The battle on Virtue came as a result of a series of accidents that placed two in-transit and opposing forces on the same world at the same time. The Sixth Crucis Lancers initially remained neutral but when their sister regiment, the Seventh, signed on with the Prince, so too did the Sixth. Colonel Patricia Vineman saw the opportunity to escape the "terrorist haven" of Langhorn and once free of that world's pressures, Vineman began to act more like the superlative commander of old. The Tsamma Lancers RCT sped into the Alarion province, hoping to rendezvous with the Prince before his assault on Alarion. At Virtue, the unit stopped to take on supplies and—after four weeks aboard ship—give the troops shore leave.
The Eleventh Arcturan Guard RCT threw their support behind Katherine at the onset of hostilities, but remained on station at the Theater command world of Timbuktu until a scratch force could be assembled to protect the HQ in the unlikely event of an attack from the Rim Collection. Leaving the new unit in the capable hands of her infantry brigade com mander, Colonel Wesley Corn, Leutnant-General Maria Esteban ordered her troops into the interior of the Alliance on September 17.
Initially intending to travel directly to Alarion, Esteban received intelligence from Tharkad that Victor's forces had hit Coventry and moved to intercept him, detouring via Ferihegy and Virtue. Arriving at Virtue's Nadir jump point, General Esteban was surprised to detect a JumpShip flotilla at the Zenith point and deduced another unit was in system, identifying them as the pro-Victor Tsamma Lancers. Realizing that she had little chance of defeating the Davion unit, General Estaban also knew she had to prevent the Lancers linking up with Victor and. after a hasty planning session, decided to attack.
The Sixth Crucis made little effort to contest the Arcturan Guard landings, but quickly disabused the Golden Lions of any thoughts they might have as to their martial prowess. Using their light and medium 'Mechs and armor, and with the Eleventh AeroSpace wing providing CAP, the Lancers staged a lightning assault into the Guard's flank, shattering the Fourth Ormstown Light Tabjk and threatening to isolate the entire Arcturan Guards Armor Brigade.
Only quick thinking by Colonel Jaspersen saved her command, a counter-thrust by the Ninth Timbuktu ACR holding back the Lancers long enough to extricate the remaining forces. Esteban attempted to swing her whole force round to envelop and isolate the Lancer thrust but her units lacked the speed and firepower to make good their effort, while poor communication between the constituent regiments of the RCT further hampering their efforts.
On October 2, elements of the Eleventh Arcturan retreated into the city of Chastity, establishing what they hoped would be a hard-point from which the Lancers would be unable to dislodge them. They did not take into account the Lancers' city-fighting expertise, which a decade of anti-terrorist ops had honed to a fine skill. Lancer special forces picked off Arcturan observation posts and took to ambushing Guards units In their "secure" rear area, striking from unexpected directions with seeming impunity. Leutnant-General Esteban quickly realized the vulnerability of the position and ordered her troops to abandon the city. Two weeks later, with her forces pushed back still further, she ordered the Eleventh off Virtue.
The Guards' efforts to delay the Sixth Crucis had failed but General Esteban could still sow confusion and move to block Victor's advance. She staged feints toward Triesting and Loxley that prompted the Lancers to dispatch wasteful follow-up missions, and then continued en-route to the provincial capital of Alarion. Realizing that even with her help the Alarion Jaegers and Alarion APM would stand little chance against the in bound Lancers, she ordered both units to abandon their garrison operation and, taking as many supplies as they could, rendezvous with her troops on Carlisle. As far as she was concerned, Victor could have Alarion, though she would leave a small infantry task force to disrupt his possession. It would serve as a trap for his forces, allowing Esteban to forge the task force she was assembling into the hammer that would stop the rebellion dead.
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