|Affiliation|| Lyran Commonwealth|
Free Star Republic
After the conclusion of the Clan Invasion Field Marshal Brandal Gareth would feel that the Federated Commonwealth was crumbling. He has taken Daniel Brewer, scion of House Brewer and heir to the Duchy controlling Hesperus II, under his wing since the boy was twelve years old, has gained his trust and has begun isolating him from his family, arranging a few convenient deaths in the process. With Daniel now holding the title of Duke, Gareth is the de-facto ruler of Hesperus II and has set plans in motion with his co-conspirators to carve his own empire out of the Lyran Commonwealth portion of the Federated Commonwealth—a plan called Operation Excalibur. The Gray Death Legion, fanatically loyal to House Steiner and granted a landhold on Glengarry, stands in the way of his plans and that is why he set up the Legion for failure in their contract on Caledonia—leading the Legion to side with the rebels on Caledonia and defeating Gareth's Third Davion Guards in the process, while Grayson Carlyle himself was heavily wounded in an assassination attempt (the events from the earlier novel, Tactics of Duty).
Using the events on Caledonia as a pretext, Gareth moves strong forces under his command against the Legion remnant on Glengarry and demands their surrender. However, Lori Kalmar-Carlyle mounts an effective defense and sends a message to the Legion's third battalion at Caledonia. Realizing that they have been set up and that their landhold is endangered, Davis McCall and Alexander Carlyle move third battalion (with the wounded Grayson Carlyle in cryostasis) back in all haste, enlisting the free trader Caliban to quickly bring them to a pirate jump point in the Glengarry system. Their timely arrival leads to the retreat of Gareth's forces.
However, the Gray Death Legion must still answer for their actions on Caledonia and its senior officers are summoned to Tharkad for an inquiry. (En route, they learn of the proclamation of the Lyran Alliance.) Grayson Carlyle, who lost his left arm, left eye and the ability to pilot a BattleMech, sinks into depression and does not seem to properly defend himself, subjecting himself to the mercy of the court on Tharkad when he could have called for a MRBC trial instead, and refusing to make use of his noble title. The crushing result is that he is stripped of his rank and noble title, and the Gray Death Legion is given ninety days to leave Caledonia. Alexander Carlyle receives a transfer ticket to a regular Steiner regiment and leaves the Legion.
It is all a ruse though. Katherine Steiner-Davion is aware of Gareth's conspiracy and wants Carlyle to find out how deep it runs. Pretending to be embittered by the verdict and desperate to find employment for the Legion elsewhere, Carlyle hires his unit out to Brandal Gareth of all people. Gareth accepts, though he remains suspicious, and the Gray Death Legion is integrated into the defense of Hesperus II.
Gareth announces the formation of his "Free Star Republic" on 15 December 3057. On 18 December, the Gray Death Legion moves to capture the 'Mech factories of Hesperus II and hold them against Gareth's forces while Grayson Carlyle sets out to call in reinforcements (as the HPG station is effectively under Gareth's control). He manages to evade his watchdog officer and sends a JumpShip to Furillo where a fleet of Lyran Alliance vessels is already waiting for the word to move to Hesperus II with the First Royal Guard regiment. Their arrival ends Gareth's coup, which hinged on his control of the Hesperus II 'Mech factories, though Gareth and his senior officers escape with several Excalibur-class DropShips.
- "Operation Excalibur", Ch. 2