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The Blazing Aces were the mercenary unit of Gideon Braver in his quest to avenge the murder of his family and retrieve the Chalice of Herne. While commanding the unit he managed to uncover the truth behind Operation Inroad and eventually track down and vanquish the Dark Wing.
Under the abbreviated name of "Gideon Braver", Gideon Braver Vandenburg left his homeworld of Ander's Moon in March 3024 for a nearby world after his family had been killed in an attack by an unknown Lance of BattleMechs (the Dark Wing) and he himself was charged with conspiracy and crimes against the state with forged evidence. Jordan Rowe provided him with an old Jenner, some money and a safe passage off-world. Upon his arrival at the destination world, Gideon Braver began a mercenary career and created his own unit, the Blazing Aces, in April 3024.
Following their formation in April 3024, the Blazing Aces took on a multitude of mercenary contracts for numerous clients while trying to locate and retrieve the Chalice of Herne from the Dark Wing. They had contract offers from all ruling Houses (it is up to the player to choose specific employers and negotiate contracts).
What can be established is that during his inquiries, Gideon Braver was told that crimelord Grig Griez would be able to identify the crest of the unknown attackers. The Blazing Aces traveled to Land's End to meet a henchman of Griez and eventually met with Grig Griez in person on another planet. Promised information about the Dark Wing as payment by Griez, Gideon Braver proceeded to Dustball on a courier mission and, following the information gained there, sought out Wendall Puritan, brother of the notorious smuggler Willard "Kangaroo Jack" Puritan, on a world in the Free Worlds League who in turn provided a lead to a world in the Federated Suns. However, the informant there was murdered before Gideon could meet with him. Following a hint by a man named Kearney that the Dark Wing were none other than the Black Widow Company in disguise, the Blazing Aces next traveled back to Draconis Combine space and met the Black Widows in a bar. Gideon Braver openly accused Natasha Kerensky of having attacked Ander's Moon, which she denied. A barfight broke out and only the intervention of a mysterious woman named Tasha saved Gideon from a severe beating. Tasha revealed the information about the Black Widows' involvement as false and provided him with data files about Operation Inroad that proved Matabushi Incorporated to have ordered the Dark Wing attack. In an attempt to contact Kearney, his erstwhile informant, Gideon Braver then went to Albiero where he wound up involved in a MI6 attack on Matabushi Inc. and finally received detailed information on the whereabouts of the Chalice of Herne. Although it was guarded by the Dark Wing, the Blazing Aces prevailed and retrieved the artifact in less than five years after the Dark Wing had taken it from Castle Vandenburg.
The Blazing Aces continued as a mercenary unit beyond this point until they were destroyed by Clan Smoke Jaguar forces on Kaesong in December 3051; the Crescent Hawks answered their distress call but arrived too late to save Gideon Braver. His dying words to Jason Youngblood were: "You're too late. The Aces... destroyed. I've taken precautions, hidden the 'Mechs. Tell Maria... rebuild the Aces. She'll know what to do."
Morgan Kell promised to inform Maria Vandenburg of her father's end and cryptic last words. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the Blazing Aces were really rebuilt later.
|Commanding Officers of Able's Aces|
Organization and equipment
The unit's exact composition is determined by a combination of random events and player choices over the course of the game. Starting out with only Gideon Braver and his Jenner, additional 'Mechs and up to 3 other 'Mech pilots can be obtained to boost the Blazing Aces up to Lance size (4 'Mechs). While more 'Mechs can be bought, the unit cannot have more than 3 pilots besides Gideon Braver at any given time.
It can be said for sure, however, that the Blazing Aces fielded no other BattleMech models than those eight models available to the player throughout the game (i.e. before 8 April 3029): Locust, Jenner, Phoenix Hawk, Shadow Hawk, Rifleman, Warhammer, Marauder and BattleMaster. Braver was piloting a Phoenix Hawk at the time of the Aces' destruction.
Gideon Braver is the player's alter ego in the MechWarrior computer game. The game and its storyline are apocryphal (see section about Canonicity in that article); they are expressly not included among the list of canonical sources for the BattleTech universe, but it has been also said that information from certain sources indicating this one can be assumed to be part of the shared universe if it makes sense, until contradicted. MechWarrior in particular is one of the computer games where the storyline is widely treated as canonical.
The demise of the Blazing Aces and the death of Gideon Braver were narrated in a subsequent game (BattleTech: The Crescent Hawks' Revenge), also apocryphal, between missions. Much content from the Crescent Hawks games was fully canonized, including their general storylines; it remains unclear if this means by extension that Gideon Braver and the Blazing Aces, who feature in this storyline, were thus also canonized.
- Gideon Braver and the Blazing Aces were introduced in the 1989 Activision computer game Mechwarrior, where the player takes the role of Gideon Braver.
- The end of Gideon Braver, which presumably also marks the demise of the Blazing Aces, is told in the 1990 computer game BattleTech: The Crescent Hawks' Revenge by Infocom/Westwood Associates.
- Although Kaesong was actually occupied by Clan Ghost Bear, the Smoke Jaguar insignia are shown for the second line Clan forces who killed Gideon Braver. It is unlikely, but possible, that Smoke Jaguar forces would have fought a counterinsurgency action on a Ghost Bear world; alternatively, this could simply be an oversight by the game designers.
- The spot on the Inner Sphere map where the game begins correlates with the Federated Suns system of Elidere, suggesting that Ander's Moon is either another name for Elidere IV, or that it orbits Elidere IV.
- Elidere IV is one of the Federated Suns worlds conquered by the Draconis Combine during the War of 3039, explaining why Duke Gideon Braver Vandenburg is running a small mercenary unit on Kaesong during the Clan Invasion, having lost his landhold.