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The Anvil

BT Anvil Cover.jpg
The Anvil
Product information
Type Novella
Author Blaine Lee Pardoe
Publication information
Publisher Catalyst Game Labs
First published 1 August 2018
Content
Era Dark Age era
Timeline 20 January 3148 - 23 July 3148

This novella technically first appeared in print in the A Splinter of Hope + The Anvil omnibus edition. It is also available as a standalone electronic product.

Teaser textEdit

I AM A TRUE JADE FALCON...

The leader of Clan Jade Falcon, Khan Malvina Hazen, is known throughout human-occupied space as a merciless tyrant hell bent on shattering and reforging the entire Inner Sphere in her own bloodthirsty image. The next target for her scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners Mongol Doctrine is the Lyran Commonwealth world of Coventry: a persistent stain on the Jade Falcon' history, and a system defended by legendary Lyran heroes.

But not all Falcons subscribe to Malvina's twisted cult of personality. Ordered to take Coventry at any cost, Galaxy Commander Stephanie Chistu has no choice but to follow her orders and conquer the planet in Malvina's name. Stephanie wishes to see her Clan victorious, but no victory is worth their very soul. To stand up to Malvina's tyranny and find a honorable path for her Clan's future, Stephanie must balance the razor's edge between duty and honor - or she will die trying.

Plot SummaryEdit

Annoyed that Galaxy Commander Stephanie Chistu of Delta Galaxy silently opposes her Mongol Doctrine through example, Khan Malvina Hazen resolves to make her follow the path of the Mongol Doctrine by ordering her to invade Coventry, with a precise list of specific Mongol Doctrine-style acts of destruction and mayhem to be carried out (so as to leave Stephanie Chistu no way to wriggle out of Mongol Doctrine conduct). The use of nuclear weapons is expressly authorized. Hazen also sends Star Colonel Yaroslav, an ardent Mongol Doctrine follower, along as a watchdog at the head of a detachment of additional troops from Gamma Galaxy.

On Coventry, the defending 17th Arcturan Guards under General Francine Ross fight a delaying action, denying the attackers decisive battles. LIC had warned that an attack might be imminent, and two of House Steiner's best generals stand by to pounce the attacking Jade Falcons: General Jasek Kelswa-Steiner with the 15th Arcturan Guards and General of the Armies Roderick Steiner, who, feeling he is more of a field officer anyways, took personal command of the 2nd Royal Guards whose CO is having a bout of cancer.

Following her orders from Khan Hazen directly, Chistu prepares to have the highly symbolic town of Whitting razed to the ground and assigns the ecstatic Yaroslav to the task. However, she seeks to minimize civilian losses and orders the town evacuated first–something not expressly ruled out by Hazen's orders, even though Yaroslav protests that Chistu is violating the spirit of her orders. To watch over Yaroslav, Chistu includes her trusted Star Colonel Jagger Thastus in the strike force. However, when Thastus is sidelined by a chance hit and passes out, Yaroslav declares himself ranking officer and interprets his orders in a way that allows him to carry out the massacre he seeks, causing a falling-out between him and Chistu. As per her orders from the Khan, Chistu then broadcasts footage of the destruction of Whitting along with a message from Khan Hazen; but skirting her explicit orders once again, she had vidtechs sanitize the footage, and implicitly distanced herself from her Khan's message by adding another sentence stating she was acting as per Khan Hazen's orders.

After the Lyran relief forces have retaken the Coventry Metal Works complex which the retreating Jade Falcons mostly razed, the attackers are fought to a standstill over the following days. The vengeful Lyrans prepare a trap in the Dales region where they have concentrated their forces. Chistu recognizes the trap for what it is, yet wades in nevertheless with her full force to break the impasse. This time, the Clan forces prevail and Jasek Kelswa-Steiner is killed in a fierce duel with Stephanie Chistu before the Clan forces retreat. In the face of sagging morale, Roderick Steiner gives a fiery eulogy for the fallen hero and manages to rally the troops by marking them with Kelswa-Steiner's ashes, and handing out black armbands made from ammunition sacks, with the star-and-shield insignia of the Archon's Shield, the Stormhammers' elite unit.

The Jade Falcon forces are meanwhile beginning to feel the drawbacks of their scorched-earth tactics as resupply is becoming a problem. The frequent tension between Stephanie Chistu and Yaroslav culminates in them fighting each other with melee weapons in a Circle of Equals. Yaroslav breaks the rules by shooting her with poisoned needles from a gun concealed in his spear. In the ensuing commotion, Chistu incapacitates him with a trio of throwing knives, one of which strikes his throat, and thereby prevails.

By chance, the reinvigorated Lyran defenders isolate a Trinary of Jade Falcons in the town of Guite, decimate them, and Roderick Steiner dares Chistu to a rematch with the remainder of her forces as hostages. Chistu feels honor-bound to come to her trinary's rescue, but during the battle Lyran DropShips deliver the remains of the 17th Arcturan Guards to the Jade Falcons' dropzone at Port St. Williams, threatening to overrun their DropShips, techs and reserves. Steiner challenges Chistu to a duel, a Trial of Possession for the planet. Even while Chistu is pondering her reply, a priority message from a courier JumpShip reaches her by which Khan Hazen orders her to depart for Pobeda immediately because of an offensive by Clan Wolf. Chistu accepts Steiner's challenge as her only option to win Coventry (if briefly), but loses the trial.

In the aftermath, Steiner is reluctant to grant her hegira because it will leave the remaining Jade Falcon troops intact for other attacks against the Commonwealth. Also, someone will have to answer for the Whitting massacre. Chistu then shows generals Steiner and Ross the nuclear missiles that she opted not to deploy, and hands over the injured Yaroslav as the officer responsible for Whitting. Satisfied, Steiner grants hegira.

Archon Trillian Steiner later sends a courier vessel to tell Roderick Steiner that Yaroslav is a treasure trove of information for the LIC, and that Roderick's eulogy for Jasek Kelswa-Steiner has become an inspiration and rallying cry for the entire Commonwealth; Trillian even had a new medal created, the Order of Jasek Kelswa-Steiner.

Featured CharactersEdit

Featured BattleTechEdit

Featured unitsEdit

Behind the ScenesEdit

Author Blaine Pardoe would pick names from the BattleTech fan community for inclusion within the story. The Anvil was the first story to be published where he did this. He actually began this with Forever Faithful which was written prior to The Anvil but would end up published later.[1] (Previously, Pardoe had made references to members of the fan community in other works such as Betrayal of Ideals, where terrain features were apparently named after the forum nicknames of high-profile users of the BattleTech forum.)

ReferencesEdit