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Fate Can be Cruel (Book 2) - Chapter Cover

Fate Can Be Cruel
Year 2823
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Chapter 7[]


1st January, 2823
Circe (Periphery)

Khan Sarah McEverdy read the reports from her scientists. They had created a new model of ERPPC. Harder hitting but a bit heavier. She read the technical aspect of the report, not understanding even a third of it. Reports over the Pulverizer and Stag Battlemechs had been favorable. She had ordered an increase in production. Clan Wolverine had grown in power and prospered. Trials of Possession had netted Clan Wolverine both trained personnel but also equipment. Clan Wolverine now fielded 2 Front Line Galaxy's and 1 Second Line Galaxy. The first Trial of Possession had been against Clan Coyote for a research compound and won. This had netted Clan Wolverine both the scientists but also prototype Large Pulse Laser, LRM systems and a new CASE they had been working on plus a Star of Mechwarriors. Many others had been conducted and Clan Wolverine won more than they lost.

Clan Wolverine now had 768,000 lower caste. She had allowed some migration between caste's to improve morale and this had solved the problem. A nice secondary effect had been an increase in productivity across the entire Clan Wolverine. Her merchants were quite good at getting the resources her Clan needed to continue to grow and prosper. She turned her head and studied the chart outlining her Clan Wolverine Touman.

Clan Wolverine Touman (2823)

Alpha Galaxy (Frontline)
331st Battle Cluster (3 Trinary Battlemech)
2nd League Lancers Cluster (4 Binary Battlemech)
205th Assault Cluster (4 Binary Battlemech, 1 Binary Aerospace)

Beta Galaxy (Frontline)
102nd Strike Cluster (4 Binary Battlemech, 1 Binary Aerospace)
444th Battle Cluster (4 Binary Battlemech)
291st Strike Cluster (4 Binary Battlemech, 1 Binary Aerospace)

Zeta Galaxy (2nd Line)
1068th Cluster (1 Binary Battlemech, 2 Binary Armor, 2 Binary Infantry)
1069th Cluster (1 Binary Battlemech, 2 Binary Infantry)
1070th Cluster (1 Binary Battlemech, 2 Binary Armor, 2 Binary Infantry)

Naval McKenna Battleship - (1) SLS Zughoffer Weir Farragut Battleship - (1) SLS Michigan (Flagship)
Potemkin Transport - (1) SLS Saratoga
Vincent Corvette - (1) SLS Badger
Essex II Destroyer - (1) SLS Yukon
Whirlwind Destroyer - (1) Weasel
Carrack Transport - (1) Bishop

16 Monolith Jumpships
28 Star Lord Jumpships
36 Invader Jumpships
30 Merchant Jumpships

March[]


12th March, 2823
Azur (Hegemony)

"Are you sure about this? This is way outside normal." Jordan McKinney, Mitchell Vehicles Chief Engineer, had to ask for what seemed like the millionth time.

"For the last time yes. I am riding this thing to our destination. I have spent the last 27 years chasing this day and be damned if I am going to let her leave empty or with a damned test crew. Battlemech pilots test new Battlemechs. Aerospace pilots test fly new designs. Well, I am not going to risk anyone elses life on this. Now, board your shuttle and I will send you a message from Thazi when I arrive, which if the calculations are right, will be in 19 hours." Patrick Mitchell, CEO Mitchell Vehicles said

Shaking his head, Jordan McKinney shook Patrick's hand, nodded his head and headed for the shuttle bay. Patrick Mitchell watched him leave and then sat down in the captains station. "Amber?"

"Yes, sir?" A voice came from the ship itself, actually small powerful speakers mounted in every section of the ship.

"Are we ready to jump?" Patrick asked.

"The drive is fully charged. Coordinates are set. We are ready for our first test the moment the shuttle is clear." Amber said.

"Very well. When the shuttle is safely clear, you may commence the jump sequence." Patrick Mitchell said.

"Yes sir. Starting jump sequence in 11 minutes. I am monitoring the shuttle on sensors now." Amber replied.

Patrick could not help but feel a little weird talking to a damned computer, or the ship, since Amber had full access to every system on the ship to help monitor everything. He knew it was foolish doing what he was about to do, but he felt deep down that it had to be him that took the first flight. Damn, those 11 minutes passed fast, he thought when he heard Amber again.

"Commencing jump sequence. Five, four, three, two, oooonnnnneeeeee." Her voice seemed to fade away and then everything blurred for several minutes. He could not help himself, he closed his eyes and said a quick prayer. When he opened his eyes again, things seemed to have a hazy look about them. He looked at his hand and it seemed to wave and flow. He attempted to speak and it sounded very funny.

"Amber, where are we?"

"Sir, we have successfully entered hyper space and are in the slip stream. Our power usage is 12% above my calculations, but we should not have to use the LF Batteries, but I have them ready to go just in case."

Though her voice sounded like she was speaking thru a muffle, he could understand her. Amber was monitoring Patrick's vital signs from the body suit full of sensors he was wearing under the pressure suit he also wore. So far, he was stable, his heart rate was elevated but he was stable. Patrick himself has ordered the special suit developed for this first test run, might as well see how it effects humans.), he had said.

Thazi (Hegemony)

Nineteen hours and 47 minutes later, a virtual panic was beginning when Patrick Mitchell and the test ship failed to appear. Fleet Admiral Tanisha Tanaka and Commanding General Rita Mitchell, they would always have their rank it had been decided, sat aboard an Elephant Tug awaiting his arrival. Commanding General Rita Mitchell was struggling to contain the tears when suddenly the test ship appeared 274km from them. There had been no emergence wave, no warning what so ever, the ship just materialized. Communications techs began calling the test ship. It was a female voice that responded.

"This is Mitchell test ship. We have secured from jump status. Patrick Mitchell is stable but unconscious."

Thirty minutes later, HAF medical personnel had Patrick Mitchell in the ships small medical bay. He was still unconscious, but they could find nothing wrong with him. Fleet Admiral Tanisha Tanaka had gone for the bridge after the Elephant Tug had latched onto the ship. "Dammit, what the hell happened?" She said loudly.

"May I assist you, Fleet Admiral Tanaka?" A female voice seemed to come from the ship itself.

Fleet Admiral Tanaka had been briefed about the computer control system and how it could speak, but she was still uncomfortable with the idea. She had read all about what AI equipped ships had done to the SLDF fleet during the Liberation and had no desire to unleash that again. "Yes, I would like a full report on all events", she said and then immediately regretted it as the female voice began listing every sensor reading, vital signs of Patrick Mitchell, power status on a minute by minute basis starting from the moment they initiated the jump sequence.

17th March, 2823
Thazi (Hegemony)

Patrick Mitchell finally regained consciousness. Commanding General Rita Mitchell was sitting beside him when he began waking. She called for the medics that had been watching over him since his arrival. "How you feeling, Patrick?" She asked.

"Head hurts. But if I am talking to you, then I guess we made it." Patrick said.

"Yes, you made it. You have been out for 5 days. Gave us quite a scare when we could find nothing wrong with you." Rita said.

"Don't remember much, but I do remember the weird sensations when we first too off into hyper space, or the slip stream as Amber called it. Everything looked hazy and sort of wavy. It was really weird. Do we know what happened actually?" Patrick asked.

"The computer, Amber, has been chewing over the data she collected during the trip. The ship itself it fully operational and suffered no damage. According to the computer, overall power usage was 17% over her calculations and she is trying to figure out why. She had to tap into the LF Batteries to complete the trip. As to your condition, well the medics think it has to do with a mild case of TDS. But they are not sure yet. Other than that, they can find nothing else wrong." Rita replied.

"That is good news at least. I wonder why the power usage was so far off? Not like Amber to be that far off. She has been dead on the money on everything." Patrick said.

"The computer is still working it. The ship itself is almost recharged and ready for a return trip to Azur. BUT, your not going back with the ship, your going back the old fashioned way. Admiral Tanaka is putting a full crew aboard her for the return trip. She still is not keen on having a computer with so much access." Rita said.

"Well, she better get over it, we tried several times without Amber installed and blew out several jump drives. It's the only way. And I am not going to argue about returning, I made the first trip, someone else can make the return trip." Patrick replied.

"Good, we are 2 days from landing on Thazi anyway. The doc's are going to run a battery of tests with the proper equipment anyway." Rita said.

19th March, 2823
Azur (Hegemony)

Eighteen hours 53 minutes after leaving Thazi, the test ship dropped out of hyper space at Azur's Nadir Jump Point. Again, not a single emergence wave or any other reading warned of their arrival, they just materialized. Commodore Dillon Macey could not believe they had made the 174LY journey. "Ship's report?"

The computer, Amber, relied "All systems are nominal. We have arrived 12.8km from out target point, well within specifications. Our power usage was 4% under original calculations. Sensors measuring hull stresses recorded a 2.4% reduction from the first test. I am analyzing the information now. All crew are fully awake and their vitals are within normal."

"Very well. Secure from jump procedures." He ordered. (I still cannot believe we did it, god, if Kerensky would have had this technology, the Liberation would have been a breeze.), he thought to himself.

22 March 2823

All the recorded data had been brought down and uploaded into Amber's more powerful mainframe where it was all fully processed and analyzed. Twelve hours later, she said "Professor Glimp? I have the information on both test flights ready."

"What have we got, Amber?" Professor Glimp asked.

"Sensor data indicates higher stresses on the first jump combined with a much higher power usage than the return trip. My analysis concludes that the first time a vessel makes the journey from a certain point to a destination, they are creating a pathway. That would account for the longer time, power usage and stresses on the first jump when compared to the return jump. I have made the adjustments for future power calculations and estimated times and have the new processes ready to be transferred to the test ship's computer. This should allow a much more accurate calculation on future jumps." Amber said.

"Excellent Amber, please download all information for review please." Professor Glimp said.

June[]


7th June, 2823
Zebuluraskai (Hegemony)

Patrick Mitchell stood on his company's shipyard that worked on the super jump project lay the keel for the newest test ship. At 100,000 tons, it was kept small, but it was an expensive test ship at almost 12 Billion C-Bills. This one would be for long term testing but also equipped to test the maximum range of the super jump. Fitted with 5 LF Batteries plus the "Amber" computer control system. It would take another 6 months to complete the ship. It would be sent to Thazi for it's first jump, then after recharging, it would jump from Thazi to Columbus Station, a distance of 720LY. It was well provisioned in case of an accident and equipped with one of the newest Black Boxes with a 1,000LY range to call for help if need be. They had picked the Columbus Station since it had a functional repair yard in case repairs were needed.

Circe (Pentagon Worlds - Periphery)

Clan Wolverine had discovered the unknown Brian Cache containing mauch wealth. Khan Sarah McEverdy had been notified of the find. When she had brought the discovery to the Ground Council, ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky had already been informed of the discovery, much to Khan Sarah McEverdy's surprise. He had ordered a full inventory be conducted and then had shocked Khan McEverdy when he declared that the Brian Cache would be divided between all the Clans. All of Khan McEverdy's arguments fell on deaf ears, much like all her previous grievances had. Only Clan Blood Spirit and Clan Nova Cat had expressed any sympathy for her arguments. Several months ago, Clan Nova Cat had offered their new ER Large Laser design in exchange for Clan Wolverine's Stag Battlemech design. Khan McEverdy had agreed to the exchange.

After hours of listening to the insults from the Grand Council and even ilKhan Kerensky, Khan Sarah McEverdy had stood and left the Grand Council meeting. She felt, no she knew, that Clan Wolverine was being singled out. As she stormed down the hallway, she began putting a plan together, a radical plan. She would take Clan Wolverine away from the Clan's and return to the Inner Sphere.

12 June 2823
Circe (Pentagon Worlds - Periphery)

Khan Sarah McEverdy was making extensive plans to remove her Clan Wolverine from Clan space. Upon her arrival, she had ordered every factory that Clan Wolverine controlled to begin dismantling in preparation for transport. Along with the industrial equipment, she also ordered massive amounts of food to prepared for transport. To buy time, she had ordered the inventory of the Brian Cache which was led by Star Captain Trish Ebon. The inventory would then be presented to the Grand Council.

She began marshaling her merchant fleet at Circe for what she dubbed Operation Switchback. She needed to buy at least 5 months to get everything loaded, if she could do so openly, it would only take half as long, but they would have to operate under tight security.

16th June, 2823

Star Captain Trish Ebon looked at the 2 people before her. Though they were dressed as Clan Wolverine, they were not Wolverines. They had been caught trying to steal one of the large nuclear warheads. Both had resisted their "arrest" and it was plainly evident that the Wolverine troops had made them pay dearly for their resistance.

"What Clan do you claim?" Star Captain Trish Ebon asked the prisoners before her.

"We will tell you nothing?" The obviously proudest one said defiantly.

"Oh, you will tell me all I need to know. The question is, will it be easy or hard?" Star Captain Trish Ebon asked.

Neither prisoner responded, just stood there and puffed out their chests in defiance. This only made Star Captain Trish Ebon smile grimly.

20th June, 2823

"The prisoners are from Clan Widowmaker my Khan. Operating under the direct orders of Khan Karrige." Star Captain Trish Ebon reported.

"I suspected as much. He has been pushing the hardest against us. Well, I shall just place the evidence directly in front of the Grand Council and see how he responds. Prepare both for transport to Strana Mechty." Khan Sarah McEverdy said.

24th June, 2823
Strana Mechty (Periphery)

Khan Sarah McEverdy had entered the Grand Council before anyone and taken her seat. Here she patiently waited, today would be an exciting one. Khan Phillip Drummond, Clan Nova Cat was the first to enter, he nodded to her and took his seat at the large ornate table. One by one, the other Khan's entered and took their seats, all but Khan Colleen Schmit, Clan Blood Spirit avoiding any sort of contact with her. She just sat there silently, biding her time. Finally, ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky entered and took his seat.

"Khan McEverdy, has Clan Wolverine completed the inventory of the Brian Cache?" He asked.

"We have my Khan. It contains 2 dozen Battlemechs, 7 nuclear warheads and several hundred tons of spare parts. Much of the cache was exposed to moisture and ruined. But the most important thing is we caught 2 Clan Widowmaker personnel trying to steal one of the nuclear warheads." Khan Sarah McEverdy said

Khan Karrige erupted from his seat "You are lying!!"

"Sit down, Khan Karrige." ilKhan Kerensky ordered sternly, to Khan McEverdy he said, "This is a very serious charge you make Sarah. I assume you can prove it?"

"Of course, I can. I have video evidence of both of them trying to make off with the nuclear weapon before they were caught. I also have both here under guard on Strana Mechty. Both have been positively identified by DNA testing. They can be brought before you in minutes, if you desire." Khan Sarah McEverdy said.

"What do you have to say, Khan Karrige? Clan Widowmaker has become very ambitious of late. You have caused much trouble within the Grand Council with your actions and now you try to steal one of the nuclear weapons AFTER I had decreed them to be too powerful for any single Clan to control." ilKhan Kerensky nearly shouted.

"My Khan, ilKhan Kerensky. This is all a hoax. I demand a Trial of Grievance against Khan Sarah McEverdy." Khan Karrige said.

"You will have your Trial, Khan Karrige. I will gladly meet you on the field of battle." Khan Sarah McEverdy said with a feral grin.

July[]


1st July, 2823
Strana Mechty (Kernesky Cluster - Periphery)

Khan Sarah McEverdy ducked behind a large outcrop as the PPC shot slammed into it. She moved her Guillotine with a grace that belied it's bulk. She triggered the jump jets and as the Guillotine cleared the outcrop she saw Khan Kerrige's Awesome and fired her ER Large Laser, she saw it strike the Awesome on the left torso just before her Guillotine dropped back behind the outcrop. Khan Karrige was good, but she was better.

"He is moving around your left, about 80 meters from your position." saKhan Robertson said over the radio, Sarah could hear explosions in the background

"Roger, you doing okay?" Sarah asked.

"Yes, but this Star Colonel is damned good and the Stalked he is piloting is tough as nails." saKhan Robertson replied

Khan Sarah McEverdy saw the shadow of the Awesome finally appear and triggered her jump jets again. As she cleared the outcropping, she smiled as she calculated her landing behind Khan Karrige. As she landed, she lined up her reticent and let the Awesome have everything her Guillotine had right into the back of the Awesome. The flash of a detonating reactor caused her viewscreen to darken and then clear within seconds. She turned her Guillotine and pushed it into a run, heading for saKhan Robertson's last position.

"Karrige is down, I am on my way to your position. Say status over?"

"WOLVERINE!!!!" was the only reply she heard.

Khan Sarah McEverdy came over the rise just as the Widowmaker Stalker fired it's entire weapons load into the downed Black Knight. Flushed with anger, Khan Sarah McEverdy fired her ER Large Laser at the Stalker. The shot struck the Stalked on the left leg. As the ponderous assault mech began to turn to face her, she triggered her jump jets, avoiding the first return shots. She fired the ER Large Laser again striking the Stalker center torso. Her sensors updated the damage on the Stalker and she could see that saKhan Robertson and his Black Knight had badly damaged the Stalker, but it was still a very dangerous opponent. She broke into a run trying to close and keep the Stalker trying to turn to face her.

Missile fire from the Stalker reached out and peppered her Guillotine. She had gotten just close enough that the Stalker was having difficulty tracking her. She cut loose with all her short-range weapons and badly weakened the Stalker's left leg with several shots had gone internal. The Stalker staggered, but remained on it's feet. Still moving, she carefully settled her reticent on the left leg and fired her ER Large Laser, it struck home and the Stalker crumpled to the ground. She was about to deliver the killing blow when over the radio.

"Enough, Khan Sarah McEverdy and Clan Wolverine have won the Trial of Grievance. There is no sense for more death." ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky said.

Quines (Hegemony)

Patrick Mitchell, CEO Mitchell Vehicles, stood and looked at the ranks of new Dragoon Battlemechs. These were the newest designs and kept to the original design but with modern technology advancements. Beside him stood Commanding General Olivia Daniels. "That is a shit ton of armor Mr Mitchell."

"Yes it is. Your looking at 4 months of production, 4 Regiments of Battlemechs. All of them using the new technology." Patrick replied.

"I have seen the write ups, but how about telling me about each design. I like hearing a manufacturer gush about his designs." General Daniels said.

"Well, do not expect much of that from me. You want that I will need to bring a couple of my engineers over. We changed the designation, doing away with the AEM and inserting HAF, it is our Battlemech now, not his. But the first is the Dragoon HAF-01. Seventy tons, using the new Endo Steel, new XL Engine and 11.5 tons of the new Ferro Fibrous armor providing max armor. To improve agility we added a 4th jump jet to the center torso, now it jumps 120 meters. The weapons have been improved mostly. The ERPPC is the original, we just did not want to lose the ranged firepower. But both LBX/10 are the new models and they are fed by 2 tons of slug and 2 tons of cluster protected by CASE. It still has the Guardian ECM and a single Small Pulse Laser to discourage infantry. She is a Alpha Baby.

The second one is the Dragoon HAF-02. Original was built as a close in brawler and we kept to that intent. Using the new Endo Steel, new XL Engine and 11.5 tons of new Ferro Fibrous armor for maximum protection. Max speed is 86kph to allow it to close on an enemy rapidly. Again we kept the original ERPPC, but the right arm now has a new UAC/20 Autocannon which is fed by 4 tons of ammo from the CASE protected right torso. If it gets too close to anything, well they are sure going to wish they had cut and run. Three Medium Laser and a Small Laser round out the close in firepower. The new Double Heat Sinks do struggle is you Alpha.

The third is the Dragoon HAF-03. A pure fire support mech, well we improved that. Again new Endo Steel and new XL Engine start us off. We stuck to standard armor because we needed the space but 12.5 tons give it close to max protection. Three new LRM/20 replace the old LRM/15. These are fed by 12 tons of ammo in CASE protected bins in the left and right torso. All are tied into the Artemis IV fire control system. Four Medium Pulse Lasers make anyone getting close regret that tactic. The heat can get pretty hot if the pilot Alpha's but if he stays where he is supposed to be, well he should be okay.

The fourth is the Dragoon HAF-04. Another ranged fighter, with a hellish close range ability. As always new Endo Steel, new XL Engine and 11 tons of new Ferro Fibrous provide almost max protection. Again we kept the ERPPC, but the Gauss Rifle is the new version which is lighter and less bulky. It is fed by 3 tons of slugs in the right torso. Four new Streak 6 provide a devastating close range ability. They are fed by 4 tons of CASE protected ammo in the left torso. The coolant system has been perfectly calculated for an Alpha if need be.

The best thing about all 4 designs is outside of their weapons, they mostly use all the same parts. Only the HAF-02 uses a different engine. But when it comes to trimmed down supply lines, this series simplifies the matter. One basic design with 4 separate variants. Only way it gets any better is if you can figure out how to make the entire weapons packages totally interchangeable." Patrick said.

"I am impressed. They are expensive though." General Daniels said.

"They are, but if you purchase enough of them, the overall cost does come down some, plus you save a bunch on simplified supply lines." Patrick replied.

14th July, 2823
Strana Mechty (Kerensky Cluster - Periphery)

"Yes, I have allowed limited movement between my Caste's. It is my right as Khan of Clan Wolverine to do what is best for my people. Those very movements that most of you here are complaining about have resulted in record crops and productivity. You created the caste system due to a great need, that need has now passed. IlKhan, Nicholas, the people are not slaves but that is exactly what you are creating. You are looking at them as a resource to be traded on a whim. I will not make my people slaves. Not now, not ever." Khan Sarah McEverdy stated

"They are MY people, Khan McEverdy, just as Clan Wolverine is MINE." ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky said

"Clan Wolverine is no ones possession. Not even myself, Khan of Clan Wolverine consider them mine. I was placed in my position to LEAD CLan Wolverine, but I do not own them, nor do you Nicholas." Khan Sarah McEverdy said forcefully

"Your actions are causing problems in the other Clan's. Their lower caste see your actions and want them also. Already Clan Jade Falcon has had to resort to force to put their lower caste back in order." ilKhan Kerensky said

"I am aware of the actions of Clan Jade Falcon. Actions that I view with extreme distaste. Yet this is your vision for the Clan's Nicholas? To make everyone a slave to your every whim and desire? Well not in my lifetime. Clan Wolverine is no longer a part of YOUR clans. We want to live in peace, but on our own terms. We welcome trade with you all, but we will fight for what is ours and the right to determine how we live. On our own terms." Khan Sarah McEverdy said standing up.

"Sit down, Khan McEverdy." ilKhan Kerensky almost yelled but it came out loud, but had an evil undertone to it.

"You do not give me orders anymore Nicholas Kerensky. Your father was a great man, he would be ashamed of what you have created." Khan Sarah Kerensky replied.

"You are making a huge mistake, Sarah." ilKhan Kerensky said quietly.

"It is you and those that follow you that are making the mistake. Leave the Wolverines alone, for any that come for us will feel our wrath." Khan Sarah McEverdy said turning and walking out the door.

Once back in the Clan Wolverine enclave, she called in Star Colonel Franklin Hallis. "I have a new role for you Franklin, if you choose to accept it."

"I serve Clan Wolverine my Khan. What would you have me do?" Star Colonel Franklin Hallis replied

"You will be my new saKhan of Clan Wolverine." Khan Sarah McEverdy said

"There will have to be a Trial for the position. There are other Star Colonel's that will want the position." Star Colonel Franklin Hallis said.

"I have already spoken with all other contenders and have expressed my desire to have you as saKhan. They have all agreed that the position is yours." Khan Sarah McEverdy said.

"I accept the responsibility, Khan." saKhan Franklin Hallis replied.

"Good. You have probably noted that we are preparing for something, well I am sending you the full details of Operation Switchback. I have already told the Grand Council that we, Clan Wolverine, are no longer a part of the Clan's. I will not have our people made slaves. They will be coming for us soon. Your first task is to take Dropship and Jumpship crews to the Boneyards, get every ship we can lay our hands on. This must be done as quietly as possible. You know we are being watched. Focus on transports, but disable all that you can, remove their jump drive controllers and destroy them. It will take time to repair them. Time we will need." Khan Sarah McEverdy said

"It will be done." saKhan Franklin Hallis said.

20th July, 2823

saKhan Franklin Hallis stood aboard the SLS Bismark, Texas-Class Battleship. The ship still had a foul smell aboard her. Though they were to focus upon transports, he just could not pass up taking the Texas Battleship. Clan Wolverine would need the firepower she could provide if it came to a fight, and he knew it would come to a fight. They had already selected 3 Volga-Class Transports and 4 Carrack-Class Transports. He just did not have enough people to take everything he wanted. Work details were already hard at work making as many of the ships they were leaving behind not capable of pursuit, not without repairs.

25th July, 2823
Azur (Hegemony)

While the new test ship was under construction, the Hegemony never stopped flying test flights with the original test ship. Commodore Dillon Macey and his crew had remained aboard and continued the test flights, some all the way to the maximum range. Which they had discovered the hard way was much less than the projected 480LY for the first trip to a destination. It had been a rude shock to be dropped out of hyper space in the middle of deep dark space, the void was no place a ship wanted to be located. After that event, they had docked a Aqueduct-Class Dropship for all the other test flights so they never had to worry about fuel or water while awaiting a rescue if it was needed.

They had brought several doctors aboard after the first test jump and return and they had determined, after one of the doctors had a mental break, that anyone suffering from TDS should never use the slipstream method of travel. This test trip carried 6 people with TDS ranging from mild to severe and all had been sedated, some heavily. All were volunteers for this test. The crew of the test ship had slowly gotten used to traveling inside the slipstream. It had taken a few trips to figure out that they could actually, only much slower, perform normal duties while in the slipstream. The vision effects reported by Patrick Mitchell had not effected Commodore Dillon Macey or any of his crew, the doctors seemed to think it had something to do with being veteran crew with many jumps between them, they were just used to it, but they really did not know.

They had confirmed that the first trip to a location took more power than any subsequent trip to the same place. The first trip also took longer. Commodore Dillon Macey had slowly gotten used to talking to "Amber" and got most of his information from the computer. She monitored the ships systems even better than his chief engineer, much to his irritation. Though Commodore Dillon Macey had caught the chief talking to "Amber" getting system reports from her.

"Amber?" Commodore Dillon Macey said

"Yes, Commodore Macey?"

"Our status?"

"Power levels are nominal for jump to hyper space. Target destination of Thazi has been set, travel time is 18 hours 47 minutes. All systems report nominal."

"Very well, activate jump sequence and let's get on our way."

"Activating jump sequence. Ten minutes to initiation."

Rover (Periphery)

Vanessa Haverty double checked the acidic value of the water. It was slowly coming down, probably be 2-3 years before it reaches a level safe enough for normal water filtration methods to be able to make it drinkable. They were taking a slower method so that any aquatic life could slowly adjust to the new levels. The process was slow, but now that the atmosphere was almost like Terra, rainfall had increased to a level that it also helped dilute the acidic content of the surface water sources.

Three years ago, her DoME team had begun terraforming work on the soil condition of the planet. They had used standard rapid methods on a patch roughly 100 meters square to work out the needs of the soil to grow Terran crops and vegetation. What they had discovered was that heavy doses of fertilizer brought in from Thazi worked wonders for the soil. Within 2 years, they had managed to get the first crop of corn to sprout. Once harvested, it had passed every test and been declared edible. Now they had an almost nonstop flow of manure and fertilizer arriving. It was then spread all over the planet by low flying Cobra VTOL's with large dumpers of the stuff suspended under them. To feed the now growing group of DoME personnel and work crews, they had expanded the initial test patch to a 1km by 1km area a year ago. Scientific teams studied the local fauna and while none was edible, they did not seem to be adversely affected by the transformations taking place.

September[]


5th September 2823
Strana Mechty (Kerensky Cluster - Periphery)

Khan Sarah McEverdy met ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky an the small knoll looking out over the broad city. He turned to greet her "Sarah, thank you for agreeing to meet with me."

"Nicholas, of course, I would meet with you. Words are always preferable to war, which I do not want." Sarah said.

"War is coming, Sarah. You have gone too far. But Clan Wolverine will serve a greater good before they fall. You will unite the Clan's, give them a purpose." Nicholas said

"We do not wish war, Nicholas, but I will not allow my people to be slaves to anyone. We will fight, with all our might to safeguard our people." Sarah said.

"I would expect nothing less from you and my Wolverines. Clan Wolverine will be absorbed into another Clan. The bidding for that right will be fierce." Nicholas decreed.

"Don't do this, Nicholas, how can I stop this from happening?" Sarah asked.

"It cannot be stopped, not now. In two weeks we will have a vote on the matter. I will allow you to address the Grand Council, but you will not be allowed a vote on the matter." Nicholas said.

"Then there is nothing else to talk about Nicholas. MY Wolverines will give whoever comes for us a fight that will never be forgotten." Sarah replied defiantly.

"I know you will. I expect you to. I will miss our talks, even the heated ones Sarah." Nicholas said as he turned and walked down the knoll. Khan Sarah McEverdy watched him walk away, a single tear flowed down her cheek. (It has begun, it cannot be stopped.), she thought silently.

19 September 2823

"I call this Grand Council meeting to order. Today we will vote on the Absorption of Clan Wolverine. The vote must be unanimous for this to pass. Before we vote, I am allowing Khan Sarah McEverdy to address the Grand Council." ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky said as he gestured for the doors to open.

Khan Sarah McEverdy entered the Grand Council chamber, only today she wore clean pressed SLDF fatigues. On the shoulder was the patch of the 331st Royal Battlemech Division. She never wavered in her measured pace, her highly polished boots glistening in the rooms light. She halted directly behind her old place at the large table.

"Fellow Khans, as I said before, Clan Wolverine no longer answers to this body. We want nothing more than to be left alone, to live the way we choose to live. Many measures put into place before we retook the Pentagon are no longer needed. I cannot stand aside and allow my people to be considered a resource to be traded like common cattle. I know there are those sitting here that feel the same way as we Wolverines do, but are too afraid to say so.

ilKhan Kerensky thinks of us as no more than HIS personal possessions to do with as he pleases. To that I say NEVER. We are not his slaves, for that is exactly what he considers us to be. General Aleksandr Kerensky, may he rest in peace, would be horrified to see what has become of his army, his people. Well, my Wolverines will not be a part of this madness any longer. Have your vote, I can only hope that there are those among you with the courage to say enough. But know this, if the vote passes, my Wolverines will fight with all we have to defend ourselves and people. Whoever wins the right to try and Absorb the Wolverines will be the next target of an Absorption, that I can promise you, for my Wolverines will maul your forces so bad that you will be ripe for it. This I swear."

With that Sarah McEverdy performed an exact about face and in precise paces walked out of the Grand Council chambers for the last time, not once glancing back.

"I call for the vote on the Absorption of Clan Wolverine." ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky said, barely controlling his anger.

Voting For Absorption

Clan Wolf
Clan Widowmaker
Clan Smoke Jaguar
Clan Mongoose
Clan Jade Falcon
Clan Fire Mandrill
Clan Cloud Cobra
Clan Sea Fox
Clan Ice Hellion
Clan Burrock
Clan Ghost Bear
Clan Coyote
Clan Hell's Horses
Clan Star Adder
Clan Steel Viper
Clan Goliath Scorpion
Clan Snow Raven

Voting Against Absorption

Clan Blood Spirit
Clan Nova Cat

As the votes were cast, ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky visibly turned a bright shade of red with anger when Clan Blood Spirit cast the first vote against. His temper almost exploded when Clan Nova Cat followed and cast their vote against. With barely controlled anger, ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky hissed "The vote for Absorption fails. I call a vote for the Abjuration of Clan Wolverine. If the vote passes, they will have 2 weeks to leave Clan space, after that, they will be considered bandits and any Clan may have at them."

This time, the measure passed with all the Khans voting for the Abjuration of Clan Wolverine. Word was sent to Sarah McEverdy about both votes. She took the news with a sly smile on her face. (You are not going to wait 2 weeks are you Nicholas, your going to send some of your lackey's at us quickly, well I am ready for you.), she thought as she walked back into the Wolverine enclave.

23rd September, 2823
Circe (Pentagon Worlds - Periphery)

Clan Widowmaker was the first to make a play for Clan Wolverine, coming in at a pirate point only 2 days from the planet, they found themselves confronted by Clan Snow Raven warships. "This is Star Admiral Zhang Sukhanov of Clan Snow Raven, state your purpose."

"This is Star Colonel Tamra Vickers of Clan Widowmaker. We are here for Clan Wolverine."

"Clan Wolverine still has 10 days. I have orders to prevent anyone from hampering their departure." Star Admiral Sukhanov said.

A different voice broke over the communications net "This is Sarah McEverdy of the Wolverines. Star Admiral Sukhanov, you may allow their ground forces to pass to the surface, we can handle them. But I would much appreciate it if you could make sure their ships do not cause a problem for our movements."

"Your warships are to remain on station but with weapons powered down. You may detach your Dropships and proceed to the surface Star Colonel Vickers. The Wolverines are waiting for you." Star Admiral Sukhanov said.

25th September, 2823

Star Colonel Tamra Vickers grounded her Beta Galaxy on an open plain. Normally Beta Galaxy was commanded by the Clan's saKhan, but trials had not yet been held for the position, and saKhan Cal Jorgensson was now Khan and on Strana Mechty. As the ranking Cluster commander, she commanded Beta Galaxy and it's 2 Clusters. Her Galaxy's Aerospace fighters had escorted them to the surface, and quickly were engaged with Wolverine Aerospace fighters supported by ground fire.

She disembarked her Clusters and before she really had a firm plan of action in mind she heard over the radio "Wolverine Battlemechs inbound. A lot of them."

Sarah McEverdy did not take the field, though she badly wanted to. Instead she allowed Beta Galaxy's commander to command the fight. She watched as Beta Galaxy's 2 Cluster's along with the 2 Clusters from Zeta Galaxy hit the Widowmakers in a fury. The new Pulverizer Battlemechs led the way, tearing into the Widowmakers with a ferocity their namesake was known for. For 4 hours the battle raged and though the Widowmaker warriors were skilled, they were not protecting their civilians which caused the Wolverines to fight that much harder.

"Report, Star Colonel Benedict." Sarah McEverdy called.

"We are still sweeping the battlefield, but current count we lost 13 killed, 17 Battlemechs are a total loss. We have secured the Widows 4 Dropships along with their support personnel. Do we take them with us?" Star Colonel Jax Benedict replied.

"Ne....No. Pack them all aboard one of their Dropships that does not fit our needs and send them packing. Have the techs get everything we can grab and get it loaded. We will need everything we can." Sarah McEverdy said. (I knew you would not wait Nicholas, who will you send after is next?) She thought.

October[]


1st October 2823
Thazi (Hegemony)

Director-General Amanda Cameron, Commanding General Olivia Daniels, Fleet Admiral Paul Stanson, Special Advisor Rita Mitchell and Tanisha Tanaka and General Brian Calloway were gathered in the conference room to go over the slip stream technology and the strategic revolution it had brought forth.

"If this new technology pans out, and from the results of the ongoing tests, it damn sure will. We need to figure out how far we let this technology go. I for one am not comfortable letting the technology out of our immediate control." Fleet Admiral Paul Stanson said.

"From what I have read, this slip stream way of travelling totally changes how everyone thinks about travel times. From the briefs I have gotten, a normal Jumpship could have a range of roughly 120LY and that is using just the stored energy in the Jump Core itself." Fleet Admiral (Ret) Tanisha Tanaka said.

"That is true, but the biggest limitation to a broad scale release of this technology is the size of the computer it takes to actually utilize the slip stream travel method. Standard Jumpships just do not have the space onboard for it. Without the computer, they cannot use the slip stream. For that reason, I say it needs to remain for the HAF alone, mounted on warships where they have the available space for the computer control system." Fleet Admiral Paul Stanson said.

"But the first test ship managed to carry the computer." Director-General Amanda Cameron replied.

"True, but to do so, it removed a Dropship collar to free up the space for the computer. We have not run any real tests on what can and cannot be done on a standard Jumpships yet. But, the way a ship using slip stream just materializes at it's destination with ZERO warning or announcement, well that alone makes me extremely hesitant to even consider releasing this technology at all. That would open up all kinds of strategic implications I do not even want to think about." Fleet Admiral Paul Stanson said.

"I have to agree. If this technology ever got out and someone was able to reverse engineer it, it would make keeping the Hegemony safe almost impossible. A ship could just materialize and do untold damage before vanishing." Fleet Admiral (Ret) Tanisha Tanaka said

"What do you think, Aunt Rita?" Director-General Amanda Cameron asked.

"Well, protecting the Hegemony comes before all else. Restrict the technology to the HAF Navy and possibly Hegemony Security. Everything I have heard about this new travel method changes the strategic way we have to look at everything going forward. Both in our own offensive and defensive planning. New tactics will have to be developed to make use of this technology." General (Ret) Rita Mitchell paused when she saw General Calloway raise a finger "Yes, Brian?"

"Since you brought up Hegemony Security, though I am intrigued about the possible advantages to using this technology, I am a little nervous about using it, even for my intel ships. Especially those that travel inside the Inner Sphere and Periphery. We cannot allow this tech to leave Hegemony hands. Period. Restrict the use to the HAF Navy, for now, Hegemony Security will stick with the old way." General Brian Calloway said

"Well, there you have it. Restrict it to the HAF Navy." General (Ret) Rita Mitchell said.

"Okay. The new technology is hereby restricted to the HAF Navy. I think we have quite a lot of testing to do before we are ready to go operational anyway, am I correct?" Director-General Amanda Cameron replied.

"That is correct. I think we have many years of testing before we are ready for full-scale deployment. Personally, I am still wondering about any long term effects using this method of travel will have on my crews." Fleet Admiral Paul Stanson said.

"Plus we have yet to do any sort of testing using the ground forces. For all we know, it could be totally unacceptable to use for even deploying ground troops. That will have to be tested also before we do any operational deployment." Command General Olivia Daniels tossed her two cents in.

October[]


1st October, 2823
Circe (Pentagon Worlds - Periphery)

Sarah McEverdy stood on the small plateau overlooking Great Hope, the former capital of Clan Wolverine. Once a thriving city, it now held 32,861 civilians and a single Cluster of warriors who had made the decision to not leave with the Wolverines. It saddened her that not everyone would make the journey, but she had always known Nicholas Kerensky's hold over some was just too strong. She had made one last attempt to sway them to join her, but they had respectfully declined.

With only 2 weeks, they had abandoned the orderly dismantling of the factories and literally ripped them out and packed them aboard Dropships. A constant roar of Dropships lifting off, removing the last of those leaving with them, roared in the background. She had ordered the ships liberated from the boneyards to await them at an uninhabited system. No sense pissing off Nicholas any more than she already had. A noise caused her to turn, Khan Colleen Schmitt of Clan Blood Spirit and Khan Phillip Drummond of Clan Nova Cat walked together to stand beside her.

"I want to thank both of you for the votes. It took great courage to vote against ilKhan Kerensky." Sarah McEverdy said.

"What you said was true. My Blood Spirits have been censured for my vote but I have hope that I can persuade the ilKhan to change some of his ways." Khan Colleen Schmitt replied

"Good luck with that. I fear that Nicholas has gone over the deep end and will soon be lost to madness. Hopefully he will expend his anger trying to catch us, for if he does not, you may pay a heavy price. It is a debt that we Wolverines will never forget. If our people meet in the future, we will remember what Clan Blood Spirit and Clan Nova Cat did for us and we will be there if and when you need our help. This I promise." Sarah McEverdy said.

"Do you have a destination in mind?" Khan Drummond asked.

"Come now Phillip, I cannot tell either of you that. We will find a new home, and someday, we will find a way to contact you. If ever either of you feel the need to leave, need a safe place to harbor, once we have made contact with you, both of your Clan's will be welcomed by the Wolverines. Until that time, I am afraid that I must keep our true destination to myself for security of my people. We will always be watching for a signal from either of you that you need our assistance. I do not know how yet, but I will find a way. I see the last of my Dropships have departed, I must be going now. Goodbye my friends." Sarah McEverdy said.

"Safe journey, Sarah." Khan Colleen Schmitt replied, Khan Phillip Drummond just nodded as she walked towards her Dropship.

"I am curious Phillip, why did you vote the way you did?" Khan Colleen Schmitt asked.

"I had a dream. When I awoke, I had a great calm come over me and I just knew how I had to vote."
Khan Phillip Drummond replied

"A dream? You risked the wrath of the ilKhan on a dream? Your crazy, Phillip." Khan Colleen Schmitt replied.


3 October 2823
Strana Mechty (Kerensky Cluster - Periphery)

At dawn, Clan Wolf's Alpha Galaxy attacked the Wolverine enclave. They were met by the Wolverine's 2nd League Lancers Cluster, the ground troops on the surface. The 2nd League Lancers Cluster fought a desperate fighting withdraw trying to buy time for the last civilians to evacuate the enclave and make their escape. After 2 hours of hard fighting, only a single Trinary remained. As Clan Wolf made what they expected was their final push, lightening flashed from the heavens landing directly on the leading Wolf Cluster. Several more streaks of lightening slammed into the ground.

"SLS Bismarck, to Wolverine troops, it is time to cut and run."

"This is Star Captain Trish Ebon, identify."

"saKhan Franklin Hallis. It is time to go Trish, we have saved all that we can. Get to the Dropship and boost. That is an order."

"What of the McKenna's Pride, she is a threat."

"We have overpowered her guards and made sure that she is no danger. But we do not have time to talk, get loaded."

5th October, 2823
Uninhabited System (Periphery)

Khan Stephen McKenna, Clan Snow Raven, watched as Clan Raven Dropships transferred much needed food and supplies to the Wolverine ships. Though he had voted for the Absorption of Clan Wolverine, he had been watching the other Khan's and saw that several were wavering. It had been a high-risk ploy, but he had breathed a sweet breath once Clan Blood Spirit had cast their no vote. To try and make some amends, he had ordered his warships at Circe to help guarantee the Wolverines got their 14 days to evacuate. He had arrived with supplies right before Sarah McEverdy had jumped from the system. After a quick talk, she transmitted the coordinates and he had ordered his ships to jump with the Wolverines. He had been surprised to see the extra ships awaiting her arrival.

Now, Sarah McEverdy entered the bridge of the CSR James McKenna, McKenna-Class Battleship, having taken a shuttle over. "Khan McKenna, thank you for the supplies, we are sure to need them."

"It is my way of saying, I am sorry. For the vote." Khan McKenna said.

"I understand, really I do. Your helping to safe guard my evacuation was more than enough." Sarah McEverdy said.

"Still, this is something I feel needed to be done. 14 days was not much time to stockpile the supplies you will need." Khan McKenna replied.

"That is true; this might allow us to not have to stop for a resupply." Sarah McEverdy said.

"I see you have been busy in the boneyards. Several of these ships are not assigned to the Wolverines." Khan McKenna said.

"I had to borrow some, but since we Wolverines are on the same level as common bandits, well in Nicholas' eyes anyway, it seemed the right thing to do." Sarah McEverdy said with a shrug and a smirk.

Khan McKenna let out a laugh "Be careful of SLS Rawhide, she is a temperamental ship. She was assigned to support Klondike and gave us some trouble."

"I will do that, thanks for the warning. I will make sure my Wolverines remember what your Snow Ravens did for us. Someday, I hope we can find a way to repay you." Sarah McEverdy said.

"I will not ask where you are heading, you would not tell me anyway. Safe journey Khan Sarah McEverdy, to you and Clan Wolverine." Khan Stephen McKenna said.



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