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Fate Can be Cruel - Chapter Cover

Fate Can Be Cruel - 2766[]

March[]

6 March 2766
Blommestein

The 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division had been ordered to take Blommestein as part of the SLDF's offensive into the Outworlds Alliance. The Division had made the landings on 27 February and for the last week, they had been searching for the rebel forces known to be on the planet. At the Nadir Jump Point, a single Flotilla from the 152nd Escort Squadron, SLS Conroy, Avatar-Class Heavy Cruiser and SLS Rhodan, Luxor-Class Heavy Cruiser. Commodore Barbara Coltrain commanded the Flotilla aboard the SLS Rhodan. Headquarted outside the planet's capitol of New Tamasi, Major General Joseph Bayne directed his Divisions movements as they searched for the rebel forces. This morning started like all the others, but little did he know, today would be much different.

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, XO of 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division, was in the field with the troops. She did not really care for Major General Bayne's habit of staying in the rear. She was a graduate of the SLDF's Gunslinger School and piloted her Pillager, the PLG-3Z with a grace that belied it's 100 tons. Prior to their deployment to the Outworlds Alliance, they had been stationed in the Draconis Combine and the Division had 31 Gunslingers in it. Currently, she and her personal lance were overseeing a sweep of a small town by one of the Divisions Mechanized Infantry Battalions. She was contemplating turning the overwatch mission over to the Mech Company 20km away when gunfire and several small explosions erupted from within the small town.

Luxor Class Heavy Cruiser (Side View Underway - Space - Miniature)

Luxor Class Heavy Cruiser

"Contact, taking heavy fire from inside the town. I have men down. Request support." Came over her radio, she keyed her mic in response "Roger, hold what you have, we are moving to support." Flipping channels "Okay, let's get in there, we have found some rebels." She pushed her Pillager up to a run, heading for the town 5km away.

In minutes, she was maneuvering her 100 ton Pillager down the narrow streets rapidly closing on the scene of the firefight, she could see 2 burning APCs with SLDF clad personnel down just inside the small town square. Reaching the edge of the square, she triggered her jump jets and leaped into the middle of the square planting a Gauss round into a small house spewing machine gun fire at the SLDF soldiers. The house literally disintegrated from the Gauss round. She was about to select another building when her radar detected enemy Mechs inbound. "Bravo One One, I have inbound enemy Mechs, current count 12 closing on my location, get over here." She ordered the SLDF Mech company as she turned her attention to the bigger threat. The lead rebel mech came into view and range at the same time, a Firestarter, she fired her Gauss cannons and the dense slug slammed into the Firestarter's left torso and left arm. She triggered her jump jets to shift positions. Another Firestarter made it's appearance on the battlefield quickly followed by 2 Stingers. When her Gauss cycled, she targeted a Stinger and watched the slug strike the Stinger in the center torso and the Stinger crumpled.

Firestarter (Firing flamer)

Firestarter Light BattleMech

Just as quickly, she retargeted the damaged Firestarter and fired her remaining Gauss cannon and large laser. The large laser blew out the Firestarters left torso, but it was for naught as the Gauss slug ripped the head off the Firestarter. Several medium lasers slashed into her Pillager and she moved to engage the remaining mechs but saw a ERPPC from her wingman's Battlemaster down the remaining Stinger so she shifted again to engage the last Firestarter just as it was torn to shreds by 4 LBX/10 rounds from her Lance's 2 Emperor 6A's. There was no time to focus as the heavier Rebel mechs entered visible sight. Eight Talos entered the battle area.

Not the best equipped to be dancing with the SLDF, she thought as she triggered her jump jets to close the distance on the rebel Talos' inbound. A glance at her display's showed her Lance following her lead and moving to engage also, she quickly zoomed out and saw her reinforcing Mech Company was being engaged by rebel Mechs and Tanks. Her lance was on it's own for now. Her targeting indicators flashed gold and she fired both Gauss cannons, and the dense slugs ripped the left leg right off the lead Talos sending it face first into the soft ground. Her Lance's Emperor's continued their usual tag team and she saw a Talos pummeled by 4 LBX10 and 3 large laser strikes causing it to fall. Her wingman passed her Pillager in his Battlemaster, it's ERPPC reaching out to strike a Talos in the center torso. She did not hesitate and let fly both Gauss cannons watching both slugs striking true and the Talos' reactor detonating damaging it's neighbors. Her Pillager shuddered as it was peppered by LRM fire. Hitting the jump jets again, she moved into range of all her weapons, targeting another Talos and giving it a Alpha Strike the moment her Gauss cannons cycled. The poor Talos was immolated by the incoming mass fire. She hit her jump jets again, landing within almost touching distance from another Talos which she fired her large laser into it's head followed by a left hook, downing the rebel Talos. She searched for another target but the display was blank, all the rebel mechs were down.

Before she could her radio crackled "Zeus Actual is down, repeat Zeus Actual is down. The HQ took a car bomb."

She keyed her mic "Let's get back, I need to coordinate the Division." Switching frequencies, "This is Zeus Bravo, I am in command, activate the backup HQ, I am on my way." She pushed her Pillager to full speed checking on the Infantry in the town and seeing that a company of Turhan's had arrived to support them.

Pinto Corvette - Front Miniature (Firing while underway - Full Thrust)

Pinto Class Corvette firing forward Light Naval PPCs and naval laser.

At the Nadir Jump Point, the SLDF ships detected the emergence wave and the Division's Jumpships plotted their emergency jumps to the Zenith Jump Point. When the 3 Vigilant Corvettes emerged at the Nadir Jump Point, the Divisions transports made the leap to the Zenith Jump Point while the SLS Rhodan and SLS Conroy engaged the massively over matched Vigilant Corvettes. At the Zenith Jump Point, the Divisions transports emerged and sensors detected a new emergence wave. With only 4 Pentagon Assault Dropships to protect them, they launched the Pentagon's and hoped the Cruiser's hurried up their fight. Every ship's captain cursed when the 2 rebel Pinto Corvettes emerged at the Zenith Jump Point and began burning for them, while the 4 Pentagon's moved to intercept them. Worse were the 2 Leopard CV both Pinto's carried and detached. Now 36 rebel Aerospace Fighters began launching.

At the Nadir Jump Point, the first Vigilant Corvette was quickly destroyed by the massed fire from the SLDF cruisers. Several White Shark missiles slammed into the SLS Conroy, but barely scratched it's dense armor as the massive Avatar Cruiser moved to engage another Vigilant Corvette. No one noticed that a Mako-Class Corvette had come in at a pirate point and was moving into orbit of the planet, having it's emergence wave overshadowed by the one at the Zenith Jump Point. SLS Rhodan, Luxor Heavy Cruiser hammered it's Vigilant Corvette into little more than scrap metal in short order, suffering light damage in return. SLS Conroy, Avatar Class Heavy Cruiser tore into the last Vigilant Corvette and held nothing back. Within 5 minutes, the hapless Vigilant was destroyed only landing a few NAC/10 shots into the armor of the SLS Conroy. Both SLDF cruiser plotted emergency jumps for the Zenith Jump Point.

Vigilant Corvettes (At thrust)

Vigilant Class Corvettes

At the Zenith Jump Point, the Rebel Aerospace Fighters were having some difficulty with the 4 Pentagon Dropships, losing 4 of their number as they merged and then blew by the SLDF Dropships on their way to the SLDF transports. The rebel Pinto Corvettes on the other hand, had little difficulty with the SLDF dropships as they opened up on them. As the Rebel Aerospace Fighters began engaging the SLDF Transports, they focused on the massed Star Lord Jumpships, leaving the 4 Tramp Jumpships for the warships. Very quickly, first one and then another SLDF Star Lord was destroyed by the Rebel Aerospace Fighters. Just as quickly, a third had it's jump core severely damaged. Another had it's bridge section destroyed. A few rebel Aerospace Fighters strayed too close to the SLDF Tramps and found themselves under fire from the Tramps ERLL's. But then the rebel Pintos entered range and quickly 2 SLDF Tramps were destroyed by the rebel warships. SLS Conroy and SLS Rhodan emerged at the Zenith Jump Point just as the last SLDF transport was destroyed and quickly launched their Aerospace Fighters and moved to engage the Rebel Pinto Corvettes.

On the ground, fighting intensified for the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division as every Brigade was now heavily engaged by a seemingly unending number of rebel forces. Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell had tried to keep track of the fighting on her way to the Mobile HQ moving to meet her, but it was difficult to do. She reached the Mobile HQ as night fell and the rebel forces began breaking contact.

7 March 2766

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell now had a firm grasp of the situation on the ground and during the night, she had pulled the Divisions scattered units into a more easily supported formation. No one had detected the Mako Corvette now entering orbit, being fed targeting data from the force on the ground. As day began to break over the defensive lines of the 272nd Mechanized Division, fire from the heavens began streaking to the ground. Massive detonations tore into one of the Divisions Battlemech Regiments rendering it combat ineffective in minutes. As the Mako Corvette passed out of firing range, the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division scrambled to redefine it's battle lines and evacuate the wounded. It took 45 minutes for the news to reach the Zenith Jump Point, where Commodore Barbara Coltrain had her Flotilla conducting SAR operations after destroying the 2 rebel Pinto Corvette's. Leaving the SLS Conroy, she had her navigator plot a jump to intercept the Mako Corvette.

Rescue operation were well underway as the Mako Corvette came back into firing range of the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division an hour later. Again orbital fire streaked from the heavens seeking out targets, but Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell had dispersed the Divisions forces enough that only a single Battlemech Battalion was immolated in this volley. Before the Mako moved out of range again, it's captain targeted the SLDF Dropships at the capitol's space port and let loose a parting volley, until next time anyway. The orbital fire destroyed the only two Overlord Dropships the Division had.

The Rebel Mako Corvette never got a chance to make another firing pass as the SLS Rhodan, Luxor Heavy Cruiser had made the jump into a dangerous pirate point in very close proximity to the planet itself. As the Mako Corvette came around the planet, it suddenly found itself under attack from SLDF Aerospace Fighters and then came face to face with an enraged Luxor Heavy Cruiser. The Rebel captain ordered a massive speed boost of 4g's in a desperate attempt to flee the area. As the accelerating Mako zipped past the SLS Rhodan, it was hammered by the Luxor Heavy Cruiser leaving it a shattered hulk speeding thru space at high speed.

On the surface, the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division found itself under heavy attack from rebel forces outside it's perimeter. At least 3 Rebel Divisions were attacking the hard pressed 272nd Mechanized Infantry. The Division's Artillery fired non stop fire support missions throughout the day in support of the Divisions combat elements. The attacks did not slack off until Commodore Coltrain moved the SLS Rhodan into an orbit to provide orbital fire destroying part of an attacking rebel Division.

8 March 2766
Blommestein

In the very early morning hours, a nuclear weapon smuggled in somehow was detonated at the space port destroying 3 Mammoth-Class Dropships loaded with the majority of the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Divisions ammunition and spare parts. Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, commander of the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division, could not believe the horrible luck suddenly cursing her Division. Even if she decided to withdraw her Division, with their transports destroyed, she only had 10 collars available to use. She called up her the Division's current TOE while her staff worked to come to grips with the supply situation and it was not pretty.

272nd Mechanized Infantry Division

  • 2721st Brigade
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 2 Battalions
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 2 Battalions
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 2 Battalions
    • Light Battlemech Battalion - 1 Company
  • 2722nd Brigade
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 2 Battalions
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 2 Battalions
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 1 Battalion
    • Light Battlemech Battalion - 2 Company's
  • 2723rd Brigade
    • Battlemech Regiment - 1 Battalion
    • Battlemech Regiment - 2 Company's
    • Battlemech Regiment - 2 Battalions
  • Armor Brigade (Combat Vehicles)
    • Armor Regiment - 1 Battalion
    • Armor Regiment - 2 Battalions
    • Armor Regiment - 1 Battalion
    • Artillery Regiment
    • Long Tom Artillery - 1 Battalion
    • Thumper Artillery Vehicles- 1 Battalion
    • Arrow Missile Artillery - 1 Battalion
  • Cavalry Battalion
    • LAM Company - 1 Lance
    • LAM Company - 2 Lances
    • LAM Company - Destroyed
    • Cavalry Company - 2 Lances
    • Cavalry Company - 1 Lance
  • 272nd Ground Aero Wing
    • Aerospace Wing - 2 Squadrons
    • Aerospace Wing - 2 Squadrons
    • Fixed Conventional Wing - 1 Squadron
  • 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division Killed - 2,093
  • 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division Wounded - 1,831
  • 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division Missing - 427
  • Dropships
    • Command Dictator - 1
    • Dictator - 9
    • Union - 6
    • Union CV - 2
    • Lion - 4
    • Triumph - 6
    • Colossus - 4
    • Leopard CV - 2
    • Czar - 6
    • Mammoth - 3
    • Mule - 2
Colossus DropShip (Operation Lancaster)

Colossus Class Heavy Combined Arms Transport DropShip

She did some quick calculations in her head and it was quickly apparent that she had the transport ability to get her Division off the ground, but not nearly enough collars to transport all of her Dropships. Even before her staff had completed it's supply inventory, she estimated they had less than 1/2 of their ammunition and supply remaining. She turned to the duty officer "I am going to take a tour of the lines, call me if I am needed."

Three hours later, Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell was piloting her Pillager around the Divisions defensive lines. Scattered fire fights around the perimeter sounded all day, but no major attacks came. In orbit, SLS Conroy, Avatar Heavy Cruiser had joined on SLS Rhodan, Luxor Heavy Cruiser and between them, they awaited a target for their weapons. When I get back, I will have to fire up the HPG and report to Corps for orders, she thought to herself. She never knew that she would never have the chance to make the call.

Anti-Aerospace Vehicle Battery (drawn by Bussaca)

Anti-Aerospace Vehicle Battery site

Before Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell could return to the Mobile HQ and it's mobile HPG, 48 Conventional fighters flying nape of the earth roared across the Divisions defensive lines. Anti-aircraft fire destroyed 8 of the fighters as they passed overhead. The Divisions Aerospace Fighters began lifting off from the runways to intercept the rebel fighters. They quickly destroyed 21 more, but then the rebels were over the Divisions main base and they rippled off their bombs as they fled the area. Not a single rebel fighter made it to safety, but they had completed their mission, for the Divisions last mobile HPG was on it's side and engulfed in flames. The 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division was now cut off from communication with higher command.

9 March 2766
Woogi (Taurian Concordat)

Colonel Bradley King, commander of the 509th BattleMech Regiment, watched as his command swept around the left flank of the rebel force while the 126th Dragoon Regiment held firm and delivered steady fire into the rebel force. His 1st Battalion was fully equipped with Crab, CRB-27sl, 2nd Battalion was equipped with 2 Company's of Guillotine, GLT-3N and a Company of Cestus CTS-6Y and 3rd Battalion was fully equipped with Lancelot, LNC25-01sl.

The massive amount of Large Pulse Laser fire from 1st Battalion tore into the rebel Battlemechs fully supported by the ER Large Laser fire from 3rd Battalion, between them, they ripped into the rebel force before them, mowing down enemy Battlemechs already damaged by fire from the 126th Dragoon Regiment. His 2nd Battalion was pushing steadily into the enemy's rear area. It was a picture perfect battle, with the SLDF forces taking minimal losses while sweeping the enemy before them. And then Murphy showed up and crapped all over everything.

At blistering speed, 2 Regiments of Rebel LTV-4 Hover tanks blazed into the rear of the 126th Dragoon Regiment tearing into the rear armor of the units Heavy and Assault Battlemechs with PPC fire and coating them inferno with their SRM-4s. Stunned by the devastation suddenly being wrought on their sister Regiment, the advance of the 509th Battle Regiment faltered. Colonel King watched as his 2nd Battalion turned and proceeded to advance to help their sister unit, when a hidden Regiment of Rebel Merkava MkVIII Tanks opened fire from hidden positions on the now exposed rear armor of his 2nd Battalion. Massive volleys of LRM-15 fire seemed to blot out the sun, while entire platoons of rebel Merkavas targeted individual SLDF Battlemechs for fire from their AC/5's. He watched in horror as a 2nd Battalion lost 8 Battlemechs in the opening volley. His 2nd Battalion turned to face this new threat, Guillotine's leaping on blasts of flame.

First Battalion, 509th Battle Regiment pushed to the 126th Dragoons lines and their Large Pulse Laser's quickly began taking a toll on the speeding hover tanks. Third Battalion held the line against the rebel force, but the rebel's were regrouping and massing fire effectively taking advantage of 3rd Battalion's light armor. Then rebel artillery fire started falling, but it was badly aimed and landing to the rear of the 509th's Battlemechs. Two Lances of rebel ARC-2R Archer ARC-2R and a Lance of CPLT-C1 Catapult appeared and began massing fire on the 126th Dragoon Regiment's Battlemechs.

Catapult LRM Mech (Blender Version)

Capault Heavy 'Mech

Colonel King watched as his 3rd Battalion began falling back from the rebel Battlemechs as their lighter armor began to fail. When the first Lancelot detonated a mine and lost a leg, he knew now what the enemy artillery had been dropping, a massive minefield. What had been a picture perfect battle was now a scene of absolute horror. He keyed his radio "Everyone fall back to the Dropships, it is time to save our butts."

What had once been such a promising career was now destroyed, Colonel King thought to himself as he throttled his rare EXC-4C Exterminator into a run for the Dropships. It was not his fault that the Quartermasters had screwed up and sent it to his command.

Three hours later, he had parked his Exterminator in his mech bay and was standing at the ramp of the Dropship as his 509th Battle Regiment staggered in. He recognized Major Jenny Davidson's Cestus as it approached, badly scared with battle damage. He only saw one other Cestus, limping on what had to be a bad hip. He keyed his portable radio "Major Davidson report." he ordered. He never saw the large laser fired by Major Davidson that vaporized him where he stood.

Inside the Cestus, Major Jenny Davidson keyed her mic "Everyone onboard the Colonel's Dropship, we are done with this crap." Hers was the last Battlemech aboard, she counted 2 Cestus, including hers, 13 Crab, 6 Lancelot and 9 Guillotine board the Dictator Dropship which lifted off almost the moment the ramp closed. Followed minutes later by the rest of the Dropships on the field.

As the Dropships reached orbit on their burn for the Jump Point, Major Jenny Davidson was horrified when the orbiting SLDF Destroyers began blindly bombarding the planet. Before she could ask the Dropship captain, he turned to her "Colonel King radioed them to blast the planet the moment the Dropships reached orbit Major."

12 March 2766
Woogi (Taurian Concordat)

Mule Cargo DropShip (Loading Cargo at spaceport - Dana Knutson version)

Mule Class Cargo Dropship, loading cargo

With the 509th Battle Regiment's 6 Dropships now docked with the SLDF Star Lord Jumpship, Major Davidson made the rounds and spoke to the survivors of the 509th. Only 31 Battlemechs had made it back to the ships, but those 31 Battlemechs had recovered 19 additional pilots who had ejected. The surviving Mechwarriors along with the Regiment's technical personnel and Dropship crews were gathered in the vast cargo bay of the Mule Dropship assigned to the Regiment.

"I can only speak for myself, but I cannot serve in an army that willingly bombards a planet with blind orbital bombardment. It is one thing to use orbital fire when you have spotters, but that was sickening. The 126th Dragoon Regiment was wiped out except for their Dropships and support troops because Colonel King was an idiot and a coward to boot." Major Davidson said, she had noted the many nods as she had spoken

Captain Joshua Reynolds spoke next "I am with the Major. I say we take this Jumpship and get gone. Go far away from the Taurian Concordat." The chorus of affirmatives told how the survivors felt.

Blommestein (Outworlds Alliance)

The 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division had been steadily pushed back by almost non-stop attacks from seemingly endless rebel forces. Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell knew she had no choice but to evacuate the planet. Not even selective orbital bombardment had halted the attacks. The heaviest attacks were coming from the capitol city and attempting to push into the space port. She could not bring herself to target the city with orbital fire. She ordered a Mammoth unloaded, she would pack as much of the Divisions equipment into it. She ordered the Aerospace Wing loaded back onto the Union CVs and for them to be ready to boost for orbit. Already she had loaded a Czar Dropship with the Divisions wounded and sent it into orbit. Tomorrow would be an exciting day for everyone.

13 March 2766

During the night, the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division had literally packed the designated Dropships. Only the Battlemech Brigade remained on the perimeter. All night long they had traded fire with rebel forces. At dawn, Dropships began lifting off for orbit and the Battlemech Brigade made for their Dropships. The furthest Battalion first, covered by selected orbital fire to hold the rebels at bay. During the night, while loading, Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell had ordered all of the Divisions equipment loaded, including the units remaining ammunition and supplies. Damned if she would leave the rebels anything. They would load as much into the orbiting warships cargo bays as they could. Then the warships would destroy the empty Dropships after the crews were transferred off.

As the last Battlemechs boarded the Dropships and were locked into their transport bays, Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell gave the command to lift off. Without HPG communications, she had no clue where to head next.

14 March 2766
Ambatomainty (Outworlds Alliance)

Major General Thomas Wallace, commander 126th Mechanized Infantry Division, had landed his Division almost 3 weeks ago. The mission was to relieve the 135th Mechanized Infantry Division. So far, all they had discovered was a massive amount of destroyed Battlemechs, APCs and a bunch of graves. A week ago, his warship escort had been pulled when reports of enemy warships in the Santa Ana system. Well, not all of them, not really, SLS Mighty Lift, Potemkin Class Transport was still in system and in orbit. He studied the holo display in his Mobile HQ on his Divisions search areas. Suddenly he heard gunfire and the screech of car tires before everything went a blinding white. The nuclear detonation destroyed the entire command staff of the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division along with the Divisions Artillery Regiment.

Almost at the same time, the scattered Brigades of the Division came under heavy attack. Without guidance from above, each Brigade commander fought his own battle, unaware of what was happening anywhere else. The 1261st Brigade was the first to succumb when the rebels detonated 4 nuclear weapons destroying 7 of the 9 Battalions outright. The remaining 2 Battalions began pulling back at high speed. The Brigades Battlemech Battalion valiantly fought a rearguard action until the last Battlemech fell.

The commander of 1262nd Brigade was on the continent of Robson B and his Brigade was facing at least a full rebel Battlemech Division. Failing to contact Division HQ, he contacted SLS Mighty Lift in orbit and learned that no one had contact with Division HQ. He requested orbital fire in support of his Brigade to allow him to break contact and board his Dropships to reform with the rest of the Division. By the end of the day, 1262nd Brigade boarded their Dropships under the covering fire of the SLS Mighty Lift, Potemkin Transport, they had not escaped unscathed for only 5 Battalions of Mechanized Infantry made it back to the landing zone. Their Battlemech Battalion had sold themselves buying the Infantry time to escape.

Potemkin (Old - Underway)

Potemkin Transport Warship, SLS Mighty Lift'

The Battlemechs of 1263rd Brigade utterly destroyed the forces arrayed against them, but they had lost just over 2 Battalions of Battlemechs in the process. Lieutenant General Colin McGregor, commander of 1263rd Brigade, having no contact with Division pulled his Regiments into a good defensive lines while he attempted to reach Division. Finally making SLS Mighty Lift came up on the Division net and everyone learned of the nuclear strike on both Division HQ and 1261st Brigade. Gathering his downed Mechwarriors, he ordered his Brigade to begin the march back to Division HQ. It would take 3 days to get back.

17 March 2766

Lieutenant General Colin McGregor and 1263rd Brigade finally reached the Division landing zone at the space port after a grueling 3 day march, conducting a fighting withdrawal the entire way. They had paid a heavy price, losing another 3 Battalions of Battlemechs in the march. He began the task of assigning his remaining Battalions to the Division perimeter while rotating his Battlemechs in for repairs. At least the Division was all together again and not scattered all over the place. During the evening, the 3 Brigade commanders argued over their next moves. When no consensus was reached, Lieutenant General Colin McGregor finally slammed his hand down on the table in the makeshift HQ.

Thug (Blender Battletech - Lake Area)

Thug Assault 'Mech

"ENOUGH!!! If I have to listen to anymore bickering over who out ranks who, I swear I will mount up in my Thug and smash you both into paste. Lieutenant General Kline, your 1261st Brigade basically no longer exists, fold your 2 Battalions into 1262nd Brigade. You are now my executive officer of the Division. What is left of it anyway. I will assign the Cavalry Battalion to 1262nd Brigade, it will bring you up to as close to full strength as we can make it." He turned to Lieutenant General Oscar Cortez "Oscar, your Armor Brigade is almost full strength, minus the few losses you took in the nuclear attack. I want a full Regiment in the 1262nd Brigade's sector of the perimeter to back stop them. Your other 2 Regiments I want on each flank of the perimeter. I will assign my last Battlemech Regiment to the last side of the box and my 4th Battlemech Battalion will act as a flying reserve."

A chorus of "Yes, Sirs" came from the gathered officers as they broke up the meeting and returned to their units. Now what the hell do we do, Lieutenant General Colin McGregor thought.

18 March 2766
Loikaw (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore Barbara Coltrain and her Flotilla materialized at the Zenith Jump Point. After the many jumps her ships had made int he last year without much needed overhauls, she did not want to push the double jumps anymore than she had to. Attached to SLS 'Conroy, Avatar Heavy Cruiser and SLS Rhodan, Luxor Heavy Cruiser were the remaining Dropships from the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division, crammed to the gills with the Divisions equipment and personnel.

  • Transportation Assets
  • 1 Dictator Dropships
  • 1 Command Dictator Dropship
  • 1 Union CV Dropship
  • 3 Colossus Dropships
  • 2 Mammoth Dropships
  • 2 Czar Dropships

They had destroyed the remaining Dropships before departing the Blommestein system. Commodore Barbara Coltrain ordered her ships to begin recharge operations.

19 March 2766
Loikaw (Outworlds Alliance)

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the detected emergence wave turned out to be just a civilian Merchant Jumpship. Commodore Barbara Coltrain had taken a shuttle over the to the Merchant Jumpship and met with the ship's captain. After 4 hours, she had shuttled back to SLS Rhodan, Luxor Heavy Cruiser with all the information the ships captain had on the current state of affairs.

"Well, things are pretty dismal out here according to the civilian captain. The rebels have made it a point to destroy as many HPG stations out here as they could. He just came from Maripa, but before that, he did a pass thru these 3 systems here, Pilon, Boulsi and Thazi. On Pilon, the rebels have the 322nd Armored Division and 277th Dragoon Regiment trapped on planet, but not the strength to defeat them, yet. They overran the space port and captured their Dropships and also the 277th Dragoon Regiment's Jumpships which they are holding at the Nadir Jump Point.

Boulsi is a hotbed of rebel activity. The captain says the Recharge Station at the Nadir Jump Point was charging Jumpships like mad. He had been told to recharge normally. He is sure he spotted 2 Lola I Destroyers also. Before he jumped, he says there were drive flares from Dropships moving to the Zenith Jump Point. His guess is the rebels are moving to help out on Pilon.

Thazi is rebel held and they are not too friendly. They hold the Recharge Station at the Nadir Jump Point and are charging double rates for recharges, so says our captain. Our captain was delivering some raw ore there and picking up food for delivery to Maripa. He finally decided that the area is a little too hot for him to play around in right now." Commodore Barbara Coltrain explained

Olympus Space Station (Solar Sail Deployed)

Olympus Recharging Station

"Well, that gives a destination, we move to Pilon. We assist the 322nd Armored and 277th Dragoon Regiment. They are fellow SLDF and we will not leave them to die. Commodore Coltrain, start plotting us a course to Pilon." Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell ordered

Woogi (Taurian Concordat)

Major Jenny Davidson looked at Major Tony Grissom, commander of the 509th Battle Regiment's assigned Foot Infantry Battalion, and nodded her head. Major Grissom spoke into his hand held radio "Go". In less than 15 minutes, they had secured the SLS Jumping Glory, Star Lord Jumpship. Major Grissom and Major Davidson waited on the Star Lord's grav deck as the ships crew were brought in from the various sections. When they were all assembled, Major Davidson rose to speak.

"I am sorry we have had to do this, but we are tired of the fighting, at least this kind of fighting. We are tired of having worthless commanders appointed over us. So we have made the decision to take over this vessel. None of you will be harmed, unless you resist. Get us to where we want to go, and we will release you unharmed. We are not monsters, just very tired soldiers. Captain, when those warships join on us and we jump, I want us to come out in a totally different area than the one they tell you about. You understand? If they say we are going straight, I want you to take us left." Major Davidson said

"I understand, you know the SLDF will hunt you down. If they catch you, it will not be pretty." The ships captain replied

"We all fully understand the risk we are taking and are willing to take that chance." Major Davidson answered

"Well then, the good news is neither of those Essex Destroyers have LF Batteries, so once we jump, we will already have a head start on them." The captain replied

NP28 (Taurian Concordat)

Colonel Patrick Quieg sat on the grav deck of the ancient Star Lord Jumpship the rebels had provided them. For the millionth time he shook his head, how the mighty have fallen. He thought back to Mithron.

The 31st Infantry Division had been stationed on the Mithron when the Uprising started. It had begun with small terror attacks and then, during a meeting of the Divisions leadership, a nuclear car bomb had in one strike, decapitated the Division. The only reason he had survived was that his Infantry Regiment had been on patrol on the continent of New Solem. Learning of the attack, he had packed his Regiment on board their Czar Dropship and headed back to the Divisons base not far from the planets capitol.

He and his Regiment had arrived to a total mess. It was then that he had learned that he was the ranking officer in the entire Division left alive. When the rebels had gotten serious, the 31st Division put up a strong defense for 4 months. Dug in deep in the mountains, they had held. Waiting for the cavalry to arrive. It never did. As food reached a critical point, their saving grace was the rebel commander. Under a white flag, he had offered to allow the remains of the Division to depart Mithron safely, in recognition of the 31st Division's brave defense and avoidance of civilian deaths, but they would be allowed small arms only, all heavy equipment would be turned over. He had been tempted to tell the rebel commander to shove it, but sanity took over and he agreed to the idea.

When he had made a tour of the remaining unit's of the 31st Infantry Division, he had been surprised when most of them said they just wanted to get the hell away. The SLDF had abandoned them, so by god, they wanted to abandon the SLDF.

Now, here they were, crammed aboard 6 Czar Dropships. The heaviest weapons they had were light machine guns and their Mauser 960 rifles. But he had saved the lives of 6,021 of the 31st Infantry Divisions personnel. He pulled out the personnel roster he had carried since the departure and looked at it.

8 Battalions of Infantry - 2,016
2 Battalions of Mechwarriors - 72
3 Battalions of Armor crew - 540
Dropship Crews - 1,756
Division Support - 1,637

At least his Infantry were basically armed with their normal weapons of war. Small Arms. They were being transported to the Tortuga Dominions. No one knew what laid ahead.

Spitz (Taurian Concordat)

Lieutenant General Nathan Baxter, ranking officer 359th Battlemech Division, was aboard the SLS Stellar Journey, Star Lord Jumpship. They had been lucky to survive the ambush. On December 9, 2765 the 359th Battlemech Division had boarded their Dropships after putting down the rebellion on Brisbane to travel to New Vandenburg to assist the 329th Battlemech Division which was under heavy assault by rebels. While docking with the Jumpships, a fleet of rebel warships had jumped into the same Jump Point being used by the Divisions transports. Their SLDF warship escort had moved to engage the rebels but not before most of the transports and Dropships of the Division had been destroyed. The remaining transports had made emergency jumps to a empty system 29ly away. Without warship escorts, he had made the decision to move deeper into the periphery to avoid running into any further rebel warships.

359th Battlemech Division

  • 6 Battlemech Battalions
  • 4 Mechanized Infantry Battalions
  • 2 Armor Battalions
  • 1 Cavalry Battalion (-1 LAM Company)
  • 1 Artillery Battalion
  • 1 Engineer Battalion
  • Division's Transportion Assets
    • 6 Dictator Dropships
    • 2 Czar Dropship
    • 2 Triumph Dropships
    • 6 Confederate Dropships
    • 4 Lion Dropships
    • 1 Mammoth Dropships
  • 4th Transport Squadron
    • 4 Star Lord Jumpships

He had no communication with higher, and was not keen on attempting to even see a inhabited system right now. His main concern was his troops safety.

20 March 2766
Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

Major General Heinrich Rommel, commander of the 322nd Armored Division, had seen better days, or even campaigns. Having his Division assigned to the 18th Army in 2764 instead of deep in the Inner Sphere, where his Division might actually see some action, had been a great thing. But now, for the last 7 months, he had watched his fine Armored Division pushed back from the small space port by the rebel forces and into the capitol city proper. Then the 277th Dragoon Regiment had arrived, they had pushed the rebels back from the space port, only to have the rebels resort to a nuke which destroyed a Battalion from the 277th Dragoon Regiment which allowed the rebels to once again take the space port and both units Dropships.

He compared his commands starting TOE with what he had left and it was almost enough to bring a tear to his eye. The SLDF did not have many full on Armored Divisions, so the 322nd Armored Division was given great latitude in their TOE.

322nd Armored Division

  • 3221st Brigade
  • Armored Regiment - 2 Battalion Alacorn MkVI, 1 Battalion Von Luckner (sl) - now 4 Company's Alacorn, 2 Companies Von *Luckner
  • Armored Regiment - 2 Battalion Von Luckner, 1 Battalion Manticore - now 1 Battalion Von Luckner, 1 Company Manticore
  • Infantry Regiment - 3 Foot Infantry Battalions, 1 Battalion Turhan - now 6 Company's Infantry, 1 Company Turhan
  • 3222nd Brigade
    • Armored Regiment - 2 Battalion Von Luckner (sl), 1 Battalion Burke - now 5 Company's Von Luckner, 1 Company Burke
    • Armored Regiment - 2 Battalion Demon, 1 Battalion Chevalier - now 1 Battalion Demon, 2 Company Chevalier
    • Infantry Regiment - 3 Foot Infantry Battalions, 1 Battalion Turhan - now 2 Battalion Infantry, 2 Company Turhan
  • 3223rd Brigade
    • Armored Regiment - 1 Battalion Beagle, 2 Battalion Zephyr - now 2 Company Beagle, 4 Company Zephyr
    • Armored Regiment - 1 Battalion Beagle, 2 Battalion Zephyr - now 1 Company Beagle, 1 Battalion Zephyr
    • Infantry Regiment - 3 Foot Infantry Battalions, 1 Battalion Maxim - now 2 Battalion Infantry, 1 Company Maxim
  • Artillery Regiment
    • Artillery Battalion - 1 Battalion Thor - now 2 Company's Thor
    • Artillery Battalion - 1 Battalion Thor - now 2 Company's Thor
    • Artillery Battalion - 1 Batalion Chaperal - now 2 Company's Chaperal
  • Engineer Regiment
    • Engineer Battalion - 1 Battalion Engineer - now 2 Company's Engineer
    • Engineer Battalion - 1 Battalion Engineer - now 1 Company Engineer
    • Engineer Battalion - 1 Battalion Engineer - now 1 Company Engineer
  • Conventional Ground Aerowing
    • Conventional Attack Wing - 54 Meteor - now 16 Meteor
    • Conventional Attack Wing - 54 Meteor - now 14 Meteor
    • VTOL Transport Wing - 54 Cobra - now 22 Cobra
    • Jump Infantry Regiment - 3 Battalion Jump Infantry - now 5 Company's Jump Infantry

The 277th Dragoon Regiment had fared not much better, they were down to just 4 Company's of Battlemechs and 2 Company's Mechanized Infantry. Major General Rommel looked to the heavens at the bright moving spots, Dropships inbound, I wonder who's they are. He prayed they were his relief, they were getting low on ammunition. He had tried to send a HPG message from his Mobile HQ, but they had no luck getting a return signal off any HPG in range. The rebels had knocked out the planets HPG right from the start.

Luderitz (Taurian Concordat)

Major General Iris Carman, commander 280th Mechanized Infantry Division, had found herself in a very unusual position, actually outnumbered by the rebels who did not hesitate to use WMD's against her command. Not to mention the fact that the Navy did not really have control of the space in system. Even after 2 weeks of fighting, there seemed to be a never ending flow of rebel Pinto Corvettes and worst of all, a team of 3 former SLDF Aegis Class Cruisers that had mutinied and joined the rebels. They were the most deadly and had already teamed up and destroyed several SLDF warships in the fighting.

Her Division had already suffered 35% casualties during the campaign on this planet and the threat of WMD forced her to keep her command widely dispersed which allowed the enemy to inflict damage on her Division since she could not mass her forces. Major General Harold Inim, commander LXVI Corps had ordered her Division to secure Baltar and Luderitz. Baltar was fairly easy and the 280th Mechanized Infantry Division had met light resistance, but Luderitz had proved to be a much tougher fight than planned.

20 March 2766 Marantha (Magistracy of Canopus)

The 268th Royal Battlemech Division had been subjected to massive chemical weapons attacks during the beggining of the Periphery Uprising which had killed over 60% of the Divisions personnel before they had even known a fight was on. The remainder of the Division fought for 2 months until being destroyed by the rebel forces. The rebels wasted no time in making attmepts to use the advanced Battlemechs, but found the security systems extremely difficult to break.

Thus was the case when the 9th Royal CAAN Marine Regiment, 9917th Marine Regiment and 75th Light Horse Regiment had discovered on their arrival. Finding the 286th Royal Battlemech Division destroyed, both Regiments were able to force the rebels back and secure the 286th's Battlemechs, many still in their bays. Plans had been hasily made to remove as much of the advanced equipment as possible. Major Oscar Venezuela, commander of 2nd Battalion, 9917th Marine Regiment had found himself aboard the SLS Stellar Gypsy, Tramp Jumpship with 3 Lee Dropships loaded with equipment from the destroyed 286th Royal Battlemech Division. Not far away, he knew a like detachment from the 9th Royal CAAN Marine Regiment had been doing the exact same thing only they had brought up 3 Lee's, 1 Titan and 2 Mule's were docking with the SLS Stellar Nomad, Star Lord Jumpship.

When 4 hostile Lola II Destroyers made their arrival 150,000km away, the SLDF warship escort had ordered the transports to make emergency jumps from the system. Hastily, SLDF Jumpship captains made their calculations to distant locations. SLS Stellar Gypsy, Tramp Jumpship and SLS Stellar Nomad, Star Lord Jumpship, both transports for the 9th Royal CAAN Marine Regiment coordinated their jumps and in a instant, both leaped from the system arriving at an unhabitable system 29LY from Marantha but deeper into hostile territory.

That had been 4 months ago. Now, Major Oscar Venezuela and his little convoy were in the system Fronc. During their journey, they had met several independent traders who informed them that the entire Periphery was in flames with hostile forces all over the area near the Great Houses. This information had only pushed the small convoy deeper into the periphery. They were 3 days into their recharge cycle when the emergence wave was detected, which caused no small amount of anxiety. Virtually helpless, except by using the docked Lee Dropships for defense, they waited.

A single Tramp Jumpship emerged only 28,000km away and everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the newly arrived ship's IFF identified it as SLS Infinite Journey, Tramp Jumpship. Communications were established and the commander of the lone Jumpship boarded a shuttle for the trip over. Hours later, Major Venezuela met Colonel Irma Fuentes, commander 19th Hussar Regiment, or the remains of the unit as only 1 Dropship was docked with their Jumpship.

"Colonel, Major Oscar Venezuela, 9917th Marine Regiment. We are glad to see a friendly face." Major Venezuela said

"Colonel Irma Fuentes, 19th Hussar Regiment. Well, not much of a Regiment anymore. We got torn to pieces on Dunianshire and barely got away. Only my Overlord managed to make it to the Jumpship. I have 9 operational Battlemechs, but the spare space is filled with my people. We are short supplies." Colonel Fuentes said

"We have no idea what happened to our parent units. A small part of the 9th Royal CAAN Regiment is aboard the Star Lord. I have my Battalion aboard my ship here." Major Venezuela replied

"A small portion? You have 9 Dropships attached to your ships. That makes no sense." Colonel Fuentes stated

"Those Dropships are loaded with equipment from the 286th Royal Battlemech Division. We found everyone dead and most of their equipment intact. The Task Force commander ordered the equipment loaded aboard Dropships and removed from the planet. When enemy warships arrived, we were ordered to scatter with emergency jumps. We have been running ever since." Major Venezuela explained

"Well, how about that. I have 37 Mechwarriors and 14 Aerospace pilots without a ride. Your ships will join with me, until such time as we reach a safe place to contact higher and find out what the hell we do. Now, how about we go take a look at what is in those Dropships." Colonel Irma Fuentes said

"No need Colonel, I have the cargo manifests right here." Major Venezuela said holding out his datapad, which Colonel Fuentes took. She started looking at it.

286th Royal Battlemech Division Equipment Inventory

  • Battlemechs
    • 24 Spector SPR-4F
    • 16 Hermes HER-1Sb
    • 16 Mongoose MON-66b
    • 24 Talon TLN-5W
    • 16 Shadow Hawk SHD-2Hb
    • 24 Griffin GRF-2N
    • 12 Catapult CPLT-C1b
    • 28 Archer ARC-2Rb
    • 40 Warhammer WHM-7A
    • 40 Thunderbolt TDR-5Sb
  • Aerospace Fighters
  • 12 Stuka STU-K5b2
  • 24 Sabre SB-28
  • 18 Rapier RPR-200

"The Mules are loaded with ammunition and spare parts, I don't even know if the spare parts are for the equipment we have loaded. They were basically stuffing stuff on board the Dropships as fast as they could load them." Major Feuntes stated

"Well Major, we shall have to endeavor to an inventory and figure out exactly what we have. But first, let's get my pilots over here and onboard that Titan. I will feel much better with some sort of defense while we are recharging." Colonel Fuentes said.

21 March 2766
Ambatomainty (Outworlds Alliance)

The rebels had been pushing the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division hard over the last week, but the 126th had managed to hold. Even with the SLS Mighty Lift, Potemkin Transport was providing targeted fire support, Lieutenant General Colin McGregor his Division could not hold out forever. The last week had seen them loose another Battalion of Battlemechs, 2 Battalions of Infantry and 2 Battalions of Armor. A knock caused him to look up, Lieutenant General Kline, Division executive officer stood in the door. McGregor waved him inside and to close the door.

"What is the news XO?" McGregor asked.

"The rebels are pushing hard from the city again, it prevents us from using orbital fire to slow them. We are holding, but unless we go all out, sooner or later they will breach our lines and pour into the space port proper." Kline said.

"So, it is that time. We knew it was coming, either we destroy the city and kill a few million civilians or we need to start thinking evacuation. Well, I am not going to kill a couple million civilians. Start working on a evacuation plan. Load all the extra ammunition and supplies and get them up to Mighty Lift. The Battlemech Regiment holds the city side of the perimeter. We can have the Transport fire on the other 3 sides as needed. After the ammunition and supplies, load the support troops. Then the Infantry and slowest tanks. Fastest tanks and the Battlemechs will load last and boost." McGregor said.

"Yes sir, I will work out the nitty gritty details. I expect the rebels will push even harder once they see the first Dropships boost." Kline responded.

"Oh, you can bet the farm on that. So plan for a very rapid fall back when the time comes, I am not losing anymore people than we have to." McGregor said

Fallry (Outworlds Alliance)

Major Yuri Nabokov, acting commander 211th Hussar Regiment, thought back over the last 6 months of the campaign. It was not a very pleasant memory, one that had shaken his beliefs to the core.

Ordered to reinforce the 217th Mechanized Infantry Division on Dneiper in October 2765, they had arrived to discover the 217th already destroyed. Then they had their warship escort pulled and ordered to reinforce the 61st Royal Jump Infantry Division on Vangburg, all the way on the other side of the Alliance. On 9 January 2766, on of their Tramp LF Jumpships had blown out it's helium seals. This was bad enough, for it carried most of their ammunition and spare parts aboard the 2 Mule-Class Dropships it carried. Colonel Namath had ordered 2 Confederate-Class Dropships unloaded and then scuttled. The Mules had been transferred to the now free collars, crew transferred off the Tramp LF Jumpship and then it was scuttled. The worst was when they made the next jump after fully charging their drives and batteries, they had jumped into Trespass and arrived at the Nadir Jump Point, almost on top of a damned rebel Pinto Corvette. Colonel Namath's Tramp LF Jumpship had been the closest to the enemy Pinto and had taken a hit that disabled the Tramp before a single calculation had been done. He had detached the 2 Union Dropships in an attempt to buy time and Major Nabokov had watched 2 Company's of 1st Battalion destroyed within minutes and then the now 5 Jumpship strong fleet made the jump to Johnson.

Now, here they were, without warship escort still, saying damned prayers before every jump. We are the Star League Defense Force. We are not supposed to be helpless to enemy warships. No one has a Navy that even comes close to ours, yet here we are, in the boonies, heading into harms way, totally defenseless to any damned ancient warship that appears. We are being sold down the river and hung out to dry by our glorious high command. Total BS. He had heard the complaints on every ship when he took a shuttle around the small fleet during recharge operations. But what could they do, they had their orders.

Loikaw (Outworlds Alliance)

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell nodded at Commodore Barbara Coltrain who tossed a half salute "Nav, sound the warning, we jump to Maripa, fast calculation and then to Pilon. Let's go ahead and sound General Quarters." Five minutes later, the 10 second warning sounded and then everything blurred.

Maripa (Outworlds Alliance)

The 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division emerged at the Zenith Jump Point and the navigators began working up their calculations. Commodore Coltrain had argued for recharging their drive to have the ability to jump out quick, but Lieutenant General Mitchell had reminded her that their were SLDF troops that needed help, quick. The moment the navigators had completed the calculations, Commodore Coltrain had given the order "Jump"

Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)
SLS 'Conroy, Avatar-Class Heavy Cruiser and SLS Rhodan, Luxor-Class Heavy Cruiser emerged at the Nadir Jump Point in the midst of what sensors indicated as 32 Jumpships of various types. "Sweet Mother of God!!!" Commodore Coltrain said in a raised voice "Launch everything!!! Helm close on those Jumpships fast as we can, send the same to Conroy. Comms, start broadcasting surrender calls and prepare to be boarded. Weps, the moment we detect jump emissions, pop the offending Jumpship. I would prefer a damage shot and not a killing one, but either way, it will send a message to the rest." Then to Lieutenant General Mitchell "General, I might need some infantry to help my marines in securing ships."

"I will give you 2 Battalions. Secure the Jumpships and then we head in system at best speed. I believe the books said it is 5 days to the planet." Lieutenant General Mitchell replied as Weps called out "Jump emissions, Invader Jumpship, firing."

The rebel Invader Jumpship that made the mistake of trying to make a run for it was quickly destroyed by 3 MNPPC hits. "Damn, I only expected a single hit, sorry Commodore."

"Commodore, I have 13 rebel Jumpships broadcasting their surrender, make that 17 now." The Comms officer said

Another Jumpship blinked off the sensor plot as the SLS 'Conroy destroyed a Merchant Jumpship. "Sensor's was that Merchant emitting jump emissions?" Commodore Coltrain asked. "No ma'am, it was just sitting there." Anger flashed inside Commodore Coltrain "Comms, tell Conroy that if they destroy another Jumpship for no reason, I might decide to fire on them. After that, send the infantry troops the 272nd are loaning us to the surrendered Jumpships, have our marines board any that refuse to surrender."

"Detecting a Merchant Jumpship emitting, barely in range, recommend the fighters handle that one, anything we have that hits is gonna probably kill it." Weps said

"Kill it Weps, no one runs for help." Commodore Coltrain ordered

"Firing" Weps called out and 4 NL/55 destroyed the rebel Merchant Jumpship with 2 hits. "More surrender calls incoming, Commodore, I think all of them have surrendered."

"Have the marines start boarding also, minimum of 2 squads aboard each Jumpship. We take the day and secure them all, lock them down tight. Have a shuttle carry an engineering team aboard each Jumpship, I want every ship disabled in a way that we can easily repair them. Lock the crews in their quarters." Commodore Coltrain ordered then turned to Lieutenant General Mitchell "General, I hope the boys on the ground can wait a day longer, but we cannot risk a run for help."

"Very well Commodore, please send out a message to the planet notifying the troops down there to hold on, help is coming." Lieutenant General Mitchell said

Eight hours later, Major General Heinrich Rommel was awakened by his duty officer and given the news that the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division was in system and to please hold while they secure the rebel Jumpship fleet. "Thank God, pass the word to the boys and girls, help is on the way and to hold fast."

22 March 2766

"Commodore, all engineering teams have returned and every rebel Jumpship is disabled and secure. I ordered the marines back aboard our ship and Conroy. Also we have returned 1 Battalion of the 272nd to their control, every rebel Jumpship has a minimum of 2 squads aboard." SLS Rhodon's XO said

"Very well, signal the task force, we head for the planet, speed of advance 1g." Commodore Coltrain ordered, very pleased, they had netted quite a haul.

12 Invader Jumpships captured
5 Scout Jumpships captured
2 Star Lord Jumpships captured
5 Tramp Jumpships captured
4 Merchant Jumpships captured

NP471 (Taurian Concordat)

Lieutenant General Nathan Baxter, ranking officer 359th Battlemech Division, was awakened when the alarm sounded aboard the SLS Stellar Journey, Star Lord Jumpship. Not even taking the time to put his boots on, he moved for the bridge, and was there in less than 2 minutes. "What have we got captain?"

"Emergence wave inbound sir. Computer shows it's gonna come in close too. We are launching your LAM company now, it's all we got except the Dropships themselves."

"No chance we can make an escape?" Lieutenant General Baxter asked

"No sir, we need 2 more days to recharge. We are stuck here and there is no planet for your people to even run to." The ships captain responded

"Well shit. Guess I will go put my bots on and say a prayer." Lieutenant General Baxter said as the unknown Star Lord Jumpship appeared 2200km away.

On board the SLS Jumping Glory, Star Lord Jumpship, the entire bridge crew and Major Jenny Davidson knew they were screwed as the sensors came back online and quickly detected the 4 Jumpships very close and inbound fighters. "Captain, those ships are broadcasting SLDF identities."

"Comms, make contact with them." The ships captain said as he turned to Major Davidson "Sorry Major, I was going to keep the faith with you, but we got no chance."

"It's okay Captain Flaire. You had no way of knowing." Major Davidson replied.

22 March 2766 NP471 (Taurian Concordat)

Major Jenny Davidson was led on the grav deck of SLS Stellar Journey where Lieutenant General Nathan Baxter awaited her. She pulled herself to attention "Major Jenny Baxter, 509th Battle Regiment".

"At ease Major, please take a seat. XLVI Corps correct?" Lieutenant General Baxter asked as she took a seat opposite from him.

"Correct sir." Major Davidson replied, she was keeping her answers short, she did not want to let a slip of the tongue get them all tossed out an airlock.

"Okay Major, I will tell you my story, then you can tell me yours. My Division got ambushed by the rebels trying to dock with our transports and we lost over hlf of the Division, including the Division Commander. We made an emergency jump from the system and I could not bring myself to drive the remains of the Division back into the teeth of this senseless slaughter. All I care about now is the safety of my people. Granted, we still consider ourselves members of the SLDF, but in this current campaign, at this time, well, I plan to take the long way back. Give this some time to settle down. So, you going to report me as the leader of a mutiny, Major?" Lieutenant General Baxter asked

Listening to the General speak had caused Major Davidson to squirm some in her chair. "No sir, I feel you are doing what you think is best for your men. As for our story, we had a coward for a commander. We got butchered on Woogi, when we made orbit, our escorting warships began bombarding the planet. Our commander had ordered it before he was killed in action with the enemy. It made me sick, that the SLDF that I had loved and served for 10 years would slaughter innocent civilians like that. We are supposed to be above that. Like you, all I want is to get my people away from this slaughter house."

"Well then, it looks like we are both guilty of trying to save our people. So Major Davidson, exactly what did you have as a plan?" Lieutenant General Baxter asked

"Sir, to be honest, this was the first jump we made. The rest of the convoy jumped to Renfield, we went the other way." Major Davidson replied

"I don't have much of a plan either, so how about we put our heads together and come up with a working plan." Lieutenant General Baxter said

23 March 2766

Major Jenny Baxter was back aboard SLS Stellar Journey after spending the previous say with Lieutenant General Baxter. She still could not believe that neither her nor her people were in cuffs at this moment. During their discussion, they had decided that they would take a long curved route to Hope IV, there they would take on supplies and evaluate the situation. She ad been surprised to learn that most of the 359th Battlemech Division had no clue as to how Lieutenant General Baxter currently felt, unlike her people who knew full well how she felt. He had openly told her that once they reached Hope IV, he would call his people together and let them decide what they wanted to do, those that wanted to return to the SLDF fold would be allowed to do just that, those that chose otherwise, would be allowed to do that. He had honestly told her that he did not know how he would feel when they reached their destination.

Ambatomainty (Outworlds Alliance)

The last 2 days had seen frantic loading of dispersed ammunition dumps aboard the Divisions cargo transports along with the Divisions spare parts and supplies. But Lieutenant General Colin McGregor had cancelled the Dropships launch an hour before lift off. He had decided that once night fell, the entire Division would load and boost at the same time. He did not wan to risk the rebels throwing nukes at the remaining troops once they realized what was happening.

As night fell, a phased withdraw occurred all along the defensive perimeter. Every unit heading straight for the dropships and being secured for lift off. By 3am, the last troops boarded the Dropships. At 3:30am, the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division boosted for orbit and the safety of SLS Mighty Lift, Potemkin-Class Transport.

126th Mechanized Infantry Division

  • 1262 Brigade
    • Infantry Regiment - 3 Infantry Battalions
    • Infantry Regiment - 1 Infantry Battalion
    • Cavalry Battalion - 1 LAM Company, 1 Armor Company
  • 1263 Brigade
    • Battlemech Regiment - 3 Battlemech Battalions
  • 1264 Brigade
    • Armor Regiment - 2 Armor Battalions
    • Armor Regiment - 3 Armor Battalions
    • Armor Regiment - 1 Armor Battalion
  • Artillery Regiment
    • 1 Battalion of Long Tom Artillery
    • 1 Battalion of Thor Artillery Vehicles
    • 1 Battalion of Padilla/Chaparral Missile Artillery Vehicles
  • Ground Aero Wing
    • Aerospace Wing - 4 Squadrons
    • Conv Fighter Wing - 2 Squadrons
    • Conv Transport Wing - 2 Squadrons
    • Engineer Battalion
    • Jump Infantry Battalion - 2 Company's

Dropships (being taken)

Czar Dropships - 6
Dictator Dropships - 3
Union Dropship - 1
Colossus Dropships - 2
Triumph Dropships - 6
Titan Dropships - 3
Mammoth Dropships - 4

With only 25 collars available, the decision had been made to destroy the remaining Dropships of the Division after their crews and any onboard supplies were unloaded in orbit to prevent them from being captured by rebel forces.

Rest Stop (Deep Periphery)

Finally, mission complete, thought Commodore Trisha Delvaney to herself as she watched her 2 Elephant-Class Tugs detach from the newly built and manned Olympus Recharge Station at the Nadir Jump Point for the short trip back to their mother ship, SLS Salvation, Newgrange-Class Yardship. She knew her escort, the 22nd Destroyer Flotilla of two Essex-Class Destroyers, would be happy to get back to their Fleet assignments.

Olympus Space Station (Solar Sail Deployed)

Olympus Recharge Station

They had been out here for over a year, with minimal contact with higher command. Sent out here to establish this Recharge Station to facilitate SLDF patrols against pirate bands and exploration support. Only 1 supply convoy had been dispatched to them in that year and that was 6 months ago, it had delivered the last material needed to finish construction of the Recharge Station and the crew for the station. It was time to head home.

27 March 2766
Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore Barbara Coltrain brought SLS Rhodon, Luxor Heavy Cruiser into orbit around the second planet in the system. As the attained proper positioning, they began receiving targeting information of rebel concentrations on the surface from the 322nd Armored Division. She had ordered SLS 'Conroy, Avatar Heavy Cruiser to maintain position at a fairly steady pirate point in case the large cluster of captured Jumpships needed immediate support. The jump was already plotted and set up.

"Weps, you may accept calls for fire from the 322nd Armored Division, but only on targets outside the city. I would prefer no targeting within 30km of the city. Lieutenant General Mitchell has selected to come down on the space port proper, I show it to be 65km from the capitol city proper. We will attempt to maintain a geosynchronous orbit above the space port and capitol city. In 1 hour, we will launch fighters to escort the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division to the surface, they will also provide on scene targeting." Commodore Coltrain ordered

On the surface, rebel forces had heard the call's from their transports days earlier and knew that new SLDF troops had arrived. They had launched fresh attacks on the trapped SLDF forces but had been thrown back each time with heavy losses. No had missed the incoming drive flares from braking ships in orbit. General Paul Kilgorian, commander of all rebel forces on Pilon heard the sonic booms of incoming Aerospace fighters, he knew the SLDF reinforcements were on their way down and knew the battle on Pilon had entered a completely new phase. He could not even risk launching his grounded Dropships because the transports had reported SLDF warships.

The presence of a SLDF warship was confirmed when a orbital strike fell upon one of his Infantry Regiments that had been moving to reinforce the rebel forces on the furthest side of the capitol city. Reports quickly began coming in that that particular infantry unit was no more. He looked up at the heavens when louder sonic booms sounded and clearly saw the incoming Dropships in the distance. Looks like they are heading right for the over crowded space port, he thought. He turned to his radio operator "Tell 1143rd Mech Regiment to head for the space port, greet the incoming guests properly."

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, commander 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division was in her Pillager, ready to disembark the moment the dropship grounded. She had vetoed the idea of a combat drop due to everyone's certification was currently expired and she could not afford losses. She just hoped her surprise worked. Two minutes until they grounded.

Phoenix Hawk unseen fanmade

Phoenix Hawk Medium BattleMech

Stinger Light BattleMech (Battlefield - by Justin Kase)

Stinger Light 'Mech

At the space port, rebel infantry were dug in ready to engage the SLDF as they disembarked. Supporting them were 2 Company's of light mechs with a full Mech Regiment on the way. Everyone kept their heads down as the SLDF Aerospace fighters zoomed over the area strafing anything dumb enough to get spotted. Mixed in with the Aerospace fighters was the remaining LAM Company from the 272nd. Two lances of Stinger LAM STG-A1 and a lance of Phoenix Hawk PHX-HK1, after every pass, a LAM would make it's landing at the space port. Just before the Dropships carrying the 272nd grounded, the Company of LAM made their appearance, targeting the rebel light mechs moving to engage the soon to be disembarking SLDF mechs. Major Sissy Bruedan, piloted her Phoenix Hawk PHX-HK1, selecting a rebel Hermes as her first target, the second her targeting circle flshed, she pulled the trigger and watched her shots hot the rebel Hermes right in the center of it's back coring into the mechs engine dropping it face down. She quickly targeted another rebel Hermes and wsaw her medium lasers slash at the rebel Hermes, but her ERLL slammed cored another engine.

The rest of her lance had done basically done the same thing as her and within 30 seconds, 7 rebel mechs were down and out. Her 2 Lances of Stinger LAM's had different orders and were busy hunting rebel infantry or ganging up on any solo rebel mechs they happened to find. Major Sissy Bruedan watched the 272nd Command Dictator settled onto the space port and a massive Pillager exit the second the ramp was extended and door opened, it's Gauss Rifles cracking within seconds and her sensors showed an enemy mech suddenly go dark on her screen.

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell had targeted a rebel Toro TR-A-6 the second it made itself visible firing both Gauss Rifles, one slug slammed into the Toro's center torso, but the other slug ripped the head off the light mech. She triggered her jump jets to clear the door quicker. Another rebel mech, Wasp WSP-1A appeared and she let it have a large laser and her bevy of medium lasers. Her lasers ripped into the rebel Wasp which could not maintain it's balance and fell. She landed almost next to the downed Wasp and allowed her left foot to crush the head of the enemy mech as she searched for another target. Behind her, 2 Company's of Battlemechs had exited the Command Dictator and were fanning out seeking targets.

Major General Heinrich Rommel, commander 322nd Armored Division, had been extremely happy to finally have timely communication with the incoming 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division when they made orbit. Encoded communication informed him of the plan by Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell of the coming landing. He had offered to sortie his remaining forces to help, but it was rebuffed. Hold your ground and provide targeting information, we will come to you. That had been the response.

"Eagle 22 to Rhodon, target grid 112876-1176 enemy mechs on the move, estimated strength Battalion plus. Moving towards the space port."

Aboard the SLS Rhodon, Luxor Heavy Cruiser, Captain Tiffany Lasmite checked the transmitted location, 26km from the space port, 31km from the capitol city. Good enough, she sent the information to the weapons bays and within 2 minutes of recieving the call for fire, the Rhodon unleashed hell on the rebel mechs. On the ground, orbital fire completely obliterated the 1143rd Mech Regiment. Massive explosions rocked the area surrounding the targeted coordinates. For 3 minutes, the SLS Rhodon fired on the area and when they stopped, nothing moved.

Back at the space port, the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division's combat loaded Dropships were all on the ground and unloading their cargo of angry SLDF soldiers. Mechanized Infantry began the deadly task of clearing enemy infantry from trench works and securing grounded Dropships. Battlemechs of the 272nd fanned out around the space port, easily destroying anything they found. By mid afternoon, the space port was declared secure and the 4 Battalions of Tanks provided security for the space with the assitance of the 2272nd Brigade. Led by Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, 2723rd Brigade and 2721st Brigade pushed to link up with the 322nd Armored Division.

Like a guided missile, the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division's lead units brushed aside any resistence and by nightfall had linked up with the 322nd Armored Division. Bringing her Pillager to a halt before the Mobile HQ, she brought her Pillager to a kneeling position and popped her hatch, scampering down the chain ladder. A lanky Major General was on the ground to meet her "Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, commander 272nd Mechanized Infanty Division, reporting sir." She said, but not saluting

"Major General Heinrich Rommel, but let's dispense with the formalities. Just call me Rommel, I sure am glad to see you folks arrive. The rest of your Division in orbit still?"

"No sir, Call me Rita, this is all that is left. I have a Mammoth stuffed with equipment and people, but I am hesitant on bringing them down." General Mitchell replied

"Well, it was enough to get the job done, but there are a crap ton of rebels on this planet. And they have nukes and are not afraid to use them." Rommel said

"Well, they nuke the space port, they nuke their own Dropships. Of course, we have their Transports already, so they very well could take a swing at us. But first, let's get some supplies and repairs made to your equipment. Tomorrow, we start retaking this planet." General Mitchell said.

Sorsk (Outworlds Alliance)

Lieutenant General Colin McGregor, commander 126th Mechanized Infantry Division, blinked his eyes as the SLS Mighty Lift, Potemkin Transport materialized at the Zenith Jump Point. He was just a guest aboard the bridge but clearly heard "Commodore, we are being hailed by a Merchant Jumpship, 24,198km off our port. Says he met some friends of ours not a long ago."

Commodore Sandra Gallonsa, commander of the SLS Mighty Lift, checked the sensors for any other contacts before ordering "Begin recharge operations. Launch both Titans and get a CAP established. See if the Captain of that Merchant Jumpship would be willing to come aboard for a chat. I want to keep radio silent if we can. I will even send a shuttle for him."

28 March 2766
Brisbane (Federated Suns)

Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky, aboard SLS McKenna's Pride, McKenna-Class Battleship, read over the reports from the various fronts. The losses suffered by the SLDF were staggering. On a portable notepad, he made notes on units that had reported losses so severe that they would be better off disbanded and their troops used to replace losses in other units than try to bring them back up to strength. He had selected several systems to act as replacement depots, under those headings, he listed units to be pulled off the line and disbanded.

McKenna Class Battleship (Old Version - Underway)

McKenna Class Battleship, SLS McKenna's Pride

  • Kerensky's Report

Armington (Federated Suns)

129th Battlemech Division - 3rd Army - 35% Strength
263rd Battlemech Division - 4th Army - 30% Strength
238th Mechanized Infantry Division - 4th Army - 35% Strength
191st Royal Jump Infantry Division - 4th Army - 30% Strength
262nd Battlemech Division - 6th Army - 25% Strength
81st Mechanized Infantry Division - 7th Army - 30% Strength
36th Infantry Division - 19th Army - 35% Strength
161st Mechanized Infantry Division - 19th Army - 20% Strength
251st Royal Mechanized Infantry Division - 19th Army - 35% Strength
192nd Jump Infantry Division - 19th Army - 25% Strength

Stratford (Federated Suns)

284th BattleMech Division - 15th Army - 30% Strength
208th BattleMech Division - 16th Army - 35% Strength
165th Mechanized Infantry Division - 16th Army - 35% Strength
247th Heavy Assault Regiment - 16th Army - 40% Strength
298th BattleMech Division - 16th Army - 35% Strength
201st Battle Regiment - 16th Army - 30% Strength
318th BattleMech Division - 16th Army - 35% Strength
370th BattleMech Division - 20th Army - 40% Strength
335th Royal Dragoon Regiment - 20th Army - 30% Strength
200th Mechanized Infantry Division - 20th Army - 35% Strength
428th BattleMech Division - 20th Army - 30% Strength

Umka (Free World League)

48th Jump Infantry Division - 9th Army - 35% Strength
29th Mechanized Infantry Division - 12th Army - 40% Strength
200th Mechanized Infantry Division - 12th Army - 40% Strength
186th Mechanized Infantry Division - 13th Army - 35% Strength
181st Royal Mechanized Infantry Division - 13th Army - 30% Strength
38th Royal CAAN Marine Regiment - 17th Army - 35% Strength
605th Battle Regiment - 17th Army - 40% Strength
265th Mechanized Infantry Division - 17th Army - 40% Strength
108th Mechanized Infantry Division - 17th Army - 40% Strength

Orders would be generated for the listed units to be pulled off the line and to redeploy to the listed planets, there they would turn in their equipment and await reassignment to other units in need of replacements. Once he had finished his list of units to be disbanded, General Kerensky opened the file containing lists of units that no one had any contact with in months and presumed destroyed.

Outworlds Alliance

272nd Mechanized Infantry Division - 15th Army 126th Mechanized Infantry Division - 16th Army 322nd Armored Division - 18th Army 277th Dragoon Regiment - 20th Army 211th Hussar Regiment - 18th Army 9918th Marine Regiment - 10th Fleet 9919th Marine Regiment - 10th Fleet

Taurian Concordat

509th Battle Regiment - 19th Army 31st Infantry Division - 19th Army 359th Battlemech Division - 19th Army

Magistracy of Canopus

9th Royal CAAN Regiment - 10th Army 9917th Marine Regiment - 10th Army 19th Hussar Regiment - 13th Army 54th Mechanized Infantry Division - 12th Army 173rd Mechanized Infantry Division - 13th Army

Rondon (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore William Blythe, commander 101st Pursuit Flotilla, had spent the last 5 months chasing down individual rebel warships since the Uprising began. His current mission was to move along the edge of the Outworlds Alliance to disrupt any rebel transit of the region. Along with his SLS Hatchet, Kimagure Class Pursuit Cruiser, he also had SLS Axe Handle, another Kimagure Cruiser. Attached to them were 4 Dropships; 2 Elephant Tugs, modified to carry a Marine Regiment in each along with 2 Mule Cargo Dropships for supplies. His ships carried the 9918th and 9919th Marine Regiments for boarding purposes.

They searched every Jumpship they came across and also gleaned information from the ships crews during the searches. Reports of rebel shipping in the Thazi system had brightened the moods of his crews and embarked Marines. The 101st Pursuit Flotilla was on the hunt and hungry.

Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

Conferring with Major General Heinrich Rommel during the previous night, Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell had come to the realization that the space port needed to be cleared of Dropships, the number grounded here and the immediate area were just too tempting of a target. Between her 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division and the 322nd Armored Division, they detailed 2 Battalions of Infantry with 2 squads per Dropship to take the Dropships up to the captured transports. Today would be a spectacle, due to sheer number of launches. To maximize safety, she had pushed her perimeter out to 25km from the space port with assistance from the 322nd Armored Division. Today's launches would consist of the captured rebel Dropships:

36 Drost IIA Dropships 12 Triumph Dropships 15 Dictator Dropships 12 Lion Dropships 12 Union Dropships 8 Jumbo Dropships

They 322nd Armored Division, 277th Dragoon Regiment and 272nd Mechanized Infantry Divisions Dropships would remain to support the ground campaign.

28 March 2766 Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

Using the captured Dropship carrying capacity as a guide, the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Divisions S2 personnel figured that the rebel forces on Pilon numbered:

13 Infantry Regiments 7 Battlemech Regiments 6 Armor Regiments

They then began the laborious attempt to figure out what remained for them to square off against. Counting destroyed rebel Battlemchs and Tanks was fairly easy and by nightfall they had come up with 362 rebel Battlemechs and 419 rebel Tanks destroyed. They estimated that 4 rebel Battlemech Regiments and 2 rebel Armor Regiments remained on Pilon. Aboard the various Dropships, repair crews were hard at work not only repairing Battlemech from the 277th Dragoon Regiment that had so far survived the battle, but also repairing another 16 recovered heavy and assault Battlemechs of the 277th Dragoon Regiment in an effort to return them to service. Under protection from 2 Engineer Companies turned Infantry, salvage teams were combing the many destroyed Battlemechs determining what could be salvaged. Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell had been convinced to bring down the Mammoth Dropship loaded with supplies and support personnel, but most important, the Divisions Battlemech recovery vehicles, 6 Wayland Mobile Bases and Company of Salvage Mechs. The moment the Mammoth had grounded, salvage teams had been formed to recover what they could.

While the recovery efforts continued, Aerospace fighters had swept continued to sweep the region around the space port and capitol out to 100km directing orbital fire whenever a large force of rebels was located in an effort to ensure the safety of the space port. The primary reason driving the slavage operation was that the 277th Dragoon Regiment, though down to 38 Battlmechs active, they had 68 Mechwarriors. The 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division currently fielded 170 Battlemechs, but had 296 Mechwarriors available. Whenever a Battlemech was brought in, senior technicians evaluated the damage, and if need be, a salvage team would be directed to scour the various battlefields for the needed parts.

It did not take long to discover that while the majority of downed rebel Battlemechs were of "obsolete" designs like the Toro, Talos, Firebee, Pheonix, and Gladiator there were also quite a few more modern designs.

29 March 2766

The growing number of recovered Battlemechs forced Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell to order her Command Dictator Dropship be retained to conduct repairs on fully operational modern Battlemechs of the 272nd and 277th. The technicians could use the Waylands Repair Vehicles and other Dropships as needed. The first repaired Battlemech left the repair gantry's by noon, a Guillotine GLT-3N from the 277th Dragoon Regiment after having it's head replaced with a salvaged Guillotine head who's engine was destroyed. Intel was recording serial numbers to determine where rebel equipment came from. Digging into their on hand data, it was noted that several recovered rebel Battlemechs and Tanks carried factory identifier's not recognized or recorded in their systems. Suspect Battlemechs all carried a "11 or 27" in the normal factory indentifier location, recovered Tanks carried a "7 or 4". Even studied ammunition, repair parts, infantry weapons, uniforms all carried the same identifiers. The only consensus the intel personnel could come to was someone had either gone to great lengths to hide the original factories or was operating previously unknown factory complexes.

During the previous day's meeting between Lieutenant General Mitchell and Major General Rommel, they had both agreed that in their unit's current states, they would be hard pressed to completely subdue the rebel forces on planet. Though they really wanted to make an effort at it. Major General Rommel had been shocked to learn that SLDF command had not sent the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division to his aid, but that Lieutenant General Mitchell had taken it upon herself to bring her battered command to assist his troops. Medical personnel from the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division assisted the 322nd Armored Division and 277th Dragoon Regiment in treating their combined 2,328 wounded utilizing their combined MASH and 2 civilian hospitals in the capitol city. They also aided in treating another 4,539 wounded rebel prisoners.

Luderitz (Taurian Concordat)

Another week of heavy fighting had seen Major General Iris Carman and her 280th Mechanized Infantry Division being fought to a standstill. Her Division just did not have the needed strength to defeat the rebel forces and she had communicated that to Major General Harold Inim, commander LXVI Corps who had relayed to her that the 268th and 294th Mechanized Infantry Divisions were on the way to reinforce her Division. Until the new units arrived, she had ordered a halt to offenisve operations. The 280th Mechanized Infantry Division was down to 45% strength and had 1,328 wounded to care for.

Wildwood (Magistracy of Canopus)

Thug (Blender Battletech - Lake Area)

Thug Assault 'Mech

Colonel Brandon Janees fired his Thug 11E's PPC's at a rebel Griffin that had strayed too close to the evacuating survivors of the 173rd Mechanized Infantry Division boarding their Dropships. What had once been a fully staffed proud Division was now under a Brigade in strength. For 5 months, they had battled on this miserable planet, suffering several devastating WMD attacks in the process. As the ranking officer left alive, Colonel Janee's had finally ordered the Division to evacuate. Morale was rock bottom in the Division. Many felt that SLDF High Command did not care about them and had left them to die alone. Finally he recieved the signal that all survivors had boarded and they were ready to boost from the surface. He spun his Thug and pushed the throttles to max and ran for the Overlord Dropship.

173rd Mechanized Infantry Division 4 Battlemech Company's 4 Mechanized Infantry Battalions 2 Artillery Company's

28 March 2766 Sorsk (Outworlds Alliance)

Lieutenant General Colin McGregor, commander 126th Mechanized Infantry Division, studied the small man seated before him. Ships Captain Martin Zuni was only 1.68 meters tall and weighed only 148lbs, age 46, he had been sailing the stars for 28 years, 16 of those as Ships Captain. He knew the Outworlds Alliance and Federated Suns Periphery border like the back of his hand, having travelled all the way to Mackolla several times during his years. Even carried cargo to New Delphi, but NEVER set foot on the surface of those cursed worlds.

"You said you met some friends of ours not long ago. Who and where did you meet them?" McGregor asked

"Why a couple of SLDF cruiser, carrying a load of Dropships, at the Zenith Point of Loikaw. Had a nice discussion with a Commodore Coltrain. Lovely lady." Zuni replied

"Commodore Coltrain give you any clue as to where they were heading?" McGregor asked, I am gonna have to pry the information from him.

"Nope, did not tell me where they were heading, not exactly anyway." Zuni responded

Taking a deep breath, Mcgregor asked again trying not to loose his temper "What does "not exactly" mean Mr Zuni?"

"Well, I told her that the rebels were pounding on some SLDF troops." Zuni said

"Please Mr Zuni, can you at least fill out the information you know I want so I don't have to pull it out of you?" McGregor said

"Pilon, them rebels were beating on the SLDF at Pilon. Three jumps from here. Told her about the rebels gathering a large force at Boulsi about to head over to Pilon and finish them off. Told her the area was getting a might too dangerous for me and my crew so we was heading to safer stars for a bit." Zuni replied

"Thank you Mr Zuni for elaborating." McGregor responded as his mind ran over several scenario's.

"Never been aboard a ship this huge. Boy, the cargo I could transport with this baby. Twenty-Five collars, I could make a fortune in one trip." Zuni said

"I doubt Commodore Gallonsa would part with her. We have lost contact with our highers, no longer any HPG's in range of us to relay messages, would you be willing to delver a message to the SLDF for me?" McGregor asked

"Them rebels been blowing up HPG stations all over the place. Not sure, I would hate to get caught with a message for the SLDF in my possession if boarded by them damned rebels." Zuni said bluntly

"I am going to take a huge chance with you Mr Zuni, just tell the SLDF we are going to Pilon and could use some help." McGregor said

"Be honest with you General, I am not doing a beeline with my ship. I am dancing all over the place trying to avoid any dangerous situations. It could be 6 months or longer before I get a message to the SLDF. Them rebels are thick as fleas along the border regions." Zuni said

"Just get word out to them. However long it takes. You and your ships safety comes first." McGregor responded

When Ship's Captain Zuni had departed massive Potemkin Class Transport, SLS Mighty Lift, Lieutenant General Colin McGregor made the long trip to the ships bridge. On arriving, he motioned for Commodore Gallonsa to join him as he moved to the displayed Star Map. When she arrived at his side, he pointed to Pilon "Set course for Pilon Commodore, best speed."

April[]

15 April 2766 Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

The past 2 weeks had seen light probing actions by the rebels along the long perimter that were easily thrown back by the SLDF defenders. The respite had allowed the SLDF forces to rest and rebuild their strength. Herculan efforts by the SLDF salvage and repair teams had seen the 277th Dragoon Regiment brought up to 2 full Battlemech Battalions with 4 volunteer mechwarriors from the 272nd MID joining the 277th Dragoon Regiment. The 272nd MID had added 3 full Battlemech Battalions to it's roster, allowing a full Light Battlemech Battalion to each Mechanized Infantry Brigade and giving the Battlemech Brigade 2 full Battlemech Regiments. Previously wounded soldiers had added 2 Mechanized Infantry Battalions back to the roster, transferring the 277th Dragoon Regiments Mechanized Infantry Battalion to the 272nd MID allowed 2721st Brigade to reach full strength.

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell now felt they had the strength to limited offensive operations against the rebel forces. At dawn, SLS Rhodon, Luxor Heavy Cruiser targeted a area identified by aerial spotting as possibly containing 2 rebel Battlemech Battalions and after a 15 minutes orbital bombardment, her 2723rd Battlemech Brigade led the SLDF push into the cratered area. As the Battlemech Regiments pushed thru the area seeking out targets, her 2721st Brigade followed close behind in their APC's along with their Light Battlemech Battalion. By nightfall, they had advanced another 34km when Lieutenant General Mitchell called a halt to the advance.

Maripa (Outworlds Alliance)

Lieutenant General Colin McGregor, commander 126th Mechanized Infantry Division, blinked his eyes as the SLS Mighty Lift, Potemkin Transport materialized at the Zenith Jump Point. One more jump to Pilon, he thought. Not knowing what they would find when they reached Pilon worried him. What of the SLDF forces there had moved on, what if the rebels had warships when they arrived, all of these questions pulsed thru his mind.

16 April 2766 Linden (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore Trisha Delvaney, commander SLS Salvation, Newgrange Yardship, along with SLS Gareth and SLS Helmet, Essex Destroyers materialized at the Nadir Jump Point. With sensors clear, she ordered the ships to begin recharge operations. At least they were in occupied space which was much safer than in the Deep Periphery. She had attempted a HPG message at the previous system but could never get a connection lock. Surely the small temper tantrum reported months ago in the Outworlds Alliance could not have disrupted the HPG grid, was all she had thought at the time.

Ernyes (Newgarge Class Yardship)

Newgarge Class Yardship, SLS Salvation

It did not matter too much to her, all she wanted to do was get back to Quatra Belle and get some shore leave while her ship underwent some much needed maintenance. While she could perform any sort of maintenance on other ships, she could not dock herself. Per standard procedures, the ships navigator plotted an emergency jump, just in case, and transmitted the target information to both Destroyers.

Luderitz (Taurian Concordat)

Major General Iris Carman, commander 280th Mechanized Infantry Division, greeted Major General Harold Inim, commander LXVI Corps as he exited the shuttle that had delivered him to the space port where the 268th and 294th Mechanized Infantry Divisions were disembarking.General Inim, I was surprised to get the message that you were coming personally."

"I thought it best I deliver the news personally Iris. Once the 268th MID relieves your Division, you are to embark your Division and proceed to Armington. General Kerensky has established a replacement base there. You will turn in your equipment and your personnel will await reassignment as replacements to other units that need them. The 280th Mechanized Infantry Division is being disbanded. Sorry Iris." Major General Inim said

The news hit Major General Carman like a sledgehammer. They were taking her Division away from her.Sir, we are hurt but still above 40% strength. My people are like a family to me. I have had this Division for over 6 years. Can't we do anything to prevent this? Hell, ask to have my personnel transferred by sub unit at least, keep them together as best we can. Not this, not a damned replacement depot."

"Sorry Iris, there is nothing that can be done. I took the case up to 3rd Army and was told to send you to Armington. The orders have been given. Now, I think you had better prepare your Division for departure, I need to get the 268th and 294th Mechanized deployed. Dismissed." Major General Inim replied as he walked away.

Major General Carman just stood and watched the back of her Corps commander, who she had once thought of as a friend. A building anger was replacing her shock inside of her.

18 April 2766

She watched her Division board their Dropships for the trip up to their awaiting Jumpships. She could not, would not allow them to be broken up. In her left pocket was her written orders to report to Armington. In her right pocket was a set of orders for her Division to travel to Hope IV and that the transports were under her command until their mission was completed. She had worked for 3 hours the previous night making them perfect. No one was breaking up her Division.

280th Mechanized Infantry Division

  • 2801st Brigade
    • Mech Infantry Regiment - 2 Battalions
    • Mech Infantry Regiment - 2 Battalions
    • Light Battlemech Battalion - 4 Lances
  • 2802nd Brigade
    • Mech Infantry Regiment - 3 Battalions
    • Light Battlemech Battalion - 5 Lances
  • 2803rd Brigade
    • Battlemech Regiment - 2 Battalions
    • Battlemech Regiment - 2 Battalions
  • 2804th Brigade
    • Armor Regiment - 3 Battalions
    • Armor Regiment - 1 Battalion
  • Artillery Regiment
    • Thor Artillery Vehicle Battalion - 2 Company's
    • Chaparral Missile Artillery Battalion - 2 Company's
  • Engineer Battalion - 1 Company
  • Ground Aero Wing
    • Aerospace Group - 3 Squadrons
    • Aerospace Group - 2 Squadrons
    • Jump Infantry Battalion - 2 Company's

--Losses-- Killed in Action - 3,011 Wounded in Action - 2,274

  • Transport Assets
    • Colossus Dropships - 6
    • Czar Dropships - 6
    • Overlord Dropships - 6
    • Union Dropship - 1
    • Titan Dropships - 3
    • Lion Dropships - 4
    • Mammoth Dropships - 4
    • Star Lord Jumpships - 5

NP32 (Deep Periphery)

Colonel Patrick Quieg, acting commander 31st Infantry Division, was so sick of space travel. He knew his people felt the same way. They needed soem ground time. Over the weeks, the 2 squads of rebels acting as security had gotten lax. From the start, they had only allowed no more than 30 of his people onto the ships grav deck for 15 min each day. But the last 2 jumps, they had allowed the next group off their Dropship before the previous group was secured. All their small arms were locked down in the Star Lords cargo bays. Today, they would take the ship.

He led the his group of 29 infantry off the grav deck and headed for their Dropship, when he spotted the next group, again 30 infantry, he yelledNOW!!" and the 14 rebels suddenly found the once complacent SLDF soldiers swarming them before they could bring their weapons to bear. Within a minute, all 14 rebels were dead.Head for the cargo bay, get our weapons and arm our people. You 7, arm yourself with the rebel weapons and take engineering, you 6 come with me, we take the bridge."

It took 10 minutes before a member of the bridge crew finally opened the door to exit, and Colonel Quieg shoved his way onto the bridge armed with a laser pistol, followed by his 6 infantry. Before the ships captain could react, Colonel Quieg had the pistol at his head.I believe you know what this means. We have the ship. Now, you behave yourself, and you live, misbehave and I will have you tossed out an airlock. We continue on course, but if we trip over a rebel ship, you all die before we do. Understand?"

"I understand. Look, we are just a civilian merchant ship. We got shanghaied by the rebels. We just want to get to safety, same as you." The ships captain replied

"Well, just to be safe, a squad will be on the bridge at all times and another in engineering." Colonel Quieg said


19 April 2766 Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

After several days of the limited offensive, Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell called a halt to offensive operations. While touring the new defensive lines in her Pillager, a call over the radio brought her to a haltZeus Actual, this is Bravo One, we have a rebel party flying w white flag approaching our lines." She keyed the micBravo One, Zeus Actual, I am on my way, send a party forward under white flag and see what they want."

Bravo One was Major Harry Estaban, commander 277th Dragoon Regiment. She pushed her Pillager into a run, she had just over 100km to reach the section of the perimeter the 277th was holding. Just over an hour later her radio called againZeus Actual, Bravo One, the rebels want to meet and discuss terms." Her mind ran thru several scenario's. One, they wanted to surrender, but why, we have hurt them, but have we hurt them that bad? Two, they want us to surrender, not going to happen.

"Roger, my eta is 18 minutes to your location." She responded as her Pillager kept up a steady 54km per hour speed.

She slowed her Pillager as she entered the rear area of the 277th Dragoon Regiment. She side stepped off the road to allow a small supply convoy to pass by. Entering the immediate area of the 277th Dragoon Headquarters area, she brought her Pillager to a stop and then knelt the 100 ton Mech. Popping her hatch, she descended the chain ladder with an agility that belied her 37 years of age. Reaching the ground, she spotted a small jeep approaching flying a white flag being escorted by a several Guillotine GLT-3N.

Bravo One, Major Harry Estaban, exited the small headquarters building he had been using and walked to stand beside Lieutenant General Mitchell.Major, make sure you relocate your HQ as soon as this meeting is over. This could be a simple recon mission. Hate to loose you to a nuke. That jeep was searched I presume?" She said as the small rebel group dismounted from the jeep.

"Yes sir, the thought had already crossed my mind. I have a Infantry Battalion attached from the 322nd Armored, they checked it out before letting it close to our lines." He replied as both SLDF officers began walking to meet the rebel's. The oldest rebel pulled himself to attentionI am General Paul Kilgorian, commander of the opposing forces on this planet."

"Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, commander of 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division. You wanted to speak General Kilgorian?" She responded, but not returning his salute.

"Yes, I would like to discuss surrender terms." General Kilgorian responded

"Well, the terms are quite simple, General Kilgorian. Your unconditional surrender. There are no other terms or conditions. Your people will be dsarmed and interned in prisoner of war camps until hostilities have ended and release terms are agreed upon by Higher Authorities. Your people will be treated according to the Laws of War." Lieutenant General Mitchell said

"No negotiation then?" General Kilgorian asked

"None General. We have the strength to destroy your forces. It will take longer and cost more casualties to both sides, but your people will suffer much more than mine, that I promise you. I hold the high ground so to speak." She replied pointing to the heavens to make sure he understood her meaning.

"Your not giving me much to work with General Mitchell." General Kilgorian said

"I am giving you and your people life General. You obviously care for your soldiers or you would not be here talking with me. I care for my soldiers, and I will apply maximum firepower at my disposal to minimize my losses." Lieutenant General Mitchell replied

"No safe passage off planet?" General Kilgorian asked

"So that you and your command can go kill SLDF soldiers somewhere else? No General, that I will not allow. You and your people have but 2 choices, surrender and live or continue to fight and die. It is time to make a choice General Kilgorian." Lieutenant General Mitchell said

General Kilgorian was silent for a few minutes, he looked at the rebel officer to his left, they shared a look and Lieutenant General Mitchell thought she detected aPlease take the deal" look pass across the officers face in response to General KIlgorians look. Take the deal General, end the fighting here, she thought silently. Finally, General Kilgorian spoke.

"I formally surrender my forces to the Star League Defense Force. I propose a cease fire in place starting at 2300 tonight. Official surrender at 1500 tomorrow, if that would be acceptable to you General Mitchell?" General Kilgorian said

"That would be acceptable General Kilgorian. Cease fire in place at 2300 tonight and official surrender at 1500 tomorrow. But I will order my force to not engage any rebel forces not closer than 5km from my perimeter. A full cease fire will go into effect at 2300 tonight." Lieutenant General Mitchell said as both shook hands.

20 April 2766

As dawn broke over Pilon, SLDF Aerospace Fighters began their dailt recon sweeps. Quickly, radio calls came back announcing a column of rebel Battlemechs moving towards the space port estimated to be a reinforced Regiment in strength. Followed quickly by another sighting on the far side of the perimeter of an armored column also moving towards the space port. They continued to monitor, but had their orders to hold fire.

At 1500 hours, the rebel columns had reached the 1km range and halted their advance. Tense SLDF soldiers watched from their positions as the rebel Battlemech pilots dismounted their Battlemechs and formed into a semblance of a formation in front of their machines. Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, alone, marched her Pillager across the small plain surrounding the space port and halted 200 meters from the assembled rebel Battlemechs. A rebel jeep moved from behind the Battlemechs and approached her Pillager, she could see General Kilgorian in the jeep, and though she sensed the surrender would go thru, she kept her weapons powered up and ready, just in case. Overhead, SLDF Aerospace Fighters loaded with ordanance circled at high altitude.

Lieutenant General Mitchell knelt her Pillager and descended the chain ladder. She confidently walked to General Kilgorian, even though deep inside she was not keen on being outside her Pillager this close to the enemy, reaching him, she returned the salute he gave her.

"Lieutenant General Mitchell, I hereby surrender my command to the forces of the SLDF." General Kilgorian said

"I accept your surrender, General Kilgorian. Please have your people stand fast while I have my forces ready to receive you people." She said and then she lifted her portable radioZeus Actual to all commands, execute Plan Alpha, I say again execute Plan Alpha." At her orders, the Mechanized Infantry from 2721st and 2722nd Brigades moved from their positions to secure the rebels. Within minutes, they had begun the process of securing the prisoners, searching them, recording names and moving them into formations for transport to 4 massive warehouses at the space port being converted into a makeshift holding area by Engineers until a proper detention facility could be constructed.

Lieutenant General Mitchell turned back to General KilgorianNow that the fighting has ended, tell me General Kilgorian, why surrender now?"

Simple, we were almost out of supplies, your first orbital bombardment not only destroyed a full Battlemech Regiment but it also destroyed several convoys moving the majority of our supplies and ammunition from the space port as your ships were coming in. I was too confident and kept the supplies at the space port instead of dispersing them. When I did, it was too late." General Kilgorian stated

I see. We all have learned some hard lessons during this war. If you would follow me in your jeep General, we will return to my headquarters to discuss other things over some coffee." She said and then turned to walk back to her Pillager.

Three hours later, after General Kilgorian had been processed, he was brought to Lieutenant General Mitchell's small command post and shown into her small office. Inside with her were, Major General Heinrich Rommel, Major Harry Estaban and both S2's from the 272nd MID and 322nd Armored Division.Please General Kilgorian, have a seat. We have some questions for you." She said as she gestured to a chair.

As he took the seat, she continuedFirst, I want to thank you for the way your people have remained cooperative. I have not received any reports of resistance. The holding area is just temporary and I have better facilities being constructed right now. Are there any forces on the other continents?"

"No, General Mitchell. After the initial attacks by the forces before my arrival, all SLDF forces were here at the space port and capitol. I saw no need in garrisoning the other continents." Kilgorian answered

"Good. Major Estaban, please take your 277th Dragoon's and attached Infantry and conduct a sweep of the other continents to be sure please. Also check and see what any civilians might need in the way of support and such." Then back to KilgorianAny idea what forces are in the surrounding systems?"

This made General Kilgorian squirm a little before answeringGeneral Mitchell, I am afraid I must decline to answer that. Even if I knew, I would not tell you that. Same as you would not tell me the locations of SLDF forces if our positions were reversed. I will answer questions pertaining to this planet and this planet only. Surely you understand that."

"Very well ,General Kilgorian. If you would accompany my S2's, they would like the locations of any supply depots you might have established and such." She responded and pointed out the 2 waiting S2's. Once General Kilgorian was led away, Major General Heinrich Rommel took the now empty chair. She spoke firstWhat are your orders General. You gave me command of this campaign, it is over and you outrank me."

"Look Rita, I think in our current situation, my outranking you has nothing to do with anything. I am enough of an officer to know a better tactician when I meet one. You have handled this campaign brilliantly. But since you asked, I think we need to secure Boulsi and Thazi, both are good food producers that feed most of this region with their excess production, the fighting here has hurt food production pretty badly." Major General Rommel said

"Very well sir, I will ready my command to proceed to Boulsi. We will inventory the captured rebel equipment and draw what we need from there." General Mitchell replied

"Take the 277th Dragoon Regiment with you. I think my 322nd Armored Division can handle things here. Have the people bring down the captured crews and I will detain them on the surface. If you need them, I will attach some of my Dropship crews to your forces. Also, take my second HPG equipped Mobile HQ, at least once your on the ground, we can keep in touch." Major General Rommel said

"I will gladly use them sir. At least enough that I can properly combat load my Division. Do you think there is any way to repair the HPG station here?" She replied

"I am not sure, now that the fighting is over, I have ordered some of the people from the HPG station that survived to head over, with an escort, and take a look. We know there is no functioning HPG in range of us anyway. Not within 50LY anyway. Boulsi and Thazi both have recharge stations at the Nadir Jump Points, so be prepared for them. Or at least they did before all the ruckus out here." Major General Rommel said

"I will make sure Commodore Coltrain is ready for them. I will make sure both warships have a charge left to rapidly return here if needed. Until we reach higher command, I will limit my operations to only Boulsi and Thazi. I am not leaving you out here alone." General Mitchell stated

23 April 2766 Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

The inventory of surrendered rebel equipment was finalized. Recovery and salvage of equipment continued across the now silent battlefields. Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell was looking over the inventory lists.

  • Rebel Equipment Surrendered
  • BattleMechs
    • 24 Thunderbolt TDR-5S
    • 12 Archer ARC-2R
    • 24 Toro TR-A-6
    • 12 Stinger STG-3R
    • 36 Phoenix PX-3R
    • 19 Talos TLS-1B
  • Combat Vehicles (Armor)
    • 72 Merkava MkVIII Main Combat Tanks
    • 36 Marsden IIA Main Combat Tanks
    • 26 LVT-4 Hover Tanks
    • 17 Ballista Artillery Combat Vehicles
    • 46 Towed Sniper Artillery
    • 63 Tracked Heavy APCs
    • 22 Jeeps
    • 6 Sherpa Mobile HQ
    • 30 Sherpa MASH
    • 24 Sherpa Field Kitchens
    • 122 Sherpa Fuel Tankers
    • 244 Sherpa Cargo
    • 66 Flatbed Trucks
    • 16 Coolant Trucks
  • Prisoners

Mechwarrior - 177 Armor Crew - 957 Infantry - 8,960 Support - 11,257 Dropship Crew - 2,518 Jumpship Crew - 642

She was making marks on the list on what to send where. Most of the equipment would go to the 322nd Armored Division. The Coolant Trucks and the Battlemechs would travel with her 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division (MID). A knock brought her head up,Emergence wave incoming General, a really big one. Commodore Coltrain is making ready to intercept it. Coming in at the Zenith Jump Point."

"Alert all commands, possible incoming enemy forces, bring everyone up to full alert." She ordered, just what we need, another damned enemy force with 2 Battalions of Infantry guarding the prisoners. Numbers still to grow as the Jumpship and Dropship prisoners were still on their way to the surface from the Nadir Jump Point.

In orbit, Commodore Barbara Coltrain had ordered SLS Rhodon, to head for a pirate point 3 hours away while the SLS 'Conroy, would recalculated jump coordinates for the Zenith Jump Point. When the navigator nodded, Commodore Mike Henderson gave the orderJump".

SLS Mighty Lift, Potemkin-Class Transport emerged at the Zenith Jump Point and it's sensors registered a emergence wave. "General Quarters, launch all dropships! Weps prepare for possible action." Commodore Sandra Gallonsa, commander SLS Salvation, Potemkin Class Transport ordered

When SLS 'Conroy materialized 1500km away, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.Hail them and find out what the hell is going on." Commodore Sandra Gallonsa ordered

Aboard SLS 'Conroy, Avatar-Heavy Cruiser, Commodore Mike Henderson studied the massive Potemkin Transport and the flood of Dropships on his ships radar screen.Sir, we are being hailed by the SLS Mighty Lift." Comms reported

"Mighty Lift, this is Commodore Mike Henderson, SLS 'Conroy. Glad to see you, you gave us quite a stir. Please tell me your our relief?" He asked

"Negative Commodore, we are transporting what is left of the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division. We had to abandon our last station and heard you folks might need some help, so here we are." Commodore Sandra Gallonsa answered

"Roger that, the folks on the ground needed the help for awhile, but things settled down in a hurry a few days ago. We will escort you to the planet. I need to pass the information on to Commodore Coltrain in orbit." Commodore Mike Henderson said

28 April 2766

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell and Major General Heinrich Rommel greeted Lieutenant General Colin McGregor, commander 126th Mechanized Infantry Division, as he disembarked from Dictator Dropship. He saluted Major General Rommel126th Mechanized Infantry Division reporting in sir." Major General Rommel returned the salute.

"Glad to have you here. And judging by the Dropships not unloading, your Division has seen better days." Major General Rommel replied

"Yes sir, we got hammered pretty bad. We are down to 7 Battalions of Mech Infantry, a single Battlemech Regiment and two Regiments of Tanks. I still have 1,187 wounded being treated. I have 109 Battlemechs but 291 Mechwarriors. We managed to return enough infantry to duty to field 3 extra Battalions than when we boosted." Lieutenant General Colin McGregor answered

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell finally spokeWe might be able to help with that situation. We seem to have more Battlemechs than pilots. Why don't we head for my office and discuss things."

Once everyone was seated, each command told their tale. Finally, Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell said the obviousThe damned rebels sure are effective at taking out the HPG's. Seems to be their very first target. Now, we are secure here on Pilon but we are currently preparing to head for Boulsi and clear that planet of rebel forces. Major General Rommel and the 322nd Armored Division is staying here on Pilon. I am taking my 272nd MID and 277th Dragoon to Boulsi. Is your Division ready to fight?"

"Yes, we would not be here if we weren't. We are understrength, actually below what regulations state as the level for combat ineffective and should be slated for disbandment." Lieutenant General Colin McGregor said

"We will hold off that for now. Folding you into my 272nd would make the Division way too unwieldy. Let's start distributing some equipment and see where your Division stands and then we will discuss things more. Let's get your command bedded down and tomorrow, we start issuing equipment." Lieutenant General Mitchell said.

May[]

1 May 2766 Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, Major General Heinrich Rommel, Major Harry Estaban and Lieutenant General Colin McGregor had gathered to work on the planned invasion of Boulsi. Many adjustments and troop transfers had been conducted and the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division into decent shape. There had been some disagreements, like Lieutenant General Colin McGregor protest when Lieutenant General Mitchell had "ordered" him to transfer a full Battalion of Mechwarriors to the 277th Dragoon Regiment being the Regiment to full strength.

Major General Rommel had convinced Lieutenant General Mitchell to allow him to transfer most of his Infantry to the 126th MID, in exchange he would absorb the wounded Infantry from the 126th MID as they returned to duty. Walking wounded could guard prisoners almost as well as fully fit soldiers. Even with the small protests, eventually they all agreed it was for the best all around. Finally, they had a restructured force almost ready to deploy.

272nd Mechanized Infantry Division

  • 2721st Brigade
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Infantry Battalions, 1 Company Turhan
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Infantry Battalions, 1 Company Turhan
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Infantry Battalions, 1 Company Merkava Mk VIII
    • Light Battlemech Battalion - 2 Company's
  • 2722nd Brigade
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Infantry Battalions, 1 Company Manticore
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Infantry Battalions, 1 Company Burke
    • Light Battlemech Battalion - 2 Company's
  • 2723rd Brigade
    • Battlemech Regiment - 3 Battalions
    • Battlemech Regiment - 3 Battalions
  • Armor Brigade
    • Armor Regiment - 3 Battalions
    • Armor Regiment - 3 Battalions
  • Artillery Regiment
  • Long Tom Artillery Vehicles - 1 Battalion
    • Thumper Artillery Vehicles - 1 Battalion
    • Arrow Missile Artillery Vehicles - 1 Battalion
  • Engineer Battalion - 2 Company's
  • 272nd Ground Aero Wing
    • Aerospace Wing - 2 Squadrons
    • Aerospace Wing - 2 Squadrons
    • Fixed Conv Wing - 1 Squadron

277th Dragoon Regiment

  • Battlemech Regiment - 3 Battalions
  • Infantry Battalion - 1 Jump Infantry Battalion, 12 Heavy Tracked APCs
  • Artillery Company - 12 Ballista Artillery Vehicles

126th Mechanized Infantry Division

  • 1262 Brigade
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Infantry Battalions, 1 Company Turhan
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Infantry Battalions, 1 Company Turhan
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Infantry Battalions, 1 Company Turhan
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 2 Infantry Battalions, 1 Company Von Luckner (sl)
    • Light Battlemech Battalion - 3 Company's
  • 1263 Brigade
    • Battlemech Regiment - 3 Battlemech Battalions
    • Battlemech Regiment - 3 Battlemech Battalions
  • 1264 Brigade
    • Armor Regiment - 3 Armor Battalions
    • Armor Regiment - 3 Armor Battalions
  • Artillery Regiment
    • 1 Battalion of Long Tom Artillery Vehicle
    • 1 Battalion of Thor Artillery Vehicle
    • 1 Battalion of Padilla/Chaparral Missile Artillery
  • Cavalry Battalion - 3 LAM Company's, 1 Infantry Company, 1 Hover Company (Maxim)
  • Ground Aero Wing
    • Aerospace Wing - 4 Squadrons
    • Conv Fighter Wing - 2 Squadrons
    • Conv Transport Wing - 2 Squadrons
    • Engineer Battalion
    • Jump Infantry Battalion - 1 Battalion

The 322nd Armored Division, much to the armor crews, transferred better tanks and got the Merkava Mk VIII and Marsden IIA's in exchange. The 272nd MID transferred their LAM Company to the 126th to reform their Cavalry Battalion. Currently it was the best they could do, but it gave each command a decently powerful force. Not all of the Mechwarriors were happy with their rides, but at least they were in Battlemechs and not assigned to the Infantry, which what several were threatened with when they bitched a little too loudly about being assigned Toro and Talos Battlemechs.

With the captured Jumpship fleet disabled, the removed equipment had been sent to the planets surface, only the 3 Warships would make the jump to Boulsi, no one wanted to risk using any of the captured Jumpship crews, not even the ones that swore they were shanghaied merchant crews during questioning. The invasion of Boulsi was slated for 1 June 2766 to give the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division additional ground time.

Zetang (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore Trisha Delvaney, commander SLS Salvation, Newgrange Yardship, along with SLS Gareth and SLS Helmet, Essex Destroyers materialized at the Nadir Jump Point. Everyone had been surprised to find the Olympus Recharge Station at the previous system, Shira, destroyed and the systems HPG not operating. They had still not been able to get a lock on any functional HPG with their onboard HPG. This had alarmed all 3 ships captains. They planned to replenish foor and water stocks at Achnoly, where the 200th Royal Light Horse was stationed. Maybe then they could get some answers.

Brisbane (Federated Suns)

Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky, aboard SLS McKenna's Pride, McKenna Battleship, was not in a very good mood. Even though the SLDF was slowly turning the tide on the Uprising, reports of desertions from the Replacement Depots on Armington, Stratford and Umka was disturbing. Many units reported entire sub units just disappearing when they arrived at a new Jump Point in a different system. He double compared the list of commands and their "lost" sub units.

Armington (Federated Suns)

129th Battlemech Division - 3rd Army - 18 Mechwarrior, 491 Inf deserted 263rd Battlemech Division - 4th Army - 22 Mechwarrior, 338 Inf deserted 238th Mechanized Infantry Division - 4th Army - 1 BM Company rogue 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division - 4th Army - 2 Mixed Regiment (2 BM, 3 Inf) rogue 262nd Battlemech Division - 6th Army - 1 BM Battalion declared TC 81st Mechanized Infantry Division - 7th Army - 2 Regiments (1 BM, 1 Inf) 36th Infantry Division - 19th Army - 1 Mixed Regiment (2 BM, 1 Inf) declared TC 161st Mechanized Infantry Division - 19th Army - 1 Battlemech Regiment declared for TC 251st Royal Mechanized Infantry Division - 19th Army - 1 BM Battalion rogue 192nd Jump Infantry Division - 19th Army - 1 Inf Regiment rogue

Stratford (Federated Suns)

284th BattleMech Division - 15th Army - 2 BM Battalions rogue 208th BattleMech Division - 16th Army - 1 Mixed Regiment (1 BM, 2 Inf) rogue 165th Mechanized Infantry Division - 16th Army - 2 BM Battalions rogue 247th Heavy Assault Regiment - 16th Army - 32 Mechwarrior deserted 298th BattleMech Division - 16th Army - 2 Mixed Regiment (2 BM, 4 Inf) rogue 201st Battle Regiment - 16th Army - 1 BM Company rogue 318th BattleMech Division - 16th Army - 1 Mixed Regiment (1 BM, 2 Inf) rogue 370th BattleMech Division - 20th Army - 2 Inf Battalion rogue 335th Royal Dragoon Regiment - 20th Army - 1 BM Company rogue 200th Mechanized Infantry Division - 20th Army - 1 BM Battalion declared OA 428th BattleMech Division - 20th Army - 1 BM Regiment rogue

Umka (Free World League)

48th Jump Infantry Division - 9th Army - Mixed Regiment (2 BM, 1 Inf) declared MoC 29th Mechanized Infantry Division - 12th Army - 3 Inf Regiment rogue 200th Mechanized Infantry Division - 12th Army - 1 Inf Regiment rogue 186th Mechanized Infantry Division - 13th Army - 1 BM Regiment declared MoC 181st Royal Mechanized Infantry Division - 13th Army - 1 BM Battalion rogue 38th Royal CAAN Marine Regiment - 17th Army - 1 BM Battalion rogue 605th Battle Regiment - 17th Army - 27 Mechwarrior deserted 265th Mechanized Infantry Division - 17th Army - 1 BM Regiment rogue 108th Mechanized Infantry Division - 17th Army - 1 Mixed Regiment (2 BM, 1 Inf) rogue

The absolute worst the 280th Mechanized Infantry Division had simply vanished, never showing up at Baltor to link up with a warship escort. So far, searches had failed to locate any trace of them. He knew the orders to disband had been a very unpopular order, but never had it crossed his mind that this many soldiers or units would just vanish. He had no choice but to issue orders to destroy the rogue commands as they were discovered. He would focus on locating and destroying them once the Uprising was put down.

Argos (Periphery)

The 54th Mechanized Infantry Division, long suspected of black market dealings by SLIC, after a murderous fight with rebels on New Abilene in late 2765, had pulled out and voted to call it quits enmass. The 54th had been savaged in the fight, suffering multiple nuclear attacks. The survivors wanted no part of anymore fighting or the SLDF. With all senor commanders killed in a nuclear fireball during a ill planned briefing, they had voted Captain Olivia Daniels as acting commander. Charasmatic, tough, she was well respected within the command.

54th Mechanized Infantry Division 541st Brigade Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Battalions Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Battalions

543rd Brigade Battlemech Regiment - 2 Battalions

544th Brigade Armor Regiment - 3 Battalions

Artillery Regiment Artillery Battalion - 1 Company Thor, 1 Company Padilla Engineer Battalion - 2 Company's

Cavalry Battalion - 2 LAM Company's

Ground Aero Wing Aerospace Group - 4 Squadrons Conv Fighter Group - 2 Squadrons Conv Transport Group - 2 Squadrons Engineer Battalion - 1 Company Jump Infantry Regiment - 2 Battalions

Author's Notes[]

  • Author’s Note: Just a heads up, I will be throwing some of the Canon Timeline off. Seems the writers sort of tossed the rule book out when comes to travel times. No way can the SLDF redeploy from the Taurian Concordat in 3 months time. So I will be delaying the Rim Worlds invasion until roughly October 2767, possibly first of 2768.

15 May 2766 Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Aboard SLS Hatchet, Kimagure-Class Cruiser, Commodore William Blythe shook off the effects of the double jump into the Nadir Jump Point. He had taken a zig zag course getting here, hitting 5 systems. It had covered a large swath of territory. As the ships sensors came back online, they quickly detected hostile inbounds. "General Quarters, weps fire as targets present themselves. Launch the fighters and kick the Dropships loose, tell them to head for the surface until this is over. Sensor, what do we have."

"No friendly IFF on any contacts. Magnifying now, I show 2 Dart-Class Cruisers and 3 Lola II-Class Destoyers." The sensor officer reported.

"Darts? Last one I ever heard of was destroyed over 40 years ago. Okay, we have a serious fight on our hands. We are outnumbered but not really outgunned. Better tell the Dropships to make the best speed they can tolerate in case something gets past us." He checked the ships plot quickly and keyed the secure laser comm to SLS Axe Handle. "Helen, Will, we take the lead Dart first, she's a short range brawler so let's try and keep our distance, pound her to scrap and take her out of the fight quick as we can. We have tp cover the Dropships, so nothing get's past us."

Dart Class Cruiser Mini - Painted 66 wackdart1

Dart Class Light Cruiser

"Roger that Will, remember a week ago, you was griping about the lack of worthy foes and I told you to be careful what you wish for? Well I told you so."

"Yeah, me and my big mouth. We survive this, I owe you a big kiss and a beer. Now let's get down to business Helen."

"Roger that Will, you all take care. Let's do this." Commodore Helen Buros replied

Three hours later, the lead Dart Cruiser launched a 4 Killer Whales from it's nose launchers. All 4 Killer Whales were targeted on SLS Hatchet. Only a single Killer Whale made it past SLS Hatchet's point defense guns. It failed to penetrate but shaved some armor. "Helm, when weps gives that Dart our nose guns, boost us to 3g's to rapidly unmask our left broadside. Comm, relay to Axe Handle what we are going to do and to follow us. Arms reach people, we hold her at arms length and pound them."

Kimagure Pursuit Cruiser (Underway - underfire)

SLS Hatchet engaged in combat

The Dart launched another volley of Killer Whales as it passed into extreme followed by it's twin nose NL/45. Only a single Class-45 Naval Laser lashed the Kigamure Cruiser, the Killer Whales never made it past the point defense guns. "Firing nose." Weps announced. SLS Hatchet fired 4 Heavy Naval PPCs (HNPPC) and 4 Medium Naval PPCs (MNPPC) at the incoming Dart. Superior training paid off as 3 HNPPC and all 4 MNPPC blasted the Dart's nose removing almost 70% of the Dart's armor. SLS Hatchet accelerated and began turning to unmask it's broadside. The Dart began to adjust course, desperately trying to close the distance.

"Firing broadside, there goes Axe Handle." Weps announced. SLS Axe Handle had cut loose with it's nose bays and it's 4 HNPPC and 4 MNPPC had scored 2 HNPPC and 3 MNPPC on the Darts FRS arc and removed a massive amount of armor. SLS Hatchet fired it's left broadside which would put incredible strain on the ships heat sinks. Eight HNPPC and 4 MNPPC lashed out at the Dart, scoring 3 HNPPC and 3 MPPC on the already heavily damaged nose. Two HNPPC blasted the remaining armor off the Dart while a single HNPPC smashed into the Dart's Bridge section, the 3 MNPPC burrowed deep into the Cruiser heavily damaging it's K-F Drive. The SLS Axe Handle, following the maneuver of SLS Hatchet sends a broadside into the Dart Cruiser with 3 HNPPC and 4 MNPPC lashed across it's right side, heavily damaging the Front Right and Rear Broadsides.

"Helm, hard to starboard, let's keep the Dart's damaged side in our arcs, Comm signal Axe Handle to follow us around."

SLS Hatchet takes 2 Killer Whales into it's ARS as the second rebel Dart entered the fight. SLS Hatchet let loose with it's right broadside at the heavily damaged Dart, multiple NPPC's penetrated it's already damaged armor, and the Dart's engines flickered out. Verifying the secure laser still had a lock, he keyed the mic "Helen, she's powerless, let's go chew the other Dart up, those Lola II are getting a little too close." He then said "Helm, angling us to port, we are shifting targets."

Another volley of Killer Whales came in with 2 making past the point defenses blasting armor from SLS Hatchet. SLS Hatchet shuddered suddenly as the heavily damaged Dart fired it's Class 25 and 30 Naval Autocannons at the very edge of their range, managing to score a single NAC/25 and single NAC/30 hit. In return, both SLS Hatchet and SLS Axe Handle returned fire on the heavily damaged Dart scoring multiple hits. Soon, escape pods began launching from the Dart. Returning attention to the other Dart, Commodore Blythe winced as he mentally calculated the closing distance and realized that his ship would pass well within range of the Dart's naval cannons. "Helm, give me everything we have, high speed pass, let's make his targeting as hard as we can."

SLS Hatchet cut loose with it's nose bays and NPPC fire lashed the Dart, scoring hits that ripped armor from it's nose and FRS arcs. A volley of Killer Whales missiles launched from the Dart followed by it's NAC/20 in the nose. SLS Hatchet shuddered as it shed massive amounts of armor under the impact. Hatchet's return fire slammed into the Dart FRS arc, once again removing massive sheets of armor. Commodore Blythe was mentally calculating the the angles as the Dart started angling. Both ships passed by at high speed lashing each other with weapons fire. NPPC fire from SLS Hatchet hammered the Dart but the Dart's return fire with NAC/25 and NAC/30 slammed into the Hatchet. Commodore Blythe checked the damage control screen and saw the blinking light on his K-F Drive. Shit, went thru his head as they rapidly passed from range of the Dart, once again letting it have some NPPC fire which removed more armor. Fire from SLS Axe Handle pounded the damaged Dart, several shots burrowing deep into the wounded Cruiser.

Commodore Blythe keyed the engine room "Chief I need a damage report on the Drive, I am showing it damaged."

"It sure is, I think that last volley cracked the hell out of it. I know it damaged the Helium seals, we have a leak from hell down here we are working to contain. No jumping for us for awhile, better win the fight sir." Came the response

"Helm, start breaking us some. Looks like those Lola II's have poured on the coals and are closing fast. Start angling us to port and we will give them a nice welcome as they come in." He switched to the secure laser "Helen, I took some hits that took my jump drive out."

"Roger, I have some scratched paint so will take the lead on the Lola's inbound. Second Dart is launching escape pods."

"Lead Lola almost in range, coming on fast." Weps announced and a minute later "Firing."

Angled just right, SLS Hatchet overloaded it's heat sinks as it let loose with it's RFS and RBS arcs on the lead Lola II. Eight HNPPC and 6 MNPPC lashed out from SLS Hatchet reaching out for the onrushing Lola II. Commodore Blythe watched as the Lola II seemed to collapse into itself before breaking apart as the massive volley ripped the Destroyer apart. He caught sight of SLS Axe Handle passing by at high speed in an effort to shield her damaged sister ship, NPPC fire lashing out at the next Lola II. Missiles leaped from the Lola II and sensor's registered the signature "NUKES!!!" The sensor operator yelled. Both remaining Lola II had launched 4 Santa Ana at the onrushing SLDF Cruiser. Two made it past point defenses, but neither penetrated the dense armor but it they heavily damaged it. Commodore Blythe watched in horror as SLS Axe Handle plowed straight into a Lola II Destroyer and both ships were instantly destroyed, not a single escape pod launched.

Holding back the tear, Commodore Blythe ordered "Weps, please remove that Lola II from my sight." Without even acknowledging the order, fire was concentrated on the remaining Lola II until it was destroyed. "Comm, recall the Dropships, board the Dart's and secure them. Launch the shuttles, get SAR started. Helm, bring us around so that we can provide overwatch for the Marines. Then we go take that damned recharge station."

17 May 2766

Olympus Space Station (Solar Sail Deployed)

Olympus Recharging Station

SLS Hatchet was currently 800km from the Olympus Recharge Station which had 2 full Battalions of SLDF Marines onboard taking control of it. Yesterday, the Marines had secured both Dart Cruisers and the Elephant Tugs had brought both under control and they both were currently 1000km off SLS Helmet's starboard side. A voice made him turn "Commodore, damage report. Our drive is cracked bad, it must have been building up micro cracks from all the jumps, the helium seals have let go, but we have a spare and it is currently being replaced. But I would not advise any jumps. Probably shatter the core." Chief Engineer Whitney reported

"Thanks Chief. Looks like we are stuck here for now." Commodore Blythe replied

19 May 2766 Tanz (Outworlds Alliance)

Major Yuri Nabokov, acting commander 211th Hussar Regiment, sat aboard SLS Night Jumper, Tramp LF Jumpship. Months of space travel, most of it without warship escort, not here they were, still without an escort. They had arrived at Vangburg to find that the 91st Royal Jump Infantry Division had already put down the uprising on Vangburg and surrounding systems. Now they had orders to check on the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division on Blommestein and 126th Mechanized Infantry Division on Ambatomainty. After resupplying on Vangburg, they had set out on their new mission. Not a single soldier of the 211th Hussar Regiment was very happy about once again sailing around the Outworlds Alliance without an escort force. After losing the 2 Compnay's from 1st Battlemech Battalion, he had renamed the Battalions, 1st and 2nd Battalion. The 211th Hussar Regiment had an Armor Battalion and Mechanized Infantry Batalion attached. He had taken his Company and renamed it Command Company.

211th Hussar Regiment

  • Command Company - 1 Ostwar OWR-2Mb, 11 Flashman FLS-8K
  • 1st Battlemech Battalion - 24 Lancelot LNC25-01sl, 12 Excaliber EXC-B2
  • 2nd Battlemech Battalion - 24 Guillotine GLT-3N, 12 Phoenix Hawk PXH-2
  • Armor Battalion - 36 Zephyr Hover Tanks
  • Mechanized Infantry Battalion - 9 Mech Inf, 12 Turhan
  • Transportation Assets
    • 5 Tramp LF Jumpships
    • 6 Union Dropship
    • 2 Lion Dropship
    • 2 Mule Dropships

As a Gunslinger graduate, he had managed to get his hands on an old but fully upgraded Ostwar which he made sure was lovingly maintained. Even though Colonel Namath, RIP, had constantly bitched about how much it complicated the command's maintenance problems. He had always won the arguments, mainly because Colonel Namath could not fault his gunnery scores nor his companies. His company had maintained some of the highest readiness scores during evaluations.

Waitur (Outworlds Alliance)

Ships Captain Martin Zuni had finally managed to safely worm his way towards the Federated Suns. Two more jumps and he would have his Merchant Jumpship safely at Inner End in the Federated Suns. He would then fulfill his promise to Lieutenant General Colin McGregor by taking the shuttle down to the surface and hand delivering the encoded message to the SLDF troops there. They might not be regular SLDF, but virtually every planet had a reserve component of the SLDF on it. Sometimes just a Infantry Battalion of reservists. But they were SLDF all the same and his promise would be fulfilled.

Once his promise was fulfilled, he would be free to make some money. He figured he would play in or near the Federated Suns until things cooled off enough to resume traveling in the Outworlds Alliance. Maybe make a trip down to New Port Royal, he knew some beautiful women down there and it was basically anything goes out there.

Deep Space (Between Luderitz and Hope IV)

Once again, Commodore Richard Devall had summoned Major General Iris Carman to his small cramped quarters/office. After being let in, she took the offered seat, attaching the restraints to keep her from floating out. "General Carman, I have been in the SLDF 14 years and I have carried your 280th MID for 4 years. I know you too well. Tell me what is really going on. There is no way Command would send us way out here, not without a escort."

"You saw the orders Commodore, we are just following them. I don't question my orders." Major General Carman replied

Commodore Devall reached into a small drawer and pulled out the orders she had given him. "Yes, these very orders. Quite good fakes, but you missed one small important detail, the order number, it is exactly the same order number as the one ordering us to Luderitz. Now, exactly what the hell is going on?"

Major General Carman had dreaded this day, prayed it would never come, but here it was, today was the day. "They were going to disband my Division. Take my people away and scatter them to the winds. Not even fold them into our sister Divisions in the Corps. Just willy nilly toss them around. I could not let that happen. I have had the 280th for 7 years. Just get us to Hope IV Richard. That is all I ask, once there, I will inform the Division and even your people of what is exactly going on, any that want to leave, they will be free to leave. As much as it pains me, I will let them go. I cannot watch my people get fed into a meatgrinder again." A few tears floated from her eyes.

"Alright General Carman. I will get your Division to Hope IV. I cannot promise I will stick around after that. The SLDF is my home and I love it dearly." Commodore Devall stated

"It's all I ask of you. I to love the SLDF, but I love my troops more. I buried 60% of my Division on Luderitz that weighs heavily on me every day. Thank you Richard." Major General Carman said.

25 May 2766 Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

All the rebel prisoners were secured aboard the Olympus Recharge Station under guard by SLDF Marines. For 3 days, engineers from Kimagure-Class Pursuit Cruiser, SLS Hatchet, had been aboard the captured Dart-Class Light Cruisers conducting damage surveys. Now, Chief Engineer Whitney was briefing Commodore William Blythe on what they had learned.

"Dart One, has a basically destroyed Jump Core. She will not jump again anytime soon. Entire Core has to be replaced. She has some serious armor loss and damage to her internal structure. Her CIC/Bridge took a good hit, but that could be repaired. Her engine room is a mess, looks like a shot burrowed all the way in and really messed things up in there. One reactor is totally fried. She lost 2 Docking Collars and no spares. Good news, she was carrying several spare reactors and roughly 9,000 tons of replacement armor. She was loaded for an extended campaign with little to no shipyard support. She is chock full of replacement parts, but alas, no Jump Core. We managed to get into her computer systems and we found that she is a new build. This is no left over, someone, somewhere is actually building new Dart-Class Light Cruisers.

Dart Two, we detected some micro cracks in the Jump Core, enough to cause concern, and if it was a SLDF ship, she would be in the yards for replacement of the Core. Like Dart One, she lost a ton of armor, some structural damage, but fixable. She lost a few weapons, but she has spares aboard. One thing about the Dart, she has good cargo space, unlike our Kimagure which can barely carry the food we need for an extended patrol. She could jump in an emergency, but personally, I would not advise it. The damage is not as severe as on Hatchet, but I think any jump will probably end badly. Her engines took a few hits, but we think they can be fixed back up. She lost a single Docking Collar also. We also got into her computer system, unlike Dart One which is a new build, Dart Two was built in 2402. She has seen some extensive refurbishing, there is a ton of new equipment aboard her. Her computer systems have all been upgraded. Like Dart One, her cargo bay is packed with spare parts and replacement armor, weapons and ammunition. Loaded for an extended campaign away from shipyard support.

Now, for my baby here. I already told you we cannot jump. Not without risk of destroying the Jump Core. In another 2 weeks, we will have the Helium Tank seals replaced. We can replace our armor, but without shipyard support, it will take a long while, 3 months at least. It will exhaust our stock of replacement armor and be a royal pain in the butt to do without shipyard support. It really is not something I am looking forward to. We have to rig up the portable cranes to maneuver the armor plates and those portable cranes are major headaches to use and assemble. They were one of the reasons the SLDF built the Newgrange-Class Yardships. Not to mention forming the damned Ferro-Carbide sheets is a major royal pain in the butt, I cannot stress that enough, another reason the SLDF built the Newgrange-Class Yardships. I am just thankful we are not clad in Lamellor Ferro-Carbide, talk about being difficult to work with. The only other damage is to one of our Docking Collars, it is not destroyed totally, but it is beat up bad enough that I would not trust it, but we ain't jumping anywhere soon so that is minor." Chief Engineer Whitney concluded his briefing

"Would more people help with the armor replacement?" Commodore Blythe asked

"More people are always better, but they need to know what they are doing, experienced working in Zero-G. I could put the Marines to use, but they are going to pitch a major fit about it, they know Zero-G, but I would bet big money not a single one of them have any experience repairing a ship." CE Whitney replied

"Well, we happen to have 212 rebel crew we captured. Surely we could put them to work." Commodore Blythe said

"Sir, with respect and all that, I would not trust a single one of them near my baby. We will handle the repairs. You will just have to put up with my bitching." CE Whitney said

"Fine Chief, I will just pray you complete repairs before we get into another fight out here." Commodore Blythe replied

Waitur (Outworlds Alliance)

The emergence wave caused Ships Captain Martin Zuni no small amount of panic when it was detected, they needed another 8 hours to complete recharging their drive. When the Tramp Jumpship materialized 12,000km away and began broadcasting SLDF IFF, he breathed a sigh of relief. It was not long before his ship was hailed by the SLS Forever Journey, Tramp Jumpship.

"Merchant Jumpship, this is SLS Forever Journey, how copy over." "This is Merchant Vessel Daring the Odds, I have you load and clear Forever Journey." Ships Captain Zuni replied "Roger Daring, we are looking for a intel dump of the area."

Ships Captain Zuni thought about this for a few seconds, "Forever Journey, how about you shuttle over to my ship and I can show you what I know."

There was a longer pause before the answer cam back "Roger Daring, expect our shuttle in about an hour. Forever Journey out."

Just a hair over an hour later, the SLDF shuttle entered Daring the Odds' shuttle bay where 4 SLDF officers exited and we led to meet Ships Captain Zuni. On the grav deck, Ships Captain Zuni introduced himself "Ships Captain Martin Zuni at your service."

"I am Major Stanton Emerson, commander SLS Forever Journey. This is Colonel Elizabeth McCord, Major Jose Ferrera and Major Tim Ronstein, 298th Battlemech Division."

"Your missing a bunch of ships Major Emerson. Only 2 Dictator and a Czar Dropship, that is all that is left of a Battlemech Division?" Zuni asked

There was a slight pause before Major Emerson answered "We are detached from the Division. Recon mission. So, what can you tell us about the immediate area?"

"Before we go there, I need to pass on a message." He pulled out the encoded message given to him by Lieutenant General Colin McGregor and handed it over "This was given to me by Lieutenant General Colin McGregor of the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division, I met up with them at Sorsk. When I told him about another SLDF unit I suspected was heading to Pilon to help out another SLDF unit trapped, he made me promise to pass on their location to the SLDF. I have now done so and can get back to my business."

Major Emerson tucked the message into his pocket "Thank you, we will make sure this gets to the proper people. Now, what does the immediate area look like?"

"Well, a few months ago, the rebels were kicking the crud out of the SLDF on Pilon. They also held Boulsi and Thazi for sure. I got searched by a Outworlds Pinto at Coyle. Talking to a few other Merchant Captains I met along the way, it looks like the rebels are pushing inward towards the center of the Outworlds Alliance. If the SLDF hugs the outer systems, they should be able to get to Pilon and the other SLDF troops there without much fuss." Ships Captain Zuni said

"Can you show me the exact route you took and systems you passed thru, it would be of great help to us." Major Emerson asked

"Sure" Captain Zuni said as he pulled up a Star Map on his portable pad. He traced out the route he took, rebel sightings for over 45 minutes.

"Thank you Captain Zuni, you have been a huge help. And on behalf of the Star League Defense Force, thank you for fulfilling your promise to relay to the SLDF the location of our missing units. You going to be in system long?" Colonel McCord said

"I jump in 6 hours. Now that the I have passed on the message, I will be heading into the Federated Suns. It is a little too hot out here for me to risk my ship and crew." Ships Captain Zuni responded

"Well then, you and your crew stay safe and again, thank you." Colonel McCord said

Twenty minutes later, after the SLDF shuttle had cleared the shuttle bay of Merchant Vessel Daring the Odds, Colonel Elizabeth McCord spoke up. "Well, now we have a damned problem. We stick our necks out and relay this message to the SLDF, we are looking prison time or worse getting shot for desertion. But I am not sure I can live with myself leaving those soldiers out there to die without help. So, let's here it, what do we do?"

"I almost had a panic attack when he handed that message over and gave us a brief idea of what it contained. Now we have the message and those folks out there are cut off from any help. Me and my people are not afraid to fight the rebels, we just refused to be broken up, just your Infantry folks Colonel. I say we head out that way, if the SLDF troops are still alive, we help them out. If not, well we continue on like we planned. We can always bail on them once the fighting is over" Major Tim Ronstein said

"I vote to go help them. When we accepted that message from Zuni, we tied our fate to those troops out there. I don't want to live with myself if we do not at least try." Major Jose Ferrera stated

"How about you Major Emerson, how long to reach Pilon from here?" Colonel McCord asked

"I cast my lot with you folks, as did my crew. I go where you tell me to go. If I remember that Star Map right, it is 9 jumps to Pilon, if I recharge off the reactor and bump the rate up some, I think I can get us there in 2 months time." Major Emerson said

"Then it is unanimous, we head for Pilon and try to help out the stranded troops out there." Colonel McCord said as the others nodded in agreement

Shrim (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore Trisha Delvaney, commander SLS Salvation, Newgrange Yardship, along with SLS Gareth and SLS Helmet, Essex Class Destroyers materialized at the Nadir Jump Point. Sensors quickly detected the Tramp Jumpship seconds before it jumped from the system. "Pull up the senor logs, see if we can identify that Tramp Jumpship." She ordered

"We got a single pulse from the ships IFF, SLS Seeker, Tramp-Class Jumpship assigned to the 335th Royal Dragoon Regiment." Her sensor officer replied

"They wasted no time in leaving, but then again, being a solo Jumpship way out here, I can't say I blame them. Begin recharge operations." Commodore Delvaney said

Achnoly (Outworlds Alliance)

SLS Seeker materialized at the Zenith Jump Point. Once the sensors declared the Jump Point clear, Major Kelsey Linnes ordered "Commence recharge operations." Then turning to Captain Xavier Poutry "That was a close one, not sure what was incoming, but it was a huge ass emergence wave, had to be SLDF warships. I doubt the sensors grabbed anything, we were too deep into the jump sequence. But we will take a look."

Captain Xavier Poutry nodded, he and his Battlemech Company (reinforced) were all that was left of his Battalion. SLS Seeker had 3 Union Dropships aboard, once belonging to 3rd Battalion, 335th Royal Dragoon Regiment. His Company actually was put together from the survivors of the Battalion. Loaded on the Union's were 9 Warhammer WHM-7A, 4 Thunderbolt TDR-5Sb and 3 Archer ARC-2Rb along with 5 Mechwarrior with no rides and the full support personnel of the Battalion. After eating a few nukes, the 335th Royal Dragoon Regiment had been ordered to report to Stratford for disbandment. The order was greeted with hostility from the survivors of 3rd Battalion. After convincing Major Linnes to take them somewhere else after the 4th jump, they had broken off from the small convoy carrying the rest of the Regiment.

Shiri (Outworlds Alliance)

When the orders had come to depart Ictus and report to Stratford for disbandment, 1st Regiment, 4282nd Brigade, 428th Battlemech Division had been stunned. The 428th Battlemech Division had fought a hard fight on Ictus against very long odds and emerged victorious. As repayment, they were being disbanded, and this had not set well with anyone in the Division, but it was much worse in the 1st Regiment. They contained the remains of all 3 Battlemech Regiments in 4282nd Brigade. It had taken some time to convice Colonel Alberta Collins to make the leap with them, but finally they had done so. Taking control of SLS Blade Runner, Star Lord-Class Jumpship, they had left the convoy carrying the 428th Battlemech Division to Stratford. No one knew their final destination, but at least they were still together. Loaded aboard the 4 Dictators, 1 Lion and 1 Mammoth-Class Dropship were:

1st Regiment, 428th Battlemech Division

  • Battlemech Battalion - 22 Nighthawk NTK-2Q, 14 Lynx LNX9Q
  • Battlemech Battalion - 13 Shootist ST-8A, 17 Guillotine GLT-3N, 6 Bombardier BMD-12D
  • Battlemech Battalion - 36 Phoenix Hawk PXH-2
  • Battlemech Company (Reinforced) - 10 Pillager PLG-3Z, 6 Thug THG-11E
  • Regiment Support
  • Wayland Mobile Repair Vehicles - 12
  • Coolant Trucks - 36
  • Mobile HQ (4 standard, 2 HPG) - 6
  • Cargo Trucks - 68
  • MASH Trucks - 3

Dispossessed Mechwarriors - 27 Support Personnel - 2,592

26 May 2767 Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore Barbara Coltrain, commander SLS Rhodon, escorted Transport SLS Salvation to the Zenith Jump Point to link up with the curiser SLS 'Conroy. A gaggle of Dropships carrying the 272nd MID, 126th MID and 277th Dragoon flew with them. She was currently reading over the scathing report compiled by her Chief Engineer, Jennifer Meldom on the status of all 3 warships.

--Status Report-- SLS Rhodon, Luxor-Class Heavy Cruiser Launched 2729 Jump Number 4,751 Last Overhaul 2763 Jumps Since 367

As can be seen, Rhodon has not had a overhaul in 3 years. SLDF Regulations state that ALL ships are to proceed for overhaul after no more than 225 jumps to properly maintain a ships jump drive. We have already detected a few micro cracks in our Jump Core. Added stress due to double jumps must be kept to absolute minimum. All weapon systems are online, but like the jump drive, are way past SLDF Regulations for overhaul.

SLS 'Conroy, Avatar-Class Heavy Cruiser Launched 2631 Jump Number 17,015 Last Overhaul 2764 Jumps Since 231

Conroy has not had an overhaul in 2 years. SLDF Regulations state that ALL ships are to proceed for overhaul after no more than 225 jumps to properly maintain a ships jump drive. No micro cracks have been detected, but they are sure to start showing up. Certified for double jumps using LF Batteries at this time. All weapon systems are online, but like the jump drive, are way past SLDF Regulations for overhaul. Though almost 100 years older than Rhodon, Conroy is still in excellent condition.

SLS Salvation, Potemkin-Class Transport Launched 2644 Jump Number 24,422 Last Overhaul 2762 Jumps Since 468

Salvation has not had an overhaul in almost 5 YEARS!!!! Heavy usage moving troops, combined with moving 16th Army to Outworlds Alliance has kept her from complying with SLDF Regulation that state that ALL ships are to proceed for overhaul after no more than 225 jumps to properly maintain a ships jump drive!!!! Several micro cracks have been found within her Jump Core. Without LF Batteries, double jump concerns do not apply. All weapon systems are online, but WAY past SLDF Regulations for overhaul. Engineer reports some issues with several docking collars that must be corrected via EVA after every detachment. Recommend caution be shown in all respects.

Commodore Coltrain put away the report. Not much we can do about anything right now, no way am I going to leave the ground pounders without warship cover.

June[]

1 June 2766

"All Dropships docked and secure Commodore. All ships report ready and jump calculations completed for Boulsi's Nadir Jump Point." Rhodon's communication officer reported.

"Very well, signal the Flotilla to begin jump sequence. Let's go take Boulsi." Commodore Barbara Coltrain ordered

Five minutes later, the invasion of Boulsi began as the SLDF Flotilla leaped from the system.

Boulsi (Outworlds Alliance)

The SLS 'Conroy, was the first to emerge at the Nadir Jump Point, followed 2 minutes later by SLS Rhodon. Heavily loaded, SLS Salvation, The Potemkin would take 18 minutes to emerge from hyperspace.

Commodore Barbara Coltrain checked the surrounding area as the sensor's came back online. Docked with the Olympus Recharge Station were 8 Star Lord Jumpships, all broadcasting SLDF IFF codes and not far away were 4 Hoshiryokou-Class Tugs / DropShips, not broadcasting friendly IFF. This caused a few moments of doubt to invade Commodore Coltrain's mind as she reached for the intercom "Colonel Estaban, you know the name of any of the 277th or 322nd Armored's transports?". Major Estaban had been "promoted" to Brevet Colonel by Major General Rommel before they boosted for orbit.

"We had 2 Star Lords assigned to us, SLS Dream and SLS Weaver. Why?" Brevet Colonel Estaban asked

Commodore Coltrain got a thumbs up from her sensor tech "I do believe we are about to repossess them for you." With doubts now clear, she ordered "Helm, get us over to the Recharge Station. Alert the Marine to prepare for boarding action. Also alert Colonel Estaban that we will need that Jump Infantry Battalion to assist our Marines on the Station after they make the initial breach. Launch the Dropships, they wait until Salvation arrives, then 'Conroy and Salvation will escort them to the planet. Comms, start broadcasting surrender calls and for them to prepare to be boarded."

Two hours later, SLS Rhodon, the Luxor Heavy Cruiser was 600KM from the Olympus Recharge Station and still attached Star Lord Jumpships. One of the Hoshiryokou Tugs had tried to make a run for it, only to be set upon by a squadron of Hellcat II Aerospace Fighters until it surrendered. She watched closely as her 4 shuttles loaded with both Rhodon and Conroy's Marines approached the Olympus Recharge Station, a Czar Dropship hovered nearby carrying the 277th Dragoon's assigned Jump Infantry Battalion.

Captain Franklin Venary, commander Combined Marine Company, pushed himself from the shuttle and crossed the short distance to the Olympus Recharge Station. Grabbing the handhold next to the airlock door, he attached a guide line for the rest of the shuttles Marines to use. As the Marines attached themselves to the guide wire, he opened the covered keypad and entered in the SLDF mandated security bypass code, 110596*, and got a green light and pushed on the airlock door which opened with no resistance. He watched as his Marines slid into the airlock effortlessly and once all were inside, he entered and secured the door. Once pressure was re-established, the Marines shrugged out of the bulky EVA gear and prepared for the actual breach into the Station proper. "Red team set." He called over his comm system. "Green team set. Yellow team set. Blue team set." Were the responses. "Go" he said. At that, the lead Marine hit the door release and the 20 Marines in the airlock poured into the Station. They immediately began moving for one of the Dropship docking stations to allow the Czar Dropship to dock and then they would flood the station with troops. Once they were aboard, he would then take his Marines EVA again and board the Jumpships.

While Commodore Coltrain and SLS Rhodon, oversaw the securing of the Olympus Recharge Station, SLS 'Conroy and SLS Salvation, escorted the mass of Dropships to the planet’s surface, just over 2 days away.

4 June 2766 Bousli (Outworlds Alliance)

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell marched her Pillager down the ramp and onto the tarmac of the planets space port situated 45km from the capitol city of La Tapoa. Located on the largest continent of Gayeri. On the trip to the planet, she had decided to keep her forces together, for now anyway. Her 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division and 126th Mechanized Infantry Division landed at the space port while the 277th Dragoon Regiment grounded on the far side of the capitol city acting as a blocking force. Boulsi sported a population of just over 19 million people with 4 million of them in the capitol of La Tapoa. The rest were scattered in small communities mainly on the Gayeri, the only other inhabited continent was Marshalltown with about 3 million people. The continent of Charton's Madness was at the southern pole and ice covered wasteland while the continent of Nouveau Nord was extremely mountainous.

"All right people, we have discussed what we are going to do, so let's do it. 2721st and 2722nd Brigades, move to take the city. 2723rd Brigade, deploy and be ready to cut off any escape. General McGregor, please deploy your 126th MID to secure the space port. Once we have the city secured, we will consolidate and begin our sweep once we get some intel on what we face here." Lieutenant General Mitchell ordered

As the 272nd MID began moving for the caitol city of La Tapoa, a call rang out "Zeus, Dragoon Actual, contact, we have a Battlemech company exiting the city heading east, I am ordering my 2nd Battalion to engage them now."

"Copy Dragoon. Well, we know there are bad guys here. I would like some prisoners for questioning if possible, but not at the risk of casualties." Lt Gen Mitchell replied

"Do our best Zeus, no promises. Dragoon out." Brevet Colonel Estaban said

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell switched frequencies "Bullfighter, leave your short Regiment of Infantry and Aromor at the space port, move your remaining Infantry up to assist my Infantry in securing the city."

"Roger Zeus, we are almost complete in securing the space port anyway. Have my Battlemechs pushing out in a circle 20km from space port now. Should have my Infantry to the city in an hour." Lieutenant General Colin McGregor replied

Lieutenant General Mitchell returned to the command frequency and concentrated on maneuvering her Pillager down the narrow road following her Infantry Brigades while scanning for any threats. By nightfall, the combined 8 Infantry Regiments had secured 1/4 of the city of La Tapoa.

5 June 2766

As dawn broke over Boulsi, the SLDF Infantry once again moved out to secure more of the city of La Tapoa. So far, no resistance had been encountered inside the city. No one was liking the silence, for it usually meant really bad things were about to happen. At 10am, the bad stuff happened as machine gun fire cut down a squad of Infantry from the 272nd MID inside the city. As the SLDF Infantry returned fire and sought cover, several entered a house which exploded from a booby trap. Several more buildings erupted across the city as SLDF troops entered them. Supporting Battlemechs pushed forward to support the Infantry in suppressing the incoming small arms fire.

While the fighting inside the capitol of La Tapoa was raging, SLDF Aerospace fighters had been flying recon missions in squadron strength. One such mission was skirting along a fairly large mountainous area some 280km from the space port when a pilot spotted a Battlemech disappear at the last second along a steep cliff face. Banking hard to come around for another look, the pilot glimpsed a massive door closing, once closed, the door was almost invisible. "Zeus, this is Eagle Flight, think we found the bad guys. I am transmitting the coordinates now."

Inside the mountain complex, Colonel Xin Chou parked his Kyudo KY2-D-02 in the mech repair bay. He had his "new" Battlemech for only a year, acquired when they had managed to destroy the 228th Striker Regiment based inside this large complex built into the mountain. At the very beginning of the Uprising, in the early hours, his 3 Infantry Regiments had managed to eliminate the posted guards and gain entry to the facility. After a 3 hour firefight, they had completely eliminated the 228th Striker Regiment and captured all of it's equipment virtually intact along with the SLDF Castle. He had spent almost a year watching the SLDF construct this base. Not only had they gained the main gate, but he had been able to rappel a full Regiment into the facility via the 4 unfinished SDS sites connected to the main facility via maintenance tunnels.

He had wasted no time in ditching his outdated equipment for the much better SLDF machines. His mechwarriors morale had shot thru the roof when he gave the order. It had taken his techs several months to break the security codes of the Battlemechs, but now his Battlemech Regiment was now equipped with all the SLDF equipment. His main regret was he did not have any pilots that could pilot the 18 LAM's here in the base. One had tried and one bad switch thrown and the LAM had started to convert damaging it. He had forgone any further experimenting.

12 Mongoose MON-66 24 Talon TLN-5V 24 Night Hawk NTK-2Q 12 Kyudo KY2-D-01 36 Phoenix Hawk PHX-2 18 Phoenix Hawk LAM PHX-HK1R

He had only a Company of Phoenix Hawks at the capitol of La Tapoa and had gotten the radio call that they were being engaged by the SLDF. He had 2 Regiments of Infantry inside La Tapoa, 1 Regiment of Infantry were here with him and he had a single Infantry Regiment consisting of trash as far as he was concerned scattered about the various small cities in Company sized garrisons. The last Regiment had been formed after securing the planet from the SLDF, they were ill trained thugs with guns. He had been tempted to sally the Battlemech Regiment in support of the lone Battlemech Company, but after watching the number of Dropships that had landed, he knew it would be suicide to do so. No, he would force the SLDF to dig his forces out of the mountain.

Phoenix Hawk LAM Mk1 (In AirMech Mode by meltdonw14)

Mk1 version of the Phoenix Hawk LAM in AirMech Mode

Inside the Mobile HQ, Lieutenant General Mitchell and Lieutenant General McGregor studied the corrdinates they had received. "What do you think Colin?" She asked

"Well, the Cobra we dispatched to pick up the captured mechwarriors from the 277th Dragoons will be here in about an hour. Colonel Estaban is pissed he lost a Battlemech and pilot when they hesitated because he Battlemechs running from the city were broadcasting SLDF IFF. They downed all 12 of them, but boy is he pissed. His Dragoons are closest to this location. I say send the 277th Dragoon Regiment to at least set up blocking positions. I can take my 2 Battlemech Regiments and link up with him there. I think it best if you stay here and support the Infantry fight in the city. Once have the city, we can discuss redeployments. Besides, we are going to need the Engineers to breach that door probably, but they are going to be needed in the city to find and disarm the booby traps. We lost 33 KIA and 71 WIA to those damned things so far today." Lieutenant General McGregor said

"Okay, I will send the orders to the 277th Dragoon. You grab your Battlemechs and link up with them." Lieutenant General Mitchell said with a nod. She had fought down the urge to argue, he was after all Infantry while she was a Battlemech pilot and the roles should be reversed. She needed him on her side out here.

By nightfall, the 277th Dragoon Regiment was deployed after a 6 hour march to the hidden mountain base. Lieutenant General McGregor and his 2 Battlemech Regiments were 2 hours away and closing fast. Inside La Tapoa, the SLDF had secured another 8 blocks of the city after heavy fighting.

6 June 2766 Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Chief Engineer Eric Whitney rang the door chime to Commodore William Blythe's quarters/office aboard Kimagure-Class Pursuit Cruiser, the SLS Hatchet. The door opened in less than a minute and Commodore Blythe waved him inside. After taking a seat Commodore Blythe asked "What's up Chief?"

"Sir, I have been curious about that new build Dart Light Cruiser, so I asked Lieutenant JG Danny Martinez to take a trip over with me for a look see. He should be here any minute. Short story, he was able to dig into the ships navigation computer and we recovered some news." He paused when the door chime sounded and Commodore Blythe moved to open the door. Lieutenant JG Danny Martinez, SLS Hatchet's newest navigator entered the small room and took an offered seat. Chief Whitney continued "I will let Lieutenant JG Martinez take it from here."

"Sir, Chief Whitney took me over to Dart One and I dug into the ships navigation system. First some background which you probably already know, a ships navigation system has 3 different area's where it stores jump history. The first layer, is the one on the bridge, it stores the last 10 jumps a ship makes and the last 20 actual calculations made. As additional calculations or jumps are made, it begins transferring the oldest entries to the next level of storage, and finally, all actual jumps are automatically stored in the ships master computer. I dug into the ships master computer and managed to pull out the ships entire jump history. This Dart One made it's very first jump from a system on the far side of the Rim Worlds Republic. She has 285 jumps stored on her master computer." He pulled out a data stick and pulled out his own portable computer and inserted the data disk. "I downloaded the jump history and plotted the jumps over onto a Star Map. As you can see, Dart One took a very long trip all the way around the Inner Sphere to a point 713LY from New Delphi. She made her first jump on February 9, 2762 and began her long journey to this system here, arriving after a trip of some 2,737LY on March 12, 2764.

Dart Class Cruiser Mini - Painted 66 wackdart1

Dart Class Light Cruiser

Dart One stayed there until November 9, 2764, 28 jumps later it arrived in the Outworlds Alliance and played around in different systems before ending here in Thazi where we found it. I checked every chart we have and nothing at all is recorded out there. We have no information at all on where she lingered for 8 months. Chief and I then traveled to Dart Two, I dug into her master computer and downloaded her jump logs. It goes all the way back to when she was first launched. I only focused on the jumps from February 2762 to present. But I did scan the list and found that she visited the exact same system that Dart One made her very first jump from on May 5, 2760 and departed there on December 9, 2761.

But, on February 8, 2763, she was in this system here. I could find nothing in the database for that location, but I did the math and it is roughly 1,837LY rimward from Terra. Dart Two departed there 3 months later and made a journey of 1,425LY to this system here. Nothing in the database, but rough math puts it roughly 600LY from Mauna Loa, which is on the maps. It stayed there for 2 months and then made this long journey to New Delphi where BOTH Dart One and Dart Two's jumps match perfectly. They linked up and have been together ever since we took them out here. I have marked all 4 suspect locations on our charts. But we have a perfect jump record with coordinates if the higher powers wants to pay them a visit." Lieutenant JG Danny Martinez concluded

Commodore Blythe sat silent for a few minutes studying the Star Map before him. Both of those Dart's put some serious distance on their drives. I am surprised either of them made it this far without any issues. "Excellent work and briefing you two. So, we have no clue what they were doing out there, but we know where they were. Okay, let's see if we can figure it out." Commodore Blythe called the bridge "XO, have a shuttle made ready, I am going over to the Olympus Recharge Station where we have all those prisoners." Once the message was acknowledged he turned attention back to his guests "Status on repairs Chief?"

"We have the portable cranes all mounted. Crews are just now starting the armor replacement. Damned portable cranes are a major pain in the ass. It could very well take longer than my estimate sir. We have not even started any work on the Dart's. Without a proper repair yard or Yardship, we are going to be here for quite a while. Sorry sir." Chief Whitney said

"Not your fault Chief. Just keep up the great work. If you think of anything that could speed up the work, let me know and I will see what I can do. Now, let me go catch my shuttle and start asking some questions of those Dart crews." Commodore Blythe said ending the conversation.

Two hours later, Commodore Blythe was onboard the Olympus Recharge Station, inside a commandeered office to use for his interviews. The senor surviving officer of Dart One was seated across from him, the ships engineering officer. "I want to know everywhere your ship has been. I know for a fact that you made a very long journey from the other side of the Sphere to a point a long ways from here, heck a long ways from New Delphi where you linked up with the other Dart Cruiser. First I want to commend you on some excellent engineering supervision, to keep a ship in such good condition on that long a journey, excellent work sir. Now, tell me what I would like to know. Feel free to start from the beginning, I would prefer not to turn you over to SLIC." The last part was a lie, he had no way of turning him over to SLIC, but he did not need to know that.

"Sir, I am engineering. Most of the time I have no clue where we are going or are currently located at any given time. I must respectfully decline to answer any questions of a military nature." The engineering officer replied

"Very well, I respect your honesty." Commodore Blythe looked at the Marine guards "Return him to the holding area, bring me someone else."

This continued for 3 long hours until finally, after running into a wall with the officers, he managed to get a simple crewman to give up some information.

"It was a long trip, we all about went stir crazy. But then we finally reached our destination, I am not sure where it is or called, but we got to have some ground time. It was a planet that had very low gravity. I mean really low. There was not much to do, but it was better than being cooped up on the ship. It was a big base, lots of troops, but all centered on a huge factory complex. Spent most of my ground time just hanging out watching them load up Dropships." The crewman said

"What were they loading up on these Dropships?" Commodore Blythe asked

"Tanks, ammunition, supplies. Thousands of tons of stuff." The crewman said

"No Battlemechs or anything else?" Commodore Blythe asked making notes

"No sir, just what I said, I literally watched them drive the tanks from the factory onto the Dropships. Never saw a Battlemech the entire time I was on the surface." He replied

"Thank you crewman Jessup, you have been a great help." To the Marines "Take him away and get him some good food, he will return to Hatchet with me when I leave."

When the crewman was led away, Commodore Blythe decided to try another lower rank from Dart Two. "Bring me a crewman from Dart Two." It took 15 minutes before a young female, no more than 24 years old was placed in the seat across from him. She looked very scared.

"Relax miss, no harm will come to you. Tell me your name." Commodore Blythe asked

"Trisha Demars sir." She said

"Trisha, I would like to know about your long journey aboard ship. What was your job aboard the ship?" He asked her

"My specialty is computer system maintenance, aboard ship I helped maintain the ships computer systems sir." Trisha replied

"Your ship made a very long journey with several long stops along the way. What can you tell me about them?" He asked

"Way too long of a journey. I enlisted for the job training, 8 year enlistment. No one said we would be in a damned war. The long stop we waited to escort a huge Jumpship convoy, 40 Jumpships, all Star Lords." Trisha answered

"How do you know the count and that they were Star Lords?" He asked

"I am a curious person, I have administrator access to our ships computer systems. I read the sensor logs. I get bored, we had completely new computer systems so not much broke down, I had a lot of time on my hands." She answered with a shrug

"Did you ever go to the planet's surface?" Commodore Blythe asked

"Thankfully, yes. Spent 2 weeks on the surface. Heavy gravity, over 1g worth, but the weather was nice. Not much to do, restricted to the immediate area of the space port and housing we were assigned." Trisha replied

"Any idea what they Jumpships were carrying?" He was getting tired of dragging the information out of her, but he had to let her answer in her own time.

"Battlemechs, ammunition, supplies. Big damned factory complex right next to the space port. Don't know the types, but saw 6 different types. I know that for a fact. Huge warehouses at the space port, but most of them were empty by the time I got down on the surface. The 2nd big stop we made another 30 Invaders joined our convoy, fully loaded along with 3 Lola II Destroyers. I did not get to go down to the surface on that stop. I got put to work fixing some computer glitches on board various Jumpships. Even worked on several Dropships systems. Lot's of ground troops on board the Dropships. Tanks, trucks, Aerospace Fighters all packed aboard Dropships." Trisha finally expanded her answers some unasked

"Think you could get back into the computer system and pull those sensor logs Trisha?" He had to ask "Sure, that would be no problem at all, it is all stored in the master computer." Trisha answered "What about aboard the other Dart Cruiser?" Commodore Blythe asked

"That would take some more time, but I am pretty sure I could get in. My admin access worked on the various Jumpships and Dropships, it might work there." She replied

"Well then, you will be accompanying me back to my ship and then we will get you on board the ships to let you do your work." Commodore Blythe said with a broad smile

Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

Major General Heinrich Rommel had toured the prisoner compound checking on the welfare of his prisoners. His S2 had conducted over 500 interviews with various prisoners and learned very little. Some refused to speak, others knew nothing, ships officers from the 4 captured Merchant Jumpships all professed to be civilian merchant ships shanghaied into transporting the rebels along with the crews of the 8 Jumbo Dropships. Major General Rommel was inclined to believe them. But beyond ordering them separated from the other prisoners, he erred on the side of caution. In his command post, he had the primary navigation computer control boards for all the captured Jumpships.

News on the HPG compound had not been good, the report by the surviving HPG personnel declared it a total loss. Other than a rebuild from scratch, it could not be fixed. But his primary concern was food for the civilians, Pilon could not support the population alone, it needed massive imports of food. He had met with the planetary governor and learned that there was less than 8 months of food stored without rationing.

Ype-Jhu (Outworlds Alliance)

Colonel Alberta Collins had grounded her 1st Regiment, 428th Battlemech Division (they still thought of themselves that way) at the very small space port near the small capitol city of Kuero Fresco Nueva. They needed food and water. She briefly watched her Regiment deploy for security with no small amount of pride, they still acted like soldiers. It had been a fear that she could face a mutiny of her own. At least on the surface of a planet, she could get a better feel for which way the wind was blowing among her troops.

Luckily, she did not have to travel into the small city, because a small delegation was approaching her. She watched them as they neared, wonder how they are going to react to SLDF troops, she thought. Out of the corner of her eye, she noted a lance of standing nearby, well if they get dumb, it will not last long. The leading man reached her "Welcome to Ype-Jhu. You may relax, there is no danger here. The rebels came past here several months ago, destroyed the HPG and have not returned. I am Jean Vinder governor of this small planet."

"Colonel Alberta Collins, 428th Battlemech Division. Thank you for the peaceful greeting, the last year has not been a pleasant one." She replied

"What can we do for you? Are you our new garrison?" Governor Jean Vinder asked

"We just need to replenish our food and water, maybe grab some ground time, and then we will be moving along." Colonel Collins stated

"You are welcome to stay as long as you like. We have fine dining in town and even entertainment venues." Governor Vinder said

7 June 2766 Eigerland (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore Trisha Delvaney, commander SLS Salvation, Newgrange-Class Yardship, along with SLS Gareth and SLS Helmet, Essex-Class Destroyers materialized at the Nadir Jump Point. Everyone was getting a little antsy, they were now 4 jumps from Quarte Belle. She was really looking forward to some extended ground time. Her Chief Engineer had a fairly long list of issues that needed addressing in a repair yard, not the least of which was a complete Jump Core replacement. She looked at her communication officer and was surprised when she got a different answer to the unasked question "We have alignment on the HPG and we have a a return signal. Praise the god's, we actually can send a message."

This was the first time in over a year that they could actually send a HPG message. "Stand by for message." Commodore Delvaney said as she quickly prepared a message to 10th Fleet, which was based out of Quatre Belle.

To: 10 Fleet From: SLS Salvation

Completed mission at Rest Stop March 23, 2766. Currently Eigerland enroute Quarte Belle. SLS Gareth and SLS Helmet in attendance. Per Chief Engineer, SLS Salvation needs Jump Core replacement, many micro cracks appearing. ETA Quatre Belle 29 June.

"Send this with a priority acknowledgement request." Commodore Delvaney said

"On it." Typing furiously, he then encoded the message and hit SEND "Message away."

"Begin recharge operations. We are almost home people." Commodore Delvaney said

Spencer (Independent Periphery)

Colonel Brandon Janees, commander 173rd Mechanized Infantry Division, or what was left of it, had bent to the vote made from the survivors of the Division. They wanted to leave the fighting. Only 3 Star Lord captains had been willing to join them, so he had wished the other ship captains well and allowed them to attempt to return to SLDF command, along with 700 of the Divisions personnel that also wanted to leave. Over the last 2 months, many wounded had been cleared for duty. Currently aboard the 3 Star Lord Jumpships. The vote had been to head for the Tortuga Dominions.

173rd Mechanized Infantry Division

  • Battlemech Battalion - 4 Companies
  • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Battalions
  • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Battalions (only 1 Batt has APC, other 2 Batt foot)
  • Artillery Battalion - 2 Company's
  • Wayland Mobile Repair Bases - 6
  • Mobile HQ (Standard) - 1
  • Coolant Trucks - 11
  • Flatbed Trucks - 68
  • BFFL "Buffalo" Hover Cargo Vehicles - 22
  • Division Support Personnel - 3,852
  • Unassigned Personnel

69 Mechwarriors (No Battlemechs) 491 Infantry (not cleared for duty) 562 Armor Crew (No Tanks or not cleared for duty) 22 Aerospace Pilots (No Fighters or not cleared for duty)

  • Transportation Assets
    • Star Lord Jumpship - 3
    • Dictator Dropship - 2
    • Union Dropship - 4
    • Lion Dropship - 3
    • Czar Dropship - 6
    • Mammoth Dropship - 3

NP29 (Periphery)

"General" Olivia Daniels, commander 54th Mechanized Infantry Division, had been shocked and a little scared when the personnel of the 54th nominated and then voted her commander. She cursed the memory of Major General Tanner Hansen and his stupid command meeting for all officers Major and above that had completely decapitated the 54th. Where the fighting had been bad, it had gone to absolute crap after a tactical nuke took out the Command Staff of the Division. Now here she was, in "command" of a mutinied Division, trying to stay alive and reach the Tortuga Dominion's. She still thought of herself as a Captain, she knew she was not ready to command this large a force. Yes, she had assumed command of her Mech Infantry Battalion during the desperate fighting, and then her Regiment when no one else seemed up to the task, but a Division, she was out of her league and knew it.

Hope IV (Independent Periphery)

The convoy carrying the 280th Mechanized Infantry Division had been at the Nadir Jump Point for 3 days. Today was the day Major General Iris Carman had dreaded. On the bridge of SLS Midnight Rider, a Star Lord-Class Jumpship, with Commodore Richard Devall watching, she depressed the radio mic already set to broadcast her voice to every radio and intercom on every vessel in the fleet.

"This is Major General Isis Carman, most of you must be wondering where we have been going and what is going on. Well, I have a confession to make. I lied to all of you. I forged those orders bringing us here to Hope IV, our actual orders had been to report to Armington for disbandment. All equipment to be turned in, all personnel to be sent to a replacement pool for reassignment as individuals."

"I could not take the thought of my Division being broken up, not after the hard fighting we had already done together. Not after all the years together. I asked for them to break the Division up by sub command and assign everyone that way, so that we could at least stay together that way and it was denied. Today, you all have learned the truth. You are all my family, the only family I have left. The choice is now all of yours to make, I will not be returning to the SLDF. The next 3 days are yours. Any that wish to return to the SLDF, may do so with my best wishes. Those that would like to remain with me, well, our future is not clear, but we will be together and that is my greatest wish. Forgive me for lying to you all, you all know where to find me. Carmen out." She handed the radio mic to the ships communication officer and departed the bridge for her quarters. Only time would tell what her fate would be.

Albaracht (Uncolonized System)

After 2 weeks on the planets surface, they had replenished their water supply, run it thru their purifiers and basically just enjoyed being on solid ground. Now, Colonel Patrick Quieg watched the last of his people boarded the Dropships for the 6 day trip back to the Jumpship. A platoon of volunteers had remained on board to make sure the ships captain did not strand them here. Next stop, Hope IV and then the Tortuga Dominions.

NP32 (Periphery)

Lieutenant General Nathan Baxter, commander 359th Battlemech Division and Major Jenny Davidson, commander 509th Battle Regiment had decided to make for the Torgtuga Dominions. Once there, they would allow the personnel of their commands decide if they wanted to continue or leave. They still had at least a 6 month journey to get there. Both had spent many days studying the Star Maps. Major Jenny Davidson wanted to travel to Drachenfeld, a fairly new colony and possibly start a new life. Her 509th Battle Regiment had already agreed to go with her. Lieutenant General Nathan Baxter on the other hand, was not sold on the idea, not yet anyway.

Argos (Uncolonized Periphery)

Colonel Irma Fuentes, commander 19th Hussar Regiment, Major Oscar Venezuela, 9917th Marine Regiment and Major Cassien Thomas, 9th Royal CAAN Regiment were aboard Colonel Fuentes' SLS Heaven Bound, Tramp-Class Jumpship. Their combined commands gave them enough defensive firepower that traveling the empty periphery did not worry them all too much, short of triping over a warship anyway. When the alarm sounded, they all headed for the ships bridge, on entering they saw Commodore Jack Helmsley looking at the ships plot board.

"What is happening Commodore?" Colonel Fuentes asked

"Emergence wave inbound, by the readings, picking up 2 distinct readings, each roughly 300,000 tons. So we could have incoming warships. We have 2 more days to complete recharge operations, so we could be screwed." Commodore Helmsley said

"Well, guess we better kick the Dropships loose and get what Aerospace Fighters we have launched." Colonel Fuentes said and then to Major Venezuela and Major Thomas "I guess you two should get your Marine suited up, at least you can fight the way you trained, I pilot a Battlemech so I am just a weakly trained grunt for this."

"Here they come!" Shouted the sensor operator "Should be about 14,000KM away from us."

Three minutes later, two Tramp Jumpships materialized at the Nadir Jump Point and everyone breathed a small sigh of relief that it was not warships. Each Tramp had 3 Jumbo Dropships attached and none were broadcasting SLDF IFF, so that made them hostile. Major Venezuela then spoke "I will take a company over and take out one Tramp, Major Thomas, and care to lead one of your company's over and take the other?"

"Sure, it has been quite awhile since we did any boarding actions. I don't see the need to take both of my full Battalion." Major Helmsley replied

"Colonel Fuentes, have your Aerospace Fighters do some passes on those Tramps while we get suited up and make the trip over please. If we are lucky, they will surrender without a fight." Major Venezuela said as he and Major Thomas moved to leave the bridge for the hanger deck.

One hour later, both Major Venezuela and Major Thomas were aboard separate shuttles heading for the two Tramp Jumpships. The 6 civilian Jumbo-Class Dropships had detached and attempted to make a run for it, but were quickly shown the folly of that by the 14 Aerospace Fighters, Titan-Class Fighter Carrier Dropship and several Lee-Class Transport Dropships. All 6 had surrendered after a few shots were landed on them and Major Venezuela had ordered another company of Marines into shuttles to board the Dropships.

With a Lee Dropship hovering within easy weapons range of each Tramp Jumpship broadcasting surrender orders, neither Jumpship responded to the calls for surrender. They would have to do it the hard way. As the shuttle's carrying Major Venezuela's marines reached their assigned Tramp, he watched as his marines went EVA and on reaching the Tramp, they punched in the mandated SLDF security override codes and entered the airlocks. Fifteen minutes later came the call "Ship secure, we have 2 marines WIA, 4 enemy KIA, 6 WIA and 23 prisoners."

Major Thomas's Marines had it much easier as their Tramp surrendered once they knew boarding was about to occur. Two hours later, the Jumbo Dropships were redocked with the Tramp Jumpships and both Major's made a quick inspection each of the Jumbos. What they found was surprising.

Jumbo 1 144 Stinger, STG-3R 108 Firestarter, FS9-H 3,000 Tons spare parts and ammunition

Jumbo 2 144 Phoenix, PX-3R 2,000 Tons spare parts and ammunition

Jumbo 3 72 Battlemaster BLR-1G 3,000 Tons spare parts and ammunition

Jumbo 4 108 Archer, ARC-2R 1,500 Tons spare parts and ammunition

Jumbo 5 144 Talos, TLS-1B 2,000 Tons spare parts and ammunition

Jumbo 6 9,000 Tons combat rations

9 June 2766 Apollo (Rim Worlds Republic)

President Stephan Amaris would soon be boarding RWS Stephan Amaris, Stephan Amaris-Class Battleship for the journey back to Terra. His plans were now in their final stages, most pieces were in place. He had made the decision to end all further support to the far flung Outposts. They had performed their mission, and now were just too big a drain on shipping and resources. He had already ordered shipments of material to Outpost #27 halted. Soon, he would have the Terran Hegemony in his possession and with all of it's production might, the 2 shipyards there would be a pebble in the ocean. It had accomplished it's task, producing 2 new Dart Light Cruiser's and refurbishing a third one. He would continue shipments of food to maintain the facility as a secret Fleet base.

Of the many Outpost's he had established, only 4 had any sort of manufancturing capability. Built in secret, at huge expense, both in money and resources. Now it was time to end the economic drain. Even though he hated to leave the Battlemech Complex on Outpost #11, he consoled himself by restating in his mind that soon he would have all the industry of the Terran Hegemony at his disposal.

Strategos Rubert Kominsky knocked on President Amaris' door and was waved inside and pointed to a seat in front of the broad desk. "Rubert, we will be ending support for all Outposts effective immediately. What do we have remaining in transit to the last 3 furthest Industrial Outposts?"

Stragegos Kominsky pulled the information up on his always present portable computer pad, found the relevant data and said "One convoy dispatched 8 months ago for Outpost #11. Carrying just over 1.5 million tons of raw material and just over 300,000 tons of general supplies aboard 40 Mammoth Dropships and 16 Jumbo Dropships transported by 7 Leviathon-Class Jumpships escorted by 2 Riga-Class Frigates. They will be stopping at Outpost #4 and #7 after delivering their cargo to Outpost #11, loading all current Battlemech production and then picking up all awaiting Tanks and Aerospace Fighters at #4 and #7 for return to the Rim Worlds. Return trip will be around the periphery of the Draconis Combine to avoid detection. They should be 100LY beyond Detroit by now."

"Halt all further deliveries to those Outposts. Current personnel at each Outpost?" Amaris asked

Consulting his portable computer Strategos Kominsky replied "Outpost #11 is the largest with 153,281 personnel, Outpost #7 is next with 88,122 personnel and Outpost #4 has 54,872 personnel. Shall I arrange pickup for the personnel?"

"No, they are no longer important. I was just curious. If I remember correctly, Outpost #11 grows some of their own food but Outpost #4 and #7 must import theirs, am I right?" Amaris asked

"Correct sir, there is a small chance that Outpost #11 could survive on their own, but those on Outpost #4 and #7 are doomed. All attempts to grow sustainable crops has failed, there are some greenhouses on both Outposts but in no way can they sustain the populations." Strategos Kominsky replied, though he did not like abandoning trained technicians, he did not give them a second thought once their sentence had been announced by President Amaris.

"Very well, I will be departing for Terra soon. Make sure to erase all information on Outpost's #11, #4 and #7. As far as anyone is concerned, they never existed." President Stephan Amaris ordered

Boulsi (Outworlds Alliance)

It had taken 5 days of fighting to finally secure the capitol city of La Tapoa, but it had finally been accomplished. In the house to house fighting, the SLDF forces had sustained 253 KIA and 1,210 wounded. The desire to keep damage to the city itself to a minimum had been the main cause of the casualties. Lieutenant General Mitchell now ordered the Light Battlemech Battalion attached to 2722nd Brigade to form with the Light Battlemech Battalion in 2721st Brigade and for them to begin securing the outlying towns on the continent. She ordered 2722nd Brigade to garrison the capitol city while the rest of the 272nd and 126th MID moved to take the mountain fortress.

Inside the mountain fortress Colonel Xin Chou exploded "What do you mean we do not have enough food to sustain a siege of more than 3 months?"

"I performed the estimate myself sir, at normal rations, we have exactly 88 days of food inside this complex. If we immediately move to 1/2 rations we can stretch it to 6 months." Major Kho Lin replied

"There must be more hidden, all SLDF defensive bases are stocked with enough food and supplies to last over a year under siege. Find them." Colonel Chou almost yelled

"There is no more. I have spent the last week conducting an inventory of everything in this complex. Water is pumped up from the aquifer and we have power from the fusion reactors installed here, but it appears that the SLDF unit here never got the complex fully stocked with food. We have enough ammunition and spare parts to last well over a year of heavy fighting, but not food." Major Lin stated

"And I never thought about transferring that mountain of combat rations from the space port into this complex. I cannot believe the bad luck that has suddenly befallen us. Unbelievable." Colonel Chou replied while staring up at the ceiling of the massive cavern carved out by SLDF engineers.

Outside the mountain complex, Lieutenant General McGregor, commander of the 126th MID, watched as Colonel Estaban provided the coordinates to Avatar Heavy Cruiser, SLS 'Conroy, in orbit. They had pulled back 10KM and this would be the first attempt at breaching the massive but excellently concealed main doors to the complex. After 10 long minutes the radio sounded "Incoming in 10 seconds."

Seconds later, man made lightening slammed into the mountain face containing the massive doors. For 4 minutes SLS 'Conroy pounded the area with all she had before announcing "Mission complete, passing out of optimal firing angle."

"Well Colonel Estaban, shall we go see what kind of damage we did?" Lieutenant General McGregor

Ten minutes later, both stood 2Km from the blasted rock face of the mountain with open mouths "Son of a *****. We barely scratched that damned door. Whoever built that knew what they were doing. Pulverized the damn overhang though, made a mess of the area too." Colonel Estaban said

"We are going to have to rethink this. Shit." Lieutenant General McGregor said.

13 June 2766 Boulsi (Outworlds Alliance)

For 3 days, Lieutenant General Mitchell, Lieutenant General McGregor and Colonel Estaban had discussed an assortment of ways to breach the door. Not a single idea so far was feasible. They had brought engineers up for a look see and it was confirmed by one that the door was SLDF manufacture. On the 11th, they had ferried a Jump Infantry Battalion to the top of the mountain for a look see. They easily found the bored holes, quickly identified by accompanying engineers, constructed for emplacement of SDS weapons. The maintenance tunnels leading to each site had been filled with ferro-crete, the same substance used for space port's. They coud get thru is, but it would be noisy as heck and the tunnels were no where large enough for Battlemechs, it would be an Infantry fight all the way with this method. Brutal and costly. For they would not have any surprise at all.

"Well, anyone got any other idea's? Because I do not want to pay the price in blood going thru those tunnels up there." Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell said

"There is always just laying siege and starving them out. Might take a year or more, but sooner or later they are going to have to crack that door and come out. Short of detonating a nuke touching the door itself, which we do not have, and contaminating the hell out of the area if we did, I see no other way to go about it." Lieutenant General McGregor replied

"Well, then we keep thinking on it. The sweep of the smaller towns on this continent have met light resistance that so far, has been easily overcome. There has been no hostility from the civilians reported, and in the smaller towns, they have been down right thankful to see us. While we have been beating our head on this problem, I have also been giving some thought on Thazi. I don't like the thought of all of us sitting here laying siege to this complex while any rebel forces on Thazi dig in deeper and tighter. So Lieutenant General McGregor, I am going to take my 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division over to Thazi. The 277th Dragoon Regiment will take over sweeping this continent and then hop over to the others via sub orbital deployment by Dropship. I will leave SLS Rhodon here with you in orbit. I will take SLS Conroy and SLS Mighty Lift with me. Anything happens, I will send the Conroy back to support you here." Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell said

"Is that wise, splitting our force like that? It is not like we are at full strength." Lieutenant General McGregor replied

"I will leave my 2722nd Brigade with you. That will give you an additional full Mechanized Infantry Regiment and 2 Battalions at roughly 50% strength each. They will fill back out as wounded are cleared for duty. If I get into something I cannot handle, I can call on the 277th Dragoon Regiment to come bail me out. But this needs to be done sooner rather than later." Lieutenant General Mitchell said

"Your the boss Rita. Take my Cavalry Battalion with you. I am not going to need them in a siege situation. Go clear Thazi." Lieutenant General McGregor said

"I plan to do just that. It will take a few days for 2721st Brigade to get back to the space port and for the 277th Dragoon to redeploy and take over. So I will plan on boosting on the 20th." Lieutenant General Mitchell said

Hope IV (Independent Periphery)

Major General Iris Carman, commander 280th Mechanized Infantry Division had given the people a few extra days to decide things. Today, this was the day she found out how the people voted. A knock at the door brought her out of her staring at the wall. "Come" she called out.

Lieutenant General Curtis Skondale, Executive Officer of the 280th Mechanized Infantry Division entered her quarters with a large binder. "I have the totals, sir."

Taking a deep breathe, Major General Carman held out her hand to take the binder "How bad is it, Curtis?" She asked as he gave her the binder.

"From the Division, 121 Infantry, 16 Mechwarrior, 101 Armor Crew, 5 Aerospace Pilots and 487 support personnel have voted to return to the SLDF. From the Dropship and Jumpship crews, 162 total want to return to the SLDF. There is a Merchant Jumpship sitting at the Zenith Jump Point. Commodore Devall has already made contact with them and they are willing to transport a Dropship to Armington for the "SLDF". Those leaving also voted to leave their equipment with us. Most said the exact thing, better the 280th use it than any other unit." Lieutenant General Skondale said

Relief surged thru Major General Carman at the news. For days, she had been sitting in this room waiting for a squad of Infantry to appear and take her into custody. Now she felt vindicated. "Kick a Czar loose, load those that wish to return with plenty of supplies. Anything else?"

"You will find in the binder there, quite a few requests from those staying. They ask that when we reach where ever we are going if an attmept can be made to bring their families to them." Lieutenant General Skondale said

"I will make every attempt to reunite the families of those staying. I have no clue how, but I will move heaven and earth trying. Yours too, Curtis?" Major General Carman replied

"No sir. I will be returning to the SLDF. I cannot risk losing my family. I have the utmost respect for you Iris, but I have to weigh everything. I am sorry." Lieutenant General Skondale said with sorrow in his voice

"I see. I will miss you and your advice Curtis. I will write up a letter for you to take with you to present to the SLDF. It will say that I and I alone made the decision to leave. That I forged orders and that only I knew what was happening in truth. Hopefully, that will sway the SLDF to accept you all back in the fold." Major General Carman said

"Thank you Iris. Either way, as far as those of us leaving, we are all that remained after getting jumped by a Taurian warship. That should hopefully throw the SLDF off your trail." Lieutenant General Skondale said "I will go see to the arrangements now sir. It was a pleasure serving with you Iris. Good luck."

NP31 (Periphery)

Colonel James Buchest, commander 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division "rogue", had no clue really where they were going. When faced with the order to disband, they had seized control of the Star Lord-Class Jumpship transporting them and made a break for it. The 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division had been chewed up on Tirabad by an estimated 3 rebel Divisions. Only by using orbital bombardment had the 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division been able to defeat the rebels. The last month had been as scary as he could remember, always afraid they were going to bump into a SLDF or Taurian warship and get blown to bits. He had spent the month working on a new formation for his "Brigade" to deploy and fight if they had to.

191st Royal Jump Infantry Division "Rogue"

  • 1st Regiment
    • Battlemech Battalion - 12 Lynx LNX-9Q, 24 Shadow Hawk SHD-2Hb
    • Jump Infantry Battalion - 3 Jump Infantry Company
    • Jump Infantry Battalion - 3 Jump Infantry Company
  • 2nd Regiment
    • Battlemech Battalion - 24 Lynx LNX-9Q, 12 Shadow Hawk SHD-2Hb
    • Jump Infantry Battalion - 3 Jump Infantry Company
    • Jump Infantry Battalion - 3 Jump Infantry Company
  • Transportation Assets
  • Star Lord Jumpship - 1
  • Union Dropship - 3
  • Overlord Dropship - 1
  • Czar Dropship - 1
  • Mule Dropship - 1

Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Major Brian Calloway, commander 3391st Special Forces Battalion, watched the rebel infantry platoon as from his hidden location 600 meters away. Idiots, even after 6 months of getting ambushed they still stick to the roads, of course entering the dense woods is a sure fire way to die. Any second now, A Company is going to decimate them. He thought silently. In the helmet of his Nighthawk PA(L) MkXXI he heard the double click and laser fire from Mauser 960's lanced into the rebel platoon and in seconds they all laid dead or dying on the road. He watched as a platoon of Nighthawk suited troopers quickly emerged from the dense woods and began sweeping the enemy for anything useful. Within 5 minutes, they had completed their task and vanished into the dense woods.

Deployed to Thazi to assist the two SLDF Independent Infantry Regiments combat the uprising, the last 6 months had seen some hard fighting. His Battalion of Elite Special Forces had spent the last 4 years training with the Nighthawk suits. The SLDF High Command was still not sure of the best way to use or even transport the Nighthawk suits into battle. A year ago, his Battalion had been given 4 specially modified Confederate Dropships, each configured to carry a Nighthawk Company of 64 suits and 4 light vehicles with 498 tons of cargo, well equipped MASH, Ferro Aluminum Armor, Double Heat sinks and a nice battery of ER Large Lasers. He had convinced his superiors that 36 suits was just not enough in each Company, so they doubled his command size. He configured his Battalion with in a square configuration giving him 256 soldiers. Each Company had 4 modified Prowler Medium Tanks configured to carry a squad of Nighthawks each. But 6 months of combat had seen his Battalion take losses.

3391st Special Forces Battalion (Pre-Deployment)

Nighthawk Company - 64 Nighthawk PA(L) MkXXI, 4 Prowler (BA)
Nighthawk Company - 64 Nighthawk PA(L) MkXXI, 4 Prowler (BA)
Nighthawk Company - 64 Nighthawk PA(L) MkXXI, 4 Prowler (BA)
Nighthawk Company - 64 Nighthawk PA(L) MkXXI, 4 Prowler (BA)

3391st Special Forces Battalion (2766)

Nighthawk Company - 64 Nighthawk PA(L) MkXXI, 4 Prowler (BA)
Nighthawk Company - 48 Nighthawk PA(L) MkXXI, 4 Prowler (BA)
Nighthawk Company - 48 Nighthawk PA(L) MkXXI

He had his 4 Confederate-Class Dropships grounded 18KM away from his current position hidden under special camouflage netting that shielded the Dropships from radar scans. It was a major pain to erect over the Dropships and prevented lift off until taken down. If they ever got off this planet, he planned to see if it was possible to equip the Dropships with something similar to the Null Signature and Chameleon Light Polarization Shield. They had disadvantages on Battlemechs, but a Dropship had space to spare. Though the Nighthawk suits gave them decent protection, you could still get killed in them. Even by regular infantry.

He gave the command for A Company to fall back and return to the Dropships. Help better get here soon, it was only a matter of time before that Battlemech Battalion on planet came a calling.

28 June 2766
Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore William Blythe, commander Kimagure-Class Pursuit Cruiser, SLS Hatchet, looked at the incoming emergence wave displayed on the sensor readings. Two separate readings, the smaller was a Cruiser sized or a fully loaded Jumpship, the second one, well it was massive. He keyed the portable radio "Chief Whitney, we have possible hostiles inbound, get your people inside and secure everything you can. We are going to General Quarters."

Outside, supervising the installation of new armor, Chief Whitney began cursing up a storm that only the gods could hear. Gonna loose the portable cranes for sure the moment we start maneuvering. Take too long to take them down and stow the damned things. "Listen up people, stop everything and get inside, we got trouble inbound. Move it people!!!" He turned and maneuvered as fast as he could for the airlock. I just hope those portable cranes don't break anything when they break loose. Worthless pieces of crap.

Chief Whitney managed to get all of his work parties back into the ship in 8 minutes. The personnel assigned to the work detail, which was 60% of the crew, hurried to remove their EVA suits and get to their battle stations. The first enemy vessel to materialize was a Avatar Heavy Cruiser. Seeing this, Commodore Blythe swore, where the hell did the rebels get their hands on that. But then the incoming ships sensors and electronics came online and his plot board registered the SLDF IFF. Avatar-Class Heavy Cruiser, SLS 'Conroy, had arrived. Thank you General Kerensky, help had finally arrived. "Comm, get a secure laser lock on SLS Conroy and ask them where the hell they have been."

Aboard SLS 'Conroy, Commodore Vincent Zeibler was surprised to see a SLDF IFF identifying SLS Hatchet, a Kimagure-Class Pursuit Cruiser along with 2 Dart-Class Light Cruiser's. Before he could form another thought, his comm officer said "We have received a secure laser lock with SLS Hatchet, they want to know where the hell we have been and what took us so long to get here."

A thin smile crossed his lips "Tell them we have been busy kicking ass and taking names instead of loitering at a recharge station on extended shore leave."

Six hours later Commodore William Blythe was aboard the Potemkin Transport, SLS Mighty Lift. Having told his tale and listening to the stories of the other officers, Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell finally brought the discussion to the here and now. "Have you made any attempt at contacting any possible SLDF forces on the planet's surface?"

"No sir, with my ship so busted up, I wanted to get some repairs completed before broadcasting to everyone that I am here." Commodore Blythe responded

"Commodore Sandra Gallonsa, will you please have communications try and raise any friendlies on the surface. Be nice to have a secure landing zone or at least an idea on what we are about to drop into." Lieutenant General Mitchell asked in way no one could miss it as an order, then to the gathered officers "Let's kick the Dropships loose, Commodore Zeibler get back to Conroy and prepare to escort my 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division to the surface. Commodore Blythe, continue your repair operations but I am light on Infantry so I am stealing all those Marines but a single Battalion. They will move to the planet with me. Let's get moving people, there might be SLDF troops fighting for their lives down there." Lieutenant General Mitchell said as she made for the grav deck exit followed by her officers.

Commodore Blythe was about to protest when Commodore Zeibler caught his attention with a slight shake of his head. Once Lieutenant General Mitchell and her officers were off the grav deck, Commodore Blythe asked "What the hell? Since when do ground pounders give orders to the Navy and who does she think she is stealing my Marines?"

"She is one hell of a fighting General. That is who she is. Commodore Coltrain has said to me that she would follow her anywhere. She has rode to the sounds of the guns since we have been with her. Even when forced to withdraw from Blommestein, the moment she discovered SLDF troops needed help she did not hesitate, she gave the order to move out. She leaves the Black Water operations to us Navy, but when she gives an order, follow it without hesitation." Commodore Zeibler said then turned to head back to Conroy.

On the surface, Major Brian Calloway was shaken awake by a crewman from the Dropship he was aboard "Sir, captain needs you on the bridge asap. We have radio contact with SLS Mighty Lift carrying the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division."

In a flash, Major Calloway was out of his bunk and racing for the bridge in only his underwear. Entering the bridge, he saw Captain Thadius Hamilton talking on the radio "Roger Mighty Lift, we will await contact when you reach orbit, Hamilton out." He handed the mic back to the communication tech and turned to find Major Calloway in his underwear "You could have put some pants on Major. It will take almost 3 days for them to reach orbit."

"So we have help inbound?" Major Calloway asked

"Yes, we have help on the way. The 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division along with warship escort." Captain Hamilton replied

"Excellent, I am going back to bed. Glad I did not take the time to put on pants, quicker this way." Major Calloway said

31 June 2766

Major Calloway had all 2 of his Nighthawk Power Armor Companiesjust outside the perimeter fence of the space port. Directly opposite them, were 3 warehouses being used as barracks for a Regiment of rebel Infantry. His 3rd Nighthawk Company, along with all 8 Prowler Tanks were 8km away, just outside what used to be a long term storage area, but now a prison camp where they held the captured SLDF troops from the 2 Infantry Regiments. He had no clue where the damned rebel Battlemech Battalion was, but he planned on chewing up this rebel Infantry Regiment while his other Company freed the prisoners. Sonic booms announced the arrival of the SLDF relief forces; he gave the order "Move now".

At his command, his Nighthawk clad troops leaped the perimeter fence and began fanning out into the warehouse cluster. Rebel troops began exiting their barracks, looking up at the sky trying to get a glimpse of what made the noise. They made easy targets for his elite troops who mowed them down where they stood without mercy and then plunged into the barracks to slay the rest. In less than 3 minutes, the rebel Infantry Regiment was no more. Selecting the 272nd's command frequency, he transmitted "Space Port secure."

Minutes later, he walked to the lead Dictator that had grounded and watched a massive Pillager descend the ramp and walk towards him. His radio chimed as the huge Assault Battlemech halted only a few meters away "Major Calloway I presume. Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division. Sorry for the delay but we had to assist a few planets on the way here. How about we clear this planet."

July[]

5 July 2766 Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, commander 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division, left the 5 Battalions of SLDF Marines to guard the space port and her Dropships while her Division secured the capitol city of New Ludell, population 3.4 million. She had Aerospace Fighters running recon flights in an attempt to locate the rebel Battlemech Battalion reported by Major Calloway and his Special Forces Battalion. It was a huge area to cover, Thazi had a single continent covering roughly 63,257,911 sq miles, or 163,837,241 sq km to search. Water covered 57% of the planets surface area with only a scattering of large islands with the largest being 785,753 sq km in size. Low level recon flights detected no inhabitation on any of the islands. Plus the space port contained their old Dictator Dropship.

The planet itself was quite with a average temp of 78.8 degrees, densly wooded in areas, many large fresh water lakes fed by Glaciers that covered the northern and southern parts of the continent. A massive mountain range cut the continent in half with several smaller mountain ranges which had been found to be righ in minerals and ores, several mining communities were dotted at their bases. Huge swaths of the continent were vast prairies with rich fertile ground with an almost year round growing season. Roughly 10 million people called Thazi home and they had discovered that the planet itself seemed to accept any crop planted in it's soil. Gravity was light at .75g, but overall a very nice planet. The highest form of life native to the, planet were amphibian, mostly small frog and salamander like creatures, but Major Calloway warned her that there was a very large amphibian, that was much like Terran crocodiles, only bigger that inhabited many of the swampy areas along the coastlines. Highly aggressive, they grew up to 30 feet in length but weighed a good 2 tons, though the average size was usually around 12 feet and 800 pounds. They did not have the skin of a crocodile but more like a salamander. Slow on land, but quick in the water.

Securing New Ludell went very quickly with no resistence met. Questioning the local's, they discovered that the Rebel Regiment at the space port had been the local garrison for the capitol and space port. But they mainly let the local police handle things. Major Calloway estmated that besides the Battlemech Battalion somehwere on planet, the rebels might have had 4-6 Infantry Regiments at the start. He estimated that 2-3 of them had been destroyed over the last 6 months of fighting. Lieutenant General Mitchell decided to form a Task Force of 1 Battlemech Battalion, 1 Armor Regiment, 2 Mechanized Infantry Regiments along with Major Calloway's Battalion to sweep the countryside and secure the next largest city of roughly 1 million situated on the eastern coast 1100km away. She kept 1 Battlemech Regiment at the space port ready to load onto Dropships when the rebel Battlemech Battalion was located.

Lieutenant General Mitchell dispatched the 126th MID's Cavalry Battalion to sweep west of New Ludell to a town roughly 140km away surrounded by massive fields of various crops. While she planned her Divisions next moves, was notified that she had a visitor. Exiting the Mobile HQ, she was met by a well dressed civilian. "Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, commander of the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division and you are?"

"My name is Harold Ludell, the planetary governor of Thazi. I was one of the first settlers here in 2748. I wanted to thank you in person for coming here,but alos to ask when we could expect the system to be safe for cargo ships. See, we provide a lot of the food for neighboring systems and we have warehouses and silo's filled with crops that have not been shipped and we are coming up on another harvest season." Harold Ludell asked

"Mr Ludell, I am not sure I can answer that question. I have already been informed that your planet's HPG was wrecked by the rebel forces, much like every other planet I have been on since the Uprising began. It seems to be one of the very first things they do is destroy a planet's HPG." She replied

"I see, that is not good news. It could very well cause many deaths on other worlds, there are a great many in the region that cannot properly feed themselves." Harold Ludell said

"Tell you what Mr Ludell, I will try and get some merchant ships in here. I cannot promise anything, but I will give it a try." Lieutenant General Mitchell said

"That is good enough for me General. Any clue when the Star League will get around to rebuilding the HPG?" Harold asked with some hope

"Not a clue sir, probably not until the fighting stops to be honest with you." Lieutenant General Mitchell said

"Then I will leave you to your duties General. Thank you for your time." Harold Ludell said as he turned and left. General Mitchell went back inside the Mobile HQ and moved to her communications officer "Fire up the HPG. Send a message to Major General Rommel on Pilon and have him do his best to verify those ships crews that claim to be merchants. Once he has done that, ask him to give me a shout. Leave the HPG online to receive communications.:

"Yes sir, I will send the message within the hour."

Quatre Belle (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore Trisha Delvaney watched the Elephant Tug's maneuver the Newgrange-Class Yardship, SLS Salvation, into the the gaping maw of SLS Prometory, another Newgrange-Class Yardship. Her HPG message had been received and no sooner had SLS Prometory discharged the massive McKenna-Class Battleship she had been overhauling had she been cleared to dock. One nice thing about Quatre Bell Naval Yards, they kept quite a few Jump Cores on hand for rapid change outs. The moment her old core was removed, it would be hauled over to a Germainum Processign Plant, ground down and separated into it's individual components and then hauled a short distance away to be recast into a new Jump Core. Her people would have a 3 month down time until repairs were completed. She hoped their next assignment would not be another 2 years away from base.

NP24 (Periphery)

Lieutenant General Gregory Hanesworth, commander 291st Brigade, 29th MID "Rogue" counted his commands blessings. They had spent the better part of the last 2 months bouncing between uninhabited systems. After getting the news that the 29th MID would be disbanded and broken up as individual replacements to other commands, his Brigade had reacted extremely negatively to the orders. On the 3rd jump back towards Umka, while recharging, they had seized the Star Lord Jumpship and when the next jump was made, they went the opposite direction. On the 2nd jump as fugitives, as he thought of themselves, they had stumbled upon a Infantry Regiment from the 200th MID that had also decided against being disbanded and made the decision to decide their own fate.

Talking with Colonel Xander Janzet, they had agreed to join forces. They both decided that it would be best to reform the units, forming 2 Brigades of 2 Regiments each.

291st Brigade, 29th Mechanized Infantry Division "Rogue"

  • 1st Brigade
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Mech Infantry Battalions, 1 Turhan Battalion
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Mech Infantry Battalions, 1 Turhan Battalion
  • 2nd Brigade
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Mech Infantry Battalions, 1 Turhan Battalion
    • Mechanized Infantry Regiment - 3 Mech Infantry Battalions, 1 Goblin Battalion
  • Transportation Assets
    • Star Lord Jumpship - 2
    • Czar Dropship - 4
    • Triumph Dropship - 2
    • Mule Dropship - 2

McEvans' Sacrifice (Uninhabited Periphery)

Colonel Bradley Montgomery, commander 3rd Battlemech Regiment, 265th MID, sat aboard his Dictator-Class Dropship mulling his commands decision to make a run for it instead of being broken up as replacements. He still was not sure this was the right thing to do, it went against everything he had been taught in 14 years of service to the SLDF. But he could see their point, they had fought hard against long odds and won, only to be ordered to disband. It had been a hard punch to the gut for everyone. During the fighting, they had absorbed the other 2 Regiments of the 265th MID's Battlemech Brigade. Now here they sat, recharging only to delve deeper into the unknown.

3rd Battlemech Regiment, 265th Mechanized Infantry Division "Rogue"

  • Battlemech Battalion - 24 Warhammer WHM-6Rb, 12 Guillotine GLT-3N, 12 Shootist ST-8A
  • Battlemech Battalion - 24 Emperor EMP-6A, 24 Thug 11E
  • Battlemech Battalion - 36 Phoenix Hawk PXH-2
  • Transportation Assets
    • Star Lord Jumpship - 1
    • Dictator Dropship - 4
    • Mule Dropship - 1

Independence (Uninhabited Periphery)

Major Sandra Barkley, commander 1st Battlemech Battalion, 2nd Regiment, 181st Royal Mechanized Infantry Division, could not believe their horrible luck. After 2 months of dodging around in uninhabited systems, now they had a busted Jumpship. For over a week now, the Jumpship crew had made attempts at repairing the damage, but nothing worked. Soon, she would have to make the decision to abandon ship and head for the surface. But the captain wanted 1 more week to try again to repair his ship.

  • 1st Battlemech Battalion
    • Battlemech Company - 12 Thunderbolt TDR-5Sb
    • Battlemech Company - 4 Thunderbolt TDR-5Sb, 8 Warhammer WHM-7A
    • Battlemech Company - 5 Archer ARC-2Rb, 4 Marauder MAD-2R, 3 Stalker STK-3Fb

Transportation assets

  • Invader Jumpship - 1 (navigation computer failure)
  • Union Dropship – 3

13 July 2766 Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Notified to be expecting Jumpships, Commodore William Blythe, commander of the Kimagure-Class Pursuit Cruiser, SLS Hatchet, still had his ship at General Quarters when the first Merchant Jumpship arrived, quickly followed by 3 more. Aboard each of the Merchant Jumpship was a full squad of Infantry from the 322nd Armored Division with a squad of Infantry aboard the 8 Jumbo-Class Dropships they had transported.

On the surface, Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell smiled when the news came in that the 4 Merchant-Class Jumpships had arrived from Pilon. She remembered her HPG conversation with Major General Heinrich Rommel 3 days ago.

"Got your message General Mitchell. I was beginning to wonder when you would make contact and was starting to worry some. About the merchant crews, I am already ahead of you on that one. The civilian population here is already going into the planets food reserves. I culled out those crews who the civilian space port personnel could identify as legitimate civilian merchants. Dropship crews were done pretty quick, but the Dropship captains identified the Jumpship crews for us. The crews are already on the way to the Jump Point with the removed circuit boards. Of course, they are escorted by a squad of Infantry for each vessel, no since taking a chance. Would not do for them to bolt on us." Major General Rommel said

"That is really good news. I concur on keeping armed personnel aboard. We are making good progress here on Thazi, still hunting the primary defenders and have met some light resistance from Rebel Infantry, but they are nothing we cannot handle. We managed to rescue captured SLDF from the planets original garrison force, they are still being cleared for duty but when cleared, it should give me another Infantry Regiment. I plan to send them to your 322nd Armored Division. When we arrived, we found SLS Hatchet, in system along with 2 Regiments of Marines. I will be tasking the Marines to provide security for the merchants." Lieutenant General Mitchell responded

"Excellent news, but keep the Infantry. We have returned 5 Battalions of wounded Infantry to duty, so I am in decent shape here. I think we need to think about sending one of the warships to make contact with High Command. Not SLS Mighty Lift, we keep her here with us." Major General Rommel said

"We have been out of contact with High Command for almost a year. Be another 6 months at least if they left right now and then another 6 months or longer before relief gets here. We cannot risk sending SLS Rhodon back, her Jump Core might not last. Okay, I will send SLS 'Conroy to make contact with High Command. We will send them with all the intel we have gathered out here." Lieutenant General Mitchell replied

"Sounds good to me. Feels lonely out here all by ourselves. Maybe we can get the damned HPG's back in service out here. I will send you my replacement needs to relay to SLS 'Conroy, I can also contact Lieutenant General McGregor and have him send you his replacement needs. I will let you get back to your campaign General Mitchell. Rommel out."

She smiled slightly as she walked over to her communication officer "Notify 'Conroy that I am coming up for a visit."

Five hours later, Lieutenant General Mitchell exited the shuttle that had brought her from the surface to Avatar-Class Heavy Cruiser, SLS 'Conroy. She was conducted to Commodore Vincent Zeibler private quarters and shown inside. "General Mitchell, welcome back aboard. The message that you were coming up for a visit caught me off guard."

"I have a new mission for you and SLS 'Conroy. We need to make contact with High Command, I have selected your ship to make the journey. I cannot risk sending a standard Jumpship. Not with possible hostiles out here. I have one of my Mammoth Dropships being loaded with fresh food supplies, they will bring it up to you. I figure Quatre Belle is the most likely place to find the SLDF still in full control. It is Home Port for 10th and 12th Fleet's, so I don't see the rebels being able to take control of that system. How long you estimate to get there?" Lieutenant General Mitchell explained

Commodore Zeibler pulled up a Star Map and studied for a few minutes before answering "Single jumps only, 3 1/2 months. If I double jump some, I can cut the travel time to possibly 2 months."

"Good enough, make the trip safe. Better than I thought, actually." She handed over a envelope "Inside are the replacement needs of the 272nd, 322nd and 126th Divisions along with replacement needs of the 277th Dragoon's. Also inside is all the intel we have gathered out here in the sticks for SLIC. Also some of my own evaluations."

Commodore Zeibler took the envelope and secure it in his desk "I will make ready to depart as soon as possible. General Mitchell, in case 10th Fleet does not allow me to come back, it has been a pleasure and an honor serving with you. I plan to plead my case to return in as forceful terms as I can. I will not let you down and will make contact with High Command and deliver this information to the proper channels."

"It has been a pleasure serving with you also Commodore. Now, I do not know this Commodore Blythe, what is your estimation of him?" Lieutenant General Mitchell asked

"He is a good officer, aggressive, independent minded. Those are the ones they place in the Kimagure Cruisers, the most aggressive ones. I am sure he will follow your orders. Tell you what, I will brief him on what he needs to know before I depart. I will make sure he understands what his mission is." Commodore Zeibler said

"That would help a bunch. With SLS Rhodon having a doubtful Jump Drive, I need a fast response ship. We are spread across 3 systems but easily within range of a LF equipped warship. Just in case all 3 systems have trouble at the same time, which I doubt." Lieutenant General Mitchell responded

"I will stress to Commodore Blythe what is expected of him." Commodore Zeidler said

"Good. If we do not speak again before your departure, safe trip Commodore Zeibler. Hope we see each other very soon. I must get back to the surface." Lieutenant General Mitchell said as she turned to leave.

Independence (Uninhabited Periphery)

Major Sandra Barkley, commander 1st Battlemech Battalion, was overseeing the loading of her 3 Union Dropships with everything they could haul from the busted Invader Jumpship. Captain Jinloo Chu, ships captain Invader Jumpship, wanted to keep a skeleton crew aboard the Invader Jumpship to monitor the ships systems and provide either a early warning for danger or contact any ship for rescue. She had grudgingly agreed, but did not trust that they would wait for her Dropships to undock and then jump from the system. She wa debating on leaving some of her people aboard when the ships alarms sounded. Rushing to the bridge, as soon as she entered Captain Chu turned to her and announced "Incoming emergence wave, it's gonna come in pretty close roughly 6,000km from us. At least 2 ships inbound. If you want to undock, you better hurry, if they are hostile, and I have no reason to doubt they are anything but that, at least on the ground you have a chance to fight back."

Major Sandra Barkley started to leave the bridge for her Dropship when the first Star Lord Jumpship materialized followed shortly by a second Star Lord Jumpship. "Captain, they are broadcasting SLDF IFF, SLS Heaven's Gaze and SLS Orion's Gaze." She heard as she grabbed the bridge door frame to bring her to a halt. Better to face the music than starve to death. She floated back to Captain Chu's side.

"Contact them, we will take our chances with the SLDF. I will make sure they understand I took your ship by force Captain Chu." Major Barkley said

Two hours later, Lieutenant General Gregory Hanesworth, commander 29th Mechanized Infantry Division "Rogue" boarded the broken Invader Jumpship. He had been shocked to discover the Invader Jumpship here. When he was led to the Jumpships Grav deck, he met Captain Jinloo Chu and Major Sandra Barkley. After a few minutes of being told about the trouble with the Invader-Class Jumpship, he held up a hand.

"That is all good and well, but how about telling me WHY you all are way out here alone?" Lieutenant General Hanesworth said, he had detected the tension on both officers before him.

"It is my fault General Hanesworth. I took this Jumpship by force. Captain Chu had no choice but to follow my orders. I submit myself to your arrest. I mutinied against orders to report for disbandment. My people have no idea of my actions, they think we have been reassigned." Major Sandra Barkley admitted

"You understand mutiny is a capital offense during a time of hostilities? I could order you tossed out of an airlock and General Kerensky would probably pin a medal on me." Lieutenant General Hanesworth said

"I am aware of my possible punishment General. After all we have been thru during this campaign, I could not bear seeing my unit broken up and scattered to the winds. I alone made the decision to leave." Major Barkley replied

"Well, as long as you are aware of the possible punishment if we are discovered." Lieutenant General Hanesworth said

This statement by General Hanesworth caught both Captain Chu and Major Barkley by surprise and it showed. Lieutenant General Hanesworth filled the stunned silence "So I guess we better get your Dropships loaded aboard my Star Lord's and leave this system for hopefully greener pastures."

The ships alarm sounded again, Captain Chu headed for the bridge much faster than either ground pounder. Arriving ahead of either officer, he turned to both "Another emergence wave inbound. Seems this is a popular place."

Ten minutes later a Star Lord materialized 65,000km away. "Broadcasting SLDF IFF, SLS Heaven Sailor. We are being hailed."

14 July 2766

Colonel Bradley Montgomery had not expected to find a SLDF flotilla this far out when they arrived in system. He could not risk not communicating nor accepting the invitation to join them abroad the Invader-Class Jumpship. After being led to the ships Grav deck, he reported to the Lieutenant General before him. "Colonel Bradley Montgomery, 3rd Battlemech Regiment, 265th Mechanized Infantry Division reporting."

"A very long ways from Umka aren't you Colonel Montgomery? I do believe that is where the 265th MID was ordered to report to. Don't look surprised, I am a General officer, I see many things. SO, how about explaining what the hell you are doing way out here?" Lieutenant General Hanesworth asked

"I do not have a proper answer to your question sir." Colonel Montgomery replied, the jig is up and we are in deep shit.

"You do realize that your answer tells me you have gone rogue, deserted, mutinied against the SLDF?" Lieutenant General Hanesworth stated

"Yes sir, I do understand that. I would like a lawyer for myself and my personnel." Colonel Montgomery answered

"Sorry, we are all out of lawyers. Mutiny, desertion and worse rogue are capital offenses. The SLDF could toss all of you out airlocks if captured." Lieutenant General Hanesworth stated

This caught Colonel Montgomery off guard, he cut his eyes to look at the other 2 officers in attendance and thought he caught concealed smiles. What the hell is going on, he thought.

"Safety in numbers Colonel Montgomery, safety in numbers. There are still a bunch of hostile rebels running around out here. I think it would be best if for the time being you join our merry band of wayward soldiers and travel with us." Lieutenant General Hanesworth said as he broke a smile.

18 July 2766 Albaracht (Uninhabited System)

Lieutenant General Nathan Baxter, commander 359th Battlemech Division along with the 509th Battle Regiment had been in system for 4 days recharging. Major Jenny Davidson had so far resisted the idea of folding the battered remains of the 509th Battle Regiment into his command. He was going slow and not pushing the issue. He just brought up the idea every now and then to her. He had decided not to set down on the planet to give the people some ground time because once they halted, it might be too hard to get them started again.

He was deep in thought about the unit's future when the ships alarm sounded and almost as fast the intercom in his quarters said "General, might want to get to the bridge, we have an emergence wave incoming."

Without even acknowledging the message he was out the door and on his way to the bridge. He arrived just as the Star Lord Jumpship materialized. "Squawking SLDF IFF, SLS Deep Voyager. She's fully loaded, sir." The sensor operator said

Ships captain Jorge Gonzalez looked at Lieutenant General Baxter who just shrugged in reply, Captain Gonzalez said "Comm, hail her."

Aboard SLS Deep Voyager, Colonel James Buchest, commander 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division "rogue", stared at the flotilla of Jumpships displayed on the plot board by the ships sensor's. Of all the damned luck, we run right into a SLDF convoy. When the flotilla called them, he knew prison or worse awaited him. "Answer them."

Four hours later, he exited the shuttle onto the SLS Shining Star, Star Lord Jumpship. Already tense, he was shaken to his core when 4 armed soldiers escorted him to the ships Grav deck. There he saw a very stern looking Lieutenant General along with a Major who kept her hand on the holstered laser pistol she wore. There was an evil glint in the Major's eyes that he could see even from 6 feet away. Willing himself to calm down he said "Colonel James Buchest, 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division, reporting."

Neither the Lieutenant General or Major said a word, they just stood there looking at him for several minutes. Finally the Lieutenant General spoke "Colonel, I am Lieutenant General Nathan Baxter, commander 359th Battlemech Division and this is Major Davidson, 509th Battle Regiment. Since your arrival, we have been discussing what a unit this far from SLDF lines was up to. We have both come to the conclusion that your renegades, mutineers or possibly gone pirate. All of which are capital crimes punishable by death during hostilities. So Colonel, which one is it?"

Colonel Buchest thought his heart was going to explode in his chest. But he willed himself to answer "I alone am responsible General Baxter. After everything we had been thru together, alone, cutoff from any help, with none arriving until after over 50% of the Division were dead, I could not allow them to break us up. My troops are good soldiers, good fighters. I accept responsibility for disobeying orders."

He was even more worried when Lieutenant General Baxter seemed to relax and he thought he detected the hint of a smile flicker across the mans face. "Relax Colonel, we will just have to make sure the SLDF does not find any of us. So let's all sit down and discuss our futures on the run."

Mirfak (Uninhabited System)

"General" Olivia Daniels, commander 54th Mechanized Infantry Division, was tired of the long journey in space. She wanted to feel firm ground under her feet again. She was already hearing the grumblings among the troops, they too were getting tired of space travel. They had "elected" her, but they damn sure could also remove her. She had calculated that it would take another 5 month to reach the Tortuga Dominions.

Lastpost (Uninhabited System)

Colonel Patrick Quieg, acting commander 31st Infantry Division, was getting antsy again. Even with the 2 week layover on an uninhabited planet, he was still tired of seeing nothing but empty space. Just 3 more months to Tortuga Dominions.

Mackolla (Federated Suns)

Ships Captain Martin Zuni had just delivered another load of cargo inside the Federated Suns. He made more money in the Outworlds Alliance, Jumpship traffic was much less dense there, but you could make a living in the Federated Suns. But first, he paid out a good sum of money to get his Merchant-Class Jumpship into the Olympus Recharge Stations repair bay. It was past due for a overhaul at a proper shipyard, but he tried to make sure routine maintenance was conducted on her. Maybe when the "vacation" in New Port Royal was over he would make his way to Ramora and put her in a shipyard slip for an overhaul, it was cheaper there that in the Federated Suns, plus not near as long a wait line. They would spend 2 weeks here before moving on, enough time for the 2 Dropships to return with cargo for delivery to Bamburgh.

Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore Vincent Zeibler, commander SLS 'Conroy, Avatar Heavy Cruiser, shook the hand of Commodore William Blythe, commander SLS Hatchet, Kimagure-Class Pursuit Cruiser. "Welcome aboard my ship Will. Come on, let's head for my quarters, there is something very important we need to discuss."

Once inside Commodore Zeibler's quarters and both had taken seats, he spoke "Will, I will be taking 'Conroy back to Quatra Belle. Your going to remain here and protect the SLDF forces in the region. I can see that repairs are still not completed on your ship from here. Commodore Coltrain and SLS Rhodon are next door at Boulsi, but her Jump Core has some serious micro cracks and only in a dire emergency will she make a jump. I need to make contact with Higher and get some relief out here." He held up a hand to stop Commodore Blythe from talking "Let me finish Will, I outrank you by time in rank. You are not to abandon these troops out here. Period. When I return, if I find out you gave Lieutenant General Mitchell any grief, I will personally have you brought up on charges. If I return and find out you left before I got back or the troops here were properly supported, I will personally hunt you down and destroy you. I am deadly serious about this, you are to obey Lieutenant General Mitchell or anyone she appoints over you as though they were a damned Admiral. No solo head hunting. I vouched for you, do not make me a liar."

"Look Vincent, I am in 12th Fleet and your in 10th Fleet. My orders were to hunt down enemy shipping and to destroy them. Those orders came from Vice Admiral Jean-Claude Detier himself. You cannot just....."He trailed off as Commodore Zeibler interrupted him.

"Shut up Commodore Blythe, you WILL obey my orders. Per SLDF Regulations, during hostilities, when no communication with higher command is possible, officer will obey the on scene commander until such time as proper communication can be re-established. That makes me the on scene commander. And when I depart in about 6 hours, Lieutenant General Mitchell is the on scene commander. That is final. No more argument, no more excuses. The next words out of your mouth had better be Yes sir or I will have my Marines toss you into the brig here, appoint your XO in command and transport you back to Quatre Belle to stand a court martial for disobeying orders in a combat zone." Commodore Zeibler said

Commodore Blythe's face flushed red, but when he opened his mouth all he said was "Yes, sir. I understand my orders."

"Glad you agree Will. Now get back to Hatchet and get her battle ready as soon as possible." Commodore Zeibler replied.

19 July 2766 Luikaw (Outworlds Alliance)

Major Yuri Nabokov, acting commander 211th Hussar Regiment, sat aboard SLS Night Jumper, Tramp LF Jumpship at the Zenith Jump Point. After spending a month sweeping Blommestein in a effort to locate the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division, Major Nabokov had finally called off the search and order the 211th Hussar Regiment back to their Jumpships. Though the Tramp's were all LF equipped, he was trying to keep their use to a minimum, though he had used them extensively getting to Blommestein. They were 3 days into their recharge cycle when the emergence wave was detected. They had gotten lax in their security and had failed to preplot an emergency jump location. This was not going to end well. It would take 15 minutes to plot a jump from the system. Estimates place the arrival of their unwanted guest at 12 minutes.

Commodore Vincent Zeibler, commander SLS Conroy, Avatar-Class Heavy Cruiser, watched as the ships sensors came back online and spotted the targets appearing on the ships plot board at the same time as he heard "Radar contact, 5 ships, range 54,000km to closest. Sir, they are transmitting SLDF IFF, SLS Night Jumper, Tramp Jumpship is closest target." He smiled as he spoke "Hail them." He had decided to push his ship as hard as he dared and executed a double jump at Maripa.

When the huge Avatar Heavy Cruiser had materialized 54,000km away, everyone had released the breath they had been holding even before they registered the SLDF IFF, SLS Conroy. When the hail from SLS Conroy came in, everyone shouted with joy. Major Nabokov accepted the radio mic "SLS Conroy, this is Major Nabokov of the 211th Hussar Regiment, we sure are glad to see you. We have not seen a friendly warship since our escort left us months ago."

"Roger that SLS Night Jumper. We will come to you, eta hour and half. Then we can talk in person. SLS Conroy out."

Two hours later, Major Nabokov exited the shuttle and was guided to an office and shown inside. "Major Nabokov, 211th Hussar Regiment reporting."

"Commodore Vincent Zeibler, SLS Conroy. Are you the lead element of an SLDF push into this area?" He asked

"Sir, I do not know anything about a push into this region. We just left Blommestein after looking for the 272nd Mech Infantry and are on our way to Ambatomainty to hunt down the 126th Mech Infantry." Major Nabokov said

Commodore Zeibler let out a laugh "Well, your search is over Major Nabokov. The 126th Mech Infantry are on Boulsi and the 272nd Mech Infantry are on Thazi. Battered but very much still alive and in the fight."

"Well, at least now we are not stumbling around blind. My orders are to locate them and assist them against the rebels. So you say both of them are in a fight?" Major Nabokov asked

"Very much so, but they both have the upper hand against the rebels. If your moving to link up with them, head for Thazi. Lieutenant General Mitchell, commander 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division is in charge out there. Report to her and she will direct you where to go. You said your escort left you? Why?" Commodore Zeibler asked

"They got orders to go after some spotted Alliance warships, then we got jumped by probably those very warships and we lost some good people before escaping. We have spent the last 6 months bouncing all over the Alliance praying we don't trip over any more enemy warships. One reason I came to you is because I got some seriously pissed off people with a grudge against the Navy. And I will admit, I harbor some bad feelings also, not just against the Navy but also in how Higher Command has bounced us all over the place, never letting us catch our thoughts. Seems every system has had it's HPG destroyed, so we have no clue what the hell is happening." Major Nabokov replied

"We have noticed the same thing, HPG's seem to be the first targets the rebels hit. One reason I am out here and not with Lieutenant General Mitchell, trying to make contact with higher. Your not alone now Major Nabokov, take your Regiment to Thazi, Kimigure-Class Cruiser, SLS Hatchet, and SLS Mighty Lift, Potemkin-Class Transport are there, and at Boulsi is where the Luxor-Class Heavy Cruiser SLS Rhodon is. They could use the help, your Regiment might be the tipping point in the campaign out there." Commodore Zeibler said

"I will do that Commodore. We have 4 days left to recharge our drives." Major Nabokov said

"We will be here until you jump. So since we have a few days, you can tell me all about what you have seen and I will tell you what we have seen and done." Commodore Zeibler said

Ype-Jhu (Outworlds Alliance)

After a month on planet, Colonel Alberta Collins and her personnel were in no hurry to leave. Ype-Jhu was a pleasant planet to be on, the people actually very nice and the food was great. She had deployed her MASH units to provide medical care for the population as payment for the hospitality they had been shown. The capitol of Kuero Fresco Nueva contained the majority of the planets population with 655,000 people. Situated on the coast of the only continent of Estacion Costa they fished the large ocean extensively. The remaining 200,000 people were spread out in 6 other towns. All situated within 400km of the capitol city.

She was giving serious thought on just staying here with her command.

30 July 2766 Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore William Blyther, commander SLS Hatchet, Kimagure Pursuit Cruiser, wait for the inbound ships to materialize. His ship had 60% of it's lost armor replaced and he had to listen to Chief Whitney curse up a storm when his work was once again interrupted. "Weps, all weapons hot and ready?"

"Yes sir, everything is warm and ready to go. All stations manned and ready." Ships weapons officer announced

"Very well, weapons tight until we have confirmed the identity of the inbounds. Sensor, how do things look?" Commodore Blythe asked

"First should be arriving any minute. Computer projects the closest to arrive at 1500km range." The sensor operator said

Before Commodore Blythe could answer, the first Tramp-Class Jumpship materialized followed seconds later by 4 more Tramp Jumpships. "Reading SLDF IFF Commodore. SLS Night Jumper, Sprinter, Star Runner and Void Runner, all Tramp-Class LF Jumpships." The sensor operator stated

"Roger Sensor, Comm hail them." Commodore Blyther ordered

Aboard SLS Night Jumper, Tramp LF Jumpship, Major Yuri Nabokov, acting commander 211th Hussar Regiment, looked at the massive Cruiser displayed on the ships plot. When the hail came in, he nodded to the ships captain. "SLS Hatchet, this is SLS Night Jumper carrying the 211th Battle Regiment. Commodore Zeibler send his regards." Major Jordan Wirth, commander SLS Wind Runner said

"Welcome to Thazi, Night Jumper. You are cleared to release your Dropships and they are cleared to head for the surface. Report to Lieutenant General Mitchell on arrival in orbit for final landing instructions."

Mackolla (Federated Suns)

Ships Captain Martin Zuni watched the tugs ease his Merchant Jumpship from the Olympus Recharge Stations repair bay. They had finished the maintenance checks 2 days ahead of schedule. He had watched every move the Stations Techs had made, along with his Chief Engineer. He might sail the Periphery, but he tried to keep his Merchant-Class Jumpship in the best condition possible. Built in 2624, she was 142 years old, but in top notch condition, he spent a ton of money keeping her in this shape. His grandfather had first bought her, then his father had paid her off. Now she had been all his for 18 years. He figured another 2 years and he would be able to afford either another Merchant or a 50% down payment on a Star Lord-Class Jumpship with some cash left over. His father had never gotten around to expanding his operation beyond this one ship, but Martin had bigger plans, he wanted to grow, maybe one day actually settle down and just run the show from a nice planet somewhere.

Dilk (Uninhabited Periphery)

Sergeant Mathew Hollister was young, only 23 and on his first tour with the SLDF. Assigned to the 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division, he had been blooded in battle over the last year of fighting in the Periphery Uprising. It had troubled him greatly when his Battalion had voted enmass to leave when the order to report for disbandment had come. He had been one of the few dissenters, but after 2 days of near constant "badgering" by his fellow Mechwarriors, he had gone along with them. Now months later, he still felt the pain inside from his decision. After 2 months aboard the Dropship, he had found that the only place he could have any sort of privacy was in his Phoenix Hawk PXH-1b's cockpit. He had enlisted in the SLDF at 16, with his parents blessing's, and after almost 6 years of training, had graduated. In his only battle campaign on Tirabad, he had scored 6 Battlemech kills and come away with his Phoenix Hawk relatively unscathed. He knew he was a good pilot. He had learned to pilot a Crosscut Loggermech at 12, with his father on New Earth. By 15, he could do things in that Crosscut that most deemed impossible. When they had placed the "skullcap" on him during testing, he had not only moved the small Battlemech, but had made it stop, move, turn and stop. Most others could only get it to move a little bit.

I should have said no and went to the replacement depot, he thought to himself, alone with his thoughts.

August[]

5 August 2766 Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Major Yuri Nabokov, acting commander 211th Hussar Regiment, contacted Lieutenant General Mitchell as his Dropships made orbit around Thazi. He wondered what kind of commander she was, would she be the typical SLDF commander that pushed men and equipment to the breaking point, the type of commander that just shoveled troops at a problem until the problem went away, without a care in the world? He was about to find out.

"Nabokov calling ground command. Looking for Lieutenant General Mitchell over." Several minutes passed before an answer came back.

"This is Lietenant General Mitchell, go with your traffic."

"Major Nabokov, 211th Hussar Regiment. We have entered orbit around Thazi proper. Where would you like me to ground my troops and what is our mission."

"Glad to have you with us Major. Ground your Regiment at grid 112985-457, that is the last sector I have not put any ground troops into, we been hunting a rebel Battlemech Battalion. The area is densely forested, so air recon is not much use. Once on the ground, start sweeping the area best you can. I have a Mech Infantry Regiment and special troops here at the space port. They will sub orbital to your position and they will assist in your sweep. SLS Mighty Lift is on call for orbital fire support if needed. Restrcted use to no closer than 50km from any town or city. But that should not be an issue, we have no indications of any inhabitation in that area, over."

"Roger, ground at grid 112985-457, sweep area for rebel forces. Will be on watch for your troops. Good copy on fire support restrictions. We should be on the ground in 3 hours.

"Contact me if you need anything Major. My two Battlemech Regiments are pushing in that direction, but this is a massive continent to try and clear with only a single Mechanized Infantry Division and we are not full strength."

By 5pm, Major Nabokov had his 211th Hussar Regiment on the ground and deployed. With nightfall not far away, he issued orders for limited patrols and they would move out at dawn to begin their sweep of the area.

Rim Worlds Outpost #11

Taxiarchos Jermaine Haye walked along the assembled Battlemechs awaiting transport. He had been out here for ten years and had overseen the construction of the massive Battlemech Factory complex along with supporting factories and some mining. Under his command were 153,281 personnel. Only 1 of the planets 3 continents had any inhabitants. The small capital city of Haye City housed 101,098 people. Not far away, 15km was the Battlemech Factory Complex and adjacent space port. The Battlemech Factory Complex itself housed all of the needed machinery and sub-factories needed to manufacture Battlemchs.

Battlemech Factory Complex

Stinger STG-3R - 2 Lines producing 30 per month Firestarter FS9-H - 1 Line producing 15 per month Phoenix PX-3R - 2 Lines producing 24 per month Talos TLS-1B - 2 Lines producing 24 per month Archer ARC-2R - 2 Lines producing 12 per month Battlemaster BLR-1G - 2 Lines producing 12 per month

The primary on planet support, was the mining community of Devil's Rock located 320km away serviced by 2 old but functional trains which hauled 5,200 tonnes of raw ore per day each on the 5 hour trip each way. Devil's Rock housed 52,183 miners and their families. Three mines operated from Devil's Rock, each with a Corx Mobile Tunnel Miner and 6 Dig King Mining Mechs. Security was provided by a single Battalion of Battlemechs and 2 Infantry Regiments. Local farming barely could meet the minimum needs of the population.

Rim Worlds Outpost #7

Taxiarchos Christine Palmer was in charge of this Outpost, having taken command 4 years ago after an industrial accident claimed the previous commander during an inspection. Under her command were 88,122 personnel who worked in the Tank and small Aerospace Factory Complexes. The only city on the planet was Snell's Gulf City where the space port and both factory's were located. The planet itself could not support life without outside imports.

Tank Factory Complex

Merkava Mk VIII - 2 Lines producing 48 per month Marsden II-A - 2 Lines producing 48 per month Ballista Artillery - 1 Line producing 12 per month Heavy Tracked APC - 2 Lines producing 72 per month LVT-4 Hover - 2 Lines producing 36 per month Sherpa Armored Truck - 2 Lines producing 72 per month Sherpa MASH Truck- 1 Line producing 24 per month Sherpa Fuel Truck - 1 Line producing 36 per month Sherpa Canteen Truck - 1 Line producing 36 per month

Aerospace Factory

Typhoon TFN-2A - 2 Lines producing 12 per month Star Dagger S-2A - 2 Lines producing 24 per month

Rim Worlds Outpost #4

Taxiarchos Waylon Hazot commanded Outpost #4, he commanded with a iron fist and was known to have unproductive workers lashed with a whip. The smallest of the Outposts with production facilities, he strived to impress President Stephan Amaris with the output with limited resources available. For 8 years, he had exceeded production quota's. A single city of 54,872 people serviced the planets Tank Factory. Without outside imports of material and supplies, the planet would be uninhabitable.

Tank Factory Complex

Merkava Mk VIII - 1 Line producing 30 per month Korvin KRV-3 - 1 Lines producing 40 per month Ignis Infantry Support - 1 Line producing 36 per month Heavy Tracked APC - 2 Lines producing 80 per month Sherpa Armored Truck - 1 Line producing 48 per month Sherpa Fuel Truck - 1 Line producing 36 per month

6 August 2766 Terra (Terran Hegemony)

First Lord Richard Cameron looked at the small infant in the intensive care room. His wife Elise had given birth to twins, but the second infant had been kept a secret when it was quickly discovered that the infant had a heart defect. Only machines kept the 6 month old infant alive. He wanted to end this, but his wife Elise refused to even entertain the idea. First Lord Richard Cameron had ordered all records of the second child's birth to be expunged from all records. He made a visit to this secret intensive care room at least once a week to stare dispassionately at the infant hooked to life giving machines. When Stephan Amaris returned to Terra, he would ask him what should be done. Turning away from the small viewing window, and without a word, exited the small room and walked down the long corridor with only 2 members of the Royal Black Watch accompanying him.

16 August 2766 Unknown (Empty Space)

Commodore Vincent Zeibler, commanding the Avatar-Class Heavy Cruiser, SLS 'Conroy, could not shake the idea that he had condemned his crew to death. I should have listened to Lieutenant General Mitchell, take it slow and safe, but no, I had to push the limits too far. I gave the order for the second jump way too soon and now I have destroyed our field initator. Not only have I doomed myself and my crew to certain death out here, but I have possibility doomed everyone else counting on him. He thought to himself for the millionth time. He hovered over the navigator, who had spent the last 6 hours trying to work out their exact position in Commodore Zeiblers locked quarters, when finally the navigator looked up.

"I think I have it, Commodore, and it is not good. We misjumped, from my calculations and working with the Star Maps, we are not even in the Outworlds Alliance anymore. Best I can calculate is we are a minimum of 240LY from Ammon our target, closest inhabited system, as far as I can tell is Novo Franklin, and that is 80 to 90LY away from us." His navigator said

"Great. My stupidity might have killed us all. If Chief cannot cobble something together, we don't even have a damned planet to shuttle down to. We have food and water for a year. No way of calling for help. If my fuzzy math I just did is anything, even a 1g burn for Nova Franklin would take us over 600 years to reach. Shit." Commodore Zeibler said

"I will keep working to better determine our exact location, just in case Chief works a miracle, we will need the information for a jump anyway." Ship's navigator said

"I am going to head down to engineering and try to do something worthwhile. Let's keep this quiet as long as we can, everyone knows we got a broke ship, but they don't know how screwed we are." Commodore Zeibler said

Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Major Yuri Nabokov, commander 211th Hussar Regiment, watched the 3391st Special Forces Battalion swiftly move among the dense forest, seeking out any hostiles in their weird armored suits. He had never seen anything like them, but the commander of the 3391st, Major Brian Calloway loved the things. Even if they find the rebel's, this dense forest will make fighting a very close range affair. They had spent the last 2 weeks sweeping the area until finally reaching a long narrow peninsula. His radio chirped "Contact, we have a Stinger in sight. We can only see it's upper torso and head, looks to be dug in deep and tight. Grid 121571-301. We will start working down the line in an attempt to find the enemy's flank."

He keyed the mic "Roger, grid 121571-301. Proceed with extreme caution Major Calloway, I am not as confident your armored suits will take much Mech scale weapons fire."

A chuckle came back "They won't take any Mech scale weapons fire. Even standard infantry weapons can kill us. We live by not being found."

Major Nabokov switched channels "Zeus, this is Geronimo Actual, we found them. Grid 121571-301. You want us to dig them out the hard way?"

Lieutenant General Mitchell responded quickly "Negative, determine the exact alignment of the rebel's. I am not going to lose people digging them out, not in that dense forest. We would be fighting at point blank range. I will head down there with one of my Battlemech Regiments to assist and evaluate the enemy positions. See you very soon Major Nabokov, good work."

New Haiti (Tortuga Dominions)

Major General Iris Carman, commander 280th Mechanized Infantry Division, was glad to be on solid ground again. They had grounded 3 days ago and quickly set up a perimeter. Late yesterday, one of the many pirate bands in the Tortuga Dominions had come a calling and quickly found out that there was still a lot of fight left in the 280th Mechanized Infantry Division after they had 3 Battlemechs and 5 tanks quickly destroyed. Major General Carman had forbid any pursuit of the pirates. She had left her Aerospace Wing with her Jumpships to safeguard them from any hostile attempts. If the pirates made anymore trouble, she would consider removing them from existence, right now, she just wanted a few weeks of surface time while they decided their next move.

16 August 2766 Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

Major Yuri Nabokov, commander 211th Hussar Regiment and Major Brian Calloway, 3391st Special Forces, watched the Command Dictator settle to the ground along with 3 Dictator Dropships and a single Mule Dropship. The first Battlemech to descend the Command Dictator's ramp was a Pillager. It paused at the bottom for a few seconds before moving towards them. Major Calloway spoke "That's Lieutenant General Mitchell in the Pillager."

Both watched as the Pillager halted barely 10 meters away and then knelt. A chain ladder dropped from the cockpit and Lieutenant General Mitchell descneded the chain ladder with ease. She paused as her feet hit the ground, taking a quick scan of the area before continuing towards the waiting officers.

"Major Calloway, you must be Major Nabokov. I am Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell, commander 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division. Glad to put a face to the voice. So, show me the location of the rebel's." She said and the 3 officers moved to a map generated from aerial recon photos.

"The Rebel Battlemechs are deployed in dug in positions across the peninsula. They have some Infantry with them, estimate a full regiment. They are literally stretched from coast to coast, the peninsula is only about 3km wide where they are deployed at. The forest is extremely thick, the thinner areas are obvious kill sacks. It will not be easy to get at them and the fighting will be point blank range." Major Nabokov said as he traced out the positions on the map.

"Well, I am not going to lose people needlessly. I brought my Long Tom and Thumper Battalions along with one of my Battlemech Regiments. I want a 1km wide area cleared from here to here. I don't want a raging forest fire to get away from us. Any tree that is too big to rip out with Battlemech hands, whack it down with weapons fire, after ground cover is cleared away. Once that is done, we will commence shelling the rebel positions. The rebel's have few choices, leave their positions and come to us, across the cleared area, sit and take the pounding, pull back from their defensive positions. Before we begin shelling I am going to have a squadron of Aerospace Fighters come along and dump a load of Inferno bombs behind the rebel lines, they pull back, fine they can do so by going thru a raging fire." Lieutenant General Mitchell laid out her plans

"No engineers, General?" Major Nabokov asked

"They are on Boulsi with the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division. Wish I had them right now, but we make do with what we have." Lieutenant General Mitchell replied

"Well, we better get started, that is a lot of ground to clear of foliage." Major Nabokov said

19 August 2766

The roar of Aerospace engines woke everyone not already awake as they screamed overhead. Those exiting tents looked in the direction the noise had come from and could see a evil looking glow on the horizon. Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell leaned against the foot of her Pillager drinking a cup of coffee, a casual glance at her watch caused a smile to flicker across her face as she watched the cannoncockers ready their guns a short distance away, any second now.

A volley of booms echoed across the small base camp that had sprung up as the artillery barrage began. "So, how much ammunition do those artillery pukes have?" Made her turn her head to see Major Nabokov walking up.

"Quite a lot actually. The Mule that brought the artillery units has 3,000 tons of shells on it. I have another 4,000 tons at the space port. Or I can have SLS Mighty Lift shuttle down some, nice thing to have access to. She has almost 10,000 tons of artillery reloads in her cargo bays." She replied with a smile

"Better the rebels than me." Major Nabokov said as the next volley was sent down range

"Don't worry Major, I am a firm believer in firepower before blood. If the artillery does not flush the rebel's, well I have much bigger artillery in orbit. One way or another, they will come to us. But if fate casts us an evil dice roll, and we do have to go in and dig them out, I will be the first one going in." Lieutenant General Mitchell responded

This caused Major Nabokov to cast her a sideways look, a rare bird, a true fighting General. So often General officers, once promoted to that rank, forgot what it was like in the trenches. He glanced up at her Pillager, kneeling, like some silent assassin awaiting the order to go forth and wreak havoc on the enemy. He could see the repaired armor plates and further up the General's kill markers painted on the Pillager's left torso. Twelve painted in red and 14 more in gold in much fresher paint. Very impressive and Major Nabokov said as much which caused Lieutenant General Mitchell to look up at what Major Nabokov was looking at.

"The 12 red ones are duels, from the Combine. The gold ones are from since the Uprising began." She replied before turning back to watch the artillery crews in action, taking another sip of coffee.

22 August 2766

For 3 days the artillery pounded the rebel positions relentlessly before Lieutenant General Mitchell called a cease fire. The artillery crews were exhausted and the guns needed a rest. Fires burned all over the peninsula and the smoke was thick in the air. Inside the Mobile HQ, she said "Try to make contact with the rebel's, open channel unsecured. Tell them to surrender." As the communications tech began broadcasting across the radio frequency, she exited the Mobile HQ.

"I would prefer them to surrender, but they have a few hours to think it over. Then I will have SLS Mighty Lift give them some love taps. Maybe they just need a bigger kick in the pants to see the error of their ways." She said to the gathered officers "In other news, outside of this group here, I think we can call this planet secure. There has not been any shots fired outside of this area in 36 hours."

"So after we take out these rebels, what are your plans for the future General?" Major Nabokov asked

"To be honest, I have not given it much thought. With no contact with Higher, I have been sort of flying by the seat of my pants. Guess I better start figuring it out. I do know we will go into a low state of alert, do some serious maintenance, let the troops relax some. We have been on constant combat ops for almost a year now, the troops need it." She replied honestly

Three hours later a communication tech stuck her head out of the Mobile HQ "General, the rebel's have finally answered. They are surrendering."

"Order them to dismount any Battlemechs or vehicles and walk out of there. Send weapons tight to all commands here. Major Calloway, take your Battalion in and secure the area please." Lieutenant General Mitchell said and got a lazy salute from Major Calloway as he moved to where his troops were camped. "Major Nabokov, have your 211th Hussar move to cover Major Calloway's advance."

In orbit, Chief Engineer Whitney had completed all repairs aboard Kimagure Pursuit Cruiser, SLS Hatchet, and had declared her 100% combat ready. He had ordered the portable cranes dismounted and once again stowed in the ships cargo bays. Hope I never have to use those pieces of junk again, he thought to himself. Before re-entering the airlock, he took another glance at the Olympus Recharge Station 800km away with both Dart Light Cruiser's not much further away, still battle scarred. If only the damned thing had a decent repair bay, 150,000 tons was not nearly big enough. With that, he turned and entered the ships airlock.

Hope IV (Independent Periphery)

Colonel Patrick Quieg, acting commander 31st Infantry Division could see light at the end of the tunnel now. They were only a month from the Tortuga Dominions now. He was almost afraid all his personnel would vanish the moment they made it on the surface, but then again, that would be their right. They had been thru so much. If they scattered, he would not receive any word, hell he just might join them.

Lastpost (Uninhabited Periphery)

Lieutenant General Nathan Baxter, commander 359th Battlemech Division, wished the recharge operations would speed up. They had at least another month until they reached Hope IV. His convoy now consisted of his 359th Battlemech Division, 509th Battle Regiment and 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division. Supplies were running low, mainly fresh water. They had combat rations, but those were not the tastiest things around. He figured they would ground on Hope IV for resupply before heading to the Tortuga Dominions.

Bartrock (Federated Suns)

Ships Captain Martin Zuni watched the undocking of the 2 Mule Dropships as they prepared to head for the planets surface. That was another 100,000 in the bank. With no Dropships waiting for transport, he had made the decision to head direct to New Port Royal. Might as well start my vacation sooner. Should put me there around late September. He wondered how the SLDF troops were doing in the Outworlds Alliance. News said fighting was still raging across the periphery. He wished it would stop, so that he could get back to normal business.

September[]

1 Septmeber 2766 Thazi (Outworlds Alliance)

With no more fighting on Thazi, Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell had ordered a stand down to her 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division and 211th Hussar Regiment. Normal patrols were still being conducted, but for the majority, they had actually moved to a more Garrison type atmosphere. Much needed maintenance was being conducted on the equipment, but most importantly, rest for her soldiers. She was hopeful that within the next month, SLS Conroy would arrive at Quatre Belle and within the next 3-6 months replacements and equipment or better yet relief forces would arrive from the SLDF. She had conducted several HPG meetings with Major General Rommel on Pilon and Lieutenant General McGregor on Boulsi. Outside of the still ongoing siege on Boulsi, all 3 systems had seen no more fighting.

The downtime had also given Lieutenant General Mitchell time to reflect on everything. Her husband and son were still on Multan, in the Draconis Combine, along with all the rest of the 272nd Mech Infantry Divisions dependents. Her husband was a Colonel in the SLDF's Reserve Command, currently, as far as she knew anyway, still in command of the 4917th SLDF Reserve Armor Regiment. Her son, Daniel Mitchell, would be 5 years old now and it had been almost 2 years since she had seen either of them. She put the only family picture she had brought with them back into her breast pocket and stood up from her small desk. She had a commanders meeting to attend. She walked the short distance to the small mess hall at the space port and entered. Master Sergeant Conor Mackenzie, the senor enlisted in the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division yelled "ATTENTION!!" as she entered.

"At ease everyone. Please return to your seats." She said as she continued to the small podium setup at the front of the mess hall. She glanced at the assembled officers, so many new faces, she thought before continuing "I called this meeting because I have no clue what to do now. Outside of the siege on Boulsi, there seems to be no further enemy action on the 3 worlds we have visited. That is one of the reason's I have stood us down outside of some light patrolling. Talking with Major Nabonov with the 211th Hussar Regiment, we know that the 61st Royal Jump Infantry Division was still on Vangburg as of May of this year. And that is the only confirmed SLDF command that we know of anywhere in this region.

I have ordered Colonel Killian Jorgeson to fold his Infantry Regiment into our 2722nd Brigade. For those that do not know him, he was the senior officer of the 2 Independent Infantry Regiments originally stationed here that got overrun. Major Calloway liberated them from the prison camp on our arrival. We do not have enough transport to Mechanize them, but it at least brings us up to strength in Infantry, well a little over, as his Regiment now has 4 Battalions.

Major Calloway, until directed by higher authority, your 3391st Special Forces Battalion is now attached to the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division. You will report to me directly.

Major Nabonov, your new rank is for now Brevet Colonel but I am, until directed by higher authority, placing your 211th Hussar Regiment under my command. I have not yet decided if I will fold you into the 272nd or leave you as an Independent Regiment yet. No more stumbling around alone in the badlands Colonel Nabonov.

Now this brings me to Colonel's Faraday and Bannister, commanders of the 9918th and 9919th Marine Regiments. Until directed by higher authority, as senior commander on scene, I am placing both of your Regiments under my command. Now, before you both try and throw a fit, I am well aware that you technically belong to the Navy. Well, these are trying times and I don't have the luxury of really giving a damn anyways right now. Once we reestablich contact with SLDF High Command, you will be returned to your proper commands, until that time, you answer to me. I have discussed this with Commodore Coltrain, the ranking naval officer in this region and she concurs with my decision.

Commodore Coltrain is dispatching one of the SLDF Star Lords over here to pick up the rebel prisoners. Colonel Bannister, detail one of your Battalions as escort please. You will escort the prisoners here on the ground to the Olympus station, there you will pick up the rebel prisoners aboard it and then return with them to Boulsi, collect any prisoners there for transport to Pilon. There they will be interred with the the other rebel prisoners guarded by the 322nd Armored Division. You will then have your Battalion return here.

We will continue our current rotations for patrols and maintenance until further notice. SLS Conroy should be back with help in 5 months or so. Then we go where we are ordered. Let's make the most of the downtime. Dismissed."

Quatre Belle (Outworlds Alliance)

Commodore Trisha Delvaney, SLS Salvation, Newgrange-Class Yardship was aboard the Luxor-Class Heavy Cruiser, SLS Drakon, Flagship of 10th Fleet meeting with Admiral Isla Firova, commander 10th Fleet.

"Repairs are going well on your ship Commodore?" Admiral Firova asked

"Yes sir, we are on schedule. All issues beside the jump core have been addressed and repaired. We should be installing the new jump core within the next 2 weeks and then a week to button the ship back up tight. Test jump and then we should be ready for deployment around mid November." Commodore Delvaney replied

"Excellent. Your next mission will probably be another long one. Well, several missions really. We have a Essex Destroyer with a busted core at Onverwacht, once repairs are completed, you will take your ship and repair the Destroyer. To make repairs quicker, you will remote jump a complete core with you. Place the old core in a safe orbit for later recovery. Once repairs are complete, you will then move to Ambatomainty. We have several ships MIA; SLS Mighty Lift, Potemkin Transport, SLS Rhodon, Luxor-Class Cruiser, SLS 'Conroy, Avatar-Class Cruiser and 12th Fleet has also lost contact with a few of it's Kimagure Cruisers, SLS Hatchet and SLS Axe Handle. I am sending SLS Borneo, Volga-Class Transport with 4 Mammoths loaded with material to effect needed repairs. Primary escort will be SLS Solomon, a Essex II-Class Destroyer.

You will not be going in blind per se, I am dispatching a Division from the 101st Reconnaissance Squadron to assist in locating the lost ships. Rear Admiral Tanisha Tanaka aboard SLS Windego, Whirlwind-Class Destroyer will be in over all command of the search and rescue operation. Her Division consists of:

101st Reconnaissance Squadron
SLS Windego, Whirlwind Destroyer (Flagship)
SLS Sneak, Bug Eye Surveillance
SLS Dominator, Vincent Corvette
SLS Halthom, Vincent Corvette
SLS Yangtze River, Vincent Corvette
SLS Trinity River, Vincent Corvette

This Division is very unique in that, except for SLS Sneak, all have been fitted with LF Batteries for rapid deployments and mobile HPG's to aid in their rapid deployments. I selected it for this very reason. Seems the rebel's have been extremely effective at destroying the HPG's on many planets out here. Communication is very spotty out there. Complete your repairs and go try and find my ships if you would." Admiral Firova explained.

28 September 2766 Boulsi (Outworlds Alliance)

Colonel Xin Chou finally had no choice but to attempt a breakout, his personnel were down to half rations and he feared he would have a mutiny on his hands. An hour before dawn, the massive doors opened just enough to all a single Battlemech to pass between them at a time. He ordered his company of Mongoose to exit the fortress and scan the immediate area with their Beagle Probes. Once they had passed thru and declared the immediate area safe, he passed the rest of the Battalion out into the dark, 2 Company's of Talon. They expanded their perimeter to allow the rest of the Regiment to exit the fortress.

After 30 careful minutes, Colonel Chou exited the fortress and he ordered his Regiment to begin the advance. As dawn began to break over the area, Beagle Probes began detecting Tanks, lots of them. Colonel Chou ordered the Regiment to attack. The rebel Battlemech Regiment pushed their speed up to maximum.

In the siege lines of the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division, the Armor crews had awakened and manned their vehicles an hour before dawn. The historically perfect time to launch an attack. Two complete Armor Regiments manned the siege lines backed up by two Battlemech Regiments and the 277th Dragoon Regiment 10km behind the forward siege lines. Even if the armor crews had not been awake, the trembling ground from over a hundred Battlemechs at a run would have awakened them. "Toro Actual, Zulu Bravo, we have Mechs to our front and coming fast. We are going to need some backup."

"Roger Zulu Bravo, we are advancing to assist. Break, Condor Actual, Execute." Lieutenant General McGregor replied

On his command, his Jump Infantry Battalion, stationed high above the fortress' massive doors began descending on jump packs and upon landing rushed the now open doors. Making entry, they began engaging the few armed personnel inside while fanning out to secure the complex. Spending a couple of months camped on a rocky mountain waiting for this very moment, had made the Jump Infantry troops extremely irritable and they did not hesitate to put down anyone that did not respond quick enough to commands.

At the 126th MID siege lines, 5 rebel Talons were already down along with several Mongoose's. As the rebel Battlemechs engaged the dug in tanks, the 126th's Battlemechs began appearing. Now the fight really went down hill for the rebel Battlemech Regiment as the 2 Battlemech Regiments of the 126th MID not only outnumbered them but outmassed them also. As the fight became a massive brawl, the 277th Dragoon Regiment sent a Battalion of 24 Guillotine and 12 Archer to block any retreat of the rebel Battlemechs, while the other 2 Battalions of the 277th Dragoon slammed into the rebel flank. In a furious 30 minute fight, most of it at close range, the last rebel Battlemech fell. It took another hour to completely secure the fortress.

New Gascony (Tortuga Dominions)

Colonel Patrick Quieg, acting commander 31st Infantry Division had grounded his Dropships at the planets space port on 24 September. They had finally made it, but now he had to fear any pirate band that might be on planet. He had 2 Regiments of Infantry with only small arms available for defense. He half expected his people to break ranks and fade into the city a short distance away, but was surprised that the stuck close to the Dropships and his armed Infantry setup a perimeter without him giving any orders. Maybe they would survive this after all. If the pirates stayed away, a single Lance of Battlemechs would rip his command to pieces.

Hope IV (Independent Periphery)

Lieutenant General Nathan Baxter, commander 359th Battlemech Division, watched as the 506th Battle Regiment Dropships returned and docked with their Jumpship after spending a week planetside. He had learned that his was not the first SLDF command to pass by here in the last few months. This put him on guard, they were so close everyone could almost taste it. This was one reason why he had cut the ground time and ordered everyone back to the Jumpships. Another month and they would be int he Tortuga Dominions.

New Port Royal (Tortuga Dominions)

Ships Captain Martin Zuni patted his breast pocket verifying that the ships navigation computer's main circuit board was still in place. It was one of the habits he had picked up when visiting the Tortuga Dominions. No sense tempting a good boy to go bad, most of his crew were long time hires, but he had a few new ones aboard. Most of his crew were on the surface with him, and had scattered to the winds the moment they got off the shuttle. "Be here on October 8th or I leave you behind!" he had shouted at their rapidly departing backs.

He was currently in one of the nicer bars in Fort Ringor City, the planet's capital city. It was easy to pick out the spacers from the ground dwellers. The noise level was fairly loud, but he could still hear the tables around him pretty good. It was one of the ways he stayed current on the goings on, a little eavesdropping never hurt anyone. He only keyed in when he heard something that interested him and the table next to his perked his radar.

"I am telling you, the damned SLDF is on New Haiti in force. I was at the Zenith Jump Point when they arrived. Five Star Lords loaded with Dropships, they all burned for the surface except a crap load of Aerospace Fighters that established a CAP around the Jumpships. A squadron even buzzed my Jumpship for a look see before I quickly departed the area." The old guy said

"Well, if they are on New Haiti, I feel for McCory's Mustang's because that is their stomping grounds. And that fool is too stupid to keep his head down. I think I might pack up and get gone from this region for awhile. If the SLDF is conducting a sweep of the area, it is not the place to be. I don't want to have to answer questions about anything if they board me." Another at the table said

"Hey Jorsh!" The old guy almost hollered "Where did you come from?"

Ship's Captain Zuni caught sight out of the corner of his eye a fairly obese man sauntering to the table. "Came in from New Gascony and the damned SLDF is there now. But they came in on a single Star Lord. Not their typical way of doing things, but I damned sure did not hang around any longer than I had to." He heard.

"See, now the SLDF is on 2 different planets. They are sweeping for pirates and smugglers, we all damned sure fit the smuggler profile and lord knows we go along on raid and such for a cut of the action. It is time to pack our bags and run like hell boys."

Very interesting, maybe I will pay a visit on the SLDF when we get back aboard ship. See what they are really up to. Information is gold, plus the faster he let the SLDF know he was in the area and submit to an inspection, the easier he could get back to his vacation. Ships Captain Zuni thought to himself as he nursed his drink.

Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

The unannounced emergence wave caused many moments of near panic aboard the civilian Merchant Jumpships that had been hauling food between the 3 planets. When the Tramp Jumpship loaded with 2 Dictator and a single Czar Dropship emerged at the Nadir Jump Point. Everyone breathed a little easier when the ship began broadcasting SLDF IFF, SLS Forever Journey. When the dropships detached and began a burn for the surface, Ships Captain Tiffany Jones handed the radio over to Lieutenant Gwen Uvalde, the Marine commander on board her Merchant Jumpship.

"Desert Fox, this is Lieutenant Uvalde aboard the Merchant Jumpship Rainy Day, be advised you have company inbound. Two Dictator and single Czar Dropships on burn for the surface. All flashing SLDF IFF. They did not attempt to hail us at all." It took 19 minutes for a reply to come back.

"Rainy Day, Desert Fox actual. Thanks for the heads up. I will greet them on the ground properly."

Terra (Terran Hegemony)

Colonel Hanni Schmitt, commander Royal Black Watch Regiment, looked at the small infant in the intensive care room especially for him. The infant's attending doctor stood beside her. "It is really sad, Colonel. The child has no chance at all. There is nothing our fancy medical equipment or knowledge can do for her. She does not even have a name, the First Lord's wife just calls her Angel, that is what we have on all the charts."

"How long would the child live off of life support Doctor?" Colonel Hanni Schmitt asked

"May I ask why you need that information, Colonel?" The Doctor asked

"Security reasons. If we have to evacuate the area, I need to know how long I have to get the child back on life support." Colonel Schmitt replied

"Hard to tell, no more than a week. Probably less than that. I would be loathing to even putting the child back on support. It is past time for her to be let go." The Doctor replied

"It is not our call to make Doctor. How close is her DNA to Amanda's?" Colonel Schmitt asked

"Almost an exact copy, they are identical twins. There are some differences but a quick DNA test would register as Amanda. It would take a much more detailed DNA test to see the difference." The Doctor answered

"Thank you, Doctor. I will leave you to your charge." Colonel Schmitt said as she turned and walked away. Inside her mind, a plan was forming. She did not trust all the Rim Worlds troops on Terra. Not in the slightest.

New Haiti (Tortuga Dominions)

Major General Iris Carman, commander 280th Mechanized Infantry Division, had finally had enough of the pirates on the planet when they ambushed one of her patrols and inflicted casualties. For the last 2 days, her 280th MID had been increasingly expanding their zone of control. She had issued orders to shoot first and ask questions later on any pirates located. She had brought 2 Squadrons of Aerospace Fighters down to assist in locating and prosecuting any pirates located.

November[]

3 November 2766 Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

Major General Heinrich Rommel waited at the space port as the grounded Dropships slowly lowered their ramps. Hidden in several nearby warehouses were a full Battalion of Von Luckner tanks, just in case. A Highlander HGN-732 walked down the ramp of the lead Dictator Dropship. He recognized the markings of the 298th Battlemech Division, but something was not quite right with this situation, he could feel it deep inside of him. He just could not put a finger on it at the moment.

His eyes shifted from the Highlander to a woman in SLDF fatigues coming down the ramp behind the Highlander. She strode to him and reported "Colonel Elizabeth McCord, 298th Battlemech Division reporting. We heard that you had a fight out here and could use some help."

Major General Rommel returned the salute "Major General Heinrich Rommel, 322nd Armored Division. Glad to have you, but your a little late to the party. Tell me Colonel McCord, is this all that is left of the 298th BM Division? Surely, 18th Army would not send this small of a relief force."

"We were all that could be spared sir. I have 2 Battlemech Battalions of 69 Battlemechs and 4 Mechanized Infantry Battalions. My Battlemech is missing a leg and we have no spares at the moment." Colonel McCord stated

"Very well, get your people settled in for the night. You and your senior officers are invited to dine with me in this evening. I will have a jeep pick you up and brought to my headquarters. We can then decide how to deploy your command Colonel. I will have soem hot food run out here for your people." Major General Rommel said

"Thank you sir, we will be waiting. Now, if you will excuse me, I will go see to my people." Colonel McCord said

Major General Rommel turned and walked to his jeep, this will give me some time to figure out exactly what is making the hair on the back of my neck twitch.

Four hours later, he sat on a camp chair outside his small headquarters sipping water as he watched the jeep carrying Colonel McCord and 2 other officers come to a halt. Before Colonel McCord could salute, he waved her off "I am not real big on formality before dinner Colonel. Please, have a seat, there are ice cold water bottles in the cooler. Help yourself."

"Thank you General, this is Major Jose Ferrera, commander of my 2nd Battlemech Battalion and this is Major Tim Ronstein, commander of the Infantry Regiment." Colonel McCord introduced as all three officers pulled water bottles from the cooler and took seats.

"Tell me, how did you learn of our predicament out here Colonel?" Major General Rommel asked

"Just following orders sir." Colonel McCord replied

"Cut the crap Colonel McCord. No one knows we are even alive out here. Every HPG in the region has been destroyed. We have been cut off for a year from 18th Army. So how about you come clean and tell me the truth before I lose my temper." Major General Rommel said harshly

"Sir, I am not sure what you mean. We came to assist you per orders." Colonel McCord protested, but it was obvious she was getting nervous

"Alright Colonel, let me tell you what I think. The 298th Battlemech Division was stationed on Cerberus, on the other side of the Outworlds Alliance. I know for a fact that there are closer commands in 18th Army, plus 15th, 16th and 20th Army are all in the Outworlds Alliance. In all my years in the SLDF, I have never, not once seen them break off an ad-hoc command from a Division, that is why we have Independent Regiments. It just flat out is not done. If this is all that is left of the 298th Battlemech Division, you would have been disbanded and folded into another unit. Personally, I think your deserters." Major General Rommel said

When he finished, he clearly saw Major Ronstein's hand drop a little closer to his holstered pistol "I would not do that Major Ronstein. I am no fool, you have quite a few weapons aimed at you right now. But thank you for confirming my hunch. Master Sergeant Kellerman, you may come out and relieve these people of their weapons now." Major General Rommel said

When the 3 officers were disarmed, Major General Rommel said "In about an hour we will disarm the rest of your people and confine you to a holding facility until I decide what to do with you. And before you say anything, I had the food we served your people laced with a quite powerful sleeping agent. They will all be fast asleep very soon. Take them away Master Sergeant and please tell Colonel Geller that I want her to try not to kill anyone unless it has to be done."

Colonel McCord could not believe the turn of events that had just occurred as flex cuffs were placed on her wrists.

New Gascony (Tortuga Dominions)

Colonel Patrick Quieg, acting commander 31st Infantry Division, was laying flat on the ground on a small rise above the space port. He brought the binoculars down from his eyes and passed them to Colonel Dennis Xeng, commander 2nd Infantry Regiment. "I count 12 Battlemechs out there. Looks like they are waiting on more friends to arrive. Pitched a few small tents."

"Yes sir, we have been watching them all morning, just after they arrived. No Infantry support that we have seen. They don't even have a guard posted in the Battlemechs." Colonel Xeng said

"Well, that is just sloppy. Someone should teach them a lesson on proper security." Colonel Quieg responded

"I think it is only proper to pass on our knowledge to those less fortunate to have been blessed with good training. We will hit them about midnight. I have quite a few very skilled night hunters in my Regiment. I have secured a truck, we will use that to bring out some of our Mech jocks and techs when we have secured the location." Colonel Xeng said

"Very well Colonel. If their friends show up, pull back, I don't want a bunch of dead soldiers." Colonel Quieg ordered

"Bet your butt Patrick. Not out here in the open, but let those strutting roosters come after my folks in some heavy woods or urban and I will teach them that even us lowly grunts can sting their walking metal beasts." Colonel Xeng replied

At just after midnight, only 3 pirates were still awake and sitting around the small fire. They never heard the platoon of SLDF infantry silently creep up on the encampment. Another 2 platoons covered the designated platoon from 200 meters away. One of the pirates got up and ambled towards the row of Battlemechs and disappeared into the darkness. A soft thump was heard which brought soft laughter from the remaining 2 pirates at the campfire. "Jules, you trip and fall out there?" One called out, but was met with silence in return. "Jules?" The other pirate said as both slowly stood from where they had sat. Laser fire lanced into them and they dropped instantly, and then the tents became the target of 28 Mauser 960 which were quickly shredded. Two minutes later, Colonel Xeng's radio spoke "King, site secure, no survivors."

"Roger, set up security. I have been informed by the Techs that those Battlemchs might need some security breaks. Rolling the Mech Jocks and techs now."

Twenty minutes later Warrant Officer Bella Napster stuck her head of a Thunderbolt TDR-5Sd "Someone should tell the Fed Rats to be more careful with their equipment. Not as good as some of our stuff, but these pirates are quite well equipped. Security system has already been hacked and never reset, same as all the other Battlemechs. Tell the pilots to get them fired up and back to the space port."

Within ten minutes, Battlemech pilots from the 31st Infantry Division were moving the captured Battlemechs back to the space port. Now, let the pirates come play, every single one of them thought.

Thunderbolt TDR-5Sd - 4 Dervish DV-6Md - 4 Night Hawk NTK-2Q - 4

Terra (Terran Hegemony)

Colonel Hanni Schmitt, commander Royal Black Watch Regiment, looked at the officer before her, Major Ian MacIntosh. "Major MacIntosh, what we are about to discuss is classified above top secret. I will personally shoot you if you ever reveal this to anyone without my express permission. Do you understand?"

"Yes sir." Major Ian MacIntosh replied

"You better. As you and everyone else knows, we have Rim World troops running all over the place. I don't trust them, not one nanometer. I think they are up to no good. So, in the event that the worst happens, you will take your lance and secure Amanda Cameron and swap Angel in her place. Once secured, you will board Colossus-Class Dropship, SLS Abyss, which I have arranged to be kept at the local space port here at Unity City and boost for a rendezvous with SLS Tripitz, Black Lion-Class Battlecruiser. Take her to safety. Protect her with your life. Do you understand your orders?" Colonel Schmitt said

"Yes sir. But one question, who is Angel?" Major Ian MacIntosh

"Angel is Amanda Cameron's twin sister. No one knows about her, except a very select few. She is currently on life support in a special intensive care room beneath the First Lord's private quarters. This data disc contains all the information you need to know, memorize it and then bring it back to me for destruction." Colonel Schmitt said.

4 November 2766 Pilon (Outworlds Alliance)

Major General Heinrich Rommel, Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell and Lieutenant General Colin McGregor were on a 3 way HPG link up. Major General Rommel had brought the other 2 Generals up to speed on what had transpired with the arrival of a portion of the 298th Battlemech Division.

"I am not going to fault you with arresting them General Rommel, but I think we should consider the fact that they DID come out here to assist us. That alone counts for something. My advice, for what it is worth, talk to this Colonel McCord again. Find out exactly what happened, how they came to be in their current situation. In my opinion, without being there in person, is that they are not afraid to fight. I have talked with Colonel Nabonov, the commander of the 211th Hussar Regiment, and his people, including him, have some hard feelings with how they have been treated during this campaign in the Periphery.

I have even heard my own people talking the same way, how we have been out here for almost a year basically on our own, with no support from higher. There is a undercurrent of resentment running among the troops. Scuttlebutt has it that it against Higher Command, not so much us, since we are out here with them. Or at least that is what is being relayed to me." Lieutenant General Mitchell said

"I have to agree with General Mitchell. I have heard the same stuff from my people also. Some have started calling our little group out here the Forgotten Corps. To them we no longer belong to XLIV Corps (44th Corps) but have formed our own Corps out here, on our own. With little to no support from outside except ourselves. And honestly, I cannot really blame them. I have expected to see several Divisions and a big part of 10th Fleet come riding to the rescue since all of this began and I have been a little irritated that it has not happened. It was not supposed to be this way. I will second what General Mitchell suggested, talk to Colonel McCord and let's see what is going on behind the scenes. Worst case, we keep them detained, best case, we make use of them." Lieutenant General McGregor said

"Okay, I will speak to Colonel McCord again and this time, I will keep a much more open mind. I will send for her now and once I am done, I will give you both a bump and fill you in. I have to agree, this is not how it is supposed to work. We are supposed to have massive support not being out here all alone, fighting on a shoestring." Major General Rommel replied

"Sounds good. I will be awaiting the outcome of the talks. Oh, nice work on the siege General McGregor. Did we come out ahead?" Lieutenant General Mitchell asked

"Not too bad. We are still conducting assessments, but my Chief Tech thinks we might be able to salvage roughly a Battalion worth of Battlemechs, the base has ample repair parts stored along with quite a ammunition stockpile. In addition, we recovered 17 LAM's in excellent condition and 1 LAM slightly banged up. Seems the rebel commander tried to put them into operation and it did not go so well. I don't have any pilots for them though, you stole all my LAM pilots." Lieutenant General McGregor said with a small laugh.

"I will be dispatching the last of your recovered wounded this week to you both. They are already aboard a Dropship on the way to the Jump Point. If I remember the breakdown correctly, the 272nd is recieving 19 Battlemech pilots, 183 Armor crew and 288 Infantry. The 126th is receiving 22 Battlemech pilots, 219 Armor crew and 311 Infantry. The doctors tell me that roughly 472 of the wounded from both Divisions, though no longer in need of continued medical care, cannot be cleared for duty due to injuries. SLDF regulations normally would medically retire them. Currently I have them assigned to the prison camps as guards, for those able anyway. Others are helping out where they can." Major General Rommel said cutting in

"Might need to send us whatever equipment is left that was surrendered at Pilon. I already have 4 Battalions of Infantry with no tracks to put them in." Lieutenant General Mitchell said

"Get me your equipment needs and I will have it transported over to you. You to General McGregor, we don't have any Battlemechs left, but support vehicles and such we have quite a few left. Not quite SLDF quality, but we cannot be picky in our current situation." Major General Rommel said

"Will do, in a week, let's all meet on Boulsi and have a sit down. We need to discuss our next moves." Lieutenant General McGregor said

"Agreed. It has crossed my mind. If there is nothing else we need to discuss right this second, let me go have a chat with Colonel McCord." Major General Rommel said

Three hours later, Colonel Elizabeth McCord was brought into Major General Rommel's office and was a little surprised when he ordered her cuffs removed. "Please have a seat, Colonel McCord, it is time to have a serious talk. I might have over reacted and would like to hear your side of things." Major General Rommel said

"You did not over react, General. We deserted, simple as that. When the order came down to report for disbandment, well we did not take the news very well. They were not going to just fold us into another unit, they were going to break up up and assign us as individual replacements. That really did not sit well with the troops. Most of us have been together a long time. We broke off from the convoy and went a different way. We met a Merchant captain, who told us about the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division heading this way and we decided to come out here and help.

Me and my people are not afraid to fight. Hell no, we will fight, we showed up here on our own free will, ready to fight. We just could not take the thought of being split up and scattered to the winds. I am sorry I lied to you General. Maybe I should have come clean with you from the get go. Told you that the Merchant captain gave us the message for High Command and now no one knows your even alive out here. I am really sorry for that screw up, General." Colonel McCord said

"Thank you for telling me the truth, Colonel McCord. It seems I have a dilemma now. It is my duty as a officer of the SLDF to detain you and your command until such time as transportation to a rear area for trial. But since we have no clue when that might take place, it would be foolish of me to keep your command out of any fighting. The 126th Mechanized Infantry Division is under strength, I need an honest answer here, Colonel, how is your command going to react if I fold your troops into the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division?" Major General Rommel asked

"Sir, we can live with that. We would accept that willingly. We just want to serve and fight together. We have spent over 2 months talking about it. If the SLDF had even said we are disbanding the 298th BM Division and will be assigning Battalions to different commands to fill them out, we would have carried out the orders. We would still be basically together, with people we knew. Assign us to the 126th Mech and we will not let you or the 126th Mech down." Colonel McCord replied

"I am going to take a chance here. It might cost me my rank, but in our current situation, I feel it would be the wise thing to do. Welcome to the Forgotten Corps Colonel McCord. That is what some of the 126th Mech troops are calling us and the name seems to fit." Major General Rommel said holding out his hand.

19 November 2766 New Haiti (Tortuga Dominion)

Captain Martin Zuni and his Merchant Jumpship had arrived at the Nadir Jump Point on 16 November. After being visually inspected by a flight of SLDF Aerospace Fighters, but no communication, he had boarded his shuttle for the 3 day trip to the planet's surface. After a smooth landing at the space port, he could see the SLDF Dropships lined up on the ground, patrolled by SLDF Battlemechs as his shuttle taxied to a parking slot on the space ports ramp. Exiting the shuttle, he decided to just head on over and see if the SLDF commander would talk to him. It took 30 minutes to cross the massive runways until he was halted by a SLDF Infantry squad and asked his business. After a short conversation, he was led deeper into the SLDF perimeter until they reached a cluster of Mobile Headquarters. After a short wait, a SLDF Major General appeared "I am Major General Iris Carman, 280th Mechanized Infantry Division, I am told you wanted to talk to me. What can I do for you, sir."

"General, my name is Martin Zuni, I own a Merchant Jumpship as an independent merchant. Mainly, I am curious as to the SLDF presence in the Tortuga Dominions. First you arrived here on New Haiti, and a short time later another SLDF unit arrived on New Glascony. If there is a threat big enough to warrant this big of a deployment of the SLDF, well it is only smart business to find out about that threat." Zuni said

Another SLDF unit on New Gascony? That could be a little worrisome, Major General Carman thought to herself before speaking again. "There is no specific threat, we are conducting a sweep of the area. Purely routine Mister Zuni."

"Well, that is a relief to hear. I could not help but notice you came in on 5 Star Lord Jumpships, not nearly enough ships to carry an entire SLDF Division. More than once I have seen SLDF Divisions on the move and they usually make a jump point quite crowded. You must have seen some heavy action." Zuni replied

"We have seen our fair share of combat in the last year. Are you former SLDF?" Major General Carman asked

"No General, never served in the military, bBut I have been around a long time. I usually haul freight in the Outworlds Alliance, but it was a tad too hot out there. Met up with a couple of beat up SLDF Divisions though. At different times, told both of them about another SLDF unit on Pilon having a really hard time with the rebels and they both seemed quite interested in learning that bit of news. I know for a fact that the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division, or what was left of it, was heading there to help out. The commnader even asked me to deliver a message to the SLDF on where they were and such. I passed off the message to another SLDF unit, the 298th Battlemech Division, or a very small part of it, because they were on a single Tramp Jumpship. I am sure the SLDF has sent help to them by now though, cause that was months ago." Zuni said

"They asked you to deliver a message? What of the HPG's in the region?" Major General Carman asked

"The damned rebel's have been extremely good at destroying the HPG's in the Outworlds Alliance. That entire region was totally off the air. They had been out of contact with the SLDF for at least 6 months when I tripped over them." Zuni replied

"Please come with me ,Mister Zuni, show me on a Star Map." Major General Carman said heading into the Mobile HQ.

Once a Star Map had been pulled up, Martin Zuni was amazed at the holographic projection. "Pull up Pilon and the surrounding systems for Mister Zuni please." Major General Carman ordered. The holographic display changed as the tech punched in the requested information, zooming in on the selected planets. "Captain Tranier, please pull up the last intel dump we had on SLDF deployments in the Outworlds Alliance and overlay them on the projection please." Again the holographic projection changed as unit deployments began appearing on the map. Major General Carman studied the map silently. The 298th Battlemech Division was last reported on Cerberus, way the hell on the other side of the Alliance from Pilon, she thought. The 126th Mechanized Infantry last reported on Ambatomainty, that is not far from Pilon, she thought.

"Mister Zuni, do you know what the other Division was?" Major General Carman asked

"I think they said the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division. I met up with them at Loikaw I believe." Zuni replied

The last intel dump we got is almost a year old now, the 272nd Mech Infantry was reported on Azur then, she thought. She could see the 322nd Armored Division stationed on Pilon and the 228th Striker Regiment on Boulsi. Before she could ask another question, Captain Tranier spoke "General, we got another emergence wave being reported from the fleet."

"Keep me posted Captain. Zoom out the display, show our current position and mark a route please." Major General Carman ordered and once again the holographic projection morphed and zoomed out, a route in red being displayed. "Almost a year."

"General, if your thinking of heading to Pilon and check on them folks, there is a much quicker route to get there from here. Six months tops, but your going to be traveling thru uninhabited systems to get there." Zuni said as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his ships master navigation master control board "If there was a way to access the information on my ships navigation control board, I could show you really quick. I use them only when I have high priority cargo. The faster I get a cargo to it's destination, the more money I make on priority stuff."

Captain Tranier took the board and looked it over "No sir, no way to do that here." Then handed the board back to Mr Zuni as he reached up and pushed the headset he wore tighter to his ear "General, fleet reports Merchant Jumpship, ID is Hyperspace Cowboy."

"Hyperspace Cowboy, Ships Captain Martha Pruitt. Good captain, takes good care of her ship and crew. Usually sails the Federated Suns down to the Taurian Concordat hauling cargo. Must be taking a vacation like me until things calm down some." Zuni said

"Mister Zuni, would you mind taking me back up to your ship with a few techs and allowing me to download your star map?" Major General Carman asked

"Sure, the SLDF is going to foot the bill for my extra fuel?" Zuni asked

"Of course." Major General Carman said, they just don't know it yet.

"Well then, let's go General. I cannot be idle too long, and this will be a 3 day trip to get back up there." Zuni replied

"Tell you what Mister Zuni, for your assistance, the SLDF will gladly hire your vessel for say 3 months. I promise you, there will be no danger involved to you or your ship." Major General Carman again lied, well, they would be long gone before he submitted the invoice for payment.

"I want an escape clause written into any agreement General, the first sign of danger, I get to haul butt and get paid in full. I own that ship outright and am not about to lose it." Zuni said

"Very well Mister Zuni. I will even let you write the contract yourself." Major General Carman said

22 November 2766

Major General Carman had contacted SLS Midnight Rider, Star Lord Jumpship and requested Commodore Richard Devall and his navigator meet them aboard Mister Zuni's Merchant Jumpship. On the trip, Major General Carman had talked with Martin Zuni quite a bit, but kept her "plans" to herself. She was sure the SLDF had already pulled the other units ass out of the fire, but if they hadn't, she could not let them just die alone without trying to help. If they had been rescued, they probably have been pulled back to refit, if they are beaten up as Zuni says. Those were some pretty secluded planets. When the small group made it onto the bridge of Martin Zuni's Merchant , his communication officer said "Geez captain, old Pruitt has been calling for you like 5 times a day since she got in system."

"Thank you, Harvey, show these folks to the navigation computer please while I call her and get her off your back." Zuni said as he handed over the navigation control board. Taking the communication headset, he called Pruitt's ship.

"Pruitt, wake up woman, this is Martin Zuni." He said after making sure the headset was set for him only.

"It is about time you, old fart. I was surprised to find you here." Pruitt said

"Yeah, decided to take a vacation until things calm down in my normal stomping grounds. How about you?" Zuni replied

"Same. Just came from Hope IV. I left a day after a big damned SLDF fleet came in and started heading for the surface. Then I get here and find the SLDF is here too. You got any clue what is going on?" Pruitt asked

"Security sweep. I actually have a few SLDF folks on my ship right now. Being quite friendly. You say a large SLDF unit arrived at Hope IV huh." Zuni replied

"Pretty damned big, had to have been one of their Independent Regiments or maybe a Regimental Combat Team, not enough ships to be a Division and no warship escort." Pruitt responded

Seems to be a common theme lately, Zuni thought. "Thanks for the intel, Pruitt, I will call you before I leave system." Zuni said

"Roger that Martin, I will do the same. Might be time to head into the Fed Suns proper and take my lumps against the bigger freight companies for a bit, pays the bills at least." Pruitt said

"I hear that. Zuni out." Zuni removed the headset and headed over to join the SLDF people studying the 2D Star Map his Merchant Jumpship had, not nearly as fancy as that holo-projected map he had seen them use. He pointed to a line of uninhabited systems on the map. "If you take this route, your will reach Pilon in 6 months using standard recharge times. I would not advise any fast recharges out there, I have never encountered another vessel, so rescue would probably not happen."

"What do you think, Commodore Devall?" Major General Carman asked

"It's doable. His map is quite good, but most of these systems are stars only or no inhabitable planets in them." Commodore Devall replied, still not knowing exactly what Major General Carman had in mind

"Thank you Mister Zuni, can we make a copy of your Star Map?" Major General Carman asked

"Sure why not. How about we got write up that contract though. Make me feel a little better if I am on the payroll so to speak." Zuni said

"Lead the way, Mister Zuni." Major General Carman replied following Zuni off the bridge leaving Commodore Devall and his navigator sharing a look of disbelief "Contract, what the heck are we going to pay the man with?" both thought.

Once inside Zuni's small quarters/office, while Martin Zuni typed up a standard contract, making sure to include his escape clause and paying his ship 150,000 per week for 3 months time, plus 150,000 for his up to date star map. He decided to tell Major General Carman what he had learned from Pruitt.

"Pruitt just came in from Hope IV, said a large SLDF unit jumped in system and headed for the planet. Sure is getting busy in this region of space. Not Division strength and no warships. She would know, she served 10 years with the SLDF running Jumpships." Zuni said

Sure is getting crowded out here. I thought the area would be safe, at least for awhile. That puts them a month from here roughly. She thought before answering "Must be the rest of the Division catching up."

"Uh huh, well, here is the contract. Just need your signature and purchasing card number. I have done small jobs for the SLDF before, and went thru heck getting paid because I failed to get that card number. It took 6 months while they tracked down that Colonel and verified my invoice." Zuni said

"A little higher than normal shipping rates I see, but I guess these are trying times for everyone." Major General Carman said after reading the contract and filling in her purchase card information, she had used it quite a bit while stationed in the Federated Suns to get essentials from local sources. Won't the SLDF be surprised when he submits this bill for payment. She felt a little bad about this, but the SLDF would pay the invoice, because it was not Zuni's fault that he had no clue she was no longer properly in the SLDF at the time of the contract signing.

Boulsi (Outworlds Alliance)

Major General Heinrich Rommel exited he shuttle followed by Colonel Elizabeth McCord to find Lieutenant General Rita Mitchell and Lieutenant General Colin McGregor waiting at the bottom for them.

"Rita, Colin, it’s nice to see you both healthy. It has been a while. This is Colonel Elizabeth McCord, formerly of the 298th Battlemech Division, now folded into the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division. Those are her Dropships landing now. Colonel McCord, this is Lieutenant General Colin McGregor, of the 126th Mech Infantry, your new boss and this is Lieutenant General Mitchell, 272nd Mech Infantry." Major General Rommel said

After greeting both officers, Colonel McCord asked "What are your orders General?"

"Get your people unloaded. I will have an aide get you settled in and then tomorrow, we will discuss the best way to integrate your people into the 126th." Lieutenant General McGregor said

"Very well sir. I will go see to my people and await instructions." Colonel McCord replied, saluted and departed for her grounding Dropships.

"Seems eager enough. Tomorrow we will see if she gives me any trouble as we discuss how we make this work." Lieutenant General McGregor said

"She's loyal to her people. I can relate. Might not have been the best decision, or way to go about things, but she cares enough to put her head on a chopping block. Her coming out here on her own free will to help us speaks volume's in and of itself. Give her a chance Colin, besides, no telling how many more fragments are out here, we learn from this just in case we run into anymore like her." Lieutenant General Mitchell said.

"I hear you, Rita. These sure are some interesting times. I just wonder what higher is going to say when they find out we are taking in former deserters instead of arresting them?" Lieutenant General McGregor replied.

"I am the ranking officer out here, my decision. After a year of being cut off, no communication, no help, I will gladly rake the SLDF over the coals at my court martial." Major General Rommel said firmly

"I am sure Rita will be standing right beside both of us during the proceedings. But let's get out of the sun and discuss our next moves." Lieutenant General McGregor said

"You know I will. I dare the SLDF High Command to even attempt a court martial after all we have been thru. I will make sure the press hears every word." Lieutenant General Mitchell said as the 3 officers headed for Lieutenant General McGregor's headquarters.

December[]

1 December 2766 New Haiti (Tortuga Dominions)

Major General Iris Carman had communicated with her 280th Mechanized Infantry Division on the ground and informed them of her decision to move for Pilon to assist cut off SLDF forces there. She informed them that SLDF forces were moving into the region and they had no choice but to relocate or face possible capture and prosecution for deserting. A day later, her entire command voted to go help the cut off SLDF troops and boarded their Dropships. She had Commodore Devall patch her into all of the vessels in her small fleet.

"This is Major General Carman, I am honored by the faith you all have placed in me. We left because we felt we were being discarded by the SLDF. I know all of you feel the burden of some shame in what we chose to do. But today, we depart this system for a 6 month trip to help other SLDF forces that have possibly been cut off and left to die by the SLDF. Today, we begin earning our honor back. Thank you." She handed the mic back to Commodore Devall and said "Commodore, you may jump when you are ready."

New Gascony (Tortuga Dominions)

The pirates hit the 31st Infantry Division with 2 Company's of Battlemechs and 2 Battalions of Infantry. The mechwarriors of the 31st Infantry Division, piloting the captured pirate Battlemechs, outnumbered 2 to 1, hammered away the pirates. Though outnumbered, they were vastly more skilled and all combat veterans. Massing fire on individual pirate Battlemechs and with cover fire from the weapons on the grounded Dropships, after 2 hours of fighting the remaining pirate Battlemechs, roughly 2 lances, retreated. The pirate infantry never stood a chance against the 2 Infantry Regiments of the 31st Infantry Division.

Colonel Patrick Quieg, acting commander 31st Infantry Division, surveyed the small battlefield where salvage teams were hard at work under the supervision of Warrant Officer Bella Napster. He had already been informed that she thought they could return 8 of the downed pirate Battlemechs to service by stripping parts off the Battlemechs deemed to far gone, if they had proper repair bays, which they did not have, so he had ordered her to have the downed pirate Battlemechs dragged back into their perimeter.

At the Zenith Jump Point, Lieutenant General Nathan Baxter, commander 359th Battlemech Division and his much enlarged fleet materialized. Dropships began undocking and heading for the planet 18 days away. He wondered how many troops he would have after they hit the surface.

Hope IV (Independent Periphery)

"General" Olivia Daniels, commander 54th Mechanized Infantry Division, was glad to feel firm, solid ground under her feet after months in space. They would spend 2 weeks on the surface before continuing their journey to the Tortuga Dominions. As she walked around the small space port, she could see the smiles on "her" Division's personnel, they too were glad to be back on firm ground, if even for a small time.

Gant (Uninhabited Periphery)

Lieutenant General Gregory Hanesworth, commander 29th Mechanized Infantry Division "Rogue", allowed his joint commands spend a week on the planets surface while they resupplied their water and fuel reserves. He calculated another 8 months to get to the Tortuga Dominion. There they could finally decide what to do then. Maybe they would make their way to the Federated Suns and offer to join them, but that entailed some serious risks, since the Federated Suns was a member of the Star League and great pressure could be applied to return the deserters to the SLDF for prosecution.

Argos (Uninhabited Periphery)

Colonel Brandon Janees, commander 173rd Mechanized Infantry Division, had allowed his people to get some ground time as they replenished their water and fuel supplies. But today, they boosted for the Jump Point to continue their journey to the Tortuga Dominions.

NP32 (Uninhabited Periphery)

Colonel Irma Fuentes, commander 19th Hussar Regiment, Major Oscar Venezuela, 9917th Marine Regiment and Major Cassien Thomas, 9th Royal CAAN Regiment had all finally agreed to head for the Tortuga Dominions. What they would do once they arrived was still up in the air. But at least they would be relatively safe while they made up their minds. Colonel Irma Fuentes was confident that they could handle any pirate force that made a serious attempt at taking them on.

12 December 2766 Terra (Terran Hegemony)

Colonel Hanni Schmitt was admitted into the throne room where First Lord Richard Cameron was awaiting them. With her were General Tomohiro Musuibes, SLDF Chief of Staff, Admiral Ignacio Blake, Naval Command, General Tamerlan Stefannson, Royal Command, Paolo Varellas, Planetary Governor of Dieron and Count Frederick Oldenhof, President of the Terran Congress. For the next 3 hours, the group of officers and nobles tried in vain to convince First Lord Richard Cameron that Stephan Amaris was plotting something and that his presence at court along with his Rim World forces on Terra was intolerable. With no proof, only gut feelings, First Lord Richard Cameron ordered them all out of his sight, when they protested, he had them all forcibly removed from his sight.

27 December 2766 Terra (Terran Hegemony)

Stefan Amaris entered the Throne Room of First Lord Richard Cameron with only a few of his most loyal bodyguards. In his hands he carried a gift wrapped in expensive wrapping paper. First Lord Richard Cameron rose and moved to greet his mentor and most trusted advisor. "Stefan, it is so good to have you back on Terra. I have missed your council over the last months. What is that you have?"

"My Lord, it is good to be back. Why it is a Christmas present for you, I am sorry it is a little late." Stefan Amaris said as he handed the wrapped gift to First Lord Richard Cameron.

"A gift, you know you do not have to give me anything Stephan." First Lord Richard Cameron said as he began unwrapping the gift. Opening the ornate box, he gazed at the exquisite and ornately decorated laser pistol inside. Reaching in, he brought out the laser pistol and examined it closely. "It is so beautifully crafted. This is the best Christmas present I have ever gotten."

"I am so glad that you like it, My Lord. If you will allow me, I will show you some extra fine features it has." Stefan Amaris said as First Lord Richard Cameron handed the laser pistol over. Stefan Amaris took the laser pistol and said "There is a very little Cameron Star situated right here on the barrel, it is inlaid with diamond." First Lord Richard Cameron bent to look and in a flash Stefan Amaris flicked the laser pistol a couple of inches and shot First Lord Richard Cameron in the forehead, the shot causing First Lord Richard Camerons head to explode violently. First Lord Richard Cameron fell to the floor of the Throne Room.

At the shot, sensors detected the discharge of the laser and alarms sounded in security stations throughout Unity City. At the barracks of the Royal Black Watch, the alarm caused Colonel Hanni Schmitt to order the Royal Black Watch into action. She called Major Ian MacIntosh, who she had ordered to keep his Lance inside Unity City at the Royal Black Watches immediate response compound "Get your Lance and execute your orders Major. Good luck and God Speed."

Major Ian MacIntosh along with his dismounted Battlemech pilots of his Lance rushed down the extremely long hallway with pistols drawn. Reaching the secluded intensive care ward, Major MacIntosh barged thru the door. "Angel's" Doctor rose in protest but seeing the pistol and alarms, bit his tongue. "Doctor, you are to remove the child from life support for evacuation. Once that is done, you are to erase all information about this child from any computer and destroy all paper records. Quickly Doctor, there is no time."

Angel's Doctor quickly removed the breathing and feeding tube, unhooked all the remaining equipment. Wrapping the infant in a blanket he handed Angel over to Major MacIntosh. "She currently has a strong rythym, but I suggest you hurry. You have maybe a week to get her hooked back up Major." With that he dumped all paper records into a waste basket and brought out a lighter.

Major MacIntosh, his Lancemates and Angel hurried down another corridor that angled upwards. Opening a door, they emerged just across from the First Lords sleeping quarters. Wasting no time, they barged into the First Lords chambers, Elise Cameron had Amanda Cameron in her arms. "What is going on, Major? Why the alarms?" She almost shouted.

"Ma'am, you must come with us right away. We are evacuating you and your children from Terra." Major MacIntosh said

"What, where is my husband, where is Richard? I will not leave without him!" Elise Cameron said

"I do not know, he is not my mission. You and your children are my mission. Please come with us now." Major MacIntosh said, gunfire much closer than expected announced that they were out of time.

The gunfire startled Elise Cameron into action "Take Amanda, get her to safety. Give me Angel, I will join you when I have found Richard. GO NOW MAJOR, save my child." Elise Cameron ordered.

Taking Amanda Cameron in his arms, Major MacIntosh hesitated until the next burst of gunfire, much closer, jolted him and he turned and rushed from the room with his Lancemates right on his heels. "Parker, take point, get us to our Battlemechs."

After reaching their Battlemechs, Major Ian MacIntosh made sure Amanda Cameron was securely strapped into the infant safety seat that had been placed into the Spartan SPT-N2's jump seat. Once complete, he slipped on his neurohelmet and began exiting the Mech Bay, his Lance forming a wedge in front of him as they moved towards the space port at a run. Explosions rocked the near distance as Parker unleashed his MPL's into a Rim World APC that suddenly appeared from around a corner. The four 80 ton Battlemechs continued pounding down the broad avenue, Major MacIntosh could see the space port, only 10km away, fires burning in places. "Parker, continue the lead, take us to the Colossus on the ramp. We don't stop for anything or anyone. Forget the main gate, take us right thru the chain link fence."

I just hope the damned Colossus followed orders and kept the engines warm for immediate lift off, Major MacIntosh thought as he followed the 3 other Spartan's down the avenue and then down a grassy incline where Parker plowed right right over the chain link fence. A Rim Worlds BNC-3M Banshee appeared moving in their direction and all 4 Spartan's unleashed their ERPPC's at the oncoming assault Mech. Multiple strikes caused the Banshee to falter some, but it remained on its feet. "Parker, you and Curtis handle that Banshee, Kelly, your with me, we keep moving for the Colossus."

Accelerating to max speed, Major MacIntosh and Kelly pounded across the runways towards the Colossus Dropship. As they got near the Colossus, a ramp descended and armed Marines covered the now open hatch. Major MacIntosh did not slow as he pounded up the ramp and into the Colossus. "Parker, say status?"

"Banshee down, we are right behind you and about to reach the ramp." Parker replied

Major MacIntosh moved his Spartan into a Mech Bay where technicians quickly secured the Battlemech for launch. Unstrapping the infant safety seat, Major MacIntosh carefully exited his Spartan and rode the lift down to the deck. He saw the ramp close and a technician said "This way sir, we need to get you strapped in for launch."

Five minutes after entering the SLS Abyss, Colossus Dropship, lifted off on a pillar of flame. Under cover from Terra's SDS stations, SLS Abyss docked with Black Lion Battlecruiser, SLS Tripitz, on the far side of Luna. The Black Lion Battlecruiser wasted no time and headed for a safe point to jump from the system.

28 December 2766 Stefan Amaris looked over the gathered Cameron bloodline, 79 Camerons had been captured and ushered into the Throne Room where First Lord Rchard Cameron still lay. "You have one chance, swear loyalty to me or die. Make your choice now."

Elise Cameron said nothing but definitely spat in Stefan Amaris' face. Not bothering to wipe it off, Stefan Amaris raised the same laser pistol he had shot First Lord Richard Cameron with and shot Elise Cameron dead. She fell, still cradling "Amanda" in her arms, the child was silent.

One after another, the gathered Camerons refused his offer and were killed. Finally the remaining Camerons rushed Stefan Amaris but we cut to pieces by his bodyguards. Stefan Amaris strode towards the door and without looking back said "Seal this room for all time, let no one ever enter it."


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