OK, I didn't see a BattleTech Ideas thread, so I'm putting this here (if there's enough interest, I'll create either a BT Ideas thread, or a thread for this specific idea): Conrad Toyama is killed during the Fall of the Star League, leading to Jerome Blake's successor being someone with a vision closer to that of Blake himself. The religious trappings and mystic rituals associated with canon ComStar do not occur (and indeed, the name of the organization will not be ComStar, as that was also Toyama's idea), though the 'secret society' aspect remains. Likewise, there will be no Operation Divine Intervention, Operation Holy Shroud, or similar attacks on the recovery of the Successor States and Periphery Powers. I think it quite likely that this change will result in a very different Inner Spere and Periphery, by the time the Wolf Dragoons arrive in 3005. I suggest that they discover that the Periphery Powers are, on average, about as advanced as the Clans (ahead in some areas, behind in others, and varying from state to state, like the Outworlds Alliance having better WarShips and ASFs, along with new ideas called 'Pocket WarShips' and 'Monitors', or the Magistracy of Canopus effectively creating genecaste), while the Successor States are ahead of the Clans by a significant margin. Worse (from a Clanner's PoV), they're advancing faster than the Clans are. Even in communications, they're well ahead, with a Terra-based company called CommNet operating a service similar to the Diamond Sharks' ChatterWeb, but faster and higher capacity... though it seems to contain a hell of a lot of pornography (some of it involving those Canopian genecaste), and cute animal pictures and videos. Strategically, any attack by the Clans on the Inner Sphere will be a humiliating defeat for the Clan forces, and some of the Periphery Powers would themselves be a serious threat, particularly the expanding Outworlds Alliance. The Dragoons' relatively outdated tech means that if not for their size and discipline, they would be a second-rate merc unit in the Periphery, or a third-rate unit in the Inner Sphere. They could go back to their supply cache for the more advance equipment that they left there, but that would only help a little, particularly as they'd still have to leave the WarShips, which are illegal for private ownership. I imagine that they do a lot of pirate hunting, garrison work on less important worlds, and so forth, while buying up as many different examples of NewTech as possible (focusing on military tech, obviously), and then leave in 3009 to make their report to the Grand Council (or maybe only a few volunteers leave, due to the possibility of 'kill the bringer of bad news' syndrome). They aren't going to be happy about this, but are also unlikely to fully believe or comprehend it, quiaff? So, thoughts?