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|Cover artwork||"FASA Corporation" (originally by Bruce Jensen)|
|Era|| Clan Invasion era|
Succession Wars era (flashback)
|Timeline||05 January 3033—10 April 3054|
Published by Heyne as the 52nd in their series of German BattleTech novels, Phoenix (by Peter Heid) is notable for being the first novel in that line (and the first German BattleTech novel ever) that was not a translated American novel, but an original work by a German author. It has not been translated into English so far.
The cover image was taken from the novel Wolf Pack; the German translation of that novel (Wolfsrudel, Heyne #16) had previously been published with a different cover.
Written in German and exclusively published in that language so far, Phoenix does not technically meet the current criteria for Canon in the BattleTech universe. As an official product published under a valid license, it should be regarded as apocryphal instead.
From the back cover (translated from German)
|“||Replacing a MechWarrior who got killed, Jason Boise is assigned to the Mad Jumpin Jacks, an elite mercenary company under the command of old warhorse Jack Anderson. Jason is the laughing stock of his superiors and comrades for his youth and inexperience, but when the Mad Jumpin Jacks face Lyran invaders on the Marik world of Amity and have to fight for their survival he can show what he is made of...||”|
As of 7 April 3054, Tomans is being defended against a Clan Jade Falcon incursion for a month already. The defenders are very exhausted, but the Clan attackers barely show any signs of tiring. During night watch, a disparate group of defending MechWarriors (sporting uniforms from the Outworlds Alliance, Draconis Combine, and ComGuards, among others) discuss how a month of exceedingly bloody fighting has barely kept the Clan Warriors at bay. A chance encounter by Lhiannon Potter and Jason Boise of the mercenary unit Phoenix with ComGuard MechWarrior Ray Allison, an old acquaintance, prompts them to recount a story of their unit (then known as the "Mad Jumpin' Jacks") from twenty-one years ago when they defended Amity against a Lyran attack (Part 1).
Later that night, the assembled defenders are informed that first company was vanquished in an attempt to storm a Jade Falcon bridgehead. The failed attack did however provide data on where the Jade Falcons will strike next. A group including Potter and Boise volunteer for an interception mission and move out to an ambush site in their 'Mechs. Once arrived, they have to wait until sunrise for the expected enemy force to move through, and use this opportunity to continue the story from earlier (Part 2).
As expected, two stars of Jade Falcons 'Mechs appear around sunrise and are attacked. However, in the face of superior Clan MechWarriors and equipment the battle goes badly for the protagonists. When the Jade Falcons eventually withdraw from the ambush site, only three attacking 'Mechs (Potter's Hatchetman among them) remain functional. Jason Boise is retrieved from the wreck of his Starslayer, mortally wounded. He asks Potter to continue the story because he likes to hear about the old days (Part 3).
An epilogue chapter reveals that Boise died on the battlefield while waiting for the medevac helicopter which took three hours to reach them. Lhiannon Potter is now the last remaining MechWarrior of the original Mad Jumpin' Jacks. True to the unit's new name of Phoenix, new recruits replace the lost ones: Craig Osonov, who was swayed by the stories being told, and Anastasia Schmelzer's daughter Donna. This reaffirms Potter's feelings that the unit's legacy will live on as long as a single one of them survives to remember the stories.
Lyran Commonwealth forces have invaded Amity in mid-3032, and by January 3033 the fighting is still going on because of the dogged defense of the Free Worlds League's forces which include the Mad Jumpin' Jacks mercenary unit. On 5 January, the Jacks destroy a vital Lyran depot but Whitworth pilot Arthur Melton, the unit's co-founder, is killed in the battle (implied to be the Mad Jumpin' Jacks' first casualty in a long time, possibly the first one since their inception).
Following the depot's destruction, planetary governor Tores Thornten throws a reception celebrating the victory over the invaders. He and Jack Anderson, the Jacks' commander, develop a serious dislike for each other when Anderson publicly points out that he feels the party is premature and also disagrees with Thornten's political views—Thornten is an outspoken proponent of Silver Hawks autonomy, whereas Anderson voices the opinion that a unified Marik realm would stand a better chance of overcoming its enemies.
Much to Anderson's chagrin, the Marik forces transfer the young and inexperienced Jason Boise to the Jacks as a replacement for Melton. Boise is whipped into shape in harsh simulator lessons, but after a few days the unit learns that Lyran reinforcements—at least a battalion of the 10th Skye Rangers—are inbound in a last-ditch attempt to overcome the defenders on Amity before an expected Silver Hawks regiment can relieve the defenders.
Divided into two-'Mech teams, the Jacks scout for the Lyran troops during a snowstorm. Boise is paired with Potter and saves her life when they come under attack from a Chippewa aerospace fighter, raising his status within the unit. It also turns out that he is the adoptive son of governor Thornten, a fact he prefers not to mention and keeps secret from the mercenaries.
The blizzard disrupts the defenders' plans for a counterattack, and supreme Marik commander LeFranc calls off the attack. Governor Thornten orders the Mad Jumpin' Jacks be not informed of this; he hopes that the Jacks will inflict heavy damage on the enemy in an unsupported suicide attack, and that Jason Boise will realize the ploy and escape. However, a Marik patrol (including Raymond Allison) is also cut off in the storm after being recalled, and they make for the Jacks' position instead. Through them the mercenaries learn that the attack was called off and return to their base. They suspect betrayal, but have no solid proof and, learning that Jason is Thornten's adopted son, think that maybe Precentor Akerfelds is to blame for the "radio malfunction".
Thornten starts another attempt, and coerces the unwilling LeFranc into cooperation by offering to ransom LeFranc's secret lover from Lyran captivity. The Jacks are sent to guard a Marik depot, where they repel a Lyran strike force only to learn that the city of Freewheel has fallen. Under relentless aerospace fighter attack the Jacks then withdraw and cover the general retreat to the Grant mountains on Thornten's orders, suffering losses in the process. When their position becomes untenable, Anderson orders the depot destroyed to keep it from falling into enemy hands and his unit retreats, feeling certain this time that they have been betrayed.
Upon arriving at the Marik HQ, Jack Anderson confronts Thornten and LeFranc about the setup (in the presence of Aleisha Seytzmann, his DropShip commander), but finds himself accused of treason for destroying the depot. When Anderson refuses to hand over command of his unit and accept liability, Thornten shoots him in cold blood. Seytzmann, having agreed to side with Thornten to save her ship, is sent to the city of Striker while the rest of the Mad Jumpin' Jacks is declared outlaws.
Seytzmann secretly informs the mercenaries of their commander's death at the hands of Thornten, then moves the DropShip to the neutral city of Ruhr. The Jacks, together with Boise who refused the order to return to his Marik unit, escape and move to their old base at Oxbridge where they leave Jason Boise behind, apparently badly injured after torture, and continue into the mountains.
Thornten has hired a company of bounty hunter MechWarriors out of his own pocket and held them as a private reserve. With the "rescued" Jason Boise serving as their guide he sends them after the mercenaries. However, Jason has actually sided with the mercenaries and feigned his injuries from alleged torture. He leads the bounty hunters into a prearranged trap and the entire company is vanquished during a prolonged battle in the treacherous mountain terrain, though several members of the Jacks are killed as well. The mercenaries then proceed to retake their base from the Marik garrison. Now under Lhiannon Potter's command after Jack Anderson was murdered and his son Thomas killed in the recent battles, the Mad Jumpin' Jacks begin to fall apart. Chief Tech Lambert, Thomas' lover, angrily attacks Potter with a knife and inadvertedly kills her brother Andrew Potter in the attempt.
During the night, the base is overrun by Lyran infantry and the Jacks are "offered" (at gunpoint) to work for the Commonwealth forthwith, an offer they accept given their falling-out with their Marik employers. With the Lyran commander's consent, they drive a hovertank back into the city of Striker to contact Thornten's daughter Helen, but she refuses to cooperate and come with Jason, dashing his hopes. The mercenaries take another hovertank to return to their base and lead the Lyran BattleMechs against the Marik HQ. Helen meanwhile decides that she needs to warn her father and drives the first hovertank to the Marik HQ where it turns out that it was rigged with explosives in anticipation of her decision; the detonation devastates the defenders enough for the Jacks and Lyrans to breach the defenses.
Captured at the HQ, Thornten accidentially shoots his daughter Helen in an escape attempt. He then admits that he sold false information to the Lyrans to invite an attack which in turn would force more League troops to be deployed on his world and thus, under his control. Following Thornten's confession, Lt. Gilbert, LeFranc's aide, disarms a guard, reveals himself as a SAFE agent, summarily executes Thornten for treason and leaves.
The Mad Jumpin' Jacks, greatly diminished, reform as "Phoenix" under Lhiannon Potter's command and move out to Solaris VII with the Lyran JumpShip to sign a new contract.
Mad Jumpin' Jacks/Phoenix personnel
- Hauptmann Jack Anderson: Victor pilot, former LCAF officer from Donegal who was reportedly demoted three times for insubordination. Founded the Mad Jumpin' Jacks in 3025 together with Arthur Melton. Lost his wife (Thomas' mother) to cancer in 3022; later begins a relationship with his unit's DropShip pilot, Aleisha Seytzmann. Murdered by Tores Thornten on 13 January 3033.
- Schütze (Private) Thomas Anderson: Jack Anderson's son pilots a Griffin. Killed by a mercenary Awesome on 19 January 3033 before interim commander Lhiannon Potter can transfer command of the Mad Jumpin' Jacks to him following Jack Anderson's death.
- Erik Bergroß: Tech
- Leutnant Juri Barkonoff: Griffin pilot, implied to be a former periphery pirate. Killed by a Lyran Ostroc on 13 January 3033.
- Jason Boise: A 19-year-old Dervish pilot in the battle lance, 4th company, 2nd battalion, 1st Sirian Lancers as of 7 January 3033. Has never seen combat when he is assigned to the Mad Jumpin' Jacks as replacement for Arthur Melton. Nephew and adoptive son of Amity's governor Tores Thornten. Killed by a Jade Falcon Fire Falcon on 8 April 3054 while piloting a Starslayer.
- Sergeant Adrian Butcher: Quickdraw pilot; named his 'Mech "Julia" after his sister who was killed by Kurita forces in 3023.
- Leutnant Takiro Chokamoto: Vulcan pilot. Reportedly discharged from the DCMS for cowardice and lack of discipline, and rejected as applicant for Wolf's Dragoons.
- Cynthia Dupont: Possibly a tech; killed when Lyran infantry storms the Jacks' base on 20 January 3033.
- Sergeant Edward Grant: Javelin pilot. Killed by a mercenary Warhammer on 19 January 3033.
- Jasmine Lambert: SeniorTech. Attacks Lhiannon Potter with a knife, believing her to have arranged her lover Thomas Anderson's death, and accidentially kills Andrew Potter instead. Her attempt to resign from the unit is denied because of a need for qualified techs.
- Sergeant Donna Luisa Malaga di Sierra (actually Donna Zonzón): Panther pilot. Killed by a mercenary BattleMaster on 19 January 3033. Best friends with Anastasia Schmelzer.
- Andrew Potter: Lhiannon Potter's brother; serves as Tech. Killed on 20 January 3033 when he intervenes in Jasmine Lambert's attempt to stab his sister.
- 1st Leutnant Lhiannon Potter: Native to the Federated Suns world of Glenmora, she was orphaned during a Draconis Combine attack and does not know when she was born, but thinks it was around 3010. Worked as a prostitute until she could buy a ticket to Robinson where Jack Anderson saw her potential when she piloted an IndustrialMech, and offered her officer training. Pilots a Valkyrie in 3033 and a brand new Hatchetman in 3054.
- Schütze (Private) Anastasia Schmelzer: Wasp pilot, later switches to Jack Anderson's Victor. Scion of a distinguished family on Terra, she was refused entry into ComStar for "illoyality" and later fixed her final exam results to become a MechWarrior. Murdered civilians in a fit of rage at one point. Loses both legs in battle and returns to Terra to found a family; later sends her daughter Donna to serve with Phoenix under Potter.
- Aleisha Seytzmann: DropShip commander, pursues a loose relationship with Jack Anderson. Expecting to see him die sooner or later, she witnesses his murder and offers to surrender her DropShip to save it and its crew.
- Sergeant Robert Shedler: Grasshopper pilot, reportedly demoted five times for excessive cruelty. Killed by a Jade Falcon Masakari on 6 April 3054.
- Ross Sorkowsky: DropShip navigator
- Hauptmann Karl Trunkmann: Phoenix Hawk pilot, dishonorably discharged from the LCAF for drug deliquency. Killed by Lyran aerospace fighters on or shortly after 13 January 3033.
- Dr. Daniel Viewman: MedTech, chief medical officer
- Farrell Akerfelds, ComStar Precentor on Amity as of 3033
- Corporal Raymond Allison: FWLM MechWarrior piloting an Orion in 3033. Joined the ComGuards around 3044 and fought on Tukayyid (killed by a Jade Falcon Turkina on 8 April 3054)
- Lt.Col. LeFranc: Commanding officer of the Marik defenders on Amity
- Lt. Steven Gilbert: LeFranc's aide, but also a SAFE operative. He ultimately executes Tores Thornten.
- Craig Osonov: Young and inexperienced officer from the Outworlds Alliance
- Tores Thornten: Planetary governor of Amity as of 3033. Executed for treason.
- Black Lanner
- Fire Falcon
- Hermes II
- Hunchback IIC
- Mad Cat
- Phoenix Hawk
- Shadow Hawk