Extracted from Interstellar Expeditions Spinwards Operational Area updates, 3130
(Editor’s note: Much of this is taken from the few ‘official’ sources that the Legion has to offer, including Ulysses Coffin’s own biography. While there are no better records, we still should take whatever’s said here with a grain of salt)
Like many of the worlds of the Outworlds Wastes, Santa-Ana fell far after the collapse of the Star League. Its people were abandoned by the nations and corporations that had underwritten their colonisation efforts, who had pulled out and left them behind. Subsequent raids by the Draconis Combine stripped the planet of anything of value, leaving behind an impoverished and devastated population to survive as best they could. Centuries of raids by pirates had left the world largely stuck at pre-industrial levels, with most of the population either reduced to sustenance farming or picking through the abandoned cities for anything of value.
During the late 31st century, the Grave Robbers, a pirate band, set up shop on the world and claimed it as their own. Using their BattleMechs and combat vehicles, they were able to bully the population into submission, allowing them to take whatever they needed for themselves. While they ruled with a heavy hand, the Grave Robbers were fully confident that there was nobody to challenge them. Those few who tried to stand up to them were quickly dealt with, seeing entire towns flattened in retribution for the defiance.
Such an encounter occurred in 3117 during an extended drought. The Grave Robbers descended on the community of Northlake, demanding they turn over their entire food supply. When they refused, the bandits slaughtered the local militia and half the town to prove the point, and then took their food stocks anyway. One of the few survivors was Uylesses Coffin, who was badly wounded and left for dead during the battle. After seeing what had happened, he vowed to destroy the Grave Robbers and end their reign of terror over the world.
Coffin fled to the remote Navarro region, biding his time while he slowly built up his support among the communities and tribal groups of the region. There were plenty who hated the Grave Robbers and wanted to see an end to their reign, but lacked the means to do such, providing his movement with the bodies it needed to grow. Fate smiled upon him when he discovered a weapons cache dating back to the Periphery Uprising, which had likely been used by Amaris loyalists. The store included a number of combat vehicles and several functional, if unsophisticated, BattleMechs, which Coffin was able to recover and use to equip his growing army.
In the meantime, having faced no serious opposition for years, the Grave Robbers had become increasingly lazy and complacent. Coffin took advantage of this situation, using agents to sow discord among their ranks and promote distrust and infighting while also distracting them from his own plans. Starting in early 3119, he launched a campaign aimed at wiping them out and ending their reign.
The appearance of an unknown BattleMech-armed force took the Grave Robbers completely by surprise, with early battles turning into decisive victories for Coffin’s army. Plummeting morale, as well as his own efforts at undermining and subverting key members, saw a number of Grave Robbers surrender or even defect rather than fight. Within three months, Coffin had driven the pirates out of their central stronghold, the former planetary capitol of Amarillo, claiming it for himself. The surviving Grave Robbers lost coherence, breaking up into smaller isolated groups who would be slowly picked off in the months and years to come.
Having effectively secured control of the world and unified it under his control, Coffin turned his efforts around towards rebuilding the planet. The world’s other communities were bought into line under the one flag, using diplomacy where possible and coercion where that failed. Those with any technological, scientific, organisational or planning skills were highly prized, and tasked with building an actual functional state out of generations of neglect, ruin and banditry. Reconstruction became a priority, even if it was often somewhat skewed; Amarillo saw the most work, aimed at restoring much of its long-neglected infrastructure. Conversely, outer lying communities rarely saw any real change.
At the same time, Coffin knew that his new order ran the risk of attracting unwanted attention from pirates or other powers in the Wastes. Rather than wait for this to happen, he began an ambitious plan aimed at transforming his single world into a viable state, while also eliminating potential threats before they struck. To this end, he began to expand his army, recruiting not only from the Santa-Ana population, but from other nearby planets in the wastes. Drawing from failed mercenaries, former pirates, farmers, treasure hunters and others from all manner of different walks of life, the rechristened Wasteland Legion began to grow.
This growth also attracted other, less desirable interest. Several pirate bands were drawn to the world, hearing stories of a growing society that seemed to be ripe for the picking. Instead, they found themselves facing a large, well-organised defence force. Rather than wipe these attackers out, Coffin did his best to capture them, incorporating their equipment, and sometimes their members, into his burgeoning army.
After nearly a decade or rebuilding, the first test of the new order came in 3129 when a detachment were deployed to the neighbouring world of Achnoly. Regressed to a pre-industrial agrarian state with little central authority, the world had no military to speak of beyond simple peasant militias, and had become a target for opportunistic pirates. The Legion in essence sized control of the world, making it a protectorate of his new order, abstinently for the safety of its people.
It was not too long afterwards that a band of pirates from the Grim Grinner Gang dropped onto the planet, looking to pillage its people for supplies and whatever else they could find. Expecting to meet no resistance, the pirates were instead shocked to find a well-organised BattleMech force waiting for them. After suffering considerable losses, the pirates fled the world in disarray, gaining nothing while leaving behind valuable salvage.
With two worlds secured, Ulysses Coffin appears to be planning to further expand his empire. His intelligence assets have been putting out feelers to other worlds in order to learn more about them and the forces they possess, while also tracking groups like the Grim Grinner Gang back to their strongholds. He has shown considerable interest in IE and our operations, but it is likely that interest is fuelled by a desire to use us as an intelligence source and to identify targets. Several nearby worlds represent likely potential targets, due to both the presence of hostile forces and exploitable resources.
The current biggest priority for the Legion is the acquisition of more transport assets. At the moment, they are dependent on a hodgepodge nightmare of dropships (Many of which are civilian models) to move their forces, which would be very vulnerable to aerospace interception. Their small fleet of jumpships (all of which have ongoing maintenance concerns) also represent a bottleneck for any future expansion.
Life on Santa-Ana is still a mixed bag, but definitely improving. While still little more than a military dictatorship, the current regime is a massive step up from the heavy-handed kelptocracy of the Grave Robbers. And while a number of communities had to be coerced into joining, the Legion did not engage in the same policy of massacring those that defied them that the Grave Robbers preferred. Reconstruction continues across the world, with programs focused on infrastructure, education and housing taking priority. However, literacy rates remain poor, and outside of the capitol city, farming and resource extraction constitute almost all industry.