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The Mad Gundarks
The Mad Gundarks are one of the largest space-borne mercenary units operating within the Empire and the Corporate Sector. The Gundarks have purchased extremely expensive permits usually only given to planetary governments allowing them to operate large capital combat vessels. It is unknown how the Gundarks, who aren't particularly loyal to the New Order (neither are they disloyal, they are simply apathetic), were able to obtain these permits. Even with generous application of bribes this should not be possible without signing agreements stating that the Gundarks agree not to act against the best interests of the Empire, and that they allow an Imperial representative to serve as an observer aboard each vessel. Somehow the Gundarks were able to get around this obligation, although it should be noted that they have never acted directly against the Empire. Some believe that the Gundarks' permits are forged, but they have stood up to the strongest scrutiny. On one occasion an Imperial admiral by the name of Cherbut chose to assume that the documentation given to him by the Gundarks was false without even attempting to verify it. The Gundarks were arrested and their ships confiscated. Four days later the Gundarks were released, their vessels returned to them (fully restocked free of charge), and Admiral Cherbut found himself demoted to captain of a small 12 man system patrol craft. Nobody is quite sure where the orders to accomplish this came from, but they could only have come from the office of someone of Grand Moff status or higher. This story has circulated through the Imperial armed forces (being exaggerated slightly as it goes) so that now everyone knows not to cause any trouble for the Mad Gundarks.
The Gundarks are equipped with 1 Nebulon-B frigate which serves as their command ship, 2 old Rendili Bulk Cruisers that have been converted into fighter carriers, 1 Marauder Corvette, 3 Corellian Gunships, and 5 Corellian Corvettes. The Gundarks are also known to be equipped with a number of shuttles, light freighters, boarding craft, and scout ships. These ships are used for many purposes, from close support, to scout duty, to move boarding troops, to serve as drop ships, to serve as sentries or scouts, and to serve as cargo and personnel shuttles. Their 9 squadrons of fighters are made up of a mix of Z-95 Headhunters, Gauntlets, Cloakshapes, Y-wings, IRDs (purchased second hand from the Corporate Sector Authority at the same time that they purchased the Marauder), and one squadron of Incom Arrows. Amongst those who are aware of them there has been a lot of speculation regarding the origin of these Arrows. Many believe that this is the squadron that originally went missing when the project was scrapped, but some think that these particular Arrows were built later by somebody who had reverse engineered the originals. Regardless, there has been no inquiry, and given the uncertainty of the Gundarks' standing people aren't likely to ask too many questions. The command ship of the Gundarks, the frigate Ship of Fools, has been equipped with additional combat shields, increased armour plating, and top of the line communications and sensor arrays at the expense of some of the vessels heavy weapons. The commander of the Gundarks, one Colonel Kesher, has stated on many occasions that command ships have an obligation to avoid getting directly involved in combat, and these modifications to the Ship of Fools reflect this philosophy. The Bulk Cruisers and their 6 squadrons of fighters form the main offensive arm of the Gundarks, with the rest of the group's fighters usually being held back to screen the larger vessels. The Bulk Cruisers have each been equipped with forward-facing heavy ion batteries to add to their ability to threaten capital ships, but their primary use remains in the role of carriers for their attack starfighters. The Corellian Gunships form the secondary offensive arm of the Gundarks, and are typically used to harass enemy capital ships, or to pursue a fleeing enemy. 2 of the Corellian Corvettes have been configured to serve as troop carriers, while the others are configured for combat. The 3 Corvettes that are meant for combat typically serve in a defensive capacity, along with the Marauder Corvette, but in extreme cases Kesher has thrown them into an attack, keeping only starfighters, light freighters, and the troop carriers to protect the flanks of the attacking ships.
The Gundarks operate throughout the known galaxy, but almost 40% of their missions to date have been within the Corporate Sector. The Corporate Sector Authority has found the Gundarks very useful when it comes to hunting pirates, performing patrols, and fighting the Trianni. The CSA has a policy of not keeping a very large space fleet, so it takes many opportunities to supplement it's navy with mercenary units like the Gundarks, although the Mad Gundarks are the only unit that is used on a regular basis, largely because of their size. The Gundarks see a lot of duty in the Empire hunting pirates, or occasionally performing escort and patrol duties for large corporations and local governments. On at least one occasion the Gundarks were hired by the Imperial Army to support a ground operation in an isolated area. The closest naval units were light scouting and patrol ships only, and it was deemed more feasable to use the Gundarks, who happened to be nearby, than to wait for appropriate naval units to arrive. Since the fall of the Empire the Gundarks have thrived on the conflict, and have been employed by many of the different Imperial factions, while continuing to perform many contracts within the Corporate Sector. Rumour has it that the Gundarks were recently hired in the Conheav sector by Moff Lesbeat, but this is unconfirmed.
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