|Cover artwork||Karsten Schreurs|
|Publisher||Ulisses Spiele GmbH|
|First published||7 March 2013|
|Era||Clan Invasion era|
|Timeline||19 March-26 August 3056|
|Series|| Classic BattleTech Novels|
|Preceded by||Mission Kiamba|
Erster Kontrakt ("First Contract"), by Arous Brocken, is the 22nd in the German-language Classic BattleTech Novels that Ulisses Spiele took over from FanPro and continued. Subtitled the fourth part of the Bear Cycle, it continues the story of MechWarrior George from the previous novel, Mission Kiamba.
Written in German and exclusively published in that language so far, Erster Kontrakt does not 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.
From the back cover (translated from German)
|“|| Heavily decimated, the mercenary Doom Angels return to Outreach, where their Major struggles to scrape together a battle-worthy company and get George, his best MechWarrior, into a cockpit.
After the Doom Angels are annihilated in a series of surprise attacks, the former Clan warrior finds himself alone in the Inner Sphere on a planet ruled by the enemy Dragoons and beset by numerous freeborns who all seem to have only one goal: to take from him his last C-bill.
George is forced to start a career as a free mercenary to earn a living, but he soon finds it to be harder than he thought.
Fourth part of the Bear Cycle.
The novel essentially comprises two parts: "Die Kriegerwelt" (The Warrior's World), describing the demise of the Doom Angels on Outreach and George's struggle to adapt to a life as an independent mercenary; and "Der Kontrakt" (The Contract), which chronicles his exploits during his first tour as a contracted mercenary.
Following their enforced stay on Kiamba where captured Clan Ghost Bear MechWarrior George worked his way up from captive to full-blown member, the mercenary Doom Angels return to Outreach by the skin of their teeth, evacuated on a rescue JumpShip provided by their parent mercenary unit, the Devil's Dents regiment.
On Outreach, the mercenaries are dismayed to learn that the other independent sub-units of the Devil's Dents fared even worse. With most of them (including several DropShips) decimated or outright annihilated, the unit's financial reserves are depleted; the former regiment finds itself struggling against bankruptcy. Colonel Marmari and Major Thornhill agree the unit is in no shape to fight the Clans, and that they cannot accept such contracts from House Kurita, their previous employers, anymore. Instead, the individual unit members try to stay afloat on Outreach as best as they can while the unit rebuilds. George, who is slowly adapting to life on Outreach with the help of dispossessed fellow mercenary Hiram Taishung, assumes the name George Bear and is eventually assigned one of the few remaining 'Mechs, a Commando, as he is the unit's best MechWarrior.
The refusal to accept new contracts for House Kurita prompts their previous employer to regard the Doom Angels as both expendable and a security risk, because they were privy to secret mission orders. It is feared the mercenaries might sell their knowledge about Kurita black ops. Consequently, the Devil's Dents are effectively wiped out through near-simultaneous assassinations and attacks against their assets on 12 April 3056. George evades an assassination attempt through his martial skills and a chance encounter with a woman also on the run. Together, they lose their pursuers in Temptown gang fights and George ends up in her apartment where he learns in the news on the next day what happened to his entire unit.
With most of the Doom Angels dead and a few survivors having fled aboard the DropShip Mephisto, George takes possession of the Commando after seeing off a lawyer who was going to impound it. He moves it into a Temptown hangar where he makes a deal with a street gang and sets up shop with two surviving techs, Johnny and Allison. They form the "Biting Bear's Bashers" and, with help from another acquaintance of George, eventually get a mercenary contract to protect a MonDiTec mining operation on Cor Caroli against attacks from competitors as part of a newly formed mercenary company called Advanced Attack.
En route to Cor Caroli George meets the other Advanced Attack members and befriends some of them. He gets along particularly well with Artak "Ache" Hasall and "Penny" Walker, two members of a group calling themselves the Temptown-Trio; their third partner, "Sugar", was unavailable for the mission as she had accepted another contract. The poorly composed and disparate company concerns George, who finds that clearly incompetent Warriors are above him in the order of command, but raising this issue during transit only alienates his superior officer, Lt. Norman Kubler.
The march from the DropPort to their base is already a near-disaster. One MechWarrior, Siggi, is so poorly trained that he repeatedly causes damage (even to his own Clint) while attempting to simply walk in his 'Mech while George finds that his own Commando has a number of worrisome glitches and malfunctions.
During a patrol on 23 July, George and Siggy detect suspicious readings in a deserted foundry. After Siggy triggers a light barrier they fight an unidentified Commando which George manages to destroy despite faulty onboard electronics in his own 'Mech, but the enemy pilot is killed by a failed ejection. George and Siggi return to base to report the incident to Lt. Kubler and have their 'Mechs repaired. George later gets into an argument with MonDiTec head of security Dana Knutson who berates him for entering a fight when he was supposed to scout.
Five days later a trio of Advanced Attack 'Mechs including Ache Hasall is ambushed, and reinforcements appear too late to prevent their destruction. Hasall was injured. He tells Walker, who rescues him from his cockpit, that he recognized Sugar as one of the attackers. Two days later George overhears them arguing about the situation in the hangar. Walker shoots George with a stun gun, but then they decide to let him in on the secret.
Yet again two days later George's patrol finds (through George's instincts) a DropShip landing site and what seems to be a base camp for two lances of enemy BattleMechs. After a brief engagement with a Whitworth they return to base to report, but George's BattleROM recordings cannot back up his claims of having spotted several enemy 'Mechs. Thus, MonDiTec's orders for the Advanced Attack mercenaries to dress up and airlift for a parade at Dlacia Base remain effective, despite George's objections that an attack is likely now that the enemy camp was found. Against orders, George leaves the party on the VTOL that brought them and returns to his hangar. As expected, an attack occurs around midnight and George takes up the fight in a borrowed Valkyrie because his Commando is still undergoing repairs. However, he is up against an entire lance and eventually has to eject. He regains consciousness as his techs treat him inside their truck. An enemy Hermes approaches and is about to fire on them when Ache Hasall appears on the scene, intervenes and asks Sugar (the Hermes pilot and third Temptown Trio member) to let George live. She agrees to ignore George and moves off.
In the aftermath of the attack on the hangar, George is taken more seriously by his superior officers who begin to recognize and appreciate his superior skills. Over the following days more battles against the enemy mercenaries, since identified as Chadds Shadows, take place with losses on both sides. In one such battle, George comes across "Sugar" Savill and her Hermes again. True to his word he does not engage, and does not even mention the 'Mech which vanishes during the fighting. Yet later Dlacia Base is attacked in an attempt to overrun Advanced Attack. The two mercenary forces decimate each other. George encounters Sugar's Hermes once again, and again they part ways without engaging. Despite excellent performance, George eventually loses his Commando in the fighting and is thus dispossessed, but not before Advanced Attack narrowly repulses the attack (in no small part due to George's fighting skills). The Cor Caroli militia is taking over protection of their employer's assets, and the shattered mercenary command ends its contract.
On the way back from Cor Caroli, the Temptown Trio attempt to recruit George, who was awarded a salvaged Wasp for his performance. However, he refuses their offer. They part on friendly terms.
- Horned Owl (Peregrine)
- Shadow Hawk
- Summoner (Thor)
- One of the Advanced Attack mercenary MechWarriors, the owner of the Valkyrie, is named Steve Venters. This seems to be a nod to the BattleTech artist of the same name. The character dies when the helicopter is shot down at the onset of the attack on the hangar.