The Spider and the Wolf
|The Spider and the Wolf|
|Type||Comic / Scenario Pack|
|Primary writing|| Gideon |
|Cover artwork||David R. Deitrick|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
From the back cover
|“||The beginning of a legend...||”|
History of the Inner Sphere
On the inside cover is a brief one-page rundown of the history of the Inner Sphere. It begins with Mankind taking to the stars in the middle of the twenty-fourth century, provides a brief overview of the Star League era and Aleksandr Kerensky's Operation Exodus, and finally introduces the reader to the chaotic Succession Wars era with its neo-feudalism and lostech.
Natasha Kerensky's unit is fighting what appears to be a rearguard action, luring enemy BattleMechs into a trap set by hiding some of her own 'Mechs. MechWarrior Bobby Hunnel suffers critical damage to his Griffin. Preferring death to being dispossessed, he stays back to buy his comrades time to withdraw. His Griffin explodes eventually, leaving Kerensky's command lance one man short.
Conjecture implies that this is the battle which is described in the first scenario ("Natasha's Surprise") in the book's scenario section at the end. It takes place on Calloway VI in 3014. However, Bobby Hunnel and his Griffin are not mentioned in the scenario, which seems to be set immediately after the loss of his Griffin.
The Spider and the Wolf
At the ComStar HQ on Terra, Vesar Kristofur reports to the Primus on the battle on Calloway VI six months ago where Wolf's Dragoons unexpectedly managed a withdrawal. He suspects them to possess a secret BattleMech factory in the Periphery, and ComStar is worried by the thought of an operational 'Mech factory that they cannot observe. Because of this, combined with their remarkable combat prowess and Natasha Kerensky's surname, Kristofur is wary of a possible connection between Wolf's Dragoons and the exiled SLDF. He plans to inflict losses on the Dragoons, hoping that they will then undertake another resupply run to the Periphery and thus give ComStar an opportunity to track and observe them. Should he succeed in unveiling the Dragoon mystery, Kristofur hopes to capitalize on this success in order to depose the Primus and assume his place. The Primus, meanwhile, is actually aware of Kristofur's secret ambitions, but is confident that Kristofur lacks the skill to really endanger his position.
On New Delos, Dragoon Nikolai Koniev elects to serve in Kerensky's command over the prospect of being shot or exiled for crimes that include theft of Dragoon funds, when presented with a choice by Jaime Wolf. Captain Kerensky is informed of trouble brewing with the Dragoons' current employer, Anton Marik, and later meets with her lover Joshua Wolf. Meanwhile, members of her command enter a bar on Sin Street and end up in a barfight.
Jaime Wolf meets Anton Marik and refuses his demands that the Dragoons be merged into Marik's troops. Marik ultimately dismisses Wolf from the meeting, ordering him to leave Joshua Wolf as a liaison. Kristofur, having overheard the argument, reinforces Marik's fears that Wolf's Dragoons might turn against him, catering to Anton Marik's mounting paranoia.
The MechWarriors under Kerensky's command are serving penance for the barfight (cleaning their 'Mechs) when they are ordered to mount up and leave for the JumpShip at the system's zenith Jump Point. They arrive after a space journey of more than two weeks aboard a trio of Leopard-class DropShips. But when the Dragoons learn that Anton Marik took Joshua Wolf and 27 other people as hostages, they immediately turn around and return to the planet. Enroute, Jaime Wolf informs Kerensky that he he is aware of her affair with his brother, and that her unit is to lead the rescue attempt.
Back in his HQ, Anton Marik is irritated by the lack of a response from the Dragoons. Kristofur announces to the already badly beaten Joshua Wolf that he will be killed as an example to prove the hostages are no idle threat. At this, Wolf attacks his guards and grabs a weapon, but is shot by Kristofur in the process.
Enroute to the planet, the Dragoons learn of the death of the hostages and decide to burn New Delos to cinders. Kerensky's unit, which was earmarked for a rescue mission against the Duke's stronghold, has to combat drop when their DropShips come under heavy attack. Locust pilot Williams suffers a hard landing and is believed dead. The others proceed through the burning forest that Marik had ignited to protect his rear flank and assault his stronghold, which they raze. Kerensky gets to personally kill Anton Marik. Over the next two days, the Dragoons lay waste to the planet.
In the aftermath of the action, the ComStar Primus exiles Vesar Kristofur to Alpha Hydri, "five parsecs from any inhabited region". Back on New Delos, a mourning Natasha Kerensky leaves a memorial for Joshua Wolf, a five meter high stone cube with the words "Joshua Wolf, Warrior - Friend - Brother, Died 3015" and the crest of Wolf's Dragoons emblazoned on it.
- Natasha's Surprise - Board Game scenario
- Set on Calloway VI in 3014. Wolf's Dragoons were scattered during combat drops and are threatened to be overrun by loyal FWL forces. Kerensky's unit is fighting a rearguard action at an oil refinery which had originally been their mission objective. To buy the rest of the Dragoons time to withdraw in good order, they need to stop an approaching enemy company. Following a suggestion by Lieutenant Ikeda, some of her 'Mechs hide beneath the sand dunes to set a trap for the attackers.
- The Bigger They Are... - Board game scenario
- Kerensky's frontal assault on Duke Anton Marik's stronghold on New Delos on 22 October 3014. This scenario was also included in the CityTech rulebook.
- Not A Drop to Drink - MechWarrior (RPG) scenario
- Recreating the barroom brawl from the story under RPG rules, this scenario pits Takiro Ikeda, Lynn Sheridan, Mirth Harlowe and Arthur Williams against a group of Marik MechWarriors and drunks.
Unlike other comics, The Spider and the Wolf was produced in-house by FASA and its story is therefore considered fully canonical. However, being a very early product of the franchise, a number of issues exist:
- During the roll call, MechWarrior Steve Tommersom reports his 'Mech as a Hornet. However, the 'Mech seen behind him in the spot where the personal 'Mechs of the individual pilots are depicted during their reports looks very different from a Hornet, and more like a modified, or inaccurately drawn, Stinger (or a Legios/Alpha Veritech from Genesis Climber Mospeada/the New Generation saga of the Robotech series, which has no counterpart in the BattleTech universe and would likely be unseen if it had). When asked about this particular picture, the Line Developer explicitly declared it to be in error and thus, non-canonical. Further, Tommersom canonically pilots a Stinger in the company's lineup in the scenario section, and in every other publication that mentions his 'Mech. This does not rule out that he may have had a Hornet originally, but he was evidently piloting a Stinger exclusively from the formation of the Black Widow Company onward.
- Two JumpShips are shown in the comic which have a vaguely similar design that is different from virtually all other known JumpShip types. One is depicted while Kristofur reports on the Dragoons possessing "JumpShips of a type not seen for two centuries". The other is a Wolf's Dragoons JumpShip at the jump point. The latter vessel curiously bears a striking resemblance to a Federated Suns JumpShip that appears in the (apocryphal) BattleForce #2 comic by Blackthorne Publishing, possibly indicating a hitherto unnamed JumpShip type.
- According to FASA co-founder Jordan Weisman, artist David Deitrick used Weisman's wife Dawn as model for Natasha Kerensky's depiction on the front cover, as well as Jordan Weisman himself for the man depicted holding a gun.
- Although unnamed, the Primus depicted in this work was Julian Tiepolo.