• Attention All Comstar Customers, Due to unexpected interference by suspected Word of Blake operatives, the HPG systems update was *not* successful. No data was lost due to our careful and extensive backups; however, we will need to try again next weekend. Sincerely, Comstar Precentor Dune

Battletech Clover Spear - The War of 3056 (Battletech AU)

BF110C4

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Woohoo! V-Day on New Avalon.


As for Sunny Boy...well, sometimes there's only one way to show mercy to a sick dog in the end.
To be more accurate VC-Day, and depending on how bothersome are the remains of the Draconis Combine and how much pull Omi got with her hosts VD-Day may be close. Although there are still too many conflicts all around the Inner Sphere to stop.
 
Endings and Beginnings, Part 1

CurtisLemay

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Endings and Beginnings, Part 1​

“I guess I didn’t expect my sister to abdicate. I knew she didn’t want the throne, but to walk away from it all. That was a bit of a shock. It’s one that took me time to get used to, but I think she made a good decision for her. The war was a necessary evil, and it is cold comfort to say that to all the families who lost someone, but the threat of the Clans had to be dealt with. All I can say is better our terms than theirs. It doesn’t heal the maimed or bring back the dead, but maybe it buys our children something we should have given them in the first place: Peace.”
  • “Reflections” – pp. 275 by Victor Steiner-Davion, Davion Palace Press, New Avalon, 3071
“I know at first, I hurt my brother for walking away how I did. He had gotten used to the two of us ruling as a team. But he was supposed to be our parent’s successor, someone like me should not have that kind of power. He was in good hands, Omi, Andrew, Ardan, and Yvonne. All these people would give their lives to prevent Victor from screwing up. His worst enemy was him, really. My worst enemy was a monster modern science could only suppress, not slay. When did we think the Capellans went nuclear on Sian? I could hear the whispers of the monster saying, ‘Let me out, let me free.’ No goddamned way, I like my marbles, I’ve fought so hard to keep them.

“That’s why I left the throne and the court behind. I like my new job as an ER doc. It is stressful, with long hours and hard decisions. But it was saving lives, rather than ending them. Last week, I saved a mother of two’s leg after she went under a bus. And I did it in minutes. It feels damn good to do that. And I much prefer “Dr. Cox” to “Your Highness.” I earned the first one. Plus, I get the last laugh at family dinners, whenever Victor or Yvonne gets obnoxious. I just tell them about the grossest case I have that day!”

  • “It's Not All Fairy Tales – The Life and Times of a Cracked Princess”, by Katherine Cox-Steiner Davion, Tharkad Press, Tharkad, 3084

Personal Apartments of Katherine Steiner-Davion
Davion Palace
1100 hours
March 5th, 3058
New Avalon
Federated Commonwealth

Victor, I have said this many times. The answer is no.” Katherine Steiner-Davion said, forcing some not-so-neatly folded t-shirts into her luggage.

Katherine, I’m not asking you to take the throne. But I need good advisers. And I am concer- “

Victor’s voice had an edge of fear to it. It was something Katherine wasn’t used to hearing from Victor. She walked over and grasped Victor by the shoulders, interrupting him into silence.

“Victor, you have good people here, who are going to give you the same advice I would. Plus, with you and Omi playing house? I’d be in the way. Galen’s gotten us a nice, secluded condo in a nice neighborhood in New Avalon. It’s not the palace, but for me, the palace was always a gilded cage. So, some truth-telling? What’s with the nerves?”

Victor sat down on Katherine’s bed. For the first time in his life, he was going to his younger sister for advice. “Well, if you have any bets, you’d win if they were ‘Victor proposes to Omi by the end of 3058.’”

Katherine squealed with delight and hugged her brother fiercely then she stepped back with a mock frown on her face. “Finally, you big lug! I was wondering when you’d do the right thing! So, why the nerves?”

“What if she says no?’ Victor said plaintively

Katherine giggled “Are you serious? Omi say no? That would be right up there with Sun-Tsu Liao returning from the dead. Victor, she isn’t going to say no. If we were in high school, she’d be drawing hearts and trying out ‘Omi Steiner-Davion’ in her notebook. It’s cute, but a warning, it’s making Yvonne gag at times.”

Victor shook his head “Will anyone ever tame her?”

Katherine shook her head “Yvonne, not likely. It would be a truly Shakespearean moment if that happened. And dear brother if she brings home a spouse to be? Give that poor soul hazard pay.”

“Hazard pay, and a medal.” Victor concurred.

“So, why wait dear brother? It’s a new year. Stop trying to convince me to not make my own way in the world? Go and make your own!” Katherine smiled “And don’t worry about the Draconis March. I left a folder for you on your desk with a pretty good PR plan on how you two handle that. It was one of my last acts on the throne.”

“Katherine, I- “

“It’s ok, big brother. You will do fine. I must go make some things right with me. Don’t worry, I’ll be around when I’m really needed.” Katherine again hugged her brother.

“Palace is going to seem emptier without you.”

Katherine shook her head “Oh come on, Victor, soon as you and Omi start making kids? You two will be asking me if you can hide at our place.”
Victor rolled his eyes. “No chance, we’re going to make great parents.”

“Ok, 5 kroner says you guys hide out at least once before the first one turns two.” Katherine said, sticking her tongue out for emphasis.

“Done, we’ll make the front page in one of those parenting magazines.” Victor said, folding his remaining arm across his chest.” His features turned more serious “So, you ready for med school?”

Katherine nodded “Yeah, I didn’t think I would be, but I aced the boards. And Riva Allard said I had the talent.”

Victor smiled “And what does Dr. Tadmere think?”

“Other than you’re overdoing your recovery, Victor? He says I have a lot of talent and should be considering emergency medicine.”

“Heh, I am the Archon-Prince, and if I want to kick my own ass, it’s my God-given right. And as for you as an ER doc? I could see it. But you’d probably have tailored scrubs.” Victor said with a mischievous light in his eyes.

Katherine batted him with a pillow. “You fiend, I have promised myself to work twice as hard as all the other med students.”

“I said the same thing, Katherine, and they handed me a battalion of people I got killed when the Clans came. I should have been a lance leader like all the other graduates.”

“This again? Victor, it was bad luck. I asked Galen. He told me what happened. Said you wanted to stay out of some misplaced sense of guilt. Stop it, will you? You honored their memory by taking their homes back. It may not bring them back, but it’s something.” Katherine shook her head.

“You probably still get a kick out of him kicking my ass?”

“Only because it saved your life, bro. Imagine what Mom and Dad would have gone through if you got killed or captured. I am imagining you a Jade Falcon, and I don’t like the image.” Katherine nodded, but with a sympathetic look in her eyes. “It’s one of the reasons I love him, Victor. Because he looks out for his family. Even before we knew each other.”

“Enough wool-gathering, I guess? So, anything I can help with?” Victor rose gingerly.

Katherine shook her head. “No, the palace staff has me mostly loaded in the van. Marta cried when she saw it.”

“Marta” was Marta Donhoffer. She was from Gallery and had been the head governess to the Steiner-Davion children since Victor was born. As much as they were Hanse and Melissa’s children, they were Marta’s too. And now, one was leaving home. Marta never shed a tear in front of the kids, she had been the picture of happiness and light. But this broke her, and she unashamedly wept as the palace staff loaded the van.

“You know she’s going to overcompensate with me and Yvonne. I see many cream puffs and strudels in our future.” Victor said wistfully.
“Yeah, sure big brother, and it will be your royal duty to eat it all, lest anyone else suffer the scourge of diabetes, like your poor wife-to-be.” Katherine said in a falsetto “southern” accent while feigning fainting.

Victor shook his head “C’mere little sis, I know you gotta get going.” He wrapped Katherine up in a hug, and held her at arm’s length, tears quietly staining his cheeks. “I am damn proud of you sis. I know you didn’t want to rule. But you came in the clutch when you were needed. And you saved us all. Like it or not. And now, now you go get to really make this Inner Sphere a little better than you found it.”

Katherine sniffed and wiped a tear back “Send me a video of when you propose you big lug. I am going to enjoy watching the two of you blubber getting through it all.”
Victor laughed. “I am drafting you and Yvonne to help pick the ring. I mean you did spend 53 pages of a credit card statement.”

Katherine laughed “Victor, that’s one-tenth of one percent of the family investments. Not to mention, Omi needed it.”

Victor nodded “The kimono she got is incredible…blue and gold really are her colors.”

“Little brother, promise me one thing? Smile more? I know the past year and a half have been rough, and you not being a ‘Mechwarrior anymore is a big adjustment, but you know what Dad used to say,’..when one door closes…’”

“…Another opens” Victor finished.

“I gotta go, be good, and try not to plunge us into any more wars?” Katherine laughed, then turned on her heel, and stepped out of the doors for the last time.

Victor sat down on her bed and exhaled, Victor, you know damn well she needs to be her own person, and the palace wasn’t ever going to let her do that. She can be that now. And let’s be honest, ‘Doctor Cox’ suits her well.

Victor rose from the bed and smoothed out his uniform tunic, then turned to look one last time at the empty room before switching off the light. As one era closes, another begins, I guess. Now to determine what that’s going to look like for the Capellan Confederation?

Two hours later at the First Prince’s Office


“Kai, you can’t be serious. While I can give up a few worlds we took in the 4th war, you know damn well Sarna and Tikonov are off the damn table.” Victor was sitting against the corner of his desk, a sifter of brandy balanced in his one hand…though he, Kai, and Arden Sortek had probably gone through at least one bottle of Glengarry Select already.

“Victor, I can’t go back to any sort of Capellan Confederation you’re going to reform from the ashes of the old one with a sop to their pride. Hell, I plan on instituting major reforms down there.”

“Like what?” Victor leaned forward with interest.

“I am going to institute real reforms in the Confederation, a stronger legislature, real civil rights for all citizens of the Confederation, turning the Mask into less secret police and more of a real intelligence agency, as well as forming a more answerable body for counter-intel and major criminal work. And yes, emancipating the Servitor class.”

“This proposal to investigate the war and its causes is interesting. I thought it was obvious who the hell started it?” Ardan asked

“The time I’ve gotten in the Mask’s archives, what’s left of them, has led me to believe there was more to it. The Blakists were far more involved in the deaths of your parents, Victor, than we believed. They goaded the Capellans into war, then snarled up the execution to make sure the war lasted just long enough to reap a profit. They also robbed the Capellan treasury blind. I found out there is a shortfall of 2 billion Yuan that nobody can account for.”

“Sure it’s not in Sunny’s slush fund?” Victor asked.

“If it were, Sun-Tsu would have bugged out long before. It’s a sizeable amount of money. Enough to form three battlemech regiments.” Kai shook his head. “The Word of Blake used my nation as a fundraiser, Victor, and now it’s in ruins.”

“Hence why you need Sarna and Tikonov.” Victor intoned.

“Yes, even one would help.” Kai stated.

“Alright, but we want the title to Salomek and the cemetery,” Victor stated firmly.

Kai nodded, “I think you have a deal, Victor. Now, let’s figure out how I turn the Confederation into a strong republic without emulating the Mariks?”

All three men laughed as Kai uncorked the bottle and began to pour another round of brandy.

Three hours later
“Victor my love, I do believe you are quite drunk.”

“I apologize Omi, but it was good brandy, and it did help us in our contemplations.” Victor said, a deep slur in his voice “Um, can I get help with my boots?”

Omi laughed and bent down to help him. “My love, I could get used to this peace we now have. Enough to contemplate our lives together. But others will not accept us?”

“I know, you have sacrificed enough, but I hear in you a willingness to sacrifice more?”

“Hai love. There is only one way to sate the kami of the Draconis March. I must go to Kentares and apologize on behalf of my family.”

Victor jumped up with a start. “Omi, Jesus, no! You wouldn’t survive the trip. The locals there hate the Kuritans with a passion. And that’s an understatement.”

Omi smiled “Victor, you, and I both know that it must happen. I’ve seen your archives and the ComStar ones. They are more…complete than the Combine files. What was done wasn’t just an atrocity. It was an abomination against humanity. It was a sin, Victor. A sin that my family ordered. Sure, it was a long-dead ancestor, but it was still my family. A Kurita must be the one to cleanse the honor of the undead souls left there to writhe in torment.” Omi’s face darkened, and the corners of her mouth squared. Victor knew his lover’s determined face, and he wasn’t about to cross her when she was like this.

“Can you at least run any speech by me, and the palace speechwriting staff?”

“Hai, Victor. But I must apologize. There can be no prevarications on that action.” Omi stated, steel entering her voice.

Victor nodded, and moved his hand to her cheek, gently rubbing it as he smiled “Enough of weightier matters, so, I was thinking, as soon as court business is done, I was thinking we get away on a camping trip to the hinterlands of New Avalon. Dad used to take me, Peter, and Arthur as boys. I want to share it with you.”

Omi smiled “And perhaps, Victor-san, we can make a new life under the stars?”

Victor's face betrayed his surprise. “Why Omi, I didn’t know you thought that way?”

“There is much, Victor Steiner-Davion, you don’t know…and I would love to show you. Come to bed, love…” as Omi opened her kimono…
 
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Endings and Beginnings Part 3

CurtisLemay

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Endings and Beginnings, Part 2​

…the worlds of the former Clan Occupation Zones are estimated to require between a decade and fifteen years to recover to a pre-invasion level on an economic basis. But there are other factors not to be underestimated. Some 30% of families in the former occupation zones we spoke to have at least one or more family members missing due to their being “allocated to work in Clan space.” With the current reported chaos in the Clan homeworlds, it is expected that many of these missing will not be seen again. Add in a rife epidemic of PTSD due to conditions in the occupation zones, especially during the active phases of Clover Spear, and we fear there is a risk of a “lost generation” in a good chunk of the Tamar March.

There is also a presence of a new syndrome known as “Occupation Disorder.” The disorder manifests as an extreme inability to exercise any form of personal initiative and a refusal to acknowledge any form of personal surname, and in some cases, only acknowledging any decision that is settled by combat. Furthermore, there has been a rash of revenge killings in the former occupation zones. This is in addition to having issues integrating former Clan citizens into the fabric of the Tamar March. All of these cannot be settled solely by the military and are a matter for law enforcement and social services to handle. However, the local arms of these organizations on many of these worlds were co-opted by the Clan authorities. We will have to bring in resources from other parts of the Federated Commonwealth to rebuild these organizations.
All in all, your Highness, we have a lot of work to do.

  • Excerpt from the forward of the “Raeder Report” a blue-ribbon panel of experts convened by Victor Steiner-Davion in 3059 to address ongoing issues in the former Jade Falcon and Steel Viper occupation zones.

“Am I glad the Clans are gone? Yes. For all our problems now? I see it in the kids. The ones that grew up during the occupation are, well, damaged. All the work we and the school counselors do? They’re more Clan-like than not. The children of the families from Clan space, they’re just alien. I don’t know how to reach those kids. And this “Occupation Disorder” and the PTSD? It really hits the little ones hard. We’re trying to save a generation; I just fear we might be too late. But the ones who were under six when the Clans were here? We have a shot with those kids. And the Clans not being here, it helps a lot.”

  • Interview of Sarah Dennison, a primary school teacher on Bone-Norman by DBC. Air Date was 7/7/3058.

“I lost everything to the Steel Vipers, my home, my job, my family. So, the fact I had to live next to a family of the bastards every day for six years kinda set me off. You’re damn right I killed them and their spawn. Their kind cost me my family. So, I removed some of them from God’s universe. Damn Clanners are freaks anyhow. And yes, I have no regrets, so do what you have to do. I can sleep at night.”
  • Excerpt of confession of Martin Pflager for the charge of Capital Murder, Waldorff City Police Interview DS-11893058, Dated 9/18/3058, Mr. Pflager murdered an entire family of former Steel Viper laborers over the fact that he had lost everything during the occupation. The Vipers had confiscated his successful medical supply company, kidnapped his wife and children to the Clan homeworlds and made him a common laborer. Mr. Pflager was convicted of six counts and sentenced to death, his sentence was carried out Great X on December 9th, 3059.

The Port
0950 hours
January 5th, 3059
Roadside
Federated Commonwealth


Staff Sergeant Rick Lemoine jauntily waved to the dropship crew as he walked down the boarding ramp, his AFFC issue duffle bag balanced on one shoulder and a smile on his face. He was wearing his blue-grey issue “combats” as the troops referred to them, though without any of the issue load-bearing gear. He also had a black beret that had been privately purchased by members of the 26th Lyran Guards to unofficially mark veterans of Clover Spear. The beret had the new “unofficial” patch on it of a boot smear across the Jade Falcon insignia and it framed his gaunt face and brown haggard eyes. His coal-black hair was cut short in a buzz cut.

I’d always thought the traditional Lyran ‘Mechwarrior hair style kinda silly. Lemoine’s mind mused.

Try as he might, he couldn’t get his smile to reach his eyes anymore. Seen too damn much, I guess. Jeanette commented on that as she was dumping me. Ah well, we were both headed home, and Kestrel is way across the Inner Sphere. It was fun, but run its course, I guess.

He nestled tighter into his issue field jacket as the winter air slapped him in the face. Lemoine’s boots were crunching in the frozen bits of snow mixed with mud that turned everything into a slushy mess.

“The Port” was the DropPort on Roadside. Even during the worst of the occupation, the Falcons hadn’t changed much about it, except for the fact that trade had supposedly dropped by 60%. Or at least that’s what the dropship crew had told him on the way in. Now? It seemed everyone was making up for lost time.

An open-air mall had grown up right outside the rough open-air area of the port, it was noisy with the sounds of merchants hawking their wares in crude open-air stalls. You could buy everything from food to “legitimate” Jade Falcon uniforms and other souvenirs. I don’t need any damn souvenirs. I got enough in my head to last a lifetime. All I want is to get back to my homestead and see my parents, then shed this uniform and work our farm. But first, I gotta find a ride.

He walked around till he found a food stall selling grilled sausages. They looked tasty, and Lemoine hadn’t had a thing to eat since yesterday. And it was spacer puree. Yuck.

“Hey, Mister, can I order a pair to go? And where can a veteran get a ride to Tara’s Creek?”

The vendor, a short elderly man with dusky skin whose smile had a few gaps smiled wide at Lemoine. “Always good to see one of our liberators! For you, young man? On the house. I assume you’re from Roadside?”

“Yes sir, my family has a homestead at Tara’s Creek.”

The vendor blanched. “Young man, I don’t think you want to go out there.”

“Why?”

“Bad things happened out there during the occupation…and after. You seem like a smart man. My advice, go rent a room in town and find your family from here.”

“Sir, I really think-“

The vendor smiled sadly at Lemoine. “Young man, I was a veteran of the LCAF. Saw a lot of things in the Fourth War. Trust me when I say this. Don’t go out there. You don’t want answers to those kinds of questions. Pray you find your family, but just don’t go there.” He looked down to his grill

“Ah, your sausages are ready. Here you go.” He handed the sausages to Lemoine, who immediately took a bite.

“These are good, what’s in ‘em.”

“Surat. Best use for the pesky bastards. It’s safe to eat, but it pisses off the Clanners something fierce when we eat ‘em. Puts a smile on my face though. Lost my boy in the resistance.”

Lemoine choked on the sausage. “Sorry sir for your loss.”

The old man shook his head. “Thank you and thank you for what you and your fellows did for us. And welcome home.” The old man extended his empty hand to shake Lemoine’s. Lemoine smiled and took it, shaking it firmly. “Oh, and sir, the bus into town is leaving over there in about 5 minutes, so I suggest you get moving. It’s free for returning veterans. The new provisional government has a good locator service, or you can hire a private one to find your family. Good luck to you.”

“Thanks, sir, um? What can I call you?”

“Call me Fast Freddie, says so on the sign.“ he pointed out his sign above his stall. “FAST FREDDIE’S SURAT SAUSAGES – BEST ON ROADSIDE”

15 Minutes Later

The bus ride into Claremont was a bumpy one. The roads had several shell holes, ruts from tracked vehicles and battlemechs, not to mention a few wrecks blocking parts of the road. Traffic jams were frequent, and the cold of a Roadside winter. Not like the heater is working all that well, or that half the windows close properly. That hasn’t changed since I left for Buena.

The bus was filled with a variety of people, suited businesspeople headed to Claremont to negotiate a deal or contract, yeoman farmers headed back from The Port to complete agricultural agreements at the Agricultural Co-Op downtown, farmhands on errands for their bosses, and ordinary folks headed into town for some excitement. What struck Lemoine was the number of armed and uniformed militiamen on the bus. He walked up to one of them, a private with his head in a holonovel.

“Hey private, what gives with you all, don’t you have your own transport?”

The private looked up, his light features screwed up in a snarl, till he noticed Lemoine’s rank. “Shit, sorry Sarge thought it was some jerk hassling me. No, we’re headed back from a patrol around Murphison. They have us accompany buses as much as we can. There’s a minor Falcon guerilla problem on world. More like bandits really. So, we’re here to discourage them.”

Lemoine laughed “Does it work?”

The private smiled “Yep it does, haven’t been hit yet.”

Ah, the impetuosity of youth. Could be you dumb shit because the Falcons aren’t strong enough to hit anything this close to the capital. Then again that’s a good thing, I suppose. Beats what’s going on in the Confederation. Well, I am not going to be anyone’s NCO anymore. Let this kid figure it out himself.

Lemoine sat down and contemplated the scenes as they began to enter downtown Claremont. There were the usual street scenes one found in a medium-sized city, with busy streets, people walking to and from work, or shopping. But there were scenes that were unique to the new reality of the Tamar March. One was some men and women in orange overalls with a large white “POW” on the backs painting white paint over a series of Falcon propaganda posters, and more being marched by with a pair of bored AFFC guards escorting them on either side.

Another was a long line in front of a government office with a wooden temporary sign that read “Central Locator Office. Please have documentation ready.” There were quite a few guards in evidence, with a pair of AFFC infantrymen walking the perimeter of the line, and 4 more out front. Geez, home’s become an armed camp.

The bus soon came to a stop with the driver announcing “Downtown! Everyone off, you can catch municipal transport from here.”
Everyone piled off and the bus soon pulled away, heading back for another run to the port. Lemoine looked around and saw a harried-looking cop as the only authority figure around. Hope he knows where I can get some information around here.

“Hello Officer, I was wondering. -“

“Geez, another lost AFFC replacement? You did report through your office at The Port, right?” he answered, his uniform and dusky features covered in a layer of fine dust kicked up by the recently departed bus.

“Um, nope, recently discharged. I’ve come home. I’m from Tara’s Creek. Name’s Lemoine.”

“Sorry pal, not much interested in your name. But Tara’s Creek. Hate to tell you, but if you had people there. Well, they aren’t there no more.”
“What do you mean by that, Officer?

“I mean the damn Clanners killed everyone there. Or at least everyone that didn’t have the good sense to flee. AFFC has the place cordoned off. War Crimes investigation.”

“Why the hell did the Falcons do that? I mean my family just had a homestead up there?”

“Bub, it was war to the knife, and the knife to the hilt. Look, I am sorry to tell you that way, soldier, but it’s better you hear it this way, then have some mook at the Central Locator Office give you false hope that someone made it.”

“Was really that bad here?”

“At times, at other times, not as much so long as we stayed out of the warriors way. That got harder when the guerillas got more aid. But I do like not having to report to some Falcon warrior who hasn’t a clue about police work and thinks the best way to get a suspect to talk is to kick the living crap out of him. Meanwhile, I book one of the high and mighty bastards for driving a hovercar drunk, and he gets out of it by beating up his direct superior. Crazy genetic freaks if you ask me.”

The cop exhaled and then spoke again.

“Look, I’m sorry, just about to finish an 18-hour shift, and about to call it a day? It’s been a rough day. I can take you to one of the best watering holes in town. The girl who runs the place is from that neck of the woods, she might know for sure if your relations made it?”

Lemoine nodded. Not the worst idea I’ve heard today.

The cop offered his hand “Name’s Haggerty. Don Haggerty, and yes, I am the stereotypical Irish cop. Like my coffee black and my whiskey neat, and often at the same time. How about you?”

“Rick Lemoine, late of the 26th Lyran Guards. I was a ‘Mechjock with the regimental Lightning company.”

“Well, Mr. Lemoine? I think we’re going to be fast friends. Let’s go to the Lucky Wagon. Best bar left standing in Claremont.”

“Left standing?”

“Yeah, a company’s worth of their Elementals made a stand closer to the city center…it didn’t end well for them. Or for the local real estate. Somehow, that bar survives with some cracked windows, and the front door blown off the hinges. Must be fate?” Haggerty shrugged.

“With a recommendation, and luck like that, who the hell are we to argue then? Lead the way, sir?”

20 minutes later

Traffic had been a mess, even with Haggerty using the siren for purposes that the Claremont PD would have frowned upon. But as Haggerty said,
“What the hell, it’s quitting time and I’d like at least one drink before I head home.”

The Lucky Wagon was on the outside, a boarded-up mess with a temporary “door” made up of some heavy sheeting. On the inside, it was a boisterous and bawdy drinking establishment, with voices of happy patrons making up for the lack of any music and one overworked bartender who looked familiar to Lemoine…” No way…is that? -”

Haggerty smiled “So you do know her?”

“Yeah, I do. First familiar face since I got in. You mind?”

“Not at all soldier, go say hi. I see some friends I gotta say hi to. Come look for me in the back when you’re done.”

Lemoine sauntered up to the bar and smiled. The bartender was shorter than Lemoine, about 150cm or so with blonde hair and green eyes. But the rest of her was very, very pleasing to his eyes. She was also quite strong from the looks of it as she was slinging huge steins of Timbuqi Dark, and a wheat beer of local make called Fett’s. Lemoine remembered it well from when he was younger. He cleared his throat when the bartender came close “So what does a returning soldier have to do to get a drink around here?”

The bartender turned “That’s the fifth time tonight I’ve- “She looked at Lemoine in shock. “Jesus Christ, You’re alive?!” She squealed in delight, nearly dropping her steins, then put them down hurriedly on the bar, leaning over the bar and hugging Lemoine for dear life. She then stepped back and smiled. “Remember me, ‘Tagalong Tara?’”

“Yeah, I remember, you’re not the skinny little beanpole who always ratted us out to our parents anymore…you filled out.” Lemoine said, jauntily pushing up his beret’s brim.

“You did too. I am so damn glad you’re alive. I wasn’t in Tara’s Creek when it all happened. Moved to the city eight years ago. Wanted to make my living as an Ag broker…would you believe I wound up part owner of a bar? It’s a long-sorted story.”

“We got time. I just got out of the AFFC.”

Tara laughed then cupped her hands to yell “Hey everyone, one of our own is home. An old friend, Rick Lemoine, just back from kicking Clan ass with the 26th Lyran Guards! Next round for everyone is on the house!”

“Jimmy, take over for a spell. I need a few minutes.”

A younger male bartender hopped up from behind the mop he was pushing and got right behind the bar. He barely looked a day over 14.

“Um is he old enough to tend bar?” Lemoine asked, hooking his thumb at the young man for emphasis.

“Not like anyone’s going to check too hard. AFFC has better things to do. One advantage of martial law. They don’t sweat the small shit. Though, the curfew’s been bad for business. But they cut us some slack as long as nobody tries to drive home drunk. I take it you heard about the Creek?”

Lemoine nodded, “I can’t believe it, my old man, mixed up in resistance activity? He wasn’t the type. He was pissed I went to Buena.”

“Didn’t matter, one of their ammo dumps got hit, and they took it out on the nearest collection of farmsteads. And that was the Creek.”

“You know anyone who got out?”

“I know of a few folks. I’m the one who helped reunite them with their surviving family. I moonlight as a locator. It’s good money, and as long as you can get licensed as a PI, it’s rewarding work. And we’re better than the govie locators. Those guys have year-long caseloads and don’t give a shit. I do. And I have been thinking about taking on a second to help. There’s tons of work.”

“A locator, huh? Why the hell not, it’s a job, and I need one.”

“Best job you’ll ever have.” Tara smiled a smile that could have powered Tharkad.

“They told me that when I reported to Buena.” Lemoine shrugged.

“Difference is. I ain’t got enough money to lie.” Tara replied.

Lemoine held out his hand “Let’s do it. It will be nice to see a face I know.”
__________________________________________________________________________________
“And that’s how Lemoine and Lemoine got started. We’re now the premier Inner Sphere locator service spanning three of the five great houses, and most of the periphery, as well as Clan Wolf and Ghost Bear Space. It took twenty years, and a lot of work, but it was all worth it! And as for the Lucky Wagon? We still own it. Hey, our guys need somewhere to unwind.”
  • Richard Lemoine, Co-Owner of Lemoine and Lemoine Locator Service, Interview with ComStar News Network, air date 2/2/3078
 
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Knowledgeispower

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well i suspect its a damm good thing the suns have given the fedcom a damm deep well of experience on how to fix worlds that have been occupied by objectively terrible systems. They're going to need it
 

SuperHeavy

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Yeah the deep cultural and psychological scars in the occupied areas will probably take a generation to really fade. Everyone will know someone who either never came home or had that happen to them. For many of those who survived I suspect they will always look warily at the night sky, waiting for the lights of descending dropships. Outsized local militia forces and defensive infrastructure should pop up over the coming decades, possibly with federal assistance.
 

Culsu

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A lot of those worlds and local leaders will probably take stock of their ressources and existing industries from new vantage points in the years to come. Where you'd usually have happily trudged along in the past and relied on federal troops plus a smattering of weekned warrior militias a lot of local lords and planetary rulers will most likely rebalance their thoughts from 'too many armed people are a danger to my rule' more into the corner of 'ten thousand militiamen and women will go a long way to bleed me some clanner scum'. Also, taking stock many will come to realize that 'Oh, a local machine shop and auto repair company? Sweet, they can locally build APCs!' and other things in the same lane. Those worlds, given will and funding, will probably veer closer to what BTech could do than what it canonically does.

Which, again, offers nice story hooks for when such a local lord might run afoul of their liege or vice versa.

Also: Jesus H. Christ, that is a lot of missing people.
 
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Tawawara

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The are the product of the insane son of a social general who failed at everything he set to do.
...I mean, you're technically right. Kind of.

For one thing, Alexander Kerensky wasn't a social general. He fought on the frontline lots of time. Records held up that he's a good tactical general, winning more than he lost when put in a fight. His ability on the strategic side of warfare was a bit more iffy though

Other than that, yeah. Total failure.
 

Skitzyfrenic

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A. Kerensky is an example of the Peter Principle.

Promoted too fast, too soon. Kerensky would have definitely been a better general if he'd gotten some time to season in the mid-range commands. And I don't think he's really a social general in that he was doing politics for personal gain. Kerensky was a soldier, at least he had that going for him.

I'd even go so far as to say that Kerensky failed at politics, at being social. Just like he failed at being a foster father and a regular father. And honestly, he was okay as a Commanding General. Just okay. He really succeeded at two things, hiding his family from everyone and having the SLDF suck his johnson. Oh, and really pissing off Kenyon Marik, but I'm not sure that was him succeeding.

Then comes along Nicky and Andery. One was a pushover, having learned that the right amount of weakness and obedience would keep him safe as a child. The other learned that the violent and the strong were powerful.

This is actually reinforced by their father's identity. Being a dutiful soldier keeps Andery safe under his father's aegis. Obeying means that duty is fulfilled and his father will act accordingly.

Nicky learns that his father is strongest because he can convince people to be violent on his behalf. He sees the cult of personality that Aleksandr ended up with, and sets out to build it for himself. Unlike Aleks who kinda stumbled into it, Nicky starts to believe in his cult himself. And then the Eden disease with the brain damage and leading into more insanity as the SLDF-in-Exile falls apart. Nicky's messiah quests and shit really lead to another Peter Principle that sends him right to ilKhanship.

Then Sarah McEvedy, Girl Boss, calls Nicky a bitch and we all know how that works out.
 

Tiamat

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Then Sarah McEvedy, Girl Boss, calls Nicky a bitch and we all know how that works out.
And as the Clans, Nicky's batshit insane legacy, self-destruct in a civil war known as the Harrowing, somewhere the ghost of Sarah McEvedy, along with the survivors of the Wolverine Clan are pointing and laughing.

Hell, somewhere in the afterlife Sarah McEvedy is likely buying a round for Hanse and Melissa Steiner-Davion.
 
A Royal Bethrothal

CurtisLemay

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A Royal Betrothal​

“The differences between Arthur and I are, sadly, many. But they mostly stem from my brother’s views about my wife. I admit it’s not good to speak ill of the dead. But in life, Arthur was a pompous ass and a bigot, even by Sandoval standards. I regret giving him the job to rebuild the Tamar March, considering what came later, but it seemed like a good idea at the time, and it mostly kept him out of trouble for a time. What came later, well? That is my greatest regret. However, the day I lost my brother, I won my wife. So, I can’t say it was all bad?”

  • Victor Steiner-Davion “Reflections”

Offices of the First Prince
Davion Palace
0900 hours
April 30th, 3058
New Avalon
Federated Commonwealth


Victor sat leisurely at his father’s desk. He didn’t have the heart to re-decorate. Even though Omi had said “It’s alright to put your own mark on the place, Victor.” He just couldn’t do it. It would feel like killing Mom and Dad all over again. And now, I gotta hope I am not giving a job to a guy just because he is family. Omi stood to one side of Victor’s desk, her arms folded in the sleeves of her burgundy kimono with an intricate sword and sunburst design woven in yellow across the sleeves and down the back. Ardan Sortek stood on the other, calmly eating an apple with a paring knife. He flashed Victor a million-dollar smile. Never change, Uncle Ardan, never change.

“Ya know, Victor, I have been thinking?” Ardan said while swallowing a bit of apple.

“You have now, do tell?”

“Ha, ha, your highness. In any event, your family and girlfriend are right. You need to re-decorate this place. Your father wouldn’t have wanted his office turned into a memorial to him.”

“I just…I don’t know.”

“Trust me your Highness, it’s alright. He’d be good with it.”

“Thanks, Ardan, you did know him best.”

“Aye, I did. And I miss him terribly. But I plan on staying on till I hit the mandatory retirement age in three years.” Ardan shrugged.

“I’ll give you an exception by royal decree…”

“No, you won’t, Victor. You will let me go play golf and spend my grankids money like any other self-respecting AFFC retiree.”

Victor laughed. There’d been so little opportunity for mirth of late, even with the war being over. The cleanup of so much of the Inner Sphere was proving to be a job that was too much for the Archon Prince himself. Victor hated to admit it: I need help. He would have preferred to give Peter the job of reconstructing the Tamar March, but the fact was, Peter was busy as regent in the Commonwealth half of the realm, and with Katherine gone, Yvonne was going to have to take the job in the Suns for a while next year.

So, Arthur it was.

The intercom buzzed and a disembodied voice came from the speaker “Your highness, your brother Arthur has arrived. Shall I send him in?”

Victor nodded “Let’s have him.”

“Yes, your highness.”

A few seconds passed and Arthur came into the room, dressed in the full undress uniform (with all his decorations) reporting as per AFFC regulations, stopping some ten paces from the front of Victor’s desk, and proffering a proper parade ground salute. “Haputmann Arthur Steiner-Davion of the 1st Robinson Rangers reporting as ordered, your highness!”

“At ease Arthur, this isn’t AFFC business. In fact, take a seat, will you? You’re making me nervous.”

“Yes, your highness.” Arthur took a seat but remained in a cadet brace that Victor was sure was going to give Arthur back strain. Noone could miss the ugly looks he was giving Omi. It was making Victor unconsciously bristle.

“So, Arthur, haven’t seen you since the planning for NAQAM. So, how was your foray in the Draconis March?”

“It was fine sir, but the Hauptmann would have liked to get some trigger time. I got stuck in a staff role as an assistant to the assistant G-3 at March headquarters. Hardly a job for someone of my talent.”

Victor chuckled. “Arthur, I know about you taking that captured Dragon during the action on Quentin. I have people at NAIS, Arthur, and the fake beard looked cheesy on you. But the fact is, you could have gotten yourself killed at a time when the line of succession has been shaky. And yes, I know you got a kill on a Combine Charger. Nicely done, but you are a member of the AFFC, and as such, you follow orders…my orders? We clear?”

“Crystal, Sir.”

“Good, now, the real reason I wanted you here is because I have a job opportunity for you. I take it you have read the news about the mess we have in Tamar?”

“I have sir, but it’s more staff work of which I am clearly un-“

“Were you arguing with me, Haputmann?” Victor let a slight tone of displeasure creep into his voice.

“No sir, but as your brother….”

“You expected me to give you an active assignment? Perhaps you haven’t noticed, but there aren’t a ton of those left right now, and I am giving them to people who aren’t ‘freely interpreting their orders.’”

“There’s still the Dracs!” Arthur blurted.

“The Draconis Combine has been crippled to a level that they won’t be a threat to us for the next two decades.”

“Yes, dear brother, and that’s why we should finish the job!”

“And how do you define finishing the job, Arthur? Oh wait, I’ll let you say it for me.”

Victor produced a ROM playback device and placed it on the desk, then thumbed the PLAY button. The playback was audio only, but it was clearly Arthur’s voice.

“The Inner Sphere would be better off without the Combine. Hell, we owe them for Kentares, I say we find one of their worlds and repay them back in the same coin!”

Victor pushed the STOP button with an audible click that reverberated throughout the room. He gave his brother a piercing stare. “You really should learn to keep your damn mouth shut, Arthur. You don’t think your DMI bodyguards don’t report to me? I regret that Mom and Dad didn’t give you the spanking you deserved. I never thought you were up to massacres. There’s a reason we memorialize Kentates. It’s so nobody repeats it. And yet, you think the AFFC ought to ‘repay them in the same coin?’ What the hell is wrong with you? If I didn’t know better, I’d think we sent the wrong sibling to get mental health treatment.”

“Nothing is wrong, sir, I am simply cognizant with who the enemies of the Commonwealth are, unlike you, who is willing to sleep with them.”

“Tread carefully, Arthur.” Victor growled, a warning tone in his voice.

“Why, Dear brother? It’s not like your little Drac strumpet isn’t going to stab you right between the shoulder blades the firs- “Arthur said, smiling arrogantly as he found what he thought was the chink in Victor’s armor.

Victor rose quickly to his feet, the look in his eyes murderous. “Arthur, I am going to give you one chance to take that back, or I am going to do
what Mom and Dad failed to do.”

“Like what, Shrimp?” Arthur rose as well, towering over Victor and repeating an insult they had used as children.

Victor’s fists clenched. “I am this close to cashiering you from the AFFC. Your next words should be very careful, Arthur.”

“I am not afraid of you, Victor. I mean, you are shorter and got one good arm. Hate to see you with some bruises for the holocams.”

Victor promptly went around his desk with pure murder in his eyes. Oh, that’s it. You’re going to pay for that.

Victor made to move but felt an arm on his shoulder, he turned, and it was Omi. She was shaking her head wordlessly, as if to say No, do not do this. He isn’t worth it.

He took a couple of cleansing breaths, then turned to Arthur. “Arthur, I will have the details of the assignment forwarded to your inbox. For the sake of your future, I very much recommend you take it. Our conversation is over. Get out.”

Arthur smiled a cruel smile, saluted sloppily, which Victor failed to return, and turned on his heel, whistling Colonel Bogey’s March badly off-key.

Once the door closed, Victor sat down hard at his desk and closed his eyes, looking at the ceiling as he took more breaths to calm down.

Ardan looked on “I would have liked to pummel him, Victor, but you’d have had no choice to drum me out of the AFFC and never allow me in the palace again.”

“I know Ardan, but I am going to preempt that and give you a royal pardon if that little bastard ever pulls that again.”

“Think he’ll take the assignment?”

“Nope, but we need him to, even if he is a barely competent bully boy. We need to have a member of the family running things out there, but Peter’s plate is too damn full already.”

Omi blanched “Iie, Victor, as odious as he is, he is family.”

“Family that insulted you, Omi. I won’t have that.”

“Victor, my love, I can take care of myself. He will see my steel if he treads too far.”

“Of that, Omi, I have no doubt.”

The door soon burst open, it was a very hot under-the-collar Yvonne who was still in NAIS sweats and looked as if she had gone 15 rounds with a professional boxer. “Did Arthur’s mouth run again? Palace staff is talking, he’s bragging about getting your goat.”

Victor nodded sadly. “He almost got me to pummel him. Let him brag, the entire palace knows he is full of crap.”

“Oh, dear brother, I can do things you can’t. Especially when I hear he called Omi a whore.”

“It was a strumpet, Yvonne, as much as that hardly makes things better.”

“Doesn’t matter. I am going to black his damn eyes.”

“Yvonn-“but before Victor could get the words out, Yvonne was gone. “Christ, should I stop her?”

Omi and Ardan’s heads shook no in unison.

“Victor, it’s sometimes useful to have loyal younger siblings. This is one of those times.” Ardan deadpanned.

“No comment, next question”
  • Response from Palace PIO when asked why Arthur Steiner-Davion was sporting two black eyes when reporting to his new position as the “Rebuilding Czar” for the Tamar March
Six hours later

“Dinner was wonderful as usual, Marta.” Victor Steiner-Davion left off an appreciative if a bit gauche belch. The dinner was ostensibly to celebrate Katherine’s first day of med school, but…there was an ulterior motive on Victor’s mind. One that was burning a hole in his tunic’s pocket.

Victor was dressed in his usual AFFC undress uniform, with only a few medal ribbons on the right breast, and the rank of a Kommandant. Omi was wearing Victor’s favorite blue and gold kimono, Galen was wearing a tailored business suit, while Katherine was in a pair of black denim jeans and a sweatshirt that said “NAMA Med School” in blue letters.

Katherine and Galen looked heavenward as if to say, ‘Can we take him anywhere?’

Marta shook her head, her grey perm remaining still as her grandmotherly face cracked a knowing smile “Just because it’s good manners on Islamabad, it’s not here at the palace, your Highness! And what would Princess Omi think?” She turned to Omi “He’s not normally like this, your highness, but after the trying day, he had today…to confess, I never liked Arthur. I know he’s a royal, your highness, but he is a nasty little sort.”

Victor exhaled “From your lips to God’s ears, Marta. Katherine took the heat for when he tripped that cousin of yours who was a maid around here.
Good of her, but we all enabled that little jerk. Guess we figured he would be so far from the throne, how much damage could he really do?”

Omi shook her head. “Victor-san, he is an odious person. But he is the kind I will have to appeal to when I go to Kentares next month.”

“I still want you to take more protection, my love. I would not put it past Arthur to have stirred the pot with some idiots like the Citizens for Davion Purity.”

“I will be careful, and I will pack the sword, just in case.”

Victor blanched at that. “The Sword” was the one she had used in that nasty incident with Hans Ricol’s goons. And he noticed she got a bit of the shivers every time she looked at the damn thing. “Dearest, might I interest you in a Federated Hold-Out pistol instead?”

Omi shook her head “I am more comfortable with a sword, Victor. But yes, I could stand to learn. Father and Brother had meant to teach me more, but…they didn’t have the time.” Omi glanced down at the mention of her now-dead family.

“Omi, I’ve been thinking about family. And there’s something I wanted to ask you?”

“What is it?”

“Well, here goes.” Victor slowly rose, then snapped his fingers, and a pair of violinists from the AFFC palace band came in, playing a very slow and soft Vivaldi tune. Marta was sniffling and quickly reached for a handkerchief to stem the oncoming tears.

Victor laid out a handkerchief of his own and kneeled in front of Omi on one knee on the handkerchief. He took Omi’s hand, looking up with a look of pure joy in his eyes. “Omi, honey. Look, I have wanted to ask you this question since we first met eight years ago. I knew then what I knew now. That you were the one I wanted to be my partner in crime, and in life. I can’t promise a rose garden, or even that things will make sense. But..I do promise to be the best husband I know how to be. And you will want for nothing, and I will never let any harm befall you, this I swear to my dying breath. All I ask is for your fair hand in marriage?”

Omi looked shocked, even a bit mortified “A partner in crime? I will not break any laws!” The violinists stopped abruptly.

Victor’s eyes went wide. Oh no, what have I done?

Katherine yelled, “Omi, it’s one of those English idioms! I’ll explain later!”

A look of understanding soon dawned on Omi’s face. She smiled and said…” Oh, so sorry, Victor-san. The answer is, yes, of course, you Kawaī baka.”
Victor grinned, and slowly put the engagement ring on her finger, with not a little bit of help from Omi. They then embraced in a lip lock that was more passion and love than anything steamy while all assembled, including much of the palace staff clapped. When Victor and Omi came up for air, they noticed all the joy of those assembled, Victor turned to Galen and Katherine.

“I’m getting married! I kinda need a best man!” Victor said with a giddy tone in his voice.

“Like you were going to ask anyone else?” Galen deadpanned

“True, but I am just…over the moon right now?”

Omi turned Victor’s face back towards her. “Victor dear, there is one more thing I have to tell you.”

“Uh, what?”

“You will be a father come the winter snows.” Omi’s grin was electric and she positively glowed.

Victor had tears in his eyes. “Thank you, honey. I get two great pieces of news in one day! I feel amazingly blessed and more than a bit giddy. Marta, perhaps no champagne for me?”

Galen and Katherine held hands under the table and shared contented glances. She whispered to Galen “Better tell your groom to keep this stuff to himself until after Kentares. He blabs and the Draconis March goes up in flames.”

“I will mention it to him…in between congratulatory drinks in his study later.”

Katherine cried tears of joy for her brother and Omi. But they were bittersweet. She had just found out that she and Galen were unable to conceive due to Galen’s time as a ‘Mechwarrior, and her own medical treatments for Dombrowski-A. It was a bitter pill for them both, but they had resolved to adopt as soon as Katherine finished med school. But they had decided to keep this bit of information between them for now. Let’s not spoil Omi and Victor’s joy right now. God damn those two never looked better.

“My brother has a reputation for being broody and kind of a grump. But he’s always happy around Omi and the kids. He’s always made time for them, and I am happy to say, he is every bit the father our father was. I guess we both learned from the best when it came to our parents. I am just happy that we both got to have the families we always wanted.”

  • “Confessions of a Cracked Princess, Katherine Steiner-Davion-Cox”
 
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PsihoKekec

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“No comment, next question”
  • Response from Palace PIO when asked why Arthur Steiner-Davion was sporting two black eyes when reporting to his new position as the “Rebuilding Czar” for the Tamar March
He liked the idea of having blue eyes so much, that he asked his sister for a quick cosmetic touch-up.
 
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