A Cover of Paint

A Cover of Paint
Product information
Type Short story
Author Christopher Purnell
Pages 19
Publication information
Publisher BattleCorps
First published 6 February 2010
Era Succession Wars era
Timeline 26 March 3026
Preceded by Dingane's Day

A Cover of Paint is a short story by Christopher Purnell that was published online on BattleCorps on 6 February 2010. A BattleCorps Unit Digest for Killian's Commandos was published two weeks later.

Although not a direct prequel, Killian's Commandos and the background of MechWarrior Lt. Luys Claessens are explored in Purnell's later story Dingane's Day.

Teaser text[edit]

When mercenaries are involved in secret raids, they're forced to watch out for both their employers and their targets.

Plot summary[edit]

Hired for a mission on Mosiro, Killian's Commandos ambush elements of the Third Defenders of Andurien where the Qallabat road cuts through the dunes of the Northern Painted Desert. The mercenaries' 'Mechs are painted in "hasty coats of Liao green." Duchy of Andurien 'Mechs pursue Lt. Luys Claessens' Recon Lance into the ambush, and Lt. Miho Sadamori's Strike Lance takes them out. The rest of the heavy Andurien company approaches, supported by six Galleons, forcing the Commando 'Mechs to retreat toward their DropShip, the Bogan.

During the withdrawal, Captain Killian contacts them and informs them that survivors of the ambushed medium lance have linked up with a heavy lance and a lance of Ontos heavy tanks, with another lance trying to cut the Commandos off from their DropShip. He orders Sadamori's battered lance to flank the Ontos platoon while his Command Lance engages them directly at a cliff formation known as the Scorpion's Nest. The Commandos engage the tanks, turning the tide with the use of inferno rounds and massed PPC fire.

To delay the Defenders of Andurien's pursuit, the mercenaries shatter a natural arch over the canyon entrance, then disperse through the maze of canyons that constitutes the Scorpion's Nest and return safely to the Bogan. Back at the DropShip, Captain Killian confirms the successful completion of their contract—distract a company of Andurien troops from field exercises and do some damage. Luys Claessens guesses their employer is House Davion, but Killian responds that the information is classified.

Several hours later, outbound on the DropShip, Luys angrily storms into the ship's mess with news reports from Mosiro. He accuses Killian of having turned the unit into pirates—pulling the Defenders of Andurien away from guard duty at the winter estate of Tarak ben Aden, MP from Andurien, allowed a lone Vindicator to breach the walls and kill him. Miho notes that Ben-Aden was an isolationist involved in a feud with Duke Halas of Oriente, who had accused Ben-Aden of trying to assassinate him previously. Killian responds that the contract was bonded and negotiated through ComStar channels, with all indications being that House Liao raided the world.

The crew continues to speculate on the identity and motivations of their employer, but Killian remains tight lipped. Miho notes that Ben-Aden had favored peace on the Andurien/Capellan border, and suspects Dame Catherine Humphreys might have been behind the assassination—eliminating a domestic political critic, increasing anti-Liao sentiment in the Duchy of Andurien, and pointing suspicion at her rival, Duke Halas of Oriente.

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The mission's true background and the identity of their employer, which Killian is unwilling to share if he even knows it, is left open in the story. The BattleCorps Unit Digest for Killian's Commandos, written from a knowledgeable agency within ComStar as of 3026, remarks that their "last contract involved abetting an assassination on Mosiro for Magestrix Kyalla Centrella," solving the mystery.