|Also known as||"Legend Killer"|
"Ghost" (questionable; see Notes)
|Died||5 May 3027|
|Title(s)||Solaris Grand Champion|
Gray Noton was an early 31st century MechWarrior, mercenary, information broker, and seven-time Solaris VII Champion. His 'Mech was the famous Legend-Killer, an appellation that was also used for Noton himself.
(It is possible that Noton's biography was doctored at least to a degree; see notes below.)
Early days on Solaris
Reportedly arriving on Solaris VII as a stowaway at some point prior to 3010, the young Noton started his career with a minor (unnamed) Class One stable. The driven MechWarrior swiftly rose through ranks but declined to move into the Unlimited Class (or Open Class) despite numerous offers.
The (apocryphal) write-up on Gray Noton in BattleTechnology, states that Noton indentured himself to a Class One stablemaster at age 14, i.e. in 2999. Defeating all comers in his weight class and a few above him within a year, he was considered a natural talent. It is also noted that Noton himself neither denied reports about his background nor ever expanded upon the stories.
According to the (equally apocryphal) novella Catastrophe Unlimited Noton was an established star on Solaris VII by 3001, i.e. at age 16. He was also said to have brought his own 'Mech to Solaris VII and "capped" (killed) a contender in his second fight, and that he had been a mercenary before arriving on Solaris VII.
At age 25, Noton left Solaris VII to fight as a mercenary in the Periphery before returning five years later in 3015 at the controls a brand-new Rifleman, finally announcing his intention to complete in the Class Five arenas.
The BattleTechnology write-up provides some more detail, namely, that he served with a company assigned to clean up periphery bandits in the Rim Commonality, beyond Free Worlds League space. As a Solaris celebrity, dispatches and holovid clips of Noton in action were hot sellers.
Many people, including his most ardent supporters, were skeptical that Noton would be able to compete in the Open Class or Class Five arenas against assault 'Mechs in an undistinguished low-end heavy class design such as a Rifleman. Noton silenced his doubters, overcoming more favored 'Mechs like BattleMasters and Stalkers as he won victory after victory. After winning his Solaris Championship in the Class 5 Arenas, Noton and his Rifleman were nicknamed "Legend-Killer".
During the second-to-last bout of his second championship run, Noton faced a MechWarrior from the Fitzhugh Stables named Hoftsteder, piloting a Victor in the Coliseum on 15 August 3017. Acquainted with Fitzhugh Stables' training tactics for the Steiner Stadium and the respective strengths and weaknesses of the Rifleman and Victor, Noton divined his opponent's jumping maneuver, unexpectedly closed with his foe and delivered a crippling attack. Playing to the crowd, Noton exulted in another victory and privately gloated that people still underestimated him, and that once his new Rifleman was ready he would defeat any opponent on the Game World.
In the seven years of fighting with his Rifleman, not a single holovid reporter or jealous rival stable master managed to peak under the hood of the Rifleman, which only fueled the rumors his ride was not what it appeared to be.
The seemingly unbeatable Gray Noton remained champion for an unprecedented seven years running, a record no other combatant has achieved, before he chose to step down and retire in 3022. While in public Noton ran a modest import/export business in his retirement, in secret he maintained a lucrative sideline as an information broker while also dabbling in espionage and assassination.
Noton was recruited by the Capellan Confederation to raid the former Confederation world of Kittery, lost to the Federated Suns during the waning years of the Third Succession War. Leading a battalion of Cicadas, Noton had his forces ambush the Kittery academy cadre in late November 3026. His plan was, apparently, for the Cicadas to herd the cadets towards Noton's position where his superior skill and firepower would trap them between hammer and anvil. However, a MechWarrior piloting a Valkyrie discovered Noton's ambush position, tied him up for the duration of the battle and damaged his Rifleman; meanwhile the Cicada battalion was repulsed by the well-trained cadets who, against expectations, held the line against the attackers. While Noton bested the Valkyrie, maiming its pilot in the process, with long odds for victory he and the remaining forces of his battalion withdrew from the planet.
Back on Solaris VII, Noton met with his Capellan contact Tsen Shang on January 15 3027 in Thor's Shieldhall and learned that the Valkyrie on Kittery had been piloted by one Major Justin Allard. Privately, Noton was impressed by Allard's skill and regretted sparing his life once he heard that Allard was no longer able to pilot a BattleMech due to injuries sustained. Shang arranged Noton's payment for his mission with a betting voucher for a rigged fight between Davion champion Philip Capet and the Teng brothers (Fuh Teng and Sze Teng).
Silver Eagle affair
Noton next met with Enrico Lestrade, the Baron von Summer and nephew of Aldo Lestrade. Lestrade employed Noton to plan and execute the hijacking of a Monarch-class DropShip named the Silver Eagle. With Lestrade was Countess Kym Sorenson. After the Countess left, Noton demanded more money from the Baron, hinting about the many risks of hijacking a DropShip.
Philip Capet, who had won thirteen fights in a row to that point, approached Noton and dared him to fight him. Noton simply replied that he did not care for Capet's ego or his hatred of Capellans, but that Capet had better stay away from him or he would come back to kill him.
In February, Enrico Lestrade invited Noton to a stadium box where he was hosting a party. Noton was paid for his services with a 50,000 C-bill betting ticket for Billy Wolfson to beat Fuh Teng in a BattleMech match. Noton, knowing the game was rigged, accepted the fee.
However, the fight was actually scheduled between two 'Mechs and did not stipulate specific pilots. Justin Allard, who had arrived on Solaris VII after experimental surgery had restored his ability to pilot a 'Mech, was by now himself a rising star but had changed his name to Justin Xiang (his mother's maiden name). Xiang knocked out Fuh Teng before the fight, assumed his place, and went on to defeat Wolfson in the fight that Wolfson had been expected to win. Noton was angry about losing money, but was intrigued by Xiang. Since Enrico Lestrade had invited the winner of the match before the fight began (expecting Wolfson), Noton came into contact with Xiang at the party and began to establish a working relationship with the resourceful and promising up-and-coming star, unaware this was the man he had maimed on Kittery.
Through this cooperation Justin Xiang Allard was allowed to study Noton's private library of battle recordings. From these, he learned Noton's signature movements and recognized that the Rifleman back on Kittery that had crippled him must have been piloted by none other than Noton. Xiang/Allard also found out about the planned DropShip hijacking.
On the 5th of May Tsen Shang would find the dead body of Gray Noton in Noton's office, his neck snapped. Justin Xiang would pilot Noton's famous Rifleman "Legend Killer" to beat Philip Capet, who had unwisely challenged him, and ended up winning the championship to great fanfare. It is strongly implied, but not stated outright, that it had been Xiang/Allard who had killed Noton.
It is stated in the BattleTechnology write-up that Noton had willed Justin Xiang his business and his 'Mech for the final battle against Philip Capet.
Gray Noton was noted for being an excellent MechWarrior. He holds the record for longest reign as Solaris Champion, at seven consecutive years. It is also notable that Noton retired of his own volition.
While undeniably highly skilled, Noton's success even against assault 'Mechs that greatly outmassed his humble Rifleman led to much speculation regarding the nature and providence of his 'Mech, suggesting it was upgraded with superior technology or actually much heavier than a regular Rifleman (see Legend-Killer article for details).
After being named "Legend-Killer", Noton devised and used a crest of a cartoon ghost with a shocked expression covered by glowing red crosshairs.
As an intelligence broker, Noton had connections with every major state's spy network on Solaris VII.
Notes on Legend-Killer
In Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrade four versions of Legend-Killer are given, though with the caveat that these are just "several more exotic possible variants he was claimed to pilot". One is the standard Rifleman, two are regular-tech variants of the standard Rifleman, and the fourth is a Star League era 80-ton Rifleman II.
- Arena Expert: An Arena Expert is familiar enough with a given arena he receives a +1 Initiative modifier while fighting in that arena. Gray Noton is Arena Expert in Boreal Reach, The Jungle, and Steiner Coliseum (see p. 10).
- Crowd Favorite: The Crowd Favorite is especially adept at moving and fighting in a way that appeals to the audience. He can gain double the sum of all his Crowd Participation Modifiers (be it positive OR negative) to his Crowd Participation roll, if he elects to use the Crowd Favorite ability (see p. 14). In order to use the Crowd Favorite ability, he may not have remained stationary that turn, he must have fired all of the unit’s weapons, and he must have engaged in a physical attack if at all possible.
- Duelist: A Duelist thrives when he is faced with only a single opponent in combat. Whenever a ’Mech piloted by a Duelist is only opposed by a single hostile unit, he gains a +2 Initiative modifier (this is cumulative with Arena Expert). In all other combat situations, he applies a –1 Initiative modifier.
- If his official biography is to be believed, Noton would have arrived on Solaris VII and started an arena MechWarrior career as a teenager. This seems hard to believe at first given that the duels are fought with military-grade equipment, with the associated risk of injury or even death. Yet at the same time, few of the other named Solaris champions in the late Succession Wars era are older than 30, with some still in their teens. In another, albeit apocryphal, novella (Catastrophe Unlimited) by the same author it is implied that it was common practice for arena gladiators on Solaris VII to "spice up" or outright forge their backgrounds and adopt fake character profiles, for better appeal to the mass audiences. This cavalier attitude towards historically true character information might explain some or all of the more unbelievable parts of Gray Noton's official biography, particularly his young age.
- While Noton is known as a MechWarrior, it should be noted that he initially signed on with a Class One stable. Class One circuit fights are between exoskeletons and only the Class Two through Class Five circuits are for light, medium, heavy, and assault 'Mechs, respectively. The "Open Class" is unofficial.
- The mercenary (or arguably periphery pirate) group Gray's Ghosts, founded in 3062, was supposedly named after Gray "Ghost" Noton. It should be noted, however, that while Noton used a ghost as his emblem, his established alias was "Legend-Killer" and there is no (other) source indicating he was ever called "Ghost". The reference may be an in-universe mistake, given that Gray's Ghosts were a periphery group formed more than three decades after Noton's death and with no known connection to Noton. It seems likely that the name refers to another, more recent famous Solaris Games gladiator, Erik "The Gray Ghost" Gray.
- Mercenaries Supplemental II, p. 38
- According to Solaris VII: The Game World - Player's Book, p. 17: "MechWarrior's Guide to the Game World Solaris VII - The Great Ones - Champions of Solaris", Gray Noton was 25 years old when he left Solaris VII for the first time to begin his mercenary career, and returned to Solaris VII five years later in 3015. The apocryphal write-up in BattleTechnology #0203, p. 28, explicitly states he was 25 in 3010
- BattleTech: Legends, p. 58
- Warrior: En Garde, p. 216
- Warrior: En Garde, p. 205
- Record Sheets 3055 Upgrade, p. 115: "Gray Noton"
- BattleTechnology magazine issue #0203, p. 28
- Catastrophe Unlimited, p. 11
- Solaris VII: The Game World - Player's Book, p. 17: "MechWarrior's Guide to the Game World Solaris VII - The Great Ones - Champions of Solaris"
- Warrior: En Garde, p. 43
- MechWarrior Online: "Story of the Legend-Killer"
- Warrior: En Garde, pp. 45–47
- Warrior: En Garde, p. 289
- Assumption of Risk, ch. 16; also BattleTechnology #0203, p. 28
- Warrior: En Garde, p. 206