Cargo Queen, named after the eponymous Invader-class JumpShip that is at the center of the story, is a MechWarrior (RPG) scenario written in the form of an annotated short story by Hartwig Nieder-Gassel, Thomas Brendel and Frank Lenzer and published in the October 1994 issue of the Wunderwelten magazine.
It narrates how spaceborne infantry from the Camerons Legion mercenary unit lie in ambush in S-7A space buses at an unspecified jump point and board the Cargo Queen when it finally arrives (nine hours behind schedule). The boarding action is considered the "tip of the iceberg" while the unit's lengthy and expensive clandestine efforts to obtain the ship's schedule and jump route and prepare for the boarding attack were the much larger "underwater" part of the operation.
However, the boarding operation runs afoul of pitfalls such as security systems, nonmagnetic floors with Velcro coating for zero-g operations (instead of magnetic floors that can be walked with magnetic boots), and foam guns normally used to seal pressure leaks. Although the ship is ultimately captured, only three attacking troopers from Beta squad remain while Alpha squad is killed to the last man.
At one point in the story, the JumpShip is mistakenly called "Freight Queen". Art going with the story depicts the vessel's bow, with the letters "CARGO QUE..." visible.
Location and timeframe
No date is provided for the story, but the timeframe can be narrowed down: The Gray Death Memory Core which was recovered in 3028 is mentioned as having been found "a few years earlier"; the story provides background information on the foam guns and Velcro coating and states they were designed based on information from that memory core. This suggests the capture operation took place shortly before 3034, when Camerons Legion was wiped out in the Ronin War on Bruben.
While no location is provided either, Cameron's Legion was (apocryphally) stationed to garrison the Lyran Commonwealth world of Suk II between the Fourth Succession War and the formation of the Free Rasalhague Republic in 3034, with strong implication that their contract with the FRR must have followed right after their assignment to Suk II, and was possibly even sponsored by the Lyran Commonwealth.
This in turn suggests the Cargo Queen, apparently a commercial vessel, would presumably have been operated by an enemy of the Commonwealth or the FRR, i.e. either the Draconis Combine or the Free Worlds League. By contrast, neither the Commonwealth nor the FRR would likely have sponsored an attack on a free trader JumpShip, and it seems far-fetched that a pirate vessel would have followed a predetermined flight schedule. Given that the Cargo Queen had been upgraded with technology derived from the Helm Memory Core, which was notoriously late to disseminate in the Draconis Combine (only after Duke Ricol handed over his copy in 3034), this seems to indicate the Cargo Queen was most likely a Free Worlds League vessel, though this ultimately remains unproven.
Published exclusively in an apocryphal magazine, the Cargo Queen scenario must be considered apocryphal as well.
Wunderwelten was the house magazine of FanPro, who were the German BattleTech licensee at the time of publication and later even held the complete BattleTech license. While Wunderwelten does not technically meet the current criteria for canon, its BattleTech-related content does therefore still have a claim to being an official publication under a valid license.
Other Wunderwelten Scenarios
Other BattleTech scenarios published through the Wunderwelten magazine include
- Der erste Kontakt
- Operation Zitadelle & Operation Striker
- Schwarzer Tag
- Wunderwelten issue #23 (October 1994), pp. 80–88