Rags to Riches or To the Stars or Bust
The Assassin is a BattleMech that began life because of corporate ambitions and successful lobbyists. Though there was no need for a new medium ’Mech in its arsenal, the Maltex Corporation lobbied the Star League to purchase the Assassin as a replacement for the lighter Wasp and Stinger. They were successful largely through over-hyped performance statistics, fuzzy budget approximations and some greased palms, and even then only several hundred were constructed before production slowed to a crawl after two Assassin factories came under investigation for quality control violations. Still, the Assassin proved to be popular with garrison forces of the SLDF and the Marik Militia; with an impressive top speed and jumping distance of 210 meters combined with excellent coverage for its four and a half tons of armor and solid firepower, the Assassin was considered a superb reconnaissance and light ’Mech hunter in its own right.
The Assassin was not flawless however, especially when Maltex cut corners during its initial production, and it has the dubious distinction of having one of the most cramped cockpits of any Inner Sphere ‘Mech. Dozens of attempts by Maltex over hundreds of years to overhaul the cockpit cooling system to create more elbow-room ended in failure, not only limiting Assassin pilots’ time in-cockpit to half of that of other ’Mechs, but causing many to develop a lifetime of back problems. The Assassin would first see combat in 2980, long after the fall of the Star League, when the Free Worlds League successfully fought off the Federated Suns for control of Rochelle during the Third Succession War. The Assassin fared better than other ’Mechs during the bloody battle and House Marik became an enthusiastic user of the design late into the war. Eventually the use of Assassins by all sides lessened due to a shortage of spare parts, with the Capellan Confederation simply running out of these ’Mechs by 3025, though its modular design and access systems allowed it to survive.
By 3058, most Assassins had been phased out of service, with the remaining ’Mechs mostly family heirlooms passed down through MechWarrior families and with many modifications. Defiance Industries was licensed by Maltex to produce a variant, the ASN-30, for the Lyrans during the FedCom Civil War, but it was largely seen as a failure. The Assassin would see a resurgence in 3067 when Hellespont ’Mech Works acquired the design from Maltex, thanks in part to minor distractions facing Maltex such as charges of tax evasion and collusion with the Word of Blake, and began producing the ASN-23 for the Capellans, the Taurian Concordat and the Magistracy of Canopus.
Weapons and Equipment
The Assassin is popular for its long-range capabilities thanks to a Holly-5 LRM launcher in the right side of its torso. Its primary short-range weapon is a Holly-2 SRM launcher in the torso’s left side, supported by a Martell Medium Laser in the right arm. With just two tons of LRM and one ton of SRM ammunition though, the ‘Mech has limited endurance without resupply and is vulnerable when left with only the laser to fight back. Assassins built before 2815 also suffered from a serious design flaw in the short-range missile rack’s reloading mechanism, which experienced chronic jamming during high-heat situations and could only be repaired by disassembling the unit. Under severe corporate pressure Maltex finally fixed the problem in newer models and offered several years’ funding for recall repairs, though some privately-owned Assassins might still mount the defective system.