In 2441, the UNE Naval Directorate authorized the creation of a special composite force to confront the unexpected and unknown conditions on the UNE frontiers. Driven mainly by the first contact with the Banu and the constant expansion of humanity out into space the UNE Navy needed a new type of squadron. The Naval Planning Directorate called for a new composite task force element that was to be “designed to perform independent and extended operations outside of standard UNE support range”. The task force was also tasking with developing a leadership and training structure that would focus on independent initiative at all Officers, NCO’s, pilots, and marines. Their base mission directive was simple and to the point: “To seek out the unknown, so that man need not fear it”.
The UNE engaged the corporate leaders of research, manufacturing, and weapons development to provide the task force with cutting edge, state of the art technology, keeping these endeavors strictly off the books and hidden from civilian program oversight.
In 2444, the UNE Naval Admiralty Board commissioned the new composite force as “Special Development Squadron 441” into the UNE Navy under the leadership of Admiral A.D. Rawle. Recruitment for the new organization was rapid and training took place at the UNE Naval Training Facility near Jupiter in the SOL System.
Growth and Expansion
A quote on the original patches worn by members of the 1st Exploration & Reconnaissance Task Force, informally known as the Explorer Corps.
In 2465, the UNE Naval Fleet Operations Command increased the size of Special Development Squadron 441 and re-designated the force to the 1st Exploration & Reconnaissance Task Force, informally known as the Explorer Corps. The mission of the unit was also updated to provide forward bases in support of exploration efforts on the edge of known space. It is during this time that Explorer Corp’s units undertake long range exploration missions designed to search out and survey new jump points and to catalogue discoveries that would later form the foundation of the core jump lanes within humanity’s main population centers.
In 2516, The UNE deploys the Explorer Corps to the Terra System. The unit quickly established a new set of training, education, and maintenance facilities. Many members of the organization moved their families to the Terra System. Esprit within the unit was very strong and family members were encouraged to enlist in the UNE and gain future assignment to the unit. A squad from the 1st Explorer Corps manages to reach the quarter-finals in the Terra Invitational SataBall tournament raising the prestige and notoriety of the unit within the Terra system.
In 2525, The UPE assigns the 1st Explorer Corps to patrol the outer systems and conduct research and training operations. Admiral Rawle and his command staff organize a new deep reconnaissance mission profile that allows for rapid data collection with a minimal detection footprint. This tactic will later become one of the unit’s hallmark concepts.
Patrolling the Frontier
In 2530, humanity’s first encounter with the Xi’An spurs the 1st Explorer Corps to redouble efforts to gather intel on the new alien race’s customs, technological aptitude, and military disposition. Over the next several years, the Rawle’s fleet conducted multiple fast paced, deep reconnaissance missions into alien space to collect intelligence, and mapped the boundaries and established zone of control for various alien systems. Intelligence provided by the Explorer Corps was used to develop military profiles and capabilities of the Xi’An and earned the unit a reputation for Xeno-intelligence collection.
In 2543, the First Tevarin war enters its second year and the 1st Explorer Corps is assigned to watch and maintain security of the Xi’An Front over fears of an impending attack on UPE space. The unit is also directed to detach its 1st Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ1) to the Tevarin front where their special deep penetration skills are used to maintain intelligence contact with the local resistance group, “the Greys” on the planet Idris IV. The squadron use their specially equipped ships to relay vital communications between the UPE Navy and he resistance fighters on Idris IV.
During Operation Nemesis in 2544, the 1st Reconnaissance Squadron provided key communications, intelligence, and targeting information between ground forces of the 112th Infantry Battalion and the 391st Squadron. The unit suffered heavy causalities during the battle but was able to aggressively avoid Tevarin fighters while providing key communication and data transfer between the embattled ground forces and naval units over head. Squadron Commander Jacob Oshii was posthumously awarded the UEE Naval Cross for his actions during the operation.
The Building Conflict
By 2546, humanity has reached the conclusion of the First Tevarin War. Commander Ivar Messer, war hero, has dragged the Tevarin leader to the floor of the UPE government. Riding the wave of his military accomplishments he claims that the Tribunal is an outdated system of government and proposes the creation of the office of the Prime Citizen, upon whom the power to make real and effective decisions for the good of mankind would rest. It took little time for Prime Citizen Ivar Messer to restructure the UPE into the United Empire of Earth and anoint himself Imperator of the UEE, ushering humanity into a new age of expansion and colonization.
Imperator Ivar Messer I had a keen eye for potential chess pieces that would be valuable to him in his game of interstellar conquest. It didn’t take long before the rumored 1st Explorer Corps caught the attention of the new Imperator. Explorer Corps directive “to seek out and understand the unknown” was very much in line with his vision for humanity’s rapid expansion and dominance in the universe.
Imperator Messer I began grooming the leadership of the task force by indoctrinating them into the belief that their operational directive was gathering intelligence and conducting covert operations in the name of defending humanity’s interests. Initially the missions assigned to the unit seemed perfectly logical, conducting intel and screening ops on the Tevarin in anticipation of further conflict. True to the excellence of their Xeno-Intelligence gathering, the Explorer Corps began to develop the full picture of the Tevarin warrior code, “Rijora”. By this time, it became evident to the command leadership that a Second Tevarin War was inevitable. However, as Imperator Messer’s suspicions of the Tevarin and other alien races grew, the unit was called upon to conduct decidedly more aggressive missions involving sabotage and assassination.
With the passing of Imperator Messer I, the rise of Imperator Messer II and the advent of the Second Tevarin War, the 1st Explorer Corps found themselves more deeply immersed in supporting the UEE war effort than ever before. Covert scouting missions turned into kidnapping and torture for intel, and what used to be a task force group dedicated to understanding the unknown became a weapon turned in suspicion against all alien races. No longer did the 1st Explorer Corps seek to understand other alien races, only to understand their weaknesses and how best to exploit them.
In 2608, the 1st Explorer Corps was attached to the Tevarin Front Naval Force Command to conduct operations against the Tevarin. Explorer Corps operated under the command of Carlton Rawle, the great-grandson of Admiral A. D. Rawle.
In 2610, in the final hours of the Second Tevarin War, the 1st Explorer Corps was assigned planetary support and defense mission. Following the final assault on Elysium IV by the Tevarin, elements of the unit are conducting planetary mop-up operations. A marine company from the task force group was assigned to inspect many of the disabled hulks in decaying orbits around the planet. A platoon under the command of Lt. Masters managed to capture a group of wounded Tevarin warriors. UEE Fleet Command ordered the Lt to immediately execute all prisoners. Lt Masters viewed this as an illegal order against helpless prisoners, many of whom were too weak to even stand and refused to execute the captured Tevarins. Fearing that other units would be brought in to carry out this execution order, Lt. Masters requested an immediate extraction mission from the 1st Explorer Corps forces and leaves the area with his Tevarin prisoners. The prisoners are later transferred to the local planetary government. Enraged by their disregard in following orders, the commanding high admiral orders the entire platoon placed under arrest and put on trial.
The Die is Cast
In 2611, the public military trail of Lt Master and his platoon, referred to in the press as the “Tevarin 12” begins to wild rumors and speculation. News of the incident has reached high to the desk of emperor Messer and he is fully engaged in displaying the events of disloyalty to the populous. The platoon is represented by legal officers from within the 1st Explorer Corps, who are determined to properly defend their own. To many observers, it quickly becomes clear that sound military defense arguments were pushed aside by the presiding military judges and that this will be nothing more than a show trial; the fate of the platoon has been set. As the trial begins to reach its conclusion, Admiral Carlton Rawle of the 1st Explorer Corps issues his famous statement from the witness stand indicting Emperor Messer for the role he is clearly playing in the trail; “No good decision was ever made in a swivel chair.”. This phrase, spoken on a whim became a rallying cry and the driving force behind unit supporters. Reporters covering the trial overhear Admiral Rawle talking to the defense counsel following his testimony.
Defense counsel, “Your leadership showed guts saying that to Messer.” To which the Admiral replies, “yea, and we paid for it in blood.”
The “Tevarin 12” are found guilty and sentenced to death. In addition, orders go out to arrest the Senior leadership of the 1st Explorer Corps for “Conducting Acts against the Empire”. The unit is quickly disbanded and struck from the official UEE Naval ranks.
The conclusion of the trial also marked by a great deal of drama throughout the military as many of the soldiers that were ordered to execute the condemn men refuse to take part. Many see the trail for the miscarriage of justice that it was and a crackdown on any faction that would show any sign of disloyalty to Messer and his views. Reports of incidents surrounding the execution were quickly quashed by the government censors, but several scenes of the refusal do make it out to the underground reporting networks. Reporters quickly pick up on the units rallying cry and the 1st Explorer Corps members are soon referred to as the men and women of “Old Blood & Guts”.
Government agents under direction of the Messer regime begin rounding up the senior officers and non-coms from the 1st Explorer Corps; however many members of the unit go into hiding. A network of junior leaders quickly take up the challenge to organize themselves into a type of underground network to smuggle families and troops from UEE space to the frontier. Utilizing their vast knowledge of the frontier territories, this underground network begins to setup a series of cells and an effective communication system to avoid detection. In many cases the unit is aided by sympathetic civilian leaders that begin to fear the power of Emperor Messer. The scattered members lay the groundwork to rebuild their unit and refocus their efforts to help those that require justice, regardless of their race. There is wide consensus among the leadership that it was the Messer regime promoting fear and suspicion of alien races. With that realization, members rally around the image and mantle of “Old Blood & Guts” as a symbol of equality and unity.
The Rebirth of Old Blood & Guts
Building up resources and working through their vast underground network that they had established during the exodus; the team establishes a new operating base in the Bremen system. Using covert knowledge, extensive networks and contacts, Old Blood & Guts begins to play double agents for the detractors of the Messer regime, warning them when assassination or kidnapping was imminent and assisting fugitive politicians in escaping to safer, less controlled areas of space.
By 2638, Old Blood & Guts has returned to its directive roots and works off the main radar screen of the government forces and agents. Those that pick up any trail of the unit fall prey to a variety of tragic accidents or simply disappear. The organization rededicates itself to following the charter, tenants, and principles of the old “Explorer Corps”. While never fully recognized, many believe that the disappearance of Senator Kieran, who was an active dissenter of Emperor Messer was aided by the Old Blood & Guts organization.
In 2681, with the first Vanduul raids occurring, “Old Blood & Guts” achieves full “for-hire” mercenary status and takes up local defense contracts to repel Vanduul incursions.
Old Blood & Guts Heraldry
Black Shield that symbolize the inherit desire to provide justice.
Red Bars symbolize the blood that as shed over the years.
Gold Wings symbolize the desire for superior training and skill in space combat.
The Crosshair and Reticles symbolize the fact that we are always on target.
The Skull represents inflicting the ultimate revenge against those that wish to cause the organization harm.
The bullets represent the betrayal of the Emperor Messar against the organization
The Stars represent the fallen heroes of the Tevarin Twelve.