The Mercs, or simply just Mercs, are a band of freedom fighters that operate as a militant insurgency against the Galactic Empire. While the Mercs can be associated with the Partisans in their common goals, the two groups differ in both size (the Mercs being larger and better equipped) and the brutality of tactics, in which the Mercs try to avoid civilian casualties and focus solely on military targets and military & political assassinations. While the Mercs were not devoid of contact with the Alliance to Restore the Republic, they were not on necessarily agreeable terms either; as such, communication and cooperation between the two groups was limited and only conducted when absolutely necessary. Additionally, the Mercs were not directly involved with the Spectres and their operations between 5 BBY & 1 BBY, although the freedom fighters knew of the Ghost and its crew and the heroic missions. The lack of involvement from the Mercs with the Spectres is most likely the same reason why Saw Gerrera avoided a stronger working alliance with the Spectres. Although this has never been confirmed.
The Mercs have been using a Marauder-class Corvette known as the Johnny Boy since 19 BBY (and later added the Tempest, a heavily modified ILH-KK Citadel-class Civilian Cruiser in 15 BBY), utilizing the corvette as a base of operations where they launch a mixture of starfighter & shuttle operations from. The corvette has been heavily modified and rebuilt; while the ship's purchase and history are all too vague and mysterious, it appears the Johnny Boy has some significance to Rick Taller personally. Most accounts verify that Taller purchased the vessel from a junk dealer in the Outer Rim Territories.
The Mercs were formed in 19 BBY with Order 66 and the end of the Clone Wars by Rick Taller, a former Judicial of the Judicial Forces who was reassigned to fight alongside Clone Troopers in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars. Taller would rise to fame in the Clone Wars by forming Taller's Hell Riders.
Taller's unit was ordered during, and in the immediate aftermath of, Order 66 to support operations of hunting down Jedi; Taller's unit was extremely loyal to him and the whole unit disobeyed the order secretly, deserting their posts and disappearing into Wild Space after faking their own deaths with a handful of surviving Jedi several weeks after the Clone Wars ended. The clones assigned to Taller followed him into Wild Space, having secretly removed their inhibitor chips long before (around 21 BBY, long before Captain Rex had discovered the chips). It is unknown why the Clones under Taller's command didn't notify Rex or any other clones of the chips.
This hardened bunch of former Judicials & Clones gained the attention of the Empire around 16 BBY, after the Mercs rescued several Jedi set to be executed; while the Empire had initially rated the freedom fighters as pirates before 16 BBY, for several known successful raids on Imperial shipping, they soon changed their classification to militant insurgency after the rescued Jedi. Throughout the years, the Mercs would fight the Empire with one hand and rescued Jedi with the other; the Mercs would send the rescued Jedi to Open Hands Medical Services, a medical nonprofit working with displaced persons and refugees. While Taller and the other Mercs had their suspicions of the true nature of Open Hands Medical Services (in truth, a front organization for the House of Royal Intelligence), as long as the nonprofit paid them for the Jedi and for smuggling medical supplies & equipment to their staff on war-torn worlds, Taller asked little to no questions.
From 17 BBY until 2 BBY, the search & rescue of Jedi became less and soon, Taller & his Mercs found themselves engaged in a brutal and lengthy militant insurgency against the Empire. While over the years, the Mercs lost personnel and equipment, they always found more willing freedom fighters and more equipment they could piece together to make things work. As the years dragged on and so did the fighting, the Mercs found themselves a steady spot on the Imperial Most Wanted List, typically hovering around #10 most years, and Taller turned more and more to a mixture of mercenary work, smuggling, and pirating to make ends meet as they fought the Empire as a militant insurgency in an increasingly tense conflict.
By 2 BBY, the Mercs had gained the attention of the House of Royal Intelligence---who had been tracking them for years---and per the HRI, the Mercs are, in part at least, part of the Prophecy of the Living Force's line of the following: Across the skies, knights will remember their tales in those days and teach others.
The Mercs operate from their base of operations, the Johnny Boy. From there, they launch a variety of militant insurgency operations against the Galactic Empire, typically featuring a mixture of starfighter & shuttle assets from, the starfighter pilots being a mix of commando and pilot to achieve maximum mission versatility. Most times, the Johnny Boy stayed hidden, while the Tempest deployed with the starfighters as both a support vessel and remote command-and-control vessel. In this vein of operations, the Mercs were the forerunners to the Wraith Squadron.
The Mercs utilized an interesting set of ranking, utilizing a specialized master rank to indicate uniquely qualified individuals.
- Officers (the commanding officers)
- Chiefs (the next-in-line of officers and in charge of vital functions, equivalent to senior officers)
- Staff Ranks (leadership roles of crew, pilots, and soldiers; equivalent to junior officers)
- Senior Staff Officer (senior leadership position under the Chiefs)
- Staff Officer (both pilot & commando)
- Staff Commando
- Staff Crew Member
- Staff Pilot
- Staff Security
- Master Ranks (personnel who have achieved exceptional skill & ability in their roles---NCOs)
- Staff Master (both pilot & commando)
- Master Commando
- Master Crew Member
- Master Pilot
- Master Security
- Senior Ranks (leadership roles of crew, pilots, and soldiers; equivalent to NCOs)
- Staff Senior (both pilot & commando)
- Senior Commando
- Senior Crew Member
- Senior Pilot
- Senior Security
- Standard Ranks (personnel who are run-of-the-mill at their job)
- Crew Member
- Junior Ranks (personnel who are at the bottom of the barrel---the new guys)
- Junior Commando
- Junior Crew Member
- Junior Pilot
- Junior Security