Making a Name
|Making a Name|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Timeline||11 April - 8 May 3008|
Making a Name is a short story by Jason Schmetzer published exclusively in the third BattleCorps print anthology, Weapons Free. Unlike all other stories in the book, it has not been published online via BattleCorps.
During the fighting on New Aragon in 3008, Dragoon MechWarrior Lieutenant Austen Roderick is facing a court martial for panicking and deserting following the destruction of his lance in battle. However, instead of the execution he expected, he and three others are reassigned as "volunteers" into Colonel Wells' Zeta Battalion because Wolf's Dragoons, their offensive bogged down by the Northwind Highlanders, are critically low on MechWarriors. With enemy reinforcements expected to make planetfall in three weeks they desperately need to breach the enemy lines and move behind the mountains quickly, and their only option is to push through El Diablo Pass in strength. The assault 'Mechs of Zeta Battalion, with Roderick's lance of "volunteers" taking point, is assigned to the task. If he survives, Roderick is promised a promotion to Captain.
Among the defenders, the newly-formed Waco Rangers mercenary company (fielding sixteen BattleMechs), in particular John Waco, the commander's son, are aware of El Diablo Pass and its importance. Because it features very rough terrain and is easy to defend, they do not believe that the Dragoons would dare try the pass, but John Waco is wary when the enemy sends two DropShips across the mountains despite the defenders' heavy air cover and divines it to be a ruse to draw off the defending Highlander regiments. As the Dragoons threaten to outflank the entire defensive, they have to be bottled up in the pass and John Waco decides to use his light scout lance to buy the defenders time, figuring decisive action in such a critical situation against the feared Dragoons would massively upvalue the relatively new mercenary unit that he stands to inherit one day.
John Waco's spirited defense plan fails in the face of sheer determination on the side of Austen Roderick, who will not risk his chance to become Captain and stubbornly presses the assault, throwing all caution in the wind because he is not supposed to live anyways. Waco, equally stubborn, insists on trying to stop the Dragoons despite the urgings of his lancemate and best friend Haines Keebler. Eventually his WSP-1A Wasp is destroyed by Roderick's Awesome and Waco ejects and takes cover under a tree trunk. Keebler moves his Stinger to rescue Waco, which in turn promts a Stalker from Roderick's lance to change its position and unwittingly trample the tree trunk with John Waco underneath.
On 8 May 3008, Wayne Waco makes his entire command swear a blood oath against Wolf's Dragoons. Disgusted by what he percieves as insanity and feeling that the unit has lost its only competent officer, Keebler rips off his unit patch and leaves.