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Knives in the Dark

Knives in the Dark cover.jpg
Knives in the Dark
Product information
Type Novella
Author Randall N. Bills
Cover artwork David Kerber
Publication information
Publisher MechaPub Inc
First published 05 December 2019
Era Succession Wars era
Timeline 17 November 3003 - 4 November 3008
Series MechWarrior 5: Origins
Preceded by Dissimulate Wanderer
Followed by A Skein of Schemes

Knives in the Dark, subtitled A MechWarrior 5 Origins Series Story, Installment 6, is an original BattleTech novella penned by Randall N. Bills, offered as a free tie-in product supporting the MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries computer game.

It was originally released in electronic format on 05 December 2019, before being also included in an electronic omnibus collection on 12 December 2019, two days after the game's launch. The novella was later re-released as part of The Mercenary Life anthology released 12 April 2021, with an additional author post-script.

Plot summaryEdit

Brooklyn Cameron-Jones is summoned by her uncle and ruler of the Principality of Regulus Count Derick Cameron-Jones, but rather than expecting Brooklyn to answer for accusations her actions crippled a JumpShip, he asks her to comment candidly upon the tensions between brothers Anton and Janos Marik. Baffled by his actions, the Count insists that he knows Brooklyn would never do the acts for which she was accused, instead insisting that her actual crime was forgetting her noble position and that she must always be mindful of the endless machinations that ensue from it. Commenting just as the Captain-General's action have painted Anton into a corner which will likely lead to civil war, despite her abilities to enhance House Cameron-Jones Brooklyn's action have left the Count no choice, stripping a tearful Brooklyn of her last name and banishing her from her family and the Principality of Regulus forever.

Five years layer Brooklyn Jales, her new last name a thinly veiled anagram of Selaj, is the administration officer for the Chloe's Cavaliers mercenary unit serving as defensive detail for a ultimately fruitless Interstellar Expeditions dig on the League Protectorate world of McKenna. As the depressed Cavaliers prepare to look for their next contract, Dawson Clarmont reveals that the Steel Guard is redeploying to the Lyran Commonwealth border with the planetary government offering a new defensive contract to the Cavaliers. A contract that means they don't have to redeploy seems ideal to the rest with only Brooklyn disagreeing, recognizing that Duke Anton Marik's offer to redeploy a unit known to be totally loyal to his brother elsewhere implies something is afoot.

With the rest of the Cavaliers convinced they will be able to fight their way out of any problem, Brooklyn is unable to protest more heavily an overt attack is unlikely without revealing her past, catching the attention of uneasy Nikolai Mason who has deeper secrets than her own. In short order as Brooklyn feared the Cavaliers come under repeated attack from supposed bandits who seem more interested in stirring up dissatisfaction with the Captain-General than stealing supplies. As Brooklyn attempts to dig for more information, an increasingly suspicious Nikolai follows her and uncovers a plot by the Anton-loyal planetary government to force the Cavaliers to acquiesce to the bandits by kidnapping Nikolai and Chloe's child. Nikolai tells an initially doubting Chloe that Brooklyn is that kidnapper as the pair split up, with an angry Chloe locating and shooting Brooklyn in the arm as she pleads she was trying to stop a blackmailed Dawson, with a Nikolai learning the truth only after mortally stabbing him.

Burying Dawson on the farm they'd been defending as they lodge a complaint against the planetary government, Chloe and Nikolai unsuccessfully attempt to convince a heartbroken Brooklyn to stay, but the stark reminder of what her uncle told her leads Brooklyn to seek her own path alone.

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