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Chapter 16 - The Broken Commonwealth[]

Battle in Review: Clan Jade Falcons[]

Jade Falcon Occupation Zone
April, 3146

Their opening move, was nuclear weapons.  By April 12, 3146, over a million tons of Jade Falcon logistical shipping was already destroyed in deep space interceptions, and added to that, the White Aerie, a Black Lion-class Battlecruiser.

The opening move was to use nuclear weapons.

"I am...impressed."  Malvina Hazen said, as the battlerom from the Alyina space battle concluded.  "They have to die, of course, to be punished for their presumption, but I am...deeply impressed.  We finally see Lyrans taking us seriously. Where have their forces landed?"

"Ovkhan, there have been no landings in the wake of these attacks."  the Ordun's loremaster stated.

"Not a single one?" she asked

"None." he answered

She was now more impressed.  The immediate meaning was clear. This was the opening gambit, the preparation for the offensive, not the offensive itself.

"They are going after our shipping." she said, "Our transportation, our ability to move and support our forces...and seeking to force us to invest in protecting our airspace against an enemy who moves from system to system seemingly at random, because they can not muster enough force in any location for a stand up fleet action."  she mused aloud, "We need to force them to face us in the battle they can not win."

The outcome was predictable, four to one, these attackers lost three ships, and the fourth barely escaped. In terms of attrition, of percentage of force, the loss of White Aerie would hurt, but..."We still have the advantage in numbers, quality, and experience." Malvina commented

Battle in Review: Kowloon Coast Guard[]

Spider Moon Naval Base
Kowloon Star System
April 12, 3146

" lost us three ships!!"  the Duchess was not pleased.

"They took down the White Aerie, mum."

"At the cost of three cutters, eighteen fighters, and two hundred and twenty five men!" she scowled, "A full quarter of our existing Squadron strength, for one tenth of their fleet, Commodore!"

She huffed and settled, "Standing order, write this down: Until further notice, all Coast Guard units on Commerce interdiction duty are to run the ****** away when the Falcons bring in a warship.  I don't care if you've got the drop on them!"

Overview: April 3146[]

Overview: Weapons are easy.

Out of 24 mothball ships, four were ready with only minor work, 8 more required major repair and refurbishment, and the remaining 12 were very close to needing a core-out rebuild.

It took 18 months apiece to build these when they were new, but that was with an experienced workforce. A full service shipyard manufacturing complex, and a training establishment capable of producing crew and commanders at a rate that could match production.

In other words, "Kowloon during the Quarantine Era".

This is Kowloon after the quarantine, after the Commonwealth government clamped down. After Archon Andrew Steiner concentrated all Commonwealth's shipbuilding resources at Gibbs for easier immediate control. It has been decades after the massive layoffs that eviscerated Kowloon's still toddling shipbuilding industry.

Weapons are relatively easy single-system products.  Building naval warships, even relatively primitive ones that don't require as much advanced industrial capacity as a major dropship yard, is a little more difficult, recruiting crews to man those ships, establishing the training infrastructure for their officers?

These are turning out to be exceptionally difficult tasks.

Aside from parade service, most of the LCN's remaining hulls are essentially 'green' crews aboard vessels that prior to the blackout, had seen little to no service.

After decades.  Those few warships remaining in the LCN, were prestige assignments for officer candidates in a Commonwealth military more focused on social standing and personal wealth. Rather than on things like military competence.

Aside from a few noble scions who still retained some martial spirit, most of the Commonwealth Naval officer corps know their way around a social function or dress ball, but are at best barely proficient at day-to-day operations shipboard. With no experience in warfare prior to the recent Free Worlds conflict and subsequent Clan Wolf invasion.

To her credit, Trillian Steiner-Davion isn't handing over the handful of competent commanders she does have to shepherd a force of what can be generously termed 'light commerce raiders'.

Not when there's the potential for a Jade Falcon wall of battle fleet to show up over Gibbs that not only outnumbers the remains of the Commonwealth fleet, but individually out guns and out experiences them.

Sharon Ngo's in the same position Elizabeth was in 3050-she has to build a military from the ground up with whatever she can lay hands on that hasn't already been grabbed by her sovereign for duty elsewhere.

However, she does have a slight advantage in that she can recruit from within her holding. She also has a population with many of the base skills available and willing to serve voluntarily.

This in turn, has an impact on the general 'look, sound, and feel' of the Kowloon Coast Guard.

Duty uniform is skinsuit with helmet at-hand, an overgarment is worn based on duty type or environment, but once you're in the suit, it's your uniform, this is a radical departure from Inner Sphere (or Clan) norms, and dovetails with the 'spacer habits' of running depressurized in combat zones or during an engagement.

Ceremonial, by necessity, has changed.  Regulations had to be written to limit practical jokes and hazing behaviors. Not to eliminate them, because that route already failed on day one, but limitations and formalization of specific types of hazing to create specific naval traditions for unit esprit and consistency.

Emotionally, there is a rift that will grow.  It's inevitable.  The LCN has repeatedly failed against the Jade Falcons. With defeat after defeat, failing to sink a single Falcon Warship.

The destruction of the White Aerie is public knowledge by the end of April, 3146. With it, comes a reputation for the Kowloonese being the LCN's 'Hard boys'-the ruthless pricks willing to do anything to win, and able to do so competently.

Duchess Sharon Ngo by May 1st, is already in a position to force through reforms with Her Majesty's backing onto the LCAF's Naval arm.

She just has to somehow manage to obtain enough ships and crew to make it stick...

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