|Ace Darwin's WhipIts
Hailing from the Lyran Commonwealth, Ace Darwin was able to secure admission to the prestigious Nagelring, though he was ultimately expelled during his second year for repeated violations of the curfew, dress code, dormitory rules and the Nagelring Code of Conduct. The ejection ultimately did not seem damage the charismatic Ace, who gathered an expanding circle of friends and connections as he opted for a career of a mercenary instead.
The following is a summary of a story told by Darwin in a bar on Timbiqui in 3044, and should be considered Canon Rumor: he served a three year tour in the planetary militia of Kooken's Pleasure Pit, where his lack of discipline ensured he would not be permitted to reenlist. In 3035, on his final patrol before discharge, he found that his lancemates had repainted his Commando pink and baby blue. During his patrol, he encountered an unknown Panther, which engaged him. After losing his 'Mech's main weapon, he charged the Panther, ejecting from his Commando as the two 'Mechs fell into a canyon. Darwin was rescued by follow-on forces from the militia, while the enemy BattleMech's pilot was found to have died from the fall. Darwin was entitled to the Panther as salvage, having defeated it himself. As a going-away present, his unit painted it pink and, as he hadn't money to change the paint, had to keep it as it was. After telling this story, he admitted to his Astech that it might not be the truth.
Scorning any military rank in favor of just "Ace", his piloting skills far outshining his lacking leadership skills and only basic command of tactics, the unconventional "unit" he formed had only one permanent fixture - himself. After securing a contract Ace then reached out to his available friends to make up the balance of the unit size required, resulted in a "grab bag" unit with Ace often as surprised as his employers at what the end result was.
Ace and his unit didn't participate in the War of 3039 but found other employment. In October 3044, a group of archeologists with Interstellar Expeditions contracted the WhipIts to provide security while they performed a dig on an abandoned Star League-era city on the planet Anywhere, in the Lyran Commonwealth. The WhipIts by then were reduced to Ace himself and two other 'Mechs.
Soon after, the local government attacked the archeological site, intending to seize all Lostech. A battle between the local police and militia 'Mechs and Ace Darwin's people followed. The WhipIts defeated them and protected the IE team while they evacuated. Ace was forced to return to the camp while battling a militia Crusader to recover his technician, Sevrin, who insisted than he also take a fridge. Ace, reluctantly, took it.
After escaping the planet, Sevrin explained than the fridge was filled with Coolant Flush bottles and SLDF neurohelmets. He and Darwin's team tasted the drinks, which had turned bad, before giving a neurohelmet to each of the three MechWarriors. He was said to be planning to reverse-engineer the drinks and began producing them, as well as the neurohelmets.
Apparently, Sevrin succeeded, as in 3057, he led a soda and tech conglomerate empire, which produced and sell Coolant Flush. Ace was his partner and spokesman, making holovid advertising the drink.
Despite the ad hoc nature of the unit, Ace and his WhipIts proved highly successful, by 3059 they had completed fifteen contracts with only one default. Their most recent contract at the time was with the Sarna Supremacy for an offensive raid from Kaifeng against the Capellan Confederation that instead turned into defensive campaign. Though the elite Warrior House Hiritsu easily defeated the defenders, Ace and his friends gave a far better performance than the Kaifeng Sarna March Militia. The unit's success would continue until disaster struck: Ace became famous.
In the early FedCom Civil War era, one of the Immortal Warrior holovids featured a character based upon Ace and his WhipIts, his holovid counterpart similarly accompanied by an eclectic collection of elite warriors who helped the Immortal Warrior to save the day at the holovid's dramatic climax. The similarities between this character and Ace were so great that Darwin actually became somewhat famous, almost a mascot among certain entertainment circles. The WhipIts effectively ceased to exists as Ace focused on his enjoying this attention and new spoiled entertainers "friends", unfortunately he hadn't considered it would be brief. When the fickle hand of fate passed him by and the media found new personalities, he was left broke and on his own with a reported Kay-Zee habit.
Making his way back to Outreach in 3065, Major Kenneth Petruzzelli of Harlock's Warriors encouraged him to get back in the saddle with the reborn WhipIts soon recruiting for a mission to liberate a monastery on the reportedly dead world of Austerlitz in the Periphery. Used by the Marian Hegemony for raids against worlds along the Periphery Lyran border, Ace with the aid of his friends including Solaris Grand Champion Elizabeth O'Bannon was able to route the Marians, with Ace himself defeating the commander in personal combat, carrying the severed head of his opponent's Wolf Trap triumphantly back to the WhipIts DropShip.
Ace Darwin was reportedly killed during the fighting on Outreach in 3067. He had assembled a unit consisting of roughly two companies of 'Mechs, but was ambushed by elements of the Waco Rangers and his infamous pink Panther was destroyed by a Warhammer in Waco Rangers colors. With his reported death, his mercenary unit ceased to exist.
Darwin piloted a captured Draconis Combine Panther that he painted light pink and named Pink Panther, which is upgraded with Double Heat Sinks, and an ER PPC. Ace lavished attention upon his Pink Panther, often being found in off duty hours applying a fresh coat of wax to the 'Mech. Despite its bright coloring, Ace's Panther rarely suffered any damage with most opponents underestimating how much damage the 'Mech can do until it was too late. Following the mission on Austerliz, Ace made extra room in his cockpit, using parts from a Wolf Trap, to install a beverage cooler beneath his lucky fuzzy dice.
- Field Manual: Mercenaries, p. 33: "Mercenary Unit Briefs - Ace Darwin's WhipIts: Natural Selection"
- Mercenaries Supplemental II, p. 20: "Force Briefs Supplemental - Ace Darwin's WhipIts: Burnt by the Stars"
- Ace Darwin and the Sidewinder Canyon
- Ace Darwin and the Battle of the Beer Fridge
- Mercenaries Supplemental Update, p. 11