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Author Topic: The "Cougar" - was that intended to be the Clan name for it?  (Read 983 times)

Inspector2311

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Coming back to this great universe after a 20 year absence, I was delighted to see it is going strong again.  I still have a lot of catching up to do, but among the many nice additions I've noted is that you added Clan names for a number of Mechs that had previously lacked them. (i.e. the Ebon Jaguar, Arctic Cheetah, and Huntsman)  However, as a Jade Falcon player, I was a bit confused that you didn't do so for the... er... "Cougar."

Now, before anyone says "but that is the Clan name," I have to say that I'd find that hard to believe and, if I'm honset... even harder to like.  Allow me to explain.

According to The Battle of Coventry, page 63, it was the last in a series of new Mechs that Khan Marthe Pryde introduced to rebuild the Touman after the Refusal War.  Those five being: the Fire Falcon (bird name), Black Lanner (bird name), Night Gyr (bird name), Turkina (bird, er... proper name), and... "Cougar" (quite noticeably and incongruously not a bird name).

But, you say, the book goes on to explain, "Cougar" was a "code name," originating from the fact that this Mech was based on the same chassis as the "Puma."  Both being names for the same species of big cat.  Ah, clever.  So far, so good.  However, as a young-me immediately objected, and as even the book itself notes, "Puma" is the Inner Sphere name for the Mech which is actually named the Adder.

So what's the big deal?  Well, the thing is, Clan Jade Falcon was... not exactly on friendly terms with the Inner Sphere.  Arguably, only the Jaguars were more in contempt of everything Spheroid, and, well, the Jaguars had left the building.  The Falcons were not known for paying attention to their enemy's ways even when it was, shall we say, tactically recommended.  They were likely even less inclined to take notice of what their enemy named things.  It would be an esoteric reference, at best, to a Jade Falcon.  And, if they were aware of the reference, it seems even less likely.  I mean, naming your own Mech after what your sworn enemy whom you are on a literal crusade against calls things seems a bit out of character for the infamously prideful Falcons.  Even supposing that a bondsman did happen to tell their captor that they had called the Mech that had defeated them a "Puma," I wouldn't have thought the reaction would be, "Oh, how delightful.  I do think I will pass that along so we can name a new Mech after it."  I'd much more have thought It'd be, "Listen closely, Freebirth.  You had best disabuse yourself of your benighted, ignorant, barbarian notions and learn the correct names for our equipment or face severe discipline."  Heh.

Now, perhaps a rebellious scientist decided to do it as a big in-joke and subtle insult to the warriors?  And perhaps the warriors, in their contempt for their enemy, didn't notice that it was based on an Inner Sphere name?  But that still wouldn't explain why a warrior didn't stop it on the basis of "Hey, we ordered five bird names."  It just seemed to me to be far more likely that "Cougar" was an Inner Sphere code name for this Mech.  In which case, the Clan name remains unknown.

It's a silly thing, I know, but it just always bugged me as a Falcon player.

So, was "Cougar" actually intended to be the Clan name for the Mech, or did it just slip through the cracks and never get a Clan name?

And, either way... could that change?  You know, another nice thing about Battletech I've noticed in my catching up is that nobody's been afraid to retcon something by saying, "Hey, no worries, that was an unreliable in-universe source."  (Good on you all for that!)  So... could we get one of those, here?

Can we get a new (Clan) name for the Cougar?  Something bird-related, to match the other four?  Peregrine?  (so we can have some nice Abbot and Costello gags about it and the Horned Owl...) Kestrel?  Merlin?  Or maybe keep the "rival of the Adder" angle and call it a Snake Eagle?

Well, either way, thanks for listening and keep up the good work.

Kit deSummersville

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Re: The "Cougar" - was that intended to be the Clan name for it?
« Reply #1 on: 17 February 2022, 09:45:06 »
The institutional arrogance in the Jade Falcons does rise above your typical clan, however I do think you're overlooking a bit of how that arrogance manifests. The Falcons have quite a history of trash talking, if you will, and the Cougar fits right in with it.

When they discovered that people in the Inner Sphere were derogatively referring to them as the "Jade Turkeys" they turned around and, in Clan tradition, named their newest armored vehicle after a deity  In this case, the Aztec god of disease and pestilence which was embodied by...a jade turkey. I'm sure that the partisans that ran up against a Chalchiuhtotolin didn't find the name amusing much after that.

Clan Wolf had themselves a rebellious but talented MechWarrior in Quinn Kerensky. Rather than deal with her unorthidox ways of doing things they basically let the Falcons take her. Rather than being a distraction, Quinn embraced the Jade Falcon's conservative ways-in that you only had to be conservative if you weren't being successful. Physical attacks went from contemptable to being built into their BattleMechs such as the Jade Hawk. The Falcons frequently used her to keep the Wolves off balance and focused her bitterness to fuel her into being one of their better leaders.

The use of the Cougar in response to the use of Puma is right up the ally of the arrogance of the Jade Falcons. It isn't just "we are better than you", its "we are better than you, we don't care what you think, here we'll show you". They don't have the volatile responses that the Jaguars are famous for but rather a cold and calculated reprisal. They're not going to let their foes' insults get a rise out of them and they'll do one better and send it right back where it came, only better.
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Inspector2311

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Re: The "Cougar" - was that intended to be the Clan name for it?
« Reply #2 on: 17 February 2022, 15:31:41 »
Wow, that was quick - and elaborate.  You've thought about this before, then?

So, as an ex-post-facto explanation, that is well-crafted.  I'd still like my 5th bird Mech, but I have to salute you.

But, for real, was it always intended as a Clan name or did the people working back in '96 just not have the whole Clan name / Inner Sphere name thing sorted out yet?  Because I got the impression that happened a bit back then.  And was it a conscious choice to not give a separate Clan name for this one like for the Huntsman et al, or did it just slip through the cracks?

Kit deSummersville

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Re: The "Cougar" - was that intended to be the Clan name for it?
« Reply #3 on: 18 February 2022, 08:55:36 »
Wow, that was quick - and elaborate.  You've thought about this before, then?{/quote]

Well, I've been one of the go-to guys for the Falcons for a while now, so I'm pretty familiar with them.  :thumbsup:

Quote
So, as an ex-post-facto explanation, that is well-crafted.  I'd still like my 5th bird Mech, but I have to salute you.

But, for real, was it always intended as a Clan name or did the people working back in '96 just not have the whole Clan name / Inner Sphere name thing sorted out yet?  Because I got the impression that happened a bit back then.  And was it a conscious choice to not give a separate Clan name for this one like for the Huntsman et al, or did it just slip through the cracks?

Honestly that's probably lost to time. I've been around a long time but that was still well over a half decade before I started working on the game. Randall was with them then but I don't know how involved he was with the Cougar. Much like Clan warriors, the generations for writers are very short.  ;)
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Inspector2311

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Re: The "Cougar" - was that intended to be the Clan name for it?
« Reply #4 on: 18 February 2022, 15:48:30 »
Honestly that's probably lost to time. I've been around a long time but that was still well over a half decade before I started working on the game. Randall was with them then but I don't know how involved he was with the Cougar. Much like Clan warriors, the generations for writers are very short.  ;)

Ah, well.  A mystery for the ages, then.

Anyway, I must say that the level of support and engagement with the fans both here and elsewhere is amazing.  It's made coming back a great experience.  Thank you and thanks to everyone for that.

And, you know, just sayin': 5th bird Mech. ;)  But you have to canonize your great "the Falcons are bemused and cheeky rather than mad" angle.  Maybe call it the Laughing Falcon;D  Which is a real bird that eats snakes.  I didn't stay up late googling raptors...

Cheers!

 

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