Heart of Blake
A former front-line Word of Blake Militia military unit, the Heart of Blake mercenary unit turned on their brethren in response to the Word of Blake's increasing atrocities during the Jihad. The unit would unwittingly doom the world of Poulsbo to nuclear bombardment at the hands of the rabidly anti-Blakist Principality of Regulus who sought their extermination.
|Heart of Blake|
|Unit Profile (as of 3079)|
|CO||Precentor David Hunter|
The origins of the Heart of Blake stem with a small group of Counter-Reformists among several Level IIIs dispatched in July 3069 to suppress resistance against Berenson's entry into the Word of Blake Protectorate. The Word's method of "pacification" on Berenson was to round up suspected League loyalists, their families and other "deviants" to ship them to hastily built prison camps far from any populated area for two weeks of brutal and torturous interrogations before executing them before the next group was rounded up. While many Blakist guards privately questioned the atrocities they were to ordered to perform, fear of swift retribution by ROM kept any from protesting openly lest they were to be included in the next batch.
This continued until the Hampton's Hessens mercenary unit unsuccessfully raided Berenson for desperately needed food and supplies in late August 3069. Unable to reach the supply depots they were after, as the Hessens withdrew they stumbled upon on a cluster of the prisons that housed the dissidents, fully packed and ready for execution. Not willing to leave them to die, the Hessens broke them out and loaded in their empty cargo vehicles. Unfortunately the Hessens found their escape route cut off by two Level IIIs commanded by Precentor David Hunter. But when his superiors ordered him to wipe out both the mercenaries and civilians, several members of Hunter's command who knew he was dismayed with the government's extremist methods privately pleaded with him not to follow the orders.
Choosing instead to follow his heart, Hunter responded by quietly ordering those who he knew were not loyal to him to advance and engage the Hessens, before openly announcing on all channels he would take no part in the massacre of civilians and that he would protect the prisoner convoy. Caught between the mercenaries and Hunter's men, the Blakist loyalists were swiftly defeated. Moving quickly before the Blakists could regroup, Hunter's group sacked the spaceport, commandeering a pair of DropShips to escape with the Hessens, haggling with a merchant JumpShip to flee the system.
Choosing to enter mercenary service but unable to gain official registration by the Mercenary Review and Bonding Commission, the Heart of Blake would primarily focus on collecting the bounties on Word-affiliated mercenary forces on contested Free Worlds League worlds. The unit would find its existence complicated by its Blakist origins, its use of distinctly Blakist equipment, Blakist rank structure and even its very name all causing unease with potential clients, forcing Hunter to utilize false generic ranks, fake Table of Organization and even different names for the Heart. Only when facing opposing Blakist forces would this camouflage be dropped.
Using General Pat Hampton as a reference, Precentor Hunter would also seek to join the anti-Blakist Allied Mercenary Command but found the battered organization was lukewarm on the prospect at best following the betrayal of the Broadsword Legion, not to mention the Command's lack of resources following the loss of Outreach. In an attempt to to prove their intentions and build trust, Hunter would divulge every scrap of Blakist intelligence he deemed reliable, a fact that earned him a twenty-million C-Bill bounty on his own head. The Heart of Blake would encounter the new 06 variant of the Lancelot during the skirmish with Blakist forces, salvaging the 'Mech under fire before volunteering the wreckage to the AMC as a further gesture of goodwill.
As part of the planning for Operation Higashikuni, Chandrasekhar Kurita's attack against the Ruins of Gabriel, Peter Abdulsattah reviewed a number of mercenary units for possible inclusion including the Heart of Blake. Dismissive of the value or possible succcess of their attempts to join the depleted AMC, Abdulsattah also expressed an unwillingness to trust the Heart as anything other than as a diversionary unit. Ultimately the Heart was not hired for this mission.
The Heart of Blake would acquire further defecting Blakist troops who, like they, had become increasingly disillusioned with their progressively more brutal orders. One example is a squad of Phalanx-B Battle Armor led by Demi-Precentor Glenda Durham which defected to the Heart when the mercenaries raided Epsilon Eridani in 3073. The Phalanx squad's Battle Armor Tasers aided their new unit in capturing many Blakists and Blakist mercenaries, proving an intelligence boon for anti-Blakist forces through-out the Inner Sphere.
The Duchy of Tamarind-Abbey, their forces stretched thin but looking to retake Poulsbo from the Circinus Federation contracted the Heart of Blake to assist taking the former Lyran planet. After much debate about hiring a force made up of former Blakists, the Heart's track record of loyalty had been commendable, and their performance in establishing beachheads and zones of control had been very satisfactory. Photon Brett-Marik admitted that should this continue, he would consider the Heart to spearhead a long overdue counter-assault against the Buena Protectorate's recent acquisitions.
As 13th of February 3081 the Heart of Blake remained on Poulsbo as a planetary garrison when a task force from the Principality of Regulus pursuing the The Master arrived in-system in response to rumors troops loyal to the Word's shadowy leader were there. Well aware of the "harsh justice" the Regulans had inflicted on Gibson, Paradise and Diamantina, the planetary government refuted the rumors and insisted Poulsbo was a free world. With the Regulans ignoring the planet's increasingly desperate hails, the Heart of Blake offered to accept Regulan liaisons and offered intelligence exchange as the Thera-class WarShip RPS Delos reached high orbit, ultimately unleashing an intense nuclear bombardment that rendered the world uninhabitable and exterminating the Heart of Blake and the Lyran Fourth Alliance Guards.  
Triggering widespread condemnation, after repeated demands for comment from the media, the Principality of Regulus dispatched a junior officer - Junior Lieutenant Mitch Sherman - to justify the actions of the task force. Citing that Regulus had suffered from Blakist ruses in the past, Sherman indicated that Regulan field commands had been authorized to treat any ex-Blakist forces or any party giving aid to former Blakists as suspect and to be eliminated with prejudice as a precaution rather than risk further Regulan lives. When asked to comment on the possibility that the Heart of Blake's intentions had been indeed sincere, Sherman simply replied "There was only one way to be sure".
- The Heart of Blake consisted of a mixture of BattleMechs, conventional armor, and battlesuits, several Level IIs of which were equipped with C3i, including Precentor Hunter's own Legacy.
- The Heart relied heavily upon its DropShips - the Assault Triumph-class Hard Six and Union-class High Price - both to transport the unit into battle as well as providing fire support.
- As of 3071 the Heart of Blake had recruited enough support staff for seventy percent of its maintenance needs, making up the rest with techs hired on demand often unaware of the unit's origins.
- Mercenaries Supplemental Update, p. 69 "Heart of Blake"
- Mercenaries Supplemental: Update, p. 14 "Mercenaries of the Jihad - State of the AMC"
- Technical Readout: 3050 Upgrade, p. 205 "LNC 25-01 Lancelot"
- Operation Higashikuni Force Briefs Update document, p. 12
- Technical Readout: 3075, p. 31 "Phalanx Battle Armor"
- Field Report: FWLM, p.20 - Irregular Forces
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 22-23 "Mopping Up: 3079-3081 - Only Way To Be Sure"
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 84 "What Lies Beneath - The Lyran Alliance - The Defensive Situation"