Word of Blake (book)

First published by ComStar Press in 2820, the Word of Blake was the effective bible for the ComStar Order. Reportedly the personal journals of ComStar founder Jerome Blake, though secretly an enhanced and altered version created by both Blake and his immediate successor Conrad Toyama, the Word of Blake foretold the collapse of the Inner Sphere and justifying the religious transformation of ComStar and the actions it undertook during the Succession War era.

The fanatical splinter group known as the Word of Blake would take their name from this tome to signify their continued adherence to Blake's professed Word following the ComStar Schism.

Overview[edit]

Jerome Blake's Personal Journals[edit]

While somewhat socially introverted, Jerome Blake was a prolific writer, later citing that he always had his best ideas when writing. Blake would produce a large number of technical documentation as well as keeping a personal journal of his thoughts. The latter decision would have wide-ranging ramifications for the Inner Sphere.[1]

Blake molded and shaped the direction of ComStar right up until his death to fulfill to two vital goals: preserving the technological legacy of the fallen Star League during the Succession Wars and preventing the Successor States from seizing the interstellar communications network and misusing it for their own destructive ends. Aided for many years by his principle adviser Conrad Toyama, despite the wide gap between the ages of the introvert Blake and extrovert Toyama, both saw each other as kindred spirits, united in the belief that ComStar could save humanity from the abyss, with Blake ultimately secretly selecting Toyama as his successor.[1] In attempting to preserve ComStar, Blake openly borrowed many aspects of the religious institutions of the medieval era, fostering a secret society mentality to keep the organization separate and neutral from the greater population as a whole to protect its assets and the technology it guarded.[2] [3]

However despite this groundwork, Blake increasingly feared how ComStar would survive after his death. Following Capellan Confederation Chancellor Ilsa Liao's failed attempt to seize control of the Hyperpulse Generator station on Nanking 2811, while creating ROM to help protect ComStar and provide advance warning of such efforts, Blake realized that the Great Houses still saw ComStar as a both a juicy target and delayed threat, increasingly envious as their own technology bases degraded but scared to act against the organization perhaps assuming the military forces used by ComStar during Operation SILVER SHIELD was operational. [1] [4]

Internally Blake also saw gradually increasing opposition between those who felt a higher calling to ComStar's mission of preserving knowledge for the future and those who skewed more heavily towards its corporate and business aspects, most notably Herman Schwepps, administrator of the New Earth HPG and the man increasingly positioning himself eventually take over from Blake as head of the organization. Blake came to realize that borrowing and emulating aspects of a religion was not a enough, that for the organization to survive the centuries required from threats both within and without, that ComStar had to become an actual religion. [1] [5]

To help fulfill this new direction long after both he and Toyama had died, Blake recognized if ComStar was to become a religion that it would need a bible. To this end he began reworking and producing a new version of his private journals dubbed "The Word of Blake", designed to put into perspective everything that happened in the hard decades of the First Succession War, retroactively adding predictions and hindsight-informed observations to enhance its prophetic flavor and help reinforce his deification as the symbol and unassailable martyr of the ComStar Order.[1]

Blake had been working on these new journals for only a few months when he unexpectedly fell ill in 2819, illness initially attributed to the injuries he'd suffered on Dieron during his time assisting the Star League Defense Force during Operation CHIEFTAN but eventually discovered to be the terminal stages of Ultorson's Disease, a rare and fatal genetic disorder. By this time little could be done but ease his pain in his final hours as he met with the First Circuit, his final visitor being Conrad Toyama, who at Blake's request took steps to muffle listening devices and block the security cameras hidden in the Prime Administrator's bedchamber. [1] [6]

On his deathbed the pair spent three un-monitored hours together as Blake revealed his plan for the new ComStar order and presented Toyama with noteputers containing both a true copy of his personal journal as well the rough and incomplete "Word of Blake", eventually convincing his skeptical protege and successor that this was the only course of action to ensure ComStar's ultimately survival and success. Toyama would emerge to announce that Jerome Blake had died at the stroke of midnight and bearing a writ naming him as successor to the position of Prime Administrator, pushing the shocked First Circuit to confirm him immediately.[1]

The Word of Blake[edit]

While Blake's will called for his ashes to be scattered over the Court of the Star League, Prime Administrator Toyama instead overruled it and ordered that Blake's body be preserved and placed on display at Hilton Head in specially designed tomb as a "shinning light to all in our ranks", as he began to speak of his final deathbed conversation with Blake and quoted from the ComStar founder's supposed journals about the prophesied collapse of society and the need to reforge the organisation as a religious order to ensure preservation of knowledge to safeguard humanity's survival. [1] [7] [6]

His actions caused unease among many, most notably Herman Schwepps who many assumed would be Blake's natural successor as leader of ComStar. Head of a power bloc within the First Circuit pushing a more interventionist policy leveraging ComStar's technological and military advantages against the Great Houses, Toyama's resistance to open intervention and push to transform the organization into the ComStar Order meant Schwepps actively looked to circumvent Toyama. Forced to make an example of Schwepps as Blake had warned, with the assistance of head of ROM and Blake loyalist Michelle Dupreas Toyama launched what would later be called "The Purification", a bloody purge through the entire organisation of those ROM or the new Prime Administrator felt openly or even casually questioned either ComStar's neutral direction or Toyama's religious interpretation of Blake's writing and ideals.[1] [8] [5]

Feeling his position and control over the organization now secure and the First Circuit stacked with agreeable and loyal members of ROM, Toyama then finished the incomplete religious version of Jerome Blake's journals, culling and publishing what he believed was the essence of Blessed Blake's thought and vision for the future. Four months after the Purification, Primus Toyama presented the First Circuit with the first copies of The Word of Blake, the tome spreading throughout ComStar and as Blake foresaw providing the Order with a clear path and direct guidance. [9] [5] [7]

Becoming required reading for all members of ComStar, by the reign of Toyama's own successor Raymond Karpov readings of the The Word of Blake occurred in nightly indoctrination session at each HPG.[10] Much of the aid offered to the poor and underprivileged by ComStar via soup kitchens, hospices, orphanages and schools also carried a large aspect of proselytizing of the Word of Blake.[11] On many backwater undeveloped worlds like Des Arc broadcasts of selected passages from The Word of Blake would prove popular as ComStar became almost a second church. [12]

Adherence of the Word of Blake reached its zenith under Primus Myndo Waterly, who even wound back some of the proselytizing using the book to enhance the Order's public relations appeal in the years immediately prior to the Clan Invasion,[11] seeing collusion with the Clans as the best way to spread the Word of Blake to the most people. Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht and Primus Sharilar Mori saw, as Blake had feared, while the Word of Blake helped preserve ComStar it had created zealots like Waterly that had perverted all that ComStar professed to believe, making the decision in the wake of the disastrous Operation SCORPION to secularize the Order. Though retaining much of the trappings of the old Order, the reading and publication of The Word of Blake was ceased, with a more critical eye detecting modifications and omissions which many attributed to Toyama.[9]

The fanatical Word of Blake faction, who take their name from the book, however still maintained it as required reading for their splinter order up until their destruction during the conclusion of Jihad.

Exceprts from the Word of Blake[edit]

The following passages from the Word of Blake present direct quotes from Jerome Blake followed by interpretations and indepth explainations added by Conrad Toyama in bold.[13]

On the Mission of ComStar

Terra's neutrality under our control guarantees that no matter what the leaders of the Inner Sphere do, something of the Star League and mankind will survive. Once the Great Houses have beaten themselves senseless and bloody, we can emerge, offering a new chance to recover what they have tried so hard to destroy. All that saved mankind during its last so-called Dark Age were the churches and religions. These were havens for humanity's learning and they stood alone as beacons in the darkness and foulness that humankind had become, to preserve the history and knowledge... If ComStar is to survive into the future, it must look to these religions as a blueprint for surviving the wars that are unfolding around us.[Salvation 4:18-24]

In this one passage, Blake has laid the foundation for the mission of ComStar, to thrive and to survive to re-light the lamp of civilization for mankind. Blake also foresees that by creating an oligarchy as the basis for ComStar, the organization's survival is guaranteed during the war of succession that the House Lords currently wage. Only by patterning ourselves after those religions that survived in the past will ComStar live on to the future.[13]

On the Operation of ComStar

The ideals of my followers must be higher than the petty, greedy politics of the House Lords. Politics is a game best played by madmen, and I am not mad... To use information to manipulate politics is tempting and, in many cases, justified... ComStar has one edge over the Great Houses: we control information and communication, tools more powerful even than an army of BattleMechs . There is a time to fight - to use some of the force we have accumulated - but this is tempered by the knowledge that it is better to allow our foes to pummel each other silly rather than be forced to attack them directly. Better to dance with the devils (House Lords) than to stoop to their level. [Salvation 4:1-17]

Blake has outlined how ComStar is to respond. Use information and other ploys to manipulate our foes. Force is a last resort. He also indicates that it is better to deal with the House Lords through guile than to lay all our cards on the table. It will be ComStar's goal never to take part directly in conflict, but to make use of our greatest tool, information, to wage our wars. There will be times to use force, but those are the exception rather than the rule.[13]

On the Future of ComStar

I believe a day will come when the fighting ends and we can emerge as the saviors... The victories will come for us one world at a time-then one House at a time-until we control everything. Mankind will not resist but will invite us to help rebuild, as we have done with blessed Terra. [Salvation 4:61-70]

Blake has foreseen the day when ComStar will rule the worlds of the Inner Sphere. Mankind will openly invite us to rule because we have, by divine foresight, saved all knowledge for the time of the great rebuilding.[13]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Second Succession War, pp. 4-9 "Intentions"
  2. ComStar, p. 14 "The Foundation Years - Expansion Years"
  3. BattleTech: 25 Years of Art & Fiction, p. 23, "Succession Wars Era"
  4. ComStar, p. 14 "The Foundation Years - Creation of ROM"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 MechWarrior 1st Edition, p. 128 "ComStar - History - The Blake Regime - Secret Society"
  6. 6.0 6.1 ComStar, pp. 18-19 "A New Order - The Death of Blake"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 2, pp. 25-26 "Personalities - ComStar - Conrad Toyama"
  8. ComStar, pp. 19-20 "A New Order - The Purification"
  9. 9.0 9.1 ComStar, pp. 20-21 "A New Order - The Word of Blake"
  10. ComStar, p. 28 "The Consolidation Years - Karpov Ascendant"
  11. 11.0 11.1 20-Year Update, p. 65 "ComStar - Internal Poltics - Social Programs"
  12. Fourth Succession War: Military Atlas Volume 2, p. 24 "ComStar Interdiction - Social Effects"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 ComStar, p. 21 "Our Master's Voice?"

Bibliography[edit]