Stephen McKenna

Stephen McKenna (b. November 21st 2744[1] - 28??) was a young Star League Admiral who would go on to become the first Khan of Clan Snow Raven. A gifted pilot and naval tactician, as well as a canny politician who was capable of ruthless action if cornered, McKenna was a distant relative of Admiral James McKenna, Founder and first Director-General of the Terran Hegemony.

Stephen McKenna

Biography[edit]

A distant descendant of the legendary James McKenna, Stephen McKenna's direct familial roots are humble, echoing the beginnings of his great predecessor.[2] Like the great Admiral before him, Stephen possessed the McKenna blasted-back unruly hair, but more importantly, he also inherited the McKenna grasp of naval tactics and strategies that brought his family to prominence long before his time. He was also quite comfortable in political arenas, finding solutions to problems that could be achieved no other way throughout his life as Star League officer, and later, as Khan of one of Kerensky's nascent Clans.[1]

Star League Service[edit]

Born on the world of Tamar in the Lyran Commonwealth and noted for maintaining a strong work ethic throughout his life, McKenna joined the Star League Defense Force upon reaching majority. He saw action against the Usurper during the Liberation of Terra, commanding the air wing of the SLS Mountbatton Texas class Battleship. McKenna achieved the rank of Colonel by the age of 24, in a ceremony presided over by Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky himself. As a devoted follower of the Great General, Stephen McKenna was invited to the first meeting of Kerensky and his most trusted commanders on New Earth in February of 2784, the very same meeting in which plans for Operation Exodus were unveiled for the first time. He would cast his vote with the General, leaving with the majority of the Regular Army for the relative unknown of the Deep Periphery later that year, faithfully supporting Kerensky throughout the tumultuous journey.[1][3][4]

The Exodus Years[edit]

Retaining his command through the massive draw down of military forces that occurred after the settling of the Pentagon Worlds, Stephen McKenna was placed in charge of the Star League in Exile's exploration efforts, charting the stars and worlds of the Kerensky Cluster.[5] He was exploring the surface of what would one day be known as Tamaron when he received news of Aleksandr Kerensky's death. Acutely aware of the political situation, the now-Vice Admiral McKenna pulled his expeditionary forces from the surface and brought them back to the Pentagon, in order to support the claims of General Nicholas Kerensky to leadership of the exiled Star League. He soon found himself combating the forces of Kerensky's rival claimants to the title of Commanding General, and later taking charge of the effort to protect and evacuate those who were still loyal to Nicholas during the Second Exodus from the Pentagon Worlds to Strana Mechty.[1][3]

Clan Snow Raven, McKenna's legacy

The Clans: Snow Raven Rising[edit]

After the Second Exodus, Nicholas Kerensky began to form the Clans from his group of loyalists and followers. In 2807, he announced his plan, and named several Khans as well, steadily forming each of the 20 Clans over a few short years. Documentation indicates that Stephen McKenna was chosen to be Khan of Clan Snow Raven in 2810.[3] His knowledge of aerospace and naval warfare unquestioned, the ilKhan would recognize his lack of experience in ground combat, selecting General Joyce Merrell of the 183rd Royal Mechanized Infantry Division to be his saKhan. Though their backgrounds were meant to be complimentary, disagreements and miscommunications regarding training held their Clan back. Snow Raven became the last Clan to be combat certified for the eventual campaign to retake the Pentagon Worlds.[1][3]

Operation Sable Sun[edit]

As the years progressed, ilKhan Kerensky kept the nascent Clans focused on the goal of retaking the Pentagon Worlds. Towards this end, a reconnaissance operation was launched. Called Operation: Sable Sun, forces from several Clans were pooled and placed under the temporary command of Khan Absalom Truscott of Clan Star Adder. Amongst the largest contributors to this effort were the Snow Ravens, who would deploy their Black Claw Naval Star for use in this vital mission. Khan McKenna worked closely with Khan Truscott, as well as saKhan Rafe Kardaan of Clan Cloud Cobra, one of McKenna's former SLDF navy colleagues, directing their assets in monitoring traffic and communications on each of the five worlds. The effort of tracking enemy ground transmissions in order to ascertain force locations and dispositions was completed some time in 2820, clearing the way for the campaign ahead.[6][7]

Operation Klondike[edit]

The Snow Ravens were chosen along with four other Clans to assault Circe as their portion of Operation Klondike. Khan McKenna was named the Senior naval officer in charge of securing the Circe system. In this role, McKenna's first move was to secure space above the planet and in orbit around Circe's primary. Opposition was concentrated at two outposts, as well as inside the Circe orbital naval cache. To help him secure these objectives was the single largest of the Clans' naval task forces deployed in Operation Klondike.[3][7][8]

Circe: Space Supremacy[edit]

Acting on intelligence gathered during Operation Sable Sun, Khan McKenna's WarShips, his family namesake McKenna class Battleship James McKenna, and the Cameron class Admiral Gerda Cameron, moved to secure the zenith jump point upon entering the Circe system. Opposing them were a Congress class frigate and an ancient Quixote class missile frigate which was docked at the recharge station, as it had been for the last five years of surveillance. The Congress put up a delaying action, but the Quixote class frigate managed to escape the system.[8]

After securing the zenith jump point and recharge station, Khan McKenna turned his focus toward Outpost One, itself made from a recharge station and several permanently attached dropships. Guarded by a McKenna class Battleship and a Sovetskii Soyuz class Battle Cruiser, Khan McKenna sent the Black Lion class Thunderbolt and the Avatar class Korat to engage the enemy. In a battle that favored the Clan forces due to superior training, both enemy ships were destroyed after the Clan vessels jumped within range to deliver their attacks. Before the space station could be secured a Potemkin class Transport Cruiser and three smaller Jumpships separated and fled the star system to be hunted down over the following months during what would come to be known as the Battle of the Pentagon Run. The naval cache was secured by the combined efforts of Cameron, Sovetskii Soyuz, Essex and Whirlwind class vessels converging on the site of the cache, which contained only one third of the vessels once stored there. The rebels were unprepared, their two sentry vessels - both of them Vincent class Warships - attempted only to flee and were brought to heel before making their escape.[8][9]

Circe: Northern Landings[edit]

Possessing a flexible force that was only half comprised of BattleMechs, Clan Snow Raven landed alongside Clan Wolverine, their invasion partner for the norther hemisphere of Circe. Moving out from the landing zone at Point Alpha, the Snow Ravens would encounter resistance in the form of nomads of the Sand Confederacy, mostly guerrilla actions and small arms fire that slowly took a toll on the Snow Raven warriors. Reports of the time indicate that the Ravens also worked alongside the Not-Named Clan in joint assaults on some targets, though details regarding this are not officially known. The battles with the Confederacy would wind down after the Snow Ravens took their capital city of Dehra Dun. Khan McKenna would quickly order the use of the preexisting infrastructure coordinates to plan the actions of his Clan throughout the rest of the campaign.[10]

Circe: Empire of Hidalgo[edit]

After securing a base of operations, the Snow Ravens next moved against the Empire of Hidalgo, a theocracy headed by a former SLDF soldier who was mustered out of the military due to concerns over mental instability. His forces would use suicide attacks and human shields in their defense, taking advantage of Raven pragmatism and a desire to take infrastructure intact, if possible. The fighting was slow, and eventually losses began to mount due to attrition. Just as ilKhan Kerensky was about to reinforce them with another Clan, an unexpected ally appeared. The Kerensky Dominion was a faction made up of former Star League soldiers who remained true to the ideals of the Star League itself, though they did not recognize Nicholas Kerensky as their leader. For several weeks, the Kerensky Dominion joined in attacks against the corrupt rebel forces of Hidalgo, eventually capturing the rebel leader, though they were unable to stop him from committing suicide before he could be tried for his crimes.[11][12]

Circe: Battle of Bitter Tears[edit]

The relationship between the Clans and the Kerensky Dominion would deteriorate soon after. Expecting to be welcomed as equal partners, Dominion leaders disliked that the Snow Raven and Wolverine Khans made all of the command decisions without consulting them, sometimes seeming to use Dominion forces as cannon fodder. Brawls began to break out between Clanner and Circian, and the relationship had little hope of improving by itself. On the 14th of October, 2821, Colonel Michael Guillory, a senior officer of the Dominion, paid an unscheduled visit to Khan McKenna at Dehra Dun, demanding better treatment for his soldiers. As their meeting devolved into a heated argument, Khan McKenna would be forced to kill Colonel Guillory, claiming self defense. The Kerenskly Dominion would understandably view this incident in the most negative light, sparking immediate hostilities between Clan and Dominion forces. The fighting would become particularly intense around Dehra Dun, where Snow Raven 'Mech forces were threatened with being completely overrun by the more numerous Kerensky Dominion forces. Khan McKenna kept the tide from turning against his Clan by calling in precision strikes from his Aerospace Fighter Stars, calling some in on top of his own position, trusting his forces' training - as well as his transponder code's location - to stay alive. The battle was over within three days, and the rest of the Dominion was disarmed soon after by forces from the Ravens and the Wolverines.[13]

Circe: Rivalry and Fallout[edit]

In the dust of Circe the rivalry and eventual civil war between the Snow Ravens and the Not-Named Clan was born. Fighting a joint operation against the fortified Isle of the Eagles at the end of the Circe campaign, the opportunity arose at a site called Constan's Ridge. The weakened Snow Raven ground troops - which was never more than four Stars of BattleMechs to begin with - were given intelligence indicating that they would be facing a unit the size of a company. What they actually faced was a battalion of forces defending the objective. The battle was won by determination and sacrifice; over half of Clan Snow Raven's ground forces lived through that day. Among the dead was Raven saKhan Joyce Merrell. Khan McKenna accused the Wolverines of deliberately giving his forces faulty intelligence, in the hopes of harming the Ravens. A rumor surrounding the incident concerns a spurned romantic advance: saKhan Merrell had reportedly refused the advances of Wolverine saKhan Franklin Hallis sometime in their past while on Strana Mechty, creating bitter feelings between both parties. The ilKhan would commend both Clans for their determination and sacrifice, exonerating the Not-Named Clan, but promised that one day justice would be served in the matter.[3] Regardless, not long after the fall of L’Isle des Aigles, the campaign to conquer Circe in the name of Kerensky would be complete.[14]

Plotting Survival[edit]

With Operation Klondike in the past, the society that Nicholas Kerensky had created marched onward, however unsteadily in many cases. But while other Clans such as the Cloud Cobras or the Jade Falcons went through periods of internal cleansing that bordered on civil war, the Ravens simply focused on survival. Khan McKenna was embittered by the losses his Clan suffered during the campaign, but rebuilt in the areas that he knew best. While other Clans fought Trials of Possession for BattleMech caches, the Snow Ravens targeted the Jumpship and Warship assets cached away in orbit around many stars of the Kerensky Cluster. He would also target the mobile factories and facilities to repair and maintain a large spacefaring fleet, technological abilities that would eventually lead the Snow Ravens to become leaders in building vessels of their own design. Building up a significant force of naval vessels before any other Clan realized what they were doing, Khan McKenna had put his Clan into a position that they would not have been able to attain, had they focused solely on their shattered ground forces.[1][3]

McKenna was also said to have had a wide range of informants on multiple worlds throughout Clan space, stemming from his time in Kerensky's explorer corps. This apparatus was capable of gathering a great deal of information, which he would share with other Khans if they were able to meet his price.[15]

Not-Named Treachery[edit]

The growth that the Snow Ravens experienced would also put them on a path for confrontation with their more-powerful neighbor on Circe, Clan Wolverine. When both Clans laid claim to the same Brian Cache, the rivalry and bitterness felt between the two Clans boiled over. The Grand Council would order that the cache and its contents be split between both Clans. Quite famously, the Khan of the Not-Named Clan refused, beginning a chain of events that lead to the Trial of Annihilation against the Wolverines. Reportedly, in October of 2823,[16] a nuclear bomb was detonated at the Snow Raven's capital and genetic repository in Dehra Dun, killing many of the civilians and defenders. Evidence suggested that the Not-Named Clan had perpetrated the act, though rumors persist that the Wolverines were framed for the act, either by Khan McKenna, or Khan Mitchell Loris of Clan Mongoose. The claims that the Ravens had engineered the nuclear explosion as part of some type of plot overlook why they would nearly obliterate themselves in order to carry out a political maneuver. Most assuredly, more information lies under the surface. True records of the time were destroyed, either in the purge of records following the Annihilation, or in the destruction of Dehra Dun. The Mongoose connection is also obscured, though events that followed would perhaps shed some light on the relationship between Khans McKenna and Loris.[1][17][18][19]


"More than people died at Dehra Dun. I fear my trust in our fellow Clans died also."

--(Excerpt) Legacy of War, the personal journals of Khan Stephen McKenna[18]


After the events at Dehra Dun, Khan McKenna became even more embittered, but for good reason. His Clan was being scrutinized for a Trial of Absorption. Understanding that the greatest threat to his Clan was the political machinations of Mongoose Khan Loris (who was indeed sizing up the Ravens for Absorption), Khan McKenna took the best course of action available to him. Hinting in his journal at having possession of documented evidence of a connection between the Khans of Clan Mongoose and the Khans of Clan Wolverine, McKenna was able to use his information to leverage Khan Loris into selecting a different target for his military ambitions. In return, Khan McKenna would see to it that such evidence was destroyed before it could ever reach the Grand Council. In this way, McKenna averted the greatest threat that his Clan had faced up until that time without firing a single shot, and without alerting other Clans to their predicament.[17][18]

Legacy[edit]

As founder of his Clan, Stephen McKenna passed on to them their tendency toward gathering intelligence, a bend towards convoluted politics, and also a sense of loyalty to family, something that had always been a part of the McKenna family legend since the time of James McKenna and his son. In the modern Clan era, this loyalty translates into the foundation of the political blocs within the Snow Raven Clan Council, called amongst the Ravens "The Families".[15][20]

The founder of the McKenna Bloodname House, Stephen McKenna was a major connection to the Terran Hegemony's founding family and its illustrious history. Though not thought of as their greatest leader, he is remembered for defining what it was (and is) to be a Snow Raven, from his sharp flying skills, to his sharper sense of Machiavellian political intrigue and his capacity to do whatever it took to survive. Members of his Bloodname House might sometimes fight for other Clans as abtakha, but not until the post-refusal era has their genetic heritage been under the control of any other Clan besides Clan Snow Raven, and only then at the contesting of Clan Star Adder.[1][21]

Title and Position[edit]

Preceded by
None
Khan of Clan Snow Raven
2810[3]-28??



Succeeded by
????

Notes[edit]

Stephen McKenna had an orbital training facility over the world of Lum named in his honor by the year 3061, though it was likely destroyed during the Wars of Reaving.[22]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 115, 116 - "Stephen McKenna Profile"
  2. The Star League, p. 12, "James McKenna"
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 118, 119 - "Looking Into the Abyss"(2784 - 2785)
  4. Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 16 - Colonel Stephen McKenna, Personal Journals, 10 June 2785
  5. Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 19 - Vice Admiral Stephen McKenna, Personal Journals, 4 August 2792
  6. Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 30, 31, 32, 33 - "Preparing to Return"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 40, 41 - "Lay of the Land"
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 44 - "Circe Outposts"
  9. Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 44, 45 - "Cleaning the Cache"
  10. Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 72, 73 - "The Northern Campaign"
  11. Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 73 - "The Empire of Hidalgo"
  12. Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 73, 74 - "The Kerensky Dominion"
  13. Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 75, 76 - "The Battle of Bitter Tears"
  14. Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 76 - "The Last Campaign"
  15. 15.0 15.1 Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 153 - "Rules Annex, Snow Raven"
  16. Era Digest: Golden Century, p. 9
  17. 17.0 17.1 Historical: Operation Klondike, p. 99, 100 - "Fracture Lines"
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 120 - Legacy of War, personal journals of Khan Stephen McKenna
  19. The Clans: Warriors of Kerensky, p. 12, 13 - "Wolverine Treachery"
  20. The Star League, p. 12 - "James McKenna"
  21. Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 119 - Clan Snow Raven Exclusive Bloodnames
  22. Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 125 - "Training"

Bibliography[edit]