Silver Eagle Incident

Revision as of 18:57, 8 June 2019 by Cyc (talk | contribs) (Prelude: Meier-Star Agency tagging)

The Silver Eagle Incident occurred in the closing years of the Succession Wars, when the Lyran Commonwealth and Federated Suns had made a pact known as the FedCom Accords. While officially formalizing a closer relationship between the two powers, a secret provision of the Accords planned for the marriage of First Prince Hanse Davion to Archon-Designate Melissa Steiner, unifying them into a new superstate. In preparation for this event, Melissa Steiner agreed to travel incognito to the Federated Suns aboard the luxury DropShip Silver Eagle in 3027. En route to New Avalon the Silver Eagle was waylaid by forces opposed to her marriage and came under attack from the Draconis Combine. Thanks to the fortuitous arrival of a mercenary company, the Kell Hounds, all aboard the Silver Eagle were saved and the secret of Melissa's mission was maintained.

History

Prelude

On 24 April 3027, under the guise of "Joana Barker", Melissa Steiner contacted the Meier-Star Agency to book passage to New Avalon aboard the Monopole-owned Silver Eagle. The ship's route was a leisurely one over several months, with stops at Skye, Terra, Fomalhaut and Mallory's World, as taking a direct three-week voyage would've been too expensive on a teacher's salary. Once her trip was booked, "Joana's" personal data - food allergies, reading interests, body mass - were sent to Monopole's computer system to optimize her journey aboard the DropShip. Once done, her information was sent to the Lyran Intelligence Corps for background checks, then Immigration to review her medical history and ensure she had received the necessary vaccinations.[1]

While in Immigration's computer systems, this personal data was secretly copied and examined by another program hidden within the system, which through an elaborate cross-checking process determined a high likelihood that "Joana Barker" was in fact Melissa Steiner. This information was then sent via complex method - including the crossing of several air gaps - to Baron Enrico Lestrade on Solaris.[1] Enrico was part of a faction within the Lyran Commonwealth, led by his uncle Duke Aldo Lestrade IV, opposed to the unification of Houses Steiner and Davion. Hoping to upset the marriage by kidnapping the Archon-Designate, Baron Lestrade hired Gray Noton to divert the Silver Eagle on its route to the Federated Suns, though he did not tell Gray who exactly it was on the DropShip that he wanted.[2] However, Baron Lestrade had foolishly included the passenger manifest with the information he sent, and Noton recognized names on the list which might be of interest to others. He hired Heimdall to hijack the Silver Eagle at Fomalhaut and divert it to Sirius with the intention of placing the ship and its contents to the highest bidder among the Great Houses.[2][3]

Melissa Steiner boarded the Silver Eagle on 26 April, one of 350 passengers taking part in the sightseeing cruise, along with Lieutenant Andrew Redburn. Officially Redburn was returning to New Avalon as part of an officer exchange program between the two realms, but in truth he was there to act as her bodyguard. While the Archon-Designate settled into her modest quarters, Redburn would travel in the luxury suites and was given a tour of the DropShip by Captain Stefan von Breunig. The DropShip lifted off that same day to begin its journey.[4]

By 5 May, the Silver Eagle had reached Skye, with both Andrew and Melissa 'by chance' meeting over dinner together with other guests aboard the DropShip.[5] At the same time on Solaris, Gray Noton informed Justin Allard of the recent job he'd been hired for by the Baron Lestrade. While outwardly a traitor to House Davion, Justin was secretly a deep cover agent for the First Prince, and when he recognized his friend Redburn's name on the list he was determined no harm would come to him.[2] Later that night when Tsen Shang entered Noton's office for their arraigned meeting about the list, he found the mercenary with his neck snapped and all information on the Silver Eagle gone.[6] When the Maskirovka agent confronted Justin the next day about Noton's death, Justin explained the list had been part of a setup by MIIO's Counterintelligence Division and that he'd destroyed it to thwart their plot.[7]

The Silver Eagle arrived at Summer on 6 May, with a planned departure to Fomalhaut on 21 May to link up with the JumpShip Meridian and then continue on to Errai.[3][8] However, on 11 May two Heimdall agents, Danica and Clovis Holstein, had arrived on the Bifrost and boarded the Meridian under false pretenses and arranged to meet with her captain. They convinced him that there was an ISF agent aboard (which was true) and that he'd sabotaged the JumpShip's helium tanks (which was false). While Danica offered to send over one of their engineers from the Bifrost to "fix" the problem (in truth to sabotage the helium tanks for real), Clovis was able to get into Monopole's computer systems via the Meridian and designate the Bifrost as the Meridan's alternate. On their return to the Bifrost, Danica confided to her son that - though they had taken a job which seemed to harm the Lyran Commonwealth - they would not follow through with Noton's plan. Instead the Silver Eagle would be taken to Heimdall's secret base at Styx, where they would decide what to do with it then.[3]

Hijacking

on 21 May the Silver Eagle arrived at Fomalhaut where, with the Meridian out of action, she rendezvoused with the Bifrost. Melissa and Andrew were on the DropShip's bridge with Captain von Breunig as the DropShip connected with the JumpShip and made the jump through hyperspace, and the captain immediately recognized something was wrong when the system they appeared in did not match Errai.[9] The ship was taken the Heimdall's base, set up in a planetoid which had once been part of a defunct mining operation in the system. The Silver Eagle was landed in the planetoid's cavernous docking bay while the Bifrost sat suspended in low gravity above it.[10] The base housed 400 personnel, and while a number were Heimdall agents most were refugees from either the Lyran Commonwealth or Draconis Combine.[11]

Two days later, on Luthien, ISF Director Subhash Indrahar reported to Coordinator Takashi Kurita they had received information which suggested Melissa Steiner was traveling in secret aboard the Silver Eagle and that it had been taken to the Styx system. When questioned, Subhash confided it had been based on information gleaned indirectly from ComStar and independently verified through their own efforts.[12] In truth the information was purposefully leaked by Precentor Myndo Waterly to the Draconis Combine; she opposed Primus Julian Tiepolo scheme for the union of the two Great Houses and wishes to prevent the marriage of Hanse and Melissa.[13] Subhash's plan was for a a company of elite ISF jump infantry stationed on Dieron to jump to Styx and take Melissa hostage, a plan the Coordinator approved with one caveat: that the newly constituted Genyosha, led by his cousin Yorinaga Kurita and stationed in the nearby Nashira system also join in the raid.[12]

Later that day, Heimdall detected a Combine Invader-class JumpShip arrive at the system's nadir point, from which a Fury-class DropShip dispatched towards the base. Based on its acceleration vector they estimated 30-50 troopers on board and that it would arrive in 48 hours. Danica and Clovis brought Redburn, Melissa and von Breunig to the mining complex's command center and confronted them with the information, asking what type of passenger they were carrying which would provoke the Combine to this action and to hand them over. Rather than remain hidden and let others sacrifice on her behalf, Melissa declared her true identity to those in the command center...an action upstaged only by the detection of a second Invader with an Overlord-class DropShip, heralding the arrival of the Genyosha.[10]

Expecting the worse, Melissa's reveal instead prompted Danica and Clovis beg forgiveness and swear that they would protect her at all costs; other members of Heimdall was informed of her identity, while the rest of those at the base were simply told an important Steiner envoy had been aboard and was the target of the Kurita raid. In the two days before the arrival of the first DropShip, Melissa took charge of organizing the defense of the base. All non-essential personnel were placed aboard the Silver Eagle in the expectation the Combine troops would not risk its destruction, while Heimdall fire-teams were placed at strategic points along the expected paths of attack. Melissa would remain in the command center to oversee the overall defence while Redburn joined one of the Heimdall fire-teams.[11]

Kurita Attack

The Combine DropShip arrived at the mining base late on 25 May. As it was originally an ISF operation, the honor of starting the attack went to the ISF troopers, whilst the Genyosha would hang back to provide support. Breaching the base in multiple locations, the ISF troopers were split into roughly two groups, one to capture the Silver Eagle while the second took the command center; the Genyosha would be dropped close to the main hanger opening and proceed inside to help secure the Silver Eagle. Though Heimdall put up stiff resistance, they were quickly being overrun and wiped out by the elite ISF troopers, including Redburn's fire-team. By the time the Genyosha had made their drop - Yorinaga in his Warhammer, Narimasa Asano in a Crusader and the rest in Panthers - it was expected the ISF would have the command center within the hour.[11][14]

The date was 26 May 3027 when an ISF team breached the command center; though Melissa managed to kill the last trooper, only she and Clovis had survived the attack. Before anymore could arrive, the two snuck out through the ventilation system. Exiting the tunnels, they discovered Redburn at where his team had been overrun, still alive but injured. Determined to get out of the base, the trio headed for one of the smaller hanger bays in hopes of finding a ship to take them to safety.[15]

Kell Hound Rescue

During the course of these events, the Kell Hounds mercenary group had been stationed on Pacifica when, on 24-25 May, they had been attacked by Combine forces. Thanks to a chance turn of events, the sneak attack had been repulsed, with only Patrick Kell suffering a collapsed lung from a Katana wound.[16] Detecting additional Combine reinforcements incoming, the Kell Hounds retreated to their JumpShip Cucamulus, where they realized that the Combine had been specifically targeting them for destruction. Theorize that there were further ambushes awaiting them if they retreated to any Commonwealth system, the Kell House leadership decided to make it seem the Cu had suffered a misjump and instead fled into Kurita space.[17]

On 26 May the Kell Hounds arrived at A2341CA with the intention of recharging their drives. However, given that it would normally take eight days to recharge by the normal method, by which time they might be discovered by a random patrol or specific search for them after Pacifica, it was decided to "hot-load" the drives using the Cu's own powerplant. While this would recharge the drives in only 25 hours, there was a 28% chance of a misjump by doing so. Once the drives were charged, the Kell Hounds would proceed to Styx, which was suspected to house a Heimdall base where they might receive help. Unfortunately, the arrival of a Kurita JumpShip carrying an Intruder-class DropShip which would reach them in 21 hours forced the mercenaries to make the jump even sooner than expected.[18]

Despite the added stress, the Cucamulus made the jump successfully to Styx, though the situation was lest than hoped-for: besides the Combine JumpShips and DropShips, they also detected five enemy 'Mechs on the planetoid's surface, guarding one of the smaller hanger bays. Luckily the Cu had used a pirate point to appear on the "dark side" of the planetoid, avoiding detecting by the Combine ships and preventing the 'Mechs from radioing their appearance. Immediately the Kell Hounds launched the Nuada Argetlan carrying two reinforced lances (1st Lance: a Wasp, a [Jenner]], two salvaged Panthers and a Valkyrie piloted by Dan Allard; 2nd Lance three salvaged Panthers, a Wolverine and a Catapult), which would make a combat drop and destroy the enemy 'Mechs on the surface before proceeding inside via the hanger. Making a fast 2.5 G burn, the Nuada reached the drop point in under twelves minutes, and after landing on the surface the ten Kell Hound 'Mechs quickly destroyed the five Panthers for no loss.[19][20]

Not recognizing the Genyosha emblem on the destroyed 'Mechs, the Kell Hounds proceeded inside where, after proceeding down a winding series of corridors, they ran into Melissa Steiner and her group. Quickly realizing what Melissa's capture could mean, the mercenaries decided two of their number would escort Melissa back to the surface. There the Manannan MacLir would pick her up, return her to the Cu and hot-jump out again, while the rest stayed behind to buy them time.[20] However, Patrick Kell would not risk another hot-jump attempt with Melissa Steiner aboard, and so (as to avoid the Kurita forces from picking up their signals) altered the plan without telling the ground team: Melissa and her group would stay hidden in the base while the Mac made a run as though it had picked her up. Instead it would drop off a recovered Patrick piloting Ardan Sortek's Victor with the goal of destroying as much of the Kuritan force as possible.[20]

As the Kell Hound team moved deeper into the base, they were contacted by sho-sa Tarukito Niiro, who offered them safe passage to meet their forces in the main hanger by the Silver Eagle. There they saw the Genyosha 'Mechs arrayed around DropShip: twenty Panthers with a Crusader and Warhammer. Sho-sa Niiro informed the assembled group that they had one hour to produce Melissa Steiner or they would destroy the Silver Eagle. The Kell Hounds plead ignorance that Melissa was even on the planetoid, but nevertheless used the grace period to their advantage.[20]

When the hour was almost up, the Kell Hounds readied themselves to attack when suddenly Patrick Kell made his dramatic entrance, destroying a Panther with a burst from his autocannon and announcing Melissa had made her escape towards the Cucamulus, which the Kuritans would never catch in time before it jumped. In the general melee which ensued, Patrick was untouchable as he continued to target the enemy Panthers, even as the Warhammer turned its guns on him. Dan quickly realized that the Warhammer was being piloted by Yorinaga Kurita as he began to land blows on Patrick's 'Mech. Patrick continued to ignore Yorinaga and focused on the enemy Panthers until a final, fatal shot caused his 'Mech to go critical. As Patrick attempted to eject, Dan saw his command chair caught in the blast of the exploding 'Mech, seemingly killing the Kell Hounds leader.[21]

In a blind rage, and unable to target Yorinaga with his weapons, Dan slammed his Valkyrie into the Warhammer and activated the self-destruct before punching out. While only incapacitating the Warhammer, Dan's suicidal attack forced Yorinaga to eject himself. With Yorinaga out of the fight, their numbers greatly reduced and no hope of reaching the Mac before it could escape, sho-sa Niiro ordered a retreat back to the Genyosha's DropShip. The Kell Hounds do likewise, where they discover not only Patrick's change in plans but that he had survived the explosion, albeit mortally wounded. Aboard the Silver Eagle - en route to the Cu with the passengers and Kell Hounds aboard - Patrick Kell and Melissa Steiner are reunited, where she reveals to him the reason for her secret trip to the Federated Suns. Wishing her happiness in her new life, Patrick Kell hands over command of the Kell Hounds to Salome Ward and dies.[21]

Aftermath

The Kell Hounds and Silver Eagle arrived at Northwind on 5 June, where they were met by Hanse Davion, Quintus Allard and his staff to debrief them. Publicly, the First Prince is to make a public statement thanking the Kell Hounds for helping to rescue the Silver Eagle from Kurita forces at Styx and honor the sacrifices of those who gave their lives. The MIIO helped spread the story that it was a high-level Steiner envoy traveling to New Avalon which precipitated the Kurita raid, while the members of Heimdall kept quite about Melissa's presence.[22]

In a private meeting attended by Qintus and Melissa, Hanse personally asked for Clovis, Redburn, Salome and Clarence Wilson to swear secrecy regarding Melissa's upcoming marriage, which the four had overheard when she confessed to Patrick. In return he rewarded Andrew Redburn a promotion to Captain; pardons for Heimdall in diverting the Silver Eagle and all the support they need until they could return to the Commonwealth; and the Dragon Slayer's Ribbon to the Kell Hounds with a memorial to those who gave their lives. Given the delicate nature of Melissa's journey, he also promised to induct them into the Order of Davion and posthumously award their fallen comrades the Medal Excalibur when he could. When asked how else he might reward the Kell Hounds, Dan suggested a scholarship in Patrick Kell's name for prospective MechWarriors.[22]

On July 15, the First Circuit of ComStar met at the Hilton Head complex to discuss the possible excommunication of Mydo Waterly from the Order. Primus Teipolo accused the Precentor of potentially revealing the covert operations of ComStar and tarnishing its neutralist image with her meddling. The Primus was also voiced concerns that the death of Patrick Kell by Yorniaga's hands might lead to Morgan Kell coming out of retirement to face his old foe. However, Waterly succeeded in staving off her excommunication, arguing her actions were no less subtle than past ComStar meddling, that waiting for the First Circuit to approve her actions would've given up valuable time, and that there were no lasting consequences.[13]

Legacy

A memorial to the Silver Eagle incident was constructed at the Davion Peace Gardens on New Avalon before the end of the year. Surrounded by a grassy amphitheater, the stone-and-steel memorial includes a memorial flame highlighting three figures which make up the tableau. A panther is seen recoiling from a bloodied wolfhound, mortally wounded by lunging towards it with fangs bared, while behind it a child crouches in horror. A rope around the child suggests imminent rescue to justify the hound's sacrifice. On the plaque below the scene reads the names of those who died and the following: "In Memoriam: For those who gave their lives to save the hijacked DropShip Silver Eagle, 26 June 3027. The fruits of your sacrifice will live forever."[23]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 33
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 35
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 41
  4. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 34
  5. Warrior: En Garde, ch. 37
  6. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 38
  7. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 40
  8. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 39
  9. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 42
  10. 10.0 10.1 Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 45
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 47
  12. 12.0 12.1 Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 43
  13. 13.0 13.1 Warrior: Ripose, Prologue
  14. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 50
  15. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 50
  16. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 46
  17. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 48
  18. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 51
  19. Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 53
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 54
  21. 21.0 21.1 Warrior: En Garde, Ch. 56
  22. 22.0 22.1 Warrior: En Gard, Ch. 57
  23. Warrior: Reposte, Ch. 7

Bibliography