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- "When we hunt, we kill!
No one is safe!
Nothing is sacred!
We are Blackwatch!
We are the last line of defense!
We will burn our own to hold the red line,
it is the last line to ever hold!"
- ―The Blackwatch creed.[src]
Blackwatch Special Forces, officially designated under 1st Biological Warfare Command, is the black ops military force of the United States responsible for the containment of biohazard/viral outbreaks. They were previously deployed at Hope, Idaho to contain the viral outbreak caused by the Redlight virus, and later to New York City in order to combat the Blacklight virus.
Officially, Blackwatch does not exist - it is a black operations unit that is given free reign when it comes to containing viral outbreaks. The organization has access to vast stockpiles of military arsenal and experimental technologies, in addition to controlling the most refined information control technologies, vital to preserving the ignorance of the American public. However, following the initial Manhattan outbreak, they became publicly known, though the extent of their unethical operations remains a well-kept secret.
Furthermore, they have full authority over American military forces and local police when it comes to biological warfare - they can request any information and any amount of military forces to serve under their command, as exemplified by their use of Marines on Manhattan Island.
Each member of the organization is single-mindedly dedicated to its goal and fully believes that it justifies the means, no matter how distasteful they are. As such, Blackwatch soldiers will execute infected humans without hesitation, use area of effect weapons in urban areas and deploy heavy armor and gunships in crowded areas just to destroy a single Runner.
They will also not hesitate to firebomb city blocks just to suppress the infection, regardless of other military and civilian presence. Some members have even been noted as possessing a cruel and sadistic glee while doing so. This approach earns them the ire of any jointly deployed military forces, who usually consider them gung-ho, barbarians, bloodthirsty psychopaths, and even Nazis.
In the year following the initial outbreak in Manhattan and during the second outbreak, Blackwatch has descended into even further amoral actions and methods, performing such activities as kidnapping innocent civilians for Gentek's experiments, many of which consisted of simply locking them in rooms with particularly vicious forms of Infected and watching them get torn apart. Additionally, Blackwatch showed clear disregard for the lives of regular military personnel once more, frequently sending United States Marines on downright suicidal missions in the form of pointless patrols.
The Blackboxes Heller found throughout New York Zero included recordings of even further unethical activities, including a Blackwatch soldier shooting an autistic boy simply because he wouldn't speak when asked to in order to prove he wasn't infected. Another recorded a Blackwatch soldier shooting a woman immediately after warning her he was authorized to use lethal force if she didn't step back and being unhelpful despite the woman stating she was merely looking for her boyfriend, while yet another recorded Colonel Rooks threatening to discipline a soldier over saving a woman from being raped, regarding his actions as merely the equivalent of saving a cow or lab rat. A recording of Colonel Rooks had him explicitly stating that it wasn't their responsibility to police the refugees, even when they started killing each other, while Riley had him rather indifferent to the existence of a brothel established to serve the Blackwatch troopers. There was also a recording of an officer berating a subordinate for accidentally shooting an entire family, not on moral or ethical grounds, but because he was wasting ammo by doing so.
- "Blackwatch was first created to protect America from biological attacks."
- ―Blackwatch A.I.[src]
Blackwatch was established on June 9, 1962 by DARPA and the Department of the Army, with its base of operations at Fort Detrick, Maryland. The purpose for Blackwatch was to protect America from biological attacks. Its original mandate was the research and development of biological weaponry for use against foreign powers. In pursuit of that mandate, Blackwatch created the Redlight virus and used it in the Carnival I and Carnival II projects.
Following the Hope, Idaho fiasco and Operation Altruistic, however, its mission was changed to its current one: detection, concealment and prevention of outbreaks of unknown viruses, both modified and natural, on American soil. The actual viral research and development of biological weapons was outsourced to Gentek when Raymond McMullen established the company in 1979. Gentek researchers later went on to create a new and more devastating virus in Project Blacklight.
All Blackwatch soldiers are hand-picked from various special forces of the United States Military.
- Main article: Blackwatch soldier
The elite troopers who are considered as the rank-and-file members of Blackwatch. They are equipped with black battle uniforms, tactical vests and combat webbing, night vision goggles and gas-masks coupled with helmets and weapons depending on their specialty -- anything ranging from the versatile M4 carbine to the devastating Javelin missile launcher.
- Main article: Blackwatch officer
Easily recognizable by their white battle uniforms and tri-lens goggles, officers usually lead other squads into battle or control military bases.
Blackwatch super soldiers
- Main article: Super Soldier
Super Soldiers a.k.a. the Orion Project, are Blackwatch operatives who have been exposed to the virus in a controlled way, causing them to gain tremendous strength, structure and stature. They are capable of fighting Hunters and even a Prototype in close combat, as well as clinging to walls and jumping incredibly high. Their only form of equipment is standard webbing and an infection detection device that allows them to see anyone infected with the Blacklight virus, like other Hunters, to pick out Alex from crowds and see through disguises.
The arsenal of Blackwatch is largely composed of the same weapons used by the Marines: M4 carbines, M249 light machine guns, M32 Multiple Grenade Launchers, FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles. Their vehicle pool includes M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley IFVs, AH-64 Apache gunships, UH-60 Blackhawks, all in black and bearing their insignia.
- Main article: Hope, Idaho
Blackwatch was originally a regular military garrison based in Fort Detrick, Maryland; they were the ones called in to contain the outbreak of the Redlight virus in Hope. During the military suppression of the Redlight virus, the virus was nearly advanced beyond the point "of no return". However, Blackwatch shelled the town and had regained control. After Hope had been sterilized, Blackwatch was formed to suppress future outbreaks of biological weapons, both man-made and natural. General Randall was put in charge of the unit after his actions in Hope lead to the successful elimination of the first virus threat located there.
- Main article: New York City
When Alex Mercer stole the vial from the lab and into the subway station, he broke the vial that contained the Blacklight virus. Blackwatch was then deployed to contain and stop the virus dead in its tracks. Unlucky for them, Alex had freed Greene, but failed to contain her, as she escaped and started to spread her virus around Manhattan.
New York Zero
Three years after the first outbreak in New York, another outbreak had surfaced when Alex Mercer returned to Manhattan and purposely re-released his own strains of the virus. Where Blackwatch once again had been deployed back into New York and had claimed "Martial Law", causing separation between three main sectors from them and the now known "Mercer Virus"; this only caused the virus to quickly spread, with the last outbreak making New York Alex Mercer's playground.
- The name of the organization is probably based on the fact that the group was formed to contain the Redlight virus, although it could also be a reference to a famous Scottish regiment of the same name as well. It could also be a reference to Blackwater, a private military organization whose methods and morals have been under considerable scrutiny due to achieving its goals through means of similar questionable morality.
- Considering their late Commanding Officer, Peter Randall, was a Lieutenant General, their name (1st Biological Warfare Command) and given their huge presence on Manhattan (it is revealed in Prototype 2 by Father Luis Guerra that there were at least ten thousand Blackwatch soldiers deployed in all of New York Zero), it seems the 1st Biological Warfare Command is a Corps sized unit.
- Blackwatch became publicly known after the First Outbreak on New York City, as its logo could be seen everywhere in the Yellow Zone and the media reported their arrival in New York following Mercer re-releasing the virus. As well as some graffiti with Blackwatch's logo with a "No" sign over it.
- It is unknown how Blackwatch was able to maintain secrecy given its large size.