The Escape From The Divine Fire
We are here today writing history because of one man and one man alone. He will be the only one remembered by history, but in his own words he couldn’t have done with the support of his fellow believers. His name already forgotten by intent or accident, he was a ROM agent that departed with the Word of Blake when the schism occurred. Bent on becoming one of the leaders of the movement he rose up in the ranks only to realize that what he thought he was following was just the madness of a handful of people. As a result he became, probably, the most known double-agent of ComStar. Because of his information most of the attacks orchestrated by the Word of Blake failed miserably.
With the unsuccessful assaults on Outreach, Tharkad and New Avalon under way, it was only a matter of time before the militant followers of William Blane and Cameron St. Jamais would finally target ComStar in order to strike at the heart of the resistance and make sure that their future ventures will be met with more success. Sure enough, in the final weeks of January 3068, the first strikes fell on Tukayyid, delivered just as indiscriminately as those launched against the Blakists’ previous targets, but this time with more success. Even with the inside info they were privy to ComStar could not have prepared in time for the assault that was about to come.
Tukayyid Hit, Heavy Casualties Reported
On 31st of January 3068 a devastating and seemingly expected assault began in the morning with the detection of anomalous jump signatures by Tukayyid’s orbital space stations. The Word of Blake WarShips Deliverance and Blake’s Sword struck the former capital of ComStar operations and the headquarters of the Com Guards, Tukayyid. On station were the Com Guards WarShips Blake’s Vengeance and Hammerstrike. Along with aerospace elements from the 278th and 472nd divisions, they promptly engaged the Word of Blake vessels but with no overall success. The attacking ships quickly deployed a large number of fighters, assault craft and attack DropShips that turned the initiative against the ComStar forces.
Precentor Allian Higham, commander of the Com Guards’ Twelfth Army, confirmed, at the time, that both Com Guards vessels were deemed out-of-commission in the fighting, but was unwilling to ascertain as to what that meant. He was willing to admit that most of the fighter presence in space belonging to the Com Guards was no more and that few fighters manage to make it back. The Deliverance apparently took severe damage, but the Blakist WarShip did not left the battle site, while the Blake’s Sword took up position above Tukayyid and began to bombard all Com Guards elements on the planet. Caught away from their underground bunkers, much of the 278th Division and the Twenty-first Centauri Lancers mercenary command suffered severe casualties. At the time of the fighting the First Royal BattleMech Division of the Star League and the Killer Bees mercenary command were unaccounted for. According to the last reports prior to the attack, both units were engaged in extended field exercises in undisclosed discussions in the Dinju Mountains region, but all communications with that area were lost during the initial bombardment. Reports confirm that ComStar was aware of the situation and reinforcements were already under way even before the attack was launched.
Dow Vows "Swift Retribution"
On 9th of February 3068 on Orestes First Precentor Gavin Dow released his first public statement about the ongoing siege of Tukayyid. At the time the First Precentor promised "swift retribution" in the making for the Word of Blake. Here is a short transcript of what he spoke that day. "We have left these misguided fanatics alone for too long, preferring peaceful coexistence to open warfare with our former brothers. It is clear now that they seek to harm us as well as all of humankind, and so the time has come to finish what we should have finished in 3058." In the ongoing statement the First Precentor did not comment on the fate of Primus Sharilar Mori, who at the time remained missing since shortly after the Blakist attack began. It was only until later revealed that in order to avoid any accidents the Primus was evacuated as soon as possible after word of the impending attack reached the upper echelon of ComStar. As we all know the promised retribution would come in the form of the Case White fleet that would bring about the liberation of Terra.
The swift action promised by First Precentor Dow soon fell with a vengeance when ComStar activated Case White, a preplanned mass assault against the Terran system, developed soon after that world’s fall to Word of Blake in 3058. With an overwhelming force that comprised nearly all of the Com Guards fleet and included more than ten divisions of ground troops, the assault seemed sure to overrun the Blakist defense. Even considering the results of Wolf’s Dragoons’ failed attack in December, few could have predicted the fateful outcome.
Precentor Martial Victor Steiner-Davion Speaks
The following is a transcript of a Federated Suns News Service interview that took place on Orestes on 11th of February 3068 with Precentor Martial Victor Steiner-Davion:
[Willard Stevens]: "I’m here with Precentor Martial Victor Steiner-Davion aboard the Com Guards flagship, Invisible Truth. Precentor Martial."
[Victor Steiner-Davion]: "I prefer plain ‘Martial’."
[Stevens]: "Martial, how do you view the current situation, in the Chaos March and elsewhere?"
[Steiner-Davion]: "Even in my position I was utterly surprised to find out the full complement of forces that the Word of Blake had at their disposal in their attacks against targets such as New Avalon, Tharkad, Outreach and planets of the Chaos March. Even if most of these attacks were met with strong defenses we sustained losses that will not be easily replaced. "
[Stevens]: "First Precentor Gavin Dow has promised that the Com Guards will swiftly deal with the Word of Blake. Just what action are you going to take?"
[Steiner-Davion]: "What Precentor Dow promised is not my place to comment upon. Beside the fact that it will be against normal procedures to disclose privy information of an ongoing military plan, it’s the First Precentor responsibility to reveal what details he sees fit to the press."
[Stevens]: "Of course, but when are the Com Guards going to get involved, and where?"
[Steiner-Davion]: "If you’ve been hearing the same reports coming out of the Chaos March as I have, then you’ll know we’ve already seen heavy fighting there. But before the Guards can act, several divisions have to be redeployed. While that happens, ComStar and allied states need to gather as much intelligence as we can. As a relative of mine is so fond of saying, ‘information is ammunition’."
[Stevens]: "Can we expect to see you take the field against the Word of Blake? Will the Invisible Truth head for the Terran Corridor? Will you escort your sister back to the Federated Suns?"
[Steiner-Davion]: "I can’t comment on any of that at this time."
Case White Underway!
Case White, ComStar’s contingency plan to liberate Terra, was finally underway, First Precentor Gavin Dow reported on Orestes on the 9th of March 3068. After spending a month marshalling the Com Guards fleet and enough troops to secure humanity’s homeworld, Com Guards forces reportedly infiltrated the Sol system sometime on the 9th of March and made their way towards Terra.
Word of Blake resistance was carefully looked upon before the whole operation was triggered. Intelligence gathered by the ComStar double-agent revealed the unexpected force that would wait the Case White fleet and the dishonorable preparation that they made in order to prevent the success of the operation. More than 50 crew members of the Case White fleet were thrown in the brig before the operation as they were identified as Word of Blake sleeper agents. Their machinations to stop the fleet were reportedly all discovered although the following actions will prove otherwise. The task force—which included ComStar WarShips Blake’s Strength, Vision of Truth, Avenging Sword and Narbonne—was expected to cast aside all hostile units.
The actual number of Blakist WarShips deployed in the Terran system is not known even now, but Com Guards military leaders took safeguards against the defenses prepared by the Word of Blake. This top secret information was barely released and included in this short history of the liberation of Terra. ComStar and Star League military leaders engaged Clans Wolf, Wolf-in-Exile, Ghost Bear and Jade Falcon in mock trials for the support of all these clan’s navies in exchange for the promise that if a Clan would ever reach the Sol system with more than a Galaxy’s worth of troops ComStar and Star League will yield Terra without a fight.
The clans accepted the terms with the condition that they gather the forces in a single task-force out of the normal chain-of-command and be given a different attack corridor than the rest of the fleet. It is reported that even now most of the population of said clans do not know about their involvement in the liberation of Terra and since this sourcebook will be released only high ranking officers sphere-wide the secret will probably remain a secret in the Inner Sphere as well.
These precautions were taken in order for the safety of the roughly 40,000 men and women being deployed. "Once the Sol system is secure, we can focus on other Blakist strongholds and operational areas," First Precentor Dow explained. "Terra is their industrial hub. Without it, they cannot hope to maintain their jihad and stand against us, even with the nuclear weapons they have begun to employ."
AS Case White went under way, its results were not far from what was expected. Even though casualties were severe on the side of the Star League and ComStar the success was worthy of the history books. The assault of the magnitude not seen since the days of the Great General began with the whole of Case White fleet jumping in orbit around Luna, while their clan allies made used of their superior technology to make a high-risk jump at the same distance from Terra but on the other side of the planet. Reports suggest that the jump was so risky that the clans lost a small number of their smaller support vessels which did not have the advantage of the technology fitted on the clan warships.
Immediately after the jump the warships made high acceleration burns towards the planetary defenses in order to clear a path for the multiple droppers that were coming behind them. Fighter screens were deployed all along the trajectory in order to intercept in waves Word of Blake forces that would try to avoid the main lines and hit at the relatively week dropships.
As part of the agreement clan forces only made use of their warships and fighter clusters, since ground forces were explicitly denied by the terms of the agreement. Reports from unconfirmed sources told us that this condition was accepted by the clanners at the insistence of their naval commanders who were yearning for a chance to fight. As such most the fighter support of the whole fleet was to come from clan pilots as most of the Case White fighters were deployed to secure the dropships.
When the battle took full swing, the whole of the Word of Blake treachery was revealed. Even though almost all of the sleeper agents were apprehended and their deeds discovered, some escaped the vigilant eye of ROM and four warships were sabotaged as the fighting began. Two of these were destroyed as a measure of security by Word of Blake warships before the rest of the fleet could protect them. Other acts of sabotage were reported on several other ships, but because of the low number of sleeper agents remaining redundant systems were able to keep the ships in use, although not at full strength.
ComStar lost another two ships in the fighting that continued for most of the day. Three more had to be abandoned, although after the war were restored to full working order. On the other side the clanners managed to lose only one ship and that due to a suicide ramming action by one of the Word of Blake ships. Another two destroyers were abandoned, but were scuttled as a preemptive measure, probably, against spheroids claiming the wreck.
Fighter losses were high on all ends, although the clans true to their nature had the highest loss to kill ratio of the action. These losses were attributed to the fact that from all the dropships that were deployed 96% of them reached the surface and deployed their troops and from the remaining 4% only 2% were listed as KIA before contact with the ground was made.
As the ground forces intercepted their targets, the fighting continued well over three days across the surface of humanity’s cradle. At the end of the first day the remaining Word of Blake ships, after losing seven of their warships and an unaccounted number of support vessels made a high velocity escape towards a pirate point and departed uncontested. The leaders of the operation seemed to be wary about reinforcements from the Free World League, a known supporter of the Word of Blake and preferred to regroup. The clan forces remained on station until the planet was secured as promised.
At the end of the third day of fighting, even after the deployment of nuclear weapons on the sacred soil of our cradle, the Word of Blake, against their general philosophy issued a conditional surrender. They would stop the fighting if ComStar and the Star League forces would give them the opportunity to regroup their forces and depart. The surrender even stated that ComStar will be released by the Ares Articles and use orbital bombardment if any of the Word of Blake forces would deviate from the agreement.
More from a desire to spare the cradle of humanity from more fighting and nuclear weapons the task force leaders agreed on the terms. An action that in hindsight was not the best as current events (3088) can prove.
A New Beginning
The Word of Blake was gone, the clanners departed back to their occupation zones escorted by scout ships to assure that they had no hidden agenda and Terra, the birthplace of the entire human race was back in the hands of the righteous. Whole departments of the SLDF were reconstructed and their headquarters moved to Terra, the new seat of the Star League. Many mercenary outfits were hired to secure the planet while the main force of the Star League took opportunity of the devastation left in the wake of the war with the Word of Blake and took under control former planets of the Chaos March and planets given to the Star League by its members. This was also in an attempt to stall an eventual counterattack of the Word of Blake on Terra, avoid the possibility of a direct jump into Sol by enemy forces.
The high number of mercenary units on planet required the careful attention of the authorities and a way to manage them better. The undertaking to solve the problem gave birth to a new department in the SLDF, the Department of Mercenary Management.
SLDF: Department of Mercenary Management
The SLDF in an effort to apply control to the various Mercenary outfits across the Inner Sphere decided to set up a special department for the regulation of contracts and mercenary accountability. Thus was born the DMM, the Department of Mercenary Management.
Using the Alice Springs Castle Brian Complex constructed near the ruins of Alice Springs in Australia, the headquarters of the DMM were established. With housing for hundreds of Mercenary Units, the SLDF created a port of call for mercenaries to trade their services. The DMM handles all finance for contracts in the fashion of the old MRBC, thus all contracting has become more secure for both mercenary and employer. In return for these services Mercenary Units that joined the DMM were given board and lodgings along with SLDF provided maintenance and huge discounts on the costs of equipment.
The Star League Senate.
When Christian Månsdöttar's First Lord term ran out in 3067 he gave all non-military power to the bureaucrats, who were restructured into a provisional Senate led by Arthur Walker, who became the interim Presidential Senator. But there is no argument that the SLDF is the true power of the Star League, so Christian Månsdöttar along with the provisional Senate put forward the idea of a SLDF Triumvirate of three Commanding Generals that would have to agree on important decisions for the future actions of the SLDF.
That was well over 10 years ago, now the Senate forum is located in the metropolis of Norfolk on the East Coast of North America, the Senators and Presidential Senator are now elected officials of divisional regions divided up by population among Star League member nations. For a new SLDF Triumvirate member to be selected, the Senate makes a secret ballot on candidates selected by the remaining Triumvirate members, this allows for very limited corruption and some satisfaction for the general populous that the SLDF is under civilian control but without crippling the Triumvirate from making decisive decisions when needed and also preventing political puppets from rising up into the Triumvirate.