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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 204

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June 3071
The Battle of Arcturus

History of The Battle of Arcturus[]

Lyran Forces Attack[]

Adam Steiner (Young)

Adam Steiner

The Battle of Arcturus began to escalate when General of the Armies Adam Steiner ordered all units on Arcturus to move to the aid of the embattled 20th Arcturan Guard. With help on the way the 20th turned on it's pursuers and dug in to hold their ground. Seeing this as prey turning to make a last stand the 3rd Wolf Battle Cluster slams into the Arcturan Guards' lines and mauls them badly before suddenly finding itself outflanked by the 6th Lyran Guard RCT which swings in behind them like a hammer against the 20th Arcturan Guard's anvil. The few warriors of the 3rd Wolf Battle Cluster who manage to claw their way out of the trap only do so with the aid of the 13th Battle Cluster who then manage a fighting retreat while being pursued by the two Lyran RCTs.

The 13th Battle Cluster fall back on the rest of Alpha Galaxy, which led by Khan Ward counter attack into the pursuing 20th Arcturan Guard and 6th Lyran Guards. The two Lyran units only hold their lines when General of the Armies Steiner leads the 1st Tamar Cavaliers, 23rd Arcturan Guards RCT and 4th Donegal Guards RCT to join them. The 13th & 14th Donegal Guards RCT are still en-route to the battle. Alpha Galaxy is joined by the rest of Beta Galaxy and soon the plains around Malcheema are the sight of one of the largest battles between Inner Sphere and Clan forces since Tukayyid. Galaxy Commander Katrina Steiner dispatched her 1st Alliance Guard Cluster into the swirling battle as the 13th Donegal Guard arrives, while keeping her 1st Steiner Battle Cluster as the only remaining reserve within the Clan Wolf forces on Arcturus.

Khan Ward leads from the front, his own Golden Keshik heavily involved in a number of attacks on the Lyran's battle lines, on several occasions coming close to clashing personally with General Steiner's own command battalion which is equally committed to the fighting. The Clan forces have the edge in quality and equipment, while the Lyran Alliance troops have an edge in numbers which allow them to cycle troops out of the fighting to refit and repair. Clan Wolf warriors however are much closer to their base of supply within the city of Malcheema.

With casualties mounting on both sides of the battle, the respective leaders of the armies engaged in the fighting consider pulling back but neither can risk a retreat turning into a rout. Moreover both Vlad Ward and Adam Steiner are convinced that they are each just one "big push" away from victory. Instead of retreating they continue to throw everything they can into the battle. Units are withdrawn for rapid repairs and resupply, often merged with other damaged units, before being thrown back into the fire. The only thing keeping both sides morale is the fact that their respective leaders are in fact leading them into the battle rather than sitting back and ordering them into the holocaust of destroyed BattleMechs, tanks and dead troops.

Lyran Naval Reinforcements Arrive[]

On the 24th of June the bloody stalemate is rocked by the arrival at a pirate jump point of a large Lyran-Wolves-in-Exile naval task force. Leading the way is the Wolves-in-Exile flagship, the Werewolf, but alongside her are no less than two Mjolnir class battlecruisers - the LAS Fylgja and LAS Mjolnir - and a third battlecruiser the Clan Wolves-in-Exile's Implacable, accompanied by two ships of a dead class, the LAS Tharkad's Pride and LAS Donegal's Hammer who are both modified and updated Commonwealth class cruisers, eight corvettes, four of them Fox I class corvettes from the Wolves-in-Exile and four clearly from another long gone class of ships, Mako class corvettes. The eight Fox class corvettes which had initially defended the system sortie out to meet them - although the LAS Coventry and LAS Dalkeith both show signs of heavy fighting.

The attacking Clan Wolf warships suddenly find themselves not only outnumbered but also out massed heavily. However with their Khan currently in the middle of a swirling battle on the plains of Malcheema alongside elements of three of their Clan's Galaxies, they cannot simply withdraw. Taking up hurried positions to defend the Marsden Spaceport from orbital attack they prepare to buy time for their ground forces to withdraw. Time that their kin in the Exiles and the Lyran's have no intention of giving them.

A fateful decision is made[]

Katrina Steiner-Davion (MechCommander 2)

Katrina Steiner

On the ground Galaxy Commander Katrina Steiner commands the withdrawal as the only high ranking officer who is not engaged in combat on the Plains. Her own 1st Steiner Battle Cluster deploy around the spaceport and begin shuttling withdrawing troops from the battle into the first available dropships and immediately ordering each full dropship to take off. Khan Ward who had been deep in the fighting rallies a scratch force from his own Keshik and the 1st Wolf Assault Cluster and forms a rear guard, fighting to push back all attempts by the Lyrans to take advantage of the Wolves withdrawal.

Naval Battle of Arcturus[]

Mjolnir Battlecruiser (Underway)

Mjolnir Class Battlecruiser

In orbit, the CWS Nicholas Kerensky leads a suicidal defense of the low orbit over the Marsden Spaceport. Finding itself the recipient of the attentions of not only the larger McKenna class Werewolf, the ancient Texas class battleship is also targeted by both Lyran battlecruisers. Outnumbered 3:1 and out massed by almost the same amount, the CWS Nicholas Kerensky fight's with all the skill of it's elite clan crew just to survive. While the battleships and battlecruisers fight the Implacable leads the LAS Tharkad's Pride and LAS Donegal's Hammer against the CWS Stealthy Kill, CWS Blood Drinker and CWS Nature's Wrath. The two upgraded Commonwealth class cruisers begin the battle by launching a full spread of nuclear tipped missiles at the Stealthy Kill. Hit by a no less than seven nuclear missiles the survivor of the Amaris War breaks in two and explodes.

Black Lion II Class Battlecruiser (Underway)

The Black Lion Class Battlecruiser, CWS Stealthy Kill,

The destruction of the CWS Stealthy Kill, breaks the protective ring around the evacuation of Clan Wolf's warriors, but does result in the Werewolf and Implacable as well as all four Wolves-in-Exile corvettes breaking of the fight and withdrawing a distance away in fury at the use of nuclear weapons - breaking a long held Clan taboo. While they don't withdraw from the battle entirely they refuse to fight alongside the LAN ship's in the system and instead maintain a patrol to intercept fleeing Clan Wolf dropships.

Fox Class Corvettes (Two ships underway - Battletech Space Wars Mod)

Fox I Class Corvettes

While this leaves the Lyran Navy fighting alone, they still hold a numerical superiority over the enemy, with their two heavy capital ships fighting against the already damaged CWS Nicholas Kerensky while their two cruisers engage the Black Lion class CWS Blood Drinker. The CWS Nature's Wrath finds itself fighting a hopeless battle against the eight Fox I corvettes of the Lyran Alliance, while the Mako Corvettes streak by the Clan Wolf warships to attack the dropships rising from the planet.

Bloody Retreat[]

Realizing the impending destruction of any further withdrawing dropships, Galaxy Commander Katrina Steiner sends word for Khan Ward to leave the rear guard and join her on the last handful of dropships that stand any chance of reaching a jump point. A request he immediately refuses. He orders her and the injured saKhan Radick who has reached the evacuation point to withdraw while they can. He will lead the remaining warriors who cannot escape in an attempt to break the enemy lines and reach Adam Steiner in order to remove the enemy leadership and inflict as heavy losses as they can upon the enemy.

As the last Wolf dropships flee the planet, Khan Ward leads the trapped Wolves into a full frontal, no holds barred attack upon the LAAF ground troops deployed. His orders to his Wolves are simple "kill them, kill them all". His own formation of mixed remnants from a half dozen clusters into the 13th Donegal Guard RCT and catching the Lyran troops by surprise overrun their lines and slaughter their way through their rear area forces before attacking General of the Armies Adam Steiner who leads his command battalion and a handful of troops from the 1st Tamar Cavaliers to relieve the shattered 13th Custer. Vlad Ward's custom Timber Wolf is one of the last BattleMechs to fall, almost literally at the feet of the shattered Thunder Hawk of Adam Steiner. The General of the Armies is heavily injured in the final battle, but the Khan is pulled from his cockpit already dead. The death of their Khan does little to alleviate the battle fury of the trapped Wolves, who make the LAAF pay a horrendous price in blood to bring them down, none of them surrendering.

Timber Wolf A (Hill side by SU-SMD)

Khan Vlad Ward's Timber Wolf Heavy OmniMech

The dropships of the fleeing, saKhan Raddick and Galaxy Commander Steiner are the last two ships to reach orbit. Only the sacrifice of almost two full binaries of OmniFighters breaks open a window through the prowling Mako class corvettes that lets them join up with the heavily damaged CWS Blood Drinker. The burning battlecruiser breaks off the fight, covered by the equally damaged CWS Nicholas Kerensky which makes no effort to retreat. The CWS Nature's Wrath is a broken wreck which is beginning to glow as it de-orbits by then.

Both Mjolnir class battlecruisers concentrate on finishing off their damaged prey and an hour after the CWS Blood Drinker breaks orbit as the CWS Nicholas Kerensky suddenly explodes. The LAS Tharkad's Pride is under only semi-control after a Clan Wolf assault dropship managed to ram the cruiser and the explosion took out it's bridge. It is being "steered" largely from engineering which is causing huge issues. The LAS Donegal's Hammer, heavily damaged by the CWS Nature's Wrath before the destroyer, finally died has entered orbit to provide naval gunfire support to the LAAF units on the ground, but is struggling to find targets as the few remaining Wolves are pressing the LAAF units so closely and are often intermixed with them. Only six Fox I corvettes remain, most of them damaged to some extent or other and have taken up protective positions in orbit. The four Mako Class corvettes are harrying the withdrawing CWS Blood Drinker, but even the almost undamaged corvettes don't want to press the matter with even a damaged battlecruiser along with the large number of dropships it is escorting.

The Wolves-in-Exile fleet, which could intercept the CWS Blood Drinker instead withdraw, taking with them nearly two clusters worth of bondsmen they have taken during the retreat of their kin. Indeed many Wolves who realized that their dropships couldn't reach the waiting transports instead fled to the Clan Wolves-in-Exile rather than surrender to the Lyrans.

Victory at a Cost[]

Although the Wolves are still technically in system at the end of June the battle is over. The Wolves have suffered a heavy defeat, with both their ground and naval forces shattered. The Lyrans while their naval forces are mostly intact - albeit damaged - have suffered catastrophic losses in the five RCTs and two BattlleMech regiments they committed to the battle. They do still however hold the field and have repulsed the Clan attack. From his hospital bed, and just prior to surgery, General of the Armies orders the follow on waves of troops to counter attack the Wolves and drive them back over the border...

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