The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

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masterarminas
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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by masterarminas » 2013-06-09 11:29am

November 11, 2768
SLDF Field Headquarters
Columbia Plateau, North America
Terran Hegemony


“We have successfully opened the eastern entrance, my Lord, General DeChevilier,” the engineering brigade commander stated, “and surveyed the entire length of the tunnel. It appears in good condition, but I cannot swear to whether or not it will hold up to the vibrations of so many multi-ton BattleMechs. This type of survey normally takes months to complete in detail—the roof might hold, or it might collapse. I can’t even give you odds.”

“Even if it does collapse, we will lose fewer troops than attempting to make an assault through the passes, even before factoring in the nuclear demolitions,” Thomas Marik mused as he lightly tapped the map with his forefinger.

Minoru Kurita barked out a short laugh. “My Corps will take the lead. We will discover whether or not the tunnel can be safely used.”

“Now, just a damn minute, Minoru!” John Davion snapped. “Your Corps led the assault on planet. MY boys haven’t even exchanged a shot yet—they are fresh and ready for action.”

“As are mine,” chimed in Jennifer Steiner; quickly followed by Philip Marik’s exclamation. “I claim the honor for the Free Worlds League Military!”

The four Lords of the Great Houses began to argue, and then Aaron DeChevilier stood. “ENOUGH! I have absolutely had it up to here with this bickering. THIS is not a democracy or a meeting of the Star League High Council. THIS is a Star League Defense Force military operation, and if any of you do not like that you are free to leave this planet at once. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR?”

Absolute silence hovered over the room. “I didn’t hear an answer to that, my Lords. Do you understand what I am saying?”

Slowly, each one of the leaders nodded assent. “Good. As it just so happens, V Corps and the Astan Brigade of Volunteers will lead the tunnel assault. An assault that will then be followed by elements from the SLDF, the Davion Corps, the Free Worlds League Military, the Lyrans, and the Combine. Each of you will receive a briefing package informing you of how many regiments I am drawing from your commands. You are, of course, free to lead your units. But you will do so subordinate to the assault commander. Deputy Supreme Commander Thomas Marik.”

Aaron took out a cigar and clenched it between his lips, lit it, and drew in several deep puffs of smoke. “And if you object to that, your regiments will NOT be part of the assault. Am I clear?”

Once again the heads of state slowly nodded. “Ok, Thomas. Give us the plan,” Aaron said as he sat.

“We will be utilizing roughly a division from each of your State Commands, gentlemen, my lady. Six ‘Mech regiments each from the Draconis Combine, Federated Suns, Free Worlds League, and the Lyran Commonwealth, plus another four regiments each of ‘Mechs, armor, infantry, or artillery depending on our exact needs. In addition, all four Highlander Regiments will be taking part in the assault, as will the three combined arms regiments of the Ridgeback Brigade. V Corps will add another eighteen ‘Mech regiments, plus infantry and armored support.”

“Forty-eight regiments of ‘Mechs and nearly the same amount again of supporting arms.”

“SLDF engineers will rig the plug at the western end of the tunnel with explosives to open the gap for us. At that point we will emerge within Amaris’s perimeter—and this is our initial target,” he said tapping a point on the map. “Their field headquarters. Our intelligence indicates that the nuclear mines are all command detonated and that they are controlled from here. We destroy that HQ, they can’t set them off and the rest of your State Commands and the SLDF will be able to swarm through the passes. Hopefully, just as the Rim Worlds commanders are reacting to your presence in their rear.”

“At that point, gentlemen—and lady—it will all be over but the crying. The 501st Pathfinders will lead our vanguard directly to Unity City, where our forces will surround Amaris and his palace. Colonel Elizabeth Hazen—the sole active duty survivor from the pre-coup Black Watch—will be joining our assault column and SHE will command the assault on the Palace.”

“That, gentlemen and lady, is at the specific direction of the First Lord of the Star League.”

“Before I begin going into specifics, are there any questions?”

Once again the room was silent, and Thomas nodded. “In that case, we have much to do—the assault begins in forty-eight hours.”

masterarminas
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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by masterarminas » 2013-06-09 11:31am

November 13, 2768
Trans-Cascades Tunnel
Washington Province, North America
Empire of Amaris (Terran Hegemony)


Absalom grimaced as another shower of small rocks and debris rained down on the cockpit of the Orion class BattleMech he piloted.

“The damned roof is going to collapse; we’re going to be buried alive here,” muttered a half-panicked voice over the radio.

Absalom frowned. “Stow that shit, Stolz. The engineers certified this tunnel, and we are going to get through. Now maintain radio silence unless you have a real emergency, or so help me God, I will put my foot so far up your ass you will tasting boot leather!”

“Yes, sir, sorry, sir,” the former Davion Guardsman quickly answered. Another light on the Orion’s comm panel came to life, and Absalom changed frequency.

“Already taken care of, Colonel Moreau,” he said. “It won’t happen again.”

He heard Ethan Moreau chuckle from the cockpit of his borrowed Stalker up ahead. “I hear the exchange, Captain; that is not what this call is about. The plug is just ahead and the engineers are ready to set off the charges. Have you locked that beacon frequency into your radio-direction finder?”

“Yes sir.”

“Good. Pick up our wayward soul, and put her in the command seat, then you two get back to the Regiment ASAP. Understood?”

“Yes sir.”

“How are your riders?”

Absalom grinned, for four of the Black Watch infantrymen were dangling from the torsos of his ‘Mech in their suits of Nighthawk powered armor. “Hanging in there, sir.”

Once again, Ethan chuckled. “Ok, Captain. Let’s get this thing done.”

The radio shut down with a click and Absalom shook his head. The First Lord himself had ordered the Black Watch to take point of this operation, even though 3rd Battalion remained back aboard Mikasa to keep Stephen Cameron safe. The rest of the Regiment would be the lead unit to liberate the Court of the Star League, and show Stefan Amaris just how fatal a mistake he had made.

“All units, stand by . . .stand by . . . stand by . . . FIRE IN THE HOLE!”

A dull boom echoed down the tunnel and still more debris crashed down on Absalom and his parasitic infantry troopers. Dust filled the air, but daylight streamed through the curtain of floating particles. The column began to run forward into the open ground on the Amaris side of the mountain ranges. And Absalom smiled as he brought his weapon systems on-line.

masterarminas
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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by masterarminas » 2013-06-09 11:32am

Elizabeth Hazen scanned the horizon through her high-powered binoculars as she lay flat on her stomach. The CRUMP of a distant explosion made her pivot and zoom in on the distant cliff face, where she saw a cloud of dust arising, and the sheer rock face collapsed. And then out of the dust cloud emerged ‘Mechs, scores—hundreds—of them, and all painted in the green-and-gray field camo of the Star League Defense Force.

She lowered the binoculars and activated the homing beacon she had carried.

When she looked back up, she saw a single ‘Mech break off from the rest and advance towards her hide. Even without the binocs she could make out the angular missile rack on its right shoulder and cylindrical lasers and missile tubes that comprised its forearms. It was definitely an Orion. She stood and pulled off her ghillie cloak as it ran up and came to a halt less than thirty feet away.

But then she blinked in amazement. Someone had welded metal plates to the outer surface. And u-clamps. And clinging to these u-clamps, standing precariously balanced on the plates, were four infantry troopers in Nighthawk armor! My god, she thought. Such a simple idea, why didn’t we think about that before the Coup?

As the Orion came to a halt, the cockpit opened, and the infantry fire-team dismounted—their jump jets flaring as the suits of powered armor landed around her. “Colonel Hazen?,” a distorted voice said from within one of the faceless suits of armor. “I was told you would need this, ma’am,” the trooper said as he handed her a bundle. A cooling suit—an SLDF cooling suit. She nodded and shrugged out of her clothes as the infantry kept watch on the horizon, and pulled the cooling suit on, buckling the belt tight and adjusting the tension straps and chest armor for a close fit. She cleared her throat and cocked her head, patting the empty holster under her left arm.

She could hear muffled laughter, and then one of the infantry pulled out a pistol and a knife, and handed them both to her. She holstered the pistol and sheathed the knife in one of the cooling boots. And then the infantry stepped up close, put his arms around, and said “Hang on.”

His jump jets fired, and Elizabeth grinned as they landed atop the missile box. The infantry helped her down to the cockpit, and then the four of them remounted the Orion.

In the ‘Mech’s cockpit, the command seat was vacant, but another SLDF officer sat in the jump seat.

“Ma’am, Captain Absalom Truscott, Royal Black Watch Regiment. I’ve been assigned as your aide; the jump seat has been refitted with a command console, so I’ve got comm and sensors for you.”

“Call me Liz,” she said with a grin as she sat down and buckled in, sealing the cockpit hatch behind her. She began to scan the controls, and then she started. The bloody thing was a ROYAL Orion! She grinned. “So, what’s the plan, Captain Truscott?”

“Call me, Absalom, Liz. General Marik is going to hammer the Rim Worlds Army hard—but we, the Regiment and few supporting units—WE are going to chop the head off this snake. Unity City and the Court of the Star League is OUR objective, Liz. And ma’am, the First Lord himself gave orders that you were calling the shots.”

Liz’s head whipped around. “I’m a CAPTAIN for God’s sake! And I haven’t been in a ‘Mech for TWO BLOODY YEARS!’

“And you are the senior surviving officer of the Old Black Watch, Colonel Hazen. Or are you refusing this command opportunity? I can raise Colonel Moreau—he was a mere Captain before the Coup as well.”

Liz drew in a deep breath, and she shook her head. “Patch me into the Regiment,” she said as she pushed the Orion forward into a lopping run.

“Frequency open, ma’am. And waypoints to the Court are logged in your nav-comp.”

“BLACK WATCH ACTUAL,” she called out, “this is . . . what the hell is my call sign, Absalom?”

“Ghost, ma’am. Black Watch Ghost.”

She paused and then she nodded. “This is Black Watch Ghost. Form ‘em up and move ‘em out. We’ve got ourselves a traitor to kill.”

masterarminas
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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by masterarminas » 2013-06-09 11:35am

Jan Timmons frowned at the holographic projection table in the center of his Field Headquarters. Finally he shook his head in disbelief. “There is a tunnel through the Cascades that we were unaware of?”

No one answered the Rim General, and he lowered his head. “Very well, gentlemen. We need to redeploy immediately to stop this penetration. Hakim, get the 54th moving and set up a blocking position here,” he ordered laying his hand on a low ridge between the HQ and the oncoming tsunami of Star League units. “Pete, I want XI and XIV Corps to leave a division each to watch their assigned passes—we’ll use them to hammer this advance once Hakim’s Dragoons slow them down. Brigadier Shault, your command is to immediately move out and support the 54th.”

“Internal Security does not answer to the Regular Army, Jan,” Amanda Shault said acidly. “And I am not going to throw away the cream of our fighting arm doing your job.”

Jan stared at the defiant woman for a moment, and then nodded. “Sergeant Major, take Brigadier Shault outside and shoot her. Colonel Mackey,” he said to her second in command. “Do you have a problem with following my orders?”

The senior IntSec officer snarled, but two of the HQ military police grabbed and hauled her outside as she screamed in fury and terror. “You can’t do this! I am INTERNAL SECURITY! I am the one who has people shot—you can’t do . . .”

CRACK.

“Colonel Mackey, I am waiting for your answer.”

The IntSec officer, his face covered with a sheen of sweat, snapped to attention and saluted crisply. “We will get underway at once, Sir!” he barked.

Jan nodded, and the officer quickly left the briefing room.

“Sir,” his aide said quietly. “We need authorization from Unity City to pull those troops off the line.”

“Look at the map, Paul. Their main body is heading here—which means they know we have the detonation codes for the mines in the passes. But this element,” and he highlighted a smaller body moving quickly across country. He then drew a blazing red line upon their route of advance—a line that end directly at the Imperial Palace. “I don’t think Command Authority will mind us taking the initiative, this once.”

“The 54th, even with IntSec’s Stormtroopers in support can’t stop them, Sir. And it will take two hours for the reinforcements to arrive.”

“I know, Paul. That’s why we are saddling up. I want every man who can carry a rifle in the field preparing defense positions—and we will be taking the field as well. Right now, we can’t afford for a single ‘Mech or tank to stay out of the fight.”

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

Jarl Halvin slow crawled through the duct work of the ventilation system, the remainder of DEST Team Six following him slowly. Penetrating the Rim defensive perimeter had been child’s play, but the automated anti-intrusion defenses and alarms had proven much more difficult. Even with the blue-prints that the SLDF had given him. Still, despite being an hour behind schedule, he had finally cleared the last of the obstacles. Pushing a fiber-optic cable equipped with a spy-cam through the grating, the commando watched the display as he rotated it. All clear.

He removed the grating and silently dropped down to the corridor below. One by one, the members of his team followed, and then they began to advance down the long hallway. They did encounter several roaming guards, but this deep in the heart of the Olympic SDS complex, the guards were not expecting trouble—and they were far from Amaris’s best. They stood no chance, and not one survived long enough to raise an alarm.

Once again using the fiber-optic spy-eye, he peered around the final bend and spotted the two guards standing outside the—open, OPEN!—blast doors of the central control room. He relayed the information to his team through simple sign language, and then counted to three.

Rising from his crouch, he turned the corner, just as team-mates cut down the two guards with needler fire. And Jarl walked straight into the command center of the SDS facility. One of the techs looked up and began to scream, but the commando’s katana flashed out and severed the man’s head.

Everyone else simply looked up in shock.

“This facility is now under MY control, gentlemen. Does anyone have a problem with this? No. Good. Shut down the weapon systems and kill the fusion plants. And if anyone tries to raise an alarm, I will kill all of you.”

Slowly, bank after bank showing the massive concentration of anti-space and anti-fighter weaponry went dark. And Jarl smiled behind his mirrored visor. “Excellent. Liam, send the update to the Fleet.”

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

“First Lord,” Admiral Matasuke said with a bow. “All DEST teams report the capital SDS facilities are now offline.”

“Thank you, Hideki. Gerald, inform Captain McNeil that she is now authorized to land the landing force. And have my DropShip prepped for launch.”

Gerald Howe frowned, but he nodded, and bent low over the comm station. Stephen turned to face Hiroyoshi and Admiral Matasuke. “Would the heir to the Dragon care to join me? If, that is, Admiral Matasuke would be willing to keep an eye on my daughter?” And her hoard of Nighthawk armored guardians, he thought.

“Hai,” answered Hiroyoshi with a smile. Hideki Matasuke merely bowed once more, although his stern face betrayed the barest hint of a grin.

masterarminas
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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by masterarminas » 2013-06-09 11:38am

“Are you sure this is what we should be doing? I heard that neither the First Lord or Kerensky want to see nukes going off on the surface like firecrackers?” Reuben asked Antonius Zalman and his two hefty henchmen as they relaxed on sofa seats and gobbled up popcorn. A massive wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling video screen was showing an infrared projection of a two hundred mile area surrounding the tunnel exit.

“Reuben, come now,” Antonius answered smoothly. “Have they given any specific orders to us to that effect?”

“We haven’t been given instructions other than to sit tight!”

“Exactly. Special Intelligence is mandated to do whatever it takes to protect the Realm, Reuben. Even if that entails doing things that the First Lord Stephen Cameron or General the Lord Regent Kerensky don’t want done. Ah, it has begun. Penny dear?”

“Yes, Antonius?”

“Arm the weapons, please.”

“Armed and ready: can we kill some Amaris pigs now? Can we? Please?”

“Of course, my dear. You may send the command when ready.”

On the screen, five star-bright flares erupted in the center of Rim formations just beginning to pull out of their defensive fortifications and redeploy to meet the Star League penetration into their perimeter.

Penny gave a squeal—one that sounded remarkably close to an orgasm.

“I’d offer you a smoke, Penny, girl, but I am afraid of where you would tell me to stick it.”

“Rim casualties are projected as heavy,” the AI purred. “Civilians in the blast radius: zero. Or as close to zero as I can compute. And was it good for you as well, old man?”

“Ah, Penny, my love. It was glorious.”

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

“Why are my SDS guns not firing on them!” Stefan Amaris shouted, as hundreds upon hundreds of additional DropShips began to land in a perimeter surrounding Unity City.

The staff blanched, but finally, one tech stood. “Sire, we have lost communication with all of the SDS facilities. There are unconfirmed reports of gunfire between the IntSec guards and an unknown force within each base.”

Stefan’s jaw worked and his face flushed a deeper shade of red. “OUT! All of you useless failures GET OUT!” he screamed.

Quickly, the grateful staff hurried from the room, leaving only Gunthar and Stefan. “Can we still get to the submersible, Gunthar?”

“No, sire. They are landing just outside the shipyards—we would never get through.”

Stefan nodded. “In that case, Colonel von Strang, I want you to take the 18th Chasseurs—your Death’s Head Regiment—and do what you can to hold them back. I have some final preparations to make to greet the First Lord of the Star League. Kerensky and Kurita as well.”

Gunthar bowed lowed. “I have failed you, my Lord.”

“Oh, Gunthar. You, my right arm, have never failed me. Perhaps we moved too quickly, we might should have waited another decade or so for the rot to set in. Still,” the Emperor mused. “If we had killed Stephen Cameron at the start of this, if he had died with his family here. Perhaps we might have won anyway. It was fate, Gunthar. But there remains one possibility that I might serve to free the peoples of the Inner Sphere from this yoke of the Star League. Now go, old friend. I must make myself ready to greet Stephen Cameron.”

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

The noose of ‘Mech and myomers, of blood and steel, that the Star League and its member states drew close around the capital city. And then it began to tighten.

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

“My lord Kurita,” the radio crackled. “Another unit is moving to intercept the Black Watch. Radio intercepts indicate it is the 18th Amaris Chasseurs—and voice ID confirms von Strang is in command.”

So, the man whose hands had killed Drago and his family, the man who had spilt Kurita blood was here. Minoru closed his eyes and forced himself to remain calm. “All units are to disengage. Otomo—FOLLOW ME.”

Ahead of his Dragon, Minoru could just make out the faint shapes of the ash-gray Death’s Head regiment, each ‘Mech painted with a grinning skull. Although known as Chasseurs, the 18th was no light regiment—it was comprised almost completely of heavy- and assault-class machines. And the bone-white Atlas that led them was von Strang’s own ‘Mech. Minoru brought his lighter Dragon to a halt, and the Otomo formed up around him, the rest of the Kurita division fanning out behind him.

“Gunthar von Strang,” he broadcast. “I am Minoru Kurita. I give you the opportunity to surrender now and pay for your crimes with your life.”

“My life you will have to earn the hard way, Dragon.”

“So be it, von Strang. For my kin, killed by your hand in the Court of the Star League; for my SONS who died at the bequest of your master on Saffel and Luthien; for the citizens of the Combine whom you and yours have slaughtered with cowardly attacks from hiding; I shall have you! I SHALL END YOU! SAMURAI OF THE COMBINE—BANZAI!”

And the Kuritans—all ten regiments of them—charged as though they were men possessed.

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

Nearly one thousand BattleMechs charged down upon the outnumbered Chasseurs. However, except for a handful of assault designs such as the BattleMaster piloted by Vincent Kurita, the Combine’s ‘Mechs were very light compared to the Royal ‘Mechs of the Chasseurs that Gunthar and his men piloted. And despite the difference in firepower and armor, the samurai followed their leader in that fierce charge. Missile flights were launched, autocannon bursts roared out, laser beams slashed through the air, followed by high-powered bolts screaming downrange from the barrels of PPCs.

‘Mechs on both sides of the lines exploded under the impact of these weapons, but now the Chasseurs too charged forward, and both lines collided. And in the center of that fight, Gunthar von Strang and Minoru Kurita squared off.

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

Minoru hammered his opponent, heavier by forty tons of armor and weapons, and he danced lightly around the assault class machine. His autocannon cratered armor, his missiles dug out divots, his lasers burned through plate after plate—but it wasn’t enough. The Atlas had been designed for exactly this type of a fight, and its thick armor was nearly as heavy as an entire Locust. Gunthar’s missiles, more than twice as many, ripped through the air in reply, along with his lasers, and then his mighty autocannon—four times as powerful as Minoru’s barked in staccato succession. And the Dragon crumpled as the heavy slugs tore into one hip.

The Otomo rushed to get to their lord’s side, but the Death’s Head Chasseurs held them back for precious seconds, even as Vincent Kurita pushed his BattleMaster’s engine beyond the red line. Gunthar von Strang walked over above the shattered ‘Mech that held the Coordinator of the Draconis Combine and he raised his foot high—and then Minoru rolled his Dragon to one knee, grabbed that massive foot with his sole hand actuator, and pushed with all the might of his myomer muscles!

The mighty Atlas toppled backwards, and the Dragon rose, even as Gunthar tried to shake the impact from his foggy brain. Minoru leveled the right arm autocannon directly over the cockpit, and he held the trigger down tight. Sparks flew as the armor deflected the first shell, and then the second, but as the stream continued on and on and the barrel began to glow white from the heat, the rounds finally penetrated, tearing through the grinning skull and burying themselves in the soil beneath it. The Otomo and Vincent finally broke through the last of the defenders, but there too late, for a second before his own death, a Chasseur Victor swiveled and fired his own massive autocannon directly into the cockpit of the Coordinator.

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

“MINORU!” Vincent Kurita screamed as the Dragon’s cockpit exploded. He pushed forward, straining the massive 85-ton war machine as it reached speeds the designers had never intended. Ignoring the heat spike, he fired every weapon, from the Donal PPC in the right arm to the banks of massed medium lasers, the short-range missile launcher, the twin machine-guns, and then Vincent lowered his shoulder and slammed into the Victor, knocking it down and running it over. He turned, but his foe was dead.

Slowly, the Otomo gathered around the fallen Dragon, and silence reigned over the battlefield. Six of the Coordinator’s guards slowly lifted the fallen ‘Mech, resting it on their shoulders, and began the long march back to their DropShip, a DropShip that would return a fallen Coordinator home to battered Luthien.

The rest of the survivor’s—all of the survivor’s of the Sword of Light and the Otomo—stood silent as the tomb of their Lord marched past. And then Vincent opened his radio channels. “We will mourn our fallen later; we shall mourn the passing of the Dragon when this is finished! Samurai! We have a date with destiny.”

And following their new Dragon—not young, no, but wise and experienced—the samurai of the Combine began to march once more on Unity City.

masterarminas
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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by masterarminas » 2013-06-09 11:44am

Bunkers bristling with heavy weapons covered all of the approaches around the high wall that encircled the Imperial Palace, just outside of Unity City. Liz brought the Orion to a halt and she considered what she knew of the defensive emplacements. Finally she nodded to herself.

“Black Watch Actual?”

“Go, Black Watch Ghost,” the senior officer answered immediately.

“Only the four bunkers closest to the Gate can actually bear on an assault—we considered the fixed defenses only as a last resort; they are supposed to be augmented by mobile forces outside the perimeter.”

“Understood? Your orders?”

“Have the 501st neutralize the bunkers—the Black Watch is to follow me single file. And watch your step—SOP was for command detonated mines alongside the road. Deploy Nighthawks to take the parapets once they are in jump range.”

“Acknowledged.”

“That’s it?” Absalom asked from the rear jump seat. “We’re just going to charge, casualties be damned and take the gate?”

“Do you have a problem with that, Captain?”

“Look, ma’am, we’ve got anti-mine munitions in the supporting units; they are only an hour behind us at the most. Let’s form a perimeter and make certain the rat doesn’t get away, blow the mines to hell, and blast through the wall where they aren’t expecting us to attack!”

Liz clenched her jaw and shook her head. “No. We are not waiting another hour; Stefan Amaris does not get another hour of freedom! BLACK WATCH!” she broadcast in a fury. “ADVANCE!”

Liz pressed the throttle forward to its stops and the Orion began its loping run towards the distant gate, even as the jump capable Griffin IIs of the 501st shot past her and began to pour fire into the bunkers with LRMs and PPCs. Bursts of autocannon shells and Gauss Rifle slugs screamed back towards the Black Watch in reply, but Liz ignored the hailstorm of fire that surrounded her ‘Mech—General Kerensky’s ‘Mech.

Overhead, hundreds of missile flights streaked by, impacting the gates in a thunderous explosion, but the gates held firm despite the damage inflicted. Then gauss slugs, and autocannon shells, and laser beams and PPC bolts struck the gates as well, the Orion adding its own firepower to the carnage, and Liz leaned forward, twisting her torso to ram through the weakened structure.

“Oh shit,” Absalom muttered as he tightened the straps that held him firmly in the jump seat.

The Nighthawks fired their own jets as the Orion stepped into their jump-range and soared up towards the parapet where scores of Rim World were pouring machine-gun and SRM fire into the oncoming onslaught. Just before Liz hit the gates, a portal on the side of the narrow approach opened, and the muzzle of a massive Class 20 autocannon slid out. One of the lighter Black Watch ‘Mechs—a Falcon—stepped forward and slammed his left arm into the bore; the explosion tore apart his ‘Mechs arm and triggered a massive secondary on the far side of the wall.

Then the 75-ton Orion hit the gate moving at nearly 70 kilometers per hour—and the gate gave way. Somehow, Liz kept the ‘Mech upright and advanced into the central square of the Court of the Star League. And standing there before her, on the steps of what had once been Richard Cameron’s Palace, was the Usurper and his family.

Behind her, the Black Watch flooded into the grounds, and one-by-one, the Rim soldiers either died or dropped their weapons. But Liz only stood there, ten meters away from Stefan Amaris and she stared down at him.

Absalom turned on the external pickups, and then they both could hear Amaris speaking.

“I am unarmed; my family is unarmed. And I surrender in accordance with the laws of the Star League. By your own rules of war, you must take me as your prisoner.”

“I must?” Liz whispered. “I MUST?” She lowered her head, but her thumb slid the selector switch on the right torso autocannon from slug to cluster. “I should kill him now, that son-of-a-bitch! For the sake of everyone he has killed in this damn war!”

The click of a pistol safety being slid into the firing position was deafening in the cockpit. “The First Lord wants him alive, Colonel Hazen. ALIVE. He will pay; I know Stephen Cameron, Colonel. He will pay; but don’t do this; don’t make ME do this.”

The seconds slowly ticked by, as Absalom watched the woman in the pilot’s seat intently. One minute, and then two passed. But finally, her body relaxed and his board showed the Orion’s weapons were powering down. Absalom let out a deep breath and holstered his weapon.

Liz, tears streaming down her face, clicked on her radio transmitter. “Black Watch Actual,” she broadcast, “I need an infantry detail to take Stefan Amaris and his family into custody. Inform the First Lord that Terra has now been liberated. Black Watch Ghost out.”

Then she shut down the transmitter and began to sob.

masterarminas
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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by masterarminas » 2013-06-09 11:49am

Stephen began to lean forward as the vehicle slid to a halt in the Court of the Star League, but Hiroyoshi laid a restraining hand on the First Lord’s arm, even as Gerald Howe frowned. Sighing, he sat back and crossed his arms, raising an eyebrow at the other two occupants of the ground car.

“Satisfied?”

“No,” scowled Gerald, as he listened to the reports of the Black Watch infantry on the com link he wore in one ear. “The grounds are not 100% secured, LT. But you aren’t going to wait for that, are you?”

“There are times when it is distinctly good to be First Lord, Sergeant-Major. I take it that they boys and girls have secured the perimeter?”

Sourly, the old non-com nodded, and he opened the door and stepped out, cocking the sub-machine gun he wore on a strap across his chest and neck.

Stephen followed and shook his head on seeing the smoldering rubble of the once pristine grounds. The marble walls of the official residence were covered with soot and grime and oil; shell craters pockmarked the walls; blood stains and other more pungent substances were soaked into the courtyard flagstones of this place, the once-and-future nerve center of the Star League.

“My Lord,” Ethan Moreau said, as he bowed his head slightly, “I see that you disregarded my advice to remain with the DropShip.”

“I have to see this myself, Ethan,” Stephen answered softly. “I presume you have an escort?”

“You could say that, my Lord,” the commander of the Royal Black Watch regiment answered as he snapped his fingers and no fewer than two hundred and fifty infantry troopers in Nighthawk armor quickly surrounded the First Lord of the Star League. “After you, my Lord.”

The group moved through the grounds of the Court of the Star League, and Stephen saw weeping troopers being comforted by their companions; the injured being treated by medics; the dead, being laid out in long rows. But then he caught a taste of a strong, pungent odor wafting from ahead, and he gagged.

Ethan nodded, and handed the First Lord a respirator. “It gets worse, my Lord. Are you certain you want to see . . .?”

“I have to, Ethan,” Stephen answered grimly. Ethan only nodded in answer and waited for the first Lord to fix the device to his face.

Ahead of him stood the doors to the throne room—Richard’s throne room. “Amaris had the doors welded shut when we arrived, but our engineers cut into them with little difficulty.”

Stephen gagged again when he walked into the . . . the abattoir. “He made no effort to bury the Family, my Lord; he left them where they were killed, and simply had the entrances sealed, the ventilation system shut down, and the atmosphere purged with liquid nitrogen. Since we unsealed it, the decomposition has been rapid.”

The First Lord knelt and he gazed upon the body of a child, no more than six or seven; a child whose mother had tried to shield with her own body. “Sarah and Wendy . . . Philip . . . Daniel . . .” his voice trailed off in horror. But he made himself stand, even though he swayed—but Gerald was there and kept him from falling. He walked across to the throne, and there at its foot was another corpse, the clean hole of a laser bolt drilled through its forehead. “Richard’s wife? His daughter?”

“We found Amanda’s grave, my Lord. She was killed in the nursery and someone had the grace to bury the child. His wife . . . the records here indicate that Amaris spared her and turned her over to his Guards to serve as their camp whore. She died after being gang-raped by at least two hundred of his men.”

“Gerald.”

“Yes, my Lord?”

“Have the Lords of the Council arrived?”

“They will be assembled momentarily, Sire.”

“Usher them here, please.”

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

Stephen drew in a deep breath of clean air and shuddered as he pulled off the respirator mask, but then Allyce Avellar ran back out of the throne room and collapsed to her knees, vomiting up the contents of her breakfast. Barbara Liao exited next, but although her face was pale and green, she did not permit herself to luxury of purging her stomach. One by one, the Lords of the Star League came out and stood silent, and Nicoletta—her usual acrid nature subdued by the sight—helped Allyce back to her feet.

“Capital punishment is not allowed under the letter of Star League laws,” Stephen said quietly. “Member states are permitted to do so, but it has been declared illegal for the past three centuries by the Terran Hegemony. I move that the Council of Lords hereby waive those provisions of the Star League Accords and grant me permission to execute Stefan Amaris as a traitor to the Star League.”

“You . . . can’t . . . it isn’t . . . what kind of monster,” Allyce sputtered, but then her voice trailed off as Stephen only pointed to the carnage within the throne rooms of nightmares.

“He did not even bury his victims, Allyce,” the First Lord continued softly. “He left them to rot. He rounded up dissenters and those loyal to the League from across Terra, and he killed them. He slaughtered them. Never mind what he did to Oriente, and New Avalon, and Luthien. And Asta. Where he came close to killing all of you—and me and my only surviving daughter.”

“I want him dead, Allyce Avellar, Lord of the Outworlds. But I will not break the law to do it; not again. What say you, my Lords?”

And whether it was well-planned timing or not, the first of the body bags were now being carried out of the throne room, and laid on the ground in long, long rows. Many of those black polymer sacks being sized for children.

One by one, the Lords nodded their agreement, and finally, even Allyce closed her eyes and agreed.

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

Stefan Amaris stumbled as the two guards hauled him into the Chamber of the High Council, his family trailing in his wake. Chained and manacled, he was led into the circle of testimony in the center of the horseshoe-shaped table, and his fellow Lords looked down upon with hatred and horror in their eyes.

“As First Lord of the Star League, I—Stephen Cameron—do hereby call these proceedings to order. Stefan Amaris, you have been tried by this body and found guilty of High Treason, of murder, of attempt murder, of the use of weapons of mass destruction on civilian populations, of terrorism, and a host of other crimes. Have you anything to say in your defense before the sentence is passed?”

“Why? You have all made up your minds. You accuse me of these crimes, and yet every one of you sitting there would have done the same if you had the opportunity. I convinced Richard I was his friend, while you laughed at him. I earned my close relationship with him and he trusted me. And yet, the Star League is on the verge of collapse, my Lords and Ladies. My actions have only pushed it closer to the edge. Do you think that in vengeance you can stop this? I am guilty of nothing, other than failing to make a clean sweep of the Cameron bloodline. Do to me what you will, for I shall be a martyr and my name will live forever—unlike yours.”

“SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS!” Amaris shouted, but then he looked around in surprise, and his head whipped back towards Stephen Cameron, whose face was set with a stern expression.

“How stupid do you think I and my guards are, Stefan? Your explosives were removed from this chamber, along with the contact poisons you had placed within the seats. There are no tricks left to you.”

Amaris shrugged. “One trick I do have left, First Lord,” he spat. “Captain Hall—pandora three-seven—KILL HIM.”

Tricia Hall jerked as the long-buried command implanted into her subconscious took control of her body, but three tasers buzzed, and the woman collapsed.

The click of boot heels rang out from the flagstones, and Hiroyoshi Kurita walked around Amaris, circling him. “Poor Captain Hall, brainwashed by your operative years ago, your Lordship. Operatives that would far rather live albeit imprisoned than suffer the torturous and extended death at the hand of their Combine wardens. She will be cared for, for after all, SHE has committed no crime.”

Amaris worked his jaw, and he spat on the floor. “You have only postponed the inevitable. Enjoy your respite, for it shan’t last.”

Stephen nodded gravely. “Stefan Amaris, having been found guilty by the High Council of the Star League, you are hereby sentenced to death. May God have mercy on your soul.”

Amaris opened his mouth—but Hiroyoshi had already drawn, and the razor sharp katana severed the Usurper’s head from his body in one blow.

“Khalid Amaris, you and your mother are far too dangerous to be permitted to return to the Rim Worlds. Yet, you have committed no crime for which I might legally have you killed. I hereby instruct the Star League Defense Force to take you, your mother, your siblings, and any who wish to travel with you into custody. You are to be transported to a habitable planet far outside of the Star League, one that has not been colonized. You are to left there, with no weapons, no mechanical devices, no communications equipment; but with only tools and basic supplies. There, you are free to live out the remainder of your natural life. A picket ship will remain in orbit and ensure that there is no contact between you and anyone else in the universe.”

The First Lord nodded, and the guards took the young son of Amaris, his sisters and his mother, and hauled them from the room, with Khalid shouting invectives the entire way.

“This session of the High Council is hereby adjourned. Black Watch—ensure that body is properly disposed of.”

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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by masterarminas » 2013-06-09 11:54am

Epilogue

November 23, 2788
Cameron Cathedral
Hawkins, Asta
Terran Hegemony


“But we know that my father’s story did not end there,” Cassandra Cameron said from the pulpit where she delivered her eulogy to the man lying in the coffin beneath her. Tears—unshed tears—glistened in her eyes as the young woman spoke.

“He saved the Star League, and he saved our Souls through his actions to reunite humanity, not through guns and ‘Mechs and warships, but through our own innate humanity. We have joined together and in these past twenty years, we have wiped away the scars of the Amaris Coup. We have restored planets that fanatics loyal to that man attempt to depopulate. We have rebuilt cities and families, and we have created new cities and families.”

“My father never wanted to be First Lord of the Star League. He never wanted this responsibility—but he did his duty as a Cameron and as a human being. And though many of those who knew him best are gone—Lord Kerensky, General DeChevilier, Vincent Kurita, Philip Marik, Nicoletta Calderon, Gerald Howe—there are many more of us who loved him and remain.”

“For twenty years now, we have a Star League at peace with itself. We have repaired the rifts between us, and we have restored the faith in our common humanity. And that is a gift that my father gave to us all. It is a gift that we cannot, we shall not, forget.”

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

“Thank you for coming, Lord Kurita,” Cassandra said with a smile at the grey-haired man standing before.

“You, Lady Cassandra, may call me Hiroyoshi. How could I not come? He was the best of all of us, you know.”

“I know.”

She stopped walking in the gardens and turned to stare directly at the Coordinator of the Draconis Combine. “What is this I hear about Nicky? What is doing out there in the Rim?”

Hiroyoshi sighed. “I wish that Andery had not died in that accident along side of Aleksandyr, Cassandra. I don’t trust Nicolas Kerensky—I fear that he is not stable. But my agents have reported that he has instituted a caste system for the people of the Rim. One based on meritocracy, yes, but in a generation I fear that they will locked into the caste of which they are born. And his scientists have begun experimenting on altering human DNA—to make us better.”

Cassie nodded glumly. “He no longer attends the High Council, and he quotes my own father when I press him on why. He claims that he is charting his own course, and so long as the Rim doesn’t threaten another member state, I have little authority over him.”

Hiroyoshi sighed. “And he is right. Your father’s reduction in force of the Star League Defense Force sent many former soldiers into the Rim with Aleksandyr. And his insistence on allowing each state to govern itself without Star League interference means there is little enough you can do to stop him; even if he has changed the official title of his position from Lord Protector to Khan.”

"The shooter was from the Rim, Hiroyoshi," Cassie said softly. "Colonel Truscott-Steiner—Absalom—informed me this morning that there is no hard evidence of it being anything more than the work of a lone gunman, wanting vengeance for the past."

"But you believe it is more than that," the Dragon answered.

"Believe? I don't know what to believe, but I find it hard to accept that Aleksandyr, Andry, and Dad were all killed in the same year . . . all three who opposed what Nicky is doing out there. It is just a feeling I have," she finished.

"Sometimes, in this business, a feeling is all you ever have, First Lord," Hiroyoshi answered with a sigh. "Some days, this being one of them, I fear that we only postponed the inevitable."

"Nothing is inevitable," Cassie said after a momentary pause. "We make our own fates; Dad believed that . . . and I believe that."

"So do others, Lady Cassandra," the older man whispered. "So do others."

Together the two of them started walking again through the quiet gardens, even as Otomo and Black Watch trailed behind silently. And the nightingales in the gardens sang as the sun once more began to set.

FINI

masterarminas
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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by masterarminas » 2013-06-09 12:06pm

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that. My first full-length work from years ago. I hope that you enjoyed it.

MA

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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2013-06-09 12:44pm

Well it was certainly a wild ride. Thanks for posting it!
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by Deebles » 2013-06-09 03:26pm

And now the term "legacy" makes a lot of sense. 20 years of peace is a fine legacy to leave, even though, as they say, nothing lasts forever.

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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by LadyTevar » 2013-06-09 08:12pm

Fantastic.
And ominous endng
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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by Morningstar » 2013-06-09 08:46pm

Most excellent.
And yes, you certainly left it on an ominous ending.
"Fear is the mind killer"

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Re: The Cameron Legacy: The Fall of the Star League

Post by darkjedi521 » 2013-06-18 01:54am

Be interesting to see how the Clans evolve this time around.
Ex ASVS lurker and sometimes poster

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