The Black Lance was a small and highly secretive group within the Terran Confederation’s Black Operations division, whose actions almost triggered a war between the Confederation and the Union of Border Worlds in 2673. While its members often posed as ordinary members of the Confederation military and used Confederation military resources to further their aims, they were operating outside the normal military chain of command, and without the knowledge or authorization of the Confederation government.
The Black Lance was created by the Black Projects division during the Terran-Kilrathi War, which was itself created in 2653 to find “miracle weapons” that would win the war. Top secret computer simulations which analyzed thousands of possible scenarios had concluded that the Kilrathi simply could not be defeated by conventional means. One of these “weapons” was a group of genetically enhanced warriors, created through genetic manipulation and bio-convergence technology. When Confederation command learned of this effort, they ordered it to be shut down. In spite of this, the effort continued in secret, funded in part by money donated by wealthy backers such as Captain Hugh Paulsen.
Although the Confederation did eventually win the Kilrathi War, Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn, by now in command of the Black Lance as well as the powerful Strategic Readiness Agency, believed that this victory was merely by chance and good fortune, that there were alien races closer to the galactic core that even the Kilrathi feared, and they would one day come in conflict with Humanity. While the Kilrathi themselves were continually testing and strengthening themselves through their civil wars, Tolwyn feared that Humanity was, by contrast, becoming weak and complacent after its victory. He believed there would be a conflict in the future that would be far worse than the Terran-Kilrathi War and that Humanity had to be ready. The Black Lance would be at the forefront in this future conflict.
Border Worlds Conflict
Tolwyn and the Black Lance put their plan into operation in 2673, in what would come to be known as the Border Worlds Conflict. The plan had three major strands. The first was to trigger a conflict or series of conflicts that would force the Confederation to return to full wartime operations. Black Lance forces carried out a series of attacks on civilian ships and Confederation military installations on the frontier between the Confederation and the newly formed Union of Border Worlds. These attacks left no survivors, and were often accompanied by messages broadcast in the clear that proclaimed victory in the name of the Border Worlds. These attacks were designed to encourage the Confederation government to believe that the Border Worlds were a potential threat. At the same time, Black Lance operatives within the Confederation forces investigating the troubles on the frontier carried out punitive measures such as the summary execution of captured Border Worlds pilots and medical personnel, encouraging the Border Worlds government to believe that the Confederation was the aggressor. The Black Lance hoped that this would lead to the first of many wars that would make the Confederation develop increasingly improved weapons and tactics.
The second strand of the plan was the creation of the genetically enhanced warrior elite, a process that would take generations. The first generation was the highly successful soldiers and pilots of the Terran-Kilrathi War, who were used as the genetic templates for the future generations. Christopher Blair was one such individual. The second generation were the Black Lance pilots such as "Seether", who were grown from the first generation templates and further enhanced by bio-convergence technology. By this stage, the benefits of the process were already apparent. Despite being combat inexperienced, the Black Lance pilots flew better than many veterans, and were a match for battle hardened Border Worlds marines in hand to hand combat. The third generation would be the children of the second generation, further enhanced by bio-convergence technology, and so on. The Black Lance believed that the fifteenth generation created by this process would approach a god-like status compared to normal Humans.
The third strand of the plan was the genocide of those who were not part of the genetic elite. It was believed that such people contributed nothing to the survival of Humanity, and instead consumed scarce resources that would be better used by others. The tool that the Black Lance would use to do this was the Gen-Select Bioweapon. This took the form of a canister that could be delivered to any populated planet by a fighter. The canister would release a highly virulent micro-organism, an artificial virus, that could be spread by air, water or bodily fluids. The virus was engineered to compare an individual’s DNA against pre-determined criteria such as the percentage of body fat, eyesight and sperm or egg count. This set of criteria could be changed to eliminate people with virtually any set of genes. If the virus deemed its host to be unsuitable, it would begin attacking the RNA, causing cancers, haemocytes, organ rejection and destruction of connective tissues. Death would occur within two to four days. When the Black Lance tested the weapon on the Telamon colony, the virus itself killed ninety percent of the population, with further deaths occurring from secondary epidemics such as cholera. The Black Lance hoped to use the confusion of the war with the Border Worlds to attack worlds on both sides of the conflict with the Gen-Select weapon.
The Black Lance had formidable resources to help them in carrying out their plans. They had four squadrons of "Dragons" heavy fighters (also called Black Lances), which were fast, extremely well armed, and virtually undetectable when cloaked, as well as Black (improved) Hellcats. The Black Lance also had access to the Flash-Pak, an incendiary device that could destroy most ships from within with a single hit. They were able to operate from the Confederation fleet carriers TCS Lexington, TCS Princeton and TCS Vesuvius, as well as a secret starbase in the Axius System. Last but not least, they had some powerful financial support. These included Elsa Harnett, a judge on the Admiralty Court, Confederation Captain Hugh Paulsen, and Admiral Tolwyn himself.
However, the fact that the Black Lance was operating outside the Confederation’s laws and without its authority became their downfall. When Christopher Blair revealed the full extent of the Black Lance’s activities in his confrontation with Admiral Tolwyn on the Senate floor, the Senate ordered all Black Projects operations to be shut down. Most of the Black Lance’s military forces had already been destroyed in clashes with the Border Worlders and their allies, and the Confederation was ordered to round up the remainder. Admiral Tolwyn himself would eventually be found guilty of crimes against humanity, stripped of rank, and ultimately commit suicide prior to his execution. By 2681, the Black Lance was considered to be “out of the picture.” However, Admiral Tolwyn went to his death believing that while the project had been revealed before it could become self sustaining, there were still some project elements hidden away where no-one could interfere with them.
- Geoffrey Tolwyn
- Hugh Paulsen
- Elsa Harnett
- Ludmilla Petranova
- Tuesday Brody
- Axius Star Base
- TCS Vesuvius
- TCS Lexington (CV-44)
- TCS Princeton
- F-107 Lance Heavy Fighter
- F-104A Bearcat class Heavy Fighter
- Terran Confederation
- Union of Border Worlds
- Gen-Select Bioweapon
- Genetic Enhancement Program
- Black Projects
Source: WC CIC Encyclopedia