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Fate Can be Cruel (Book 2) - Chapter Cover

Fate Can Be Cruel
Chapter 21 - Year 3029
[]

January[]


1 January 3029
New Avalon (Federated Suns)

First Prince Hanse Davion was celebrating the new year, his first order had been for a stand down of offensive operations, except on planets where fighting was still ongoing. His troops needed time to rest, repair and refit before launching further offensive actions. Everyone had retired for the night, but he was in his office going over reports from the front. The Combine offensive into the Galtor Thumb was concerning. Wolf's Dragoons still battled the Combine on their garrison worlds. But first, he prepared a message to be sent first thing in the morning.


To: Baroness Petra Zuni, ZaP Shipping
From: First Prince Hanse Davion

Baroness,

As you know, the Federated Suns is engaged in combat along a long front. This has stretched my available shipping almost to the breaking point. I must, with regret, take control of a further 30 Jumpships from your shipping routes. I am well aware that the AFFS has kept control of 35 Jumpships belonging to your company for almost 2 years, by my order. I need the biggest ships you have as soon as you can get them to Chesterton. From there the AFFS will dispatch them to where they are needed. Myself and the Federated Suns owes you and your company much for the sacrifices you have made.

Signed,

First Prince Hanse Davion


That completed, he pulled out the folder and started reviewing the combat reports from the front.

Dieron (Draconis Combine)

The 4 Regiments from the Illician Lancers combined with the 3 Regiments from the Fighting Urukhai had overrun much of the planets estimated 10 Armor and 20 Infantry Regiments. The 9th Sun Zhang Academy Cadre had lost a battalion to the Fighting Urukhai before retreating to Fortress Dieron. The 12th Garrison Force, 8 Armor Regiments and 24 Infantry Regiments was already in system and on their way to the surface. First Prince Hanse Davion wrote out orders for the Fighting Urukhai to move to Altair.

Altair (Draconis Combine)

The Dioscuri, 2 Regiments strong, not only had their hands full against the 18th Dieron Regulars, they were having a bad time of it. The heavier Battlemechs of the 18th Dieron Regulars, though outnumbered, inflicted heavy losses on The Dioscuri, forcing them to go on the defensive. Combined with the estimated 4 Armor and 9 Infantry Regiments, the Combine had the upper hand.

Nirasaki (Draconis Combine)

The 22nd Avalon Hussars RCT and Miller's Marauders ripped the Combine Militia Regiments to shreds, quickly eliminating organized resistance on Nirasaki. First Prince Hanse Davion wrote another set of orders moving Miller's Marauders to Altair.

Northwind (Federated Suns)

Reports of the fighting on Northwind were worrying. The poisoning of much of the 5th Deneb Light Cavalry resulting in thousands of deaths along with over 5,000 civilian deaths left the situation in doubt. He had his ace on the way, having already made arrangements for every spare Jumpships to form a command circuit to Northwind to carry the Northwind Highlanders home. He just hoped they would arrive in time.

First Prince Hanse Davion studied the current deployments along the Capellan Border and noted some movements. The 5th Syrtis Fusiliers' had been moved from Kittery to Moravian. In addition, the Crater Cobras (2 Regiments) and Screaming Eagles (2nd and 4th Regiments) had also been moved there. He shrugged the movement off, obviously his Marshal's were just moving reserves closer to the fighting. Overall, everything was going quite well. Even the LCAF had surprised him by doing extremely well against the Combine.

However, the economic cost to his realm was disturbing. Removal of so many Jumpships and Dropships from commercial routes was having an effect not seen in centuries. Finally, his mood now soured, he turned off the lights and headed for his bedroom.

Thazi (Hegemony)
Periphery

The Federated Suns thrust to take Altair and Dieron caused a bit of a stir with Commanding General Michelle Mitchell. He can not honestly be making a drive for Terra, she thought. Though she frequently had dark thoughts about ComStar, she still considered the people of Terra Hegemony citizens, under her protection. At the same time, she knew that Comstar would not hesitate to deploy their fleet in the defense of Terra which would result in horrendous casualties to the AFFS. That he was using mainly mercenary forces in this thrust, including the Fighting Urukhai, Hegemony soldier, every one of them was not lost on her either.

The only bright news was that the 2nd Regiment of the Screaming Eagles had been moved into a reserve position inside the Federated Suns.

12th January, 3029
Northwind (Federated Suns)

Major Tommy Lester, acting commander Team Banzai, watched the 36th Dieron Regulars slowly working their way among the low hills and ravines below where he had pulled the remains of Team Banzai, Bradley's Bravos and survivors from the 5th Deneb Light Cavalry RCT. He had less than Battalion of Team Banzai left, Bradley's Bravos were down to just over a Company and the 5th Deneb Light Cavalry numbered just 2 Lances of Battlemechs and several Companies of Infantry. He looked around him and on all the faces he saw the same thing, grim determination to make the Combine pay for every inch during this last stand. He looked back down and saw a Combine Panther BattleMech point towards them.

"It's time. Everyone get ready. They are the bird dogs, we can expect the 5th Sword of Light and Genyosha any time now." Major Tommy Lester said as he walked towards his battered Battlemaster as the others followed him.

Just over 14 kilometers away, Tai-Sho Palmer Conti, commander 5th Sword of Light, had just ordered his people to mount up when a runner ran over "Incoming Dropships, Tai-Sho. Identification says they are the Northwind Highlanders."

"Employed by the Capellan Confederation, have been for over a century. They must have been sent as reinforcements, not that we needed them. Have them set down at the space port. I will head over and greet their commander." Tai-Sho Palmer Conti said

An hour later, Tai-Sho Palmer Conti watched the large group of Dropships settle onto the tarmac. This was not the main space port, and could only handle a limited number of Dropships. At least 2 Regiments, Tai-Sho Palmer Conti thought as he prepared to greet his Capellan allies. He had at least gathered his 3rd Battalion and brought them over and had them formed up in parade formation. Just as the Dropship doors began opening, he could hear alarms starting to sound as the Dropship weapons armed and began targeting his Battlemechs. Bagpipes began flooding the communication channels as Highlander Battlemechs began pouring from the grounded Dropships, firing on anything remotely Combine in nature. In less than 30 minutes, the Highlanders had destroyed the 5th Sword of Light's 3rd Battalion and Tai-Sho Palmer Conti had his Banshee Battlemech at full speed, desperately trying to evade fire from the pursuing Highlanders.

By nightfall, the Highlanders had broken the back of the 5th Sword of Light, put them to flight back towards their Dropships and relieved the AFFS forces. They would resume clearing Northwind of Combine troops in the morning.

May[]


18 May 3029
Sarna (Capellan Confederation)

Colonel Christopher Mitchell, 2nd Regiment Screaming Eagles, could not believe what he was seeing. But there it was on the plot screen, the Dropships of the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT were accelerating rapidly. Instead of the agreed 1.5g advance, the Fusiliers Dropships finally stabilized at 2.5g's. The 5th Syrtis Fusiliers' RCT would be landing just over 2 days ahead of the rest of the invasion force. He shook his head, total FUBAR, he thought. A voice brought him around.

"Sir, Colonel Westrick is on the laser comm for you."

"Richard, I assume your seeing the same thing I am?" Christopher asked

"Sure am, Chris. I don't like it. Not one damned bit. Those boys and girls are going to be pure putty when they make ground. This damned 8 days at 1.5 is going to be hard enough on us." Colonel Richard Westrick, commander Crater Cobras said

"Agreed. We stick to the plan. Between us, we have 4 Regiments of Battlemechs along with 6 Conventional Regiments from the AFFS." Colonel
Christopher Mitchell replied

27 May 3029

The 5th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT made their combat drops on Sarna. Landing in knee deep mud and water from recent flooding, General Gordon Hartstone, commander 5th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT and overall combat commander of the invasion, ordered his Armor and Infantry Regiments to on higher ground. The empty Dropships that had transported the Battlemechs left in near orbit of Sarna, where they picked up a cloud of incoming Aerospace fighters rising from Sarna. Over 100 Aerospace fighters engaged the Dropships, quickly destroying their few escorts. The Dropships headed for the planet's surface. Diving into the atmosphere, the Capellan fighters caught the Fusiliers fighters refueling and rearming from their temporary fields and savaging the Davion fighters.

The Fusiliers lost their Battlemech commander when Capellan Infantry coated his Battlemech with inferno gel. Attempting to abandon his Battlemech, his opening of the hatch allowed the inferno gel into the cockpit, killing him instantly. The Fusiliers 2nd Battalion, seeing the death of their commander, rapidly punched thru the Capellan Infantry. The Fusiliers 1st Battalion', which landed to the west of 3rd Battalion came under attack from a swarm of Savannah Master hovercraft which quickly over took the heavy Battlemechs which could barely move due to the thick mud. Several Battlemechs were destroyed and most of the hover craft escaped.

Savannah Master (In Combat - Farseer Animation Version)

Savannah Master in combat

The Fusiliers 3rd Battalion, which had landed on fairly high ground, faced a bigger threat. Capellan fighters strafed the Fusiliers Battlemechs mercilessly. So exposed and unopposed were the Capellan fighters that they patiently lined up high in the sky waiting their turn to strafe the Fusiliers Battlemechs. The 3rd Battalion managed to make a forested grove but had no sooner entered than artillery began landing on the forest. Trying to now leave the grove, 3rd Battalion ran right into Third McCarron's Armored Cavalry.

Having routed the Capellan Infantry, the Fusiliers 2nd Battalion began their advance on low hills when they entered the killing fields of Fourth McCarron's Armored Cavalry, which was waiting behind the crests of hills.

The 1st Battalion of the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers, was still wading thru the thick mud and knee deep water. Hearing of the advancing MAC units, they'd tried to cross the Gray River, but found the river too deep to cross quickly. They were not even halfway across when Fifth McCarron's Armored Cavalry crested the low hills and opened fire. They advanced on the Davion Mechs until at almost point blank range. Only a Company of 1st battalion managed to escape the destruction.

The 5th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT did not survive the night. Of the 10 Conventional Regiments, 8 were destroyed. Only 15 Fusiliers Battlemechs survived the fighting. Half of the 20 Dropships that transported the Conventional Regiments were destroyed and the rest heavily damaged.

29 May 3029

Having heard of the destruction of the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT, Colonel Mitchell and Colonel Westrick agreed to continue the operation but they would land on a single drop zone. They selected the Screaming Eagles primary drop zone, Blackhole, the furthest away from the MAC Regiments. The location would give them time to dig in. During the night, they began their drops, quickly dispersing the local Militia near Backtal. They secured a long stretch of highway and called for the Dropships carrying the Conventional Regiments to land.

Colonel Westrick led a Battalion to secure on the weapons factory near Backtal. Narrowly avoiding a hidden mine field. H then split his command and managed to secure the factory before it could be destroyed by it's defenders. Davion troops managed to remove hundreds of tons of autocannon ammunition and vibrabombs. Capellan fighters arrived at dawn and destroyed the factory complex. Unknown to the ground commanders, the Jumpships that had brought them to Sarna received communications that everything was going to plan and that Sarna would soon be secured. The Jumpships departed the system for their return to Federated Suns space per their orders. On the ground, the combined Davion force dug in and prepared for a fight.

June[]


15th June, 3029

"Richard, we have had no communication with any of the Jumpships, we are cut off from the Federated Suns command. I do not know why the MAC is not attacking us, but these daily fighter attacks and artillery bombardments are taking a slow and steady toll on us." Colonel Christopher Mitchell said

"Agreed. We are dug in tight as hell, but sooner or later we are going to have to make a move." Colonel Westrick replied

"We are not cut off from home though. I have a Black Box, given to me by mom. Primary reason is in my command is Lieutenant Anastasia Cameron, heir to the Hegemony." Colonel Mitchell said

"Sweet Jesus, what the hell is she doing out here? Make the damned call, get her the hell out of here." Colonel Richard Westrick replied

"Keep your voice down, Richard. Our people might know, but we have several thousand AFFS people with us that do not know. I will make the call, figure a week before they get the message." Colonel Christopher Mitchell said

17th June, 3029
New Avalon (Federated Suns)

"What do you mean our communications might be compromised Quintus?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"As you know, our Black Boxes have a range of 200LY and radiate in every direction. We just picked up a fax transmission that we have no clue where it came from. All of our Black Boxes are accounted for, I personally had communications check. So someone out there has the technology and we have no clue who or where it came from." Quintus Allard said

"What did the message say?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"Not a damned clue. It was encrypted, heavily, and it was also impossible for our Black Box to even download the entire message it was so damned big. Ours only transmit or receive 200 kilobytes per fax. This message was several megabytes in size. Whoever has the tech seems to have a much more advanced model. This is not good, Hanse." Quintus Allard said

"No it's not. We cannot just toss our use of them aside. Not with this damned Interdiction in effect. Damn Comstar to the pits of hell. We will just have to minimize our use of them until we sort this out. Keep at it and keep me up to date on the matter." First Prince Hanse Davion said

22th June, 3029
Thazi (Hegemony)

The shaking had finally stopped when Director-General Mark Cameron said "What in God's name is happening now."

"Alpha Priority message, sir." The officer on duty said

"Another one. Give it here." the Director-General said as he flipping on the lamp beside the bed. Blinking in the harsh light as he accepted the message. Tearing open the envelope, he pulled out the bundle of papers and started reading.


To: Director-General Mark Cameron, Commanding General Michelle Mitchell
From: Big Brother

Location Sarna, Capellan Confederation. Scenario we feared has happened. Our situation is dire. Cut off from higher. Ana safe, but possibility of capture or death is extremely likely. Request extraction assistance without delay. Have enclosed details on system astrological information from Dropship nav computers.

Chris


"Dear God. Get Commanding General, screw that. Get a damn car ready, I am going to wake her my damned self." Cameron said, swinging his feet out of bed.

Twenty minutes later, he was banging on the front door of Commanding General Michelle Mitchell's house. He saw the light inside flip on and could hear the cursing coming from inside the house, getting louder as it approached. The locks were being undone. "Someone better have a damned good reason to be beating on my door at 4:15 in the damned morning." The door swung open. Director-General Mark Cameron, with pajamas and a robe on pushed past her into the house.

"Close the door, Michelle. We got a fax from Christopher. I want a force assembled right the hell now. On their way to Sarna right the hell now. I mean right now dammit." Mark said thrusting the sheaf of papers at her.

Michelle Mitchell took the papers and quickly read the message. "Okay, let's get some damned coffee made, Mark."

"No, Michelle. I am not concerned about keeping the Hegemony secret on this matter. I will order the 191st Royals to leave right the hell now, personally if I have to. I already called the Division commander on the way over here." He said and it was very clear that he was highly upset over this.

"Calm down, Mark. Let's think this thru first." Michelle replied, but did not stop fixing some coffee.

"How the hell can you make damned coffee when Christopher and Anastasia are in danger?" Mark asked, plopping down at the kitchen table.

"Taking 5 minutes to get a cup of coffee is not going to make a damned bit of difference in what happens either way." Commanding General Michelle said, getting two cups from the cabinet "Besides, the 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division is the wrong unit for this. Too damned big and currently their transports are at Livingston without jump cores. The 211th Hussar Regiment is here, they should go. It will take another day to gather the rest of the force."

"What rest of the force?" Director+General Mark Cameron asked

"Page 2, Mark! Damn, did you even read the rest of the message? Christopher sent a current Intel dump. He's facing all 4 Regiments of McCarron's Armored Cavalry plus extreme Aerospace numbers. The 211th Hussar don't have the Aerospace numbers to bull their way in." Michelle replied, pouring the coffee into the two cups, then continuing "So, I need to pull additional Fighters. They will come from Livingston naval base, it's the closest location with the numbers we need for this."

Director-General took a sip of the coffee Michelle had placed in front of him, grimaced and added more sugar to it. "Okay, so what the hell are you thinking?"

"The 211th Hussar Regiment, 2-3 Independent Aero Wings, Potemkin Transport." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell replied, slowly stirring her creamer into her coffee.

"We need that large a ship?" Director-General Mark Cameron asked

"If I am going after Anastasia, I am not leaving anyone else there. Not even the AFFS troops. Ship has to be large enough for everyone. Though I would prefer not to have to do an evacuation. Anastasia will fight us at every step if we force her to leave. Drink your coffee and let me think a bit while I get breakfast started." Michelle said standing back up and moving to the fridge.

28th June, 3029
Wapakoneta (Federated Suns)

Under cover a fierce storm, Beta and Delta Regiments, Wolf's Dragoons lifted from the surface, leaving the battered Combine forces in control of the planet. Only 4 Company's of Dragoon Battlemechs left the planet. The Dragoons headed for Crossing, which had been preset as the rally point.

Dieron (Draconis Combine)

After months of fighting, the AFFS conventional Regiments along with the Illician Lancers finally breached Fortress Deiron and after days of fighting in side the fort, the Combine forces surrendered. Dieron was in Federated Suns hands for the first time.

Altair (Draconis Combine)

The arrival of the Fighting Urukhai with 3 Regiments finally allowed The Dioscuri to start pushing back against the 18th Dieron Regulars who quickly began falling back under the unrelenting pressure of the AFFS mercenary commands.

July[]


1st July, 3029
Sarna (Capellan Confederation)

Colonel Christopher Mitchell smiled when the Black Box signaled a message received. They never ending Aerospace Fighter attacks and artillery bombardments had taken their toll on the heavily dug in Screaming Eagles and Crater Cobras. They had repulsed 3 attacks by the MAC Regiments so far, but ammunition was running low already. He pulled the short message from the fax.


To: Eagle Command
From: Surprise

In system. ETA 24 hours to orbit. Orders are to try and maintain cover. Aero will sweep the skies. On their arrival, push from defenses. Landing not far from your stated location and will strike from behind. Ground troops will also strike enemy rear area's. We take the planet. Mom says hello.


His smile was that of a feral cat as he handed the message to Colonel Westrick of the Crater Cobras.

2nd July, 3029

A cloud of Aerospace Fighters bearing no markings, but painted in standard SLDF colors swept into the atmosphere of Sarna. A Capellan Aerospace Wing had just completed their bombing runs when their sensors picked up incoming fighters, a lot of fighters. Weapons fire lanced from the enemy fighters at ranges that took the Capellan pilots by complete surprise but, the damage those weapons did scared them even more. Outnumbered by 4 to 1, the Capellan fighters were quickly destroyed and the unknown fighters began hitting the MAC Regiments as the Screaming Eagles and Crater Cobras left their defensive works and began attacking the MAC Regiments.

As the MAC Regiments came under attack 180km away at the largest air base on Sarna, another wave of unknown Aerospace fighters swept over the air base. These fighters were knocking down the squadron on CAP in minutes. A unmarked Dropship came into view and from the ground, those troops defending the air base watched figures leaping from the Dropship. Too small to be Battlemechs, but too big to be Jump Infantry. As the figures landed, the defenders fire had no effect on them. The figures leap and bounded along the air base destroying Aerospace fighters on the ground at an incredible speed. Assistant Force Leader Thomas Wang watched in horror as a group of the figures turned their attention on his platoon. Leaping towards them seemingly unfazed by the fire coming from the Capellan troops. As the figures leapt in amongst his troops, he could see that they were Armored Troops. Machine guns mounted on the arms opened fire, mowing his troops down. What the hell are these things??, he thought right before searing pain ripped into his body and everything went dark.

The Regiments of McCarron's Armored Cavalry had managed to recover from the shock of the cornered AFFS troops attack. As they were pouring a steady fire into the oncoming Battlemechs. Thirty kilometers away, two massive Dropships settled to the ground and quickly began unloading their cargo of Battlemechs. Taking a few minutes to form up, the SLDF painted Battlemechs began moving towards the ongoing battle. As they crested a rise, the unknown Battlemechs formed a firing line and began firing on the rear of the Regiments of McCarron's Armored Cavalry. The sudden deadly fire from their rear quickly broke the Cavalry's hastily formed line. Third McCarron's Armored Cavalry was the first to start falling back, but this maneuver, while allowing them to try and return fire on the forces to their rear. Leaving exposed their rear armor to the still advancing 2nd Regiment, Screaming Eagles. The fire from the unknown Battlemechs was deadly accurate and inflicted damage none of the MAC warriors had ever experienced. Sergeant Vince Gladsky took a hit to the left torso of his Thunderbolt that ripped half the armor off in a single hit. What the hell are they using?!?!?, he thought as he struggled to compensate for the sudden loss of so much armor as his gyro literally screaming. His war book refused to identify the Battlemech in front of him. Another shot slammed into his Thunderbolt and another massive amount of armor was stripped off. But this time, he could not compensate and he lost balance, his Thunderbolt crashing to the ground. He never saw the Warhammer in Screaming Eagle markings that moved up and put a PPC shot directly into his rear armor.

As the Third McCarron's Armored Cavalry slowly folded under the assault upon them, Second McCarron's Armored Cavalry moved to assist them. This only allowed the unknown attackers clear shots at their flanks. Using massed fire, the unknown Battlemechs quickly began downing the Battlemechs of Second McCarron's Armored Cavalry. The Crater Cobras flanked Fourth McCarron's Armored Cavalry and pushed their advantage to the maximum. The Fifth McCarron's Armored Cavalry hand it's hands full holding off 4th Regiment, Screaming Eagles, but they still managed to hold a steady line, not having the unknown Battlemechs targeting them. However, they were not aware that the other Regiments were collapsing under the combined attacks. It came as a surprise when their left flank came under heavy attack from the Screaming Eagle's 2nd Regiment, having scattered the Third McCarron's Armored Cavalry, with the survivors fleeing for their lives. By nightfall, of the 432 MAC Battlemechs engaged, 301 were left on the fields outside Backtal. Those survivors fled towards their Dropships, pursued by the unknown Battlemechs.

3rd July, 3029
Sarna (Capellan Confederation)

Having put the survivors of McCarron's Armored Cavalry firmly on the run, Colonel Christopher Mitchell called off the active pursuit by the 211th Hussar Regiment, ordering them to their Dropships and back into orbit. At dawn, he ordered the 7 surviving AFFS Conventional Regiments to move to Sarna and the primary space port and secure them. During the night, technicians from the 211th Hussar Regiment had swept the battlefield, removing anything that would point to anyone other than the Screaming Eagles and Crater Cobras had been involved. In addition, 53 Eagles and 49 Crater Cobra Mechwarriors were sent into orbit with the 211th Hussar Regiment. An equal number of graves were dug on a slight rise. Their Battlemechs were then destroyed or heavily damaged by their fellow warriors. This deception, in addition to their actual losses made the battle a little more believable.

Screaming Eagles - Sarna Campaign Losses

Mechwarrior - 39 KIA, 61 WIA (actual) plus 53 departed
Infantry - 89 KIA, 195 WIA
Armor - 88 KIA, 163 WIA
Aerospace - 9 KIA, 13 WIA
Support - 183 KIA, 296 WIA

Battlemechs - 67 destroyed, 149 damaged
Armor - 33 destroyed, 39 damaged
Aerospace - 18 destroyed, 6 damaged

Crater Cobras - Sarna Campaign Losses

Mechwarrior - 43 KIA, 59 WIA (actual) plus 49 departed
Infantry - 43 KIA, 94 WIA
Aerospace - 8 KIA, 4 WIA

Battlemechs - 73 destroyed, 132 damaged
Aerospace - 12 destroyed

Colonel Christopher Mitchell stood and shook the hand of Colonel Paul Morris, commander 211th Hussar Regiment. "Sure am glad to see you Colonel. The non stop aerial and artillery was getting old as hell."

"Glad to be of help, but now I have to complete my mission. You know what that is." Colonel Morris replied

"Yes, I do. It is going to be a long ass trip, she is pissed as hell about being pulled away." Colonel Mitchell said

"I was told by Commanding General Mitchell to sedate her if I had to, but she is to leave here with me and return to Hegemony territory." Colonel Morris replied

"Well, either way, this is going to be one hell of a surprise for The Fox. How is the war going, we been cut off for awhile now?" Colonel Mitchell asked

"Quite well for the Suns. Comstar has placed them under Interdiction, claiming the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers attacked the Comstar compound here." Colonel Morris said

"Bullshit. The Fusiliers never even got close to Sarna or the HPG compound. They died in the first 24 hours basically." Colonel Mitchell stated

"Well now, that is information the Commanding General will like to have. She has her panties in a bit of an uproar about it. She even has the idea that Davion might go after Terra." Colonel Morris said

"No way. The Fox is not stupid. MIIO might have dropped the ball here on Sarna, but I am pretty sure they know going after Terra is reaching too far. What the hell gave her that idea?" Colonel Mitchell asked

"Davion invaded Dieron and Altair. The Lyrans are also moving in that general direction." Colonel Morris said

"Tell mom I said to wake up and smell the coffee. Neither is going to make a move on Terra. But also tell her Comstar is taking sides and it almost cost us our lives out here. Something needs to be done about it." Colonel Mitchell said

"I will do that sir. Now, if I can collect my charge. I will take my shuttle back up and return her home." Colonel Morris said

5th July, 3029
Sarna (Federated Suns)

Colonel Paul Morris knocked on the cabin door. After a few minutes the door opened revealing Lieutenant JG Anastasia Cameron. She did not say a word, just gestured for him to enter the small stateroom. Colonel Paul Morris entered her quarters and took a seat on the small chair inside without a word. Anastasia closed the door and plopped down on the bunk across from Colonel Morris. It was obvious that she was still angry.

"Your Colonel Mitchell gave me paperwork promoting you to Lieutenant SG once we get back to Hegemony space, I will make sure it is filed." Colonel Morris said

"That's good." Lieutenant JG Anastasia Cameron gruffed

"Still surly I see. Commanding General Mitchell said you would be pissy about this. She was right. If you think your going to sit in this stateroom and pout, think again Lieutenant Cameron. We have new orders, we are to move to an uninhabited system. There you will be transferred to a waiting ship." Colonel Morris said

This caused Anastasia to look up from the floor. "Transferred? For what reason?"

"No idea, but I have my orders. We will be there in 2 days, so in that time, I expect your attitude to change. There is always a reason for everything." Colonel Morris said standing up.

7th July, 3029
Arcadia (FS)(Uninhabited)

The SLS Dragonfly, an Riga-Class Transport (SS) dropped silently from hyper space. Her Amber computer quickly took note of Brandt-Class Corvette (SS) SLS Dennis J. Buckley, sitting 2,700 kilometers away. "Jules" quickly established a secure laser link as she alerted the bridge crew to their arrival.

"Commodore Haynes, we have arrived at our destination. Long range sensors are coming online now, short range sensors are active. SLS Dennis J. Buckley is 2,700 kilometers away and I have a secure laser communication beam established." 'Jules' said

"Thank you, Jules. You may start recharge operations. Let's go ahead and get a full charge onboard. No telling where we will be going." Commodore Walter Haynes replied as the communications officer caught his attention.

"Sir, communications from the Buckley. We are to transfer Lieutenant Cameron to the Buckley via shuttle. We are advised that we can expect Merchant-Class Surveillance Vessel, SLS Richard E. Cobb, to arrive at any time."

"Get Lieutenant Cameron moving to the shuttle bay. I wish I knew what the hell was going on." Commodore Haynes said aloud

Three hours later, Lieutenant JG Anastasia Cameron disembarked from the shuttle with her single duffle bag of gear. A deck crewman pointed her towards a hatch and she pushed off in that direction. The hatch opened soundlessly at her approach and she managed to pass into the hallway without killing herself. Another crewman arrested her movement and turned in the proper direction. "Grav deck is straight ahead, Sir." He gave her a strong push in that direction.

Lieutenant JG Anastasia Cameron again managed to keep from killing herself as she reached the grav deck hatch. She orientated properly and moved thru the hatch onto the grav deck. A voice caused her to stumble slightly.

"Welcome back, Ana. You gave us quite a fright." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell greeted her

"Mom, what the hell are you doing out here?" Anastasia asked regaining her balance

"The Director-General and I have decided it is time to have a talk with First Prince Hanse Davion. We need to clear the air some and you're coming with me. Call it diplomacy 101." Mitchell said to her daughter.

10th July, 3029
New Avalon (Federated Suns)

Quintus Allard did not knock as he pushed the door to First Prince Hanse Davion's office open, entered and pushed the door closed. This caused First Prince Hanse Davion to look up "What's going on Quintus?"

"A Fax just came in. Not encrypted at all, in the clear." He said as he handed over the message slip

First Prince Hanse Davion took the message and read it.

--- To: First Prince Hanse Davion

From: Very Old Friends

Request meeting in person. Arrival New Avalon non standard point 11 July. Two ships arriving.

Commanding General Michelle Mitchell


"Short and sweet. Who the hell is Commanding General Michelle Mitchell and what the hell does she command?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"No clue, I ran every data base we have and came up blank. Not a House officer nor mercenary officer we have ever heard of." Quintus Allard replied

"Well, one thing is for sure, they have a Black Box and know we have them too." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"Yes, that is obvious. What do we do?" Quintus Allard asked

"Only thing we can do. We wait until tomorrow and see what shows up. She was not asking for permission, she was telling us what she was going to do." First Prince Hanse Davion said

11th July 3029

SLS Dennis J. Buckley, Brandt Class Corvette (SS) and SLS Dragonfly, Riga Class Transport (SS) materialized at a non standard point a hair over a single day from the surface of New Avalon. Nothing announced their arrival, they just appeared. It took several minutes before New Avalon control even noticed they were there, and this was by radar contact. The operator did a double take on his scope, where the hell did they come from. "Sir, I think we have those guests you said to expect on the scope."

"How? We got no incoming jump warning." Colonel Omar Peligan said moving to look over the techs shoulder. Sure enough, 2 blips were on the screen. No warning at all, they were just there. "Comm, see if you can get a secure laser lock with them for communication."

"Yes sir. Working on it. Got them, we are secure and locked sir."

"Unidentified ships this is New Avalon Control. Your not broadcasting any IFF, please identify." Colonel Omar Peligan said nervously, for in a chair in the corner of the room was Quintus Allard and it made him very nervous.

"New Avalon Control, this is SLS Dennis J. Buckley. We would prefer not to broadcast our IFF to everyone who may be listening. I have a diplomatic mission aboard ready to shuttle to the surface on your direction."

Colonel Peligan looked at Quintus Allard, who had stood and walked closer. "Bring them in. Will meet them when they land. Keep them dark, no IFF and for now, keep everything away from them."

"SLS Dennis J. Buckley, New Avalon Control. Your cleared to launch a shuttle and cleared into Avalon City Space Port. You will be met. Recharge operations are authorized and we will keep the local area around you clear of traffic. Authorized to remain IFF dark and since you are not radiating sensor dark."

"We copy Control. Launching shuttle within the hour. We will not need to deploy sails Control. Request a security bubble of 10,000 kilometers. We would rather not fire off our active sensors."

Another look at Quintus Allard who nodded, a little annoyed. "Security bubble will be established. Please maintain laser lock communications."

12th July, 3029

First Prince Hanse Davion sat in the ground car, in his hands were several pictures of the ships taken by powerful telescope camera's. These pictures had caused quite a stir among the AFFS officers who knew visitors had arrived. A sonic boom announced the arrival of the shuttle. He looked at Quintus Allard seated across from him in the back of the limo. "So, whoever this is has access to things we do not have. Two ships, one massing 240,000 tons and the other massing an estimated 750,000 tons with 9 Dropships attached. They have launched nothing?"

"The shuttle and they did request a local patrol, which we authorized out to 1,000km from their ships. Looks like they have a single squadron flying a close CAP." Quintus Allard replied

"Well then, this could be a very entertaining meeting. So let's go meet our guests." First Prince Hanse Davion said reaching for the door handle.

Quintus Allard stood slightly behind and to the left of his First Prince. He let his eye's scan over the still cooling shuttle sitting not far away. He noted the hull number, but his attention was focused on the Cameron Star painted on the ships tail and nose. Movement pulled his eyes as the ships side door opened and a staircase unfolded from the ship's hull. He could see movement inside the shuttle and 2 figures appeared. Both female, one much older than the other. Both dressed in fatigues, old SLDF style if his memory was correct. He watched them walk down the staircase.

Commanding General Michelle Mitchell did not look around, she had already located First Prince Hanse Davion and kept her eye's focused there. Lieutenant Anastasia Cameron was looking around as she followed. She was taking note of potential threats and potential points of cover. She felt naked without any firearm but mom had said no, quite firmly. She let her eye's return to the immediate area as they closed on the waiting group of VIPs.

"First Prince Davion, I am Commanding General Michelle Mitchell, Hegemony Armed Forces."

She saw this caused some confusion before he spoke "Hegemony? The Marian Hegemony?"

"Wrong Hegemony. Sorry, the Terran Hegemony." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell restated

"Forgive me, but the Terran Hegemony is dead. Has been for a very long time." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"Not dead. Not by a long shot Prince Davion." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell told the Prince.

"Well, you have my attention anyway. We are making my security nervous out here. Shall we go somewhere more pleasant for our discussions?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"By all means, sir. We have much to discuss." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell replied

12th July, 3029
New Avalon (Federated Suns)

The trip to Mount Davion was made in almost silence as Commanding General Michelle Mitchell and Lieutenant Anastasia Cameron watched out the windows at the passing sights. Every now and then, First Prince Hanse Davion would point out a particular sight and give a brief description of whatever it was at that moment. Nothing was really discussed until all were seated inside a secure conference room inside Mount Davion itself. Before she sat down, Commanding General Michelle Mitchell pulled 3 data sticks from her pocket and placed them on the table before her.

First Prince Hanse Davion looked at the data sticks before speaking "I assume those contain something for us to see?"

"Yes. This one you have seen before, several years ago. You may play it if you desire and maybe it will prove that I am who I say I am." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said sliding the data stick over.

Several minutes passed as First Prince Hanse Davion searched his memory "That one must contain the video concerning the Screaming Eagles. I seem to recall John Davion saying another copy had been given to another party, but the name escapes me."

"Commanding General Rita Mitchell is the name you’re looking for but, you’re correct. This data stick is also from John Davion, but it was meant to provide our bona fides. I have watched it, but feel free to view it again." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said sliding the next data stick over, which Quintus Allard took and inserted it into a player. A screen mounted on the wall came to life and an image appeared, John Davion.

Greetings to my distant relative, I am not sure how much time has passed, but I pray that this message finds the Federated Suns strong and well. The person presenting this message represents the Terran Hegemony. This must come as a shock, since for all intents the Terran Hegemony is dead. Let me assure you, they are not. I am making this video and giving it to Commanding General Rita Mitchell, it will be presented to you when the Terran Hegemony finally decides to return to the Inner Sphere proper."

The Terran Hegemony assisted the Federated Suns in what is possibly our darkest hours. Providing both equipment but also veteran soldiers in the 250th Battlemech Division, covertly acting as the mercenary Screaming Eagles. The Terran Hegemony and Federated Suns stood shoulder to shoulder when it was called for. While we never formed an official alliance, that alliance was alive and well for several years. I cannot guide you in your future decision for times do change, but I trust you to make the best decision for the Federated Suns."

"Okay, so does this mean the Terran Hegemony is returning and your here to reclaim the systems that once were yours?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"Not at this time, Prince Davion, not entirely anyway. However, I am going to put you on notice, Terra is off limits. Any attack on Terra will be met by force from the Terran Hegemony. We might not currently reside there, but we do consider the people of Terra as our citizens." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said sternly.

"I have never been one to respond to any sort of threats, General Mitchell. If I remember my history right, even the history these video's contain, your people abandoned your former holdings to whatever fate brought them. Explain to me what right you have to say what happens to any of them now?" First Prince Hanse Davion stated

Before Commanding General Michelle Mitchell could speak, Lieutenant Anastasia Cameron spoke for the first time since arriving on New Avalon. "That's because we have sat back and watched the Houses, including your own Federated Suns, beat each other senseless over a seat that none of you have a right or claim to sit on. Only the Federated Suns did not act like a vulture and tear at the Terran Hegemony those many years ago, and that is the only reason we are here to talk to you at all. If I have learned anything, it is that the only thing you House Lords understand is brute strength. Well look above, you think those are the only ships we have? Think again. Do not make the mistake of ignoring our warning, we come in peace but, I assure you we mean what we say."

Her outburst caused Commanding General Michelle Mitchell to pinch her nose and close her eyes. Quintus Allard sat there in a shock. First Prince Hanse Davion just grinned. "She has some fire in her, I like her. Pray tell, who are you exactly?"

"Lieutenant JG Anastasia Cameron, Hegemony Armed Forces and heir to the title of Director-General of the Terran Hegemony." Anastasia Cameron said

"I see. Well Lieutenant JG Anastasia Cameron, let me explain something to you once you have grown up some more. Maybe seen what threats of war actually bring about, you might rethink your positions some." First Prince Hanse Davion said

Commanding General Michelle Mitchell glanced at Anastasia, aw shit, she thought as she watched Anastasia push her chair back and stand up. She reached into her pocket and tossed a shoulder patch on the table in front of First Prince Hanse Davion, on it was the Screaming Eagle.

"I have seen what war is about. I have fought in a war, a war started by a man on his own wedding day. Instead of a day of celebration, thousands died across many worlds. I have seen what bad intelligence and stupid commanders can cause. Your Intel on Sarna sucked ass. I watched the commander of the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers rush ahead of the rest of us for glory. I listened to the radio calls as the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers died within 24 hours of landing on Sarna. We endured months of combat, alone, cut off before my commander made a call for assistance. They arrived and Sarna is now secure. Your welcome, First Prince Davion. Never question my abilities or my word again. Any one that threatens Terra will face all the might of the Terran Hegemony, that I promise." Anastasia Cameron stated firmly, fire flashing in her eyes.

This outburst rocked First Prince Hanse Davion, news of the death of the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers bothered him. It was news he had not gotten until now. "Forgive me, Lieutenant Cameron, I did not know."

"Well, now you do. Sorry mom, I will sit down and shut up now." Anastasia Cameron said, slowly sitting back down, but not removing her eye's from First Prince Hanse Davion


"Shall we return to a more civilized conversation?" Commanding General Michelle Mitchell asked, shooting Anastasia a quick look in rebuke.

"By all means. The issue at hand was Terra. Let me be clear, neither myself nor the Federated Suns has any desire to take Terra." First Prince Hanse Davion replied, slowly shaking off the shock of learning that the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers RCT was wiped out on Sarna.

"Very well, I will take you at your word, Prince Davion. Now, to show you that we are no threat." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell passed the last data stick to Quintus Allard "That data stick contains the names of every SAFE, ISF and Maskirovka agent inside the Federated Suns and Lyran Commonwealth. Quite a few names contained there and their current locations as of the middle of June."

Quintus Allard took the data stick and looked at it like someone had handed him the keys to the kingdom. "What, no ROM agents on here? How did you come by this?" He asked half in jest.


"Let's just say our Intel gathering is extremely good. We have been at this a very long time. As a bonus, the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers did not attack the Comstar compound on Sarna, they never even got close to it. Long ago, we helped set up Comstar, but they have strayed far from the path we set for them." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said

Quintus Allard absorbed the information like a sponge, his mind calculating everything before he spoke "You have Comstar penetrated, very deeply I imagine. How deeply?"

"I will not confirm anything Mr Allard. Like I said, we have been at this a very long time." Commanding General Mitchell replied calmly.

"That tells me more than you think, General Mitchell, but I will not pry further." Quintus Allard said with a sly smile, not now anyway, he thought to himself.

"Exactly what do you want for all this information? Stuff like this is not without strings attached." First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"For starters, the Hegemony is not yet ready to fully reveal ourselves to everyone else, nor even fully to the Federated Suns. We had to start somewhere, and the Federated Suns was once a trusted friend. We'd also need markets for our goods, civilian goods that is. We will not sell military goods to anyone. To secure trading rights with some restrictions I am even willing to assist your desperate need of transports, for purely civilian use. I am firm on that, my ships will not be used for military purposes nor to free up other assets for you to use in military operations." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said

"I can agree to those terms. What else?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"Our presence must remain a secret. Only you two, possibly Archon Katrina Steiner and your wife Melissa are to know about any of this." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said

"Again, nothing I cannot agree to." First Prince Hanse Davion replied

"Then this one might be. End the war, Prince Davion. Finish your moves and end the bloodshed. End the fighting before you do any more damage to your nation." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said

Hours later, at 2am local time, First Prince Hanse Davion and Quintus Allard watched the shuttle take to the skies. As both walked back to the waiting car, Quintus Allard spoke "They are reading everyone's mail, Hanse. That is the only way they could get all those names. They have Comstar penetrated to the hilt, I would bet my life on it."

17th July, 3029
Thazi (Hegemony)

"That was a stupid outburst, Ana. You could have put those talks right into the dumpster. Your the heir and your words and actions actually have meaning. You need to work on your diplomacy. Just because we have a huge stick, does not mean we use it to get our way." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said, the Dropship was cruising at a steady and comfortable 1g towards home.

"Diplomacy is saying nice doggie while you reach for that big stick, Mom." Anastasia Cameron said

"In a way it is just that. Our mere method of arrival showed the stick we have, there was no need to wave it around." Commanding General Michelle said

"It got my point across didn't it? First Prince Hanse Davion is no different than any other House Lord. They forget the cost that their actions have. Forget about the little guy on the ground, bullets whizzing around, their friends dead or wounded around them. All so that they can claim another system from another House." Anastasia replied, not backing up an inch.

"First Prince Hanse Davion lost his first love in battle. He watched her die if I remember correctly. He never expected to rule, he wanted to be a soldier. The death of his brother forced him into the role. Now, get the hell down off your high horse, listen and learn." Commanding General Michelle said

"I did not know that about him. I knew he had served, it is required, but I did not know he lost someone close like that. But still, how many casualties has this war cost?" Anastasia replied

"We may never know the true costs of this war. I have faith First Prince Hanse Davion will end this war soon, probably by the end of the year. He has exacted his revenge and carved out his corridor to the Lyran Commonwealth." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said, Anastasia detected a tone in her voice.

"You knew all along or suspected? Then why make a fuss over Terra?" Anastasia asked

"The Interdiction. That was the wild card, I could not risk him lashing out at Comstar because of it. I needed him to know that there is a line he cannot cross." Michelle said

"Which brings us to the bigger issue. Comstar is taking sides and they are backing the wrong side in my opinion. Something needs to be done, they are going too far. Actually have been heading down that path way too long." Anastasia replied

"That is our fault, the Hegemony. We did not jerk their chain hard enough when they started down the path they are on many years ago. We tried to be subtle and they did not get the message. Now they are too far off the path from where they were supposed to be. It is actually very complicated now. Though we control alot of ROM, Comstar's Security and Intel Branch. Along with most of the actual HPG stations, there is a large portion we have no or little control over. This new Com Guards, for instance. They currently number roughly 30 Battlemech Regiments, 40 Armor Regiments and 60 Infantry Regiments. Though they have Divisions, they are more like a AFFS Regimental Combat Team in size. Nothing like our own Divisions. However, according to Hegemony Security, they are keeping them very well hidden from the Houses. Our estimates are that if we attacked Terra or Comstar, we could only count on 20-25% of those troops to sway to our side."

"It is a little better where their navy is concerned, only because for years we focused efforts there. It's only still only 35-45% could be counted on coming to our side. That is why long ago, Hegemony Security placed demolition charges on every warships jump core during maintenance refits. If we ever make a move, we will send the signal to those charges and disable the ships ability to make a jump. But that still leaves them very dangerous wherever they are at that moment. We have not been sitting on our hands totally, but we have not been forceful enough." Michelle said

"Maybe we should pay them a visit and explain the rules to them then, much like we just did." Anastasia commented

"Thought about it. But right now, I think it would do more harm than good. Primus Waterly is not known to be easy to deal with. Probably just piss me off and that would do no one any good." Michelle said and began again before Anastasia could say anything. "Now back to the subject at hand, before you can change it. I have approved your promotion to Lieutenant SG. Congrats. Christopher says you earned it the hard way. Now, once First Prince Davion ends his war, which will prove to me he can be worked with. We are going to need to establish some sort of "Ambassador" to New Avalon." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell finished with a large smile.

It took Anastasia a full minute to catch on "Oh come on, Mom. You just said yourself that I am not ready for diplomacy, and that is totally what that job is." Anastasia replied

"What better place to learn it, right in the lion's den or should I say Fox's Den. First Prince Davion will know exactly who and what he is dealing with in you. I actually think he would enjoy it." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said

September[]


10th September, 3029
New Avalon (Federated Suns)

"Portmaster Control to unidentified Dropship, please state your identity and destination?"

"Portmaster Control, this is FSS Camelot. Cargo are Capellan Mechs and parts bound for the NAIS. Sorry, it has been awhile since we had any down time and our IFF is not working."

Though this was unusual, since the Interdiction, this exact thing seemed to happen several times every day. He shrugged and cleared the Dropship to the NAIS space port. As FSS Camelot entered the atmosphere, he called them again.

"FSS Camelot, Portmaster Control. Please transmit your cargo manifest so I can relay it to NAIS."

"Negative Portmaster Control. We will be on the ground before you could even transmit it. We are a little busy right now anyway."


From his palace, First Prince Hanse Davion watched the incoming Dropship. Wonder who that is, he thought to himself. But his wonder turned to alarm as he saw the Dropship begin a hover over the NAIS itself and not the space port. He rushed to the mech hanger below the palace and quickly climbed into his personal Battlemaster. Now fully powered, he powered up his communications suite. "This is First Prince Hanse Davion, full alert, we have hostiles at the NAIS. Moving to engage. All units converge on the NAIS."

He throttled up his Battlemaster to a full run. Luckily, NAIS was not far from his palace and he quickly waded into the fight. His first target was a Panther and he shot it squarely in it's rear center with a PPC blast. A Griffin and Marauder moved to engage him and he quickly destroyed both Battlemechs. More and more enemy Battlemechs converged on his location. He destroyed a Stinger and several hits caused him to turn, and a Locust received his medium lasers for it's efforts. He quickly found himself engaged by 6 enemy Battlemechs and his Battlemaster was taking damage at a fearful rate. He knew he had to delay the enemy, his sensors detected friendly Battlemechs slowly entering the fight. A sudden hit and everything went dark.

11th September 3029

First Prince Hanse Davion slowly awoke. His head was pounding, he slowly reached up to touch, but a soft hand halted his progress. "Leave it be, my love. You took a hard hit to that hard head of yours." The voice of his wife, Melissa Steiner Davion.

"How bad did we get hurt?" He asked

"Quintus is outside. So is Morgan. I will get them. You lay back and get well." Melissa said

He repeated his question as Quintus Allard and Morgan Hasek-Davion entered the room. "How bad were we hurt?"

"67 KIA and 127 WIA, including you. NAIS suffered some serious damage. The computers that held the proper language to make use of the memory core from Helm were destroyed. We got hurt bad." Quintus Allard replied

"That sorry son of a bitch Max Liao. Even after the whipping we gave him, he still manages to kick us in the balls." First Prince Hanse Davion replied staring at the ceiling.

November[]


18 November 3029
Sian (Capellan Confederation)

Chancellor Maximilian Liao had completely lost all grip on reality and was locked in an asylum. While still technically Chancellor, his eldest daughter, Candace Liao was really running the show. Though this caused friction with her younger daughter Romano Liao. While Candace Liao worked as hard as anyone to salvage what she could of the CCAF and hold to her remaining worlds, she also had to contend with problems being created by her unstable sister. Today, it was all coming to a head.

"You have lost your mind, dear sister, your almost as crazy as our father. First you killed Elizabeth Jordan Liao, our step mother, then you had Colonel Pavel Ridzik, and then you actually tried to assassinate my consort Justine Xiang on Bethel. Now I find that you issued orders shifting a Warrior House from their garrison to counter attack the Davions, which I stopped. We cannot afford to lose more troops needlessly." Candace Liao said

"You have been blinded, Sister. Your a Davion whore. Your not fit to sit on the throne." Romano Liao replied as she slid a hand into her robes, slowly grasping the small hold out gun. She made to pull the pistol, but a shot rang out and Romano slumped to the floor with a ragged hole in her chest.

Shocked, Candace Liao turned her head, there stood Justin Xiang with a smoking pistol in his hands. "Why?" She asked softly.

"I could not let you get hurt. I have fallen in love with you. Your the one that needs to rule the Capellan Confederation. Your sister would always be a threat to you and me. That could not be allowed to continue." Justin Xiang replied

"We must end this war. Try to salvage what we can. Rebuilding will not be easy." Candace Liao said

"We can have Comstar make the overtures. Now that you are in control, I am sure First Prince Hanse Davion will agree to end the fighting. Your not your father." Justin Xiang said

20th November, 3029
Sian (Capellan Confederation)

"Candace, I need to tell you something, something that could cause you to send me away or even shoot me, either way I would lose you in which case, death is preferable." Justin Xiang said

The seriousness of Justin's voice caused Candace Liao to stop what she was doing and focus all her attention on him. "What could be so serious for me to react like that?"

"The charges against me by the Federated Suns, they were false charges. I was actually on a secret mission for the Federated Suns. But that mission had nothing at all to do with you. My mission was to help win the war for the Federated Suns. To lessen the threat of the Capellan Confederation to the Federated Suns. That mission is complete. I tried not to fall in love with you, but I failed in that. I love you more than my own life." Justin Xiang said

"It no longer matters. I love you and wish to spend the rest of my life with you. What is done is done. Together, we will reshape the Capellan Confederation into something better than it has become. Together, we will try to avoid war, even though we will always prepare for war." Candace Liao replied

Justin Xiang felt a tremendous weight lift from his shoulders. He moves to Candace, taking her into his arms and kissing her deeply. When he finally pulled back slightly, he said "I must leave Sian for some time. I promise, I will return to you."

"I understand. Go, handle your business and return to me. Every minute you are away, I will wish for your return." Candace Liao said

December[]


7th December, 3029
New Avalon (Federated Suns)

At the Comstar compound, technicians completed the task of bringing the HPG back online. The Interdiction was lifted. The Federated Suns had been forced to pay for the damages to the HPG station on Sarna and allow Comstar to garrison every Comstar facility inside the Federated Suns, including Battlemechs. First Prince Hanse Davion had gritted his teeth and swallowed these demands. Protesting or even arguing against the video of troops bearing the colors of the 5th Syrtis Fusiliers might compromise the Hegemony's security or their access to Comstar's systems.

10 December 3029
Tharkad (Lyran Commonwealth)

"It is time to end the war Katrina. I am tired, my troops are tired. Yours must be also." First Prince Hanse Davion said via HPG live hookup.

"I agree, Hanse. It is time. We will need Comstar's help in getting all sides to agree to a peace treaty. I know that is not something you really want." Archon Katrina Steiner replied

"Not really, but I see no other way at this time to avoid it. Once we have peace, you need to visit New Avalon. Melissa and I need to speak to you in person." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"I would really enjoy that. Would be my first time to New Avalon. Then I would have a reason to force you to come to Tharkad." Archon Katrina Steiner replied with a smile.

15th December, 3029
Thazi (Hegemony)

"You all packed up? Your going to be away for some time." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell asked

"Yes all packed up. I still am not convinced this is a good idea. As you say, I am not a very good diplomat and First Prince Hanse Davion is way out of my league." Lieutenant SG Anastasia Cameron replied

"Just don't promise anything major without speaking to me first. Your security detail will meet you at New Avalon. Plus, to help keep you from giving away the farm by mistake. You will get an aide, someone you might actually listen to." Michelle said with a sly smile

"You mean a babysitter. A reminder you mean. Oh Boy, your trust in me screwing up just feels me with joy." Anastasia replied very sarcastically.

"You will have to setup a safe house or compound. I am sure either Prince Davion or Quintus Allard will assist you. You will have a security detail of 28 people. Enough to rotate guard shifts on your compound and make sure your safe. In addition, Hegemony Security is assigning a team of 10 to you. They will handle security on the Black Box for communicating with us back here. You will be taking the newest version with you. Better range at 1,500LY, speed of transmission stays the same, fully encrypted, 12 channels but best of all it is now a focused transmission instead of everywhere at once. It has the ability to upload star charts into it's memory and using Quantum Mechanics, as long as it knows where it is located, it can fire off a message more direct to it's destination. We know the Fed Suns has Black Box tech, though they are using the old version we started with centuries ago.

The biggest surprise is that I have authorized you and your security detail to take full Hegemony equipment with you. Just in case you need it, Nighthawk armor and weapons. Though I want them kept out of sight and secure unless a dire situation arises." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said

"Well, there is a break in the clouds after all. I promise to be on my best behavior." Anastasia replied

"One last thing, your also taking some special equipment and a few personnel with you. Seems the NAIS got hammered by Comstar. We just got confirmation of it. Tell First Prince Hanse Davion that this is my way of saying we are sorry and are working on a solution to our common problem." Michelle told her daughter.

21st December, 3029
New Avalon (Federated Suns)

"Port Control, this is SLS Seymour Riley on a secure laser link. How copy?" The communication officer said. The Carmody-Class Survellance Ship was transporting Lieutenant SG Anastasia Cameron, along with other personnel and equipment from Hegemony space.

"SLS Seymour Riley, have you loud and clear and show you on the scope. Your cleared to detach your Dropships. They are to proceed to the NAIS space port. I am transmitting exact coordinates at this time. Do you have any further requests?"

"I have your coordinates and we are detaching our Dropship within the hour. No special requests, we will be departing as soon as the Dropships are away."

In Port Control, the Port Master and radar tech shared a look between them. "Departing, without recharging?" Just over an hour later, their sensors registered a small power spike from SLS Seymour Riley, much smaller than a normal jump, and the ship vanished from their radar scopes.

23rd December, 3029

Lieutenant SG Anastasia Cameron walked down the ramp from the Monarch Passenger Dropship which would remain with them on New Avalon in case it was needed. Once she reached the bottom of the ramp, she turned to watch several loader mechs move to unload the shipping containers from the Dropships cargo bay. A voice turned her back around.

"Over here, Lieutenant Cameron." Sergeant Major Jamison

Lieutenant Anastasia Cameron could not help but smile broadly "Mast, Sergeant Major Jamison. What are you doing here?"

"Not just me sir, the entire platoon is here. I only brought several with me. The rest are about 6 kilometers away. First Prince Davion carved is a little spot on the NAIS compound. Not far from his Palace or Mount Davion. There is still some work to be done, but should be completed within the next month. The holidays have put a halt to most of the work." Sergeant Major Jamison replied

"Well, then let's go see our new home." Lieutenant SG Anastasia Cameron said

"Right away, Sir. Plus you need to get changed. You have a meeting with the First Prince in 3 hours." Sergeant Major Jamison said with a laugh when he saw the look on her face.

Just under 3 hours later, Lieutenant SG Anastasia Cameron had cleared security and was led by Quintus Allard to First Prince Hanse Davions office in the palace. Opening the door, he led her into the spacious office. First Prince Hanse Davion smiled when they entered and stood from his desk walking over to greet her.

"Lieutenant Cameron, welcome back to New Avalon. General Mitchell sent me a message, via HPG. Without any routing information attached, which raised a few eyebrows around here I must admit. She tells me that you will be staying on New Avalon as the Hegemony representative to the Federated Suns. For her to entrust someone so young, she must have a tremendous amount of faith in your abilities." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"I am at your service, First Prince Davion. First, I am to convey to you our regret about the attack on the NAIS. No, General Mitchell told me to tell you that we are working on a solution to our common problem. I also have some equipment and specialists to assist you, our way of saying we are sorry. The equipment and specialists will assist your NAIS in decoding the memory core." Lieutenant Anastasia Cameron said

At her words, both First Prince Hanse Davion and Quintus Allard jerked a little. Information about their inability to decode the memory core was known but to a few people. Did the Hegemony have the Federated Suns penetrated as deep as they obviously had Comstar penetrated, flashed through both of their minds at the same time. First Prince Hanse Davion cleared his throat before speaking "That will be a great help. But tell me, how do you know about our damage?"

It was then that Anastasia realized that maybe she really was not cut out for this posting. They had been given the list of agents so what would it hurt. "You have not picked up a SAFE agent that is employed inside the NAIS. He sent a message out via Comstar and we intercepted his message. The message has vanished and will not arrive at it's destination. That is all I will say on the matter, sir."

"Quintus, let's move on that list they gave us quicker please. I would like New Avalon clean as quick as possible." First Prince Hanse Davion said

"Right away, Highness." Quintus Allard replied and headed for the door. Once the door was closed again, First Prince Hanse Davion gestured to the small seating area "Please, take a seat. Forgive my manners."

Once both were seated, he continued. "I am extending diplomatic immunity to you and your people, same as any other Ambassador and their staff. Your security detail is from the Screaming Eagles, same as you. Tell me, the truth now, the Screaming Eagles never really left Hegemony service did they? After all these years?"

"No sir. It was part of the arrangement with First Prince John Davion. The 250th Battlemech Division, the Screaming Eagles, have always been a Hegemony command and remained staffed by Hegemony personnel. Though they have never gotten orders from the Hegemony, except to continue their mission."

First Prince Hanse Davion laughed aloud "I remember when the Eagle commander came to New Avalon carrying those holo messages. Ian, my brother, almost blew a gasket when he listened to those messages where First Prince John Davion. Dead for over 200 years had given a clear title to the planet Farnesworth to the Eagles. Boy, Ian carried on for days after that, but we really gave that planet to the Hegemony, didn't we?"

"I do not know how to answer that, sir. I have not been briefed in on those particular details." Anastasia replied

"Relax, Lieutenant Cameron. Your going to be around me quite a bit I foresee. You may call me Hanse, when we are alone anyway. May I call you Anastasia?" First Prince Hanse Davion asked

"Of course sir.....Hanse. Or you can call me Ana, most do." Anastasia replied

"Good. We will mostly be meeting outside normal hours. So it will be more casual. Matter of fact, it's Christmas. I would be honored if you would join me and Melissa for Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow, she would love to meet you, your about her age and she has so few friends here anyway. Maybe she can take you shopping." First Prince Hanse Davion said

He's laying on the charm awfully heavy, Anastasia thought before answering "It would be my pleasure, Hanse." Though inwardly she was cringing.

24th December, 3029
New Avalon (Federated Suns)

It seems First Prince Hanse Davion had informed his wife, Melissa Steiner-Davion, that Anastasia needed a new wardrobe the previous night. When Lieutenant SG Anastasia Cameron had arrived at the Davion Palace at noon, dressed in standard SLDF fatigues, Melissa Steiner Davion, though gracious to a fault had smiled. "My dear Anastasia, we must do something about your attire. As comfortable as those fatigues might be, they just will not do. Hanse might call tonight an intimate affair, but unless you find 100+ nobles and generals intimate, your going to stand out like something that needs to be squished."

What followed was a small whirlwind of activity as Melissa's protective detail scrambled to get her "small" motorcade ready for a trip into Avalon City. Anastasia just sat there, in a chair of the large foyer, watching the activity, wondering how much the small credit card she had been given actually had on it. She hoped she would not be embarrassed by not being able to afford something nice. She stood as Melissa Steiner Davion came down the staircase, looking stunning in a powder blue outfit. "Come along, Anastasia. We are going to have a good time today, I have been cooped up for too long. We are going to have a really good time."

The small motorcade descended upon Avalon City's garment district and what occurred made for quite a few merchants, a very merry Christmas. The first shop, New Avalon Glamour Shoppe, had several dresses in the front window. Anastasia looked at one, her eye's almost bugging out as she saw the price tag. The dress along was more than she made in a year, the shoes that matched were 3 months salary. "Highness, I cannot afford anything in this shop." She protested.

"My dear, it is Melissa. Whatever you cannot afford, I am sure Hanse can afford." Melissa replied, taking her by the arm and sweeping her inside. For an hour, several people measured, poked, prodded Anastasia. Matching color swatches with her skin tone, her hair, eye color. It all made her very uncomfortable. Finally, 5 dresses had been custom fitted faster than anything she had ever seen. The shop owner had sent a runner down to a shoe store, and he had returned with 3 matching pairs of shoes, a pair for each dress, in her proper size. When the store owner had tallied the purchases up, Anastasia had felt faint, it was over 5 years salary. She handed over the credit card that she had been given to purchase any equipment they might need on this mission, hoping it would handle the purchase and then worrying about how to explain the purchase to the bean counters back home. A quick swipe and a broad smile from the shop owner as he handed the credit card back. The carefully packaged items were neatly loaded into the motorcade.

The next stop was a Beauty Salon, Melissa swept into the Salon like a tsunami. While she was given a quick trim, under the watchful eyes of her primary agent, Anastasia was given a complete work over. Nails, toes, hair wash, though she kept her hair shorter than most, it was still shoulder length when she did not have it in a bun. A SLDF Regulation bun. The area around her chair was a beehive of activity, each of her hand and feet had a person assigned to it. All the while, Melissa sat across from her with a smile on her face. When they finally left, Melissa looked Anastasia over. "Much much better. You have an excellent complexion. Your a very beautiful woman, but you still need some things. Come along."

Anastasia almost had a panic attack when the small motorcade halted in front of a shop. The sign read New Avalon Jewelry. Once again, Melissa lead the way. She said something to her protective agent who spoke into a small microphone in his sleeve. Soon, two of the drivers brought in the other purchased outfits and held them while Melissa would look at them and then back into different show cases. Every now and then, she would point to an item, which would be brought out. Melissa would hold the necklace, ear rings or some other piece of jewelry to the dress in question. Some would be placed back into the case, while others were carried to the register and carefully packaged. "Melissa, no, no way I can afford anything in here. Just stop, please."

"Anastasia, calm yourself. These are from Hanse and myself. Merry Christmas. I will not have my new friend feel out of place tonight. You will be the star of the evening, I promise." Melissa replied as she turned to the shop owner at the register and handed over her own credit card, where Anastasia's card had the symbol of New Avalon's largest bank, Melissa's card hard the symbol of the Lyran Commonwealth on it. The shop owner took the card and with an almost perceptible hand shake, swiped the card with a very forced face. Anastasia imagined he would like to cackle like a hysterical lunatic as the purchase went thru and he handed the card back to Melissa. But what was worse, was when Melissa had the motorcade take her back to the Hegemony compound. "It was a fine afternoon. I will have a car pick you up at 6pm Anastasia. Tonight is going to be such fun."

Later that evening

The Christmas Eve dinner had been pleasant, but now that it was over. Now the real test began, Lieutenant SG Anastasia Cameron thought as she walked into the huge ball room. She was acutely aware of many eyes on her, all wondering who she was and exactly did she fit into the power structure. She smiled as a evil thought passed into her brain, maybe I should just announce that I am the heir to the Terran Hegemony and see how they react to that news. She shook the thought away and felt some relief as Melissa Steiner-Davion suddenly appeared and took her arm. "Come along Ana, let's go introduce you to all the enquiring people out there. I know for a fact that they are literally doing mental flip flops trying to figure out who you are. My seating you next to me and the way Hanse kept smiling at you and exchanging small talk did nothing but make them wonder even more."

Melissa Steiner-Davion, with Anastasia in tow, plunged into the milling nobles and general officers, nodding at each as she passed by them until she arrived at a small group. "Ardan, this is Lieutenant Anastasia Cameron of the Screaming Eagles. Ana, this is Prince's Champion Ardan Sortek, his wife Cadent. His cousin Bishop Sortek, currently enrolled in the Albion Military Academy. And this stunning woman is Field Marshal Yvonne Davion."

Anastasia greeted each as they were introduced to her. She blushed when Bishop Sortek bowed slightly and kissed her hand, damn he is good looking, she thought before reminding herself that she was at least 8 years his senior in age.

"How are you enjoying New Avalon, Lieutenant Cameron? I think the Screaming Eagles are the only Mercenary Command to actually have an ambassador position assigned to their employers capitol world." Field Marshal Yvonne Davion asked

"So far it had been a very enlightening posting." Anastasia replied, keeping her answer very short.

"Come now, Yvonne, there is no need to interrogate her. It is only fair for the Screaming Eagles to have this honor. They have served the Federated Suns for over 200 years, they enjoy their own system within the Federated Suns." Melissa said, then followed with "Come along Ana, there are a very many that you must meet."

Melissa moved to where First Prince Hanse Davion was speaking to an officer dressed in a black dress jacket, cape, and black trousers with scarlet piping. Anastasia recognized the uniform immediately, Wolf's Dragoons. "Hanse, I thought Ana would like to meet Colonel Jaime Wolf, Colonel Wolf, this is Lieutenant Anastasia Cameron of the Screaming Eagles."

"So very nice to meet you, Lieutenant Cameron. On behalf of my Dragoons, I would ask that you relay a message to your General Hokala. Tell him thank you for the recent gift. It is not often that another mercenary command gives up their hard earned salvage. If you will excuse me, Highness, let me explain. General Hokala sent me a message, I only got it when I arrived on New Avalon 2 days ago. The Screaming Eagles has gifted us 120 Battlemechs salvaged from Sarna to help us rebuild. That sort of honor is hard to come by and is a rare thing." Colonel Jaime Wolf said

"I will gladly relay your message, Colonel Wolf." Anastasia replied

"Some day, maybe my Dragoons can return the favor. Only not under the same circumstances. May the gods of war always smile upon your Screaming Eagles." Colonel Jaime Wolf said with a smile, which suddenly froze on his face and his eyes narrowed slightly when Lieutenant Anastasia Cameron responded.

She did not even realize she had said it, but she knew exactly who the Dragoons were, it just popped in her head and then from her mouth. "Seyla."

"Highness, if you will excuse me. I will retire for the evening, it has been a long trip." Colonel Jaime Wolf said as he nodded to Melissa and then cautiously eyed Lieutenant Anastasia Cameron before nodding to her and departing.

"Well that was a short appearance." Melissa said to First Prince Hanse Davion.

"I will be meeting with Colonel Wolf in the morning. We have some details to work out, when I thanked him for his Dragoons sacrifice on the Combine border, I asked if there was any way that the Federated Suns could repay them. Seems he wants the planet Outreach that we just took from the Capellans." First Prince Hanse Davion replied

"Not asking for much is he." Melissa replied

Anastasia Cameron just absorbed the information and mentally composed her first communication home. The rest of the evening was a blur of names, titles and greetings.


  • Trivia from the Author
    Hegemony has 98 systems and 157 Billion people right now. Mostly in what is known as the Outland Wastes. Population growth is currently at 3.3, which is pretty high. Only a few systems have broken the 1 Billion population mark.
    But overall, yes, the Hegemony is way way ahead of the Inner Sphere and the Clan's in population. Overall that is.


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