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- Jade Falcon Command HQ, Sudeten
- Clan Jade Falcon Occupation Zone
- 8 January 3069, 06.14 AM Standard time

With a hiss the door to his office opened, revealing the beautifull, but obviously fatigued face of Marthe Pryde, his Khan, ... and friend. "Welcome, my Khan, and may I say it is good to see you again." Kael Pershaw stood up from behind his desk and executed a sharp salute. It was good to see his friend again after the recent campaign against the Lyran Alliance. And even though this meeting was not exactly under the best of circumstances, Kael still cherished the opportunity for the both of them to talk, even if it was about Clan matters.
"And you, Loremaster Pershaw." Marthe replied, while stepping into his office. "Kael, lets dispense with the formalities shall we. I just came back from the frontlines, an eight day dropship trip, a meeting with the several of my newly appointed commanders, and I have not slept for several days"
"As you wish, Marthe. And to tell you the truth, I could do without the formalities myself." Kael grinned, then pointed to the chair on the other side of his office. "Please, take a seat."
Kael waited for Marthe to sit down, then took his own place at the other side of the desk. "I am sorry to have to call you here at this hour, but as you have heard, things are progressing rapidly within the InnerSphere. We cannot afford to let our attention slip, most certainly not now."
"No problem Kael, I am just glad that this meeting is just between the two of us, and that you have accepted the responsibility of informing the rest of the Touman."
Kael gave her one of his most charming smiles, which turned his face into an even more demonic shape then it already was. He had long since stopped caring about such things as physical beauty, and indeed had even begun to like the effect his half covered face, with its iron mask and demonic red eye, had on others.
"I knew you would push yourself hard, my Khan. And that you would not rest before all these matters were dealt with. I figured the least I could do is take some of the pressure of you."
If Marthe was pleased by this, she showed no sign, instead, her face remained the same icy calm it has always been, betraying neither emotion nor reaction. Her discipline as a warrior showed through in her political battles, in which she managed to give her opponents no sign of what she was thinking at any given moment.

"Allow me to start" Kael said, then pressed several keys on his computer terminal. Suddenly a holographic projection of all the
planets in the inner sphere rose from the desk, positioning itself squarely between Marthe and himself, but not so high that they could no longer make eye contact. Kael pressed another button, and the map zoomed in on the planets now effictivly known as the Jade Falcon occupation zone.
"As you have heard, our Absorbtion of the Steel Vipers has been a success. The last of these matters have been dealt with, and the Steel Viper warriors and assets have become Jade Falcon's. We are now one clan, the Steel Viper is no more, but the Jade Falcon stands prouder and stronger than ever."
"Unfortunatly, the Inner Sphere must have somehow learned of this event, because they launched a series of attacks against worlds held by Steel Viper during our trial. Already, one planet has fallen to InnerSphere aggression, and two more are have forces inbound."
While Kael spoke, he further manipulated the keyboard with his one good hand -he had lost the other a long time ago and had it replaced with a bionic one- and three planets lit up in a red glow, one a darker red then the other two.
Marthe studied the map for a moment, obviously realising the importance of the planet that had already been occupied by IS force. It was the planet the Steel Vipers had renamed Eden, and made it their base of operations. It was probably the most important planet in the entire Steel Viper occupation zone, and had to be won back at all cost. Not only would IS computers experts be able to hack their way through the various computer protected files, and obtain vital information, but the industry on that planet could give the IS access to several pieces of clan technology, not the least of which was the Phantom Mech factory based on that planet.
After a while, Marthe looked back at Kael "Who are we facing here ?" She asked.
Kael knew she would not care much for the answer "It seems we are facing troops from all the major IS factions, my Khan."
Marthe did not look surprised by this, even though there had been no way for her to have received this information. Only Kael had known up to now, keeping this important information to himself until he had a chance to tell his Khan. Instead, Marthe seemed to study Kael's face for a moment, then went on "How is this possible, Loremaster?"
"Well, " Kael began "although it is impossible to know the exact details, Jade Falcon Intelligence learned Captain-General Thomas Marik has strong contacts with the renegade Comstar group known as the Word of Blake. Apparently, he used his own considerable military force, combined with that of the Word as a political tool. Like the Draconis Combine Coordinator, Thomas believes the only chance for the InnerSphere to defend themselves against the Clans is if they unite, of which his own Knights of the InnerSphere are a prime example. He had already allied himself with the Cappellan Confederation in the major assault on the Federated Commonwealth about ten years ago. It seemed after this he entered negotiations with all the other factions and managed to form a loose coalition with them. It may well be that our own recent successes agains the Lyran Alliance has finally pushed this coalition into a full alliance."
"And their first target were the Steel Vipers ?" Marthe asked.
"Aff my Khan. Although it is important to note that Word of Blake Mechs seemed to have spearheaded the attack, which mean it is possible to might be the ones behind this whole deal "

"Ok, what about the other two planets ?" Marthe went on. Kael knew this particular topic was not over yet. But Marthe was as intelligent as she was beautifull. She would want all the info before making any decisions.
"The other two planets are Parakoila and Winsom. Both are still under Jade Falcon control but hostile forces have been detected in orbit. It will only be a matter of days before hostilities break out."
Marthe watched as Kael keyed in more commands and a full overview of defending forces appeared in a readout next to the map. Parakoila was heavily defended, with almost two full Clusters of Clan Mechs on garrison. Winsom was defended by two Trinaries. Seeing Marthe did not interrupt him, Kael went on "Parakoila is being attacked by FWL and WoB forces, as well as the mercenary unit known as Blackstar. Winsom is under attack by the mercenary unit bloodhand."

Marthe looked up from the map again, and gazed straight into Kael's eyes. But Kael knew his friend well enough to know that she was not really looking at him, but was instead going over the info in her mind. As a warrior, she had always had the ability to think and plan very fast, as a politician, it was no less so. Kael remained silence, his turn to speak was over. He had given Marthe
all the info he had. The rest was there, on the computer readouts. So he just watched Marthe, while a silence fell over the room.

After about a minute, Marthe suddenly reached for one of the pockets in her jumpsuit and pulled out a computer disk. It was totally blank, and had no identification codes whatsoever. "Run this through the Falcon Beak's decryption code, Kael" She said, as she handed the disk over to him. Now it was Kael's turn to be surprised. The Falcon's Beak was used only for the most sensitive info, and only the Khan, saKhan and himself even knew of its existence. As he accepted the disk, he noticed a slight smile on Marthe's face. Obviously, he was not as good in keeping his emotions to himself as Marthe was. Not that any other
person would have detected it, but Marthe was as perceptive as ever. He inserted the disk in his terminal and watched as the computer started decoding the info on the disk. While the computer was doing this he keyed in a special code, without which the data would be deleted, even with the correct decryption program. An extra security measure incase the program ever fell into IS hands. After a while the decryption cycle ran to an end and suddenly new info appeared on the screen.

While Kael read the info, Marthe clarrified: "On our trip back from Donegal, we intercepted a Pirate jumpship, from the IS unit known as the McGee Cutthroats. We disabled and boarded the ship as well as capturing their crew. Through interrogation and inspection of the computer records, we found out about a navigation route which will lead us right past most of the Lyran Alliance detection grid and within striking distance of the planet Lost. The importance of this is that Lost is only one jump away from Tharkad. Giving us an opportunity to move troops right into the LA's backyard and threaten their Capital Planet. In exchange for letting them live, and part of the spoils of war. The members of the McGee Cutthroats have agreed to take a force of Jade Falcon Mechs aboard and take us to the planet of Lost."
Kael could hardly believe it, but the info was all there. Too perfect in every detail to be a trap of some sort. No, this was genuine, and was just the momentum the Clans needed to stop the InnerSphere advance dead in its tracks. Even better, taking out Tharkad would effectivly cripple the entire Lyran Alliance in one blow.
"So this is what we will do, Loremaster" Marthe ordered. "Send a large assault force to take back Eden, or at least make them pay dearly for hanging on to it. The normal garrisons should be sufficient on the other two planets. Meanwhile, we will continue our strike against the LA border, but we will also sneak in troops to hit the planet Lost and threaten Tharkad. The InnerSphere will have to turn back their war machine to protect the LA or lose it, something which they cannot afford. With the pressure on Eden, they will have no choice but to back away from it. And once we retake Eden, we will continue or push for Terra. And the InnerSphere shall tremble before our might."
"So shall it be done, my Khan". Kael replied, stood up, and executed another salute. Marthe did the same, then turned around and left Kael's office. Just as she entered the doorway, she turned around again. "May our next meeting be under better circumstances, Loremaster." She smiled.
"Seyla, my Khan" Kael replied, then turned his gaze back to the computer data, going over it one last time before switching off the
computer and securing the disk. 'And with this info' he though to himself ' it will be. Oh , I am sure it will be ' Then grinned and
walked out of the office.

- MechWarrior Wight Pryde


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