A Dish Served Cold
|A Dish Served Cold|
|Author|| Chris Hartford|
Jason M. Hardy
|First published|| 19 May 2005|
17 May 2011 (re-release)
|Era||Star League era (Age of War)|
|Preceded by||Fall Down Seven Times, Get up Eight|
|Followed by||The Spider Dances|
A Dish Served Cold (Proliferation, Part V) (full title), by Chris Hartford and Jason Hardy, is the fifth story in the Proliferation Cycle. It narrates how the Free Worlds League first obtained BattleMech technology.
|“||Chris Hartford makes his BattleCorps debut with Jason Hardy. Together they bring us the tale of how House Marik gets the BattleMech.||”|
|“||When the Captain-General is killed by BattleMechs, the Free Worlds League knows it cannot wait to obtain this powerful new weapon--by whatever means necessary.||”|
Captain-General Geralk Marik of the Free Worlds League dies in combat when his forces are overmatched by defending Lyran Commonwealth BattleMechs on Loric in 2459, leaving the realm to his barely 19-year-old daughter Simone Marik. Impressed by the 'Mechs combat power, she immediately authorizes the National Intelligence Agency to set operatives on Alarion on the task of obtaining the technology.
In December 2461 Desmond Manvers, CEO of AlarCorp, berates Chief Engineer Gunther Rive and his team (Chief Electronics Engineer Elias Singh and Daniel Connors) for what he feels was a poor and belated reaction to a security leak regarding the top-secret "Project Ymir" that apparently originated somewhere within the team; Rive and his team failed to report the possible leak to security immediately upon discovery because they wanted to confirm it first. The team are suspended on full pay pending an investigation, and later charged a large sum for the investigation because of contributory neglidence. The team is both depressed and infuriated, and their financial as well as social situation deteriorates. Rive also finds his clearance for classified material is largely revoked, and he and his team are assigned to mundane technical servicing work. Rive's girlfriend Sandrine Miller, a corporate lawyer, points out that their contracts would allow AlarCorp to effectively force him to stay if he tried to quit.
Rive is approached by an anonymous headhunter who calls himself "Johnny" who seems to know all about his situation and contractual obligations. He offers Rive a job suitable for his skills, including a placeholder job for the twelve-month no-compete period stipulated by his AlarCorp contract. Johnny recommends Rive and his team visit a job fair, where they are invited by Stanislaw Consultants and given personal offers with excellent pay and conditions too good to be true.
Sandrine points out that Stanislaw Consulting has ties to the Coventry Defense Conglomerate and may be covertly trying to hire top-notch personnel. AlarCorps could not prevent Rive and his team from switching employers because CDC is also a defense contractor and both are equally important for the Commonwealth's war efforts. Technically, AlarCorps is even a CDC subsidiary, albeit a very independent one. The three men elect to take up the offer, over Lanai Singh's vehement protest. Johnny turns out to be a human resources manager with CDC.
After one year, in May 2463, Rive, Singh and Connors are put on BattleMech development as a team again, this time for CDC. They are enthusiastic about their work and working conditions. However, on 23rd November, they are arrested for treason because of a leak that is even more damaging than the previous one at AlarCorp. Following advice from his lawyer, Rive requests a separate trial which alienates his colleagues. It is revealed that electronic filestamps identify Rive's own portable computer as the source of the leaks. Facing overwhelming evidence and a very real chance to be sentenced to death for treason, he is approached again by Johnny who openly offers him to defect to a foreign nation.
Rive leaves Alarion on a merchant spaceship on 21 December 2463, his and Sandrine's voyage having been arranged by Johnny. Confronted by a suspicious Rive aboard the ship, Sandrine admits to being a League operative; she lost most of her family when her homeworld Zaniah was taken by the Commonwealth. Rive decides to work for the Free Worlds League, save his money, and one day track down Sandrine and exact revenge.
On 3rd March 2469, Hector Galaine, a survivor from the 2459 battle on Loric where he served as a young comtech, pilots a League-built Icarus BattleMech in the defense of Alula Australis against a prolonged Lyran invasion and witnesses how the attackers are repulsed and evacuate the world, thanks to House Marik's own BattleMechs.
- Geralk Marik
- Simone Marik
- Hector Galaine
- Desmond Manvers
- Gunther Rive
- Elias Singh
- Daniel Connor
- Sandrine Miller
- Lanai Singh
- There's a slight discrepancy between A Dish Served Cold and Experimental Technical Readout: Primitives, Volume 2 regarding the Icarus. XTRO: Primitives II says that the Icarus was first deployed in 2470, with four of six prototypes seeing action. However, in this story, the Icarus plays a pivotal role in the battle for New Milan on Alula Australis in 2469.