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Fate Can be Cruel (Book 2) - Chapter Cover

Fate Can Be Cruel
Chapter 10 - Year 2831


15th January, 2831
Thazi (Hegemony)

General (Ret) Rita Mitchell had called for a meeting of the minds, which was what she called all the old timers along with the new blood. Attending were General (Ret) Heinrich Rommel, General (Ret) Nathan Baxter, Fleet Admiral (Ret) Tanisha Tanaka, Admiral (Ret) Barbara Coltrain, Admiral (Ret) Vincent Zeibler, Fleet Admiral Paul Stanson, Commanding General Olivia Daniels and Christina Evanshire, Hegemony Security.

Everyone was seated within Rita Mitchell's spacious living room exchanging small talk until Rita called the meeting to order. "Thank you all for coming. Over the last few years, we have seen the Houses batter themselves, end the First major war and almost immediately begin another one which is starting to heat up as we speak. With Brian's passing, I am even more aware that many of us gathered here could expire at any time, myself included.

I want to make sure that we have contingency plans in place to handle as many possible future events as possible. Plans that the folks following in our foot steps will be able to dust off and quickly make use of. Most here have been kept in the loop of many things by Brian before he passed. Brian always had a jaunted eye towards Comstar, especially once Blake died and Conrad Toyama took over. Well, Toyama is a known, who do we think will succeed him as Primus? Christine?" Rita said

"Karpov. Raymond Karpov, he has grown in favor of Toyama. He is a hard liner. Reports are he is ruthless in his dealings with almost everyone. I rank him as a high threat. But while we are on Comstar, we have word that the the fighting which broke out was actually manipulated by Comstar by order of Toyama. Seems ROM has been leaking intel on the Combine to the Lyran Commonwealth. That is what caused Coordinator Jinjiro Kurita to once again attack both the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns." Christine Evanshire said.

"Well, that is another strike against Toyama. Little rat halted the payments that Blake had been making. I think it is time we activate Brian's Operation Rainy Day. Christine, when you leave, you may activate Operation Rainy Day. Comstar is moving a little too far off the agreed path, it is time they feel a little pain, they just will not know they are being slowly bled." Rita said, referring to the plan to covertly siphon funds from Comstar. Then she continued once Christine nodded.

"Now, how up to date are the plans for Operation Hegemony Awakens?" Rita asked

"Last updated 3 months ago. As everyone knows, Operation Hegemony Awakens covers our return to take back Terra if we have to. It would be preceded by a Sphere wide HPG shutdown, followed by strikes at Luyten 68-25 and Ross 248 with a direct invasion of Terra herself. Current plans call for those elements of First Fleet that cannot direct jump to Terra begin a forward deployment via uninhabited systems to FS19101-922, which is a uninhabited system 322LY from all three targets. Once they have recharged, they will strike Luyten 68-25 and Ross 248 and take out Comstar's fleet while the main strike by First Fleet leads 1st Corps and elements of 2nd Corps in a direct attack on Terra itself. We estimate no more than 2 Divisions worth of hostiles, which the 13 Divisions we would be dropping in the first wave should be able to overwhelm quickly. Comstar has repaired the damaged warships we left them, and they have skeleton crews in each Fleet base, but they mainly stay housed on 4 Olympus Stations that Comstar built, 2 in each Fleet Base. They have moved the warships into a close in location easily reached by shuttle craft to the stations. Comstar's own estimates place a 2 week restart to fully mobile all the ships. One ship at each Fleet Base is fully manned though and ready for immediate deployment, usually Terra itself. Luyten 68-25, that ships is CSS Invisible Truth, Cameron-Class Battlecruiser, formerly SLS Lady Shandra. At Ross 248, it is CSS Blakes Strength, Black Lion II Battlecruiser, formerly SLS Irrefutable. Comstar renamed the ships for some reason, some have their original names though." Commanding General Olivia Daniels answered.

"I want to add a target to the operation. Versailles or Taussen as Comstar calls it. We know Comstar removed all records of it but not what they are doing there. As much as I would love to take the 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division there for a look see, I will admit that I am way too old for that. But be damned if I wil give Comstar a place to flee if we decide they need to be taken out of play. Though they are clearly creating problems, inciting war, they have not crossed a line that I think we need to act right away. I want Taussen taken out of the equation quickly. So work it into the operation. How quickly could we execute Operation Hegemony Awakens?" Rita said.

"With the new slip stream technology? If you gave the order right now? We would be landing on Terra in 3 weeks. From Vonja to Terra is 7.4 days so Amber predicts. It would take a week to get all the assault troops loaded and aboard ship. Two weeks to forward deploy those elements that need to move out and recharge for the final jump. To be honest, I would rather add another week as a fail safe, so by late February, we would be hitting Terra." Commanding General Daniels said.

Rita shook her head "That new technology sure beats the months of travel or blown out jump drives. Plus it allows us to carry so much more actual combat supplies since we do not have to plan on food, water and other supplies for a year long trip. What if I said we have to be on Terra in 2 weeks?"

"Then we would execute a max jump from Vonja. In series, those ships that can slip stream would head out and those that normally would forward deploy would execute a normal super jump to their targets. Sure they blow out their drives in the process, but we could be on Terra in 2 weeks. We keep all non standard jump points in the Terra systems updated constantly." Fleet Admiral Stanson said.

"Very well. Operation Hegemony Awakens is well planned and feasible. Are all of our other hidden programs active , Christine?" Rita asked

"Yes, ma'am. We have tested the complete shutdown commands and continue to do so via random selected HPG station every 2 months. We still maintain the ability to take control or lock out Comstar on order. We get daily sweeps from HPG traffic from the key words programmed into the network. We firmly control ROM's Internal Security, which helps us insert new agents at will, plus identify agents from the Houses. We allow Federated Suns agents to enter, mostly. But so far, they have taken great pleasure in ratting out SAFE and ISF agents quickly and loudly." Christine Evanshire said.

"Excellent work. Now I am going to put a wet blanket on everyone. Amanda is hell bent on starting a colonization program. Not only that, but you can all bet that when I am gone, she will pressure you all to demobilize a big part of our forces. She will listen to your advice, but she really wants to pour money saved into improving Terraforming techniques. Make them quicker, more efficient. You all need to be prepared for it. But even if I go tonight, she will not push for the demobilization while the Houses are ripping each other apart. So, start thinking how the hell we can SAFELY execute her colonization idea." Rita said.


8th June, 2831
Thazi (Hegemony)

At 0630am, Commanding General (Ret) Rita Mitchell was found to have passed away in her sleep at the age of 102 by her husband Keith Mitchell. Medics were summoned and Director-General Amanda Cameron arrived within minutes of the medics. Tears filled her eyes as the medics declared that their was nothing they could do. For several minutes, Keith Mitchell consoled Director-General Amanda Cameron as she cried without shame at the loss of Aunt Rita, her adopted mother.

Finally she composed herself and realized that no one had moved and would not until she gave the order. "Do your duty with the utmost respect. She will lie in state inside the Capital Building for 2 weeks. No expense will be spared, stand the entire military down if everyone wants to attend." She turned to Keith Mitchell "Uncle Keith, I am so sorry, but you know I will need Christine Evanshire to send a team over and collect any classified information she might have had."

"I know, her note computer is on the nightstand and her office is locked down. I will be going with Rita, so the house is Christine's. I believe she has the access codes to everything, Rita was pretty good about that stuff." Keith Mitchell said, his eyes never leaving his wife of 83 years.

"Come on Uncle Keith, we are making the medics uncomfortable, let's go to the living room and let them do their duty." Director-General Amanda Cameron said


News of Commanding General (Ret) Rita Mitchell's death raced across the Hegemony worlds. Flag's were lowered to half staff where ever they were flown. All across the Hegemony, Senior HAF Commanders informed their commands of her passing.

9rd June, 2831
Thazi (Hegemony)

Christine Evanshire, Hegemony Security, walked into Director-General Amanda Cameron's office. "We have completed our recovery inside General Mitchell's house. She had quite a few working plans on her computer, I have the data stick containing everything she was working on, which was quite a bit. I thought you would want to review it."

"Thank you, Christine. Anything on here pressing or time sensitive?" Director-General Amanda Cameron asked taking the data stick.

"No, Ma'am. Seems she pulled some SLDF designs off the big Data Cores that the SLDF never really got a chance to put into production good. You might want to have Patrick Mitchell take a look at them when he gets here tomorrow. I reviewed her notes from the days before her passing, they were an interesting read. I now know why Brian liked and respected her so much, she was quite a woman." Christine Evanshire replied.

"Very well Christine, again thank you." Director-General Amanda Cameron said dismissing her as she stared at the data stick, suddenly feeling so alone.

23rd June, 2831 Thazi (Hegemony)

An estimated 2.7 million mourners had filed past Commanding General (Ret) Rita Mitchell's coffin in the Grand Hall of the Hegemony Capital Building. The Honor Guards from the Royal Black Watch carried her coffin with exacting precision to the awaiting caisson. From here she would begin a 2 mile journey to the National Cathedral where the actual services would be held and transmitted live to every world in the Hegemony. Once they arrived at the National Cathedral, the Honor Guard carried her up the massive granite stairs and into the National Cathedral.

Directly behind the Honor Guard was Director-General Amanda Cameron, walking with Keith Mitchell, Patrick Mitchell, his wife, Captain Robert Mitchell and Captain Russell Mitchell. Inside, standing for her arrival were every planetary Governor, surviving veterans of the SLDF and Sarah McEvedy, Franklin Hallis and Colonel Trish Ebon. When her coffin reached it's resting place, Cardinal Emmitt Lawder began his service, which lasted 15 minutes, before turning it over to Director-General Amanda Cameron, who slowly walked past the coffin, she ran her hand lovingly along the crisp flag of the Terran Hegemony which covered her coffin.

"We are gathered to say farewell to Commanding General Rita Mitchell. To many, she was founder of the Hegemony, which she was. To others, she was the ultimate commanding officer. Many years ago, she raised me as her own after my parents were killed during the Coup. She taught me everything that I know. She was stern when she had to be, but always with a touch of love. She was the same with her fellow soldiers, stern when she had to be, but always with love. She drilled into me the saying "The strong watch over and protect the weak". I have strived to live up to those words.

She was my mentor, my guiding hand when times were difficult, but more than that, she was mom. For many years, I called her Aunt Rita, but she was the only mother I had ever had. But I shared her, with all of you out there. She was a mother to all the soldiers under her command, to every citizen of the Hegemony. She never once stopped protecting the people of the Hegemony. Even in her brief retirement, she worked tirelessly to make sure the Hegemony would always survive. That the Hegemony Armed Forces had the very best of equipment, training and anything else that they needed to ensure that the Hegemony would prevail against any threat.

The last thing that she was working on was a mission to once and for all find a cure for the Delphi Curse, which has plagued the New Delphi Compact since it's creation. She proposed that the Hegemony assemble the very best scientists and medical personnel to be sent to the New Delphi Compact. There they would work to find a cure for the deadly virus that kills so many people. I will now take up that mantle and the Hegemony will find a cure for the Delphi Curse. The Hegemony will free the people of that virus. The Hegemony will seek to make contact with as many lost worlds as we can. We will offer them supplies, medical aid and friendship, all without any strings attached. War has once again erupted inside the Inner Sphere, I am sure we will once again have waves of refugee's at our borders. We will take them in, as we did the hundreds of millions before.

Aunt Rita, Mom, I was not ready for you to go, not yet. But you have more than earned your rest. I know that you are watching over us all, and I promise to keep the Hegemony safe. The strong watch over and protect the weak."

Director-General Amanda Cameron wiped the tear from her face and walked back to Commanding General Rita Mitchell's flag draped coffin and gently kissed it. She stood back and nodded at the Honor Guard, who silently stepped forward and lifted the coffin. With precision, they carried it back to the waiting caisson where it would begin its final journey to her final resting place, a small hill that over looked the Hegemony capital. The broad avenue was lined with Hegemony soldiers from the 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division and 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division. Their Battlemechs had been polished until they shined in the bright sun, they lined the avenue. As the caisson began its journey, as it passed, the soldiers saluted and held it as the procession passed.

7th June, 2838
Terra (Comstar)

Primus Raymond Karpov's face was red with anger as he spoke to Michelle Dupreas, Precentor ROM "Michelle, you of all people I expected to understand that Comstar must prevent the Houses from recovering technology."

"No, Raymond. I will not support this action of yours. The Houses are making some progress, but they have beaten themselves to a pulp. Billions of people are already suffering from the decline and now you want my ROM to accelerate that slide by killing those that are trying to actually recover that which they have lost? NO, I will not support this action by you. I said nothing when you started dictating the wacky chanting inside the HPG stations. I have said nothing about your actions to prevent the workers on the HPG's from actually learning how the damned things work. But this crosses a huge line and is one that I cannot, will not support." Michelle Dupreas said

"Then what will you do, Michelle? The First Circuit will support my proposal. Your appeal has changed nothing." Primus Karpov asked.

"Then I her by resign as Precentor ROM and Comstar. I will live out the rest of my life with the knowledge that my hands are clean in this affair." Michelle Dupreas said.

"Your making a serious mistake, Michelle." Primus Karpov replied as he watched his former friend walk away.

Two hours later, Precentor Calvin Newsome, ROM Internal Security entered Precentor Michelle Dupreas office and silently watched as she packed up her few personal items. He had been ordered by Primus Raymond Karpov to make sure no secrets were removed from Comstar's possession. When she was finally packed up, she carried the small box of items out the door of Comstar's Headquarters without looking back.

28 June 2838

The small secure radio beeped, Precentor Calvin Newsome picked it up "Yes."

"Calvin, Janice. We have some movement outside Dupreas residence. We got a 3 person team moving silent, they look like they know what they are doing."

"Karpov is making his move like we thought. Execute the extraction."

"Moving now."

Janice Walker signaled her people and pointed to Dupreas residence. Silently without a word, the team of 6 moved quickly to intercept the now hostile group. As they closed on their targets, 3 barely audible "pops" were heard as the silenced pistols took down the hostile team. While 2 of their members searched the downed hostiles, the remaining 4 made entry into Dupreas residence. Ten minutes later, 2 of them escorted Michelle Dupreas from her residence. Within 15 minutes, flames appeared inside Dupreas' house and within 30 minutes the entire structure was fully engulfed in raging flames.

30th June, 2838

Michelle Dupreas exited the shuttle craft onto CSS Gliding Glory, Merchant Jumpship. Once she was led into a decent sized stateroom, her hood was taken off. She blinked her eyes as they adjusted to the light in the stateroom. She slowly focused them on the woman before her "So Karpov sent you to kidnap me and kill me huh?"

"No, ma'am. Actually, we saved your life. My name is Janice Walker, I lead the strike team that rescued you."

"I heard the ship we are on identified as CSS Gliding Glory. That ship is assigned to ROM Internal Security." Michelle replied.

"It is, currently it is deep inside the Draconis Combine. Your actually onboard the SLS Sam L. Ellis a Hegemony ship using Comstar codes. In a month, you will be safely in your new home. Calvin Newsome said to tell you that you owe him a dinner someday." Janice Walker said.

A loud gong sounded and Michelle Dupreas vision blurred but slowly cleared but the funny sensations continued "Did we just jump? I think there is a problem."

"We are still jumping and it will be like this for a few more days. When we arrive at our destination, you will be 475LY from Terra. There we will shuttle over to an awaiting ship for the final leg of our trip." Janice Walker said with a smile.


13 August 2838
Thazi (Hegemony)

The shuttle ride down to the surface had been quick, SLS Francis T. Ziegler, Merchant Surveillance Vessel, having taken charge of the important passengers for the final leg from her sister ship. When the shuttle door opened, Michelle Dupreas was led down the steps. At the bottom of the steps, a car slid up and the door opened, Michell Dupreas for in and found a woman sitting in the back behind the driver.

"Welcome to Thazi Precentor ROM Michelle Dupreas. My name is Christine Evanshire, Hegemony Security. I gave the order to rescue you if Karpov made a move to eliminate you. We have picked up some troubling chatter and I want to know what Karpov is up to."

17th August, 2838 Thazi (Hegemony)

Christine Evanshire, Hegemony Security, led Michelle Dupreas into the conference room. Seated at the head of the table was Director-General Amanda Cameron. Michelle Dupreas could not believe her eyes and said so "So it is true after all. Your alive. I always thought Conrad Toyama was slightly nuts in how he always tempered his actions worrying about possibly angering you."

"Please sit down, Ms Dupreas. I am alive and so is the Terran Hegemony, though we just call ourselves the Hegemony. Maybe someday we will return to Terra and we can assume our true name. Now, you have managed to get Christine here all worked up, so how about telling all of us what Karpov and Comstar is up to." Director-General Amanda Cameron said.

"Simple, Karpov wants to help the Houses slide deeper into the darkness using Organizational Edict 3056. This will massively expand ROM and change it's focus from Internal Security to targeting and preventing the Houses from maintaining their technology and research." Michelle Dupreas said.

"So Raymond Karpov is as dangerous as we thought he would be. Christine, have we any further intercepts?" Director-General Amanda Cameron asked.

Christine Evanshire hesitated before answering, seeing the hesitation, Michelle Dupreas said "I am no security threat. I have no desire to return to Terra or even the Inner Sphere. To do so, well that would mean my death."

"Comstar is being very helpful, I had Organizational Edict 3056 inserted into the HPG grid, it is now called Operation Holy Shroud. Initial target lists have been sent out, over 1,475 names. Experts in almost every field imaginable. I recommend we make life difficult for ROM to accomplish their mission." Christine replied.

"I agree. I warned Jerome Blake what would happen if he allowed Comstar to deviate from his mission. If Aunt Rita was here, she would recommend we take Terra away from Comstar and abolish the organization. Christine, deploy your Special Forces Brigade as you see fit. Intercept and eliminate ROM's strike teams. Ms Dupreas, would you happen to know about Taussen?" Director-General Amanda Cameron asked.

Hearing the name spoken made Michelle Dupreas jerk upright "You are very well informed. Taussen was once Versailles. It was the first system Jerome Blake ordered removed from history. It is a fallback position, in case one of the Houses invaded Terra and we could not hold it. It has a heavy ROM presence, but no active defense force. Currently has a population of 73 million people who have no contact with the outside. No HPG at all. Not even radio communications to be detected. Everything is run using fiber optics. Nothing broadcasts at all. Toyama had ordered a massive mining operation there. For over ten years they hollowed out a massive mountain chain and inside it, they began assembling a massive Battlemech Factory. There is also a very large ROM school there. Besides Terra, it is the only other place where Comstar and ROM can recruit large numbers of loyal people."

"So a captive population under control of Comstar and ROM. Well, that cannot be allowed to exist. General Daniels, what can we place on Taussen to liberate it?" Director-General Amanda Cameron asked.

"I can have 8 Divisions ready to deploy in a week. But from what I have heard, it will not take a massive force to actually take the place; it is the large population and possible threat of ROM personnel. That is going to take lot's of grunts. I think we would be better off actually using the 3rd Corps with it's many Infantry Divisions. Once we are sure the place has been pacified, we can reduce the number of units there. It will take me an additional 3 weeks to shuffle the transports around from the other Corps." Commanding General Olivia Daniels replied.

"Then make it so. Ms Dupreas, how is Taussen supplied if no outside communication?" Christine Evanshire asked.

"Jumpship. Pony Express method." Michelle Dupreas said.

"Then we will want to have a naval presence at Taussen to make sure any ships that arrive do not leave." Director-General Amanda Cameron said.

20th August, 2838
Azur (Hegemony)

Professor Carl Ellis watched as the brand new ER Medium Laser was test fired. Even with the Wolverine assistance, it had taken a few years to build the proper manufacturing machinery to build the more powerful ER Large Laser. It had then taken 2 years to perfect the proper lens shapes for use on their ER Medium Lasers to increase both their range and hitting power. Now that they had gotten it right, work would begin on a ER Small laser.

It was still a slow process, each laser was built with exacting precision. The slightest flaw was not allowed and the entire laser assembly was scrapped. So far, making use of any sort of mass production had eluded them. So each was hand assembled by skilled technicians. Current production was 2 ER Large Lasers per day, 6 ER Medium Lasers per day. Some day, he hoped to increase that rate. He would not release the weapons to the factories until he had a ample supply on hand for both new production but also for replacements once they were fielded.

He had taken over the Laser research in 2834 and he had refused to dismantle the few working examples the Wolverine scientists had brought with them. First he demanded that the ability to manufacture all the parts be worked out. With that had come locating a few of the minerals that were newly discovered. Then they had to work out the process to actually turn the minerals into what they wanted. That consumed 2 years of work right there. But now they had a ER Large Laser that hit like a PPC, lighter and smaller than their existing one with a longer range. The new ER Medium Laser had a 33% range increase and hit almost as hard as a standard large laser, but with less heat than a large laser. All packed into a 1 ton package.

Across the hallway, Professor Helen Barksdale made some code changes to her project. She had been working on an advanced targeting computer for 2 years now. Using a new processing method developed by the "AMBER" super computer, combined with old SLDF battle computer programming, she knew it was just a matter of time before her project became reality. Her goal was to make even the most average Battlemech, Tank or Aerospace pilot as close to a Gunslinger graduate as she could. She had a working model, it had achieved a 83% hit rate, but so far was far too heavy for practical use. One day, it would be a reality.

Inside the secure "AMBER" facility, Professor Irene Foltz monitored AMBER as she worked on several genetic samples of the Delphi Curse virus. It had taken a few years to program a way for AMBER to link into actual medical computers but they had finally managed to accomplish it. Director-General Amanda Cameron had ordered that AMBER work on nothing else but beating the Delphi Curse. Hegemony and Wolverine scientists had traveled to the New Delphi Compact and carefully gathered over 3 million samples from the systems of the Compact's population. From the Delphian Virus Research and Immunization Institute they had the actual virus to play with. But these samples were kept on a orbital station, they would never be allowed on a planet’s surface. At least the virus was found to die when exposed to vacuum.

New Sierra (Periphery)

Commodore Gerrod Haynes, command SLS Gao, Essex III Destroyer, watched the destruction of the last orbiting defense satellite orbiting the habitable planet. They had been sent here when a Wolverine Jumpship had failed to return from it's exploration mission. They had found the wreckage of the Jumpship and 2 Dropships it had carried. Though habitable was not quite the word he would use for the planet in his viewscreen. It was obvious that a massive nuclear exchange had occurred. He had even been forced to add his own ships weapons fire to destroy several ground based defense stations that had locked onto his ship.

His sensors suddenly picked up a ship that just materialized without warning, he glanced at the transponder code and silently cursed, when the hell do I get to use this new damned travel techniques, he thought. SLS James B. Houston, Merchant-Class Surveillance Vessel had come in at the stable pirate point just 27,000Km from his ship without any advance warning.

"SLS James B. Houston to SLS Gao, how copy?"

"Loud and clear, Houston. I think we have finally cleared out the defense sites. We will escort you into orbit so that you may commence your scans of the surface."

"Roger, heading for orbit to commence scans. Be advised, SLS Walter R. Weaver is conducting orbital scans of Richmond's World 84LY from here. If their findings are good, a DoME team will be dispatched to begin trying to reverse the damage there. Same as we will do here. But it will depend on what we find."

Richmond's World (Periphery)

Aboard SLS Walter R. Weaver, Mechant-Class Surveillance Vessel, Commodore Josh Ferris had his ship in a close orbit while his ships sensitive sensors scanned the planet's surface. They were not sure what happened to this planet, but whatever it was, it had reduced it to a desert planet. Records had indicated some sort of virus, so he had a full scientific team aboard ready to handle anything they found.

Mauna Loa (Hegemony)

Jaime Morales watched the DoME Team dismantle the huge orbital mirror array. Luckily, the DoME team assigned to Mauna Loa had deactivated the mirrors before they had left to join General Kerensky's run from the Inner Sphere. Records had indicated that a ten year plan had been in effect, not a 80 year plan. The planet was extremely hot and would need an estimated 80 to 100 years before the place could handle human life comfortably. Instead, after an initial survey, it had been decided to remove the mirror arrays for possible deployment somewhere else.

Drachenfeld (Hegemony)

Sarah McEvedy smiled as she watched the shuttle slowly come to a halt. Today, not only would Drachenfeld, but also her Wolverines would officially join the Hegemony. Her Wolverines had continued a high growth rate and now totaled 864,965 people in total. Marriages had actually occurred between her Wolverines and the local population here. Today things would change, for her own people would be allowed to freely migrate to the rest of the Hegemony if they desired, but also those from the Hegemony would be allowed to move here to Drachenfeld.


1st September, 2838
Thazi (Hegemony)

Using information provided by Michelle Dupreas, they learned that Comstar only sent a single Jumpship to Taussen every December to pick up new personnel to be brought back to Terra. Christne Evanshire had deployed the Hegemony's Special Forces Brigade into the Inner Sphere in an effort to prevent ROM's strike teams. Technicians were pulling copies of ROM communications and were working on identifying any ROM strike teams and their locations.

Commanding General Olivia Daniels had decided that a strike against Taussen would not take place until January 2839, that would allow them at least a year before they had to worry about another visit from Comstar. Taussen she had learned, was a pleasant little planet that was fully self sufficient in resources and food for it's population. She had also learned that Comstar had transported several million people there during the 1st War from dying worlds.

Taussen Assault Force

31st Infantry Division 36th Infantry Division 52nd Infantry Division 48th Infantry Division 247th Heavy Assault Regiment

Naval Escort

13th Destroyer Division

SLS Midway, Riga II Destroyer (SS)
SLS Victory, Riga II Destroyer (SS)
SLS Cape Bon II, Essex III Destroyer (SS)
SLS Cartagena II, Essex III Destroyer (SS)
SLS Solomon II, Essex III Destroyer (SS)
SLS Sierra II, Essex III Destroyer (SS)

Drawn from 3rd Corps, the Taussen Assault Force provided 8 Battlemech Regiments, 36 Infantry Regiments and 16 Armor Regiments. She felt this would be plenty to secure the world quickly and begin ferreting out any ROM resistance they might encounter. Hegemony Security was providing a detachment of agents to assist in rooting out any ROM personnel. Though only a single Destroyer Division was escorting the initial invasion, the rest of 1st Fleet would be ready to jump in if Comstar deployed it's warships.

Commanding General Olivia Daniels and Fleet Admiral Paul Stanson had tried to convince Director-General Amanda Cameron to allow them to take Comstar's warships off the table from the onset, but she had denied that request stating, "There is no need to kick off a full scale war at this time between the Hegemony and Comstar."

18th September, 2838
Cerulean (Federated Suns)

Arthur Boxman watched the identified ROM safe house. His disguise as a common street worker helped him blend in. They had orders to not strike until the ROM agents actually made their move on the identified targets. On Cerulean, that was 3 scientists working on improving water purification techniques. He pried the brick loose and cleared the debris from the space to prepare it for the replacement brick. A van pulled up to the ROM safe house and a group of 5 individuals exited the building and entered the van.

"Targets are moving. White van, driver and 5 suspects." He said to the small mic clipped to his lapel.

"Roger, we are ready. Weren’t we doing this covert or overt?"

"Good question. Orders did not say, everyone read them. Said prevent ROM activity and protect targets at all costs. Leaves quite a bit of wiggle room." Arthur said

"Then we go covert. We take them out and vanish the van and bodies somewhere. Leave them guessing."

Two hours later, the 6 ROM agents were dead. They never detected the Nighthawk PAL suited opponents that took them down 20 meters from the lead scientists house. Scooping the bodies up, they placed them back in the van, where Arthur Boxman took the wheel and drove it to the edge of a very deep lake. Exiting, he nodded as he walked away, a Spector Battlemech emerged from the wood line and gave the van a nudge off the cliff sending the van into the lake where it sank into 300 feet of water.

The Hegemony Security team headed boarded another van for the trip to their shuttle while the Spector rejoined the rest of its lance and headed off for their Confederate-Class Dropship.

Tancredi IV (Federated Suns)

"We clear?" Brandon Marks asked.

"All hostiles are down. Target is still asleep, never heard a thing."

"Then let's gather the bodies and get the hell out of here."

A booming explosion from the Precision Weaponry complex caused all their heads to turn "Shit, I hope we did not miss one."

Across the Inner Sphere, 47 prominent scientists were targeted on this day. Of those, Hegemony Security had been able to prevent the elimination of 26 of them while eliminating the ROM strike teams. Most of those saved had been inside the Federated Suns, an area more easily reached from the Hegemony. But not every Hegemony team was even in place to try and prevent the attacks. Those Special Forces dispatched to the Draconis Combine and Free Worlds League were not very keen on helping those nations at all, in any way, but they had their orders.

22nd September, 2838
Farnesworth (Federated Suns)

Adept Tammy Blaine was awakened by the cold steel of a barrel pressed to her temple. She allowed her eyes to focus on the masked face hovering over hers. A voice told her something and it was not good, not good at all. "You move you die, make a sound and you die. Three of your team failed to follow those simple commands. You’re going to very slowly and very carefully sit up."

She did as she was told, her racing mind could not figure out how to get to her pistol under the pillow where her head had been. Once sitting up, another masked figure placed flexi-cuffs on her wrists. "Very carefully, stand up. You’re going to come with us and answer some questions." She did as she was told wondering how the hell the Federated Suns Intel services had caught wind of them.

Not everything went smoothly though, across town, a sharp firefight erupted that went on for 15 minutes before a rapid response team from the Screaming Eagles entered the fray. After their arrival, the largest ROM safe house, containing 5 separate strike teams was secured. Waving to the Screaming Eagles Captain, the Special Forces commander gathered his troops and they headed for the space port to board their Dropship. ROM would have to think twice about targeting Mitchell Vehicle personnel.


8th December, 2838
Thazi (Hegemony)

"To date, Hegemony Security in conjunction with the Special Forces Brigade have prevented 81 targeted killings by ROM. Only now are our teams reaching the Free Worlds League and Lyran Commonwealth. They have taken some serious losses but we hope to minimize them from here on out. The Draconis Combine is a problem as is the Capellan Confederation. With their heavy internal security, we are having difficulty in getting our people into position. We lost 2 teams already to Combine Security. Our security is still secure, both teams were fully sanitized before their insertion." Christne Evanshire, Hegemony Security said.

"Damn, two teams lost. I say screw both of those nations, especially the Combine. Personally the Federated Suns is the only nation worth helping, at least they did not act like vultures as the Terran Hegemony fell apart." Commanding General Olivia Daniels replied

"We will not stand by and watch ROM eliminate innocent people just because they are smart. That is my final decision General Daniels." Director-General Amanda Cameron said

"Yes, ma'am. I apologize for my outburst." General Olivia Daniels replied

"No need to apologize, Olivia. These meetings are where we can freely argue our points before we take any action. Aunt Rita was always big on that and I will continue to let my inner circle speak freely in these meetings. Let's move on, how are we on the invasion of Taussen?" Director-General Amanda Cameron said.

"The selected units are moving to their jump off points and will be in place and ready to go by the end of the month. I have shifted troops to cover their normal garrison positions." General Daniels replied.

"Okay, that is good. Now, we need to think about the big question. What the hell do we do with Taussen once we take it?" Director-General Amanda Cameron asked.

"We know ROM recruits heavily from there. The control everything there, so it is a pretty safe bet the population will be trouble. Stripping the Battlemech Factory from the place is almost reason enough to take it and leave." General Daniels said

"While that is a good point, I am not keen on leaving those people under the total control of Comstar and ROM. We could strip the factory and return the world to the Federated Suns. It was theirs before anyway." Director-General Amanda Cameron said

"May I suggest something radical?" Christine Evanshire interjected "Taussen presents us with a strategic position. A short distance from Terra itself but more important, it would provide us with a location almost in the center of the Inner Sphere. From there, we could launch missions into all of known space using the slip stream technology. We could respond to an emergency within a week of learning of it to anywhere known to man. You said not long ago that we should seek out the far flung colonies and research centers from the Star League. Well we cannot reach most from here, but we can from Taussen."

"Valid point and one I never thought of. Objections?" Director-General Amanda Cameron said and when no one said anything she continued "Then we keep Taussen for our own purposes, but what of the population?" "If they give us too much trouble we ship them out. Maybe let them migrate to the worlds here, or we find a nice place to dump them. Though I am not keen on the thought of potential ROM agents penetrating our borders that easily." Christine Evanshire replied.

"Then we leave the population question open for now, wait and see. Okay, anyone got anything else to discuss?" Director-General Amanda Cameron asked.

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