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Author Topic: Character Study of the Week: Jeremy Brett  (Read 1053 times)


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Character Study of the Week: Jeremy Brett
« on: 06 July 2015, 06:11:43 »
Sorry for the delay, again, if you've seen my post in the off topic section you might understand why, but enough excuses and on with the article:

Who: Jeremy Brett
What: Captain, Marik Militia, Artillery Lance
   CO, Static Defences, Khe Shang Province
Marshal of the Tamarind District
When: 2979 – 7 October 3071
Weapon of Choice: Artillery
         Powerful Task Forces

Of the many people who had a hand in the fragmentation and eventual dissolution of the Free Worlds League none could have humbler origins than Jeremy Brett, ironically considered a hero of the League by the time of those fateful events.

We have not been told of his youth, family circumstances or early career, he is first introduced as a part of Therese Marik’s background, specifically that marrying him caused Captain-General Janos Marik to disown her, even eventually cashiering Jeremy out of the FWLM proper, leaving him to take up a position with what sound like provincial militia forces.

This is a potent piece of characterisation, mostly for Therese at the time, but this is the root from which Jeremy Brett develops. Specifically he is a player in a forbidden love scenario, he did not marry for fame, money or power, these two loved each other. Certainly something worth being disowned for, or losing your career, thus he is a man of principle.

However Janos dies, Thomas takes the throne and very quickly this provincial militia officer is back within the League military structure and working his way up to higher and higher levels of command.

It is almost impossible not to see this as nepotism in one form or another. True, Jeremy may have reached these levels on his own if no one had interfered to begin with, and it could be viewed as righting an angry old man’s wrong, however if that speculation is possible then it is equally possible that he was promoted and proved himself quite capable in that higher position. In any event prior to the big reveal it would probably have been written off as undoing Janos’ meddling mixed with Thomas Marik reaching out to family.

Given what we know now it was also quite likely to have been a calculated move by the Captain-General as a hedge against disaster, creating an ally within the FWLM upper echelons who would be loyal for reasons beyond law or personal feelings. A man of principle.

If that was the case then in all fairness it worked in the beginning, somewhat. Early in the Jihad most Mariks were more concerned with continuity of leadership and competence, and most really didn’t want the throne themselves. But when they fell to their own bickering it all went to cheese.

What of the man of principle? Though not a Marik by blood Jeremy Brett does bear some responsibility for the fragmentation of the League along with the rest of that illustrious family. Partly for counselling his wife, and partly for having the reputation of a hero and being willing to leverage that to break Tamarind away.

Why? Because from their perspective Corrine had staged a coup against a man they had all elected to support despite circumstances, and had allied with a mass murdering enemy. That was the act of a man of principle as well.

It may sound like he’s using politics as a weapon, a typical mark of a villainous character, except he isn’t. Tamarind’s secession is a political move, intent on countering Corrine and to a lesser degree Kirc Cameron-Jones, however he’s actually using his image and reputation, something he has earned, to support his wife’s political claims. Splitting hairs maybe, however neither he nor his wife are acting with pure political motives, both see this as a necessary move to defend their people, even if they are doing so from a provincial perspective, something that is the curse of the Free Worlds League.

All the same in terms of the weapons he uses Jeremy Brett is rather unique. We have never seen him in actual combat; however that is not all that rare of military characters of import given the number who appear only in sourcebooks. Uniqueness comes from his background as that of an artillery officer, very much an unsung hero position given the nature of the game and of the setting. It means he’s not a lead from the front kind of guy, he may have those skills but they were only going to be shown in rather dire circumstances, such as when his position is overrun, something that has not been presented.

This follows through to his later career, when he truly became the Free Worlds League hero and military genius that was sorely needed by that faction. He’s not stomping out in his ‘Mech, marching forward with the troops or even planning from a tank or mobile HQ. He’s back at district headquarters looking at the bigger picture, assembling forces and deploying them.

While this makes him far less glamorous than the likes of Victor it also makes him much more effective for the large scale battles he faces, arguably much more than Victor, who routinely gets mired in battles for his own survival too often to properly direct actions around the planet, let alone on a given interstellar front. This permits a far greater influence than many more traditional heroes in the Battletech setting.

Add to this his rather romantic background as a commoner marrying royalty in spite of Janos’ efforts and Jeremy Brett easily becomes a popular figure, something that applies to the Tamarind district, the Free Worlds League, and even among more than a few Battletech players.

He even manages to become a fairly competent parent raising offspring with little interest in ruling but willing to pick it up when pressed to.

Realistically for us he only truly comes to attention as a military figure during the FedCom Civil War when he personally sends troops and a warship across the border to save his sister-in-law’s mercenary regiment from that meat grinder conflict.

It’s dramatic, romantic in its own way, and wildly successful as a military operation even if it failed to ultimately save Kristen Marik, showing that someone in the League military actually has some sort of military talent on a large scale. This isn’t a bad thing, with what was coming around the corner an individual such as this was sorely needed, otherwise the Free Worlds League looks unprepared for the upcoming conflict, with no prominent figures to fight on their behalf.

Indeed, building up to the Jihad, the League is something of a blank slate, with fewer novels set there, fewer notable individuals. This was in part because that was where the Blakists were building up their power base and it wouldn’t do to have too many people in authority or of note running around, having adventures, and not turning something up about what was going on. Hints were being dropped fast enough as it was outside of the League.

There are a few options mentioned in source books and field manuals, in fact that’s where Jeremy Brett comes from. The only other possible candidate is Paul Masters who is side lined by larger events and realistically hasn’t proven himself as a large scale military or political leader, certainly he hasn’t been given the same opportunity as Jeremy.

This leaves Jeremy Brett as the nearest thing to a fully fleshed out military character in the Free Worlds League.

Given that he is largely only mentioned in sourcebooks, and then mostly the Jihad series, is he fully developed? No, but he’s surprisingly close. Look at what’s been listed, he’s a father, a romantic figure, a leader, a solid military planner, while details are sparse this is a more diverse background than some novel characters.

So Jeremy Brett comes along somewhat late to the party, not being in focus means he could have had anything, probably boring, to occupy his attention rather than stumbling over Blakist plots.

This is not to be dismissive, the number of people doing this is substantial, it is simply that, as mentioned earlier, with the Blakists so heavily involved with the League it is difficult to write a major character doing major things without having them stumble across something. Hence Jeremy Brett only truly rises to our attention in time to not be a complete come from nowhere military saviour for the League just before the Jihad erupts.

Competence such of this makes it natural to kill him during the Jihad, people of competence were being removed left and right and because he is relatively well developed his death has a certain emotional torque even as he’s removed by a shocking new Blakist method: weaponised humans.

In the end what was Jeremy Brett? A lightning rod, a figure for Free Worlds League citizens and players to point to at a time of need, someone to head up a war effort – because these things routinely fall down to individuals, especially in military fiction – and founder of something of a short lived dynasty, his principled nature seems to have followed through in Photon and Fontaine.

He is a rallying figure during trying times, not nuke happy, or a proven liar, or a long term secessionist and was working in favour of the League for as long as it seemed tenable. While doomed the intent is noble, making his loss a hefty blow for the faction.

Next week, barring particularly interesting requests, Joshua Wolf.


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Re: Character Study of the Week: Jeremy Brett
« Reply #1 on: 06 July 2015, 15:37:58 »
It's probably worth noting that his inital career-ending demotion was if not Nepotism, then it's opposite.  This is taking away someone's job for joining the family-his time in rank may have continued to be unofically counted forward, and he probably gained experience with the milita in working with larger forces, even if it's not a glamorous position.
*Insert support for fashionable faction of the week here*

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Re: Character Study of the Week: Jeremy Brett
« Reply #2 on: 06 July 2015, 15:58:51 »
One of the things about being out of the limelight of the main BTU metaplot for so long is that FWLM officers and heroes tended to be rather low-key.  Even Sir Paul Masters was only a major character in very few novels.  That being said, reading the commander blurbs in the various sourcebooks, there are a few who stick out.

Jeremy Brett was one of them.  Masters is probably the best-known FWLM general officer to non-Marik fans, but he's also a divisive figure due to the sometimes awkward relationship Marik players have with the Knights of the Inner Sphere, not to mention his close relationship with Thomas "Marik."  But Brett and others like him, such as Samuel Garibaldi, Martha Zuritas, and Dana Briggs formed a corps of professional soldiers within the FWLM that were as skilled in warfare as other such more visible luminaries like Ardan Sortek or Nondi Steiner.  Brett's power within the story wasn't that he was a military genius or married to a Marik -- though he certainly leveraged both -- but that he was, at his core, a patriot of the Free Worlds.  He worked for the betterment of the League and the Marik family even when he was operated in opposition to them, the two big examples of course being the non-sanctioned invasion of Arcadia during the FCCW and helping break Tamarind away after the Word turned on Thomas.  The FWLM as a whole respected him greatly, a fact that can be seen during both the Arcadia operation -- the 6th Marik Militia and an entire Thera carrier battle group broke the Captain-General's non-intervention orders to follow Brett's command to rescue the Krushers -- and during Operation BROKEN FIST, when he took command of not only his own Tamarind District's troops, but also effectively controlled the Dieudonne District's forces as well.

I only wish he'd survived the Jihad.  Unfortunately, the League's heroes had to die to allow for the break-up.
RIP Dan Schulz, 09 November 2009.  May the Albatross ever fly high.


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Re: Character Study of the Week: Jeremy Brett
« Reply #3 on: 07 July 2015, 04:53:26 »
Yes, Janos was being petty and vindictive (as much Marik family hallmarks as crazy is for Liao) when he cashiered Jeremy, which likely added to his lustre and minimised protests about his elevations, whatever the Captain-General's motives.

If anything I think Jeremy Brett is more in line with Jackson Davion. He's close to the ruling family, of high rank, worthy of that rank besides which and receiving a hefty dose of personal fame and approval for his own actions. Parallels continue to their deaths in the Jihad at the hands of Blakists.

He sticks out but isn't as visible as Ardan Sortek, or even Jackson Davion, but that goes back to the League being a Blakist nest. I wouldn't mind, if Battlecorps got back into doing novel length serials, having more set in the League, with these sorts of characters, and seeing just how close they came to discovering the truth. Part of the reason for minimal focus on the League was because anything that went there would reveal too much to the reader. That's hardly an issue now, though there is a risk of making characters look like idiots.