A Skein of Schemes

A Skein of Schemes cover.jpg
A Skein of Schemes
Product information
Type Novella
Author Randall N. Bills
Cover artwork David Kerber
Publication information
Publisher MechaPub Inc
Catalyst Game Labs
First published 06 December 2019
Era Succession Wars era
Timeline 14 April 3009 - 2 July 3011
Series MechWarrior 5: Origins
Preceded by Knives in the Dark
Followed by Obligation's Forge

A Skein of Schemes, subtitled A MechWarrior 5 Origins Series Story, Installment 7, is an original BattleTech novella penned by Randall N. Bills, offered as a free tie-in product supporting the MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries computer game. It was originally released in electronic format on 06 December 2019, before being also included in an electronic omnibus collection on 12 December 2019, two days after the game's launch. The novella was later re-released as part of The Mercenary Life anthology released 12 April 2021, with an additional author post-script.

Plot summary[edit]

On Hesperus II Sebastian Spears meets with two other high ranking members of Interstellar Expeditions as he attempts to convince them that the organization can do more than simply recovering lost knowledge to proactively working towards preventing the Inner Sphere slide into endless war. Both warn Spears that IE has survived this long because it has not directly confronted the Great Houses and ComStar's destructive actions, and that while they chose not to oppose him for now that nothing will save him if he puts the rest of the organization at risk.

Elsewhere in the the Inner Sphere the machinations of those great powers focus on inciting or preventing civil war between Anton and Janos Marik. Director of the Maskirovka Chandra Ling gains additional resources from Chancellor Maximillian Liao to escalate tensions on the League world of Emris IV in favor of Anton, while at the same time seeking to secretly gain a measure of control over his fearsome Death Commandos. On Terra Primus Julian Tiepolo personally meets with Precentor ROM Vesar Kristofur to subtly manipulate the younger man into using Anton to deal with the "Wolf's Dragoons problem" - and taking the blame if the scheme backfires. In the Federated Suns the head of MI4 Marshal Ulinov Debreber sends his best agent to infiltrate the Duke of Procyon's staff to stymie the Confederation's efforts, fearful he's engaging in treason because he is doing so at the behest not of the First Prince but his brother "The Fox" Hanse Davion.

From an office on Irian Sebastian Spears reviews the ripples caused by these movements as Chloe Reed and Nikoli Mason arrive to discuss a new contract on Emris IV to investigate a supposed SLDF LosTech cache, but the pair quickly recognize its similarities to the situation on McKenna, demanding answers from Spears. Realizing he may lose their loyalty, he agrees to share a measure of his motivations and his past, if Chloe will do the same. As Spears talks of his youth and overriding drive to stop the further loss of knowledge, Chloe reveals that she is a Terran born technical savant trained by ComStar as a MechWarrior and military technology researcher that fled the Blessed Order after losing faith in it's doctrine. With Spears and Reed recognizing the idealism of the other following these discussions, the Cavaliers accept Spears' contract.

With additional resources from Spears and Aerospace Fighter support, the Cavaliers are ultimately successful in their true mission of stopping the "pirate" raiders on Emris IV from fomenting disloyalty to the Captain-General. Elsewhere, Stealthy Fox agent Hannah is forced to purge her team of MI6 agents after realizing ROM has discovered them. On Sian Chandra Ling is less concerned about the loss of four Death Commandos and more about that there seems to be a spy for Interstellar Expeditions in the Maskirovka, while on Terra Primus Tiepolo is pleased that the Chancellor has agreed to meet personally with Anton Marik, progressing ComStar's plan. Back on Irian, Spears shares a bed with a Alexa McCorkendale who acknowledges that the small success on Emris IV proves Spears was right, agreeing to back his new direction - for now.

Featured Characters[edit]

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Aerospace Fighters[edit]


  • [[Leopard-Class

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