Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Star League Part 12


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 In their message to Gregory Amaris, they threatened to blow up the facility unless all foreign forces were withdrawn from Apollo.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.


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.


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


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

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