Colonel General Sir Brian Andrew Kessar GCMT GCSM GSIC OV OM (10 June 3237 – January 3285) was a State Security general officer, special forces leader, and field commander. Kessar served in the Security Forces since its inception in 3270, in the position of Chief of Staff to Director William McGrady. He also held the role of Commander of Special Operations from 3274 to his disappearance. In 3275, 3280, and 3288 the Security Forces were greatly enlarged by Acts of Congress approving the expansion of its duties, and Kessar's responsibilities increased during his presence for two of these enlargements. Kessar was promoted to a generalship and made commanding officer of a field unit, the elite 6th Armoured Strategic Security Corps, usually referred to as Panzerkorps Kessar. The 6th Armoured has remained the forefront of Security Forces field troops, and has been decorated many times for police actions across the Galaxy. After his disappearance and death his chief of staff, General Gwen Fitzroy took command of the 6th Armoured Strategic Security Corps.
Prior to his recruitment into the State Security apparatus, he was a mercenary and government contractor who sold his services to many dukes and governors of Imperial planets fighting against colonial insurrectionists during the 3260s, in between stints in the Terran Imperial Army. Kessar was very frank in interviews about his past as a mercenary, and was a primary public source for the secretive exploits of the legendary 71st Studies and Observations Group during the Great War. Alongside his half-brother and fellow State Security officer, Xander, Brian fought with the 71st SOG against terrorist groups, colonial rebels, treasonous plotters, and criminals while on retainer to the Imperial government as a mercenary contractor. While his brother joined the State Security apparatus early on and rose high, Brian only reluctantly joined a couple years afterwards.
Kessar disappeared in January of 3285 during a scientific expedition to the planet Chios in the Outer Orion sector, as part of a State Security command detail. Many of his soldiers and all of his personal guard disappeared as well. The surviving soldiers reported that Kessar died in a wildlife attack, and he and the other disappeared soldiers were consumed by predatory animals. His body and remains were never found, and the exact circumstances and purpose of the expedition remain classified. He received a posthumous state funeral and was posthumously promoted to the rank of Ducatus, equivalent to a Field Marshal in the Army. Chios and its unique and intelligent wildlife became the subject of scientific study after his death, and the planet is now a wildlife preserve.
Kessar was one of the more reclusive high generals of State Security, rarely giving interviews with the news media. However, those that he has given were very frank and laden with much information on topics ranging from military history of the Great War and State Security to such personal topics as his brother and his own upbringing.
Brian Andrew Kessar was born on June 10th, 3237 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Province to Éva Kessar (nee Kovács) and Commodore Stephen Kessar, both North Americans of Hungarian and Jewish ancestry. His father was a senior Navy officer who was based in nearby Philadelphia as the supervisor of the Philadelphia Naval Station. Stephen had previously served as the commander of a mobile riverine force of Naval special forces during the Cruxite War. At war's end, Stephen was reassigned to a home station on Earth, and settled down with a childhood friend, Éva Kovács. His mother made a living as the manager of a hardware store in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and it is in Bethlehem that she raised Brian while Stephen was away on duty.
On 3 July 3240, when Brian was not even three years of age, his father fell from the dockside at the Shipyard and drowned. Coroner reports stated that Stephen had struck his head on a steel pylon and fell unconscious as he fell into the ocean. His mother fell into a deep depression and became a shut-in. Fired from her job, she and Brian lived on government assistance for over a year until she remarried in May 3241. She married a friend from down her street, a French businessman named Philippe de Vox. In January 3242, she gave birth to another son, Xander. However, it became increasingly apparent that Xander was not Philippe's child.
Kessar has said in interviews that the arguments between his mother and step-father were often heated, and occasionally turned violent. This matches similar statements from his brother in the subject, and is thought to be a major contribution to his parents' divorce in 3248. Brian has asserted that, after the divorce, his mother became angry and abusive, blaming Xander for her destroyed marriage and often taking it out on Brian physically and violently. He has negated rumours of their mother's violence towards Xander, but has mentioned that after he departed the household in 3255, he was not there to see what else transpired before their mother's accidental death in 3258.
Kessar enlisted in the Army on June 6th 3254 at age 17. He went through Basic Training, Infantry School, and Harsh Environment Training throughout 3254. Early on he was recognised for his commanding presence and keen sense of improvisation in combat training scenarios. He was recommended for Army Officer Candidate School, and was commissioned a Lieutenant in November 3255. He was assigned to the 3rd Troop, 340th Dragoons Battalion of the 8th Cavalry Division, as commanding officer of the unit's Weapons Platoon. The 8th Cavalry was stationed in the Outer Rim, and engaged in combat with colonial rebels throughout the mid and late 3250s. Kessar fought in several engagements with the 340th Dragoons, earning a promotion to First Lieutenant and was awarded the Iron Cross for valour, as well as the Bronze and Silver Stars. He served in the 340th for almost seven years. In late 3261, he was injured by a grenade blast and was hospitalised. He was granted a medical leave in March 3262 and became a reservist.
Kessar recovered from his injuries and attempted to lead a civilian life back on Earth, with only marginal duties as a reserve officer. He worked variously as a construction contractor, a bouncer, and a stevedore between 3262 and 3265. He found work between jobs as a bounty hunter. He stayed away from his childhood home in Pennsylvania, and worked in New York, Maryland, and travelled also to Bohemia and Germany. However, these jobs brought little satisfaction.
He decided to apply for a transfer back into the active service in September 3265 at the outset of the war.
Kessar was re-activated as an officer and promoted to Captain in September 3265. The need for experienced officers was high. Kessar went through Airborne School and Army Ranger School in Georgia and Kentucky in 3265 and was assigned to lead 1st Platoon, 4th Special Forces Group in the Soviet front.
He led the unit from December 3265 to November 3266, when he resigned his commission in the army for good. The unit suffered catastrophic losses in a botched air assault in mid-November 3266, and Kessar felt personally responsible even though the operation had been ordered by the Group staff commanders. He sent in his letter of resignation to the Army HR command for his unit, and was officially discharged on 1 December, 3266.
Kessar almost immediately began applying for security contractor jobs. Feeling "more free to conduct things my way, to be responsible for only myself," he became a mercenary. He acquired a job on 20 December with the Tempest Free Company to conduct a pacification operation on Mander, an urbanised world in the Outer Colonies. The conflict that broke out through late December as the Tempest contractors battled it out with antiwar protesters, communist urban guerillas, and criminals became known as the "Christmas War". It was during this conflict that he reconnected with his brother, Xander Vox. Vox had also become a mercenary, and had also signed up with Tempest for the Mander job.
Kessar and Vox sought work as mercenaries together throughout 3267 and early 3268, fighting together in many police actions and small conflicts. The eruption of a crime wave across the colonies meant that work was not hard to find, and they became very well-off. In May 3268, they both obtained a government contract to work as field consultants with an elite special action unit in anti-terrorist situations. The primary contract ended in late May, but Kessar was kept on retainer. Vox enlisted in the Imperial Strategic Intelligence Agency and became a government field operative, and also enlisted in the Capital Police force. Kessar refused to enlist directly into government service, and continued work as an independent mercenary.
Kessar was repeatedly brought back in to consult with the 71st SOG from 3268 to late 3270. In between his periods of action with the special forces group, he took various mercenary contracts. He voluntarily pursued jobs that brought him into direct conflict against the Dragon Syndicate, a large criminal and space pirate gang which operated largely in the Empire of Orion and in Imperial border worlds. In October 3270, he and elements of the 71st SOG and of the Orion Colonial Gendarme participated in a police raid on a Syndicate plenary meeting. In the midst of this, internecine conflict within the Syndicate exploded into violence in the boardroom, and most of the Syndicate's leadership were killed by their own hands.
In November 3270, he enlisted into the Imperial State Security Department.
State Security career
Kessar joined the ISSD in November 3270 upon the department's creation, and was assigned to the Field Operations Agency headed by fellow ex-Raider William McGrady. He was sent to the Political Training and Leadership Course in Quantico, Virginia from January to February 3271 and was commissioned a Major. He was made Chief of Staff to the Director, and assigned to head the training and operation of special forces. He was promoted to Standardier in 3272 as the Office of Special Operations expanded to include an entire Legion of security troops. He personally led a few field operations with his elite legionaries, but became more and more bound to organisational, training, and planning duties on Earth. Much of his efforts were placed into the readiness and operational planning for his elite Legio IX, or Ninth Legion, a division-strength force of special operations and air assault troops.
In 3275, the war was won and the Empire was reformed as the Central Galactic Union. The ISSD was separated into its own Ministry, and the State Security Forces became their own department under Director McGrady. Kessar became a Quaestor, equivalent to a Major General, and commanded the ever-broadening special forces and had operational control over several legions. In 3277, two of these legions plus support units were amalgamated into a single force, the 6th Armoured Strategic Security Corps. While General Kessar still held command over several more legions, the 6th ASSC became not only his personal unit to command in the field, but the Department's première special operations-capable and armoured warfare unit.
Kessar was assigned to lead the 6th ASSC and other elements in Operation Crassus from 3279 to 3280. He personally led the intervention on Keystone during the civil war there in the summer of 3280. He was elevated throughout these conflicts to Prefect in 3277, Tribune in 3279, and finally to Legate in 3281. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross for his leadership during Operation Crassus, and the Grand Star of the Iron Cross for his resolution of the Keystone crisis. He was so successful in his conduct of special and assault operations during these crises that he earned the moniker "McGrady's fireman".
In November and December 3284, he was tasked with hunting down Yellow Jacket pirate squadrons during the early stages of the Pirate War. At some unspecified point in early January 3285, he and select elements of Legio IX departed to escort and command a joint CGU-Vatican scientific expedition to the planet Chios.
Incident and investigation
The expedition arrived at Chios sometime in early January. The details and exact purpose of the expedition have never been released to the public, and are retained as a classified top-secret item under the provisions of the National Secrets Act. The few public statements of the situation are that a small ship-to-ship combat engagement occurred between Union forces and a Yellow Jacket pirate spacecraft, during which a non-combatant spacecraft present at Chios was deorbited and crashed into the planet. The Yellow Jacket craft was chased away and pursued by a mercenary combat spacecraft, with the assistance of Kessar's forces and equipment. After the engagement, Kessar and his security teams deployed to assist in scouting the planet and protecting the scientific research teams. Kessar and several of his bodyguards disappeared during this operation.
His surviving bodyguards reported that he and his immediate security detail were attacked by native wildlife. The survivors saw the incident at a distance and with little close detail, and could not be certain of what occurred. He and his security team disappeared sometime in mid or late January. Secondary investigation into the disappearance in February uncovered no evidence of his body anywhere, and it was assumed that he and his guards had been eaten after being killed by the planet's particularly large and aggressive fauna. Brian Kessar was declared officially dead on 6 February 3285 after the investigation was unable to recover his body and found no evidence of his survival.
Kessar was publicly mourned by many officials, including his brother General Vox, his superior General McGrady, his colleague General Peiper, and his immediate subordinates in the Security Forces. Supreme Chancellor Maximilian decreed his posthumous promotion to the rank of Ducatus, equivalent to a General Field Marshal, and awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Mary of Terra on 1 March.
Kessar was honoured by a torchlight parade through the streets of Philadelphia on the night of 9 June, led by his brother who delivered a public eulogy. The next morning, on what would have been his 48th birthday, his empty casket received a state military funeral and was interred at the Philadelphia National Cemetery. Vox presided silently over the funeral, and various figures made minor eulogies. Among them were his successor as commander of Panzerkorps Kessar, General Gwen Fitzroy, his superior Director William McGrady, and his close associate and adjutant Colonel Jackson Smith. The funeral was attended by 10,000 people. Roughly 400 of whom were officers of the Ninth Legion, and another 2,000 of whom were other State Security personnel.
On 10 June 3286, a year following his funeral, a granite statue of Kessar was completed in the main square of Philadelphia. Six months prior, on the anniversary of his disappearance, he was honoured with a bust placed in the Hall of Heroes in the capital city of Constance. The training facility for Security Forces special operations located at Marienburg Castle was renamed the Brian A. Kessar Special Warfare School.
The planet Chios was the recipient of significant scientific investigation and study following Kessar's disappearance. The initial report of the investigation into his disappearance and presumed death revealed the existence of quasi-intelligent and unique life on the planet, particularly a species of large reptilian alien animals with chimpanzee-level problem solving intelligence and complex social dynamics. The survivors of the expedition lobbied for the world to be declared a biological preserve. This was complicated as the planet was leased in perpetuity to the Exploratory Genetics Corporation of Orion, which had done extensive research of the planet's wildlife from the 27th to 31st centuries. However, ExGen had filed for bankruptcy in 3191 and its assets were auctioned off. Most company records relating to its research on Chios were lost, but fragments were obtained by the Creed Genetics Institute of Brazil. The lease to the planet was owned by the McGrady Financial Group as a real estate asset, largely untouched. The Central Galactic government finalised a deal in late 3286 to buy out the leasing contract and acquire Creed Genetics' records on Chios and its wildlife. On 20 January 3287, the entirety of planet Chios was declared a national parkland and biological preserve and placed under the administration of the Ministry of the Interior's Department of Parks and Wildlife, with small scientific establishments present to conduct behavioural, xenological, and ecological study. The newly-minted preserve was named the Brian Kessar Memorial Park.
Kessar was noted as a man of few words in public. He largely shunned the spotlight which his brother and his superior delighted in, preferring to keep a subdued and simple image. He became famous, however, in the late 3270s with the vast successes of his combat leadership. He gave few interviews, but those he did give are seen as treasures of information about otherwise highly secretive and speculative events. He has been one of the main public sources for information on the exploits of the legendary Beaumont's Raiders, his brother's past history, the workings of the labyrinthine State Security apparatus, and his own upbringing. While many historical books have been written about the Great War, Kessar's personal experiences on multiple levels in the conflict are valued for their varied perspectives: Army special forces, free-company mercenary, and finally as a State Security shock trooper and commander. He published his memoir, Three Faces of War in 3282 as a more personal summary of these three different perspectives.
Kessar was survived by his younger half-brother, General Xander Vox, Director-General of the Republic Security Department. His father died when he was an infant and his mother had died in 3258 during his time in the Army. His stepfather never contacted either Vox or Kessar after the 3248 divorce, and had died in 3270.
Kessar had few known long-term relationships during his life. He married his lover Irene Stavros in a non-binding private ceremony in 3269. Kessar was often away on mercenary contracts and then on State Security duties; they cohabited from 3276 to 3279. The relationship was turbulent, with much tension prior to their cohabitation and accusations of emotional and sexual infidelity on both sides. After 3279 they rapidly grew apart and 'dissolved' their unofficial marriage in 3281. Stavros retained full custody of their son, Matthias, who was born in March 3270.
Kessar was known to be a keen hunter, marksman, equestrian, and motor vehicle enthusiast. He was also known as a lover of animals, and kept a pack of seven hounds at his East Prussian hunting lodge, the Jägerhof Kessar. He also owned four house cats (Artemis, Apollo, Balder, and Frey), two German raccoons (Claus and Victor), and a favourite riding horse (Stephen) along with several other pet horses. His primary residence in Virginia sported a preserved area of woodland for local wildlife. He also contributed much of his salary to charities preserving Virginian wetlands specifically, as well as other wildlife areas across Earth and on other planets throughout the Republic.
Summary of Army and State Security career
Enlisted in the Terran Imperial Army on 6 June 3254. Went to Basic Training from 1 July to 2 August 3254, Infantry School from 12 August to 12 September 3254, and Harsh Environment Training 15 to 30 September 3254. Went to NCO School 30 October to 30 December 3254. Attended Officer Candidate School 1 January 3255 to 6 November 3255. Commissioned an Officer of the Imperial Army 6 November 3255. Assigned to Weapons Platoon, 3rd Troop, 340th Dragoons Battalion, 22nd Armored Brigade of the 8th Guards Cavalry Division from 30 November 3255 to 30 October 3261. Hospitalized 31 October 3261 to 1 March 3262 due to severe injuries. Inactive reserve 2 March 3262 to 9 September 3265. Reactivated upon request 9 September 3265. Went to Army Airborne School 15 September to 22 October 3265. Went to Army Ranger School 1 November to 1 December 3265. Assigned to 1st Platoon, 4th Special Forces Group from 3 December 3265 to 12 November 3266. Applied for resignation of commission 20 November 3266.
Honourably discharged from Army service on 1 December 3266.
Enlisted in the State Security Forces on 5 November 3270. Attended Political Training and Leadership Course from 1 January to 2 February 3271. Commissioned an Officer of State Security 2 February 3271. Commissioned a General of State Security 1 March 3275.
Disappeared January 3285, declared officially dead 6 February 3285. Posthumously promoted to Field Marshal 1 March 3285. Buried, empty casket 10 June 3285 at Philadelphia National Cemetery.
Dates of rank
- Recruit (E-0) 6 June 3254.
- Private (E-1) 1 July 3254.
- Private First Class (E-2) 30 September 3254.
- Sergeant (E-5) 30 December 3254
- Lieutenant (O-1) 6 November 3255
- Captain (O-3) 21 September 3265
- Aqulifier (O-0) 3 November 3270
- Major (O-4) 2 February 3271
- Standardier (O-6) 30 April 3272
- Quaestor (O-8) 1 March 3275
- Prefect (O-9) 16 July 3277
- Tribune (O-10) 31 December 3279
- Legate (O-11) 1 February 3281
- Ducatus (O-13) 1 March 3285 (posthumous)
- Grand Star of the Iron Cross
- Grand Cross of the Iron Cross
- Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves and Swords
- Order of Victory
- Order of Merit
- Iron Cross
- Intelligence Shield
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Distinguished Intelligence Cross
- War Merit Cross
- Intelligence Star
- Silver Star
- Bronze Star
- Military Spaceflight Badge
- Paratrooper Badge
- Marksman Badge
- Expert Badge (Automatic Rifles)
- Infantry Assault Badge (in Black)
- Close Combat Badge (in Black)
- Wound Badge (6 times)
- Army Service Medal (with Eagle)
- Civil Service Medal (3 times)
- Distinguished State Honor Award
- Outer Rim Police Action Medal
- Cassiopeia Campaign Combat Action Medal
- Knight Grand Star of the Iron Cross
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. Mary of Terra
- Knight Grand Cross of the Military Order of St. Michael
- Member of the Order of Victory
- Member of the Order of Merit
Behind the scenes
The character of Brian Kessar was created and developed by Andrew Tyler Cobb, a member of the creative team. He was devised at the same time, and in conjunction with, Weston Hill's character of Xander Vox. It was decided that the two characters would be brothers or half-brothers, though the exact relationships between the boys and their parents were ambiguous and cloudy. Brian was originally conceived as behaving like the Marvel Comics character Deadpool, with a dark and self-aware sense of humour regarding his violent actions. As time went along, Brian became more serious and as a result, the characterisation of the humorous mercenary became a façade that belied the character's dissatisfaction with the course his life had taken. He instead became a mercenary that hated himself for being the pawn of an increasingly totalitarian government, eventually consigning himself to the inevitability of working for it, and took a job with State Sec. He was "awakened" sometime later by General Céleste Beaumont and now-deserter Gracie Gray, who revealed their participation in a resistance movement and their recognition of his malaise and apathy with the government. He joined them, and set to repurpose some of his State Sec operatives as deep-cover agents of the resistance, training guerillas and laying in wait for the time to act. At the same time, he developed a romantic attachment to Beaumont and they became lovers, even while he had a wife and kid.
But, Brian became increasingly impatient and decided to fake his death and leave his men in the hands of his confidante and chief of staff, General Gwen Fitzroy. While on a scientific mission to the planet Chios, he departed with a group of outlaws to seek out and destroy a cadre of Yellow Jacket pirates. He chose to go to ground and told his men to cover it up with a story of his disappearance and death at the hands of the, admittedly violent and large, wildlife on Chios. As far as the government knows, he really did disappear. In truth, he joined some outlaw bands with the resistance and participated more directly in the war against the CGU. No one else, not even Beaumont, is aware of this.