Marshal Bishop Sortek knew that he only had one real chance to end the war on New Avalon, and that would be with the capture of the Fox's Den and Avalon City. He also knew that, while his First Davion Guards could easily destroy any one of the units that the Archon had arrayed against them, it would only be a matter of time before she could summon enough strength to finally wipe his unit out. After his failure to take the Fox's Den, he resolved to make the First Guards' final stand on New Avalon happen on his terms.
Though he had done considerable damage to the Allied units that were arrayed against his RCT—especially to the Third Robinson Rangers—the Archon could divert newly built BattleMechs and tanks from New Avalon's major defense contractors direct ly toward rebuilding her Loyalist regiments. On the other hand, while Sortek and his men could skim some support from allies they still had within New Avalon's bureaucracy, they had to rely almost exclusively on battlefield salvage to maintain their strength.
While the Archon had shut down all non-official HPG traffic into and out of New Avalon. Marshal Sortek and his cousin, Field Marshal Ardan Sortek, both still had enough friends within the High Command to be able to send each other the occasional secret message. On 23 September, however, they traded their last communiqué. Knowing that his unit could not hold out long enough for his cousin or Victor Steiner-Davion to send sufficient reinforcements to take the Davion homeworld, at least without causing an unacceptable level of civilian casualties, Marshal Sortek outlined a plan that would hopefully keep New Avalon from contributing any significant reinforcements or replacements to the Loyalist armies.
While he slowly retreated along the length of the Grand Avalon Mountains, the Marshal had his contacts within the High Command sabotage the AFFC personnel databases and what DMI classified files they could access. At the same time, he exfiltrated a number of his own special forces teams into the civilian population. Having taken enough salvage to bring the First Guards up beyond their nominal strength, the Marshal tricked his opponent, Marshal Werner Gast, into thinking the Guards were seriously understrength by leaving additional wreckage on the battlefield. Gast continued to push, and Sortek continued to pull back, though when Gast dropped a significant portion of the New Avalon CMM along the First Guards' path of retreat in late October, Sortek charged full-force into the militia RCT, very quickly and decisively breaking the command. Gast followed up with an assault of his own, but it was too late to help the CMM, whose survivors he folded into the Robinson Rangers.
By the middle of October, the First Guards reached the junction between the Grand Avalons and the Dalban Mountains. Gast believed he had finally trapped Sortek and his Guards, but the Marshal again surprised him by moving almost the entire RCT through the mountains, leaving behind only a relatively small contingent, lead by Marshal Sortek himself. In a battle that many historians would later compare to Prince Ian Davion's rearguard action to protect the Fourth Davion Guards on Halstead Station, Marshal Bishop Sortek stood with two companies of assault 'Mechs and held the pass that the First Guard was using to make its way through the mountains for three hours. Neither Sortek nor his twenty three brave officers survived the battle, but the First Guards made their escape, destroying the pass behind them.
The RCT, now under the command of Major General Wendy Adams, slowly made Its way through the mountains, though Gast was able to keep track of their movements by satellite imagery. When they finally emerged from the mountains in the second week of
CITIZENS OF TIKONOV! THE TIME HAS COME! THROW OFF THE DAVION OPPRESSION!
We have suffered for almost four decades under the Davionists who have used us for their own purposes. They care not for us or for our culture. Do you know why they conquered us? Because they feared us! They feared Pavel Ridzik, so they killed him. Under the guidance of House Liao, we prospered and we were happy. The Davions could not stand to see a nation more prosperous than their own, so they cut the Capellan Confederation in half.
But to do so, they needed our help. The Davions wanted to use our worlds to help them in their war, but they didn't say that when we declared our independence under the leadership of Pavel Ridzik. Instead they promised their help in creating an independent Tikonov Free Republic. But what did they give us? A puppet state under the leadership of the Davions' chief puppetmaster.
It has taken forty years, but the Davion plan to conquer the Inner Sphere has finally crumbled under the weight of its own broken promises and lies. They may have absorbed our worlds, but they could never assimilate our spirits. It is time now to end their oppression and free the peace-loving people of our world from the horrors the Davions have plagued us with.
Today they are fighting on our world because they claim that they are protecting us from a despot. But when have they ever cared for us? No. They only care about us because we can make weapons for them so that their armies to go off and conquer other peaceful worlds.
It is time. Resist them with all that you are. Join us now and help us win your future.
- From a Free Tikonov recruiting poster
December, Gast again hounded them. Eventually, he forced them into the Ronde Tableau, a huge New Avalon national forest and wildlife preserve, where he finally surrounded the RCT and massed all the forces he had at his disposal to destroy the First Guards. Fielding less than a combined-arms brigade, General Adams had little chance but to try to concentrate on one command at a time. With the Tenth DLC spearheading the assault against the Guards, Adams instead chose to concentrate on her left flank, where a force of combined CMM and Robinson Rangers were attempting to hold her in place.
Throughout the five day battle, Adams pushed hard at her flanks, crippling the Rangers and the destroying the surviving elements of the CMM, but the massed strength of the Loyalists was too much for her depleted First Guards to hold. On the 20th of December, the First Davion Guards RCT ceased to be, killed almost to the last man.
Later that day, though, as news spread throughout New Avalon of the Guards' defeat, Marshal Sortek's agents launched their own covert operations. They disabled Corean Enterprises, three hundred kilometers north of Avalon City, and both Achernar BattleMechs and Lycomb Davion IntraTech on the continent of Brunswick by destroying power relays and backup reactors and generators. They also released literally thousands of various viruses and other disabling programs into the computer systems of not only these companies, but also that of the entire military command network on New Avalon. Fortresses and underground bases were locked down and military databases were rewritten. Though many critical computer systems, such as the DMI's and MIIO's, were not so affected, military operations on New Avalon effectively ceased for months while experts tried to fix the worst of the problems. More than that, it would take eighteen months before New Avalon's primary military manufacturers would be back up to full production capacity.
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