Even before the creation of TAROT, The Emperor employed military personnel loyal to himself and his allies as well as a number of mercenaries. As he saw his days in Florentine politics drawing to an end, he culled those men who had demonstrated a certain loyalty to neither country nor gold, but to their close fraternity of warriors. These were put under the charge of military men whom he could trust either by personal loyalty or by fear of his growing magical powers.
Over the years, men have died (or when severely wounded have retired to administrative duties for TAROT), arms and armor have changed, and so have battlefield tactics. The Swords of TAROT have evolved as an organization to a modern military force built primarily for quick strike actions and facilities security. But, the loyalty to the fraternity of the Swords has remained unchanged.
The Swords are TAROT's front-line troops. In 90% of encounters between the general public and TAROT personnel, the TAROT agents in question are Swords. They comprise the greater portion of Tarot's rank and file.
TAROT Sword Agent RanksEdit
As with the other divisions, the Swords are ranked by their suit. Unlike the other divisions, ranking among the swords is as hierarchal as that in a standard army. The specific meaning of each rank is as follows:
- Ace of Swords: Commander of All Tarot Military Forces.
- Two of Swords: Continental Commander.
- Three of Swords: Division Commander.
- Four of Swords: Base Leader.
- Five of Swords: Company Leader.
- Six of Swords: Squad Leader.
- Seven of Swords: Section Leader.
- Eight of Swords: Basic Trooper.
- Nine of Swords: Advanced Trainee.
- Ten of Swords: Recruit Trainee.
The uniform of the TAROT Sword (gray with red accessories) is the one most often pictured by the general public when the subject of TAROT comes up. Swords wear their duty uniforms at all times, strapping on their full body armor and carrying their full complement of weaponry only during field missions.
Most Swords come to TAROT having already been trained by one military force or another, and in those cases the Sword's previous experience generally determines where in the Sword organization the newly recruited agent will land. In some cases, however, the Sword has no real military experience and thus will undergo intense training to determine his natural aptitudes.
Most of the "non-military" Sword recruits were police officers, gang-bangers, felons, bikers, and other "rough-and-tumble" sorts before joining TAROT. Upon being recruited, they are sent to one of TAROT's four basic combat training facilities (hidden in secret locations in Kenya, Uzbekistan, Canada, and Brazil). There they are taught basic squad-level tactics, how to operate TAROT's military equipment, marksmanship, discipline, and the basic rundown on what it is to be a member of TAROT. Those that pass go on to advanced training. Those that fail are used for target practice or medical experimentation.
The current Ace of Swords is Maxim Grigirik, a former member of the Rumanian Secret Police who fled to TAROT one step ahead of an arrest on "Crimes Against Humanity" charges. He's an able administrator, and brilliant when it comes to training practices, but isn't the greatest tactician in TAROT's armed forces.
While the other Divisions use plain names for their sub-groups, the Ace of Swords has named each of the sub-divisions of the Swords after a type of bladed weapon. This practice has caused the other Divisions to roll their eyes a bit, but since The Emperor puts up with it, no one makes much of a fuss. The Swords Division can be sub-divided into the following smaller groups:
The Broadswords are the heavy hitters among the common rank-and-file TAROT soldier. They aren't as heavily armored as the Claymore agents, but nevertheless are equipped with TAROT's biggest guns. TAROT recruits the biggest and strongest Swords for the Broadsword group, and then trains them (or engineers ttem using steroids and other enhancement drugs) to be even bigger and stronger.
The Claymores are TAROT's answer to the Rooks of Checkmate. They wear a suit of state-of-the art battle armor. Able to withstand most common small arms fire, and equipped with an array of high-tech weaponry, in small groups or when supported by other TAROT agents, Claymores are a match for most superheroes who rate Gamma Level or lower (they aren't quite up to the task when operating alone against a Delta Level, and need serious backup when against Beta, Alpha, or Omega Level superhumans, but can give the average hero a hard fight, and against weaker heroes are a true danger).
One of the more interesting pieces of trivia regarding TAROT and its awareness in the public consciousness is that nearly no one ever thinks about TAROT having a naval force. But they do, and the Cutlass agents work as that force. They are trained to operate TAROT's watercraft (including TAROT's small fleet of submarines), perform missions using scuba equipment, perform seaborne recovery and salvage operations, and so on.
The Falchions are made up of those TAROT agents who have shown more than the usual sensitivity to mystic forces. Their primary purpose is to interfere with the actions of magically powered crime-fighters. While a small handful come into TAROT with some background in mysticism, for most the first clue they ever got that magic was actually real was when their Trainer at Basic said "Congratulations, you're being sent to Falchion training". There are no more than three or four dozen Falchions active in all of TAROT (as compared to the nearly 65,000 Sabre Agents that make up the bulk of the entire Swords Division worldwide), and as such are a treasured resource. When assigned to a particular TAROT base, the base commander is made aware, in no uncertain terms, that the High Council considers the Falchion to be a much more valuable resource than the Base Commander himself.
Acting as TAROT's commandos, the Gladius group are among the highest trained of all Tarot agents, regardless of Divison. Only the scientists of the Cups division are equals in terms of depth of skill. To become a Gladius, a Sword must have first proven himself in multiple combat actions. Gladius agents are recruited from the elite of TAROT's fighting forces; they are the best of the best, and know it.
===Katana Agents=== The Katanas are TAROT's pilots. The organization doesn't have a full-blown air force in the modern military sense of the term, but it does use a wide variety of advanced jets, helicopters, and hovercraft. They are not separated into their own units, but rather are assigned to standard combat squads as needed.
Katar agents are TAROT's experts in demolitions and "special weaponry" (meaning small scale chemical weapons; TAROT isn't stupid enough to use nuclear weapons, and as a survivor of the Plague Years in Italy, The Emperor loathes the very concept of using disease as a weapon). They tend to have a reputation as being geeks who like blowing stuff up, but in truth most of them are highly trained engineers and chemists.
Khopeshes are to Psionics and telepathy what Falchions are to magic, though there are far more Khopesh agents in TAROT than there are Falchions. Most of them are only "sensitives" and not truly mentalists. Their primary duty is to monitor a base for psionic intrusion from the outside. A secondary duty, one that isn't often talked about, is to act as a sort of "political commissar" for a TAROT base, insuring the loyalty of all personnel to TAROT itself.
Rapiers are the agents that TAROT calls upon when it has the luxury of setting up a battlefield in advance, or when it needs to perform an assassination from long distance. Trained snipers and infiltration experts, Rapier agents know how to enter an area undetected, lie low until the time is right, make precisely aimed shots from surprise, and then get out quickly and unobtrusively. They are sometimes used as battlefield support for more standard field missions.
Saber agents make up the bulk of TAROT's military forces; they are highly trained infantrymen used in nearly 90% of all TAROT field missions. They've been trained to use a myriad of personal and crew-served weapons, and when operating in a combat team can prove themselves a threat to all but the most powerful superhuman.