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|Author||Steven Mohan Jr.|
|First published||28 June 2005|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Timeline||28 December 2787|
Broken Blade is a short story by Steven Mohan Jr. that was published online on BattleCorps on 28 June 2005. It was also published in print in the second BattleCorps print anthology, First Strike, and in the free BattleCorps Fiction Sampler.
|“||The first battle for Hesperus hearkens the darkness of the First Succession War. Steve Mohan Illustrates this with his tale of two sides in the first of many battles for the critical world.||”|
In December of 2787 Danver McEdwards, a First Leutnant in the 30th Lyran Guards, participates in the First Battle of Hesperus II in the defense of the planet and experiences a new type of total and merciless warfare. Dubbed Operation Broken Blade, the Draconis Combine assault aims to destroy as much of Hesperus' valuable factories as possible. During the battle, when the DCMS troops try to break through the Lyran defenders, McEdwards' Sentinel is heavily damaged by an enemy Thug and only survives because of an orbital bombardment that erroneously goes down in the middle of the battlefield and separates the two combatants from each other. After surviving this encounter, McEdwards retreats to a Defiance Industries vehicle factory, which serves as a field repair camp, to repair his BattleMech. Here he finds that the fight with the Thug snapped his ancient family heirloom, a broadsword, that he carries with him to signify centuries of civilization.
At the same time Tai-i Aiko Makita, the pilot of the Kurita Thug takes advantage of the moment of confusion after the orbital attack to break, together with her company, through the Lyran lines unrecognized. Her goal is to overcome the perimeter defense and destroy said vehicle facility.
At the factory, McEdwards learns of the approaching enemies, after his Sentinel breaks down. Together with another MechWarrior, who also pilots a Sentinel, and the factory workers the First Leutnant decides to defend the complex. When Makita arrives, she and the only other remaining member of her company, who pilots a Kintaro, enter the building, where they are attacked by industrial robots and cranes. Finally they encounter a Sentinel and the pilot of the Kintaro, frustraded by the mysterious attacks, chases after it. Despite Makita's warnings his 'Mech skids on grease and falls next to a pressure vessel, which is ignited by the Sentinel and sets the Kintaro on fire. Makita believes her fellow MechWarrior dead and leaves the building to circumvent the dangerous area to reach the deuterium tanks and destroy the whole complex.
Outside she comes under fire by several brand new Hunter tanks. When she counterattacks, the vehicle crews leave their vehicles and flee and the Tai-i recognizes that they are simple factory workers and no soldiers. Infuriated, she attacks them and the Sentinel arrives too late to prevent her from cutting them all down. Instead the Lyran 'Mech gets shot in the back while it tries to flee and collapes to the ground. She arrives at the fallen 'Mech just in time to see how the Lyran MechWarrior leaves his Sentinel. Beaten, the pilot signals his surrender only to get smashed by Makita's Thug.
Now McEdwards's attack comes too late to save the other pilot's life. He is piloting his own prone Sentinel whose unexpected attack surprises the Combine MechWarrior and destroys one of the Thug's legs. Makita is subsequently captured by Lyran infantry.
When she learns of the Combine retreat, she is afraid that she is about to be tortured or executed and disbelieves McEdwards, who tells her that she will be surrendered to the Combine troops together with the Kintaro pilot who survived after all. Though furious about the murder of retreating and surrendering people, McEdwards refuses to kill her. Instead he wants to keep his tiny corner of the battle honorable and just, and proudly bears the broken blade of his ancestors' broadsword.
- Though the vehicle factory where the main part of the story takes place is supposed to produce Hunter tanks and several participate in the battle, this missile carrier was in fact first introduced in 2937. Since the Master Unit List and its dates take precedence, the Hunters featured in the story must be assumed to be another, older combat vehicle type. Alternatively, they may have been meant to be Manticore tanks which were produced here during that time, and also feature a LRM launcher.
- Automated defenses were present around Defiance Industries. It is unknown if they are truly automated (e.g. ATAC) or merely remotely controlled.