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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 172

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September 3070
Steel's Winter Warriors

"This is David Steele and welcome to Steele's Hard Truths's Tharkad Special - Winter Warriors! This is New Avalon's premier Military and Foreign Affair's talk show coming to you from Tharkad!" David Steele flashed his trademark and famous welcoming grin while inwardly seething that he wasn't getting paid nearly enough for this nonsense. Whatever idiot in scripts or development or PR had thought this lunacy up was going to pay for shipping him all the way to this freezing ice ball when (not if) he found out it was! While the excellent relations that Hard's Truth maintained with the AFFS had allowed he and his production and filming team to plug into the various jump-lines linking the former FedCom it still had resulted in a horrendous succession of jumps knowing that the WOB or some other lunatic group wouldn't care that a news team was piggy backing on the AFFS or LAAF jumpship! He should be back at home on sunny New Avalon with his new girlfriend, not stuck out here. Still appearances had to be maintained so he grinned at the camera with all his usual enthusiasm. "As every I am your host and I have some two special guests tonight for this very special show of Winter Warriors! Firstly I would like to introduce you to retired Hauptmann-General Isadora Agravaine, former commander of the Alliance Guard Brigade. Alongside her is retired General Geoffrey Berg, former commanding officer of the prestigious Donegal Guards Brigade... Yes General Agravaine?"

The beautiful face of the General was far to young for a women who was a retired general, but then again her links with the former Archon Katherine Steiner-Davion explained not only her swift rise to the rank of Hauptmann-General and also her subsequent "retirement". Now that beautiful face was twisted into a mien of unhappiness. "I prefer my civilian title since the disgraceful behavior of the current officer corp of the LAAF in not launching a crusade to liberate my good personal friend Archon Katrina from the despotic clutches of her brother the so called First Prince Victor Davion... I do not wish to be associated with the current honor less leadership of the LAAF! I would request that you refer to me as the Grafina von Selby, Mr Steele."

Before Steele could think of a suitable reply General Berg snorted. "Oh by all means please do ignore the Grafina's military service, those of us who were real soldiers with the AFFC and LAAF would love to ignore it and pretend it never happened!"

"I served my Archon with pride which is more than what you can say, traitor!" The Grafina snapped back.

"You served a matricidal maniac and feathered your own nest you mean!" The General snapped back.

"Grafina von Selby, General Berg... Please... let's try and keep things civil... I realise that tempers are running a little high... But let's remember we're all friends here..." Steele almost had to lean forward between the two glaring former AFFC and LAAF officers. It was a little early in the show for a fist fight after all! "Now... Grafina... You were about to get into this evening's topic..."

"The current aid coming from FedRats to help the LAAF? Yes... It's merely what the Feddies are due us for the kidnapping and selling of the greatest Archon since her grandmother to the Wolves by the Davion High Command in December 3060! Even if they sent us a thousand times what they currently have done they couldn't even begin to pay us back for their military junta's crime of depriving us of her leadership!" Isadora Agravaine spoke coldly. "Had they seen the wisdom in supporting her perfectly legal assumption of power from her sister Yvonne in 3060 then I have absolutely no doubt's the the Federated Commonwealth would have been reborn and we would be entering a new Golden Age with the FedCom reforging the Star League for all the peoples of the Inner Sphere!"

This time the other guest panelist didn't snort, he stared in almost dumbfounded shock before turning to Steele. "My agent told me that we weren't allowed to drink before we came on the show... But the Grafina is clearly drunk out of her mind!"

"How dare you?!" She drew back to slap him.

"General! Grafina! Now please... no personal attacks, please... And no physical attacks either!" David barely managed to stop them coming to blows. "Now General, that wasn't a very diplomatic way of putting it, but I presume you disagree with the Grafina's points?"

"I couldn't disagree with them more, Mr Steele. Frankly, the worst mistake that the Lyran people have ever made was to follow the Usurper-Archon Katherine Steiner-Davion into her rebellion in the 3057. Had we stood side by side with our Davion allies and comrades under the leadership of Victor Steiner-Davion I don't doubt we would have prevailed against the Capellan and League invasions. Hell, with the full might of the AFFC behind him the Archon-Prince might have done to the Capellan's in 3057 or '58 what he did to them in '68 and '69!" General Berg pointed over at the still enraged aristocrat. "It was due to the Social General's like the Grafina over there that we didn't. I'll even admit that officers like myself have to shoulder some of the blame for the mistakes made in those days, as we were prepared to take General of the Armies Nondi Steiner at her word that we should follow the Usurper-Archon. If we'd known then what we knew now..."

"So you regret the break up of the Federated Commonwealth General? That's something that many within the Federated Suns will find hard to believe coming from a LAAF officer who was a key player back in '57 I have to say..." Steele saw Berg literally wince as the barb hit home.

Still the General rallied. "I do. Bitterly. We all make mistakes, Mr Steele, and that one has haunted me. The Grafina goes on about how had the AFFS officer corp stood by and allowed Katherine Steiner-Davion to usurp control of New Avalon in the same way we stood by and allowed her to usurp Tharkad then the FedCom might have been reborn, but I think she's spent so long skiing that her brains froze. The AFFS High Command stood by their oaths to the Archon-Prince and proved themselves better men and women than we did in '57..."

"If you love the AFFS so much why don't you join it?!" Hissed Agravaine.

General Berg smiled bitterly at her. "Because I'm too old, they wouldn't have me after my lack of action in '57 and honestly because I'm still a Lyran and love my country. I just refuse to pretend that what we did was right... Which is why I formally support the movement to offer the throne of the Lyran Alliance to the First Prince at his own discretion as per Honoured Representative Anand's motion to the Estates General..."

"Treacherous Quisling!" Agravaine.

"Lunatic!" Berg.

As the two lunged at each other Steele carefully sidestepped back to avoid getting caught up in the scuffle, giving it a good 20 seconds before indicating security to step in... Maybe he was warming to Tharkad's possibilities...

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