The Black Marauder is a BattleMech featuring in several of Lance Scarinci's BattleCorps short stories. No proper name can be determined; it is frequently referred to as (the) Black Marauder or simply Marauder.
Its story is told through unreliable narrators and as in-universe rumors that portray the 'Mech as a malevolent demonic entity. It is linked to a series of strange events and inexplicable (and often lethal) accidents, and seems to have a psychological effect on its MechWarrior (pilot).
The Black Marauder resembles a MAD-3R Marauder with flat black paint, although its shape supposedly looks somehow "wrong" and its "proportions not quite right", too sleek yet of terribly imposing bulk and with too-smooth angles. It has no serial number nor other factory markings whatsoever.
Its presence seems to grow larger when sight is obscured by darkness, fog or smoke, incidentially circumstances in which it seems to perform markedly better.
In some instances the 'Mech was—always inconclusively—described to move in ways that are impossible for a Marauder (or any 'Mech), including one tale where it was said to have turned its "head" by bending its long snout just forward of the arm joints and revealed a maw with rows of serrated teeth.
According to Sgt. Grange, the Ninth FedCom RCT had originally found the 'Mech by chance after the War of 3039, sitting on an airless asteroid in an uninhabited system one jump from Malagrotta. Their next jump to Agliana saw the crew emerge scared and fearful, with no recollection why or what happened in the split-second jump. One particularly sensitive man suffered a jump psychosis out of the blue and committed suicide by spacing himself. After a tech died from an accidental (and technically impossible) weapons discharge and a MechWarrior later vanished under mysterious and frightening circumstances while piloting the 'Mech, the Black Marauder had a reputation as being cursed, and nobody wanted to pilot it. The unit's colonel, Jim Mullins, finally picked it for himself and put it out on maneuvers, only to return two hours late, pale and tired, and ordered the 'Mech be put away for good. Mullins died without breaking his vow never to reveal the Black Marauder's storage location, but old Sgt. Grange would lead MechWarrior Langstrom to the hiding place thirty-five years later because he felt that the Jihad was a different kind of war, one that needed the Black Marauder to participate.
Kevin Langstrom, something of an outsider in the unit, was not afraid of the 'Mech at all, and instead regarded it as a golden opportunity. In the following year he killed a fellow MechWarrior who taunted him in a fit of rage and hid the body in the Black Marauder's leg casing (which curiously seemed to cure a malfunction in the actuators on the sidelines that had been impossible to pin down and fix beforehand). The murder was covered up when a raid by Taurian Concordat forces sent the unit scrambling shortly afterward to defend the town of Cobalt. During the following battle Langstrom fell into a killing frenzy, refusing to withdraw when ordered and effectively razing the town while battling Taurians. When confronted by Grange who demanded he give up the Marauder, Langstrom destroyed Grange's Enforcer. At that point a pirate group, Grady's Grinders, arrived on the scene with six 'Mechs. They offered Langstrom a choice between being court martialled and presumably executed for attacking a fellow officer, or join them in the Tortuga Fusiliers. Langstrom accepted their offer, then casually killed their leader by destroying the cockpit of his Phoenix Hawk with a PPC blast and declared himself their new leader.
At Tortuga Prime, Kevin Langstrom would become known as Black Kevin. He and his 'Mech instilled fear in his fellow pirates. In 3080 pirate king Ravannion tried to sell him out by sending him on a mission that was in reality a trap set by Sgt. Grange, but Black Kevin escaped in a bloody battle involving civilian hostages chained to the pirate 'Mechs, and returned to kill Ravannion. He then left Tortuga, after having spoken in vague terms about a "place where the Star League poked through" to some unspecified "beyond" that he wanted to find.
- Marauder (Grange's narration to Kevin Langstrom)
- Kindred Soul