Affiliation: Federated Suns
Patriarch: Professor Phillip Sharpe
Crest: A vertical rifle with a bayonet on rifleman green
Motto: A soldier is only as good as his last battle
Of the many warrior families that have gained renown in the Succession Wars, perhaps one of the most remarkable were the Sharpes, a bunch of upstart farmers and city dwellers who have the knack of being some of the best professional infantry soldiers in the Federated Suns.
Their less than distinguished history never did endear them to the nobles of the Federated Suns, and Sharpes delight in thumbing their collective nose at the haughty traditions of the aristocrats.
The hard-fighting Sharpes of Augusta can date their ancestry back more than 10 centuries to the 18th century, during the Napoleonic Wars. The patriarch of the line was one Richard Sharpe, who fought under Wellington's command in both India and Europe, and achieved a certain notoriety for his exploits.
Richard Sharpe, according to his own carefully preserved and highly detailed journals, as well as other sources collected by the Sharpes over the years, was born to a prostitute in a gutter, and grew up in the whorehouses of London. When he was 16, he killed a man to defend a friend, and was forced to enlist in the British Army to escape the gallows. He fought in England's first disastrous expedition to the Low Countries as a wide eyed recruit, and managed to survive by sheer luck.
Reassigned to India under the command of one Arthur Wellesley, who would later become the famous Duke of Wellington, he played a critical role at Assaye when he saved Wellesley from certain death. Wellesley rewarded him with an officer's commission.
From that moment on, Sharpe found his destiny entwined with Wellesley's, as Wellesley led campaign after campaign in both India and Europe. From the fortress in the sky at Gawilghur, to the blood soaked fields of Waterloo, Sharpe was one of the Duke of Wellington's finest and most dependable soldiers, even if he was always slightly despised by his commander for his low born origins. But as a man who earned his commission by his deeds, and not by being born to it, or having purchased it, Sharpe was often regarded with awe by the common infantryman.
During Waterloo, he earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by taking command at a critical juncture, which led to the rout of the Imperial Guard, which had never been defeated before that fateful day.
Retiring to a farm in France after the wars and settling down with a Frenchwoman, Sharpe raised a family like any other man of the times. His son Patrick Lasson(who took his mother's name), would later immigrate to America, fighting on the side of the Confederate Army. Patrick Lasson put down roots in America after the war was over, running a fairly successful brewery business.
The Lassons never forgot their roots as part English and French, and members of the family would often sign up in the French or British armed forces, fighting in various conflicts in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The Second World War brought things to a head, as the Lassons almost enlisted en masse on the side of the Allies, all of them choosing the US Army or Marine Corps as their service of choice. After the war, the head of the Lasson household invited the remaining Lassons in France to immigrate to the US. They accepted. As before, the Lassons maintained a highly martial tradition, sending their sons and later daughters to war in the service of the US.
By the end of the 20th century, the USA and USSR were the two most powerful states on Earth, but France was being more than a bit… pesky at this state of affairs. After a series of particularly heated exchanges, and revelations of French duplicity in the supply of armaments to outlaw states, the Lassons could not take it any more. In a landmark family meeting attended by almost the entire clan, they voted to change their surname to Sharpe, in honour of the soldier who was their ancestor.
Sharpes fought for the Western Alliance, and then later the Terran Alliance, but they soon recognised the failing system for what it was during the period of the great expansion of humanity to the stars. In another landmark decision made by the entire clan, they left beind Earth and the tottering Alliance, seeking their fate elsewhere in the universe.
Settling down on a world in the Crucis Reach, called Augusta by the pioneering colonists, the Sharpes quickly adapted to the harsh conditions for building a new civilization on an alien world. Never forgetting their roots, they agitated for a militia to defend the colony against aggressors, and soon found themselves in most of the command slots. When the Terran Alliance tried to assert its control over Augusta, the Sharpes sent them packing in days.
Somehow managing to avoid the feudalism that seemed to sweep through all of human space during this time, the Sharpes steered well clear of politics, instead concentrating on the military side of things, and not giving much attention to the politics of the day. The relatively stable situation helped matters along, unlike the tumultuous affairs on New Avalon.
When Lucien Davion came calling, Augusta easily joined the Crucis Pact. The cynical Sharpes, though unable to believe Lucien's flowery speeches, were more than willing to fight for him, and later his brother Charles.
Even though Charles Davion attempted to garner more support for the Davion family by elevating New Avalon families to important positions in the Federated Peacekeeping Forces, as it was known at the time, he also recognised the value of the Sharpes, and so many Sharpes, unlike their infamous ancestor, did not have too much difficulty in climbing the ranks if they were talented and lucky enough.
Although the Davions never offered the Sharpes a place in the nobility(they would not have accepted anyway), they always made sure to keep on the family's good side. And so the Sharpes became a virtual institution in the AFFS, dominating the infantry command ranks and often offering several large doses of reality to any ambitious, over-preening mechwarrior officer from the nobility with more pride than brains.
Of less well known was the recruitment of Sharpes into the intelligence services. The very same infantry skills and hard-headedness that passed down from generation to generation of Sharpes made them excellent covert operatives. Quiet and unassuming when they need to be, Sharpes can be found in many branches of MIIO.
Though Augusta is their ancestral homeworld, Sharpes have spread throughout the Inner Sphere in the years since the formation of the Star League, and a sizable cadet branch has sprung up in the Capellan Confederation. Needless to say, most of the Capellan Sharpes are infantry soldiers and commandos as well. Both sides still keep in touch, despite the supposed enmity between the Capellan Confederation and the Federated Suns.
When not engaged in the military, Sharpes are often farmers, ranchers, or plain city folk. Every year, the Sharpes on Augusta would send their young children to the family estate on the continent of Sardinia for a series of games and camps, which are geared towards preparing them for a military life in their future.
Also of interest are the artefacts gathered on the estate, arranged in a small museum. Consisting of all the souvenirs of war collected by Sharpes in their more than 10 centuries of battle, many military historians have often made the trip to Augusta just to look at the items and to consult with Phillip Sharpe, the patriarch of the family, a retired AFFS officer, and an eminent historian in his own right.
The centrepieces of the entire display are Richard Sharpe's cavalry saber, his ancient rifle, and the telescope given to him by the Duke of Wellington in gratitude for saving his life. Even centuries later, the engraved words on the telescope are still clearly visible.
The Federated Commonwealth Civil War at first threatened to split the family and pit brother against brother, but the patriarch of the family, Professor Phillip Sharpe, ordered all members of the family to remain neutral until events dictated otherwise.
As soon as Katherine started authorising the use of deadly force against the citizens of the realm, Phillip Sharpe, in a communiqué to all high ranking Sharpes in the AFFS and MIIO, explained the sheer illegality of her orders(and worse yet, her stupidity in escalating the situation), and told all of them to declare for Victor. Or be disowned.
All of them did as instructed.
When the war ended, the AFFS started playing musical chairs with the general staff. Many surviving Sharpes ended up in the command ranks, and several at the strategic levels.
No matter the future holds, the Sharpes are ever ready to serve their Princess-Regent and country, though only if the orders make sense…
Notable Sharpes, from FM: Updates
Major General Halstead Sharpe, CO, 5th Crucis Lancers Infantry Brigade
Marshal B.H. Kingsley Sharpe, Aide, Minette Operations Area
Major General N'Bushe Sharpe, Aide, Kilbourne PDZ
This is just my half hearted attempt at trying to get the slowpokes(yeah, Randall! I'm calling you out!^_0) over at FanPro to come up with a supplement sourcebook describing the various famous families of the Inner Sphere, which had not gotten much time even though they are every bit as crucial to the storyline.
For example, did you know there are more than 10 Ziblers listed in the command roster lists for the AFFS? It's like you can't go anywhere without tripping over one of them!
And what about the Haseks? The Selaj? The Tetsuharas of the Draconis Combine? Laurels of Tigress? There's so much more that they can put in, and such a supplement for the RPG will definitely be welcome!