Barbara Liao

Barbara Liao
Barbara Liao
Born1 May 2731[1]
Died18 November 2795[1]
AffiliationHouse Liao
Title(s)Duchess of Sian
Duchess of Liao
ParentsWarex Liao (father)
Gaetana Sung (mother)
SiblingsSigismund Liao
ChildrenBaltazar Liao
Barnabus Liao

Barbara Liao was the Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation[2] who led the realm through the Amaris Coup and the bulk of the First Succession War.


Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation[edit]

Barbara Liao had a baptism of fire upon assuming the Emerald Throne in 2760; four days after her ascension came news of the nuclear attack on a BattleMech factory on Demeter by the Chesterton Liberation Battalion with the Confederation and Federated Suns plunged into the so-called Border War. Immediately refuting Davion claims that the Maskirovka aided the CLB in destroying the factory, Barbara's attempts to bring the matter before the Star League High Council for adjudication were crippled by her insistence that the Capellan claims to Chesterton, Sonnia and Demeter also be reviewed at the same time. With the other Great Houses long considering the claims comical, refusing to even consider such Capellan motions since 2582, the conflict would rage on until it was overshadowed when First Lord Richard Cameron reached his majority, with the Chancellor and First Prince agreeing to halt the fighting.[3][4]

Though more idealistic than her more pragmatic father, Barbara would continue the post-Council Edict of 2650 repeal buildup of the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces, using quality training and Terran Hegemony aid to combat the CCAF's smaller size in comparison to its neighbors.[3]

After the Coup she refused to directly aid General Aleksandr Kerensky in his moves against Stefan Amaris, citing a legal pretext that it was an "internal Terran matter," the same reason given for the SLDF's nonintervention in the Marik Civil War. While this was not popular with her people and the Chancellor personally felt sympathy for Kerensky's cause, Barbara steadfastly believed the Confederation's involvement in the dispute would weaken it in the face of Free Worlds and Federated Suns militarism. Political unrest resulted and eventually the Chancellor gave her permission for the SLDF to use Confederation worlds, though she stopped short of offering comfort and support to the campaign.

As Operation CHIEFTAIN drew to a close with the SLDF advancing closer and closer to Terra, Barbara Liao authorized a significant increase in aid to the liberated Hegemony worlds closest to the Confederation, relieving the exhausted SLDF of their relief efforts but effectively placing these worlds under House Liao control. Though a less than ideal arrangement, a desperate General Kerensky would agree to such de facto absorptions in order to free up as many as his troops as possible and in return for military supplies from the Chancellor.[5]

After the conclusion of Operation LIBERATION, Barbara Liao would meet with the other Council Lords in Unity City for the first time in sixteen years on 10 October 2781. Unfortunately self-interest and squabbling ruled the day and the Council Lords would agree on only two things, the selection of Jerome Blake to rebuild the shattered hyperpulse generator network and stripping from General Kerensky the role of Protector of the Realm. Though she would vote with the others, Kerensky's silent response to the humiliation of the removal would leave Barbara Liao heartbroken. As the full horrors of the First Succession War took hold, she would later openly regret her role in Kerensky's removal, likening it to a crime that doomed the entire Inner Sphere.[6]

First Succession War[edit]

When the Star League collapsed, Barbara's foresight became clear and the expanded CCAF made significant gains against the Federated Suns in the First Succession War, most notably capturing the Suns' so-called Terran Corridor. With House Davion preoccupied by a mass Draconis Combine invasion, the Confederation would also claim a considerable volume of former Hegemony worlds facing Liao and Davion space, easily taking Carver V, Keid, Terra Firma Bryant, Epsilon Indi, Epsilon Eridani, Fletcher and Hsien.[7][8]

The Confederation was less fortunate in its clashes with the Free Worlds League, as House Marik launched a successful offensive that took numerous border worlds. Desperate to push the League back, Barbara Liao sent a massive Capellan flotilla to stage a deep strike against the League world of New Delos. In preparing her troops for the battle, Barbara would issue one of the most infamous orders of the First Succession War, indicating the Ares Conventions were suspended and authorizing mass civilian casualties in an attempt to teach the Free Worlds League the price of striking the Confederation and bullying them into retreat. Using recently captured Marik codebooks, Strike Force Devlin took the vastly outnumbered Marik defenders by complete surprise before engaging in three days of wanton slaughter, withdrawing from New Delos after killing over 20,000 civilians.[7][9]

Unfortunately Barbara's "Devlin Solution" had the complete opposite effect, with the enraged Free Worlds League Military eager to avenge the dead of New Delos, retaliating with the firebombing of Outreach, Ingersoll and New Canton in 2789. Unbowed, in February 2790 Barbara selected Calloway VI as the next target, choosing to accompany Strike Force Devlin over the strenuous objections of her civil and military aides. This time lacking the advantage of codebooks and with the Marik forces prepared for any sudden moves across the border, the Capellan fleet was instantly set upon after arriving in the Calloway system. While able to reach the planet, the Capellans faced heavy opposition, the offensive greatly hampered by the need to keep the Chancellor safe from harm. After ten fruitless days she finally ordered Strike Team Devlin to withdraw, running directly into the teeth of a Marik relief force responding to Calloway's calls for help. Sacrificing the cream of the Capellan navy, Barbara would barely escape with her life, with both her sons killed during the debacle.[7]

The final years of Barbara's reign would see the Confederation suffer defeat after defeat, with the weakened Capellan navy unable to maintain the blockades of Marik-held Corey and Wazan, and the Marik Militia supported by Smithson's Chinese Bandits successively occupying El Giza, Mosiro, Vanra and Carbonis. Further, the Draconis Combine would increasingly challenge her efforts to claim former Terran Hegemony worlds, leading to costly battles over the planets of Rio and Ronel.[7]

Death and Legacy[edit]

Barbara Liao would die from a rare blood disorder in 2795. While her granddaughter Ilsa was the next surviving Liao in the line of succession, she was at the time far too young to ascend to the Celestial Throne. In response the Capellan Prefectorate chose Sandol Quinn, Prefect of the Tikonov Commonality, to act as regent until the 12-year-old Ilsa reached her majority.[10][11]

Children and Succession[edit]

Barbara Liao had two sons Baltazar Liao and Barnabus Liao,[12] both of whom died during the First Succession War. The next Chancellor in the bloodline would be Ilsa Liao a daughter of Baltazar.


It is not that we love war so much... all of us simply got tired of peace.
  — Quote attributed to Barbara Liao[4]
Commanders! Henchforth you may consider the Ares Conventions suspended. I expect you to act accordingly.
  — Address to CCAF forces sent to New Delos[7][9]



  1. 1.0 1.1 First Succession War, p. 130
  2. Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 1, p. 64: "Barbara Liao Profile"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Field Report 2765: CCAF, pp. 3–4: "Fragile Détente/Confederation Overview - Strategic Update - Goals of the State"
  4. 4.0 4.1 House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), pp. 43–44: "History - Calm before the Storm - Red Storm Rising - Incident on Demeter - Stefan the Usurper"
  5. Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 2, p. 33: "Tightening the Noose - Mine, All Mine - Don't Fight it"
  6. Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 2, p. 111: "Aftermath - Fateful Decisions"
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), pp. 45–47: "History - The Succession Wars - First Succession Wars - Blow and Counterblow"
  8. Handbook: House Davion, p. 51: "History of the Federated Suns - First and Second Succession Wars - First Succession War - The Noose Tightens"
  9. 9.0 9.1 Handbook: House Liao, p. 27: "History of the Nation - Dawn of the Succession Wars - New Delos"
  10. Handbook: House Liao, p. 28: "Sandol Quinn - Ilsa the Peacemaker - Debacle at Chesterton"
  11. House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 47: "History - The Succession Wars - Sandol Quinn Recoups - A Proffered Hand - Second Succession War"
  12. House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), foldout (pp. 163–164 in PDF): "The Capellan Confederation's Line of Succession and Partial Liao Family Tree"