Fall Down Seven Times, Get up Eight
|Fall Down Seven Times, Get up Eight
|Randall N. Bills
|12 April 2005;
16 May 2011 (re-release)
|Star League era (Age of War)
|A Dish Served Cold
Fall Down Seven Times, Get up Eight (Proliferation, Part IV) (full title), by Randall N. Bills, is the fourth story in the Proliferation Cycle. It narrates how the Draconis Combine (then under the rule of House Von Rohrs) first obtained BattleMech technology.
|House Kurita struggles to capture plans for the most powerful war machine ever built...but does so under the albatross of a Coordinator intent on reshaping his realm into a mirror of his hate.
|The samurai of the Draconis Combine will not allow themselves to be outdone by the teki of the Federated Suns or Terran Hegemony--the BattleMech shall be theirs!
Almost-thirteen-year-old Takeda Tesuo cannot dissuade his older brother Ito Tesuo from leaving the family to remove another mouth to feed when their small goji farm falls on hard times in 2415. This leads to an estrangement between the two brothers, who proceed to follow different life paths while the Draconis Combine is struggling under House Von Rohrs's rule.
Ito Tesuo, always caring for his friends and family and driven to succeed for them, joins the secret service. An Internal Security Force analyst by 2435, he is among the first to realize BattleMech production on Hesperus II for what it is and subsequently becomes the ISF's highest-ranking field operative. However, over the course of more than two decades, his work is repeatedly hampered by his superiors, especially the Coordinator, and Ito is increasingly frustrated and disillusioned. In 2459 he is finally recalled for having ultimately failed to obtain BattleMech plans for the Combine.
Meanwhile, younger Takeda Tesuo, driven to succeed on his own, joins the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery and graduates from the Sun Tzu School of Combat top of his class in 2428; however, by this time he has a strained relationship with his family (claiming that he has no family) and reacts angrily when he receives a letter from his family upon graduation. After a brilliant career battling on over fifty worlds for the DCMS, including guerrilla warfare on St. John in 2439, he is eventually chosen to command Draconis Elite Strike Team One in 2457.
In 2460 the brothers meet again for the first time in 45 years. Takeda chastises his older brother for being a failure and accuses him of treason for questioning the Coordinator, then reveals that his soldier team will succeed in one quick strike in what Ito and his ISF failed to obtain in 20 years. Ito, an intelligence expert with twenty years of experience on the security of the Hesperus complex, unsuccessfully tries to convince Takeda of the futility of the attempt, then uses old acquaintances to arrange one last mission: A raid on the Lyran Commonwealth 'Mech factory at Coventry by DEST Two.
DEST One performs remarkably well, but is still overmatched and destroyed by the Terran Hegemony defenders on Hesperus. Takeda is killed by a defending BattleMech, admitting that Ito was right with his last thoughts. Meanwhile, DEST Two succeeds in stealing the plans.
After the raids, Coordinator Kozo Von Rohrs is decidedly unhappy that his own plan failed while a disgraced ISF officer managed the feat successfully by commandeering another DEST team. When Ito realizes that the blame for DEST One's failure will be laid at Takeda's feet to absolve the Coordinator, he offers his life to ensure his beloved brother's memory will not be sullied. Von Rohrs accepts.
- Alkaid (mentioned)
- Hesperus II
- Lovinac (mentioned)
- New Samarkand
- St. John
- Ito Tesuo's final exam to join the ranks of the ISF–having to battle an imported Pesht Predator Ape with a spear–appears to have been dropped from subsequent admissions criteria. The Intelligence Operations Handbook, p. 62, describes ISF cadet training in 3055 as an intensive infantry combat program, grueling psychological and intellectual assessments, and classes in psychological warfare, weapons training and cultural familiarization. It notes that Voice of the Dragon candidates so rarely encounter combat situations that they are given a less intensive weapons course. No mention is made of a "trial by combat" final exam.
- Despite the clear evidence of the Lyran Commonwealth's involvement in the theft of BattleMech technology (having deployed their Mackie clones on Loric in 2459), Lyran troops are shown fighting side-by-side with Hegemony security forces in the battle against DEST One on Hesperus II in 2461.
- The 2019 EPUB cover art is erroneously credited to Franz Vohwinkel rather than Klaus Scherwinski (signature visible).