While Dame Humphreys suspected that the Capellans were a spent force, she had no intention of letting the remnant state overrun her much smaller nation. The CCAF was broken, she believed, but it still retained substantially more troops than she could command. As such, a key strand of the Andurien-Canopus invasion plan attempted to keep the Liaos guessing, targeting a variety of worlds and then pulling back. The unit assigned this operation in the opening stages of the war was the mercenary Carson’s Renegades, who had been displaced in the FWLM withdrawal from worlds near Terra and had accepted a two-year contract with the independent Duchy.
Their initial target would be Altorra, coreward of the line of advance but a potential target, the raiding of which might draw off CCAF troops. The renegades met no resistance to their landings on Altorra in November 3030, and little after they’d secured their landing zone. The short, sharp campaign that followed could easily have forced the world’s capitulation, and the world’s government broadcast a request to treat with the invaders, but the mercenary commander followed his orders precisely, making their presence clearly visible while causing minimal damage and loss of life. At the end of the November they boosted off-world and struck at their next target, Fronde, with equal success.