|Cover artwork||Alex Pascenko|
|Publisher||Ulisses Spiele GmbH|
|First published||25 January 2012|
|MSRP|| 10,00 € (print)|
7,99 € (epub)
|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Timeline||7 August 3015-29 September 3030|
|Series|| Classic BattleTech Novels|
The Andurien Wars
Written as an introduction into the Andurien Wars series, the novel is somewhat unusual in that it consists of loose and barely connected plotlines that primarily serve to provide character exposition for subsequent books in the series. Although Craw's previous novel, Karma, is not technically a part of the Andurien Wars series, Präludium is also a sequel (and for some characters also a prequel) to Karma, expanding on several storylines from that book.
An Epub version is available since 27 November 2012.
- 1 Canonicity
- 2 From the back cover (translated from German)
- 3 Plot Summary
- 4 Other scenes
- 5 Featured Characters
- 6 Featured Systems
- 7 Featured BattleTech
- 8 Notes
Written in German and exclusively published in that language so far, Präludium does not meet the current criteria for Canon in the BattleTech universe. As an official product published under a valid license, it should be regarded as apocryphal.
From the back cover (translated from German)
|“|| Catherine Humphreys is considered an angel: a cherub with a flaming sword. This is the prelude to the Andurien Wars. For decades, House Humphreys have been pursuing their goal like a bloodhound that cannot let go of the trail of its prey. Society events within the League, diplomatic provocation and deliberate raids—any battlefield is good to harm the arch-enemy. The Andurians keep out of the firestorm of the Fourth Succession War. Smiling coldly, for they know: With the remains of the Capellan Confederation drifting like smoking ruins in space, the time has come to order the regiments of the Defenders of Andurien into action.
But is the Confederation really a mortally wounded animal awaiting the killing stroke? For its Warrior Houses the humiliation of defeat is hard to bear, and in the shadows a unit is lurking that is darker than everything the Inner Sphere knows. There, Jen Xiao undergoes training to surpass all limits, to forge elite soldiers into high priests of death.
The novel consists of several loosely connected scenes revolving around the lead-up to, and the immediate aftermath of, the Duchy of Andurien's secession from the Free Worlds League, their fledgling alliance with the Magistracy of Canopus and their declaration of war against the Capellan Confederation. The main plotlines are Jen Xiao's training to become a Death Commando, the actions of House Humphreys to enact Andurien's secession, and the continued rise of the Ash Witch cult. Protagonists from both sides of the conflict are introduced, and many characters from the previous novel Karma reappear.
Death Commando Training
On 7 August 3015, thirteen years prior to the events from Karma, several youths from the cavern city of Bram-Ze on Niomede-4 including young militia MechWarrior recruit Jen Xiao, his sister Goda and his future girlfriend Meh travel to the neighboring underground city of Wa-L-Sum for a contest among local children that involves recovering pyrite from deserted (and off-limits) mining caves. In a chance encounter they witness servitor castemen being hunted down by troops and ultimately shot by a noblewoman as a hunting sport. Warrior House Fujita is in the process of brutally clearing out a settlement of unowned servitors, capturing suitable five-year old children for their training cadre and killing all others.
Following his heroic exploits in Karma, Jen is proposed as a candidate for the Death Commandos by Duke Tell and arrives on Grand Base on 3 May 3029 together with his servant Oala. Jen meets his instructors and fellow cadet Elisa Miwong, with whom he soon begins a relationship, though the very harsh and cruel training regimen in Chángyè Chéng, the City of Death, leaves little time for anything else. Elisa is the daughter of Shonso Jukon Miwong of Grand Base, who owns and operates a large 'Mech maintenance facility on Gebrar Island.
Upon finding out that Oala has joined the Ash Witch cult Elisa makes the servita take her to one of the meetings out of curiosity on 8 August, and accepts an injection of silicates, thinking her body fit enough to cope. However, she falls into a coma. This reckless endangering of her life is regarded as a violation of her Death Commando vows by the trainers. Over the desperate pleas of her father it is decided that the remaining six cadets including Jen have to bludgeon her to death with wooden clubs. Jen hands Oala over to a Mandrissa to be her new owner (incidentally the same noblewoman who killed servitors for sport fourteen years earlier on Niomede, but had a change of heart since and has taken to caring for servitors and preparing them for their philosophical exam to become full citizens).
During the Vidtape Finals festival on Thurrock in February 3029 a gossip reporter in the Miner X space habitat complex hosting the event happens to overhear a conversation between Dame Catherine Humphreys and Magestrix Kyalla Centrella that indicates an alliance has already been forged between them. Catherine catches the reporter but then decides to let her go, reasoning that spreading some rumors may help to prepare her people for the upcoming secession.
The members of House Humphreys meet in a secure location on Thurrock on the next day. Besides discussing the gossip reporter and preparing measures to control her if necessary, the clan discuss the progress of their various tasks and projects to gain influence and Catherine announces to the assembled family that Kyalla Centrella is agreeable to House Humphrey's proposal. Richard, Catherine's estranged son, shall be brought back from his exile to fulfill his duty to the family.
On 5 May, Dame Catherine makes an appearance in parliament on Atreus and announces that the mortally wounded Capellan Confederation deserves nothing but a coup de grâce. Two days later, on the hostile ice world of Xanthe III, she informs Richard that he is expected to marry Kyalla Centrella's daughter Emma Centrella.
On 11 September 3030 the Duchy of Andurien officially secedes from the Free Worlds League and simultaneously declares war on the Capellan Confederation, to the thunderous applause of the population who are celebrating in the streets. Four of the five Defenders of Andurien regiments plus mercenary forces are sent out with sealed orders to attack various Capellan worlds...
The Ash Witch Cult
On Niomede-4, a religious sect known as the Grays (for donning gray robes and using gray makeup) has spread. Based on Niomede's local Worm Cult, they revere the comatose body of Ju Tang, the "Ash Witch" who led the Capellan militia during the recent raid by Andurien forces in a patriotic frenzy and miraculously survived a hit from a 'Mech laser. Her scorched body was brought to Principia, the Ducal seat of Duke Pao Tell of Sax, for treatment and has since undergone an inexplicable transformation. The Grays believe the meandering scars on her body hold messages, and interpreters attempt to divine their meaning. The cult has also adopted a custom of injecting silicate compounds taken from Niomede Worms, despite sometimes severe adverse effects for health.
Former militia MechWarrior Niu Doun, the pariah whose public appearance effectively spawned the cult when he declared Ju Tang a prophet, is finally put on trial on 18 February 3029 for his cowardly retreat from the battle line in the recent raid and on trumped-up charges of participation in a riot that damaged the Worm Temple. However, he is now widely considered a prophet and a holy man. During his trial, Niu Doun turns the tables on the prosecution and accuses her of having lost her way, then explains to the attending philosophical examinator how the cult will not challenge the Chancellor's authority. With Doun in control of the assembled masses, Refrector Yü and the rest of the court realize that convicting Doun could spark an uprising. Yü's authority is further undermined when even the prosecutor publicly joins the cult on the spot.
Meanwhile on Principia, Dr. Yol Song, who is tasked with looking after Ju Tang's body, is ordered by Duke Tell to prepare a body double as a precaution should Ju Tang awaken or die, so that Duke Tell would retain some leverage over the increasingly powerful sect. (Dr. Yol Song was previously deeply involved in creating the Hanse Davion doppelgänger.) The volunteer double is one Subcommander Wong, implied to be a Maskirovka operative, who is perfectly willing to have her body mutilated accordingly.
On 5 January 3026, Magestrix Kyalla Centrella is approached by a scion of House Selaj with a proposal to intensify cooperation between their respective Houses in the military and intelligence fields, as he perceives the Free Worlds League to be unraveling. She agrees to think about his proposal.
Colonel Askan Yü, militia colonel and the younger brother of Refrector Elam Yü of Niomede-4, is still smarting about how Andurien BattleMechs mopped the floor with his poorly trained and led troops in the recent raid on Niomede. Hoping to bring the fight to the enemy in a personal vendetta, he includes himself with a Capellan tank regiment on medical leave to Scarborough in the Free Worlds League (medical aid provided on grounds of the Concord of Kapteyn). With the hated 4th Defenders of Andurien regiment on-planet, Yü plants a bomb at the hospital on 2 December 3028, hoping to incite an uprising of the Capellan troops residing on the world. The attempt is marginally successful, but BattleMechs including a Firestarter piloted by Lieutenant Carmilla Tzevasta successfully contain the uprising within a day. Yü dies in the fighting, and ultimately the incident only serves to reinforce Andurien hatred of the Capellan Confederation.
Following the recent raid on Niomede, Flag Captain Pavel Padura is transferred to the 6th Defenders of Andurien with the prospect of becoming a battalion commander, while his friend Walter Kemben (one of the officers who refused to break through the lostech airlocks of the city of Bram-Ze during the raid, regarding it as a war crime) has resigned and returned to the seminary and becomes a Catholic priest. However, Walter ends up as a military chaplain with the 6th Defenders regiment when the regiment is ordered to seize Grand Base in 3030. The campaign is hard from the very beginning, when the desperate Capellan defenders go so far as to attack the invading JumpShips, and the recharge station is captured in a doggedly fought boarding action with high casualties.
Elements of the 4th Defenders of Andurien including Carmilla Tzevasta and famous Hermes II scout pilot Zahn "The Dreamer" Vinge raid an industrial complex on Palladaine in January 3029 but encounter stiff Capellan resistance. Carmilla is forced to abandon her trapped Firestarter but cannot live with the prospect of becoming dispossessed. Before the Capellans can salvage it, she brazenly recaptures it with the help of an infantry squad.
The Tamarind Flag Contest, an annual competition since 3012, is held between cadets of the Allison MechWarrior Institute and the Lloyd Marik-Stanley Aerospace School on New Olympia, and the militia. The goal is for competing teams from the schools to infiltrate a militia facility and steal a flag from a prison cell, with the time and place announced only a week beforehand. In 3030 the flag is placed inside Satal, an offshore fortification. The aerospace cadet team narrowly wins, and thereby wins the respect of the staff. Following the declaration of Andurien secession, the Andurien cadets and Leutenient-Commander Patrick Hens decide to commandeer a spacecraft and desert. They are discovered as they approach the vessel inside the hangar on 24 September, but to their surprise Admiral Juliens has the entire academy on parade outside, presents each deserter with honorable discharge documents, and, after a brief speech reminding them to bring honor to their academy, they are permitted to board the spacecraft with the other cadets forming a cordon of crossed rapiers.
- Grand Base
- New Olympia
- Hermes II
- Florence (prototype RescueMech)
- Gacela, a JumpShip of unspecified type carrying elements of the 6th Defenders of Andurien
- Deuterium, a DropShip or Small Craft of unspecified type suitable for passenger transport
- Although it is not spelled out, the brutal purge of servitor castemen from their caves near Wa-L-Sum on Niomede-4 in 3015 presumably has to do with the secret research facility that was built there in that year and is at the center of the events described in the novel Karma.
- The bombing of the hospital on Scarborough, the subsequent uprising of Capellan troops and the brief Andurien occupation of Palladaine is mentioned in Historical: Brush Wars (p. 45); SAFE investigated the matter and apparently believed Andurien carried out the bombing.
- There is a passing reference to the events on Tamarind from the novel Früchte voll Bitterkeit (set in 2603, over four centuries prior): They are described as the inspiration behind the Tamarind Flag Contest.
- When taking the travel times to the jump points into account it seems impossible that Catherine Humphreys could have appeared in parliament on Atreus and meet Richard on Xanthe III two days later already.