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Chapter 14 - An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court[]

Aiming for the Future[]

Comstar guest quarters
Hilton Head Island, Terra
August 21st, 3028

9:00 AM

After the First Prince’s revelation last night, to say that House Liao, House Marik and House Kurita were buzzing like a kicked-over beehive would be a decided understatement. Once the reception banquet was over, all three houses left Terra with as much dispatch as possible. Last to leave are the First Prince, his new wife, Archon Katrina and their respective staff officers. While the preparations to leave are underway, the First Prince says “General Hodges, you earlier spoke of your desire to take us on a ‘staff ride’ as you called it; to visit various locations of historical interest located in the former territory of the United States. Given that Operation RAT is underway, I don’t think that would be a good idea at this time.”

“I understand, Your Highness. Perhaps when things have settled down, it might be possible to do the ride at that time.”

“I’m looking forward to it, sir.”

Once preparations for departure have been completed, the assembled Davion-Steiner party leaves for Comstar’s spaceport, there to board a shuttle to take them to their jumpship waiting in lunar orbit. After the shuttle has reached cis-lunar space, a Davion staff officer comes to the First Prince and says “Your Highness, I have discovered what was the cause of that interruption at the Comstar delegation’s table; Primus Julian Tiepolo suffered a massive stroke and he’s not expected to survive. Precentor Myndo Waterly is now acting Primus and will be confirmed in that role by a vote of the assembled First Circuit.”

“Indeed. Thank you, lieutenant. General Hodges, your thoughts on this?”

“Your Highness, I rather think that I had something to do with this. When I had my interview with the Primus and the other members of the First Circuit, my revelations of the existence of the Comguards, Comstar’s hidden warship fleet, the planning for a false-flag attack on the Sarna HPG station (and how Myndo Waterly ratted out your future wife’s presence in the Styx system to House Kurita) struck them like an asteroid moving at 17 kilometers per second; Tiepolo was so angry that his face looked like a mech reactor that was about to breach. It certainly didn’t help things that I was as condescending as possible.”

“Thank you for your information, General. If only I could have seen the reactions on the faces of the First Circuit; anything which discomfits that bunch is of interest to me. Now that we’re off- planet, what were those future matters you wished to discuss with me?”

“Your Highness, what I have to say concerns both you, your good lady wife and Archon Katrina. As all three of you are present. I can begin. In the future that was, you died from a heart attack in 3052; the circumstances of this are that your son returned from his successful rescue of Hohiro Kurita from a Clan assault on Teniente. When he came to see you in your office at the Fox’ Den, he found that you had been stricken with a heart attack after you watched a holodisk sent to you by Sun-Tzu Liao; which disk mentioning his marriage to Isis Liao and insultingly referring to the one sent by Justin Xiang Allard during the Fourth Succession War (which mentioned your terms for the surrender of the St. Ives Commonality).”

“General Hodges, the events you mentioned will, in all likelihood, never happen because of your intervention…”

“True enough, you highness. However, the possibility of you suffering a massive heart attack still exists. I therefore counsel you in the strongest possible terms to have yourself examined by your personal physician once we return to New Avalon; any suggestions he makes as to a treatment regimen must be followed as if they were Holy Writ.”

“You may rest assured that I have no intention of shuffling off my mortal coil before my work is done. I will comply with my doctor’s orders as if my life depended on it because it most certainly does.”

Archon Katrina joins the discussion and says “What of me, General? Can you tell what the future portends?”

“I certainly can, my lady. In the year 3037 of the future that was, you’ll be diagnosed with terminal cancer; This condition coming about as a result of the trip undertaken by you, your husband Arthur Luvon and Morgan Kell to Taran’s World; here, you recovered the ‘Black Box’ technology from the HQ bunker of the 17th Royal Battlemech Division. The bunker has been struck with a dirty nuclear weapon in 2595, and the remaining contamination is what caused the cancer that killed Luvon. Now that you know of your future condition, getting a 10-year headstart on treating it will certainly be beneficial.”

Archon Katrina shivers, as if someone just walked across her own grave. She responds “General Hodges, that was quite a revelation you just made. Like the First Prince, I will immediately seek medical advice after I return to Tharkad and follow it to the letter.” Hanse Davion looks to his wife reassuringly and smiles upon hearing this.

“General, you have mentioned my future and that of Archon Katrina. What of my future children?”

“Your Highness, your future offspring are five in number; three sons (Victor, Peter and Arthur) and two daughters (Katherine and Yvonne). Victor would succeed you and assume the mantle of Archon Prince; future history would relate that he was never very comfortable in that role, being a better Battlemech commander than a ruler. Katherine (your second child) eventually became the black sheep of the family; she was psychologically unstable, a malignant narcissist who was responsible for the assassination of her mother Melissa. Katherine was the direct cause of the Federated Commonwealth Civil War and bears most of the responsibility for the breakup of the realm. She is mentioned prominently in Battletech literature, and players of the game referred to her as the ‘Bitch’ for what she did…”

Upon hearing these further revelations, Hanse Davion grips the armrest of his seat so hard that it creaks audibly; Archon-Designate Melissa raises her hand to her face as if to overcome the revulsion and disgust that she feels. Once the First Prince recovers his composure, he says “Forewarned is forearmed, I say.”

“True enough, Your Highness. Having you around for years longer than in the original history would certainly have helped Victor become a better ruler; As for knowing about Katherine and what she was like, perhaps psychological screening for your future children would be in order.”

“Thank you, General; Melissa and I will act on your recommendations when the time comes. Do you have anything else for us?”

“Yes, I do. Archon Katrina, when you return to Tharkad, you need to have a sitdown with Cranston Snord and his people.”

“Why is that?”

“You already know how Snord and the Irregulars have gone off the reservation numerous times; whether it’s to retrieve caches of old Terran artifacts, or not telling anyone about the cache of Battlemechs and Star League-era equipment they found on a crashed Colossus-class dropship under the ice on Phecda; the list goes on and on and on. Most recently, you gave Snord and the Irregulars the world of Clinton to serve as their base. What Snord already knew before you granted him Clinton was that there was a fully-intact and stocked Castle Brian on that planet. Given Snord’s history of insubordination, his actions are understandable. However, this doesn’t excuse him not telling you about it….”

A look of cold fury crosses Archon Karina’s face as she replies “Oh, really? Well, that situation cannot and will not be allowed to stand. For one thing, I am minded to direct that Snord and the Irregulars will have to give back any and all resources they haven’t already expended. I’ll also issue orders that they are to take the lead against House Kurita in Operation Götterdämmerung. Do you concur, Hanse?”

“I do, Katrina; if it were up to me, I’d take back Clinton and cashier the whole bunch. However, sending then against the Dracs will certainly teach them a lesson that needs learning.”


The First Prince closes the meeting, and the dropshuttle continues the flight towards Luna. Some hours later it meets up with the FedSuns Jumpship; the passengers debark and the jumpship powers its way towards the Sol System’s primary jump point, arriving just over nine days later. Thereafter, transit time to New Avalon is greatly lessened by the use of a command circuit of jumpships. After arriving at New Avalon’s jump point, Archon Katrina and her delegation say their farewells and board their own jumpship for the trip back to Tharkad.

Seven days and eight hours later, Hanse Davion and his party are back on New Avalon. Princess Melissa and her attendants settle into New Avalon’s Royal Palace, while Hanse Davion’s first order of business is to call a meeting of his core staff in the Fox’ Den and receive updates on the status of Operation RAT. First to speak is Filed Marshal Yvonne Davion, who says “Greetings, Your Highness. I hope your journey was uneventful.”

“It was, Yvonne. Not only am I now happily married, I got to see the looks of consternation on the faces of Liao, Marik and Kurita when I announced the commencement of Operation RAT. Speaking of which, how does the AFFS stand on that front?”

“Sire, today is September 7th. As of now, the AFFS have rolled across the border between the Federated Suns and the Capellan Confederation; the border worlds now fly the flag of House Davion. We’re now driving towards House Liao’s main industrial centers; I expect to have them in hand within three weeks.”

“Excellent; my compliments to all involved.”

“Your Highness, you’ll be less than pleased to know that Comstar has placed the Federated Suns under a communications interdict; Primus Myndo Waterly’s public statement to that effect was that this action was warranted as a result of the unprovoked attack by the Federated Suns on the Capellan Confederation. Per your standing instructions, I have activated the Black Box Network; thus far, it’s working flawlessly.”

“The chancellor tired to have me replaced with a body double, and Comstar has the gall, the sheer unmitigated effrontery to claim that the attacks are unwarranted? I say to hell with Waterly and her bunch of fanatics…”

“My thoughts as well, Your Highness. You’ll also be interested to know that there has been some political upheaval in the Capellan Confederation as well.”

“What happened? Did Uncle Maxie stub his toes and fall flat on his face or something?”

“No, Your Highness. When the Chancellor returned to Sian after your wedding, he received intelligence reports stating how badly the CCAF had been hammered thus far by Operation Rat. A report from Justin Allard indicates that Maximilian Liao lost his mind and is no longer capable of acting as Chancellor; Romano Liao is now running things…”

“I can see how that would be of interest. General Hodges, your assessment of the situation?”

“Your Highness, after the way I rejected Romano’s advances to me and publically-humiliated her at the reception, she grew a hateboner for me the size of a McKenna-class battleship. Because of my association with you and the territorial losses the Capellan Confederation has suffered thus far, that hatred has grown to include you and the Federated Commonwealth as a whole. Plainly speaking, that miserable excuse for a woman is crackers; she’s dangerous and therefore, highly unpredictable. I wouldn’t be surprised if she one-ups Comstar and makes a play for the New Avalon Institute of Science (or me, for that matter).”

“I am in agreement with your assessment of the situation, General. Field Marshal, what preparations have you made for New Avalon’s defense?”

“Your Highness, I anticipated that there might be some kind of attack on New Avalon. I therefore acted upon my authority as Prince’s Champion and ordered the upgrade of the Hong Kong Cavaliers to the status of a full regiment. They have been refitted with battlemechs from your share of the haul from Helm, and these machines also incorporate General Hodges’ new technology; your personal command lance has likewise been refitted. All four machines are Battlemaster Specials, with the ER PPC being paired with an ER large pulse laser. Secondary armament consists of four ER medium pulse lasers (two each facing forward in the right and left torsos, two ER medium lasers facing rearward and a Streak SRM-6 in the center torso facing forward.”

“Excellent. I want these developments kept under wraps for as long as possible; if the Capellans come calling, I see no reason why they shouldn’t be given an opportunity to die for their country; as for Comstar, they can go take a flying leap out an airlock without a space suit.”

“Understood, Your Highness.”

Hanse Davion now turns to General Hodges and says “It will be some little time before your new tank design is available in numbers. Therefore, I am seconding you to the College of Military Science so you can learn how to plot and fight your Battlemech; you are one of my most valuable assets. If New Avalon does come under threat, I want you to be ready to aid in the defense of the planet and of NAIS.”

“Sir, yessir.”

Lastly, the First Prince says “Field Marshal, the situation regarding Wolf’s Dragoons and the Draconis Combine has been settled amicably. Therefore, I want the Dragoons reposted from the Draconis March to the front with the Capellan Confederation.”

“Very good, Your Highness.”

Elsewhere, Archon Katrina arrived back on Tharkad and immediately called Cranston Snord on the carpet in front of her desk. After stalling his response and attempting to deny what he and the Irregulars had done, the Archon laid down the law. The Irregulars were to be immediately posted to the front against the Draconis Combine, and all tech and materiel that hadn’t been expended was to be returned to House Steiner immediately. Additionally, the Irregulars’ tenancy of Clinton has been downgraded to provisional; they will be allowed to keep it, provided there are no further instances of insubordination or of collecting trips on the side.

Cranston Snord is dismissed from the Archon’s presence, looking for all the world like someone kicked his dog, burned down his house, stole his Battlemech, and told him that his wife was cheating with another man. After he leaves, the Archon calls General Edward Regis (Commanding General of the LCAF) to request an update on the status of the 1st and 2nd Royal Guards and the 10th Lyran Guards. After being informed that those units have been refitted with Star League neurohelmets and General Hodges’ technology, and that those same units are in action against House Kurita, Archon Katrina issues orders for the Fourth Royal Guards (previously destroyed in 2848 in action against the Draconis Combine on New Caledonia) to be reconstituted and fitted out with all the latest advancements.

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