I’m going to be going a bit out of order with these, so bear with me, I’m going to be adding details to Arcadia as the strokes of genius [inflated ego, I know] come to me. Some of you may already know the gist of the Guard, but henceforth will be new details.
The Varangian Guard:
Probably one of the most controversial factions you’ll see in Mobile Frame Zero, the Varangian Guard (or simply VG) and their sponsor exemplify some of the absolute worst aspects of the Solar Union.
The Varangian Guard are a private military group for the corporation, Valhallan Industries. Nothing is off-limits or considered “over-the-line” when it comes to obtaining what their parent corporation wants. Money and power work hand-in-hand. But how did these men and women of Europa come to become the cold hearted soldiers they are today? Well, to fully understand the VG, one must understand where they actually came from.
The originators of the VG were colonists on a large mining planet called Vanaheim, colonized in SC 159. It was a snowy, mountainous planet, laden with precious metals and minerals. The people of Vanaheim (known as the Vanir), were a hardy people who lived in underground cities, powered and heated by geothermal vents. There were a myriad of corporate entities on the colony-world, one of these would be the Guard’s eventual financier and founder, Valhallan Industries, although their presence at this time was minimal.
For nearly half a century, the colony flourished. There was seemingly no end to the rare ores buried beneath the harsh surface, no matter the speed to which the Vanir were excavating them. The colony was thriving, more business was always coming through the transit gate “Bifrost”. While life wasn’t easy on this world, the colonists generally had little complaints. They played just as hard as they worked.
Then in SC 206, a transport ship had come from a distant system. Along with its supplies for trade came a small cabal of human followers of the Ijad faith, many of whom bonded with actual Ijad, a rare sight for the solitary world. They came with the prospect of peace and enlightenment. It seemed to be true, as 30 years had passed since their arrival and things stayed quiet. The greater majority of the Vanir had converted to the new faith and were raising a new generation of Ijad faithful.
This new generation of young Vanir were devout in their Ijad beliefs, “Vanaheim must become a true Bhadal!” they would say. (Bhadal is an Ijad word than loosely translates into “community”, but it carries a far deeper meaning than that. It tends to become a rallying cry amongst Ijadi followers) They resented the Solar unions exploitation of this beautiful world and it’s citizens, and began protesting the control of the “Greed Gods”. Even when efforts were underway to end these protests, they remained adamant in their philosophy.
Ultimately, production slowed, in certain districts to near halts. Despite this, peace was maintained as the Ijad presence on world kept growing and expanding, sweeping up the young Vanir like a strong wind. The Solar Union was deeply bothered over the sudden drop in Vanaheim’s productivity, threatening to pull support unless something was done. In response to this ultimatum, the newly established UMFL (United Martian Foreign Legion) helped break up the strikes and maintain the status quo. One UMFL battalion, “The Sons of Fenrir” would later become the founding members of the Varangian Guard, and one young soldier, by the name of Dvorn Tyrson, would become their commander. The world quickly began to alienate and segregate itself. The faithful vs. the heretics. The Vanir vs. the Ijad. “Us… and them”.
In SC 236, the powder keg that was Vanaheim blew. A handful of unemployed miners ended up beating a bonded convert to death after a petty argument. In what seemed like an instant, the leaders of the Ijad used this crime as a rallying cry, creating a martyr in the Ijad’s cause against the Greed Gods, the faithful radicalized, and war soon followed.
UMFL applicants nearly tripled as the Ijadi faithful began to openly revolt and attack corporate sites and non-faithful epicenters. With the greater majority of the planet’s population converted, it was only a matter of time before the UMFL were pushed into desperation. The UMFL responded to these riots and attacks with guerrilla warfare as there were not enough frames to mount a full counter offensive. With the successful destruction of an Ijad temple, things went out of control. Brother fought against sister, children against their parents, fighting escalated within the civilian populace. The parliamentary representative of Vanaheim made a plea to the Solar Union to sent help, before the colony fell completely into Ijadi hands. The Union sent only one response, “Hold out, we will dispatch a contingent of expeditionary marines as soon as possible.”
Not leaving anything to chance, the corporations on Vanaheim quickly began evacuating their personnel off world, leaving the non-faithful civilians behind to their fates. Even the transit marines and UMFL could only do so much against the reckless wave of vengeance that swept the planet. The non-Ijad forces could not produce frames as quickly as their opponents, and towards the final stages of the war, the UMFL were combating mobile frames on foot armed only with anti-armor rifles and improvised mining explosives. It seemed that no matter what was done, defeat was inevitable. The surviving transit marines and foreign legionnaires started a campaign to evacuate as many Vanir as they could.
The planet’s political leader finally surrendered to the Ijad in SC 244, after his residence fell during a three week siege. Once he announced the secession of Vanaheim, the civil war was officially lost. The TEM’s that the SU promised would never come. After the declaration, the only corporation still on-world was Valhallan Industries, likely scrambling to take as much as they could back to Europa. Publicly, they announced that their intentions were to evacuate the populace who wanted to flee. What is true however, is that Valhallan armed the remaining transit marines and legionnaires with cutting edge weapons technology to make a last stand at the last SU controlled spaceport on-world while evacuating the last of the Vanir. The final group of colonists to go were none other than the Sons of Fenrir.
As the refugees fled through the transit gate, all they could see was the world they knew and loved in the distance through the gate… when the bridge sealed behind them, Vanaheim, their home, was lost to them forever. While in transit, Valhallan Industries, hearing of the bravery the Sons of Fenrir exhibited during that final battle, made them an offer they couldn’t refuse… and the Varangian Guard was born.