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- This article is about the Khan of Clan Steel Viper. For the Sovetskii Soyuz-class WarShip, see Sanra Mercer (Sovetskii Soyuz).
Sanra Mercer (born 28?? - died 2906) was a MechWarrior of Clan Steel Viper who would eventually rise to the position of Khan during the Golden Century. She was highly regarded for helping to mold the Steel Vipers into what they would eventually become.
Described as highly charismatic and extremely driven to excel on and off the field of battle, Sanra Mercer was a young officer who stood out among her peers from early on in her career. Holding the rank of Star Colonel and command of the 4th Viper Guards, Mercer was said to be a crafty tactician who was capable of successfully reevaluating and altering her plans even in the midst of battle. The youngest Steel Viper MechWarrior of her era to have won a Bloodname, her achievements would garner the attention of her Khan, Jacob Masters.
Steel Viper saKhan
Khan Masters nominated Mercer to the posting of saKhan in 2860, in an attempt to harness her energy and drive toward his own ends. He would soon find out that his new saKhan was actively attempting to sway many of his warriors to her own cause, made easy by the fact that the Steel Vipers up until that time had very little direction and purpose outside of warfare. The lack of direction or a clear goal for the Clan caused many problems with the younger warriors, and especially, with the lower castes. Mercer claimed that she had come into the possession of recorded meetings between ilKhan Nicholas Kerensky and then-Viper Khan Steven Breen, recordings in which Kerensky's "true" vision was revealed. This vision involved the Steel Vipers becoming the ilClan, and taking a lead role in restoring the Star League through conquering the former worlds of the Terran Hegemony and then cooperating with the Great Houses. Many of Masters' supporters doubted this - as did most outside the Clan - but the younger warriors and lower castes applauded this vision, which promised them all a greater role in bringing about this glorious future.
Khan Masters viewed Mercer's actions as treasonous for subverting his will. Mercer was indeed found guilty as charged by the Steel Viper Clan Council, though she challenged the verdict to a Trial of Refusal. Facing stiff odds, Mercer landed a lucky shot from her Highlander's Gauss Rifle that demolished the cockpit of Khan Masters' Aerospace Fighter, killing him early on during the Trial. Though his warriors retained their numerical advantage, the loss of the Khan demoralized them, allowing Mercer and her warriors to win the day.
The Khan of the Vipers
Elected to the post of Khan after the Trial, Sanra Mercer set about neutralizing Masters' supporters either through appointments, or through unaugmented combat Trials in a Circle of Equals. To bolster her own position, she nominated a steadfast follower of her ideas named Habash Grimani to succeed her in the vacated posting of saKhan. Khan Mercer also began a policy of isolation from the other Clans, especially the lower castes. She would grudgingly allow her merchant caste to conduct business and sometimes build new colonies, though these activities were closely monitored to prevent any "corrupting influence" from outside the Clan. Having already felt separate from many of the other Clans since the time of Khan Kinnison's betrayal, these measures were easily accepted by her warriors. The other Clans were not so easily convinced, and many of her fellow Khans accused her of attempting to break away from the Clans. Khan Mercer fought several Trials of Grievance in order to convince them otherwise, though she also promised that they would all have roles to play in the grand vision that she espoused.
With the truth of Kerensky's vision,
Khan Mercer brought harmony from discord,
and as the Founder had done before,
sought isolation to bring forth victory.
- -The Remembrance (Clan Steel Viper), Passage 171, Verse 27, Lines 16-19
Golden Century Progress
Khan Mercer's leadership and reforms helped her Clan to catch up with the others. Being one of the last Clans to obtain OmniMech technology due to the shortsighted reigns of previous Khans, her warriors had proven themselves admirably against warriors with superior equipment. Within several years of her reign, the Steel Vipers had acquired several OmniMech designs, as well as the technology to produce Elementals and Battle Armor. Full production of these developments were underway before the turn of the thirtieth century, transforming the Vipers into an even more deadly opponent on the field of battle.
War with the Raven
Between 2897 and 2899, the Steel Vipers completed their first major conquest: the world of Hellgate in the Kerensky Cluster. A resource-rich world that was inhospitable to most human development, Clan Snow Raven had invested much in the colony, including a massive agricultural dome for the production of food. The Steel Vipers saw that this was the key to controlling the world, and launched a successful Trial of Possession for the agricultural facility. Unable to dislodge the Steel Vipers, and without food supplies to feed their population, the Snow Ravens slowly let go of the world, not wishing to let their masses simply starve to death. The feud sparked by this incident would last for the greater part of two centuries.
Jade Falcon Struggle and Death
Khan Mercer continued to lead her Vipers on their own path, aloof from the machinations and desires of the other Clans. The decisions made by the Steel Viper Khans often found them at odds with the other Clans, and Clan Jade Falcon in particular. Though Khan Mercer did not set out to stymie the Falcons, the goals of the two Clans were so disparate that any decision she or saKhan Grimani made often went against the plans of the Jade Falcons, who increasingly saw the situation as a series of deliberate attempts to stand in their way. The situation came to a head in 2906, when the Jade Falcons launched a large-scale Trial of Possession for the Viper's colony on New Kent. The Vipers went on to win the Trial through the use of an elaborate tactic called The Viper's Maw, but victory came at the cost of Khan Mercer's life, after she was killed by a wave of LRMs that struck the cockpit of her Highlander.
The Khans that followed Sanra Mercer continued to adhere to her vision. The recordings that she claimed to possess never surfaced, but this mattered little to the Steel Vipers themselves. As the decades rolled by, many embellished different points of her vision in order to encourage their warriors on to greater heights. By the time of Operation Revival, the Steel Vipers did everything they could to become a part of the invasion force, though they were disappointed with their eventual status as a reserve Clan. In spite of this, they would soldier on with their dreams of becoming the ilClan until their ejection from the Inner Sphere by the Jade Falcons in 3062.
At some point, the Steel Vipers would build a massive tower on the world of New Kent. At over two kilometers in height, the structure (the tallest in Clanspace) was named the Mercer Building; it housed the Clan's Council chambers, as well as the Steel Viper's command and control apparatus. The Mercer Building was destroyed by Orbital Bombardment in late 3075 during the invasion of New Kent by the remaining Home Clans, as the Wars of Reaving came to a close.
Title and Position
|saKhan of Clan Steel Viper
| Succeeded by|
|Khan of Clan Steel Viper
| Succeeded by|
Sanra Mercer piloted a Highlander throughout her career.
- 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, 85 - "Sweeping Changes" and "Golden Century"
- Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 135, 136 - "The Lonely Path"
- Field Manual: Warden Clans, p. 134 - "Clan Steel Viper"
- Era Digest: Golden Century, p. 10 - "Bad Blood"
- Invading Clans, p. 85 - "Call to Arms"
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 12 - "Armed Politics"
- The Wars of Reaving, p. 150, 151 - "Focused Aggression"