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The Bull and the Genie[]

Chapter 4 - Book III - The Clan Invasion[]

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The view from Taurus and Victoria[]


Briefing of the Protector[]

Office of the Protector, City of Samantha - Taurus, Taurian Concordat


"The attacks are part of an overall plan, Protector." Admiral Jamison was new to his position, but he didn't seem nervous. He gestured at the map of the Inner Sphere, red and yellow stars blazing.

"There were three phases here. The first was recon, and we don't know much about it, but from the second phase, they must have been scoping things out and establishing an extensive logistics base. The second was a series of major attacks on space and ground-based infrastructure strikes, mostly aimed at transportation nodes, mostly with warning. The third has been the invasion of a number of worlds."

"And the defending forces?"

"For the naval phase? If they were on the ground, largely left alone, if in space, smashed. Intelligence has divided the strike groups into two broad categories, the first are small fleets, usually centered on a battleship or battlecruiser hull, with extensive escort forces. The second is smaller, usually a couple of destroyers or frigates escorting what appears to be a Samarkand class carrier, attacking secondary systems. All of them have battery systems."

"And our anti-piracy forces?"

"Largely bypassed. General Thomas ordered his JumpShips to make their way home by uncharted systems. He is spreading his forces out, but for now the enemy seems content to let them remain… except for the naval contingent.

"Any news on survivors?"

"If there were any, they were picked up by these…Clans." The admiral shook his head. "I can't speak ill of Commodore Wilson. He used our doctrine for engaging capital ships with missile fire and it turned out to be… wrong. Our parasite warships were just big enough to be easy to target, small enough to destroy in a single volley, and…" he touched an image, and now the black box info that had been transmitted back during the disastrous fight was displayed.

<<"Break right, break right!">>

<<"Victorious is down! Repeat Vic—">>

<<"Engines are down, we cannot control…">>

The admiral shut down the audio.

"Our plans were based around late Succession War tactics—a single WarShip or a few with a light screening element. These guys are using the doctrine right out of the SLDF fleet manuals. Heavy Warships back where they can take advantage of their long range, DropShips forming a screen, and close in defense of small craft, with fighters launched just before combat so they have full tanks." He shook his head. "Wilson could have either been picked apart at range, or killed coming in, and maybe hurt them. He couldn't retreat, not after they took the JumpShips."

"But they're not invading. Not most worlds.", Edward asked

"No, sir."

Edward nodded. "Cut a nation off, destroy its navy and you're not fighting a nation, you're fighting individual worlds. Someone read the history of the Reunification War." He shook his head. "The Lyrans have requested as many parasite warships as we can spare. Can they help?"

"Against the big groups? Not without an overwhelming advantage, and I'd note that so far we've seen more capital ships than we have parasite ships."

"Nukes?"

"A political question, but as a professional…I'd prefer not to."

"Why? Even a warship can't stand up to very many."

"True, but that layered defense—it was designed to stop nukes back in the day. Not many will get through and us using nukes frees them to use nukes…and we can't be certain they'd stick to use in space."

"Put a pin in it until we can be certain they won't go into a frenzy?"

"Yes, sir."

"What can we use?" Edward asked

"I've got our people over in R&D working on it, but the simplest solution are warships of our own. There's two problems with that."

"We don't have any."

"Right. With the right aid, cutting every corner, and some of the notational designs we had kicking around in BUShips might be ready in a year or so."

"That fast?" Edward asked surpised.

"Cutting every corner includes using Dropship components. The SLN considered themselves swindled if a Warship needed a refit every fifty years. These ships will be lucky to make it ten years before they need a full refit."

"Um. Second problem?"

"That," the admiral pointed to the monitor. "Is a bunch of professionals. We don't have anyone skilled in WarShips, not ships that are going into combat. Not even Comstar. We're going to lose a lot learning by doing… Which brings us to a last question. Should we?"

"You've been listening to the news.", Edward asked the Admiral

"WE may not be enemies of the Inner Sphere, but allies?"

"We may not be allies of the Inner Sphere, but these are Kerensky's people, we've got the IDs on some of the hulls and half the communications talk about the Star League. We either fight them there, or we fight here, only with the entire Inner Sphere behind them."

"Yessir."

"Any final suggestions?"

"We need to refit every JumpShip we have with a battery system. That's more important than warships, in my mind. Right now, if the Clans find a JumpShips, they can kill it, unless it's lucky enough to have already recharged. We use ships with batteries, they can keep a charge and jump out. It's not great, but it saves our strategic mobility."

"I'll let them know."


War Front Briefing and Preparations[]

Victoria, Capellan Confederation - Police Zone


"Increase the range twenty percent in the sims," Mary said.

"But general, we're at their maximum reported range!"

Mary glared at the tech. "And they're going to let us see the best they can do?" She stalked off. Her old unit was stuck on the far side of sphere and…

"Here is the report from our people. Comstar is letting unofficial notes get through, but they're sitting on their neutrality."

"Good on them." Mary said. At least we can still get intelligence. She didn't know why the Clans weren't taking the HPG stations, but she'd take what she could get. "No artillery."

"They didn't need it."

"No, but they didn't even seem to have it along." Mary muttered. "But they do have those big-ass suits."

"Riding on BattleMechs, we never thought of that."

"No…" She frowned. "So they hit a few worlds with raids. Drop in, blow something up, and leave. I don't know why, they could have done it from orbit."

"Give their troops something to do?"

"Maybe." Mary stared at the tablet. "But the other systems. Somerset, Liezen… They're invasions, but with different unit symbology, different tactics…"

"And those worlds…"

"Aren't important. Oh, they are to the people, but they don't have anything vital on them."

"What do you think?", the Tech asked

Mary shook her head. "I don't know. Maybe they need R&R for their ground troops, or they're planning on using them as bases for future jump off points? Something for TMI. Look, I want preliminary plans on how to deal with those big-ass suits of theirs, coordinate with Big Mac, since he helped us with wargaming how to deal with our own suits. Also, since they don't seem to like artillery, I want you to beg, borrow or steal as much arty as we can get. They may have the range on us with direct fire, but hopefully artillery will be a different matter."

"Yes, General… do you think we're going to fight them?"

"I think that people who launch an invasion without any forewarning and are descended from the old Star League probably aren't going to be good neighbors…"


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