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Fate Can be Cruel (Book 2) - Chapter Cover

Fate Can Be Cruel
Chapter 17 - Year 3020


6th January 3020
Grankum, Hegemony (Periphery)

Rebecca Ebon, Chief Hegemony Security, had arrived with an additional 400 agents from across the Hegemony. In addition, she brought a Special Forces battalion in case additional firepower was needed. She was taking no chances, anyone crazy enough to kill a Cameron just might have a secret army. Though she doubted that since the Hegemony forbid armed military forces within it's borders.

This would be her first full day on the case and she entered the briefing room to be brought up to speed. As she took her seat, she said "What have we learned and where are we at overall."

"It looks like someone was making the death of Thomas Cameron look like a suicide. We cannot be 100% sure, but the wrist wounds were deep enough to kill him. The primary cause of death was the near decapitation. Both teams for forensic experts, from both HegSec and local police, have completed a search of both the apartment where his death occurred and his local private residence. During the search of his residence we discovered quite a few holo disc's in a hidden room. They are extremely disturbing and if he was alive, he would be prosecuted." Eunice Bloom replied

"So, could this have been a revenge killing for one of those recordings?" Rebecca Ebon asked

"It is highly possible, many of those disc's contain recordings of things I would not hesitate to shoot him for. Beyond degrading." Eunice Bloom replied

"So our suspect pool gets even larger. What else have we got?" Rebecca Ebon asked

7 January 3020
York (Clan Space)

Khan Fara Church, Clan Blood Spirit, watched the the newest Cluster to be field by the Spirits Touman complete their exercise. This now completed his expansion of the Touman. With 9 Front Line and 3 Second Line Galaxy's, each Galaxy fielded a full 5 Clusters. This was the largest Touman Clan Blood Spirit had ever fielded. He had managed to get every Front Line Cluster equipped with a full Trinary of Elementals while the Second Line Clusters fielded conventional infantry, mainly Elementals that failed in their Trials of Position. He had refused to water down the training regime so Clan Blood Spirit still fielded top quality warriors.

Five of the Front Line Galaxies were fully equipped with OmniMechs, while the other 4 Front Line Galaxies had a single OmniMech Trinary in each Cluster. There were no OmniMechs in the Second Line Galaxies. To further bolster his Clan's potential, he had managed to, at great expense, secure the plans and equipment to produce the Kingfisher OmniMech. A rugged and low cost OmniMech, while an older design, it was the perfect fit for his Blood Spirit's. The first would not be completed for at least 5 years, and even then at a fairly low rate of a Trinary per year.

Kingfisher Assault OmniMech (Front - mini painted by Kalidan)

Kingfisher Assault OmniMech

His main concern however was the near constant raids by the hated Clan Burrock. It was an almost constant drain on his Clan's precious resources. Though he was preparing for the invasion of the Inner Sphere, he still was not convinced on the merits of it. Any invasion would be a long term affair which would stretch his Clan to the breaking point. With most of his Clan's forces deployed for the invasion, it would leave his remaining troops in Clan Space vulnerable along with their holdings. He knew Clan Burrock would not waste anytime in taking advantage of this detail. He needed to figure out how to counter this.

Barcella (Clan Space)

Khan Abram Radick, Clan Nova Cat, bolted upright in his bed, he was drenched in sweat. Once he was sure that he was alone and under no danger, he laid back down and took a deep breath. He had been awakened by a dream, but a dream more vivid than any others he had had before. In this dream, he had seen Clan Nova Cat warriors decimated by troops bearing the Cameron Star. Some of the enemy were painted white, while many others were painted in SLDF colors. He forced his mind to focus harder, trying to recall every detail. Then an image slowly appeared in his mind. A Cameron Star, under it was the markings "331st RBMD". Why did this mean anything to him. He could not recall, but he forced himself to relax and return to sleep. Tomorrow he would think more on this.

8 January 3020
York (Clan Space)

Khan Fara Church, Clan Blood Spirit, set about the task of coming up with a way to safe guard his Clan's holdings while the bulk of the Touman was away during the invasion. While he thought the situation over, he let his eye's focus on the large display which showed his entire Touman.

Clan Blood Spirit Touman (3020)

Clan Command (Frontline) Blood Guard Keshik - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)

Alpha Galaxy (Frontline)
Red Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
7th Blood Drinkers Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
37th Red Assault Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
55th Red Vanguard Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
72nd Crimson Cuirassiers - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)

Beta Galaxy (Frontline) Cerise Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
112th Scarlet Battle Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
35th Red Assault Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
69th Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
83rd Crimson Cuirassiers Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)

Delta Galaxy (Frontline)
Arcadia Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
191st Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
15th Scarlet Battle Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
27th Red Vanguard Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
42nd Red Assault Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)

Epsilon Galaxy (Frontline)
York Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
88th Blood Battle Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
9th Blood Drinkers Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
1st Blood Assault Cluster - Veteran (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
2nd Crimson Cuirassiers Cluster - Veteran (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)

Gamma Galaxy (Frontline)
Scarlet Guards Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
62nd Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
12th Blood Lancers Cluster - Elite (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
19th Blood Battle Cluster - Veteran (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)
136th Scarlet Battle Cluster - Veteran (45 Omni, 30 Tanks, 75 Elementals)

Iota Galaxy (Frontline)
Crimson Guards Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
42nd Crimson Vanguard Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
66th Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
271st Crimson Assault Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
273rd Crimson Cuirassiers Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)

Kappa Galaxy (Frontline)
52nd Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
91st Blood Vanguard Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
182nd Red Assault Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
301st Scarlet Battle Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
302nd Scarlet Battle Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)

Lambda Galaxy (Frontline)
236th Red Vanguard Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
107th Blood Lancers Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
5th Blood Assault Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
25th Blood Drinkers Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
303rd Scarlet Battle Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)

Theta Galaxy (Frontline)
2nd Scarlet Assault Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
33rd Red Battle Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
79th Blood Hussars Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
91st Crimson Vanguard Cluster - Elite (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)
71st Crimson Assault Cluster - Veteran (15 Omni, 30 CBM, 30 Tank, 75 Elemental)

Mu Provisional Galaxy (Second Line)
66th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
98th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
88th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
158th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
258th Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)

Omicron Provisional Galaxy (Second Line)
21st Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
73rd Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
98th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
171st Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
17th Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)

Sigma Provisional Galaxy (Second Line)
42nd Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
88th Crimson Guards Cluster - Veteran (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
158th Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
79th Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)
101st Crimson Guards Cluster - Regular (45 BM, 30 Tank, 375 Infantry)

Naval Reserve
Carmine Justice - York Class Destroyer-Carrier
Exsanguine – Aegis Class Heavy Cruiser
Stooping Kite – York Class Destroyer Carrier
Blood Fury – Lola Class III Destroyer Rocinante - Black Lion Class Battle Cruiser

3 Trinary Omni Fighters
4 Trinary Aerospace Fighters (1 Clan, 3 Star League)

CBM = Clan Battlemech
BM = Star League Battlemech
Omni Cluster equipped with Clan Tanks
Mix Cluster (Omni/CBM) equipped with Star League Tanks
Second Line Clusters equipped with Star League Tanks

For several hours he let his mind wander over options, but not a single option solved his overall problem. The most drastic option was the only sure fire one, and he had a feeling that the Grand Council would throw a fit if he put it into play. That option was a whole sale move to the Inner Sphere of Clan Blood Spirit once the invasion began. But it also presented even more problems. How to move the entire Clan and its factories to the Inner Sphere, that was a question he did not have an answer for.


17 February 3020
New Valencia (Federated Suns)

Harry Sloan walked down the corridor of Blackwell Corporation main engineering building. He paused slightly before the door, a Marauder II was on the door. He checked his coverall's before opening the door and entering the office. Closing the door behind him, he nodded to various engineers as he made his way to his supervisor's office. Reaching it, he was about to rap on the open door when he was waved inside. "Come in Harry, sorry to summon you so quickly. I have a tasking from above for you."

"Whew, I was afraid something was wrong when the message said ASAP. I did not even change but headed right over. I am ready for anything." Harry Sloan replied

"Remember when you were told that folks for the Battlemech Division assist the Vehicle Division when they need extra people, well seems they need some people. Your resume said your primary expertise is power plants and power conduits, so you and a couple of weapons specialists are being shifted to the Vehicle Division for a time. Seems the Dragoons took some serious losses attacking Hesperus in the Lyran Commonwealth. So the production lines are running flat out and they just got a crap ton of Bandit and Badger APC's that have been badly damaged from the Dragoon's. All of you will be assisting in salvaging what we can from those vehicles deemed not worth the effort to rebuild." Marty Donaldson said

"Not a problem boss. I enjoy new challenges. Never really played with vehicles, only Battlemechs. So this could be fun." Harry Sloan replied

"Excellent, report to Joanne Kramer first thing in the morning over at the Vehicle Division. You can take the rest of the day off." Marty Donaldson said

"Joanne Kramer, got it. Thanks, I will stock up on ready to eat meals, sounds like I could be in for some late nights." Harry Sloan replied as he left the office. He could barely contain his excitement. Hegemony Security had heard all about the Dragoon's Bandit Hover Tank and had been unable to secure any copies from the various battles the Dragoon's had fought. The Dragoon's paid very close attention to recovering those vehicles from the various battlefields. Now he was going to get to crawl all over them and since he would need access to the actual plans to work on them, this meant he would not have to break into the Vehicle Division to get his hands on them.

Barcella (Clan Space)

Clan Nova Cat Khan, Abram Radick, had not had any luck searching for information on his dream. He had been forced to put the matter aside. Though he did make note of his dream in his journal, every Khan and saKhan kept a personal journal. A tradition begun by Khan Sandra Rosse and continued to this day. It was a sort of unofficial history for future Khan's to read and study if they desired. A knock brought his head up from his paperwork and he smiled while waving the guest inside. "ilChi Chris Keller, what can Clan Nova Cat do for you today? Please sit, it has been far too long."

Ever since Clan Wolverine had departed Clan Space centuries ago, Clan Blood Spirit had maintained the position of ilChi with Clan Nova Cat, Clan Snow Raven and Clan Fire Mandrill. Clan Nova Cat, Snow Raven and Clan Blood Spirit had "aided" Clan Wolverine and stood shoulder to shoulder over the many years of scorn and challenges that had followed that event. Though over the many years Clan Blood Spirit had slowly withdrawn from most Clan affairs, they had maintained their posting of ilChi in recognition of the aid each provided the other during those trying times.

"Thank you Khan Radick. This is more a personal visit than anything official." ilChi Keller replied as he sat down in a chair opposite the Khan's desk.

"Well then, what can I do for you?" Khan Abram Radick asked

"I am curious on what you think of the coming return to the Inner Sphere." ilChi Keller replied

"Your not asking for anything small I see. Though I am sure we will prevail, it will be a hard fight and could take many years to accomplish. Reports from the Dragoon's are that the Houses have beaten themselves almost back to the stone age. Everyone is building up their Toumans in preparation. Even your Clan Blood Spirit is under taking this, at great expense I might add, or so reports I have seen indicate it." Khan Radick replied

"Yes, you are well informed, but then our joint holdings on Circe provide quite an amount of information." ilChi Keller said. Clan Blood Spirit, Clan Nova Cat and Clan Snow Raven had battled hard to claim Clan Wolverine's Circe holdings when they departed and had managed to force all the other Clan's from Circe itself over the years. The resources from Circe helped offset Clan Blood Spirit losses on other worlds from almost constant raiding by Clan Burrock.

"Yes, Circe allows a safe location. As such, you must be aware that I have ordered a large increase of Clan Nova Cat's sibko training facilities on Circe. Since Circe is one of the few places that always has warships from not only Clan Nova Cat, but also Clan Snow Raven in system. No other Clan dares attempt a raid, for they would have to fight a Trial just to reach the planet. Though I do not agree with the Wolves Khan Ward much, I have to admire his steadfast opposition to the invasion. Even so, Clan Wolf is also increasing their Touman size ever since Compromise. The Wolves have been keeping warriors active far longer than normal. Moving those that age to Second line status and are even just now planning to create several Galaxy's of garrison troops using a combination of aging warriors not fit for either Front line or Second line status and fresh warriors from the sibko's. Before the Compromise, those warriors would be sent to Solahma units." Khan Radick professed

"Clan Nova Cat is keeping a close eye on things as usual I see." ilChi Keller replied with a smile

"It would be folly to otherwise. I have ordered that every 3rd year, our scientists will triple the number decanted for that year. I am taking a page from the Wolves and copying their methods for our own. This should provide the replacements when the invasion actually occurs. This first triple batch will be in 3023. They will be raised and trained on Circe. Clan Nova Cat will also be creating several Galaxy's of garrison troops." Khan Radick said proudly.

"Interesting. I will soon be heading back to York, with your permission. I will so advise my Khan of your plans and maybe convince him to follow." ilChi Keller replied


13 March 3020
Grankum (Hegemony)

Rebecca Ebon read all the reports from the field agents concerning the over 12,000 interviews they had conducted on the "assassination" of Thomas Cameron. After all the interviews and lead chasing, Hegemony Security had come up blank, though they had quite a few "suspects" they could not prove a damned thing. The crime scene had provided them with no DNA evidence or any other physical clues. She hated to admit it, but she felt this one would never be solved. She had already consulted with Director-General Cameron and he agreed that Hegemony Security should remove the almost total blockade on Grankum and allow travel to return to normal. Though Hegemony Security and local forces would continue the investigation, she had doubts on its ever being solved.

Thazi (Hegemony)

Director-General Mark Cameron sat on the sofa of Commanding General Michelle Mitchell's living room sipping iced tea while he waited for the girls to get home from school.  Michelle Mitchell was in her office finishing up some last minute reports. He did not mind being alone, he enjoyed it actually since any other time he was always being bombarded by people every second of the day. Here, he was never really bothered, so he looked forward to the visits. He was briefed at least twice a week on the girls progress and ever since their talk, the girls had really thrown themselves into learning all they could. Anastasia had started studying the Hegemony economy from the very early days and compared them to today. Even Sarah had adjusted and had begun to listen more closely to advice during the battle simulations. Christina had moved from the Division on Division battle games to commanding complete Corps level commands conducting planetary assaults.

He was brought out of his silent thoughts by the girls coming thru the back door. "The Director-General is here again, that is the only time the suits are stationed at the front gate. Bet the death of his brother is why he is here, Anastasia. That day you dreaded is here." Christina said a little louder than she wanted to.

"Afternoon ladies. I am afraid Christina is correct, Anastasia. I am going to need your answer; the people are starting to get a little nervous without an heir." Director-General Mark Cameron said

Anastasia dropped her books onto the dining room table with a loud thud. "I will accept on one condition and it is not open for negotiations." She said as she plopped into a chair opposite the Director-General and turned her head as Michelle opened her office door and entered the room.

"..and what condition is this, dear?" Director-General Mark Cameron asked, leaning forward slightly, but wondering what sandbag was about to land on his head.

"I get to take over on my own timetable. You have to rule until then. I want to serve my time in the Hegemony Armed Forces before I have to rule. I want to know that I am actually ready for the position, not because I was created for the role." Anastasia replied

It was not the answer he had hoped for. He knew that to push would risk her refusing and he would be back to square one. "Okay Anastasia, you get to pick when you are ready. As the designated heir, you will be expected to do certain tasks though." Director-General Mark Cameron said softly.

"Why? You did not force your brother to do much of anything?" Anastasia protested

"I know you have read the stuff written about my brother. Thomas was not the most moral of people." Mark replied softly.

"He was a piece of shit." Sarah said quite loudly from the dining room.

"That may be, and that is why I kept him from many things." Mark said in reply.

"I don't want to be surrounded by security either. I am more than capable of protecting myself." Anastasia said firmly

"Yeah a bunch of suits will be a total buzz kill. Me and Christina will make sure nothing happens to Anastasia." Sarah again responded from the dining room.

Mark looked at Michelle for some help and got a shrug as a reply. His eye's said "You’re a bunch of help" very sarcastically. "All right, but the first time you girls go off and get into trouble, that will change. I will assign a full detail to kill your buzz."

"Does that mean we can have the tracking beacons removed now?" Christina asked, also from the dining room.

"What? How?" Michelle asked

"How did we know? Come on mom, we have known for awhile now. I found your laptop still active while you were cooking, noticed that there were 3 dots, the one with my name just happened to be in your room at that moment. Why do you think we quit sneaking off at night and such. Was it really needed?" Christina said

"Yes it was. You girls were pushing me to a nervous breakdown with worry. To answer your question; No, not unless you take on the security detail. At least with the trackers we can always find you girls." Michelle replied

"That's fair. I do not want a bunch of suits tagging along everywhere we go anyway." Sarah said, but as she said it. In her mind was still trying to come up with a way to spoof the damned things.


8 July 3020
Thazi (Hegemony)

With a age waiver signed by both Director-General Mark Cameron and Commanding General Michelle Mitchell, all three girls, now 15 years old, officially began basic training in the Hegemony Armed Forces. Though the waiver allowed them to begin training, it did not allow any of them to actually be assigned to an active command until the age of 18. They were all assigned to the same basic training class. One of the rare training classes designed for underage recruits. Instead of the normal 6 month basic training course, this training class always lasted a full year. Due to the students being required to also take normal classes like every other citizen of the Hegemony. Only Sunday's were blocked out with neither school work or training to allow the cadets some down time.

Anastasia Cameron had already had selected her desired branch of service, Infantry. For the first 2 years anyway, the minimum time required before a soldier could request Power Armor training. While Christina Mitchell had elected to go to Mechwarrior training as did her sister, Sarah McEvedy. Both of the girls had scored at the top of the rankings for potential Mechwarriors, while Anastasia had taken the test and scored in the lower percentile. All recruits underwent the testing. If the girls passed Basic Training, all three would begin their advanced training next year, where they would for the first time be separated.

It had taken near constant pestering to get the Director-General and Commanding General to agree and finally sign the waivers for enlistment. Normally, the Hegemony Armed Forces would not accept a recruit under 16 years of age and even that required a waiver along with the recruit passing their final school exam. However, both had refused to sign that particular waiver or allow any of the girls to even take the test.

This was how Master Sergeant Clifford Jamison came to find himself standing before the Commanding General's desk. If that was not bad enough, Director-General Mark Cameron was also in attendance. He was still dressed in his fatigues and felt very conscious of that fact. Standing at a rigid position of attention, he waited for whatever fell on him.

"Relax, Master Sergeant Jamison, you’re not in any trouble. I am told that you are one of the best instructors in the entire Hegemony." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said

Jamison relaxed into a position of rigid parade rest instead of attention before responding "I like to think I am one of the better ones, sir." He did not bellow the response, but it was in a loud clear voice. He looked the part, standing 6 foot 2 inches tall and weighing in at 249lbs of solid muscle. A veteran of over 25 years in the HAF, he had elected to become an instructor instead of medical retirement having been badly wounded in 3009 during the pirate attack on Farnesworth. He had suffered 3rd degree burns over most of his lower torso and legs while his nervous system had suffered serious damage from a very close PPC shot. Like most veterans of the Hegemony, he had refused advanced medical procedures to erase the scars.

"Well, according to your records, you rank as the highest. You have the lowest failure rate. We wanted to discuss a few of your new trainees." Mitchell said

"I do not slack on training and I refuse to show favoritism. Every recruit either passes or fails on their own. I will not pass a substandard recruit, no matter who they are." Master Sergeant replied

"Neither of us want you to. But I felt you needed to know what you are about to deal with. Anastasia Cameron, Christina Mitchell, and Sarah McEvedy are not your normal recruits. You’re going to discover that all three of them are so far beyond your other recruits that you might slack off a little on them, don't. But you will find them the easiest recruits to train as soldiers. It is in their normal school work where you will have to remain a firm hand. They will try to slack in that area, thinking they know it all already. While I expect they could easily pass the early graduation test, we have refused to allow them to take the test until they turn 16 next year. You will also need to keep a close eye on them, I do not want them to get too big for their britches. All 3 of them are good, very damned good but. I need them to understand that what we teach and how we teach has a reason behind it. Watch them closely, at all times." Mitchell said

Master Sergeant Jamison allowed his eyes to narrow, like a hawk focusing on his prey. "I already got a quick rundown from a few friends of mine. One of them just happens to be a MP that remembers a certain trio of girls that gave as well as they got some years ago. Another friend tells me about the same trio of girls that shoot at a range not far from here. Am I to infer that these are the same trio of girls?"

"One and the same, Master Sergeant. You could have your hands full with them." Director-General Mark Cameron said, speaking for the first time.

"Let them just try me." Master Sergeant Jamison replied, letting a grim smile play across his lips

"Oh, they will try you Master Sergeant, of that I have no doubt. Question is, are you really ready for it? That we will just have to wait and see." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said with a smile "Dismissed Master Sergeant Jamison and good luck."

After saluting and doing an about face, before he could exit the door, he heard Cameron say "Your sure going to need it."


7 August 3020
Thazi (Hegemony)

Anastasia Cameron drove her fist into the boy's stomach as hard as she could. Air rushed from the boy as he fell gasping for breathe. Anastasia shifted just in time to dodge the limb aimed at her head. She spun and delivered a kick to the knee of the boy that held the limb. A loud pop was followed by a scream that tore thru the night air. Shouts came from the near distance and she could hear people moving quickly towards the small clearing. She quickly picked up her torn fatigue top and put it back on. She stepped back and leaned against a tree trunk where she could watch the small clearing. Four boy's were down in the clearing, two were unconscious, and the other two were writhing on the ground, one holding his knee and crying loudly.

"Ana, what the hell happened?" Sarah asked as she burst into the clearing, her eye's quickly taking in everything. A very evil look came across her face as she focused on Anastasia's left eye which was slowly swelling shut. She started towards one of the writhing boys.

"Sarah, stop. I am okay and they paid for their mistake. Leave them alone." Anastasia said

"MAKE A HOLE!!!" Master Sergeant Jamison yelled as he bulled his way through the gathering crowd. His eye's swept the clearing. "Recruit Cameron, you are the Sergeant of the Guard, Report."

"Master Sergeant, I was conducting my rounds to the guard posts when I was jumped by these four on the ground. They got me to the ground and tore my fatigue top off. Said some very nasty things to me about what they wanted to do. I managed to knee one in the balls and in the confusion, I got free and defended myself." Anastasia replied, standing at attention.

"I see. Very well, report to the medics. Recruit McEvedy and Recruit Mitchell, escort her to the medics for a checkout." Once the three girls had departed the clearing, Master Sergeant evaluated the 4 boys on the ground as though they were nothing, but bugs to be squashed. "Recruit Devons, pick a team and I want you to take these 4 to the medical tent. BUT, you will wait until the medics have checked Recruit Cameron before entering the tent. You and your team will remain with these 4 until the Military Police arrive. They are now your charges, under your protection as prisoners. Am I very clear?"

"YES, Master Sergeant. Take the prisoners to the medical tent, but await until they have checked out Recruit Cameron. We are then to remain until the MP's arrive and to make sure no further harm comes to them." Recruit Devons said

"Excellent. Carry on then." Master Sergeant Jamison replied, stepping aside and watching Recruit Devons pick his people. Recruit Devons assigned 8 recruits to carry/drag the 4 prisoners and then pointed to 8 more recruits as a reaction force. He smiled thinly, recruit Devons was not a dummy.

Two weeks after entering basic training, Christina Mitchell had slipped during a run and taken down several other recruits. Causing several of the fallen to not pass their timed run by seconds. That night, those recruits had slipped up on a sleeping Christina Mitchell and attempted to assault her. Until that night, the girls had remained slightly apart, each assigned to a different squad and placed in a different part of the recruit barracks. The scuffle had awakened Sarah McEvedy and Anastasia Cameron who had moved to help Christina. The resulting brawl had injured 11 recruits with black eye's, several lost teeth. Since that night, the girls had rearranged their sleeping arrangements so that no more than a single bunk separated them. Obviously recruit Devons remembered that night very well, for he was one of those that had failed his run and lost 2 teeth when Sarah McEvedy had slammed his face into a metal rail of Christina's bunk. Master Sergeant Jamison continued to smile thinly, as those 3 girls each had a killer instinct. They were a force to be reckoned with. Natural leaders, he had to admit. They were so far beyond the others in everything, it was not even a competition. He thought silently before departing the clearing to call the MP's. As he stalked back to his radio, he wondered if they would face additional charges because of who recruit Cameron really was.

Nouveaux Paris (Deep Periphery)

Precentor Gorges Falken made his log entries aboard Magellan-Class Jumpship while he waited for the landing party to return aboard their Seeker-class Dropship from the planet's surface. From his safe, he extracted a briefcase, opened it and fed a message into the machine inside. In less than a minute, the ships sensors recorded a very small energy spike, but it happened too fast to be accurately located. He would have to make arrangements to recharge the device once the Seeker was docked safely again, he thought. They were not far from Gwithian, so they should have the message in a few days.

22 August 3020
Thazi (Hegemony)

Director-General Mark Cameron had read the report of the assault on Anastasia Cameron forwarded by Hegemony Security. They were not happy but he ordered them to let the military handle it. He had other, more pressing things on his plate. On his desk, was a forwarded Intel report from Hegemony Security. This report contained information that could reshape the Inner Sphere power structure and possibly even threaten the Hegemony itself. He closed his eyes and allowed his mind to replay the message he had read so many times already.


Per previous report, offer of previous peace proposal from Katrina Steiner, Archon Lyran Commonwealth rejected by all parties. But continued communication with Hanse Davion, First Prince Federated Suns has now progressed to a planned meeting between Archon Katrina Steiner and First Prince Hanse Davion. Meeting will take place on Summer in the Lyran Commonwealth. Hegemony Security, using Intel gleaned from communications between the parties above indicate a high probability of some sort of non aggression pact or even peace treaty between the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns.

While this is a good sign that open warfare might be coming to an end, there is a threat of some sort of alliance between the two states. If this occurs, this will tip the balance of power in the Inner Sphere which could rapidly spiral out of control. Our ability to predict actual outcome of meeting is virtually none since this will be a face to face meeting.

He slowly opened his eyes and tried to focus on every scenario he could come up with. Some he tossed out as highly improbable, while others he filed away as quite possible. But overall, he could not detect an open threat to the Hegemony itself so he would have to just wait and see what transpired in the meeting. No sense getting all worked up for nothing, he thought silently. He thought about discussing it with Michelle, but he knew she would probably over react. So for now, he would keep this to himself. Besides, she was still up in arms over the assault on Anastasia and he did not want to give her an easy target to take her anger out on.


1 September 3020
Zetang (Hegemony)

Helen Caldwell, Hegemony Research and Development, stood beside Fleet Admiral Tomlin Tanaka as they both watched the first improved Jump Core and LF Batteries being installed aboard Black Lion II-Class Battlecruiser,  SLS Tirpitz. Instead of a rush job, they had spent 10 years testing and refining the new Jump Core's and LF Batteries before approving full scale installation. Between the Core's and Batteries, they had improved the life to 120 jumps using Slip Stream travel before replacement. They had also managed to improve power flow so that both the Core and Batteries could accept charging far in excess of a normal drive. Normal recharge was roughly 187 hours for safe operations, the new Cores and Batteries could now handle a normal safe recharge of 158 hours and an emergency hot load at 123 hours. This had been tested thousands of times to ensure all their calculations were correct. But all their hard work was now being put into action.

"How long do you expect the total refit to take?" Helen Caldwell asked

Fleet Admiral Tomlin Tanaka tapped the rail lightly "Just over 10 years to get the ships fully upgraded. The new cores take about 2 months extra time to get spun and the LF Batteries, while they do not take any longer to manufacture, getting the new compounds in the quantity needed is that hurdle. Only 3 systems have the stuff in the quantity and purity we need. And I am told the actual planets they are on are pure hell holes that no amount of terraforming can solve. Wish you could have solved that particular issue, but I am not going to hold that against you or your people."

"We tried for years, but it was the only thing that worked. Nothing else could handle the faster recharge rates. While the Cores worked to perfection, the damned batteries were failing at an astounding rate. And your right, those planets are no fun place at all. We are paying triple mining rates to the miners on those worlds. It is the only way to get them to even work there and the turnover rate is twice what you would expect even with the extra pay." Helen Caldwell said

"Well, the main thing is we have a fully functional system now. The original Slip Stream stuff wore out so fast it was a major pain in the butt to even use on a regular basis." Fleet Admiral Tomlin Tanaka replied

"So, are you going to refit the standard Jumpships with the new Jump Cores? They do not use Slip Stream, but they have such a faster recharge rate." Helen Caldwell asked

"I am not sure yet. Not sure I want that technology out there like that. Maybe for the ships assigned and crewed by the Hegemony Navy, but that is still a maybe. How the hell did you even come up with the idea?" Fleet Admiral Tomlin Tanaka asked

"By accident. A core was being manufactured, but there was a glitch, the mixture of Titanium and Germanium was off, it had 4% too much Germanium in it. We did not know this at the time, only after we tested the core before it was slated to be scrapped. Then when it was being spun, a worn bearing allowed the core to be spun at a slower speed than normal. This caused the core to be of a tighter weave, for lack of a better term. When we ran pre-install testing, everything checked normal but the "defects" were discovered, so instead of scrapping we installed it in a test ship since it tested normal. Pure luck Tomlin." Helen Caldwell replied

"Well thank the gods for poor maintenance then. You know, this seeing each other only 2-3 times a year has got to stop. Even with our busy schedules, there has got to be a way for us to make it work. I want much more for us." Fleet Admiral Tomlin Tanaka said

"Well, I work and live on Azur. You are either here or Thazi most of the time. What do you suggest? Cause I am not leaving my job and we both know you’re not leaving yours, Tomlin." Helen Caldwell replied

"I don't know, but I am damned well going to figure something out. Let's go get dinner." Fleet Admiral Tomlin Tanaka said taking her hand.

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