The Mercenary Gazette is write ups of various mercenary groups active in the Prodigal Empires universe.
Lakshmi Ram graduated with flying colours from the Xeno-environment survey course of her home colony the Republic of Sudhara Bharat…right into the middle of an inter-stellar economic depression. In the absence of any planetary exploration jobs she signed up for a short term stint in her Republic’s Home Guard. The service experience germinated an idea in Lakshmi and when she was honourably discharged she started to recruit fellow xeno scientists and ex-servicemen, put together a business plan and successfully applied for a loan from the larger family – Trailblazers was born.
Trailblazers is a network of mercs and scientists formed into teams to carry out planetary surveys. The scientists (if they don’t have military training already) are trained to defend themselves while the mercenaries tend to be thinkers rather than macho men They can carry out general surveys or highly specific ones for particular minerals or environment studies. Lakshmi as well as commanding important missions heads up the organisation and selects teams for corporates, colonies and nation states. Trailblazers enable poor states to consider colonial expansion without the expense of running their own survey teams. Trailblazer teams supply their own equipment and frequently can be transported and supported by a short time chartered ship owner-operated vessel that the company will also arrange. This saves the hiring party of the cost of hiring a ship and survey team.
Trailblazers have increasingly been hired to work in established frontier settlements such as looking into water pollution, boundary disputes, local indigenous ‘alien’ populations, ‘bug hunts’ etc.; This has been a step away from Lakshmi’s original vision and has led the Company into some bad publicity – but the money is too good. Clients appreciate being able to blame Trailblazers if the outcome upsets their colonists and others just enjoy getting the work done cheap.
Trailblazers teams tend to be nimble enough to evacuate swiftly. As freelancers they don’t have much in the way of support and if they get in trouble evacuation is the only solution (the company tends to incur contract break fees if this happens and Lakshmi will try and organise rescue teams or hire other mercenaries if an extraction proves practically difficult.)
Trailblazers itself is run from an office in a commercial office satellite orbiting Archane II a three person logistics staff (plus Lakshmi if available) use a database of their contacts and clients fee details to determine if a mission is profitable. Competitive rates have been negotiated with a handy legal firm based in the same satellite enabling it to be run as a very lean organisation. There is a corporate logo of an ox pulled wagon worn on brazzards and ID badges but as forces equip themselves no ‘uniform’ unless employers supply it.
Lakshmi is a short lithe woman of south asian descent. She usually wears a sleeveless vest top and a suit of a matching jacket and pedal pusher type trousers. She wears her hair short and has a tight clipped business like manner occassionally disrupted by a mischevious giggle. In the field she favours her old Home Guard combats with a bespoke selection of load carrying gear and weapons chosen to fit with the teams most common ammunition. She also has her Home Guard ‘dress blues’ and will wear them to impress the right kind of clients. As a successful business women she can be vulnerable to kidnap attempts and as such carries whatever personal defence equipment local laws will allow.
In a game sense Trailblazers can act as an impromptu party for a roleplaying game. They can also form a good side in a skirmish wargame with low quality scientists and tough mercenaries trying to bug out with varied equipment.