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The Schemers

Chapter Interlude - Aurigan Dreams (BattleTech CYOA)

Grumblings of the Jealous[]

“You said that you were going to do something to fix this.” growls Basil Herman as he glares daggers at his younger sister, “Now look at where you’ve gotten us. That upstart brat burning out to the jump point with all of the stolen DropShips, ‘Mechs, ASFs and tanks while you’ve been banned from the family home for the foreseeable future!”

“Like you are in a better position than I am.” retorts Regina Herman, “You got yourself banned before she even arrived in-system.”

The two of them are meeting in Regina’s country house, an somewhat impressive mansion that Regina had acquired from a family of local nobility who needed a way to pay off their debts to her. For many, such a dwelling would be more than enough, but for Regina, it merely stings that she has to settle for this instead of her family’s ancestral palace.

“I’ve never made any claims about being able to get things done,” Basil Herman shoots back,“Have any of your schemes borne fruit?”

“Some, but less than I would have liked,” answers Regina,“I have gained support for a right of appeal motion, but with the turnover in leadership, I’ve lost ground from those willing to give Ava the benefit of the doubt. I should get enough backing with some more time, but that will only be good for removing Ava from a position that she is clearly unfit for. Unfortunately the neo-barb will be long gone by the time we begin to see some progress and it is unlikely we will get her to return her stolen property. Frankly, that endeavor will be more of a military affair than a legal or political one and that is your forte not mine.”

“You are most likely right about it not going anywhere,” admits Basil as the retired AFFS Captain thinks it over, “Unless she messes up badly, the AFFS won’t bother going after our half-sister. There is enough legal validity to her position that once she is established, the AFFS won’t risk antagonizing a mercenary band that they can hire or risk their reputation with the mercenary community by seemingly targeting one of their own for no good reason.”

“We’ll put that goal to one side for now.” says Regina as she takes a sip of her wine, “Ava’s inexperienced and while it was father’s idea to turn a regiment’s worth of military hardware into a mercenary company and give it away to a thieving neo-barb, Ava’s first major act was to keep up the tomfoolery rather than shut it down. If this streak of idiocy continues, then it should be trivial to get her replaced with someone more qualified to be the duchess. A right of appeal being initiated against her will hurt her reputation and if she continues her plan to run off to play MechWarrior like Sonya’s spawn, then it will be even easier to arrange her removal.”

“That is more dangerous than you realized,” says Basil sharply,“And what Ava intends to do is a very different thing to what Vance and Vanessa have done. It is one thing to run off to play mercenary with some Periphery brat, it is another to join the AFFS and to do so at Warrior’s Hall of all places. People rightfully respect service in the AFFS and even I know enough about politics to know that it is insane to try and use someone serving in the military against them.”

“Oh please, I am not stupid enough to target her by claiming her going off to serve in the AFFS is irresponsible or anything ridiculously like that,” scoffs Regina as she swirls her glass,“No, it just means that we have four to five years to deal with her before she begins to see active service and begins to earn prestige that will cement her position. Years where she’ll be off-world and limited in her ability to respond to our maneuvering if she is even able to find out about it.”

“Maneuvering.” repeats Basil with a scowl as he begins to pace back and forth, “What a fine word for our actions.”

“What else would you call it?” sneers Regina, “Don’t tell me that you are getting cold feet.”

“I’m in too deep now to back out of my best chance for the throne,” says Basil with a shake of his head, “That doesn’t mean I need to like all of this.”

“There are risks, especially if we get caught,” concedes Regina,“But there are risks to anything worth having in the Inner Sphere. I’ll admit that we are in something of a bad situation, but there are plenty of opportunities still left for us to seize. Take the regency for example.”

“What about the regency?” demands Basil,“It is obviously going to go to Natalie, not either of us.”

“Things can change,” says Regina dismissively,“Ava will obviously leave her mother as her regent, but once she is away at Warrior’s Hall, she won’t have much say in what goes on back on Bromhead. Natalie may start off as regent, but accidents can happen.”

Basil chokes at that last sentence and Regina rolls her eyes at his squeamishness. How can he hope to be the next Duke of Bromhead if he has no stomach for the finer details of political intrigue. She was content to be a puppet master, controlling the throne from behind the scenes, but if Basil lacks enough principles to engage in such scheming, but still has enough left to have limits on how far he is willing to go, then perhaps she is better off just removing him as a liability when the time comes.

“I can’t believe you are talking about killing our sister-in-law.” hisses Basil as he stares at Regina like he has never seen her before, “She is a Davion. Merely part of a branch family, but a Davion nonetheless and if you were willing to kill like this, why didn’t you kill our half-sister?”

“I’m not talking about killing a Davion.” snaps back Regina, lying through her teeth, “There are other ways she can be removed as regent beyond death. And I did try to do something about that barbarian girl, but between her DropShips and Ava’s security protecting her, I wasn’t able to get anyone close enough in time.”

“Do you think you could still have her killed?” asks Basil,“That could be the solution to getting our hardware back.”

“I doubt that,” says Regina as she drains the last of her wine glass,“She will almost certainly have left the Federation by the time that we have an opportunity to end that bitch’s life. And once she is back in the Periphery, there will be no rule of law for us to reclaim the stolen hardware. Only the Taurians have anything approaching real law and order and they certainly won’t side with someone from the Suns against someone from the Periphery and everywhere else is either lawless or only has a false pretense of law. No, killing the neo barb will bring us some satisfaction, but it will just leave her military equipment to whatever barbarians are at hand to claim it for themselves. If we are lucky, Sonya’s offspring will come home with some of it, but that is the best we can hope for from that scenario.”

“So there is really nothing that we can do,” snarls Basil,“Blasted father. What in God’s name was he thinking when he wrote his will?”

“Perhaps he developed dementia or senility in his old age and we never realized it,” suggests Regina with a frown before sighing, “Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Father is dead and we need to deal with the mess he left behind for us. And you are wrong about there being nothing that we can do.”

“Just spit it out, Regina,” says Basil,“Don’t drag this out anymore than you have to.”

“I have done some poking about the mercenary community, trying to find someone for a repossession job,” replies Regina with a smirk forming on her face,“I wasn’t able to find too many people who were both willing and reliable, but I found someone who might be willing to do the job. An old contact of father’s who has a BattleMech regiment with supporting arms along with enough DropShips and JumpShips to carry all of their forces. Some of the stolen hardware would be destroyed, some of it would be kept by the mercenaries, but we would get some back and that is more than what we are currently looking at.”

“I still can’t believe father found a company of pristine Atlases and he chose to give them away to a foreigner,” says Basil, “But sure, call your mercenary pal. Just make sure that he doesn’t charge us too much for the privilege of retrieving our own rightful property.”

“I still can’t believe father found a company of pristine Atlases and he chose to give them away to a foreigner.” says Basil, “But sure, call your mercenary pal. Just make sure that he doesn’t charge us too much for the privilege of retrieving our own rightful property.”

Author's Chapter Notes[]

Word from the Author
A short interlude to show some of the troubles that are brewing on Bromhead even though Elizabeth has left it behind. Part of it is just because we’ll be seeing her story, it isn’t the only story ongoing in the setting and to the Herman family intrigues, Elizabeth is just a side-character.

Also, it is setting up the Disadvantage that I got in the CYOA so it has some…I think the term is foreshadowing? I don’t want the mercenary colonel rival to show up out of the blue, but I don’t think outright showing that he’ll be coming is really foreshadowing. Feels a bit too on the nose to be foreshadowing.

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