|Group type:||Expeditionary/Recon Squad|
|Goals:||Investigation of the Detroit Ruins|
|Enemies:||Raiders, Super Mutants|
- "Just a bunch of ordinary wandering mercs, nothing more"
- ―Kirsten Farris
Xiphos Squad is a recon detachment from the Chicago chapter of the Brotherhood of Steel, sent to investigate the Detroit Wasteland. Under the command of Paladin Kirsten Farris, the squad has blended into the population of the Wasteland and is performing covert reconnaissance on the region and its people.
Following the Colorado Border War in the early 2280s, the Chicago Brotherhood of Steel sought to expand their influence while also looking for sources of technology and equipment that could be used against Caesar's Legion. While the Brotherhood possessed far higher technology, such as Power Armour, energy weapons and robots, as well as superior training and leadership, the Legion was well dug-in across its territories and had the weight of numbers on their side. And while the Legion was fraying following the events of the second battle of Hoover Dam, it still remained a potent obstacle.
This obstacle effectively blocked the Brotherhood's expansion west, leading to them looking eastwards. One significant region was identified as being within easy reach, being the ruins of the American city of Detroit. While known to not be under the control of any larger group (or having any central authority at all), the Brotherhood knew very little of the actual on the ground situation there. They had no idea who the important powers were in the region, what their goals were, what threats they might encounter, what sort of technologies would be found in the region and so on. Before any moves could be made against the city, they wanted to gather as much information as possible about it to help determine their course of action.
Rather than using an existing unit, the decision was made to pull the recon team, designated Xiphos Squad, together from members of other units. Much of this reasoning was political; based on the very real chance that the squad would be destroyed or suffer severe losses, the decision was made not to sacrifice an existing unit. Added to this was the desire by certain members within the chapter's leadership to 'sideline' Paladin Kirsten Farris by 'rewarding' her with this assignment. While Farris had served well against the Legion, she was also seen as being something of a glory hound and had become problematic for a number of her superiors.
Xiphos Squad was assembled in late 2285 to begin training and familiarisation. In addition to working together with each other, the members of the squad were taught how to act in a manner suggesting that they were mercenaries or traders, while familiarising themselves with the known information on the target region. The expedition was launched at the start of March, 2286, with the squad transported into Michigan before being deposited to make their own way there.
Taking a roundabout route in order to avoid the troubled Flint River region, Paladin Farris and her team quietly entered into the city in early April 2287. Along the way they had already gathered significant information on the Michigan region, including the presence of an otherwise unknown Vault, a large settlement with considerable manufacturing capabilities and a large raider band with a technological focus. After entering the city, the team set up a base of operations inside a Red Rocket service station, concealing any equipment or technologies that might betray their origins.
For the next six months, Xiphos squad operated inside the Detroit Wasteland, discretely learning more about the ruined city and its inhabitants while posing as mercenaries. The team operated both in the employ of others and entirely on their own, especially against targets that are perceived as being of considerable value to the Brotherhood. Thus far, nobody within the city had shown any indication that they knew the team’s true purpose or objective; in fact, few were aware of the Midwest Brotherhood's existance.
January 2287 saw a stepping up of Xiphos Squad’s activities, both in their actual mission and their cover work as mercenaries. The latter saw them take a job from an anonymous client that was aimed at destabilising one of the Slaver Gangs of the Detroit Wastelands. This suited them well, as it provided them with an opportunity to further explore the city, search for technology or pre-war documents and get a better measure of the hostile forces within the city. That they would be attacking Slavers was a cover that several members of the team, Kirsten included, were happy to use.
At the urging of their employer, the squad performed a series of attacks on a slaver gang known as the War Bears. In each case, they deliberately baited members of the gang, wounding or killing them before fading back into the ruins. In many cases, Natalie acted on her own, picking off targets from vantage points within the ruins. Their goal was not to cripple, however, but instead to wound and provoke.
While they were doing this, the squad were also continuing their recon operations. This lead to one discovery which, had things gone differently, could have shifted the balance of power within the city. The squad stumbled on to an Army of Revolution scouting team who were busy trying to break in to a still-secured pre-war bank vault. Surprised to find the Revolutionaries so far from their normal area of operations, the squad engaged them. After a short firefight, Xiphos were able to drive off the Revolutionaries and then investigate the site for themselves.
What they found was a surprise, but also went some way to explaining why the Revolutionaries had come after this one building. Inside the Vault was a battered, but fully functional, T-60b power armour suit, a type that was virtually unknown to the Brotherhood. Realising its value (and what a single suit could to do the balance of power in the city should the Revolutionaries capture it) they salvaged it for themselves, relocating it to their forward staging ground. Before they left, the squad booby-trapped the vault should the Revolutionaries return.
As expected, the Army of Revolution did not take this loss lying down. Using his “death to mercenaries” order as a cover, Kruger dispatched a commando team to track down and eliminate the unit, while also retrieving the Power Armour that they had in effect stolen from the Army’s recovery team. After confirming that the unit did not reside in Park Lane like many other mercenaries (And definitely had not concealed the power armour there), the commando team spent considerable time tracking them to learn more about them and find their base of operations.
After several days of work, the commandos had managed to trace Xiphos’ rough path and speculate on a point of origin in an abandoned Red Rocket station. Attacking the station itself was deemed to be too risky due to the potential presence of fixed defensive weapons or other precautions. Rather, they chose to intercept the mercenaries when they were in transit, planning to eliminate them there and then before moving on to their base of operations.
Luckily or Xiphos, Blitz was able to detect the presence of their attackers before they could strike and alerted the squad. Rather than the ambush they had hoped for, the attackers were instead caught up in a pitched gunfight. They were still able to injure two of the team straight out, while keeping the rest pinned down. While Paladin Farris felt that this was an emergency that justified use of their Power Armour suit, there was no opportunity for her (or any other member of the squad) to make a break for the station.
Fate smiled upon them in the chance arrival of Kara Stinson, another mercenary, who happened to be passing through the area at the time. Literally stepping into the fight, Stinson’s presence threw off the Revolutionaries (Not the least of which was that they mistook Stinson for Farris leading to some confusion as to the actual situation) and, in turn, gave Paladin Farris the chance she needed to breakout and make a run for the Red Rocket base.
Minutes later, Farris returned in her Power Armour suit, tipping the balance of the engagement in favour of the squad. Caught between her own rallying troops, Farris’s Power Armour and Stinson, the commandos were wiped out. While their team had escaped the trap, there was now one other issue they needed to deal with; Stinson had seen their Power Armour suit, and quickly had come to the conclusion that Xiphos were not common mercenaries.
After some debate, she and the squad reached a compromise. She had lived in the Detroit Wasteland far longer than they had (while not being explicit about her own origins) and knew its geography far better than they did. Added to that, she could provide them with a forward base of operations on the edge of the Downtown district that the squad had not yet ventured into, while acting as a (paid) guide for their expeditions. After some debate, Farris agreed, in essence hiring Stinson on a retainer, while also getting a promise of her silence regarding what she had seen.
Due to their role and covert nature, Xiphos squad maintains two sets of equipment. Their day to day equipment is based around the sort of weaponry and armour that would commonly be used by mercenaries in the Detroit Wasteland region. This typically includes common pre-war firearms, such as Hunting Rifles, R91 Assault Rifles and so on, as well as a few Foundry-made weapons that they have acquired both out of practical necessity as well as for future study. Similarly, the squad usually wear simple improvised armour, usually leather or scrap metal based, which helps them to blend in.
In addition to this, the squad maintains a stash of more sophisticated weapons and armour that they were issued by the Brotherhood. These weapons are concealed inside their base of operations away from prying eyes and opportunistic scavengers. These weapons would be used should the need arise, such as in the advent of an attack on their operational headquarters or the securing of a vital target. In both cases, the squad members use weapons based on their specialities and personal preferences, with no real standardisation between them.
Due to their remote and covert nature, Xiphos Squad cannot afford to maintain extensive facilities or a large support staff. Instead, by design, they have to make do with what they can find. Key to this was locating and securing a facility that would provide them with shelter, storage space and equipment that they could use to support their mission. To this end, the squad secured a Red Rocket service station in the Detroit Wasteland that they then re-purposed towards their needs.
The station was still mostly intact and supported much of it's original machinery that the squad were able to convert to their own uses, such as maintaining weapons and armour. The interior space has largely been given over to living quarters. A small watch post concealed on the roof gives them a modicum of security, along with a number of other passive defences set up by the team. The team maintains a schedule that ensures that at least two members of the squad are present there at all times, although who is present will vary depending on operational needs. Finally, a hidden floor safe within the station has been used to stash a number of recovered technological items and other key artefacts from their expeditions.
Allies and Enemies
Army of Revolution
The squad can draw a number of parallels between the Army of Revolution and the Chicago chapter of the Brotherhood. Both claim descent from the old American Army. Both are military forces bent on imposing their form of order on the wastelands. And both have built their forces through integration of outsiders into their ranks. However, the differences between the two are considerable enough to ensure that any form alliance would be impossible. With the Army driven to acquire high-tech weaponry by whatever means necessary, Xiphos Squad currently sees them as being a threat. In the long term, their current assessment is that it would be more useful to the Brotherhood to destroy the Army outright.
Even though they have no love for the chem-pushing scum who make up Baggie High’s population, Xiphos Squad feels that liberating Baggie High from the Army of Revolution would be useful no less. Doing such would deprive the Army of an outpost as well as a source of valuable resources and income. The major issue then would be what to do about the Settlement’s leadership, as they would be unlikely to be receptive towards the Brotherhood.
Black Skull Company
In their dealings with the Black Skull Company, Xiphos squad have found them to be a capable fighting force, one that is not driven by any specific creed that would be incompatible with their own beliefs. Their opposition to the Army of Revolution would also make them a valuable ally should the Brotherhood make any overt moves on the Detroit Wasteland. Thus far, while the squad have not engaged directly with the mercenary organisation, they also have been looking for potential avenues towards building an alliance.
As an open and prosperous community, Park Lane represents both a goal and an obstacle to the expansion of the Brotherhood into the Detroit Wastes. The community would make a valuable ally, given its population, location and function as a trading post and mercenary hub. However, it also would require the Brotherhood to convince them to join up voluntarily, as forcing Park Lane into an alliance would only serve to undermine those traits that would make it so useful to them or, even worse, create a dangerous enemy. At present, the goal is to find something that could be used as an incentive to make such an alliance.
Radio Free Detroit
Seen as a valuable source of information, Radio Free Detroit is considered to be vital in any future plans for the Brotherhood’s expansion into the Detroit Wasteland. The goal would be to bring the radio station in as an ally, one that would be willing to aid them of their own volition.
The Super Mutants of the Zug Island tribe are seen as a threat to the Brotherhood. While the Chicago chapter has integrated Super Mutants into its own ranks, Zug Island’s inhabitants are unquestionably aggressive and a threat to all around them. At present, the squad can see few options but to eliminate them, and even that is problematic given their numbers and how well dug in they are.
The leader of Xiphos squad, Kirsten Farris achieved her position through a combination of skill and happenstance. The illegitimate child of a Brotherhood Paladin and a Tribal woman, Farris used her parentage as a way to aid her career advancement. However, despite having this advantage, she is a capable leader and skilled tactician, and has achieved much on her own merit. While Farris scored a number of victories over the Legion in the Colorado Border War, her own ego and self-aggrandising attitude proved to be grating. As such, her assignment to the mission was as much about her abilities as it was an opportunity to get her out of the way.
Natalie does not talk much about her past, and what little is known doesn’t say much. She simply walked into a Brotherhood outpost in Colorado in 2281 and asked to join the order. What little she said about her past suggested that she was likely a refugee fleeing Caesar’s Legion, which the Brotherhood saw as ample motivation. Natalie doesn’t engage much with the others, preferring to keep to herself. She is a skilled scout, able to move quickly and quietly through hostile terrain, while taking in the details of her surroundings and remaining alert for enemies. Likewise, she is an excellent marksman, and serves the team as both a pathfinder and a sniper.
Jon Kalba comes from a long and proud tradition of service to the Chicago chapter. His ancestors came from the Dirt Haven trabe, one of the very first to join the Brotherhood before even the Calculator War. Since then, there has been an unbroken line of Kalba in the chapter’s ranks. Dedicated, driven and loyal, he tends to come off as ‘stiff’ to others. Despite expectations, however, he does not clash with Farris and her somewhat grandstanding approach to command. He served under her during the Colorado Border War, and saw in her a dedicated member of the Brotherhood who was willing to do what it took to ensure victory. Secretly he harbours feelings for her, but feels that expressing them would be seen as inappropriate and compromising to the mission.
Formally a raider, Will Bouff was captured by the Brotherhood and given the option to join them or be executed for his crimes. He agreed to sign up without a moment’s hesitation, and has since proven to be a loyal soldier. If anything, his support for the Brotherhood could be seen as over-enthusiastic, given his love of heavy weapons and explosives, and the gleeful way that he will unleash them on an enemy. Even without a gun he is intimidating; towering over the rest of the team and most other men, he’s joked about arm-wrestling Super Mutants and Deathclaws for fun. Since arriving in Detroit, he has developed a love of the Iridium Comics line of books, and spends much of whatever spare time he can get trying to track down issues.
The oldest member of the team, Sylo Hass has been a Ghoul longer then most of the team have been alive. Patient and methodical, Sylo is a largely self-taught medic, having learned from pre-war books and the necessity of life in the wasteland. The team rely on him to patch them up and keep them alive, while also finding his expertise valuable in examining ancient documents and texts. While he is a medic, Sylo is also a trained soldier, and won’t hesitate to take a life in defence of himself or his team. In addition, he is an ordained minister in the Church of Plutonius
Much like Jon, Blitz has a history of family service in the Brotherhood that stretches back for generations. His ancestor fought against the Calculator’s mechanised armies, and there has allways been at least one member of the family in the Brotherhood’s ranks since then. Blitz himself is unquestionably loyal, both to the Brotherhood and his team, who in turn appreciate him for his skills and dedication. An expert tracker, Blitz can follow a foe, find hidden enemies or locate caches in even the most trying of conditions. While friendly with the rest of the team, he is a ferocious opponent, and utterly merciless in battle. He is also the only member of the team that Natalie will engage with, and the two will often work together on long-range scouting missions.
Not a soldier by any means, Amy Statten is actually a Scribe who has been assigned to the mission in order to help them locate and decipher any technology or records that they find. Growing up in a Brotherhood bunker, Amy has spent much of her life tinkering with machines and computers, and has a broad range of technical skills and understanding. Much of her time is spent in their field headquarters examining technology that the team has recovered, or pouring over records looking for new leads. She does not engage well with people, and tends to be nervous and withdrawn when in conversation, but her dedication to the Brotherhood is unquestioned. Recently she has begun playing Afterwar Tactics with the other members of the team in their spare time, and is proving to be a skilled player.
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