While not all of this army is currently built, I have taken the opportunity of using a new lightbox to get some photographs of what is currently finished, and write a little background for it. As it is a significantly larger force than would ordinarily be fielded, I decided to group the models into sample units and come up with background for the pilots within to try and give a picture of how the army might function as a whole.
CNCS Whitetop Regional Army 9th Gear Regiment: Order of Battle
[SK] Special Heavy Assault Unit “Dragon Slayers”
Lightning Scimitar (Rotary Laser Refit): Laura Alan
Wildcat: Ersha Lied
Wildcat: Salia Hauser
Attached Cheetah: Vivian Aster
The unit that came to be known as the “Dragon Slayers” was formed from the remains of two almost wholly opposite units – a prestigious Strider team from the same circles as Gekko Team, and a very rough-and-ready unit from the Badlands that had a reputation for being the dumping-ground for pilots not wanted elsewhere. The merge came about, if one listens to sources outside the unit, because of the need for Lieutenant Laura Alan to be moved somewhere unglamorous following a particularly notable SNAFU – but in a way that did not make Lt. Alan realise it was a punitive reassignment. Thus her understrength unit was merged with what was unofficially considered a penal unit…
It is fair to say that it took a long time for the highly-decorated but impressively tactless and strategically inept Lt. Alan to even begin to fit in. There were threats and attempted desertions from both sides. There was a series of particularly impressive displays of petty mean-spiritedness towards Alan, responded to with blind outbursts of anger and fights in the hangar that drew spectators.
Eventually, because war does not care much for personal issues, the mutual need to not die across the whole unit meant a sort of impasse was reached, and once Alan demonstrated properly what a Scimitar is capable of (via the display of impressive piloting skill married to complete blindness to the bigger picture that had made her unsuitable for her previous role) Hauser and Lied decided that a simmering bundle of rage and heavy weapons was probably the sort of asset to the team that should be accepted as one of them.
While much of the 9th Regiment have upgraded to new model Gears, Corporals Hauser and Lied bloody-mindedly stick to their Wildcats, preferring high speed and a selection of brutal melee weapons to the modern conveniences of up-to-date chassis types.
[SK] Special Close Interception Unit “Gekko”*
Hunter XMG: Angelise Vander
Hunter XMG: Allen Loren
Hunter XMG Grenadier: Minerva Vienese
Hunter XMG Grenadier: Irene Salsamille
*Entire unit are Veterans, with Melee Specialist upgrade and
Melee Specialist Veteran Skill
Gekko Team are probably the best-equipped team in the 9th Regiment, able to bring a full unit of second-generation Hunters to the field. Furthermore, each member of the team has modified their unit further to capitalise on their particular combat skills; as a result, their intense focus on close combat makes them uneasy partners of necessity with the Dragon Slayers.
The personal history between Lieutenant Vander and Lieutenant Alan makes this unease significantly greater. It is a mutual act of sneering; the former has nothing but disdain for the latter’s litany of strategic errors, while Laura in return views the exemplary leader Angelise as puffed-up and not all that great a pilot.
Vander’s squadmates are all accomplished pilots, and the unit has remained comprised of the same members since its inception; while Northco representatives would credit this to the clear superiority of the XMG refit, the pilots would instead credit their leader’s skill – and, when pressed for comment, Lt. Vander denied that and instead said it was her subordinates’ aptitude that had kept them alive. This display of modesty, however, proved something of a surprise to other members of the 9th; to the resentment of many (particularly the Wildcat pilots), Vander is a strict and humourless disciplinarian whose training regimes (which are unavoidably enforced at awkward hours) seem based on reminding all who serve under her that they are completely worthless.
[FS] Immediate Response Unit “Arquebus”
Hunter: Asuham Asher
Hunter: Kean Zama
Destroyer Hunter: Marbet Henrik
Headhunter Gunner: Lemul Issa
Attached Kodiak: Adette Morgan
Arquebus Team exist in a state of permanent envy of Gekko Team’s refitted Hunters. Yet they are a core part of the 9th, a reliable team with a regrettably high casualty rate their leader, Lt. Issa, blames on their lack of new equipment. After a significant amount of such complaining, the 9th’s high commanders assigned a factory-fresh Kodiak to the team to round out its numbers.
It has yet to leave the hangar yet, because a factory-new Gear (as any pilot will tell an incredulous and uninterested officer) simply does not function as intended. Its tactical CPU needs significant breaking-in, all the small parts of it vital to the pilot’s comfort and efficient operation need to be adjusted outside of life-or-death situations. These are things as stupid (in the eyes of officials who have never sat in a Gear) as the seat height, control stick calibration and even the alignment of the cockpit lighting. Senior Corporal Morgan has explained this to the deaf ears of the 9th’s commanders several times. The Kodiak remains an uncomfortable, constantly-crashing mess.
When it is eventually ready, the team can begin properly welcoming its newest member. Morgan is significantly more popular than several of the other NCOs of the 9th’s various units, mostly due to her forthrightness, loathing of Vander’s mandated “improving” lifestyle changes and willingness to assist less upstanding pilots (whose names include Salia Hauser and Vivian Aster) in the procurement of black market goods.
[SK] Marksman Team “Hawk”
Sniper Jaguar: Gain Gablae
Sniper Jaguar: Shiro Togami
Flash Jaguar: Hikaru Fujikawa
Flash Thunder Jaguar: Izumi Maeda
Attached Wild Ferret: Hathaway Paraya
Hawk Team – formerly Falchion Team – was almost annihilated by a Southern urban-warfare unit and has been rebuilt from the ground up; Gain Gablae, the only currently-serving member of its original lineup, received a Crimson Brand for wounds sustained during the fighting retreat from the small village where they had made their stand. Although his former comrades are still alive, two were too badly injured to return to the front line and the third vanished during the retreat and is assumed to have deserted.
Gablae is, in the words of Lieutenant Maeda, not OK.
Nevertheless, he was very insistent that he should rejoin the team and has remained a stabilising influence, much to the relief of the less experienced pilots. He absolutely refused the promotion to Corporal offered, saying that it did not feel right to take command for being the least terrible pilot in a unit of failures. Although these mannerisms make Gablae out to be hard to like (and he was initially feared to be a second Vander after he had the untested members of Hawk Team up late into the night at the firing range), many of the 9th’s longer-standing member know him well as a reliable, professional soldier.
Hawk Team have a very close relationship with Hazel Team via Hazel Team’s attached Cheetah pilot; Ryoko Hoshino was a close friend of Corporal Fujikawa and Lieutenant Maeda at the academy and the three of them had rather hoped to end up part of the same unit. However, Corporal Hoshino did not have the eyesight to become a sniper and ended up an ECM specialist.
[SK] Frontline Unit “Hazel”
Jaguar: Jamil Darwell
Jaguar: Ghiwaza Gania
Fire Jaguar: Jiron Pearson Jr
Fire Thunder Jaguar: Silky Lunberg
Attached Cheetah: Ryoko Hoshino
Hazel Team have a solid and unremarkable combat record. Comprised of seasoned soldiers who follow orders without complaint, they have effectively become the public face of the 9th because they have avoided any and all controversy, accusations of improper conduct or major military blunders. It rather helps that Lieutenant Lunberg is a friendly and approachable woman with a number of medals that looks interesting to the public but does not invite awkward questions.
It would give great satisfaction to the simmering ball of rage and resentment that is Laura Alan if behind this affable facade Hazel Team were the seedy procurers and black marketeers of the 9th. It would suit her preconception of anyone who is actually good at their job (and not merely a good pilot promoted beyond their competence) being in fact someone who cuts corners.
Instead, they have unremarkable records. Minor disciplinary infractions, most of which occurred after Lieutenant Vander’s arrival and sudden enforcement of countless forgotten rules. A distinctly undisruptive ability to relax without trashing small backwoods bars or starting fights.
Because of this, Corporal Hoshino – who had enjoyed a slightly more adventurous time at the academy, and fully expected a posting somewhere exciting where she and her close friends from Hawk Team could live glamorous lives as local celebrities – is bored out of her mind.
[FS] Heavy Support Unit “Jezail”
Grizzly: Rod Gauli
Grizzly: Yuu Sakomizu
Chaingun Kodiak: Chris Milan
Attached Ferret: Bridget Links
Attached White Cat Cheetah: Jaboli Neate
Jezail Team earn more than a little well-meaning banter from the other teams as their mission is generally to sit somewhere far back, receive targeting information from advanced recon units and then provide artillery support. It is a relatively low-risk job further made safer by the heavy armour of their units, which makes them unpopular in the eyes of people who get up close and personal with the enemy. On the other hand, it is a very valuable role and the team’s pilots are a lively and likeable crew who do not share the disdain many artillerymen have for the frontliners.
Corporal Sakomizu is an accomplished engineer, who readily assists with repairs and maintenance for the rest of the team. As the 9th is an odd mix of inexperienced pilots, factory-new Gears and old hands with enough customisations on their units to make standard maintenance cycles almost impossible, having someone who understands machines like a well-seasoned mechanic does on the front line is indispensable. Currently he is hard at work helping Senior Corporal Morgan break in her new Kodiak, with a little assistance from his superior officer, Lieutenant Milan.