"Look at my face - this is our way! We are killers! Killers!"
-Ulysses Turner (wearing the skinned face of a feral ghoul) to Elena Trotskaya, just moments prior to his death (AC)
Grand Marshal Ulysses Turner is the most powerful figure within the Imperial Military, assuming complete command of the institution and advising the government on such matters. A noted hardliner, Turner is infamous for his over-the-top McCarthyism and hatred for "commies of all sorts". Regardless, he is also recognized as "one of the finest generals in the world" and has a considerable record.
Turner's background is, by his own admission, a "mess". Reports indicate he was born "sometime around early April. 2089" (giving himself the birthdate of the 5th) to one of the new tribes sprouting up around Texas. Said reports indicate the origins of his tribe (one of the first recorded tribal cultures, the "Canyoneers") stemmed from a large group of young children left to fend for themselves in the deserts of Southern Texas after their school bus was hit with an electromagnetic burst during the events of October 23rd, 2077 and their adult chaperones had gone missing searching for help. Without any practical knowledge, the children had eventually reverted back to a tribalistic lifestyle, and Turner (the first child of the tribe) would be viewed as a "sacred" object. When Rangers first discovered the tribe the same year as his birth, the tribals (seeing the Rangers and their advanced technology and assuming them to be "agents of God") gifted them the child. Without an actual name (with the Rangers present doubting "Chosen One" to be a suitable name in the Empire), he was named after Sergeant Turner, the Ranger who the baby was presented to, with his first name coming from one of the Rangers' favorite novels.
Turner would eventually be handed over to the Empire's Youth Development Program as a ward of the state. An early aficionado for all things military, Turner would eventually graduate from his YDC at 17 and move up to Orwell Military Academy, a prestigious officer training school. While studying at Orwell, he proved to be a very capable student, and was given extensive privileges (including occasional visits to battlefields and warzones such as Australia to observe officers in action). However, with the outbreak of the Red Revolt in 2108, his education was postponed when the majority of Orwell Academy's students were conscripted to the front line after it became clear more officers were needed there.
Trained extensively with armored tactics, Turner was given an acting rank of Lieutenant and put at the head of a platoon of new M6 Edwin main battle tanks. Despite his troops proving hesitant to take orders from (at the time) a nineteen year-old "boy", he soon proved exceptionally clever and competent, winning their support throughout the two-year conflict. During the Revolt, his platoon had scored an unprecedented 59 enemy armor kills without losing a single tank under his leadership, and he had become recognized for it (being known as the "big damn hero" on his return to Orwell in 2110).
He would eventually graduate from Orwell in 2114 with full honors, and was made the Captain of his previous armored company. Throughout the years of relative peace before the Canal War, he had eventually risen to the rank of Colonel, and commanded the 66th Armored Regiment by the beginning of the war. Beginning a swift campaign, Turner's forces had won every conventional engagement against the South American Armed Forces, and his "brutal, yet efficient" methods of counterinsurgency kept the Cazadores at bay. For his actions early in the war, he would earn the wartime commission of General, and given wartime command of SOUTHCOM for the war's duration, as he was already well-established with the region at the time.
With the war's end, Turner was hailed as the "man who beat the Mechanocracy", and became a popular figure not just to the military, but to the entire public. With Edwin's death in 2129, many assumed the vacancy would go to Turner. However, in a rather unprecedented turn, Emperor Stark appointed Naval Strategic Adviser Ephraim Abramson to the position. Slightly disappointed, Turner opted to keep his position in SOUTHCOM.
However, with the quiet resignation of Abramson after the attempted military coup of 2130, Turner stood as the "only logical choice", and as such, he was promptly made the new Grand Marshal in 2131. A popular figure to both soldier and officer, Turner was a moving figure in military doctrine, moving the formidable beast that was the War Office in the direction it needed to go. Specializing in armor, he commissioned the design of many new war machines to compliment the new path, including the M981 Keller Light Tank and M2 Greatsword Main Battle Tank, though he also expanded outside the field, with suggestions of a "gunship" variant of the C620 Heavy Transport Craft - leading to the feared AC-620 Condor, along with lending his support to programs geared toward next-generation fighter craft and revamped naval warships. Later in life, he would also be a leading force behind the Actium program to reassert Imperial space dominance.
Like his two main predecessors before him, he had a penchant for "active leadership", and would often visit the front to stir morale and even assume command when necessary. With the outbreak of the Ten Years' War in 2136, Turner demanded to be given direct command of the defense forces of Northwatch, and as such, travelled to Alaska and took command from a humble tent, using satellites to advise operations around the globe while his presence empowered the troops at Northwatch. Here, Turner, for the first time, witnessed desperation and defeat, "watching as his boys and girls bled on their own home soil, fighting against a mighty Asiatic horde to no avail". While many still gave Turner credit for the eventual Imperial victory in the war, he was often blamed for it's prolonged state.
However, many of his associates noted that "after Northwatch...something broke inside the man". Before, he was often noted as a "calm, reasonable, clear-headed commander who worked to minimize casualties and maximize efficiency", but after, he was widely known as a "paranoid shadow of his former self". He had become increasingly reckless, and began holding contempt not just for the Asiatic troops, but for the entire Eastern world, swearing that "even if the world had to burn, the commies would meet their maker!" Though kept reasonably in-check by the more level-headed government and military figures, he has grown only more aggressive throughout the years, and senior officials often questioned if it was "time for his retirement..."
Turner assumed command of the Imperial Military during the Caliphate Conflict. Despite Zane initially disagreeing with his original intent of full-on, conventional war against the Caliphate, he would eventually be allowed to proceed as planned, occupying and annexing South Arabia with sheer military force and establishing a militarized border with Mechanocratic forces in the north. He also oversaw the military intervention during the Martian Insurrection.
However, the dangers posed by Elena Trotskaya's rise to power worried the Imperial government immensely, especially with someone as "unpredictable" as Turner at the helm of their armed forces. Emperor Zane would eventually honorably discharge Turner in 2158, being succeeded as Grand Marshal by Admiral Ada Rockwell. Despite being well-respected for his honorable past of exceptional service, Turner became disillusioned with civilian life and his failures in not making his dreams of "global peace" come true. He took his own life in 2160, hanging himself from the rafters of his luxurious Lake City apartment, outfitted in full military dress uniform. The Empire observed a day of mourning for "the most beloved war hero of our generation".
In the altcanon, the mishaps with the Sidhae proved to divert the government's attention away from the Mechanocracy (at least temporarily) and towards the new arrivals from another dimension. As such, Turner was mostly ignored and left to do whatever he wished. When the Tandi-Nama Accord was founded in 2155, Turner found himself much more empowered, as he was given the ear of many Lunarian government hardliners. Like Turner, many leading Lunarians believed the Mechanocracy was a threat best resolved by war. Many claim that the Lunarians were "using" Turner for their own ends, as he had access to the formidable Imperial Military that would prove necessary in defeating the Mechanocracy in a conventional war. Essentially, the Imperial government were powerless in this regard, as Turner enjoyed too great of support within the TNA. Hence, they could, for all intents and purposes, only watch as World War IV began with his blessing.
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However, despite the the early success of the Imperial Military and the rest of TNA's forces against MekIntern earlier in the war, the conflict had soon ground to a halt, with the war "shifting from a sophisticated conflict of speed and technology to a bloody standstill not seen since the days of the trench", Turner would become disillusioned. Blaming everyone and everything around him (including the Imperial government, the TNA, and even his own forces) for the devastating losses, he soon became mentally unstable. Using the knowledge of his true roots, he ordered tactical missile strikes against the tribe of his birth (which had grown substantially in the time since he was born), wiping out several villages. With no one but his three Black bodyguards accompanying him, he then returned to his tribe, informing them that the missiles were his own doing and that he was their "dissatisfied God" and "demanded worship". His intent in doing this was unknown, but, with the governments of TNA and MekIntern eager to conclude the fighting, Tandi reached out to Grand Curatrix Elena Trotskaya after it was clear Turner had gone "completely mad".
With the approval of Joseph Hightower, Trotskaya was allowed to journey into the Empire to "silence" him. Reaching the tribal territory, Trotskaya was forced to neutralize the Black Guardsmen in a rather difficult fight on her own. After eventually defeating them, Trotskaya came across Turner in a cave, wearing the skinned face of a feral ghoul over his own, mumbling to himself while the blood dripped all over his skin and clothes. After noticing her, he put up no resistance, but taunted her, claiming "you're no better than me" and "we're all killers - it's our way!" before promptly pulling out his ornate M1911 dress sidearm and committing suicide in front of her to "deny her the privilege", directly leading to the end of the war.
He was succeeded as Grand Marshal by Ranger General Nigel Steele shortly after his death. At the war's conclusion, Turner's reputation did not survive, and he is often blamed for all the death and destruction. To many still, however, he remains more of a tragic figure, as his mental instability proved that "even the best soldiers are not immune to the hells of war".
- The primary inspirations of Turner include Lt. General Jack Ripper from the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Colonel Walter Kurtz from the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, General Constantine Chase from the videogame Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage, and The Colonel from videogame Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. His appearance is derived from Chase.
- It is notable that in both canons, Turner meets almost the exact same fate (though by extremely different circumstances), as he dies during the same year and by suicide.