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|Author||Blaine Lee Pardoe|
|First published||3 February 2011|
|Timeline||13 August 3068 - 3 October 3070|
|Series||Son of Blake|
|Preceded by||The Loyal Son|
|Followed by||Defiant Stand|
|“||In this next installment of Blaine Pardoe's popular Son of Blake sequence, Raul Tinker takes the war to a whole new level!||”|
Following his exploits as a Word of Blake MechWarrior on Bryant and his initiative, quick thinking and leadership abilities when he was caught up in the Case WHITE attack on Terra, junior Precentor Raul Tinker is hand-picked for the Word of Blake's Special Warfare Operations School (SWOP) and transferred to the training planet Haddings.
Haddings is a "lost world" that was devastated and depopulated by the Succession Wars, leaving only a few thousand survivors eking out a 17th-century technology levels life when ComStar revisited the world in 3028. After the schism, Word of Blake turned it into a secret holding where urban warfare is taught in the deserted and largely ruined cities. The devastation also serves to remind the trainees of the level of destruction wrought by weapons of mass destruction, and how these must not be used recklessly while at the same time Raul's training includes the use of pack-nukes, small, backpack-sized nuclear warheads.
Raul's team includes Adept Kim Dawson, a native from Haddings who grew up in a primitive village that still had a blacksmith and a ferrier; she is fanatically loyal to the Word of Blake for the technological blessings the order brought to Haddings. Despite finding her very attractive, Raul decides against pursuing a relationship while she is his subordinate. Using Raul's unorthodox and out-of-the-box thinking his team achieve their objective in the graduation exercise.
On 30 May 3070 Raul and his team arrive on Muskegon in the Federated Suns with orders to prevent the First Muskegon Capellan March Militia, a volunteer combined arms regiment raised by the locals, from leaving the world for deployment against the Word of Blake elsewhere. Adept Kilrain wants to use the two pack-nukes to destroy altogether a battalion of militia at two of their largest bases, but Raul thinks it would not be enough and instead opts to wage a war of terror to tie the militia down. Over the next months they carry out sabotage and terror acts including subway bombings, sabotaging large bridges, cutting the world's third-largest city off by destroying all six of its large traffic bridges and both underwater cable shunts, and destroying aerospace fighters on the ground. Four BattleMechs smuggled to Muskegon add a military dimension to the threat. While this indeed raises security concerns and forces General Hanks to deploy his militia forces for security, ultimately the base of operations for the Word of Blake forces is found out (implicitly with the help of intelligence analyst Francis Lyman on Markesan, who is specifically hunting for Raul Tinker since the events on Bryant) and overrun, ending the threat. The militia subsequently prepares to leave the world and join the battle against the Word of Blake with great fanfare.
With most of his forces destroyed, Raul resorts to using the nuclear weapons after all, after having previously tried to keep civilian casualties as low as possible for a credible terror campaign. They manage to exchange an ammunition crate aboard a DropShip for one containing a pack-nuke and Adept Kilrain, who volunteered for the suicide mission. At the jump point Kilrain sets off the bomb to devastating effect, reportely killing two thirds of the militia regiment and destroying a JumpShip and several DropShips.
The deaths of hundreds of enemy soldiers in this attack gives Raul some feelings of guilt, as he would have preferred to tie them down with low-level terrorism and a much lower body count, but he also reasons that ultimately, these soldiers were going to fight Word of Blake troops and his action also saved countless lives.
As he is about to leave Muskegon, Adept Kim Dawson is found dead. In her last message to Raul she explains that she committed suicide because she had thought the Word of Blake order to be a force for good, and could not bear the terror attacks they had to carry out in the irregular war that was the Jihad. The success of Kilrain's mission had pushed her over the edge. It leaves Raul to question his own position, and if maybe she had been the smart one to take her own life rather than do bad things to protect the order.