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|Type||Short story (serial)|
|Product||Life Support (magazine)|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
Keine Chance! ("No chance!") is a German-language short story by Patrick Haymann. Altogether some 24 pages long, it was serialized in four parts in the MechForce Germany magazine Life Support, issues 3 through 6 (published in 1994/1995).
Lyran Commonwealth agent Charles Taylor has spent the past ten years inciting rebellions in the Free Worlds League, but with his cover blown he had to be recalled (shortly before SAFE would have eliminated him) and now he is on vacation. Traveling to the nadir jump point of the Tharkad system aboard the DropShip Endorian on 8 June 3027 and looking at the Monolith-class JumpShip Hardie from a bar window during docking approach, he is alarmed when he notes workers with welding torches working on the JumpShip's hardpoints. His suspicions are later confirmed when the Hardie and its attached DropShips (four civilian liners including the Endorian, two traders and three military vessels) are hijacked by the Zardoz terrorist group. They demand the release of fellow Skye separatists from prison and a surprisingly modest ransom in precious metals.
Katrina Steiner is prepared to meet the terrorists' demands, to save the valuable JumpShip and its similarly valuable cargo—the DropShips carry not only four companies' worth of BattleMechs, but scions of many of the Commonwealth's most influential industrial tycoons and warrior families plus several hundred and possibly more than thousand civilian hostages. However, terrorist leader Jiri Katai has more sinister plans. A renegade ex-DEST trooper, he is only using the Zardoz group as a front and in truth intends to steal the valuable 'Mechs.
Charles Taylor manages to launch an Escape Pod with a coded message from his DropShip, signaling to friendly forces in the area that he is aboard the captured vessels and intends to take action against the terrorists. With his expert special ops training and equipment he also manages to sneak from the DropShip onto the JumpShip, killing terrorists in the process, and proceeds to creep towards the bridge through air ducts.
Before long, Katai jumps the Hardie to another system closer to the Draconis Combine border to rendezvous with his mercenary and yakuza allies. Lyran forces monitoring the surrounding systems quicky find the Hardie, and the JumpShip Thor is sent after them.
Suffering from Transit Disorientation Syndrome, Taylor is incapacitated for some time when the jump occurs. With the terrorists meanwhile alerted to his presence and on his tail, he becomes the hunted, but eventually manages to kill his pursuers and proceed to the Hardie's bridge.
On the bridge, Taylor sees that Katai has already activated the timers for the explosive charges at the hardpoints. Katai also informs him that a nuclear bomb was placed at the Hardie's reactor, before subduing Taylor and leaving him behind on the bridge, unconscious. Having killed all Lyran soldiers and disposed of their bodies in escape pods prior to jumping from Tharkad already, Katai and his remaining men then leave with the military DropShips and the valuable BattleMechs carried aboard to dock with the two nearby JumpShips from the Draconis Combine.
The Lyran commandos sent to retake the Hardie find the unconscious Taylor and wake him up, initially mistaking him for a terrorist. They manage to disarm the charges threatening the remaining DropShips, but do not have enough time to disarm the nuclear bomb, the blast of which will destroy the remaining DropShips as well. Taylor points out that their only hope of survival is to undock from the Hardie, move beyond safe jump distance and then (mis-)jump the Hardie away with the bomb. The captain of the Lyran anti-terrorism forces volunteers to remain on the JumpShip to initiate the jump sequence, sacrificing himself to save the other vessels.
Life Support, being a German-only magazine, does not meet the current criteria for canon despite being an official BattleTech product produced under a valid license otherwise. It can arguably be regarded as apocryphal. The same applies to this story, which was not published elsewhere.
- Monolith (Hardie)
- Overlord (Adamant)
- Leopard (Kataras, Lorimar)
- unspecified JumpShip Thor
- unspecified passenger liner DropShips (Endorian, Rosanne), possibly Monarch-class
- unspecified military DropShip Lorelei
- The Hardie is described to have been upgraded with a Lithium-Fusion Battery in the distant past, but it can still transport nine DropShips. Such a refit is impossible under current construction rules. Also, in the late Succession Wars era where the story is set, JumpShips with LF batteries were virtually unheard of yet the Hardie and, it is implied, also the Thor are able to make double jumps. The issue is treated rather casually by the crews involved, and is not seen as special although the value of a LF battery equipped ship in this timeframe would be immeasurable and the ship's double-jump ability highly unusual.
- As a Monolith-class vessel, even without taking the LF battery into consideration, the Hardie is an invaluable asset worth far more than the BattleMechs she carries, yet Katai concentrates on the 'Mechs and makes no effort to keep the vastly more valuable ship.
- Throughout the story, the Hardie makes at least three jumps within a very short timespan. The last battle is indicated to take place in the Kelenfold system, some six jumps from Tharkad. It is also not explained how exactly the Lyran forces are able to track the Hardie to its pirate jump point.