Saturday, July 25, 2009
In May 2578, General Charles Mainstein Wexworth responded to the Taurians by leading the four Star League corps into the Hyades Cluster, hoping to capture the many Taurian industrial centers in an ever-tightening net. Though the SLDF won several important battles, the Taurians always made them pay dearly for their wins. On world after world, the SLDF would land with barely time to form up before Concordat Regulars began to storm the League ‘Mechs in wave after suicidal wave. Perhaps because of this fierce resistance, the Star League finally declared war officially in 2578. Cameron and his High Council knew that now they would have the popular support they needed. In making that announcement public, First Lord Cameron stated that the Star League Defense Forces would no longer be bound by the Ares Conventions. When combating barbarians, he said, one must fight fire with fire.
By 2582, the Star League had captured more than a third of the Taurian systems, with heavy losses on both sides, but the Taurians had succeeded in tying down the majority of the Star League’s best troops for four years instead of six months. The Taurian troops would simply not give up.
It was in this same period that the atrocities began in earnest. On Brussart, the Taurians revenged themselves for the destruction of the cream of their navy at Robsart by introducing slow-acting poison into the League’s water supplies. On Weippe, they torched the food stores that would have fed the Federated Suns force for months, and on Pierce, they planted bombs in the sewer system under the League forces base.
Two years later, General Amalthia Kincaid replaced Wexworth after the elite Eighty-eighth Light Horse suffered 5,000 casualties in the Battle of Corigan. It was Kincaid who masterminded the development of the strike regiment to respond to the unconventional tactics of the Taurian guerrillas. In 2583, the indomitable Taurians launched Case Black, an elaborate plan that got an assassin close enough to Admiral Kincaid to kill her with a new weapon.
In summer 2584, General Amos Forlough was called in and given a free hand. Because of Forlough’s policy of creating planetary blockades in orbit while his troops scorched every inch of territory on the ground, Taurian worlds again began to fall before the SLDF. In response to Forlough’s brutal tactics, the Taurians attacked the SLDF on Diefenbaker. It was the largest Mech battle of the entire war and lasted for some five months. Though Forlough broke the back of the Taurian navy in this battle, the League lost many of its best warriors and the war dragged on for another three years.
Winning was all that mattered to General Forlough, who next sacked Hanseta, pillaged Victralla, and massacred civilians on Carmichael. By 2588, the Taurians could claim only a half dozen scattered star systems outside the Hyades Cluster. When Star League casualties rose to thousands in the seven-month-battle of New Vandenburg, Ian Cameron sent in Lord Damien Onaga to replace Forlough. Beginning in January 2590, Onaga led the elite Star Guards nearly unopposed through the last of the Taurian worlds.
The fierce Taurians did not surrender until September 22, 2596, six years after New Vandenberg. The Taurian War was finally over, though both sides were battered and bloodied. The next morning, Taurian Protector Marantha Calderon committed suicide.
HORRORS OF WAR
General Shandra Cameron stepped down from her post as Commander-in-Chief of the Star League Defense Forces in November 2575 when she suffered a heart attack. Replacing her was General Carlos Dangmar Lee.
General Lee had served for over 40 years in the Hegemony Armed Forces before becoming the SLDF’s second Commander-in-Chief. After beginning his career as a common trooper from Northwind, he rose quickly in rank to receive more demanding assignments. Before his promotion to Commander-in-Chief of the SLDF, General Lee was head of the SLDF’s Strategic Simulations Department.
Once in command, General Lee was immediately beset with the problems created by the Periphery military’s victories. He reacted by strengthening chains of command and severely punishing anyone lax in following orders. Though this had little effect on his own troops, his stern warnings and reproaches quickly upset the allied units from the House militaries.
As the war moved beyond the opening surprises and settled into the monotonous hell of a more common and less flashy conflict, disturbing patterns were emerging. When First Lord Cameron renounced the tenets of the Ares Conventions in 2579, his enemies followed suit.
The most common horror was the massacre of civilians on many Periphery worlds and the wholesale destruction of their farmlands and industries. On the Periphery side, their desperate response was the use of Human-wave tactics to slow down technologically superior Star League units. Concealed until the last possible second, hundreds, sometimes even thousands of Periphery troops, most armed with a laser rifle and a satchel charge, would charge an advancing Star League force. Firing their lasers, the soldiers would charge straight into the teeth of the Star League force. If a soldier was shot down, another behind him would grab his satchel charge and continue on. Though most of these troops never reached their target, those who did were numerous enough to cause many casualties among the SLDF.
In 2579, the Dog-Face Company of the 45th Royal Battle Regiment was the target of a Human wave attack while fighting on the small Concordat world of Werfer in 2579. Caught without infantry support, the Dog-Face ‘Mechs could not prevent the Taurian soldiers from reaching their position or from detonating their explosives among the legs of the ‘Mechs in an effort to cripple the machines. Some troopers tied a satchel charge onto a BattleMech’s ankle, or more often, held the explosives to the ‘Mech’s leg in a suicidal hug. The Dog-Face Company lost the use of ten ‘Mechs, all with destroyed ankle joints. Four of the ten MechWarriors piloting the ‘Mechs were killed when Taurians rushed the cockpit section of the fallen ‘Mechs, opened them, and tossed in explosives.
OUTWORLDS ALLIANCE WAR
The war against the Taurians kept the majority of the Star League’s Expeditionary Force busy from 2575 to 2581, when Admiral Janissa Franklin broke the back of the Taurian navy in a two-week long battle on Robsart. Though the Taurians fought on for another 15 years, the victory at Robsart allowed the League High Command to begin their offensive against the Outworlds Alliance.
Grigori Avellar, President of the Outworlds Alliance, had no more intention of joining the Star League than any other Periphery leader, but he also knew that the Alliance military could never hope to defeat the Star League in combat. His was a mostly agrarian realm, with less than 120 light ‘Mechs to defend it. Indeed, many of these ‘Mechs were little more than beefed-up AgroMechs.
As elements of the Star League’s Second and Fifth Corps and auxiliary Draconis Combine troops began to deploy along the Alliance border in June 2581, Avellar sent a secret delegation to Lawrence Davion of the Federated Suns. He hoped to make a deal that would keep his realm from being too badly damaged by the fighting. Meanwhile, General Amos Forlough and the Second Corps Regulars easily took the mining systems of Groveld and Bryceland in July of that year. Not long after, the Fifth Corps and a Draconis brigade made short work of Weissau, Schrimeck, and Tabayama.
By early October, General Forlough was planning to drive directly against Alpheratz, the Alliance capital. He did not expect to meet serious resistance. What Forlough did not know, however, was that Lawrence Davion and Grigori Avellar had struck a deal. In one of the strangest twists in history, Davion mobilized three regiments of his most elite and trusted Household Guards to create a “special” unit. This unit was known as the Pitcairn Legion, after Commanding Colonel Elias Pitcairn, and they would fight secretly for the Outworlds Alliance against the Star League.
How and why did such a strange turn of events occur? When Alliance President Avellar approached Lawrence Davion in the summer of 2581, he offered the Federated Suns “protectorship” of a dozen agricultural and water-rich worlds along the Davion/Alliance border when the war was over. At that moment, Lawrence Davion felt betrayed by the League because it had not provided enough financial assistance to bail out the Sun’s ailing economy and because the Star League had not yet honored its promise to formally declare Davion ownership of the Chesterton worlds. These and other political/economic considerations made Davion receptive to the deal that Avellar offered.
Control over the rich Alliance border worlds would assist in postwar recover, and would also keep the Draconis Combine from conquering these same planets. In exchange, Davion pledged to work both covertly and overtly for an end to League military aggression against the Outworlds Alliance.
In October 2581, Lawrence Davion dispatched the Pitcairn Legion to the planet Sevon, where they encountered General Forlough on his deep-space drive toward Alpheratz. Both sides took heavy casualties. Because of that damage, Forlough was forced to wait for reinforcements of Kurita Galedon Regulars before he could resume his attack on Sevon. Though the SLDF finally captured the planet, the Pitcairn Legion escaped offworld.
Just two days before Forlough’s final thrust toward Alpheratz, the League High Command called off the offensive. After the defeat of the Federated Suns fleet off the Taurian system of Tentiva earlier that summer, Lawrence Davion had demanded that Ian Cameron reassign Star League units to the Concordat front. Because Forlough’s units were the only forces available, he had to give up a third of his fleet to another front.
Though no longer able to strike against the Alliance capitol, Forlough and his Kurita auxiliaries took several more planets in early 2582. These easy pickings ended when the Fourth Rasalhague Brigade lost out to the Pitcairn Legion on Budigen. Frustrated and angry, the Combine troops went berserk, destroying property and massacring civlians. The brutal Forlough showed no mercy, either. On at least a dozen Alliance worlds, he ordered 10 percent of all civilians executed as an example to those who opposed the Star League.
The Outworlders, who had not believed themselves strong enough to challenge the Star League, now wanted nothing more than to fight these cruel invaders who murdered their people and destroyed their lands. Thousands joined the Alliance militia. To train these farmers and merchants in anti-‘Mech warfare, Pitcairn assigned Captain Joshua March. They learned fast, but still had to depend on guile as much as military training.
Forlough was constantly frustrated by Lawrence Davion, who sent troops to occupy several worlds that were part of Forlough’s attack plan, claiming they were under Federated Suns protectorship. In some cases, Davion commanders even refused Kurita units the right to land or resupply on certain of these planets. In reaction, Hehiro Kurita ordered his commanders to take as much territory as possible, which often left Forlough stranded.
While Davion and Kurita played out their own game of conquest, the newly trained and courageous Outworlders began to embarrass Forlough with their stiff resistance. Believing he could starve the Outworlders into submission, he put the torch to every world he encountered all through the spring and summer of 2583. Backed by Pitcairn’s Legion, the Alliance forces responded with an ambush of Forlough’s force on Tellman IV. In the day-long battle, the Alliance troops took out more than 200 Star League ‘Mechs, losing about 100 of their own recently acquired machines. Neither side would ever fully recover from this Day of Vengeance.
The war against the Outworlds Alliance ended with a whimper rather than a bang. When General Kincaid was assassinated on the Concordat front, the brutal Forlough was transferred to command of the Taurian theater. His replacement, Major-General Franklin Barnex, was never able to obtain enough troops for a push on Alpheratz and seemed content to hang onto the worlds Forlough had conquered.
In 2585, the Alliance and the Star League signed the Peace of Cerberus, which granted the Alliance the right to govern itself under the supervision of the Star League. Though the Alliance had demanded the right to try General Forlough for war crimes, the League refused. It is estimated that 12 million people, mainly civilians, died before the two sides sat down at the negotiating table.
WAR AGAINST CANOPUS
Upon reading Ian Cameron’s Pollux Proclamation, Magestrix Crystalla Centrella of Canopus asked her ministers, “What can he offer us that we cannot already buy?” No one knew that better than the Lords of the Star League, who lusted after the wealth and stability of the Canopian worlds.
The Magistracy of Canopus had grown from a handful of planets to a wealthy, unified realm of more than 50 star systems by concentrating on one major industry: pleasure. No matter how immoral or illegal something might be in other states, pleasure-seekers could find what they were looking for in Canopus-provided it did not hurt anyone else. The Canopian pleasure palaces brought in billions for the ruling House Centrella. Life was good, too, for the citizens of this realm.
Under the command of Captain-General Marion Marik, the Star League marshalled the 30-plus regiments of the Seventh Corps, plus twelve regiments of Marik troops, against Canopus. The Canopians had 17 ‘Mech regiments, 12 Home Guard regiments, and two fleets of small ships. Though they had money to fight a war, the Canopians knew they would have difficulty replacing ‘Mechs and other material because they did not have the industrial capacity to replace combat losses. They would have to guard their resources carefully.
The Canopian campaign began in June 2577 when Marion Marik took Gouderak, followed by the fall of Umka in October, after a three-month struggle. Because the Canopians could not afford to slug it out unless they had to, their fighting strategy was to stay mobile, using hit-and-run techniques and evasion rather than brute force. This kept the Canopians somewhat scattered throughout the interior of their space, which at times worked to their advantage and at times did not.
The Canopian Colonel Adam Buquoy is credited with developing the strategy that kept the Canopians from being overrun by the well-supplied might of the Star League armies. Seeing the League commanders so dependent on high-tech equipment and on supply lines that had already grown very long by January 2578, Buquoy masterminded a raid that set the SLDF back six months. In a hard-fought but successful attack against Meadowvale and neighboring supply depots, the Canopians destroyed the League’s major supply point in the region.
Marion Marik responded by constructing depots and staging bases all along her supply line. This slowed the Star League offensive for six months, but did not stop it. The turning point of the war occurred in the summer of 2583 in a two-day aerospace battle among the outer planets of the Thurrock system, one of the League’s important supply centers. The Canopians had attacked, believing they had the advantage of surprise. Marik’s squadrons were ready and waiting, however, and were able to virtually destroy the Canopian navy. Now was the Marik’s chance to pounce on the capital world of Canopus IV, which she captured in April 2584 after a month-long battle that left heavy casualties on both sides.
The Canopian campaign dragged on for another four years, as one by one, Marion Marik took every last remaining Magistracy world. This campaign was as hard-fought and protracted as the others in the Periphery, but one major difference was Captain-General Marik’s scrupulous adherence to the Ares Conventions. This prevented random destruction and helped to dispose the conquered Canopians to cooperate with the Star League.
RIM WORLDS WAR
Gregory Amaris, Lord of the Rim Worlds Republic, ruled over a people who resented the loss of their democratic rights and the truly republican form of government that had once existed. Amaris, with his dreams of power and conquest, hoped to build the Republic into a state equal to any of the Inner Sphere governments. Unfortunately for Amaris, he so alienated the people with his arrogance and misguided policies that they finally revolted against him.
The rebellion had already begun to heat up in the period just after the birth of the Star League when Amaris showed his support of the League in many public actions. At the same time that he approved the Pollux Proclamation in 2575, he also issued the Manchester Directive outlawing membership in the Rim Republic Army. Though the RRA was now little more than an honorary society, it was the Rim Worlders’ last link to their former democracy. Amaris’s agents rounded up and arrested, without due process of law, anyone suspected of being an RRA member.
The final straw came in April 2575 during a worker’s strike at a ‘Mech factory on the politically volatile world of Apollo. When Amaris called in the Fourth Amaris Dragoons to break the strike, the demonstrators (many of whom were RRA) overwhelmed the troops and declared themselves the Rim Provisional Government and Apollo as their base.
Amaris declared the whole planet to be under martial law and sent in every ‘Mech he had to destroy the rebellion. Colonel Katherine Dormax, commander of the Seventh Amaris Legionnaires, refused the order to fire on her fellow citizens, however, and placed her unit in service of the rebel government. Shortly afterward, the Eighth Amaris Fusiliers followed suit. The whole northern continent came under the rebel banner. Amaris withdrew the remaining loyal units from Apollo and called on the Star League for help.
The SLDF had its hands full in the Taurian Concordat in 2575, and soon the Canopian campaign would begin to heat up. Thus, it was not until 2581 that the League could turn its sights on the Rim Worlds, where Amaris had been holed up at his private residence deep within the Republic.
The Star League called the Rim Worlds Offensive Operation Mailed Fist. With the intention of driving toward the heart of the Rim Worlds, the League mobilized 18 regiments of League Regulars, six Free Worlds regiments, and three Lyran regiments.
Though the Rim Worlders had few ‘Mechs or MechWarriors, the strength of their army had always been based on numerous wheeled, tracked, and hover vehicles. Patriotism and the love of freedom would also fire these motley irregulars to great heroism. As the months went by, Combine units arrived to bolster the sagging campaign. The rebels became even more determined because the Kuritans were often brutal toward civilians.
The months wore on, with the League capturing only a third of the Rim Republic eight years into the war. In March 2595, Archon Viola Steiner-Dineson arrived on Apollo in command of the Fourth Royal Guard. She had a clever plan to draw the rebels away from the capital, leaving it vulnerable to capture by her units plus Amaris reinforcements. The trap might have worked but for an unexpected failure in communications that left the Archon and her Guards trapped among three enemy ‘Mech regiments. The Rim Worlds rebels destroyed most of the Fourth. Viola Steiner-Dineson was so badly wounded that she died a month later.
The Star League was simply too powerful, however. By 2596, the SLDF forces had hunted down the last of the rebels. The Rim Provisional Government surrendered in September of that year.
LOSS OF FACE
I hereby swear my allegiance to the Rim Worlds Republic, its laws and its leaders. I also swear my heartfelt admiration for the actions and ways of distant mother Terra. May her beauty never dim. May her light ever be our beacon.
-From the Loyalty Oath required of each citizen of the Rim Worlds Republic, 2573
The only Periphery realm that did not inflame the animosity or suspicion of the Inner Sphere was the Rim Worlds Republic. Ruled by the Amaris family, whose ancestors had been high officials in the Terran Hegemony and who still retained Terran citizenship, the Repiblic was considered the one “civilized” domain among the outworlds. Indeed, the Inner Sphere did considerable business with the Rim Worlds. The other Periphery governments viewed it with contempt, however, and refused Amaris’s offers to mediate between the Star League and the Periphery.
The Amaris family controlled the Rim Worlds by force of arms, and many citizens still pined for the days when they had enjoyed a true republic. When Gregory Amaris invited a battalion of Star League ‘Mechs into the realm in 2572-ostensibly to train his troops but actually to strengthen his political position-the internal situation became even more unsettled.
In spring 2573, Rim Worlds dissidents dressed in Rift Republican Army uniforms stormed and seized a major prison for political prisoners on the planet Apollo. They were protesting the Amaris government’s sympathy with the Star League government and the presence of a battalion of League ‘Mechs on Apollo. After freeing about 50 prisoners, the rebels killed the prison commandant and his senior staff. In their message to Gregory Amaris, they threatened to blow up the facility unless all foreign forces were withdrawn from Apollo.
Within half an hour after receiving this ultimatum, Amaris ordered in the Fifth Amaris Fusiliers and the Amaris Republican Guard. Laser, he also sent in artillery units to raze the headquarters compound. Amaris’s private troops captured and killed anyone who escaped the first two onslaughts. When the people of the Rim Republic learned that Amaris’s own troops had mowed down the rebels on Apollo, they were outraged. Violent protests broke out all over the Rim Republic.
When the civilian disturbances did not subside, Amaris instituted the Universal Act of Loyalty. This edict required that every citizen swear an oath of loyalty to both the Amarises and the Star League, or else forfeit their rights and belongings. Amaris eventually forced every Rim Worlder to take the oath, often by means of starving rebellious groups such as the miners of Lackhove into submission.
As I see it, you have two choices: you can join the Star League, or you can join the Star League. Either way you’ll join. Whether you join as a full partner, sharing in the benefits of the League’s wealth, or as beaten and bloody slaves forever in chains, is a decision totally your own.
-Duke Gregory Webbson, Star League emissary to the Taurian Concordat, 2575
The economic sanctions aimed at the Periphery created as much economic disruption in the Inner Sphere as among the outworlds. In the Lyran Commonwealth and the Free Worlds League, some major corporations were in danger of collapse because of their dependence on unrestricted trade with the Periphery. One of these was Far Star Traders, a huge shipping firm based on the Lyran world of New India. Far Star lost so much money during the first nine months of the sanctions that it went bankrupt. That cost the Commonwealth over a million jobs and plunged the entire Alarion Province into an economic tailspin.
When other realms also began to feel the effects of the sanctions, rumblings of discontent broke out among some of the common citizens. At the same time, others sympathized with the plight of the Periphery, and admired the independent spirit of its people. These citizens objected to the economic sanctions and began to campaign actively for a saner and more forgiving attitude toward the stubborn outworlders.
In December 2574, Ian Cameron summoned the Council Lords to an emergency meeting on Pollux, a Hegemony world. The debate over what the Star League’s next action should be lasted a whole month. Lords Hehiro Kurita and Alexander Davion were in favor of war and argued that the League should send an ultimatum to the Periphery governments. Davion knew that gearing up for war would stimulate his state’s ailing economy as well as help reconcile his people to membership in the League. The Kuritans, militant to the core, welcomed war as a means of proving their superiority as warriors.
The Steiner Archon was also in favor, believing that war would deflect the Lyrans’ attention away from other, more domestic, problems. Marion Marik, on the other hand, was worried that the Free Worlds would suffer a grave economic and social crisis if trade with the Periphery were no longer possible. Chancellor Ursula Liao was likewise more concerned with trying to solidify her position as ruler.
As for Ian Cameron, he did not need much coaxing. He had not worked for more than 20 years to see a “handful of savaged and rabble-rousers” frustrate his vision of mankind unified under one flag. Indeed, he believed war with the Periphery would strengthen the bonds already forged with the other Great Houses of the Inner Sphere as well as give their surplus military plenty to do. Everyone believed that the Star League’s superior military would subdue the Periphery in five years, at most. Cameron was certain that the benefits of Star League membership would erase any last traces of resistance.
With the majority of the High Council in favor of war, First Lord Cameron issued the Pollux Proclamation. Delivered to the Periphery governments on January 2, 2575, this strongly worded document stopped just short of a formal declaration of war. The Lords of the Star League gave the Periphery governments three months to respond.
The Independent States of the Periphery, as they had begun to call themselves, did not need that much time. On March 1, 2575, they presented the First Lord with their scathing reply. The Star League might be the mightiest foe any Human government had ever faced, but the stubborn outworlders did not shrink from the task. Autonomy was more important to them than any Star League high-tech gadgetry or military “protection.” They would fight before they would give in.
Immediately after the Proclamation was issued, First Lord Cameron ordered the Bureau of Star League Affairs to create a huge media campaign to whip up support for the inevitable war. This obvious propaganda action created considerable controversy along BSLA Staffers. Many believed it was against the high moral purpose of the Star League to threaten war, and that it was doubly shameful to coerce the people with lies. The divisions within the BSLA became so bitter that the First Lord publicly stripped the Bureau’s leader, Duke Mitchell DeGrason, of his position and his titles for actions “unbecoming a member of the Star League.” This action was all the more shocking because the Duke was an old friend of Lord Ian and had been best man at Ian and Shandra’s wedding.
TEXT OF THE POLLUX PROCLAMATION, 2572
My Lords and Ladies:
We stand poised on the verge of a great era, a time of realized potential, of peace, security, and freedom for every man and woman. We have taken strides toward these goals that are unprecedented in Human history by setting aside our regional, parochial differences and forging a union vaster and stronger than any previously devised.
In the course of this mighty achievement, we have struck down many barriers to harmony and understanding. One barrier that remains is the isolationism of certain areas that refuse to join in with this union, and thereby jeopardize everything for which it stands.
There is no good reason for the intransigence of people who will not recognize the greater good of laying down their independence for the sake of joining our League. There is no good reason for people to insist on resisting the superior wisdom of those who have come before them into the fold, now is there reason for them to continue to seek their own lonely course far from the centers of culture and civilization.
This course of action is temporary. This course of action is provincial.
Furthermore, in consideration of the common goals we share, we must set aside our differences and pool our resources for the common good, once and for all.
The Star League stands for a unified Humanity. As First Lord of the Star League, it is my solemn responsibility to protect the welfare of that Humanity wherever it may be found, be it on Sian or Santiago, New Vandenberg or New Avalon, Andurien or Apollo, Castor or Canopus. Though me, the Star League assumes the awesome task of safeguarding the welfare of Humanity. It is a responsibility from which the League will never shrink, a responsibility it shall never lay down. The dark days of barbarism are over-we will not let them return again.
The only way to ensure equal protection for all, the only way to safeguard the liberties of each individual, is for every Human being to accept the benefits we offer, freely and openly. So long as a solitary individual of the most distant planet in the Periphery remains uneducated, impoverished, or disadvantaged, all are equally stricken.
This situation is not now, nor shall it ever be, acceptable. We intend to see that the majority is not denied the benefits of culture and progress at the hands of a minority of radicak isolationists. We intend to extend our benevolent protection into every corner of Human-occupied space, whatever the cost, until every man, woman, and child prospers and flourishes. Let no one stand in the way of Human progress. The time for reunification has come, but some have made the grievous error of failing to heed the call. Instead, as if they chant, jeer, and jump about claming independence, as if they were somehow beyond the grasp of their mother world. It is truly sad, but it seems that the cost of a united Humanity will be paid in blood.
To the poor people of the Periphery who live under the thumb of isolationists, my message is as follows: Take heart! The true light of Humanity will soon come your way and rip away the darkness that has shackled your lives for so long.
To the isolationist governments of the Periphery, my message is as follows: As you have shown by your uncivilized refusal to negotiate in good faith for better relations between us, I no longer restrain those of us who believe punishment is in order.
The purpose of the Star League is peace. The ideal of the Star League is peace. The Star League is eternally committed to the principles of peace. If the recalcitrant leaders of the Periphery force our hand and require us to go to war, the war will be total. No prisoners will be taken. No holds will be barred. If the Star League is forced to fight for peace, it will be a fight to the death.
The Reunification War was in reality four separate campaigns fought against the Taurian Concordat, the Magistracy of Canopus, the Outworlds Alliance, and the Rim Worlds Republic. Though the governments of the Inner Sphere tended to lump together these distant governments, the Periphery is, of course, not a place with astrographical boundaries but merely the name for the vast space surrounding the borders of the Inner Sphere.
Compared to the might of the Star League, or even to any of the Great Houses that formed it, the Periphery governments seemed like relatively easy pickings. Yet, the armies of these realms put up such a fierce struggle to retain their autonomy that it took the SLDF more than 20 years to subdue them.
Most histories date the start of the Reunification War with the Pollux Proclamation of 255 and date the end with the establishment of the Territorial States in 2597. The first campaign, against the Taurians, began in 2575, though war was not officially declared until 2578.
By 2575, the Star League Defense Force was finally coalescing from a collection of uneasy allies into a unified fighting force. Cohesion and leadership were improving and the efforts of almost constant war games had sharpened the army and navy’s fighting abilities. To build up the SLDF to a force capable of conquering four distant Periphery realms, First Lord Cameron issued Directive 22 in late February. This edict commanded each member-state to contribute troops from their House armies to the SLDF. This force would be known as the Star League Expeditionary Force.
The command structure of the SLDF consisted of a Military Operations Command, headed by General Shandra Cameron, and four Regional Operations Commands (ROCs), each led by the General responsible for seizing one of the Periphery states. Within the ROCs were various Task Group Commands in charge of the groupings of ground and naval forces being assembled for use against Periphery forces.
The SLDF had 270 regiments and over 500 capital warships. Three regiments formed a brigade. Three brigades formed a division. Three divisions plus auxiliary and support units formed a corps.
Thanks to the United Triumph Military Exercises of three years before, there existed a network of military bases on worlds near the Periphery borders. In anticipation of war, Cameron had ordered that the bases be maintained and secretly expanded.
The countless military transports slowly making their way to the borders of the Star League created enormous disruptions in normal activities. The SLDF virtually took over worlds along key trade routes for months, even years, at a time, as military transports convoyed in from the interior. Warships of every conceivable design crowded around jump points, their sails fluttering idly in the solar wind. On the besieged worlds, military transports ferrying supplies occupied every available spot in the spaceports.
While these convoys were taking their places, along the way appropriating everything they needed, the Commander of the SLDF, the commanders of the four Regional Commands, and the First Lord were planning their strategy. Star League forces would drive straight toward the industrial heart and political center of each Periphery state. The supplemental forces supplied by League member-states would seal off the invasion route and cut off enemy attempts to mount their own offensive. These troops would also serve as a strategic reserve if the invasion force needed help.
The attacks against the four Periphery governments would not occur simultaneously, however. The SLDF strategists hoped that a successful, quick and dirty campaign against just one Periphery realm would persuade the others to surrender peacefully to the Star League. Possibly because of Alexander Davion’s dislike of the Taurians, the Star League High Command selected the Taurian Concordat as the target of their first offensive.
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
At the request of the Independent States of the Periphery, I formally reply to your demand that we submit to the Star League or else suffer the consequences. My reply is simply this: Rest up, conserve your strength, and kiss your children goodbye because we have no intention of surrendering our sovereignty to a pack of politicians who think they are important because they huddle around Terra. Real men and women live free and independent of any feeble ideas about “the birthplace of Humanity” and other high-sounding drivel.
Real men and women do not need Terra, and if necessary, we are willing to give our lives to prove it.
-Grendel Roberts, Ambassador from the Independent States of the Periphery, to Lord Ian Cameron, March 1, 2575
THE TAURIAN CAMPAIGN
Between March 2575 and December 2576, the Star League ordered the deployment of the First, Third, Fourth, and Sixth Corps to the Concordat border. Meanwhile, a large Federated Suns auxiliary corps was placed along the Concordat border between the planets As Samik and Naka Pabni. They expected the campaign to last no more than six months.
As for the Taurians, Protector Mitchell Calderon had begun to mobilize his military for war the day after receiving the Pollux Proclamation. At the same time, the Concordat’s industries geared up to produce arms and material. Of all the Periphery governments, the Taurians were the best-prepared militarily. This, along with the ferocious patriotism of the Concordat troops, turned the Star League’s hopes for a “quick and dirty” military success into a fierce campaign that lasted many years.
The Taurians knew that they would be vastly outnumbered once the full might of the SLDF offensive task force was assembled against them. Until then, however, the Star League forces and the number of Dropships and Jumpships in the region were a mere fraction of their projected strength.
The advisors of Mitchell Calderon, ruler of the Taurian Concordat, counseled the launching of a preemptive offensive against the Davion auxiliary force before the four Star League Corps arrived in force. This offensive did not have any territorial objective. Rather, its aim was to destroy as many enemy vessels as possible, particularly troopships. In this way, the Taurians hoped to stall the League’s offensive long enough for the Concordat to integrate reinforcements currently being trained in the Hyades Cluster.
The plan, code-named “Case Amber,” was adopted in fall 2576. Under cover of tensions already existing between the Concordat and the Federated Suns, Mitchell Calderon’s navy managed to sucker three-quarters of the Davion navy into launching an ill-advised naval offensive in 2577. Once the Davion warships were far from their own border, the Taurians used another fleet of warships to cut them off. Desperately attempting to flee to the safety of the Federated Suns, the Davion fleet ran into a much larger fleet of Concordat vessels lying in wait in the Tentativa system. When the battle was over, more than 20 Davion warships were destroyed or captured while the Taurians lost only three vessels. It was a stunning victory.
I don’t remember climbing into the survival capsule. One moment I was sitting there, strapped into my gunner’s couch, my fingers on the triggers. A second later, I was watching my ship, the FSS Sword’s Point, slowly recede as the capsule’s small rockets pushed me clear. The difference between those two moments was marked by a bleeding gash on my arm and the smell of my burned suit filling the cockpit of the capsule.
I was alone in a capsule that was rated to hold 20. No other lifeboats from our ship seemed to be about, nor could I locate any with the capsule’s equipment. By looking out the porthole, I maneuvered the capsule to where I could watch the Sword’s Point. Perhaps it would have been better otherwise because I ended up seeing her last moments.
I looked at her hull. Just a month ago she had been gleaming with a fresh coat of Davion red. Now she was ugly with laser rakes, missile craters, and cannon rips. Atmosphere bled from her in countless places where the Taurians’ shots had compromised the hull’s integrity. From a few of the larger holes, I could see a speck being sucked out into the vacuum; it would wriggle for a few moments, then grow still.
Suddenly one of her engines gave out. It wasn’t an explosion, but an implosion. My guess is that a Taurian laser caught the engine in its reaction chamber, collapsing it and forcing its reaction mass into the main engineering room of the ship. The whole rear third of the ship began to crumble like a piece of tin foil. The force of the collapse tore open a seam in the hull, expelling a huge plume of gas. It glowed blue, a sure sign of radioactivity.
From somewhere above and behind me, a salvo of missiles raced toward the FSS Sword’s Point. Most caught her amidships, breaking her spine. What was left of the ship’s atmosphere whooshed out. Debris began to spin about in all directions, some of it entering orbit around one of Tentiva’s planets, some drifting out of the system and into the wasteland of interstellar space.
I passed under one of the Taurian battlecruisers. For a moment, I considered ramming her with the capsule, but thought better of it. One little life boat couldn’t do much more than scuff the armor on a turret. Better to live than waste my life making a few scratches on a warship. As I floated past, I saw barely a scratch on the battle cruiser. Its turrets whipped back and forth like Krester Snakes, spitting missiles or lasers at our ships.
Out of the corner of my eye, I sensed a flash. Turning the capsule to face it, I saw the Eagle’s Eye, its bridge section trailing debris and atmosphere as the ship tried to ram a Taurian vessel. It missed, and the Taurians showed her no mercy, pouring shot after shot into her. As the Eagle’s Eye drifted clear, it went completely dark; its power converters had been hit. Unless they could be reconnected in an hour, the crew would die as all heat drained from the ship. I watched it and counted the minutes. The lights never came back on.
I was eventually picked up by a Taurian cruiser. Twenty years later, most of them spent in a Taurian hard labor camp, I was finally exchanged back to the Federated Suns. I’m an old man whose memory has been failing recently. I forget the good things and remember the bad. And when I remember floating in that survival capsule, it’s as though it had all happened just yesterday.
-From Recollections of the Reunification War, edited by Baroness Betheol Dryson, Star League Military Press, 2809
ORGANIZING THE MILITARY
First Lord Cameron appointed his wife, General Shandra Noruff-Cameron, as Chief of Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the yet-unformed Star League Defense Forces. To accomplish the daunting task of creating a single military from the soldiers of six separate armies, Shandra divided the SLDF into six separate Military Regions, each corresponding to the borders of a member-state. Each region had its own military contingent that would include very few troops from that state. This precaution was intended to prevent an insurrection if the Star League should be forced to act against that state. General Cameron was also not to place too many soldiers from a state’s rival into its SLDF contingent.
At the core of each region’s force were group divisions from the Hegemony Armed Forces. Known as “Royal” divisions, these units formed the backbone of each region’s force. Royal regiments and battalions were also scattered throughout other divisions of mixed soldiers to enforce the proper execution of orders.
Personality conflicts among the new SLDF officer corps were at first an immediate problem. Enlisted men might settle their differences with fistfights that easily ended up with the combatants buying one another drinks. Officers hid their rivalries under a civilized veneer. They could usually find more devious and destructive ways to express their competitiveness.
Because of these interstate and interservice rivalries, the First Lord and the Commander-in-Chief decided to make a high priority of recruiting and training officers specifically whose first loyalty would be to the Star League Defense Forces. The First Lord also won the right to recruit common citizens for SLDF military service. Though this would ultimately create serious tensions, it would also produce some of the Star League’s greatest military heroes.
ATTITUDE TOWARD THE PERIPHERY
The Periphery? It’s like one big booby hatch. You don’t lock up that crazy guy walking around your city screaming about God at the top of his lungs or exposing himself to school girls. You just give him a ticket to the Periphery.
-Duke Mitchell Frenser of Caph, quoted in The Periphery Mistake: An Exercise in Misconceptions, by Duchess Bethella Ganis, Terran Press, 2811
In Ian Cameron’s dream of Humanity united under one government, he had always envisioned the Taurian Concordat, the Magistracy of Canopus, the Rim Worlds Republic, and the Outworlds Alliance, the four major Confederations of the Periphery, as part of the Star League. Yet the fiercely independent governments and people of the Periphery did not share that dream. Those distant worlds had originally been settled by people disenchanted either with life on the Terran homeworld or in what became the five other states of the Inner Sphere. Why would they seek to realign themselves with Terra or her offspring now?
As for the leaders of the Inner Sphere, they were even more suspicious and hostile toward the Periphery than they had always been toward one another. That did not prevent the Lyrans, the Capellans, and the Mariks from trading with Periphery governments when it was to their advantage. Truth be told, however, most people of the Inner Sphere looked down with ill-concealed contempt on their Periphery counterparts, misperceiving them as scoundrels, ne’er-do-wells, radicals, or savages.
The Cameron family had its own private hatred of the Periphery because of an incident that occurred in 2499. In that year, one Lieutenant John Cameron was a second officer aboard the Orion, an unarmed survey vessel exploring a star system beyond the Lyran Commonwealth. In the Orion’s last message, the ship reported being attacked by an unidentified vessel. When an Hegemony searching party eventually located the survey vessel, it was an empty hulk with not a trace of crew. Though no conclusive proof ever turned up, some evidence indicated that a Rim Worlds Republic warship had attacked the Orion. The Camerons vowed that one day they would make those Periphery bandits pay dearly for the death of John Cameron.
PRELUDE TO WAR
We’ve given a million men and women the knowledge to kill in new and exciting ways, then taken away their weapons and told that they can’t practice what they’ve learned.
-From a letter by General Shandra Cameron to Lord Ian Cameron, October 2569
It is ironic that the Star League, whose stated purpose was peace and good will among the stars, should have made war its first major undertaking. Known as the Reunification War, this conflict would claim more lives in 20 years of brutal fighting than had the Age of War, which lasted a century and a half. The purpose of the Reunification War was to bring the major governments of the Periphery into the Star League by force of arms.
Within weeks after the signing of the Star League Accords, Ian Cameron sent copies of the Accords to each of the major Periphery states, all of whom rejected the offer within the year. In public, the First Lord and his Council Lords expressed regret over this refusal, but the Periphery leaders had played right into their hands. Like nearly every powerful government that came before or after it, the Star League suffered from the imperialist urge to dominate. If they were no longer going to be warring with each other, then they would go to war with the Periphery.
Ian Cameron began to refer to the Periphery as the “lost worlds,” while instructing the Star League propaganda machine to produce a variety of materials portraying the outworlders as everything from prodigal sons and daughters to the most murderous Neanderthals. Cameron also kept Star League diplomats busy making such proposals to the Periphery leaders as a galactic summit on Terra in 2572 (which every Periphery government except the Rim Worlds refused to attend) or a “favored-nation” trade package with the Taurian Concordat in 2573. The latter was particularly specious, for the Taurians’ local products were superior to the exports the Star League was offering.
There was another, more pressing reason for a war against the proud and independent Periphery governments. Now that real cooperation existed between the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere, every government would have to significantly reduce its standing army. Even with the troops being contributed to the Star League Defense Forces, this would still leave hundreds of thousands of battle-hardened veterans without work-and without any other marketable skills.
The creation of the Star League Defense Forces took the best soldiers from each member-state, while the cream of the remainder quickly rose in the ranks of the individual state militaries. Yet even as the largest military force in mankind’s history was being created, the new era of peace sent many trained soldiers back into civilian life. Many soldiers suddenly faced the unpleasant prospect of having to beat their sword into plowshares. Most had joined the military as young men and women. It was all they knew, all they were trained to do. Now they were suddenly expected to return to civilian life.
Many veterans found work as bodyguards for local nobles, and others banded into fighting units that hired out to nobles and governments to combat roving brigands. Some veterans, however, felt so lost that it was they who became the brigands preying upon their former masters. One of the gravest questions dominating High Council meetings of this period was what to do about the millions of unemployed soldiers roaming the Star League.
UNITED TRIUMPH MILITARY EXERCISES
In late 2571, a band of brigands, composed mainly of veterans from the Capellan military, attacked and razed a group of islands on the Capellan world of Milos. When the Capellans responded by sending in a ‘Mech regiment, the soldiers recognized the brigands as former comrades and refused to attack. In response, the Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation asked the Star League for assistance from the Twenty-Second Royal BattleMech Regiment. Just as the Twenty-Second was overrunning the brigands on Milos, the Capellan regiment went to the rescue of their former comrades by counterattacking the Star League unit. The Twenty-Second managed to retreat without suffering too much damage, but news of this turnabout persuaded the Council Lords that something had to be done immediately.
Transcripts from the High Council Spring Session of 2572 indicate that every Council Lord except Archon Viola Steiner voted in favor of the resolution they placed before First Lord Cameron. If the wandering veterans could not be controlled, the Council Lords said, then each Great House would have to return its military to a war-time footing, a move that would threaten the SLDF’s numerical superiority and destabilize the fragile League.
After consulting with his advisors and Commander-in-Chief Shandra, Ian Cameron responded by ordering the staging of a massive series of military exercises between the SLDF and the state militaries. These exercises would create work for unemployed soldiers, whom the League would hire as ersatz regiments to hold certain unimportant worlds while the real regiments were out participating in the exercises.
In fall 2572, the First Lord announced his plan for the United Triumph Military Exercises. Thirteen SLDF divisions and ten equivalent House units participated in the largest military exercises ever staged. Over 50 barren and lightly populated worlds became the game board where the exercises were played out. Most of these worlds were near the Periphery state borders.
Militarily, the exercises proved embarrassing for the Star League. Though technically and logistically superior to all other armies, the divisions of the new SLDF were still uncoordinated and unsure of themselves. They suffered many clumsy defeats and some outright disasters. One of these was the collision of the SLS Rickover, a Congress Class frigate, and the SLS Davion’s Heart, a Davion Class destroyer on loan to the League, over the Marik world of Vakarel.
The exercises were also embarrassing politically. The leaders of the Periphery realms took special comfort in seeing the much-vaunted SLDF bested by ordinary House units. Gaining confidence that they could continue to resist Lord Cameron’s demand that they join the League, some Periphery leaders began to openly scorn the Star League and its apparently inept military. Among the people, ribald songs and lurid caricatures of Lord Ian as a doddering old man began to appear in the Outworlds Alliance and the Magistracy of Canopus.
The only good salvaged from the United Triumph exercises was passage of the Border Guards Agreement of 2572, which allowed the SLDF to establish military bases throughout the Inner Sphere, particularly in Periphery border areas. These bases would soon become vital.
SPARKS OF SANTIAGO
A great flame follows a little spark.
-From “Paradiso,” The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighierei
In 2572, First Lord Cameron learned of the presence of a regiment’s worth of BattleMechs in the Outworlds Alliance. He had no idea from whom the Alliance had purchased the ‘Mechs, but believed that they were going to use them as models for manufacture. In response, Cameron issued Directive 21, which informed key worlds in the Outworlds Alliance that they must accept SLDF units for their “mutual defense and protection against the numerous bands of outlaws and pirates that have infiltrated the region.” SLDF troops and units from the Draconis Combine were immediately deployed into the Outworlds Alliance.
Though the Star League Regulars had explicit orders to concentrate on searching for the location of the Alliance ‘Mechs, the Combine units were under no such orders. The Seventeenth Galedon Regulars, a typical Combine BattleMech regiment, was assigned to search Santiago City, a major metropolis and communications center of the Outworlds Alliance. With typical Draconian arrogance, the Galedon Regulars destroyed buildings, ruined businesses, and earned the animosity of every citizen in their search for the elusive Alliance ‘Mechs.
Santiago civilians jeered and threw things at the Combine ‘Mechs as they lumbered past. The children of Santiago, known locally as “sparks,” particularly enjoyed this sport. They thought the worst thing that could happen was that a ‘Mech would swivel its head to look at them while making deafening, unintelligible noises over its loudspeakers.
On December 14, 2572, this “sport” became deadly. While a lance of Galedon Regulars proceeded through a poor neighborhood, the local children taunted and jeered, ran between the ‘Mechs’ legs, and pelted the soldiers with a barrage of snowballs, stones, and other objects. Finally, one young warrior cracked open the cockpit of her Locust and tossed a can of coolant at a child running alongside her ‘Mech. It is entirely possible that the warrior was only trying to keep the youngster from running between the legs of her ‘Mech, but the can missed the fleeing child and struck the concrete before him. The can split open, exploding coolant all over the boy.
An enraged crowd gathered around the screaming child and the MechWarrior, whose lance had moved on. While trying to escape, her Locust’s legs tangled in the rusted-out shell of an abandoned vehicle and the ‘Mech toppled over, crushing several people. The crowd attacked the fallen ‘Mech with steel piped, wooden boards, and anything else they could find. Completely panic-stricken, the young Combine warrior began to blindly fire her ‘Mech’s weapons. Twenty-seven Santiagans were killed and another 30 were wounded that day.
Repercussions of the Santiago Massacre were widespread. Anti-Star League demonstrations broke out in all the Periphery states. In 2573, the crisis grew even deeper after the Combine MechWarrior’s court-marshal took place on Terra instead of in a Santiago court. The people of the Periphery and their leaders were thoroughly convinced that the Star League was a treacherous as it was deceitful.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: There have been many versions in the telling of this incident. This account meshes several previous reports and includes new research.]
As a direct result of the Santiago Massacre, the ruler of the Magistracy of Canopus broke off negotiations over a border dispute with the Star League. In the Taurian Concordat, Protector Mitchell Calderon ordered military emergency measures to rapidly strengthen the Concordat’s defenses. It was also in this period that all the Periphery governments but the Rim Worlds refused the Star League’s call for a galactic summit and the Taurians flatly refused “favored-nation” trade with the League.
Though many BSLA diplomats counseled letting the furor subside, the Council Lords retaliated. In 2574, they passed a series of harsh trade restrictions and taxes intended to bring the Periphery to its knees. Though the new taxes brought about hard economic times-even the threat of starvation-for the people of those distant realms, their spirit of independence seemed to grow even stronger. War was inevitable and everyone knew it.
This is the Grex-Dex Mining Station on Fontana in the Malagrotta system. We will soon be under attack by five Taurian Concordat naval vessels. Mitchell Hensley, our foreman and a Navy veteran, tells me that the ships are a Winchester Class cruiser, two Wagon Wheel frigates, and one Pinto corvette, all armed and headed this way. For the love of God, help us. We’re lyal to the Federated Suns and have no wish to end up as slaves to a bunch of gun-happy hooligans.
-Dispatch from a Davion mining colony on Fontana to the government of the Federated Suns, February 19, 2573
In 2499, huge deposits of titanium were discovered just beneath the sulphur-encrusted surface of the airless moon known as Fontana, which orbited the gas giant DeeCee in the Malagrotta star system. The discoverer of that moon, Grex-Dex Mining, had offices in the Federated Suns and in the Taurian Concordat. Upon learning of the discovery, both realms claimed the Malagrotta system, which lay in the unclaimed area of space between the two realms. Each side also dispatched military units to reinforce its claim.
In one of the few instances of cooperation between an Inner Sphere realm and a Periphery domain, the two sides reached a diplomatic solution. In 2511, they negotiated the Omsol Accord, which decreed that Fontana was so rich in titanium that there was plenty for both. They formally agreed to operate Fontana as a joint venture. The most important provision of the treaty was the promise that neither state would establish a military presence in the system.
In February 2573, the Omsol Accord was inadvertently broken. Five Taurian naval vessels, on manuevers with a larger fleet in the nearby Drexa star system, strayed into the Malagrotta system because of navigational and communication failures. Unaware of their incredible blunder and unable to communicate, the five vessels calmly made their way to Fontana, hoping to repair their equipment and then leave. They were completely unaware that the panicked Davion miners on the planet had issued several distress calls to the Federated Suns.
The Federated Suns dispatched ten vessels from its nearby naval base to look into this “cowardly Taurian sneak attack.” Arriving at Malagrotta, they discovered the Taurian vessels floating above Fontana. The Davion commander immediately ordered his vessels to open fire on the Taurians. The battle lasted three hours and ended with all but one Taurian vessel captured or destroyed. Only the Taurian cruiser, severely damaged, managed to limp to the jump point and escape home.
When the truth came out later, the Malagrotta crisis might have blossomed into an interstellar incident. Instead, the Davion military covered up this officer’s mistake while continuing to complain loudly about the Concordat’s act of war in the Fontana system. The Armed Forces of the Federated Suns geared up for war. Troops were placed on full alert along the Davion/Concordat border and warships were moved in from the realm’s interior in preparation for action. The Concordat, realizing that it was too late to let truth speak for itself, placed its own sizeable military on alert.
When Lord Alexander Davion finally learned the facts about the Malagrotta crisis, he appealed to the First Lord to mediate the dispute, though he did not reveal his officer’s stupid mistake. The Taurian Concordat flatly refused to deal with the First Lord, however. They claimed that their grievance involved only the Federated Suns and that the Star League had no business meddling in their affairs. Enraged by the Taurians’ refusal, Cameron is reported to have said, “We have been compassionate and prudent long enough. I’ll be damned if I’m going to pull any more punches.”
Publicly, he announced that the Federated Suns had acted justifiably in response to unwarranted military attacks on civilian settlements. In notes regarding his decision, Lord Ian was apparently in favor of the Federated Suns occupying the Malagrotta system if the Concordat refused to pay reparations, but Archon Viola talked him out of it. The other Council Lords were split on the Malagrotta affair. The only thing all six could agree on was that something would have to be done about the Periphery.
A secret is like keeping your virtue. You either feel smugly pious keeping it or deliciously wicked losing it with a friend.
-Grethella Dallas, infamous madam of “The Jade Gates,” high-class brothels and escort services on Terra, ca. 2560
Though Ian Cameron wished to keep the Treaty of Geneva a secret so that it would not complicate negotiations with other Houses, the enormity of the accomplishment was too much for even Lord Ian’s most trusted staff. Only a month after the signing, the entire Hegemony was abuzz with rumors of Lord Ian’s Star League and what it would mean for Humanity. The vast majority of people were in favor. Anything that might prevent violence like that of the past century was worth trying. Though the Hegemony had not suffered as heavily as other states, her people certainly understood the tragic cost of war.
Yet, even as the rumors flew, some people questioned how the Star League could be effective unless all the interstellar governments joined. Was Lord Ian, in his effort to avoid war, leading the Hegemony directly into one?
It was not too long before rumors of the Treaty of Geneva had spread beyond the Hegemony’s borders into the other states of the Inner Sphere. In the Capellan Confederation and the Free Worlds League, corporations had begun to draw up plans to buy into Terran companies and ordinary citizens began to anticipate buying Hegemony products. Everyone looked forward to a boost in their standard of living. Even the troops, who would no longer be at war, were excited at the prospect of handling Hegemony weapons, which were legendary among the Inner Sphere.
When the other Houses of the Inner Sphere heard of the Treaty of Geneva, however, shivers of political panic shot through them. Three united realms, led by the technically superior Terran Hegemony, would be an almost unstoppable force. Cameron knew he could use these fears to his advantage, and so he and Albert Marik began to put on more pressure, most of it through clandestine activities. These included bribery and infiltration to influence the Steiner government, and interference in the affairs of the Federated Suns to precipitate that realm’s economic crisis of 2566.
Of the three remaining Inner Sphere realms, the Lyran Commonwealth was by far the most important to the nascent Star League. The realm was ruled by House Steiner, which had managed to build the realm into an economic force second only to the Terran Hegemony. Though its military was only barely adequate, Cameron did not underestimate the Lyrans.
The Commonwealth was so crucial to Lord Ian’s plans that he had been attempting since 2551 to win that state’s participation in the League. Leader of the Commonwealth at that time was Archon Craig Steiner, a wise and shrewd man then riding the crest of his popularity. Through careful manipulation of Lyran laws, he had managed to stimulate a boom in the Commonwealth’s economy. This had attracted many eager Hegemony investors across the border to pour billions into Commonwealth corporations. Many firms even opened factories within House Steiner.
The Lyran Commonwealth and the Terran Hegemony had a history of good relations. The Federation of Skye, the industrial heart of the Commonwealth, had been settled by men and women who shared the Camerons’ Scots ancestry. This cultural tie was further strengthened when Lord Brian Cameron married Lady Katherine McQuiston, a member of the Federation of Skye’s founding family. Craig Steiner held out against Ian Cameron’s persuasive arguments for joining the Star League because he feared the Lyran economy would become absorbed by the Star League. After Craig stepped down in favor of Tracial Steiner in 2555, the new Archon decided it was in the Commonwealth’s interest to join the League.
When Cameron and Tracial Steiner finally agreed to terms, the Archon knew that the Lyran military would benefit from participation in the new Star League Defense Forces. It would shore up her forces, which were well-equipped but lacking in proper leadership. Even more important, two new Star League military academies would be built in the Commonwealth, one on Tharkad and one on Skye. This would give the Lyrans legal access to the SLDF and at least some graduates would go on to strengthen the LCAF. Cameron and Steiner also negotiated a number of important military hardware contracts. Archon Tracial Steiner and Lord Ian Cameron signed the Tharkad Accords in 2558, officially marking the Lyran Commonwealth’s intention of joining the Star League.
Lord Ian could now turn his full attention to the last two holdouts of the Inner Sphere, the Federated Suns and the Draconis Combine. The leaders of these realms each had his own reasons to resist becoming a member of the Star League. Hehiro Kurita saw the benefits of membership, but he would need a powerful rationale to convince the Combine nobility to foreswear the goal of Kurita supremacy in favor of a higher good. As for Alexander Davion, his state had only recently emerged from a civil war that had almost torn the Federated Suns apart. By mid-2550, the Davion government was deeply involved in efforts to reconstruct the ravages of war. Alexander had every intention of one day joining the League, but not until the Federation Suns was well on the way to recover. He wanted the Federated Suns to join the Star League from a position of strength rather than weakness.
By 2567, Alexander was ready to accept Ian Cameron’s latest offer, which guaranteed that the Star League would carry out preemptive strikes against Combine targets in the event of a Davion-Kurita war. He knew that his realm’s economy needed a boost, for it was still suffering from the effects of war and many years of secret tampering by Albert Marik’s agents. The New Avalon Accords, signed October 27, 2567, formally declared the Federated Suns membership in the Star League.
Two years later, Ian Cameron made the same promise of military assistance to Hehiro Kurita, which gave the Draconis Coordinator an argument in favor of joining the Star League. The Treaty of Vega, setting forth the terms of the Draconis Combine’s membership in the Star League, was signed August 15, 2569. At long last, the Star League was born.
Over the next two years, the six leaders of the Inner Sphere met in a series of conferences in Geneva to hammer out exactly how the Star League would operate. By summer 2571, they had drafted a 2,000-page document known as the Star League Accords.
In an unprecedented moment of history, the six rulers of the Inner Sphere appeared on the floor of the Hegemony Congress on July 9, 2571. Each solemnly read the Preamble of the Star League Accords to the large audience gathered to witness the historic event. Each leader signed his or her name to the document, then stepped aside, handing the quill pen to the next. Coordinator Hehiro Kurita of the Draconis Combine signed first, then Prince Alexander Davion of the Federated Suns, then Archon Viola Steiner-Dinesen. She was followed by Chancellor Ursula Liao of the Capellan Confederation and Captain-General Albert Marik of the Free Worlds League.
Last to sign was Ian Cameron, deeply moved by the realization of his dream. First he shook hands with each leader, thanking him or her for leading their realms away from war and toward peace. After reciting the Star League Preamble from memory in a loud, clear voice, he, too, signed the document with a flourish. According to legend, a tear fell from Cameron’s eye at that moment, accounting for the small stain just below his large, bold signature.
PREAMBLE TO STAR LEAGUE ACCORDS
We, the Lords representative of the six Inner Realms of the Human Sphere, in the name of Peace, free Commerce, and our people, do hereby enter the Covenant to be henceforth be known as the Star League.
We do so in recognition of the greatness of each member State, and of the qualities that made it great.
We do so willingly, in recognition that it is in the best interests of our Realms, our Lands, our Resources, and our people.
We do so with hearts open to Friendship with one another’s Realms, and look forward to an epoch of Prosperity and Security.
After one and one-half centuries of warfare, we are ready to set aside the quarrels that have devastated our Realms. No longer shall we be benighted by the evils that have torn our worlds asunder, nor shall we waste our Energy, Strength, Resources, or the lives of our people in warfare and brutal conflict.
Instead, we greet a new Beginning, an Opportunity unprecedented in the Human Sphere, an Opportunity for every Realm to realize its full Potential, for every Government to work together in Harmony and Understanding, for every man, woman, and child to be safe, secure, and prosperous.
We pledge unto each other our Lives, our good Faith, and our Sacred Honor.
Astrography and Astropolitics
While the shape of an interstellar realm is not as crucial as the shape of a continent is to its citizens, it does have a bearing on what its government can and cannot do. For example, a sphere-shaped realm can be far more aggressive in its interstellar relations than a realm with an equal number of stars that is drawn out into a long, amorphous shape. You can’t be as aggressive when your star systems are hanging out like ripe fruit on a low tree.
-Lord Ian Cameron
Geography and Geopolitics
Anyone who says that geography doesn’t have a place in interstellar relations should be sent to work in the diamond mines on Fellanin II. There, they have to tunnel 50 kilometers beneath the surface and risk inhuman conditions to extract a few small diamonds desperately needed for the planet’s armor industry. Yet, twelve light years away, on Sadalbari, a world of the Draconis Combine, gardeners can’t sink a spade into the ground without uncovering diamonds as big as their thumbs.
-Lady Deborah Cameron.
I disagree violently with those economists who insist that people should be considered as just one of many different raw materials in a realm. That makes the average citizen no better than a pile of iron ore. People are both the cause and the solution to any economic problem.
-Lord Ian Cameron
Interstellarism is thinking of Humanity made up of people first and interstellar political realms second. Once you begin to think that way, the differences between realms disappear and the universe becomes a web of interconnected economic and social ties. We must never forget that no matter where they were born, all people have common, basic needs.
-Lord Ian Cameron
-Collected from various sources, ComStar Archives, Terra
LORD IAN AND LADY SHANDRA
When tracing Star League roots, historians pay considerable attention to Lord Ian Cameron, Lady Deborah Cameron, and Lord Michael Cameron. No one has yet studied the contribution of Lady Shandra Noruff, who became Ian’s wife. She was instrumental in the creation of the Star League, and many of her actions would be crucial to its survival.
In 2533, Shandra Noruff, Baroness of Neuble Downs, New Earth, was officially betrothed to young Ian Cameron by her father, the Duke of New Earth, and Ian’s mother, Lady Deborah, Director-General of the Hegemony. This arranged marriage was unprecedented in the Hegemony, whose people prided themselves in honoring individual choice of marriage partners among its upper classes. In the other states of the Inner Sphere, arranged marriages for political purposes were common.
The public greeted the news of Lord Ian and Baroness Shandra’s betrothal with disapproval. Indeed, the most violent opposition came from the betrothed themselves. Lord Ian, only 19, had just entered the HAF and was showing every sign of becoming an excellent officer. Attractive, charming, and a firm believer in sowing wild oats, he recoiled at the thought of having his fate tied to a woman he had never met. He was so angry that he refused to talk to his mother for a year, causing them both a great deal of pain.
Shandra was similar to Ian in many ways. At 17, she was preparing for her own military career and had no thought of pledging herself in marriage, particularly to a man she did not know. Like Ian, she broke off all contact with a parent, in this case, her father. Unfortunately, the Duke of New Earth was killed several months later in an aircraft accident before Shandra and he could be reconciled.
The first official meeting between the betrothed couple was not promising. After being introduced at a grand ball hosted by the Duke of New Earth, they acknowledged each other sullenly, then left the scene separately at the first opportunity. A bit shocked, the couple’s parents considered breaking the marriage contract. After further discussion, the parents decided to make one more attempt by forcing the two young people to write to one another.
The letters, preserved by an historian of the Camerons, have survived intact and are now in the archives of our Blessed Order. What they reveal is the slow, almost painful, development of affection that was, at its worst, a clash of two highly intelligent people with set ways and set ideas. At their best, the letters express friendship and even romance. At first, Ian and Shandra did not realize that they were becoming increasingly attracted, but to the reader, their growing affection is as obvious as it is moving.
Two years later, the couple was married. On April 12, 2535, the wedding procession filed down from the ancient kirk overlooking Edinburgh, and the newlyweds were greeted by thousands of well-wishers and rose petals dropped from helicopters. Their limousine was escorted by two ‘Mechs bedecked with flowers and colored streamers-one from Lady Shandra’s unit and one from Lord Ian’s.
This was not to be a fairy-tale marriage, however. Ian and Shandra argued, separated, and often grated on one another’s nerves. Yet, they always reconciled, either on long private vacations, or through many heart-felt letters during separations.
In 2536, Lady Shandra gave birth to Timothy Cameron. Shortly afterward, the doctors informed the parents that Timothy had an inoperable heart defect. Neglecting their duties, the couple stood vigil over their infant for weeks until he died. Their grief was intense and some feared that the loss would split them apart. Nothing was farther from the truth. After two years of mourning, the two reentered public life, seeming to express more affection than ever. The public, who had loved the pair from the start, seemed to adore them more than ever after the tragedy. Shandra went on to become Commander of the Hegemony Armed Forces, and in 2571, Lord Ian appointed her Commander-in-Chief of the Star League Defense Forces.
Though Shandra did not immediately become pregnant again, Lord Ian made no move to appoint an heir. His only reply when questioned was to enigmatically call for patience. As the years passed, the people and public officials became concerned about what would happen if Ian Cameron died without an heir. Some even made so bold as to suggest that Cameron either take a new wife or mistress in hopes that a child would result.
On January 23, 2556, the Palace of Cameron, Lord Ian’s residence near London, issued a terse, two-line press release: “The Cameron household is proud to announce that Lady Shandra Noruff-Cameron expects a child sometime in September. Lady Shandra is in the best of health and spirits.” Lady Cameron was 40 years old. Nine months later she gave birth to a healthy son, whom the Camerons named Nicholas.
THE NEW ORDER
People everywhere greeted news of the Star League with excitement and anticipation. Things would be changing, and any change was welcome after the long Age of War. Even citizens of worlds little affected by the Star League wanted the new order to succeed. First, however, the Star League had to set up its government, which required more than three years of intensive negotiations by the leaders of all six realms. During this time, the fragile nature of the new alliance was threatened more than once.
The Star League High Council, composed of the heads of the six member-states,w as created almost immediately after the signing of the Accords. To acknowledge Ian Cameron’s status, he would be known as “First Lord.” Not only was Cameron the prime mover behind creation of the Star League, but he was also the ruler of Terra, the cradle of man, which lay, quite literally, at the center of Human-occupied space. The High Council would be the pinnacle of the Star League government as well as a communications nexus for the swift dissemination of information to all the member-states.
The Star League capitol was located near the newly pristine Puget Sound of the North American continent of Terra. Construction had actually begun years earlier on what would be known officially as the Court of the Star League, but unofficially as Unity City. The city was to be huge, elaborate, and awe-inspiring, as befit the center of Humanity. Materials from all member-states were incorporated into its construction. Once built, the Court of the Star League was hailed as an architectural marvel. One visiting architect called it a “a fairy-tale place, where parking garages are as beautiful as the Taj Mahal.”
At this time, the original High Council of the Terran Hegemony changed their name and rank. From now on, they were known as the First Lord’s Advisors and headed up major departments within the Hegemony government in Geneva. Though the scope of their work was technically limited to aiding the First Lord govern the Hegemony, they often provided unofficial counsel on other matters.
Lord Ian soon realized that his duties as First Lord and the current political situation made it impossible to rule the Terran Hegemony effectively. In 2572, he assigned his Director-General responsibilities to either his heir or to the President of the Hegemony Congress. From that day on, the Camerons would always consider themselves Star League rulers first and Hegemony Directors-General second.
In 2573, the Bureau of Star League Affairs (BSLA) was officially created. This heart and body of the Star League government had six major departments: Social Relations, Economic Relations, Star League Revenue, Department of Education and Information, Star League Attorney General, and Star League Administrators.
The Department of Administrators was the most important. It was run by five State Administrators appointed by the First Lord and directly responsible for seeing that each member-state carried out the First Lord and the High Council’s decisions. Under each State Administrator were various Regional and Planetary Administrators, who reported to their superiors and to the government of the member-state.
The government of the new Star League was designed to be a strong, yet flexible instrument to carry out the will of the First Lord and the Lords of the High Council. First Lord Cameron appointed more than three-fourths of the personnel to staff the BSLA’s bureaucratic posts, which gained him virtual dominance over the functioning of the Star League government. [EDITOR’S NOTE: Future First Lords would take advantage of this power to water down laws with which they disagreed.] As for First Lord Cameron, he was circumspect in his use of this vast power. He often consulted with the other Council Lords about his appointments and tried where possible to find posts for anyone whom a particular Lord wished to favor.
THE STELLAR COURT
With the signing of the Star League Accords, the Hegemony, and Terra in particular, became an important center of activity. Embassies for League member-states as well as branch offices of major foreign corporations were set up on every Hegemony world. Tourism boomed and passenger liners run by such major shipping companies as White Dove Interstellar, The Red Ball Express, and White Cloud Tourism became a common sight in Hegemony star systems.
Naturally, the Court of the Star League in Unity City was the prime focus. The many Court buildings comfortably housed fully staffed diplomatic missions for all member-states, as well as representatives from all the major corporations. Within the complex of polished walls was the headquarters of the Bureau of Star League Affairs. Also within the Court, but separated and isolated from the rest by a network of private gardens, high castle walls, and tunnels, were the private quarters of the First Lord and his family.
The interior of the Court of the Star League, which soon became known informally as “the Stellar Court,” was built from materials from every corner of Human space. Silver filigree from Niomede enhanced the glow of Sadurni marble. Bharat teakwood, carved by the skilled artisans of Tharkad, was encrusted with Blue Fire Opals from Larsha. Everything had been chosen to impress the viewer with the fact that this place was the center of Humanity and not just the residence of the Star League government.
It was not long before the nobles who came to the Court responded to the beautiful surroundings by dressing for the occasion. The High Council, which normally met twice a year in the Court, attracted throngs of attendant nobles dressed in their finest. Amid the huge pillars of Kaifeng Shimmer Granite and in the filtered light of stained glass windows, nobles mingled in the Grand Hall. They awaited the appearance of the First Lord, who would take his seat upon the Star League Throne, which had been carved from white Suzano ivory.
-From A Guide to the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Marvels of Humanity, by Sandra Kinra, Tharkad Press, 2999
ONE SPECIES, ONE REALM
The unification of all Humanity into one realm is an obvious path. What I don’t understand is why we broke up into petty realms in the first place.
-Lord Ian Cameron to his High Advisors, quoted in The Statesman of the Stars, by Duke Torrence Ferl, Belgrade Press, 2599
MAN WITH A DREAM
The September Revolt and its aftermath held Lord Ian’s attention for some months after the last rebels had surrendered. The last stronghold of the soldier cabals, the Dresser Military Base on Lipton, had been subdued a month after the recapture of Geneva. The rebels were a considerable problem for the Director-General and the government. Treated too harshly, they would have an air of martyrdom about them; treated too gently, they would be free to rebel again.
Of the three thousand captured in the revolt, a thousand were condemned to death. The rest received life sentences, but most of those were paroled within ten years. This seemed to meet with the public’s approval, much to Lord Ian’s relief.
To assure the HAF that they were a strong and vital part of the Hegemony, Lord Ian reversed the trend of cutting the military budget by granting the military a huge increase to reestablish the HAF’s technological edge over its neighbors. He also quietly, but surely, retired generals and admirals he suspected of being sympathetic to the cabals, replacing them with his own people. To prevent the government from being caught off guard again, Lord Ian expanded the HCIB, adding a special Department of Military Investigations (DMI) to ensure the full loyalty of the military. That was a big order, but Cameron realized it was vital to ruling as he, and not the military, pleased.
Perhaps an even greater threat to his rule was the economic situation of the Terran Hegemony when Ian Cameron came to power in 2549. By now, most Hegemony worlds had been depleted of natural resources, a situation that could bring the realm’s technological achievements to a standstill. Cameron was determined to find a solution to the Hegemony’s rapidly shrinking resources, for he was determined that Terra and her worlds would never become dependent on imports from the other Houses of the Inner Sphere. He believed that Terra was the heart of Human space and that it should always stand taller than the rest in terms of technical mastery and leadership.
It was hard-headed practicality as well as idealism that prodded Lord Ian to begin to act on a dream he had cherished for almost as long as he could remember: the complete and total reunification of all Humanity. Considering that his mother was Lady Deborah Cameron, originator of the Strategy of Aggressive Peacemaking, it is not surprising that his determination never failed, even when all seemed lost.
After his stint as an HAF officer, Ian Cameron had traveled extensively throughout the various interstellar realms as an ambassador-at-large, first for his mother and then for his brother. He had visited all but one of the Inner Sphere states and met with all but two leaders during that time. Though impressed with the diversity of people, ways, and languages, Ian came away believing more strongly than ever that all should be united-and that Terra, the cradle of all mankind, qualified as leader.
First, Cameron had to lay the foundation. In addition to revitalizing the HAF, he further expanded the Department of Foreign Relations. He also began to fund several research projects to improve interstellar communications, a step whose ramifications would later became especially important.
In documents recovered recently on Terra, it has been learned that Lord Cameron developed a long-term plan that he hoped would result in the creation of a “Star League.” Those documents indicate that he estimated it would take 50 years to bring his dream to fruition. The first tentative step, to tie together the five Houses of the Inner Sphere by economic means, would be accomplished after a decade of careful and meticulous preparation by the diplomats of the Hegemony.
Then fate stepped in and Lord Ian was given a chance to accelerate his timetable by many years.
Why don’t some maps show Andurien? Don’t you know your history, man? Andurien is where the Age of War started! Almost 200 years of misery were let loose there. It’s not on the maps because it’s a place best forgotten. The land is cursed with lost souls, the water polluted with the iron taste of blood. Andurien? Friend, it’s just Hell with jump points.
-Captain Helen Redoar, quoted in An Informal History of the Age of War, by Nicholas VanBurn, Tharkan Press, 2549
In 2398, the Age of War began when the forces of the Free Worlds League and the Capellan Confederation clashed over control of the much-disputed Andurien systems. After the Free Worlds won control of these planets, the Capellans still did not resign themselves to the fact. Meanwhile, the Andurien conflict seemed to trigger battles and confrontations between every power in the Inner Sphere in a chain reaction that lasted for more than 150 years. The Capellans never lost their desire to retake Andurien, though a century would pass before they made another attempt.
In 2528, Chancellor Kalvin Liao launched the Second Andurien War by sending ground and naval units against the Andurien systems. Captain-General Albert Marik responded immediately, and once more war consumed the whole region. The devastating conflict lasted three years, with the Marik forces ultimately defeating the Liao invaders, even though seriously outnumbered. The war finally came to an end when Director-General Deborah Cameron persuaded the two leaders to attend a summit conference on New Delos in 2531. These peace negotiations confirmed Marik control of Andurien, settled dozens of other Marik-Liao border disputes, and required that the Capellans pay heavy war damages.
Though the Free Worlds League emerged victorious, Albert Marik was so deeply shaken by the death and destruction of the Second Andurien War that he became dedicated to the ideal of peace. In this, he was far ahead of Ian Cameron, who was only a boy of 17 in 2531. When fate finally did bring both men together, they would combine their dreams of peace and unity to create the greatest experiment that Mankind has ever known: the Star League.
Twenty years later, in 2551, Andurien once again became the focus of hostilities when Terrence Liao decided to attack the Andurien systems to prove that he was a strong male leader after two decades of female Chancellors. When the Third Andurien War broke out in that year, Albert Marik was 73 years old. Despite his dedication to peace, he dutifully accepted reinstatement as Captain-General and went forward to meet the enemy. Once more, the Free Worlds forces battered the Liao troops, but it would be five long years before Terrence would admit that he and his army were exhausted by the struggle.
It was in 2551, the same year that the Third Andurien War broke out, that Ian Cameron began the long trail of initiatives, talks, secret meetings, and negotiations that he hoped would lead ultimately to the realization of his dream of a Star League. In that year, he attempted to persuade Terrence Liao of the folly of the war against the Free Worlds, but the Capellan Chancellor had his heart set on making a name for himself. Though Terrence rejected Cameron’s peace initiatives, Albert Marik was interested in what Ian Cameron had to say. Cameron also contacted Craig Steiner, then-Archon of the Lyran Commonwealth, in 2551. The two man met in a series of ultra-secret talks, but Cameron could not persuade the Archon to commit the strong industrial base of the Commonwealth to the plan for an interstellar government.
Cameron was not discouraged, however. By 2556, he again proposed that the Liao Chancellor and the Marik Captain-General meet with him on Terra to negotiate an end to the Andurien War. By now, the Capellans’ poor showing in the war made Terrence Liao more than ready to accept the invitation.
The many weeks of treaty negotiations offered Ian Cameron a rare opportunity to earn the respect and trust of the Liao Chancellor and to further cement his relationship with Albert Marik. Albert was, of course, already privy to the Terran leader’s dream of a government spanning the whole of Human space. Terrence, however, was dubious at first. Cameron patiently explained that he wished to end the debilitating Age of War by uniting the ten realms of the Inner Sphere and the Periphery under one government, with each one retaining its own identity, style, and internal authority. Though Cameron was persuasive, Chancellor Liao was not sure he could trust this new Star League to keep out of the internal affairs of each member-state.
What finally won Liao’s cooperation was Cameron’s promise to extend to the Capellans “favored-nation” trade agreements, financial assistance, and access to some of Terra’s advanced technology. It was Albert Marik who executed the coup de grace when he agreed to cede the long-disputed Andurien systems to the Capellan Confederation. With this concession, Terrence Liao agreed to sign the Clasped Hands Agreement, a secret subtreaty to the Andurien Peace Treaty that officially ended the Third Andurien War in March 2556.
This secret trade and non-aggression pact laid the groundwork for the Treaty of Geneva, which established the intentions of creating the Star League, with the Terran Hegemony, the Capellan Confederation, and the Free Worlds League as founding members. Signed secretly on June 3, 2556, the Treaty of Geneva spelled out the basic terms for the new interstellar government. Each state would maintain control over its internal affairs, while the leaders would meet in a High Council to determine the outcome of important interstellar questions. The agreement named Terrence Liao and Albert Marik (and their successors) as the rightful hereditary rulers of their realms.
Once the Star League was fully in operation, it would unite the economies of all its members into a single structure, with a single currency, the Star League Dollar. There would be a number of regional economic exchanges for trading in the shares of all major corporations. Like Lady Deborah, Ian Cameron believed that few ties were stronger than economic ones. Though every House leader who eventually joined the League would be concerned that their local industries would be swallowed up by foreign stockholders, the lure of buying into the immensely wealthy Hegemony firms would always prove to be irresistible.
The Star League would also raise a joint defense force, partially outfitted by member-states but based on the advanced Hegemony Armed Forces military technology. The HAF had at least a 30-year margin of technological superiority over all other Inner Sphere militaries and a 50-year margin over the Periphery realms. There was an even wider gap in certain key areas of military hardware. For example, the ‘Mechs of the other House armies could not effectively fight attacks from the air, but the HAF could, aided by the Air Aggressor Fire Control Adjuster (AAFCA) attached to their ‘Mech computers. Many a House MechWarrior would have given their souls for an AAFCA, which Hegemony warriors knew affectionately as “Auntie Antis.” Now here was Ian Cameron willing to give AAFCAs to any realm that joined him.
In return, he seemed to ask ridiculously little. The other states must agree to recognize Lord Ian and his heirs as the only legitimate First Lords of the Star League. They would also be asked to contribute soldiers, equipment, and tracts of land for the Star League Defense Forces, as well as pay a membership tax in cash or raw materials.
This fateful document concluded with a statement that the three signatory parties would “continue to serve Humanity and Peace… with the eventual unification of all Humanity as our dearest wish.”
SIGN OF THE TIMES
Late one night in 2553, my lance was patrolling the southern edge of the Brighton Cliffs, on the planet Cassias. After two months of heavy fighting, there had been little action for two weeks.
It was almost dawn as I walked along a chalk cliff, counting the minutes until I could be off duty. Suddenly I felt the ground give way beneath my feet. Firing my jump jets helped save me, but my ‘Mech sustained damage around the cockpit, particularly the communication equipment. That meant I couldn’t call on my buddies for help. Looking around with the few sensors left operational, I could see that I was half-buried in rubble and that one huge boulder had my right leg pinned behind me.
I’d only been sitting there, half-stunned, for a few minutes when a Kurita Archer appeared, followed by three others. The Archer’s hands were held up and the covers to its missile tubes were down and locked. Confused, I held my fire. The pilot opened the hatch to his cockpit and poked out his bare head. He continued his approach and didn’t seem too concerned when I pointed my laser directly at him. He stopped a few meters in front of me and began to shout and gesture. Since I couldn’t understand and wasn’t about to open my cockpit, I made the malfunction sign with my ‘Mech’s arm to signal that I couldn’t communicate.
In response, the Archer’s right hand swung up and seemed to be giving me a signal of its own. The first two fingers of the ‘Mech’s hand poked up, while the other two curled to its palm with the thumb over them. The gesture had no meaning to me. The Kurita warrior had by now returned to his controls, and the ‘Mech was in motion. I allowed him to come closer, but what other choice did a Stinger have against four heavy ‘Mechs?
The Kurita pilot lowered his ‘Mech to its knees. As I watched incredulously, the Archer grabbed huge fistfuls of rock from around my ‘Mech. One of the other ‘Mechs, a Phoenix Hawk, moved forward and the two of them pushed the boulder off my ‘Mech’s leg. They helped me up and held me while I tested my ‘Mech. It was in amazingly good condition, considering what it had been through. Then the warrior pointed me south along the cliff face to where I could make my way back to my unit. It wasn’t until I rejoined them that I found out a cease-fire had been declared.
I never met the Kurita warriors who helped me out of my predicament because I was soon transferred offplanet. One thing that stayed with me was that MechWarrior’s strange hand gesture. I asked many other pilots all the next year, but no one else recognized it, either. Finally, I consulted an historian at the university near our base. I showed him, half afraid it was something lewd. The man only smiled, and began to rummage through some old books, most filled with ancient, 20th-century photographs. Finally, he seemed to find what he was looking for and handed me a book open to a photo of a young man making the same gesture. The caption read, simply, “Peace.”
-Captain Lessiva Toral (AFFS Ret.), quoted in Anecdotes of the Age of War, edited by Duke Oscar Flyth, Terran War Memorial Press, 2661
BIRTH OF THE STAR LEAGUE
While Ian Cameron was slowly but surely laying the groundwork for the Star League, he did not neglect Terra’s role as mediator. All the while he was wooing the other major powers of the Inner Sphere, he also continued Terra’s important role as adjudicator of disputes. In a number of these settlements, he was able to negotiate agreements that allowed the disputing governments to become co-rulers of a world, with the Terran Hegemony as administrator of the government. In exchange, the Hegemony received a percentage of the planet’s gross income and was able to extend its sphere of influence. By 2555, the Hegemony was part-owner of almost 30 such worlds, arranged in five ragged lines radiating out along the borders of the Inner Sphere. These planets were almost all resource-rich. While the Hegemony’s cut in the planet’s resources seldom amounted to more than 10 percent of the planet’s total gross product, that still added up to a substantial amount of manufactured goods and raw resources. Cameron had already gone a long way to solving Terra’s economic problems. The creation of a Star League would complete the task.
The Hegemony’s role as peacemaker was a great success publicly, and Director Ian Cameron was hailed as the greatest leader since James McKenna. Meanwhile, for the next 13 years, he continued his relentless, but secret, campaign to persuade the rest of the Inner Sphere to join with him in the Star League. It has been said that he was a man with a golden tongue, a skilled and charismatic negotiator. What few people know or wish to recognize was that Cameron had a very special assistant in his quest. That man was Albert Marik, who was able to offer clandestine and often devious assistance along the path that would eventually lead mankind to the Star League.
Modern historians now date the end of the Age of War with the signing of the Andurien Peace Treaty of 2556. Terrence Liao’s invasion of the Andurien system must have been a kind of last gasp, for the people of the Inner Sphere had long since grown weary of the continual stress of war. By 2566, interstellar manufacture and trade in consumer goods had already begun to pick up because of the loosening of wartime priorities and trade restrictions. Raw materials were flowing into the Hegemony at an unprecedented rate, creating a major expansion of heavy and technical industries. The Hegemony was also doing a brisk business selling their finished products to the other states. With the general thaw, Cameron negotiated numerous trade and non-aggression pacts that led to lowering of nearly all trade barriers in the Inner Sphere and to a near-total cease-fire. No matter how much other House leaders might hold out against the idea of a Star League, Cameron and his secret ally Albert Marik knew that it was just a matter of time.
The other realms were experiencing similar economic booms, though the Lyran Commonwealth was having difficulty meshing its economy with the others. The Steiner government was at first unprepared to regulate the sudden inflow of money and resources. Whole planets were swallowed up by foreign industries while immigrants came pouring into the Commonwealth in search of jobs. Archon Tracial Steiner was finally forced to reimpose the trade barriers while her government rearranged, enlarged, and strengthened its power to control business.
Politically, the treaties had brought near-peace to the Inner Sphere. The remaining occasional outbreaks of violence were mainly grudge matches between groups of soldiers on contested planets. In the main, things had become so quiet that a few Inner Sphere leaders were considering agreements that would allow them to stand down their militaries.