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State of the Union (Chapter Cover)

Chapter 16[]

State of the Union[]

Loknar DQ, Addicks
Draconis March, Federated Commonwealth
3 April 3063


To be fair to Ardan Sortek, he didn't just make supplies available - although almost everything Clovis Holstein had asked for was available somewhere in the vast and mostly well documented warehouses of Loknar DQ - he'd also given access to intelligence reports from across the Inner Sphere. For the first time, Peter had an idea of how the war was going.

Virtually none of it was good news at this stage through. The Draconis March was far more interested in fighting the Draconis Combine than they were in dethroning Katrina - at least as long as she kept giving them supplies. The Capellan March was a quagmire with Duke Hasek notionally uncommitted to either side while task forces fought over key supply and command nodes, in his name, Victor's and Katrina's.

Across the Terran corridor Katrina's loyalists stood stronger except for a few cases. Victor's supporters on Arc Royal were pinned in place by Clan Jade Falcon just across the border and Katrina had had much longer to entrench herself. Victor himself had only just reached the Thirty-Ninth Avalon Hussars RCT on the far edge of the Lyran Alliance, who would hopefully form the core of his personal task force.

What drew Peter's eye though was New Avalon, the world of his birth and currently Katrina's capital.

There was no news so far that Katrina had moved against the First Davion Guards, but they'd been removed from the capital city itself to make room for the Third Robinson Rangers and the Tenth Deneb Light Cavalry. Adding in the New Avalon Crucis March Militia and subtracting the Davion Heavy Guards, who had been redeployed to Galax and left without jumpships to return to the capital and Bishop Sortek was outnumbered almost three to one.

"Ardan's right." Peter only realized he'd spoken out loud when Catherine sat up from the couch where she'd been lying.

"Usually right but never unsure." she told him. "About what?"

"Warships. Katrina has at least two near New Avalon and either could destroy Glowworm easily if we tried to land. She's just a freighter after all."

His sister nodded. "Subterfuge... or warships of our own."

Fox Class Corvette (in orbit from MW3 art revamped)

Fox-Class Corvette, FCS Intrepid

"Right now the best we can do is FCS Intrepid." Peter rubbed his chin. "Just a corvette, even assuming Ardan let her join us. Against cruisers, she'd be destroyed easily."

Catherine swiped at lock of hair that had fallen over her face. "There are cruisers at Delavan," she offered. "The yards there are rushing Hanse and Andrew to completion."

Avalon Cruiser (Fan Made - Artist Unknown)

Avalon-Class Cruiser

Peter sat back at the mention and then pulled up the reports from Delavan. He'd never been very involved in the warship side of the armed forces but he knew enough to read the reports and Catherine was right. There had been three Avalon-class cruisers under construction as of the end of the year. FCS Robert Davion had been rushed into action over Kathil by the Loyalists and been forced into the atmosphere by a ramming attack, destroyed with all hands. The other two, named for Peter's father and grandfather, were at Delavan and still being worked on.

"If we can't get to New Avalon before the summer's out she'll have doubled the cruisers guarding her." he concluded. "Wonderful."

Catherine pushed herself up off the couch and went to join him. "The pieces fit together. But we can build our own picture from them."

"What do you mean?" he asked her

She pulled up a map of the worlds around New Avalon. "To defeat her we need more ships," her finger touched Delavan. "And more soldiers." Galax, then moving her finger towards New Avalon. "A little energon and a lot of luck."

"What's energon?" he asked.

Cat stared at him, and then slumped forwards to lean on the table, pressing her knuckles against her forehead. "Stupid, stupid," she castigated herself.

He leant over and took her wrists, pulling her hands gently back from her face. "You're not stupid, Cat. I think you might have hit on something Ardan can go with. Let me think for a moment."

She sat back obediently and Peter pushed his own chair aside and paced back and forth. "Ardan won't move the Assault Guards and the Cadet Cadre away until either he has more forces here or he's sure the Fifth Lyran Guards aren't about to attack. The supplies here are too vital to leave unsecured."

Five paces across the room. "That leaves our unit, which is only a regiment on paper. Even if we can scrape together the Mechwarriors, we also need time to train them and get the 'Mechs ready. And the technicians and tools... Glowworm just isn't equipped."

"Would one more regiment make a difference on New Avalon?" she asked him.

Peter tipped his hand back and forth as he paced. "I don't know. We might, but we'd be awfully raw. Worst case we could be a liability, but add in another RCT - particularly an elite one like the Heavy Guards - and not only would the numbers be almost even, the caliber of the troops would swing the balance in Sortek's favor."

"So we need them." she commented

"Yes and they need jumpships..." He paused and darted for the noteputer on the table. "A Fox-class corvette like the Intrepid has dropship collars, what about the Avalon-class?"

The answer came up. They did. "If Ardan gives us the Intrepid, plus the cruisers, plus Bifrost... that's eighteen collars. Not enough for a full RCT but maybe half of it besides our..." Peter broke off. "We need a name for our regiment."

"Pride of the Federated Commonwealth."

He looked at her. "That's... a bit unwieldy."

Catherine held up her hand and raised her little finger. "Pride of Donegal." Ring finger. "Pride of Skye." Middle finger. "Pride of Tamar."

"Oh!" Peter slapped his forehead. "The Royal Guards!"

She nodded and raised her index finger. "Pride of the Lyran Commonwealth." And then her thumb. "Pride of the Federated Commonwealth."

"Fifth Royal Guards," he agreed. "It makes a statement. Okay then, so we take the warships and we've got near parity in warships and we've got the shipping to bring the Heavy Guards in. Taking the cruisers though... I'm not sure where we would begin."

A knock on the door interrupted them. Peter crossed to the door and opened it, then stepped back as he saw who was there. "Come in."

"Thank you." Ardan entered the room, glanced around and then smiled avuncularly at Catherine. "You're feeling better now, Cat?"

"It comes and it goes." She straightened. "And yourself?"

"Well enough." He turned and beckoned a much younger man into the room. "Do you remember my youngest, Conner?"

Peter couldn't help but chuckle as the young mechwarrior's jaw dropped at the sight of Catherine. "Welcome to the befuddlement," he assured Conner, slapping him on the shoulder. "No, we don't understand it either but Catherine is definitely my sister."

"Then who's on New Avalon."

"It's a very good question." his father agreed. "We'll find out, sooner or later."

"Sooner, rather than later." Peter said with a slight edge to his voice.

"Let's not argue about it now." Ardan made a gesture towards the door and Peter closed it obediently. "I'm actually here about your plan to form a new unit, which I do agree with."
"We've just chosen a name." Peter told him drily.

"An important first step." Ardan drily replied

"The Fifth Royal Guards." He paused for effect. "The Pride of the Federated Commonwealth."

The field marshal paused and then nodded. "I see. Yes, that's a good choice. It'll take some living up to though."

"I know." Peter shrugged. "And we have all of three mechwarriors right now."

"Two and a half. Maybe a third," Catherine corrected.

With a shrug he conceded the point.

"Well, I think I can help with that." Ardan glanced at his son. "Or rather, Conner may be able to."


The younger Sortek blinked. "Oh? Oh!" His eyes widened in understanding. "Would you be open to a volunteer?"

"Do you think General Sanchez and Colonel Vermillion can spare you?"

"I'm dispossessed right now." Conner admitted. "My Battle Hawk took a hit to the ammo bin and it's not fit for more than spare parts at the moment."

Ardan nodded. "There are about twenty mechwarriors who've had their mechs damaged or destroyed fighting here, drawn from the Assault Guards and the First NAIS. Normally we'd re-equip them from the DQ and put them back in the line but instead it seemed as if they might better serve by joining you."

"I'm not so foolish as to turn them away," Peter agreed with a smile. "Welcome aboard, Conner."

"It's an honor, sir."

Peter looked over at Ardan. "I was thinking I could look for volunteers among the soldiers of the Sixth FedCom and the local DMM."

"They already fought against us, Peter." Ardan shook his head. "How can we trust them to fight alongside us?"

Catherine shook her head. "One day the war will be over, Sir. And then we must rebuild that trust. Why not begin now?"

"She's right." Peter glanced at the other two. "Obviously there are some who're hardcore loyalists to Katrina but there are likely some who did nothing more than stick with their unit. Even if we can't get many mechwarriors, their technicians can hardly be accused of taking up arms against us."

"Some of them left booby traps before they surrendered." Conner told him sharply. "We've lost a dozen infantry to that sort of thing."

Peter hesitated and then shrugged. "Point taken and I'd have to be selective, but Clovis can't rebuild the 'Mechs on his own. Where else can I get the technicians? General Sanchez and Marshal Cooper wouldn't thank me for headhunting their support staff."

"It's a fair point." Ardan leant down over the table and looked at Peter's screen. "Looking at warships?"

"I've not really dealt with them before. Actually, not many people have. It does seem to me though, that we'd be much better off if we could prevent the ships under construction from falling into Katrina's hands." Ardan told Peter

"In principle, yes. But in practice, it's another case of too high a risk for us to take at this point."

Peter slammed one hand against his thigh. "If not now then when? She's sitting on media control, she's neutralized Hasek and Sandoval, she's got at least half the existing warships under captains loyal to her. We need to chip away at her position or she's simply going to be able to isolate our allies and destroy us piecemeal."

"Taking Addicks is just the first step." Ardan promised him. "Our next step is to secure Tikonov - that gives us a strategic position to support the fighting in the Capellan March and strike into the Crucis March. Not to mention giving us access to the factories -" He broke off as the comm on his belt chimed. "Excuse me."

Raising the comm to his ear he turned away. "This is Sortek."

There was a pause as he listened to the voice on the comm. His face grew set. "I see. I'll be there directly." Closing the channel he tucked the comm away. "Excuse me, I need to go down to the command center immediately."

"Bad news?" asked Peter. Don't let it be Bishop Sortek moving now! It's too early.

"I don't know yet." the old Field Marshal said, but his face marked him as lying.


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