Concord of Kapteyn

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Signed on 13 October 3022 - but finalized only on 10 August 3024 - the Concord of Kapteyn (also called the Treaty of Kapteyn or the Kapteyn Accords) was a three-way agreement between Houses Kurita, Marik and Liao that called for an end to hostilities and mutual support in training and intelligence. It was meant to counterbalance the formation of the powerful Federated Commonwealth alliance by Houses Steiner and Davion.

The shaky alliance failed to truly reconcile Houses Marik and Liao, however, who continued to raid each other with deniable mercenary assets, nor did either House plan an effective strategy with the Draconis Combine. When the Concord faced its first major test in the Fourth Succession War the joint alliance proved to be a total failure, as Houses Liao and Kurita were unable to support one another and House Marik offered only token aid to its allies. After the war each of the Concord's signatories, while never formally renouncing the agreement, effectively ignored it when conducting interstellar diplomacy.

Historical background and context[edit]

As the Third Succession War was slowly grinding to a halt — not due to any peace agreements but simply because total exhaustion had reduced the fighting to objective raids and small border skirmishes — Archon Katrina Steiner issued a call for peace to the other Great Houses. While First Prince Hanse Davion rejected the offer along with his peers, he and Katrina established a rapport that resulted in closer ties between their realms. This culminated in a formal alliance agreement between the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns, to be cemented by the marriage of Hanse to Katrina's daughter Melissa Steiner. The talks were moderated by ComStar messengers and the historic FedCom Accords document was signed on Hilton Head Island, Terra, (the seat of ComStar's First Circuit) in 3022.

Fearing a drastic change in the Inner Sphere's balance of power - which the order had carefully maintained for three centuries in pursuit of its own goals - ComStar ensured that the other three Houses learned of this. As the First Circuit desired, this drove the remaining Houses into arranging their own alliance to counter the Steiner-Davion union. Through the ISF director Subhash Indrahar, Coordinator Takashi Kurita of the Draconis Combine arranged a meeting between himself, Captain-General Janos Marik of the Free Worlds League and Chancellor Maximilian Liao of the Capellan Confederation for a week in September 3022 at the Terran Alps retreat of Elmau.

Stunned at Liao's appearance, Janos Marik initially refused to ally with the man who had incited his brother to ignite the devastating Marik Civil War less than a decade earlier, but Takashi Kurita convinced him that the League needed the Combine's military support in any future war with the Steiner-Davion alliance. Faced with the prospect of standing alone against the nascent Federated Commonwealth, Marik grudgingly conceded and agreed to the alliance.[1]

The treaty was finally signed on 13th October 3022 at "Kapteyn"[2], though it would take two years of further negotiations until the final language and agreements of the Concord of Kapteyn were accepted on 10 August 3024.[3]

Results and Legacy[edit]

The modest benefits that the Concord of Kapteyn brought include a relatively low-level technology exchange program, and trade agreements for BattleMechs, research results and similar sensitive items and information. The following are known aspects or results of the Concord of Kapteyn:

  • The Free Worlds League purchased BattleMechs from the Draconis Combine, including Marauders and Dragons, and in turn produced the HER-4K Hermes II variant (known as the Hermes III) for export to the Combine and sold them sensitive information about the Federated Suns. The League also refitted Combine BattleMechs, most notably Theodore Kurita's Orion.
  • The Draconis Combine and the Capellan Confederation began a technology exchange program to remedy the similar design faults on their disk-winged AeroSpace Fighter designs, the Sholagar and the Thrush respectively, but it did not stop the Sholagar from being phased out eventually.
  • Limited trade was established between the League and the Confederation. The League provided sophisticated targeting systems and other electronics, alloys and light Galleon tanks to the Capellans, and in turn received much-needed PPCs as well as laser pistols and hovercraft, among other items.
  • According to apocryphal information, the Draconis Combine purchased a functional prototype of the abortive Linesman BattleMech project from the Capellans just prior to the Fourth Succession War. Called Nainokami, it was said to be the inspiration for the outwardly identical Daboku design which in turn evolved into the Mauler.

On a political level, however, the mistrust between the unruly Free Worlds League and the Capellan Confederation continued to linger, and if the Concord of Kapteyn had ever been intended to actually function as a military alliance then it was a failure in that respect. It did, however, pacify the Marik/Liao border to some degree and freed up forces to be stationed along the Steiner and Davion borders, respectively, which in turn tied up enemy forces there and thus took pressure off House Kurita. It was House Kurita who stood to gain most from the Concord, as their realm lay between the Steiner and Davion states and thus faced the prospect of a unified enemy along their entire Inner Sphere boundary. As such, the Draconis Combine was the obvious first target of the Steiner-Davion alliance.

However, when the united Federated Commonwealth launched the Fourth Succession War six years later, the main Davion thrust was actually directed against the Capellan Confederation. Weakened from within by a high-ranking double agent it was utterly devastated, losing around half of its star systems and the postwar rump state left in shambles. Janos Marik, still angered over Maximilian Liao's instigation of his brother's revolt, initially refused to honor his treaty obligations, instead offering desultory aid to the Capellans; only at the insistent urging of Takashi Kurita did the League finally open a second front against House Steiner. This League offensive was ineffectual and ended in an embarrassing defeat for House Marik when Capellan renegades loyal to the Davion-created Tikonov Free Republic attacked their former allies, resulting in several League worlds near Terra being ceded to the Steiner-Davions. Takashi Kurita, for his part, was goaded into making ineffective assaults against Wolf’s Dragoons on their Davion border that effectively neutralized the Combine as a threat to the Federated Suns during the war.

Thus, the diffidence of Janos Marik and the obsessive private war of Takashi Kurita prevented either the League or the Combine from aiding the Capellans, or each other. As a result, the Concord utterly failed to prevent the nascent Federated Commonwealth from crushing the Confederation and mauling the Combine. While Theodore Kurita later managed to neutralize most of House Steiner's gains through the creation of the Free Rasalhague Republic, the Concord played no role in this. Nor during the War of 3039 were the other two members in any position to offer more support to the Combine than a few planetary raids. Likewise during the Clan Invasion the Capellan Confederation offered no assistance to the Combine, while Thomas Marik could only assist his nominal ally - and the Concord's Steiner-Davion opponents - with armament sales.

Thus, while the tripartite alliance was effectively moribund after the Fourth Succession War, the Concord of Kapteyn never technically expired, nor was it ever formally canceled by the signatory parties. After the War of 3039 the Draconis Combine supplied Listen-Kill Missile technology (and the countermeasures) to the League and the Confederation in an attempt to rekindle the Concord of Kapteyn. The Concord would also be revived in spirit during the 3050s when Sun-Tzu Liao and Thomas Marik signed several treaties benefiting their respective realms.

Notes[edit]

  • This cooperation agreement was already mentioned (although not in name) in the core rule book of the first BattleTech boardgame, as is the fledgling Davion/Steiner alliance.
  • Handbook: House Marik explicitly states that the treaty was signed at Elmau[4], suggesting that Kapteyn might be a place at Elmau. Alternatively, the name might refer to the otherwise-unmapped Capellan world of Kapteyn that is only mentioned in the MechWarrior, First Edition RPG rulebook).
  • When asked, BT author and line developer Herbert A. Beas II confirmed[5] that
    • the meaning of the name is lost to antiquity;
    • the correct spelling is "Concord of Kapteyn", and not Kapetyn as it is often misspelled.
  • Kapteyn is listed as a House Liao world in the random encounter tables on p. 106 of MechWarrior: The BattleTech Role Playing Game.

References[edit]