Star Lord (novel)
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|Author|| Donald G. Phillips|
Blaine Lee Pardoe
|Cover artwork||Roger Loveless|
|First published||1 February 1996|
|Era||Clan Invasion era|
Star Lord, by Donald G. Phillips (rewritten for publication by Blaine Lee Pardoe, credited as "additional writing" in the book's imprint), is a story of the Knights of the Inner Sphere. A descendant of Stefan Amaris tries to re-establish the (New) Rim Worlds Republic. Posing as the Knights, his forces launch terror attacks to sow chaos. An irregular unit including the Knights is tasked with identifying, infiltrating and terminating the unknown enemy.
The novel was made available on BattleCorps on 2 April 2010 as a PDF file (text only, without cover, pictures or any other interior artwork except for the usual BattleCorps frame graphics). The PDF copy includes a disclaimer stating that it was created from a pre-final edition text that might differ from the printed version and that canon-wise, the print edition trumps the PDF edition.
(Unlike other BattleCorps publications, the PDF versions of print novels are not available for purchase.)
The novel was re-released by Catalyst Game Labs in eBook formats on May 31, 2016, titled BattleTech Legends: Star Lord.
From the back cover
|“|| Stefan the Terrorizer
An ancient evil has slumbered for centuries, passing from generation to generation, until one day a man discovers the truth of his genetic heritage—and proclaims himself Star Lord of the Inner Sphere. Disguising his army of renegade mercenaries as Knights of the Inner Sphere, the self-appointed Star Lord launches a series of raids that threaten and terrorize the universe! But Thomas Marik, leader of the Free Worlds League, cannot afford to have his Knights tarnished—and two can play the game of impersonation. With the help of a trusted advisor, Thomas comes up with a plan to infiltrate the evil Star Lord's backwater legions.
Enter Duncan's Demons, a company of MechWarriors so improbable only desperation could have dreamed them up. Two soldiers seeking justice, a dishonored Clanswoman, a ne'er-do-well gambler and a real Knight of the Inner Sphere are entrusted with saving the Free Worlds League. But first they must learn how to get along....
On 22 February 2774, Emperor and self-proclaimed First Lord Stefan Amaris has a planning session with his trusted advisor, General Legos. Between reports on military ventures they discuss the issue of Amaris' "wayward mistress", who he ordered be killed along with any offspring.
Meanwhile, Shera Moray, the woman in question, is on the run and manages to switch identities with another young woman with child on Slocum. Just moments later some troopers catch up with them. The other woman is mistaken for Moray and when she tries to run, she is killed along with her child.
Chapters 1 through 20
On April 1, 3057, Lieutenant Hermann Bovos of the Second Oriente Hussars leads a Lance of BattleMechs out into the Shimgata Mesa on Shiro III, to investigate the site of a reported DropShip crash-landing. They are led into a trap by forces bearing the colours and insignia of the Knights of the Inner Sphere. Bovos is the only survivor. Two days later, a similar company of attackers ambushes Hauptmann Garth Hawkes and his unit, the Sixth Crucis Lancers, on the Aux-Huards Plain on Valexa. Hawkes notes how a downed enemy Stinger's cockpit was blown up from within, and deduces that the attackers seek to cover their tracks and that they were no real Knights of the Inner Sphere.
On the world of Marik, General Harrison Kalma, who is a retired but still well-connected Free Worlds League intelligence officer, discusses reports on the alleged raids by the Knights of the Inner Sphere with his son Duncan Kalma. Duncan, a gambler and periphery mercenary, tends to get into trouble; his father has just saved Duncan from a debtor's prison for which he is not overly thankful. Harrison indicates that he needs somebody with Duncan's skills to find out who framed the Knights of the Inner Sphere for the attack on Shiro III.
Again two days later, on April 5, Star Captain Dawn leads elements of the Fourth Viper Guards in an attack against the regimental HQ of the Twenty-Fourth Lyran Guards on the Kolmar Lowlands on Cumbres. They find the defenders already under attack by a third party, and Dawn's outnumbered forces retreat after suffering heavy losses at the hands of the unknown attackers.
On April 13, Captain Kemper Varas reports on the successful raids (also mentioning supply raids against Capellan Confederation shipments) to his master, Stefan Amaris VII, in "The Cavern of the Skull", a dilapidated SLDF base from the Reunification War era on the periphery world of New St. Andrews. The raiders are posing as Knights of the Inner Sphere in order to cause as much political fallout as possible. Amaris explains how he plans to seed mistrust and paranoia throughout the Inner Sphere, then have the House Lords assassinated and then step forward to fill the power vacuum. While speaking before his assembled followers, Amaris gets into an argument with Parker Don Hua, the commander of the Red Hell mercenary unit, who refuses to accept uniforms for his unit. Amaris shoots Don Hua in short order to demonstrate that he does not tolerate insubordination.
At the Kalma Estate, Harrison and Duncan Kalma discuss further intelligence reports and deduct that an outside force is behind the attacks. They are joined by Rod Trane, a Knight, and together prepare to deliver a report to Thomas Marik. Meanwhile, Hermann Bovos resigns his commission with the Oriente Hussars to personally investigate the ambush that killed off his command while Star Captain Dawn is stripped from rank and caste and is banished from Clan Steel Viper on April 15 after losing a Trial of Refusal on Jabuka against the Judgement (a trial of formal disgrace) over her botched attack. Garth Hawkes volunteers for an intelligence mission and leaves his unit to uncover the truth behind the attack on Valexa.
At the Captain-General's Winter Palace on Marik, Harrison and Duncan Kalma and Rod Trane discuss the implications of the alleged raids with Thomas Marik and SAFE Director Wilson Cherenkov on April 16. Thomas Marik has taken a personal interest in why somebody would seek to discredit his Knights. Intelligence indicates that an attack against Herotitus is imminent. Duncan Kalma and Rod Trane are sent there to obtain further intelligence although they do not get along well with each other.
On April 18, Amaris VII and Varas are planning their attack against Herotitus, intending to destroy the reputation of the Knights of the Inner Sphere because of the ideals they stand for. Hermann Bovos arrives on Galatea to follow some leads of his own, posing as a freelance MechWarrior looking for work. Kalma and Trane arrive on Herotitus aboard the commercial DropShip Levine's Star and begin their investigations on 30 April. Garth Hawkes signs on as a arena MechWarrior on Galatea while Dawn, the Clan outcast, arrives there aboard another commercial DropShip, the Blitzen.
Kalma and Trane witness the expected attack on Herotitus on 1 May. They commandeer an old Warhammer and engange an enemy Vindicator and a Rifleman with some success. After the fight, they decide to end their recon mission and return to Marik immediately.
On Galatea, Dawn is taken in by a stable owner on 5 May and hired for his arena fighting team.
After their return to Marik, Kalma and Trane discuss their findings and revisit the earlier idea of infiltrating the unknown mercenaries on Galatea. To this end, a detachment of Knights of the Inner Sphere has assume "cutthroat mercenary" identities and much to Trane's chagrin, Kalma is appointed mission leader because of his familiarity with the mercenary life. On May 8, enroute to Galatea aboard the Union-class DropShip Farragut's Folly (attached to the JumpShip Janos), Kalma explains to the unit that they have been given substandard equipment and that he has even gone so far as to confiscate their razors and disable the showers aboard the DropShip so that they can blend in with the lowlife mercenaries. For the time being, their unit is called Kalma's Mercenary Company, Ind..
On May 15, Dawn fights and wins an arena duel in a dilapidated and heavily modified Shadow Hawk against a Griffin of Carmody's Cavaliers, killing the pilot because he fought unfair and used a jamming device on her. After the fight she learns that the pilot was Jay J. Carmody, son of the Cavaliers' commander. Hermann Bovos is among the spectators, and is getting more information on the mystery attackers. Shortly afterwards he applies for a job in Kalma's unit who are hiring local mercenaries as part of their cover. Yet later, Kalma is impressed by the performance of Garth Hawkes in another arena fight and hires him, too.
Amaris VII is unhappy with Varas' report on the failed attack on Herotitus. With losses mounting, he orders additional recruitment efforts be undertaken on Galatea. Varas also points out that the local Clave Lords feel Amaris is not living up to his promises for the mountain base, to which Amaris responds with the order to have the water supply of the strongest clan poisoned.
Walking home from her match, Dawn is attacked by a group of Cavaliers bent on avenging their comrade. Hermann Bovos, on his way to meet Kalma to sign on, gets involved in an attempt to help her which in turn brings Kalma into the fight. In the end, they prevail and Dawn is accepted as the latest member of Kalma's Company. She is reluctant to share her story, but Kalma and Trane possess enough intelligence data to realize that she was part of the Clan force that fought the false Knights of the Inner Sphere on Cumbres.
When Kalma's group learns that Carmody's Cavaliers are the current champions in a Company vs. Company tournament they include their own untried unit in a free match slot. They perform well in the battles, where Duncan Kalma goes by the callsign of "Demon". Outside of the arenas, Kalma's unit is repeatedly attacked with trowing knifes, sniper shots and even poison by the Cavaliers who are found to be building up their strength to about battalion level. Following the successes of Kalma's group in the arena, the arena master suggests they adopt a catchier name and they settle for "Duncan's Demons". Continuing their feud with the Cavaliers, both sides suffer material losses and even deaths until the Cavaliers are finally decisively beaten in a match on May 28 where Clinton Carmody, their commander, is killed.
Ultimately, one Count Sessa Lottimer approaches Duncan Kalma with the long-awaited offer to hire his unit for a periphery military. Within a few days, Duncan's Demons leave for the world of Kyeinnisan where they are to meet a representative for "final approval".
Chapters 21 through 34
The Demons' prospective employer has a JumpShip circuit in place to quickly move Kalma and his unit to Kyeinnisan. While waiting for their host to appear, Bovos and Hawkes confront Kalma about his suspicious behaviors, namely passing on many other contracts to finally accept this one and all, including Dawn, finally reveal their respective backgrounds to each other.
While they are visiting a casino in Luck City on June 8, security personnel who are obviously part of the plan come to arrest Kalma and his entourage (Bovos, Hawkes and Dawn) after Bovos is set up for accusations of cheating. They fight their way out with concealed weapons and Dawn's martial arts skills, hijack a transport and escape into the nearby Kispiox Forest after getting off a secret radio message to Trane back aboard the DropShip. Stopping at a store in a small hamlet for food, they are drugged by the proprietor and awake locked up in a store room on the next day. They manage to escape easily, feeling that their captors wanted them to escape. Security forces pursue them further, but it turns out they are herding them in a certain direction rather than actually searching for them. Eventually, they arrive at a fence with signs at regular intervals bearing the crest of the Rim Worlds Republic. Meanwhile, Trane and the elements who remained on the DropShip proceed to forcibly take control of the JumpShip, following the message from Kalma.
Kalma and his group find themselves escorted by uniformed guards onto the grounds of the luxurious Jaggoda Estate, where they are greeted by Count Lottimer and meet "Master Jaggoda", a wealthy individual who offers the group a position within the military of a fledgling nation for their impressive performance.
Jaggoda later discusses Duncan's Demons with an aide. Having killed two security guards during their unexpected flight, the resourceful group is now more or less in the hands of Jaggoda but he does not trust them entirely. It is decided that only the four who are already planetside will be moved to New St. Andrews for now.
Testing out 'Mechs for Jaggoda upon his request, Kalma, Bovos, Hawkes and Dawn find them to be worn-out and barely functional. They confront Jaggoda, claiming that they rigged the 'Mechs for self-destruction and are subsequently accepted into the as-yet unnamed army after Jaggoda admits to having set them up for arrest and apologizes for the "test". On the same night (June 11) they break into his office and find out the destination of their travel—New St. Andrews. They feel uneasy about their orders for the command lance to go ahead to receive the commission and prepare the arrival of the remainder of their group, and manage to send another message to Trane instructing him to follow them to New St. Andrews and to notify Thomas Marik.
On June 12, the Marik Palace on Atreus has been in a gloomy mood for weeks already since Thomas Marik's wife Sophina has fallen mortally ill. Thomas Marik receives an envoy from the Magistracy of Canopus and learns that the Magestrix is concerned about troop movements in the periphery. The Magestrix also discovered that the attack on Herotitus was in fact perpetrated by Long's Light Lancers, a company from a Canopian regiment. The meeting is cut short when a message from Rod Trane is received, however the message was largely jumbled in transmission (presumably due to ComStar sabotage of the Word of Blake-operated HPGs). Still, Marik and Harrison Kalma piece together some information, helped by the Magestrix's message about where troop movements took place, and decide to send the Knights of the Inner Sphere to New St. Andrews in full strength.
On New St. Andrews, Captain Varas welcomes the command lance of Duncan's Demons into the New Republican Guards but realizes they are different from the mercenaries they recruited so far. Four 'Mechs short, the Demons are allowed to pick 'Mechs from the stocks but find out these are just as worn-out as the ones they tested back on Kyeinnisan. They also note old insignia on the 'Mechs indicating their origin to be the Illyrian Palatinate and the Lothian League, proving that this army is recruiting from all over the periphery. They decide to sabotage as many 'Mechs as possible under the pretense of testing them, and to contact the local Clave Lords for support against the self-proclaimed Star Lord.
Varas still has doubts about Duncan's Demons, who are nothing like their other recruits (which include Black Warriors from the Circinus Federation, Crimson Reapers from Astrokaszy and Praetorian Guards from the Marian Hegemony). Amaris VII tells him that trust is essential, and to discard of Duncan's Demons if he does not trust them.
On their third day on New St. Andrews, Duncan's Demons have already sabotaged a company's worth of mercenary 'Mechs and Bovos has met with a Clave leader who is ready to lead an uprising. While operating their new 'Mechs on Brannigan Plain the Demons are attacked by elements of the Black Warriors and figure that their game is up. Shortly afterwards, Varas has to report the defeat of the Black Warriors and also that an unidentified DropShip (Trane with the rest of Duncan's Demons, made up of Knights of the Inner Sphere) has landed somewhere in the direction of the retreating Demons; New St. Andrews is obviously under attack.
Making a stand at the DropShip, Duncan's Demons fend off an attack from a company of the Praetorian Guards and subsequently, from an orphaned company from the Oberon Confederation on July 12. By the following day, the Demons are down to nine MechWarriors, with all 'Mechs damaged to some degree, Kalma is severely wounded, but they have destroyed the better part of three enemy companies in separate engagements. Varas now suspects they may be House troops, probably Knights of the Inner Sphere in disguise. Although lacking in aerospace forces, Varas' forces double their efforts to find the Demons in the mountainous regions and eventually discover their location. During an infantry attack on the Demons' position, the local Claves join the fight with horse-mounted infantry and help to repel the attack. Just as enemy 'Mech reinforcements (the Crimson Reapers) threaten to overrun Duncan's Demons, the real Knights of the Inner Sphere arrive in force to relieve the Demons and proceed to exterminate all mercenaries who posed as Knights with extreme prejudice. During the fighting, Dawn disappears with the Orion she is piloting. On a hunch, Trane follows her to the Cavern of the Skull which is guarded by a detachment of the Black Warriors. There, the Orion is destroyed and a small DropShip leaves before the Knights can secure the installation.
On the next day (June 14), Varas discusses the grand plan's failure with the JumpShip captain aboard the Leopard-class DropShip Good Richard, now already docked to the JumpShip at a pirate point of the New St. Andrews system. Hoping to attain salvation by killing the Star Lord, Varas then leaves and prepares to shoot Amaris VII who has escaped with the ship, but before he can act on his plan he is killed by Dawn who had hidden aboard the ship. Amaris unsuccessfully tries to turn Dawn, who offers him a fair fight in a Circle of Equals. When Amaris reaches for Varas' sidearm, Dawn shoots him, then escapes the DropShip aboard a lifeboat.
On August 16, Duncan's Demons are received at the Marik Palace on Atreus. Sophina Marik has since died, and it has also turned out that Joshua Marik has long since succumbed to his leukemia and was replaced by a double by Victor Steiner-Davion. Thomas Marik has sent a holovid message to Katherine Steiner-Davion about his intentions to confront her brother Victor and demand reparations; war looms. Lieutenant Bovos has accepted a commission with the Knights; Duncan Kalma and Dawn have turned down similar offers. Trane was promoted to Force Captain. Duncan Kalma, now reconciled with his father, points out that his short-term investments with the winnings from Galatea have made the Demons "stinking rich" and invites all to a celebration. Dawn announces that she will return to Jabuka. Duncan's Demons then disband in an brief meeting on the tarmac to go their separate ways.
On August 30, a triumphant Dawn returns to the Steel Viper council hall on Jabuka to present the head of the last Amaris (frozen in carbon dioxide), hoping this will convince the council to reinstate her as a warrior of her Clan.
- Captain-General Thomas Marik as he repeatedly appears in this novel was revealed in subsequent publications to be the body double who became known as Thomas Halas, or the False Thomas Marik.
- The "Captain Highlanders Regiment" mentioned by the Magestrix is obviously meant to be the Canopian Highlanders, a mercenary unit containing one battalion named Long's Light Lancers. As of 3025 this unit was under the overall command of Major Harrison Long, with the Long's Light Lancers battalion under the command of Commander Allen Chingrazi.
- Stefan Amaris VII
- Clan Steel Viper MechWarrior Dawn
- Duncan Kalma
- Captain-General Thomas Marik
- Sir Rod Trane
- Fourth Viper Guards (Bravo Trinary)
- Second Oriente Hussars
- Sixth Crucis Lancers
- Twenty-Fourth Lyran Guards
- Battle Cobra
- Battle Hawk
- Grand Titan
- Hermes II
- Ice Ferret
- Phoenix Hawk
- Shadow Hawk
- Timber Wolf
- War Dog
- Leopard (Good Richard)
- Union (Farragut's Folly)
- unspecified DropShips Blitzen, Levine's Star
- according to Blaine Pardoe's blog entry [bpardoe.blogspot.com/2011/11/battletech-flashbacks.html "BattleTech Flashbacks"]