History of The Clans
To understand the Clans, you mustunderstand their history. Many of their traditions and actions, includingthe rationale for the recent invasion, spring from the last days of theStar League, the Amaris Coup and its immediate aftermath. Many in theInner Sphere see these events as ancient history, the long ago fall ofa golden age. To the Clans, the Star League and its fall are the reasonfor their existence and the driving force behind their way of life.
Rise of the Star League
Many in the Clans and the Inner Spherelook back on the Star League with rose tinted glasses. They view the StarLeague era as an age of peace and prosperity in which the various InnerSphere states coexisted in harmony. People lived much longer than theydo today, sustained by advanced medical technology and unrivaled standardsof living. From the common present day perspective, the Star League wasveritable Eden until the arrival of the serpent Amaris. The truth is lessclear cut.
Ian Cameron, Director-General of theTerran Hegemony, founded the Star League in 2571 after eighteen yearsof arm twisting, threats and blackmail. Cameron was a consummato politicianand diplomat who excelled as a peacemaker and mediator between the otherInner Sphere powers. One by one, he persuaded his fellow leaders to supporthis vision of a unified humanity, culminating in the 2569 Treaty of Vega.The signing of that document marked the Draconis Combine's decision tojoin the Star League, the last of the Inner Sphere realms to do so.
Almost immediately, the "peaceful"Star League found itself headed for war. Cameron's vision of a unitedhumanity included the Periphery realms, which had declined to sign on.When economic sanctions failed to persuade them, the Star League issuedan ultimatum: Join us or face war. The Periphery states chose the latter;the resulting Reunification War lasted for more than twenty years. Thisbloody clash cost more lives than the entire Age of War that had precededthe Star League's formation.
The Star League's victory broughtall of humanity together under one government, but did little to quellhuman aggression. To give just one example, beginning in 2681 and continuinguntil about 2750, elements of the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery regularlyengaged Star League troops in duels, often to the death. These encounterslater became known as the First Hidden War. These skirmishes bear morethan a passing resemblance to the Clan system of combat Trials.
The Star League did indeed bring peaceand prosperity to billions of people throughout human occupied space,including the Periphery realms that had fought so hard to retain theirindependence. As the historical record shows, however, constant politicalintrigue kept that peace on the proverbial razor's edge. In retrospect,it was only a matter of time before the Star League succumbed to internalpressures.
By the early 28th century, supportfor the Star League in the Periphery had begun to wane, prompting a periodof saber rattling and a renaissance in military technology. First LordJonathan Cameron, more than a little paranoid, predicted the fall of Terrato "strange coarse men"; to ward off this coming disaster, heexpanded the SLDF to unprecedented size. meanwhile, the Draconis Combineand Federated Suns became embroiled in a bitter war that only ended whenSLDF troops (including a young Aleksandr Kerensky) intervened. The SLDFcould do nothing when the Free Worlds League collapsed into civil war,disputes within member states were beyond the Star League's jurisdiction.(Internal disputes within Clans are similarly beyond the reach of theClans as a whole, once again, it is clear where Nicholas kerensky gothis ideas.)
Time of Troubles
The beginning of the end came in 2751when First Lord Simon Cameron died in a "tragic accident" onnew Silesia. He was most likely assassinated, but no one knows for certainand it does not really matter. A regent was appointed for the eight yearold heir, Richard Cameron, General Aleksandr Kerensky, overall commanderof the SLDF. The Clans venerate Kerensky as a man of vision, but in truthhe contributed greatly to the Star league's collapse. Perhaps Amaris neverwould have wheedled his way into a position of power had Kerensky hadmore time for young Richard. The Star League Council must also bear ashare of the blame; they refused Kerensky's offer to step down from hismilitary post in order to devote himself to the regency. With the Leagueon the brink of war in the Periphery, the council saw Kerensky's militaryexpertise as too valuable to lose. (This ill-fated decision is on morething for which the Clans hate the Inner Sphere.)
In 2765, the Periphery world of NewVandenburg erupted in rebellion, sparking off Periphery wide revolts.Only the Rim Worlds Republic stood aloof from the turmoil, ostensiblydemonstrating Amaris' loyalty to the League. Kerensky was forced to committhe bulk of the SLDF to operations almost five hundred light years fromTerra, little knowing that the entire New Vandenburg incident was onemore trap engineered by Amaris.
On 27 December 2766, Stefan Amarisassassinated First Lord Richard Cameron and plunged the Star League intochaos. Naming himself Emperor, he claimed the Star League throne and suggestedthat Kerensky join him. Kerensky refused, then brought his Periphery campaignto a swift conclusion. After seizing Amaris' Rim Worlds Republic as abase of operations, he turned his efforts toward Terra.
The campaign to liberate the TerranHegemony was a drawn out and bloody affair. It took ten years just toreach Terra; the fight to free the capital of the Hegemony and the StarLeague took another two and half years. The SLDF ultimately defeated Amaris'forces, but lost almost half its fighting strength in the process. Theliberation of Terra cost a hundred million lives, left four hundred millionwounded and a billion homeless. The Hegemony and the Star League werein ruins.
The Star League Council reconvenedin 10 October, 2780. The Council Lords' only notable action was the appointmentof Jerome Blake as Minister of Communications. Eight days later, the councilstripped Kerensky of his position as Protector of the Star League andordered the disbanding of the SLDF. Kerensky withdrew to the SLDF commandpost on New Earth to consider his next course of action.
General Aaron DeChevilier, a friendand close advisor, urged Kerensky to depose the Council Lords and namehimself First Lord of the Star League. Kerensky refused, however, statingthat he would remain loyal to the Star League as long as it existed. Beforelong, however, events rendered his loyalty moot. On 12 August, 2781, theStar League officially ceased to exist. Kerensky spent the next two yearsattempting to mediate between the five Successor States that had takenits place, working to resurrect the Star League. Kerensky finally abandonedhis shuttle diplomacy in August of 2783, when recruiters from the SuccessorStates began approaching SLDF units with job offers. These cynical machinationsprompted Kerensky to enact a plan he had been considering for some time.
Despite the commonly held belief amongthe Clans and in the Inner Sphere that Kerensky came up with the Exodus,the plan was actually cooperative effort with General DeChevilier. Accordingto Nicholas Kerensky's diaries, which are still held by the Wolf Clan,Kerensky and DeChevilier discussed the matter in Nicholas' presence shortlyafter the liberation of Unity City in 2779. They knew that almost allof the Cameron heirs were dead, and suspected that the Great House Lordswould not support any moves to rebuild the Star League. Aleksandr foresawa future in which the Houses would pick over the carcass of the TerranHegemony, and wished to avoid it. Half seriously, DeChevilier suggestedthat the SLDF head off into deep space to found their own colony, awayfrom the wars that looked set to engulf known space. From this conversationwas born the Exodus.
On 14 February, 2784, Kerensky outlinedthe plan to more than two hundred SLDF officers. The majority, almosteighty percent of the armed forces, opted to follow Kerensky into exile.Feverish preparations ensured over the next few months, until 8 July.On that day Kerensky issued the fateful one word command to the SLDF:Exodus.
The armed might of the Star Leaguetraveled to the rendezvous point at New Samarkand: thirty two BattleMechdivisions (each containing nine regiments), seventy six infantry divisions,and sixty three independent regiments, a total of just over seven hundredline regiments. To put that figure into context for present day readers,the ComStar Battle group fielded was equivalent to 144 combined arms regiments.The allied force in the recent Operation Bulldog, widely cited as "thelargest offensive operation of our time" involved roughly eightyfive BattleMech regiments, with just under two hundred support regiments.The force that left with Kerensky was a fraction of the SLDF's pre NewVandenburg strength.
Carried by 1,349 JumpShips, the fleetcomprised over five thousand DropShips. A fleet of more than four hundredWarShips provided security. In all two million troops and almost fourmillion dependents went on the Exodus out of known space. On 5 November,the massed fleet jumped toward the Periphery, leaping into the unknownand disappearing from the ken of the Inner Sphere.
The lumbering fleet made slow progressthrough the Periphery. WarShips and scout JumpShips operated in advanceof the main body, along its flanks, and behind it to discourage pursuit.Several vessels were lost to mechanical failures and jump accidents; otherssimply disappeared. Picket vessels hunted for worlds from which the fleetcould resupply, the sheer size of the operation made rationing a partof daily life. At first, people accepted the hardships of the journey,after all, the great Kerensky was leading them to a better life. As timepassed, however, dissent grew, culminating in open rebellion.
On 19 August 2785, a nine-ship groupcentered on the Texas-class WarShip Prinz Eugen (which now servers asa floating prison around Strana Mechty) mutinied against Kerensky's commandand declared its intention to return to the Inner Sphere. Kerensky respondedwith brutal efficiency, ordering Elizabeth Hazen, later one of the foundersof Clan Jade Falcon, to recapture the rebels. In a daring assault, Kerensky'stroops took control of the Prinz Eugen, prompting the others to surrender.to discourage any further seeds of rebellion, Kerensky ordered the executionof all rebel officers above the rank of captain.
This draconian action did little toquell anxiety among the travelers, however. Rumors began to circulatethat General Kerensky had no firm destination in mind, and the entireExodus hovered at the brink of collapse. Kerensky responded by issuingGeneral Order 137. This document, now an ingrained part of Clan culture,justified his actions and spurred the people on. Its message became thecore of the Hidden Hope Doctrine: that the Inner Sphere would collapsein chaos, and that the SLDF would one day redeem it. The people of theExodus must stand apart in order to survive, so that their descendantscould one day return to lead the Inner Sphere back to the ideals of theStar League.
Clan Culture formed around the HiddenHope Doctrine, which has since been used to justify almost every permutationof Clan society and policy. By declaring that one day the descendantsof the SLDF would return to the Inner Sphere, Aleksandr Kerensky couldnot possibly have known what he had set into motion.