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- "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|
|Goals:||The disruption of NCR control in the Oregon territory|
|Allies:||Northwestern Alliance, Oregon Tribals, Sympathetic Homesteaders|
|Enemies:||Twin Pines Badlanders Pack, NCR Army|
- "See you in hell, Ferguson."
- ―Captain Jakob Stern before eliminating Governor Roy Ferguson
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 Ferguson War, during which they were directly responsible for the elimination of the turncoat Governor of Shasta County, Roy Ferguson.
Proud to Serve
- "Never give up. Never surrender. Never lose faith."
- ―A quote from Stern's book 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 a hundred 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, whoever that may be.
Battle for San Montano
- "Bunch of zombies with rads for brains."
- ―Devon Johns describing the ghouls in 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 Samuel 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, Samuel 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 Samuel's personal palace. Though anyone from a more 'developed' settlement could be forgiven in assuming that Samuel 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. Samuel 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 cult's 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
- "No hablo mutante, verdad?"
- ―Jakob Stern butchering Spanish when confronting a band of ghoul Comancheros
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 enemy's leadership and buying the forces at the outpost time to reinforce their position so as to push forward, crushing the mutants.
Pacification of Glendale Heights
- "This blows."
- ―Black Jack speaking his mind while Taskforce Nomad waits for enemy caravans
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
- "What the fuck!"
- ―Black Jack walking in on a Follower medic blowing his brains out
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 Followers 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 NCR's armed forces. 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 Followers 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
- "F... Fire. Clear out the place."
- ―Jakob Stern order the attack after seeing their first target in Taskforce Nomad's first "search and destroy" mission
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 from 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 Badlander 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.
The Brushfire War
- "That's bullshit. Utter bullshit. They abandoned us and left us for dead. The NCR, the government, we're not people to them, we're tools to be used. Like at Donnerville, Baja, and here in Oregon right now. And you want us just to come crawling back to them? Like none of this ever even happened?"
- ―Black Jack going off after Cody Fern's suggestion of returning to NCR territory
Operation: RED TRAIL killed what little faith Captain 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 2263 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. The Taskforce made a temporary camp under the canopy of the cold winter pines. The Rangers nursed their wounds and warmed themselves by a campfire, stoking 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.
Several of the members of Taskforce Nomad initially denied their fate. One of the Taskforce specifically, Cody Fern, vehemently believed that the Heavy Troopers' abandonment had been a misunderstanding and Taskforce Nomad should make its way back to NCR territory as soon as possible. Fern was quickly rebuffed by many of his squad mates. Black Jack and Gorden McTavish especially were incensed with Cody Fern's words, seeing the Republic's abandonment as inexcusable and unforgivable. Captain Stern snapped at both sides and rebuked them for going at each others' throats in this dangerous time. The Captain, in a slightly less angry fashion, sided with Black Jack and Gorden, telling Fern that their time with the NCR was over. Cody Fern, Balthazar, and Huang Tao did not take Stern's words well and decided that they would return to the NCR on their own, if the rest of Taskforce Nomad was "deserting". With that, the three rangers left the relative safety of the Taskforce's campfire and headed out into the wintry waste beyond. They were well-trained NCR Rangers with good gear, but they were not prepared from the savagery of Oregon's winter. Those three rangers were never heard from again.
The remaining eight rangers settled in for their first night separated from the NCR. Victor Sanchez was put out on first watch to look out for any adventurous tribals or wolves. That was a rough night for all of them, even the cynical Black Jack. Many had nightmares but by the next day, the rangers had gotten over their initial trepidation of being in the Oregon wilds. Their NCR-issued supplies ran out after five days, even with rationing, and the rangers were forced to forage for food. They got on the move to look for more food and supplies.
Some of the rangers already wanted to fight the NCR at that point, but Captain Stern refused to discuss fighting, just looking to survive at that point. The rangers, although given training to survive in the waste, were still having difficulties surviving winter in Oregon.
The first people the rangers met after their abandonment were Oregon tribals, stragglers from the tribal forces that defeated them only days before. The tribals numbered eleven but were easily overwhelmed by the rangers' skill and were all killed. Stern ordered the rangers to loot the tribals of supplies and move on. The rangers did as ordered and continued moving south.
A day later, the rangers were confronted by a huge pack of vicious wolves, who were only driven back after a fearsome fight. The wolfpack eventually drove the rangers south towards I-5 and eventually Fort Eugene and the NCR. Captain Stern, Devon Johns, and Gorden McTavish knew this but decided to go on anyways, preferring possibly skirmishing with the NCR to fighting their way through a huge pack of wolves.
About a month after their abandonment in January 2264, the rangers were still be pursued by the wolfpack, making their way onto I-5. The wolves continued following the rangers out of desperation, hoping for a good meal during that particularly harsh winter. In one particularly ferocious battle with the wolves, the rangers found themselves aided by an unknown rifleman shooting several wolves from a perch in the trees. Horus B. Gamble even saw the bear of a man shooting and hacking apart several wolves but only for a minute or so, focused on the battle himself. By the end of the battle with the wolves, the man had melted back into the pines of Cascadia. Horus told the others about the man that night, and the rangers wondered who their potential ally might be as they sat around the fire. Devon Johns was the bearer of bad news when she told the others it was probably just a trapper or fur trader defending himself and not to get too excited about it. Black Jack promptly called her a bitch and the whole camp descended into bickering, then laughter.
The next couple of days were spent avoiding the wolfpack while going further south until the rangers encountered a party of tribal hunters. The groups had a brief standoff before calmer heads prevailed. The tribals and rangers continued their rather tense standoff while their two leaders came together to talk. Captain Stern addressed the leader of the tribal hunters directly and asked about the band's experiences with the wolfpack. The tribal said that the wolves were being driven by desperation to get any scrap of food possible. He also commented that the wolves seemed to have latched onto Taskforce Nomand for some reason or another. Stern acknowledged that and asked if the tribals would perhaps want to exchange technology for food. The tribal speaking to him refused, not wanting anything to possibly draw the wolfpack to the hunting party. Stern made increasingly desperate pleas to trade while the tribals simply laughed at him, amused to see "an NCR dog beg". This line drove Stern over the edge and without warning, he drew his revolver. Before the tribals could react, Captain Stern shot a bullet into the tribal leaders' gut. The other other rangers followed suit, blowing away the rest of the hunting party.
Two of the rangers, Horus B. Gamble and Brice Lowanskie, instantly protested the Captain's actions but were eventually talked down by the rest. They proceeded to loot the hunting party for their meat and keep moving to avoid the wolfpack.
As the rangers kept making their way south, Gamble continued talking about how shooting the tribals was not necessary and killing them was just a continuation of what Taskforce Nomad had done for the NCR. The other rangers ignored his talking for hours before Devon Johns told him to shut up. That got Gamble quiet.
Things were quite grim for a week after that. It was just running from the wolfpack and scrounging for supplies with very little talking. Victor Sanchez got injured by a wolf's bite one night and was forced to take the group's last stimpak to keep moving. Everyone was in a miserable mood.
One night, as the rangers were getting some well-deserved sleep while Gorden McTavish stood watch. McTavish sighted someone watching the camp and started yelling for the spy to reveal himself or herself. This awakened the rest of the rangers in camp and they became alerted of "the threat". Nothing was found. Black Jack, confused and angry, harshly berated McTavish for waking everyone up but soon was confronted by Gamble, who alongside John Bauer and Victor Sanchez defended McTavish against Black Jack's insults. McTavish responded to Black Jack with terse threats of his own, promising to deliver if the other ranger even touched. Seeing arguments starting to break out everywhere, Captain Stern did the only thing he thought would work and fired his revolver into the air. All the rangers quickly wheeled about to see Stern staring down at them with shame in his eyes.
That night, Stern finally sat everyone down around the campfire and talked about their problems, man by man. Bottled up emotions did them no good. Horus B. Gamble started by stating the rangers' continued cynicism and brutality concerned him. He did not want to continue the downward spiral Taskforce Nomad had started at Donnerville and had come to see their separation from the NCR as an opportunity instead of a death sentence. Next came Victor Sanchez, who said his bones were chilled, his wound hurt, and the food tasted bad. That got a dry chuckle out of Captain Stern before moving on. John Bauer said that cooperation between the squad had taken a nosedive since their abandonment and that they needed to stick together to survive. Gorden McTavish, a man of few words, just said that morale was at an all-time low and needed improvement. Brice Lowanskie, not one to complain, initially declined voicing his concerns but was eventually egged on by Captain Stern and Black Jack to speak. Lowanskie said that the rangers needed to improve their attitude and, in a more out there suggestion, needed to forge their own identity part from their former roles as NCR Rangers. Devon Johns declined her opportunity to speak and was allowed to, unlike Lowanskie. After that came Black Jack, who started by warning that he might upset people by what he was going to say. Black Jack said that the team had been going soft since Operation: RED TRAIL, lack more than basic winter survival skills, and needed to be more self-reliant, gathering their own supplies and food rather than "leeching" off of others. This received some biting responses, but those was soon quieted by the Captain, who stood up to speak and drew everyone's attention.
Captain Stern said that he broadly agreed with most of their grievances, if not with the phrasing. However, he emphasized the two most important issues on his mind: teamwork and survival. Stern elaborated on Bauer and Black Jack's points and put his own spin on them. In summary, the rangers would need to understand that survival necessitated cooperation on their part as well as survival skills. The other rangers, if some grudgingly, supported this view and went off to sleep at least somewhat inspired. Before going to sleep himself, Captain Stern took Gamble aside and said he would address Gamble's concerns soon. McTavish continued his watch and saw no more figures in the woods that night.
A Cattle Baron's Ransom
- "Now let's just wait one godamn min-"
- ―Brahmin Baron Wade Jefferson protesting his being taken captive before getting a gun barrel pressed to his temple
The Dogs of War
- "One thing I hate more than NCR: Raiders."
- ―Jakob Stern upon being taken captive by King's Council at King County International Airport
Remnants and Savages
- "This is what I think of your country, this is what I think of your flag, and this-"
- ―Victor Sanchez making obscene gestures at Enclave remnants after negotiations before being stopped by Devon Johns
Rallying the Troops
- "Great tribes will stand with us, no sweat."
- ―Three Leaf reassuring his squad mates of the loyalty of the Oregon tribals to their cause
The War Begins
- "I still don't trust that bot. Still could be Enclave behind that eye of his."
- ―John Bauers voicing his concerns about ZED as he watches it disintegrate a Badlander merc
The Twisting Knife at Fort Eugene
- "Captain, no, this... this can't be happening. This can't be happening!"
- ―Rose Smith holding Jakob Stern's head in her lap as he dies from a stab wound
- "You heard me, that's commie, Marxist bullshit! What do I believe? In the Codex! Well... Most of the Codex that is. Damn woman, you're real loud."
- ―Wolfe halfway through an argument with Liandry Minh while the Raiders are encamped
Battle for Morden
- "I'm surrounded! They've taken all the houses around me, I'll try to-"
- ―Dawn G. Salvador's last radio transmission before being cut off by gunfire
It All Falls Down
- "Quiet! Can you all please be quiet for just a second, someone would like to speak who hasn't given their opinion yet!"
- ―Gorden McTavish trying in vain to silence rowdy representatives at the Cascadian Convention in Harper
The Streets of Portland
- "I said go! Run! I'll hold them off as long as I can!"
- ―Wolfe making his last stand to save the rest of Stern's Raiders
Battle of Black Peak
- "Get behind me! They're pushing us up the mountain, let me buy you young folks some time by holding them here, no arguments!"
- ―John Bauer buying the Raiders some time as they scale Black Peak to try to escape their NCR pursuers
- "Not again..."
- ―Horus B. Gamble as he is discovered once again and forced to run
Ranger Combat Armor
A holdover from the Raider's time in service of NCR, the Ranger Combat Armor was the workhorse of the group, being the armor most commonly used by former NCR Rangers. It was fairly effective in warding off bullets and melee attacks and remained a staple of Stern's Raiders in their time wandering Cascadia.
Ranger Patrol Armor
A inferior version of the Ranger Combat Armor, Ranger Patrol Armor was also used by the former NCR Rangers within Stern's Raiders. Though it is not as good as the Ranger Combat Armor, the Ranger Patrol Armor is more easily repairable and typically more favored by many members of Stern's Raiders.
Some of the members of Stern's Raiders who were not former NCR Rangers possessed a variant of Combat Armor, whether it be the basic variant, the U.S. Army variant, or the reinforced variant. The Combat Armor was not always used but was kept handy for more intense battles.
T-51b Power Armor
Only used by the renegade Brotherhood Paladin Wolfe, the T-51b Power Armor was a very useful addition to Stern's Raiders. Wolfe acted as the group's heavy infantry, drawing fire and providing cover the rest of the Raiders. That led to his death in the end as he sacrificed himself for the group by drawing fire and sustaining a hit on his MicroFusion Pack.
Stern's Raiders 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 do with a service rifle, a assault carbine, or even a hunting rifle. 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.
IEDs 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 three members, Kiki Wolfkill, Wolfe, 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 aforementioned specialists were formidable with their chosen tools of combat.
Stern's Raiders were always known for their guerrilla warfare and knowledge of the Oregon bush. After years of living in Cascadia away from NCR, they really adapted to the environment. When the Northwestern Alliance was formed with Stern's Raiders at the helm, the Raiders assumed a more commando tactical approach to things, supporting their various allies in fighting the NCR and their mercenaries in a war that would decide their fate and the fate of the region as a whole.
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 group's 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 officer's 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 daring and dashing commander of Stern's Raiders, Captain Jakob Stern was the glue that held the group together, even before they separated from NCR. In his NCR days, 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. That only made it worse when he was presumably lost in 2263 and found to have entered a state of rebellion some time later. Captain Stern was instrumental in the creation of the Northwestern Alliance to fight back against NCR and his death at the Battle of Fort Eugene signaled the zenith of the war.
Stern was a humble man who never really asked for much in life but was seemingly called to greatness. His friends and enemies both often speculate whether this was born from Stern's own innate ambition or a calling from others. Those who did know him know will not deny that the man was a born leader and had a magnetism to him that is found in few men. He could make life-long friends easily and play a crowd effortlessly. However, Stern was also known by those close to him for being quick to anger and rash, something that would eventually bring about his downfall.
The last surviving warrior of the Bear Cave tribe, who were slaughtered by Badlanders, 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. He always remained in tribal garb to commemorate his lost tribe and to remember his family. 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 later addition to the Raiders, the power-armored rogue Wolfe only joined the Raiders after the group became well-known in Oregon and wider Cascadia. A renegade Paladin from the Brotherhood of Steel, Wolfe had left his native bunker in New California due to internal disagreements and gone north to wander, trying to create his own vision of the Brotherhood of Steel in the Oregon bush. This failed spectacularly and by the time Stern's Raiders had emerged, Wolfe had largely given up on his "experiment" and taken to the bottle. Wolfe staunchly opposed NCR expansion north and made a great ruckus when he wore his power armor to reluctantly aid homesteaders fight off Badlander mercs near Bend. This attracted the attention of Stern's Raiders who aggressively pursued Wolfe for recruitment, initially sending Black Jack and Kiki Wolfkill to persuade him. That particular attempt did not succeed but eventually Wolfe agreed to join the Raiders after some convincing. He fought with Stern's Raiders with much distinction until his death on the streets of Portland in 2269, sacrificing himself so the rest of the group could survive and ultimately proving his love for his new-found comrades.
Wolfe made an invaluable contribution to the group because of his experience with power armor, his Brotherhood training, and his wide array of energy weapons. However, Wolfe remained somewhat of a loner who still realized the importance of being part of a group. He was an outsider in the group because of his Brotherhood origins and ideology and that was initially okay with Wolfe, as he saw his membership in the Raiders as an enemy of my enemy situation. He even rather disapproved of many in the group's use of advanced technology, in line with Brotherhood attitudes and often spoke derisively of tribals. However, Wolfe's perception of the group softened as time went on and in return his sarcastic wit and practicality won him over to the rest of the Raiders. By the time he died, Wolfe was truly one of the Raiders and was remembered as such.
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. Kiki adapted to civilized society better than the Raiders' other tribal member Three Leaf and often wore "civilized" clothes, belying her tribal origins. She was a crack-shot with her plasma pifle, 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 2268, 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 2267 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 rogue, 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. He struck up a rivalry with Butch Smith who he initially saw himself as superior to but eventually accepted as an equal. Unfortunately, Brice was tortured to death by Badlander mercenaries in 2265.
The task force's forward scout and spotter, Devon, who had been part of the task force longer than anyone save the Captain himself, was second in command for most of the group's history, acting as a forward officer for the Captain. She was a hard, tough woman, raised on a Brahmin ranch in Redding and 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 gunned down by Badlander mercenaries in 2268, preluding the Captain's death soon afterwards.
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, being greatly depressed by her death. Franklin would perish during the battle at Black Peak in 2270, 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 Franklin's 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.
The middle child of the Smith triplets, Butch was a rather unassuming person compared his older brother Franklin or even his sister Rosie. He was a tinkerer and a mechanic in the Smith's hometown of Harper. Not really much of a fighter or a rebel, Butch was more motivated to join Stern's Raiders along with his sister Rosie by the promise of adventure and the need to protect his siblings. He assisted the Raiders mostly by repairing and maintaining their equipment and weapons. Butch was not particularly loyal to the Raider's cause and was more concerned about the survival of his siblings. Therefore, he was devastated at Black Peak when Rosie died, quickly followed by Franklin. The experience broke Butch and even though he miraculously survived the Battle of Black Peak, Butch has lived a hermit's existence ever since.
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, Black's faith in the NCR began to waver. By the time of the betrayal during the Brushfire 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 2268, eventually moving even further north into Canada. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Dawn G. Salvador
Dawn was the group's local mechanic and robotics expert, working alongside Butch and Brice. 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 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 2269 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
- "Stern's Raiders... I dunno, sounds a bit, much? I'm flattered, make no mistake, but the name wouldn't be my first choice."
- ―Jakob Stern upon hearing the proposal for Taskforce Nomad's new name
- "And then I told him to fuck off, I ain't gonna take orders from a man with no nose. What kind of man is that? And he looked at me like this, hahaha!"
- ―Hedgehog telling a story of a noseless raider trying to conscript Hedgehog into his gang
- "<Makes beeping sounds>"
- ―ZED observing the carnage in the wake of the Battle of Black Peak
- "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
- "Best bunch of misfits I ever knew. Not the best fighters though, I'm afraid... But still damn good!"
- ―Carl Wu, independent homesteader
- "Stern was an exceedingly interesting man who lived a very, well, interesting life. I only wish I had more time to have an in-depth conversation with him. And that he survived, and we won the war, of course. I still have his letters you know, in my trunk where I keep my war correspondence. Might dig them out some day, who knows."
- ―Commander Owen Curtis of the Sons of Liberty talking about Jakob Stern after his death