The Steel Palace, Malcheema
Arcturus, Lyran Commonwealth, Federated Commonwealth
January 14, 3044
The images of the assembled Lords of the Inner Sphere were silent as Stephen Davion finished reciting Nikolai Djerassi’s message. Silent except for a sudden bark of incredulous laughter from Takashi Kurita.
Jaime Wolf shook his head ruefully. “You need not even begin your protests, Lord Kurita,” he said. “First Lord of the Star League? I well know my limits—and this exceeds them. I am less well-suited to assuming that role than General Kerensky was after the Amaris Coup . . . and none of you would particularly care for how I would deal with political problems.”
“Could such an action even deter the Clans?” mused Candace Liao. “It seems to me that it would only infuriate them—robbing them of the chance to remake the Star League in their own image.”
J. Elliot Jamison snorted. “The die-hard Crusaders will not be deterred in the least—but most of the Clans are not quite so fanatical in orientation. From our intelligence reports, there is an almost equal split between Crusader and Warden factions—and many of the so-called Crusaders are moderate in nature. The Jaguars, the Falcons, the Hellions, the Vipers, and the Spirits will howl if this comes to pass, but the others will at least pause and give the matter some thought. It could take the wind out of their sails, cut them off at the knees, or whatever other metaphor you wish to use. Not to mention that if, if, the Scorpions do change sides and declare for the Star League, it might well lead others to at least consider doing the same. And as for you not being capable as First Lord, Jaime Wolf, I’d wager that the troops at least would follow you—what troops we have left after this battle, that is.”
Thomas Marik shook his head in resignation. “While I have nothing personal against Supreme Commander Wolf, Takashi will never allow him to become First Lord—and we all know it. Jaime Wolf knows that as well, Colonel Jamison. In a similar fashion, neither Takashi or myself can accept Hanse Davion on the throne of the First Lord, just as he—and his people—would never accept Takashi or even Candace. And that leaves . . . Melissa Steiner-Davion and myself as potential candidates.”
“You are forgetting ComStar,” Michael York added quietly. He quickly held up his hand. “I do not want nor do I desire the office; my hands are quite full enough dealing with the problems my predecessors allowed within my organization itself. Not that the Fox or the Archon would accept me—because of the manner in which my predecessors . . . interfered in their realms. Still, the candidate must be acceptable to ComStar as a whole.”
“Agreed,” snapped Hanse, although a scowl was clearly evident upon his face. “Jaime, Takashi, Candace, the Primus, and I are all eliminated . . . which as Lord Marik says leaves us with two choices.”
“One of which is your wife,” barked Takashi. “Although,” and the stern mask of the face of the Coordinator of the Draconis Combine softened and he almost smiled, “it would be worth putting her on the Throne to see you have to jump at her orders for a change.”
The Primus raised his hand. “Would she be willing to abdicate as Archon? The First Lord of the Star League must not be shown as favoring any of the Great Houses, after all—he or she must be scrupulously fair and even-handed.”
And once again silence descended on the gathering, broken only the occasional static of some random HPG interference.
“I have fought for too long to reunite the League,” Thomas Marik at last said. “I will not hand it over to take the reigns of some . . . ceremonial position.”
“Hardly ceremonial,” continued the Primus. “If the Scorpions are speaking the truth when they offer their full strength as part of a restored Star League Defense Force, then the First Lord will command a force greater in size than the current Capellan Confederation Armed Forces. And, as Primus of ComStar, the ComGuards will provide at least half, if not more, of our total forces to the SLDF. Combined with the Scorpions, this First Lord will have a force of arms at his or her command which exceeds that of any single Successor State.”
“Abdicate? I cannot abdicate my rule of the Lyran Commonwealth,” said Melissa. “My eldest son is still a minor—and that would put Ryan Steiner in the seat of Archon, which would be a catastrophe.”
“And Victor is my heir as well,” added Hanse. “But the matter of who will succeed both Melissa and myself can be resolved at a latter date—I believe that all of us here can agree that the power of the First Lord will have to rest on the votes of the High Council.”
“A High Council where your Federated Commonwealth will control three of the five votes, Hanse,” said Thomas with a sour look. “Or three of six if we give ComStar a seat.”
“Or just three of seven if admit the Scorpions as a member state,” mused the Primus, “and give them a vote as well. You did say that they wanted seven worlds in the Lyons Thumb to call their own—as an independent power.”
Hanse frowned. “I do not like giving them seven more of our worlds.”
“Seven Lyran worlds, dear,” said Melissa. And then she smiled. “It would infuriate Ryan would it not?”
“He is a dangerous man,” Takashi warned. “For all that I sneer at your Steiner military prowess, at least many of your kin are honorable—that viper is the exception that proves the rule.”
“So none of us are willing to take the throne—or to see another of number upon it,” added Jaime Wolf. “Yet, if we do this, we must have a First Lord. Otherwise, even those Clans who will be willing to consider stopping this conflict will not be persuaded.”
“There is perhaps another answer,” chimed in Michael. “Precentor Martial Focht, would you accept this role?”
Takashi jerked in surprise—but perhaps no more so than the white-robed masked man standing beside the Primus. Hanse shook his head again. “I will not accept a ComStar precentor or adept, Primus.”
“Not even one that is a cousin to your wife, Hanse Davion? Tell them Focht—the time for secrets is at an end.”
Melissa’s head whipped around at the words of the Primus and her jaw dropped as Focht removed his mask and lowered his hood. “Fredrick? You . . . you . . . you’re dead!”
Anastasius Focht—Fredrick Steiner—shook his head. “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
“But how . . . why . . .” Melissa sputtered in shock.
The Precentor Martial nodded in understanding. “I was a pawn in Lestrade’s schemes, Melissa. Used as a tool in an effort to further his ambitions—he planned on me supplanting your mother and then ruling the Commonwealth behind his puppet. Me. When Theodore Kurita took me prisoner, I asked him not to return me—and that he report my death to Aunt Katrina.”
Michael York smiled. “And since he did not want to ever play at politics again, he served his new masters well—never giving them any information on the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces, but doing what he could to aid Theodore in building his Ghost Regiments. And then, when Primus Waterly desired to expand the ComGuards, Takashi and Theodore gave him to ComStar—and once again, he served without regard for his own status. And he served well in that role.”
Takashi frowned, but then he nodded. “I have no objections to Anastasius Focht on the throne of the First Lord. He will not interfere in the internal workings of my realm—this I know from speaking to him.”
“And I will release him from service to ComStar—freeing him from all vows and oaths he has taken,” added the Primus.
Jaime Wolf chuckled. “Better you than me, Precentor Martial—no objections here.”
Thomas still frowned, but at last he nodded as the Primus glared at him. “I will not vote for him—but neither will I vote against him.”
Hanse still stood by his wife and his face was set stone, but his left hand trembled slightly. Candace nodded her agreement as well. “I know you don’t trust them, Hanse . . . but he is the last remaining choice—and he has my vote,” she said quietly.
“Fine!” snapped Hanse and he jerked his hand out of the grip of his wife. “But we—the High Council—will make the decisions, not this . . . puppet of ComStar.”
“HANSE!” Melissa said in an anger tone. And then she collected herself. “If Fredrick Stein-,” she grimaced, before correcting herself, “Anastasius Focht gives his word, then I for one believe him! But I have not yet heard him answer.”
All eyes fell on Focht where his image stood next to that of the Primus, and he swallowed heavily. “I foreswore all politics—I gave my Oath to God, I would not let myself get used again.”
“Precentor Martial, we are all used in this life,” said Michael York with a smile. “Here is your chance to start a new life—your third life, and in a such a fashion that history will never, ever forget your name.”
Focht’s shoulders slumped and he shook his. “My hubris admits that such an idea is attractive, but I have no children—no heirs.”
Jaime Wolf smiled. “If the Scorpions join us, with their Scientists, they can easily create you an heir, Focht! And you will not even have to get married!” he finished with a laugh. “So I take it that is a yes, quiaff?”
Slowly Focht nodded his head. “If it is the will of the Lords of the Inner Sphere that I take up this burden, than I shall accept it as my . . . karma, my fate, if you will.”
“And seeing that we are agreed in principle, at least,” Michael York said with a smile, “I would suggest that we meet on Terra at a future date to iron out all of the little details. In the meantime, I think Jaime Wolf and his Grand Army have a battle to fight.”
“No, Primus,” Focht said in a suddenly powerful voice. “If we are to do this, best we do it right. Jaime Wolf . . . as First Lord of the Star League Reborn, having been selected for this post by the Lords of the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere in unanimity, will you accept from me a commission as the Commanding General of the Star League Defense Forces?”
Jaime Wolf drew in a deep breath and then he knelt and bowed his head. “Seyla, First Lord. I will.”
“Then go, my Knight, and inform your foes they face no disparate force joined together only in desperation, but that they fight against the Star League Defense Force made anew.”
“Inform the Clans of Kerensky that the Star League once again stands—and it stands in opposition to their Invasion,” Focht finished.
Last edited by masterarminas on 2012-08-01 12:44pm, edited 1 time in total.