Joaquin Cortez

I was born to two “ground-pounders” in the 3rd Marik Militia. Apparently kin to the famous Hernan Cortes of Terra’s ancient history. To tell you the truth, I can’t give you an exact location of my birth either. I was thrown first-hand into the Marik military life. My parents I hardly ever saw, as they battled on the Capellan and Lyran fronts. I can’t even pinpoint an exact moment in my life where there was some sense of consistency, until both my parents died. It wasn’t fighting the Capellans or Lyrans that killed them, but defending the Marik Parliament from the anti-government violence and protest. As sad as it sounds, it was probably the best thing that could have happened. Janos Marik…..

I was 10. I decided to make my way doing what I could, lending a hand here or there. Learning on the fly as they say. I was able to get an apprenticeship with a small band of mercenaries. They had been called to the Lyran front due to lack of sufficient support. I laugh now, only because I know the truth. The troops were barely able to put ammo in their weapons, let alone wage a war on two fronts. I made myself learn the ins and outs of simple technical skills and eventually found a mentor in an old engineer, Ivan Uzgov. I don’t think I could have learned from anyone better. After a few years of tutelage, I was given a small ounce of trust and given the responsibility of maintaining a mech for the unit. It wasn’t long before I was running the sims and playing against the pilots. They all said I had a knack for it. Between my mechanical skills and knack on the sims, I was offered a chance to improve my skills at Galatea. My mentor pulled what strings he had left to get me in the door, and I owe him…My skills received praise from my instructors, and I was given the opportunity to study both as a technician and mech pilot, doing Uzgov proud.

Upon completion of my training I was sent back to my unit. I was placed in charge of a small recon lance and given a Spider to pilot. We were placed on the planet of Rochelle. Within moments of setting out, we were caught by a Lyran attack. Within moments the Lyrans had decimated our command. I commanded my unit as best I could, but along with the other numerous mercenaries, we found ourselves quickly outgunned and outmatched. We were able to drive the Lyrans off with many casualties. Leaving many of us without units to go back to. That was when Cranston Snord offered many of us a solution. Cranston Snord……

Janos Marik laid order that all of the mechs still standing were to be returned to the Marik government. Snord refused and we turned our mechs on the FWLM. We fought our way off Rochelle. Earning the respect of countless Lyrans, including Katrina Steiner. Janos Marik ordered all of us taken into custody and our mechs repossessed. Katrina Steiner offered Snord a contract and a new HQ on the planet Clinton. We quickly repaired and became Cranston Snord’s Irregulars. I quickly became friends with Samuel “Shorty” Sneede. Our skills and technical backgrounds made for lots of interesting talk about his UNIQUE Rifleman.

We soon met our first action on New Kyoto. It was a chance to stick it to Janos Marik one final time. Something Cranston and I were dearly looking forward to. He, Jake Walmar, and Bright Thomlinson wagered on uncovering a collection of Kyoto Art estimated to be valued in the millions was buried some where there. Snord accepted the contract planning to uncover the hidden treasure and to take his revenge on Janos Marik at the same time. We dropped on the city of Kirwanal, a site chosen because Snord believed the treasures were stored there. I think it was sheer dumb luck, but we came across a treasure of another sort. We took the defenders completely by surprise and wiped the Marik forces from their supply dump. After searching with no success in Kirwanal, Snord ordered us on to Shaval, having heard the works might be hidden there. By another case of sheer dumb luck, we came across the Marik Command Post and wiped it out. The remains tried to force us out several times until we eventually forced their retreat. Cranston had the lost art sent back to Clinton and the unit received the Steiner Medal of Honor with Oak Leaf Clusters as personal congratulations from Katrina Steiner.

For our next mission, and my final with the Irregulars, we were sent to the planet Wing in FWL space. Cranston agreed because it provided him the opportunity to acquire the famous rare book collections of Devron. The battle was just as fierce as Rochelle. Disobeying his own orders, Cranston ordered all of us to circumvent the Marik lines and head for the rear of their defenses. His original orders being to lure the Heavy Lance out by focusing all the firepower on the Light mechs having our Heavy Lance pound it out while our smaller mechs moved in and harassed their rear position, until the Lyran Support arrived. We were ordered to circle around the fighting front, heading deep behind the Marik lines. This put us far out of reach from any kind of supplies or support. We ambushed a caravan just outside the city of Merth. The caravan held crates full of the rare book collection intact. The Marik forces hunted us down, and surrounded us at a small river valley. I was pounced on by an Phoenix Hawk as I chased down an Enforcer chewing through my unit. The P-Hawk unloaded its Large Laser and two mediums into my rear armor, chewing it to shreds. The Enforcer took the opportunity to assist and another Large Laser and AC/10 hit my Spider, sending it crashing to the ground. The severe force from the impact knocked me unconscious. Had the Steiner forces not punched through the lines, I’d have surely met my end. Cranston risked my life over the chance to capture some books. It’s an act I can not forgive him for.

Apparently the damage from the fall caused some kind of separation in my vertebrae, and the only cure for the severe pain was Maxx. I’ve needed it ever since. It’s apparently given to victims with more severe injuries. It’s known for its extremely addictive properties. Getting it has become increasing more difficult, as most of the Medics keep it under lock and key. I’ve found suppliers from outside sources, but even they are under scrutiny lately.

Katrina decorated the Irregulars once again for their accomplishments. Cranston and his men went back to Clinton. From what I hear they built a museum there to house their “spoils.” I however, did not follow. I brought about charges of treason on Cranston Snord. His orders were a direct disregard against the Lyran banner. For my part in the Battle of Wing, I asked for a direct transfer to another unit. I wanted to honor my agreement to the Lyrans and Katrina, but I could no longer fight for Cranston Snord. I pulled what favors and what “rumors” of good deeds I could, and was given a new assignment along the Davion-Liao border. Perhaps this time I will have a better Commanding Officer.