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Davion Heir (BattleTech CYOA)

Chapter 9

Dining with the Archon[]

Solaris City, Solaris VII
Federation of Skye, Lyran Commonwealth
7th May, 3014

Victoria decides to meet with the Archon first. Katrina Steiner has been a friend and sort of ally for longer than Janos has and there are some things that Victoria would like to establish with the most reasonable party first before going to the less reasonable one. For starters, Victoria would like to get some sort of military cooperation against the Draconis Combine agreed to so she can threaten Janos with being left out of a military alliance between the Federation and the Commonwealth.

It was a bit of a decision to decide what to wear to the restaurant that Katrina has invited her to, where the Archon has reserved a private dining room for the two of them. On the one hand, it is traditional and accepted for a First Prince to wear a dress uniform in lieu of a suit or dress. On the other hand, a suitably formal dress is just as acceptable and all of Victoria’s dresses are more comfortable than her dress uniform. That said, Victoria has to consider what sort of impression she wants to give off, which is something she needs to worry about now that she is First Prince.

In the end, Victoria decides that unlike with the High Council, her military record won’t matter all that much here and chooses a pleasant red and gold dress that is patterned after the Davion sunburst. Hopefully it will come off as a way of showing her House’s colors rather than looking ostentatious.

There are other guests at the restaurant, having their dinners as normal with the only sign of the Archon’s presence and their pending meeting being the existence of on-duty Royal Guards in the building and outside. And while she cannot see them, Victoria would bet a hefty amount of C-Bills that there are some LIC agents mingled into the restaurant’s patrons for the day.

Victoria draws a lot of attention as she enters the restaurant, some of it from her bodyguards, part of it from wearing a blatantly Davion dress in the Silesia region and the rest from being recognized as the First Prince. Thankfully the staff are appropriately professional and discreet for a place with such high profile clientele and Victoria is swiftly ushered into the private room that Katrina is in.

The Archon is just as Victoria expected her to be, a regal beauty that is the epitome of what a Steiner should look like with sharp facial features, steel grey eyes, long blond hair and a tall muscular frame. If Victoria didn’t embody the Davion stereotype, she would be jealous of Katrina Steiner’s looks and even then, Victoria would judge her Lyran counterpart to be the prettier of them.

Whereas the First Prince has chosen to wear a dress to lunch, Katrina has decided upon an insignia-less dress uniform of the LCAF with her medals out on display. While Victoria doesn’t particularly care for it as she has already decided what she wants out of the Archon, the display of military prowess would be a good way to get on your average Feddie’s good side.

“Katrina, it is good to see you again.” says Victoria as she takes a seat at the table, “I just want to say that I am extremely grateful for your support. I am glad to see that you still support your old plan with Ian for an alliance.”

“I am just doing what is best for my people, Victoria.” replies Katrina as she gives the First Prince a small smile, “My congratulations on your coronation and my condolences on losing both of your brothers in such rapid succession. The Inner Sphere is a worse off place for their deaths.”

“Thank you.” says Victoria, “If you don’t mind me cutting to the chase, as the First Prince of the Federated Suns, my goals is an alliance with the Lyran Commonwealth against the Draconis Combine and an alliance with the Free Worlds League against the Capellan Confederation. While I am not foolish enough to expect an alliance between the two given the bad blood between them, I would like to convince you to stop shooting each other. As for why I am supporting the Commonwealth and the League against the Dracs and Cappies, it isn’t just because those two are my neighbors.

“While the Commonwealth, Federation, and League all maintain some degree of rights and freedoms for their citizens, the Combine and Confederation are both states of oppression, tyranny and slavery. My apologies if I am getting ranty here, but I can see an Inner Sphere where the Federated Suns, the Lyran Commonwealth and the Free Worlds League exist in peace with each other. I don’t see one where the Draconis Combine or the Capellan Confederation also exist, not without making radical changes that I cannot envision House Liao or House Kurita making.”

“I can appreciate that,” says Katrina, “I have no fondness for the Mariks, but as Archon, I cannot deny that the Kuritas are simply worse. While I do believe that a Lyran world being conquered by the League will result in a decrease in quality of living, I don’t need to worry about them being brutalized like I do when the Combine conquers a world from the Commonwealth. If you can convince Janos to go along with it, I am willing to support a truce with the League even if an outright alliance is a bit too much right now. Not that I would personally be opposed, but as you said, there is too much bad blood between our people for such a thing.”

“I am glad you see things that way,” Victoria tells her, “I don’t believe we have discussed this yet, but I believe that our realms would benefit more from trading and cooperating with each other. Speaking of which, you remember how you and Ian were interested in agreeing to some military cooperation against the Combine?”

“I certainly do,” confirms Katrina, “I take it that you wish to discuss that now?”

“If it doesn’t get in the way of what you wanted to talk to me about, I certainly do,” answers Victoria, “I have a meeting with Janos later today, similar to this one, and I would like to come to some agreement for us to have some kind of military alliance against the Dracs. While there isn’t any real urgency to it, I would like to be able to tell the Captain-General that the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth have a military alliance and he can either get in on that or he can get left out.”

“Hmm,” says Katrina with a predatory grin that makes Victoria shiver, just a little, “I can certainly see how that could be considered a threat. Yes, regardless of what becomes of the League in this, I would like to see our realms united against our mutual foe.”

Solaris Stable Meeting with the Captain-General

The rest of the meeting went about as productively as it could have hoped to have been. Nothing was formalized in such a minor meeting, but the First Prince and the Archon agreed upon a few points to be discussed in detail later, all relating to joint cooperation against the Draconis Combine. Things such as sharing military technology, sharing spare parts for ‘Mechs produced in their realms or potentially just outright swapping the ‘Mechs, potential military officer exchanges and the possibility of sending trainers from the AFFS to train the next generation of officers for the LCAF.

All in all, Victoria is confident that if nothing else, then the Suns’ future with the Lyrans is assured. It is with that happy mood that the First Prince goes to meet with the Captain-General.

While Katrina invited her to a restaurant, Janos has invited her to one of the local stables, a move that has Victoria’s interest piqued. The stables of Solaris were BattleMech-associated and the structures themselves were ‘Mech bays or glorified ‘Mech bays, which meant that whatever Janos wanted had to be something to do with ‘Mechs.

Perhaps continuing to wear the same dress as before is a mistake, but it is still clean and Victoria doesn't feel like going through the chore of picking something else suitable to wear. It shouldn’t be a problem as regardless of what the destination is, Janos has only requested a meeting.

The stable is swarming with people, all wearing the colors of the Free Worlds League, but they let Victoria and her bodyguards from the 1st Davion Guards through without any difficulty or complaint. Inside the stable are more individuals from the League, including the old, but strong figure of Janos Marik, who looks away from the Highlander in the stable’s ‘Mech bay as the First Prince enters the building.

“First Prince Victoria,” the Captain-General greets her, “thank you for agreeing to meet with me and thank you for your warning about my brother’s treachery. I fear that if I hadn’t been able to preempt him, Anton would have caused untold devastation and damage to the League.”

“I am glad I was able to help you and your people avoid such destruction,” replies Victoria, “And you have my sympathy for learning what it is like when your last remaining sibling turns on you in the worst way possible.”

“Yes, I have heard of Duke Hasek-Davion’s treachery,” replies Janos with a polite nod, “He was behind the assassin who struck you in the Davion Palace?”

“I cannot say that my brother-in-law was responsible for that, lest I bring about a destructive civil war for my people like the one that your own people have just narrowly avoided.” replies Victoria.

“Of course,” concedes Janos, “In any case, please accept this Highlander as a gift of gratitude. You’ve done a great deal for the League, more than enough to make up for the loss of this ‘Mech. In fact, it is part of the equipment that my forces captured from my brother’s Ducal Guards on New Delos. I hope you will find it to be a suitable upgrade for your Wolverine.”

Well, Janos isn’t wrong about it being an upgrade. While Victoria pilots the WVR-6M variant rather than the standard WVR-6R, the HGN-733 Highlander standing before her is a big boost in firepower and survivability at the price of speed. The Assault ‘Mech can’t move or jump as fast, but it is jump capable with the corresponding mobility. Meanwhile it has several additional tons of armor on top of a heavy autocannon instead of a medium autocannon, a second medium laser and the SRM-6 launcher is supplemented by a LRM-20 launcher.

Janos is just giving it to her. A big part of Victoria wants to test it out, but the more sensible parts of her are fully aware that if she gets to use her Highlander in battle again, something has almost certainly gone wrong. As much as she hates to admit it, Victoria will primarily be using her new ride in simulated combat.

“Thank you, Captain-General Janos,” says Victoria, “It is a great gift.”

“I am glad that you appreciate it,” replies the Captain-General, “Now, I know your subordinates have been speaking to both myself and my own and that we have corresponded via HPG, but I would like to hear in person why you are pushing for this?”

“Because I can see our nations being at peace while I cannot see us being at peace with the Capellan Confederation or the Draconis Combine,” answers Victoria, “The Federated Suns, the Lyran Commonwealth and the Free Worlds League may have our disagreements with each other, but we all maintain some degree of liberty and rights for our people. The Combine and Confederation are both oppressive and slaving tyrannies with the Combine being built upon a desire to conquer the entire Inner Sphere. As for the Confederation, House Liao might have been decent once upon a time, but these days, you cannot trust them not to slide a knife into your back, something that I am sure you are fully aware of.”

“You really believe that you could bring about a peaceful end to the Succession Wars?” asks Janos skeptically.

“I think I might have a shot at it and I won’t know if I don’t try.” replies Victoria, “Sometimes you just need to take a calculated risk and that’s what I am doing here. I freely admit that I may be gambling on a longshot here, but I feel the potential benefits are worth the potential risks. So far I have been proven right as while the exact details have yet to be determined, the Archon has agreed to a military alliance between the Suns and the Commonwealth.”

“She has?” demands Janos sharply.

“Ian began the groundwork for it back in thirty-ten.” explains Victoria with a sympathetic look, “I just took it to the next step after finally speaking with Katrina in person at lunch today. So whatever the outcome of these peace talks, I am looking at walking away with that military alliance. For what is worth, the work on this began before my time as First Prince and if either of my brothers had lived, I would expect that military alliance to have come about by thirty-twenty at the latest.”

“Thank you for sharing that with me before tomorrow,” says Janos, “I’m sure you appreciate how that changes things.”

“I do,” says Victoria as she makes sure to make eye contact with the Captain-General, “I may be allying with the Lyrans, but I don’t want this to be the Commonwealth and the Suns against the League. I want this to be the Suns, the Commonwealth and the League against the Combine and Confederation. Or at least the Suns and Commonwealth against the Combine alongside the Suns and League against the Confederation.”

“I understand your position,” says Janos, “I can promise you that I will at least listen to what you and Katrina Steiner have to say.”

“That is all I ask of you right now.” replies the First Prince.

Author's Chapter Notes[]

Word from the Author
Here we have the start of the on-screen diplomacy. The Lyran/Feddie alliance is going off to an early start while Janos tries to get on Victoria’s good side by gifting her with a new ‘Mech and a pretty good one to boot

I’ve also been trying to be more descriptive in my writing so I don’t have chapters full of dialogue with nothing describing the scene or what is going on.

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