The Inferno Express paints its ‘mechs with orange and red details (sometimes in the shape of flames) over a black or dark gray base.
A SHAKY START
A collection of talented, yet often undisciplined, freelancer MechWarriors from all corners of the Inner Sphere, the Inferno Express (or INEX) was a mercenary unit composed of two BattleMech-only companies, formed in January of 3048 on the planet of Galatea.
This band of warriors was soon hired to support an AFFC militia in the former Federated Suns side of the Commonwealth on the planet Poznan. Sadly, INEX’s diversity (with some of their pilots being of Capellan, Kuritan, and Free Worlder/Andurien decent) put them on bad footing from moment one. The people of Poznan had suffered through centuries of oppression during their time under House Liao, with the original Spaniard settlers being treated like second class citizens. They also had weathered raids from the Draconis Combine and Free Worlds League, in particular some vicious assaults from the FWL Duchy of Andurien. Whilst it was true that Houses Davion and Steiner had raided their world as well, their overall quality of life had increased greatly once liberated by the Federated Suns at the end of the 4th Succession War. It was at the start of the war that long dormant splinter cells had seized on the opportunity to throw off the yoke of their oppressive Capellan masters. Those warriors that had fought hard for their freedom for near 2 years while until the Federated Suns forces made planet fall, now formed the core leadership of the Poznan Self Defense Force (PSDF aka the Watchdogs). Xenophobic at best, these leaders were understandably recalcitrant to trust or work with the INEX force, as they let old hatreds and prejudices boil to the surface.
Tensions remained high, and trust low, until two months into their contract, a FWL raid hit the planet. The INEX forces reacted swiftly, but allowed the Watchdogs to assume overall command, following their direction and lead. The mercenary’s performance and willingness to throw themselves into the fray and trust the PSDF’s assessments of the battlefield did much to salve old wounds and soon the two units became steadfast cohorts, if not still a touch wary of one another. For the next 4 months INEX performed extensive exercises with the PSDF, learning much about command structure and hit-and-run tactics. The mercs were quick learners and soon attracted additional attention.
I CAN WORK WITH THIS
News of INEX had somehow reached the Federated Suns sub-command, who was eager for a success story that they could use on the Lyran side of the Federated Commonwealth, to help ease some of the rising tensions. Using a mercenary company would allow the AFFS to ‘test the waters’ without causing any lasting enmity between a former AFFS and LCAF unit. After all, the contract could always be ended and INEX could be sent on their way.
AFFS Major Patrick Skoda was assigned as a liaison officer to the mercenary command and tasked with teaching the unit in how to wage war the Davion way. The Major conducted endless drills that built upon the foundation they already had, layering on fire discipline and how to identify primary targets for focus fire. INEX also learned how to better coordinate their movements as a whole, combining with their lance level guerilla tactics to devastating effect. Within the end of their first year on Poznan, Inferno Express had become a force to truly be reckoned with.
A CHANGE IN SCENERY
By the start of 3049, INEX had been transferred to the planet of Anywhere along the Lyran/Periphery border. There had been a fair amount of pirate activity in the area since the departure of the Blackhearts mercenary company, which the local Anywhere Reserve Guard (ARG) had been having tremendous difficulty dealing with. INEX relieved the decimated local force, now falling under the direct authority of the only remaining command level officer in the unit, Hauptmann Dietrich Todmann.
Bolstering the barely operative ARG, Inferno Express didn’t have to wait long before the pirates raided once again. This time, things did not go so well for the marauders. Surprised by the new INEX forces, the pirates were thrown into disarray and fled the system. Over the next several months, the pirates continued to probe and test for weak links, but were always met by INEX ‘Mechs.
Eventually, through looking at the pattern of attacks and DropShip escape vectors, INEX determined that the pirates were launching their attacks from a centralized location just outside the bounds of the local star system. When consulting some old Star League era charts, a small proto-planet named Amaris’ Eye was discovered to be in the far reaches of the system. With no resources of interest and being so far away from the habitable planet, it had become all but lost to history.
In a daring raid of their own, the remaining ARG lance and the majority of INEX circled around Amaris’ Eye and caught the pirates completely unawares. Destroying or securing the pirate transports first, INEX lances cut off any hope of retreat for the pirates. Knowing there was little chance of escape other than to retake their transports (or INEX’s) the pirates’ hand was forced and the entire engagement was over within barely 12 hours of landing. While some fleeing elements needed to be chased down, Hauptmann Todmann ordered all structures razed, and the heads of any ‘Mechs too damaged for salvage to be mounted in a heap on top of the rubble.
Returning to Anywhere, INEX was able to integrate their salvage back into service to replace some of their losses, though the majority of captured BattleMechs went to ARG to help bring them up to just over two lances in strength.
With the destruction of the base, the planet was finally achieving a level of peace and security once again. A unit from the AFFS, now being integrated into the joined AFFC joint command, was already on their way to Anywhere. The 2nd New Ivaarsen Chasseurs BattleMech Regiment would relieve INEX, allowing the successful mercenaries to move on to another hot spot.
FLIGHT OF THE FALCON
That all changed in 3050 with the invasion of the Clans.
Being right at the head of the Clan Jade Falcon invasion corridor, the defenders had no intel on this new foe. Believing them to be another raiding group or an expeditionary force from the DCMS, INEX was cautious to engage, hoping to gather some information on this new enemy before committing fully. The enemies, claiming to be the Scarlet Scythes of Clan Jade Falcon sounded like a pirate band, but certainly didn’t act like one. Even with their vigilant approach, the mercs were completely unprepared for the extended ranges and power of Clan weaponry.
A mixed company consisting of a 2nd Chasseurs command lance, the most able ARG lance and a heavy support lance from INEX engaged these ‘pirates’ and in 21 minutes of pure chaos, there was not a single friendly ‘Mech left standing.
Deciding to try to overwhelm their enemy, the New Ivaarsen Chasseurs committed two more companies to the conflict. The Red Scythes made tremendous use of the terrain, keeping the Chasseurs at range, picking apart the ranged support, forcing the Chasseurs to come in close if they wanted to engage. Surprisingly, the invaders seemed to know the topography almost as well as the local ARG and INEX forces.
Now over a full company down, things went completely to hell. The Jade Falcons had deployed some sort of miniature ‘Mechs that jumped and leapt onto the larger BattleMechs of the ARG and the Chasseurs. Once attached, they ripped their way into the arms, legs and even heads of the ‘Mechs, disabling them in very short order.
Unable to match the Jade Falcon ‘Mechs at long range, INEX attempted to turn the tables by luring the Clanners into close-quarters combat, where they could concentrate fire to bring down these invaders. Ultimately, the Inferno Express needed to perform a fighting withdrawal, but they had provided enough time for many civilians to evacuate the system.
Battered and exhausted, the remnants of INEX finally made their way off world. With their superior knowledge of the region, and their penchant to get close in, Inferno Express had survived the initial Clan invasion. Along with a few surviving elements of the ARG and Chasseurs, the remaining force (just over a four lances in strength) managed to escape to a lone AFFC JumpShip which ferried them away.
In a cruel twist of fate, the combined surviving force had pulled back to Amaris’ Eye and spent the next years raiding the Jade Falcon installations for supplies. Ironically, their training had prepared them to be extraordinary privateers.
Not much is known about what happened over those years. But they had been spotted on one occasion by none other than Adam Steiner, when INEX capitalized on the Jade Falcon’s obsession with the 1st Somerset Strikers to inflict serious damage to several unprotected Falcon dropships.
INEX had survived behind enemy lines for over 2 years, finally limping back into Federated Commonwealth space in 3052. Their force looked more like rejects from a pirate gang than the hopeful poster child the AFFS had envisioned. The bedraggled unit contained not only the few surviving INEX, ARG and lone Chausser pilots, they had managed to replenish their ranks with other surviving elements they encountered including two ‘reformed’ pirates. They had also built up a small retinue of refugees from Lyran, Rasalhague and Periphery Space that keep the unit operational. Still at a company in number, but with almost every ‘Mech disabled in some way, it would take INEX several years to recover back to a full two companies in strength.
While it is known that INEX sided with House Steiner during the FedCom Civil War, it is believed that this had more to do with mercenaries still rebuilding their strength and not ready to take the Davion side.
Composed of heavy-hitting, moderately fast ‘mechs, the Inferno Express is specialized in close quarters combat and was frequently used to spearhead attacks on enemy formations. Unsurprisingly, INEX also made excellent use of flamers, bathing their opponents in fire, causing enemies to limit their return fire or risk shut-down. Their use of energy weapons variants helped them in their engagements against the Jade Falcons, as fewer supplies were needed to keep their unit in fighting condition.
The unit’s insignia is a half-red / half-orange flame set above the acronym INEX.
Insignia by: Odanan
Paint Scheme by: Odanan
Mech repainted by: Odanan
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Original Artwork: flyingdebris for Piranha Games Inc.
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