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Chapter 62
Shattered Dao, Part 4
[]


Sleepless in Forbidden City[]

Unknown Relocation Site
75 km from the Forbidden City
Forbidden City, Sian
Capellan Confederation
October 18th, 3057, 1850 hours


Sun-Tzu Liao hadn't slept more than 6 hours in the last 72. He was haggard, and his once regal robes stunk of sweat and fear. There wasn't much water in the bunker complex, certainly not enough for more than the most basic of hygiene needs. Everyone by this point was a bit ripe, and with the constant smoking going on by some of the bunker occupants, the air scrubbers were working overtime.

He looked over the small, cramped situation room, filled with junior aides and functionaries. The holotank was flickering due to a lack of maintenance. Because I fired or killed the more senior people. Are all of us Liaos cursed to make the same mistakes? I swore I would not, yet here I am. He turned to Alexa Shang, her scarred face even more haggard in the confines of the musty, humid bunker.

Holotank (Mass Effect Version)

Holotank

"What do we have left to contest Sian with, Major Shang?"

"Unclear, Celestial Wisdom. Our long-range communications are intermittent and many of our units are being heavily jammed or are ignoring our comms. In some cases, some units won't even recognize our authority, though to be fair, those units are unable to authenticate us as legitimate."

"Should I speak with these units, Major? Get them to realize their Chancellor lives?"

"I doubt it would do any good, Celestial Wisdom. Your voice can be faked. And I would not put it past the Davion devils to fake a vid of you to trigger a planet-wide surrender."

Sun-Tzu exhaled. "Any hope of off-world relief?"

Shang shook her head "Most of our commands are out of communication. The Blakists abandoned us last month, and McCarrons trying to organize a functional command on Menke, but even if he did, it wouldn't be enough to lift the siege here. I've also heard dark rumors he's trying to organize his own state."

Sun-Tzu nodded, contemplating his long golden fingernails. "So, the Confederation dies. So be it. Then if I fail, the state fails. And as such, Capellan citizens should not be forced to deal with the aftermath of the death of their beloved state. We have plans for such matters, do we not?"

"Exactly what did you have in mind, Celestial Wisdom?" Shang's face lightened, her eyes widening slightly.

"HEFTY MACE?" Sun-Tzu smiled a smile that would have scared even the bravest soldier of the Confederation. Provided, there were any left. HEFTY MACE was intended to be the last order any Confederation Chancellor would give. It was an order to every Mask cell on every Capellan-loyal world to do whatever they could to cause mayhem and scorched earth. Meltdown power plants, poison reservoirs, kill crops, and a few other shocking acts. In short, make worlds uninhabitable and hand the Davions or Mariks a poisoned chalice.

"Chancellor, you can't be seriously considering it. The Confederation may be on its deathbed, but its people and culture live. We can act to at least preserve that."

Sun-Tzu rose, throwing his chair back towards the wall with a BANG that reverberated through the room. "You dare say the Confederation is dead?! It is not dead. I. Am. The. Confederation. I say when I die and when the Confederation dies! I elevated you from nothing, Major Shang!"

"You once asked me to be ready to perform a duty to save the state, even from you, Celestial Wisdom. I believe that time has come."

Sun-Tzu laughed. "So, do the rest of you agree with her? Or are you too afraid to be counted?" He turned his back to Alexa. "Go ahead, Major Shang, show me- "

BLAM, BLAM!

Two gouts of blood erupted from Sun-Tzu's chest as the 5.5mm bullets from Shang's holdout weapon tore through him. The cartridge was small, and normally underpowered, but at this range, you didn't need much power. Sun-Tzu fell like a sack of potatoes, his body lying on the floor, his blood spraying all over the concrete tiles.

He looked up at Shang, gritting his teeth in pain as he hissed, "You can't kill me, you doom the state!"

Shang walked up and simply stated in a monotone, "No, you do." and fired two more rounds into Sun-Tzu's face.

No one else moved to do anything. Shang surveyed the room, looks of fear and relief warred on the faces of all present. She pointed her finger at a pair of comtechs manning a now-useless communications station in the corner of the room.

"Get the Davion commander on the line. Ask for terms. Then I want a message recorded and sent to all commands we are still in touch with. And place anyone still loyal to this-" waving her free hand over the still warm body of Sun-Tzu Liao "-under arrest."

No one moved. Shang looked over the room "Well, what the hell are you idiots waiting for? An engraved invitation to save your own lives? Go, now!"

The crowd finally dispersed and went to execute their new orders. The commander of the bunker guard force approached Shang "Does this make you our new Chancellor?" he asked guardedly.

"No, Captain Fang, it does not. I presume we will all be answering to Kai Allard-Liao soon. In any case, I want your men and women to ensure this goes smoothly. Any more fighting is just going to make the Davions want to kill every Capellan they see. We need to make sure that doesn't happen."

Captain Fang nodded wordlessly, then made to give the Capellan salute, but thought better of it, and simply gave a palm down hand salute in the old SLDF style. Shang returned it and Fang turned on his hell to leave, his subordinates in tow.

Shang leaned forward with both hands gripping the sides of the holotank. Ancestors, tell me I did the right thing. Our Chancellor would have happily presided over a damned massacre of his own people. He didn't start out that way. But the Liao family has become a mad one. One that had to be separated from the state, for the state's own good.

And now, I must surrender the planet, and the Confederation before anything more goes wrong.


Message to all Capellan Commands[]

<<Message sent to all surviving CCAF commands on Sian, 2000 hours, October 18th, 3057>>

<<To all commands,
you are to cease all hostilities and maintain your positions pending surrender negotiations with Federated Commonwealth forces. You are authorized to act in self-defense if fired upon, but do not, repeat, do not initiate hostilities. any unit that violates these orders will be treated as pirates and not subject to the protection of the Ares Conventions.>>

<<All underage personnel in Victory Battalions are to be given immediate discharge, disarmed and sent home. we have asked enough of our children.>>

<<Further instructions to follow.

EOM
Shang, MAJOR, CCAF for the Chancellor>>


Historical Meeting and Message[]

"Point Luck"
25 km from the Forbidden City
Forbidden City, Sian
Capellan Confederation
October 19th, 3057, 0900 hours


Marshal Sarah Archer exhaled another breath in the cold Sian air. She turned to her assembled staff "Yeah, I know, little dramatic to meet her at some out-of-the-way state farm, but it does have shades of Appomattox, does it not?"

Her staff said nothing, knowing when their boss was posing a rhetorical question.

Warrior Helicopter (Blender Battletech - VTOL moving)

Warrior Attack VTOL

The sound of distant blades beating up the atmosphere soon hove into view, three distant dots against the eastern sky. The dots soon resolved themselves into a Karnov escorted by a pair of Warrior helicopter gunships. The Karnov VTOL Transport was painted white with green crosses on the fuselage and wings, just as the cease-fire terms had demanded. We're not asking the damned Capellans to do anything, we're ****** telling them to do it. Not after the butcher's bill we had here. The Karnov soon found a spot to touchdown some 500 meters away from Archer and her staff. The blades soon stopped rotating, but no one left the aircraft, even as it powered down.

"Alright ladies and gents, look confident but don't be showy. Remember who the hell won." Archer stuck an unlit cigar in her mouth. "Let's go greet the enemy." Archer approached the Karnov, moving at a deliberate and confident gait.

A door on the Karnov's side soon opened and a gaggle of Capellan senior officers, resplendent in their dress uniforms, made their way down the stairs. All were unarmed, save one, who was wearing a gunbelt with a pistol on her hip. All were wearing the white armband on the right side as per the meeting agreement.

Archer stopped her party and waited for the Capellans to approach her. They did so in a semi-triangular phalanx and stopped some ten meters from Archer's group. The head of the group who was wearing the gun belt then stepped out three more paces and saluted Archer in an SLDF palm-down salute. "Major Alexa Shang, Capellan Confederation Armed Forces."

Archer returned the salute in the palm-up Davion style. "Marshal Sarah Archer, Armed Forces of the Federated Commonwealth. Before we begin, Major, we have two questions. One, where the hell is Sun-Tzu Liao, and two, You're senior?"

Shang smiled mirthlessly "Yes, I am senior, and as for the late Chancellor Liao, I killed him for reasons of state."

Marshal Archer exhaled slightly; her G-2 had expected this when they intercepted that first message. "So, can you even guarantee your people will follow orders?"

Shang laughed "I think they will when those orders are to save their own lives. Tell me, Marshal, we're pitting children with bamboo staves against Battlemechs, is there any sensible military reason to continue this, or would you have thrown in the towel to save the lives of whatever's left?"

Archer nodded "Agreed Major Shang, but there are concerns about some of your units."

Shang nodded in return "Agreed Marshal Archer, we may need your assistance bringing them to heel. But for now, may I propose we put a stop to this insanity?"

Archer stepped to one side and extended her arm to a nearby large tent with a long table with camp chairs all around it, a small gaggle of what appeared to be Federated Commonwealth press waiting behind a makeshift rope line. "Lead the way, Major. I am as eager to be done with this as you are."

Shang led off without another word, her staff in tow. Her face was grim and determined, but any observer could see there were a million other things she would have rather done but this.

=================================================================================================================

Communique to New Avalon, sent by ComStar and FAX as 1030 hours, October 19th, 3057

TO: PRINCESS KATHERINE STEINER-DAVION and PRINCE VICTOR STEINER-DAVION

FROM: MARSHAL SARAH ARCHER

I am pleased to inform you that we have accomplished the mission of this command as of this time and date. We have secured the surrender of Sian and her defenders.

The Capellans have agreed to a surrender with the immediate parole of all those under sixteen or over sixty-five that were not part of the military before our landings. I agreed to this as there has been enough bad blood to last us a lifetime.

I request that all the medical and engineering assets we can spare be sent to Sian once the cease-fire goes into effect at midnight local time tonight. We have a lot of rebuilding to do here, and I need the tools to get started.

Our mission is now the reconstruction of Sian, pending political decisions made by yourselves. You should be proud of our soldiers. They did a great job under very trying circumstances. My list for commendations and mentions in dispatches is attached to this message. It is a long list, and sadly, most of it is posthumous awards. But thank God, the killing is over. I expect the rest of the CCAF will surrender in the coming weeks. But what are our orders with regards to McCarron's Armored Cavalry on Menke?

EOM

Archer
=================================================================================================================


You know those ancient newsreels of the end of World War II back on Terra? Where everyone goes nuts when the surrender is official? Well, that was New Avalon when word came down the Capellans had quit. The streets were filled with bedlam. People went crazy, but the good kind. Most of the calls we got that night were from people who had too much and thought the gutters were a good place to sleep or couples who couldn't wait to get a room and went at it right on the sidewalk. Yeah, I got three offers from some very drunk 'Mechwarriors with the New Avalon Militia, and hugs from just about everyone. It was a good day to be a New Avalon City cop.

Officer Mike Renard, New Avalon City Police, interviewed for the program "Where Were You When…" Airdate 3/25/3070


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