Lucius Cornelius Macro joined the Second Legion Augusta, the toughest in the Roman army, after fleeing Rome to avoid facing revenge for the death of a gang leader he had killed. Rising through the ranks, he was promoted to the position of centurion shortly before the arrival of Quintus Licinius Cato in the winter of 42AD.
On joining the legion, Cato was appointed optio – second-in-command to Macro – and gained first combat experience defending a local village against Germanic raiders. Both Cato and Macro participated in the invasion of Britannia – a land of unparalleled barbarity – in 43AD. Cato was present at the battles for Medway crossing, Thames crossing and the defeat of Caratacus outside Camulodunum. In 44AD he ‘volunteered’ for a special mission to rescue hostages from the most brutal of native townsmen, the Druids of the Dark Moon cult, where he was wounded and consequently decorated for his bravery and promoted to centurion. During convalescence, Cato and Macro were enlisted with the job of training two cohorts of native troops, which were led out against enemy raiding columns.
Cato and Macro returned to active duty, but their cohort was disgraced after it failed to prevent the escape of the remnants of Caratacus’s army. Once they finally managed to capture Caratacus, the two officers were summoned to Rome where they were tasked with recovering important documents seized by ruthless pirates. After managing to locate and defeat the pirate fleet, Cato and Macro were assigned to the garrison of Syria where they foiled an attempt to take the desert kingdom near Parthia. On their journey across the Mediterranean back to Rome, they were struck by an earthquake, and found themselves shipwrecked off the coast of Crete. The natural disaster had caused an unforeseen collapse of order in the province and the outbreak of a slave revolt led by a renegade gladiator. After a bitter and bloody struggle the revolt was suppressed and Cato and Macro pursued the gladiator to Egypt where he joined forces with a Nubian invasion of the upper Nile. Following the ambush and death of the commander of Roman forces in the south of Egypt, Cato took charge and crushed the Nubian forces, finally catching up with and destroying the gladiator.
Recovering from injuries sustained in Egypt, Cato and Macro returned to Rome and were required to go undercover to infiltrate a conspiracy within the Praetorian Guard to overthrow Emperor Claudius.