|Author||Randall N. Bills|
|Cover Artwork||David Kerber (design)|
|Publisher||Catalyst Game Labs|
|First published||13 January 2023|
|Timeline||17 October 3150 - 1 July 3151|
|Series||The Mercenary Tales|
|Followed by||Innocent, and Defenseless|
|“||A NEW ERA IS DAWNING…
The Illician Lancers: a mercenary outfit with centuries of honorable tradition, yet somehow always missing the limelight. Especially recently, after their mission failure during the liberation of New Syrtis in 3147 tarnished their once-sterling reputation and left them languishing on the Capellan border. Can Colonel Luciana Araya Morales overcome the shame of those events and restore the Lancers to their former glory?
Meanwhile, as Clan Wolf prepares for its invasion of the cradle of humanity, Ya’el Labov, saKhan of the Sea Fox Khanate, hunts for new opportunities in the currents wafting from Terra. Rumors that the Clan Wolf Khan is using mercenaries as part of his attack plan set the wily saKhan’s mind to spinning. How can he take advantage of this, and make Clan Sea Fox’s star rise even further?
Two people with very different goals are about to embark on a shared mission that, if successful, will change much in the Inner Sphere. And if they are not, their alliance may be doomed to failure before it can even begin…
The 17 October 3150, Ya'el Labov, SaKhan of Fox Khanate, was on the planet Hean, overseeing a new dropport complex of his clan, along with Andreas Sutherland, SaKhan of Tiburon Khanate. The planet hold a Sea Fox enclave key to their clan's expansion efforts. Both talked about Alaric Ward and the imminent Battle for Terra, to decide which will be the IlClan. the 19 December, on the planet Kafr Selim, the Illician Lancers colonel Luciana Morales talked with his subordinate, Major Xavier Jacoby, abot the Lancers' situation: the mercenary unit had been forgotten on the Federated Suns most quiet frontier, for their losses during the battle of New Syrtis. Luciana had been blamed for the almost defeat, and though she hsred Xavier's opinion than the unit cannot remain ignored, she knew than the Lancers won't listen her opinion, so she dismissed him. The 10 January 3151, Labov was already in orbit above Terra. Clan Wolf forces have landed, and Ya'el talked with his subordinate, OvKhan Zoie Vewas, about the irony than Alaric Ward had recruited a mercenary unit, Wolf's Dragoons, to help him. Labov was clearly planning something big, and he began to document himself. On the Lancers' base, Luciana's regiment, in a realistic combat maneuvers, easily crushing another Lancers' regiment. After the maneuvers' ended, Xavier spoke with her again, remembering her the units' forgotten status, and how he saw her as the best officer to lead the Lancers and prove all the Inner Sphere how good they were. On Terra, meanwhile, the battle on planet continued, and Labov still worked on his plan, documenting himself extensively about mercenary units, when his subordinate informed him than an operative sent by the SaKhan had returned after successfully retrieving a key object. Pleased, Ya'el ordered Zoie to reward him and to depart from Terra. On the Lancers' base, a Conclave of officers began, and soon it became clear than the unit was divided into three camps: one happy to remain forgotten, another wanting to follow Duke Alexander Hasek into a war against the Taurian Concordat and a third, led by Luciana, wanted to demand the First Prince Julian Davion, to return the lancers to the front lines. However, despite Morales' arguments, no decision was reached. Soon after, Labov's DropShip arrived on orbit on the planet, and he invited Luciana onboard. He showed to have an extensive knowledge about the Lancers and Luciana specifically. He offered her a surprising deal: he wanted her to become the Lancers' General, and in exchange, to contract the Sea Foxes as intermediaries between them and their employer. Labov admited to be planning to fully replace the MRBC. First, she was enraged for the Foxes' manipulation, but later began to consider it seriously, specially after Ya'el gave her a special present. During a new conclave with the Lancers, Luciana presented Labov's offer to the Lancers, pointing the key situation of the Lancers, and finally presented the Fox's present: a historical relic of the Lancers' originary monastery on Terra. Soon after, Labov received a short message from Morales, now general, accepting his offer, which opened a new market for his Clan, very profitable but also difficult.