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Davion Heir (Chapter Art)

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Davion Heir (BattleTech CYOA)

Chapter 20
[]


Invasion Reports[]

Fort Cross, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
16th June, 3016


“Is it going as bad everywhere else as it is going here?” demands Victoria as she looks around the table, trying to ignore both the mental and physical exhaustion that she feels.

“If you are referring to the rest of the invasion, it is not,” reports Marshal Ran Felsner, “The Dracs concentrating their forces here on Deiron has left the rest of the military district vulnerable.”

“Except for Al Na’ir,” comments someone else as Victoria takes a moment to bring up the summaries on her noteputer, “The Kuritans are putting as much of a fight over there as they are over here.”

“That is true, but other than that, we are receiving multiple reports of victory,” says Ran, “Altair and Deneb Algedi both fell after their DCMS garrisons were pulled back to Dieron and Al Na’ir respectively and the Combine didn’t contest the conquest of Styx. Fighting is ongoing at Proserpina, but the other targets are falling due to the DCMS focusing their ‘Mechs on the capitals.”

“What about Tripoli?” inquires Victoria as she looks at the latest summary from that world.

“I am not personally familiar with the latest reports from over there,” replies Ran as he pulls out his own noteputer.

“The Eleventh Benjamin Regulars are putting up a stiffer fight than expected,” says someone else, “I have friends in that invasion force so I’ve been keeping up with it as much as the HPGs allow. The situation is overall favourable, but the Dracs are getting their licks in and making our troops pay for every success.”

“Just like here.” grumbles Victoria.

“And Al Na’ir,” adds Ran, “Nonetheless, things are looking to be successful. The Combine is losing irreplaceable LosTech and locally speaking, their losses are matching our own. We might be forced to withdraw from Dieron, but from a strategic perspective, we are certainly winning.”

At the current rate of fighting, there will be no maybe about having to call it quits, but Victoria isn’t foolish enough to say that out loud. No need to undermine morale by pointing out some harsh truths and it would hurt Ran’s attempts to be optimistic and encouraging about the situation.

Every AFFS ‘Mech regiment on Dieron has lost at least a couple companies of ‘Mechs so far with some having been reduced by a full battalion. The Ariana Grenadiers has been hit the hardest relatively so far as the former CCAF unit was only a battalion in size and after a couple of nasty engagements with the 7th Sword of Light, they are only able to muster up to ten ‘Mechs.

Victoria has pulled them back to reserves, both to preserve what is left of the unit and so the surviving Ariana Grenadiers can operate as an elite force to put out any fires that spring up.

“What about the Lyrans?” asks Ardan, having become the acting commander of the Davion Heavy Guards after the loss of Colonel Parry a few days ago, “How is their half of the invasion going?”

“Not as well as ours, but that is to be expected given the quality difference between the LCAF and the AFFS,” answers Ran, “There is still fighting along multiple worlds, but we have received word that Ko, Sevren, Weingarten and Yorii have all fallen to the Commonwealth.”

Victoria smiles at the good news, but she politely ignores the mild celebrations as she looks at some of the casualty reports from the LCAF. Ko has fallen to the Lyran Commonwealth as Ran said, but what the Marshal didn’t mention is that the veteran 22nd Dieron Regulars made a withdrawal in good order, conserving the majority of their strength. And there is the fact that the Lyrans have been bogged down with strong resistance on three times as many worlds as the AFFS. While the LCAF is invading more worlds than the Suns, it is only nineteen to the fifteen of the AFFS.

Still, the invasion is looking to be a success. Four worlds have already been liberated by the Lyran Commonwealth and despite the ongoing fighting, it looks like more Combine systems are going to fall even if the LCAF doesn’t have the same rate of success as the AFFS.

“What about the Outworlds Alliance?” asks someone else, “We’re still kicking Drac butt over there, right?”

“The actual fighting down there has died down not long before the invasion began.” answers Victoria, “After the Eridani Light Horse wrecked the Proserpina Hussars on Ramora, the DCMS has avoided conflict with their remaining forces in the region. There was some additional fighting on Alpheratz, but that was more of a fighting withdrawal than a serious attempt to hold the world. Right now, the Eridani Light Horse and the Ministry of Foreign affairs are securing what worlds they can along with what remnants of the AMC that are willing to work with us.”

The Kuritans also took the production lines of Alliance Defender Limited with them when they left Alpheratz, but there is no benefit to bringing that up now. Besides, that ‘Mech factory only produced Bug ‘Mechs. The Combine did try to take the Merlin factory belonging to Mountain Wolf BattleMechs, but in a pleasantly surprising turn of events, a company of surviving Avellar Guards saved the day there. The Outworlder MechWarriors fought off the DCMS long enough that the AFFS was able to relieve them, denying the factory to the Kuritans even if only two of their ‘Mechs were still functional by the end of it.

Still, it leaves three of the Spirit Legions unaccounted for. Victoria isn’t too worried about the Ghost and Spectre Legion as they are full of green recruits, but the Wraith Legion was already decently seasoned before being hardened in battle against the Avellar Guard on Alpheratz. In any case, three regiments of BattleMechs is still over three hundred ‘Mechs to worry about. The Suns has sufficient forces in reserve over there, but keeping those units on standby combined with the commitments to the former Outworlds Alliances means that the AFFS is limited in what they can do along that part of the border.

“Unless there are further questions, we should focus back on the situation at hand here on Dieron.” declares Ran, shooting a questioning look at Victoria, who gives a slight shake of her head, “We have the enemy outnumbered, but they have been whittling down the numerical difference with clever use of the local defences and their LosTech advantage. Does anybody have any suggestions on how we can counter one or both of those?”


Battle for Dieron Continues[]

Fort Cross, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
28th June, 3016


“Hold the line!” calls Victoria grimly as she glares at the attacking DCMS forces from the cockpit of her Highlander, “By Freedom’s Sword!”

Ignoring a small volley of LRMs that mostly miss her, the First Prince focuses on a Panther that is involved in the attack on the Davion DropShips as the AFFS undergo their evacuation from the planet. Both sides have been left bloodied and battered with the AFFS and DCMS each suffering heavy losses, but apparently the Kuritans have enough left in them to muster up a few final attacks.

Victoria fires her LRMs and autocannon at the enemy ‘Mech, but the distance and active movement of the Panther means that the latter misses outright and only some of the former strike true. In turn, the Kuritans begin to focus on her, which is good on one hand because she is piloting a heavily armored Assault ‘Mech, but on the other hand, she is the First Prince and it would take just one unlucky cockpit hit to end her.

Panther (In Woods - Blender Game)

Panther Light 'Mech

She doesn’t stop moving and a PPC bolt from a Panther glances off of her side while a second one misses outright. A Jenner comes rushing forward to engage her with its short ranged weapons and Victoria prepares to meet it in kind. As more LRMs rain down upon her, peppering her Armor with small explosions, Victoria opens fire on the Jenner at almost the same time, it unleashes a volley at her.

Her autocannon catches its side, blowing away half of its medium lasers while Victoria’s own lasers rake across its torso alongside the SRMs, leaving melted and cratered armor in their wake. Victoria receives her own taste of that medicine, but the difference between her Highlander and the Draconian Jenner means that she can take it much better than her opponent can.

Jenner Light BattleMech (backing up) (Farseer Animation)

Jenner Light 'Mech

As a Valkyrie from the 4th Deneb Light Cavalry jumps forward to engage the Jenner as it tries to flee, Victoria feels a pang of longing for her old unit. Still, she pushes that feeling to one side as she focuses on the Panthers as the Jenner flees with the Valkyrie in pursuit.

She exchanges fire with the pair of Panthers, the First Prince firing autocannon shells and LRMs while the Draconian MechWarriors unleash their PPCs. Victoria’s Highlander staggers as a bolt of pseudo-lighting strikes its shoulder, barely missing her cockpit. Victoria snarls at the very close call, which soon turns into a grin as her autocannon blows the leg of the responsible Panther off at the knee. It isn’t enough to slay her victim, but it is enough to cripple it.

“God damn it, Victoria, get the hell back to safety!” shouts Ardan over the radio as his Victor comes running out and Victoria winces at the anger in his voice, “You’re the First Prince! We cannot afford to lose you.”

On the one hand, an acting colonel has no right to be talking to the First Prince that way. On the other hand, it is Ardan Sortek and he isn’t wrong. Not to mention that he has good grounds to be upset with her current actions given his history.

“Understood, Major Sortek,” replies Victoria as she ignites her jump jets to fall back in a timely manner, complying with Ardan’s reasonable demand whilst reminding him of their respective ranks.

JagerMech (by tplambert)

JagerMech Heavy 'Mech

As her Highlander soars backwards through the air, Victoria spots a Marauder and a JagerMech joining Ardan’s Victor on the frontline, both of them also in the colors of the Heavy Guards. More than enough to take on the Panthers and whoever is responsible for those LRMs.

Now Victoria just needs to get back to her ‘Mech gantry and the safety of her DropShip.


Paying Back a Debt[]

Low Orbit, Benjamin
Benjamin Military District, Draconis Combine
31st July, 3016


“Just to be clear, Morgan, you realise how insane this plan is?” says Patrick Kell over the comms as their ‘Mechs drop to the surface along with the rest of the Kell Hounds.

“Yes, but we owe it to Ian and Victoria to get Hanse back.” replies Morgan Kell as his Archer’s drop pod comes ever closer to the ground, “We failed to save Ian on Mallory’s world and Victoria has done a lot of work to make our dreams a reality. The least we can do is save their brother.”

“If you call this the least we can do, then we have very different definitions of ‘least’,” scoffs Salome Ward, but Morgan can hear the humour in her voice.

“I didn’t hear you disagreeing with the plan.” Morgan shoots back.

“That’s because I haven’t disagreed,” replies Salome as their ‘Mechs finally hit the ground with a thundering thud that rocks Morgan in his cockpit.

In all fairness, it is a risky manoeuvre, but it is a calculated risk. While deep-raiding the capital of a military district would be madness under normal circumstances, these are far from normal circumstances. The DCMS and the rest of the Combine is busy dealing with a joint invasion from the LCAF and AFFS, which means all of their usual reserves have already been deployed to the front lines.

The Kuritans may have brought Hanse from Luthien to Benjamin to bait the AFFS into the trap, but they didn’t take the bait. Too much discipline and a lack of opportunity for the AFFS to break ranks and go off on an unauthorised raid. Which of course raises questions about what that says about the Kell Hounds given they are doing that.

Morgan isn’t worried about trouble. Yes, this is technically a violation of their contract with the Federated Suns, but Morgan is good friends with the First Prince and if they are successful in rescuing Hanse.

Not that it will be an easy fight. The 17th Benjamin Regulars are a veteran regiment that consists primarily of Heavy ‘Mechs and even has a few assaults amongst their ranks. And Morgan would bet his ‘Mech that the Dracs have some surprises for whoever comes looking to rescue Hanse Davion from their clutches. But while it will be a difficult fight, it is a possible one and the Kell Hounds aren’t the sort to back down from a challenge. Not when that challenge is something worth fighting for.


Paying Back a Debt[]

San Martín, Dieron
Dieron Military District, Draconis Combine
5th August, 3016


Within the privacy of her own quarters, Hikari lets the act drop. No need for the young woman to pretend to be a mighty hero that she isn’t really. Hikari has risen greatly within the last couple of years, but perhaps she has risen too fast. Or maybe the problem is that she has risen on merits that are not truly her own. The greatest of her successes have either been inherited from her Lyran wastrel of a father or acquired with her memories from another life.

Marduk was a success, but even then it was the Sword of Light that crushed the 3rd Davion Guards and her own forces took heavy losses in the process. Hikari struck a death blow to the weak and ailing Outworlds Alliance, but the latest reports have the Davions reversing her gains over there. Ramora and Alpheratz have both fallen to the Federation along with their valuable factories.

At least they got the Outworlder Bug ‘Mech factory. They might not be worth much, but a ‘Mech is a ‘Mech. Even if the DCMS doesn’t make use of the weak twenty tonners, they can be used to bolster planetary militias against raiders.

Even her latest triumph, the retrieval of the New Dallas memory core and its ancient war machines rings hollow in the face of the defeats that the Dragon is facing across its borders with the Lyrans and Fedrats. Dieron and some other worlds have held, but at great cost while over two dozen worlds have fallen to the AFFS and LCAF. Two regiments worth of ‘Mechs would be a great boon except only a third of them are built to modern standards. The rest of it is built with inferior technology and knowledge, surpassed by modern technology just as modern technology is surpassed by LosTech.

The rest of Hikari’s haul is even worse with three regiments of heavy tanks and two battalions of artillery that are all filled with primitive vehicles, constructed with inferior technology from the Age of War.

At least the memory core is worthwhile. It is no Helm memory core, but the detailed technical specifications will make it easier to put historical designs into production. Nothing too great, but with the Dragon beginning to reverse LosTech, knowing how to make royal variants is an undeniable boon.

“Hikari, you are brooding again.” says Theo as Hikari’s husband enters her quarters.

Was it a mistake to marry him? It was offered and something that Hikari could reasonably request in exchange for giving the Helm cache to the Coordinator. But they don’t have love and even if they have established friendship, that isn’t the same thing as actual romance. Furthermore, becoming the daughter-in-law of the Dragon and wife to the potential future Coordinator has been a stressful adjustment.

But that is just the way of things in the Draconis Combine. Everyone has their part to play in serving the Dragon and such pressure can be stressful for anyone. Even the nobility, as unlike in lesser states, being part of the aristocracy isn’t an excuse for laziness and weakness under the Dragon’s rule.

“It wasn’t enough,” grumbles Hikari as she lets Theo walk to her and pull her into his embrace, “Dozens of worlds have fallen to the gaijin, including Marduk and most of the Outworlds Alliance. My successes are being undone by the failures of others and if that is the case, how great were my successes in the first place if they are so easily reversed?”

“It is a weakness in the Dragon that our worlds fall to Davion and Steiner.” says Theo, “That our samurai are unable to hold the line against the dogs of the Archon and the First Prince. But even if others shamed themselves by allowing your successes to be undone, you secured victory not defeat. My wife, you have brought much to the glory of the Dragon. The failure of others in their own service is not your failure.”

“You speak the truth, but it is also the truth that the Combine is falling into Commonwealth and the Suns hands.” replies Hikari as she leans into Theo, “We are repairing factories and rediscovering how to make LosTech, but it won’t be enough to keep the Steiner-Davions? at bay. Not when our economy is still the worst in the Inner Sphere.”
“Uncle Chandy is helping us with that.” answers Theo confidently through Hikari fears that confidence is misplaced.

“It doesn’t matter much when your father refuses to cooperate,” points Hikari, “And both of us are still too young and inexperienced to replace him even if that option was viable.”

“We will make do.” says Theo before a grin slowly breaks across his face, “I do have some good news for you. Luthien Armor Works has opened its first ferro-fibrous production line back on Luthien.”


Author's Chapter Notes[]

Word from the Author
One last chapter of the story to wrap things up and then I’ll do an epilogue or two set in 3019 to give a brief glimpse into the short term future. Also the invasion of the Draconis Combine isn’t as successful as the invasion of CapCon. While plenty of worlds have fallen, other places have stood firm, including important places like Dieron and Al Na’ir.

Anyway, the story is coming to an end so I am trying to show more of Hikari. She was originally meant to be something of a secondary character for the final part of the story, but writing Kuritan characters turned out to be harder than I expected.

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