Those Ho Would Be Archod

Peter Steiner-Davion's as-yet un-ratified assumption ol the Archonship, while ending the war in the Alliance, has not been universally accepted. Unlike his grandmother's coup d'etat against Archon Allesandro, he is not deposing a widely unpopular leader. Though Prince Victor has renounced his claim to the throne and proposed his younger brother for the role, not everyone accepts that a Steiner-Davion should take up the Archonship, with some calling for the Installation of a "pure-blood" Steiner rather than one whose blood Is mingled with that of the Federated Suns.

The children of general Nondi Steiner— the cousins of Prince Victor and Pater—arc the most mentioned names, their parents being wholly Lyran and their heritage invested in the Alliance. Sixty-six 'year-old General Ivan Steiner is the leading candidate, commander of the Lyran Guard and spouse of Jacqueline Brewer of Defiance industries. Lisa Steiner, the 67-year old head of the LAAF Quartermaster Corps, is another frontrunner though neither Ivan nor Lisa showed much Interest in politics prior to the Civil War. Their ambitious younger sibling, Richard, was the only one who did, but his disastrous leadership in Skye and his flight from Cavanaugh has destroyed his power base. Indeed, his present location is unknown. It remains to be seen whether Nondi's grandchildren (Sabine and Lucien for Lisa, Luther Steiner-Brewer for Ivan and Marcus for Richard), all of whom are in their twenties and thirties, with their own children in most cases, have any interest in challenging their cousin's rule.

Another oft-mentioned candidate is Caesar Steiner, the son of the famed Iris Steiner, who served as liaison officer between the SLDF and LAAF until the Civil War, then took a direct hand in the campaigns on Giausar and Hesperus. A career soldier, Caesar is politically astute, having matured greatly since his time in command of the Second Donegal Guards. Caesar appears loyal to Peter (his son, Reinhardt, was a close ally of Prince Victor in the civil war and his other son, Karl, is a lecturer at the Nagelring) and his mix of military and political acumen has earned him Nondi Steiner's old role of General of the Armies.

Less favorable to the Archon pro-tem and his court is Roman Steiner, his daughter Sarah, and her daughter Amanda. The death of

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ing some of the surviving Grey Death battle armor troops counterattacked the Skye armored infantry and regained control of the command complex.

James Goree was slain in the exchange but his exec, Captain Alena Derlan took charge and rallied the corporate troops. With the factory's defenses turned against them once more, and facing counterattacks both within the complex from the DSPF and without by the Fifteenth Lyran Guard, the Free Skye task force was forced to withdraw or risk being sundered into two distinct groups and crushed in detail.

The surprise redeployment of the Thirty-sixth Lyran Guard, who had been at Maldon for much of the campaign, turned a difficult situation for Free Skye into a grave one. The insertion of the Guards' 'Mech regiment by a HALO drop caught the rebel forces unawares and in a brutal six day battle, the Thirty-sixth avenge'd its disgrace for losing control of the IVIaldon mining complex by pushing the Skye Rangers out of the Melrose Valley. Already gravely weakened by the campaign, the Seventeenth shattered under the pressure, its scattered units easy targets for the Air Surfer's armor and infantry forces that had arrived in the valley by more conventional means. A futile counterattack by the impetuous Fourteenth Lyran Guard failed to dislodge Peter Zambos' RCT and wasted precious Free Skye resources. Facing a relatively fresh, strong unit, Esteban considered the unthinkable, a retreat from Hesperus. However, circumstances conspired against her ohce more and she never had the chance to enact the order.

I hough badly bloodied on Glausar, the arrival of the Second Donegal Guard under the leadership of General Caesar Steiner killed Free Skye's hopes, and very nearly killed generals Esteban and Parks. The RCT's sudden and unexpected appearance on 19 January—the Free Skye WarShips had withdrawn to Skye almost a year earlier and no orbital assets remained to interdict or warn of the unit's approach—threw the rebels into disarray. The Donegal unit's lightning assault crushed the command center of the Fourteenth Lyran Guard and their follow up strikes destroyed what little remained of the Thirty-second Lyran Guard. Outnumbered three to one and with her DropShips captured by the newly arrived troops, Maria Esteban had run out of options. On 23 January, she surrendered to General Caesar Steiner. Free Skye's hopes of seizing Hesperus, and with it winging their independence, were at an end.

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