, could it? Didn’t he have a fiancee die that way?”
I winced. Yes, I shouldn’t have sent the complete unaltered and unedited battleROMs, I was beginning to believe.
Kath shrugged. “It was that or Evie got stepped on. I personally prefer this outcome.”
Case paused, and shrugged. “Can’t disagree, just.. It’s our job to get that close, not hers. All those years in the American army… and she still wants to play Lance leader…”
"Blame the universe, not her. Plus… didn’t you only go as far as Lieutenant Colonel?” Kath inquired.
I sourly answered. “Yes, Kath, but Case has a point. Company commanders see combat, Battalion commanders shouldn’t unless needed, brigade only if the situation is completely fucked up, and as for division… which I am… Well, let’s say this. I’d be in front of a board with pointed questions.”
Case’s satisfaction as I admitted that was felt. “Now if we could get your boytoy to realize that, as well. My day would be complete!”
Asha snorted. “Davion. Though honest truth requires me to point out, it’s also a Steiner and a Marik failing too. Even the Kuritas have that streak, though they’re better. Honestly, the only houses that don’t require their leaders to take the field… are the Periphery, just about.”
I shrugged. “I’ll figure some way to convince him. Part of it was he needed a triumph. Not to mention Michael’s bullshit.”
Hanse and Jaime had almost arrived, and we all straightened as Colonel Riffenberg arrived. As the two men walked up to us, we saluted the First Prince.
"As you were.” Hanse’s tone was soft, as he returned the salute, his eyes raking me, and the rest of my lance, though his eyes tightened slightly when he noted the missing member.
"Would you like a tour of the new Federated Suns Government offices?” I inquired idly, curious to see what he would say.
"Perhaps later. The occupation forces are arriving over the next week, so it will be useful to know.” He nodded once, and continued. “However, I have some questions about the battle, and compliments to give our people. The compliments will be at a group formation, I believe tomorrow...” He raised an eyebrow and I nodded. That was already scheduled. “So, let’s get to the questions… Xanadu?”
"Of course, this way, Sire.” I was on my best behavior, and oddly enough Case was too. We all fell in perfect formation, and lead the way to Xanadu and her briefing room.
As we all were seated, Case kicked on a replay the battle at double speed, and Hanse watched it, apparently again, as he seemed to narrow in on specific aspects, and his eyes tightened at the end of the battle.
"First question, why this strategy?” Jaime asked for Hanse and himself.
I thought about it and shrugged. “They were digging into the city, I wanted to avoid civilian losses, and even with your units coming, the cost to take the city and avoid excessive civilian losses would still be in my view, obscene, both in our personnel and civilian personnel. This offered a chance to avoid that.”
Jaime nodded, a pleased smile on his face. Hanse sighed.
"The flaw is, it counted on them being stupid.” His eyebrow raised for it. “Almost every officer does study historical tactics, General.”
I shook my head. “Not as much as you would presume. Would I try it against Jaime, or a Davion Guards unit? Absolutely not.” I smiled as Jaime snickered. “They at least understand true shock combat, and would be quite aware of mobile killsack ambushes. A flaw on the enemy’s part, and one that could have ruined the trap was the lack of use of VTOL assets, for example. I doubt that the Guards or the Dragoons would make that mistake.”
"At the very least our screens would have been better, yes.” Jaime nodded.
"It counted on them actually understanding a maxim, an old one. ‘I attack a target the enemy must succor’” I tilted my head. “Combined with Duke Marik needing a triumph, Capellan greed, and the simple concept of attacking logistics… Along with the fact he needed leverage to get off planet if the situation turned sour, it wasn’t stupid on his part, as much as a gamble.”
Hanse thought about it and nodded once finally. “You based your plan on the enemy, not on what you could do. It won’t work all the time, and even the Capellans won’t fall for it again, at least their better personnel.” I nodded at that. He finally smiled slightly. “But a glorious triumph it is, and it explains why Small World and Indi fell so easily. With a bit of luck, Eridani will fall as fast, too.”
I nodded. With the battles raging up and down the Confederation’s borders, the CCAF had to be desperately short of personnel and advanced heavy equipment. Choices would have to be made.
He sighed. “Now. Colonel Wolf? Colonel Steiner, Leftenant Winter?” All three nodded, and the males departed, with Kath shooting back. “No hitting!” Hanse blinked at that. As she departed, his confused face turned to me. “Does she…”
I shook my head smiling. “No, it was me she was referring to.”
"Aaah.” He waited until the door was closed. “Now. what in hell were you thinking. Being on the front lines, and personally tangling with an assault mech in a Archer?” He paused, his voice intent. “That is not your place or the ‘Mech for such a place!”
I looked heavenward. I understood why he was upset. “Before we get to screaming, let me ask you this. Weren’t you at Halstead Station? Aren’t you taking risks leading this campaign?”
"Of course. It is my job as First Prince.” He shrugged. “Putting aside the political gains, part of the duty of the First Prince is to lead."
"And that’s your answer.” I looked at him. “Yes, I fully agree an Archer has no place punching an Awesome, though considering the situation, I’d do it again.” I shrugged. “And my training pretty much states a division commander has no place on the front lines, as well. But, here and now… that’s not true. And my people have to know I can and will take the same risks." I looked him in the eye. “First principle of leadership.”
Hanse sighed. “Never ask someone to do what you are unwilling to do.” He sighed. “And the timing wasn’t perfect, so… every ‘Mech was needed.” He thought about it for a moment, and nodded once. “Can you avoid it in the future? I don’t think my heart can take that or the worst outcome.”
I nodded, smiling. “If you act as a true First Prince, and commander, I think I can act as a General, yes.” He tilted his head, sensing a trap.
"Until we’re sure of Morgan, or your heir is fit to rule…” I shrugged. “Replacing you isn’t in the cards.”
"... Ardan and Ran will be pleased.” He finally responded, stepping over. “I wanted to say more, but in the end, you’re right. Leaders must lead. And you hadn’t proven yourself as a junior officer or low level commander. Now you have.” He sighs. “I wish you’d be a more typical actress… or low level noble, but then again, you’d not be you.” Taking me into his arms, he rested his head on top. “Which is why we’re both assaulting Eridani. This way we both can keep each other behaving.” I felt his grin.
"... I’d take a bet that won’t work, but…” His rueful laughter was the answer.
Command Center, Dropship Xanadu, En Route to Epsilon Eridani, August 5th, 3016.
Hanse sighed. “Well, the Thirty-Fourth and Cobras are en route, and should arrive in September to Ares.” I looked at him, eyebrow raised.
"Intelligence indicates that Maximilian is going to write off Texlos, to save Ares, damn Michael…” He sighed. Michael had managed to pour all the additional and new equipment the AFFS had assigned to his march for his assault, while pulling one of the units assigned to Ares off.
"... So the Big Mac goes to Ares?” I finally asked after a moment of thought, and Hanse’s nod. “I see, hopefully those units can arrive in time.”
"His glory hounding is screwing up our expansion plans.” Hanse finally admitted. “But it’s working, and with the equipment you’ve captured, at the very least, we won’t be weaker than when we started, and the Draconis March will be better off.” Hanse sighed.
"Just think, we’ll have two more tank factories, Ares, Texlos. Yes, we’re going to be behind where you wanted to be at the end of this year, but two to three years down the road?” I raised an eye.
Hanse’s eye shifted to the map, and Tikonov was cupped in the hologram. I sighed.
"No. Don’t be greedy. We can’t do it, not now. I had to talk you out of sending Wolf to pick up the other three worlds, remember?” I raised an eyebrow.
"Now, no, you’re right. Three years from now?” His smile was wolfish. “We shall see.”
I tilted my head for a moment and thought. “Run it by Ran, and let’s try it without denuding the Crucis March?” He nodded. We had gotten lucky no one hit the central march of the Federated Suns yet, but that luck couldn’t last, and a major campaign to take arguably the second most critical world of the Confederation would require massive commitment, and tempt the Dragon… as well as pirates.
"That is the plan.” He finally said. Opening another file on the display, a map appeared, and a smile grew.
"Outstanding!” I looked at the map, seeing the strategic display.
"Oh… Janos…” I sighed. “The Lancers went for Sirius without him?”
"Yes, they did, and since the 2nd Ducal Guard is there, Janos is following, though he’s agreed to meet us on Eridani before he goes.” Hanse thought for a moment. “And I wanted to tell you earlier, but Blackhand reported complete and total success. The Core is ours, and the lovely Miss Cunningham assures us that no one will know that Keeler loaded a proto Prometheus on it.” His smile was wolfish.
Mine was as well. If it was Katrina? I’d fully agree to letting her in. Janos… not so much. Putting aside that the Marik family post-Marion Marion’s immediate heirs were… at best power greedy, and at worst disasters; SAFE, the Free World League’s intelligence service was… not the best, meaning Comstar would know before we had gotten the Core safely home we had it. The ‘Mechs and equipment? Not so much of a threat.
"So, my suggestion?”
Hanse gave me a nod to my question. “He gets half, you get a quarter, I get a quarter. If he agrees. He will, with Anton on a silver platter for him, and the Ironside Plant… and my sweetener.” I raised an eyebrow at that.
"In exchange for a five year cease-fire, with Katrina, I’ll allow him to keep to the current purchase arrangement, maybe some modifications. And you get a movie to remind people just how bad the Kuritas are. And that the only difference between Jinjiro and his father, was how personal they liked it.” Hanse’s expression was fey. Helm had been effectively depopulated from orbit by Minoru Kurita, while Kentares IV had received the same, just with blades and bullets via his son, Jinjoru’s orders.
"This is of course, assuming Janos goes along.” I noted.
Hanse shrugged. “I think he will, if not, we keep Anton, and fall back on Plan B.”
"Singing from orbit?” I inquired.
Hanse’s smile was amused. “He does have some taste, yes.”
I looked at another map, showing a collection of dots. My jumpships. “And the command chain we’re building?”
"It’ll be done in about a month, month and a half, if all goes according to plan. Huesta is the end, per your information, and given that it wasn’t on the Argo’s map, yes, MIIO agrees it was a Rim Worlds’ hidden base.” He smiled slightly. “Maybe another shipyard!” I snorted.
"Not that lucky.” I shook my head. “No matter. Find it, get it, bring it home.” I raised my eyebrow.
"Those are your orders, yes.” He shrugged. “With a bit of luck, your metal friend will join you, but I’d not count on that, not at all.”
I nodded. Drakensis would be nice, but realistically, he was a half year away. It wasn’t as if we’d need his welcome firepower anyways.
Main Spaceport, Madison, Epsilon Eridani, Local Early Evening, August 21st, 3016
Epsilon Eridani - with only militia, Kressly’s corporate forces, and a single lone ‘Mech battalion - had surrendered without a fight, the CCAF regulars boarding dropships and fleeing with others who did not want to be part of the regime change. Hanse was a bit annoyed. The Heavy Guards more so at the Heavy Cav, which had gotten all the glory in this campaign, but I pointed out to one of their battalion commanders, they had captured one and a half worlds, without any real losses.
This amusingly didn’t cheer them up, another commander pointing out that I crushed four regiments of mechs. Oh, well, can’t please them all.
"Captain-General!” Hanse’s voice boomed in good cheer, as the older man strode forward to exchange a warrior’s handshake with Hanse.
"First Prince! May I be the first to congratulate you on your successes? Texlos, Ronel, Epsilon Indi, Small World, Tybalt, and now Eridani.” Janos’ smile was wide. “I cannot boast of such success, though my realm’s efforts have born some fruit, I suppose.”
"Carver V, and I have some information that you will find most intriguing there, Hall, Pella II, Jasmine, Shiba and Sigma Mare.” Hanse shook his head. “As well as engaged at least a dozen Capellan commands. WIthout you, my successes would not have been as glorious, and finally, Sirius.”
Janos shook his head. “I’ll be going to Sirius with my unit to finish that… though I have a question for you, about that.” Hanse’s eyebrow rose. “I understand that the Dragoons are under contract to you, until the end of the year, then I have acquired their services, to use against Liao or the Lyrans…” Hanse nodded. “Colonel Wolf has indicated that he would accept one regiment transfer early, if you would be…”
Hanse pretended to think about it, but was fast. “Of course. Weakening the Liaos is in my benefit as well, and as it happens, the Dragoons did not have as much action as we projected.”
Janos turned to me, with a smile, and a slight bow, as I got the hint and held out my hand to be kissed. Straightening up, he smiled. “This lovely young general is why. Colonel Wolf must be annoyed that she stole his glory.”
I smiled. “Colonel Wolf and I are at least friendly acquaintances, he was amused that a young actress that two of his best had a hand in shaping lead her forces to such a victory this soon.”
Janos laughed. “And the prizes, the prizes.” He shook his head. Hanse had offered Janos Xanadu’s rooms for a private conference, and we had been walking this way. “Be careful, Hanse, some might be tempted to steal such a prize from you.” Hanse grinned.
"I am taking steps to assure that will not happen.” My eyebrow rose, I knew my contract with the Suns was also up at the end of the year, and four generous offers had come in, but none from the Suns yet.
Janos smiled slightly at that. “Considering the offer I know that I extended… Quite Generous, almost equal to the Dragoon’s.”
Hanse just smiled, as we walked up the stairs to Xanadu’s hatch. I had to laugh slightly. “I’m afraid in pure generosity, Katrina has you beat, Captain General.” Janos’ eyebrow rose at that. “As for entertainment value, the Canopian offer was amazing, and I am amused that the Dragon actually bid on my services.”
"Well, Hanse, I note a name not in there.” Janos’ eyebrow rose.
"Working on a proper one.” Hanse nodded with a fox’s grin. We arrived at the conference room, where three guards were waiting. One from my command, a Davion Guardsman, and a Marik Militiaman.
Shortly, we were settled in, and Keria had served us, slipping out. Case came in, professional and clean, his uniform and fruit salad simply stating who and what he was.
"Gentlemen, Ma’am, we are secure.” Hanse nodded. Janos’ eyebrow rose slightly, but a slight grin was on his face.
Hanse turned to Janos, and a smile answered Janos’ amused look. “Winters, can you bring up the Carver V map, by chance?” Case’s click of the boots and the holodisplay was his answer.
A gold icon was on the map, ringed. “I’m sure you’d be interested in this. MIIO indicates that the old Brooks, Inc. Ironsides plant was only mothballed. Not destroyed.” Hanse shrugged slightly. “It may need some more parts, but, I have a possible solution for you.”
"That is interesting information, actually, Your Highness. If it pans out, then I will owe you a boon, irrespective of the boon I owe the General, of course.”
Hanse turned to me with a smile. “Perhaps this is …” I stood up, and turned to Case, who popped another world in the holo display.
"Helm, I want half, with half of my share to go to the First Prince, since he’s financing my operations.” I paused, to see Janos’ expression
"... you believe you know where the infamous cache is?” Janos grinned. “I’d wager even with your recent streak… Your half brother, the Lyran one didn’t know, or he’d have hit it.” I nodded.
"Before I get into that information, I would appreciate…” Janos held up his hand.
"For Anton, for the Carver V information, I agree. It is worth it.” Turning to Hanse. “As for the cease fire with the Archon… Bah, who cares about five years. Liao is here and now. He owes me. He owes my realm. It will be collected.” Hanse nodded. Katrina had signaled she’d agree to it.
I pulled up the location, and nodded once. “The Special Weapons Depot of the Star League Navy, in the Free Worlds, gentlemen.” I traced the river, showed how it went under, and how it behaved. “As you can see…”
"... Well. How do we get in?” Janos turned to look at Hanse, who simply nodded.
Hanse shrugged, smiling. The chip had just been delivered the day before, and was in my hand.
"One of the keys was a bit of information that we verified, our apologies, Your Grace, but we sent a team in to confirm it before we presented this to you. Major Keeler keyed it to a chip that became the local lord’s regalia.”
Janos began to frown, then nodded once. “And you verified the chip existed and would do what it should?”
"Yes, Your Grace.” Case responded. “Combined with the rumor that Keeler tried to put together a Prometheus… But we are not sure he had enough time to load it or finish it, and we didn’t want to risk any failsafes. At least the team we sent in.”
Janos paused for a moment, then sighed. “Consider that forgiven. It would be bad form if you did not have all your ducks in a row.” He grinned. “And for the prize? Of course.”
He carefully studied the hologram, and then nodded. “By any chance are you ready to depart immediately?”
Case looked at me and I nodded. “Sir, the Command Brigade is ready to lift in twelve hours, though our second brigade is tasked as garrison here, and the First is set to garrison Tybalt.”
Hanse sighed dramatically. “Janos… can it wait a day? I was planning to have a pleasant evening…”
Janos paused for a moment, then laughed. “One day is no great tasking, I would say, and it would take that long to set the orders in motion as it stands. My apologies. He paused, then nodded. “Would you prefer to come along?”
"Alas, Ran Felsner is annoyed enough with me, and I should return to New Avalon.” Hanse’s dramatic sigh was answered by Janos’ rueful smile.
"I’ve had some sharp comments from my staff as well, I understand. Your lovely general will just have to stand in your stead, while I work out ways to enhance the offer. Helm, at long last… Even if Keeler didn’t finish it… who knows?” Janos smiled.
"Who knows indeed.” I smiled at the Captain General.
Private Dining Room, Dropship Xanadu, Madison, Epsilon Eridani, Late Local Evening
Hanse handed me the updated contract, and I raised an eyebrow. The offer wasn’t ungenerous, but given the offers from Katrina and Janos… “I do hope you aren’t counting on a hometown discount.”
He laughed. “Actually, if you’d note, the offer explicitly retains Winterfell as the home base, as well as at AFFS purchase rates.” He shrugged. “I’m pretty sure Janos didn’t make that offer, and Katrina is unlikely to be as generous. Nor would she consider some other deals we’ve made.”
I thought about it, and shrugged. “It would be simpler, yes, and allow us to keep building, but it’s not just my decision. The Steiner option is very tempting in pure cash, and that will be part of the decision.”
Hanse nodded. While I was the commander and head of the unit, I did give the command council input and voting rights on contracts, and this had to go to them. In terms of cash, it was about one hundred and fifty perfect over our operating costs, but the additional benefits regarding purchasing of new equipment, supplies and other non direct monetary concerns put it in reaching distance of Janos’ offer, though Katrina’s offer was three times our operating costs, plus a discount on purchasing from Lyran firms. The fact is, the other two had not offered de facto tactical authority, nor command authority without any restrictions, for example Janos’ offer only extended to missions that we performed alone, and Katrina’s was based on rank.
When you add in the clauses that regarded salvage and well replacements lost in combat, the offers were about the same. Both Janos’ and Katrina’s offers included clauses about lostech discoveries, that made it clear they were counting on us finding some, and taking it from us, at their option, while Hanse’s offer treated it as any other salvage… I was sure which offer would be taken, but it had to go to the council.
"I can say how I will vote, and I’m sure Kath will prefer to stay in the Suns, but that leaves Gry, Cook, Sheldon and a few others. When they all have a chance, we’ll vote.”
Hanse nodded. “So, you think you’ll be done with the movie about… late October, then to Huesta for late November, and with a bit of luck, back in December?”
I wiggled my hand. “Maybe. Depending on how the acting goes, I could have the film done by early October.” I paused. “No assurances, but in general, as long as you get the shooting, you can always redo the lines afterwards.” Hanse smiled at that.
"Bit different than military operations, I presume.” He sighed. “Still… do try to hurry back.” I nodded.
I paused, and noted something. “Now with a successful test of the KF sensors, we have some idea how far Comstar’s ability to see is. Kath’s going to poach the Argo, and check out Satarra.” I shrugged. “It should be safe, and away from prying eyes, given that Ross and Lutyen are towards us, not the Lyrans.”
Hanse smiled. “Additional warships would be a good idea, agreed. I’m not sure how we’ll check on those two anchorages.” He thought about it, then shrugged. “As for the rest, well.”
I nodded. Odessa was fairly easy to check out and was being done, New Dallas a pain, as we believed Comstar had a watch, but a plan was underway for that, as well. The rest, not so much Hanse was operating off that we had some time. And he didn’t want to steal Odessa, at least until he saw what Huesta and Satarra had to offer.
"So, unless we get lucky again, back by December?” Hanse inquired. I thought about it, and shrugged. To help us along, a temporary modification of a Behemoth had been done, turning it into a fighter carrier, as well as a passenger liner. Sending two out would mean we could acquire any assets and be back reasonably fast, though the command chain we had quietly and hopefully without notice built from Helm to Huesta was on average nine rings in capability. We’d have another chain connecting us to Federated Suns space for the rest.
"That’s likely.” I sighed. “I do think adding a Aqueduct full of helium and hydrogen is a bit much, Hanse. We’ll not get that lucky again.” He laughed.
"I don’t know, you didn’t expect Watchtower did you?” He raised an eyebrow. I conceded the point. “See?”
"I think you’re just greedy.” I smiled back.
"Of course, I’m a Prince, I think it’s in the rulebook somewhere.” He leaned forward and smiled. “Then you’ll stay on New Avalon for a while. I think we need to see where this is going once and for all.”
"Yes, we do.” I thought about the time involved. Any heir of Hanse from me, would have to be soon, or a Melissa match would be off the table. “Very soon, in fact.”
Hanse smiled. “Good. Hurry home, then, but before you go…”
I stood up. “I’m not leaving here yet. We have some time…”
"I don’t plan on talking." Hanse leaned forward, a roguish smirk on his lips as he sought to capture mine.
Before we made our way to my cabin, I thought at least not with words, eh, Hanse?
Nagayan Mountains, Helm, Local Morning, September 29th, 3016
We had arrived at Helm by September the 3rd, and were waiting on Janos himself. My command brigade had spread out, and with the actors we had managed to join us, had hilariously finished shooting all but a few scenes of the movie, and may I say, Uri made an excellent Keeler? And he had a blast doing it.
Now that Janos had finished Sirius, he had arrived, looking grim. He apologized, but the last action before the Capellans had fled Sirius, hurt him, and I empathized with him. Killing your own son…
Janos looked at where we were at, and sighed. “It’s a bit cold here. Can we be about this?”
I nodded and Case sent the signal. Shortly the groans and creaks were heard, as the complex’s main gates opened up. After the first joint teams went in, we waited thirty minutes as Janos attempted to flirt, and my raised eyebrow answered him. His grin indicated he thought he had to try, or was doing it for other reasons. After a bit of small talk on industry and shipping, and how it affected war, the all clear signal was given, and we walked in.
"Your Grace, M’lady? This way please.” A major of the FLWM escorted us.
Janos whistled as he looked at the Field Library terminal. “So?”
"Your Grace, M’lady?” The senior FWL tech looked at both of us. “I’m sorry, but Major Keeler hadn’t uploaded his assembled information yet. He was to do it a week after Minoru attacked.”
Janos cursed. He cursed again, then settled down. “Well… damn.”
I nodded, hoping he believed it, as he was highly likely to ask Alt, who we had spent weeks practicing this with.
"Well, I still want to see it, let’s go.” Janos strode forward, looking at the cavern we walked through shaking his head at the workmanship. Shortly, we were at the main computer room, where Alt was still combing though.
"Your Grace, M’lady?” Alt nodded from her chair. “The good news is while his full datastore isn’t here, he had a preliminary block of information, besides the control files and inventory for the location.” Janos’ eyes brightened, and mine narrowed. What the hell was Hanse playing at.
"What information?” I asked, keeping a hint of excitement in my voice.
The other Leaguer tech spoke up, her soft soprano answering. “It appears to be information on soil decontamination, how to deal with nuclear fallout, water purification, agricultural information, some primary and secondary educational methods and informational blocks, by and large.” Janos seemed torn.
"Part of me is upset there’s nothing about weapons or other advanced technologies.” He finally answered. “The other part of me, realizes restoring Star League-era farming and water purification is a boon without price, and well, all things equal.” Janos tilted his head. “Young Baroness, I recommend that we follow the old adage here.”
I look at him, and see his slight smile. “Never look a gift horse in the mouth, I believe.”
"Truth.” I thought about it, and nodded. “The amount of good this will do alone…” Janos nodded.
"It isn’t war winning, but it is quality of life, and I can see why Keeler put this in first. It’s also possible he left more, too, I suppose.” Alt twirled a lock of hair. “I’d bet on more quality of life items, as he seemed to start with the items the Terrans while trying to keep secret, didn’t try very hard to.”
Janos nodded. “You said there’s an inventory?” He brightened some more. “Let’s hear it.”
The other tech spoke up again. “At the current count, it seems to be around 644 mechs, 530 Aerospace fighters, nearly fifteen hundred armored fighting vehicles, and over three thousand support units, Your Grace.” Janos did a slow whistle at this.
"And spare parts?” I inquired… “And the last generation bays?” Those were what I was interested in.
Alt spoke for them. “It appears to be well over a megaton of spare parts, and enough bays to easily support a Star League Army.” Janos whistled again. “Of more interest is the seven dropships.”
Janos paused and shrugged slightly, grinning, some clouds dispelled. “Part of me wants to renegotiate the deal. The other part is going, overall? Without your information, we’d not have found it, and as such… And I do suspect the Prince would have words if I tried to adjust the deal.” He seemed a bit happier as he finished.
Janos turned around and nodded at me. “I’ll go and look around a bit, I think, care to join me, while I see what I can do to adjust my offer?”
I thought about it and nodded. “Of course, Your Grace, I have nothing but time.” This was,of course, a lie.
Breakfast Nook, Dropship Xanadu, Nagayan Mountains, Local Morning, Sept 30th, 3016.
"Thank you for having me for breakfast, M’lady, I found your coffee quite invigorating.” Janos smiled at me across the table. “I’m curious, however, why?”
I smiled at him, and took a sip of the coffee. “I’d like you to know what I’m doing with some of my share. Hanse hasn’t updated me on what he wants done with the data, but the materials, at least the bays, I’m thinking a fair bit should be sold to Katrina.” Janos’ expression turned dark for a moment, and I hurried on. “Your Grace, this isn’t just to balance you. You have a five year ceasefire with her. If she feels that at the end of it…”
Janos’ eyes narrowed as he shifted to thinking. “A point, a point. Why tempt her into breaking it before the time. Though… a request?” I politely waited. “Don’t sell her too much, please, nor any direct military equipment?”
I shook my head. “The ‘Mechs are mine. I need those.” He laughed. I shrugged. “And to be fair, they’ll be used very likely against the Dragon, so…”
"Almost as good as using them herself, eh?” He nodded. “It doesn’t hurt that Hanse is trying to at least bring peace between me and her, so he can have his two main enemies boxed, no?”
I looked innocent. “Have you ever considered that he might be thinking more than just the short term edge it gives him against the Federated Sun’s true foes?”
Janos barked out a laugh. “Ha. Unless he wanted me as the First Lord… these wars are over that empty seat.”
I thought on how to phrase this. “Are they, are they really, anymore?” Janos’ eyebrow rose. “Is Terra worth killing people over and over again for? Is a throne that at best allowed you to manage five lords, instead of Parliament worth it? The Star League was an ideal that your ancestor and Ian Cameron founded. But… it didn’t even last in that idea ten years from it’s true founding before…”
"The Reunification War.” Janos nodded. “I will concede your point about the Council does have its drawbacks.” He laughed. “Though I’d argue trying to manipulate or politic five people is easier than Parliament. But your point is true.” He thought for a long moment while enjoying my cook’s efforts. “I will say this. Marik will never bow to anyone else. Much less a Steiner or a Liao, We would die first.” He shrugged. “And with your movie, do please release it in the League, m’dear, I think we need reminding of the Dragon… and how fatal it would be to our souls to bow to them.”
"That leaves the Davions.” Marik laughed at that.
"We won’t bow to them, either, my dear.” He sobered. “But I will say that they are the least bad of us. If nothing else, honesty compels me to admit they’re the least apt to war crimes, and I understand his desire to be short of the special weapons that should have been here. Keeler wanted them gone, and they were.”
"Yes, he was hoping for the future, not the end of it.” Janos nodded in response to my statement. “What are you going to do with the actual complex?” I was curious.
Janos looked at his plate and thought about it for a moment. “Would you believe I didn’t think about that yet?” He grinned. “While it might be tempting to turn it into a defensive work, realistically, it’d only protect Helm… and Helm isn’t worth anyone’s time.” He shrugged.
I thought for a moment, then nodded. “A suggestion then. There is that laboratory setup, as well as some chemical processors, why not use it to start testing the Agricultural chemicals? As well as a monument to the past?”
Janos was clearly thinking, and a sharp laugh. “And of course, since there’s enough room, perhaps set up the needed factory to build the water purification equipment. That should do. Of course, that means Helm becomes a target.” His smile indicated that wasn’t a problem for him.
My smile answered that. “Isn’t this the Juggernaut’s home?” I also shrugged. “And if Katrina raids… well, the political fury in Parliament…”
"Well said, yes.” He grinned. “And it should be interesting to see how she gnashes her teeth at her having to buy items to fix her worlds from Hanse and… me." His booming laugh indicated he was very much amused by the Lyrans having to spend money in his realm.
"While any student of history knows trading partners are not always going to be at peace, after all, sometimes people believe it’s easier to take.." I trailed off, pondering. “Sometimes it’s a way to make friends. Just sometimes.”
Janos shook his head. “Ah, youth. You mentioned the problem with it to begin with, young lady. People, and sometimes good people, not just bad ones, believe as you stated.. It’s easier to take.” He thought about it, and shrugged. “That in the most simplest way, is the whole issue of the Succession Wars in detail.”
I had to admit, he was right. And no one was innocent, just a few less guilty. I finally responded. “If war is easy, shouldn’t we try something harder?” I thought about it. “We don’t know where the Star League in Exile is, it’s a big universe, and the Star League created wonders that aren’t possible to be equaled. If we all worked together…”
Janos shook his head. “If it was just that… perhaps. But Liao, at least right now, no. And I’m sure you know about the Dragon.” I had to nod at that. “And let’s be honest. House Centrella, House Calderon?” His snort indicated the likely possibility.
"We won’t know if we don’t try…" I trailed off.
"Odd view for a lady who shoots things for money.” His smile took the sting out of his words.
I looked him in the eye. “I value not having to write letters more than I do money.”
Janos’ eyes narrowed, and he for a long moment said nothing. Finally he answered. “That… is not a sentiment I can say is wrong. No father should outlive his children, as well. As it stands… I don’t see this changing, though, young lady.”
"And if the worlds have shifted?” I challenged him.
"... Then my view may change. But that would have to be a major shift, young General, that would have to be a major shift.” Janos took a sip of his coffee. “And one I don’t see possible.”
I simply looked him in the eye. “I do.”
His expression indicated that he didn’t, but wasn’t going to openly disagree. “Perhaps you’re right. Perhaps.” He paused for a moment. “Youth does tilt at windmills.”
Bridge, Dropship Xanadu, Huesta System, New Avalon Morning, Oct 17th
"... Armstrong, are you kidding me?” I finally responded to his report, and I felt Hanse’s delighted and loud laughter here.
"No, m’lady. I am not. Three stations for shipbuilding, at the least.” His voice was gleeful.
"... I’m so glad Kath and Case aren’t here.” I finally stated. Evie was snickering.
"Because they’d be reminding you Hanse told you so?” The smaller redhead laughed.
I nodded. “Yes, I hope Mara’s going well for them.”
Evie scowled. “I don’t get why they said I couldn’t come along.”
"I quote: ‘First, this is heavy combat, you’re not ready. Second, someone besides Asha has to be able to watch the ferret’s back.’” I rolled my eyes. “Like a battalion of armored marines isn’t enough. Or the platoon of operators.”
"If you want it done right…” Evie caroled at me.
I rolled my eyes. “Yeah, let’s go see what the stations have.”
Shortly we were walking through the quiet and airless stations. I had to shake my head, as Alt had booted up one, apparently the command one, and was just shaking her head.
"Well, all I can say at this rate, I’ll be able to afford your products. And I mean the jumpships." the Computer geek, who looked like she could compete with me in modeling or pure sex appeal in her own way, snickered. “Anyways, the stations can produce jumpships, aerospace fighters, and stations of their own. Will take a bit, but it looks like once we get these home, the FSN’s woes, with Castle Watchtower’s horde, are solved."
Evie cackled. “I CLAIM THESE STATIONS IN THE NAME OF MY WALL.. ow.” She felt the hit on her helmet. “Why?”
"They belong to Challenger, which is owned by Hou-ou Holding, which also owns the Heavy Cav, and you have shares in it, voting shares, remember?”
"Oh.. yeah.” Evie sighed. “Still…”
"Ha… Ha… Ha.” Alt deadpanned. “Well. As it stands…” She ticked off her fingers. “Not counting the three dropships we brought along, Total rings needed appears to be… one hundred sixty-seven.”
Evie whistled. “That’s… a lot of transport.” She looked at me and nodded. “Quick math shows that’ll be… sixteen weeks.” I shook my head.
"Not quite that bad, those four Star Lords that the stations completed, once activated can join the lift on the way home. And it’s what it is.” I shrugged. “We actually are better off on lift, remember? The chain is one Monolith, one Star Lord to Illon, for fifteen rings, then equivalent to Eridani.”
Alt nodded. “So, effectively eleven weeks. Actually, given everything…” She thought. “Call it nine, to get everything home, or at least out of here.” I and Evie looked at her.
"The Star Lords, Baroness.” She grinned. “Everything here is yours, per the agreement.”
I smiled innocently. “I can hear Hanse’s howls, after he finishes laughing now.”
Evie cackled. “So, we’re going to wait, or start bringing the units to New Avalon?”
I shook my head. “We’ll move the first two immedialy, while we’re activating the Star Lords.” Everyone nodded. I sighed. “Let’s get to work, I want to head to New Avalon, I’ve not seen my sister for more than a few days at a time for over two years, and even the annoyance for more. That’s got to stop.”
Evie rolled her eyes. “It’d be nice to stop moving, yes.” She brightened. “Do we know what the command council voted on?”
I tilted my head. “I don’t know. Out of the thirteen votes, I know… seven. Mine was for the Suns, Uri’s was for the Lyrans, Kath’s was abstain, Gry voted Suns, Meta Jinks, the Lyrans, and Albert Suns. 3-3, basically, with one not voting. So… the remaining six will determine. If it’s the Lyrans…”
Evie made a face. “We pack up and go. Blah!” She shook her head. “Who’s left?”
Alt broke in. “The Count, Cook, Rios for Blackhand, though he wants to transfer that, our new chief admin officer, Colonel Jackson and Ahmad.”
Evie looked at me. “Count, no idea, Rios likey for the Suns, Jackson for the Suns, Ahmad and Evie senior… not sure, either.”
"Blah!” I nodded. “We’ll know by December 1st, yes.”
Bridge of Dropship Xanadu, Ford System (LC), Midday, Dec 11th, 3016.
We weren’t too far wrong from how long it’d take, and already the first station should have arrived in the Suns, with the second station making its way through the chain. The last station had been disassembled, and at least a week ago the last components and the Star Lords had departed Huesta.
"Why are we waiting?” Evie grumbled. “We should be headed to New Avalon. We’d make it for Christmas!”
I shrugged. “Orders. At least we know we’re staying in the Suns.” Evie brightened at that. The vote had come though, and the Count and Evie Cook had sealed the deal, before the others could vote. Five more years. Oddly enough, Ahmad had not voted, though he pointed out that we were at risk of becoming a Davion pet unit. Though he admitted that the only other nation worth working for was the Lyrans, unless one of the Periphery realms could match their offers.
"Contact. Bearing… 284, by 45, coming from the zenith. Velocity is on match, speed 20 kps. No accel. Two ships, one between eleven and twelve thousand tons, another just below five thousand. Tentative ident, Achilles, Vengeance.” The sensor tech reported, as the bridge went quiet. “Distance, eight four zero zero zero kilometers.”
"Hold that thought, Evie.” I punched a button on the chair. “Butch!” Micte Messana, our command fighter boss rejoiced in the call sign for some odd reason.
"I heard, boss. Detaching the fighters now.” We had brought home the two Behemoths, semi configured for fighter carrying, and they had between them seventy two aerospace fighters, and twenty gunboats. Not an insignificant number. I watched as my two Sparrowhawks from Xanadu launched as well.
I looked at Melisa bin Salah al Din, the Captain of Xanadu. "Hail them, please.”
It took a fair few seconds, but eventually a picture appeared on the main display. A Japanese phenotype male, looking fierce appeared. I recognized the face. My Lyran half brother, Celestino Fuji.
"Well, sister. We have things to discuss, as well as Takashi wishes you to be his guest. You will cut your ships drives and prepare to be boarded.”
I blinked. I blinked again. Evie’s cursing wasn’t being transmitted but I still made a signal for her to be quiet. She obeyed, though shooting me a glare. Nodding at the communications tech I simply spoke.
"I am afraid that I’m going to have to decline the Coordinator’s invitation. As for your discussion, you are a traitor twice over. I have no truck with them, nor should anyone else.”
His expression in a second turned ugly. “What would a slut like you know about honor? Our father was working for a Free Skye. While right, we need to restore the Hegemony, and under a proper First lord! Bah! My fighters will solve this.” He cut the transmission.
Evie thought for a moment as I radioed Micte. “Butch, expect combat, do keep our Behemoths out of it?”
"Copy that. Shouldn’t be a big problem. Even if they’re actually Dracs, we have a two to one edge, and that assault ship isn’t going to leave the Vengeance alone.” The fighter boss looked relaxed. “We’ll launch in twenty for a match intercept about fifteen minutes out, I think.”
I didn’t argue with those who knew what they were doing, and just said. “Understood. Good hunting.”
"Thanks.” The line was cut, and I turned to Evie who looked at me.
"Your brother is a cunt." I had to laugh.
The minutes ticked, and about four minutes before Micte was to launch, another tech spoke out. “Sensor report, KF Signal, Star Lord type.” I paused and looked at Melissa who simply nodded.
"Detach and prepare to maneuver. It’s getting crowded here. Time to emergence?”
"Estimate of one five minutes.”
I was beginning to sweat. If this was a DCMS jumpship, and was carrying dropships…
"Reaction from the Achilles and Vengeance, they’re accelerating!” another sensor tech called out. “Commodore is launching her birds!”
Evie asked what I was thinking. “Why would they speed up if that’s their ship?”
Melissa looked at us both. “Because it isn’t?” She had thought it though. “We’ll find out in about fourteen minutes, I suppose.”
Everyone nodded at that.
Watching space combat from your dropship is both intense and boring, in a weird way. All the holo dramas make for this and that, and as anyone knows, it’s not the same. Micte’s pilots, including Asha had made mincemeat of the Draconic flyboys who came out to meet them. Only six Slayers and six Eagles competed with her twelve each Rapiers, Stuka, and Vulcans, much less the eight Eagles. The remaining twenty-eight medium and light fighters to the Combine, were torn apart by the lights and gunboats, while the disaster was complete for the heavier birds. This wasn’t to say that they went alone. A Corsair was no longer among the living, and all the gunboats and heavy aerospace fighters had some damage, mostly armor, thankfully.
As the last Combine fighter disappeared, I could see the Achilles and Vengeance hesitate, and the Star Lord appear from its jump. Its Sail had the Sun and Sword emblazoned on it, and I felt everyone’s, including my relief.
A minute later three ships detached, two Avengers, and one Xanadu’s warbook identified as Camelot. This convinced the DCA’s crews it was a good time to be elsewhere, as they went to full acceleration, and set course for the Nadir.
God dammit, Hanse! I wanted those ships, but this would make it… difficult.
"Ma’am, I’m calling off Micte, we’re done for the day.” Melissa simply stated, coming to the same conclusion I did.
"We’re being hailed by Camelot." another tech responded.
"Tell her we’ll meet her.” I looked at Melissa who simply nodded, and set about doing so. “I am not very happy.”
Evie snarked as she followed me, once I got up. “I bet. What’s this about being a good First Prince and staying home? Or a good general and being off the front lines? Naw, it’s not like either of you are good…"
Docking Port, Dropship Xanadu, Ford System, Early Afternoon
"Federated Suns, Arriving!” was heard over the loudspeakers
My boots clicked slightly as I released and triggered the mag clamps as Hanse swam across. Saluting the flag on the bulkhead and then saluting the captain, he spoke. “Permission to come aboard?’
Melissa, the captain returned his salute, and spoke. “Permission Granted. This way, sir.” She escorted him to us, where his eyebrow raised at my expression.
"I think we should discuss this in a more private place, and I do have a few things to tell you, one of which is why I’m here, instead of being a good First Prince.” He tried his roguish grin, but I wasn’t impressed. A steward escorted us to my office, where he took a couch, and strapped himself in, as the ship wasn’t under thrust.
I took mine, and simply looked at him. “Why, praytell, are you not on New Avalon?’
Hanse sighed. “Because a diplomatic opportunity happened. Since I had our ambassador handle the sales you wanted, which still aren’t even close to being complete, Katrina invited you to handle the sales.” I rolled my eyes at that, I figured her plan.
"I’d bring Kath along. Let her deal with her clone.” Hanse snickered at that.
"Well, yes, but the ambassador countered with an offer for me to do it, I believe as a joke, but Katrina agreed. She even extended an invitation to Janos, who indicated he’d consider it.”
My eyebrows rose at that. “Well… I see. So you are being a good First Prince.” I sighed. “Still… your timing…”
Hanse raised an eyebrow. “Yes, what was that unpleasantness about?”
"My Lyran half-brother decided to deliver an invitation from Takashi.” Hanse’s expression grew cold. “Quite. He didn’t bring enough along for me to even remotely consider it, no.”
"First, I’d like to know how he knew where you were, or would be. Second, this is… annoying.” Hanse’s tone was cold. “Very annoying. I will think of some way to explain to him how his way of delivering invitations could be taken.” Hanse blew out a breath.
I tilted my head. “Why wasn’t I informed that Celestino Fuji had joined the Combine?” I paused. “That is something I’d need to know.”
"MIIO oversight, I suspect, and the fact is, I wasn’t informed ‘til last month myself. It appears that he sacked Illyira, and when all he got was a few mechs, some automated bays, and the data core, he devastated their capital.” I had heard that, at least the devastation bit, though I hadn’t heard by whom. Hanse continued on. “It’s why they’re joining the League, and what he didn’t take, they sold to the Lyrans for a bit of mechs and aerospace fighters, but not a lot.” Hanse sighed.
I sighed. This was a world that had been moved, but not in a way we wanted. But I didn’t have control over that lever to do anything. “A data core, in the Combine’s hand?”
Hanse nodded, face grim. “We don’t know much more, though Takashi feted him, and rewarded him richly. But, based on the cores we recovered… MIIO is not happy, no.”
"I doubt they would be.” I drummed my fingers. “... would it be evil of me to suggest that a MIIO agent figure out a way to inform C*?” Hanse laughed at that, then sighed.
"We thought of it, but Takashi was at least smart enough to make at least one copy to our knowledge. And if he made one…” He trailed off suggestively.
"He made more." I tilted my head. “Okay, why are we waiting still? If we’re going to Tharkad…”
"First, you need to send Xanadu to a pirate point in company with Camelot. The Argo will meet us there, and so will a Lyran jumpship. I’d leave the Behemoths behind, and let them finish ferrying the equipment to the Suns.” I nodded, and sent the appropriate orders to Melissa who should be on the bridge.
His eyebrow rose but he continued. “Second, there’s no real reason to rush, she’s not expecting us ‘til the twenty-third. With the command chain she has in place…”
I leaned back. “I see. Are you going to transfer to Camelot?”
Hanse grinned. “I rather lounge on your couch and watch you do paperwork for a change, it might be amusing.” Before I could make a rejoinder, the acceleration alarm went off, and shortly we were en route to Tharkad.
Docking Port, Dropship Argo, Ford System, Late evening, Dec 12th, 3016.
As I swam after Alt Cunningham, I shook my head. Finally I’d get a tour of the Argo. As I swung my boots to latch to the floor, I blinked. Blinked again. Alt was in serious facelock with a somewhat scruffy guy wearing a wifebeater, and having a silver cybernetic arm. Turning to Case, who was grinning, and Kath who was shaking her head, I simply raised an eyebrow.
"Eh.” Kath had walked over to me, and shrugged. “Our little find the body mission ended up being find the living guy. He had lost his arm, but it wasn’t too difficult to put a decent cyberarm on him. He didn’t want a cloned one.” Kath shook her head at that foolishness.
"... I’m glad for Case?” I finally managed, shocked at the perversity of the universe. Some things were meant to be. “Anyways, I need you aboard Xanadu, before we jump.”
"Why?” Kath’s golden eyebrow rose.
I looked at her. “Our station in Panpour?”
Kath blinked. “Oohhh… Time to decide what it makes, I take it?”
"Exactly.” I shrugged. “The arguments about it producing royal tech or not are getting extreme.” I had grabbed the swing handle, and released my boots, to lead Kath to Xanadu.
"I bet.” Kath snickered. “Truth be told, we shouldn’t, let ComStar think we don’t have the plans to program the computers.” I raised my eyebrow as I looked back at her as we swam down the connecting conduit.
Kath just shook her head. “It’s simple, Ferret. The longer C* doesn't’ realize what we have and can do, the better. Some tech, yeah, to keep us and the core Guards up and running, not a problem. Build up a stock, big enough, so we can convert all the Guards, as well as have more capability to produce the technology.”
I tilted my head. “The fact that we only have three entities to produce the equipment, is part of it.”
"Ayup.” We swung into Xanadu, and the hatch closed behind us. Saluting the Flag, and asking permission, we were shortly on our way to my office. Kath countined. “Let’s also be honest, until Satarra and Watchtower’s ships are on line?” She shook her head. “Orbital installations are always at risk, and I seem to recall that Comstar at least took into account that at times you wouldn’t have fighter cover.”
"True that.” I paused. “Well, okay. We’ll decide on what specifically.” Kath snorted.
"Pick what you want and can get licensed, pretty much, AFFS will buy. As for the machine shops, and like? Same basic story.” She paused. “I’d set up stuff on Panpour IV, and Argyle, as well, lines and other things. If I recall right, only Endo steel out of Inner sphere technology needs orbital factories.”
I thought about it. “Electronics, the highest end of the holographics and of course, the best resistant binary IC as well.” I waggled my hand. “Processing some of the armor and heat sinks, plus shielding for the engines is easier in orbit, too, come to think of it, if I remember right.”
Kathrine nodded. “Makes sense, and a lot of that can be converted when the time’s right…” We both grinned.
"Okay, sounds like a plan. Let’s go beard the Fox, with the plan.” I smirked.
"Bet you’ll have to twist him to agree. He’d want that technology out as soon as possible.” Kath snickered again.
"I like my paycheck in my bank account.”
Main Conference Room, Hilton’s Head, Terra, Evening, Dec 19th, 3016
Julian Tiepolo, the most powerful man in the Inner sphere, or so he believed looked at the worried faces of the 5 people in front of him. The fury on Precentor Dieron’s face amused him.
"Precentors. I take it you’ve read Precentor ROM’s report?”
He saw three nods and Kenji Arasaka, Precentor Dieron spoke. “Yes, we have Primus. How could this happen?”
Precentor Tharkad, Ulthan Everson, spoke mildly. “We can only control what we know about. Katrina’s seizing on a joke, and Hanse Davion running with it, was … unexpected.”
Julian nodded. “No matter. This will fail like other attempts have before. Even a short term truce between the three serves our purposes.” Two looks of incredulousness and three questioning looks answered his statement.
"First, it’s possible, I suppose…” His smile indicated how likely this would be. “That this might lead to something lasting. Stranger things have happened.” He waited a moment. “But I doubt it, not under the stresses we will put upon this. I’ve already directed Comstar News Bureau to… slant how this will be taken.” He smiled at that. “As well as directed Jarlath to continue our policy of limited interdictions to aid one side.”
Several nods answered him. Ulthan didn’t look pleased, but didn’t say anything, while Huthrin Vandel, Precentor New Avalon just looked at him.
"Second, thanks to a brilliant Comguard adept, who will be finding her new posting as my military aide to her satisfaction I hope; we know what the Combine has, and have taken steps to ah… alter it enough. We of course, gained a copy, as we will gain a copy of what Janos and Hanse found.” More nods. Several relieved smiles there as well. “As part of Operation Marshall, which should be in front of you, the Confederation will recover a copy in the manner we desire.”
Two eyebrows rose. “Don’t be too worried, my precentors, it will be altered… enough.” Several snickers answered him.
"Operation Marshall, hm?” Precentor Atreus, Pedrigor Aliz, looked through it, his eyebrows raising. “So, this to counter Davion’s and Marik’s growth. Build up the Confederation’s and Combine’s industry?”
Julian nodded. “And when they feel secure enough, they will of course launch raids to deny Davion his industry, and Davion will respond…”
Vandel spoke. “Slim reed that, but possible. Combined with another Holy Shroud?” He shook his head. “Using Terran 'dissidents’ to help them ‘use’ the core and industrial aid?”
Ulthan spoke. “I feel that is a bit… too clever, Primus. Blake spoke of regrowth and regression, this is just what he spoke of. Patience, not tricks will win the day.”
Julian nodded. “I agree, it is clever, but it is also being patient. We will slowly infiltrate the two nations we aid, without them suspecting. We can either spark the destruction ourselves… or take advantage of it.”
Arasaka nodded, a gleam in his eye. “Excellent.” The Precentor of Sian, Vilnius Tejh, looked conflicted.
Vandel steepled his fingers. “I have a suggestion, Primus. Canopus and Taurus have no great love for the Great Houses closest to them, and both nations at this time…”
Julian paused and thought about it. “... Well. I am sure some adepts will enjoy Canopian gratitude, though I don’t know if our ploy will work with Taurus. But an excellent suggestion.” He paused. “And Taurus never got touched severely by us, it is time to correct that. Well thought. We might as well extend this to the Outworlds, who knows, maybe the Davions and Kuritans will fight over them.”
Vandel’s face was still, while Ulthan shifted slightly, but still said nothing.
"As for the issue of this Praetorian, which no search has revealed, so we’re tentatively assuming and yes, I know…” He answered the looks he got for that statement, “That she is a SLN exile. But, in case her existence does indicate Kerensky’s people are returning, a few prudent steps will be taken. First, we will reactivate both our battleships, seven cruisers, and six destroyers to form six ship squadrons to defend each of our anchorages, as the exiles know about them.” Nods were received. “Just in case, mind you. During which, we will build six Dantes, to replace the reactivated destroyers. Less crew, more familiarity, and the SLDF does not know about them.”
"An extra bit of coverage, eh?”
Julian nodded at Aliz’s soft words. “Indeed. We will also go ahead and build six of the proposed Infernos, to replace the cruisers, and a Dreadnaught, to give us a third battleship. And perhaps two more of her class to replace the others. It all depends. We will also finish the research that Illyira was doing, and that too will help with our personnel needs.” He received more nods at this.
Julian thought for a moment, and added. “As you might not have known, Illyira was where third generation Caspar research was being undertaken, at least hardware wise. We are very lucky Davion did not recover Artru’s core, for that was where software research was being done, as well as a short term anti-Caspar project.”
"All well and good, Primus.” Vandel spoke. “But this will cost, and we will need manpower."
Julian smiled. "How fortunate a survey of your three circuits…” He looked at Vandel, Ulthan and Aliz . “Has discovered that they have been shorted maintenance and needed repairs, much less expansion that will be needed as our economists project. It’s only right that they pay for it, say a three to four percent increase?”
Vandel winced. Aliz looked thoughtful, while Tejh nodded eagerly.
"Having the extra benefit of slowing the exploitation of their gains, too, I suppose.” Ulthan nodded. “Clever. More mechs sold to militias and nobles, instead of the federal governments, as well.”
"And while it wasn’t as successful as we hoped, in the Free Worlds League, Lestrade and Hasek-Davion aren’t the most loyal, are they? Blake predicted such fools.” Julian smiled.
"And we’ll use them!” Arasaka nodded.
"That is a plan, yes, when we think the time is right.” He paused and nodded once. “However, it is always possible that Katrina’s effort here may pan out. If so… we back it, once we are sure.” Five stares answered him, as Tojo passed out a folder.
"We’ve recently come into a plan, from your area, Vilnius…” Julian trailed off as all read.
Ulthan spoke for the moderates. “This is madness. It will not work, Primus.”
"Replacing the House lords… Ambitious.” He thought about it for a moment. “I have a suggestion. Two, actually. I agree with Ulthan that as it stands, at least the Lyrans and the Leaguers would be ill inclined to go along, and even the Davions, one would likely suspect would be hesitant. However…” Julian appeared interested.
He stood. “We need to shape opinion. Increase the good will that people feel to us. We have plenty of universities and schools on Terra that are barely used. Why not use them? Say, ten students from each world?”
Julian thought for a moment. “And with subtle work, we can make them Comstar Loyalists as well as gathering a few of the more talented, yes.” He smiled. “As well as those parents and family who see their children come back with Terra’s skills… Well thought, well thought, they’d provide a nucleus of support and future administration. It will be added.”
Vandel nodded. “And I suppose for the Doppleganger, we would ‘invite’ them to Terra to finalize the New Star League?”
Julian blinked. Tojo interrupted “Well thought, while we can do much to train our replacements, having the originals at hand … well thought. Primus, I agree with his suggestion.”
Julian nodded. “Excellent. It will be longer, but well.”
"Needs must, Primus, needs must.” Vandel looked around. “And as for the young baroness?”
"There are two schools of thought on her. That she has done all she can to aid her realm, another that she has put deadman triggers on her information she still has. But, Sian and Luthien would like her gone, for various reasons. Why not aid those?”
Ulthan seemed to want to speak for a moment, but stood up. Finally he spoke, voice tight. “I’ll go on record as opposing the Doppelganger plot, as well as trying what’s failed on the young lady. Increasing our defenses, and the rest, approved. I’m needed back on Tharkad.” He shook his head as he walked out.
Vandel shook his head, as he stood. “I agree with what Ulthan has stated. I think you underestimate how good MIIO is, and how little they brought the spiel that is common about our last attempt, nor the one before that, Primus. But, I’m sure the others will approve, so I too must take my leave. Ballistics waits for no man.” He walked out, and Julian looked at the others.
"Any other objections?” Three shakes of heads answered him.
En route to Hilton Head Dropship Port, Terra
Shortly, the two precentors were in a car that they knew - or at least hoped - wasn’t bugged. “I don’t like this, at all. Too many things can go wrong.” Ulthan growled.
Vandel sipped from a water bottle. “I do think you’re right. But, to be honest, Julian isn’t as moderate as we thought he’d be, and well, I don’t think he or Jarlath have thought it all through. I severely doubt that Hanse Davion is stupid enough to boast of all his prizes. And that young lady is even less likely to.” He shook his head. “We’ll have to pick up the pieces.”
"You think Katrina’s little invite has any potential?” Ulthan raised an eyebrow.
"If it was just her and Davion? Slim to none. Janos going - and that speech he made in Parliament, condemning his brother? I will say this. I wonder. His son… Thomas, I recall, is in your area, what does he think?”
"I’ll ask.” A pause. “You think that Blake was wrong?” a slightly shocked tone entered his voice.
"No. I do think however, the times shaped his visions. And sometimes, like all prophecy, you need to read between the lines.” Vandel smiled. “And I have a feeling we’re all missing things… Major things.”
"Gods, I can’t take more of these last three years. I hope you’re wrong.” The older man sighed and looked at his counterpart. “I really do.”
"So do I. Otherwise, Julian will let the firebrands do something stupid."
Information on exactly what has been found to date:
Actual industrial units found by the Heavy Cavalry to date:
Each Hughes station starts with 37 modules (1 command, 6 fuel, 6 processing (ore/chemical), 6 habitat, 6 cargo, 6 fighter/small craft storage bays, 2 entertainment modules, 4 general fabrication ones)
ASF/Mech/Vee/Exo: One unit of appros, 2 General Fabrication
Droships, All: 1 General Fab, 1 Sub Capital Fab, the appros unit
Jumpships: 100-450: Appros Unit, Jumpship Core Fab, Capitol Drive General Fab, General Fab (120, 160: Small, 300: medium 450 Large Core units)
Warships 1 of each capital weapon unit, 1 slip unit, 1 general fab, 1 cap. Drive fab, 1 general fab, extra command center, extra habitat, <=600kt medium military core, 1mt, large military core, 2mt, very large, 2.5mt, 2 very large
Tooling: 1 Processing, one Science, 1 Tooling, 1 extra command
Station Alpha: 2 2.5mt, 2 2 mt, 2 100 kt Slips(DS)
Station Bravo: 2 1 mt, 2 600kt, 2 100 kt slips (DS)
Station Charlie, Delta: 2 450kt, 2 300kt, 2 60kt (DS)
Station Echo, Foxtrot: 2 160kt, 2 120kt, 2 60kt (DS)
Station Golf, Hotel: 2 Exoskeleton units, 2 ASF/Mech Units, 2 20kt units
Station India, Juliet: 2 heavy Vee, 2 Superheavy, 2 20kt units
Station Kilo, Lima: 2 Science Unit, 2 Tooling Units, 2 20kt units
Station Mike, November: 2 Light Vee, 2 Tooling, 2 60kt units
Station Oscar: 2 100kt, 10 additional Habitat
Station Papa: 2 60kt, 4 additional habitat, 6 additional processing
Station Romeo: 2 20kt, 6 additional habitat, 2 Mech, 2 ASF
Station Sierra: 6 5kt unit, 6 additional habitat
Station Alpha: 4 300kt slips, 2 ASF modules (67)
Station Bravo: 2 20kt slips, 2 60kt Slips, 2 100kt slips (49)
Station Charlie: 2 tooling modules, 4 5kt DS (51)
What the OHC Has acquired to date in non stations, still useful industrial gear:
Planet Based Fabrication Units (read factories);
8 general part making, 4 electronic parts, 4 laser, 4 PPC, 4 frame (asf/sc/mech), 4 myomer, 4 heatsink, 4 autocannon, 4 missile, 4 armor presser, 4 sets of ammo for all of the previous
The equivalent of 3404 mech/asf bays, 86 dropship bays, (all advanced computer driven/automated)
Complete SLDF Army field Library as standard, with computer science/engineering additions
Complete SLN Navy field library as standard, with shipyard additions
Project Star Files, Project Locura files
Helm Data core, unencrypted.
What the OHC has acquired non industrial gear: (plus warships):
2 Newgranges (1 needing repairs and new computer core load), 1 Belknap
2 McKennas, 2 Texas (3, technically, if you count Praetorian), 1 Monsoon
2 New Syrtis (FSN Pleiades with a New Grange is being recovered)
1 Kimagure, 2 Avatar, 2 Black Lion, 3 Cameron, 1 Congress, 2 Sov. Soyuz
4 Volga, 4 Carracks, 2 Potemkin
4 Essex, 3 Lola III, 2 Naga, 1 Whirlwind, 3 Carson
1 Samarkand b. II, 4 Vincent, 2 Vigilant
Jumpships to date:
6 Monoliths, 14 Star Lords, 14 Invaders, 15 Merchants, 4 Scouts
Dropships to Date:
Argo, 11 Behemoth, 3 Vengeance, 5 Colossus, 4 Titan, 4 Achilles, 4 Fortress, 7 Avengers, 9 Overlords, 8 Unions, 13 Mules, 2 Aqueduct, 3 Mammoths, 9 Elephants
1 Lee Vehicle,
220 Royal Mechs, 640 SLDF mechs
ASF: 162 Royal, 394 SLDF ASF, 48 Vulcan 6N, 48 Rogue ASF
Combat: 342 Royal, 1543 SLDF
VTOL: 432 Royals (mostly Cobras), 248 SLDF
Support: 4324 10 ton or smaller/J-series
455 Royal Auxiliary Support Vehicles (Various types)
170 Bradley Superheavy Support Vees (various types)
Uh, What: 12 Yamaha Ninja 2750 model sport motorcycles, 2 Ferrari Wolf Spider super convertibles.
Industrial Mechs: 892
Exoskeleton 96 (6 Man) Squads of STAR/RICO Powered Armor (Space Marine)
4 (6 Man) squads Nighthawk,
1011 squads of SLDF support exoskeletons
Small Craft: 418
420.25 kilotons normal, 535.75 kilotons advanced technology
380.5 kilotons of naval spare parts
Other oddball gear:
12 SLDF Blackheart Sensor Disruptors
7200 personnel SLDF INfantry kit (armor, Mauser 960)
480 Support Pulse Lasers, 480 Support PPCs, 240 SRM man pack
Launchers, 240 HMG’s
2.4 billion cbills a year for 20 years to the OHC, 3.6 billion a year for 20 years divided between various people in the OHC
Titles of Nobility for: Kathrine Steiner, E. Kessler (Evie), Mark Winter (Case), Asha Blackwing, Praetorian (Hanse’s working on it… somehow), Gry Sved, Cummin Ahmad, Uri Ferro, Evie Cook, Natalia Kirkup, Micte Messana, Albert Sheldon, Tim Nicols, Meheitavel Mari, Morgan Blackhand, Sofia Rios, and a fair number others.
For 22 Months (March 3016 til end of 3016): Receive: 2 Marauder II, 2 Altas, 2 Victor, 2 Marauder, 2 Archer, 2 Rifleman, 2 Merlin, 2 Griffin, 2 Shadowhawk, 2 Hunchback, 2 Centurion, 2 Enforcer, 2 Phoenix Hawk, 2 Valkyrie, and 4 Locust Mechs, 2 Stuka, 2 Vulcan (by piecing together bits and pieces here and there, it’s hilariously a win for Hanse, he get those bits out of his warehouses), 4 Eagles, 4 Hellcats, 4 Lightnings, 4 Tomahawk, 4 Sparrowhawk ASF, 2 Behemoth, 2 Devastator, 4 Partisan, 4 Manticore, 4 Bulldog Variants, 4 Vedette, 4 Condors, 4 Pegasus, 4 J-Edgar combat vees.
4 Kestrel and 4 Peregrine variant VTOL
Huesta Stations, all
Castle Watchtower stations: Sierra, Romeo, Papa, Oscar, Mike, Kilo, India, Golf, Echo, Charlie, promise of a copy of Bravo and Alpha, 13 Snowdens
Planet Based Fabrication Units (read factories);
2 general part making, 1 electronic part, 1 laser, 1 PPC, 1 frame (asf/sc/mech), 1 myomer, 1 heatsink, 1 autocannon, 1 missile, 1 armor presser, ammo for all of the previous
The equivalent of 1601 mech/asf bays, 28 dropship bays, (all advanced computer driven/automated)
Technically Praetorian (Kikyo considers him part of the Command Council and he owns shares of the holding company, so… if you squint?)
4 Carracks, 2 Vigilant
Jumpships to date:
3 Monoliths, 9 Star Lords, 7 Invaders, 7 Merchants, 2 Scouts
Dropships to Date:
Argo, 5 Behemoth, 2 Vengeance, 4 Colossus, 2 Titan, 2 Achilles, 2 Fortress, 3 Avengers, 3 Overlords, 3 Unions, 6 Mules, 1 Aqueduct, 2 Mammoths, 4 Elephants
93 Royal Mechs, 313 SLDF mechs
ASF: 52 Royal, 77 SLDF ASF 48 Vulcan 6N, 48 Rogue ASF
Combat: 160 Royal, 773 SLDF
VTOL: 136 Royals (mostly Cobras), 88 SLDF
Support: 785 10 ton or smaller/J-series
309 Royal Auxiliary Support Vehicles (Various types)
97 Bradley Superheavy Support Vees (various types)
Uh, What: 12 Yamaha Ninja 2750 model sport motorcycles, 2 Ferrari Wolf Spider super convertibles.
Industrial Mechs: 446
Exoskeleton 48 (6 Man) Squads of STAR/RICO Powered Armor (Space Marine)
2 (6 Man) squads Nighthawk,
535 squads of SLDF support exoskeletons
Small Craft: 167
160 kilotons normal, 160 kilotons advanced technology, 80 kilotons of
Naval spare parts.
Janos’ Share of Helm: (Not counted in the totals above)
322 Mechs (20%) royal 3/2/1/1 split (assault/heavy/medium/light)
734 combat vehicles (20% royal, half are APC’s, rest as mech weight)
265 ASF (20% royal, equal split between weight)
351 industrial mechs
506 industrial exoskeleton squads
217 Small Craft
200 RASV, 100 Bradley, 1334 other support vehicles
Non avadanced Spare Parts: 165,250 tons
Avadanced Spare Parts: 275,250 tons
Naval spare parts: 180,500 tons
At least 20 regimental sets of infantry gear
Last Generation Bay equivants (Mech): 3,000, 24 Dropship Bays
What Katrina buys from Kikyo’s share of Helm:
12 Dropship Bays, 1000 mech bay equivalents, 60kt Naval spare parts, 60kt advanced Tech spare parts, 60kt normal spare parts, plus additional mechs, asf and afv.
Hanse gets what’s left from the “What the OHC has found.”-OHC Share You hear his laughing, don’t you?
(Team Banzai by 3019 has a Star Lord, 2 Invaders, and 2 Merchants, plus 2 Colossus, 2 Excalibur, 2 Fortress, 2 Titans and 4 Overlord Dropships, plus 2 Monarchs and 4 Mules. They are also fully advanced tech, and 2 Regiments with attached armor battalion and infantry battalion plus other assets)