En Passant (novel)
|Cover artwork||Anthony Cournoyer and Brandon Leach of Empty Room Studios|
|Publisher||Fantasy Productions GmbH|
|Era||Star League era|
|Timeline||3 July 2600-31 December 2601|
|Series|| Classic BattleTech Novels|
En Passant, subtitled Schattenkrieg ("Shadow War") I, by Michael Diel, is a German-language BattleTech novel published by FanPro in 2007 as the first part of the Schattenkrieg trilogy which, however, was not continued beyond its first part so far. The story does not properly conclude, and ends with a "To be continued" note.
From the back cover (translated from German)
|“|| The First Prince of the Federated Suns is dead, and it's Susan McEvedy's fault. Together with her assistant Collin Redburn she leaves no stone unturned to find the perpetrators of the assassination, and resorts to increasingly ruthless means.
Tetsuo Yatomo is the new right hand of the Coordinator. But his new position comes with many powerful enemies, including the director of the draconis secret service ISF.
Neither of them is aware that they are crucial figures in a net of intrigue and politics, and that it will depend on their decisions whether the fragile peace of the Star League can be maintained, or if the Inner Sphere will be swept by war anew.
First part of the Schattenkrieg trilogy.
Working late into the night on 3/4 July 2600, head of the MIIO counterspionage department Susan McEvedy and her aide Collin Redburn become suspicious of a delivery van at the Davion administration center on New Avalon. Checking on their liege Alexander Davion, they find him dead. On a hunch, McEvedy secures a cup of tea from which trace amounts of poison are later isolated—the substance (and thereby, the fact that Davion was murdered) would have been impossible to find only a short time later, and provides a lead to the Draconis Combine. McEvedy feels this to be a declaration of war and also an attack against herself personally. She decides to keep the information secret even from the new First Prince and concocts a story of ISF agents having stolen a datafile that threatens to uncover numerous MIIO agents; because of this story, covert operations director Donaghough reluctantly agrees to eliminate roughly a dozend known Kurita agents—an action that also amounts to a "declaration of war" in intelligence circles, and which he feels is only justified by the alleged datafile theft. The Combine responds in kind, and the hidden agent war between the secret services escalates. McEvedy also finds that the assassins must have had a very high-ranking traitor to bypass the Davion security system as they did.
Alexander Davion's successor, the young skirt chaser Zane Davion, has some difficulties adjusting to his new position. He alienates a childhood friend, Duke James Hasek, by pulling military forces from Hasek's Capellan March into Duke Thomas Sandoval's Draconis March to bolster it against possible Kurita aggression.
Meanwhile in the Draconis Combine, ISF department director Tetsuo Yatomo has earned the trust of the erratic and despotic Coordinator Leonard Kurita. Being Kurita's right-hand man puts Yatomo at serious odds with ISF director Chiba, who is often passed over when Kurita gives orders directly to Yatomo such as the assassinations of Alexander Davion and Shandra Noruff-Cameron; Kurita also orders Chiba be killed if he learns of these assassinations or suspects that Kurita ordered the ISF to carry them out. Due to his strong feeling of duty, Yatomo actually uses his position to counsel and guide the mad Coordinator and contain his most erratic and destructive impulses. In this, he gains the attention of Leonard Kurita's reclusive sister Sanethia who senses a kindred spirit trying to save the Combine. When Leonard Kurita prepares to order the Combine flagship, the WarShip Ryu, to the border with the Federated Suns in light of the agent war, Yatomo and Sanethia Kurita agree to work together to avert a war.
The ongoing agent war with its ever-increasing body count is stressful for McEvedy, and her initial cover story begins to unravel. She manages to intercept a written report by director Donaghough to Zane Davion and forges the document by removing incriminating evidende against herself and trumping up other aspects. As a result of the forged report, Zane Davion puts her in command of the agent war over Donaghough and also agrees with Thomas Sandoval's requests for additional troops.
By late 2600, former Coordinator Siriwan McAllister-Kurita returns to the Draconis Combine's Imperial Court on New Samarkand and begins to take matters into her own hand. This proves a problem for Sanethia Kurita and Yatomo, as they find their influence diminished.
During a Star League meeting on Terra in May 2601, Susan McEvedy and Tetsuo Yatomo unexpectedly meet each in person other for the first time as members of their respective lord's entourage. Despite the neutrality of Terra, both decide that the other has to die.
Later, in the aftermath of a BattleMech duel event, Yatomo and Sanethia Kurita are attacked by one of the duellists, a Black Knight. They narrowly manage to escape while 'Mechs from the Royal Black Watch (including Captain Carmichael in a Highlander) engage and destroy the Black Knight, which was piloted by an unknown assassin. It is generally assumed that the attempt was aimed at Sanethia Kurita, not Yatomo, and it further sours the relation between the Draconis Combine and the Star League when Leonard Kurita storms into First Lord Ian Cameron's office to scream at him and threaten him over the incident.
Susan McEvedy in turn is heavily injured in a subway bombing ordered by Yatomo. Officially declared dead, she undergoes cosmetic surgery and resumes her office under the new identity of "Jean Cray". She unsuccessfully prods Zane Davion to authorize the assassination of Leonard Kurita to end the agent war. When he refuses, she explains to the MIIO that he agreed in secret but would have to deny it officially. Thus, she has a sleeper agent activated with orders to kill Lord Kurita on her own authority. The sniper fails to kill Leonard Kurita, but wounds Sanethia Kurita in the presence of Yatomo, just as his relationship with Sanethia was growing into something more.
In the military stand-off between the Draconis Combine and the Federated Suns, the jointly administered New Mendham system is considered a critical troop concentration area. Under the Star League treaty about jointly administered systems it is illegal to station troops in the system for either nation, but the Federated Suns send the carrier WarShip Enterprise there anyways, pretending it suffered a misjump and needs some time to repair its Kearny-Fuchida Drive. On 31 December 2601, House Kurita sends their flagship Ryu to New Mendham in response, also claiming a misjump and damage to the drive core. Nevertheless, the Enterprise launches fighters with deactivated weapons to 'inspect' the Ryu who in turn declare they would regard it as an act of war if a fighter closed to within one-hundred kilometers. Ignoring warning shots, aerospace fighters from the Enterprise close to twenty-five kilometers and one is eventually destroyed by the Ryu. This sparks a full-blown space battle between the heavily modified Ryu, which curiously lauches only one of its three fighter squadrons, and the Enterprise. Star League WarShips intervene and order both sides to stand down, then send boarding teams to impound both the Enterprise and the Ryu. Shortly before being boarded, however, the Ryu jumps out of the system, revealing that it has been modified to carry a Lithium-Fusion battery. The jump destroys some of the boarding team shuttles bound for the Ryu, and leaving only the Enterprise to be boarded.
At this point, the story ends with the line, "To be continued".
Written in German and exclusively published in that language so far, En Passant does not technically meet the current criteria for Canon in the BattleTech universe. As an official product published under a valid license, it should be regarded as apocryphal instead.
Known continuity problems
As En Passant was not translated or published in English, Catalyst Game Labs, the current license holder for the BattleTech IP, does not recognize it as canonical and may not even be aware of the novel's exact content. Canonical publications have since contradicted certain aspects of the novel:
- Officially, Alexander Davion died on 28 January 2600 (and not in July as in the novel), and is thought to have died of natural causes.
- En Passant describes Zane Davion as Alexander Davion's grandson, and not great-grandson.
- Miko Akemi - Young, bright and attractive ISF student under Yatomo; elite assassin. She attempts to flirt with him, but he evades her attempts, thinking it improper to begin a relationship with a student and later because of his interest in Sanethia Kurita.
- Gregory Amaris (cameo)
- Matthew Carmichael (cameo; protagonist from Wahnsinn und Methode)
- Rinalla Centrella (cameo)
- Etsuya Chiba - ISF director. Embittered that Coordinator Kurita gives out orders to the ISF (and Yatomo in particular) over his head, he tries to warn Yatomo off and later repeatedly attempts to arrest him, only to have his efforts stymied by either Leonard or Sanethia Kurita who move to protect Yatomo.
- Henry Davion
- Zane Davion
- James Hasek
- Leonard Kurita
- Sanethia Kurita
- Siriwan McAllister-Kurita
- Susan McEvedy (changes identity to "Jean Cray")
- "Victor Offee" - The ISF assassin who killed Alexander Davion; changes identity to "Dieter König", narrowly escapes arrest by MIIO operatives and goes into hiding once the hidden war is in full swing.
- Collin Redburn - McEvedy's loyal assistant and accomplice is increasingly uneasy and reluctant about their actions.
- Thomas Sandoval
- Tetsuo Yatomo
- Delitzsch (mentioned)
- Deshler (mentioned)
- Kathil (mentioned)
- Manassas (mentioned)
- Misery (mentioned)
- Neukirchen (mentioned)
- New Aberdeen (mentioned)
- New Avalon
- New Mendham (mentioned)
- New Samarkand
- New Syrtis
- Proserpina (mentioned)
- Remagen (mentioned)
- Sian (mentioned)
- Tallmadge (mentioned)
- Thestria (mentioned)
- Valentina (mentioned)
- also, newscasts cited from Donegal and Potwin
- Boushi O Doragon, Leonard Kurita's personal DropShip (unspecified spheroid design, 2750 tons)
- Aegis-class Patrick Henry and Michael Collins (Star League)
- Baron-class Templeton and Lancaster (Star League)
- Farragut-class Ryu (Draconis Combine flagship; modified)
- Kitty Hawk-class Enterprise (Federated Suns)
- Riga-class Brighton (Federated Suns)
- unspecified carrier Edward Davion (Federated Suns; possibly Kitty Hawk class)
- unspecified heavy cruisers Monroe and Swordsworn (Federated Suns)
- The book cover depicts Captain Matthew Carmichael's Highlander battling the assassin's Black Knight in the streets of Unity City, Terra, as Tetsuko Yatomo and Sanethia Kurita (shown in lower right corner) flee from the assassin.
- Sarethia Kurita receives MechWarrior training in a Commando which is highly unlikely given that the Commando design was always exclusive to the Lyran Commonwealth and a closely guarded secret.