Barklem is an armoured crewman in the U.S. Army's 21st Brigade Combat Team (21st BCT).
He is a member of Sierra, and is subordinate to his vehicle commander Sergeant Bowker. He goes by the radio callsign of Sierra One-Four.
Sierra was one of many units that were attached to the NATO task force sent to the Republic of Altis and Stratis in response to the Altian government's attack against the peacekeepers of Task Force Aegis.
Stepping Stone (2035)
|«|| Take a good look at that terrain... can't do what we did on Malden, driving off in the wrong direction.|
Barklem's NCO, Sergeant Bowker, remarks on their mistakes during the invasion of Malden
They proceeded to take the city of Cancon to its west, and followed up later that day by striking the towns of Houdan and Dourdan to their north.
Initially, Barklem and the rest of Sierra's tanks were supposed to link up with ground forces moving north. However, all the road signs were written in French and Sierra's commander mistakenly ordered all units to move in the wrong direction.
By the time Barklem's unit had found their headings, the battles at Houdan and Dourdan were already over with the 21st having achieved victory without their support.
Steel Pegasus (2035)
Attacking Stratis first, the small island was easily taken from its CSAT and Altian defenders within hours. The mainland proved to be much more difficult however, with the strike forces at both the airport and eastern coast suffering heavy losses against the entrenched defenders. Only the units attacking the western coast were successful, with the old capital of Kavala falling under NATO control.
In order to weaken the defences at the airport, high command planned to lure its defenders away by launching a diversionary assault on the city of Chalkeia located on the south-eastern peninsula. Codenamed Operation Steel Pegasus, the plan would involve having Barklem's unit assault the coast via amphibious assault in the early hours of August 9th.
However when a CSAT submarine is detected lurking off the coast, the BCT is forced to change the plan into a highly-risky airborne assault instead. Utilising VTOL transports, Barklem's unit would be paradropped from the skies and hopefully ambush the unsuspecting defenders at LZ Mustang, one of the two landing sites to the city's south.
Just as Sgt. Bowker began briefing the crew on the flight in, Barklem's VTOL, callsign Condor Four One, is struck by a barrage of anti-aircraft fire and begins to descend uncontrollably into the ground. Knocked unconscious but alive, he regains his vision moments later, only to discover that he is the sole survivor of Sierra and the entire aircrew.
Barklem desperately tries to radio for support but immediately spots a truck racing in his direction. With no time to spare, Barklem retrieves a weapon from his fallen comrades' corpses and runs for cover in a nearby dilapidated house.
|«|| Unknown: Any callsign... helo's down... Over.|
Barklem: Okay... Sierra One-Four to unknown station, say again your last.
Unknown: (more static)
Barklem: Sierra One-Four to unknown station, come in! Nothing heard! Over.
The frantic caller fails to hear Barklem's reply
Suddenly, he hears a message from his radio from another survivor, but the transmission is broken by static and the sender fails to hear Barklem's reply. With no options other than to head north towards the BCT's Emergency Rendezvous Point (ERV), Barklem begins the long trek while avoiding Altian patrols.
Eventually, he sees a plume of smoke emanating from a crashed helicopter. Upon arrival, he finds a pilot ducking behind the wreckage and being suppressed by an enemy patrol. Barklem guns down the two attackers and begins questioning the pilot. Going by the callsign Firebrand, the pilot identifies himself as Terry Simpson, the unknown sender on the radio.
|«|| Barklem: It's bad - like, real bad. He's not gonna make it.|
Simpson: Hey! You a doctor, asshole?
Barklem: No, I'm not. And that's straight up, I'm sorry.
Barklem verifies the co-pilot's status, only to find him deceased
Barklem checked on his co-pilot and located his pulse, though it was plainly obvious that the man was dead. Seeing no reason to stay around, Simpson agreed to join Barklem and the duo retrieved whatever supplies they could from the helicopter before moving out.
Along the way, Barklem spotted two more soldiers; one of them, a medic by the name of Adam Grant, was attempting to resuscitate his comrade, but two Altians were standing nearby and holding him at gunpoint. Barklem eliminated the troopers and ran towards the medic. He urgently needed medical supplies to heal his wounded teammate and asked if Barklem held any on him.
Fortunately, Barklem still held onto the supplies that he took from Simpson's helicopter, which he quickly passed onto Grant. Grant's teammate was revived and the two joined up with him. Together, the four survivors began their trek towards the ERV. They managed to stumble onto a crate of munitions, which also happened to contain a disassembled mortar stowed inside. Thinking it might come in handy later, Barklem brought it along with him.
|«|| Collins: Corporal Barker...?|
Barklem: Barklem, sir, yeah - where you want us?
Collins: Okay, well, with Romeo, on the hill behind me. You see the chapel? That's our last line of defence, we can't let the AAF take it. There's some ammo boxes up there...
Barklem's ragtag "squad" arrives at the ERV
Upon arrival at the ERV, he finds several other survivors from Mustang being led by an officer. Third Lieutenant Jeremy Collins, callsign November, was the sole commissioned officer left amongst the survivors of Mustang. Seeing as how Barklem's "squad" was relatively uninjured, Collins tasked him with helping to defend the ERV alongside the scattered remnants of Mustang.
At that same moment, their impromptu briefing is interrupted by another radio message. A recon team by the callsign of Pariah was requesting for reinforcements at Point Erie on the western flank. Collins refused to send backup, and demanded Pariah's squad leader to link up with them at the ERV. Irrespective of Collins' orders, Barklem personally volunteered to back Pariah with Simpson and Grant also tagging along.
|«|| Pariah: Hey! You it?|
Barklem: No, sir!
Pariah: Shit - I guess November didn't send you then...? Motherfucker! Go, get behind some cover, we gotta make a stand!
Barklem's team arrives at Point Erie
Arriving at Point Erie, Barklem finds Pariah's squad already under heavy attack. The squad leader questioned if Collins had sent them, only to discover that Barklem had voluntarily come and that Collins had essentially left Pariah's men to die. Angered but nonetheless grateful for their assistance, Barklem's team quickly moved into position and helped fight off the attackers.
Though they had secured Point Erie, the ERV itself was now under attack and Collins was frantically calling for Barklem to return. Barklem raced towards the ERV and arrived just in time to see the attackers about to break into the ERV. Following a fierce firefight lasting several minutes, the survivors came out ahead with minimal losses and their position (mostly) intact.
However as the sun rose, Collins knew their position was clearly untenable. It would only be a matter of time before the Altians would attempt another assault. They had to break through towards LZ Blazer in the north, but they first had to cross the no man's land between them and Blazer.
In spite of his misgivings, Pariah's squad leader, Sgt. John Sturrock, "volunteers" Barklem to lead a small team to scout a nearby crashed VTOL. Reluctantly, Barklem fights his way through and checks the VTOL. He found a damaged but usable IFV stored in it.
Using the vehicle's spare parts, Barklem manages to fix some of the damage but its optics and fire control system were damaged beyond repair. Once again assigned the callsign of Sierra, Barklem is joined by two other crewmen as they continued to make their way towards Blazer. Thanks to Barklem's IFV, they easily clear out the surprised defenders at Point Superior, a small village blocking the way towards Blazer.
Before the rest of the survivors can join him, Collins detects a massive wave of Altian reinforcements heading towards Point Superior. He orders Barklem to stay behind as a rear guard to protect their flank, hopefully buying enough time for the rest of the survivors to cross the no man's land.
|«|| Collins: You've got about half that time, we can't wait a mo -|
Sturrock: Are you outta your fucking mind? There's no time, PERIOD. Our window's closing fast. Leave the casualties, push forwards or we're dead.
Oscar: Negative - we're not leaving anyone behind!
Barklem is left with the difficult choice of deciding Oscar's fate
However before he can do so, callsign Oscar - the leader in charge of the medics tending to the injured at the ERV, requests for Barklem's IFV so that the wounded could be ferried to Blazer. Collins agrees to wait on Oscar, but Sturrock interrupts and angrily disagrees with his assessment, stating that they had to push on and leave them behind. The two leaders immediately descend into bickering and Collins, unable to reign in both sides, hesitantly leaves Barklem with the choice of aiding either Oscar or continuing with the plan.
Barklem chose to help Oscar, but in the process greatly delayed their escape and endangered the rest of Mustang's survivors. Only the wounded were loaded into the IFV first - Oscar's uninjured would join Barklem later. After dropping off the injured at Blazer, Barklem raced back to the ERV to collect the last of Oscar's men. The Altians had just arrived and were already firing upon Point Superior.
Collins began retreating towards Blazer while Barklem provided covering fire with the help of Oscar's men. Together, they manage to buy enough time before Collins radios Barklem to pull out as well; just as another wave of Altians were about to overrun their position.
Battle for Chalkeia
|«|| Guardian: So, Lieutenant Collins, I'm merging your forces together. You will re-establish group Alpha. And Corporal Barlem, you'll resume command of your APC and retain your current callsign, Sierra.|
Barklem: Um... Yes, sir.
Resigned to having his name pronounced incorrectly, Barklem is tasked with supporting the attack
Arriving at Blazer, the united remnants of the landing force were briefed for the final assault on Chalkeia. Barklem would once again be supporting with his IFV while Collins and Sturrock led their own squads on foot. Thanks to the mortar he retrieved from the crate, they would also have some artillery support to soften the city's defences.
Once given the green light, the battle would commence with Barklem's IFV leading the charge. His first objective was to assist a pinned down squad on the outskirts of Chalkeia. Once they were freed to move out, he continued pushing forward, smashing through numerous checkpoints and destroying several MRAPs and other IFVs.
Along the way, he even managed to destroy an AA battery concealed deep inside the city. Finally, the last of the CSAT and Altian defenders fell and Chalkeia was at long last under their control.
|«|| Guardian to all units. We have the counterattack incoming. Everybody get into cover and don't stick out. That applies to you too, Sierra. Don't get picked out by them. I'm getting division command to get us that damn air support. We have to hold on until then.|
But their victory was short-lived; recon elements to the north reported that several IFVs and tanks had broken through their lines and were inbound to retake the city. Barklem and the rest of the survivors fortified their positions as best they could, hoping that the air support they were waiting on would arrive in time.
As expected, the Altians easily breached and cut a swathe through their defences. Barklem himself was almost killed but just in the nick of time, the BCT's gunships arrive on station to repel the Altians.
Following the success of Operation Steel Pegasus, Barklem was later transferred to Charlie Company of the 1st Mechanized Battalion. He was present during the final push against the AAF, and personally witnessed the surrender of Colonel Akhanteros' remaining forces.
Personality and Appearance
Barklem is an African-American male in his (presumably) mid-twenties with a bald head and a faintly shaved moustache. His usual attire comprises of standard issue gear worn by NATO crewmen, which consists of MTP-camouflaged fatigues with rolled-up sleeves, a ranger green-coloured bandolier and combat belt, along with a sage green crewman helmet.
|«|| Sturrock: Corporal Barkley. Congratulations, you just got voluntold, reckon you can do a pass?|
Barklem: ...am I gonna get shot at?
Sturrock: Depends. You gonna be a smart ass?
Barklem's dry response to Sgt. Sturrock's "suggestion" to reach the broken down IFV
Barklem possesses a somewhat blunt and sardonic personality, and will not hesitate to voice disapproval about orders from his superiors if he finds them questionable (or alternately, sees them as outright suicidal). Regardless, he will still follow through with his orders in spite of any misgivings he might have about them, and even shows some signs of having leadership skills that would make him a good officer.
He is also shown to enjoy rock/metal music, as he can be seen listening to his personal music player during the flight into Chalkeia, and is reprimanded for doing so by his unit's commander.
- A running joke throughout the campaign is Barklem's name being continuously mispronounced by multiple characters. Jeremy Collins, John Sturrock, and even Guardian call him either "Barker", "Barkley" or "Barlem" instead.
- By the events of Final Strike, Barklem gives up trying to correct anyone altogether, and simply goes along with his surname being called incorrectly every time.
- Barklem's actions will directly affect the fate of multiple characters and whether they survive the events of Steel Pegasus.