Legend-Killer

Legend-Killer (sometimes spelled without the dash) was a nickname given to Gray Noton during and after his career as a Solaris Games champion in the early 31st century, and by extension to his famous Rifleman BattleMech. It was used interchangeably for the 'Mech and its pilot.

What is not generally known in the BattleTech universe is that Noton possessed and piloted at least two different 'Mechs and that the famous Legend-Killer may not have been one single individual 'Mech after all. The general impression is that an inconspicuous regular RFL-3N Rifleman version of Legend-Killer existed while Noton would in truth use a second, visually similar yet technologically superior and possibly much heavier 'Mech in his arena fights, passing it off as the same regular Rifleman (see Configuration below).

History[edit]

Gray Noton had already established himself as a successful arena fighter on Solaris VII when he disappeared into the periphery in 3010 to work as a mercenary. He returned in 3015, bringing with him a brand-new Rifleman and announcing his intention to compete in the Class Five arenas that he had previously avoided. He would reign supreme in the arena, becoming champion for an unprecedented seven years running before retiring in 3022, unbeaten.

The appellation Legend-Killer was coined for Noton and his 'Mech after his first championship win.[1] After being named "Legend-Killer", Noton devised and used a crest of a cartoon ghost with a shocked expression covered by glowing red crosshairs.[2]

In retirement, Noton maintained a modest import/export business but continued to work as a mercenary and secretly also dealt in espionage and assassinations. On 27 November 3026 Noton, piloting a Rifleman that may or may not have been Legend-Killer, joined a company of Cicadas from the Capellan Confederation in an ambush on a training cadre on Kittery. He defeated Justin Xiang Allard's Valkyrie through the unexpected maneuver of flipping back both arms of his Rifleman, and crippled Allard in the process.[3]

After having personally killed Noton on Solaris VII, Justin Xiang Allard appropriated Legend-Killer for his scheduled grudge match against Philip Capet in May 3027. (Apocryphally, it was mentioned that Noton had willed Xiang his business and his 'Mech.[4]) Xiang was abducted from Solaris VII by the Capellan Confederation immediately after the match and entered the service of House Liao with his personal 'Mech, Yen-Lo-Wang. The fate of Legend-Killer was not mentioned.[3]

As of 3067, Sara Heart-Rose of the Black Heart Roses had a Rifleman that was identified as Gray Noton's Legend-Killer in her collection of special BattleMechs.[5] While employed by the Niops Association, Heart-Rose would be interviewed by an obscure Niops newsjournal about her collection and specifically the infamous Legend-Killer, discussing that she acquired the 'Mech during the 3060s having "fallen off the back of a truck" into her hands. While not able to confirm its exact providence, the 'Mech she claimed was Legend-Killer would ultimately be lost along with Sara Heart-Rose during a 3076 DropShip accident.[6]

Configuration[edit]

The exact configuration of Legend-Killer is an enduring mystery even as of 3064.[7]

The standard Rifleman is a specialized anti-air platform and widely considered a subpar BattleMech outside of its specialized role both within the BattleTech universe and among boardgame players. It seems very hard to believe that Gray Noton entered the Solaris Games Class 5 Circuit tournaments and enjoyed the success he had in an obviously outmatched machine, defeating opponents piloting much larger or much better 'Mechs (including assault-class 'Mechs such as BattleMasters, Victors, and Stalkers) for seven years running before retiring.[8] It was thus speculated that Legend-Killer must have been modified in some way, presumably with Star League era technology that Noton was rumored to have found in the periphery.[8]

There was evidence that Legend-Killer weighed considerably more than 65 [sic] tons,[9] and had been upgraded to 80 or 90 tons instead, with extra armor to its arms and legs.[8] This, combined with the similarity of the lower torso and leg assembly between the (Unseen) Rifleman, Warhammer and Longbow, has given rise to the speculation that Legend-Killer may have been a FrankenMech that took a 70- or 85-ton frame from a Warhammer or Longbow and combined it with the upper torso, arms and head of a Rifleman.

One rumor specifically claims that the 'Mech Noton brought back from the periphery was an 80-ton, assault-class royal RFL-3N-2 Rifleman II.[10]

Three speculative configurations (as of ca. 3064 or later) were offered in Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrade. These included two variants of an RFL-3N Rifleman and a modified Rifleman II; notably all of these designs feature jump jets, unlike the regular Rifleman.[11]

In his internal monologue[12] during a 3017 championship match against a Victor Noton muses about his "other Rifleman" that would allow him to "really own this world and topple every MechWarrior from their Valhalla thrones", confirming that Noton owned and used at least two different Rifleman 'Mechs and strongly implying that at least one of them was somehow an inherently superior machine. At the same time, it seems to suggest that he really won the 3017 championship in a regular Rifleman.

Justin Xiang Allard as the point-of-view character apparently noted nothing unusual about Legend-Killer when he piloted the 'Mech in the novel Warrior: En Garde.[3] This seems to indicate that this specific 'Mech was a regular RFL-3N model.

While not able to fully prove the origin of the 'Mech she claimed was Legend-Killer, Sara Heart-Rose would claim during the Noips newsjournal interview that an extensive teardown revealed at a basic level the 'Mech was a stock-standard RFL-3N model but with extensive and subtle modifications, that the targeting system had been replaced by a nightmarish amalgam of a Tru-Track and a Spar 3c and the actuators and myomer bundling had been tweaked and modified to boost performance. While such unstable customizations are not uncommon on Solaris as they never need to face the stress of a long-term campaign, Heart-Rose also claimed that the manufacturer stamps on them pointed to an obscure Star League era "skunkworks" facility known to have created customized gear for the Star League Defense Force Gunslingers, Special Forces, and Martial Olympiad participants and that the seemingly stock neurohelmet concealed the internals of a much superior Star League Defense Force model.[6]

MechWarrior Online[edit]

Apocryphal Content Starts

The information after this notice comes from apocryphal sources; the canonicity of such information is uncertain.
Please view the reference page for information regarding their canonicity.

MechWarrior Online features Legend-Killer as one of its Hero 'Mechs. Their (apocryphal) version, designated RFL-LK "Legend-Killer", plays to the rumors that it used LosTech and portrays the 'Mech as outfitted with an 240-rated XL engine and built on an Endo Steel frame, armed with LB-X Autocannon/10s fed with three tons of ammunition. With the RFL-3N's Large and medium lasers retained, the remaining weight saved after the LB-X autocannons goes towards an extra half ton of armor while a swap to double heat sinks gives the 'Mech unexpected endurance in the arenas.[12]

While Randall Bills' accompanying fiction piece, Story of the Legend-Killer, and the MWO write-up have been declared fully canonical, the MWO 'Mech per se and its configuration are not; the write-up and story leave the exact configuration vague.

Apocryphal Content Ends

Notes[edit]

  • Although the Rifleman is a mediocre design and a strange choice for an arena 'Mech, Noton's 'Mech had to be a Rifleman because it was the only BattleMech design from the original BattleTech (board game) boxed set that could conceivably flip its arms, a maneuver that is an important plot point in the novel introducing Gray Noton. The design underscored Noton's elite skills and also added some mystery to the character to the point where the exact configuration of the Legend-Killer has become one of BattleTech's longest-running canon rumors that players have been discussing, with hints dropped in various sourcebooks but no definite answer given.
  • Solaris VII was a technologically advanced world with a high concentration of experienced techs and experts on the subject of BattleMech technology, and arena 'Mechs typically even featured telemetry upgrades during matches so that the audience and betting agencies could better gauge their condition and performance. All of this would make it harder to conceal modifications or upgrades of any sort. At the same time, Noton was well-connected and apt in shady dealings, and may conceivably have been in a position to mask the exact configuration of his 'Mech in the arena either through technical means or through bribery. It is also possible that he was simply not legally required to divulge such information.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Warrior: En Garde, p. 63
  2. Assumption of Risk, chapter 16; also BattleTechnology #0203, p. 28
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Warrior: En Garde
  4. BattleTechnology #0203, p. 28
  5. Mercenaries Supplemental II, p. 23
  6. 6.0 6.1 BattleTech: Legends, p.59 "RFL-3N Rifleman[Modified?] Legend-Killer"
  7. Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrade, p. 115
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Solaris VII: The Game World, Player's Handbook, p. 17
  9. The Solaris VII Player's Handbook, p. 17, erroneously describes the standard Rifleman to mass 65 tons instead of 60 in Gray Noton's write-up. This mistake apparently carried through when it is mentioned later on that Noton's 'Mech allegedly weighed more than 65 tons.
  10. Technical Readout: 3075, p. 169
  11. Record Sheets: 3055 Upgrade, p. 117-119
  12. 12.0 12.1 Story of the Legend-Killer

Bibliography[edit]