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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

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The Federated Suns Reborn
Chapter 19
[]


April 3063
Negotiations


The month of April opened with all eyes on the news from what was now merely being referred to as The Trial. Following Katherine Steiner-Davion's faux pas with claiming a dead man had warned her about her brothers murderous and wicked ways - who then proceeded to come back from the dead and state he said no such thing - her case was in tatters and she had not had long to regroup. Nor had she hired new legal council. Even her most fervent supporters were beginning to admit that the evidence was not looking good for her, although most were still maintaining that it was forged. A growing minority however were turning away from her. Particularly within the LAAF and Skye Regions.

When Katherine finally retook the stand she had clearly chosen a new tactic. Now all she would do is denounce the illegality of this trial, the lack of jurisdiction that the judges had over her as a ruling Archon, the forged nature of the evidence and demand her immediate release upon pain of horrific consequences. She would no longer answer questions nor would she cross examine witnesses. All she would do would be to repeat the same demands and denouncements. When the court proceeded despite this she became even more shrill in her loud cries to be freed, until at least it was put to her that if she did not at least stay silent during evidence she would be restrained and forced to leave the court. So she merely contented herself with sitting in martyred silence.


This lasted for 3 days... Until at the Nadir Jump Point a large and unexpected signature was detected. The defending warships of the ComGuards Fleet rushed to battle stations as multiple enemy WarShips and JumpShips arrived in a simultaneous jump.

Leading the armada came the CWS Nicholas Kerensky, along with CWS Stealthy Kill, CWS Blood Drinker, CWS Jerome Winson, CWS Victoria Ward and the CWS Dire Wolf. Accompanying the WarShips came the might of the entire Wolf Clan's Alpha Galaxy led by no lesser personage than their Khan himself. It was also instantly noticeable that along with the Wolf Clan forces had come the 5th Alliance Guards RCT and the LAS Katrina Steiner which had supposed to be hunting them. Given their positioning within the prospective invasion force they were clearly part of it.

Hurried challenges rushed out to the newly arrived fleet, demanding to know what their intentions were. Khan Ward merely responded by announcing that he had come to launch a Trial of Refusal against the right of the Star League Courts to trial his ally the Archon of the Lyran Alliance. He bid his entire Alpha Galaxy and the 5th Alliance Guards against whichever curs would dare to face him. If they refused his trial... He would consider it a breach of honour and summon his entire Clan to fight against the forces shamefully holding his ally.

On Tukayyid, it was wildly believed that the Khan was bluffing. He wouldn't risk the entire peace and his clan's future for a single woman. Even if she was his supposed ally. Yet there was the small issue that to call his bluff would mean risking all out war with the Clans. After hurried debate between the Precentor Martial, First Lord and most of the other Successor States rulers it was agreed that the forces of the SLDF would meet the trial. The 1st Royal BattleMech Regiment would face the 5th Alliance Guards RCT and the Invader Galaxy would fight the Alpha Galaxy. The Trial was scheduled to take place on t he 21st April, 3063.


The next 18 days were almost lost across the entire sphere. Even on the FedSuns-Draconis Combine border the various units, leaders and peoples held their breath and watched the news not for word on any counter attacks or revived fighting, but for the Trial. Only on the Draconis Combine's frontier with the Ghost Bears did the battles still rage. What did the Ghost Bears care for a Wolf Khan after all?

During those 18 days however, Prince Victor is back on New Avalon and retaking the reigns of government. He also visits his sister and meets with CEO Judith Hotchkiss to discuss a new primarily assault based factory. Although he attempts to suggest an Outback world she points out the highly technical nature of the assault mechs she brought the specs for and suggests instead Kestrel. He reluctantly agrees with the provision that the fabulously wealthy Cunningham ducal family help with the funding.

The First Prince also takes time out to meet with his sister who is undergoing treatment, along with other wounded both civilian and military brought to NAIS for specialist treatment. The injuries inflicted upon his sister and the other civilians in particular deeply move him and he orders a large investment in hospitals to be made across the realm, setting up a number of "Princess Yvonne Hospitals" on worlds scattered throughout the FedSuns over the next few years. Eventually each PDZ and Combat Region will have at least one and preferably more of these hospitals, the personnel for them mostly trained to a high standard at Golden World Universities.

He also takes the opportunity to train with the forming 1st Dragonlords and even joins with the unit with his 1st Davion Guards contingent in a hard fought battle against the New Avalon CrMM where both sides fight the other to a bloody draw. The New Avalon CrMM's Marshal Payne of course attributes this to the leadership of the First Prince and the Davion Guards members, but has to admit that the Dragonlords are getting better.


Baron Sandoval and Warlord Kurita also arrive on Northwind and begin preliminary negotiations - mostly about how the talks will be conducted. Even at this early stage there are deep divisions and arguments. Even being able to agree who should speak first takes 5 days, with Warlord Kurita being given the honor in return for limiting his introduction to a half hour.


The 1st Chisholm Raiders RCT is withdrawn during this time period from the front lines and is sent for its much needed refit on Bell. Their place is taken by the elite 1st Argyle Lancers which has the Chisholm Raiders feeling honored that they were considered the equal of that prestigious unit in defensive worth, even if they are a full RCT. That and the promised refit will do wonders for the morale of the unit.


On Axton, the first new production line of Corsairs enters production. It will take until the end of the year for the full production increases to kick in. Dagger-O production on New Syrtis will also increase from 2 lines to 3 over April. While on Filtvelt the first Union and Mule dropships will be laid down. With the increased fighter production it is vital for more aerospace pilots and other naval training facilities to come online and by the end of the year a massive expansion of the Armstrong Flight Academy will be starting to take new cadets, although the increases will be in a rolling fashion with constant expansions planned for the time being to keep up with demand.


At 0900 on the 21st of April 3063 a second Trial will start on Tukayyid. Much smaller than the first it will however be fought with equal ferocity. The Alpha Galaxy smashes into the Invader Galaxy of the ComGuards while the 5th Alliance Guards attempts to do the same to the 1st Royal BattleMech Regiment. All through the Sphere and even in the Clan OZ's the battles are transmitted.

Just outside of the former Wolf target city of Skupo, the Alpha Galaxy fought a brutal and aggressive battle against the Invader Galaxy. The 1st and 2nd Assault Clusters of the Invader Galaxy made up the main line with the 1st Recon Cluster acting as a screen and the 1st Battle Cluster in reserve. In a suprise move the Elemental Trinaries from all 4 Wolf Clusters dropped directly onto the 1st Recon Cluster and attacked them in an almost suicidal drop assault. Even as the Recon Cluster was struggling to free itself the main Wolf force disembarked and led by the Golden Keshik smashed into them. The 1st and 2nd Assault Clusters moved up to support the faltering 1st Recon Cluster and found themselves facing almost 2:1 odds. The 3rd Wolf Guards Battle Cluster, eager to prove their worth plunged forward and managed to split the ComGuards line in two, albeit with crippling losses, which allowed Khan Ward to use the 4th Striker Cluster to pin the 2nd Assault Cluster in place while he smashed the remainder of the 1st Recon and the 1st Assault Cluster with the 1st Wolf Assault Cluster and 5th Wolf Guards Battle Cluster and his own Keshik.

By the time the 2nd Assault Cluster and the 1st Battle Cluster could fight their way through to their beleaguered comrades barely a trinary of both the 1st Recon and 1st Assault were able to withdraw into their lines. With three mauled Clusters the Khan then moved forward and began battering at the damaged 2nd Assault and still fresh 1st Battle Cluster. The ComGuards units would hold out for the rest of the day but when a repaired Trinary of the 3rd Wolf Guards Battle Cluster reentered the fray they were forced to concede defeat. The ComGuards units had been reduced to just under a single cluster of functional machines all of them damaged, while the Wolf Alpha Galaxy could muster barely a cluster and a half of operable machines, and their Elemental Trinaries were particularly devastated. Still they had taken a win.

In front of Brzo the 1st Royal BattleMech Regiment engaged the 5th Alliance Guards. The elite BattleMech regiment wasted no time and even as the 5th was deploying into their Landing Zones that jump capable mechs and jump infantry had seized the 1st Royals were charging forward. With aimed fire that would have done credit to targeting computer assisted shots the survivors of Task Force Serpent inflicted terrible losses on the perimeter assigned battalion of the 5th Alliance and overran them to plunge into the disembarking troops. In a 3 hour battle the 5th Alliance was almost entirely wiped out, many of it's dropships reduced to burning wrecks with their occupants dead inside them. The 1st Royals were reduced a reinforced battalion but had taken the honors.

Faced with this draw, Khan Ward suggested that he would form a composite Cluster to face the remainder of the 1st Royals if that was agreeable to the Precentor Martial. Despite General Redburn being in favor of this suggestion the Precentor Martial declined. Even the freshest of the 1st Royal BattleMech Regiment's soldiers were exhausted and many wounded. While they might win the fight he wasn't prepared to see them wiped out in the effort. He consulted briefly with the First Lord and with First Prince Victor and both reluctantly agreed with his decision.

As such at dawn of the 22nd April, Katherine Steiner-Davion was handed over to the waiting Khan Vlad Ward. Along with her went the remainder of the 5th Alliance Guard, who were barely able to form a reinforced combined arms battalion. Transporting up to the Wolf flagship she ordered the LAS Katrina Steiner and the 5th Alliance Guards to follow her into exile...


Throughout the Sphere the ramifications of this "rescue" would take months to settle. In the FedSuns this was seen as a total vindication of their First Prince and his officers who had arrested the "traitor". Katherine Steiner-Davion had sided with the clans against her own people and this had damned her in the eyes of the vast majority of the FedSuns, even those who had been moderate towards her before. Within the Lyran Alliance the reaction was no less hostile. Possibly even worse amongst those who had sworn her allegiance and offered her their swords. The few Tamar worlds left and worlds of the Clan Border had anti-Katherine riots which burned for weeks. Officers who had considered or even conducted pro-Katrina Steiner mutinies were keen to distance themselves from the "traitor Katherine Steiner-Davion" suddenly. The CO of the Donegal Jaegers even offered to take his unit into the Wolf Clan Occupation Zone and hunt her down. A purge of naval officers who might owe their allegiance to the former Archon was also ordered given to the LAS Katrina switch in allegiances.


In all the excitement the 1st and 3rd McCarron's Armored Cavalry lifted off their garrison worlds and disappeared unnoticed during the last week of April. Along with them went the 2nd Battalion Death Head's Commandos.


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