Black May

Black May was the name given to a series of nerve agent attacks orchestrated against varying targets, mostly within the St. Ives Compact during the brief Capellan-St. Ives War in May of 3062.


The attacks were orchestrated by Kali Liao, the sister of the reigning Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation, Sun-Tzu Liao, as a means to bring a swift conclusion to the war. The plot was revealed by Kali to Sun-Tzu on the Second of May, the day the attacks began. Realizing the implications of releasing a nerve agent during a war, Sun-Tzu Liao hurriedly informed Candace Liao, head of the St. Ives Compact, of what information the Maskirovka had extracted from Kali. The Thuggee had stolen fifteen canisters of nerve agent, enough to kill over five million people.[1]

Specific attacks[edit]

The warning came too late to stop the first wave of attacks. Making use of the same nerve agent that had been used to kill an entire battalion of the Nightriders regiment of McCarron's Armored Cavalry on Wei, members of the Thuggee cult targeted political and military targets within the St. Ives Compact. The attack on St. Ives was to be launched by a JumpShip, the You dú Xin-Zàng, carrying a single DropShip and a lone old Lucifer fighter loaded with rockets of the gas. However, during the final leg the ship suffered a missjump and was almost destroyed. The crew was killed or left half dead. The You dú Xin-Zàng was boarded by a Compact rescue team lead by Davion general Simone Devon, but when they found the Lucifer pilot still in his cockpit, he launched the rockets, killing the general and most of the other people aboard. Later, the Thuggee launched another six suicide attacks on the royal palace in St. Ives, using suicide vehicles, but all were destroyed before reaching the target.[2]

An attack by Thuggee infiltrators in Warrior House Ijori was planned but ultimately thwarted. The Thuggee infiltrators received a shipment of Wei nerve gas canisters with the intent of attacking St. Ives. Fortunately, their plan was discovered by an infantry platoon leader who was able to warn the Ijori House leaders. This resulted in a battle inside the Ijori stronghold that ended when a young MechWarrior smashed a canister, killing himself and another fifty Ijori warriors, bringing the ill-fated plot to an end.[3]

The 7th FedCom RCT, one of the units defending the Compact, lost most of his senior officers in the attacks.[4]

The attack on St. Loris was done by a DropShip launching rockets of gas. His target was Cassandra Allard-Liao, who was leading a group of Khorsakov's Cossacks, but she was warned and saved by Tamas Rubinsky of the Rubinsky's Light Horse mercenary regiment. On Indicass, the target was a pavillion where Tormano Liao was to made a speech. A hovercar attacked the meeting, being destroyed by the Helios BattleMech piloted by Treyhang Liao, son of Tormano, but it was too late. The gas killed most of the people present, including Tormano and planetary governor Siddara. Treyhang, however, survived in his Mech.[5] An attempt was even made on Isis Marik, who was departing the Confederation after being dismissed by Sun-Tzu, but a Capellan escort destroyer neutralized the Thuggee JumpShip as soon as it entered the Necromo system.[6]

The "Black May" attacks continued periodically from 2 May until the beginning of June. In all, around 100,000 lives were lost to the Black May attacks; a diminutive figure when compared to the 1,000,000 initially estimated. Sun-Tzu's quick thinking saved thousands of lives, but the political fallout from the sinister attacks only fueled resistance in the Compact and mired Confederation progress in the Capellan-St. Ives War.

Notable casualties[edit]

  • Tamas Rubinsky, who survived the extensive lung and neural injuries but was left unable to pilot a BattleMech.[8]


As a direct result of the attacks, Kali Liao was imprisoned by her brother and sent to Atreus to stand before a war crimes tribunal composed of Captain-General Thomas Marik, Magestrix Emma Centrella, and a representative from the St. Ives Compact. Though she was dismissed on grounds of her insanity, Sun-Tzu would have her exiled to Highspire and supposedly disbanded her cult of Thuggee followers. The casualties turned the war much more violent, with both sides escalating his brutality. Ironically, the attacks barely aided the Capellan to win the war, just the opposite. Only after three years the St. Ives negotiated the end of the war.[9]


  1. The Killing Fields, p. 88
  2. The Killing Fields, p. 117
  3. Field Manual: Capellan Confederation, p. 66
  4. Field Manual: Federated Suns, p. 95
  5. The Killing Fields, pp. 92–94
  6. The Killing Fields, p. 107
  7. Field Manual: Capellan Confederation, p. 109
  8. The Killing Fields, p. 104
  9. Field Manual: Updates, p. 10