04/18/3058 Location – Asgard, Tharkad
Archon Katherine Steiner entered the situation room in a 1st Royal Guards uniform without insignia, she was after all nominally in it. General Nondi Steiner had come out of retirement to become her General of Armies until she found a more long term appointment. She walked up to her and Mandrinn Liao at the head of the holo-table surrounded by the Top Brass of the LAAF.
“I would like a situation report General Steiner.”
“It is good to have you back Katrina. Here is current situation, the 14th Donegal and 11th Arcturan Guards are leading two paired task forces to cut the Falcons off from their Occupation Zone. Mandrinn Liao has retained the 71st Light Horse, two Regiments of Dragoons, and Waco’s Rangers with their Crazy Eights to reinforce the garrison or defend Tharkad should the Falcons come here.”
_“General Savinson, what are the odds the Falcons will strike here?”
“Poor, Archon while we have imposed a media blackout in the afflicted area our sources on-planet have reported that the Falcon’s primary objective is Coventry. They have six clusters and we still receive sporadic reports that the garrison and academy cadre harry the Falcons. The Khan hasn’t made any other moves beside clearing the corridor for their logistics.”_
_“Will three regiments be enough to hold the Falcons on Coventry until the 14th and 11th can get into position?”
“Current estimates have a 70% confidence interval that a one time reinforcement should give Generals Steiner and Esteban a chance to completely cut off the Falcons. They have been slowed by a lack of Jump-ships to move their RCTs.”_
Katherine quietly cursed herself, if she hadn’t given those Jumpers back to her brother they would already be there. She wouldn’t be stuck in a war of attrition which even with the Falcon’s Touman in a damaged state would still look bad and cause a lot of damage. By the FedCom accords she didn’t have to give them back, if they were in the Alliance they were under General Steiner’s command. Victor wouldn’t have been able to sell that to the March Lords though and no doubt the whole Davion Brigade of Guards would be dropping on Tharkad by now if she hadn’t returned them. She knew the Waco Rangers hated the Dragoons, there is no way the two commands would work together well despite their elite skill.
Katherine looked over the holomap, it was showing the current force map of the Falcons, she pointed to a world near the edge. “70%, I don’t really like those odds. Mandrinn Liao would Waco’s Ranger be able to launch diversionary raids in the Falcon OZ around the Blair Atholl? There is almost a full command circuit to speed them back there, I just used it. They can be at the Falcon’s borders in a a little more than a week.”
Colonel Wayne Waco was brought up on the long range and after some haggling that gave him a lot of Falcon salvage he accepted the terms. He would raid the Blair Atholl and worlds near the attack corridor. That would also give Khan Ward a chance to take advantage of the Falcons when he got the next round of War Materiel to reinforce the Touman from the Homeworlds.
“If Khan Pryde thinks we can attack her back lines in force, she might have to pull at least one cluster back to deal with the threat. They can’t keep fighting if they can’t resupply their forces. That should give us a chance to do some damage and force her to act on the defensive.”
The War Council finished up other situation reports with the recently arrived Archon their current high level duties completed she was dismissed for the day, her Realm was in good hands. Before leaving she took a look at the holo-map, the circled Task Forces were inching their way across light years of void. She hoped they would get there in time. Every day Khan Pryde spent on Coventry was another she could spend destroying Coventry Metal Works and increased the chance that something would leak which might be worse.
04/22/3058 Location – Archon’s Office, The Triad, Tharkad
Archon Katherine was busy managing the various crises that afflicted the Lyran Alliance, it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep up the media blackout about the Falcons on Coventry. She was going to have to go public about it soon and face whatever credibility crisis arose from that issue. The Mercenary Relief Force had arrived and was beginning operations against the Falcons. Waco’s Rangers had begun to attack the Provisional Garrison Clusters that were left behind when Khan Pryde engaged in this bold attack. The twin Task Forces remained slow, several jump-ships had suffered technical problems and they needed to find alternate transport while it was being repaired. Problems always arose when you tried to move things the size of RCTs on a dime across hundreds of light years. It’s not like she could rent more jump-ships or dragoon civilian ones, questions would be asked.
The phone on her desk rang, she grabbed the elegantly crafted device, “Archon, your brother is demanding an immediate audience via HPG concerning Coventry”
She knew that he wasn’t on New Avalon, Prince’s Regent Bishop Sortek was there managing the Crucis March. Her dear brother had been very public about his multi-month training exercise in the Combine with Hohiro Kurita and Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht, no doubt spending quite a bit of his off time with Omiko. Coordinator Theodore Kurita had taken full advantage of her love-struck brother and was angling to either make an alliance (by him marrying Omi) and get him to put down the immediate rebellions that would occur, or allow him to die on an Anti-Clan operation that ultimately benefited the Draconis Combine alone.
No doubt he (Teddy) wanted to get a Kurita-Steiner-Davion (“KSD”) kid as quickly and quietly as possible, that way if her brother died on some field of battle he could still be useful. His lack of guile never ceased to amaze her and it was concerning that he knew about Coventry, no doubt ROM had leaked something to him from Duke Bradford.
“Katherine, the Falcons are on Coventry, yet you didn’t tell me. I am coming in whether you want me to or not with the 1st Genyosha, ComGuard Invaders, and the Davion Heavy Guards. So you can help me by telling me how many Falcons there are or I am coming to Tharkad after that.”
“Dammit Victor, the LAAF has this under control I already have forces in motion that will deal the death blow to the Jade Falcons. If I have to I will send both Royal Guards to fight them off and lead them myself. I am not some shrinking violet that needs her big brother to bail her out. I am The Archon of the Lyran Alliance.”
“Katherine how many Falcons are there on Coventry? I am going to fight them, the Lyran Alliance was my nation first and you don’t know what you are doing.”_ His tone left no room for negotiation, Victor had roughly three regiments near Tukayyid right now. The Falcons certainly would be eager to fight him, he had long evaded them during the initial Clan invasion and they probably would try to take him as a Bondsman. An amusing thought crossed her mind, Vlad declaring a Trial of Possession for him with Star Commander Katherine bid in the fight, he would lose his mind.
The extra regiments might prove a greater diversion that might allow the task forces to set up and would save the LAAF three regiments that could be raiding Sudetan or Twycross instead. He would probably try to pick up forces from the Kells and Exiled Wolves if he knew there were still six Clusters on-planet but she didn’t want the Falcons defeated utterly by them, it would be catastrophic to LAAF morale.
_“There are four Clusters on Coventry right now Victor, I have already sent three regiments to reinforce the garrison until the main task force can get into position. You have clearance to enter and priority access to charging stations en route to Coventry.”
Now that it was out of the bag it was only a matter of time until it hit the airwaves and she needed to go into damage control mode. She had no problem making her brother a hero but she was not going to have his foolish ass in her seat. The Archon issued a wide band broadcast throughout the whole HPG Net,
“Citizens of the Inner Sphere, I have a grave announcement, the Jade Falcons have launched a large attack on Coventry and while the LAAF are fighting them as we speak, we cannot prevail alone. The Archon-Prince has offered aid to the Alliance and I am imploring the other Successor States to show the Clans that we will not succumb to petty rivalries while they wage war against us all. The Inner Sphere will stand or fall together under this threat.”
While Captain-General Thomas Marik and Chancellor Sun-Tzu Liao were not entirely supportive of the Lyran Alliance neither of them wanted the factories of Coventry to fall into Clan hands. They were not willing to expend themselves though so they both sent a few Battalions. Archon-Prince Victor Steiner-Davion gathered more forces from the Kell Hounds and Exiled Wolves and showed up to Coventry at the head of six regiments equally matching Khan Pryde in numbers, any fight would be hard fought. The Jade Falcon’s Khan knew that Wolf Khan Ward stood poised to attack her Occupation Zone if she didn’t leave but was honor bound to engage and eager to claim The Archon-Prince as a bondsman.
Then Victor, the man who never met a problem he couldn’t solve with enough Battlemech, did something no Inner Sphere Commander had ever done to achieve victory. He let the Falcons go, allowing the “defeated” Falcons to leave honorably as Wolves stood poised to kick the Jade Falcons out of the Inner Sphere. Katherine was stunned, she watched the progress reports from Waco’s Rangers and the Generals at Asgard, the Falcons managed to stay one step ahead of the Task Forces. They returned to stop the Wolves and severely damaged Waco’s Rangers who nevertheless grabbed a lot of Clan Tech salvage.