Tales from the Cracked Canopy: Blind Arrogance

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Tales from the Cracked Canopy: Blind Arrogance
Story information
Author Craig A. Reed, Jr.
Pages 13
Type Short Story
Product Shrapnel Issue 1
Era Clan Invasion Era
Timeline 5 January 3052 - 12 January 3090
Series Tales from the Cracked Canopy
Followed by Giving Up

First in a loose series, Tales from the Cracked Canopy: Blind Arrogance is a short story by Craig A. Reed, Jr. that was published in the first issue of Shrapnel on 15 June 2020.

The story introduced the Tales from the Cracked Canopy series format that is used as a framing device for the narrative. In Blind Arrogance, Manny Totske gives the Waco Rangers' perspective on the events during the Battle of Coventry from the novel Malicious Intent. He tells how the Waco Rangers were effectively annihilated on Coventry, a defeat that sent the once-famed unit on a downward spiral which would culminate in the infamous part the unit's remnant played in the Scouring of Outreach.

Plot summary[edit]

In the Cracked Canopy, a Solaris City MechWarrior bar in the International Zone, an old MechWarrior orders a drink and asks Sedge, the bartender and narrator, about a wall covered by all kinds of items (unit patches, photos, armor pieces, even old weapons). Sedge tells him it's the Memory Wall, a commemorative place for remembering lost friends and destroyed units. The client then produces an old patch from a pocket – a Waco Rangers patch, and when Sedge remarks that this unit is now in somewhat ill repute, the MechWarrior—Manny Totske, formerly of the Waco Rangers—tells his story:

Manny had joined the Rangers back in 3050, when they were a respectable unit, and took the Death Oath (for the Waco Rangers' infamous feud with Wolf's Dragoons) like everybody else in the Rangers had, even though he felt it was little more than an old joke.

When Clan Jade Falcon attacked Coventry in 3058, both the Waco Rangers and Wolf's Dragoons were sent to defend, and tensions erupted even before they joined the battle. Rangers CO Wayne Rogers blamed the Dragoons for the fact that the Waco Rangers and the Crazy Eights, a minor unit associated with the Rangers, were held in reserve. When they were finally sent into the battle, Manny's lance, from Leonard McCarthy's company, was deployed on a flank. Manny piloted his Marauder; his lancemate Ariadne Sherbow a Griffin, Parker LaBelle a Whitworth and Hector Shirotan a Dervish.

Paranoid about the Dragoons and determined to one-up them, the Rangers ignored Caradoc Trevena's warnings about a likely trap and entered the Dales region. Heavier Clan Jade Falcon units rained missiles down on them. McCarthy ordered his men to stand their ground, fearful of the Dragoons laughing at them. A cockpit hit killed Ariadne instantly, and after Mace McCarthy downed her killer, an enemy Masakari destroyed Parker's and Hector's 'Mechs, killing them both in seconds.

After McCarthy's 'Mech was downed, Totske took company command and ordered the company to retreat, but it was too late. Surrounded and trapped, the intervention of Trevena's forces – with assistance from Wolf's Dragoons – was the only thing that saved at least some of the Waco Rangers and Crazy Eights. During the rest of the campaign, the remaining Rangers only played a minimal role. After the Falcons retreated, Trevena knocked Colonel Rogers out cold without speaking a word.

When McCarthy later blamed the disaster on Manny's retreat order and refused to recognize the Rangers' mistakes, Manny hit him as well, walked out, and cut his patch from his uniform.

After telling his story, Manny mentions how he had spent thirty years with the Tooth of Ymir, and now he is returning home. He thanks Sedge for listening, and leaves the patch for the Wall.

Weeks later, Sedge put the patch up on the wall, along with a picture showing all of Manny's dead lance members, and a fragment of 'Mech armor as a headstone listing the years of the foundation and destruction of the Rangers and the phrase "Blind Arrogance killed us", musing how Wayne Waco's blind hate infected his unit, and how the real Rangers were destroyed on Coventry, calling the attack on Outreach only the last twitch of the unit's corpse.

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