- "They left us to die out here, in the pines and brush, now we fight those damned bureaucrats and cattle barons from the same trees and bushes that we almost died in. We give people here some hope. The NCR may take this land, but they'll have to do so over my cold, dead, body."
- ―Captain Jakob Stern, leader and founder of Stern's Raiders
|Type of Government:||NCR Armed Forces (formerly)|
|Group type:||NCR Military Unit (formerly), Guerrilla Terrorist Unit (currently)|
|Leader:||Captain Jakob Stern|
|Notable members:||Captain Jakob Stern, Horus B. Gamble|
|Founded by:||NCR Military Establishment|
|Dissolved:||April 1st, 2270|
|Goals:||The disruption of NCR control in the Oregon territory|
|Allies:||Oregon Tribals, Sympathetic Homesteaders|
|Enemies:||Twin Pines Badlanders Pack, NCR Armed Forces|
Stern's Raiders, once known under the codename Taskforce Nomad, were a group of decorated NCR Rangers, each man proud to be some of the finest soldiers the NCR had to offer. It is unknown when or where the group started, but it is known that they were greatly publicized by the NCR media during the Fergison War, during which they were directly responsible for the elimination of the turncoat Governor of Shasta County, Roy Fergison.
Proud to Serve
The group would have gained little more in the way of publicity had it not been for the actions of its up and coming commander, Captain Jakob Stern. Captain Stern was every war reporter’s wet dream, a dashing, strong-chinned, military man the likes of which led to various comparisons to great commanders of the past, from General Patton to Stonewall Jackson. His never-say-die tenacity and cut and dry euphemisms made him a poster boy for the Rangers, and his likeness was often used in NCR recruiting stations. However, such publicity was at first denounced by the Captain, he himself saying that he was just a man doing his God given duty to his country and fellow man, but as time went on he realized that his words could influence not only the moral of NCR soldiers across the myriad battlefields of the wastelands, but help the NCR win the war on the home front as well. Thus he grudgingly accepted the accolades bestowed upon him, and even wrote a book on his experiences in the field, Taskforce Nomad: Proud to Serve. During this time, the Taskforce fought in nearly hundreds of deployments across the NCR's expanding territories, serving as a living moral boost to the grunts on the front line and a serious blow to the resolve of the NCR's enemies behind their own lines.
Battle for San Montano
San Montano was a small, podunk town in Southern California long before the Great War, and aside from becoming home to a large population of fanatic Ghouls, changed little in the two hundred years since. The Ghouls, under the leadership of a Samule Grey, had established a cult proclaiming the Ghoul race the next step in human evolution, and that they were to be the inheritors of the Earth. Thus it is no surprise that, nearly a hundred years after the cults founding, the NCR's diplomatic caravan sent there to negotiate the towns integration into the NCR was met with violence. Though of little apparent value, the town and its irradiated inhabitants were considered a security risk and NCR military forces were immediately deployed to conquer the area. The local Ghouls fought with religious zeal, but some less indoctrinated members of the township quickly began to question the sensibilities behind this war. It was made clear that the NCR did not discriminate against Ghouls, what with a few sizable divisions of their own armed forces being made up of them, and their treatment of even captured San Montano Ghouls who had taken up arms against them seemed proof that this war was pointless. However, Samule Grey and his fanatic personal guard and loyalist militia would sooner see San Montano burn to the ground then surrender to the 'smoothskins', and any who spoke against such a suicidal agenda was publicly executed. It would take Taskforce Nomad to break the siege. Deployed under the cover of night via Vertibird into the center of the town, the Taskforce made their way through the ruins to the city hall that served as Samule's personal palace. Though anyone from a more 'developed' settlement could be forgiven in assuming that Samule Grey's 'palace' was little more than an elaborate schoolhouse or a small church. The Taskforce would enter the hall through the roof after eliminating the rooftop guards with silenced sniper fire and then rappelled down into the main hall. From there the eighteen man Taskforce would clear the building as quickly as possible, fighting room to room until they found the Ghoul leader himself. Samule Grey would die in his bed, a silenced 22. round punching though his temple as he feebly reached for the 44. Magnum he kept in his nightstand.
With Samule Grey dead, the Loyalist Ghouls quickly found themselves fighting not only the seemingly endless influx of NCR troopers, but also with the other half of the population who saw through the cults madness. Within a week the last of the Loyalists were driven out or killed, and San Montano officially became NCR territory. Taskforce Nomad was commended for their actions, and celebrated across the nation as heroes, as had become the norm.
The Border Wars
Taskforce Nomad fought in various bush fire wars on the California/Mexico Border, mostly against Super Mutant bands and petty raider gangs, earning much renown for their actions. Most notable was the units rescue of a small NCR outpost set up in an old Border Patrol station that had come under attack by a sizable force of Super Mutants, led by elite Nightkin. Taskforce Nomad was inserted behind the enemies lines and provided harassment in the form of sabotage and assassination, eventually eliminating the enemies leadership and buying the forces at the outpost to reinforce their position and push forward, wiping the mutants out to a man.
Pacification of Glendale Heights
When the large caravan town of Glendale Heights fell to a group of communist revolutionaries who had blown into the town from Mexico two years prior, Taskforce Nomad was deployed alongside various other NCR infantry forces. However, this was the first deployment in a long time in which Nomad would gain little to no recognition. This is due to the actions of then newly instated General Lee Oliver and his NCR Heavy Trooper platoons. While the heavy troopers and regular infantry engaged the communists, Taskforce Nomad, along with other Ranger units, were relegated to eliminating supply caravans attempting to reach the besieged rebels. While some of Stern's men complained about the waste of their skills on poorly armed smugglers, Stern himself reminded them that they did not fight for glory, but for the NCR. This would be a portent for things to come as Lee Oliver continued to promote his Heavy Infantry forces, and leave the Rangers to more menial tasks.
Reclamation of Donnerville
Donnerville was a significant NCR agricultural center and otherwise large settlement in Northern California. The town had been plagued for years by occasional raider attacks, but when the town went dark following a period of rapid expansion, the NCR became concerned. After the first two attempts to reach the town via traders and small trooper squads yielded no result other than the disappearance of these individuals, the NCR deployed Taskforce Nomad to investigate. What the taskforce discovered was far from what the NCRs top brass predicted. Rather than raiders, or even mutants or wild beasts, the town was beset by some kind of plague! Townsfolk wandered the streets, their ailments ranging from skin lesions and sever joint pain to tumor like growths and outbursts of psychotic rage. When confronted with the Donnerville outbreak, the NCR government responded at first with aide, sending both military and civilian doctors under heavy military escort to provide some kind of relief. To this day, the cause of the Donnerville outbreak remains completely unknown, though a number of medics from the Children of the Apocalypse believe it may have been the resurgence of the so called 'New Plague' that swept through the old world prior to the Great War, somehow uncovered during the massive turning of soil caused by the expansion of Donnerville's vast farms. Regardless, initial relief attempts proved disastrous, with much of the relief forces becoming infected themselves. Instances of psychotic outbreaks spiked among the infected populous, and the NCR found it impossible to successfully instill martial law and set up a quarantine around the town with the ongoing relief effort.
In the end, NCR brass made the tough call, the town was to be quarantined, and the virus to run its course. Anything left would be burned. Taskforce Nomad, along with the 3rd and 5th Scout companies, would be assigned to the most brutal of the quarantine assignments. Plying their sniping skills to eliminate anyone who tried to breach the quarantine. Two members of the Taskforce committed suicide from the trauma, having taken the lives of men, women, and children. None could blame them, this isn't what they had signed up for when they had joined the NCRs armed force. But as a testament to the iron will of the Rangers, Taskforce Nomad remained on station at Donnerville for two years, from the first outbreak, to the final purge when the decrepit settlement was leveled by firebombing. In the end, when the civilian population lashed out at the sheer brutality of the operation, Taskforce Nomad was one of the many scapegoats the military elite diverted attention to. Once hailed as heroes, Taskforce Nomad were slandered in the NCR media, reports that were supposed to be confidential bubbled to the surface, from the sanctioned assassinations of Children of the Apocalypse who were attempting to smuggle out infected civilians, to the killings of mothers desperately trying to carry their infected children past the minefields and barbed wire, only to take a snipers bullet. Crucified in the media, and even reviled by the ignorant grunts who had not even been at the Donnerville deployment, Taskforce Nomad soon found themselves shuttled off to far off lines where they would no longer inconvenience the face of the NCR military. Throughout it all, Captain Stern remained stalwart in the defense of his superiors actions, still desperatly clinging to his faith in the NCR and all it stood for. But deep down, doubt began to fester, both in Taskforce Nomad, and their commanding officer.
Operation: RED TRAIL
Disheartened, Taskforce Nomad would be made to suffer the indignity of becoming government sanctioned assassins. Gone were the days where their missions were clear to them, where right and wrong were always easily identifiable. Since their image was no longer and issue, the NCR government utilized Taskforce Nomad in a varity of ways in the Oregon wilderness where tribals and independent settlements still resisted the NCR's "progress."
Most notable of these black wars was Operation: RED TRAIL, in which several NCR units, along with Badlanders Mercenaries of the Twin Pines Pack, slaughtered several tribes who had banned together to fight off the NCR's oppression. The tribes in question called a large area of valuable timber and mineral rich soil their ancestral homeland, and had the gall to deny the NCR access to the territory. Though peaceful negotiation was attempted, the tribals refused all of the NCR's offers, and so the NCR mobilized the elite forces of the Badlanders and Taskforce Nomad, along with the Special Operations and Reconnaissance Squadron, to eliminate the tribals in a brutal preemptive strike. To this day it is unknown if the NCR presidency was even aware of the action before it was taken, and many, including members of the Taskforce and Badlanders mercs who took part in the massacre, believe a joint interest group of senators and cattle barons funded the operation.
The systematic slaughter of over twelve tribes was over in a week, the NCR's elite forces making short work of all the tribes collective warrior groups in the first two days. That was the work of the mercenaries however, the Rangers, specifically Taskforce Nomad, were assigned to what command called "search and destroy" missions against "enemy assets." On paper, this sounded like a legitimate military action, in practice it was the cold and systematic slaughter of all tribal noncombatants. It was genocide, plain and simple. Taskforce Nomad had been completely numbed by the reality of their orders, and carried them out with cold, machine like diligence. Their patriotic spirit, their sense of duty, died in that one bloody week.
Oregon Brushfire War
Operation: RED TRAIL killed what little faith Captian Stern had in his own government, and with it any sense of loyalty to the NCR. Yet it wasn't until the Brushfire War six years later that he and his men became traitors. The Brushfire War was a highly publicized campaign against native tribes in the far north of the Oregon region, and rages on to some extent to this day.
Taskforce Nomad was deployed early in the Brushfire War, and fought for their lives against the tribal forces for more than a decade. It was during one cold winter in 2230 that the Taskforce would become Stern's Raiders. The Taskforce had been surrounded by tribal forces along with a contingent of Heavy Infantry, and were completely outnumbered. However, hope was on the horizon as an emergency Vertibird group was inbound to extract them. The group held out for two hours, the Taskforce taking the brunt of the casualties while the Heavy Troopers secured a landing zone. However, when it came time for the Taskforce to fall back, the Heavy Troopers left without them. The Taskforce was forced to fight its way out, at the cost of many of its members, and nurse their wounds and stoke the fires of bitterness and hatred that they all now held against the NCR. As far as they were concerned, the NCR had betrayed them for the last time.
A Cattle Baron's Ransom
Dogs of War
Stern's Raider were elite veteran NCR Rangers, considered some of the best of their prestigious organization. When they turned against the decadent and corrupt NCR, they took only the equipment on their backs and their years of combat experience. While it may not seem like much, as guerrilla fighter go, Stern's Raiders are any foes worst nightmare, even when they are armed with only sticks and stones.
Most members preferred some form of Sniper Rifle, or made due with a Service Rifle or Assault Carbine. Magnums were standard issue sidearms, and Shotguns of every description were favored specialist weapons. The group even had three Light Machine guns that were vital to many of their famous ambushes. In general the group managed to keep these guns in working order, however, ammo was a constant concern.
Stern's Raiders were always proficient with whatever they could get their hands on, and due to their training and experience, could effectively wage a war on any group with little more than the environment around them. In later years, recruits from local Oregon tribes added to this survivalist ability, crafting axes and spears along with simple traps. Though considered quite primitive, nothing hurts enemy morale like a good spike pit. In hand to hand combat, Bowie Knives and Hatchets were common place. One member, Three Leaf, used only his Hunting Spear in combat, and was quite deadly with it.
IED's and mines were the groups bread and butter while they fought the NCR in the pine forests of Oregon, and their effectiveness could not be doubted.
Found in the hands of only two members, Kiki Wolfkill and John Bauer, the Raiders rarely used energy weapons. This was more due to the scarcity of such weapons in the Oregon brush and the inherent difficulty of maintenance, regardless, the two aforementioned specialists were formidable with their chosen tools of combat.
A member from the days of NCR service and fanfare, and also one of the few surviving Rangers who saw the horror of Donnerville, Horus is now a bitter old gunslinger. But in his youth as he served, first as a distinguished Ranger, then as a wanted terrorist, he had always served with the utmost loyalty to the Captain. Horus was the groups foremost marksman with his Anti-Material Rifle and Scoped Hunting Revolver. Following the last stand at Black Peak, Horus was separated from the rest of the group and held the dying Captain in his hands. He took up his officers hunting shotgun and never looked back, defeated and disheartened, but unsure of what to do. Horus now wanders the wasteland, a killer without a cause. Recently he tracked another fellow team member, ZED, to the war zone of Boise, Idaho, and hopes to reconnect with at least one member of the old group.
Captain Jakob Stern
The last surviving warrior of the Bear Cave tribe, who were slaughtered by Badlanders mercenaries, Three Leaf swore vengeance against the Badlanders and their NCR masters. With nothing but his hunting spear and his hatred, Three Leaf hunted down and killed every mercenary responsible for the massacre and waged a one-man war against NCR forces in northern Oregon until he was captured and sentenced to hang at the small settlement of Frankville. However the Raiders saved his life by staging a daring raid on the settlement, and he joined their ranks soon after. He quickly became the group's top tracker and close combat specialist, as well as the master of improvised traps. Three Leaf survived the last stand at Black Peak, and is currently incarcerated in a NCR prison in a small Mexican border town known as Flor De Arena.
A specialist armed with a Gatling Laser and a serious attitude, John Bauer was the group's premier weapons specialist and one of the oldest members beside Horus and Jakob Stern himself. Though Rangers rarely get their hands on weapons heavy as a Gatling Laser, the weapons light constitution and pinpoint accuracy made it an ideal weapon for a Ranger support specialist, and thus, when John got the opportunity to steal one from an NCR armory, he took it. John was a curmudgeonly old man, but he was also tough as nails and dependable. He would die with the rest of the group during the last stand at Black Peak.
A Plasma Rifle-toting tribal from the Granite Hills Tribe in the northern Oregon, Kiki was a savage fighter and loyal member. Recruited by the Raiders when her tribe was wiped out by Enclave remnants still active in the mountains, Kiki grew up to hate the NCR and love the Raiders and their cause. She was a crack shot with her Plasma Rifle, which she took from the dead Enclave officer that killed her parents but was subsequently felled by the sniper Black Jack. Kiki would die with the rest of the group during the last stand at Black Peak.
A veteran Ranger who had been with the group back in their days of NCR service, Gorden was an excellent sniper and die-hard member. Though not particularly welcoming to new members or kind in any general fashion, Gorden was never the kind of man to leave a fellow rebel behind, and was certainly loyal to his comrades without question. His no-nonsense attitude and stern leadership ensured that, while he may not have been the most liked, he was certainly respected. When Stern died in 2265, Gorden took over the Raiders, becoming leader more through his will to keep the group alive than any other form of popularity. He would die with the rest of the group during the last stand at Black Peak. His last defiant act was to plunge his bowie knife into the throat of the opposing Heavy Infantry commander who was foolish enough to try and take him alive.
Descendant of Chinese Partisans and closet communist, Linandry was an outspoken critic on the NCR's capitalist ways and attempted to rally the free homesteaders and tribals of Oregon against the NCR expansion. When she was marked for political assassination by the NCR government due to her actions, it was Stern's Raiders who saved her life. Liandry became something of the face for the group, whenever they came to a free settlement she would preach of the evils of the NCR. Her reputation alone gave the group various hiding places and allies in both NCR controlled and free settlements, and occasionally won them free supplies. Liandry was personable and even rumored to have had a close relationship with Franklin Smith. Her abilities with her Chinese Assault Rifle were also notable but amateur at best. She would be killed in 2254 by a 4th Recon Sniper while she gave a speech in a supposedly free settlement, much to Franklin Smith's dismay.
A dependable Ranger who had been with the group years before they were betrayed by the NCR, Victor Sanchez was both an excellent sniper and weapons support specialist. When the group went rouge, he found himself more or less stuck with his NCR-issue Light Machine Gun, and became one of the squad's premier fire support specialist and heavy weapons experts. Victor was very gregarious, always cracking jokes and willing to settle down for a good night of chow and merry-making. He was well-liked by the group, especially Hedgehog, who related to his lowbrow sense of humor. Victor would die in the last stand at Black Peak, overwhelmed by NCR troopers as he bought the rest of his fellow Raiders enough time to scale the small mountain.
One of the team's senior members and radio specialist, Brice was always considered the kid of the group due to his young age and the fact that he joined the group after Donnerville. His knowledge with machines and technological skills assisted the team greatly when it came to hacking old computers or disabling and reprogramming dangerous robots. Unfortunately, Brice was tortured to death by Badlander mercenaries in 2265, leading up to the assassination of Captain Jakob Stern.
The taskforces forward scout and spotter, Devon, who had been part of the taskforce longer than anyone save the Captain himself, was second in command for most of the groups history, acting as a forward officer for the Captain. She was a hard, tough woman, raised on a Brahmin ranch in Redding. She was also a deadly combatant with her .308 sniper rifle and magnum. Devon was respected, if not necessarily liked, by all of her squad-mates. Her death was a blow to the whole team as she was tortured to death by Badlander mercenaries, alongside Brice, in 2265.
The eldest of the Smith triplets, Franklin originally left his home in the free settlement of Harper to join the Raiders, and his two siblings followed much to his initial displeasure. Though at the time he was little more but a "would-be rebel" he believed deeply in the Raiders' cause. His skill with his hunting rifle was considerable, and his knowledge of local trails allowed the group to move undetected in certain areas where NCR presence would not have allowed such stealth. He was believed to be romantically involved with group spokesperson and communist Liandry Minh, and was greatly depressed by her death. Franklin would perish during an ambush in 2259, beaten to death by an NCR Heavy Trooper armed with a light machine-gun.
The youngest of the Smith triplets, Rosie, along with her elder brothers Butch and Franklin, left their lives in Harper, hoping to make a difference in this one sided war between the NCR and the free settlers of Oregon. Against Franklins orders, she and Butch followed him into the wilderness, hoping to join up. Unlike her brothers, Rosie had little weapons experience, but she learned quickly, and soon became the groups second heavy weapons support specialist alongside Victor Sanchez. She later developed a romantic relationship with Victor, which lasted up until the last stand at Black Peak, in which she died attempting to rescue him, gunned down by NCR Heavy Troopers. Rosie was kind and gentle hearted, and well liked by her teammates.
A ruthless sniper and former NCR Ranger, Black Jack was part the Taskforce from the beginning. Black Jack never had much love for the NCR's politics, having been raised by formerly independent homesteaders who had been forced to join. However, he naively believed in the NCR's promises of freedom and democracy, as well as the safety they tried to provide to the people under their banner. Soon after joining the Taskforce however, Blacks faith in the NCR began to waver. By the time of the betrayal during the Bushfire War, Black Jack was more than ready to put a round in a Heavy Troopers head. During the group's stint as terrorists, Black Jack quickly became a sadistic marksman, killing NCR soldiers more for revenge than any higher cause. His actions quickly spiraled out of control, from developing a serious Med-X addiction, to the unsanctioned torture and rape of captured NCR troopers. For a while, his comrades turned a blind eye to this, still respecting Black's ability as a marksman and naively hoping that he would eventually level out. He quickly became unpopular with his fellows, alienating them systematically. By the time the last stand at Black Peak had occurred, his only friends left were Horus and Three Leaf, both of which had sincerely tried to help Black Jack out of his spiral of self-destruction and debauchery. Black Jack would, despite his best efforts, survive the last stand, and would go on to terrorize Northern Mexico as a one man raider gang. Now he is only known as El Halcon Negro, or The Black Falcon.
A bushwhacking fur trader and wildman, Hedgehog grew up in the wild and untamed woods of Oregon. When the NCR tried to annex his settlement, he fought back the only way he knew how. He shot and killed several NCR troopers. Eventually he was run off of his land, and became a wanted criminal. He fell in with Stern's Raiders about a month after they went rogue, having tracked them down to warn them about an NCR ambush set for them at Jebadahi's Crossroads. From then on he became the groups tracker and hunter, as well as lending a useful hand in battle with his old lever-action rifle and bowie knife. Hedgehog was well liked by all members, and his low brow humor and cooking was enough to lift most of the group's spirits when things seemed bleak. He would go his own way when Captain Stern died in 2265, eventually moving even further north into Canada. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Dawn G. Salvador
Dawn was the groups local mechanic and robotics expert. Daughter of a young junk trader and prospector who were both killed by drunken NCR troops for being independent homesteaders and simply being in the path of a ill-disciplined patrol, Dawn had plenty of reason to seek out an join up with Stern's Raiders. Though not particularly skilled in combat, her technical expertise made her invaluable to the group, and she was a fine shot with her scoped hunting rifle. She was usually an optimist, though she knew that the NCR would get them one way or another but that never seemed to stop her from fighting them tooth and nail for the death of her parents, a general ruination of her childhood. Dawn would be killed in 2262 by NCR troops in a firefight outside the free settlement of Morden.
ZED is an Enclave Eyebot that the group captured and reprogrammed to act as a reconnaissance unit. Though a robot, the group considered ZED to be their "mascot" and many grew attached to him, save for Kiki and John. ZED survived the last stand at Black Peak and would go on to rejoin the Enclave at Fort Perpetual, Idaho.
- "Comrades the time has come for us to rise up against the Capitalist Pigs that rule the..."
- ―Liandry Minh, her final words as the sniper's bullet pierces her skull
- "Those Californian mercs, ran into them near the Sierra Nevadas...yes sir had one helluva skirmish with 'em really got the blood pumping, don't think we killed anyone though...kinda just decided to go our separate ways."
- ―Stern on the Californians
- "Though our beliefs differed and our outlooks separate we cannot deny that Ms. Linh served the people in all her actions on this earth, so I ask out merciful Lord that though her heart may not have been the purest she is a good soul who protected the weak."
- ―Minister Owens at Liandry's funeral