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UNIT HISTORY: THE BLACKGUARDS
Original Unit designation:
14th Lyrian Guards
Auxiliary Defense Group "Blackie's Blackguards"
(4th Federated-Commonwealth provisional RCT)

Original Roster (A.D.3020):
"Blackie" - Steiner Mechwarrior - Coventry
Devon McGinnis - Steiner Mechwarrior/Pilot - Artal
Zodiac - Steiner Mechwarrior - Coventry
Carl Onwall - Steiner Mechwarrior - Loric
"Red" O'Niel - Steiner Mechwarrior - Coventry

The newly created ADG's mechwarriors were fresh out of the Military Academy of Somerset and were essentially a bunch of misfits and hard cases with one foot in their graves. Instead of receiving immediate orders for 'mech assignment and dispersal to a line regiment somewhere, Devon McGinnis or "Atlas" was reassigned to the Aerospace Center for "further training" while several unorthodox 'Mech Procurement Orders were sent through the Steiner Military Command. Instead of outfitting these green mechwarrior apprentices with the lightest of 'mechs possible, as is their custom, the High Command decided to try a new procedure on the unwitting group. The unit was fitted with front line quality-and-tonnage 'mechs while "Atlas" was deemed worthy enough (and crazy enough) to pilot a Phoenix Hawk LAM. The "light lance" actually ended up weighing 325 tons.

Unsure of what to make of the bizarre proceedings (and kept ignorant of their actual purpose), the group made no attempt to inquire the reasons for their lack of departure orders through the Steiner military command. Eventually, the unit received orders to hitch a ride with a transport to Penobscot, where they were to play escort to several unimportant cargo convoys and engage the Caesar's Cohorts, a mercenary troop working for Marik, in a campaign of "limited warfare." Again, no official orders were ever issued to Blackie, the unit commander. Rather, the terms of the mission were by word of mouth from a "Steiner Military Representative" and the instructions for the mission's execution were virtually nonexistent. So it was up to the Blackguards to plan and carry out their own tactics.

Unknown to the Blackguards at the time (and who would only find out through their scouts after the Blackguards went mercenary six years later), the group was being tested and trained by a joint Steiner-Davion effort to produce a component of the Fourth Federated Commonwealth Regimental Combat Team which was in the planning stages. Katrina Steiner and Hanse Davion had already planned a treaty that would merge their immense territories into the Federated Commonwealth and they had decided to implement a training program that would produce the independently motivated and quick thinking minds necessary for the command positions of a RCT. Therefore, the Blackguards would be given high priority for stellar transportation and top quality technicians when the need arose, but no other form of aid or support (other than the all important paycheck) would be forthcoming. The Blackguards, the high command reasoned, would be forced to create their own unit from scratch and provide for its own upkeep. This would also promote unit cohesiveness and the development of unique tactics that would, hopefully, utilize the capabilities of the unit to the fullest.

The Blackguards fulfilled these qualifications to the letter. After several small skirmishes with revolutionaries, armed fanatics, bandits seeking to loot their convoys, and regular battles with Marik troops, the unit began to expand, enticing experienced dispossessed mechwarriors to fill captured empty 'mechs and recruiting independent mercenaries to their ranks. Then the Cohorts' 'mechs attacked Penobscot, sweeping aside most defenders, but Blackie's Blackguards managed to bloody the Marik military nose a little before fleeing off planet.

The "Fighting Fourteenth" Lyrian Guards Auxiliary Defense Group
BLACKIE'S BLACKGUARDS (Ad-hoc recruits) (c. A.D. 3021)

Nitra Lansen - Oberon Confederation - Orron
Oli Wistlor - 11th Legion of Vega - Coventry
Aliza Ramierez - Steiner - Orron
Uri Schuchurnov - Marik - Kendall
Hank Timerlane - Steiner - Duroon
Blain Elliot - Steiner - Coventry
Keil Randar - Liao - Sarna

Their freshly expanded ranks again encountered Marik troops while they were garrisoning Launam. Although the Mariks had superior numbers, Blackie's Blackguards had the knowledge of the terrain and the utilization of the unique abilities of McGinnis' LAM. Thus, the ADG earned their first true battlefield victory and much plunder. Using personal funds, and the unit treasury, the unit recruits/shanghais an Aerospace wing.

After this brief restructuring of the ADG, the unit is told (never ordered) by the Steiner MR to assist Winnefield's Brigade in an assault of the Kurita planet of Sevren (A.D.3024). Despite the unit's inexperience, and this being their first combat drop, they perform well (much to the delight of Steiner-Davion). The unit is mainly involved in behind the line guerrilla activities such as destroying a battalion of Kuritan infantry, disrupting supply lines and distribution centers, even destroying an artillery lance and its attached armor escorts. Eventually the planethead is established and the ADG and Winnefields Brigade begin to put the squeeze on Kurita, forcing them to retreat almost continually. However, on one occasion, the snakes tried a breakout maneuver which planted at least 5 full lances of the 3rd Arkab Legion against the ADG's meager 3. The unit performs incredibly under the circumstances and wipes out the Kurita forces. During the next few months, as the unit is being re-outfitted, they are used as a garrison force on several border worlds (Planting and Ridderkirk).

In the capitol city of Planting, the unit gets bored quickly and decide to wage an unauthorized "limited war" against any and all undesirables in the city, from organized gangs to the local crime syndicates. The ruthless violence used by the Blackguards quickly turns them into one of the undesirable elements of the city. The citizens are in an uproar and the local militia does not approve of the vigilantism. Many brawls and riots break out (Carl looses a finger in one of these), and discontented militiamen and mechwarriors roam the streets.

To avoid any further trouble, the unit is transferred to Ridderkirk, where the unit immediately falls into trouble with the local Families. In a tricky action, one lance paints itself Kurita colors and demolishes the Mafia stronghold. However, "Atlas" foolishly blows his disguise and again the law is down on them. Several formal complaints are sent by HPG to Steiner Command, who cover up the situation in interest of state security, as it would not do to have a would- be RCT component court-martialed. Steiner Command transfers the unit to Summer to attend a training program to help discipline and reorganize it. The unit is then sent with the rest of its parent regiment to defend the planet Sevren against a Kurita assault. In a terrible battle, the unit squared off against two companies of the Proserpina Hussairs, a Kurita line force of more than twice its size. Blackie, Zodiac and "Red" O'Niel are killed. After 12 long hours, the battle is over and the Blackguards are victorious and are in control of the battlefield and its array of junked 'mechs. The unit is again out for a month for re-outfitting. Their scouts hit the streets looking for warm bodies to fill vacant positions.

The "Fighting Fourteenth" Lyrian Guards Assault Group
THE BLACKGUARDS (c. A.D. 3024) New Recruits

Keo Ohara - Independent - Skye
Curtis Feral - Steiner - Carse
Bryon O'Connol - Steiner - Skye
"Psycho" Hendrix - Pirates of Star's End - Star's End

The unit was then given one month of leave to cool off. They headed for Solaris VII, the Pleasure World and home of the Games. Here, the members of the unit engaged in various recreational activities (legal and otherwise). Again, the lethal psychotic nature of the group emerged as several Liao- haters decided to wage their own form of Steiner's "limited war" upon the local Liao mechwarrior bars and brothels. The body count of Liao mechwarriors, technicians, merchants and civilians rose to the hundreds. Steiner, secretly applauding their actions, prevented any retaliatory strikes by any and all offended parties and initiated the "miraculous acquisitions" of jump- and dropships, technicians and full support personnel. The unit scouts, never idle, also managed to make several connections and purchase supplies and more equipment, including several Star League vintage security robots. The unit also recruited the famed gladiator Joe Paiser, for whom the dueling circuit had become a little hostile.

The "Fighting Fourteenth" Lyrian Guards
32nd Battalion "Ivan's Battalion"
Epsilon Company (Independent) "THE BLACKGUARDS"
(c. A.D. 3025)

Company Roster:
Command Lance
Nitra Lansen- Banshee
Bryon O'Connol- Cyclops
"Psycho" Hendrix- Zeus
Keil Randar- Anvil

Fire Lance
Carl Onwall- Marauder II
Aliza Radmirez- Warhammer
Coll Bister- Archer
Keo Ohara- Griffin

Strike Lance
Oli Wistlor- Griffin
Curtis Feral- Hunchback
Blain Elliot- Hatchetman
Uri Schuchurnov- Phoenix Hawk

Recon Lance
Devon "Atlas" McGinnis- Phoenix Hawk LAM
Joe Paiser- Spider
Steven Worster- Javelin
Sid Trestice- Wasp

Security Lance
Hank Temerlane- Urbanmech
Louise Traxx- Scorpion Light Tank
Security Robot
Security Robot

Scout Lance
Lavender Grey- Scout Vehicle
Shelly Struvy
Barry Sellars

Support Crew
Scott Monk- Coolant Truck
B.J. Miller- MASH Unit
Kurt Maaylon- Mobile Headquarters

At the end of their leave, the unit assaulted the planet of Trolloc Prime with elements of the 20th Arcturan Guards. Aliza Radmirez was killed and several mechs were damaged. The assault was rated a success and promotions came as some filled vacancies in the top command positions. Then, the unit was approached by Nicot Vanh, a merchant prince, who informed them of his intention to follow the route of the Minnesota Tribe, and find its last staging area, rumored to be brimming with Star League technology. With him came Molo and Crazy Tom, two flight crew who turned out to be members of ComStar.

Nicot was killed during the meeting by DEST agents (Draconis Elite Strike Team) leaving the whole ordeal thrust into the Blackguards' lap. It was decided that one lance of the Blackguards would follow the trail. Wistlor, Paiser, McGinnis, Hendrix, and a new recruit Egrik Krupp were the ones who volunteered. What followed was a merry romp through the length of House Kurita disguised as the Talons of Twilight mercenary unit. The "unit" was chased the entire way by the ISF and the whole affair was conducted with typical Blackguard violence and destruction. Several barroom brawls, the death of Hendrix, and many breaking and entering crimes later, the Talons of Twilight found themselves beating a force of Kuritans (the 9th Pesht Regulars) in an asteroid field and ending up in charge of a hollowed out asteroid installation "Adonidas" full of spare parts, blueprints and 'mechs.

Meanwhile just after the Talons of Twilight reached their jump point, the remainder of the Blackguards were hit by a Kurita invasion force consisting of elements of Oli's old unit, the 11th Legion of Vega "the Looters". The Blackguards, caught completely by surprise, and with most of their command staff in the Talons, are forced to retreat off planet, much to the surprise and delight of Theodore Kurita, CO and founding father of the three Legions. During the ensuing withdrawal, Nitra Lansen is killed and Curtis Feral and Blain Elliot are heavily wounded. In one incident, Hank Timerlane holds off a lance of heavier 'mechs do give his comrades time to escape. For his heroism, he is awarded the Extreme gallantry cluster.

In an attempt to throw back this unexpected Kurita offensive, Steiner MP calls for the assault of the nearby planet of Buckminster, left exposed by Kurita's assault. Buckminster is a feint to draw the Kurita forces away from the actual target of Orestes. The result is total chaos. Due to communication foul-ups and faulty information, the primary landing force is attacked by Aerospace fighters and is smashed. The Blackguards are scattered across the continent and Keo Ohara and Steven Wocter plummet to their deaths from being ejected prematurely from the dropship. Despite having most of their 'mechs heavily damaged, the BG's fight well. For their meritorious service, Bryon O'connol, Carl Onwal, and Hank Timerlane receive minor decorations and Blain Elliot is awarded the Silver Star of Gallantry, and Curtis Feral receives his second Bronze Star.
After the mess had been cleaned up, the unit was rotated back to garrison worlds to reequip and reorganize. During the reorganization, O'Connol gets promoted to Hauptmann, Timerlane gets promoted to Staff Sergeant, Feral, to Corporal, and Trectice, to Corporal.

Battered, but not beaten, and angry with Steiner, the remnants of the Blackguards are sent as an auxiliary support group to reinforce the assault of Arakis. By this time, however, most of the planet was already property of the LCAF, and all that remained was riot suppression duty, which the Blackguards performed with bloodthirsty relish. In one occasion, the Blackguards came across a staging area of guerrilla rebels within a small hamlet. The Blackguards promptly annihilated the rebels, and, in a fit of battle lust, ground the hamlet under its collective heel as well. Although the ensuing court martial levied stiff fines, the unit emerged intact and even managed to recover several armored vehicles from the incident.

There was scant time to repair these vehicles, however, because they were again hit by the Legions of Vega (the theater of operations that included the Blackguards and the Legions of Vega soon degenerated into what became a grudge match between the two very similar units). With technicians driving some of the vehicles, the unit again flees in face of superior numbers to a nearby swamp where they engage in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with their enemy. During the fighting and fleeing to the eventual pick up point, Curtis Feral and Sid Trectice are wounded while driving vehicles to the pickup, and O'Connol, Onwall and Timerlane are decorated for various moments of gallantry and heroism. When the Blackguards received the Talons' HPG message, they were at their last ebb. They had successfully repelled Takashi Kurita's attacks and repeatedly proved their worth as ruthless combatants giving no quarter, utilizing tactics bordering on the slightly insane edge of suicidal. However, confidence in Steiner had vanished, and morale was low.
When the Talons sent their HPG message through the Steiner MR to the remnants of the Blackguards, they discovered that "Atlas" had "earned" a 50,000 C-bill price on his head (Dead or Alive), and the Steiner High command wanted a sizeable portion of the booty "for reapportionment." This was too much to take for the Blackguards, who made the decision to become mercenaries only two days later. The whole unit simply packed up and left, telling Steiner "thanks for the ships", and making jumps for the periphery. The unit is (A.D.3026) at 2 1/2 company strength and signs their first contract with the Magistracy of Canopus for a lucrative, if boring 11 month tour in garrison duty.

THE BLACKGUARDS Unit Roster (A.D. 3026)
ALPHA COMPANY

Command Lance
Kommandant Bryon O'Connol- Highlander
Hauptmann Oli Wistlor- Thug
Mechwarrior Keil Randar- Anvil
Mechwarrior Rollie McMickels- Banshee

Fire Lance
1st Lieutenant Coll Bister- Griffin
Staff Sergeant Hank Timerlane-Lancelot
Private "The Whiz Kid"- Griffin
Private Phil Aikman- Thunderbolt

Scout Lance
Hauptmann Devon McGinnis- Phoenix Hawk LAM
Private Percy Sledge- Locust
Private Kysus- Commando
Private Rogena Delroca- Iguana

Aerospace Lance
Captain Straub- Rapier
Pilot Bull Blackman- Shilone

BETA COMPANY

Command Lance
Hauptmann Carl Onwall- Marauder II
1st Lieutenant Blain Elliot- Black Knight
Mechwarrior Egrik Krupp- Champion
Corporal Sid Trestice- Beast

Support Lance
1st Lieutenant Uri Schuchurnov- Hunchback
Corporal Curtis Feral- Vindicator
Private Jerry Crinolan- Hermes II
Private Pink Cholomas- Trebuchet

Strike Lance
1st Lieutenant Ivan Thytfice- Javelin
Mechwarrior Dana Montoya- Valkyrie
Private Lori- Spider
Private Goldtooth- Blackjack

Aerospace Lance
1st Lieutenant Ian Jolly- Gotha
Pilot Terrence Fitzpatrick- Zero

GAMMA COMPANY

Command Lance
Hauptmann Louise Traxx- Schreck PPC Carrier
1st Lieutenant Jim Marron- Bulldog Medium Tank
VACANT- Griffin
VACANT- Valkyrie

Recon Lance
1st Lieutenant Kell Wesley- Harasser Missile Platform
Gunner Trent Addison- Scorpion Light Tank
Corporal Jan Tooland- Zephyr Light Tank
Private David Gabel- Zephyr Light Tank

Aerospace Wing
Pilot Andrew Tragger- Stingray

SUPPORT GROUP

Scouts
1st Lieutenant Lavender Grey- PacRat II
Scout Barry Sellars
Scout Shelly Struvy
Scout Ludmilla Baradinova
Scout Mike Harris

Jump Ship Group
Hauptmann Chris Xiang- Invader

Drop Ship Group
Hauptmann Rick Dexter- Union
1st Lieutenant Henrietta Augustdottir- Overlord

Technical Group
1st Lieutenant-Surgeon B.J. Miller- MASH Unit
Corporal Kurt Maaylon- Mobile Headquarters
Corporal Scott Monk- Coolant Truck
 
After their contract expired (In which the Blackguards perform admirably in repelling invaders from a Tamar Pact invasion, and "Atlas" surviving five bounty hunter attacks on more or less one piece.), the Blackguards decide not to renegotiate a new one, but instead decide to return to Star's End and deal with some of the "local trouble" otherwise known as the Pirates of Star's End. Using bribes of millions of C-bills and the unit's numerous contacts, they discover the location of the pirate's secret planet, Novo Cressidas, rumored to support a complete jumpship construction facility. The Blackguards rout the Pirates in a textbook ambush, and a company surrenders, and are later ordered killed by Oli Wistlor for being "bloodthirsty animals". Oli had assumed command after Bryon O'Connol was killed as he ejected from his exploding 'mech (rumors persist that he was killed by particle beam fire from Oli's 'mech).

Oli soon thereafter began pressuring the government into letting the Blackguards provide "Protection" for the planet for a meager .1% of the planetary gross product in the form of supplies and replacements. This, on top of the commission from the jumpship construction facilities has provided the Blackguards with a bountiful (and steady) secondary source of income. The unit has just incorporated the remnants of the famed "Firat's Bloody Aces" gladiatorial team from Solaris, and the Wilson's Hussairs, desperate and in need of cash. Oli heard the results of Operation Galahad (AD 3026) and Galahad II (AD 3027), the joint war games/training maneuvers of the Federated- Commonwealth, and has heard plans for another at the end of this year (AD 3028). These large-scale maneuvers have the entire inner sphere on the edge once again, and mercenary guildhalls are filled with representatives from each Successor House as well as mercenary independents looking for units to hire into.

Oli decides to accept a quick one-month planetary assault of the planet New Haiti in the Tortuga Dominions. However, the unit is in dire need of cash for its support until the contract goes into effect two months away. During what became known as the "Pizza Decision", where the officers discussed their options over a pizza dinner, it was decided that the planet of Santander's World, home to the notorious cutthroat Helmar Valasek, was weak enough to be destroyed in a quick blow, thus providing the Blackguards with sustaining funds. Oli's first tactical assault of a planet goes poorly initially, as his inexperience shows. However, he manages to pull a bloody victory out of the fire. Despite heavy losses in his light lances, and lack of intra-unit coordination, Oli manages to destroy Valasek's garrison and gives the honor of destroying his palace to Wilson's Hussairs, who manage to capture the whole moment on holovid for distribution. The Blackguards capture the palace booty and the techs get busy bringing the salvageable 'mechs to new condition. In addition, the Blackguards come into possession of the Valasek navy (aerospace fighters, drop- and jumpships) and barely manage to pay for themselves until Davion's contract goes into effect.
At the Davion briefing, it appears that the entire assault force consists of mercenaries. During the assault, which later turns into a unit evaluation which only a few units pass, the Blackguards perform well, despite the deaths of Egrik Krupp and Viv Savage, but their seek-and-destroy-everything-in-sight tactics don't appeal to the Davion Command, who refer them to the Lyrian Commonwealth, who offer the Blackguards a lucrative 2 year contract as retainers along the Steiner/Kurita border in the Federation of Skye.

On their return to Star's End, the ComStar representatives left to garrison Adonidas report that an aerospace company of Ryan's Rebels had swept the asteroid belt issuing challenges and taunts before withdrawing. The Blackguard scouts have been recruiting dispossessed mechwarriors to fill all the newly repaired 'mechs and the infantry training facilities on Star's End have been completed and have produced 5 platoons of troops for "The Star's End Legion", and the commanding officer of Midnight Mayhem had made Oli an offer of a link-up of the two units which Oli accepted.
Oli, in a fit of uncharacteristic kindness, decides to allow his troopers two months of well deserved leave time. However, as discipline starts to lag, he is quick to make use of an unfortunate sentry to set an example. As his troops rest, Oli himself is busy recruiting Helmar Valasek's now out of work informants to try to set up some sort of intelligence network.

The contract with Steiner did not begin for three months so the Blackguards suddenly found themselves with time to kill. Although money was tight, they manage to keep themselves running until the contract begun, using some of the income generated by the planet and the Belt Pirates. Despite a bounty hunter attack on Devon McGinnis, the first two months are uneventful.
As the date for departure for Ryde drew closer, a dilemma arose about what to do about Ryan's Rebels. Since the Blackguards were leaving for two years, Star's End would remain ungarrisoned and a prime target for Redjack Ryan. So, in a "Pizza Decision II" Oli decides to attack Redjack on his home planet of Butte Hold. A bloody aerospace battle of attrition ensues, wiping out the aerospace forces of either side almost to a man. The subsequent land battle progresses no better, with Oli's inexperience once again presenting itself. After a bloody weeklong battle, the Blackguards destroy most of the Rebels through sheer firepower, though taking near 40% losses. Many pilots are killed in the conquest of the Rebels, including Kysus the Mystic, 3/4 of I.Kim's Cutthroats, Sid Trestice, and Chuck "Pump" Winchester.

Although they took heavy losses, the Blackguard morale remains high, and Oli stays in command. The unit arrives on Ryde after doing the best to repair and salvage Ryan's land Army, but repairs still need to be done. On planet, the Blackguards are introduced to Kommandant Matthew’s their liaison officer as well as Hauptmann-General Gardner CIC of the 9th F-C RCT. There is an encounter with the CO of the 4th Skye Rangers, Colonel Cook, a man who despises mercenaries.
All of august is spent in training and recruiting warm bodies to fill salvaged 'mechs and fighters. Oli spends his time training with the 4th Skye Rangers, the fresh meat recruits of the Blackguards, the 391st Ryde Motorized Infantry, and Trent Okha's Midnight Mayhem. Then on the 20th of August, Kommandant Matthews negotiates a new contract with the Blackguards for a planetary assault of Marfik, and the whole Combat Team makes the jump.