BattleTech Lore: Forgotten Heroes, Episode 1
So I made a thing.
I've done a lot of voiceover work in the past (and I've written a few books) so I decided to try my hand at this lore video thing. I love Battletech, and I love BPL's Tex Talks so darn much that I desperately wanted some more videos like that on YouTube. So, I wrote, read and assembled my own story of a character from the original 3025 TRO who has never had more than a paragraph of errata. She's so niche that she's not even on Sarna, but she's an absolute badass.
Let me know if you want to see more of these. I have ideas. Nothing concrete, but I do have ideas. Aiming to do what I can to add something fun to the community.
I've also been painting hella mecha. Some of them are Catalyst, some of them are FASA, some of them are Punkin' Figs, and some of them are sculpts from Thingiverse. Pictures below:
Transcript of the script for the video is below:
The Inner Sphere is full of heroes. Most of those heroes are unsung, legends known only to a single world lost in the sea of stars, but if you sift through enough of our records here at ComStar, you’ll find traces of them, traces that fall together like puzzle pieces to tell a story. As an Adept of the very organization which holds the entirety of the Inner Sphere together like glue, it is my duty, if not my pleasure, to chronicle the stories of these heroes, especially those who time has all but forgotten.
In this report, I aim to call attention to a hero whose story has captivated me since I was a child, a hero I read about while leafing through a beaten copy of a Technical Readout that I actually still have. This is the story of Lieutenant Leesa Dobbins of the Free Worlds League, and to use the coarser language of Periphery Folk, she was, well, an absolute badass.
Hard data on Lieutenant Leesa Dobbins is scant despite what she managed to achieve in the line of duty during the first quarter of 2938. Almost everything we have on her comes from the very first iteration of the 3025 Technical Readout, and even though her entry is little more than just a footnote, that footnote is still an impressive one. From our records, she is officially the first MechWarrior attributed with single-handedly disabling a dropship in orbit, using a mech.
To set the scene, it was the morning of March seventh, 2938, when the advance warning systems for the Fletcher System registered jump activity and the movements of an incoming Capellan invasion fleet. The system’s second planet, a modestly-sized terrestrial world under Marik control, immediately began mustering its standing forces and calling for assistance over our HPG network. It was estimated that the Marik military forces on Fletcher 2 could mount a reasonable defense in time to meet the incoming Capellans, but that to gather the forces needed to break the advance of the enemy and to turn them back, the Free Worlds League would need more time. Civilian death tolls were projected to be in the millions if the Capellans were allowed to touch down on Fletcher 2, with a great deal of critical infrastructure damage to follow if the battle were to drag out across the planet’s surface. Without sufficient time to gather the forces to meet the Capellan advance, it looked as though a protracted battle was coming, and that even if House Liao did not take the planet, the skirmishes would create the kind of chaos that costs money. A great deal of money, and if there is one thing the Free Worlds League cares about, it’s the flow of money.
The battle for Fletcher 2 in 2938 is rarely referenced in historical texts, even those maintained by our adepts here at ComStar. In fact, I could find only a single reference to this border skirmish, and only as a footnote to the career of Lieutenant Leesa Dobbins, and her achievements in March of that year. It is likely that the Capellan forces chose the Fletcher system for this invasion because it was roughly twenty-seven lightyears from the border between House Marik and House Liao. Taking the Fletcher system would push back the border and create a staging point from which the Capellans could hit at least six other League worlds with relative ease. But to say that Fletcher was just a good pitstop on the way to important systems like Oriente and Loeches doesn’t do the Fletcher system the justice it deserves. Fletcher 2 was, at that time, home to a habitable world with over five hundred million people living on it. Impressive, for a planet so rocky and so covered in mountains that it has traditionally been hard to invade or subjugate. As such, major military manufacturing and large-scale farming operations that have persisted on the planet for centuries have had the opportunity to blossom and become lucrative, making Fletcher 2 a desirable world for the Capellans to covet and for the Free Worlds League to maintain a hold on.
Fletcher 2 happened, at that time, to also be the home of the Dobbins family, minor nobles who had garnered a steady profit from overseeing manufacturing operations on the planet over the course of several centuries. Wise investing and saving had served this family well, and in 2779, the Dobbins family purchased a lance of Phoenix Hawk Land Air Mechs from Allied Aerospace, seeing these cutting edge machines as both an elegant and versatile way of reinforcing both the existing ground forces and aerospace forces simultaneously. Some decried the purchase of these “parade pieces” as overly extravagant, stating that for the price paid to give a Land Air Mech to each of Patriarch Dobbins’ sons, the standing forces of Fletcher 2 could have been reinforced with two lances of the, at that time, new RFL-1N Rifleman anti-aircraft platform, providing twice the punching power without any of the expensive maintenance requirements or flashiness of the Land Air Mechs.
But nobles will be nobles, and as the fortunes of the Dobbins family waxed and waned, so too did their supply of parts needed to keep the Phoenix Hawk Land Air Mechs in operational condition. By the time Lieutenant Leesa Dobbins, sole inheritor of the legacy of the Dobbins family, rose to prominence in the standing forces of Fletcher 2, only one of her family’s Phoenix Hawk Land Air Mechs was still serviceable, the others having been parted out for repairs or to pad the maintenance budget for Leesa’s private mech. Due to the specialty nature of her ancestral machine, Leesa was tutored privately on Fletcher 2, and became a skilled pilot of her mech in both land and air roles. The mech itself was kept immaculate on the outside, trimmed with gold and other aftermarket aesthetic modifications until it had become a symbol of Fletcher 2’s standing military forces and of a once glorious past rooted in the glory days of the Star League. Internally, however, our records indicate that Lieutenant Dobbins’s Land Air Mech was well worn, thoroughly broken in, and that many of the components keeping it together were, after two centuries, mostly composed of parts from standard Phoenix Hawk mechs that had been cut down and made to fit in the Land Air Mech in a way that was, as they say, good enough for government.
Before the battle of Fletcher 2 in 2938, Lieutenant Leesa Dobbins earned the respect of the leadership of the First Marik Militia and the rest of the planet’s standing forces through her performance in a series of mock skirmishes, as well as in her professionalism in handling reviews and drills for both Aerospace and BattleMech forces. On several occasions, she had accompanied Fletcher 2’s Aerospace forces in the defense of the planet against supposed invasion fleets that turned out to be little more than false alarms. The battle of 2938 would be her first real combat run, but she had grown accustomed to leading her troops from the front, charging in and only assessing the situation later.
On March seventh, however, this trend would turn out to be a disastrous one. Leading two flights of Aerospace fighters from the central position of her own Command Element, Lieutenant Leesa Dobbins engaged a pair of Excalibur Class dropships as they entered orbit, only to have her forces cut down to half almost immediately. Aerospace support for the Capellan dropships was strong, and knowing that her own forces could not stand up to the invaders in a direct engagement, she ordered her subordinates to drop back into Fletcher 2’s atmosphere and await further commands.
Then, in a move worthy of the Capellans she was fighting against, Lieutenant Dobbins parked her Land Air Mech in the path of the closest approaching dropship, cut her engines, and began to signal that her fighter had run out of fuel. Unwilling to simply blow up a valuable piece of military technology when it could seemingly be recovered so easily, the Capellans sent a flight of Aerospace Fighters from the remains of their supporting squadron to tow her in. Records indicate that Lieutenant Dobbins played off her ruse perfectly, claiming the right of surrender and allowing herself to be towed all the way to the open bay door of the closest Dropship before springing the trap she had lain for the Capellans.
It was then, halfway into the open bay door of the Dropship, that Lieutenant Dobbins engaged her Land Air Mech’s conversion systems, transforming her machine from Aerospace mode to BattleMech mode, and unleashing hell on the unarmored internal structure of the ship that had been at the very edge of capturing her.
Little information remains of what followed. From what we know, her Phoenix Hawk Land Air Mech did extensive damage to the Excalibur’s cargo and crew decks, venting more than a few Capellans into space in the process. Once the aerospace support of the two Dropships finally shed enough of their shock to respond, they began to scramble around her, diving desperately on her mech, but their fire was hasty and uncoordinated, and it is said that they did more damage to their own dropship than they did to Dobbins’ machine.
At some point during the skirmish, Lieutenant Dobbins dropped below the fire elevations of the Excalibur, careful to keep the ship she was tearing apart between herself and the other, as yet undamaged dropship. Carefully aimed fire from her machine’s Amsterdam 120 Large Laser, Maxum 50 Medium Lasers and Sperry/Browning Machine Guns cut into the Excalibur’s engine at point-blank range, crippling it and leaving it to drift into a dangerous, decaying orbit from which there would be no recovery. Reports I have on hand from the ComStar archives seem to indicate that the Happy Giant, the dropship that bore the brunt of Lieutenant Dobbins’ wrath, crashed six hundred and seventy-nine kilometers east of the city of Torrance at 1340 local time with all hands lost in the impact.
It is uncertain whether or not Lieutenant Leesa Dobbins survived her daring attack on the invading Capellan forces, whether she was captured or whether she, as I suspect, went out in a blaze of glory. What we can say for certain was that her diversion and her sacrifice effectively cut the invading forces in half and bought time for the Marik forces on and inbound to Fletcher 2, time they needed to prepare the defense that would ultimately drive back the Capellans in the battle of 2938. Because of the valiant last stand of Lieutenant Leesa Dobbins and her Phoenix Hawk, Fletcher 2 remained in the hands of the Free Worlds League for another century, even into and through the dark period we know as the Blakist Uprising.
But if there is more to the story of Lieutenant Leesa Dobbins than this, I am afraid it has been lost to time, to the secretive nature of the Capellan state, and to the ravages of these unending centuries of war. Rest assured that I, as an adept of ComStar, will continue to search through our voluminous archives for additional data on this, and on other heroes who have made similar sacrifices that have gone unremembered, except by the very, very few of us who study such things. Yes, I find such stories interesting, and despite what certain voices in the Periphery might say, we aren’t just a phone company. We’re ComStar, we’re The only phone company, and we keep records on everything.
This is Comstar Grade Seven Tau Adept Mareus Augustus, a humble chronicler of the history of the Inner Sphere and of points beyond, signing off.
Hey all, E.S. Wynn here! Thank you for listening. I’m trying something new with this video, going back to my roots as a science fiction storyteller and seeing what I can make by playing in an established universe. The Battletech franchise is home to a massive universe, one that I have been fond of for a very long time, and doing a video like this allows me to write short fiction steeped in the lore of the franchise, then share it all with you in a way that I hope you enjoy. For my first piece, I chose one of the heroes whose story has enchanted me since I was a kid, and though the canon material for her is only about one paragraph in length, I was able to use certain clues in that paragraph to expand and explore what a fuller story of her life and her sacrifice might have been like.
So if you enjoy this kind of content, please give it a like and leave a comment down below. Are there any other forgotten heroes or little parts of the lore of the Battletech universe that you’d like to hear me talk more about on this channel? Let me know. And yeah, in doing this video, I was absolutely inspired by Tex Talks Battletech from the Black Pants Legion. Tex’s lore videos have gotten me through many a boring day processing meaningless paperwork for ungrateful people at my day job, and many times I have found myself wishing that I could find more quality lore videos for Battletech to listen to on Youtube. Battletech is absolutely a childhood love of mine, something that I got really into with a buddy who has sadly since passed on. I’ve done some voice acting work in the past, so I figured that maybe doing my own videos on Battletech Lore might add something to the community that even I want to see more of. YouTube has enough droning wiki readers and robot voices making audio out of old supplement books. To me, the best Lore videos are stories, conversational in style, told from an in-universe perspective, that you can listen to like a lecture from a favorite teacher who loves the material as much as you do.
But that’s just me. Let me know if we’re on the same page and maybe I’ll do more of these. There’s plenty of material to explore, and plenty of heroes out there to cover who have only ever been given a single paragraph in the official errata. If you want more Battletech content from me in the meantime, you can of course check out my ongoing solo campaign over at my blog, Fistful of Valkyries.