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Girl Genius

The Siege of Mechanicsburg is a multi-day battle that unfolds from Volume VII to Volume XIII of the Girl Genius webcomic, and is also detailed in the print novel Agatha H. and the Siege of Mechanicsburg. As hinted by that title, detailing all that happens during the Siege could indeed fill a book, but hitting the high points..

The Siege is a series of complicated engagements in and around the eponymous city involving the Wulfenbach Empire, the Fifty Families, House Heterodyne, and a smorgasbord of lesser enemies and rebels. The battle coincides with the successful claiming by Agatha Heterodyne of the title of The Heterodyne of Mechanicsburg; it is suspended when Mechanicsburg is frozen in time, and precipitates the collapse of the Wulfenbach Empire. It immediately follows the Battle of Sturmhalten: Baron Klaus Wulfenbach is seriously wounded in the latter confrontation during a skirmish with the Battle Circus constructed by Agatha from the wagons of Master Payne's Circus of Adventure. He is flown unconscious to the Great Hospital at Mechanicsburg, which prompts a slew of assassination attempts which are fended off by Gilgamesh Wulfenbach. Additionally, various factions of the Fifty Families under the nom de guerre Knights of Jove initiate The Storm King conspiracy prematurely and in piecemeal fashion.

The conspiracy centers on introducing a fake Heterodyne heir, Zola Malfeazium, in an attempt to gain control of Castle Heterodyne, while Lord Selnikov tries to enter/take over the city with enormous war stompers. Selnikov's attack is defeated by (again) Gilgamesh, who makes sure as many Mechanicsburg inhabitants as possible are witnesses when he Calls Down The Lightning. Agatha meanwhile with the assistance of Carson von Mekkhan attempts to change Mechanicsburg from "the terrain" to "a player in the fight": she enters Castle Heterodyne in the guise of a (relatively) ordinary prisoner, and begins the arduous task of repairing the Castle's controlling intelligence, which is so fractured that it can do little to battle the swarm of attackers pouring into the city from all directions. In the course of those repairs, Agatha also foils Zola, aided in both of these tasks by Gil and the Storm King pretender, Tarvek Sturmvoraus. The conspiracy also intends to have a new Storm King appear in the city to very publicly ally himself with Zola, though by the time the current occupant of that role, Martellus von Blitzengaard, shows up, Zola has already been dispatched and discredited, with Agatha officially declaring her ascension to the assembled Town Council and the Doom Bell being rung.

Back out on the streets, the military engagements soon deteriorate into an all out chaotic brawl with every major and minor spark who has as much as two minions to rub together diving into the conflict, along with the return of all the Jägermonsters to Mechanicsburg, led by (most of) the Jägergenerals. The Empire's goals and tactics spasmodically shift during the course of the siege from helping the town's inhabitants, to, well, besieging them, as control of its forces pass between Boris Dolokhov, Tarvek(!), Gil and a recovered Klaus, who while escaping the destruction of the Great Hospital, is under the partial control of Lucrezia. The last man throws every whacked-out Spark and monster on the Empire's payroll into the conflict as eminently expendable cannon-fodder, and makes a bunch of deliberately inefficient and chaotic decisions, but in the end, the Empire tries to herd the Mechanicsburg population out of the city and proceed with a general bombardment. Instead, Agatha successfully revives and recharges The Castle, which mounts a devastating counterattack against Empire forces and drives them from the city. Klaus then resorts to personally dropping into the city in an armored pod and deploying a black-level item known as the Take-Five Bomb, freezing himself, Mechanicsburg and all its residents (including a freshly-stabbed Tarvek) in time for what is suspected to be a period of 5 years. Agatha and Tweedle end up stuck in a time-freeze for two and a half years, while a mentally-shackled Gil is left to try and hold together the collapsing remnants of the Empire. And then the timestop attracts the attention of the most unwelcome visitor yet..

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