The ComStar Schism occurred shortly after the Battle of Tukayyid and in the wake of Primus Myndo Waterly's failed Operation SCORPION. It would lead to the creation of a splinter faction known as the Word of Blake and bring about a chain of events leading eventually to the Jihad.
|Part of the Clan Invasion era|
|ComStar||Newly-founded Word of Blake|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Primus Sharilar Mori,
Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht
|Precentor Demona Aziz|
Operation SCORPION was a disaster for ComStar, losing control of nearly all of their HPG stations in the Federated Commonwealth, Draconis Combine, and the entire Clan Occupation Zone. Upon hearing of what happened, Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht returned to Terra and, together with Primus Sharilar Mori, confronted Waterly. Official ComStar history was that they were able to convince Waterly to step down from her position, and then four days later she died of a brain hemorrhage. The truth of the incident was that as Waterly stormed off to have Focht replaced as Precentor Martial, he shot her in the back of the head with a needle pistol and convinced Mori to help cover it up. For their own safety Focht also had the First Circuit placed under protective custody. Within a week of Waterly's death, the First Circuit elected Sharilar Mori as the new Primus.
In meeting with the First Circuit, Focht reported he was visited by a vision of Jerome Blake which brought his attention to a cornerstone of the Hall of History. There he found a copy of a technical readout written by Blake himself where he made clear that his intention for ComStar, rather than hoard knowledge and shroud it in mysticism, was to spread knowledge to all of mankind. The actions ComStar had taken in the years before were not part of Blake's plan then but the result of greedy Primuses looking to increase their power. In light of the conversation between Blake and Conrad Toyama near the end of Blake's life, however, the veracity of this document is questionable.
Focht brought this new information to the rest of the First Circuit, which for the most part agreed it to be authentic and that reforms were needed. One of their members however, Demona Aziz, Precentor of Atreus, was a strict conservative and follower of Waterly who believed this to be part of a coup that Focht had engineered. Taking her staff she fled from Terra back to Atreus, where she informed Captain-General Thomas Marik that there was an internal struggle within ComStar. She asked for asylum for herself and those who believed as she did, to which he agreed.
With Mori (newly elected as Primus) and the rest of the First Circuit, Focht made the new revelations known to the rest of ComStar. The response was less than hoped. Many members of the Order, so used to an unquestioned belief in their Order's mission enforced by an inquisitorial ROM, were confronted by revelations which now upended that worldview. More still were the confusing explanations regarding what and why Operation SCORPION was initiated and the reports of horrible losses from Tukayyid. In the midst of this confusion and rumor-mongering, Precentor Aziz transmitted to every HPG station her condemnation of Focht's "secularization" plot and all but called for his and Mori's overthrow. She also invited all who rejected their heresy to join her in exile.
Within months, thousands of ComStar Acolytes from all parts of the organization had made their way to the Free Worlds League; some members of the Com Guards even managed to smuggle out their BattleMechs. Rather than resist their attempts to leave and instigate a civil war, Mori decided to let these individuals leave so that the Reformation could be carried out peacefully. Caught off-guard by this sudden influx of refugees, the Captain-General met with the most senior Precentors of the group now calling itself the Word of Blake. An agreement was made whereby land on Gibson was given over to the Blakists, and in return they would be in charge of servicing the HPG stations which the League had seized during Operation SCORPION.
With the most fanatical elements of ComStar now gone, the Reformation Acts instituted by Mori and Focht were able to proceed with little issue. While not all of the spirituality was eliminated, much of the outdated superstition and mysticism which had defined the group was now gone. ComStar also began to freely share its information with the rest of the Inner Sphere, turning around public opinion which had soured since Operation SCORPION. The combination of deep budget cuts and losses from the schism meant that ComStar could no longer support the Outworlds Alliance, leading to the closure of many facilities and ending of economic and educational programs there.
For the Word of Blake, the establishment of a secure base of operations and steady source of income would provide them the opportunity to strike back at what they viewed as the heretics who had taken over Blake's Blessed Order. In a gesture of good faith, ComStar initially allowed the Word of Blake to use the HPG network under their control, and continued to transmit message through stations operated by Blakist technicians. The Blakists' initial response was to tamper with ComStar messages traveling through their network. Such petty vandalism would eventually lead to more serious actions, culminating in the Word of Blake seizing Terra in 3058.
- ComStar (sourcebook), p. 90
- Lost Destiny, ch. 45
- ComStar (sourcebook), p. 74
- Second Succession War (sourcebook), p. 5
- ComStar (sourcebook), p. 76
- ComStar (sourcebook), p. 91
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 60
- ComStar (sourcebook), p. 92