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Warriors of Light and Steel is the third episode of BattleTech: The Animated Series.
The episode begins on an unknown worldEdit
We see Jade Falcon mechs tearing through more Inner Sphere mechs, led by Malthus's red Thor. Malthus bitterly muses about the lack of challenge the Inner Sphere warriors pose as he blasts through four mechs - including an assault-class Mauler - entirely on his own.
Elsewhere, on the planet RomulusEdit
The Kwaidan lands on a cliff. Soon after, Adam debarks in his Axman, telling the Strikers that the Romulus Militia have agreed to lend the Strikers their training facilities for some much-needed practice - and hopefully teach the unit some lessons in teamwork. Ciro's griping out the training nature of the mission draws some mocking jokes from Val, Hawkins and Kylie.
In the training facility's control room, a member of the Romulus Militia explains that the facility was left in the hand of the militia after the Federated Commonwealth moved its regular troops to the Clan front. With a voice command - "Kerensky will return" - the training systems activate, and three holographic mechs - a Thug, a Champion and a Crab, all Star League designs - appear on the battlefield.
Back at the site of Malthus's latest conquestEdit
Star Colonel Nicolai Malthus addresses the POWs on Wotan - the planet we saw captured in the opening sequence - welcoming them into Clan Jade Falcon. Upon hearing that the last resistance movement on the planet have been quashed, Malthus announces his intent to take the Clan's next objective, a planet once commanded by the founder of Malthus's bloodline - Romulus.
Back on RomulusEdit
The Strikers take to the battlefield as their holographic opponents start to appear around them. As the battle begins, Specter tries to feed the Strikers information from the Katana, but the time lag results in information that is out of date by seconds - far too fast to be effective in the battle that they're engaged in. Ciro gripes once again about Specter's shortcomings, but Adam tells the Strikers to just work through the problem.
As the Strikers' battle plan falls apart, Ciro rallies the troops and calls them into formation, an order Val and Hawkins readily follow against Adam's direct orders. Unfortunately, Ciro accidentally "shoots down" Kylie's Banshee, and Val's Centurion is disabled by a simulated leg hit. The holographic mechs bathe the rest of the Strikers in simulated laser fire, ending the engagement in a loss for the Strikers. Adam angrily explains that the mechs were fighting based on the Clans' field maneuvers. Hawkins tries to tell them that the tactics worked against the Draconis Combine, but Adam shouts him down - they're fighting a new enemy now, one that "isn't impressed by your quaint little defense formations."
Meanwhile, the Falcon's Nest jumps into the Romulus systemEdit
As Star Commander Natalya reports a successful hyperspace jump, Star Colonel Malthus orders Pytor to prepare all Elementals and OmniMechs for the conquest of Romulus.
Back on RomulusEdit
As Ciro and Kylie sit together, Ciro's about to crack a joke at Steiner's expense, making fun of his family name, but is interrupted by the sudden arrival of the major. Hawkins, standing nearby, wonders if maybe Ciro has a point - maybe Adam's trying too hard to live up to the family name. Adam rejects the idea, however, saying that regardless of what Hawkins thinks, he's earned his rank. Franklin interrupts the conversation, requesting permission to take the Kwaidan to Remus Spaceport for supplying, a request that Adam grants. Ciro speaks up against Adam for this, saying that the Dracs can't be trusted and trying to cite the words of Alexandr Kerensky to back him up, but Adam cuts him off, saying that Kerensky's dream was to unite the Inner Sphere, and that he'd want them to work together.
Elsewhere, the Kwaidan lands at Remus SpaceportEdit
Just as the Kwaidan lands, however, Patch (the unit's technician) spies a very unwelcome sight - multiple Clan dropships landing. The ships start dropping mechs and Elementals, led by Star Colonel Malthus, who delivers his standard batchall. A lance of mechs from the Romulus Militia fire on him in response, causing Malthus to forgo the batchall and attack immediately, switching to Enhanced Imaging as he does so.
The militia puts up a fierce fight at first, but Malthus downs a militia Wolfhound with one shot, then makes short work of two more mechs. As the Falcons take the spaceport, the orbiting warship Falcon's Nest destroys Romulus's communications satellite, cutting off communications between the planet and the Katana.
Elsewhere, the Strikers are about to start another training exercise, but Adam aborts it when he realizes that communications have been cut off. Seeing smoke rising from the city, Adam fears that something is very wrong.
Back at the city, Pytor approaches Malthus and asks for permission to go after a group of mechs on a nearby ridge. Malthus refuses, however, saying that "young, vital warriors" will be needed and ordering Star Commander Natalya and her Elementals to attack the new foes. Malthus instead assigns Pytor to mop up any remaining resistance at the spaceport, much to Pytor's anger.
As a Falcon dropship hovers near the Strikers' positionEdit
Malthus introduces himself over the comm line to the Strikers, identifying himself as "the conqueror of Somerset, Wotan and Romulus." Adam realizes that this is the man who is responsible for the loss of his homeworld. Malthus demands to know how many warriors Adam is "bidding" for the battle, to which Adam angrily replies that he's attacking with everything he has.
As the ship lands and its bay doors open, Elemental battle suits are set loose upon the Strikers. The Inner Sphere warriors are thrown into confusion as they wonder what these units are - except Ciro, who arrogantly figures that this will be an easy victory. Against Adam's warnings, Ciro wades into combat, only to be the first to fall as the Elementals fire lasers at his mech's weak spots with almost surgical precision. Hawkins has his own problems as Natalya pries her way into his Mauler's cockpit and tries to attack him. Hawkins grabs his sidearm and tries to blast her, but the shots bounce off her suit, after which she crushes the weapon with one clawed hand.
Ciro's Wolfhound is about to take more punishment when Kylie shows up in the Banshee to buzz the battle armored troops and get them off Ciro's mech. The Elementals start retreating, and the Strikers start celebrating - only to find themselves face-to-face with Malthus's mechs.
With his unit outnumbered, Adam challenges Malthus - he'll face all of his mechs alone. Malthus, gleeful at finally finding a worthy fight, declares that he'll face Adam alone - only to see Adam's Axman wheel around and bury its hatchet into the rock face behind it. The impact causes an avalanche, providing excellent cover for the Strikers to retreat.
Later, at a nearby farm where the Strikers have decided to hole up...Edit
Adam finishes putting camo netting on the Strikers' mechs while Ben Hartman - a militiaman they met earlier - and his family tend to the Strikers themselves.
Back at Remus Spaceport, Patch, the Katana's captain and Patch are still trying to contact Adam, to no avail. Franklin is getting impatient, saying that he's willing to take off without Steiner if necessary. Just then, however, a group of Jade Falcon warriors led by Pytor capture the ship and demand to see its cargo. As they approach the bay, however, Franklin triggers a device that drops false wall panels over the military equipment in the bay so that when the Falcons arrive, they find nothing but empty space.
Back at the farmstead, the Strikers are making repairs to their mechs, but Ryder's Centurion is out of ammunition. As Adam fixes his mech, Ciro walks up and demands to know why he ordered a retreat. Adam replies that if their performance against the Elementals was any indication, they had no chance against their mechs. Ciro argues with Steiner, once again citing Kerensky - and showing off a medal he wears around his neck - to back himself up. Hearing enough of Ciro's Kerensky speeches, Val tells him to put a lid on it, resulting in the two men briefly coming to blows before Kylie and Adam break them up.
Back at the spaceport, Pytor orders the Dropship's crew transported by truck to a re-education center.
Once again, at the Hartman farmstead, during the nightEdit
Jade Falcon mechs tromp across the Hartman's farmlands, led by Malthus. He starts firing on the civilian buildings, trying to goad the Strikers out of hiding. He's greeted by something else, however - Hartman, on foot, armed with a missile launcher and firing on his mech. The sight of a "laborer-caste drone taking arms against a trueborn warrior" makes Malthus so angry that he orders his troops to obliterate the farmstead.
As Hartman flees with his family in tow, the Strikers - all four mechs, plus Kylie in the Banshee - come out to fight the Clanners. Malthus once again goes to Enhanced Imaging as the two sides begin trading fire. The Strikers manage to down one mech, but a missile strike staggers Adam and Val's mech nearly overheats before a quick-thinking Adam drops the contents of a water tower on it. Recovered, Val's return fire downs another Clan mech.
As the night fight rages on, Adam notices something - the Clan mechs always engage the Strikers one-on-one. Adam orders the Strikers to assemble in parade formation, with the intent of corralling the opposing mechs. With easy targets, Kylie's fighter bathes a Hunchback IIC in flaming jet exhaust, causing its engine to catastrophically fail and the pilot to eject as his mech goes critical.
As Kylie flies around for another pass, however, she notices more Clan mechs coming in. Steiner orders the Strikers to pull back, but Ciro notices the Hartmans are about to be crushed by Malthus's mech. Ciro charges Malthus, knocking his mech off its feet and saving the Hartmans, but is caught in the middle of several other Clan mechs, who all open fire on his Wolfhound. Adam watches in horror as the mech explodes - and Hawkins reports no escape pod ejection signal. Adam is about to go back and try to look for Ciro, but Hawkins tells him to stay back, and Hartman points the Strikers to a series of abandoned mines.
Later, as they recover in the mines, Hawkins tries to console Adam, saying that he did the right thing by cutting his losses and retreating when he did.
Early the next morningEdit
Ciro struggles to get himself out of a tree near the wreckage of his fallen mech. As he tends to his injured knee, however, a shadow falls over him - Star Colonel Nicolai Malthus, arrived to make Ciro a prisoner of Clan Jade Falcon.
Inconsistencies with BattleTech canonEdit
- Under Battletech mech construction rules, there are entirely too many weapons mounted on Malthus's Thor's legs in the opening battle sequence. At most, two weapons can be placed in each leg, yet there appear to be six lasers per leg opening fire on the opposing mechs!