|Coordinator of Worlds
|Yoguchi Kurita (father)
Early Life to DCMS High Command
The youngest of Yoguchi Kurita's three sons, Taragi was born with an inner ear problem resulting in chronic motion sickness, leaving him unable to become a MechWarrior, aerospace pilot or even a crewman on a DropShip or JumpShip. Nonetheless, as expected for a Kurita the highly intellectual Taragi joined the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery, serving instead in the DCMS's mammoth and labyrinthine bureaucracy. During the early years of his military career Taragi quickly became highly adept at navigating and then secretly manipulating the intricacies of the Combine's logistical network, delighted more at his ability to do so than the wealth he gained. Slowly rising up the ranks as Third Succession War erupted and the Internal Security Force's Shadow War between his uncle Miyogi and aunt Roweena reached its peak, Taragi served as an aide to a general on the DCMS's High Command as both sides attempted to secure the favor of the Combine's military commanders to win the war.
Sensing a chance to increase his power and prestige, in separate audiences with both Miyogi and Roweena, Taragi attempted to peddle his supposed influence with the neutral generals of the High Command to support their respective faction in the Shadow War. Despite his insistence, both knew he was not even allowed to speak at the High Command Meetings, with Roweena laughing in his face and Miyogi half-heartedly agreeing to promote him if he succeeded. Neither realized how wily Taragi was however. When the High Command finally met to decide which Kurita to back, Taragi rose and strode to the front of the room, removing from beneath his clothing the Dragon Medallion signifying his status as a legitimate member of the Kurita line. Holding up the medallion as if it was a holy symbol and shocking the murmuring generals into silence, Taragi launched into impassioned hour-long speech extolling the virtues of Miyogi and characterizing Roweena as a kind of witch, before returning to his seat. Swayed by Taragi's speech, the High Command voted unanimously in favor of Miyogi, with the Roweena-loyal ISF and the People's Reconstruction Effort eliminated in short order. As he had promised, Miyogi prompted Taragi to the rank of General, becoming one of his uncle's most trusted advisers. Among Taragi's first pieces of advice was to imprison rather execute Roweena for fear it would complicate rooting out those ISF agents still loyal to her, a decision that would ultimately benefit Taragi in future.
Following his promotion, the emboldened Taragi's secret manipulations of the DCMS bureaucracy dramatically increased, siphoning off money and goods as he wished but still more excited by the excitement of the game than the physical rewards. Taragi's real focus and interest was on the solving the problems of universe, his passions inflamed by the intellectual challenge. As a Kurita, Taragi focused on improving both his lot and the destiny of the Draconis Combine as whole, but also seeking an outlet for his deep mischievous streak. Taragi received an ideal opportunity to satisfy both urges when his uncle Miyogi sent him to the Davion front to act as chief adviser to the Warlords of the Galedon, Benjamin and Dieron Military Districts. Delighted in his new position as the Coordinator's official representative and eager to test his abilities and cunning, Taragi quickly embroiled himself in the politics between the three Warlords and set about manipulating the procurement systems along the Davion front.
In short order he had secretly pitted each of the three Warlords against the others and the supply situation was hopelessly snarled and bottle-necked, with the Federated Suns quickly taking advantage of the weakness to seize three worlds as the three Warlords each blamed the other for the problems, while a number of operation's directed by Taragi were suspiciously successful. By 2885 the Davion forces had struck the major supply depots on Towne, Mara, New Ivaarsen and Rowe, largely thanks to Taragi's manipulations reducing the defenses, prompting him to travel to Luthien to personally report to the Coordinator on the incompetence of the three commanding generals on the Davion front. Careful to avoid blaming anyone specifically, Taragi nevertheless made it clear that he believed the Davion front should be commanded by a single general. Miyogi thanked Taragi for his report and openly agreed with Taragi's idea of a single commander. However where Taragi had expected that that he would be named, Miyogi had already selected his son, Jon Kurita, for the post.
So totally convinced that the appointment would be his, the deeply humiliated Taragi's vague ambitions of advancing his standing were galvanized into eliminating his uncle and becoming Coordinator of the Draconis Combine himself. Taragi immediately knew where to turn to assist him, visiting the elderly Roweena Kurita, over a hundred years old and still under house arrest. Eagerly agreeing to assist Taragi as a means of striking out against her brother, as Taragi had assumed, Roweena still commanded a small but totally loyal number of Metsukes who escaped the various purges since her arrest who would aid and supply him with secret information. She also advised him to discredit Jon Kurita first, forcing Miyogi to replace him with Taragi or retain him and anger the DCMS High Command through blatant nepotism.
Seeing the perfect opportunity, Taragi manipulated the bureaucracy to ensure that supplies earmarked for the Third Sword of Light on the vitally important world of Robinson were misrouted, leaving them dangerously low on munitions and parts, a fact that did not escape the notice of the Federated Suns. In late 2891 as a large invasion force hit Robinson, Taragi ramped up his efforts and ensured that the DCMS troops on-world received no supplies for an entire month, forcing the imperiled Third Sword of Light to retreat off the planet to avoid destruction. When the enraged commanders of the Third Sword angrily approached Jon and Taragi wanting to know who had caused the supply snafu, Taragi sprang his trap. Producing falsified information and the testimony of supposed procurement officer, in truth an ISF officer loyal to Roweena, Taragi presented a mountain of damning evidence implicating Jon Kurita, with the commanders of the Sword of Light regiments responding by most strenuously urging the Coordinator to remove his son and place Taragi in command of the Davion Front.
Miyogi attempted to rally his own support in the High Command to save his son, but court rumors that the Coordinator was sending an offer of alliance to the Federated Suns (in truth a smear campaign waged by Roweena's friends within the ISF) scuttled these efforts. The final act was played out by Captain Hideyoshi Toyama, a fanatical young officer in the Third Sword of Light who was desperate to avenge his unit's humiliation on Robinson. With a large explosive device strapped to his chest, Toyama succeeded in entering the Imperial Palace when the Coordinator was seeing petitioners in the Audience Hall, killing 30 people including himself and Miyogi Kurita. When word of the assassination reached the Davion front, Taragi had his ISF contacts arrest Jon Kurita, executing him for negligence and treason after a mock trial. With the death of Miyogi's only male child, Taragi became Coordinator of the Draconis Combine unchallenged.
Coordinator of the Draconis Combine
Despite finally obtaining the highest position in the Draconis Combine, the pinnacle of decades of masterful cunning and manipulation, Taragi became increasingly melancholic following his defeat of Miyogi. Throughout his endless manipulations, Taragi's passions were inflamed more by the pursuit than the prize itself, especially as the prize now burdened him with increasingly heavy decisions and problems that the entire realm looked to him to answer.
As the Third Succession War shifted from brutal and dramatic offensives to lower level raiding that better preserved dwindling resources, Taragi faced increasing resistance from more conservative old school DCMS generals opposed to what they viewed as weak and dull battles. Penning a small booklet entitled "The Katana Principle", Taragi outlined numerous religious and moral justifications for the new style of warfare, along with a none-too-subtle reminder that bushido demanded obedience to one's lord above all. The new style of war would be put to the test as the Combine launched an invasion of the Lyran Commonwealth world of Skye, capital of the Federation of Skye.
Both sides well aware the loss of Skye would be a hammer blow to the morale of the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces and the Commonwealth as a whole, Taragi sent five 'Mech regiments and nineteen armor and infantry regiments to ensure his forces could overwhelm the three 'Mech and twelve lesser units of the Lyran defenders. Ultimately however the fanatical resistance of Skye's population and unpredictable weather and conditions soon put the Kurita invaders on the defensive, and as the cost of the campaign continued to mount, Taragi reluctantly ordered his troops to withdraw in early 2894.
The failure to capture Skye had a follow-on effect for the fighting along the entire Commonwealth front, as Taragi attempted to combat falling morale and logistical snarls, with the DCMS High Command pressing him to develop a plan to reverse the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns recent gains on the Combine-Davion border. Soon they would also clamor for a response to upswing in bandit activity along the Combine's Periphery border, Taragi having to make more and more difficult decisions as food and water shortages for the people on the worlds along the border complicated matters yet further.
The direct aftermath of Taragi ascension also reared its head when the ISF located the last Metsukes loyal to the now dead Roweena, awaiting his decision on how they were to be treated. Additionally, Taragi became increasingly paranoid that Miyogi's three daughters might have divined his role in the deaths of their father and brother, plotting vengeance against him. With the weight of his responsibilities growing only heavier and heavier, Taragi considered retiring on several occasions, each time reconsidering when he thought of his son and heir-designate Shinjiro. Though almost forty years old and reportedly an excellent military officer, Taragi feared he was far too politically naïve to rule over the Combine, Taragi grudgingly persevering and paying the price of his plots and scheming.
At the turn of the thirtieth century, Taragi's attentions shifted to dealing with another crisis when he learned of a major plague raging through the Albiero and Bjarred Prefectures in 2903, eventually dubbed "Albiero Consumption". Though an existing vaccine existed to treat the plague, it required advanced medical facilities lacking in both prefectures, placing Taragi in a difficult position with some advisors counseling that both prefectures be placed under brutally strict quarantine and sacrifice the prefectures population to stop its spread while others appealed to Taragi to honor his oath as Coordinator to protect the lives of the people who aided his eventual victory over the Inner Sphere. Ultimately Taragi ordered as much assistance as possible into the two stricken prefectures, a decision that would prove most fortunate in retrospect when work in the Albiero Prefecture developed a new, cheap and easily prepared vaccine in 2904. Thanks to Taragi's decision to actively combat the plague, by early 2907 Albiero Consumption had been brought under control and millions of lives had been spared.
Death and Legacy
Taragi Kurita would be struck down by a latent congenital heart defect in late 2907. Ironic given his extensive support for the medical profession during the Albiero Consumption crisis, the doctors of the Imperial City who tried to correct the defect botched the lifesaving surgery. Taragi Kurita died shortly after, along with the surgeons who made the mistake, his son Shinjiro becoming the next Coordinator.
Ultimately Taragi's earlier fears would prove groundless, with Shinjiro proving to be among the most politically skilled members of House Kurita to hold the post of Coordinator.
|Is war the natural state of man? I say the answer is obvious. When is a man most keenly aware of life, most sensitive to its fragility and beauty than when he is most likely to lose it? What? Lovemaking, I hear you say? Well, that is true, but those moments are few, fleeting, and require far more emotion than most men are willing to invest. No, war is a far better lover of men; her arms are always open.
|— General Taragi Kurita, in a speech to the graduating class of the Sun Zhang Academy, 2866
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), foldout: "The Draconis Combine's Line of Succession and Partial Kurita Family Tree"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), pp. 75–76: "The Third Succession War - Military Hot Spots - Good Plan, Unexpected End"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), pp. 72–73: "The Third Succession War - Shadow War"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), pp. 76–77: "The Third Succession War - The Rise of Taragi"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 78: "The Third Succession War - Regrets - The New Century - Operation Freedom"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), pp. 77–78: "The Third Succession War - The Battle of Skye - The Unofficial Rules of War"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 74: "The Third Succession War - Is War the Natural State of Man?