|Notable Members||Steel Rain|
|Appearances||Fallout: Equestria - Project Horizons|
The Harbingers began appearing in the Hoofington area whilst Blackjack was in Manehatten, during her conversion into a cyberpony. They tend to be easily identifiable by the Banners they carry, depicting the Towers of the Core on a field of green. Their motto is "Hoofington Rises", a quote of Goldenblood's after the original city was demolished during the war, which is sometimes used as a battle-cry.
The Harbingers are in pursuit of Blackjack, believing her to be a vile murderer and desiring her PipBuck; specifically because she carries EC-1101, which they believe the be the key to building a new Equestria. The group offer free food, weapons and technology to anyone that assists them and have access to production facilities that allow them to produce high quality, factory new products. Not unlike the followers of Unity, the Harbingers promise a better life for all who wish to be included and have rapidly been able to recruit many of the under-privileged of Hoofington to their cause.
In order to find Blackjack, their recruits are frequently given brand-new weaponry and armor (although not necessarily the training to use them) and arranged into squads of "Seekers". Typical armament includes Combat armor, Anti-Machine Rifles or Markspony Carbines, though many will use any other weapons provided. As such, the Seeker squads that Blackjack encounters tend to be particularly dangerous, however any encounter tends to be profitable given the high standard of gear that can be looted from them. It is worth noting that there seems to be a gulf in professionalism in the Seekers; competence and experience seems to vary greatly between each squad and some Seekers (presumably those who only joined the Harbingers for a free meal and equipment) have been known to desert rather than face Blackjack and her friends in combat. In addition to their superior equipment, they also have access to at least one Zebra tank.
The leader of the Harbingers was known only as the prophet and was working with the rogue Steel Ranger Paladin, Steel Rain, who brought many of his fellow renegades to the group following the destruction of The Celestia. Beyond their promise of a better world for their followers and their obsession with retrieving EC-1101, the Harbinger's do not make their true goals known.
After encountering a group of their converts in Flank, Blackjack and her team have numerous run-ins with the Harbinger Seekers. The first time was when Blackjack, Boo, Psychoshy and Rampage were gathering supplies for P-21s Med-X withdrawal; as soon as Psychoshy mentioned Blackjack's title, "Security", the squad attacked without any further questions. The would later ambush the party in the old quarry near Megamart. A second group was spotted following the team by Lacunae when they were attempting to take P-21 and Scotch Tape to Chapel to recuperate; Blackjack lead this squad away from the others though became notably outgunned when they called in a tank for heavy weaponry support, demolishing the factory she and a group of Gang members were defending. Blackjack later encounters and eliminates another squad though apparently kills innocents in the process due to sleep deprivation, which leads her to suffer a mental breakdown.
A large group controlling the tank track her down while she is being treated for suicidal behavior by the Happyhorn medical center AI; while surrounded and unprepared, she is able to elude them when one of the Seekers (who she does not realize is one of the colts she set free after raping her on The Seahorse) gives a false report that she is escaping in a different direction. Finally, when Blackjack is tracked to Goldenblood's old home at Blackpony mountain after breaching the containment shield by way her ministry mare genetics, the Harbingers send in a squad of power-armor wearing Steel Ranger renegades lead by Steel Rain; despite a difficult fight, Blackjack with the aid of Stygius managed to summon help from her friends and escape the squad.
When Blackjack returned to Chapel after the events in Hightower prison, in which the Core's defense systems saved her life, Blackjack meets Dawn; Glory's estranged mother and one of the six friends who tried to clean up Hoofington thirty years previously. The two talk at length at different times about morality and the future of the wasteland. After luring Blackjack away from Chapel to the old Blueblood Manor, she reveals herself to be the Prophet of the Harbingers and attempts to bargain for EC-1101. She assures her that the action taken against her previously was a mistake (one that only got worse as time went on due to the involvement of Steel Rain) and offers to reveal the true nature of the Harbingers to her.
As more Harbingers and a heavily chastised Steel Rain arrive, Dawn reveals that after all her attempts over the years to help the wasteland and the Enclave peacefully failed, she traveled to the tunnels under Hoofington to die, however she was rescued by the entity within the Hoofington Core, the same entity which saved Blackjack at Hightower. Dawn claims that the entity is named Cognitum, a goddess of technology who - with the access authority granted by EC-1101 - will be able to open the Core to all and use the full resources of Hoofington to save the wasteland. Blackjack refuses to hand over EC-1101 as, besides the fact it sounds too good to be true, Cognitum cannot be trusted after it is revealed her wish is to control every living soul through the use of cybernetics (up to and including the use of "Kill implants", such as the one being used to ensure loyalty from Steel Rain). Unable to persuade her with words, Dawn successfully forces Blackjack to surrender after summoning the Zebra Tank that has been hunting her and ordering it to destroy Chapel if she does not comply. With her Pipbuck in Dawn's hooves, the Harbingers prepare to execute Blackjack by firing squad, however she is saved and EC-1101 is recovered by the intervention of her friends, a joint Neighvarro-Thunderhead Enclave Task Group lead by Sky Striker and the residents of Chapel who had been listening into the entire exchange over Blackjack's Broadcaster. While the counter-attack is successful, the Prophet and Steel Rain escape, there are fatalities on both sides and many are left injured, including Sky Striker. Blackjack however ensures that even the wounded Harbinger Seekers who could not flee are taken with them to the Fluttershy medical clinic for treatment.
Following their defeat, a group of five Seeker assassins ambushed Blackjack at Elysium, however the attack was poorly coordinated and the team was wiped out easily by Rampage. Dawn would also attempt to kill Blackjack twice in singular combat; first in the enervation soaked Roseluck Agrifarms campus and later at her family home in Thunderhead after tranquilizing the rest of the team. At this time, local gangs and power figures report that both the Harbingers and Zebra remnants appear to be setting up a massive number of camps around Hoofington, with more arriving each day.
Three months after Blackjack disappeared in the destruction of Shadowbolt Tower, Steel Rain confronts Dawn about the poor management of the Harbingers and learns that she has actually been feeding false commands from Cognitum in order to kill Blackjack, rather than capture her as intended. Dawn hysterically reveals that Cognitum now favours Blackjack for her plans instead of her, and attempted to kill Steel Rain until Cognitum herself intervened and reprimanded the Cyberpegasus. Now free of meddling, Steel Rain lead the seekers to track down Blackjack in the core, however their initial team was overwhelmed by rogue robotic forces in the area. A group of seekers was later seen tailing Blackjack, Rampage and Boo as the headed to Robronco Headquarters, though they did not engage.
When Blackjack finally encounters Cognitum, the ultimate purpose of the Harbingers (concealed even from it's members) is revealed. In order to cement Cognitum's legitimacy as a ruler through the guise of Blackjack, she needed both an army and a threat that only they could defeat; by covertly instigating a war with the Brood of Coyotyl (the encamped force of Zebra remnants that is technically under her control) the inhabitants of Hoofington would be forced to accept the protection of the Harbingers, which are now under "Blackjack's" control, giving them the renown and authority to begin spreading across the Wasteland. While the Brood are formidable enough to challenge even the Reapers, the Harbingers are easily able to overcome them due to their secret complicity. This false-flag operation is not as successful as Cognitum anticipates however, due to the death of Steel Rain, the efforts of the real Blackjack to unite Hoofington and the Brood's increasingly treacherous violence against the Harbingers.
As per Steel Rain's final orders, field command of the Harbingers was transferred to Captain Nails (the Seeker who spared Blackjack at Happyhorn in previous months), primarily because he knew the real Blackjack enough to identify her in the event of a betrayal by Cognitum or Dawn. As the Brood become more aggressive in their attack as Cognitum's deception begins to unravel, the Harbingers start taking heavy casualties. Just as one of their primary garrisons at Miramare station is about to be overrun, they are lead to a surprise victory by the intervention of Blackjack, P-21 and Morning Glory. Knowing that their lives mean nothing to Cognitum, and remembering the undeserved forgiveness Blackjack granted him once before, Captain Nails allies the remaining Harbinger units with Big Daddy to join in the defense of Hoofington against the Brood.
When the Harbingers are first introduced, a group are met attempting to convert locals to their cause; though not particularly cult-like, the group carry Banners depicting three vertical black bars on a green field and some are ominously heard humming the note of enervation. The group believe that they will build a new and bountiful Equestria by opening The Core of Hoofington to all; they loyally follow the orders of their Prophet in retrieving EC-1101 to achieve this. There appears to be a gulf in ritual between the recruiters and actual members of the faction however, as the Harbinger numbers have rapidly swollen from a group of fanatics to a large fighting force of ponies from many different backgrounds (many of whom may have joined for the free equipment and supplies, rather than a belief in the promise of The Core). Among their forces are renegade Steel Rangers, bandits, ex-gang members and locals recruited from the Hoofington area.
Though the weaponry and equipment the Harbingers make use of are not particularly advanced, they have access to weapons caches and fabrication facilities that may challenge the Enclave in terms of quantity. Despite their limited access to the Core systems, they have demonstrated the ability to acquire factory new weapons, armour and even food supplies, implying Cognitum may have gained access to some of the automated factories below the city, despite lacking EC-1101. Their resources are so plentiful that they initially gave away free equipment to those considering joining the cause, or those with any information on the location of EC-1101. In addition to their high quality gear, they were able to obtain control over a recovered Zebra Tank which provided heavy fire support in their pursuit of Blackjack. Recently they have also been shown to have access to Star Metal from the Tokomare (as seen when Steel Rain's Power Armour was plated in the invulnerable substance) and have seemingly fashioned Moonstone Pendants capable of protecting their Seekers from the deadly Enervation levels in the Core.
Notes & Trivia Edit
- Their motto - "Hoofington Rises" - was originally used in a speech by Goldenblood before the end of the war to instill the fanatical drive that rebuilt Hoofington after it was first razed.
- After Steel Rain allied himself with the Harbingers, they gained a squad of Renegade Steel Rangers, including at least one Apple family member capable of breaching shields tagged to Ministry Mare genetics.