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Fate Can be Cruel - Book 3 (Chapter Art)

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Fate Can Be Cruel
Chapter 1 - Year 3031

June 3031[]

22nd June, 3031
Terra (Hegemony)

Though some fighting continued on Terra itself, the almost non stop arrival of additional Hegemony troops made their victory a certainty. Dressed in her best set of Hegemony fatigues, minus any rank or decorations, Anastasia Cameron went over her speech in her head for the millionth time. It had taken a few days for the message to be sent around the many HPG stations for the systems computers to actually allow them to all come back online at the same time. In addition, every HPG station would link into existing "live feed" news agency on every planet with a HPG, they would then be able to over ride any current viewing so no one would miss the broadcast.

Reaching the small podium upon the raised platform before a large camera, she braced herself. Once again, she asked herself if this was really what she wanted to do. From inside, she got the got the same response, not really. She steeled herself as the little red light on the camera turned green and began blinking, signaling 10 seconds to live, she took a deep breath.

["To the people of the Inner Sphere and Periphery, I send greetings. My name is Anastasia Cameron, Director-General of the Terran Hegemony. I know this is a shock to hear, but it is true, the Terran Hegemony still lives and have returned home to Terra. We have returned to right the wrongs that Comstar has perpetrated upon all of you. For centuries, we have remained hidden, watching the continual decline of everyone's technology. This was wrong, but there was no other way. During the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Succession Wars, if we had attempted to reveal ourselves, we would have faced invasion and been forced to defend ourselves, inflicting that much more damage to everyone's already shaky technology.

But finally, leaders have arrived that we feel we can trust. Right now, many of you are probably cursing and feel some hatred at our sitting back and watching. I fully understand this. To atone for the actions of Comstar and our silence, the Terran Hegemony will soon contact all governments to offer our assistance in reviving their medical facilities back to the level of the Star League, before the wars destroyed so much. We will also be offering our help in establishing in each realm manufacturing of critical Terraforming and Water Purification systems. In addition, we will also assist each realm in repairing and upgrading their limited shipyards to manufacture Jumpships.

Terra is now, once again, part of the Terran Hegemony. Though the peaceful passage of civilian shipping will be allowed, we will not allow or tolerate any military shipping. Let me be very clear about this, any uncleared military shipping entering the Terran system will be destroyed without warning, no matter the who's nation it belongs to. As of now, all of Comstar's assets belong to the Terran Hegemony, both their interstellar shipping and HPG stations. Any attempts to violate or seize these assets will be met with force. In the future, the Terran Hegemony will look at turning each nations communications over to their complete control, but for now, the Terran Hegemony is the only one with the ability to maintain or operate the HPG grid. As this is such a vital infrastructure item, it must be maintained. The many wars have destroyed many stations, and we will assist in establishing a HPG station on every inhabited system.

To all former Comstar personnel, Comstar is dead. To those members of the Com Guard still actively resisting Hegemony forces, I call upon you to prevent further bloodshed and to stand down. To the people of Terra, for many years you have lived under Comstar rule, any that do not wish to live under Hegemony rule, the Terran Hegemony will assist you in finding a new home of your choosing. For now, I will return everyone to their current programming. To the leaders of the various nations, I will soon be contacting each of you and inviting you to Terra for discussions. Thank you and Goodbye."]

New Avalon (Federated Suns)

First Prince Hanse Davion toasted the now blank screen with his drink. He looked at Quintus Allard and then his wife, Melissa. "Well, we now know where Anastasia headed for in such a rush."

"Yes, but I wonder what transpired to force the Hegemony to take Terra out. What evil was Comstar about to turn loose?" Quintus Allard asked

"That is a good question. One that I will ask when I get the chance. What are your thoughts, Melissa?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"If the Hegemony actually does what Anastasia said they would, the Hegemony is going to win a bunch of hearts and minds on every inhabited planet, in every realm. Knowing Ana, I am sure the Hegemony is going to do exactly what she says they will. I think we should support her and the Hegemony any way we can. I am sure mother will say the same thing." Melissa Steiner Davion replied

Liao (Capellan Confederation)

Chancellor Candace Liao looked at her soon to be husband, Justin Allard. "Well, that answers the question on what was happening to the HPG's. What do you think this means, Justin?"

"It means there is a new, unknown power that we will have to deal with. One strong enough and technologically advanced enough to take out Comstar and the HPG grid. I think we play it cool and besides, we need to continue preparing for our meeting on St. Ives with First Prince Hanse Davion. You still agree that it is time to put aside all the hatred?" Justin Allard replied

"Yes, your arguments have swayed me. I am just not sure how much I trust The Fox." Chancellor Candace Liao said

Luthien (Draconis Combine)

Coordinator Takashi Kurita thought about personally cutting the head off Subash Indrahar, friend or no friend. This was a intelligence failure on a massive scale. Instead, he just snarled "Subash, how did you miss this? There is an ancient enemy out there, one the Combine thought long dead. Yet they live, and obviously have prospered. Now they occupy Terra, destroyed Comstar, rendered our communications unusable, all without the slightest hint?"

"Forgive my failures Coordinator. Never have we had a hint that they were out there." Subash Indrahar replied, keeping his head close to the floor

"Sit up, Subash. We have known each other a long time. We must figure out what to do about this new mess. Have some tea and let us discuss this new problem." Coordinator Takashi Kurita said

Atreus (Free Worlds League)

Captain-General Janos Marik grasped his chest and fell from his chair as the message ended. His final thought before darkness took him was how an ancient foe has returned. He had suffered a massive stroke.

Tharkad (Lyran Commonwealth)

Archon Katrina Steiner smiled when the message ended. Though she knew of Anastasia Cameron, she had not gotten to know her very much. But she had great respect and liked Commanding-General Michelle Mitchell. Melissa thought highly of her, so there must be something there. She coughed and then shivered, burrowing deeper into her blankets. I am not sure if the treatments are worse than the damned disease, she thought.

Outreach (Wolf's Dragoons)

Colonel Jaime Wolf could not contain his laughter when the message ended. The disgusted look on Stanford Blake, head of Wolfnet was priceless. "Do not take it too hard my old friend, there was no hint that they existed. But look on the bright side, Comstar is dead and the people back home have no clue they are back."

"While that is true, Jaime, the question is exactly how will this effect things when the Clans return? Can you imagine the chaos this news might cause? This Anastasia Cameron, is the same one that said "Seyla" to you?" Stanford Blake asked

"The very one. Still no idea how she learned of it or anything else about her?" Colonel Jaime Wolf replied

"No sir, we have not been able to learn much of anything about her at all. Security around her is very tight while on New Avalon. She rarely leaves the compound there alone and when she does it is with either First Prince Davion or his wife. Computer records are also of no help at all." Stanford Blake replied

"Keep digging, sooner or later, you will find the thread to pull and we will learn all that we need to know." Colonel Jaime Wolf said

Around the Sphere

On planets all across the Inner Sphere and Periphery, citizens of every nation were in a state of shock. Long thought dead, the Terran Hegemony was back, and led by a Cameron. A name long fabled and noble. On many worlds, small protests broke out, the admission that the Hegemony had stood on the side lines and watched all the deaths over the years causing bursts of anger. Counter protests formed and many times fights broke out between the two groups.

October - 3031[]

14th October, 3031
Terra (Hegemony)

Just over 83 million people had asked to leave Terra, unable or unwilling to live under Hegemony rule. The last Com Guard and Comstar holdouts had finally surrendered from the Devil's Tower Castle Brian in North America. Across the Inner Sphere almost 2 million former Comstar or Com Guard personnel had basically disappeared after the speech in June. Though this left the various HPG stations short handed, they remained functioning. Transmission rates remained the same as under Comstar in an effort to aid a return to a normal people would understand. At Hilton Head, Director General Anastasia Cameron had made the decision to release those prisoners they held and for the former Primus Myondo Waterly, she would also be released. But before they were released, the prisoners were brought before Director-General Anastasia Cameron.

"Waterly, we have located and recovered the funds you had stashed in your name. I do not doubt there are others that we have not located. Find a place to live out the days of your life, quietly. For what you did I really should just shoot you, but I am not going to do it. But, mark my words and heed them. If you cause trouble, anywhere, I will personally hunt you down and end your miserable life. All of you are free to go, you will be taken to a dropship, which will ferry you to a waiting Jumpship. The Free Worlds League has offered to take you in until such time as you find a place of your own. Never return to Terran Hegemony space, none of you. We will not be this nice if we meet again." the young Director-General commanded as she gestured for the prisoners to be taken away.

Once they were gone, a door opened and Commanding General Michelle Mitchell entered, still in a wheelchair. "Your going to make a fine leader Ana. Your instincts are fine, we have to prove to the people both here on Terra and out there that we are civilized and willing to give a second chance to people."

"It does not make my stomach feel any better mom. I thought I was going to puke. I still say she is going to be a problem down the road." Anastasia admitted

"We will deal with her if that time comes. We have so much work to do. We cannot let small things distract us. We have 3 months before all the leaders from every nation arrives on Terra for our summit. We will not face any resistance from the Suns or Lyrans. Now that Chancellor Liao has actually signed a lasting peace with the Federated Suns, on New Avalon no less, I am confident she will not be an issue. But the Combine could be an issue, and we know Captain General Thomas Marik was a member of Comstar before taking over. That is why it was no surprise when he offered to take in the former Comstar people. The nations of the Periphery might be an issue, but for what we will be offering, I expect any protest will be short lived." Michelle told her daughter.

"I still say we are making a mistake letting that miserable woman live." Anastasia told her mother

"Hey, I am the one she shot but you do not see me calling for her head on a platter.", Michelle l said while absently rubbing her chest where the bullet had shattered a rib, punctured her right lung. A bullet fragment had penetrated the thoracic aorta and emblazed to subsequently lodge in the right popliteal artery. The fragment had not been located via X-Ray, but the surgeons had by chance discovered the tiny hole in her heart. She had spent 16 hours on the operating table as they fought to save her life.

"I think that is your mistake, but I will leave it alone and save my I told you so for when she becomes a problem. I assume the techs have completed the inventory of all the equipment left behind by the SLDF and us stored.”, Anastasia told her.

"Yes. It is pretty extensive. There are 6,372 Battlemechs, 8,127 Combat Vehicles, 1,397 Aerospace Fighters. Roughly translated, 59 Regiments of Battlemechs, 75 Regiments of Armor and 77 Wings of Aerospace. In addition, Comstar had quite a large fleet of Jumpships under it's control. 679 to be exact at the time of our landing on Terra. Of those, 418 have responded to our calls, the rest are in the wind so to speak. We have control of the Titan Yards, Mercator-Campion Shipyards. Both Yards are functional and in decent shape. The old Blue Nose Clipperships yards above Mars were decommissioned long ago and will take a bunch of work to get back into production. We are still unsealing the few factories left behind and it will be awhile before we know what is worth restoring." Michelle replied

"Damn, they had that much equipment here? That would have been one hell of a fight if they had the people to man it all." Anastasia said as she sat down, they had a lot to discuss.

Strana Mechty (Clan Space - Capital world of the Clans)

News of the capture and interrogation of the captives from the Inner Sphere had caused a huge stir among the Khans. Stepping to the front, Khan Gerrik N'Buta, Clan Star Adder addressed the gathered Khans.

"My fellow Khans, you have all read the reports of our capture and interrogation of the Inner Sphere vessel and crew. This is a dire threat to us." He paused as the grumblings and voices started rising in volume, he raised his hand. "Before the calls for a return to the Inner Sphere begin again let me caution. Without up to date intelligence, any invasion would be at risk of failure. With no word from Wolf's Dragoons for many years, we must assume they have been destroyed. I propose that we send scout ships, not only to scout a path for our return, but they can locate suitable forward bases where we might establish forward industry capable of supporting our warriors in an invasion. These ships can intercept radio transmissions, from which we can glean intelligence on the state of the corrupt Inner Sphere powers. I welcome the coming debates."

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