When the Tenth Lyran Regulars on Cavanaugh II pledged their loyalty to Victor they placed theater commander Margrave Richard Steiner—a former member of ComStar and youngest son of General Nondi Steiner in a difficult position. After his disastrous command of Skye in the 3057 rebellion Richard could not afford to abandon the strategic world, nor could he allow the Tenth's "mutiny" to go unpunished. Unfortunately, he had little in the way of resources to exploit, most of "his" units being already embroiled against Victor's forces or else holding themselves aloof from the conflict.
He thus had little choice but to cooperate with the Regulars; in a meeting with Colonel Darrel Ingles, General Steiner stated his disdain for his cousins' squabble and pledged to serve the Alliance rather than any particular claimant. In private, however, Steiner contacted his mother, requesting the release of additional troops to his command. Nondi Steiner, while opposing Victor's cause in any way she could, knew her son's foibles and denied his request; the Cavanaugh Theater had more than enough resources and, in any case, allowing a Pro-Victor unit to hold the world forced them to remain there or risk inviting a Marik invasion. Richard fumed at the decision but knew how stubborn his mother could be and instead focused his anger on plans to unseat the Tenth.
In the summer of 3065, Steiner's plotting cafhe good when the Seventh Lyran Regulars—formerly under his authority on Loric—and the Bolan Jaegers pledged themselves to his cause. Using the excuse of exercises intended to improve cross-unit cooperation in the event of another attack on the provincial capital, the two units prepare for their true mission, the "liberation" of Cavanaugh II.
Exploiting his position as a "neutral" theater commander, General Steiner (Margrave was his title as theatre commander, while his actual rank in the LAAF was general) concealed their movements, blocking the transmission of the relevant deep-space sensor logs to Colonel Ingles. Only when members of Ingles' small aerospace detachment spotted the drive plumes of inbound DropShips did the colonel realize his predicament and move against General Steiner.
His attempts to seize control of the command bunker on the outskirts of Caerleon failed miserably thanks to the intervention of a 'Mech company loyal to the Margrave and, rather than be caught between the heavily armed installation and the incoming troops, the Regulars withdrew into the combination of minefields and emplacements intended to stall an invasion from the FWL.
There was little the Bolan Jaegers or the Seventh Lyran Regulars could do to counter the Tenth's actions; the local unit's knowledge of the terrain, traps, supply caches and minefields allowed them to dodge or deflect even the most determined Loyalist assaults. Their only weakness was in air power, which the Bolan Jaegers used mercilessly, Kommandant Milan Gverro finally getting his wish for an independent aerospace command. The Tenth learned to avoid this as well, seeming to fade into cover almost as soon as the fighters left Caerleon. Margrave Steiner began to suspect the presence of spies in his midst and his long-standing antipathy toward the group lead him to suspect ComStar. Having harassed the on-world elements of the 182nd Division for half a decade, General Steiner decided enough was enough and ordered Precentor Erin Harwell to withdraw her troops from Cavanaugh II as a consequence of "acts unbecoming a neutral party."
Harwell protested her troops' innocence (there was a spy, but on the Margrave's own staff) and when she refused to comply with his withdrawal order, stating she could only be ordered to do so by Gavin Dow or the Lyran General of the Armies, Steiner ordered his troops to shell the Com Guard compound. While stopping short of declaring their support for Victor, the two Level III Com Guard units on Cavanaugh II broke through the encircling loyalists, linking up with Colonel Ingles' Tenth Regulars on 9 January.
Richard Steiner had just made his task much harder.
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