APAGear - Volume 5, Number 5 - August 2003
While the presence of myriad secret societies and cabalistic political factions working to private ends are an unsuprising and relatively accepted facet of Republican politics, even the average Republican citizen would be suprised to discover that a group dares exist with the sole objective of (carefully) rooting out such groups and undermining their influence through various means.
What would seem even more surprising is that such an organization could exist within the Republican military itself, a body that by definition serves and protects the state and those who comprise it. Yet, such an organization does exist. And, despite its' typically imperceptible subtlties and glacially paced operations, it seeks to topple leaders, alter the very Republic it serves, and even (if possible) develop a lasting peace with the North for reasons other than simply to better combat the CEF.
Not often mentioned by name even among those who know of it, the Grognards seek to accomplish all of these things.
Taking their name from a fanatically loyal unit of the napoleonic-era French Imperial Army so veteran that they were utterly unshakable, yet also took every opportunity to complain about problems until they were rectified, the general attitude the Grognards espouse is an unshaking belief in and love for the Republic, but tinged with frustration and anger at (foremost) those whose corruption and byzantine politicking twist the aims of the Republic in such a manner as to elevate themselves, and (secondly) those who use the invisible chasm between guaranteed personal freedoms and opressive political machinations as a shield or tool.
While an exact date of founding and other such details are lost to the mists of time or hidden for the sake of secrecy, the general history of the group can be readily ascertained by studying the current state of the organization. Based largely upon "old friend networks" of Republican (and, surprisingly, Republican-born MILICIA) officers, the Grognards seem almost too informal to be considered a threat, were it not for the vast interconnectivity between their close-knit groups, and their consequently pooled resources from many diverse directions.
As untold thousands who have tried to bend the system have discovered, a hundred tiny attacks upon ones' character from an endlessly diverse number of sources far outweighs the damage done by a single disparaging remark. Furthermore, given the small but powerful number of Republican Army judicial officers who ascribe to the movement, retaliation against these shadowy machinations becomes a doubly difficult proposition.
The actual disposition of Grognard Loyalists is difficult to determine, as even the name of the group is not always known to associates, and any actual communication to or between group members is almost always a result of friends conversing on a strictly person-to-person and contextual basis. This not only tends to confound the infiltrators periodically insinuating themselves on behalf of intelligence groups, but makes actions difficult to coordinate and communication unreliable at best. However, while followers are such only by personal choice and confirmed by their history of actions, Grognards do seem to congregate in certain branches.
In addition to the aforementioned Inspector General and Military Police sections of the Army, Armored Cavalry branch (both due to its' long heritage in service to the Republic, and clannish nature) is rife with adherents. Due to the even more closely-knit and patriotic-yet-objective attitudes of those in the Space Services, it is plausable to say that almost if not all career spacers are at least well-associated with the group, if not actively participating members. Air Cavalry pilots, Landsailors, PIM troops, and general infantry round out the rest of the Grognards' number, though there is still one idiosynchratic group worthy of mention- Political Officers.
Suprisingly, this typically aloof and dedicated corps of idealogical overseers is rife with Grognards, as their position simultaneously exposes them to the sorts of corruption and fanaticism the movement despises, and provides them a legitimate and highly effective method of weeding out those who they feel are, to say the least, not serving the Republics' interests first and foremost.
Also, while not quite recognized members (if there were such a thing), there seems to be growing support among the general populace for a new and more open style of governance, especially around the historically diverse Marabou and its' rural fiefdoms, which as recently as 1940 were attempting to form a localized political party to express their concerns nationwide.
However, despite paralell efforts by other groups, hard data regarding the actions of this organization are difficult to determine, given the highly distributed social-vigilante methods used to hamstring enemies, but several historically notable incidents seem to rather too paralell to their ideaologies to be accidental, such as the political nightmare that nigh obliterated the career of Commandant Robert Murene, who served as captain of the Landship Draco during the fiasco between it and the northern landship Vigilance, and the poor military-provided supply and support for Lord Protector Molays' personal retribution squads in the ESE during the mid 1930s. Further evidence of their meddling could be inferred from the almost omnidirectional low-level resitance to the designs of groups such as the Committe for Rightful Environmental Exploitation (an obvious combination of greedy Port Oasis favoritism mixed with a dangerously mercenary approach to managing the Republics' resources), and slightly more overt actions against groups like the Badlands Revolutionary Front and those few individuals positively identified as embedded Saragossan PFI agents.
While it is obvious that there is some support for the movement, it is also important to realize that the impression that this group operates with any sort of wide-spread popular sanction or murky understanding with the powers-that-be in Port Oasis would be a hazardous guess, given that nearly as many shadowy incidents between the Grognards and their enemies are the work of those same enemies. The death of Amiral deBoisclair in Winter 1933, while officially unknown, is perhaps the most prominent sign that not everyone appreciates the Grognards' actions. Similarly, when the owner of the Heavy Gear manufacturer Mandeers rather strangely went into complete seclusion, many could guess that it was due to a bit too much hostile scrutiny from the powers-that-be, but fewer the reasons behind that animosity.
As an Ally: The Grognards might covertly support any individual or group having difficulties with the corruption or inertia of the Republican government or individuals using those attributes to further their own ends. The manner of the support can vary greatly, so long as it is not of sufficient impact to draw undue atttention to their organization.
As an Enemy: On the opposite face of the coin, any Republican who behaves as a flagrant supremecist or indescreetly bends the system to their advantage runs a risk of the Grognards' attentions, either in the form of untraceable slander, miscelaneous tampering with their affairs, or even direct sabotage.
As a Resource: The Grognards tend to support individuals or groups who serve the best interests of the Republic as a superior nation and the equality and freedom that they feel are necessary to better the Republic. While their support may be limited, it can come in a wide variety of forms- from conveniently lost evidence in a court case or "turning down the heat", to information, to limited material support. Also, the number of Grognards in the ranks always allows for the GM to provide a very limited amount of unexpected help from characters the Players might not suspect are sympathetic to their cause.
As a Plot Device: With such a strong and edgy philosophy, the conflict between the Grognards and various intelligence and military organizations (as well as pacifists and the regular array of anti-Republican factions) creates limitless opportunities for intrigue. Grognards against Imperialist Republicans, vice versa, Imperialist Republicans versus other factions with Grognards in the middle (trying to escalate, limit, or simply profit from the conflict), or even simply as a means of showing discontentment in the Republic.
Lord Protector Kenichi Tanaka: A major political and military force, with strong ties in the Republican Army infantry branches, Legion Noire, various ESE powers, and recently the Black Talons. While not quite as outspoken as other dissidents, his opinions regarding the current regime are largely negative, but discreetly so. Unforunately, his very prominence hampers any efforts to change this situation, and quite obviously means he is not the most acessible person on Terra Nova.
Prefect Naramasa Asano: A Republican who still follows the widely-discarded noble traditions and archaic ideals of his nation, Prefect Asano is still a gentleman soldier at heart, and would probably aid anyone of like mind should they or their efforts come to his attention, especially through his sources in Heavy Gear units.
Prefect Lucas Morriani: An old spacer and current Prefect of the Space Defense Branch, Prefect Morriani is a habitual opponent to the warmongering and intrigue of his land-based counterparts in the Council. He is also suprisingly acessible if one happens to be a member of the Republican SRAD, given his position of leadership in the tight-knit spacers' community.
(CinC MILICIA) Consul Stephane Terrier: Relegated to the MILICIA because his hopes of promotion in the Republican Army were surreptitiously ended (simply because his family was the loser in a purely social scuffle), Consul Terrier is disillusioned (some would even say disgusted) with the ever-increasing tend of the Republican leadership towards byzantine intrigue and deviation from the ideal of a fair meritocracy.
Amiral Gustav deBoisclaire: A major player in the Republican LandNavy, with considerable political and military influence. (Died TN 1933)
Commandant Tim Antal: A level-headed Republican officer in the LandNavy who might be cooperative with Grognard agents, given his reputation for fairness and dislike for elitism among those he commands.
Commandant Aristide Lazarus: Legendary shadow-master and commander of the MILICIA Special Intervention Unit, Commandant Lazarus is both a Republican patriot and commander of a powerful covert force, with agents spread across the entire southern hemisphere, and is capable of working through either friends in the Republican Army of taking matters into his own hands via his commandos in the MILICIA.
Major Kell Felps: Equally renowned as an armored-cavalry tactician and political commentator, Major Felps may be a bit too well known to be a safe associate, but a large number of his subordinates in the 33rd Armor Regiment (Hell-Hounds) share his views, and know tankers in other regiments that think the same.
Lieutenant Lara Kahliel: Duelist for the 1st Pride of the Republic Gear regiment, Lieutenant Kahliel is often surrounded by political climbers using the military as a stepping stone. Due to her prominent position, she must endure almost all of the toadies who infest its' ranks. But if and when she grows irritated with a specific individual, her position can only magnify the power behind her disapproval.
Lieutenant Sare Agincourt: A political officer essentially given her rank due to a prominent parent, Lieutenant Agincourt has recently been using her familial clout to attack enemies untouchable through the (considerable) military and legal means already available to her. She is frustrated by the fact that she must resort to such tactics to take down her foes, but considers her role as a guardian of the Republic is too serious not to warrant her utmost efforts.
Sargeant Gargimel Benelux: A legendary infantry instructor in the Republican Army, Benelux can weed out problem soldiers before they start, call in or grant favors from what seems like half the officers on the hemisphere, or simply use the weight his judgements carry with the Inspector Generals' office to have certain files scrutinized a bit more carefully...
Gabril Fawkes: An ex-PIM who runs a famously popular (and service-blind, excepting Marines) watering hole in Marabou. Renowned for boht his beer and his hatred of soldiers who enlist for soley political aspirations, Fawkes is reputed to know more people than God and command at least half as much respect among both the Army and MILICIA.
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