|Author||Stephan A. Frabartolo|
|First published||28 June 2012|
|Era||Succession Wars era|
|Timeline||5 May 3026 - 21 April 3028|
Proprietary is a story by Stephan A. Frabartolo that was published online on BattleCorps on 28 June 2012. It re-tells the rather curious Fourteenth Battle of Hesperus II (as narrated in the McCarron's Armored Cavalry sourcebook) and explains its true background as a mission to secretly extract a deep cover operative, although this is not known within the BattleTech universe at large; it also sheds some light on how the Capellan Confederation was able to field a regular BattleMech design (the BJ-3X Blackjack variant) with Double Heat Sinks as early as 3028.
|“||When the Gray Death Legion uncovered the Helm Memory Core, it opened the door to a Pandora's box of Star League technology. But not every realm got what it wanted legally...||”|
Kincaid Defiance Industries (KDI) used to be a minor Lyran ammunition manufacturer and arms dealer until ca. 3026 when, because of their inconspicuous profile, shipping capacity and established trade routes into the Federated Suns, the firm was selected as a front for a secret manufacturing deal: Since the sacking of the Friden Aerospace Park facility on Hoff at the hands of the Black Widow Company, the Federated Suns lacked the industrial base to manufacture the prototype Double Heat Sinks which they had created there. They turned to their Lyran Commonwealth allies to produce components which were secretly delivered to the KDI HQ facility on Hesperus II for assembly and delivery to New Avalon.
On 5 March 3028 a trio of Molehunters, counterintelligence operatives of the Lyran Intelligence Corps led by one agent Schröder, make an unannounced visit to CEO Simon Kincaid. Only Kincaid and his aide Francesco Roncaletti are let in on the fact that a Double Heat Sink assembled at their site was found installed on a Capellan BattleMech; the subsequent inspection reveals that an unknown perpetrator has been diverting a significant share of the prototype Double Heat Sink production by falsely marking it as production cull, and smuggling it into the Capellan Confederation.
Flashback scenes reveal that a Lyran businessman calling himself "Johnson" indeed contacted the Capellan Confederation as early as 5 May 3026 and offered to sell them prototype Double Heat Sinks of Davion/Steiner manufacture. During a clandestine cargo exchange masked as a customs inspection in the Capellan transit system of Outreach on 18 November 3027, he personally collects the price he has been asking: His Capellan contact, the ever-friendly Mr. Ling, delivers the frozen corpse of a certain (unnamed) MechWarrior from the Perth River Strike Battalion of the First Marik Militia whom the Lyran wanted dead. According to his dossier the dead man was considered a sadistic sociopath even by his own superiors, and he was apparently responsible for the death of "Johnson"'s family in an unspecified incident on Megrez in 3018. However, House Marik merely demoted the man after the incident on Megrez, implicitly because of his noble title and possession of a valuable Thunderbolt. He rose back to lance commander a year later in what was described as a "recurring scenario".
While KDI chafes under the lockdown implemented by Schröder's Molehunter team in the following weeks, the investigation stalls just short of uncovering the agent. On 21 April 3028, Hesperus II comes under attack but unusually, the target is the KDI compound and not the Defiance Industries BattleMech factory. The LIC agents immediately suspect an extraction raid. Schröder is determined to apprehend the traitor and assumes overall command of the defenders, overriding Kincaid's suggestion of surrender to minimize damage to the facility.
During the fighting, Kincaid destroys Schröder's Zeus during a rear guard action when no other friendly units are watching. He then radios Roncaletti, whom he considers his adoptive son, and tells him that he just killed Schröder to prevent him from uncovering that it was Kincaid himself who sold the secret technology to the Confederation. With his back literally to the wall Kincaid makes Roncaletti promise that he will destroy all evidence and save the firm, then announces that he is not coming back. However, Kincaid is not killed by the enemy 'Mechs. It turns out he had arranged safe extraction for himself in exchange for the prototype blueprints which he carries with him.
- Black Widow Company (mentioned)
- Defiance Self-Protection Force
- First Marik Militia; specifically the Perth River Strike Battalion (mentioned)
- KDI security forces
- McCarron's Armored Cavalry; specifically the 2nd McCarron's Armored Cavalry regiment, aka Barton's Regiment (by implication; see Notes below)
- Griffin (also GRF-1S variant)
- Hermes II
- King Crab
- Thunderbolt (mentioned)
- Although this is never spelled out in the story and the attacking BattleMechs' identity or affiliation is not revealed, the extraction raid is actually the battle that became known as the Fourteenth Battle of Hesperus II. It was carried out by Barton's Regiment of the McCarron's Armored Cavalry (MAC) mercenary unit in the employ of the Capellan Confederation. Since the extraction was a covert action, the attack was officially explained as a grudge raid because Simon Kincaid had allegedly taken several millions of C-Bills from the MAC in a black market deal and then failed to deliver.
- The author had also submitted a boardgame scenario to go with the story. It recreated the final stand at the KDI site, explicitly spelling out that McCarron's Armored Cavalry was the attacking side, and also providing additional information on Kincaid's fate in its "Aftermath" writeup. However, although BattleCorps' Managing Editor requested (and received) a second draft with certain changes, tentatively accepting the submission, the scenario remains unpublished. (Since the story had already been published, it would have been a standalone scenario publication and BattleCorps had decided around that time not to publish standalone scenarios anymore.)
- Despite the reference in the teaser, the Helm Memory Core (which was only recovered on 1 April 3028, twenty days prior to the conclusion of the story) does not feature in the story and has little if anything to do with the storyline. The Double Heat Sink technology mentioned in the story was developed independently from the Helm Memory Core, which later helped to perfect the prototype technology.
- "Johnson", the alias used by Kincaid in his illicit deals with his Capellan contact, is a nod to the "Mr. Johnson" concept from Shadowrun where it is synonymous with any employer who hires Shadowrunners for illegal activities, usually with the understanding that his anonymity is part of the deal.
- McCarron's Armored Cavalry (scenario pack), p. 9