Every two weeks or so someone asks me to read their fan fiction. I always decline. I used to read fan fiction but I found that most of it was beyond redemption and some made my stomach queasy. You know you’re doomed when someone says, “I’m three-hundred pages in and am not sure where to go with it. Maybe you can give me suggestions?” Or, better yet, you have someone who writes a story from 24 different perspectives – you know, so you can see the whole battle unfold. Ugh. How do you explain to someone that they are, in essence, extremely fu*ked?” Answer, you don’t.
Back in the day, I used to read fanfic and give my feedback. Then I had someone accuse me of lifting their story . “My story was about a ‘Mech commander, fighting impossible odds, and winning. You stole that idea for your book.” Um dude, you basically described every BattleTech novel ever written. Oddly, the guy that made the claim got it wrong – I never even read his 60 page single-sentence monstrosity. It made my eyes bleed.
People float unsolicited ideas to me too. “Here’s a story where House Davion destroys the Lyran Commonweath,” or “I came up with a new clan that has been forgotten about.” Each time one of these crosses my inbox a new ulcer is born and I drift one step closer to that aneurysm that I know is coming.
I like good fanfic and encourage people to take their ideas to BattleCorps. Don’t try and pitch it to me that I should read your work with the line, “they’ve already rejected it twice.” That’s not quite the selling point you think it is. Also, submitting it in crayon on the back of a iHOP placemat is also not a format I find amusing.
Not all fan fiction sucks. I’ve read some good stuff in the past, on my own accord. I support fan fiction that people post for free. Having said that though, a lot of it is a crazed fanboy delusion wrapped in energy-drink fueled nightmares with a thick foamy layer of twisted brain-farts that barely resemble the BattleTech universe.
I do not favor fan fiction where someone sells their novel or sourcebook online. I have gotten into heated debates with these self-appointed constitutional and copyright authorities. Let’s be clear, if you are selling your stuff, you’re infringing on the copyright. If you are stealing BattleTech artwork for your little self-publishing venture, you’re stealing. Just because BattleTech has been around for a while doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you desire.
Alright – rant mode off. To commemorate April Fool’s Day this year – I offer you a “typical” bit of fan fiction for your consideration. It is a tribute to every nauseating fan fiction ever created. I’ve incorporated a few dozen elements in this story – something to offend and upset almost everyone. So here – whatever you do, don’t enjoy it!
Operation Total Freakin’ Awesomeness
By The World’s Biggest BattleTech Fan Who Knows Everything About the Universe – Even More than Stackpole, definitely more than Pardoe.
Lieutenant Cody Whiplash Brightstar- callsign Tight-Testicles, piloted his family’s Stinger ™ with ease. BattleMech’s ® had been the cross-dressing kings of the battlefield for over 30 centuries (give or take 28 centuries or so). They were humanoid war machines capable of leveling city blocks even when they weren’t in the city. They used tanks for rollerskates and greased their actuators with the blood of dead infantry who dared oppose them. To blend with their surroundings, they were painted a variety of bright colors and patterns. What was the point? When you’re running at 97 kph in a three story, 75 ton war machine, blasting everything with lasers, particle burst slingshots, missiles, autocannons, hypersonic potato cannon, fuzz-busters, etc., camouflage is secondary to destruction.
The BattleMech ® Brightstar piloted had been a Star League machine, handed down generation after generation to him. His father, grandfather, great-grandmother, great-great uncle, cousin six-times removed, and the guy his great-great-great grandmother had slept with, had all died in the cockpit of the ‘Mech that he was piloting. That didn’t bother him. He was sure his fate would be different. I have the benefit of learning from their failures. Only after his father’s death did he assume command of the 12259th Lightfoot Lancers.
Like his ‘Mech, his unit could trace its origins back to the Star League, as could all of the really good and hip mercenary units. The 12259th had opted to remain in the Inner Sphere when General Kerensky left the Inner Sphere to go and found the Clans. They could have gone, but they were way too cool to just be a bunch of followers. They had fought for all of the major houses and had been betrayed by all of them at one point or another…because that’s what cool mercenary units do, get betrayed. Even ComStar rated them as “Posers,” which Brightstar treated as a badge of honor because ComStar was so damned weird to begin with. The constant double-dealing and selling-out by their employers had given the Lightfoot Lancers a reputation of not only being awesome but somewhat a flight risk.
They stood on Urban – an almost forgotten planet in the Lyran Commonwealth ®, their latest employer and betrayer. Cody’s father had negotiated a contract to garrison the world at the edge of the Periphery against the ice pirates and other raiders. The world was said to have held a Star League garrison in as Castle Bran complete with a Star League Memory Core somewhere on the planet. Of course his father had been betrayed by the local Duchess, Duchess Imma Douchebage, who was scheming to become the next Archon General because that was what everyone in the Commonwealth did. Urban was a world that was covered with old abandoned cities which made perfect scenes later in this story for battle.
Then came the Clan invasion™ !
They struck like a horny pit bull at a bitch in heat…humping the leg of every planet along the periphery border. The Clans went all honey-badger (oddly enough there is a Clan Emerald Honey-Badger) on the fringe of humanity, devouring worlds and crushing entire regiments because of their vastly superior firepower, speed, and confusing tactics of only sending three warriors to defeat an entire battalion.
Now they had come to Urban. Now they would face the 12259th in battle.
“Sir,” Dax Starscream signaled. “The Clan commander wants to meet with you before the fight. She sounds tough. Said something about a combat trial.”
“Very well,” Cody responded, peeing just a little bit inside his coolant suit. “I will show her what she’s up against. That should scare her into submission.” He was already plotting his escape off-world.
* * * * *
Star Commander Shamalamadingdong, a warrior of Clan Tin Sloth © tightened the straps on her battle stiletto high heels and adjusted her duraweave bullet-proof push-up sports bra. Today the denizens of the Inner Sphere would feel her wrath. Today they would be overwhelmed with her fashion sense and whipped into submission (in just the manner you are thinking) by her intimidating unibrow and tats of Elementals over the crease of her muscled buttocks. She put on her olive drab Nordstrom 211 combat lipstick for the occasion. Today we will take this world because, well, it’s in our way. We will conquer all of the worlds in our flight path, despite the fact they could be bypassed, because it is the Clan Way ™. One day the Tin Sloth will stand victoriously on the home soil of Terra and be the illclan and all of the other Clans, the Rancid Cows, the Copper Snails, the Jade Ratsuckers, The Ivory Poachers, the Mauve Moths…they will all acknowledge the greatness of the Tin Sloths!
She stepped off of the Ironclad Class dropship ramp and saw her opposition – Cody Brightstar. She was unimpressed. A mercenary…who dares evoke the Star League in the name of his unit. She mentally connected the pimples on his forehead to form the letter “L”, outlining her opinion of her competition.
“I am Star Commander Shamalamadingdong, of Clan Tin Sloth© and the Skywalker Bloodname © and I have come to take this cesspool of a planet from your feeble, relatively weak, grasp. I initiate this formal Trial of Keepsies against your paltry and unworthy forces. With what forces will you defend this pimple-on-the-Great-Kerensky’s-ass-of-a-planet ™?” she barked at him. She wasn’t entirely sure, but she thought she saw a small wet spot form on his coolant suit crotch as she issued her Challall.
The Inner Sphere scum cleared his throat and the wet spot on his crotch seemed to grow with each beat of his paltry heart. “I don’t know – what are you attacking with?”
“The Tin Sloths are steeped in honor. Before we were the Tin Sloths © we were the Rainbow Trout, absorbed during the Great Trial of Deathly Pummeling. We abhor waste and are great recyclers – as was the will of Nicholas the Whacked. I would be willing to take you on alone, in one-on-one combat for possession of this lint-trap-scrapings you call a world.” She paused long enough to spit the tobacco she had been chewing, splattering it at Cody’s feet.
“Affidavit – that’s ‘yes’ for you, you ignorant tapeworm on society,” she replied with confidence, ending with the cursory and required Clan word for “aff.” Clan Warriors had an entire dictionary of abbreviations and words they were required by the Holy Nicholas Kerensky to include when they spoke. It was the depth of their “culture.” Nicholas had based the Clans on the animals that had come to him during a drug-induced binge where he had almost drowned in a pool of his own vomit. The warriors of Clan Nova Shart went so far as to go on a LSD and acid induced high annually to try and recreate his experience.
“To the death?”
”To your death – aff,” she said.
“What if I cheat and bring my entire company?”
“Then I will bring my trinary,” she replied.
“Well, that sucks.”
“Aff,” she replied with a wicked grin. “What say you…you goiter on the neck of mankind.” The goiter insult was one only the Sloth’s used and was considered devastating amongst the Clans.
“Could I send someone in my place?”
“A warrior with honor would never do such a thing.”
Cody stared at her with a blank expression on his face through the ten seconds of awkward silence – a silence she shattered like an artillery barrage. “Neg Cody of the Brightstar bloodline. You must fight your own battle.”
“Is that a question or your response to my challenge, quiaff?”
“This,” Shamalamadingdong said to herself, “is going to be easy.”
“You know your mike is hot,” Cody replied.
She gritted her teeth in anger and swore to kill her Tech, despite the fact it was not his fault. “We meet at noon tomorrow at the place of your choosing,” she said out loud. Don’t bother to purchase a coffin, I intend to fry your remains in the cockpit.
* * * * *
“You’ll be dead before the end of the first salvo,” Tech Sergeant Chen said to Brightstar.
“I have a plan,” Cody said with confidence that came from two bottles of Benadryl and a handful of pills he found in a men’s room floor.
“You pilot a bloody Stinger ™, Chen replied. “You’d be better off wrapping yourself in aluminum foil and carrying an Airsoft pistol.”
“You know that abandoned military museum near the spaceport?” Cody asked.
“Yeah – all of that stuff is antique,” Chen said frowning.
“Here’s a list,” he handed an Apple ™ iNoputer to the sergeant. “Get these things and meet me in the bay.”
Chen surveyed the list suspiciously. “You’re mad! These are museum pieces you’re talking about.”
Cody Brightstar smiled in response. “I’m not crazy. No, I’m going to win.”
The next day Cody stepped out in his modified Stinger ™ and stood before Star Commander Shamalamadingdong. Her Spitting Sidewider Class OmniMech ® was adorned with patches of brightly colored faux fur, typical for the Tin Sloths, giving her a strange (if not nauseating) camouflage pattern. The OmniMech ® was easily 35 tons heavier than his Stinger. Despite that, and the fact that she had been genetically bred for war, and had trained her entire life for battle, in a society where warriors were the epitome, and that her ‘Mech had superior technology…Cody felt he had a good chance of taking her down. Part of that was his confidence in his skills. The other part was bold arrogance capped off by a copious amount of cheap vodka he had just consumed.
“You showed,” she said on the open battle channel.
“You thought I wouldn’t?” he replied.
“You surat-suckling Inner-Spherers are known to lack courage, honor, integrity, and left testicles,” Shamalamadingdong replied. “You have reconfigured your Stinger ™ , affidavit?”
“Oh these?” he lifted up his arms where duct tape held the new weapons securely in place. “Yes. I did.” BattleMechs ™ were like Legos ® in that you could pop off any component and with a bit of brute force and Gorilla Glue ™ you could make them work.
“Your shoulder mounted missiles are a joke. You will not even damage me with so few,” she boasted, popping open her faceplate and wiping the sweat from her single brow.
Cody made his Stinger ™ shrug with his neurohelmet control. “You may be right. We will have to see.”
Shamalamadingdong cleared her throat like a chronic smoker than spoke again. “We shall fight this engagement in our time-honored and tradition-laden rede-mandated manner – steeped in ceremony and ritual. The Trial of Keepsies is our most sacred tradition.”
“Um, okay,” Cody returned.
“First, you will step back 19 paces, one each for the great clans who will send you to your grave.”
“Aren’t there 20 clans?”
“Negatory,” she snapped. “There is one, the unspoken clan, who we don’t acknowledge existed and we never speak about them.”
“But you just did. You just told me about them.”
“Nuh-uh,” the Star Commander said. “Did not.”
“So you basically don’t talk about them? What did they do that was so heinous?” Cody pictured a fraternity panty-raid gone horribly awry resulting in the death of everyone involved.
“Crimes so dark and disturbing that we cannot speak of them. Things that soiled the very fabric of our traditions and society. Acts so hideous and perverse that the mere mention of them is punishable by death – or being forced to watch the ancient broadcasts of ‘The View,’ or Spiderman 3.”
The mention of Spiderman 3, a film that had led to the Kentares Massacre, was no small thing and sent a chill down Cody’s spine. Strangely, he managed to fake being cool. With pure bravado Cody smiled. “You don’t know what they did do you?”
“Negatory,” she replied. “As I said, we are forbidden to speak of it.”
“Okay, I back up 19 steps. Then what?”
“We fight – to the death!”
“Huh,” he said unimpressed. “I expected a lot more. I mean with all of that talk of tradition and stuff.”
“That is all. Our traditions are simple really, but extremely steeped in history.” Pride rang in her words.
“Okie-dokie,” he said, starting backwards in his modified Stinger ™. The rubble and ruins of a once vast city around them would provide plenty of places for him to run and hide once the firing started. Besides, I have a few tricks up my sleeve. Shamalamadingdong backed up her imposing, if not oddly colored ‘Mech as well. When she stopped they stood facing each other.
“Okay,” Cody said coolly. “Now what?”
“It begins – with your death!” She raised her arm mounted weapons aiming at him.
Cody used his neurohelm to raise the arm if his own ‘Mech, pointing over her shoulder in the distance. “What in the hell is that?”
Shamalamadingdong turned her ‘Mech to face the new threat, one that didn’t exist. Cody broke into a run, swinging behind a crumbling building. “You are a cunning foe. I respect such guile. I shall relish grinding you to pulp under the feet of my Spitting Sidewider ®. “
Cody flattened his ‘Mech with its back against a building…to better blend in. “You have a weird way of showing respect.”
* * * * *
The Star Commander stealthfully poked her ‘Mech’s head around the corner to see if the inner-spherer scumbag was there – but he was not. Her tactical display had lost track of him in all of the rubble and ruins. I believe he means for me to chase him all across this planet. That thought did not daunt her. Her OmniMech brandished enough firepower to consume his paltry Stinger ™ in a shot or two. Sure its destruction might litter the area with radioactive debris once his fusion reactor was ripped apart, but that was a small price to pay for honorable victory.
She stepped into the street when suddenly her ‘Mech reeled. Her damage indicators showed damage to the neck coil, just under the cockpit. Spinning she caught another blow from Cody’s ‘Mech, a karate chop to her head. She was caught off guard, since Clan warriors did not stoop to physical attacks, despite the fact their ‘Mechs were humanoid in shape and form. She used her joystick to angle her targeting reticle on the inner-sphere scumbag but he made that difficult, bitch-slapping her ‘Mech about the cockpit/head hard. The impacts of the open-palmed slaps made her bite her lip, suffering 1/3 a hit point in damage. Curse you Cody Brightstar!
Using her neurohelm to control the massive Sidewinder, she unleashed a roundhouse kick. Cody’s nimble Stinger ™ tucked and rolled and her leg crashed into the building she stood next to, sending a wall of bricks and wood falling onto her. Cody came out of his summersault, stood and ran. She went to lock weapons on him and unleashed a blast with her CT-001 Piercer Model J pulse laser. A stream of 4th of July-like sparklers of red and blue filled the space between them, glancing off of Cody’s right leg for four points of armor damage and eight points of paint damage. She wanted to unleash the fury of her SearTech 8-9-200 Particle Projection Cannon but cursed to herself. He’s within my minimum range, so I cannot shoot him. Curse that surat-loving pond scum! She broke into a run in pursuit but his erratic dodging and tendency to run through the crumbling buildings, coupled with her own ‘Mech sinking deep into roadway which was never built to handle 60 tons of running OmniMech, allowed Cody to evade her pursuit.
He will not get far. The next time, I will have range on him and he will die, perhaps even with honor.
* * * * *
Cody’s sprinting had heated up his ‘Mech so much that he had to pull his s’mores off of his cockpit dash and store them in the cooler near his seat or the chocolate would have melted and made a sticky mess. I won’t let that happen again! The air in his cockpit smelled of marshmallows, the sweat of dead relatives, and the stick of his own despair. It was the smell of desperation and victory. His earpiece in his neurohelm chirped. “Tight Testicles – come in. This is Range Rover ™, over.”
“Go ahead Range Rover ™,” he said, happy to hear Dax Starscream’s gravelly voice.
“Our sensors show Shamalamadingdong moving towards the south edge of Central Park.”
“Roger that,” Cody said pulling up Mapquest ™ on his tactical display and waiting for it to recalculate. The old park was perfect. Flat, clear of debris, it stretched for three miles. I have her now.
He trotted his modified Stinger ™ and brought his new weapons to bear. When he reached the edge of the park he knew Shamalamadingdong’s sensors would pick him up. Before she could charge, he activated his direct channel to her. “Star Commander, this is Lieutenant Brightstar,” he said in his best Sam Elliot/Daniel Radcliffe voice. “There is nothing between us, I suggest we slug it out at this range.”
Shamalamadingdong roared with laughter and he pictured her unibrow furrowing. “We are at least 60 hexes distant and you are in a Stinger ™. Even if you could swamp out for LRM’s, you couldn’t hit me at this range.”
Cody adjusted his father’s fuzzy red dice so he could make her out better in the distance. “Then you have nothing to worry about, unless you are afraid of me.”
“I fear no man.”
Bring it on witch! “Then I double-dog-dare you, come and get me!”
Her Spitting Sidewider ® started to move towards him, casually, arrogantly. Cody hit the target interlock trigger button (TITB) and fired his four missiles mounted on his torso. The missiles streaked out and slammed into the Sidewinder ®, sending massive chucks of armor flailing into the air like butterflies scattered in a stiff spring breeze.
“Impossible!” Shamalamadingdong howled. She picked up her pace trying to close the gap.
Cody locked on his machineguns and opened fire at 40 hexes. The bullets couldn’t miss the building-size ‘Mech, riddling its armor with each step. Cody stayed locked onto her, pausing only to take his s’more out of the mini-fridge in his cockpit. Each step ripped her armor apart more and more. Piles of .50 cal armor piercing round casings littered the ground around his ‘Mech, forming small piles as he unleashed machinegun fury.
At 35 hexes range he triggered two more stubbier missiles. They streaked in hitting her ‘Mech’s crotch region, penetrating deep and blowing it apart. The Sidewinder‘s ® left leg fell off and Shamalamadingdong plunged forward, furrowing a trench in the sod of the old city park.
“How?” he heard her gasp. “You used a machinegun beyond its three hex range. And those missiles, you hit me at two miles out. That is inconceivable!” Pure frustration and quasi-erotic fury rang in her words. Cody was tempted to touch himself he was so happy.
“I raided the old military museum. I outfitted my ‘Mech with 21st century Browning machineguns, MGM-140 ATACMS and FGM-148 Javelin missiles.”
“But their ranges and the size of their warheads….”
“All 20th century tech. I know, it surprises the hell out of me too. Hey, what can I say, sometimes the best tech is the old tech.”
“I turned information into ammunition – literally,” he replied.
She struggled for several agonizing moments to get her ‘Mech upright. It listed like a Marine in port on payday. “You have won Cody Brightstar. Urban is yours to keep. The Tin Sloths will depart.”
Cody grinned. “I guess that makes you my bondsperson,” he finally replied.
Shamefully she replied, “Affirmative.”
“Awesome! First things first, you’ll need to cut that unibrow of yours in half. Second, report to my HQ for duty.”
“What assignment will you have me fulfill?”
“Laundry Shamalamadingdong – starting with the underwear I have on. I may have spoiled myself a little at the start.”
# # #
So there you have it – the most horrible BattleTech fan fiction ever written…a tribute to every horrible piece of fanfic out there. I stopped counting the mistakes, errors, and illegalities involved with this at 51 – so this parody is fairly robust in its violations of the laws of God and man.
I fully anticipate at Gen Con this year seeing Clan Tin Sloth patches and t-shirts, because no matter how bad this was, there will be some that love it. Me, I’m looking forward to the logo for Clan Nova Shart which is destined to surface at some point.