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Fate Can be Cruel (Book 2) - Chapter Cover

Fate Can Be Cruel
Chapter 22 - Year 3031


19th January, 3031
Kervill (Draconis Combine)

Kanrei Theodore Kurita smiled as he watched a full Regiment of Battlemechs being off loaded from Comstar dropships. His technicians had already confirmed that every single one was equipped with Star League era equipment. He had ordered them inspected before even allowing them to be off loaded. He glanced down at the manifest he had been provided:

BattleMechs Manifest
36 Thug THG-11E
14 Champion CHP-1N2
22 Excalibur EXC-B1
18 Sentinel STN-3L
18 Talon TLN-5V

He recognized the Thug, just not the advanced version. The others he had never seen before. He silently cursed himself that he did not demand Comstar provide him with technical support until his own people could maintain the new equipment correctly. However, he had figured this single Regiment would be worth at least 2 regular Regiments in battle. He just needed time to rebuild the DCMS.

Dol (Federated Suns)

Having vanished from maps around 2864, the Dol system had been literally forgotten about. Having been selected to host a naval shipyard for the Federated Suns, away from prying eyes, this was all changing today. At the Nadir Jump Point, the Carmody-Class Surveillance Vessel, SLS Belina Franklin, materialized without any warning. The moment the ships sensors came online, the ship moved to the 1st planet in the system to begin a detailed survey of the system and it's resources. This would aid the Hegemony in knowing exactly what would be needed to be brought in.

Panpour (Federated Suns)

Derick Mitchell, Senior VP Operations Mitchell Heavy Industries, had arrived at the headquarters of Challenge Systems after receiving the message that Challenge Systems had been purchased by the Hegemony and for Mitchell Heavy Industries to take control. He had been met by the Federated Suns people that had been managing the company since it's seizure by the Federated Suns government. After the formalities of handing over the company to it's new owners, Derick Mitchell turned to look at the newly appointed CEO of Challenge Systems.

"You got a huge task ahead of you, Deniss, you sure you can handle it?" Derick Mitchell asked

"Yes sir, positive. How much support am I going to get from back home?" Deniss Sona, 34, former lead project manager for Mitchell Heavy Industries Zebuluraskai complex

"Quite a bit until you get your own people trained up. Take some time and figure out what needs to be done to modernize the yards here. It will take two or three years to get the Dol complex constructed. The Fed Suns security folks will be running the background checks on any people you send that way. Once we activate the Dol complex, supply purchases will be run thru Challenge Systems. Mainly raw ores that we cannot mine on location. A survey is being conducted right now on the Dol system. You first tasking, once Dol is activated will be to refurbish the few fed Suns warships sitting in mothballs. Two Builder-Class YardShips will be moving to assist getting those ships to Dol, but will be located far outside the proximity limit to avoid detection. Two more Builders will be going to Dol to aid the building of the complex there. Be close to a year before they arrive on station." Derick Mitchell replied

Liparius class mobile shipyard (by Matt Plogg 2016)

Builder-Class YardShip

"Okay then, I will start here and get a good feel for who the top people are. It's going to be a lot of work, but I do love a challenge." Deniss Sona said, actually looking forward to the task ahead.


3rd June, 3031
Terra (Comstar)

With no warning, SLS Nebraska II, Texas Battleship emerged at a pirate point near Terra. The sudden appearance with no warning at all terrified the multitude of Dropships both coming and going from Terra itself. What they all heard over a broadband transmission did nothing to ease their fears.

"This is Commanding General Michelle Mitchell of the Hegemony Armed Forces. I am transmitting on broadband for Primus Waterly. I think we need to speak. I will be landing at Hilton Head within 24 hours." She signaled for the channel to be cut off and turned to Admiral Jimmy Buckley. "Try no to start a war up here, Jimmy, but you are weapons free if threatened. I'm heading for my Dropship and if everything goes as planned, I will be heading back up within 24 hours of landing."

"This is a risky move, Michelle." Admiral Jimmy Buckley replied

"It is very risky, but no sense sending a message if the person the message is meant for cannot read the message. I am going to explain exactly why we have taken the action we have." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said

"Well at least I convinced you to take your Dropship instead of a damned shuttle. If it goes wrong down there, at least you have your Battlemech and your personnel Battalion. If you call, we will be ready to provide orbital fire support and will send the other 2 Battalions to the surface after you." Admiral Jimmy Buckley said

"Let's hope it does not come to that, Jimmy. Hold down the fort up here." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said with a smile

4th June, 3031

The flight to Hilton Head had been tense as they had been forced to wave off several Com Guard fighter elements that had approached. It had gotten bad enough that Commanding General Michelle Mitchell had called for an escort to link up with them. Admiral Buckley had dispatched a Fighter Group to escort her Lee Dropship to the surface. Now her Lee was on the small space port at Hilton Head, Headquarters of Comstar. She had decided against mounting her Battlemech, no sense scaring them any more than they already were, she thought.

She waved slightly at Colonel Francine Delgado, commander 1st Regiment, 1913 Brigade, 191st Royal Jump Infantry Division. She had her Battalion fully mounted in their Battlemechs ready to disembark to protect General Mitchell, while her other 2 Battalions were still docked with SLS Nebraska II in orbit. Straightening her uniform Commanding General Michelle Mitchell walked down the ramp of her Lee-Class Dropship and onto the tarmac. She paused and looked around, she took a deep breath of air. Terran air, home, their real home. The sun was warm on her face as she began walking towards a small cluster of ground cars, trying to avoid watching the white Battlemechs at the edge of the tarmac of the space port. When she reached the small group awaiting her, dressed in robes of all things, she halted.

"Commanding General Michelle Mitchell, Hegemony Armed Forces." She said

"I am Primus Waterly. If it was not for that warship in orbit, I would call you a fake and a liar. What do you want, General?" Primus Myndo Waterly asked

"To explain why we have taken the actions we have." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell replied

And what actions are those?" Primus Myndo Waterly asked

"For one thing, you probably noticed that we have shut down your entire HPG grid. The second thing we have done is take over every HPG station within the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns. The third thing we have done is take your warships out of play." She paused as she saw the rage flash over Primus Myndo Waterly's face "Before you fly off on some threatening rant, allow me to finish. These actions have been taken to remind Comstar of their primary mission. One given to them by Director-General Amanda Cameron before we departed Terra. For 200 years we have watched Comstar move further and further from that mission. You actions by staging the attack on the NAIS, your deal with the Combine to provide Star League tech armed equipment along with intel was the last straw. Comstar is actively taking sides. No longer a neutral party. I will not go into the long list of things your predecessors have done which has harmed millions." Commanding General Michelle Mitchell said

The rage coursing thru Primus Myndo Waterly was almost too much to contain. "How dare you!! You think you can come here, to my Terra and just say to me, the Primus of Comstar, we just attacked you because of such and such. I do not care who you think you are General Mitchell. I am Primus of Comstar, guardian of the Star League."

Commanding General Michelle Mitchell stared at the small woman before her, then she smiled, she knew she shouldn't, but she really did not like this woman at all. "I have done exactly that, Primus. Do not push your luck with me or the Hegemony. Either you quickly bring Comstar to heel and return to your mission or face the consequences."

"YOU BITCH!!!!" Primus Myndo Waterly yelled as her hand came out of her robe pocket with a pistol and she fired a single shot, which ripped thru the chest of Commanding General Michelle Mitchell.

Nightstar (MW5)

Nightstar Assault 'Mech

Commanding General Michelle Mitchell fell to the tarmac. She was in agony and could feel the blood flowing from her chest, at such close range, the light ballistic under shirt she wore had not been able to prevent the shot from penetrating. The assembled Comstar personnel were horrified by the action of Primus Myndo Waterly, but were even more horrified when Battlemechs began pouring from the grounded Hegemony Dropship firing on the assembled Com Guard Battlemechs.

Colonel Francine Delgado had watched in horror as Commanding General Mitchell fell to the ground. "The General is down, Bravo Company, secure the General. Everyone else, engage hostiles as they show themselves." She throttled her Nightstar NSR-12b as she switched channels "Nebraska, General is down, we are engaging. Send my other Battalions down and send word of what is happening." She targeted a white Thunderbolt and fired both of her Gauss Rifles at it, the targeting computer made sure both slugs slammed into the Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt (by Bruce Patnaude Roca)

Thunderbolt Heavy BattleMech

As the Hegemony Battlemechs poured from the grounded Lee-Class Mech Carrier Dropship, the Lee powered up it's own weapons and began adding it's fire to that of the Battlemechs. Bravo Company moved quickly, scattering the few Comstar personnel that were not quick enough to flee the area. A team of crewmen from the Lee rushed a stretcher and scooped Commanding General Mitchell, rushing her back to the Dropship. Bravo Company, once the General was safely onboard the Dropship moved to engage the Com Guard Battlemechs.

In orbit, Admiral Jimmy Buckley fired off a message via the ships HPG and also via Black Box. Dropships were detached and began making a run for the surface while Hegemony Aerospace fighters swarmed around the SLS Nebraska II like angry bee's. He was waiting on coordinates from the ground for fire support when sensor's picked up incoming ships.

"We have incoming hostiles! Firm lock on a Sovetskii Soyuz Cruiser and 2 Lola III Destroyers, range 85,000km and closing at 2g's."

Sovetskii Soyuz Class Heavy Cruiser (Star League Variant (Old) - Underway)

Sovetskii Soyuz Class Heavy Cruiser

"Very well, helm move us to intercept. Weps we take out the Cruiser first, but feel free to give the Destroyers some love if we get a shot. The ground troops will have to hold on." Admiral Jimmy Buckley ordered

Ross 248

The HPG message caused a scramble from Admiral Jonathon Halsey. "Commanding General Mitchell has been shot during a parley. General engagement. 2nd Battle Squadron and 3rd Pursuit Squadron make preparations for emergency jump to Terra. If it fly's Comstar colors we kill it on sight. Everyone else stays here. Nav, plot our jump and let's get into the fight. Comm, fire off the message we have via relay to Versailles. Code Phrase Brimstone. They will know what to do."

In Orbit
Terra (Comstar)

An hour after detecting the inbound Comstar warships, Admiral Jimmy Buckley smiled the point defenses aboard the Battleship SLS Nebraska II downed the incoming capital missiles. He watched the plot as their return fire of capital missiles struck home. "Admiral, we have emergence signatures inbound."

"Well we are committed to our own fight right now. So we will all just say a tiny prayer that it is our help rather than more Comstar warships." Admiral Jimmy Buckley said not taking his eye's off the plot board.

He could plainly see that the Comstar warships had also taken note of the incoming emergence signatures and had increased their braking maneuvers. He mentally did his own calculations and smiled grimly, your screwed, before you can brake down and get away I will be on top of you and then you will face this ships full wrath, he thought.

"Emergence. 2nd Battle Squadron has been identified at the Terra L1 point. Incoming broadcast."

"Buckley, Halsey. I have 3rd Pursuit Squadron divided up. The 31st Cruiser Division is coming in at the Nadir, 32nd Cruiser Division at Zenith and 33rd Destroyer Division is coming in at Saturn's L2 point. I have 2nd Battle Squadron with me, where do you want us?" Admiral Jonathon Halsey's voice came thru loud and clear.

"Glad to see you, Halsey. I made the call for Brimstone. So we will modify the plan as such. In another 10 minutes we will be on these Comstar warships. We have a Regiment on the ground with General Mitchell, she's been hard hit but the troops at Hilton Head could use some help." Admiral Jimmy Buckley said.

"At least she is alive. They will get all the support we can give them." Admiral Jonathon Halsey replied

"Comm, tell those damn fool Comstar warships to surrender or die, I will not ask again." Admiral Jimmy Buckley said. Brimstone was a modified plan to invade Terra. It had evolved when it was decided they needed a separate plan for an emergency invasion of Terra. Within a week there will be another Division in system from Versailles, and within a month another 4-6 Divisions will arrive.

Versailles (Hegemony in Federated Suns Space)

When Commanding General Michelle Mitchell had made the decision to go to Terra, she had ordered a HPG relay of ships established. These ships relayed the Brimstone call to Versailles. Waiting at the Nadir Jump Point were 2 Riga-Class Transports, SLS Dragonfly and SLS Firefly. Between them they carried the Dropships of the 295th Battlemech Division, designated as the QRF for this area of the Federated Suns operations. AT the Zenith Jump Point was a single Potemkin-Class Transport, SLS Saratoga. She carried the Dropships for the 331st Royal Battlemech Division, ordered here by Director-General Mark Cameron for additional force. They too began their calculations.

On the surface, a massive HPG dish, three times the size of a normal HPG dish, fired a single powerful notification pulse 10 seconds before it unleashed a powerful pulse that would prevent any hyperspace fields from forming for 20 minutes. The target was Thazi, 796LY away. It would take the message 5 minutes to travel the distance. There were exactly 5 of these massive HPG stations, Thazi, Versailles, Azur, Columbus and Drachenfeld. With a range of 1,000LY, they were the most powerful HPG's ever built. So massive was their pulse that normal HPGs would be destroyed which limited their use to only between themselves. But so vital were they for long distance communications the expense was considered worth it for the most important communications.

Thazi (Hegemony)

Director-General Mark Cameron was looking forward to the day Michelle returned from the Inner Sphere. He had not been happy about her plan to go to Terra when she informed him of it. So he had deployed the 331st Royal Battlemech Division as an added safe guard. He looked up when a messenger entered and handed him a message. He took and read the message. The messenger saw the anger flash over the Director-General as he crumpled the message in his hands. The messenger departed as quick as she could as the Director-General reached for a phone.

"Rebecca, Mark. Michelle has been shot on Terra. Plan Brimstone has been enacted. Please make the needed calls, Thank you." Mark Cameron said then hung up the phone. He suddenly felt very alone, Michelle shot, Anastasia so far away. Dear god, what will she do when she learns of this?, he suddenly thought.

11th June, 3031
Terra (Comstar)

The arrival of the 295th Battlemech Division and the Battlemechs from the 331st Royal Battlemech Division quickly put the defending Com Guard forces on the run. Pushing out from Hilton Head and moving deeper into North America. Hegemony control of the skies prevented any easy troop movements for the defending Com Guard. Additional forces were on their way, dispatched from Hegemony space after a hasty loading aboard transports. While the units only carried enough supplies for a 30 day campaign, additional transports would be arriving the first week of July with additional supplies.

2nd Corps

295th Battlemech Division (A) - Terra
298th Battlemech Division (A) - 16 June
318th Battlemech Division (A) - 16 June
370th Battlemech Division (A) - 20 June
126th Mechanized Infantry Division (A) - 20 June
173rd Mechanized Infantry Division (A) - 16 June
181st Royal Mechanized Infantry Division (A) - 23 June
251st Royal Mechanized Infantry Division (A) - 23 June
200th Mechanized Infantry Division (A) - 25 June
19th Hussar Regiment - 18 June
5th Hussar Regiment - 17 June
277th Dragoon Regiment - 21 June

New Avalon (Federated Suns)

First Prince Hanse Davion had not been awakened when the Hegemony ship materialized above New Avalon and began beaming heavily encoded transmissions to the Hegemony forces on the planets surface. He was awakened when those transmissions  seemed to kick over an ant hill and Hegemony personnel began hastily loading aboard the few Dropships they had brought with them. After arriving in his office, while waiting on Quintus Allard, he sipped on a cup of coffee. Finally he could wait no longer and picked up the phone "Get me the Hegemony Compound please."

It took 4 minutes before he phone rang back to him, much too long, he thought as he answered "This is First Prince Hanse Davion, who is this?"

"It's Anastasia, Sir. I do not have much time. Something bad has happened. I am leaving in about ten minutes. Sorry I do not have time to explain now, but it will be fully explained very soon. I promise. Now, I have to go, Sir."

A click and dead line caused First Prince Hanse Davion to stare at the phone in his hand. He could not remember the last time anyone had hung up on him. What the hell is going on?, he thought.

13 June 3031
ER 033 (Deep Periphery)

Precentor Xavier Salinas verified that everything was correct and that recharging of the ships drives was functioning properly before heading for his small quarters for some sleep. As far as he knew, no one else had ever been this far from the Inner Sphere before. It was lonely out here, so far from any help, but they had supplies for 3 more months before having to turn back. He entered his quarters and took off his boots, laying down on the small bed. It seemed like he had just closed his eyes when an alarm went off. He wasted no time and headed for the bridge. Entering he said "Report."

"Inbound emergence wave. Looks like it is going to be coming in at the Nadir Jump Point sir." His XO reported.

"Pray we are not detected, no emissions of any kind. Probably pirates and we do not want any attention, how long before we can jump?" Precentor Salinas asked

"107 hours sir. Nice bright star here, so we are taking in a good amount of energy."

"Very well, I have the bridge, how about grabbing us some food from the galley, I am not getting any sleep now."

Vincent Mk 42 Class Corvette (Clan)

Vincent Mk42 Class Corvette

CSA Pegasus, Vincent Mk 42 Corvette materialized at the Nadir Jump Point. Star Commodore Janese sighed, another dreary jump looking for bandits and pirates completed. He longed for some action, any sort of action. They were 153LY from Babylon and he had another 2 months of patrol before another ship took over the duty. He verified all systems were nominal before giving the standard order.

"Nav, plot in system jump to Zenith Jump Point and we will recharge our drives there. Nothing in this system, just like all the others."

"Aff, Star Commodore, plotting jump now. Four minutes."

Minutes later he could feel his Tramp Jumpship shudder as the embarked Dropships released from the ship. Though over 300 years old, his Tramp had been completely overhauled at the Titan Shipyards when assigned to the Explorer Corps. He considered it the best deep exploration vessel, due to it's large on board cargo bay and modest defensive systems. It had been fitted with extra quarters at the expense of 500 tons of cargo space for the long missions. New blips began appearing as the Red baron's launched, a small Mercenary command, they had 8 Battlemechs aboard their Union Dropship along with 6 Aerospace Fighters assigned to a Leopard CV.

Tramp Class Jump Ship (CG)

Tramp Class JumpShip, CSA Pegasus

CSA Pegasus had materialized almost 200,000 kilometers away. Her sensors quickly picked up the radio chatter. "Battle Stations." Star Commodore Janese ordered "Helm, intercept course, best speed." Action at last, even if it is killing bandits.

The Vincent Mk 42 began picking up speed until it reached 2g, closing the distance on it's targets. It took some time, but finally the ships radar picked up the stationary Jumpship along with 2 Dropships and fighters. He flipped his own comm on, "Star Commander Zelmar, launch your Star and clear a path."

When the massive vessel actually began picking up speed, Precentor Salinas swallowed deeply. Using the ships navigation equipment, he was able to get a visual on the distant target. One he had seen before at Terra, a Vincent Corvette. "Mother of Blake, that is a damned warship, Vincent Corvette. We don't have a prayer. Comm, order the Barons to stand down. Broadcast our surrender." Precentor Salinas said, at least I can avoid a bunch of useless deaths to my people, he thought.

18 June 3031
Terra (Comstar)

Anastasia Cameron looked at the woman identified as Primus Myndo Waterly, the woman who shot for all intents and purposes her mother. No longer dressed in robes, but in a bright orange jumpsuit. She was shackled, hands and legs in the seat where her guards had deposited her, not too gently. She felt her anger inside trying to burst forth, but she willed her self control to contain it as the shackled woman began to shout.

"Who are you? Do you know who I am? My forces will destroy you all. No one can stand against Comstar...." Her rant was cut off by Anastasia Cameron.

"Shut up woman. I am Anastasia Cameron. Direct heir to the Terran Hegemony. Your actions and the actions of Comstar have brought me and my people back here. Your Com Guard is no longer really a threat to us. I expect 2 more weeks and Terra will be fully under our control. Your Com Guard forces inside the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns have already been defeated." Anastasia Cameron said in a raised voice, her anger right under the surface, her right hand very close to her pistol. She clenched her hand into a fist, she was too close to losing control. "Take her back to her holding cell."

Once the guards had removed the former Primus Myndo Waterly from the room, she picked up her helmet and took a deep breath. Exiting the room, she linked up with Colonel Francine Delgado who had been waiting outside the room. "Let's get a message sent, I want the HPG back on. It is time I make an announcement."

This concludes Book 2 / Part 2 of Fate Can Be Cruel. The Story continues in Fate Can Be Cruel - Book Three

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