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> Clan Exodus and Civil War
post Dec 21 2005, 01:14 PM
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The Exodus

Whether General Kerensky knew where he was leading the Exodus when he left the Inner Sphere is one of the questions historians have tried to answer for the past two and a half centuries. Information gleaned from my studies of the Clans make it obvious that General Kerensky had only a vague sense of his destination. Data from the computers of the Star League Astrological Mapping Corps were downloaded to the flagship McKenna's Pride in preparation for the Exodus, and the original Star League map and chart files were destroyed. The general may have had only a rough idea of his destination, but he made sure that no one from the Inner Sphere could track him or his followers.

The Inner Sphere has dissected and reassembled the life of General Aleksandr Kerensky countless times. Despite all this interest, several crucial facts about his private life have remained unknown until now. At the outset of the Exodus, the general stunned everyone by announcing that he had a wife, Katyusha, and two sons, Nicholas and Andery. According to Wolf Loremasters, Aleksandr had been married for more than 17 years before the Exodus began, but kept the identity of his wife and children secret to shield them from the political intrigues that swirled around him. During the Amaris regime, their anonymity saved them from possible harm by the lunatic leader and his cutthroats.

General Kerensky mounted an assault on Moscow in 2777, during the initial stages of Terra's liberation, in order to rescue his wife and her underground rebel cell. He kept their identities concealed even after Terra's liberation to protect them from the spies of the House Lords. Once the Exodus was underway, however, Katyusha and the two boys took their rightful places alongside the general.

Kerensky was strong and dynamic during the Exodus, shuttling between ships as much as possible to address his followers during the layovers between jumps. He made sure that each man and woman understood the ideals of the Star League. He explained why those ideals were best served by the Exodus rather than by staying and trying to force the House Lords into submission.

The fleet explored new worlds, taking consumable supplies (oxygen, water, and foodstuffs) on board when available. Kerensky changed course many times to discourage pursuit. He also sent out ships to jettison garbage and other debris in randomly chosen star systems to confuse any pursuers. As our own ROM Explorers can attest, the general's precautions were extremely effective.

Over the course of the first uncertain year, the strain and stress of the Exodus began to take its toll despite Kerensky's efforts to maintain unity. The most blatant challenge to his authority came nine months into the Exodus, when the crews and passengers of nine ships mutinied. Led by officers of the Prinz Eugen, a Texas class battleship, the group refused to continue on with the rest of the fleet, choosing instead to return to the Inner Sphere.

The general formed a task force and went after the mutineers, ordering them to surrender unconditionally. They refused, and so the general ordered his task force into action against the rebels. Kerensky's marines captured the Prinz Eugen in a daring boarding action, and the rest of the vessels quickly surrendered. A quick trial was held at the jump point, and all officers at or above the rank of captain were summarily executed.

Clans sources do not record the names of those executed. Research into our own records reveals that the leader of the revolt was probably Major General Wilbur Braso, a highly respected officer of Cameron blood, albeit a distant relation to the First Lord's line.

Hidden Hope
The Prinz Eugen incident further lowered the morale of the fleet. The mutiny itself was shocking, but the general's swift execution of the ringleaders was not accepted without question. Kerensky's actions made it clear that he considered himself not only the fleet's commander, but also its ruler. Many began to suspect that Kerensky did not have a final destination for the fleet, openly questioning his authority and the decision to leave the Inner Sphere.

In order to quell the growing dissent, Kerensky published General Order 137. This document is etched just above eye level into the Common Room walls of every Clan ship. It is Kerensky's justification for the execution of the Prinz Eugen mutineers, the need to maintain discipline, and the harsh penalties for failure to obey orders or in any other way hinder "the smooth functioning of this emergency operation." His formal yet eloquent statement of goals for himself and those who followed him made this more than just a cold warning. General Order 137 expressed what became known as the Hidden Hope Doctrine.

In the general's own words:

"Return to the Inner Sphere is impossible for us. Our heritage and our convictions are different from those we left behind. The greed of the five Great Houses and the Council Lords is a disease that can only be burned away by the passing of decades, even centuries. And though the fighting may seem to slow, or even cease, it will erupt again as long as there are powerful men to covet one another's wealth. We shall live apart, conserving all the good of the Star League and ridding ourselves of the bad, so that when we return, and return we shall, our shining moral character will be as much our shield as our BattleMechs and fighters."

His prophecy proved chillingly accurate in the light of the destructive Succession Wars the Inner Sphere endured. Kerensky's order apparently served to renew his followers' resolve to continue the journey. How it quelled the swelling discontent is uncertain. Perhaps the dissenters' devotion to the general allowed them to forgive his harshness in hope that his words would prove true. The Jade Falcon Remembrance hints that the general had spies in the Inner Sphere who were already relaying information that illustrated just how pointless return would have been.

A New Beginning
The ships of the Exodus traveled through barren star systems for another month without further incident, but the general must have realized by this time that unless he called and end to their journey soon, his followers would become truly desperate. The fleet, now more than 1300 light years away from Terra, arrived at a cluster of five marginally habitable star systems. The systems lay less than one jump apart and only a few jumps away from a large globular cluster. A thick dust-nebula soon christened Kerensky's Cloak hid them from the Inner Sphere. Short supplies and short tempers prompted Kerensky to announce that the fleet had reached its destination. The date, 24 August 2786, is still celebrated by the Clans as Founding Day.

The five worlds they colonized, Arcadia, Babylon, Circe, Dagda, and Eden were dubbed the Pentagon because of their nearly five-pointed arrangement. The planets were hostile: three hosted microbes that manifested in hideous forms on human hosts, while the other two gad only marginally viable ecosystems. The members of the Exodus nevertheless willingly set up camps and began to colonize the five worlds.

General Kerensky and his second-in-command, General Aaron DeChevilier, realized during their 21-month hournet that their people lacked the cross- section of skills necessary to colonize new worlds. Overloaded with soldiers and military technicians and lacking experienced farmers and a manual-labor force, Kerensky knew that his new society required more members able to handle the non-military aspects of a community. Ironically, the Inner Sphere would face just the opposite problem in the years ahead: a lack of military technicians to fight the long Succession Wars.

Five months after the colonization began, warships intercepted a Rim World merchant JumpShip that was hopelessly off course. The vessel attempted to flee, but surrendered when boarded. The merchant vessel's crew unwillingly joined Kerensky and served as the seed from which would grow the merchants and laborers of Kerensky's new society. Interviews with the crew and information extracted from the ship's computer plainly showed that the general's grim prophecies were already coming true. The Inner Sphere's slide into destructive conflict was accelerating. Many of the Exodus felt more isolated than ever, and allowed General Kerensky great latitude in shaping their society.

The general's answer to the glut of warriors was obvious but subtle. He ordered a controlled demobilization of 75 percent of armed personnel. The mustering-out was not arbitrary, however. Kerensky introduced a series of tests that everyone from the lowliest private to the highest general had to face. The test left only the top soldiers in uniform. Those who failed were given another series of tests to determine where he or she would best fit in the new order. The use of tests was a shrewd move on the general's part, because those who tested out of the military could not blame anyone but themselves.

The demobilization program resulted in a surplus of military hardware. Huge storage caches were constructed to prevent material from falling into unauthorized hands. The Remembrance refers to those depots as "Brian Caches," an obvious reference to the Star League's Castle Brians. These caches were strongly fortified and guarded by the most loyal troops of the Regular Army. Excess naval vessels were mothballed in orbit around distant planets or moons in each inhabited star system.

General Kerensky's remarkable vision not only foresaw the coming of the Succession Wars, but also the resulting loss of information and technology. In the Inner Sphere, only our Blessed Order was able to preserve this knowledge. In order to prevent this loss among the new colony worlds, he ordered vast libraries of information to be created and stored in the caches. Everyone with technical or scientific skill recorded his knowledge for these libraries as quickly as possible, even when it meant neglecting important expeditions and projects.

The active naval vessels explored the nearby globular cluster that The Remembrance calls "The Kerensky Cluster" or "The Stars of the Protector." Many of the demobilized troops found a place in the Explorer Corps, a quasi- military organization whose sole aim was to explore and exploit the cluster worlds. The best worlds were colonized. Katyusha Kerensky named the most promising world in the cluster Strana Mechty, Russian for "Land of Dreams."

Though no maps or star charts were made available to me during my stay with the Clans, I was able to learn the names of some of the other worlds discovered in the cluster. They include Ironhold, Shadow, Hector, Gatekeeper, Brim, and Roche. Most of these worlds supported only small farming and mining communities at first. The worlds of the Pentagon remained the centers of development and continue as the heart of Clan society today.

Within a few years, the people of the Exodus had conquered their environments and overcome their lack of civilian skills to become fully functioning societies with individual economies and cultures. The makeshift camps grew into cities. Each planet's economy became self-sufficient, no longer relying on others to supply food and shelter. All the newly settled worlds boasted light industry, and heavy industry was developing quickly.

General Kerensky was the guiding force behind the progress. Once again taking the title of Protector of the Star League, he led a provisional government that oversaw the five planetary governments. The few references to the general's government call it the Exodus Planetary Council. Some Loremasters refer to it as "The Star League in Exile" as a reminder of their origins and future. As head of the government, the general encouraged large families by offering generous incentives of goods and land. He sought to expand the population base beyond chance decimation by any natural force such as disease. A large population would also have both the training and size to respond to any challenge or threat.

For a time, the Star League in Exile appeared to be a stunning success. The strong, united people were free and eager to pursue whatever course their believed leader suggested. Sadly, the plague of war racing through the Inner Sphere would soon stir hatreds thought forgotten.

Time of Darkness
Despite the efforts of General Kerensky and his staff, it gradually became obvious that not all was right. discontent among the civilians grew from grumbling about a lack of once-cherished luxuries to full-scale rioting on all five Pentagon worlds. The problem seemed to be linked to the resentment of demobilized soldiers who could not accept their new roles in society. To be treated as just another civilian was not the reward they thought they deserved for their faithful service to the general. These malcontents agitated for the creation of planetary militias in which they felt they would regain pride in their place in society.

Other tensions rose from cultural differences. The population accepted the concept of a unified world view, but cultural differences began reasserting themselves when demobilization broke up the artificial military culture. All the Pentagon worlds became caught up in the unrest because the political and cultural divisions (Hegemony, Capellan, Lyran, Federated, Combine, and League) reemerged after colonies became established. People of common backgrounds gravitated together and eventually began to view those from other societies with increasing suspicion and bigotry. The globular-cluster colonies did not suffer these problems as severely because they were settled by relatively homogenous groups. They were also too busy trying to survive to be concerned about past loyalties.

Eden's advanced industry and large population centers made the planet a natural focal point for the growing tensions. The Remembrance refers to Eden as "the Garden where the seeds/Of our downfall and birth were sheltered." Most of Eden's population had been raised in the Federated Suns or the Capellan Confederation, two societies not know for mutual cooperation.

Tensions between the colonists on Eden reached the boiling point 15 years after their arrival at the Pentagon. At first the violence was limited to local riots and minor clashes between villages, but it escalated steadily, even in the face of harsh punishment from the planetary government. After months of bloody, but still sporadic fighting, full-scale rebellion broke out. Several Liao settlements led the fighting, declaring independence and mounting an attack on one of the caches in order to arm themselves with BattleMechs and other weapons.

General Kerensky sent General DeChevilier and a detachment of troops to put down the rebellion. During the firefight, General DeChevilier was killed in his BattleMech by a fluke rebel hit from a hand-carried missile system. The cache was intact, but the loss of his closest aide and friend was a heavy price for the aging Kerensky to pay.

By any standards, the general's response to DeChevilier's death was brutal. Citing General Order 137, he ordered the execution of all rebels, ignoring any legal concerns. Whole settlements were razed and their remaining populations dispersed in what became known as the DeChevilier Massacre. However, instead of preventing further trouble, this overreaction only sowed the seeds of further resentment against General Kerensky and the standing military.

On Babylon, rioting broke out between citizens of Combine and Lyran heritage. Attacks against Exodus government facilities on Arcadia, Circe, and Dagda became common. With blood on their hands from the DeChevilier Massacre, the Regular Army tried to regain moral high ground by obeying orders to quell the violence in an even-handed manner using a minimum of force. Unfortunately, BattleMechs are not effective riot control vehicles. A 'Mech cannot control a crowd without fatalities, so the military's attempts to back off from the level of violence seen in the massacre were unsuccessful. The rioting and attacks continued and news of more massacres was widely publicized. Before long, the military and the Exodus government were universally despised.

Eden erupted in all-out civil war between the former Liao and Davion citizens. On other worlds, rebels successfully secured arms and weapons from military depots and caches. Soon, private armies staffed with soldiers who had been mustered out of the Regular Army controlled key towns and cities on all five worlds.

General Kerensky, by now more than a hundred years old, had been kept alive only by pushing the limits of Star League medical technology. Deprived of his closest friend and wife, who had died five years earlier from a mysterious fever, the burden of fighting another civil war proved too heavy. While preparing plans for a campaign to secure Eden, General Kerensky suffered a massive heart attack and died at his command post. Most people reacted to the news of the general's passing by igniting further civil unrest rather than mourning.

With both Kerensky and DeChevilier dead, the military was crippled. The general's designated successor was his son Nicholas, then in command of the 146th Royal BattleMech Division. Though he had the support of most of the Navy and the military units garrisoning the cluster colonies (no more than one or two regiments per colony), the division commanders on the five Pentagon worlds unexpectedly rejected him as a leader, citing his lack of active command experience. In a situation that oddly parallels the start of the Succession Wars, each division commander pressed his claim to take command of the government, just as the Lords of the Inner Sphere sparked the first Succession War. Within a few months, each of the five planets was divided into enclaves of rebellious citizens and armed troops. The situation was ripe for someone to trigger all-out war.

The 146th did not mobilize to enforce Nicholas' right of command. When his officers urged Nicholas to press his claim, he referred to the writings of his father, saying that "individuals stricken with greed, envy, and avarice hiding behind false patriotism and justice cannot be made to change: they must either burn the sickness out of their lives with years of futile fighting, or die a senseless death, as all fools do."

The young Kerensky saw that the eventual salvation of his people and the preservation of his father's ideals were far more important than fighting a "political squabble." Thus did Nicholas call for his own "Exodus" to the cluster world of Strana Mechty. Kerensky knew that he must save the civilians and scientists so vital to the survival of his people. He issued pleas through the media of all five planets, urging them to join him. For several tense weeks, loyal Navy ships collected those willing to flee, often under the guns of what were now enemy units. The last ship leaving for the cluster marked the exodus of almost 25 percent of the civilian population, including most of the scientific community.

Full-scale wars erupted on all five worlds within three weeks of Nicholas' Exodus. Passage after passage of The Remembrance describes battles that wiped out entire populations. The land was ravaged by the soldiers once considered the best humanity had to offer. Military units loyal to Nicholas resolutely stayed in the cluster, impervious to pleas for assistance, no matter how compelling or desperate. When the Navy withdrew to the cluster, communication between the Pentagon worlds quickly broke down, yet the fighting continued.

This period of unrelenting violence, called the "Exodus Civil Wars," lasted for almost two decades. The men and women on the Pentagon worlds pounded each other back into barbarism. By the time the civil wars finally ended, most technology was destroyed and the harsh environments, once controlled, were killing those few who survived the man-made holocaust.

In stark contrast, Nicholas Kerensky and his followers thrived on Strana Mechty and the other cluster worlds, furthering the technology their brothers and sisters had abandoned in pursuit of pointless battles and foolish wars. Nicholas bided his time.

Nicholas planned the retaking of the Pentagon worlds for 20 years. While he waited, aided by Jennifer Winson, his wife and most trusted confidant, he moved to rid his supporters of the "last vestiges of that contaminated society that gave us such woe." Central to his plan was the complete and total reorganization of his military.

He declared the traditions of the Regular Army hopelessly trained by its sinful past. He organized his strike force of 800 into 20 "Clans" of 40 warriors each. Gone were the lances, companies, battalions, and regiments favored by the Star League. As their base, the Clans used "Stars" of five MechWarriors each. Two Stars formed a Binary, and four Binaries formed a Cluster. Each Clan was a Cluster, and several Clusters formed a Galaxy. The most reliable evidence indicates that this germinal force contained five Galaxies, but conflicting records place the numbers at three to seven Galaxies. The original 800 warriors proved crucial to the final form of the Clan structure. Star League ranks, and every other aspect of that army glorifying the individual, were replaced by an organization stressing ongoing testing. The new order also stressed that each Clan was a family, a society unto itself. Using BattleMechs from caches on Strana Mechty, Nicolas equipped and trained his army according to his vision.

When the newly formed Clans returned to the worlds of the Pentagon, they found a nightmare situation. From the descriptions of the Loremasters and the intelligence holotapes taken by Nicolas' forces, it is clear that the Exodus Civil War was far more devastating than any of our Succession Wars. The soldiers who survived faced the Clans in barely functional 'Mechs. Even though the rebels on each of the five worlds had numerical superiority, the firepower and reliability of the Clan BattleMechs won the day. Battles were bitterly fought, and many Clan warriors died. Nicholas Kerensky suffered personal losses. In the final battle for Eden, his younger brother Andery was ambushed and killed by five rebel BattleMechs. Within a year, however, the Pentagon worlds were beaten and forced to acknowledge the supremacy of Nicholas and his Clans.

Many of the survivors hailed Nicholas as a savior. His physical appearance, strikingly similar to his father's, added to his mystique. The supplies he distributed freely saved countless lives. The survivors were so grateful to him and so unbalanced by the events of the past 20 years, that they virtually worshipped Nicholas. In fact, they often hailed him as his father, a mistake Nicholas seemed reluctant to correct.

The Exodus Civil War took a tremendous toll on the populations of the Pentagon worlds. A census taken soon after Nicholas' invasion found that the survivors numbered less than half the population of General Kerensky's Exodus. The war had cost millions of lives.
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