Continued from Part One
The Coronado government formally organizes the air assets of the Coronado Defense Forces, and divides them into two units: the 55th Air Cavalry Battalion and the 1st Air Wing. The 55th is charged with the direct support of the Crusaders and the Gunslingers in the field, and thus is assigned mostly helicopters and other VTOL-capable aircraft. All other CDF aircraft are assigned to the 1st Air Wing, who take the nickname "Jonny Cabrillo's Flying Circus."
Nora Richardson, another recent veteran of the Northern Guard, is approached by Jack and Governor Wang to command the Flying Circus. She accepts, and also recommends another former Guardsman to command the 55th Air Cavalry. She and Gabriel Koenig assume their new duties on 21 Spring.
Jack receives word that Tolan Morilane has been killed in prison, thus closing the final chapter of Jack's experiences during the War of the Alliance.
While all three governments promote this agreement as an important landmark in interpolar cooperation, the Treaty contains a clause that allows for its nullification. The Treaty may be declared null and void if any one of the three governments declines to interact with the others under its terms for two seasons.
The Hong Kong Crusaders become the sole ground force of the Coronado Defense Forces, with the 55th Air Cavalry Battalion and the 37th Infantry Regiment absorbed into the Crusaders' structure. The Crusaders are thus expanded to brigade strength, but Jack pushes for the Crusaders to retain their designation as a regiment, both to maintain unit identity and to make the Crusaders seem less of a threat to local communities.
Jack also pushes for the creation of a new level of rank within the CDF to recognize the level of authority of his squadron commanders, as they each command a force that would be a regiment in any other army. The Coronado government agrees, and Danielle Gibson, Stephen Brooks, Geoffrey Peale, and Gabriel Koenig are each promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Expansion mandated by the Treaty also allows the Flying Circus to grow to full wing strength, and the Circus's commander, Nora Richardson, is promoted to Colonel.
The Treaty is not embraced by everyone, however. Many Crusaders of Northern ancestry oppose the Treaty, especially those personnel from the Western Frontier Protectorate whose families suffered badly during the St. Vincent's War. Major Ramon Gonzalez, the Crusaders' chief medical officer, comes to lead this faction within the Crusaders. As the Treaty negotiations continue, Ramon privately becomes critical of both Jack and Governor Wang, accusing them both of being "bedazzled" by UMF Treasurer Banderas. Once the Treaty is signed by all three parties, Gonzalez makes this criticism public and offers his immediate resignation.
Governor Wang calls Jack and Ramon to Trinity to discuss this conflict. The three men eventually come to a compromise, after an often heated debate about loyalties. Wang decides to offer all personnel, regardless of rank, who do not wish to serve with Southern troops the opportunity to resign from the Coronado Defense Forces, provided they wait until replacement troops are available from the polar forces. Ramon reluctantly agrees to this compromise, out of loyalty to his fellow Crusaders.
Despite this and other difficulties, the troops from the three governments eventually learn to work together and become an effective fighting force. In training exercises held throughout the cycle, Coronadan, Mercantilist and Mekongese troops realize that each group has something to offer the others, and that the others have something to teach them.
The Treaty also allows Coronado companies to obtain significant contracts from both the Dominion and the United Mercantile Federation. Banzaidyne, Coronado Aerospace and other companies report record earnings, and other parts of the private sector also reap benefits from the influx of polar personnel and monies into the local economy.
Largely due to the success of the Treaty, Graham Wang is reelected as Governor in a landslide victory later in the cycle.
The strain of managing the Crusaders and their new role in the Badlands takes its toll on Jack and Elizabeth's marriage, and the two agree to divorce by the end of that Summer. Because of his duties and schedule, Jack reluctantly agrees that their son, James, would be better off living with his mother. Elizabeth takes James to start a new life in the city-state of Baton Rouge.
(These events are described in the story series "The Spirit of St. Louis".)
Banzaidyne begins development and testing of the M1E9 Razor Back Arrow Polizei Long Fang Abrams for the Mekong Peacekeepers.
(For more information, visit Banzaidyne Custom Works: The M1E9.)
Banzaidyne completes the evaluation and testing phases of its M1E9 Razor Back Arrow Polizei Long Fang Abrams program for the Mekong Peacekeepers. The M1E9 is quickly redesigned based on test results and Peacekeeper feedback, and this redesign soon becomes standardized as the M1A9 Razor Back Stinger Polizei Long Fang Abrams.
(For more information, visit Banzaidyne Custom Works: The M1A9.)
The Coronado government receives an official request from the leaders of the small community of Rahnguard for assistance from the Crusaders, citing escalating tensions between Northern and Southern units in the area.
Jack orders elements of the Crusaders to prepare for an immediate deployment, but cannot get permission from Trinity, the house of government in Coronado, to leave for Rahnguard. As Governor Sinclair is out of the county for a medical examination, Lieutenant Governor Rand is in charge, but he refuses to either talk to Jack or to discuss Rahnguard with anyone. A full day passes before Jack can physically see Rand. By that point, however, fighting has already broken out between the polar forces around Rahnguard, and Jack reluctantly orders the deployment preparations cancelled.
Later in a stormy meeting, Rand explains to Jack that he had decided to ignore Rahnguard's call for help almost as soon as it was received. Rand felt that sending the Crusaders to Rahnguard would unnecessarily antagonize the polar governments, and jeopardize several important Mercantile and Mekongese contracts with Coronado companies. This complete difference in priorities further poisons the relationship between the two men.
Governor Sinclair returns to Coronado. In an emotional press conference announces that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer, though she reassures the public that she will stay in office as long as her health permits. She also pointedly declines comment about Rand's refusal to deploy the Crusaders to Rahnguard. Many Coronadans see this, and her decision to remain in office despite her illness, as evidence that she has lost confidence in him.
As hostilities break out between the North and the South, the United Mercantile Federation and the Mekong Dominion each withdraw from the Treaty of Coronado. Consular officials and military personnel are immediately recalled, and family members and dependents are ordered to return home "by whatever means available." Many Peacekeepers and UMFA soldiers serving with the Crusaders elect instead to resign from their native services and stay in Coronado. Among them is Captain-Warder Helena Matsuo, the Crusaders' chief medical officer.
(These events are described in the story series "Prices of Duty".)
All other interactions between Coronado and the polar governments are likewise suspended. This includes the cancellation of Banzaidyne's contract to produce M1A9 Abrams tanks for the Mekong Peacekeepers. Those M1A9s that have already been produced are absorbed into the Crusaders' motor pool as command and "special duty" tanks.
Summer through Autumn
Freed from the burdens of the Treaty, Coronado explores joining the New Coalition (NuCoal). Representatives from Prince Gable and Khayr ad-Din come to Coronado to begin discussions with both government officials and corporate executives. The NuCoal representatives seem particularly keen on obtaining armor from Banzaidyne and combat aircraft from Coronado Aerospace, as well as getting access to the Hong Kong Crusaders.
Governor Sinclair is in the hospital as these discussions take place, though, and Lieutenant Governor Rand insists on leading the Coronadan delegation. Clearly more comfortable behind a desk than in the spotlight, Rand does not handle the negotiations well and makes a poor impression on many delegates. Some NuCoal officials actively ignore Rand to speak with Jack, who is also attending the meetings. This becomes just one more sore point between Jack and Rand.
Announcing that he has become completely fed up with the situation, Rand suddenly resigns as Lieutenant Governor. Jack tries to talk him into staying until a successor can be found, but Rand will hear none of it. Several sources quote Rand as saying, "Why the hell would I stay? Everyone turns to you anyway!"
Rand literally leaves Coronado on the next available plane, and his family quietly packs their belongings and leave the next morning. Coronado is left in a temporary power vacuum.
Due to Governor Sinclair's continuing illness and Rand's resignation, Jack is asked to become Lieutenant Governor. He reluctantly accepts, and resigns his commission in the Coronado Defense Forces. Almost from the start, Jack is conferred with the powers of Acting Governor, as Governor Sinclair can do little more than advise him from her hospital bed.
Danielle Gibson is promoted to Colonel and assigned command of the Hong Kong Crusaders.
In a deal brokered primarily by Jack, Coronado joins the New Coalition. Banzaidyne is later contracted by NuCoal to build M1A9 Abrams tanks and other vehicle models for Prince Gable and the Khayr ad-Din Army.
As part of Coronado's alliance with NuCoal, elements of the Flying Circus and the Crusaders' 1st Cavalry Troop are deployed to Khayr ad-Din to begin joint operational training and exercises with the Khayr ad-Din Army.
(This is described in the story "The Show Goes On".)
Those Crusaders and members of the Flying Circus who can be spared from their duties in Coronado are immediately deployed to Peace River after that city-state is destroyed in an antimatter explosion. The 1st Cavalry Troop is likewise deployed from Khayr ad-Din for aid distribution and peacekeeping duties.
The 1st Cavalry Troop of the Crusaders and the Flying Circus join the Khayr ad-Din Army in pushing New Human Republic forces out of the Great White Desert. The air assets from Coronado are a critical factor in the campaign's success, as the NHR forces has no effective counter to the Crusaders' helicopters and the Circus's attack planes.
After many cycles away from Coronado, Graham Wang returns as a member of the Westphalia Cabinet to recruit personnel for a new Black Talon team. As members of the Crusaders' 609th Special Operations Company are being interviewed, Graham is able to tell Jack and Danielle is that the team will be trained for long-range reconnaissance operations, and that they will be known as the 30th Black Talons.
Jack also learns that his estranged son, James, has been recruited into this Black Talon team. The two men meet briefly one afternoon at Danielle's house, where Jack discovers that James volunteered for the Northern Guard at the beginning of the Interpolar War and has become a highly skilled aircraft pilot. The meeting ends awkwardly, with Jack giving James a letter that he had written when James was born.
(This is described in the article "Black Talon OPREP Yotaka".)