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Trail-Blazers

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The Trail-Blazers are considered to be the elite, front-line infantry troops of the Amtrak Federation, comprising both ground troops and pilots (known informally as wingmen). They are generally accorded the highest respect and honour by other Trackers.

Trail-Blazers are the combat personnel assigned to the Federation's wagon-trains. They serve as crew, combat troops and pilots, and are the most highly-trained soldiers in the Federation. There is a long waiting list to join the Trail-Blazer division, even more to become a wingman, and to be chosen to serve in its ranks is seen as a great honour.

There are several prerequisites required to serve as a Trail-Blazer. The applicant must suffer minimal or no symptoms of agoraphobia. They have to have high scores in aptitude tests, and display coolness and level-headedness under fire or stressful situations.

On combat patrols, Trail-Blazers operate in eight-man patrols and are required to stay within visual contact of the rest of their squad or the wagon-train unless mission requirements dictate otherwise.

Armour and battle-dressEdit

On patrol, Trail-Blazers wear a red-coloured camouflage battle suit with helmet, gloves and boots all designed to minimise the wearer's exposure to radiation. Their field helmets are equipped with TARA (Target Acquisition and Ranging Display) modules located above the visor. A much-improved Mark 2 version is now entering service. Each helmet also contains a short-wave radio antenna and a photo-chromatic visor which assists in all visibility conditions.

ArmamentEdit

Tracker infantry weapons

Tracker infantry weapons. Image by Pierre-Andre Tilley

Each Trail-Blazer goes into battle equipped with fragmentation and smoke grenades, a machete, a combat knife which doubles as a bayonet, and a three-barrelled air rifle with 40mm underslung grenade launcher. The rifle is linked via umbilical to the soldier's visor, which assists in target acquisition and selection. The rifles are equipped with back-up optical sights (should the laser sight, umbilical or the helmet be disabled) and is powered by a 3.000 psi pressurised air supply.

The Federation opted to use air-based weapons, despite their weak range, due to the inablity of either the Mutes or Iron Masters to refill the air bottle once exhausted, thus denying the use of captured weapons to the enemy. All knowledge of explosive-based propellants has been suppressed by the Federation and restricted to the most secure databanks of COLUMBUS. Unfortunately, the Iron Masters have maintained their use of gunpowder-based technology, knowledge which has now spread to the Mutes. With the genie out of the bottle, so to speak, the First Family is currently reviewing the moratorium on such weapons.

Command hierarchyEdit

The ground combat personnel on a wagon train are under the command of the Trail Boss, who reports directly to the wagon-master.

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