|Author||Blaine Lee Pardoe|
|First published||1 January 2012|
|Timeline||6 November 3071 - 5 February 3072|
|Series||Son of Blake|
|Preceded by||Desperate Measures|
|“||Blaine Pardoe continues his series of Raul Tinker stories, sending his Word of Blake precentor into one his most difficult assignments yet!||”|
Promoted to full Precentor after his mission to Muskegon, which is considered a success even though he himself does not think he deserved a reward for killing all those people there, Raul Tinker has been assigned a Grigori Dominus BattleMech and has arrived on Terra, having turned down a future in Special Operations in favor of frontline command.
After a brief goodbye to his sister Dana he moves out on the DropShip St. Michael under sealed orders. It turns out he was promoted to Deputy Division Commander under Precentor Marx's 33rd Division (Word of Blake) and ordered to Robinson. En route, he gets to know some young recruits sent to Robinson as replacements for the 33rd. They regard him as a hero, and Raul, who had not bothered following the news reports on his exploits on Muskegon, finds that the official reports diverge from his own experiences. He is also worried to see they are mindless fanatics blindly following orders to the letter and unable to think on their own in combat, and tries to teach them some combat experience on simulators during the trip.
On Robinson, Raul finds the 33rd Division in a less than optimal shape. Demi-Precentor Joel Wordsturm, with whom Raul gets along particularly well, openly admits the unit was almost crushed when taking the world, and largely exists on paper. Although they have sufficient equipment and supplies, they lack experienced officers and veteran soldiers; Raul is also unsure of Precentor Klaus Marx's leadership abilities. The Federated Suns are expected to launch an attempt at re-capturing Robinson shortly, and Raul figures Marx's defensive plans are too timid and conservative.
When the Federated Suns' Robinson Rangers together with elements of ComStar attack the Word of Blake on Robinson in early 3072 they roll over the defenders. Raul includes himself on the left flank and assumes command over a small unit that happens to include the recruits he met on the DropShip. They give a good accounting of themselves despite being vastly outnumbered. Leading from the front, Raul witnesses Wordsturm being killed when his Grand Crusader is downed by concentrated enemy fire.
On the Federated Suns' side, agent Francis Lyman has learned of Raul Tinker's presence on Robinson and has included himself with the Robinson Rangers. He identifies Raul as a high value target among the defenders, but given the doggedly fought engagement the Rangers' commander bluntly refuses to risk his troopers' lives on a manhunt.
Raul continues to coordinate the defense from the frontline until his Grigori is downed by enemy assault 'Mechs. He ejects, but is knocked unconscious in the process. His recruits form up to protect and rescue him like they had done in simulation back on the DropShip.
As it later turns out, it was all for naught. While the left flank barely held thanks to Raul's actions, the right flank was overrun in short order and the Word of Blake sounded a general retreat. Raul awakens in the infirmary aboard the DropShip Hemyock as the Word of Blake pulls out of the Robinson system, heavily injured with neurofeedback that might preclude him from piloting a BattleMech fortwith.
- Bombardier (simulated)
- Fire Moth (Dasher)
- Grand Crusader
- Victor (simulated)