|William "Bud" Baranov|
|Born:||3007 (after 11 October)|
|Died:||9th October 3067|
|Affiliation||Tikonov Free Republic|
|Emperor of Hall|
William "Bud" Baranov was a former officer in the CCAF and TFRA before he seized the planet Hall in a drawn-out civil war, declaring himself its "Emperor". Having played the Word of Blake and the Free Worlds League against each other, he perished in a resulting battle in late 3067.
A bear of a man with a shaggy beard and multiple tattoos, Baranov was described as looking more like the proprietor of a wild roadhouse than a military commander and strategist.
Branov began his career with the Capellan Confederation Armed Forces, graduating from the Tikonov Martial Academy. He was then posted to Stapleton's Iron Hand. Baranov's early career was shrouded in a cloud of scandal, with rumors that he murdered a professional rival. He became a suspect during the course of the investigation, but the outbreak of the Fourth Succession War precluded such things as the CCAF needed every Mechwarrior it could get its hands on.
Wounded during the defense of Tikograd on Tikonov, Baranov spent his convalescence on Hall. Recalled to active duty upon his full recovery, he was posted with the 4th Republican Guards of the newly formed Tikonov Free Republic Army, the military of the breakaway state formed by (former) CCAF Colonel Pavel Ridzik. With the Fourth, Baranov saw action in the offensive that Colonel Ridzik launched against House Marik, and was decorated for his actions on Talitha.
Emperor of Hall
Reposted to Hall after the death of Pavel Ridzik and the absorption of the Tikonov Free Republic into the Federated Commonwealth, Baranov began quietly consolidating power on the planet. In the chaos that followed the Marik-Liao Invasion of 3057 and the subsequent collapse of the Sarna March into what was now the Chaos March, Baranov saw an opportunity he could not pass up. After a quick meeting with his officers, Baranov led the Fourth to Hall's planetary capital city of Harney, swatting aside the local opposition and declaring himself Emperor of Hall. Upon seizing the capital, Baranov and the Fourth were largely unopposed by the planet's populace. Soon after, however, two rival factions arose, one led by Count Radliffe McNally - a local planetary noble with sufficient military strength and economic assets to resist Baranov, and the other being Cater's Cohorts, led by Major Dick Cater and consisting of former Fourth Republican personnel who had turned against Baranov shortly after he seized Harney. Also on Hall were the twin sons of Baranov's former master Pavel Ridzik, Yuri and Nikoli Ridzik, who had recruited a small army and brought their force to Hall hidden from the eyes of Baranov and the Fourth hoping to eliminate Baranov and resurrect their father's Tikonov Free Republic.
After Major Cater's rebellious troops were forced to withdraw to Hall's southern hemisphere, the three major factions on Hall settled into their respective territories, occasionally fighting each other for supplies and territory. In the mean time, Baranov and the Fourth turned towards the Ridzik Twins in which Baranov skillfully manipulated the situation, causing the disappearance of Nikoli and sending his brother fleeing off planet, thus eliminating the threat the Twins posed with their small military force. Next, Baranov and the Fourth turned again to Major Cater and his rebellious troops, eventually engaging and shattering Cater's Cohorts and allowing Baranov and the Fourth to further consolidate their control of Hall.
Soon Count McNally and his array of forces were the only obstacle preventing Baranov from controlling the planet. Hall gradually settled into a stand-off between the Baranov's Republican Guards and Count McNally's coalition of forces including his own McNally Guard, Burton's Brigade, the remnants of Cater's Cohorts, and the mercenary Critchley's Cavaliers.
The stand-off between Baranov and McNally was finally broken in late 3066 when the Fourth Republican Guards, supported by the mercenary Stealthy Tigers, finally overwhelmed the forces of Count McNally, killing the Count and routing his surviving forces, earning Baranov tenuous control over Hall. The survivors of Count McNally's forces, led by Burton's Brigade (Elly Burton being the mother of McNally's child) allied themselves with the Com Guard troops hoping to escape Baranov's wrath, and entrenched themselves.
Following the formation of the Allied Mercenary Command to combat the spread of Word of Blake influence in what was now the Chaos March, the 3rd Dismal Disinherited regiment was sent to Hall by the AMC to support the Com Guard troops already on planet to ward off against Blakist operations and investigate suspected ties between Baranov and the Word of Blake. Then in the summer of 3067, Emperor Baranov announced that he had invited the Free Worlds League to annex Hall, hence undermining the positions of both the Com Guard and the AMC troops on planet and legally forcing all those forces aligned against him to withdraw off world.
Combat again broke out when the Colonel John Marik-Johns of the 3rd Dismal Disinherited refused to recognize the authority of the 4th Oriente Hussars which had arrived on Hall to officially annex the planet on behalf of the Free Worlds League. Convinced the whole thing was a Blakist ploy, Colonel Marik-Johns commanded his 3rd Dismal Disinherited and Burton's Brigade to attack the 4th Oriente Hussars who were in turn supported by Emperor Baranov's troops including the Fourth Republican Guards and the Stealthy Tigers. The renewed fighting on Hall was short but fierce, lasting less than a month and ending ultimately with a League victory but not before Emperor Baranov and Captain Elly Burton had perished in a 'Mech duel during the final confrontation in Harney. This coincided with the Fourth Whitting Conference and the outbreak of the Jihad.
Emperor William "Bud" Baranov was finally killed on October 9, 3067 while engaged in a 'Mech duel with Captain Elly Burton of Burton's Brigade in the suburbs of Hall's capital city Harney during which both combatants were slain.
- The scenarios from Kings & Pawns take place between 3 and 9 October 3067, the intro fiction piece is dated 11 October. Within the document, Baranov's date of birth is given as 3007 but his age is given as 59, suggesting that while he was born in 3007, he wasn't yet 60 years of age as of 11 October 3067.
- Kings and Pawns, pp. 14-15 (William Baranov profile)
- Chaos March (sourcebook), pp. 39 and 92
- Kings & Pawns Scenario p. 4
- Kings & Pawns Scenario pg. 10
- Mercenaries Supplemental II pg. 4-5
- Embers of War