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Author Topic: Chronological BattleTech Fiction Review - The Succession Wars - Part II  (Read 32696 times)

Mendrugo

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Good catch.  Thanks. 

Michael, though, certainly didn't know about Operation RAT, so I wonder what Hanse told him that got him to move his homeworld RCT to a forward staging area close to the Capellan border, given the fact that he was getting fake info regarding the deployment of other AFFS forces (thereby leaking inaccurate data to the Maskirokva).
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

trboturtle

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Good catch.  Thanks. 

Michael, though, certainly didn't know about Operation RAT, so I wonder what Hanse told him that got him to move his homeworld RCT to a forward staging area close to the Capellan border, given the fact that he was getting fake info regarding the deployment of other AFFS forces (thereby leaking inaccurate data to the Maskirokva).

Operation GALAHAD.... Hanse had been having his units move around the last several years before this on military maneuvers. No doubt, Michael was thinking this was more of the same, with the troops getting their real orders only once they were at the jump points.

Craig
Author of the BattleCorps Stories -- "The Lance Killer," "Hikagemono," "Negotiation," "Snipe Hunt," "Groundpounder," "The Clawing," "Salvage," "The Promise," "Reap What You Sow," "Color of Authority," "Family Ties," "The Blood of Man," "End of Message," "Heroes' Bridge," "Kurodenkou," "Thirteen," "My Father's Sword," "Evacuation," "Warrior's Song," "Operation Red Lion," "A Matter of Honor," "State of Grace," "Operation Blue Tiger," "A Warrior's Fear," "Shadow Angels," "Murphy's Method," and the Legacy Anthology story, "End of the Road."

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Mendrugo

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GALAHAD had finished by October (it was a summer exercise), so this deployment wouldn't have been part of that.  (The next chapter shows Justin Xiang and Alex Mallory reviewing after-action Maskirovka reports on the GALAHAD '27 exercises in the Capellan March.)
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Decoy

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Remember, Michael was shifting his units around for his own attack on the Capellan Confederation.

Mendrugo

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Date: October 4, 3027

Location:  Galatea

Title: Siege Campaign

Author: Tom Sloper

Type: Encounter (SNES MechWarrior)

Synopsis: Back at Club Zero Zero, Yerg Gantor congratulates Herras Ragen on his successful mission, and offers him a follow-on contract for a siege campaign on Rostov. 

MIIO Agent Lana Mann sends a message to her superior speculating that the mercenary who killed the first three Dark Wing Lance members is now planning to kill its last surviving member.

Notes: The game defines a "siege campaign" as knocking out multiple defended installations.  Given the structure of the game, the "sieges" last a few minutes at best.  Sieges definitely do take place in the BattleTech universe, especially when they involve Castles Brian or fortified cities (like Tikograd).  Given the level of annoyance I get with the storyline structure in this game, I wouldn't put it past them to have a message on-screen:  "You have eliminated all the mobile defenders.  Now remain in place for five months (real time) until they run out of food."

I get that Tom Sloper needed a mechanism to drive the plot forward, but holovid discs found in the bar's lost-and-found just don't hold up as a sustainable mechanism.  You could get away with that maybe once.  Now, this was work done early in Mr. Sloper's career.  Since then, he's done a lot more work in the industry, and even dispenses advice about game design at his site - sloperama.com.  He designed 16 games and produced an additional 69 (including SNES MechWarrior).  He appears to be proudest of his work on the Shanghai series (as opposed to MechWarrior or Leather Goddesses of Phobos 2).  If any of you have played the games listed here (http://www.sloperama.com/business/prodlist.htm), weigh in on whether they have superior storyline merit to what's shown here.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Date: October 13, 3027

Location:  Galatea

Title: Dark Wing Recruiting New Members

Author: Tom Sloper

Type: Encounter (SNES MechWarrior)

Synopsis: Herras Ragen returns to Club Zero Zero to read a NewsNet report about a break-in at a high-level intelligence installation on Jelenia.  He also finds another report from MIIO Agent Lana Mann that the Dark Wing Lance appears to be recruiting new members.

Notes: Because when there's a break-in at a high level intelligence installation, the first thing you do is put out a press release on the NewsNet.  The NewsNet in this game has some of the finest investigative reporters in the Inner Sphere, given that they publicly reported on Hanse and Melissa's wedding long before Hanse even told Michael Hasek-Davion, and provided a summary of top secret closed meetings on Tharkad.

One wonders if the NewsNet is just the Galatea planetary feed (which would be updated with both local content and material sourced from the HPG station from around the Inner Sphere, and with local news from nearby systems beamed in from visiting JumpShips).  Per the discussion in Catastrophe Unlimited, major news about the Great Houses and their leaders spreads quickly across the HPG network, while news of local events may take months or even years to reach the NewsNets on distant worlds. 

My handwavium explanation for all the data flowing in is that Club Zero-Zero is a Department of Military Intelligence (DMI) listening post, and Herras Ragen is actually a high level DMI troubleshooter (either Stealthy Fox or Rabid Fox) under cover as a "mercenary," with the high respect for his murdered father in the AFFS granting him wide leeway to pursue their killers, and eliminate the anti-Davion Mercenary Underground in the process.  The "lost and found box" is actually a dead drop for DMI assets.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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To get a better insight into the development process for the SNES MechWarrior game, I reached out to Tom Sloper, who teaches game design and offers advice on breaking into the industry.  He was kind enough to respond to my questions about the SNES game:

1. How much coordination did your team have with FASA Corporation (the originators of the series, and owners of the IP at the time) regarding the storyline and game aesthetic?

Tom Sloper (TS): Quite a bit.

2. Was the original intent to simply adapt Activision's MechWarrior game for the SNES, or to create a new storyline?

TS: Pretty sure it was the former - to adapt the 1989 game from Dynamix to the SNES. I wasn't present at the license signing, so I can't say for certain.

3. There are clear tie-ins to the events in Michael Stackpole's "Warrior: En Garde" novel in the first half of the game, establishing the timeline for the game's events, but the references to official storyline events end with Melissa Steiner's rescue (at the end of En Garde). Was the sequel, "Warrior: Riposte," not available at the time of development?

TS: I have no idea. I did read one novel while I was involved in the project, but I don't remember its title. And I was not embedded with the development team in Australia (I was working from the Activision office in L.A.). This was the early nineties, and communications were mostly done by fax and phone.

4. Why (aside from Galatea and Solaris) were new world names created, instead of using the ones from FASA's maps?

TS: I can't speak to planet names. I suppose it might be a consequence of the need to use different mechs, to satisfy the tastes of the Japanese audience. The deal was structured in a way Activision did things at the time; Activision held a license from FASA, and sublicensed the video game rights to a couple of Japanese companies. The sublicensees paid for development of the Japanese versions*, and then the work was done to localize the game in English. The Japanese market already had a popular universe of warring mechs, called Gundam. The BattleTech/MechWarrior mechs presented a problem in that marketplace - but my memory is a little hazy as to whether it was that the IP owner of Gundam might sue over the great similarity between their looks, or that the FASA mechs didn't look right for the Japanese market. A whole storyline had to be created to make the new and different-looking Japanese mechs fit within the FASA universe. But for the Western market, the game used the FASA mechs instead. Maybe the planet names were created to go along with the storyline around the Japanese mechs, and simply weren't changed when the game was localized for the West.

TS: * I think there is a mistake in the table of Video games at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_BattleTech_games - I think the Sharp X68000 version may have been part of the 1993 deal, rather than one of the 1989 platforms. As I recall, MechWarrior was sublicensed (in the early nineties, after 1990) for not only the SNES but also another platform, a Japan-only platform (like the Sharp computer). In the table, either the Sharp is in the wrong place, or there's a platform missing from 1993.

5. What were the technical limitations you faced on the SNES vs. what Activision was able to do with their original version of MechWarrior for the PC?

TS: I didn't work on the 1989 version with Dynamix - and I never played it. And I don't know a lot about DOS video game technology, but I know that DOS computers were not natively capable of 3D graphics**. And the SNES wasn't, either. But the SNES did have one quasi-3D trick, called Mode 7. Mode 7 allowed creation of a graphic plane that could be rotated in a way that looked sort of 3D. I believe Beam Software (the developer of the SNES game) used Mode 7 for the terrain.

TS: ** Wolfenstein 3-D introduced 3D to DOS computers in 1992 or thereabouts. This was after the MechWarrior game made by Dynamix, and before the MechWarrior game made by Beam for the SNES (and for the Japan-only platform).
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Date: October 15, 3027

Location: Sian

Title: Warrior: Riposte

Author: Michael A. Stackpole

Type: Novel (Warrior: Riposte – FASA)

Synopsis: Justin Xiang (now a Maskirovka agent) and Alexi Malenkov's analysis of the GALAHAD '27 exercises is interrupted by Tsen Shang, who summons them to a meeting with Chancellor Maximilian Liao and Maskirovka Director Chandra Ling.

They are greeted in the throne room by the Chancellor, Ling, and Max's two daughters, Candace and Romano.  Ling appears serene, but Chancellor Liao and Romano are visibly enraged.  Max demands to know why Justin failed to inform him of the pending wedding of Hanse Davion and Melissa Steiner.  Justin is visibly shocked, and the Chancellor accepts the he was not concealing the information. 

Tsen Shang speculates that the wedding agreement was settled when a high level Lyran official traveled to the Federated Suns, was hijacked, and had to be rescued by the Kell Hounds.  He believes the marriage to be a reaction to the signing of the Concord of Kapteyn.

Max is still angry about the delay in reporting even this information, which Shang and Xiang blame on using the Maskirovka's Marik section to process Lyran intel, and on having subordinated the Maskirovka's Davion section to intelligence received from Michael Hasek-Davion.  In the interest of efficiency, Chandra Ling suggests forming a "crisis team" tasked with problem solving and investigation of odd situations, working directly below Ling, and able to bypass all normal bureaucratic channels.  Max approves, and summarily appoints Xiang and Shang as the heads of the crisis team, and Ling wearily agrees.

The meeting is interrupted by a functionary, who introduces Lord Victor Robinson, the Federated Suns' ambassador, who brings Max the formal invitation to attend Hanse's wedding to Melissa on August 20 of 3028.

Notes: With the sole exception of her cameo in "Think Like a Liao," this is the sole appearance of Maskirovka Director Chandra Ling in the fiction.  The weary resignation with which she accepts Max's appointments of Xiang and Shang to run the "crisis team" suggests that her influence with him is minimal - possibly due to fallout from her involvement in the failed attempt to substitute a more loyal double for Max's son, Tormano.  (Though it was unclear from the end of that story if anyone involved in the operation realized that the original survived and killed the double.)

Justin and Alexi note that GALAHAD '27's wargames in the Capellan March had matches between AFFS line units and other units configured to simulate Capellan line units.  In those matches, the simulated CCAF troops did very poorly.  I wonder to what extent the AFFS had sufficient machines to copy the Capellan TO&E.  You'd think oddball formations like Cochraine's Goliaths (a battalion of mostly Goliaths) would be difficult to clone.  Or perhaps the 'Mechs don't matter, and just the org chart is copied.

Candace and Romano are both introduced for the first time as characters in this scene, and their primary characteristics are that they fight with each other and manipulate others to gain advantage.  Romano makes eyes at Tsen Shang, prompting Candace to take notice of Justin for the first time, primarily in the spirit of competition with Romano.

One interesting character beat is that Romano is shown wearing a MechWarrior cooling vest.  She's never shown running a 'Mech in any of the fiction, but was apparently called in from drilling in her BattleMech.  Candace is the one who gets a backstory as a MechWarrior, later on, revealing that she met Justin in combat on Spica.  I would presume that, given the girls' competitive nature, if one were a MechWarrior, the other would go that route as well, just to prove their superior skill in another venue.

Justin has an odd assessment of Candace at first sight - that she has her father's temper, but her mother's icy soul.  Nothing's ever really been written about Jasmine Liao (Candace+Romano's mother, rather than the 7th Liao Chancellor of the same name), other than that she died while mountain climbing on Wei, leading to Max marrying Elizabeth Jordan Liao, Candace+Romano's stepmother.  Since Justin theoretically spent some time on Sian (being born, etc.) while Quintus was the Davion ambassador (and wooed Lady Xiang), he might have some early childhood memories of Jasmine - and apparently not pleasant ones.

Tsen Shang demonstrates an early gift for getting his analysis wrong when he assumes that Hanse's wedding is a reaction to the Concord of Kapteyn, rather than a secret clause of the earlier Federated Commonwealth treaty.  Clearly, Gray Noton wasn't sharing what he knew with Tsen when they worked together back on Solaris.

Max looks at the invitation from Hanse, scoffs that he wrote it in his native tongue, and asks Justin to read it to him.  The implication here is that Max can only read Mandarin/Cantonese script, and is illiterate in English.

The palace functionary who introduces the Davion Ambassador isn't named, but is just referred to as a minister.  I wonder if he has the same dress code as the minister portrayed in the BlackThorne comic - skullcap, Ming the Merciless high-collared robe, and blue skin dye?  (Might even be the same guy.)

The existence of diplomatic relations between the empires at war with each other is interesting.  In modern practice, one of the first things a state does when it goes to war against a foe is to recall its diplomats from the foreign capital.  Yet, we've seen Kurita and Davion diplomats active on Tharkad (either organizing terrorist bombings or blackmailing Lyran officials into handing over BattleMech technology), and have seen an ongoing Davion diplomatic presence on Sian, as well as a Liao diplomatic presence on New Syrtis (and presumably on New Avalon as well).  One wonders if there's a Davion embassy on Luthien.  I would have presumed that the level of animosity was such that diplomacy would be handled by neutral intermediaries, such as ComStar.

I get that Justin is method acting to keep his cover intact (and Stackpole is misleading the readers to set up the big reveal at the end), but how is he getting "caustic bile to bubble up in his throat" from his reaction to hearing that Hanse and Melissa are getting married?  If he truly viewed the FedCom as an enemy and was loyal to House Liao, then sure.  But he's faking.

Max certainly has a lot of titles.  "Chancellor," "Celestial Worship," "Oh-He-Whom-the-Universe-Envies," "Supreme One," "Celestial Highness," "Highness," "Excellency," "Enlightened One," and "Universal Paragon" in the space of a two minute conversation.  Had the conversation not been interrupted by the arrival of the Davion ambassador, Max may also have been dubbed "Grand Poobah" and "King of Swing."

One interesting bit (plugging the wedding date into a calendar app) - despite tradition calling for Saturday weddings, August 20, 3028 is a Wednesday.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Liam's Ghost

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I have a theory that Max simply considers it beneath him to read something in the enemy's native tongue.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

Decoy

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The House Liao book gives Romano the rank of Major and calls her commander of the Confederation Reserve Cavalry....and states that she likes Davion fashions and materials. I forgot about that tidbit. Wonder how much of her wardrobe goes up in flames in a few years' time.


Mendrugo

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Date: October 21, 3027

Location: New Avalon

Title: Warrior: Riposte

Author: Michael A. Stackpole

Type: Novel (Warrior: Riposte – FASA)

Synopsis: Hanse Davion, Quintus Allard, and Ardan Sortek gather in Hanse's office to chortle over Lord Victor Robertson's report on Chancellor Liao's furious response to the wedding invitation, and discuss whether the people assembled in the throne room had been there to discuss the wedding invitation sent to Michael Hasek-Davion.

Ardan wonders if the information could even have gotten from New Syrtis to Sian that fast, and Quintus confirms that "for a huge fee, ComStar can transmit anything across space very quickly."

Quintus reports that Michael summoned Capellan Ambassador Serge Korigyn for a short, angry meeting within two hours of receiving Hanse's notification about the wedding.  The MIIO transcript doesn't indicate any coded phrasing, and Michael's regular security sweeps have prevented the MIIO from electronically bugging the meeting area.  Quintus does note that Korigyn's bird dog, who accompanied him to the meeting, howled for no apparent reason while Michael and Serge were arguing, and so Quintus gave orders to have the dog bugged to test his intel section's theory that Michael is using a sonic transfer device to pass encoded data.

Quintus reports that the MIIO's analysis of CCAF troop deployments suggest both that Michael is passing data on AFFS troop deployments to the Capellans, but is mis-reporting the data on Hasek-loyal troop deployments, causing Liao deployments across the border to be up to 20 percent understrength.

Hanse muses that if Michael had worked with him, he could have been his right-hand man.  He notes that Michael's father, George Hasek, dedicated himself to loyal service to the Federated Suns.

Talk turns to the wedding, and Hanse congratulates Quintus on Sarah Hebert's documentaries, noting a rise in public support for the Federated Commonwealth alliance and for Melissa Steiner, in particular.  Quintus notes that Hebert wants to film a docudrama about the Kell Hound rescue of the Silver Eagle

Hanse asks Ardan Sortek to be his best man at the wedding, but Ardan refuses, shocking Hanse.  Ardan explains that he'd love to do it, but sees the necessity of shoring up ties with the Capellan March by making Morgan Hasek-Davion his best man.  Hanse admits that he has come to like Morgan since he summoned him to New Avalon to serve as a hostage against Michael, but still doesn't trust him because he's a Hasek.  Quintus and Ardan refute this, citing examples of his loyalty and how he favors the Davion side of his heritage over the Hasek.

To assuage his fears of being assassinated by his de-facto heir, Hanse orders Quintus to arrange for a spy to enter Morgan's social circle and evaluate his true character.  Quintus notes that Lady Kym Sorenson, healed from her injuries on Solaris, is available - embedded at the NAIS to monitor for ROM infiltration.

Notes: Quintus' description of ComStar's business model is substantially at variance with that portrayed in "The Sword and the Dagger," wherein ComStar representatives sagely asserted that messages take a fixed amount of time to traverse set distances, and that they "cannot change the immutable laws of time and space."  This adds the caveat "...unless the spirit of Divine Blake moves you to pony up some serious dough, mac."

It's interesting how far diverged the focus of the Davion family politics was in the Warrior trilogy from what the authors of the House Davion sourcebook tried to set up.  Yes, the Michael vs. Hanse dynamic is present in the sourcebook, but Morgan is purely a Stackpole creation (not appearing at all in the sourcebook), and the assorted "persons of interest" in the back of the book are completely absent from the fiction.  You'd think Prince's Champion Yvonne Davion (a steadfast critic of House Hasek), DMI Chief Ivan Tevanol, and architect of the FedCom alliance treaty Foreign Minister Olivia Fenlon would have had roles to play in this story.  (Fenlon should certainly have been there for the report from one of the Ambassadors that, in theory, directly reports to her.)
« Last Edit: 14 June 2018, 12:37:15 by Mendrugo »
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Date: October 22, 3027

Location: Zaniah III

Title: Warrior: Riposte

Author: Michael A. Stackpole

Type: Novel (Warrior: Riposte – FASA)

Synopsis: Daniel Allard is escorted to the St. Marinus House monastery to meet with Morgan Kell.  He is driven through the scorching badlands by Brother Keith, who says Morgan has come to grips with the demons haunting his soul.  Keith asks Dan what happened on Mallory's World in 3016.

Dan explains that, with the Kell Hounds' first battalion outnumbered and on the defensive, Morgan challenged Yorinaga Kurita to a duel.  When Morgan charged to grapple with Yorinaga, the Warhammer's PPC burst sheared off the Archer's arm, and Morgan's 'Mech stumbled and fell to its knees.  Dan saw it fade from his scanner screens.  Yorinaga's subsequent attacks all missed, allowing Morgan to bring the Archer back to its feet and execute a neat bow.  The Warhammer bowed back, and Yorinaga acknowledged defeat by throwing his katana and wakizashi out of the cockpit.  Yorinaga then ordered the 2nd Sword of Light to retreat.

They arrive at the monastery, and Dan is welcomed by Brother Giles, the Abbot.  Dan recognizes him as Hermann Steiner - who resigned his commission as CO of the 2nd Royal Guards to forestall a civil war when Katrina overthrew his brother, Alessandro.  Giles expresses concern for Morgan's well-being and sanity.

Giles takes Dan up to the top of the mesa in which the monastery is housed, and he emerges into the scorching heat to find Morgan praying.  Upon finishing, Morgan greets Dan and says he knows why he's here, saying he knew this day would come, though he hoped it never would.  He tells Dan to collect the messages he gave to the Abbot upon his arrival and dispatch them via the Starboro ComStar station.  He asks where Patrick has deployed the Kell Hounds.

Dan tells Morgan that Patrick was killed by Yorinaga Kurita saving Melissa Steiner.  Morgan is shocked, and drops to his knees, shouting that it should not have happened that way.  Dan, also angry, blames Morgan, accusing him of breaking the Kell Hounds and disappearing with no explanation, leaving him to pick up the pieces.  He tells Morgan that Salome Ward and Patrick were emotionally shattered by his departure.

Morgan accepts Dan's judgement of how he hurt Salome and Patrick, and asks how he'd hurt Dan.  Allard responds that he noticed the best and brightest were chosen to leave during The Defection, and thought there was a plan for the elites.  When Morgan left without bringing him in on the plan, he doubted himself, and felt both betrayed and unworthy.  He tells Morgan he held the Hounds together just to spite him.  Morgan answers that he did have a plan, but saw Dan as a vital element to keeping the Hounds together. 

When Dan asks why he left, Morgan asserts that, had he stayed, or had he told them why he was leaving, they would have all died attempting to find and kill Yorinaga Kurita.  Now that he has returned to seek out the Kell Hounds, Morgan feels the time has come to emerge from his own exile, to confront Yorinaga once more.

Morgan tells Dan to send his messages from Starboro, and to instruct Salome to take the Hounds to Thorin.

Notes: From the MechWarrior Online lore story for the Archer, we now know that Morgan spent much of his eleven years at St. Marinus House working through night terrors and physically painful PTSD symptoms that resulted from his "Phantom 'Mech" abilities manifesting on Mallory's World.

I'm surprised that Morgan thought Yorinaga would destroy the Kell Hounds if they sought him out, since it took decades of meditation for Yorinaga to develop Phantom 'Mech abilities.  Had they hit him in the short term, it's likely they would have been able to take him out - albeit with significant casualties if they moved while he still commanded 'Mech forces.  (Better yet - see if they can get a Combine citizen - perhaps one wearing a renketsu who has substantial underworld connections - to contract with the Nekekami to put a hit on Yorinaga.  If they won't play ball against a member of House Kurita, see if Santander's Killers, the Saurimat renegades, or a far afield JarnFolk assassin want the contract.)

Given his mental state, as portrayed in the Archer lore writeup, it's actually amazing that Morgan had the ability to handle the logistical assignments that set up The Defection (and the letters that will trigger the return).  Of those who left, we know that Scott Bradley formed Bradley's Bravos, Walter de Mesnil joined the AFFS and was a training officer for the Kittery Training Battalion, and Jeremiah Youngblood formed the Crescent Hawks, serving as Katrina Steiner's personal troubleshooter unit, and head of security at the Pacifica Academy.

This is Hermann Steiner's only appearance.  From the various tidbits dropped about Katrina's succession, it sounds like Michael Stackpole had a significant amount of the backstory worked out.  It would have been fantastic had ROC/FASA allowed him to write his Red Corsair novel the way he wanted, rather than forcing it to become a Clan Invasion-era story.  We've seen the prologue - "Vanish" in AToW special edition, but clearly there was adventure and derring do in the Periphery, masquerading as pirates while Morgan had some sort of relationship with a woman named Tempest, and also finding a LosTech cache containing a black box/interstellar fax, then coming back and overthrowing Alessandro, with Hermann going into exile to prevent Alessandro from using him against Katrina.  To me, that would have been a far more interesting story than the false-flagged Jade Falcon incursion into Lyran space they made him write.

I wonder if the promised Kell Hound novellas are still an active proposition.  I would presume Michael is currently at work on the fourth installment of the HBS Kickstarter story about Walter de Mesnil, but it would be great if we had additional Kell Hound stories that could flesh out key events between "Vanish" and "Not the Way the Smart Money Bets."

Morgan dropping to his knees after learning of Patrick's death is clearly intended to echo his Archer dropping to its knees on Mallory's world after losing its strong right arm.

Another interesting element is Dan's comment that, upon graduation from the New Avalon Military Academy, he was given transfer orders to serve a six year term in the Kell Hounds.  We've seen other fiction (the Sandusky Sorrell series in Stardate) where AFFS academy graduates are assigned to mercenary units as part of their AFFS service obligation following graduation.  I can see the advantages - merc units are more likely to face live-fire situations, and putting cadets there for seasoning keeps them from unduly risking state assets in an AFFS line unit.  I wonder if only units under long-term contract with the AFFS are eligible, or if the cadet-graduates are required to report for reassignment if their merc unit leaves service to the Federated Suns.
« Last Edit: 15 June 2018, 16:57:13 by Mendrugo »
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Frabby

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The Katrina Steiner story was called "Vanish", not "Disappear". :)

And reading about Phantom 'Mech Ability still makes me cringe.  :P  I didn't like it back in the early '90s when I first read the book, and I still hate it more than the Tetatae. Luckily Herb ruled PMA to be bogus and in-universe folklore, but I still don't seem to be over it...
« Last Edit: 15 June 2018, 13:46:30 by Frabby »
Author of the BattleCorps stories Feather vs. Mountain, Rise and Shine, Proprietary, Trial of Faith & scenario Twins
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Mendrugo

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In my defense, I'm still jet lagged from last week's trip to Papua New Guinea.   :drool:  Fixed.

Regardless of Herb's rulings, there's still the bundle of special AToW abilities that both Ian Davion and Morgan Kell spontaneously develop in Historical Turning Points: Mallory's World.

Me personally, I'm okay with a touch of the unexplained in my BattleTech - from Phantom 'Mech to ki-based martial arts powers to genetically engineered luck to haunted Marauders to precognitive visions, as long as they're vanishingly (disappearingly >:D) rare - definitely more of a story-flavor element than a mechanism you can build a battlefield strategy around.
« Last Edit: 15 June 2018, 14:18:27 by Mendrugo »
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Date: October 22, 3027

Location: New Avalon

Title: Warrior: Riposte

Author: Michael A. Stackpole

Type: Novel (Warrior: Riposte – FASA)

Synopsis: At the Fox Den Tavern, Morgan Hasek-Davion watches as the Davion Heavy Guards rewatch a video of his public acceptance of the role of best man for Hanse Davion's wedding.  Tired of the jubilation, he steps outside, waving off Lt. Ben Colson's entreaty to stay for another toast.

He walks along the quiet, darkened streets of New Avalon City to the Davion Peace Garden, en route to the NAIS campus.  He is troubled by the physical comparisons commentators are making between him and Hanse, with the same red hair and muscular build.  He wonders why they never mention how he keeps his hair long, like his father's, and how he has Michael's green eyes.

He passes the newest monument - showing a mangled wolfhound bravely defending a child from a stylized panther, enabling it to escape.  The sculpture memorializes the rescue of the passengers of the DropShip Silver Eagle.  While he mourns Patrick's loss, Morgan envies the certainty with which he met his fate, contrasting it with Morgan's own split obligations between his family and his ruler.

His ponderings on duty are interrupted by a woman's scream, and he leaps through the shrubbery to break up a mugging in process, scattering the criminals and rescuing the blond woman, who thanks him and introduces herself as Kym Sorenson.  She tells him her ankle was sprained during the mugging, and he carries her back to her apartment on the NAIS campus. 

Notes: Ahhh - the future of the 1980s, where VHS remained the standard for 1,000 years: "the tavern keeper rewound the tape..."  Not that any sci-fi writer can really be dinged for not accurately predicting future tech trends.  I read a 1940s vintage sci-fi story wherein the aliens calculated courses for their flying saucers using slide rules.

This serves as Morgan Hasek-Davion's introductory scene.  Chronologically, we've previously seen him in a Blackthorne comic, but all he did there was sleep while Hanse watched (why no, that's not creepy at all...)  He wasn't included in the House Davion sourcebook, but Stackpole seems to have wanted to introduce a complicating character into the relationship between Hanse and Michael. 

Morgan knows that Hanse and Michael waged a secret, but brutal, war for control after Ian's death.  The Davion sourcebook adds in the details - Michael hired an assassin who failed to shoot Hanse with a laser on Emerson and committed suicide before he could be questioned.  Other sources have called the period a "war of assassins," implying that Hanse tried to have Michael whacked as well, also without success.  There also seems to have been a struggle for control of the bureaucracy.  It doesn't seem to have happened immediately, because Hanse went pretty much straight from Ian's funeral to staging the Halstead Station raid, leaving no time to play footsie with Michael.  All that must have developed after Hanse returned from Halstead Station. 

If Hanse was resorting to sending assassins after Michael and his loyalists, it may have been when he was at an emotional low point, following the death of both Ian and his fiance - Dana Stephenson.  I can see Hanse making revenge on Michael a full-time hobby if the assassination attempt at Emerson came after all that.  No amount of bridge building by Morgan is going to heal the rift between Michael and Hanse after what was apparently a ten year shadow war between the two.

Kym's insertion into Morgan's life is textbook MIIO, but given Morgan's build, there was a non-zero chance he could have killed one or more of the attackers.  What if he'd drawn his sidearm?  The muggers were presumably MIIO agents, same as Kym, who have had extensive training in hand to hand combat and live fire situations, but there's always the off chance of something going pear shaped in such situations.  The scenario is cliched (rescue the damsel in distress), but presumably a MIIO psych workup of Morgan determined that it was one that would elicit the desired response.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Date: October 23, 3027

Location: Nashira

Title: Warrior: Riposte

Author: Michael A. Stackpole

Type: Novel (Warrior: Riposte – FASA)

Synopsis: Narimasa Asano and Tarukito Niiro pay their respects to their commander, Yorinaga Kurita, as they arrive at his office.  Narimasa reports the Genyosha has replaced almost all its losses suffered in battle against the Kell Hounds, and is at full strength - a reinforced battalion of four companies, one of them entirely comprised of elite Azami warriors, under Chu-sa Saladin Bey. 

Tarukito reports the Rasalhagian company is underperforming due to a lack of leadership.  They suggest putting a new recruit in command of that company, due to his mixed-race heritage and his exceptional skill.  Yorinaga claps to summon this officer in from the hallway, and the young man, Akira Brahe, greets Yorinaga as his father upon entering.

Brahe asks for the other officers to stay, as they would for any other staff interview.  He recites his lineage: He was born in 3001 to Sula Brahe Kurita on Rasalhague, and was expelled from Sun Zhang in 3016, after Yorinaga's disgrace on Mallory's World.  Obtaining a job at a 'Mech factory on Alshain, he fought off yakuza raiders in a factory fresh Grand Dragon.  For his service, he was "rewarded" with a posting to the 11th Legion of Vega in a barely functional Dragon.  He traded on the black market to bring his lance's 'Mechs up to spec, and replaced his Chu-i after he died in battle. 

Yorinaga asks what he would do if his commander issued an order contrary to what he felt was best for the Combine.  Brahe says he would carry it out, but be ready to offer alternatives.  Yorinaga asks what he would do if his commander ordered him to commit seppuku.  Akira bares his chest and asks that his father stand as his second so that he would not dishonor his family.

Yorinaga accepts the display, and orders Narimasa and Tarukito to prepare a berth in the Officer's Quarters for Chu-sa Brahe.  He asks why Akira uses "Brahe" instead of Kurita.  Akira explains that Yorinaga's wife, Sula, was denied seppuku by Mies Kurita, on direct orders from the Coordinator, and was sold into slavery.  Her owner - Akira's grandfather Gustav Brahe - then allowed her seppuku and adopted Akira, severing his ties to Yorinaga's tainted lineage.

Notes: The Draconis Combine sourcebooks never really address the issue of slavery, but it's a regular feature in the Combine-centric works by Stackpole and Keith.  Yorinaga's comment that it is impossible for a citizen to adopt a slave's child implies that there is a substantial body of law, or at least social custom with the power of law, regarding slaves in the Combine. 

We know from "Mercenary's Star" that the military can seize civilians on worlds they hold and send them elsewhere in the Combine as slaves.  From Keith's "Where Lies the Honor," we see that corporate overlords can enslave Combine citizens (thereby stripping them of their citizenship) due to non-payment of debts. 

It's unclear whether there's a distinction between "slave" and "Unproductive" - though jobs given to Unproductives seem to be the kind of "high risk, low reward" roles you'd not want to assign to a person you'd paid money for: clean-up crews for toxic environments, research test subjects, or cannon fodder for local militia units.  Gustav paid 20,000 C-Bills for his daughter.  Female slaves seem to generally be assigned as prostitutes/geisha (the renketsu nose piercing worn by "Little Dragon" is a symbol of having been owned, and that was the explicit destination of women taken from Verthandi, as well as the merchant's wife and daughter on Kawabe) while male slaves are used as laborers (though the mines on Kawabe were reputed to have a high worker fatality rate). 

Stackpole is using the early chapters of Warrior: Riposte to establish multiple parallel father-son dynamics.  Morgan Hasek-Davion loves and respects his father, but finds it a one-way relationship.  He hopes to find a way to bring his father into Hanse Davion's confidence, and restore the bond.  Justin Xiang is (ostensibly) angry at his father, and working with his enemies to destroy everything he cares about, due to his father's unjust rejection of him.  (In reality, he's serving as a loyal undercover agent for his father in the heart of the enemy camp.)  Akira Brahe had a hard life growing in the shadow of his father's disgrace from the age of 15 onwards, but is still loyal to him to the point of death.  He finds that loyalty rewarded and reciprocated, while Morgan is rejected by Michael, and finds a new father figure in Hanse Davion.

The reference to the Azami company is interesting - Yorinaga must have had wide latitude indeed to be able to get skilled personnel to transfer out of the Arkab Legions.  The comment that their dedication to Islam makes the other warriors (presumably Shintoists) uncomfortable again reinforces the general cultural homogeneity of the Combine, as mandated by Urizen Kurita II and the Dictum Honorium.

With one Arkab company and one Rasalhagian company, I wonder if the other two companies have regional themes, or if they're just stock Kuritan (whereas the other two represent distinct cultures assimilated by the Combine).

The yakuza raiding the factory on Alshain were after Panthers, suggesting it was an Alshain Weapons facility.  However, Akira leapt to the defense in just-built Grand Dragon.  Per information we have, those are only made at Luthien Armor Works, and were never assembled on Alshain.  Was there a Grand Dragon line at Alshain Weapons, or had a Grand Dragon just recently been transferred to the plant from LAW?
« Last Edit: 20 June 2018, 16:34:02 by Mendrugo »
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Date: October 25, 3027

Location:  Galatea

Title: We Got A Real Dangerous Job

Author: Tom Sloper

Type: Encounter (SNES MechWarrior)

Synopsis: Herras Ragen returns to Club Zero-Zero to find a holovid message waiting from Yerg Gantor, who apologizes for not having been around in person, and offers Ragen additional contracts for a standard mission on Zacapa or a "real dangerous job" on Drena.

Notes: I'd initially attributed Gantor's accent (the only one in the game) to the designers wanting to portray him as a lower-class criminal with a Cockney accent, but now that Tom Sloper has informed us the actual programming team was located in Australia, I wonder they intended his accent to be Aussie (which is closely related to Cockney, but with more of a twang).  It'd be amusing if Yerg originated from the colony on Botany Bay.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Date: October 27, 3027

Location: Ramsau

Title: Decompression: Surprise on Ramsau's Moon

Author: William H. Keith, Jr.

Type: Short Story (BattleTechnology #0201)

Synopsis: On Ramsau's moon, Gordo, a six-'Mech mercenary strike group makes its way across the airless lunar surface en route to a hidden Kurita command and control center. 

Lt. Vincent McCabe, a member of the Star Warriors team, notes that Ramsau III is half-covered in ice, and the rest with cold deserts that freeze under 70-hour night cycles.  The atmosphere is thin.  Local flora is inedible, requiring all food to be grown in underground hydroponics facilities or shipped in.  Despite its inhospitability, McCabe notes that Lyran fervor to reclaim lost worlds had increased since the revolt on Verthandi, and that LCAF high command had contracted the Star Warriors for a deep penetration raid to put the DCMS on the defensive.  McCabe notes that the destruction of the hydroponics bays would either force House Kurita to tie up dozens of JumpShips to supply the world, or let the population of 10 million starve.

Accordingly, the plan is for the Star Warriors to hit Sauton, the sole population center, and take out the hydroponics farms there.  A pre-requisite, however, is to knock out the DCMS Command and Control center - located on its large, airless tidally-locked moon, directly over Sauton.

During the main invasion, when Kurita aerospace forces contested the Star Warriors' regimental-level incursion, McCabe's demi-company was detached in a modified Leopard (with six 'Mech bays) to hit Gordo - skimming over the surface and crater-hopping to stay under DCMS radar, and depositing the strike force within 15 km of the Kurita bunker. 

McCabe's team approaches the target carefully, adapting to the 0.2 G microgravity conditions.  He notes that the 'Mechs have been prepared for the vacuum conditions (which make it hard to dissipate heat) with bright silver paint jobs to reflect solar radiation, reduced armor to accommodate heavier heat sinks, and special radiator vents.  On an IR scope, he suspects his team stands out like bipedal magnesium flares.  Moving across the dark surface of Gordo, McCabe feels horribly exposed.

When they reach a point 2 km from a rock wall, the unit disperses under radio silence and advances in a crescent formation.  McCabe feels uncomfortable and dehydrated in his pressure suit - his only chance to survive if his cockpit is holed.

As the unit ascends the ridge overlooking the Combine facility, enemy fire begins to bracket the mercenaries.  Colonel Christopher Christie orders the group to execute "Plan Kilo," a refuse-the-right advance.  The unit's tactical frequency is a babble of damage reports until a PPC strike disrupts local communications. 

McCabe takes a hit in his Shadow Hawk's chest, and returns fire blindly, flushing a Dragon.  Attempting to evade the Dragon's missile bombardments, McCabe stumbles on a camouflaged DCMS defense bunker busily savaging Colonel Christie with Large Laser and PPC fire.

The bunker turns its fire on McCabe's Shadow Hawk, the impacts hurling the 'Mech backwards in the light gravity.  Damage telltales compete for attention with overheat warnings in the cockpit.  He desperately fires back at the bunker, then panics as everything goes black and his overheating 'Mech shuts down.  Something heavy collides with his prone 'Mech, spinning it wildly and causing him to pass out.

McCabe awakens some time later, tasting blood and hearing a ringing in his ears that almost drowns out the hiss of escaping air and the whooping of the depressurization alarm.  He begins to take off his neurohelmet to swap it with his pressure helmet, but sees the enemy Dragon just 30 meters away, near the ruined bunker (destroyed by McCabe's final volley).  It is joined by a Panther - but both ignore the downed Shadow Hawk.

Faced with the choice of extracting in his pressure suit (and possibly getting killed or captured by the Combine, or dying when his air runs out in a few hours) or running out of air in the depressurized cockpit, McCabe fishes some discarded chewing gum out of the cockpit waste receptacle and uses it to patch the tiny hole in the Shadow Hawk's cockpit. 

With the immediate issue of pressure loss solved, McCabe restarts his cooled Shadow Hawk, taking care not to jolt the flimsy patch loose.  Seeing the two DCMS 'Mechs approaching the Colonel's 'Mech, he fires at the Dragon, taking it down in two volleys.  The Panther turns to face the Shadow Hawk, but finds itself in a cross-fire.  As the Dragon rises and attempts to re-engage, McCabe shoots its cockpit with a laser, and witnesses the pilot's death from the resulting explosive decompression.

Colonel Christie signals a retreat from the Kurita ambush, with the element of surprise lost, the team's Griffin destroyed, and the rest heavily damaged.  It would only be a matter of time before DCMS aerospace forces or DropShips with reinforcements arrived in response to the C3 center's distress call.  By the time the team returns to their Leopard, the Star Warriors regiment has signaled a general retreat in the face of overwhelming Kurita defenses guided by the intact C3 center.

Notes: This story is presented as a personal narrative, submitted to BattleTechnology for publication, by Lt. Vincent McCabe, a Fire Lance commander in the Star Warriors mercenary regiment under contract to House Steiner.

It seems like Keith was working with a ruleset that imparted heat onto the target with every weapon hit - like Flamer, Inferno, Plasma, or Tactical Handbook EMP warhead hits.  This might explain why heat played such a major role in the climactic battle in Decision at Thunder Rift, and why that book portrayed Infernos as such game-changing terror weapons for MechWarriors.  Looking at the BattleDroids rules and the vacuum ruleset from BattleTechnology 0201, there's nothing in either about received heat from weapon fire, so this looks like one of Keith's homebrew rules variants.

It's amusing that there's a Chris Christie in the BattleTech universe, but since the former governor of New Jersey had only just passed the bar exam when this issue was published, we can pretty safely chalk it up to coincidence (unless Keith went to school with him or knew him in another capacity).

Keith does an excellent job of working the mechanics of low-gee and vacuum combat into a tightly written story about a small-unit action, while working in plenty of his trademark world-building in the process.  While the details on Ramsau are considered apocryphal, no other authors have played in this particular sandbox since, leaving it as the only data we have on the setting.

The mechanism of having to swap out the neurohelmet for the pressure helmet seems impractical.  In the event that the 'Mech's systems go critical (ammo explosion, cockpit breach, engine containment lost, etc.), the auto-eject system would launch the pilot into the void without giving him/her time to switch helmets.  Wouldn't it make more sense to simply have vacuum seals and an air supply on the neurohelmet?  Since aerospace fighter pilots wear neurohelmets as well, it's certainly possible.  (But perhaps not if you're a merc unit on a budget...)

I'd initially wondered how McCabe made it 15 km back across the lunar surface to the Leopard if he was already finding it hard to breathe before he plugged the hole with his chewing gum.  However, if his pressure suit did, indeed, have a four hour air supply, he could just have opened the nozzle on that to at least partially repressurize his cockpit for the return trip.  (Being careful not to overpressurize it and pop the thin seal of frozen gum.)

This type of mission would seem to have been better suited for Loki than a mercenary regiment.  If the goal is to take out a C3 base on the moon and/or to destroy hydroponics on the planet, it'd be far easier to infiltrate saboteurs than to barge in guns blazing with a full regiment of 'Mechs.  My guess is that a Lyran social general developed the plan, and definitely was more entranced by the image of a massive weight of metal boldly smashing through Kurita defenses than a handful of psychotic orphans planting pentaglycerine charges in an underground greenhouse.

Moon bases have been a staple of BattleTech fiction since the early days.  Keith had the DCMS aerospace forces at Verthandi based on the moon in Mercenary's Star, and the Kuritans had aerospace forces based on Luthien's moon, but opted to keep them in reserve rather than trying to intercept the inbound Smoke Jaguar and Nova Cat DropShips (which Jaime Wolf recommended).  SAFE's Eagle Corps maintained a command center on Atreus' moon, until they were wiped out by a Blakist assault.

The reference to installing "bigger and heavier heat sinks" as opposed to "more heat sinks" implies that Keith's early-days concept of heat sinks was that sinks had different size/efficacy categories, just like lasers and autocannons.  Bigger sinks that get rid of more heat are basically "Double Heat Sinks" or "Freezers," though those only have more volume, without adding more mass.  The radiator fins for greater heat dissipation in a vacuum don't have any analogues in the ruleset, aside from a mention that heat sinks have to be modified to work in a vacuum, since the standard units are designed to remove heat through contact with an atmosphere.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Decoy

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A thought on the Grand Dragon is that the early ones were probably Dragons converted to serve as a testbed. They were probably modified at wherever was closest.

Mendrugo

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Date: October 27, 3027

Location: Ramsau

Title: On the Shores of a Sea on Gordo

Author: William H. Keith, Jr.

Type: Scenario (BattleTechnology #0201)

Synopsis: On a six-month assignment to the lunar command and control base, Gordo Alpha, the MechWarriors of the Rasalhague Regulars enjoy the beautiful view of Ramsau looming above them, but are bored by the routine of paperwork, watches, bland food, and dull people.  When the watchpost on the ridge warns of incoming enemy forces, Lt. Daryl Hanson and his lancemates leap at the chance for some excitement.

The battlefield is a 2x1 rectangle with ascending slopes on the eastern side, rising to the ridgeline across elevation zones delineated A through D.

The defending Rasalhague Regulars deploy a Dragon, Panther, Stinger, and Commando, as well as a concealed gun emplacement with a paired Large Laser and PPC (CF 95).  They begin as hidden units.

The attacking Lyran mercenaries - the Star Warriors - bring a Wolverine, Shadow Hawk, Commando, Griffin, Centurion, and Stinger.  They are unaware of the ambush, and may not fire weapons until after they are fired upon.

All units on both sides have been modified to function normally in a vacuum environment.

If the Lyrans reach Zone D (on the far eastern side) without being fired upon, they win automatically.  If they are fired upon, the victory conditions change to withdrawal, and the target edge shifts to the western side.  Every Lyran 'Mech that exits of the western side counts for 10 victory points, while every one left behind costs 5.  The Rasalhague forces score 12 points for each 'Mech that fails to exit the map, and loses 5 for each friendly downed and for each enemy that exits the map. 

The gun emplacement is breached and out of action on a roll of 9+ in any turn it suffers 15+ damage.

Beginning on turn 11, the defender receives reinforcements on a roll of 10+ - either 2 Shilones or 80-tons of Veteran ground forces. 

Lunar (vacuum + low-gravity) rules presented in the issue may be used.  On Gordo, this adds 4 MP to each 'Mech's running speed (though PSRs are required), and adds 8 MP to each 'Mech's jumping speed without PSR.  Cockpits may be depressurized on a 9+ when taking head damage or at least 5 points of CT damage.  'Mechs not in shadow gain extra heat, as do 'Mechs moving extra fast.  'Mechs in shadow (rough terrain) bleed heat far more quickly.  Ballistic weapons get a +1 to-hit penalty due to stronger recoil in microgravity.

Notes: This scenario tells the story of "Decompression" from the Kurita viewpoint, with the Lyrans as the aggressors.

I'm surprised that the Rasalhague garrison didn't get into their 'Mechs until they got the warning from the perimeter bunker, since there was an aerospace battle raging in close proximity to the Ramsau III orbital path, and there was a non-zero possibility that Lyran 'Mechs could have dropped directly on top of the Gordo Alpha base.  (Presumably, while Lyran intel missed the perimeter PPC pillboxes, they probably noted strong air defenses that precluded a combat drop on the site.)  I guess when you're in a vacuum situation, you want to mount up as late as possible, so as not to risk depleting your air supply during the battle.  Still, I'd have expected them to be in their 'Mechs in a pressurized 'Mech bay on "ready five" status as soon as the aerospace battle started.

Tactically, it's always very hard for defending forces to stop jumping foes in a "breakthrough" scenario, and the low-gee rules make it even harder.  The Lyran Wolverine, Shadow Hawk, Griffin, and Stinger are all jump capable, and the low-gee lets them jump 13, 11, 13, and 14 respectively.  With 32 hexes to cross, they can be off the east end in three rounds without making any extra PSRs.  Moving that fast, they'll all be getting +5 defensive bonuses, making them nigh un-hittable by the Gunnery 4, 5, and 6 defenders (which would need 9, 10, or 11, respectively, if they were at short range and standing still).  In practical terms, the jumping Lyrans will sail past the hapless Kurita troops and blow Gordo Alpha to smithereens using the optional ruleset, unless the Kurita troops are exceptionally lucky. 

I would recommend the jump squad advance without firing and cross the target zone in three rounds.  If the enemy fails to fire at you (unlikely), then you win.  If the enemy fires, simply jump back the way you came and bound off the western edge.  Total time spent - five rounds max - enemy reinforcements aren't an issue.  Leave your walkers as a rear guard so they can exit off the western side immediately once the victory conditions change.  Final score (unless the Kuritans are really lucky): +60 for the Lyrans, -30 for the Kuritans.

For the Kurita forces, all I can really recommend is to position your 'Mechs as far forward as possible and charge the Lyran western positions from the get go at top speed (not firing).  The Lyran jumpers will be 2/3 across the board in two turns, so have the pillbox open up on them in the Turn 2 firing phase, and have your 'Mechs mix it up as well.  That will give you another two turns of being able to take shots at the Lyrans, which will have to reverse course and move back to their home edge - best bets are to stand still and hope for lucky dice.

With the optional low-gravity rules applied, this scenario becomes far too easy for the Lyrans - akin to the curbstomp Dragoon assault on Anton Marik's fortress in "The Spider and the Wolf."  It certainly fails to capture the intensity of the vacuum combat portrayed in the accompanying fiction.  My recommendation would be to use vacuum rules, but to treat Gordo as if it were 1 G, rather than the 0.2 specified in the setup, if you want a game that's not over in less time than it took to set up.
« Last Edit: 20 June 2018, 16:32:45 by Mendrugo »
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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A thought on the Grand Dragon is that the early ones were probably Dragons converted to serve as a testbed. They were probably modified at wherever was closest.

The full quote in the chapter is:  “I was sent to Alshain and there obtained a job in a ’Mech factory. I avoided all contacts with the dissident elements and concentrated upon learning how to pilot a ’Mech. In the course of this training, I also learned how to repair and maintain the machines. Eventually, after three years, I was allowed to become a testing pilot and to operate a fully armed ’Mech.  It just so happened that I was in the factory complex and that the Grand Dragon I piloted had just been armed in preparation for a run the next morning.”

The implication is that the Grand Dragon was manufactured locally and had been armed in preparation for a quality-control systems shakeout run.  The MUL pegs the DRG-1G variant introduction date as 3024.

Objective Raids notes of Alshain Weapons that "The company also maintained its vitality through joint ventures with Luthien Armor Works," though that's specifically in reference to the ER PPC manufactured at Tok Do for shipment to the LAW Grand Dragon line on Luthien. 

One possibility is that there was another joint venture in the offing - launching a new Grand Dragon line on Alshain in 3027, but that the line was shut down prior to the publication of Objective Raids.  It just seems extremely unlikely that LAW would make a Grand Dragon on Luthien, but ship it all the way to Alshain Weapons for a shakedown (though the possibility exists that one of Alshain Weapons' joint ventures with LAW was to provide post-shipment quality control testing prior to LAW machines being assigned to the local garrison, to make sure nothing broke or got misaligned in transit.)
« Last Edit: 20 June 2018, 15:29:37 by Mendrugo »
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Date: November 4, 3027

Location: Galatea

Title: Maybe it's his Smell

Author: Tom Sloper

Type: Encounter (SNES MechWarrior)

Synopsis: Herras returns from running a mission for Yerg Gantor and receives some friendly advice from Cearle, the Club Zero-Zero maitre'd, who comments on Herras' new associate and says he doesn't like the way Gantor smells.  He suggests laying low by taking an easy contract on Galeton. 

Notes: The game manual refers to Gantor as "another veteran merc, one tough cookie."  He's seen planning an ambush to eliminate Wolf Glupper after a falling out, and he tries to kill Herras after the attempt to ambush Glupper fails due to Herras' interference.  Cearle doesn't seem to have any qualms about passing Herras a holovid message from Yerg, in which Gantor offers to sell out the Dark Wing in exchange for Herras running a few missions for him.

At this point, Herras is aware of Yerg's involvement with at least one member of the Dark Wing (Wolf Glupper), and knows that Yerg claims to have data on the Dark Wing leadership.  Yerg is also apparently a regular visitor to Club Zero-Zero.  Why not stop running missions all over the place and put out a call to the Lyran authorities to have a bag team place Club Zero-Zero under surveillance, waiting for Yerg to come by for a drink.  (Or, if Herras is actually a DMI Rabid Fox/Stealthy Fox, call in a DMI bag team.)  The only reason I can think of is that Herras is afraid Yerg will rabbit if he senses a trap.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Mendrugo

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Date: November 15, 3027

Location: Galatea

Title: A Whole Lot of Money

Author: Tom Sloper

Type: Encounter (SNES MechWarrior)

Synopsis: Meece Yerta again re-enters Herras' life and offers to cut him in on a lucrative opportunity.  Once Herras agrees, Yerta tells him that a "whole lot of money has been lost on Jamison," and instructs Herras to go there and make them both rich.

Notes: I can see why they'd throw something like this in right before the missions that lead to the end game - giving the player enough cash to upgrade their 'Mech to optimal levels before the final boss-fight. 

However, the hook still seems entirely too sketchy to be even remotely actionable.  I really wish the Australian dev team had taken the same amount of care as the crew behind the original MechWarrior story missions to set up something that fit the BattleTech universe's aesthetics and mood. 

Based on Tom Sloper's answers to my questions, I would guess that FASA provided substantial input about how the 'Mechs should look and fight, and suggested Galatea as an appropriate in-universe jumping off point for mercenary missions.  With the original intent being an adaptation of the original MechWarrior I, the bad guys were set up as the Dark Wing, but since Tom hadn't ever played the original game (and the Australians may not have, either), there was no effort to coordinate with the original game's storyline.

Tom said he read one novel, and that appears to have been Warrior: En Garde, from which he mined a number of plot events which he must have faxed to the production team in Australia for use as NewsNet fodder.  The reason that the tie-in references run out midway through the game is because Tom only read En Garde, and ran out of material.

So it looks like the production team in Australia had guidance on how BattleMechs look and fight (though the team opted to create new 'Mechs to appeal to the Japanese aesthetic sense, rather than adapt FASA's existing stable - many of which would have run into copyright issues in Japan due to being themselves adapted from Japanese shows), and had the general sense of mercenaries being based on Galatea, the Mercenary's Star.  The use of Solaris among all the other non-canon worlds is probably from having a big chunk of the action in En Garde take place there. 

Aside from the above, it's likely that the Australian team had no other source material to work from, and simply focused on making a 'Mech fighting game with the most attention to maximum play value on the platform, and minimal attention to the framing storyline, since they had very little to go on.  The more detailed they got, the more likely it would be that they would end up veering away from BattleTech's core. 

FASA had a track record of giving writers less than they needed - having provided Ardath Mayhar just a folder containing some very broad background notes when she took the contract to write The Sword and the Dagger after Tracey Hickman and Margaret Weis backed out.  Lacking sufficient data on how the universe worked, she took what she had and grafted it onto the structure of The Man in the Iron Mask.  (William H. Keith, on the other hand, was given a mostly blank canvas and just began filling in highly granular details on anything he could get his hands on.)

While I understand the limitations the Australian development team was working under, setups like this still seem underwritten.  Go scour an entire planet in your 'Mech until you stumble across a big sack of C-Bills?  What kind of mission brief is that?  Why not "The Mercenary Underground hit the Jamison central reserve and made off with a ton of cash.  The Jamison militia knows where they're holed up, but doesn't have the firepower to assault the MU fortress.  If you can crack their defenses, there'll be plenty of money for both of us!"?  Same mission, same gameplay, but this way the mission seems more grounded in the universe's aesthetic.
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

skiltao

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I get that Justin is method acting to keep his cover intact (and Stackpole is misleading the readers to set up the big reveal at the end), but how is he getting "caustic bile to bubble up in his throat" from his reaction to hearing that Hanse and Melissa are getting married?
<snip>
One interesting bit (plugging the wedding date into a calendar app) - despite tradition calling for Saturday weddings, August 20, 3028 is a Wednesday.

Assuming Justin didn't know about the wedding, the heartburn would be for the scope of Hanse's play.

Stackpole might've miscalculated the centenniel leap days: remembering that most years divisible by 100 don't have a leap day, but forgetting that years divisible by 400 do. Three extra leap days between 1987 and 3028 would push the wedding from Wednesday to Saturday. I wonder if we see the same thing with other wedding dates in BattleTech? Not that it matters in space, what with every planet having its own week cycle.

The implication is that the Grand Dragon was manufactured locally and had been armed in preparation for a quality-control systems shakeout run.  The MUL pegs the DRG-1G variant introduction date as 3024.

Looking carefully, I see nothing in the excerpt to favor a new production line over refits of existing chassis. The incident might've even occurred during the variant's R&D phase, and I think sending a LAW team to Alshain makes sense - Alshain presumably has facilities and expertise for PPC work that Luthien doesn't.
Blog: currently working on BattleMech manufacturing rates. (Faction Intros project will resume eventually.)
History of BattleTech: Handy chart for returning players. (last updated end of 2012)

VhenRa

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I swear I remember something about how they didn't build new Grand Dragons until the 3040s, until then every single DRG-1G was a refitted DRG-1N?

Possibly in TRO 3050's Grand Dragon entry?

Liam's Ghost

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I swear I remember something about how they didn't build new Grand Dragons until the 3040s, until then every single DRG-1G was a refitted DRG-1N?

Possibly in TRO 3050's Grand Dragon entry?

The 3050 Grand Dragon entry lists 3040 as the date of introduction for the upgraded version (given the MUL placing the date for that model as 3050, I assume this is regarded as a typo, or possibly a reference to the prototype that shares its designation in Starter Book Sword and Dragon).

The 3039 Dragon entry indicates that "several" production lines for the Dragon had already been retooled to build the Grand Dragon by 3039.
Good news is the lab boys say the symptoms of asbestos poisoning show an immediate latency of 44.6 years. So if you're thirty or over you're laughing. Worst case scenario you miss out on a few rounds of canasta, plus you've forwarded the cause of science by three centuries. I punch those numbers into my calculator, it makes a happy face.

(indirect accessory to the) Slayer of Monitors!

omega2010

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I just wanted to mention that MechWarrior 1 also had two Japanese ports for the Sharp X68000 and PC-98 (which Tom Sloper mentions in the interview).  Those two ports may be the rarest Battletech games ever released since they were Japan-only and made for Japanese computers.  However Youtube footage shows they were enhanced versions of the Dynamix game with slightly better looking polygons.
Who is driving?  OH MY GOD!  BEAR IS DRIVING!  How can that be?

Steve - They thought they could take the caps off all the markers and let them dry out. But there was one marker they never reckoned with.

Mendrugo

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Date: November 18, 3027

Location: Outreach

Title: Proprietary

Author: Stephan A. Frabartolo

Type: Short Story (BattleCorps)

Synopsis: Aboard the Buccaneer-class DropShip Reibach, a Kincaid Defiance Industries representative calling himself Mr. Johnson greets Mr. Ling, who oversees a group of Capellan customs investigators swapping identically marked crates between the DropShip's hold and their K-1 DropShuttle. 

Ling warns Johnson that it was risky for him to come in person, but Johnson reassures Ling that the necessary documents have been altered to cover all traces.  Ling confirms that the Liao team has supplied a dead body, as requested - handing over a dossier that identifies the deceased as a MechWarrior from the 1st Marik Militia with a history of murdering captives. 

Johnson looks over the dossier and confirms it is the man who killed his family on Megrez in 3018, and received little more than a slap on the wrist from the FWLM.

As the cargo transfer completes, Ling offers Johnson asylum in the Confederation, in consideration of his technical expertise.  Johnson declines, saying that his loyalty remains Lyran, and that his provision of the merchandise in the crates was so that the CCAF could be more effective in bringing justice for his family.  He suggests he'd be amenable to selling more of the "merchandise" to the Capellans in the future. 

Ling doubts Johnson's ability to avoid discovery, and asks for the blueprints.  Johnson answers that, while he can provide prototypes risk free, he cannot offer the blueprints at this time.

Notes: Amusingly, in German, "Reibach" comes out as "gravy train," according to Google translate.

The 3018 battle on Megrez appears to have centered on "The Battle of Skada Ravine," an action in which several members of the Perth River Battalion were decorated for heroism, their actions having saved the other two battalions of the 1st Marik Militia from being flanked.

Despite always seeming to be out for maximum profit, Lyran motivations when it comes to selling tech secrets to Lyran enemies rarely seems to come down to money.  Perhaps they know that the Lyran system is the only one in which their combination of business acumen and social status could maximize their profits, making the prospect of helping the Combine or League a dubious value proposition in the long run, despite any short-term gain they might personally reap.

A Lyran official gave the Federated Suns BattleMech technology because he was being blackmailed, and a design team gave the Free Worlds League the same because they were emotionally manipulated by a League intelligence officer.  Here, "Johnson" (actually KDI CEO Simon Kincaid) is motivated by the death of his family at Marik hands.

I'm actually surprised that Kincaid only wanted the death of the man who killed his family, rather than having that man's entire noble household burned down around his ears.  Still, given the 3022 "Concord of Kapteyn," that was probably not a realistic ask from the Maskirovka, whereas an isolated tag'n'bag operation could be carried out without causing too many ripples.

I'm kind of confused about what Kincaid's family was doing on Megrez in 3018, however.  Per the maps we have, it was a Marik holding at that point, implying that the 1st Marik Militia was fighting a defensive action against a Lyran assault.  It may well have been traded back and forth repeatedly over the centuries of warfare, but why, then, would local civilians be considered Lyran or League, rather than just the type who eschew loyalty in general and salute whatever flag is being run up the pole that week?  It's possible that the Kincaids were recently transplanted offworlders who'd come to exploit the world's assets after the most recent Lyran conquest.  If not, what could possibly have drawn the attention of the Marik Militia trooper who murdered them?

From the context, the KDI ship is transiting CC space en-route to the Federated Suns to deliver a shipment of prototype double heat sinks, and this supply that "fell off the back of the truck" will be retrofitted onto CCAF forces that will end up using them in the 4th Succession War.

Stephan "Frabby" Frabartolo has, as usual, done an excellent job of tying together disparate references from multiple sourcebooks and adding additional content to fill in gaps in some of the key early storylines.  Proprietary answers the question of how the CCAF fielded units equipped with double heat sinks in the 4th Succession War (per one of the scenarios in the 4th Succession War BattlePack) when it had been FedSuns scientists who'd been experimenting with double heat sinks ("freezers") in the Tales of the Black Widow scenarios.

The use of Outreach as the transfer makes sense if you're trying to keep the switch off the radar, since Outreach was a relative backwater circa 3027, and wouldn't achieve prominence until the Dragoons set up shop there in the 3030s.  However, I'm curious as to how KDI would justify the routing (assuming that the paperwork shows it, and wasn't adjusted as part of the cover-up).  For Lyran/FedSuns trade, the logical routing is New Earth or Rigil Kentarus to Caph, traversing the narrow Terran corridor through FedSuns worlds.  Taking a direct route that leads through the heart of the Tikonov Commonality just raises all kinds of questions, especially when you're carrying sensitive military prototypes.

This raises additional questions about how seriously the Capellans took the Federated Commonwealth alliance.  They launched Operation DOPPLEGANGER, in part, to break it up, and entered into an alliance with long-time foe - House Marik - to counterbalance it.  We know that Liao responded favorably to Katrina's peace proposal (though their suggestion of a joint offensive against House Marik and the marriage of Tormano Liao to Melissa Steiner was rebuffed in favor of a joint offensive against House Kurita and the marriage of Hanse Davion to Melissa) and that there hadn't been much fighting between the two houses except for a Lyran raid on Carver V.  Would Lyran merchants be generally free to travel through Capellan space?  (Sure, KDI had special dispensation because they were making a covert drop-off for the Maskirovka...but if all other Lyran merchants are banned as being in the Davion camp, that would look very irregular.)
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

Frabby

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A few comments on your comments...
I'm actually surprised that Kincaid only wanted the death of the man who killed his family, rather than having that man's entire noble household burned down around his ears.  Still, given the 3022 "Concord of Kapteyn," that was probably not a realistic ask from the Maskirovka, whereas an isolated tag'n'bag operation could be carried out without causing too many ripples.
I never considered the deceased to have family or a noble household to speak of. He was probably a sociopathic loner. But more importantly, family is important to Johnson. It would be out of character for Johnson to repay him in kind, as the notion that his family was innocent and shouldn't have been killed is what drives Johnson in the first place.

I'm kind of confused about what Kincaid's family was doing on Megrez in 3018, however.  Per the maps we have, it was a Marik holding at that point, implying that the 1st Marik Militia was fighting a defensive action against a Lyran assault.  It may well have been traded back and forth repeatedly over the centuries of warfare, but why, then, would local civilians be considered Lyran or League, rather than just the type who eschew loyalty in general and salute whatever flag is being run up the pole that week?  It's possible that the Kincaids were recently transplanted offworlders who'd come to exploit the world's assets after the most recent Lyran conquest.  If not, what could possibly have drawn the attention of the Marik Militia trooper who murdered them?
I never explored that situation in depth. My working theory was a loose concept of the family being either collateral damage, or having been hostages, but as you point out neither is very likey. In a pinch, it could always be argued that Kincaid's family (wife and kids) were supporting the Lyran forces in a non-combat function like medical personnel, techs or DropShip crew when they were killed.

From the context, the KDI ship is transiting CC space en-route to the Federated Suns to deliver a shipment of prototype double heat sinks, and this supply that "fell off the back of the truck" will be retrofitted onto CCAF forces that will end up using them in the 4th Succession War.
Not neccessarily. The investigation revealed that DHS were siphoned off as "production cull" of supposedly faulty parts that were supposedly sent to New Avalon for evaluation. But New Avalon never learned of this nor did they receive any. This created a good cover story for why they were shipped out of Lyran space, and at the same time weren't expected or missed in Davion space. Nothing ever fell of a truck in the sense of being missed.

By the time of this cargo exchange, the paper trail is already so jumbled that nobody can be sure what's supposed to be in those crates - double heat sinks, diapers, Botany Bay industrial sand, apples or oranges.

It wasn't one single delivery either. When you consider the limited cargo capacity of a K-1 then it is obvious that this is only the latest of several such cargo transfers (or otherwise the Capellans wouldn't have created an actual regular BJ variant with those DHS).

The use of Outreach as the transfer makes sense if you're trying to keep the switch off the radar, since Outreach was a relative backwater circa 3027, and wouldn't achieve prominence until the Dragoons set up shop there in the 3030s.  However, I'm curious as to how KDI would justify the routing (assuming that the paperwork shows it, and wasn't adjusted as part of the cover-up).  For Lyran/FedSuns trade, the logical routing is New Earth or Rigil Kentarus to Caph, traversing the narrow Terran corridor through FedSuns worlds.  Taking a direct route that leads through the heart of the Tikonov Commonality just raises all kinds of questions, especially when you're carrying sensitive military prototypes.
Outreach was described (in the original Liao housebook iirc) as a Capellan transit and customs system. If we assume the Reibach to be riding on ComStar Highliners commercial JumpShips then these might conceivably move through Outreach but have the DropShips carried be subject to Capellan customs inspection. If the Reibach was officially carrying a KDI consignment of diapers (and no-one in Steiner or Davion space knew otherwise) then it'd be a non-issue. Plus, Kincaid was the one person who would have been responsible for sensitive military prototypes being shipped only on safe routes. Of course when you asked him he'd tell you no such shipment had taken place.
« Last Edit: 26 June 2018, 05:47:55 by Frabby »
Author of the BattleCorps stories Feather vs. Mountain, Rise and Shine, Proprietary, Trial of Faith & scenario Twins
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Mendrugo

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Thanks for the insights, Frabby.

Kincaid’s review of the dead Marik trooper’s crimes noted that he’d received a minimal punishment because he owned his own Thunderbolt and held a noble title.  (P. 9: "...he had nevertheless evaded criminal prosecution because of his noble title and his ownership of a valuable Thunderbolt.")  From that, I’d assumed a noble family was attached (though they could have been low level - a knight-class title with a fortified “castle” compound).  Kincaid seemed irate enough about the protection afforded by his noble status that I speculated he might have wanted revenge at that level as well.

Outreach makes perfect sense as a trading port, being one jump from several Marik worlds.  I was just questioning whether Lyran ships would raise eyebrows in the aftermath of the FedCom and Kapteyn alliances.  If it’s just a commercial DropShip on a regularly scheduled merchant JumpShip run through the CapCon (and not a Lyran-flagged JumpShip), then a “customs inspection” shouldn’t raise any flags.
« Last Edit: 26 June 2018, 08:20:30 by Mendrugo »
"We have made of New Avalon a towering funeral pyre and wiped the Davion scourge from the universe.  Tikonov, Chesterton and Andurien are ours once more, and the cheers of the Capellan people nearly drown out the gnashing of our foes' teeth as they throw down their weapons in despair.  Now I am made First Lord of the Star League, and all shall bow down to me and pay homa...oooooo! Shiny thing!" - Maximillian Liao, "My Triumph", audio dictation, 3030.  Unpublished.

 

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