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Carrera's Legions is a military Science Fiction series with elements of thriller, written by Tom Kratman.

Patrick Hennesy (also known by his wife's family name, Carrera), a retired soldier, has his family taken from him in a terrorist attack on the building they were visiting. This, to Patrick, cannot stand. Using the money bequeathed to him by another relative also killed in the attack, he builds an army to gain vengeance on the organization that made the attack.

Only there are more enemies awaiting him than he's aware of...

Books in the series:

  • A Desert Called Peace (September 2007)
  • Carnifex (November 2007)
  • The Lotus Eaters (April 2010)
  • The Amazon Legion (April 2011)
  • Come and Take Them (November 2013)
  • The Rods and the Axe (July 2014)
  • A Pillar of Fire by Night (November 2018)

In addition, there is a spinoff volume of short stories, penned by authors such as Chris Nuttall and Peter Grant and edited by Kratman: Terra Nova: The Wars of Liberation (August 2019).


Carrera's Legions is also sometimes known as the Legion Del Cid series, or by the title of its first book, A Desert Called Peace (used by The Other Wiki).

This Series uses the following tropes:

  • Ace Pilot: Absent for the first 4 four books; the Legion's air force is oriented towards transport and close air support, and deliberately discourages prima donnas and pampered pilots.
  • Amazon Brigade: The focus of The Amazon Legion. Also a case of And Now for Someone Completely Different, as the first three books had focus on Carrera, with Ricardo Cruz as secondary protagonist.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: The holder of the title of Marchioness of Amnesty (as in Amnesty International) at the beginning of the series is very much in the "evil" category. The original Marquis of Amnestynote  and the two marchionesses who have been shown to hold the title prior to Captain Wallenstein being made Marchioness of Amnesty in The Lotus Eaters resemble the stereotypical depiction of the Marquis de Sade.
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  • Ate His Gun: In A Desert Called Peace, one of the Sumeri soldiers guarding Hill 1647 used his rifle to redecorate the back of his skull, in the continual artillery bombardment of the hill by the Legion.
  • Author Filibuster: The first three books end with lengthy afterwords, as Kratman elaborates on themes contained therein. Averted with the rather pithy afterword for The Amazon Legion:
  • Author Tract: The early books in the series are basically a blueprint for how Kratman thinks the War on Terror should be fought. Later, it develops into a general war on the manifold evils of liberalism.
  • Badass Army: The Legion del Cid starts out as Private Military Contractors, then becomes an army with a country. Either way, they remain badass, with Heroic Resolve and Training from Hell.
  • Badass Bystander: Reservist Private Hector Tippi, who foils a hit on Carrera with well-placed rifle fire.
  • Badass Teacher: Professor Rafael Franco, aka Centurion Rafael Franco, Tercio Gorgidas. Handicapped Badass Jorge Mendoza later becomes this.
  • Badass Preacher: The Mullah of Pumbadeta, who swims across a river to bring intel to Sada's forces and identify rebel leaders against the Salafi Ikhwan.
  • Battle Couple: The Amazon Legion invokes this intentionally with the Tercio Gorgidas, a tercio (roughly equivalent of a regiment) comprised of homosexual male pairs who are married in a special ceremony, with an explicit nod given to the historical Sacred Band of Thebes.
  • Bigger Stick: Played with: Carrera and the Legion's command would like bigger sticks, but financial constraints force compromises. Examples:
    • Unable to afford the Zioni Chariot, the Legion settles for the Jaguar, a rebuilt Volgan White Eagle tank, which is generally inferior to most of the current generation main battle tanks; the Legion compromises by focusing on tactics that exploit the Jaguar's strengths.
    • The F-26 rifle is generally held to be the superior rifle on the planet, but it took six-odd years before the Legion was able to afford development and is still one of the most expensive rifles ever.
    • The Legion's fleet, while nonetheless capable of landing assault forces and suppressing piracy, cannot stand in the line of battle against a modern fleet.
  • Bilingual Backfire: In A Desert Called Peace, when the main protagonist is drowning his sorrows over the wife and children killed in a terrorist attack, he demonstrates to a woman insulting him in Spanish that he, too, speaks the language in spite of a conversation with the woman's friend being in English.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Most of the Terra Novan countries have real-life equivalents; if you know the languages, you can figure out which is which.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Carrera may not be a nice guy, but compared to the United Earth masterminds he's a regular knight in shining armor.
  • Bling of War:
    • Averted by the Legion, which prefers to keep decorations and medals lower key in comparison to other armies.
    • Played straight by Gallic General Janier's Custom Uniform, which is a reproduction of Napoleon's uniform.
  • Bookends: Almost; the opening scene of A Desert Called Peace is the start of the denouement in Carnifex.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Tauran Union General Janier believes himself to have been born centuries late, and that he really belonged in the 19th century serving with Napoleon. He even goes as far as to have a custom recreation of the uniform of a Marshal in Napoleon's army that he often wears.
  • Bury Your Gays: In the first book, the prominent homosexual characters (including Cousin Eugene and the Sumerian commander) are generally villainous, and strongly tend to come to bad ends. Later installments do not play this as straight, but still include elements of it, such as the gruesome fate of the commander of Tank "Thanatos" in The Rods and the Axe.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Honorable Marine R.E.S. Mors du Char IV, the Tauran Union's Secretary of Defense. Everyone on every side, good and bad, holds her in deepest contempt. Everyone. She will never be so much as mentioned without an aside on how bad she is, and never accomplishes anything of value.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The Cosmopolitan Progressives (AKA Kosmos) are the future version of Earth's Transnational Progressives (AKA Tranzis).
  • Character Development: Several originally somewhat one-dimensional villains, notably Mustafa, High Admirals Robinson and Wallenstein, and General Janier become more fleshed-out and relatively sympathetic over time.
  • Cool Tank: The Volgan White Eagle, renamed Jaguar in Legion service. Colonel Sitnikov's sales pitch in A Desert Called Peace makes it sound like it's the greatest tank in the world; Carrera doesn't believe half of it, but the important thing is that the new tankers believe, for self confidence.
  • Crapsack World: Old Earth, ruled by insane Progressives and Cultural Marxists for close to five centuries. While the globalist elite still live in luxury, the remnants of their high-tech society are collapsing around them, and the masses suffer under arbitrary tyranny, political correctness and human sacrifice by religious cults.
  • Creepy Blue Eyes: The head of the titular Legion has eyes that are described as an "eerie blue", and along with his ability to accurately predict what his Salafi Ikhwan enemies are going to do are part of why he's known to them as "the Blue Djinn".
  • Custom Uniform:
    • General Janier's reproduction of Napoleon's uniform.
    • The kilts worn by Tercio Amazonas; it's mentioned that Carrera went to Secordia to personally find a custom tartan pattern that wasn't in use for them.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Balboa, for the most part. Amazon Legions mentions that the Church was not happy about the formation of Tercio Gorgidas and Tercio Amazonas.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Adnan Sada and the Salah al-Din Brigade, which fought hard and well against the Legion, before being forced to surrender. Carrera recruits him to his cause; later, when Sada becomes President of Sumer, he returns the favor, sending the Salah al-Din to Pashtia to help the Legion. The Lotus Eaters also implies that he'll be sending troops defend Balboa from the Tauran Union invasion.
  • Dirty Commies: The Tsarist-Marxists. Usually refers to leftover Tauran Union Commies; the real Volgan ex-Communists tend to be pretty nice, regular folks.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • In The Lotus Eaters, Legate Pigna gets wadded up paper thrown in his face and yelled at by Carrera, who was angry about how bureaucratized the Legion was getting in the year after his Heroic BSoD. The response? Plot with the enemy to overthrow the government.
    • Carrera's nuking the city to get at the family of the terrorist organization's leader. In Carnifex it was shown that his people could get at the family members with more selective means of killing.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: In A Desert Called Peace, the sight of Carrera's first wife, Linda, passing by causes a car accident and a man walking with his wife to accidentally walk into a lamp post.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The poisonous fruits of the Tranzitree, one of Terra Nova's strange native plants. They are green on the outside, red inside, taste sweet, and contain a substance that destroys the higher brain functions when consumed in any quantity.
    • The following line from the Prologue of A Desert Called Peace:
      "Even more pleasant was the sight of his enemies, beaten and bleeding, captive and bound."
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • In A Desert Called Peace, the continual artillery bombardment of a Sumeri Army position by the Legion eventually drove a soldier to eat his gun.
    • An interlude in The Lotus Eaters tells of the High Admiral in command of the United Earth Peace Fleet around Terra Nova blowing his brains out after ordering the nuclear bombing of two Federated States cities in response to such weapons being employed against Yamato in the Great Global War, unable to get the images of FS victims out of his mind.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Several times, including Carrera himself (see Bilingual Backfire) and others whose hearts had been broken.
  • Drugs Are Bad: The third book has Latin American drug lords as its main enemy, besides the United Earth wire-pullers, and invokes the relevant tropes.
  • Dystopia: United Earth, a tyrannical order combining the worst features of regressive caste systems and ideologically driven far-left insanity, such as tolerating human sacrifice in the name of religious freedom and Political Overcorrectness.
  • Dystopia Justifies the Means: The motivation of the truly evil progressives, who like Old Earth the way it (really) is and want to remake Terra Nova in its image.
    Robinson: (Thinking) From his point of view things were pretty good; worth upholding and defending, in any case. Would he have felt the same if he'd been born a prole, forced to eke out a living from the soil or burrow in its depths for ore or freeze on the fishing boats that dotted Earth's oceans? Would he still think so if, instead of his own potential five hundred or more year lifespan, he knew he would have been extraordinarily lucky to reach even an eighth of that? Would he think so if, instead of being able to bed lissome blondes like this one, he had to share his bed with some toothless prole crone? Somehow he doubted it.
  • Earth That Used to Be Better: United Earth, a corrupt and declining socialist dictatorship (basically, a jaundiced view of the present-day European Union taken Up to Eleven) that can hardly even maintain its star-spanning Peace Fleet anymore. Their enemies are the humans of Terra Nova, and especially the Federated States of Columbia, who are as yet less technologically developed, but rapidly advancing.
  • EMP: EMP bombs using conventional explosives to create the pulse are deployed by the legion several times to knock out enemy electronics, particularly their communications.
  • Eye Scream: In the course of escaping the men sent to capture Carrera, in The Lotus Eaters, his wife tricks one of them into position to use a letter opener to kill him, stabbing the intruder through the eye.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Legate Pigna betrays the Legion out of personal pique, when yelled at by Carrera when he was raving about how the Legion became bureaucratized.
  • False Flag Operation:
    • Using Volgan troops in FSC Army battledress, the Legion launches one, correctly judging that the FSC will take the blame and credit.
    • Several progressives that are actively aiding terrorists are murdered by a special unit recruited from the surrendered Salah al-Din Brigade. It's made to look as if the terrorists themselves were committing the crimes, to discourage progressives from helping the terrorists by playing "hostage" for the sake of getting paid ransom money that went to the Salafi Ikhwan's coffers.
  • Fantastic Caste System: United Earth's society. Class Ones are the elites, who make the top decisions and otherwise wallow in luxury. Class Twos and Threes are high-level civilian and military functionaries who handle day-to-day government. Presumably Class Fours and Fives are some kind of middle class; Class Sixes are essentially feudal serfs. There are lower castes, but these also aren't detailed to any great extent, at least so far.
  • Fantastic Flora: Terra Nova's native plant life. Among the more iconic examples are the Tranzitrees, Bolshiberries and Progressivines. Tranzitrees grow fruits which are green on the outside, deepest red inside. They have a sweet taste, but are extremely poisonous to higher orders of life.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In broad strokes, the nations of Terra Nova roughly correspond to Earth. They're even arranged in positions similar to their Earth counterparts, and are similar environments. In-universe, this is because founding nations actually chose to place their colonies in similar, familiar conditions because they enjoyed the status quo despite their complaints.
    The Agreement of 2087 divided up the new world into sections roughly comparable to the areas held by the nations and supranationals of Earth, which sections were then often further subdivided. In the division, some got a bit more than they'd had; some got a bit less. Switzerland's colony, Helvetia, had a bit less mountain and a bit more pasture. Japan's Yamato was an island chain of three large islands and numerous small ones, and was somewhat larger in land area—though just as mountainous and almost as resource-poor as the home islands. Canada got a largely frozen wasteland. It also was next to the colony for the United States. As Canadians saw it, this made sense. They knew their Americans and knew that no American-founded colony would stint their war department. Thus, how else could their settlers ultimately get the best defense in the world and have to pay nearly nothing for it.
    Mexico, too, wanted a land border with the gringo colony. From the point of view of the upper classes that had ruled Mexico to their own benefit for so very long, how else could they hope to export the masses of the jobless and hungry their preferred system was sure to create unless there were to be a labor hungry and prosperous land nearby? They were reasonably certain the Americans, wherever they went, would create such a land.
    • In addition:
    • Balboa is Panama
    • The Federated States of Columbia is the United States of America.
    • Secordia is Canada.
    • The Tauran Union is the European Union, further divided:
      • Anglia is England.
      • Castile is Spain.
      • The Republic of Gaul is France.
      • Tuscany is Italy.
      • Haarlem is the Netherlands.
      • Jagelonia is Poland.
    • Republic of Kemal is Turkey.
    • Republic of Sumer is Iraq.
    • Bharat is India.
    • Cienfuegos is Cuba.
    • Cochin is Vietnam.
    • Zhong Guo is China.
    • The Volgan Republic, formerly the Volgan Empire, corresponds to Russia, but also seems to incorporate at least parts of the equivalent of Ukraine.
    • Zion is Israel.
    • Santander is Columbia.
    • La Plata is Argentina.
    • Xamar is Somalia.
    • Yamato is Japan.
      • There's another version of the first novel without the science fiction setting and explicitly set in these locations.
  • A Father to His Men: Common among many officers and Centurions; notable examples are Sergeant Major Martinez and Centurion Garcia.
  • Four-Star Badass: Both Parilla and Carrera, until the former retires to run for President.
  • Feudal Future: The UN, after becoming a true world government for Earth, has over the centuries become this, with hereditary positions and a rather explicit caste system. Over the years, United Earth's elites have become a literal hereditary nobility. In the books, such characters as the Marchioness of Amnesty Interplanetary make appearances.
  • Fictional Document: The first three books have their chapters interposed with various fictional documents to build the setting.
  • Framing the Guilty Party: At the climax of Carnifex, Carrera invades Mustafa's fortress in Kashmir, ostensibly in pursuit of a nuclear weapon. Carrera is prepared to plant one of the Sumeri nukes recovered by the Legion in Sumer, ten years prior.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: By startling contrast, the Islamists who are the main villains of the first two books are actually portrayed surprisingly sympathetically, and even given moderately realistic motivations and worldviews. The Legion is still portrayed as more sympathetic, but this is a much more complex and nuanced fight than the running cold war against Old Earth.
  • Groin Attack: Plenty of attacks on testicles and penises throughout the series, usually intentional, and never played for laughs.
  • Handicapped Badass: Jorge Mendoza, a tank driver, is blinded and loses his legs during A Desert Called Peace. In Carnifex, despite being blind, he stands with Cruz's reserve maniple as they face down a gang of street toughs.
  • Heel–Face Turn: First, Sada and his men, though they were more Worthy Opponent figures. Secondly, Esteban, a guerrilla who surrenders to Cruz and later winds up as a Legion enlistee.
  • Heroic BSoD: At the end of Carnifex, Carrera collapses and slips into one of these both from the fatigue built up over the course of a long and hard campaign and the fact that he nuked a city.
  • Hot Sub-on-Sub Action: A submarine battle occurs in The Lotus Eaters between a Gallic SSN and a Legion SSK. It ends up in a draw; the Legion sub kills the Gallic sub after being fired upon, but is brought down by a massed salvo of torpedoes from 4 Gallic frigates.
  • Honor Before Reason: When the Gauls prepare a power grab in Balboa, Carrera makes his intentions to destroy all Tauran Union forces in Pashtia clear. In a conversation with the Tuscan commander, the latter admits that he has no hope of winning against the Balboans, is desperately hoping to avoid combat, but is still willing to fight the Balboans and die because "Mine is an honorable country."
  • Human Popsicle: Colonists to Terra Nova were kept in cryogenics to cut down on consumables needed for the trip between the rift and the home planets of either star system, and make them easier to handle, particularly those who weren't making the trip voluntarily. Much of the crew prefer to do so as well, as transiting the rift is unpleasantly like being drunk. Like a glass of water.
  • The Inquisitor General: In Carnifex, The Marchioness of Amnesty is sent to the United Earth Peace Fleet due to its difficulties in subduing the local population of Terra Nova, as well as for issues back on Earth.
  • Insistent Terminology: The Lotus Eaters: in the Republic of Gaul's navy, "There is 'My God' and 'My ass', but there is no mon capitaine."note 
  • Invisible Aliens: The "Noahs" are only known of indirectly because of a few found artifacts and their molding of Terra Nova into its present state, which includes species from Earth's distant past and some plants that were apparently genetically engineered to prevent the rise of intelligent life on the planet by being poisonous to creatures with greater mental capacity.
  • Ironic Echo: In Carnifex, High Admiral Robinson's message recommending that Captain Wallenstein not be elevated to Class One, which she read when he went to sleep without having closed down his computer, described her as being "adequate, but no more than that" as an officer. Later, after Robinson has been captured by Carerra, Carerra allows the High Admiral to talk to Captain Wallenstein on their comm link. Robinson begs her to do anything to get him free, she shuts him down, asking why she would do that for "an adequate officer, but no more than that".
  • It's Personal: The motivation for many members of the Legion entering the Global War On Terror IN SPACE!.
  • Japanese Christian: Kurita, from the Fantasy Counterpart of Japan in the series, Yamato. Lampshaded by Fosa, who finds it odd that a good Catholic believes that ships and swords have souls.
  • Kid with the Leash: Linda, Carrera's first wife, is explicitly stated as the only thing that reins in his darker tendencies. Cue Linda's death at the hand of terrorists...
  • Kid Hero: Hamilcar, Carrera's son, during his time in Pashtia.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Alena, a Pashtun girl introduced in '"Carnifex'', is described as a witch who can see the future. Nobody - including herself - is quite sure whether she's just really smart and intuitive, or an actual seer.
  • Messianic Archetype: Hamilcar is viewed as this by a tribe of Pashtun. He and his father disagree, but he's already fulfilled 5 out of 7 signs...
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: The motivation of the morally grey progressives, especially those officially affiliated with United Earth. They realize that their utopia has failed badly, but believe it can still be salvaged, given time. And to get the time, they must destroy Terra Nova before it advances enough to take the battle to Earth.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: High Admiral Robinson, while still a villain, is relatively more sympathetic than many of the United Earth big shots, and less blind to the villainy and colossal hypocrisy of his system. The same is also increasingly true of Wallenstein, after she gets her Character Development. Justified, since it's largely the malcontents of the elite classes who join the Peace Fleet to get away from the corrupt regime on Earth — Or get sent there, if they complain too much about the status quo and irritate the wrong people.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Over the course of the series, numerous heroes and villains who like to think of themselves as good and decent men (or at least, not complete monsters) reflect over the fact that they're becoming ever more like their enemies as the war goes on. Lampshaded in that both sides face these moral dilemmas, but more often than not still go ahead with the escalation as it was already long ago that the stakes became too high to back down. From the Afterwords, this seems to be a philosophical problem of great interest to the author.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Cruz sets up an ambush on a guerrilla camp with claymore mines and machine guns. When the smoke clears, he's surprised to find himself face to face with a surrendering guerrilla, the sole survivor.
  • Obliviously Evil: The gullible leftists of Terra Nova, who wish to make their planet more like the tolerant and progressive Old Earth and therefore provide the United Earth forces with intelligence and influence. Little do they realize that Earth is by now an utter Crapsack World.
  • Old Master: Tadeo Kurita again. His skill is acknowledged by the FS Navy, and his account of the war is on Ham's required reading list.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens multiple times throughout the series. Highlights include:
    • Cruz's reaction to grenade training.
    • Fosa realising that the merchant vessel he's escorting has been converted to a kamikaze ship aimed right at him.
    • Janier realising that his plans are falling to pieces.
  • One World Government: United Earth (UN's successor).
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: The rift connecting Old Earth to Terra Nova is never really described in detail, but it acts like a wormhole.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Specifically, President Corrupt, the Balboan president Manuel Rocaberti. Later replaced by Raul Parilla, President Personable.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Carrera eventually makes it his policy to retaliate against the families of terrorists, though this is something he resists at first. He reluctantly changes his mind after events persuade him that nothing less will deter suicide attackers. Later on, he becomes the incarnation of the trope, to the point that many of his deeds cross beyond the moral event horizon. It eventually pays off to the point of terrifying drug cartels into compliance and the entire Nova Terra into avoiding picking a fight with Balboa.
  • People's Republic of Tyranny: United Earth claims to be a utopia, but there is a blatant caste system, human sacrifice is considered acceptable for certain religions, and many of those in power of the Feudal Future government are varying degrees of corrupt.
  • Plagued by Nightmares: Carrera is plagued by recurring nightmares, both over the murder of his family and, later, his nuking a city to get the family of the leader of the terrorists he was fighting in the first half of the series.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Legion del Cid, initially. They later become an N.G.O. Superpower, minting their own money and having a diplomatic service, and eventually become the army of Balboa.
    • When the Legion is first established, they hire a regiment of Volgan paratroopers as a mercenary opposing force cadre. Ten years later, by time of The Lotus Eaters, said regiment is now the 22nd Parachute Tercio of the Legion del Cid.
    • In The Lotus Eaters, Rocaberti hires several contractors for a hit on Carrera, which fails.
  • Punctuated Pounding: Marta Bugatti, to a panicking civilian in a bomb shelter they were occupying:
  • Putting on the Reich: Personnel in the United Earth Peace Fleet wear cool black uniforms. The Sachsen Reich (the German colony on Terra Nova) also qualifies, simply for being a more right-wing version of Germany.
  • Ramming Always Works: Islamic terrorists attempt to ram the Legion carrier Dos Lindas, but instead get intercepted by the Heroic Sacrifice of one of the gunboats escorting it, that rammed the kamikaze cargo freighter before it could deliver its explosive cargo.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The entirety of the airship hijacking scene is essentially the 9/11 WTC attacks.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Terra Nova in the 25th century is much like Earth in the 21st century, alongside with the nations of Earth. There is a version of the novel Kratman had available for a time via his website and the Baen boards with the entire plot set in the aftermath of 9/11.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The Class Ones and Twos of United Earth retard senescence through Applied Phlebotinum; this is one of the few technologies they still have that Terra Nova hasn't yet developed. Robinson and Wallenstein, among others, really are centuries old.
  • Sadistic Choice: Carrera offers Mustafa the possibility of him sparing Mustafa's family in exchange for destroying the Ka'aba. Mustafa chooses to save his family, but Carrera nukes them anyway, to make a point to Mustafa that his faith was a lie.
  • Schizo Tech: United Earth. Originally it was much more advanced than Terra Nova, but more recently its science and manufacturing base has been steadily eroded as its society degenerates. Though they still maintain a space fleet, it's a rusting and decaying one, and no new ships (or spare parts for the old ones) are made.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: How Carrera solves the problems of Tercio Gorgidas and Tercio Amazonas: while the Senate won't fund the formation of a regiment of gays and a regiment of women, Carrera still has enough of his own fortune to fund the setup of both regiments.
  • Secret Test of Character: In A Desert Called Peace, in reaction to a surprise attack by the Sumeri army, Manuel Rocabertinote  runs away in fear from the unit he was supposed to lead. When the fight is over he's brought before Dux Parilla and Carrera. Parilla asks what to do with a Private from Rocaberti's century that had ran away in the attack. Assuming that the Private was the only other survivor, Rocaberti says to execute the Private, in order to conceal his own cowardice. Parilla was actually giving Rocaberti one last chance to admit he ran away. Having failed the test, Rocaberti himself was executed for cowardice in the face of the enemy.
  • Shame If Something Happened: Carrera's Legion uses this trope to threaten journalists, guerrillas, and suspected supporters of guerrillas.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Early in the first book, Carrera is mentioned to be translating a novel by an author known to those in the setting's time only as "RAH" into Spanish. From Carnifex onwards, Tropas del Espacio is required reading throughout the legion.
    • And then Jorge and Marqueli Mendoza write the text for the History and Moral Philosophy course that Franco teaches and Maria attends, in Amazon Legions.
    • The encyclopedia of choice referred to in the fictional documents is published by Baen Books.
  • Side Bet: When setting up a base in Yezidistan for the Sumer campaign in A Desert Called Peace, a bet is made between an officer there and Sergeant Major McNamara that Carrera would reject the double-wide mobile home set up as his quarters in favor of a regular tent. Carrera pretended to not notice the 50 drachma note being handed to McNamara to pay the wager.
  • Smug Snake: General Janier, the Gallic officer who plans the TU-backed coup against Carrera.
  • Space Cold War: Between Terra Nova and United Earth, though in practice, it usually boils down to Federated States (or later in the series, Balboa) versus United Earth. The United Earth leaders know they must destroy Terra Nova's advanced economies in order to secure their own long-term viability, but fear the time has already passed when they could have won a "hot" war (without crippling losses, at least). Instead, they attempt to pull their enemies down through subversion and the sponsoring of various dissident and enemy groups on the planet.
  • The Spartan Way: Carrera's Legion is trained with extremely brutal, casualty-ridden methods; one estimate puts his Legion as having lost 1.5% of his total force before they even see combat through deliberately dangerous training methods, such as having recruits "cook" live grenades, dragging targets in power boats for live live-fire training exercises with tanks, and using cheap mortar ammunition that falls short and kills recruits. In all fairness, the mortar ammo was bought at a very good price, and all affected stocks were immediately removed for inspection.
  • Straw Civilian: The non-military Tauran Union characters are either this, or horrifying Truth in Television. Depending on your point of view.
  • Sympathetic P.O.V.: The Islamic terrorist leader Mustafa becomes relatively more sympathetic when he becomes a POV character. In his early appearances, he simply comes across as a ranting fanatic, but the sections that are written from his POV show that he is a somewhat sophisticated thinker and social critic, who cares deeply about his Islamic culture and resorts to terror only as a desperate last resort when he feels his society is being hopelessly corrupted by the Cultural Marxism of the Federated States. (Ironically, this makes him almost no different from his antagonist Carrera.) He remains an obvious villain, but becomes one with a coherent ideology and realistically written concerns rather than a slogan-toting strawman.
  • Take That!: Everything progressive from Bill Clinton and Michael Moore to leftist Internet trolls who have annoyed Kratman on message boards gets not-at-all-affectionately parodied, tarred and feathered and driven out of town. Figuratively speaking, of course. At least most of the time...
  • Taking You with Me: Hunted by four Gallic frigates, the Captain of a Legion sub decides to invoke this.
    "Friends, we're dead. But we're going to sell ourselves dear."
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Secondary protagonist Ricardo Cruz, who goes from New Meat in A Desert Called Peace to Sergeant Rock by the time of The Lotus Eaters.
    • Maria Fuentes, protagonist of The Amazon Legions, who goes from runaway to Sergeant Rock.
    • On the villain side, the Islamist leader Mustafa gets a lot more competent through experience and studies between the first book and the second.
  • Torture Always Works:
    • The Aesop is that torture works if you're both clever enough and ruthless enough about it.
    • Both subverted and played straight throughout the series. In Carnifex, a corrupt UN-Earth Admiral makes it clear that under torture a man will say anything. However, the terrorist chief who has captured him reminds him that this includes the truth, and that if he lies, they will continue to torture him until he speaks honestly.
    • In A Desert Called Peace, the Legion tricks an Amnesty Interplanetary investigator into taping them brutally interrogating several prisoners with mock hangings and blow torches, then storming into her press conference to reveal that everyone in her tape was actually a Legionary soldier and the whole thing was one big set up.
    • At the same time, the said Legion operates a shipnote  where captured Terrorists are subjected to horrific procedures, from dental drilling, to finger breaking, to sex change operations over a period of months to get them to give information. It is mentioned repeatedly that they verify all the information gained with that other prisoners and from intercepted messages. If the captured terrorists are found to be lying their parents are brought in.
      • Of course, author fiat means that the Legion has never tortured an innocent person — or a guilty person with no information to offer under torture — only to discover this afterwards.
  • To the Pain: Newly captured prisoners that are brought to Fernandez for interrogation aboard the Legion's torture ship are given a guided tour of the various rooms, with explicit descriptions on tortures carried out in each room. Many of those brought in who say they won't talk under any circumstances don't need more than taking the tour to make them change their mind and decide to cooperate. One tour shown to the reader doesn't even finish before the previously defiant prisoner decides to spill what he knows.
  • Training from Hell: The Legion's basic training. Cazador school, required for command track for Officers and Centurions, ramps this Up to Eleven.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Carrera isn't quite ugly, but both his wives are hot. Also, Sergeant Major MacNamara and Miss Balboa, Artemensia Jimenez.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: United Earth, and the progressives in general. Most liberals believe Earth is a utopian society, whereas in reality it's an incredibly corrupt People's Republic of Tyranny.
  • Villainous Valor: Mustafa, leader of the Islamists. As a devout (and extreme) Muslim, he genuinely is willing to suffer and die for his faith. By contrast, most of the Western progressives who support and abet the terrorists are venal, cowardly and hypocritical in the extreme.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: In The Lotus Eaters, Admiral Wallenstein uses a VR training station to get the Earl of Care up to speed on commanding a starship, as Wallenstein's promotion just before the Earl was put under her left the UEPF ship she was previously commanding without a CO.
  • Worthy Opponent: Adnan Sada and the Salah al-Din Brigade, who fight courageously against the Legion in Sumer while remaining within The Laws and Customs of War. This later leads to a Heel–Face Turn and Defeat Means Friendship.