Camelot Command

Camelot Command, a Star League naval base hidden in an otherwise unnamed red dwarf star system in the Dark Nebula (a name later often used to identify the particular star system Camelot Command was located in), had presumably been used for capital ship repairs, refitting, and supply during actions against the Rim Worlds Republic. It was abandoned by the Star League Defense Force on the eve of the Exodus in the late 28th century and only rediscovered centuries later. Stripped of all useful gear, the base was only briefly reactivated to serve as a fleet base behind Clan lines, and eventually abandoned again.

The installation[edit]

Camelot Command is a small rotating planetoid, a floating base with a 100-meter-long Cameron Star, the symbol of the Star League, emblazoned on the concrete equator. The massive port is large enough to dry-dock a Black Lion class battlecruiser. The airlocks leading to the underground complex within the planetoid are protected by an anti-BattleMech trench that can only be passed at a narrow point. On the inside the base has huge pressurized warehouses, factory facilities and engineering bays, large enough for BattleMechs to walk (and fight) inside. The corridors extend near the center of the planetoid where the main fusion reactor is located.

Camelot Command emitted a naval beacon signal, which allowed it to eventually be found in the nebula. However, it also maintained a screen of several dozen (at least) autonomous Mark 39 Attack Drones to destroy or drive away intruders.

By the time of its re-discovery some three centuries after being abandoned by the SLDF, the base's outer surface was described as a barren black wasteland, with stark white lines of concrete etched on. Only some gun turrets, a pitted aerospace landing strip and several DropShip pads were noted to break up the flat terrain, suggesting the base to be not entirely man-made, but rather a hollowed-out asteroid.

Rediscovery[edit]

After General Aleksandr Kerensky's Exodus, persistent rumors remained that the Dark Nebula was the location of automated Star League shipyards that continued to manufacture fleets of WarShips. Legends further tell that one base in the Nebula was a repository for all the useless gold and jewelry that the SLDF soldiers left behind. Countless adventurers braved the treacherous depths of the Nebula in search of the legendary treasure, never to return; they most likely ran afoul of the defending drone fighters that attacked anyone who failed to transmit the proper identification code.

When it was found in 3050, the lost base turned out to have been stripped of supplies and almost all its records had been destroyed. Most of the remaining ammunition and spare parts had eroded into uselessness and the base was in rough shape overall, with several systems failing, some of the outer levels flooded and some areas holed and at near vacuum.

Although Rhonda Snord is generally attributed with the rediscovery of Camelot Command, Franklin Sakamoto and the 1st Somerset Strikers had actually chanced across the base roughly one year earlier over the course of a clandestine mission that demanded their find to be kept secret:

The 1st Somerset Strikers[edit]

In 3050 the 1st Somerset Strikers, a small irregular recon unit from the Federated Commonwealth, jumped into the Dark Nebula and ran afoul of a squadron of tiny automated Mark 39 drone fighters while investigating an old beacon signal. After bypassing the drones by transmitting a transponder code dating from the Second Succession War era, they discovered an abandoned SLDF base that identified itself as "Camelot Command" and welcomed them in the name of the Star League through an automated message.

By an astounding coincidence, scout forces from both Clan Jade Falcon and Clan Wolf arrived at the facility shortly after the Strikers to claim the base for their respective Clan, and a pitched battle was fought through its corridors until the Strikers faked the base's auto-destruction using its holoprojection systems. The ruse was soon discovered by the Clans, but the 1st Somerset Strikers' DropShip Kwaidan arrived at precisely that time and claimed to have control over hundreds more of the Mark 39 drones, dozens of which were already strafing the Clan ships. The Clans chose to withdraw at that point.

The munitions bay of the centuries-old abandoned naval base was found empty, and the 1st Somerset Strikers only managed to salvage a few technical gadgets and some information from Camelot Command. Before long, they left to continue their mission.

Snord's Irregulars: Operation Merlin[edit]

Acting independently from the 1st Somerset Strikers, the mercenary Rhonda Snord set out on Operation Merlin, a quest to re-discover Camelot Command, unaware of the fact that both the 1st Somerset Strikers and the Clans had already beaten her to it roughly a year earlier.

She determined that astrographical data from a Star League Astronomical Survey Station on Apollo might hold the final clue to the exact position of the base, and launched a raid against the Clan Jade Falcon garrison on Apollo in August of 3051. Snord's Irregulars retrieved star charts and other data files, and even captured some OmniMechs before escaping off-world. However, during the retreat under fire they lost a crate of datachips and the information contained therein revealed their destination in the Dark Nebula to their Jade Falcon pursuers.

With a Clan Jade Falcon task force (including the Hawk-Eye) in close pursuit, Snord's Irregulars found the base, and managed to defeat and even bond Jade Falcon forces that came to contest their possession in September 3051. Star Captain Christopher Folkner, commander of the Hawk-Eye, described Camelot Command as "Star League naval base" and a "non-functional naval construction facility".[1]

Reactivation[edit]

Rediscovered a second time with no need to cover it up this time, Camelot Command was subsequently refurbished by the Federated Commonwealth and used for a while as a base for forward operations against the Clans. Since Rhonda Snord had called for, and won, a Trial of Possession for the base, it was assumed that their own honor code prevented the Clans from seizing it. It was eventually abandoned again after a few years due to its exposed position and the difficulty of bringing supplies that far behind enemy lines.

Clan Jade Falcon apparently garrisoned the base, but lost it to Clan Ice Hellion during their ill-fated invasion in 3071. Camelot Command served as the rallying point for the remnants of Clan Ice Hellion under Connor Rood for their last stand in the following year. After a space battle, the ground forces entrenched at the Camelot Command facility were granted hegira.[2]

References[edit]

  1. BattleTech Compendium: The Rules of Warfare, p. 68 (sidebox)
  2. Operation ICE STORM, Part II: The Winds of Spring

Bibliography[edit]