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The Steel Talons may now be lost to history, but in their prime, they were but steps away from condemning the Brotherhood to that same dusty fate.
- Kane[1]

The Steel Talons was an experimental combat division of the Global Defense Initiative specialized in deploying untested next-generation technologies to the front lines. The unit was formed by General Joshua Mitchell after the resolution of the Firestorm Crisis. Mitchell's belief that GDI should have a significantly more advanced arsenal than any Brotherhood of Nod opposition shaped the Talons' doctrine.

The battalion grew into a test bed for state-of-the-art military applications, many of which were officially adopted by GDI standard forces by the Third Tiberium War. Notably, the Steel Talons pioneered the miniaturized railgun technology deployed by GDI's MBT-6 Predator and Mammoth Mk. III tank divisions as well as its Zone Trooper infantry, and well after the Second Tiberium War the group still fielded the most advanced iterations of the Titan and Wolverine walkers GDI ever manufactured.

Steel Talons was not this unit's official designation. Rather, the name was coined and popularized by Mitchell's admirers, particularly the famed war hero Nick "Havoc" Parker. Because of their unique purpose, the Steel Talons battalion was somewhat autonomous from the rest of GDI, being a self-contained major military unit capable of independent action.[2]

History

With Nod's defeat and splintering, GDI believed that the organization was no longer a major concern. With the damage done to the environment, the GDI switched its strategy to fighting Tiberium instead. Many resources were refocused towards Tiberium abatement, as was most of the research and development funding. As a result, the military's focus on technological innovations (which began since the First Tiberium War) had ended. Several officers objected to this trend, the most vocal being General Joshua Mitchell.

Mitchell's arguments finally convinced GDI (after a reportedly "volatile" meeting) to provide funding towards an elite experimental combat division. While the trend of moving towards reliable, cheaper technology meant the Steel Talons were not equipped with harmonic resonance weaponry, the Division sought to combine the latest mass-production armaments with cutting-edge weapon platforms (such as mechanized walkers) and tactics.

Perhaps to symbolize their aspiration to continue the TWII-era GDI's innovative efforts, their insignia looks like a mirror image of the GDI insignia during the Second Tiberium War. Following their formation, the Steel Talons gained a reputation for its secrecy, aggressiveness, and effectiveness. In the skirmishes in the interbellum of the Firestorm Crisis and the Third Tiberium War, the unit would rise to prominence.[2]

In 2034, a GDI research facility in Australia storing captured Nod stealth technology, under the protection of Steel Talons, was attacked by a Nod strike team led by the AI LEGION. The Steel Talons attempted to repel the Nod invaders, and as a last resort, even attempted to destroy the research facility to prevent Nod from recovering the data. However, LEGION's forces managed to defend the lab until the upload completes, and quickly retreated before Steel Talons reinforcements could arrive in time.[3]

The Steel Talons also maintains several Pulse scanners near Black Hand leader Marcion's base in Australia, whose forces have found a way of circumventing them. During the Persuasion of Marcion, the Steel Talons, alerted to the presence of LEGION's strike team by the Pulse scanners, interfered in the battle between Marcion's and LEGION's forces, but were quickly defeated.[4]

After Marcion and the Black Hand rejoined Nod, LEGION faced the Steel Talons once again when he was ordered to destroy GDI's top secret Institute for Liquid Tiberium. The Steel Talons defending the research facility proved no match for the Black Hand forces led by LEGION, and the Liquid Tiberium facility was destroyed, causing a catastrophic explosion that turned Central Australia into a Red zone.[5]

What happened to the Steel Talons after 2034 is unknown. Though based on the fact that neither they nor their walkers were seen during the Third Tiberium War, as well as Kane's remark that they were "lost to history",[1] it can be assumed that they faded into obscurity after the string of humiliating defeats they suffered. Though they apparently still existed as an organization, as Steel Talons walkers were seen guarding the Rocky Mountains Complex in 2052.[6]

Little is known about their fate after TWIII, though they were confirmed to have participated in the Incursion War.[7]

Arsenal

Because Steel Talons use experimental, cutting-edge technology, the battalion's arsenal is similar to GDI's during the Third Tiberium War. They focus on GDI's tendency towards armored vehicles at the expense of all else, explaining why the battalion does not deploy Zone Troopers, Commandos or Sniper teams. Armories are therefore unnecessary. They do not deploy Predator tanks, Sonic Emitters or Shatterers either and primarily replaced with walker units, which can be easily destroyed by Commandos with explosives. Due to their lack of harmonic resonance technology, they are unable to construct Sonic Emitters, relying on Guardian Cannon, which can be upgraded with rail guns. As a result, the Steel Talons lack defensive power, and their base defenses are completely powerless against mobs of enemies, making it very soft to strike with heavy units.

Units

KW Wolverine low detail model

The Steel Talons' redesigned Wolverine

Experimental precursor to the Mk. III Juggernaut, equipped with a loading bay for infantry to increase its close-range defensive ability.
Similar to a regular engineer, but have a handgun that is more effective against hostile infantry than the older, standard-issue GD45 handgun given to other GDI Engineers.
This variant trades the standard machinegun for a garrisonable infantry port, similar to the Guardian APC. This means that any Steel Talon commander must purchase and garrison an infantry squad to give it weapons to defend itself.
Guardian APC-variant. Trades its machine guns for a repair drone that can repair allied vehicles and structures, similar to a Rig.
New-type Mechanized Walker that predates the usage of the Predator MBT. It is more expensive than its counterpart, but generally more powerful. Can be upgraded with railguns, adaptive armor and can crush tanks.
Anti-infantry walker predating the Zone Trooper. It can be upgraded with advanced AP rounds that make short work of even heavily armored Black Hand infantry. It has exceptional weapon range and mobility.

Support Powers

A double-edge sword, the Railgun Accelerator increases the refire rate of railgun equipped vehicles but also damages those units during the accelerator's activation.
Deploys two Wolverines and two Pitbulls instead of two Guardian APCs and two Pitbulls.

Upgrades

Increases armor of Mammoth tanks and Titans. It also gives immunity to EMP, but reduces the rate of fire.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Electronic Arts Los Angeles, Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. Kane's Challenge: Steel Talons intro.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Electronic Arts Los Angeles, Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. Nod Background, "Steel Talons - Origins".
  3. Electronic Arts Los Angeles, Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. Nod mission 2: "What's Rightfully Ours".
  4. Electronic Arts Los Angeles, Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. Nod mission 3: "Persuade Him...".
  5. Electronic Arts Los Angeles, Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. Nod mission 4: "A Grand Gesture".
  6. Electronic Arts Los Angeles, Command & Conquer 3: Kane's Wrath. Nod mission 13: "Tacitus Regained".
  7. Sandstorm. Mirror: AHV-8 Sandstorm/Profile. C&C Frontpage. 2010-03-14.
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