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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)


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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 10:08pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
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Trinary Delta, 6th Scorpion Hussars, Strike Force Prezno
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 15, 3044


Star Captain Ri Linghui took in the sweeping expanses of the featureless grasslands as his Sidewinder moved across the landscape, the light OmniMechs sensor suite probing the terrain around him for anything . . . out of the ordinary. Ahead of him, the ground dipped, and then almost immediately rose in a slight ridge—and the Active Probe began to scream. “Contact!” he barked as he slowed the OmniMech to get better resolution on the sensor systems. “Knife Dance Actual, Desert Wind Delta-Six Actual; I have a tunnel beneath my current coordinates—appending full sensor data; I am also detecting a large mass of met- . . . moving metal!” He yelled as he began to backpedal through the grass.

Ahead of him, the thick mats of harvested grass parted and the bulk of an 80-ton Demolisher rolled out of the hidden tunnel, its turret swinging in line with the torso of Ri’s OmniMech.

“Oh, sh-. . .” he began to say, but the impact of the twin AC-20 bursts cut off his transmission.


Trinary Command, Knife Dance Keshik, Strike Force Prezno
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 15, 3044


Tunnels all over the place with concealed exits—I have got BattleMechs and tanks emerging in large numbers!” snapped Star Colonel Oliver Sword of the 6th Hussars, which was quickly confirmed by the commanders of the our four light Clusters scouting ahead.

And we have found pit traps—tar mixed with inferno gel, with contact incendiary mines in the bottom. Watch your step!” chimed in Star Colonel Wilhelm of the 1st Lion Strikers.

“Acknowledged,” Nikolai transmitted. “Alpha, Beta, and the Lions advance to the attack—Delta remain in reserve and cover our six.”

Aff,” the responses came and Nikolai pressed his throttle to the stops. With his free hand he set the seismic sensors to full power—at this speed it would provide only seconds of warning before a pit, but seconds were all that he should need. Faster Scorpion and Lion and Mandrill OmniMechs surged ahead of him, many festooned with battle-armored Elementals, but the Khan ignored that and trudged up the hill in the wake of his brothers and sisters. As he crested the ridge, his alarms screamed a sudden warning; the sensors detecting a Kurita Dragon emerging from a tunnel almost directly beneath him. He casually fired the twin ER PPCs into the back of the BattleMech, sending it to the ground. But more were swarming to the surface. Many more.

And those bloody infantry men in suits of light power armor—each one carrying a man-portable SRM launcher. Hundreds of the poor bloody infantry.

“Fire mission!” the Khan barked into his radio. “Cluster wide-sheaf, marking target location—fire!”

Two clicks of the radio answered him, and then barely a second later came the words, “Shot . . . splash.” And the world in front of Nikolai erupted in shredded grass and a fountain of earth as the ranging shell landed just short.

“Up twenty and fire for effect!”

Two clicks again, and then nine more Arrow IV artillery rockets plunged down—and the infantrymen died. And then Nikolai’s heart sank. The weapons fire ignited the grass which had sprayed with a light layer of diluted inferno gel and small pools of tar along the ground began to produce thick clouds of dense black smoke. The grass burst into sheets of flame and the heavy smoke banks blocked both line of sight and prevented the use of target designation equipment.

Oh, it is going to be one of those days, the Khan thought.

“Ignore the fire—we can take the heat, their vehicles and infantry cannot! Press them. Alpha advance on my . . .” Nikolai broadcast as he simultaneously fought his own OmniMech and worked to coordinate eighteen Clusters of OmniMechs and Elementals.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 10:57pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
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Trinary Alpha, Scorpion Aerospace Reserve, Strike Force Prezno
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 15, 3044


Star Colonel Damien Kreek swore as one of his star-mates staggered under fire from behind and above him. “Zulus keep those stravag bastards off my back!” And then he trusted his escorting fighters to deal with the interceptors from Hell’s Black Aces as he brought his five remaining Huns in a low over the grassy plains. “Now!” he ordered and he along with his four pilots pushed the throttles to their stops and pulled back on the sticks, sending the heavy ninety-five ton aerospace fighters climbing for altitude and threatening to roll over onto their backs—which just what Damien Kreek intended. At the exact moment they reached the precise coordinates chosen by the computer, the bombs released and the fighter accelerated into the loop.

The bombs, perfectly delivered via the ‘lob-toss’ landed in the midst of the Kurita troops and exploded in fountains of inferno gel and the concussion of high explosives. Let us see how much you like having that done unto you, you free-birth scum, he thought as rolled his Hun right-side up and armed the four nose-mounted PPCs. “One strafing run, then back to the ships to rearm and refuel,” he ordered and then he gently squeezed the firing trigger with a smile on his face.


Trinary Command, Knife Dance Keshik, Strike Force Prezno
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 16, 3044


The tunnels go for miles, my Khan; it appears to have originally been a mine of some sort, the ore kind not the exploding kind," reported the Elemental commander of the scout force he had sent underground. “These people must be moles, they have burrowed through the bedrock in all directions, expanded it to handle vehicles and BattleMechs, built strong-points and bunkers—it is a death trap.

“Understood—can you get your men out?” Nikolai asked.

Well, we are a little bit surrounded right now, my Khan, but I am working on it.

“I think we can spare some Mandrills to come down there and help you out, Star Captain.”

Nikolai,” Natasha’s voice growled. “Recon flights have picked up at least ten regiments of ‘Mechs moving towards us fast; they will be here in ten minutes—and our opponents have launched every fighter they have in support.” The Scorpion could hear the Khan of the Stone Lions sigh as artillery shells began to explode in their perimeter. “I was wondering where their artillery has been.

Nikolai considered the map on his console and he nodded. “Star Captain Ismail—ignore that last. I am going to need the Mandrills here. Get clear, Warrior, or I will kill you myself for disobeying a direct order from your Khan,” he said despite wanting to pull the Elemental ristar.”

Understood, my Khan—we will cut our way to freedom, or take as many of them to hell with us as we can. Either way, we will make you proud of us.

“I already am, Star Captain Ismail,” Nikolai said. “I already am. Scorpions! Stone Lions! Action west—reform and meet them at the run. Star Colonel Kreek, we would really like some air cover, if you please.”


Trinary Command, Knife Dance Keshik, Strike Force Prezno
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 16, 3044


Nikolai winced as his right leg cramped; the sun was slowly setting over the plains and his opponents had managed to disappear into those hidden tunnels they had bored all over creation! He thought that he had managed to account for almost half of them—but at the cost of nearly forty percent of his own men . . . and Natasha’s and the Mandrills. The Mandrills had fought like maniacs to regain their honor and they had gone down hard, selling themselves dearly—only four had survived.

And undoubtedly, Wolf’s commander of this theatre had something else in reserve, whereas all of Nikolai’s forces (and Natasha’s) had already been committed—and were exhausted after thirty-eight hours of near constant fighting above and below ground.

Knife Dance Actual, this is Golden Wolf Actual,” the radio broadcast.

“Go ahead, Golden Wolf Actual,” Nikolai said.

The ilKhan is dead, so is Khan Timur—Khan Truscott is wounded and unable to communicate; the Dinju Strike Force is in full rout. My Wolves, the Coyotes, Horses and Bears have all taken around fifty percent dead or wounded—the Vipers are gone. We are withdrawing as well.

Nikolai winced. But he nodded to himself. “Aff, Golden Wolf Actual. I will start loading my own forces aboard ship. Knife Dance Actual out,” he said as he switched radio frequencies—but Natasha was already calling him.

You heard?” she asked.

“I did. Get the wounded aboard ship—those that are not already in the medical bays. Get your people loaded while I put the Techs on recovering as many OmniMechs as we can in the time we have.”

saKhan Posavatz is dead and your Scorpions grieve, Nikolai. I will hold rear-guard tonight—the Stone Lions proved worthy of that honor today, quiaff?

“Quiaff, your Clan will withdraw almost last—but the Knife Dance Keshik will be the last unit to lift. I wonder how many of our Crusader trothkin will only look at the numbers of BattleMechs and Tanks and Infantry we killed and claim this as a victory?” he asked.

Only if they are idiots—but then they are Crusaders, are they not?

“Go, Natasha Kerensky, go and prepare to abandon this world.”

There was a brief pause, and the Black Widow spoke up, “We can recover his body, Nikolai; take Randall Posavatz home with us.

“Neg. He is home, Natasha. It is well that war is so terrible, lest we become fond of it—that was his favorite quote you know. He thought that we had become too fond of war for our own good, and he may well have been right.”

We are not fond of war, Nikolai—we are fond of Trials. This . . . this battle was War. And I think you will find our surviving leaders have had their fill of it for a good long time to come.

“So say we all,” Nikolai whispered.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-02 11:25pm
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Aftermath of the Battle of Tukayyid
Tukayyid, Free Rasalhague Republic
January 18, 3044


The Clans withdrew in defeat extracting just twenty-six Clusters from the surface of Tukayyid; twenty-six from a starting total of sixty. Sixteen hundred MechWarriors, thirty-four hundred Elemental Warriors, and more than thousand Pilots remained behind in the broken, shattered machines they had taken into battle. The ilKhan of the Clans was dead, along with four other Khans—and no longer did the Clans face the Great Houses alone. They stood against the Star League Reborn.

But, the victory was not without cost for the Inner Sphere. Thirty-four hundred ‘Mechs destroyed, thirty-six hundred vehicles, fourteen hundred aerospace fighters . . . and then there were infantry casualties where two in three wound up either in the hospital or dead on the battlefield—over thirty-nine thousand dead and wounded on the Inner Sphere side. In total, forty-five thousand soldiers, both Clan and Inner Sphere gave their lives on those three days in January. Fighting for their beliefs.

Jaime Wolf’s Grand Army had prevailed, but in the process it had been gutted, depriving the Inner Sphere of its offensive weapon at the very moment that it was most needed. A factor which would shape the future to come.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-03 12:51pm
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Interlude
January 15 – February 22, 3044


Even as the Clans began the epic battle on Tukayyid, still more Clan forces—approximately one hundred and forty Clusters in numbers, if not actual strength—assaulted the fifty worlds assigned to Wave IV. Bitter fighting erupted along the entire front of the Invasion from New Exford to Kilmamock. The Rasalhague KungsArmee, a mere shadow of its pre-war self was swept aside by the Coyotes, Ghost Bears, and Wolves—and the handful of Capellan and mercenary Regiments were unable to prevent the loss of those worlds. In the Draconis Combine, the fighting concentrated on Alshain, where the Star Adders had to commit two full Galaxies—but after three weeks of pitched battles that district capital fell. The Cobras, Spirits, Cats, and Jaguars were surprised by the lack of resistance on the worlds which they fell upon—and their leaders began to quickly redeploy to fight still more uprisings in their rear organized by the Internal Security Forces of the DCMS and crack DEST teams left behind on already ‘conquered’ worlds.

But in the Lyran Commonwealth, the Falcons and Sharks, Horse’s and Ravens, Vipers and Hellions fought intense pitched battles on a score of worlds defended by fanatical troops refitted with advanced Star League technology. Zellbrigen was ignored and the casualty counts—on both sides—climbed precipitously. Still, in the end, the Clans—albeit mauled—managed to take forty-nine of the fifty worlds they assaulted (other than Tukayyid). Only Graceland managed to survive the Clan attack as part of the Lyran Commonwealth when the planetary governor, dreading the fighting that was to come, challenged Star Colonel Henry Mattlov to a singing contest in the style of Elvis Presley—the King of Rock-and-Roll.

Amused by the request—and with his forces dangerously weakened by fighting on Bountiful Harvest and New Exford, Mattlov accepted the challenge. The Lyran and Federated Suns regimental commanders assigned to the defense of Graceland protested, but General of the Lyran Armies Roman Steiner ordered them to hold position and wait—although his journals indicate that he had already issued orders that if the contest was lost by the locals to fight on, ignoring the result as a purely local matter.

The competition was epic and broadcast across the entire planet in a six-hour spectacle which boiled down quickly to a mere two competitors . . . but in the end, the Falcon’s admitted their defeat as a Gracelander performed an eye-tearing rendition of My Way. Keeping their word, the Falcons then withdrew from the system in good order.

However, barely had Wave IV been concluded when the Combine struck back. Thirty-six regiments of Alshain, Benjamin, Dieron, Galedon, and Pesht Regulars, a dozen of the finest Free Worlds formations, with four of the Sword of Light Regiments to stiffen their resolve and supported by the carrier Togura and six ComStar WarShips launched a series of lightning-fast counter-attacks from Bjarred to Kilmamock.

Bjarred, Stapelfeld, Chupadero, Kabah, Jeanette, Hyner, Maldonado, Pesht, Teniente, Irece, Cyrenaica, Kilmamock, and Avon were hit by multiple regiments—and the handful of Jaguar and Cat PGCs left to garrison these worlds were unable to hold. They reeled under the blow and broke—and it was thus that House Kurita managed to regain thirteen of their lost worlds in a month of insane battles. Theodore and Takashi gambled on a second wave . . . but that proved eight planets too far.

By the time the second strike of the Dragon launched against Port Arthur, Tarazed, Caripare, Juazerio, Outer volte, Marshdale, Jeronimo, and Bangor, the two Cat Clans were ready for them. For the first time in this war, the Inner Sphere experienced assaults into the teeth of Clan defenders prepared and sitting in fortified positions—and the cost was extremely high. Coordinator Takashi, on his own initiative ordered the commanders to withdraw . . . although a score DCMS regiments had been bled so white that were stricken from the rolls and disbanded.

A grave and somber Hanse Davion viewed the reports on the effectiveness of Clan forces focused on the defense and he set aside—for a while—his own planned offensive as he brought up still more troops and fed replacement soldiers into shattered formations.

As both sides licked their wounds, an uneasy lull settled over the Occupied Worlds. Even as the first fresh reinforcements arrived for the Jaguars and Horse’s aboard the Scorpion transports of the Fire Wheel Naval Star (the Jaguars Epsilon Galaxy with five front-line Clusters, and the Horse’s Zeta Galaxy with three front-line Clusters and replacement Warriors and equipment) . . . no one at the time noticed that the two Potemkins and their Essex-class Destroyer escort did not turn around to make another trip to the Homeworlds, but instead remained in orbit above Rondane where they were joined by the Wild Hunt transport Star.

And while every Khan noticed that the HPG network to the Homeworlds was no longer operating, there was not an ilKhan to take command. A few Clans sent a handful of JumpShips with replacement relay stations to find the fault and restore the comm relays, but by-and-large, most considered it nothing more than a rare failure of one of the stations somewhere along the chain.

The Khans moved heaven and earth to reform their shattered formations and shore up defenses for their possessions, so the Grand Kurultai in the wake of Tukayyid did not convene until the 23rd day of February in the year 3044.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-03 05:04pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
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Clan TO&E, Operation Revival (Scorpio Ascendant AU), circa February 23, 3044

This is a listing of current Clan force strengths. There are very few available reserves left in the Homeworlds (except for the Wolves, Sharks, Coyotes, and Star Adders which still posses quite powerful forces there; the Bears and Horses have a few Galaxies left, but the rest have been sent piece-meal into the Inner Sphere just to bring the Clans up to this strength). The cupboard is well-and-truly bare. And unlike the IS, there is no "well, recruit harder!" method of gaining new soldiers. Their sibkos have to have time to produce.

Units marked with an asterisk ( * ) represent second-line forces. Force strength listed is after Wave IV and the Battle of Tukayyid and is rounded up to the nearest 5%; units not listed have been destroyed or disbanded. See Clan Smoke for additional details on specifics of their touman.


The ilKhan’s Touman
The Ebon Keshik Cluster (35%)

The ilKhan’s Naval Star
Victory-class BB (Victory—Flagship of the Clans)
Congress-class FF (Semper Fidelis)
Lola III-class DD (Lexington, Yorktown)


Clan Blood Spirit
Blood Guard Keshik (Elite) (5% . . . yes, that says FIVE PERCENT, you did not misread)

Alpha Galaxy (The Blooding)
7th Blood Drinkers Cluster (Elite) (5%)
Red Guards Cluster (Elite) (30%)
37th Red Assault Cluster (Veteran) (40%)
55th Red Vanguard Cluster (Elite) (45%)
112th Scarlet Battle Cluster (Elite) (55%)

Omega Galaxy (The Sanguine Reavers)
79th Blood Hussars (Elite) (40%)
71st Crimson Assault Cluster (Elite) (45%)
91st Crimson Vanguard Cluster (Veteran) (50%)
33rd Red Battle Cluster (Veteran) (40%)
Scarlet Guards (Elite) (55%)

Tau Galaxy*
42nd Crimson Guards (Elite)* (100%)
79th Crimson Guards (Veteran)* (100%)
181st Crimson Guards (Veteran)* (100%)
258th Crimson Guards (Veteran)* (100%)
441st Crimson Guards (Veteran)* (100%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 20
Homeworlds: 15 second-line Clusters + 10 PGC

Blood Spirit Flagship
Black Lion-class BC (Rocinante—Flagship)


Clan Cloud Cobra
Cobra Keshik Cluster (Elite) (40%)

Alpha Galaxy (The Keystone)
33rd Battle Cluster (Thor's Hammer) (Veteran) (45%)
84th Cobra Coil (Wings of Pharaoh) (Elite) (50%)
214th Cobra Fang (Black Sheep) (Elite) (50%)
149th Cobra Guards (The Azure Guard) (Elite) (40%)
116th Dragoon Cluster (Last Stand) (Veteran) (55%)

Beta Galaxy (Scourge of the Pentagon)
1st Cobra Coil (Wild Kaards) (Veteran) (50%)
45th Cobra Grenadiers (Spitting Serpents) (Veteran) (55%)
185th Cobra Fang (Heaven's Gate) (Veteran) (45%)
222nd Cobra Fang (Iron Butterflies) (Veteran) (50%)
245th Cobra Guards (The Ivory Guards) (Veteran) (60%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 12
Homeworlds: 8 second-line Clusters + 8 PGCs

Cobra Naval Reserve Alpha
Cameron-class BC (Incense—Flagship)
Lola III-class DD (Cataclysm)
York-class CV (Brimstone; The Protector)


Clan Coyote

Alpha Galaxy (Spirit of the Coyote)
Golden Keshik (Guardians of the Prophecy) (Veteran) (50%)
Silver Keshik (The Chosen) (Elite) (45%)
38th Assault Cluster (The Faithful) (Veteran) (55%)
49th Battle Cluster (Midnight Assault) (Veteran) (60%)
8th Recon Cluster (Eyes of the Coyote) (Veteran) (70%)

Delta Galaxy (Heart of the Coyote)
50th Assault Cluster (Creeping Death) (Elite) (35%)
67th Assault Cluster (The Devastators) (Veteran) (30%)
19th Battle Cluster (Long Fangs) (Veteran) (50%)
34th Strike Cluster (Rabid Coyotes) (Elite) (55%)
80th Strike Cluster (Swift Retribution) (Veteran) (45%)

Coyote 403rd Battle Cluster (The Legionnaires) (Veteran)* (65%)
Coyote 246th Strike Cluster (The Coyote Irregulars) (Veteran)* (70%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 14
Homeworlds: 5 front-line Clusters + 13 second-line Clusters + 18 PGCs

The Howling Naval Star
Cameron-class BC (Blood of the Coyote—Flagship)
Sovetskii Soyuz-class CA (Howling)
Lola III-class DD (Honor of Ages; Courage)
Essex-class DD (Windrunner)


Clan Diamond Shark

Alpha Galaxy (Deathstrike)
Diamond Skate (Elite) (50%)
21st Combined Assault Cluster (Elite) (55%)
27th Cruiser Cluster (Flashing Ivory) (Elite) (60%)
39th Strike Cluster (The Frenzy) (Elite) (30%)

Beta Galaxy (Predator)
Pearl Skate (Elite) (75%)
7th Cruiser Cluster (Riptide) (Elite) (65%)
6th Strike Cluster (Blood Hunters) (Elite) (70%)
42nd Combined Strike Cluster (Gnashers) (Elite) (60%)

Gamma Galaxy (Snapping Jaws)
Emerald Skate (Elite) (100%)
Shark 8th Assault Cluster (Rogue Hunter) (Elite) (100%)
Shark 28th Cruiser Cluster (Strum Wache) (Regular) (80%)
Shark 21st Strike Cluster (The Merfolk) (Veteran) (100%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 14
Homeworlds: 6 front-line Clusters + 12 second-line Clusters + 18 PGCs

Deep Hunter Naval Star
Sovetskii Soyuz-class CA (Nagasawa—Flagship)
Aegis-class CA (Blood Lust)
Lola III-class DD (Predator; Space Hunter)
Essex-class DD (Sharon; Tracy)

Bounty of the Deep Transport Star
Potemkin-class Troop Cruiser (Kraken; Red Tide)
Volga-class Transport (Bold Venture; Speculator)


Clan Ghost Bear

The Ourse Keshik (Elite) (1 Trinary) (60%)

Alpha Galaxy (The Golden Bears)
The Silveroot Keshik (Elite) (1 Trinary) (65%)
1st Bear Guards (The Rage) (Elite) (70%)
3rd Bear Guards (The ilKhan's Shield) (Elite) (50%)
5th Bear Guards (Arctic Thunder) (Elite) (60%)
50th Striker Cluster (The Black Bears) (Elite) (65%)

Beta Galaxy (Night Howlers)
The Shrill Keshik (Veteran) (1 Trinary) (50%)
304th Assault Cluster (The Howling Bears) (Veteran) (45%)
332nd Assault Cluster (The Iowa Blacklancers) (Elite) (40%)
14th Battle Cluster (The Maulers) (Elite) (55%)
12th Bear Chevaliers (The Wendigos) (Elite) (60%)

Delta Galaxy (The Blitzkrieg)
Jorgensson's Keshik (Elite) (1 Trinary) (60%)
8th Bear Cuirassiers (The Blinding Drive) (Elite) (75%)
73rd Battle Cluster (The Lash) (Veteran) (70%)
68th Striker Cluster (The Walking Panzers) (Veteran) (80%)
140th Striker Cluster (Death from Above) (Veteran) (75%)

Rho Galaxy (Bear Essentials)
Kabrinski's Keshik (Elite) (1 Trinary) (65%)
18th Battle Cluster (Fire with Fire) (Veteran) (70%)
243rd Battle Cluster (Apollo's Chariot) (Elite) (65%)
283rd Battle Cluster (Ursine Inferno) (Veteran) (50%)
279th Battle Cluster (The Burnout Brigade) (Veteran) (60%)

Omega Galaxy (The Raging Bears)
Tseng's Keshik (Veteran) (1 Trinary) (90%)
357th Assault Cluster (The Cave Bears) (Veteran) (80%)
10th Bear Cuirassier (Tundra Roughriders) (Veteran) (85%)
115th Striker Cluster (The Rolling Wave) (Elite) (70%)
139th Striker Cluster (The Sphere Hunters) (Veteran) (80%)

Zeta Galaxy (The Claws of the Ghost) (100%)
The Claw Keshik (Veteran) (1 Trinary) (100%)
20th Battle Cluster (Polar Bears) (Elite) (100%)
300th Battle Cluster (Roaring Phoenix) (Veteran) (100%)
1st Bear Regulars (Tip of the Spear) (Veteran) (100%)
2nd Bear Regulars (Ivory Claws) (Veteran) (100%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 26
Homeworlds: 4 front-line Clusters + 16 second-line Clusters + 26 PGCs

The Blizzard Naval Star
Cameron-class BC (Dieron's Run—Flagship)
Black Lion-class BC (Bear's Den)
Lola III-class DD (Blizzard)
Essex-class DD (White Fang)
Fredasa-class Corvette (Black Ghost)


Clan Goliath Scorpion
Knife Dance Keshik (Scorpion's Destiny) (Elite) (50%)

Alpha Galaxy (The Rock Minders)
24th Scorpion Cuirassier (The Khan's Own) (Elite) (55%)
25th Scorpion Cuirassier (Scorpions of the Veil) (Elite) (50%)
8th Scorpion Dragoons (The Whip-Tail Brigade) (Elite) (50%)
14th Scorpion Hussars (Swift Retribution) (Elite) (45%)
51st Scorpion Light Horse (The Scorpion Lancers) (Veteran) (100%) (forming)

Beta Galaxy (Sand Runners)
21st Scorpion Cuirassiers (Black Sun) (Elite) (40%)
23rd Scorpion Cuirassiers (The Ironshell Irregulars) (Elite) (50%)
1st Scorpion Dragoons (Heartvenom) (Elite) (60%)
6th Scorpion Hussars (Desert Wind) (Elite) (50%)

Gamma Galaxy (The Cave Dwellers)*
3rd Scorpion Cuirassiers (Kerensky's Covenant) (Regular)* (100%)
17th Scorpion Cuirassiers (The Golden Horde) (Green)* (100%)
16th Scorpion Dragoons (The Gate Crashers) (Regular)* (100%)
9th Scorpion Hussars (The Crimson Legion) (Regular)* (100%)

Delta Galaxy (Swift Strikers)
20th Scorpion Cuirassiers (Scorpion Ascendant) (Veteran) (60%)
26th Scorpion Cuirassiers (The Dark Sting) (Veteran) (40%)
7th Scorpion Dragoons (The Din of Battle) (Veteran) (55%)
22nd Scorpion Hussars (Eye of the Storm) (Veteran) (50%)

Epsilon Galaxy (Nightcrawlers) (100%)
18th Scorpion Cuirassiers (The Khan's Castle) (Veteran) (100%)
28th Scorpion Cuirassiers (Death Stalkers) (Veteran) (100%)
10th Scorpion Dragoons (Poisoned Gambit) (Veteran) (100%)
19th Scorpion Hussars (Untamed Will) (Veteran) (100%)

Zeta Galaxy (Sting of the Sun)*
4th Scorpion Cuirassiers (Adamantine Hearts) (Regular)* (100%)
15th Scorpion Cuirassiers (Burning Sting) (Green)* (100%)
5th Scorpion Dragoons (Forked Ambition) (Regular)* (100%)
2nd Scorpion Hussars (Blinding Stare) (Regular)* (100%)

Eta Galaxy (Protectors of the Nest)*
12th Scorpion Cuirassiers (The Highwaymen) (Regular)* (100%)
27th Scorpion Cuirassiers (Obsidian Claws) (Green)* (100%)
11th Scorpion Dragoons (The Devil's Tail) (Regular)* (100%)
26th Scorpion Hussars (The Fire Scorpions) (Regular)* (100%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 28
Homeworlds: NONE

Scorpion’s Destiny Naval Star
McKenna-class BB (Lei Kung)
Aegis-class CA (Corona Austrina)
Congress-class FF (Bernlad)
Lola III-class DD (Auriga)

Striking Claw Naval Star
McKenna-class BB (Requiem)
Aegis-class CA (Corona Borealis)
Congress-class FF (Garlon)
Lola III-class DD (Sagitta)

Burning Sting Naval Star
Sovetskii Soyuz-class CA (Serket—Flagship)
Cameron-class BC (Hephaestus)
Aegis-class CA (Coma Bernices)
Congress-class FF (Fornax)
Lola III-class DD (Scorpius)

Fire Wheel Transport Star
Potemkin-class Troop Cruiser (Enceladus; Epimetheus)
Essex-class DD (Aquilia)

Wild Hunt Transport Star
Potemkin-class Troop Cruiser (Karttikeya; Prometheus)
Essex-class DD (Orpheus)


Clan Hell's Horses
Alpha Keshik (Elite) (3 Trinary) (55%)
Omega Keshik (Elite) (3 Trinary) (70%)

Alpha Galaxy (Stampede of Steel)
Alpha Command (Elite) (1 Trinary) (40%)
21st Mechanized Assault (Firehorse Cluster) (Elite) (35%)
11th Mechanized Cavalry (Blackhorse Cluster) (Elite) (65%)
12th mechanized Cavalry (Steelhorse Cluster) (Elite) (60%)
22nd Mechanized Strike (Icehorse Cluster) (Elite) (70%)

Beta Galaxy (The Apocalypse)
Beta Command (Elite) (1 Trinary) (80%)
666th Mechanized Assault (War Cluster) (Elite) (45%)
77th Mechanized Cavalry (Famine Cluster) (Elite) (50%)
88th Mechanized Cavalry (Death Cluster) (Elite) (40%)
333rd Mechanized Strike (Pestilence Cluster) (Elite) (60%)

Gamma Galaxy (The Bloodriders)
Gamma Galaxy Command (Veteran) (1 Trinary) (50%)
201st Mechanized Assault (Bearslayer Cluster) (Veteran) (65%)
87th Mechanized Cavalry (Vindicator Cluster) (Veteran) (55%)
45th Mechanized Strike (Worldtaker Cluster) (Veteran) (50%)

Delta Galaxy (Riders on the Storm)
Delta Galaxy Command (Veteran) (1 Trinary) (35%)
44th Mechanized Assault (Tornado Cluster) (Veteran) (25%)
71st Mechanized Cavalry (Thunderstrike Cluster) (Veteran) (30%)
82nd Mechanized Strike (Firestorm Cluster) (Veteran) (45%)

Zeta Galaxy (Wrath from Heaven)
Zeta Galaxy Command (Veteran) (1 Trinary) (100%)
27th Mechanized Cavalry (Hades Cluster) (Veteran) (100%)
40th Mechanized Cavalry (Apollo Cluster) (Veteran) (100%)
229th Mechanized Strike (Artemis Cluster) (Veteran) (100%)

Eta Galaxy (The Shadow Riders)*
Eta Galaxy Command (Veteran)* (1 Trinary) (100%)
51st Mechanized Cavalry (The Nightrider Cluster) (Veteran)* (80%)
61st Mechanized Cavalry Cluster (Fire and Brimstone) (Veteran)* (80%)
35th Mechanized Strike Cluster (The Phantoms) (Veteran)* (100%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 15
Homeworlds: 12 second-line Clusters + 20 PGCs

Red Pegasus Naval Star
Cameron-class BC (Sleipnir—Flagship)
Congress-class FF (Bucephalus)
Lola III-class DD (Black Knight; Gold Knight)

Blood Horse Transport Star
Potemkin-class Troop Cruiser (Blood Horse; Steel Shield)
Volga-class Transport (Mount Olympus)


Clan Ice Hellion

Alpha Galaxy (The Blinding)
200th Attack Cluster (Elite) (60%)
77th Hellion Lancers (Veteran) (50%)
78th Hellion Lancers (Veteran) (50%)
150th Hellion Lancers (Elite) (60%)

Beta Galaxy (The Lithe Kill)
2nd Assault Cavaliers (Veteran) (70%)
121st Hellion Lancers (Veteran) (45%)
33rd Striker Irregulars (Veteran) (60%)
90th Striker Irregulars (Veteran) (55%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 10
Homeworlds: 15 second-line Clusters + 10 PGCs

Hellion's Fury Naval Star
Aegis-class CA (Taney—Flagship)
Lola III-class DD (Cold Hunter; Radiant)
Essex-class DD (Moore's Honor)
York-class CV (Pack Leader)


Clan Jade Falcon
Turkina Keshik (Elite) (Cluster) (10%)

Gamma Galaxy (Jade Falcon Galaxy)
Jade Falcon Guards (Elite) (15%)
12th Falcon Regulars Cluster (The Frozen Fears) (Elite) (20%)
3rd Falcon Talon Cluster (The Jade Claymores) (Elite) (15%)
9th Falcon Talon Cluster (The Falcon Lancers) (Elite) (30%)
89th Falcon Striker Cluster (The Justice Falcons) (Veteran) (25%)

Delta Galaxy (Gyrfalcon Galaxy)
305th Assault Cluster (The Blood Vision) (Elite) (40%)
5th Battle Cluster (The Golden Talons) (Elite) (45%)
2nd Falcon Jaegers Cluster (The Frost Falcons) (Elite) (50%)
4th Falcon Talon Cluster (Bloody Sunrise) (Veteran) (45%)
1st Falcon Striker Cluster (The Pursuing Peregrines) (Elite) (55%)

Vau Galaxy (Peregrine Galaxy)
8th Falcon Regulars Cluster (The Scarlet Scythes) (Veteran) (55%)
1st Falcon Velites (The Wolf's Bane) (Veteran) (35%)
4th Falcon Velites (White Vision) (Veteran) (60%)
94th Falcon Striker Cluster (Black Vision) (Veteran) (50%)
124th Falcon Striker Cluster (The Blue Demons) (Veteran) (45%)

Zeta Galaxy (Shrike Galaxy)
3rd Battle Cluster (The Falcon's Honor) (Elite) (60%)
53rd Battle Cluster (The Cat Snatchers) (Veteran) (55%)
2nd Falcon Dragoons (The Lightnings) (Veteran) (65%)
5th Falcon Regulars (Eden's Hope) (Veteran) (60%)
3rd Falcon Velites (The Swift Wings) (Veteran) (55%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 20
Homeworlds: 4 front-line Clusters + 12 second-line Clusters + 22 PGCs

Turkina's Pride Naval Star
Cameron-class BC (Turkina's Pride—Flagship)
Aegis-class CA (Frost Falcon; Hawkeye)
Congress-class FF (Kerensky's Pride)
Whirlwind-class DD ([/i]Emerald Tornado[/i])

Emerald Talon Naval Star
Nightlord-class BB (Emerald Talon)
Liberator-class CA (Gauntlet)
Aegis-class CA (Jade Talon)
Vincent-class Corvette (Lightning Strike


Clan Nova Cat
The Nova Cat Keshik (Elite) (Cluster) (40%)

Alpha Galaxy (Victory over Delusion)
Alpha Galaxy Command (The Vision Keshik) (Elite) (1 Trinary) (45%)
449th Assault Cluster (Joys and Sorrows) (Elite) (35%)
489th Assault Cluster (The Third Eye) (Elite) (40%)
4th Nova Cat Guards (Hand of Fate) (Elite) (55%)

Sigma Galaxy (Spiritual Vision)
Sigma Galaxy Command (The Lachesis Keshik) (Elite) (1 Trinary) (50%)
44th Nova Cat Cavaliers (The Five Actions (Elite) (45%)
Nova Cat Lancers (The Path of Right) (Elite) (55%)
179th Striker Cluster (Circle of Power) (Elite) (55%)

Delta Galaxy (Ways of Seeing)
Delta Galaxy Command (The Shiva Keshik) (Veteran) (1 Trinary) (50%)
274th Battle Cluster (Vigilance of the Cat) (Veteran) (50%)
7th Nova Cat Guards (The Oracles) (Veteran) (60%)
119th Striker Cluster (Self Harmony) (Veteran) (55%)

Sigma Galaxy*
Sigma Galaxy Command (Veteran)* (1 Trinary) (70%)
4th Nova Cat Regulars (Veteran)* (65%)
5th Nova Cat Regulars (Veteran)* (70%)
6th Nova Cat Regulars (Veteran)* (70%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 14
Homeworlds: 3 front-line Clusters + 9 second-line Clusters + 10 PGCs

Thunderbolt Naval Star
Black Lion-class BC (Severen Leroux—Flagship)
Lola III-class DD (Faithful)
York-class CV (Anna Rosse)


Clan Smoke Jaguar
The Jaguar's Den Keshik (Elite) (1 Trinary) (50%)

Alpha Galaxy (The Roaring Jaguars)
Alpha Galaxy Command Trinary (The Shroud Keshik) (1 Trinary) (55%)
336th Jaguar Combat Cluster (The Rake) (Elite) (50%)
6th Jaguar Dragoons (Smoke and Fire) (Elite) (45%)
7th Jaguar Dragoons (The Leaping Jaguar) (Elite) (55%)
Jaguar Grenadiers (The Immortals) (Elite) (35%)
5th Jaguar Regulars (The Victory Cluster) (Elite) (40%)

Beta Galaxy (The Mistweavers)
Beta Galaxy Command Trinary (The Swath Keshik) (1 Trinary) (50%)
362nd Assault Cluster (The Silver Jaguars) (Elite) (45%)
225th Battle Cluster (Bringers of Armageddon) (Elite) (50%)
267th Battle Cluster (The Devil's Mist) (Elite) (50%)
1st Jaguar Guards (The Whitewatch) (Elite) (55%)
2nd Jaguar Guards (The Striking Cats) (Elite) (45%)

Delta Galaxy (The Cloud Rangers)
Delta Galaxy Command Trinary (The Skyriders Keshik) (1 Trinary) (60%)
1st Jaguar Cavaliers (Ghost Cats) (Veteran) (60%)
3rd Jaguar Cavaliers (The Stormriders) (Veteran) (60%)
4th Jaguar Dragoons (The Pouncing Jaguar) (Veteran) (60%)
214th Jaguar Dragoons (The Stalkers) (Veteran) (60%)
19th Striker Cluster (The Razor's Edge) (Veteran) (60%)

Rho Galaxy (Guardians of the Lair)*
2nd Jaguar Regulars (Veteran)* (Bad Boys from Huntress) (85%)
4th Jaguar Regulars (Veteran)* (Jungle Cats) (85%)
11th Jaguar Regulars (Veteran)* (The Rippers) (85%)
12th Jaguar Regulars (Veteran)* (The Saber Tooth Tigers) (85%)
17th Jaguar Regulars (Veteran)* (The Ghost and the Darkness) (75%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 16
Homeworlds: 15 second-line Clusters + 21 PGCs

Streaking Mist Naval Star
Black Lion-class BC (Streaking Mist—Flagship)
Congress-class FF (Snow Leopard)
Lola III-class DD (Storm Cat)
Essex-class DD (Sabre Cat)
York-class CV (Lioness)

[NOTE: Khan Howell disbanded Epsilon Galaxy in order to reform Delta Galaxy (a more storied unit). While the new Delta should be at 100%, he also raided it to bring Alpha and Beta UP to the force levels listed. The 2nd, 4th, 11th, and 12th Jaguar Regulars were also used to bring the 17th up to strength.]


Clan Snow Raven
Corvus Keshik (Elite) (cluster) (50%)

Alpha Galaxy (Swift Wing Galaxy)
6th Raven Battle Cluster (The Meteors) (Veteran) (40%)
1st Raven Dragoon Cluster (The Longshanks) (Elite) (70%)
9th Raven Striker Cluster (The Snow Hunters) (Elite) (55%)
4th Raven Wing Cluster (The Snow Wing) (Elite) (35%)
Raven 4th Raven Regulars (Veteran)* (80%)

Beta Galaxy (Storm Crow Galaxy)
5th Raven Dragoon Cluster (The Wind Riders) (Elite) (50%)
97th Raven Striker Cluster (The Soaring Ravens) (Elite) (45%)
5th Raven Wing Cluster (The Frost Wing) (Veteran) (40%)
9th Raven Wing Cluster (The Ice Wing) (Veteran) (70%)
Raven 6th Raven Regulars (Veteran)* (80%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 12
Homeworlds: 12 second-line Clusters + 8 PGCs

White Cloud Naval Star
Sovetskii Soyuz-class CA (Storm Crow—Flagship; White Cloud)
Lola III-class DD (Spur)
Essex-class DD (Eternity)
Whirlwind-class DD (Drake)
York-class CV (Corvidae)

Swift Wing Naval Star
McKenna-class BB (James McKenna)
Conqueror-class BC (Ark Royal)
Congress-class FF (Magpie)
Lola III-class FF (Bloody Talon)
Whirlwind-class DD (William Adams)

Raven’s Nest Transport Star
Potemkin-class Troop Cruiser (Bonaventure; Rook)
Volga-class Transport (Tenacity)
Lola III-class DD ()Vision of Terra)


Clan Star Adder
Adder Command Keshik (The Light of Command) (Elite) (Cluster) (35%)
Adder Quasar Keshik (Iron Will) (Elite) (Cluster) (65%)

Alpha Galaxy (Old Blood and Guts)
5th Assault Cluster (Georgie's Gorillas) (Elite) (30%)
85th Adder Cavaliers (Gallant Steeds) (Elite) (35%)
191st Adder Guards (Saar Cavaliers) (Elite) (45%)
11th Armored Cavalry Squadron (Messina Missionaries) (Veteran) (30%)
87th Dragoon Cluster (Ivory Six-Shooters) (Veteran) (60%)

Beta Galaxy (Blood Feud)
13th Adder Assault Cluster (Arcadian Devils) (Veteran) (50%)
42nd Adder Cavaliers (The Answer) (Elite) (45%)
73rd Adder Cavaliers (Scourge of the Highlands) (Veteran) (55%)
9th Armored Cavalry Squadron (Spirit Crushers) (Veteran) (60%)
69th Dragoon Cluster (Fighting Gurkhas) (Veteran) (65%)

Delta Galaxy (Thunderstrike)
6th Adder Assault Cluster (Vladivostok Flames) (Elite) (50%)
132nd Adder Guards (Raleigh Rifles) (Veteran) (60%)
18th Armored Cavalry Squadron (Allah's Will) (Elite) (55%)
212th Battle Cluster (Sheet Lightning) (Veteran) (45%)

97th Adder Sentinels (Veteran)*
235th Adder Sentinels (Elite)*
522nd Adder Sentinels (Elite)*

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 22
Homeworlds: 8 front-line Clusters + 16 second-line Clusters + 24 PGCs

Last Word Naval Star
Sovetskii Soyuz-class CA (Nygaard—Flagship)
Black Lion-class BC (Admiral William S. Preston)
Lola III-class DD (Warlock)
York-class CV (Crusader; Ranger)
Potemkin-class Troop Cruiser (Renown)


Clan Steel Viper

Alpha Galaxy (Steel Viper Galaxy)
400th Assault Cluster (The Diamondbacks (Veteran) (35%)
4th Viper Guards (The Deadly Venom) (Elite) (25%)
61st Striker Cluster (The Heirs of Cukulcan) (Veteran) (30%)

Beta Galaxy (Steel Fang)
233rd Battle Cluster (The Hunting Vipers) (Veteran) (40%)
126th Striker Cluster (The Copperheads) (Veteran) (50%)
19th Striker Cluster (The Black Mambas) (Veteran) (55%)
Viper Fusiliers (Mercer’s Own) (Elite) (25%)
9th Viper Guards (The Anacondas) (Veteran) (35%)

Gamma Galaxy (Striking Serpents)
4234d Assault Cluster (Gamma's Pride) (Veteran) (40%)
428th Assault Cluster (The Striking Viper) (Veteran) (40%)
51st Battle Cluster (The Silent Strikers) (Veteran) (55%)
94th Battle Cluster (The Cottonmouths) (Veteran) (35%)
57th Striker Cluster (The Fangs of Death) (Elite) (60%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 14
Homeworlds: 20 second-line Clusters + 20 PGCs

Viper Triumphant Naval Star
Sovetskii Soyuz-class CA (Sanra Mercer—Flagship)
Congress-class FF (Snake Leader)
Lola III-class DD (Anaconda)
Essex-class DD (Martial Legacy)
Fredasa-class Corvette (Pit Viper)


Clan Stone Lion

Alpha Galaxy (Rock from Fire)
1st Lion Assault Cluster (The Widow’s Pride) (Elite) (55%)
1st Lion Battle Cluster (Hell’s Own) (Elite) (50%)
2nd Lion Battle Cluster (Strength of Stone) (Veteran) (55%)
3rd Lion Battle Cluster (The Roaring Lions) (Veteran) (60%)
The Lion Dragoons (First Team) (Elite) (70%)
1st Lion Striker Cluster (The Stone Lion Hussars) (Elite) (65%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 0
Homeworlds: 6 second-line Clusters + 6 PGCs

Clan Stone Lion Naval Star
Sovetskii Soyuz-class CA (Reaver—flagship)
Lola III-class DD (Anathema; Rancor)


Clan Wolf

Alpha Galaxy (The Dire Wolves)
The Golden Keshik (Elite) (1 Trinary) (55%)
328th Assault Cluster (The Lion-Hearted) (Elite) (45%)
279th Battle Cluster (The Golden Horde) (Elite) (60%)
3rd Wolf Guards Cluster (The Sentinels) (Elite) (50%)
4th Wolf Guards Cluster (The Cyclops Cluster) (Elite) (55%)
13th Wolf Guards Cluster (The Wolf Spiders) (Elite) (60%)

Beta Galaxy (The Arctic Wolves)
The Silver Keshik (Elite) (1 Trinary) (60%)
341st Assault Cluster (The Silver Blizzard) (Elite) (40%)
352nd Assault Cluster (The Silver Wolves) (Elite) (45%)
3rd Battle Cluster (Silver Devils) (Elite) (55%)
9th Wolf Guards Cluster (Silver Fangs) (Elite) (60%)

Gamma Galaxy (The Wolf Hussars)
The Bronze Keshik (Veteran) (1 Trinary) (50%)
5th Battle Cluster (Ghost Hunters) (Veteran) (55%)
7th Battle Cluster (The Hungry Wolves) (Veteran) (55%)
11th Battle Cluster (The Bronze Lancers) (Veteran) (40%)
16th Battle Cluster (The Bronze Furies) (Veteran) (70%)

Delta Galaxy (The Red Wolves)
The Red Keshik (Veteran) (1 Trinary) (60%)
11th Wolf Guards Cluster (The Lightning Pack) (Veteran) (65%)
4th Striker Cluster (Red Death) (Veteran) (50%)
37th Striker Cluster (Blood Kits) (Veteran) (55%)
103rd Striker Cluster (Red Thunder) (Veteran) (50%)

Iota Galaxy (The Steel Wolves)*, Elements
The Steel Keshik (Veteran)* (90%)
Wolf 8th Wolf Regulars (Stalking Death) (Veteran)* (90%)
Wolf 15th Wolf Regulars (The Inquisitors) (Veteran)* (80%)

Provisional Garrison Clusters: 24
Homeworlds: 8 front-line Clusters + 14 second-line Clusters + 16 PGCs

Wolf Naval Star
Sovetskii Soyuz-class CA (Dire Wolf—Flagship)
Congress-class FF (Rogue)
Lola III-class DD (Nature's Wrath)
Vincent-class Corvette (Trailblazer; Valiant)
Potemkin-class Troop Cruiser (Full Moon)

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 Profile  
 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-03 05:32pm
Offline
White Mage
White Mage
User avatar

Joined: 2003-02-12 11:59pm
Posts: 17685
Location: Tahalshia Manor
And so it ends, and so it begins.
Where will our Scorpions go now?



Image

Librium Arcana, Where Gamers Play!
Nitram, slightly high on cough syrup: Do you know you're beautiful?
Me: Nope, that's why I have you around to tell me.
Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-03 06:45pm
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Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
Clan Goliath Scorpion Field Headquarters; Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 22, 3043


Nikolai Djerassi shook his head as the two hour documentary finished and the lights came on the vacant auditorium. He stood and glared down at smiling gnome that Kendrick Wheeler so resembled, down to the red cap that he wore to cover his balding scalp.

“Glorious, was it not?” the film maker cackled. “Triumph of Kerensky shall be lauded throughout history—and it will deliver the Inner Sphere into your hands, eh, Nikolai?” he laughed.

Nikolai laughed as well. “The cinematography was brilliant, the satire and allusions and metaphorical commentary was inspired—but deliver the Inner Sphere into our hands?” The Scorpion shook his head sadly. “That is something which this film shall not do. Outwardly it paints the Clans of Kerensky in the best possible light, but I could not help but notice that were the narrative to be changed slightly, then the imagery upon the scene alters to match the words. Our noble Clan Warriors become barbaric and cruel, the waifs orphaned by war suddenly no not if they are being saved or sent into perpetual servitude. That being said, it is the best that we can expect. Of course, my expectations were set rather low.”

Wheeler’s face grew flushed and he waved a dismissive hand. “You wouldn’t know art if you saw it! It is a masterpiece, I tell you! I have already arranged for the distribution and it will soon be shown everywhere!”

“Really?” Nikolai asked. “Without waiting for the permission of the ilKhan?”

“I have her permission, God rest her soul.”

“Yes, you did. To film this—not to distribute it until she and her advisors could view it.”

“Well she can’t,” the documentarian said as he settled down into a sulk over the Scorpion’s comments. “I did my part—and I want my payment.”

“Of course, your thirty pieces of silver,” Nikolai unbuttoned the flap on his pistol and drew it. “Here is everything you deserve—and more.”

Wheeler started to open his mouth, but the bullet caught him in the forehead and he fell to the ground. Nikolai shook his head again as he lowered the smoking weapon. “Did you not think that your . . . perversity would fail to be reported to us? Burn the body,” he told one of the Elementals standing nearby as he exited the theatre.

“And the film, my Khan?”

“Remove the narration and get one of our Artists to redub it—and release it to the Khans. Waste not, want not, I always say.”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-03 08:00pm
Offline
Jedi Master

Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
The Steel Palace, Malcheema
Arcturus, Lyran Commonwealth, Federated Commonwealth
February 22, 3044


Jason Scott paused his kata in the small gymnasium where he was allowed to take his exercise as two dozen burly men entered through a side door. Although still a prisoner, he had spoken several times with Melissa Steiner-Davion, nearly a dozen times with Roman Steiner and Morgan Hasek-Davion, twice as often with Quintus Allard—but not once with Hanse Davion. Still, he had been allowed privileges such as this exercise time and books to read in his cell—and Stephen Davion visited every day. The two men had struck up a friendship on the voyage to Arcturus and it continued now, through their daily games of chess.

But this was different—and Jason could taste the fear and anger radiating off of the new arrivals. One of Jason’s two guards shook his head, but a newcomer held out a thick wad of bills and the guard pocketed them, and then the two regular guards left.

The newcomers spread out in a semi-circle and they were all armed with stun-sticks—nasty implements that dealt a mild electrical charge to the individual struck; they short-circuited the nerves momentarily and allowed police to subdue a captive quickly . . . and were generally considered non-lethal weapons unless the target of their attention had an undiagnosed heart condition. But they were also intended to be used in moderation—and not one of the thugs approaching had anything resembling moderation in their eyes.

Their leader stopped a dozen feet away from Jason and he spat. “Clan bastard . . . my brother was in the 15th Lyran Guards—your people killed him on Tukayyid.”

“The 15th Lyran fought in the Dinju Mountains—my Scorpions fought on the Prezno Plains . . . you clearly have the wrong Clan bastard.”

“You are all responsible for this,” another muttered, “each and every one of you, and each of us has lost family to your Invasion.”

“Ah, and you came down here today to extract your vengeance from my flesh and bones, then?” Jason asked in a calm voice.

“We are going to beat you until we break every last bone in your body,” a third man snarled.

“You do realize there is a camera that is recording everything in this gynasium, quiaff?” the Scorpion Warrior pointed out, raising one hand to point.

“And that tape will be long gone before anyone thinks to ask about it,” the leader said as thumbed the power of his stun-stick to full and blue-white arcs of electricity climbed up and down the shaft.

And Jason moved—he did not wait on them to attack him, instead he attacked them, diving into their midst and striking out with all the skill honed by the long hours of training and sparring and actual combat to the death in a Circle of Equals. The leader went down as Jason’s knuckles buried themselves in his throat—crushing the larynx—his foot lashed out and dropped a second—a third thug collapsed to the floor as Jason swung his elbow and shattered the bones in his skull at the temple . . . but there were too many of them and the Scorpion howled as electricity coursed through his body—and the stun-sticks rose and fell and slammed into his flesh and bonues with sickening thuds and cracks again and again and again.

*****************************************************************

“I don’t like him, Stephen!” growled Hanse Davion as he walked down the corridor towards the exercise room, a team of his best guards both ahead and behind the First Prince and his cousin.

And Stephen snorted. “Who says you have to like him? He’s an arrogant bastard who likes to settle things with a fight; he is also the personal representative of someone who is trying to negotiate a settlement to this war without additional bloodshed, and you are treating him as Second Coming of Mad Max!”

Hanse stopped and he stared at his cousin. “Then why haven’t the Scorpions crossed over yet? It’s been five weeks since the fighting on Tukayyid ended, and yet we haven’t received the first word of when he is going to do this!”

But Stephen met that fearsome glare resolutely. “You, better than anyone else alive, understand the issue of timing things closely, my Prince. We knew—from the first briefing—that it would be March or April before he moved; and the death of the ilKhan on Tukayyid is probably going to push that back some more. This is something he has to get perfectly right, or he and his Clan will die.” Stephen snorted. “You would shed no tears at that, but put yourself in Nikolai Djerassi’s shoes—he is trying to end this madness and keep his people alive . . . and you cannot damn well tell me you wouldn’t do exactly the same thing in his place!”

Hanse started to reply, but then he drew in a deep breath. “The casualty count from Tukayyid had really done a number on my composure—and the results of Takashi’s offensive has made me even more on edge. Every advantage they have is magnified in the defense—I should have expected that. I should have planned for that! After all, that is our strategy, my strategy, to make them fight through our fortifications to come to blows with us. The idea that the Clans might do the same thing to our offensive never really occurred to me—but that is what the Jaguars and Cats did to the DCMS and Theodore was lucky to pull a dozen regiments out of the fire.”

“And none of that is the fault of our Scorpion Ambassador, eh, cousin?” Stephen asked as the two started walking. “Let’s face it, you are still pissed at not being First Lord of the Star League aren’t you?”

Hanse stopped again and he shook his head. “I . . . no. No, Stephen, I’m not,” and Hanse shook his head. “It’s just that . . .”

“You aren’t in charge for once in your life.”

The Fox glared at his cousin who chuckled. “He’s Melissa’s cousin—and he isn’t a true believer in ComStar. I know you don’t trust them, I know you wish you could stand each and every Adept and Acolyte and Demi-Precentor and Precentor and Primus against a stone wall and give them a blindfold and a cigarette for all they have done in the past against you and Melissa and the Suns. But there comes a time when you have to let it go—or you will give yourself either a heart-attack or a stroke.”

“All right,” growled Hanse, “all right.” He held up one hand. “I’ll calm down and be good, I promise. Now how about we have that talk you have been wanting me to have with your pet Scorpion?”

The two began walking down the stone corridors deep beneath the palace once again and Stephen chuckled. “Pet Scorpion? He’s really not, Hanse. What he is a hell-on-wheels Warrior inside a ‘Mech and out, and a philosopher. Hell, he’s a lot like you when you were twenty.”

“He’s twenty?” Hanse stopped again, just outside the door. “He’s twenty?”

Stephen nodded. “He is. And he’s got as big a chip on his shoulder as you had at that age, trying to prove your worth to older brother Ian and Uncle Andrew. And like you with Ian and Uncle Andrew, he has been entrusted with great responsibility—responsibility he has earned because of his ability, not his birth. Bear that in mind cousin.”

And an agonizing howl of pain came from the far side of the doors, causing Hanse and Stephen both to turn their heads. The guards reacted instantly—half covering the two Davions and the rest pouring into the room; after a moment one of the guards nodded at the Fox. “Clear, sir—you can enter.”

Hanse Davion stormed in and he drew in a deep breath at the gaggle of men with stun-sticks at their feet and the bloody, battered body of the Scorpion ambassador lying on the ground.

“WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?” he bellowed, but none of the soldiers—not one of whom as assigned to Palace security!—meet his glance.

One of the Prince’s security detail was on his knee examining Jason and he thumbed his radio. “Medical emergency—detention area exercise hall—get down here fast!”

“H-he . . . attacked us,” one of the Lyran Regulars finally said under Hanse’s stern gaze. “We were defending ourselves.”

“Right,” said another, “you tell him,” chimed in a third.

“Son,” Hanse said as he stepped up close—his guards getting even closer to the sweating soldier, “that camera better confirm every word out of your lips or I will see you hang in a wire noose. So help me God.”

“DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?” Hanse thundered. “So, now, without the bullshit, explain to me why soldiers in mine and my wife’s military forces who are not even supposed to be here, were just beating the ever loving hell out of an Ambassador to Our Court?”

A bath in liquid nitrogen would have warm in comparison the last words uttered by Hanse Davion—and twenty very frightened men began to confess, laying the blame on anyone but themselves.

“ENOUGH!” Stephen barked, and he nodded at the guards, who took all of them into custody, some still begging forgiveness, others pleading their innocence, but they were ushered from the exercise room as medical professionals rushed in and began to examine the unconscious Scorpion. One of the doctors looked up, “I need to get him into surgery, my Prince,” he said.

“Go,” commanded Hanse. “Erik,” he said to his guard commander. “Cancel my DropShip flight back to New Avalon—and assign a detachment of our people to Star Captain Scott in order to prevent this from happening again.”

“At once, my Prince,” the security chief said as he began barking orders into his radio.

And Hanse chuckled grimly. Stephen just stared at him as the doctor and the medical team loaded Jason Scott in a gurney and wheeled him away. “You find this humorous, cousin?”

“I was thinking about how you said we are alike, Stephen—and damn me if I wouldn’t have tried to take some of them with me too,” Hanse motioned to the three corpses lying on the ground. “Damn me if I wouldn’t have,” he whispered again.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-03 11:55pm
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Clan Goliath Scorpion Field Headquarters; Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 22, 3043


Natasha rapped the frame of the door at Nikolai’s office and the Scorpion looked up from a report he was reading—and then he carefully closed the monitor screen and stood. “Khan Kerensky, to what do I owe the pleasure this evening?”

She held up a bottle of Nikolai’s stolen Scotch and smiled. “I come bearing gifts.”

“Beware Stone Lions bearing gifts, to paraphrase an ancient author,” Nikolai said sourly but he waved his hand towards a pair of chairs flanking the roaring fireplace. The Widow stepped into the office and handed the sealed bottle over; then she chuckled. “I think you might need to activate your bug-stomper, Nikolai, after you sweep the room for listening devices—because you and I need to have a little chat.”

Nikolai shrugged as he sat down the bottle and called his latest aide into the office. The young Scorpion swept the office with a hand-held electronic device and then he nodded at the Khan, who powered up a powerful electronic jammer built into his desk—the young Scorpion left and closed the door behind him—sealing the Faraday cage constructed into the walls, floors, and ceiling for additional security.

The Scorpion took a folding utensil from his pocket and cut away the wax seal on the neck of the whiskey bottle, then he levered out a cork-screw from the implement and extracted the cork with a pop. “Rocks or neat?” he asked.

“Chilled is good, naked is better,” Natasha answered with a stunning grin and the Scorpion Khan chuckled in reply, pouring two fingers of whiskey for her, and two for himself. He put ice within his own, however.

“We are as secure as I can reasonably make us, Khan Kerensky—what do you desire to 'chat' about?”

“Jaime told me what you told Melissa, Nikolai—you’ve been a naughty boy, haven’t you?” she asked with her eyes twinkling.

Nikolai turned his head in question slightly, but his pupils did not grow any wider, nor did any muscles on his face or neck twitch; nor did any sudden sweat beads begin to emerge from his forehead—he gave absolutely no outward sign that he had the least idea of what she was speaking of . . . and Natasha suddenly burst out laughing.

“Remind me to never to play poker with you, Nikolai! Damn, you’ve got good control over your reactions, quiaff?”

“When I play poker, which is not often,” the Scorpion said taking a pause and a sip, “I play for only the highest of stakes. Now what, pray tell, did Commanding General Jaime Wolf—our enemy, need I not remind you—tell you that I supposedly said to Melissa Steiner-Davion—or were you referring to another Melissa, perchance?”

“I know you are the one who gave her the idea to reform the Star League—and that you have offered to bring the Scorpions under their banner.”

“And if that were true, are you here to kill me?” Nikolai asked, and cocked his head to one side. “Or to join me?”

The Khan of the Stone Lions took a deep swallow of her own whiskey and sat down the glass on the table. “If the other Khans find out—and they will eventually—they will tear you apart with red-hot irons, Nikolai.”

The Scorpion nodded his agreement and he took a second sip and sat down his glass as well. “So I was right—you are an Inner Sphere plant.”

“Yes, you were—and you will go down in history as a traitor to the Clans.”

“Perhaps . . . but we have a Star League once more. This is a chance to end this war, and end it with the best of all possible results—a united Inner Sphere, under one government that is not bound by our traditions and castes and rules of conduct! We were meant to serve the Star League—I have always been a Warden in this endeavor, Natasha. And rather than see my Crusader brethren make a hash of it, I have pulled the strings as best I could to steer events to this point—where the Davions and the Steiners and the Kuritas and the Mariks and the Liaos have united to preserve their own cultures and societies . . . and ours as well.”

“By and large, my Scorpions are Wardens—we have a Star League now, a Star League we can be proud to serve . . . and they will follow me into that service. I had suggested that Jaime Wolf be named First Lord, but I cannot have my way in everything it seems.” And he shrugged.

“Oh-oo!” howled Natasha with laughter. “He forgot to tell me that. You must have known that Takashi Kurita would never allow it.”

Nikolai shrugged. “It does not matter who is First Lord—the League has been Reborn. Will you stay here in the staid boring Clans or will you return to the Terran Hegemony in the company of Scorpions?”

The Black Widow grew serious. “They will Annihilate the rest of your Clan, Nikolai. Your Scorpions will be absorbed into the Inner Sphere and pass away into history.”

Everything passes with time, Natasha, nothing lasts forever—the Scorpions are fully aware of that fact. I have not left a single Warrior, a single sibkin, a single ship in the Homeworlds for our trothkin to slake their vengeance on—they will arrive at Rondane soon, where we will load up my other civilians to join the ones from the Homeworlds, and my factories, and they will meet us on Asta . . . a former world of the Hegemony which will be ours to call home.”

Natasha lifted the whiskey and slugged back the rest of the tumbler’s contents. “High-stakes indeed,” she whispered. “If my Stone Lions joined you, we would lose our civilians from the Homeworlds and what few military units have been formed there in my absence.”

“A handful according to my sources—before our unfortunate technical difficulties with the communications relay. And all fractious, unrepentant Mandrills—you are better off without them.”

“And I have a sudden suspicion that you had something to do with that technical difficulty.”

“Aff. My Fleet has been destroying the HPG relays and taking the JumpShips assembled for the command circuit to Rondane—we also seized the Raven’s Yard-Ship Sanctuary at Way Point 427.”

“You are a madman; you realize this is a medical fact?” Natasha asked with a shocked look on her face.

Nikolai smiled. “I needed the JumpShips to haul my civilians and factories from Rondane and we will need the Yard-Ship once we arrive on our new home. Peter will be pissed, of course, but when I return the six Potemkins I shanghaied, he might not feel quite so bad—especially since the Ravens were only running the Yard-Ship for the ilKhan; technically it is not their ship at all.”

“Pour me another,” Natasha whispered, and Nikolai did so with a grin.

“Surprised, Khan Kerensky? When I play, I play to win—and speaking of winning, if you fear that your Warriors will not follow you with their genetic legacies in the hands of Scientists back in the Homeworlds, well . . .” Nikolai smiled broadly, “let us say that there are Scientists who are not very Clan-like in their attitudes. I have a complete copy of the Master Genetic Data Repository aboard the Fleet en route to Rondane. Not physical samples, but enough for any competent Scientist to ensure that the Blood-Names of your Clan—and mine—are preserved.”

“They will have to invent a way to resurrect the dead to kill you as many times as you deserve, Nikolai!” Natasha blurted out. “How long have you been planning this?”

“The genesis of the idea was Khan Kirov’s before his death—he chose me as saKhan because we agreed on this issue. The Star League must stand again—and the Scorpions must return home to serve it, before our infighting in the Homeworlds tears us asunder. For nearly two decades first Mikhail and then I have been working for this end—this goal—that we finally achieved just before we landed on Tukayyid. And for that purpose, I pledged my life, my treasure, and my sacred honor as a sacrifice if needed.” Nikolai took a sip of whiskey. “So, are you with us or will you stand against us?”

"Are you going to give them the Exodus Road, Nikolai?" she asked in response.

"Neg. I am purging all navigational data from every ship's computer as it arrives in the Inner Sphere. I want to see the Star League Reborn, Natasha . . . I have no desire to see the SLDF fighting amid nuclear detonations on the Homeworlds. You know that the Khans, for all their talk about honor, would resort to that if they were invaded. With us or against us?"

“Oh, I am with you, Nikolai—you are too much fun for me to be anywhere else.” She paused and sipped her whiskey again. “What of the other Clans? Some . . . some of them are rethinking this invasion.”

“They should all be rethinking the Invasion,” Nikolai answered and frowned. “We can count out the Falcons, Sharks, Horse’s, Ravens, Vipers, Hellions, Adders, Spirits, and Jaguars immediately—none of them will be willing to serve a Star League not of their own making.”

“You, Marion, and Jake are friends, you might persuade them . . .” but Nikolai shook his head and the Widow stopped.

“Friendship has nothing to do with this—and Marion knows it. Right now, if the Clans are forced out of the Inner Sphere and back home, he—and the Bears—have the two largest and most powerful toumans remaining. And the Bears are a cautious breed. With the losses the Falcons and Jaguars and Vipers have suffered, he will lead the Crusaders . . . and rule the Homeworlds as ilKhan. No, he would rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond. Jake Fletcher,” and here Nikolai sighed. “Jake will take this as a personal betrayal and he will consider me a traitor to his last days—he will try his best to kill me. Peter might have jumped ship, heh, but his displeasure with me will keep him on the Clan side. For now.”

“That leaves the Coyotes, Wolves, Bears, Cobras, and Cats,” said Natasha. “Ulric . . . I just don’t know. He’s a hard man to read—but he is a hard-line Warden, a true-believer in his own fashion.”

“And a pragmatic one who wants to change the Clans from within—unless the survival of Clan Wolf itself is at stake, he won’t jump—neither will Pavel and his Coyotes. Amanda will understand why I have done this—she will even silently applaud the audacity and risks involved in my actions, she will wish me luck, but she will not risk the survival of Clan Ghost Bear. Besides,” he said with a grin, “she gets to keep my worlds and Rondane—including the factories I cannot move in time.”

“And then there were two,” the Widow mused. “The Cats are fanatical about the Star League—but it all depends on their Khan and Loremaster.”

“And the Cobras, they have to know their best chance of surviving to see the next century is away from the Homeworlds—the other Clans have begun getting antsy about their religious practices,” Nikolai added.

“Do we approach them—do we dare to broach this subject with them?”

Nikolai licked his lips. “Not yet . . . we still have much left in this play of ours, and our time upon the stage is not yet at an end.”

Natasha sat back in her chair and took another swallow of the smooth, deep, warm whiskey. “How do you know the Lions will follow me?”

“How do I know that when the sun sets for the night it will rise again in the morning? Or that water is wet? Of all the questons you could have asked, this is simplest. Natasha Kerensky, you led them—led them—through the fire to regain their honor. They are truly Lions now, not a collection of free-birth cast-offs from the Fifteen Clans mixed with surviving Mandrills. Those men and women—from your saKhan Aiden Pryde down to the lowest laborer, each would follow you into Hell without hesitation, evasion, or reservation.”

“And how do you know I won't take this to the Grand Council and reveal all of your masterful plans and schemes, O Great and Powerful Oz?”

“If I even suspected that you would, you would not get out of this building alive.”

Natasha Kerensky smiled and she stood and she nodded. “Oh, now the fun part really starts.”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-04 09:12pm
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Grand Council of the Khans, Memmingen University, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 23, 3043


Thomas Black, Khan of the Steel Vipers rose from the seats normally used by students attending a lecture with a scowl on his face. To his eyes, to those of many of the Khans present today, this chamber was simply a parody—a mockery!—of the Hall of the Khans on Strana Mechty; that anger and frustration showed clearly on his face.

“Khan Black,” the new Loremaster of the Clans—Grace Kabrinski of Clan Ghost Bear—said, recognizing the Viper and granting him the floor.

“It has never been done—not once in our entire history! The ilKhan is elected on Strana Mechty, in the Hall of the Khans, and in no other place!” he thundered. “We must—the Khans and the Blood-Named, return home to elect a new ilKhan. The Martial Code sa-. . .”

Nothing on this subject, Khan Black—I know, I have read it in preparation for today; every last clause and article and regulation,” Nikolai interrupted as he stood. “Tradition has our election of an ilKhan take place in that sacred Hall on Nicholas Kerensky’s Strana Mechty; tradition, my Khans, not regulation. Not law, nor any code handed down by the First ilKhan or any of his successors.”

“You would be wise to remain silent today, Scorpion,” hissed the Viper. “Your plans led us to this catastrophe, your desire to take Tukayyid, your failure to adequately prepare the Khans for what we encountered there!”

We, Khan Black? I fought on Tukayyid,” Nikolai answered in a scathing tone. “Many of the Khans here today fought and bled on Tukayyid—you did not. The only reason you are here today holding the rank of Khan is because your predecessor disobeyed the orders of her lawful commander under combat conditions and got herself and three full Clusters of Vipers killed! And for what? The battle had been lost already—she threw away your trothkin because of her foolish pride!”

Black’s face twisted with anger—and shame—and he started to leap forward, but one mighty bellow brought him to a halt.

ENOUGH!” shouted Brandon Howell as the Jaguar leapt to his feet. “The Scorpion speaks the truth Khan Black. You dishonor yourself and your Clan if you do not accept the truth of what happened in the Kozice Valley!”

The two Khans locked eyes across the room, but it was the Viper who finally looked away. “That being said,” continued Howell in a calm and even voice, “it was your plan which led us to this state, Nikolai Djerassi—a plan which you agreed to accept the consequences of if you were wrong.”

Aidan Pryde, saKhan of Clan Stone Lion stood and shook his head. “Was he to be prophetic in nature, Khan Howell? Tukayyid was a trap for us—a trap laid by Commanding General Jaime Wolf of the Star League Reborn.” And in answer a rustle arose from the Khans as at last those words were spoken in a formal setting. “Aye . . . we cannot deny reality, my Khans—and the reality is that we have forced the Inner Sphere to unite against us and to reform the Star League . . . whose armies have now handed unto the Clans our first defeat. The first of many defeats.”

“This false Star League will not prevail—we will not be defeated!” growled Howell.

But Aidan only cocked his head to one side and nodded. “Then perhaps we should hold this meeting on Pesht, Khan Howell. Or on Bjarred, or Jeanette, or Teniente, or Irece, or on . . . any other of your worlds bordering the Draconis Combine. Oh, wait, we cannot for those worlds the Jaguars and Cats have been driven from—in defeat.”

“It is but a temporary setback,” howled Brandon, “we shall recla- . . .”

“Begging the Khan’s pardon, but you have not the strength of arms at this moment in time to reclaim those worlds—and you know that as well as I,” Aidan continued in a sober voice. “The plans for Tukayyid were sound, we all know this. Just as we must all acknowledge that we were outfought.”

And all Hell broke loose at that final sentence.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-04 10:17pm
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Grand Council of the Khans, Memmingen University, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 23, 3043


It took forty minutes for the Ebon Keshik—what was left of it—to restore order and separate the Khans. None of the Elementals made any comment about the fight—the undignified brawl—which had been fought, but their tongues would wag about that night. And it turned out that Star Captain Tyra Moon won the pool, because Natasha Kerensky fought just as dirty as she had predicated she would!

But that would occur later, in the security of the Ebon Keshik’s segregated barracks.

The Loremaster of the Clans scowled down upon the chastised, bruised, and (for a few) bleeding Khans in derision. “Is this how the Khans honor the memory of our ilKhan? Of our Founders? With a brawl more appropriate to a drinking establishment and an overuse of intoxicants?”

Grace Kabrinski shook her head. “My Khans, you will conduct yourselves with decorum or I will order the Ebon Keshik to remove you from this Chamber!”

“You do not have the authority!” bellowed the Ice Hellions Emma Drake, newly elected as Khan of her Clan.

“Try me, Hellion!” the Bear snapped back. She paused, but no one else dared to say a word. “Let’s cut to the chase, shall we? We need an ilKhan. We can vote here or we can waste a year and return home. And when we get back, we will need to start all over again because Jaime Wolf will have taken every last one of our worlds in the interim! Broken the forces we leave behind! Quiaff?”

“Aff,” most of the Khans agreed. And the Loremaster nodded. “Yea to take the vote here; nay to return to the Homeworlds. Vote now.”

And by twenty-five to seven, the Khans voted to hold the election for ilKhan immediately.

“I open the floor for nominations,” Grace said. “Khan Djerassi, you wish to speak on the behalf of a Khan?”

“I do, Loremaster. There is one Khan among us who has been a rock through adversity and triumph; a Khan whose touman is the largest in any of the occupation zones at this time. A Khan who is given to considered decisions, not rash ones. I nominate for ilKhan Amanda Tseng, Khan of the Ghost Bears.”

Amanda looked up in shock and then she nodded. Ulric Kerensky stood beside her. “I second the nomination of Amanda Tseng.”

For several moments no one else spoke, and then Grace asked the question: “Are there any further nominations?” Silence, for every Khan present realized the task ahead of the new ilKhan—and none wanted to risk failure. Grace nodded. “Then nominations are closed.”

Natasha stood. “Loremaster, I move that we confirm the vote by acclamation.”

“Seconded,” called out Jake Fletcher.

“All those voting for Amanda Tseng as ilKhan say Aye,” the Loremaster answered.

“AYE!” nearly every Khan shouted. “Those opposed speak now or hold thy silence for eternity.” And no one spoke.

“Rise, ilKhan Tseng and take your rightful place among us,” Grace said with a bow.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-04 11:04pm
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Grand Council of the Khans, Memmingen University, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 23, 3043


Trothkin,” Amanda began, “we are in a time of crisis such as the Clans have never before faced. But we shall prevail through this—we will remain the Clans of Kerensky! There are hard decisions ahead of us, and we must—as the junior Khan of the Stone Lions has reminded us today—content with reality as it is and not how we might wish it were. The Invasion will halt in place as of today.”

Shouts of protest erupted—but not nearly in the numbers Nikolai had expected. He waited until the Khans calmed down, as Amanda stood like an unmoving rock in the center of that storm.

“We have no choice—we lack the strength to press forward at this time. Despite all of our reinforcements, all of our replacements, we are at roughly sixty percent of our numbers when we began this Invasion—even though we have added more than forty Clusters to our roster! We must, for the moment, stand on the defensive . . . and make some difficult decisions.”

Marion Truscott stood and he nodded. “We have bled ourselves white, my Khans—the ilKhan speaks the truth today. To go forward now, we risk losing everything we have so far gained.”

“But if we do not advance,” Helen Schmidt, the Khan of the Blood Spirits said as she too stood, “we risk giving the False Star League time to recover as well.”

And here Nikolai stood. “Aff, but if we do continue forward we will soon enough have nothing which to hold these worlds—and the Star League will reclaim them behind us with scarcely a fight, severing our supply lines and letting us wither on the vine. My Khans, they are hurting as much as we—but they began this with far more regiments than we have Clusters. We have destroyed more than one hundred and eighty BattleMech Regiments, an order of magnitude greater numbers of lesser formations—and yet they still have reserves greater than our combined Clans together. If we all had our full toumans here now, which we do not.”

“And yet,” Nikolai continued on, “they have not suffered such losses since the earliest days of their Succession Wars. Their worlds are feeling the effect of units that provide protection and garrison are being transferred to face us; they suffer from pirates and bandits and their civilians rise up in discontent. Now, in the face of the results of the Battle of Tukayyid, now is the time to negotiate an end.”

Negotiate!” Emma Drake shrieked. “You are a dezgra coward, Khan Djerassi! Negotiate with the Scavenger Lords who formed this False Star League in an effort to demoralize us.”

Nikolai glared at the Hellion Khan, and if his look could have transferred temperature, Emma Drake would have frozen solid. “The Ice Hellion Khan is free to test her convictions on my courage at her earliest convenience; though I would suggest if she does so, the Hellions stand prepared to elect another new Khan.”

“No,” said Amanda from the lectern. “We have lost enough Khans for one year—both of you be seated. Now.”

Nikolai bowed politely and sat, quickly followed by the still seething Hellion.

“We must seek a truce,” the ilKhan said. “Either that, or we admit defeat and crawl back home in shame.”

A low moan went through the Khans, as even those who hated this idea realized the need for it.

“We will dispatch an envoy to arrange a meeting with First Lord Focht—probably through a real-time HPG connection,” she continued. “In the meantime,” and her she paused, shaking her head at what she had to say. At what perhaps she alone had the courage to say in this chamber. “Khan Howell, Khan West, Khan Schmidt . . . we must consolidate our holdings. The Jaguars and Cats will abandon their remaining worlds in Corridor Theta. You are woefully vulnerable at the moment; Khan Schmidt, you have not enough force to hold every world in Corridor Eta—which I will divide into three Occupation Zones . . . one of each of your Clans.”

All three Khans began to scream in protest, but Amanda cut them off. “THERE WILL BE NO DEBATE ON THIS! We are speaking of survival itself. As Corridor Epsilon and Delta are the two with the least vulnerable flanks, I am also ordering Clan Goliath Scorpion to reinforce the Falcons and Sharks in Corridor Alpha—and Clan Coyote to join the Hellions and Vipers in Corridor Beta. If you want a Trial of Refusal, then I will resign as ilKhan and watch as your Clans are defeated in detail. And I will return my Bears to the Homeworlds to rebuild for our next attempt.”

Utter silence greeted her yet again and Amanda nodded. “The time has come to put the Clans of Kerensky above our own Clan—and if any Khan present here today cannot do so, then he or she may meet me in combat and die at my hands.”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-04 11:09pm
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The list of the current Khans and saKhans:

ilKhan of the Clans: ilKhan Amanda Tseng (Ghost Bear)
Loremaster of the Clans: Loremaster Charles Bragg (Ice Hellion)

Blood Spirit: Khan Helen Schmidt, saKhan James Carmichael
Cloud Cobra: Khan Mark Steiner; saKhan Leonard Eaker
Coyote: Khan Pavel Kerensky; saKhan Simon Kufahl
Diamond Shark: Khan Olivia Sutherland; saKhan Peter Hammond
Ghost Bear: Khan Grace Kabrinski; saKhan Eric Jorgensson
Goliah Scorpion: Khan Nikolai Djerassi; saKhan Nelson
Hell's Horse: Khan Jake Fletcher; saKhan Rapael Mendoza
Ice Hellion: Khan Emma Drake; saKhan Robert Taney
Jade Falcon: Khan Marthe Pryde; saKhan Michael van Jankmon
Nova Cat: Khan Marius West; saKhan Linda Devereaux
Smoke Jaguar: Khan Brandon Howell; saKhan Sarah Weaver
Snow Raven: Khan Peter McKenna; saKhan Joan McKenzie
Star Adder: Khan Marion Truscott; saKhan Jean N'Buta
Steel Viper: Khan Thomas Black; saKhan Paul Masters
Stone Lion: Khan Natasha Kerensky; saKhan Aidan Pryde
Wolf: Khan ulric Kerensky; saKhan Marianne Vickers

Grace will be elected to replace Amanda, whereupon Charles Bragg replaces her as Loremaster of the Clans.

MA

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-05 02:30pm
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LCMS Bucklands Belle (aka CGSS Jenna Scott), Zenith Jump Point
Odessa, Lyran Commonwealth
February 23, 3043


“Skipper,” the executive officer of the Clan Goliath Scorpion Surveillance Ship Jenna Scott growled, and Star Captain Thaddeus Arbuthnot nodded.

“Steady, folks—stay frosty and remember they think we are just another tramp freighter passing through.” I hope that they think that, Thaddeus thought as he swallowed hard.

Jenna Scott was one of three Tracker-class vessels in use by Clan Goliath Scorpion and throughout the invasion she had been scouting the systems on the flanks and in front of the Invasion. But neither she nor her crew had expected to discover anything remotely like the concentration of JumpShips massed here over Odessa. Or the scores of aerospace fighters and dozens of Assault DropShips swarming around.

“Give me a count, Pieter,” the ship commander ordered.

“Two hundred and seventeen Jumpers, Skipper,” the tech responded almost instantly, “ranging from Scout-class to Monolith-class. No WarShips. Forty-two assault DropShips, mostly Avenger-class. One Olympus-class recharge station. Sixty aerospace fighters on patrol . . . but there are bound to be more. About a third are broadcasting as LCAF and AFFS vessels—the rest are merchant ships.”

Stravag,” Thaddeus cursed. “They are assembling a fleet to transport their regiments, hit us in the flank—and that means we are about to get impressed, I believe.”

“Speaking of which,” Star Commander Aaron Ben-Shimon, the aforementioned XO, looked up from his station. “We are being hailed.”

“Game faces, people,” Thaddeus ordered as he adjusted the mismatched, brightly colored eclectic array of clothing that served as his ‘uniform’. “On screen.”

The main monitor cleared and then presented the image of a Lyran Commodore, who nodded his head. “Bucklands Belle, pursuant to the Home Defense Act of the Estates General of 2832, I am hereby informing you that your ship is required to carry out military operations in service of Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces—you will move your vessel to the designated parking area and stand by for further instructions.”

Thaddeus scowled mightily and came out of his seat in mock anger. “I have a charter to Arcturus! This is . . . this is . . . bullshit!” he sputtered.

“You will be compensated,” the Commodore replied with a frown.

Compensated? I am familiar with your idea of compensation! What about my cargo? I have twenty thousand tons of fish, pasta, and spices from Kowloon that I signed a contract to deliver to Arcturus! If I fail to make delivery, I’ll lose my ship!”

The Commodore smiled. “The Regiments on Odessa—and the Fleet—could use additional provisions, Bucklands Belle. We are prepared to offer you a very good price—and we will seize your ship if you do not comply. Fully in accordance with the law,” he finished sternly.

The Scorpion officer made himself sit back down and offered the camera a disgusted look. “You will pay cost—I won’t clear a single Kroner of profit. How the hell am I supposed to pay my crew and maintain my ship on cost?”

“The Archon has authorized a slight expenditure above cost for your service—and your provisions. You will still turn a profit; as for the consignees waiting for your shipment this falls under the status of a Commonwealth Emergency—you cannot be sued in court for breach of contract and I will provide you with the appropriate paperwork stating that.”

Thaddeus slumped and he nodded sourly. “I knew I should have come out at the Nadir Point.”

The image of the officer on screen barked a laugh. “And you would have been press-ganged by Commodore Holt—who isn’t as generous as I. Tell me, are you carrying banh bot loc?" the Commodore asked, referring to Kowloonese rice dumpling stuffed with shrimp and pork, wrapped in banana leaves.

Thaddeus nodded. "And spiced cha as well," Kowloon pork and duck sausages, "and forty thousand bottles of ruou." A very popular rice whiskey. “Among other delicacies,” the Scorpion concluded with bitter shake of his head.

The Commodore smiled. “Well, as it just so happens, I am very fond of Kowloon cuisine. I think that you and I can come to some . . . equitable arrangement instead of going through the normal supply protocols.”

“I’ll transmit a manifest to you, Commodore . . .?”

“Perrin. Johann Perrin. In the meantime, Captain . . .?”

“Eisner. Bob Eisner.”

“In the meantime, Captain Eisner, move your vessel to the designated parking orbit. LCAF Odessa Zenith out.”

“Shit, shit, shit,” muttered Thaddeus. “Aaron get us moving—do not move us too smartly, quiaff?”

“Aff. We will look like a wallowing merchantmen, skipper. Ah, Star Captain . . . we could jump out back out—our LF batteries have a full charge on standby.”

“Neg. We need to make certain these ships are still here when the cavalry arrives.”

“The cavalry, sir?”

“Aff. Warm up the HPG—I need to speak with Star Admiral Malthus. His Emerald Talon Naval Star was at New Exford, last that I heard.”

The XO nodded and the techs jumped to the task. He then crossed the bridge and stood beside his commander and whispered quietly.

“Should we not inform the Khan?”

“We will, but our orders are to provide intelligence and recon data to all of the Clans—orders from the ilKhan.”

“She is dead.”

“So she is—and our orders have not been changed, quineg?”

“Neg.”

“Four hundred Inner Sphere JumpShips, sitting vulnerable here—this is a priority target, Aaron. Let’s see what Star Admiral Malthus can bring to the party.”

“Well, at least we will get a chance to use the guns,” Aaron said with a smile.

But Thaddeus shook his head. “Neg. We will high-tail it out of here to their emergency coordinates with the rest of this Fleet—and pass along their new coordinates to the Falcons and Sharks. There is an old parable, Aaron that fits this situation. Two bulls, one young and virile and strong, the second old and experienced stood upon a hill and looked down at their herd of fertile cows below. The young bull turned to his elder and said let us run down there and couple with a pair of cows. The elder shook his head and said, let us walk down there and couple with all of them.” Thaddeus smiled a cold, cold smile. “Today, we are going to couple with all of these Spheroids.”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-05 04:08pm
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CJFS Emerald Talon, Zenith Jump Point
New Exford, Clan Jade Falcon Occupation Zone
February 23, 3043


Star Admiral Adrian Malthus emerged onto the bridge of his flagship with his teeth bared in a snarl of pure joy. “Put me through to Star Admiral Hawker!” he ordered as he sat down in his command chair. As the Falcon officer waited for the connection, he pulled up a holographic image of the Zenith point. Besides the four WarShips of his own Emerald Talon Naval Star, two more Falcon WarShips from the Turkina’s Pride Naval Star were present, performing a normal patrol of the front lines. Both the frigate Kerensky’s Pride and the destroyer Emerald Tornado had completed recharging their KF drives—and had been scheduled to move out in a little more than three hours. But not any longer, the Falcon thought with a sudden grin.

And added to the six WarShips now under his command, Star Admiral Hawker had his own Deep Hunter Naval Star present—the two rival officers had arranged a series of maneuvers to keep their edge now that the presence of Inner Sphere WarShips had been confirmed. Lighter than the Emerald Talons, the Deep Hunters had a cruiser and four destroyers assigned to their ranks—but against these targets that would more than suffice.

The holographic image of Star Admiral Leslie Hawker appeared directly in front of Adrian. “You rang?”

“CGSS Jenna Scott has reported from Odessa, Leslie. The Steiners and Davions are assembling a Fleet of JumpShips at both the Zenith and Nadir points—a Fleet which they probably mean to use to transport an offensive against our Clans.” He grinned broadly. “I am taking my WarShips there to persuade them against such an operation—would you care to join me?”

The Shark frowned. “Opposition?”

“Fighters and Assault DropShips—total number unknown at this time, the Scorpions spotted a minimum of forty-two assault ships and sixty fighters;” he shrugged. “They probably have more they did not see.”

“Hitting defenseless JumpShips just seems so wrong,” whispered Hawker, and Adrian nodded his agreement.

“Aff. But these JumpShips are going to deliver unto our worlds a counter-attack twice as strong as that which divest the Jaguars of half the worlds they conquered! And I will not allow that to happen on my watch, not when I can avoid it.”

Hawker stared for a moment and then she simply said, “Seyla. What are your intentions?”

Adrian laughed. “Star Admiral Hawker, I aim to misbehave.”

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-05 06:33pm
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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: 2012-08-05 07:12pm
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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: 2012-08-05 08:12pm
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Wow. Just... wow. This gets better with each and every posting.

And the Inner Sphere just had a devastating blow driven into the heart of their economy, even if they don't realize it yet. I wonder what they will do when word of the massacre starts to spread. The loss of those jumpships, that's going to have repurcussions for a long time to come. If I'm remembering correctly, the Inner Sphere can't build their own jumpships, correct?

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-05 08:25pm
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You're right, Mondo. InnerSphere hasn't had JumpTech in centuries, and there was a unspoken rule that even the bandits and pirates obeyed: Don't Damage The Jumpships.

IIRC, most surviving Jumpships are Merchantile, which is why the IS fleet was commandeering them in the first place. This is also why the Scorpion captain bitched about it, because a real merchant would have known the problems and thrown a fit as well.

I do have to wonder if the Scorpions actually had Kowloon food provisions aboard. He was right about the profit it would have made.



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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-05 08:55pm
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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 masterarminas on 2012-08-05 10:41pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-05 10:10pm
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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: 2012-08-05 11:04pm
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Oh yes, have the medics nearby because Hanse will have an apolexy.

But the First Lord is right. Nikolai is the most dangerous man in the universe at this moment, because he will do and has done everything for the Dream. Just as Mikael did before his final fight.



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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-06 02:01pm
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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: 2012-08-06 03:17pm
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Castellan
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Posts: 5898
Location: Bound in a nutshell
Oh my, things are getting close to the crunch point.

Also:

"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.

I'm geussing you're a Hunt for Red October fan :D



"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

"Bones' remedies for problems seems to revolve around giving his patients a prescription of heavy drugs, booze, or taking them to strip clubs. He is either insane, a drug addict, or the best damn Doctor in Starfleet!" - SFDebris

SDN World 6: The Kingdom of Orion

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-06 09:34pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
Posts: 1039
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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