|Died||8 May 3052|
|Title(s)||Duchess of Liao|
|Parents||Maximilian Liao (father)|
Jasmine Liao (mother)
|Spouse||Tsen Shang (lover)|
Romano Liao (born 2992 – died 3052, aged 60 years) was the second daughter of Chancellor Maximilian Liao. Romano succeeded her father as leader of the Capellan Confederation. She was considered by many to be insane, and was almost the image of the insane despot, putting people to death for no apparent reason. Romano was known for her skills with the oboe and violin, as well as being an accomplished micro-gravity acrobat.
Military career and life on Sian
Romano was a major and commander of the Capellan Reserve Cavalry. She hated her older sister Candace because Candace was more intelligent and more attractive. Despite the fact that she commanded troops in the regular army, Romano became enamored of the Warrior Houses and was a firm supporter of Karl Yadi. Exceptionally loyal to her father, she constantly tried to show that to her father to get in his good graces .
While on Sian, she strived to study the ways of Master Yadi to put his teachings to use in her own style of command. She developed a pathological hatred for House Marik after their troops murdered her first lover.
In 3028, she seduced Maskirovka analyst Tsen Shang while he was assigned to the Davion Section of the Maskirovka. This was her bid to gain personal access to intelligence. Through him, she was put her own spin on espionage. First in attempting to kill Davion officers on Kittery, and later in attempting to kill Quintus Allard, Justin Xiang's father during Davion's Wedding. All of these were attempts to gain her father's favor by pushing policies she believed he favored. However, Justin Xiang had pointed out these events were, in fact, counterproductive and damaging to the Confederation.
She personally assigned her own agent to have Justin assassinated during his mission to Bethel. Her father, by this time had been suffering doubt and uncertainty. Romano encouraged this disintegration of her father's mental capacities to guide him to her whims. When she learned that her step-mother, Elizabeth Jordan, had betrayed her father, Romano used her to open a way to kill Senior Colonel Pavel Ridzik. By the time of the arrest of Alexi Malenkov for treason, Justin Xiang was referring to both of them as "leaders" of the Confederation. Justin makes Romano realize her rash move to eliminate former Lord Colonel Ridzik may have opened up the Confederation to attack by them. Romano, still haunted by the death of her first lover at Marik hands, forces herself to convince her father that Justin is right, going along with his plan to have Alexi put on trial instead of death.
Romano consistently tried to turn her father against her sister, but all her attempts failed. When the Capellan Confederation was left devastated after the Fourth Succession War, it fell to Romano to pick up the pieces. The shattering of his nation broke Maximilian's mind, and with Romano's siblings gone from the Confederation, she took over as Chancellor in all but name. She did not even have two years to rebuild her demoralized military when war came again, this time in the form of a joint invasion by the Duchy of Andurien and the Magistracy of Canopus. Though they had been beaten, Romano was determined to show that Liao was still a Great House and not to be trifled with. The victories the CCAF earned gave them their confidence back.
On 21 April 3036, Maximilian Liao committed suicide. Romano was inducted as Chancellor on 12 May that same year. Now vested with the full authority as sovereign of the realm, Romano reorganized the Confederation as she saw fit. She purged the Maskirovka and appointed Tsen Shang, her long-time lover, as its director. All those known to have associated with Justin Allard or any other Davion spies were put to death, including former Director Chandra Ling. With an iron grip, Romano consolidated power in the Confederation and tied the military, intelligence service, and assassins guild to her so that they would not be used against her.
Chancellor Liao was extremely paranoid, perhaps in part because of the ease in which spies like Justin Allard infiltrated the Confederation during her father's reign. It was not unknown for her to implant tracking chips in the heads of palace staff, or even have them all killed and replaced during a bout of paranoia. It even became so bad that she alienated Tsen Shang, though he never left or betrayed her.
Marriage and children
Though Romano never married, she had two children. It is generally accepted that the father was her lover, Tsen Shang, whom she later appointed Director of the Maskirovka, though this is not absolutely certain.
- Sun-Tzu succeeded Romano as Chancellor and reclaimed many of the territories that Maximilian had lost.
- Kali became the leader of the Thugee cult. It was in this role that she perpetrated the Black May attacks during the Capellan-St. Ives War. She is also somehow linked to Cameron St. Jamais and the Sixth of June.
The Confederation stayed out of the War of 3039 and was barely affected by the Clan Invasion. Nonetheless, Romano traveled to Outreach in 3051 with the other leaders of the Inner Sphere. There, the healthy paranoia Romano nursed showed in her general disdain for Jaime Wolf and his pleas for peace and cooperation against the Clans. Romano angrily left the summit before the others did, but not before being challenged by her sister, Duchess Candace Liao of the St. Ives Compact.
Romano did what she usually did when somebody challenged her authority: she directed an assassin to kill Candace and her husband, Justin Allard. The assassin did kill Justin, but only succeeded in wounding Candace. Justin killed the assassin before succumbing to his wounds.
Romano continued to aggressively pursue her vengeance against the rest of the Inner Sphere while they fought the Clans. She sent a task force to Outreach while the majority of Dragoons were deployed to Luthien to defend against the Clan onslaught. Apparently, she expected to eliminate the Dragoon presence and even retake the planet, but the Capellans were defeated by the young warriors left behind by Wolf.
Death and afterward
Candace traveled in secret to Sian and slipped into the palace with the help of Imarra House Master Ion Rush and assassinated both Romano and Tsen Shang in their bedchamber, though she allowed Romano's son Sun-Tzu to succeed her.
Romano's legacy is her refusal to allow the Capellan Confederation to die. She arrested the downward spiral that had begun in 3028 and lost no more ground to other powers. With this foundation to work from, Sun-Tzu could retake what his grandfather had lost.
Art by Zina Saunders
Titles and Positions
|Chancellor of the Capellan Confederation
3036 – 3052
- BattleTech: Legends, p. 32
- Lost Destiny, C. 36
- Era Report: 3052, p. 77, "Romano Liao Profile"
- House Liao, pg. 124
- House Liao (The Capellan Confederation), p. 124, "Romano Liao profile".
- Warrior: Riposte, pp. 64-72, "Redburn and officers of the Kittery Training Battalion repulse assassination attempt and find House Liao's local safe house".
- Warrior Riposte, pp. 210-211 - "Justin confronts Romano for attempting to kill Quintus and calling her an idiot for risking ComStar Interdiction".
- Warrior: Coupé, p. 75, "Romano's Agent strikes and fails to kill Justin Allard/Xiang".
- Warrior: Coupé, p. 179, "Romano's assassin tells the dying Pavel that Romano murdered Chancellor's used step-wife to kill him".
- Warrior: Coupé, p. 282, "Romano guides the Chancellor's decision making when confronted by Justin Xiang (Allard) in him deferring his order for execution".
- Warrior: Coupé, p. 281, "Romano's elimination of Pavel Ridzik opens the way for Free Worlds League forces to take worlds from House Liao".