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Fate Can be Cruel - Chapter Cover

Fate Can Be Cruel - 2781 to 2784[]

January[]

1 January 2781
Thazi (Terran Hegemony)

Amanda Cameron took her task of bringing the new systems into the Terran Hegemony, as smoothly as possible, very seriously. Though she found Aunt Rita and Peter Sajak fairly easy to work with, she also hated the limits they placed on her wants. She understood why they limited her idea's, but it irritated her none the less. There was no way to make all her wants for the new systems happen overnight. It would take years, possibly a decade to get them to where the other Hegemony systems were at. There was steady progress on repairing the HPG stations on many worlds. The lack of Jumpships and Dropships for civilian traffic really irritated her, more so with Linden still undergoing it's upgrade to 4 shipyards and supporting factory's.

The arrival of the new Monolith Jumpship had really excited her until Aunt Rita killed that idea, declaring it for military use only. Though she understood her reasoning, 2 Monolith was equal to 3 Star Lord Jumpships, it still irked her. She had only ceased her arguing when Aunt Rita had informed her that a new shipyard complex would be built at Onverwacht for strictly civilian construction. She had spent some time with Jessica Parrington, learning the money side of running a Interstellar nation, and when she asked about ZaP Shipping, Jessica had pointed her to Aunt Rita. She loved Uncle Martin, but ZaP Shipping was making a handsome amount of money, paid no taxes, got free maintenance and refits, had received a vast number of Jumpships and Dropships at no cost.

Today, she brought the issue up with Aunt Rita in an attempt to learn the why of everything.

"Aunt Rita, I have some questions. I love Uncle Martin, and this is in no way anything out of spite, but I am curious why ZaP Shipping pays for almost nothing." Amanda Cameron asked.

General Rita Mitchell set down the papers she had been reading. "Well, Martin has done quite a lot for the Hegemony. Still does. Take before we absorbed all the new systems as an example. We used ZaP Shipping and crews basically as scouts, they gathered intel for us, gave us an idea of what was going on out there."

"I know all that, we, the Hegemony also paid ZaP Shipping very well for that tasking. Which we need to quit doing, using a civilian outfit as spies for want of a better word. It places them in too much danger. It sets a very bad precedent for later down the road if it is known that we use our civilian shipping as intel agents. But, I, and Jessica Parrington agree's with me, it might be time for Uncle Martin and ZaP Shipping to start paying their fair share. Jessica told me most of the why things started that way, because you told her, but this is now. ZaP Shipping charges, from what I can determine normal shipping rates, I could probably understand it better if ZaP was giving the Hegemony a massive discount, but they don't. Here is ZaP Shipping's current asset and balance sheet." Amanda said handing over a thin folder which Rita took.

ZaP Shipping

Hegemony Operations

Jumpships
Star Lord Jumpship - 7
Tramp Jumpship - 4
Invader Jumpship - 21
Liberty Jumpship - 4
Merchant Jumpship - 8

Dropships
Mammoth (Cargo) - 28
Mammoth (Passenger) - 15
Jumbo (Cargo) - 44
Jumbo (Passenger) - 10
Mule - 19
Buccaneeer - 13

Passenger Revenue (2780) - 1,096,600,000
Cargo Revenue (2780) - 421,600,000
Special Revenue - 180,000,000 (SLDF Support)
Maintenance/Refit (2780) - (-) 88,340,000
Jumpship/Dropship Purchase - (-) 7,820,154,400

Federated Suns Operations

Jumpships
Star Lord Jumpship - 1
Merchant Jumpship - 4
Invader Jumpship - 10

Dropships Mule - 20
Jumbo (Passenger) - 10
Monarch - 6

Passenger Revenue (2780) - 243,600,000
Cargo Revenue (2780) - 308,000,000

Estimated Tax Revenue (2780) - 103,490,000

It shocked Rita at the amounts shown. She had never seen it written down exactly like that before. Martin asked for a few Invader Jumpships and she said yes, a few Dropships, she said yes. But now, she could see that it might be time. Amanda could see it on Aunt Rita's face.

"It is nothing against Uncle Martin or ZaP Shipping, but it is time for them to stand on their own feet. For 2780 alone we, the Hegemony, basically took a loss of over 8 Billion dollars. I can see providing maintenance support when they are operating for the SLDF or Hegemony special interests, but not full time. You know that we pay ZaP Shipping 20 million a year for the Drachenfeld mission? PLUS provide all maintenance and support? And everything is tax free? Oh and those Maintenance and Purchase numbers, those are negative numbers, that is what they WOULD have paid, yet the Hegemony GAVE them those." Amanda said.

"Okay, I can see that I have gone overboard supporting Martin and ZaP Shipping. I will have a talk with him, plus come up with a way to handle any intel gathering needs. But beware, that could be MUCH more expensive than just using ZaP and paying them a good fee for it. But I agree, if word got out that we use ZaP Shipping for intel purposes, it would not be good at all, for anyone." Rita said.

"You run the military, Aunt Rita. If it costs us money, even more money, it is worth it to protect Uncle Martin and his people." Amanda said.

"Then I will have Rear Admiral Delvaney come up with something. Tell Jessica I am sorry for not paying enough attention to her about ZaP all these years." Rita said.

February[]

1 February 2781 Naikongzu (Deep Periphery)

For 2 months the 359th Battlemech Division had chased the last of the pirates across the huge continent. One by one, they had destroyed every Battlemech. Major General Zapata had finally called off the extended patrols. They would never be able to completely account for the rest. They had been communication wise, cut off for the last 2 months, being 79LY from Bannerhoft and the Mobile HPG there. But finally, Admiral Tanaka had jumped her SLS Wendigo, Whirlwind Destroyer into HPG range to act as a relay ship. Informed of the status on Naikongzu, she relayed the information to Bannerhoft where it would be relayed to Thazi.

3 February 2781
Thazi (Terran Hegemony)

General Rita Mitchell had cursed after reading the HPG message relayed from Naikongzu. She cursed the losses, she cursed finding 20 million or so civilians that she had no clue what to do with, but mostly she cursed the lack of HPG equipped ship to act as relay vessels when the SLDF was forced to go on a distant expedition. But that was a problem she could solve by a simple HPG message. She pulled out her pad a prepared a message.

To: Rear Admiral Delvaney, SLS Salvation From: General Rita Mitchell

Trishia, I need 5 Scout HPG Jumpships built as soon as you can. I over looked the gaps in our communications when conducting long range missions. I cannot allow this to occur again. While I am at it, we will no longer be using ZaP Shipping in any sort of covert intel operations. Can we reverse engineer the Bug-Eye? If not, I need a package of new Surveillance vessels that can operate long term on independent operations. Must have enough self defense to enable retreat and prevent boarding. Best would be a ship that can hide in plain sight without anyone being able to know what it really is. Put your engineers on this as soon as you can.

Rita

She placed the message in her outbound message box, her aide would be in when she left for the day to gather the messages and walk them over to the HPG. Martin was due to land tomorrow and she hoped he would not pitch a fit about what was to come.

4 February 2781

Martin Zuni was shown into General Mitchell's office. On seeing Martin, she stood up and walked to him and gave him a hug. "It has been too long Martin. Please have a seat, you want anything?"

Martin Zuni glanced at the ceiling looking for the sandbag that was surely heading for his head "Rita, what evil plan have you cooked up now? You do not put that much butter and sugar on anything. What is going on?"

"Okay Martin, I will cut to the chase. It has been a long time coming, and I have stalled it for as long as I can. ZaP Shipping is going to have to start paying taxes, pay for maintenance and refits, but I think I can swing a hefty discount, but I want discount rates at times. Plus, your going to have to start paying for your Jumpships and Dropships." Rita said

"Okay, I been wondering how long you were going to let us have a free ride. You have been more than fair to me and Martha, so we will do our part. What is my tax rate gong to be?" Martin asked

"Same as everyone else, 5 percent. We are not out to gouge anyone. Plus you still face no competition out here. Oh, and we will no longer be using ZaP for any covert operations. Feel free to drop a dime if you here something juicy, but you and your people will no longer be actively employed in the intel business." Rita said

"That is a huge relief. I might like the cloak and dagger stuff a little too much, but about 90% of my people are civilians all the way. They want no part really of the spy stuff. Plus, we get caught playing spy, in another nation, they will never let us trade or travel there again. That is a pretty hefty risk to be running. This is my home now Rita, if I hear anything, I will have the info back here as fast as I can get it here." Martin replied

"Thank you, Martin. Now, let's head down the hall and you can say hi to Amanda, she will be thrilled to see you." Rita said.

"She's one smart kid. Rumor has it that you have her working her pig tails off. Probably her and your bean counter Parrington threw me under the bus, but I will not fault them. The Hegemony gave ZaP a huge headstart and we can compete with anything that comes our way now. I will get the bank to cut our tax check tomorrow, that should make Parrington and her auditors happy." Martin said as he followed Rita to the door.

It took them an hour to hunt down Amanda Cameron after not finding her in the small office she was normally in. They finally found her by tracking down Captain Holly Decroy, Amanda's principal bodyguard. Taking a jeep, they arrived at the small arms range the Royal Black Watch used. General Rita Mitchell could clearly see Amanda Cameron with a laser pistol in her small hands and a holster in her hip. As silently as they could, General Mitchell and Martin Zuni walked up behind her, but stayed behind the firing line boundary and just watched.

"Try again, remember, squeeze not jerk the trigger. Your getting much better and faster on that draw, but your first shot still misses. This is not like using a revolver, no recoil or loud bang. So relax and try again." Captain Holly Decroy said to Amanda.

Amanda holstered the Sunbeam Laser Pistol, which Rita noticed was the exact same as the one she wore when she was in the "field". Amanda stood still hand down by her side, a buzzer sounded and she drew, quite quickly Rita took note of, the pistol came up and fired, striking the target about 15 meters away high but enough to take a person's head off. She almost as quickly holstered the pistol and half turned, a huge smile on her face.

"See, now just keep doing that and soon I can make some money off you going up against some of these cocky guys around here." Captain Holly Decroy said and then noticed General Mitchell and popped to attention.

"At ease, Captain Decroy. I thought we had an agreement about this." General Mitchell said.

"Sir, we agreed that Amanda would do any weapons training or unarmed combat training until she turned 15 or assumed her duties. She is 5 days until she turns 15, BUT, I have been with her a long time, and the last year, you have had her performing her duties, albeit under your supervision. So, technically we are within our agreement." Captain Holly Decroy replied, hoping General Mitchell would not kill her.

"Relax Captain. The range master told me all about Amanda coming down here for the last few months with you. I do have to qualify like everyone else. You coming along quite well Amanda, excellent shooting. The Sunbeam is pretty heavy and takes some getting used to. I think a good Hold Out Laser Pistol would be best right now. Your hands are not quite big enough to grip the Sunbeam correctly." Rita said, placing her right leg on the small barrier wall and pulling up her pants leg. There she pulled the small holster containing a Hold Out Laser Pistol and handing it to Amanda.

"Thanks Mo....Aunt Rita." Amanda said as she pulled out the smaller pistol and hefted it.

"Come on, you have practiced enough and Uncle Martin is probably hungry. Let's go get some supper and he can tell us all about his travels." Rita said with a smile.

March[]

1 March 2781
Terran Hegemony (Periphery)

Rear Admiral Trishia Delvaney had put her engineers to work on the Surveillance Ship request. After a few weeks, they had determined that they completely lacked the ability to duplicate the Bug-Eye Surveillance Ship. No method they could come up with could duplicate the tiny jump core, and they deemed it too risky to tear the only Bug-Eye they had apart to even attempt it. But they did come up with a reasonable design that met all of the requested design parameters.

They took the Merchant-Class Jumpship design and modified it. Removing the 114,000 ton Jump Core and fitted it with a 54,300 ton compact core. They then designed a transit drive that could propel the new design at a safe thrust of 2.5g and max 4g. It was buried deep enough into the rear of the ship so as to be invisible unless it was needed. They fitted extended fuel tanks into the hull with 7,000 tons of fuel. Enough for a full year of burn time at 1g constant or 88.6 days at max thrust. It would maintain the 2 Dropship collars, and from the outside, it was identical to the standard Merchant Jumpship, even it's jump signature would be identical. For extended missions, they provided everyone aboard the ship with their own quarters, 18 First Class and 200 Standard Quarters. A 28 man Marine detail would prevent boarding.

Every firing Arc held 6 ERLL, 6 LPL and 6 SPL for anti fighter defense. The AFT also held the only capitol weapons, 4 NL/55. This was to discourage any pursuit, the ship was designed the run away, not fight it out. To aid the running away part, the ship was fitted with a LF Battery. A HPG was also installed to pass on information or call for help. The structural integrity was reinforced to 30% and 72 tons of Ferro Aluminum armor coated the ship, providing as much protection as an original Vigilant Corvette. A total of 313 Double Heat Sinks were spread around the hull for the ships cooling. Buried into the hull were a Large Naval Comm Scanner, High Resolution Camera, Infrared Camera and Look Down Radar Imager.

The ship was fitted to carry 4 small craft with 2 doors, a single Aerospace Squadron of 6 with 2 Doors and 5,735 tons of cargo rounded out the ships design. Try as they might, they could not increase the Grav Deck to a larger size without changing the visual aspect of the Merchant Jumpship so they had to leave the 40 meter Grav Deck. The final cost of the new design, called simply Merchant Surveillance, was 14,089,162,000 dollars. Not cheap at all, but it met every design parameter they had been sent and even exceeded some of them, by a large margin. As long as it acted just like a Merchant Jumpship, it would be virtually invisible among it's standard sister. She forwarded the design to General Rita Mitchell for approval, construction time was roughly 4 months for each ship.

SLS Salvation had completed expanding Linden's Deep Spin operation and it now held (4) 1M ton Pressurized Shipyards and all supporting factories. Rear Admiral Delvaney had forwarded her concern about tearing apart one of the new Monolith Jumpships for reverse engineering. This was not a simple truck or tank, but the largest standard Jumpship ever built. She just did not want to risk destroying one of them.

She also monitored the 3 Builder-Class Yardships and their activities around the Terran Hegemony. They were currently working on long term support missions, mainly building Snowden Orbital Mining Stations, repairing Olympus Recharge Stations and even constructing a few new ones. Though it was a tremendous amount of resources to build one.

Orbital Support Operations

Barahona - Olympus Recharge Station repaired (Nadir)
Tanz - Olympus Recharge Station repaired (Zenith)
Ammon - Olympus Recharge Station repaired (Nadir)
Modified Olympus Station New Build (Zenith) (est 2784)
Hergazil - Olympus Recharge Station repaired (Zenith)
Onverwacht - Olympus Recharge Station repaired (Nadir)
Raetia - Olympus Recharge Station repaired (Zenith)
Taumaturgo - Olympus Recharge Station New Build (Nadir) (est 2783)
Rondon - Olympus Recharge Station New Build (Nadir) (est 2783)
Schrim - Olympus Recharge Station New Build (Nadir) (est 2785)
(3) Snowden Orbital Mining Stations (est 2784)

Ammon had been selected as a forward Naval Repair Base and a Modified Olympus Recharge Station was being built there. Able to handle 3 ships of up to 1M tons. It would have minimal production ability and would not be able to build new vessels. At Onverwacht, the Essex's Jump Core had been ground and returned to Linden for recycling.

DoME Engineering Operations

Onverwacht (OP) - HPG Built
Kent (OP) - Build HPG (2786)
Sornath (OP) - Build HPG (2786)
Ype-Jhu (OP) - HPG Repaired
Vonja (OP) - Build HPG (2785)
Coyle (OP) - Repair HPG (2782)
Flynn (OP) - HPG Repaired
Totness (OP) - Repair HPG (2782)
Calingasta (OP) - Repair HPG (2782)
Santa-Ana (OP) - Repair HPG (2782)
Achnoly (OP) - Build HPG (2783)
Schrim (OP) - Build HPG (2786)
Ammon (OP) - HPG Repaired
Voehn (OP) - Build HPG (2783)
Braden's Frontier (OP) - Repair HPG (2782)
Crichton (TD) - Repair HPG (2782)
Hrafn (TD) - Build HPG (2785)
Glitnir (TD) - Build HPG (2786)
Michtal (TD) - Build HPG (2784)
Aalzog (TD) - HPG Repaired
Koury (TD) - Build HPG (2787)
Fallry (TD) - Build HPG (2784)
Blueys (TD) - Build HPG (2784)
Wynn's Roost (TD) - Build HPG (2787)
Vangburg (TD) - Build HPG (2787)
Nerum (TD) - Build HPG (2786)
Zebuluraskai (TD) - Build HPG (2785)
Renorsal (TD) - Build HPG (2787)
Salvende (TD) - Build HPG (2787)
False Dawn (TD) - Repair HPG (2781)
Ourem (TD) - HPG Repaired
Hergazil (OP) - Repair HPG (2781)
Shiri (OP) - Build HPG (2783)
Achton (OP) - Repair HPG (2781)
Raetia (TD) - Repair HPG (2782)
Bannerhoft (TD) - Repair HPG (2782)
Grankum (TD) - Build HPG (2784)

In an effort to speed up repair and construction of the HPG grid, 5 more DoME Teams were undergoing training to add to the 7 existing DoME Teams already active. All terraforming which consisted of mainly seeding the ground to boost agriculture had been suspended until the HPG grid was re-established fully. It was hoped to have the 5 new DoME Teams ready by 2782 but 2783 at the latest. Survey teams from Linden were already making detailed lists of the needed equipment to repair all the HPG's.

The SLS Salvation, Newgrange-Class Yardship, would soon be moving to Onverwacht to begin construction of the Civilian Jumpship Complex and Supporting Factories. It was estimated to take at least until 2784 to get it fully operational.

15 March 2781
Bastrop (Federated Suns)

Harvey Grissum was a lawyer for Fleesum and Gougem. He had spent the last year attempting to purchase the license rights from Krester's Ship Construction for the Aqueduct and Mammoth-Classes of Dropship. But today, he had gotten the HPG message that he had been waiting for. With many of it's facilities destroyed, Krester's Ship Construction was in dire need of funds and had finally agreed to their last offer. He had already instructed the bank to transfer the funds, 550,000,000 dollars for the license, design specifications and specialized manufacturing equipment.

He had given up trying to purchase the Monolith-Class Jumpship license from LVT Aerospace. They wanted 3 Billion for the license rights and design specifications. It was just too new and several other firms had already paid that amount to secure rhe rights. His client had set a 800 Million hard cap for the purchasing and no amount of negotiating was going to budge LVT Aerospace to a lower price.

But he had wracked up a large number of victories. He stared at his computer to see what was left for him to purchase.

Krester's Ship Construction - Aqueduct and Mammoth Dropship (Done)
LVT Aerospace - Monolith Jumpship (No Go)
Harrow-Deerfield - ED-X1 Crosscut Loggermech (Done)
Harvester Ant (Done)
DemolitionMech (Done)
SC-V Scavenger Salvage Mech (Done)
Osaka Heavy Metrics - K-3N-KR4 Kiso (Done) K-3N-KR5 Kiso (Done)
Avanti Industries - Maglev Train (Done)
Maglev Cars (Done)

All he waited on now was the actual license agreement from Krester's Ship Construction along with the design specifications and any specialized machinery. He had already turned over the other designs and equipment to ZaP Shipping for transport to their new owner, Allied Industries. He had no clue who they were or where they were located, he had asked Jonathon Fleesum, founding partner of Fleesum and Gougem and had been told to mind his business and do what he was told. It had been delivered in such a way that only a deaf and very dumb person would ignore the warning.

Thazi (Terran Hegemony)

General Rita Mitchell read Rear Admiral Delvaney's report, she had sighed heavily on seeing the cost of the Merchant Surveillance Ship. But they were needed, so she had sent back an order to build 12 of them. She then made a note to have the Special Forces Regiment expanded, they had proven invaluable during the last operation. With a lack of Nighthawk Power Armor, she wanted it expanded to provide advance ground intel. She planned to "seed" the systems near Hegemony borders with Special Forces Detachments. If they could ever produce the Nighthawk Power Armor, she would equip the new commands, same for the advanced Spector and Exterminator Battlemechs, which continued to elude them. She expected it to take some time to get them up to speed.

Special Forces Brigade

1st Special Forces Regiment (Current)
3391st Special Forces Batt - 192 Nighthawk PA(L) MkXXI, 24 Spector SPR-4F
2282nd Special Forces Batt - 336 Special Forces Troops, 12 Vector Scout VTOL, 12 Vector Transport
2972nd Special Forces Batt - 192 Nighthawk PA(L) MkXXI, 8 Spector SPR-4F, 4 Exterminator EXT-4C
3157th Special Forces Batt - 336 Special Forces Troops, 12 Vector Scout VTOL, 12 Vector Transport

2nd Special Forces Regiment (2783)
3160th Special Forces Batt - 336 Special Forces Troops, 12 Vector Scout VTOL, 12 Vector Transport
3161st Special Forces Batt - 336 Special Forces Troops, 12 Vector Scout VTOL, 12 Vector Transport
3162nd Special Forces Batt - 336 Special Forces Troops, 12 Vector Scout VTOL, 12 Vector Transport
3163rd Special Forces Batt - 336 Special Forces Troops, 12 Vector Scout VTOL, 12 Vector Transport

3rd Special Forces Regiment (2784)
3164th Special Forces Batt - 336 Special Forces Troops, 12 Vector Scout VTOL, 12 Vector Transport
3165th Special Forces Batt - 336 Special Forces Troops, 12 Vector Scout VTOL, 12 Vector Transport
3166th Special Forces Batt - 336 Special Forces Troops, 12 Vector Scout VTOL, 12 Vector Transport
3167th Special Forces Batt - 336 Special Forces Troops, 12 Vector Scout VTOL, 12 Vector Transport

April 2781[]

1 April 2781 to 1 January 2784
Terran Hegemony (Periphery)

On Thazi, General Rita Mitchell looked up as Amanda Cameron walked into the small den. She had grown so much and was now almost 18 years old. Over the last few years, she had performed her "tasks" with skill. The systems of the Onverwacht and Traders Province had slowly improved in all respects. General Mitchell could not be prouder of her. "What's up Amanda? Can't sleep?" She asked.

"Not really, I cannot get my brain to shut down." Amanda said as she plopped onto the small couch next to Rita.

"What's on your mind that has you so wound up?" Rita asked

"Most of the hard part is done out here. The new systems are rapidly closing in on the older systems economically. We are still working on the HPG grid, but all repairs have been completed and we are deep into building HPG stations from the ground up. The new civilian shipyard over Onverwacht is almost ready to complete their first Jumpships. I think it is time you took me to Terra. From the news reports, things are not going so well there. Maybe we can help, I have some experience now and won't screw things up too badly, not with you there." Amanda replied.

"You sure about this? I promised not to push the issue with you." Rita asked, sitting up straighter.

"Yes, I am sure. And you kept your promise. How soon could we leave?" Amanda asked.

"Mid March. It will take that long to gather the units I want to take, plus escorts and supplies. I need to get the commanders all lined up, we could be gone for a long while, they have to be prepared to hold their own out here for a time with neither of us close by. We have not linked into the Star League HPG grid, unless you want us to." Rita said, reaching for her portable computer.

"No, we do it like we agreed years ago. We notify them of my arrival no more than 2 weeks before we get there. One for security, second, I would prefer them to not have much time for my arrival. I don't need no big ceremony and such." Amanda stated.

"Okay, we do it your way. I will be taking the 359th Battlemech Division, 181st Royal Mechanized Infantry Division, 280th Mechanized Infantry Division and Royal Black Watch of course. All 3 Divisions have the Potemkin Transports, that will minimize the amount of Jumpships we have to pull away. I will have the 89th Cruiser Division escort us. I want to leave Admiral Tanaka, General Rommel and Vice Admiral Coltrain here. Between them, everything should be safe here while we are gone." Rita said, checking her constantly updated notes.

"The 280th MID huh, isn't that where Patrick got assigned when he graduated last October?" Amanda said with a smile. Patrick Mitchell, Rita's son, had graduated Battlemech School and been assigned to the 280th MID under Major General Iris Carmen. Like his father, he piloted a Thunderbolt TDR-5Sb.

"Why yes it is. Are you accusing me of some sort of favoritism?" Rita replied with a smile.

"I would do no such thing. Might as well make it a family affair after all." Amanda said with a short laugh.

"We cannot do that. You have gotten to where most of the Division Commanders are all Aunt's or Uncle's. It would gut out entire command structure." Rita said.

"You fault. I grew up with all of them being around all the time. Now I hardly get to see any of them any more." Amanda said

"Well, then it is settled. I will start getting the ball rolling, you young lady go get some sleep." Rita said.

"Okay. But you don't stay up all night working on this either." Amanda ordered as she stood.

"Yes your highness. Now git." Rita responded with a smack on Amanda's backside.

March 2784[]

1 March 2784
New Earth (Terran Hegemony)

Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky looked over the countless reports coming in while the SLDF continued making ready for their Exodus. Many shipyards were filled with warships and transports. LVT Aerospace was cranking out their Monolith-Class Jumpships at a furious pace to fill the massive orders the SLDF had placed. Worn out equipment was being replaced as fast as it could. SLDF engineers were dismantling as many factory complexes and every type of manufacturing equipment they could lay the hands on. The one report he hated looking at was the folder that contained all the SLDF commands that he would be disbanding right before they departed, but look at it he did.

2784 Disbandment Prior Exodus

43rd Infantry Division
3002nd Heavy Tank Regiment
457th Heavy Tank Regiment
28th Light Horse Regiment
149th Dragoon Regiment
5th Mechanized Infantry Division
231st Light Horse Regiment
112th Royal Hussar Regiment
114th Hussar Regiment
251st BattleMech Division
306th Hussar Regiment
63rd Mechanized Infantry Division
189th Jump Infantry Division
5th Hussar Regiment
23rd Heavy Assault Regiment
133rd Jump Infantry Division
3rd French Infantry Regiment
166th Mechanized Infantry Division
4674th Striker Regiment
7th Jump Infantry Division
258th Dragoon Regiment
68th Infantry Division
396th Dragoon Regiment
38th Jump Infantry Division
1894th Light Horse Regiment
8th Striker Regiment
20th Mechanized Infantry Division
90th Dragoon Regiment
359th Dragoon Regiment
202nd Mechanized Infantry Division
235th Striker Regiment
15th Dracon Regiment
322nd BattleMech Division
168th Jump Infantry Division
125th Royal Hover Armor Regiment
267th Dragoon Regiment
258th Hussar Regiment
361st Dragoon Regiment
963rd Independent Aero Wing
48th Infantry Division
205th Light Horse Regiment

Major General Lauren Hayes' Force

151st Royal Battlemech Division
213th Battlemech Division
287th Battlemech Division
326th Battlemech Division
368th Battlemech Division
79th Mechanized Infantry Division
123rd Mechanized Infantry Division
184th Mechanized Infantry Division
197th Mechanized Infantry Division
13th Royal Infantry Division
3rd Striker Regiment
231st Striker Regiment
321st Hussar Regiment
89th Dragoon Regiment
349th Dragoon Regiment

SLDF Warships for Major General Hayes

Cameron-Class Battlecruiser - 1 (heavy damage)
Potemkin-Class Transport - 4 (all heavy/severe damage)
Black Lion II-Class Battlecruiser - 1 (heavy damage)
Aegis-Class Cruiser - 4 (all heavy/severe damage)
Congress-Class Frigate - 4 (all heavy/severe damage)
Sovetskii Soyuz-Class Cruiser - 1 (severe damage)
New Samarkand II-Class Aerospace Carrier - 2 (all heavy/severe damage)
Lola III Destroyer - 5 (all heavy/severe damage)
Essex II Destroyer - 6 (all heavy/severe damage)
Vincent-Class Corvette - 5 (all heavy/severe damage)
Volga-Class Transport - 4 (all heavy/severe damage)
Carrack-Class Transport - 9 (all heavy/severe damage)
Newgrange-Class Yardship - 5 (all heavy/severe damage)

Rimworld/SLDF Warships Cached

Graham X
Riga-Class Frigate - 10 (Jump Cores removed and destroyed)
Farragut-Class Battleship - 2 (Jump Cores removed and destroyed)
Carson-Class Destroyer - 8 (Jump Cores removed and destroyed)

Terra Asteroid Belt

Dart-Class Light Cruiser - 2 (all heavy/severe damage)

Though he wanted to take all the warships with him, there just was not time to repair all of them. Every functional shipyard in the Hegemony was prepping SLDF ships for their journey. They would be left to Major General Lauren Hayes' force. Once repaired, they should provide her with a credible defense force. The units slated to be disbanded would turn all their equipment for storage on Terra or used to bring the forces leaving with him to full strength. He just could not risk all that material falling into the hands of the Houses.

March[]

14 March 2784
Thazi (Terran Hegemony)

The massive convoy was assembled at the Zenith Jump Point. All Dropships were docked with their transports, all supplies were loaded and final goodbye's were being said. Changes had been made, Admiral Tanaka had demanded that SLS Salvation, Newgrange Yardship accompany the convoy in case of an emergency. Along with SLS Salvation, SLS Borneo, Volga Transport would also make the journey. It was a massive convoy that reminded everyone just how powerful the SLDF really was. And this was a very small portion of it.

Operation Homecoming

SLS Tirpitz, Black Lion II Battlecruiser
SLS Conroy, Avatar Heavy Cruiser
SLS Shield, Avatar Heavy Cruiser
SLS Independence, Samarkand II Aerospace Carrier
SLS Solomon, Essex II Destroyer
SLS Cartagena, Essex II Destroyer
SLS Buccaneer, Essex II Destroyer
SLS Salvation, Newgrange Yardship
SLS Borneo, Volga Transport
SLS Devon Pulman, Potemkin Transport
SLS Midnight Dancer, Potemkin Transport
SLS Mighty Lift, Potemkin Transport
12 Star Lord-Class Jumpships 359th Battlemech Division
280th Mechanized Infantry Division
181st Royal Mechanized Infantry Division
Royal Black Watch
3391st Special Forces Battalion

Every Dropship collar was filled. Every member was assigned quarters either on a Warship, Dropship or the Potemkin Transports to maximize comfort and reduce supply usage. It would take 238 days to reach Terra, Martha Pruitt had already promised to have enough supplies at Bastrop to restock their cargo holds ready to transfer. Amanda Cameron, at General Rita Mitchell's advice, had named General Heinrich Rommel acting Regent of the Hegemony. Major General Nathan Baxter had threatened to resign if he was not allowed to accompany them on their journey. General Mitchell had relented and assigned him Ground Force Commander.

At the signal, the massive Task Force began jumping from the Thazi system and the journey to Terra began.

May[]

22 May 2784
Bastrop (Federated Suns)

Task Force Homecoming began materializing at the Zenith Jump Point whicb caused a huge amount of discomfort for the few AFFS forces in the system. General Mitchell knew that this was going to be a touchy subject. When Customs personnel from the Federated Suns made their expected call, Rear Admiral Zeibler was ready.

"This is Bastrop Customs to SLDF convoy. We show no authorization for your transit. Please repond."

"This is Rear Admiral Zeibler, 89th Cruiser Division escorting SLDF forces from periphery garrison's back to the Terran Hegmeony. Our transit authrorizations must have gotten lost. If you could please file a course plan direct to Terra, I would be mighty thankful. I will file a complaint for the lost transit authorization upon our arrival. Seems we are still sorting stuff out from the war." Rear Admiral Zeibler responded.

"Roger, we have been having those kind of problems for quite a while. I will file your course plan for you, sir. Please inform Transport Subcommand that they need to get their act together. You are cleared to conduct recharge operations and we will declare your immediate area an exclusion zone for traffic. Your cleared for local CAP only."

"Thank you very much Customs Control. We will be taking on cargo from ZaP Shipping and will assume local control of their ships during our resupply operations." Rear Admiral Zeibler said.

"Local control is your, sir. Safe journey, Custom Control out."

Rear Admiral Zeibler handed the mic back and turned to General Mitchell "Told you. Even after all these years of chaos, everyone is just so used to SLDF ships transiting an area that they don't even react. As long as your explanation makes sense to them, they will pass you on."

"What are the odds that they will relay our passage up the chain and word gets to General Kerensky?" General Mitchell asked.

"I would say 60/40 for them punting it up the chain. This is not a single ship, or even a single Division. We are a potential invasion force. It is a risk we have no choice but to take. I would not be surprised if we don't have a AFFS Warship escort soon shadowing us." Rear Admiral Zeibler replied

"Oh that is just great. Keep me posted please." General Mitchell said.

June[]

1 June 2784
New Avalon (Federated Suns)

First Prince John Davion never did like the way things had ended in the Star League High Council. He felt he betrayed the trust that General Aleksandr Kerensky had placed in him. With the Hegemony Civil War over, production of the advanced designs given to the Federated Suns had shifted with the AFFS now purchasing 60% and the SLDF 40% since 2781. This had allowed massive upgrades to the equipment being used in the AFFS commands.

Though the AFFS had managed to recruit a few SLDF commands, he had ordered a temporary halt to active recruiting to try and save what little "friendship" he had with General Kerensky, who he knew was furious at the recruitment. He knew the other Houses were very much pursuing recruitment of SLDF commands and also trying to lay claim to Hegemony systems. Once the Hegemony Civil War had ended, a virtual tidal wave of refugee's had fled the Hegemony, especially from Terra. Estimates placed the refugee's fleeing Terra at over 5 Billion people. The Federated Suns had mobilized almost a thousand Jumpships and many more Dropships to help transport refugee's, holding up his promise to General Kerensky to aid any refugee's.

Already, over 500 million refugee's had been settled inside the Federated Suns. They were the ones that wanted to live in the Federated Suns permenantly. Another 25 million refugee's had been transported to the Taurian border which was their stated destination. Heading for the Outwrolds Alliance was another 40 million refugee's. But still inside the Federated Suns were almost 845 million Hegemony refugee's from early in the war or those who just did not know where to go. They were a huge drain on the Federated Suns resources, but First Prince John Davion was a man of his word and the moment they decided where they wanted to go, he would assist them on their way.

He had been alerted to a SLDF convoy that had entered Federated Suns space around Bastrop moving to Terra. Though unexpected, as long as they caused no trouble, he had authorized their passage without delay. General Kerensky had been pulling in far flung garrisons for over 2 years, so it was not an unheard of event. He was a little put off by the lack of notification, but not enough to throw a stink about it.

July[]

8 July 2784
New Earth (Terran Hegemony)

Aboard SLS McKenna's Pride, McKenna-Class Battleship, Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky looked at the massive fleet assembled. Simliar convoy's were located at staging points at over 50 star systems. He could not help but once again look at the massive list of commands he had ordered disbanded on 15 June. Many commands had instead of obeying orders to disband had joined some of the Houses or even went mercenary.

McKenna Class Battleship (Old Version - Underway)

McKenna Class Battleship, SLS McKenna's Pride

2784 Disbandment/Status

43rd Infantry Division - Disbanded
3002nd Heavy Tank Regiment - Lyran
457th Heavy Tank Regiment - Disbanded
28th Light Horse Regiment - Combine
149th Dragoon Regiment - Federated Suns
5th Mechanized Infantry Division - Disbanded/Marik
231st Light Horse Regiment - Lyran
112th Royal Hussar Regiment - Disbanded
114th Hussar Regiment - Combine
251st BattleMech Division - Disbanded/Federated Suns
306th Hussar Regiment - Disbanded
63rd Mechanized Infantry Division - Marik/Lyran
189th Jump Infantry Division - Disbanded
5th Hussar Regiment - Federated Suns
23rd Heavy Assault Regiment - Mercenary
133rd Jump Infantry Division - Disbanded/Capellan
3rd French Infantry Regiment - Capellan
166th Mechanized Infantry Division - Disbanded/Marik
4674th Striker Regiment - Combine
7th Jump Infantry Division - Disbanded/Combine
258th Dragoon Regiment - Capellan
68th Infantry Division - Exodus/Lyran
396th Dragoon Regiment - Federated Suns
38th Jump Infantry Division - Disbanded
1894th Light Horse Regiment - Federated Suns
8th Striker Regiment - Federated Suns
20th Mechanized Infantry Division - Disbanded
90th Dragoon Regiment - Disbanded
359th Dragoon Regiment - Disbanded
202nd Mechanized Infantry Division - Disbanded/Capellan
235th Striker Regiment - Disbanded
15th Dracon Regiment - Mercenary/Capellan
322nd BattleMech Division - Disbanded
168th Jump Infantry Division - Disbanded
125th Royal Hover Armor Regiment - Disbanded
267th Dragoon Regiment - Disbanded
258th Hussar Regiment - Capellan
361st Dragoon Regiment - Combine
963rd Independent Aero Wing - Combine
48th Infantry Division - Disbanded
205th Light Horse Regiment - Disbanded

Much of the equipment from the disbanded commands was placed into storage on Terra, that which was not taken for the Exodus. The entire 3rd RCT had refused to leave with him, but he also could not bring himself to disband the storied command. He finally closed the folder and slid it into his desk drawer. He made his way to the bridge and once he confirmed everything was ready, he ordered "Exodus". This was flashed to every assembled fleet and they all began jumping from their systems. The Exodus had begun.


November[]

5 November 2784
New Samarkand (Draconis Combine)

Today was the day, General Aleksandr Kerensky gave the order "Order all HPG equipped ships to switch codes to our preset settings. Disconnect from the HPG grid. From here on out, we are on our own. Once we have confirmation that is complete, transmit the jump orders."

It would take a full day for the 1,349 transports and 402 warships carrying 6 million people to depart the New Samarkand system. No one knew it would be some 265 years before they would know what happened to General Kerensky's people.

27 November 2784
Terra (Terran Hegemony)

Jerome Blake stood behind the HPG technician with a worried look on his face "This has got to be a joke. You say this message came in from Towne?"

"Yes sir. I confirmed and verified it. They say there is a large armada at the Nadir Jump Point. They transmitted the message from the armada."

Jerome Blake looked at the message slip he held in his hand, he just could not believe what he had read several times.

To: Star League High Command
From: General Rita Mitchell, SLS Tirpitz

Current location Towne. Inbound to Terra. ETA 1 December. Have special VIP from December 2766. Returning after a very long time away. Sure this message will generate many questions. Security protocal prevents more detail. Do not have current SLDF IFF settings, please set SDS to 2766 IFF settings for our arrival. Can not risk injury to special VIP.

The message generated so many more questions than it answered. What special VIP? 2766, that is when the Coup happened. Makes no sense, Jerome Blake thought.

21 December 2784

Task Force Homecoming began arriving at the Nadir Jump Point. Rear Admiral Zeibler was surprised when they were not challenged by a single warship or SDS system. Heck, the entire trip from Towne to Terra had been one massive surprise. Every jump, he had expected to find a SLDF welcoming committee of a few Battleships. But each time they had found nothing at all, just civilian transports.

He detailed SLS Salavation, Newgrange-Class Yardship and SLS Borneo, Volga-Class Transport to remain with the Star Lord Jumpships at the Nadir Jump Point. Once a CAP was established, he ordered the Dropships detached and the armada began the burn for the planet.

30 December 2784

Task Force Homecoming had not been challenged until they were 2 days from orbit and then by only a squadron of Aerospace Fighters. After reaching orbit, communications were finally established with those on the ground. They had refused to respond to communications, that is until the armada reached orbit. Rear Admiral Zeibler kept a constant watch on his ships plot board for any threats.

On board the SLS Tirpitz, Black Lion II Battlecruiser, General Rita Mitchell nodded at Amanda Cameron. She lifted the mic and began broadcasting on a open channel, reading off the page in her hand. "This is Amanda Cameron, daughter of First Lord Richard Cameron aboard SLS Tirpitz in orbit of Terra. I have returned to claim my birthright. I have been gone many years, whisked away when the Coup occurred by members of the Royal Black Watch. Myself and my escort will begin landing outside of Unity City tomorrow. There is much work to be done and I request all current leaders to meet me there. I look forward to returning the Terran Hegemony to it's former glory."<br>

When she finished, she looked at General Rita Mitchell, who nodded in return. Everyone knew tomorrow would be an exciting day.

31 December 2784

Jerome Blake looked at Major General Lauren Hayes as they both watched the massive fleet of Dropships descending on pillars of flame. Major General Lauren Hayes had her 151st Royal Battlemech Division formed up to meet this Amanda Cameron. But she also had the 213th and 287th Battlemech Divisions marshalled not 50Km away, ready to react of this went bad.

Once the lead Dropships had settled onto the expansive tarmac of the space port, the doors began opening and Major General Hayes could clearly see the first Battlemechs to emerge all were painted in the colors of the Royal Black Watch. The moved with precision and quickly formed around a Union Dropship, a singe door of which had opened but nothing had emerged. Finally movement was spotted and a single Pillager PLG-3Z emerged, moving with grace that belied the 100 tons of war machine. The Pillager never stopped moving until it had closed to 30 meters of the assembled "welcome" committee. It stood there for several minutes, silently, which made Major General Hayes a little nervous, as she could clearly see behind the Pillager, hundreds of Battlemechs emerging from Dropships. Finally, the Pillager gracefully knelt, the cockpit hatch popped open and a woman, she guessed in her mid 50's scrambled down the chain ladder easily. Once at the bottom, a much younger woman came down the chain ladder, much quicker and nimbler.

Together, the older woman, who wore the rank tabs of a SLDF General, and the younger woman, clad in a simple jumpsuit with no rank walked the short distance. A full platoon of Jump Infantry, clad in Royal Black Watch colors, quickly formed slightly behind them. Once they reached the assembled group, the younger woman spoke. "I am Amanda Cameron. I have returned to claim my birthright. This is General Rita Mitchell, she acts as my regent and her word is as though it came from me."

While Major General Lauren Hayes studied the women before her, Jerome Blake stepped forward slightly. "We are honored by your presence. But, I hope you understand we will need to verify your claim by taking a DNA sample. I already have a medical team standing by to draw the sample and the lab is ready to process it for comparison to our records."

Before Amanda Cameron could respond, General Rita Mitchell said "Your medical team may observe, but it will be my medical personnel that draw the requested DNA sample. I hope you understand, we take out security very seriously. Now, I have a question for you. Where is the SLDF and General Kerensky?"

"Gone. They have removed themselves from what is sure to start soon. Surely you monitored their movements via news reports during your journey here." Major General Hayes replied.

"Yes we did. They never responded to any messages we sent to them." General Rita Mitchell said, she had a feeling this Hayes woman was going to be trouble

"They were operating on a closed network. By the time you broadcast you message, General Kerensky had already disconnected from the HPG grid and placed all his ships on a closed network. Even we have no way to reach him. They are for all intents and purposes gone." Jerome Blake said.

"Well, that is going to be a problem. But we will just have to overcome it. Shall we proceed with the DNA sample? The sooner that is complete, the sooner we can begin rebuilding." Amanda Cameron said.


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