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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: 2012-08-06 11:07pm
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Ok, I missed the fluff about the Nova Cats having Visions. :(

However, Focht just rolled a 20 on his bluff and intimidate checks. :twisted:



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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-07 10:32am
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Methinks that the Khans are going to be doing some serious thinking about this... those that aren't going to go completely ballistic, that is. The annihilation of an entire Naval fleet is going to force them to take the matter seriously. Although I have to wonder if any of them are going to start questioning how the SLDF knew where to attack. Of course, spies are everywhere, so the likelihood of someone suspecting that the information was supplied to the SLDF from one of their own is fairly remote.

Unless, of course, the HPG transmission that supplied said information wasn't as secure as hoped for. In which case, things are going to get... ugly :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-07 02:13pm
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Nikolai is a Khan, using an HPG in his own field headquarters. No routine records kept by his own Clan are going to betray him, and if he were under covert surveillance, then you would expect, given that the Ilkhan's field headquarters are in the same city, that any evidence of his treason would have gotten to Amanda Tseng fast enough for her to have done something about it.

Of course, it's likely that a real-time HPG has a distinct energy signature, that may have been noted elsewhere; and the lack of anything corresponding entry in the records would be suspicious; however that sort of investigation is only launched after the fact. The real test is whether Nikolai turns up to the next Grand Kurultai. He's had three weeks - let's hope he used them wisely.



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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-07 02:25pm
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Diverball wrote:
The real test is whether Nikolai turns up to the next Grand Kurultai. He's had three weeks - let's hope he used them wisely.


The opening quote for chapter six covered his last address to the council of Khans, on Memmingen, in 3044 - we're to that year in the story now, and as things are going I think the Scorpions are going to make their move pretty soon. Can't wait to see the fireworks that come about when that takes place, on both sides of the battlefield.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-07 04:05pm
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Field Headquarters of the ilKhan, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 24, 3044


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

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

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

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

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

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

“All but abandon our Homeworlds, Nikolai?”

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

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

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

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

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

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-07 04:58pm
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Goliath Scorpion Field Headquarters, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 24, 3044


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

“THE LEAGUE!”

“I give you the First Lord!”

“THE FIRST LORD!”

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

“SEYLA!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Aff, my Khan.”

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

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-07 08:58pm
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Field Headquarters of the ilKhan, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 25, 3044


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Clan Cloud Cobra?”

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

“Clan Coyote?”

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

“Clan Diamond Shark?”

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

“Clan Ghost Bear?”

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

“Clan Goliath Scorpion?”

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

“Clan Hell’s Horses?”

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

“Clan Ice Hellion?”

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

“Clan Jade Falcon?”

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

“Clan Nova Cat?”

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

“Clan Smoke Jaguar?”

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

“Clan Snow Raven?”

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

“Clan Star Adder?”

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

“Clan Steel Viper?”

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

“Clan Stone Lion?”

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

“Clan Wolf?”

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

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

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

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

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

“So be it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Last edited by masterarminas on 2012-08-07 11:54pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-07 09:03pm
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And how will the hero die? As did his Khan before him?



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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-07 10:32pm
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Field Headquarters of the ilKhan, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 25, 3044


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

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

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

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

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

“Khan Djerassi, are you prepared?”

“Aff.”

“And the defending Khans?”

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

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

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-07 11:24pm
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Field Headquarters of the ilKhan, Bayern
Memmingen, Clan Goliath Scorpion Occupation Zone
February 25, 3044


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-08 08:55am
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I was really hoping that Nikolai would somehow live to see the results of all his planning, but he died well, giving his life in service to the Clans - both his own, and the others. Even if some of the other Khans won't quite see it that way.

Although I have to wonder, once it is learned that the Scorpions and those who follow them have left to join with the SLDF, will the peace he gave his life for hold? I can see some of the more aggressive Khans pushing to negate the results of the trial. But they'd have to face a trial of their own, wouldn't they? I'm not really familiar with how the Clan trial system works... is the result of a Trial of Refusal irrevocable, or can it itself be subject to another Trial?

Man, thinking about this is making my head spin ... :wtf:

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-08 01:10pm
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Epilogue

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

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

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

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

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


The Guns Fall Silent . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-08 01:32pm
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Joined: 2012-04-09 11:06pm
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Unknown Location
Somewhere in the Inner Sphere
December 27, 3044


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Last edited by masterarminas on 2012-08-08 02:43pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-08 01:37pm
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Well, ladies and gentlemen. This concludes Scorpio Ascendant. I hope that you have enjoyed the ride and that I managed to tell a story that you have enjoyed. It diverged greater from my original concept, but thanks to all of your suggestions, I think we came up with a good tale. Thank you all for reading and commenting. Until next time,

MA

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-08 06:08pm
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Joined: 2004-10-04 07:32pm
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Location: Columbus, Ohio
Thank you for writing this wonderful story. The last I knew of battle tech was playing it with my best friend like 15 years ago. This was so gripping and well written he and I have pulled out the old maps and sheets and gone at it again. I will be reading more of the newer (I played pre-clans lol) lore as this made it quite interesting and exciting. Your writing style is well paced and thought out. Thank you again.

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-08 06:36pm
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Castellan
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Fantastic ending! A tempting hint of a follow up as well. I never had any knowledge of BattleTech beyond a single other fanfic, yet you wrote this story in such a way that the lack of knowledge was no impediment at all. No doubt I will read this masterpeice again in future, and enjoy it just as much each time.



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

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-08 06:45pm
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Thank you all. I am just glad you enjoyed the tale.

MA

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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-09 09:34pm
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White Mage
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I'd love to see a "15yrs Later" story, actually :twisted:

Seriously you write very well, you set up a very good Alt-Hist, and you had characters that pulled us in and made us CARE. Great job. :)



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 Post subject: Re: Scorpio Ascendant PostPosted: 2012-08-09 11:49pm
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Sith Acolyte
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Location: Richmond, Virginia: The Capitol of Treason
Post-mortem, I enjoyed this story quite a bit, but it did suffer from Main Character Mary Sue in some parts, only partially mitigated by the fact that main character Scorpion khans kept getting killed. As much as I hate the Word of Blake and want to see Waterly kicked in the head, the Myndo Waterly/Thomas Marik scene felt like wish-fulfillment. You write well, and that goes a long way towards getting me past that feeling, but it was still present. Overall, enjoyed it quite a bit, and I'll be keeping an eye out for future work.



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