By Any Other Name
|By Any Other Name|
|Author||James D. Long|
|Era||Clan Invasion era|
A drunken Badicus O'Shea of Carstairs Stables emerges from a bar on Solaris VII with his girlfriend Elaine, boastfully promising he will easily triumph in his match tomorrow, dismissing her concerns that Warwick, stablemaster of the lance O'Shea will fight, may have a trick up his sleeve. A mysterious figure in the shadows interrupts and berates O'Shea for underestimating his opponent. As O'Shea begins to question if the encounter was all in his head, the figure physically assaults him, apologizing that while he has no personal grudge O'Shea has something that he needs, before knocking him unconscious.
The next day, an angry and skeptical Carstairs meets with one Jeremiah Rose who is offering his services and seems to know entirely too much about the background of the match and O'Shea being unable to fight. Seemingly unflappable, Rose calmly relates why he has traveled to Solaris - an ex-soldier who lost his BattleMech fighting the Clans - but that he has proven unsuccessful in buying a new 'Mech. Carstairs ultimately agrees to let Rose buy the Shadow Hawk O'Shea was to pilot in return for fighting in the match if Rose agrees to tell him of his last engagement against the Clans, wishing to hear the story from someone who really there, deducing that Rose was either ComStar or Clan, and making him rare bird.
As he unsuccessfully tries to convince them of his skills, Rose learns from his lance commander Esmeralda that he is rumored to Warwick lance's primary target. The entire lance quickly learns Warwick and Carstairs have secretly agreed on no ranged weapons physical combat match, putting them at dangerous disadvantage. But through luck, skill and perseverance Rose and his lancemates ultimately triumph. With Carstair's lance the winners, Rose is please to have secured a 'Mech with none of his lancemates having died in the process. Looking to the future, Rose vows to extract payment on the Clan invaders for all they took from him.
- This story is largely an abbreviated and altered version of Chapters 10 through 12 of the BattleTech novel Main Event by the same author. The fact it predates the release of the novel indicates it actually be the prototype or that this story was expanded to become the novel.
- Notable differences between the short story and the novel include:
- Warrick comes from the Free Worlds League, where his novel counterpart is of Lyran Commonwealth origin.
- While the short story cuts away after O'Shea hits the ground, Elaine's betrayal and assassination attempt is referenced by Rose in his preceeding discussion with Carstairs.
- When Rose tells Esmerelda he is the best there is, in the novel she dismissively believe Rose is claiming to be the next Kai Allard-Liao, while in the short story she prosaically question if it will be enough.