Sarna News: Bad 'Mechs - Hoplite

Yori Kurita

{{{caption}}}
Yori Kurita
Character Profile
Also known as Yori Sakamoto
Born 3113[1]
Affiliation House Sakamoto
House Kurita
Position Coordinator

Yori Kurita was the granddaughter of Theodore Kurita's illegitimate son Franklin Sakamoto and Coordinator of the Draconis Combine from 3137 onwards. Initially regarded as an unimportant member of House Kurita, the annihilation of the ruling Kurita line combined with the patronage of Warlord Matsuhari Toranaga resulted in her ascension to the Combine's Chrysanthemum Throne.[2]

Despite doubts about her fitness for the role Yori Kurita proved herself a capable ruler, first in crushing a rebellion by Clan Nova Cat and elements of the Combine military, and later by overseeing stunning victories over the Federated Suns and the conquest of its capital.

History[edit]

Early Life[edit]

Born on Isesaki as Yori Sakomoto, she spent the first eleven years of her life oblivious to her heritage. Shortly after Yori's eleventh birthday, her family was visited by representatives of District Warlord Matsuhari Toranaga who informed the Sakamotos that Yori's father was the only son of Franklin Sakamoto. Following this revelation, the family was relocated to New Samarkand and Yori enrolled as a student at Galedon Military Academy where she trained to be a MechWarrior.[3]

Toranaga's 'generosity' was in fact motivated by politics; the Warlord would use Yori's presence at social functions to embarrass Coordinator Vincent Kurita and the 'legitimate' ruling branch of House Kurita, who were considered weak and unworthy of the throne by Toranaga. Nonetheless, the Coordinator insisted that, as a blood relation, Yori was to be tolerated at court.[1][4]

Sojourn in the Republic[edit]

Following the assassination of Victor Steiner-Davion in November 3134, Yori was among the Combine delegation who journeyed to Terra to attend his funeral. There she met Kisho Nova Cat and formed a friendship of sorts with the Clan Nova Cat Mystic[5] before attending a formal reception in Geneva. Yori met many other future leaders of the Inner Sphere that night, where she traded barbs with her future enemy Caleb Davion and agreed to participate in a simulated recreation of the War of 3039 using 'Mechs and vehicles in the place of armies.[6] Overseeing the Combine side of this 'war' with Kisho and Alaric Wolf as her subordinate commanders, Yori ended up facing off against Julian Davion in a duel that saw both 'Mechs destroyed.[7]

When the Senate rebellion erupted across a number of Republic worlds, Yori joined Julian, Callandre Kell, Lars Magnusson and the First Davion Guards for training on Northwind before accompanying them to Ronel. There she aided them against the Senate Loyalists, both in battle and in converting the local Dragon's Fury force to the Republic's cause using her lineage. However, when the news of Fortress Republic's raising completely upended their situation, Yori reluctantly but firmly announced her withdrawal from the ad hoc force, taking the Dragon's Fury troops with her. Telling Julian they could not afford to be friends, she bid him and her erstwhile comrades farewell.[8]

Reign as Coordinator[edit]

Ascension to the throne and early conquests[edit]

During the first quarter of 3137 Vincent Kurita and his entire family fell prey to a series of tragedies that saw the Combine's ruling line wiped out. Without any more suitable candidates, Yori Kurita became Coordinator by default.[9]

It was widely believed that the Combine's new ruler was a puppet of Warlord Toranaga, and his promotion to Gunji-no-Kanrei soon after did little to dispel the rumors that he was the true power behind the throne. Indeed, the common belief among the Warlords of the Combine (and indeed, the general populace) that Yori was little more than an opportunist who was exploiting a national tragedy and allowing herself to be controlled by Toranaga in exchange for social elevation.[10] But Yori soon silenced many of her critics with a series of overwhelming victories that forged her reputation as the strongest Coordinator the Combine had seen in decades.[1]

First, she continued with the reclamation of former Combine worlds from the Republic, until the Dragon's borders nestled right against the Fortress Republic Wall by the end of 3138. Knowing that merely continuing Vincent Kurita's policies would not be enough to legitimize her rule, Yori then oversaw the hiring of Wolf's Dragoons and the conquest of the Draconis Reach throughout 3139. Ending half a century's indecisive skirmishing over these worlds bolstered Yori's credibility, and preparations were begun for an even more ambitious project when fate threatened to derail Yori's reign.[11]

Nova Cat Rebellion[edit]

With Luthien's attention focused upon the Federated Suns and the former Republic, elements within the Combine opposed to Yori Kurita and Kanrei Toranaga decided the time was right to strike at both. Clan Nova Cat had secretly harbored Emi Kurita, Vincent's last surviving relative, since Yori's ascension, and considered her infant son Daisuke the rightful heir to the throne. Coupled with their own long-standing grievances against the Combine government, the Cats began an open revolt on June 16, 3141.[12] But despite being joined by Katana Tormark, Warlord of Dieron District, and many of her District's units, the rebels ultimately proved unsuccessful. This was due in part to the intense distrust of the Nova Cats that was felt by the Combine's populace, many of whom decided that they would rather ally themselves with Yori than with the Clanners.[13] By the time the fighting had ended in March 3143, Clan Nova Cat had been destroyed, Tormark brought to Luthien in chains, and Emi Kurita and her son had ended their lives rather than be taken prisoner.[12]

Victories over the Federated Suns[edit]

With all serious opposition to her rule now crushed, Yori's armies were now able to commence an all-out invasion of the Federated Suns. After a year of preparation, the DCMS mounted an offensive into the Draconis March in March 3144. Not only did the Combine forces make steady progress against the unsupported March defenders, but in June they were able to ambush First Prince Caleb Davion himself at Palmyra, resulting in his death and the destruction of much of the AFFS' available forces. The DCMS went on to inflict a further blow on the beleaguered Suns when Robinson fell in August.[14] These victories considerably boosted Yori's popularity, even though she herself likely had little personal involvement with the conduct of the war.[15]

Yori's reign would chalk up another monumental win on July 8, 3146, when the Combine invaded New Avalon. Though the AFFS would not make a general retreat until October of that year, Yori and the Combine would continue to hold the former Federated Suns capital, formalizing what was colloquially called the "Dragon's Tongue" as the Tancredi and New Avalon Prefectures of the New Samarkand Military District.[16] Yori herself hosted a lavish public celebration on Luthien to heap honours upon the DCMS soldiers who had conquered so much of the hated Suns - displays from which Toranaga was absent, as he cared little for the attention of the masses. These public celebrations enabled Yori to gain the love of the people, entirely separate from Toranaga.[17] A further step of Yori out of Toranaga's shadow occurred in 3147 when she denied him the creation of any new DCMS regiments.[18] This would be the start of a pattern of greater self-determination for Yori against Toranaga's demands - far from the early stages of her reign, in which she gave Toranaga everything he asked for, now Yori frustrated his attempts to command her at every turn. She repeatedly denied him the conscription of additional troops, and on one occasion in 3148 outright forbade him from further inquiries about military recruitment, stating that the Combine's training apperatus was working as hard as it could. In June of that year, she surprised him with the revelation that she had formed the Hikage, or the "Dragon's Shadow", a new regiment organised similarly to a AFFS Light Combat Team. Toranaga, while happy at finally receiving additional troops, was moreover concerned with the fact that Yori had recruited, organised and equipped this regiment entirely without his knowledge, which would have necessarily required the cooperation of the ISF and the other Warlords to conceal the Hikage's formation from him.[19]

Fall of the Fortress Republic[edit]

In March 3149, the Republic of the Sphere launched Operation ERUPTIO against the Combine, conquering several worlds of the Dieron Military District and seeing the death of Kambei Okamoto, the Warlord of Dieron. The following month, ambassadors from the Capellan Confederation arrived on Luthien, seeking a military alliance with the Dragon - Yori and her immediate advisors took the meeting, initially preventing Toranaga from taking part. After he was eventually admitted, he found that he could not convince the Coordinator to accept the proposal - her refusal was based on an unwillingness to allow the Capellans to easily conquer Terra, as Fortress Republic was down and the ISF had advised her that CCAF assets were within reach of humanity's home. After learning that Devlin Stone was alive, however, Yori consented to the alliance.[20] This alliance, which would become known as the Unity Pact, launched Operation TIAMAT in June of 3149 - the year-long project saw the Combine and Confederation both gain territory from around Terra from the Republic and Federated Suns before it eventually ran out of steam (the continuations of Operation ERUPTIO and Operation PERCIVAL from the Combine's enemies put paid to any notion of the DCMS advancing to Terra). Indeed, efforts by the RAF and AFFS retook several worlds of the Draconis March from the Combine, and DCMS and CCAF forces actually came to blows in mid-December on Northwind, when the CCAF turned on their allies over suspicions that the Combine wished to steal Northwind from the Confederation.[21]

In early 3150, Yori again surprised Toranaga with a sudden recruitment effort - the Coordinator signed temporary conscription orders for worlds throughout the beleagured Dieron Military District. The rising threat of either Clan Wolf, Clan Jade Falcon or the Rasalhague Dominon could no longer be ignored, and Yori reasoned that should Terra be conqured by any one of these powers, Clan forces may emerge into Dieron without warning. As a preventative measure, the so-called Ashigaru Initiatives were enacted, the militia regiments thus created to be trained for defensive warfare - allowing extant DCMS forces to be redeployed as needed. Toranaga, however, viewed this boost in manpower as his cue to conduct further offensive operations, and readied the DCMS to attack the Rasalhague Dominion if the Ghost Bears decided to make a play for Terra.[22]

ilClan Era[edit]

On 14 April 3151, after Operation TIAMAT had stalled and the Dragon's momentum seemed to have faded, Yori reached out to Toranaga to assess the current military issues of her realm and the Inner Sphere at large. Clans Wolf and Jade Falcon seemed to have departed their Occupation Zones, the Capellan Confederation was within one jump of Terra, the Lyran Commonwealth was mobilising and Wolf's Dragoons had apparently disappeared. Yori sent the message to Toranaga requesting his opinions on these issues and on the appropriate next steps to take - unbeknownst at the time to either Toranaga or the Coordinator, however, the very day that this message was sent was V-T Day, when Devlin Stone formally surrendered Terra to Clans Wolf and Jade Falcon and announced the dissolution of the Republic of the Sphere.[23]

BattleMech[edit]

Seeking another way to reiterate her connection to the ruling dynasty of House Kurita, Yori piloted the BattleMaster belonging to her great-great-grandfather Takashi.[24]

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Era Report: 3145, p. 89: "Yori Kurita profile"
  2. Dragon Rising, p. 296
  3. Era Report: 3145, p. 89: "Yori Kurita profile"
  4. Era Report: 3145, pp. 89–90: "Matsuhari Toranaga profile"
  5. Sword of Sedition, ch. 17
  6. Sword of Sedition, ch. 22
  7. Sword of Sedition, chs. 23–24
  8. Fortress Republic, chs. 14, 22, 24, 27
  9. Era Report: 3145, p. 21: "Dragon Rising"
  10. Era Report: 3145, p. 46: "Factions: Draconis Combine"
  11. Era Report: 3145, p. 46: "Factions: Draconis Combine"
  12. 12.0 12.1 Era Report: 3145, pp. 31–32: "Savage Tumult"
  13. Era Report: 3145, p. 46: "Factions: Draconis Combine"
  14. Era Report: 3145, pp. 32–34: "Setting Suns"
  15. Era Report: 3145, p. 46: "Factions: Draconis Combine"
  16. Shattered Fortress, pp. 28–29: "The Dragon Constricts"
  17. Shattered Fortress, p. 29: "Glorious Yori"
  18. Shattered Fortress, p. 34: "The Dragon's Response"
  19. Shattered Fortress, pp. 59–60: "New Steel"
  20. Shattered Fortress, pp. 67–68: "Shades of Kapteyn"
  21. Shattered Fortress, pp. 100–101: "Timeline"
  22. IlClan, p. 124: "Battening the Hatches"
  23. Hour of the Wolf, pp. 224–226
  24. BattleTech: Legends, p. 37

Bibliography[edit]