The Proliferation Cycle

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The Proliferation Cycle Anthology (Cover).jpg
The Proliferation Cycle (a Battletech Anthology)
Product information
Type Anthology
Author Ilsa J. Bick
Herbert A. Beas II
Christoffer Trossen
Randall N. Bills
Chris Hartford
Jason Hardy
Jason Schmetzer
Blaine Lee Pardoe
Development John Helfers (Editor)
Philip A. Lee (Editor)
Pages 396
Cover Artwork Eldon Cowgur
Publication information
Publisher Catalyst Game Labs
First published May 13, 2021 (anthology)
2004 - 2021 (individual stories)
ISBN-10 1638610193
ISBN-13 978-1638610199
MSRP $4.95 (e-book)
$14.95 (paperback)
$24.95 (hardcover)
Era Star League era (Age of War) - Succession Wars era (Golden Century)
Timeline 2415 - 2863

The Proliferation Cycle is a series of short stories that tell of the proliferation of BattleMech technology throughout the Great Houses of the Inner Sphere during the Age of War.

They were combined into a proper anthology in 2021; this anthology is the lead product for the purpose of this article.


The originally five (out of six planned) stories were first published online on BattleCorps in PDF format between 2004 and 2005, followed by one late entry in 2011 that prompted a re-release of the whole series.

In August 2019 the six original stories were republished in electronic form as part of the rewards for the successful crowdfunding campaign for the BattleTech: Clan Invasion boxset where they had been offered as stretch goals (all of which were met).

A seventh entry, first published in April 2021 by Catalyst Game Labs, covers the first seizure of OmniMech technology from its Clan Coyote creators during the Golden Century.

The individual Proliferation Cycle stories are:

  1. Break-Away (30 November 2004), by Ilsa J. Bick - Terran Hegemony invents the BattleMech
  2. Prometheus Unbound (10 January 2005), by Herbert A. Beas II - Lyran Commonwealth obtains 'Mech technology
  3. Nothing Ventured (18 February 2005), by Christoffer Trossen - Federated Suns obtain 'Mech technology
  4. Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight (12 April 2005), by Randall N. Bills - Draconis Combine obtains 'Mech technology
  5. A Dish Served Cold (19 May 2005), by Chris Hartford and Jason Hardy - Free Worlds League obtains 'Mech technology
  6. The Spider Dances (18 May 2011), by Jason Schmetzer - Capellan Confederation obtains 'Mech technology. This story also included a BattleCorps Exclusive: Dragonfire (18 May 2011) - a Technical Readout-style write-up for the Dragonfire aerospace fighter featured in The Spider Dances
  7. The Trickster (30 April 2021), by Blaine Lee Pardoe - Clan Jade Falcon obtains OmniMech technology from Clan Coyote

Machine Nations[edit]

The original sixth story, Machine Nations by Loren Coleman, had been slated for publication circa June 2005, but it was never published and became one of the more prominent cases of vaporware on BattleCorps. This left the Proliferation Cycle series unfinished for years, much to the chagrin of fans and BattleCorps staff alike. It was explained that a first draft of the story had been submitted, but was rejected for fact-checking/continuity issues[1]; the story as written could not be salvaged.
On 7 May 2011 an announcement in BattleCorps' "General" news section[1] proclaimed that Machine Nations, "a title without a story", had been consigned to history and that Jason Schmetzer had written a new story named The Spider Dances to tell the Capellan Confederation's tale and complete the cycle. The original Proliferation Cycle stories were re-released, one per day, leading up to The Spider Dances, starting with the re-release of Break-Away on 13 May 2011. A BattleCorps Exclusive presentation for a new unit, the Dragonfire (an early aerospace fighter design) was added "as a small bonus to our subscribers for sticking with us until the long-awaited end of the Proliferation Cycle".

Related stories[edit]

At least two more short stories were published on BattleCorps that some consider to be part of the series in spirit if not in name:

Miniatures pack[edit]

In 2023 the BattleTech: Proliferation Cycle ForcePack was released, featuring miniatures for the seven 'Mechs from the stories of the Proliferation Cycle. The pack includes a redeem code for a digital copy of the anthology from the Catalyst Games Lab online store.


  1. 1.0 1.1 BattleCorps news item "At Long Last... the Proliferation Cycle" (dead link)