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The Highlander Way (Chapter Cover Art)

Prologue – The Highlander Way[]


There was a time when the Northwind Highlanders were one of the Inner Spheres Elite Mercenary Units, before being commissioned as a Front Line Unit for Devlin Stone fight against The Word of Blake. Years before the Word of Blake Jihad and shortly after the Northwind Highlanders ended their contract with the Capellan Confederation, the Highlanders secured a new contract fighting for House Davion.

But with the promise of once again having their Homeworld of Northwind back in their control as part of the agreement. There was a division among the Highlanders over the new contract. Those who would accept Hanse Davions generosity… And those who would not…

This is a story about the descendants of those who did not. Many years have passed since the “Division“ as the Northwind Highlanders refer to it. Many things had changed during those years; The FedCom Civil War, The last push against the Clans, and the Word of Blake Jihad.

There was a time when the Northwind Highlanders had fought against their former brethren during the FedCom Civil War. Some of the former Northwind Highlanders had participated in raids into Clan occupied space as contingents from the Skye Regulars.

Briefly during the Word of Blake Jihad, there were some former Northwind Highlanders and descendents of former Northwind Highlanders who returned to their former Homeworld. Heeding the call from Northwind to fight against the tyranny of the Word of Blake.

Dannaigh Mackay and Caelan MacDonnagh both heeded that call and participated in the great conflict known as the Word of Blake Jihad. Although both men were very young at the time… about Twenty or so.

Dannaigh Mackay was a newly commissioned Leftenant and Caelan MacDonnagh was a newly promoted Sergeant, and both were accomplished MechWarriors. Caelan had been offered an Officers Commission many times in his career, which he vehemently refused each time. “I’m’ not ahficer material, I’m just a simple sauldier." he would say. "Hell I have no use fer ahficers m’ self so why wauld I be oone?” Would be his response whenever the subject ever came up.

When the Jihad had been quelled and Devlin Stone began the reformation of the Inner Sphere to what is known today as the Republic of the Sphere, both Dannaigh and Caelin returned to their home on Skye.

Then Skye was annexed as part of the Republic, Dannaigh and Caelin decided they did not want any part of Stones Plan. As far as they were concerned Stone was just another Dictator but with a velvet glove over a steel fist. They decided to join others who would head out to Lyran space for a planet known as “Caledonia” and re-start their lives. Dannaigh Mackay served many years in the Caledonian Militia. Eventually becoming the Commander of all Militia Forces for the planet Caledonia and, Caelin MacDonnagh at his side became his Sergeants Major.

Once again the call from Northwind comes. For those who wish to fight against the chaos and tyranny that is spreading throughout the Republic. With the Hyperpulse communications down everywhere it certainly won’t be long before Chaos reaches “Caledonia” too. Especially since “Caledonia” has something that everyone will be wanting very soon!

A working Hyperpulse Generator...


The Citadel
City of New Edinborough, Caledonia
Lyran Commonwealth
March, 5, 3132; Local Spring, Early Summer.

It is a particularly hot day for the month of March, and the periodic high winds of March have been stronger of late. Especially for New Edinborough. General Mackay stood looking out of the PlexiPanel glass of his office at the Citadel when a miniature tornado of a dust devil formed, then moved through the parade grounds on the North end of the field. It picked up loose debris, and sent it spiraling it up into the top of the funnel, then sending it in hundreds of different directions.

A loud double knock on his office door broke his transfixation of the dust devil. “Enter!” He barked loudly.

A young Leftenant entered the room and stopped two feet from the Generals desk and stood stiffly at attention. “Sir, a message from Countess Tara Campbell of Northwind has recently arrived by Jumpship Sir!”

General Mackay took the package from the Leftenant and dismissed him with a simple wave of his hand in the general direction of his forehead. Opening the package, he found a data disc and several hard copy letters inside. He inserted the data disc into his computer and retrieved the encrypted video message it contained.

The computer screen flared to life with the image of Countess Tara Campbell. The image only showed her from the shoulders up, but anyone looking could tell that she was wearing the military uniform of the Northwind Highlanders. Her reddish-brown hair was tied up into a military style bun. Even in the uniform the Countess was still very attractive looking.

============================================================================== “Countess Tara Campbell of Northwind
Acting Prefect of Prefecture III,
Republic of the Sphere.”
Appeared below the animated image of the Countess of Northwind.

“Greetings fellow Highlanders,” She began.

“I realize that it has been many years since the Division, and I recognize, as well as acknowledge the history of those brave, former Northwind Highlanders who’ve heeded the call to arms against the Word of Blake so many years ago.

As you may or may not know, the Hyperpulse Network has been brought down throughout the Republic and in some areas outside of the Sphere. No communication is possible through conventional means for many, including us. That is why I have sent this message, via Jumpship Command Circuit to you.

I realize that what is happening within the Republic is none of your concern, as you live outside it. However, I would be remiss of our heritage if I did not call upon all of our brethren… Those descendants who share a valiant, and glorious history with Northwind, to join us in our fight. My… No… OUR Homeworld is under threat of attack by those who would usurp, or overstep the authority of the Republic.

They do this by creating factions that declare allegiance to a particular House, or Clan rather to the Republic. I know that many of you on Caledonia, and elsewhere did not share Devlin Stones vision, and that is why you chose to re-start your lives outside of the Republic.

But I beseech you… As descendants of the Great Northwind Highlanders, those who’ve shed blood together, and against each other. I ask that you put aside our troubled past, and join us! Join us against the Chaos and Tyranny that will surly beset us all if we just sit idly by and do nothing to stop it!

How would all this affect me directly, or in our future?' You probably ask yourself. It very well may not affect you directly… At first. But eventually it would! Think of how things might be today if, 'The Word of Blake' were to have been successful in their Jihad, so many years ago?

Would you be enjoying the same way of peaceful life today? Who knows what terrible things would have happened to the remaining great Houses and your families if that were to have happened? All you have to do is look at what has befallen the once great House Marik! As a result of the strong Word of Blake influence there, House Marik is now but a long cast shadow of its former Glory!

Imagine if that happened all across the Inner Sphere! Or worst yet… If the Clans may have seen this as an opportunity to renew their invasion of Terra!

As this message reaches you now, there is a defected Prefect who is aligned himself with Clan Wolf and has called his band of cutthroats the “Steel Wolves”, and they are calling all the Clans to his banner to invade Terra anew! Just as the Crusaders of old have!

Can you not now see how this will affect you? I ask that you join us now so that we can head off the Chaos that is sure to come, and restore order so that all may live in peace in the years to come. No matter where you or your family may live.

I close with this. I will personally guarantee that all descendants of Northwind Highlanders who have a proven record or service within any Militia, or House Line unit that report to Northwind, who can produce evidence of their Military Record of Service to same, will be granted admission at one rank grade higher than they currently or previously held within their prior units… With certain provisos however."

==============================================================================

General Mackay silenced the rest of the transmission since it went into more detail about what a potential recruit would receive as compensation. Mackay rubbed the beard on his chin contemplating the ramifications of this communication. At the end of the transmission the still image of the countess stared back at him. He backed up the vid to a certain point, then started it again.

The Countess continued.

==============================================================================


“I make this offer to hopefully entice those who desire more for themselves, and are willing to fight for it.

I thank you for allowing me to plead our case to you. I look forward to your response regardless of your decision. I bid you farewell and good wishes.”


==============================================================================


The Image of the Countess of Northwind froze upon the completion of the message again.

General Mackay closed the message file and put both elbows on the desk top and cradled his forehead in his hands, then slowly massaged his temples. “Well… Countess… You are offering an interesting proposition as-well-as make a very good case for joining you. But the real question is... How the men in my unit take this bit o' news” Mackay stabbed at an intercom button. “Leftenant… Could you come in here please.”

“Aye sir” came the disembodied response from the intercom speaker.

Within seconds the Leftenant was standing at attention in front of General Mackays desk.

General Mackay looked as old and tired as he felt. “Leftenant, advise all Unit Commanders there will be an Emergency meeting here tomorrow at 1500 hrs. And Leftenant?…”

“Aye sir?”

“Advise them also that I said ‘Don’t be late!’ This is too important!”

“Aye Sir!”

General Mackay picked up the papers that accompanied the video disk. The papers included liaison contact information, and rank pay scales, and all the legalize that went with it..

“Buggers!" he exclaimed. "The Republic must have some very deep pockets if Northwind is willing to pay this well.” Mackay mused to himself.

“We will know soon enough if we accept the Countess offer… Or not!” Mackay said to the empty office.


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