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The Other War (Cover)

Chapter 43 - The Other War
01/20/3062 - Location – Hall of the Ancestors, Tamaron, Kerensky Cluster

Khan Sullivan Koga stalked about her chambers in a fury unseen but certainly noticed by the Laborers that were to clean it up again today. Dezgra Diamond Sharks! Damn you Labrov. I would shoot you myself. Your Clan has already declared War on me I should return the batchall.” She threw a metal decanter through the window that separating the adjacent room shattering the plate glass into wicked shards that crunched under her boots. Her fury momentarily sated with the destruction of something she collected herself donning her uniform and stepping out into the corridor where the cleaning crew waited silently.

A young man dressed in the Coyote’s formal ‘powdered blues’ with a gauss pistol at his side waited a short distance away. His unit insignia matched no Line Galaxy because he was Watch and their symbol was like that of the ancient Terra SAS, a winged dagger on black field. “Marlowe, you had better carry some good information. I have had my share of bad this week.”

“I am afraid I do not, OvKhan. SaKhan Clearwater and Loremaster Parker confirm what Merchant Factor Kavindra informed you of yesterday. The Falcons have withdrawn the Clan’s credit, the Sharks have called their debts, and the Ravens will not upgrade the CCS Howling to a Feral-Class Battlecruiser or continue working on the CCS Broken Sea without upfront payment or a change in our situation.”

Sullivan walked briskly through the halls which were decorated with murals pulled from scenes in the Coyote Remembrance. She paused at the one that depicted the Blood Scandal that began the Clan’s death spiral with the death of 2,000 traitors and a third of the Clan’s bloodhouses dormant due to the dishonor they represented. “I will not have my Khanship end with this Clan. I want solutions!”

“You know that we are looking for them as well as all threats to the Clan and your leadership of it. Thus far our assets in the lower castes and ranks report that the full impact of these event is not yet understood. We may yet have time to avert this crisis and find avenues to sink political rivals with it.

Commodore Sutherland was not well respected among his peers. It will be easy to sink him after this debacle if you wish.”

“I very much do. Is the Council assembled yet?”
Marlowe looked at his gauntlet comm-pad, Aff, Scientist-General Ricarda has just arrived.”

“Good. You are dismissed, Watch Captain.” The Khan turned around and he was already gone down one of the stairs to continue his work. Skullduggery was chalcas but she created many enemies during her reorganization and needed a proactive and powerful Watch. Without her support the Touman would instantly turn on it for their actions during her reign. Actions that had seen high-ranking Warriors’ ambitions flatline at the feet of her Timber Wolf in a Circle of Equals before they could be realized.

Timber Wolf (Clan Wolf Livery by vertexnormal)

Timber Wolf Heavy OmniMech, Clan Wolf livery

The Coyote Watch learned from their Wolf counterparts. Wolf Loremaster Katya Kerensky’s ways were well respected by Sullivan who felt she was a kindred spirit and deserved the Khanship more than that whelp Vladimir Ward. Now she needed their help more than ever and hoped that they were ready for this great challenge.

Sullivan Koga, Khan of Clan Coyote, burst into the door and strode forward to the head of the holo-table in the situation room. On the sides were the four highest ranking lower castemen in the Clan.

Merchant Factor Kavindra, an overweight woman with a keen mind for numbers and hunger for younger lovers. Khan Koga did not judge her for her looks or company but by results and the woman was a sharp negotiator. She was renowned as the only person to go solo against the five-person Jade Falcon Central Bank Committee. The deal she inked for Khan Steele was so perfect it got the Bank Chairman fired by former ilKhan Elias Critchell for negligence.

Master Technician Onyda, a disgraced Aerospace pilot who rose to Chief Engineer of the CCS Ancestral Home when it was the Coyote’s flagship. His actions and the scars he bore because of them preserved the ancient Texas battleship despite a catastrophic KF drive malfunction. It was his idea to use the ship as a training vessel for Techs and Warriors rather than scrap it.

Senior Laborer Hillard, a wide nosed Elemental and former Foreman of the Coyote Industrial complex on Babylon. He oversaw the historic factory’s dismantling, relocation, reassembly, and activation on Tamaron. As Senior Laborer he now personally led operations for the sprawling San Mateo Industrialplex some hundred kilometers away.

Finally, there was the hawk-eyed freeborn Aerospace egghead Scientist-General Ricarda whose research had led to the Advanced Tactical Missile, the newest weapon in the Coyote’s arsenal. The man also served as Chairman of the prestigious Richard Tchernovkov Polytechnic Academy. Another of his many tasks was coordinating joint research projects with other Clans. Ricarda was easily the most lauded person in this room besides the Khan herself but he undertook his duties with humility for without the Khan’s patronage he would be nothing.

Within the holo-table were the high-rez profiles of SaKhan Ravenna Clearwater, the young Ristar currently on the Pentagon world of Babylon with her Silver Keshik and premiere Delta Galaxy. Loremaster Alan Parker’s wizened face filled another quadrant; the old Warrior managed the Coyote and former Widowmaker Enclaves on Strana Mechty serving as the tempered Voice of his Khan to the Grand Council.

In another of the quadrants was the Kerensky Cluster and Pentagon Worlds. Each of the Clans were represented by a color and each world portioned by color based on percentage occupied. The fourth quadrant was left for the Khan to control, presently it was filled with a wireform diagram of the Liberator-Class Warship CCS Spirit in the Sky whose Captain was responsible for this latest mess.

Khan Koga settled into her chair and the others followed. “We all know what happened and we cannot change that. We can only look forward and take control of our fates.

I will not have our work undone by this embargo. If you have any pride in this Clan and me, please present any solutions you might have to our shared problem.”

Sullivan released control of the panel to the floor who paused for a moment as they absorbed the Khan’s apparent despair. Ricarda was first to answer, “Khan Koga, we can innovate or engineer our way out of this difficult situation. I understand that it was faster to buy Battlemechs from the Sharks to grow the Touman but there are ways we can supplement what we have with older material from the Brian caches.

The Goliath Scorpions believe they have located hidden caches formerly belonging to the Burrocks in Star Adder territory. Your Warriors can take this ground from the Adders who might not even know they are there. My scientists can equip Technicians with the appropriate sensors to find and access them.”

Onyda and Sullivan looked particularly interested, “It is a valid plan OvKhan. I have one as well. This will be difficult for the Warriors to shoulder but you are the proud defenders of this Clan and already willingly sacrifice mightily for our benefit.”

Sullivan urged the Technician the cut the crap and get to the point, “If I can be allotted enough Technicians, we might be able to better automate the San Mateo Industrialplex and increase our domestic productivity.” He looked toward Kavindra and Hillard, “It will require capital investment and buy in from the Laborer Caste and reduce the support we can give the Warriors for a time. Perhaps a year or so till we are finished and two or three until we can increase staffing to sustain the larger touman and machine capacity. However, it will pay dividends, require only domestic resources, and we can cost share or sell the tech to the Hell’s Horses and Goliath Scorpions.”

Hillard agreed with the plan and Kavindra took the floor, OvKhan presently we are overdrawn on our accounts to the JFCBC. The Sharks and Ravens demand their payments now in violation of the contract terms. However, rather than fight off Labrov’s Loansharks in council or within a Circle of Equals we can use the Hell’s Horses.

Presently the HHS Armageddon is en route to Kirin from the Inner Sphere massed out with refined minerals and components. It will arrive in system sometime next week. If you can convince SaKhan Delaurel and Horse Merchant Factor Sonja that we can provide greater value here on Tamaron; we can settle our debts with the Sharks using its cargo.

There may be enough left over to provide a suitable down payment for the Ravens to continue with the Broken Sea and we can replace these materials when the Morning Star arrives in two months without great disruption. I cannot fix our credit with the Jade Falcons at this time. We have nothing they want at the moment. Our Clan can lean on the Horses to sustain us long enough that the Falcons will see that their embargo was ineffective.”

Onyda broke in at the end, “What of the Howling Merchant Factor?” “The Kirin Yards are capable of completing the upgrade to a Feral-Class Battlecruiser. The Horses wish to expand their naval touman now that they have a stronghold in the Inner Sphere and regularly transit the Exodus Road.

We have a mothballed SovSoy cruiser around Tranquil that we can barter to them for slip space and resources. I believe Khan Fletcher will gladly broker space and time for another Warship to fight the Ghost Bears in the Inner Sphere. However, the Kirin Yards do not have the capability to forge new KF drives yet and we will need the Ravens for at least that portion of the Broken Sea’s production.”

Khan Koga watched and listened as the Coyote’s lower caste worked their way through hypotheticals. Her council was coming up with ways to maintain the work of their generation and preserve the Clan they held dear. It almost brought a tear to her eye as she swore that the Diamond Sharks would feel her wrath when this was through. Her Clan would not be brought down by debt or despair once more. As the Wolves retreated to the Inner Sphere the Coyote stood poised to take their rightful place at the head of the pack.

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