As I’ve written before, writing about mercs or military NGOs provides a certain freedom of action in a storytelling sense that I don’t get with writing about regular military. Call it a certain degree of wish fulfillment (I’ve characterized some of my fiction as “shooter wish-fulfillment” before), but it helps telling the kinds of stories I want to tell without the pains of dealing with a lot of the red tape and crushing bureaucracy of the actual military.
I knew going into Maelstrom Rising that a small, special-operations-centered PMC like Praetorian Security/Solutions wasn’t quite going to do the trick. So, The Triarii were born.
Characterized as right-wing militia, right-wing terrorists, vigilantes, and a private army, the organization called the Triarii, named for the third-rank veterans of the old, Pre-Marian Roman Legion, is in a way just what its opponents describe it as (short of the “Terrorist” moniker).
As American society became more and more fragmented and polarized, with unrest, social violence, and crime beginning to spiral out of control, often while local and federal authorities looked the other way, a former Marine Colonel named Joaquin Santiago started an informal network of former military/contractors to start filling in the gaps when politics get in the way of justice. This seems to happen more often than not in major cities with left-leaning governments.
Over time, Santiago started forming more of a political and financial network, at first to provide top cover for his boys, but as time went on, he started forming what amounted to a parallel governance structure. It was still oriented entirely toward protecting Americans from extremist violence; Santiago had no ambition to take over. His focus was on holding the line and defending Constitutional principles as multiple sides seem to be hell-bent on subverting or trampling them.
But as the disintegration at home and abroad got worse, Santiago started to see the writing on the wall. Entire states were refusing to enforce the law against the “right” people. Americans were increasingly being targeted overseas, and the divide in the US government was stalling any effort to do anything about it.
So, Santiago started to build a combined arms force capable of securing American lives at home and abroad. While not capable of going toe-to-toe with full national armies, the Triarii soon had a substantial military capability, to include infantry, light armor, artillery (mostly mortars), extensive drone and cyber capabilities, and air support. The time might come for heavier stuff, but it is not yet.
The Triarii are not acknowledged by any governmental entity in the US. They are too much of a threat to the Left, and an embarrassment to the Right. The name is hardly mentioned in the news, only referred to as “right wing extremists” (except when they go after the Fourth Reich or their equivalents, when the identity of the organization is downplayed as much as possible, if it is even mentioned at all).