|This article, Vanguards, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The Vanguards, sometimes referred to as The Order of the Vanguards, The Keepers of the Laws, or The Judges of the Voren, are a group of peace-keepers that have existed for several centuries in one form or another, serving as a mobile group of police-judges that exist outside the Vorenus Imperium's governmental influence.
Formed by the Emperor of the Kingdom of Naminor long before the Vorenus Civil War, the Avant-Garde were originally a special police, essentially, formed of the 150 best Voren warriors: these 150 were led by the 10 Magistrates, who in turn answered to the Emperor only, who assigned the Avant-Garde all their tasks and missions.
Over time, the Avant-Garde underwent a gradual metamorphosis: the most obvious was that the originally 150 member organization grew to contain more than 7,000 Vorenus; the other obvious change was that, whereas the Avant-Garde had originally been the Emperor of Naminor's secret police, they had since evolved into a mobile group of judges that bore allegiance to none of the many kingdoms of Nalidine and her colonies. In addition, the once violent executioners had since renounced bloodshed, and had also forbidden all forms of relationships and emotions save respect and loyalty to the Magistrates and, to a much lesser extent, to other Avant-Garde members.
The Legionnaires and the Brotherhood of Sidus
The Great Rift came about in 2250 AD, shortly before the Vorenus Civil War: indeed, the Great Rift is often attributed by historians as having caused the war. A split in the Avant-Garde, the Great Rift was caused by Sidus Altine: suspected of having murdered 13 other Vorenus, defying the orders of the Magistrates on numerous occasions, and having secretly married two female members of the Avant-Garde (as well as rumored to have had relations with several others), Sidus was to be tried, convicted and executed by the Magistrates' in a mock trial, as they had already decided to kill the dissident beforehand; however, Sidus stole one the guard's two Melee Weapon-I's, and proceeded to fight and kill all ten Magistrates and their twenty-five member guard.
Escaping, Sidus told what the Magistrates had tried to do to him and declared the Avant-Garde corrupted and its' methods defunct. Causing a great division among the Avant-Garde, Sidus gathered up a good third of his Voren brothers and formed the Brotherhood of Sidus: able to claim five Voren colonies as their sanctuaries, the Avant-Garde managed to claim many more, and the remainder became contested worlds where tensions between the two factions ran high. This new Brotherhood differed greatly from the Avant-Garde which spawned it, but many of these changes would later be taken on by the Avant-Garde's successors, the Legionnaires: the Brotherhood used a ranking system, to give those of greater talent the recognition they deserved; the Brotherhood allowed any form of emotions and relationships, which the Vanguards would later implement in a much more restrained fashion; and the Brotherhood also authorized force alongside numerous technologies, something that soon led to a great disadvantage for the Avant-Garde.
Within a half a century, the derision between the two sides became too much: the Brotherhood of Sidus committed acts of violence against the Avant-Garde in retribution, killing large numbers of the latter faction's members. The Avant-Garde at last succumbed to reform, as a younger member named Horal Kyatan rose to prominence and took charge, instituting many radical changes that brought the Avant-Garde all that much closer to being like the Brotherhood: this new organization, the Legionnaries, used a rank system and began to use both force and some technologies, in addition to directly allying itself with the Grand Bastion of Nalidine as opposed to being a free-roaming force.
Now a completely reorganization faction, the Legionnaires were on more even terms with the Brotherhood of Sidus, and the two would wage war against both one another and several splinter factions throughout the now-raging Vorenus Civil War, supposedly triggered by the conflict between the supporters of the various Avant-Garde splinters. In the end, however, the Grand Bastion of Nalidine would gain the upper hand in the war of supremacy, and the Legionnaires would rise right alongside them, becoming the prominent Avant-Garde splinter faction until the Civil War finally came to a standstill in 2426.
Once Sidus had broken away from the Avant-Gade and formed the Brotherhood, several other splinter factions gradually followed, each disassociating themselves from their parent organization and the others and either allying with various smaller states, working without allegiance to any, and in one case becoming the rulers of a Vorenus state
The first group to break away from either the Avant-Garde or the Brotherhood was the Desol-Phoba, a group of elite assassins from within the Brotherhood that used fear as a weapon, lived upon rage and used many forms of stealth technology: breaking away, they allied with the Solenis Confederacy, and here they continued to serve for years, outlasting even the Brotherhood proper itself until the final downfall of the Solenis Confederacy in 2549, at which point the surviving members were absorbed into the Vanguards.
The second splinter faction was the Sorcerers of Almek, breaking away from the still rigid Avant-Garde in favor of their own ways: though keeping the Avant-Garde policies of no rank and no emotions, they changed many others; most notably among these was their high use of technology, which gave them the name of the "Sorcerers" of Almek in the Almek Minarchy. The Sorcerers, in fashion opposite the Avant-Garde, embraced technology, which they used to such an extent that, even with their small forces, the Sorcerers and the Almek Minarchy became highly feared group: however, their technology curiosity became their undoing when they captured a nuclear WMD from the Shadow Warriors that had been rigged with a virulent neural virus, wiping out most of the Almek system and the Sorcerer's forces within a week's time. After this massacre, the Sorcerers of Almek and the Minarchy were declared non-existent.
Seceding from the Brotherhood at a time similar to the Sorcerers of Almek, the Yigan Lords were a secession that, while voluntary, was requested after a fashion: the Yigan Kritocracy requested aid from the Brotherhood to keep their government from falling apart, a request the Brotherhood continued to ignore. Soon, however, a group of the Brotherhood broke away and accepted the Yigan Kritocracy's offer: hold-overs from the Avant-Garde's philosophies, the Yigan Lords were all of one rank, banned emotions and relationships, and abstained from the use of most technology and forms of recreational activities, all in the name of a "pure" and "unbiased" viewpoint. At first serving just as mobile judges to the Kritocracy, the Yigan Lords eventually were placed in a ruling position, reigning over the Kritocracy for many years until the Kritocracy was absorbed by the Grand Bastion of Nalidine.
The Chosen Ones and the Veterans were often at odds with one another: the Chosen Ones left the Avant-Garde first, becoming a rather large faction that focused on using overwhelming force to defeat their enemies, while the Veterans left after Horal Kyatan's reformative actions, forming a medium-sized group of Avant-Garde holdovers that could defeat larger forces through superior tactics. Operating in a similar area, their operations often brought them into conflict with one another, both as intended targets as well as circumstantial obstacles: however, after two decades of conflict, the Veterans defeated and absorbed the Chosen Ones, continuing to exist up into the Rebuild Era when they were at last defeated by the Vanguards in 2603 during the final stages of the Vorenus Civil War.
The Vorenus Civil War had come to a standstill in 2426, with the Grand Bastion of Nalidine held in a deadlock by the remaining rebellious colonies: during this time, the Legionnaires underwent a second reformation, taking the knowledge of the many splinter factions that had been absorbed over the years as well as over ideas that had been gained throughout the years, merging all together, and reorganizing into the last of the child factions to be formed from the Advant-Garde, the Vanguards.
Taking on many of the aspects of the original Advant-Garde once again, the Vanguards disassociated themselves from the Grand Bastion some, going back once more to the idea of mobile policing judges, though keeping the training of a warrior as a major aspect to the organization: emotions and relationships were once again put back to a minimum, but were no longer banned either, albeit that they were constantly monitored by commanding officers; peaceful, political measures were to be used as a primary method of carrying out a mission, with the Vanguards following all the customs and laws of the area they are in, though they were allowed to ignore these if need be; stealth would follow should politics proved futile, and then followed by outright force in the end.
Merging many of the aspects of the former organization's, all of these are quite often visible to those that know what to look for: the foundation of all the ideals is within the Avant-Garde/Legionnaires, with a good dash of the Brotherhood of Sidus' ideals as well, finished out with smaller pieces of the splinter factions. The Vanguards abstain primarily from emotions, but allow such positive emotions as camaraderie, happiness, laughter, respect and the like; however, unlike the Brotherhood, they do not allow rage, sorrow, vengeance or even love, with the last fearing to lead to the formerly listed negative emotions, and destroy a Vanguard's high morals and standards. The major use of martial force if necessary is of course from the Brotherhood of Sidus in its' origins, but were also majorly influenced by the ideals of the Chosen Ones and the Veterans, combining force with tactics, as well as taking stealth elements from the Desol-Phoba. The technological prowess of the Sorceres of Almek also came into play, and ideas from other smaller splinter factions also rose to the surface at times; the Yigan Lords ideals on a "pure and unbiased" viewpoint even rose to the point of creating a sub-faction within the Vanguards, the Order of Yigan, which strove to follow the Lords ideals.
Keeping the Peace
Assessment and Orientation
The very first part of any Vanguards is carrier is the assessment tests, soon followed by orientation. However, assessment and orientation (AO) comes in two distinct categories: one for young recruits, and another for military veterans/reformed criminals.
The first category of AO, the category for young recruits, is quite simple: run through a series of both physical and mental tests, the candidates are thoroughly examined to determined their innate talents and skills, as well as things that they would appear to be capable of learning easily, to determine how these young recruits should be trained. While recruits can always change their own path once they have advanced beyond the rank of Pupil, with 85% accuracy the decision of the Assessors is usually the course that they will stay with for the rest of their Vanguard career.
The second category of AO, that for military veterans and reformed criminals, is much less extensive and rigorous, as the courses and abilities of these beings are oftentimes already well known and obvious. Nevertheless, the Assessors do indeed hold a fair amount of tests to make certain of the candidates skills and capabilities, but the primary purpose of AO for older recruits is to ensure that the Vanguards can be properly trained mentally and to see what rank they should be put at.
Mental training is a large part of the Vanguards training regimen, taking up most of their immediate post-AO time, as well as the very end section of their training as well, with the middle being dedicated primarily to physical training. Mental training is handled by the wise Vanguard Oracles, who take the Vanguard Recruits and, from before sun-up to after sun-down, teach and train them in all the ways of the mind.
The first and most important part of the mental training is one facet that is not used on every recruit, and that is moral reprogramming: looked upon with distaste by many of the other AUR members due to its' similarities to brain-washing – and in some cases, its' uses as a form of brainwashing – moral reprogramming is used as a way to instill within the Vanguards all the ideals and emotions that would be useful to them in their new occupation, as well as help remove many of the ones that are unwanted. For some recruits, very little of this is needed, as their mind already matches the ideals of the Vanguards – honor, virtue, refraining from negatives emotions like anger, sorrow or love – but for others much of this is needed to purge them of their former ideals, the most obvious case being repentant criminals. Many Vanguards will even continue to do various lighter versions of these practices to “purge” themselves of negative thoughts during their career, using things similar to yoga or karate combined with saying-repetitions and other things to forget their thoughts or to focus upon them harder.
Another major facet of the mental teaching regimen is critical thinking, which includes such sub-ideals as tactical planning and cohesive teamwork: using hours upon hours of material to study and learn from, the Vanguard trainees learn how to effectively make important decisions in a split-second, determine how an entire battle will turn out based upon an opponent's know motivations, thoughts and prior actions, as well as how to seamlessly work together with other Vanguards to form a close-knit and highly effective team.
Ways to resist interrogation and torture are high on the lists of the Vanguard Oracles things to teach their students, as these are often highly necessary skills for them: through the help of their emotionally-questionable members, the Vanguard Oracles submit their students to increasingly more difficult bouts of real torture and interrogation, specifically instructing their students to not reveal the information they have been given under any circumstances. Through these training sessions, the trainees physical endurance is also greatly aided, as they begin to endure more and more of the pain they endure in the torture sessions. In addition, many of the Vanguard Recruits learn the method of entering a seemingly vegetative state to endure the torture with hardly any indications that they are being harmed.
As the Vanguards orders task them with completing their diplomatic objectives in a peaceable way before resorting to violence, all Recruits are also required to learn all the local judicial, diplomatic, and cultural ideals and edicts of the areas they will be required to visit, with their first few weeks of training spent memorizing what customs, gestures and phrases are necessary and which are improper in any given area.
Physically, the Vanguards are some best warriors that the Vorenus Imperium possesses: whether raised in the way of the Vanguards from youth or trained by the Imperium's own army, the Vanguards are super-soldiers in their own right, even if not in the same sense as SPARTANS or GEARS.
Trained harder than most Vorenus soldiers ever are, the Vanguards must be capable of enduring the harshest environments and still be expected to fight off a dozen opponents: their endurance and strength training begins from day one of their recruitment, they must eventually gain such endurance as to survive for three weeks upon an uninhabited and primarily-barren planet personally controlled by the Vanguards without any starting supplies of their own, as well as be able to fight constantly against opponents for 72 hours. In addition, the Vanguards train to be able to survive and function fully in any terrain imaginable, whether grassy or desert, mountainous or seas, urban or jungle.
Perhaps one of the most dangerous and difficult sessions of physical training the Vanguard Recruits endure is disease and chemical resistance courses: designed with the specific idea of making the Vanguards highly resistant or even immune to viral and chemical assaults used by enemies, the only way to do so is repeated exposure to small doses of the chemical or disease that one is currently attempting to become resistant to. A long process, no Vanguards ever manage to become completely immune to all chemicals and diseases simply due to the vast number of them, and therefore the Vanguards focus instead upon those that are currently among the civilian population or are in use by enemy forces.
Hardware training is essentially when the Vanguards properly learn how to handle guns and melee weapons: starting out simply enough, the courses eventually require recruits to do such things as fight off two dozen opponents for five minutes without suffering any wounds, or eliminate thirty moving targets at sniper range within fifteen seconds, among other extremely difficult tasks.
After the assessment, all Vanguard recruits are required to train in one of the Three Styles – Melee, Ranged, Stealth – based upon what was discerned during their assessment. Vanguards trained in the Melee Style specialize in melee combat, preferring to attack their opponents hand-to-hand instead of with ranged weaponry, but still having enough skill with ranged weaponry to hold their own if needed. Specialists in the Ranged Style used all manner of ranged weaponry, whether it be rifles, pistols, shotguns, railguns or even ordnance launchers; again, these still retain knowledge of melee combat so as to hold their own if need be. Stealth Style experts are a mix of the two in a way, operating in the shadows and dark places with espionage on their side, killing their foes with melee weapons at close range and picking them off from a distance as well.
The Seven Trials
The Seven Trials are the last step in a Vanguards' training, each one allowing them to advance in rank, with one test for every rank.
The first trial, the Trial of Endurance, is administered to all Recruits and is essentially a simulation of a diplomatic/combat situation typical for the Vanguards, with nothing is special to set the trial apart from other combat missions: should a Recruit fail, they are expelled from the Vanguards immediately. It should be noted also that those that are taken on as Pupils are not required to take the Trial of Endurance at all.
The second trial, the Trial of Strength, is taken by Pupils so that they may advance to the rank of Officer and proceed to go on missions of their own without their Teacher coming with them. The Trial of Strength is specifically designed to test the strength of the Pupil, both physically and mentally, to ensure that they can handle the strains of the Vanguard lifestyle.
The Trial of Camaraderie is the third and is taken by the Officers in order to become Constables: this trial is set up to test their bonds with other Vanguards, and is taken four at a time; it is specifically designed to test the emotional strength of the Officers and see if this will hinder them in the future, as well as see if they are properly bonding with fellow Vanguards.
Constables are required to take the Trial of Tactics, in which they are given only a short time to rescue four of eight “prisoners”, disarm a “bomb”, “assassinate” a “rebel leader”, and then escape from the facility. This trial tests the Constables decision-making skills and forces them to make life-altering decisions in a short amount of time.
The Trial of Leadership is given to Superiors as the fifth trial in their career, and it tests how well they can command troops in battle situations, seeing whether or not they are capable of defeating numerically superior foes in combat. After the trial, Superiors can choose to either become Assessors or Commanders, an irrevocable decision once done.
The sixth trial is the Trial of Wisdom, administered to Commanders to allow them to ascend to the rank of Judge – Archivists, Oracles, and Champions may not take the trial, as they have already chosen their career earlier while they were still Commanders. The Trial of Wisdom specifically targets the Commanders knowledge and ability to use that knowledge as they attempt to outfit political and military foes as well as escape a facility through the use of complex puzzles.
The Trial of Heart is the last of the Seven Trials, and is used by the Magistrates to see whether or not a Judge or High Judge is worthy of joining the August Council: considered a trick trial by some of the lesser ranked Vanguards, the Trial of Heart tests a Magistrates ideals to see whether they are of the right heart to serve as the highest of the Vanguards. The Trial of Heart is the most difficult of all the trials, combining all prior experiences with one final test: a duel to the death with one of the Magistrates themselves, in which the Judge or High Judge taking the trial must decide whether or not to let the Magistrate live. Thus far, only five Magistrates have ever died in the Trial of Heart, and only once was the Judge in question allowed to join the August Council after killing his opponent: this Judge was Chist Alek, who killed the traitorous Magistrate Sikai Terquatus in his Trial of Heart.
The greatest and final test for the Vanguards, the Catechism is required of the Magistrate that has been elected to ascend to the rank of Grand Magistrate and preside over the August Council: taking place in a room in the Vanguard headquarters known as the Room of Awakening, the Magistrate enters alone and unarmed, and is said to experience a vision of all their fears, ambitions, thoughts, dreams and hopes laid bare in front of them, being forced to confront each and every one. The Magistrates is required to stay within the Room of Awakening for two weeks, dealing with their inner demons and – according to the reports of three former Grand Magistrates – communing with a being calling itself "LEGION": those that emerge from the Room of Awakening with their sanity are said to have a resolve and mental calm that is stronger than any other, and go on to serve as Grand Magistrate.
However, for every three that survive, one does not, reduced to gibbering insanity fearfully and violently attacking any that attempted to come near them or speak to them, screaming “The Garden is mine, no others!” It was later discerned during the Necros War that the mysterious being known as LEGION, the Room of Awakening's seemingly mystical powers, and the insanity wrought upon many Grand Magistrate-candidates were all connected to a mysterious Precursor facility known as The Garden.
One downside to the Vanguard life-style are the safety precautions: to try and protect any relations to a Vanguard from becoming a target for the enemy, all records of prior existence are erased and the very strictly enforced rule to never meet with your former family or make any new, bonding relationships (such as love) aside from brother-/sister-hood with fellow Vanguards.
Beyond these there are other strict rules involving how missions and targets are to be dealt with and handled: targets are not to be killed or maimed unless necessary (the first part being more mandatory than the second, as the second is usually inevitable); peaceful measures are to be used before stealth methods, and stealth before force; and lastly, innocents (whether part of the target's group or not) and former member of the Vanguards are not to be killed under any circumstances, upon punishment of exile or death
To aid in their duties, they are armed with several specialized weapons:
- Personal Defence System-VI - Modified with with two taser cables, and also being capable of firing both tranquilizer darts and bullets, this PDS-VI is the staple ranged weapon of the Vanguards
- Anti Personel Smoke Grenade-V -
- Specialist Melee Weapon-II -
The ranks of the Vanguards are as follows, listed from lowest to highest:
- High Judge
- Grand Magistrate
The Vanguards are given a chance at promotion after they have successfully completed a certaion amount of missions, increasing in number with every new rank: Pupils have an opportunity to advance to the rank of Officer after five years of service and 50 missions, while Officer are granted a similar chance to advance to the rank of Constable after 75 missions. Because of this fact, Judges and Magistrates have completed hundreds of successful missions over the course of their careers: however, just completing a set number of missions does not guarantee promotion, as the candidate must also successfully pass their trial before being promoted.
A few ranks deserve special note, due to their unique status and nature: Pupils, for instance, are not only members that have advanced from Recruits, but also members that were specially and specifically chosen by Superiors, Judges and Magistrates to be trained as Vanguards. Assessors, Archivists, Oracles and Champions all require special note as well, as each is a rank that is held permanently once attained: Superiors given the choice to become Assessors and administer Assessment and Orientation to new Recruits, but they are not given a chance to move on to the rank of Commander either once they have chosen to become Assessors; similarly, Archivists, Oracles and Champions become the Vanguards historians, strategists, and generals respectively, but are also not allowed to move upwards any further.
Magistrates form the August Council, and there are only ten Magistrates at any given time, with the Magistrates being replaced only in the event of a current Magistrate dying; if a Judge has served in said rank for over fourty years and not been elected Magistrate, they are granted the honorary rank of High Judge. In addition, the rank of Grand Magistrate is only given when one is needed to preside over the others and serve as a figure head, and the candidate is required to survive the Trial of Heart beforehand.
Composed of the Ten Voren Magistrates, the August Council oversees all Vanguard activities, and much of the general activities of the Vorenus as well. Each of the Magistrates has their own unique skills, which are used to maximum effect by the Council when matters of importance are discussed; for example, Sapi Brev, as the oldest Magistrate, has acquired great wisdom in his lifetime, while Chist Alek is a grand strategist, highly capable of turning the enemy's tactics against them. It's members are Sapi Brev, Crassus Liberi, Beno Kobana, Kunar Nagow, Chist Alek, Marel Terim, Chehna Terim, Traylis Atrel, Fenhis Polere and Vitani Caelius
- Sapi Brev
- Crassus Liberi
- Beno Kobana
- Kunar Nagow (rogue)
- Chist Alek
- Marel Terim
- Chehna Terim
- Traylis Atrel (rogue)
- Fenhis Polere
- Vitani Caelius
- Polpodis Didrana (deceased)
- Ego Luigala (deceased)
- Moridi Nosilay (deceased)
- Sikai Terquatus (deceased)
- Vevictus Syrico (rogue)
|Special Operations Divisions in the Necros War|
|UNSC|| Marines, First Echelon: STO | Night Runners | SPARTAN-IVs
Marines, Second Echelon: ODSTs
|USR||Operation Divisions: Commandos | Spec Ops | Assassins | Pathfinders | Rangers | Assault Troopers | Avengers | Fleet Security|
|Vorenus||SPECTRES | STARS | FEAR | START | Vanguards|
|Jiralhanae Alliance||Brute Ravager | Brute Stormtrooper|
|Kig-Yar Regime||Kig-Yar Scout | Kig-Yar Shocktrooper | Kig-Yar Stormtrooper | Kig-Yar Butcher | Kig-Yar Bodyguard | Kig-Yar Bombardier | Kig-Yar Assassin | Black Claw|
|Yanme'e Hives||Yanme'e Slayer | Yanme'e Berserker|