After becoming the Hero of Coventry with few shots fired, First Prince Victor Ian Steiner-Davion issued a long and grandiose speech about uniting the Inner Sphere against the Clans, the plebs ate it up. Archon Katherine Steiner offered to host a Sphere-Wide Conference on Tharkad, “grateful” for her brother’s assistance and “inspired” by the show of multi-nationalism fighting against the Clans. Secretly she seethed and raged that Victor had cost her a chance to kill Clan Jade Falcon since she was aware of their weakness after the Refusal War. Victor left Alliance space to return to Tukayyid and his war games, morale high, and would stay there until the Whitting Conference occurred in October.
Archon Katherine Steiner spent that time dealing with the confidence crisis that arose from the Coventry operation. LIC Operatives and the LAAF’s Public Relations were kept busy, some officers were cashiered out, others were sent to the Periphery March to take over garbage posts as punishment, and General of the Armies Nondi Steiner was allowed to retire. General Maria Esteban took over as the LAAF’s Top General, this was a controversial move as both Katherine and General Esteban were both NAIS Alumni. There was an unfounded fear among the Lyran Academy graduates that their foreign influence would prove disastrous.
With new blood in command the Archon commissioned the Alliance Jaegers LCT (Light Combat Team) Brigade using equipment from the former FedCom RCTs. The aim was a regionally sourced rapid reaction force easily transported to hot spots and capable of dealing with an opponent until a heavier formation could respond. Katherine wanted young officers eager to make a name for themselves as their commanders. These new officers could experiment with different tactics much easier as a smaller formation. The commands would never go beyond five battalions, more would just be split off and added instead. The prestige of being the 1st of something meant that the slots filled quickly. Archon Katherine also rebuilt the 11th Lyran Guards and 3rd Royal Guards using up excess equipment and appointed more loyal and capable commanders.
Loremaster Katya Kerensky had covertly built a HPG repeater circuit from Tharkad to Tamar allowing the Wolves to have an inside peek on the Inner Sphere’s current events. She was quite eager to see what Katherine had planned for the proceedings.
The Whitting Conference needed to go off without a hitch and be a magnificent display of her young Lyran Alliance to the rest of the Inner Sphere. Delegates and various government ministers of the five successor states, COMSTAR, and the Free Rasalhague Republic began arriving in September to hammer out the agenda. Bringing together this many conflicting nations to even talk peaceably would be the ultimate test of diplomacy and negotiation.
Even with her extensive micromanagement the core portions of the Whitting Conference still strained Tharkad’s extensive infrastructure to cater to that many VIPs. Katherine had been forced by polity to allow her political and personal enemies to attend. The 2nd Royal Guards kept a close eye on the Kell Hounds, Grand Duke Morgan Kell and Exiled Wolf Khan Phelen Kell were enemies of the state as far as everyone in the Alliance was concerned. Lohegrin operatives watched Intelligence Secretariat Tancred Sandoval, who arrived as part of the FedSuns delegation and “monkeywrenched” their covert opponent whenever they could. Omiko Kurita also had tails, there was too much potential for her to be a spy; it would be a shame if “Free Skye sympathizers” took this golden opportunity to kill her.
Ultimately it turned out to be a successful conference and birthed a Second Star League with associated trade and non-aggression pacts between the member states. A new Star League Defense Force would be formed from existing combat commands of all six states and the ComGuards. This SLDF would launch a massive offensive against Clan Smoke Jaguar (despite Katherine’s insistence it be against the Falcons she was the only dissenting vote). A new First Lord and Commanding General would be elected to head the endeavor. COMSTAR would only cast a vote in the event of ties.
Now the main event; who would be the first First Lord of the Second Star League? No leader could appoint themselves and every one of them had a single vote.
Archon Katherine Steiner(-Davion), First Prince Victor Steiner-Davion, Coordinator Theodore Kurita, and Captain-General Thomas Marik endorsed Sun-Tzu Liao.
Chancellor Sun-Tzu Liao and Elected Prince Haakon Magnusson supported Katherine Steiner.
While she was enraged that her gambit to be First Lord had been foiled she had to admit that Victor had finally started figuring politics out and that might be a problem especially if he came back a conquering hero.
After the votes were cast he empowered his little sister Yvonne Steiner-Davion as Regent of the Federated Suns during his long absence and in the event of his possible death to serve until Arthur took over after his five years of military service. Katherine was incensed by this announcement because her double, Lady Voight, had told her that Yvonne wanted to study at the University of Tharkad and that Victor hadn’t allowed her to leave New Avalon despite her dropping out of NAIS in protest.
Katherine had never imagined her brother to be so cruel as to deny one of the only friendly relationships between the Steiner-Davion siblings. The other being Victor and Peter, who still was missing despite the LIC looking for him for the past few years. Arthur was close with Yvonne early one (the so called “twins” were legendary for the mischief they caused in Castle Davion) but had chosen to live with the Sandovals on Robinson after First Prince Hanse Davion’s death and seemed happy with his adopted family. Perhaps Victor had spent too much time with the Kuritas, the snakes were notoriously cold-blooded when it came to blood.
As Katherine could no longer have any her little sister was the closest thing she could have to a daughter and both sisters were equally angry with their brother for his actions. Yvonne was only 19 and woefully under-prepared for this kind of responsibility having never been groomed for succession. Victor was never at Castle Davion already and Marshal Bishop Sortek, the Prince’s Champion, had finally accepted he would be Minister of the Crucis March until Victor tired himself out fighting. Now as regent she would have to return to New Avalon and would be tied down with responsibilities that would put her at odds with her beloved sister. Katherine fumed, Federated Suns Princes’ predisposition to lead from the Front was THE reason that the office of Prince’s Champion existed.
11/16/3058 07:17 Location – Archon’s Office, The Triad, Tharkad
Archon Katherine Steiner(-Davion)‘s 26th birthday was today but no one came bringing her the present she wanted the most, The First Lordship of the Second Star League. Especially her brother, General Victor Steiner-Davion, who was the first appointment on a very packed agenda for today even as things began to wind down after three months of day to day meetings where she had actually lost weight from skipping meals. She was dressed casually, having been treated for nearly seven months for the physical scars she had from Tamar and it still would be at least till spring before she could wear anything “exciting” again. She was looking forward to tonight’s gala, a final party before people she didn’t like started to leave so she could get back to work and stop pretending she liked them.
Victor arrived in a SLDF Formal Uniform looking sharp, medium green and gold with three polished silver stars rising out of each Epaulet. Having designed the new uniforms Katherine was impressed at her handiwork; 2nd SLDF guys were going to be lady-killers, especially if they came back. She walked out from behind her desk; no Archon or First Prince, just brother and sister having a private conversation.
_“Good morning General, I trust you had a good rest”
“I did yes, in my old room. Drop the act Katherine.”
“Fine Victor, you have my assistance and that is all you shall have. Words cannot describe how angry I feel at you for showing me up in my Capital.”
“You mean the one you stole from me! You will never have my support sister not while you play games with other people’s lives. When I come back things are going to be different and if you stay on this dark path… I will come for you.”
“Well do come back brother, I hear those clanners are monsters. It would be shame to lose you.”
“I will take my advice on the clans from someone who knows what they are talking about, sister. alles Gute zum Geburtstag und wir sehen uns heute Abend.”_
With that he turned and walked out no doubt plenty busy, returning to her desk and taking out her Codex she ran her hand across it’s raised Wolf’s head, “Ah, brother if only you knew”
Thinking about it she was fairly certain that was the only time he had wished her a Happy Birthday in person. Apparently their family dysfunction was to be driving force in the Inner Sphere, she had never wanted that to happen, thought if Melissa was out of the way there might be a chance. If she hadn’t lost everything at Solaris she would have refused the full duties of Archon to raise her and Galen’s children. Would have been a better mom than Melissa who took them on to early and in the process split up the siblings until they hardly knew or liked each other. So many things could have gone differently that would have made the Inner Sphere a better place, and she was guilty of at least two.
The rest of the day went well. Katherine had a long lunch with Yvonne and Arthur, spending most of the remaining time preparing for her Birthday Gala that evening. General Steiner-Davion’s escort was Omiko Kurita and though she couldn’t help but show her displeasure at the couple there was little she could do about it. The Grand Ballroom of the Royal Palace was filled and that was impressive, she couldn’t imagine all of the logistics involved but if it’s one thing the Lyran Commonwealth was good for it was logistics.
The formal constitution of the Second Star League was signed the following week and Victor left with the Kurita and COMSTAR delegates toward Luthien to prepare. Katherine spent two weeks with Yvonne until she tearfully had to return to New Avalon.
As her sister’s dropship lifted off, Katherine was left alone again.