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Clan Steel Viper
This information was last updated on the: 1st of September, 2009
Core Information:

     Capital: New Kent
     Faction Leader: Khan Perigard Zalman
     Military Leader: saKhan Brett Andrews
     Intelligence Leader: Loremaster Arthur Stoklas
     Approximate BattleMech Regiment Strength: Unknown

Brief History:
The early years of Clan Steel Viper were troubled. Though the Clan performed well in the liberation of the Pentagon Worlds, the descent into madness of Khan Ellie Kinnison and her attempt to assassinate Nicholas Kerensky's wife led to a long period of instability, which was finally resolved with the ascension of Khan Sanra Mercer in 2860. Claiming to know of meetings between ilKhan Nicholas and Khan Steven Breen shortly after Operations Klondike, Mercer won control of the Clan and instigated sweeping changes.

Her most significant action was to isolate the Vipers from other Clans, calling the others a divisive influence. Already sharply focused on martial prowess, the Clan's warriors set about improving themselves even further in order to fulfill Khan Mercer's vision: that the Vipers would one day lead all the Clans back to the Inner Sphere. Despite this goal, the Vipers were never staunch supporters of the Crusader cause; instead, neither Warden nor Crusader, they went their own way. This position, combined with their self-serving and seemingly erratic voting in the Grand Council, earned the Vipers the enmity of the Jade Falcons.

Though the Vipers secured a place in the Inner Sphere invasion force, they were initially unhappy at being relegated to reserve status. How could they fulfill their grand ambition to lead if they could not fight? When the death of ilKhan Showers forced the Invading Clans to return to Strana Mechty, Viper Khans Breen and Zalman petitioned the new ilKhan to make the Vipers a full partner in the invasion. IlKhan Ulric Kerensky agreed, but forced them to work alongside the hated Jade Falcons.

On Tukayyid, the Vipers were forced to withdraw just short of their objectives. However, the withdrawal enabled them to preserve much of their forces and take the fewest casualties of any Clan involved in the battle. Their relative strength left them in a good position to exploit the enforced truce, most notably in seizing nine worlds from the Jade Falcons in the Falcon/Viper occupation zone. Internal disputes, however, kept them from similarly exploiting Falcon weakness in the aftermath of the Refusal War. In 3061, they launched a major operation against the Jade Falcon occupation zone, gaining more than a dozen worlds, but an unexpected Falcon counterattack reversed these gains and resulted in the Vipers' being forced from the Inner Sphere completely.

Beginnings:
The Steel Vipers are a paradox in Clan society. They fervently believe in the Clan way, but they also driven by a unique vision that may change the focus of the Clans. Of all the Clans, only the Vipers believe that the way to reunification with the Great Houses is to cooperate and form one government to rule over all.

The Vipers early years nearly spelled the end of the Clan. Khan Ellie Kinnison, a fervent supporter of ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky, led her troops to numerous victories during Operation Klondike. Afterwards, she instituted a rather rugid training plan for the new sibkos. The new training only produced a few warriors at a time, though all were very skilled. Concerned that the Vipers were lagging behind the other Clans, Nicholas sent a team of Clan Sea Fox scientists to study the Vipers training methods. The Sea Fox scientists left reporting that the Vipers simply had a more strenuous regimen than many other Clans. They also extended an invitation from Khan Kinnison to ilKhan Kerensky to inspect the facilities himself.

While ilKhan Kerensky's transport was in the final landing stages, Steel Viper saKhan Steven Breen was attacked by three assailants. Breen subdued all three and sounded a security alert. He searched the rest of the building and found two snipers, whom he quickly dispatched. A comminique from one of the assassins radio told Breen what he needed to know and he raced to the ilKhan's DropShip.

saKhan Breen arrived just as ilKhan Nicholas and his wife, Jennifer Winson, were disembarking. Breen managed to shoot Khan Kinnison in the shoulder with his first shot. During a brief scuffle between saKhan Breen and Steel Viper security troops, noone except Breen and Jennifer Winson saw Khan Kinnison attempt to shoot the ilKhan's wife. Breen broke free of the security personnel and this time killed Khan Kinnison with a shot to the head.

An investigation afterward revealed Khan Kinnison's obsessive love for ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky. Her plot was to kill Jennifer Winson and then make Nicholas turn to her for comfort. As punishment for her crime, Nicholas had her genetic material destroyed and her Bloodname stricken from the Steel Viper records.

The Steel Vipers then selected Steven Breen as their new Khan. In the years to follow, many Clans tried to prove that the Steel Vipers were unfit to hold their own possessions. The Clan fought many Trials of Possession before the other Clans realized that the Steel Vipers were as deadly and well-trained as any other Clan.

Golden Century:
The Golden Century was a time of exploration and growth for many Clans. The Steel Vipers, due to a lack of consensus, grew to be somewhat isolated from the other Clans. The distance between the Steel Vipers and the other Clans grew each year. Politically, the Steel Vipers were unable to stick to any coherent policy and voted according to the whims of the current Khans.

Things changed dramatically for the Steel Vipers in 2860. Sanra Mercer first came to the attention of Khan Jacob Masters. Mercer was the youngest Steel Viper warrior to ever win a Bloodname. She was a brilliant strategist and MechWarrior. To honor her many talents, Khan Masters nominated her to be the Steel Vipers saKhan.

This decision soon came back to haunt him. Shortly after becoming saKhan, Mercer began spreading word of Nicholas Kerensky's "true vision" of the Clans' purpose. According to her vision, the Clans were destined to conquer the Inner Sphere in honorable combat. The Clans would teach the conquered Great Houses the errors of their ways and lead them in rebuilding the Star League. Her speeches won many warriors to her side.

Not all saw things as she did, though. Khan Masters, furious at Mercer's betrayal, convened the Clan Council and accused her of treason. Mercer skillfully defended her position, winning many converts to her cause. In the end, she was convicted. Mercer declared a Trial of Refusal. Khan Master's force initially had the advantage until Mercer's Highlander shot down Master's aerospace fighter. Masters' troops were so demoralized that Mercer easily won the Trial.

Sanra Mercer was then elected Khan of the Steel Vipers. She quickly unified her powerbase and defeated all challengers of her vision. At last the Steel Vipers found themselves with a purpose and a leader strong enough to make it happen.

Khan Mercer's initial acts further isolated the Steel Vipers from the other Clans. Only out of necessity was the merchant caste allowed to interact with other Clans, and then only under strict observation by the warrior caste. Some Clans doubted her reforms and Khan Mercer successfully defended her position in several Trials of Grievance.

Throughout the Golden Century, the Steel Vipers lagged behind other Clans in exploring and colonizing other star systems. The merchant caste, in particular, felt the cost of the Clan's isolationist policies.

By the early 2900's, the Clan had finally obtained omnimech and elemental technologies as well as developed the fearsome Ultra-20 autocannon. The Clan, bowing to pressure from the merchant castes, finally established several colonies. It was also during this time that the Steel Vipers and Jade Falcons became mortal enemies, due to the Vipers' voting policies in the Grand Council

Call to Arms:
In 3000, Khan Nadia Winson of Clan Ghost Bear called upon the Clans to invade the Inner Sphere. The Grand Council was, at that time, deeply divided on the matter. On one side, several Clans, calling themselves Wardens, refused to go along with any invasion plan saying that that was counter to Alexsandr and Nicholas Kerensky's dream. Another group, the Crusaders, were ardently in favor of invasion. For them, the invasion would not only allow them to rebuild the Star League, but exact revenge on the Great Houses for forcing Alexsandr Kerensky to leave the Inner Sphere.

Clan Wolf Khan Kherlin Ward, however, forestalled the invasion question by suggesting that the Clans needed more information on the current state of the Inner Sphere. His plan to send in a force of freeborn warriors, under the guise of mercenaries, to learn more and report back with their findings. This plan was met with overwhelmingly approval and within two years, the Wolf's Dragoons began their trek to the Inner Sphere.

For twenty years, Wolf's Dragoons sent back reports that shocked the Clans. The information obtained by the Dragoon's that, in many cases, the Clans' belief about the collapse had come true. What was even more disturbing were reports that the Successor States were on the road to recovery. It was during the mid-3020's that the Dragoons stopped sending reports. Evidence began to mount against the Dragoons - stating that the Wolf forces had changed sides and given their loyalty over to the Inner Sphere.

Invasion:
In 3048, the ComStar explorer ship, Outbound Light, strayed into Smoke Jaguar territory. Smoke Jaguar Khan Leo Showers used information extracted from the ComStar crew to convince the Grand Council that the time had come to invade the Inner Sphere. Despite protests from Wolf Khan Ulric Kerensky, the Grand Council voted overwhelmingly in favor of Operation Revival.

In spite of their best efforts, the Steel Vipers were relegated to reserve status in the invasion force. The only combat their troops saw occurred in 3050 when Khan Jorgensson of Clan Ghost Bear called upon them to help quell guerilla movements on Ghost Bear-held worlds.

The death of ilKhan Leo Showers at Radstadt forced the Clans to withdraw to Strana Mechty while the Bloodnamed selected a new ilKhan. In a fit of revenge for Clan Wolf's excellent performance, the Crusader Clans forced Ulric Kerensky to become the new ilKhan.

To their delight and horror, ilKhan Ulric activated the Steel Vipers and assigned them to the same invasion corridor as their hated enemies, the Jade Falcons. The Steel Vipers initiated several Trials of Possession for Jade Falcon worlds so that they could build their supply lines. Each battle was brutally fought and the Vipers narrowly won Trials for five worlds. Before the Steel Vipers could conquer more worlds, ilKhan Ulric summoned them to a planet called Tukayyid.

The bidding for Tukayyid was fierce. The Smoke Jaguars won the right to land first, but the forces they committed ultimated doomed the Jaguars. The Steel Vipers were tasked to capture Kozice Ranch Station and Kelly Springs. The Vipers made a conservative approach but were bogged down in the expanse known as the Devil's Bath. This 18-kilometer stretch of land was filled with geyers, sink holes, boiling mud and towering granite columns.The Steel Vipers took heavy losses as they crossed the Devil's Bath. They managed to blast their way through the ComGuards but lacked the ammunition and replacement parts to stave off the Com Guard reinforcements. Unable to complete their task, the Steel Vipers retreated to their DropShips. Humiliated at the loss, Khan Natalie Breen resigned her post.

3052-3059:
The events following Tukayyid have left the Steel Vipers in a strong position. In the years following the truce declaration, the Vipers successfully captured several Jade Falcon worlds in the occupied zone. Later attempts to capture more worlds were sharply rebuffed by the Falcons.

The biggest event in Steel Viper post-Tukayyid history occurred when dezgra warrior Dawn returned to the Clan with evidence that Amaris bloodline was finally expunged. Dawn was subsequently restored to warrior status, but her current whereabouts remain unknown.

The Refusal War increased the Vipers position in the invasion vanguard, further strengthening their hold on their worlds. The Viper Khans were prepared, along with the other Clans, to renew the invasion in 3059, but Operation Bulldog and the fall of the Smoke Jaguars has left that effort on hold for the time being.

Death of a Clan:
With the defeat of the Smoke Jaguars in the Inner Sphere and on Huntress, the Clans found themselves with the unprecedented prospect of an Inner Sphere invasion of Strana Mechty. The Star League Defense Force soon challenged the Clans to a Trial of Refusal over the invasion. If the Inner Sphere won, the invasion was over and the invading Clans would retain the worlds they had conquered. If the Clans won, the invasion would resume. The Steel Vipers, who had long been considered Crusaders, had over the course of the last eight years switched to the Warden philosophy, although their deep hatred for the Jade Falcons continues. Khan Perigard voted along with the other Warden Khans to not participate in the battle.

The Star League's victory has, for the moment, forestalled any future Clan incursions. They are prohibited from expanding their holdings, unless they take them from another Clan. Given recent happenings within Clan Jade Falcon, the Viper Khans are currently contemplating action against them.