Legends and Myths Forty Seven- Alshain Trial begins…

The Bears Den training fields


0905 hrs 31 December3080

 As the Behemoth torso exploded in the catastrophic discharge of energy of a damaged gauss rifle, Leslie scanned the battlefield in front of her and noted the precarious nature of the Jade Falcon’s effort… and the in-danger defense of their side of things.

  The Falcons had descended on the Bear’s Den training area at first light and their composition had confirmed her clan ally’s thoughts on what they were going to do.  A full binary, comprised of a mix of first- and second-line machines, had confirmed to Tseng the beat up nature of the Jade Falcon overall forces.  She had pointed out before hostilities commenced that such a force would be unheard of in normal times.

 But these were hardly normal times.  Before her was the aforementioned Behemoth and a Vapor Eagle, two second line machines that were rarely seen in any front-line clan force…. Much less a Command Keshik. Joining them was the expected- a Vulture, Turkina and a Night Gyr. The surprises were the Huntsman and a pair of Black Lanner of two different models. Neither were common but still not expected. A Nova was present, the ubiquitous machine a threat to any mech on the field.  The weirdest Omni the Falcons were using was a Stooping Hawk, something she was not aware of them even having.

Faced off against them was her re-gunned Marauder II, the Clan Spec weapons so new that they might still have paint on the barrels. Kris was in her semi-adjusted Battlemaster, its primary weapon exchanged for a clan large pulse.  Maggie was in her Banshee and Shan was in her up-gunned Zeus. Joining them was the Loremaster in her personal Kodiak and then there was the Star Colonel.

 Lebowski had arrived just before the Falcons with a full star.  He was in his big Executioner, this time an A model. Accompanying him was a pair of Stormcrow Primes, a Timber Wolf and a large pulse equipped Adder.  All of the pilots accompanying him were veteran members of his Command… and according to him, they all recently picked up the Bird Hunting hobby.

 Leslie had smiled then, a smile that disappeared when the Falcons made their presence known and the battle was joined in earnest.

The ebb and flow shifted between the two sides, with the Allied troops scoring an early hit to the Vulture. The Falcon response was a few random stabs of violence at range, with Kris taking some early punishment.

  The Falcons paid for it when Lebowski and his Timberwolf star mate laid into the Vulture, dropping it cleanly with concentrated fire to the heavy Omni’s torsos and leg.  The punishment delivered crippled the machine and took it out of the fight before it could even really make its presence felt.

 Then both sides began to find their ranges… and the carnage began.

 The plan had been to keep the Lancer portion of the force back some, knowing the Falcons would be coming for them.  And the plan seemed to work for the most part.  Leslie and her sisters delivered a good deal of damage to the oncoming Falcons as Tseng maneuvered her Kodiak to block a flank.

 Over the course of the battle, Kris seemed to attract a large amount of attention. Granted, the Battlemaster she was piloting was a fearsome design and they were known for being dangerous in any condition… and the Falcons knew it.  That she was also the least experienced of the lance… did not help matters.

 Several times, she was forced to her knees or the ground from weapon strikes… and every time she got back up, the last time muttering across the com channel “I Get knocked down, I get up again…” in a sing-song voice.

 This last time though, the damage was proving to be a bit much for her machine.  As the Behemoth took its explosion, Leslie moved her machine forward some to draw some fire off of her friend. “Kris, fall back and guard Maggie’s rear.  That Vapor Eagle is looking to get at her.”

[Right…] Came her response. [I have alarm bells all over in here… and I’m half a monster.]

“That’s why I am suggesting you fall back,” Les replied. “Lebowski and his star are about to sweep their flank..” Turning her attention back towards the center of the battle, she triggered her weapons in the direction of the Turkina who was sitting in a stand of heavy trees as she moved forward between Kris and the bulk of the Falcons. “Get moving, I’ll cover you.”

 Watching her shots destroy trees and not much else, Leslie saw her target turn its weapons towards her and fire back…. The electric-blue ball of particle cannon energy streaking from the barrel of the Clan machine and right for her head assembly. “SHI-“

 The impact of the shot tore through the armor and structure almost like it wasn’t there.  In the maelstrom of destruction being caused by the hit, the safety protocols built into the modern battlemech kicked in and ejected her from the cockpit.  The very last thing she heard before the shock and abuse from ejection made her pass out was Maggie’s voice in her neuro-helmet earpiece.

[condenado halcón, cabron!!!]

Legends and Myths Forty Six – Alshain and an answer

Jade Falcon Occupation Zone Government Complex

Hammarr, Sudeten

14 December 3080

The reply message, with its counteroffer of Refusal had surprised the Falcons a little, knowing as they did that the Lancers understood some of their traditions; Khan Clees had actually expected it from the mercenary and when it was mentioned in the reply, she snorted in derision.  Like a Dezgra Mercenary would have any standing against her Clan, no matter the history, to request a damn thing… She should be honored to be fought over or even be given a chance to defend herself against a Falcon

 That the Ghost Bear Loremaster supported the notion AND tied the Grievance defense to the Mercenary’s Refusal counter challenge, well that caught her by complete surprise. That one who was known as a Traditionalist would support the mercenary challenge…. AND be part of their defense, their batchall… was both unheard of and preposterous.

  The kicker was the presence of the Not Named at the end of their reply. That one of the Criminals… would call them frauds, the Founder a Liar and dishonest… was of great insult to Khan Clees. The besmirchment of Nicolas Kerensky was almost execution level punishment as far as some of the older Falcon Warriors were concerned.  And many wanted to turn this into an all-out invasion to punish the Ghost Bears for having this…. Freebirth on their world, and for even allowing it a VOICE.


  When she regained her temper, Cleese mentally crafted a simple reply. One that spoke volumes and yet revealed nothing to ones such as they. She just needed to get a technician in to repair her office’s com-station screen. It seemed to have developed a rather final malfunction….

To Colonel McCormack and Loremaster Tseng

 The Jade Falcons accept your Batchall of your command group and the allyship of Loremaster Tseng in supporting you. As befitting this development, an element of my Command Cluster will be deploying to facilitate this trial in Suitable Fashion.

To the criminal Lore Keeper…  one who should not exist should keep their presence unknown lest it is decided said presence should be removed from existence. We are not Wolves therefore you should be worried.

The Trial Forces will arrive in the Alshain System by 29 December with the date of Adjudication on 31 December. A fitting end to the Year as an outstanding Account is paid in full.

I am Khan Samantha Clees of Jade Falcon, and this is my Word.

The Khan’s Residential compound

Northern Ydre Mountains


15 December 3080

  It had been decided by the Khan and her saKhan that the most secure place to lodge the guests might be the residence of the Khan. The Compound, a series of very squat structures that blended with the hillside overlooking the Oresund Sea, was a well-appointed affair, with many chambers for guest and others who would visit as part of various Ghost Bear Traditions. The Concept of Family was very important to the Clan and with the relocation to the Inner Sphere, the previous Khan had decided to host all feasts celebrating successful Clawings here as well as various other celebrations.

 And so, it was here that the entire Lancer Contingent was moved to. It was not like the residence could not hold them- the residence contains lodging space for up to forty guests though out the main two buildings.  Outbuildings could lodge about the same or more…

 Kabrinski had not had many opportunities over the last few years to truly host much, just three clawing rite celebrations and one retirement…. so, while a bother, it was a welcome one as the residence had been little more than a secondary office and place to sleep for too long.

 It was here that the Jade Falcon reply was received and viewed…. First by the Khan and then by the group of them.

 Star Colonel Lebowski had arrived that morning when the message came and was with the Khan when she played it.  And he was not amused by the implications of its contents. Not at all.

 Loremaster Tseng arrived along with Leslie and the SaKhan, deep in discussion when they entered. The rest of the Lancers were either sleeping in or in Kris’s case, enjoying the space to run the dogs. Security had been beefed up more than the standard, with the very fresh memory of the Clan Wolf watch effort at the forefront of minds.

  As her officers and the guest sat down in the various chairs within the compound office, Kabrinski spun her chair around to face them all. Tapping a key, she played the message for the new arrivals and when it ended, she spoke. “Leslie, your inclusion in this meeting is highly unusual but as this ‘nonsense’, as you put it, from the Jade Falcons involves you, if was wise to have you here. Especially,” she smiled, “since I have chosen to support your defensive efforts.”

  She tapped a key and a holo sprang up to the side, showing the schematics of an Inner Sphere Marauder II. A number of data points were listed along side of it in the holo, with various areas on the battlemech highlighted. “I am told by my master technician that your machine is fairly well maintained; in his words, whomever is the person who keeps it running should be given a promotion.”

 Leslie chuckled. “When I get home, I will recommend the promotion and tell him the compliments. Sergeant Graham does good work.”

 Kabrinski continued. “He has told me that his inclination to swap out your weapons will work well and allow for an increase in heat dissipation. Technician Rian noted that your machine, indeed all of your machines, are remarkably cool running.  Is this a standard for the Lancers?”

 Leslie hesitated in answering. While not a company secret, per-se, it was something that could be considered important. She elected to answer anyway… as it would be figured out the deeper her technical staff worked. “Yes. One of the standards the Lancers have for all of its battlemech is heat efficiency when possible.  If a unit’s heat exchange can avoid being over-worked, battlefield performance generally improves. Some units, it cannot be avoided, of course…. when possible, we use as efficient as we can in a given platform.  Or we find a way to bring its efficiency up if it has known issues.” She replied. “Some designs, like the Black Knight, will always have them. But, when possible, we strive to meet heat neutral as a standard. It can be maintenance hell as some solutions are not easy to implement… but in the long run, beneficial.”

 The Khan nodded. “I can see the benefits of that… and in some cases, I imagine combat efficiency rises substantially. Sound strategy…”

 “We try.”

 Kabrinski grinned. “Well, I bring this up as Rian was able to use the existing connections to the weapons on your machine and upgrade the weapons on your machine to our standards. I suspect it was something planned for your machine at some point as there was Clan-Standard harnesses in place already… so swapping Clan-Spec in was not difficult.”

 Leslie replied. “I believe I was in the que to receive weapon upgrades as it became available.  Out where we are, we do not face Clan opponents often, so such salvage is rare.  The harnesses being there… does not surprise me though.”

A nod. “In any case, your machine’s weapons have all been brought up to Ghost Bear standards. Your Executive’s machine… is proving to be somewhat difficult to check; while it is all clan-spec, the wiring appears to be a hodgepodge of standards.  The other two machines… should be ready. Warrant Tinney’s Battlemaster appears to be the most work; Rian indicated he was finding the weight for some protective electronics and installing an Anti-missile system as additional insurance. Ms. Farquharson’s Banshee is next to be adjusted…

  But I did not bring you here to go over your machines…. Though it is interesting to look over how your technicians have kept them running. What we need to do is go over the Trials and your defense,” She commented as the image of the Lancer machine disappeared. “While I am hesitant to have you go into battle with your own machines, I also know you know them the best… and knowing the limits of your platform is always a boon. SO I am not going to insist we provide you all Clan machines to pilot.

 What we do need to discuss is what Clees is sending to come for you.” Kabrinski finished. “There is a setup for perfidy in her reply…”

 Leslie nodded. “SO, I hear… An element of her command cluster can mean almost anything up to a Trinary… a play on words, as it were.” A pause. “For us, a command group is either a lance if a Company or a reinforced lance if Battalion formation. Colonel Tinney runs a full company, but they are the command company for the Regiment. I was unaware of the Clans using anything more than a Star or a Nova Star for such.”

 Lebowski answered. “The vast majority do not. A Galaxy might have a binary as part of a cluster be the overall command element but even that is rare. Usually only the Khan or saKhan will have one, called a Keshik. The Jade Falcons are not known for a Galaxy Commander to have one but considering how much a beating they have taken and their need to bolster their Touman’s experience, that they might have started such as a means to increase their list of command capable officers could be the case.  With Loremaster Tseng as part of your defense, you come to Star Size… so a star versus star would be appropriate.”

 Kabrinski added. “And considering she said ‘element,’ I am thinking that she has decided to stack the deck, so to speak. Her defense of using more than a star will likely be that as you are not clan, she was expecting something treacherous from you.  Or simply claim you had offered command versus command… and is sending her Keshik. Perfectly legal… though it is a nitpicking of words.” The Khan paused. “This could be an instance of reputation making things harder….”

A sigh escaped Leslie’s lips. “Could be,” she pondered. “I am not Tinney with his insufferable, to some, ability to turn near disaster into something that is not. That the rest of the Regiment seems to have that ability at times… well, I guess I should be honored that it’s expected of me?”

Lebowski chuckled. “There are worse things to be known for.”

“Don’t I know it,” was her retort. “Aletha, I know me and mine can handle an opposing Star of Omnis unless they are all hyper-focused on battlemech destruction.  Then its not so certain. With Laurie assisting us, those odds go up. If she is sending a binary at us, our odds go down substantially. I agreed to face their command group… and if it is a Keshik, this is going to be a mess.”

Lebowski spoke then. “It will be a mess, Leslie. However, you will not be outnumbered because of wording….” At her curious questioning glance, he continued. “You see… there are times when I serve as part of a Keshik for the Khan or whomever she deems to require a bodyguard…. And I am going to state plainly; I do not abide by this play on words they are doing. I do not abide by it at all.”

 A smile. “So… as you are participating in a Clan Ritual, perhaps you should field a Keshik of your own. Or at the very least, the Loremaster have bodyguards… even though this is a grievance too, the refusal comes first.”

 Laurie blinked and the saKhan laughed. “Oh, that is rich,” saKhan Ragnar Magnusson said. “Its somewhat of a nitpick but having the Loremaster show up to the field as part of your defense with half of a Keshik and herself being part of YOUR group, making you an ad hoc star… Oh there will be screams but I suppose there can be a means to make it fly in terms of traditions. I like it…”  He looked over at the Loremaster. “Considering she is part of the Remembrance, could the argument be put forth she is part of Ghost Bear?”

 Tseng furrowed her brow. “I am not sure…. Usually, it would be adoption after being a bondsman or on occasion due to some service, a person is rendered directly into the clan as an honor.” She stopped, realizing what was being asked. “No, it would be highly unusual… and we are already stretching things.”

 Kabrinski chuckled. “I don’t think we need to go that far.  I think due to her being an Ally, the concept of a Joint Command Binary will be sufficient reasoning… And not showing our hand for such would be wise.” She said and turned to Lebowski. “Your assignment is to pick a suitable star to assist in the refusal. Something to compliment what Leslie and her command staff are fielding. The entirety of the Guards is available for this purpose.”

Leslie blinked at the offer and was about so say something when Lebowski answered his Khan. “As you command, I will pick four others to join the effort that are appropriate. Should be no problem.”

Kabrinski narrowed her eyes at the Star Colonel. “I said pick a star.”

“And I will…,” He replied. “I am attempting to accomplish two things with my involvement; ensuring a good selection of talent and indulge a hobby you told me I needed to get.”

“And what hobby is that?” the Khan queried.

“Bird hunting.” Lebowski said with a straight face. “If you will pardon me… I need to get to work reviewing choices…. And as a compliment to our ally’s standards, everyone will be as efficient as possible. I agree with the Lancer philosophy… and I think I might be reviewing my own command after this to see if I cannot copy it.” He stood and bowed to his Khan. “By your leave…”

Kabrinski could only shake her head as the Star Colonel left. Returning her attentions to the rest of the guests in the room, they restarted the conversation with discussion on the upcoming Celebration and other places to visit on Alshain. There was plenty of time to discuss the Trial but right now, there was more pleasant business to discuss.

Legends and Myths Forty Five- Alshain developments

Tseng-Jorgenssen Nature Preserve



 The members of the Wolf Watch team had not expected the resistance from the staff of the facility they encountered. While the one member went for the labs where it was expected to find the Lancer officer, the other three men attempted to shut down and eliminate and potential interference. It didn’t go as expected.

 The staff at this facility was a mixture of Clan Ghost Bear science caste and natives of Alshain.  And the natives, with a long history of resistance to various invaders from before the Ghost Bears and after, fought back with a level of fury and skill quite unexpected.  Technical Staff assisted what security officers were on site with adhoc weapons like water sprayers and tools. In one instance, a janitor used a bottle of cleaner to catch an attacker in the face which blinded the Agent before another ran up to club him down.  Another, a medical technician, produced a large hypodermic full of sedative and stabbed another in the throat after hiding in a closet until the attacker went by.

  Overall, the twenty-something staff of the Facility managed to stop the attack but not without casualties.  Some fourteen members of the staff were injured and of them. Five of those would die from those injuries but their sacrifices were not in vain.

As the Security Forces responding swarmed the site about nine minutes after the alarm went out, they found the staff tending to their own as best they can, with the visiting mercenary doctor assisting the medical staff with treating the wounded.  One Elemental almost got bit by one of the doctor’s mastiffs, the doc calling off her beast when she saw the trooper come into the main foyer of the facility.

The lead trooper, Star Captain Kincaide, called out to the one security officer by the entrance for a report and he quickly explaining the events as he knew them.  Kincaide then called for additional medical transportation for the injured. He then went looking for Kris and Cassandra.

 Kris, for her part, assisted the other medical personnel to best of her ability.  She was not a human doc, but many techniques were similar… and she also had experience with dealing with combat injuries from back home.  As she exchanged gloves for what must have been the twentieth time, Kincaide and another Elemental approached her and Cassandra, who was helping her with her work.

 “Warrant Officer Tinney?” The Elemental officer asked, triggering his visor open as he spoke.

 “Yes?” She replied as she donned the new gloves. “Cassandra… hold that bandage in place please.  I don’t like the way its still bleeding. Should have stopped by now…”

The trooper waited for her to finish giving instruction then continued. “Ma’am… I have been given orders to get you out of here and back to Silverdale.”

Kris glanced at the trooper as she applied more wound-clot, the gunshot wound on the security man refusing to stop bleeding.  Her patient was still awake though very pale and being monitored by a veterinary technician who had some EMS experience. “That’s nice, Trooper… but I’m a touch busy.”

“Ma’am…” The elemental was unfazed. “My orders come from the Khan.”

“And?” was her retort as she fastened the new bandage in place. “Mine are from higher than her… Ok,   Janice, it starts bleeding again, do as I did, ok?” At the acknowledgement from the tech, Kris turned her full attention to the Trooper as more sirens could be heard in the distance. “Sorry… but patient care comes first for me.”

 Kincaide looked to Cassandra, who he recognized then back to Kris. “Ma’am, I understand but I have my orders to get you out of here.”

 Before Kris could retort, her Elemental guard spoke up. “Kincaide, as soon as the transports get here and the injured are moved out, we will go.  I happen to agree with her- the situation is stable at this time and the wounded need tending.  Warrant Officer Tinney is the only one among the functioning staff who knows Human medicine and has worked a mass casualty event created by combat.  She is needed until proper personnel are here,” Cassandra said as she too exchanged gloves as her charge had done. “Which should be shortly. We will need to assist getting the injured out.  The attackers came here armed and were obviously attempting to kidnap her… Only one had non-lethal means.”

 Kincaide’s eyes narrowed. “Impetuous… of them.” Was his reply after a moment. “And there will be repercussions for this insult once the Khan is made aware of those facts. Ma’am, once the wounded are loaded, we are leaving with you and the Star Captain. No agruments”

Kris breathed out. “Agreed…” The sirens quit as the medical transports arrived.  “Many are able to walk; a few will need stretchers.”

 Kincaide nodded. “Understood.”


Ghost Bear Dominion Government Complex

Silverdale, Alshain


  Kris and Cassandra entered the Khan’s office with the dogs and found the rest of her companions there with the Khan and Loremaster Tseng.  The two were a mess, with various amounts of dried blood on them, as well as on both dogs.  “Hi,” Kris said. “Um, I can explain…” She waved a hand at her disheveled state.

  Leslie and Kabrinski looked at each other then at her.  Kabrinski spoke first. “I am aware of what you were doing there- I was given a report by Star Captain Kincaide and a corroborating report from the head of the Facility.”

 Leslie added. “I was informed when she was, Kris.  Are YOU ok?”

 “I am,” Kris replied. “Its been a hot minute since I had to work a triage… I need a drink.” She looked around for a seat she would not ruin with sitting on it in her messy state.

 Kabrinki merely motioned to her to sit anywhere. “Do not worry; I have a very good cleaning staff.” She said as Tseng went to the beverage cabinet that was in here for private meetings. “I can only thank you for your efforts, Kristina.  I am ashamed this happened as you are guests.”

“Its not like you were expecting this, Khan Kabrinski. Kidnapping attempts are not exactly predictable,” She replied as Maggie brought over a beverage handed to her by Tseng. Kris accepted it from her friend. “I hesitate to ask what other madness is going to happen with us here.”

 Leslie looked at the Khan again who sighed. “Funny you should ask that…” The Khan said. “We have received a communication from our erstwhile some-time opponents the Jade Falcons.” Reaching out to a panel on her desk, she hit a couple of buttons.

On the end of the office, a holo appeared with the symbol of Clan Jade Falcon in the center.  The image of a very stern-looking brown-haired woman appeared shortly thereafter and she began to speak.

 “I am Samantha Cleese, Khan of Jade Falcon, heirs to the True Vison of Kerensky.  I request Safcon for the purpose of overseeing a Trial of Possession of the dezgra Mercenary known as Lieutenant Colonel Leslie McCormack of the Phoenix Lancers for judgement in regards to Crimes against The Vision and Traditions of Nicolas Kerensky, founder of the Clans.

  We request to face her on the field of battle to avenge losses suffered by My Clan during Operation Revival at the hands of her Organization. When defeated, she will be taken into custody for Trial on Sudenten where punishment will be meted out.

 We also request a Grievance against Loremaster Laurie Tseng, for advancing the insult to the Way of the Clans. In her position of Loremaster, she should not have even entertained the assertions of a Mercenary over The Way of the Clans.

 Arrival of our contingent is estimated to be by noon of 20 December 3080.

 Refusal to agree to this request will be seen as an insult and Ghost Bear will be considered to be harboring individuals we regard as Criminals. Repercussions for such an Act will be appropriate for such actions.

I await a response via Hyper Pulse Message within forty-eight hours…. And Bid will be matched as appropriate.  If no answer is forthcoming, our next communication will be more direct.”

The message ended with the Falcon symbol.

  Kris stared. “Of all the bullshit reasonings….” She started to say, the two dogs bristling at her initial anger then stopped, looking over at Leslie and then Kabrinski. “Is this even a thing?” Both dogs moved to sit next to her and Kris put a hand on both of  them, her drink now resting on a table.

 Kabrinski held out a hand and Tseng put a glass of beverage there. “Unfortunately, while highly unusual, it is more or less a legitimate request.  Colonel McCormack and I discussed this a good bit while we awaited your return. And while rather circumspect, it passes our Traditions well enough.  That they are even offering to allow you to defend themselves is unusual. But given they seem to have a…. bone… to pick with your Unit, I suppose they think they will be able to address those losses from back then.”

 Leslie picked up where the Khan left off. “From what I remember of what she speaks of where the Lancers are concerned, it involves two challenges the previous commander made against them during the original Invasion,” she said.  “Colonel Kalan Jammack had managed to figure out the dueling rules, the concept of Zellbringen, that was tradition for the Clans then.  And used them against the Falcons.  First was a solo battle between Jammack and a Galaxy Commander, with Jammack managing to defeat the Commander of that Galaxy. They tried again about a week or so later and their attack was met with Challenge again. This time it was Commander versus Commander with their respective star or lance, in a battle for control of the world. Same Galaxy, if I recall… and the Falcons lost that one too.

  Then more insult to injury when the Wolves attacked the planet about a week later after they found out about the Falcons losses.  By then, I believe, the Lancers were retreating off world as there was no way for us to stop a second attempt. The Wolf Commander let them leave…”

 Shan, who had been quiet, spoke up then. “I’m with Kris… this is bullshit.  And if the Birdies want to play stupid games, they should get a stupid prize… I mean, what’s done is done and if they are all butt-hurt over shit that happened decades ago, that’s THEIR problem.”

Maggie commented quietly. “Shan… I get their anger.  You never listened to Sean talk about the Jacobite rebellions in Scotland on Terra.  I have… and the Highlanders of Northwind still speak on it as if it was only last year, hating on the English even though they have not been on Terra for centuries…” the woman said. “And that was over a thousand, thirteen hundred years ago. Doesn’t make it right but traditions are what they are and memories long.  Especially with a clan-based society. No offense…” she added for the Ghost Bear benefit.

 Tseng nodded. “None taken, Margaret.”

 Kabrinski pounded the drink in her hand then looked at the Lancers in her Office. “It would seem I have a decision to make here but unlike many, it is not as difficult as it may seem.  As it now involves my Loremaster, I am having a stake in this.” She spoke. “I am told you also brought your battlemechs as cargo with you?”

 Leslie nodded. “We did.  I made the decision as if your world was attacked while we were here, we would not sit on the sidelines.  That would be rude.”

The Khan exchanged a look with Tseng then returned her attention to the Lancers. “I see… and your willingness to fight on our behalf shows your honor.  I must agree to this request; while the Dominion could resist their efforts, we are still rebuilding from losses incurred during the Jihad.  It would set us back some were the Falcons to launch a full assault on our holdings.” She paused. “If you are going to honor their request, I would like to ensure that your machines are fully operational for the Trials.”

Tseng added. “As I am also named, I think adding myself to your Defense might throw them off some.  I suspect they might expect me to fight Alone in a Grievance… Perhaps making MY Trial a part of yours will mess with their plans.  They are a hide-bound Clan and an unexpected variable may be an advantage.” She smiled. “If nothing else, I did pay attention to your unit’s history and the lessons within.”

 Leslie blinked. “The offer is welcomed, and I trust your Technicians will perform brilliant work on our battlemechs.  Some of the weapon systems are salvaged Clan equipment and having them examined by those used to it will be a good plan.”

 “Then a reply will be crafted and sent” Kabrinski replied with a grim tone. “I do NOT like having my guests threatened… but I am in theory not part of the Trials. We will be ready for treachery on their part though- I suspect something back-handed on their part because this is all highly unusual. And I think I know a suitable reply.  I suspect they won’t like the counters…”

 She looked at the Lorekeeper of Wolverine and a slow smile began to appear on the Khan’s face.  “And I think an additional Insult should be sent too.  Don’t worry, Lieutenant. I think your addition to the message will really cause them to overthink, or not think, which is the goal.  Fighting in anger often means fighting stupid.  And that can lead to loss… I think the reply will help make them mad enough to fight stupid…”


 The return message was sent about six hours later.

 It began with the symbol of the Lancers, the Phoenix Rampant with lances clutched in claws.  It faded out to show Leslie clad in her Dress Uniform, a Ghost Bear Remembrance Award upon her right breast.

“Khan Cleese, I am Lieutenant Colonel Leslie McCormack of the Phoenix Lancers and I am answering your Challenge with one of my own….

  I will defend myself against the nonsense you put forth as Allegations with regard to denying Historical Facts.  Myself and my Command Lance will face whatever you choose to send to attempt to take possession of my person in a Trial of Refusal… because I REFUSE to be considered a mere prize to be fought over in this manner. If your Clan wants me, you shall have to fight me and my companions.  Be advised, I am no easy Foe to face and I do not Fight Alone; thus I will not go Quietly.”

The image shifted and Loremaster Tseng appeared within it, clad in her Ceremonial Uniform. The older woman’s features were a mask of stark anger and the tone of her voice reinforced this notion.

“I am Loremaster Laurie Tseng of Clan Ghost Bear.  I am answering the insult to my Position as a Guardian of Ghost Bear Traditions and Honor… and I am choosing to tie your Demand of Grievance to the Trial of Refusal that Lieutenant Colonel McCormack offers in rebuttal.  They are our guests and your attempts to take them for a nonsense reason is of Grave Insult to me and to the Honor of the Ghost Bear.

  This insult to our Clan’s Tradition of Hospitality will be answered for by those coming to seek to take MY guest. Thus I am tying my Grievance over this blatant misuse of Traditions to their Trial.

 Clan Ghost Bear refuses to let them fight alone.

  Whomever comes for Her will also be facing Me as part of reinforcement to their Batchall.  Choose wisely who you send for I will fight on her behalf as does the Ghost Bear in defense of those claimed as Family. Be Wary and Be warned…  You are courting disaster with your actions… and I assure you, it will come for whom you send to try for those in our Home.”

Tseng faded from view to be replaced by Shari Hallis in her Dress Uniform, the patches that showed her affiliation clear as the sun. 

“I am Shari Hallis, a Lorekeeper of Wolverine….  I am to be witness to the Trials that have been asked for and the parameters proposed.  History is history… one can deny it at their peril for the truth, the facts… are what they are. Hiding from them only disgraces those who choose to ignore the truths of the past.

And that past is bloody.

 What happened two hundred fifty-five years ago occurred because of lies and hubris of the one you hold as Saintly. Dishonorable Actions put forth by a petty, jealous man over the success of those he could not control, a Clan Leader who he could not cow…. Then later copied.

 Your assertions of his Infallibility are flawed and your reasons for pursuing this course of action equally imperfect… History will ultimately Judge your Clan when the time comes, as it always does.  Even your own Loremaster will not refute that.

May you be prepared for the future you are creating here… for it will not be kind.

I am Shari Hallis of Wolverine…. And I, along with the Universe, will be watching.   

The message ended with the symbols of the Lancers and Ghost Bear side by side, while the symbol of Wolverine sat below them. After five seconds, the message faded out.