The Secret Ujrr

To most people, the Civil War involved regiments of 'Mechs, armor and infantry clashing on bloody plains, or fighters and WarShips dealing death in the dark reaches of space. They recall the big, showy events that made the media. Few know that a second, much more secretive war, took place alongside the brash displays.

Even before the war began, Katherine was using the Lyran Intelligence Corps' Propaganda Division to sway puhlic opinion in her favor, and as the conflict heated up, she called upon Lohengrin antl-terrorlst teams to seek out and neutralize those who opposed her rule.

Lohengrin was particularly active in Skye, dealing with the Free Skye organization, but also took action against dissident groups elsewhere in the Alliance. It was a I ohengrin team that attempted to capture the Duke of Coventry at the start of the war, driving him into hiding, and who captured the pro-Victor Baron Popov on Radostov. For all their aggressive tactics, Lohengrin still operated within the law. They avoided the use of deadly force and sought to keep a low profile. For this reason, groups within the Alliance tolerated their actions. Its mirror-image sister agency—Loki—part of the LIC's espionage directorate, were less restrained and drew a substantial response from the Loyalists and other groups opposed to the Archon.

Loki is little more than a state-sponsored terrorist group. Officially, their mandate was to harass enemy powers, causing unrest and committing sabotage to give the Alliance an advantage. Historically, Loki had also been used to suppress the Archon's domestic enemies, most notably employed during the reign of Alessandro Steiner, the unpopular predecessor of the original Katrlna Steiner.

For whatever reason—perhaps she had never heard of the shadow war that Allesandro's actions triggered—Katherine chose to do likewise, directing Loki teams to 'deal' with her enemies. What followed was a campaign of kidnapping, torture, bombing and murder whose scale is scarcely comprehensible. Loki teams struck at will—one opponent was gunned down in a restaurant on Donegal, another kidnapped from his offices on Duran in broad daylight, Other attacked notable individuals such as John Dundee, or sought out those who could topple the Archon likH Reg Starling,

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Before he could enact the plan, the balance of power was upset once more when two new units appeared at Cavanaugh ll's Nadir jump point and burned hard for the planet, fighters striking back and forth as they made the run in-system. One, the Penobscot CTM, came to Cavanaugh II in response to the Margrave's call. The other unit, the Forty-Second Avalon Hussars, supported Victor. Both units were previously stationed on Timbiqui and had clashed repeatedly during Wave Five and when the CTM boosted off world, the Hussars pursued.

As the feuding units made orbit and began to descend toward the war zone, a fighter strike on the CTM's command DropShip caused it to spiral out of control, eventually making an emergency landing on the desolate volcanic continent known as Mordred. Other elements of the CTM followed suit, landing to protect and'rescue their commander, Colonel Gary Metzger. Originally intending to land near Caerleon and seize the world for Prince Victor, the Forty-Second diverted their landings too, hoping to deal with the militia unit before it could link up with the other Loyalists. What followed was called the Battle of Mordred, the two forces confronting each other amid hot springs and fumaroles.

The militia used their uncanny ability to exploit terrain to formidable advantage, concealing their movements from the larger and more experienced Hussars. For two weeks, the two units sparred across the wasteland, neither taking substantive losses, In effect a sideshow to the battle on the mainland.

As the stalemate dragged on toward a month, Margrave Steiner, ever sure of his own strategic abilities despite the Tenth Regulars' continued resistance to Loyalist assaults, hegan to provide Colonel Metzger with detailed operational instructions. This attempt to micromanage a battle on the opposite side of the planet had disastrous results, and on 19 July 3066, the Margrave ordered the CTM to rebuff a Hussar thrust by establishing a defensive line along a five-mile stretch of the Cowray River. What the Margrave didn't appreciate—or acknowledge even after being informed by Colonel Metzger—was that during Cavanaugh's long summer, the Cowray River was little more than a dry channel. The militia lost a battalion of 'Mechs and almost its entire armor brigade attempting to defend a line on a map. The shattered remains of the militia fled, scattering into battalion-sized units across Mordred. It would take almost a year for the Hussars to mop up the last of the militia but by mid August Leutnant-General Edwin May was sufficiently confident of the end result to relocate two-thirds of his force to Join the Tenth Regulars, meeting with Colonel Ingles and Precentor Harwell to plan their assault On Caerleon.

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