08/18/3060 04:52 Location – Tamar Starport, Wolf OZ
The Tamar Starport was incredibly busy, Khan Vladimir Ward had returned from the Homeworlds with Materiel and Castemen from the Home-worlds, and Warriors gained from the Harvest Trials. Brightly lit Lion, Union-C, Confederate, and Mule drop-ships were parked as close as safe, Wolf Patrol and Elemental Guards wormed their way through watching for sabotage and managing the numerous Laborers and Technicians working to unload their cargoes. The Wolf Factors were working around the clock to find places and allocate resources to the new arrivals and nearly one million tons of Cargo, even with advance notice and planning it was a logistical nightmare. Dozens of C-1 Dropshuttles were scattered about, their bulbous tops emerging from the permacrete like mushrooms carrying all manner of goods from the three Warships (CWS Provider, Bloody Fang, and Dire Wolf) that orbited Tamar. Khan Ward had decided that the Inner Sphere would be more hospitable to Clan Wolf and begun preparations to transfer the whole Clan there; ready to pounce on Earth when the Truce ended.
The newest arrival was different, rather than the Crimson and Steel Grey of the Wolves this one was a White, Gold, and Blue K-1 Dropshuttle marked with the Archon’s Crest. Khan Vladimir Ward and a group of Wolves walked across the still warm permacrete and stood a safe distance from the small craft. The Dropshuttle’s bay door opened up and Archon/Star Commander Katherine walked off toward Khan Ward followed by a small entourage. She was wearing the red leather jacket that Vlad gave her two years ago with her uniform underneath. Her once golden hair was now streaked with copper and brass, an unfortunate side effect of her Davion parentage surfacing, and she kept it in a short ponytail.
“Welcome back to Tamar, White Wolf”
“It is good to be back among the pack, Vladimir.” Katherine looked around at the massive star-lift operation taking place, “You have been busy while I have been away.”
“You have been away a long time. I am sorry about your trothkin Victor Katherine. He died gloriously but The Great Refusal should have never taken place, better to have allowed your people to properly annihilate Smoke Jaguar.”
Katherine looked Khan Ward dead in the eyes, “You didn’t kill him did you?”
“I did not, his foe was Lincoln Osis, late Khan of Smoke Jaguar. Victor could have killed him from afar but was goaded into closing and engaging him with his sword.”
“Good I might never be able to forgive you. I was always afraid his courage would win out over his cranium. May we get moving Khan? I only have two weeks before I am missed.”
Katherine was first forced to retake her Trial of Position to maintain Warrior status, having literally only one day as a Wolf Warrior before leaving to return to Tharkad. She used a Stormcrow to defeat an Adder and Viper/Dragonfly to retain her Star Commander Rank and silence protests that the Khan was to close with a soft freeborn whose codex was bare. Fortunately Khan Ward’s critics never realized she was the Archon of the Lyran Alliance or there might have been very difficult questions asked. She still had to settle some Trials of Grievance before they were satisfied, defeating her opponents unaugmented. Katya demanded she be debriefed to ensure there wasn’t a sudden change of heart that might have led to hostility toward the Clan.
Vlad took Katherine on a tour of the new construction that had taken place, the War College of Tamar was now fully repaired and older trueborn sibkos just transferred from the Homeworlds were busy on its practice grounds. They showed great promise and the War College’s facilities were now nearly on par with those in the Home Worlds.
A new Genetic Repository was being constructed in the former University of Tamar, technicians were rapidly working to bring it online. The first new Trueborns in the OZ would be six months away and the whole program would be in the Inner Sphere within three years, the sibkin produced now would be too young to take part in the next invasion but they would grow up in the ilClan.
Vlad had reduced his hostility to freeborn replenishing the ranks of his Touman, having witnessed a Freeborn kill the ilKhan, Hellion Freeborns fight him to a draw, and one particularly lucky one becoming a Khan even if it was over the False Wolves. The Harvest Trial warriors were young Trueborns and would have to serve as the leading edge of a new Invasion. If all went as planned perhaps the Jade Falcons would be weakened enough that he could finally get his revenge and absorb them instead of the other way around, taking Terra would not be an easy feat even with the Lyran Alliance as an ally and there was plenty of Glory to be shared.
The Star Port had been expanded, new equipment had to be manufactured in the OZ and added as most had been damaged when Clan Wolf took the planet. It needed to be ready as there were going to be large quantities of men and material flowing into it for years to come. Khan Ward had strengthened the Wolves’ alliance to the Hell’s Horses and they would soon join Clan Wolf in leaving the Home Clans and their isolationism behind.
The Clans’ destiny was in the Inner Sphere; they could no longer hide and wait to be destroyed by the Successor States. Katherine was impressed with the way things were going but the Wolves were known for planning ahead even the Crusaders. Perhaps Vlad actually took some of Ulric Kerensky’s advice to heart and mellowed with his responsibilities as Khan while maintaining a sharp edge capable of defending the Wolves rightful place at the top.
08/23/3060 21:48 Location – Khan’s Palace, Tamar
Star Commander Katherine and Khan Vlad had been expecting to spend every night together, in fact Katherine was eager for the opportunity. She still couldn’t place what drew her to the Wolf Khan but it was heartily reciprocated, they were both equals in the partnership even if on paper they should be enemies. Their nights together were not quite as intense as the first time, she was much more balanced now than she was after ten weeks of hell. It was pleasant but manageable, both doubted they would have been able to walk if they could even sustain that amount of passion for two weeks.
Before turning in for the night Katherine grabbed a data-chip from her pants which were now lying on the bed. The couple were standing intimately close to one another still reveling in each other.
_“Vlad I have something for you.”
“What is on this?”_
“I had the University of Tharkad and Nagelring Archivists pull up as much as they could from Aleksandr Kerensky’s time there, including some of his writings. It’s incomplete but I want you to have it. I added a few other things that might interest you as well including a very extensive Star League and Succession Wars historical. I figured it would give you something to do while you are stuck on a starship between the Homeworlds and here.”
Khan Ward tentatively took the offered data-chip unaware of how to receive a gift politely and placed it into his personal Noteputer. _ “Thank you Katherine, I have never received anything like that before.”_
_“You are welcome…while we are here, I have something really important that I need from you.”
“What could you possibly need from me that you cannot get in the Alliance?”_
_“I need a Legacy Vladimir, with my brother gone it is only a matter of time until someone moves against me. I need someone to carry the Steiner-Davion name on for me and only you can give me that because I can’t do it anymore.”
“What do you mean?”_
“I cannot have children naturally anymore. Which means that I cannot continue the dynasty and might be enough cause for my enemies to remove me as Archon. As much as I would love to spend the rest of our days together I do not want to lose what I have worked so hard to get. The Iron Wombs can give me a chance to protect myself.”
“You want a sibko? The Scientists would never allow that. It is one of the few things they can veto even the Khan on.”
“I do not need a whole sibko, just eight spots, mix them in if you have to as long as I can determine the timing. I need a few quickly though, they can be ours… I know you only have one Steiner-Davion sample but it should be enough for your scientists to work with.”
“That is not entirely true Katherine. I do not want you to be upset because it is a great honor but I have your brother’s DNA as well, taken from his body as it lay in state within the Wolf Enclave of Zolotaya Gora on Strana Mechdy.”
Katherine slapped Vladimir hard across his cheek, “*YOU WHAT*! Is THIS (pointing to her mostly nude body)_ just some weird science experiment for you! I’ve never felt so violated.”_
Vlad grabbed her hands to avoid a slap again, no doubt that would bruise,_ “That’s not it at all. I have never been so honored to be among such promising individuals, surely this is a time of destiny. We stand poised to win one last time and begin a new Golden Century after the ilClan, whatever form it takes, reclaims humanity’s home-world. Everything is coming together, the Clans have created a Second Star League and returned to the Inner Sphere just as it was foretold by Kerensky.”_
Katherine growled as she tried to escape his grasp, “Let me go Vlad!”
“I cannot. I have grown quite fond of you Katherine and it will pain me to see you leave next week, you are so close but so far away. I will help get your Legacy and I want your help to get Terra or allow me to die trying so that another Wolf might, I do not even care if it is a False Wolf. The goal I seek is Clan Wolf as the ilClan…and if possible you at my side.”
While still tense Katherine relaxed slightly and was released, _“You really mean that?”