|Affiliation||Republic of the Sphere|
|Position||CEO of Bannson Universal Unlimited|
|Parents||Paulos Bannson (father)|
Hannah Bannson (mother)
Jacob Bannson was the richest man in the Republic of the Sphere prior to the Blackout. His economic success should have gained him the status of Knight, but his own vindictive and greedy nature prevented him from attaining this honor. After the Blackout plunged the Republic into chaos, Bannson set his sights upon the highest office of all: Exarch of the Republic. Unleashing his collection of mercenaries dubbed "Bannson's Raiders" upon various targets, Bannson also sought to further his goals by collaboration with House Liao when the Capellan Confederation invaded Prefecture V. Despite his wealth and notoriety, Bannson disappeared from the interstellar scene by the mid-3130s and his final fate remains unknown.
Bannson is a short, stocky man with green eyes, red hair and a bristly beard.
Born on St. Andre to a family of modest means, Bannson's parents owned a small business. Jacob attended fine primary and secondary schools, but dropped out in 3112 and helped his family to save their business that was nearly ruined by a larger corporation during an attempted takeover.
He continued his studies through correspondence courses and majoring in business administration and by 3114 he managed his first hostile takeover: in a harbinger of his future behavior, young Bannson displayed both his business acumen and petty vindictiveness when he successfully oversaw a hostile takeover of this corporation, purely out of vengeful spite. Jacob Bannson was seventeen.
By the age of twenty Bannson had spread his budding business empire across three systems, prompting investigations from regulatory bodies into his allegedly shady practices. No charges were proven and in these victories Bannson forged a positive reputation among the local working classes as somebody who had beaten the system. Bannson's mercantile empire expanded further when in 3120 he provided evidence that resulted in the conviction of many powerful business leaders on racketeering charges - with Bannson Universal as the main beneficiary.
He later purchased the remaining assets of each of the companies he had helped to ruin. For his service to the Republic, St. Andre's governor Adet Montarle credited him with "astounding public service" and granted him the citizenship his family had never gained. A seeming epitome of the self-made individual who embodied Republic values by rising from his humble origins with talent and hard work, Bannson was hailed by many in the business world as an example to follow.
In 3123, his company became the largest corporation on the worlds of New Aragon and then Slocum, with deep tendrils already reaching into Prefecture IV as well. With the hostile takeover of Archer Enterprises on Tybalt in 3127, Bannson's empire became the largest corporate force within all of Prefectures IV and Prefecture V and second-largest within the entire Republic of the Sphere.
But for all his commercial savvy and public charisma, he could never fully shake off rumors of dodgy business practices, and the Republic Senate's placing restrictions upon his business in 3129 limiting Bannson's ownership in further businesses to less than five percent and all but forbid further investments outside of Prefectures IV and V.
That angered Bannson greatly and he took a more direct interest in the safety and security of his existing interstellar conglomerate. However, in 3130 he was also granted the right to establish garrison forces at Bannson Universal facilities across Prefectures IV and V and sponsoring a new Tybalt Militia and even going so far as to train himself as a MechWarrior. Donning a neurohelmet and sweating in the cockpit of an antiquated war machine seemed at odds with his usual high lifestyle, but Bannson apparently sees it as a bold new adventure full of future possibilities.
With the militarization of his assets and skimming off arms shipments as early as 3129, it appeared as though Bannson was contemplating a confrontation well before the Blackout hit the Republic. Thus, when an opportunity for vengeance came three years later, Bannson was both able and willing to take advantage of it.
There was some speculation that Bannson had arranged for the collapse of the HPG network, as he was the only known person within the Inner Sphere to have the financial ability to hit 80% of the generators at once. However, such allegations did not take into account the fact that Bannson would suffer far more than he would gain through the loss of interstellar communications.
Nonetheless, Bannson quickly worked to build up his power base amid the chaos. His aptly named Bannson's Raiders attacked multiple targets such as Ozawa, Mirach and New Rhodes III, gaining both spoils and combat experience despite losing more often than winning. In addition, he also sought to purchase manufacturers of military hardware, and through his media empire was more successful than the other faction leaders at winning support for his cause.
Unconfirmed rumors indicated that Bannson also played a role in the Black Paladin scandal of 3133. He also managed to secure an alliance with House Liao in 3134, with Chancellor Daoshen Liao marrying his cousin Ki-Linn to Bannson to cement the deal.
Bannson disappeared from the public eye for four months in mid-3135 before he was sighted in the Rasalhague Dominion being stalked by Capellan agents, though rumors that Ki-Linn had dispatched Death Commando hit squads after Bannson were never confirmed. Around this time the Fortress Republic went up, cutting Bannson off from much of his wealth. The last known sighting of Bannson was in August 3136, on Tybalt, when his own soldiers in The Scourge mutinied and took him prisoner to be turned over to Republic authorities.
Since then, while Bannson's assets were offered in support of local governments and military forces outside the Wall, it was unknown whether Bannson himself was the benefactor or somebody else using his fortune. Nor was he ever confirmed alive or dead, making Bannson's final fate a mystery.
Philosophical and political views
Both prior to and following the Blackout, Jacob Bannson's driving motivation was his dedication to destroying his enemies before they could do likewise to him. His definition of "enemy" seemed to cover anybody who crossed him or threatened his interests, but primarily applied to the noble class that had snubbed him despite his successes and wealth. This enabled Bannson to publicly pose as a champion of the "working man" and win support from the "lower" classes of Republic society, but in truth he only cared about bolstering his own power. Rumors also suggested that Bannson wanted to establish his own "Great House" or state.
Bannson demonstrated no loyalty to his native state when it entered the post-Blackout crisis. At first merely establishing himself as another splinter faction warlord carving out his own fiefdom, Bannson later actively, if secretly, courted the support of House Liao when the Capellans crossed the pre-Blackout border.
- Era Digest: Dark Age, p. 14: "Jacob Bannson"
- Dark Age: Republic of the Sphere, p. 31: "Jacob Bannson"
- By Temptations and By War, Epilogue
- Ghost War, pp. 137–138
- Era Report: 3145, p. 14: "Whatever happened to the man who had everything?"
- Ghost War, pp. 109–110
- Era Digest: Dark Age, p. 6
- Era Digest: Dark Age, p. 13
- Era Digest: Dark Age, p. 7
- Era Report: 3145, p. 88: "Ki-Linn Liao"
- Era Report: 3145, p. 19: "Timeline of Events"
- A Silence in the Heavens, p. 57