Howl of the North Wind
|Howl of the North Wind (scene on magazine cover)|
|Author||J. Andrew Keith|
|Illustrations||William H. Keith|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Timeline||8 April 3028|
Howl of the North Wind is a short story that featured prominently in the BattleTechnology magazine, Issue 0203. The magazine cover was captioned as a scene from the story, and the issue also contained numerous tie-ins such as scenarios and other information (see Notes below). The entire issue is somewhat Liao-centric.
In April 3028, Capellan high command dispatches a provisional battalion of 'Mechs from the 2nd Kearny Highlanders to Mira. The battalion's mission is to verify intelligence reports of a stockpile of equipment and supplies being assembled on that world by the Davion military.
After deploying from the Mule-class DropShip Sun Tzu (modified into a makeshift 'Mech carrier), newly appointed Major Ian Fraser soon finds his command – made up of forty lightweight BattleMechs – trapped in marshy jungle terrain, between mercenary hover tanks to one side and heavy 'Mechs of the Crucis Lancers to the other.
Despite overwhelming odds, and having to leave many pilots and their damaged machines behind, Fraser is able to evacuate a portion of his command. As he prepares to leave the jungles of Mira, he swears that he will come back to avenge the men and women he has lost to the Federated Suns.
When the survivors return to Capellan territory, nobody in CCAF command will even believe their claims of having found a massive build-up of AFFS forces on Mira. Major Fraser is accused of incompetence, brought to court-martial, and is then quickly cashiered. The story concludes with his bitter reflections about becoming the convenient scapegoat for Generals who remain safely at home while they send others out to fight and die. 
- The issue featuring this story also included boardgame scenarios recreating situations from the story, a "Worldbook" series article for Mira (the planet on which the story is centered), in-character news items concerning the House Davion forces on Mira, a "Hiring Hall" series writeup on the 2nd Kearny Highlanders regiment of the Northwind Highlanders, "The Kearny Lament" (a bitter song from one of the surviving Highlanders).
- An "About the author" textbox concludes the story. It explains that the story is an excerpt from Fraser's book "To Obey: My Life with the Northwind Highlanders", written specifically as a defense against those who criticised him for his handling of the Mira raid. Fraser is described as unemployed, and living on Chesterton now. Among the in-character Want Ads on the last page, Fraser appears as a dispossessed MechWarrior seeking employment for "anything legal; no Liao inquiries, please" from a Chesterton address.
- Fraser's battalion, which is described in detail in the four campaign scenarios presented, is notable as it contains eight Commandos (a 'Mech used almost exclusively by the Lyran Commonwealth) and five Panthers plus one Jenner ('Mechs associated with the Draconis Combine and notably rare elsewhere, although as a Liao unit the Highlanders might conceivably have obtained these through the Concord of Kapteyn).
- BattleTechnology 0203, pp. 30-39, "Howl of the North Wind".