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Fate Can be Cruel (Book 2) - Chapter Cover

Fate Can Be Cruel
Chapter 12 - Years 2999-3004

January 2999 - Overview[]

January, 2999

The small hidden war against Comstar's Operation Holy Shroud had concluded in 2841, at least the Hegemony Security's side of the war. Though many wanted to take the war to the next level, Director-General Amanda Cameron had stood firm and since the Hegemony had managed to prevent the death of many researchers, she ordered the counter operations halted. Though the next 2 years saw the security forces of the various Houses prevent more deaths, Hegemony Security had slowly and carefully slipped information to the various House security operations to assist in the counter operations.

Gwithian had become the first Hegemony colony established in 2844 with the introduction of 325,000 colonists. A single Conventional Regimental Combat Team had been sent to provide protection of the colony. A small terraforming operation had improved the soil and water of the planet over a ten year cycle. In 2865, the Hegemony colonized Richmond's World after DoME declared the planet once again viable and the virus which decimated the first colony had been eradicated, with the initial colony established in 2867 with 320,000. New Sierra was finally completely terraformed by 2890 and DoME declared it once again inhabitable in 2912 in which a colony of 475,000 was established.

The Delphi Curse had proven a stubborn virus to defeat and in 2883, scientist had finally created a vaccine that eradicated the deadly virus. Much like Small Pox that had once ravaged Terra, it had taken a monumental effort to inoculate everyone in the Delphi Compact. Even so, travel to the surface of any planet was not allowed until an individual not from the Delphi Compact had been inoculated at one of the Jump Points as a precaution. Nor was anyone allowed to depart until they had tested negative for the virus as a precaution. No chances were taken with this deadly virus.

With the end of the Second Succession War, as the wars had come to be called, in 2864, Director-General Amanda Cameron had ordered a demobilization of the Hegemony Armed Forces. With the destruction of almost all of the warships in the Inner Sphere, the massive Hegemony Navy was ordered to mothball 90% of their ships. Only 2 Divisions of warships were allowed to remain operational. From a high of 32 active Divisions, the Hegemony Army was reduced to only 2 active Divisions by 2874. The 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division and 331st Royal Battlemech Division were the only full strength Divisions. The 272nd because no one dared to deactivate it and the 331st because it remained a symbol of the Wolverine's past.

Many of the Divisions though were reduced to Regimental Combat Teams, close to what were formed in the Federated Suns during the reign of First Prince Melissa Davion. Built around a single Battlemech Regiment, 2 Armor Regiments and 4 Infantry Regiments. By 2920, the Hegemony Armed Forces was 30 RCT's, 8 Independent Regiments and 78 Conventional RCT's. Vast storehouses were established across the Hegemony from which the equipment could be quickly placed back into service if needed.

The vast amount of money saved was poured into medical research and terraforming techniques. The natural life span of Hegemony citizens was slowly expanded to 150 years, with several people reaching 185 years of age. Many types of cancer were defeated, though a few remained extremely stubborn. Though reduced, military research continued but on a smaller scale. In 2851, a targeting computer was introduced that greatly improved even a average gunner could hit a target at range. The biggest advancement had come in 2853 when the Ferret Power Armor was finally declared ready. Two versions had been created, one armed with Jump Jets, to be used by Jump Infantry and the Special Forces troops and another with increased ground speed of 32kph for normal ground forces. It had taken years to work out the small problems. The Special Forces Brigade was fully outfitted with the Ferret Power Armor by 2860, with each Battalion having 3 Companies (96 suits each) and a full Battlemech Company.

Only the 272nd and 331st were equipped with the Ferret Power Armor, but both Divisions had a full Brigade equipped with them. The 272nd Mechanized Infantry Division had a total of 4,608 and the 331st had a total of 4,608. It took until 2875 to finally fully equip both Divisions. The venerable Turhan Tank was once again modified to carry these powerful suits into battle. Tactics for the new suits were slowly worked on over the years. In 2890, production of the Ferret Power Armor was scaled down to just 300 per year, enough to replace losses, but the additional lines were mothballed carefully in case of a rapid need for additional suits.

The introduction of the targeting computer combined with the powerful ER laser systems had rendered research into the Pulse laser technology almost a moot point. Many weapons researchers turned to other projects. In 2848, micro electronics had reached the point where LRM missile's could be fired with no minimum range much like SRM systems. This made the LRM systems that much deadlier and was greeted by those Battlemech pilots armed with the LRM systems with great fanfare.

Though Hegemony Security maintained its domination of Comstar's ROM over the years, the Veddar Affair in 2861 had caused them plenty of problems. It had caused Hegemony Security to slow down the introduction of agents into Comstar to avoid detection. More problems had occurred when Comstar instituted a 2 year rotation of its personnel among duty stations.

Olympus Space Station (Solar Sail Deployed)

Olympus Class Recharging Space Station

In 2947, when it was reported by Hegemony Security that Comstar had stood up the new Com Guard, followed quickly by Comstar actually building a new warship, the Dante-Class Frigate, the Hegemony Armed forces reactivated the 1st Battle Squadron as a counter. All efforts to improve the slip stream technology had failed, though researchers had managed to design and build a system that could actually track and give warning of a slip stream equipped ship. These powerful systems were placed aboard the many Olympus and Bastion stations around the Hegemony. "Amber" had created a way for the many slip stream equipped ships of the Hegemony Navy to make use of their own sensors to provide a 12 hour notification that slip stream equipped ship was in-bound, the more powerful sensor aboard the stations gave a 36 hour notification. All efforts to increase the range or number of slip stream jumps before a complete core swap had eluded the researchers.

March 3000[]

3rd March, 3000
Strana Mechty (Clan Space)

"Returning to the Inner Sphere without good Intel is a recipe for disaster. It goes against every sound military tactic in history." Khan Kerlin Ward, Clan Wolf said to the assembled Khan's in the Grand Council.

"And how would you propose that we gather the information we need, Khan Ward?" Khan Nadia Winson, Clan Ghost Bear, asked.

"We send a recon mission to the Inner Sphere. To prevent subjecting Trueborns to this deceptive task, we will use Freeborn warriors. This force will then serve as a mercenary command, serving each of the Houses. Gaining valuable intel on their forces, fighting techniques and prowess. While this mission is underway, we can prepare ourselves for returning to the Inner Sphere, properly." Khan Kerlin Ward said.

As the various Khan's nodded approval, Khan Nadia Winson put the measure to a vote, which easily passed. "Khan Kerlin Ward, since this is your proposal, Clan Wolf will take the lead on forming this special unit. It will be up to Clan Wolf to provide most of the equipment and warriors for this mission. Though I am sure many of the Khan's gathered here will make additional equipment and warriors available to you." Khan Nadia Winson declared.

"Clan Wolf accepts the Grand Council's charge. I will personally begin work on putting the required force together." Khan Kerlin Ward replied.

15th March, 3000

Khan Kerlin Ward looked at the notes he had made. He had studied ancient records, using the Northwind Highlanders and Illician Lancers as a guideline of mercenary commands used in the Inner Sphere. In doing so, he had settled on 5 Regiments along with several attached commands as the perfect force structure. He had been shocked when saKhan Ren Posavatz, Clan Goliath Scorpion, had offered to train the new command in Inner Sphere tactics using the many SLDF manuals they held as a training tool. He had accepted the offer, but amassing the warriors and support personnel was going to be a challenge. This mission would take most of Clan Wolf's Freeborn warriors, stripping many of their Garrison Clusters to almost nothing, along with putting a sizeable dent in their many Brian Caches of stored, ancient Battlemechs and other equipment. He already had technicians searching the Brian Caches and removing the equipment for a full refurbishing.

Timber Wolf (Clan Wolf Livery by vertexnormal)

Timber Wolf Heavy OmniMech

Though this was offset by several communications from several Khan's offering Freeborn warriors and even some equipment. Though the force would still place a huge burden upon Clan Wolf's Touman, any help he could get would help offset this huge drain. Complaints from Khan Yvonne Hazen, Clan Jade Falcon, had been rebuffed as she realized the enormous expense this was going to take on Clan Wolf. But a Trial Of Refusal by Khan Kincaid Furey, Clan Smoke Jaguar, would have to be defeated first before he could proceed with actual recruitment.

19 May 3000

Star Captain Natasha Kerensky, 328th Assault Cluster, exited her Timber Wolf with a smile on her face. Her Trinary had won the Trial of Refusal against Clan Smoke Jaguar. Even her only Freeborn warrior, Jaime Wolf had performed extremely well. She felt he would one day be a ristar among Clan Wolf, even as a Freeborn. He seemed to be gifted in both strategy and tactics, and even some of her Trueborn warriors seemed to willingly follow his orders. This in itself was a rare thing, but he would soon get his chance to prove it as she planned to allow him to compete in a Trial of Position for Star Commander.

November 3002[]

7th November, 3002
Deep Periphery, Clan Space

The recruitment and training of the force had not been going to plan Khan Kerlin Ward had finally been forced to concede. Though several of the Freeborn had shown themselves to be able Cluster, rather Battalion commanders, they had proven unable to command such a large force during their training against Clan Goliath Scorpion's Heartvenom Cluster. But today he hoped to change all of that.

Two hours later, Star Colonel Natasha Kerensky was admitted to his office. He motioned her to take a seat and once she was comfortable he began speaking. "Star Colonel Kerensky, I have read your report on the action against Clan Jade Falcon on Eden. In your report you speak highly of 2 Freeborn in your command, brothers it would seem."

"Yes, my Khan. Though they are Freeborn, both have proven extremely talented. Jaime Wolf has an ability I have never seen before, if he were a Trueborn, he would command a Galaxy and I would willingly Trial to be in his command. Charisma is so great that even Trueborn warriors defer to his orders in his Binary, he just Trialed for Star Captain and won. Joshua Wolf has proven a talented warrior in his own right, but has a natural talent for administration duties. Why do you ask, my Khan?" Star Colonel Natasha Kerensky asked.

"Neither had volunteered for the mission to the Inner Sphere, I am curious why that is?" Khan Kerlin Ward asked.

"They are outside as ordered my Khan, you will have to ask them that question." Star Colonel Natasha Kerensky.

"Show them in Star Colonel Kerensky." Khan Ward ordered

Once both young officers were before him, Khan Kerlin Ward looked each over carefully. After a few minutes he spoke "I am told that both of you are very capable warriors. I am curious as to why neither of you have volunteered for the mission to the Inner Sphere?"

Star Captain Jaime Wolf fielded the question "My Khan, neither of us want to leave the command of Star Colonel Kerensky."

"I see. What if I were to offer to make "Wolf" an Honorname if you would take command of the reconnaissance mission? I am told by Star Colonel Kerensky that you have the ability to command such a force. I must admit that to date, recruitment has not been what I expected. I need a spark to move this along quicker." Khan Ward said.

Both brothers exchanged looks before Jaime Wolf answered "On that, we agree to take the mission my Khan."

March 3003[]

5th March, 3003

Khan Kerlin Ward smiled as the reports came in. Ever since Jaime Wolf had taken command, volunteers had threatened to exceed the mission’s needs. Even several Trueborn had volunteered to accompany the mission, even taking a lower slot in the mission. Star Colonel Natasha Kerensky had even volunteered, taking a huge demotion to command a Trinary or Company in the mission. He had just approved her request. They had one year of training left before they departed on their mission.

January 3004[]

1st January, 3004
Strana Mechty (Clan Space)

A single Scout Jumpship along with a Leopard CV had departed Strana Mechty to scout the way back to the Inner Sphere 6 months ago. Jaime Wolf wanted some kind of intel before his main force arrived to make a more informed decision about what they would find. It was going to be a long journey, but they would not need to carry all of their supplies at once, because Clan Goliath Scorpion would be accompanying the mission until the halfway point with a Potemkin-Class Transport loaded with supplies to replenish the mission for the last leg of their journey.

Wolf's Dragoons, the name Jaime Wolf had selected, were already assembling for their journey. Once they were all assembled, it would be quite a large force departing for their mission. Along with the thousands of combat troops were over 35,000 dependents and technicians to support the mission. They would be departing for the Inner Sphere March of this year.

Wolf's Dragoons

WDS AlexanderAegis-Class Heavy Cruiser
WDS BeowulfCongress-Class Frigate
WDS Darius - Lola III-Class Destroyer
WDS Nelson - Lola III-Class Destroyer
WDS Athena - Sovetskii Soyuz-Class Heavy Cruiser
WDS Mars - Vincent Mk 42-Class Corvette

Hephaestus Station - Hughes Space Station
3 Monolith Jumpships
4 Star Lord Jumpships
15 Invader Jumpships
1 Scout Jumpship

317 Total Dropships (Various)
5 Regiments Battlemechs
3 Regiments Armor
3 Regiments Infantry

Thazi (Hegemony)

Director-General Mark Cameron looked over the yearly reports. He so hated the yearly week long briefings that he had suspended them several years ago, going against tradition. He was 65 years old and the 4th Director General of the Hegemony in Exile, as he thought of it. He had a short temper and knew it, which was one of the reason's he had suspended the briefings, the bickering over funds always irritated him. He wondered how his Great Grandmother Amanda Cameron had dealt with all the issues. She had passed away in 2883, going silently in her sleep at 117 years old. He figured it was the stress of the job that finally did her in.

He was childless, and he had no desire to have children. Bunch of screaming brats, he remembered how much trouble he gave his own parents and did not wish to go down that road. Actually, he really did not want this job at all. He just wanted to kick back and enjoy life. Deep down, he felt he was just a place keeper, waiting for another to take the position. He allowed his aides to run the day to day operations of the Hegemony itself. He was reading the report absently when his eyes focused on what he was actually reading.

"......per reporting standards, Wolverine scientists birthed 300 from the Iron Wombs last year in keeping with the restrictions placed upon this method by Director-General Amanda Cameron and Sarah McEvedy. As per last year’s request and suggestion, our scientists stand ready to proceed with "Fertile Genius" but cannot proceed without permission."

He closed his eyes and tried to recall what the hell Fertile Genius was. After a few minutes, his memory failed him and he typed the name into his computer. The file opened and he read the brief.

Project Fertile Genius

In the event of no heir upon the death of a Director-General, Project Fertile Genius was enacted by Director-General Amanda Cameron in 2876 to ensure that the Cameron line remained intact. At birth, genetic samples of all Cameron's were taken and stored. An heir to the Cameron line would be born via Iron Womb and raised by the acting Regent until such time as the heir reaches 18 years of age and could assume the duties of Director-General.

Director-General Mark Cameron closed the file as he remembered his briefing on this. A smile started forming as he thought he finally found a way out of this prison.

3rd January, 3004
Thazi (Hegemony)

Commanding General Michelle Mitchell slowly took her seat at the conference table. While Director General Mark Cameron had suspended the yearly briefings, the High Council just moved the briefing to another location and continued them. She took a sip of water and nodded for the briefing to begin. Robert Franklin, Hegemony Research and Technology, clicked on the monitor and began.

"Good morning everyone, there is not much to cover from my side overall. Since last year’s briefing, not much has changed. Military research is still at a bare bones level. Our last major breakthru was 57 years ago when we figured out how to detect an incoming slip stream arrival. As you all know, there are 2 types of detector systems deployed, one is mounted on Recharge or Defense Stations in every Hegemony system and the other is ship mounted. While our current military technology far surpasses that fielded by the various Houses, I still wish we had more funding, but I doubt we could pry the funding from Director General Cameron. This does not apply to the civilian research area's.

Funding for the civilian sector is more than enough for our needs. Where the Houses have lost most of their abilities from the Star League era, we have long ago surpassed that level. The largest clean up we performed was on New Sierra and we managed to accomplish a complete Terraforming of the habitable planet and return it to 90% of its former self. Using the Star League era Terraforming rates as a baseline, we have managed, over the years, to cut in half the time it takes to Terraform a planet. In the Delphi Compact, we have not had a outbreak of the Delphi Curse for over 30 years, but we continue, in conjunction with the Delphi government, to require a full round of inoculations before any surface travel. That concludes my section of the briefing, I will let Carter Mason handle DoME's part of the briefing." Robert Franklin said.

"Thank you, Robert. As previously stated, we at DoME have continued to improve our techniques for Terraforming and other techniques. A decade ago, we completed enlarging the dry dock facilities at Columbus Station to where it now houses 3 complete repair yards instead of the single one installed centuries ago. Currently most of our personnel and equipment are deployed to Beta Salandor and Star Cluster Briceno 1 system. Beta Salandor is about halfway completed on it's soil and water improvements. The colony there is now at roughly 1.1 million.

Star Cluster Briceno 1 is a completely different creature. It took over 20 years just to map the Cluster itself and chart out safe jump points inside the Cluster. The Cluster core is roughly 10LY while the tidal radius is 57LY across. Over the last 5 years, we have identified 8 systems inside the Cluster as Terraforming targets while the 9th system, Rayson's Delight, is already habitable and is the main base for our efforts inside the Cluster. Current colony is 883,000 strong.

A survey of Star Cluster 65 is currently underway. Using what was learned with Star Cluster Briceno 1, we hope to have the survey completed in another 3 years. So far, we have located 3 habitable systems inside Star Cluster 65, and only 1 of them will require any Terraforming efforts. I have a DoME team scheduled to head that way in 3006 when they should be able to be pulled from Star Cluster Briceno 1. DoME currently fields 12 complete teams, but I would like to expand to 15 teams." Carter Mason said.

"I will put it to Director-General Cameron on Friday Carter, but no promises." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell replied before nodding to the next person.

Rebecca Ebon, Hegemony Development, shuffled her papers slightly before starting "Since Robert stole some of my thunder, we will go right for the meaty part. If you all will turn to page 7 of the briefing, you will see the current census of every Hegemony planet."

Thazi - pop 1,670,017,568 - 8.9 Trillion GDP - 455 Billion Tax
Boulsi - pop 1,868,227,965 - 3.8 Trillion GDP - 190 Billion Tax
Pilon - pop 1,485,298,945 - 1.1 Trillion GDP - 55 Billion Tax
Azur - pop 8,979,380,377 - 12.8 Trillion GDP - 640 Billion Tax
Wokha - pop 1,527,346,584 - 1.4 Trillion GDP - 70 Billion Tax
Blommestein - pop 2,389,176,943 - 9.7 Trillion GDP - 485 Billion Tax
Ddraig - pop 3,527,945,136 - 2.1 Trillion GDP - 105 Billion Tax
Ejeda - pop 1,845,243,118 - 1.7 Trillion GDP - 85 Billion Tax
Waini Point - pop 637,249,587 - 986 Billion GDP - 49 Billion Tax
Zumbo - pop 489,247,625 - 857 Billion GDP - 43 Billion Tax
Ambatomainty - pop 4,674,268,138 - 6.1 Trillion GDP - 305 Billion Tax
Sorsk - pop 1,854,928,137 - 1 Trillion GDP - 50 Billion Tax
Puttalam - pop 1,234,193,763 - 2.3 Trillion GDP - 115 Billion Tax
Maripa - pop 872,787,359 - 826 Billion GDP - 41 Billion Tax
Loikaw - pop 117,287,437 - 653 Billion GDP - 33 Billion Tax
Mandeville - pop 88,658,327 - 551 Billion GDP - 28 Billion Tax
Zetang - pop 58,245,547 - 1.4 Trillion GDP - 70 Billion Tax
La Ligua - pop 82,165,844 - 831 Billion GDP - 42 Billion Tax
Carmelita - pop 118,348,245 - 794 Billion GDP - 39 Billion Tax
Quinnes - pop 5,539,945,375 - 13.7 Trillion GDP - 685 Billion Tax
Shira - pop 342,244,556 - 4.8 Trillion GDP - 240 Billion Tax
Domeykp - pop 441,588,752 - 995 Billion GDP - 49 Billion Tax
Feijo - pop 742,358,438 - 1.6 Trillion GDP - 75 Billion Tax
Alktral - pop 972,654,243 - 2.8 Trillion GDP - 140 Billion Tax
Linden - pop 872,254,755 - 11.8 Trillion GDP - 590 Billion Tax
Ceiba - pop 5,555,432,188 - 6.7 Trillion GDP - 335 Billion Tax
Bossangoa - pop 537,552,138 - 3.7 Trillion GDP - 185 Billion Tax
Rhodon - pop 1,137,866,648 - 4.8 Trillion GDP - 240 Billion Tax
Gaeri - pop 229,537,556 - 2.4 Trillion GDP - 120 Billion Tax
Zalt - pop 834,425,227 - 1.8 Trillion GDP - 88 Billion Tax
Mitz - pop 375,241,342 - 2.1 Trillion GDP - 105 Billion Tax
Gitarama - pop 741,586,924 - 1.4 Trillion GDP - 70 Billion Tax
Barahona - pop 849,342,552 - 2.3 Trillion GDP - 115 Billion Tax
Danli - pop 395,248,734 - 2.8 Trillion GDP - 140 Billion Tax
Las Tunas - pop 310,667,438 - 1.9 Trillion GDP - 96 Billion Tax
Taumaturgo - pop 1,863,254,714 - 2.7 Trillion GDP - 135 Billion Tax
Tanz - pop 988,357,719 - 4.3 Trillion GDP - 215 Billion Tax
Onverwacht - pop 3,864,552,285 - 14.7 Trillion GDP - 735 Billion Tax
Kent - pop 495,225,716 - 946 Billion GDP - 47 Billion Tax
Sornath - pop 391,557,169 - 1.2 Trillion GDP - 58 Billion Tax
Ype-Jhu - pop 427,666,274 - 1.1 Trillion GDP - 55 Billion Tax
Vonja - pop 925,743,384 - 2.6 Trillion GDP - Billion Tax
Hergazil - pop 717,342,884 - 3.4 Trillion GDP - 9.55 Billion Tax
Shiri - pop 297,533,421 - 2.9 Trillion GDP - 3.1 Billion Tax
Coyle - pop 477,526,725 - 1.3 Trillion GDP - 130 Billion Tax
Flynn - pop 388,642,885 - 837 Billion GDP - 42 Billion Tax
Totness - pop 311,553,482 - 732 Billion GDP - 37 Billion Tax
Calingasta - pop 2,158,557,935 - 1.2 Trillion GDP - 58 Billion Tax
Santa-Ana - pop 197,355,469 - 1.4 Trillion GDP - 70 Billion Tax
Achton - pop 1,947,833,715 - 5.8 Trillion GDP - 290 Billion Tax
Achnoly - pop 3,752,465,821 - 9.6 Trillion GDP - 480 Billion Tax
Schrim - pop 741,658,248 - 873 Billion GDP - 42 Billion Tax
Ammon - pop 2,768,524,731 - 8.5 Trillion GDP - 425 Billion Tax
Voehn - pop 2,670,432,766 - 8.8 Trillion GDP - 440 Billion Tax
Braden's Frontier - pop 2,142,886,637 - 5.1 Trillion GDP - 255 Billion Tax
Crichton - pop 3,395,756,185 - 9.7 Trillion GDP - 485 Billion Tax
Hrafn - pop 331,854,739 - 826 Billion GDP - 41 Billion Tax
Glitnir - pop 594,588,375 - 654 Billion GDP - 33 Billion Tax
Raetia - pop 1,874,357,915 - 5.7 Trillion GDP - 285 Billion Tax
Michtal - pop 4,539,284,438 - 10.7 Trillion GDP - 535 Billion Tax
Bannerhoft - pop 1,954,726,635 - 2.2 Trillion GDP - 110 Billion Tax
Grankum - pop 2,125,622,735 - 6.2 Trillion GDP - 310 Billion Tax
Aalzog - pop 3,468,445,738 - 8.6 Trillion GDP - 430 Billion Tax
Koury - pop 335,856,514 - 1.3 Trillion GDP - 130 Billion Tax
Fallry - pop 1,491,734,419 - 7.6 Trillion GDP - 380 Billion Tax
Blueys - pop 834,537,428 - 1.8 Trillion GDP - 88 Billion Tax
Wynn's Roost - pop 764,752,185 - 8.3 Trillion GDP - 415 Billion Tax
Vangburg - pop 435,825,427 - 934 Billion GDP - 58 Billion Tax
Nerum - pop 662,722,556 - 1.1 Trillion GDP - 55 Billion Tax
Zebuluraskai - pop 438,551,749 - 12.7 Trillion GDP - 635 Billion Tax
Renorsal - pop 334,428,412 - 1.2 Trillion GDP - 58 Billion Tax
Salvende - pop 247,755,716 - 965 Billion GDP - 59 Billion Tax
False Dawn - pop 2,475,622,884 - 13.2 Trillion GDP - 660 Billion Tax
Ourem - pop 2,751,196,375 - 6.7 Trillion GDP - 335 Billion Tax
Rover - pop 33,769,839 - 487 Billion GDP - 24 Billion Tax
Alfirk - pop 186,854,739 - 667 Billion GDP - 33 Billion Tax
Naikongzu - pop 237,682,552 - 847 Billion GDP - 42 Billion Tax
Gwithian - pop 27,555,384 - 278 Billion GDP - 14 Billion Tax
Drachenfeld - pop 121,869,317 - 8.5 Trillion GDP - 425 Billion Tax
New Sierra - pop 88,673,583 - 1.5 Trillion GDP - 75 Billion Tax
Richmond's World - pop 37,869,145 - 1.1 Trillion GDP - 55 Billion Tax
Mauna Loa - pop 15,385,967 - 475 Billion GDP - 23 Billion Tax
Beta Salandor - pop 1,138,675 - Developing Exempt
Rayson's Delight - pop 833,275 - Developing Exempt
Versailles - pop 131,986,277 - 735 Billion GDP - 37 Billion Tax

Total Population - 113.4 Billion
Total GDP - 316.3 Trillion
Total Tax - 15.8 Trillion

HPG Revenue - 93 Trillion

"As everyone can see, everything has basically remained stable except population growth which is steady at 2%. Much of our industrial power is not even running at full production rates, especially our military industries. If we could open up trade deals with even the Federated Suns, we could double our GDP in less than 5 years and that is without selling them military equipment. Even opening up to the Outworlds Alliance would boost our GDP quite a bit. Remaining closed off like we are is stifling our growth quite a bit. The Delphi Compact can only purchase so much of our goods." Rebecca Ebon said.

"I will bring it up to the Director General on Friday. It might be time to crack open the door some, at least for non military goods." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said.

6rd January, 3004
Thazi (Hegemony)

Commanding General Michelle Mitchell entered Director-General Mark Cameron's office and took a seat on the couch against the wall. Director General Mark Cameron finished the last of what he had been working on and then joined her taking a seat just opposite of her. "Michelle, so tell me what your meeting has brought forth."

"Mark, you should attend the briefings yourself. I have said it so many times before." She replied but halted when he waved his hand in the air.

"You know I hate the damned things. I would not even be in this position if Kramer had not been so stupid with his scaling cliffs without safety equipment. Idiot fell and killed himself, now here I sit. So you can give me the short version and tell me which way we should move." Director General Mark Cameron said.

"Well, overall, the Hegemony is doing quite well. There are some area's that we could improve. But there is risk in them, Cathy Vao (Hegemony Security) is not a fan of them at all. The biggest is from Rebecca Ebon, she wants to open trade with the Outworlds Alliance and Federated Suns for starters." Michelle Mitchell replied

"Is that wise? Revealing ourselves like that? It sounds really dangerous to our security." Director-General Mark Cameron exclaimed.

"It is very risky. The moment we reveal ourselves we will have every security agency flooding into our territory. Every one of them wanting to steal every piece of tech we have. We would even risk a possible invasion from either the Draconis Combine or Federated Suns. I doubt the Federated Suns would threaten us directly, but the Draconis Combine is another matter entirely. Though our warships would make any invasion a suicide mission for them. Outside of ourselves, only Comstar has a functional warship Fleet." Michelle Mitchell replied.

"Then we stay hidden. If our tech got out, the Inner Sphere would explode into war once again instead of the low scale fighting that has lasted for over 100 years. How sure are we that none of the other Houses have hidden warships?" Director-General Mark Cameron asked. He might hate his job, but he was loyal to the Hegemony and it's security.

"Almost 100% sure. It is something we try to keep close tabs on. The Draconis Combine has 4 very old Narukami-Class Destroyers in mothball's. Our estimates is that they would be hard pressed to put them back into service. A single Samarkand-Class Aerospace Carrier is in orbit of New Samarkand, DCS Togura. She is in a sorry state and classified as barely functional.
We know of 3 derelict Davion II-Class Destroyers within the Federated Suns. They seem to have been forgotten to history since the Federated Suns has shown no sign of attempting to retrieve them. We long ago recovered the Wolverine McKenna-Class Battleship, SLS Zughoffer Weir, from where it broke down and was stashed when the Wolverines joined us. She is currently in mothball at the Livingston Naval Base. Plus the few ships inside the Odessa Naval Base, which we check on every few years, very quietly. Overall, the Houses have gutted themselves and would not stand a prayer of invading us." Michelle Mitchell replied

"Good. What else does the High Council want to do?" Director General Mark Cameron asked.

"DoME wants to add additional teams. Which I will not advise against. They do have a mission still after all." Michelle Mitchell replied.

"Then approved. That is one area that we should always support fully. They have done so much good. Now, I have a request for you Michelle." Director General Mark Cameron said.
"Anything, Mark." Michelle Mitchell replied, sitting up a little straighter, it was rare that Mark asked for anything.

"I want to activate Project Fertile Genius, you know what that is?" Director-General Mark Cameron asked.

"Yes I do. Why would you want to activate that project?" Michelle Mitchell replied. What are you up to Mark, she thought.

"Michelle, we both know that I suck at this job. You know I hate it and do the bare minimum to get by. You and the High Council really run the Hegemony. I am a mere figure head, someone for the people to see. A legacy. Kramer was raised for this post, taught everything he needed to know. I never paid any attention to the classes that were given. Never dreamed I would have this position. It is time for the Hegemony to have a leader that is 100% into this position. I have no desire to marry nor have any children. So, I want you to activate Project Fertile Genious. Turn those Wolverine scientists loose and have them craft me a replacement. I want you to mentor my replacement, teach them what needs to be known. I will continue to do this position until 18 and then retire. Your great grandmother Rita Mitchell did a perfect job raising Amanda Cameron, and your family has always been the right arm of the Cameron family out here." Director General Mark Cameron said.

"Mark, if you would let me, I would teach you what you need to know." Michelle Mitchell replied.

"I am passed that stage of my life. Too old to learn any new tricks. Activate the project and I will pray every night for the next 18 years for my replacements safety." Director-General Mark Cameron said.

June 3004[]

12th June, 3004
Joan's Post (Outworlds Waste)

"You made a big mistake attacking us. Now you will tell me everything I want to know." Major Stanford Blake told the captured pirate strapped in the chair before him.

"What do I get in return?" The dirty pirate asked

"Maybe your life? Depends on how honest you are." Major Blake replied

"Not much to go on, but I guess I got no choice. What do you want to know?"

"What is the closest inhabited system?" Major Blake asked

"Risin. About 60LY from here. We do not travel much further than here, it's too close to the Void of Death." The pirate said.

"What is the Void of Death?" Major Blake asked

"Your on the very edge of it. You travel another jump deeper into the Periphery and you will never return. Every pirate band that has ever ventured into that region of space has never returned. Give me a Star Map and I will show you the area to avoid." The now talkative pirate said.

Once the region had been pointed out, Major Blake made some notes. "So no one returns from this entire region?"

"A few independent merchants have come back, very few of them. They tell tales of massive pirate bands that shoot first and don't take prisoners. The entire region is avoided like nowhere else I ever heard of. We would sooner raid Luthien than try our hand in that area of space, better odds of returning alive." The pirate answered.

After another hour of questioning, Major Blake exited the small room and conferred with one of the search teams that had boarded the pirate Merchant-Class Jumpship and recovered it's jump records. They went back almost 20 years into the records and never once did this ship travel closer than 40LY from the area indicated as the Void of Death.

"Looks like he is telling the truth. But now we have a updated Star Map of the entire Inner Sphere and Periphery. Hundreds of systems have been removed from the Star Map, they must have virtually destroyed themselves to lose this many systems. We will need to mothball the warships and massively downgrade our equipment, he says his pirate groups equipment was first rate, almost equal to what the various Houses used. Plus the Houses no longer have warships at all. From what I have seen, they have beaten themselves back to before the Star League was even formed technology wise." Major Blake said

"Aff, they are ripe for our return. We should send word to start the invasion now." Came the reply.

"Watch your speech. Our mission is to last at least 20 years, we want excellent Intel, that is our task." Major Blake said.

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