As Copied/Quoted From: House Steiner Battletech Game Sourcebook, Copyright 1987, FASA Corporation.
[Editor's note: On February 5, 2439, the first Battlemech received its baptism of fire on a desolate series of steppes near the North American city of Yakima. The Battlemech, a joint effort by more than 20 of the best weapons manufacturers in the Hegemony, was tested against four ancient Merkava heavy tanks specially fitted with remote control devices. The commander of the BattleMech and the first Mechwarrior was Colonel Charles Kincaid.]
The few people allowed to witness the first combat run of the BattleMech were debriefed. What follows is a transcript of a verbal report filed by Professor Htov Gbarleman, chief research scientist for Karena's Fiber Optics Interstellar, manufacturer of the BattleMech's sensor systems.
Colonel Kincaid, with his usual impatience, rushed through the pre-test warm-up and nearly ripped apart one of his umbilical connections trying to get the test started. As I began to monitor the sensor output, I noticed that the BattleMech's myomer-neural feedback circuits were faithfully echoing Colonel Kincaid's brain wave patterns. It was eerie - almost as though the 'Mech were technically alive and Kincaid was its spark of divinity. The Colonel's howl of sheer pleasure quickly cleared my head of that notion. He pushed the Mackie forward in a trot straight into the test range where four tanks waited among low, rolling hills.
One of the tanks opened fire. Its shot was true and hit the 'Mech just above the right hip. Everyone in the brightly lit bunker seemed to hold his breath as all the readouts fuzzed into snow at the blast interference. No damage! A piece of steel no thicker than my finger, strengthened by radiation casting techniques and impregnated with a sheet of woven diamond fibers, had stopped cold an armor-piercing shell. That same shell would have gone straight through a third of a meter of normal steel.
The tracking cameras watched as the Colonel swiveled his chest to bring his weapons to bear. Twenty years of my life seemed to focus into a single action that would take no more than five seconds. I watched as Colonel Kincaid used his sensors - my sensor - to pick out the tank hidden behind a group of small trees and bushes. He fired both his PPC and autocannon. Both shots were direct hits and the tank erupted into a ball of flame.
A thunderous cheer swept the bunker, while everyone present began to slap me on the back. Instead of feeling pleased at the 'Mech's performance, I felt increasingly sad.
I didn't realize why until Kincaid began to track down the last tank. The tank operator was sitting at his remote control panel next to me. I'll never forget the expression on the young man's face.
Outside, Kincaid had disabled the last tank. As he stood over it, he raised the 'Mech's right foot and brought it crashing down onto the tank. Before the hunk had a chance to explode, Kincaid twisted the 'Mech's foot deeper into the tank's carcass. Next to me, the operator of the tank was trying so hard not to show his fear that tears were streaming down his cheeks.
It hit me than that my colleagues and I had just turned loose one of the most powerful weapons ever conceived by man, but we were celebrating like giddy children. While my companions jumped up and down with glee, that poor boy was trying to hide the fact that in the instant his screens went black, he had wet his pants.
--From Terran Hegemony Document 0324610.04, Hegemony Research and Development Department, Military Weapon Systems Division, ComStar Archives, Terra.
THE BATTLEMECH ERA
...In 2439, the Terran Hegemony first used the recently developed new weapon known as the BattleMech. Based on WorkMechs and the genius of various research groups, the MCK-5S Mackie easily outclassed any weapon that any member-state could put on the field. Huge industrial complexes geared to the assembly of BattleMechs were built in several key locations throughout the Hegemony. To guard the highly secret operations of these facilities, they were staffed by only the most trusted workers from the Hegemony and security was beefed up to the maximum. The physical appearance of a 'Mech was also a closely guarded secret, and so many were disguised with false body panels to prevent spies from even observing one of the metal behemoths. One of these BattleMech factories was built on Hesperus II. The Archon immediately ordered the Lyran Intelligence Corps to infiltrate the Hesperus plant and to steal any information possible on the Mackie. After six years of trying, the LIC never managed to get more than one agent into the plant, and then the most he could get was a map of the facility and a few vague observations on the construction of BattleMechs. By this time, Katherine's son Alistair Steiner was an officer in the LCAF and commander of an elite commando unit. Though he had devised a daring raid to seize information directly from the factory's computers, his unit was suddenly called elsewhere...
As quoted from Mechwarrior 4...
"We, the undersigned, on the 13th day of June, 2412 in accordance with our commitment to preserving human life, do solemnly pledge to prevent the loss of civilian life in war. Let this document testify to our desire to end the senseless atrocities attendant upon human conflict and our pledge to uphold the ideals contained within these Conventions or suffer the harshest consequences.
Article I – Nuclear Arms
The use of any nuclear device or variant thereof on a planetary surface or against any commercial vessel is prohibited. This prohibition extends to tactical nuclear blasts against aforementioned targets. Controlled nuclear attacks in space against military targets are prohibited unless they occur at a minimum distance of 75,000 kilometers from the surface of any inhabited world in a star system.
Article II – Orbital Bombardment
The use of orbital assets to bombard stationary targets (as defined in Appendix B) on a planetary surface, with the single exception of a valid military objective whose destruction the attacker deems necessary to ensure the survival of his own troops, is prohibited. In no case may any orbital attack take place in or near any heavily populated area, and any orbital attack is subject to ex post facto review by a duly appointed council from the signatory states.
Article III – Surrender
To lessen the human cost of warfare, all combatants must accept the surrender of any unit that offers it. A white flag adorned with a red "S” will represent the universal surrender standard, so that any unit unable to communicate by conventional means may still surrender fairly. The universal surrender guidelines in Appendix E outline the provisions for the treatment of prisoners and fair compensation for capturing forces upon the release of war prisoners to their native realms.
Article IV – Safe Passage
The governments and military commands of the undersigned agree to recognize the aforementioned white flag as a symbol of truce. Any vessel, or vehicle or person bearing such a truce flag shall be granted safe passage through any place, insofar as the bearer breaks no laws pertaining to that place, or initiates no hostile activity as defined in Appendix F, the truce flag shall be deemed invalid, and any action taken against such an individual or individuals becomes the responsibility of those suffering hostile action. Harassment of a truce flag bearer without provocation will be investigated by a duly appointed board of inquiry from the signatory states.
Article V – Urban Warfare Restrictions
No battle shall be waged in an urban area except under extreme circumstances. If the military objective of an assault lies in a city center, attacking troops must insure that any hostile action causes the least possible amount of collateral damage. No attack may be made against any civilian target, for any reason. Civilian targets shall be deemed to include such life-supporting equipment as water and air purifiers, agricultural assets, or any other item that enables a planet’s population to continue their existence.
Article VI – Chemical and Biological Weapons
Because chemical and biological agents kill human life indiscriminately and often permanently damage the biosphere of any world suffering such an attack, the use, further development, and production of such agents is strictly prohibited."