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

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Chapter 26 - An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court[]


Meeting with the First Prince[]

Fox's Den
Avalon City, New Avalon
Federated Suns
June 4th, 3030


After an abrupt, but respectful departure (during which General Hodges receives a custom-made set of O-Yoroi armor from the Coordinator as a further sign of his gratitude and respect), Hodges returns to New Avalon via a command circuit of JumpShips. Upon his arrival, he is escorted to the Fox's Den, where he makes his report to the First Prince.

"Alright, General. I want you to tell me what happened. The assassination attempt has been the lead story on every news broadcast in the Inner Sphere for the last week; leave nothing out; understand?"

"Yes, sir. Theodore Kurita and I had just completed a tour of Luthien Armor Works and were on the way back to Unity Palace; we were discussing topics of mutual interest when the convoy was ambushed. The lead vehicle was destroyed by a huge roadside bomb; the trail vehicle was taken out with an anti-tank rocket and the vehicle in which the Gunji no-kanrei and I were riding was disabled by the impact of a platter charge to the engine compartment. Kurita himself was thrown against the side of the passenger and knocked unconscious; the door on my side of the car sprung open from the force of the impact, I had just begun to draw my sidearm when I found myself on the ground."

"Who were the assailants?"

"Your highness, this wasn't the work of Comstar or that crazy bitch Romano Liao. Instead, I believe that the attack was carried out by a secret society called the Black Dragons; this bunch holds the belief that they know better than the Coordinator how to direct the future of the Combine. The thing is, they weren't after Theodore Kurita, they were after me..."

"What?? Are you quite sure?"

"Yes, sir. It seems that the Black Dragons are bitterly-resentful that a barbarian outsider like myself has come to have such influence with the coordinator so, they decided to punch my ticket. Theodore Kurita was just a target of opportunity."

"I see. Please continue."

"Yes, sir; there were two assailants. These individuals approached the car and for whatever reason, one of them paused. I got the drop on the first guy and put three rounds into him with my .45 (two in the chest and one in the head). The second guy didn't have his weapon in hand, so I gave him the same business; start to finish, the engagement lasted perhaps three-quarters of a second. Afterwards, I administered first aid to Theodore Kurita until help arrived; he had a mild concussion and a lacerated scalp, but no lasting injuries."

"I can only imagine how grateful Takashi Kurita must have been for saving the life of his son."

"Indeed he was, your highness. When the Coordinator heard that the sword he gave me as a wedding present was broken during the attack, he drew his own personal sword from his sash and gave it to me while making a full, formal bow; in this, he was joined by the entire Imperial Court."

"Indeed. Perhaps something can be made of the good will that Takashi Kurita has for you..."

"Very possibly, sir. Having House Kurita on our side would be of immense benefit when the Clans come calling some years down the road; after that, reforming the Star League would be nice..." General Hodges' statement catches everyone in the room completely off-guard; normally unflappable, the First Prince responds with "err, yes. I can see the benefits of that outcome. Tell me, General. Have you heard of the name Marcus Kurita?"

"Yes I have, Your Highness. He's the father of Constance Kurita; she holds the post of Keeper of the House Honor. Marcus is also the Coordinator's cousin. May I ask the reason for your question?"

"General, Takashi Kurita has gone after the Black Dragons with a mad passion."

"That's quite understandible, Sir. If it was my son that had been the target of such an attack, I'd have a giant case of the ass at whoever was responsible."

"Just so. It will interest you to know that my contacts have relayed to me that Marcus Kurita was publicly-beheaded for his complicity in the attack."

"Is that so? Well, it wouldn't be the first time that Marcus tried to have the Coordinator whacked. Back in 3019, Theodore Kurta was getting married to Anastasi Sjovold (daughter of Jarl Ottar Sjovold, governor of the Rasalhague Military District). Jarl Ottar was one of a group of conspirators who tried to kill Takashi Kurita during his son's wedding; among these was none other than Marcus Kurita. When the plot was foiled, the conspirators and their families were executed; for one reason or another, Marcus wasn't. Instead, he was recalled to Luthien and promoted to be the commanding officer of the Otomo, Kurita's bodyguard force; I think this was done so that the Coordinator could keep an eye on him."

"A cogent analysis. General; I'm sure that Justin Allard and his staff at MIIO are going to have a fine old time puzzling out what happens next in the Combine. Now, as to other matters, you'll be pleased to know that Antares Base is in our hands and that the material is being removed as we speak; it will take months to get it all, because the stockpiles there are even more extensive than you said they were; we're talking millions of tons of supplies and equipment, hundreds of battlemechs and aerospace fighters, plus thousand of tanks and support vehicles. The warships in the system's asteroid belt were just as you said they were; the jewel in that particular crown is the SLS Halsey, a Texas-class battleship. To make matters even better, the Halsey has an Artificial General Intelligence computer system; apparently, the ship's AGI is the only one of its kind. I have consulted with Archon Katrina on this matter, and we are both minded that you can ask for whatever it is that you want from the haul."

“Thank you Your Highness; I'll be pleased to take you and the Archon up on that offer. After I get to Bristol, I'll be meeting with representatives of the planetary government; then, I'll be doing the same thing on Beecher. Once I'm up to speed on things, my main mission will be to build up my force structure; my share of the materiel from Antares Base will give me quite a leg up in the process."

"Very well, sir; so let it be written, so let it be done. Now that you have made your report to me, it's high time that you headed home; I'm quite sure your good lady wife will be quite happy to see you, so the transportation costs are on me."

"Thank you, Your Highness."


Build Up[]

Beecher, Federated Suns
July 13th, 3030

Another command circuit of JumpShips is made available for General Hodges' use; nine days later, he's on Bristol. After a reunion with Kym Hodges, it's off to work. The next thirty days is spent with meeting with everybody who's anybody in the planetary government; foremost among these are the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his staff. General Hodges also tours Bristol's major industrial centers and meets with representatives of management To his very great surprise while he's touring Jolassa Armored Weapons, a bunker dating from just before the fall of the Star League is discovered under JAW's main complex; this bunker contains eight full regiments of Fury tanks, some 864 machines in all.

After completing his rounds of meeting & greeting on Bristol, General Hodges travels to Beecher where he repeats the process over the next month. Then, he returns to Bristol and begins to make plans for the future development of his industrial capacity and military forces; an overview of the economy and population base on both planets shows what he has to work with.

Among General Hodges' several objectives will be to expand the manufacturing capacity of Jolassa Armored Weapons so that he can build his own tanks, setting up factories for battlemechs and aerospace fighters, plus shipyards for the construction of surface vessels and submarines; there are also secure military bases to be constructed, along with the fortifications needed to protect them.

As of the present day, Bristol has a population of 2,201,973,000 and yearly government revenue of 25,322,689,500,000 D-bills (based on an average individual tax bill of 11,500 D-bills). Of this amount, 22% (or 5,600,000,000,000 D-bills) is the defense budget, For Beecher, the population numbers 3,689,000,000; yearly government revenue is 42,423,500,000,000 D-Bills and the defense budget is 8,484,700,000,000 D-bills. Also added to the revenues on both planets is the income from General Hodges’ investments; 10,000,000,000,000 D-bills each invested in the Davion and Steiner stock markets, 1,000,000,000,000 D-bills each invested in Johnson Industries and New Syrtis Shipyards, plus 3,500,000,000,000 D-bills each invested in Port Simon Naval Shipyards and Ioto Galactic Enterprises; General Hodges’ personal reserves amount to 10,048,862,426,241 D-bills.

What follows next is the beginning of a military buildup, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in the Inner Sphere since before the fall of the Star League.

Coming to Pieces[]

Atreus, Free Worlds League and elsewhere
August, 3030

Based upon rapidly-improving relations that the Draconis Combine has with the Federated Commonwealth, Takashi Kurita withdraws his realm from the Concord of Kapetyn (previously signed between House Kurita, House Marik and House Liao in October, 3022); the Coordinator likewise urges Janos Marik to do the same. Incensed at this slap in the face (and realizing that the Draconis Combine is far too powerful to confront openly), Romano Liao (with secret backing from Comstar) reached out to Dame Katherine Humphreys (ruler of the Duchy of Andurien) and persuaded her to revolt against the Captain-General and take the Duchy out of the Free Worlds League.

Knowing that Duncan Marik (the Captain-General’s nephew) is bitterly-opposed to his uncle’s policies, that he seeks to depose him and furthermore, that he wants to ensure that Duggan Marik (Janos’ third son) doesn’t succeed to the Captain-Generalship, Humphreys reaches out to Duncan and offers him her support. In furtherance of her plans, Humphreys reaches out to Majestrix Kyalla Centrella (ruler of the Magistracy of Canopus).

The opening move in the Marik Civil War comes on the afternoon of August 25th, 3030. On that day, Janos Marik is meeting with his top officers and advisers in order to determine how best to respond to Andurien’s attempted secession. The Captain-General is just then conferring with his two sons Thomas and Duggan when a bomb planted by Duncan Marik’s agents goes off. The placement of the bomb under the conference room’s table is such that Thomas Marik is killed instantly; however, Janos and Duggan Marik are only slightly injured.

Not knowing that his uncle survived the bombing, Duncan Marik issues a public proclamation in which he assumes the post of Captain-General; his triumph is dashed almost immediately when Janos Marik broadcasts his survival on all of Atreus’ news channels. Thereafter, he orders the arrest of his traitorous nephew and anyone else who aided him in carrying out the plot; the investigation of the attack will be carried out personally by Wilson Cherenkov (Director of SAFE) and his most trusted subordinates.


Word of Warning[]

Atreus, Free Worlds League


While attending to matters involving the rebellious Duchy of Andurien and the attempted assassination against him, Janos Marik is in his private office when a message envelope is delivered to him bearing the Seal of the Federated Commonwealth. Curious, he opens the envelope and begins to read the Verigraph document contained therein.


‘Sir:

I wish to begin by extending my deepest and most profound sympathies at the death of your son Thomas; no parent should have to bury one of their children.

As regards the current civil conflict in the Free Worlds League, I have come into the possession of certain information that directly implicates Comstar in the attempt on your life and in the secession of the Duchy of Andurien; copies of all relevant files are attached to this letter.

As evidence of his good will in this matter, First Prince Hanse Davion has authorized me to disclose to you the locations of certain Star League supply depots within the Free Worlds League. Furthermore, he invites you to send a designated representative to meet with him on New Avalon and discuss how best to respond to Comstar’s perfidy.”

James Hodges, LtGen
Governor of Bristol and Beecher


Unexpected Visitor[]

The Fox's Den
Mount Davion, New Avalon
September 10th, 3030

Hanse Davion is receiving his daily briefing about the goings on in the Federated Commonwealth and elsewhere in the Inner Sphere; in particular, the civil war now engulfing the Free Worlds League. He remarks “Quintus, the Captain General is going after those involved in the plot against him with a vengeance; his nephew Duncan was among the first to be arrested, and he was recently executed.”

“Of course, your highness. I dare say that you’d react in much the same way if someone tried to take you out of the picture and killed your son instead.”

Just then, one of the First Prince’s staff officers knocks on the door, enters and says “your highness, please pardon the interruption; there is an officer from the Free Worlds League here to see you. He’s masked and will not disclose his identity.”

Hanse Davion’s instincts are immediately raised at this development and so he replies “very well, admit him immediately.”

“Yes, sir.”

A minute or two later, an individual wearing a battalion-level officer’s uniform enters the room. Curiously enough, his appearance is obscured by a knee-length cloak and a traveling mask. When the man speaks, the First Prince and Quintus Allard take note of the fact that the sounds of his voice are disguised by a voice changer.

Allard moves to stand by Hanse Davion’s right hand as the individual says “your highness, the august personage whom I serve has detailed me to come here so that important matters can be discussed.”

“Welcome to New Avalon, sir; it would help if I could see your face.

“But of course.”

The individual removes his voice changer and takes off his mask; the person so revealed is none other than Janos Marik, Captain-General of the Free Worlds League. Hanse Davion is so shocked as this turn of events that he momentarily falls silent. When he recovers his composure, he says “What? How did you come to be here??”

“Hello, Hanse. Of all the people who have ever come here, I am probably the last one that you’d ever expect..”

“You’ve got that right, Janos. Do please have a seat.”

Quintus Allard moves one of the chairs, then withdraws off to the side of the office.

A pause, then “I received a letter from your officer General Hodges on August 29th and so, I am here. I take it that you had no indication that I was coming.”

“No, I didn’t.”

Janos Marik grins and replies “Hanse, SAFE might not be so accomplished as MIIO. However, they’re still capable of springing a surprise or two; are they not?”

“Indeed. I presume you’re going to tell me the reason for your visit..”

“Of course. There are certain highly-important matters we must discuss.”


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