BattleTech Fanon Wiki
Clover Spear - Chapter Cover Art

Chapter 23[]

Clover Spear - The Story of the '56 War[]

Prologue, Book 2, The Hammer Falls

Military Report by Supreme Commander of Operation Clover Spear[]

Taken from the daily FC operational briefing provided to Field Marshal Ranier Poulin, Supreme Commander of “Operation Clover Spear”, declassified October 9th, 3076.

“..current Jade Falcon and Steel Viper operations are characterized as “chaotic, but recovering” due to the current pause in operations. We expect enough ammunition and POL restocks to be on-hand within the next ten days to jump off for the third wave sometime in early November. The fall of Sudeten has eased the logistical situation due to the improved cargo handling facilities both at L5 and planet side.”

“SIGINT and HUMINT sources have detected signs of an impending Steel Viper counterattack coming within the next 10-15 days (see Appendix A – Enemy Dispositions and intentions) for details on this, but we feel confident we can defeat any counterattack they mount due to the fact that they have no intelligence as to current defenses of potential target worlds and from the size of the logistical dumps we have captured, it suggests that both the Falcons and Vipers were having supply problems even before Clover Spear commenced.”

Reinforcements to Sudeten[]

Sudeten, Part 2

Attackers: Von Strang’s Legion (Reinforced Regiment, Elite), Wolf’s Dragoons Volunteer Cluster, Provisional Royal Guards Battalion.

Defenders: Doberung Garrison Cluster, Clan Jade Falcon, saKhan’s Provisional Keshik, Clan Jade Falcon, “Hazen’s Heroes” Cluster (scratch three trinary cluster of a mix of solahma trainers and sibko children who fought as infantry).

Results:  The defense of Maakar Island by the scratch force of Jade Falcon defenders was by all accounts, brave, determined, and doomed.  After a short, violent bombardment by Dragoon warships and FedCom aerospace of the fixed defenses in the early morning hours, Von Strang’s Legion performed an avalanche drop right on top of “Hazen’s Heroes”. The Falcon defenders met the initial drop by Von Strang’s Legion gamely and fought hard every step of the way to the command bunker, where Von Strang was hit in the flank by the Falcon Provisional Keshik. Even with a weight and technology advantage favoring the Falcons, the Legion, wheeled to meet them and held them in place, coolly meeting them head to head and unhorsing saKhan Chistu in the initial volleys.

After a long four hour fight, Jamie Wolf arrived with his Volunteer Cluster, built mostly around the elements of Zeta Battalion, and a few warriors from the other component units of the Dragoons, they dropped behind the Provisional Keshik. The Legion and the Dragoons closed the vise in another two hours of a fight that was described as “like firing submachineguns at each other in a vidphone booth, with blindfolds.”

A counterattack by the remains of the Doberung into the flank of the Dragoons was met by the provisional Royal Guards Battalion They were smashed handily, with copious assistance from airstrikes by aerospace elements from the Legion, the Dragoons, and the Royal Guards.

Two hours later, the senior surviving officer, a Star Captain Lisl, ordered all surviving Jade Falcon forces to surrender. It was mute testimony to the severity of the short, sharp fight, that only 80 Jade Falcon EPWs were taken, but among them was saKhan Vandervahn Chistu himself. He has since been handed over to LIC and MOJ officials for debriefing.  Sudeten was declared secure by Jamie Wolf on October 9th, 3056.

The Assault of Maakar Island[]

1800m AGL above Maakar Island
Jade Falcon Occupation Zone
October 9th, 3056

Juliette grunted as the DropShop shuddered around her 'Mech, the Tepes clearly hitting turbulence. Glancing at the status display, she nodded, feeling the weight of her neurohelmet with the gesture. Flipping switches on her console, she activated the Legion-wide circuit. "Legionaires. You know me. I have no grand speech for you; Simply know that this, today is our day. This is the first step on the long road home. We have fought on a dozen worlds, slaughtered a thousand beasts, but today, my Legion," she glanced over at the rapidly ticking altimeter, "today we murder a Khan."


Hot Drop by a DropShip.

With that, the bottom dropped out of the world as all three of her Legion's 'Mech carrier DropShips deployed their cargo. Instead of dropping from orbit, wrapped in ablative cocoons and rocket engines, her 'Mechs were dropping from low altitude, relying on strap-on jump packs to break their fall ... mostly.

The Dragoon WarShip had managed to suppress the Falcon's heavy weapon turrets, and a swarm of Legion and FedCom fighters had distracted the anti-air weapons of the island, enough to allow three Overlord class ships to penetrate their defenses and deploy their passengers ... right on top of the Falcon defenders.

Screaming in fury, Juliette's Devastator landed feet first on a Falcon 'Mech, smashing the ugly, green painted thing to the ground with a hundred tons of gravity-accelerated force. Biting her lip, she shuddered to find her footing, then focused on the enemy ... the targets ... that surrounded her.

Marauder II Assault BattleMech (in combat painted by Philbobagginzzz)

Marauder II Assault 'Mech in combat

Swinging the long, heavily armored barrel of her right Gauss Rifle, she smashed a Falcon Galahad aside, before raising her left rifle to place almost against the Rifleman-like 'Mech's torso and pumped a 125kg slug of nickel-iron into it, slagging the second-line 'Mech's engine and smashing it's gyro to splinters.

King Crab Assault Mech (In combat - paint by Logicboy7)

King Crab Assault 'Mech

She was vaguely aware of her men and women fighting around her, with her friend and bodyguard Andre Winters, who had traded in his normal quad-gauss rifle toting Marauder II for a Berserker for this fight, decapitating a tiny Falcon Baboon, and Shou squaring off his King Crab and letting loose with both heavy, rapid fire autocannons to shred a Phoenix Hawk IIC. But she couldn't focus on that, as the Falcons were fighting back, downing a brand-new Rakshasa from Third Company, First Battalion. "Tighten up, people," she shouted across the Legion's channel, even as rocket-assisted pallets slammed into the ground, dispensing their cargo of Patton, Rommel and Manticore tanks, firing autocannon, gauss rifles and PPCs even before they were completely unstrapped. Ferrocrete crumbled beneath their treads as they advanced, adding their firepower to the battle against the Falcons. "Concentrate fire! We've trained for this! Bring them down! Keep up the pressure!" she howled and grinned in savage fury as a Legion Banshee stepped on the cockpit of a downed Guillotine IIC, crushing the pilot.

"Omnis!" cried one of her 'Mech pilots, trilling lasers in the background, "Falcon Omnis hitting us from the wes-" The signal cut out, and Juliette swore, even as her PPCs savaged a dodging Falcon medium.

"Legionaries! Wheel!" she ordered, and in practiced efficiency, the black-coated 'Mechs of the Legion lurched to obey her command.

SaKhan Vandervhan Chistu swore viciously as he strode in his Warhawk towards the Docks, where the Spheroid attackers had landed. The day had started out well, all things considered: while the massive, brutal onslaught of the Federated Commonwealth upon the Jade Falcon Liberation Zone had been a shock to the system, especially an invasion by the thrice-accursed Dragoons upon Sudeten itself. Still, he had rallied, gathered the remains of the planet's defending Clusters to the Island where the backup command centre was located, protected by heavy weapons and fortifications. Fortunately, the Dragoons and their freebirth allies were savaged by the fighting as well, and this had given Chistu the chance to use the Island's HPG to contact other units and redirect them towards Sudeten. The planet's central and strategic location made it a perfect rally point, and he had already managed to order three fractured Clusters and two WarShips to join him, as well as a fresh Cluster, escorted by a Falcon Aegis, direct from the Homeworlds with the latest in Clan weapons and warriors.

But this blasted attack was frustrating matters: bad enough that the traitor Wolf had demanded his surrender - as though that were a possibility! - but now nameless lucre-warriors were sent to vex him. The incompetence of his subordinates had allowed them to land on the Island, so it was up to him and his personal forces to deal with the invaders. Fifteen heavy and assault OmniMechs should be enough to shatter this little band of thugs.

Even as his Trinary approached the fighting, marching around heavily reinforced buildings, he overheard the radio chatter from the other Falcon leaders.

"Connor! Get that stravag Zeus before -"

Zeus (by tplambert)

Zeus Assault Mech

"- they are ignoring zellbrigen! Honorless freebirths, they -"

"Well, return the favor! Concentrate your fire on -"

"Neg, you cretin: my warriors are not trained for such gutter tactics! Star Commander Fuller, on your eight! I -"

Cursing into his neurohelmet, Chistu stepped around the last corner, and faced the madness.

Black painted Battlemechs and tanks were slugging it out with green painted Clan 'Mechs at point blank range. This was not the elegant ballet of destruction that the Jade Falcons preferred, dancing about their opponents with deadly precision, using their speed and range advantage to tear them apart: this was brutal, uncompromising, savage. His jaw dropped as he witnessed a Charger and a Grasshopper grip the arms of a solhama 'Mech, so that a Spheroid Axeman could slam its titular hatchet into the green 'Mech's cockpit. Elsewhere, a Warhammer, Flashman and Penetrator trio bracketed a Hunchback IIC that appeared to have expended its autocannon ammunition, the medium 'Mech virtually disintegrated under a barrage of energy weapon fire.

Penetrator Heavy BattleMech (in Combat by Oswald)

Penetrator Heavy BattleMech in combat.

True, the Falcon defenders were giving as good as they were receiving: after all, Clan weapons were still vastly superior, being more accurate, more heat efficient, deadlier ton-for-ton, and Clan armor was more protective. Many spheroid 'Mechs were already crippled or destroyed, and many others showed clear battle damage. Yet the fighting was more vicious and close than any the Falcon saKhan had seen since Tukayyid, and even the way the attackers were panted black reminded him of the pristine white of the Com Guards.

In the back of his mind, something about the black-painted 'Mechs tugged at his brain, something about a brutal raiding force that struck at isolated garrisons and units, but he forced himself to concentrate as he opened a channel. "Who dares attack the Falcon? Who brings doom upon -" he cut off as something grabbed the ankle of his Warhawk, and he looked down to be stunned by the black Caesar, it's legs blown off and one arm removed, scrabbling at his Omni's leg. The sheer stubborn desire to fight, to struggle to simply annoy him was surprising, and he took a moment to lower two ER PPCs and send bolts of charged particles to vaporize the offending 'Mech's cockpit and pilot. "Who brings doom upon themselves in this way?"

The comm channel crackled, and while the voice was of a young woman, the words send icy shivers down his spine: he had heard them before, many years ago. "I, the Baroness of Strang, care not for your new names." Horror and rage fought within him at the sheer gall at someone claiming that name and title. "Clans? Jade Falcons? I call you by your true name: Scum of the Star League, traitors of free will, persecutors of the Periphery come back to lord it over freedom-loving people. Come ahead, you steel-eyed robots! Come ahead and taste what a million-like-minded people think of you and your damn Clans!"

From the melee came a massive, blocky Devastator, deep rents in its armor but still standing tall. No markings relieved the dark paint over the metal, but Chistu knew that this was the bandit's leader. "You killed my father. Stole my world. Murdered my people!"

From cover, an infantryman in Clan fatigues rushed the mercenary, raising a shoulder mounted SRM launcher. Without breaking stride, the hundred ton 'Mech stepped on the unfortunate Solahma trooper, leaving little but a bloodstain and twisted metal. "I come to return the favor."

Jaime Wolf settled his neurohelmet on his shoulders as the Overlord-C class Dropship around him shuddered in flight. It had taken hours to scrape together a full Cluster of 45 'Mechs, the heaviest, freshest and most battle ready he had available, and it may already have been too late. The scattered reports from the fighting suggested that casualties among the Legion were high, and there was no guarantee that any would still be alive when his scratch troop arrived. Still, intelligence suggested that enough missile and cannon batteries had been neutralized to allow a DropShip to insert his force onto the island, and he planned to take advantage of that fact to wipe out the Falcon defenders once and for all.

"... don't know why we're doing this: it's the ****** von Strang bitch! The ****** Vampire!" he overheard over the general channel. He knew exactly who it was but chose not to interfere: the legacy of the Von Strang name was well earned, even centuries after the Coup, and he understood the sentiment. Still, it wasn't the first time he had had to fight alongside someone he disliked. Luthien, for example ...

Instead, he cleared his throat. "In ages past, cities would be surrounded by high thick walls of brick or stone. Cannon - not autocannon, but muzzle loading tubes of bronze or iron. They would be used to batter a hole in the wall. Then the call would be sent out for volunteers ... volunteers for the forlorn hope.

"The forlorn hope were sent in to force the breech, to drive back the defenders, to clear away obstacles, to provide a gap for the main force to push through into the city. It was brutal, hand-to-hand fighting, and the casualties were, understandably, high. The name, after all, proclaimed one’s chances of survival: slim to none.

"Nevertheless, whenever the call went up, there were always those among the attackers who would volunteer to join the forlorn hope, because while they may die, if they survived, they would be guaranteed fame, glory, wealth and promotion. For in taking such a gamble, for risking everything and braving such danger, they demonstrated their courage and dedication, and in doing so, saved the lives of those who would follow."

For a moment, the channel was silent, as almost four dozen Mechwarriors waited for their commander to continue: the only sound was the roar of the DropShip's engines and the hiss of the environmental systems.

"That is what the Legion is doing today. They are the forlorn hope. We follow in their footsteps, and whatever happens, no matter what we may think of them, we will recognize their courage and dedication."

He closed his microphone, and lean back in his command chair, closing his eyes as he prepared himself. For the most part, his men accepted his words. Still, one wise ass just had to get the last word in.

"Courage? More like sheer bloodthirst. ****** vampire ..." he said.

Chistu grunted as he came too, as he was dragged over a chunk of rubble. He opened his eyes, groaning as he looked up at the burly infantryman in black fatigues, ballistic plate vest and helmet who had a firm grip on his cooling vest. Pieces of ferrocrete and splinters of armor plating scraped and tore at his bare limbs, and he could feel the rumble and thud of continuing battle in the distance: the war for Sudeten was not yet over.

Still, even as he shook his head to clear it, he was hauled up and then tossed to the ground, next to a fallen war machine. Forcing himself up on his forearms, he looked up to stare up at a young, red haired woman wearing a black cooling suit, resting her butt on the severed hand of a 'Mech like a throne. She glared disdainfully at him as her hands played with a long, thin strand of myomer. That awful, familiar and hateful voice flowed from her mouth: "Don't bother getting up, creature: this won't take long." Around him stood a circle of soldiers, infantry and dismounted Mechwarriors and tankers, all glaring daggers at him.

Again, the ageing Clansman struggled to concentrate. Last thing he remembered was fighting Von Strang, his Warhawk against her Devastator. The infamy of having a 'Mech designed by the Great Kerensky himself being piloted by the spawn of the Vampire had been infuriating, but the pirate was deceptively nimble and skilled: despite being in a lighter, faster OmniMech, the battle had been fierce ... the details faded as fast as he grasped at them, his head pounding in neural feedback, likely from an ammunition explosion.

"My father was never confused or deceived by your pretense and false names. He knew who you were the moment you arrived in our home system." she continued. "Yet even he failed to perceive just how low you had fallen, out there in the Dark. What madness drove you to abandon your humanity, I cannot comprehend, and choose not to even try. When an invasive species infests one's biosphere, you do not try to reason with it: you break out the pesticide." Her hands jerked decisively, and his dazed mind finally recognized what she had been fashioning.

A noose.

Even as she tossed the coil to one of her thugs, who threw one end over a nearby section of broken 'Mech to create a crude gallows, he gabbled in horror, shaking his head in denial as the fiber was slipped over his head, fighting feebly against the strong pirates who held him fast. "I ... I ... I AM JADE FALCON!" he finally forced out of his lips.

She smiled at him, baring sharpened fangs that belonged in no human mouth. "I know. That is why you are about to die."

Despite her bravado, Juliette did her best to hide her shaking as a team of her men gripped the rope, ready to haul the Falcon khan into the air. Father, I know this is not the man who killed you, not their pestilent leader, but he is that murderer's second, his right hand. Until I have my hands on Crichell, he will have to do.

The thud of a stamping 'Mech drew her attention away from the impending lynching, and she blinked as she looked up at the blue and gold Archer that strode towards her little gathering. The exterior speakers crackled. "Colonel Von Strang, stand down!"

Fury rose in her. "Back off, Wolf!" she cried, and noted out of the corner of her eye as the Falcon scrabbled at the noose, trying to loosen it. Should have tied his hands. Oh well. "This is my operation! My assault! My justice!"

"It is murder." Wolf rejoined, coming to a halt, the ground shaking beneath seventy tons of war engine.

"Yes, I know! It is! And well earned!" she insisted. Raising a hand, she called out, "Haul away, boys!"

"No!" shouted Wolf, but her Legionnaires obeyed her, and put their backs into it. Pulling on the rope and raising Chistu into the air by his neck.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on one's perspective) the Tanker's neck failed to snap, and his eyes bulged out as he fought to force his fingers beneath the corded pseudo-muscle wrapped around his throat. Taking in the glorious sight of the penultimate leader of her mortal foe slowly strangling to death, she barely noticed the Dragoon clambering down a rope from his 'Mech's cockpit. One of her men moved to intercept him, but the ageing mercenary shoved him aside. "You cannot do this!" he stated.

She glanced over at him, taking in his greying hair and slight build, barely taller than her own. "I can. I will. I must!" She turned back to the hanging, fury fighting with satisfaction within her. "You turned down this battle, Wolf. You could have fought here, bled here, and will died here. Just like so many of my Legionnaires! My Kindred, my Forsaken, my Damned. You lost all right to decide who lives and who dies! That right is mine!"

"When the Archon hears that you murdered this man in cold blood? Not killed him in battle, but lynching him like a common pirate?"

"He is a common pirate!" she cried, turning to face Wolf again. "You just want to save the life of a fellow Tanker, Wolf! Beasts run together, honor among thieves and murderers -"

"Girl, I have hated the Falcons longer than you've been alive!" he shouted, gripping her shoulder through her suit's padding. Furious, an infantryman raised his Blazer rifle, but she waved him back. "I have lost my father to the Falcons, my brother to the Eagle, my friend to the Dragon. I have walked the path of vengeance and blood feud. It has cost me, and it is costing me still!"

"I am willing to pay!" Juliette shouted back, her voice breaking as her eyes started to tear up.

"And what of your men? Your Legion? Your world? I know Hanse, I know Melissa ... ******, I know Victor! Whatever your bargain with them. If you take this life in this manner, they will wash their hands of you! Do you want this all to have been for nothing?"

Tears flowing down her face, she glared up at the kicking, twitching Chistu, whose face was turning purple as he glared down at her. "They murdered my father!" she wailed.

"I know, girl." whispered the legend, whom she had admired for years before learning of his heritage. "He will pay for his crimes against your world, and a hundred more ... but not like this!"

Her heart tearing in two, her grief raging against her hope, she screamed wordlessly against the universe ... and then raised her hand and chopped it down. Obediently, her men let go of the rope, and the Falcon fell to the ground with a crunch, moaning in agony as one leg snapped against the ground. She took a little solace in that as she sank to one knee, even as Wolf crouched next to her, his hand still gripping her shoulder, while her warriors looked on in shock and surprise.

"Father." she whispered in a small voice, and for once. The indefatigable, indomitable and relentless mercenary they called the Vampire wept. Even as the battle for the Falcon's capital in the Inner Sphere ground to a halt. To be comforted by an old freebirth as her loyal men stood guard, and a hated foe whimpered in fear and pain.

As the sun set, Jaime Wolf found Juliette Von Strang standing on the roof of a building, watching as DropShips landed and took off, transporting troops, wounded, booty and supplies. She didn't look up as he approached, and just fiddled with a small chip between her fingers. The part of Wolf that was born in Clan space shuddered at her possession of a Khan's codex chip, but the seasoned mercenary in him just shrugged. "Your butcher's bill?"

A flaring of the nostrils was her only sign of distress. "Significant. Twenty-three 'Mech pilots dead, sixty two machines out of commission: we may be able to salvage a dozen of those. Nine tanks and crews lost, and forty-seven infantry dead. Many more are wounded." She smiled tightly. "No aerospace personnel or machines lost, bar minor armor damage and expended munitions, so that's something. As it is, my Legion will be some time rebuilding ... if the war allows us that luxury."

He nodded. "I recall a similar time, long before you were born."

"Misery," she noted, and he grunted. "my losses must seem paltry in comparison to your casualties on that world."

"Perhaps, but that was over weeks. You suffered yours in under six hours." He paused. "'Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.'"

"Arthur Wellesley. I prefer his opponent: 'Between a battle lost and a battle won, the distance is immense ... and there stand empires.'"

"Boney had a way with words on occasion." admitted Wolf.

The two colonels, one young and female, the other elderly and male, stood in companionable silence for a time, before Juliette spoke again. "I know I can trust my men, but I would appreciate it if you could ... see your way clear to forgetting today's events. Regarding the khan."

Wolf bowed his head. "Of course." He paused. "I believe in time, you would have regretted -"

She snorted in a most unladylike fashion. "Wolf, I could kill them all. Burn their empire to the ground and dance on their ashes. No, this is fitting, let him be their Vercingetorix. A living trophy to parade in front of the crowds. Let him live in misery and humiliation proof of his people's defeat until shame takes him or they grow weary of him. Less immediately satisfying, of course, but perhaps more so in the long run." Then she glanced over at him. "But this campaign is under the Commonwealth flag, under their rules of engagement. When I retake my home world ... I assure you, the flag I fly shall be black as night.

"No mercy. No quarter. No exceptions."

Flash Message[]








  • Flash Transmission sent out to all commands involved in Clover Spear, 23 October, 3056 informing them of the attack on New Avalon. Message was declassified after Information Act request made by DBC on 31 January, 3061.

  • Note from Author
    I want to thank Gladiusone for the excellent Omake that makes up the core of this chapter. It captures the pathos and vengeful triumph I suspect all of the FC forces are feeling at this moment.

Previous Chapter - Return to Story Index - Next Chapter