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Tall Tales (Chapter Cover Art)

Story By JA Baker[]

Forbidden History
Author JA Baker
Series Name Tall Tales
Alternate Universe Name
Year Written January 19th, 2020
Story Era Star League Era

Why am I recording this again?


You really think that those pompous, egotistical pricks are going to leave two bricks piled one atop the other when they're done?

Okay! Okay! I'll record the damn message. But leave this bit in at the beginning: I want those smug jack-off's to know what I really think about them.

Hello. For those of you who've been living under a rock for the past couple of decades, my name is Aleksandr Sergeyevich Kerensky, and I was, until just a few days ago, Commanding General of the Star League Defense Force, Regent and Protector of the Star League. These are positions I held for some twenty years. First under the reign of Richard Cameron, then during the so-called Star League Civil War.

And why the hell do they call them Civil Wars? War isn't civil. Least, not if you're doing it right. War is pretty much a knife fight in a dirt-floored bar. And if they get you down, you best get back up again. You don't win wars by being nice, certainly not by being 'civil'. No, you win them by being the one left standing at the end. Here's everything I know about war: Somebody wins, somebody loses, and nothing is ever the same again.

War is coming, try as hard as they might to hide the fact.

The Camerons are all dead... because we, because I failed them. Anyone who could lay claim to the throne is either so deep in hiding or so distant that they don't even realise it. And I fear that, without them, so is the Hegemony. And without the Hegemony, there is no Star League. All because those preening, egotistical moyka svolochey can't seen beyond their own petty concerns!

Robert Steiner is old before his time. I don't know how or why, but I don't think he's long for this world. When he dies, the Commonwealth could easily slip into civil war again. He's too weak to run his own realm, let alone the Star League.

Minoru Kurita is a bloody minded psychopath who thinks of himself as some kind of warriors-poet, like the Samaria his house model themselves on. Well, I've read my history, and let me tell you that the Samaria were just as heavy-handed as any Coordinator, but they didn't have BattleMechs to impose their will with. He'd drown the Inner Sphere with blood, and, if anything, his son is even worse.

John Davion... okay, he's actually not as bad as the rest, even if that is damming with faint praise. Still, he had the chance to do the right thing, to stand up to Amaris, and did nothing. As much as I may like and admire the man, I can't forgive him that.

Barbara Liao, two-faced bitch that she is. Took our money and support to rebuild her military into something that would be more than a speed-bump for the Suns. Then told us to go suck a lemon when we asked for help. I trust her about as far as I could throw my BattleMech.

Last, and definitely least, Kenyon Marik is a complete and utter [FILE CORRUPTED]. I'd be doing the Inner Sphere in general and the Free Worlds League in particular a favor if I [FILE CORRUPTED] his yobannye [FILE CORRUPTED] with a rusty [FILE CORRUPTED] until it broke! He is, without a doubt, the worst of the lot, and the very last person who should be sitting on the First Lords throne.

Was I wrong? Should I have taken the throne?

The military would have backed me. After everything we've been through, they'd follow me through the gates of hell itself, and I love each and every one of them for it. But they would have been wrong. I'm a soldier, and an old one at that. Growing up, I never intend to join the SLDF, but rather sort the life of a scholar. When I say just what kind of people, And I use the word "people" very loosely here, we're joining the army... We'll, let's just say that many of them would have happily bent the knee to Amaris when called to, if it meant that they received power and prestige.

Not knocking people who grow up wanting to be MechWarriors, but maybe better psychological screening is in order?

My sons? Oh, they're good boys... Men, really. Nicholas is a fine MechWarrior, and has the making of a good field commander, but he'd be out of his depth with anything more than a regiment. Not that you can tell him that. Andery is almost the exact opposite. He's a decent enough pilot, but afar better people person. He's just too much of an introvert, too keen to keep in his brothers shadow, for his own good. He'd make a fine statesman.

The Council Lords would never accept it. Our blood isn't Blue enough for their liking. They often forget that the history books show their tales of their own family nobility and divine right to rule to be utter bullshit. Deep down inside, they're as mortal as the rest of us, but that arrogance is what doomed Richard...

I loved him, you know? Simon had been a good man, and an even better friend. When I learned that he had named me as his sons Regent in his Will, well I cried. Not ashamed to admit that. He left me the task of protecting his son, his legacy until he was ready to assume the mantle of First Lord. For I, the great General, the fearless warrior who had known only victory... I failed. I failed to raise a boy to become the man his father would have wanted him to be. Now, I know that there are those who claim that Richard was never going to be a great First Lord, or even a good one. It was still my duty to try. To show him that the first duty of any leader is to those they lead. I failed to teach him that, just as I fear I failed to teach my own sons.

I, Aleksandr Sergeyevich Kerensky, am a failure.

Now, I know that a lot of people watching this will be saying "but he defeated Amaris and reclaimed Terra! How could he possibly consider himself a failure?" Well, ask yourself this; What kind of short-sighted easily duped fool would allow a power-mad psychopath like Amaris get within a lightyear of the First Lord to begin with? I was Regent! Sword Protector of House Cameron and everything they stood for. As Commanding General of the Star League Defense Force, I saw the reports of what the Rim Worlds Republic was doing. They way they were working their own people to death to build up their military. I was a good soldier, and I followed orders and let them.

How many time in human history have the guilty claimed "I was only following orders" as an excuse for their actions or inactions?

I'm Russian, and we have a long memory; Far longer than most, and I've been to St Petersburg and Volgograd, seen the monuments to what men who were "only following orders" are capable of. It's the final refuge of the coward and the sadistic. Only idiots, or those just looking for an excuse follow orders blindly. A true soldier, a good soldier, thinks for themselves and tries to imagine the consequences of following a bad order. I should have done that. I should have refused to allow the units garrisoning the Hegemony to be stripped away, leaving only Republican troops in their place. I should have refused to persecute a war I knew to be unjust.

I believe in the Star League, in House Cameron, and everything they supposedly stood for. I knew that we were right because we were the Star League, the very best and brightest humanity has ever known. And if we had to carry the torch of knowledge and reason in one hand, and the sword in the other... we'll, it was all for the Greater Good. Well, a fat lot of good we did in the end.

How many are dead because of the war? How many worlds blackened with ash and fallout? How much knowledge has been lost?

I once read that wisdom and knowledge are the greatest gift we can offer our children: a chance to learn from our mistakes and maybe avoid making them again. But I was so fixated on stopping Amaris, on my personal sense of honor, that I never once stopped to ask if I was doing the right thing.

No, no I don't regret fighting to end the reign of a madman, a tyrant, but there are times when I look back at all the things we did, and ask if the ends truly justified the means? If I truly had no other choice but to push as hard and relentlessly as I did? Some of the units under my command were just deviated, one taking 300% casualties. Do you understand what that means? Every single member of that division, volunteers all, as killed, replaced, killed again, replaced and killed for a third time. And they followed me because they thought that I knew what I was doing, that I had a plan.

And now... and now, I'm going to betray them all. I'm taking what is left on the army I once commanded, those still loyal to the ideals of the Star League with their families, and I am turning my back on the rest of humanity. I am an old man, and I am tired of war. Tired of all the killing and the pain. And, most of all, I'm tired of sending young men and women to their deaths for a course I no longer believe in.

The Star League, the dream so many tried so hard to make a reality, is dead. It died because, in the end, we are only human, and perhaps Utopia is forever beyond our reach. So I will take my army, my fleets, take the best and the brightest humanity has left to offer. I will simply walk away. Maybe, just maybe, in doing so I will rob the fire of at least some fuel.

If you are hearing this recording, then, well, I have no way of knowing if I succeed or not. I have no way of knowing if the flame of civilization still burns like a candle in the night or if it has been extinguished for good. I am no prophet, no fortune-teller. Right now, I am a tired old man who's had a little too much to drink, and has convinced his friend to hold a microphone.

So to you, whoever you are, I say this. We did our best... I did my best, but it was not a task we were up to. I only hope that, in our failure, we didn't damn you all.

This is General Aleksandr Kerensky, saying goodnight... and good luck.

The End

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