The following three months after the meeting with the Ghost Bears was a busy time. The Gift of equipment and parts, over five hundred tons of it, was immediately stockpiled and the technicians began to plot out upgrades to the various surviving machines within the Touman.
Representatives from the Snow Raven Alliance arrived about a month after the Ghost Bears departure. Rather than be a fight, it was an honest to god peace delegation and an unusual one. The Bears had sent a courier to Snow Raven Capital and told the Khan of Snow Raven, Lynn McKenna, of their plans, as well as what *they* had found within the oldest writings of both Loremaster and Khan.
Khan McKenna had her Loremaster do digging within the ancient journals of the Clan founders upon the recommendation of the Ghost Bears… and the discoveries within were no less than what the Bears had found within theirs. Found within were similar writings of regret and uncertainty where the Wolverines were concerned… as well as an admission of what had happened to Dehra Dun. This was earth-shattering information… and being the astute individual that she was (one did not survive being as short as she was in a group of giants that most Clans-men and women were), Lynn McKenna made the decision to address the ancient regrets found within Clan Founder Joyce Merrill’s writings among other discrepancies between Khan Stephan McKenna’s journal and Official Clan History.
It was these discrepancies that helped this Khan McKenna make the decision to both believe the Bears…. And make a bold statement of her own. As such, Khan McKenna took one of the Fleet Star flagships, the Cameron Class CSR Kerensky’s Hope, along with two other ships, and made her way to the Centaurus System. That she did so without knowing of how the Ghost Bears fared… was even more impressive.
Once there and after a semi-tense standoff between the Wolverine Flagship and her ships, Khan McKenna journeyed to Centaurus at the invitation of both Hollister and Tinney. Once in orbit, she landed directly at the Outpost Castle where she was hosted by the Wolverine Command along with Governor Sodher-Schaller. Many discussions of history were had, the group joined by both Colonel McCormack and Tinney’s spouse Kristina, on what was known of the events back then, what was guessed at… and the revelations of what Kristina had learned on her interaction with a certain spirit (once the concept of such was known not to be that odd to the Snow Raven Khan). There was decidedly interesting reactions all around on all the information.
When Khan McKenna left at the end of a week, it was with a freshly inked Non Aggression Treaty, a copy of the Wolverine Remembrance (now considered to be more accurate than established Clan version for a certain time period) and a general Invitation to conduct Wargames come the future. After all, they were neighbors of a sort… so working together was a smart choice. Good results for all concerned, to be sure… but it was this discussion on history that opened up other thoughts.
It was the question of Barbados that came up within the Wolverine Hierarchy during the week of talks. It had been the site of the last Battle between the Clan and their pursuers during the Annihilation and it held significance to their history. In addition, the graves there as well as what remaining salvage there was to be had from the abandoned wrecks. The debate was that the remains of those who fell should either be properly marked… or dis-interred and moved to the new home of the Clan on Centaurus.
That the Clans had never visited there since that battle was known- no evidence had been discovered of any return there by any Home Clan and the Snow Ravens had about the best records of naval navigation among all the clans. The occasional wandering ship had been seen over the years Hollister’s ancestors visited the planet, usually a bandit caste or something from the Inner Sphere- evidence of the (unknown to them) Comstar Explorer Corps mission was the last known landing by anything other than Wolverines- but nothing truly related to the Clans.
The internal debate among the Wolverine Elders was present and strong; both arguments (for getting and for leaving them there with proper markings) were valid. It was when Tinney was present at a Clan Council meeting that he learned of the debate… and tossed out the idea of setting up an outpost. This sort of upset everyone… until Hollister pointed out that it had some merit. Historically, as per their own ship records, the planet Barbados had been a rest stop for the Original Exodus as well as the fateful stop for their Clan’s own departure. There was a certain appropriateness to using the location as either a colony or even a remote outpost base. The latter idea had the better merit…
If they used it, there really was nothing stopping the Clans from eventually coming that direction too. The Snow Ravens had done so with their relocation to the Outworlds Alliance, after all. Though they didn’t know the significance of the site- it had been a recharge point, it had meant nothing more to them. However, nothing said the remaining home clans would not use the same means to either come after them, the Snow Ravens (they were an abjured clan, after all) or to launch a side strike at other Inner Sphere targets.
Quickly, an idea was sketched out and after decisions made, the effort set up something there began.
It was quickly learned by Hollister and his folks that the Lancers Engineers were very adept at planning expeditionary bases. With all the practice they had during Bulldog and in the fight to reclaim their world, the unit’s operational plans were quite updated and assets available in various supply stations all over the world.
By the end of July, the Barbados Expedition was loaded up on various dropships and once connected to Jump ships, the six-ship flotilla (3 warships, 3 jump ships) began their burn for the jump point out. Contained within the various drop ships was a substantial force- the Regimental Command Company (with attached Recon Demi-Company), the Second Mech Battalion, a mixed force of Armor, infantry and Battle Armor from the Lancers plus two companies of Wolverine mechs. This comprised half the dropships. The other half was the Engineer vehicles, equipment and supplies- enough for everyone for eight months on non-supplemented rations. With local foraging, if the records of the place were still accurate, the eight months could be stretched up to three times that or more. They were ready for the long haul.
Hollister was in command of the Expedition, as it was a Wolverine graveyard (so to speak) they were going to. Tinney coming on this expedition along with the level of Lancer troops was for two reasons… first was the significance of where they were going. It was a huge deal, both for the history of the place and for its importance to the Wolverines. He wanted to be there to help- his own experience at running reclamation ops was going to be needed as Hollister’s folks didn’t have the knowledge for it outside of manuals.
The second reason… if there was a hostile surprise there, the firepower at his disposal would be vital to helping Hollister and his folks. Tinney knew things were going too well as of late and he was going to stack the deck a bit. It was why he insisted on three warships instead of one- should something really serious be encountered, having the firepower would be very important.
One of these days, Tinney was going to realize his habit of stacking a deck last second was really a precognitive thing. Because, as events would prove, he was right about the clans eventually using the Exodus Road as a back door.
Right around the start of the year, the Home Clans heard of the Return of Wolverine… and the uproar among them was substantial and yet, as disjointed as anything could be among them. The chaos of the Wars of Reaving and subsequent absorptions with the resulting squabbling (for lack of a better word) made any sort of proper unified response next to impossible.
It was not all the clans, however, that were at odds with anything and everything though. Some did play a waiting game and maneuvered to avoid pitfalls of the time… and gain some needed expansion as well as respite. Using the impending departure of Goliath Scorpion as an additional cover, Cloud Cobra’s Khan launched the idea of creating a new clan out of some of their touman, much like the Star Adder’s did with Stone Lion. The difference would be that the clan created would be that of an old name, Clan Mongoose.
The Adders would support this idea of their ally, with providing both political and material support for this attempt- mostly those former Jaguars gained during that clan’s destruction/holdings absorptions along with providing the appropriate mechs of both Omni and Second Line. All of the machines were equipment they either did not want (Second Line) or older Omnis just deemed excess. Along with the donated gear went the last Mongoose Warship, the Du Shi Wang class battleship, the Quicksilver Mongoose. Also handed to them from the mothballed fleets were a pair of old Essex classes and a Congress class.
Given the two clans were the largest among the Home Clans, the remaining clans did not oppose the idea and even though the new clan would be viewed as something of a pawn of Cloud Cobra, the creation of the new clan with their assets would only potentially weaken it. This was agreeable to the remaining Home clans- it meant less direct resistance should any of them fight the Cloud Cobras or Star Adders over various holdings in the future. In addition, the new clan would not be all that big to deal with if needed, now would it?
And thus, Clan Mongoose was re-born. Given a world from which to base their new clan on, the new clan’s first quest for respect, as it were, was to follow the now reconstructed Exodus Road route towards the holdings of Snow Raven and the now-rediscovered Wolverines… and teach both a lesson. No one escapes the fury of the True Clans. Not the Tainted of the Invading Clans… nor those survivors among the Not Named.
The reborn Mongoose elected to target the Wolverines first- planning to finish the job started two and a half centuries ago… and use it to springboard after the Snow Ravens. The rest of the Inner Sphere Clans… would get their due “rewards” eventually, or so both home Clans indicated, once Mongoose had blooded itself and strengthened the skill of their warriors. With four warships, the new clan should have more than enough firepower to deal with the remaining Wolverines. After all, there should not be that many of them… and there was no dezgra Mercenary outside of the hated Wolf’s Dragoons who could stand against them.
The Eridani Light Horse were among a few exceptions- but even those descendants of the Star League Defense Force were no match for a Proper Clan Warrior.
By March of 3080, the new clan dispatched the mostly refurbished Quicksilver Mongoose and the two Essex ships, the Louis and the McGrath. The Congress class remained above their new home world as security. Two transport jump ships went with the warships, the Union C dropships loaded with the bulk of the new clan’s forces and a pair of Mules with proper supplies. All the jump ships had Lithium-Fusion batteries, which would cut travel time immensely.
It was going to be a long journey… but one worth making for the expected Glory.
Barbados, Gamma 1551 System
30 October, 3080
The Combined Expedition had landed about a week ago and located a suitable area for the outpost. The beauty of modern construction was the rapidity of setting up a solid camp which quickly upgraded to a large outpost. The facility was capable of supporting up to a battalion of combined arms and with landing zones nearby the entire area was suitable for the large group of forces now here.
Colonel Tinney stood near the Fortress dropship Corregidor that served as the temporary command structure as work proceeded on the camp. Recon teams were out and about, scouting areas of known wreckage by using the surveys done by Hollister’s people many years prior. It was rough going, as many places were quite over-grown and time had a way of helping the land to hide things. Looking out over the terrain from the slight rise above the camp, he was pleased with the pace of operations… and how well things were going. Being an old soldier though, their luck in all this was not going to last forever.
And it didn’t.
His com chirped. Answering it, he continued to look around the area. “Tinney”
[Sir, message from the State of Grace; unidentified ships have just entered the system and appear to be heading for the planet. Six ships total… three appear to be warships. Grace is attempting to identify.]
SHIT. “Hollister know?” He said quickly.
[Sir yessir,] came the reply. [He’s already on his way to the new Camp operations center; he asked to make sure you were notified.]
“Outstanding. Maintain the watch and standby for most anything. Three Jump-ships could be lots of trouble.” He said. “I’ll contact Hollister.”
Killing the connection, he called the Wolverine Khan.
“Its John,” he began. “Just got word… any guesses?”
[Clan I am ninety percent sure…] Hollister replied. [The Word of Blake is doubtful… but you never know, as you have said.] he corrected his assertion even as he said it. [I am ordering all personnel on ground to be ready for action; the Mustafa reports all systems are green. State of Grace and Denali are running flank screen… Callihan stated if they are warships, they will be taught a lesson.]
A laugh. “Of that I have no doubt,” He chuckled. “Let me go get in my mech, John. I have a feeling this will come to shooting soon enough.”
Hollister was quiet for a hot second. [You had a feeling, did you not?]
“Absolutely… things were going TOO well for my tastes. Had to be a wrinkle somewhere.”
“Nope,” he replied as he headed up the Fortress ramp, the various troops and crew now scrambling about. “Just experience talking, John. I’ve had one to many perfect situations go to shit for no good reason… They worked out, sure… but far too often, a wrench gets tossed in the gears somewhere if things are going THAT smooth. At any rate… My company will be ready- where you want us?”
A pause. [East side. My Charlie battle company will have the south if they come that direction- Captain Whitfield is a sound tactician; honor graduate from first Tactica School your instructors ran back in January. Two of your Second Battalion companies will have the other two sides. The rest will be mobile reserve.]
“Good plan. Leaves the conventional troops for base defense… I like it.” Tinney commented. “And I remember Whitfield. Got his nose bloody with Hartman’s dirty trick but pulled it out in the end. For what its worth, I have faith in him.”
[I will pass that along,” Hollister said. [Hollister out.]