Anastasius Focht

(Redirected from Frederick Steiner)
This article is about the Precentor Martial of ComStar. For the Suffren-class WarShip, see Anastasius Focht (Vessel).

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At age 88 in 3060 (eyepatch erroneously shown on left eye; see note on file page)

Frederick Steiner (15 September, 2972[1] – May 3081[2]) was a scion and military leader of House Steiner. Deeply involved in a failed coup against Archon Katrina Steiner by Aldo Lestrade, the repentant would-be rebel volunteered to lead the 10th Lyran Guards in a suicidal attack against Draconis Combine supply bases which greatly contributed to averting a Combine counter-attack in the Fourth Succession War.

Believed to have been killed, Frederick Steiner survived as a Combine prisoner. He was later handed over to ComStar who sought a capable and experienced leader for their ComGuards. Under the new identity Anastasius Focht, he was Precentor Martial during the Clan Invasion and the Battle of Tukayyid. He is noted for his role in the schism that led to the origination of the Word of Blake.


Frederick Steiner[edit]

Frederick Steiner in 3025 at age 53

Born in the city of Quwansner on Duran, in his youth Frederick had the classical blond hair and steel-gray eyes for which House Steiner was renowned, bearing a striking resemblance to his cousin Katrina Steiner. Entering military service, studying first at the Nagelring for three years before transferring to and graduating with honors from the Sanglamore on Skye, it was on Skye that the young Fredrick would first come to the attention of the Lestrade family, forming a firm friendship with Aldo Lestrade. [3] [4]

Performing with distinction as the CO of first the 7th Lyran Regulars and later the famed 10th Lyran Guards, Frederick was a well respected commander, known by his men as "the Hammer" for his preference for concentrating firepower on specific targets yet equally able to adapt his tactics to deal with either the differing doctrines of the DCMS or FWLM. While not as tactically brilliant as his cousin Katrina, Frederick was a solid and effective officer with a strongly cultivated social network, many believing him most likely to overthrow and replace Archon Alessandro Steiner after his disastrous Operation Concentrated Weakness. Unfortunately Frederick was blind-sided by the power and charisma the younger Katrina was able to quickly amass, his cousin succeeding Alessandro after the Estates General voted no-confidence in their Archon. [3] [4]

Enraged by being denied what he saw was his natural right, Lestrade had to physically restrain Frederick from ordering his unit to immediately launch an attack against Tharkad to depose "The Witch", Lestrade cautioning Frederick to bide his time, seemingly manipulating him into later attempting to assassinate Katrina in an effort to make Frederick his puppet on the throne of the Lyran Commonwealth. [3] [4]

In 3029 during the Fourth Succession War, Alessandro's plots were discovered. Rather than simply arrest Frederick, Katrina instead sent him and the Tenth Lyran Guards on a suicidal mission against the Draconis Combine on Dromini VI where he was captured, having fought skilfully and bravely against great odds. On September 15, 3029, at the conclusion of the fighting on Dromini VI, Loki agents sabotaged the JumpShips of the Kurita fleet, destroying the helium tanks on four, the drive-charging units on two others and the conventional drive on a seventh, causing it to drift from the Jump Point towards the system's sixth planet.[5]

Gunji-no-Kanrei Theodore Kurita was outraged to learn of this dishonourable action and interrogated the captive Frederick Steiner on the same day. Steiner claimed to have known nothing about the plan, yet Theodore Kurita was going to execute him in his rage and decided to spare him only while already pulling the trigger on his gun; the bullet hit the side of Frederick Steiner's head and gravely wounded him. He survived by the slimmest of margins but had to undergo plastic surgery, and permanently lost his right eye. He was generally assumed dead following his doomed attack on Dromini VI and his survival in captivity was kept secret by Theodore Kurita.

In fact the captive Frederick Steiner was handed over (presumably with his consent, and probably even upon his request) to ComStar Primus Myndo Waterly by Theodore Kurita on July 21, 3034 to appease ComStar when the creation of the Free Rasalhague Republic did not immediately go as planned. With Theodore pointing out Waterly's reliance on mercenary troops to manage deployment of the Com Guards, the seasoned General was well received by the Primus.[6]

Anastasius Focht[edit]

Frederick Steiner joined ComStar under the name of "Anastasius Focht" ("Anastasius" latin for "reborn"; "Focht" german for "(he who) fought", past tense form of fechten = fencing). After being the pawn in Lestrade's schemes, Focht vowed to never get involved in politics again. At this time the Com Guards functioned as a division of the Order's shadowy intelligence agency ROM, with Waterly quickly replacing Precentor ROM Nicholas Cassnew with Focht to place him in command of her military forces. Despite the lack of knowledge of his background or beliefs, the First Circuit approved Focht's appointment as Precentor ROM with minimal complaint, Waterly calling in political favors and offering concessions to opponents to ensure this. [7]

Externally, every intelligence organization launched investigations to try and discover Focht's background, attempts which ultimately failed due to ROM's extensive efforts to protect their leader's identity. [8] As Precentor ROM, Focht set about making a number of organization changes as set about taking over from the mercenary commanders previously employed to direct the posting of the Com Guards in Davion and Kurita space. Focht's service as head of ROM proved relatively smooth until First Prince Hanse Davion launched Operation Flush, a mass purge of ROM elements in the Federated Commonwealth in 3034.

With dozens of suspected ROM agents captured in Flush's first "opening shot", while Primus Waterly expected a fiery counter-strike, Focht instead ordered ROM to wage a war of confusion, directing those ROM agents left in FedCom space to spread misinformation and false leaks to force the MIIO to waste its resources investigating red herrings. Displeased with Focht's "soft-handed" response to Flush, Waterly proposed the Readjustment Act of 3035 which saw ROM and the Com Guards separated, naming the aggressive Charles Seneca as the new Precentor ROM and creating the position of Precentor Martial for Focht, placing him purely in direct command of the Com Guards. [9]

Focht was kept busy as Primus Waterly set about adopting a carrot and stick approach to get the other Successor States to agree to accept Com Guard forces within their boards. Thanks to Thomas Marik's service in the order and the offer of ROM aid in the capture of Dame Catherine Humphreys, the new Captain-General readily agreed to allow Focht to post troops at the Free Worlds League's HPG stations. The Capellan Confederation and the Lyran Commonwealth were much harder to persuade, but a 3038 agreement to waive a blanket 25 percent increase in transmission costs for Capellan HPG traffic and a unsanctioned "terrorist" action by the Free Skye movement in 3041 finally forced their hands.

When tensions between the Chancellor and the Primus only increased after the Maskirovka attempted to assassinate Precentor Villlius Tejh of Sian in 3041, Focht counciled the Primus against a military confrontation, pointing to Romano's unstable mental condition and insisting that while the Com Guards could successfully defeat the CCAF that they would not be able to do so and maintain their Inner Sphere-wide defensive deployment. Waterly instead chose a political solution, replacing Tejh with Adept Jen Li, a trusted confidant of Romano who was secretly a ROM agent feeding House Liao intel to ComStar.[9]

In the 3040's Focht would instigate sweeping changes to the deployment and organization of the Com Guards, assigning the component elements of each battalion, division and army to positions that would allow them rapidly reform into their larger functional units as required and further enhance their mix of infantry, Combat Vehicles and AeroSpace Fighters. Cementing the combined-arms focus of his troops via extensive training for any contingency both at Sandhurst Royal Military College and frequent training drills, Focht would tour the worlds upon which the Com Guards were stationed for two months every year.

With the Guards now posted across the width and breadth of the Inner Sphere, Focht expanded on efforts to promote the Com Guards' neutral and pacifistic stance by deploying his troops to assist with relief efforts for natural disasters, hostage rescues, political unrest and search and rescue operations. The most notable of these was Focht's deployments of the Com Guards to defend Periphery border worlds against pirate raiders, a propaganda boom and recruitment tool for the Order, with the public unaware that many were bandits who had received a measure of support from ComStar during the Jolly Roger Affair. [10]

Envoy to the Clans[edit]

At age 79 in 3050

After learning of the presence of strange invaders in the Periphery, Focht was dispatched by Primus Myndo Waterly to be her liaison to the Clans. He quickly established a rapport with Khan Ulric Kerensky of Clan Wolf.

Upon discovering that the Clans sought to conquer Terra, home of ComStar, Focht gathered the ComGuard and issued a challenge for a proxy battle on Tukayyid, a world in the Free Rasalhague Republic. If ComStar won, the Clans would move no closer to Terra for the next fifteen years. If the Clans won, ComStar would surrender Terra, join the Clans, and deny their communications services to the Inner Sphere. Focht challenged the seven invading Clans in 3052 and succeeded in defeating Clans Smoke Jaguar, Nova Cat, Jade Falcon, Steel Viper and Diamond Shark by forcing them to fight a long, protracted campaign. He achieved a draw with Clan Ghost Bear, though the ComGuard force was defeated by Clan Wolf. Winning five out of the seven battles meant that ComStar won the battle.

At the same time, Primus Myndo Waterly initiated Operation Scorpion, her plot to bring all of humankind under ComStar's dominion. Upon returning from Tukayyid, Focht deposed Waterly through an "externally initiated brain aneurysm", played kingmaker for the new Primus Sharilar Mori, and worked to reform ComStar of its mystical trappings. He worked to preserve the truce and keep the Successor States ready for when the Truce ran out in 3067.[11]


Focht allowed ComStar to be weakened, however, when Precentor Atreus Demona Aziz took many members of the order who did not like his reforms into exile with her in the Free Worlds League and formed the Word of Blake with Thomas Marik as their Primus-in-exile. Part of his plan to keep the Inner Sphere ready involved turning Tukayyid, which was the first logical target of the Clans' renewed invasion after the battle that was waged there, into an armed camp. Rasalhague's Elected Prince Magnusson essentially turned the world over to ComStar, which made it into a major staging area.

Focht would attend the ill-fated Terran Peace Summit in the spring of 3053, hoping to enhance ComStar and House relations in order to better deal with the Clans once the Truce of Tukayyid expired. The sole concrete result of the summit came when the House delegates announced they no longer trusted the Order to act as the impartial arbitrator of mercenary contracts, with Focht proposing that ComStar would abandon control of the Mercenary Review Board, and to have it re-form as a jointly administered Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission. Focht would end the summit with a heartfelt but ultimately ignored plea of the need for unified focus on the threat of the Clans. [12].

Working to reform the Com Guards in 3053 in the wake of the Battle of Tukayyid, Focht would reorganize the twelve armies down to four divisions per army as his forces rebuilt. To try and avoid accusations of covert action, Focht also instigated a formal process whereby detailed announcements were sent to all of the Great Houses any time ComStar reformed or relocated Level III size force.[12][13]

As part of Primus Mori and Focht's combined efforts to ensure the House Lords of ComStar's good intentions, Focht would visit now-Coordinator Theodore Kurita in the summer of 3054 and agreed to place a large contingent of Com Guard troops on Luthien under joint ComStar/Combine command as a precaution against the Nova Cats or Smoke Jaguars taking advantage of the Black Pearl's position above the Truce Line.[14][15]

Focht strongly suggested that Com Guard forces not be removed from the Inner Sphere Clan theater, when the need to strengthen Terra's garrison came up with the departure of Brion's Legion. This cautionary note led to the decision to hire the 21st Centauri Lancers for that five-year contract.[16]

Focht was on Tukayyid in 3058 when he learned that Clan Jade Falcon had launched an offensive into the Lyran Alliance and, later, that the Word of Blake was assaulting Terra. Focht made the decision to let the Blakists have Terra so that ComStar could focus on the Clan threat, a move that proved very detrimental to ComStar further down the road.

Star League[edit]

After an allied force led by Victor Steiner-Davion stopped the Falcon incursion on Coventry, the Successor States decided that they needed to resort to drastic measures to make themselves safe from the Clans. In late 3058, the leaders of every nation in the Inner Sphere and ComStar met on Tharkad to discuss the Clan threat. It was almost a foregone conclusion that they decided to resurrect the Star League as a banner to fight under and as a tool of psychological warfare against the Clans, since that was the purpose behind their invasion. For his part, Focht stayed out of the politics, though the Precentor Martial became ComStar's non-voting representative to the Star League Council.

Focht led the Star League Defense Force's Operation Bulldog, a massive offensive with the stated goal of removing Clan Smoke Jaguar from the Inner Sphere, though he never accepted the title of Commanding General. The assault succeeded beyond Focht and Steiner-Davion's wildest hopes, prompting Victor to lead a relief force to Huntress to aid Task Force Serpent. Focht accompanied him and commanded the ComGuard forces that participated in the Great Refusal against Clan Jade Falcon. The Falcon forces handily defeated Focht's ComGuard unit, though the Inner Sphere forces were able to secure enough victories to win the Great Refusal. The loss shook Focht, even though the Falcons had won the battle before a shot was fired.

Upon their return to the Inner Sphere, they found that Victor's sister Katherine had usurped Yvonne Steiner-Davion's regency of the Federated Commonwealth, leaving Victor a leader without a nation. At the Whitting Conference of 3061, Katherine endeavored to become the First Lord. The council was evenly divided, forcing ComStar to cast the deciding vote. True to his vow to never get involved in politics, Focht resigned as Precentor Martial rather than cast the deciding vote. Victor succeeded him and voted against her, paving the way for Theodore Kurita to become First Lord.

Retirement and the Jihad[edit]

Focht, now in his nineties, ostensibly retired to write his memoirs. He helped negotiate the final settlement to the Capellan-St. Ives War in 3063, but remained quiet other than that, though he did continue to train with his BattleMech.

Prior to the Fourth Whitting Conference, Focht had reportedly retired to the gardens of Dromini VI.[17] After the Word of Blake Jihad engulfed the Inner Sphere after the historic vote to disband the Star League in late 3067, Focht organized a raid on Tukayyid that rescued Primus Sharilar Mori and publicly spoke out against the Blakists. He remained among their most hated enemies, and continued to thwart them even in his dotage.

Focht's reputation would suffer with the Blakist White-Out in late 3068 which publicly revealed numerous ComStar secrets including his identity as Frederick Steiner, leading many to question his motives and integrity. [18] When Sharilar Mori was assassinated in the ComStar command centre on Orestes by disillusioned members of ComStar's ROM on the 26th of October 3071, the individuals who assassinated Mori - individuals who included Victoria Parrdeau, the head of ROM - also attempted to assassinate Anastasius Focht on the same day, before fleeing.[19]

Death and Legacy[edit]

Focht would survive to see the conclusion of Operation SCOUR and the Jihad, apparently playing a role in the birth of Republic of the Sphere before dying a few months after its formal formation.[20][2] One of his last acts, with aid from Victor Steiner-Davion, was to convince the Federated Suns to relocate his namesake academy, the Focht War College, to Kentares IV and maintain it as a multinational institution. [21]

Having effectively lived two lives, both Steiner and Focht had linked but separate legacies.

While the true extent of Frederick's treachery against Katrina is not commonly known, his intense hatred of her and links to Aldo Lestrade darkened his reputation after his seeming death during the Fourth Succession War, though he did receive a memorial plaque in the Steiner family crypt. [4] Despite this cloud, as a minor scion of House Steiner who met a noble end saving the Commonwealth, a number of buildings and streets were named after him, the most notable being the Frederick Steiner Memorial Library on Tharkad. This site would infamously be the location of the assassination of Melissa Steiner-Davion on June 19th 3055 by the man who would be called the Dancing Joker, as well as an attempt against Focht himself by a upstart claimant to the Dancing Joker's reputation in the lead-up to the Second Whitting Conference in 3061.[22] By 3067 Frederick's face would also grace the 10 kroner note, with the Zeus he favored on the reverse side.[23]


During his life as Frederick Steiner, Focht favored a Zeus, being both an excellent pilot and expert tech of the Lyran staple, though in his youth he notably received a slight scar above his right eye after cracking his head ejecting from a burning Phoenix Hawk. [3] He later piloted a 100-ton Atlas during his attack on Dromini. While retiring from direct combat in the field after becoming Precentor Martial, Focht reportedly kept up on his 'Mech piloting certification all the way into his retirement from ComStar, having retained an upgraded AS7-K variant during the Battle of Tukayyid and Operation Bulldog just in case.

Philosophical and/or political views[edit]

Before or after his "rebirth", the man known as Anastasius Focht was foremost a soldier. Frederick Steiner in particular depended more on strength and force rather than cunning and guile, many observers considering him almost incapable of subtlety. Always disdainful of politics, Frederick's desperation to become Archon allowed him to fall prey to the political manipulation of Aldo Lestrade, engendering in Focht a greater caution against it while serving ComStar, the loss of his eye a constant reminder of the price he paid. [3] [4]

Despite the Lyran fondness for social gatherings, in many respects both men disapproved of displays of formal courtesy or protocol, focusing instead more practical discussion of military matters, being pleasant if distant in such social occasions. [3] [24]


History proves that no war ever ended by arms reduction, and this conflict was no exception.
  — Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht, The Gallant Defense of Mankind
ComStar knows all.
You have to understand the code of duty and honor that rules those who pilot these engines of destruction. Placing such an awesome weapon in the hands of an individual implies a similar gesture of trust.
Good charts, a strong ship, and a sextant have made it possible to weather more than one storm.
I admit to a certain fascination with Nicholas Kerensky, not as an historical figure, but as a man. What was it like for him, to deny his heritage under the shadow of Amaris cutthroats? How did he deal with people looking to his father as a god? What force drove him to develop the whole of Clan culture?
  — Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht, journal entry, 22 December 3050[25]
Wars are not won on the field of combat. Battles are, but those are only ever part of the story. To win a war you need to break the enemy's resolve, to force him to accept defeat. Otherwise the war will never end. Too many conflicts persist because battles are won but the hearts and minds of the people are not. Winning involves every level of society, from the generals and politicians to the shop girls and street cleaners. The infantryman with his rifle may be the blunt weapon used to win this fight, but he is neither the instigator nor the concluder.
  — Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht, 3058[26]
In my time with the Clans, I have come to know them well, both as ally and foe. Their Trials of Position are most unique and alien to our governments and way of life. Rather than handle promotions the way that the militaries of the Inner Sphere do, they wage Trials of Position: in these, the combatants battle individual Warriors, in succession, one at a time. The number defeated determines the rank of the MechWarrior.

These battles are often fought in arenas. As much as the Clans disdain worlds like Solaris VII and its games, their arenas are similar in nature. Their arenas are enclosed, with rises along the edges, and building-like obstructions in the middle. Here, Warriors fight. Death is not expected, nor is it uncommon.

To us, fighting for rank is alien and almost barbaric. To the Clans, it ensures that only their most proficient Warriors rise through the ranks. This is only one of the reasons that I recognize these enemies for the threat that they are...


  • In the novel Lethal Heritage, a Clan medic told Focht that he could have saved his lost eye had he been present at the time of the injury.
  • In the same novel it is stated that Focht is fluent in German but not Italian. He mentions this in a conversation with then-bondsman Phelan Kell. Focht was attempting to clear up Phelan's confusion regarding Clan social norms. This bit of information and others would later help Phelan learn his identity.
  • Also, it mentions that Focht spent some time in a Combine monastery. Primus Myndo Waterly wondered if that experience was what gave him his calm demeanor.
  • It was he who named the Timber Wolf '"Mad Cat" after he studied the battle footage of Phelan's encounter with Clan Wolf. Focht also pointed out that it would be impossible for ComStar to replicate the 'Mech when Myndo Waterly suggested that their armorers modify their Catapults to that weapons configuration.
  • Before he discovered the truth about the Clans, one of his theories was that they were an alien species that had consumed Kerensky's people and had come to harvest the rest of humanity. The hypothetical species he described had the ability to assimilate human DNA. This was also said to be why the Clans piloted human-style BattleMechs. In his discussion with Primus Waterly, Focht did not favor the theory that they were the long-lost descendents of Kerensky's people, which ironically turned out to the true origin of the Clans.
  • According to the ComStar Sourcebook, Focht publicly revealed his identity not long after the Battle of Tukayid. Obviously, this was later ret-conned out. [27]


Preceded by
Precentor Martial of Comstar

Succeeded by
Victor Steiner-Davion
Preceded by
Nicholas Cassnew
Precentor ROM of ComStar

Succeeded by
Charles Seneca

Portrait Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. Era Report: 3062, p. 78, "Anastasius Focht Profile"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Era Report: 3145, p. 81 "Factions - ComStar"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 House Steiner Sourcebook, p. 154 "Personalities - Frederick Steiner"
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Blood of Kerensky Omnibus Epub, p. 873 "Lost Destiny - Chapter Twenty-Two"
  5. Heir to the Dragon, p.[citation needed]
  6. Heir to the Dragon, p.[citation needed]
  7. ComStar, p. 60 "Rosebud"
  8. ComStar, p. 61 "Mystery Man"
  9. 9.0 9.1 ComStar, pp. 61-62 "Flush"
  10. ComStar, p. 64 "War of 3039 - Aftermath"
  11. ComStar (sourcebook), p. 4
  12. 12.0 12.1 ComStar, p. 78 "New ComStar - United We Stand"
  13. ComStar, p. 82 "New ComStar - Com Guards in Reformation"
  14. ComStar, p. 88 "New ComStar - Relations with the Inner Sphere - Draconis Combine"
  15. Era Report: 3062, p. 12 "History and Review - Timeline of Events: 3053-3062
  16. The Fall of Terra (scenariobook), p. 7 - "Gathering Storm"
  17. Historical: War of 3039, p. 5
  18. Field Manual: 3085, p. 11 "Historical Review - Dawn of the Jihad - Early Setbacks"
  19. Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 46, "The Jihad In Review"
  21. Field Manual: 3085, p. 173 "Republic of the Sphere - State of Readiness - Academies - Focht War College
  22. BattleTech: 25 Years of Art & Fiction, pp. 167-173 "Means to an End"
  23. Handbook: House Steiner, p. 131 "Economics - Lyran Units of Currency and Exchange Rates"
  24. 20-Year Update, p. 85 "Major Personalities of 3050 - Anastasius Focht"
  25. Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 12 Nicholas Kerensky, The Man
  26. Historical: Reunification War, p. 5 "Battlefields"
  27. ComStar (sourcebook), p. 87