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Fighting Uphill (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 6 - Fighting Uphill[]

* Max Info *[]

Meeting with the Chanceller[]

16th May, 3009
Forbidden City, Sian
Capellan Confederation

"Ah, Colonel Wolf! Welcome to Sian!" Maximilian Liao, Chancellor and supreme leader of the Capellan Confederation greeted with a cheerfully friendly tone that immediately made Jaime suspicious and wary. "What do you think of my humble home?"

The Chancellor's"humble home" was a sprawling palace covering hundreds of acres, incorporated fortified bunkers that served as hangars for mech and aerospace fighter forces, had its own private Dropport, and was all disguised under the most ornate and ostentatious decorations that Jaime Wolf had ever seen in person. Although if public media was to be believed, the other House Lords had similarly fancy homes. For that matter, quite a few holy structures back home on Strana Mechty didn't stint on elaborate decoration and ornate architecture either.

Which probably meant that Maximilian didn't think Jaime was really mercenary. Dammit.
"It, um, it is very pretty Jaime replied. Client relations was Joshua's job, but for this first meeting, Jaime had to be here. "The architect must have been a very talented artist"

"Indeed, she was" Maximilian agreed gaily. "So sad about the accident that took her and her entire family from us early" he added sadly. But then Maximilian cheered up almost immediately, draped an arm across Jaime's shoulders like they were old friends, and began steering him towards the palace interior. "But come, we are not here to talk about the tragic past, but the bright and glorious future" Max told Jaime. "A future where we will be the best of friends and allies and your Dragoons will make the Capellan Confederation the supreme power in the Inner Sphere"

Maximilian had been painted by Davion propaganda as some mad tyrant, a man who was both a monster to the people he ruled and incompetent enough to make the Federated Suns' conquest of the Capellan Confederation an inevitability. Jaime wasn't sure he believed the Davions, but the fact that the Capellan Confederation was the smallest of the Successor States and controlled far less territory now than they had when Kerensky had left the Inner Sphere certainly suggested that the Capellans had suffered from a long string of bad leadership.

"Your Chancellorship, as much as I may hate to admit it, I think you might be overestimating our abilities" Jaime replied carefully. "Yes, we are the best warriors in the Inner Sphere, but there's only five regiments of us and we're only on a five year contract with the Confederation. I can win battles for you, but giving you total military supremacy in less than five years might be beyond our capabilities"

"Ah, honesty, so refreshing" Maximilian said, not at all put off by Jaime's denial. In fact, he seemed to have expected it. "Of course, you are but a simple mercenary, and not scouting out the Inner Sphere for Kerensky's Army so that they can return and restore the Star League, yes? And you certainly can't put in a good word with said Army for your good friend Maximilian, who will of course treat you and your Dragoons with the utmost honor and respect because again, you are but a simple mercenary."

"Aff, that about summarizes it" Jaime confirmed. Was every other House Lord going to react this way? Were they all going to try to curry favor in hopes of securing an alliance with the Clans? Not that Maximilian knew about the Clans, but otherwise, his analysis wasn't far off.

"Ah, that is too bad" Maximilian said lightly, clearly not believing Jaime. As they entered the palace, Maximilian steered Jaime not to the throne room, but to a smaller briefing room off the entrance foyer. "Still, I imagine having the friendship of the best mercenaries in the Inner Sphere is no small thing" Maximilian released Jaime's shoulder and took his throne at the head of the briefing room's broad table. "Tell me, Colonel Wolf, if you had to choose between all the money and titles in the galaxy and glory on the battlefield, which would you choose?"

"Glory on the battlefield" Jaime replied instantly.

"That is exactly what I wanted to hear!" Maximilian laughed, the first genuinely honest thing that Jaime had heard him say. And I shall give you all the opportunity for glory that you desire and perhaps more" He hesitated. "Ah, Colonel, are you still standing firm on your contract clause about not fighting previous employers?"

"Yes, your Chancellorship, I am" Jaime said firmly. "If I allowed my Dragoons to be sent against my previous employer immediately after being hired by my current employer, it would look too much like betrayal and treachery to everyone in the Inner Sphere"

"Of course, of course, I understand" Maximilian said softly, nodding thoughtfully. "Well, Colonel, it seems that due to the actions of some perfidious, Davion-hired mercenaries that I shall not name, my coreward border with the Federated Suns has been somewhat destabilized. Units that I had intended to use elsewhere have been redeployed to shore up that region. But by some joyous blessing from Heaven, you and your Dragoons have wisely chosen to offer your services to the Capellan Confederation!"

"The Dragoons are at your service, Chancellor" Jaime acknowledged. "What would you have us do?"

Mission Briefing - Free Worlds League Assignment[]

17th March, 3010
Warship Athena, Sian Orbit
Capellan Confederation

"We are going to the Free Worlds League." Jaime informed everyone.

"That is hardly a surprise given that our contract says we cannot be used against the Federated Suns." observed Colonel Jeremy Ellman, CO of Beta Regiment. "But Jaime, is this not premature? We do not even know where we will be setting up base yet."

"Actually, Jeremy, our base is in the Free Worlds League." Jaime told him. "You have all heard about the ongoing civil war in the Free Worlds League, quiaff?"

There were general murmurs of agreement. Yes, the Dragoons had heard about the Free Worlds League's civil war, but there was a lot of contradictory information about it, and all the Dragoons' contacts in the Federated Suns could seem to agree on was the civil war was"situation normal" for the League.

"Then here is the truth as far as our new employer is concerned." Jaime continued. "The Free Worlds League is currently split up into a four way civil war that has been going on for the past ten years. Each faction is led by an individual that claims to be the rightful Captain-General, and each one is backed by a different Successor State"

"What?" said a surprised Colonel Wilhelmina Korsht, leader of Gamma Regiment. "Even the Federated Suns?"

"Aff, even the Federated Suns." Jaime confirmed. "And for that matter, yes to the Draconis Combine too even though neither Successor State even shares a border with the Free World's League. Everyone is not only lending supplies and weapons to their chosen faction, but they are also sending in mercenaries and House troops as well. The general logic seems to be that whoever can put their candidate on the Captain-General's throne will automatically have the Free World's League added to their power base, and the combined Successor States will have enough power to overwhelm the remaining ones and win the Succession Wars. If you were all wondering why the Davions never provided us with ground or aerospace support, the primary reason was because they were all going to support House Davion's pick for the Captain-General."

"So we are joining in the fun?" mused Colonel Sarah Weisz, commander of Delta Regiment. "I hope the Capellans remember that we're not supposed to be used against Davion forces. But what if the Davions attack us?"

"Then we defend ourselves." Jaime said firmly. "I made that clear to the Chancellor"

"Jaime, you do realize that is just asking the Capellans to try to lure Davion forces over to wherever we Dragoons happen to be, right?" Joshua asked.

"Yes, I do, Joshua, but that is a risk I feel we have to take." Jaime replied.

"So, where exactly are we basing out of?" Jeremy asked."And who are we supposed to be supporting?"

"All of House Liao's forces are based on Oriente, the capital of the Duchy of Oriente and a major industrial hub." Jaime answered. "We will be joining them and supporting Duncan Marik."

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