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The Bull and the Genie
- Chapter 30 - First Shock

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Message heard around the Inner Sphere[]

Jump Point - Beta VII, Lyran Commonwealth

When a trader JumpShip arrived at Beta VII, the commander was surprised that there was no communication from the world. However, it soon became plain why, as a few mobile transmitters were picked up.

Upon hearing the news, the captain started hot charging his ship, while dispatching both Mule Cargo Ships to conduct relief operations. Transmissions were sent and recorded, both from the locals and the cobbled together transmitter the ComStar Adepts had managed to put together.

Images of a Potemkin and of the blazing energies of Heavy Naval PPC, obliterating the local militia forces when they attempted to fight the invaders, each one emblazoned with the mysterious wolverine symbol. Beyond that, little information was available, although some militia survivors claimed that the 'Mechs had advanced with uncanny speed.

When the Jumpship arrived at Blackjack with its message, it sent waves throughout the Inner Sphere.

First Circuit[]

Hilton's Head Comstar Compound - Terra

'"Do we have ANY information regarding this Warship or its symbols?"

"No, Primus," Precentor ROM shook his head.

"So," Tiepolo said. "A Warship." One of our nightmares.

"All the Potemkins were listed destroyed, at least those that did not leave with Kerensky or remained with us."

"Could it be, Kerensky?"

"No." The Naval Primus was a thin woman, in charge of managing Comstar's fleet. While it had not seen combat, she had spent all of her time drilling her forces, both in simulation and in deep space drills.

"You seem very confident," Myndo Waterly said. "grace us with your wisdom."

"A Potemkin is not a front line warship. It is a heavily armed transport cruiser, intended to prevent other warships from casually destroying the troop and cargo dropships it carries." She put her hands behind her back. "But like all Star League warships, they were intended to be used with other ships, and we have seen no other warships."

"Against Beta VII?" Waterly snorted.

"Yes, against Beta VII." Janice frowned. "Unless you wish to presume that they have precognition, there was always the chance that the garrison might have had nuclear weapons. Or that other dropships might have been there. A warship is powerful, but it is not invincible, and we, and the SLDF, had records where a squadron of fighters or single dropship were able to inflict crippling damage." She shook her head. "Unless you wish to assume that the descendants of the SLDF have forgotten literally everything they have learned…"

"Pirates, then?"

"Pirates could never maintain a ship!"

"Well, it makes more sense than a periphery planet just attacking random worlds!"

"Gentlemen and ladies," Tiepolo brought the group, both physically and virtually present, back under control. "It doesn't matter where it comes from, it matters what it will do. We know that Katrina Steiner has already ordered readiness checks on her strategic arsenal and ordered assault dropships and fighter carriers to collect at nodal points and vital systems. It will take some time, but…"

"Also, both the Free Worlds League and Draconis Combine are observing the movements." Precentor Rom nodded. "They have been assured that this is not aimed at them, but…"

"But it has been a long time since any state has trusted any other."

And worse, if nuclear weapons are used, and successful… Tiepolo was a historian. It had started that way in the First Succession War. No single great bombardment, just individual commanders using the tools they needed, slipping down into the abyss without even really noticing. Today, nuclear weapons were mostly seen as tools of monsters, for all that every state had an arsenal. An arsenal to use against someone else if they fired first, not an arsenal to be used first.

"First of all, we will notify Archon Steiner that all communications related to this Warship shall be transmitted with the highest priority, and for no charge. Ulthan, see to it."

"Yes, Sir." Precentor Tharkad said.

"Secondly, we will deploy enough mobile HPG stations to the region to ensure that the enemy cannot break the network by further atrocities against the Order."

"Shall we tell the Lyrans?"

"No, and if they should discover it, we will inform them that they were simply some remaining units from the SLDF that our Blessed Order cannot reproduce."

"What of our fleet?" Janice asked.

"If our goal is to prevent the wholesale rearmament of the Inner Sphere, I think showing off our warships would be a bad idea. No, worst case, its destruction by conventional or nuclear weapons can be spun as yet another reason why warships are obsolete. " He turned to two members of the First Circuit. "Finally, Precentor Atreus, Precentor Luthien, you will seek meetings with the rulers, and take whatever measures necessary to assure them that the Lyrans are not planning an assault under cover at this. If necessary, you are to waive any fees for communications they may want to make."

Several people hissed. "I know," Justin said. "We just finally got out from under our budget issues from last year, and now we're digging another hole for ourselves. As long as that warship is out there, our budgetary issues will have to take second place. I'm afraid that any redecoration projects for local complexes will have to be put on hold."

Nobody laughed.

Well, I'm Primus, and they aren't, which means they'll be hearing the complaints first hand.

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