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Can you tell me where we can start again (cover art) Chapter Art

Chapter 40[]

Can you tell me where can we start over?[]

ComStar HPG Station
Kowloon
Lyran Alliance
3061


"They're not ready." Elizabeth leaned back in the Comstar facility, looking straight into the eye of Katherine Morgan Steiner Davion's image.  "Seriously not ready.  I can supply a couple more Invader Class JumpShip-transports, but the spares and the crewing for anything bigger just aren't available, if you send me bodies, I can crew ships."

The very-dangerous-game of chicken she was playing with the Archon Princess was because of rumors she'd bothered to confirm. That Katherine was applying economic pressure to member worlds. Diverting shipments and worst of all in Elizabeth's eyes, starving front-line units of necessary supplies on the Clan front.

The worst offense being of course that Katherine was on New Avalon instead of Tharkad. While Nondi Steiner was proving to be...less sensible than Elizabeth would prefer.

Thus, playing chicken with the ruler of the realm.  "I'm also having a lot of trouble assembling anything that can be considered 'deployable off world' because we keep sending you transport assets, Highness." she added, "Meaning even if I could get the ball going on the forces your Regent wants, I can't deliver them!  In case your briefing people have forgotten, there are no Battlemech factories on Kowloon. We don't have a 'mechwarrior academy, nevermind the logistics of moving conventional troops in the kind of numbers being requested are outside my ability to snap into being."

"You have ships in twenty systems, what do you mean you can't move a regiment of soldiers??!"

"I mean, I can't move a regiment of soldiers." Elizabeth told her bluntly, "Those ships are fifteen light-year capable cutters with a grand total infantry complement of fifty men, a crew of twenty five, and no drop-collars.  I can maybe give it up in platoon size bites, but if I devoted the entire space-based marine complement to LAAF control. That's not even a full battalion of what amounts to light infantry-without Dropship transport.  I literally can't do what your Great Aunt is asking for.  It's not physically possible...and won't be for another two years minimum."

"Two years?" questioned Katherine

"The time it takes to get a Dropship line going and finish the jumpship hulls needed to transport them." Liz told her, "Which is tied up with licensing agreements that are still waiting for LAAF approval and have been for the last three years. I can't ask Ia Drang to build the hulls if we're going to be sued by established customers. Look, you didn't sign the waivers.  Give me the permissions and in two years I can give you an armored division with air support...but I can't give it to you without them. Your subordinates are dragging their ****** feet."

This was a lie...all of it, except the reference to bureaucratic obstructionism.  Liz could do it, she had it. She was lying her ass off with a carefully prepared paper trail to cover her skinny butt. Just in case Lohengrin actually managed to penetrate the secrecy at the Snark and Boojum shipyards or turn someone in Sithers-Deen or Nghien.

Katherine looked slightly less angry.  "I see...I will see to it that those permissions are released." she said.

"Thank you, Your Majesty."  Elizabeth said, and Katherine blinked off.

"Smell that, Adept?" Elizabeth asked idly.

"Smell what?" said the Adept

"The smell of shit, rolling down hill." she said, "I swear we're going to be facing a Civil War soon, right in the face of a damned invading enemy."

"Who will win?" he asked

"The grave makers." she said, standing up, "The grave makers will be the only winners...except maybe the invaders.  You may tell the Precentor Martial Victor Steiner-Davion that Kowloon will remain neutral in his family spat."


Among the weapons the Katherine regime used, are embargoes, sanctions, and assigning brute-squads to planets deemed 'less than loyal' or directed at worlds deemed to be pushing past their rightful boundaries in gaining local power.  Other moves included removal of garrisons, and starving garrisons of needed supplies.

All of these, are really predicated on Royal control over shipping and trade, or royal control over logistical networks, as well as the usual ability to make assignments.

Katherine didn't pay attention when Liz started using her muscle to improve the economy in the Periphery/Melissia theater area, nor when Kowloon's nascent little 'navy' provided assistance in suppression of bandits and piracy, and certainly didn't pay attention when Kowloon's Coast Guard started making inroads with the shipping companies in the area, making shipping reliable and safe for the first time in decades.

We're pretty much down to a situation where the usual tactics aren't going to work-she'll need to send an RCT in at this point. There's no grounds to risk a Punitive expedition. Not really, and few units in the region willing to forego the benefits of having regular delivery of materiel and consumables just to make a political point for Tharkad.

Not even for Great Aunt Nondi.

Thus, even loyalist units aren't willing to move on Kowloon in the winter of 3061, nor in the spring of 3062.  As a power-grab, what Elizabeth has managed would be obvious to anyone schooled in the mechanics of island nations.  She has grasped the Transportation Network by the short hairs, while grasping the loyalty of said network in the region of space outward of Coventry.

All without making so much as a disparaging public comment about the Archon.

A more adroit political student might use this leverage as the basis for a coup, and do so with some belief in success.

Elizabeth is using it to keep the lights on for close to fifty Lyran worlds. Which were including worlds on the Archon's 'naughty list', and it's really rather difficult to make her stop.


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