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The Federated Suns Reborn
Chapter 15

January 3063

On the 1st of January 3063 the warriors of the 4th Deneb Light Cavalry RCT and 4th Davion Guards RCT lifted off from their garrison worlds and headed off world on a mission which had been relayed to them via a MIIO liason sent from New Avalon. Their mission was to look as though they were part of the attacks upon the Draconis Combine but in fact was a different one.

The 8th Crucis Lancers RCT also left Marduk upon receiving orders from Robinson on the 3rd. They headed for the planet of New Mendham having refitted as best they could and repaired the damage they had sustained. In some cases they merely left behind damaged BattleMechs and took with them factory fresh machines. With the only regular BattleMech regiment within the Iruzun Prefecture crushed on Marduk the planet of New Mendham was only defended by a handful of conventional regiments.

The Lancers arrived over New Mendham on the 19th January and proceeded to quickly land across the planet and begin to sweep up the overwhelmed defenders. Forming into 4 Combat Commands the 8th Crucis engaged in a rapid takeover of the planet. They then dug in and prepared either to defend the planet or to move on if given further offensive orders.

On Klathandu IV the Bar Hounds mercenary regiment would leave the planet's defences in the hands of the 1st Chisholm Raiders RCT and begin a series of raiding strikes on the worlds around Prosperina, although avoiding that well defended world. Even broken up into battalion sized forces the mercenary regiment was able to inflict crippling damage on the local militia's and conventional garrisons while taking valuable amounts of salvage and loot. In several cases the Bar Hounds could have seized the world with little effort but their orders were clear.

The 6th FedSuns Dragoons on Paris continued to sweep the planet for any remaining holdouts, helped in this with follow on waves of light armor and motorized infantry. the 6th's conventional brigades officers during this time also took the opportunity to poach any particularly successful infantry platoons and armor lances to replace their own limited losses.

The troops on Tripoli were soon reinforced by their follow on garrison troops and this freed up the mercenary unit of the 8th Striker Regiment to match their sister regiment's raids. They however struck first at Barlow's Folly and then began to work their way towards Irizun. The clear intent of both Urukhai regiments raids were to draw of defenders and potentially disorganized resistance if any further offensives were launched within the worlds near the new Galtor Thumb.

On Groveld the 1st Ceti Hussars RCTs Charlie command left the planet to reinforce the attack on Niles, while it's two sister commands continued to work to fortify Groveld against any counter attack and begin to set up a civilian government. This was helped by the planet having recently been a Federated Suns' world. Marshal Lamont was ordered to acompany his Combat Command Charlie and leave the bulk of his RCT under the command of Major General Intravaia. This had been mandated by Marshal of the Armies Davion wishing a ranking officer who could take command on Niles from Leftenant Begurnson.

The situation on Niles remained stalemated until the arrival of Marshal Lamont and his Ceti Hussars. Once he arrived and took command the Bryceland DMM moved back into a supporting role all along the perimeter of Fort An Ting. This had the advantage of drawing the 29th to having spread themselves along their defensive lines. When that had occurred the Screaming Eagles mercenary regiment attacked from the north while the Combat Command Charlie of the 1st Ceti Hussars attacked directly opposite them from the south, while the Bryceland DMM made feinting attacks all along the lines to keep the defenders guessing. In a three day battle the three Davion units first cut the 29th Galedon Regulars defensive works in half and then proceeded to crush the isolated pockets.

The 3rd Davion Guards RCT struck out and hit Delacruz on the 13th January and proceeded over the next two weeks to force the local forces into surrendering. The elite but under strength Guards RCT found it relatively easy to clear the planet and seize it in the name of the First Prince.

The 3rd Crucis Lancers RCT found the job of seizing Wapakoneta equally easy. Only a single armor regiment of the local defences put up a fight, the rest either fled on seized dropships or surrendered with only token resistance.

On Deshler the garrison proved a much tougher target for the 1st Revenant Guards RCT. After the Combine's seizure of the planet in the 4th Succession War many of the invading troops had been settled on the planet to give a strong basis for a militia force. The defending militia were now mostly consisting of these men's sons rather than the veterans themselves but they provided a robust defence along the narrow mountain valleys filled with thick jungles. However, Marshal Steiner of the Revenants realized early on that anytime he probed towards the damaged Aghama Mechworks the defenders would usually attempt to counter attack and draw him off. The industrial plant although unable to build new BattleMechs did provide a source of spare parts and replacement weapons for the defenders and they were keen to hold it.

Using this information Marshal Steiner ordered his 4th Battalion, the 74th Revenant Jump Infantry Regiment and the 974th FedSuns Battle Armor Battalion onto their dropships. These units proceeded to combat drop into the Aghama valley and seized the plant. Instantly the defending conventional regiments began to move towards their former base in an attempt to seize it back. At which time the bulk of the 1st Revenant's used their detached forces as an anvil to hammer the militia units into surrender. It would take until mid February but the planet's remaining garrison units would one by one succumb to the overwhelming firepower of the Revenant Guard.

The main strike however of the entire offensive only hit on the 17th January. The 1st Davion Guards RCT, 1st Robinson Rangers, and the Robinson Battle Academy Training Battalion arrived in orbit over Galtor and immedietly began combat drops. Unlike Deshler the defenders consisted of a BattleMech reinforced militia battalion backed up by regular conventional units who were themselves reinforced by a well trained, well equipped and fanatically loyal local militia. Galtor had always been troublesome for House Kurita and the forces assigned to keep it in line reflected this. Even after the War of '39 the planet had held out as a Davion Loyalist island, surrounded thought it was within Combine space until 3042. Even after it had finally been reconquered for the Dragon it had taken until 3057 for martial law to be lifted. A martial law which had been instantly reintroduced as soon as word came that the AFFS had crossed the border. Even with the martial law and it's impressive size the garrison was nervous about whether it could hold the planet down if a full on revolt broke out.

Said revolt broke out as soon as the broadcasts from the invading ("Liberating") dropships announced that no other figures than the First Prince of the Federated Suns had come to free it from the Dragon's yoke. Across every major landmass and in every city riots and attacks broke out against the defending forces. Isolated infantry units found themselves struggling to cope and in a number of cities the local militia barracks were overrun and the defenders massacred before even the first Davion mech had set foot upon the ground.

Fighting the people to their rear and faced with the elite Davion Guards and veteran Robinson Rangers supported by their training battalion to their front the defenders stood little chance. The armor regiments rushed to attack the invaders led by the militia BattleMechs while their infantry counterparts largely turned around and began to attempt to pacify the rebelling populace. With fanatical zeal the Kurita counter attack attempted to overrun the landing zones of the invaders and get in amongst their dropships to destroy them before they could deploy. The tactic had the advantage of being unexpected and against a lesser foe might even have worked, but the 1st Davion Guards BattleMech perimeter held long enough for the Rangers, cadets and their own armor and infantry units to move up in support, while the aerospace units attached to the units hammered the charging armored columns and singled out any BattleMech companies and lances mixed in with them.

By the time the last Kurita loyal BattleMech fell on the third day of the counter attack the 1st Davions and 1st Robinson Rangers had taken moderate losses but had broken the back of the attack. In one particular engagement First Prince Davion's Daishi had stood almost shoulder to shoulder with his brother's Sagitairre and poured fire into an attacking enemy lance that had threatened to break the line of the 1st Davion's 2nd Battalion. Only the reinforcements from the First Prince's command company and the Training Battalion had broken the attack. Once it was over however the counter attack was defeated. Hoarded and still fresh light mech's and fast mediums then led light armored columns and mechanised infantry forces out to attack any remaining garrison units, most of which were enmeshed in heavy urban fighting against rebellious civilians.

Sagittaire Assault Mech (by Anthony Scroggins)

Sagittaire Assault 'Mech

It would take until nearly March before the last of the fighting would die down on Galtor and the death toll would be much higher than the three Federated Suns leaders could comfortably accept, but by the end of January the organised resistance had been crushed on Galtor. This time the First Prince promised, they would not be forgotten or left defenceless and as a token of this commitment he announced that his brother Arthur Steiner-Davion would be made the Duke of Galtor. At the same time he promoted his brother from Cadet-Captain to Major within the rank's of the AFFS and gave him permission to recruit a new 3rd Robinson Rangers regiment to defend his new fief, built around the initial core of his comrades in the Robinson Battle Academy Training Battalion. While accepting the honour Duke Arthur disavowed himself of the Steiner name and asked to now be known as Duke Arthur Davion of Galtor.

On Luthien the news of the fall of Galtor was a public humiliation, but the follow on news of who the new Duke of Galtor was made it even worse. This was an obvious line in the sand that Victor Davion had drawn. While any counter attack might take back some of the worlds lost, the First Princes public commitment to Galtor and the gift of it's title to his own brother made it impossible for him to abandon the world. Any attempt to retake Galtor could now only end in a full on war rather than the so far limited objectives of the AFFS.

This news came on top of even worse news for the Coordinator given the loss of Marduk already. The 4th Davion Guards RCT and 4th Deneb Light Cavalry RCT had made planet fall on Quentin just outside of the Steel Valley on the 19th of January. The large aerospace wings of the Deneb Light Cavalry's brigade had allowed the two Davion units to make landfall without heavy losses to face the defending Ryuken-ni regiment. Faced with twice his own numbers the veteran Tai-sa Kitakyusho dug in around the vitally important Independence Weaponry and prepared to hold out for as long as he could.

However the two units made little to no effort to force their way into the plant and instead began a deadly game of feinting and withdrawing against the defenders, seemingly attempting to draw them out into the open where the superior speed of the two invading units would have been allowed them to destroy the Ryuken-ni. Refusing to allow this the Tai-sa stood on the defensive and refused every effort to draw them out.

These constant feinting attacks and small scale long range duels did however managed to keep the Ryuken-ni's attention fully invested on the Davion invaders in front of their positions. Which allowed a small team of Rabid Fox operatives to infiltrate the facility and extract Independence Weaponry's CEO Judith Hotchkiss along with a number of technical designs she had secreted awaiting extraction.

As soon as the head of the Rabid Foxs team sent a coded transmission to Marshal Orsina she ordered the staged withdrawal of the forces under her command. At least on the face of it the two Davion RCTs had done little to no damage to the defenders that couldn't be replaced in a matter of weeks and hadn't seized any real appreciable amount of war material. Their own losses had been light but their expenditure of fuel, spare parts and ammunition had been tremendous for no obvious gain. That was until someone noticed that the CEO of Independence Weaponry was missing. An ISF investigation launched in the next few months would find a horrifying amount of technical specifications which had been copied illegally and huge amounts of confidential research data duplicated in secret and then stolen. Judith Hotchkiss had returned to the realm from which she had paternal ties and had not went empty handed.

Even as the Davion foothold in his realm expanded the Coordinator was faced with an immediate threat to his own throne world from the Ghost Bear Dominion. Intelligence reports filtering in were giving a bleak view that should the Ghost Bear Clan push their advantage they could potentially seize the entirety of the reclaimed Smoke Jaguar and Nova Cat Occupation Zone - and then be perfectly placed to attack Luthien itself. If there was one system in the entirety of the Combine that Theodore simply couldn't afford to lose it was the capital system and he acted accordingly. Units from deep within the realm continued to filter towards the Davion border but the vast majority of his available forces continued to be fed into the fighting along the Ghost Bear front. It was at this time that he ordered the Draconis Combine Admiralty to begin planning for a naval counter attack to at least slow the advancing Bears and tie up their fleets.

Having heard word of the destruction of the 29th Galedon Regulars the orders to the 19th Galedon Regulars were changed from rescue to garrison. They were ordered to deploy Valentina and begin to raid the newly fallen worlds in the hope of stirring up pro-Kurita rebellions and resupplying any remaining garrison troops. They were not authorized to risk more than a third of their strength in these raids as they were to remain a viable defensive force against any further Davion aggression. Additional conventional units were rushed to reinforce them.

The 3rd Benjamins raiding within the Kentares and Raman PDZs got off to a good start when they seized an Invader class jumpship with military supplies and sent it back with a prize crew into the Combine. They then hit the worlds of Mara and Mallory's World, although did little real damage as they couldn't stay long.

On Skat and Cylene the 11th and 12th Ghost Regiment had managed to land in the face of some opposition from a handful of local militias and make good progress as January progressed. However, near the end of January, the Demestri's Sluggers arrived to attack the 12th Ghost on Cylene having entered the system quitely and without being noticed. The mercenary regiment combat dropped directly upon the 12th Ghost's own landing zone and proceeded after a brief fight to seize over 2/3rds of their dropships. The 12th Ghosts scattered contingents would rush back to reform and attempt to retake their dropships but this wouldn't be possible before February.

Meanwhile on Skat the last of the defending militia had been destroyed or scattered but their sacrifices had allowed time for the nearby 12th Deneb Light Cavalry RCT to move from Tybalt to Skat. The 11th Ghost immedietly threw themselves at the relieving force and engaged in a series of hard fought firefights. Both units took heavy casualties during these battles.

Faced with mounting losses and with little immediate prospect of overturning them Theodore Kurita contacted the First Lord Allard-Liao and requested that he see what terms would be acceptable to First Prince Davion for a ceasefire at least. He needed time repel the Ghost Bears before he could face this new invasion.

Within the Lyran Alliance the situation on Hesperus II had continued to escalate. Both Lyran Guards RCTs were now heavily engaged in a series of battles which left neither side able to claim victory but did leave both units bled out. On Donegal the two Katrina Steiner loyalist units called on all true Lyran's to rally to their cause for a drive on Tharkad to overthrow the traitors to the Archon.

This plea was met with a grim faced and obviously extremely injured Nondi Steiner who broadcast a message to the LAAF from her hospital bed. She didn't so much request calm and obedience to orders as demand it. The LAAF would not descend into a bickering and wasteful civil war that would leave them easy pickings for the numerous enemies on their borders while she was General of the Armies. She was loyal to the Alliance, House Steiner and to the Archon she informed those listening and she would not betray her oaths and ordered her subordinates to do likewise. In an uncharacteristic display of forgiveness she made it clear that IF the rebelling commands would stand down in place and agree to await the outcome of the trial on Tukayyid then she would ensure that no further action was taken against them. If however they continued in their rebellion then she would ensure that they were crushed utterly and their regiments stricken from the honour rolls. It was perhaps the last threat that drew the most attention. She reminded them all that at the end of the day the were ALL Lyran soldiers.

While the various rebellious commands considered their General's orders an additional message came from Tharkad. Almost exactly five minutes after completing the recording for transmission the General of the Armies had suffered a massive cardiac arrest which had been impossible to counter. She had been declared dead shortly after midnight on the 16th January, 3063. Her temporary sucessor and former deputy Adam Steiner assured everyone that he would honor her memory and her last command. Indeed, he offered every single BattleMech regiment within the LAAF a chance to send a delegation to take part in the funeral of the late General of Armies.

Excluding the 15th Lyran Guards and the 5th Alliance all of the units within the LAAF which had hung precariously on the lip of civil war agreed to stand down, if only in honor of their fallen commanding officer. Even the rebelling garrison of the world of Donegal agreed to at least hold off on any further action until such time as the funeral was over. Although they did demand an independent autopsy to rule out foul play, a request that Adam Steiner felt it was best to agree too.

During this time various officers and rulers across the entire Inner Sphere and even beyond sent their condolences to Tharkad for the late General Steiner. Led by that of Marshal of Armies Jackson Davion, First Prince Victor Davion, Captain-General Thomas Marik, and Coordinator Theodore Kurita.

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