The Nebulan Army tends to draw controversy for inhumane practices and excessive brutality. But perhaps its most controversial branch is one that is not technically a part of the body.

The Colonial Legion was founded some 100 years before the Battle of Aquias, after the near-total collapse of the Nebulan Empire during the bloody Fringe Wars period. When the Graedian Confederacy seceded violently, many other oppressed or recently conquered worlds followed suit, believing the time ripe for freedom. But the Graedians cared nothing for anyone beyond their own sphere of influence; and after the Confederacy won its independence, the other revolting worlds – particularly on the Nebulan Fringe – were left to face the full wrath of the Nebulan military alone.

Yet the Nebulan people tend to be pragmatic and adaptable, comfortably absorbing what new advantages may come their way. The audacity supporting the grievances of the colonies was clear, and their courage was taken into account across the Empire. Some worlds continued to resist regardless of Nebulan requests for audience, and so were promptly extinguished from history. Others either surrendered after fierce fighting or were suppressed due to lack of any combat ability. Those who fought with spirit more than firepower were admired most.

Thus the Nebulans solved their internal problems with a two-fold strategy. They granted far-flung worlds a high degree of autonomy, providing them military equipment and advisors to train local militias where the Army had no presence. These militias were dubbed the Colonial Legion, though they never truly numbered above 30,000 men in total. Two stipulations were placed on these negotiations: these semi-autonomous worlds acknowledged final Nebulan hegemony and continued to pay taxes; and they would supply information and militia forces when required. In contrast to a violent Nebulan purge, these terms seemed more than generous.

Colonial soldiers

Over the decades, as the older colonies have grown, many of the older militia forces were absorbed by the Nebulan Army as Auxiliaries. Fringe planets provide the Colonial Legion with fresh blood (recruits are known among veterans as NCFs or New Cannon Fodder), thus keeping local loyalty and numbers to a relative low as times and needs change. But the Legion has seen its greatest changes in the ten years since the Durson War. For a very brief time five years before the Battle of Aquias, the 1st Colonial actually became free of colonial influence, and was granted enormous autonomy of its own as a black ops regiment (approximately 3200 men, as Colonial regiments go).

Commanded by then-Major-General Magnus Laren, the 1st became known as the Ghansayal’Lezin (Hell’s Legion). This particular force, organized and trained by Laren, became infamous across the Nebulan Fringe. The exact extent of their incursions beyond the Nebulan-Metron border is known only to Laren himself. The 1st Colonial was officially disbanded (quite a feat for an unofficial force) two years before the Battle of Aquias, and all but one of its members disappeared: Laren. Major General Laren was seen in custody days after the disappearance of the regiment, was prosecuted quietly, demoted to the rank of Commander, and spent the next year in lock. The elimination of the 1st Colonial marked the end of the Legion’s peak, as its training and equipment were drastically reduced in quality, leaving individual soldiers to provide most of their gear. Commander Ivia Vaskes of the 136th Regiment often remarks how the Colonials are a shadow of their former glory, and largely incapable in any capacity beyond that of border cannon fodder.

Still, the Colonial Legion provides the Nebulan military with a border buffer – a first line to delay Fringe incursions and police the region from bandits and smugglers. And even its largely ill-equipped and trained men still have talent and skill among their ranks. The outbreak of the Metron conflict, however, will test how capable this barrier truly is; and most military tacticians, in particular General Cabal Raegen, have little doubt the Colonial Legion will be completely disbanded.