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Fate Can be Cruel - Book 3 (Chapter Art)

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Fate Can Be Cruel
Chapter 5 - Year 3037


3rd January, 3037
Terra (Terran Hegemony)

"Ana, this request is from your favorite mad scientist at Mitchell Vehicles. He is looking to make a bunch of bucks, but your going to have to make the hard call on this one." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said entering the room

"To what pray tell has Crayton Smith come up with that requires my permission?" Director-General Anastasia Cameron asked, putting down the bundle of papers she had been reading.

"He wants to offer a new design for open sale. There is some risk involved, but overall risk is pretty damned minor. A Patrol Cutter, a 100,000 ton warship basically. It will not be a threat to any proper warship, but it could do a number on some dropships and normal jumpships. It is armed with 2 Naval Laser 35 though. No one actually lost the ability to build those weapons, or any of the capital weapons systems. What they lost was the ability to manufacture Endo Steel which is needed for just about everything, but now almost everyone can manufacture it. In addition to the 2 pop guns, it has a decent anti-fighter defense of 4 standard large laser and 4 medium lasers in every firing arc. It mounts 440 single heat sinks. No Dropship collars. Carry's 12 Aerospace fighters and 12 small craft.

The only saving grace is he seems to have come up with a new transit drive that is way overly complicated, but would make it virtually impossible to reverse engineer and enlarge to be installed in a proper warship. Or, as he put it, to build one worth a damn would break their bank account and be so complicated and underpowered as to be useless in combat.", Michelle explained

"So he wants to cast open the doors on warship sales? Not sure I like the idea. Your threat assessment on the idea?", Anastasia asked

"To us basically none. I mean, someone could use them for commerce raiding, but we could easily counter that by adding in a clause that says any use outside your own borders and we come remove them by force. He has the price tagged at 4 Billion a copy, so I doubt anyone is going to buy a ton of them. Heck the old Vigilant Corvette is more of a threat than this thing is. But I could see several being bought by each Periphery nation for anti-piracy use. Heck even the various Houses might buy some just for that purpose. Our estimate is at the current rate of tech recovery that by 3045, outside of the transit drive technology itself, which the Helm Core's did not contain, everything else to build a warship will have been recovered. Our estimates put the Federated Commonwealth at the fore front in warship recovery, seeing as how they have actual working ships to actually study closely. Not that we are going to allow them to take one apart anytime soon to reverse engineer. But those folks at Challenge Systems are quite bright and quick study's on things, so I am told. They are running the yards in the Suns where the Suns warships are located.", Michelle explained further.

"Oh, good old Hanse Davion is asking for just that thing. I get a message at least every few months asking to have a Davion II Destroyer be allowed to travel to Galax for disassembly for study. He has, so far, taken my refusal calmly, but it is worrying. How goes that special project you told me about? The one that prevents ships from jumping?", Anastasia replied

"It is progressing. Very slowly. The first test was conducted out on an uninhabited planet. It prevented any HPG or jump field creation out to 8 million kilometers around the planet. But currently, it is massively power intensive and worked for 3 hours before burning out the transmitter dish. They have Amber crunching the test result numbers to see what she can come up with.", Michelle said

"So no ship based system?", Anastasia asked

"Nope, still in the prototype stage of the primary system. It is hideously expensive too, the damned thing uses like 10 jump cores tuned to a very specific frequency to operate and there is always the chance your gonna crack one in the process. One of the brains or so I am told, said "we should just embed a special code into every computer system that when activated via an active signal from us just forces the ships jump computer to activate the safety protocals and abort any jump." Not sure it would work, but I got a few brains of my own looking into it. Sort of makes sense, every ship we know of, which is just about everything that sails the black void still receives the free navigation uploads from the HPG grid that Comstar started. It would be fairly simple to insert something I would think, damn sure cheaper.", Michelle stated.

"Keep me updated on this thing. As for the. what did you call them, Cutters? I will need to think about this some.", Anastasia replied thoughtfully.

17th January, 3037
Rasalhague (Free Rasalhague Republic)

Elected Prince Haakon Magnusson had taken a special ride to the Nadir Jump Point, where just inside the proximity limit a Terran Hegemony Faslane Yardship had completed the first Jumpship Yard for the FRR. It had already completed the needed factory stations and soon the very first Jumpship built inside the FRR would begin construction. When given their choice of Jumpship designs to build, they had selected the Invader Jumpship. Mineral surveys had identified the asteroid belt in the New Bergen system as rich in Germanium and mining operations were already starting. This shipyard would be run by Stellar Trek, a Draconis Combine company, it was hoped the move would keep the Combine on friendlier terms.

Almost as important as the shipyard was the large Endo Steel orbital factory that had been constructed at New Oslo and Satalice. Both systems held the nation's only Battlemech factories, which had been completely refitted to produce the PNT-8Zb Panther design from the Terran Hegemony. The FRR had spent a lot of money purchasing the heavy machinery to expand the factories production, but as the advanced machines slowly began to come off the assembly lines, the investment was paying off. In addition, the engineers at GTK Enterprises had taken the PNT-8Zb and changed the weapons system, using a ERPPC and dual Streak SRM-2, they had named it the PNT-9Rr Panther. The change had allowed them to place 7 tons of armor on the design.

Panther (In Woods - Blender Game)

Panther Class Light 'Mech

At Salatice, while GTK produced both versions of the Panther, they had placed upgraded both the Locust, Marauder, and Archer BattleMech lines. Now producing the LCT-1Vb Locust from Achernar, MAD-2R Marauder from General Motors, and the ARC-2RB Archer ARC-2Rb from Mitchell Vehicles. The production licenses had been expensive to purchase, but General Anastasius Focht had been very persuasive in his arguments for the expense. While the FRR military was fairly small, his goal was to make it as powerful as he could to protect his new nation.

Archer (MWO version - Desert)

Archer Class Heavy 'Mech

Terra (Terran Hegemony)

Paula Cariton, CEO Aldis Industries, was not happy, not happy at all. The return of the Terran Hegemony had upset the normal for many but seeing that the Terran Hegemony military use Aldis designs, and they seemed to be of a much more advanced technology, she had waited for proof. It had taken a few years, but she now had holovid proof of everything. She had packed her briefcase and headed for the Terran headquarters of the Hegemony military, demanding to see the Commanding General. It had taken 20 minutes before she was ushered into the office.

"Take a seat, Mrs Cariton. I am told that you were quite forceful in your desire to see me, so I assume there is a problem." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said, indicating a chair.

Taking the offered seat, Paula Cariton sat her briefcase down beside her. "I demand to know why your forces are using Aldis designs of an unknown technology? Someone is manufacturing them without license agreements, and I know this for a fact because I have had my people search high and low for them."

Commanding General Michelle Mitchell laced her fingers before her, she had been prepared for this, had knew it would come up sooner or later. "I see, well your people did not look far enough back. Mitchell Vehicles purchased the license agreements from Aldis Industries for the Schrek and Demolisher way back in 2840 or so. I actually have copies of those very agreements that I can have sent over to you. We kept many designs in production. Your company is also where it is today because of those agreements. It has been quite a while since I looked at them, several years, but if my memory is correct, Mitchell Vehicles paid a huge sum of somewhere around 4 Billion C-Bills, but the agreement also stated that the license was open production and selling rights with no further monetary compensation due. This funding allowed Aldis Industries to rebuild from the destruction they had suffered during the various wars. The Hegemony has kindly restricted Mitchell Vehicles from selling our designs on the open market and to the Hegemony exclusively."

Demolisher (in spring bobthedino)

Demolisher Assault Tank

This revelation slapped Paula Cariton right across the face, which reddened as though it had really been slapped. "I see. I would surely like copies of the agreements. I am not sure what to say now."

"It is quite simple, Mrs. Cariton, you carry on with business. You can hand over the holovid you surely have, and courier over any copies. Hegemony technology is beyond top secret. Yes, I know about the holovid. Your man was not quite sneaky enough prowling our closed training range. HemSec followed him back to your headquarters. Now, refusal to comply, will result in some very harsh penalties for everyone concerned. Like maybe having your operation here on Terra seized, Aldis Industries being kicked off Terra itself and your being tried for espionage. The choice is yours." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell stated calmly, but with a evil glint in her eye before continuing "But since you are here now, you did save me some time, I have received a large purchase order from the Free Rasalhague Republic for your company. Or I can forward it to Mitchell Vehicles as I am sure they would love to full fill the order."


14 February 3037
Terra (Terran Hegemony)

Eugena Gambrel, CEO of Millennium Industries, entered the Hegemony headquarters and was stunned to see quite a few CEO's from other company's also here. She did not even have time to greet her fellow CEO's beyond a few nods before the entire group was led to a conference room and told to take a seat. Taking a seat, she took careful note of all the other CEO's. Besides herself, there was:

Harold Skobel - Skobel MechWorks
Kirk Weston - Bannock-Braigh Aerospace
Denise Hallman - Blankenburg Technologies
Nathan Jemanski - Grumman Industries
Philip Krupp - Krupp Armament Works
Teresa Lemois - Leopard Armor
Yang Li - General Mechanics
Brae Kingston - Cosara Weaponries
Baroness Samantha Wester - Wangker Aerospace

When the door opened again, two people followed Commanding General Michelle Mitchell into the conference room, she realized that she did not recognize any of them. They too took seats around the table. Commanding General Michelle Mitchell remained standing behind the chair at the end of the long table. "Thank you all for coming. I figured we might as well get this out of the way now. First, let me introduce the people seated to my left.

Jessica Mitchell - CEO Mitchell Vehicles Pete Krobler - CEO Ostmann Industries

They are here because they will be opening manufacturing here in the Terra system. Now, let me get down to the meat of this meeting. I am sure some if not most of you are pissed that that the Terran Hegemony has returned, mainly because you lost your primary source of revenue now that Comstar has been tossed out and the Hegemony is not buying from any of you. This is not out of spite; it is just how it is. The storehouses here on Terra contained more than enough equipment to outfit the former Com Guard troops that joined us, and regular Hegemony troops use different technology, which none of you have access too, yet.

Now before I hear a bunch of complaining about licensing issues or anything else, know this, we have copies of all license agreements for every piece of equipment or weapon we use. You will all receive a copy of them. They are ironclad and were executed before the Hegemony departed Terra centuries ago. For most of you, it is how you managed to survive until now. All of you are here because you have manufacturing centers here on Terra or Mars. As of this moment, all production from those factories is Terran Hegemony exclusive. No more export, no technology transfer outside to other factories. We catch you doing so and the Terran Hegemony will seize control of your companies and you will be tried for treason. The Terran Hegemony is about to spend quite a bit of money upgrading and restoring your factories to their former glory and beyond. In addition, we will be training your people how to actually manufacture and maintain our current technology.

Your all about to spend a few hours with my security chief signing a bunch of papers. Do not think you can find a legal way around them. You will not and even if you did, I will not hesitate to order my troops to destroy any location outside Terra containing Hegemony technology. Legal or not legal, inside Hegemony territory or in anther nation. Now, I have so much work to get to I am going to turn this over to Mrs Mitchell and Mr Krobler, they will help answer any of your questions before my security chief is here. They know what they can and cannot say. Good day."

Without another word, Commanding General Michelle Mitchell walked to the door and exited the room.

Atreus (Free Worlds League)

Primus Myndo Waterly was not accustomed to waiting for anyone or anything, but she willed herself to remain calm. Finally, the door opened and she was ushered into Captain-General Thomas Marik's office. Standing, she straightened her robes and entered the office, the door closing silently behind her.

"Primus Waterly, what can I do for you? Please have a seat, would you care for a refreshment?" Captain-General Thomas Marik said

Taking a seat, Primus Waterly smiled "No thank you Highness. I have pressing matters to discuss with you."

"Please, what can be so pressing?" Marik asked

"My Word of Blake is already assisting you in decoding the Helm Memory Core, in addition, we have given you a leg up on HPG equipment and such. But this is expensive, and we need a source of income. We want you to have the Terran Hegemony turn over the HPG stations to us. We will maintain and run them for you." Primus Myndo Waterly replied

Aegis Class Heavy Cruiser (by colourbrand)

Aegis Class Cruiser

"But Primus, purchasing those stations will cost a fortune. No way can I get that kind of funding passed." Captain-General Thomas Marik said

"I did not say purchase, I said get them to turn them over to you. I will sweeten the deal for the risk involved. I have in my possession the coordinates of 2 Aegis Class Cruisers and the ability to recover them and restore them. I also know of several more vessels, long forgotten about. The Word of Blake also has the means of restoring your shipyards to manufacture your own warships, but this will be massively expensive and take several years to accomplish. Both Aegis Cruisers will be restored and turned over to your nation. Along with the other recovered vessels. Any new construction and the Word of Blake gets a share of the production, say one for every 2 your nation gets." Primus Waterly replied

"While that is a very tempting offer, the risk involved is massive. I am not sure how I can convince Director-General Cameron to agree to turn over the HPG stations. Not any way quickly. This could take several years to accomplish." Captain-General stated

"I am a patient woman, just make it happen. In the meantime, how about any new stations are built and run by the Word of Blake? That would be acceptable to me." Primus Waterly replied with a slight smile.

"I think I can make those arrangements Primus Waterly." Captain-General Thomas Marik said


3 March, 3037
Granada (Former Umayyad Caliphate)
Clan Blood Spirit Zone - Deep Periphey

Khan Phillip Johns rubbed his bandaged face absently, it itched under the bandage. Yesterday, he had fought a Trial of Refusal against Star Colonel Karianna Schmitt over his plans to create a new organization to make use of the large amount of Freeborns here on Granada. Though his victory ended most opposition, he knew his plans still irritated many of his warriors. It would take some time for his plans and ideas to gain the needed traction and support. He had only made the decision when he got reports that Clan Wolf was starting to beef up their Touman by doing recruiting on Castile. He just planned to take the idea further than even Clan Wolf was doing. He knew his Clan would need large numbers of garrison forces for the invasion, so it was best to prepare them now. Star Colonel Schmitt had protested the new formation, thinking it would dilute the Clan's strength, but he was sure it would enhance their strength. Only 2 weeks prior he had fought another Trial of Refusal over allowing a 2nd round of testing to help fill out his new structure.

Garrison Galaxy (planned 5)

1 Second Line Cluster (Standard Structure) - Galaxy Reaction Force
4 Garrison Clusters

Garrison Cluster

1 Trinary Battlemech (15)
1 Trinary Armor (30)
3 Trinary Conventional Infantry (1,125)
1 Binary Aerospace Mix (1 Star Aerospace Fighters, 1 Star VTOL)

He felt this would free up his Front Line and even Second Line formations for more offensive roles. He wanted the new Garrison Cluster to be just strong enough to delay any invasion until the Galaxy's Reaction force arrived, but strong enough to be able to handle any opposition or uprising on conquered planets. With OmniMechs filling out his Front-Line Clusters, though expensive, this allowed him to shift older former SLDF Battlemechs to his new formations. Though all were fully upgraded to Clan specs long ago. This was one reason he was forced to limit his expansion to only 5 of his new Galaxy's, since each would consume 60 of the ancient machines, while the Second Line Cluster assigned to each would consume 45 of the newer Battlemechs. This would empty his Clan's limited Brian Caches, and by his count even leave him short, so he planned to launch several Trial of Possessions to gain additional Battlemechs, and no better a target than Clan Burrock.

Tamaron (Kerensky Cluster - Clan Coyote Capital)

Khan Robin Steele smiled broadly, after many years, the damage done to Clan Coyote's Touman during the Blood Scandal had been repaired. While many of the other Clans have turned towards the Crusader way, Clan Coyote was virtually 100% Warden in their ways. With 10 Front Line and 5 Second Line Galaxies, Clan Coyote was once again a force to be reckoned with. After watching Clan Wolf on Castille carefully, he had come to the conclusion that maybe including Freeborn warriors was not so bad. To help overcome his Clan's normal hostility towards the idea, he had promoted Lambda Galaxy to Front Line status while creating the first all Freeborn Cluster, the 100th Assault Cluster, reactivated after almost a century. Only their Star Colonel was Trueborn.

100th Assault Cluster (3037)
3 Battlemech Trinary (45)
1 Conv Infantry Trinary (375)
1 Aerospace Fighter Binary (20)

Outside of the Aerospace warriors, the Battlemech and Infantry personnel was drawn from those captured on Castille and declared Abtakha. He had taken the very best of those for the 100th Assault Cluster. The remaining would continue training and help form the other 4 Clusters he had planned. Now, after 3 months of intensive training together, the 100th Assault Cluster was ready for their first true test. A Trial of Possession against Clan Smoke Jaguar, their target would be Clan Smoke Jaguar's 22nd Smoke Jaguar Freebirth Cluster, the very last vestige of Freeborn warriors in Clan Smoke Jaguar's Touman, currently assigned to Asturias, not horribly far from Castille where the 100th Assault Cluster was currently located. He could not think of a better target.


13 April, 3037
Asturias (Former Umayyad Caliphate)
Clan Smoke Jaguar - Deep Periphey

Star Colonel Gary Steele had won the command of the 100th Assault Cluster without a single challenger, which had surprised him, while he knew there was resistance against the expansion of letting Freeborns into the warrior ranks, he had thought for sure any Cluster command slot would be fought for fiercly. Even if he commanded Freeborns, the past months of work with them had shown him that they were just as capable as Trueborn warriors, though he would never say this aloud. Though he had declared his Batchall for the 22nd Smoke Jaguar Freebirth Cluster and its equipment, he had been surprised when the Smoke Jaguar response had come back.

"This is Star Colonel Linus Furey, 43rd Jaguar Battle Cluster, I have reviewed your transmitted unit records. While you are all Freeborn, you will face my Command Star, Battle Trinary and Assault Binary. Safcon is granted and we will meet you on the field. Your Cluster will be good target practice. Coordinates for your landing are being transmitted."

Star Colonel Steele looked at Star Captain Jose "Cocky stravag, we shall show him what we are made of. Prepare our warriors. Since he accepted the batchall, I will include his forces into our Trial of Possession if we win."

15 April, 3037

The fighting had been raging for over an hour and Star Colonel Linus Furey had to admit to himself that these Freeborns the Coyote's had deployed were good, very good even. They did not know that he had bid all that remained of his Cluster, which had not rebuilt from the losses incurred subduing this planet. While the battle had begun with the Jaguars more than holding their own. It had soon fallen apart when one of his warriors broke Zellbrigen and fired upon a Coyote Guillotine IIC, which this Cluster seemed to have quite a few of. This event had allowed the more numerous Coyote's to begin massing their fire upon the Jaguar OmniMechs.

Warhawk (Smoke Jaguar Colors - by SU-SMD)

Warhawk Assault OmniMech

He moved his Warhawk to the right, barely dodging a ERPPC shot from a Marauder IIC, he quickly lined up his sights and triggered all 4 of his ERPPCs at the offending Coyote. The massive wave of heat almost caused him to pass out, and he was glad that he was empty on his onboard LRM ammo. But it was worth it as his targeting computer made sure all 4 shots struck home and the Coyote Marauder IIC crumpled to the field. The massive wave of heat effected his sensors and as they finally stabilized, the seconds had allowed a Coyote Guillotine IIC and Conjurer to gain position in his rear flanks. Before he could react, his Warhawk was slammed with shots, angry red warning lights lit around his cockpit seconds before his ejection seat fired.Zellbrigen

Marauder IIC (in ruined city)

Marauder IIC Assault 'Mech

Having been knocked out somehow, Star Colonel Linus Furey awoke on a stretcher, a Coyote medical tech attending to his wounds. Behind the med tech, a Coyote Star Colonel sat, a bandage around his upper arm. Seeing he was awake; the Coyote Star Colonel spoke "You are awake. You have lost the Trial Star Colonel Furey. In the name of Clan Coyote, I claim all of the 22nd Smoke Jaguar Freebirth Cluster along with your 43rd Jaguar Battle Cluster as isorla." It was the last he heard before he fell back into darkness.

Rising from his chair, Star Colonel Gary Steele looped the bondcord on the unconscious former Star Colonel. As he left the medical bay, he mentally tallied what was gained and lost during this Trial of Possession. He was curious how much isorla Khan Robin Steele would allow his 100th Assault Cluster keep.

100th Assault Cluster

45 Battlemechs (26 destroyed, 19 damaged)
45 Mechwarriors (11 KIA, 17 WIA)

43rd Jaguar Battle Cluster (Isorla)

17 OmniMechs Isorla
16 Mechwarriors
120 Lower Caste Tecnical Personnel

22nd Smoke Jaguar Freebirth Cluster (Isorla) 35 Battlemechs
35 Mechwarriors
75 Elementals
100 Lower Caste Technical Personnel


3 May, 3037
Strana Mechty - Clans Capital World (Clan Space Kerensky Cluster)

ilKhan Gerrik N'Buta studied the report given to him by the various Khans concerning the status of each Clan's warships along with Clan Snow Raven's report on the Reserve Fleet activations. While most of the Clan's reported their warships at a high readiness, the Reserve Fleet was going to take some time to bring back into service. He pulled out the list of ships in the Reserve Fleet and began making some notes to go over with Clan Snow Raven and his own technicians.

Clan Reserve Fleet

Newgrange Yardship - 6 (only 4 deemed repairable without a complete tear down)
Potemkin Transport - 4 (4 repairable)
McKenna Battleship - 2 (only 1 repairable using other for parts)
Texas Battleship - 2 (both repairable)
Du Shi Wang Battleship - 1 (repairable)
Farragut Battleship - 2 (1 repairable using other for parts)
Volga Transport - 11 (9 repairable using remaining 2 for parts)
Cameron Battlecruiser - 2 (1 repairable using other as parts)
Black Lion Battlecruiser - 2 (both repairable)
Aegis Cruiser - 13 (11 repairable using remaining 2 for parts)
Congress Frigate - 6 (all repairable)
Lola III Destroyer - 8 (7 repairable last total loss)
Essex Destroyer - 15 (9 repairable remaining used for parts)
Kimagure Cruiser - 5 (4 repairable remaining total loss)
Sovetskii Soyuz Cruiser - 16 (11 repairable using last 5 as parts)
Vincent Corvette - 18 (13 repairable using last 5 for parts)
Carrack Transport - 19 (15 repairable using last 4 for parts)

Clan Snow Raven estimated it would take 2-3 years to return them those deemed repairable to service. His own techs from Clan Star Adder calculated almost 4 years until they were all returned to service and fully staffed with trained crews. Of the original 30 Potemkins brought with the SLDF, it was a wonder that all 30 were still either in service or able to be returned to service. He knew that any invasion of the Inner Sphere would depend on these massive transports, each able to carry upwards of 5 Galaxy's worth of troops, if Dropship use was maximized for that purpose.

He already knew that the Newgrange Yardships were the first ships brought to Lum for refurbishment, for they would be critical to assisting in returning the warships to service and to maintain them during the invasion until such time as they secured a yard complex for their use in the Inner Sphere. He also had a proposal from Clan Snow Raven to repurpose the Kimagure Cruisers into Carriers, which would free up valuable collars for other missions than transporting Aerospace Fighter carrying Dropships. While it had much merit, he had not yet approved of the plans yet.

29 May, 3037
Priori (Clan Space - Kerensky Cluster)

Star Colonel Karianna Schmitt, commander 33rd Red Battle Cluster, hovered near the communication panel aboard the Aegis Cruiser, Exsanguine. She was listening to Galaxy Commander Marcus Boques batchall to the Clan Burrock defenders. She was curious how he was going to bid this Trial of Possession. Khan Phillip Johns had ordered all of Omega Galaxy to Priori, which she thought was excessive for a simple Trial of Possession. Six Cluster's was an invasion, not a Trial of Possession, even against the hated Clan Burrock.

"This is Galaxy Commander Marcus Boques, Omega Galaxy, Clan Blood Spirit. We declare a Trial of Possession for the military storage site and compound located at 3876209-2938. With what will you defend?"

"This is Galaxy Commander Felicia McMillan, Clan Burrock's Pi Galaxy. Burrocks will never bend to Blood Spirits, we will defend with all we have."

"Bargained well and done. I will not ask for safcon." Galaxy Commander Marcus Boques handed the radio mic back to the communication officer. "Send to all commands to prepare for battle. Star Admiral Polczyk, you may send your marines to take the Forge 7 station and any other Burrock vessels."


7 June, 3037
Priori (Clan Space - Kerensky Cluster)

Star Colonel Kariana Schmitt smiled as she watched her 33rd Red Battle Cluster hammer break the 206th Hussar Cluster. Clan Burrock's Pi Galaxy only had five Clusters assigned to it, which gave Clan Blood Spirit the advantage. The 79th Blood Hussars Cluster had already secured their primary objectives, but Galaxy Commander Boques had yet to call off the attacks. The 71st Crimson Assault and Scarlet Guards just kept pushing the Burrock defenders further back. The 91st Crimson Vanguard Cluster had followed slightly behind their advance and had taken the main Burrock enclave.

She kept her Blood Kite advancing, targeting any Burrock Mech that showed itself. Though the Burrocks fought hard, they were out matched and outgunned by the Blood Spirits. She had already directed her Elemental Trinary to sweep the battlefield as they advanced, rounding up downed Burrock pilots and any other prisoners. She would have to call off her own attack soon, because they were fast approaching Clan Diamond Sharks holdings. It had been a long 3 days of fighting and finally she heard "Galaxy Commander McMillan, this Trial is over, and you have lost all. Stand down your warriors. In the name of Clan Blood Spirit, I claim all of Clan Burrocks holdings on Priori and it's defeated defenders as isorla."

12 June, 3037
York (Clan Blood Spirit Capital World)
Clan Space - Kerensky Cluster

Khan Phillip Johns was not really happy about Priori, a simple Trial of Possession which should have secured some additional equipment had resulted in a problem, for now Clan Blood Spirit had to protect another holding from an enraged Clan Burrock. Not that he was afraid of Clan Burrock, he just did not want to waste all the strength he had worked so hard to build. But what was done, was done and now he had to deal with it. He kept Omega Galaxy on Priori as garrison for their new enclave, at least until he decided what to do with it. In addition, he ordered Sigma Galaxy to Priori as additional garrison. He had a full inventory of what they gained and lost during the "Trial".

Omega Galaxy (Clan Blood Spirit)

Total Losses and Damage

OmniMechs Destroyed - 39
OmniMechs Damaged - 66
Vehicles Destroyed - 41
Vehicles Damaged - 52
Aerospace Fighters Destroyed - 17
Aerospace Fighters Damaged - 23
Mechwarrior - 27 KIA, 35 WIA
Aero Pilot - 13 KIA, 9 WIA
Elemental - 73 KIA, 116 WIA

Clan Burrock Losses (Isorla)

OmniMechs Isorla - 77
Battlemechs Isorla - 32
Aerospace Space Fighters Isorla - 14
Mechwarrior - 74 (Bondsman)
Aero Pilot - 19 (Bondsman)
Elemental - 122 (Bondsman)
Lower Caste - 3,742,861

Forge 7 Facility (Isorla)

Sulla OmniFighter - 3 Lines producing 12 per month total
Hydaspes AeroFighter - 2 Lines producing 12 per month total

With so many "new" people, he had issued orders that they were to be treated the same as their own lower caste, and even with more tolerance as they got used to Clan Blood Spirit ways. Concerning the prisoners taken, which were usually returned to their Clan, as Clan Blood Spirit was not known for taking Bondsman, except for the truely gifted, he had ordered them all taken as Bondsman. Someday, maybe they would earn their place among them, but in the meantime, he would deny them to Clan Burrock. It was only a matter of time before Clan Burrock struck back, but where and how strong he did not know.

Strana Mechty - Clans Capital World (Clan Space Kerensky Cluster)

ilKhan Gerrik N'Buta had gotten word about Priori, and while not comfortable with what happened, he thought it a waste of precious strength, it was the Clan way, if you are not strong enough to hold it, you do not deserve to have it. He had more serious matters on his mind right now. Currently, his top planners had brought their current invasion plan to him for approval before submitting it to the Grand Council. He had spent the last few days reviewing it but he continued to check his notes.

Operation Revival

6 Invasion Corridors Corridor One - FC - Engadine to Hood IV
Corridor Two - FC - Newton Square to Steelton
Corridor Three - FC/FRR - Icar (FC) to Alleghe (FRR)
Corridor Four - FRR/DC - Outpost to Thule
Corridor Five - DC - Richmond to Tarnby
Corridor Six - DC - Altona to Nowhere

Each corridor was shaped like a wedge, the points all aimed at Terra, the prize they all craved. Each corridor would contain 2 Clans, along with a Reserve Clan dedicated to each corridor. The invasion had a tentative date of 3045, this would give them time to repair the Reserve ships while also establishing forward production facilities on systems identified by the scouting missions.

Forward Production Facilities

Nouveaux Paris

He expected bidding to be fierce on who operated each facility. He was sure Clan Diamond Shark would bid hard for the right to operate the forward bases. Going by estimates, his planners estimated that each corridor should contain a minimum of 12 Galaxies (6 per Clan) to assure success. Using an average of 6 Frontline Galaxies per Clan as a base, this would leave ample Second Line troops to safeguard their holdings. The huge unknown was this new Terran Hegemony, no one knew how strong they actually were.


7 August 3037
NC 2799-1022 (Uninhabited System)

Star Colonel Sam Columbo looked at the man seated across from him, he was dirty & dressed in a dirty uniform that had seen much better days. He hated these meetings, but his Khan always sent him to deliver his wishes. He was a former Burrock who had fled when ordered to report to Solahma duty. For over a hundred years it had been this way and Star Colonel Columbo felt no small amount of shame about his missions out here. He handed the man a data stick, which he took and placed in his pocket.

"On that data stick are locations of certain groups, not unlike yours, but outside the Inner Sphere itself. Also are proposed supply routes, convoy routes and forward bases for the coming return to the Inner Sphere. As changes occur, you will be contacted. My Khan suggests you and your fellow groups make contact with the groups on the data stick. There is also a location on the stick where we have cached supplies to support our scouting efforts. Do you understand?" Star Colonel Columbo stated, hating having to use foul language but these folks got hostile and took offense when you spoke properly.

"I understand. I assume your Khan wants his tribute of everything we take, the normal 30%?" The man asked

"My Khan says that it should be a prosperous time for your people and only asks for 20%. Of course, Burrock equipment, convoys and supplies are off limits. He suggests you avoid Clan space as much as possible because all the Clans are boosting strength for the coming return. You will need time to scout the routes, locate proper ambush points on the routes for follow on supply convoys and ships. In addition to possibly working out new friendships with the groups on the data stick. Some of them are quite large, Cluster sized and larger." Star Colonel Columbo replied

"Then I will quietly pass the word and we will get to work. You know we have a few special toys we can use." The man said with a smile.

"My Khan is aware of them. He suggests you use them with great care, for they will draw much attention. Now, I must return." Star Colonel Columbo said gesturing to the door leading to the shuttle bay. When the man was escorted away, he felt extremely dirty. He just wanted the 6-week journey back home to go quickly.

Terra (Terran Hegemony)

A knock brought her head up and she smiled broadly "Melissa, what are you doing here? I got no word of your arrival." Director-General Anastasia Cameron said, standing up and moving towards her friend for a hug.

"Because I asked General Mitchell to keep it a secret." Melissa Steiner-Davion replied returning the hug.

"Gonna have to have a talk with Mom about that. I could have cleared my schedule for the visit, instead I have a pretty busy schedule planned." Anastasia said with a frown.

"I am actually just passing thru on my way back to Tharkad. I have the kids with me, but they are aboard ship waiting. General Mitchell told us to come in close, so we are only a few hours away by shuttle. Sorry you cannot see them." Melissa replied, only a month ago she had given birth to Arthur Andrew Steiner-Davion, her 4th child.

"Then why the fast stop over? Is there a problem?" Anastasia asked

"Not a problem really, more of a suggestion or maybe advice. I have seen some of the proposed bids for the advanced tooling and manufacturing equipment being offered. Now I know folks have to make a profit, but I have on good information that these prices are more on the tune of gouging. Take this card, if you wish, contact this man, I am sure he could do the same job for much less than the outfits on Terra are trying to charge. At least you would have some sort of base point to see if they really are gouging. It is just a suggestion. Now I have to run, I wanted to see you in person to deliver the message personally, both myself and mother have serious concerns about the price gouging." Melissa said with a smile.

Anastasia glanced at the card in her hand, she had never heard of him or his company.

Dinh Ngo, Duke of Kowloon, CEO of Ngo Industries

"I will give it some thought Melissa, I am not sure about outsourcing Hegemony technology, but I will come down hard on any price gouging. Profit is one thing, but raping someone just because you can, that is just not right." Anastasia said

"I know you will dear. That is why I wanted to do this in person." Melissa Steiner Davion replied, quickly sharing a hug and then heading for the door.

Note from the Author[]

  • Shout out to for permission to do an itty bit of cross over with his AU. I doubt I will let this get too involved, as I have not kept up with his earlier stuff in the Ngo AU he wrote.


9 December 3037
Tharkad (Lyran Commonwealth)

His Grace, the Duke of Kowloon, shared a body with a man who held his peace under torture for five years in the hands of Loki, defeating efforts to break his will and somewhat more successful efforts to break his body that left him with white hair and a permanent need to walk with a cane.

Dinh was someone Katrina owed, he'd arranged for so much during her self-imposed exile as the Red Corsair and was one of the few friends Arthur had that didn't break when they were taken. This despite being able to sell him out to make the torture stop.

Unfortunately, that same admirable stubbornness was costing him massively-his refusal to do business with anyone from the Davion side left his firm a shrinking market share and receding reputation, from the largest tooler in the Lyran Commonwealth and probably fourth largest in the Inner Sphere, to...not the largest anything.

The man was stubborn, hard-eyed proud, and hard as hell to help out because of it.

"I'm not sure I can do this, Highness." Dinh commented, limping beside his monarch.  "They're Earthers, they won't even listen."

"You can do this, Dinh. Think of your son-or his children, your people, your integrity." she urged, pressing buttons she'd learned to press to change his mind from Arthur Luvon.  "Besides, the Realm needs the trade."

He grunted noncommittally but nodded.  "I will do my best, Your Majesty."

Katrina knew it was futile to try to make Dinh refer to her by name.  He was hard-core as a supporter, but also rigid about certain norms-when she was on the run, he'd called Arthur 'Art' and he'd called her 'Kate', but once Alessandro was deposed and he was released, she was 'Your Highness' or 'Your Majesty' to him forevermore, a doglike devotion that did not extend to bending on his personal feud with everything Federated Suns after the screaming, agonizing death of his brother in a NAIS medical lab.

She didn't press on that very often, but she'd pressed on that to make him come to Tharkad for this meeting, for his own good, and the good of the Realm.

The Intelligence briefs had been pretty extensive.  There's always a little bit you can learn in a first meeting, and for Anastasia Cameron, that little bit, was that Dinh Ngo's experiences aged him in some pretty drastic and brutal ways.  Ten years younger than the Archon, Katrina, he looked twenty years older.  The old man was dressed in an archaic three button, three-piece black suit, with a separate, tab-folded collar sporting a tie of Blue and Gold, he capped his head with a bowler hat like something out of a docudrama, leaning on an Elbar bluewood cane capped with silver and gripped with a stylized leaping killer-whale.  Despite his apparent forced aging, he hefted the leather-bound portable office unit like it was nothing, laying it out and opening the case to reveal a keyboard, printer, and holostage.

"Madame Director-General, this is my good friend, Dinh Ngo." Katrina made the introductions, "Head of one of our major tooling subcontractors."

"Highness-" Dinh started to say in a tone that communicated more to Anastasia than if he'd finished the sentence-He dislikes nepotism and feels this undermines his position, interesting.

"Hush Dinh, say hello to our guests.", Katrina instructed Dinh

He licked his lips, hesitated, and then turned, "Madame Director-General."  Anastasia noted he kept his hands up, and close, the habits of a prisoner, he also didn't extend his hand for shaking.

"Let's get started, shall we?" Ana said.  "I assume you've had a chance to look at our specified needs?"

"I have." He said, "For contract tender A-3204561, I think we can do it for under seven million C-bills, or three point five million Kroner..." he wavered his hand, "In six to eight months from the claimed start date, completion would be around six month's time, including calibrations."

"A year?" Ana scoffed, Krupp's bid was for eleven million, and they promised it in two years, with an additional half-year for calibrations before starting the line's production.

"Best I can do, Ma'am." he said, "The work you're looking for, while not particularly complex, does involve large assemblies and a great many replaceable elements, pending the Archon's approval to export the technologies.  There is also transport of the goods, training the workforce, and documentation for end-users."

Three million less than Krupp wanted, and a shorter timetable.  She almost wondered where his profit margin was, but then, he added it.

"That's allowing for a five percent profit on the project-we did a similar job with the Coventry Metalworks rebuild after the Marik deep raids...of course, at the time, my brother had to oversee it, as I was...busy."

Being tortured by a former Archon's pet terrorist group in a semi-secret prison. Ana mentally noted.  Is he going to try to shift the costs to the other contracts?

"Here is the bid." He added and unloaded a fairly common looking data-rom stick, passing it across.  "For contract number A-3204562, well, I'm sure Krupp or Central can beat an eleven million, but Her Majesty wanted my take on it, so, we did the numbers, completion date ought to be around eighteen months from first forging to final installation, another four months to train your operators and maintainers to keep it in condition."

Krupp wanted sixteen, and Central claimed it couldn't be done for less than eighteen, with two years just to get installations complete.

"How-how do you know?"

"Alarion's contract." he said bluntly, "Lockheed CBM had to do a service update, my brother got us the contract, we had to...provide similar machinery, the designs are still in our corporate files, adapting them was an interesting engineering challenge, have your people look over my numbers if you doubt me, I rather enjoyed the mental exercise, far more fun than sitting in Assembly meetings listening to urbanites and farmers argue over water rights in the Plateau.  It's so much more fun to break out the drawing boards and play with prototypes-the answers are always clearer than mediating between EllDees and Yisroel who want to argue theology on the floor of the legislature when the discussion is about surfacing roads!"

He clearly thought it was funny a hamhanded attempt to break a serious mood...that seemed to fail for him.  Ana humored the old man by giving a chuckle she didn't quite feel.  "You did the engineering?" she asked instead.

"Well, yes." Dinh said, "When I was a young man and the firm was in...better times, my brother Truk did most of our negotiation, and I did most of the engineering work."  he shrugged, "Truk is gone, of course...and I may not be quite the businessman and dealer he was, but I am a good engineer."

Her aide accepted the second data stick.

"What about contract A-3204563, parts D and E?" she asked, curious because Krupp claimed the specifications were outright impossible and wanted several hundred million for the research.

"Hrmm... well, as I said, you can probably get it cheaper from Krupp." he told her, "I can't do it for less than a quarter billion.  you're asking for a large-scale combination smelting, casting and forging array in null gee to produce what looks like large jump-cores.  It's do-able, the challenge was...challenging, and the E portion? also challenging...and it isn't cheap." he began, "but nothing I saw in your specifications suggested something my firm couldn't build with sufficient financing.  I ran the projected costs, and it's going to be a strain, but not impossible to the levels of precision you're asking for, the greater part of those contracts, of course, would be the ongoing expense-a Germanium forging apparatus requires frequent calibrations and inspections to prevent imperfections in the product from stacking, which also presupposes you have a source of refined Germanium ore, nodular titanium, and, of course, selenium to act as an intermediary during forging."

Almost half what the lowest bid from the corporate oligarchs in the Hegemony were demanding.

Almost. half.

Almost by impulse, Anastasia asked, "Could you lower it?"

"Well...cutting corners on such machinery is...difficult. we can probably slice seventy million off the bid if you don't need to have a pressurized work bay, and are willing to put your workers in pressure suits instead-which also reduces the risk of fires and is generally safer, but far, far, less popular." he noted, "If you're willing to use an explosive press method mixed with induction coil on the forge-feed from the casting block, instead of cold-pressing, that can save probably another hundred million, but it requires very strict quality control work and highly skilled workers used to handling bulk high explosives..and an ongoing need for single-use dies at around six hundred thousand C-Bills apiece. A couple of the smaller salvage yards in the Coventry province buy those from us, mostly for help with remanufacturing commercial jump cores that have cracked or fractured under constant use."

"Do you, perhaps have THAT as part of your bid?" Ana asked.

"Um, your specifications didn't include that as an Option, ma'am." he said, "But I did do a cost-prospectus just in case it came up."

"May I see it?"

"Certainly." He passed it across the table.  "The dies are always the ongoing cost for those." he added, "Regardless of whether you are using a consumable installation, or a fixed one-repeated use wears on them, they will still have to be replaced when they're worn out of spec."

"of course."

"I thought the repurposed structural metal foundry was also quite interesting." he commented, "Designing dies to work with blended Titanium aluminide and nickel steel for ground applications, fascinating stuff, light weight, very strong, easy machining, yet wear and impact durable with little to no thermal variation."

Endosteel. he's talking about Endosteel.  Ana perked up.  "Really?"

"Yes. I may have to file patents on some of my solutions, assuming they do not conflict with patents held by one of your corporations.  I suspect I could sell the forging and processing technologies to Coventry or Defiance for a tidy sum, though Licensing is usually better."

"I don't suppose you brought your designs?" Anastasia asked.

He sighed heavily.  "I shouldn't...but it was so much fun..." he activated his holoplayer, and it displayed his design work to the room.  "I do hope..."

Ana's assistant, a technology expert, gaped openly at the device being displayed.  "How did you solve the heat-sinking?"

"Oh, water ice." Dinh commented, "Cometary sources, plenty of it laying around if you're willing to drag it over.  cools the dies quite sufficiently to extend service life, when you grab it from comets or a planetary ring.  The process also helps in extracting rare earths and other chemicals that are useful, and of course, drinking water and air. No reason to haul that stuff up from a planet or moon...and you can also refine it for reaction mass for shipping... That, I think concludes this meeting, yes?"

"Uh...Yeah, I guess...we'll be in contact, Mister Ngo." Anastasia studied the projection, "Could...perhaps...add this? license the technology, I mean?"

He shrugged, "I can, if it makes it easier for you to make your decision."

"It will. Thank you for submitting, I have to speak with my advisors."

Outside the meeting room, Katrina was smiling, but Dinh wasn't.

"Come on, Dinh! her tech expert was practically salivating!"

"I won't get the contract." He said, "In this business, if the potential customer doesn't say 'yes' right away? it's because they're going to reject the offer...and I'm sorry for losing this one,  Truk could've had them signing papers, but I'm not my brother in the boardroom.  I simply must admit, I have no gift when it comes to people."

Terran Hegemony Consular annex
Triad, Tharkad
Later that night...

"...his solutions are...well, obvious ones, once you look at them."  [Technical expert] commented, "It's all solid-the engineering proposals, costs, they hold up to scrutiny."

"Which Krupp's didn't." Anastasia scowled, "Krupp, Central Machine, Orguss...even QuikScell didn't meet his projections for cost, or delivery...and they should have."

"Truth be told, ma'am, any one of them should be beating the pants off his best numbers-he's included his cost for tooling up to produce the tools, and they have the tooling to produce the tools already in their databases."

She scowled.  "They're conspiring to rip us off!"

"Seems like it." [tech expert] agreed.  "I'll say this-that old man included more details in his costing and accounting than any of our domestic outfits, this proposal looks like a 'for dummies' guide to building a factory from scratch."

"Because..." she paused, thinking, "because that's how his firm does it.  they don't just 'salvage some things and fix them', they've focused on the art of manufacturing and engineering."

"Manufacturing engineer, there are more pages with Dinh Ngo's personal signature on them than not in these documents."

"I'm inclined to hire that old man." Anastasia said, "but I'm also inclined not to."

"Say again?"

"I looked at him, he's aged." she stated, "I'm not sure he'd survive the trip, and that's if we could find a way to pry him loose from Katrina, who definitely understands what she's got with that old man... but I can see hiring him too-I don't doubt he can deliver on everything he's documented there and more working for us....but it's still going outside our borders, and we should be able to beat his numbers..."

"Only we're saddled with people who make that impossible."

"Exactly." she felt a righteous anger, "I need to think about this."

"While you're doing that, maybe we can copy his format and tell our domestic outfits to match it or drop out? his costing and details includes taxes and a section on bribes and wastage.  It might be interesting to see who has to be bribed and where they expect to have internal thefts at Krupp."

"Yeah..." she sighed heavily, "He even accounted for a certain level of official corruption and rolled it into his bid openly-that takes balls."

  • Note from Author
    Thanks to Cannonshop for zipping this out, now to see where it takes me.

10 December 3037
Albion (Clan Burrock Capital)

Khan Helen Moreau had refused to immediately respond to Clan Blood Spirits taking of Priori, instead she had marshalled her forces for her response. Now, at the Nadir Jump Point, her response was ready. Beta, Delta, and Gamma Galaxies along with most of the Clan's Naval Reserve would strike at York. She knew that half of the Spirits naval forces were at Priori awaiting a response from her Clan. It had taken time to gather the other 3 Front Line Galaxies, while Alpha Galaxy would remain on Albion along with Omega Galaxy. Kappa and Tau Galaxies had been distributed among the remaining holdings. She had worked hard to conceal the true weakness of her Clan's Touman, even more depleted than Clan Blood Spirits, though it numbered a strong looking 10 Galaxies, only 4 of those were Front Line, the other 6, 5 now, she corrected herself with the loss of Pi Galaxy, being Second Line, even if equipped with a decent amount of OmniMechs. To bolster that bluff, every Second Line Galaxy had a Front Line Cluster assigned to it.

Almost 200 years of near constant pressure on Clan Blood Spirit, feuding with Clan Fire Mandrill and Clan Smoke Jaguar had held her Clan back almost as much as Clan Blood Spirit from truely growing and expanding their strength like many other Clans. She wished she could strike Circe, but Clan Snow Raven would surely intervene, since they had done so in the past, demanding a Trial for the right to even get to the planet's surface. Clan Burrock did not have the naval assets to challenge Clan Snow Raven. Or Clan Nova Cat would, since they too had a enclave on Circe. Arcadia was just too small a holding to send the right message to Clan Blood Spirit.

saKhan Blythe Van Houten was firmly against squandering their remaining strength and though he did not challenge her, she was sure he would formally if this failed. It was one of the reasons she planned so carefully and had gathered as many of her best warriors as possible for this operation. In addition, she had waited for Clan Snow Raven to move their normal naval presence in the York system to Lum for refit, normally it would be more of a secret, but with the massive efforts to prepare for their return to the Inner Sphere, all Khans had access to the naval refit schedules so that they could get slots for their own ships. To assure victory, she was even sending her Flagship, Nightlord Class Battleship, the Burrock.

Nightlord Class Battleship (by Matt Plog 2016)

Nightlord Class Battleship, Burrock

Clan Burrock Invasion Force

Beta Galaxy

226th Hussar Cluster (Elite, 5 Trinary)
15th Rapier Cluster (Elite, 6 Trinary)
5th Burrock Battle Cluster (Elite, 5 Trinary)
2nd Burrock Cavaliers Cluster (Elite, 5 Trinary)
2nd Burrock Assault Cluster (Elite, 5 Trinary)

Delta Galaxy

2nd Burrock Battle Cluster (Elite, 5 Trinary)
17th Burrock Cavaliers Cluster (Elite, 5 Trinary)
3rd Rapier Cluster (Elite, 6 Trinary)
118th Hussar Cluster (Elite, 5 Trinary)
101st Hussar Cluster (Veteran, 5 Trinary)

Gamma Galaxy

21st Burrock Battle Cluster (Elite, 5 Trinary)
9th Burrock Assault Cluster (Veteran, 5 Trinary)
19th Rapier Cluster (Veteran, 6 Trinary)
189th Hussar Cluster (Elite, 5 Trinary)
92nd Burrock Cavaliers Cluster (Veteran, 5 Trinary)

Naval Escort

Burrock, Nightlord Battleship
Hetherington, York Destroyer
Rocky Home, Lola III Destroyer
Burrow, Lola III Destroyer
Warren, Vincent Corvette

York class Destroyer-Carrier (by Matt Plog)

York Class Destroyer-Carrier, Hetherington

11 December 3037
York (Clan Blood Spirit Capital)

Clan Burrocks invasion fleet arrived at the Nadir Jump Point. Quickly they issued a Batchall for the Nadir Recharge Station, where their Aerospace Fighters quickly overwhelmed the defending Star of Clan Blood Spirit. Without even waiting for the fight to be decided, the multitude of Dropships had detached from the standard Jumpships and headed for the planet, 18 days away, escorted by their warships.

On the surface, Khan Phillip Johns had been notified of Clan Burrocks arrival. Instead of any sign of concern he smiled, an evil vicious smile. "They finally decided to retaliate. Recall our warships from Priori, they should arrive in system about the same time the Burrocks reach orbit." He ordered.

saKhan Joyce Boques nodded at the aide to carry out the orders. "They have a strong escort, even their Flagship is with them."

"Make sure our warships retake the Nadir Recharge Station and I want their Jumpships taken out of play. The Burrocks might make land fall, but I do not plan to allow them to leave easy." Khan Johns said

"Aff, my Khan. How do you plan to defend?" saKhan Boques asked

"Depends on what they call for. I do not plan to offer Safecon, so they will have to fight their way down. The Burrocks will pay a dear price for this attack." Khan Phillip Johns said as his eye's swept over the current defenders in York and other deployments.

Clan Blood Spirit (York, Kerensky Cluster, Clan Space)

Clan Command (Frontline)
Blood Guard Keshik - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 30 Aerospace)Italic

Alpha Galaxy (Frontline)
Red Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
7th Blood Drinkers Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
37th Red Assault Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
55th Red Vanguard Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
72nd Crimson Cuirassiers - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)

Beta Galaxy (Frontline)
Cerise Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
112th Scarlet Battle Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
35th Red Assault Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
69th Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
83rd Crimson Cuirassiers Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)

Delta Galaxy (Frontline)
Arcadia Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
191st Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
15th Scarlet Battle Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
27th Red Vanguard Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
42nd Red Assault Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)

Epsilon Galaxy (Frontline)
York Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
88th Blood Battle Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
9th Blood Drinkers Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
1st Blood Assault Cluster - Veteran (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
2nd Crimson Cuirassiers Cluster - Veteran (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)

Gamma Galaxy (Frontline)
Scarlet Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
62nd Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
12th Blood Lancers Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals, 20 Aerospace)
19th Blood Battle Cluster - Veteran (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
136th Scarlet Battle Cluster - Veteran (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)

Mu Provisional Galaxy (Second Line)
66th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 CBM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry, 20 Aerospace)
98th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 CBM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry, 20 Aerospace)
88th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 CBM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
158th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 CBM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
258th Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 CBM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)

Clan Blood Spirit (Circe, Pentagon Worlds, Clan Space)

Iota Galaxy (Frontline)
Crimson Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
42nd Crimson Vanguard Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
66th Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
271st Crimson Assault Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
273rd Crimson Cuirassiers Cluster - Veteran (45 Omni, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)

Kappa Galaxy (Frontline)
52nd Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
91st Blood Vanguard Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
182nd Red Assault Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
301st Scarlet Battle Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
302nd Scarlet Battle Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)

Lambda Galaxy (Frontline)
236th Red Vanguard Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
107th Blood Lancers Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
5th Blood Assault Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
25th Blood Drinkers Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
303rd Scarlet Battle Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)

Clan Blood Spirit (Granada, Deep Periphery)

Theta Galaxy (Frontline)
2nd Scarlet Assault Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
33rd Red Battle Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
79th Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
91st Crimson Vanguard Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
71st Crimson Assault Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)

1st Garrison Galaxy in training, not active

Clan Blood Spirit (Arcadia, Pentagon Worlds, Clan Space)

Omicron Provisional Galaxy (Second Line)
21st Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry, 20 Aerospace)
73rd Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry, 20 Aerospace)
98th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry, 20 Aerospace)
171st Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
17th Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)

Clan Blood Spirit (Priori, Deep Periphery)

Omega Galaxy (Frontline) (Currently 60% strength of listed)
Scarlet Guards - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
33rd Red Battle Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
79th Blood Hussars - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
91st Crimson Vanguard Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental, 20 Aerospace)
71st Crimson Assault Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
271st Crimson Assault Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)

Sigma Provisional Galaxy (Second Line)
42nd Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
88th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
158th Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
79th Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
101st Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)

--Note-- CBM stands for Clan Battlemech, BM is Star League Battlemech

27 December, 3037
York (Clan Blood Spirit Capital)

"This is Khan Helen Moreau, Clan Burrock. I issue a Trial of Possession for Clan Blood Spirits' York Omnimech Y1 and Y2 complexes along with the neighboring city of Spirit Locke as an enclave. My Beta, Delta, and Gamma Galaxies are bid for the Trial. What will you defend with?"

"You waited long enough to issue your Batchall Khan Moreau. The Horse Plains on the northern continent will serve as the battlefield. My Alpha, Beta, and Delta Galaxies will defend. Safecon is granted for transports of the ground forces only, all others will be considered hostile. You will make a fine bondsman Khan Moreau, I plan to take your defeated warriors as isorla." Khan Phillip Johns replied

"Your Clan must win the Trial first, Khan Johns. I do not plan to lose. Transmitting my forces details now." Khan Helen Moreau said

Khan Phillip Johns looked at the incoming file, none of the warships were listed on the Order of Battle, but all the incoming Dropships were. "Received. Bargained well and done Khan Moreau. I will be looking for you on the Horse Plains."

"You will die if you find me, Khan Johns." Khan Helen Moreau stated as she cut the feed.

28 December, 3037

"My Khan, Nightlord Battleship approaching among the incoming Dropships, looks like they are going for a low orbit deployment."

Nightlord Class Battleship (By psicore)

Nightlord Class Battleship

"She is a fool, she is breaking her bid and not even realizing it. Tell the SDS sites that they may target the Nightlord and fire when it is in range. Target the Nightlord Battleship only." Khan Phillip Johns ordered

Aboard the Nightlord Battleship, Burrock, preparations for the orbital drop of Beta Galaxy were underway. Khan Helen Moreau was inside her Executioner Prime, already sealed into her Drop Cocoons. Though she still had communication link with the Nightlord Battleship.

"Coming up on Drop Coordinates, Khan Moreau, you will be in the second Drop launch." The radio announced. "Stravag!!, Evasive actions, we are taking fire from the surface!!

"So much for the promise of Safecon. Return fire on the SDS batteries." Khan Helen Moreau ordered

Four Heavy Naval PPCs fired from the surface struck the Burrock, 6 other shots missed. The second volley from the surface was better as the range closed, 7 HNPPC's struck the ship. The hits were tearing massive amounts of armor from sections of the Nightlord Battleship.

Executioner Assault OmniMech (Winterscape - MWO painted by Odanan)

Executioner Assault OmniMech

"Weapons, do we have a good lock on the SDS locations?"

"Neg, not good, but should be enough."

"Then return fire."

On the surface, the first NAC/40 missed the targeted SDS site by 8km, the second NAC/40 missed by 13km, but it was a pair of NAC/10 shots that spelled Clan Burrocks doom as they slammed into the Clan Blood Spirit town of Mount Dale, killing almost 85,000 Clan Blood Spirit civilians.

28 December 3037
York (Clan Blood Spirit Capital)

The destruction of Mount Dale both shocked and infuriated Khan Phillip Johns. While he was tempted to revoke Safecon, he forced himself to keep it in place. But he did declare the Clan Burrock warships valid targets, ordering every Aerospace Fighter to engage them. His forces would deal with the Burrock ground forces once they landed. As far as he was concerned, Clan Burrock had broken the bid, violating the conditions of the declared Trial. Video footage of the destruction of Mount Dale had already been transmitted to Strana Mechty for review by the ilKhan and Grand Council via HPG, along with recordings of the Trial bargaining. I should have been much clearer about the terms of the Trial and forces, but Khan Moreau should have also made clear that the Nightlord would only be performing an orbital drop before departing back to orbit, he thought.

On the Horse Plains, Clan Burrock Dropships settled onto the surface where they began unloading Clan Burrock ground forces. But now that they were on the ground, they would not have it so easy, from kilometers away. A Trinary in each Blood Spirit Galaxy began firing on the Burrock landing zone with Arrow IV artilary missiles. Purchased at great expense, every Blood Spirit Galaxy had a full Trinary of Naga OmniMechs assigned. This both disrupted Clan Burrocks unloading process, but also began inflicting damage on their ground forces before they even came into contact with the arrayed Clan Blood Spirit ground forces.

Clan Burrocks Beta Galaxy, dropped via the orbital drop, was scattered across the Horse Plains. The moment their OmniMechs touched ground, they started coming under fire from Clan Blood Spirit forces. Khan Johns monitored the fighting and despite several requests from his Galaxy commanders to declare the Burrock forces Dezgra, he resisted, they would maintain Zellbrigen until Khan Moreau or the Burrocks further broke the remaining conditions of the Trial. He wanted to take the field right away, but instead remained to monitor the recovery efforts of Mount Dale.

In orbit, the assembled Clan Burrock warships began taking fire from the planets SDS systems while a swarm of very angry Clan Blood Spirit Aerospace Fighters left the atmosphere to engage the assembled Burrock warships. Burrock Aerospace fighters intercepted the oncoming swarm of Blood Spirit Aerospace fighters where a deadly swirling fight took place. Clan Burrocks Warship Warren, a Vincent Corvette was targeted by 3 different ground based SDS systems and suffered critical damage from multiple HNPPC strikes, forcing it to limp towards the Nadir Jump Point. Return fire from the Burrock warships on the surface batteries was not very accurate and scattered shots even landed inside Clan Snow Ravens holdings when targeting the SDS facility closest to their enclave. By the end of the day, the ground fire had forced the Burrock warships further into space away from York itself.

Vincent Mk 42 Class Corvette (Clan)

Vincent Mk42 Class Corvette

Back on the ground, Khan Helen Moreau cursed mentally at the calamity that had befallen her Trial of Possession. On the long trip down to the surface, she had mentally gone over what had gone wrong, and had come to the conclusion that her bid had been incomplete, leaving out the Burrock, Nightlord Battleship had been a massive oversight on her part. The stray shots landing on Mount Dale and inflicting untold casualties, which she found out about when she landed and restored communications, which really bothered her. This mental distraction also hampered her control over Clan Burrocks ground forces, which were now being engaged by Clan Blood Spirit forces.

29 December, 3037
York (Clan Blood Spirit Capital)

Star Colonel Sam Columbo, Khan Helen Monreau personal aide, after returning from his mission had accompanied Khan Monreau to York, having come down with her personal Union C Dropship. An explosion nearby from a Spirit Arrow IV rattled brought dust in thru the open door of the hanger bay. He barely noticed it, having been under near constant bombardment for over 17 hours, though the incoming fire had slackened some, probably reloading he thought. He knew his primary task once the Trial was won would be to evaluate any intelligence gained or interrogate any high-ranking officers taken from the Blood Spirits.

Currently he was working on planning his next mission, given to him by Khan Moreau before landing operations started. He had the Star Map open on the small computer, plotting travel times along with where they could resupply from prepositioned caches. This mission would take much longer, almost 2 years by his calculations, almost to the borders of the Periphery surrounding the Inner Sphere proper. While the scouting and intel gathering by the Clans was still ongoing, he would have to watch for Clan Goliath Scorpion ships, since his mission would take him very close to their patrol region.

Another explosion was quickly followed by a second and then a third. He shook his head; Spirits must have finished reloading. While the bombardment did not cause serious damage to the Dropships themselves, it played hell with the lower caste conducting repairs and rearming. Not to mention the additional damage inflicted on already damaged Omni Mechs returning from the front. A slight cough brought his head up slightly and he saw Khan Helen Monreau standing before him.

"My Khan. How may I be of service?" Columbo asked

"Continue with your planning Star Colonel. Today we launch a full assault on the Spirit defenses. I will be leading the assault. By this evening, your talents will be needed on any Isorla we take." Khan Monreau said as she turned and headed for her repaired and rearmed Executioner Prime.

Lola IV Class Destroyer (Space Background)

Lola III Class Destroyer

He closed his portable computer, he needed to prepare for some long hours of interrogation and needed to focus on the here and now. When Khan Monreau and only half of Beta Galaxy had returned to the Dropships, even he had felt some shock at the losses suffered by Beta Galaxy during the landing. But he was confident that Clan Burrock would win this Trial of Possession.

Across the Horse Plains, Khan Phillip Johns was reading the report from Mount Dale. It seemed the errant shots from Clan Burrock had scored a hit on storage facility for fertilizer which the lower caste used to farm the Horse Plains. The facility had just taken a large delivery of over 11,000 tons of Ammonium nitrate for the coming planting season. The detonation was estimated to have been equal to a 4 kiloton of TNT. The explosion had leveled an area of almost 3km in any direction and the resulting shockwave had been immense. Recovery efforts were still ongoing. He laid down the report when he saw saKhan Joyce Boques approaching.

"My Khan, the Burrocks are starting to move." saKhan Joyce Boques said

Kingfisher Assault OmniMech (Front - mini painted by Kalidan)

Kingfisher Assault OmniMech

"Very well. Order our warriors to prepare to meet them." Khan Johns replied as he stood and picked up his Neurohelmet and started heading for his Kingfisher C.

At the Nadir Jump Point, Clan Blood Spirits warships had finally arrived from Priori. A quick Trial of Possession was conducted for the Burrock Jumpship Fleet along with the Nadir Recharge Station. It did not last long, and Clan Blood Spirit reclaimed what had been lost. Leaving the Blood Fury, Lola III Destroyer to guard the Nadir Jump Point, the remaining warships plotted their in system jump to the L1 Lagrange point only 19 hours from York itself.

29 December 3037
York, Kerensky Cluster (Clan Blood Spirit Capital)

On the Horse Plains, Clan Burrock forces strode across the fairly open ground towards the awaiting Clan Blood Spirit forces calming awaiting them. Overhead, Burrock and Spirit Aerospace Fighters performed their delicate ballet of death, each seeking to deny the other superiority. As the Burrocks closed the distance, Clan Blood Spirits Delta Galaxy began shifting further along the Burrocks left flank, forcing Clan Burrocks forces to adjust to counter them. Constant adjustments of the line of advance to counter Spirit movements slowly drew the Burrock Galaxies and Clusters further apart from each other. Just as Khan Helen Moreau thought she had countered the Spirit flank moves; Clan Blood Spirits' Beta Galaxy began doing the same thing on her right flank. Before she could order her forces to readjust again, they entered range of the Spirits' Alpha Galaxy.

The radio channels began getting swamped with challenges and acceptances from both Burrocks and Spirits. Inside his cockpit, Khan Phillip Johns slowly shook his head as the carefully coordinated defense slowly evolved into single fights all across the Horse Plains. Honorable as it might be, Zellbrigen is just not cut out for large scale battles, he thought to himself. He toggled a channel he knew would be clear of chatter, this one always kept clear and kept that way for commanders of opposing forces to communicate if need be.

"Khan Moreau, I am waiting for you. Or are you afraid to face me in battle?" Khan Phillip Johns challenged and was met with several seconds of silence.

"You know I am the better warrior. I am 8 years younger than you. A product of superior genetics Khan Johns. When my forces force your warriors to retreat, we will settle our differences in a Circle of Equals." Khan Helen Moreau said, her voice literally dripping with hatred.

"You have to win first, Khan Moreau, and checking the current situation map, it looks like your right flank is slowly crumbling to my Beta Galaxy." Khan Phillip Johns kept needling.

Khan Helen Moreau glanced down at her plot map, she had lost track of the situation when she had defeated her Spirit challenger and then Khan Johns had distracted her further with his talking. In a fight like this, mere seconds could swing a victory to defeat. She quickly switched channels and began directing some help to her right flank.

Khan Johns smiled after the few minutes of silence as he watched his own map display, being updated in real time by an orbiting Aerospace Fighter, Clan Burrocks Aerospace fighters had cleared many of his satellites in orbit as they made their landings. He could see what looked like a full Cluster from the Burrocks' Beta Galaxy, anchoring their center and facing his Alpha Galaxy, starting to move towards the threatened flank. He thumbed a secure channel, "Galaxy Commander Church, you may begin the advance. Push the Burrocks hard in the center."

Galaxy Commander Manuel Church, commander Alpha Galaxy, smiled "Aff, my Khan. We will break their lines within the hour." He quickly switched channels and issued orders to his Red Guards Cluster, held back deliberately for this sort of moment. He then issued orders to the remaining Clusters.

It did not take but mere minutes before the Red Guards Cluster rushed into the fray, driving deep into Clan Burrocks lines, which were well and truly engaged in countless individual duels. The drive by Clan Blood Spirit forces caused some Burrock warriors to break Zell, which only worsened the situation as Clan Blood Spirit forces took full advantage of the sudden general melee. Free from Zellbrigen, Clan Blood Spirit warriors began slowly massing their fire on their most hated enemy. As the Burrock center started slowly falling back, Khan Johns smiled even wider as he thumbed his radio "Galaxy Commander Boques, Zell has been broken, you may begin your drive for the Burrock landing zone. I would like to have some Burrock Dropships by nightfall."

Stormcrow-Ryoken Medium OmniMech (Papercraft crossing river)

Stormcrow Medium OmniMech

"Aff, my Khan." answered Boques

As the situation steadily got worse, Khan Helen Moreau found it harder to control the flow of battle. She had cursed for several minutes when Zell was broken and the entire battle turned into a swirling general melee, one where Clan Blood Spirit had the greater numbers over her Burrocks. Her warriors were slowly being pushed back on all fronts. She targeted a Spirit Stormcrow that came pounding thru her lines and smiled as her fire staggered the OmniMech. She was lining up for the killing shot when her Executioner was rocked by incoming fire, her damage screens flashing several sections in a deep red. Two Spirit Kokou tanks were steadily firing on her, their Large Pulse Lasers stripping armor from her OmniMech at a frightening pace. She never saw the Spirit Gargoyle C wearing the colors of the Red Guards raise its Ultra AC/20 and pump two shots into her rear center armor.

29 December, 3037
Granada (Clan Nova Cat/Clan Blood Spirit)
Former Umayyad Caliphate, Deep Periphery

saKhan Lucian Carns, Clan Nova Cat, was still getting used to his new position. The elevation of Severen Leroux to the position of Khan of Clan Nova Cat had cleared the way to his election to saKhan. He was taking a tour of Clan Nova Cat holdings to familiarize himself with every one of them. Here on Granada, he had even been allowed to visit the Clan Blood Spirit factory from which Clan Nova Cat received 50% of the production. After 3 years, it had finally been fully upgraded and had finally reached full production. Clan Nova Cat had even gone beyond the original bargain and assisted in upgrading the planned production lines, wanting better Battlemechs from it.

Granada Industries (Clan Blood Spirit)

Griffin IIC Medium 'Mech - 1 Line producing 20 per month
Shadow Hawk IIC 2 Medium 'Mech - 1 Line producing 20 per month
Conjurer Medium 'Mech - 2 Line producing 20 per month
Supernova Assault 'Mech - 2 Line producing 10 per month

Armor Facility

Kokou Tank- 2 Line producing 40 per month
Asshur Tank - 1 Line producing 20 per month
Mars Assault Tank - 2 Line producing 30 per month
Badger Infantry Tank - 2 Line producing 40 per month

While Clan Nova Cat had seen their new lower caste assimilate fairly quickly, those in Clan Blood Spirit's territory had not yet fully assimilated. Though they did not actively resist Clan Blood Spirit rule, you could "feel" the underlying "hostility" when around the new lower caste. Clan Blood Spirit had not been as quick to institute the same process as Clan Nova cat had, nor as quick as Clan Wolf, Clan Coyote and a few other Clans. Though they were now applying the same methods to convert those to their ways. They were just a year or so behind Clan Nova Cat's progress.

He had been surprised to learn that Clan Blood Spirit had established several training camps to train warriors drawn from the local population. They had established 3 camps, one each for Mechwarriors, Armor Crew and Infantry. Outside of Clan Hells Horses, Clan Blood Spirit made the most use of Armor Crew and while those assigned to Frontline duty were Trueborn test downs, here they had established a large training camp for Freeborn Armor Crew. He knew about Clan Blood Spirits plan to field dedicated garrison units, along with Clan Coyotes, he was still surprised at the numbers Clan Blood Spirit were training. When he got back to Barcella he would speak to Khan Leroux about his thoughts on the matter.

Castille (Clan Wolf/Clan Coyote)

Khan Robin Steele had activated Omega Galaxy to house his two Freeborn Clusters. Consisting of the 100th Assault Cluster and now the 22nd Striker Cluster (formerly the 22nd Smoke Jaguar Freebirth Cluster), the performance of the 100th Assault Cluster in defeating the 43rd Jaguar battle Cluster, a Front Line Cluster, had done wonders in starting the acceptance of Freeborn warriors in the Coyote Touman. While the Trueborn would never accept the Freeborn warriors as equals, they at least could tolerate them and not actively oppose the idea any longer. He already had 3 messages from Khan Leo Showers promising retribution.

York (Clan Blood Spirit Capital)
Clan Space, Kerensky Cluster

Clan Blood Spirits' 15th Scarlet Battle Cluster plunged into the massive smoke screen covering the Burrock landing zone. Khan Phillip Johns had ordered it laid to cover his forces advance on the landing zone. The few Burrock warriors that attempted to halt the rush were quickly brushed aside. Star Captain Isabel Cluff smiled as the shapes of Dropships began materializing from the smoke. The Omni Mechs carrying her Elemental Trinary barely slowed as they passed rows of Dropships, but it was enough for her Elementals to leap from their mounts with deadly accuracy, landing literally on the Burrock Dropship ramps. Quickly entering the Dropships, the Spirit Elementals quickly took control of 6 Union C, 3 Sassanid and 3 Overlord C Dropships.

As the calls came in that her targets were secure, Star Captain Cluff gave the order for all Dropships to lift off and return to Clan Blood Spirit territory.

Outside, Galaxy Commander Madge Danforth, Clan Burrock Gamma Galaxy, struggled to maintain a defensive line to hold back the main Blood Spirit advance. The disappearance of Khan Moreau had thrown the Burrock forces into further disarray. She knew nothing of the Spirit penetration into the Burrock landing zone and into her rear area. When the Dropships lifted off, her delicate defensive line collapsed as Burrock warriors, thinking they had missed a call to retreat headed for the landing zone at a full run. Her calls over the radio went unanswered in the now near panic caused by being left alone on the Blood Spirit capitol took hold.

Across the Horse Plains, Khan Phillip Johns monitored the complete collapse of the Burrock lines. Enough, he thought to himself, this is enough for now. He gave the order for his forces to stand down and let the Burrocks flee. His forces had inflicted nearly 3 times the casualties on the Burrocks than they sustained. It was time to clean up the battlefield.

30 December, 3037

Khan Helen Moreau awakened slowly, her mind refusing to clear itself of the cobwebs. She could hear low voices but could not make out what they said. She closed her eyes and focused on bringing herself to full alertness. A voice caused her to open her eyes and wince.

"Your awake, Khan Moreau. Your injured and restrained for your own safety right now. The doctors will be putting you back to sleep soon, for transport to a proper medical facility." Khan Phillip Johns said softly nearly touching her ear, which was swathed in bandages.

At Clan Blood Spirits primary space port, the captured Clan Burrock Dropships, along with their captured crews were being carefully inventoried by Clan Blood Spirit techs and Watch members. Of particular note was a Star Colonel Sam Columbo who had made great effort to reach a portable computer located in his small quarters before being clubbed by an Elemental. Both he and his computer had been turned over to Clan Blood Spirits Watch for investigation.

Roche (Clan Goliath Scorpion Capital)
Clan Space, Kerensky Cluster

Khan Nikolai Djerassi, Clan Goliath Scorpion, watched the holovids recovered during the many missions in the Periphery near the Inner Sphere borders. Members of his Watch along with select Seekers had been allowed to ground on inhabited systems for additional intelligence gathering. None had working HPG stations, so had been deemed the safest. These newest videos were hard copies and brought back on one of the many ships that returned with their reports. The current one he was watching was a hodge podge collection of videos showing the Hegemony's return to Terra itself.

While this alone was sort of a shock, it was not nearly so shocking as learning that Amanda Cameron herself, daughter of slain First Lord Richard Cameron, had returned to the Terran Hegemony after the Exodus and attempted to protect the Terran Hegemony until their destruction in 2788. This had caused him to actually question if the Great Father had done the right thing in leading the SLDF away, though he kept this to himself. Now he had identification of several former SLDF commands positively identified from their unit crests painted over the SLDF standard olive drab paint. The 359th Battlemech Division and 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division, both reported destroyed/missing during the Periphery Uprising, only to reappear with Amanda Cameron in 2786, and now they reappear in the latest return of the Terran Hegemony. He had ordered the researchers to triple check everything before presenting it to him, which they had done.

His internal feelings were a jumble, and he did not relish the unsettling feeling they gave him.

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