The next set of Battletech articles will focus on my favorite aspect of wargaming; the “fluff”. Today – The Inner Sphere.
Here is one area where Battletech really separates itself from the rest of the wargaming pack. The amount and the quality of the storytelling for the Battletech universe are unparalleled, even by the likes of Games Workshop and its Black Library. This article will cover the first thousand years of the history of the Inner Sphere; the region of explored and settled space with Earth, referred to as Terra, at its center. The next two will explore more recent events beginning with the Clan Invasion in 3048. Finally, I will do a brief run-down of the major factions who have a part to play in galactic politics.
For almost a thousand years, humans have journeyed into the far reaches of space, colonizing thousands of worlds and forming star-spanning nations. From these grew the five vast star empires that make up the Inner Sphere, with Terra remaining neutral at its center. In 2571, tired of endless bloodshed, the great ruling houses of Steiner, Davion, Kurita, Liao, and Marik, along with the Terran Hegemony, put aside their differences to create the Star League, a mutual defense agreement and peacekeeping force complete with its own army, the Star League Defense Force (SLDF). For nearly two hundred years, the Star League and the SLDF brought peace and prosperity to the Inner Sphere.
|The symbol of the old Star League.|
However, history tells us that every great empire has a fall. In 2766, a prince from one of the Periphery states named Stefan Amaris led a bloody but successful coup against the young First Lord of the Star League, Richard Cameron. However, the brilliant and charismatic general of the SLDF, Aleksandr Kerensky, refused to bend to the will of “the Usurper”. A bitter civil war raged for thirteen years and ended with Kerensky removing Amaris from power. The cost of this rebellion in both material and manpower was staggering. Each of the great houses suffered greatly as a result. They also each attempted to fill the void left as First Lord. Despite Kerensky’s efforts, the Star League was disbanded in 2781 as each ruling family attempted to assert its control over the remnants of the SLDF. Fed up with what he saw as endless and pointless bickering, Kerensky gathered his forces, as well as any unit willing to join him, and left the Inner Sphere for the deep reaches of space. He promised to return one day and set the great houses in line with the reformation of a new Star League.
The ruling houses were stunned. Kerensky’s exodus left each of them weakened greatly, both militarily and politically. Nearly three centuries of endless warfare ensued. Territories shifted and soldiers died in a series of conflicts which came to be known as the Succession Wars. Technology, along with billions of lives, was lost. The Inner Sphere was on the verge of entering into a new Dark Age.
|The state of the Inner Sphere; circa 3025|
A glimmer of hope was seen in 3022 when two of the Great Houses, Steiner and Davion, signed an historic peace treaty which united their realms into one which spanned from one edge of settled space to the other. The marriage of Price Hanse Davion of the Federated Suns to Archon-Designate Melissa Steiner of the Lyran Commonwealth in 3028 sealed the compact, creating the largest Successor State the Inner Sphere had ever seen; the Federated Commonwealth. As a wedding gift, Hanse Davion, aptly known as “The Fox”, boldly promised his new bride the Capellan Confederation of house Liao. With a series of aggressive offensives and deft political maneuvering supported by excellent counterintelligence efforts, The Federated Commonwealth carved out a corridor through the core of the Inner Sphere, linking both halves of this new and vast nation. A new era of peace was beginning to dawn on the Inner Sphere as the Federated Commonwealth began to emerge as the dominant power in occupied space.
This peace would be shattered in 3048. However, unlike before, the instigators of this new conflict would not come from the Inner Sphere. A new threat from beyond the Periphery would rise and carve a path of destruction towards Terra; The Clans.
This is only the tiniest sliver of the Battletech universe. Let us know if you want to see more of this type of stuff from the Inner Sphere.