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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:32 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Recharge Station Odessa-Zenith, Zenith Jump Point
Odessa, Lyran Commonwealth
February 23, 3043


Johann Perrin sighed as lifted the cover off of his lunch. Prawns, sautéed in a rich sauce of butter and cream, artfully arranged upon a bed of perfectly cooked pasta. He beamed a smile at the chef. “Wonderful, Jacques, as always. Magnificent, in fact.”

The enlisted man bowed slightly as he finished pouring the Commodore a glass of white wine. Johann shook his head: to believe that the LCAF had assigned that man as a maintenance technician! Thank God Almighty, that I checked his background before he moved on!

Jacques took the silver cover in his hand and he stood at attention. “Will the Commodore be needing anything else?”

“No, and thank you, Jacques,” Johann answered as lifted two forks and pried one prawn tail from the softened shell. The chef bowed again and he exited the senior officers dining compartment—just as Johann’s executive officer entered.

“Oh, that smells wonderful,” he sighed.

“Get your own chef,” the Commodore said with a smile. “Your family is wealthy enough.”

“True, true, but they do not like spending money on a wastrel like me who was gauche enough to join the Navy.”

Johann took a bite of the steaming hot, wonderfully seasoned prawn tail and he sighed again. Chewing it—and enjoying every little sensation pouring over his taste buds before he swallowed. “They would rather see you down in the mud and muck with the Army?”

“They would rather see me doing a real job making the family more money in the private sector.”

“Consider it a sacrifice you have made for your patriotism—besides, you are making contacts with many senior officers, all of whom have a say in future procurement.”

“Which is why Father has not yet disowned me,” the Exec said with a grin, as he stole of the Commodore’s rolls from the bread basket.

“Any problems this shift?”

“None—we did get that manifest from Buckland’s Belle and I think you are going to want to spend some of the Exchequer’s funds.”

“I am always willing to spend other people’s money on my comforts, Richard.”

“Speaking of the Belle, there are things about her records I am . . . antsy about.”

Johann looked up as he took a sip of wine. “Oh, has she gone pirate on us a time or two?”

“Nothing like that—not on the record. But she did vanish for quite a few years before turning up again back in 3040. Now, she could have just been operating in other states—or the Periphery—but she didn’t file anything on her activities in the interim.” The younger man shook his head. “Maybe it is just my paranoia, but then she went and conducted a low-power KF drive test—her skipper claims it was to find a fault in the hyper-space translation initiator . . . but she put an awful lot of power through the system if it was just a test.”

The Commodore frowned as his second-in-command help out a printout filled with numbers and equations and graphs for Johann to take a look out. Then the younger officer shrugged. “Still, she powered down almost immediately after going live, so maybe it was just a test. She’s done nothing since but sit in her assigned parking slot—and bitch about when she can expect your Commissary Officer to shuttle on over and inspect her DropShip’s cargo.”

Johann nearly choked on a mouthful of pasta as he saw the numbers, and began to cough and sputter, taking a deep swallow of wine to wash it down. “When did she perform this test?”

“An hour ago,” Richard answered in surprise. “Are you ok- . . .”

The Commodore stood and he lifted the phone from its cradle on the wall. “CIC, this is the CO. Set Condition One throughout the station and send all combat personnel to Red Alert—this is not a drill. Spot the fighters for immediate launch.”

Alarms and sirens began to sound, and Richard Hoskins stood in amazement. “What am I missing?”

“This is an HPG profile—Richard. Not a test of the Kearny-Fuchida Drive.”

“Impossible, HPGs are planetary installations. You cannot put them in a ship!”

“Wrong,” the Commodore answered bleakly as the phone buzzed before he could get to the hatch. “ComStar—and the Clans—have found a way to do it. It’s not something you’ve been briefed on—and I should have, I should have. Perrin!” he snapped as he lifted the phone again. And his face went white. “On my way,” he answered and began to jog to the door, Richard right beside him.

“Clan WarShips are emerging from jump—just two so far, thank God,” Johann said bitterly. “But two-thirds of the JumpShips are sitting in range!”

“Christ!” the exec blurted as the two leaped past the closing doors of a transit tube. “Our fighters and DropShips . . .”

“Responding. God, I have been caught with my pants down around my ankles. Override destination, Perrin Able Golf Tango Two Four Sierra,” the Commodore said. “CIC.”

“Acknowledged,” answered the computer and the lift capsule shot away.

Johann lifted the phone in the car. “CIC, Perrin. Order the JumpShips to head to emergency dispersal coordinates—NOW.”

Richard’s face went white. “BELAY THAT ORDER!” he shouted, but the Commodore had already put the phone back in its cradle.

“What?”

“I uploaded the evacuation plan to Buckland’s Belle twenty minutes ago—as per standing orders, Sir.”

And Johann Perrin winced, even as the station rocked under impacts of capital scale weapons. “Dear God,” he whispered. “I’ve just sent them to die.”


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:11 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Adrift in a Sea of Blood
Odessa, Lyran Commonwealth
. . . and somewhere in Deep Space
February 23, 3043


Just two Falcon WarShips jumped into the Zenith point—and two Shark WarShips at the Nadir. Two cruisers, a frigate, and a destroyer arrived in the center of clouds of helpless JumpShips and began ejecting DropShips and aerospace fighters as their capital weapons began to savage the ill-armored and fragile life’s-blood of Inner Sphere commerce around them. Some had no charge and were forced to sit there—others Jumped away to what they thought was safety. Still others had commanders willing to risk everything and poured power like water into the Core trying for an emergency Jump and praying their ship held together. And on CGSS Jenna Scott, Star Captain Arbuthnot transmitted the emergency coordinates to Star Admiral Malthus and Star Admiral Hawker just seconds before he jumped out to those same coordinates.

In a matter of minutes, shattered broken hulks marked the Zenith and Nadir above and below Odessa. The Lyran defenders were not the ablest of the LCAF, most of the pilots were green, just out of flight school—the crews of the AssaultShips little better. Their bravery was unquestioned, however, as they drove in towards the Clan WarShips and died by the score. But it was not all skewed in favor of the Clans—a Lyran Avenger kamikazed the Shark destroyer Tracy, sending her out of control to plunge into the Nadir recharge station . . . and the resulting explosion destroyed the station, the Shark destroyer, and twenty more JumpShips.

Some of the JumpShips at Odessa managed to get away—plotting their own emergence coordinates, but these amounted to less than one in ten. The rest either jumped to the evacuation coordinates—or they died under guns of the surviving Clan WarShips.

Still, nearly three hundred Jumpers made it safely to the emergency rendezvous point—Buckland’s Belle among them. And almost immediately thereafter, the rest of the Falcon and Shark WarShips under Star Admiral Malthus arrived as well.

To call it a fight would have been . . . inaccurate. It was a slaughter as seven Clan WarShips and one Scorpion covert operations Ship blasted apart JumpShips until none were left. It was a blood-feast with no quarter as the Clan Naval Warriors exacted their vengeance for Tukayyid and other disasters upon the men and women who manned the Inner Sphere vessels. And when it was ended, when nothing remained but broken debris, the Clan ships recharged their drives and returned home. And the empty space between the stars was left silent and dark once more, filled with the debris of ships and the corpses of man.


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:50 pm 
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Major General
Major General

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 759
Location: Hope Mills, NC
Holy Crap that will hurt.

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Trueborn Warrior

Pain heals, Chicks dig scars but GLORY lasts forever!!!!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 8:53 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Clan Goliath Scorpion Field Headquarters, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 23, 3043


"This business will get out of control. It will get out of control, and we will be lucky to live through it,” Nikolai said as he rubbed his temples.

Nelson Elam, his saKhan, frowned. “While I cannot approve of Star Captain Arbuthnot’s blood-thirstiness in this . . . incident, he did manage to utterly derail any FedCom offensive against the Falcons and Sharks.”

Nikolai looked up at his saKhan and he shook his head. “Sit down, Nelson. The Inner Sphere regard their JumpShips as . . . well, as we regard our genetic repositories. They came close to losing the ability to produce them in the First Succession War and because of that none of them attack them except under the direst of situations. So far, Yvonne’s order to target their transports hasn’t yielded any major disruption of their ability to move troops and commerce—they lost some in Wave I, but they have also moved them out of the way for succeeding Waves. For the most part.”

“But this? By Kerensky’s Blood, Nelson, this will engage them to the point . . .” Nikolai paused and he looked his saKhan square in the eyes. “This will cause as much of a fury in them as we would have if they used a thermonuclear weapon on the Master Genetic Repository on Strana Mechty.”

Nelson nodded slightly but he still frowned and Nikolai sighed. He still did not understand. “It is their unwritten rules of combat and they have to respond—they have to force us to quit shooting up their transports.”

“Why? I mean, they fail to acknowledge or follow our rules or traditions of combat—why should we bother to conform to theirs?”

“Because they quite likely to open up their stocks of nuclear weapons in response to this; and then send us a message attached to a fifty-megaton bomb.”

“They would be willing to use nuclear weapons against their planets that we occupy?”

“It might well come to that, if we cannot stop this quickly. But for the moment, I think they will restrict it to space. They have to show us they will not be pushed in this area, not one millimeter more—and I think they are going to move to wipe out one, or more, of our Clan’s Naval Stars.”

Now Nelson started looking grim and Nikolai could see the light of understanding in the man’s eyes. “And then we will escalate for their dezgra use of atomics and they will hit us again and it will ratchet up higher and higher . . .”

“Until all we are left with are spears tipped with flints fighting in a radioactive wasteland with no technology left—just myths and legends of our God-like ancestors who flew between the stars like birds.”

“So how do we stop it?” his saKhan asked.

Nikolai frowned and his mind ran through scenario after scenario. At last he nodded. “They have to draw blood—we cannot stop that; however, we might be able to channel our response with Amanda.” Nikolai drummed his fingers on the desk. “I want our most trusted personnel on duty in the HPG tonight—and take the recorders off-line. I think it is past time that I and this First Lord spoke directly.”


Last edited by master arminas on Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:09 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
ComStar First Circuit
Hilton Head, Terra
February 23, 3043


“Ah, good. You had not yet boarded your ship for Tukayyid, I see,” the Primus said as Anastasius Focht and Gregory Zwick walked into the First Circuit.

“No, Primus—your messenger caught us before we left the compound. He said this was an urgent matter.” Focht replied. The tall one-eyed, black-haired man no longer wore the robes of ComStar, but instead an exquisite suit of civilian clothing from one of the finest tailors on Terra—just as Fleet Admiral Gregory Zwick wore the uniform of an SLDF Admiral.

The Primus did not reply but instead nodded to the Adept standing by—an Adept who keyed in a sequence on the communications system and then left the chamber. The lights dimmed and a holographic projection appeared—a real-time HPG transmission. And the figure standing in that hologram was dressed in the uniform of Clan Goliath Scorpion—and he wore the insignia of a Khan.

“I am Anastasius Focht, First Lord of the Star League Reborn. With me are Primus Michael York of ComStar and Fleet Admiral Gregory Zwick of the Star League Defense Force—and you must be Nikolai Djerassi of the Goliath Scorpions.”

“Aff, I am he and it is time that you and I spoke face-to-face, after a certain fashion.”

“Are you en route to Asta with your Clan, then?” asked Focht.

“Neg, there are . . . loose ends which need to be tied before I can depart—though that time draws near. And it will not be my Clan alone which swears oath to the Star League and the First Lord.”

“Oh?”

“Clan Stone Lion will join us at the least—possibly one or two others as well. But that is for later. Earlier today, I received a report that Naval Forces of Clans Diamond Shark and Jade Falcon discovered that the Federated Commonwealth were assembling a large number of JumpShips at Odessa—they moved to attack . . . after discovering the coordinates of your dispersal locations. My initial reports indicate that they destroyed approximately three hundred and twenty of your JumpShips.”

“My God!” whispered Gregory in shock. “Does Hanse Davion know?”

The Primus shook his head. “No reports have reached him or Melissa yet—I have checked with the intervening stations.”

The First Lord only stared at the image before him and his blood burned with hate at that casual relaxed manner in which this . . . this person reported such a catastrophe. “You realize that they will respond—and not in a restrained manner?”

“Aff. And I urge you to help me put a stop to the escalation before it spirals out of control.”

“How?” Anastasius snapped.

“By destroying the Fleet of Clan Snow Raven in retaliation—and killing their Khan.”

“What?” blurted Gregory. “The Ravens weren’t involved, why would we . . .” his voice trailed off as Nikolai raised his hand.

“I do not have much time here. You could respond tit-for-tat with the Sharks and Falcons, or you can stand the Clans on their heels by defeating the Snow Ravens in response—and show every Khan that any of us are a target and responsible for the actions of our brothers and our Warriors. Destroy the Raven Fleet—the finest in the Clan touman—and you will make the others stand back at something they have never done. Kill Peter McKenna and every Khan will know that he may well suffer a very personal response to such an attack. In three weeks, Khan McKenna will review his Naval forces at the Zenith point of Blair Atholl. He will have with him fifteen ships—including two Potemkin-class bearing troops and equipment from the Homeworlds. The rest of his forces will consist of a McKenna-class battleship, a Conqueror-class battle cruiser, two Sovetskii Soyuz-class cruisers, a Congress-class frigate, three Lola III-class destroyers, an Essex-class destroyer, a Whirlwind-class destroyer, a York-class carrier, and a Volga-class transport.”

“You will have to use nuclear-tipped anti-ship missiles to carry off this attack, and you must do your best to destroy ALL of those ships. And then, you must—this is absolutely vital—you must broadcast to the ilKhan your reasons why you made this attack. You must tell her that any further attack on either civilian or military JumpShips will result in further action against the Fleets of the Clans. You must insure her that you will not use such weapons against Clan troops on a planetary surface, or against civilians—and that you are only using them in space in response to this atrocity at Odessa. You have to convince her—First Lord Focht—that you mean every word that you say and that you are willing to do this.”

“And then, you will offer her a solution. The Clans refrain from attacking your JumpShips—though your DropShips will remain legitimate targets—and foreswear the use of orbital bombardment against worlds that they assault and in exchange you will not authorize further attacks in the name of the Star League. This attack has to come from the Star League—not Hanse Davion or Melissa Steiner-Davion—but from you.”

“To assist you, I am transmitting full technical specifications on the ships in question—but this is your one chance to end this escalation before it can begin.”

Focht nodded. “And if Hanse and Melissa are not satisfied with that?”

“Then tell them that instead of sending back to the Clans the three hundred and thirty JumpShips I have stolen to move my civilians to the Inner Sphere, I will sacrifice my own honor and turn the ships over to them. Ships with Lithium-Fusion batteries and HPGs! Including fifty Monoliths. If we cannot stop this now, it will spiral out of control and we will all suffer.”

“You and your Clans would be destroyed, if it did—and most of the Inner Sphere would survive,” Focht pointed out.

“As would the Homeworlds and the next time they came it would be Armageddon.”

The First Lord did not move for several moments, only stared at the Scorpion’s eyes and then at last he nodded. “When will we speak again?”

“Not until after I have left the Clans—I cannot risk making a second transmission. If this one has been overheard, my Clan may not survive. Emerge victorious, First Lord, and let us put an end to this war.”

And with that, the transmission flickered to a halt.

“DAMN!” whispered Gregory. “He wants us to attack his own people—with nukes!”

“He wants us to kill a man he considers a brother—according to Jaime Wolf’s briefing on the Khans. He and Peter McKenna are friends, and still he offers us this,” mused the Primus.

Anastasius Focht shook his head. “We will watch this Scorpion closely—he is a man that is willing to do anything for what he believes, without remorse or sorrow at what he feels must be done . . . there is no more dangerous creature in all of creation.”

“And this attack he wants at Blair Atholl? What are your orders, First Lord?” asked Gregory.

“Kill them all, Fleet Admiral Zwick—kill them all. For now, I think the Primus and I had best convey the news to Hanse Davion—after we make certain Melissa has medics in the room.”


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 10:16 pm 
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Stratego
Stratego

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 10855
Location: Ft. Hood Texas
Seems that Nickolai is not playing for small stakes...he is indeed playing for the sole of all of the Inner Sphere. Very dangerous waters he is treading...none dare call it treason as long as they can still write the history...

_________________
Karagin-

Darkness is a friend of mine. Sometimes I have to beat it back, or it would overwhelm me. Shirley Meier

[url]http://karagin12.livejournal.com/[/url]

The Wookiee, he's not wearing any pants!

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 2:00 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Clan Goliath Scorpion Field Headquarters, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 25, 3043


Mark Steiner shook his head rather violently. “This is the Star League we are talking about, Marius! The Star League is what we are fighting? My God, what would Aleksandyr Kerensky say?”

The Khan of the Nova Cats just frowned. “It is a false Star League, Khan Steiner! They have not united for the betterment of mankind, they united out of fear—fear of our righteous anger at how they have squandered the Paradise our ancestors left. How many worlds have they rendered lifeless? How far have they fallen?”

“And yet,” said Nikolai quietly, “they have united, Khan West. They have united and they have defeated us—all of us—on Tukayyid. We stand on the precipice of the abyss; one slip and we shall all pass away into eternal night.”

The Nova Cat frowned. “Was this revealed to you through a necrosia vision?”

“Neg. I have tasted necrosia but twice in my lifetime—when I first became a Warrior and again when I received my Blood Name. What of your own visions?”

Marius looked troubled and he exchanged a glance with his saKhan Linda Devereaux. “The Clans do not believe our visions.”

“I would like to hear of them, regardless,” said Nikolai, giving Natasha a stern look as she started to shake her head, and the Stone Lion Khan subsided.

Marius stared at Nikolai for a moment and then he nodded. “All of our visions—the Khans, the Loremaster, the Visionmasters who have in the past seen clearly—all of them are . . . clouded. We see the Clans in the midst of a thundering storm, without shelter from the wind, rain, and lightning. Some visions then reveal that when the storm passes, only the skeletons of our totems are left in the wake—others that we stand divided against our selves . . . the unity broken and darkness rising behind us. None have yet shown a path through the storm—all lead to death.”

Nikolai nodded gravely. “A powerful vision indeed. And it is one that the others will dismiss.”

“But not you?” asked Marius ironically. “For a Scorpion, you do not seem to believe in visions and prophecies.”

“I believe that we may have glimpses of a future to come, but that the present is what we make of it—through our own efforts. After all, God helps those who help themselves.”

The Cobra Khan and saKhan twitched slightly—as Nikolai had never expressed publically any belief in the God of their Cloisters. But neither said a word.

“Why do you want my views on this False League anyway, Nikolai? Surely you did not call us here to speak of philosophy,” Marius asked.

“No, I did not,” and the Scorpion gave a slight negative shake of his head at Natasha who nodded in reply. “I know that the Cats have suffered greatly in this invasion—and I have ninety spare OmniMechs in my caches on Memmingen that lack Warriors to pilot them. You managed to recover many injured Warriors from the debacle on Tukayyid—but lost their OmniMechs. To strengthen the Clans, I will give you these OmniMechs, Khan West.”

The Cats sat back. “And in exchange? What is it that you desire?”

“They are a gift, Khan West. “Take them freely, and rebuild your strength in honor—and know that although we may stand opposed on many issues, that we Scorpions are not your enemies.”

Marius got a far-away look in his eyes and he drew in a sudden and rapid breath; his face turned pale and then he shook his head. His shoulders slumped as his eyes cleared. “You walk a path that the Cats cannot follow, Nikolai. I can only hope that your endeavor will prosper.” He stood. “Come saKhan—let us leave our host so that he may speak frankly with his other guests—for your gift I thank you . . . and in return I shall speak no more of what I have seen.”

Nikolai stood and he nodded. “May you live out the rest of your life with honor, Khan West.”

“And may you find what you Seek, Khan Djerassi,” Marius replied and then the Cats left.

Leonard Eaker, the Cobra saKhan looked up in puzzlement. “I get the feeling we are talking on multiple levels here—what exactly are you proposing that would have the Cats react like that?”

Mark Steiner leaned forward, “Be still, saKhan. Nikolai believes that our destiny lies in serving the Star League, quiaff?”

“Aff.”

Aidan Pryde and Nelson Elam and Natasha Kerensky also answered from their seats around the roaring fireplace in Nikolai’s office. And Leonard looked as if an Elemental had just punched him in the belly.

“Merciful Allah,” he whispered. “Join the Star League? The others will rip you apart—they will tear all of us apart for even speaking such sedition!”

“The Clans are last descendants of the Star League Defense Forces . . . we came here to reform the Star League,” Nikolai said. “Well, it has reformed . . . albeit not in the manner which we anticipated. And we are faced with a choice: do we live up to our beliefs—as Wardens, as followers of the Great Father and the Founders—and serve the Star League once more or do we attempt to conqueror the Inner Sphere as Crusaders and rule over them as Warlords and Despots in the same manner as Stefan Amaris?”

“Khan Steiner, the Cobras are the smallest of all the surviving Clans of Kerensky. saKhan Eaker, what will happen if we are forced from the Inner Sphere? Do you believe that the Jaguars and the Falcons and the Vipers or even the Adders will not seek to absorb you and add your strength to their own? Will eliminating a Warden voice?” Natasha asked.

“The Adders are our allies,” protested Leonard, but Mark Steiner nodded. “And they are pragmatic, my friend,” he said. “They will do what is best for their Clan—and if that means they must absorb us to keep our assets from the hands of the Jaguars or Falcons or Vipers or Spirits, they will do so.”

Nikolai nodded. “You have eleven Clusters here—and a mere eight left in the Homeworlds. Your forces here, now, are barely at fifty percent strength. Your Clan is in imminent jeopardy if the Star League forces us to either halt or retreat—and we lack the strength to move forward. But what if there was another way? What if, by living up to the beliefs that you profess, you can preserve your Clan, your various faiths, by serving under the aegis of a Star League that enshrines the freedom of religion?”

Mark frowned. “Do they? I have not yet seen a charter of this Star League Reborn, have you, Khan Djerassi?” and then his shoulders slumped again. “However, your words make sense even so. I know you seek to use our belief and our faith against us—do not do so. Say what you want plainly—and we will answer.”

The Scorpion nodded at the defiant Cobra and he smiled. “Cards on the table? I am leading my Scorpions into the service of the Star League—they have agreed to give up seven worlds that were once part of the Terran Hegemony . . . worlds that will now serve as the home of the True Clans of Kerensky. The Stone Lions are with me—and I have pulled every last ship, OmniMech, aerospace fighter, tank, and infantryman my Clan possesses from the Homeworlds, along with a few million civilians. They are currently en route . . . and are the reason we are suffering communications difficulties at this very moment.”

Mark sighed and he nodded, but Leonard stood, his mouth agape. “And we will have to sacrifice those of our Warriors in the Homeworlds, then—the other Clans will Annihilate them in pursuit of revenge!”

“Neg. I have an . . . alternative HPG rely network. One that can be used just once. I will share my civilians with you—and the Stone Lions—and we will have sizeable populations already on these planets that will fall under our rule. My ships bear a copy of the Master Genetic Repository—so your scientists will continue to be able to improve upon your legacies. If you choose to join us, you need only pass the order for your second-line forces, your WarShips, your sibkos, and the most vital of your civilians to join us. It will be months yet before the Homeworlds discover what we have done.”

“How long have you planned for this?”

“It is . . . contingency which I have had for a long time now. Mark,” Nikolai said frankly as he leaned forward and looked the Cobra square in the eyes, “you know well how much the other Clans deride the faiths that your Cloisters profess.” He held up a hand and shook his head. “I am not trying to play you or your religion, just pointing out a fact. Your current weakness makes the others hungry and in one stroke by Absorbing the Cobras they can depose a Warden Clan, eliminate religion from your society, and strengthen their own touman. It will happen—and Marion Truscott is liable to do it if he even thinks that the Falcons or Jaguars could use your strength and your Warriors to bulk up their own toumans.”

“I give you a chance to save your Clan and fufill your destiny—and mine. Once more will the children of the Star League Defense Force serve the Star League. Once more will be the numbers of our Clusters—drawn from the Divisions of the SLDF—be honored on Terra. What do you say?”

Mark Steiner sat back and he sighed. And then he nodded. “It is the only road open, quiaff?”

“We will be considered traitors!” whispered Leonard Eaker.

“Treason doth never prosper: what is the reason? Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason,” Nikolai answered simply.

But Leonard snorted. “Pretty words—our fellow Clans will call it treason regardless. They will cast us out and mark us for execution.”

Mark Steiner shook his head. “Perhaps. But have we a choice, Leonard? Is there another way to preserve our Clan—and our Cloisters—within the unity? And if we do so by declaring this . . . Star League Reborn false, then what does that say of the principles that we claim to hold so dear? We will be saying that we fear death and imprisonment and torture and we shall be like Peter and deny Christ three times before the cock crows.”

Leonard sat down suddenly. “How has it come to this? Is there no other way?”

“None which I can see,” said Nikolai. “I am committed—my Clan is committed—to this course of action. But you must make your own decision—will the Cloud Cobras live to serve the Star League Reborn, or will you remain a Clan of the Homeworlds and perish?”

Neither man said a word for nearly three full minutes, but at last Mark Steiner nodded. “We are with you. If you would set up that alternate comm rely—I have some orders that need to be passed.”

Natasha smiled. "I will join you in the comm center. I need to pass orders to my Stone Lions . . . and I think I will put my Potemkin under your command to help in this movement. I want it back, once you get to the Inner Sphere, though."

"That would help us much," Mark said with a firm nod.

Nikolai let out a sigh of relief. “Then I shall show to the com center at once, Khan Steiner. And I believe that both the First Lord of the Star League and Melissa Steiner-Davion will be very interested in speaking with you.”


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2012 9:33 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Shuttle SR-001, Zenith Jump Point
Blair Atholl, Clan Snow Raven Occupation Zone
March 16, 3044


Peter McKenna scrolled down to the next page of reports that he was reading as his shuttle craft transferred him between his Flagship and the next vessel on the inspection agenda for today. And then he frowned as shuttle began to accelerate and pull high-G evasive maneuvers.

“Pilot Malachi, wh-. . .”

“We are under attack, my Khan,” the pilot answered quickly. “Twenty-eight SLDF WarShips have just jumped into the system and are launching missiles.”

Peter jerked and he looked out of the porthole next to his seat just in time to see the salvo of capital missiles bore in on his flagship—his namesake, the battleship James McKenna, the very first of her class. A ship that had lived through the Amaris Coup and the Liberation of Terra and bleak years of the Exodus Fleet, and the Pentagon Civil War, and all of the many years of the Clans since. And his face went white as he felt the warmth of the thermonuclear explosions on his cheeks, even at this distance and the mighty battleship shattered into a million pieces of debris.

Then the Khan was pushed back into his seat by the force of the shuttle’s acceleration and he heard the pilots shouting about fights on their six—and that was the last thing Peter McKenna would ever hear again.


Field Headquarters of the ilKhan, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
March 16, 3044


Amanda Tseng watched as the face and body of her enemy assembled from photons of light in the holographic display. Anastasius Focht bowed politely, but his face was hard—he had lost an eye in battle and a black patch adorned with a silver Cameron Star covered the injury. She was certain it was a deliberate insult.

“I am Anastasius Focht, First Lord of the Star League. And you are?”

“Amanda Tseng, ilKhan of the Clans of Kerensky. I dispute your claim to the Throne of Ian Cameron, Anastasius Focht.”

“Frankly my dear, We do not give a damn whether or not you recognize Our station—the Lords of the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere have, all five of them. The Primus of ComStar has. And while they have not joined the Star League, the leaders of the Outworlds Alliance, the Magistracy of Canopus, and the Taurian Concordat have sent their ambassadors to the Court of the Star League in Unity City. We neither expect nor do We need your recognition of the station which We have been honored to assume.”

Amanda’s nostrils flared, but she held down her growing anger. “Then for what reason, pray tell, did you request this meeting?”

“On February 23rd of this year, Clan forces attacked a Fleet of JumpShips at the Zenith and Nadir points of Odessa. They pursued the ships and massacred them and their crews despite the fact that three quarters of them were civilians—and all of them were unarmed. Since your Invasion began, you have shown no regard for the sanctity of Our interstellar commerce; the Clans have seized JumpShips—which, while this angers Us, is permitted under the Laws of War. You have also destroyed some of those ships—which is NOT legal under the Laws of War. We have, until now, been patient; that patience is now exhausted.”

Amanda began to interrupt, “We do not recog-. . .”

“WE ARE NOT FINISHED!” thundered Focht and the ilKhan could see the seething anger in his eye for the first time. The First Lord of the Star League Reborn visibly collected himself and he nodded and continued in a calmer voice. “We will allow atrocities such as this to occur no more. Two hours ago, We received confirmation from the Star League Defense Force Fleet that the Fleet of Clan Snow Raven in the Blair Atholl system was annihilated in retaliation for your attack upon our JumpShips at Odessa. We, the First Lord of the Star League Reborn, authorized the use of nuclear anti-ship missiles in deep space to ensure that not ONE of your spacers—be they civilian or Warrior castes survived. None did.”

Amanda jerked in horror and her jaw dropped.

“Any future such attack upon our JumpShips—unarmed vessels for transport only—will receive the same response . . . and regardless of the Clan involved in the incident, We will target the ships of Clan Ghost Bear. And following that, the Diamond Sharks. And the Star Adders. And the Jade Falcons. Until either We run out of JumpShips or nuclear missiles or you run out of WarShips. There are 30,000 JumpShips in service in the Inner Sphere, ilKhan Tseng—how many WarShips are you willing to trade for them?”

She swayed on her feet, but before she could respond, Focht pressed forward. “Or, against Our better instincts, We are willing to consider the slate now even. However, if so much as ONE of Our JumpShips is molested in the future, if your WarShips engage Our transport DropShips carrying troops, then We will retaliate against you. And rest assured, We have far more nuclear warheads than you have WarShips—and We can build additional ones far faster than you can replace a single Corvette!”

“We will abstain from using these weapons on your troops on the surface of planets, ilKhan—but be warned, We will use them in space if you violate Our Laws of War again. We did not ask for this War; you chose to Invade Us. And you will find, to your horror, that this Invasion has served as the reason for Us to reunite the Star League of our Fore Fathers. As you have sown, so shall you reap.”

And before Amanda could say a single word, the transmission ended.


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:04 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Field Headquarters of the ilKhan, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 24, 3044


“You want my advice?” asked Nikolai after he took a sip of whiskey, reflecting upon the playback that Amanda Tseng had just finished showing him.

“That is why I summoned you here, quiaff?” She said quietly.

Nikolai sat up in his seat. “Follow your instincts, Ghost Bear,” he said solemnly. “Your Clan has a deserved reputation for caution, for not rushing in where angels fear to tread. That is not a quality that detracts from the Ghost Bears—it is one that other Clans and Khans should take as an example. At the moment, we are poised in a stalemate. The Clans cannot withdraw, they cannot attack, and they must defend the systems they have taken. At the same time, this atrocity at Odessa—as loathsome as it is with the massacre of civilians—has deprived the Lyran Commonwealth and the Federated Suns of the means to quickly attack you. Jaime Wolf needs time to recover his strength—and the Draconis Combine has been bled white.”

He smiled grimly at his closest friend among the Khans of Kerensky and he shook his head. “So be a Ghost Bear tomorrow. The winter is upon us and it is time to retire to our dens and hibernate—to recover our strength. Make them realize that the conclusion of this Invasion they wanted cannot be attained—and formally recognize the legitimacy of the Star League Reborn.”

He paused as Amanda gasped as though she was in pain. “I know. It is a hard thing, is it not? But we cannot deny the truth—this Star League has as much, or as little, legitimacy as that of Ian Cameron. And having done that, request a conference to hammer out a treaty between the Clans and the Star League—or failing an official peace treaty, an armistice or a truce. Make them—our fellow Khans—accept it, and whether it is a permanent treaty or a truce that expires in a decade, use that time wisely to fortify these worlds and build up your strength, so when—not if, but when—this War starts anew, the Clans have a chance of survival. Which means devoting industry back home to producing more surface to orbit weapons and constructing batteries on the surface of our planets—or copying those defense satellites that the Kuritas used so infuriatingly at Luthien to stymie the Jaguars. Or both.”

“If you can force Focht and Davion and Steiner and Kurita to give you ten years, fifteen would be better, and you spend that time wisely—NO conceivable force will serve to remove you from the territories you have won. And you will have to reduce the garrisons in the Homeworlds to the barest minimum—bringing forward nearly all of our fighting touman. Leaving just garrison Clusters and perhaps a Galaxy per Clan of second-line forces to hold our worlds there. The Clans must transition to become part of the Inner Sphere once again; we cannot and must not remain outsiders.”

“All but abandon our Homeworlds, Nikolai?”

“These worlds, these two hundred and thirty-one worlds that we have conquered in the name in the Clans comprise just a tenth that of the Star League Reborn, Amanda Tseng. One tenth the number of worlds they hold. Less than a tenth of the population and industry they are capable of. But it is still five times what we hold in the Kerensky Cluster, the Pentagon, and the Tanite worlds combined. With twenty times the population and an industrial capacity—not realized, squandered, but there beneath the surface for anyone with vision to see—a potential industrial capacity such as we could only dream of back home. The bounty of these worlds in resources—the ability to live without having to terra-form, the existence of clean water to drink; how many of our people in the Homeworlds would kill for this?”

“These worlds are the future of the Clans, ilKhan and Ghost Bear. You are in Paradise, although Terra remains out of your grasp—for now. What now happens in this, your Garden of Eden, is up to you, Amanda. Will you see the Clans cast out by force—because if there is no treaty, the Star League will be ready in as little as three, perhaps four years time? Or will you bring the War to an end—and give your people a Home?”

Nikolai stood. “That is my advice Ghost Bear—be a Ghost Bear in truth on the morrow. Victory does not always come from the barrel of a gun . . . sometimes, victory and triumph are overlooked in the shadow of what we have not yet accomplished. But I ask of you, by any reasonable appraisal and analysis, is not what the Clans now hold worthy of being called a victory?

“Be a Ghost Bear, ilKhan. And save your Clans.”

Nikolai finished his whiskey, and he came to attention and saluted Amanda smartly, before pivoting on his heel and leaving her office. Alone with her thoughts as she considered deeply his words.


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 4:56 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Goliath Scorpion Field Headquarters, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 24, 3044


Nelson Elam, Natasha Kerensky, Aidan Pryde, Mark Steiner, and Leonard Eaker stood, glasses in hand, as Nikolai raised his own crystal tumbler, and recited from memory. “Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Star League!”

“THE LEAGUE!”

“I give you the First Lord!”

“THE FIRST LORD!”

“And the Star League Defense Force. Long may it defend with honor, strive for justice, and keep the peace.”

“SEYLA!”

All six drained their glasses and threw them into the fireplace.

Nikolai met their eyes calmly. “Operation Destiny is hereby authorized—pass the word, your forces are in place and will lift immediately after the start of the Grand Kurultai.”

Mark Steiner frowned. “The start? Nikolai, we will be missed.”

“Neg. You will attend electronically—from the bridges of your flagships. I will remain in person.”

Each of the others jerked and Natasha shook her head. “Nikolai, what are you talking about? This was not part of the plan.”

“I know. But I must be there for the Council of Khans tomorrow. There is one last duty that I must perform to ensure that our Clans—all of the Clans—survive. And I cannot perform that duty via a hologram.”

Nelson nodded slowly and then he whispered, “They will kill you, my Khan.”

“Death is lighter than a feather, but duty is heavier than the mountains. Lead my Scorpions well, Nelson—and live your life in a manner that would make Aleksandyr Kerensky himself proud to call you one of his Chosen Few. Natasha Kerensky—you are the elder amongst us. I hereby charge you to take command of this Operation. Jaime Wolf trusts you in a manner that he does not trust me—with you at the head of Operation Destiny, it is more likely by far that our three Clans will survive.”

Natasha nodded and she held out her hand. “Nikolai—it has been a rare honor to know you. Take some of your enemies down into Hell with you before you go tomorrow.”

“You can rest assured of that, Khan Kerensky.”

“God be with you, Khan Djerassi,” added Mark. “I will pray for you—and for success for our Clans.”

“I welcome the spiritual aid—perhaps He might send his angels to save me from the fire,” Nikolai said with a laugh.

“Somehow, I doubt that, Khan Djerassi—but I will pray for you this very night and on the morrow as well, regardless.”

One by one, the Khans filed out of the office, until only Nelson was left. “There are no battles left to fight here, Nikolai,” the junior Khan said quietly. “You do not have to do this.”

“Yes. Yes, I do, Nelson. And there is a battle shaping up for the Council tomorrow—one which I must steer to the end so that our trothkin who remain might survive as well. Has the navigational data to the Exodus Road been purged from all ships?”

“Aff, my Khan. Scorpion, Lion, and Cobra—those within the Inner Sphere at least. The others will do so once they complete their voyage.”

“Good. The Scorpions are yours now—lead them well, Nelson Elam. Lead them home. And for my final order . . . once the Grand Kurultai has opened its doors, transmit to the ilKhan my final address to the Council. She will make it public.”

“Aff, my Khan.”

And Nelson turned on his heel and left Nikolai alone in an empty building, the Last Scorpion to remain on Memmingen.


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Field Headquarters of the ilKhan, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 25, 3044


The utter destruction of the Raven Fleet at Blair Atholl—and the death of Khan McKenna—had been every bit as shocking as Nikolai had hoped. The assembled Khans were sober, some were . . . well, they were frightened, although any accusing them of such would have been slain in an instant. They remained frightened, however, and the haughty nature of the Khans had drained from the chamber like the atmosphere from an airlock opened to space.

Amanda stood on the dais below and she confirmed the report again with a swift nod of her head. “We have gone as far as we can go at this time, my Khans,” she said into the stillness quietly. “For the good of the Clans as a whole—Operation Revival is now ended.”

A low moan came up from the Khans, but the ilKhan steeled her face. “I will contact First Lord Focht at the conclusion of this meeting, and request a conference to hammer out the terms of a treaty between us and the Star League.”

The assembled Khans blinked once, and then twice, and then a dozen or more were on their feet yelling. “IT IS THE ONLY WAY!” thundered back the ilKhan, and the Khans slowly subsided, but many remained standing in defiance. “We must see to our defenses and seek terms to end this War before we lose everything we have gained. If we do not, our new resources and population and industries and worlds on which to expand will mean nothing. All of our losses will have been in vain. And it will be a century before we can once again assemble the strength to come back,” she finished flatly.

“Khan Howell, do you think a century will pass before this new Star League finds us? Khan Black do you not realize that our HPG relay chain was deliberately severed? On our side of the vast gulf between us and the Homeworlds? That is why communications are down—Star League scouts could even now be spreading out and searching for our Homeworlds. We must keep their attention here; we must remain here, and to do that—we must, for now, have peace.”

The Khan of the Blood Spirits, Helen Schmidt rose to her feet. “You are ilKhan—you are neither dictator nor First Lord. I demand a vote.”

“And then a vote you shall have,” Amanda said. She sat and Loremaster of the Clans Charles Bragg stood in her place.

“The question is thus: will the Clans of Kerensky end this Invasion and seek a peace treaty with the Star League? A vote of aye will support the ilKhan’s plan—a vote of nay will oppose it. Clan Blood Spirit?”

Helen Schmidt stood. “We both vote nay, Loremaster,” her saKhan James Carmichael staring sullenly at the ilKhan with a furious expression.

“Clan Cloud Cobra?”

The electronic image of Mark Steiner and Leonard Eaker flickered and they exchanged a few words. “Two votes for aye—it is the only sane proposal.”

“Clan Coyote?”

Pavel Kerensky and his saKhan Simon Kufahl—a well known Crusader—argued for a moment. Then he sadly turned to face the ilKhan. “The Coyotes are divided today. One Aye and one nay.”

“Clan Diamond Shark?”

Olivia Sutherland stood and her face was ashen. “The Sharks cannot and will not accept our treating with this False Star League as equals. Nay, Loremaster—twice.” Her saKhan Peter Hammond hung his head and refused to meet Amanda’s eyes.

“Clan Ghost Bear?”

Grace Kabrinski stood and she stood proud. “Loremaster, both I and saKhan Erik Jorgensson vote aye and we stand with our ilKhan.”

“Clan Goliath Scorpion?”

Nikolai stood and he bowed deeply. “Aye, Loremaster. The guns should fall silent so that we might rebuild.” And the image of Nelson beside him nodded his own assent.

“Clan Hell’s Horses?”

Jake Fletcher rose to his feet. “We have sacrificed too much—lost too many good Warriors to surrender now! saKhan Raphael Mendoza and I both vote Nay.”

“Clan Ice Hellion?”

“Need you ask, Loremaster?” said Emma Drake with a slight smile, as Robert Taney barked out a single note of a laugh. “Nay and Nay.”

“Clan Jade Falcon?”

Martha Pryde and Michael von Jankmon conferred for a moment and then she stood. “They are as exhausted as we—and I cannot believe that they would carry through with this threat. The Falcons vote Nay in unanimity.”

“Clan Nova Cat?”

Marius West rose and he gazed across the assembly—stopping at Nikolai and he nodded. “We agree with the ilKhan—but our vision requires that we oppose this.”

“Clan Smoke Jaguar?”

Brandon Howell stood. “A temporary halt, yes. We must. Negotiating with the False Star League—NAY. Two nays, ilKhan.” Sarah Weaver did not move, but her face showed complete agreement with her Khan.

“Clan Snow Raven?”

An anguished Joan McKenzie stood alone, Peter McKenna’s empty seat beside her. “NAY. Not while those who used atomic weapons on my Khan live!”

“Clan Star Adder?”

Marion Truscott arose, and his face twisted. “ilKhan, I cannot agree with you. Were I this Focht, I would not give us time to breath—he will use this negotiations as a ploy and destroy us when we are most vulnerable. saKhan N’Buta and I vote nay.”

“Clan Steel Viper?”

Thomas Black and Paul Masters did not confer, but then they did not need too. “NAY!” the Khan hissed so sibilantly it sounded like his totem.

“Clan Stone Lion?”

“Aidan Pryde and I vote Aye, Loremaster,” the image of Natasha Kerensky said sadly. “And I wish I were there in person.”

“Clan Wolf?”

Ulric Kerensky stood, Marianne Vickers at his side. “We vote Aye.”

“Then by a vote of 13 Ayes and 18 Nays, the motion fails to carry and ilKhan’s proposal is . . .”

“HOLD!” barked Nikolai Djerassi as he stood, casting aside the scorpion mask he wore to the center of the well. “I demand a Trial of Refusal—and bid myself and myself alone!”

Every Khan’s head snapped around to stare at Nikolai, some smiling in appreciation and others in shock and anger.

“Khan Djerassi, the odds against you are 1.81 to 1, which under the Martial Code since a single Point is fighting this trial—is made 2 to 1 against. And by demanding a Trial of Refusal on a matter that affects the Clans as a whole, one in which your Clan held an equal and binding vote, I hereby declare as the Loremaster of the Clans, by my right under Article XIV, Section Seven, Clause Three of the Marital Code of Nicholas Kerensky that such a Trial of Refusal is against the interest of the Clans—and increase the odds accordingly to a value of 3 to 1 against,” the Ice Hellion Loremaster said with a smile.

“So be it.”

Marion Truscott took a step forward. "Loremaster, 14-7-3 has not been invoked in more than century! And it dealt with a third-party Clan intervening in a dispute between two other Clans! It has not been used since!"

Charles Bragg shrugged. "I am the Loremaster of the Clans . . . my rulings on the Martial Code cannot be questioned, nor can they be made the subject of a Trial of Refusal, as you well know."

"And you should know that I will demand of you a Trial of Grievance for your abuse of power here today . . . and that I will kill you."

Nikolai smiled. "Calmly, Marion," he said. "Three to one odds are fine with me."

Amanda stood. “We will set a time and location for this trial and recon- . . .”

“Begging the ilKhan’s pardon—but there is no time like the present and no better location than here, before witnesses that none can dispute. Unless those who voted Nay refuse to face me? And thus forfeit their vote!”

Emma Drake shook her head in barely controlled fury. “Neg, Scorpion. None here refuse to face you—none here lack the honor to kill you. But it is to the challenged to choose the means of combat.”

“’Mechs, unarmed, melee weapons, it matters not to me, Ice Hellion. Choose your weapons and let us resolve this now!”

Marion Truscott stood a third time . . . and he shook his head. “May we have a short recess to decide which Khans will face Khan Djerassi and the manner of our combat?” he asked the ilKhan.

“So granted!” Amanda said as she slammed down the gavel.


Last edited by master arminas on Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:09 pm 
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Stratego
Stratego

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 10855
Location: Ft. Hood Texas
Interesting twists...I would have expected the Sharks to be willing to stop and go after new markets, or even the Ravens would show some pause after their loses. Then again the temper tantrums being thrown by the Hellions is about normal.

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Darkness is a friend of mine. Sometimes I have to beat it back, or it would overwhelm me. Shirley Meier

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:31 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Field Headquarters of the ilKhan, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 25, 3044


“ilKhan,” Marion Truscott said. “We have decided to accept Khan Djerassi’s challenge—here and now; augmented only with a melee weapon worn to the Grand Kurultai.”

Amanda nodded gravely. “And whom shall defend the decision?”

“Khan Thomas Black, Khan Brandon Howell, and Khan Jake Fletcher,” the Adder replied with a slight bow. All three nodded one by one at the ilKhan and Amanda sighed.

“So be it. As befitting my station as ilKhan, I have undertaken recently to study in detail the precedents and regulations concerning this office. Therefore, I hereby invoke my privilege, in the case of Trials between Khans, to set the terms and conditions of said Trials. The odds are three-to-one, but the combat will be sequential, not simultaneous. There are no appeals.”

She glared at the Loremaster, but Bragg did not say a word.

“Khan Djerassi, are you prepared?”

“Aff.”

“And the defending Khans?”

“Aff, my Khan,” answered Marion. “In sequence it will be Khan Black, Khan Howell, and Khan Fletcher.”

“Then we shall reassemble on the Quad, where the Khans of the Clans of Kerensky will form a Circle of Equals with the Ebon Keshik—a circle into which four Khans will enter . . . and at least one will die.”


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:23 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Field Headquarters of the ilKhan, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 25, 3044


Thick clouds hung low overhead, the lights adjacent to the cobblestoned walkways springing to life one after the next as the distant storm began to blow in. From the windows of buildings all around, shocked faces of students and faculty were pressed against the glass, witnesses to a ritual combat to the death the likes of which they had only read about in anthropology texts.

The Khans and saKhans, the Elementals of the Ebon Keshik, the ilKhan and her Loremaster formed a circle surrounding the rich green, closely cropped grass, in the center of which stood Nikolai Djerassi. The ranks parted and a lumbering Elemental Warrior entered the Circle of Equals. Thomas Black, Khan of the Steel Vipers, who held in his right hand a short metal club.

Without a word he charged in, but Nikolai darted to one side, avoiding the lethal swing of club; he drew his zulkari in the same motion and scored a hit across the back of the Viper’s hand, making his drop the weapon. Thomas bellowed and he closed faster than a man of his bulk should have been able, taking cuts on his arms as he grabbed Nikolai and squeezed him hard—and the spectators could hear the snapping of several of the Scorpion ribs.

Nikolai dropped the blade and he put his hands on the temples of Thomas as the Viper tightened his grip—and then both of the Scorpion’s thumbs plunged into Thomas’s eyes and the Khan of the Vipers screamed, releasing his bear hug as he staggered back with the moisture of his ruptured eyeballs dripping down his checks. Nikolai held one arm tight against his chest and lifted the weapon and he charged into the blind Khan, plunging the zulkari deep into first his right kidney, and then his left—and as Thomas Black sank to his knees in agony, he slit the Viper’s throat from ear to ear.

Brandon Howell entered the Circle and the Jaguar slowly advanced as he gauged his enemy. Both he and Nikolai were MechWarriors—but he was fresh and Thomas Black had hurt his opponent badly. He drew a long dirk, as the Scorpion stumbled and crawled back to his feet—holding the Viper’s club in one hand and the zulkari, the curved knife that the Scorpion’s were so fond of, in the other.

The two men began to circle each other, but Brandon Howell was cautious and careful, and he just kept circling, waiting until Nikolai’s injuries would drain him of all his strength. And then instead of waiting, the Scorpion attacked in a blur of motion that belied his wounds, the club and zulkari sweeping down towards Howell—but the Jaguar was ready for that and he sprang to one side—and gasped as the perfectly thrown zulkari struck him in the neck, severing the carotid, the jugular, and Howell's windpipe. Nikolai did not hesitate, he charged in and smashed the club into Howell’s skull, breaking it, and then he dropped the crude weapon and grimaced in agony as he bent over and lifted the Jaguars dirk and wrenched his zulkari from the corpse.

Jake Fletcher entered the Circle and he shook his head. “Give it up, Nikolai—the medics are here. They can patch those wounds if you quit now. Two Khans in one day—that must be a record.”

Nikolai coughed and Jake gave him a moment to recover—the back of the Scorpion’s hand came away covered in blood. “I thank you for the courtesy, Khan Fletcher,” Nikolai grunted. “But I mean to win today—surrender and you will live.”

“Neg. Do not make me kill you, old friend,” the Horse said as two kept circling . . . and now they were close enough together that Nikolai could whisper and rest assured that no others could hear. “Khan Fletcher, did you wonder why my saKhan, why the Lions, why Cobras were absent today?”

“Aff,” Jake answered slowly. “I wondered.’

“They were absent because I have sent them away—to swear their allegiance to the Star League from which our Founders came.”

And Jake’s face went white with shock, his jaw dropped open, his eyes grew wide. He shook his head in denial. “Jest not with me, Scorpion!”

“It is the truth, Horse. And if this invasion continues, then your Clan will fight mine as it defends the Star League Reborn.”

Jake gave a howl towards the heaven’s and he stared at Nikolai in absolute horror. “I considered you my brother!” he roared.

“Then come brother, let us end this,” the Scorpion said with another raking cough—and Jake charged, but Nikolai had feigned the cough and he side-stepped the Horse slashing both blades against his face. Jake pivoted and he slashed wildly left and right as Nikolai parried, but then the Scorpions ankle twisted beneath him and both men fell.

The crowed was hushed and neither of the fighters moved, but then Nikolai rolled Jake over—Howell’s dirk protruding from the center of his chest. The Scorpion turned his head to one side and vomited blood upon the grass and Amanda closed her eyes as she saw the cut that stretched from one hip up and across the stomach to the lower rib-cage that Jake’s own knife had carved, the gaping wound gushing blood and intestines and internal organs.

Then she forced them open and she walked out onto the quad, along with the Loremaster and a medic. Blood bubbled on Nikolai’s lips and he gestured at her with the fingers of one hand. The ilKhan knelt on the green grass stained with the sanguine flow of four Khans, and she leaned in close to Nikolai as he whispered.

“Remember,” he coughed and then gasped for breath. And then he whispered “All I did, was for our survival as a peop-. . .” and his voice trailed off, his eyes closed, and the medic shook her head.

Amanda arose and she faced her Khans with no emotion on her face. “Khan Djerassi has won his Trial. The vote is overturned—and we will have peace.”


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Tue Aug 07, 2012 11:35 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 759
Location: Hope Mills, NC
seyla another great warrior has passed. Sad as I realy liked him.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:16 am 
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Stratego
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Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 10855
Location: Ft. Hood Texas
Well played, he fought and earned his victory. Indeed his loss will hurt both sides. He was not one to go out without showing his full measure. I too found his character to be interesting and had come to regard him as excellent showing of the Clans as a whole.

_________________
Karagin-

Darkness is a friend of mine. Sometimes I have to beat it back, or it would overwhelm me. Shirley Meier

[url]http://karagin12.livejournal.com/[/url]

The Wookiee, he's not wearing any pants!

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
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Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Epilogue

“While the events set in motion by the Clan Invasion of 3043-3044 have still yet to fully play out in the Inner Sphere, a few things are certain: the end of the Successions and the rebirth of the Star League chief among them. To understand how this came to be we must examine the state of affairs as they existed in the Inner Sphere at the end of the 4th Succession War and the impact of the news that the Star League Defense Force of Aleksandyr Kerensky had survived wrought upon the leaders of the Five Great Houses. We must look at the events which took place in the Clan Homeworlds leading to the decision to Invade the Inner Sphere—and we must acknowledge that it was the impetus of those Clans that forced the warring Great Houses to set aside their differences and unite.”

“This volume has been difficult to write. The wounds and heartache of the Invasion War have receded over the past decade, although they have not vanished. Many of our people still grieve for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost in this War; still others refuse to accept that the Clans have been part and parcel of our society, exchanging ideas and traditions and customs as we slowly learn to accept each other for who and what we are. We have seen this in the movement to settle disputes in ‘clean combat’ eerily similar to Clan trials and honor duels, inspired by the Three Clans which serve as part of our new Star League Defense Force.”

“And yet, there are new warning signs on the horizon, as tensions have once again begun to rise. Not all are willing to forget and to forgive the costs of the war—in people and in treasure and in planets. Separatist movements have gained strength, led by the Federation of Skye, but now spread to all five of the Great Houses. These movements call for a renunciation of the Star League Reborn—and a new war to drive out the Clan invaders. And on the Clan side of the Treaty Zone, calls from the new generation of Warriors are also made, calls for a march anew upon Terra.”

“Wiser heads have so far prevailed, but if the history of mankind teaches us one thing, it is that if humanity has a choice between an action that is wise and well-considered and one that is foolish but emotionally charged, we will many times (but not all) respond with our emotions.”

—Misha Auburn, Author’s Introduction to The Dragon, The Fox, the Scorpion, and the Wolf: A Parable for Our Modern Age Tharkad Free Press (3053)


The Guns Fall Silent . . .

To say that the Clans of Kerensky were furious at the defection of the Cloud Cobras, Goliath Scorpions, and Stone Lions was a massive understatement. The farewell address of Nikolai Djerassi to the Grand Council was met with utter disbelief at his breaking of the unity—but it was the stalwart nature of the ilKhan, supported by Khan Kerensky of Clan Wolf (a Warden), and Khan Truscott of Clan Star Adder (a Crusader) who managed to channel that outrage, anger, and fear into a consensus to forge a peace treaty with the Star League. Not even the most ardent Crusader Khan could continue to insist on resuming the Invasion—for the odds had shifted dramatically against the Invading Clans.

That consensus did not stop the Clans from holding a Trial of Abjuration in absentia against the Cloud Cobras, Goliath Scorpions, and Stone Lions, however. With a unanimous vote of all the remaining Clans, they stripped the defectors of their rights as part of the Clans under the Martial Code—declaring them bandits and outlaws, forever exiled from the unity of which they had once been part. It was, in practice, a formality, nothing more—and then communications were at last reestablished with the Homeworlds.

The true depths of the planning for Operation Destiny was revealed—and the Invaders were distraught at the lack of isorla awaiting them. The Scorpion holdings had already been handed over; the Stone Lions had been absorbed piece by piece—but the handful of former Mandrills who survived made for a poor haul. And the Cobras had stripped their worlds of all usable military supplies; civilians they gained in vast numbers, but the every volatile Tanite Worlds erupted in rebellion and it would take the Adders, Falcons, and Jaguars ten years to once again subjugate those worlds to Clan rule.

A call was made to Reave the genetic legacies of the defectors—but the Invaders were unable to acquire the unanimous decision to make it a reality. In the meantime, the Ravens—their Fleet in the Inner Sphere annihilated—laid claim to the naval caches of the defectors, and the ilKhan granted that claim.

Talks between First Lord Focht and ilKhan Tseng took place between March of 3044 and August of that same year. And then, on September 4, 3044, the two leaders met in person on the surface of Tukayyid. Bearing witness to the Signing of the Treaty of Tukayyid were the Primus of ComStar, all five Lords of the Great Houses, the Commanding General of the SLDF and his Fleet Admiral, the three Khans of the Loyal Clans, the thirteen Khans of the Invaders, and the leaders of the three major periphery states.

The Treaty was a compromise which fully satisfied no one—but in the end, the desire to put an end to this War proved too great to resist. Melissa Steiner and Takashi Kurita accepted—not easily, but they accepted—the loss of many worlds; and since the remnants of the Free Rasalhague Republic had no leader, no army, and no moral remaining to them, they split the as yet free worlds of that once-proud realm between them in partial compensation.

And as part of the Treaty, the Invaders insisted upon a clause that not one member of the Clans which defected would be permitted to set foot on Terra, a clause to which the First Lord and the Primus both agreed.

As the borders were ironed out, and the agreements prepared, the Clans and the Great Houses began to use each other to keep their troops honed for action. Abiding by the rules of Clan Trials, minor skirmishes took place on the border worlds—nothing major, but each honorable combat, tried according to the Clans own rules of zellbrigen slowly began to gain respect for their opponents in the heart and soul of the Clan Warriors.

Trade began to resume, and work—mighty work—began within the Treaty Zone to industrialize their worlds and transform them into high-tech paradises. Of course, some Clans succeeded at this more than others. The Sharks and Ravens were stunned when they were informed by the First Lord that Khan Nelson Elam would return their Potemkins and Monoliths which Nikolai had leased—and slowly, oh so slowly—the Invaders began to once again talk with their cousins serving the Star League.

Ryan Steiner, as Melissa had predicted, was furious at the sudden loss of seven of his worlds to the Loyal Clans—and in October of 3044, he organized a force of mercenaries and Skye troops to drive them out, declaring his independence from the Lyran Commonwealth—but not the Star League. First Lord Focht was disinclined to award his duplicity, and both he and Melissa Steiner-Davion decided to allow the Loyal Clans to answer for them. Khan Kerensky met his forces with Clusters from all three Clans and handily repulsed him—and in December of that same year, Star Colonel Jason Scott killed Ryan on Skye, bringing the overt rebellion to an end.

The people of the Asta Union, although initially at odds with their new rulers, quickly discovered that these Clans were different. These Clans intended to build a nation—not condemn them to castes. Industries and factories demolished in the long years of the Succession Wars were rebuilt; atmospheric processors were erected on four worlds to cleanse the tainted atmospheres, the standard of living of the people within the Asta Union soon rivaled that of the Old Hegemony.

But not all within the Star League Reborn was well although no one at the time was aware of the rising threat.


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:32 pm 
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General
General

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Unknown Location
Somewhere in the Inner Sphere
December 27, 3044


The fifth and final member of the Cabal entered the stone chamber shielded against all possible means of detection; his black robes obscuring much of his body, the hood covering his face. He stood at his seat and nodded at the four who waited for his arrival, and then on cue, the turned to the wall—the wall were no seat was set at the table, and they saluted the emblem of the Wolverines as one.

Then they sat, and they lowered their hoods, revealing not only the flesh of their faces and the many shaded eyes and hues of hair—but polished metal, a glowing red sensor over one eye, and bio-neural interfaces woven into the skin and bone.

“We are betrayed—again, brothers,” One said without preamble.

“Our so-called leaders have failed—agreeing to this Treaty of Tukayyid with the Clans. Primus York has betrayed the Blood—General Hallis has failed in his role as commander of the 331st,” added Two sourly.

“We planned for this contingency,” Three said with a shrug. “It is not unforeseen, although it remains unfortunate. Still—they now have our ships and the 331st Royal Division as part of their ‘Star League Reborn’ . . . a Star League that includes Mad Nikki’s Clans among their number.”

“Some of our ships, sister,” Four corrected. “The ones that they are aware of—and while the they have the 331st and the Blood faithfully following them on Terra, they have no clue of our sibling training companies on the Hidden.”

“It will take time to train and outfit the sibling companies,” Five said with a sigh. “And to complete the construction of the new Fleet—incorporating these new weapons our scientists have developed.” He smiled grimly. “The firepower that mere DropShips will have will change the balance of power in our favor, brethren.”

“That may be,” answered One. “But it will still take time to raise the Army we need—to provide the equipment, all the while remaining in the shadows, unknown to our enemies.”

“Fifteen years? Twenty? If we are speaking that length of time,” Three said with a hungry grin, “we can quadruple the size of our sibkos and stand ready to field twenty—perhaps even thirty—Divisions. Proper SLDF Divisions, not that ComStar nonsense.”

“Which will not be enough—not if we fail to decapitate every power simultaneously,” said Four. “We must prepare ourselves for the task ahead. To save the Inner Sphere, we must remove their rulers—and their most fanatical followers.”

“And the Clans—both the Invaders and these so-called ‘Loyal Clans’ both,” spat Two.

Five smiled and it was a cold harsh smile. “We will not forget them, I assure you.” He stood. “WOLVERINES! FOREVER!”

“FOREVER!” barked the others as they jumped to their feet.


Last edited by master arminas on Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:38 pm 
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Major General
Major General

Joined: Sat Sep 15, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 759
Location: Hope Mills, NC
Bravo, Bravo: Take a bow MA for you well deserve it. :toast:

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Trueborn Warrior

Pain heals, Chicks dig scars but GLORY lasts forever!!!!!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 1:54 pm 
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Lieutenant General

Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 3:54 pm
Posts: 615
Location: Springfield, Illinois
Loved the story and look forward to seeing how and what the Wolverines are up to. Just wondered have you a map of what the inner spree would look like in your story. Again, awesome story!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:20 pm
Posts: 1201
Location: Hattiesburg, MS
Well, ladies and gentlemen. This concludes Scorpio Ascendant. I hope that you have enjoyed the ride and that I managed to tell a story that you have enjoyed. It diverged greater from my original concept, but thanks to all of your suggestions, I think we came up with a good tale. Thank you all for reading and commenting. Until next time,

MA

PS: Diomede, if you are a member over at OurBattleTech.com (free to join), a member (Blacknova) made a series of PDF maps for the story. They are on page 27 of the story itself in the Canon Inspired sub-forum. You cannot see them if you are not a member, but members can download them. They show Wave I, Wave II, Wave III, and Wave IV. He hasn't done one yet for the final boundaries of the Treaty of Tukayyid, and it might be awhile before he does.

MA


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant
PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:04 pm 
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Stratego
Stratego

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 10855
Location: Ft. Hood Texas
I will be heading over to check them out...damn good story. Like I said, every day I was checking twice if not more to see if you had updated things. I found it to be a good following of events and things made more sense and had the feel of what people do, no good vs evil. Just plain old everyone is out for themselves and those they trust. On both sides.

Hope to see more in this setting in the future.

_________________
Karagin-

Darkness is a friend of mine. Sometimes I have to beat it back, or it would overwhelm me. Shirley Meier

[url]http://karagin12.livejournal.com/[/url]

The Wookiee, he's not wearing any pants!

[img]http://www.heavymetalpro.com/countries/mil-army.gif[/img]


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