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[This is the story of my role-playing character; at this point, he is still a cadet in Clan Wolf. His name is Adrian, and he is of the House of Spoint. He is training to be a MechWarrior, but he is ambitious, as you will see. Instead of me going on, allow me to introduce you to Cadet Adrian, of the House of Spoint, of Clan Wolf.]

A Surprise for Adrian

My name is Adrian, and I am a MechWarrior of Clan Wolf. More accurately, I am not yet a MechWarrior, nor do I plan to be. You see, I am a cadet, and my training will be complete in just a few days. One week from today will be my Trial of Position. I am certain I can get the one kill to earn my rank as a MechWarrior. However, I am ambitious. I wish to one day become a Khan of Clan Wolf. That will not be easy, but I shall take the first step in one week. I plan to earn at least two kills, and maybe even three. Should I prove to be exceptionally lucky, or should fate decide for me, I might even find opportunity for more kills in a melee, a free-for-all.

There is one problem with my long-range ambitions. No freeborn has ever risen to be a Khan, and few have even earned a Bloodname. Despite my heritage, it seems I have little in common with the other freeborn. I have always been at the butt of jokes for the way I talk, the way I act. Always I am accused of trying to "suck up to those trashborn," as one of my companions colorfully expressed it. Yet I do not see it that way. It merely seems natural to me. The moves, the actions, the speech, all are more instinctive, reflexive, and habitual, than conscious or intended imitation of others.

However, there may be problems of which I am not yet fully aware. I have just received a summons to meet with Khan Ulric Kerensky. It is most unusual for a Khan to pay particular attention to a cadet, and unheard of to be summoned to a private audience! I fear that all may not be as it seems ...

I have just returned from Khan Ulric’s office. The news I have heard has rattled me beyond belief. The walk back to my room must have been the most disgraceful, most inelegant series of uncoordinated actions a human being has ever attempted. Upon entering my room, I actually tried to walk through my door — while it was closed! I imagine my friends will have words for me about my clumsiness ...

Well, all that is for later. Right now, I am still trying to sort through and assimilate all that Khan Ulric has told me. Maybe it would help if I just run through it one more time ...

Just over 20 years ago, internal Clan politics forced Clan Diamond Shark to terminate a program that attempted to breed warriors who, even according to Clan expectations, were far superior to the norm. It involved not only genetic breeding, as is customary, but also genetic manipulation. Once the conservative element in Clan Diamond Shark got wind of the project, they promptly called a Clan Council. Due to the unusual traditions of the Clan, its Council included not only the warriors, as is traditional, but also the techs, scientists, merchants, and laborers.

As is to be expected, these conservatives — who called themselves the "Hand of Kerensky" — went for the killing stroke right from the start. In order to ensure their victory, they not only chose the best litigators, but also bought most of the neutral votes. Land, rights, genetic legacies, and alliances traded hands so multitudinously that it resembled a "carnival," as Khan Ulric put it (I take it the term refers to some Inner Sphere custom ... ). When the votes were tallied, the program was defeated by a wide margin. Only the two Khans and a few supporters from the other castes voted with the scientists to continue the program. Virtually the entire warrior caste was outraged, and voted against; the merchants somehow decided that it would have a negative impact on trade; and the laborers figured they did not need warriors who were even more arrogant than the current lot lording it over them! The techs either ignored the vote entirely, or voted as their assigned warriors ordered them to — usually against.

However, the senior Khan of Clan Diamond Shark, by name one Damon Clarke, proved to be as powerful and determined as his Clan’s namesake. Before the Clan Council formally met, he secretly had the three most successful products of the genetic engineering program to that date adopted into other Clans. The Ritual of Adoption is one of the least-known and least-performed of rituals; a subset of the Trial of Absorption, it provided for the rare circumstance that a warrior wishes to transfer from one Clan to another. It is rare indeed for a warrior to wish to leave his Clan, and rarer still to find a Clan willing to take in a would-be adoptee. However, Khan Damon bargained with the Khans of the few friendly Clans, and an agreement was finally reached. Invoking a sub-clause that allowed the Khan to act on behalf of a Clan member not of the age of maturity (10 years), he authorized the transfer of three genetically bred fetuses to other Clans: two to Clan Wolf, and one to another Clan — I was not informed which one. Although technically the clause was not intended to be used for genetic material or fetuses, its wording was ambiguous enough for Khan Damon’s purposes. Also, no-one but the three Khans — Khan Damon, Khan Kerlin Ward of Clan Wolf, and the Khan of the last Clan — and a few of their most trusted advisors knew of the adoptions — if your opponents do not know your strategy, they cannot counter it!!

The long and short of it is, I was adopted into Clan Wolf. I was raised in a "canister," like other trueborns, but upon my birth, I could not be included in the count of trueborns without raising considerable suspicion. So as not to avoid this, I was given to a volunteer mother, who was sworn to secrecy. Over time, I was raised much like any other freeborn. Training has been rigorous, and in some cases almost impossible. Many of those who started training with me have failed, and some have died through "accidents." I have my suspicions, but as a cadet, I cannot even voice them, let alone investigate and bring charges …

But my thoughts drift again. At the time all this happened, Khan Ulric — the current leader of Clan Wolf — was merely a senior officer under Khan Kerlin, and was not told of the event. News of this operation was only passed on by word of mouth from one Khan to his successor, so Khan Ulric only learned of this program a few short years ago. As if this was not enough food for thought already, he also informed me that I am of the Spoint Bloodline, and that one of the holders of that prestigious name had just died in glorious combat. His death prompted Khan Ulric to inform me of my heritage, for he said that he will announce my trueborn status for all to know just before my Trial commences. (Naturally, he said, he could not reveal the whole truth about my origins, or the Hand of Kerensky would immediately demand my death.) Furthermore, should I succeed in my trial, and rise to a rank of at least Star Captain, he will arrange for a holder of the Spoint Bloodname to sponsor me for the Trial of Bloodright!

He closed by saying that he thought it would be appropriate for me to know of my heritage before my Trial of Position. Personally, I feel such distracting and distressing information could have waited until after the Trial of Position!


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