The room stank of stale sweat, too much sugar and the musk of wet dog; enough to curdle milk at twenty meters. Nervous energy bled into the air.

Too much to do, not enough time.

The gathered soldiers poured over hundreds of manuals, annotated existing hardcopies, jotted additional notes: all to the soothing sound of clicking; fingers flickering across a compad like willows in a stiff breeze.

Without a holomap, they made do with an old flat-map, pinned in place on the table. Sore backs kneaded constantly after hours bent over to see each detail, each world... each target.

The Inner Sphere. Two-thousand light years of humanities proliferation. Over two thousand inhabited systems. Two thousand! The Periphery hated being lumped in with the Inner Sphere, but in such dealings, it was inevitable.
The Deep Periphery. Spotted with legitimate and illegitimate powers. Who knew what lurked in such vast darkness.

The Clan homeworlds. An additional thousand light-years beyond the Inner Sphere's edge from the cradle of humanity. So far. So much rage... and potential.

A grand scheme began to emerge... yes, it would all work.


Well, it sure felt like we were soldiers for those two, very long days... course my goatee is anything but regulation.

For the first time since the end of 2000, a BattleTech Summit was held in December 2003. For those who have never heard of such a conclave, here's how it works. Every three years (for over a decade now) the BattleTech developer(s), along with the primary authors of the sourcebooks and fiction of BattleTech, gather face to face to help develop the macro-plots for the next several 'in universe' years (in this case, 10 or so); such macro-plots can then be further developed in the coming months and years into the micro-plots which will constitute the actual storylines unfolding through fiction and sourcebooks.

Now, the reason I'm posting this write-up to instead of Classic, is that it really will come as no surprise to anyone that the single biggest event we discussed is the coming Jihad. Since the specifics of it will first start to appear in the fiction on this site before the future sourcebooks begin to roll, I felt it appropriate to place this here.

The Jihad.

It has been a long time coming. As many of you have noted on various message boards, the hints and geneses for this plot line has been in the works for over a half decade. Of course Fate (ah, she's so fun to be around), pulled from the bottom of the deck and before the surprise could be revealed in real time fiction, it came out as history through MechWarrior: Dark Age, the future of BattleTech.

However, when you work in the adventure gaming industry, you learn to roll with the gauss strike and come back up, weapons blazing. As such, the BattleTech summit concerned itself with the specifics of how exactly the Jihad will unfold. While doing so, we kept a very important directive in mind: yes, the 'ending' of the Jihad is known, but the surprises in a decade can and will be legion. Like so many good story types which have been told over and over again, many times the ending is already known, but it is how you get from A to B that provides all the excitement, drama and horror you'll ever need. We're confident we'll be able to bring that to the table.

Of course, I really can't give any specifics away, as we don't want to show our hand too early. What I can say, however, is that we also talked long and hard about the future sourcebooks FanPro will publish. Currently, I've tentative products planned all the way through 2008 (yes, for those who've asked, it DOES include Clan Handbooks). The goal of such discussions involved deciding what type of products and when and where it would be best to publish the details of the Jihad. Not to mention how BattleCorps fiction can be tied in to support and strengthen such products. I've very excited about the ideas generated.

So, though I know many of you are impatient for the Jihad material to come NOW, for various reasons, as I've already mentioned in a previous BattleChat on, no Jihad sourcebooks will be forthcoming in 2004. However, fiction on BattleCorps is another matter... and the Jihad sourcebooks are on the horizon and coming. I think you'll all be pleased with the time taken to make sure it is done right.

So, with that in mind, I'll sign off... and hope to see all of you reading my next summit write-up at the end of 2006!

Left to right: Herb Beas, Øystein Tvedten, Peter Smith, Loren Coleman, Randall Bills, Christoffer Trossen, and Chris Hartford.