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Who is the most evil?

Stefan Amaris
27 (19.6%)
Romano Liao
1 (0.7%)
Katherine "Katrina" Steiner-Davion
19 (13.8%)
Thomas "The Master" Marik
24 (17.4%)
Etienne Balzac
2 (1.4%)
Malvina Hazen
37 (26.8%)
Other
28 (20.3%)

Total Members Voted: 138

Author Topic: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?  (Read 6487 times)

Elmoth

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #120 on: 14 January 2022, 09:08:24 »
I would say that warly BT had bad DC and CC and good davion. The lyrans and fwl were not a real factor in the background.

JadeHellbringer

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #121 on: 14 January 2022, 09:31:50 »
*quietly taking off Clan fanboy hat*

Aleksandr Kerensky.

OK, ok, I know that's maybe a bit strong, compared to the raving lunacy of people like Malvina Hazen or Cameron St. Jamais. And it begs the question, as many have discussed already, of what constitutes 'evil'. It also requires one to look at Kerensky's Exodus in the light of whether or not it was legal, morally if not in the eyes of his duty to his nation (fractured as it was).

For the sake of discussion here, I'll submit that Kerensky's SLDF, weakened as it was by years of war against Amaris, was still the preeminent force in the Inner Sphere- had the General declared the Hegemony borders to be his protectorate and dug in with his troops, there would have been little the soon-to-be Succession Lords could have done about it. It wouldn't have prevented the First Succession War- the Houses were all looking for an excuse to start shooting at each other- but it would have at least kept the Hegemony worlds from being scraps to fight over- and ruin with WMDs- and in doing so, would have saved billions. (Kerensky of course didn't want to set himself up as a house lord, and admirably so, but there are still ways to handle things that don't leave him in charge politically- a subject for another thread, of course)

Instead of doing any of that, instead of digging in to defend the people he'd fought so hard to liberate and protect, instead of looking past the political machinations of those in power and looking to help the huddled masses of the Inner Sphere- or at least the Hegemony- against the obvious war to come, he... took his toys and left. The power vacuum left behind was exactly the excuse the Houses needed to start shooting, and on worlds throughout the Inner Sphere- again, mostly in the ex-Hegemony- billions of lives were lost, centuries of warfare were initiated, and humanity has never truly recovered.

Kerensky may have meant well. He may truly have believed his own dogma about removing the SLDF's firepower from the equation to save people- if he did, he was at least ignorant but well-meaning. I find that hard to believe though- I've always viewed it as him being tired, of being offended by the removal from his position by the House lords, and I've always felt that under all that was fear- and rather than do the right thing, he decided to get as far away from his problems as he could- literally. (Leaving aside that his people were woefully unprepared for life post-Exodus- for all he knew, the SLDF personnel that followed him would be gone within a generation or two.)

I'm getting long-winded here, and again we may differ on the definition of 'evil', but in terms of the amount of death and destruction on their heads, despite the ability to avert it, Kerensky fled from the battlefields, taking his enormous army and navy with him, and leaving a power vacuum that created centuries of war and heartache. I'll make a case, then for Kerensky to be the most 'evil' character our universe has seen- the effects of his awful decision-making still being felt over three centuries later.
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Mendrugo

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #122 on: 14 January 2022, 09:34:16 »
Well, let's see.  Warrior: En Garde showed that the Lyran Commonwealth was willing to abduct one of their citizens, fake her death, and make her into a meat-shield double for Melissa.  They constructed a vast and far reaching surveillance state and sold the data to anyone willing to pay for it.  While it was used to enhance Melissa's experience on the cruise, it was also used to target her for a kidnapping attempt.  Presumably, anyone with stalker-ish tendencies would love life in the Lyran Commonwealth. 

Likewise, the Lyrans operated a state-sponsored terror unit that had (until recently) been freely deployed against perceived enemies both foreign and domestic (to the point that Heimdall was formed to combat its excesses against Lyran citizens), and operated an anti-terror unit made up exclusively of orphans.  (Orphans trained to be brutal killers from an early age.)

So...are the Lyrans "good guys," or are they just rich friends of the main POV protagonists - the Kells?
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Colt Ward

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #123 on: 14 January 2022, 09:59:34 »
*quietly taking off Clan fanboy hat*

Aleksandr Kerensky.
*snip*

So deChavilier was right and we should  have gotten Empires Aflame?
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Cannonshop

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #124 on: 14 January 2022, 10:24:47 »
So deChavilier was right and we should  have gotten Empires Aflame?

That's a matter for an entertaining round of "Let's argue until the mods lock the thread", because unlike a LOT of the debates around here, that one really does have points on both sides and really doesn't have a solid conclusion that can be tested or shown.

Mind you, it's fun to bag on Kerensky on monday, and defend him on tuesday, but his action was only possible as a direct result of Narrative Requirement trumping the Rule of Natural Consequences.

Literally nobody in history has done  a similar thing on an even vaguely similar scale, armies don't do that when they're winning, and never have.  Winning armies don't fragment as soon as the enemy has been defeated (which wsa the consequence being used to justify the action).

So right there, it's basically a violation of human nature from day one, and only possible because the Narrator needed it to happen, which makes every intention and consequence something that will only result in trolling and flame wars.  (hence why it's a great way to get a thread locked as people's tempers heat up to 'stupid outburst mode', forcing the Mods to then step in and issue tickets-because their job is to keep the peace, and this debate does the exact opposite).

But...

in the context of the question, Kerensky doesn't fit the bill for "most Evil character".  This doesn't make him a good (Morally) character either.  Good people don't squash uprisings, because squashing uprisings requires objectively evil acts (On a MORAL scale).

Kerensky certainly ordered an evil action prior to Exodus-the extermination of a family line right down to infants and children is explicitly evil, unquestionably evil, by even the standards of realpolitik, it's evil.

This doesn't make it wrong, only that it's not something that can be objectively termed 'good' by anyone who isn't also a psychopath (or really, really, really disconnected from relatively common standards of morality and/or the events by distance.)

But it's not more evil than his peers of the time, or successors.  (witness the Clan obsession with hunting anyone with even a pre-exodus bit of Wolverine relation.  Even the worst historical despots stopped after the third generation.)

He's not objectively evil, either.  He can be termed weak, he can be termed traumatized, even insane, but not evil.

Evil requires calm rationality, it isn't the result of emotional upset or weariness or trauma.  An example of outright evil would be the systematic and totally organized, rational, deliberate extermination of a population (see: Pol Pot's "Year Zero", The Ukrainian starvation policy in the 1930s,  Japan's use of chinese civilians as guinea pigs for biological and chemical weapons during their occupation of Manchuria, and everyone who eagerly cooperated and participated in the Holocaust without being forced-because they wanted to.)

There aren't a lot of canon characters who fit the bill for actual, honest, real evil.  Lots of them committed actions that were, as actions, completely evil, unnecessary, atrocities.

but to define someone as 'evil' requires that they know what they're doing, and what it is, (an atrocity) and they're okay with doing it, even happy to do it, even EAGER to do it.

In that sense, Malvina Hazen qualifies. Her objective goal was total destruction and death.  That was what she was after, it was what she wanted.  (as seen in her own inner monologues).

She was, Objectively evil, outright evil, intentionally evil, not merely 'win at all costs' but 'destroy it all for personal gratification' evil.

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phoenixalpha

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #125 on: 14 January 2022, 11:36:17 »
I wonder if people would define evil the way I do. Which is not to say that Malvina or the Blakists weren't heinous people who did terrible things - but they believed that the ends justify the means. Whether it is to kill their opponents and make over the universe in their image - there is a rational for such.

Evil is my book is when you can do something to help someone and you choose not to. If it costs you zero to help someone and they need assistance and you refuse help or through inaction do not help another. An example of this would be watching someone is on a cliff edge & you can help them up with no issue or or risk and you do nothing and watch them fall to their death when you could've easily helped them up. That is evil. There is no reason for such actions (or inactions) - no reason at all. Now if that person was a competitor or opponent - then there is a justification (however skewed & twisted) for doing so. Not helping your fellow human being or animal when they are in need when it costs you nothing to help - is beyond being human in my opinion.

Back to the BT universe - Kerensky had enough. He had been deceived by the House Lords many many times, he knew that the SLDF could save billions, but at the cost of billions of lives themselves and they would have to stand by and watch the IS burn and billions die whilst they stood aside and did nothing. He knew that either the SLDF stood by and watch everything but the Hegemony destroy itself or he knew that if the SLDF stayed they would be dragged into it one way or another. So he chose to GTF out of the IS. Yes he condemned billions to die and hundreds of years of warfare but he knew that was coming anyway. Short of the SLDF kerb stomping 2 if not more of the IS houses and conquering known human space would it ever know peace (ironically). So he was in a no win situation. Not evil as there was justification for every choice of action he had available and no matter what happened - billions would die and they would blame him irrespective of how he acted or didnt act.

rebs

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #126 on: 14 January 2022, 15:08:31 »
Not going to quote anyone, but there are always special cases.

Jinjiro Kurita was said to have basically been "imbalanced" all of his life.  Yet he was competent enough to be his father's Warlord.  And when his father was killed on Kentares and he was told the news, he was said to have calmly told his generals "Kill them all."  Which left his generals to carry out his bidding, either in a sense of duty, or fear of their new Coordinator. 

They in turn ordered their troops to massacre men, women and children for a month straight, until their soldiers were numb and demoralized from the killings. 

Jinjiro's mental health was said to have progressively gotten worse as he aged, until he was literally batshit crazy, and the only thing he could do was plot out new wars.

Does Jinjiro's mental state excuse or mitigate heinous evil?  Absolutely not.  He is as evil as Amaris, Malvina, or The Master.
« Last Edit: 14 January 2022, 16:50:46 by rebs »

Charistoph

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #127 on: 14 January 2022, 16:49:02 »
My vote was for Katherine Steiner.  While patricide and fratricide is quite common among royals, she just represents all the bad sides of royalty by doing all this, and just because she wanted to be Scar.

Anyways, assassinating mom (and maybe brother) just puts her on the level of most evil for me.  Ripping apart the FedCom also didn't help, and pretty much did what Amaris did as well.  She took leaps in politics that sent the Inner Sphere back to those days.  Not good.
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Mecha-Anchovy

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #128 on: 16 January 2022, 03:59:53 »
I do insofar as "BT is grey, there are no good guys or bad guys" is definitely a thing people say. It's even been said in this very thread.

It is demonstrably something that people say - it just isn't true, and never has been.

Karasu

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #129 on: 16 January 2022, 05:42:13 »
I would modify that slightly.  "BT is grey, there are no constantly good factions and no constantly bad factions."  There is a long enough history to the setting which is vast in physical scope that every faction has had good and evil members, good and evil leaders and even good and evil phases.  You can't pick a point in history randomly and know who the good and bad guys are without knowing when it is.  This dates back to the House Books as far as portraying the way you get bad apples everywhere, and the Combine gets to be a protagonist from very early on.  I'm tempted to say that Wolves on the Border has heroic Combine characters, but will definitely say that Theodore becomes a  heroic protagonist in Heir to the Dragon. On the other hand, re-reading the Warrior trilogy when no longer a teenager made me realise how much death and destruction to lay at Hanse's feet.

I appear to have strayed slightly, my apologies.

Mecha-Anchovy

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Re: Who is the Most Evil Battletech Character?
« Reply #130 on: 16 January 2022, 06:25:38 »
I think that particular BattleTech stories usually have clearly identifiable heroes and villains - goodies and baddies. The SLDF were good and Amaris was bad. Hanse Davion is good and Maximillian Liao is bad. Victor is good and Katherine is bad. Kai Allard-Liao is good and Clan Jade Falcon are bad. Anastasius Focht is good and Myndo Waterly is bad. When the Great Refusal happened, the Star League were the good guys and the Clans were the bad guys. In the Refusal War, the Wolves were the good guys and the Falcons were the bad guys. The Coalition were good and the Word of Blake were bad. And so on.

The Dark Age sort of muddies it, albeit by making almost everyone awful, but even then there are still some clear good guys (e.g. Julian Davion, Stephanie Chistu, etc.) and some clear villains (e.g. Malvina Hazen). There are places where I think authors get horribly confused and stories aren't very good (ask me about Hour of the Wolf one day, and in general there's been a trend towards pro-Clan stories that I am deeply uncomfortable with), but even then I think this is in part a genuine attempt at grey-on-grey or black-on-black stories and in part just confused storytelling. However, looking at the overall picture of the setting, I think BattleTech is a colourful universe and its stories do tend to have clear heroes fighting clear villains.

That doesn't mean that the heroes are always perfect and morally unimpeachable, nor that the villains never have any sympathetic or redeeming traits whatsoever - just that BattleTech definitely has good guys and bad guys. Yes, it's fun to be subversive and say that Aleksandr Kerensky was terrible, but I think if you're reading the sourcebooks more-or-less along the grain, there's no room for disputing that Kerensky is a sympathetic protagonist character and Amaris is an evil villain.