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Chapter 55[]

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

Prologue, Book 2, The Hammer Falls

I know what I am, and what I am not. I never saw myself as more than a regent for Victor. I never wanted the throne, as much out of self-awareness, as a lack of ambition. I love my brother deeply, but it’s been a source of strain for us on why he didn’t resume the throne until the war ended. He’s always said to me it was because “You’re doing a fine job, Katherine, why switch horses?” I accept that, it’s sound thinking. But he doesn’t see the casualty lists burned into his mind every time he closes his eyes. It was that alone that made me leave royal life. I was tired of being responsible for so much death. Yes, I ordered vengeance for my parents. But there’s a difference between planting a dagger in the heart of an assassin and sending armies of thousands forward.

As stressful as it is? I much prefer my days as a trauma surgeon. Yesterday, I saved a child when the crashweb in her parent’s hovercar failed and she went into the windshield. I hope the ophthalmologic surgeons can save her eyes, but I worked damn hard to give that girl a fighting chance. And that is why I do what I do. I have lots of “red in my ledger” as is said in the intelligence community. I want to put some hope, some decency, and some life in there. I owe that to all those I ordered forth to die, and all those who died under their guns. It may have been necessary, but that doesn’t make me feel any better.

  • -Taken from “Life and Times of a Cracked Princess.”

Battle for Sian - October[]

Battle Report, Sian (October)[]

Sian, Part 3

Attacking Forces: 1st Davion Guards RCT, 4th Davion Guards RCT, 3rd Davion Guards RCT, 6th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT, 7th Crucis Lancers RCT, 1st Ceti Hussars RCT, 3rd Royal Guards RCT, Davion Light Guards RCT, 10th Deneb Light Cavalry RCT, 1st Federated Suns Armored Cavalry, 1st Kell Hounds, Jade Phoenix Cluster, 10 Artillery Brigades.

The attackers were reinforced by the following units just before Shattered Dao kicked off: 5th Federated Commonwealth RCT, 4th Royal Guards.

Defending Forces:House Immarra (65% strength), Red Lancers (40% strength), 1st People’s Loyalty Regiment (35%, scattered in penny packets), Death Commando Battalion (65% strength), 2 combined arms divisions of the Sian Home Guard (The Third division was disbanded due to losses and used to reinforce the other two), and 85 “Victory Battalions” (32 of which are on Wuhan, many battalions have either been destroyed or have deserted/surrendered en masse.)

Results: The Federated Commonwealth forces were a bit delayed in their preparations for Shattered Dao, as T and R command was a bit snarled catching up with the FedCom advance. The shattered 6th Crucis Lancers were withdrawn to Fraizer and replaced by two other regiments, the 5th was brought in to secure the rear against the ever-present threat of Capellan guerillas (and was reinforced by three additional infantry regiments from the Draconis March).

October 12th, 3057 dawned a bright, crisp morning, with a blustery wind from the west. The Fedcom artillery and air started early, pounding Capellan positions beginning at 0346, with special attention given to identified Capellan “special weapons depots” and artillery units. Several other suspected sites were subject to airmobile raids by Loki/MI-6 teams The Capellans fought hard and casualties amongst the FedCom SF teams were heavy, but the operations were successful overall. It was later estimated in post war surveys that 70% of the on planet Capellan Special Weapons stockpile was seized or destroyed, but that still left 30% unaccounted for. While the initial operations were considered a success, the fact that an estimated 40-50 weapons might still be out there was cause for concern.

This of course, left a decision in Marshal Linda Archer’s lap. A decision about the option of CASE MORDRED, and potentially bringing a new level of hell to Sian…

“Citizens of the Confederation. Rogue elements of our armed forces yesterday used nuclear weapons against the invading Davion armies against orders. Those responsible did not survive the events surrounding this use, and thus, have saved the state the trouble of their execution. I have however, ordered that their families be reduced to servitor status, no matter their former station. I remind my fellow Capellan citizens. I am the state, and I will be obeyed above all else. If I did not allow it, it is not allowed….”

  • -Excerpt of speech dated October 11th, 3057 from unknown location by Sun-Tzu Liao.
    This was the last recorded public appearance made by the former Capellan Confederation Chancellor.

Briefing at the Confederation Arms Hotel[]

Headquarters, Task Force Sian
Confederation Arms Hotel Main Conference Room
Beilin, Sian
October 11th, 3057

The conference room at the Confederation Arms Hotel had seen better days, scorch marks and bullet holes marred the once-beautifully upholstered walls. The chandelier over the main conference table had fallen under the strain of bombardment and had fallen and shattered on the table. Marshal Archer’s people had cleaned as best as they had time to, but it probably wasn’t a good idea to walk barefoot on the once jade green carpet, which was now a dirty grey with ground in mud, or copper brown, from old bloodstains. But as dilapidated as it was, the hotel still had the best communications around, and it was a solid roof, so perfect for Marshall Archer’s needs as a headquarters.

Marshal Sarah Archer pinched the bridge of her nose again painfully as the S-4 continued with his brief. The news was the same, all the estimates were wrong, and they were exceeding projected use rates on consumables of all kinds by a factor of three. Even if Shattered Dao worked, and that only had a 75% chance, it was projected that the Mask had laid in enough arms caches to make Sian a guerilla hotbed for years, and that was already happening. Ambushes and IEDs were occurring daily and the casualties among the infantry units were soaring. I really hope the 5th Fedcom can ****** this. I cannot run out of steam short of the Forbidden City with the force I am cobbling together for the drop. It is a real hash job that my Lyran officers assure me will work as well as any “Kampfgruppe.” she thought.

The S-4, a tall gangly woman with short brunette hair and a taciturn expression concluded her presentation on the supply situation and asked for questions. Marshal Archer raised a weary hand. “Cybil, tell me the truth? Have we got enough to punch through to the Forbidden City and end the conventional phase at least?”

The S-4 nodded, “Yes ma’am, we can manage it, but the fact is, it had better be a quick operation, or we’re going to have to impose an operational pause within the next 90 days.”

Archer slowly swore “How long of a pause?”

“At least 60-90 days, Ma’am. Which I know is going to give the Capellans more time to reconstitute, as well as raid the other continents for more victory battalions.”

Archer nodded “Nice to see you paid attention in the briefings, Haputmann-General Frisch. Look, we need to go on the 12th, and this question doesn’t just apply to you. I am going to have Colonel Allard-Liao brief his final plan in a few moments, and I need to know, can we realistically attack with four RCTs on a narrow front and reach him within 72 hours? We can’t flank through that jungle and trying to use airmobile to leapfrog down Highway 7 isn’t going to happen. The Capellans have made sure any LZs are going to suck, not to mention advancing down it will be a nightmare.”

An older man, a Leftenant-General with engineer’s collar devices rose and cleared his throat. “Marshal Archer, our “thunder runs” have made some progress through the Capellan obstacle system, especially those obstacles close to our own front lines, but we’re going to need fire support to keep the bastards heads down as my kids lift mines and fill craters in the roads. Not to mention they blew the damn bridge at Rapti over the Perfume River. That’s going to take me 10-12 hours to get a bridge across it, and I’ll need at least a battalion thrown across the other side to make sure we can get that bridge set up.”

Marshal Archer nodded. “Don’t worry, Archie.” she smiled weakly “You’ll have it if I have to command that battalion myself from my Victor.”

Her aide d’ camp, a short, blonde Captain with the nametape of “Spiers” blanched “Ma’am. We’d prefer you didn’t do that. Sergeant-Major Rice already is having ulcers about the security situation- “

Archer angrily cut off her ADC “Dammit, Captain Spiers. I don’t have time for it. We need across that river and into the Forbidden City in 72 hours once that drop happens. It’s been delayed twice already and the Capellans have had to notice the Jade Phoenix Cluster has been pulled out of the line. I am not going to delay this any longer! Now, I have one of the best staffs in the AFFC. Let’s make this happen, people. Solve the problems and let’s make the impossible, possible.”

Marshal Archer surveyed the room. She had a good collection of people. They’d gotten the task force this far. And they weren’t going to let them down this close to victory. She turned to the NCO at the door of the conference room.

“Sergeant Ngo, bring in Colonel Allard and his people. It’s time to end this.”

Airdropping in on Family[]

2500 meters AGL above the Forbidden City
Forbidden City
Sian, Capellan Confederation
October 12th, 3057

Colonel Kai Allard-Liao checked the temperature gauge of his retro pack again. He hadn’t liked the numbers when he’d been kicked out the ‘mech bay of the Black Wing, and they weren’t looking much better now. Damn right jet is looking a little hot. And that’s not my only worry. He chanced a look up from his cockpit instruments, and outside was one of the worst swirling dogfights he had ever seen, let alone been hot dropping into the middle of.

Every Capellan aerospace fighter left on Sian must have been up here, and even with the Jade Phoenix Cluster's fighters cutting a path, the Capellans were managing to get in amongst the drop. Kai’s eyes focused on a Sulla dueling with a Thrush. The Thrush’s pilot was good, using his craft’s disadvantage in atmosphere to his advantage, fighting in the vertical and making slashing attacks on the bigger Clan fighter. but the Sulla pilot was equally skilled, and risked stalling out to pull an Immelman into his next “boom and zoom” with a pass of his own. Weapons flashed from the Sulla, with a cerulean beam connecting both fighters for an instant, before the Thrush’s wing separated at the root, and a pair of magenta-colored beams caught the Thrush amidships, with the striken ship belching flame and smoke, and entering into a flat spin. The cockpit soon flashed, with the canopy separating and an ejection seat launching the Capellan pilot from his stricken craft.

Kai’s secondary radio receiver crackled to life; it was tuned on the Aerospace trinary’s frequency for the drop.

<<“Alpha Beak Lead, this is Four. I claim that one as a bondsman. He was good, quiaff?”>>

The reply was terse and very clanlike. <<“Four, Lead, we are not taking bondsmen today. But he would have been a fine addition to the Clan, nonetheless. Perhaps when this is over, we can convince him to join our ranks. Continue Mission, we have plenty more where he came from. The Capellans are making a maximum effort today. Out.”>>

Kai turned his attention back to his own instrument panel. The right jet of the bolt on pack was still running a bit hot, and it was time to fire off another burst. It would be the last before the airfoil deployed and slowed down Yen-Lo-Wang for it’s final drop. Truth be told, Kai didn’t like drops. Too much could go wrong, and as a ‘Mechwarrior, he’d seen more than his share of such things. Airfoils not deploying, bolt on retros misfiring, or not firing at all. Or the ‘Mechwarrior miscalculating the numbers and instead of guiding in for a good landing, augured in like the world’s biggest lawn dart.

Being crushed by my own family ‘Mech isn’t the way I want to leave this world. The altimeter ticked down…2000, 1500…1000. Kai triggered the jets for their final 15 seconds of fuel. Promptly after he mashed the buttons, he got the whoops of the master alarm that the right jet had reached critical temp and was shutting down. He leaned hard into the left jet. The airfoil deployed cleanly, or at least the instrumentation told him it had…but he was still coming in at 33m/s, not the recommended 10. Shit, this isn’t going to end well. He called up his map and looked for a spot to land that might be a bit…soft. He quickly found one and grimaced. The techs are really going to hate me.

<<“All Dimond Call Signs, this is Diamond Six, I am coming down a bit fast and have to find somewhere soft. I am going to be off the drop zone by 3 klicks to the east. I say again, will be off the DZ by 3 klicks east. Don’t send anyone, I will make my way into the perimeter.”>> Kai radioed to the rest of the Cluster.

A chorus of Affs and Rogers” cascaded over the radio, as Kai concentrated on getting his ‘Mech down in one piece. 800…500…here we go! Brace! Kai pulled his straps of his command couch tight and threw his head back into his seat, hoping the restraints held.

Yen-Lo-Wang, proud avatar of the Allard-Liao family came down at a rate of 18m/s feet first into the 10 meter deep stabilization pond of the Forbidden City Municipal Sewage Treatment plant. The ‘mech landed with a huge splash that went 3 meters high. Kai was thrown around in his cockpit like a kid rolling down a hill in a barrel, but the restraints held, and he stayed conscious. The ‘Mech wobbled but stayed upright. He checked his status board, all green. Phew. Well, hell of a welcome to the Forbidden City? Aff? God, I am thinking more like my Falcons every day. Well, time to do what I came here to do. he thought as he got his 'Mech settled.

Kai quickly used his nav system to set a few waypoints back to the main DZ, which was supposed to be the massive parade ground outside the palace. He suspected he wasn’t the only one in this situation. He could hear the staccato booms of heavy weapons fire, and beams tear across the sky, warring with the warble of the city raid alarms.

It was time for Kai to get to work. It was time for him to do his part to end this. He switched on his radio to the GUARD frequency.

<<“Sun-Tzu Liao, you have murdered my mother, and proven unfit to rule. I come for you, and your throne. Face me, or don’t. I am coming for you. And as a friend promised. Hell is coming with me.”>>

Kai set the ‘Mech forward at a walk to the sound of the guns, a crooked smile crossing his face.

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