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|Born||11 January 2739|
|Died||15 May 2819|
|Rank||Primus of ComStar|
|Position||Minister of Communications of the Star League|
Jerome Blake known as the "Blessed Founder" or "Blessed Blake" by his followers, founded ComStar and seized control of Terra in its name in 2788, in the interests of preserving Star League technology and maintaining neutral communications for the Inner Sphere.
Blake was born in Galesburg, a small town in North America. Very early on, the child prodigy expressed an interest in engineering and subsequently became a loner of sorts, a social introvert as he spent much of his time studying. Ultimately coming to the decision to specialize in hyperpulse mathematics and physics, Blake graduated from the University of Lambrecht in 2755 when he was only 16 years old. Blake would eventually join HPG personnel provider Starlight Broadcasting Ltd. and would be placed on permanent assignment to the Star League's Department of Communications. Immediately prior to the Amaris Coup, Blake had risen to the post of lead operations officer for the Class A station on the Terran Hegemony world of Oliver.
The Star League's lead technician
In 2766, Blake was in the Free Worlds League on holiday as Stefan Amaris launched his coup against the Star League, luckily avoiding capture by Amaris forces. Afterwards, as the highest-ranking technician of the few qualified technicians left, he volunteered to the Star League Defense Force to assist them, General Aleksandr Kerensky assigning Blake and his handful of technicians underneath him to devise a method for utilizing the remaining Class B HPG stations of the Inner Sphere not under Amaris' control. During the SLDF's Rim Worlds campaign, he established a makeshift Prime Circuit using the HPGs that Amaris did not control, and these became the main method of communication for the SLDF and the Great Houses.
During Kerensky's campaign approaching Terra, Blake volunteered his technicians and himself to lead the teams that reestablished communications in recaptured HPG stations, which allowed the SLDF to manage their forces more easily during the offensives. This was not without risk: during the recapture of the Dieron HPG station, Amaris' forces broke through the SLDF lines and fired on the station, killing three technicians, while Blake received a serious wound to the head. His cognitive ability was not impaired, but in his later life he would lapse into short comas, presumably due to these injuries. Showing his respect for Blake, Kerensky had him treated aboard the McKenna's Pride, the flagship of the SLDF.
Founding of ComStar
After the liberation of Terra and the defeat of Amaris forces, Blake concentrated again on the task of restoring general communications in the Inner Sphere. With the Unity City HPG virtually a complete loss, Blake restarted construction of the larger Hilton Head HPG complex, which had been overlooked by Amaris forces, due to the fact that the construction effort had been abandoned, and the materials carefully concealed, when the coup began. The Hilton Head complex would turn Terra into the true center of the HPG network once again.
On the back of his skill and reputation for integrity, on October 10, 2780, Nicoletta Calderon nominated him for the position of Minister of Communications of the Star League, Blake himself was totally unaware he had been nominated, overseeing the installation of Hilton Head's primary fusion reactor at the time. It was quickly agreed upon by the High Council. Subsequently, General Kerensky was stripped of his title as Protector of the Realm, and the House leaders dissolved the High Council.
While he attempted to focus purely on restoring the HPG network, as the only Minister of the Star League, Blake soon found himself the de facto leader of the reconstruction efforts for the entire Terran Hegemony. With the Department of Communications increasingly pushed into the role of the informal government of the shattered Hegemony, Blake would continually and fruitlessly press the Council Lords to name a formal successor, the House Lords too busy preparing for war and directing Blake to just do what he saw fit.
The utter collapse of the Terran Hegemony and the Star League seemed assured when Blake privately met Aleksandr Kerensky and his son Nicholas at the SLDF's post-coup headquarters of New Earth on November 2 2783. On-world to oversee the final repairs to the New Earth HPG and relief efforts for a dozen nearby worlds following the completion of Hilton Head, Blake thanked Kerensky for effectively drawing away Great Houses notice and allowing his reconstruction efforts to succeed along with his sorrow over the increasing pace of SLDF defections to those Houses. Quoting Russian philosopher Alexander Pushkin on the limits of unreturned loyalty, Kerensky would insist he had a solution, one Blake's assistance would be vital to support. With Blake reluctantly swearing to never divulge to the contents of the meeting, Kerensky revealed his refusal to seize the throne of the Star League or to try and defend the Hegemony from Great House attack in favor of a third option: Exodus.
While Jerome was furious upon learning Kerensky's intentions, angrily telling the General that conservatively billions in the Hegemony and Inner Sphere would now die if he enacted his plan, Kerensky insisted it was the only way to avoid it becoming a hundred billion and that the sacrifice of his reputation was a small price to pay to ensure that. His attempts to sway Kerensky into staying failed, Blake agreed to help the General to keep the secret of the operation, and was able to convince the former general to ask some of those troops who declined to join Operation Exodus to assist the Department's reconstruction efforts, Kerensky able to persuade some seventeen divisions and fourteen independent regiments to aid Blake.
Holding back these troops as a last resort, Blake continued to focus on the reconstruction of the HPG network, most notably achieving the reestablishment of First Circuit HPGs on New Earth, Barnard, Alpha C, Bryant, Procyon and Dieron three days after the Exodus. Quickly forming a decision-making council for the Department made up of the chief administrators of those HPGs, among the first things the First Circuit agreed upon was Conrad Toyama of the Dieron station suggestion to rename the organization ComStar. The renamed ComStar would continue to rebuild Terra and the shattered worlds of the Hegemony along with the HPG network for the next two years. But despite Blake's amazing efforts, the growing storm clouds of war hung over all ComStar had achieved, his deepest fear that the House Lords' lust for power would destroy everything he'd spent so long rebuilding.
Operation Silver Shield
Giving increasing thought how to protect Terra and the HPG network, in a secret meeting with the First Circuit in the winter of 2786, Blake outlined Operation Silver Shield. Blake's daring plan had three key parts: persuading the leaders of the Great Houses to agree to the neutrality of ComStar, its facilities and personnel; formalizing the ComStar Letter of Credit as a common currency for exchange with all Great Houses for ComStar's services and finally seizing Terra and as many of the surrounding worlds of the Hegemony as possible in the name of ComStar. The audacity of Blake's plan shocked the First Circuit, the members of the body quickly becoming divided between militant members who felt it didn't go far enough and those who hoped that a chance for peace remained. Ultimately Blake persuaded all members of the highly skeptical body to back his plan if his negotiations with House Lords to secure ComStar's neutrality proved successful.
Showing a high degree of diplomatic tact as well as a willingness to bend the truth to serve his case, Blake made a historic tour of the Inner Sphere in 2787, convincing each House Lord in turn to sign the Communications Protocol of 2787, claiming that theirs was the last signature and that all others had already agreed. Amazed by his success, the First Circuit now enthusiastically offered their full support to the remainder of Silver Shield. Unfortunately by the time Blake had returned to Terra, open warfare had already begun to break out, forcing him to revise the third military portion of Silver Shield, focusing on the capture of Terra alone and stripping the surrounding worlds of all useful matériel and resources ahead of the House Lords.
On 25 June 2788, 00:600 TST, ComStar shut down all HPG transmitters. General Lauren Hayes's eight divisions (masquerading as mercenaries supposedly hired by Blake) successfully defeated the House and former SLDF units which opposed Blake's suddenly militant response. A persistent legend holds that Blake participated in the campaign on Terra, piloting an Ostroc. After 72 hours, the HPG network resumed transmission, broadcasting scenes of the military takeover of Terra, the entire operation filmed and documented per the order of Blake and the First Circuit. The footage intended to impress upon the House Lords the high cost to challenge ComStar's ownership of Terra, Blake would also transmit a short message to the entire Inner Sphere:
|“||People of the former Star League. I am Jerome Blake, Prime Administrator of ComStar. As of now, 0900 hours Terran Standard Time, military forces under my direct command have seized control of the Sol star system. ComStar is now officially in control of Terra and all former Star League facilities remaining in the system. From this time forward, I proclaim Terra and the entire Sol system as neutral under the protection of ComStar, under the terms and conditions of the Communications Protocol of 2787. As the previous broadcast has made clear, ComStar has sufficient military force to defend the homeworld of mankind from any aggressor.
Our goals are peaceful. We seek the unity and prosperity of mankind. This action was taken to save life in the devastating war that is unfolding. ComStar will continue to offer its communications services to all member states, as long as the Sol system and our neutrality are honored.
|— Jerome Blake, 28 June 2788|
Mercenary Review Board
Jerome Blake spent most of his life as a technician and administrator, but showed a natural talent as a political economist. Initially, ComStar was operating in the red because of their massive Hegemony reconstruction projects, running high debts with each of the five Houses, but as the first Succession War rages, they managed to pay all the debt and, in 2802, begin earning profits. One of the longest lasting branches of ComStar founded by Blake was the Mercenary Review Board. Developed as a means to monitor and control mercenary contracts, ironically it wasn't formed by Blake's vision but rather from a request of Coordinator Minoru Kurita, who mentioned a betrayal of a mercenary group and suggested to ComStar to create a neutral policing agency. Only a week later, Blake announced the creation of that entity. Since then, ComStar's Board has negotiated the contracts and managed the money, collecting a commission of less than 5 percent. ComStar also alerted other potential employers to a rogue unit actions. The new Board was also tasked with investigating any alleged crimes of mercenary units. The Board survived 300 hundred years until Operation Scorpion.
Creation of ROM
The spring of 2811 brought the first real threat to ComStar, when Chancellor Ilsa Liao sought to restore her realm's technological base by bribing ComStar technicians to defect. Shortly after the first attempt, a group of "terrorists" attempted to seize control of an HPG station on the Capellan world of Nanking. It would have succeeded if not for the brave efforts of the station's technicians. The Capellan government denied any involvement, but First Circuit's investigation concluded that it was the Capellan government who had set the "terrorists" as part of a plan to gain control of all HPG stations in the Confederation.
Despite lacking conclusive evidence of Capellan involvement, Blake proposed the creation of a covert security force to protect ComStar's HPG network from both inside and outside threats; this motion was successful, and led to the creation of ROM. The new group reported directly to the Prime Administrator, and after just a year, ROM was fully activated and Blake ordered ROM begin counterintelligence operations in the Confederation.
After the spring of 2812 when ROM members discovered a Confederation plan to kill Robin Bishop, (then) Chief Administrator of Bryant HPG, Blake ordered ROM to strike first and kill the Capellan assassins before they could carry out their plans. All of the assassins were dead within two days. Blake reinforced this message with another direct address to Ilsa Liao, pointing out that ComStar now had the means to defend against any and all threats. The Chancellor ordered the Maskirovka to cease all plans to attack ComStar.
Death and Legacy
Jerome Blake's leadership of ComStar lasted 31 years, and he defined the philosophy, operations and structure of ComStar.
However, in his later years, Blake suffered health issues related to his injuries sustained on Dieron. He fell ill during a First Circuit meeting in May 2819, but his colleagues were not too concerned at the time as he apparently recovered fairly quickly. However later that month he collapsed again, and his condition was determined to be a rare genetic disorder, one that would ultimately prove fatal. He spent the rest of his days being visited by the First Circuit. The last to visit was Conrad Toyama, and during this visit Blake lapsed into a coma.
During their final meeting Blake laid out his plan to convert ComStar into a religion, to the initial horror of Toyama, but was quickly able to convince Toyama of the value of his plan, saying that for the organization to outlast its founding autocrat it needed to transform into a religion. Following Blake's death, Conrad Toyama launched into Blake's plan to turn the organization's founder into a saintly martyr.
Blake's will stipulated that his body be incinerated and his ashes scattered over the Court of the Star League, in Unity City... but Toyama overruled it and had his body preserved and placed on display at Hilton Head.
Philosophical and/or political views
Due to the heavy rewriting or even hiding of Blake's writings, it is very difficult to clear the facts about him, but it is clear than his decisions, though cold, were very successful in the business side. His personality was described as socially awkward and reserved, a real workaholic.
Blake was more businessman than politician, but his decision to concentrate the rebuilding efforts in the Inner Sphere worlds probably exaggerated the state of decline in the Periphery. The area effectively turned from a marginal but developed area into the barrens which it has become. Some said that was because he blamed the Periphery's people for the Amaris Coup and felt a deep distaste for the Periphery, while another potential explanation was his overwhelming focus on restoring the first circuit of the HPG, leading him to spend the vast majority of his time and resources on rebuilding the worlds of the Terran Hegemony. He personally abhorred violence, but saw the need for a a swift and brutal security force that could operate to safeguard ComStar interests, hence his founding of ROM and banning of outsiders joining them, showing that he was not above harsh measures in his attempt to save the HPG and preserve as much of Star League technology as possible. His intention to preserve mankind's knowledge was a project that involved preventing it from falling in the House Lords hands as much as to record it. In fact, it was probably for that than he began the isolationism so characteristic of ComStar. Blake's intentions appears to have been idealistic, creating a nexus between all former Inner Sphere states, and preserving the advanced knowledge of the Star League, but they became corrupted soon after his death. Blake didn't create any of the religious or mystical trappings which ComStar later adopted, but he laid the foundation of many of its structures and policies.
In 3052, Anastasius Focht, Precentor Martial of ComStar, claimed to have found Blake's first book, and he said that Jerome's real intentions were to preserve the technology and information, later sharing it with the rest of mankind. However, whether that was true or not remained unconfirmed.
|“||The Council Lords have left Terra without agreeing on who shall lead the Star League. It seems they could only agree on my appointment as Minister of Communications... They will go to war, and soon. Somehow, I must guard the remnants of the civilization we so thoughtlessly threw away. I won't repair the communications network only to see it destroyed by those arrogant idiots. I refuse. But how to safeguard the technology? I might find allies... among those like me who understand that our precious technology must not be destroyed. We must preserve the communications that all our worlds need to survive... and when the Council Lords and their so-called Successor States have pounded themselves to dust, we will have the means to save humanity...||”|
|— Personal Journals, 12 August 2788.|
|“||Who in Hell does he think he is? The savior of mankind to lead his faithful to a new Eden? Some kind of modern day crusader meant to prevent the coming of a new apocalypse? He and his kind are too stupid to recognize what is in front of them. And they will pay for that with their lives. They will never survive, not without our help. Don't they understand that? That there is much more to do? They could be an integral part of the new order, but instead they take the coward's way out... If that is meant to be, so be it. the road ahead is clear to me. We will continue ahead no matter the difficulties presented us... Jerome Blake talking about Kerensky's Operation Exodus||”|
|— Personal Journals, 15 March 2784.|
|“||ComStar is the only hope of preserving the future of human beings in the Inner Sphere.||”|
|“||Let no person, or group of people, obstruct the spread of knowledge. We stand for the enlightenment and protection of all mankind. It is our task, and will be our descendant's task, to keep the science of nature alive until such time as the science of man's soul has advanced to once again allow unification into a glorious Star League.||”|
|— Jerome Blake's hand written notes on a copy of Technology Primer found at Hilton Head in 3052.|
|“||Do not judge yourself by the friends you have, but by the enemies you make.||”|
|— Collected Short Sayings of Blessed Blake, Edition XXIV, ComStar Press, 3050|
|“||...those who fight to preserve technology and knowledge are the grandest crusaders of all...||”|
|“||The truest light often casts the darkest shadows behind men. The power of true faith is never to be taken lightly.||”|
|“||Information is ammunition.||”|
|“||Preparation is always the key to victory.||”|
|“||Being tactful in audacity is knowing how far one can go too far.||”|
- Despite the fact that ComStar didn't have an army, and the Star League units that took Terra had been disbanded, Blake ordered the rebuilding of Krupp Armaments Works in Germany and others razed by Amaris forces, and later mothballed them, confident they could be quickly reactivated if ComStar needed then. After the Battle of Tukayyid, Precentor Martial Anastasius Focht did so, in order to rebuild the shattered Com Guards, proving the wisdom of Blake's planning, at least in that particular.
- A common expression in the Inner Sphere was Blake's Blood. It appears to be used only by non-Blakists.
- ComStar, p. 4
- ComStar, p. 7
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 2, p. 24: "Jerome Blake Profile"
- ComStar, p. 8
- ComStar, p. 9: "The Collapse of the Star League"
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 38: "History of the Periphery - Exodus and Succession Wars - The Star League Disbands"
- ComStar, pp. 11–13: "History - Collapse of the Star League"
- Masters and Minions: The StarCorps Dossiers, p. 205: "ComStar - Network Online"
- Land of Dreams "Interlude 2"
- ComStar, pp. 11–13: "History - Birth of ComStar - Operation Exodus - The First Circuit - Operation Silver Shield"
- Field Manual: ComStar, p. 11: "Shadow Games"
- MechWarrior: The BattleTech Role Playing Game, Second Edition, p. 141: "ComStar - The Blake Regime"
- Technical Readout: 3039, p. 291: "OSR-2C Ostroc"
- ComStar, p. 13: "The Birth of ComStar - Operation Silver Shield - Blake Proclamation"
- Dark Age: Touring the Stars (3130), p. 98: "Volume XLIX: After the Storm — The Dawn of ComStar"
- ComStar, p. 15
- ComStar, p. 16
- ComStar, p. 17
- ComStar, p. 15
- Second Succession War, p. 6
- Second Succession War, p. 8
- Historical Liberation of Terra V2, p. 25
- Jihad Hot Spots: Terra, p. 173
- Historical Liberation of Terra V2, p. 24
- Historical Liberation of Terra V2, p. 117
- Historical Liberation of Terra V2, p. 25
- Lost Destiny, ch 48
- BattleTech Compendium: The Rules of Warfare, p. 111: "Wolfnet Archive File: 32211-BF5-11/17/23"
- BattleTech Compendium: The Rules of Warfare, p. 84: "Wolfnet Archive File: 32448-RD5-33/9/8"
- Historical Operation Klondike, p. 16: "Exodus"
- ComStar, p. 16: "History of ComStar - The Foundation Years - Public Image"
- Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 50: "Future of ComStar"
- Wolf Clan Sourcebook, p. 46: "Tukayyid"
- ComStar, p. 102: "New BattleMechs - Word of Blake Grand Crusader"
- Technical Readout: 3058, p. 132: "Inner Sphere 'Mechs - GRN-D-01 Grand Crusader"
- Dawn of the Jihad, p. 6: "Shadows of Faith - Prologue"
- Dawn of the Jihad, p. 8
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3070, p. 29: "Late 3068: Fighting Blind - Alliance in Turmoil - LAAF Rallies After Stunning Clan Assault on Graus"
- Double-Blind, "Prologue"
- Technical Readout: 3058, p. 110
- BattleTech Compendium: The Rules of Warfare
- ComStar (sourcebook)
- Dark Age: Touring the Stars (3130)
- Dawn of the Jihad
- Field Manual: ComStar
- First Succession War (sourcebook)
- Handbook: Major Periphery States
- Historical: Liberation of Terra Volume 2
- Jihad Hot Spots: 3070
- Land of Dreams
- Lost Destiny (Novella)
- Masters and Minions: The StarCorps Dossiers
- MechWarrior: The BattleTech Role Playing Game, Second Edition
- Technical Readout: 3039
- Technical Readout: 3058
- Wolf Clan Sourcebook