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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2002 8:00 pm
Posts: 529
"When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.”
-Bertolt Brecht


Battletech: New Horizons

From the personal logs of Illarion Volkov IV, December 23, 3018:

The Third Succession War is finally, inexorably, grinding to a halt. After two hundred years of war the untold billions of dead have bought only a few small changes on a map. Given a choice, the Successor States would no doubt continue to war with each other. But they no longer can... so much is gone. So much has been lost. Nearly all the glories of the past age have been drowned in fire and blood. There is almost nothing left to fight over, and almost nothing left to fight with.

On the edge of the Periphery, a single world endures. Oh, to have seen Horizon at its height! Once, great caravans of Jumpships flowed through the Horizon star system. Steiner, Kurita, Rim Worlder, and many others too, they all came here. Horizon, the bustling gateway to the Great Periphery, home to over a billion souls, and the crown jewel of the Apollo province. How it rivaled Apollo itself in its prosperity and grandeur!

Yet nothing lasts forever. One day our so-called king went quite, quite mad, slaughtered the Cameron line, and declared himself Emperor. The Star League Army came to the Republic, extracted its vengeance, and then left. Defenseless, most of the core Republic worlds were soon annexed by the Lyrans. The Rim Worlds Republic, the real Rim Worlds, a proud nation that had endured for centuries, disappeared like a breath on a cold morning. May Amaris rot in hell!

A few dozen Republic systems were orphaned, left to wither on their own. Horizon was among these, and found itself quite alone indeed. And yet, all might not have been lost, for even on its own Horizon could survive. That hope was nearly extinguished when the entire Inner Sphere erupted into unrestrained warfare on December 12, 2786. For on that day, the Jumpships stopped coming.

The first ten years were the most difficult. Left to its own natural processes, Horizon's climate tends to run cool and dry in the warmer seasons and frigidly cold in the winters. The complete disruption of interstellar commerce meant that spare parts to maintain the world's atmospheric stabilizers could no longer be easily acquired. After the factories themselves were destroyed in 2815, such parts could no longer be obtained at all. As the world slowly reverted to its harsher natural state, many millions died from starvation, exposure, lack of medical care, and frequent raids from mutinuous Inner Sphere units fleeing into the Periphery. For a time the government of Horizon appeared to be on the brink of total collapse. Order was maintained only by instituting brutal martial law in the remaining food-producing regions and a few of the most important cities. In a reflection of what had happened to the lost worlds of the Republic, most other areas of the planet were left to fend for themselves. When all was said and done, nearly 90 percent of Horizon's population perished in those first few years. May Saint Andrew shepherd their souls, for our very survival is a gift from God.

Eventually, the Jumpships started to trickle in again. Even though the Lyrans and the Dracs were mortal enemies, the system's location just spinward of Star's End meant that Horizon could still serve as an indirect means for the major powers to trade with each other, much as they had before. Horizon also possesses the only functioning jump recharge station within 2 jumps in any direction. Yet no longer do a dozen Jumpships arrive every day. For how could they, when the majority of Jumpships were destroyed during the Succession Wars? Across the entire Inner Sphere, the pitiful handful of replacement Jumpships cobbled together from spare parts and salvage each year cannot even keep up with the losses that occur from routine operation! Now, the Horizon system is considered busy if more than one jumpship arrives in the same week. And yet, most other Periphery worlds count themselves fortunate if they are serviced by a monthly Comstar mail courier. Those that aren't might be visited by a free trader once every year or less. There are even rumors of worlds beyond the Elysian Fields that have been cut off from outside contact since the Succession Wars started, and as a result have regressed to a pre-industrial state... or worse.

Rimward of the Horizon system, the Lyran Alliance and the Draconis Combine are barely able to muster sufficient assets for company-sized Battlemech raids, and a battalion-sized assault is considered a rare and major operation. Relations with the Draconis Combine have noticeably cooled as of late. There have been rumblings of a new independence movement within the Rasalhague Prefecture, and their attention had been diverted inward. If true, this would be a very favorable development for Horizon. As for House Steiner... well, as long as they continue to feel that there is more profit in just leaving us alone, we will maintain that status quo.

Coreward of Horizon, the ashen remains of the Apollo Province's abandoned systems have fitfully coalesced into a handful of small Periphery states and Bandit kingdoms. In the current day, this region is collectively known as The Barrens. Currently, the pirates of Butte Hold (Redjack Ryan), the Greater Valkyrate (Maria Morgraine), and Santander's World (Helmar Valasek) all pose a severe threat to Horizon's welfare. In any other century, any one of these groups would be considered exceptionally savage. Yet of the three, Redjack Ryan is singularly renowned for his rapacious cruelty. It is a sobering reality that each of these cancerous pirate bands individually possess more battlemechs than Horizon does itself. However, Horizon has generally managed to remain an unappetizing target by maintaining a large and well motivated conventional armor and infantry force.

Meanwhile the nearby Belt Pirates (currently led by Morgan Fletcher) have all but ceased raiding in recent years. Evidently it has been far more profitable for them to make their Star League-era ship repair yard available for commerical use. Rumor stands that they are even capable of producing new Jumpships, but this seems unlikely.

Further coreward exists the Oberon Confederation and its protectorate, the Elysian Fields. The Oberon Confederation has recently been rebranding itself from a bandit kingdom into a legitimate Periphery state, and they have been largely successful in doing so. Relations between Horizon and the Confederation are currently cordial, although an offer for Horizon to join the Confederation's sphere of influence was politely rebuffed. Further coreward from the Oberon Confederation exist the Chainelane Isles. However, these worlds, backward even by Periphery standards, seem to have little interest in anything that does not involve fighting each other and have little to offer to outsiders.

Far into the Deep Periphery exists the Hanseatic League. Little is known about this secretive and distant nation. Although Horizon has no official contact with the Hansa government, their Jumpships are frequently seen in the Horizon system.


FACT SHEET: Horizon, aka the Kingdom of Horizon (Independent World)

Image

Star Type (Recharge Time): K3V (194 hours)
Position in System: 2nd planet
Time to Jump Point: 4.62 days
Number of Satellites: 2
Surface Gravity: .91
Atm. Pressure: Standard (Breathable)
Habitable Band Temperature: 19° Celsius (Cool-Temperate)
Surface Water: 52 percent
Recharging Station: Zenith
HPG Class Type: None
Highest Native Life: Avian
Population: 140,000,000

USILR Codes:
Technological Sophistication: C
Industrial Development: C
Industrial Output: C
Agricultural Dependence: A
Raw Material Dependence: B

Exports: Agricultural goods, metallurgical goods, small arms, military vehicles.
Imports: Luxury items, consumer goods, medical equipment, advanced military equipment.

_________________
New Horizons Battletech campaign homepage: http://www.heavymetalpro.com/forums/vie ... 10&t=22137

The Expanse Battletech campaign homepage (currently defunct): http://www.heavymetalpro.com/forums/vie ... hp?t=17910


Last edited by CavGunner on Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:20 am, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:16 pm 
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Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General

Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2002 8:00 pm
Posts: 529
“Allies? Let me tell you something, sir. For two hundred years my world has stood, alone, against a never-ending parade of reaver bands going by one damned name or another. We are here because Ryan is a monster who must be stopped, just as we have stopped all the others before him. But that is not why you are here. You are here because he is a Lyran, and to you, he is performing some minor antics that are embarrassing your House. So you see, our arrangement is only a matter of convenience. Do not imagine that this makes us allies.”

-Cpt. Arkady Petrov, Royal Horizon Lancers, January 1, 2019, during a heated conversation with his Lyran counterpart.

The Kingdom of Horizon

Image

It is uncertain when the first human eyes looked down upon the world that came to be known as Horizon. Those unknown surveyors would have found a cool and rugged world, its often-harsh climate equaled by the world’s breathtaking beauty. Horizon’s modest oceans sustain a thriving lowland ecosystem, but further inland, the world’s extensive mountain ranges create unfavorable weather patterns in the vast and largely uninhabited highland regions. Summers on Horizon tend to be cool and short, while the long winters can be truly punishing for the unprepared, especially in the interior.

(Editor’s note: depending on context, the term “Horizon” may refer to either Horizon II, also known as Horizon Prime, or the system itself.)

The Rim Worlds Republic colonized Horizon during the mid-2300’s in the same colonization wave that created most of the inhabited worlds in the region that is known today as The Barrens. However, when the Republicans arrived it quickly became apparent that the planet was already inhabited by the descendants of a much earlier colonization effort. These “Firstlanders” as they became known spoke a debased form of Hungarian and numbered in the few thousand. Although they were (and still are) highly skilled outdoorsmen, their technology had regressed to a pre-industrial state. Indeed, their simple, migratory way of life is entirely voluntary. Although Firstlanders have shown no interest in integrating with the greater Horizon population, they are enthusiastic traders and can occasionally be hired as guides. In this way the first Republican colonists were able to avoid an early-colony die-off of the type that affects so many new worlds. Firstlanders have remained inextricably linked to, yet apart from, Horizon culture ever since then.

Aside from the small Firstlander population, in the present day the population of Horizon tends to be of Russian and Germanic ancestry. Over the centuries the world has also become home to a small number of Japanese enclaves descended from Kuritan traders. In terms of personal belief the majority of Horizonians can be described as secular humanists. However Orthodox Catholics and Buddhists also form significant and active portions of the population.

By the 2700’s Horizon had grown to become one of the most important star systems in the Rim Worlds Republic. Militarily, it served as the Rim World Republic’s most spinward bastion of defense against any possible Steiner or Kurita aggression. The system once hosted a major naval base and extensive shipyards, including Warship production. However, except for the single Alliance-class servicing station that remains above Horizon to this day, these facilities were all destroyed or damaged beyond use by the SLDF in 2767. Horizon's Class-A HPG was also destroyed in this incursion and was never rebuilt.

Even more than its military value, the most important factor contributing to Horizon’s prosperity in the mid-2700’s was its ideal location for interstellar commerce. Numerous star systems in the Lyran Alliance, Draconis Combine, and deeper Periphery are all easily accessible within one or two jumps. The impressive network of jump recharge stations that once dotted the system’s zenith and nadir jump points are long gone due to damage or disrepair. However, a single medium-sized recharge station, Vantage Station, still services the zenith jump point. Vantage Station is currently the last functioning recharge station in The Barrens.

The fall of the Rim Worlds Republic and the 10-20 years immediately afterward are locally referred to as The Cataclysm. A cataclysm it was, for within a few years, nearly 90% of Horizon's population had perished due to various factors. Order was maintained only when the Governor of Horizon, Illarion Volkov, used the few remaining military forces to institute a brutal martial law. Viewed through the lens of history, most Horizonians believe that while these actions were incredibly harsh, they nevertheless saved Horizon from becoming yet another barely-populated Periphery backwater. Ironically, the Firstlander population was best prepared to survive the Cataclysm. During the worst years their knowledge and skills once again became a lifeline for many outlying communities that had been abandoned by the central government.

The Volkov family’s descendants eventually instituted a de facto monarchy which has lasted to this day. Although there is an elected parliament, in practice the King (or Queen) has vast executive powers, can dissolve the government, and may deploy the military, among other prerogatives.

In the present day, life remains somewhat unpleasant and difficult for the average citizen of Horizon. For decades Horizon has waged war against the bandit kingdoms of the Periphery, usually without help, and with varying degrees of success. The latest generation of reavers have proven to be a major problem. A series of stinging military defeats have sorely tested the Horizon Royal Army’s élan and resulted in the loss of much irreplaceable equipment, particularly Aerospace Fighters. At the same time, although Horizon still has one of the strongest single-planet militaries in the Periphery, few assets remain to detect, must less actually stop, raiders before they make planetfall.

A particularly damaging raid occurred in 3018 when Redjack Ryan dropped nearly his entire battlemech contingent on the Vorolev Dam complex. After an intense but brief firefight with the HRA forces stationed there, Ryan stripped the dam of its generators and most of its equipment. He then used a series of demolition charges to deliberately blow the dam. The resulting flood destroyed every bridge for 30 kilometers downstream, inundated 14,000 acres of prime farmland that was nearly ready for harvest, and directly resulted in over 3,000 deaths. After reportedly taking a moment to admire his handiwork, Ryan successfully extricated his entire force while HRA reinforcements were still en route. Since then, Horizon has placed a 5 million C-bill bounty on Ryan's head, dead or alive.

Between the gradual loss of knowledge, the loss of infrastructure, the decline in interstellar trade, and continued raiding, Horizon now struggles to produce just enough essential consumer goods for its own population. Shortages are common, especially in electronics, and luxury items are nearly unheard of. In addition, the mighty factory complexes that once built military hardware for the entire Rim Worlds Republic now lie mostly in ruin. Only a few production lines remain that still produce small arms, light and medium military trucks, and heavy APCs for the Horizon Royal Army.

The current mood of Horizon's populace tends to run toward gallows humor and pessimism. However, nearly every citizen longs to see a day when their world finally overcomes the many challenges set against it- if that is even possible.

_________________
New Horizons Battletech campaign homepage: http://www.heavymetalpro.com/forums/vie ... 10&t=22137

The Expanse Battletech campaign homepage (currently defunct): http://www.heavymetalpro.com/forums/vie ... hp?t=17910


Last edited by CavGunner on Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:19 am 
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Lieutenant General
Lieutenant General

Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2002 8:00 pm
Posts: 529
Image

After 250 years of rebuilding and jury-rigging, Minerva Station is barely recognizable as an Alliance-class facility.

The Horizon Royal Defense Corps: Royal Army and Aerospace Command assets as of 3019

Royal Army Assets:

1 understrength battlemech battalion, the Royal Horizon Lancers
3 combat vehicle regiments
27 infantry regiments
2 artillery battalions
~3 wings of small fixed-wing and rotor support aircraft

Aerospace Command Assets:*

1 Invader-class Jumpship, the HRDC Dawnstar
1 Merchant-class Jumpship, the HRDC Farseeker

1 modified Gaajian-class System Patrol Boat, the HRDC Adventurer

2 Union-class dropships
1 Leopard-class dropship
1 Triumph-class dropship
2 Condor-class dropships
1 Mule-class dropship

6 military shuttlecraft, various classes*

3 SL-25 Samurai-class aerospace fighters
2 SB-27 Sabre-class aerospace fighters

11 Mechbuster-class conventional fighters
2 Inseki-II-class conventional fighters
12 Protector-class conventional fighters
18 Kaiseradler-class conventional fighters

11 Planetlifter-class air transports
2 FB-335 Longhaul-class air transports
2 ACL-800-class airliners, converted to aerial refueling configuration
3 Eagle Eye-class AWACS
2 Protector-class air medevacs

3 Battalions of jump, paradrop, and space-capable marines, "The Royal Marines"

*This does not include civilian vessels or independent commercial ships using Horizon as a flag of convenience.

Major Civilian Space Facilities:

Vantage Station, Apollo-class recharge station and repair dock at the Zenith jump point. 4 energy banks available.
Minerva Station, Alliance-class orbital dock and cargo transfer facility at Horizon's L2 point.
The Boneyard, Snowden-class mining station in orbit of the gas giant Ares. Not currently operational.

_________________
New Horizons Battletech campaign homepage: http://www.heavymetalpro.com/forums/vie ... 10&t=22137

The Expanse Battletech campaign homepage (currently defunct): http://www.heavymetalpro.com/forums/vie ... hp?t=17910


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:59 am 
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Stratego
Stratego

Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2001 8:00 pm
Posts: 10855
Location: Ft. Hood Texas
Looks good!

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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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