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The Broken Commonwealth (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 11 - The Broken Commonwealth[]

Jump Point
Kowloon, Lyran Commonwealth
December, 3146

The arrival of a Mjolnir class Battlecruiser with a load of Overlord A3-Class DropShips isn't exactly something that happens all the time in the Kowloon system.

Tharkad Class Battlecruiser ( Mini by Phil Hays )

LCS Yggsdrasil, Mjolnir Class Battlecruiser

"...You're a long way from Hesperus II, Yggsdrasil, Over."  the tiny almost-warship at the jump point was almost a toy.

"We're exactly where we're supposed to be, Coastie."  Admiral Franz Kaurletter replied, "We're also flying a pennant."

"Understood.  we've got a traffic lane open to Boojum if you need a refuel, Over?" the Cutter commed to them.

"I have a VIP set to head for Nha Tranh, Coast Guard 2/12, I told you, we're running a pennant."

"I understand that, Admiral.  It's just that it's a two week haul at one gee to Kowloon this time of year, and you can get your Pennant to the Capital faster if you divert to Boojum and let her take the ferry, OVER."

"Just clear a ****** jump coordinate, Coastie." the admiral shouted

"Negative. standing down the defenses in a war zone is not something I have clearance to do, and you don't have clearance to demand, Over.  Now follow the gods-damned flight plan and stay in your corridor!"

"Wait." Trillian spoke up before things could degenerate further.  "Coast Guard 2/12, this is Archon Trillian Steiner, what is the problem? I aim to speak with your Duchess, and I aim to do so without wasting half a month getting there the slow way! Over?"

"Majesty, if you want to speak with the Duchess, she's at the Naval Station at Boojum Three, Ma'am. It'll save a lot of time and headache if you just follow the corridor, Ma'am." the commanding officer of Coast Guard 2/12 told the Archon

She turned to her Flag Captain, "There, sometimes you just have to ask why.  Follow the traffic instructions, Admiral."

"Aye ma'am... Coast Guard 2/12, can you provide nav com data?"

"Affirmative, LCAF Heavy Archon, but I'll give you one better.  We can give you a harbor pilot in about thirty minutes, if your Batteries are still warm, Over."

"Thirty minutes?" Admiral asked

"My relief, Admiral." Cutter CO responded

The Admiral looked to his Archon and cocked an eyebrow.

"We'll wait the half hour." Trillian instructed.

"Affirmative, Coast Guard." He said, "Yggsdrasil out."

Thirty minutes later, a second cutter arrived, and dispatched a dropship to link up to Yggsdrasil's external airlock 11.

The officer from the Coast Guard wore a uniform without nametapes, just a number, and didn't remove their helmet, their voice was modulated and anonymous, but whoever they were, offered standard courtesies, and returned salutes until reaching the Command deck of the Lyran cruiser, where he-or-she offered a salute.

"Harbor Pilot reporting, Admiral sir." the Coast Guard pilot told him

"Why are you still wearing your helmet?" asked the Admiral

"SOP sir...where's your nav board?" pilot asked

"SOP?" the Admiral asked the Kowloon pilot

"Shipboard and on-mission, Sir. It's easier to just leave it on than to keep finding places to put it in arm's reach.  I ought to be asking why you're risking crewmen and fires running shirtsleeves, but it's technically not a warzone yet, Sir."

Trillian detected something..feminine in the voice, as the 'harbor pilot' moved up to the nav board, and started examining the settings.

"What's your name...Lieutenant?" Trillian Steiner-Davion asked the pilot

"Lieutenant Commander, Mum." the pilot replied, "Service number is Sierra six one seven four November Three Golf we go...stand by for translation."

"Wait!! You di-" the Admiral barked.

Suddenly, giant warship lured into hyperspace....

/\/\/ dIScoNTiNUItY \/\/\

For a moment, Trillian was back on Tharkad, fighting to escape from a Jade Falcon ambush...

/\/\/ DiSCoNTinUItY \/\/\

"-dn't ask..." finished Lyran Admiral

The harbor pilot took her helmet off and pulled a sickness bag from a pocket. She then finishing venting her stomach into it in an action of complete indignity. Sharon Ngo raised her face from the vomitvac bag, and said, "Welcome to Kowloon, Your Majesty.  Someone said you wanted to see me?" then hurriedly slammed her face back into the airsickness confinement system and vomited again.

"Where are we?" asked Trillian

"Boojum orbit, the Ell One point between the gas giant and Spider Moon, Mum."  Sharon explained, "Not a bad point, kinda loose, guys keep too damn many safeties active on your drives!"

A junior officer offered the Duchess of Kowloon a cleaning wipe, which she used to clean her mouth gratefully.

"You input that manually, we have algorithms-" questioned the Admiral

"I don't trust foreign nav-coms, Admiral." Sharon said, "Especially don't trust them in my star system. Too many chances some dirtyfeet geek dropped a fraction or rounded off the wrong direction to meet a rushed contract."

She pulled a tabb out of another utility pocket, and chewed a bit of some medicinal gum that smelled like cinnamon.  "Archon...would you like to accompany me to the surface, Majesty?"

"Yes, that would be lovely...dear god, you've got TDS don't you?"

"Yeah...kind of a thing." Sharon said, then presented something to the Admiral, "Mind signing off my logbook? Otherwise Cu'ong is going to have my ass in a press over doing a live jump with only four qualification runs."

He took the logbook, and signed off on it with shaking hands.  "FOUR jumps?"

"Five now." she smiled at him, an expression that seemed even more discordant on a face like hers. "I'm doing my duty week a month early, so it's not 'your grace' up here, it's 'Lieutenant Commander', Sir."

"You have more cutters?" Trillian asked.

Sampan III Class Cutter - Full Thrust (Ngoverse)

Sampan Class Cutter

"Yeah." answered Sharon

"...and I assume you're arming them 'traditionally'?" asked Trillian

"Yes Majesty, I am." Sharon nodded again, "Right at the moment, we've got four operational with full loadouts. We're working up crews for the other eight and reconditioning warheads for the anti-shipping Torpedoes."

The Archon stood with her hostess in a refitted cavern on an airless moon, while staff and crew from the Kowloonese forces were moving like a hive disturbed around them.  "It's not a problem, is it?" Sharon asked.

"I can see several problems, actually." Trillian stated, "Beginning with your statements to General LaRue."

"LaRue was in Brewer's pocket, I don't give two shits what he thinks." Sharon stated, "For that matter, I don't give ONE shit what he thinks.  The ****** got his commission to attend white wine parties and nail interns.  ****** him.  I didn't expect you to show up personally."

"What DID you expect?" pressed Trillian

"Melissa 2.0." Sharon stated, "At best, I expected you to send an RCT with a real officer to 'explain' things-with or without the punitive raiding.  At worst, I expected to be cut off like-"

"I didn't have a choice, Duchess." Trillian told her

"I know." Sharon stated, "Not with your entire navy sitting in my star system.  I aim to fix that-if there's a Commonwealth left to fix it for."

"On your own?" asked Trillian

"Like I could see a choice?" the younger woman asked rhetorically.  "Look, Between your predecessors and the Clans, the Lyran Commonwealth looks like a barbell. With Tharkad sitting under two occupations, and a gods-damned son of Katherine is claiming to be doing your job. Meanwhile the LCAF looks a lot like it's been rotted out from the inside.  if nobody else is going to fix it, who will?"

Trillian glowered, "I'm working on that."

"Fair enough." Sharon replied, "I can have the first group of twelve Cutters ready by January, we've gotten the yards up to produce more, bottlenecks are logistics between here, and Tharkad, manpower issues, and the fact that the nation is being invaded. The Falcons already have a sizeable fleet, we need to shut that down, which means we need bigger hulls, and more of them, and we don't have the yards for either one-not with Gibbs right next door to and next strategic target for the invading Falcons."

"The Republic has offered aid-" Trillian began

"I wouldn't take it." Sharon said, "I wouldn't take aid from the Republic, Free Worlds League, or Federated Suns, and the Combine isn't going to offer.  We need to do it ourselves, Your Majesty.  We need to take the strategic initiative away from the invaders."

"You're suggesting attack?" Trillian asked

"It's the only way to win." Sharon stated.  "We need to strike first, from a direction they haven't anticipated, and hard, and then keep hitting...which we can't do with only twelve dinky cutters, two Foxes and a cruiser."

Fox Class Corvette (Underway - BattleTech Space Wars Mod)

Fox Class Corvette

"You're ignoring the ground forces in this equation of yours."

"Not really.  You can't stage a planetary invasion if you can't get the troops to the drop. None of us is stupid enough to emulate the Feddies except, well...the feddies.  I'm not ready to move yet, Highness-we don't have the ability to project enough forces to succeed yet, and you haven't given me leave to make the attempt yet."

"You're accepting my authority?" Trillian asked.

"Highness, you're here, Alaric didn't come." Sharon stated, "You're the Archon, because you bothered to show up for work, the other claimant didn't...and now? it is too late.  I'll swear it in public if you want...but I'm not going to sit here and just let the Commonwealth fall if I do, so you need to factor that into your thinking-if I swear in to you, you better do your damn job, Majesty."

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