As the “modern” era approached, the story had to mate to three critical canon events. The Great Debate, the Dragoon Compromise and Operation REVIVAL.These three events were the final defining events for the Clans prior to the Tukkayid peace, moulding the Clans into the final form they would take into the mainstream of canon in the BT universe. By the time I reached them in the overview history for the KU Clans, I had written well over 12,000 words. This meant that although I wished for the events to occur, they would be heavily influenced by the preceding alternate time line.
In canon, the Great Debate is given weighty words regarding its gravitas, however, there are not all that many words regarding it written. generally it is just talked about as a defining moment, with the real details of its machinations never discussed. The good thing about this lack of detail, is that it allows for the alternate timeline to influence the Great Debate and be influenced by it, without creating any real distortions to the canon events, whilst fitting them neatly into the alternate setting.
So, as the story rapidly approaches its conclusion, here is the Great Debate’s lead up to the Dragoon Compromise and the effects the Crusader/Warden divide continued to have on the office of the ilKhan.
The Great Debate
Following the Mongoose revelation of their Crusader leanings and the ilKhan’s announcement, the great debate began in earnest, with the Jade Falcons, backed by the Widowmakers, Smoke Jaguars and Ice Hellions, calling for an immediate return to the Inner Sphere. However, the other Crusader Clans, let alone the Wardens, were in no way inclined to suddenly drop everything and charge back to the Inner Sphere.
ilKhan Ryu in a conciliatory, if somewhat anaemic gesture to the Wardens, moved discussion from immediate invasion to that of discussing the feasibility of both the Crusader Cause and any invasion itself. It rapidly became clear that the Crusaders, when pressed, had little in the way of solid planning behind their desire to return to the Inner Sphere. ilKhan Ryu proposed that the Clans who wished to return so vehemently produce some concrete planning on the means and methods required for invasion for discussion in the Grand Council.
The Crusaders, by the end of Ryu’s first year in the office, discovered that she was not to be their tool for using as they wished. However, it was the Warden Clans who would see to it that she did not remain entrenched in the position for longer than her politicking deserved.
The Snow Ravens had long feuded with Clan Mongoose, ever since they had taught them a lesson in naval power over Circe following the settlement of the Exeter Worlds. However, it would be the actions by Snow Raven Khan Liam Howell, in 2983, which would lead to the fall of the Mongoose ilKhan. Howell had attempted to take the great oil fields of Priori from Clan Sea Fox, but his forces were roughly handled and driven off world. To heap insult upon injury, the Sea Fox commanders put unflattering comments about the Snow Raven Khan all across the Clan Chatterweb.
The following year, in a fit of revenge, Howell had the Diamond Shark, a genetically modified monster created by his scientists, let loose in the oceans of Strana Mechty. Within months these massive beasts had preyed upon and devastated the populations of the Sea Fox. However, the reaction of the Sea Fox Clan, to petition to have its name changed to Diamond Shark, shocked Khan Howell. When the truth came out Howell was killed by the Snow Raven saKhan Niamh Sukhanov, who was still unable to prevent the change of name by Clan Sea Fox and would soon be removed as well.
Matters should have ended there; however, the ilKhan lectured the Grand Council on several occasions about the lack of respect shown by the Snow Ravens and their un-Clanlike ways in releasing the Diamond Shark. Although most agreed that Khan Howell and not the Snow Raven Clan as a whole were to blame, the ilKhan called for a Trial of Supplication. To the Snow Raven’s relief, the motion was voted down, but the ilKhan had as good as painted a target on her chest.
Over the next seven years the Snow Ravens worked hard to undermine the ilKhan, savaging the Mongoose fleet for a second time over Circe, where four Mongoose ships were lost for no gain on their part in 2986. Following this battle, the ilKhan allowed the Mongoose Clan to draw from the naval Caches to replace their losses; however, the ships taken did not match those that the Grand Council had specified.
With this knowledge in hand, along with other material, the Snow Raven Khans confronted the ilKhan on Circe in 2992 and presented their evidence. Faced with a scandal, Ryu had few options and agreed to the Raven demands that she step down at the next Council meeting after calling out her own Clan for its actions. In the ensuing Grand Council session ilKhan Ryu firstly exposed the Mongoose Khans, forcing them to explain their and their Clans actions over the recovered ships. The explanation given as to why other ships were taken was flimsy at best, but was enough to prevent any major backlash against Clan Mongoose, as the designated ships were deemed vastly more difficult to salvage then roughly similar ships in the cache.
This alone should not have seen to the ilKhan’s fall, however, it was the reasoning given by ilKhan Ryu as she then steeped down from her office once the WarShip matter had been discussed. The mystery of what additional information the Snow Raven Khan’s possessed has never been revealed and likely never will. However, it is unlikely that it had anything to do with the recovered WarShips.
All within the Grand Council knew that the next ilKhan was likely to be a Crusader, as ilKhan’s Ruby and Ryu had not been what the Crusader’s had truly wanted. However, the choice of ilKhan was again determined by severe compromise, as both factions could not decide on their own candidates, let alone who from the other side of the divide to vote for. In the end, the most astonishing candidate of all became ilKhan: Antoine Osborne of Clan Blood Spirit.
Osborne was an oddity within the Blood Spirits, having risen to power following the WarShips for ‘Mechs deal between the Blood Spirits and Snow Ravens in 2979. As a young Star Colonel and Snow Raven ilChi, he had been instrumental in forging greater relations with the Snow Ravens. From there, he had improved relations with the Diamond Sharks and Fire Mandrills and seen some success in cultivating the Blood Spirit’s old relationship with the Wolverines.
Elected Khan by the Blood Spirits in 2886, he continued his campaign to give his people greater voice in Clan Space and had seen moderate success to that point. However, many within his Clan had believed that his actions had started begun to go to far, with opposition to his rule of the Clan building when he was elected as the compromise candidate to the ilKhanship.
One of Osborne’s main policies, was increased actions against other Clans, in an effort part of his plan to expand the Blood Spirit’s technical prowess, but it would be these polices that were to be his downfall. Following successful strikes against their hated enemies, Clan Burrock, the Blood Spirits struck against both the Cloud Cobras and Coyotes, taking resources and technology. Clan Burrock however, was not pleased by the growth of the Spirit’s power and planned retribution.
At the time, Clan Burrock lacked the available military strength to attack the Blood Spirits and hold whatever they took, however, Khan Tommy DeLeon was able to contract ships and fighters from the Cloud cobras and ground forces from the Coyotes, without the knowledge of either Clan. The tri-Clan force then struck at the Blood Spirit holding of Arthur, in the Exeter Cluster.
The world of Arthur had been overlooked by the other Clans following the Ghost Bear’s failed attempts to expand the world’s tiny initial settlement. The world was abandoned in 2851, but the Spirits saw it as an opportunity and had been successful in building a viable colony on the world, without the other Clans knowledge, until Khan Osborne’s campaign. Burrock Khan DeLeon knew that the hard built colony was the perfect target and struck in 2994.
Within six weeks, sixty percent of the world was in the hands of the three attacking Clans, with DeLeon gifting nearly all his Clan took to his contracted allies to prevent backlash from the Cobras and Coyotes when they protested over having to fight together. Although Cobra/Coyote bickering prevented the total conquest of the world, it shattered Osborne’s prestige within his own Clan.
The ilKhan was challenged by one of his Star Colonels and slain in a circle of equals two weeks after the end of fighting on Arthur. The Osborne had been in place barely two years when he fell; with his demise seeing the Blood Spirits withdraw in on themselves again and the office of the ilKhan suffer further decline.
The next candidate for the ilKhanship, although a compromise, as many before her had been, was to be the restorer of the prestige of the office. The election of Rebecca Bowes of Clan Snow Raven in 2994 was seen as little more than a Warden attempt to derail the Great Debate. However, ilKhan Bowes, had been Snow Raven Khan for ten years, replacing Khan Sukhanov shortly after the Diamond Shark trial had concluded in 2984 and was a savvy and experienced Grand Council member.
An expert politician, consummate warrior and gifted speaker, Bowes was able to bring many of the feuding Clans back to a point where battles were less costly and the Grand Council again became a place for considered discussion and for a rule that benefited the majority.
Despite her ability to bring the Clans a step closer together, Bowes time was neither quite nor easy. It was during the early part of Bowes term as ilKhan that the Crusaders presented the first detailed plans for what would later become Operation REVIVAL. However, the ilKhan and several of the Warden Clans saw a large issue with the plans. There was little hard data on what the Clans would face, making the plans more of a detailed assumptions than anything else. In 3000, Khan Kerlin Ward of Clan Wolf presented his idea for a reconnaissance force of freeborns to be sent to the Inner Sphere, in order to gather detailed information on the Inner Sphere’s defences. The ilKhan was quick to back his decision, as were most Clans, as the wisdom of his suggestion was clear to most of those on the Grand Council. This action by Ward would see the birth of Wolf’s Dragoons and the beginning of their grand history.