|The subject of this article is based on declassified sources that were not publicly available during the game's formal run.|
ca. 0–20 AD — present (ATEN)|
2109 — present (IOT XIV)
|Country||United Arab Republic|
High Value Targets/Manhunting
|Size||est. 10 000–100 000|
|Nickname(s)||"Ghost army", "shadow army", deeb, Ibn awee|
|Motto||"Defending the Faith"|
|Minister of Intelligence||Rahman Zahir al-Kader|
The Black Guard is an elite special forces military unit of the Holy Egyptian Republic and its successor state, the United Arab Republic. In addition to covert operations and domestic counterterrorism, the Guard serves alongside the 7th Army in defence of the Capital District, and as such, constitutes the last line of defence for the government in Jerusalem. The origin and composition of the Black Guard varies between the games in which the UAR appears: in ATEN, it is a divinely-anointed but transient cadre of immortal soldiers, while in Imperium Offtopicum XIV it is a permanent unit hand-picked from the survivors of the atomic bombing of Cairo.
In ATEN, the Black Guard was predicated on the tangible influence of "magic" in the world. It emerged during internecine wars between the Roman Empire and Egyptian resistance as an immortal army created by the Old Gods from the reincarnated spirits of dead warriors, supplied by Anubis and trained by Sekhmet, that supplemented Egyptian forces to maintain military parity against Rome, and was instrumental in securing Egypt's independence. The unit was ineffective in repelling the Arab invasion in the Seventh Century, but even after Arabization the Egyptians remained culturally defiant, with the unit's existence sparking a theological crisis over Islamic monotheism. Tensions were partially resolved locally by rationalizing the Egyptian pantheon as avatars of the One True God, hybridizing the religions into so-called Kemetic Islam, but mainstream Sunnis denounced the sect as heretical and attempted to destroy it, prompting another war in which the immortals unexpectedly intervened on the Egyptians' behalf. Unable to break the sect physically or theologically, the Caliphate grudgingly conceded to Egyptian independence.
While the immortals participated in battles and sometimes entire wars, they did not persist as a permanent army and would vanish after fighting was concluded. In the Roman era they appeared under the gods' prerogative; under Islam a ceremony developed under which religious authorities would appeal to God for their intervention, invoked only in times of utmost peril. After Egypt's reconstitution as a republic in the Twentieth Century, the armed forces were reorganized and the unit was codified within the chain of command as the Black Guard.
Thorvald of Lym foreshadowed the Black Guard several times, but it was not officially integrated until Turn 14 through a reference by the game moderator. It was established in 2109 by the Ministry of Intelligence and recruited from survivors of the 2106 nuclear strike, many of whom had endured a common pattern of mutations that made them candidates as supersoldiers. The Guard is an independent division within the United Arab Army and is under joint control of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Intelligence. Its existence and operational history are highly secretive, and the unit may even be directly tasked by the heads of state.
The Black Guard was involved in thwarting the attempted assassination of Diya Amirmuaz in 2110 and a reprisal mission against OSIRIS in Japan later that decade. It was intended to feature in a roleplay interlude concerning the terrorist attacks in Egypt, but Thorvald ran out of time and the project was scrapped.