Clan Diamond Shark's history is certainly one of the more distinct in Clan history. No other Clan has been forced to make a more fundamental change than the Diamond Sharks.
Clan Diamond Shark began its existence as Clan Sea Fox, named by Nicholas Kerensky for a seallink reptilian predator found in Strana Mechty's freshwater oceans. Nicholas admired this animal for the honor it apparently paid to its prey, seeming to bow to its opponent before attacking. Nicholas saw the ability to honor one's enemy as one of the essential traits that set the true warrior apart from the barbarian killing machine. Clan Sea Fox remained admirably faithful to that trait, as well as to the idealism and adaptability bequeathed to it by its two most influential Khans.
Clan Sea Fox quickly gained a reputation for free thinking liberalism and a openness with its lower castes which was remarkably different from the other Clans. Under the leadership of Khan Karen Nagasawa, Clan Sea Fox was soon known for its democratic ways and liberal attitudes toward all its caste members. Khan Nagasawa's policies paid off hugely as the Clan reaped substantial benefits from its exploration teams and the Clan-wide information network, the Chatterweb. With access to a number of extremely lucrative markets as well as being one of the first Clans to deploy OmniMechs, Clan Sea Fox rose to a high stature in a remarkably short time. All of these successes, though, came at a high price. The sea fox, once an endangered species, was soon to fall to a man-made threat.
Khan Howell of Clan Snow Raven, angered at recent losses to the hated Clan Sea Fox, ordered his scientists to create the ultimate aquatic killer. The Snow Raven scientists genetically engineered a Terran great white shark to become an even more fearsome predator. The new shark was dubbed the diamond shark, in honor of the diamond hard ridges on its flanks. The shark was then released into the sea in search of prey. It found it - in the sea fox. The sea fox of Strana Mechty knew no natural enemies. It was at the top of the food chain the planet's oceans and greatly admired by Clan Sea Fox. Within weeks, the diamond shark had decimated much of the sea fox's population. Soon the sea fox, which had already been saved from extinction once, was doomed.
No one knew of the sea fox's plight until Khan Clarke sailed out to give tribute. As Khan offered homage to the sea fox, he and his attendants were shocked to see a sea fox brutally killed by a previously unknown sea creature. Khan Clarke ordered the capture of the creature. A squad of Elementals managed to capture the beast, but the Sea Fox scientists were unable to identify its species. The arrival of the diamond shark left the Sea Fox Khans in a quandary. A quick survey indicated that the sea fox would be extinct before the end of the year. Clearly, the diamond shark proved the superior of the sea fox.
Khan Clarke called for vote allowing Clan Sea Fox to change its name to Diamond Shark. During the debates, it was revealed that the Snow Ravens were responsible for the destruction of the sea fox. Some of the other Khans were sympathetic to the Sea Fox's dilemma, but in the end the vote was cast against the name change. Khan Clarke immediately declared a Trial of Refusal and won the right to change the Clan's name.
After much pondering and soul searching, Khan Clarke came to a controversial decision. Khan Clarke threw the vote to change the Clan's name open to all members of the Clan. The warriors were enraged by this, but Khan Clarke stood firm in the face of opposition, defeating all challengers. In the end, the Clans name was changed to Diamond Shark. The Sea Fox was gone forever.
Few Clans were pleased by the vote, the Smoke Jaguars least of all. Appalled that the Sharks would let their lower castes have a say in anything, the Jaguars launched a major attack against a Diamond Shark holding. Khan Clarke ordered his units to use flexible tactics, knowing that the Jaguars depended upon rigid battle plans and strict adherence to the chain of command. The Diamond Shark units crushed the Jaguar force, proving that the Sharks were not as weak-willed as some thought. Though born more than a century apart, Khan Karen Nagasawa and Khan Damon Clarke did more to shape Clan Sea Fox than any other leaders in this Clan's history.
Clan Diamond Shark occupies a unique position among the Clans. Within a rigidly hierarchical blueprint for society, they have come closest to democracy; among people convinced that military strength depends on tight controls and reverence for the chain of command, the Diamond Sharks have achieved remarkable battlefield prowess through the kind of flexibility other Clans disdain. Clan Diamond Shark is also the only Clan ever to have changed its name, a startling shift for a society that values order and stability above virtually all things. In changing its name, Clan Diamond Shark adapted to a unique set of circumstances. Its ability to do so most clearly demonstrates this Clan's unorthodox nature.
Century of Change
The next century brought about great changes as the Sharks continued to show themselves to be expert merchants and scientists. Many technological advances, including the perfection of many BattleMech weapons, gave the Sharks great tactical flexibility as its warriors were amongst the first to field OmniMechs. Diamond Shark scientists also discovered the harjell, which, when combined with a starch produced a extremely durable and flexible substance used in the repair of Elemental armor and securing hull breaches on DropShip, JumpShips and WarShips.
The Crusaders demands for invasion put the Diamond Sharks in a difficult position. While they agreed in principle that the Inner Sphere needed to be brought into the fold, they were at odds with the other Clans as to the method. Over the last century, the Sharks had slowly transitioned from being a Warden Clan to Crusader. The Sharks disagreed with the Wolves about leaving the Inner Sphere alone and definitely did not want the Smoke Jaguars leading the attack. The Jaguars brutal policies and attitudes toward the lower castes left the Shark Khans concerned about the future of the Inner Sphere. Clan history had shown that the Jaguars would likely incinerate any population center that caused them too much trouble.
As the years passed, the Diamond Shark Khans came to the decision that invasion was inevitable and they were the logical Clan to lead the invasion. When Khan Kherlin Ward proposed Wolf's Dragoons in 3005, the Diamond Shark Khans voted in favor of the proposal. The lack of information concerning the Inner Sphere convinced the Shark Khans to wait until they learned how matters fared in the Successor States.
Fortunately, the decision to wait proved correct. The information provided by Wolf's Dragoons convinced many that the Inner Sphere, rather from being a collapsing hulk, was beginning to thrive once more. Further evidence showed that the Successor States were rapidly regaining the technology lost during the ruinous Successor Wars. The emergence of the Federated Commonwealth alarmed many Crusader Khans. They cited that the Commonwealth was on the verge of rebuilding the Star League on its own!
The matter was debated further over the next few years, with all talks of invasion stalled by the Warden Khans. The decision to invade came when Khan Leo Showers presented evidence that the Inner Sphere was readying itself to invade the Clan homeworlds. Khan Showers' eloquence not only guaranteed the invasion, but that he would be elected ilKhan.
The bidding for slots in the invasion force was fierce, only Clan Wolf (by virtue of being the heirs of the Kerensky's) was exempted from the many brutal Trials. Khan Hawker's Diamond Shark forces did not fair well in the Trials and was forced to accept a position as a reserve Clan.
The Diamond Keshik journeyed with the invasion force and fought well alongside the Jade Falcons. The Keshik performed so well, in fact, that prominent Jade Falcons schemed to remove the Diamond Shark presence from the invasion force by any means. The Sharks were eventually force to limit their role in the Inner Sphere, but not after winning the planet Nyserta from Clan Ghost Bear.
As with the invasion itself, Khan Ian Hawker failed to earn his Clan a pre-eminent place during the bidding for this historic battle. Over-eager to win the right of first landing and over-confident of his warriors' strength, Khan Hawker initially bid a mere six Clusters, and dared not go too far below his opening gambit. The Khans of the other Clans all surpassed Clan Diamond Shark in the number of concessions they could make, and so Clan Diamond Shark ended up landing second to last. Adding insult to injury, Clan Smoke Jaguar won the right to land first.
The Diamond Sharks' target cities, Kozice Prime and Urcunat, lie a mere 20 kilometers from each other on the far side of the Kozice Valley. All five Clusters of the Shark assault force landed in the valley; Alpha Galaxy's Nineteenth Heavy Cluster and Thirty-ninth Striker Cluster headed toward Kozice Prime, while Gamma Galaxy's 222nd Assault Cluster and 369th Striker Cluster headed toward Urcunat.
Alpha Galaxy's Nineteenth Heavy Cluster met the 182nd and Eighty-fifth Divisions of the Third ComGuard Army in the foothills overlooking Kozice Prime, while the elite Thirty-ninth Striker Cluster clashed with a division of the Eighth Army as the Clan 'Mechs entered the narrow end of the Kozice Valley. The Nineteenth Heavy fared well against the Eighty-fifth, but could only make a little headway toward their objective before the 182nd Division outflanked them. The 182nd held Alpha Galaxy' forces down in a brutal slugging match, while the remaining 'Mechs of the Eighty-fifth joined the Thirty-first and Fifty-sixth in an attempt to disrupt the Sharks' supply lines.
Gamma Galaxy's Clusters quickly turned their attention to this new threat, and the 222nd Assault Cluster won the honor of destroying the raiders. The conflict between the 222nd and the ComGuards' Eighty-fifth Division was particularly brutal, with neither side able to gain the upper hand for some time. Finally, Star Colonel Seth Davis grew so frustrated that he called upon the remaining Clusters of Gamma Galaxy for help. The added 'Mechs enabled him to crush the Eighty-fifth, only to lose all but a single MechWarrior to the avenging Thirty-first and Fifty-sixth Divisions.
While Gamma Galaxy battled the doomed Eighty-fifth and the divisions of the Eighth Army, Precentor Burkenbine's Fifth Army executed a combat drop behind the Sharks' front lines, neatly cutting Alpha and Gamma Galaxies off from their landing zone and supplies. Meanwhile, the ComGuards troops already in the valley received reinforcements from the Eighty-second, 301st, and 182nd Divisions. The shocked Diamond Shark Khans found their Galaxies completely surrounded and dangerously low on ammunition.
Khan Hawker regrouped the surviving Alpha and Gamma Clusters for an all-out frontal assault in a desperate attempt to break through the deadly ring of ComGuards 'Mechs. Meanwhile, Khan Sennet called upon the reserve 'Mechs of Omega Galaxy to rescue the front-line units from the trap. While Omega Galaxy fought its way past the 323rd and 299th Divisions of the Fifth Army, the rest of the ComGuards cut down the charging Alpha and Gamma Galaxy OmniMechs like so much wheat. The frontal assault, so prized by Khan Hawker because he considered it more Clan-like than more devious tactics, proved a fatal mistake in the brutal contest with the well-equipped and far trickier ComGuards.
Despite the heavy damage done by ComStar's forces, Omega's reserve 'Mechs finally managed to punch a hole in the ComGuards' iron net. The remnants of Alpha and Gamma Galaxies limped back to the landing zone, the ComGuards harassing their flanks and rear all the way. Just as the Clan drew within sight of its DropShips, the ComGuards massed for a final killing assault. The Diamond Sharks waited for the deadly blow, but it never fell. Instead, the freebirth MechWarriors of Omega Galaxy silently spread out and met the enemy head-on. The ComGuards destroyed Omega Galaxy, but the freebirths' sacrifice cleared the way for the remnants of Alpha and Gamma Galaxies to make good their escape.
In recognition of the incredible bravery shown by a class of warriors he had always de-valued, a chastened Khan Hawker formally rescinded his ban on freebirth warriors serving in front-line OmniMechs. Despite the courage of its troops, Clan Diamond Shark lost almost all of the troops it had committed on Tukayyid.
The near-total destruction of their forces on Tukayyid cost the Diamond Sharks many of their finest officers as well as much of their pride. As if to add insult to injury, within a year of the Tukayyid debacle, they lost Nyserta to several Ghost Bear Clusters determined to take their world back. In the six years subsequent to the disastrous battle on Tukayyid, the Diamond Sharks have spent enormous amounts trading with the other Clans and rebuilding their touman. Diamond Shark merchants have made enormous profits in recent years selling goods and equipment to the invading Clans. Diamond Shark transports are the least threatening to Inner Sphere, but their WarShips will not hesitate to attack any vessel that interferes with their trade.
In the interim, Khan Hawker has ceded control of the Clan to Angus Labov, head of the politically powerful merchants council, in return for the resources to rebuild. The Diamond Sharks have rebuilt their military in record time.
In the years since 3056, Clan Diamond Shark has slowly recovered some of the considerable honor it lost by losing so clearly on Tukayyid. Khan Ian Hawker himself was one of the fourteen Khans present at the Grand Council and with his scorn for the pragmatic, voted against Clan Jade Falcon Khan Elias Crichell's nomination for ilKhan. It was the negative votes of the Diamond Shark Khans that allowed Khan Vlad Ward of Clan Jade Wolf, a Clan formerly named Wolf, declare a trial of refusal against the election of Crichell to ilKhan and kill Elias in that trial.
Prior to the recent Inner Sphere counterattack, Khan Hawker joined forces with Ice Hellion Khan Asa Taney in an attempt to absorb one or more of the invading Clans. Fortunately for the Inner Sphere, the move was defeated by quick thinking by Wolf Khan Vladimir Ward and Jade Falcon Khan Marthe Pryde. Fortunately, few Diamond Shark troops participated in the Harvest Wars initiated by Khan Ward.
The Clan Diamond Shark's ability to adapt and adjust to their situation and surroundings is the thing that differentiates them from the other Clans and may be the one thing that allows them to recover from their disastrous loss to ComStar on Tukayyid, regain their honor, and return to their position of power as one of the invading Clans.
Death of a Clan
With the defeat of the Smoke Jaguars in the Inner Sphere and on Huntress, the Clans found themselves with the unprecedented prospect of an Inner Sphere invasion of Strana Mechty. The Star League Defense Force soon challenged the Clans to a Trial of Refusal over the invasion. If the Inner Sphere won, the invasion was over and the invading Clans would retain the worlds they had conquered. If the Clans won, the invasion would resume. The Warden Clans refused to participate in the Trial, leaving the eight Crusader Clans to face the SLDF. As the Smoke Jaguars had only two Binaries of troops left, it was decided that each Crusader Clan would only commit two Binaries to the battle.
The Diamond Sharks, who had over the years since Tukayyid switched to the Warden faction, refused to take part in the battle with the SLDF. How the merchant-oriented Clan will respond to the new opportunities now made available to it in the Inner Sphere is unknown at this time.
Unlike other Clans, the Diamond Sharks view the civilian castes as supporting the Clan rather than just the warrior caste, allowing them to flourish. The Diamond Shark economy is the strongest in the Clans, attributed to the strong bonds between the castes. This has resulted in disparaging comments from the other Clans (the Coyotes have a saying "when there are fins in the water, don't go swimming"), especially after the disaster of Tukayyid, but has allowed the Clan to rebuild quickly. Doing so forced the warriors to make concessions to the merchant caste, a matter than has only recently been resolved.
The Diamond Sharks take Bondsmen wherever possible to quote one Star Colonel "Bondsmen are a simple by product of another action - one we can exploit". It is not unknown for the Diamond Sharks to return bondsmen to their original Clan in exchange for some form of concessions. This allows them to repatriate any troublesome elements and still make a 'profit' on the situation.
The Diamond Sharks understand honor, but their own application of it is somewhat flexible. They understand the need to display an honorable countenance to smooth dealings with other Clans, but believe strict adherence to the Honor Road is detrimental to the Clans best interests. To do so would cut the Clan off from many opportunities, something even the warrior caste is loathe to do.
Similarly, the Clan is not overly political. Their viewpoint wanders between the Crusader and Warden philosophies. Since Tukayyid and their ejection they have espoused the Warden cause but generally prefer to remain apolitical, again because favoring one camp too strongly would be bad for business.
The primary reason for supporting the Crusader faction in the invasion was to gain access to Inner Sphere markets, which they regard as largely untapped. They fully intend to take up Prince Victor's call for stronger ties with the Inner Sphere, and rumors already circulate that they have established relations with Inner Sphere trading cartels.
Although they fought in the Inner Sphere, most other Clans look on the Diamond Shark military with disdain. Gutted on Tukayyid, the Diamond Shark Touman has rebuilt in the eight years since with the assistance of the merchant caste. The Sharks rarely resort to violence, preferring to get their way through mercantile means. However, interference with their commercial operations frequently elicits a devastating response.
Like most Clans, the Diamond Sharks discriminate against freeborn warriors. However, the need to guard their territory and merchant vessels means the Clan cannot be too picky, and thus does use such troops, mainly in a second line militia. Many train to fight as marines aboard ship, or to act as compound guards.
Unusually, many Shark warriors retire from active service and take up positions in lower castes. Little stigma is attached to such actions, and Bloodnamed retirees may retain their warrior qualification by passing an annual Trial of Position. Because of this policy, the Diamond Sharks have few Solahma units.
Over the years the Diamond Sharks have developed a reputation as sharp bidders, forcing opponents to miscalculate and lose more frequently that would be expected. Although such tactics have offended the other Clans, the Sharks view them simply as an extension of the standard 'efficiency' measures.
Allies and Enemies
The Diamond Sharks know that building strong relationships with particular Clans - adversarial or otherwise - could harm their relationships with others. Consequently, they have steered a path of neutrality with most Clans. However, there are some notable exceptions.
The closest the Sharks have to allies are the Blood Spirits and Fire Mandrills, for whom they serve as intermediaries to the other Clans. They have also had historically good relationships with Clan Wolf. Although relationships with the Wolves under Vlad Ward have cooled, they still maintain limited covert contacts with the Wolves in the ARDC. Similarly, the Ghost Bears respected the Sharks sufficiently to grant them territories when they withdrew.
The only Clan the Diamond Sharks despise are the Snow Ravens, who instigated the series of events that lead to the renaming. They have taken every opportunity to slight the Ravens in business, and the Ravens have been atypically passive in their response.
Worlds: 10 (9 shared, 1 exclusive)
Although always maintaining wide-ranging possessions, the recent Trials of Possession have benefited the Diamond Sharks considerably. Clan Ghost Bear gifted them their enclaves on Tokasha and Paxon, but though Diamond Shark forces landed on Tokasha, the Khans viewed holding their enclave as "not cost-effective" and withdrew after blooding Gamma Galaxy, choosing instead to consolidate their grip on Paxon. However, in exchange for military and logistical support in their withdrawal, they gained much of the Nova Cat's Barcella enclave, although a number of trials continue on that world against the Jade Falcons and Ice Hellions. However, the Clan's greatest gain came against the Smoke Jaguars. The world of Vinton had long been a source of friction and preparations were underway for a Trial of Possession even before the SLDF attack on Huntress. Within two weeks of the Great Refusal, the Diamond Sharks occupied Vinton, their first exclusive possession.
The Remembrance is an ongoing heroic saga detailing Clan history from the time of the Exodus from the Inner Sphere to the present day. The Remembrance is continually expanded to include contemporary events. Each Clan has a slightly different version reflecting their own opinions and experiences. All Clan warriors can quote whole verses of this marvelous epic from memory, and it is common to see passages from the book lovingly painted on the sides of OmniMechs, fighters, and even battle armor.
Then Karen Nagasawa said,
"The past holds wise men as well as fools;
Why, then, do we listen only to the foolish
When we have another choice?"
—The Remembrance (Clan Diamond Shark), Passage 12, Verse 14, Lines 4-7
Bid the Sea Fox farewell;
Noble he was, but not strong enough.
The diamond shark has devoured him;
The shark is the greater warrior.
—The Remembrance (Clan Diamond Shark), Passage 127, Verse 35, Lines 6-9
As each warrior plays his role in battle,
So each caste plays its role for the Clan.
Growers of food and makers of 'Mechs,
Those who discover and those who enrich,
All look for justice to the warrior who governs.
—The Remembrance (Clan Diamond Shark), Passage 96, Verse 12, Lines 1-5