Upon their arrival in Coronado, Jack and Bryan are stunned when Danielle refuses to leave Coronado. As Bryan and Danielle argue about her decision, several families approach Jack for help in getting to Red Sands. So many people ask him for help that Jack persuades Bryan to make several trips from Coronado to lead and escort people to Red Sands. These trips quickly snowball into an impromptu refugee evacuation and assistance effort, with which Danielle eventually gets involved.
The UMF Border Patrol unit at Red Sands, led by Patrol Lieutenant Graham Wang, resists helping the trio at first, but soon agree to sponsor their activities as it becomes clear how many people are affected. Jack, Bryan and Danielle are sworn in as UMF Border Patrol agents and are officially assigned to the Red Sands station.
Jack and the other Border Patrol agents come to an unofficial "arrangement" with two large rover gangs operating around Red Sands. In exchange for information on Terran operations, the Crusaders agree to lend whatever aid and technical support they can. The gangs agree to this proposal mainly out of latent patriotism, but they also wish to combine forces against a third gang led by Tolan Morilane. Jack approaches Morilane with the same offer, but Morilane rejects the proposal outright, viewing the Border Patrol activity and the alliance between the other gangs as challenges to his power. Not willing to challenge the Border Patrol outright, Morilane and his gang begin to harass the Crusaders between Coronado and Red Sands. This conflict between the two groups, and the two men, flares up time and again throughout the War of the Alliance.
As the war grows, the United Mercantile Federation is forced to nationalize many secondary government agencies, including the Border Patrol. Most Border Patrol units are simply brought into the UMF Army as military police units, but the Crusaders are expanded and trained as a combined military police and emergency services unit. Some Crusaders bristle at the thought of joining the regular army, but Jack responds, "We're doing the same job, and somebody's signing the checks ... so what difference does it make?"
At the time of its activation, the 23rd consists of three military police companies: the 1st, under Lieutenant Jack Sanlander; the 2nd, under Lieutenant Bryan McKenna; and the 3rd under Lieutenant Danielle Gibson. The Crusaders' medical operations are led by Captain Ramon Gonzalez, and the unit is commanded by Captain Graham Wang.
Bryan McKenna and Danielle Gibson are wed in a quiet ceremony in Coronado, attended only by Jack and Danielle's sister, Elizabeth. Their marriage is kept quiet to avoid UMFA regulations which prohibit married couples from serving in the same unit during wartime.
Bryan McKenna and the rest of the 23rd's 2nd Platoon are killed while defending the small hamlet of Hong Kong, in the first documented encounter between Terranovan forces and Earth's GREL supersoldiers. In memory of their fallen comrades, the 2nd Platoon is not reconstituted when replacements arrive, but remains on the rolls as an honor unit. The replacements soon compose the 23rd's 4th Company.
In a similar gesture, the members of the 23rd assume a new nickname on 11 Winter. From that day forward, the unit is known as the Hong Kong Crusaders.
Late Winter - Early Autumn
In addition to their relief duties, the Crusaders provide road security and casualty evacuation in support of Operation BISHOP, the 1914 offensive against the CEF troops in the Barrington Basin. The Crusaders develop a high-intensity operational routine which they maintain even after the offensive's conclusion. The workload demanded of all UMFA support units and the launching of other offensives results in an almost frantic pace from the Crusaders for the next two cycles.
As Sanlander tries to contact the base in Red Sands and request help, he picks up a distress call from the Crusaders' 3rd Platoon, who are engaged in a heavy firefight. Jack and Nora determine that the helicopter is still flyable, and that they are the closest friendly troops who can offer assistance to the 3rd Platoon. They therefore decide to fly to the 3rd's position and help out however they can.
With Nora's assistance, Jack manages to get the helicopter airborne and out to where the 3rd Platoon is fighting against a rover gang with heavy weapons. Jack then decides to employ the gunship's weapons, and he and Nora make an effective attack against the rovers. After the surviving rovers have dispersed, Jack lands the helicopter, picks up as many wounded Crusaders as he can, and flies back to Red Sands.
For their heroism, both Jack and Nora are awarded the Order of the Griffon with Laurels.
Graham Wang is promoted to Major and assigned to direct aid programs throughout the Red Sands operational area. Jack is thus promoted to Captain, and assigned command of the Hong Kong Crusaders.
With other units taking over activities in the Red Sands area, the Crusaders move to new facilities in Coronado itself. Many Crusaders also buy houses or otherwise take up residence in the city-state, and make Coronado their permanent home.
Jack Sanlander and Tolan Morilane have a final confrontation on Federal Route 276. Sanlander defeats Morilane in single combat, and Morilane is arrested for numerous rover-related crimes.
Jack and Elizabeth Gibson, sister of the Crusaders' Danielle Gibson, are married in the same Coronado church in which Danielle had been married during the War of the Alliance.
The 23rd Emergency Services Unit is officially disbanded, and its personnel are mustered out of the UMF Army.
The Hong Kong Crusaders become the core personnel of the newly formed Coronado Defense Forces, as the 23rd Infantry Regiment. The new regiment is initially modeled after the typical Northern Guard infantry regiment, but the Crusaders deviate from that pattern almost immediately to meet their own needs.
Equipment problems plague the Crusaders, as the secondhand vehicles and equipment from the Northern Guard are increasingly prone to breakdowns. The vehicles of the Crusaders are also often confused with those of local Northern Guard units, leading to several unfortunate misunderstandings. A solution developed in Coronado is needed, and an ingenious one is proposed by Stephen Brooks, the commander of the Crusaders' 1st Company.
Brooks proposes the redevelopment and reproduction of twentieth-century Earth combat vehicles, both to develop Coronado's fledgling vehicle manufacturing industry and to provide the Coronado Defense Forces with completely distinctive equipment. Critics openly laugh at the proposal at first, but upon closer examination it is determined that the vehicles in question would perform their required tasks quite well, and are well within Coronado's manufacturing capabilities. The Coronado county government grants permission to develop one vehicle series to test the concept, and a new company called Banzaidyne is awarded the contract to redevelop the LAV-25 Piranha.
James Louis Sanlander is born to Jack and Elizabeth at Cabrillo Memorial Hospital.
Banzaidyne begins production of the LAV-25 Piranha. The new vehicles are praised by Crusaders and Gunslingers alike for their dependability, their performance and their adaptability to numerous tasks. The program proves so successful that the Coronado government contracts both Banzaidyne and Coronado Aerospace to reengineer other vehicle series, and Banzaidyne has produced the Piranha ever since.