Field Testing Summation: Custom CRD-3R Refit
Producer/Site: Grim Grinner Gang, unknown facility (Ype-Jhu?)
Supervising Technician: “Oil Can” Handy
Project Start Date: Unknown (3128?)
Non-Production Equipment Analysis:
Double-Strength Heat Sinks
Despite the century of technological renaissance stemming from the recovery of the Helm Memory Core, there are still regions of human space where scavenging and jury-rigging of technology is the norm. Nowhere does this become more evident then in the region known as the Outworlds Wastes. Largely ignored and forgotten for the last three hundred years, the worlds of the Wastes fell even further then others during the depths of the Succession Wars. Furthermore, due to their isolated nature and lack of infrastructure, the crawl back for these worlds has been slow and painful, with few managing to even reach Terran Alliance levels of technology.
In many cases, the highpoints of technological progress on these worlds comes from pirate bands who form their own, isolated high-tech enclaves. Needing functional BattleMechs and dropships to simply make their operations viable, these bands will by necessity require access to the technology to keep such machines running. In the Outworlds Wastes, this often leads to innovation through improvisation, as the few skilled technicians available use whatever methods they can to keep valuable machines running.
The man known only as “Oil Can” Handy is one such example. The cheif technician of the Grim Grinner Gang, he has become a master of keeping the pirate band running on the back of whatever salvage they have been able to find or steal. In many cases, this has included rebuilding BattleMechs out of improvised parts and performing modifications to suit whatever components are available to the pirate band. What makes this even more impressive is that much of this work is done without the benefit of advanced technology or infrastructure by a crew whose training is largely done on the job.
Possibly Handy’s greatest work was the job he did on rebuilding the Crusader piloted by the pirate band’s leader, Mad Mabel. A battle with a rogue mercenary band had left her BattleMech half-wrecked but in possession of an Axman’s lower right arm. Seemingly inspired by her trophy (or maybe in a fit of madness), Mabel ordered Handy to rebuild her BattleMech to incorporate the Axman’s hatchet, while also redesigning it to be better suited to close combat.
With high expectations placed on him (and potentially severe consequences for failure), Handy went to work. The right arm LRM launcher had been irreparably crushed in the battle, so removing it to make way for the hatchet seemed like a logical move. The left arm launcher was similarly removed, and replaced with a pair of modified SRM-6 launchers in order to support the ‘Mech’s close-range capabilities. The missile bays for the LRMs were rebuilt to accommodate the new missiles; since they were already cross-linked, it proved easier to keep one bay in the right side to feed missiles on the left arm. Judicious use of spare armour (and some scrap metal) created the illusion that the original LRM launchers were still in place in order to deceive opponents. Mabel would later add cosmetic spikes to both sides in order to further confuse opponents while also supporting her aesthetic sensibilities.
To further bolster the Crusader’s firepower, Handy replaced the machine guns with a second pair of Medium Lasers, taken from salvaged components. While both lasers were different models (One Lushann, the other Diverse Optics), some careful modifications ensured that they would be compatible with the existing units. Mabel approved of the change, stating that “killing peasants was no fun” and leaving anti-infantry duties to others.
Finally, the salvaged hatchet was installed in the right arm, completing the original point of the rebuild. Rather then going to the lengths of grafting a new lower arm on, Handy instead transferred the hatchet, making modifications to the structure of the Crusader’s hand and lower arm to ensure that it would function properly.
This did leave one problem, however. The Crusader had allways been notorious for overheating, and the additional weapons (and Mabel’s aggressive approach to close combat) would likely burden the cooling system even further. Not wanting to risk as catastrophic shutdown (or her ire), Handy engaged in the most ambitious (and resource intensive) part of the project, which was to upgrade the ‘Mech to use double-strength heat sinks. Despite a shortage of parts (he drained all the spare double strength models out of their reserve and even stole some from other BattleMechs), Handy was able to complete the overhaul.
Despite her oft fickle and violent nature, Mabel was suitably pleased with the result. Her initial field trials of the ‘Mech went well, much to her pleasure (and no doubt, Handy’s relief). During a raid on Onverwacht, she displayed the effectiveness of these modifications in combat against the Syndicate’s forces. Having mistaken it for a regular Crusader, a Syndicate underboss piloting an Ostsol attempted to rush it to engage in close combat. Instead, the unsuspecting MechWarrior found themselves staggered by a barrage of SRMs, before having their cockpit crushed by the hatchet. Buoyed by her victory, the pirates went on a three day looting and pillaging rampage, carrying off millions in parts, supplies and other booty before burning whatever was left behind.