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An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court (Chapter Cover Art)

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Chapter 11 - An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court[]


Oil on troubled waters[]

Comstar First Circuit Compound
Hilton Head Island, Terra
August 7th, 3028


The day after his sit-down with Primus Julian Tiepolo, General Hodges meets with Hanse Davion, Katrina Steiner and Melissa Steiner in order to deliver his contact report. Upon taking his seat, the First Prince asks “well General, how did it go with the Primus?”

“Very well, your highness. When I apologized him for interrupting the planning of the false-flag attack on Sarna’s HPG station, Tiepolo’s eyes blew up like they were a pair of supernovas. Subsequently, I told him that the existence of the Com Guards and their stockpile of Star League-era battlemechs was known (along with Comstar’s Warships); when Tiepolo heard that, he became so angry that I thought he was going to have a stroke.”

“Indeed, do please continue.”

“Yes, Sir. The icing on the cake came when I told Primus & Company that Myndo Waterly (Precentor Dieron and Tiepolo’s presumed successor) breached the First Circuit’s policy of non-interference by telling the Draconis Combine’s Internal security Force that the Archon-Designate was stranded in the Styx system; you should have seen his face, turned all kinds of interesting colors, it did. That bunch wants to kill me so bad they can taste it. Just before I left the Primus’ office, I stood in front of his desk and told him “step up and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.”

Archon Katrina speaks up and says “General Hodges, weren’t you at all concerned for your safety? Comstar doesn’t take insults like that at all lightly.”

“Archon, if those toaster-worshipping morons were to attempt anything against me while the wedding party is here on Terra, it would do them far more harm than good. However, after we leave, all bets are off.”

The First Prince nods his head and replies “How do we proceed from here?”

“Your highness, it is explained in detail in the books that I have, that Comstar will eventually find out about your raid on the Helm and New Dallas depots. In the history that was, there will be a raid on NAIS in 3029 by House Liao’s Death Commandos; only the Commandos won’t be the ones who carry out the attack. It will be a false-flag attack by Comstar; if anything, they’ll try to kill me while they go after the material that was recovered.”

A look of quiet fury crosses Hanse Davion’s face as he says “We’ll just see about that. General, when we return to New Avalon, I’ll schedule a briefing with you and the other members of my senior staff; you’ll brief them and then a proper response will be formulated.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Do you have anything else for me?”

“I do indeed, your highness. Just recently, the mercenary unit Wolf’s Dragoons entered the service of House Davion after leaving the employ of the Draconis Combine; let’s say that the circumstances of their parting were rather less than amenable.” A pause, then “House Davion first employed the Dragoons from 3005 through 3009. After that, they were successively employed by the Capellan Confederation, Duke Anton Marik (during the Marik Civil War), House Marik, House Steiner, and the Draconis Combine in that order. They continued in the Combine’s service until the Battle of Misery in April, 3028. Due to machinations by Warlord Grieg Samsonov, the Draconis Combine accused the Dragoons of breach-of-contract and various war crimes. To make matters worse, Tetsuhara was the designated liaison officer between the Combine and the Dragoons; his successor was an absolute scumbag named Jerry Akuma (Grieg Samsonov’s right-hand man).

“Ahh, yes; a most-regrettable situation, that was.”

“You don’t know the half of it, sir. To make a long story short, Colonel Wolf defeated and captured Minobu Tetsuhara after the battle on Misery; afterwards, Tesuhara committed seppuku to atone for his disgrace. Over the course of Tetsuhara’s association with the Dragoons, he and Colonel Wolf had become good friends; it was on this basis that Tetsuhara asked Colonel Wolf to stand as his Kaishakunin in the ceremony. Historically-speaking, the role of the Kaishakunin would be to behead the one committing seppuku in order to spare him prolonged agony. In Tetsuhara’s case, all that Colonel Wolf did was to shoot him with a laser pistol after he died. What you all don’t know is that, before Tetsuhara died, he asked Colonel Wolf to return his swords to the Coordinator. Colonel Wolf is here on Terra as we speak, and he intends to pick a fight with the Combine by throwing Tetsuhara’s swords at Takashi Kurita’s feet and calling him out. To further complicate matters, Wolf’s Dragoons are from the Clans; there were sent here as an advance unit by the Clan’s ‘Warden’ faction. The Wardens are one of the two major factions in Clan society; they seek to both guide and protect the Inner Sphere until a new Star League can be formed. The other faction is the Crusaders; this bunch wants to conquer the Inner Sphere and reform the Star League by force, with them at its head.”

“That’s going to be a problem, if ever there was one.”

“Your highness, with your permission, I have a solution that I would like to undertake. “Take the Dragoons in your service and give them the world of Outreach as their home base. There are three mid-level Star League supply depots on that planet, and giving it to the Dragoons will earn you their undying loyalty. Not only this, the Dragoons will avoid whatever losses they’d suffer in fighting the Combine.”

“General Hodges, once again, you have rendered me an invaluable service. I must ask however, what makes you believe that Takashi Kurita will go along with this?”

“The Coordinator and I are on good terms because of the information you directed me to convey to him, During that interview, I gifted him with a katana that had been given to my ‘ancestor’ by Emperor Hirohito in the late 1940s; I also gave him a wakizashi from my personal collection, a weapon once owned by the Coordinator’s ancestor Admiral Kurita and given by that worthy gentleman to my ancestor.”

“Very well. You have my permission to proceed.”

“Thank you, your highness.”


Chat with a Mercenary[]

Comstar First Circuit Compound
Hilton Head Island, Terra
August 14th, 3028

Six days before Hanse and Melissa’s wedding takes place, General Hodges meets with Colonel Wolf in the latter’s guest quarters on Hilton Head Island; Also present is none other than Captain Natasha Kerensky.

“Colonel Wolf, Captain Kerensky, I’m pleased to finally be able to meet the both of you; your reputations have preceded you.”

“The pleasure’s all mine, General. When I heard about that sit-down you had with Primus Julian Tiepolo, I was all the more curious about you.”

“Then, I’ll get right to the point, Air. How’s the weather on Strana Mechty?”

The same word escapes from Colonel Wolf’s and Captain Kerensky’s throats at the same time…

“WHAT??”

“You heard me, Colonel. I know who you people are, where you came from and why you’re here. I am likewise completely familiar with your personal history, as well as that of Captain Kerensky. The Dragoons were dispatched to the Inner Sphere in 3004 by Khan Kerlin Ward in order to assess the state of the Sphere’s various military forces and to help prepare them against an invasion by the Crusader faction; I believe the whole affair was called the ‘Dragoon Compromise.”

Colonel Wolf fixes General Hodges with a glare that would freeze most other men in their tracks, then says “You have my undivided attention. Before we continue, how is it that you know so much about us? All I know about you is that you’re from some planet far out in the Deep Periphery and that Hanse Davion has shown an rather-unusual amount of trust and confidence in you…”

“Colonel, I drink and I know things. More to the point, I have certain intelligence sources that are so deep and so black that they make space itself seem brighter than the noonday sun. As to why I asked to see you today, I know all of the details of the situation between you and the Draconis Combine.”

“If as you say, you know why I’m here, You must know that I have to do it.”

“Sir, with respect, both you and the Coordinator are in the wrong about this. The break between the Dragoons and the Combine was caused by the actions of Grieg Samsonov, warlord of the Galedon Military District. His machinations (and the duplicity of his right-hand man Jerry Akuma) are what led up to the bad blood between you and Takashi Kurita.”

Wolf pounds his desk in anger and replies “Jerry Akuma; that’s a name I never expected to hear that name again. Even before Misery, I found him to be the worst kind of arrogant, self-aggrandizing prick. During the fighting around the city of Cerrant on An Ting, I was pleased to hear that Dechan Fraser (one of my Mechwarriors) blew him into next week with the medium laser on his Shadow Hawk.”

“Colonel, you’re not the only one who had a case of the ass at Akuma. Subhash Indrahar (Director of the ISF) became aware of what Akuma had done and ordered his death; your man Fraser just got there first. As to why you should follow my advice, I know that you have been angling to enter the service of House Davion for some time now; you have also had your eyes on the world of Outreach as a home base (mainly because of the three Star League depots on that planet). I have made the First Prince aware of how things stand, and he has authorized me to tell you that if you forego your intended confrontation with the Coordinator and enter his service without delay, he’ll settle Outreach on you immediately.”

“What makes you think that Kurita will listen to you and what you have to say?”

“Sir, the Coordinator and I are on good terms because of the information I gave to him regarding Comstar’s stockpile of Stare League mechs and warships; I also gave him a katana that had been presented to one of my ancestors by Emperor Hirohito, as well as a wakizashi that had been gifted to my ancestor by Admiral Takeo Kurita in 1947. As for Minobu Tetsuhara’s swords, present them to the Coordinator as you intended to, but please do so in a dignified and respectful manner. Remember that anger is a poor servant and an even worse master; if the Dragoons and the Combine were to break out in open warfare against each other, you’d be looking at the loss of 80% or more of the Dragoons strength.”

A meaningful pause, then “Colonel, I have written proof of all that Samsonov and his lapdog Akuma did or wanted to do. These two folders that I have with me are copes of one another; one is for you and the other is for the Coordinator; read through the documents and you’ll see that what I propose is the most equitable course of action. I’ll be with you when you go see Kurita; I’ll give him the second folder at the same time. When he reads how Samsonov conspired to turn the Combine and the Dragoons against each other, he’ll be pleased to see things my way (as well as angered beyond reason by how Samsonov played him for a fool). Beyond this, your fate is your own….”

Colonel Wolf turns to Captain Kerensky and says “Well Natasha, what do you think?”

“Sir, if General Hodges can pull this off, I’m all for it. Still, it galls me that someone outside the Dragoons (and a tank officer, besides) was able to come up with all this.”

Upon hearing this, a predatory grin crosses General Hodges’ face as he says “Madam, from that statement, I have to infer that you have no regard for tankers, Perhaps, in better circumstances, I would be able to change your mind; say, a friendly contest between your Warhammer and my tank? I promise not to beat you up too badly..”

“General, if I had a C-bill for every time someone wanted to demonstrate their so-called superiority to me, I’d be the richest woman in the Inner Sphere; you’re on. Just name the time and the place…”


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