Philip A. Lee
Craig A. Reed
|Development||John Helfers (Editor)|
Philip A. Lee (Editor)
|Cover Artwork||Des Hanley|
|Interior Artwork||Franz Vohwinkel|
|Publisher||Catalyst Game Labs|
|First published||17 August 2017|
Legacy (subtitle: A BattleTech Anthology) is a print anthology of thirteen short stories from different authors, plus a foreword by editor Philip A. Lee and an "About the Authors" section.
Although called an anthology, the book can arguably be described as a serial novel because the individual short story episodes narrate the overarching story of a single individual BattleMech, a Grasshopper (tentatively called the "Legacy Grasshopper" here on BattleTechWiki for lack of a better name) as it is passed down from one MechWarrior to the next over a span of three centuries.
- 1 From the back cover
- 2 Stories
- 3 Notes
From the back cover
|“||LIFE IS CHEAP. BATTLEMECHS ARE NOT.
A Draconis Combine warrior struggles with immoral orders in the First Succession War. A House Davion MechWarrior participates in a risky heist as part of Operation GUERRERO. A history buff battles the Word of Blake during the Liberation of Terra. What do these MechWarriors have in common? Each one pilots the same BattleMech, a survivor that has been repaired and rebuilt countless times throughout its long and bloody 300-year lifespan.
What's in a Name?
|What's in a Name?|
|Timeline||27 March 2779 - 13 April 2830|
Working on prototype #5 of Lantren Corporation's GHR 'Mech design project (the very 'Mech that will become the Legacy Grasshopper) on Bryant in 2779, engineer Lucia Cavaletta had a breakthrough design idea and within just sixteen hours hand-built a prototype of a device (a fluidic actuator), solving a design problem that had stymied the team for some time until now. Just as she engraves the masterpiece with her signature after having entered its specifications into the database, the facility is overrun by infiltrators who have killed the security guards. Cavaletta is captured and tortured to death over two hours for information on the project. However, it is later discovered that Cavaletta managed to mislead the intruders into stealing critically flawed design specs for an earlier prototype instead of her most recent invention.
It is implied that the GHR design was later named Grasshopper (instead of Ghost Hunter, an earlier project name) in her honor; she had submitted Grasshopper to the pool of possible names for the new 'Mech in jest.
The hand-crafted component prototype she built that night turns up on Le Blanc in 2830, reportedly salvaged from a Draconis Combine "kamikaze" 'Mech (implicitly one destroyed in one of the Combine's Chain Gang missions). McGuire, a technician, observes that it is masterfully built and performs well over specifications, and is signed like a piece of art. Rossi, his supervisor, tells him it's not an autograph, it's a label denoting the 'Mech for which it was intended: Cavaletta is Italian for grasshopper.
Swords of Light and Darkness
|Swords of Light and Darkness|
|Timeline||11 September 2796 - 17 April 2797|
During the latter days of the Kentares Massacre, Tai-i Sam Tanaka of the Sixth Sword of Light regiment resolves to hide a fugitive local girl in his Grasshopper to at least give her a few days of relative comfort; intellectually, he knows that he will ultimately be unable to save her life, and will likely be executed for treason for not killing the girl outright.
Flashbacks reveal how Tanaka's morale, and that of his entire unit, was worn down by the atrocious mass murder they were ordered to commit on the entire planet's population, how he tries to reconcile this reality with his bushido ideals of honor and duty, and how he no longer cares about his individual fate.
Fates and Fortunes
|Fates and Fortunes|
|Timeline||11 October 2840 - 23 April 2843|
Carl Lipetsk is a tech with the Capellan Cuirassiers BattleMech unit currently stationed on Phact. He is painfully aware of the elevated status of MechWarriors, whereas the supporting armor and infantry units are largely forgotten and the technical staff completely ignored.
Having noted the unique workmanship of a GHR-5H Grasshopper in the unit, Lipetsk had reached out to the manufacturer, Lantren Corporation. On 11 October 2840 he receives a verigraph message in response confirming that the 'Mech is apparently one of the very first GHR units ever produced. They offer a full factory overhaul at no cost in return for the chance to inspect and analyze the 'Mech to see how it weathered the war until now. A first attempt to ship the 'Mech out to Lantren Corporation (on Bryant) is made on 27 October, but shortly after takeoff from Phact the DropShip carrying it (the Silent Sword) is shot down by Marik raiders and crashlands.
Two days later, Carl and his subordinate Andrea arrive at the crash site and begin salvage operations. They discover the Grasshopper largely intact aboard the wreckage. Although not trained as MechWarriors, the two techs attempt to evade approaching Marik 'Mechs by piloting the Grasshopper, and manage to hold them off long enough for friendly reinforcements to arrive. Andrea is heavily wounded in the process, though.
Carl makes restoring the Grasshopper a prestige project for the technical staff, to give them focus and a goal. However, owing to frequent damage when the patched-together 'Mech has to be sent into combat time and again, the work is still unfinished when the Lantren Corporation facility on Bryant is destroyed by raiders on 18 March 2843. (Ironically, it is a GHR-5H Grasshopper 'Mech that delivers the crippling blow to the facility.) Back on Phact, where Andrea has since died of her injuries, Carl is saddened by the news that the factory was destroyed and that there will thus be no factory overhaul for the Grasshopper after all. But he resolves to fix the shot-up machine up by himself instead, part for part, "for the Chancellor" and to honor Andrea's memory.
The Forgotten Places
|The Forgotten Places|
|Timeline||12 - 25 April 2973|
On Kesai IV, 'Mech astech Olivia kills her abusive "master" Cicero Arne (of the House Davion militia) and escapes into the rock desert in a buggy on 12 April 2973. When the buggy runs out of fuel she continues on foot and by lucky chance finds a wrecked DropShip (with four 'Mech berths) buried under the sand, with the damaged but salvageable Grasshopper inside that she can reactivate. When mercenaries–the Witchwood Warriors–attack Kesai IV on 25 April, Olivia joins them with the salvaged 'Mech for a chance to leave the planet.
One Man's Trash
|One Man's Trash|
|Author||Philip A. Lee|
|Timeline||27 February - 1 March 3005|
The Legacy Grasshopper, piloted by one Leutnant Christiane Kühn, served in the 17th Arcturan Guards when they attacked Kalidasa in early 3005. On 25 February, a laser blast penetrated the cockpit, killed Lt. Kühn and partially melted the headrest. The Grasshopper was salvaged by the defending Silver Hawks Coalition and refurbished at the Kali-Yama Factory Annex on Kalidasa. Two days later, on 27 February, it was given to Sergeant Virgil "Verge" Armstrong of the Panther Assault Group, who doesn't mind the shot up condition as long as he can be a MechWarrior, and no longer just a reserve pilot–even if the 'Mech is ultimately just a walking spare parts depot for Major Szalinski who also pilots a Grasshopper.
Armstrong finds a small capsule hidden in the cockpit containing Kühn's personal belongings–a wedding ring, family photos, and an encrypted data crystal. The crystal turns out to contain a note to the Lyran raiders, ordering them to meet inbound reinforcements, the 10th Skye Rangers regiment, at Crater Hollow on 1 March.
Armstrong walks the 'Mech, which still bears the colors of the 17th Arcturan Guards, to Crater Hollow and offers to switch sides. However, his feigned surrender to the Lyran troops (who demand he hand over the 'Mech at gunpoint) is a ruse to allow the Panther Assault Group to maneuver into position for a surprise attack. In the ensuing battle, the Grasshopper is downed and Armstrong is wounded. He later learns that the expected Lyran reinforcements turned out to be no more than a battalion, a force the defenders can handle. When offered salvaged 'Mechs such as a Warhammer or Zeus from the forces at Crater Hollow, Armstrong decides to keep the Grasshopper instead, which he has come to name "Trash".
|Timeline||12 December 3038 - 10 May 3039|
Hauptmann Miles Shelley of the Third Lyran Guards RCT, who previously piloted a Stalker, spent the last two years learning mobile combat from the NAIS Cadet Cadre. Upon returning in late 3038 he is put in charge of the RCT's new Lightning Company and assigned the Grasshopper as his new 'Mech. After almost a decade in a salvage yard on Hesperus II the Grasshopper has been refurbished and upgraded with advanced or prototype weapons, but it is still the slowest 'Mech in the entire Lightning Company.
While Shelley has embraced the mobile combat doctrine, many other officers in the LCAF have not and feel it runs counter to their established tactics. During the invasion of Vega in the War of 3039, Shelley's company is tasked with relieving and rescuing a recon company in a city, against expected heavy resistance from the 14th Legion of Vega. Shelley feels that his company is not the best fit for this particular mission, and silently wonders if his superior officers are trying to discredit the Lightning Company concept by setting him up to fail.
They find themselves facing superior odds in the city after finding the remains of the recon unit, which was apparently destroyed in an ambush. They attempt a fighting retreat, but take heavy damage in the process. Leutnant Hobson, who had considered his assignment to Shelley's company a demotion from the beginning, orders his lance to fall back even when the next lance has not yet arrived at the fallback point; Hobson's lancemates disobey orders and return to provide critical assistance to the rest of the company. Eventually, their insubordination and Shelley's dogged and innovative tactics allow most of the company to extricate themselves from the city and return to base, minus two 'Mechs lost–one of them Hobson, whose 'Mech is found downed and with the cockpit kicked in a kilometer beyond the city limits.
Choices and Chances
|Choices and Chances|
|Timeline||8 July 3049 - 13 September 3050|
Sigland Idleson was a mediocre MechWarrior with the Third Lyran Guards, until she got into a fight with her own unit and subsequently left the LCAF with the Grasshopper. By 3049 she is in command of the Idle Hands mercenary lance, but the hard-luck unit is wiped out on Black Earth in mid-3049 when Idleson panics and abandons them, carrying the data core that they were sent to retrieve back to the DropShip with her. Following an argument about payment with their employer (Kelly Hunt), the embittered and guilt-ridden Idleson secretly transfers half the data from the data core to the Grasshopper, then has Hunt drop her off on Erewhon to settle down as a livestock farmer.
Although she never expected to be called up to defend the world, she finds herself facing Clan Jade Falcon forces shortly thereafter, fares poorly, and is taken bondsman as a technician caste member. Her captors leave her to one merchant captain Mattox. Realizing that Mattox is not above dodgy dealings, Idleson barters the information she withheld from Hunt (regarding, as it turned out, hidden stashes of valuables on several worlds) for Mattox's promise to return her home to Erewhon to live with her companion and her farm. Idleson also suggests to Mattox that the Grasshopper will fetch him a good price if he manages to sell it in the Inner Sphere.
The Third Pillar
|The Third Pillar|
|Timeline||21 December 3057 - 5 April 3058|
Following the sundering of the Federated Commonwealth and the recall order for Lyran units into what is now the Lyran Alliance by Katherine Steiner-Davion, only thirteen 'Mechs of the 36th Lyran Guards and a small cadre of support units chose to remain behind to garrison Tsingtao in what is now the Chaos March, to delay and harass the occupiers. The Capellan Confederation has since reclaimed the world, and in early 3058 Kommandant Philip Giacomo (currently piloting the Legacy Grasshopper as a stand-in for his niece who is still in MechWarrior academy) realizes that he cannot hope to fight a successful guerrilla campaign against Liao's Redfield Renegades mercenary battalion. Working in conjunction with secret service agent Alysheba, they instead decide on conducting a financially devastating operation against the Capellans–an intricate shell game to ultimately rob not only massive amounts of L-Bills from a convoy but on top of that even billions of FC-Bills (now phased out in favor of the Liao currency on Tsingtao) from a central depot. The heist is a spectacular success, and they escape to Outreach. Giacomo receives a personal 'Mech afterwards in recognition of his performance, and an offer to work with Alysheba's (unnamed) secret Federated Commonwealth agency.
|Timeline||12 - 15 March 3060|
This story is told from the perspective of Point Commander Ean, an aging aerospace fighter pilot lately of Clan Jade Falcon who had been taken as isorla by Clan Smoke Jaguar and had willingly joined the Jaguars' ProtoMech program. The transformation into a ProtoMech pilot affects his sanity, and he believes to be Garuda battling his mortal enemy, the Naga, having learned of the ancient legend from an Inner Sphere doctor during recuperation after Ean had been shot down over Apollo in 3050.
As of 12 May 3060, Ean, piloting a Roc, partakes in the defense of the Pahn City Factory Complex on Huntress against forces from Task Force Serpent. He assumes himself to be Garuda and during the battle fights the Legacy Grasshopper that he holds to be a Naga. Ean/Garuda is gravely injured in the fight. On 15 May he is informed that his injuries and nerve damage are crippling, but that he could pilot a ProtoMech again for a short time. Enemy forces are massing for a new attack against Pahn, the Smoke Jaguars are desperate for warriors to defend, and Ean is the only ProtoMech pilot left. Ean willingly accepts the surgery for the chance to pilot his ProtoMech one more time, even if it will likely result in (more) brain damage and further degrade his personality. Reborn as Garuda, he goes to face the Naga again later on the same day, and perishes in combat. He is implicitly killed by a discharge from the Legacy Grasshopper's large laser.
|Timeline||23 April 3063|
As the FedCom Civil War rages, the Legacy Grasshopper's (unnamed) pilot has gone rogue, and seems to be waging a personal war against both sides on the planet Newtown Square. Professional scavenger Barr Benfico is just retrieving items from a fresh battlefield on 23 April 3063 when fighting 'Mechs approach, including the Legacy Grasshopper. It fights well, but accidentally stumbles into a sinkhole, and the pilot falls unconscious.
Benfico recognizes the green Grasshopper. He had been its chief mechanic once. A faulty hydraulics seal in its left leg that Benfico had overlooked had malfunctioned in an unspecified battle situation, causing the Grasshopper to go down hard and thus causing a setback in the fighting that resulted in more losses and deaths. Benfico had subsequently been cashiered from service.
Benfico, together with Dimitri Popov from Doctors Under Fire and war correspondent Anaya Okeke move in to help the stricken 'Mech, each for their own reasons. It is a race against time as the Grasshopper slowly slides further down into the sinkhole. Benfico climbs the 'Mech and opens the cockpit hatch with an old override code while Popov, using the onboard speakers on Okeke's camera drones, directs him to give medical aid to the pilot, a young woman. She regains consciousness and jumps the 'Mech to safety. Benfico is overjoyed, feeling redeemed for his fatal mistake years earlier. Seconds later, however, he is killed by a stray laser when another 'Mech fires on the Grasshopper.
|Timeline||2 March - 19 April 3078|
- Homecoming redirects here. If you are looking for the similarly named intro fiction piece to AeroTech 2 Revised Edition, see Homecoming (2004).
Part of the Word of Blake Protectorate as of 3078, Bryant–home to Lantren Corporation some three centuries ago–is ravaged by storms ever since Amaris' troops destroyed the orbital Storm Inhibitors, and much of the surface is now uninhabitable. What remains is dependent on domes and other infrastructure. Captain Lewis Carter of the Bryant Protectorate Militia tries to keep the fighting away from urban areas to prevent potentially catastrophic collateral damage when the Seventeenth Benjamin Regulars attack Bryant to claim the world for Stone's Coalition in March of 3078.
The Legacy Grasshopper is among the attackers, now piloted by tai-i Shintaro Gustavson who seeks revenge for the deaths of his wife and son. Carter's forces are ultimately vanquished in a swamp and surrender. Debriefing Carter, Gustavson asks him why Carter fled the city, and is surprised to learn that Carter didn't flee but sought to protect the city and his own relatives living there, by moving the battle away from the city. It hadn't occurred to Gustavson that his opponents might also be fighting for loved ones. He also learns that the ruins in the swamp once were the factory that built his Grasshopper, which has now come home in a way after almost three centuries.
End of the Road
|End of the Road|
|Author||Craig A. Reed|
|Timeline||1 September - 25 December 3078|
After the loss of his Victor, Nathaniel Trivedi of Stone's Lament's third battalion is initially unhappy when he is assigned the Legacy Grasshopper during the final battles on Terra near the end of the Jihad. Upon realizing that the 'Mech is some three hundred years old and one of the first Grasshoppers ever built, however, he is fascinated by it and its history–Trivedi has been working on his doctoral thesis about military technology, and uses research into the Legacy Grasshopper to distract him from the horrors of the war.
Between battles, Trivedi and others discuss possible ways to bring down a Rattler mobile fortress among other things.
Three months later, Trivedi pilots the Legacy Grasshopper in the final battle for Devils Tower where they actually encounter Rattlers and also Omega superheavy 'Mechs and Revenant drones. The Grasshopper is downed in battle with an Omega, but superior numbers and heavy artillery support carry the day for Stone's Lament.
Awakening in a hospital on Christmas, Trivedi is relieved to learn the cockpit and his personal notes remained intact. He decides to quit soldiering and go back to being a historian, and suggests the Grasshopper be placed in a museum instead of being repaired and sent back to battle.
Epilogue: Where Legends Come to Rest
|Where Legends Come to Rest|
|Author||Philip A. Lee|
|Timeline||25 May 3084 - 30 October 3090|
War orphan William "Billy" Northrup doesn't know what to do with his life. He finds the Grasshopper's cockpit bulkhead in a museum on Terra in 3084. A plaque informs him that this bulkhead is the only piece that was preserved from a 'Mech that was built in 2779 and surrendered to Exarch Devlin Stone's Military Materiel Redemption Program in 3083. The many pilots who etched their names and other data into the bulkhead inspire him to make a lasting contribution to history, and sets him on the way to become an RAF MechWarrior.
Meanwhile back on Bryant, the hand-crafted fluidic actuator device that Lucia Cavaletta had built is still serving in an AgroMech as of October 3090.
- The Foreword expressly explains that the stories in the book are all about the identical same Grasshopper, but it says nothing about the cover image for which no corresponding story exists.
The cover image was reused from an older publication, the 2005 Mercenaries Supplemental II. It prominently depicts a Grasshopper bearing the insignia of Burton's Brigade, a mercenary unit that was formed in 3057 and merged into the Dismal Disinherited in 3067 after suffering heavy losses on Hall including the death of CO Elly Burton. If it is assumed to be the Legacy Grasshopper, this would have to be a scene after the 3058 operation on Tsingtao (The Third Pillar) and prior to the demise of Burton's Brigade in 3067. During this timeframe, Burton's Brigade was fighting on Hall for Count Radcliffe McNally and later his estate in Elly Burton's ultimately ill-fated private war against "Emperor" William Baranov.
Alternatively, it could be assumed that the Legacy Grasshopper is actually the other Grasshopper in the picture, visible in the background, with no visible unit markings. It could theoretically belong to any other faction that fought on Hall in this case, including Cater's Cohorts, Critchley's Cavaliers, Stealthy Tigers, the Word of Blake, Baranov's 4th Republican Guards, and the respective personal forces Yuri and Nikoli Ridzik, and Radcliffe McNally.
- The Legacy Grasshopper repeatedly suffers extensive damage, including the loss of entire limbs and torso sections which are then replaced during refurbishment. A significant portion of the 'Mech is thus destroyed and exchanged for spare parts over time, to the point where it might become arguable if it is indeed still the same 'Mech given that the greater part of its original components were lost (also known as the Ship of Theseus or the Grandfather's Axe problem). In End of the Road, historian Nathan Trivedi is actually called out on this, and called an idiot for regarding the 'Mech as a piece of history. However, at least part of the 'Mech obviously remained original, as the bulkhead still carried the names of its past pilots.
- Two stories from this anthology, Swords of Light and Darkness and End of the Road, were nominated by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers for their 2019 Scribe Award.