|Cover artwork||Karsten Schreurs|
|Publisher||Ulisses Spiele GmbH|
|First published||11 March 2015|
|Era||Clan Invasion era|
|Timeline||4 October 3058 - 12 November 3061|
Riskante Ziele ("Risky Targets"), by Arous Brocken, is the 26th in the line of German-language Classic BattleTech Novels that Ulisses Spiele took over from FanPro and continued. As the sixth and final part of the Bear Cycle, it continues the story of MechWarrior George Bear from the previous novel, Waffengefährten.
Written in German and exclusively published in that language so far, Riskante Ziele 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)
|“||Ruled to have breached their contract George Bear and his mercenaries face financial troubles they find it difficult to get out of. To stay in the business they have to accept highly risky missions, including military support for rebels on Pike IV. The campaign starts off as a catastrophe when their local guide is heavily injured, and it turns out that the rebel base that was to serve as their home base is in enemy hands.||”|
Following his latest mission on Saiph where George negotiated a truce with the opposing mercenary forces before their respective employers would smash the entire world's infrastructure in their private civil war, a MRBC board on Outreach finds him and his unit guilty of contract breach when George's prime witness, Marcel Sitwell, is found dead (implicitly murdered) and cannot testify in George's favor. Although the verdict is ultimately relatively mild in light of the beneficial results of George's actions, it plunges the Biting Bear's Bashes deep into debt, to the point where George even accepts illegal "Nightingale" contracts including outright murder missions to stay afloat. This earns him the ire of other underworld elements in Harlech who feel he is intruding on their business territory and ruining the established prices. At attempt to kill George results in George capturing the asssailant's Phoenix Hawk.
Shortly afterwards the Biting Bear's Bashes embark on a garrison and cadre duty mission to Canonbie. Lasting almost a year, that contract finally ends the unit's financial malaise. In a similar vein, DropShip captain Tina Motte had to sell the Overlord-class Mephisto but acquires a dilapidated Union-class vessel in its stead which is rechristened from Sir Basil to Sir Devil.
Their next contract brings the Biting Bear's Bashes to Pike IV in the Draconis Combine to support a rebel uprising. George realizes that the mission is sponsored by the Katherine Steiner-Davion-affiliated faction within the Federated Commonwealth solely to create tension with the Combine and thus drive a wedge between Theodore Kurita and Victor Steiner-Davion. Insertion is via combat-drop from the Sir Devil into the Crystal Desert region, followed by the DropShip landing and unloading the mixed unit's conventional elements. After fighting off an enemy patrol they find the "hidden" resistance base is in enemy hands. They capture it (and a Charger undergoing repairs with it), destroy the base and relocate to an alternate base over 400 klicks away. It turns out that the north continent on Pike IV with its stormy weather is difficult to navigate with hovercraft or aircraft, which severely limits the Biting Bear's Bashes' capabilities. In the base cave in the Salt Mountains, George is so unhappy with the reception and the state of the rebels that he berates and manhandles rebel general Harris, calls their rebellion a joke to his face and informs him that his "vacation" is now over. He then proceeds to wage a proactive war against the House Kurita forces and the Telatre Tac Troopers, mercenaries hired by the other local faction in the civil war. Within two months the Biting Bear's Bashes have tilted the local balance of power in favor of their employer and receive an add-on six month garrison contract. They put the time to good use by patching up their equipment.
Back on Outreach by November 3060, the Biting Bear's Bashes are offered a secret (and unsanctioned) mission to Mars by middle men working for a Kurita warlord: infiltrate Word of Blake-affiliated firms to steal Clan technology, if possible entire BattleMechs thought to be researched and even produced there. George accepts despite the misgivings of some of his personnel who are afraid of the Word of Blake's ire and long reach. The Biting Bear's Bashes move out for what is ostensibly a garrison contract on Lambrecht. Carried to Mars on the Danchaku, a modified Kuritan Triumph, George and his operatives manage to infiltrate the Word of Blake facility in March 3061. They capture functional Archangel, Deva, Grigori, Malak and Preta Celestial OmniMechs, plus technical data and spare parts, and make a daring escape by drawing the defenders' attention to another, entirely unrelated cargo DropShip.
However, following the successful operation their employers secretly elect to eliminate the Biting Bear's Bashes, to minimize the nuber of people who could reveal to the Word of Blake who ordered the heist. To this end, the other mercenary unit on Lambrecht, incidentially the Telatre Tac Troopers (the same unit the Biting Bear's Bashes had confronted on Pike IV already), is ordered to exterminate them. Initial ambushes largely fail because George had not bothered to submit up-to-date patrol schedules to his liaison officer, and a drawn-out guerilla war evolves when the Biting Bear's Bashes go to ground. On 30 May 3061, Word of Blake forces join the fighting on Lambrecht with orders to terminate the Biting Bear's Bashes with extreme prejudice. George's unit is whittled down over the course of eighty days of running battles across a whole continent. The Sir Devil is destroyed on approach as it attempts to rescue them. In the end they make a stand with remote-controlled 'Mechs, hoping to convince their enemies that they have destroyed the last remaining Biting Bear's Bashes while the remaining personnell is actually part of the attacking mercenaries in captured 'Mechs. George, for all his experiences in the Inner Sphere, finds that this is too disgraceful for him to bear; he sneaks into the cockpit of his Griffin to personally fight with honor in the crucial final battle, and perishes in the fight.
His unit's survivors subsequently impersonate the remains of the Telatre Tac Troopers after killing every last one of them. They prepare to steal a DropShip's worth of battlefield salvage and eight operational BattleMechs and make plans to return to Outreach and found a new mercenary unit. Nobody must ever know their true identity or link them to the Biting Bear's Bashes or George Bear, though, as they are aware that they are now marked by the Word of Blake and probably also the Draconis Combine.
- Black Knight
- Grand Dragon
- Grim Reaper
- Hermes II (referred to simply as Hermes most of the time)
- Javelin (also Fire Javelin variant)
- King Crab
- Phoenix Hawk
- Wolf Trap
- Cavalry VTOL
- Cobra transport VTOL
- Ferret VTOL
- Savannah Master
- Warrior Attack Helicopter
- Overlord (Mephisto)
- Triumph (Danchaku)
- Union (Cunningham, Prickles Barn, Sir Devil)
- unspecified DropShip Keiran
- unspecified destroyer WoBS Illustrious Idol
- The Crystal Desert on Pike IV and its crystals that make sensor operation difficult by masking heat emissions from 'Mechs is reminiscent of a mission in the MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries video game.
- During the mission to Mars, the Biting Bear's Bashes steal Celestial-series OmniMechs a full eight years before these machines made their debut.