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History - The Outer Colonies Region[]

Extracts from: A concise history of the Outer Colonies region of the Star League
by Dr Douglas Fitzpatrick, Ph.D.
(Port Stanley Free Press, 3046)

Democracy may be only a few steps removed from anarchy, but at least it's not as loud...
Chairman The Right Honourable Peter C. Clemence, inauguration speech, 3040

The Founding Of Tragedy & Triumph[]

The worlds we know of today as the Outer Colonies had a rather troubled birth. What records we have of those early days seem to indicate that the first people to reach and settle these worlds were trying to escape the ravages of the Age of War by picking a direction seemingly at random and then moving on until they were into truly unknown space. Here they found a small cluster of habitable worlds, many never having known the footsteps of man, and decided to settle. We know that not all of those settlements proved successful, as proven by the abandoned dwellings on Arixo and Hamunaptra, but most of the worlds were more hospitable, and our ancestors survived.

It is not known if the Knights Templar arrived with this first wave, or later on. There is certainly evidence that their enclave on Last Post was founded around this time. Only the Knights themselves know the truth, and they are as ever tight lipped about their past.

Those early pioneers would have had few of the ammonites we take for granted these days; they had no Hyper-Pulse generators, and their few JumpShips were crude, primitive relics that today would never be allowed to break orbit, let alone travel between stars. But there is evidence, both etiological and genetic that they managed to maintain at least some semblance of contact between each other, even as their general level of technological sophistication dropped to around that of pre-diaspora Terra. A few lost ships found their way out from the Inner Sphere, mainly refuges who were likewise seeking to escape the escalating violence that was enveloping the worlds closer to Terra, while others were simply people who wanted to see just how far they could get. This brought fresh blood and fresh ideas to the struggling colonies, bootstrapping them back up to the level they had been when they first arrived. Still far from anything like the Core worlds, they could at least keep their heads above water.

Some limited contact was maintained with the rest of humanity, normal in the form of gossip picked up from the handful of merchants brave or foolish enough to venture so far out for so little profit, but for the most part they were content to keep to themselves and leave the rest of humanity to its own affairs.

The Star League Ascendant - Birth of the Outer Colonies[]

All this ended in 2602, when a ship arrived in the Rockall system and announced that the inhabitants were now citizens of the Star League, and news soon spread among the other habitable worlds, and much was debated about how to respond to this development. What little news that had reached our worlds about the fall of the old Terran Alliance and the Rise of the Terran Hegemony under the Cameron Star had been thought of as little more than minor trivia, but now seemed to be much more important. Some spoke of mounting a defense, but any such ideas were soon crushed by the appearance of the first BattleMechs ever to be seen in this part of space. Others decided to move on, and left for the endless expanse of space anti-spinward, many never to be seen again, their fates unknown.

But most saw that there was more to gain by submitting to Star League rule, and the Outer Colonies as we now know them was formed. Being so far from any other habitable area, the Star League saw it necessary to build up the maintenance and support facilities needed to maintain regular transport and communications between the newly designated regional capital of Port Stanley and the rest of the Star League. This saw the construction of what would become Clarke Station and the other orbital.

The Reunification War - Lucky Number 7[]

The rumblings of discontent were felt long before the first shots were fired on Santiago, and the Star League Defence Force decided to station extra troops and ships in the Outer Colonies. Primarily this was to guard against attacks on the vital ship yards and supply bases, but it also served to remind the inhabitants that they were very much a part of the Star League, and that any talk of sedition would not be tolerated. While there were no doubt some who would have been happier if their world had been independent, there was nothing organized and the minuscule size of the local economy compared to other regions meant that there had never been any real plans to tax the locals beyond what was needed to keep the local garrison operational. Yet despite this the 7th Royal Armored Division, Star League Defense Force arrived in 2574, after nearly two years in transit. Due to the distances involved, most of the troops had brought their families with them, adding a fresh influx of civilians to the towns and cites they were stationed near. Most of the troops were stationed on Port Stanley, necessitating the building of what would become the factory-city of Fox Bay, to produce tools, spare parts and replacement equipment.

McKenna Class Battleship (Old Version - Underway)

McKenna Class Battleship, SLS Vanguard

They also brought with them a number of warships, including the McKenna class Battleship SLS Vanguard, which serves as our flagship even to this day.

While the predicted war finally broke in 2577, the fighting never reached the Outer Colonies; our isolated nature, limited resources and almost non-existent strategic value meant that none of the Periphery realms was willing to mount an expedition so far from home, although they did mount attacks on the network of automated Hyper-Pulse stations that formed the only link between the Colonies and the rest of the Star League, causing several breaks in communication.

One such break happened just before the usurper Stefan Amaris launched his bloody coup d'etat on distant Terra.

The Battle of Port Stanley - Patriots and Tyrants[]

Despite the previously mentioned reasons, or maybe because he wanted a dagger behind General Kerensky's back, Amaris ordered a Task Force to attack and if possible capture the Outer Colonies. Code-named Operation: Kathleen, it consisted of one BattleMech and two Infantry Divisions, along with a number of WarShips, mainly older Star League designs that had been sold off as surplus. Given the limited time between the coup on Terra and the arrival of the task force, it is obvious that they set out before the coup took place, a bold move on the part of the usurper.

The Rim Worlds Republic forces arrived in the Port Stanley system by pirate point and immediately moved to take the planet. While their Warship escort moved to engage the solitary Star League ships in orbit, the Texas class SLS New Mexico, the troops made a combat drop, landing in the hills to the south of the planetary capital, San Carlos. Against them stood the 131st Royal Brigade (the Grenadier Guards, the 6th Dragoons and the Java Hussars) and the 417th 'Celtic' Brigade (the Irish Guards, the Lenox Rangers, and the Cameron Highlanders) and supporting armour and infantry (including the 7th Royal Gurkha Rifles), defending San Carlos. The Argyle Highlanders and the Green Howards BattleMech regiments were spread out across the rest of the planet, in Battalion and Company sized detachments, while other light infantry units were still in the process of training up and equipping a planetary militia.

The commander of the Rim Worlds forces ordered his counterpart to stand down to avoid further loss of life, but the order was refused and sent back, ordering the invaders to stand down in the name of the Star League. At this point the Rim Worlds commander started mocking the SLDF troops, reminding them that House Cameron was no more, and that Stefan Amaris was now First Lord. This enraged the outnumbered defenders, and they sent back a single word reply "Nuts!" while they started to dig in. So as the battle for orbital control continued to rage, with the New Mexico holding off two antiquated Monsoon class Battleships, the ground war began.

Monsoon Battleship (space background)

Monsoon Class Battleship

Attacking across a broad front in a bid to find a weak point in the Star League lines, the Rim Worlds forces destroyed everything in their path, hoping to draw the defenders out of their hastily prepared positions and into open ground, where the attackers heavier numbers would off set their technological disadvantage. But the Star League units refused to take the bait, sending out local militia units that knew the ground better than anyone else to harass and hinder the invaders. Bridges were blown, roads mined under a policy of scorched earth, trading land for time. Finally the troops of Operation: Kathleen reached the outer defenses, a staggered line of light armour and infantry only 20km from the outskirts of San Carlos. They attacked as one, only to find themselves walking into a trap as dozens of artillery pieces and Arrow IV equipped unleashed a single massive volley that ripped into their leading edge, forcing them to close to near point-blank range, negating their advantage over the poorly equipped militia. Fighting for their homes, the first line sold themselves dearly, holding the Rim Worlds forces in place for almost a quarter of an hour while fire continued to rain from the sky.

Finally overwhelming the first line of defense, the invaders found themselves faced with a hastily constructed minefield created using commercial grade explosives intended for the mountains to the north of the city. While not as powerful as military-grade devices, they were still capable of damaging BattleMechs and armoured fighting vehicles, and slaughtered infantry. Beyond this lay the SLDF troops, some 10km from the city itself, arranged with overlapping fields of fire and pre-selected kill-boxes for their remaining artillery. Despite this they were still outnumbered almost three to one, and every soldier knew that the battle was far from won.

Texas (Delranes Fighting Ships 3061)

Texas Class Battleship, SLS New Mexico

Never in the history of our worlds has such a clash of arms take place; the death toll that day ran into the thousands, and wreckage still litters the battlefield almost three centuries later. Time after time the Rim Worlds forces attacked, and time after time the Star League troops held the line. But it wasn't until the SLS Vanguard made her famous in-system jump to the L1 Lagrange Point and assisted the badly damaged New Mexico in finishing off her opponents, finally securing orbital superiority.

Faced with hostile warships in orbit, the remaining members of Operation: Kathleen attempted to retreat to their DropShips, only to find the way blocked by the newly arrived Knights Templar, with elements of the Argyle Highlanders and the Green Howards in support. They attempted to break through the Knights line in the centre, but the mysterious order of warrior-monks refused to yield, willing to die where they stood rather than take one step back. With an immovable enemy before them, and fresh Star League troops starting to envelop them from the flanks, the surviving Rim Worlds forces had little choice but to surrender, especially when the Vanguard threatened turn her weapons upon the surface.

And so, while battered and bleeding, but never broken, the men and women of the 7th Royal Armored Division, and their local allies, stood victorious.

The Fall of the Star League - The beginning of the Long Night[]

The remainder of the Star League Civil War passed without further attack. In 2778 a number of Rim Worlds Republic ships, fleeing the destruction of their realm and seeking to disappear into the deep Periphery arrived in the San Antonio system and were immediately seized by the local picket forces. Their ships were in a poor state or repair, and the two Naga class Destroyers they had with them showed signs of battle damage. With their ships impounded, many of the civilians on board came forward with stories of enslavement, torture, rape and murder leveled against the crews and military units traveling with them. A full investigation was launched into these claims, resulting in the infamous Albuquerque Trials, where over three hundred men and women of the Rim Worlds Armed Forces were tried and convicted of a multitude of crimes by a military tribunal. Over two hundred were sentenced to death by hanging, while those found guilty of lesser crimes received lengthy custodial sentences.

It should be noted, at this time, that most of the indentured troops were never charged with any crimes. Indeed, a large percentage were conscripts given little choice but to fight in a war that was not of their making. To this day, there are many citizens who can trace at least part of their ancestry back to those press-ganged soldiers and their equally involuntary travailing companions.

Continued attacks on the HPG chains meant that news of the end of the Civil War, and the execution of the usurper Amaris, did not reach our worlds until several years after event, during which ships suffering the effects of battle or long periods away from home port continued to arrive in the Outer Colonies, some refitting and making the long journey back to the Inner Sphere, but most forced to stay and await the chance to undergo extensive repairs and maintenance in the over-worked shipyards over Port Stanley and Rorke's Drift.

The inability to fully repair or maintain the many HPG stations meant that communications with far distant Terra became even more sporadic then normal. It was at this time that General Kerensky decided upon the course of action that became known as Operation Exodus. Orders were sent to the 7th Royal Armored Division to load up what supplies and equipment they could and to to return to Outreach. It goes without saying that the loyal troops of the 7th would have followed this order, but it was not delivered until two years after General Kerensky had left. Missions sent to try and find the General and his followers failed, and the 7th found it's self an army without a General or a home, defending an area of space that no-one laid claim to but themselves. Deciding to follow the essence of the orders, the SLDF troops severed all ties with the Inner Sphere and covered their tracks to make it look like they had left with Kerensky: The remaining HPG stations where taken off-line and mothballed.

The bulk of the fleet was likewise mothballed; moved to the uninhabited Hamunaptra system where they could be kept safe until General Kerensky or his successor returned.

To govern the ten worlds they now controlled, the SLDF troops set up democratic governments: Each world elected a representative to serve for 6 standard-years. These representatives became the core of the government, with each attending the assembly hall on Port Stanley to represent their world in the Council of 11, the central governing body that is responsible for deciding on that mater concerning the Colonies as a whole. De-centralized and favoring a more hands-off style, the Council allows the words to run themselves, only intervening in matters that attain to the Outer Colonies as a whole.

The 11th member of the Council is the commanding officer of the Outer Colonies Defense Force, as the 7th Royal Armored Division was re-named in 2804, who acts as a chairperson and can cast the deciding vote in the event of a deadlock. There are several guidelines in place to keep any of the Council members from gaining too much power: the lessons learned with the fall of the Star League where put to good use. It is hoped that the Council of 11 is as open to the populace as is possible and is fully accountable to the people of the Colony worlds.

Strange as this form of government may appear, it has worked for 300 years with no major trouble.

Shattered Dreams - A Voice in the Wilderness[]

July 14th, 2828 will forever be known as the day all dreams of a restored Star League under the leadership and protection of General Kerensky's exiled army died.

Sovetskii Soyuz Class Heavy Cruiser (Star League Variant (Old) - Underway)

Sovetskii Soyuz Class Heavy Cruiser, SLS Ivanhoe

For it was on that day that a fleet of JumpShips and the Sovetskii Soyuz class Heavy Cruiser SLS Ivanhoe arrived in the Rorke's Drift system. Their ships bore Star League Defense Force markings and their crews wore the uniform of the 331st Royal BattleMech Division. They spoke of the eventually fate of Kerensky's army; their long voyage from the Inner Sphere, the general's death and the rise of his son, Nicholas and the travesty he had turned his followers into. They also brought with them examples of the new technology that they had helped develop while in exile, including the Iron-Womb system and advances in genetic engineering that still see limited use today. They spoke of trying to break away from this new society, only to be turned upon by those they had once called brother and forced to flee. Separated from a second, larger group of survivors, they had headed out in the direction of an old outpost hinted at in their ships navigational computer that they hoped was far enough away to avoid ever being found.
Faced with the knowledge that the Star League that many of them had served was not going to be brought back by the army of Kerensky as they had always dreamed, our ancestors faced a stark choice; give in to despair, or maintain the traditions and standards that they had been brought up to believe in. Our people chose the latter, and to this day, we remain perhaps the last true remnant of the Star League.

"And so there you have it; a small realm of just over a dozen worlds that claims to be the remains of some lost Star League outpost. Hardly anything new, as at least half the worlds in the deep periphery claim at least some connection to the Star League. And if this was the case here, I'd have just dismissed it as another romantic flight of fancy.
If that's all there was too it, that is."

"The book goes on to list and describe all ten worlds in some detail, then provide footnotes of a handful of 'protectorates' and military-outposts. But then it lists some of the ships supposedly hidden away in an otherwise uninhabited system. A quick double check against the few records that survive from the time of the Star League show that ships baring those names and of the types mentioned did exist, and that their fates are listed as either 'unknown' or 'presumed part of Exodus Fleet'. There was also once a 7th Royal Armored Division of the Star League Defense Force, and they were deployed to the periphery some time in the 2570s."

"Even so, the book lists over 80 former Star League and periphery navy ships by name. Could there really be a lost treasure-trove of ships out that there would rival any other fleet in existence? Even if the vast majority are too badly damaged to be of any more use than as spare parts, they would be a prize worth a House Lords ransom."

"My contact passed a note along with the book, saying that the prospectors she encountered on Cyclops Station were planning to head out in a bid to find these mysterious 'Outer Colonies', with their BattleMech piloting warrior-monks and their cache of Star League weapons as technology. But that was five years ago, and no one has seen or heard anything of them since."

"Are they just another in the long line of treasure-hunters who went out looking for fame, fortune and glory in the deep periphery, only to fall victim to one of the many perils that such a voyage entails?
Or did they perhaps find what they were looking for, only for the Outer Colonies to decide that they wished to remain hidden?
I, for one, would be interested to know the truth, but don't expect to see me heading out there any time soon."


The Outer Colonies:
Port Stanley
New Tasmania
San Antonio
New Jersey
Last Post
New Jamaica
Malloy's World
Rorke's Drift
Helios & Solitude (in same system)
Military Outposts:
Nomad Station
Fort Kerium
Fort Centrum
Fort Dixie

Fate of Star League Troops in the Outer Colonies Regions[]

Most of the troops were called back to the Inner Sphere to fight the Usurper; only Port Stanley and New Jersey were really held, mainly due to the large shipyards they had, each capable of building and maintaining warships. Other planets may have had a small garrison force, but by that point they would have been made up of local recruits (to avoid the two year trip out from the Inner Sphere). Most of the bases would have been stripped down and mothballed, with maybe few small, hidden caches left for when the SLDF came back: they would have wanted to take the bulk of their weapons with them, as they were cut off from the manufacturing capacity of the Terran Hegemony.

When it became clear that the SLDF would not be coming back, the troops would have headed home or gone into business for themselves, either as mercenaries or pirates: this is how Shakespeare got their Mech force. The bases may have been fought over, but beyond being prepared defensive positions, it's unlikely they had much to offer. Only the Outer Colonies really had the technological and industrial base needed to reactivate Castle Brians, and they did so on their member worlds and outposts.

That aside, there may well be a few deep-range, ultra secret stations like Titans Gate waiting to be rediscovered, but human space is full of these (Camelot Command, the Ruins of Gabriel et-all).

Note from the Author
  • I have over 13,000 words worth of background information on the Outer Colonies

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