Ever Forward the Dragon Creeps




And we’re back with the next installment of HBHK, letting you peek behind the Dragon’s curtain at the mysteries within.

Or something like that.

Anyway, progress continues forward. I’ve pulled some material for preview; the selections this week are scattered across multiple sections.

From History of the Nation

Several theories exist as to why the Coordinator waved off an assault on the Tamar Pact, though only two may be close to the truth. Rumors of secret envoys from the Tamar Pact visiting New Samarkand in 2329 briefly swirled through the nobility. While a trade vessel did visit the world at that time, there was no record of any visits to the Coordinator’s residence or the diplomatic halls. Curiously, there was a brief uptick in technological research shortly afterwards. Many historians theorize that the Tamar Pact had exchanged newly acquired (or stolen) Hegemony technology for a limited non-aggression period, carried out under the cover of a standard mercantile visit.

The more favored theory—at least by Combine citizens centuries later—is that Warlord Urizen suffered a personal challenge to his honor by a Rasalhagian noble during one of Shiro’s world tours in the early 2300s. No concrete details exist about any such encounter nor of a possible visit during that time frame. The theory holds little evidence; the thought of Urizen convincing his brother to authorize a war simply to assuage his honor fits the Combine citizen’s more romantic view of the First Coordinator and his family.

Hindsight History: An Armchair View of the Inner Sphere; Geneva University Press, 3002

The Bloody Knot of Von Rohrs
As far as it mattered to the average citizen of the Dragon, the eighty-nine year reign of the Von Rohrs could have been under a single man or a dozen different ones. For most, the period was a bloody blur of misery with no tangible changes from one tyrant to the next. Even court observers on New Samarkand had difficulty determining exactly who was in charge or when one man’s term ended and another began.

This confusion was largely due to Nihongi’s disuse of his first name within a year of his ascension. Throughout the rest of the period, the tyrants went only by their surname. Always fearful of retaliation, Nihongi and his descendants lived out their lives in the strictly guarded seclusion of the New Samarkand palace grounds.

The court chain of command during the Von Rohrs period was confusing and convoluted. Presumably, subordinates would report to their superiors, who would, in turn, report to theirs. After passing through three, four, or even five levels of administration, a message might reach one of a half-dozen persons who actually knew and met regularly with the incumbent leader. Or, in some cases, someone whom they thought was the tyrant.

Such confusion spread in full after Nihongi’s death. Kozo Von Rohrs was never seen in public and his closest aides were the only persons in all of human space who know what he looked like. For over sixty years, Combine subjects could have met their Coordinator on the surface of any world and no one would have recognized him. Paranoia enshrouded the upper levels of the Combine government.

To historians’ best estimation, Nihongi ruled from 2421 until the mid-2400s. It is not known how many offspring he had; he was known to have a sizeable sexual appetite that ranged across both sexes and beyond. One son, Kozo, is believed to have ruled next, from approximately 2450 until the late 2460s. Kozo apparently had several sons and daughters.

According to an exhaustive research study conducted by the Benjamin University of Ancestry, Yama was next, serving until approximately 2520. Some court accounts indicate a proxy rule by Yama’s sons Ullysses and Nii before his brother Kruger officially took over around 2510. Because there is no hard evidence for any of the Von Rohrs progeny serving on the throne save Nihongi, Kozo, Yama, and Kruger, they are considered the Fifth through Ninth Coordinators in the line of succession. Several of the Von Rohrs spawn—most illegitimate—served in DCMS line units, out of the presence of their hyper-paranoid patriarchs.

Regardless of their order, few Combine citizens today refer to any of the Von Rohr tyrants as Coordinator, believing they are not worthy of the honorable title and all it implies.

The Bloody Torment; Benjamin University Press, 2940

From The Pillar of Steel (DCMS)


Sun Tzu School of Combat
Often overshadowed by the Sun Zhang MechWarrior Academy, the Sun Tzu School of Combat offers a remarkably diverse range of courses. A large percentage of its graduates go on to officer training at a university. The school offers training in all branches of combat, and in a departure from DCMS tradition, emphasizes the ways in which each branch supports the others. This emphasis reflects the reforms instituted by Theodore Kurita and is one reason for the favorable attention it receives. Ten years after a sizable grant from the DCMS, the school has expanded to three different campuses and a satellite facility on Kagoshima built specifically for battle armor training.

The Sun Tzu school teaches a “team play” attitude, stressing greater equality between differing branches of warfare. The competition for positions in the school’s conventional forces programs is steep, as this is the only school in Combine space where conventional soldiers can receive samurai swords. The school teaches the philosophy of bushido along with loyalty to House Kurita. Instructors use the precepts of bushido to reinforce the notion that cadets must put aside personal pride and work together for the good of the Combine. Attrition tends to be highest among MechWarrior students, who fail to abandon the opinion that MechWarriors are a step above other branches of warfare and entitled to special consideration.

Medals and Decorations

Honor Tree
The Honor Tree is awarded to a Luthien citizen who acts in an extraordinary manner that benefits the Combine in a significant fashion. The Keeper of House Honor presents the citizen with a special cutting selected from her garden; typically, it is a bonsai tree but on several occasions has been a different species of tree, the meaning of which known only to the Keeper and the honored citizen. These trees are jointly cared for by both the Keeper’s staff and the citizen, for the life of the tree.

The oldest known Honor Tree is 218 years old, given to Honorable Citizen Iago McMurphy. His groundbreaking research in optics led to a breakthrough in miniaturization production, saving the Combine billions of K-bills annually in manufacturing costs.

From The Pillar of Jade (Economy)

Important Indirect Service (Civilian) Corporations

Interstellar Harvesters
Headquarters: Kiley (Tuscarawas)
President/CEO: Daimyo Dorothy Liu
Main Products: KIC-3 Harvester Ant, Plowshare Transport Landtrain, Orange Blossom PickerMech
Profile: Begun as a simple agricultural implements manufacturer, Interstellar Harvester has experienced solid growth for over three hundred years. Originally founded on Cusset, IH was on corporate life support after the Clan Invasion swallowed it up. What remained of the staff—only twenty-eight employees managed to escape the Wolf advance—wound up at IH’s development facility on Tuscarawas. Unable to fulfill their government contracts, the company filed for “bankruptcy stasis” under the Committee of Resource Management’s emergency bailout fund and closed its doors for eight years.

In 3060, IH reopened business, having built several new manufacturing and processing centers on Tuscarawas. What vaulted IH into the black was their limited partnership with Kong Interstellar Corporation to produce the KIC-3 Harvester Ant. Sales of the newly acquired design—built from Combine resources and priced for the Kuritan economy—soared, helping IH recoup eighty percent of its losses in less than five years.

Kinkakuji Enterprises
Main Headquarters: Newton (Kirei na Niwa)
CEO: Daimyo Werner Jacobsen
Main Products: Manazuru Air Transport, various other civilian aircraft
Profile: Built from a merger of two other conventional airframe manufacturers in 2950, Kinkakuji stormed the civilian aerospace market, producing three variable interplanetary airliners that, though ugly, were reliable and cheap to maintain. Once established financially, the company then branched into conventional luxury aircraft for the Combine nobility.

What makes Kinkakuji airframes so durable is the extensive testing they undergo during the development phase. The main plant is located on a large plain battered by severe and unpredictable windstorms rolling in from the surrounding needle-like mountains. The hostile weather allows aircraft to be tested under the most hostile of conditions for takeoff and landing.


4 thoughts on “Ever Forward the Dragon Creeps

  1. Do we know where the non-satellite (i.e. main) campus of Sun Tzu is? Presumably not Kagoshima also.

    I like the tying of the honor tree to the production of optics. It reminds me of Kurosawa’s “The Most Beautiful.”

    Lovely stuff!

    1. I suspect we’ll find out in the main book itself. How long have we been wondering where the Sun Tzu School of Combat is?

      Also, liked that brief look into the Von Rohrs era. Not often you meet a ruling family that makes people wish the Kuritas were back in power…

  2. I can’t lie, one of the periods of the Combines history that always interested me was the Von Rohrs reign. I always thought it might be interesting if a descendant of the Rohrs popped up somewhere.

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