Though few facts exist about his life, Khan Jacob Masters was known to be an aerospace fighter pilot. His skill as a warrior and grasp on politics were enough to become a Khan of his Clan, but were not enough to maintain his position when faced with a young, energetic rival.
Khan of the Steel Vipers
After Khan Kinnison's treachery, the Steel Vipers were a Clan that largely lacked direction. Their focus on martial prowess was able to keep them alive, but by no means made for a complete society. Lower caste rebellions were common at this time. Khan Jacob Masters sought after his own agenda, often at the expense of his Clan. While many Clans were attempting to wrest control of the secrets of the OmniMech from Clan Coyote, Masters stayed out of the Trials surrounding the new development. However, he indulgently encouraged weapons research, the one area of Viper progress. In spite of his lack of seriousness, Steel Viper scientists were able to complete the ultimate BattleMech weapon system, the Ultra Autocannon/20 during his reign.
Changes on the Wind
In the fateful year 2860, Khan Masters nominated the young Star Colonel Sanra Mercer to the posting of saKhan. Expecting to use her energy and charisma to further his own ends, Khan Masters was later dismayed to find out that Mercer had been converting many of the younger warriors to her own cause. Claiming to have recordings of secret meetings between ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky and then-Viper Khan Steven Breen, saKhan Mercer told all who would listen of a future where Clan Steel Viper would hold power as the ilClan, and that they would be instrumental in forming a new Star League through cooperation with the Great Houses. Though many of Khan Master's supporters doubted this, Mercer's message of a goal for her Clan was very appealing to the younger warriors, and especially, to the lower castes.
Feeling that he had been betrayed by his new saKhan, Khan Masters accused Mercer of treason for subverting his will. Taking the case before the Clan Council, Mercer was found guilty as charged, though she challenged the verdict to a Trial of Refusal. During the Trial, Mercer fired a shot from her Highlander's Gauss Rifle that hit Masters' aerospace fighter squarely in the cockpit, instantly killing the Khan. Though the odds still favored the Khan's case, his warriors were demoralized and went on to lose the Trial to the young upstart.
Masters represented what is described as a line of Khans who lacked cohesive direction, and often worked toward personal agendas, regardless of their predecessor's policies. With his death and the ascension of Sanra Mercer to the Khanship, the Steel Vipers finally had a purpose to strive for aside from warfare for warfare's sake.
Title and Position
|Khan of Clan Steel Viper
28?? – 2860
| Succeeded by|
- Invading Clans, p. 83 - "True Vision"
- Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 135 - "Clan Without a Cause"
- Era Report: Golden Century, p. 6, 7 - "Viper Unrest"
- Invading Clans, p. 84 - "Sweeping Changes" and "Golden Century"