Über dem Gesetz
|Über dem Gesetz|
|Cover artwork||Swen Papenbrock|
|Publisher||Fantasy Productions GmbH|
|Era||Star League era|
|Timeline||2600 - 2605|
|Series||Classic BattleTech Novels|
Über dem Gesetz ("Above the law"), by Michael Diel, is a German-language BattleTech novel published by FanPro in 2005 as the 4th in their line of Classic BattleTech Novels and set in the Star League era. It has not been translated into English so far.
In an unusual deviation from the typical style of BattleTech novels, Über dem Gesetz is an agent thriller rather than military fiction. A plot twist at the end reveals that First Lord Ian Cameron was not above abusing the League's secret service for assassinations motivated by personal revenge.
The novel is a standalone story, but it features character cameos and references to events from Diel's previous novel, Wahnsinn und Methode.
Written in German and exclusively published in that language so far, Über dem Gesetz does not technically meet the current criteria for Canon in the BattleTech universe. As an official product published under a valid license, it should be regarded as apocryphal instead.
From the back cover (translated from German)Edit
|“||2600: The assistant to the League Prosecutor General is found murdered in his office. Star League Secret Service Command agent David Gibbs is put on the case. The answer seems simple and at arm's reach, but the case gets increasingly complicated and contradictory. What really happened in that night of New Year's Eve? Gibbs keeps at the case and uncovers a conspiracy that appears to reach to the highest government circles and up to the First Lord of the Star League himself...||”|
Each chapter begins with a newscast item. These cover a wide range of topics to convey general background information to the reader. The focus is on the deteriorating relationship between the Terran Hegemony and the Draconis Combine, with the Combine massing troops along the border and its leader, Leonard Kurita, considered erratic and a possible threat. Other news depict public opinion about events from the novel.
Bergan Industries has been contracted by the Star League Quartermaster's Command to design a BattleMech around the newly developed LB-X Autocannon and received the blueprints for the new weapon. Supervisory board chairman Trevor Vaughn has decided to sell the secret on, and has invited selected guests to a party on New Avalon on New Year's Eve 2600. Star League secret service (SBGK: Sternenbund-Geheimdienstkommando) agent David Gibbs infiltrates the party and sneaks into the penthouse where the data crystal with the copied blueprints is kept. Following a shootout with security guards, he manages to secure the crystal and jump from a broken window in the skyscraper, gliding to safety with an ultra-thin parachute that was hidden in his suit.
Back at the HQ in Berlin, Terra, on 3 January 2600 Gibbs is informed that on 31 December 2599, four intruders entered the secured private office of League Prosecutor General Amanda Blair near the Rocky Mountains and killed her lover and assistant, League Public Prosecutor Joshua Turner. Gibbs and his superior, Horst Buchholz, agree that the highly professional assassins would have found ways to kill Blair, too, if she had been the target; they deduct the raid was aimed at Turner.
On 7 January, Draconis Combine Coordinator Leonard Kurita visits President of the Parliament Barton Avellar on the Outworlds Alliance capital world of Alpheratz. They discuss trade agreements, but Kurita, rather rude and abusive, rebuffs Avellar's attempts to negotiate a possible alliance. The prearranged trade agreements are signed in an icy atmosphere.
In Parliament, Barton Avellar is later confronted by his cousin Rodrigo Avellar with allegations that he allied his realm with the Draconis Combine, causing considerable media fallout.
Gibbs, having traced leads from the attack on Turner to the Maskirovka, has singled out a woman as suspect: Maskirovka Major Jin Zhang. By the end of January he is observing her aboard the MS Pinafore, a sea-going pleasure cruiser on the Federated Suns world of Logandale, while she is preparing another assassination mission. After Gibbs disposes of a hitman Zhang sent after him, they have a showdown where Zhang ends up dangling over the ship's propeller from Gibbs' hand. In mortal danger, she admits to having been part of the team in the Rocky Mountains attack, but claims not to know anything else beyond the names of her co-perpetrators: LePaies, Price and Bradforth, the latter being the mission leader. She immediately tries to kill Gibbs when he pulls her to safety, but falls to her death in the attempt.
On 2 May, the Star League High Council meets in Unity City, Terra. The meeting is overshadowed by the recent death of Lady Shandra Noruff-Cameron, whose passing was covered in the news on 6 January. First Lord Ian Cameron, his son Nicholas and Prosecutor General Amanda Blair discuss Leonard Kurita, who is late to the meeting as usual, with the attendant Lords–Captain-General Brion Marik II and his daughter Rhean, First Prince Alexander Davion and his son Zane, Archon Kevin Steiner-Dinesen, and Chancellor Normann Aris. When Kurita finally shows up, the council goes into session and an argument breaks out about the "extended DCMS maneuvers" that Kurita's troops have been engaging in for two years already. Concluding a shouting match, Ian Cameron orders Kurita to stand down within two months or the ongoing maneuvers will be regarded as a declaration of war by the Star League.
By 24 July, Gibbs has identified Jacq LePaies and Mason Price using leads found in Zhang's cabin, and is observing them on New Mendham as they prepare to kill (or so Gibbs believes) Cassie DeBurke. He realizes too late that the man he is observing is not actually Jacq LePaies. Racing to rescue DeBurke he finds her alive, but unconscious, with her research results stolen by LePaies and Price. In the subsequent car chase through the city of Bresco, LePaies is killed. Price escapes into the Bergan Industries complex, where DeBurke rigs the fire extinguishing system to spot heat signatures, enabling the security staff to find Price. He escapes through the cargo terminal and hijacks a Chameleon 'Mech. Gibbs procures a prototype Champion to fight him, and disables the Chameleon with several head hits from the LB-X Autocannon. Price is mortally wounded. Before dying, he tells Gibbs that they did not kill Turner.
To avert a looming war, Kurita orders his troops to relocate away from the borders, but the relocation is deliberately stalled and proceeds very slowly. On 26 August Barton Avellar visits Zane Davion, who is now First Prince of the Federated Suns, on New Avalon and offers his condolences for the death of Zane's great-grandfather. Having learned that the incriminating information about him apparently was delivered to his cousin by the Draconis Combine, Avellar visits Leonard Kurita on New Samarkand on 7 October and accuses him of trying to oust him from his position by spreading information about a Kurita/Avellar alliance; Kurita in turn is angry because the firms the Combine was supposed to invest in were half bought up by Davion firms following Avellar's meeting with Davion, and accuses Avellar of trying to play Davion against Kurita. Avellar leaves after a shouting match, and Kurita indignantly orders ISF agent Tai-sa Tetsuo Yatomo to arrange Avellar's death.
Gibbs is meanwhile wondering if he was given false information when he was put on the case. He and Cassie DeBurke unsuccessfully try to arrest Bradforth on Brookeland, then track him to Alpheratz where they cannot prevent him from shooting Barton Avellar with a sniper rifle. Gibbs ends up chasing him in a space taxi towards a Ryan Cartel iceship at the jump point, where Gibbs and Bradforth finally confront each other in space suits on the iceberg. Bradforth mocks Gibbs for being a mere pawn and having no idea what really happened. He dies without revealing further answers when his space suit is ripped open, concluding the manhunt.
On 17 February 2601 Nicholas Cameron visits Amanda Blair and "Mister Landon" (obviously Joshua Turner in disguise), reports on Gibbs' progress and apologizes to them for some unspecified inconvenience caused by his father Ian. He then goes to see is father who is expecting war with the Draconis Combine. They discuss troop deployments until Nicholas brings up Gibbs and accuses Ian Cameron of putting himself above the law by having the suspected terrorists killed instead of putting them on trial. They are interrupted by a messenger delivering an update report from the secret service. Ian Cameron suffers a stroke while reading the report.
Nearly two years later on 25 November 2602, Draconis Combine forces land on the jointly administered world Asta and abduct fourteen children who Leonard Kurita believes might be his possible offspring, killing several civilians in the process. Although the children are eventually returned, relations between the Terran Hegemony and the Combine deteriorate to a new low and troops are pulled together along the border over the next two years. War is looming, and Leonard Kurita is becoming increasingly erratic.
By 1 September 2604 Nicholas Cameron, having succeeded his father who died in 2602, tries to defuse the political situation in a High Council meeting. Leonard Kurita, totally drunk, launches an irrational paranoid tirade against Nicholas Cameron and finally thows a half-empty whisky bottle at the First Lord. The bottle misses and hits a guard, Sgt. Tanya Kerensky of the Royal Black Watch, who reflexively triggers a laser burst from her rifle that cuts Kurita's clothing and grazes his hip. Enraged, Kurita kills her with a hidden knife in return and leaves. Nicholas Cameron posthumously awards Kerensky with the Star League Medal of Honor and bestows the title "Protector of the First Lord" upon her family. Shedding his previous pacifistic attitude, he also demands that Kurita withdraw his troops from the border within three months or risk open war. Kurita prepares to begin the war with a pre-emptive strike but alienates his military and his House in the process and causes civil unrest on a scale previously unheard of in the Combine. House Kurita scions eventually decide in secret to remove him from power, feeling he is unfit to rule.
On 4 December 2604, one Jerry Edwards is apprehended whom Gibbs has identified as a mole within the SBGK after years of unsuccessfully trying to find out what really was behind his mission to kill Zhang, LePaies, Price and Bradforth. Edwards resists interrogation and mysteriously dies in his cell after Gibbs was taken off the case. Four days later, Gibbs is teamed with legendary agent Colonel Burton and tasked with bringing Leonard Kurita to Terra to stand trial. Gibbs puts together some circumstancial evidence and tells Buchholz straight to his face that Edwards was tortured to death and revealed Leonard Kurita behind the Rocky Mountains attack. This results in Buchholz pulling Gibbs from duty, but Burton is impressed enough with Gibbs to countermand this and demand Gibbs be assigned to Burton for their mission.
On New Samarkand, Burton is apparently killed and Gibbs, who was to provide a diversion, attempts to salvage the mission. With the help of agent Fumiko Shoda, a female servant in the palace known as "Morningstar", he reaches Leonard Kurita, but ISF agent Yatomo intervenes before Gibbs can arrest Kurita. Yatomo proceeds to shoot the insane Kurita and prepares to shoot Gibbs, who learns that the person killed in the Rocky Mountains attack was in fact non other than Shandra Noruff-Cameron: Mad Leonard Kurita had her killed out of spite to hurt First Lord Ian Cameron.
Burton, as it turns out, is not actually dead, but had changed suits with an Otomo guard he killed. The three agents–Gibbs, Burton and Shoda–stage a daring escape over the course of which Burton is separated from the other two. Burton returns to Terra to report on the mission, while Gibbs and Shoda are "delayed" frolicking in a pool on the MS Pinafore on Logandale.
- Barton Avellar, President of the Parliament of the Outworlds Alliance
- Rodrigo Avellar, successor to Barton Avellar (referred to as both cousin and brother)
- Sean Bradforth, Assassin
- Ian Cameron, First Lord of the Star League
- Nicholas Cameron, successor to his father Ian
- Cassie DeBurke
- Captain David Gibbs, SBGK agent
- Leonard Kurita, Draconis Combine Coordinator
- Jacq LePaies, Assassin, ex-secret service agent
- Mason Price, Assassin and MechWarrior with good connections to Bergan Industries. Black.
- Tai-sa Tetsu Yatomo, ISF agent
- Major Jin Zhang, Maskirovka agent
- Al Na'ir (mentioned)
- Alpheratz - official residence of the President of the Outworlds Alliance, Famindas
- Alshain (mentioned)
- An Ting (mentioned)
- Halstead Station (mentioned)
- Icar (mentioned)
- Jordan (mentioned)
- Kagoshima (mentioned)
- Kinkaid II (mentioned)
- Luthien (mentioned)
- Markab (mentioned)
- Murchison (mentioned, as "Murchinson")
- New Avalon - Bergan Industries skyscraper, Avalon City
- New Mendham
- New Samarkand
- Robinson (mentioned)
- Sadachbia (mentioned)
- Sarna (mentioned)
- Terra - SBGK HQ, Berlin; High Council, Unity City
- Tharkad (mentioned)
- Thimphu (mentioned)
- Yance I (mentioned)
- Chameleon (modified, mounts a SRM-4 launcher)
- Champion (prototype)
- Night Hawk
- According to official BattleTech canon as presented in Historical: Reunification War (p. 46, "Shandra Noruff-Cameron Profile"), Shandra Noruff-Cameron died of natural causes in May 2600 though it is noted that some historians believe "foul play was involved". This is thought to be a nod to this novel.
- The cover depicts the scene of Gibbs and DeBurke running from Price when he appears piloting a Chameleon
- According to the Bergan Industries chairman in the prologue, LB-X stands for "Large Bore - Extended" Autocannon.
- On the sidelines, the prologue mentions that a team of House Steiner's Lyran Intelligence Corps managed to steal the blueprints of the first BattleMech on New Earth in early February 2455 in cooperation with AsRoc, the Rim Worlds Republic secret service. This is contradicted by other sources, most notably Prometheus Unbound: The event occurred on Hesperus II, and AsRoc was not involved (though the LIC used a JumpShip with RWR registry for one possible escape plan, which might have caused rumours of RWR/AsRoc involvement).
- For the Outworlds Alliance parliament, 37 delegates are mentioned, each representing one member planet, suggesting the OA, as of 2600, comprises 37 planets.
- SL-15 Slayer aerospace fighters appear during Gibbs' mission to New Samarkand. This is a continuity error as the Slayer was only introduced in 2657.