|Author||Randall N. Bills|
|Cover Artwork||David Kerber|
|First published||10 December 2019|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Timeline||13 September - 21 October 3013|
|Series||MechWarrior 5: Origins|
|Preceded by||A Skein of Schemes|
|Followed by||The Sun Will Rise|
Obligation's Forge, subtitled A MechWarrior 5 Origins Series Story, Installment 8, is an original BattleTech novella penned by Randall N. Bills, offered as a free tie-in product supporting the MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries computer game.
It was originally released in electronic format on 10 December 2019, before being also included in an electronic omnibus collection on 12 December 2019, two days after the game's launch. The novella was later re-released as part of The Mercenary Life anthology released 12 April 2021, with an additional author postscript.
Undertaking another defense contract for a Interstellar Expeditions dig, this time in the Federated Suns system of Mallory's World, the Cavaliers are increasingly uneasy as the Draconis Combine launch a massed invasion of the underdefended world. Nikolai and Chloe bicker constantly, while both fear for the Cavaliers safety among such giants, Chloe's obligation to completing the contract and anxiety over the damage inflicted on the world's population contrasts with Nikolai's willingness to trust IE's neutrality will protect their team and that the Cavaliers should pull out rather than get drawn into the high intensity conflict.
The Cavaliers spirits are initially buoyed with the arrival of the Fourth Davion Guards and Seventeenth Avalon Hussars led by First Prince Ian Davion himself, but the Combine's nine regiments worth of troops blunt his attacks and the Cavaliers attempts to extract their IE charges are now repeatedly blocked by Kurita 'Mechs. When the battle turns against the Federated Suns troops, First Prince Davion publicly broadcasting his position, sacrificing himself so the bulk of his troops may possibly withdraw. Nikolai sees this as an opportunity to escape as the Combine troops focus on the First Prince, but a guilty Chloe insists on leading a lance to distract their Combine pursuers, ordering Nikolai and Ryana to see the IE staff and rest of the Cavaliers to safety.
Though taking increasing losses, Chloe successfully delays the DCMS 'Mechs long enough for an anxious Nikolai to lead the rest to the DropShips though Ryana disobeys and races back to try and save her friend. Even with the addition of Ryana's Highlander the outmatched but at peace Chloe is killed in battle, an enraged Campbell destroying her Claidheamh-mór performing a lethal Highlander Burial to avenge her. A appalled IE helicopter crew sent by a distraught Nikolai extract the badly injured Ryana, who refuses to leave until she confirms firsthand the death of her friend. The remains of the Cavaliers and the Interstellar Expeditions team flee the planet as a tearful Nikolai reflects with his child on the impact Chloe had on all their lives. As they struggle with what they will do now, Ryana repeats Dawson's comment from Galatea so long ago as the now renamed Nik's Cavaliers will continue what Chloe started.
- Captain Chloe Reed
- Fahad Arazad
- Nikolai Mason
- Ryana Campbell
- Chloe and Nikolai's Child
- Sebastian Spears
- Ian Davion
- Brooklynn (mentioned)
- Dawson (mentioned)
- Mallory's World
- Benet III (mentioned)
- Crossing (mentioned)
- Cylene (mentioned)
- Emris IV (mentioned)
- Galatia III (mentioned)
- Galatea (mentioned)
- Harrow's Sun (mentioned)
- Mara (mentioned)
- Obligiation's Forge was the original final story of the MechWarrior 5 Origins series, later being superseded by the exclusive The Sun Will Rise in The Mercenary Life anthology.