The Human Sphere is a BattleTech universe set in 3100. The Jihad has come and gone, leaving in its wake dozens of small realms in a perpetual cycle of raids and small wars. Will you seek money or defend your nation? Or both? You decide.
"Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law." - Voltaire
Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance
“There are two sides to any coin, but it is always just one coin.” – Daniel Davion.
The unofficial mantra of the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance, that phrase is applicable in more ways than one. The simplest way of taking it would be to say that the Alliance values money. They do. But a more complex, and perhaps more correct, way would be to compare them to Proserpina. On Proserpina, you can buy anything if you have the money. Similarly, the Alliance will sell to anyone who has money. While still a simplistic way of explaining it, the coin analogy works between the two areas of space. Proserpina is one side of the coin, the Alliance is the other. Between the two sides, you can purchase anything.
But while Proserpina is a lawless mass of chaos, the Alliance is an orderly, peaceful place that is friendly to tourists and other outsiders. Owing little more than its name to the old Ozawa Mercantile Alliance, the modern Alliance has not fought a single war, and suffers the least from raiding of any known government. Formed during the fires of the Jihad, Addicks was the first planet of the Alliance to leave the Federated Suns.
Given the choice of burning under Word of Blake guns or
going independent, the powerful Johnston family took exactly three minutes and
five seconds to come to a decision. At least that is the folk tale. Whatever
the truth of the matter is, they called up the local Marshal, Daniel Davion,
and “strongly suggested” that he do as the Word of Blake demanded. Some
sources say that the Marshal didn’t support the idea of leaving at first, but
that when the Johnston Family showed him several pictures of himself and one of
their cousins in a “compromising position”, he agreed quickly. Once again, we
don’t know if this is true, but the two have been very happily married since
After going independent, the Johnston family knew they would
have to make allies or risk being taken over by someone else. They found
another powerful family more than willing to make a new alliance. The Achernar
family of Achernar had lost a fortune when their factories were destroyed
during the bombardment of New Avalon, but they had already made another small
fortune with the new Achernar IndustrialMechs company on Achernar. Still
owning the plans to more than half a dozen BattleMech designs, the Johnstons
wanted the Achernars on their side. And the Achernar family was happy to
attempt a new start.
The months that followed found Johnston and Achernar
representatives jumping through numerous nearby systems to convince the locals
to join in their alliance. By mid-3069, many of the planets that make up the
current Alliance were on board. Deneb Kaitos was ready, bringing along the 4th
and 8th Deneb Light Cavalry with them. The 12th Deneb,
more loyal to Robinson than their nominal homeworld, stayed with Robinson and
fought well against the Dragon.
Tigress, the old homeworld of the Capellan unit Laural’s
Legion also joined up, and sent a message to the Legion saying that new
management was more than happy to welcome them home. Tasked with bringing
Ningpo under Capellan domination, a task not proving to be easy especially with
rumors of collusion between Sun-Tzu and the Blakists firing up the resistance,
the Legion found itself unwilling to continue the fight. Doubting their
mission, their leaders, and having an open invitation to return to the home the
sons and daughters of former Legionaries had always dreamed of, Laural’s Legion
didn’t hesitate. They made a mad dash for Tigress.
Finding itself with enough protection to breath safely, the
new alliance of worlds began looking to formalize their union. Months of
negotiations went on, with various names and political structures proposed and
shot down by the systems involved. In January of 3070, the (then) little-known
historian David Barclay of Ozawa brought up the name of the ancient mercantile
alliance centered on Ozawa. Defeated by Galedon in the opening moves of the
formation of the Draconis Combine, the name had not been seen outside of
history books for centuries, but it caught the attention of the
representatives. It had promise.
After another three months of negotiations, the final treaty
ratifying the formation of the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile Alliance found itself
in the hands of a dozen system rulers. By December 3070, the Alliance was a
reality. Ruchbah’s oddly-named Michaelson Heavy Industries built a large
number of combat VTOLs that found their way into the Alliance even though it
was not officially a part of the Alliance but was still under the rule of New
Syrtis. But in combination with Johnston’s Goblin infantry tank and Dagger
OmniFighter, the realm was well defended, though they lacked any ’Mech
construction capabilities outside the IndustrialMechs Achernar had been
building since 3060. They had a good-sized BattleMech contingent, but no way
to replace the losses from raiders that were beginning to hit them.
The Achernar family pooled its resources and upgraded the
IndustrialMech factory, built on the site of the Star League-era factory they’d
owned during Star League days, to produce the Dervish BattleMech they’d
built all those centuries ago. As months and years passed, they traveled
around the expanding borders of the Mercantile Alliance to check on old
factories long abandoned. The Maltex Corporation and Diplyan ’Mechyards on
Errai and Ozawa, badly damaged and abandoned when House Davion took the worlds,
looked like the perfect places to continue their process of rebuilding their
lost fortunes. Achernar BattleMechs acquired the factories and began upgrading
them to build some of the other BattleMechs they had plans for.
In the meantime, the Johnston family was busy with pursuits
of its own. During the Star League Tybalt’s Jolassa Armored Vehicles had built
the Fury, a capable command tank with the ability to defeat BattleMechs. In
serious need of a ’Mech killer fast, and wanting a design to complement their
Goblin, Johnston Industries acquired the rundown Jolassa factory and refurbished
it to build the basic hull of the Fury. In the decades since, they have
actually been able to duplicate the Nirasaki-40OX computer system and have been
able to expand the facility to build the Glory fire support vehicle that
Johnston Industries also still builds on New Syrtis.
Not unsurprising for a realm of its “mercantile” leanings,
the Alliance sells its production to anybody with the money to afford it.
Producing some of the most advanced fighters, BattleMechs, and vehicles in the
Human Sphere, Alliance designs compare favorably even against the various Clan
designs seen wandering the stars, a significant achievement for such a small
nation. Because of this, they are seen throughout the Human Sphere, piloted by
every major and most minor government in at least small numbers.
The amount of money flowing into the Alliance because of
this practice makes them, per capita, the richest nation in the Human Sphere.
The Achernar family has devoted all of the profits from their Ozawa branch into
cleaning up Ozawa, clearing out the hot zones left over from nuclear assaults
during the Succession Wars, and rebuilding Prosperity City. The new Alliance Capital
Building in Prosperity, finished in 3095, is possibly the most ornate capital
building of any nation in the Human Sphere, proudly mixing art styles from the
Azami of Ankaa, the Japanese of Ozawa, the Grecian styles of Helen and other
styles from every world in the Alliance.
The medical industries on Hean continue to develop some of
the most advanced gene therapies in the Human Sphere, while Helen and New
Rhodes III bring millions of tourists every year flocking to the Alliance to
the see the old “Sunken City” of the Star League or the massive Colosii Chain.
The Three Houses touring company, based on Addicks, travels through the Human
Sphere, entertaining billions of paying customers in live acts alone, not
counting the transmissions that reach even more. They also double as the Alliance’s
primary information gatherers on other realms, a task they do well.
For a government made up of a mere twenty systems, the Alliance
has a long reach. The Azami of Ankaa give them a line to maintaining friendly
relations with the Azami Caliphate, while sales of Daggers and other war
machines keep them friendly with the nearby Robinson Republic. Buying WarShips
and hiring mercenaries from the Federated Suns maintains friendly relations
there, and the Johnston family’s connections in the Syrtis Federation keep
everybody above board there as well. Galatia III, working with Outreach and
the Federated Suns Mercenary Command on New Avalon, has become one of several
major mercenary-hiring hubs in the Human Sphere. Finally, they have cemented
peaceful trade with the Lyran Merchant Princes and Clan Sea Fox convoys, giving
them a simple way to distribute their goods to all interested buyers.
It is their closest neighbors that have them most worried
however. Allied with the Tikonov Free Republic, the Alliance has a strong
friend on their border, but actions pursued by the Ridzik brothers in the last
few years have them worried. Centuries ago, before the Star League formed, the
old Tikonov Grand Union claimed many worlds now in the Alliance, as well as the
Chesterton Worlds that are currently controlled by the Styk Commonality. In recent
years, Tikonov has begun giving the Chesterton Worlds aid separate from the aid
they have also given Styk, and many people have begun preaching on the corners
about the virtues of being independent from all flavor of Capellan power.
Believing that Tikonov is trying to swallow the Chesterton
Worlds without breaking its alliance with Styk, the Ozawa-Addicks Mercantile
Alliance has begun to find itself wondering when the Ridziks will turn their
gaze to the former Grand Union worlds under Alliance control. Not wanting that
to happen, the Alliance has begun sending aid to the Chesterton Worlds, as well
as selling weapons of war to them at cut-rate prices, while suggesting under
the table that a stronger Tikonov would be bad for everybody. Apparently they
are not the only ones worried by the Tikonov actions as aid from numerous other
nations is also pouring into the Chesterton Worlds, making them a very rich
collection of systems.
The Alliance sees the Chesterton Worlds as a shield to
protect them from Tikonov adventurism, and hope to keep it around as long as
possible. Beyond the small, but present, worry about being swallowed by their
friendly ally, the worlds of the Alliance are a friendly collection, with few
things to fear. The citizens can afford any luxury they wish, and travel
between systems is common.
The Business Council is formed via one representative from
each member system, and block voting is common with the Achernar and Johnston
families securing the largest blocks of systems willing to align with them.
While the two families do not always agree and have butted heads more than
once, they value the cooperative nature of their alliance and have learned when
to grease palms and when to let something through, with the knowledge that the
next time they want something, the other family will let it through. This back
and forth arrangement between the two families has seen the Alliance through
The handsome Jonathan Achernar, young at 30 years of age,
currently leads the Achernar family, while the slightly younger Samantha
Johnston only recently rose to prominence within her own family. Since her
rise to power, the two families have begun to work closer than they have since
the formation of the Alliance. While there is some grumbling in some ranks of
their families, most members of the families see their “friendship” as a very