Tales from the Cracked Canopy: Giving Up

Tales from the Cracked Canopy: Giving Up
Story information
Author Jason Schmetzer
Pages 9
Type Short Story
Product Shrapnel Issue 2
Timeline 19 March 3068 - 17 September 3083
Series Tales from the Cracked Canopy
Preceded by Blind Arrogance
Followed by The Razor's Edge of Opportunity

Tales from the Cracked Canopy: Giving Up is a short story by Jason Schmetzer that was published in the second issue of Shrapnel on 15 September 2020.

Plot summary[edit]

Barman Leo recounts to an unnamed party his encounter a week previous with a old and tired man named Ham, who drank nothing but water and tapped a shard of metal constantly against the table at which he sat. When Leo attempted to move the man on, he corners the barman to unburden himself on the liberating power of giving up. Not of surrender, but of giving up on any hope of surviving a battle...

On Outreach during the Word of Blake Jihad, Ham is the last survivor of his scratch company and its struggle against a battered two-bit mercenary lance he'd taken to calling the "Fat Boys", led by a fifth member - a female Blakist in a pristine white Buccaneer. Tried, alone and tortured by the loss of his companions, Ham opts to go down fighting, not caring if he dies as long as he takes the Robe in the Buccaneer down with him. Broadcasting his position, Ham waits in his Marauder at Hill 17A overlooking the obliterated Hiring Hall for the arrival of the "Fat Boys".
Despite being outnumbered, Ham holds his own against four 'Mechs of the "Fat Boys" as he uses obvious tensions within the group to provoke them into rash action and lure their elusive CO into battle. Surrounded but uncaring as he takes increasing damage, Ham skilfully defeats the "Fat Boys" and inflicts heavy damage on his hated opponent. Closing to point-blank range as the Blakist pilot cripples his weaponry, Ham slams his destroyed Heavy PPC's housing through the Buccaneer's damaged torso armor, breaching its engine shielding. Despite his willingness to sacrifice himself, without thought he pulls the ejection handle as the Buccaneer's engine explodes destroying both 'Mechs.

Ham relates to Leo his survival, being picked up during the Clan Wolf-in-Exile evacuation of Outreach, but that nobody was able to confirm the existence of the "Fat Boys" nor that he ultimately killed the Buccaneer's pilot. Still tormented decades later by not knowing if he got her after all, the haunted Ham abruptly leaves once his story is told, leaving a 50 stone tip along with the piece of metal he'd been constantly tapping - a metal child's Buccaneer toy - which Leo places up on the "Memory Wall".

Featured characters[edit]

  • Ham
  • Leo
  • Arredondo (mentioned)
  • Wang (mentioned)
  • Penrod (mentioned)

Featured BattleTech[edit]


Featured planets[edit]