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Clover Spear - Chapter Cover Art

Chapter 44[]


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

"The board is set, the pieces are moving. We come to it at last...The great battle of our time."

- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


When the Mad Dragon unleashed her Fire[]

DropShip DCA Hiryu
Hachiman
Draconis March
May 28th, 3057


Miyako Kurita surveyed the holographic display as her three regiments drove toward the industrial planet below. Ryuken-yon, under her personal command, spearheaded the wedge with the left flank being Reyuken-san's two battalions. To the right, was the rebuilt Sixth Ghost Regiment, filled out with the few survivors of the Seventh Ghost Regiment after their battle on Yumesta against the Jaguars.

"Transmission received from the surface, Coordinator."

"Display it." Miyako snapped out. The tactical map blinked out to show a corpulent, bald-headed Japanese man.

For long moments the two surveyed each other before the man bowed. "Coordinator-dono."

Miyako smiled slightly as she gestured for him to rise. "Uncle Chandrasekhar. You have news?"

"I do. The city garrison withdrew to their base and boarded their dropships two days ago when they detected your presence. They have been moving supplies constantly from Masamori City to their new position at the Hachiman Technical Institute from the spaceport on their base by cargo dropship. My corporate security troops have secured Yoshitune Spaceport and I shall await your arrival there."

Miyako nodded, "Good, I will finish securing Masamori City from the main spaceport and then deal with their positions at the Institute."

"Be warned, I have little intelligence on their defenses there. Security is quite tight and the junkyard surrounding it is hazardous."

An alarm sounded on the bridge. "Enemy fighters coming from behind the moon, Coordinator!"

Miyako gave a slashing motion at the commtech to cut the transmission. "Deploy our fighter screen, assume air-defense formation!"

"Older craft. Sholagars Aerospace Fighters. Hardly a threat to us, Coordinator even if they have caught us unawares."

The explosion of a nuclear-armed kamikaze ASF flown by the fanatical cadets of the 13th Sun Zhang Academy Cadre gave the lie to that statement as DCA Urizen Kurita was shattered by the nuclear detonation along with the 2nd battalion of Ryuken-san.

Miyako's eyes narrowed as she chewed over the actions of the enemy and came to an unpleasant conclusion.

Chandrasekhar Kurita had betrayed her. Betrayed the Dragon. The Spaceport was a trap.

Her eyes turned icy and she hissed. "Relay my orders to all naval units. Load Shinrikyō missiles for saturation bombardment of our planned spacehead. I shall lead the Battlemech deployment from the atmosphere."

As the Dropships drove toward the ground, their long-range missile launchers fired five salvos of missiles from their magazines at the city as they passed through the stratosphere. As the warheads flew toward the ground, the rotation and speed of their transit caused the seals between the two halves of the warhead to fail and the contents to mix precursor chemicals together.

At 1000 meters, fuses fired and the missiles blew apart, dispensing a cloud of heavier than air droplets over the spaceport and Masamori City surrounding it. Developed early in the Second Succession War by direct order of Coordinator Jinjiro Kurita, the nerve agent chlorosarin-4 (codenamed Shinrikyō) was the holy grail of the search for a lethal agent to secure spaceheads. Highly lethal, inhalation would kill humans in minutes, but the compound was unstable and susceptible to breakdown in under an hour, obviating the need to wear chemical gear for anything but to handle the smell of the corpses that it generated.

The first indication Chandrasekhar Kurita and the other gathered dignitaries at the spaceport had that anything was amiss was when their pupils dilated. Drooling, urination, vomiting, and defecation followed as the nerve gas attacked their neurons, followed by muscle spasms, suffocation, and death by asphyxiation.

The cameras that were filming the welcome ceremony for Coordinator Miyako Kurita and broadcasting the spectacle planet-wide caught the full horror of the attack including Chandrasekhar Kurita's last moments even as their operators crumpled and died.

By the time Miyako's Naginata command Assault 'Mech landed at the head of her troops from their mid-altitude drop, fatalities on Hachiman from her arrival were already in four figures and rising steadily.

Worse was to come to Masamori City. Far worse.

  • Chapter Section by Yellowhammer

City in Flames[]

Konstance City
Helen, Draconis March
Federated Commonwealth
May 29th, 3057


Konstance City burned.

Subaltern Victoria Sanromea-Davion clenched the joysticks of Santiago, her family's Enforcer with sweating palms.

The day had started out so well. Just a routine field exercise for her lance of the Sakhara Training Battalion.

That had changed when a Drac jumpship had appeared in the Hector/Helen Pirate point and detached a trio of Unions on a high-speed run at the planet. The Training Battalion aerospace air lances and planetary militia's ASF force had been sent out to intercept them while Santiago and the rest of Gold Lance had been frantically rearmed with live munitions.

Very few of the aerojocks had survived their attempt to intercept.

Now it was her turn. The Dracs had dropped one company at the spaceport to try to secure a landing zone. The other two...had been deployed straight into the built up areas of Helen's planetary capital.

"Gold One to Gold Three, Report." That was Leftenant Marks in his Crusader.

"Gold Three, negative on Magscan. IR is a mess with all the fires that the Snakes set." Her classmate's Gallery rasp was oddly calming. Karl Hendriksson-Steiner was the son of some mining family back on Gallery and a distaff cadet relation to the Archon-Prince. Not a bad sort, if a little too proud to show off the Trenchbucket that his grandfather had captured from the League during a raid late in the Third Succession War.

A raid like what the Dracs were doing here. One battalion couldn't hold Helen with the March Militia nearby. So she just needed to do her duty and minimize the damage. With that her scanner finally showed something.

"Gold One, Four, got movement half a klick at my ten o'clock. Intermittent sensor flux." Victoria rattled off the data by The Book. That had to count for something, right?

"Two, Backstop Four. Four, transmit targeting data for us LRM boats."

"Yessir, Leftenant." Subaltern Laura Gray's Phoenix Hawk jetted down next to Santiago. "I'll swing left while you advance, Vickie."

Phoenix Hawk unseen fanmade

Phoenix Hawk

Victoria nodded and advanced, gripping her joysticks as she tracked the crosshairs from building to building. Just like a sim, just like a sim....

"Panther! I'm on him!" A gold icon popped up on her tactical display. "C'mere you little...."

A flash of man-made lightning illuminated the street to Victoria's left and she kicked Santiago into a run. "F-four's engaging Panther, assisting." She stuttered out, hating how her voice broke in the middle of the report.

The Drac light Mech bounced over a burning office block on ion jets. Moments later Laura's Davion-Green painted Phoenix Hawk followed suit, firing the laser as she went. "Gotcha you Snake Bast--- ******----" Her voice tapered off into a scream and the crackle of flames.

"Four's in trouble! Assisting!" Victoria slammed down on the foot pedals and Santiago lifted off. Victoria feathered the jets to land on a rooftop one block over as the smoke cleared.

Below and to the left was a Thunderbolt Heavy Mech bathing the prone Phoenix Hawk in flames from its torso-mounted twin flamers as pulses of coherent light flayed the lighter Phoenix Hawk, snapping a leg off.

Thunderbolt (In Combat)

Thunderbolt

"Thunderbolt-Sierra! Engaging!!" Victoria snapped out as she punched the button that would send her sensor data to her lance-mates and dropped the crosshairs onto the hulking Mech. Her fingers squeezed the triggers, and the roar of her autocannon filled the cockpit as a wave of heat washed over her.

The emerald beam of her 8cm laser flayed armor from the T-Bolt's torso as the autocannon blew away charcoal gray armor plates from its left thigh, obliterating the Kurita Dragon coiled around a sword of the Ryuken.

"OHGODOHGOD HEL---" Laura's panic-filled screams suddenly cut off as the soaring temperatures inside her burning 'mech caused the ammunition for her machine guns to explode, disintegrating the Phoenix Hawk.

"Die Snake!" Victoria screamed, seeing red. "Gold One, I need fire support now!"

A PPC bolt slammed into her left thigh and she braced against the impact, returning fire with her howling autocannon and laser, blasting more armor from the Ryuken Thunderbolt's thick hide. LRMs rained own around it, further damaging the heavy Mech.

"Just a little mo--" A red light appeared on her HUD and Santiago's Nagging Nora voice sounded in her ears. <<"Warning Missile Lock Detected.">> Spears of coherent light hammered into Santiago, blasting away armor in half-ton lots. The loss of the weight caused her to stumble toward the edge of the roof, and then twenty LRMs slammed into her like the hammer of Thor and darkness claimed her.

The sound of the ground shaking caused her to stir toward consciousness. Blinking off the pain, she concentrated on the flickering MFD showing her condition.

Right leg out...armor's red or worse across my whole right side, and I'm looking at the sky. Right. Time to check in according to The Book.

"Gold One to Two, watch for the Panther coming around your six! Dammit, kid!" A explosion in the distance.

"One this is Three. I'm in the red, and four's dead. T-bolt got Laura. Orders, sir?" A distant thud. The officers knew what to do, right?

"Vickie, leave your telemetry running and get to safety on foot. We are falling back to Delta line. Stay safe." Another thud.

"Yes, sir." Victoria began to unbuckle her harness then the sky above her suddenly turned dark. She looked up to see a charcoal gray painted Stalker looming over her, smoke trailing from its missile racks.

STK-3W Stalker (BSC)

Variant of a Stalker Assault 'Mech.

With elephantine grace, the Assault Mech deliberately raised one foot and placed it on her cockpit, then slowly began to press down as Victoria screamed in terror.

  • Chapter story by Yellowhammer

"I have often been asked how difficult it was to come to terms with my new family. Like all things in life, it was difficult in some areas, and even the simplest things can be very difficult... But it was also very easy in some surprising ways. For instance, my birth family has been called many things by our enemies. Bloody-handed tyrants, warmongering militarists, monsters, and madmen; and I shall never deny that some of my family were all of these things and more. But even in the worst and most bitter fighting of the Succession Wars, there has always been an understanding, an unspoken and unwritten as it may have been then, that there were no and would never be any cowards named Kurita, Davion, Steiner, or Sandoval in the ranks of the combatants..."

Omiko Steiner-Davion,
My Path To The Top Of The Mountain: A Journey from Luthien to Kentares,
New Avalon Press 3083



Visitors from the Draconis March[]

DropShip, FSS Lion of Judah
Inbound to New Avalon
Crucis March, Federated Commonwealth
May 29th, 3057


Field Marshal James Sandoval, Duke of Robinson and Minister of the Draconis March stared at the approaching crescent of New Avalon with the same focus that he had spent preparing for planetary invasions in his 43 years of service in the AFFS and then AFFC. In a way, this would be the most important planetary invasion of his career, he thought as he clasped his hands behind his back.

The hatch behind him opened, and he noticed a familiar reflection in the armorplast glass enter the room. Dressed in the uniform of a FedCom Leftenant General with Military Intelligence shoulder flashes, his oldest son joined him at the glass.

"Father," Tancred said quietly as he stepped alongside him, "The reports from March Command on Robinson have been collated and forwarded to us."

"Summarize," James said equally quietly.

"In brief, we have identified the units responsible for the attacks into the Addicks and Raman PDZs. Addicks was the 15th Dieron out of Al Na'ir striking Helen, Murchison, and Towne in terror raids, reinforced with a company each of Ryuken-ni as it reconstitutes with production from the factories on Quentin and Al Na'ir after sustaining heavy losses in the continuing infighting in Benjamin. McComb and Royal were each the 22nd Benjaminn out of Marduk in a similar battalion-sized raid." Tancred paused and ran through his mental index cards. "The Snake raids into Addicks were clearly intended to damage infrastructure and cause casualties among our troops and civilians and were exceptionally brutal even for them. Raman caused moderate infrastructure damage and targeted a militia base on Royal that we had built up into a forward supply dump, and three food processing and packaging plants on McComb."

James grunted acknowledgment of the horrors that the anti-septic words covered.

Tancred sighed, "Three further points. First, prisoner interrogation from the Regulars that we captured on Royal revealed that the cousin of Victor's pet Snake ordered these attacks to 'discourage any ideas that we would have to challenge the Dragon and gain needed supplies'. Quote unquote. Second, we received a flash communication from the Skye March reporting an incursion into the Lyons thumb, no further details yet. Third, the raid on Helen hit the Sak's training battalion hard and...well you need to see for yourself."

James turned and walked to the holoprojector as Tancred fed in the data. The display fuzzed, and then showed an attractive young brunette woman dressed in Sakhara cadet uniform. "Victoria Sanromea-Davion, Class of '57. She is the second child of Duke Diego Sanromea-Davion of El Dorado. One older brother and three younger siblings." Left unsaid but understood by both men was the importance of the cadet family that held the primary banking capital of the Suns for their older cousins under the Sword and Sunburst. "She was part of the force that defended Konstance City and shortly after she engaged, she opened a data link back to HQ. See for yourself what happened."

The display changed to the cockpit of an Enforcer, and the Sandovals watched impassively as the doomed cadet fought bravely but inexpertly before being ruthlessly killed in her downed Enforcer.

James nodded. "Indeed, I see. Who else has seen it?"

Tancred gave a slight smile. "No one on New Avalon as of yet. One of my friends from the Class of '40 picked it out of the data dump that we give the Fox' Den weekly and held it 'pending verification' while up-channeling it to me privately. It won't officially arrive at HQ for four more days."

James grinned like a shark, "You were right and I was wrong when you argued me into attending Sakhara versus Robinson Battle Academy. I'll notify Diego personally, and I need you to speak to Yvonne privately so that we can marshal our arguments with Victor and Katherine. Once we get our forces mustered..."

His smile widened, "...that Snake in the Palace won't know what hit her."

  • Chapter Section by Yellowhammer

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