02 March 2017
Whoever was in charge of Robinsons Standard BattleWorks knew how to turn
unprecedented turnovers to gain a profit. Mere weeks after the Draconis Combine
forcibly took the plant from the Federated Commonwealth, the Robinson-based
plant was already churning out Black Knights and Sagittaires like nothing
Nothing, that is, except that their 'Mechs were being pitted against each
other, old against new. In the chaos left by the Blackout, friend was commonly
mistaken for foe; this was not helped by the fact that a foe could very well be
using the same 'Mech as an ally. So it was that the R&D department was tasked
with something unheard of in a while: design an all-new 'Mech, something that
could take on their own designs and crush them beneath its heel.
The greenlight was given as the winter months of 3144 approached, but it was
not until 3146 that any significant progress was made. The design
specifications changed several times, owing to the vagueness of the
requirements - from Sagittaire and Black Knight knockoffs to more esoteric
designs, including a possible new variant of the Atlas III replacing technology
that they no longer had the rights to.
The breakthrough came in two parts. The first of these was the news of supplies
being linked across manufacturers - though the 'Works was a new addition to the
DCMS supply chain, it was clear that mutual cooperation across DC-held
companies was part of the agenda.
The second came from an unlikely source - a copy of a forgotten Sagittaire
variant. Though the specifications for said variant were done at a time when
supplies were in short order, the underlying concept - long-range weapons
supported by a highly-accurate short-range battery - was deemed to be the ideal
to base the design around.
That design would come to be known as the Prominence.
The Prominence, at its core, was designed to be a full-on assault 'Mech -
capable of laying down fire at range as it closes in, withstand return fire
with heavy armor, and return in kind with a powerful close-in punch. This was
in contrast to Robinson's other designs, excluding one - the D2 variant of the
Though its structure was based on the Sagittaire, the decision to switch to
Endo-Steel altered the design enough that it gained a distinct, flowing design,
with its curves given a bit more exaggeration and its lower sides pressed into
the upper regions. The altered design gave it a cavernous look to its side
torsos, its layered armor evocative of shark gills.
A Vlar 300 Light Fusion Engine, modified from a similar model found in the 5H
Black Knight variant, powers the engine to a top speed of 54 km/hr. Though this
was the same as the Sagittaire, it lacked the brawler design's jump jets,
hampering its maneuverability. This was deemed as an acceptable loss,
considering the differing design philosophies between the two.
However, the choice of a Compact Gyro for the Prominence was made late in the
development cycle, when the engineers were starting to run up against the wall
due to space constraints in the design. The bulk of the other components
necessiated the switch; the decreased susceptibility to damage was merely seen
as a bonus.
Nineteen tons of Starshield A armor protect the 'Mech from all but the heaviest
and most concentrated firepower. Together with the Light Engine and the Compact
Gyro, this made the Prominence a difficult target to fully disable - and
ironically enough made it similar to the Draconis Combine's premier assault
OmniMech, the Tenshi.
With 54 tons reserved for equipment, the Prominence delivered well in offensive
firepower. Its longest-ranged weapon is the Imperator Dragon's Fire Gauss
Rifle, found in the right arm along with its attendant two tons of ammunition.
The gun and its ammunition was stored in an unusual fashion - the ammo bins
were situated around the rifle housing rather than placed in a separate section
of the arm. This posed the risk of losing slugs from a penetrating blow, but it
also reduced the risk of such blows punching through the coils and blowing the
entire arm off.
Supporting the Gauss Rifle as the design closes in are two Lord's Light 3 Heavy
PPCs, one in the opposite arm and the other in the torso adjacent to the Gauss
Rifle. The resultant combination is reminiscent of the Thunder Hawk's triple
coilgun array; three singularly powerful blows sent downrange every ten
seconds, all of them with the potential to blow any 'Mech's head off in one
However, that was not all there is to it. The backup weapons of the Prominence
hearkenes back to the forgotten Sagittaire variant, with a modern twist - five
Martell-X Medium X-Pulse lasers, used by the AS7-D3s that used to be Robinson's
most prized contribution to both the AFFS and the Republic Armed Forces, are
mounted on the design, one in each arm and torso section. This battery of
lasers proved to be more effective in live testing than originally anticipated
- their accuracy ensured that more hits than misses occured, especially at 90
meters and below where the Heavy PPCs would become more inaccurate.
The sheer amount of firepower came at a cost, however - its sixteen double heat
sinks are woefully inadequate when it comes to flushing out all the excess
heat. This limit emphasized the need for trigger discipline when it came to
choosing which weapons were fired - in fact, the long-ranged and short-ranged
energy weapons arrays matched heat emissions one-for-one, allowing for bracket
fire to be utilized to its fullest extent. Should the Mechwarrior need it,
however, the Prominence could in fact fire off its entire array at a standstill
and just barely avoid an automatic shutdown, biding its time to cool off
completely after ten seconds of weapon silence.
Lastly, the Prominence is equipped with a C3 Slave system in the head. Though
many derided the use of an unprotected C3 system in a battlefield where the use
of ECM suites were all but guaranteed, the times when it remained unjammed were
a sight to behold.
One such demonstration was part of its marketing campaign - two Prominences
worked in tandem; one of them engaged a pair of KGC-009 up close while the
other used the targeting data to direct its bombardment with startling
accuracy. The first of them crumpled in less than a minute, pulverized by the
combined fire even with the Plasma Rifles severely limiting the output from the
forward Providence. That Prominence did not survive the second King Crab,
however, but the other one finished the job with little damage to its own armor.
As the Prominence was and still is a fairly new design, there has been little
information as to its deployment. Rumor has it that the DCMS had been reluctant
to deploy it, citing an oversaturated market. Whether that had anything to do
with its similarity in performance profile to the Tenshi is still up in the air.
Surprisingly, there exists a couple of variants for the Prominence. The first
of these, the 2E, is a simple refit - replacing the C3 Slave unit for another
ton of Gauss Rifle ammunition. Though some may lament the loss of valuable
targeting data from friendly C3 units, others may find the extra endurance a
boon, especially when fighting protracted battles without a solid C3 network.
A second variant, the 1C, seems to be a prototype variant, or perhaps a
deliberate downgrade meant for export. Nearly everything save the Gauss Rifle
is exchanged for more common parts - the Heavy PPCs are swapped for a trio of
PPCs (two in the left arm and a third in the right torso), the Medium X-Pulse
Lasers exchanged for standard MPLs, and even the C3 Slave is gone. This has the
side effect of making the frightening heat curve of the 2C more manageable,
though its short-ranged battery loses a third of its range and it no longer has
the head-chopping potential of the Heavy PPCs.