Marriage Of Convenience

The early decades of this century were truly a different time. While, like today, war gripped each of the Successor States, attitudes and emotions were radically different. The Third Succession War was slowly grinding to a halt, not because anyone had won, but because the Successor States were literally exhausted. After centuries of almost unremitting war, not even the great economy of the Lyran Commonwealth could afford to continue Ihe fighting.

As the fighting slowly ground to a halt, Archon Katrina Steiner issued her Peace Proposal to the leaders of the Other Successor States, a proposal that was met with scorn and derision from all but one. Of course, it was little surprise to political scholars that Prince Hanse Davion of the Federated Suns took the Archon's proposal seriously. After all, only rarely had their two nations directly fought each other during the course of the Succession Wars and both had considered the Draconis Combine their most dangerous enemy.

What did surprise and shock the rest of the Inner Sphere w^s the Federated-Commonwealth Alliance Document signed in 30??. Though kept secret for some time, the alliance not only provided for the Sharing of military, scientific and intelligence information, but also heralded the eventual merging of the two nations. Indeed, as an unwritten proviso of the alliance, Archon Katrina promised the hand of her daughter, Melissa, in marriage to Prince Hanse Davion.

Of course, the wedding of the two on Terra In 3028 shockcd nearly everyone in the Inner Sphere. Never before had two nations allied so closcly, a fact that fright ened the other thee Successor Lords. Prince Davion and Archon Steiner vindicated the worries of their peers when they launched the Fourth Succession War on the day of the wedding with Prince Hanse's proclamation to his new wife, "in honor of our marriage... I give you a vast prize. I give you the Capcllan Confederation!"

That war lasted less than two years, but accomplished more than any nation had in two and a half centuries of war. The militaries and economies of both nations felt the lift in esprit that came with victory. Once lukewarm polling results showed that, after the end of the Fourth Succession War, the people of the Federated Suns and the Lyran Commonwealth overwhelmingly supported the alliance between the two superpowers. Even the people of the Sarna March, the region formed from the territory captured from the Capellan Confederation, eventually began to show their support to the union (though, to be fair, that change in attitudes happened only after extensive campaigns by various political, press and intelligence agencies from both the Suns and the Commonwealth extolling the virtues of Archon-Designate Melissa Steiner-Davion as their leader).

But the alliance's foundation had cracks in it long before the Federated Commonwealth was even formed officially. Right from the beginning of the alliance process, key figures in both nations, such as Duke Michael Hasek-Davion and for-mer-Archon Alessandro Steiner. voiced their dissatisfaction with the mere idea of an alliance between the Federated Suns and the Lyran Commonwealth. Moreover, they actively courted opposition to the alliance within highly-placed and regarded individuals within the military and political structures of both nations.

Perhaps what did the most damage in the early days of the alliance, however, were the wargames fought between the two militaries. The so called Alliance Games brought to light the weaknesses of the Lyran Commonwealth Armed Forces. Quite a few senior commanders within the LCAF, embarrassed by their poor showing in these games, feared a FedSuns takeover of the Lyran military—no doubt to be followed closely by their takeover of the entire Lyran Commonwealth. While both Archon Katrina Steiner and General of the Armies Edward Regis actively supported increasing relations with the Federated Suns, Individuals like Duke Frederick Steiner, the

Archon's cousin, placed blockade after blockade into the path of alliance. Even the Archon's sister, General Nondi Steiner, could manage little better than cool feelings toward the alliance in public; in private, the general continually bombarded her sister with bitter diatribes against the alliance, at least if the score of "insider biographies" penned by members of the royal staff can be believed.

Of course, from the point of view of the average Armed Forces of the Federated Suns officer, the LCAF was full of nothing but socialites and hedonists with absolutely no grasp of tactics. The continued failures of the LCAF in the Alliance Games did nothing to help that Image. More than one AFFS commander expressed feelings of dissatisfaction with having to teach the Lyrans how to actually fight a war.

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