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Federated Suns Reborn (Chapter Cover)

The Federated Suns Reborn
- Chapter 257
[]


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April 3072
Interlude: Repercussions


Governor's Palace
Ecol City
Thorin, Freedom Theater
Lyran Alliance


Duke Alfredo Sakuma stared directly into the holo-camera glad in an expensive dark grey suit, picked out specifically so that the black armband he wore was visible yet the suit itself displayed that he was in mourning. Grim faced he didn't so much as glance down at the notes in front of him - a small peculiarity of the Duke was that it was well known that he always liked to have printed notes rather than a teleprompter. {"People of Thorin, four days ago a tragedy befall our world. Fellow citizens of our planet gathered in order to protest against the presence of what they and many of you see as an occupying force. I have made no secret that I do not entirely share that viewpoint, although given the arrest of our Representative in the Estates General and the actions of both the Regent and the LAAF troops on our world I am forced to acknowledge that the viewpoint is not entirely without merit. As such I have allowed the peaceful protest off those who feel this way and have refused requests by Colonel O'Connell to use the infantry forces of my own Ducal Guard and the Thorin Planetary Guard to suppress them. Perhaps I made an error in refusing that request as it has perhaps indirectly led to the tragic events that took place at Firebase Thunderhammer..."}

Pausing for a second the young Duke shook his head. {"However that in no way justifies the heavy handed and brutal response of the 16th Lyran Regulars last Saturday. No less than three film crews were in attendance at the protest and so despite Colonel O'Connell refusing to release the security videos from the base or the gun camera footage from his Battlemechs the evidence is clear. While the protestors certainly provoked the troops of the 16th Lyran Regulars at no time did they escalate matters to anything beyond hurling refuse - which could not be construed as using deadly force. To the MechWarriors and troops within their APCs going out on patrol the throwing of rotting food might have been irritating, but in no way threatened their safety. Colonel O'Connell's response was vastly disproportionate to the threat posed. Even before he released his Battlemech forces to indulge in terror tactics."}

{"The Colonel unleashed a scratch company of poorly trained infantry with little to no specialist equipment upon the protestors out of what I can only presume was spite and poor judgement. In those circumstances the results were as foreseeable as they were tragic. While my people's investigations have been deliberately hampered by the 16th Regular's refusal to share their footage or to allow them to interview their troopers, I have no doubt in my mind what happened. When the protestors resisted the illegal order to disperse some trooper of the 16th's infantry battalion panicked. He responded in blind panic and opened fire. All of those we have spoken to and the footage we have been able to obtain point to the initial outbreak of gunfire occurring on the left flank of the infantry force, although is swiftly spread. And escalated."} Duke Sakuma paused in obvious distress before squaring his shoulders and continuing. "With panicked troops firing indiscriminately into the crowd the protests became at once both more violent and resulted in many attempting to flee. At which point the Colonel unleashed a full company of his BattleMechs. Presumably in an attempt to overawe and intimidate the crowd into retreat. While none of them fired their weapons upon the fleeing crowd there is no doubt in the minds of my investigators that their pursuit of the crowd into the makeshift car park that most fled too in an attempt to get into their vehicles and leave led to at least several more deaths as well as deliberate and wanton destruction of several vehicles by the MechWarriors. The explosions of which caused additional panic in the already terrified crowd."}

Pausing again the Duke's voice seemed strained as he continued. {"As of this morning the death count amongst the protestors who were attacked and those who attempted to flee stands at 103. Most of those who have died did so as a result of being crushed in the stampede that the Lyran Regulars deliberately provoked. Many more died from head wounds inflicted by "non-lethal" shotgun blasts often fired directly into their heads at short range. At least one individual was killed when a BattleMech stepped on him during the stampede. I can only pray that was an accident and not deliberate. Many hundreds of other protestors are still in hospital with broken bones and similar injuries and I pray they have a full and speedy recovery."}

{"I pray for all those who have been hurt or killed and for their loved ones who have been left grieving."} Duke Alfredo Sakuma sighed. {"Yet that is not enough. It can never be enough for those who have lost their lives. I am a Duke of the Lyran Alliance, but I am also the Duke of Thorin. I have accepted that no government is infallible and that mistakes will be made. I understand that better than most. However this goes beyond the arrest of our Representative. This goes beyond an uncaring or unseeing government on far away Tharkad. I trust that Regent Steiner will be as horrified as I am by the actions of last Saturday, but his horror is not enough. Our people are dead. Our sons and daughters lie injured in hospital in pain and suffering. All of this was not inflicted upon them by invaders from another realm. No. These deaths and injuries were inflicted upon the people of Thorin by the military that is sworn to protect them. That is something that I cannot accept. That I will not accept."}

Squaring his shoulders the Duke looked directly into the camera in an impassioned attempt to reach out to his people through it. {"That is why I am mobilizing the Thorin Planetary Guard. All militia troops are to report to their mustering stations. As soon as units are formed up they are to then place themselves directly under the command of Field Marshal Reinhart Steiner of the 1st Revenant Guards RCT, AFFS. I will be formally notifying the Lyran Alliance that the world of Thorin is declaring it's secession from the Alliance as of this afternoon and at the same time petitioning the Federated Suns for admittance. This is not just my decision as I have spoken with the Planetary Council who have ratified these moves by a vote of 7 to 3. As of midday today as far as my government is concerned the Lyran Alliance has no formal authority on Thorin and we shall look to New Avalon for guidance and protection. As such I will also be notifying Colonel O'Connell that the 16th Lyran Regulars are confined to their bases to be regarded as foreign troops and should await further instructions as to their movements and to coordinate this with the senior AFFS officer on planet - Field Marshal Steiner. I have requested that Field Marshal Steiner look into the actions of the 16th Regulars and take whatever steps he see's fit to bring any of it's officers or men to justice for any crimes they may have committed, but I leave any such investigations and military justice in his capable hands."}

Looking suddenly tired the Duke of Thorin looked sorrowfully at the camera. {"I didn't want this. I don't believe any of us wanted this. Yet my hand, our hands have been forced. We cannot stand by while Lyran troops murder our civilians and then refuse to even acknowledge that a crime has taken place. That is what has forced me into today's actions and I beg all of you sitting at home to stay calm and most importantly to stay peaceful. Whatever the future may bring we will meet it together, as citizens of Thorin. Thank you."}


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