Ghost Bear Dominion Executive Offices
31 December, 3079
The voices emanating from the conference room of the Khan were several and quite loud. For the last hour, Khan Kabrinski had been having a discussion with her saKhan Ragnar Magnusson and her Loremaster Laurie Tseng along with a few other senior Galaxy Commanders over the reports of strange settlers showing up in Federated Suns space.
To say that many in the room wanted to pursue the rumor of the strange settlers being of the Not Named, the potential to actually have enough to go after them… was a limiting factor. The Khan, while wanting to immediately go after them with everything, was cautioned against it by both the Loremaster and the saKhan. Various Commanders voiced support for the Khan but several also offered caution- If they were to go to this planet where they settled, it would almost be a suicide run.
One commander had cautioned the problem that it could cause- he had fought alongside and against the planet’s forces over the years… and knew how good they were.
The discussion raged back and forth, with the Loremaster strangely silent. When she did speak, it was with measured words…
“My Kahn, traditions hold true and, in many cases and times, should be kept and followed. I will say this… saKhan Magnussen has a very valid point- does pursuit of the Not Named override our own security and the welfare of our people or are we to doom those who look to us for security to being preyed upon by the Falcons, the Wolves or the Horses? If we send too much, there is only so much that our Touman can face, even with the Kungsarmie a part of it.
She paused, knowing the grief she was about to receive for this revelation… but the words of Ragnar had made her think. And perhaps, some sense was to be had. It had been two centuries. “My Khan, the Remembrance entries detailing their crimes… are not accurate. And its not only ours that is flawed.”
The silence that descended on the room was epic. And it was only broken by the Khan’s growled order. “Explain yourself.”
Tseng closed her eyes for a few seconds. She needed to explain her thoughts and why she had them… in a way that would not get her removed. Or dead. “My Khan… it begins with a conversation I had with those very mercenaries that are host to the Potential Not Named.
Many years ago, I had opportunity to meet some of the researchers going through the records on Strana Mechty and on Huntress. Second Star League researchers and some of them were from this Mercenary Force. I managed to befriend on of them, a Captain McCormack, who was digging into what data we had on old League facilities within the Inner Sphere. She was a very pleasant person to speak with and quite knowledgeable on a great many things, as well as an accomplished Mech pilot.
Her queries into certain subjects were… of a touchy nature, which was why I had reason to meet her. I was able to help her with some of her searches and direct her in other directions away from others she should not see.
One of the subjects was that of the Not Named… or information pertaining to their original designation. We as loremasters know there should not be anything there… but flags are flags and must be addressed.
I am certain she knew I was steering her away from some items… for her safety as well as any others with her. In any event, she didn’t seem to be bothered by this, for whatever reason. I would learn later, she was pretty thorough as a researcher and despite my efforts, had managed to gain some of what she sought.
When I ran into her again, it was on Galatea as she was there for the last meeting before Stone’s Operation Scour began. There, she and I talked about a great many subjects, including the various differences in the various Clan Remembrances… We were in private when the subject of the Not Named came up… and her informing me the reasons all the Clans targeted the Not Named were faulty.
I protested this assertion… but when I calmed down some, she laid out everything she had found within various clan versions of the remembrances that were STILL there… and of her discussion with Khan Ward of the Exiles.”
The Khan held up a hand as some of the senior galaxy commanders began to grumble. “Silence…” her voice was still sharp and still full of menace. “I will hear the rest of this story… especially as it pertains to OUR Remembrance.” When the others quieted down, she looked at her Loremaster. “Continue.”
“My Khan…” Tseng continued. “She had apparently spoke with Khan Ward; as she said, she had known him when he was a baby and had maintained contact with him over the years, having been a family friend. He had mentioned to her during one of their talks about having seen the personal Diaries of the Founder… and the revelations within, especially as it pertained to the history of the Defense Forces, the foundation of the Clans… and the reasons for the Annihilation of the Not Named Clans.”
Tseng shook her head. “Those reasons… It was personal. The Khan of the Not Named was allowing many social thing, reforms… that ilKhan Nicholas did not approve of… and what was worse in his mind, that some of the internal reforms being done within that Clan were working and partial reasons as to how was they were being more successful than other clans- to include his own. And it did not sit well with him… especially as that Clan’s Khan refused to bend to him… to give up authority over her Clan and its direction, as so many others did at the time- even us.”
The Khan listened. “What about the nuclear strike at the Snow Ravens?” Kabrinski, like all who rose to the rank she had, knew the Remembrance pretty darn well… and all who were Ghost Bear Warriors took an oath to pursue those of the Not Named… What her Loremaster was now saying… was it may not be for reasons truly valid. Though there was one thing that was… or so she thought at least.
Tseng held up her hands, palms up. “My Khan… I had opportunities to speak with Khan Ward while at that conference. And according to him, it was an accident. The other nuclear blast, the first one… was because of perfidy of the Khan of Widowmaker.”
“Wait, what?” saKhan Magnussen spoke at last. “How did you get permission to see him? Who…”
Tseng nodded. “The Mercenary who knew him as a child? She introduced us… and no, he was NOT happy about her mentioning those contents to me. But when she explained the WHY she had and the help I had supposedly given her back in Clan Space… he agreed to discuss the contents of that diary.
My Khans, this is not going to make anyone in this room happy… but a great many things laid at the feet of the Not Named, spoken of in our Remembrance and others… were engineered by the ilKhan and allies. According to Khan Ward, Nicolas did express regret for what he did not long after it was considered finished. And many of the caste reforms he had instituted much later, well, many of them were things he was AGAINST the Not Named Khan doing and used as reasons for setting up the Not Named to be Annihilated.”
Silence reigned within the room at this time… and after the very pregnant pause, the Khan spoke. “And the destruction of two generations of our warriors?”
Tseng swallowed. “One could say it was vengeance of one against that who helped kill his Clan; especially for all he may have known, no one had escaped. Vengeance for what was done to his clan that were for reasons he likely knew were faulty, It is not like he would have had any say in correcting anyone. But we are told from the moment we are able to understand that to be of the Clans is to be willing to fight and we are told we fight until beaten. That science-caste member… did what he did as a final act of vengeance for a Dead Clan, because of the manufactured hatred of all things Not Named Clan or related to it..
And my Khan… I can honestly say, after learning of all this hidden history, my opinions on a great many things have changed. Some just a little, some quite a bit. And I confess, I might have done the same as that science caste, were I in his position. As horrific as it was for us, I do find I understand why it was done.
“And we were party to the destruction of a Clan at the behest of those who are NOT our allies. And this is to our shame. Perhaps Star Captain Amon was more right in his thinking than we realized, questions of Honor be damned… The Wolves should have been able to do the job themselves. That their inability to do the job THEY wanted…. and their questioning OUR honor…
No, in light of the truth behind what happened, there is no atonement for our part in all this. None!” That Tseng, an accomplished Mechwarrior herself and one of the more honorable warriors within the Touman (one of the reasons for her to become Loremaster) was saying such words, was strong stuff. That her voice had risen as she spoke that last, was not her usual way of speaking. It was plain that she felt great insult over this history.
And this was not lost on ANYONE in the room.
Khan Kabrinski was quiet. Her Loremaster had given her and her senior Commanders food for thought. Food for a large amount of thought… and the revelations given by her Loremaster were not sitting all that well. But when something you were taught since a babe in the Sibko might be a bit of Grand Bullshit, that it would not sit well was, well, a given.
But the Ghost Bears were not rash actors. History had taught them that rash acts have high tendency to blow up in one’s face… and that lesson had been taught more than once over the years. Any decision to pursue this thread would be pondered and pondered hard.
“Loremaster…” The Khan began, her voice containing no menace. “You have given much to think on but before I continue, do you believe the words of the Exile and that Mercenary?”
Tseng nodded. “My Khan, I do. Khan Ward was not raised among us so does not have the bias any of us raised on the Home Worlds would have on this subject. He knows how much a huge thing it would be, were it to get out. That the Wolves never revealed it and every one of their Khans has access to the same books… may be testament to their shame in all of it and that maybe some secrets should be left hidden, at least then. So… I do believe him and the assertions of the Mercenary. We, as in the Clans, were lied to by our Founder and the proof is in his own diary.”
A pause. “There is irony in that Widowmaker and their treachery was eventually repaid. Given this conversation I had with the Exiles Khan, it made me rethink my understanding of ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky’s death. I think the ilKhan was killed deliberately… but there is no proving it now, some two hundred years later. No evidence… unlike the decision to order the destruction of the Not Named.”
saKhan Magnussen looked to his Khan. “My Khan… perhaps there is opportunity to redress this wrong. Too much has happened and too much time passed to reverse the damages done. But perhaps, there is a way to find an honorable resolution to this… in light of the great dishonors unleashed then. And perhaps, since. I sincerely doubt anyone knew of the Science Caste member’s plan…”
Kabrinski sighed. “You are right, both of you… and I will render a decision in the morning. I have some reading to do… most notably, the records and notes of Khan Sandra Tseng.” Looking over to the Commanders who had been sitting quietly (for the most part) since the order to shut up, the Khan looked at one specific officer. “Star Colonel Lebowski…”
Lebowski looked up from his com unit. “My Khan…” The Rasalhague native answered. A fairly well built warrior, he always looked comfortable no matter what he wore and slightly unkempt. A popular commander, he was known for being cool headed and going with the flow in the face of difficulties, be it in combat or politics. It helped he was a good mechwarrior, as many tried (and failed) to get under his skin and make him get mad. “At your Command…”
“You will be in charge of what ever the response will be… Please get your command ready for travel.”
A bow. “Yes, ma’am,” He replied.
To everyone else in the room, the Khan ordered them out. “Dismissed… and that goes for everyone. I need to think and to read. I will let you know my decision in the morning at the earliest.”