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Draconis Combine

History

          The Draconis Combine was founded in 2319 by Shiro Kurita, who used persuasive statesmanship, treachery, and bloody military conquest to forge it almost from nothing. Raised in a military and social tradition dating back more than six centuries, Shiro embraced and embodied the "way of the warrior." Through the forcefulness of his personality, he first managed to become leader of New Samarkand and then went on to form a group of petty kings and lords into the New Galendon Alliance. This Alliance, created to oppose the great Ozawa Mercantile alliance, was his starting point for the military conquest of dozens more planets. By 2319, Shiro Kurita, with his brother Urizen as Warlord, controlled a domain stretching from the border of the Federated Suns to the Principality of Rasalhague, a realm he renamed the Draconis Combine.

          The most obvious legacy of Shiro Kurita is the Kurita family dynasty. The Draconis Combine could not have summoned such single-minded devotion from its people without the focus of the Kurita leadership. Only the existence of an all-powerful Coordinator has been able to mobilize such often-fanatic military determination from its troops.

          More than in any Successor State, the history of the Draconis Combine has a continuous tone and theme to it. The names may change, the tactics and internal organization may change, but the Kurita dynasty continues to covet universal domination just as its founder did some 700 years ago.

          Shiro Kurita's legacy continues to this day, in both the devotion to the way of the warrior and in the belief that House Kurita will one day reign over all inhabited space. The Draconis Combine's combination of an all-pervasive military tradition and a self-reliance easily mistaken for xenophobia contributes to the constant belligerence of past and present Kurita leaders. Only on rare occasions have they set aside their dominant tendencies toward violence, arrogance, and ruthlessness in favor of alliance or cooperation. However, the next generation usually made up for it by redoubling its martial nature. The two most outstanding examples of this were Hehiro and Minoru Kurita.

          Hehiro engaged in a rare display of trust when he signed the Treaty of Vega in 2569, setting forth the terms of the Draconis Combine's membership in the nascent Star League. His son Leonard, who succeeded him in 2591, very nearly undid this act through flagrant violations of his father's treaty with Ian Cameron. After Kerensky's exodus from the Inner Sphere, Minoru Kurita proclaimed himself First Lord of the Star League and began to plan an execute a massive attack against the Federated Suns. The campaign was going well for the Kuritans until a sniper shot Minoru Kurita in the back on Kentares IV. Following Minoru's assassination, his psychotic son Jinjiro massacred 50 million civilians on that world. The Kentares Massacre was an act that not only destroyed the momentum gained in the war against Davion, but also contributed to the alienation between Houses Steiner and Kurita, which Jinjiro allowed to flourish.

          Until Rasalhague became independent in 3034, the Draconis Cambine had expanded to the border of the Lyran Commonwealth, absorbing lesser states along the way. For 20 years the Free Rasalhague Republic served as a buffer between those two Great Houses, with only a small portion of Kurita space bordering the Lyran portion of the Federated Commonwealth. Now the Clan wedge serves to keep most of these two realms separate.

          At present, the Combine consists of approximately 75 worlds. In 2617, the coreword world of Luthien replaced New Samarkand as the administrative capital, but Shiro Kurita's homeworld continues to play an active role. For example, House Kurita draws its palace guards and elite MechWarriors from the famous Sun Zhang Academy, the largest MechWarrior academy in the Inner Sphere. Furthermore, New Samarkand is the traditional base of operations for the Internal Security Force, the secret police of the Draconis Combine. The relationship between the Coordinator of the Combine and the Director of the ISF has varied, waxing and waning in cordiality through the years. Nevertheless, the ISF has remained utterly loyal to the Combine, if not to the House that rules it.

          Though the Draconis Combine lost more than 50 worlds in the Fourth Succession War, this same conflict saw the brilliant rise of Theodore Kurita, heir to the Combine throne. His unconventional tactics were so successful that he earned the support and confidence of much of the Combine's military. Despite the power struggle this created between Theodore and Takashi, the Coordinator was almost forced to name his son Deputy of Military Affairs in 3030. Theodore took this opportunity to reshape the Combine's military to his own views. It was Theodore who masterminded the strategy that successfully resisted the Federated Commonwealth's massive invasion of the Combine in the War of 3039.

          Theodore also saw the wisdom of recognizing the Free Rasalhague Republic when its former Rasalhague Military District declared its independence from the Combine. The Free Rasalhague Republic created a buffer state between the Combine and the Lyran Commonwealth, freeing up Combine troops for assignment on other borders.

          Though Takashi and his son were often in disagreement during these crucial years, Theodore's successes and support among the military were undeniable. Some old-liners still oppose Theodore's methods and innovations, but the Coordinator seems to have made his peace with his son ever since Theodore's relative successes against the Clans in the recent invasion.


3050 Update

[Prepared by Justin Allard, Intelligence Secretary of the Federated Commonwealth.]

          The most significant events occurring in the Draconis Combine since the Fourth Succession War are the rise of Theodore Kurita, the secession of Rasalhague, and the War of 3039, in which Federated Commonwealth forces attempted to recapture worlds lost to House Kurita in the Fourth War. Though Federated Commonwealth commanders expected to easily defeat the Combine forces, the Kuritans surprised us with the strength and cleverness of their resistance. In the end, our massive invasion resulted in the capture of only seven worlds: Cylene, Lima, March, McComb, Murchison, Royal, and Skat. The Kuritans took three: Fomalhaut, Quentin, and Saffel.


Rise of Theodore

          Theodore Kurita, Coordinator Takashi's only offspring, may be the most powerful man in the Draconis Combine, even though it is his father who holds the highest title of power. Theodore's rise began with his successes against the Steiner military in the Fourth Succession War. In contrast, Takashi lost the support of many Combine citizens because of his behavior during that conflict.

          The Coordinator's obsession with destroying Wolf's Dragoons after the mercenaries left the Draconis Combine in 3028 seemed to border on madness. Coordinator Kurita took the case to a ComStar Review Board, but the Board ruled no fault. While he was concentrating all his energy and attention on the Dragoons along the Davion border, the Combine military effort on the Commonwealth front suffered greatly. Takashi, meanwhile, became increasingly irrational, flying into fits of rage and ranting that he wanted the skins and skulls of the Dragoons' commanding officers.

          Constance Kurita, Keeper of the Family Honor, stepped in a few weeks before the war's end, demanding that Takashi undergo intensive medical examination. What the doctors found was that the Coordinator had suffered a stroke severe enough to affect his mental functioning sometime in the previous two years. They also predicted he would suffer another, even more debilitating one unless he underwent a series of operations to remove dangerous blood clots and to repair weakened arteries.

          While all this was occurring, Theodore was gaining in prestige and influence in the Dieron Military District. While Warlord Cherenkoff virtually twiddled his thumbs, Theodore went from command of three regiments of misfits to de facto military control of the important Dieron Military District. Through shrewd analysis and daring strategies, he succeeded in reversing the Combine's woeful military situation by stopping the Commonwealth offensive cold.

          The Combine still lost more than 50 star systems in the Fourth War and many of its best regiments were mauled, yet the defeat might have been even more devastating if not for Theodore Kurita's brilliance. He emerged from the war as a hero, while Takashi's aura was tarnished. This set off a power struggle within the Combine, though the Dragon realm seems to have emerged stronger rather than weaker from the crisis.

          Even after the war was over, Theodore Kurita continued to expand on his power and popularity. As a result of his skillful leadership during the war, he eventually won the support of most of the regiments of the Rasalhague, Dieron, and Benjamin Military Districts. All unwittingly, Theodore had also impressed the yakuza, the Combine's organized crime syndicate, who saw him as a new and potent force compared to the stagnation that Takashi represented. These yakuza later pledged their support to Theodore and helped him resist the Federated Commonwealth's massive invasion of the Combine in 3039.

          Takashi has always been harsh toward his son, but he could not ignore Theodore's immense popularity with both the military and the people. In 3030, the Coordinator felt obliged to award Theodore the Order of the Dragon in honor of his achievements during the war. In that year, he also appointed his son Gunji no Kanrei, Deputy for Military Affairs. Takashi may have believed it was a hollow honor, but Theodore leaped at the chance to re-mold the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery according to his own desires. As Kanrei, virtually no one stood in his way.

          Also at this time, it is believed that Theodore Kurita made a secret deal with Myndo Waterly, Primus of ComStar. We have reason to suspect that Waterly offered to supply House Kurita with 'Mechs, equipment, and troops if Theodore would allow her to station ComStar forces in the Combine and if he would support the creation of the Free Rasalhague Republic. Theodore apparently accepted the deal, because the Draconis Combine quickly recognized the Free Rasalhague Republic after it declared its independence, despite the fact that the Combine had to give up worlds to that new state.

          Also in his camp was Constance Kurita, Keeper of the House Honor and head of the Order of the Five Pillars (O5P). As head of the O5P, Constance had access to her Order's considerable intelligence capacities, and she may have been inclined to put this information at Theodore's disposal. The Coordinator's son may also have benefited from his special friendship with Subhash Indrahar, dreaded Director of the Combine's Internal Security Force.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Constance and Indrahar must surely have assisted Theodore in keeping secret his marriage to Tomoe Sakade for so long. The two were married in 3019, but Theodore did not reveal the fact to his father until 3033, when Tomoe had already borne him two children, one of them a son. It is well-known that in all those years Takashi was anxious to see his son married and the succession of his line guaranteed by the birth of a child. The Coordinator actually arranged several marriages for his son, but all were canceled for one reason or another.]


The Ronin War

          On March 13, 3034, Haakon Magnusson declared himself Prince of the Free Rasalhague Republic, which included most of the former Rasalhague Military District of the Draconis Combine. ComStar quickly recognlzed the new state, as did Takashi Kurita. The FRR created a buffer state between the Combine and the Lyran Commonwealth, freeing up Combine troops for use on other borders. Only about 20 Rasalhague District worlds remained under Combine control as the Alshain District, while the Lyrans gave up most of what they had captured in the Fourth Succession War. The new Alshain District included ten worlds of the Buckminster Prefecture. Duke Hassid Ricol was appointed Governor, possibly in return for a copy of the Star League library core that the Gray Death Legion had discovered on Helm six years before.

          Not all the Warlords of the Combine accepted the decision to recognize Rasalhague's independence. Ivan Sorenson, Warlord of the Rasalhague Military District, was assassinated before he even knew of the Draconis Combine's acquiescence in the FRR's birth. However, the Warlords of Pesht and Dieron Districts, Marcus Kurita and Vasily Cherenkoff, disagreed violently with the decision to surrender Combine worlds and vowed to fight. Under the leadership of Marcus Kurita, the renegade forces attacked the FRR.

          Theodore branded these men ronin, declaring that they did not act in the name of the Draconis Combine. Then he sent DCMS troops to cut off the ronin from their supply bases in the Combine and ordered his men to crush any resistance.

          Vasily Cherenkoff died in the ronin invasion when his Atlas was beheaded on Orestes. His second-in-command, Tai-sho Dexter Kingsley, withdrew from the fight and swore his allegiance to the Kanrei, which cut off Marcus Kurita's support. In May of 3034, Marcus Kurita was assassinated in his field headquarters on Predlitz. The Kuritans blamed the Lyran Commonwealth, but it is just as likely that one of their own ruling clan wanted the eternally scheming Marcus Kurita out of the way.

          The Kanrei benefited in several ways from the Ronin War. Because he was fighting against rebellious elements in his own military, it was a way of purging those disloyal troops. Warlords Cherenkoff and Marcus Kurita, two adversaries, were also permanently out of the way. Finally, because Theodore withdrew his troops after they had helped to crush the rebels, he raised his stock with the FRR considerably.


Theodore's Innovations

          As Kanrei, Theodore has made many changes in the DCMS to make it a stronger, more efficient force. New 'Mech and fighter pilots, many of them yakuza, were trained in the rebuilding of the Ryuken and Genyosha regiments as well as at special field academies. This training stressed practical cooperation rather than political correctness, emphasizing coordination between front and rear echelons and among the various military branches. Early in this training program, Coordinator Takashi had attempted to undercut this new military trend by ordering that the Genyosha and Ryuken be dispersed among the rest of the DCMS in June 3031. Rather than diluting Theodore's ideas, this merely served to disseminate them widely throughout the ranks. The reformation of the Ryuken and Genyosha, however, was set back severely, and those regiments came back together barely in time for the War of 3039. To our surprise, Theodore was making other major changes in the DCMS.


War of 3039

          The success of Theodore's policies became clear during the War of 3039, when Federated Commonwealth forces mounted a four-pronged offensive against the Draconis Combine. Theodore coordinated and planned his defense so skillfully that it caught the Davion invasion force by surprise. The war continued until early 3040, but it soon became the old game of mutual raid-and-reprisal, rather than a major offensive that had the Combine on the run.

          Long after the war, Federated Commonwealth military intelligence still has not been able to discern what Theodore Kurita did and how he did it. What is known is that the Draconis Combine fielded a large number of units that we still have not been able to identify. The DCMS also fielded 'Mechs of design seen only in the Com Guards and variants with unexpected capabilities. Warriors should exercise great caution in encounters with any unknown 'Mech type and with Kurita Chargers, which may have increased weaponry, or special two-seat BattleMasters, which have enhanced communications and command capabilities.


Politics

Takashi's Status

          Much of the blame for the Combine's poor showing during the Fourth War can be laid at the door of Coordinator Takashi Kurita. His erratic behavior shook the confidence of many nobles and other high Combine officials. The only person to challenge the Coordinator's power was the late Marcus Kurita, who made several attempts against Takashi's life and went renegade during the Ronin War. Most Combine officials have been biding their time to see how the chips will fall in the unspoken struggle for dominance between father and son.

          Takashi's most important support is among the older officers of the DCMS, mainly because Theodore's sweeping renovations have stripped them of much of their prestige.

Theodore's Status

          Theodore's military successes during the Fourth War and the War of 3039 have solidified his position as the Combine's great military genius, while his rank of Kanrei has given him the power to shape the military with virtually no interference. He can count on the support of most of the younger officers, non-commissioned officers, and enlisted troops, who admire and even revere him. Women and officers from the lower classes, particularly MechWarriors, have a special loyalty to Theodore because it was he who removed the barriers that prevented them from rising in rank and importance. Of all Theodore's supporters, however, the yakuza are the most ardent. By acknowledging their value and giving them a chance to assist him militarily, he has won the fervent support of most yakuza clans in the Combine.

          The main opponents of Theodore Kurita are the die-hard older officers of the DCMS, who resent being forced to give up the old ways in which rank alone gave them unquestioned authority. There has been an insidious war within the bureaucracy of the DCMS since Theodore became Warlord, with the older officers trying desperately to hold on to their power while trying to hinder Theodore's reforms. This has been mostly a losing battle, however, as Theodore "requests" more and more of these officers to retire or as they see their most prominent comrades killed.

Reconciliation

          The truce between Takashi and his son, which began in 3039, seems solid. From what we can gather, the two have agree to maintain their respective power bases, with Takashi exercising authority over social, economic, and political matters, and Theodore controlling the military. The two are often seen together publicly, and usually with Theodore's wife and children in tow.

          That is significant because Theodore's personal life was once a sore point between the Coordinator and his son. For now, Theodore seems content to play the dutiful son in public, no doubt because he and his father realize that public support in the freer, more open Combine society will be the key to their political survival. Both have become conscious of the power of the new independent Combine media and are learning to make clever use of it.


Foreign Relations

          Relations with other "friendly" realms have suffered while the leaders of the Combine dealt with major internal problems and then the invasion of 3039.

          We have learned that there is a movement afoot in the Combine to renew alliances beyond the border of the Combine. Some, perhaps including Theodore, believe that a successful alliance is possible even though the members will be separated by the Federated Commonwealth. Indeed, if ComStar's support of the Combine is as extensive as believed, this could easily give the Combine and any allies special communication and transportation privileges.

          An alliance with the Capellan Confederation is unlikely because of the weakness of the Capellan military and Romano Liao's unpredictability. An alliance with the Free Worlds League might be more probable because of that state's proximity, strength, and strong contacts with ComStar. According to latest reports, Combine diplomatic missions have made visits to Captain-General Marik.


Border Changes

          The creation of the Free Rasalhague Republic from the Combine's former Rasalhague District left a band of planets that became the heart of the Alshain Military District. Ruled by the planet Alshain, this District is a long, thin region bordering the new FRR. It consists of the 20 Rasalhague worlds that the Combine did not surrender to the FRR, plus ten worlds from the Buckminster Province. The Alshain District is divided into three Prefectures named for their capitals: Buckminster, Garstedt, and Rubigen.

          The reshuffling of Combine assets into the new prefecture allowed Theodore to staff the region with many political allies, including Duke Ricol, formerly of Verthandi. The Duke was named Governor in 3034, directly after the Combine recognized the FRR.


DCMS

          As Kanrei, Theodore has made many sweeping changes in the DCMS through the manipulation of personnel and resources. Among his first actions was the establishment of "Tiger Programs," which resemble the Federated Commonwealth's regional training battalions. Theodore's military changes also include active recruitment of the best warriors for Theodore's loyal regiments, regardless of social rank or sex.

          At first, most warriors trained in the ten Tiger Programs were assigned to one of the five Ruyken regiments or two Genyosha regiments. These regiments and the four Legions of Vega were the core of Theodore's support until his father ordered them disbanded in 3031. Even disbanded, however, they served Theodore as his eyes and ears among the other regiments. His secret deals with ComStar and the yakuza also gave him the means to create a number of other private regiments whose skill and loyalty were crucial during the War of 3039, along with the newly reconstituted Ryuken and Genyosha.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: These private regiments, composed largely of Underworld characters, women, and people from the lower classes of Kurita society, are still largely a mystery. Wolfnet refer to them as "ghost regiments" and have identified approximately twelve such units.]
          Theodore has also altered the ranking system in the DCMS. Previously, ranks from Recruit through Sergeant Major were considered too unimportant to rate a Japanese name. In Theodore's new army, all ranks are treated as important and deserving of respect, and so the lower ranks now have the following Japanese names:

Recruit: Hojuhei
Private: Heishi
Lance Corporal: Gunjin
Corporal: Go-cho
Sergeant: Gunsho
Mater Sergeant: Shujin
Talon Sergeant: Kashira
Sergeant Major: Sho-ko

          Warlords received the new title of Tai-shu. The Kanrei also gave MechWarriors and AeroSpace Pilots the title Busosenshito express his respect for their worth. Before this, the DCMS did not hold its aerojocks in high esteem.

          Theodore altered battlefield tactics as well. In 3036, he wrote a text on his philosophy of combat, Modern Tactics: The Combined Arms Approach. It reflected his interest in the combined-service attacks used so successfully by the AFFC. Since then, the DCMS is more likely to attack with groups of units, each from a different military background. This proved especially effective in the Kanrei's defense strategies in the War of 3039.

          To the older officers, Theodore's ideas and the influx of warriors from all classes seemed almost heretical, even if effective. As proof, they point to the lack of discipline and honor shown by some younger soldiers.

          The military industry of the DCMS is remarkably free of such political divisions because it survives no matter who holds power in the realm. After the creation of the Free Rasalhague Republic deprived the Combine of two 'Mech factories, efforts were made to expand existing facilities. Their increased production, along with the ComStar 'Mechs, have apparently given the DCMS the luxury of surplus 'Mechs and parts.


Social and Economic Reforms

          Believing that the Capellan Confederation's rigorous social stratification was responsible for their defeat in the Fourth War, Coordinator Takashi instituted the Pillar Reforms in 3043. These laws, which relax the restraints on social classes in Combine society, are a major reinterpretation of the Dictum Honorium. The Reforms also allow citizens more privacy than previously. While these reforms may trouble Constance Kurita and the ISF, neither has openly opposed them.

          The Pillar Reforms also address the economy. They give corporations greater freedom to chart their own destinies. The reforms also attempt to stimulate inter-realm trade by increasing construction of commercial JumpShips, as well as releasing ships requisitioned by the DCMS decades, even centuries, ago.

          Trade with the Federated Commonwealth continues to be forbidden, as it has been for the past 20 years. Trade with the Free Worlds League, the Capellan Confederation, and the Free Rasalhague Republic is encouraged.

          The Pillar Reforms seem to have inspired a great sense of optimism among the Combine's ordinary citizens. In addition to enjoying greater personal freedom, people in the Combine have a higher standard of living for the first time in a century.


Goals and Problems

          It is likely that the strengthening of the DCMS will continue. Takashi may be wary of the DCMS's loyalty to his son, but the two seem to have an improved relationship. Besides, the Coordinator has a vested interest in making his borders with the Federated Commonwealth secure or in being able to launch an offense. Related to these goals are his recent diplomatic efforts toward the Free Worlds League. An alliance of these two states could complicate the Federated Commonwealth's plans.

          It is expected that the Coordinator's social and economic reforms will continue, giving the Combine a strong economy and a contented people in the second half of the 31st Century.

          The tensions between Coordinator Takashi and Kanrei Theodore are the biggest potential problem facing the Draconis Combine. Though the dispute between the two seems less public in recent years, it would be naive to believe that it no longer exists.

          The history of troubles between the two is mirrored in the DCMS by the older, aristocratic officers loyal to the Coordinator and the younger, more pragmatic officers of the Kanrei's new army. If something were to disrupt the fragile working relationship between the Coordinator and his son, it could wreak havoc on the DCMS and the Combine.

          Finally, the increased personal freedoms outlined in the Pillar Reforms have brought a sudden increase in crime and the expression of dissident political opinions. The introduction of even harsher punishments for lawbreakers has not deterred either criminals or dissidents. There are those within the government, notably the ISF and the O5P, who might be provoked to take action against these trends without the Coordinator's permission. Again, this could upset the balance of power and seriously weaken the Combine's position.