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|Also known as||"Snow Fire"|
Snow Fire was the Draconis Combine Courtesan School name and alias under which a Lyran Intelligence Corps operative infiltrated the palace of Yoguchi Kurita, Coordinator of the Draconis Combine, before going on to assassinate him in 2850. Her true identity remains a state secret of the Lyran Commonwealth to this day.
Born in the Lyran Commonwealth in 2825, she joined the Lyran Intelligence Corps and was assigned to the Bodians. After the end of her training she was planted in the Rasalhague Military District of the Draconis Combine where she spent several years as a low-grade geisha, secretly obtaining information from her clients. Under unknown circumstances she attracted the eye of one of the Coordinator's closest personal advisers, who bought out her contract and brought her to the Imperial Palace in Luthien.
Operation PRAYING MANTIS
In 2848 Snow Fire received a coded message from Archon Claudius Steiner ordering her to carry out Operation PRAYING MANTIS, along with the news of the complete destruction of the Fourth Royal Guards at the hands of Yoguchi's son Hugai.
She spent a year and half steadily advancing her standing in the Imperial Palace and attempting to attract the eye of the Coordinator himself. She was successful and became Yoguchi's favorite concubine, when fate forced her to delay the operation. In the face of a highly successful Federated Suns offensive, Yoguchi chose to lead the defense of the world of Tishomingo himself, but greatly underestimated the size of attacking forces. With both House Davion and Kurita unaware he was alive, Yoguchi led resistance forces on-planet until his sister Roweena suspected his survival and organized a successful rescue operation.
On Yoguchi's return in 2850 after his first night back on Luthien, Snow Fire quietly slit his throat with a Plasticine knife. After placing a hand-embroidered patch of the Fourth Royal Guard on his body, Snow Fire quietly took her own life with poison secreted in a hollow tooth.
The death of Yoguchi so soon after his miraculous return shook the Draconis Combine. Claudius Steiner himself never lived to see the success of Operation Praying Mantis, dying under clouded circumstances the year prior.
The Combine's official story was that Yoguchi was killed while heroically fighting against a whole team of assassins. The truth was known only to House Kurita's inner circle, which felt great shame at the actual circumstances. Yoguchi's successor, his brother Miyogi, felt honor-bound to avenge this insult, which led to the largest Kurita offensive against the Lyran's center of 'Mech production Hesperus II and the loss of the last active Successor State WarShips until the arrival of the Clans.
The fact that Snow Fire was able to remain undetected whilst maintaining contact with her "mother" led to a large and varied array of conspiracy theories about how she was able to complete her mission. Some point to ComStar shielding the messages from House Kurita, the later knowledge that ComStar was actively fanning the flames of the Succession Wars lending credence to this theory. Others point to Yoguchi's alienation of the Internal Security Force when he placed the organization under the command of the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery; allowing his murder was their way of retaliating. Rumors also exist that Snow Fire possibly received aid from a MIIO deep cover agent known as "The Footman" who was also operating in the Imperial Palace at the time.
The fact that her true love was apparently a member of the destroyed 4th Royal Guard lent her actions the air of tragic romance and helped inspire countless paintings, dramas, and ballads about her actions and possible origins and reasons across the entire Inner Sphere.
While it was long assumed that Snow Fire acted at the behest of the Lyran government, another possibility was discovered in 3052 following the Clan assault on Luthien. Shortly before Snow Fire joined Yoguchi's household, she met with a Free Worlds League trade attaché, Emun Moray, who was later identified as SAFE's station chief on Luthien. Snow Fire, it would appear, served as a double-agent on SAFE's behalf, and it was hypothesized that the Free Worlds sacrificed her in Praying Mantis, in the process framing the Lyran Commonwealth for Yoguchi's death. The result was that House Steiner was preoccupied with a vengeful House Kurita for the next fourteen years, leaving House Marik free to prosecute its own war against House Liao without the distraction of a second front. At least one source in the Free Worlds League (albeit a publisher of "revisionist" or "fringe" materials) supported this thesis as well.
- House Steiner (The Lyran Commonwealth), p. 61: "Operation Praying Mantis"
- Handbook: House Steiner, p. 43: "History of the Lyran Alliance - Second Succession War (2830-2864) - The Mantis Strikes"
- House Kurita (The Draconis Combine), p. 70: "History - Second Succession War - The Sting of Snow Fire - Divine Retribution"
- House Davion (The Federated Suns), pp. 73–74: "History - Second Succession War - Tishomingo - Did Snow Fire Have Help? - Miyogi's Marathon"
- Handbook: House Kurita, p. 51: "ISF Report 0077367 - 11 June 3052"
- Handbook: House Marik, p. 140: "Laurent Infomedia (Unlisted)"