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New Dawn in the Suns (Chapter Cover)

New Dawn in the Sun's - Chapter 2[]

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Reports of wayward Heir[]

Fox's Den
New Avalon, Federated Suns
November 18th, 3014

Hanse Davion was, as usual, working at his desk trying to keep the paperwork which seemed to breed there under control when a knock interrupted his Sisyphean task.

"Come in," Hanse was grateful for the interruption. Reviewing the ministry of agriculture's latest food production numbers was absolutely critical, no one after all wanted to responsible for a famine on one of their worlds, but boring beyond belief. The man who entered Hanse office was small and unassuming, brown hair just starting to grey around the edges, and an eminently forgettable face. The very picture of a fussy bureaucrat except for the fact he entered Hanse's domain alone, without aids to accompany him, a suitably subtle show of power.

"My Prince," Nicholas Truston gave a brief bow upon entering.

"Nicholas, what do you have for me? More of Michael's people?"

"No, though you can expect my report by the end of the year on what we are doing to redress the issues in my ministry." Nicholas stated blandly. "An issue has come up."

"Very well," Hanse waved Nicholas into one of the two seats which faced his desk. "What do you have for me?"

"Recently the heir of the Taurian Concordat disappeared for at least half a year, as Thomas Calderon is hardly our most fervent admirer, we were somewhat alarmed by this." Nicholas's voice was measured and precise. "Given the recent shake ups in the Capellan march we had thought that we had just lost track of him, or that the analysts who were tasked with watching the Concordat had been diverted to other tasks. The Taurian section isn't the most respectable, and they are also based out of the Capellan march, but critical failures such as this are not in any way acceptable."

"I trust that the errors are in the process of being rectified?" Hanse asked, his voice low and dangerous. It seemed that Michael was playing games again, only this time with foreign actors. "And where did the wayward heir turn up?"

"I have a team of Rabid Foxes on their way to New Syrtis as we speak." Hanse perked up as he heard that. Dispatching a team from BII or CID would make sense, but MI6? That indicated something much more serious than the reports indicated at first blush. Nicholas wasn't one to panic, and him reaching for the rabid foxes for an internal issue indicated that something was deeply wrong. "As for where Thomas was found… He recently resurfaced in the Brockton system of all places."

"Brockton… Brockton…" Hanse pursed his lips as he considered where the system was. He tensed as it hit his memory, it was deep in the Crucis March almost on the border with the Periphery. More importantly the system had a reputation. "I presume that you have a team headed for Brockton as well?"

"We have teams there at the moment, BII, CID, and MI7 a team from Covert Ops as well, probably some stealthy foxes but DMI wouldn't tell me if there were unless there was a pressing need."

"The heir to the Taurian Concordat, who is known for his dislike of us, shows up on a world which is infamous for its involvement in Bioweapons, and you don't feel a pressing need to push DMI?"

"The plague dogs, or storm crows as they were known on Brockton, were a medical and containment unit despite their reputation. Brockton wasn't ever one of our hubs for weapons research, even when they had the alliance college and its full database available." Nicholas derailed the first prince neatly. For all Hanses known intelligence one man couldn't keep every fact about the realm in his memory, although he did try. It was Nicholas's job to give him the information that he needed to make a correct decision, and to correct him when he was misinformed. "Given the unfortunate loss of said facility during the second war…"

"So, Thomas isn't looking to reopen Pandora's Box on us," Hanse frowned. "I will admit that I cannot think of another reason for him to show up there. The Far lookers use Star League derived terraforming tech, much more advanced than anything you could find in even an intact Alliance database. The Taurians also don't use MilitiaMechs, they don't have the budget for them even if I think they would be useful. What do we know?"

"Brockton is one of the outback's more successful civilian manufacturing centers, they specialize in agricultural industrial mechs, low levels of obsolete civilian dropship production, and have one of our few jump ship rated refit yards. In terms of military production, they are best known for their copies of the Patron industrial mech, but they also produce several militia grade mechs, they also have the last known production site for the Lion class dropship, and are known regionally to be one of the higher quality factory level refit facilities, in which they put together a handful of 'mechs a year that are front line quality. All of this industrial activity is overshadowed by their agricultural contributions, especially their continued efforts to produce seeds tailored for various worlds. At last estimate sixty percent of their planetary GDP is provided by the agricultural sector." Nicholas listed off the pertinent information on the system easily, having just reviewed it before coming here. "More pertinently, intentions at least thinks, they retain the ability to manufacture heavy equipment to at least Terran Alliance standards possibly higher."

"So, Thomas wants some equipment?" Hanse had to raise an eyebrow at that. "That sounds like something we can deal with through CID?"

"It should be, and would be, if their military manufacturing sector hadn't been gutted by direct order of Michael Davion in his efforts to assist Corean in rebuilding under his Peace of Money movement… Since then, the Brockton family has been reluctant to cooperate with New Avalon on anything industrial. In fact, they have actively downplayed their manufacturing capabilities, to the point where they are not a listed supplier of the AFFS." Hanse restrained his wince at the mention of that project. He thought that it had been a good idea, an attempt to pacify one border and possibly build a coalition which could have ended the Succession Wars through diplomacy. Unfortunately, it had not worked, or been a popular idea, especially at home, and the resentment that it had generated was alive and well in the nobility to this day.

"Additionally," Nicholas continued ignorant of his Prince's thoughts on the situation. "The Brockton family has been building influence along the periphery border for a long time, quietly for the most part, but since the end of the Mechwarriors Cabal and your fathers ascension to the throne they have been a bit less circumspect. Duke Andrew Brockton was instrumental in brokering the deal between Jalastar Aerospace and the Basantapur subsidiary of Trevlu Mechworks that set up Ajeet Aerospace to produce the Centurion light fighter and allowed Jalastar to buy out Challenge Systems. Something we have benefited from as Jalastar managed to get at least one of the Jumpship lines the Capellans wrecked in 2796 working, although they can only manufacture Liberty II class Jumpships…"

"Didn't Ajeet manage to start production of another design last year? A heavy fighter if I remember correctly?"

Vulcan Heavy Aerospace Fighter (underattack by meltdonw14)

Vulcan Heavy Aerospace Fighter in combat.

"You do, one model in production with another in testing. The Vulcan, a former Rim Worlds Aerospace Fighter."

"I'm surprised they were that daring, Rim Worlds Republic equipment still has a reputation even after all this time. That and I'm curious just how they found the plans for something like that."

"As an interesting side note the Brockton family owns a forty percent stake in Ajeet Aerospace, despite not having put a single pound into the deal."

"Ah…" Hanse paused to consider the long-ago treason against the Star League, which the Brockton family must have been involved in up to their necks. "I think I need more information about the family."

"They own about two thirds of Trevlu Mechworks, despite the facility on Brockton being the smallest and least productive of that companies' production sites. Unlike the Basantapur, Tsamma, or Filtvelt...Brockton only produces medium mechs. The flipside to this is that the Brockton division of Trevlu does produce all up Battlemechs. Although at a low rate of production made possible by importing components, as opposed to the other locations which only produce militia grade machines."

"I am familiar with Trevlu's products…" Hanse had taken the time to actually test out a Trevlu Battleaxe and had found it to be a very able machine for its limits. Not the hardest hitting thing out there, but well able to serve as an anvil to more capable machines especially against pirates and the like. Despite its outdated equipment it was comparable to a Marik made Warhammer, if not quite as capable. "I thought that Trevlu had their corporate headquarters on Basantapur? Didn't they start out as a joint venture between Islamabad defense zone command and Basantapur Fine Metals? One of that companies few successful ventures if my economics professors didn't completely fail me."

"Good memory, my Prince," Nicholas acknowledged Hanse's point before continuing to explain. "That partnership was the genesis of the idea, but without machine tooling it was one of the many failed attempts to create a MilitiaMech producer around the end of the second succession war. It was thought to be yet another boondoggle and a subsidy capture attempt by Basantapur Fine Metals. MIIO had opened an investigation into local corruption within the Islamabad defense zone. The Brocktons came to their rescue before any indictments were handed down. They had excess capacity in their industrialmech lines, and were willing to part with it. They contributed machine tooling and plans for the original Icarus, Whitworth, and Swordsman as their buy in to the venture. As Trevlu expanded they have continued to supply the industrial equipment needed in exchange for a percentage of each site's ownership. Between their share of the licenses that Trevlu holds, something they were very careful to keep legally theirs, and their other contributions the family as a whole has come into a lot of stock. Especially given that the Filtvelt nobility had little more to contribute then the land the factories were built on."

Whitworth BattleMech (blender battletech by pickledtezcat)

Whitworth Medium 'Mech

"What percentage of each factory do they own? And why is this the first time I'm hearing about the Brockton family if they have that much control over one of our MilitiaMech manufacturers."

"Thirty percent of the Basantapur facility, Basantapur Fine Metals has actively worked to reduce the families influence there, and they lobbied hard to keep the corporate headquarters on world backed up by Islamabad command with substantial subsidies from the Garg family. Sixty percent of Tsamma, which used to be lower until there was an attack on that facility and the Sandoval's pulled out under pressure from Corean. Brockton is theirs, no questions asked, and they have around an eighty percent stake in the Filtvelt facility." Nicholas had to check his notes to remind himself of the percentages, and even then, he could only give approximations. Some of the stocks were in holding companies, which MIIO hadn't completely untangled the ownership of. "As for why this is the first your hearing of this? The Brockton family has been low key in their ownership. Unless you go deep into the financial side of things you would think that all facilities were locally owned, in partnership with Trevlu Basantapur. On the surface Trevlu looks like it's a Garg family business, one they used their position as planetary Dukes to push into, especially after they successfully replaced the CEO fifteen years ago. With the exception of the Brockton subsidiary the Brockton family doesn't exert its influence, preferring to leave the business side of things to the professional's."

"Garg's? That's a name I haven't heard since my last history lecture." Hanse mused aloud. That family had provided the Maharaja who had brought the old United Hindu Collective into the Federated Suns. The family had ended up being elevated to the nobility, but mostly been quiet since then. Still, it was a very well-respected name in that part of space, and they had long cultivated a reputation as canny thinkers. Which very well could explain why the Brocktons were willing to let them take the lead. Then again most noble families wouldn't be willing to let others have the acclaim. "I think I'm going to need more about the Brockton family then you've given me Nicholas. They're a little too different then what I'm used to."

"Very well, getting back to the family. They maintain that one of their ambassadors signed the Crucis Pact despite very little supporting evidence for their claim and the distance between the founding members of the Pact and the Brockton system. The family has always put its scions into service with the AFFS, even when it was the Federal Peacekeeping Force, although they rarely rise beyond company command. Louis Brockton served Elias Pitcairn as a company commander throughout the Reunification War, before retiring to Brockton to spend the rest of his life memorializing the crimes of the Star League and attempting to assassinate Amos Furlough. Despite not having any heirs Louis's experience led the entire family to forgo taking service with the SLDF. During the first and second succession wars the family created and led our premier bio and chemical weapons containment unit, although their enthusiasm flagged after the money for peace initiative gutted their family holdings to rebuild Corean's New Avalon factory. The family has kept out of politics, preferring to grow their influence through economic means, something they have been very successful at especially in the outback region. They have connections to Robinson through their development efforts on Tsamma, but their influence is limited there. Almost no connections in the Capellan March though they are known to have connections to both the Outworlds Alliance and the Taurian Concordat. There are persistent rumors that they can get Magistracy derived hardware on demand as well, but those are unconfirmed."

"Which makes it a political problem…" Hanse drummed his fingers on his desk. "What did they make? Before their industrial base was gutted, I mean."

"Officially? Locusts right up until the middle of the First Succession War then Icarus IIs, Whitworths, Swordsmen, RFL-2D Riflemen, and Talos all of which had a remarkable similarity to the models the secret army deployed against the SLDF during the New Vandenburg Uprising."

Locust (Unseen version in field)

Locust Light 'Mech

Hanse had to think for a moment before he recognized all of the models listed. Most of them used the same LTV-160 engine as the Locust, and were still relatively common. The Swordsman wasn't popular, despite having found a foothold in the periphery after the fall of the Star League, but the Icarus II and the Whitworth were popular with the lower order nobility of the Suns. Especially in the outback, where their low price point compared to their utility made them an affordable substitute for the more substantial, and expensive Dervish, Centurion, and Enforcer Battlemechs. Coreans rebuilding on New Avalon had been highly dependent on their Icarus II and Whitworth production. While their Valkyrie factory had kept the company afloat, the rebuilding of the Centurion lines had been financed through the sale of Whitworths and Icarus IIs. Given those machines prominent place in the history of the Suns, Hanse knew them intimately. The Talos and Rifleman -2D took him a moment to place though.

Both were fifty-ton designs, the Talos having been a Taurian's Age of War design which had seemingly been revived for the New Vandenburg uprising. By reputation it was comparable to the Enforcer and Centurion in combat power, though less well regarded. Still, it was a solid generalist trooper, if a bit more ammo dependent then anyone really liked. If he was remembering correctly, it also had a primitive electric distribution system which couldn't meet the demands of energy weapons, and its computers were legendarily barely fit for purpose which explained why it had gone out of production again. Though supposedly the TDF kept a company of the mechs in Samantha for ceremonial duties. The Rifleman on the other hand, it was a slightly beefier Blackjack, five tons heavier and fitted with heavier autocannons to back up a quartet of medium lasers. Again respectable, but not really a front-line machine. More importantly they both used the same Nissan 200 engine as the Centurion.

"So that's where Corean got their tooling after the loss of Ramen II…" Hanse could see why the decision had been made, after all the Centurion was one of the mainstays of the AFFS BattleMech core. He did wonder if Corean had been just a little bit liberal in their reclamation efforts, as before the second succession war they hadn't had a license to build the Whitworth. That thought made him grimace, it did present him with a problem. The Brockton's would be highly resistant to any interference in their industry by the First Prince, and despite the cloud under which they lived having them scream to everyone in reach that the First Prince was robbing them again would represent a major political problem, especially their Robinson connections. He already had one march lord who was two thirds of the way off the reservation, he didn't need to alienate the Sandoval's as well as his brother-in-law. "Thorny problem… Suggestions?"

"Harry Brockton is currently serving with the Heavy Guards, but he's coming up to the end of his enlistment term and has indicated that he intends to return home. Perhaps…" Nicholas pursed his lips as he thought about the political issues and tried to think of who would be appropriate to use both in terms of stature and Hanse's trust. "Ran Felsner to escort him?"

Hanse considered that for a moment and then reached for his phone and pushed a few buttons.

"Jeremy? Get ahold of Ran and Ardan, ask them if they can stop by for dinner tonight. No nothing urgent but I do have a few ideas I need to kick around and I would like their input if they are available, or can make the time. Thank you." Hanse put down the receiver and nodded, clearly having made a decision. "Between the two of them I'll bet they can uncover what is going on without any issues."

Author's Chapter Notes[]

Word from the Author
Here we have the second chapter and an outside look. One point of cannon divergence that I do need to point out is the destruction of Challenge Systems, which in cannon makes no sense. Panpour is located across the entire Fed Suns from the Draconic Combine, and when the raid occurred the Combine was conquering the Suns at a rate that made them seem unstoppable. It makes much more sense for the destruction to have been carried out by the Capellans, who were both closer and had good reason to deny the victorious looking DCMS the economic resources of the Suns. I know that the powers that be like to make the Suns the DCMS's punching bag at every opportunity but come on, the cannon raid makes no logical sense. Therefore in this AU the CCN got a chance to shine against the FSN.

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