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Wolf's Dragoons
3004 -

          Wolf's Dragoons: The name is synonymous with skill, courage, professionalism, and innovation. For more than a generation, the mysterious, highly disciplined Wolf's Dragoons have set the standard for Inner Sphere mercenaries, using their advanced BattleMechs and superior training to defeat the best MechWarriors the Inner Sphere had to offer. Under the leadership of founder Jaime Wolf, the Dragoons have done more to professionalize the mercenary industry than any other unit in existence, through their disciplined example on the battlefield, their Hiring Hall in the city of Harlech, their revitalization of the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission, and their extensive training facilities on Outreach.

           The Fourth Succession War nearly destroyed the unit, claiming the lives of almost one-sixth the Dragoons. By recruiting war orphans--a typical example of Dragoon innovation--the unit rebuilt itself within a generation. Other innovations, such as the unit's 'Mech-manufacturing assets, have also contributed to the Dragoons' phenomenal resiliency and at the same time freed them from the precarious financial status most merc units must endure.

           Though any of these accomplishments would secure the unit a place in mercenary lore, the Dragoons' instrumental role in halting the Clan invasion undoubtedly earned them a place in the annals of the Inner Sphere. Despite the heroic performance of the Com Guards on Tukayyid, the Successor States might still have fallen to the invaders' onslaught if not for the Dragoons' intimate knowledge of the Clans and their willingness to share that knowledge with the Inner Sphere powers.

           This deserved litany of praise, unusual for a mercenary unit, rightly sets the Dragoons apart from every other mercenary unit in the Inner Sphere. For more than two generations, the Dragoons have followed the legendary Jaime Wolf, universally recognized as a supreme tactician, superior strategist, and shrewd political observer. The Dragoons are the supreme warriors of the Inner Sphere, and Wolf is the supreme commander.

          A recent challenge to Wolf's leadership of the Dragoons prompted many to predict their imminent downfall and dissolution. True to form, the Dragoons defied the naysayers and emerged from their trials fiercer and more deadly, forged into a stronger alloy in the crucible of their civil war. Reflecting the unit's renewed strength and fierce loyalty, some observers have dubbed these new Dragoons "Wolf Pack." Whether or not the name sticks, few people doubt that Wolf's Dragoons will survive to fight the battles of future generations.

Origins of the Dragoons

          By the year 2980 many in the Clans were ready to return to the Inner Sphere. Citing The Remembrance, warriors noted that three generations had passed many times over, and that it was time to reestablish the Star League and end their self-imposed exile. This zealous faction called itself the "Crusaders." Other warriors embraced the Crusaders' views, not because they believed in the faction's interpretation of The Remembrance, but because they saw the Inner Sphere as an opportunity to prove themselves. Even the lower castes, particularly the merchants, who were always eager for new markets, began to agree that the Hidden Hope would be resolved by the Clans' return to the Inner Sphere.

          The Grand Council had strong reservations about returning, mainly because of an almost total lack of information about events in the Inner Sphere since the Exodus. They expressed the fear that the Inner Sphere had not gone up in flames as predicted, but was united, as strong as or stronger than the Clans. The council decided to form Intelser, an intelligence service whose operatives would move cautiously toward the Inner Sphere to gather information. Operatives traveling as independent traders made contact with and infiltrated the Periphery states, relaying what they learned to the Clans. By 2984, a somewhat confused picture of the Inner Sphere had begun to emerge.

          The Clans learned that there had, indeed, been a holocaust, called the Succession Wars, as predicted by Aleksandr Kerensky. However, they mistakenly believed that the technological level of the Periphery domains was typical of the entire Inner Sphere. The Grand Council decided that the Inner Sphere was not a military threat. Those who wanted to return claimed that the conditions laid out by General Order 137 proved that the time was ripe: "When the time is right, when the strength of our will and our honor is humanity's only hope to struggle up from the ashes, only then can our strong descendants make the long journey to the home that is rightfully ours." The Crusaders felt these conditions had been fulfilled. The Grand Council agreed to discuss the Crusaders' call to arms, and thus began what would become known as the Great Debate.

          The Clans eventually formed two camps, the Crusaders and the Wardens. The Crusaders were those who favored an immediate return to the Inner Sphere to reestablish the Star League according to the writings of the Kerenskys. The Wardens, on the other hand, believed that the Kerenskys had never meant their words to be read so literally. They asserted that the words were meant not as a command to future generations, but to stir courage. They believed the Clans' destiny was to develop their own culture, separate from the tainted ways of the Inner Sphere, but willing and able to come to the Inner Sphere's aid if menaced by any outside threat.

Dragoon Compromise:

          In 3000, Khan Nadia Winson of Clan Ghost Bear, sensing that the Crusaders had finally gained the upper hand, attempted to force the issue with a vote. She was stymied when Khan Kerlin Ward of Clan Wolf suggested a clever compromise. Khan Kerlin Ward contended that not enough information was yet available to make such an important decision. He proposed sending a sizable Clan force, under the guise of a mercenary unit, into the Inner Sphere to judge its military, economic, and political might, providing the Grand Council with a detailed report of the strengths and weaknesses of their future opponents.

          The Grand Council agreed the plan had merit, and Clan Wolf was awarded the honor of mustering the force. Rather than risk their best fighters, they planned to use freebirths and other low-regarded warriors. If these warriors performed well, they would be rewarded by having their genes added to the gene pool.

          The unit was dubbed "Wolf's Dragoons." Commanding the multi-regiment unit were Jaime and Joshua Wolf, controversial choices because both were freebirth. Many of the Clans balked at this choice, but the Grand Council finally decided that Clan Wolf had the right to outfit and staff the Dragoons as they saw fit. The roster of the Dragoons included several Bloodnamed warriors who volunteered for the mission, among them a young and feisty Natasha Kerensky.

          The Dragoons left for the Inner Sphere in 3004, outfitted with pre-Exodus BattleMechs from some of the oldest Brian Caches. Other vehicles and equipment were retro-fitted with pre-Exodus parts to prevent advanced technology from accidentally falling into the hands of the Inner Sphere. Young freebirth "dependents" rounded out the appearance of a nomadic mercenary company.

          The Dragoons made contact with the Inner Sphere a year later, after making a long, circuitous journey to prevent the curious from discovering their point of origin. They went on to make their historic circuit of service through the Inner Sphere, gathering detailed information on each of the governments and militaries they served. In 3009, the unit returned to the Clans for refitting. They also filed their first-hand reports on the Inner Sphere.

          The Dragoons' reports contrasted significantly with the previous Clan perception of the Inner Sphere. The Dragoons reported that the Inner Sphere was not on the verge of collapse, but on the road to recovery. This revelation further divided the Grand Council. The Dragoons were ordered to return to the Inner Sphere and continue their mission, while the Clans considered the implications of their new information.

          The Dragoons returned, but near the end of the Third Succession War, their intelligence reports to the Grand Council began to slow, for no known reason. It is possible the Dragoons found the freedom of the Inner Sphere, where there were no real castes and where growing old as an active warrior was accepted, to their liking. On the other hand, the death of Joshua Wolf may have played a key role in turning Jaime and the rest of the Dragoons away from the Clans' grand scheme. The Grand Council was unprepared for the Dragoons' sudden reticence, and could not agree on how to react or how to supplement their intelligence-gathering efforts.

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