What Might Have Been (Part 5)

Hall of The Khans
Strana Mechty
11 November, 3005

“Five years to the day, My Khans, we sent out a reconaissance force to determine the strength of the Inner Sphere. That force has been to the Inner Sphere. Their reports have arrived. Now, if the Wolves and their Star Adder patsies are done wasting our time, I say that the time for the Return has come! I call for a vote for immediate invasion of the Inner Sphere and the destruction of the so-called ‘Successor States’ that defile our legacy. I call a vote to re-establish the Star League!”

Many in the Hall of Khans noded as the Smoke Jaguar Khan finished his rant, but one man stood against the tide.

Kerlin Ward. How I loathe you. ilKhan Nadia Winson thought to herself. That her own Clan could produce such a simpering coward let alone elevate him to Khan was beyond her. She had begun to suspect he secretly sympathised with the Successor States — a crime punishable by death among the Clans, if only she could prove it. But for now he is a Khan, quiaff?

“Khan Kerlin Ward of the Wolves is recognized. Why do you stand before this Conclave?”

“I have remarks to offer against my esteemed colleague’s proposal.”

“You may proceed.”

“While there can be no question that the Inner Sphere is horrifically debased, I submit that the time is not yet right for our return. The Successor States still command potent if diminished armies of Battlemechs. We had originally planned for a twenty-five year survey of their defenses while we built up our own forces. Surely we should wait while the reconaissance force finishes their mission?”

Several more in the Hall nodeed. Nadia had done her homework in preparation for this vote, and knew where each of the Khans would come down. Despite the pro forma speeches, the majority of votes were decided by ideology. The moderates would vote to delay, they always did. The more extreme Crusaders would vote to invade, they always did. The Wardens would vote against any invasion, it was anathema to them. Nadia wasn’t really sure where she’d come down herself, but she knew it didn’t matter. Though there were fewer Wardens in the Hall of the Khans than there had been five years ago, they still formed along with the moderates a bloc of unbeatable power.

She was about to call the vote when another Khan rose.

“Khan Thaddeus Jorgensson of Clan Ghost Bear is recognized. Why do you stand before this Conclave?”

“I have a question.”

“For whom?”

“The Wolves. The Jaguars. Any one of these assembled Khans perhaps. Can you tell me who the King of the Federated Suns is?”

“King Ian?” the Smoke Jaguar answered, with uncharacteristic hesitation.

“Ian Davion.” Kerlin Ward answered, confidently.

King Ian Davion? Something was wrong, but Nadia could not quite put her finger on it. It almost sounded right.

“Have NONE of you read this?” he hurled a datapad, presumably containing Galaxy Commander Jaime Wolf’s most recent report, across the chamber in apparent disgust “The Federated Suns has a First Prince, not a King! How many Regiments does the Draconis Combine Field, Khan Wolf? How many Mercenary Companies hire out of Galatea, Khan Smoke Jaguar?”

The two most powerful Khans among the Clans looked at the Ghost Bear Khan with a poorly-concealed mix of shame and resentment, somewhere between how dare he? and I should know that.

“Any of the Khans, which Successor Lord commands the most force?”

A significant pause followed.

“Perhaps before we go any further, we should take advantage of the intelligence that Intelser and the Ebon Guard have taken such pains to provide us. How can an uninformed decision based on blind ideology be anything more than a shot in the dark? The Founder would be apalled, and you should be ashamed.”

Clan Ghost Bear’s Junior Khan stormed from the chamber. Without him, the Crusaders stood even less chance of passing an invasion vote. Nadia had read the intelligence. She saw it as her duty, and yet the Ghost Bear’s impromptu quiz had left her momentarily puzzled as well. The answers finally came, and she repeated them.

“First Prince Ian Davion. Eighty Battlemech Regiments, with another two hundred in armor and another five hundred in regular infantry, according to preliminary estimates. Over a hundred mercenary companies hire out of Galatea, with no more than a third employed in any given month. House Steiner commands the most significant Battlemech force.”

The ilKhan of the Clans sighed heavily. “Something has been demonstrated to us this day, and I suspect our excitable junior member is right. I will command Intelser to prepare personal briefings for you. There will be a quiz afterward. This meeting is adjourned.”

12 thoughts on “What Might Have Been (Part 5)

  1. skiltao

    Heheheh. Elaborate set up just to make a “there will be a quiz” joke? Strange to think of the Khans, being military leaders, as ignoring their only intel.

    My clan lore is shaky. Was Nadia Winson IlKhan at this time, or is that one of your changes?

  2. BobRichter

    That’s pretty much the change at this point. Nadia Winson was the leader of the Crusader movement that tried to push an invasion through in 3000.

    As to the Clans ignoring their intel, that’s pretty much canon.

  3. BobRichter

    @skiltao – 

    Thaddeus Jorgensson is Nadia Winson’s replacement in Clan Ghost Bear’s leadership. She was the old Senior Khan, so they needed a new junior one. Getting her out of the way gives him an opportunity to shine, and I need him to be smart so he is. Since those two are the only real changes the Grand Council had, most of the impetus to do something different than in the canon is coming from them.

    You could call it favoritism, that’s probably close enough to accurate. There’s not a lot of canon in this period to draw from.

  4. mame_snidely

    Okay. This chapter lost me. The first four chapters are pretty clear on the fact that the Clans ARE invading the inner-sphere. It WILL happen. Despite being in antiquated equipment (I thought Clan equipment was specifically NOT antiquated in the Battletech universe?). Now we have the vote going on in some council meeting that seems a bit out of place after a chapter in which mechs were being crammed in a dropship.

    Keep in mind, I’m not genre-savvy. Haven’t the foggiest.

    I thought Thaddeus was a joke due to his intro over karaoke, btw. Now I find out his head-hancho or something?

  5. Psychopompousgb

    @mame_snidely – 

    I think I may see how you got confused, but the preceding sections actually do indicate that the Clans are sending a reconnaissance force to the Inner Sphere, not an invasion force.

    From part 1, paragraph “‘I find your notion of sending a reconnaissance force to the Inner Sphere intriguing, Kerlin Ward, but I note certain deficiencies in the plan. Firstly, you would have this force placed soly under your own authority.(…)'”

    Khan Garrick N’Buta of the Star Adders supports the basic plan of sending a reconnaissance force to the Inner Sphere, but suggests a couple revisions: placing that reconnaissance force under the command of the IlKhan rather than Clan Wolf, and as a result the election of an IlKhan for this force to report to.

    Part 3 shows the Wolf’s Dragoons (the Clans’ Reconnaissance force) getting ready to depart for the Inner Sphere, it’s not especially clear here and I think JediBear could work on revising it a bit, but… the parenthetical note from the first paragraph, “they were still Galaxies on the Ebon Guard’s roster, but Wolf had agressively stomped out the tendency to refer to them as anything other than Regiments. That kind of thinking would give them away in the Inner Sphere.” should have given an indication that secrecy would be important once they arrived in the Inner Sphere – it would be important that they appear to be an Inner Sphere force. That makes more sense for a reconnaissance/infiltration force than an invasion force.

  6. BobRichter

    @mame_snidely – I guess that’s something that’s a touch vague, but I can’t think of a better way to clear it up right now than just let it reveal itself further as we go along. Ultimately, these are the questions I’m used to the not-genre-savvy having and asking as first questions on a web forum. Thanks for the comment.

    @Psychopompousgb – Speaking of Part 3, if you have any notes on that section, it’d be good to have them repeated there. I don’t know that I was fully satisfied with that one either.

  7. BobRichter

    @mame_snidely – A bit of explanation, for your personal edification: The Clans have always assumed that they would one day return to the Inner Sphere. The Crusaders (that’s Nadia’s faction) prefer an invasion and sooner, rather than later. The Wardens (that’s Kerlin’s faction) are expecting an eventual call to return in order to defend the Inner Sphere. The Wardens are losing the Great Debate, and so Kerlin’s recon force is a delaying tactic to give him time to raise a generation of new minds to his way of thinking.

    Members of the Grand Council are equals, all referred to as Khans, and each Clan has two — think of them a bit like the US Senate, only with more Mecha duels. TJ is NW’s replacement in the Grand Council — as ilKhan, she presides over the Grand Council and represents no single Clan herself. She’s the president to their senators. TJ is technically the least powerful (most junior, as the passage says) member of the Grand Council, but he still gets to rant.


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