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

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Chapter 35 - An American Tanker in Prince Davion's Court[]

Picking up the pieces[]

Harvest, Federated Commonwealth
May 20th, 3050

The Battle of Harvest has proved to be expensive in terms of manpower for all of the Clans involved in the action. Of the seven Khans, three were captured (Elias Crichell, Natalie Breen, and Ian Hawker), three were killed in action (Ulric Kerensky, Karl Bourjon and Severen Leroux), while Lincoln Osis shot himself rather than having to surrender. Two of the seven SaKhans (Vandervahn Chistu and Lucian Carns) were killed in action, while the others (Garth Radick, Sara Weaver, Barbara Sennet, Theresa Devillar and Perigard Zalman) were captured, Khan Elias Crichell of Clan Jade Falcon is the senior surviving officer of the Clans on Harvest, and it is he who will first sign the formal instrument of surrender.

Late in the afternoon of May 20th, the surviving Khans and saKhans of the Clan Task Force gather at the same location where the batchall was conducted several days ago. accompanying them is Oathmaster Biccon Winters; representing Clan Nova Cat (as both the Khan and SaKhan were killed). There to receive them is Field Marshal Hodges and the other members of the AEF command staff. The meeting takes place in the very same field tent, and its purpose is the signing of the formal instrument of surrender. Hodges calls the meeting to order and says “Ladies and gentlemen, I’d be willing to wager a great deal that this outcome is one you didn’t quite expect. Ms. Winters, your vision concerning the annihilation of the Clan Invasion force certainly came true. Quiaff?”

Oathmaster Winters responds “Aff, Field Marshal. You have the right of it.”

“True enough. Khan Crichell, let’s get down to business. As the senior surviving Clan officer, I charge you with carrying out the conditions of the batchall as agreed to by the late Khan Ulric Kerensky. I grant you SafeCon so that you can gather up your wounded and see to recovering the remains of your fallen troops; this will also cover you returning to your Homeworlds. As for prisoners, I don’t intend to take your mechwarriors or aerospace pilots as bondsmen; however, there are those under my command who wish to do so. Included among these is my son Captain Richard Hodges, who captured Mechwarrior Ranna Kerensky of Clan Wolf after defeating her in single combat. As for your tank and artillery troops, it’s my understanding that these units of yours are manned by those you call ‘Solhama’. I highly disagree with the Clans’ policy of relegating experienced warriors to second-line status because of their age and giving them second- or third-line equipment. For these reasons, I will take them all into my service.”

A pause, then “The other contingents of the Allied Expeditionary Force have different policies to mine, so it will be up to them whether or not they take any of your people as bondsmen. Field Marshal Sortek, what say you?”

“Field Marshal Hodges, on behalf of the Federated Commonwealth, all injured Clan personnel are to be released. All uninjured troops captured on the field of battle (whether regular or solhama, as they are called) will be made bondsmen. Captain Steiner-Davion, do you concur?”

“As heir-apparent to the thrones of the Federated Commonwealth, I concur with your choice of action.”

Field Marshal Hodges nods his approval, then speaks next to Hohiro Kurita.

“Kurita-san, what says the Son of the Dragon in this matter?”

“Hodges-sama, like you, I will release injured Clan personnel without let or hindrance. As for the others, any who wish to declare bondsref will be allowed to do so. Those who accept the bond will be treated with honor and respect; so speaks the Son of the Dragon.”

"Very well, Kurita-san. Khan Crichell, under the terms of the batchall, every last piece of equipment of equipment that the Clans landed on Harvest (whether dropship, battlemech, tank, artillery, aerospace fighter, battle armor or small arm) now belongs to the Allied Expeditionary Force, to do with as we see fit. You will be allowed to use your dropships to transport your casualties (and those of your people not taken as bondsmen) back to your warships, after which the dropships will be returned planet-side. Then, the Clans will leave the Inner Sphere and never return; you'll also send word to those Clan units occupying the planets taken during the initial parts of the invasion that they are to evacuate those worlds. Furthermore, all prisoners they hold are to be released immediately?"

"Aff, Field Marshal."

"Khan Crichell, let me be perfectly clear on this. If your people break the peace for any reason, I'll find it necessary to visit the Pentagon Cluster and express my disapproval without benefit of tea and biscuits. Am I clearly understood?"

"Aff, Field Marshal."

"Excellent. Captain Steiner-Davion, the instrument of surrender, if you please."

"Coming right up, sir."

The document is brought forward and presented to the Clanners for their signatures, after which, Field Marshal Hodges affixes his signature and seal on behalf of the realms represented in the Allied Expeditionary Force. Hodges reads the document and solemnly pronounces "let us pray that peace be now restored to the worlds of the Inner Sphere and that the Almighty preserve it always. These proceedings are closed."

As the clanners turn to leave, Oathmaster Winters pauses, turns toward Field Marshal Hodges and says “Who are you? Before we met your forces in battle, we of the Clans though ourselves masters of the art of war; I see now just how laughable that presumption was.”

In response, Hodges lights up a cigar, takes a few appreciative puffs and replies with signing a verse from the ancient Terran musical group ‘The Police’;

‘I'm a walking nightmare, an arsenal of doom
I kill conversations when I walk into a room
I'm a three line whip
I'm the sort of thing they ban
I'm a walking disaster
I'm a demolition man’

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, my victory wasn’t without cost. I have to go to the hospital and see how my injured troops are getting along. As for the others, I’ve got quite a few letters to write.”

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