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Fate Can be Cruel - Chapter Cover.jpg

Fate Can Be Cruel - 2780[]

February[]

1 February 2780
Thazi (Terran Hegemony)

The word had gone out to Martin Zuni and ZaP Shipping to make contact very carefully with planetary governors of world of the Onverwacht Province and Traders Domain to deliver a recording from General Rita Mitchell. Inside the Hegemony, preparations continued for the deployment of the SLDF into the new systems as stabilization forces. As ZaP Shipping had pushed deeper into the regions, several systems were identified as possible hostile. This was reported back to General Rita Mitchell who kept a list. Intelligence was updated on every system constantly.

Onverwacht Prov OP) and Traders Domain (TD)

Onverwacht (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive, Onverwacht Guards
Kent (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Sornath (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Ype-Jhu (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive, possible SLDF troops
Vonja (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Hergazil (OP) - Active Fighting, no Governor
Shiri (OP) - Active Fighting, no Governor
Coyle (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Flynn (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Totness (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Calingasta (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Santa-Ana (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Achton (OP) - Active Fighting, no Governor
Achnoly (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Schrim (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Ammon (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Voehn (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Braden's Frontier (OP) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Crichton (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Hrafn (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Glitnir (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Raetia (TD) - Active Fighting, no Governor
Michtal (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Bannerhoft (TD) - Active Fighting, no Governor
Grankum (TD) - Active Fighting, 1st Trader Sentinels vs rebels
Aalzog (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Koury (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Fallry (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Blueys (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Wynn's Roost (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive, Blommestein Demons
Vangburg (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Nerum (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Zebuluraskai (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Renorsal (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Salvende (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
False Dawn (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive
Ourem (TD) - Contact made, Governor receptive, 2nd Trader Sentinels

What worried General Mitchell were the 6 systems with active fighting going on plus the 4 Outworlds Alliance commands reported. She selected Gaeri as the location to hold the meeting between the Governors. There, they could see for themselves the changes that had come about by joining the Hegemony. She ordered the 322nd and 323rd Armored Divisions to graduate their trainee's a year early and formed 8 new Convention RCT's from them. These would take over garrison duties inside the Hegemony borders proper allowing her to deploy the more experienced Conventional RCT's to the new systems when the time came.

March[]

25 March 2780
Gaeri (Terran Hegemony)

General Rita Mitchell and Amanda Cameron were in the large conference room of the hotel hosting the Governors that had been ferried here by ZaP Shipping and even SLDF transports. Security was tight, provided by the Royal Black Watch. Even the commanders of 3 of the 4 Outworlds Alliance commands were in attendance. While this meeting was going on, the Special Forces Regiment was even now being inserted onto 4 of the worlds with fighting occurring in an attempt to figure out what the hell was going on.

General Mitchell tapped the microphone on the podium which brought the room to silence. "First, I want to thank all of you for coming here. You have all heard the message I recorded for you. You have spent the last 2 weeks touring the planet here and have seen and heard about the improvements they have seen since joining the Hegemony. I spoken to many of you already and for those I have not had time to personally speak to, I will. But the same story rings true, the Outworlds Alliance has abandoned you all to your own demise. This has left some of your systems in great hardship, all of you are isolated, with no communication, no shipping, no trade. Joining the Hegemony, we will fix this. This will not happen overnight, that is impossible. Trade, shipping and supplies will happen quickly, restoring the HPG grids will take time. How much, I am not sure, those sites need to be surveyed first.

Nothing is going to be easy about this. But we do strive to make it as easy as possible. Lucky for us, we have had some experience at this already. So that will iron out some of the inevitable problems that will occur. Our tax rates are much lower than what you were accustomed to before the Uprising out here. Those systems deemed as still developing are exempt from taxes. This mainly is defined by those systems with less than 10 million population or with no real industry or resources. All of your worlds have functioning governments so we have something to work with. Joining us will be by a popular vote on each of your respective systems. It will take a 80% or greater vote to join us. SLDF troops will oversee the vote collection and counts. It will take a month to get you all back home so we will have the vote on 1 June of this year. Now let us open the floor to questions."

For 6 hours, General Rita Mitchell fielded questions from the assembled governor's. When they had finally broken from the meeting, she finally felt that this was doable.

26 March 2780
Gaeri (Terran Hegemony)

Today was the meeting General Rita Mitchell felt the most comfortable in doing. This one was strictly military. Before her, Chairman Ulvade Newmanski commander Blommestein Demons, Chairman Oscar Santiago commander Onverwacht Guards, Chairman Hilda Ridley commander 2nd Trader Sentinals and most important Colonel Alberta Collins commaner Ype-Jhu garrison.

"Thank you for meeting with me today. I am sorry it had to wait until just before everyone departs to go home, but here we are. Chairman Newmanski, I am curious, why did you never return to Blommestein?" General Mitchell asked.

"Stupid Jumpship is busted, AGAIN. It took years to fix it, made a test jump and then when we thought we were going home, the repair gave out and we were stuck." Chairman Newmanski replied.

"I see. And if I may ask, why were you not on Blommestein but up in the Traders Domain?" General Mitchell asked.

"Before everything kicked off, we were supporting DoME operations for the SLDF. We got caught up in the fighting some, but I got my folks away from it as fast as I could. But my Jumpship was crap and kept breaking down. Then we made a few attempts to breach the Fort abandoned by the 61st Royal Jump Infantry Division, but I lost too many people and called it off. Been stuck there ever since." Chairman Newmanski said

"Very well. Colonel Collins, your uniform tells me your former SLDF. You can relax, I have made it a habit of taking in wayward commands. All sins are forgiven.: General Mitchell asked

"Yes sir, used to be 1st Regiment, 428th Battlemech Division. We grounded on Ype-Jhu in 2766. Four months later our Jumpship abandoned us. Since we were stuck there, we made the best of the situation." Colonel Collins said

"I have seen and heard it happen before. Very well, you all know what is about to happen. I honestly do not think any of the Governors nor their systems are going to vote not to join the Hegemony. So now I need to ask, any of you going to have a problem joining the SLDF? If so, please tell me now." General Mitchell asked.

When none of the officers spoke up, General Mitchell continued "Okay then. When this becomes formal, you and all of your personnel will have to go through our Basic Training course. This will at least get everyone used to our methods. I am assuming your commands except for Colonel Collins follow standard Outworlds formations. One Battlemech Regiment, 2 Armor Regiments and 3 Infantry Regiments?" General Mitchell replied

Chairman Newmanski spoke "No sir, we never got Battlemechs. We are a Combined Arms Command. All 3 of us field 2 Armor Regiments and 5 Infantry Regiments. No Aerospace Fighters either."

"We can try and change that. I will try and come up with something that keeps your commands intact. But I have a few months to work on something. I see your Governors are ready to depart, but I expect to be seeing you all very soon again. So for now, safe journey." General Mitchell said

April[]

1 April 2780

General Rita Mitchell and Amanda Cameron were ready to depart Gaeri for Feijo. They were going to check out a new company that had been started, Feijo Modular Construction. It was started by a recently retired SLDF engineer and was supposed to be the cat's meow.

26 April 2780
Feijo (Terran Hegemony)

General Mitchell and Amanda Cameron watched the demonstration and were amazed that Feijo Modular Construction had assembled a complete single dwelling of 1400 square feet in less than 6 hours. Jennifer Pulson, recently retired, had explained the entire process.

"Each dwelling is completely pre-built. All of the plumbing, electrical are set up with quick connects. As you can see, they are just plain flat squares. But strong enough that we can stack them 5 high and create a apartment building if we so desire. We also can pre-make the hallways and elevators for them. We have pop in blanks that seal off windows for that application. Or we can even link 2 of the dwelling together to make a 2800 sq foot dwelling. I came up with the idea after working on a few projects building housing for refugee's. I got a small loan from Hegemony Bank to get off the ground." Jennifer Pulson said.

"How many of these can you produce?" Amanda Cameron asked.

"If I got more funding to scale up the small factory here, a bunch. This small assembly plant here can make 20 dwelling's like the one we just assembled per day. Or 600 per month on average. I even have a design for a modular warehouse with 30,000 square feet and am working on a design that is twice that size." Jennifer Pulson said.

"What is the cost of a single dwelling?" Amanda asked making some notes.

"Currently, about 25,000 but that will come down when I can go into mass production. I have the final cost set to 15,000 for each dwelling and 30,000 per warehouse. They are pretty easy to make and as you saw, they are quick and easy to build once on site. Even for people who have never assembled one. We have complete instructions that ship out with each building." Jennifer Pilson said

General Mitchell thought for a minute before speaking "Excellent work Jennifer. You will get your funding. Expect an order for them, they look to be an excellent way to create a base in record time. How much does one of these weigh?"

"A dwelling weighs in at 5 tons. I kept it light as I could. The longest part of the assembly process is the slab, waiting on it to be poured and ready for construction. If I premake the slab, into sections that bolt together, the weight would be 10 tons per dwelling and you would want a Construction Mech to help you out. That speed the process up big time." Jennifer Pulson replied

"So a single Mule could carry roughly 1,200 of the Dwelling's at 5 tons." Amanda said after doing a little math.
"About that. If they are wanted for SLDF unit deployment, I can actually make barracks. Say to hold a platoon in a single bay setup." Jennifer Pulson said.


May[]

1 May 2780
Hergazil (Onverwacht Prov)

Major Dovie Frazier, commander 2972nd Special Forces, and her Battalion had been on the surface for 2 weeks. The fighting seemed to be concentrated on the continent of Schwarzach im Pongau, which held the capital city of Eckholdt City. Most seemed to be over control of the last functioning water purification plant. They had watched one engagement between the 2 factions and all the SLDF special forces troops agreed that both sides were complete newbs at fighting. They had orders to avoid any engagements, but Major Frazier had intervened when one of the factions had rounded up a bunch of civilians and threatened to execute them.

It had only taken the sight of her on rushing Battlemech Company with a swarm of Nighthawk power armor to make the armed mob, that was all you could call it, throw down their weapons and run for their lives. They were quickly overtaken and rounded up. It had taken a few days to learn that one faction, the defenders, were from the Fed Suns. The faction that rounded up the civilians had come from the Taurian Concordant just prior to the Uprising.

Now committed, Major Fazier ordered her Battalion to take control of the water purification plant with equal access to all. She wondered how General Mitchell was going to react to this new development.

Achton (Onverwacht Prov)

Major Wesley Hardin, commander 3157th Special Forces, had been on the surface for 9 days. It did not take long to determine each of the 9 cities were fighting with each other. It was a complete fiasco, but it quickly became obvious that they all were fighting over each others large greenhouse complexes. Unable to grow any crops, each city had enormous greenhouse complexes to grow what food they could. Major Hardin sent a HPG message informing that in his estimation, a massive food delivery could very well stop the fighting.

Raetia (Traders Domain)

Major Marcella Ramirez, commander 2282nd Special Forces, had landed 4 days prior. She had decided to not play nice, even though her orders were to observe and report. Fighting was centered on one city that had the last water purification plant and another city which contained the large power plant that seemed to feed itself and the capital city. Deploying a company at each location, she made sure the SLDF now controlled both locations. Only one small skirmish had occurred which the Special Forces troops easily beat back.

Bannerhoft (Traders Domain)

Major Jung Park, commander 3391st Special Forces Battalion, had landed on the surface and immediately came under fire. Major Sandra Barkley, commanding the 3391st's 24 Spector Battlemechs had quickly engaged the enemy. Within minutes they had destroyed 4 Talos TLS-1B and damaged another 3 Talos TLS-1B. Major Park had called her off from pursuing.

Questioning the captured mech pilots, they discovered that the local's were putting up a stiff fight against this group of former rebels turned pirate. Now knowing who the enemy really was, Major Park pushed the 3391st Special Forces towards the capital city of Mama Oullo City.

June[]

15 June 2780
Terran Hegemony (Periphery)

The votes had been cast and counted. Every system had voted to join the Hegemony. All except those that had active fighting on them. Today, the SLDF surged across the borders from the Terran Hegemony. General Mitchell had made the hard choice and every system that either had active fighting on them or where the Special Forces had halted the fighting saw an SLDF command make land fall to either halt the fighting or to make sure it did not flare back up. She did not want to, but she also could not have possible hostile systems among the Hegemony.

Active Fighting or Possible Hostile

Hergazil - 2972nd Special Forces, 12th Conventional RCT
Shiri - 201st Battle Regiment
Achton - 3157th Special Forces, 509th Battle Regiment
Raetia - 2282nd Special Forces, 15th Conventional RCT
Bannerhoft - 3391st Special Forces, 126th Mechanized Infantry Division
Grankum - 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division

Additional Garrison

Onverwacht (OP) - Onvernacht Guards
Kent (OP) - 311st Brigade, 31st ID
Sornath (OP) - 312nd Brigade, 31st ID
Ype-Jhu (OP) - 1st Regiment, 428th BMD (Repair HPG)
Vonja (OP) - 313rd Brigade, 31st ID
Coyle (OP) - 291st Brigade, 29th MID
Flynn (OP) - 292nd Brigade, 29th MID (Repair HPG)
Totness (OP) - 293rd Brigade, 29th MID
Calingasta (OP) - 294th Brigade, 29th MID
Santa-Ana (OP) - none
Achnoly (OP) - 8th Conventional RCT
Schrim (OP) - 2804th Brigade, 280th MID
Ammon (OP) - 10th Conventional RCT (Repair HPG)
Voehn (OP) - 2801st Brigade, 280th MID
Braden's Frontier (OP) - 2802nd Brigade, 280th MID
Crichton (TD) - 2803rd Brigade, 280th MID
Hrafn (TD) - none
Glitnir (TD) - 524th Brigade, 52nd ID
Michtal (TD) - 521st Brigade, 52nd ID
Aalzog (TD) - 522nd Brigade, 52nd ID (Repair HPG)
Koury (TD) - 523rd Brigade, 52nd ID
Fallry (TD) - 14th Conventional RCT
Blueys (TD) - 9th Conventional RCT
Wynn's Roost (TD) - Blommestein Demons
Vangburg (TD) - 1811st Brigade, 181st RMID
Nerum (TD) - 1812nd Brigade, 181st RMID
Zebuluraskai (TD) - 1813rd Brigade, 181st RMID
Renorsal (TD) - 1814th Brigade, 181st RMID
Salvende (TD) - none
False Dawn (TD) - 19th Hussar Regiment
Ourem (TD) - 2nd Trader Sentinels (Repair HPG)

It had taken every transport and much of ZaP Shipping to get all the commands to their new temporary garrison locations and shift the 8 new Conventional RCT's to their new garrison locations. The DoME Teams would repair 5 HPG stations to allow all SLDF commands to communicate Hegemony wide with 5 DoME Teams while 2 DoME Teams concentrated on getting all water treatment plants back online. Luckily, most of the new systems had ample agriculture to feed their populations so food convoy's focused on those that had to import food.

This massive movement stretched the SLDF thin and General Mitchell had broken several Divisions down to garrison several systems. She hoped to have a new batch of Conventional RCT's in the next couple of years to allow a re-consolidation of the Divisions.

New Conventional RCT Postings

Blommestein - 17th Conventional RCT
Gaeri - 18th Conventional RCT
Las Tunas - 19th Conventional RCT
Barahona - 20th Conventional RCT
Feijo - 21st Conventional RCT
Ambatomainty - 22nd Conventional RCT
Zumbo - 23rd Conventional RCT
Mandeville - 24th Conventional RCT

Grankum (Traders Domain)

Major General Becky Sanchez, commander 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division, made landfall and quickly made contact with the 1st Traders Sentinels. They quickly learned that the rebel force was part of a rebel unit turned pirate. Learning the location of the main rebel base, the 191st RJID, using it's massive amount of VTOL's quickly had 2 Brigades of Jump Infantry surrounding the enemy's location. Once the 191st RJID's Battlemech Division arrived, they assaulted the enemy base and within 3 days of fighting had eliminated all resistance. They took 1,206 prisoners.

Bannerhoft (Trader Domain)

Guided by the 3391st Special Forces, the 126th Mechanized Infantry Division dropped right on the rebel/pirate band and by the end of the day all resistance had ended. They took 710 prisoners. They learned the main base of the rebel/pirates was Naikongzu, roughly 100LY from Bannerhoft in the Deep Periphery. The main rebel/pirate base had 2 Battlemech Regiments and 3 Infantry Regiments on it, but most troubling was it also had a Pinto Corvette. This information was quickly relayed to General Mitchell.

July[]

1 July 2780
Achton (Terran Hegemony)

Major Wesley Hardin, commander 3157th Special Forces, had been right. The arrival of a Leviathan Jumpship loaded with 8 Mammoth Dropships full of food and basic supplies accompanying the 509th Battle Regiment had ended all the fighting almost immediately. Though there were still some hard feeling between the cities, they were more ashamed that they had so easily reverted to near barbarians against each other. Learning that most of the Onverwacht Province had voted to leave the Outworlds Alliance and join the Terran Hegemony, all 9 cities quickly voted to also join the Hegemony. An election for Governor was set by all 9 cities for 1 August.

Thazi (Terran Hegemony)

General Rita Mitchell reviewed Amanda Cameron's plans. She had told Amanda that since she had forced the issue, it was her job to organize the incorporation of the new systems into the Hegemony. Amanda would draw up the plans, the present them to her for review and approval. Though just a teenager, Amanda had a good head on her shoulders, plus it would be good experience for her. Her plans were very ambitious.

The best idea she had, and one General Mitchell had never thought of, had been to form 3 Independent Engineer Regiments. These would be sent to oversee any local construction companies or the lack of any local sources build what needed to be built. She also wanted Alktral Fusion to dedicate a line to produce power plants for planets. Several planets still ran older Fission power plants, though easier to maintain, they produced some nasty by products. General Mitchell did not tell her that those nasty by products had military applications.

General Mitchell had already approved a very large loan to Feijo Modular Construction along with a substantial order over Major General DeMars signature for modular barracks and warehouses to be used by the SLDF forces. Though it would take months for them to get fully ramped up, it was enough work to keep them busy for quite a few years.

The lack of Jumpships had hampered the SLDF's deployments. But part of this was the need to stage some Jumpships on mini command circuits to speed up the movements. But they had also been forced to use ZaP Shipping in some situations, which hurt the civilian economy. Amanda suggested building a Ready Reserve Fleet of 30 Star Lords. This would allow them to be crewed and used by the SLDF in an emergency, but when on normal duty, they would perform transportation services on the civilian economy. She estimated that 30 Star Lords would be able to carry 4 possibly 5 Divisions in an emergency. She noted that the Hegemony should never have to put civilian shipping in harms way. She suggested expanding Linden to 2 additional shipyards just to build the Star Lord Jumpships along with any needed support factory's.

Though General Mitchell agreed with the need to expand ship building, she really wanted to keep Linden more of a military asset. So for short term, she approved construction at Linden. But she selected Onverwacht for a civilian shipyard complex. There it would build Liberty, Merchant, Invader and Star Lord Jumpship. General Mitchell wanted to keep the Tramp and this new Monolith Jumpship that Martha Pruitt had sent a message about for the SLDF. The message had told her that the new Monolith Jumpship would arrive Bastrop on 9 October 2780 and that General Mitchell should expect both to arrive Thazi by the end of the year. They would then be reverse engineered for local construction. It would take a few years to get the shipyards and supporting factory's built at Onverwacht plus training the crews.

The report from Bannerhoft about the pirate location along with their having a Pinto Corvette had sent a few alarm bells ringing. Vice Admiral Barbara Coltrain had ordered Rear Admiral Zeibler to take his 89th Cruiser Division to Bannerhoft. General Mitchell had already ordered the 359th Battlemech Division to head to Bannerhoft to link up with the 89th Cruiser Division. She could not allow a pirate band that powerful to remain that close to Hegemony borders.

She had enough problems worrying about how close the Hegemony was getting to the core Outworlds Alliance worlds. Braben's Frontier was only 120 LY from Alpheratz after all. She already had SLS Sneak, Bug-Eye Surveillance pushing slowly into Outworlds space as an early warning.

November[]

1 November 2780
Bannerhoft (Terran Hegemony)

Rear Admiral Vincent Zeibler, commander 89th Cruiser Division, had been on station for over a month. Finally the 359th Battlemech Division had arrived. He had decided to leave SLS Buccaneer, Essex Destroyer and SLS Independence, New Samarkand Carrier at Bannerhoft as a reaction force if the Pinto showed itself on a raid. Once, SLS Devon Pulman, Potemkin Transport had completed recharge, the combined force set off for Naikongzu. It would take just over a month to reach their destination.

Potemkin Class Transport, Devon Pulman

Terran Hegemony (Periphery)

All around the Hegemony, Jumpships, both from ZaP Shipping and SLDF were forwarding food and supplies to the new systems. Even going so fas as to bring in HPG parts for those systems where there never was a HPG or it was known to be completely destroyed. This was done to try and speed up the restoration of the HPG grid. Since many of the deployed Divisions had been forced to deploy by the Brigade, each Brigades Support Battalion was temporarily issued a Mobile HPG from the SLDF units that did not deploy since they had a active HPG station.

General Rita Mitchell just could not come up with a easy way to keep the absorbed former OA commands together using current SLDF configurations. After discussing the matter with General Heinrich Rommel, he had come up with a solution. Each of the former OA commands would be be formed into a Brigade Combat Team. It would consist of 2 Conventional RCT's. They would be assigned to a single High Value system. Assigning them to a system was fairly easy, as was naming them.

1st Brigade Combat Team (Onverwacht Guards) - Onverwacht (Nickname, Defenders of Hope)
2nd Brigade Combat Team (Blommestein Demons) - Blommestein
3rd Brigade Combat Team (1st Trader Sentinels) - Blueys (Nickname, Wynn’s Warriors)
4th Brigade Combat Team (2nd Traders Sentinels) - Aalzorg (Nickname, Colonial Regulars)

This would free up the 522nd Brigade, 52nd ID, and 9th Conventional RCT for redeployment. The 9th Conventional RCT would redeploy to False Dawn taking over for the 19th Hussar Regiment, which would move back to Blommestein. She was not fully ready to leave Blommestein with only the green 17th Conventional RCT alone with the new 2nd Brigade Combat Team. Blommestein was just too important to take a risk with.

Plus, General Rommel wanted to play with the new 2nd Brigade Combat Team. He wanted to try different idea's out with them, so that placed them close enough for an easy trip to watch different results with different configurations to the TO&E. To facilitate their immediate deployment, he was sending Instructors to put them through their Basic Training at their duty stations along with a single SLDF Infantry Regiment to round out each Brigade Combat Team. Major General DeMars was already gathering the equiment to upgrade them to SLDF standards. Currently, they were armed with ancient Tiger Tanks and APC's. He was pretty sure they would be happy with their upgrades.

On Feijo, the expansion of Feijo Modular Construction was well underway. Jennifer Pulson was adding enough workers and shop space to allow her to produce 100 of the dwelling per day, 10 large warehouse per day and 10 new barracks designs per day and 2 new field kitchen design per day. The barracks designs would weigh 7 tons, but include a large shower module. The field kitchen design was a 4,000 square foot design that would weigh 15 tons. The weight came from a field kitchen and everything else needed, refrigeration and dish washing equipment. The warehouse could be assembled in 2 days with Construction Mech assistance, the barracks in 8 hours and the field kitchen in a single day. The barracks cost a mere 10,000 while the field kitchen cost 20,000.

At Linden, Newgrange-Class Yardship, SLS Salvation, was constructing 2 additional 1M ton Pressurized Shipyards and supporting factories to increase production of much needed Jumpships.


29 November 2780
Naikongzu (Deep Periphery)

Captain Chavdar Apostolov, commander of former OAS Nova, a Pinto-Class Corvette, was preparing for his next deployment, he was going to escort Manus' Manglers 1st Battlemech Regiment to help take Bannerhoft once and for all. His ship had sen much better days, barely surviving the SLDF onslaught that destroyed the rest of the Outworlds Alliance fleet. Only half of his ships weapons were still operational.

They had been back at the main base for only 3 days after conducting a raid on the Antallos system. Long ago, a raid on Antallos would have been suicide with it's SLDF presence, but now it was an easy target. General Julian Manus had commanded a full Division of Rebel forces. But when the SLDF got the upper hand, he had lost half his Division in the retreat. He and his troops had turned pirate and had taken over Naikongzu. Colonized by mainly colonists from the Terran Hegemony seeking a better, less crowded life, they had settled on Naikongzu. Almost 21 million people inhabited Naikongzu under the harsh thumb of Manus' Manglers.

Manus' Manglers had 6 old but operational Liberty-Class Jumpships. They and Nova, occupied the Zenith Jump Point. None of the Liberty Jumpships had any crew aboard since General Manus did not trust them to not abandon them, so he transported them to the surface until they were needed. Captain Apostolov was drinking coffee on the small grav deck when the alarm went off. It never went off and it startled him. He picked up the small communicator "Bridge, what is going on?"

"Incoming emergence wave Captain. A big one, we also have another coming into the Nadir Jump Point."

"On my way, we cannot jump out, so let's get ready to greet our guests." Captain Apostolov ordered.

It took him mere minutes to reach the bridge and before he could really get strapped into his command couch, the first guest arrived only 14,000Km away, SLS Conroy, Avatar Heavy Cruiser. This was followed seconds later by a SLS Solomon, Essex II Destroyer. At the Nadir Jump Point, SLS Shield, Avatar Heavy Cruiser and SLS Cartagena, Essex II Destroyer escorted SLS Devon Pulman, Potemkin Transport and 5 Star Lord Jumpships carrying the 359th Battlemech Division.

"Sweet Mother of God, helm get us the hell out of here before we get clobbered!!!" Captain Apostolov ordered, but he knew they were in serious trouble as his sensors detected several Titan-Class Fighter Carrier Dropships detach from the Avatar Heavy Cruiser while it also launched a swarm of Aerospace Fighters. "Comm, send to the surface, enemy in system, has to be a full Division with Warship support. Maybe they will have a fighting chance, but I doubt it."

His brain did the math quick and even at full speed, they were not out running the swarm of Aerospace fighters heading their way. He watched as the Avatar Heavy Cruiser altered course to intercept his ship. No way could he slug it out with that Cruiser, nor even the Essex Destroyer that he saw was burning his way as full speed. They were doomed and he knew it. Sure death by destruction or take their chances as prisoners, he thought to himself. As the swarm of Aerospace Fighters began to reach range to engage, he made up his mind "Comm, signal our surrender. We take our chances in court over our sure death in a fight we cannot win."

On the surface, General Manus had gotten the signal from Captain Apostolov and had ordered his troops to get off the Dropships they had been loaded on for departure. He ordered his XO to make ready their last 2 nuclear weapons. Might as well give the uninvited guests a very warm welcome, he thought.

December[]

1 December 2780
Naikongzu (Deep Periphery)

Major General Edgar Zapata, commander 359th Battlemech Division, had spent his entire career in the 359th BM. For 22 years, he had been through the Uprising, seen the nuclear fireballs that killed thousands of SLDF troops. At 43, he had only held full command for 2 years, the previous commander having "retired" to the Training Command. He was known as a hard charging no nonsense commander, who demanded excellence from his troops and got it, they understood he trained them hard because he cared for them.

They spent a full day in orbit while the Warships and Dropships scanned the surface with their sensors. Aerospace Fighters were sent down for some recon and to respond to any hostile actions with maximum firepower. Major General Zapata selected a small city of possibly 15,000 set on a flat very broad plain as their landing zone. Nothing would be able to approach the landing zone without being spotted.

With a swarm of Aerospace Fighters from both of the 359th BM's Aero Wings and from the Warships in orbit covering the area selected as the landing zone, Major General Zapata had decided to to put the 3591st Brigade on the ground via Combat Dropship to secure an area 30Km in diameter before he landed the rest of the 359th BM. The 359th BM Division trained hard and often on Combat Drops and unfortunately lost on average 8 Mechwarriors per year in training exercises. Major General Nathan Baxter, commander 1st Corps, deflected all complaints from above stating the training was dangerous, but executing a Combat Drop without training was suicide.

Within an hour of his order, the 3591st Brigade was on the surface, at the loss of 3 Battlemechs whose equipment had failed. By mid afternoon, the rest of the 359th BM Division was on the surface and the small city declared secure. At first light, they would begin the march for the largest city on the surface with it's space port full of Dropships, 280Km away.

2 December 2780

Before first light, the 359th BM Divisions Cavalry Regiment led off the advance with the Light Recon Regiments of the 3591st and 3592nd Brigades on either flank. Acting as bird dogs for the 359th BM Divisions heavier units. A swarm of Vector Scouts and Royal Cyrano Gunships swarmed around the entire line of advance, while the Engineer Regiment built a functional airbase at the landing zone.

Late morning found the lead elements of the 359th BM Division only 20Km from the space port. The rest of the 359th BM Division was an hour behind them moving at a steady 54kph. The closer they got, the more the hair on the back of Major General Zapata's neck stood on end. Scouts had located several excellent positions, with prepared positions, completely empty of any defenders. Colonel Gillian Anderson, command 359th Cavalry Regiment wanted to take her Regiment into the space port, but Major General Zapata held her back, something just was not right. He knew the enemy was here, the Aero jocks had seen the tracks of Battlemechs moving into dense forests surrounding the area.

By mid afternoon, the 359th BM Division had pulled up at 20Km from the space port. Major General Zapata spread the 359th BM Division out as far as he dared. Like angry bee's the Vector Scouts and Royal Cyrano's swarmed around the 359th BM Divisions perimeter for a distance of 80Km, their sensitive Beagle Active probes sweeping the ground below them, filling the air with electronic waves. Lieutenant Perry Carmichael swept his Royal Cyrano down low over the dense forest below him, his Beagle Active probe had twigged on something below on his last pass. He called out the possible hit and the other 3 Royal Cyrano in his platoon moved in his direction.

Below, troops manning the pair of towed Thumper Artillery pieces could clearly hear the VTOL passing close by. Every one of them prayed that their sensor defeating camo netting held true. Manus' Manglers only had 6 of the towed Thumper Artillery pieces and both of these guns were loaded with nuclear rounds, just waiting for the enemy to get a little closer. Spotters on the forward edge of the dense forest reported almost a full Infantry Regiment closing on the forest and right on the edge of the Thumpers range.

Major Randolph Schwartz, commander the Infantry Battlemech Battalion responded to his new orders and pushed his Battalion of 40 Panther PNT-8Zb towards the 2nd Infantry closing on the possible enemy position. Within minutes his Battalion pounded past the 2nd Infantry Regiment closing on the treeline.

Captain Raul Sanchez knew it was now or never, with the VTOL's swarming overhead, any attempt to move to another firing position would be suicide. He had valid targets and decided it was now. "Fire". Off to his left, Lieutenant Perry Carmichael saw the puff of smoke erupt from the woods. "Incoming" he shouted over the radio as he cranked his Royal Cyrano into a steep left bank to close on the firing position.

Major Randolph Sanchez heard the call over the radio when the blinding flash erupted just to the left front of his Panther PNT-8Zb. Suddenly, he lost all control over his Panther as it was picked up by the violent explosion and hurled through the air. Nuke, was the last thought he ever had. The nuclear round had detonated almost in the perfect location, decimating the Battalion of Panther's. Only 3 survivors would be extracted.

The second nuclear round detonated, just forward and a split second after the first, from the 2nd Infantry Regiment in their Turhan's. The blinding flash and following blast wave rushed towards the 2nd Infantry Regiment when it met a slight rise in the ground that pushed the onrushing blast wave up just enough to save most of the 2nd Infantry Regiment from the absolute worst of it. Though they lost a full company, most of the 2nd Infantry Regiment survived but they would all spend some time in the Divisions MASH units.

The nuclear detonations brought out the worst fears of Major General Zapata. He called Rear Admiral Zeibler, awaiting in orbit and called down orbital fire on the dense woods where the rounds had come from. Within minutes, man made lightning began savaging the dense woods as both SLS Conroy and SLS Shield, Avatar Heavy Cruisers hammered the forest. Without orders, the units of the 359th BM Division had begun to shift their focus towards the forest being torn apart from orbit. It was then that General Manus ordered his 2 Regiments of Battlemechs to attack. He knew his Infantry were dead, nothing could survive the awesome display of firepower falling on them. They came pounding out of their hidden positions 20Km away and the lead Battlemech Regiment advanced at an average speed of 96Kph towards the SLDF troops.

Contact calls began coming in and the 359th BM Division began to swing towards the now visible enemy with a vengeance. The Divisions Artillery Regiment began firing on the advancing enemy Battlemechs and 2 Regiments of Manitcore from the Divisions Armor Brigade made ready to intercept the oncoming enemy Battlemechs. Company commanders began frantically assigning targets, designating a full platoons on each Battlemech. The first volleys were sent down range ripping into the leading pirate Battlemechs, dropping several to the ground for good.

From the heavens, Aerospace Fighters began dropping tons of bombs into the mass of Battlemechs before turning to return for strikes. General Manus' watched as the full force of the SLDF was turned loose on his troops. He had hoped to cut into their supply trains, but he was amazed at the speed at which the SLDF troops reacted to his attack. He could see a full SLDF Battlemech Regiment sweeping to the left of his own Battlemechs, bolts of lightning ripping into his troops left flank. They had to be moving at over 100Kph, never stopping. He glanced to the right and saw another SLDF unit doing the same thing. His Battlemechs had gotten amongst the SLDF tanks, but now they came under assault from the SLDF's heavier Battlemechs now entering the fray.

Major Gulipher "Gulley" Parson had his Thug THG-11Eb moving at full speed, the rest of his 39 Thug 11Eb's hot on his heels. His targeting circled flashed and he fired off both ERPPC at the pirate Wasp, both hitting, ripping it's left leg and right arm from the light Battlemech. He watched a huge number of ERPPC bolts from the rest of his Battalion shlash into the leading elements of pirate Battlemechs trying to desperately get away from the non stop SRM fire from the SLDF Manticores. But closing on a battalion of Thug's was not a smart thing to do, as full lance of pirate Wasp discovered as they were met with hundreds of SRM's followed by ERPPC bolts.

He did not even try to avoid the pirate Wasp that had collapsed in front of his Thug and he felt the "pop" under his Thug's right foot as the Wasps cockpit gave way under 80 tons of SLDF fury. An almost non stop stream of LRM's from Archer ARC-2Rb flew overhead. He slammed his left battle fist into a pirate Wasp that suddenly landed in front of him. A split second later he kicked the Wasp, removing it's right leg, but he kept advancing. A full Battalion of SLDF Stalker STK-5Fb waded into the pirate Battlemechs at a steady 32Kph, on his Battalions left, they never stopped, pouring ERLL fire into the pirate Battlemechs.

It started slowly but gathered speed rapidly, a pirate Locust, turned and fled at full speed, followed by another, and then another. Zigging and zagging in an effort to survive, the first pirate Locust to break and run never saw the full company of Royal Cyrano closing on him. The next thing the pilot saw was the ground rapidly approaching his cockpit, his damage display a solid red. As night fell over the battlefield, barely 2 Company's of pirate Battlemechs made it back to where they had come from, disappearing into the dense forest.

Major General Zapata called off the pursuit, not wanting to risk an ambush. He had casualties to recover and treat.

3 December 2780
Naikongzu (Deep Periphery)

Major General Edgar Zapata, commander 359th Battlemech Division, had the previous days casualty reports. This was the part of the job he hated, but even as he looked at the losses, he consoled himself with the knowledge that it could have been much worse. They has secured the space port and were working on securing the city. He looked back down at the casualty report.

'359th BM Division Casualty Report'

Infantry Battlemech Battalion

Panther PNT-8Zb - 40 destroyed
Personnel - 37 KIA, 3 Recovered (est return to duty 3 months)

2nd Infantry Regiment

Turhan - 4 destroyed, 3 damaged Personnel - 138 KIA, 724 WIA (mainly broken bones, radiation doses)

1st Armor Regiment

Manticore - 27 destroyed, 44 damaged Personnel - 43 KIA, 59 WIA

2nd Armor Regiment

Manticore - 9 destroyed, 6 damaged
Personnel - 18 KIA, 31 WIA

3591st Brigade

Talon TLN-5W - 5 damaged
Mongoose MON-66b - 6 damaged
Crab CRB-27b - 5 damaged
Stalker STK-5Fb - 8 damaged
Thug THG-11Eb - 13 damaged
Warhammer WHM-7A - 9 damaged

3592nd Brigade

Mongoose MON-66b - 7 damaged
Crab CRB-27b - 13 damaged
Thunderbolt TDR-5Sb - 22 damaged

Royal Cyrano Gunship - 3 destroyed, 6 damaged
Vector Scout - 2 destroyed, 5 damaged
Typhoon TFN-2B - 3 destroyed, 3 damaged

Pirate/Rebel Losses

Pinto Corvette - captured
Liberty Jumpship - 6 captured
Black Eagle Dropship - 19 captured
Drost II Dropship - 4 captured
Jumbo Dropship - 3 captured
Wasp WSP-1A - 43 destroyed, 18 salvaged
Firestarter FS9-H - 21 destroyed, 9 salvaged
Locust LCT-1V - 38 destroyed, 17 salvaged
Jabberwocky EngineerMech - 9 captured
Phoenix PX-3R - 42 destroyed, 8 salvaged
Prisoners - 1,425 (mainly ship crew, Mechwarrior, support personnel)

Estimated escaped 20 Battlemechs.

Patrols were out searching for the remaining pirates that had escaped the previous days fighting. He had communications broadcasting on a open frequency calls for their surrender. But right now, he had no clue what to do with all the civilians.

Notes on Combat for Story[]

  • Author notes he does rolls for how abstract combat scenes play out.

I rolled fair and square. Even the 359th's light Battlemechs gave them a hard time. Of course they are basically all Royal machines and could dance outside of their range.

The first SLDF Battemech Battalion did not enter until turn 20. The Manticore's had to deal with them all alone for some time. I did not even put artillery into play, figured that would be a little too much for Princess with me firing Cluster rounds or even HE at her clusters of Battlemechs. They concentrated PPC, LRM and SRM gave her enough grief.


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